06 March 2020
Worldwide cases of COVID-19 pass 100,000; the first east coast deaths occur in Florida; patients test positive in 10 new states.
[Updated] Worldwide, the number of of COVID-19 cases has passed 100,000. In Florida, two individuals who had recently engaged in international travel have died. Patients have now tested positive in 28 states, with the addition of Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah on Friday.
And it’s quite possible that ~2-6 billion people around the globe could have become infected with COVID-19 sometime in July. Of this year. More on that from Liz Specht, below.
In Washington, King County (Seattle) has 58 positive cases; Snohomish County (Everett) has 19 positive cases; and Grant (eastern Washington) and Jefferson (the western peninsula) counties each have one. Also, two additional eldercare facilities have patients with symptoms.
We need to talk about math for a moment.
Math helps illustrate why containment is important. When we can slow the progression of the disease — by limiting travel and time spent in large crowds; by staying home when sick; by honoring isolation after testing positive — we reduce the risk of excess stress on medical facilities and staff.
Image: @itvpreston via _rospearce with The Economist
Liz Specht, associate director of science and technology at The Good Food Institute, explains exponential growth like this. If we assume that on Friday, March 6, that there are 2,000 current cases in the US today (a conservative estimate), what happens when the case numbers double every six days (estimate based on several epidemiological studies)?
That means by the end of April, there would be 1 million cases.
By May 5, 2 million. By May 11, 4 million.
This is what happens with a population that is immunologically “naive.”
Trevor Bedford, a scientist at Fred Hutchinson Research Center in Seattle, illustrates the possible exponential growth from one strain of the virus in Seattle from February 1 to March 15.
Specht continues: if 10 percent of those cases require hospitalization (that’s Italy’s experience), “by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled.”
And as the health care system becomes “increasingly burdened,” look for shortages in medicines, saline drips, other supplies. The result: “people w/ chronic conditions that are normally well-managed may find themselves slipping into severe states of medical distress requiring intensive care & hospitalization.” Further stressing the system.
Even if your personal risk of death is very, very low, don’t mock decisions like canceling events or closing workplaces as undue “panic”. These measures are the bare minimum we should be doing to try to shift the peak – to slow the rise in cases so that healthcare systems are less overwhelmed. Each day that we can delay an extra case is a big win for the HC system… This is not some hypothetical, fear-mongering, worst-case scenario. This is reality, as far as anyone can tell with the current available data.
That’s why we need to focus on containment. That’s why major organizations in the greater Seattle area have imposed work- or study-from-home measures this week: slow the spread to reduce the peak load on our health care system.
From the CDC: if you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:
Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
Tell your doctor about any recent travel and your symptoms.
Avoid contact with others.
Around the country; Politics, economics and COVID-19; Global news; Case count (domestic and global); What you can do; and Resources
Around the country
After the University of North Carolina expanded its restriction on University-affiliated travel (abroad and domestic) early Friday, other institutions followed. Harvard is prohibiting all official international and non-essential domestic University air travel.
Colleges and universities are shifting the learning environment from the classroom to online. The University of Washington, with approximately 59,000 students on three campuses, announced Friday that the final two weeks of winter quarter will take place online. On Friday, a UW staff member received a presumptive positive result of the test.
Universities are also evaluating study abroad programs. The new case in Illinois is a junior at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee who tested positive when he returned to his hometown, Chicago, after studying abroad in Italy.
Division from work on campuses to work-from-home disrupts the livelihoods of all those who keep the bricks and mortar functional. In Washington, Amazon, Google and Facebook have joined Microsoft and announced they would pay hourly workers regular wages “despite a potential decreased need for services.”
Texas announced five new cases on Thursday: four in Harris County (one is in Houston) and another in Fort Bend County. On Friday evening, the Houston Chronicle reported eight cases in the Houston area; neither the county nor state websites confirm the report. However, Houston confirmed one new case.
Politics, economics and COVID-19
On Friday, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill for COVID-19 response. The Senate passed the measure 96-1 on Thursday. The House passed (415-2) the bill on Wednesday.
Travel continues to be affected: the Austin TX South by Southwest festival has been canceled; Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon has been postponed; and the Vancouver, BC TED conference will either be postponed or go forward in April as a digital event. In Ohio. Techmeme is reporting COVID-19-related updates on its tech event calendar. USA Today has a tally of canceled events.
The number of affected countries jumped up from 29 last week to 88 today. Although early reports tied the outbreak to a seafood (“wet”) market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data suggest that the virus may have developed elsewhere.
Milan is a ghost town, and 12 employees on a Nile River cruise ship en route from Aswan to Luxor, Egypt have tested positive for COVID-19. The Egyptian workers are asymptomatic.
Tests are becoming more widely available as states labs implement testing. Scientists point out that where there are two confirmed cases or where the first case is severe, there are many more people walking the streets, unaware that they are carriers. There is a lag between the period of contagion and showing symptoms.
06 March, domestic
Nationally there are a total of 164 cases according to the CDC and 338 cases according to Johns Hopkins. Twenty-eight states are reporting 284 cases. Links are to news stories or official government websites. Infographic.
Arizona: 2 cases
California: 69 cases (24 are from repatriation flights), 1 death
Colorado: 8 cases
Florida: 4 cases
Georgia: 3 cases
Hawaii: 1 case
Illinois: 5 cases
Indiana: 1 case
Kentucky: 1 case
Maryland: 3 cases
Massachusetts: 7 cases
Minnesota: 1 case
Nebraska: 16 cases (15 from repatriation flights)
New Hampshire: 2 cases
New York: 44 cases
Nevada: 1 case
New Jersey: 4 cases
North Carolina: 2 cases
Oklahoma: 1 case
Oregon: 3 cases
Pennsylvania: 2 cases
Rhode Island: 3 cases
South Carolina: 2 cases
Tennessee: 1 case
Texas: 17 cases (11 from repatriation flights)
Utah: 1 case
Washington: 79 cases, 12 deaths
Wisconsin: 1 case
05 March, global
Globally: 98,192 confirmed, (2873 new)
China: 80,711 confirmed (146 new), 3045 deaths (30 new)
Outside of China: 17,481 confirmed (2727 new) with 335 deaths (69 new) in 88 Countries/territories/ areas (4 new)
Global confirmed: 102,188
Total deaths: 3,491
Total recovered: 57,422
Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard
What you can do
Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
Stay home when sick.
Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
Don’t stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks as they are needed by health care staff. When is a mask is needed? When we are unwell and have to go out.
Tips via Seattle-King County Public Health