Coronavirus Special Coverage

A collection of news posted throughout the week for those that want signal, not noise.

  • Previous coverage - all of our posts in this ongoing series.
  • Coronavirus status page - learn how to prepare for possible spread to your area. Scenarios, shopping lists, background info and everything else you need, all in one place.

COVID-19: key developments for Friday, March 20, 2020

A collection of key developments in the fight against COVID-19 (the actual virus is SARS-COV-2), posted throughout the week for those who just want the signal and not the noise. If there’s something you think we should include, sound off in the comments thread attached to the post.

Visit our Wuhan coronavirus status page and learn how to prepare for possible spread to your area. Scenarios, shopping lists, background info, and everything else you need, all in one place.

Previously: The previous day’s key developments post is here.

Over 27,000 cases have been added to the globe since yesterday.  Italy’s cases grew by nearly 6,000. Italy had over 600 deaths in the last 24 hours. The US and Germany each added more than 4,500 cases.

New York has over 7,100 cases.

The erstwhile antimalarial hydroxychloroquine looks like a promising potential treatment for COVID-19, especially if paired with a common antibiotic. It’s not yet approved for this use, but investigations into its efficacy continue. Unfortunately, hydroxychloroquine is already in short supply.

Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) are already taxing hospital systems in the US. Some hospital systems are pleading for members of the community to make homemade masks for donation to clinicians. Some clinical settings may be forced to shut down. The proverbial pandemic marathon is only just getting started. If you’re interested in templates for sewing masks, see the links.

Let’s look at the relative efficacy of various homemade mask materials:

Governor Newsom issues “stay at home” order for all 40 million Californians. Essential services remain open, like grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies. People may leave their homes to walk but may not gather in groups of 10 or more. Police are not enforcing the order—Californians are simply asked to honor the order.

Trump asks states to buy their own medical supplies, then outbids them. Trump then complains that he doesn’t want his administration to be a “shipping clerk.”

People keep taking cruises, and they keep getting sick with COVID-19. Cruise passengers disembarking from the Costa Luminosa and transported by plane to ATL were held on the tarmac and prohibited from leaving the plane. Many had not eating in 24 hours:

The argument for suppression, in graphs:

Suppression is the only way.

Trumps Administration asks states to fudge the numbers on unemployment, adding: “States should not provide numeric values to the public.”

Gastro-intestinal symptoms are not as uncommon with COVID-19 as once thought. This is not terribly surprising, as a host factor the virus uses to penetrate cells is present in the cells of the gut. Maybe folks needed all that toilet paper after all.

    • M Grant

      Trump asks states to buy their own medical supplies, then outbids them

      Trumps Administration asks states to fudge the numbers on unemployment

      TDS does not inoculate against Covid.  ThePrepared is supposedly non-political, so what is the reason for this snarky stuff?

      -5 |
      • M Grant M Grant

        OK, I checked out the feed and it all makes sense now, thanks.  You have saved me one daily site to visit.

        -5 |
      • John RameyThe Prepared M Grant

        Hi, founder/editor here. The Prepared is non-political. As discussed in our community guidelines ( it can be difficult to determine where the “political line” is. Simply referencing politicians/politics isn’t inherently bad — it usually depends on intent and context.

        Both of the lines you quoted are factually accurate and similar to other headlines.

        So, honest question (really!), what’s snarky about those lines?

        7 |
      • M Grant M Grant

        I notice you removed the Twitter feed graphic I posted.

        It’s your site, you can make it whatever you want.  I’ll go elsewhere, where I don’t have to wade through poisonous partisan propaganda to get to actionable information.

        Please stay safe and healthy.

        -5 |
      • Vaylon M Grant

        Sorry that you find the truth poisonous. But maybe that’s kind of the whole reason the United States is going to be so much worse off than it already is, no?

        3 |
    • Vaylon

      Thank you for your continued effort in keeping us up-to-date.

      It’s insane that people are still going on cruises. Or that the elderly are still sunning themselves on crowded Florida beaches. Don’t they have any idea what’s going on? Are they in denial, or have they simply given up?

      My friends are all taking it seriously, fortunately. But all of them — myself included — can’t shake this feeling of how surreal it is to actually witness something so grim take over the whole world.

      4 |
      • David Vaylon

        It’s denial.  I see it everywhere and it’s hard to witness—I have feelings of both compassion and disgust.  Lately when I’ve been asked by friends how to convince someone in denial my response has been, “Wait a few days and then try again.”  Every day that passes makes it harder for these people to support their denial and so far this advice has been working.

        I’m taking the situation seriously and have sprung into action but am aware that parts of me are in denial too.  Surreal is the right word for it.

        4 |
    • SpaceSnaxxx

      Can’t find masks and don’t know how to sew? Well I have a solution for you! Simply turn this clear plastic bucket upside down and wear it like a space helmet. It’s cheap, reusable, and easy to clean. Impress your neighbors!


      Note: some folks might not recognize satire. See above.

      1 |
    • Vaylon

      From Friday to Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in Mississippi nearly doubled — from 80 to 140.


      I’m worried that not enough is being done in the South to stem the spread of the virus. The kind of spread I’m seeing is classic exponential growth.

      5 |
    • Rosalee

      Okay, help an old lady out. I’m trying to decide on a mask for my husband. He is 71 years old, a disabled Vet and he has leukemia.  Since this coronavirus hit the news we have been staying home and avoiding people because of our risk factor. But he just spent a week in the hospital and it became very clear to me that he needs more than those masks they wear at the hospital. He doesn’t have  the virus, he was hospitalized because of a complication with his leukemia.  But in looking at masks online and the ones you have recommended here on this site, I am just totally confused. Some say they are good for woodworkers, or oily mist, etc. Can anyone give me some guidance here?

      3 |
      • Vaylon Rosalee

        Are you able to sew? You could make a mask yourself from things around the house. There’s been a study on effectiveness and breathability of household items repurposed into facemasks, and you can find that information here:

        2 |
      • Rosalee Rosalee

        Thank you. I can sew but we do have some of the hospital type mask here that we have  used when his blood count is really low. I was just under the impression that they were not effective it stopping the Covid-19 virus.

        2 |
      • Jon StokesThe Prepared Rosalee

        If it makes you feel better, there are a handful of studies and meta studies that looked at the differences between an N95 and a surgical mask when it comes to protecting healthcare workers from influenza in a real-world hospital setting, and nobody has found any statistical significance between the two. Here is one link, but there are more if you dig around:

        I’ve been wanting to do a post on this, so I’ll add it to my queue. Good luck!

        4 |
      • Rosalee Rosalee

        Thank you. I’ll look forward to your post.

        3 |
      • lemur Rosalee

        I’m looking forward to that article.

        I’ve checked out the article you linked to, and found elsewhere a Chinese study which suggests no significant statistical difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators.

        On the CDC web site I cannot find any acknowledgement of these articles (or any other similar article). It feels like the CDC has just decided to just ignore that evidence.

        1 |
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