The armchair quarterbacking on Twitter of the #2019nCoV response is … a lot.
Outbreaks are chaotic, exhausting & frightening. Fog of war conditions. Good to keep that in mind.
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) January 26, 2020
On last night’s thread, commentor Starfish recommended Dr. Tara C. Smith’s twitter feed. Dr. Smith has some very helpful information:
/4 If you feel you need to "do something," 1) make sure you're vaccinated for influenza so if a case comes to your area, you're one fewer febrile person to be tested and potentially isolated.
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) January 25, 2020
/6 3) you'll see some disagreement among scientists. That's ok; were still working it out. Again, there will be lots of uncertainty from limited data in the early weeks.
4) lots of good people to follow from suggestions in this thread. https://t.co/okW6Wnpf3y /fin
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) January 25, 2020
IMO, at this particular moment, the situation appears to be pretty good. There’s no widespread panic, the news media seems to have acquired some immunity to the OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE conspiracies that flared around SARS and the last global Ebola outbreak, and the governments involved appear to be reacting, if not flawlessly, at least reasonably. Murphy the Trickster God willing, we’ll be watching similar reports for the next few weeks / months…
This medic in China was infected while treating patients with the new coronavirus.
The death toll has jumped to 81, with Chinese authorities saying there are now more than 2,700 confirmed cases. pic.twitter.com/p63MMZsfEy
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 27, 2020
Within a month of the discovery of the Wuhan coronavirus, the @CDCgov has generated an assay for the virus and made the protocol publicly available to the world. This is an outstanding example of the importance of publicly funded scientific infrastructure! https://t.co/W6krZbVfaS
— Russ Poldrack (@russpoldrack) January 26, 2020
The additional genomes released in the last two days provide further evidence for a single animal-human spill-over event 7-10 weeks ago. Here is our updated report. https://t.co/bbp9CfMJez
— Richard Neher (@richardneher) January 26, 2020
Bad time to be in Wuhan, terrible time to be a health professional working in Wuhan, nowhere near time to start worrying about how your pets will survive once the new plague reduces major U.S. cities to wastelands.
Videos circulating on Chinese social media show doctors straining to handle the enormous workload and hospital corridors loaded with patients, some of whom appear to already be dead.
Here are the latest updates on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. https://t.co/thOFNwafla
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 27, 2020
With WHO chief on his way to Beijing, might the coronavirus outbreak be decalred an emergency of international concern?
So far, the virus has been exported to 12 countries. https://t.co/K0U7eF0F2K
— Elizabeth Law 思敏 (@lizzlaw_) January 27, 2020
Key Shanghai companies in epidemic prevention industries, including medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and protective gear, have been urged to cancel the Spring Festival holiday and continue production to contribute to the fight against the #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/oZjVMd8hRR
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 27, 2020
"50 million people are quarantined" is one of those things that tells you less about the disease and more about the political machine responding to the disease.
— Adia Benton (@Ethnography911) January 26, 2020
Thought-provoking article on the Wuhan quarantine from a medical specialist in the Washington Post:
… China is in a real bind. If Beijing doesn’t act — or delays reporting on the situation, as officials did for five long months during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic of 2002-2003 — then the virus will spread quickly and, if it proves especially lethal, could kill many more people than it already has. China will also incur international blame, economic sanctions or worse. Doing nothing is not an option in an era when information, fear and gossip travel at the speed of electrons and the public invariably demands action from leaders.
On the other hand, by taking the draconian step of closing down densely populated urban areas, China can hope only to diminish the coronavirus’s spread, knowing full well that some additional infections, or many, will inevitably occur. It takes just a few cases to spread outside the Chinese quarantine zone before critics say it has failed. As Lawrence O. Gostin, a public health law professor at Georgetown, has, for example, already said, “It’s very unlikely to stop the progressive spread.”
It’s possible that this coronavirus may not be highly contagious, and it may not be all that deadly. We also do not know yet how many people have mild coronavirus infections but have not come to medical attention, especially because the illness begins with mild to moderate respiratory tract symptoms, similar to those of the common cold, including coughing, fever, sniffles and congestion. Based on data from other coronaviruses, experts believe the incubation period for this new coronavirus is about five days (the range runs from two to 14 days), but we do not yet know how efficiently this coronavirus spreads from infected person to healthy person. And because antibodies for coronavirus do not tend to remain in the body all that long, it is possible for someone to contract a “cold” with coronavirus and then, four months later, catch the virus again…
Even open societies such as the United States have stringent laws regarding quarantine during epidemics, but they are rarely used because they are so poorly tolerated by citizens. Nevertheless, Americans have a long history of misapplying the quarantine. Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City in 1892, San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1900, and more recently gay men and Haitians in the early years of the AIDS epidemic were all stigmatized, isolated and blamed for the spread of contagious diseases. In many instances, some of these “undesirable” groups were inappropriately quarantined; their health needs were routinely ignored; and some even contracted deadly diseases while in isolation…
… When the public trusts leaders and health authorities, it is easier to establish wide-scale cooperation, clear lines of communication and appropriate, humane health care. Civic-minded, community-wide, voluntary disease containment and mitigation efforts — such as those adopted in Mexico City during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, when officials inspired buy-in from the public to enact bans on social gatherings, school closures, isolation of the ill and at-home quarantines for those suspected of having contact with sick people — have been shown to work well. That is certainly the prescription I would write, and it’s not one that extreme measures are likely to engender.
Microbes, as agents of illness and death, are the ultimate social leveler. They bind us and, when transmitted through a filter of fear, have the power to divide. China has deemed this contagious disease to be too dangerous, or poorly understood, to take any chances with the public’s health. But the country also has a moral imperative to provide safe and compassionate medical care for those confirmed or suspected to be infected by the coronavirus…