📊 Daily Data Brief:
392,964 cumulative cases (+51,280)
Active cases: 272,386 (+44,494) (this is the number of currently infected patients)
Total Death: 17,154 (+2,403)
Serious/Critical Cases: 12,187 (+1,627)
Death curves (updated daily as ECDC releases). Major update with per country graphs now available❗️(Link)
Yesterday, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams was on The Today Show and said: “This week it’s gonna get bad”. Dr Tedros, the head of the World Health Organisation said that the COVID19 pandemic is accelerating. It took 67 days to get to 100,000 cases, 11 days to get to 200,000 and 4 days to get to 300,000. Finally in the evening, a reluctant Boris Johnson announced during an address to the nation that the U.K. government was enforcing a lockdown of its population like many countries and US states before.
While the PM announcement had become inevitable, what shocked me was how fellow citizens were readily embracing this authoritarianism and readily blaming the public for not being responsible. This is not at all what got us to this somber but paradoxically inevitable situation. And what follows is not about blaming or playing politics. It is not a partisan point of view. It is about something which transcends all of these: civil liberties. And it is important to understand what happened to reluctantly accept resorting to such authoritarianism for now but equally make sure that these draconian measures do not stay in place one second longer than they would be necessary.
What led to use of authoritarianism starts with the appeasement of our time: the Chinese regime. For many years now, we have witnessed and accepted for purely economical benefits to increasingly become dependent on a regime which continuously and at scale baffles human rights and freedom of expression. And that appeasement for financial convenience is going to cost the rest of the world a few trillion dollars.
Our own governments have also shown their shortcomings both in their reaction time and the quality and timeliness of their communication. And some of the weakness that we have to focus on is not only the making of the current leadership but of many administration before who have continuously under invested in public health, preparedness and out of pure financial gain considerations offshored some of the key manufacturing capabilities. It puts us into the current predicament where each country in the West needs is now scrambling to build its healthcare capacity (personal protective equipment, ventilators,…) fast enough.
They have also shown poor communication around the reality of the threat that the virus posed to the public when data was starting to finally sift through from China. They have called it a “hoax” or said “it’s like the flu”. It is not that the public is not going willingly in self-containment because they are selfish and do not want to save lives. It is also because until recently they were told that this was not a big deal. Even in Boris Johnson address to the nation yesterday, when justifying the draconian measures which will affect the livelihood and potential lives of non-COVID19 infected patients, he said “To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.” Why did Johnson not used the “millions” which the Imperial epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson, put forward in his paper for justifying such measures.
The proper narrative of what just happened and should be communicated by our respective administration should be: “we have failed you, and you are going to bail us out by locking yourself up”. It is a much better place from which to accept the lockdown and for our communities to start rebuilding the society we need to fight COVID19 and prepare for future challenges.
During this fight, we want to continue to strengthen civic responsibility and to elicit the behaviour which will significantly reduce the transmission of the virus, but more importantly and going forward identify and allow the citizens which have developed immunity to support the community (child care, meal delivery,...), to produce the care equipment in short supply (gel, ventilators, ICU beds,...) and progressively broaden the economic activity beyond the COVID19 immediate and critical needs the virus has put upon us.
The shelter-at-home orders which have been pronounced around the world whilst necessary should be seen as a temporary and radical measure to give us time and space to prepare for a more sustainable phase for free societies. The media is rightly but frenzily focusing on detection/stress testing, but the serological testing capability will be even more critical in the next phase. Considerable effort and progress are being made in such a critical area to get our society moving again. It will allow us to make the most of the immunity conferred to some of us to populated the initial contingent to get our society and economy moving. It will be a long process.
It’s gonna get better, but first “it’s gonna get bad”
Video of the day: Surgeon General Jerome Adams: “This week it’s gonna get bad”
🇨🇳 Jim Gehraghty writes “The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies” for the National Review. It is a detailed day-by-day timeline of what China did to censor, delay and obstruct international cooperation in the fight against COVID19. It is also very informative, in assessment the timing and adequacy of the governments response around the world as facts started to sift through. (Link)
🚔 Anne Applebaum writes “When Disease Comes, Rulers Grab More Power” for the Atlantic. The article recounts the personal story of her own family facing the sudden lockdown of the Polish border but focuses on the danger of letting authoritarianism spread so innocuously spread in our society in response to the pandemic. (Link)
🏥 David P. Fidler writes “Coronavirus: A Twenty-Year Failure” for the Council of Foreign Relations. It goes through a number of administration failure in under investing and putting the current population at risk of the pandemic we are facing. (Link)
📰 John Nichols writes “Want to Fight Covid-19? Save Local Journalism” for The Nation. At a time, where more than ever, we will need a revival of local communities and communal businesses, Nichols depicts the demise of local journalism with a number of paper currently going out of business. Will the social media platform more than replace what local journalism provided to communities? Or is their disappearance a the root cause of our weak communities or more the outcome of their inability to adapt to this generation? (Link)
🇭🇰 James Griffiths writes “Hong Kong appeared to have the coronavirus under control, then it let its guard down” for CNN. As we “accept” draconian lock downs around the world a number of eyes are looking to the countries where technology supported more democratic policies in curbing the virus. Griffiths puts the recent spike in the authorities getting its eyes off the ball. Others will see the resurgence as inevitable given the asymptomatic transmission of the virus. It is to be hope for our societies’ earlier revival that it is the former. (Link)
💊 Adam Fuerstein write “As Covid-19 spreads, disruptions to clinical trial and drug development accelerate” for STAT. In the article he questions whether the urgency and focus on COVID19 therapeutics will derail the approval process of other drugs for other conditions and indirectly increases mortality for these patients. Another point to consider as we try to first and then assess whether the “cure” for the pandemic is more costly than the disease. (Link)
🇺🇸 William McGurn writes “Business Makes War on Coronavirus” for the Wall Street Journal. The article looks at the shortage of ventilators and how US businesses can gear up production to increase the supply. In an ominous part McGurn writes:
“On Friday Vice President Mike Pence announced that his team had identified “tens of thousands” of ventilators that can be “retrofitted and converted” to treat people with Covid-19. Unfortunately, it still may not be enough: Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York alone may need 30,000 ventilators—more than five times what it now has.”
The article highlights the risk for small businesses to take on the supply increase risk without firm guarantees by the government that it will not result in unsold inventories and the partnership that these small businesses like Ventec are doing with large auto manufacturers like GM to help them scale their production. (Link)
📊 A picture is worth a thousand words: Global (🌎) andlocal (with relevant flag) visualisation and forecasting tool
“Going Critical” by Kevin Simler is a detailed interacting essay talking about complex systems, the importance of understanding networks, modelling and how this applies to: memes, infectious diseases, herd immunity, wildfire, neutrons and culture. Must read (Link)
Offset update 🌎 This is a GitHub made by my friend Francois Lagunas (co-founder and CTO extraordinaire of Stupeflix, a company we backed). He has written a script to scrape deaths and number of cases in order to visualise the rate of growth on a logarithmic scale. He has taken a time offset for countries assuming that South Korea and Italy are 36 days behind China’s outbreak, and France and the USA a further 9 days behind. Added a number of countries as well. Great resource (Link)
CityMapper has started to produce City Mobility Index to show how much a City is moving. This is a very good indicator of how well lockdowns are respected around the world: Madrid (4% of city moving) at one end and Singapore at the other end (72% of city moving) for yesterday (Link)
🌎A great resource put together by Ben Kuhn and Yuri Vishnevsky. At a time when we need solidarity and cooperation, I prefer their subtitle “We need stronger measures, much faster” than their title. It’s a simulator on what case growth looks like depending on your community’s measures. Fantastic resource to stir communities and governments to action (Link)
NEW❗️🇩🇪 The COVID19 dashboard for Germany is one of the best around. (Link)
🌎A helpful guide by VOX of the “9 coronavirus pandemic charts everyone should see” (Link)
🌎Data and chart regularly updated by the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It maps the effective reproduction number (also known as R0) of COVID19. You want to get it below 1 as fast as possible to contain an epidemic. (Link to see charts and more data about your country)
🌎This is a great COVID19 Dashboard prepared by Andrzej Leszkiewicz. Andrzej has also written an introductory and explanatory blog for it (“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fatality rate: WHO and media vs logic and mathematics”). It is a very extensive dashboard with 28 pages. I particularly like the country comparison tab, which allows you to track and benchmark the curve of the epidemic (number of cases and deaths) in your country with that of another. Very well done and informative. (Link)
🇸🇬/🌎 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)
🎬 Video: Neel Kashkari is the current head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He was Assistant Treasury Secretary in 2008, where he run the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, to help the US how out the financial crisis. He said the most costly lesson at the time was how long it took for the economy to get the “workers back”. Kashkari is a strong advocate of using forgivable loans for small business as the appropriate means to help the economy and protect the workers. (Link)
🏛 Notable collaborative projects
Mike Butcher (Editor at Large Techcrunch and founder of TechforUK), had refocused TechforUK on the fight against COVID19. It is a very effective hands-on team of volunteer. Do reach out to them. He has also teamed up with We are now working closely with the volunteers behind the “Coronavirus Tech Handbook”. (They are ‘cousins’ of ours who originally created the Electiontechhandbook). Volunteer collaboration at its best! (Link)
Tariq Krim has started a COVID19 website tracking data about each government policy response to the pandemic (Link)
📈 Exponential growth and epidemics (permanent video)
This is an excellent video explaining “exponential growth” and epidemics. Although we are all familiar with the phrase, its authors rightly says that “yet human intuition has a hard time recognising what it means”. This is a ❗️MUST WATCH❗️to understand fully what is upon us but also how early behavioural changes at scale can have a massive impact on the level of exponential growth of COVID19 (Link)