White House calls for 10 person limit on gatherings; UK report projects dire consequences if COVID-19 mitigation efforts fail; Seattle begins vaccine trial
Perhaps the biggest domestic news today was the hard reversal in rhetoric from the White House. It may have been driven by appalling projections out of the UK. Each day in Italy seems more horrific than the day before, and Spain and France are not far behind. In positive news, the first trial for a vaccine began in Seattle.
Let’s lead with the 16 March 2020 UK report, Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand, On behalf of the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team.
Here’s the relevant conclusion, emphasis added, from page 16:
Perhaps our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US healthcare systems being exceeded many times over.
In the most effective mitigation strategy examined, which leads to a single, relatively short epidemic (case isolation, household quarantine and social distancing of the elderly), the surge limits for both general ward and ICU beds would be exceeded by at least 8-fold under the more optimistic scenario for critical care requirements that we examined.
In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.
At a rally in South Carolina on 28 February, a bit more than two weeks ago and the night before Seattle would announce the first fatality, Trump claimed that “The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus … this is their new hoax.”
A week later, on 06 March, Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC that “so far it looks relatively contained.”
Trump continued to ignore the threat that fast exponential growth poses for the health care system on 09 March 2020 by comparing coronavirus to the seasonal flu:
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
By Sunday night, the CDC had recommended events of more 50 people be postponed or canceled for the next eight weeks.
And Monday afternoon, Trump switched gears and announced guidelines that include limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people. “This is a bad one. This is a very bad one,” he said.
The Dow dropped almost 3,000 points on Monday; it has lost 31.7% since its record high on 12 February.
- Essential details on White House coronavirus testing still murky after Pence news conference, Washington Post, 15 March 2020
- Federal vaccine development sites ill-suited to counter COVID-19 epidemic, Washington Post, 15 March 2020
- How a Seattle suburb responded after becoming the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, Seattle Times, 16 March 2020
On 03 March, UNICEF gave a shout out to Vietnamese dancer, Quang Đăng, who had created a hand washing video which went viral on TikTok. The BBC interviewed Đăng about the dance craze on 06 March. On 12 March, UNICEF Vietnam shot a video with Đăng and three kids as part of the #GhenCovyChallenge. NowThisNews has the dance and the story. I dare you not to tap your feet or bob your head!
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 16, 2020
Around the country
Only one state has not yet identified a COVID-19 infection: West Virginia (77.1/sq mile). The 80 known deaths are from 14 states, with most from Washington.
- In Seattle, the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) began testing the first experimental coronavirus vaccine. The Phase 1 clinical trial began with four healthy volunteers; it will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately six weeks.
- This is what a shelter in place order looks like. It’s from the San Francisco Bay area (Martinez, CA, Contra Costa County) and took effect at 12:01 am, 17 March.
- The Kentucky Derby will not be the first weekend in May this year. For the first time in 75 years, the race is being postponed, this year from 02 May 2 to 05 September. What was happening 45 years ago? It was 1945, and the WWII ban was lifted on 08 May 1945.
- Nordstrom joins Apple and Nike, as well as other retail chains, in announcing it is closing its 380 stores for two weeks to try to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Due to coronavirus precaution, Bob Shellard isn't allowed to visit his wife in her Connecticut nursing home. So he stood outside her window and held up a sign that said "I've loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary." https://t.co/cIwZxwmZeN pic.twitter.com/nW86SYm4HU
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) March 16, 2020
Politics, economics and COVID-19
- Mitt Romney (R-UT) is calling on Congress to give every American adult $1,000 to help get through the coronavirus lockdowns.
- As the Governor of California was calling for social distancing to try to #flattenTheCurve of COVID-19 infections, Devin Nunes (R-CA-22) was telling people to go out to eat.https://mobile.twitter.com/Acyn/status/1239204553460838400
The number of affected countries jumped from 29 at the end of February to 151 today. Although early reports tied the outbreak to a seafood (“wet”) market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data suggest that the virus may have developed elsewhere.
Italy has 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins database. It had its biggest one-day increase, with 368 more COVID-19 deaths.
Hospital systems everywhere should activate emergency intensive care unit (ICU) networks and reserve beds to prepare for a “massive” increase in COVID-19 patients. CIDRAP, 16 March 2020
Tests are becoming more widely available as state, university and commercial labs implement testing. There is a lag between the initial period of contagion and a person showing symptoms.
16 March, global
- Globally: 167,511 confirmed (13,903 new) with 6,606 deaths (862 new)
- China: 81,077 confirmed (29 new) with 3,218 deaths (14 new)
- Outside of China: 86,434 confirmed (13,874 new) with 3,388 deaths (848 new) in 151 countries/territories/areas (4 new)
- Global confirmed: 182,424
- Total deaths: 7,155
- Total recovered: 79,433
16 March, domestic
Nationally there are a total of 3,487 cases and 68 deaths according to the CDC, and 4,661 cases and 85 deaths according to Johns Hopkins. Forty-nine states plus DC are reporting 4,284 identified cases with 80 deaths. View infographic and data online.
What you can do
- Stay home when sick.
- Stay home as much as possible, period.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Aggregated list of official sources
- CDC, COVID-19 overview, US
- Coronavirus resources & readings
- Johns Hopkins, COVID-19 interactive dashboard
- Johns Hopkins, COVID-19 overview
- Our World in Data
- Twitter list of experts, news and organizations
- WHO, COVID-19 global overview and COVID-19 rolling updates
States of emergency
All governors have issued a state of emergency:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA,
MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NY,
NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.