The US-based Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is serious. Over 580,000 Americans have been infected by this highly contagious pneumonia-like disease. The death toll surpassed 23,000 yesterday. It’s random. We have stories of the very elderly contracting it and surviving and we have stories of healthy 21-year-olds dying from it. No one is immune. Yes, young people have the best shot at survival upon infection, but they can still get sick and die from this, though the immunocompromised and those over the age of 65 are most susceptible to death if infected. That’s why social distancing is key. First, it’s the only tool we have as a defense. Second, some people who get this virus either exhibit minor symptoms or are asymptomatic. They can still spread the disease, especially the things they touch. COVID-19 can live on some surfaces for up to three days. It’s why washing your hands constantly, not touching your face, and staying home are essential right now. We also need to get the economy going again and that requires people following these guidelines. For the most part, Americans have, and the data shows it. Stabilization in hot spot areas is being seen in the data.
New York City is the epicenter of the US outbreak. Nearly half of all US cases come from the Big Apple. It’s bad. Yet, there might be signs of hope. Hundreds of people are still dying from this virus, but hospitalizations in New York City dropped. And we’re starting to see more people discharged from medical centers having had the virus that those being admitted. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that it looks like “the worst is over,” but warned New Yorkers to continue to be smart. While the spread appears to be contained, another outbreak is still possible (via The Hill):
During his daily press briefing, Cuomo said the state has controlled the spread of the virus but warned that could change if people let up on social distancing too soon.
"The worst is over ... if we continue to be smart going forward," Cuomo said. "Remember, we have the hand on that valve. You turn that valve too fast, you'll see that number jump right back."
Cuomo said he will be making an announcement on a regional "reopening plan" later this afternoon with governors of Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Still, the governor said his state's death toll from the virus has surpassed 10,000 people, which is nearly half of the more than 22,000 deaths nationwide.
Cuomo said the number of daily deaths has begun to hold steady, but are still very high. The state officially recorded 671 deaths on Sunday, which is down from the 758 deaths reported on Saturday.
"Not as bad as it has been in the past, but basically flat, and basically flat at a horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow," Cuomo said.
This is good news, but even if the data says we’re in the clear, as the rush to get everything open again will lead to disaster, even though that’s what we need right now. Another 4-6 weeks and scores of business will be wiped out for good. This is a baby step, but it’s a good one. Keep staying at home, folks. The faster we all do this, the quicker it will be for officials to layout blueprints for when we can return to work properly—all of us.
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