COVID-19: The Gift of Family Discussion Topics [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Note the byline – I’m stepping on Jim White’s beat today. Updates will appear at the bottom. /~Rayne]

There’s nothing quite like receiving an email from my father first thing in the morning. He’s not a chatty dude; I can count on two hands the number of emails I’ve received from him in the last five years. When he pops me a note I know he’s been stewing on whatever he sent.

Today he sent me and my siblings a link to a report about study of CT scans used to screen COVID-19 patients:

CT provides best diagnosis for COVID-19
Date: February 26, 2020
Source: Radiological Society of North America
Summary: In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in the journal Radiology, chest CT outperformed lab testing in the diagnosis of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers concluded that CT should be used as the primary screening tool for COVID-19.

Dad was also worried about the reliability of Chinese tests. Okay, so noted — if I go to China any time soon I’ll treat them with suspicion. Thanks for the email, Pop, and thanks to my siblings for the flurry of follow-up messages.

~ ~ ~

I’m far more worried about the U.S. tests which are still extremely limited after the CDC’s screw up by devising its own test instead of using effective tests already available.

The CDC designed a flawed test for COVID-19, then took weeks to figure out a fix so state and local labs could use it. New York still doesn’t trust the test’s accuracy.
by Caroline Chen, Marshall Allen, Lexi Churchill and Isaac Arnsdorf Feb. 28, 12:13 a.m. EST

There’s been a contamination issue in the government lab responsible for the tests as well — negative control reagent not handled properly in kits.

By Jon Cohen Feb. 28, 2020 , 5:45 PM – ScienceDaily

. . .

by Jonathan Swan, Caitlin Owens for Axios
Updated Mar 1, 2020 – Health

I don’t have a lot of faith this problem will be fixed promptly. FDA is supposed to approve the tests, but…

Sent to help the administration’s coronavirus response, a test specialist was stopped at CDC’s door and made to wait overnight.
By DAN DIAMOND 03/03/2020 03:23 PM EST – Updated: 03/03/2020 03:53 PM EST

We’re also seeing continued problems with testing due to lack of supply affecting first responders. Here’s a letter from a quarantined nurse in California who has had symptoms matching COVID-19, whose doctor and county public health officer signed off on getting her tested, and the CDC refused to test her.

The key symptom distinguishing COVID-19 from influenza is the chest pressure and cough. Influenza has a productive ‘wet’ cough where COVID-19 infection is more likely to manifest a dry cough with more chest pressure and shortness of breath as the virus moves down the body. From WHO’s China Mission report:

Symptoms of COVID-19 are non-specific and the disease presentation can range from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe pneumonia and death.As of 20 February 2020 and based on 55924 laboratory confirmed cases, typical signs and symptoms include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills(11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).

People with COVID-19 generally develop signs and symptoms,including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection (mean incubation period 5-6 days, range 1-14 days). …

(Source:, page 11-12)

Because we can’t expect adequate numbers of test kits for weeks — no matter what those goddamned lying jackasses in the White House say — asking for a CT scan if you need treatment can be a good move. Haven’t seen other reports yet whether other forms of imaging like chest x-ray will work. However, the results of CT will change during course of infection:

Varied CT, clinical findings
In the second study, researchers at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, detailed the CT findings and clinical characteristics of six women 27 to 63 years old with COVID-19.None of the patients had such underlying diseases as diabetes, cancer, or respiratory disease. Five had had Wuhan or Hubei exposures.

They found that COVID-19’s wide variety of manifestations on CT can vary over time. Early in the disease, lesions can appear round and nodular in the central lung, unlike their common patchy appearance between the membrane surrounding the lung and the body wall. One patient had 3 follow-up scans 4 to 14 days later that showed diverse lesions and that the primary lesions had been absorbed and replaced elsewhere by new ones.

On testing blood samples, the researchers observed normal or slightly decreased counts of leucocytes and lymphocytes and identified mildly decreased eosinophil counts in four of the patients. Four days later, follow-up testing revealed that the low eosinophil counts remained abnormal and had dropped even further. “The decrease of eosinophil count may be helpful for the early diagnosis of the disease,” they wrote, calling for further study of the phenomenon. …


Blood test may work in tandem with CT, certainly faster to get than a CDC test for COVID-19.

Another potentially predictive risk factor for severe-critical cases: smoking, whether current or a past history. Explains why more men than women were severe-critical cases in China as men smoke more than women.

Guoshuai Cai
Version 1 : Received: 3 February 2020 / Approved: 5 February 2020 / Online: 5 February 2020 (02:56:53 CET)

Americans overall may have fewer severe-critical cases because tobacco smoking has dropped considerably over the last three decades. A good thing since severe-critical cases need mechanical ventilators or intubation and we simply don’t have enough equipment in our crappy health care system.

We don’t know yet if vaping is another risk factor; it may depend on substances in vapor, with tobacco being most suspect. I haven’t seen anything about marijuana use yet, whether smoked or vaped.

And disinfect (not just clean) your cell phones. Rather high nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection rate with this bug in spite of aggressive PPE like full suits with hoods, booties, gloves, face shields means we’re dealing with possible airborne bug OR there’s some other fomite (surface) transmission not being documented.

As of Monday it was estimated there were ~600 asymptomatic cases walking around Seattle. This short-ish piece is a must-read, especially the paragraph which begins, “We know that Wuhan went from an index case”

2 Mar 2020 by Trevor Bedford – Bedford Lab

The Emerald City Comic Con convention begins on March 12 in Seattle, at which ~100K people from around the country and world are expected; the event has not been canceled.

March 5, 2020 at 6:00 am Updated March 5, 2020 at 7:08 pm

Wouldn’t want to cancel this massive social event and cause stock market disruption, oh no. *shaking my head*

I’d expect an explosion of cases across the U.S. in about 9 weeks based on Bedford’s estimate.

I know CT test may be inconclusive for me if I get this crap because an autoimmune disorder did a number on my chest ten years ago. I’m at high risk because of this pre-existing condition, as are family members because of their CVD and diabetes.

Must say there’s nothing like a documented mortality rate of 7-13% for CVD and diabetes to put the fear of god in certain at-risk family members about vigorous frequent handwashing.

Now I have to stop family from going full apocalyptic prepper. Somebody bought this household a half gallon of Lysol concentrate and three times more bleach than I’ve used in a year’s time.

I can hardly wait to hear from my family again first thing in the morning.

~ ~ ~
I do want to make one point perfectly clear, all snark aside.

** The Republican Party is responsible for every COVID-19 fatality in the U.S. **

They could have done the right thing and removed Trump by convicting him for obvious abuse of power and obstruction of Congress instead of being chickenshits afraid of Trump’s mean tweets. He’s a clear and present national security threat — this pandemic proves it.

VP Mike Pence has done a crappy job so far but we can’t tell how much of this disaster is his alone, or a result of also trying to keep his malignant narcissist from melting down while handling a mounting pandemic. As long as Trump’s in office they will both continue to screw this up.

The GOP could have done more to assure the pandemic response team remained in place with funding after Trump’s Senate-approved appointee John Bolton rejiggered the National Security Council in May 2018.

But no, the Republican Party is as incompetent and unequal to the job of protecting the American people as their leader in the White House.

Vote these walking disasters out of office in November; the life you save in doing so may be your own.

UPDATE-1 — 2:10 P.M. ET —

Wouldn’t you know it but as soon as I pressed Publish there was a message in my inbox that Emerald City Comic Con will be rescheduled to later this year, some time this summer.

This is the right thing to do given the number of cryptic COVID-19 cases in Seattle. It’s unfortunate the burden of this decision fell solely on the convention organizers in the absence of public guidelines about social isolation from the federal government.

167 replies
  1. Frank Probst says:

    I ended up calling my father last night to tell him that they were about to announce a positive case at Rice University (about a mile from my house) so that he could keep my mother calm if/when she hears about it. (The school’s newspaper posted it on their facebook webpage, which is how I saw it before it made the news.)

    I agree with you on the CT scans. The genetic test isn’t totally reliable, and it takes a few days to do. You can get a CT scan during an ER visit and make a presumptive diagnosis immediately. I’m worried that they’re going to need to be used to make triage decisions in the near future.

    I’m finding the federal response to the Coronavirus to be almost worthless. I don’t trust anything coming out of the CDC. (Was it a million tests in five days, or five tests in a million days?) They’re effectively muzzled so that nothing negative is said on Fox News. Local sites can be better. (Seattle & King County’s page is pretty good, although they’ve stopped providing case summaries of new cases.)

    Cruise Ship: The Sequel is going to be ugly. How can you make it worse than it was in Japan? You can put Ken Cuccinelli in charge of it. It’s going to be like watching a slow-motion train wreck that you can’t do anything to stop.

    San Francisco is going to be an interesting “natural laboratory” for Coronavirus. They’ve been VERY aggressive about getting healthy gay men to take PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) for HIV. One of the two meds in PrEP is an anti-retroviral drug that might work against Coronavirus, so it we should be able to see if we already have a drug that we can use on our high-risk populations. (It’s a long shot, but it bear watching.)

        • Rayne says:

          Oh thank goodness. That was another event I worried about but at least that one had participants pulling out — like Netflix canning its screenings — suggesting cancellation of the entire event was in the offing.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      On Science Friday, this morning Ralph Baric, a coronavirus researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 30 years, said they are currently testing in China and here, Ramdisavere (that is spelled phoentically, can’t find it when I googled it). Apparently it was created for use with SARS and SARS2.

    • P J Evans says:

      The basic raised open-hand gesture should work fine. Not everyone can do the forked-hand thing.

  2. harpie says:

    This was posted a half hour ago and linked to by Laura Rozen:
    2:56 PM · Mar 6, 2020

    To date, @UWVirology has performed approximately 400 tests for #COVIDー19. We are seeing a consistent positivity rate of 5-7% among specimens submitted to the lab. We are able to meet all current testing demands with capacity for over 1,000 tests per day.

  3. Flea, RN says:

    Rayne –

    First, I should disclose the I am a Registered Nurse, living and working in an ER near the UC Davis outbreak, with over a decade of experience. I am a lurker, and don’t comment much, so I hope I can say what I need to without offending anyone.

    I want to emphasize the following in your post: (emphasis mine) “asking for a CT scan *if you need treatment* can be a good move.”

    At this point, the treatment for COVID-19 is *entirely* supportive, i.e. oxygen and other respiratory support, fluid repletion, etc. The *vast* majority (80-90% of people based on the data I’ve seen) will not need this and can ride out their symptoms at home. I also see a lot of information on how to stay safe – what I *don’t* see is an emphasis on the fact that you are not just protecting yourself, but anyone you come in contact with who is at high-risk.

    In addition, there is little known about the incubation period, symptom onset, and when a person is contagious. Worst case (and there are multiple documented case reports validating this) is that people can test negative multiple times, and be shedding virus particles, for up to 3 weeks before testing positive – some of these *never* have symptoms.

    Among other dangers COVID-19 poses is swamping the medical system. We are already seeing multiple people a day requesting tests because “some Chinese people went through the drive through and were coughing.” – these are generally healthy people who could, based on the reports I’ve seen, ride out the illness at home. They are known in the literature as the “Worried Well.”

    It is important to remember that, especially if you are going to the ED for testing/CT, that you are going to the place where it is most likely that you will encounter a sick person, or infect someone who is much more vulnerable than you – a child, an immunocompromised or elderly person, someone with multiple chronic illnesses, or on dialysis.

    There is a matrix of possibilities here, for a healthy person without or without symptoms –

    a) they test negative, everything is good. But they have taken the risk of infecting themselves, and a negative test *doesn’t mean* that they are not contagious, or have infected the 95 year old in the lobby with a UTI.

    b) they test positive. Now what? They will be sent home to self-quarantine until somebody determines that they are not contagious. I suppose the benefit of knowing and quaranting is relative to the risk that they infected an at-risk person, and it would depend on what we call the “pre-test probability” – if they already have a fever, or a cough, they could just stay home without the cost, both to themselves and the system. But as I said above, *there is no treatment.*

    For a low-risk person, I would suggest that you get tested as an outpatient, or not at all, if you are not around vulnerable people (relatives, etc…) Stay home if you have a fever, cough, or other concerning symptoms. Treat your symptoms with antipyretics (Ibuprofen/Tylenol) and lots of fluids and rest.

    For an at-risk person, there are too many moving parts to say whether the risk of an ED visit in this climate, or a chest CT (100-150 chest x-rays) is worthwhile – you have much more experience with your life and illness than I do. If you can work through your PMD (a problem for lots of us, I know) think long and hard about your options.

    And as I always tell my patients, I’m never going to tell anybody not to come to my ED; but my obligation, and that of my colleagues is to take care of as many of the sickest people as quickly and safely as I can, so please factor that into your decision to come.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for sharing, Flea, glad you piped up. My mother is an RN as well, has worked in ER for about 20 years of her career. She always told me (cautioned? warned?) the doctor’s office and ER are where sick people were — you could catch something there, in other words. Don’t go to the ER unless you’re really badly off, absolutely unable to perform activities of daily life. ER is never a substitute for one’s personal physician, either.

      I wanted to post a What To Do If You Think You Have COVID-19 — I think the CDC has something like that — but I really don’t trust posting something which might only take people who aren’t feeling well into voicemail hell. I hope everyone reading our site checks with their local and state health departments for What To Do.

      What I would like to see is more availability of screening external to the hospital so that potentially ill don’t meet definitely ill until it’s absolutely necessary. Not certain how we’re going to ramp up to this quickly.

      In my case and that of family members with CVD and diabetes, we’re not going to the hospital until personal physician tells us by phone to do so, and/or one of us is collapsing. On arrival in my case I’ll opt for a blood test first, talk about chest imaging second. The CVD+diabetes fam will go with CT scan and blood test if the state isn’t up to speed with COVID-19 tests yet (I just read something that said MI has 300 tests — need to confirm this — but that’s diddly squat for a state with almost 10M residents.)

    • Nehoa says:

      Some doctors in China support use of CT scans based on their experience there. I think they had a good case for their position, but it is somewhat dependent on the context of their experience – screening huge numbers of people and not relying on test availability and results (btw I worked for a year recently in a hospital in Wuhan).
      As you noted, going to a place where you are likely to come into contact with sick people might not be the best move.
      I think the key thing is to have a system where a large number of people can get an initial screen quickly in a setting where the workers are properly protected and the environment can be sanitized. Then go to another level facility for those qualified by the first level screening. In S. Korea they are doing initial screens as a drive-through process. That may be the best approach in your community, but it does show some innovative thinking.

  4. BobCon says:

    I assume the White House game plan is to wrap up the CDC and any other public health institutions they can target and throw them under the bus when things get bad enough.

    Silencing them now helps limit the record so that if they lower the boom, the press naturally takes the word of the White House as the truth.

    There may well be screwups at federal health agencies, but I dread the thought of the evidence coming out in selective leaks by “unnamed administration sources” while the agencies themselves are muzzled by Pence.

  5. punaise says:

    Does anybody know if the quasi-apocalyptic 2011 Soderberg film Contagion has scientific credibility? Watched it last night – good times!

      • punaise says:

        It’s fairly entertaining and kind of rings true in today’s environment. Thanks for the link.

        I don’t think I ever saw Outbreak – good cast.

        I remember being gripped reading The Andromeda Strain – a very different scenario. Too bad the late Michael Crichton ended up being a serious global warming denier.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. But man do I remember reading The Andromeda Strain, as a kid at the time, and about shitting my pants.

        • Fran of the North says:

          At work today someone mentioned that Netflix just dropped Outbreak, looking to capitalize on current events.

          I too read Andromeda Strain in HS, but don’t remember much about it any more.

          A book I read 20 or so years ago that blew my mind was Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, which was an expose on Ebola before it was front page news. He also wrote a follow-on novel about a terrorist intentionally using an Ebola like virus, but I don’t remember the name.

        • bmaz says:

          Interesting. As I said earlier, it was quite watchable entertainment but not sure how realistic it was as to actual science and whatnot.

        • Katherine M Williams says:

          I fainted reading “The Hot Zone”, but that was just at the description of the symptoms. Ebola is not as contagious as COVID-19, nor are the symptoms as bloody in most patients. But it’s still deadly to older people and “at risk” people, I belong to both groups.

          It really looks as if all the world’s governments, with nearly 3 months warning, did not prepare in any way. Were they following the lead of the U.S.? Or have the Oligarch .1% who currently rule decided that a pandemic will “cull the 99.9% herd?” It is really baffling why, with the time to prepare, if not for the disease, then for the economic effects of the disease, virtually none the planet’s governments did anything at all.

        • cat herder says:

          You should read David Quammen, if you’d like a reality-based view on how accurate The Hot Zone is.

          -Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus (2014)

          “Karl Johnson, one of the pioneers of Ebola outbreak response, whose credentials I’ve already sketched, offered a similar but even more pointed reaction, expressed with his usual candor. We were talking — in my own office, this time — during one of his periodic trips to Montana for fly-fishing. We had become friends and he had coached me a bit, informally, on how to think about zoonotic viruses. Finally I got him to sit for an interview, and The Hot Zone inescapably came up. Waxing serious, Karl said: “Bloody tears is bullshit. Nobody has ever had bloody tears.” Furthermore, Karl noted, “People who die are not formless bags of slime.” Johnson also concurred with Pierre Rollin that the bloodiness angle has been oversold. If you want a really bloody disease, he said, look at Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. Ebola is bad and lethal, sure, but not bad and lethal precisely that way.”

    • Colleenadailylurker says:

      I work in biomedical research. I attended a seminar around the time Contagion came out. The public health and epidemiology people thought it was a really realistic movie of how a epidemic would unfold.

    • Terry Salad says:

      I knew the scientific consultant on that film (a prominent virologist at Yale at the time). He was very proud of the scientific accuracy of that film. He said it was most accurate film treatment of pandemic ever made. Another film, “Outbreak,” is terrible in comparison.

  6. bmaz says:

    Alright. Update Re: Daughter Corona since Monday. A little bit of this may be repetitive from other comments left, but here goes.

    Ms. Corona tried to get tested by the state DHS Monday, but their test kits suddenly available were reported defective. By Tuesday afternoon, local news were simply radiant that the state was now in possession of new and improved! test kits. But they could not be found anywhere. Even AZ DHS did not know how to really get a test. They took her number and said a nurse or Dr. would call her back. That never happened. When she called back on Wednesday afternoon (this is my daughter after all, she knows how to be a pain in the ass), they purported to have no record of the initial interaction. Again “we will call you back”, but never happened.

    So, on Thursday she called her health insurance carrier, one of those supposedly fantastic policies corporations have for skilled employees (she is an electrical engineer at a huge multi-national corp). They did not know where to send her, and could not guarantee they would cover a test even if she were to get one.

    She has exhibited all signs except elevated temperature. Because I already had pneumonia like crap in my lungs from before she got here, We have mostly interacted at a fair distance; the large dining room table was about the closest. Frankly, I think she is fine, and have from the start. The distressing thing is she just came from a verified hotspot, Milan. She tried her damndest to do the right thing and get tested, and could not.

    Late tomorrow night, she will board another aluminum virus incubation tube, i.e. a jet, and go back to Boston. She wanted and tried to do the right thing, and simply could not, despite her best aggressive efforts.

    And, still, South Korea is testing citizens for free at the rate of 10,000 per day. But we are the US and cannot muster that response.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Your daughter should have gotten on a cruise ship. THEN she could have gotten tested.

      • Rayne says:

        Then she would have been held on the boat offshore because Trump doesn’t want “his numbers” to go up.

        Stupid nasty narcissistic bastard. I never thought I could feel this much dislike for an elected official after Cheney.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I hadn’t seen this before my “retire or resign” post below. If you are one of those people standing next to the President, this is not going to end well for you.

        • Rayne says:

          Republicans could have done the right thing and saved our public health officials, but no. They’re going to let that dementia-addled lifelong scofflaw burn them all if they don’t run for the exit.

        • Eureka says:

          Oh, that MFer– he said the ~same thing on Hannity the other night about the first repatriated cruisers (didn’t want it to affect his stats, weighed the issue on that basis).

        • bmaz says:

          I will probably die in hell for this, but as evil as Cheney was, he was “not’ incompetent. In fact, the problem was that he and Boy Wonder Addington were extremely competent.

        • Rayne says:

          But competence can be calculated. Incompetence combined with dementia and innate mad dog meanness aren’t calculable, difficult to predict. We are completely off any map of the known world.

        • johno says:

          In spite of being a bumbling fool, Trump has almost consolidated power. If he were an evil genius we would have lost the Republic by now. So, along with a new Dem administration, there better be some new god damn rules.

        • harpie says:

          maybe we’ll be able to look forward AND back…
          maybe…something like big, structural change…
          but nah…we don’t want that.
          […not directed at Johno or bmaz…just still :-{ ]

        • cavenewt says:

          Here’s looking back, from an historian.

          It seems to me that, historically, we have swung between two extremes. When our lack of government oversight of the economy leads to the rise of extremely wealthy people who take over our political system and use it to promote their own interests, a crisis lays bare the misuse of the government for the rich. Americans then rise up and insist on an active government that protects the equality of opportunity on which our democracy depends. Three times before now, we have played out this pattern…

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        Go to a Trump press conference. When the corporate media and the .1% catch the disease, then action will be taken. I think.

    • Eureka says:


      I did spike a fever and wanted a test but knew there were no options, so just joked about flying to South Korea, renting a car, and going through the drive through (which might be less than what US insurance would charge ~lol~).

      The South Korea option was raised after my husband said I could go stay in the shed — or, better, a van down by the river.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL I’ve got an extra bunch of bleach and Lysol if you need it for your van down by the river.

          Think the kids these days are using the hashtag “VanLife” for living out of your vehicle.

        • Eureka says:

          OMG that would be some *blood of the young* (vanlife, I mean, but actually who knows what all that freaking lysol would do to a person). That’s exactly the stuff I _don’t_ have yet, and I use bleach so little that the last time I went to use any it had died and was mostly “water.”

      • bmaz says:

        Heh. Marcy has taken to calling her jmaz. She will be fine. We are basically a family of cockroaches, going to have to work pretty hard to eradicate us.

        • punaise says:

          I was trying to give it a regional twist. jmaz works well.
          You all can turn the lights out when it’s over I guess.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, she flies out about midnight on one of those aluminum airborne incubator tubes. She did everything humanly possible to get tested and was told no at every stage and stop.

          There is nothing more she could have done, everything was attempted. They can say whatever they want out of the WH and in the press. I watched it in real time, and even got involved myself at a couple of points. Nothing mattered.

    • orionATL says:

      fine reporting, bmaz.

      nothing, but nothing, takes the place of accurate individual local reporting when it comes time to gauge the usefulness of national, big picture reporting.

  7. Garbonzo Beans says:

    Follow up to my post on a prior thread. Symptoms got worse. Found out where tests were being administered and went there (ER). ER personnel were very understanding, since I’m older and have auto-immune condition. They would not administer test, said they were instructed by others that they could not test me because I had no lung congestion and no cough and had not traveled overseas. Told me they don’t think I have corona. While waiting in ER, read articles about those who are infected but show no symptoms. Also read articles about false positives on tests. Merely reading articles made me nauseous.

    Had conference call with Judge and Opposing counsel to discuss postponing trial while sitting in ER (Thanks bmaz for confirming my instincts as to what to do.) Trial postponed. Now time for fluids and sleep. Still pissed that there was no easily available (reliable) test.

    • bmaz says:

      Ooof, yeah, see my comment on this thread just a couple of minutes earlier. Even if you HAVE been in one of those countries, you pretty much cannot get tested. It is all quite mad. Very glad to hear everything went smooth with the court.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    I’ll just go ahead and repeat my advice to anyone working for a federal agency who is working on coronavirus: Retire or resign. I know that you think you’re a world expert on epidemics, and that this is what you’ve trained your entire career to do. And you’re probably right. But the last three years are littered with Trump roadkill who thought that they were a world expert on something and that they were being asked to do something they’d trained their entire career to do. This situation is NOT different from all the other ones the that country has been through. You will NOT be treated like an expert in your field. You will NOT be treated as the “adult in the room”. You are there solely because your reputation makes you ideal cannon fodder for an administration that is going to botch this no matter what you do. If you need an example, take the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier. She’s their Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. She was one of the people on stage with the President last Wednesday. Before the administration forced everyone to launder their statements through Mike Pence, she was one of the people who sounded like she was giving us an accurate portrait of what was going on and could be trusted to continued to do so. It took all of 10 days for the media to start calling bullshit on one of her most recent statements about the number of coronavirus tests that have been done:

    • Eureka says:

      Entirely serious Q, Frank (and I totally get what you’re saying): who, then, with any sense will help manage this federally? Just rely on states/locals?

    • Eureka says:

      And I’ve meant to add that this whole thing reminds me *in ways* of _And the Band Played On_, the biggest difference being that it’s the entire population at risk rather than a (then-)shunned one.

      It might more be that that book’s a generational influence, a significant work of imprinting as to what politicized science rather than public-health-oriented science looks like.

      But I fear we are partly reprising some of the themes.

      • Eureka says:

        We are all shun-worthy because sick people screw up Trump’s stats, reflect poorly on his “America”, and bring him shame. We are not patriotic-enough Americans to not get sick.

        The need for international cooperation, with US inter-agency frick-fracks interfering with clear paths to progress…

        People having problems intersecting with medical system, getting what they need — now, people just trying to get tested…

        There’s more and it could be better said when not sleep-deprived, but I can’t see Francis Collins’ name (e.g. with his blog the other day) and not think about it.

        Even with the differences, I’ll lay my bets that when this story is written, Shilts will be referenced: this is bigger than Trump and e.g. Puerto Rico writ large, but about the susceptibility of our public health (-related) agencies to politics and breakdown.

        • Eureka says:

          Whoops- re-read this and realized I left out a contrastive segue about the worldwide efforts with the Human Genome Project, where everyone was cooperating and competing to race towards success (or the idea of it) for us all (and some drug development opportunities, etc.). Without it, the Collins comment would make no sense here.

      • Eureka says:

        Speaking of dovetails, and these are uniformly horrible, Marcy retweeted a Bill Grueskin thread with a 2018 article by Laurie Garrett on CDC-head Redfield. RWNJ with a history of horrible HIV/AIDS polices, infused with his brand of religion. I had forgotten all this, more remembered the conflicts that led to his predecessor’s firing.

        So, anyway, this one could quit right fast and we all might be better off (thread has clip of Trump-Redfield today at CDC, total toady love — which, btw, is exactly why news channels should let us hear the scientists so we can know if they are “scientists”):

        “Prescient story from 2018 [links to cnn below]”

        Why Trump’s new CDC director, Robert Redfield, is an abysmal choice (opinion)

        • Eureka says:

          Oh, and I forgot to mention that he also worked for Gallo in a private lab before coming to head CDC, of all ironies.

        • orionATL says:

          thanks, eureka.

          the cnn article (and cites) was valuable. i knew redfield was tangled in with rightwing christians, but did not have these useful details.

        • bmaz says:

          It would almost be shocking if he was not, and was an actually competent science/medicine guy. Pretty sure those need not apply with the Trump Administration.

        • Eureka says:

          During one of the press conferences ~ last week, a reporter asked Pence ~about the Indianans who died due to his HIV policies. But I am not aware of any questions to Redfield of late on his history.

          The press might want to get on him a little harder — and look into his doddery side. When he was making up stories about Obama-vs-Trump era testing rules to lie for / lionize Trump*, he referred to the testing as being **for HIV** instead of COVID-19/coronavirus. I’ve seen a bunch of outlets quote that text, but so far no one point out his replacing the disease of his heyday with wtf is going on *right now.* Maybe just a slip, we all have them — but who knows. Is he checked-in and present?

          MJ this afternoon on Redfield “enabling” Trump has the full quote:

          Trump’s CDC Director Has a History of Controversial Opinions on Controlling Viruses – Mother Jones

          *CNN link lower on page; also discussed in MJ

    • orionATL says:

      frank probst –

      “retire or resign” is the dopiest, most damaging advice you could give.

      when good people leave, more termites may come in. agecies like cdc and departments like hhs almost certainly are already experiencing quality hiring difficulties. a lot of government experts don’t just do bench research. they evaluate potential contracts for quality and manage contracts that are let, in this case research contracts.

      • orionATL says:

        media coverage pictures president trump, and the rightwing political operatives who use him as cover, as “anti-science”. i think this misrepresents what these people think and how they act. they are not anti-science; they are opposed to science that follows standard scientific research and writing traditions and protocols. but, they are happy to pimp ideologically-based psuedo-science, like climate no-no-change-never and (earlier) hiv cures, at any chance they get.

  9. Molly Pitcher says:

    Yikes Frank ! I would REALLY like the adults to stick around and do all that they can. The peopel that mtter in their world know that they are not on Trumps team. And I am hoping that they get to sneak in meaningful work that saves some lives.

    After knowing of Tony Fauci from his early AIDS work and his immunology work, I cannot imagine that a dummy like Trump will dissuade him from doing the right thing.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Trump may not be able to dissuade him from doing the right thing, but he could fire him.
      On this evening’s news Trump was calling the Washington State Gov. J. Insley, a snake, a very bad man, the usual stuff. It would be interesting to know what Insley said to trump during his visit to Washington State. B.C.’s Premier has been speaking to the Washington State Gov. and all seemed well.

  10. orionATL says:

    before you decide cdc is the appropriate locus for your ire at the nation’s response to covid-19, you might want to think thru what happens when an ignorant and indifferent president gives rightwing ideologues a free rein to use the budget to rapidly destroy government systems that take years to build.

    the epidemic starts from the head. the one we are about to experience started years ago.

    sorry about the number of cites but there is an orderly history to this impending didaster that our president has suddenly become well aware in this election year.

    • Rayne says:

      Did you read all the way to the bottom of the post? Because it doesn’t look like you bothered.

      The fucking rotting fish at the top doesn’t excuse whatever happened with contaminated negative control reagents.

      • orionATL says:

        come on, rayne. knock of the mean-spirited responses.

        the problem with the test (as well as fda missteps) is important, but only a small part of the problem. it has been partially alleviated, but stopping the epidemic has not been adequately addressed yet (though jim white, citing cdc’s nancy messier, gets to the politically unpleasant heart of the matter).

        do you really understand what was certainly the buresucratic mess behind this. i don’t, and there is no evidence here that you do. but i know there is a story and i’d guess i have outlined its origins. that information is worth considering.

        • orionATL says:

          and just for the record, rayne, since you may have assumed my comment was pointed at you, this post was in my view an excellent one with a beginning that pulled me in, as i’m sure it did other readers. from there you presented useful but complex technical information in the way that no one else writing here can do.

          now on to vox crossword.

    • orionATL says:

      politics in the chaotic royal court in a time of serious crisis – “you’re fired”.

      ancient history – in 2018 trump fired the white house pandemic response team (admiral zimer).

      unlike the obama administration, “steady as she goes” are not words in this president’s lexicon, but “flounder and panic” are.

  11. e.a.f. says:

    Last evening Premier Horgan of B.C. spoke to up date us on the virus. Also included information regarding Washington State. At noon today, provincial Cabinet minister for health, Adrian Dix and Chief medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, for the province up dated us. Hospitals have conducted over 2000 virus test–free. Procedures are in place nationally and provincially–yes they rely on their Deputy Ministers and health care professionals such as the Chief Medical officers’ and their staff.

    If tests are not available in the U.S.A. we do expect Americans living close to the border will be coming to Canada. We’ve already tested visitors from Iran and China who requested it or needed it.

    Having watched trump on t.v. today, its really scary. He was at the CDC saying they had done the most testing in the world, etc. Read the letter from the California Nurse who was refused a COVID 19 test, scarier. Saw they have only tested 45 people on the cruise ship outside of San Franciso out of over 3500 people–scarier yet. Doesn’t any one get it, who is in a position of authority, there is the potential for all of those people to die? All 3500 hundred need to be tested.

    The U.S.A. is a country which sent people into space, landed on the moon, more than once, builds amazing jets and subs, but can’t get a virus test correct. What is the matter? O.K. I know, but really. Don’t know where our province got its test kits from but they work.

    Everyone please stay safe and healthy.

    • P J Evans says:

      Reading about the cruise ship and the plans to “offload” the passengers at a “non-commercial port”. I didn’t know there were any “non-commercial ports” in the US that could handle a ship that size. (Certainly there are very few in California that could handle an ocean-going ship.)

      • rip says:

        I’m sure a few of the billionaire-class US residents have ample berths for mega-yachts or 5,000 passenger ships. Not so sure they want anything to do with these infected hoi-polloi.

        I’ve noticed that Viking Cruises is advertising on NPR river-boat excursions on smaller boats. Presumably with a way to quick exit to land if someone at your table starts coughing.

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        Perhaps a (former) military port like the former Naval Base or Alameda in Oakland?

        • Bri2k says:

          This was what I thought too. “Non-commercial” sounds like gov speak for a military installation.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’d have to park it across the pier from the Hornet – which is a museum. That’s the only place available that I can see. And it’s kind of public. (They closed nearly all the naval facilities in CA, years ago.)

  12. Molly Pitcher says:

    Mick Mulvaney out as Chief of Staff, going to be envoy to Northern Ireland. Mark Meadows to replace him as CofS

        • BobCon says:

          A bit of Mick Mulvaney initials trivia:

          As a sign of his insane pettiness, when he was acting head of CFPB he ordered it to change to BCFP.

          The permanent director who followed dropped the plan because financial institutions pointed out it would cost them millions to recode all of their reporting software for a meaningless name change.

        • orionATL says:

          it’s rightwing messaging ordered up.

          mulvaney switches first word “consumer”, implying some government protection, to first word “bureau”, implying government bureacracy.

          mulvaney is a clear-eyed rightwing soldier with a sensitivity to corporate needs. he went to england recently and delivered a speech at a convention that said, believe or or not, that the u. s. desperately needed immigrants for its ecomomy. this is absolutely true. we don’t have enough young women having enough pups. this is the same reason the germans had to start encouraging turkish immigration beginning 50 years ago.

          trump’s views/prejudices about the u. s. economy are seriously damaging even to his own political interests. we can hope the doors to immigration are opened againg in 2021, but immigrants may be wary for years.

        • punaise says:

          Do formicides rest?Speaking of the small critters that inhabit that outdoor space brings to mind the famous line from the Bard:

          “To sleep, porch ants, to dream…”

  13. pdaly says:

    Rising number of COVID-19 cases among Biogen executive employees who attended a meeting in Boston Feb. 26-27, 2002 at a Marriott hotel in Boston.
    Yesterday the count was only 3. Today the reported number is 8. There were 175 attendees including people who flew in from outside MA, including Europe.

    Some of these Biogen attendees subsequently attended a health care investment conference in downtown Boston sponsored by “investment bank Cowen on Monday, March 2, just days after Biogen’s senior leadership meeting.”

    (Stat news is new to me. The website states it is part of Boston Globe Media, “It was started by John Henry, the owner of Boston Globe Media and the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. Rick Berke is executive editor.” Stat Media and the Boston Globe are separate entities but share some content.)

    • P J Evans says:

      I’m seeing reports that people at AIPAC’s wingding have tested positive for the coronavirus. That means it’s going to be loose in political circles.

        • e.a.f. says:

          OMG, that is funny. Read the twitter comments also. Most of the Republicans went? News reported Pompeo attended. omg, lets see how things progress and if testing kits suddenly become available for Republicans but not other people.

          So if a bunch of these Republicans couldn’t make it to the floor of the two houses, could the Democrats suddenly get things passed via the Senate? As I understand it there are a number of outstanding bills there. If they were all sick for a few weeks and out of commission, what could possibly go wrong? Its not like they do much right. O.K. on that happy note I’ll go to sleep, Republicans all in hospital sick for a month, works for me. Now if trump and pence could just catch it for a month or so, oh, a person can dream.

          Too bad they can’t hire back the old President if the new one gets too sick to work………

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      The contagion/infection graphs from other countries, including China, look quite a lot like the climate change graphs: with the infamous “Hockey Stick” over on the right hand side. The pandemic in the US hasn’t reached that spike, and in other countries, like Italy, they are trying to push the spike further and further down the road, just trying to SLOW the contagion. But it looks like the US isn’t even trying to slow the spread of the disease. It’s going to be very bad. I’m just staying home. I got some cash from the bank just in case, as well as stocking up on supplies.

  14. pdaly says:

    The Marriott hotel is reported in the Boston Globe article (link in the above Stat article) in the Long Wharf Marriott hotel, located near the Boston’s New England Aquarium and popular and crowded Quincy Market (in Boston) across the street.

    • pdaly says:

      My comment, edited:
      The Boston Globe names the location of the Biogen conference as the Long Wharf Marriott hotel. This Boston hotel is next to The New England Aquarium and across the street from the crowded, touristy Quincy Market.

  15. BobCon says:

    Politico’s reporting on the CDC decision to reject the WHO test has me wondering:

    Was there political interference in the decision, incompetence by political appointees, or at a minimum knowledge and sign off on the decision? One of the big reasons for the Pence lockdown on information may be to keep embarassing details about the decision out of the press.

    Politico notes that Pence’s office will not answer questions from the press or Capitol Hill on the decision making process. Under a normal president, this could well be a sign that officials are protecting career employees making justifiable decisions that turned out to be a mistake.

    But under Trump, this kind of silence often signals a much deeper problem involving political interference and incompetence. I wonder if that is the case.

      • Eureka says:

        Agree with BobCon & you as to political interference; there is a lot more going on. Re-reading about CDC’s Redfield (article linked above via EW rt), he might fall somewhere on the fellow-traveler—-useful continuum (or should that be Barr—-Whitaker continuum).

        It also still makes no sense why FDA didn’t move sooner to issue the Emergency Use Authorization so private labs to make their own tests, especially given prior general FDA interest in pursing test regulation as discussed here:

        Trump falsely claimed that Obama administration slowed down diagnostic testing, experts say

        Maybe they were held back?

        • e.a.f. says:

          Given who is the President and who are his appointees, the thought did dawn on me, they were deciding who would get the contracts for the testing kits and thus the delay.

          My expectation is that in approx. a month a lot of Americans are going to be very ill, nurses may refuse to come to work due to a lack of safety standards, hospitals will be unable to cope, and the dying will begin. Then people might want to expect a 4 month period of epidemic.

      • BobCon says:

        I’m certainly open to the possibility of other explanations. Often paranoid people do paranoid things for no good reason — that’s what makes them paranoid.

        And covering up incompetence could be the underlying issue, since we all know how bad these people are at their jobs. Redfield sounds like he could well be a hack.

        But I’m glad Politico is at least asking the questions. Right now so much of the press won’t ask questions until they already have the answers, there is video and audio evidence, and a declaration in federal court that has survived appeals all the way up to the Supreme Court.

  16. greengiant says:

    The US could have or could get COVID-19 tests from South Korea, Taiwan or elsewhere.
    Still waiting on US entrepreneurs to step up manufacturing for the supply crisis in medical supplies. Taiwan was reported to be ramping manufacture of masks and supplies as early as February 14th.

  17. omphaloscepsis says:

    Worthwhile interview with Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI).

    From the Wikipedia page on CEPI:

    “The concept for CEPI was developed at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos in response to the problems encountered in developing and distributing a vaccine for the Western African Ebola virus epidemic. Co-founder and funder, Bill Gates said: ‘The market is not going to solve this problem because epidemics do not come along very often — and when they do you are not allowed to charge some huge premium price for the tools involved’. However, CEPI was also funded and supported by the private sector with co-funder Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), explaining: ‘It is super-disruptive when the red phone rings in our vaccine division because of a health emergency. People do not realise that there’s no spare capacity in the world’s vaccine production system today’.”

    • harpie says:

      …also low on coffee…must have forgotten to close the bold after the word “failure”. uggg.

      • bmaz says:

        I “think” I fixed it per your intent. If not, let me know. And, for what worth, Cheryl is one of my favorite people in the world, she is wonderful.

        • harpie says:

          OH! Thank You, bmaz! …it reads much better now.
          I love being able to read and learn from Cheryl’s tweets. I think I first started following her because of you, so thanks for that, as well. :-)

  18. harpie says:

    I don’t know how this compares to anything else, but right now, this February 28 Tweet from Senator Brian Schatz [D-HI] has 24.1K Retweets and 30.4K Likes:
    1:46 PM · Feb 28, 2020

    Please retweet if you want to hear directly from Dr. Anthony Fauci from the NIH. He could tell us how to stay healthy, what to expect, and take questions.

  19. harpie says:

    Cheryl Rofer just retweeted this:
    7:14 AM · Mar 7, 2020

    We are entering the disruption phase of #coronavirus response plans. In the absence of presidential leadership, we will need to find other voices — mayors, doctors — who can help guide public. Trump is incapable of managing this; he will not change. We move on. @cnntonight @cnn [VIDEO]

    The pandemic paradox: its coming but it seems far away, life is normal. . . then decisions are made that impact us immediately. These disruptions have social, economic, and political consequences. We need to brace for them. We can all be heroes.

  20. orionATL says:

    harpie –

    thanks to you and bmaz. these are extremely impotant numbers. the exponentials and logatithmics are what i have been looking for but have not found so clearly laid out before. excellent, detailed work.

    • orionATL says:

      re the liz specht twitter cite above from harpie at 7:16am:

      if you read down thru specht’s very informative details, one by one, you will see the numbers 2 million and 4 million for population estimates of illness of rapidly changing illness.

      if this strikes you as very or absurdly high keep in mind that the u. s. census estimate of our population in jan. 2020 is 330,000,000 – that’s 330 million souls.

    • harpie says:

      Also in: The MEDIA and the VIRUS
      [and also via Kennedy]
      10:20 PM · Mar 6, 2020

      If your assessment is that out of incompetence and self-interest the President is putting American lives at risk, that should be the theme of your news coverage.

      If you are unable to make that assessment, that should be a focus of your efforts.

      If you are unwilling, retire. [THREAD]

      • harpie says:

        For added flavor, the next tweet in that thread:

        there’s no mention on the front page of of the fact that the president of the united states made public comments about coronavirus today that indicate he is incapable of competently addressing a public health emergency — and, worse, *unwilling* to do so. [link and screenshot]

        • BobCon says:

          Cases like this reinforce the fact that, contrary to what a lot of lazy cynics say, it’s not all about the clicks or the ratings.

          This is the kind of thing that a purely capitalist boss would be pursuing and pushing as hard as possible. But what we’re seeing is a bunch of Charles Foster Kanes rubbing their snow globes.

    • Rayne says:

      This, so much. Should also include foreign correspondents, anybody who is not a health and science reporter. Last week Richard Engel tweeted some bullshit out about COVID-19, giving me the impression he could be easily manipulated by anybody who claimed a level of medical or public health expertise. Really dangerous situation because he’s trusted on many foreign policy and national security issues. Utterly out of his depth on health-related matters.

    • BobCon says:

      The Times has finally published the article other major outlets have scooped them on:

      “Miscommunication, Confusion and Fear Mar White House Response to Coronavirus”
      “The Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus has repeatedly matched public health experts against a hesitant White House, where worry of panic dominates”

      It doesn’t go nearly as far as it could, but at least it breaks from their refusal to talk at all about Trump’s bungling and interference.

      Tellingly, the bylines don’t include the usual stenographers Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman or Michael Schmidt. The only White House reporter is Michael Shear, with bylines also by Sheri Fink, a medical and investigative reporter, and Noah Weiland, who is a “news assistant” at the times, probably a junior reporter or database position.

      Nor does it cover the media’s role in accomodating the White House, but that is bridge the NY Times will never cross.

      • orionATL says:

        i could have sworn there was an article in the nytimes several hours ago in the upper left quadrant of the paper (though not the most prominent) that covered this very topic in similar words, but used the word “panic” in the title (headline). i was o.d.’ed on this stuff and didn’t read or copy. mysteriously, that headline using “panic” has now disappeared.

        my thought at the time was that any panic by trump was for the wellbeing of his presidency, not for concern that the public would become fearful. but if it was indeed the latter, he should be made to understand by his minders that detailed, thorough, believable information from officials together with credible plans to control are the antidote to mass panic. so far, this president’s obsessively pollyanna personality on any and all matters that might reflect badly on him personally leave him emotionally unable to acknowledge bad news and risk to the nation he nominally leads.

        wapo’s phillip bumb is also sceptical of what worries our prez:
        “.. From my standpoint, I want to rely on people. I have great experts, including our vice president who is working 24 hours a day on this stuff. They would like to have the people come off,” he said, wearing a baseball cap promoting his reelection campaign. “I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision….”

        • orionATL says:

          i hotched copying the full quote from prez. here are both paragraphs. make up your own mind:

          “… ‘From my standpoint, I want to rely on people. I have great experts, including our vice president who is working 24 hours a day on this stuff. They would like to have the people come off,” he said, wearing a baseball cap promoting his reelection campaign. “I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.”

          “I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are,” Trump continued. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault. And it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasn’t their fault either and they’re mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. I’d rather have them stay on, personally.’ …”

    • Rayne says:

      Known cases versus the cryptic cases. There’s at least one person in Michigan who is being tested after having symptoms matching COVID-19 and having traveled from an affected area. There are 82 people being monitored here as well.

      Screening needs to change; with so many community acquired and cryptic cases in places like WA, CA, NY, it’s time to expand beyond just travel to affected areas. I have yet to see any formalized order from CDC and FAA to disinfect planes, trains, and terminals regularly, or any corporate-issued instructions by transportation companies to do the same — all suggesting fomite transmission between *domestic* as well as foreign travelers is ongoing.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      This statement in the NYT article is interesting:

      “Last year, the group (Project Veritas) received a $1 million contribution made through the law firm Alston & Bird…”

      That is the same firm noted below. And Barr is mentioned, as well.

      “We Now Know The Law Firm Representing The Mystery Foreign-Owned Company That Is Fighting A Grand Jury Subpoena” – Buzzfeed, 1/30/19

      “The company, represented by the law firm Alston & Bird, has received significant attention due to its reported connection to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”
      …”Boone and another Alston & Bird partner, Ted Kang, had appeared for multiple hearings opposite lawyers for Mueller’s office at federal district court. At the time, CNN reported, “It is not clear whether [the Alston & Bird lawyers] represent the company, the country’s regulators or another interested party.”
      …”the identity of Petitioner’s counsel in the Supreme Court is Brian Boone of Alston & Bird.”

      “Boone has previously represented the Republican National Committee and US Chamber of Commerce in litigation…”

      “He also represented three former attorneys general — including former attorney general Bill Barr, now President Donald Trump’s nominee to be attorney general — in a 2009 brief at the Supreme Court relating to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.”

      “That law, which relates to how and when foreign countries can be forced into proceedings in US courts, is front and center in the grand jury subpoena dispute.”

  21. punaise says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious, we’ve barely begun to see the economic impact of this, right? Int’l travel and commerce, of course, cruise ships and tourism in general, closures of schools and institutions, canceling of sporting and music events, even basic local transactions based on going out in public. We almost bailed out on a special restaurant reservation tonight but decided to tough it out, armed with Purell.

  22. pdaly says:

    The remaining Biogen employees are being tested for COVID-19.

    Both the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) emergency rooms have sent up a tent outside near the ambulance bays. It is a designated surge area where COVID-19 suspect cases can be tested.

    The hospital sent on the following announcement of reassurance.
    Guess which phrase caught me eye.

    “Please know this [tent in the ambulance bay] is part of our preparedness efforts and is not a cause for concern. To protect patient privacy–and at the request of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health–we will not disclose when we test patients and/or the results of these tests.”

    • Eureka says:

      LOL, I don’t know which one caught your eye, but a suspect-cases tent outside of our ER would be film at 11. So I vote for ” To protect patient privacy.”

      • pdaly says:

        That’s true that the tent will draw more attention. News crews were present at the BWH emergency room ambulance bay. It is smart to steer the more likely cases of COVID-19 away from the emergency room proper or else more people will have to self quarantine if cases prove positive.

        I should have been more clear what caught my attention. The phrase “–and at the request of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health–” seems unnecessary.

        If the hospitals weren’t planning to disclose test results, due to patient privacy concerns, then why even mention the ask by the MA DPH? Unless the DPH’s request did change hospital behavior?

        It comes on the heals of Trump’s public fret about allowing COVID-19 cases on the cruise ship to land on US soil, thereby marring his perfect numbers.

        • Eureka says:

          I noticed that, too, but — and being used to the language elsewhere — I attributed that to state-level/-DPH wanting to control the announcements [that’s what they are doing in my state so far, and I have no reservations about transparency in my state (at the state level, anyway, though also some counties), so that influenced my interpretation]. But you have more cases, a prominent hospital at the forefront, and a GOP gov. who might favor Trump’s numerology games, so context differs.

          Separate flows are better; I do suspect that there will be some ‘learning experiences’ with concealing tent entrances at various places — especially as more medical centers add them — and the media. Helicopters everywhere.

  23. thomasa says:

    Nail biter and a bright spot (I think): I have an appointment Monday at Puget Sound VA Medical Center for a CT scan. Looking at kidney stone not lungs.

    Got a robo call from them yesterday saying that “In an abundance of caution” everyone MUST come in the main entrance where they have testing station(s) set up. There is much overlap between the VA and UW medical center who, it seems, know what they are about.

    • P J Evans says:

      This week: bloodwork for the chemo people (routine testing), and dentist for teeth cleaning. Next week: quarterly meeting with chemo people. (They routinely check temperature, blood pressure, and weight.)

  24. Eureka says:

    Amtrak cancelled nonstop Acela service between NY and DC because of reduced demand due to coronoavirus, with further service reductions expected in the Acela corridor/Amtrak generally.

    This is “political class” big deal of sorts. Suggests that the commuters who can afford the better Acela have burrowed into telecommuting.

    • P J Evans says:

      In my workgroup, it was pretty much limited to supervisors and up. (I could get into my e-mails from home, but nothing else.)

      • Eureka says:

        Yeah, increasing options are very dependent on one’s line of work and company policies.

        ETA: lol at Frank 911p below re the cruise. May be time to redefine the saying “Burn the ships”.

  25. Frank Probst says:

    So we now have a cluster in Houston, one of whom was on the Rice University campus after becoming infected. 17 people from Rice and 11 local hospital workers have been home-quarantined in relation to the cluster. And the cluster has been traced back to…a Nile river cruise. Have to admit that I didn’t see that part coming.

    • P J Evans says:

      Egypt has a cluster because of one of those cruises. At least 33, and they’ve quarantined that one boat.

      • pdaly says:

        Wow. That illustrates well how interconnected the world is these days.

        This Vox video looks at the question. ‘Why do some of these viruses keep originating in China?’

        It comes to the conclusion it is China’s permissive wildlife farming laws and wet markets where the animals are kept/slaughtered.

        The person interviewed states that the average Chinese citizen is not eating these wildlife animals–that these wildlife markets exist to serve the demands of the rich and powerful minority who eat these animals.

  26. FLwolverine says:

    Rayne and everyone – thank you for the information and discussion. We went to attend a concert by the Yale Glee Club in Sarasota this evening, only to find out that their entire tour had been cancelled as of this morning. The Episcopal church we attend here sent out an email earlier this week: no more shaking hands during the passing of the peace, and drinking from or dipping in the common cup is not required (this last was always true, but I guess they wanted to reassure people). Interesting times.

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