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 Tuesday, March 17, 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.

There are nearly 200,000 cases around the world.  Close to 8,000 have died. Italy’s cases grew by over 3,500 today, with 345 deaths. US cases grew by 1,600, reflecting an increase in both cases and the rate of testing.

Shelter in place orders in California expand to Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. 10 counties are now in semi-lockdown, affecting over 7.2 million people. Governor Newsome plans to expand the orders to the entire state.

Hospital systems are near collapse in Northern Italy. There are not enough beds or ventilators for those who need them. Even if field hospitals are built, there are not enough clinicians to staff them. If cases continue to rise exponentially in the US, the US Is likely to experience the same problems.

Spain nationalized all of its private hospitals and its health care providers. The country is also in lockdown and trails closely behind Italy in severity. The Spanish government has mobilized its military. Senior medical students are being asked to help in the field. Cases and deaths continue to explode.

Air traffic controllers are ill: a control tower shuts down in Chicago:

A well-informed piece reviewing a paper by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team (and others) reveals that the measures we’re taking now may not work unless we continue them for many months. The paper being discussed changed the course of Britain’s COVID-19 strategy. Alternative actions to assist mitigation and suppression are also discussed.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in hospitals are already happening and are going to get worse. Without proper PPE, health care workers will get sick in high numbers. The US has a very limited Strategic Supply. We have probably 1% of what we’ll need nationally if cases continue to rise exponentially.

Amazon to shift to warehouse storage of medical supplies and household goods only as it struggles with COVID-19-related demand. Eliminating shipments of nonessential items will help Amazon cope with its workload, but the tactic raises big questions for small business owners who use Amazon’s storage and delivery services.

China is lifting some travel restrictions, lockdowns are being lifted, and people are going back to work. We’ll see how well their suppression has worked, and we’ll see if cases rebound after life returns to normal.