You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission – The New York Times

Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:41 am

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HJ: I still feel really concerned about the complacency among so many people people thinking that what happened in Wuhan, China, or Italy cant possibly happen here. Its really hard to see people in the U.K. and the U.S. not taking the problem seriously, and putting themselves and others at risk.

But individuals can do so much, too, because of the exponential increase of cases in an outbreak.

BH: Its really instructive to compare what happened in Wuhan and what happened in Guangzhou. In Wuhan, they shut down when they had 495 cases in a city that is roughly the size of New York. In neighboring Guangzhou, by contrast, they took action when there were seven cases. The epidemic curve in Guangzhou was completely manageable. As we all know, in Wuhan it was absolutely

HJ: Catastrophic.

BH: It led to the crisis in the hospitals. And this is the thing that is really important: The peak demand for critical care was roughly a month after the restrictions were put in place.

Right, so here we are, all doing some degree of extreme social distancing or sheltering at home. When will the peak hit? In a month?

BH: It could be a month from now, it could be longer. I want to be wary of getting into the weeds of complicated modeling or predictions. Instead, what I want to get across is: We know that this is a virus capable of doing what it did to Wuhan, and what it is now doing in Italy and Spain and what it will almost certainly do in the U.K. Washington State is coming under severe strain. Given what we know the virus is capable of, we should be preparing for it now.

HJ: We should have been preparing months ago.

And how long are the restrictions likely to last. When does it end? The report released Monday from modelers at Imperial College London suggested that we could be in for a long haul.

HJ: Its a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone needs to come to terms psychologically with the idea that this is going to last a long time. Its going to be a long-term effort to flatten the curve. If we can successfully bring down the case numbers to a manageable level, then we can reassess the situation. By then, we will hopefully have more science to inform our decision-making, and we will have ramped up testing capacity substantially.

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You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission - The New York Times

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am