Links and source material regarding Covid-19:
Unedited, frank and open conversations with leading experts about just how serious this is, with many myths busted.
Sam Harris and Nick Christakis of Yale:
Sam Harris – A Conversation with Amesh Adalja
(Amesh Adalja, MD, is an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.)
Joe Rogan podcast with Michael Osterholm (American public health scientist and a biosecurity and infectious disease expert):
This study is the first to investigate the use of isolation for individuals with COVID-19 and quarantine of family members, school closures, and workplace distancing as interventions for the immediate control of COVID-19 in the event of secondary local transmission using a simulation model. We found that a combined approach (incorporating quarantine, school closures, and workplace distancing) could prevent a national outbreak at low levels of infectivity and reduce the number of total infections considerably at higher levels of infectivity. Such control measures should be deployed in countries outside of China with evidence of imported cases and evidence of local transmission.
Implications of all the available evidence:
The results of this study provide policy makers in Singapore and other countries with evidence to begin the implementation of relatively standard outbreak control measures that could mitigate or reduce local transmission rates if deployed effectively and in a timely manner.
Data & Articles:
In many countries one or a small number of regions have borne the brunt of the virus. Lombardia has eclipsed Wuhan as the most badly affected region in the world, and in Spain Madrid could soon surpass even that.
Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance – What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time by Tomas Pueyo
Summary of the article: Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.
Within a week, countries around the world have gone from: “This coronavirus thing is not a big deal” to declaring the state of emergency. Yet many countries are still not doing much. Why?
Every country is asking the same question: How should we respond? The answer is not obvious to them.
Some countries, like France, Spain or Philippines, have since ordered heavy lockdowns. Others, like the US, UK, or Switzerland, have dragged their feet, hesitantly venturing into social distancing measures.
Here’s what we’re going to cover today, again with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:
- What’s the current situation?
- What options do we have?
- What’s the one thing that matters now: Time
- What does a good coronavirus strategy look like?
- How should we think about the economic and social impacts?
From miraculous cures to paranoid conspiracies, our investigation reveals how misinformation about coronavirus is going viral at a disturbing rate.
t was only because he studied epidemiology that Manlio De Domenico, a statistical physicist at Italy’s Bruno Kessler Foundation, had the foresight to start collecting coronavirus-related tweets in January, weeks before the world woke up to the full scale of the pandemic.
“I listened to what was going on in China and I asked to see what was happening on Twitter,” he told us. “I thought it could be serious. Sadly, I was right.”
Since De Domenico’s team began gathering data on 22 January, they have analysed more than 127 million tweets mentioning the coronavirus. Every day the number grows by about five million.
Figures shared with us by the team, based in in Trento, Italy, show that 46,000 Twitter posts which linked to Covid-19 misinformation were published each day this month on average – exposing potentially tens of millions of people to conspiracy theories, hoaxes or false statistics.
This is an infodemic and, within it, a colossal amount of fake news about the novel coronavirus is swamping social media and threatening to overwhelm public health messages.
Between 22 January, when the city of Wuhan was locked down by Chinese authorities, and 14 March, around 275,000 Twitter accounts posted 1.7 million links to unreliable information about the virus, the Italian data shows.
The findings are likely to seriously underestimate the extent of misinformation, however, not least because they are limited to Twitter, one of the few social networks to allow its data to be analysed by researchers.
Facebook and YouTube have billions more users, while WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook), offers peer-to-peer encryption that makes it impossible for public officials, researchers or even Facebook itself to track misinformation.
Such is the concern over WhatsApp in particular that, last week, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged people to “please stop sharing unverified info on WhatsApp groups”.
Like the virus itself, the real scale of misinformation can only be glimpsed in part. We can only chart what we see. And like the virus, which has now infected 294,110 people and killed 12,944 around the globe, misinformation is spreading via human-to-human sharing across multiple languages to reach every corner of the globe.
“False narratives about coronavirus are truly global and spread faster than the virus itself,” Graham Brookie, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab, told us. “And like the virus, misinformation doesn’t respect our neatly defined borders.”
Adozen physicians at the epicenter of Italy’s Covid-19 outbreak issued a plea to the rest of the world on Saturday, going beyond the heartbreaking reports of overwhelmed health care workers there and a seemingly uncontrollable death toll to warn that medical practice during a pandemic may need to be turned on its head — with care delivered to many patients at home.
“Western health care systems have been built around the concept of patient-centered care,” physicians Mirco Nacoti, Luca Longhi, and their colleagues at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo urge in a paper published on Saturday in NEJM Catalyst, a new peer-reviewed journal from the New England Journal of Medicine. But a pandemic requires “community-centered care.”
The experience of the Bergamo doctors is crucial for U.S. physicians to understand “because some of the mistakes that happened in Italy can happen here,” said Maurizio Cereda, co-director of the surgical ICU at Penn Medicine and a co-author of the paper. The U.S. medical system is centralized, hospital-focused, and patient-centered, as in most western countries, “and the virus exploits this,” he told STAT.
Although Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital is a new state-of-the-art facility, its 48 intensive-care beds and other advanced treatment capacity have staggered under the Covid-19 caseload, which passed 4,305 this week.
“We are far beyond the tipping point,” Nacoti and his colleagues write. With 70% of ICU beds reserved for critically ill Covid-19 patients, those beds are being allocated only to those “with a reasonable chance to survive,” as physicians make wrenching triage choices to try to keep alive those who have a chance. “Older patients are not being resuscitated and die alone without appropriate palliative care, while the family is notified over the phone, often by a well-intentioned, exhausted, and emotionally depleted physician with no prior contact,” they report.
Vet your sources or more people will be deluded
Everyone has seen messages telling you we must “act today or people will die,” COVID-19 is basically just the flu, and/or that “flattening the curve is a deadly delusion.” These often have numbers, charts, citations, retroactively edited titles (“taksies backsies”), and data “science.”
Unfortunately, all of the above are signs of DKE-19, a highly contagious illness threatening the response against COVID-19. We must act today to flatten the curve of armchair epidemiology, or we will all be in peril.
What is DKE-19?
Dunning-Kruger Effect (DKE) is a phenomenon where people lack the ability to understand their lack of ability. While strains of DKE typically circulate seasonally, a new and more virulent strain called DKE-19 is now reaching pandemic proportions.
When you’re done reading this article, this is what you’ll take away:
- DKE-19 is coming to you.
- It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, then suddenly, then suddenlier.
- When it does, your feeds will be overwhelmed.
- Exhausted fact checkers will break down. Some will die of sadness.
- The only way to prevent this is social media distancing. Not tomorrow. Today.
- That means vetting sources BEFORE you share, starting now.