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An essential reading guide to understanding coronavirus

On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared the Covid-19 coronavirus a global pandemic. The coronavirus epidemic originated in Wuhan, China, but has now spread to much of the world and is spreading to places like Italy, Iran and South Korea. Confirmed cases worldwide continue to rise, even in the United States. In response, workers have been sent home, conferences have been canceled, store shelves have been emptied, a democratic country has been placed in national quarantine and the global economy is seriously threatened. It is safe to say that this is one of the most serious public health crises of the last few decades, if not a century.

It is overwhelming, even for those of us who concern him. But if you are simply updating or want to deepen, here is a list (not complete, but still expansive!) Of some of the articles, articles, podcasts and interviews that we found most useful, both from Vox and elsewhere.

Start here

Vox answered 9 questions about the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic

What is coronavirus? What can I do to avoid getting it? What should I do if I think I have it? When will the epidemic end? This article answers all these and other questions, so if you have limited time, start here.

9 charts explaining the coronavirus pandemic, Vox

For visual students. This chart is particularly significant and frightening. As you will see in pieces in this guide, America’s inability to test aggressively enough and early enough set the stage for a much more dangerous epidemic than was necessary:

Christina Animashaun / Vox

Coronavirus 101: symptoms, spread and severity

Appointment of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the virus causing it, WHO

You have probably heard many different names for this newly launched virus: “coronavirus”, “Covid-19”, perhaps also “SARS-CoV-2”. This short post explains the subtle but important differences between these designations.

How lethal is the coronavirus? What we know and what we don’t do, New York Times

This work does an excellent job of breaking down the way the mortality rate (CFR) is calculated, because the number is often inflated (and sometimes deflated) on the outbreak of a new disease, and where epidemiologists generally agree on the actual CFR for Covid-19 stands (close to 1 percent).

Coronavirus Disease Overview (COVID-19), Our World in Data

View the latest research and data on total coronavirus cases, growth rate, severity, symptoms, mortality risk, and more. OWD’s custom charts and graphs make huge amounts of data easily accessible.

Visual: Johns Hopkins Covid-19 interactive map

This interactive map by Johns Hopkins provides updated counts of the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 coronavirus worldwide, country by country breakdowns and mortality and cure rates.

How does the new coronavirus spread? These new studies offer clues. Vox

This piece examines recent research on how coronavirus spreads from person to person. Recent studies show that the virus mainly transmits through cough or sneeze droplets and can spread even when people have no symptoms or are just starting to feel sick.

Report: WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019, World Health Organization

This relationship is important for a variety of reasons. One is that it established the widely referenced basis for Covid-19 symptoms. Based on 55,924 confirmed cases in China, WHO has established the two most common symptoms of those infected with fever (88 percent) and dry cough (67.7 percent). Less frequent symptoms include sputum or thick cough mucus (33.4 percent), shortness of breath (18.6 percent), sore throat (13.9 percent) and headache (13.6 percent).

Study: on the origin and continuous evolution of SARS-CoV-2, National Science Review

This study performed genetic analyzes on the population of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, finding two distinct strains of the virus. The first – a more aggressive and severe strain called “type L” – was prevalent in the initial outbreak in China, but has since decreased in frequency. The second, a milder strain called “type S”, was less common at the beginning of the epidemic, but has since increased in relative frequency. The existence of these two separate strains could potentially explain potential discrepancies in reported symptoms and mortality rates between China and other countries.

Study: Children at similar risk of infection and transmission of the general population, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Preliminary data appeared to indicate that children had been infected with the coronavirus at much lower rates than adults. However, this study conducted in China on 391 cases and 1,286 of their close contacts concludes that “children have an infection risk similar to that of the general population, although less likely to have severe symptoms”. Put another way, children may have less severe symptoms of coronavirus, but they are still likely to be carriers and therefore can act as asymptomatic transmitters.

What can you do

Preparing for Coronavirus to target the United States, Scientific American

“We should prepare ourselves, not because we may feel personally at risk,” writes Zeynep Tufekci, “but so that we can help reduce the risk for everyone. We should prepare ourselves not because we are facing a doomsday scenario beyond our control, but because we can alter every aspect of this risk that we face as a society. ”

This piece argues that the effort to “flatten the curve” through behavioral changes such as social distancing is a moral and civil duty, as well as a personal decision.

CDC guidelines on what to do in case of disease, Centers for disease control and prevention

If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19 coronavirus disease but don’t need immediate medical attention, healthcare professionals suggest self-isolation. According to the CDC, this self-isolation should include staying at home (except for medical treatment), separating from other people (and pets) in your home, cleaning all “high-touch” surfaces and washing your hands often. This guide also includes a list of precautions for family members / partners / caregivers of infected individuals.

Six things you can do now to prepare for an outbreak, Vox

This outlines the six key steps that we should all take not only to avoid getting sick, but preparing our lives for what will come (and in many ways is already happening). It includes information on how to wash your hands better, whether to buy a face mask or not, and the importance of psychological preparedness in the face of a pandemic.

Coronavirus: Why do you have to act now, Middle

This work does a good job outlining the critical role of time in the response to the coronavirus: right now we live in an exponential curve and the difference of a few days can be the dividing line between a successful policy and an uncontrolled outbreak.

Study: effectiveness of social removal measures in the workplace in reducing the transmission of influenza: a systematic review, NCBI

This 2018 meta-analysis examined 15 studies on how the practice of social distancing in the workplace (e.g. increased use of telework and remote meeting options, staggered working hours and the distance of more distant workers) influenced the spread of H1N1 flu in 2009. The authors found that the only measures of social distancing in the workplace “produced an average 23% reduction in the cumulative flu attack rate in the general population” (in addition to delaying and reduce the peak attack rate). This outbreak occurred in different circumstances than the Covid-19 outbreak, but the general lesson is clear: social distancing works.

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in a graph, Vox

Christina Animashaun / Vox

The main factor that will determine the severity of the coronavirus impact is the speed with which the outbreak occurs. The phrase “smoothing the curve” has become a popular way to describe the importance of how we societies can change our collective behavior to slow down the rate of coronavirus cases and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. This article explains the term itself, the diagram behind it and why it is so important to prevent an overwhelming burden on our healthcare system.

Study: therapeutic and triage strategies for the new coronavirus of 2019 in fever clinics, The Lancet

This study outlines the best strategies for diagnosing and treating Covid-19 from the perspective of hospitals and clinics, but it can also be helpful for people who experience symptoms. The two most worrying symptoms are “wheezing” (the feeling of shortness of breath) and “hypoxia” (with a low level of oxygen in the blood). The study notes that patients who experience these symptoms should be immediately sent to isolation (and receive necessary medical attention if necessary); while for those with other symptoms, further tests are needed to determine whether the patient has contracted Covid-19.

The global response to the coronavirus

How does the coronavirus epidemic end?, Vox

After the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in China, experts agreed that the way to end the outbreak was simple: containment. Now, with cases continuing to spread around the world, scientists think the containment scenario is unlikely. This piece offers an overview of various scenarios on how the epidemic could end, from “nightmare” to “lucky”. An important aspect is that the severity of Covid-19’s impact on our societies is a direct function of how we collectively choose to respond to it.

The most important lessons of the Chinese answer Covid-19, Vox

This interview with Bruce Aylward, WHO deputy director general who led the organization’s mission in China, explores the great results of the mission’s report. Vox’s Alyward and Julia Belluz discuss the playbook used by China to curb the spread of Covid-19, because the speed of response to an outbreak is so crucial, if China’s coronavirus data can be trusted and more.

What America can learn from Taiwan’s coronavirus response, Vox

Taiwan is an island of 23 million just 81 miles from mainland China and had 2.7 million visitors from China last year. However, as of March 10, the country has had only 45 Covid-19 cases and one death, making Taiwan one of the most effective containment strategies in the world. This interview with Stanford health policy researcher Jason Wang explores what Taiwan has done well and how other countries, including the United States, can put these lessons into practice.

They contained Coronavirus. Here’s how., New York Times

Taiwan is not the only place to avoid a massive Covid-19 outbreak despite close ties to China. As of March 12, Hong Kong had only 131 confirmed coronavirus cases, including four deaths. Singapore is even more impressive. He managed to limit his coronavirus outbreak to 187 confirmed and deadless cases, all without closing public schools. How did they do it? What lessons can we learn from their efforts? Two epidemiologists from the University of Hong Kong explain.

How Iran completely and completely messed up its response to the Coronavirus, New York Times

If Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are models for containing coronavirus, Iran is a warning of what could happen if the epidemic is handled poorly. Iran has officially reported only about 11,000 virus cases since March 13, but many suspect that the actual number is much higher. On Friday, these suspicions were confirmed when new satellite photos were released claiming to show three large burial pits. This piece, by two Iranian doctors who now live in the United States, documents how government coverage and poor conditions left the country sadly unprepared for what would happen. “The most important lesson of the coronavirus crisis in Iran,” the authors write, “is that health policy must never be politicized.”

Everything you need to know about coronavirus vaccines, Wired

The most obvious way to end the coronavirus epidemic would be to develop a vaccine for it. But what is needed to actually make a vaccine? When could a Covid-19 vaccine reasonably be ready? And can governments do anything to speed up this process? This piece has the answers.

The American government’s response so far

The shamefully slow US coronavirus test threatens us all, Vox

By March 11, only about 7,000 Covid-19 tests had been performed in the United States, a number well below other developed countries, many of which have much smaller populations. This article explores the important story behind test delays, what these delays can mean for the public response to the outbreak and why it is so important that tests kick off.

How much worse the coronavirus could arrive, in the charts, to the New York Times

“The answers depend on the actions we take and, above all, on when we take them, ”write Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson. This interactive model will help you understand how much the results could vary according to the speed with which we put together our actions. “Play with it and see the benefits of aggressive and early acting,” Kristof tweeted.

Trump sabotaged the American foreign policy response of the Coronavirus

This piece, written in late January, documents how, under Donald Trump’s leadership, the United States government “intentionally made itself unable” to respond effectively to a pandemic. In 2018, the Trump administration fired the entire chain of command in response to the government pandemic and cut the CDC’s budget and staff. Therefore, this piece argues that the United States government’s unconditional response to the coronavirus outbreak is not an accident: it is the culmination of the Trump administration’s key decisions.

I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it. Washington Post

After the 2014 Ebola crisis, the Obama administration established the leadership of the National Security Council for Global Health Security and Biodiversity, under the leadership of Beth Cameron. “I was shocked when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19,” he writes.

Trump’s mismanagement has helped fuel the coronavirus crisis, Politico

“For six weeks behind the scenes, and now more and more in public, Trump has undermined his administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic,” reports Dan Diamond, “resisting attempts to plan worse scenarios, overturning a health plan. publishes request from political allies and repeating only the warnings he has chosen to listen to. ”

A chilling lesson about what happens when a president who refuses to hear bad news is faced with a crisis full of it.

Report: 2017 Pandemic Flu Plan, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

This 2017 HHS report outlines the U.S. government’s planning strategy for a potential influenza pandemic in the U.S. While coronavirus is certainly a unique challenge, it is worth reading the report just to get an idea of ​​how the United States government thinks of the threat of pandemics and responses to them. In particular, it is worthwhile to grasp some of the planning assumptions themselves. According to the chart on page 44, in a “moderate” flu pandemic scenario, HHS expected about 64 million Americans to contract the disease and 32 million to seek outpatient medical care.

How coronavirus will impact the global economy

The Coronavirus Threat to the Global Economy – and What to Do About It, Vox

This piece examines the potential macroeconomic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The key finding: coronavirus is likely to lead to an economic downturn, but – unlike 2008 – many governments will not have the primary means of stimulating their economies (cutting interest rates) at their disposal. On the contrary, governments will have to stimulate demand through fiscal policy, a process that could run into some legislative roadblocks.

“This is much worse than 2008”: Obama’s chief economist on the economic threat of the coronavirus, Vox

“At this point, it looks much worse than 2008,” says Jason Furman, who was Obama’s chief economist and helped coordinate the response to the financial crisis. “Lehman Brothers has been pretty bad, but it was the culmination of a sequence of things that had happened for 14 months. This shot all at once. “

Report: COVID-19: Implications for businesses, McKinsey & Co.

In this report, McKinsey outlines three potential scenarios for the worldwide coronavirus epidemic – rapid recovery, global slowdown, pandemic and global recession – and how each of them would impact the global economy. “Rapid recovery” is extremely unlikely, as it would have required a global public health response equivalent to that of China. But reading the difference between the latter two scenarios is illuminating.

From McKinsey’s point of view, the difference between a “global slowdown” (global GDP growth for 2020 would be reduced by half, between 1 and 1.5 percent) and “the global pandemic and recession “(global growth in 2020 falling between –1.5 per cent and 0.5 per cent) largely depends on a single question: is the virus seasonal or will it persist persistently over the summer?

Study: the global macroeconomic impacts of COVID-19: Seven Scenarios, Australian National University

Based on the modeling of the economic impact of SARS 2002-2003 and the 2006 flu pandemics, this document models seven possible global economic scenarios in the wake of the coronavirus. In the document’s “low gravity scenario”, the estimated loss for global GDP is $ 2.4 trillion. But costs rise sharply as the severity level increases, with the highest potential cost for global GDP rising to $ 9 trillion.

The social impact of coronavirus

The coronavirus will also cause a loneliness epidemic, Vox

The thrust of this piece can be summed up in a key passage: “Don’t make mistakes: the rapid implementation of social distancing is necessary to flatten the coronavirus curve and prevent the current pandemic from worsening. But just as the fallout from the coronavirus threatens to cause an economic downturn, it will also cause what we might call a “social downturn”: a collapse of social contact that is particularly hard on the populations most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness – the elderly and people with disabilities or pre-existing health conditions “.

Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, workers who need the highest paid sick days have the least, Institute of Economic Policy

This piece documents a disturbing paradox in the heart of the coronavirus epidemic: workers most exposed to the public – that is, those who work in leisure and hospitality – have the least access to paid sick days. This means that workers who are more likely to get sick (and therefore spread the coronavirus) are also less likely to be able to take a break from work for self-quarantine or seek medical tests.

Coronavirus will cause a crisis in childcare in America, Vox

This week, at least a dozen states and a number of large urban school districts have decided to close all K-12 schools in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak, as reported in this article, the effects of these closures could be enormous: Children across America he will go without lunch, families will stay looking for their children and, in many situations, parents will have to choose between keeping their job and leaving their children alone.

Coronavirus and 2020 elections: what happens to the vote in an outbreak, New York Times

The coronavirus epidemic isn’t happening in any year – it’s happening in a presidential election year. According to this article, the impact of the coronavirus on the vote could be stark: “A presidential election takes place over months in crowded campaign rallies and nomination conventions, and culminates in November when more than 130 million voters and almost one Million survey workers gather in firefighters and gyms, sliding their fingers over the touchscreens or opening those licked envelopes above. The effects of a socially transmitted respiratory virus, if it spread relentlessly during the campaign season, would be almost infinite. ”

The coronavirus epidemic has American homeless people at risk of “disaster”. New York Times

As reported in this article, the 550,000 homeless in the United States have a “double vulnerability” to coronavirus. Not only are they “more susceptible to contracting disease” due to cramped shelters, inability to self-quarantine and unhygienic street conditions, but “once infected, chronic homeless people are more likely to get sick or die a lot due to medical conditions. basic and lack of reliable health care. “As a result, experts predict that the coronavirus epidemic will result in a” disaster “for the homeless American population.

Podcasts to help you understand coronavirus

Covid-19, explained by Carl (who has it), Today, he explained

Coronavirus: fears and facts, Science vs.

Does stopping the coronavirus require more surveillance? Restore

Behind the Covid-19 curve, The Weeds

Mr. Chen goes to Wuhan, This American life

How to stay updated / learn more

Daily reports on the WHO situation

Updated coverage of Vox

The Vox guide to the Covid-19 coronavirus

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