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 Wednesday, May 20, 2020

There are over 5 million global cases.  The US has nearly 1.6 million of those cases. There have been over 329,000 deaths around the world from the pandemic virus. Cases grew by over 20,000 in the US since yesterday.

Universities are taking different approaches to re-opening in the fall. Many are holding lectures remotely. Some are combining remote lecturing with on campus activities. Some are opening fully but implementing social distancing policies. Others will be implementing temperature checks and changing housing policies.

Even the otherwise healthy and fit have struggled to survive after COVID-19 infection:

Animal to human transmission? Mink farms may be a problem. The Dutch plan to begin the mandatory screening of mink farm workers:

Church events are still creating super-spreader events. The attack rate is high in churches and in any closed location/event where people are singing, speaking for a long duration, or breathing hard. Knowing this, I worry for gyms as they reopen.

A cook in a Colorado Waffle House was shot after a patron was asked to don a mask. The suspect has been arrested. The cook is said to be recovering. This follows the death of a security guard and father of 8 in Michigan, who was also shot after insisting that a business patron wear a mask. Confrontations over the enforcement of mask-wearing are likely to continue.

Folks at the CDC say they are being muzzled. CDC efforts to release an advisory about the pandemic were delayed by more than a week. Had the US acted earlier many lives could have been saved. Global travel alerts were also delayed. The CDC also made several high-profile, damaging mistakes of their own. These mistakes eroded public trust in the organization and possibly Administrative trust as well. The mistakes include the botching of test primers and promotion of mass communications that risks were low to Americans–like this disastrous one from February:

Along the lines of the allegation of muzzling: the detailed CDC Guidelines for safely re-opening the country have been released—quite late in the game.

Here’s the difference a week could have made:

Things aren’t going so well on the pandemic front in Russia. Health care workers, particularly in more rural areas, don’t have the personal protective equipment they need. 10,000 cases were added to the Russian tally yesterday:

Florida officials defend firing of COVID-19 data dashboard manager:

Sweden’s economy contracts after all, making the “let it burn” approach even more questionable:

The virus is taking a heavy toll on Bay Area Asian-Americans:


    • woodrow

      Maybe a year from now, maybe later than that, there is going to be a terrific review article in a major medical journal providing the results of all of these different approaches.  The U.S. itself is a broad patchwork of experimentation in each of the 50 states. Despite all of the theory and practice of epidemiology available, we, by which I mean the world, seem to be just starting from scratch on this pandemic – making a lot of important mistakes, making a lot of important idiot statements backed up by nothing at all. Brings to morbid reality the phrase ‘get ahead of the curve’ – which we did not.  What’s left is the primacy of the individual, and our capacity to set our own safety guidelines and ignore all the ‘don’t worry about it’ nonsense. Employees, unfortunately, do not hold the power to make changes for safety in the workplace.  They are going to have to grasp that power somehow.  I’m all for ’employee defined safety’ at work. BTW, I appreciate your blog and your warnings about shortages that are developing. This blog has become a wonderful curated compilation of reliable pandemic information.

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      • Stephanie Arnold woodrow

        Thanks for the kind words. We do our best.

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    • Vaylon

      Animal-to-human transmission is what I’ve feared the whole time — that once this variant gets out into the cat/mustelid population, they and humans just keep swapping variants back and forth for the foreseeable future. Given a greatly increased population in which to spread, the coronavirus will keep mutating, and we’ll never be able to develop a vaccine for it.

      I expect hysteria over pets to develop soon, including mass culling and maybe even government recommendations (or mandates) that people cull their pets. It’s going to be a nightmare.

      Sorry to be such a downer, and maybe none of this will come to pass, but these are the kind of things I fret about, even though I personally can’t do anything about them. But this is why it’s so important to isolate and contain diseases from the very beginning.

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      • Stephanie Arnold Vaylon

        It’s possible, but Americans are far too emotionally connected to their pets. Most will quarantine their pets before harming them. I’m concerned about bats in Brazil. There could be a big problem brewing there. They’ve got a huge potential reservoir…

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