COVID Update September 17: Putting the pandemic in its place. 1:
We haven’t had one here so we think “this has never happened before.”

The rest of the world thinks— “to you it hasn’t.” 2/
“Where’ve you been? We’ve had SARS. We’ve had MERS. We’ve had Ebola. We’ve still got polio. We’ve got HIV. Guinea worm. Do you need us to go on?

You guys have been lucky and don’t even know it.” 3/
“So fine, rest of the world, we get it. Now we have 1. But it’s a bad one. It’s really hard.”

“Oh no it’s not hard. Want to see hard? Keep skipping your measles vaccines. That grows about 7 times faster. Vaccines have saved millions of lives. You have to be R&B to be anti-vax”4/
“Rhythm and blues?”

“Rich and bored. Nobody who’s seen people die in droves would say ‘no, not interested.’”

Measles it turns out is 7x as infectious as COVID-19. And 140,000 people died from measles in 2018. Most under 5. Higher than the flu. 5/
That death rate higher than you thought? Before a vaccine in 1963, 7-8 million kids died from the measles every year. Imagine that?

Start making people nervous about vaccines and that’s 60 years of progress you won’t want to return. And with its rate of spread, it can be fast.6/
So COVID kills older & sicker people. And it looks like it harms younger people. Few small children die.

But should the president, the FDA, or anyone else shake faith in our vaccine approval process, we will be sorely sorry. These genies can’t be put back in the bottle.7/
Africa has 1.3 billion people and deals with many infectious diseases. So far COVID-19 looks like a modest challenge. Only 30,000 deaths.

There are many worse viruses. Ebola kills more. Measles spreads faster. And kids could be more at risk. 8/
So getting our arms around this bug is a test we must learn to pass because there are bigger ones.

And not just bigger viruses. 9/
How does a virus compare to a fire or hurricane? How does it compare to global warming? How well do we perceive what’s happening? 10/
A roof blows off someone’s house, there’s water in the street, we see see the smoke damage of a local business.

And we have sympathy. We have compassion. TV stations show images non-stop. We can picture it happening to us. 11/
When those things are over we tell ourselves that it was a one time event. We are grateful for the limited damage. We hope not to view it as a constant threat. 12/
These things can do a lot of damage but fires can be spotted & we can watch their path. If a fire hits 10 houses, 10 are affected.

Viruses are invisible. They are ignorable. And their growth is secretive and exponential. If a virus hits 10 houses, soon thousands are affected.13
See the storm as a storm.
A fire as a fire.
See 5 100 year fires in a year and 5 hundred year storms in a year as something else.

But like a virus, a conman can look at it and say “not happening”, “not what you’re seeing. It’s just a fire. It’s just the flu.” 14/
“It’s just a fire. It’s just a flu. I love the uneducated. The answer is a herd mentality.”

And to show them you mean it, so into the crowded building & speak & cheer without a mask. It’s easier to do than people think if you don’t care about them. 15/
In the context of a storm, we see the 1 life. The virus we don’t see the 100,000.

But in the context of a pattern of storms, habitat encroachment, the changes to our climate are ignorable much like the virus. 16/
Too new, too scary, too conceptual— whatever it is, if we can’t properly put the virus in its place, we also won’t see the other challenges in front of us.

The climate, drug resistant bacteria. 17/
New challenges require faith in scientists to explain what we can’t see with the naked eye. They require learning lessons when they present themselves. They require good honest communicators. And great innovation. 18/
Never have we been more prepared for these challenges technologically.

Never have we been less prepared as humans. /end

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More from @ASlavitt

23 Oct
COVID Update October 22: Europe is having a second wave. How quickly can they bounce back?

Faster than a country that makes no effort: the US. 1/
Despite a lot of wishful thinking, COVID-19 has not gone away.

(Remember the “people have natural immunity” & “the virus died out”, & the “it will disappear” man?)

2/
Sadly wishful fantasies don’t fight the virus. Scott Atlas’s strategy of ignoring the virus doesn’t work. Only we fight the virus. 3/
Read 24 tweets
21 Oct
COVID Update October 21:

A few nights ago I described how we need to do 2 things.

Account for the past
Fight for our future

I wrote about how we need to account for the past. But I haven’t had the words to focus on the future.

Now I think I do. Or will try. 1/
Thinking about the future turns out to be really hard when we are deep in a hole we must climb out from.

Writing about the past— the need for an accountability election— was easy. Here it is if you didn’t see & want to. 2/
But the future. The future. It feels so uncertain right now. It took me some time. And many many stupid sounding drafts. (Yes for the trolls, even stupider than this!) 3/
Read 28 tweets
19 Oct
BREAKING: Data for the month suggests for the first time COVID-19 has moved from a region by region crisis to a national one.

It needs a national solution.

More to follow shortly.
Here is a graph that says a lot. One thing you see is that cases are growing since April. Now that alone doesn’t tell us everything since testing is growing but it does tell us some things.

It’s from @NephronResearch
One thing to note is the number of states where cases are growing by 1000 cases/day.

April: 6
May/June: 6
July: 14 (19 peak)
August: 12
September: 12
October 15th: 25
Read 8 tweets
18 Oct
COVID Update October 18: It is time.

For the past.
And more importantly for the future.

Today: the past. Tomorrow I will write about the future. 1/
Trump has never faced accountability for his actions. His career in bankruptcy is a master class in how to behave when you don't care about others. Take their money, don't pay it back. Take their services, don't pay it back. 2/
Doing everything you can to avoid taxes including hiding money overseas, illegally using a foundation, writing off blackmail payments, trying to outlawyer the tax code. That's not "savvy." Its savage.

It is not patriotic. Yet, to date no accountability. 3/
Read 34 tweets
18 Oct
COVID Update October 17: The Coronavirus is an equal opportunity killer, right? Wrong. Many countries have done better than others.

It is an amazing story. 1/
One might think it has something to do with wealth.

The U.S. is the wealthiest country in the world. 60 per 100,000 have died here.

This compares to 2 in Haiti and 1 in Botsowana (its close to 0 for the continent of Africa) 2/
Other wealthy countries have also had very high mortality rates.

The U.K. (62), Sweden (57), Italy (59) & Belgium (86) have fared as bad or worse than the U.S. overall-- although they all improved dramatically compared to the U.S. starting in May (more on that in a sec) 3/
Read 22 tweets
15 Oct
COVID Update October 15: We started bad but THEN we got worse. Now is our chance.

Since May 10th, when the worst of Italy and the U.S. had passed, we have had 4x the number of deaths/capita. The difference is 80,000 people gone. 1/
Everyone by this time knows what happened in the U.S. in January through March. Trump heard & ignored, the CDC failed, we lacked masks, had no testing, and we lost too many people. 2/
Our first case was the same day as South Korea’s. We started out and could have been South Korea but never contained and cane to grips with the virus. 3/
Read 24 tweets

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