🦠Covid-19 - 06/03/20 Flatten surge, increase capacity | 🤕 102,242 | Deaths 3,497

📊 Daily Data Brief:

102,242 cases 

New Cases outside China: 3,526 (+565)

New Cases in China:  99 

Total Death: 3,408 (+121)

Serious or Critical Cases:   6,153  (-119) (6.0%)

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/


The surge in the coronavirus spread is happening around the world. Italy has over 4,000 cases and is approaching 200 deaths. Iran has added over 1,000 cases yesterday. Germany (670) is now the second largest country in Europe after France (653) in number of cases. UK has added the most cases in a day from a still very low base. Community spreading is known to be happening in the US, but reported cases remain low because of the country's growing fiasco over developing its testing kit. And now the critical question in fighting this epidemic has moved to hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. The strategy is clear for all: flatten the epidemic curve (slow the increase in cases) so as not to overwhelm the healthcare capacity of the region / country. In parallel testing remains vital to better control the spread of the virus through surveillance testing. The US inability thus far to increase their capacity is increasingly worrying. Citizens should feel more reassured than panicked, when official bodies cancel events (like Austin for the big tech festival SXSW in mid MMarch), or close school. We should all accept now that the economic cost will be considerable and inevitable, but that the earlier we take the right decisive actions the lower the loss of life and GDP loss we will suffer.


📊 If there was one chart of the day it would be this one. The chart and thread by Carl T. Bergstrom (Professor of Biology at University of Washington) explains clearly why we need to slow the spread.

🦠 If you want to dig deeper on the above this is a comprehensive VOX article by Brian Resnick on how governments’ failure to contain the virus risks overwhelming the healthcare system and make it more likely that the virus stays longer amongst us. It goes through what 3 different scenarios look like: the nightmare, the better and the lucky. (Link)

🦠 Here is another very good article by Brenda Goodman for WebMD explaining why “a Flood of COVID-19 Patients Could Swamp Hospitals”. It explains that from what we currently know, the disease is mild for 80-85% of patients, serious and requiring oxygen (and hospitalisation) for 15-20% and requiring a ventilator or an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for 5% of them. In a report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, it is estimated that there are “about 46,500 medical ICU beds in the United States and perhaps an equal number of other ICU beds that could be used in a crisis.” The needs for ICU beds spread over a possible pandemic could reach 2.9M ICU beds in a severe pandemic scenario (Link)

‼️ The testing fiasco in the US has still not been resolved. In a hard hitting and well documented article (“Exclusive: The Strongest Evidence Yet That America Is Botching Coronavirus Testing”) Alexis Madrigal and Robinson look at where testing stands there versus the 1 million tests promised by the Trump administration earlier in the week. As far as their investigation has uncovered the US had tested a total of 516 cases up till March 5 (for a reported case number of 53), versus 18,083 cases tested in the UK (for a reported case number of 115) and 66,650 cases tested in South Korea which now has a 10,000/day testing ability. It is critical that the US capacity goes up to allow for better tracing and containment effectiveness (Link)

🔬 There is very good interview in the New York Times of Adam Kucharki (Mathematician/epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine) outlining the “Rules of contagion” of virus (also the title of his recently published book) and explaining his DOTS (Duration, Opportunity, Transmission and Susceptibility) framework to assess the virality of a disease. I also highly recommend his book (Link)

🇫🇷 France has announced a number of comprehensive measures to tackle the coronavirus. This is a welcome and sensible approach. Part of the reason for sharing overview of measures here is to prepare for what is to come in your respective country. Government and officials taking and announcing measures such as this should on balance trigger more comfort than panic. As I wrote in my newsletter yesterday, with COVID19 “Better safe than sorry”. Outline of key measures in France:

  • Nursery and school closures in 2 regions (Val d’Oise and Bas Rhin)

  • Nursing home visitation limits in Bas-Rhin

  • Sporting event attendance limited to 5,000

  • Pharmacies allowed to make and sell their own hand sanitiser gel and price control in place for such product

(Link in French)

🦠 As we continue to refine our knowledge of the virus we are able to refine our strategy to fight it. Helen Branswell at STAT has a very good summary of what we have learned and how these learnings will help better assess risk of the disease (Link)

🦠 “Here’s what coronavirus does to the body” is a review article by the National Geographic looking organ by organ what COVID19 does to the body (❗️some of the data here is outdated as this is a February article). It partly explains the high hospitalisation/ICU rate of the disease and can also be read in conjunction with an earlier Lancet paper studying patients in China (“Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study”) (National Geographic Link)

📜 History and past research are valuable resources as this is not the first time we face the potential of a pandemic. Marc Lipsitch et al (who has been featured prominently in the COVID19 news and is now Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard Chan) authored a 2007 paper titled “Public health interventions and epidemic intensity during the 1918 influenza pandemic”. Even though all epidemics are different it remains a valuable resource in guiding and informing decision making (Link)

👨‍⚕️ As health workers are and will continue to be central to fighting this epidemic, here is profile of Chris Whitty, the UK Chief Medical Officer. I also shared his public video MP hearing below (Link)


📊 A picture is worth a thousand words

  1. NEW❗️ Singapore remains the gold standard of dashboard. Here is an article with the Best and Worst of all dashboard in the world, with Pros and Cons prepared by Neel V. Patel for MIT Technology (Article)

  2. This is a data visualisation page by Joel Selanikio (MD) on COVID19 (Link)

  3. This is the New York Times data and graph page on COVID19 with an update map of the US alone (Link)

  4. Corona Daily reader Benjamin Welby (Policy analyst, Digital Government and Open Data at the OECD) has shared these charts in a Twitter thread yesterday in the newsletter comment section yesterday. It shows how the rate of increase in COVID19 cases in Hong Kong and how other know viruses occurrence has also decreased through non pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) in Hong Kong (Link)


🎬  One video

A public MP hearing of the UK Chief Medical Office, Chris Whitty and Dr Jenny Harries OBE, Deputy Chief Medical officer on how well prepared is the UK to deal with the impact of a possible coronavirus global pandemic. UK Democracy at its best. It is long but ❗️MUST WATCH❗️ (Link)