COVID-19 news blurbs from around the world, 28 March 2020.
Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 124,464 (104,829) cases and 2,191 (1,707) deaths, an increase of 22.1 and 31.7 percent, respectively, since Friday. Our reported case rate is 38 per 100,000; our death rate is 6.62 per million.
On 06 March, Liz Specht, associate director of science and technology at The Good Food Institute, explained exponential growth. She elaborated: if 10 percent of those cases were to require hospitalization (that was Italy’s experience), “by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled.”
On 26 March, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, estimated national peak demand for health service utilization (hospital beds and the like) in mid-April. And we don’t have enough beds.
- A plea from rural America: Urban covid-19 refugees, please stay home. Washington Post, 28 March 2020.
Tourists with Washington and California license plates have “overrun” beaches in Oregon’s rural coastal areas. “In the beach town of Manzanita, a grocery contemplated closing down Sunday — to the detriment of its bottom line — in order to have something left to feed the locals on Monday.” Small communities across the country are having to close their borders to non-residents.
- Ebola Should Have Immunized the United States to the Coronavirus. Foreign Affairs, 28 March 2020.
Although the costs of the current pandemic will not be fully measurable for some time, what was done and what was left undone in the nearly four years between the end of the Ebola crisis and the first appearance of COVID-19 is now in the public domain. It is all too clear how and when the United States failed to better prepare.
- Epidemiology of Covid-19 in a Long-Term Care Facility in King County, Washington. New England Journal of Medicine, 27 March 2020.
… proactive steps by long-term care facilities to identify and exclude potentially infected staff and visitors, actively monitor for potentially infected patients, and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures are needed to prevent the introduction of Covid-19.
- The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life. The Guardian, 28 March 2020.
When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.
On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have identified COVID-19 cases. Today’s 3,035 known deaths are from 46 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
- Florida: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida is doubling every three days. “We do understand the math and the models well enough to say with great confidence that Florida is going to have a huge public health crisis.”
- Idaho: Governor Little will answer questions about COVID-19 on Idaho Public Television at 8 p.m. on Thursday, 02 April; watch online. There is a statewide stay-at-home order in effect.
- New York: On Friday, the New York Department of Health added two exceptions to its hospital visitor guidelines: obstetrics and pediatrics. In each case, “the Department considers one support person essential to patient care” [emphasis in the original]. The psychological support is essential, as is the role of advocate. This is welcome news, assuming hospitals abide by it, and Gov Cuomo said on Saturday that they shall.https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo/status/1243986643637473280
- Pennsylvania: A suburban Philadelphia police officer was exposed to coronavirus on a 9-1-1 call. A ‘first responder refuge’ helps him quarantine safely.
- Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is demanding that New Yorkers entering the state self-quarantine for 14-days. “That’s a law — that’s an order,” Ms. Raimondo said. “It comes with penalties. It’s not a suggestion.”
She sent troops and police officers to the main highways entering the state, as well as to Amtrak stations and the main airport, to stop and warn people coming from New York State about the quarantine order. And on Saturday, she extended the order to cover travelers from any state.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is describing a disease-related market failure, especially when you frame hospitals and life-saving equipment as public infrastructure (versus a private good):
We can't have 50 states all competing against each other for the same live-saving supplies.
The competition hurts all of us by massively driving up prices.
We need a nationwide buying consortium.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 28, 2020
President Trump traveled to Norfolk, VA to give a speech prior to the USNS Comfort leaving port for New York. Trump’s travel “stands at odds” with his own public health agency advisories against non-essential travel and gatherings of more than 10 people.
The 200-mile trip to the naval base was Mr. Trump’s first time leaving the White House in nine days, and his decision to turn the moment into a high-profile photo opportunity raised questions about safety and his use of government resources at a time when the administration’s own federal guidelines advise against most travel and gatherings of more than 10 people.
Later Saturday, CDC issued a travel advisory urging people in the tri-state area to “refrain from non-essential domestic travel” for the next two weeks.
The number of affected countries/territories/areas jumped from 29 at the end of February to 197 yesterday. There were no additions 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.
- Australia: There are people stuck on cruise ships on “never-ending holiday from hell” around the world as “governments struggle to work out how to get them safely home.”
- Canada: On Monday, Prime minister Justin Trudeau will issue an order prohibiting anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 from boarding domestic flights or intercity trains.
- France: The country has a total of 38,105 cases and 2,317 deaths (John Hopkins, 28 March, 9 pm Pacific). At a press conference Saturday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Health Minister Olivier Veran said that they have ordered 1,000 ventilators from French manufacturer Air Liquide SA as well as 5 million rapid diagnostic tests.
- Spain: The government has (belatedly) directed non-essential workers to stay at home for the next two weeks.
- Switzerland has the highest case load per capita in the world. The government has recommended that all citizens stay home and has banned gatherings of more than five people. They are testing more than 6,000 per day; the population is 8.65 million (similar to Virginia, which has currently tested a total of 9,166).
- The Bahamas have identified 11 cases, which is a rate of 28 cases/million.
- UK: both the prime minister (27 March) and Prince Charles (23 March) have tested positive for coronavirus.