The coming winter may be a very bleak time in the United States, if the country doesn't bring down #Covid19 spread fast. There's no sign, though, of a political or collective will to do the work needed to suppress transmission. https://t.co/GTdMzkgLPB
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) August 10, 2020
Helen Branswell is one of my every-day, most-trusted sources for coronavirus news. Her new STATNews report is getting a lot of favorable notice, for good reason:
… Winter is coming. Winter means cold and flu season, which is all but sure to complicate the task of figuring out who is sick with Covid-19 and who is suffering from a less threatening respiratory tract infection. It also means that cherished outdoor freedoms that link us to pre-Covid life — pop-up restaurant patios, picnics in parks, trips to the beach — will soon be out of reach, at least in northern parts of the country.
Unless Americans use the dwindling weeks between now and the onset of “indoor weather” to tamp down transmission in the country, this winter could be Dickensianly bleak, public health experts warn…[Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Michael] Osterholm has for months warned that people were being misled about how long the restrictions on daily life would need to be in place. He now thinks the time has come for another lockdown. “What we did before and more,” he said.
The country has fallen into a dangerous pattern, Osterholm said, where a spike in cases in a location leads to some temporary restraint from people who eventually become alarmed enough to start to take precautions. But as soon as cases start to plateau or decline a little, victory over the virus is declared and people think it’s safe to resume normal life.
“It’s like an all or nothing phenomenon, right?” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “You all locked down or you get so discouraged with being in lockdown that you decide you’re going to be in crowded bars … you can have indoor parties with no masks. You can do all the things that are going to get you in trouble.”
Osterholm said with the K-12 school year resuming in some parts of the country or set to start — along with universities — in a few weeks, transmission will take off and cases will start to climb again. He predicted the next peaks will “exceed by far the peak we have just experienced. Winter is only going to reinforce that. Indoor air,” he said…
Coronavirus: Is the world winning the pandemic fight? https://t.co/1qfWhfHzoD
— James Gallagher (@JamesTGallagher) August 10, 2020
Lots of useful graphs and data in this BBC report:
…”We’re still in the midst of an accelerating, intense and very serious pandemic,” Dr Margaret Harris, from the WHO, told me. “It’s there in every community in the world.”
While this is a single pandemic, it is not one single story. The impact of Covid-19 is different around the world and it is easy to blind yourself to the reality beyond your own country.
But one fact unites everyone, whether they make their home in the Amazon rainforest, the skyscrapers of Singapore or the late-summer streets of the UK: this is a virus that thrives on close human contact. The more we come together, the easier it will spread. That is as true today as when the virus first emerged in China.
This central tenet explains the situation wherever you are in the world and dictates what the future will look like…
It is driving the high volume of cases in Latin America – the current epicentre of the pandemic – and the surge in India. It explains why Hong Kong is keeping people in quarantine facilities or the South Korean authorities are monitoring people’s bank accounts and phones. It illustrates why Europe and Australia are struggling to balance lifting lockdowns and containing the disease. And why we are trying to find a “new normal” rather than the old one.
“This is a virus circulating all over the planet. It affects every single one of us. It goes from human to human, and highlights that we are all connected,” said Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, from St George’s, University of London. “It’s not just about travel, it’s speaking and spending time together – that’s what humans do.”…