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Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:01 PM

How the Pandemic Will End

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

As we’ll see, Gen C’s lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.

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https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20200325&silverid-ref=MzEwMTU3NjQ0NDI0S0

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:05 PM

1. We handled the last one just fine, when Obama was in charge.

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Response to HarlanPepper (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:35 PM

2. Obama never faced such a virulent disease

I love the guy, but the Ebola epidemic he tackled wasn't comparable to this.

I have no doubt that, had COVID hit on Obama's watch, he would have handled it many times better than Trump. However.....

It still would have gone pandemic, it still would have still infected millions, and it would have still killed tens of thousands of Americans. A vaccine would still take 12-18 months. We would have still gone into lockdown and the stock market crashed.

I'm not trying to defend Trump. He will cause tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. But even the best President couldn't hold back a disease like this. We would be more like Germany, flattening the curve to prevent hospital overload. That's the best one can hope for with a disease like this. Given it's long incubation period and asymptomatic spread, you can only slow down COVID.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:45 PM

4. Oh, SARS-CoV1 was pretty bad, and MERS. Also H1N1.

Pandemic in other nations doesn't mean it couldn't have been contained here the way SARS and MERS were during the Obama admin with prompt action by the entities created for that purpose. And, very importantly as it turns out, with the Republicans not controlling government.

Some of the same Republican legislators who were previously involved in the creation of the anti-pandemic/medication development systems we developed under the Obama admin THIS time knowingly refused to take all action for over 3 months, while assuring the nation there was nothing to worry about until long after containment was possible. And they assured that ability to mitigate would be extremely limited as all hell started breaking loose.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 09:51 PM

5. I never said he did and I'm not talking about Ebola.

I’m talking about H1N1 virus which was classified as a pandemic by the WHO. It infected by some estimates 20 percent of the world’s population.

And by this same point in that pandemic the Obama admin had already tested more than a million people in this country. We’re no where near that with COVID under Dump.

So my point stands. Obama handled the last pandemic better. Period. End of story.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 10:10 PM

6. h1n1 R0 was same as CV19, Obama tested 1 million in first month and tested tested tested ...

... afterwards and 60 million still got h1n1.

H1n1 09 was also noval just like CV19 and was mostly contained in North America.

The difference?

Obama and competent people.

H1n1 was the worse pandemic since 1918

Nothing fell apart, ... Obama

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 26, 2020, 09:53 AM

7. H1N1 had a mortality rate around 0.1-0.2%

So there was little risk of overwhelming hospitals like Italy and Spain. That's the biggest threat from COVID, with it's 1-3% kill rate.

H1N1 was also much easier to create a vaccine for, given past flu vaccine work, and took only 6 months. It behaved seasonally and hit in the spring and summer (whereas COVID is not displaying seasonality), and was at least partially treatable with existing antivirals.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 26, 2020, 10:31 AM

8. Because of Obama US response not because of disease. I do agree on the vaccine but the

... first month response was critical for containment and Obama admin kicked ass and took names getting so many people tested.


We're hear now because of Trump admin not getting ahead of this thing at all and they're still behind.


Republcians are right; the swine flu was different but it was because of government response

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 08:42 PM

3. From this may come an awakening that will have good political ramifications.

I am not a virologist, but I know that the Black Death wiped out 1/3 of the pristine population of Florence, Italy in the mid 14th century and was responsible for the consequent flowering of the Renaissance.

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