Ed Yong Profile picture
15 Nov, 5 tweets, 3 min read
Here's a thing I want everyone to understand.

There is a roughly 12-day lag between rising cases rising hospitalizations.

So the 1.5 million (!!!) confirmed cases from the last 2 weeks have not yet factored into stories about packed emergency rooms.

In this story, I noted Iowa is already out of staffed beds. ICUs are at capacity. theatlantic.com/health/archive…

Here are Iowa's cases. The 12-day lag between cases & hospitalizations means people in the blue portion will be trying to enter those full ICUs over the next 2 weeks.

I say Iowa, but you could do this same analysis for any number of states, especially in the Midwest. The near-term future is already baked in, which is why you have to act *ahead* of the virus. (See Problem #8 in this story about 9 intuitive fallacies.)

Another way to think about these lags is that some of the people who are infected on Thanksgiving will enter the hospital in the middle of December, and the morgue around Christmas.
Don’t forget the long-haulers, many of whom are still struggling with lasting symptoms from COVID-19 infections in *the spring*.

A lot of the 1.5 million Americans who were infected this month—many young & prev healthy—will still be sick well into 2021.


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More from @edyong209

17 Nov
The coronavirus bursts into a bar at 10.01pm but it's empty. It sulks off, thwarted.

The coronavirus enters a room to find only 14 people. "Curses," it says, "foiled again."

The coronavirus finds *15* people but they leave after 14 minutes. "DAMMIT."

This is a good time to read the latest piece from stellar reporter @rkhamsi on absurd pandemic polices. wired.com/story/a-lack-o…
And then read @rachgutman on how to think about safety. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Read 5 tweets
13 Nov
🚨I wrote about what health-care workers are going through, how exhausted & scared they are, and what this 3rd pandemic surge is doing to them.

It’s not like the first 2. It’s worse. How much slack is left in the system? Iowa nurse: “There is none” 1/

You’ve seen the huge numbers. Here’s what they can mean.

➡️36-hour shifts
➡️Docs on standby in case a colleague and their substitute AND their substitute’s substitute get sick
➡️“We’re all running on fear”
➡️“There’s only so many bags you can zip” 2/

The issue isn’t beds or ventilators. It’s people.

In many states, there already aren’t enough nurses/docs to care for the incoming COVID-19 patients.

Here’s what it takes to care for one in an ICU. (Non-COVID patients are coming in sicker too.) 3/

theatlantic.com/health/archive… Image
Read 12 tweets
11 Nov
🥳It's a weird time for good personal news, but I’m proud to have won a AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, in the In-Depth Reporting category for 3 of my pandemic pieces. 1/

End: theatlantic.com/health/archive…

Confusion: theatlantic.com/health/archive…

Patchwork: theatlantic.com/health/archive…
To continue a trend, I’ll be donating the prize money from this one to the Capital Area Food Bank, the Native American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Trans Lifeline, and the Trevor Project. 2/
Thanks as ever to my editors @andersen, @thebanderson @slaskow @PaulBisceglio for improving my work, and to the Atlantic for giving me the time, space, mandate, and support to go big. 3/
Read 8 tweets
28 Oct
🚨I wrote about the upcoming election, and what the stakes are in terms of the pandemic.

The piece is short, and its gist is simple: Next week, Americans will choose whether to try and bring COVID-19 under control.

Four true statements:

➡️Trump has epically mishandled the pandemic.

➡️He does not learn from his mistakes.

➡️COVID-19 will still be raging in 2021.

➡️Historical patterns suggest another major epidemic is likely in the next 4 years.

The third surge is upon us. Hospitals are once again filling up. Healthcare workers are exhausted. Vaccines are still
far away.

But COVID-19 is not uncontrollable.

The playbook is clear. The US just needs a leader willing to implement it.

Read 5 tweets
19 Oct
October surprise: my laptop died.
Janky replacement laptop is operational, but it just downloaded six months worth of updates, so let's just give it some space to process.
It's like that scene in the Matrix except instead of suddenly knowing kung-fu, Neo just starts openly weeping.
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
🚨I wrote about the rampant use of "strength" and "fighting" metaphors following Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, the history of such language when talking about disease, and why it misleads, distracts, and makes things worse. 1/

I spoke to doctors, immunologists, linguists, anthropologists, and psychologists about what we're really talking about when we talk about "strength" in the context of "beating" disease, and whether there's any truth to that (very common) idea. 2/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
On Trump specifically, what he & his supporters are calling "strength" is really 2 things:
- the performance of a specific toxic version of masculinity that prizes aggression, volume, stubbornness, overconfidence, & mockery
- *enormous* privilege

Read 5 tweets

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