the economist
"This might seem premature, considering how recently the virus became known to science; is not drug development notoriously slow? But the reasonably well-understood basic biology of the virus makes it possible to work out which existing drugs have some chance of success, and that provides the basis for at least a little hope."
How the virus works and how existing drugs might help.
"I mean, people always say, well, the flu does this, the flu does that," Fauci said Wednesday during congressional testimony. "The flu has a mortality of 0.1%. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this."
I’m still seeing the flu comparison quite a bit online. I think that early link in people’s minds was a big setback.
close-up picture of a waffle in sunlight
Home Food
“Schools are experiencing critical shortages in staff, and superintendents are concerned for school personnel who are at elevated risk such as those over age 60 and those with underlying medical issues.”
"The Oregon Health Authority had recommended against closing campuses where cases of COVID-19 are not present. But Oregon has conducted limited testing for the virus, creating a misleading picture of the virus’s community spread. Not everyone who has wanted to be tested has been."
The right call.
Making the case for social distancing:
"This is an exponential threat. Every day counts. When you’re delaying by a single day a decision, you’re not contributing to a few cases maybe. There are probably hundreds or thousands of cases in your community already. Every day that there isn’t social distancing, these cases grow exponentially."
It is a difficult time to be a leader of any community right now, but acting quickly on social distancing will save lives by distributing the load on the medical system over time. That’s a hard argument to make when you see zero cases in your community at this moment but we will look back and be thankful to those leaders who did.
Data scientists look at the numbers:
As we’ve discussed, this math isn’t a certainty—China has already shown that it’s possible to reduce the spread by taking extreme steps. Another great example of a successful response is Vietnam, where, amongst other things, a nationwide advertising campaign (including a catchy song!) quickly mobilized community response and ensured that people adjusted their behavior appropriately.
As summarized in tweet form: "By the time the impact in your community is clearly visible, you've missed your best opportunity."
Oregon is between two known outbreak locations but can’t determine if it also has an outbreak:
"The state lab had just 130 tests remaining as of Monday night, according to an agency spokesman. That translates to about 65 people, given that it takes about two tests per person to diagnose the disease."
In the absence of accurate information I think state officials should assume the worst to protect people. Currently they’re using lack of known cases to justify their decisions.
This is a fascinating interview with World Health Organization's Dr. Aylward who recently visited China. He's optimistic about replicating their rapid response:
"China’s counterattack can be replicated, Dr. Aylward said, but it will require speed, money, imagination and political courage."
His take on whether or not to close schools:
Does that imply that closing schools is pointless?

No. That’s still a question mark. If a disease is dangerous, and you see clusters, you have to close schools. We know that causes problems, because as soon as you send kids home, half your work force has to stay home to take care of them. But you don’t take chances with children.
And on the cultural difference between the US and China:
Isn’t all of this impossible in America?

Look, journalists are always saying: “Well, we can’t do this in our country.” There has to be a shift in mind-set to rapid response thinking. Are you just going to throw up your hands? There’s a real moral hazard in that, a judgment call on what you think of your vulnerable populations.

Ask yourself: Can you do the easy stuff? Can you isolate 100 patients? Can you trace 1,000 contacts? If you don’t, this will roar through a community.
I've been reading all the Coronavirus things and this felt like hearing from someone who has seen the future.
Oregon students will not be staying home:
Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill: “Keeping schools open is the best option for our state and, most importantly, for our students. Our safety efforts should focus on practicing good hygiene, staying home when we are not feeling well, and cleaning surfaces in our schools. We can all play a part with these simple steps to protect ourselves and our friends, classmates and community.”
It sounds like the justification is that there are no existing cases. We also have a very low testing capacity in Oregon right now, so.
Business Insider
Preparing for the worst:
In particular, the slide points out that hospitals should prepare for an impact to the system that's 10 times a severe flu season.
Strain on the health system is why we should do everything we can to flatten this curve by slowing transmission.
"The University of Washington said it would move to online classes for its 50,000 students. With colleges nationwide about to empty for spring break, students fear they might not be coming back."
They’re planning to open their campus again March 30th.
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