COVID-19 day 75 : 📈 312,237 cases; 8,502 deaths : 04 April 2020

Financial Times calls for wealth taxes and basic income to be "be in the mix" to "forge a society that will work for all"; Trump speculates about Easter again and wants football back on schedule

It’s day 75 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. I avoid partisan politics but I must address President Trump’s statements made Saturday. They are below, in Section 3, politics.

Despite numerous comparisons of New York to Italy, New York looks nothing like Italy as you can see from this chart. Neither does New Jersey. Both states have a case load per 100,000 that is dramatically greater than any European country. We can only hope that the our fatality rate stays more in line with Switzerland, which is also anomalous.

Nationally, we have tested fewer than 1 percent of the total population. New York has tested almost 300,000, but that is only 1.5 percent of the state’s population.

Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 312,237 (277,965) cases and 8,502 (7,159) deaths in the US, an increase of 12.3 and 18.6 percent, respectively, since Friday.

  • That case rate is 94 per 100,000; the death rate is 25.69 per million. 

  • One week ago, the case rate was 38 per 100,000, and the death rate, 6.62 per million.

Globally, more than 64,700 people have died from COVID-19 and 1.2 million have been infected. And a quarter of a million have recovered.

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What happens when we come out of this “funny state of limbo” that I described yesterday?

I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about the need to seriously examine universal basic income policies in the light of this crisis. Until now, the driver of that conversation has been technological disruption: jobs that vanish due to automation, never to return.

On Saturday, as though I had conjured it, the Financial Times (think of it as the Wall Street Journal of Europe) wrote an editorial entitled Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract:

Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix (emphasis added) [in order to] forge a society that will work for all.

Let the record show that the FT has been instrumental in shaping those policies of the last four decades, being a staunch support of both Thatcher and Reagan.

[Read in your browser]

🤓Recommended reading

I think everyone should read (probably more than once) these two essays (one long-form).

[T]he reality-based, science-friendly communities and information sources many of us depend on also largely failed… We were hampered by our inability to think about second- and third-order effects and by our susceptibility to scientism—the false comfort of assuming that numbers and percentages give us a solid empirical basis. We failed to understand that complex systems defy simplistic reductionism….

There was coverage of the coronavirus, but we did not have what we desperately needed: the clear and loud warning that a tsunami was about to land on our shores, and that we needed to start getting ready, immediately. 

A quarter of all U.S. workers have no access to paid sick leave. Work-from-home options are slim, but many can’t afford not to work. Among workers at the bottom 10th of the earnings distribution, only 31% have paid sick leave. For comparison, 94% of the top 10% of earners have paid sick leave…

How did we get here? Since the late 1970s, executives have prioritized boosting dividends for shareholders over protecting their employees, whose work has been outsourced, digitized, and downsized. 

💃🏼Life hack

Both the CDC and WHO now recommend we wear masks. The recommendation is not unanimous. There’s a right and wrong way to put on and take off a mask (I’ve not been doing it 100 percent correctly).

If you want to make reusable masks, the Washington Post has guidance on material and patterns shared by hospitals. The surprising recommendation: car shop towels (by the man who invented the N95 mask).

Of course, there’s a grassroots group with patterns and summary of collective wisdom. Volunteer!

🌐Global news:
Financial Times / New Straits Times / New York Times / South China Morning Post / The Age / The Globe and Mail / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post  // ABC News (Australia) / ABC News (US) / BBC News / CBC / CBS News / CNBC / CNN / C-SPAN /  NBC News  // CIDRAP / STAT News

⓵ Around the country

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have identified COVID-19 cases. The only state with no reported deaths remains Wyoming.

⓶ Around the world

The number of affected countries/territories/areas jumped from 29 at the end of February to 203 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.

⓷ Politics, economics and COVID-19

About the US policy to prevent a COVID-19 epidemic by stopping people from entering the country from China: 430,000 had traveled from China to U.S. after coronavirus surfaced. This is a meticulously detailed New York Times analysis:

The bulk of the passengers, who were of multiple nationalities, arrived in January, at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Newark and Detroit. Thousands of them flew directly from Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, as American public health officials were only beginning to assess the risks to the United States.

We didn’t yet know that people could spread the disease while being asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.

On Saturday, President Trump again expressed impatience with the physical distancing process which has helped slow the rate of growth of coronavirus.

The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We've got to get our country open.

Not a new refrain. But the opposite of (a) what China and South Korea have done to contain the outbreak (China has still not returned to full employment) and (b) what Trump’s own advisors have told him and the public.

Trump is running a 360 loop on Easter, and we’re back at the beginning. He talked about easing guidelines again. "We are going to be back to good health soon in my opinion. We are making a lot of progress." In Europe, countries are looking at extending lockdowns.

ESPN reported that Trump wants football to start on time in August-September. That would mean training would begin … when? Cities that risk a return to “normalcy” this soon may find themselves in a situation like Philadelphia during the 1918 flu.

You know, they want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice clean, beautiful fresh air …. I can't tell you a date, but I think it's going to be sooner rather than later.

⓸ Case count

There is a lag between being contagious and showing symptoms, between having a test and getting its results. The virus was not created in a lab.

🌎 04 April 

WHO Situation report, 75

  • Globally: 1,051,635 confirmed (79,332 new) with 56,985 deaths (6,664 new)

  • The Americas: 279,543 confirmed (32,070 new) with 6,802 deaths (1,202 new)

Johns Hopkins interactive dashboard (11.30 pm Pacific)

  • Global confirmed: 1,203,923

  • Total deaths: 64,795

  • Total recovered: 247,273

🇺🇸 04 April 

  • CDC: 277,205 cases and 6,593 deaths

  • Johns Hopkins*: 312,237 (277,965) cases and 8,502 (7,159) deaths 

  • State data*: 307,913 identified cases and 8,381 deaths 

View infographic and data online: total cases, cases/100,000 and deaths/million.

* Johns Hopkins data, 11 pm Pacific.
State data include DC, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

See US (state/territory) total cases, cases/100,000 and deaths/million as infographics.

⓹ What you can do


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