The 2020 Epidemic: Coronavirus


Watching the quarantine of Wuhan was one thing. Hearing about the first case of Covid-19 30 miles from my home from someone returning from China another. Then came six deaths 20 miles away, a school shutting down for a deep clean 15 miles away, and Amazon and Facebook employees with confirmed cases 10 miles away.

Anyone in Seattle who isn’t already prepared for a citywide shutdown within the next 30 days has his/her head in the sand.

U.S. cases have doubled in the last 4 days and that is without widespread testing. Its now clear that Coronavirus has been spreading around Seattle since January and even clearer that we’re in for a Wuhan-like outbreak.

We’re in the phase of exponential growth. Not everyone is going to get sick, but in the next two months everyone is going to have a chance to get sick.

Two months is the likely timeline if the U.S. variant of the virus isn’t any more communicable than the Chinese variant. As seen above, the confirmed cases in China take the shape of an S-curve, and with the quarantine in place it took a bit less than two months to go from exponential growth to a flattening line.

While the news is doing a good job communicating counts, I’m not seeing the mainstream media talk about mutations and variations.

Welcome to the 21st Century of epidemiology. Behind the scenes the CDC and Chinese equivalent are sequencing the virus repeatedly, tracking the mutations as the pandemic expands. The cases in China are not the exact same virus as in the U.S., Korea, Europe, or Australia. So far none seem to be more deadly than another, but so far only 100,000 people have tested positive.

Even if Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City are put under quarantine on March 30, and even if the U.S. airlines are grounded on April 30, we’re very likely to see over 100,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. over the next two months. And 150,000 cases in Europe, with its larger population.

My hope is that this virus, like the coroviruses that cause the common cold, slow its spread as the Summer weather begins. We might not notice that here in Seattle as that is more than two months away, but there are still plenty of U.S. states with no known cases and time to see if their uptake in cases tops off faster than in Washington, California, and New York.

Be safe. Wash your hands, often. Go buy a bag of rice and some canned food.

UPDATE: March 7, 2020. Watch and subscribe to the YouTube channel below for good analysis and daily updates. Dr. John Campbell is a UK-based MD keeping the world up to date on the latest from this pandemic.

More in this series:

More in this series:

Post #1: The 2020 Epidemic: Coronavirus
Post #2: Seattle, we have a (Covid-19) Problem
Post #3: Just Three (Viral) Weeks Ago
Post #4: Isolated in Seattle
Post #5: Impossible Until it Happens
Post #6: What a mild (and moderate) case of Covid-19 feels like
The rest in #Pandemic

By "Luni"


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