COVID-19 day 230: 📈 85% of US adults now wear masks “all or most of the time”, up from 65% : 06 September 2020

Our seven-day average hasn’t been below 10,000 since 25 March; about half of new cases are now in counties that voted for Trump; India has passed Brazil to become the number two in cases behind the US

Sunday was day 230 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. This report is dated Sunday and contains detailed data from Friday. But you’re reading it Monday (at the earliest), so happy Labor Day to US readers!

For the third consecutive week, the daily increase in both the cases and deaths in the US have stayed below 1.0% each day. We account for 23% of the world’s reported cases and 21% of the deaths, and yet we are only 4% of the world’s population.

On Sunday, India passed Brazil to become the number two-in-cases country, behind the US. However, in terms of cases and deaths per 100,000, there is no comparison: US (1,896 cases, 57 deaths); India (305 cases, 5 deaths); and Brazil (1,947 cases, 60 deaths).

About that quote: This is not the first time that Dr. Fauci has stated the need to get daily cases down to 10,000 per day. The seven-day average hasn’t been below 10,000 cases since 25 March (8,855). It hasn’t been below 20,000 since 30 March. On 16 June, it was 21,458; it was 40,940 on Friday.

Fauci’s words fall on deaf ears.

Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has extended its lockdown by two weeks until at least 28 September. If the daily average number of cases are between 30 and 50, the city will then enter stage three of restrictions. There were only four US states with 50 or fewer new cases on Friday: Wyoming, 50 (pop. 579,000); New Hampshire, 21 (pop. 1.4 million); Maine, 15 (pop. 1.3 million); and Vermont, 5 (pop. 624,000). Melbourne’s population is 5 million. Alabama (4.9 million) had 1,108 new cases on Friday; South Carolina (5.1 million) had 1,629 new cases on Friday. The US is not taking COVID-19 seriously.

Sections (no jump links, sorry!)
1, One big thing; 2, Recommendations; 3, Politics, economics & COVID; 4, Key metrics;
5, Resources

⓵ One big thing - not all change is bad

While wandering through a bookstore in Singapore in the early 1990s, I chanced upon The Age of Unreason, business philosopher Charles Handy’s 1989 debut exploration of “discontinuous” change and its impact on work, education and society. Time included it on its 2011 list of the 25 most influential business books but its reach is far broader than “business.”

I’m pretty sure a global pandemic falls under the mantle of “discontinuous” change.

In The Age of Unreason, Handy envisioned a world of flexible work. Yet the business world stubbornly rejected flexibility for information workers until the Pearl Harbor-like push that is COVID-19.

The Internet has steadily freed us from constraints of time and space for many things: shopping, recorded webinars, movies on demand. But companies (and government agencies and nonprofit organizations) have retained their early 20th century fixation on physical presence in an office.

But with offices closed, remote work is becoming the norm. A friend in the Seattle area is working for a Washington, DC nonprofit, doing a job that last year would have probably required her to live (or drop in regularly) on the east coast. Last month, NPR reported that it had received 20,520 applications for 27 (remote) fall internship openings.

Axios reported last month that the round-trip commute in the US was 54 minutes. The freelance platform Upwork “found that those who were working remotely because of COVID-19 were saving an average 49.6 minutes a day.”

For the majority who commuted by car, staying off the roads has saved $758 million a day in time, fuel and health costs, which adds up to more than $90 billion since mid-March.

“Now that many have seen what it can be like without a commute, I don't anticipate most [workers] are eager to rush back to the office,” says Adam Ozimek, Upwork's chief economist.

We might finally get telemedicine. I had my first Zoom-like session with my primary care physician in June, and it was awesome! I don’t know if I would be as thrilled if we did not already have a relationship, but it worked. Again, “no commute” and also no unproductive waiting room time.

One holdup has been state regulations and insurance reimbursement. They, too, have been forced to change. Deloitte: “the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the health care system upside down.” (That was Handy’s advice to leaders in 1989: turn things upside down.)

Zoom may have finally fulfilled the promise of video phone calls. My husband’s siblings are scattered and my father-in-law lives next door; Thursday has become family dinner nights that connect dad, four siblings, and two grandchildren. Standing one hour Zoom session.

My closest college friends are in Georgia and South Carolina. Scattered. We now have a standing Zoom session every-other-Sunday. We could have done this before 2020; COVID-19 was the catalyst.

We aren’t the parents of school-aged children, but many of our friends are. I can’t imagine the worry and stress, especially for folks deemed “essential” workers. As I was putting this to bed, I found an essay from author Maggie Smith, another writer’s attempt to find the “hidden gifts… tucked inside these big changes.”

Certainly there are wide-ranging negative consequences from this global pandemic. But crises are catalysts for innovation. And pausing to document changes that are positive is good for our emotional health.

These AT&T ads from 1993 were wild then. Some of these things have become “more normal” due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. What’s next?

Share ⚡️COVID-19 Memo from a News Hound

⓶ Recommendations

🤓 Recommended reading

▪️A friend is considering flying from Virginia to Washington state in October. My first thought: ‘shouldn’t she quarantine for 14 days after arriving?’ My second: ‘why can’t we be like Japan and have well-thought out quarantine processes and facilities?’

Do you need a COVID-19 test if you plan to travel? Do you still need to quarantine? What to know about the confusing rules. USA Today, 04 September 2020.

▪️Not only has the virus outbreak shifted to red states, “about half of new cases are also in counties that voted for Trump.”

Seven in 10 new coronavirus cases are emerging in red states. Washington Post, 03 September 2020.

▪️Op-ed round-up

🔬 Research and medical news

🎦 Recommended viewing

KHN Midwest editor and correspondent Laura Ungar appeared on Spectrum News Bay News 9 to discuss her recent investigation with The Associated Press on how Florida slashed its local health departments — downsizing staffing from 12,422 full-time equivalent workers in 2010 to 9,125 in 2019 and cutting spending from $57 to $34 per resident over that period. The staffing and funding fell faster and further in the Sunshine State than the nation, leaving Florida especially unprepared for the worst health crisis in a century.

Florida Gutted Its Public Health System Ahead of Pandemic. KHN, 02 September 2020

We consider how differences in COVID-19 epidemiological indicators, state capacity, and partisan politics affect when states adopted broad mask mandates. The most important predictor is whether a state is led by a Republican governor. 

Governor partisanship explains the adoption of statewide mandates to wear face coverings. medRxiv, 02 September.

“There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak” could be ready before the end of October, [Dr. Moncef Slaoui] said… “I think it's extremely unlikely but not impossible.”

Top Adviser To Operation Warp Speed Calls An October Vaccine 'Extremely Unlikely'. NPR, 03 September 2020.

⓷ Politics, economics and COVID-19

📣If you were wondering about the latest UW Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast of 410,000 deaths by year’s end, you might want to read this deconstruction from Joshua Salomon, a professor at Stanford. In short: an assumption of seasonality. Like influenza. Which it isn’t.

✈️Although masks have been required since 20 April 2020, Transport Canada has only now fined two airline passengers for refusing to wear face masks on board an airplane. The penalty: $1,000 each.

Mask-wearing increased substantially across the US from June to August, with 85% of adults telling Pew researchers that they had done so “all or most of the time” when surveyed in August. In June, it was 65%.

🦠 The FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization to Roche “for a test to quickly detect whether a patient has SARS-CoV-2 or one of two forms of influenza.”

❌ The British Public Health agency reported 2,998 new cases on Sunday, the most since late May. “It’s a massive jump,” said Christina Pagel, a professor of operational research at University College London. 

Israel has announced overnight curfews, which take effect Monday night at 7 p.m., on 40 cities and towns hit hard by the virus.

🆘The FBI - and the University of Washington - is warning COVID-19 researchers to be on the watch for suspicious packages.

⓸ Key metrics

🦠 Friday, Johns Hopkins reported 6,200,518 (50,502 new) cases and 187,755 (965 new) deaths, an increase of 0.82% and 0.52%, respectively, since Thursday. A week ago, the daily numbers increased by 0.79% and 0.54%, respectively.

  • Friday
    - cases are 🔺23% compared to seven-day average; deaths 🔺13%
    - seven-day average: 40,940 cases and 851 deaths 
    - 3.03% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 187.3 per 10,000; death rate, 5.7 per 10,000

  • One week ago
    - cases are 🔺11% compared to seven-day average; deaths 🔺6%
    - seven-day average: 41,629 cases and 920 deaths 
    - 3.07% cases leading to death
    - case rate, 178.7 per 10,000; death rate, 5.5 per 10,000

Note: the seven-day average is important because dailies vary due to factors other than actual case numbers, particularly over a weekend.

🇺🇸 04 September 

  • CDC: 6,132,074 (44,671 new) cases & 186,173 (1,081 new) deaths
    One week ago: 5,845,876 (46,830 new) cases & 180,165 (1,167 new) deaths

  • State data*:  6,170,471 (52,465 new) cases & 179,763 (904 new) deaths
    One week ago: 5,884,053 (45,119 new) cases & 173,754 (1,007 new) deaths
    KS reports only M-W-F; CT and RI report only M-F

  • WHO: 6,050,444 (39,402 new) cases & 184,614 (1,004 new) deaths
    One week ago: 5,765,325 (45,484 new) cases and & 178,561 (1,229 new) deaths

🌎 04 September 

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (11.00 pm Pacific)

  • Global: 26,609,482 (304,626 new) cases & 874,369 (5,636 new) deaths
    One week ago: 24,734,448 (281,819 new) cases & 837,124 (5,538 new) deaths

* Johns Hopkins data, ~11.00 pm Pacific.
State data include DC, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

The virus was not created in a lab and the weight of evidence is that it was not released intentionallyAlthough early reports tied the outbreak to a market in Wuhan, China, analyses of genomic data have suggested that the virusdeveloped elsewhere.

⓹ Resources

👓 See COVID-19 resource collection at WiredPen.
📝 Subscribe to Kathy’s COVID-19 Memo :: COVID-19 Memo archives
🦠 COVID-19 @ WiredPen.com
📊 Visualizations: USWorld
🌐 Global news (at WiredPen)

👏🏻 Thank you for your time!
📣 Please spread the word about the newsletter.