CORONOVIRUS TRACKING Links to Parts 1-41

CORONOVIRUS TRACKING

Links to Parts 1-41

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands?®

http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/

Curated Contemporaneous Case Study Methodology

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.

https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/jonathan-m-metsch

PART 1. January 21, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of a deadly new coronavirus that has killed six people in China.”

PART 2. January 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic..”….. “With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of states, public health officials say it is only a matter of time before the virus appears in New York City.”

PART3. February 3, 2020. “The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe…”..Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the flu-like virus …We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down..” (D)

PART 4. February 9, 2020. Coronavirus. “A study published Friday in JAMA found that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, China, were presumed to be infected in that hospital.….

PART 5. February 12, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “In short, shoe-leather public health and basic medical care—not miracle drugs—are generally what stop outbreaks of emerging infections..”

POST 6. February 18, 2020.  Coronovirus. “Amid assurances that the (ocean liner) Westerdam was disease free, hundreds of people disembarked in Cambodia…” “ One was later found to be infected”…. “Over 1,000… passengers were in…transit home”…. “This could be a turning point””

PART 7. February 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. With SARS preparedness underway in NJ LibertyHealth/ Jersey City Medical Center, where I was President, proposed that our 100 bed community hospital with all single-bedded rooms, be immediately transformed into an EMERGENCY SARS ISOLATION Hospital.

PART 8. February 24, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…every country’s top priority should be to protect its health care workers. This is partly to ensure that hospitals themselves do not become sites where the coronavirus is spread more than it is contained.”

PART 9. February 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Responding to a question about the likelihood of a U.S. outbreak, President Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable…”It probably will. It possibly will,” he continued. “It could be at a very small level, or it could be at a larger level.”

Part 10. March 1, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Stop Surprise Medical Bills for Coronavirus care. (&) Lessons Learned (or not) In California and Washington State from community acquired cases.

PART 11. March 5, 2020.  CORONAVIRUS. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo… would require employers to pay workers and protect their jobs if they are quarantined because of the coronavirus.”

Part 12. March 10, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Tom Bossert, Donald Trump’s former homeland security advisor…(said) that due to the coronavirus outbreak, “We are 10 days from the hospitals getting creamed.”

Part 13.. March 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If I’m buying real estate in New York, I’ll listen to the President….If I’m asking about infectious diseases, I’m going to listen to Tony Fauci,”

PART 14. March 17, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “ “Most physicians have never seen this level of angst and anxiety in their careers”…. One said “I am sort of a pariah in my family.”

PART 15. March 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration….in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

PART 16. March 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. I am not a clinician or a medical ethicist but articles on Coronavirus patient triage started me Googling………to learn about FUTILE TREATMENT

PART 17. April 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Florida allows churches to continue holding services. Gun stores deemed “essential.”  “New York’s private and public hospitals unite to manage patient load and share resources.

PART 18. April 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The federal government’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments, administration staff told a House panel.

PART 19. April 13, 2020 CORONOAVIRUS. “…overlooked in the United States’ halting mobilization against the novel coronavirus: the personal aides, hospice attendants, nurses and occupational or physical therapists who deliver medical or support services to patients in their homes.”

PART 20. April 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…nothing is mentioned in the “Opening Up America Again” plan about how states should handle a resurgence.”

PART 21. April 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “We need to ask, are we using ventilators in a way that makes sense for other diseases but not this one?”

POST 22. April 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ..the “ACS released a list of 10 issues that should be addressed before a healthcare organization resumes elective surgeries[JM1] ….”

POST 23. May 3, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. … what Dr. Fauci really wants,…”is just to go to a baseball game. That will have to wait. The level of testing for the virus is not adequate enough to allow for such mass gatherings.’ (K)

POST 24. May 7, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “there are going to be deaths no matter what”… but that people needed to get back to work.

POST 25. May 10, 2020, CORONAVIRUS. “It is scary to go to work,” said Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to the president. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing.”

POST 26. May 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS, “Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept”….”there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus”

POST 27. May 19, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Hospital…executives…are taking pay cuts…to help offset the financial fallout from COVID-19.” As “front line” layoffs and furloughs accelerate…

POST 28. May 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ““You’ve got to be kidding me,”..”How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.” CDC conflates viral and antibody tests numbers.

PART 29. May 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” (Governor Cuomo). But not so for frontline workers!

POST 30. June 3,202. CORONAVIRUS. “The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus, experts say….

POST 31. June 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “I think we had an unintended consequence: I think we made people afraid to come back to the hospital,”

Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”?  “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”

POST 33. June 21, 2002. CORONAVIRUS….. Smashing (lowering the daily number of cases) v. flattening the curve (maintaining a plateau)

POST 34. June 26, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. CDC Director Redfield… “the number of coronavirus infections…could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count — a total of more than 20 million.” As Florida, Texas and Arizona become eipicenters!

POST 35. June 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Pence: “We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives..”  While Dr. Fauci “warned that outbreaks in the South and West could engulf the country…”

POST 36. July 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “There’s just a handful of interventions proven to curb the spread of the coronavirus. One of them is contact tracing, and “it’s not going well,” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)..

POST 37. June 8, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. When “crews arrive at a hospital with a patient suspected of having COVID-19, the hospital may have a physical bed open for them, but not enough nurses or doctors to staff it.”

POST 38. July 15, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Some Lessons Learned, or not. AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw: I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a healthcare CEO — based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe,” (M)

POST 39. July, 23,2020. CORONAVIRUS. A Tale of Two Cities. Seattle becomes New York (rolls back reopening) while New York becomes Seattle (moves to partial phase 4 reopening)

POST 40. July 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS.” One canon of medical practice is that you order a test only if you can act on the result. And with a turnaround time of a week or two, you cannot. What we have now is often not testing — it’s testing theater.”

POST 41. August 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Whenever a vaccine for the coronavirus becomes available, one thing is virtually certain: There won’t be enough to go around. That means there will be rationing.”

August 2, 2020


 [JM1]

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POST 40. July 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS.” One canon of medical practice is that you order a test only if you can act on the result. And with a turnaround time of a week or two, you cannot. What we have now is often not testing — it’s testing theater.”

“MLB and the NBA are getting coronavirus test results quickly and frequently. Some say that’s a problem in places where the results are sometimes so slow that they are worthless.”

to read POSTS 1-40 in chronological order, highlight and click on

“Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with Covid. I know it isn’t popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently; we had to wait 5 to 7 days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents, but was told she didn’t qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic.” Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. (P)

“President Trump has used increased coronavirus testing as an explanation for the surge in case counts across the U.S.

“If we didn’t test, you wouldn’t be able to show that chart,” Trump said in response to a question from Chris Wallace about rising U.S. Covid-19 cases in a Fox News interview that aired on July 19. “If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.”

But a CNBC analysis of testing data found that even as the U.S. has increased its testing capacity, cases of the virus are being found at a higher rate, a pattern that contradicts what epidemiologists say should be happening as a country gets a pandemic under control.

“That claim is patently false,” said Dr. Yonatan Grad, a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard, in response to the idea that increased testing explains the recent outbreak. “It is at best misleading, and at worst intentionally subverting public health responses.”

In interviews with CNBC, epidemiologists pointed to the “percentage of positive tests” as a way to understand whether the growth in U.S. coronavirus cases is due solely to increased testing. When coronavirus tests are in short supply, only the sickest individuals are typically tested, causing the share of positive tests out of total tests to be high. But as more tests become available, those with mild or no symptoms — who are less likely to have Covid-19 — are able to get tests, which would lead to a lower positivity rate if the virus were not spreading.

The percentage of positive tests in the U.S. has increased from 5.4% on Memorial Day to 8.6% on July 23, according to a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project. Daily testing nationwide has nearly doubled over that period, from an average of 410,000 daily tests performed on May 25 to more than 775,000 daily tests as of July 23. To account for daily reporting fluctuations, CNBC’s analysis used a seven-day average of cases and tests to calculate percent positive rates…

“If the disease was not spreading and you were increasing testing, then the fraction positive should stay stable or go down,” Dr. Grad told CNBC. “But in fact we’re seeing that the fraction of tests that are positive is going up as testing is going up. That is a clear indication that there is increasing spread of the virus.” (R)

“Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19.

At a testing site in New Orleans, a line formed at dawn. But city officials ran out of tests five minutes after the doors opened at 8 a.m., and many people had to be turned away.

In Phoenix, where temperatures have topped 100 degrees, residents have waited in cars for as long as eight hours to get tested.

And in San Antonio and other large cities with mounting caseloads of the virus, officials have reluctantly announced new limits to testing: The demand has grown too great, they say, so only people showing symptoms may now be tested — a return to restrictions that were in place in many parts of the country during earlier days of the virus.

“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In the early months of the nation’s outbreak, testing posed a significant problem, as supplies fell far short and officials raced to understand how to best handle the virus. Since then, the United States has vastly ramped up its testing capability, conducting nearly 15 million tests in June, about three times as many as it had in April. But in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

In many cities, officials said a combination of factors was now fueling the problem: a shortage of certain supplies, backlogs at laboratories that process the tests, and skyrocketing growth of the virus as cases climb in almost 40 states and the nation approaches a grim new milestone of three million total cases.

Fast, widely available testing is crucial to controlling the virus over the long term in the United States, experts say, particularly as the country reopens. With a virus that can spread through asymptomatic people, screening large numbers of people is seen as essential to identifying those who are carrying the virus and helping stop them from spreading it to others….

Many places have been able to overcome some of the supply constraints that defined the earlier days of the outbreak, in part with their own resources. New York City, once faced with severe shortages as an epicenter of the virus, is now testing 30,000 people a day, officials say, an expansion that included the city building its own testing kits and partnering with private labs.

But even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that anyone in New York State who wanted a test could get one, officials in other states have been left seeking a more robust testing system, and setting new limits on who can take one.

“We are too fragmented,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We don’t have a good way to load-balance the system.”” (A)

“The number of people infected with the coronavirus in different parts of the United States was anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the reported rates for those regions, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings suggest that large numbers of people who did not have symptoms or did not seek medical care may have kept the virus circulating in their communities.

The study indicates that even the hardest-hit area in the study — New York City, where nearly one in four people has been exposed to the virus — is nowhere near achieving herd immunity, the level of exposure at which the virus would stop spreading in a particular city or region. Experts believe 60 percent of people in an area would need to have been exposed to the coronavirus to reach herd immunity.

The analysis, based on antibody tests, is the largest of its kind to date; a study of a subset of cities and states was released last month.

“These data continue to show that the number of people who have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far exceeds the number of reported cases,” said Dr. Fiona Havers, the C.D.C. researcher who led the study. “Many of these people likely had no symptoms or mild illness and may have had no idea that they were infected.”

About 40 percent of infected people do not develop symptoms, but they may still pass the virus on to others. The United States now tests roughly 700,000 people a day. The new results highlight the need for much more testing to detect infection levels and contain the viral spread in various parts of the country.” (B)

“The director of the National Institutes for Health said on Sunday that long delays Americans are seeing across the country in getting coronavirus test results is undercutting their usefulness.

“The average test delay is too long,” Dr. Francis Collins said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And that really undercuts the value of the testing, because you do the testing to find out who’s carrying the virus and then quickly get them isolated so they don’t spread it around.”

As Covid-19 continues to surge in the US, some states, labs and public health departments are warning that turnaround times for diagnostic testing have slowed.

The challenges, which stem in part from persistent obstacles in the test supply chain, underscore that while overall US testing capacity has multiplied, the nation’s health system still struggles in some regions to rapidly detect the spread of the virus.

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Despite federal efforts to support testing in some cities and regions, major diagnostic companies said earlier this month that the growing demand for tests has in turn increased average wait times for delivering results. CNN previously reported results can now take an average of four to six days for the general population or in some states like Arizona up to three weeks.

Collins said Sunday that the government must invest in new technologies in order to keep up with the testing demand.”  (C)

“Health workers typically advise their patients to quarantine at home while they await their test results, out of an abundance of caution. To the extent that one can, “The best thing to do is to act as if you’ve been infected” in this interim period, said Olivia Prosper, an infectious disease modeler at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. But the longer people are forced to wait, the more difficult that advice is to follow — and the larger toll their absence from work or family responsibilities can take.

Additionally, negative results can be of little use if they are delivered after too long of a delay. Diagnostic testing, which searches for bits of the coronavirus’s genetic material, can only assess a person’s health status from the time the sample was taken, and can’t account for any subsequent exposures to the virus.

Some have held out hope that new, confirmed coronavirus cases could soon peak in certain states, after which parts of the nation might experience a much-needed respite in infections — as, perhaps, some regions did for much of May. But the duration of that apex, which might actually manifest more like a plateau, can’t be definitively forecast. With many laboratories stretched to or past their limits, a leveling-off in confirmed cases could indicate a slowing in the coronavirus’s spread. Or it could simply reflect a regional ceiling in testing capacity.” (D)

“Testing that takes five days or longer is of little use, researchers from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands reported Thursday in the journal Lancet Public Health.

“In our model, minimizing testing delays had the largest impact on reducing transmission of the virus and testing infrastructure is therefore the most critical factor for the success of a contact tracing system,” Marc Bonten, who helped lead the study, said in a statement.

Contact tracing is considered the gold standard for fighting an epidemic of infectious disease, but it requires testing all people who may be infected, isolating those who are, and then tracking down other people they may have infected and testing and isolating or quarantining them.

For these efforts to actually reduce the spread of the virus, three things need to happen, the researchers said. First, testing must happen on the day a person develops symptoms. Second, contacts must be traced starting the day test results come back. And third, there needs to be 100% tracing coverage.

With a testing delay of more than three days, not even perfect contact tracing could keep the spread of the virus from accelerating.

The researchers considered both conventional and app-based contact tracing methods. Because of their speed, app-based tracing methods were more effective than conventional methods, even with lower contact coverage.

In fact, app technology could keep the viral spread from accelerating even with a delay of up to two days, as long as there was 80% testing and tracing coverage.

Once the testing delay goes over to five or more days, app tracing “adds little effectiveness to conventional contact tracing or just isolation of symptomatic cases,” the researchers wrote.

“This study reinforces findings from other modelling studies, showing that contact tracing can be an effective intervention to prevent spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but only if the proportion of contacts traced is high and the process is fast. “ (E)

“Quest Diagnostics, one of the companies performing a significant amount of the coronavirus testing in the U.S., said Monday that its average turnaround time for test results is at least seven days for most patients.

The announcement illustrates how the spike in coronavirus cases is overwhelming the country’s testing capacity.

The company said Monday that its average time to get coronavirus test results back is now “7 or more days” for everyone except the highest-priority patients, meaning people who are hospitalized or symptomatic health care workers.

Quest said the lagging turnaround times are due to “soaring demand” for coronavirus testing that is overwhelming the company’s capacity.

The rise in demand comes as coronavirus cases are surging in many regions across the country.

“We attribute this demand primarily to the rapid, continuing spread of COVID-19 infections across the nation but particularly in the South, Southwest and West regions of the country,” the company said.

Such long turnaround times greatly hinder the country’s response to the virus by reducing the ability to do contact tracing to identify and warn people who have been in contact with an infected person to cut off further transmission.

With waits this long, someone could unknowingly continue to spread the virus for days after getting tested but before getting their results.

The long turnaround times are not limited to Quest. The American Clinical Laboratory Association, which represents a wide range of commercial labs, warned at the end of June that the “significant increase in demand could extend turnaround times for test results.”” (F)

“The U.S. is testing over 700,000 people per day, up from less than 100,000 in March. Trump administration officials point out that roughly half of U.S. tests are performed on rapid systems that give results in about 15 minutes or in hospitals, which typically process tests in about 24 hours. But last month, that still left some 9 million tests going through laboratories, which have been plagued by limited chemicals, machines and kits to develop COVID-19 tests.

There is no scientific consensus on the rate of testing needed to control the virus in the U.S., which has the most cases and deaths of any nation. But experts have recommended for months that the U.S. test at least 1 million to 3 million people daily.

Health experts assembled by the Rockefeller Foundation said last week that the U.S. should scale up to testing 30 million Americans per week by the fall, when school reopenings and flu season are expected to further exacerbate the virus’ spread. The group acknowledged that their figure will not be possible with the current laboratory-based testing system.

The National Institutes of Health has set up a “shark tank” competition to quickly identify promising rapid tests and has received more than 600 applications. The goal is to have new testing options in mass production by the fall.

Until then, the the backbone of U.S. testing remains at several hundred labs with high-capacity machines capable of processing thousands of samples per day. Many say they could be processing far more tests if not for global shortages of testing chemicals, pipettes and other materials.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says the hospital’s machines are running at just 20% of capacity. Lab technicians run seven different COVID-19 testing formats, switching back and forth depending on the availability of supplies.

At Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, lab workers lobby testing manufacturers on a weekly basis to provide more kits, chemicals and other materials.

“There’s no planning ahead, we just do as many as we can and cross our fingers that we’ll get more,” said Dr. Colleen Kraft, who heads the hospital’s testing lab.” (G)

“Atrium Health is processing coronavirus tests at just 20% to 25% of its capacity due to a national shortage of the chemicals needed to run the test, the Charlotte-based company’s president told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday.

Gene Woods, president and CEO of the not-for-profit system, said Atrium can handle 4,000 coronavirus tests per day with its in-house lab equipment. But they are processing far less than that, he said, “due to the national supply shortage in reagents.”

Reagents are chemicals used in a reaction to detect a substance and are needed in COVID-19 testing to get a positive or negative result.

“We could probably do four times the amount of tests and have close to same-day turnaround, the challenge is reagents and, still in some respects, swabs,” Woods said. “We really need to continue to beef up the supplies of reagents so that we can expedite the testing. That would be our request.”

Nearly five months after the first lab-confirmed coronavirus case in North Carolina, the state is again dealing with long wait times for test results.

The average turnaround time is now closer to six or seven days, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s top health official. That turnaround time was two or three days in June.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said the turnaround time in the county is five to 10 days.” (H)

“Minnesota health officials are worried the state’s robust coronavirus testing capacity could be hampered by an increasingly stressed international medical supply chain.

Just a few weeks ago, Minnesotans were able to get the results of their coronavirus tests within about 24 hours. But now, the wait can be three days or more, delaying when contact tracers can begin investigating new infections.

“Health officials worry the ongoing national spike in cases could further impact Minnesota’s ability to screen for COVID-19 infections and return results quickly. Minnesota has screened on average about 12,000 samples per day since June 1 and is steadily approaching administering 1 million tests since the outbreak began.

The state currently has about 50,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and more than 1,560 COVID-19 deaths.

In some of the hardest hit parts of the U.S., test results can take a week or more — leaving Minnesota officials concerned about what may be on the horizon if supply chains don’t improve. Quick and precise testing is a key way to fight the virus by isolating positive patients so they cannot infect others.

“The faster the turnaround the better,” said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota’s health commissioner. “We are concerned this does have the potential to interfere with our testing capacity.”

Much of Minnesota’s ability to screen for the virus is based on a partnership between the state Department of Health, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and other health care providers. Both the Mayo Clinic and M Health Fairview are reporting wait times for results of about three days.

“Unfortunately, Mayo Clinic is not immune to the shortages we have been seeing nationwide,” said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a professor of clinical microbiology at the Mayo Clinic. “Some of these big manufacturers, with commonly used tests, are not able to deliver what they had agreed to deliver.”…

Dr. Pritt says there already are worrisome national shortages on materials needed to process COVID-19 tests. Large medical suppliers like Roche, Abbott and Hologic rely on the same supply chains to manufacture products and they are swamped with rising demand as cases surge in the U.S. and parts of the world.” (S)

“A recent article by my colleague Keith Collins found that California is one of 34 states that are currently not testing enough and that the state is 34 percent of the level that researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute deemed necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus. By comparison, Vermont and Connecticut are way above, testing over 400 percent of the level above the target set by researchers. Arizona, Florida and Texas make up the bottom three.

And now, backlogs are causing delays in getting test results, so state officials have released new, stricter testing guidelines that will make it much tougher for many Californians who don’t have symptoms to get tested.

To understand how California’s testing performance matches up against other states, I asked Keith, a graphics editor, some questions about his findings and what it means for the Golden State.

According to your article, California is one of 34 states that you found to be below the testing target. What exactly does that mean, and what are the implications?

So California is pretty tricky because it’s so big. It’s in the top 10 in terms of daily tests per 100,000 people, which is pretty good, especially for a state its size. Unfortunately with testing, there’s not a lot of data that’s more granular than the state level so it’s hard to say where in the state testing is the worst.

In terms of the number of people it’s testing every day, it’s doing pretty well. But in terms of the target that Harvard has set as the minimum that a place needs to be doing to mitigate the virus, it’s way behind. It’s only doing 34 percent of that target right now.

How did researchers come up with the target goals in this model?

It’s based on the idea that anyone who has symptoms should be tested and then for anyone who tests positive, 10 of their contacts should also be tested. The idea is that you can’t really have a safe reopening if you’re not able to keep everyone who is sick isolated and that includes people who are asymptomatic. And right now a lot of places are just not testing people who are asymptomatic, at least not in a very concerted way.

These targets try to estimate how many tests you would need to do every day if you were going to identify nearly everyone who has the virus. And that’s going to include a lot of people who are not currently being tested right now.

It looks like there are currently 11 states, including New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts, that are currently meeting their target and six others that are close.

In the article’s charts you can see that a lot of those states only got to that level recently and some of those are trending downward again. Those charts are relative to the target so it can also mean that the target is rising and testing is steady. But New York and New Jersey really ramped up testing because they were hit so hard in the beginning. Still, only in early to mid-June have they started really catching up to that target.

It is a hard target to hit, but it is a conservative estimate. The Harvard researchers say that this target is really just to mitigate the spread of the virus. They have another estimate to suppress the virus. Their suppression target is way higher than this.”  (I)

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday gave emergency use authorization to a coronavirus testing method that could massively ramp up testing capabilities for the country.

The FDA is allowing Quest Diagnostics to test individual samples for coronavirus using a method known as batch testing, which mixes specimens from multiple people and tests the combined sample for coronavirus instead of testing samples one by one.” (J)

“Samples scraped from the back of patients’ noses and throats can now be bundled together and tested for the coronavirus in groups in one of the country’s biggest commercial labs. Quest Diagnostics, which handles tens of thousands of coronavirus tests each day, received authorization for the method, called pooled testing, from the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend.

The strategy helps conserve resources by running multiple tests using the materials usually required for one. It could also help Quest avoid backlogs and move testing along more quickly. Right now, demand for testing is so high that it takes an average of seven days for Quest labs to get results to patients.

However, the strategy can’t clear all testing roadblocks, and it may not work as well in the areas where it’s most needed: outbreak hotspots, where testing resources are stretched the thinnest. In those environments, where a high percentage of tests turn out to be positive, pools don’t end up saving materials — too many are positive, which means more retesting.

“When the positivity rate is high, pooling is not very effective, because you’re splitting apart way too many pools, and it’s just not worth your effort,” says Peter Iwen, director of the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory…

Pooling also doesn’t help once the rate of infections in a community starts ticking up. Iwen had to stop using pooled testing in the Nebraska lab a few weeks back because the percentage of tests that came back positive was too high — above 10 percent. In any random group of four or five tests, there was a high chance that one would be positive. If the positive rate is that high, pooling doesn’t tend to save a significant amount of chemicals or time.

The new instructions for the Quest pooled testing say that, if 13 percent of tests done at a lab are coming back positive, the lab should drop the pool size down to three. If 25 percent of a lab’s tests are coming back positive, they shouldn’t do pooled testing. Virginia and Massachusetts, home to the first Quest labs set to use pooled testing, positivity rate is about 6 and 2 percent, respectively. In Arizona, one of the hardest-hit states, it’s around 24 percent.”  (K)

“But what should the Food and Drug Administration do with a rapid test that is comparatively cheap but much less accurate than the tests currently on the market? A test like that is ready to go up for FDA approval, and some scientists argue it could be valuable despite its shortcomings.

At first blush, you wouldn’t want a medical test to be pushing out untrustworthy results. And that’s certainly the case for a medical diagnosis. But rapid test could be valuable if used to screen large numbers of people for infection repeatedly and frequently.

For example, some of the rapid tests under development don’t detect the virus in a person who is in the early or late stages of infection — they only catch an infection at its peak. Dr. Michael Mina at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that’s OK, under certain circumstances.

“As long as you’re using the test on a pretty frequent basis,” Mina says, “you will be more likely than not to catch the person on the day they might go out and transmit. And they’ll know to stay home.”

To be useful, such tests need to be widely available and affordable, he says. “I envision a time when everyone can order a pack of 50 tests for $50 and have those and use them every other day for a couple of months.”

When it comes to controlling the epidemic, that could be an appealing alternative to the current laboratory-based system, an overburdened process that has become a serious bottleneck. These days, some people are waiting a week or more for results, and by then they have potentially spread the virus to others.

Highly accurate at-home tests are probably many months away. But Mina argues they could be here sooner if the FDA would not demand that tests for the coronavirus meet really high accuracy standards of 80 percent or better.”  (L)

“The White House is trying to block billions of dollars for coronavirus testing and contact tracing in the upcoming stimulus relief bill, two Republican sources told NBC News, even as infections surge across the country and Americans face long wait times to receive test results amid high demand. 

Senate GOP lawmakers, in a break with the administration, are pushing back and trying to keep the money for testing and tracing in the bill, the sources told NBC News. Some White House officials reportedly believe new money shouldn’t be allocated for testing because previous funds remain unspent.

The White House declined CNBC’s request for comment. The Washington Post first reported the news.

The Trump administration also wants to block billions of dollars that would go toward bolstering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pentagon and the State Department to combat the pandemic, The Post reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the deliberations. 

While moving to block testing assistance, the Trump administration is trying to use the legislation to fund priorities unrelated to the pandemic such as a new FBI building, according to the Post.

The White House effort to block funding for testing comes after the administration relied on overly optimistic models which suggested the U.S. moved past the peak of the outbreak in the spring, according to a report in The New York Times. As a result, the administration pushed to reopen the economy and shifted responsibility for responding to the pandemic from the federal government to the states with disastrous results, according to the Times.

President Trump has called coronavirus testing a “double-edged sword” and suggested at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma that officials should slow testing down. White House officials later said Trump was joking.

The Times’ report portrayed a president who feels trapped politically because cases counts inevitably increase as more people are tested, jeopardizing the reopening of the economy and damaging his re-election chances.” (M)

“Nearly four months after the pandemic’s peak, New York City is facing such serious delays in returning coronavirus test results that public health experts are warning that the problems could hinder efforts to reopen the local economy and schools.

Despite repeated pledges from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio that testing would be both widely accessible and effective, thousands of New Yorkers have had to wait a week or more for results, and at some clinics the median wait time is nine days. One prominent local official has even proposed the drastic step of limiting testing.

The delays in New York City are caused in part by the outbreak’s spike in states like California, Florida and Texas, which has strained laboratories across the country and touched off a renewed national testing crisis.

But officials have also been unable to adequately expand the capacity of state and city government laboratories in New York to test rapidly at a time when they are asking more New Yorkers to get tested to guard against a second wave.

The delays limit the ability of public health officials to quickly identify — and isolate — people who are infected while also diminishing the usefulness of New York City’s contact-tracing program. They also can lead to growing blind spots that obscure the extent of the virus’s spread, which could spell trouble as the city tries to reopen.

As a result, some public officials and laboratory executives say New York’s strategy of allowing anyone and everyone who wants a test to get one is unsustainable.” (Q)

“Coronavirus testing in the United States has been bungled in every way imaginable. The latest fiasco is perhaps the most Kafka-esque: Tests are now widely available in many places, but results are often taking so long to come back that it is more or less pointless to get tested.

If it takes up to two weeks to get results, we can’t detect brewing outbreaks and respond with targeted shutdowns. We can’t do meaningful contact tracing. We can’t expect people to stay home from work or school for two weeks while they wait for the result of a screen. We have no way to render early treatment and attention to those who test positive, to try to prevent serious illness. It’s a disaster….

One canon of medical practice is that you order a test only if you can act on the result. And with a turnaround time of a week or two, you cannot. What we have now is often not testing — it’s testing theater.” (N)

“MLB and the NBA are getting coronavirus test results quickly and frequently. Some say that’s a problem in places where the results are sometimes so slow that they are worthless.

Connor Kelley feared he had been exposed to the coronavirus while playing miniature golf at a friend’s birthday party, so he visited a drive-through testing clinic near Orlando, Fla. He was told to expect results in a few days. It took 10 days.

A few miles and hundreds of millions of dollars away, professional athletes are being tested every day. Their results are coming back in less than 24 hours.” (O)

“Federal, state and local officials on Sunday appeared to agree on one thing: Test results are taking too long.

But they gave conflicting assessments of the U.S. response to recent spikes in coronavirus cases, which have severely strained testing nationwide and led to renewed shortages of supplies and weeklong backlogs at major labs.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant health secretary overseeing the national coronavirus testing response, said the country was performing enough testing to “achieve the goals we need to achieve.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Giroir acknowledged that turnaround times were too long. But he asserted that while testing was still not widely available to anyone who wanted it — despite past claims from Mr. Trump that it would be — it was available to those who needed it.

Testing is considered crucial to understanding and stopping the spread of the coronavirus. When turnaround times extend beyond several days, it can render the information useless since those tested may have spread the virus to other people by the time their results are back.

Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief of staff, skirted questions about the administration’s early missteps by suggesting that medical advancements, not masks, would be the only way to end the pandemic. “Hopefully it is American ingenuity that will allow for therapies and vaccines to ultimately conquer this,” he said on the ABC program “This Week.”” (T)

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CORONOVIRUS TRACKING Links to Parts 1-40

CORONOVIRUS TRACKING

Links to Parts 1-40

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands?®

http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/

Curated Contemporaneous Case Study Methodology

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.

https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/jonathan-m-metsch

PART 1. January 21, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of a deadly new coronavirus that has killed six people in China.”

PART 2. January 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic..”….. “With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of states, public health officials say it is only a matter of time before the virus appears in New York City.”

PART3. February 3, 2020. “The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe…”..Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the flu-like virus …We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down..” (D)

PART 4. February 9, 2020. Coronavirus. “A study published Friday in JAMA found that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, China, were presumed to be infected in that hospital.….

PART 5. February 12, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “In short, shoe-leather public health and basic medical care—not miracle drugs—are generally what stop outbreaks of emerging infections..”

POST 6. February 18, 2020.  Coronovirus. “Amid assurances that the (ocean liner) Westerdam was disease free, hundreds of people disembarked in Cambodia…” “ One was later found to be infected”…. “Over 1,000… passengers were in…transit home”…. “This could be a turning point””

PART 7. February 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. With SARS preparedness underway in NJ LibertyHealth/ Jersey City Medical Center, where I was President, proposed that our 100 bed community hospital with all single-bedded rooms, be immediately transformed into an EMERGENCY SARS ISOLATION Hospital.

PART 8. February 24, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…every country’s top priority should be to protect its health care workers. This is partly to ensure that hospitals themselves do not become sites where the coronavirus is spread more than it is contained.”

PART 9. February 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Responding to a question about the likelihood of a U.S. outbreak, President Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable…”It probably will. It possibly will,” he continued. “It could be at a very small level, or it could be at a larger level.”

Part 10. March 1, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Stop Surprise Medical Bills for Coronavirus care. (&) Lessons Learned (or not) In California and Washington State from community acquired cases.

PART 11. March 5, 2020.  CORONAVIRUS. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo… would require employers to pay workers and protect their jobs if they are quarantined because of the coronavirus.”

Part 12. March 10, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Tom Bossert, Donald Trump’s former homeland security advisor…(said) that due to the coronavirus outbreak, “We are 10 days from the hospitals getting creamed.”

Part 13.. March 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If I’m buying real estate in New York, I’ll listen to the President….If I’m asking about infectious diseases, I’m going to listen to Tony Fauci,”

PART 14. March 17, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “ “Most physicians have never seen this level of angst and anxiety in their careers”…. One said “I am sort of a pariah in my family.”

PART 15. March 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration….in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

PART 16. March 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. I am not a clinician or a medical ethicist but articles on Coronavirus patient triage started me Googling………to learn about FUTILE TREATMENT

PART 17. April 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Florida allows churches to continue holding services. Gun stores deemed “essential.”  “New York’s private and public hospitals unite to manage patient load and share resources.

PART 18. April 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The federal government’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments, administration staff told a House panel.

PART 19. April 13, 2020 CORONOAVIRUS. “…overlooked in the United States’ halting mobilization against the novel coronavirus: the personal aides, hospice attendants, nurses and occupational or physical therapists who deliver medical or support services to patients in their homes.”

PART 20. April 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…nothing is mentioned in the “Opening Up America Again” plan about how states should handle a resurgence.”

PART 21. April 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “We need to ask, are we using ventilators in a way that makes sense for other diseases but not this one?”

POST 22. April 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ..the “ACS released a list of 10 issues that should be addressed before a healthcare organization resumes elective surgeries[JM1] ….”

POST 23. May 3, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. … what Dr. Fauci really wants,…”is just to go to a baseball game. That will have to wait. The level of testing for the virus is not adequate enough to allow for such mass gatherings.’ (K)

POST 24. May 7, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “there are going to be deaths no matter what”… but that people needed to get back to work.

POST 25. May 10, 2020, CORONAVIRUS. “It is scary to go to work,” said Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to the president. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing.”

POST 26. May 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS, “Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept”….”there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus”

POST 27. May 19, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Hospital…executives…are taking pay cuts…to help offset the financial fallout from COVID-19.” As “front line” layoffs and furloughs accelerate…

POST 28. May 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ““You’ve got to be kidding me,”..”How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.” CDC conflates viral and antibody tests numbers.

PART 29. May 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” (Governor Cuomo). But not so for frontline workers!

POST 30. June 3,202. CORONAVIRUS. “The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus, experts say….

POST 31. June 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “I think we had an unintended consequence: I think we made people afraid to come back to the hospital,”

Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”?  “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”

POST 33. June 21, 2002. CORONAVIRUS….. Smashing (lowering the daily number of cases) v. flattening the curve (maintaining a plateau)

POST 34. June 26, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. CDC Director Redfield… “the number of coronavirus infections…could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count — a total of more than 20 million.” As Florida, Texas and Arizona become eipicenters!

POST 35. June 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Pence: “We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives..”  While Dr. Fauci “warned that outbreaks in the South and West could engulf the country…”

POST 36. July 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “There’s just a handful of interventions proven to curb the spread of the coronavirus. One of them is contact tracing, and “it’s not going well,” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)..

POST 37. June 8, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. When “crews arrive at a hospital with a patient suspected of having COVID-19, the hospital may have a physical bed open for them, but not enough nurses or doctors to staff it.”

POST 38. July 15, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Some Lessons Learned, or not. AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw: I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a healthcare CEO — based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe,” (M)

POST 39. July, 23,2020. CORONAVIRUS. A Tale of Two Cities. Seattle becomes New York (rolls back reopening) while New York becomes Seattle (moves to partial phase 4 reopening)

POST 40. July 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS.” One canon of medical practice is that you order a test only if you can act on the result. And with a turnaround time of a week or two, you cannot. What we have now is often not testing — it’s testing theater.”

July 27, 2020


 [JM1]

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POST 39. July 23,2020. CORONAVIRUS. A Tale of Two Cities. Seattle becomes New York (rolls back reopening) while New York becomes Seattle (moves to partial phase 4 reopening)

to read POSTS 1-39 in chronological order, highlight and click on

APRIL 26, 2020

“The first diagnosis of the coronavirus in the United States occurred in mid-January, in a Seattle suburb not far from the hospital where Dr. Francis Riedo, an infectious-disease specialist, works. When he heard the patient’s details—a thirty-five-year-old man had walked into an urgent-care clinic with a cough and a slight fever, and told doctors that he’d just returned from Wuhan, China—Riedo said to himself, “It’s begun.”…

Epidemiology is a science of possibilities and persuasion, not of certainties or hard proof. “Being approximately right most of the time is better than being precisely right occasionally,” the Scottish epidemiologist John Cowden wrote, in 2010. “You can only be sure when to act in retrospect.” Epidemiologists must persuade people to upend their lives—to forgo travel and socializing, to submit themselves to blood draws and immunization shots—even when there’s scant evidence that they’re directly at risk…

The lead spokesperson should be a scientist. Dr. Richard Besser, a former acting C.D.C. director and an E.I.S. alumnus, explained to me, “If you have a politician on the stage, there’s a very real risk that half the nation is going to do the opposite of what they say.” During the H1N1 outbreak of 2009—which caused some twelve thousand American deaths, infections in every state, and seven hundred school closings—Besser and his successor at the C.D.C., Dr. Tom Frieden, gave more than a hundred press briefings. President Barack Obama spoke publicly about the outbreak only a few times, and generally limited himself to telling people to heed scientific experts and promising not to let politics distort the government’s response. “The Bush Administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond,” Obama said at the start of the pandemic, and then echoed the sohco by urging families, “Wash your hands when you shake hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. I know it sounds trivial, but it makes a huge difference.” At no time did Obama recommend particular medical treatments, nor did he forecast specifics about when the pandemic would end…

Constantine told me that he understands why politicians “want to be front and center and take the credit.” And he noted that Seattle has many of “the same problems here you see in Congress, with the partisanship and toxicity.” But, he said, “everyone, Republicans and Democrats, came together behind one message and agreed to let the scientists take the lead.”…

Today, Washington State has less than two per cent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. At EvergreenHealth, hospital administrators have stopped daily crisis meetings, because the rate of incoming patients has slowed. They have empty beds and extra ventilators. The administrators remain worried, but are cautiously optimistic. “It feels like we might have stopped the tsunami before it hit,” Riedo told me. “I don’t want to tempt fate, but it seems like it’s working. Which is what makes it so much harder when I look at places like New York.”…

The initial coronavirus outbreaks in New York City emerged at roughly the same time as those in Seattle. But the cities’ experiences with the disease have markedly differed. By the second week of April, Washington State had roughly one recorded fatality per fourteen thousand residents. New York’s rate of death was nearly six times higher.

There are many explanations for this divergence. New York is denser than Seattle and relies more heavily on public transportation, which forces commuters into close contact. In Seattle, efforts at social distancing may have been aided by local attitudes—newcomers are warned of the Seattle Freeze, which one local columnist compared to the popular girl in high school who “always smiles and says hello” but “doesn’t know your name and doesn’t care to.” New Yorkers are in your face, whether you like it or not. (“Stand back at least six feet, playa,” a sign in the window of a Bronx bodega cautioned. “covid-19 is some real shit!”) New York also has more poverty and inequality than Seattle, and more international travellers. Moreover, as Mike Famulare, a senior research scientist at the Institute for Disease Modeling, put it to me, “There’s always some element of good luck and bad luck in a pandemic.”

It’s also true, however, that the cities’ leaders acted and communicated very differently in the early stages of the pandemic. Seattle’s leaders moved fast to persuade people to stay home and follow the scientists’ advice; New York’s leaders, despite having a highly esteemed public-health department, moved more slowly, offered more muddied messages, and let politicians’ voices dominate….

Today, New York City has the same social-distancing policies and business-closure rules as Seattle. But because New York’s recommendations came later than Seattle’s—and because communication was less consistent—it took longer to influence how people behaved. According to data collected by Google from cell phones, nearly a quarter of Seattleites were avoiding their workplaces by March 6th. In New York City, another week passed until an equivalent percentage did the same. Tom Frieden, the former C.D.C. director, has estimated that, if New York had started implementing stay-at-home orders ten days earlier than it did, it might have reduced covid-19 deaths by fifty to eighty per cent. Another former New York City health commissioner told me that “de Blasio was just horrible,” adding, “Maybe it was unintentional, maybe it was his arrogance. But, if you tell people to stay home and then you go to the gym, you can’t really be surprised when people keep going outside.”

More than fifteen thousand people in New York are believed to have died from covid-19. Last week in Washington State, the estimate was fewer than seven hundred people. New Yorkers now hear constant ambulance sirens, which remind them of the invisible viral threat; residents are currently staying home at even higher rates than in Seattle. And de Blasio and Cuomo—even as they continue to squabble over, say, who gets to reopen schools—have become more forceful in their warnings. Rasmussen said, “It seems silly, but all these rules and sohcos and telling people again and again to wash their hands—they make a huge difference. That’s why we study it and teach it.” She continued, “It’s really easy, with the best of intentions, to say the wrong thing or send the wrong message. And then more people die.” (A)

“You relish the little things here in Seattle: Toilet paper is back on some shelves, the hoarders sated for the moment. Instead of making vodka, distilleries are rolling out hand sanitizer. The dreaded daily number of new coronavirus cases shows that while the curve is not yet flat, the rate has gone both down and up on different days this week, carrying our hopes on the bumpy ride.

As for the tally of the dead: Instead of doubling every five days in Washington State, as it was just two weeks ago, now it doubles roughly every nine — a horrific number still, but that movement is in the right direction.

We are not necessarily your city’s future, but a likely version of your future if you do the right thing. Washington State had the first known case of Covid-19 in the United States, on Jan. 19; the first reported death, more than a month after that; and the first full-blown outbreak. We’re well ahead of the rest of the nation in our cycle of denial, panic, action.

Social distancing started early. Testing has been broad, though more help from the federal government is needed. A communal fight or flight instinct has moved into something more settled. Even as the president floats an idea that could sacrifice the elderly to keep Wall Street happy, we take care of our own. We will not throw Grandma from the train.

“There really is no middle ground,” said Bill Gates, whose foundation has put up $100 million to blunt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies in the corner.’ ”

President Trump’s talk of opening the United States for business by Easter is greeted in this precinct of sanity as the heartless bluster of a career con man. The public radio station in Seattle, KUOW, has stopped airing Trump’s live briefings because the volume of misinformation he puts out cannot be corrected in real time.”  (B)

“…on Jan. 15, at the international airport south of Seattle, a 35-year-old man returned from a visit to his family in the Wuhan region. He grabbed his luggage and booked a ride-share to his home north of the city.

The next day, as he went back to his tech job east of Seattle, he felt the first signs of a cough — not a bad one, not enough to send him home. He attended a group lunch with colleagues that week at a seafood restaurant near his office. As his symptoms got worse, he went grocery shopping near his home.

Days later, after the man became the first person in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus, teams from federal, state and local agencies descended to contain the case. Sixty-eight people — the ride-share driver at the airport, the lunchmates at the seafood restaurant, the other patients at the clinic where the man was first seen — were monitored for weeks. To everyone’s relief, none ever tested positive for the virus.

But if the story ended there, the arc of the coronavirus’s sweep through the United States would look much different.

As it turned out, the genetic building block of the virus detected in the man who had been to Wuhan would become a crucial clue for scientists who were trying to understand how the pathogen gained its first, crucial foothold.

Working out of laboratories along Seattle’s Lake Union, researchers from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center rushed to identify the RNA sequence of the cases from Washington State and around the country, comparing them with data coming in from around the world.

Using advanced technology that allows them to rapidly identify the tiny mutations that the virus makes in its virulent path through human hosts, the scientists working in Washington and several other states made two disconcerting discoveries.

The first was that the virus brought in by the man from Wuhan — or perhaps, as new data has suggested, by someone else who arrived carrying a nearly identical strain — had managed to settle into the population undetected.

Then they began to realize how far it had spread. A small outbreak that had established itself somewhere north of Seattle, they realized as they added new cases to their database, was now responsible for all known cases of community transmission they examined in Washington State in the month of February.

And it had jumped.

A genetically similar version of the virus — directly linked to that first case in Washington — was identified across 14 other states, as far away as Connecticut and Maryland. It settled in other parts of the world, in Australia, Mexico, Iceland, Canada, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. It landed in the Pacific, on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The unique signature of the virus that reached America’s shores in Seattle now accounts for a quarter of all U.S. cases made public by genomic sequencers in the United States.

With no widespread testing available, the high-tech detective work of the researchers in Seattle and their partners elsewhere would open the first clear window into how and where the virus was spreading — and how difficult it would be to contain.

Even as the path of the Washington State version of the virus was coursing eastward, new sparks from other strains were landing in New York, in the Midwest and in the South. And then they all began to intermingle….

There was minimal coronavirus testing in the United States during February, leaving researchers largely blind to the specific locations and mutations of the spread that month. The man who had traveled from Wuhan was not at the dance, nor was anyone else known to have traveled into the country with the coronavirus. But researchers learned that the virus by then was already spreading well beyond its point of origin — and all the cases of community transmission that month were part of that same genetic branch.

There was another spreading event. On the Saturday after the dance, a group of friends packed the living room of a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle, sharing homemade food and tropical-themed drinks.

Over the following days, several people began coming down with coronavirus symptoms. “Among people who attended, four out of every 10 got sick,” said Hanna Oltean, an epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

Several people passed on the virus to others. By late March, the state health department had documented at least three generations of “transmission occurring before anyone was symptomatic,” Ms. Oltean said.

By then, it was becoming clear that there were probably hundreds of cases already linked to the first point of infection that had been spreading undetected. It left a lingering question: If the virus had this much of a head start, how far had it gone?

The large outbreak on the Grand Princess, a researcher said, could probably be traced to a single person linked to the Washington State cluster….

A group of cases throughout the Midwest, first surfacing in early March, appears to have roots in Europe. A group of cases in the South, which emerged around the same time, on March 3, appears like a more direct descendant from China.

But of all the branches that researchers have found, the strain from Washington State remains the earliest and one of the most potent.

It has surfaced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and in six countries…

One of the enduring mysteries has been just how the virus managed to gain its first, fatal foothold in Washington.

Did the contact tracers who followed the steps of the man who had traveled from Wuhan miss something? Did he expose someone at the grocery store, or touch a door handle when he went to the restaurant near his office?

In recent days, the sequencing of new cases has revealed a surprising new possibility. A series of cases in British Columbia carried a genetic footprint very similar to the case of the Wuhan traveler. That opened up the possibility that someone could have carried that same branch of the virus from Wuhan to British Columbia or somewhere else in the region at nearly the same time. Perhaps it was that person whose illness had sparked the fateful outbreak.

But who? And how? That would probably never be known.” (C)

JULY 13, 2020

For the first time in months, there was a 24-hour period in which no one in New York City died of the coronavirus.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported zero deaths on Saturday, but that number could change as death data can lag and new deaths could be confirmed retroactively at any point. The city’s first confirmed coronavirus death was March 11.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the milestone a statement about “how this city fights back and people do not ever give in.”

“It’s something that should make us hopeful, but it’s very hard to take a victory lap because we know we have so much more ahead. This disease is far from beaten,” de Blasio said during a news conference Monday. “And we look around the country and we look at what so many other Americans are going through and so many other states and cities hurting so bad right now. So no one can celebrate, but we can at least take a moment to appreciate that every one of you did so much to get us to this point.”..

On Monday, the city reported a 2% positivity rating for coronavirus testing. Fifty-six patients were admitted to the hospital, and 279 patients were in intensive care units.” (D)

JULY 16, 2020

“In what seems like almost a lifetime ago, America’s coronavirus story started in January in Washington State, with the nation’s first confirmed case followed by an early outbreak that spread with alarming ferocity.

But swift lockdown measures were credited with holding down illnesses and deaths. By June, nail salons and bars had begun to reopen, even as the virus began to rage in Texas, Arizona and Florida. Washington still had relatively low case numbers, and some counties were even contemplating a return to movie theaters and museums.

Now, those plans are on hold.

The coronavirus is once again ravaging Washington, and the number of cases has hit grim new milestones. Since the middle of June, the state has reported an average of 700 new cases per day — the highest levels since the start of the pandemic. More than 45,000 people have been infected, and over 1,400 have died.

“If these trends were to continue, we would have to prepare to go back to where we were in March,” Gov. Jay Inslee said recently.

Six months after the coronavirus first reached the United States, the state that was on the initial front line — a state that locked down early and hard — is only now beginning to see how complicated and lengthy the fight may be.

A lot of things are going wrong at once. Young people, less likely to die of the virus and undoubtedly weary of social distancing measures, have been driving a spike in new infections in the Seattle area. And an outbreak here in Yakima County that began powering its way through agriculture workers in the spring has now spread widely through a community that has not embraced self-isolation and masking to the degree that many Seattleites have.

Yakima, the eighth-most populous county, now has the second-highest number of cases. While the county cannot be blamed for hot spots elsewhere, Yakima does show how the virus can simmer along at a seeming lull — until a new outbreak suddenly surges through an entire region, challenging officials to stitch together cohesive policies for a patchwork of different problems.

“It’s really important for people to understand that their individual behaviors, everyone’s individual behaviors, collectively have a big impact on transmission,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington’s health officer. “We can increase testing, we can do case and contact investigations, we can do outbreak response, but those activities only get us so far.”

When the virus first came to Washington, the eastern part of the state was not hit as badly as Seattle, a liberal city with legions of tech workers who dutifully stayed home. But lockdown measures were not as effective in Yakima, a much less affluent county where more than 60 percent of people work in meat- or fruit-packing plants or other essential jobs.

The county is home to a large Hispanic population, which officials have said is more at risk for the coronavirus because of crowded living conditions where the virus can easily spread or limited access to health care. Many people live paycheck to paycheck, and if they were able to get up and go to work, they did.

By mid-May, people who worked in Yakima’s fruit-packing facilities had started to get sick. Terrified of working on crowded assembly lines or in warehouses that were not regularly cleaned, many went on strike, even as the virus spread outside the buildings’ walls.

The Matson Fruit Company in Selah, Wash. More than 60 percent of people in Yakima work in meat- or fruit-packing plants or other essential jobs.Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times

Cases hit a peak in early June, according to Dr. Teresa Everson, the health officer for the Yakima Health District, just as more workers were cramming into processing facilities for the beginning of Washington’s busy cherry-picking season.

Still, only a third of those in the county wore masks, according to one survey from health officials. In the past few weeks, infectious people have gone to at least 20 family gatherings, 15 birthday parties, two baby showers and two weddings, Dr. Everson said. Some businesses were even reluctant to work with her office, which was trying to track cases and do contact tracing.

“There are a few large employers that persistently do not return our phone calls and do not want to work with us,” Dr. Everson said…

Just a few weeks ago, the state was confident that it could reopen schools in the fall, allowing many parents to go back to work and fuel the state’s economic recovery. But amid mounting opposition from educators and health experts, those plans look increasingly unlikely. And on Tuesday, Mr. Inslee said that no counties would be allowed to loosen lockdown restrictions for at least two weeks.

In Seattle, still the heart of the state’s outbreak, many people are resigned to the precautions they envision for the foreseeable future. On July 4, families wearing masks grilled tortillas, played on swings and enjoyed the parks — many feet away from anyone else. Salons took customers’ temperatures before letting them in. At Target, people lined up six feet apart at the cashier.

“Mask usage is changing very rapidly in my state,” he said. “What we’re asking people to do, they are doing.”” (E)

“New York, once the center of the coronavirus pandemic, has so successfully stemmed the outbreak that its death and hospitalization rates have plummeted and it has among the lowest infection rates in the country.

But the state and its neighbors are facing a disquieting new threat: Can they keep the virus suppressed when it is raging across the South and West?

Officials and public health experts are especially concerned that infected travelers from any of the nearly 40 states where the outbreak is spiking could set off new clusters in New York. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday imposed more restrictions on travelers from states with high infection rates, but it is not all clear that they will be followed — or are even enforceable.

Tens of thousands of people enter New York daily through its airports, highways and train stations, and compliance largely depends on the whims of visitors and of residents returning home.

Mr. Cuomo has warned it is almost inevitable that the virus will seep back into the state, much the way it came to New York through flights from Europe in February. He has also raised concerns that some New Yorkers might let their guard down and blamed local governments for not enforcing mask-wearing and social-distancing measures.

But his focus lately has been on trying to keep the virus from re-entering New York: Travelers from 22 states where cases have increased must now quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in New York. And beginning Tuesday, travelers arriving at New York airports will be required to fill out a form with their personal information and planned whereabouts, or face a $2,000 fine.

Epidemiologists said they were skeptical that the measures would work.

“I think it’s going to be incredibly hard to keep the virus out of New York State,” said Isaac Weisfuse, a former New York City deputy health commissioner. “I think that these types of travel restrictions may be somewhat helpful, but we should assume that they’re not going to be airtight.”

But Dr. Weisfuse, an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s master of public health program, and other epidemiologists said New York was better positioned to deal with a surge in cases this time around.

They said that government officials had a better understanding of the virus and that doctors in New York had learned invaluable lessons from treating the disease. People in New York, where more than 400,000 people were infected and more than 30,000 died, are keenly aware of the risks and, for the most part, of the importance of wearing masks. The state has also dramatically ramped up its testing capacity, processing about 60,000 tests per day.

“I don’t anticipate that in New York, we’re going to have a second wave that is going to look like what we have in Texas and Florida,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of a Public Health at Columbia University. “We can’t become complacent, and I don’t think we will. I am cautiously optimistic.”

In July, New York averaged about 10 virus-related deaths a day, a huge drop from the 799 deaths over a 24-hour period at the peak of the outbreak in April. About 790 people are hospitalized, down from nearly 19,000 people a few months ago when hospitals were nearly overrun.

But New York officials are readying for a spike, however big or small, as states like Florida continue to report record number of cases — more than 12,000 on Monday — and others, like California, impose sweeping rollbacks of their reopening plans, forcing many businesses to close again.

Officials in New York — unlike in Connecticut and New Jersey, which also implemented a quarantine requirement — have sought to proactively enforce the quarantine order. The state instituted fines of up to $10,000 and made it legal to order people to self-isolate, if necessary.

But no fines or mandatory isolation orders have been issued in New York City since the order took effect on June 25, according to a city spokeswoman. Instead, both state and city officials have urged travelers to take the order seriously and are hoping visitors will comply voluntarily, as with similar executive orders mandating masks and social distancing.

Mr. Cuomo himself has acknowledged the difficulty of enforcing the mandate and the government’s limited reach, likening enforcement to “trying to catch water in a screen.”

“New York’s problem is we have the infection coming from other states back to New York,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said on Monday, noting the state is not “a hermetically sealed bubble.”

Officials estimate about 12,000 people visit New York daily from the states on the quarantine list, which is updated regularly according to certain virus health metrics. The quarantine currently applies to travelers from a broad swath of mostly the West and South where cases have skyrocketed, including California, Florida and Texas. On Tuesday, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin were added to the list and Delaware was removed.” (F)

“Monday brings a new stage of activity to the city, allowing some places to reopen outdoors, while many activities inside, like restaurant dining, will still be forbidden.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would allow some outdoor entertainment venues like zoos and botanical gardens to reopen with limited capacities but that restrictions would remain on indoor activities.

We are moving forward with Phase 4 on Monday. Now, the state of New York is finishing some work today into this afternoon on the specifics, and they’ll have a formal announcement later on. But I can give you the broad outlines now of what we’ve talked about with the state. Let’s focus first on outdoors, again, outdoors has proven to be the area where we’re seeing a lot of things work successfully. So, we’re going to restart the low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment activities. This means things like botanical gardens and zoos, for example. They can reopen but at reduced capacity, 33 percent capacity. Production of movies, TV shows — that can proceed. The, obviously, something that matters to a lot of us, sports coming back. But again — without audiences. Indoors is where we have concerns. Some indoor activities can exist with the proper restrictions. But there’s going to be care when it comes to indoors. Each and every situation is going to be looked at very carefully, very individually. So some will not resume in Phase 4, certainly not right away. That continues to be, first of all, indoor dining. That could have started earlier. We’ve said that’s not happening. That continues to not happen. That is very high risk. And we’ve seen that around the country. Museums, not yet. Malls, not yet. Still closed for now. We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time to look at the evidence, watch what’s happened around the country, watch what’s happening here in the city, and make further decisions on some of these pieces. And we’ll do that very carefully with the state of New York.

Amid concerns about a coronavirus resurgence, New York City will enter a limited fourth phase of reopening on Monday, allowing some art and entertainment venues, like zoos and botanical gardens, to open for outdoor activities at a limited capacity, officials announced on Friday.

But stringent restrictions will remain on indoor activities: Gyms, malls, movie theaters and museums will remain shuttered, and indoor dining will still not be allowed.

“We’ve got to strike a balance, and we’ve got time to look at the evidence,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “Watch what’s happening around the country, watch what’s happening here in the city and make further decisions on some of these pieces, and we will do that very carefully with the State of New York.”

Officials are increasingly concerned about the possibility that visitors from other states will spread the virus in New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic. Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put in place an executive order that requires travelers from  states with high infection rates to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

But Mr. Cuomo said on Friday that the order might not be enough to fend off the virus, and reiterated that he was troubled by reports of New Yorkers, especially young people, letting their guard down and eschewing social-distancing and mask-wearing measures.

The governor announced new regulations on Thursday meant to crack down on outdoor drinking and mingling outside bars and restaurants. The new rules ban establishments from selling alcohol to customers who do not also buy food.

“It is inevitable that there will be a second wave,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. “But the second wave is going to be the confluence of the lack of compliance and the local governments’ lack of enforcement, plus the viral spread coming back from the other states. It is going to happen.”

He added, “Just because it is not there today does not mean it’s not going to happen.”

New York City is the last part of the state to enter the final phase of reopening — a feat Mr. Cuomo described as “a hallmark.” Phase 4 permits groups of up to 50 people and indoor religious gatherings to operate at one-third of maximum capacity. Restrictions will also be eased to allow the resumption of outdoor film production and professional sports without audiences.

But concerned about the virus’s spreading more rapidly in dense and crowded New York City, Mr. Cuomo said that Phase 4 of reopening in the city would not restore any additional indoor activities — even though other regions of the state further along in reopening have done so, for example, by allowing indoor dining at up to half capacity.

Museums have also been permitted to open in upstate areas, and malls have been allowed to get back to business as long as they put in place specialized air filtration systems that can filter out virus particles.

The lack of uniformity in what is being allowed in different parts of the state has raised complaints from some buiness owners and patrons. Mr. Cuomo said the state would revisit the city’s relatively curtailed Phase 4 as the “facts change.”

The limits on indoor dining were a devastating blow for the city’s thousands of restaurants, many of which were expecting to supplement revenues from outdoor dining with the expected return of indoor dining at a reduced capacity.

Many restaurants are not making enough money with just takeout and outdoor dining, and are struggling to pay their current and back rent. Restaurants in neighborhoods like Midtown Manhattan that have been emptied of office workers are struggling more than those in residential neighborhoods.

“Extending the time frame for outdoor dining is critical, but long term, it won’t sustain the industry without financial support that needs to come from the federal government,” said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

The cautious approach also upended the plans of several cultural institutions in New York City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York, both of which had announced intentions to reopen in a few weeks.

Still, four city zoos and the New York Botanical Garden have already announced they will open to the public at limited capacity by the end of the month.

Those openings are sure to give New York an added semblance of normalcy, even as small businesses and restaurants have struggled to operate on slim margins since the broad shutdown in mid-March.

Offices, hair salons, barbershops and construction sites have all opened, albeit with restrictions on capacity, strict cleaning requirements and mandatory social distancing.

More than 8,600 restaurants have set up outdoor dining operations, Mr. de Blasio said. The city will close off an additional 40 blocks to allow even more dining capacity, the mayor said, and extend the use of sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining through Oct. 31.

“A lot of people thought that ‘How could this place, this crowded, energetic place, possibly do shelter in place or social distancing or face coverings?’” said Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat. “Well, you proved to the world it could be done the right way, and that’s why we are now on the verge of Phase 4.” (G)

“State health officials confirmed 742 new coronavirus cases in Washington on Wednesday and 17 additional deaths linked to COVID-19.

According to the Department of Health, at least 372 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 illnesses across Washington — an increase of 19 from the day before. Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer, said the daily average for hospital admissions, while still well below the peak, is about double where it was in mid-May. The state continues to closely monitor hospital activity and occupancy, coordinate transfers and reprioritize distribution of protective gear to frontline workers as needed.

More than 4,884 new illnesses have been confirmed in Washington over the last seven days, representing a statewide case rate of 561.4 per 100,000 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s case tracker. The highest rate of cases by population continues to be seen in central Washington counties, particularly in Franklin, Adams and Yakima.

While a portion of the increase can be attributed to recent boosts in testing, other concerning trends continue to play a role.

“While we are doing more testing, we know that the number of cases is not simply due to more testing, but also a rate of increase in disease transmission as well,” said John Wiesman, the state secretary of health.

In King County, the effective reproductive number, a figure used to estimate how many people are infected by someone with the illness, is at 1.7 — above the target of one.

Wiesman said the state’s guidance on preventing the spread remains the same but must be followed by all to be effective: keep physical distance from others, interact with as few people as possible, maintain a “personal bubble” of a few people and wear face coverings in public spaces.

At least 43,046 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Washington. Nearly 734,000 Washingtonians have been tested for the virus, with 5.9 percent of tests coming back positive.

During a weekly telebriefing with reporters Wednesday, state health leaders pointed to early success in mask use in three counties where transmission rates have been alarmingly high.

Before the governor’s statewide mandate requiring masks inside businesses went into effect this month, it was required in just three counties with a large increase in cases: Benton, Franklin and Yakima. As the rules were put in place, the state asked each county to conduct surveys to track how well residents were complying with the directive.

A few weeks ago, Benton and Franklin counties had a 58 percent compliance rate. In the last week, that figure grew to 95 percent. In Yakima County, just 35 percent of those surveyed said they wore face coverings when the survey began. The latest results showed their rate of compliance also grew to 95 percent.

The state secretary of health said preliminary findings in Yakima County have coincided with a nearly 60 percent drop in transmission rates since early June.

A recent report from the Bellevue-based Institute for Disease Modeling shows significant progress must be made to curb the spread of the coronavirus if schools are to successfully reopen in the fall.

According to researchers, efforts to reduce spread in school buildings will not sufficiently suppress transmission on its own, if the rate of infection remains where it is now.

The report finds that community-wide mitigation efforts, including limited mobility, must improve before schools open in September, or risk triggering “exponential growth” in COVID-19 activity.

“Under a scenario in which mobility in the community increases to 80% of pre-COVID levels, none of the mitigating strategies in schools we explored would be able to reduce the effective reproductive number to one or below, meaning the epidemic will grow,” the authors wrote.” (H)

“Washington could be in for another round of coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday, during a news conference where he announced a limit of 10 people at social gatherings in Washington counties that are further along in the reopening process.

Inslee’s announcement came as Washington set a new record for confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with state health officials Thursday reporting 1,267 new cases and six additional deaths. The tally clocked in at nearly twice the average number of cases per day in the past two weeks.

Throughout Friday, on this page, we’ll be posting Seattle Times journalists’ updates on the outbreak and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Thursday can be found here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee added a new state rule this week as COVID-19 cases surge in the state: There will now be a 10-person limit on social gatherings for counties that are in the third phase of Washington’s four-part coronavirus reopening plan.” (I)

“Under the “Safe Start” plan, individual counties are able to apply to the secretary of health to move between the phases or add new business activities. Counties are currently prohibited from applying to a new phase until at least July 28.

When applications are allowed, they must be submitted by a county executive. If a county does not have a county executive, it must be submitted with the approval of the County Council/Commission.

The Secretary of Health evaluates each application based on how their data compares to certain targets. Click here for a complete breakdown.

An individual county’s ability to respond to outbreaks, increased deaths, health system capacity and other factors are also considered.

The Secretary of Health can approve the plans as submitted, approve with modifications or can deny the application.

Here’s a breakdown of what is allowed in each phase:

Phase 1

High-risk populations: Continue to stay home, stay healthy.

Outdoor: Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, boating, hiking).

Gatherings: Religious organizations can now hold outdoor services with up to 100 people. Proper social distancing should be practiced and attendees should wear face coverings.

Travel: Only essential travel.

Business/Employers: Essential businesses open, including existing construction that meets agreed-upon criteria, landscaping, automobile sales, retail (curb-side pick-up orders only), car washes, pet walkers.

Phase 2

High-risk populations: Continue to stay home, stay healthy.

Outdoor: All outdoor recreation involving fewer than five people outside your household (camping, beaches, etc.)

Gatherings: Gather with no more than five people outside your household per week. Indoor religious gatherings can be held at 25% capacity or with less than 50 people, whichever is less.

Travel: Limited non-essential travel within proximity of your home.

Business/Employers: Remaining manufacturing, new construction, in-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.), retail (In-store purchases allowed with restrictions), real estate, professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged), hair and nail salons/barbers, restaurants <50% capacity, with table sizes no larger than 5.

Phase 3

High-risk populations: Continue to stay home, stay healthy.

Outdoor: Outdoor group recreational sports activities (5-50 people), recreational facilities at <50% capacity (public pools, etc.). Beginning Monday, gatherings in phase three will be capped at no more than 10 people.

Gatherings: Allow gatherings with no more than 50 people.

Travel: Resume non-essential travel.

Business/Employers: restaurants <75% capacity/table size no larger than 10, bars at <25% capacity, movie theaters at <50% capacity, government (telework remains strongly encouraged), libraries, museums, all other business activities not yet listed except for nightclubs and events with greater than 50 people.

Phase 4

High-risk populations: Resume public interactions, with physical distancing

Outdoor: Resume all recreational activity.

Gatherings: Allow gatherings >50 people.

Travel: Continue non-essential travel.

Business/Employers: Nightclubs, concert venues, large sporting events, resume unrestricted staffing of worksites, but continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene.

The state is using certain metrics to evaluate when and how to lift various restrictions. The five metrics being used are: COVID 19 disease activity; testing capacity and availability; case and contact investigations; risk to vulnerable populations, and health care system readiness.” (J)

“Leaving the nation’s coronavirus fight to individual states has created gaping holes in the public health response that have allowed the infection rate to soar and death rates to rise once again.

While countries like New Zealand and Germany have taken a unified national approach to fighting the virus — and are enjoying the fruits of a successful mitigation strategy — the Trump administration’s federalist philosophy has helped create chaos across the South and West.

Cash-strapped cities and states trying to create their own testing, tracing and public awareness campaigns from scratch are desperate for federal support as they grapple with questions about whether it’s safe for people to return to school and work, along with bars and beaches.

“Every governor is out there on his or her own working to build the same programs that are being built next door,” said Reed Schuler, a senior advisor to Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “The federal government’s efforts range from a little bit of backup to not even being present.”

This dangerous new chapter of the coronavirus outbreak is intensifying calls from politicians and public health experts across the country for a set of national strategies to combat the virus.

The nursing home industry has been pushing for looser regulations for years. And they got what they wanted at the start of the pandemic. But now, advocates say lax standards are fueling the virus’ spread.

Arkansas’ entire congressional delegation — all Republicans — wrote Vice President Mike Pence this week asking the federal government to address shortages of chemical reagents needed to analyze coronavirus tests.

And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, expressed his frustration with the federal government’s pandemic response on Tuesday. “The White House doesn’t get it,” he tweeted. “Until we control this virus as a nation, the economy can’t fully recover. Where is the national plan?”

Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), who represents hard-hit Maricopa County, expressed similar frustration. “How can you have national success without having a national plan?” he said. “How do you fight the worst pandemic in 100 years without a coordinated strategy?”

A White House official rejected such criticism. “We’re in a much better position now than we were at the beginning of the pandemic in terms of [personal protective equipment], ventilators, testing capacity, and vaccine and therapeutics development,” the official said.

The situation today is not as dire as it was in March and April in some ways. There are no shortages of ventilators, and doctors have more experience treating the virus. The country’s testing capacity has grown exponentially, and the death rate is lower thanks to concerted efforts to protect seniors and other vulnerable groups.

But with cases still rising, public health experts say much more federal support and leadership are needed to bring the outbreak under control — and keep it that way.

“We shut down the country for three months and we could have used that time for all kinds of planning and preparing, and we did not use it at all,” said David Eisenman, the director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters.

Once-isolated outbreaks have grown into a national calamity concentrated in the South and Sunbelt where governors took early victory laps. Now the virus is spreading northward into the heartland and industrial Midwest, erasing the progress made in March, April and May while the country was locked down.

With the death toll rising, several governors have reimposed restrictions on businesses and public life — a move they once described as a last resort. School districts in Arizona, California and North Carolina are delaying their return to in-person learning, despite the president’s threats to cut federal funding for districts that don’t fully reopen.

In many ways, the White House has positioned itself as a consultant to states as they battle the virus. Federal officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, have warned that the government’s Strategic National Stockpile is only a stopgap — and that states themselves are primarily responsible for securing masks, gowns, gloves and chemicals for testing on the open market.

Pence, White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and others have also gone on listening tours in states where cases are climbing the fastest. Federal officials have also worked to increase the country’s testing capacity from hundreds of thousands to millions of samples per week.

But the lack of stronger federal oversight has made it hard to maintain some of those gains.

Commercial labs like Quest Diagnostics, which are handling about half of all tests, have not been able to keep up with the spike in demand. It now takes a week for people to get their results in some places, and labs say they are having trouble getting basic supplies.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says her state’s testing capacity has been overwhelmed by the recent surge in infections. The state is now averaging more than 270 new coronavirus cases a day — a three-fold increase compared with a month ago.

“We could certainly use an assist from our federal partners,” Brown said. But her administration has been frustrated by the lukewarm responses it has received from the Trump administration.

Her next-door neighbor, Inslee, is one of several governors to call for a national testing strategy. In recent weeks, Washington state has struggled to buy enough swabs to collect patient samples and chemical reagents to test them.

And the federal government’s failure to fully use the Defense Production Act to increase available supplies and coordinate their distribution has put states like Washington in the “horrible position” of competing against one another, Schuler said.

“We have an obligation to the residents of Washington to ensure our labs are fully supplied, but we don’t want it to come at the expense of a less successful state,” he said.

In its letter this week to Pence, the Arkansas congressional delegation said that the ongoing shortages of testing reagents have prompted the state to consider abandoning its requirement for people to be tested for Covid-19 before undergoing elective surgery.

The testing problems are also hampering the country’s scattered and overwhelmed contact tracing efforts. Nationwide, there are fewer than a third of the 100,000 contact tracers that the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials estimates are necessary to contain the outbreak.

Nearly six months into the pandemic, some states are still struggling to get their programs off the ground. Others have abandoned location-tracking apps that were supposed to help scale contact tracing to unprecedented levels.

“You need federal leadership, and that’s been lacking,” said former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who, for months has been calling for the federal government to expand testing and provide support for people asked to quarantine at home.

Eisenman said the federal government should have used the spring lockdown to appoint expert commissions to address issues such as setting up contact tracing, distributing testing supplies and returning children to school safely.

Testing and contact tracing are the cornerstones of the test-trace-isolate strategy that governments have used to thwart infectious disease outbreaks since the 19th century. But many understaffed and underfunded local health departments have not been able to adequately expand the small workforces they usually use to track outbreaks of measles and sexually transmitted infections to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Alabama only has about 200 contact tracers to investigate the more than 1,000 coronavirus cases diagnosed there each day. Most of those workers have been reassigned from other public health duties, such as restaurant inspections and immunizations. They are currently trading off in 10-day rotations between tracking coronavirus cases and their other work — meaning both are suffering. And with schools in the state set to reopen next month, the burden will only increase.

Ricardo Franco, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says the shortage of tracers is allowing the state’s outbreak to spiral out of control.

“If you asked me what we need, I would say we should have 5,000 contact tracers,” he said. “That would be the responsible thing to do.”

Washington state, which was among the first states hit by the virus, says that only 7 percent of the gowns, gloves and face shields it has handed out came from the federal government. The state has had to compete with other states and countries to purchase the rest itself.

“It’s jaw dropping that after what we’ve been through, we didn’t have hundreds of millions of face masks and other PPE stockpiled around the country,” said Irwin Redlener, founding director for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

Even as governors who once scoffed at fears they reopened their economies too quickly begin to reimpose restrictions, the White House is still struggling to put out a consistent message about the threat posed by the virus and how best to combat it.

Trump on Monday attacked his own administration’s public health officials, retweeting messages that suggested the CDC is lying about the virus and concern about the pandemic is overblown for political reasons, prompting top officials to defend themselves on national television.

John Henderson, president and CEO of The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, said the lack of coordinated national coronavirus messaging has been compounded in states like Texas where governors, following Trump’s lead, took a laissez faire approach until cases skyrocketed.

“There’s just been a leadership void at the federal level,” he said. “We have pushed everything down to the states and then conservative states, like Texas, have just pushed all that decision-making down to the local level. … Every day that we go with a crisis and without a plan is another day lost.” (K)

“White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday emphasized that schools reopening this fall shouldn’t be contingent on science surrounding coronavirus, but then claimed the “science is on our side here” as the pandemic continues unabated.

In response to a question about what President Donald Trump would say to parents who have kids in school districts that may be online-only, McEnany said: “The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And when he says open, he means open in full, kids been able to attend each and every day at their school.

“The science should not stand in the way of this,” she added, saying it is “perfectly safe” to fully reopen all classrooms.

McEnany then claimed “science is on our side,” citing one study that said the risk of critical illness is less than the seasonal flu in children. She also quoted former Stanford Neuroradiology Chief Dr. Scott Atlas, who has appeared on Fox News to call the debate around reopening schools “hysteria.”

“We encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science, open our schools,” she continued.

The Trump administration has been pushing to reopen schools under the premise that children under the age of 18 “are at very low risk” if they catch the virus.

Some experts have expressed concerns about returning to classrooms because of the risk students could carry the virus home to older relatives. Education professionals have also expressed worry they may be in harms way.” (L)

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CORONOVIRUS TRACKING Links to Parts 1-39

CORONOVIRUS TRACKING

Links to Parts 1-39

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands?®

http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/

Curated Contemporaneous Case Study Methodology

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.

https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/jonathan-m-metsch

PART 1. January 21, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of a deadly new coronavirus that has killed six people in China.”

PART 2. January 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic..”….. “With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of states, public health officials say it is only a matter of time before the virus appears in New York City.”

PART3. February 3, 2020. “The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe…”..Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the flu-like virus …We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down..” (D)

PART 4. February 9, 2020. Coronavirus. “A study published Friday in JAMA found that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, China, were presumed to be infected in that hospital.….

PART 5. February 12, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “In short, shoe-leather public health and basic medical care—not miracle drugs—are generally what stop outbreaks of emerging infections..”

POST 6. February 18, 2020.  Coronovirus. “Amid assurances that the (ocean liner) Westerdam was disease free, hundreds of people disembarked in Cambodia…” “ One was later found to be infected”…. “Over 1,000… passengers were in…transit home”…. “This could be a turning point””

PART 7. February 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. With SARS preparedness underway in NJ LibertyHealth/ Jersey City Medical Center, where I was President, proposed that our 100 bed community hospital with all single-bedded rooms, be immediately transformed into an EMERGENCY SARS ISOLATION Hospital.

PART 8. February 24, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…every country’s top priority should be to protect its health care workers. This is partly to ensure that hospitals themselves do not become sites where the coronavirus is spread more than it is contained.”

PART 9. February 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Responding to a question about the likelihood of a U.S. outbreak, President Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable…”It probably will. It possibly will,” he continued. “It could be at a very small level, or it could be at a larger level.”

Part 10. March 1, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Stop Surprise Medical Bills for Coronavirus care. (&) Lessons Learned (or not) In California and Washington State from community acquired cases.

PART 11. March 5, 2020.  CORONAVIRUS. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo… would require employers to pay workers and protect their jobs if they are quarantined because of the coronavirus.”

Part 12. March 10, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Tom Bossert, Donald Trump’s former homeland security advisor…(said) that due to the coronavirus outbreak, “We are 10 days from the hospitals getting creamed.”

Part 13.. March 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If I’m buying real estate in New York, I’ll listen to the President….If I’m asking about infectious diseases, I’m going to listen to Tony Fauci,”

PART 14. March 17, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “ “Most physicians have never seen this level of angst and anxiety in their careers”…. One said “I am sort of a pariah in my family.”

PART 15. March 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration….in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

PART 16. March 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. I am not a clinician or a medical ethicist but articles on Coronavirus patient triage started me Googling………to learn about FUTILE TREATMENT

PART 17. April 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Florida allows churches to continue holding services. Gun stores deemed “essential.”  “New York’s private and public hospitals unite to manage patient load and share resources.

PART 18. April 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The federal government’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments, administration staff told a House panel.

PART 19. April 13, 2020 CORONOAVIRUS. “…overlooked in the United States’ halting mobilization against the novel coronavirus: the personal aides, hospice attendants, nurses and occupational or physical therapists who deliver medical or support services to patients in their homes.”

PART 20. April 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…nothing is mentioned in the “Opening Up America Again” plan about how states should handle a resurgence.”

PART 21. April 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “We need to ask, are we using ventilators in a way that makes sense for other diseases but not this one?”

POST 22. April 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ..the “ACS released a list of 10 issues that should be addressed before a healthcare organization resumes elective surgeries[JM1] ….”

POST 23. May 3, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. … what Dr. Fauci really wants,…”is just to go to a baseball game. That will have to wait. The level of testing for the virus is not adequate enough to allow for such mass gatherings.’ (K)

POST 24. May 7, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “there are going to be deaths no matter what”… but that people needed to get back to work.

POST 25. May 10, 2020, CORONAVIRUS. “It is scary to go to work,” said Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to the president. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing.”

POST 26. May 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS, “Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept”….”there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus”

POST 27. May 19, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Hospital…executives…are taking pay cuts…to help offset the financial fallout from COVID-19.” As “front line” layoffs and furloughs accelerate…

POST 28. May 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ““You’ve got to be kidding me,”..”How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.” CDC conflates viral and antibody tests numbers.

PART 29. May 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” (Governor Cuomo). But not so for frontline workers!

POST 30. June 3,202. CORONAVIRUS. “The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus, experts say….

POST 31. June 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “I think we had an unintended consequence: I think we made people afraid to come back to the hospital,”

Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”?  “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”

POST 33. June 21, 2002. CORONAVIRUS….. Smashing (lowering the daily number of cases) v. flattening the curve (maintaining a plateau)

POST 34. June 26, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. CDC Director Redfield… “the number of coronavirus infections…could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count — a total of more than 20 million.” As Florida, Texas and Arizona become eipicenters!

POST 35. June 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Pence: “We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives..”  While Dr. Fauci “warned that outbreaks in the South and West could engulf the country…”

POST 36. July 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “There’s just a handful of interventions proven to curb the spread of the coronavirus. One of them is contact tracing, and “it’s not going well,” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)..

POST 37. June 8, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. When “crews arrive at a hospital with a patient suspected of having COVID-19, the hospital may have a physical bed open for them, but not enough nurses or doctors to staff it.”

POST 38. July 15, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Some Lessons Learned, or not. AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw: I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a healthcare CEO — based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe,” (M)

POST 39. July, 23,2020. CORONAVIRUS. A Tale of Two Cities. Seattle becomes New York (rolls back reopening) while New York becomes Seattle (moves to partial phase 4 reopening)

July 21, 2020


 [JM1]

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POST 38. July 15, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Some Lessons Learned, or not. AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw: I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a healthcare CEO — based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe,” (M)

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“Dr. Camilla Rothe was about to leave for dinner when the government laboratory called with the surprising test result. Positive. It was Jan. 27. She had just discovered Germany’s first case of the new coronavirus.

But the diagnosis made no sense. Her patient, a businessman from a nearby auto parts company, could have been infected by only one person: a colleague visiting from China. And that colleague should not have been contagious.

The visitor had seemed perfectly healthy during her stay in Germany. No coughing or sneezing, no signs of fatigue or fever during two days of long meetings. She told colleagues that she had started feeling ill after the flight back to China. Days later, she tested positive for the coronavirus.

Scientists at the time believed that only people with symptoms could spread the coronavirus. They assumed it acted like its genetic cousin, SARS.

“People who know much more about coronaviruses than I do were absolutely sure,” recalled Dr. Rothe, an infectious disease specialist at Munich University Hospital…

Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms.

The two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures. The resistance to emerging evidence was one part of the world’s sluggish response to the virus.

It is impossible to calculate the human toll of that delay, but models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. Countries like Singapore and Australia, which used testing and contact-tracing and moved swiftly to quarantine seemingly healthy travelers, fared far better than those that did not….

It is also painfully clear that time was a critical commodity in curbing the virus — and that too much of it was wasted.”  (A)

“Early on, the dozen federal officials charged with defending America against the coronavirus gathered day after day in the White House Situation Room, consumed by crises. They grappled with how to evacuate the United States consulate in Wuhan, China, ban Chinese travelers and extract Americans from the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships.

The members of the coronavirus task force typically devoted only five or 10 minutes, often at the end of contentious meetings, to talk about testing, several participants recalled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its leaders assured the others, had developed a diagnostic model that would be rolled out quickly as a first step.

But as the deadly virus spread from China with ferocity across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen — because of technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, business-as-usual bureaucracies and lack of leadership at multiple levels, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists and company executives.

The result was a lost month, when the world’s richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe.

The absence of robust screening until it was “far too late” revealed failures across the government, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former C.D.C. director. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, said the Trump administration had “incredibly limited” views of the pathogen’s potential impact. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the lapse enabled “exponential growth of cases.”…

Alex M. Azar II, who led the Department of Health and Human Services, oversaw the two other agencies and coordinated the government’s public health response to the pandemic. While he grew frustrated as public criticism over the testing issues intensified, he was unable to push either agency to speed up or change course.

The lack of tests in the states also meant local public health officials could not use another essential epidemiological tool: surveillance testing. To see where the virus might be hiding, nasal swab samples from people screened for the common flu would also be checked for the coronavirus.” (G)

“By using ventilators more sparingly on Covid-19 patients, physicians could reduce the more-than-50% death rate for those put on the machines, according to an analysis published Tuesday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The authors argue that physicians need a new playbook for when to use ventilators for Covid-19 patients — a message consistent with new treatment guidelines issued Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health, which advocates a phased approach to breathing support that would defer the use of ventilators if possible.

As the pandemic has flooded hospitals with a disease that physicians had never before seen, health care workers have had to figure out treatment protocols on the fly. Starting this month, a few physicians have voiced concern that some hospitals have been too quick to put Covid-19 patients on mechanical ventilators, that elderly patients in particular may have been harmed more than helped, and that less invasive breathing support, including simple oxygen-delivering nose prongs, might be safer and more effective.

The new analysis, from an international team of physician-researchers, supports what had until now been mainly two hunches: that some of the Covid-19 patients put on ventilators didn’t need to be, and that unusual features of the disease can make mechanical ventilation harmful to the lungs.

“This is one of the first coherent, comprehensive, and reasonably clear discussions of the pathophysiology of Covid-19 in the lungs that I’ve seen,” said palliative care physician Muriel Gillick of Harvard Medical School, who was one of the first to ask if ventilators were harming some Covid-19 patients, especially elderly ones. “There is mounting evidence that lots of patients are tolerating fairly extreme” low levels of oxygen in the blood, suggesting that such hypoxemia should not be equated with the need for a ventilator.

But using low levels of blood oxygen (hypoxemia) as a sign that a patient needs mechanical ventilation can lead physicians astray, they argue, because low blood oxygen in a Covid-19 patient is not like low blood oxygen in other patients with, for instance, other forms of pneumonia or sepsis.

The latter typically gasp for breath and can barely speak, but many Covid-19 patients with oxygen levels in the 80s (the high 90s are normal) and even lower are able to speak full sentences without getting winded and in general show no other signs of respiratory distress, as their hypoxemia would predict.

Related: With ventilators running out, doctors say the machines are overused for Covid-19

“In our personal experience, hypoxemia … is often remarkably well tolerated by Covid-19 patients,” the researchers wrote, in particular by those under 60. “The trigger for intubation should, within certain limits, probably not be based on hypoxemia but more on respiratory distress and fatigue.”…

There is a growing recognition that some Covid-19 patients, even those with severe disease as shown by the extent of lung infection, can be safely treated with simple nose prongs or face masks that deliver oxygen.The latter include CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks used for sleep apnea, or BiPAP (bi-phasic positive airway pressure) masks used for congestive heart failure and other serious conditions. CPAP can also be delivered via hoods or helmets, reducing the risk that patients will expel large quantities of virus into the air and endanger health care workers. (B)

Targeting the kidneys. “Despite attempts to move away from ventilators, some COVID-19 patients still need them. As the pandemic has progressed, it’s become apparent that coronavirus patients on ventilators need special care.

When patients are put on a ventilator, they’re often given diuretics to get rid of extra fluid in the body. Lungs that need help need to be “dry” to function properly. When they’re wet, “they can’t move oxygen as well,” Denson said.

But the coronavirus has since proved it’s not a simple respiratory illness. It can affect the lungs, the brain, the blood and, critically for patients on ventilators, the kidneys.

Unlike lungs, kidneys prefer to be hydrated. The longer patients are kept dehydrated, their chances of kidney failure increase. Denson said he’s changed his treatments for COVID-19 patients to give additional hydration if they’re showing damage to the kidneys.

“I’m targeting the kidneys a little bit more,” he said. “I’m less aggressive up front getting people dry, and I’m more willing to use fluids if needed.”

It’s a balancing act that requires extreme attention on the part of ICU doctors and their staff. Too much hydration hurts the lungs. Too little hurts the kidneys. “It’s a constant battle,” Denson said.

Medications. When doctors faced the first surge of severely ill COVID-19 patients, no drugs had been shown to work against the virus, making treatment more challenging. As a result, doctors were willing to try certain medications based on limited evidence.

Early on in the pandemic, the drug hydroxychloroquine emerged as a potential treatment, following two studies that suggested it might be beneficial. As a result, many patients were given the drug, which is already approved for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. But doctors soon found the drug was not useful in treating COVID-19, and subsequent research has shown it does not appear to help.

Now, doctors in ICUs are turning to the drug remdesivir. It’s not a cure, but it’s the only treatment that’s been shown in a clinical trial to have an effect on the illness so far.” (C)

“The Strategic National Stockpile, a once little-known resource, has turned into a political tug-of-war as states scramble for gowns, masks, ventilators and other equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

But it was never intended to be able to meet massive, simultaneous demand from 50 states, its former director said.

“The Strategic National Stockpile is great as a fallback” that can be tapped after private sector supplies and state and local government supplies are exhausted, said Greg Burel, who is now president and principal consultant at Hamilton Grace, a consulting firm focused on preparedness and response.

“From what I’ve been seeing, and you’ve probably seen the same thing, it seems like almost from day one, everybody’s turned and looked at the SNS,” Burel said in an interview with POLITICO.

President Donald Trump has blamed the Obama administration for not refilling the reserve. “The previous administration, the shelves were empty. The shelves were empty,” Trump said last week.

However, the stockpile has also been underfunded for years, including during the Trump administration. The latest congressional appropriations enacted in November allotted about $700 million.

“What we had told Congress at the time though is that to get everything on the shelf that we wanted on the shelf at the time, that we needed a little over $1 billion in one appropriation and then we could smooth that out over the years,” Burel said.

The Trump administration’s official budget request for the SNS in fiscal 2020 was $705 million, or $95 million more than Congress approved for the prior year.

During the Obama administration, annual funding levels ranged around $500 million to $600 million. The Trump administration initially followed that pattern, requesting $575 million for the stockpile for both fiscal 2018 and 2019.

With the stockpile now quickly burning through badly needed supplies, Congress included $16 billion for the SNS in H.R. 748 (116), the $2 trillion coronavirus virus relief package that passed last month.

Burel noted that the added money won’t go that far because of the many ventilators that the SNS has sent to states that will need to be replaced or repaired at great expense when the current crisis is over. In addition, the stockpile’s pre-crisis supplies of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment are nearly, if not completely, gone.

“There are a large number of materials that we have invested in for a number of years that by the end of this event will be completely gone,” Burel said. “A bunch of that $16 billion is just going to be eaten up with replacing what’s going out, recovering what’s gone out, cleaning it and putting back on the shelves — and then to manage a future vaccine campaign.”…

All of the SNS supplies that are “clearly useful in this particular event” have probably been distributed through allocations based on each state’s population, Burel said. But Burel said there is no reason to doubt the stockpile still has supplies for its original mission, responding to the chemical, biological and nuclear events….

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the need for all elements of the emergency response network to keep more supplies on hand, Burel said.

That potentially means both manufacturers and hospitals keeping 60 to 90 days’ worth of personal protective equipment on hand, as well as state and local governments beefing up their own supplies.

Congress should also “fully fund” the SNS to ensure it has the supplies it needs to respond to pandemics and other threats, although it will never be able to respond to all eventualities, Burel said.

The emergency response veteran also said he favors producing more of the material in the United States and supplementing that with imported supplies.

“There has to be that swell of safety stock. We can’t fight this kind of pandemic event that has disrupted the supply chain beyond what the normal usage is unless there is some stock somewhere,” Burel said.”” (D)

“How many people are likely to die in the United States of Covid-19? How many hospital beds is the country going to need? When will case numbers peak?

To answer those questions, many hospital planners, media outlets, and government bodies — including the White House — relied heavily on one particular model out of the many that have been published in the past two months: the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The model first estimated in late March that there’d be fewer than 161,000 deaths total in the US; in early April, it revised its projections to say the total death toll through August was “projected to be 60,415” (though it acknowledged the range could be between 31,221 and 126,703).

The model has been cited often by the White House and has informed its policymaking. But it may have led the administration astray: The IHME has consistently forecast many fewer deaths than most other models, largely because the IHME model projects that deaths will decline rapidly after the peak — an assumption that has not been borne out.

On Wednesday, the US death count passed the 60,000 mark that the IHME model had said was the likely total cumulative death toll. The IHME on April 29 released a new update raising its estimates for total deaths to 72,433, but that, too, looks likely to be proved an underestimate as soon as next week. Even its upper bound on deaths — now listed as 114,228 by August — is questionable, as some other models expect the US will hit that milestone by the end of May, and most project it will in June.

One analysis of the IHME model found that its next-day death predictions for each state were outside its 95 percent confidence interval 70 percent of the time — meaning the actual death numbers fell outside the range it projected 70 percent of the time. That’s not great! (A recent revision by IHME fixed that issue; more on this below.)

This track record has led some experts to criticize the model. “It’s not a model that most of us in the infectious disease epidemiology field think is well suited” to making projections about Covid-19, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told reporters.

But if that’s the case, how has it risen to such prominence among policymakers? Other models have done better than IHME’s at predicting the course of the epidemic, and many of them use approaches epidemiologists believe are more promising. Yet it’s the IHME model that has generally guided policymakers, for the most part, in the direction of focusing on a return to normal.

One potential explanation for its outsize influence: Some of the factors that make the IHME model unreliable at predicting the virus may have gotten people to pay attention to it. For one thing, it’s more simplistic compared to other models. That means it can be applied in ways more complicated models could not, such as providing state-level projections (something state officials really wanted), which other modelers acknowledged that they didn’t have enough data to offer.

Meanwhile, its narrow confidence intervals for state-by-state estimates meant it had quotable (and optimistic) topline numbers. A confidence interval represents a range of numbers wherein the model is very confident the true value will lie. A narrow range that gives “an appearance of certainty is seductive when the world is desperate to know what lies ahead,” a criticism of the IHME model published in the Annals of Internal Medicine argued. But the numbers and precise curves the IHME is publishing “suggests greater precision than the model is able to offer.”

The criticism of the IHME model, and an emerging debate over epidemiology models more broadly, has brought to light important challenges in the fight against the coronavirus. Good planning requires good projections. Models are needed to help predict resurgences and spot a potential second wave. Dissecting what the IHME model got wrong, what other models got right, and how the public and policymakers read these models is essential work in order to create the best pandemic plans possible.

What’s wrong with the IHME model of the coronavirus?”  (E)

“When it became clear coronavirus had made its way to the United States in late January and was likely to spread around the country, many Americans purchased masks as a way to protect themselves from the disease. After all, they were told the virus is a respiratory illness that enters the body through the nose and mouth. They took proactive measures to protect themselves from getting sick.

But on Feb. 29, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams took to Twitter to shame individuals doing their best to keep themselves out of clinics and the hospital. Keep in mind, this was more than two weeks before the federal government announced official social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines on March 16.

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” he screamed through his keyboard.

We were told then that masks don’t work and that Americans shouldn’t be wearing them. At the same time, government officials were telling us they needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors, nurses and others working in hospitals with cases of the disease. This PPE included masks. The illogical argument being made at the time was that masks protect doctors, but not the general public.

This argument appears to have been made in order to prevent a run on medical grade masks used by those on the front lines treating the disease, but the logic then, and now, made no sense. Masks only protect doctors? Really?

“The masks are important for someone who’s infected to prevent them from infecting someone else. Now, when you see people and look at the films in China, South Korea or whatever everybody is wearing a mask. Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,” Anthony Fauci told “60 Minutes” on March 8. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people ‘feel a little better’ and it might even block a droplet but it’s not providing the perfect protection the people think that it is. And often, there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

“When you think masks you should think of health care providers needing them, and people who are ill,” Fauci continued. “I’m not against it, if you want to do it. It can lead to a shortage for people who really need it.”

Again, masks work as protection for health care providers, but not regular people exposed to the disease at the grocery store?

Then on April 6, “in the middle of an outbreak” and the height of stay-at-home orders, federal government officials stressed a mask was not a replacement for social distancing, but could help protect people from getting sick or spreading the disease to others.

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published. “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.” “(F)

“Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19.

At a testing site in New Orleans, a line formed at dawn. But city officials ran out of tests five minutes after the doors opened at 8 a.m., and many people had to be turned away.

In Phoenix, where temperatures have topped 100 degrees, residents have waited in cars for as long as eight hours to get tested.

And in San Antonio and other large cities with mounting caseloads of the virus, officials have reluctantly announced new limits to testing: The demand has grown too great, they say, so only people showing symptoms may now be tested — a return to restrictions that were in place in many parts of the country during earlier days of the virus.

“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In the early months of the nation’s outbreak, testing posed a significant problem, as supplies fell far short and officials raced to understand how to best handle the virus. Since then, the United States has vastly ramped up its testing capability, conducting nearly 15 million tests in June, about three times as many as it had in April. But in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

In many cities, officials said a combination of factors was now fueling the problem: a shortage of certain supplies, backlogs at laboratories that process the tests, and skyrocketing growth of the virus as cases climb in almost 40 states and the nation approaches a grim new milestone of three million total cases.

Fast, widely available testing is crucial to controlling the virus over the long term in the United States, experts say, particularly as the country reopens. With a virus that can spread through asymptomatic people, screening large numbers of people is seen as essential to identifying those who are carrying the virus and helping stop them from spreading it to others.

All along, the United States has struggled with issues tied to testing. In February, the federal government shipped a tainted testing kit to states, delaying a broader testing strategy and leaving states blind to a virus that was already beginning to circulate. Later, testing supplies became a choke point, and states called on the federal government to use the Defense Production Act to force additional production.” “(L)

“All 50 states have moved to reopen their economies, at least partially, after shutting down businesses and gatherings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But a Vox analysis suggests that most states haven’t made the preparations needed to contain future waves of the pandemic — putting themselves at risk for a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths should they continue to reopen, which some states have already seen.

Experts told me states need three things to be ready to reopen. State leaders, from the governor to the legislature to health departments, need to ensure the SARS-CoV-2 virus is no longer spreading unabated. They need the testing capacity to track and isolate the sick and their contacts. And they need the hospital capacity to handle a potential surge in Covid-19 cases.

More specifically, states should meet at least five basic criteria. They should see a two-week drop in coronavirus cases, indicating that the virus is actually abating. They should have fewer than four daily new cases per 100,000 people per day — to show that cases aren’t just dropping, but also below dangerous levels. They need at least 150 new tests per 100,000 people per day, letting them quickly track and contain outbreaks. They need an overall positive rate for tests below 5 percent — another critical indicator for testing capacity. And states should have at least 40 percent of their ICU beds free to actually treat an influx of people stricken with Covid-19 should it be necessary.

These metrics line up with a range of expert recommendations, as well as the various policy plans put out by both independent groups and government officials to deal with the coronavirus.

Meeting these metrics doesn’t mean that a state is ready to reopen its economy — a process that describes a wide range of local and state actions. And failing them doesn’t mean a state is in immediate danger of a coronavirus outbreak if it starts to reopen; with Covid-19, there’s always an element of luck and other factors.

But with these metrics, states can gauge if they have repressed the coronavirus while building the capacity to contain future outbreaks should they come. In other words, the benchmarks show how ready states are for the next phase of the fight.

So far, most states are not there. As of July 8, just four states — Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York — met four or five of the goals, which demonstrates strong progress. Fifteen states and Washington, DC, hit two or three of the benchmarks. The other 31 achieved zero or one.” (H)

“Official figures show the US has had the largest and most deadly outbreak, exacerbated by a slow initial response, mismanagement of testing and poor coordination between states and the federal government.

“As this outbreak has demonstrated, you can have the best labs in the world, the best notification systems and software, but if you don’t have the appropriate governance of when to use these powers … they don’t function,” Phelan says….

Its successful execution requires extraordinary public trust in their governments, says Lars Trägårdh, a Swedish historian who studies trust in institutions over time. “If you trust the government is working for your good, and you trust other citizens to follow the rules, you have huge advantages for collective action,” he says….

Over the next months, governments are going to allow people to resume their lives amid the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Should new waves of the virus be detected, states may again ask their citizens to return home.

Managing this is going to require significant stores of public trust, that in some places are quickly eroding. “If people agree to do something in the long term, without a threat hanging over their heads, they are more likely to keep doing it,” Trägårdh says. “The alternative is fear, distrust, and chaos, and that isn’t good, no matter what the policy might be.”…

“Leaders such as Trump deploy simple messages: insider versus outsider, us versus them,” says Sanjoy Chakravorty, a professor at Temple University in the US, who studies the politics of information. “And they are having an ideological crisis in how to manage the message here. This is a very complicated information sphere, which you can’t put into ‘us and them’ boxes … because in this case everybody is the ‘us’.”

Rather than rewarding bravado, the moment appears to favour leaders who can be honest about the uncertainty inherent in fighting a virus, says Kathleen Bachynski, an assistant professor of public health at Muhlenberg College. “If leaders are not willing or able to be honest about these limitations, there will be this loss of credibility – and it won’t be because they are wrong, it’s because information is changing.”

Those overseeing some of the more successful responses, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel or Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, have been praised for their ability to project empathy and communicate complex ideas.”  (I)

2. Twelve key lessons

2.1. Transparency is vital

2.2. Successful responses hinge on decisive leadership

2.3. We need unified responses to pandemics rather than diverse disconnected strategies

2.4. Effective communication must occur at the highest political levels

2.5. The European Union, and other regional blocs, must assume a greater health role

2.6. Global solidarity is the only way to win the war against COVID-19

2.7. The WHO has done a lot given the resources it has, but there is much room for improvement. It must now focus its activities, expand its remit and enhance its operational capacity

2.8. Existing global insurance institutions and policies are inadequate, and these require significant changes and improvements

2.9. Efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are commendable, but there is still much more to do

2.10. We need to test the responsiveness and resilience of health systems and make changes and improvements based on the results

2.11. Accountability is critical for building trust and for sound, inclusive decision making

2.12. There are opportunities to introduce novel approaches, such as using robots and artificial intelligence (AI), in this – and in future – pandemic response

3. Conclusion

Now that SARS-CoV-2 has become a pandemic with close to five million cases and over 300,000 deaths as a result of the virus, the case for investing in health systems, human resources, and health technologies is clear. It is also easy to see that in the past decade, austerity policies have cut investments in health and these systems have too often been reduced or ignored. While it is essential to cut waste within health systems, this pandemic highlights the need to have adequate capacity to address and tackle a crisis. It is also a reminder of the strategic importance of publicly accountable health systems, underpinned by investment in people and technologies. We must continue to build upon the lessons learned so far from the management of COVID-19 and adjust our approaches to this pandemic, and to other future health and environmental crises, accordingly. (J)

“……..there are several different scenarios for the future of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of these are consistent with what occurred during past influenza pandemics. These can be summarized as follows and are illustrated in the figure below.

¤ Scenario 1: The first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 is followed by a series of repetitive smaller wavesthat occur through the summer and then consistently over a 1- to 2-year period, gradually diminishingsometime in 2021. The occurrence of these waves may vary geographically and may depend on whatmitigation measures are in place and how they are eased. Depending on the height of the wave peaks, this cenario could require periodic reinstitution and subsequent relaxation of mitigation measures over the next 1 to 2 years.

¤ Scenario 2: The first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 is followed by a larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020 and one or more smaller subsequent waves in 2021. This pattern will require the reinstitution of mitigation measures in the fall in an attempt to drive down spread of infection and prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. This pattern is similar to what was seen with the 1918-19 pandemic (CDC 2018). During that pandemic, a small wave began in March 1918 and subsided during the summer months. A much larger peak then occurred in the fall of 1918. A third peak occurred during the winter and spring of 1919; that wave subsided in the summer of 1919, signaling the end of the pandemic. The 1957-58 pandemic followed a similar pattern, with a smaller spring wave followed by a much larger fall wave (Saunders-Hastings 2016). Successive smaller waves continued to occur for several years (Miller 2009). The 2009-10 pandemic also followed a pattern of a spring wave followed by a larger fall wave (Saunders-Hastings 2016).

¤ Scenario 3: The first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 is followed by a “slow burn” of ongoing  transmission and case occurrence, but without a clear wave pattern. Again, this pattern may vary somewhat geographically and may be influenced by the degree of mitigation measures in place in various areas. While this third pattern was not seen with past influenza pandemics, it remains a possibility for COVID-19. This third scenario likely would not require the reinstitution of mitigation measures, although cases and deaths will continue to occur.

Whichever scenario the pandemic follows (assuming at least some level of ongoing mitigation measures), we must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas. As the pandemic wanes, it is likely that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate in the human population and will synchronize to a seasonal pattern with diminished severity over time, as with other less pathogenic coronaviruses, such as the betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1, (Kissler 2020) and past pandemic influenza viruses have done. “ (K)

“….. the very big lesson we should all take on board here is that modern science protects and serves us. Though everyone understood that the catastrophic influenza pandemic of 1918/19 was caused by a virus, diagnosis back then was all symptomatic, no human influenza virus was isolated until 1933 and it was only during World War 2 (1939-45) that the first, primitive influenza vaccines were rolled out to protect the troops against the possibility of a repeat pandemic that, thankfully, did not occur. When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 we had a specific diagnostic test within days and, I will personally be very surprised if large-scale human vaccination is not in full swing by the second half of 2021.

Even so, the big lesson for the public is that, no matter how wonderful the laboratory science, actually getting products out there to protect people is a much more cumbersome process. Ensuring that a novel drug or vaccine is safe and efficacious takes time. Even though regulatory authorities have been comfortable with the idea that preliminary trials in animals and small numbers of human volunteers (Phase 1) can be conducted simultaneously, all that information must be evaluated before any product can be given to substantial numbers of people. Every possible effort is being made to ensure that all participants in large, closely monitored Phase 2 then Phase 3 trials will be protected, or at least safe, following community exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Much of what had to be done over this first six months of the COVID-19 challenge was just plain hard work. An enormous effort was, for example, made within VIDRL to build testing capacity by helping other private and public laboratories get up to speed. And the Institute is still in the process of evaluating rapid person-side antibody tests that can be used for large-scale serological surveys. The obvious lesson here is that we are protected by having well-funded, high quality public laboratories and Institutions that can rapidly build capacity in the face of any pandemic threat.” (N)

“Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sharply criticized the Trump administrationon Tuesday for undermining the federal health agency and casting doubt on its scientific guidelines in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely amid a pandemic that is only getting worse, public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” wrote former CDC Directors Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser in an op-ed published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

“As the debate last week around reopening schools more safely showed, these repeated efforts to subvert sound public health guidelines introduce chaos and uncertainty while unnecessarily putting lives at risk.”” (O)

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CORONOVIRUS TRACKING Links to Parts 1-38

CORONOVIRUS TRACKING

Links to Parts 1-38

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands?®

http://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/

Curated Contemporaneous Case Study Methodology

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.

https://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/jonathan-m-metsch

PART 1. January 21, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of a deadly new coronavirus that has killed six people in China.”

PART 2. January 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic..”….. “With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of states, public health officials say it is only a matter of time before the virus appears in New York City.”

PART3. February 3, 2020. “The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe…”..Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the flu-like virus …We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down..” (D)

PART 4. February 9, 2020. Coronavirus. “A study published Friday in JAMA found that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, China, were presumed to be infected in that hospital.….

PART 5. February 12, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “In short, shoe-leather public health and basic medical care—not miracle drugs—are generally what stop outbreaks of emerging infections..”

POST 6. February 18, 2020.  Coronovirus. “Amid assurances that the (ocean liner) Westerdam was disease free, hundreds of people disembarked in Cambodia…” “ One was later found to be infected”…. “Over 1,000… passengers were in…transit home”…. “This could be a turning point””

PART 7. February 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. With SARS preparedness underway in NJ LibertyHealth/ Jersey City Medical Center, where I was President, proposed that our 100 bed community hospital with all single-bedded rooms, be immediately transformed into an EMERGENCY SARS ISOLATION Hospital.

PART 8. February 24, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…every country’s top priority should be to protect its health care workers. This is partly to ensure that hospitals themselves do not become sites where the coronavirus is spread more than it is contained.”

PART 9. February 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Responding to a question about the likelihood of a U.S. outbreak, President Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable…”It probably will. It possibly will,” he continued. “It could be at a very small level, or it could be at a larger level.”

Part 10. March 1, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Stop Surprise Medical Bills for Coronavirus care. (&) Lessons Learned (or not) In California and Washington State from community acquired cases.

PART 11. March 5, 2020.  CORONAVIRUS. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo… would require employers to pay workers and protect their jobs if they are quarantined because of the coronavirus.”

Part 12. March 10, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Tom Bossert, Donald Trump’s former homeland security advisor…(said) that due to the coronavirus outbreak, “We are 10 days from the hospitals getting creamed.”

Part 13.. March 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If I’m buying real estate in New York, I’ll listen to the President….If I’m asking about infectious diseases, I’m going to listen to Tony Fauci,”

PART 14. March 17, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “ “Most physicians have never seen this level of angst and anxiety in their careers”…. One said “I am sort of a pariah in my family.”

PART 15. March 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration….in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

PART 16. March 27, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. I am not a clinician or a medical ethicist but articles on Coronavirus patient triage started me Googling………to learn about FUTILE TREATMENT

PART 17. April 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Florida allows churches to continue holding services. Gun stores deemed “essential.”  “New York’s private and public hospitals unite to manage patient load and share resources.

PART 18. April 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The federal government’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments, administration staff told a House panel.

PART 19. April 13, 2020 CORONOAVIRUS. “…overlooked in the United States’ halting mobilization against the novel coronavirus: the personal aides, hospice attendants, nurses and occupational or physical therapists who deliver medical or support services to patients in their homes.”

PART 20. April 20, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “…nothing is mentioned in the “Opening Up America Again” plan about how states should handle a resurgence.”

PART 21. April 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “We need to ask, are we using ventilators in a way that makes sense for other diseases but not this one?”

POST 22. April 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ..the “ACS released a list of 10 issues that should be addressed before a healthcare organization resumes elective surgeries[JM1] ….”

POST 23. May 3, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. … what Dr. Fauci really wants,…”is just to go to a baseball game. That will have to wait. The level of testing for the virus is not adequate enough to allow for such mass gatherings.’ (K)

POST 24. May 7, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “there are going to be deaths no matter what”… but that people needed to get back to work.

POST 25. May 10, 2020, CORONAVIRUS. “It is scary to go to work,” said Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to the president. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing.”

POST 26. May 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS, “Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept”….”there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus”

POST 27. May 19, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Hospital…executives…are taking pay cuts…to help offset the financial fallout from COVID-19.” As “front line” layoffs and furloughs accelerate…

POST 28. May 23, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. ““You’ve got to be kidding me,”..”How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.” CDC conflates viral and antibody tests numbers.

PART 29. May 22, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” (Governor Cuomo). But not so for frontline workers!

POST 30. June 3,202. CORONAVIRUS. “The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus, experts say….

POST 31. June 9, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “I think we had an unintended consequence: I think we made people afraid to come back to the hospital,”

Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”?  “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”

POST 33. June 21, 2002. CORONAVIRUS….. Smashing (lowering the daily number of cases) v. flattening the curve (maintaining a plateau)

POST 34. June 26, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. CDC Director Redfield… “the number of coronavirus infections…could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count — a total of more than 20 million.” As Florida, Texas and Arizona become eipicenters!

POST 35. June 29, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Pence: “We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives..”  While Dr. Fauci “warned that outbreaks in the South and West could engulf the country…”

POST 36. July 2, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “There’s just a handful of interventions proven to curb the spread of the coronavirus. One of them is contact tracing, and “it’s not going well,” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)..

POST 37. June 8, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. When “crews arrive at a hospital with a patient suspected of having COVID-19, the hospital may have a physical bed open for them, but not enough nurses or doctors to staff it.”

POST 38. July 15, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Some Lessons Learned, or not. AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw: I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a healthcare CEO — based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe,” (M)

July 15, 2020


 [JM1]

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