Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 3

3 03 2020

People are panicking.  Today I went to pick up a few things at Walmart.  The hand sanitizer I expected to be gone; however, I didn’t expect to see all the Clorox and Lysol wipes to be sold out.  I looked at the man who was looking for an alternative.  I said, “People are panicking needlessly.”  I told him and wrote down for him my alternatives that will work just as well.  Also, all the alcohol was gone (not the kind you drink but the kind you use to sterilize things).  I saw that as I was getting antibiotic cream because we were out of that. I didn’t see anything else that might have disappeared from the shelves but I’m sure there probably is.  I had a specific agenda of things to get (you know, like yogurt, hornet spray, things like that). 


Last night I saw someone post something on the mayor’s FB page and said that their loved one tested positive for coronavirus but they told her she didn’t have the China coronavirus and accused the mayor of the city of a conspiracy.  I decided to reply to him.  I said the common cold is a coronavirus (of course I’m wondering how their loved one was tested to begin with since kits are not readily available but I didn’t say that), but the one in China is a specific coronavirus called COVID-19.  Coronaviruses included SARS and MERS, too, but it also included the common cold so stop freaking out.  What they told them at the hospital was accurate and it wasn’t some kind of conspiracy. 

My favorite infectious disease physician, Dr. Matt McCarthy, of NY-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City (who I believe has finally gotten that 1 person in NYC diagnosed that he was speaking of the other day that he said they all believed had the virus but was having problems with the testing process).  His comments on television today: “Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients.  I STILL do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me.”  The host of the show asked, “That’s easy to do.  Is it hard to manufacture?”  Dr. McCarthy replied, “It’s easy to do for some countries.  What happened in the United States is the CDC created a test, sent out to 50 states, then said, “Hold up.  Don’t use it.  Let us fix it.”  It’s now March.  We hear that it’s coming very soon, but I’m here to tell you right now at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have it at my fingertips.  I still have to call the Department of Health.  I still have to make my case—plea—to test people.  This is NOT GOOD.” 


You could tell how frustrated he is.  And I’m certain he is talking about rapid testing like South Korea has with their drive-through process and also now China. 

Jeremy Konydyk is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. His research focuses on humanitarian response, USAID policy reform, and global outbreak preparedness.  Today he said his frustrations were 1) We have NOT had a disciplined, well-organized federal response; testing is the perfect example of that; there is a critical bottleneck that didn’t need to exist.  2) The fact that they didn’t solve this much earlier. 3) They don’t have any organization and focus that they need.  He hopes that with some of the reshuffling over the last week that it will start to move in that direction. 

As far as the charts below, cases confirmed remained stable in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Oman, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, San Marino, Sweden, and the UAE. 

Sadly, new to the list are Andorra, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Portugal, and Senegal.  

All other places have increased their numbers.  The United States, now at 103 diagnosed cases, will see a huge jump in numbers once the test kits become more readily available but remember that is because of better diagnostics not necessarily that it is spreading.  In the meantime, wash your hands well, keep your hands away from your face and mouth, use a paper towel or your shirt sleeve or tissue to open door handles – take simple precautions; don’t panic; don’t freak-out. 

The map & charts were updated 12:36 a.m. Eastern Time on March 3.


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