22 March 2020 : COVID-19 News

Italy leads the world in total number of deaths and deaths per million; 183 of 195 countries have identified patients; Rand Paul is the 1st US Senator to test positive; no that's not Sophie Trudeau

It’s day 62 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. Johns Hopkins reports 417 deaths, an increase of 22.6 percent from Saturday. State departments of health report 32,505 identified cases, an increase of 35.2 percent.

The US remains behind China (81,439) and Italy (59,138) in total identified cases. In Italy, coronavirus deaths have topped 5,470. However, the relevant numbers are these:

Italy: 90.53 deaths/million and 978 cases/million
Spain: 37.9 deaths/million and 612 cases/million
Iran: 20.13 deaths/million and 259 cases/million
Switzerland: 11.32 deaths/million and 810 cases/million
The Netherlands: 10.5 deaths/million and 246 cases/million

In contrast, the reported death rate per million people in China is only 2.32. In the US, the rate is currently 1.26 deaths per million.

All of these countries have a population density far greater than that of the United States. For Italy, that’s 206 people/kilometer. Density is a fraction of that in the US: 36/km.

New York now leads the United States in total deaths (117) with Washington following with 95. However, the relevant numbers are these:

Washington: 12.18 deaths/million and 256 cases/million
New York: 6.02 deaths/million and 812 cases/million

New York is far more densely populated than Washington (421/square mile versus 114), which helps explain the case rate. The virus was identified in Washington before New York, helping explain the death rate given the lag between exposure and symptoms, and symptoms and hospitalization/death.

Governor Andrew Cuomo expects to see the number of patients peak in about 45 days.

President Trump announced that USNS Mercy would be stationed outside of Los Angeles soon as an auxiliary hospital. The USNS Comfort will dock in New York City in mid- to late-April. Each can house up to a thousand hospital beds.

Trump has activated the National Guard in California, New York, and Washington, at the request of the governors. Washington state will get field hospital support.

A viral video of a woman hospitalized with COVID-19 that is circulating on Facebook is not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife.

Recommended reading

If you’re on Twitter, follow Carl, he’s a UW professor and his book Calling Bullshit will be published Aug 4th.

Recommended watching

I’m plugging Pandemic again, for all the Netflix subscribers. It’s a documentary series and extremely well done.

Around the country

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have identified COVID-19 cases. The 417 known deaths are from 33 states plus the District of Columbia as well as from Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Grand Princess.

Harvey Weinstein, 68, is reportedly one of two prisoners who have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York. A high profile inmate might bring attention to the challenges of managing an epidemic in a correctional institution.

California officials also reported their first case of coronavirus in the prison system.

Louisiana and Ohio have issued stay-at-home orders for the entire state.

Politics, economics and COVID-19

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced on Sunday that he had contracted COVID-19. Paul, 57, had not self-isolated while awaiting test results, which is the CDC recommendation, even if you are asymptomatic. His behavior was irresponsible; nearly half of the Senate is 65 or older.

Mr. Paul had been informed last weekend that he had attended a fund-raiser in Kentucky with two individuals who later tested positive for Covid-19, a warning that sent a handful of other prominent elected officials into self-quarantine out of caution.

In contrast, chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), had self-quarantined for two weeks while waiting for test results, which were negative.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) have also tested positive. “McAdams said in a statement on Sunday that he had been hospitalized and given oxygen over the weekend, but that his condition had stabilized.”

Paul’s behavior was irresponsible; about half of the Senate is 65 or older. Both Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) have begun self-quarantine per CDC recommendations because they had recently been in close contact with Paul.

A U.S. Secret Service employee has tested positive.

Can we learn from Italy, and shift away from hospitals to in-home care?

“Managing patients at home is a brilliant thing,” Cereda said, and one that could be augmented by mobile clinics and telemedicine. “Bring them nutrition, measure their oxygen levels, even bring them oxygen, and you can probably keep many of them at home. This is what we mean by moving from patient-centered medicine: Of course you still care for and care about the patient, but you also think about the population as a whole. That change would decrease transmission and protect other patients as well as health care workers.”

And yet the former Goldman Sachs thinks “low risk” people should go back to work (clueless people should sit on their hands). Moreover, the US has not instituted anything approaching “extreme measures.” The tweet was “ratioed” - it has 1.8K replies compared with 816 retweets.

Global news

The number of affected countries jumped from 29 at the end of February to 183 today. There are 195 countries in the world. 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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 65, will self-quarantine after receiving a pneumococcal vaccination on Friday from a doctor who has subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

Canada is urging the Olympic Committee to postpone the games until 2021 and announced it will not participate if the summer games are held this year in Japan. Neither will Australia.

Global lockdowns: New Zealand will be in complete lockdown within 48 hours; some grocery stores are limiting customers to 10 at a time. Saudi Arabia has imposed an evening curfew, and Indonesia has declared a State of emergency. In the UAE, a shut-down is starting with a prohibition on eating out (take-out only) and malls will be shuttered in 48 hours.

Australia refused to allow a cruise ship to dock and has gone into lockdown. Hong Kong will ban all tourists to the city beginning Wednesday.

More than 1 billion people in India were asked to stay home on 22 March; some parts of the country will be locked down Monday.

Don’t violate bans in Dubai:

Case count

Tests are becoming much more widely available. There is a lag between being contagious and showing symptoms. The virus was not created in a lab.

22 March, global

  • Globally: 292,142 confirmed (26,069 new) with 12,784 deaths (1,600 new)

  • Regions of the Americas: 19,685 confirmed (808 new) with 252 deaths (17 new)

WHO Situation report, 62

  • Global confirmed: 339,035

  • Total deaths: 14,705

  • Total recovered: 98,799

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (10 pm Pacific)

22 March, domestic

Nationally* there are a total of 15,219 cases and 201 deaths according to the CDC, (updated Friday 20 March) and 35,211 (26,747) cases and 417 (340) deaths according to Johns Hopkins (11.50 pm, Pacific) All 50 states plus DC are reporting 32,505 (24,043)  identified cases. View infographic and data online.

*CDC and Johns Hopkins data include Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands

What you can do

  1. Stay home when sick. 

  2. Stay home as much as possible, period. 

  3. Avoid crowded places.

What do to when you or a loved one feels sick

Digestive problems may be a symptom.


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