Three Things: Endemic COVID-19 Edition

[NB: Note the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

By now we’ve all seen that disastrous presser with dementia-addled Trump at the Center for Disease Control yesterday, his yes men all standing around him bobbing their heads like useless bobble-head dog figurines folks used to put in their car’s rear window deck.

It was really bad when my 79-year-old mother, a retired RN, SCREAMED about that presser in her email this morning, yelling, “He has NO business spouting anything about this health situation!”

Yup. The man should leave it to the public health experts.

Mom’s not a Democrat. Neither is my dad. They will NOT be voting for Trump this November, if they manage to stay away from COVID-19 on their own.

Here are three things that I consider must-reads. We need to know more about what we’re up against.

~ 3 ~

Here’s a tweet thread which runs the numbers based on our current understanding of COVID-19.

If you don’t get through this, the kicker is that this is an engineer running the numbers. She calls herself an engineer but this is a minimization of a Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering degree from Johns Hopkins and her PhD from UCSD. This is no lightweight assessment.

The follow-on gut punch: if the states and federal government do not develop and implement a comprehensive plan to mitigate contagion, the U.S. will run out of hospital beds in early May.

That’s in a little over eight weeks.

If we don’t have adequate beds let alone mechanical ventilators and intubation equipment, the mortality rate will jump from an estimated 2-2.3% to at least 5%.

~ 2 ~

Jackasses like Rep. Matt Gaetz will make fun of the numbers, calling it overreaction. (By the way, how’s that crow tasting today, Gaetz, after one of your constituents died of COVID-19 since you made fun of it by wearing a gas mask the day before?)

But hospitals are taking COVID-19 seriously. They have also run the numbers and discussed among themselves what the increasingly endemic virus will demand of them. Here’s a summary from a presentation made in a webinar on February 26 by the American Hospital Association (AHA):

Here’s a comparison between influenza burden on hospitals versus AHA’s anticipated COVID-19 burden:

COVID-19

Influenza, 2018-2019 season

96,000,000 infections 35,500,000 infections
4,800,000 hospitalizations 490,600 hospitalizations
1,900,000 ICU admissions 49,000 ICU admissions
480,000 deaths 34,200 deaths

Flu data from CDC.

Grim — 14 times more deaths than the flu based on data currently available about COVID-19.

What the hospitals see confirms we will run out of hospital resources and more if there is no more aggressive effort made to slow contagion.

We don’t need to wait for proof. We can see it in Lombardy region of Italy as they quarantine 10-16 million people to prevent worse from happening.

~ 1 ~

We know something has been very wrong about the way in which the Trump administration responded to COVID-19, particularly its approach to testing. What’s not clear is why this was such a problem when the U.S. has responded to SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika, H5N1, so on. Clearly this administration is not up to the job; clearly Trump is an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed near crises like hurricanes, fires, and pandemic threats. We can all see something is very off each time there’s a report that a credible claim of COVID-19 infection has been denied testing — including first responders.

But something more is going on here besides a bunch of yes men propping up a malignant narcissist with dementia. Jon Stokes laid down his thoughts in a tweet thread:


Has the delay in testing been due to Trump’s dementia-addled decision making, waiting out what he believes is a different kind of influenza? Has he been told by some hostile entity, foreign or domestic to wait and let the virus burn itself out? Has one of the crypto-fascist end-times Christianists around him advocated letting God take the wheel?

Or is the failure to act a result of Trump’s manifold conflicts of interest, this time a possible investment in a drug or testing manufacturer?

Amee Vanderpool wonders if Trump or his family is poised to profiteer from COVID-19:

Axios reported this evening that Gilead Sciences shipped an antiviral drug to China — without CDC approval required by law.

Does some member of Team Trump have an interest in Gilead? Or has Gilead invested in Trump, perhaps through his campaign?

Or is this some dark means of fucking with the Census, anticipating urban centers which trend blue to suffer the worst of this pandemic, killing off people who’d rely on government funding and congressional representation in the next decade?

Is this a means to ratfuck voter turnout this fall, literally killing voters by neglect with the anticipation of depressing turnout?

Is this a shadowy method to weaken the public before Team Trump decides they aren’t going to vacate the White House should they be voted out of office? You’ll note CBP has ramped up and militarized their presence in sanctuary cities — why now?

Whatever is driving Trump and his minions to do nothing to deter contagion and help the public already suffering from COVID-19, it’s a dereliction of his duties to the nation, a rapidly growing national security threat which demands Congress’s immediate attention.

Investigate Trump right now and find out why he’s failing the country yet again.

And every member of the GOP congressional caucus owns this disaster because they’ve failed their oath of office.

~ 0 ~

A lagniappe, if not a happy bonus: watch this video interview from Channel 4-UK with Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the foundation Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Distasteful as the idea may be, a war footing may be necessary to fight this pandemic.

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222 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Your new word for the day: endemic

    Not to be confused with pandemic.

    Is the administration taking the approach that COVID-19 should be allowed to become endemic, deaths and massive hospitalizations and all?

    • Dave_MB says:

      My sister is in Seattle and the hospitals have declared CovID-19 as endemic and are no longer testing for it.

      • MeridethK says:

        SOME hospitals possibly.
        As of last night, this is NOT true for the University of Washington system.
        “Patient Screening at UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics: UW Neighborhood Clinics and its Urgent Care centers have expanded their capability for administering the test to screen for COVID-19. Patients with symptoms consistent with acute respiratory infection can now be tested at the clinics. This weekend, our Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics screened and tested approximately 25 patients”

        I’m going to have to pull a bmaz here and _suggest_ (because I’m not a mod)
        When asserting things as serious as this as facts, citations are needed. This is no place for rumor or 2nd/3rd hand info.

        So, “my sister is a nurse/works in healthcare in Seattle and her hospital has…” at the very least.

        https://huddle.uwmedicine.org/news/covid-19-update

        https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus

        (I was FunnyDiva over at FDL and I honestly can’t remember the username I’ve had here before, I comment so infrequently)

        [You were FunnyDiva when you posted here last. Feel free to revert to that if you wish. Nice to see you again! /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          Hi Funny Diva! I join Rayne, please do revert to that handle. It not only has long association and memory, you might be stunned how many remember it. And please join in discussions more often. Occasionally it is a tough crowd, but it is every bit as good as it used to be, if not better. Good to see you again.

      • Rayne says:

        Unlike MeridethK/FunnyDiva I am a moderator. For this claim you’ll need to bring a report from a respected news organization.

        I’ll believe this is the case when the Gates Foundation makes good on its funding and development of home testing. Right now the project is still in early stages.

        Gates Foundation is funding at-home coronavirus test kits in Washington state
        Rosie Perper – Business Insider – March 8, 2020
        https://www.businessinsider.com/gates-foundation-at-home-coronavirus-test-kits-seattle-washington-2020-3

        • Thomasa says:

          This morning’s (0930, 9MAR) visit to the VA Medical Center in Seattle: Screening stations set up at the main entrance (must be used) to the hospital/clinics and the adjacent mental health facility. Just questions about symptoms and recent travel, no swabs etc. All operations appear normal, though there may have been some cancellations as Radiology took me 20 min. early. Wait at pharmacy was typical. Traffic through DT Seattle was noticeably light; at 0830 it’s usually a parking lot. Staff appeared calm and collected if unusually polite.

          • FunnyDiva says:

            Screening stations at main entrance to UWMC-Montlake (Main branch near campus)…entrances to the adjacent wing of the Health Sciences Building are locked and everyone is directed through screening at the main entrance.
            Basic “any symptoms of flu or cold”, no travel question so far.
            So…yeah, I’m going with new normal. And I don’t believe that is a negative thing at all.
            Oh, and to get from the hospital wing to the rest of health sciences requires an access card. So another small level of containment.
            looks like our usual FedEx and UPS drivers have access today…

  2. P J Evans says:

    I don’t think they’ve bothered to think that far – but outside of Fauci and Messerone, they don’t understand what’s coming down that track.

    The estimates I’ve seen are 4-5% death rate for 60-69 year olds, 8-plus for people in their 70s, and 18% for people 80 and up. It’s under 1% for people under 40. That’s *before* other factors, like cardio-vascular and respiratory problems, and things like diabetes, which make it worse.

    And then there’s the WH taking out the CDC’s request that older people not fly. Who benefits from that one?
    They may not be trying to kill blue-state voters, but they sure don’t have the interests of anyone outside their little circle in their minds.

    • Eureka says:

      I’m sorry especially that people in their golden years have to worry about this. I think at times how stressed my mom would be had she lived to see this. Other risk pools and demographics, too, but lots of seniors with risk of death, sickness, and financial wipeout on their minds, even if/when this too shall pass or soften. And whatever Fox is stoking in their viewers … just heartbreaking.

    • A. Non says:

      Those other factors (cardio-vascular and respiratory problems) are highly correlated with age. So technically it’s not “before other factors” but more like “without knowledge of other factors”.

  3. Nehoa says:

    I met with several senior State government officials early last week to urge them to prepare more aggressively. In walking them through the local numbers On cases hospitalizations and deaths similarly to the method above, we got to an “oh shit” moment.

    • Rayne says:

      Good. That’s exactly the reaction they should have. Anything less will result in a horror show. Glad you pushed them, thanks.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Excellent Work!

      If the federal government is not going to take leadership, it will be up to State Governors
      and Mayors. The more local/state politicians meet with scientists, doctors, public health authorities the better. If the federal government won’t deal with this, then others will have to pick up the slack. Even police force chiefs need to be educated on this. They have to be able to keep their staff up and running and healthy. Is any one training police officers how to get through this?

  4. Young says:

    The death rate and hospitalization rate seem to be a decent bit under what was first estimated (at least in the developed nations).
    The flip side is covid19’s is obviously more contagious than originally thought, but in healthy populations it appears to be closer to a bad strain of the flu. So the numbers being thrown around like the two-ish percent mortality rate are really not representative of what we should expect.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m going to call bullshit on this right now. We’re seeing very different numbers depending on the response by governments. Singapore and Taiwan are doing everything right; Italy screwed up out of the gate.

      There’s still an increase in CFR (case fatality rate) corresponding with patients’ age and with pre-existing condition. I don’t particularly like being in the 6% CFR class myself which you seem to think is “a decent bit under” when lumped in with the rest of the data.

      As for “developed nations”: US has a ridiculously low number of hospital beds compared to South Korea or Italy. We will be up Schitt’s Creek if our experience approaches Italy’s.

    • Rugger9 says:

      We have a ship doing laps off of San Francisco (more or less) with 3500 passengers and crew, and 21 were confirmed with COVID-19. What was not observed was that only 45 had been tested, so what was ballyhooed as an infection rate of less than 1 percent is probably much worse than that.

      Apparently Individual-1 didn’t want the official infection numbers doubled and so kept the ship at sea, but apparently they want a non-commercial port (i.e. Seal Beach or Port Hueneme would do nicely) to aid in quarantines.

      Clearly, the attitude of “it doesn’t fail if you don’t test it” prevalent in the business world has infected the response here, and the news Rayne mentioned above confirms a theory I’ve pointed out for a while: Individual-1 does nothing without lining his own pockets. Vote Blue no matter who, and include the Senate too.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        KQED radio, the San Francisco NPR affiliate, just said that the limbo-ed cruise ship will unload it’s 3500 passenger/viral vectors in Oakland which is hardly a non-Commercial port. Oakland is the second largest container port on the West Coast after Long Beach.

        Nothing was said about where they are going from there. I am concerned about where they plan to hold 3500 people until they can all be tested and the impact on the number of available beds in Bay Area hospitals

        Given the quixotic nature of the testing arc, I’m not really thrilled at the prospect of these people moving thru the local community especially with the slapdash nature of how the government has handled things thus far.

        The GOP should be fighting like crazy to protect their base, the most endangered population, those 60 and over who vote for them, but are the most likely to die. This negligent response to Covid-19 is only hurting themselves

        • Raven Eye says:

          This from HHS, updated today:

          “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will work with state and local partners in California to support passengers returning to the United States on the Grand Princess cruise ship. The ship will dock temporarily in a non-passenger port in San Francisco Bay.

          “Passengers will be transferred to federal military installations for medical screening, COVID-19 testing, and a 14-day quarantine. Nearly 1,000 passengers who are California residents will complete the mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base and Miramar Naval Air Station, and residents of other states will complete the mandatory quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. Throughout the quarantine, passengers will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19.”

          I’m not sure where the term “non-commercial port” first cropped up, but typically this would be an(other) indication of insufficient coordination and collaboration occurring within whatever cobbled-up/jacked-up public information cell is operating for this crisis. (They would be using a term like “facility” or “terminal” if they had the right government agency people in the room, or at least on the phone.)

          • P J Evans says:

            “Non-passenger port” comes across to me as “currently idle container facility”. Probably the one that replaced the Oakland Army terminal.
            (This is what can happen when you decide to close down military facilities and choose them for political reasons.)

            • Raven Eye says:

              It’s difficult to just drop into a container facility, since they are often scheduled long in advance. Also, managing the discharge of 2500-3500 people in an industrial setting could be a real PITA. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went to Alameda near the USS Hornet Museum and where USNS Wm M. Callahan and USNS Gem State currently are.

              (As of a few minutes ago, Grand Princess was at 37.63517, -122.82749 on a course of 327.8 making 7.6 knots.)

                • Raven Eye says:

                  Before she took the turn to the SW, about 20 nautical miles west of Pacifica. She’s mostly been working back and forth along one of the traffic separation lanes that lead to the San Francisco Approach Buoy.

                  You can get a free account to https://www.vesselfinder.com and look her up — and see her recent AIS tracks. You’ll be able to see when she starts her run in. She was doing a lot of slow hanging around at the NE end of that lane, but is now heading SW at around 15 knots. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a change in plans/timing.

              • Rayne says:

                Although container traffic from China has dropped off considerably. I still think they’d dock at a former military site versus a commercial site because of liability.

                  • Raven Eye says:

                    It was interesting to watch a chief executive talk for the good part of an hour, have real facts and figures at his fingertips, demonstrate knowledge of the big picture, bring SMEs into the Q&A, express concerns for everyone caught up (and caught out) by this situation, etc. – and somehow not tell a series of lies, not throw out the random conspiracy theory, not contradict facts and SMEs, and not insult public leaders and officials that apparently threaten him.

                    Thanks for the link.

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  True Rayne, but the Port of Oakland is owned by the City of Oakland. The City took it away from Southern Pacific Railroad in 1893.

              • e.a.f. says:

                It would be a PITA for the passengers and crew, but why would Trump and his administration care?

                Unloading and keeping people in Armed Forces areas, may make the military nervous. The “brass” may do as instructed but the rank and file, may not. They’re the ones who would come in closer contact with ill people.

                Having people disembark in Oakland in a civilian area, who lives in the area? Is it a wealthy are with high value homes? If they’re not part of Trump’s base, he won’t care.

                There are approx. 230 Canadians on board and they’re looking to have the Canadian government fly them home as they did with those in China. Many of them are elderly with health issues. They are working with one of their M.P.s to try and facilitate their return. When Canada flew home those who were in China, the Canadian government was able to make arrangements with the Chinese government. Don’t know who they would deal with in the U.S.A? pence?

            • Rugger9 says:

              Naval Supply Center Oakland is what you’re probably referring to and I don’t think anything new was put in there but it has been 30 years since it closed, more or less. The different container ship port is still very busy. NSC-O was one of the BRAC closures done because then-SF mayor Art Agnos pissed off the DOD over homeporting the USS Missouri in SF. NAS Alameda, Mare Island, Port Chicago all were taken out. Alameda was where the carriers were, and was much easier to get out of to open sea than Everett is (where the then-Speaker of the House was from) with fewer islands to hide subs behind.

          • Katherine M Williams says:

            I figured the old Oakland Naval Supply Center… I used to work there. Big ships can dock there easily. And Lots of old warehouses (supply center) to put the passengers in.

  5. stethant says:

    That video at the end was a perfect encapsulation of my thoughts. As an Infectious Disease doctor, I’m having a hard time getting people – learned people who should know better – to understand what’s happening right now.

    Whether or not you personally may die, you are putting other Americans at grave risk by not treating this with the utmost seriousness. There is zero – zero – excess bed capacity in hospitals, let alone ICUs, to handle the surge that’s coming. The more aggressively we act now to avoid that potential outcome, the better.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      On Gizmodo/Jezebel social site a lot of commenters are boasting “I’m young and healthy so I’m traveling overseas this Spring! I paid for it and I’m going!” The stupid, along with indifference to others and pure selfishness, is just frightening.

      • Rayne says:

        17 students at Eastern Michigan University are now in quarantine because of a trip to Italy. Hope they can finish their semester online.

        • e.a.f. says:

          A number of schools, here in B.C., which had planned trips to Europe, have cancelled them. The Maritimes was to host an international women’s hockey tournament–cancelled. The Canucks hockey game went on as scheduled this weekend, but they disinfected the arena first. The international ruby fest, which is taking place at B.C. Place Stadium, this weeks went ahead, but also disinfected first. Lots of hand sani around and hope for the best.

    • Raven Eye says:

      We conducted a biological WMD tabletop exercise in the S.F. Bay Area almost 20 years ago simulating a release at a manufacturing facility that drew its workforce from the bay counties and from some communities in the Central Valley – roughly a dozen counties*. The number of hospital beds that could adequately take care of patients confirmed to be infected was shockingly small, and the capability for adequately screening and isolating the numbers of people who would likely present at EDs — symptomatic but unconfirmed or the “worried well” — was virtually non-existent.

      It was explained that hospitals — for-profit, not-for-profit, and public – allocate the resources to deal with infectious diseases or other biological agents based on the kind of patients they historically deal with or would expect to see in the future. They can’t afford to have a lot of capability just standing by, and the government(s) certainly won’t pay for warehousing a pandemic level capability.

      We ran a model for the exercise, and the results were frightening. And that was for a single point-source release — nothing remotely close to the way this virus has been spreading since the start of the year (and before).

      (I wonder how many preppers, especially the ones that are fortunate enough to have a hidey hole, are drafting up their unpaid leave requests.)

      * The housing “crisis” in the Bay Area is nothing new.

    • BobCon says:

      I think one of the challenges is that it’s not really possible at this point to drill down into how this will affect subpopulations. How does the stress on the health care system affect newborns needed extended stays in hospitals? Rural areas with limited health care options? People needing home health care visits, retirement communities, people receiving kidney dialysis?

      People in the general population tend not to think about exceptions until they find out their niece can’t have ACL surgery or their coworker starts teleworking because he has severe allergic reactions and his doctor tells him it’s too risky to count on EMTs showing up.

    • P J Evans says:

      I have a port (for chemo) that should be coming out soon, but I’m going to put it off as long as I can, to keep the load off the hospital. Even if it’s same-day surgery, that’s staff, supplies and a bed.

      • Rayne says:

        You might consider the opposite. Get it done as early as possible rather than waiting because case loads will ramp up over time.

        Feels like post-Hurricane Maria all over again. I had surgery done earlier rather than waiting because hospitals were running low on IV tubing and bags made in Puerto Rico, and I didn’t dare risk waiting until the supply chain sorted itself out.

        • Raven Eye says:

          If the situation gets anywhere close to the AHA estimates, there could be a bunch of kinks in all sorts of supply chains. I’d be skeptical of a massive melt-down, but just through (seemingly) random staffing shortages, we could see fits and starts in our normal consumables, including temporary prioritization in both manufacturing and transportation.

          • Rayne says:

            Can see it playing out with the nursing home in Kirkland WA. IIRC, only 3 employees showed up for their shifts inside 3 days. Half the staff is sick — like 70 employees.

            • Mickquinas says:

              You don’t even have to look at the supply shortage out of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, or that Washington nursing home.

              Look at the shelves of your local grocery store.

              The simplest thing to anticipate was a bump in people buying hand sanitizer. There hasn’t been a bottle on the shelf OF ANY SIZE in my local Wal-Mart for over a week. Walgreens apparently got 1 box of personal size bottles on Saturday and it was gone inside and hour. Never made it to the shelf, they just opened the box at the checkout counter.

              The market is inadequate to the needs of the moment.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’m seeing the chemo people week after next, so I was going to bring it up. But since it has to be scheduled with the hospital and the surgeon, it would be at least a couple of weeks after that. As long as it gets flushed every couple of months, we can hold off for quite a while.

          • Vicks says:

            Yikes!
            Be careful!
            I know every situation and every chemo cocktail is different but it is my understanding that they all pretty much strip you of a working immune system.
            My son had a port a few years back and while it wasn’t complicated to put it in, it was a snap to have it taken out. I would respectably suggest you put a call in, and get any questions answered today rather than waiting two weeks to ask at your next appointment.
            Squeaky wheels and all that….
            And as a small business owner, God bless Obama Care and no pre-existing conditions and FUCK CANCER!

            • P J Evans says:

              I finished chemo a year ago, and am in the long-term treatment now. (Estrogen blocker: hot flashes again!)
              I’m more worried about the people who are on chemo now, and who can’t do it at home.

            • P J Evans says:

              Appointment is Friday next week – it was scheduled in January. I can go by Wednesday this week after bloodwork (I usually stop by to say hi to them), and might be able to get hold of someone long enough to ask. Busy place.

  6. paulpfixion says:

    Thank you for sharing the video of the interview with Dr. Hatchett, Rayne. It’s interesting how his interpretation of the data is so different than Dr. Anthony Fauci’s, who states in the NEJM:

    “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza.”

    Having experienced the containment efforts in China, I find Fauci’s conclusion shocking. It is common parlance here to say “don’t listen to what is said, look at what is being done.” The CCP sacrificed *at least* a quarter of GDP to simply slow the virus. They would not do that for a disease that is “akin to… a severe seasonal influeza.”

    The other point that really resonated from Dr. Hatchett was his point about children who rely on schools for their meals each day. Shutting down schools and cutting off free breakfasts and lunches would severely affect a large number of children in the US.

    • Rayne says:

      Spot on. If this was like seasonal influenza, they would have simply absorbed it like a bad season — thinking back to the H5N1 season in particular.

      But COVID-19 is nothing like flu. Last season was rated severe, resulting in 810,000 hospitalizations — that’s 1.8% of all cases. COVID-19 in China ran closer to 13-20% severe to critical cases, requiring hospitalization and therapy ranging from oxygen to intubation, and for weeks at a time.

      • paulpfixion says:

        Exactly. What many Americans are missing is the stress to the medical infrastructure and human resources. A friend of a friend works in my province’s center for disease control and prevention. Several weeks ago as this was just starting she told us that during SARS everyone worked 7 days a week for 6 months straight, no rest days. She was resigned to this. The reason the Gov built the two emergency hospitals was because A. propaganda (look at how hard we are trying) B. a desperate need for hospital beds. They don’t have enough hazmat suits (or whatever the plastic suits they wear are called) so they can’t take them off even to drink water–they would have to throw them out–great idea for someone working a 16 hour shift.

        It’s not the mortality rate in isolation. It’s mortality rate + contagiousness + rate of hospitalization + length of hospitalization. This is way different than H5N1 or the standard flu.

        • Mickquinas says:

          The suits are PPE = Personal Protective Equipment, I think.

          And yeah, they’re not reusable.

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        Yes, people are saying “only 2% may die, and they’re all old people anyway…” but a huge number of not-old-people will need expert medical care, and won’t get it. The corporate media and their .1% oligarch owners made a big mistake putting and keeping a genuinely insane man in charge of the USA. Their trillions in tax cuts and other obscene wealth grabs will evaporate like snowballs in hell when the economy *really* crashes this time. And who will be there to fix it?

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      I watched that interview last night. It was really good, tho the interviewer was rather snide and prone to pooh-phooing some of the doctor’s statements. “Some of we English could be affronted at your comparing the coronavirus to WWII!” she said (or something like that). And the doctor replied “This IS war.” He said it several times. I wonder if enough viewers understood it?

      • Bellringer says:

        I think you have misunderstood Kathy Newman’s comment. Channel 4 news is an excellent channel and she is a serious journalist highly regarded here in the UK. This is her way of allowing the interviewee to expand their theme. Do note how Dr. Hatchett was given the time to answer questions which were actually more like prompts for him to explain his views. As a retired doctor (microbiologist) this was the most sober, cogent, and persuasive exploration of Covid-19 that I have heard

        • errant aesthete says:

          I agree with Dr. Bellringer’s assessment (above). It is obvious that Dr. Hatchett is what every organization needs in a spokesperson: highly intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable, socially responsible, impartial, and balanced. A rare and exceedingly gifted communicator who appears to love what he does and gives it the respect and gravitas it commands.

          What added to this master-class interview was not only the substance and depth of the questions posed but the interviewer’s ability and judgment to stay out of the subject’s way. She was careful and considerate to use techniques that a seasoned questioner understands: little to no interruption and the power of pause (silence). She also kept her queries short and concise using them as “prompts” as Dr. Bellringer noted, to permit Hatchett time to better illustrate and fully expand on a complicated topic. He was the luminary. She, the assist, to keep him on point and in focus. They both did their parts. 

          Considering what the citizenry in this country is currently witnessing as an attempt from their government to offer anything in the way of adequate and reasoned information, I feel the need to repeat what Dr. Bellringer, a retired microbiologist, noted in his comment on this interview as being “the most sober, cogent, and persuasive exploration of Covid-19 that I have heard.” 

          Let others know about it.
            

        • Katherine M Williams says:

          She was very good, and it surprised me that the BBC allowed the interview. Like here in the US, in the UK a lot of information about COVID-19 is being repressed.
          But saying the Brits would be offended by comparing a terrible pandemic to WWII? What kind of ditzy remark was that? Oh well, he handled it well. Maybe it was scripted, with the lady giving him a lead-in, to emphasizing the “war” meme.

          • Bellringer says:

            Just to let you know, Channel 4 is an independent television station. Unfortunately too much emphasis is being placed on reporting only cumulative data. I think that the public dissemination of “daily incidence rates” of newly proven and suspected cases would be vastly more informative (and is certainly what government agencies are collating). This analysis produces what is commonly viewed as the “epidemic curve”. This curve shows when new cases peak and when they begin to decline. In due course weekly or monthly incidence rates would be appropriate. These data could of course be national and regional. National incidence rate data are being published by Public Health England for proven cases in the UK. However, these are not being publicised in the media where the “total number to date” dominates, providing as it were only half the story. For a relatively short illness such as Covid-19 the disease burden and risk of transmission at any one time is not provided by cumulative data since many will have recovered (and some will have died). In the absence of actual prevalence data of active infection, the incidence rate more closely approximates the number of active cases, particularly as the duration of the epidemic lengthens.

  7. Steve McCarty says:

    The reality is that the virus will probably become endemic globally and will have to be normalized for societies to function. But as the excellent interview video above makes clear, utmost efforts to mitigate the harm are needed. Some technocratic governments like Singapore and South Korea have done what is needed, while the U.S. has seemed to hold back testing in order to minimize the reported cases. The main point is that, since the U.S. responded well to the previous viral threats, why have they bungled this one? It looks like the experts have been sidelined and every important decision is funneled through the White House and one man’s self-interest. It is strange even to ask about the administration’s approach when their role should be just to authorize and empower a whole-team response led by the relevant experts.

    • A. Non says:

      Trump didn’t design the defective testing kits that the CDC shipped out or lay down the rules on who can’t be tested. The experts are the ones that bungled this.

      • paulpfixion says:

        It’s a troll!

        The operative phrase in Steve McCarty’s comment is “one man’s self-interest.”

        It’s clear that Trump wants this problem to go away, or get to the end-game of “it was just a bad flu.” After all he has a lot at stake–golf courses, hotels, and casinos–all, one might suspect, would underperform in a quarantine. Not to mention the upcoming election, for which his central messaging has been “I’m the economy.” A rational business person might consult the experts and then attempt to minimize long term losses at the expense of short term pain (provided they could continue debt service long enough to survive). An irrational actor, however, who believes their gut to be smarter than any scientist, or someone leading an operation based on a confidence game, might view their self-interest differently. There, appearance of strength is more important than anything else.

        Trump has muzzled anyone with any actual expertise in epidemiology, put a science denying patsy, Pence, in charge of messaging, and stated that American citizens should not be allowed to disembark an American owned vessel because he doesn’t want the numbers to double. The experts at the CDC wanted to recommend that the “elderly and physically fragile” not travel–the administration shot that down.

        Even weirder–as the actual post that this comment thread descends from quotes–Amee Vanderpool reports that there is evidence that Trump owns stock in the companies that have been awarded the coronavirus test. She states “Both Fortune Magazine and The New York Post confirmed in May of 2016 that Trump listed investments in V.F. Corp. and Thermo Fisher Scientific.” While clearly profiteering the presidency, is this some kind of twisted hedge in case things go south with the golf course and hotel thing? Or does he really believe this is no big deal, America’s #1, those other shithole countries got sick cause they’re losers?

        Regardless, if the already developed and working WHO test was foregone in favor of the Trump, Inc. test, Trump holds sole responsibility. If the experts are modulating their behavior and their policy suggestions are being ignored, Trump holds sole responsibility.

      • Rayne says:

        Trump is where the buck stops, having appointed the guy at the top of the CDC. If Trump and his yes man helming CDC don’t take this seriously enough, who in the food chain will?

  8. Katherine M Williams says:

    “Has he been told by some hostile entity, foreign or domestic to wait and let the virus burn itself out? ”

    Possibly Foxnews’ R Murdoch, friend of Putin, have fed TrumpsterFirestorm this line/lie? Though I gather Russia has some serious problems with COVID-19 themselves; perhaps they were just determined to drag down the USA with them. Sort of thing they would do. Not just the USA but all Europe and UK are floundering, despite 8-10 weeks warning. In the end probably China, or maybe South Korea, will be the world’s Big Man running things.

  9. Berenice says:

    Or…the Administration simply isn’t willing to acknowledge that anything is happening. If nothing is happening, then there’s nothing much to do except to make some kind of effort to placate the Lamestream Media. Oh, and develop a new grievance of course, because this pandemic–even though it doesn’t exist–is somehow pandemic-ing *at* Trump: who knew that disease was part of the diabolical plot to take him down???

    But seriously, I don’t think Trump believes that COVID-19 is a real issue, and there is not a single person in either the Administration or the GOP willing to say otherwise, so…it’s not a real issue. If the numbers of the infected and dead go up, they’ll be dismissed as Fake News. It’s just Trump doing what he’s always done, which is impose his own reality.

    God, we are so screwed…

        • e.a.f. says:

          From what I’ve seen from Trump over the decades, Berenice has something there.

          The only thing which may convince some people this is real, is when their friends and family start dying. It reminds me of some of the news segments I’ve seen regarding the opioid crisis in some small towns. Every one knows some one or of some one who is has died. Once everyone has friend of a friend who has died, things will get “interesting”.

          Given the delusional comments Trump has made to date, regarding the virus, he isn’t going to get it even if they drop a few thousand bodies off at the White House. It will be “interesting” to see what the Republicans do once the U.S.A. has 10 thousand dead. The Guardian informed that in 2017, 39,773 people in the U.S.A. died due to gun shots. Not much has changed. I hold little hope out that something will be done about the virus by the Trump administration. Now it could be others decide to remove him to save their own hides, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      All his life, snake-oil salesman Trump has convinced people to “ignore the man behind the curtain”. Fairly easily it seems, because apparently most people don’t want to see the man behind the curtain, anyway. I guess special effects are more thrilling than the nerdy programmers who create them. (Not to me, I like to see what’s happening backstage).

      And for some reason he’s always had the admiration and support of the media. That, I never understood at all. It made sense once he was president, I suppose, since the corporations that own the media benefit financially from the GOP economic policy.

      But back in the 1980s & 90s? Why did they love that creepy, failed-con-man so much? I would really like to understand it.

      • e.a.f. says:

        I don’t know how old you are, but I’m old and was an adult through. Greed was good, money was the god. Excess was viewed a godliness. If you were poor it was your own fault,

        From 1981 to 1989, there was the original Dynasty t.v. series. It was were people’s heads were at. conspicuous consumption was the word of the day. Trump as the best e.g. of it. People loved it. He was rich, went through women like …..whatever, had hotels, jets, or so he said and people loved it. They may not have had anything but they lived vicariously through him and these shows. We lived like there was no tomorrow. Then many of us woke up.

      • Surfer2099 says:

        The merger seems to be very recent. March 3rd. I haven’t found any connections yet to Trump administration, but it does seem very timely.

        • Rayne says:

          What a coincidence.

          Almost as coincidental as Trump meeting with airline CEOs four days ago and countermanding CDC’s advisory yesterday warning elderly passengers not to fly.

    • Eureka says:

      [Should warn that I have found him at times disagreeable or irksome; still worthy info on some points.]

      ETA: separate topic: if Trump & co. have/had financial interests in whatever CDC/contractors are/were doing, that might also explain the apparent delay with FDA’s EUA for private labs to make their own tests (and spoil Trump et al.’s market). Though that delay, too, could have just been because of Trump’s stat-phobia.

  10. Rapier says:

    I had a blood sample taken today for my upcoming regular checkup at the local health care conglomerate in a shiny newer building of course, not so far from Grand Rapids. I mentioned to the younger women taking it about the virus. Unbelievably she said something to the effect it isn’t a big deal, like flu.

    With no apparent understanding of how the system will probably be swamped. I mean it seems this octopus company has not educated it’s employees about this numbers game where hundreds of ‘flu’ victims will probably overwhelm the shiny new hospital 500 yards from where we were. Either that or she has succumbed to the conservative hive mind and discounted any concern the non profit ‘system’ has given.

    This hive mind phenomena is quite a thing to behold.

    • Rayne says:

      You were in Dominionist land where media consumption is far more narrow. I won’t ask if you were at a Spectrum facility.

      • Rapier says:

        Next door. Often right next door as one builds shiny new buildings next to the others shiny new building.

  11. drouse says:

    One of the things I hate the most about this administration is the feeling that there is practically nothing that they would consider beyond the pale. I seriously would not be surprised that some soulless ghoul, of which they have in plenty, looked at the data and thought this would be a good way to cut Social Security spending.

    • Rayne says:

      Ugh. That didn’t cross my mind. Can only hope the GOP senate has a come-to-Jesus moment when they realize their voting base is most at risk. Without the olds there will be a wholesale sea change in Congressional demographics and it may happen as soon as this November.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Please, not a come-to-Jesus moment; don’t encourage more dominionism . How about a come-to-the-one-great-vehicle Buddhism moment? At least that way they might actually care about someone or some thing other than themselves.

        • Rayne says:

          When in Rome. If the GOP senators only grok Christianist speak, then speak in Christianist.

          Which we all know is not the same as being follower of Christ and adhering to his Beatitudes.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            But Rayne, perhaps take some comfort, or hope, from the “Woes” in Luke, they seem written for the upper reaches of the GOP:

            The four woes that follow in Luke 6:24–26[15][7]

            ²⁴”But woe to you who are rich,
            for you have already received your comfort.
            ²⁵Woe to you who are well fed now,
            for you will go hungry.
            Woe to you who laugh now,
            for you will mourn and weep.
            ²⁶Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
            for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

          • OldTulsaDude says:

            I hate to disagree with someone I so admire, but I think the only thing they grok is power, and they use faux Christianity as their tool. Their authority (God) outranks any other authority, especially science or reason.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect this administration is motivated by a host of conflicting purposes, none of which has much to do with enhancing public health. It makes me think the short answer to Rayne’s questions is, Yes.

      One way Trump might repurpose his inevitably botched response to this epidemic is to disrupt the fall election. The possibilities are many. He could attempt to delay it, call it off, explain away a mysterious win for Trump or a landslide for the Dems. Trump may not think or plan ahead. But he is ruthless in projecting blame and his faults onto others, and in opportunistically misusing the factoid of the moment.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      It is already being blamed on illegal immigrants, on the internet and I suppose in RW circles. Or Rather: they are being accused of spreading the disease.

  12. rosalind says:

    David Waldman (KagroX) just tweeted, noting the Kirkland WA care center rec’d just 45 test kits: “45 is how many test kits they sent to the cruise ship with over 3,500 passengers aboard, too. Please tell me this asshole 45th president isn’t insisting on dispatching these things 45 at a time.”

  13. pdaly says:

    Great links, Rayne.
    The inaction by the Trump administration is unforgivable. If the answers to questions you ask show that Trump is making decisions based on a personal profit motive then I hope he sees jail time.

    John Hopkins panel briefed Capitol Hill March 6, 2020.
    Updates to mode of spread: both by droplet but in some cases also airborne.
    This “airborne” designation means symptomatic inpatients ideally should be in negative pressure rooms which prevent the floating virus particles from escaping the room when the door opens. Negative pressure rooms are used for patients with active tuberculosis infections and the rooms are a limited resource in hospitals.

    The broadcast is 1.5 hours and each of the panelists is well-spoken and informative.

    • Rayne says:

      “Airborne designation” instead of “airborne droplet” has crossed my mind repeatedly when I’ve read about cases where health care workers were infected in spite of wearing aggressive PPE.

      Which means the R0 isn’t 2-2.5 but much higher and partially driven by ambient conditions. Might be 2-2.5 when outdoors, but far worse indoors.

      Also explains why some community acquired infections are so difficult to trace though this doesn’t appear to be as bad as measles. Measles could infect an entire plane because of the closed cabin.

      Members of Congress should be running around with their hair on fire about this. << Attn. Jim White — got any wattage to write about trasmission?

      • Jim White says:

        Sorry. I’ve been away from my computer almost all day. I have a brief window right now but will head out again in a bit.

        I hope to do some info gathering late tonight and put something up mid to late morning tomorrow.

        • Rayne says:

          Gotta’ tell you I’m terrified after this clip. Gottlieb is doing yeoman’s work providing the information to the public which should be coming from the the jackass VP and CDC director but this is just plain too optimistic when some states have yet to report a positive case. The explosion will be months’ long and dependent on each state’s response. Look forward to seeing whatever you can pull together.


          My god, he didn’t even mention New York yet it’s beginning to blow up in Westchester.

        • Jim White says:

          Okay, here’s what I found quickly on transmission and the airborne question.

          Current CDC guidelines (note: although the head of CDC is a Trump toadie, the bulk of the real scientists there continue doing good work and making it available to those who know where to look) already call for COVID-19 positive patients to be cared for under airborne-control conditions. This link (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-hospitalized-patients.html) providing guidance to health care professionals making the decision on when to release a patient from isolation once they have recovered and test negative twice in row reviews isolation while they are positive, and this is the first bullet point:

          Currently, hospitalized patients with COVID-19 should be cared for in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR) using Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions with eye protection.

          Also, the CDC page on transmission (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html) has this:

          The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

          Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
          Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

          Looking further and more generally, here (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31135389) is a review article discussing the ongoing controversy over airborne vs droplet transmission for respiratory viruses in general. Here are the findings of the review article:

          Viral nucleic acids, and in some instances viable viruses, have been detected in aerosols in the air in healthcare settings for some respiratory viruses such as seasonal and avian influenza viruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus. However, current evidences are yet to demonstrate that these viruses can effectively spread via airborne route between individuals, or whether preventive measures in airborne precautions would be effective.

          So the bottom line, as the paper concludes, is that more research is needed on this question. Note, though, the finding of airborne particles of MERS, another coronavirus.

          Rayne: The R0 is calculated from epidemiological data, and yes, for airborne viruses that stay airborne a long time (measles as the classic example), that raises the R0 substantially. R0 is somewhat fluid as social behavior changes sometimes help to reduce spread. But I get the feeling that we are nearing a real measurement of 2 for R0 here, with the caveat that more widespread testing will help sort this out, but measurements in several countries now seem to be nearing agreement. However, the suggestion of at least some airborne transmission, especially in my thinking if it’s a bit less long-lasting in the air than measles, helps explain the relatively efficient transmission within homes among family members compared to transmission when infectious people pass through public spaces (or CPAC conferences).

          • Rayne says:

            Thanks for that, Jim. Another major problem with the lack of a coordinated federal response is that the US won’t contribute as much meaningful data as early as possible about COVID-19. We should already have had a mandatory hospital protocol since mid-January requiring AIIR for dealing with all ILI (influenza-like illness) on arrival at hospital.

            The CDC’s original page dd. 11-FEB-2020 for disposition ONLY refers to disposition of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 — and yet we all know there have not been tests when doctors request them let alone if patients meet the CDC’s criteria. How many health care workers may have been exposed when likely COVID-19 patients arrived, not just because HCW were treating the patients as usual ILI cases but because there was no protocol in place to put them in AIIR until they were fully screened?

            *head desk*

            All of which explains in part why R0 varies so widely, based on health care system response as well as social behavior between infected and family/community.

            Thanks again, Jim.

  14. pdaly says:

    Yes. See Dr. Margarakis @ 35:40 when she starts talking about airborne transmission.
    She goes on to say that they are investigating ways to convert whole wings of a hospital into a respiratory isolation unit.

    CDC is now recommending to use “airborne precautions” for the COVID-19 virus.

    • Tomasa says:

      I was once business manager for an industrial hygiene consulting firm. Among other things we designed and supervised asbestos abatement projects for entire office buildings that required negative-pressure containment. The exhaust from the blowers went into HEPA filters. A wing of a hospital could be so contained in a few days by an experienced abatement contractor. I hope there is lots of 6 mil plastic sheeting and enough tape to do many hospitals. looks like we’ll need it.

  15. viget says:

    Thanks for a very informative, if unfortunately sobering post, Rayne. I’m glad you’re helping to sound the alarm.

    Also, while maybe “good” is not the right word to use here, I have some affirming feeling that I’m not crazy to have thoughts like yours as well, when everyone else around me seems to be nonplussed about this situation.

    And my colleagues are medical scientists too, btw, MD/PhDs.

  16. CapeCodFisher says:

    I sent the graphic of the predicted deaths to a couple friends and told them that it was a prediction. As it’s a prediction, I don’t know if it’s actually going to be accurate or not. I’m wondering if these numbers are a worst case scenario, best case, or an average? Does anybody know if they even have worst case and best case numbers? If so, could you tell us what they are?

    • Rayne says:

      I’d have used the word “forecast” rather than prediction, in case any of your friends forward it on to more conservative friends and family. The word has been used so much with weather that it give a better impression of the possibility the outcomes may change *if* government and public respond appropriately. Note the slide said, “Best Guess Epidemiology,” as well as the source article’s qualification,

      The presentation, titled “What healthcare leaders need to know: Preparing for the COVID-19” happened February 26, with representatives from the National Ebola Training and Education Center.

      As part of the presentation to hospitals, Dr. James Lawler, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center gave his “best guess” estimates of how much the virus might spread in the US.

      The Ebola Training and Education Center is a team of folks from Emory University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine and the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation, Bellevue Hospital Center. While Dr. Lawler’s online bio doesn’t explicitly call out a relationship with the ETEC, he must have one given his background and role at U-Nebraska.

      Note Dr. Lawler’s bio:

      Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
      Director, International Programs and Innovation,
      Global Center for Health Security
      Director, Clinical and Biodefense Research,
      National Strategic Research Institute

      This isn’t a person who is swagging numbers and throwing up half-assed dart throws. I’m extremely worried upon reading his “best guess” because he looks at COVID-19 from a biodefense perspective.

      I don’t think there’s a best/worst case scenario because there’s been virtually no coordinated response by the federal government to this pandemic. This is a moving target; should the states clue in that they need to abandon what Trump and his CDC director say, the numbers may vary by state, resources, and by the health care corporations serving those states. Look at CA’s Gov. Gavin Newsome ordering the waiving of co-pays related to COVID-19; people are more likely to get help early rather than later because of this decision. No other state has taken this same action to date, not even WA in which the virus may become endemic within two months.

      • CapeCodFisher says:

        Thanks for your reply. My guess of the guesstimate is that they are using worst case numbers, because obviously a shortage of hospital capacity would be disastrous. Although their “worst case” could actually be an average between worst and best, trying to get as accurate as they can as opposed to overcompensating for the worst. Not entirely sure. Bill Gates, the one man walking CDC, says prepare for the worst. Too bad Trump had to dismantle Obamas world class legendary national bio defense team. Wonder why we don’t hear more about that?

      • Punctuated Equilibrium says:

        Washington’s Insurance Commissioner issued an emergency order re: copays and deductibles directing carriers with state-regulated plans, to provide provider visits and testing w/o that financial stress. Meeting CDC criteria of course. I had no China connection and our rural hospital couldn’t, so two weeks home alone!
        I’m addition, Gov “Snake” Inslee said the State would help those without insurance. (https://www.insurance.wa.gov/news/kreidler-orders-washington-health-insurers-waive-deductibles-and-copays-coronavirus-testing)

  17. rosalind says:

    fm Seattle Times: “Testing for the novel coronavirus in the Seattle area will get a huge boost in the coming weeks as a project funded by Bill Gates and his foundation begins offering home-testing kits that will allow people who fear they may be infected to swab their noses and send the samples back for analysis.”

    No where in article does it state the testing is free (unless I missed it). Says Gates Foundation is funding the project, but wish article was more specific.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/gates-funded-program-will-soon-offer-home-testing-kits-for-new-coronavirus

    • Eureka says:

      If Bill Gates is listening, maybe he can make a finger-prick at-home antibody test, too, for those who think they’ve had it. (There is a finger-prick test like that for HIV, not sure of the reliability — things like that are supposed to be followed up by more typical tests, but when are those coming ‘to a lab near you’…?)

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I was extremely ill in late Dec/early Jan. I ended up in urgent care on a weekend and they sent me to the emergency room. I can vouch for what a ‘nose swab’ is, and I don’t think it is something that could be done at home. They used an 8″ swab and wiped the deepest recesses of my sinuses, from both nostrils.

      I too am looking for how soon I can take an antibody test.

  18. Pajaro says:

    War = all hands on deck. Call back the US military units propping up despots and extending empire along with their medical units. Position service medical units, hospital ships, etc. in or near large population centers to help with triage and treatment. If national guard has medical staff deploy those to rural areas (if those not otherwise attached to hospital at home).

    Indian Health Service, send teams to rural locations to help Native Americans, perhaps using closed schools as base. Aid in testing, triage. Allow non-Native locals to get help from IHS.

    Medical students: form a corps for testing and triage and deploy to cover areas that may be poor in medical services. I image, that with some thinking, more can be done and soon.

    All this assumes the administration actually wants to do something helpful for all the people of the U.S., a questionable assumption at best.

    • e.a.f. says:

      all good ideas, but it is doubtful the federal government will take leadership on any of this. It will be up to individuals, state Governors, Mayors, community leaders to get this sort of thing going.

  19. Central Texas says:

    The administration strategy with respect to COVID-19 is of a piece with the right’s strategy for any science-based or fact-based inconvenience. If the problem is illustrated by reference to hard data, then attack (by defunding, firing, reassigning, or classifying) the producers of inconvenient data (climate, global warming, economic modeling, tax policy) such that there is no longer a point of reference. If we can avoid ever testing, no one can say that there is a problem and FOXes collection of imbiciles will back it up 100%.

    Being in one of those higher risk demographics, (70+) I’m not thrilled to have my health in the hands of ignorant, groveling, lickspittles and their messiah. I suppose you could regard it as a way to cull the major part of the FOX/MAGA nation viewers and voters and thus a longer term good for the country.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      Wall Street knows the facts. That is why they are crashing, slowly at the moment while we’re still in the “cluster” phase. When the “explosion” phase of the epidemic happens, I don’t think the Dow or S&P will be doing well. And how much lower can interest rates go?

      • Vicks says:

        Wall Street DOESN’T know the facts, when this started, people were selling stocks it because they were uncertain, now they are doing so out of fear.
        Without testing, people have no way to know if the cost of self quarantine is justified or if they are unfairly being penalized for the incompetence of our leaders.
        Without testing businesses are faced with making the only responsible choices available like cancelling travel and trade shows and other major economy killers.
        If things take a dark turn, history books will spend an entire chapter explaining how governments like China, the US, and Russia bullshitting the public was responsible

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Or, maybe it’s too early in the disease progression cycle for the Russian statistics to be meaningful.

      But, I agree that neither Russia nor China have a reputation for disclosing accurate statistics either would consider inconvenient. The same is true for the United States under Trump.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the link. You know those numbers are pure BS because Russia closed the border with Iran this week.

      15 acknowledged deaths also means 600 cases in varying levels of illness, at a minimum, if the 80-17.5-2.5 ratio seen in China is extrapolated (80 asymptomatic to mildly ill, 17.5 severe to critical, 2.5 critical resulting in deaths). Would like to know where their clusters are located — Moscow, likely, but where else?

      • Katherine M Williams says:

        I’ve read that possibly infected people were being forced into hospitals, where the conditions were so dirty, the food so rotten, the patients escaped, fled.

        It’s possible that, like in the US and Europe, a lot of what hospitals thought were flu cases were actually COVID-19, and the disease is endemic pretty much everywhere. Wait and see.

        • Rayne says:

          Could you please identify the country to which you’re referring? I’m doubtful it’s China.

          Also think WHO’s monitoring closely enough to see unusual spikes in ‘influenza-like illness’ to notice a possible uptick of COVID-19 if mixed in with flu.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I’ve been wondering about Russia, too.
      The JHU map shows cases northeast of Novosibirsk (northwest of Mongolia.)

      OT, but relative to the discussion about faux Christians upstream, it’s notable that the word “God” was added among Putin’s recent changes to their constitution.

      I can’t help but wonder if this is also somehow connected to the Project Rasputin that ew mentioned awhile back (2/4/20 – “Project Rasputin: the Michael Caputo interview”.) And when I think about that, Sergei Millian and Mikhail Morgulis (Florida resident) also come to mind for me (even though it is just a guess on my part.)

      Here’s the article I read:

      “What’s so scary about the inclusion of ‘God’ in the Russian constitution?” – Raw Story, 3/6/20

      “If Russia ceases to be simply an authoritarian state and becomes increasingly theocratic in its authoritarianism there could be greater trouble ahead for us all.”

      https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/whats-so-scary-about-the-inclusion-of-god-in-the-russian-constitution/

  20. BobCon says:

    A lot of this comes down to the GOP’s longstanding war on technical expertise and domestic and international institutions.

    It’s not a coincidence that Robert Redfield, head of the CDC has a longtime association with evangelical anti-gay forces, or Steve Hahn, head of the FDA has been cited for numerous failings by regulators, or that both have minimal experience in running public health agencies.

    Nor is it a coincidence that the White House dismantled the pandemic planning office in the NSC as urged by John Bolton, Trump has pushed to cut WHO funding in half, and a whole raft of domestic and international helth programs have been under attack by Trump and the congressional GOP.

    The GOP wants extremely weak institutions that can be strong armed by industry, just like the FCC is essentially run by Verizon and ATT. They fear international cooperation and negotiation, just as they loathe the UN. And they fear a world where experts are respected, because that threatens to cut through the fog they create on issues like climate change and water pollution.

    Ornstein and Mann are right — our institutions are still not accepting that the GOP is out to destroy them, and us.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Will the MSM report that Trump’s “never-ending cascade” of lies is not limited to the coronavirus?

    • BobCon says:

      Just a month or so ago NPR was running stories such as “Angry Chinese Ask Why Their Government Waited So Long To Act On Coronavirus” and “China’s Leadership Faces Growing Political Crisis Over Its Handling of Coronavirus.”

      Since NPR is walking on eggshells now with stories like “Trump Visits CDC After Coronavirus Fears Throw Schedule Into Chaos” I think it is fair to say they will be just as timid on everything else connected to Trump. They are welded tight to their paradigm, and not even the onrushing hurricane can break them loose.

  22. gmoke says:

    Pulled my English translation and French original of Albert Camus’ The Plague out of my book closet today. Time to reread.

  23. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you for continuing to post on the topic and present factual information and advise.

    No wonder our Chief Medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry had tears running down her face when she announced at the daily news conference, 3 more virus cases at one seniors residence. The B.C. Health Minister, Adrian Dix and Chief Medical Office, Dr. Bonnie Henry hold briefings each day, advising how many cases, where they are, dead, what actions they continue to take, latest information available on the disease, warn people not to believe all that is out there on the web and remind us all to wash our hands.

    Stephen Corbett is doing more to remind people to keep their hands clean than the Trump administration. It may not be much, but it reminds each of us to use hand sanitizer.

    Watched Trump call Gov. Inslee, State of Washington, a snake and a very bad man, etc. . How disrespectful. Turns out Inslee’s “crime” is criticising the federal response, when he met with Pence.

    It makes me wonder what will Trump and the Republicans do when the real dying starts? They can’t hide the fact people will die. Even if they could control the media, word of mouth and computers will get the information out within hours. Community groups will report out. This isn’t going away.

    Italy is now closing off an area with approx. 11 Million people to try to contain the spread. It may come down to, if the U.S.A. doesn’t do something quickly, they may be one of those countries which makes it onto a list of people not accepted into other countries–doubtful, but it could happen.

    if people eventually can’t work, too many ill, no one is going to care about the stock market. if people can’t work, they won’t even have money for the basics. how will the government manage that? In Canada we know a majority of Canadians can only last 4 weeks with out their pay cheques and we have a federal unemployment insurance program for illness, so how will the U.S.A. manage? Haven’t seen any Republican yet speak up and try to take leadership on this. Will the House of Representatives be able to do anything beyond allocate money? I do wonder where Moscow Mitch is these days along with his side kick Lindsay Graham?

    When I look around the world on the nightly news it would appear most countries are doing their best to deal with this virus. The U.S.A. not so much and they have a population of 330Million and Americans travel a lot.

  24. Rugger9 says:

    OT, except it seems to be one of the shiny objects being used to distract the MAGA flock from COVID-19: it seems AOC liked Liz Warren’s SNL skit last night and the Bernie Bros are allegedly up in arms calling AOC a backstabber.

    AOC hasn’t changed her endorsement as far as I know, and I’m connecting dots to another story floating around about how Erik Prince has been getting busted running rat-fornication ops with retired spies in his network. One of the favorite Soviet tactics in Cold War days was the use of agent provocateurs who stir up trouble to be blamed on someone else. We also had the interview in South Carolina where a MAGA hatted dude was voting for Bernie because he could, so it is not a large leap over to the “Bernie Bros” really being MAGA trolls and/or bots, and our media is falling for the story line because it involves “Dems in disarray”, radical socialist revolutionaries (if they could dig up Che they would) and AOC in a trifecta of political tabloid gold.

  25. Ed Walker says:

    Here’s a good twitter stream on why soap kills viruses. This is why we should wash our hands.
    https://twitter.com/PalliThordarson/status/1236549305189597189

    Fun fact: the thread says we touch our face once every 2-5 minutes. One of the things I learned singing opera is Never Touch Your Face. Ever. Unless you are told to do so by the Director. I remember several times when I thought that itch on my cheek would drive me nuts if I didn’t scratch it.

    • Jim White says:

      Thanks for that link. It’s one of the best explainers out there on why soap is, in many regards, our best tool against the virus. One thing that I think is not mentioned in the thread, though, is that this completely disruptive action by soap makes it virtually impossible for a virus to evolve resistance, unlike the virtual certainty that an agent like an antibiotic is doomed to become obsolete once resistance breaks out. Soap rules. Forever.

      The hands to the face urge is powerful, and I think social interaction and anxiety both only make the urge stronger. In a laboratory setting, I’ve handled infectious, toxic and radioactive* materials. When using the appropriate protective gear and equipment, the face-touching urge seems much easier to ignore. In fact, some folks suggest wearing gloves (even food service gloves would do the trick) to remind ourselves in public that our hands are dirty and should stay away from our faces. But then we get to the issue of properly removing the gloves without contaminating our hands and making the issue worse from a false sense of security.

      *With some of the more powerful radiation emitters, the ease of making sure the area and equipment have been cleaned after the procedure has been completed is almost cheating since a geiger counter or other detector can serve as a check. We just don’t have that sort of tool for a virus.

      • P J Evans says:

        I have the problem that my glasses constantly slide down. After about 60 years of dealing with this, I don’t think it’s a breakable habit.

        I am, however, wondering if old, too-large socks could be turned into usable glove-type things..

        • Jim White says:

          Heh. I turn that around a bit. I sometimes pull my glasses off and use the earpieces to scratch my face on the assumption they’re cleaner than my fingers. No idea if there’s any real basis for this, though.

      • BobCon says:

        The other thing that soap and good washing do is very simple — the dirt and grease and goo that sticks to your skin and provide hiding places for viruses gets swept up into the sudsy solution and then a good rinsing sends them down the drain.

        Hand sanitizers may not penetrate all the way through dirt and grime, so separate from the disruptive effect soap has on the fat-like elements described in that post, soap and water provide an effective way of getting viruses out of harms way.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Brrrr. I still have nightmares about Geiger counters. I think one of the reasons that Chernobyl was such a terrifying show for me was because I hadn’t heard that noise in so many years.

    • Frank Probst says:

      As for touching your face, I recommend that people try tying a bandana over their mouth and nose, and put on a pair of lightly-tinted sunglasses if they don’t already wear glasses of some kind. It’s not going to stop you from getting Coronavirus, but it will make you realize just how often you touch your face.

  26. Molly Pitcher says:

    I hope someone can point me in the right direction. I would swear that I read on EW that CDC (?) was advising people 60 & over not to fly. I cannot find it, nor the reference.

    My husband’s company is calling all the people who work from around the country to fly to Buffalo to the National headquarters in a week and a half to turn in their computers and get new ones. I need to find the evidence he can send them so they call off this insanity.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Wtf? Is this a standard practice at Large companies? Even financially it’s got to be cheaper to just send employees a shipping label along with their new laptop via mail

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I WILL be compassionate about this. I swear. I will.

      Two members of Congress said they would enter a period of self-quarantine after interacting last month with a person who attended a conservative conference [CPAC] outside and later tested positive for the virus.

      Senator Ted Cruz interacted with the attendee at the conference, he said in a statement on Sunday. The interaction was less than a minute and consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake, he said. However, he will self-quarantine at his home in Texas this week “out of an abundance of caution.”

      Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, also said he would isolate himself out of an abundance of caution.

      “I was with the individual for an extended period of time, and we shook hands several times,” Mr. Gosar said in a statement.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/08/world/coronavirus-news.html

  27. e.a.f. says:

    further on when the cruise ship will get to shore, the CTV news, Vancouver, B.C., 6 p.m. is reporting the Canadians on board will be flown back to Canada and the ship is expected to land tomorrow. Canadians who are ill will have to remain in the U.S.A.

  28. Ern says:

    Excellent content and comments. Did anyone besides me get creeped out by the name of the shady lab? Wasn’t Gilead the name of the regime that overthrew the USA in The Handmaid’s Tale?

    • PieIsDamnGood says:

      Yes, both are biblical references. Although that doesn’t make me feel better about them

  29. Fran of the North says:

    Ha! Both Sen Ted Cruz and Rep Paul Gosar are self-quarantining because they were exposed to an infected attendee at CPAC. Interesting response to a liberal hoax…

  30. Eureka says:

    And there’s this, if anyone can stomach more mayhem:

    Tracy Alloway: “For the first time in history, the entire U.S. Treasury curve is below 1%. [Bloomberg link] by @StephenSpratt & @Ruth_Liew10 [graphic]”
    https://twitter.com/tracyalloway/status/1236824667014361088

    Jason Alt: “for the non-finance folks: this means that the current view of the future of every market is so bleak that investors are pouring their money into US government bonds, no matter how expensive and no matter how small the return. Rates fall as demand for bonds rises….”
    https://twitter.com/littlewyvern/status/1236849737782964226

  31. Yette says:

    First, yes, I realize the outbreak was traced to markets in Wuhan.

    You have to start to ask yourself if this is an intentional act by an enemy. A weaponized virus. There is one country well known of the past many years for attacking its enemies with poisons outside its bounders. They always deny any culpability, the world essentially did nothing in retaliation. When I checked on Saturday, that same country was reporting Zero persons infected by the virus. Coincidence? I understand its hard to conceive, but this may have been an initiated attack against the world.

    • bmaz says:

      There is absolutely no evidence to support that. None. It is straight out of QAnon fever swamps. Please don’t float that nonsense here.

      • Yette says:

        I certainly never said there was any evidence, pure conjecture. I didn’t realize you can only post here if you have 100% factually based information; instead I’ve read numerous opinion commentaries on this site.

        • bmaz says:

          So, you “didn’t realize” that posting straight QQnon rubbish was not a good idea? Seriously?

    • cat herder says:

      If you do even some casual reading on the subject, and apply a little brain power, you’ll quickly realize that there have been probably hundreds or thousands of zoonotic spillovers in the past exactly the way this one happened except those previous ones didn’t kill enough people for anyone to go investigating the causal agent. The previous SARS coronavirus in ~2003 got noticed because it was so deadly (but luckily not so easily transmissible); this one got noticed because it spread so easily and had a non-trivial death rate. What about the ones that give symptoms of a regular cold and don’t kill anyone? Or the ones that are completely asymptomatic? This happens all the time and we just never see it.

      • P J Evans says:

        MERS is another one.
        There are a couple of coronaviruses that are endemic to humans. Those are among the many that cause “common colds” – and the fact that there are so many causes is why we can’t prevent colds.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Neither Russian nor Chinese statistics will be reliable concerning events of this magnitude. Accurate reporting would be considered embarrassing – or state treason – because it is detrimental to the leaders of those countries. Oddly, that matches Donald Trump’s behavior. Funny that.

      As for the idea of letting loose a contagion for which you do not have an antidote, only Donald Trump is that stupid and self-destructive.

      The meme is useful, though, for a pathological narcissist. It makes him the victim, not the poor sods with no insurance or paid time off to self-quarantine or care for others. It distracts from how badly he manages this and every other problem he confronts. Those are more likely than intentional state action.

    • P J Evans says:

      FFS! That was disbunked weeks ago. (It’s basically a bat virus that crossed over, like several others. No intention needed.)

    • Rayne says:

      This particular issue — conjecture about weaponization of a coronavirus — will be subjected to moderation because it’s an angle being pushed by foreign disinformation influence operations.

      Millions of tweets peddled conspiracy theories about coronavirus in other countries, an unpublished U.S. report says
      The study, which said it excluded the United States, found early signs that some of the activity may have been coordinated and inauthentic
      By Tony Romm – The Washington Post – Feb. 29, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. EST
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/29/twitter-coronavirus-misinformation-state-department/

      And in spite of intelligence warning about this, here this line of disinformation appears again.

      We don’t mind opinion so long as it’s supported with facts adequate to make a case. Bring reputable sources to support any such claim/opinion, or don’t bring it at all.

  32. skua says:

    News from the Invertistan burger-front:

    Was in MacDonalds wiping my finger over the interactive monitor ordering a thickshake and enjoying the air con.
    And then considered how customers in general and me in particular are meant to clean their hands after touching a common surface.

    Looked around for hand santizer.
    But there was none.

    The basics of contagion reduction are not in place here. State Health Department notified.

    • Vicks says:

      Hoarders.
      Best hope is demand is met quickly (and cheaply) and these assholes are left with garages full of once vital items they can hardly give away

  33. harpie says:

    CONGRESS and the VIRUS
    As Fran of the North mentions above, Cruz and Gossar are both staying home for two weeks.
    More about that:

    https://twitter.com/kasie/status/1236839164269735936
    10:20 PM · Mar 8, 2020

    BREAKING from me & @AlexNBCNews: Members of Congress are becoming increasingly anxious about coronavirus and there is growing pressure on leadership to take steps to protect lawmakers — even potentially recessing for a period of weeks, according to two Democratic sources [Thread and link to NBC News][…]

    Here’s Yale Law School Professor Amy Kapczynski:
    https://twitter.com/akapczynski/status/1236853269160439808
    11:16 PM · Mar 8, 2020

    Congress asking for paid leave. Pretty sure they shouldn’t go home before they extend sick leave to everyone else in the US who is worried. And provide for all those who will need to stay home in coming weeks, sick or not.

    Much more on what our leaders need to be doing in this open letter. A group of us wrote it a week ago, and 800+ experts in law, public health have signed on: [link pdf]

    • paulpfixion says:

      why the hell can’t they all work remotely like the rest of us? If there is a legal reason they need to fix that now, and then continue to do their jobs.

      • bmaz says:

        The presumption has always been that to vote, you have to be on the floor. Why do you think Kennedy and McCain were effectively rolled in in wheelchairs with brain tumors?

      • harpie says:

        …just in, wrt: Congress working remotely:

        https://twitter.com/alaynatreene/status/1237125745593536514
        5:18 PM · Mar 9, 2020

        NEW: Eric Swalwell & Rick Crawford are reintroducing a 2013 bill that would enable members of Congress to virtually participate in committee hearings and vote remotely on suspension bills from their home districts amid the coronavirus outbreak [Axios]

        Swalwell:
        https://twitter.com/RepSwalwell/status/1237133982904602629
        5:51 PM · Mar 9, 2020

        Modern technology belongs in Congress and my resolution would allow Members to not only spend more time with their constituents and their families, but would prove useful for a number of situations, including the public health crisis in which we currently find ourselves.

  34. orionATL says:

    another macro thought.

    one of the things that is said to worry those who watch “the economy” is a large amount of corporate debt. we are not yet, and may never be, in any sort of severe financial crisis though the stock markets keep gyrating, but nothing could cause serious 2007-like damage to the economy like a generalized fall in demand caused by sudden lowering of personal and corporate incomes due to an epidemic. we are not there yet and with adequate leadership may never be, but if we escape we need to take the current corporate debt situation in the context of a possible epidemic as a providential warning of the need for stringent regulation.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/divided-house-passes-major-bank-deregulation-bill-sends-to-trump/2018/05/22/6f3bb562-5dd2-11e8-a4a4-c070ef53f315_story.html

    “… Trump had vowed to “do a big number” on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and some House Republicans had hoped to repeal the law entirely — or at least make major changes to rein in the watchdog agency…”

    count new chief-of-staff mark meadows in.

    • BobCon says:

      Speaking of Dodd and Frank, as bad as Bush was in driving the financial collapse of 2008, when things went South he had Paulson in place, cut Cox out of the loop, and the Bush administration engaged with Dodd and Frank and negotiated in good faith in 2008 on initial emergency legislation.

      Trump has Mnuchin and Kudlow running the show. He has gutted his economic team. Who can imagine good faith negotiations with the Democrats?

      At some point, somebody needs to start saying the obvious — Trump is not fit for office and waiting until November to even begin to right the ship is nuts.

      • orionATL says:

        right on.

        it’s very hard to right a sunken ship.

        and thanks for that important bush, jr. history. trump makes everybody look good. maybe even buchanan.🤨

    • Nehoa says:

      You can’t think about the potential economic fallout in strictly single nation terms. For example, China’s banking system may need substantial restructuring and recapitalization (in RMB) with accompanying significant devaluation of the RMB. Competing Asian nations follow suit. Similar, but less severe in the Eurozone region and Mexico. What effects do those circumstances have on the U.S. economy? No one knows! But not good…
      The Fed can only do so much, and a massive fiscal stimulus might be needed. Restructuring of the banking/shadow banking system. How and when does that occur? Will Congress and Trump come to agreement? Or does the GOP keep the pain with the consumer to protect the banks?

      • orionATL says:

        good points. all large economies today are interconnected. china doesn’t get hurt without our economy feeling a pinch too – and many small nearby economies, e.g. southeast asia or central america, as well.

        fiscal policy involving goverment spending on a very large basis might work, but again in this unique situation the interuption of most productive activity (other than medical care 😟) by mass rolling illnesses makes it hard to earn paychecks and justify ordering goods and services. our government might have to get into simply giving people (and corporations) subsistence income for a period of time – ah the changes nature can wring out of apparently obdurate human social systems.

        i wonder if the u. s. government interacted with the economy in any special way intended to prop it up during the extended flu epidemic of 1918? that seems unlikely since i don’t know that large scale thinking about an economy had developed very far at the time.

  35. Vicks says:

    Can anyone tell me if a “test kit” is a single test, or a box full tests and everything you need to run them?
    Single tests seem to be an odd way of distributing something that is intended for bulk distribution.

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s the stuff you need to run get samples and start the tests: reagents, mostly.
      I understand you can test several people with one kit, at least with some kits.

  36. orionATL says:

    better again still.

    more diversity,

    lively contributors.

    thoughtful commentary.

    sound guidance.

  37. pdaly says:

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘transmission from asymptomatic people is not thought to be the main way the novel coronavirus spreads.’ This doesn’t seem right if you look at the Biogen conference COVID-19 infections. However, I am not an epidemiologist, so would be happy to learn from others here who are.


    Assume R0=2.2 for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.

    Assume median incubation period for COVID-19 is approximately 5 days (similar to SARS).
Assume that 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days.


    (https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2762808/incubation-period-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-from-publicly-reported)



    Then look at the timeline of the COVID-19 cases among attendees of the Biogen conference in Boston. The conference ran from Feb 24 to Feb 27, 2020 at the Marriott Long Wharf.



    Eight attendees from MA (plus four attendees from outside of MA) were diagnosed with COVID-19 by Friday 3/6/20. That is twelve cases within 11 days of the conference, and it is close to the 11.5 day window to expect most newly infected people with SARS-CoV-2 virus to show symptoms. 
(The year 2020 is a leap year, so remember to include 2/29/20).



    If the CDC is correct about asymptomatic patients being unable to transmit infection, then all 12 attendees identified by 3/6/20 were infected during the Biogen conference and were not part of a secondary wave of infection.

    The conference lasted only 4 days, and the median incubation time is 5 days, so none of these 12 presumably was able to go on to infect other attendees and contribute to the infection count by Friday 3/6/20.



    If the 12 people were infected during the Biogen conference by a single index case, then does this mean the R0 =12 (and not 2.2) for SARS-CoV-2? 

    Or, if the R0 is close to 2.2, then does this suggest more than one index case—say as many as 5? (2.2 x 5=11). But then that would imply we’re missing 4 of the index cases in our 12 count.


    News reports state the city was testing Biogen workers. Are they also testing hotel workers who were likely intermixing with them at the conference?



    After the 11.5 days mark (around Sunday 3/8/20) the news reporting of attendees vs. contacts of the Biogen attendees gets muddled so it’s hard to tell if the rise in COVID-19 cases by Monday (32 out of the 41 MA COVID-19 cases reported by Monday 3/9/20 are related to the Biogen conference) represents delay in identifying original infections or some of the next wave of infection.

    
But the new articles continue to report that all cases are accounted for with, “City health officials have said there is currently no evidence of community transmission in Boston and that the risk remains low at this time.”
    https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/massachusetts-coronavirus-cases-jump-to-41/2088086/

    • pdaly says:

      Or, checking my math, if the index case(s) is included in the 12 tally at day 11:
      If 1 index case then 11 infections, (1+11=12) or
      if 2 index cases, then 4+ cases per index (2+4+4=10) by day 11.
      If 3 index cases, then 3+6+6+6=21 cases by day 11.

  38. pdaly says:

    Update to the Biogen numbers: 5 people in North Carolina tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Biogen conference in Boston in February 2020

    • Rayne says:

      Add those five to the two in Indiana who also attended Biogen’s conference and have now tested positive. Have to wonder what it was about that event which facilitated transmission.

      EDIT: Can’t find a good article not behind a paywall but it looks like that Biogen management conference will be a key source of COVID-19 cases across the country, with 32 attendees now confirmed as infected out of the 175 persons at the event. New York investment banks were notified, said one article — does this mean financial people were present? or did they simply want the financial sector to know about a risk to investments? Biogen ordered its Boston MA, Research Triangle Park NC, and Baar, Switzerland sites to shut down their facilities and move to remote work only; employees who attended that conference are to self-quarantine.

      Boston and Research Triangle…Jesus Christ, the repercussions to U.S. health care and technology if these Biogen people spread COVID-19 around…

  39. Tony Moore says:

    I plead guilty to not reading all of the previous comments, but today I looked up the number of hospital beds in the US – 980,000. Current occupancy rates are about 65% (or more). So there are about 330,000 available beds for an estimated 4.8 million hositalizations. Sounds serious to me. Also of interest: the number of beds in 1975 was 1.5 million. Fewer hospitalizations obviously, due to better health care, more outpatient services, shorter stays, etc. But the shift from community/charity/non-profit hospitals to profit-making hospitals, who don’t like underutilized resources, certainly has played a role.

    • Rayne says:

      Nice to see you, Tony. Yeah, the numbers are bad on the face of it. A list of OECD nations by number of hospital beds is also informative; we can see that Italy has more beds than the US per 1000 persons, which doesn’t bode well for us if we don’t get a better grip on the spread of the virus than Italy has.

      UK is also in for a very bad time of it as they have fewer beds per 1000 person than the US, have lost health care workers because of Brexit, and are locked into their published process for dealing with pandemic flu (except this is NOT a flu). They aren’t looking at that plan against what worked and what failed in other countries, just sticking their heads deeply into their bacon butties.

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