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.
Zeynep Tufekci has a truly excellent article Scientific American about the importance (and civic duty) of being prepared: “Preparing for the almost inevitable global spread of this virus, now dubbed COVID-19, is one of the most pro-social, altruistic things you can do in response to potential disruptions of this kind.” (Obviously I’m partial to this article since we got a nice link in it, but it’s still so much in line with our own thinking at this site that I’d love it, regardless.)
Helen Branswell: A critical question in getting a handle on coronavirus: What role do kids play in spreading it?. “‘It’s not that they’re not getting infection. They’re not getting disease. They’re not getting sick,’ said Malik Peiris, a coronavirus expert at Hong Kong University.” I think this makes school closures even more effective, and more likely.
Former CDC director:
— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) February 28, 2020
Everyone has been worried about what happens when it spreads to Africa. This is very bad news, given the state of healthcare in Nigeria and neighboring countries. The human cost will be staggering.
Here’s a guy trying to think through some thresholds for when to take specific prepping actions (e.g. cease using public transport, add to food stockpiles, self-quarantine at home, etc.). I don’t know that I endorse all the particulars here, but these thresholds strike me as the kind of thing a competent government agency would produce and disseminate to the public, if we had such an agency handling this.
We’ve covered this HIV-like issue in the past, but here’s more in the SCMP: Coronavirus far more likely than Sars to bond to human cells due to HIV-like mutation, scientists say
This is exactly why we recommend stocking up on all necessary medications immediately: Coronavirus raises fears of U.S. drug supply disruptions. “Many pharmaceuticals’ active ingredients are made in China.”
Vox asks the question: If the coronavirus hits America, who’s responsible for protecting you?. For me, it’s less about who’s “responsible” at this point — that was a question for before the outbreak started — but about who is actually going to step up. And I think the answer is “me” — I have to step up, because I’m not seeing a lot of coordination or planning out there among federal, state, and local health authorities.
More on the coronavirus and the 2020 elections: Experts say officials need a ‘plan B’ for the 2020 elections in case the coronavirus continues to spread in the US
On the dystopian fashion beat: CDC recommends men shave their beards to protect against coronavirus
Japan is closing all of its schools for a month over the virus outbreak.
Here is one of the many things I’m worrying about right now:
Here in the US, we have 2.3 million people in prison. I cannot imagine a way to stop #coronavirus from spreading like wildfire among that population. How will federal, state, & local authorities handle this? Is there additional budget for treating prisoners? What is the plan?
— Jon Stokes (@jonst0kes) February 27, 2020
I can officially stop writing about how the markets are ignoring the threat, here. Dow plunges 1,100 points, bringing its decline from a record high to more than 10%
Here’s what coronavirus does to the body. “From blood storms to honeycomb lungs, here’s an organ-by-organ look at how COVID-19 harms humans.”
This is just so bad. U.S. Health Workers Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Training and Protective Gear, Whistle-Blower Says. “Team members were not properly trained, lacked necessary gear and moved freely around and off military bases where Americans were quarantined, a complaint says.”
The community where these workers were in contact with infected individuals without proper protective gear is also where the first seeming case of community transmission in the US. I’m sure that when we actually start testing more sick people, we will find more infections. A lot more. So buckle up.
Germany is telling people that they may have to sieze face masks and protective equipment for use in fighting the outbreak. “In order to have enough protective clothing in an emergency in Germany, the seizure of face masks is an option. “We are currently doing everything to look again at the stocks we have in Germany and, above all, to secure them legally, if necessary also by confiscation or export bans,” Spahn told ZDF.” (hat tip @nonpromqueen)