COVID Update September 21: As the world approaches 1 million deaths, and the U.S. 200,000, where we go from here is the most important thing.

And there is a simple trick to slow and stop these deaths. 1/
Remember that after the Spanish flu which killed 50 million people a century ago, we have had respiratory viruses like the Asian flu in the 50s & Hong Kong flu in the 60s killed over a million people. The swine flu a decade ago almost 300,000. 2/
The difference with COVID-- very simply that it is happening in the U.S.

Imagine a world where 1 million people died of COVID outside of the U.S., but we were untouched. Would we have noticed? Cared? Done something? 3/
Before I answer, I remember that 700,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses last year, mostly outside the U.S. and that for much of the last number of years over 1 million have been dying every year. 4/
We are used to epidemics and pandemics in this world. But we are used to them happening to other people. And even the epidemic that we have had here-- AIDS-- has killed 675,000 people. But for many Americans who are not in high risk groups, it happened to "other" people. 5/
When something happens to other populations around the world-- or even here in the U.S.-- its as if it never happened unless people felt at risk. 6/
Much the same can be said about our response to COVID-19. We were at our best when we feared for ourselves. We stayed in, we didn't discuss herd immunity, we didn't have debates about the value of "old people." 7/
COVID disproportionately impacts people who can't escape it-- farmworkers, prisoners, homeless, Black/Brown communities at a higher rate, immunocompromised groups.

And so, if you don't happen to be in one of those groups you feel safer. 8/
We like being out of the disease chain. Its as if its not happening. And we are apparently ok being in the middle of the disease chain, passing it to others if we don't worry about being harmed ourselves. 9/
The whole way we look at the pandemic and its relationship to ourselves was one of the most fascinating parts of my conversation with @edyong209 here.

If you don't read Ed religiously in @TheAtlantic too, you simply need to. But listen if you haven't.10/
So I promised you a "key" to not making that 200,000 become 300,000 or 400,000.

You expect me to say a mask. And that's the funny part to me. Everybody at this point knows what we need to do.

Apparently its not that simple.11/
A mask of course does 2 things. It protects the people in your vicinity and you from the virus. And, if we all do it, it reduces the spread and gets us back to normal more quickly. 12/
But if many people already feel safe, as we discussed above, why would they wear a mask?

I had this conversation with KY governor @AndyBeshearKY today. 13/
Beshear is one of the 2 highest rated governors when it comes to their COVID-19 response. He governs a state where he is in the minority party in a state relatively unhealthy. Given all of that results have been mercifully good so far w/ about 1000 deaths. 14/
Beshear says this our great generational challenge. Ask him what the key is to winning the war on the pandemic and he has an answer.

"We have to become the kindest generation," he hold me. 15/
In fact, we cannot possibly win without kindness.

(Yes we may be trapped in a bible story or an Aesop fable where after years of neglecting people who have been at risk, we now have to SEE them & care about them.) 16/
Like the bedtime stories we've all read to our kids, there are always 2 choices: in this case, the indifferent path where we let 200,000 become 300,000 or more & grow angry & resentful that it is robbing us of some of our life. 17/
That version has people yelling herd immunity or turning our backs or justifying suffering for others but not inconvenience for ourselves.

But the other choice is the easiest in the world. 18/
Its a choice we will not find on Twitter or Facebook or in most of the political rhetoric. It will come in the active doing.

Beshear said something else: "Its harder to ask people to do nothing than to do something." 19/
People will respond better to being asked to sew masks than to wear them. But Beshear believes we all have that decency in us. We are still the country that sent young people to Normandy where we lost 6600 on a single day.
Does the 80 years that passed change our country so much that we can't get back to that. To the simplest thing in the world.

Caring about everyone who dies whether we know them or not. It feels hard because its new and it feels easy because we all know how. 21/
When we can make the journey from the Greatest Generation to the Kindest Generation, the virus won't stand a chance. /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?)

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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