Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Virus Making Progress Into the US Interior

Here's the current map of Covid-19 cases in the US. You can compare to my earlier post and see the virus making its way towards the interior of the US:

Two days ago:

Source: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6


Ned said...

It's appalling how slow the US government's response to this has been.

As of March 1-2, South Korea had tested nearly 110,000 people for coronavirus, a rate of 2100 per million. The US had tested 472 people TOTAL, a rate of 1 per million:


On March 2, the US CDC removed from its website the data on number of people tested.

The White House continues to be focused on preventing embarrassing media coverage rather than dealing with the incipient pandemic. Yesterday the White House announced that video and audio would be banned from press briefings on coronavirus:


We urgently need competent leadership, and instead we have a government run by a vain, insecure, and incompetent man-child.

Layzej said...

Canada has tested an order of magnitude more people in just one province than the USA has tested in its entirety. Canada has reported more cases per-capita than the USA (30 in Canada vs 100 in USA), but maybe that is just because the USA is not looking.

Ned said...

No "maybe" about it. There are waaaay more cases in the USA than what the figures suggest, because we've basically been testing *nobody*.

IIRC, our host David Appell used to live in New Hampshire. David, did you see the latest on the coronavirus cases in NH? The first one was an employee of the state's largest hospital. He defied a request to self-quarantine, and attended a social event in the community with dozens of people present. All the attendees at that event (on Feb 28) are now also being told to self-quarantine. Meanwhile a second hospital employee (close contact of the first case) has now been diagnosed with coronavirus as well.

link 1

In the past six weeks, a grand total of 12 people in NH have been tested for coronavirus:

link 2

I would be shocked if there isn't a rapidly growing cluster of cases in New Hampshire like the Washington State cluster. Others are no doubt growing under the radar in lots of other places around the US.

But because the Trump administration is more concerned about the stock market and his own re-election prospects than stopping a pandemic, a state with two known coronavirus cases has only been able to test people at a rate of 2 individuals per week.

This is going to be a @^#$ disaster and much more could have been done to stop it.

Ned said...

In the announcement about the six new cases discovered today in Los Angeles, LA county officials say they have tested "more than two dozen" individuals.

If we assume the number of tests was between two and three dozen, that works out to approx 6 to 9 tests per million population.

Better than the US average of 1 test per million, but pretty lackadaisical compared to Korea's 2100 tests per million, or even the UK/Austria/Switzerland's rates around 200 tests per million.

The Trump Administration's signature policy effort in response to coronavirus has been travel bans. That has been a complete failure -- coronavirus is now present in many communities within in the US. There is no meaningful policy coming from the White House to deal with the spread of the virus within the US.

Many people predicted that this would be the price we'd pay for electing Trump - sooner or later there would be a real-world crisis and he'd be unable to handle it. Well, that's where we are now.

Ned said...

I'm sorry for spamming your comment threads, but this situation is just so appalling in so many ways. Latest on the Seattle coronavirus case cluster:

(1) Analysis of genetic data suggests there are approximately 570 individuals with the virus in that cluster (90% CI 80 to 1500 individuals). This means widespread community transmission.

(2) The first case of this community transmission in WA was only discovered because researchers circumvented the federal CDC and developed their own testing process:

Frustrated by the lack of testing resulting from the problem with the CDC-developed kit, the Seattle Flu Study began using an in-house developed test to look for Covid-19 in samples from people who had flu-like symptoms but who had tested negative for flu. That work — permissible because it was research — uncovered the Snohomish County teenager.

(3) The timeline in Wuhan was 9-10 weeks from the index case to widespread community transmission. The first case in Seattle was likely ca. Jan 15th. Given a growth rate of approximately 6 days per doubling, by the end of this month there will likely be 5000-10,000 cases in Seattle. In Wuhan, it took large-scale lockdown of the city to reverse the spread of the virus. Are the residents of Seattle ready for a Wuhan-style lockdown of the metro area?

(4) How many Seattle-like clusters are already out there in the US but haven't been detected because of the insanely slow rollout of testing?

link 1

link 2

David in Cal said...

Ned, something is finally being done to make testing more available

"Amid growing frustration, CDC loosens criteria for COVID-19 tests"


Ned said...

David, "finally" is putting it lightly. From Science last Friday:

The United States badly bungled coronavirus testing—but things may soon improve

As we all know, China had five Covid-19 tests in production a month ago has been testing over a million people per week.

I have zero confidence that the Trump Administration has any remotely meaningful plan for what to do later this month when there are multiple clusters of 1000+ cases each scattered around the US. No one who has seen what Trump is could have any confidence in his leadership in this national crisis.

David in Cal said...

Ned - according to my wife, along-time medical researcher, the main problem was the slow procedure for getting government approval of testing procedures.

P.S. Plans to deal with spread of the disease will come mostly from federal health experts, like Tony Fauci. My wife worked with Fauci on an AIDS research project. She has great confidence in him.


Layzej said...

Silver lining though: WHO reports that over three percent of people diagnosed end up dead, but if only a fraction of people with the illness are diagnosed then the denominator is much larger and the death rate much less.