Read: Three Pieces of Good News on Coronavirus

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Posted: Feb 28, 2020 1:05 PM
Read: Three Pieces of Good News on Coronavirus

Amid the partisanship, fear-mongering, and political jousting, what do Americans really need to know about Coronavirus -- which appears to be spreading significantly beyond its initial containment inside the United States?  There are relatively few active steps people can take in preparation, though basic steps like frequent hand-washing are sensible.  Here's your first piece of good news on this front, via the Wall Street Journal:

Public health experts advise staying calm and following the same precautions recommended for preventing flu or any other respiratory virus. Stick with the basics: Wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay at home from work or school when you’re sick...Public health experts say the threat of a coronavirus outbreak shouldn’t feel like a death sentence. Though it poses a serious risk for some—namely older individuals and those with underlying health conditions—for the majority it will likely be a relatively mild illness.

Nobody should downplay a pandemic with a death rate in the two percent range.  It is very serious, and would cause a lot of deaths if the disease continues its rapid spread.  However, beyond the epicenter of Wuhan -- and especially in advanced countries -- its fatality rate is much lower, and for most people who are infected, they'll experience a fairly mild illness.  In more good news, Israel scientists believe they are well on their way to developing a cure:

Israeli scientists are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus, according to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. If all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days, according to a release. “Congratulations to MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] on this exciting breakthrough,” Akunis said. “I am confident there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat,” Akunis said, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus...“Let’s call it pure luck,” he said. “We decided to choose coronavirus as a model for our system just as a proof of concept for our technology.”

Whether or not it's "pure luck," the scientists think they can tweak an existing vaccine they've been developing to tackle coronavirus. Notice there's some hedging here: "In a few weeks, if it all works, we would have a vaccine to prevent coronavirus.” If it all works. This isn't definitive. But it's certainly a welcome development. As the tweet above alludes to, what a blow to the BDS crowd this would be. Would Ilhan Omar fight to keep a coronavirus vaccine out of her district?  And then there's this, here at home:

A Snohomish man who was the very first patient in the United States to be diagnosed with the new COVID-19 virus has "fully recovered", county health officials said. The man is now free to leave home isolation and go about regular activities, a spokesperson with the Snohomish County Health District said. The man apparently had contracted the virus after travelling to Wuhan, China in January.

And despite much of the commentariat's panning of Vice President Pence's new role as the point person on this crisis, here's a former Obama administration official praising the seriousness and credentials of the woman Pence immediately selected: 


At times, the president has been far too cavalier and boastful about the US response to coronavirus.  It's one thing to actively quell panic through reassurance; it's another to brag and overstate a rosy picture in response to stock market fluctuations.  Far too many Democrats and media figures have erred in the opposite direction, coming close to rooting for the virus as a means to score double hits against the president and the strong economy.  Politicians have rushed out attack lines, which an Associated Press fact check has reviewed and found wanting:


I'll leave you with a smart, sober assessment of what's happening, what to expect, and how to think about the challenge we're facing from a rigorous and respected medical professional: