March 2, 2020

    Bill Gates sets grim tone on virus

    Bill Gates, who has devoted much of his life and fortune to global health, warns in The New England Journal of Medicine that the coronavirus “has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about”:

    I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise.
    There are two reasons that Covid-19 is such a threat. First, it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems. …
    Second, Covid-19 is transmitted quite efficiently. The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase. There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill … Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS in a quarter of the time.

    The big picture: Gates, always an optimist, writes that in addition to responding to this crisis, “we also need to make larger systemic changes so we can respond more efficiently and effectively when the next epidemic arrives.”

    New England Journal of Medicine article:

    From the World Health Organization [WHO]:

    What every country should be asking itself

    Discussing preparedness for COVID-19, the WHO Director-General listed questions every health minister should be able to answer. Here are a selection:

    • Are we ready for the first case?

    • Do we have enough medical oxygen, ventilators and other vital equipment?

    • How will we know if there are cases in other areas of the country?

    • Do our health workers have the training and equipment they need to stay safe?

    • Do we have the right measures at airports and border crossings to test people who are sick?

    • Do our labs have the right chemicals that allow them to test samples?

    • Are we ready to treat patients with severe or critical disease?

    • Do our hospitals and clinics have the right procedures to prevent and control infections?

    • Do our people have the right information? Do they know what the disease looks like?

    Dr. Matt McCarthy, NY Presbyterian Hospital on Coronavirus:

    “We are not testing at full capacity and that is a national scandal. We’re being told that things are ok…that’s just not the way we’re talking about it in medical circles.”


    Dr. Anthony Fauci, US director infectious disease:

    “We’re dealing with clearly an emerging infectious disease that has now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions.”

    ‘Last Week Tonight’ host Jon Oliver shared this video taking hold in Asia and shown in the 3.1.2020 episode.

    From comedian and late night host Jimmy Kimmell:

    ‘Washing your hands is very important. Jimmy wanted to make sure he was doing it right, so we got in touch with a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota named Dr Poland. He is a specialist in infectious disease and he flew all the way to LA just to teach Jimmy and Guillermo how to wash.’


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