COVID-19 news blurbs from around the world, 29 March 2020.
Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported 124,464 (104,829) cases and 2,191 (1,707) deaths, an increase of 18.7 and 28.7 percent, respectively, since Saturday. Our reported case rate is 43.21 per 100,000; our death rate is 6.62 per million
- Disunited states of America: responses to coronavirus shaped by hyper-partisan politics. The Guardian, 29 March 2020.
- Fixing America’s broken coronavirus supply chain. Axios, 29 March 2020.
- I’ve fought epidemics around the world. Now it’s Canada that must prepare for the worst. The Globe and Mail, 29 March 2020.
Around the country
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 2,465 known deaths are from 48 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The only two states with no reported deaths are Hawaii and Wyoming.
In Virginia, Jerry Falwell Jr. has backtracked on a promise to Lynchburg, VA officials that he would “comply with Virginia’s public health directives and close [Liberty University] to virtually all students.”
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, Lynchburg city officials and a growing number of Liberty students, parents and employees have urged Mr. Falwell to reverse course, but such pleas have only prompted a stream of often conflicting statements.
But the rub is he brought students back from spring break, some have become sick, and some (many?) are asking to go home and not be penalized for tuition.
In Washington, data on cases and deaths suggest that physical distancing is working.
While each infected person was spreading the virus to an average of 2.7 other people earlier in March, that number appears to have dropped, with one projection suggesting that it was now down to 1.4…
Officials in Washington State first began to plead with people to keep their distance from one another at the end of February… Within a week, the county was asking organizations to consider postponing large events and for people to work from home if possible.
Our experience with a nursing facility served as an early warning for similar institutions around the country.
In Albany, Georgia, anyone entering Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital will be issued a reusable cloth mask. “Thanks to the amazing work of our teams producing reusable fabric masks, we now have a sufficient supply to institute this new policy.” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Executive Officer. There are now 482 positive cases (and 772 negatives), for a case rate of 28.35 per 100,000.
Politics, economics and COVID-19
Europe is reporting problems with N95 masks and COVID-19 test kits from China. On Saturday, officials in the Netherlands said that 1.3 million masks “did not meet quality standards” because “the masks did not fit well and the filters did not function properly.” Earlier, Spain had reported that hundreds of thousands of rapid test kitsmade in China were “unreliable.” The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology reported that the test kits were incorrect 70 percent of the time.
Why did I place that new blurb under “politics”?
Because this weekend, the federal government flew a planeload of medical supplies from China, including N95 masks. According to Axios, the feds paid for the flight; the distributor paid for the product, which it will sell.
Because 40% of the load on that flight “is going to the private market in the tri-state area, where the distributor had already lined up buyers.” (Did it sell the other 60% to the feds or was that the price of the flight?) The federal government’s share is going to New York (305.9 cases/100,000), New Jersey (150.7 cases/100,000 ), and Connecticut (55.9 cases/100,000).
The airlift is a product of a team led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, which formed “Project Airbridge,” a partnership between large U.S. healthcare distributors such as McKesson Corp, Cardinal, Owens & Minor, Medline and Henry Schein Inc, and the federal government.
From The Guardian, five of President Trump’s “most misleading” claims about COVID-19.
- ‘Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion’
- ‘It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle – it will disappear’
- ‘Anybody that needs a test gets a test. We – they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful’
- I’ve always known this is a real – this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. I’ve always viewed it as very serious’
- Americans will have access ‘to vaccines, I think, relatively soon’
The number of affected countries/territories/areas jumped from 29 at the end of February to 198 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.
In Germany, public gatherings of more than two are people banned. Researchers are hoping to start a large-scale testing for coronavirus antibodies as soon as next month.
Tests currently available can show false positives for coronavirus antibodies, as 90 percent of adults already have immunity against common, harmless viruses from the same family.
“Researchers hope a more precise testing process will be available in two to three months,” Spiegel reported.
The UK deputy chief medical officer said Sunday that “it could be six months before life in the UK returns to ‘normal’,” although she clarified that this does not mean a “complete lockdown for six months.”