Coronavirus Special Coverage

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

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COVID-19: key developments for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cases have doubled since last week—we now have over 850,000 globally.  If cases continue to double like this we can expect over 1.5 million by next week. There have been over 42,000 deaths around the world. Italy has had over 12,000 deaths, Spain has had over 3,800, and the US has had over 2,800 deaths.

Kinsa temperature readings show that strict measures are helping. Kinsa makes smart thermometers that aggregate temperature data. Roughly 250 million Americans are under stay at home orders. Kinsa’s database (which has hundreds of thousands of data points) shows that fevers are staying steady or decreasing across the nation.

Doctor’s in California’s Bay Area see a decrease in new cases. Mitigation measures are helping to flatten the curve. Many counties in California are seeing a slower upswing than the rest of the nation. This is likely attributable to early, aggressive mitigation steps.

Intensive Care rationing to begin in the UK. Although it is a horrific decision for any care team to have to make, overwhelmed hospital systems have no choice. These types of decisions will have to be made in overwhelmed US hospitals as well.

More bad news for Britain: households asked to prep for blackout. Energy firms have sent home non-essential workers. The National Grid assures the people it can handle the demand, but local networks have sent warnings to customers.

Blue cities in Red states differ on desired mitigation strategies.  Local officials call for state action, and state governors call for increased personal responsibility. The result is increased polarization.

Rikers Island inmates are being paid to dig mass graves. Those who do the job are given personal protective equipment (PPE) and given 6 dollars an hour, which is an enormous amount compared to typical wages for prison work.

Isolation Communication is a thing:

People are somehow still taking cruises, getting sick on them, and getting stuck at sea. Lives are on the line. The president of Holland American lines is furious with countries for refusing safe harbor, and the rest of us are furious that cruises are still allowed at all right now.

Clinicians are being threatened with termination if they talk to the press. Many are receiving communications from their respective hospitals urging them not to talk to the press on a daily basis. Many who have spoken out about PPE shortages have already been fired. Some are seeking wrongful termination suits.

Pompeo urges Americans abroad to speak with local embassies “immediately” to arrange travel home. Pompeo fears commercial and even government-chartered flights could cease during the pandemic. The recommendation is for those who wish to come back to the US, not those who chose to live overseas.

The US is still seeing an alarming rise in cases:

The need for social distancing may continue for a long time.

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