Posted Thursday 2nd of April, 2020 at 1:39:13 PM by Jeff
Much of this confusion stems from the shifting conversation around the pandemic. Thus far, the official line has been that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, could be transmitted only through close contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces. But recently, news reports have suggested that the coronavirus can spread through the air. After 60 choir members in Washington State rehearsed together, 45 fell sick, even though no one seemed symptomatic at the time. Now people who were already feeling cooped up are worrying about going outside. Many state guidelines are ambiguous, and medical advice can muddy matters further. When the writer Deborah Copaken came down with COVID-19 symptoms, her doctor chided her for riding her bike through New York City a week earlier. Going outside in the city wasn’t safe, the physician implied, with “viral load everywhere.”
Posted Wednesday 1st of April, 2020 at 8:15:37 AM by Jeff
Pre-pandemic, grocery shopping was pretty chill. Maybe you’d stress over the long lines, or the store running out of your go-to oat milk. But what used to be the most mundane of weekend activities is now fraught and chaotic. Customers are disinfecting their shopping carts. Others have bought up masks, despite there being no evidence of them offering protection from COVID-19, leaving little for the health workers who actually need them. And viral videos have circulated of people throwing down over toilet paper. You don’t want to be That Person at the grocery store — but at the same time, it’s understandable that we’re all on edge right now. Here’s a cautious but rational person’s guide to grocery shopping in the time of corona.
Posted Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 at 8:39:23 PM by Jeff
Like a wildfire spraying hot embers, the coronavirus pandemic is now flaring in communities around the country, with growth curves in New Orleans, Michigan and Illinois that resemble those of 10 days ago in New York City — which in turn mirror those of early 2020 in Italy and Wuhan, China.
But California — and particularly San Francisco, where I live — appears to be following a different course, with relatively low rates of COVID-19 cases and mortality. In San Francisco, there are few signs of an imminent spike. Our experience may hold lessons for the rest of the country, especially on the importance of aggressive public and corporate steps to promote social distancing.
As recently as March 10, the rates of confirmed coronavirus infection in New York City and San Francisco were roughly the same: New York City had seven cases and San Francisco had 14. On Monday evening, New York City had more than 38,000 confirmed cases and 914 deaths; San Francisco had over 374 cases and six deaths.
Posted Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 at 8:34:39 PM by Jeff
Great article on how we get back to near-normal. It will be a long time to get fully back to normal. But there are steps we can take, not outrageous ones even, to get back to near-normal in a few months.
PHASE 2: During this phase, we can move, on a state-by-state basis, to “case-based interventions,” or isolating individuals — using mass testing and contact tracing to isolate those who are infected, while allowing healthy people to go about their lives, much as South Korea has done.
The trigger for the transition from community to individual isolation will be when a state has shown a sustained reduction in cases for 14 days. A state must also have the capability in place to test everyone with symptoms, conduct active monitoring of those who test positive and their contacts, and safely treat everyone who requires hospitalization. This, Gottlieb and his team say, will require that we establish a national capacity to conduct at least 750,000 tests a week, and that we roughly double the number of acute-care beds and ventilators available to treat patients across the country.
Once these benchmarks are met, individual states can begin to slowly relax social distancing measures. Those with confirmed cases would be isolated for at least seven days, and their confirmed contacts would be quarantined and monitored for at least 14 days. The rest of us could return to work and to school.
1/ Still stable @ucsfhospitals. No news = terrific news. Covid+ pts=15 (last 2 wks below). Nine in ICU (5 on ventilators), no change in past few days. Few new pts coming into ICU, but not many leaving. Several floor pts have been discharged pic.twitter.com/tPcItBNRI8
Posted Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 at 8:17:50 PM by Jeff
The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, in spite of the social distancing measures that have closed schools, banned large gatherings, limited travel and forced people to stay in their homes.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, displayed that grim projection at the White House on Tuesday, calling it “our real number” but pledging to do everything possible to reduce those numbers even further.
Posted Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 at 8:16:13 PM by Jeff
It shouldn’t have come to this, but here we are. The world is running out of face masks for health care workers, which is one reason American officials, including the surgeon general, have warned members of the public against buying their own masks for protection against the coronavirus.
But that doesn’t mean face masks for the public are a bad idea, if we had enough masks. Contrary to what American officials told us, many studies show that widespread mask-wearing might be a very effective complement to hand-washing, social-distancing and other measures to mitigate the pandemic. Health officials in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan suggest that people wear masks in certain situations — if they’re symptomatic, for instance, or if they’re in crowded, not-very-well-ventilated places, like airplanes. Studies have also shown that mask-wearing (in conjunction with hand-washing) reduces the spread of infection within households or other shared living spaces, like residence halls.
But how to get your hands on a mask, when there are no masks? The internet has a plan: Make your own.
Posted Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 at 8:14:50 PM by Jeff
Terrifying though the coronavirus may be, it can be turned back. China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have demonstrated that, with furious efforts, the contagion can be brought to heel.
Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen. But for the United States to repeat their successes will take extraordinary levels of coordination and money from the country’s leaders, and extraordinary levels of trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world.
Posted Monday 30th of March, 2020 at 9:14:01 AM by Jeff
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the message from Western public health authorities has been pretty uniform in stating that the public at large shouldn’t be wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even sent an all-caps message to all Americans in late February imploring them to “STOP BUYING MASKS!” because they are “NOT effective” for the general public. Experts, however, aren’t so sure that’s the case, particularly considering that health authorities in some Asian countries have been calling on everyone to wear face masks to prevent the virus from spreading.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 6:02:53 PM by Jeff
I know there is some confusion about what to do next in the midst of this unprecedented time of a pandemic, school closures, and widespread social disruption. As a primary care physician and public health leader, I have been asked by a lot of people for my opinion, and I will provide it below based on the best information available to me today. These are my personal views, and my take on the necessary steps ahead.
What I can clearly say is that what we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the local and perhaps national trajectory of coronavirus. We are only about 11 days behind Italy and generally on track to repeat what is unfortunately happening there and throughout much of the rest of Europe very soon.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 6:02:22 PM by Jeff
Covid-19 is not the flu. We have a vaccine for the flu. We have anti-viral medications designed to treat the flu. We have a sense of what to expect when we catch the flu, and when it’s necessary to seek medical attention. Doctors have experience treating the flu, and tests to help diagnose the flu, right there in the office, while you wait.
Against the new disease, we have none of this. This coronavirus is unknown to our species. Once it breaks into one of our cells, the extent of its spread through the body seems to vary significantly. The experience can slowly progress from the familiar—cough, congestion, fever—to a life-threatening inflammatory response as the virus spreads down into the lungs, filling the airways with fluid. Survivors can have permanent scarring in the lungs. The virus can also spread into other organs, causing liver damage or gastrointestinal disease. These effects can play out over longer periods than in the flu, sometimes waxing and waning. Some patients have begun to feel better, then fallen critically ill. The disease can be fatal despite receiving optimal medical care.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 6:01:46 PM by Jeff
A couple of weeks ago, as the possibility of the looming coronavirus pandemic began to settle in for most Americans, many people started preparing to ward off the virus by thinking about personal hygiene. Because advice about the efficacy of hand-washing and personal sanitization came early, Americans invaded big-box stores across the country to stock up on hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, cans of Lysol, and, for some reason, bales and bales of toilet paper. Feeling ready to clean up after yourself is pretty easy.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 6:01:14 PM by Jeff
When, in January 2016, I wrote that despite being a lifelong Republican who worked in the previous three GOP administrations, I would never vote for Donald Trump, even though his administration would align much more with my policy views than a Hillary Clinton presidency would, a lot of my Republican friends were befuddled. How could I not vote for a person who checked far more of my policy boxes than his opponent?
What I explained then, and what I have said many times since, is that Trump is fundamentally unfit—intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically—for office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a president, in part because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a president will face an unexpected crisis—and at that point, the president’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:58:24 PM by Jeff
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported the death of an infant younger than one year in Chicago who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.”
Older adults are at higher risk of severe illness, and more than 85% of deaths in Illinois are among individuals 60 years of age and older. However, people of all ages are suffering severe illness.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:51:55 PM by Jeff
To stop coronavirus we will need to radically change almost everything we do: how we work, exercise, socialize, shop, manage our health, educate our kids, take care of family members.
We all want things to go back to normal quickly. But what most of us have probably not yet realized—yet will soon—is that things won’t go back to normal after a few weeks, or even a few months. Some things never will.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:50:37 PM by Jeff
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to have numerous reverberations around society and our economy. You can find general resources that may be helpful to your business in our Coronavirus Resource Center, but the point of this piece is to delve into some of the potential short-term and long-term economic impacts.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:49:58 PM by Jeff
The Orangutan in the Oval Office, in addition to calling for national unity for the first time in his political career, also called for a National Day of Prayer to stop the spread of God’s latest plague.
This is kind of like the Pope calling for an International Day of Whoring. It is tough to imagine Trump on his knees, humbly imploring the Almighty for anything. Although he is surrounded by evangelical preachers, at least when he wants to be for photo ops, they are all universally the sort of preachers that own their own private planes. None of them cancelled services Sunday in response to health authorities’ call for social distancing—these fine Christians don’t want to get their yachts repossessed by not being able to pass around the collection plate.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:39:41 PM by Jeff
Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.
A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:38:35 PM by Jeff
Every prediction you read about the size and duration of the coronavirus pandemic is based on epidemiological modelling. The underlying math is pretty simple. You don’t need to understand it, you just need to know this: once you set the values of a few basic parameters, predicting the timeline and magnitude of a pandemic can be done with a few lines of code.
Posted Sunday 29th of March, 2020 at 5:34:18 PM by Jeff
To tackle the COVID-19 crisis, there are five main things we need to do:
– Research to understand the disease and to develop new treatments and a vaccine.
– Determine the right policies, both for public health and the economic response.
– Increase healthcare capacity, especially for testing, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and critical care.
– Slow the spread through testing & isolating cases, as well as mass advocacy to promote social distancing and other key behaviours, buying us more time to do the above.
– We also need to keep society functioning through the progression of the pandemic.