The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn't a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when.
So maybe this is the wake-up call we needed. Nasty as coronavirus is, there are worse diseases out there. Maybe we’re lucky it isn’t much worse.
But let’s not be complacent.
It's the most dangerous pandemic in our lifetime.
But it’s not all bad news
By slowing it down or flattening it, we're not going to decrease the total number of cases, we're going to postpone many cases, until we get a vaccine—which we will, because there's nothing in the virology that makes me frightened that we won’t get a vaccine in 12 to 18 months.
And a suggestion on what the US should be doing
But the South Korea model is one that we could follow. Unfortunately, it requires doing the proportionate number of tests that they did—they did well over a quarter of a million tests. In fact, by the time South Korea had done 200,000 tests, we had probably done less than 1,000.
Bloomberg is reporting that hydroxychloroquine is no more effective than the standard treatment.
The study involved just 30 patients. Of the 15 patients given the malaria drug, 13 tested negative for the coronavirus after a week of treatment. Of the 15 patients who didn’t get hydroxychloroquine, 14 tested negative for the virus.
Four patients given the medicine developed diarrhea and signs of potential liver damage, compared with three getting conventional treatment.
quote:I think it's safe to assume that the death rate data is more solid since they have a baseline of actual deaths, while the number of infections is a function of testing, which we know is incomplete since they're still making people jump through hoops to get tested in many places.
Deaths are probably also understated, but I think that more of those with severe symptoms will be tested, so the count of deaths will be more accurate than that of infections.
The infection rate still looks roughly linear, just at a higher rate, so I suspect it is still largely due to restrictions on testing.
What followed over the next two weeks was an inside glimpse of the dysfunction emanating from Trump’s Washington in the midst of the pandemic, a crash course in the breakdown that has led to nurses in one of the wealthiest countries in the world wearing garbage bags to protect themselves from a virus whose outbreak the President downplayed until it was too late to prepare for its consequences.
Eric Ries, a Silicon Valley CEO had heard that tech executives were being asked to help deal with the crisis. He wanted to volunteer to help source medical equipment - from masks to ventilators. He set out on his own initiative and found voluntary groups working on the problem, and helped to get them working together. But how to get everything to where it was needed?
For ten days running, Ries was told that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would step in and take charge of distributing critical supplies, directing them to where they were most needed, but, as far as he could tell, it never happened. Kushner and his team had embedded at fema, along with a Navy rear admiral, John Polowczyk, to oversee the supply-chain crisis, but Ries managed only to speak with an aide to the admiral.
Worse still, the Federal stockpiles would not be released because they were for the Federal Government, not the States. (What does the Federal government need the stockpiles for if not to help the American people? Cuomo’s idea of sending ventilators to the places which need them and moving them on when the peak passes seems obviously sensible - and obviously best managed by the Federal Government)
What they did not foresee was that the federal government might never come to the rescue. They did not realize this was a government failure by design—not a problem to be fixed but a policy choice by President Trump that either would not or could not be undone
Donald Trump, of course refused to acknowledge the problems or take any responsibility.
Earlier this week, the office of the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services released a survey of three hundred and twenty-three hospitals in forty-six states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and it found “widespread shortages of PPE,” and also of other equipment. After the report was released, Trump claimed it was “wrong,” tweeted that it was “Another Fake Dossier!,” and attacked the principal deputy I.G. who prepared it because she had also served during the Obama Administration. Trump, of course, omitted the fact that she is a career official who also served in the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations.
And, nobody could have predicted this ?
All of this was predicted. On February 13th, the Center for Global Development, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, warned in a report about the “urgent but closing window” for the U.S. government to prepare, including specifically recommending an immediate review of the P.P.E. supply chain; the creation of a plan for distribution of supplies and the public communication of that plan; and the development of “options for addressing PPE shortfalls,”
Just another reason why Trump is one of the worst presidents the US has ever had.