A COVID-19 log 3/n

REM’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) has been appearing on various charts all of a sudden, along with a handful of other tracks that have new meaning.

I’ve learned more about viruses in the last month than I ever expected. There’s a chance we covered this in high school biology, but I wasn’t familiar with or didn’t remember the difference between enveloped viruses and non-enveloped viruses. FiveThirtyEight’s piece on how coronavirus testing actually works was really interesting. The concept of priming RNA was vaguely familiar, but not much. It’s all very interesting to explore and a notable side effect of, uh… viral news.

Sorry.

Whitman County confirmed its second case of COVID-19 last Monday and its sixth at the end of the week. On Monday, the county’s director of public health estimated local facilities had “supplies on hand to conduct about 50 tests”. The current test count on the county’s test result page is 92, so it looks like we may have access to more now.

Crosscut had a good piece on how rural hospitals were prepared to deal with the spread. One interesting bit is how our local hospital, Pullman Regional, “is used to staffing large events, like Washington State University football games.” This means a “pandemic stock” of some supplies already exists. Good to know!

Also on Monday, I watched a live governor’s address for the first time in my life. Jay Inslee announced Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. He did a good job though looked appropriately exhausted. I really appreciated the lines he quoted from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, 33. I’ll quote that entire section:

I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times,
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the
steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,
How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was
faithful of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk’d in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we will
not desert you
;

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, 33

That message of hope? solidarity? is good to hear. There is no denying that we are all in this together.

Washington’s cases continue to double about every 5 days. The department of health changed how they’re reporting the data this evening in a way that I think seems more clear. The numbers posted every day are for confirmed cases as of 11:59pm the day before. There are several different graphs that now appear on the page. Hopefully they get the loading speed dialed in as bits of the page load in very slowly when pulled in live from Microsoft Power BI. I appreciate the historical views of data rather than the daily snapshot. It looks like hospitalization data will be up soon as well.

It’s stories like this one about a super-spreading party that help highlight how very connected we all are without even realizing it.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a COVID-19 projections page up that is updated regularly based on current data. As of now it looks like both Washington’s and the overall US’s peak will happen in just over 2 weeks.

It’s still just so nuts to watch all of this unfold in slow motion.

One thought that just hit me: how tone-deaf it would be if various internet companies still went all in on April Fool’s Day. And sure enough, Google has cancelled theirs this year.

The onslaught of COVID-19 emails from various companies seems to have started to die down. It was getting ridiculous for a bit there.

How about longevity? The news out of Wuhan of recovered patients testing negative and then positive again is worrisome. And “the longest observed duration of viral shedding in survivors was 37 days” in one study from this month is eye opening. The median was 20 days. I still don’t think I have my head wrapped around how contagious asymptomatic carriers are. Is it only for the first 14 days, or is it as long as viral shedding occurs?

More to learn!

After the sort of winters we have had to endure recently, the spring does seem miraculous, because it has become gradually harder and harder to believe that it is actually going to happen.

George Orwell, Some Thoughts on the Common Toad

Hanging in there and rooting for spring to bring some change. ☀️

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