Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths

Mar 13, 2020 · 772 comments
Opinioned! (NYC)
Well. Cheers to the Donald for refusing to get tested and self-isolating. I hope he meets with Limbaugh, Hannity, and Pirro soon. Maybe Miller and Bannon too. As for Ivanka, keep canoodling with Jared.
Noley (New England)
Some on my town’s Facebook page are saying everyone is panicking, but “no big deal,” just wash your hands. But lots of people are challenged with basic arithmetic, let alone statistics or forecasting, and lack critical thinking skills. And for most people, until the virus takes someone you know or love the whole thing is just hype and media noise. Some say the media is over playing this. Maybe, maybe not, but the paucity of leadership in the federal government means some has to do something. So state and local governments and businesses are stepping up. So do citizens, even if all one does is stay home. There is nothing wrong with containment measures like closing schools, working remote (which I’ve done for 24 years), canceling events and limiting travel. It may well limit the spread and save some lives.
What'sNew (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
As all social gatherings are closed here, including all sports events, as even the church services tomorrow have been canceled, as the stores have been emptied by the hoarders, as the television, the internet, and the newspapers keep reminding us of the epidemic, as the streets and public transport are awfully quiet, I have decided to tune out, and as a kind of prepper, start to read and reread my books.
JD (Norwalk, CT)
If you can pull up " An Update on COVID-19 from Massachusetts General Hospital", then go to Responding to COVID-19: Coordinated Research from the BOSTON MEDICAL COMMUNITY, then click on LEARN MORE, you'll see who should be in charge. Can we somehow assure them any additional talent and resources they need?
Scarlet Letter (OKC)
Yesterday was the most surreal day of my life and I'm 57. So that is saying something. At Walmart I felt like I was not even in America anymore. Shelves were bare. I feel like I got enough but it was the people. It was eerily quiet, passing people who were like zombie's, and if we made eye contact, we both would barely smile and kind of nod at each other. It was SO SCARY but in a way I realized for once we are ALL EQUAL. Nobody wants to fight about being a Democrat or a Republican. People weren't rudely passing each other in a hurry. I felt for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that we are all United and as scared to death as I am, THAT was such a WONDERFUL FEELING.
LB (Chicago, IL)
Unless we start identifying the virus the way they did in Asian countries and isolating people, the death toll will be high once this spreads past a tipping point. The strain it will put on our health system will reduce available care for everyone with any ailment forcing unfortunate choices by medical professionals. Plus this puts medical professionals at great risk of contracting and dying from the disease themselves. Isolating ourselves and taking frequent temperature checks is going to be the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, your community and your country right now.
S Murphy (New York)
One question I have have about the coronavirus modeling (assuming it takes in to account the relatively older average US patient) is whether it also take into account obesity, which is not generally a problem in China, but is a known factor in other respiratory illnesses, and much more prevalent in the US.
kate j (Salt lake City)
Dear virus, please don't take me before I get to vote in the general election, signed, concerned voter
Lord Melonhead (Martin, TN)
Wait - didn't our president assure us that the coronavirus was a "hoax" . . . just last week? Seems so long ago, somehow.
JT (California)
Did anyone else catch the Daily today and have their jaw drop when Times Science Reporter Donald G. Mcneil Jr. apologized for mischaracterizing the word "mild" last week to describe 80% of the cases? Mcneil states that the Chinese charactered the 80% "mild cases" to *include* Pneumonia (just without hospitalization or oxygen), where 20% of cases actually needed hospitalization and oxygen. Why is this not a bigger story by the Times!!?? It's clearly led to complacency among many in the public when our idea of "mild" is not severe pneumonia, and when 1/5 of us might require hospitalization: "But there’s something I wanted to say that was important. I described, in our first interview, that 80% of all cases were mild, and the other 20% were either severe or critical. And that stuck in too many people’s minds as if, oh, 80% of cases are practically nothing. You don’t even have it. Maybe it’s asymptomatic. No. That’s wrong. The Chinese study that was based on — everything was either mild, severe, or critical. Mild included everything from “barely any symptoms” to pneumonia, but pneumonia not needing hospitalization or oxygen. Once you stepped over into needing oxygen, then you were severe. Once you were in organ failure, you were critical. So if people think this is a mild disease, get over that idea. I’m sorry if I contributed to the spread of that idea. I should have been much more careful in describing the whole range of symptoms that came under the term “mild.”"
Christina (Oregon)
IF anyone else had done this to the American people, they would be on trial as a terrorist. Trump is a terrorist.
Paul-A (St. Lawrence, NY)
I think we need to start a new national advertising campaign: Remember polio? This is a lot worse!
jon (michigan)
Maybe now is the time to develope the technology to run the government remotely. Make DC a place for annual government kick offs, after which the representatives return home to address the issues of the day. That way, if a bomb is dropped on the Capital, it won't make a difference.
Barr (Boston)
Lets just replace the politicians with artificial intelligence. I trust AI to make more informed decisions and lack bias (I hope) People just keep repeating the same mistakes. Ok maybe they lack heart, but I’m sure they could consult humans for that.
SMK (Florida)
Stop the fear mongering, please. The virus is not racing through the population, killing everyone in its path. It is not the plague, and it is not horrifying. Even China has confirmed ~80k cases so far, which is <0.006% of the population. It is not time for panic, it is time for awareness, caution, and common sense.
Robert (Out west)
Who’s panicking, other than Trump and Trumpists? They’re the ones running around shrieking, which makes it difficult to stick their heads in the sand as far as they would like. Honestly, it’s annoying. And makes life difficult for sensible adults.
Herr Andersson (Grönköping)
@SMK China was able to limit the damage through draconian measures that the U.S. is not willing to take. The toll in the U.S. will be much worse.
Nils (Portland)
@SMK What China was able to accomplish was nothing short of a miracle. They quarantined an entire area of 13 million people, some of which have been in quarantine for 50+ days. This worked because they were extremely proactive and used radical measures. Commonsense? to most that simply means maintaining the status quo because most people consider themselves rational actors. When we surpass the 80k mark, you will be wishing we had acted proactively instead of reactivately.
David Spear (Pennsylvania)
Why print an alarming article like this? You've bought into the panic. The projections made a month ago are completely unscientific and baseless, only serving to amplify the ignorance and terror. That should be obvious to anyone of average intelligence given the ridiculously broad range of projections. There was insufficient data available for any responsible scientific analysis. Many of the precautions being taken across the country and world are valid and important, but fueling the hysteria is damaging at the least and counterproductive at the worst.
Ben E (DC)
@David Spear Perhaps people will practice social distancing if they are actually worried about the problem. I live in DC and while the streets are much emptier restaurants etc. are still pretty full. I know one person that recently just got on a cruise. Another that went to Disney world. Frankly people should be more concerned. And no not just about toilet paper.
George S. (NY & LA)
@David Spear This "alarming article" has been far more analytical and reasoned than anything that's come from the Trump Administration. In a so-called "free society" the people deserve to know all the facts -- not a selective set broadcast by political operatives. Would that we were led by Angela Merkel rather than Donald Trump. She told her people the cold facts and reasonably derived projections. The news was stark and honest rather than a bunch of self-serving spin and Twittered political invective against "those Democrats".
Andrew (Expat In HK)
@David Spear: even the lowest of the range of predictions is a lot higher than 15(!), and very serious. Even the lowest will cause major problems for your “lean” health system if you let it all hit at once. I am writing from a place that took the precautions and is currently doing well. It seems that you would prefer to be like Italy.
tom harrison (seattle)
We still are not making sense as a country. U.S. flu deaths so far this season are at 16,000. That is three times the worldwide death count of COVID-19. Why have our hospitals not already been overrun by the flu? We seem to have the capacity to deal with this. Why don't we quarantine folks over flu each year? Over 100 children have died from the flu this year - 0 deaths for children across the globe from COVID-19. So, why have we not shut down the schools across New York due to the flu season? As for a flu vaccine? This year's vaccine has been rated as being about 45% effective vs. last year's which was only 29% effective. So, our flu vaccine is not eradicating it. Auto deaths? Dwarfs anything COVID-19 is doing but do we put travel bans into place? Washington state had 546 auto deaths in 2018. That is 45 per month which is greater than the total of U.S deaths so far from COVID-19. We don't even make the driving test more difficult. We don't even raise the driving age knowing that around 2,700 teenagers will kill themselves this year driving a vehicle too early in life. We are not making any sense over this virus. Newspapers have had a hay-day scaring us into clicking on 35 articles per day about how to stock up a COVID-19 pantry or which masks do or do not work (but why don't we wear those during flu season?). Both parties are making this political. And we are acting like ignorant sheep walking off of a cliff while playing PokemonGo.
Robert (Out west)
Yeah, and probably half the flu deaths happened because some idiot wouldn’t stay home. Hey, do you drive without a seat belt?
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Robert Or because the person who died of the flu did not get vaccinated.
Andrew (Expat In HK)
@tom harrison: you are right about the relative personal risks, but you are missing the point. The problem is the rapid spreading of the virus (more so than the flu) among a population with no immunity which will lead to a hospital overload and resulting deaths from not just Covid-19 but also the other conditions that would otherwise have been treated (including car accidents and seasonal flu!). The point of the social distancing is to slow down the infection rate. Since I live in Hong Kong, I can tell you that this works. Our hospitals are functioning fine, our public health provision is working well. I thoroughly recommend adding a public option to ACA!
Kevin (Indiana)
The article states the projections were based on either 1% or 0.25% mortality rates. Thus far the actual worldwide mortality of COVID-19 is 3.7%, and this week it's been rising a bit each day. Given that many of the people who are currently infected (in the denominator of the calculation) are in critical or serious condition, and obviously some of them are going to die from the disease, this 3.7% significantly understates the actual mortality rate of COVID-19, i.e., what percentage of patients who contract the disease will die from it. I've analyzed the World Health Organization's daily situation reports, and my guess is the mortality rate will end up being 5%-6%. With the death rate in these models being based on such an unrealistically optimistic mortality rate, I hope the other assumptions offset this by being pessimistic, because the existing W.H.O. data already shows a mortality rate 4-15 times as high as those in these models. Let's all take this VERY seriously please, and take every recommended precautionary measure. Those who diminish this as "fake news" or a lot of exaggerated hype haven't been paying attention.
Rober (Girona)
This is a good reason to really look at healthcare for all like the European countries have. To get a test in Spain for this virus there is no cost to you, however if you have private insurance the cost is less than $40. Spain has a mix of public and private healthcare.
PK Jharkhand (Australia)
Trump should eliminate all taxes for those earning more than half a million, triple defence spending and eliminate Obamacare. The trickle down of health and wealth will keep the country afloat in this time of crisis.
Gary Ward (Durham)
Trump has convinced so many citizens that it is just a mild flu. Fortunately, the officials at the State and local levels have started to take it seriously.
GN (Chicago)
This is an opportunity for everyone in the world to take stock of what their priorities are in life. We have to find the right balance among time, money and health because everyone has been running behind money for far too long. When humans act against nature, nature acts against humans. Greed has taken over this world. Time is the only currency we need to respect. Hopefully, this forced quarantine with family forces people to take a step back and re-evaluate life as not defined by material accumulation but by quality time spent with family and friends. It is also an opportunity to change the dietary system of the world instead of feeding the industrial greed. Not since the last world war, has anything even remotely affected the entire world as this pandemic. This is also nature's way of cautioning us that we all need a break!
Cindy Hill (Winston-Salem, NC)
I am astonished that there are still people claiming that this pandemic is a hoax or that the media is exaggerating the potential infection numbers. We may think that closing schools, cancelling sporting events, and establishing quarantine zones is excessive, but the truth is we still do not fully understand how this virus is transmitted or how lethal it may become. The Trump administration’s initial non response is unconscionable, but that doesn’t matter now. We have to listen to the experts and change our daily routines. Yes, we are all inconvenienced by the restrictions, but that is a small price to pay when it comes to matters of life and death.
lvzee (New York, NY)
The upside to these alarmist estimates of over 150 million cases is that they might motivate people and the government to take actions that may curtail the spread of the virus. The downside is that are creating an ideal setup for Trump to claim perfect handling of the crisis, when the actual tally ends up being 1 million or less.
Cal Page (Nice, France)
Wonder how they got 1.7 million dead? If you use current mortality rates and our laissez-faire attitudes (we will not do what China has done), I get 11 million dead. No? Do we have enough test kits? No. Are we setting up quarantine centers? No. Do we have drive-through testing? No. It takes no work at all to compare the US with various countries to see what track we are on. I just flew back from Nice yesterday, just under Trump's deadline. I was only asked once if I felt sick. Nothing of my travel history. No temperature scans. Why exclude England? If I wanted to come in, I'd just hop to London first, then the US. I pray that the CDC is right and I am wrong, but I don't see the US following successful countries and their procedures, therefore a worst-case outcome is more probable.
szyzygy (Baltimore)
IDEA: Why wouldn't this work to get the country through this period with the least casualties and the lowest economic and other damage: 1) Put in force extreme social distancing and rapid testing both of who is currently infected and has recovered from CV19. 2) Local authorities then ask for volunteers from distributed geographic locations (could be any blocks from this part and that part of a city) where all adults in the specific location agree to be exposed to the virus in exchange for guarantee of health support over 3-4 weeks after infection, and guarantee that each person who undergoes this "vaccination" will carry a card saying that they have been vaccinated, and can move around freely as before CV19. It seems to me we could minimize deaths, recognize how strong we are as a people (and bring out team spirit), and minimize economic, education, and related problems if this was done effectively. This would need to be looked at quantitatively, to estimate how much time and economic dislocation it might save, and perhaps there would need to be a financial incentive to the participants, an incentive that would decrease as time went on. The program would stop as soon as a vaccine or effective therapy is developed, or as soon as 70% of the population has immunity. This is a national emergency...isn't this idea, or something like it, better than the "deer in the headlights" approach we have now which might go on for many many months?
Barry (Boston)
The CDC should create an App and a database of locations where virus carriers traveled. When someone tests positive their phone location and times are entered into the database. Then an App on my phone can warn me if i crossed paths with anyone in the database. If so I can then have the App upload my locations as being 2nd hand contact. Based on this people can self quarantine or ask for a test! This would contain the virus quicker and make it easier to track down people in contact who might get infected. All the information would be anonymous.
What'sNew (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Just some simple, easily applicable common-sense measures: In a Dutch newspaper, it was reported that in China people at this moment are encouraged to keep on the work floor a mutual distance of 1 meter and to keep an empty chair between them during meetings in the office.
Buckeye (Ohio)
Hopefully one of the fatalities of this pandemic will by the utterly dysfunctional US health care system and its replacement with one that guarantees, through comprehensive public funding, quality health care for all as a human right. That will, of course, mandate the replacement of the current political administration with one that serves human needs not corporate greed.
Delph (Sydney, Australia)
You're not alone in getting confusing messages from your leaders. Yesterday we were told by our Prime Minister that non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more should be cancelled but, get this, not till Monday. The PM was intending to go to watch a football match on the weekend. Experts said he was setting a bad example and recommended the ban begin immediately (rather than allow a "little scientific experiment" on coronavirus spread to be conducted on 80,000 hapless people sitting in a stadium). The PM said he was still going to the footy to demonstrate "there is absolute reason for calm" but, guess what? - he cancelled after one of his fellow politicians was diagnosed with COVID-19. I thought we were on top of things over here but now I feel your pain.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
Please explain to me how such reporting by the press of "worst case scenarios" helps a nation or people in a moment of crisis or during an emergency when mobilisation and participation are most needed? I'm all for facts about how to fight the virus, making people understand that this is serious, but why the guessing that can only cause panic and fear? Shame
PL (ny)
If the same effort were put into developing an effective treatment for the disease as is being focussed on stopping its spread -- an ultimately futile exercise -- we wouldn't need such draconian measures, and more lives would be saved. Even a vaccine is a misdirected quest, not only because it will take more than a year to develop, but because it does not address the problem of saving those who are already sick. The current mindset only reinforces an us/them dichotomy: the well vs the unwell, the young vs the old, the I've-got-mine toilet paper hoarders vs everyone else. Is it any wonder that young people are coughing in other people's faces? Look at the response to the first deaths in a nursing home: instead of mandating measures that would save the residents' lives -- opening windows, bringing in additional staff, relocating to relieve crowding -- government officials across the country merely ordered that visits by relatives be curtailed. Supposedly enacted for the residents' benefit, this effectively turns nursing homes into concentration camps, condemning this population to total isolation from the outside world. Contact with relatives is their only relief from loneliness, and often their only source of care. In the early days of the AIDS crisis, the government's response was slow, because its victims mainly were "only gays." Today's health crisis has been met with a similarly slow, and wrongheaded, response because it most affects "only boomers."
Deanalfred (Mi)
No. I have done the figures a number of times,, and the projects fall short of what is demonstrated in the statistics that are plain and before us. This is not a flu. It has its own set of characters,, long incubation, and a long period after recovery when still shedding virus. It also exhibits a remarkable duration of virus survival while airborne and upon surfaces. hours airborne,, in stead of minutes,, and viable on surfaces for days, not hours. The total of infected ,, I agree with,, half or more of the US population this year,, most of that by August. However,, their mortality statistics are wrong. Repeatedly, total confirmed cases are calculated against total dead,, but there is a time disconnect between those two figures. You get sick, go to the hospital,, those that die,, die on day three at the hospital,,, So you have number of confirmed cases calculated upon the day you entered,,, but the number of deaths is being laid along side of the day one number.. The people who are dying,, should be placed against the number of confirmed cases of three or four days ago. Those are two very different numbers,, if the numbers are skyrocketing upwards day after day. Not 400,000 the low number will be more like 1.2 million. the upper number? 1.7 million? more likely 5 million,,,, and almost all within this year. And,, almost all 55 and older.
What is it with these so called experts with their doomsday predictions? Surely China is the model to base predictions on, there has been 80,824 infections, 3.189 deaths and each day new cases are dropping, just 11 today! Whilst it can be argued China has taken quite draconian measures, it is a country of 1.4 billion plus whose health and living standards are very low compared to most Western countries, even Italy which has been badly hit by the Virus is not reporting any new cases today!
Epicurus (Pittsburgh)
There's a good article on the BBC about uninsured and under-insured Americans. Essentially, tens of millions of Americans will avoid medical services of all kinds because of co-pays and huge out of pocket expenses. Uninsured Americans shun all health services just to avoid bankruptcy. The 10 to 15 million illegals in the US are explicitly written out of Obamacare and live in constant fear of deportation; they won't go anywhere near a clinic. The BBC speculates that the outbreak in the US could exceed all other developed countries in the world for these reasons.
Madeline Marie (Seattle, WA)
The US was in a trade war with China, and China has now won because this disease is totally crushing the US economy. It doesn’t matter whether pangolins or bats were the source. It’s now a worldwide disaster.
Eric (Buffalo)
What about non-essential air travel? Should we be flying if we are healthy?
Ed (San Diego)
Once these tests are out we are going to see tens of thousands and thousands of people who have this across the country who have no idea because they can’t get tested right now this is just the first wave People are this paralyzed and paranoid with fear over sporadic cases throughout the United States worried they could be next. What do you think they are going to do when it's actually in their own backyard and hundreds and hundreds or thousands of people in many many areas actually have it? there is no cure for this like with Swine flu - we could see a mass quarantine and panic on our hands if this spreads into communities everywhere.
Peter Zenger (NYC)
The solution is simple: Adequately partition the population, and the epidemic will burn itself out in a month. But here's the catch: If we get enough people into a panic about the virus, our highly interdependent system will grind to a halt, and more people will die from starvation than from the virus. Because a "free" society, is not well equipped to enforce the balance required to get the job done, we have declared an "Emergency". How well everything goes, will depend on the "Dictator d'jour" - but don't despair, our President is a Superman, who knows how to build tall buildings with a single bribe.
Sheila (Buffalo)
I am a teacher in New York State. My district has not closed school yet, but most likely will in the future. Teachers are literally sneezed on all day long, yet Governor Cuomo has decided not to shut down the Petri dish, leaving the decision to close up to each district. Furthermore, he has indicated that if districts close, teachers will have to forfeit vacation time. At a time when everyone is trying to pull together for the greater good, Cuomo seems intent on penalizing teachers. While taking a proactive position in limiting public gatherings and shutting down numerous public venues, the schools remain open for business. Why? Well, not too long ago Cuomo tried to get rid of the teacher’s union by tying standardized test scores to teacher evaluations. That turned out to be an unpopular disaster for him. Fast forward to 2020. The coronavirus may be Cuomo’s coincidental secret weapon. He won’t have to battle the teachers union. Many older teachers may not survive.
Kathy (Ohio)
Can anyone explain to me why we (USA) can't come together and manufacture the tests, respirators, etc that is needed to fight this virus? In WWII we were able to manufacture a ship in a little over a day. I know a lot of manufacturing has gone overseas but there are still a few factories in the USA. They might need retooled (which I'm guessing they did during WWII).
Rob (Philly)
When there is a large number of deaths and a people terrified by ghoulish media reports that maximize ratings, I have to wonder at what point Trump’s high command will say, “we really need to suspend the November 3 general election.” Just wait.
Illuminati Reptilian Overlord #14 (Space marauders hiding under polar ice)
The press has to be mindful to start removing from the geographical location tallies the number of those who have recovered, or begin specifying a cumulative tally and a 'currently active' tally. Otherwise the only number showing now just gets larger and larger when that is not reflecting the actual state of current cases. Apparently in China there are now only about 23,000+ active cases, so the 80,000 figure still showing on some news outlet's map (ahem) is misleading. 53,000+ have recovered. (google it). South Korea and Germany have been doing the 'drive-thru' testing, so with the accumulation of 'no symptom but carrying' data the result is fatality rates in both countries down under 1%. This will only decrease with more 'no symptom' data, which seems to represent most people. Maybe Iran has higher tallies because of the 'Persian bazaar' style of shopping facilities? Long narrow bazaars with low ceilings; many of the shopkeepers are elderly men. Italy? Maybe the many physical hand-to-face type of contact greetings... including slaps and punches. (you notice New York state has yet to have a fatality, as of this writing..) My bet: as the data accumulates there will be a tipping point that ultimately demonstrates influenza as having the higher mortality rate. Otherwise the coronavirus stats by now would've been ten to a hundred times the numbers showing, seeing how fast it spreads. Split the tally: active/recovered!
Gary Ward (Durham)
Trump should have questioned why Obama had a pandemic response task force as opposed to just thinking it was some type of boondoggle. We expect our Presidents to learn from past Presidential administrations. We would expect all Presidents to have a robust response to hurricanes after Katrina. Trump can not use a claimed delayed response by Obama as an excuse for his inaction to coronavirus especially after Obama had put the structures in place to deal with pandemics.
Liber (NY)
Due diligence,leadership,lacking from this administration for two months.To sense a pivot late this week,might lead to coherent strategy.One can learn from watching,what a number of State governors have implemented.
Alienist (CA)
The fact that Biden has promised Wall Street, the banks, the Oligarchs, the Healthcare industry, that everything will essentially stay the same if he is elected, that is worrisome. When you need to mobilize a whole nation to fight a pandemic, for profit healthcare jst doesn’t cut it. After all we don’t fight wars with private armies. It just wouldn’t work. America’s flat footed response would have also happened under Obama’s or Biden’s watch. It’s the system stupid. We are all in this together. The only way forward is universal healthcare for all.
sebastian (naitsabes)
The US army alone can treat hundreds of thousands sick people at the same time. Because of its size we know that they are prepared to handle huge numbers of wounded people at the same time, many of whom can be in a critical condition. They are fully prepared and ready for chemical warfare so they know how to work in and around toxic environments.The president can tap into the military at any time to do many large health related operations. Just like the chinese built ad-hoc hospitals, our military can set up working hospitals measured in acres over a period of a couple of days, fully equipped and ready anywhere in the world. This includes hospital ships. I am pretty sure this is being considered if the situation deteriorates. Please let’s all do our part by not spreading the disease or false rumors, let’s give a hand to the seniors who may meed our help. Be positive and trust your government officials, we are united against this unwanted foe.
Jeff (NV)
So now he wants us to believe the "hoax", somehow became an emergency?
Flower (Cascade)
I know that if I get the latest coronavirus, it will likely kill me. Why? Because I have chronic asthma which almost killed me previously - begging a paramedic to let me "die" in the back of an ambulance when I felt I could no longer breathe. Despite oxygen and nebulizers. But I am still here. I am a credit to the Canadian health care system. But I don't want to go through that again. Keep your germs to yourself - stay home, wash your hands! And stop complaining. You have no idea what it is like NOT to be able to breathe.
Sajidkhan (New York, NY)
THIS VIRUS IS A WAKE UP CALL FROM MOTHER NATURE.. She is angry with mankind. Our leaders around the world are acting with hate and prejudice. Minorities are being suppressed and being treated like enemies. More and more resources are being used for building up defenses. Every country is spying against their own so called allies. The greed of the 1% is depriving the lower sections of their minimum rights and making the gap between them & the rest even bigger. Women & children are being abused around the world. Now Mother Nature is punishing the world. This time around even the innocent are getting punished for they are tolerating this injustice. This is a far deadlier virus than ever before. It is not going to go away. It will join the flue family as a permanent fixture. Only the vaccine will keep it at bay. But that is a few months away at the least. In the meantime it will spread & destroy life as we know it. Even if we control and manage it. It will come back later more deadly than before. Already a second strain has emerged. So we actually have #19 & #20. Who knows how more deadly #20 is. The best solution is for our leaders to stop suppressing the minorities and start treating every section, group and country as equal members of one family. Unless we change into good this time the virus will only get worse. The best solution is for our leaders to stop suppressing the minorities and start treating every section, group and country as equals. There is no other way out.
PL (ny)
How do you disinfect your home if you can't get alcohol? I expect that soon, the supply chain will run out soap.
BamaGirl (Tornado Alley, Alabama)
I can’t tell if the people in my Fox-saturated state are getting the science or not, but somebody bought up all the toilet paper. We had no testing until about Friday. Our college and K-12 schools will be closed by the middle of next week. With the virus spreading undetected, I hope that is soon enough.
msomec (NJ)
This article says there were four scenarios, but only gave the data for one scenario. If Times had the presentation, why doesn't the article describe the other scenarios????
Cletus Butzin (Buzzard River Gorge, Brooklyn)
Why do the Times' incident maps not reflect the number of recovered cases? It should be two figures, active cases and the number of the recovered. I read somewhere in China that about 60,000 people have recovered, and there are only 20,000 active cases. So... when does this start to be reflected in the reporting?
Steve Singer (Chicago)
Old habits die hard, and we are primarily creatures of long ingrained habit. Charles Duhigg wrote at length about it and the force that habit has in running our lives in his book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life”. With the SARS COVID-19 virus attacking us we confront the truth about the old saying: “old habits die hard”. At a local chain supermarket that I habitually patronize shoppers and staff living in different parts of Chicagoland mix and mingle freely in a tightly enclosed space, rebreathe the same air, share a set of plastic and steel serving utensils at both the hot and cold bars, and also share a large wooden dining common eating table that no one cleans and decontaminates right after someone finishes and leaves. A hand-washing facility is available on site, and employees do wear safety gloves, but neither precaution is good enough. Nobody seems to be taking any specific Coronavirus containment precautions, and the virus causing COVID-19 spreads fairly easily in such an environment. Take that reality nationwide, what do we have? I am acutely aware of it but can do nothing about it. My warnings go unheeded. Adding to my sense of overall helplessness, I am now recovering from an acute case of malnutrition caused by just a recent case of “cat & dog”, or ordinary, flu; nasty in itself; debilitating for many weeks when I could accomplish virtually nothing by myself, itself a major disaster in its own right in light of everything that I postponed.
ribes (Seattle)
Here in Seattle we have finally began taking measures socially, but we are not tracking or testing. Tests are simply not available. I am a PhD student at a large research university where students are told not to test, and have been told this from the beginning. If you are sick and call the student health office, they say they are completely overwhelmed and hope to get back to you. But they don’t. They can’t. They don’t have the tests, even though a lab at the school has developed their own. The gap between innovation and practical application is tragic. These students will be fine but the larger community will suffer.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@ribes The obsession over testing is not helping. A test will not do anything to stop the spread that appropriate behaviours can will. From the NYT yesterday: "Mr. Trudeau will remain in isolation for the next two weeks, his office said in a statement, as will some members of his cabinet. Because he has not been out of the country recently and displays no symptoms, Canadian doctors followed current medical protocols andHAVE NOT TESTED the prime minister." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/canada/coronavirus-world-leaders-trump-bolsonaro-trudeau.html?searchResultPosition=4
HLN (Rio de Janeiro)
You can’t really guarantee these students will be fine. For starters , you don’t know how many of them have a compromised immune system.
Maani Rantel (New York)
Not mentioned here is a remarkable - and critical - fact about the Spanish flu pandemic. One of the things that led to fewer deaths, and more and quicker recoveries, was treating people outdoors rather than indoors whenever possible. It turned out that fresh air and sunshine (along with medical treatment) had a literally remarkable and significant effect on recovery. Perhaps there is an important lesson to learn in this.
murfie (san diego)
We know we have a failed response when Costco runs out of toilet paper as a public reaction.....oh and bottled water.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@murfie : I was there on Wednesday, and people were cleaning them out of toilet paper and paper towels -- despite being permitted only two such items! -- and hand sanitizer is not available anywhere I have looked. On the other hand, I didn't see any shortages of ordinary foodstuffs. It is as if people are not worried about eating, but frantic at the idea that they will....run out of toilet paper.
CacaMera (NYC)
"As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die." Which is exactly why people who knowingly they are infected or likely infected, get on flights endangering 100s of others, should be put at the lowest priority for hospital care and criminally charged. Without that, some people are disgustingly selfish enough to do that, like the guy who took a JetBlue flight from NY to FL.
Bill Leach (Studio City, CA)
It is because of folks like those I have canceled three flights I had booked over the next seven weeks. I have Type 1 diabetes and can’t risk being on a flight with one of those jerks.
Owl (New Hampshire)
Exactly. Let’s start with the criminally stupid president and work our way down the entire GOP.
DBR (Los Angeles)
"By the time you have a death in the community, you have a lot of cases already,” said Dr. Mecher. “It’s giving you insight into where the epidemic was, not where it is, when you have something fast moving.” He added: “Think starlight. That light isn’t from now, it’s from however long it took to get here." What a beautiful insight, and: Trump sees himself as the star, not the light. The star cannot imagine, if it can even imagine, anything but itself. And that it why Americans are so in the dark.
Asher Fried (Croton-on-Hudson NY)
I always had trouble understanding the concept of “reality” tv. Shows like the Apprentice are entirely contrived and unreal. Trump has been able survive impeachment and various scandals and debacles by relying on his reality tv “Survivor” skills. He was able to lie,obfuscate and finger point his way out of the fine messes he created because he had a diverse base of supporters wrapped around his finger. Evangelicals, the Party formerly known as the Republicans and his loyal “base” became his adoring studio audience always there to cheer him on in his hours of need. No, reality is not reality tv; and no, the coronavirus will not go away becuase Trump decrees that “Your fired”....or it will melt in the coming warm weather. We knew Trump was a con man, a lying fraud; now we know he is incapable of coping in the real world, and it has tragically been exposed to all of us in real life tv. The ratings are not good.
abj slant (Akron)
At 62 years old, I've never seen such an incompetent response from my government. The performance of the Trump administration will go down in the books as a textbook example of what NOT to do in the face of an epidemic.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@abj slant : honestly, Hurricane Katrina was worse -- because that was not anything rare or unpredictable. We HAD the knowledge and the tools and the money to fix it -- but let it go on and on, while people suffered. The coronavirus actually can't be blamed on Trump or anybody else -- it is something new and unpredictable and no real treatment. That's why it has flummoxed even people in nations that have universal health care like Italy -- or in very strictly controlled dictatorships like China. There is no simple answer here that will cure COVID19 or make it all go away.
abj slant (Akron)
@Concerned Citizen Katrina was unconscionable--both in preventive measures (the levees) and response levels. However, I would argue that comparing a global pandemic to an isolated natural disaster is a bit of a stretch. In both cases, though, the real culpability should be on the government's performance in responding to them. I would also argue that while the coronavirus specifically was unpredictable, the inevitability of a pandemic has been shouted from the rooftops for many years now from the science and medical communities, and preparing for it would NOT include cutting funds and personnel that are in the front lines. So, yes, Trump is not only a big factor in the inadequacy of our response, he is actively hindering the professionals who should be the ones in the driver's seat.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Concerned Citizen I do not blame trump for the coronavirus. But our health officials, including the CDC, the NIH, the Surgeon General’s office, and our public health system have been saying for years that a pandemic was not a matter of “if” but “when.” I do blame trump for being so stupid and careless as to eliminate our pandemic response capability because, and this has been widely reported, he didn’t want to pay people for doing nothing. And I do blame trump for politicizing this as a democratic hoax just 2 weeks ago.
Marcos Mota (New York)
In high school, one of my history teachers offered to write a paper on my behalf to submit to a city-wide competition, but I refused. Then in college, my partner on a paper just plagiarized right out of the books, while I read and interpreted the information from those that I read. It's for this reason that I cannot listen to Donald Trump speak, his lies rasp at me more so than his bad public speaking. The man cannot admit a single error and substitutes misspoken words as legitimate parts of his speech. His whole speech was full of lies and re-writing of the past. If such a plan as was disclosed today was in the works, why wasn't if talked about sooner, in advance of the market crisis? Why was the Novel Coronavirus a "hoax" for so many weeks? Then when Yamiche Alcindor asked him about firing the Pandemic Response team, I watched with disgust as Trump rewrote more of the past. How I wish that George Orwell were still alive today. I studied Orwell in college and wrote one of my best papers about him, but then I let my guard down and became complacent. Desperate to finish "1984", he copied from his earlier works. The apartment building, the neighbors, the smell of boiled cabbage, and Winston he plucked from "Keep the Aspidistra Flying." He knew that he was going to die soon and his message to the world was more important than the details. In our present, Trump just speaks into the screen and no mechanical incinerators are needed to make the "ungood" into "good" again.
Veronica T (Houston)
It's clear from Nextdoor that Texans in my suburban neighborhood are still going to church and do not believe the warnings and believe attending church is more important than reducing risk of infection.
Delph (Sydney, Australia)
@Veronica T You raise a good point. Yesterday I encountered a group of well-meaning people door knocking in my street and distributing pamphlets about their religion. I asked them not to call in on my 95 year-old neighbour because she's concerned about having contact with people who might unwittingly be spreading germs. I'm sure they were trying to give comfort in a time of "plague" but this is not the way to do it.
“When people change their behavior," said Lauren Gardner, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering who models epidemics, “those model parameters are no longer applicable,” so short-term forecasts are likely to be more accurate. “There is a lot of room for improvement if we act appropriately.” Um-hum. It starts with Trump changing his lying, chaos-generating behavior
Juanita (Meriden, Ct)
Am I missing something? What exactly are the results of the 4 scenarios the article mentions, the A,B,C,D? They seems to have left them out of the article that was supposed to be about them.
Kindred Spirit (Ann Arbor)
@Juanita Yes! During class, a student suggested we look at the article as an example of fear-mongering. So I pulled it up on the projector in class. "A" presented the worst scenario. We read it together as a class. I scrolled and scrolled. We never found "B-C-D." Disappointing moment in front of a room of students on the last day before a three-week furlough.
Suseela Ravi, M.D. (Bangalore, India)
How did China with 1.5 billion people escape only with 4000 deaths from corona virus attack? Why are the U.S. experts estimating 20,000 to million deaths in a sophisticated country with all the preventive resources available? Focus on community spread is the key to prevention. It’s a laborious process, but worth the effort. Like in China and India, Government has to take stricter actions to stop the spread, not terrorise the citizens with scary numbers. Educate the public.
@Suseela Ravi, M.D. It is difficult to educate the public when Trump says the coronavirus is just a hoax, and his cult followers believe him.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Suseela Ravi, M.D. I suspect we don't have accurate numbers for either China or Iran.
William Perrigo (U.S. Citizen) (Germany)
it’s not over yet.
Judy (Murren)
We must change behavior. This is a BEHAVIOR driven illness. How do we do this? The Chinese are better than any democracy in some ways because they can make everyone obey the order from the top. They drastically changed their behavior. We currently have no top, nor is our system of government set up to simply "obey". We're nearly leaderless. So how do we change behavior dramatically? What are our strengths? We have the internet and the free flow of ideas which they did not. We have the ability to lead from the bottom, grassroots style. We should harness our ability to communicate at distance to change, radically, our behaviors and use the grassroots leaders among us to beat this.
Randy (Pa)
This article is not only great reporting but a public service. The estimates of between 200,000 to 1.7 million dying is chilling. Almost equally as chilling is the 2.4 million to 21 million needing hospitalization as a result of coronavirus that will most likely crush the medical system. Excellent statistics using sound modeling and subject matter expert vetting. This type of thoughtful analysis and quality is very rare in today's reporting. Well done.
Tanya S (New York)
Excellent reporting is the prime reason I subscribe to The New York Times.
dbl06 (Blanchard, OK)
Worst-case Scenario: Covid-19 is similar to the common cold for which there is no vaccine because the virus mutates. Covid-19 is rarely fatal in healthy young people. It is extremely dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health problems. So you get it over and over when you're young and healthy and you recover but when you get old and get it it may very well kill you. Nature which sometimes works in strange and mysterious ways may be saying a healthy species cannot survive with too many old people as a burden on it socially and economically.
Zejee (Bronx)
My children and my grandchildren need me.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@dbl06 The coronavirus doesn't care if you don't want to pay taxes to support Social Security and Medicare.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@dbl06 : let's revisit this when you yourself are old. It's always easy to write off SOMEBODY ELSE -- some group you don't identify with or like -- and tell them they have to die for the "public good".
Dave (Arizona)
It's wishful thinking if you think this thing will just putter out. It's just getting started. 100,000 possible undiagnosed cases in Ohio alone...
Intrigued (San Jose)
Interesting comparison between Philadelphia and St. louis. I'd like to know how long St. louis had to ban public gatherings in order to flatten the curve, or if public gatherings were banned for three months - the duration of the deaths according to the plot.
Resident Physician (USA)
Our hospital workers need help. I am a resident physician who worked in the ER, in an isolation area where a patient was diagnosed with coronavirus and was told by staff not to wear Protective gear and no one going through the area wore protection. Four days later I am having low grade fevers and body aches. I called our hospital employee health and they said I did not qualify based on CDC criteria. I called my institution employee health and I only get to leave messages that don’t get returned. Five days now and I am working normal hours. In our work culture, we are fearful to request sick leave because it is considered rude and weak and we don’t have enough residents to cover. My co resident also has had fever and cough for the past week and also has been in the same boat as me- Unreturned calls whenever she/he calls the employee health as we don’t meet the exact criteria for testing. She/he has also been working normal hours (resident hours are 40-80h a week) and afraid of asking for sick leave because there is no one else. I’m sure there are other stories but wanted to highlight that despite these emergency declarations, as physicians, we endure abusive work cultures and volumes which is detrimental to society and public health. I’m sure practicing physicians face the same dilemma. And I worry each day about the people and patients I interact with. Everyone please wash your hands.
Concerned (USA)
Dear Resident, Medical providers are facing a challenge like we may not see again in some time. If you were exposed and are having symptoms, it is crucial that you insist on testing and begin isolation. At the very least, wear protective gear while seeing patients. Speaking up could potentially save lives.
ms (ca)
@Resident Physician I remember when I was a resident. The big event that happened during my time was 9/11 where even in California, we were on placed on-call for any emergencies for 2 weeks. Luckily nothing happened. I would urge you to talk to your supervisors about sick leave. You are not only putting yourself at risk but other healthcare workers and patients. If you can't reach someone by phone, visit them in-person and tell them what is happening. Learn to stand up against the work culture: as a fellow, I reported an attending who was verbally abusive to myself and my intern for no reason. Later I learned, the nurses backed up my story. That attending was barred from working with residents for 6 months and had to take some other courses. I'm also reminding my patients that when they are sick, it might not be coronavirus. Indeed, the Seattle Flu Study which is swabbing the noses of healthcare workers found that the great majority with symptoms had influenza, not coronavirus.
Andrew (Expat In HK)
Dear Resident, if they won’t give you the Covid-19 test then get tested for the flu. If you fail that, then your case is stronger for a Covid-19 test.
William Fogarty MD (Webster Groves, MO)
The portion of the article that deals with the response to the influenza epidemic in 1918 does not give credit to the efforts of Dr. Max Starkloff. He was the City Health Commissioner who insisted that all public functions be shut down. His efforts dramatically reduced the death toll in St. Louis as compared to any other city. His ideas still have validity today until we have a vaccine. William M. Fogarty, Jr., MD
USA Too (Texas)
The irony in this is just too much. Over past few year or two Trump has been so obsessed with hindering legitimate investigations into his actions by the fbi and congressional committees in spite of the fact that his own actions are what prompted those said investigations. Had he focused primarily on doing his main job, which is fulfilling his oath as president to the American people, he would not have been so tone deaf when the cdc and other advisors warned him in December of last year that this virus could become a major problem if not addressed early on. Now we are on the verge of several major cities who may have to declare a form of marshal law in order to stop a viral outbreak. Even worse is how Trump has repeatedly lied or blamed others every time he has stood before the American people with an opportunity to address the nation about this virus. Dwight D Eisenhower once said, “leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well”. Our president has acted upon that quote in reverse and that is why he is failing as a leader. If he had been doing his job and gotten on top of this early on the majority of voters would have probably forgiven or forgotten the mess of his past few years and possibly given him another term. Unfortunately at this point I think his future presidency is over.
Dave (Akron)
If you smoke, then you have should have NO Worries about the Coronavirus Why? Because the… Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths: Are as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die. Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Cigarette Deaths: Are as many as 1.2 million people DO die EVERY year.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Dave Actually, apparently being a smoker increases your risk of death if you get the coronavirus. At least, that's what they are saying about the deaths in China.
Lazyal (Indiana)
In the informational article provided entitled ,"The Burden of Influenza", the CDC provides the average annual statistics for the common flu in the United States since 2010: 27 million infections 470,000 hospitalizations 37,000 deaths It will be interesting to compare these figures to those of Covid19 when the outbreak ends
@Lazyal The flu numbers are influenced by vaccination and by the fact that every years some percentage of the population has some immunity from having contracted a similar flu strain before. We have neither w.r.t. Covid-19.
SCZ (Indpls)
No more time or space should be wasted on the words of any leader who does not take responsibility for his or her people. Leave your ego at the door and get down to business. Let the experts give more press conferences than you do, and when failures in the American response take place, be an adult and acknowledge it SO THAT we can all get past it. Shut up and get tested.
Drew (Bay Area)
So why aren't we immediately building lots of new, at least temporary, hospitals? In Wuhan they build a hospital complex in 2 weeks. Why aren't we gearing up similarly in American cities?
Margaret Jay (Sacramento)
Could we pause and regain some perspective? The 1918 flu epidemic killed 50 million people worldwide—the equivalent of 200 million today—half a million of them in the U.S. Most who died were in their 20s-40s. They were not the old or infirm. They were people with young families. 20 percent of those who had it died. There have been about 150,000 active cases of Coronavirus and just over 5,000 deaths worldwide—about 3 %—and approximately 70,000 people have already had the virus and recovered. In the U.S. there were 2300 cases and fewer than 50 deaths thus far. All reports indicate that, except for the aged and infirm, most people have a fairly mild illness and recover. Children, even infants, have mild infections and recover within 1 to 2 weeks. Yet we are depriving children of school, upon which numerous working parents rely for their primary child-care, not to mention free lunch and after-school recreation. Parents live in fear of temporary or even permanent layoffs. Families are losing huge chunks of their 401Ks or other retirement investments. Small businesses are at risk and many will fail. Is all this really necessary when we know exactly which portion of the population is at risk? Why not isolate only the old and infirm, putting resources Into methods of getting supplies to them, allowing the vast majority of the population to go about their lives as they perhaps contract and recover from the virus without causing an economic disaster for the entire population.
Margaret Jay (Sacramento)
@Margaret Jay I want to add that, as one of the old and infirm myself, I am absolutely prepared to risk death if I must. I’ve had my time on earth. I’ve raised my family. I have grandchildren. It is wrong to risk world-wide catastrophe by subjecting entire populations to the draconian measures involved in closing down everything and instituting so-called “social distancing” simply to protect me and others in my situation.
@Margaret Jay Because Covid-19 is around 2 times more infectious and 20 times more deadly than the flu even among young people (and even more so among middle-aged and older). You have the two examples of China and Italy--China imposed draconian containment measures and within a few weeks got the epidemic under control even in the hardest-hit area, Wuhan. Italy dawdled, and now doctors are forced to leave people to die for lack of resources to treat them (look up what Italians and expats in Italy are saying online). What you are suggesting is what Italy already tried to do and it failed.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Margaret Jay I am 65 and in good health. My father lived into his mid-80s and my mother lived into her mid-90s. I want those 20 or 30 years of life--together with my husband who is now 68 and in great health. But apparently, everyone over 60 has a lowered immune system. If you want to risk death, that is your prerogative, but please don't try to enact policies for the rest of us.
Tariq (new york city)
New york city With so much doom and gloom spread by Corona Virus, I would like to share some comforting thoughts and hopeful signs. New York City in many ways is considered the center of the wold. It is well connected to the rest of the world. It's diverse population travels all over the globe. If this disease was to be widespread in the US, NYC will be it's the epicenter. So far neither the news nor my own experience as a primary care physician treating elderly, show any signs of deadly epidemic. In reality this year my patients have fared respiratory illness seasn quiet well. My thoughts are that the virus in it's current mutation is creating only mild illness and/or our population has some immunity from past Coronavirus exposures.
calleefornia (SF Bay Area)
@Tariq When you say "our" population in your last sentence, do you mean the population of NYC?
Robert (Out west)
It must be possible to be more clueless, but I am not sure how. Wow.
Andrew (Expat In HK)
@Tariq: please get back to us in two-three weeks’ time and let us know how things have changed. It is likely that you are severely mistaken.
AKA (Nashville)
One wordy article after the other. Why not use the same model and assess what is /would be going on in China with and without intervention. It seems that things are coming under control there to a trickle, in which case, what is the value of these very wild estimates without proper comparison?
Moree Spinaro (Portland)
Sanity wouldn’t sell clicks, my dear. For sensible coverage check Guardian.
MTGFalcon (Lancaster, PA)
I think it's totally irresponsible to present end result effects of any event with such immense variance of potential outcome. 2.4 to 21 M ? 200,000 to 1.7M ? 96M infected ? 70 to 150M ? 400 to 30 ? This is dart board predicting, not unlike having chickens predict NFL playoff results. Go back please, replace the sappy narrative with science and try again. Predictions should fall within a 3-5% margin, not 80- 100% which qualifies only as opinion.
Andrew (Expat In HK)
@MTGFalcon: please cite your sources for claiming the report is unscientific. In this case the unscientific approach would be to not provide a range. This will narrow as we go forwards... Already the lowball estimate is higher than the president provided (15!!!), and will require significant action.
calleefornia (SF Bay Area)
In order to cooperate with the suggestions of medical professionals, people are going to have to become far less selfish in their sense of entitlement to unlimited mobility, personal preference, and lifestyle. It's not just about essential hygiene; it's also about limiting public contact and a corresponding reduction in consumerism of all kinds. The latter requires much more sacrifice than many people are used to. Maybe if people understand that their sacrifices now are likely to greatly benefit them later, they will be more inclined to become temporary scrub nurses and live a simpler life, but i.m.o. it will depend on that transformation for a limit on the breadth and length of this.
Mark W. Noonan (Bellingham, WA.)
Those suffering from Depression benefit from social integration. This will hit them hard. I predict an uptic in suicides.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Mark W. Noonan People can and do interact online.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Mark Noonan Call a friend. We all should.
Que Viva! (Colorado)
It is quite the thing to think that by following some simple rules, being vigilant (conscious) and cooperating I could have a hand in directly saving lives. This is the real deal. All hands on deck!
JFCampbellJr (Ridgewood, NJ)
Model parameters often discussed are the reproductive rate or contagiousness of COVID-19, the fatality rate of the disease, and the incubation period from onset to symptoms and viral shedding. Differences in these inputs led to the CDC model output ranges for case loads, deaths, hospital admissions etc. NOT discussed much are the length of immunization that comes from being infected and surviving nor with the flattening of the curve now much discussed extends the tail of the case load into the future, prolonging the task but with lower daily case loads. If the immunity is not long lasting, and if there is no vaccine for next year's 2020-21 flu season, it would seem that models would have NEXT year be worse, not better than this year. What if anything did Dr. Sheri Fink learn about this? The concept that this disease is something we are going to work through for a few months and be done with it seems possible if not likely to be wrong. What do we think the case benefit of aggressive testing, quarantining, and enhanced social distancing that comes from suspending large public gatherings, actually increasing hand washing, work from home, etc could be? Could it lower the reproductive rate by 10%, 50%....does anyone have any idea of how the model inputs discussed in Dr. Fink useful piece should be adjusted?
Mark W. Noonan (Bellingham, WA.)
Be careful. Cancelling or limiting social activities will hurt in the long term with economic slow down. Don’t be too eager to impose those measures. Here in WA. Class of 2020 graduation is now late July. All schools closed til 27 Apr.
lloydcata (Miami, FL)
#Breaking2020 Donald Trump, as a result of CoVID-9, may get a indirect 'win' by suspending the #2020Census(...?) The 'logistics' of canvassing are not recommended, and cannot be accomplished 'safely' under the threat of contagion(.) A "national emergency" for certain, and the consequences of ignorance are deadly(...!)
K. Martini (Echo Park)
Just got mine in the mail today. Can fill it out online. What else is there to do? We are all stuck in the house for the next 2-4 weeks anyway. I expect most Californians will have there’s filled out by the end of the month.
Engineer (Salem, MA)
As I am sure many others have stated already... Trump is probably the worst imaginable President we could have during this type of crisis. One, he is profoundly ignorant. Two, he is so sociopathic that he cannot think about any issue except in terms of its impact on him personally. Three, he has surrounded himself with incompetent sycophants. His primary concern is that this health crisis may cost him the election... But instead of trying to deal with it responsibly by consulting with and following the advice of the health experts... His initial reaction was to deny that it was an issue and claim that the whole crisis was a hoax manufactured by the Democrats. [There are clowns on Fox News still saying that this is all a Democratic hoax.] One can only hope that at least some of his supporters will realize that having an dangerous, incompetent buffoon as President is not a good idea even if he does appoint the kind of judge you prefer.
Judy (NYC)
So Mayor Di Blasio. Are you going to be responsible for the death of maybe 100,000 people because you want to keep schools open a few more days? There will not be enough ICU beds and ventilators to go around. Do the right thing.
Kindred Spirit (Ann Arbor)
@Judy I hope parents elect to keep kids home. The days don't count towards the year's total of mandated days if there are not enough students in seats.
MFM Doc (Los Gatos, CA)
I am a maternal-fetal medicine physician and I take care of women with high risk pregnancies. I have had patients tell me that COVID-19 is a “man-made” virus and that this is all a conspiracy. These same patients refuse to receive the flu vaccine. We are reaping the fruits of fractured news, social media wrought upon global civilization by the likes of Zuckerberg, and an idiotic President who has been, and continues to be an enemy of science. There is a cold and hard truth to nature: every time and every where there is an excess of population relative to resources there is a self-correction to restore equilibrium. I don’t think COVID-19 will be that correction, but it should serve as a warning sign for all of humanity. If not a virus then it will be the climate crisis, or nuclear war over limited resources due to the climate crisis, that will lead to a correction in the human population. This is not a judgment, simply a statement of fact. Only fools would ignore it.
Robert (Out west)
Well, I learned that the term “perinatologist,” has been supplemented. By fantasies of Gaia’s homeostasis, it would seem.
MFM Doc (Los Gatos, CA)
@Robert Not sure what you mean by “fantasies”. Allow me to enlighten you. We have already begun to see that our emissions have led to significant health harms that will only magnify in the coming decades. There are already higher rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and congenital heart defects to names just a few harms from heat and particulate emissions. We also know that vectors of disease are spreading, from ticks to mosquitoes. We know that providing access to contraception leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies, which in turn leads to significant reduction in perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality - as well as significant reduction in emissions. If left unabated, human population will only grow and if human activities are not modified the environment we evolved in will eventually become uninhabitable to our species. Hence the correction event to our species if we learn nothing and do nothing - a policy which you seem to espouse. Perhaps you should learn some biology...Or maybe simply have some humility and gratitude for those who care for the sick?
MFM Doc (Los Gatos, CA)
@Robert @Robert Not sure what you mean by “fantasies”. Allow me to enlighten you. We have already begun to see that our emissions have led to significant health harms that will only magnify in the coming decades. There are already higher rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and congenital heart defects to name just a few harms from rising heat and particulate emissions. We also know that vectors of disease are spreading, from ticks to mosquitoes, that in turn spread dangerous pathogens such as malaria, Zika, and dengue. All of these are dangerous to pregnancies. We know that providing access to contraception leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies, which in turn leads to significant reduction in perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality - as well as significant reduction in emissions. If left unabated, human population will only grow and if human activities are not modified the environment we evolved in will eventually become uninhabitable to our species. Hence the correction event to our species if we learn nothing and do nothing - a policy which you seem to espouse? Perhaps you should learn some biology...
Daphne (Florida)
It seems to me the US has unique problems not inherit to other developed countries. We have 27.5 million uninsured + a large homeless population . What about migrant workers who would fear deportation thus they might not seek out medical care. Also many Obamacare deductibles are seven thousand
KitMc (San Francisco Bay Area)
I got sick the first week in February and couldn't get tested then, in mid-February, or now. I am part of a vulnerable group who could get hit hard by this virus. Fortunately, most of my symptoms have abated, but I still have the cough. Staying home and self-quarantining for the past five weeks has made the difference, but I'm still not completely recovered, and I don't know if I'm still contagious - all because I wasn't tested when I first got sick or now, because I'm not sick enough! I'm in a hard-hit area of California, and I seriously believe the virus was here much earlier than has been reported. There are many, many people who are sick and the number of cases is vastly underreported. I don't believe containment has worked and now, people like myself can't get tested, even though they have been sick for weeks. What a mess!
Tariq (new york city)
@KitMc I am a physician in NYC and I echo your thoughts. The virus came to our shores early and it is on a decline in the population, having created a mild sickness. Early testing would have shown how widespread it is but creates only mild sickness, avoiding all current panic and disruption.
retinadoc (NYC)
You need to actually bend this curve if you want to save lives. Giving chloroquine prophylactically to health care workers, those in quarantine, and medically vulnerable patients will decrease overall mortality and morbidity. The current treatment plan is wait and see. Every country with a major COVID-19 outbreak has added chloroquine to its treatment recommendations. Read about the science from Dr. Andrea Savarino, a Lancet published virologist who discovered chloroquine's anti-viral effects after the SARS epidemic in 2003. https://medium.com/@savesightmd/an-old-drug-for-the-new-virus-a6fd6a0843bc
Robert (Out west)
Please learn what researchers actually mean when then say stuff like, “promising.”
INDY (California)
Pay no attention to CDC's "worst case estimates". They are based on virtually no preventative actions taken. And we are in the process of taking the same actions as South Korea where the number of new cases has flatlined. That is, keeping it contained by limiting exposure to large crowds, teaching hygienics such as washing your hands frequently, keeping your hands away from your face, etc. Following South Korea's example we should be fine. Turns out they are a bit smarter than us. They are hoarding instant noodles. We're hoarding toilet paper.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@INDY My sister-in-law is from South Korea, and her mother and siblings live there. Everyone there is also wearing masks.
Luciad (Switzerland)
I cant understand on wich base the predictions where made.. in Wuhan there was a range between 0,5 and 17, officially it was first determined as a 2 % leathel dissease. Now the who ist counting with 3,5 to 4. A mass imunisation ist achieved at 60 to 70 percent.. so I really dont see the mentioned numbers as the worst case, or am I missing something? Maybe higher capacities on intense care, wich ist definetly high.. but does it really make a 0,7 rate? I dont think so.. this was the lowest number found in Wuhan, right now inexplicably in the rurals.
Ok, so the government failed us and are failing at protecting us. What can we do for ourselves? Besides the known practices and precautions, what can we do besides sit here waiting, amidst all this uncertainty?
h king (mke)
@K It's obvious, self isolate. Avoid as much human contact as possible. I have enough food and provisions to avoid stores and other social contacts for at least 8 weeks. Do everyone a favor and just stay home.
Ben (CT)
This study was intended to stay behind closed doors since it does not accurately reflect reality. Writing an article about it is just a way of stirring up panic. The model is a good academic exercise as a what/if scenario, but the study disregards many mitigation measures and therefore shouldn't be broadcast for wide public dissemination. Suggesting that 1 million or more people could die in the US is irresponsible on the part of the Times.
Vicki (Queens, NY)
Ladies, I hope this coronavirus pandemic will put an end to the super long fingernails craze. When my mother was in a skilled nursing wing of a nursing home a few years back, I was surprised at how many of the female aides had extra long fingernails. Not only unsanitary, but a danger to the delicate skin of senior patients. Wash your hands. Keep your nails short. Save lives and save money.
karen (Florida)
I believe this virus has been around for months. I know people who have had something similar based on all the data they have out on coronavirus. And it does spread. I don't believe in coincidences. I just hope the misery won't last too much longer. Most people do get over it, but it's not pretty.
Vicki (Queens, NY)
@karen Was told by my doctor that if you had it without knowing it and recovered, consider yourself lucky. I asked if there’s any test for antibodies...answer was “not yet.”
calleefornia (SF Bay Area)
@Vicki I wonder how you would know if you did have it. For example, I had a cold for 10 days recently. How would I know it was only a cold and not corona?
Gani (Princeton)
I'm an immigrant and my kids were born here. I love American history and admire the many strong and courageous leaders this great nation has had. I really had a terrible feeling when Trump was elected and that terror is materializing now before our eyes, how inept and arrogant is this administration. Do people realize what they have done by electing this president, this administration is full of lies, even now they are worried about the economy and underplaying the catastrophy that is playing out. Get this if America could assassinate and prepare for war due to a siege on their embassy in Iraq, this current scenario is million times more graver than that, why is the president not acting on war footing and showing urgency. This great nation has unlimited resources, why is testing still a massive problem? They can start by listening, learning from Singapore, China and Taiwan, collaborating with WHO and other nations and act with war time urgency. I wish all of us the very best and believe the experts, doctors, healthcare professionals, scientists and others will help us overcome. This is going to be slow and painful.
CK (Christchurch NZ)
NZ has its sixth case - a man who was in the USA and has just returned.
Ed C Man (HSV)
It's time to "self quarantine" which means you stay a safe distance from every other person. If we all do it, then in a couple of weeks, the government will be able to get a handle on the situation. Like who has it and who doesn't and so be able to direct all of us on what to do next.
calleefornia (SF Bay Area)
@Ed C Man Yes. And exercise self-discipline. Only go out when you truly need to (necessary employment location, family members' needs, or truly needed essential supplies that can't be delivered to one's home). All forms of shopping, entertainment, and other discretionary behaviors should be curtailed until CDC tells us we can start living our lives again.
Ed C Man (HSV)
Time to postpone for a couple of weeks all the normal things we do every day or week. Like: 1. Tale our car to the shop. 2. Get a haircut. 3. Get a toenail trim. 4. Go to the weekly prayer group meeting. 5. And on and on.
Acute Observer (Deep South)
Here is a real voice from the wilderness! I am an academic physician at a tier one medical school/teaching hospital. In all this agitation about increasing test kit stock, where is a single peep about funding basic and translational virology research into actual treatment for Coronavirus (and it’s related species)? We are looking at millions dead across the planet, at a minimum of hundreds of thousands dead in the US, and we have no effective, specific therapy! Of course, this is only a short sighted political game, but instead of cutting the NIH and CDC budgets, perhaps someone could suggest funding for treatments we can apply in a few years to the next in a sequence of inevitable pandemics!
waldo (Canada)
These models are unrealistic and outdatef because they don’t take China’s experience in dealing with the virus, from the first outbreak, the containment, the aggressive and rapid expansion of medical services’ availability, thanks to which they are now on the down curve. I simply don’t understand why the media can’t put aside politics on an issue that affects all humanity.
Eric (Canada)
The likelihood of the U.S. being able to implement the same playbook of draconian containment and quarantine measures that they were able to do in China is basically zero. The best strategy was early testing and detection, and a targeted, aggressive response like in Taiwan, but that ship has sailed already. Hopefully it’s still not too late to blunt the worst of it and mitigate the spread.
John R Hain, MD (Carmel, CA)
It does not make sense to shut down so much public activity when the concern is for the most vulnerable 20% of the population. The smart advice would be for the most vulnerable to self-isolate in order to avoid contact with carriers of COVD-19 virus. This would serve the same end goal of reducing the strain on medical system while enabling the majority of the population to experience relatively mild infections, recover, and develop natural immunity.
john (Canada)
@John R Hain, MD But the most vulnerable need someone to do their shopping and pick up their medications etc. The most vulnerable are usually less able then the healthy already. Who is arranging for their needs while they hunker down? Some probably have friends in their same age group who also can't help except by phone.
Margaret Jay (Sacramento)
@John R Hain, MD What you advise makes perfect sense, but I’m betting that few if any of the public or the polity will agree with you. It’s just not a politically correct position to take right now. But my fear is that the damage to the economy, which will be primarily borne by the poor and working classes, will be a disaster far greater than the virus itself.
dlb (washington, d.c.)
@John R Hain, MD That is a terrible idea. The concern is not just for the most vulnerable , the concern is for everyone. We don't know much about this virus, and that includes not knowing with certainty the demographics of the infected and those that have died. What we know for sure are those 14 years old and under are not getting infected. But we don't know if they are carriers. People in their 20s and 40s have died from this disease. Letting people become infected is not an acceptable form of infection control.
Radha (BC, Canada)
"Those actions include testing for the virus, tracing contacts, and reducing human interactions by stopping mass gatherings, working from home and curbing travel. " Only 2 months too late on including testing (on a massive scale) the virus. The CDC should be transparent to the population with the communications on this pandemic, instead of hiding political finagling. The US seems behind the curveball on this whole crisis, and apparently is no longer the leader in anything. The Trump administration is an utter failure.
john (Canada)
The death rate results are showing that those over age 75 have a death rate of 10%. Let's do everything we can to prevent Seniors and others with weak immune systems from getting exposure to this virus..
Mark W. Noonan (Bellingham, WA.)
That’s all well and good. But I’m laid off for the next six weeks because all schools in WA won’t resume til at least 27 Apr. and I’m doing my best not to lash out. But if it goes beyond 27 April you can bet I’ll be lashing out. All schools elsewhere are closed 2-4 weeks. Why is my state 6 weeks.
Christina (Oregon)
@Mark W. Noonan Because almost all of the deaths in the United States due to COVID-19 have happened in WA state. You live in Ground Zero. Lash out at all you want, just make sure you last out at Trump and his cronies who refused to stop this in January.
BamaGirl (Tornado Alley, Alabama)
@Mart W. Noonan Our schools are officially closing for 2 weeks. Nobody thinks we’re really going back. I will be shocked if two weeks is enough to contain this. It is possible to have a second spike in cases. I do really feel for the many, many Americans who have no emergency funds. As my colleague said, people who go without food for a few days get very cranky. This could get ugly when it’s not just about toilet paper.
K.M (California)
Yes, I am practicing social distancing now. I would not say it is easy, but it is necessary. I attended a small workshop several days ago, when the concept of social distancing was emerging. There were so many procedures and distancing between people, it felt like too much work for now. Perhaps we will all re-discover individual pursuits, the arts, journal writing and walking in nature. The whole country is on retreat.
bobbyjo (boston)
I am a nurse of 35 years and I am more worried about the masses mobilized over fear than the risk of infection by a viral illness that is USUALLY self limiting. I have been listening and watching for the reasons and developing symptoms that warrant a national shut down that is clearly adversely affecting millions without barely a trace of this virus .YIKES . THIS is potentially catastrophic.
NW (Washington)
Please do a little more epidemiological research into this potential disaster before using your nursing credentials to legitimize your spread of falsely reassuring information.
Mark (West Texas)
“We’re being very, very careful to make sure we have scientifically valid modeling that’s drawing properly on the epidemic and what’s known about the virus,” Right now, all the talk is about Donald Trump and what he didn't do. The CDC didn't release its model. I'm afraid they never will, because this pandemic has been politicized.
Robert (Out west)
The Times published on FOUR of the CDC’s models, today. Anyway, will you not be safe in the bunkers ‘neath the Walmarts?
BeTheChange (Seattle)
@Mark in Texas. This is by definition a political responsibility of the federal government to fund and prepare all necessary resources and experts and to guide citizens and all sectors to reduce adverse outcomes of any pandemic like this. Trumps administration shut down and eliminated the NSC directorate for global health and security and bio-defense in 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-disbanded-nsc-pandemic-unit-that-experts-had-praised/2020/03/14/aa09132c-65ac-11ea-8a8e-5c5336b32760_story.html That was just one major extremely egregious fail of leadership in a globalized economy in a world with a growing population. Then there was denial, saying it was a ‘hoax’ and letting people believe that?! This is as bad as it is because of irresponsible and now clearly unsafe leadership where many people will die deaths that could have been avoided.
Hugh (LA)
Time to rethink international travel. It's terrible for the environment and it is a prime vector for spreading emergent diseases. How many business trips and scientific conferences could be replaced by teleconferencing? Yes, it's not the same as face-to-face networking or sitting down and breaking bread with others, but clever people would come up with technologies to lessen those drawbacks. Regardless, all international travelers should be paying for the real costs to the environment and for new medical screening and traveller-tracking that responsible governments should require. We've been living in a fool's paradise.
Larry D (Brooklyn)
A Fool’s Paradise is the only kind there is.
Pass the MORE Act: 202-224-3121 (Tex Mex)
Unprepared; quarantining sick people on a cruise ship with recirculating ventilation. Prepared; taking them to Lackland airforce base in San Antonio to rooms with private bathrooms. Unprepared: Failing to invest in preventive efforts and research in communicable disease Prepared; Replacing private sick care with medicare for all It’s like when there’s a rare ice storm in San Antonio; they have no snow plows for trucks, no dump trucks full of salt or sand so they have to shut the city down, causing more panic and problems than potential accidents. Now compare that ice storm to a pandemic we could have prepared for with a little less spending on defense and a little more on health care to prevent our military from collapsing from disease?
JawboneFnAss (Nyack)
Do the math. Viral infections are exponential. But Trump is only concerned with the arithmetic of the electoral college. He is the poster boy for feckless. Let’s be clear, the financial markets reaction was not so much a reaction to a pandemic as it was to a reaction to a lack of leadership and a sudden realization that all those cuts he made to our healthcare institutions was about to literally bite us in the butt. Cuts the markets originally cheered on as it improved their bottom lines. It was a market looking for an excuse for a correction and Trump gave it to them. The only thing worse than a global pandemic is a global pandemic on a rudderless ship that seems only to acquiesce to the loudest voice in the room at the time. I’ll take my corona with Lyme thanks.
Wanglu60 (San Francisco)
Nathan Hansard (Buchanan VA)
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the task force, said that senior health officials had not presented the findings to the group, led by Vice President Mike Pence, and that nobody in Mr. Pence’s office “has seen or been briefed on these models.” ------------------ What the actual (beep)?!?!?!? The level of incompetence is staggering.
Anthony Perrone (Florida)
Still working overtime trying to scare people.
Mixilplix (Alabama)
Can Obama please say something?
@Mixilplix He sent out a tweet on Thursday in support of cancelling "large scale gatherings and public events." Do a Google search for it.
Venae (Portland, Or)
This article is panic inducing and irresponsible. I wish I could expect better from the Times but here we are, again.
Barbara Snider (California)
As an older woman, I had stocked up on food and needed medicines several weeks ago but today wanted yogurt. The market was so crowded, lines an hour or more to check out! I guess people are finally taking this seriously. I had to leave and self-isolate in Yogurtland. Main problems - the president is a liar, and no one can believe a word he says, which makes bad situations much, much worse. His administration is full of incompetents whose only talent is their love of him (a questionable and morally ambiguous strength). Regarding the virus, we are told not to travel to viral hot spots. Unfortunately, the handful of testing that has been done is classified, so for all we know we already live in a hot spot! Luckily, the lying media has been reporting as much as they can on the reality of the situation - and there isn't much information on where problem spots are. I really appreciate their willingness to question everything Trump says and provide needed information, when they can get it. I hope even people with low standards for politicians will think twice before voting for lying scumbags from now on. This situation is a good example of the need for intelligent, concerned, competent leaders. Your life could actually depend on it.
Ergo (Toronto)
Sadly the COVID19 is a reality, a creping malicious reality that we cannot ignore. Apart from the physical implications we also need to address the anxiety that comes from the thought of what this may mean to our private economies. "Even if I do not contract the virus, I may be unable to earn a living and pay my bills" This is just as much an existential threat as the disease, for a country where many people live paycheck to paycheck or close to it. While the responses to the disease available to the government are limited by the realities of science, there is more that can be done by them to address the fiscal anxiety. Here is one suggestion: the single largest expenditure for most families is the servicing of debt (loan, mortgage, credit card, student and other indebtedness) - the best way to address this is to require the banks and other financial service organizations to grant a "debt repayment postponement" no part of the debt needs to be waived, merely deferred for say 3 months. As I recall, it was not long ago that the people bailed out the banks, lets ask them to return the favour. Banks are always talking about their Corporate Social Responsibility, well now is a chance to put your money where your mouth is. The Government could help by allowing the Banks to earn tax deductions for the interest income forgone. There is one catch, broad sections of the economy would have to work together to help each other....and that's Socialism....and we don't do that.
Homebase (USA)
@Ergo we do socialism in the US ...... called socialism for the wealthy.
Ron (Union Square)
My sister-in-law in SW Ohio texted me: “I want to sue the media for inducing panic. My kids will remember this forever.” Me: “The worry is that it is spreading like wildfire right now because there aren’t any tests!” Sis: “Do you think this is China’s ‘test’ version of how to kill off the World?” Me: “I think it’s a good wake up call of what could very well be a weak point in USA.” Sis: “Everywhere. Italy is basically closed.” Me: “People are afraid things here will get much worse in another few weeks. Lots of people without healthcare. No tests. Hospitals already close to maxed out in the best of times.” Sis: “Yikes! What do you mean there are no tests? Like they’re running out of tests for Coronavirus or they don’t have a test?” Me: “Up until now they’ve had very few tests to give out. I think that will improve over the next week. Before, they wouldn’t test people unless they’d returned directly from China, Iran, or Italy. But now there’s lots of random cases.” Sis: “True. People that haven’t been out of the country or in contact with people out of the country. That means there are carriers that aren’t showing symptoms? It’s just weird how fast this spreads. Like wildfire.” Me: “Exactly. Just for now err on the side of caution isn’t a bad idea. We don’t know about the virus, and there’s no cure. For example, I could be mildly infected, but pass it to my parents in say, April? No one knows.” Sis: “Now I’m getting scared.” Brainwashing in the USA is as rampant as the virus.
Joan parsons (Hawaii)
So the experts can’t share real assessments and scenarios with the WH because no one there is smart enough or allowed to think enough to take this in. Do we actually hear and comprehend this firewall? Our government is being run by the 3 Stooges people. God help us
bp (neutral onserver interplanetary traveler)
Get ready for a superhighway of tears. Trump will make Andrew Jackson look like a piker. Trump ain't gonna be no trail walker. Hope he gets to be a traveler on his flooded highway so we can wave goodbye.
scythians (parthia)
Hey, NYT: noting like some worse-case fearmongering to keep the cash rolling in!
Sharon (Los angeles)
@scythians cash? Most people are already paying for their digital subscriptions and it literally says coronvirus coverage is free on front page. Nice try though.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@scythians : it's all about eyeballs…page clicks…DOLLARS! Ka-CHING!!!!
Angelo C (Elsewhere)
It’s a free Country....keep voting for Trump.
I Gadfly (New York City)
Reporter: “You said you don’t take responsibility [for the epidemic], but you did disband the White House pandemic office [in 2018]. What responsibility you take for that?” Trump: “It is a nasty question! And when you say me, I didn’t do it.” Reporter: “It’s your administration.” Trump: “Perhaps my administration [did it]. I don’t know anything about it!” Reporter: “You don’t know about the reorganization that happened at the National Security Council?” Trump: “You say we did that. I don’t know anything about it!”
Lindsay K (Westchester County, NY)
@I Gadfly - “I don’t know anything about it!” is basically a summary of Trump’s entire life.
A Pale Horse (Nashville)
@I Gadfly it is astonishing behavior, truly. And to watch Pence lick his boots and say what an amazing job he’s done, I just can’t with them.
Hugh (LA)
Koreans *pay* for their testing unless they test positive for the virus. “The test kit is about $130, and about half is covered by insurance the other half by individual.” - Kwon Jun-wook, Deputy Director General of the KCDC https://asiatimes.com/2020/03/why-are-koreas-covid-19-death-rates-so-low/
Hugh (LA)
@Paul Free if you test positive. See the link in my original post. That's a high official in the KCDC quoted. Even the Washington Post reports that it is not free to all: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/coronavirus-test-kits-south-korea-us/2020/03/13/007f14fc-64a1-11ea-8a8e-5c5336b32760_story.html
Brooklyn Dog Geek (Brooklyn NY)
How about the best case scenario? Oh, that probably won’t garner you as many clicks.
SRL (California)
The article suggested a best-case scenario: the low numbers in the ranges given.
Dred (Vancouver)
Mathew Biggerstaff is a great name for a guy working in the government ;)
Leng. (Singapore)
For Americans in a panic mode of contracting and dying a horrible death (not enough ventilators) from the coronavirus, may I suggest going to the safest country, China - before they stop all Americans from travelling there. Just sayin'....
Antonia (SF)
Germany population 83 million, 600 billion aided to address Coronavirus. United States of America, population 330+ million, 50 billion to address Coronavirus. Hmmm?
Martina (Chicago)
Now, after two months of prevaricating and dancing around floundering, we have the projected numbers: 116 to 240 million Americans infected and ten times more fatal than the flu. A month ago Trump said we will get the 15 then tested infections down to zero. A liar? Yes. Incompetent? Yes. This is not merely sad, but mortally fatal and risky to millions of Americans.
Kvj (indianapolis)
@Martina infected does not automatically lead to fatality.
Denise (Massachusetts)
His choice of language is offensive. "Unleash" the power of the government. Not aid, assist, send help, comfort, assistance, relief, comity and brotherhood. Unleash.
CHARLES (Switzerland)
Just want to give a shout out to the media visibility of superb Indian and South Asian American medical experts doing a magnificent work for public service and health communications information: Sanjay, Vivek, the two Seemas and others at Harvard. Take note 45, Immigration is beneficial. Veritas and Incredible India!
ourconstitution.info (Miami)
This is tragic, and should have never reached this point here, Italy, or anywhere else. Why did travel continue to/from China so long after this was shown to be a dangerous illness there? Even when we finally had airport checks here there was a lot we still didn't (and don't) know. It was lives over money in speeches today, and should have been back then, and travel halted early-on until we (World) knew what we were dealing with. I cancelled optional travel to another major US city partly in light of these concerns weeks ago. We could have and should have masks available for everyone in emergencies, such as this. That, along with proper hand-washing is crucial. We have ingenuity, and can also build what we need at a moments notice. That however, is little consolation with some of the possible future rates of infection currently being discussed. I hope these are way off, but as clinicians have stated - better to prepare (and be prepared) for the worst. Climate issues present other concerns for disease. Home health care workers (in Florida at least) are still not mandated to wear masks, and the agencies, at least one or more, won't demand it otherwise. Most of these patients are elderly, the aides and/or their families known to travel quite a bit to the islands or Latin America ... Many of them also have more than one patient (different shifts)... This is outrageous and we need to call a lethal, dangerous, mysterious virus just that, and implement all measures of protection.
The Iconoclast (Oregon)
Guess this is part of Trumps; MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN We can only hope that Republicans get so tired of winning they will have changed their tune by November.
Jim Mathewson (Montreal)
On top of the pandemic itself, it is incredible that it is so difficult for the average person to locate a reliable, real-time resource which reports accurate statistics on the pandemic. Most US media outlets point us data provided by the esteemed Johns-Hopkins. I have been using this data to compile a simple spreadsheet of key numbers on particular countries of personal interest. It seemed that the elaborate and impressive Johns-Hopkins graphic on a black background would be a great source of this data. However it is alarming to note that the data in this presentation contains random inconsistences from day to day. How can this be? For example, right now I tried to look up the UK and the map's data is reporting only 3 cases while the same display was reporting a more reasonable 382 cases on March 11. Some days a country's name is presented in a different way from the previous day. South Korea became Korea, South. This is no big deal but it gives the impression that the data is being loaded into an Excel spreadsheet by a (somewhat distracted) human. Earlier today, Australia was nowhere to be found, now it's back. Two days ago Italy and Iran went missing for half a day. Surely a more reliable presentation is possible. We don't need Johns-Hopkins adding an extra layer of stress. Maybe they should hand the job off to the stats experts from the NBA or NHL - these guys know their stuff … and they have extra time on their hands right now!
Farfel (Pluto)
I live in NW CT. What is remarkable is the number of wealthy NYC weekenders who continue to travel all over the world and refuse to stop doing so, then come home here and interact with the rest of us without limitation. They are so used to buying privilege that they can't see that money can't buy their way out of this. The fact that they are spreading the disease to others, potentially killing our elders, doesn't seem to matter to most of them. This is the perfect expression of the pathology of America's gilded class.
T. Cavendish (New York)
Just like thousands of self-appointed experts on logistics, infrastructure and disaster relief came out of the woodwork after Hurricane Maria in 2017, insisting things like long-standing disaster relief strategies and basic realities change depending on who is sitting in the White House, we now have thousands of self-proclaimed epidemiologists and immunologists all screaming bloody murder, as if every agency from the CDC on down to county governments don’t have emergency plans that are reviewed, practiced and refined constantly regardless of who is president. Again, the person sitting in the White House has very little to do with those plans, other than approving funds, clearing the way for more resources and assuaging fears so we don’t have mass panic. So if you’re dead set on insisting a virus behaves differently, or clinical trials take less time, or hospitals become magically better equipped to deal with a mass influx of patients depending on who occupies the Oval Office, that’s your right, but please spare the rest of us. This virus is disruptive enough without having to hear a constant chorus of politically-motivated criticism that has no basis in reality. It would be nice if, just this once, in the face of a serious threat that will undoubtedly take more lives, we stopped with this nonsense and treated each other like human beings.
Jon Ham (San Diego)
I think it would be nice if the President would tell the truth. This way “experts” wouldn’t have to come out of the wood work. If we had a strong leader who showed us how to treat each other like humans, that would also help.
Fread (Melbourne)
If you watch your local cafe, it just seems like there may be a widespread problem coming. Many cafes are simply so dirty, especially independent cafes here in Lexington, KY. Its like the department that inspects doesn’t do their job. The bathrooms of some I’ve been to are quite gross year round. Their employees are usually these college or high school kids who don’t really care about their jobs, they touch cups badly etc. the whole scene looks like it could be really dangerous. And it’s all cause everything is being done on the cheap. Workers are often being paid poorly etc, so bosses can’t really push them too much to clean better etc. the cafe here in Lexington KY I know barely gets cleaned after shifts. It’s in an old historic building and it’s just dirty. Many cafes seem to be like that. And those are the ones where you can see what’s happening behind the counter. It’s sad, but it’s getting to where I either don’t go to these cafes, or I go and buy the coffee or tea, but I actually don’t drink it!!! I just buy it so I can seat there and do my usual thing reading online or doing some work etc, then I pour their drinks away in the bathroom or something. The other day I was in a taco bell where I noticed an employee outing my burritos directly on their counter, not on a serving or wrapping paper! I paid for the burritos and then threw them away and went home!
AJR (Oakland, CA)
The coronavirus reaction (and inaction) by Trump and cronies should not be a surprise to anyone who doesn't have their head buried in the Fox news sand. We've seen it from day one with such things as climate change: Shackle fact based research and reporting Lie with alternative facts Call anything you don't like, especially science and expert opinion a hoax and Democratic plot. Lie about your inadequacies by casting blame on someone else Long after we finally dig our way out from the virus with countless lives lost and ruined, the reality of environment and climate that have been repressed will be surfacing with a vengeance like the virus is just beginning to manifest now. Our future is just around the corner in November
Ok Joe (Bryn Mawr PA)
After reading the comments to this article from those living in red states or red areas of the country, I cannot help but wonder if there could be an interesting social/political Darwinian experiment going on here. If Republicans continue to disregard or consider the seriousness of Covid-19 as "Fake News" and take no precautions against contracting this disease but Democrats do, then more Republicans will be either become ill or die from this virus. Of course, transmission of this disease is significantly conditioned by population density. Let me be absolutely clear, I don't want anyone to become ill or die from this pandemic. No one, ever. But Fox News, and this President, would appear to be putting their own supporters at greater risk and, in a counter intuitive way, at the same time protecting the health and well being of Democrats!
Michael Wade (Bloomington)
at 5pm today: https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/topics/coronavirus-in-indiana.php "The number of presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Indiana is still just 12, despite the fact that more than 60,000 Hoosiers likely have the virus, according to State Health Commissioner Kris Box. The Indiana State Department of Health said in a Friday afternoon news release that the department had received additional testing supplies from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention in Atlanta. An Indiana University Health official says there are currently no confirmed cases in Monroe County, and that there is also no testing available through the county. "
William (Memphis)
One thing I wish to note: Trump will NEVER escape the hundreds or thousands of deaths he will have directly caused. Those deaths will follow him to his grave.
Missy (Texas)
Not sure all of the gloom and doom is helping the poor shut in elderly person with conditions, and only 2 days of food. I'm stressed myself with the nonstop terrible news for almost 4 years. I think the first major story this weekend is the corona and what we should do/gov response. The second major story should be the primaries. Then all of the other stories should be about spring and hope, cool things to think about...
Kvj (indianapolis)
If we stay inside can the virus somehow still get transmitted to us?
Robert (Out west)
Please, please, please, consult the CDC, the Times’writings and advice, or any of the other excellent materials available.
Person In science (mass., USA)
No, it cannot.
Kvj (indianapolis)
@Robert I did, I did not see that question answered and the answer is not just of interest to me but many others,including those I know. . I know there are variables: whether we or friends are harboring this virus or not, age, etc. Also, these probability models in this article ...I don’t know what makes sense or not. Our religious services are online from now on and even the leader was gloomy. I would like hope but I appreciate honesty as much.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
Watch Trump. Listen to Trump. Evaluate his comments. Then honestly tell me, that this man is not seriously impaired, disturbed and in serious need of psychological help. If you honestly see nothing wrong, perhaps, you too, should seek help. If you think nothing is wrong; then do you condone the lying, the malicious comments and the vailed threats? Obviously so. The rest of us should worry even more. There is something seriously wrong with Donald Trump. He’s monumentally stupid. Grossly ignorant. Delusional. Narcissistic. He’s a pathological liar and a mean spirited hater. He sees only himself. His whole world revolves solely around himself and himself alone. If you religious people believe in Trump, then apparently your so called god has had a mental breakdown. How could, a supposedly good and kind and forgiving god ever see anything redeeming in a fool like Donald Trump? Those of you that admire and like this cretin called Trump have something missing in your lives. Seek help. Soon. This evil man has the potential to kill all of us. He doesn’t care. He gives a whole new meaning to the words disturbed and hateful. Beware this evil man.
Missy (Texas)
@Doremus Jessup I think Trump has the virus and is hiding it. If he has it and told it would end his presidency, and tank the world markets like we have never seen before. I thought at one point he was going to pass out. Of course that would mean Pence probably has it as well. I hope Nancy Pelosi is taking care of herself, she may be needed.
Chris (Philadelphia)
Epitaph for a Presidency: ‘I don’t take responsibility at all’, Trump on coronavirus 3/13/20
Lindsay K (Westchester County, NY)
@Chris - Of course he doesn’t. He never takes responsibility for anything.
Kindred Spirit (Ann Arbor)
@Chris Where's our Harry Truman of our times? The buck stops here.
Stuart (Alaska)
My only hope about this epidemic is that people will realize how fragile and interconnected our society is, and will start to revere qualities like planning and preparedness again. Coronavirus is finite and relatively easy to address. The impacts of climate change are wider, more intense and well-nigh irreversible in a meaningful time frame. Maybe if enough Fox viewers die it will shake people to their senses and give them some immunity to the relentless propaganda that is killing our society and our planet. Some of my friends may well be among them, but something get people out of this terrible rut.
Long Islander (NYC)
And the NYC public school's are still open with no provision for off-site learning. It's not fair to the kids or the adults in the building. My child rides the NYC subway 2x/day to/from school with no other way to get there - it is a moving petri dish. I understand there are 114,000 public school students (NY Times number) that live in homeless shelters and have no where else to be. I also understand there are many more students who get their only meals in school. I am sympathetic. The city should provide meals and a place to be same as it does during summer break for those who need it. What about the welfare of the more than TWO MILLION other students - some of whom are young adults and not children - who attend public school? We have a State of Emergency in NY - and we have a Federal State of Emergency. Why are we not taken care of ALL the students, including the ones who have food and shelter and don't need to be at school during a pandemic that's spreading like wildfire through NYC?
Minimize Community Spread (NYC)
Christina (Oregon)
@Long Islander Closing schools is not about protecting children, it is about protecting adults. Adults are at risk of dying, not children. NYC is not like any other city in this country and shutting down all schools would shut down the entire city. You're angry? You think this isnt being handled properly? Call Trump. He ignored this. He could have stopped this in January. All of your anger and frustration and fear needs to be directed where it belongs, on Trump's lap.
LMGold (Portland)
We will all pay for this administration’s naked political ambition and incompetence.
Zed (Portland)
Anyone doubt that Trump will decide to “postpone” the election come November?
Cordelia (New York City)
"The C.D.C. declined interview requests about the modeling effort and referred a request for comment to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the task force, said that senior health officials had not presented the findings to the group, led by Vice President Mike Pence, and that nobody in Mr. Pence’s office 'has seen or been briefed on these models.'” If anyone believes those assertions I have a bridge for sale over here. At least with Trump everyone but his willfully blind followers knows he's lying as the words leave his lips. But when Pence lies he does it in the softest of tones with that look of utter sincerity that not even man's best friend could match! Feh!
Lazyal (Indiana)
The article quotes an expert, Dr. James Lawler, as predicting that the US, with a population of about 330 million, will see 96 million infections and 430,000 deaths, conservatively. By contrast, South Korea, which has been dealing with the outbreak for two months, has had 8000 infections and 71 deaths in a population of 52 million. Perhaps Dr. Lawler could explain why the coronavirus would vastly worse in the US than it was in South Korea.
Cicero Grimes (Yuma, AZ)
Easy answer when one consults accurate sources. South Korea has been conducting *more tests per person than any other country in the world*—15,000 people are being tested every day. Four companies have supplied test kits to 118 venues where people can get tested FREE. The government has also created dozens of drive-through centers, where medical workers in face masks and protective clothing perform the mouth/throat swab test. South Koreans also receive regular cell-phone alerts notifying them of new cases nearby. The government has closed schools and called for the cancellation of all large gatherings. Government websites are regularly updated with information about testing. Trump’s contribution? “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Nancy Volle (Missoula, Montana)
Putting this into perspective. In 2018 approximately 2.84 million people died in the United States. In this article, the high estimate for possible deaths in the U.S. due to Covid 19 is 1.7 million. This is an approximately 60% increase over the number of U.S. deaths in 2018. I am 72 years old. I haven't had someone close to me die since 2015. Based on data, many of us won't experience the loss of a loved one due to Covid 19.
Cindy (California)
@Nancy Volle Putting this in perspective, if 1.7 million people die from COVID-19 in 2020, our country will experience more deaths from a virus in a single year than from all military engagements for the past 245 years.
Nancy Volle (Missoula, Montana)
@Cindy I wish I had added to my comment that I encourage people to take all the precautions they can to reduce the incidence & rapidity of spread of this virus. I'm afraid it could have come across as minimizing the need for an aggressive personal & governmental response.
Jan (San Antonio, TX)
I will never forget this administration's response to the corona virus and I hope those who vote in 2020 keep it in mind also.
Daniel Edwin (GA)
I am 57 year old with well controlled H1AC (diabetic, but works had to keep H1AC at pre-diabetic levels) but had pulmonary embolism in both lungs. Three days ago, I had symptoms of the flu, mild fever, aches and chills. Called my Primary Care and the PA advised me to rest and to keep hydrated. I asked about getting tested for the COVID-19 and was told that since I did not travel or come in contact with anyone who tested positive (at least that I know) and did not have coughing, most likely this was just the flu. This morning my fever subsided, gone were my other symptoms and worked a full day (Work from Home all the time). It was a nervy (UK) or nerve wracking few hours, but by God’s grace remained calm and trusted the advice of a medical expert. I watched our President’s press conference and my opinion was that he did a great job. I watched the press conference on CNN and on the Jake Tapper show the ex-Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy indicated that Doctors and other health care personnel were running out of surgical masks, so much so, they were reusing (recycling) these masks! Is this true? If the above assertion by Dr. Murthy is true, can we declare Globalization a failure and bring back manufacturing of essential goods as surgical masks, gloves back to the US?
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@Daniel Edwin : believe it or not, with all this going on -- it is totally possible to get an ordinary case of flu -- or a cold. They just "happen" -- we can't stop them (so good luck stopping coronavirus!). Do the recommended things -- drink plenty of fluids -- keep warm -- stay in your home. If you need stuff, ask friends to drop it off at your door but don't let them in. I agree 100% on bringing back medical manufacturing to the US -- it is shocking we let CHINA manufacture not just gloves and testing kits, but MOST OF OUR PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS!
John (NYS)
When this is complete it will be interesting to compare the actual numbers to this piece. Today we have 48 total deaths with 7 today. However, people are taking this very seriously based of emptied store shelves, distance learning, cancelled sports events, etc.
save Grandma- Close Schools in NYC (NYC)
Except the schools are still open. And kids are taking public transit, touching each other constantly, and in schools with not access to hand sanitizer or soap, sharing classroom community materials. And the schools themselves are unable to comply with the community gathering restrictions.
Mark (West Texas)
Over 2 million Americans die every year. Coronavirus is mostly killing those who are already at risk of dying. Unlike the flu, coronavirus seems to be sparing most children and teens from even having symptoms. There was a doctor from Italy who was interviewed on a British news program just a few days ago who is treating coronavirus patients. He said the median age of a person at their facility being treated for this disease was 65 years old. When this is over, we need to examine the data to see if this virus had any meaningful impact on mortality rates with age groups. If it didn’t, then the W.H.O. and CDC are going to come under scrutiny, because this panic is causing real pain to so many people who are at very low risk of dying from this virus.
Manuel Berger (Munich)
@Mark It's NOT about how many people die in the end. It's about slow down the infection rate, so your medical system can adapt. When your medical systems collapse, then you have a much bigger problem. In Italy they now have to decide, which patient they treat, and which they leave dying.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Mark Other people's lives are more important than your bank account.
Tom (Washington, DC)
I really puzzle that this story and the information it contains is really very useful. Scenarios change daily. trump changes every 10 minutes or so. No one can ever know at point A the results by point C or F. Nor will our experience with Coronavirus be in any way linear. China, so far as anyone knows, has gotten it outbreak relatively under control. It’d be nice to think we can too, but then there’s trump and the trump administration. At this point, playing numbers games just doesn’t help anyone, except to keep all the modelers employed. It would be helpful if the Army Corps of Engineers set to work on pop-up hospitals and temporary urgent care clinics. But I presume they’re all down at the boarder, building trump’s wall.
Marvant Duhon (Bloomington Indiana)
I've recently retired from nursing, over a third of a century in home care and hospice (which has taken me into dozens of nursing homes to care for patients there).I notice that nursing homes, including the one my father is in, are now forbidding visitors "except in case of extreme medical emergency". It may be the best decision they can make to slow (not stop) COVID-19. My father, like many nursing home patients, cannot feed himself. Relatives, friends, and people we hire come in to help him and visit with him. Nursing homes are simply not staffed enough to feed all the patients who need feeding when such helpers are banned. None of them that I've been in are. And nursing home staffing is going to be horribly impacted. Many thousands of patients will over the next few months die in this country because they do not get enough food to maintain their health.
littlewolf (Orlando)
leadership has failed
Harvey Green (Santa Fe, NM)
Well, I sure am comforted that Mike Pence, who is a climate change denier as well as someone who rejects evolution, is in charge of the situation. I await his suggestion that they way to whip this pandemic is for all of us to stop breathing. That will fix it.
LingoDuo (Brooklyn, NY)
Containment is the whole ballgame. Ideally nobody would leave their homes at all except to buy food. This would stop them from getting infected or, if they're already infected but don't know it, keep them from infecting others. Then the hospitals might be able to care for the already critically ill people. But if people continue to socialize, visit the gym, go to restaurants, ride the subway for leisure activities, the numbers will keep going up and we will be impossibly overloaded, as happened in Italy. This virus is very easy to transmit. Really, nobody should be going to work at all for the next few weeks at least. The epidemiology is clear: contain the virus across the board by self-quarantine or by edict, and bring deaths way down. As soon as China did this, they began to be able to control the epidemic. We were painted a pathetically rosy picture by the guy in charge who smirked that he's "not worried." Recall that Trump spent the first months of his presidency firing scientists at the USDA and the EPA, and cut funding by $750 million to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as signing a bill that slashed $1.35 billion from its Prevention and Public Health Fund over the next 10 years. So much for science. And here we are.
Freestyler (Highland Park, NJ)
@LingoDuo , good advice. But a certain number of people will always have to go out, including those who have provide that food or deliver it. And let’s not forget all those first responders, and engineers who keep our transportation systems, electrical grids, water and sewer systems up and running. That’s not an insubstantial number of people. Can’t fix a broken water main from the comfort of one’s living room!
LingoDuo (Brooklyn, NY)
@Freestyler You're absolutely right. "Ideally" nobody would go out, as I said...but realistically it can't be. Thanks for making that explicit.
Jeffrey Ban (Baltimore Maryland)
What a great and intelligent post! Thank you.
Dowmort (Chicago)
Such poetic justice: a microscopic ‘illegal alien’ virus makes it way across our border—scaling walls, evading militia and mocking surveillance devices, all without detection—and a president now-exposed.
Michael Epstein (Brooklyn)
Why are New York City public schools still open. At this point it feels criminal.
SJW (Pleasant Hill, CA)
@Michael Epstein It is the role of the school to provide child care and three meals a day.
Christina (Oregon)
@Michael Epstein Closing schools is to protect adults not children. Shut down NYC schools = shutting down NYC entirely.
seriousreader (California)
People are thinking now about the shortage of hospital beds, equipment and staff, but I fear that nobody is mentioning the inevitable shortages after taht: grave diggers, coffins and cemeteries.
Bosco' Dad (Twin Falls, Idaho)
I dought any reason or evidence can justify the hysteria that suggests 36 actual dead people today will become 1.7 million dead people next whenever. This country is spoiled. I would bet more than 36 people have chocked to death on their dinner.
Somebody (USA)
One question... why has china had relatively few deaths? They have far more people than in the US? Based on this model they really did a superb job or why would the US ihave a much worse outcome? China has fewer than 3000 deaths...how is this an accurate model then?
Jones (Columbiana)
@somebody Do you think it can possibly be that Chine has significantly under-reported its corona virus deaths?
Somebody (USA)
@Jones possibly but even they couldn't hide a few hundred thousand deaths.
Hectoria (London)
Trust scientists and experts, not politicians.
JM (San Francisco)
Today, March 13th Headlines are: They’re Off The Grand Princess, But Passengers Say They Still Haven’t Been Tested For The Coronavirus “We will be testing everyone on the ship,” said Vice President Mike Pence. But some passengers, now under quarantine in California, said their requests for testing have gone nowhere. Americans have been repeatedly hearing "going to", "will be", "hope to", "soon" with regards to testing yet still no one who requests a test gets tested. And Trump still boasting of how low "his numbers" are.
Dean (Cardiff)
The models assumptions are a mortality rate of 0.25% to 1%, yet the WHO report that they estimate the mortality rate at 3.4%?
JoeG (Houston)
@Dean Nearly 7% mortality rate in Northern Italy.
Jesse S. (Anaheim)
@Dean Mortality rate depends on health resources available. WHO accounts for the world, CDC is US specific.
Jon Ham (San Diego)
We need to take a deep breath and also be objective. This is happening and their's nothing to do but ride it out. Let's be real about what that means. We still have running water, power, and one of the largest domestic production agricultural machines of the world. We the people should be fine if we don't panic in the short term. Let's hope our leaders and the financial stewards of our country allow the many hourly employee, single parents, and financially unstable to NOT end up bankrupt, in more debt, or on the street like the after math of 2008.
Joseph B (Stanford)
Instead of listening to the scientist and doctors, President Trump said about month ago when there were very few cases in the USA this would go away shortly. By not having testing readily available which is still the case in the USA, President Trump has kept the reported cases low. Americans will pay the price for its anti science leadership and broken health care system. Most people will know someone who has died from the coronavirus and the economy will experience a serious recession.
Hectoria (London)
I really fear that the United States is unprepared structurally, psychologically, medically and politically. I suspect that this is a key point in history, and will be followed by a wholesale reassessment of societal values, including universal healthcare, sick pay, honesty in Government etc. The futility of religion and political fraud will be exposed. Corona will be ruthless in exposing the lies of regimes and despots all over the world. Just look at Iran. The virus works at weekends, and has no regard for 'sides'.
Laura (North Fork)
This is exquisitely phrased and precisely on point. Well said and true. I hope.
Jay Roberts (Santa Fe, NM)
The virus also doesn’t load, play golf, spend hours tweeting, or obsessively watch Fox “News” either.
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
I was concerned. Now I'm genuinely nervous.
Anne (CA)
The stock market rose again today even as things got worse. I can't change my meager retirement account in a day-trading mode. Automated Ai day-traders can and will hedge bets down. They are manipulating my meager savings. I am. Worth. Less. We did see this coming. But not this bad. This guy bankrupted casinos etc. and never wanted to be POTUS. It was only ever a clever tabloid marketing scheme considering that Mar-a-Lago and Trump Post Office Hotel DC et al, needed a marketing gimmick..., he used his kids to shore up his performance anxiety... The first thing Donald did was to double annual fees at Mar-a-Lago. It was about real estate values and resort fun jet-set party hosting. Paid for by charities and taxpayers. We will be paying rich people to not work and waste fortunes for decades.
susan (nyc)
Early this afteroon I went to a super market on the Upper East side of Manhattan. The shelves were virtually empty in the store. Few cleaning products were left and no bathroom tissue was available to purchase. The lines were so long one of the workers was directing people to each checkout register. People are buying goods faster than the store can stock them. I wonder how long fhis will last.
Wilf (Toronto)
The data I would like to see (as a 67 year old) is the mortality rate by age with the cases that had pre-existing conditions excluded. The death rate is skewed toward older adult because older adults have the greatest frequency of respiratory and heart disease. If people with pre-existing conditions are excluded from the mortality graph it may be somewhat flatter. Also, why are people going crazy buying toilet paper when the Covid-19 is a respiratory illness not a gastric one???
Thomas Aquinas (Ether)
@Wilf People are sheep. They do what others do and believe what they hear. Oh, and very few have common sense.
JGM (Indianapolis)
Diarrhea is one of the symptoms. In China some who got Coronavirus had diarrhea.
Concerned Citizen (Anywheresville)
@JGM : I have had flu and gastric problems that resulted in diarrhea for days on end, and I did not require 3-4 "Costco Club packs" of toilet paper -- 30 rolls each or a total of 120 rolls of toilet paper. People are acting irrationally. Your theory does not explain people hoarding 10 JUGS (huge containers) of hand sanitizer (for one or two adults!) or buying 6 flats of bottled water -- 6x24!!!! -- when the virus is NOT waterborne and when there is no reason to believe the water systems will suddenly fail.
Ryan A. (California)
These projections may underestimate the number of deaths due to inability to receive care for other routine health problems because Care is not available during this crisis.
Steve (Oakland)
The integrals under the death rate / 100000 curves are about the same. So Philadelphia's action only spread out over time the illness and its consequences.
Steve (Los Angeles)
Thank you for the article This meeting took place over a month ago and the events where as follows. One of the agency’s top disease modelers, Matthew Biggerstaff, presented the group on the phone call with four possible scenarios — A, B, C and D — based on characteristics of the virus, including estimates of how transmissible it is and the severity of the illness it can cause. The assumptions, reviewed by The New York Times, were shared with about 50 expert teams to model how the virus could tear through the population — and what might stop it. The C.D.C.’s scenarios were depicted in terms of percentages of the population. Translated into absolute numbers by independent experts using simple models of how viruses spread, the worst-case figures would be staggering if no actions were taken to slow transmission. IF NO ACTIONS WERE TAKEN are the operative words here.
Joseph L (New York)
So I have good news and bad news Bad new first: at 1.7MM deaths per 214MM cases, the "worst case" death rate is 0.8%. That strikes me as remarkably optimistic base on my analysis of the Hopkins dashboard data. It is still hard for anyone to claim authoritatively that the mortality rate will be way below 3% until we have more widespread testing and accurate data. So hopefully, the reported "worst case" mortality rate is not just wishful thinking. Good news (or at least, better news): While my analysis of the Hopkins data is consistent with the Times reported "worst case" 214MM infections, the good news is that my most optimistic projection, again based on Hopkins data and looking at global growth over a one month period, is under 4 million infections by yearend 2020. My optimistic scenario projects a need for between 135,000 and 270,000 dedicated hospital beds that are 100% equipped with ICU and ventilator facilities. Anyone can debate my analysis, but my view is that slowing the spread combined with a rapid ramp up the number of ICUs, ventilators, hospital beds and health care workers by a multiple what medical folks might think they need is the best public health spending we can undertake at this point and perhaps prevent tens or even hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. We need to start now.
Matthew Girard (Kentucky)
Your math is off. 4% of 100 million is 4 million dead. 4% of 260 million is over 10 million dead. The mortality rate of coronavirus is roughly 4% from what we know. It could be lower and it could be higher.
Apm (Portland)
@Matthew Girard Matt...it’s 4% of those who get the virus. If 100m get virus then 4m is correct. If 300m Get virus then 12m would die. Assuming 4% is correct
Steven (Marfa, TX)
The “interventions” are far too little, and far too late.
Banjol (Maryland)
The article left a sobering questions: Are theme parks petri dishes for the pandemic cultivation and distribution of the virus? In other words: do we really take the crowd and proximity factors seriously—both for individual protection and avoidance of large-scale exposure, infection, then dissemination of formerly-healthy people to communities worldwide? If we do take it seriously: is “self-regulation”, “enhanced cleaning” and signs to “wash your hands!” an adequate response to the public health risks of packed crowds and related proximity? And if that is inadequate: in the near future, what should adequate governmental response be, starting now?
Country Girl (Missouri)
Banjol Things are closing down now, finally. Thank God for the NBA. They started the ball rolling. Put our government advisors to shame.
John Ayres (Antigua)
I wish you could hear the PM of Antigua and Barbuda making his statement on the situation. A masterpiece of calm, reason and reassurance. The same has applied during the many hurricanes we have survived here. I don't think the media should propagate too much fear. Western society is neurotic enough already.
Jazzmani (CA)
This retired healthcare administrator and long ago RN (haven't been licensed in 25 years) fully expects to be called up for duty in about 50-60 days as the frontlines collapse in exhaustion. This is how any medical worker out there should be thinking.
AynRant (Northern Georgia)
Hold the press! The CDC calculations assume that persons infected with the new coronavirus will be tested and will seek treatment. How about the millions of illegal immigrants who don't have health care coverage, are not eligible for public assistance, and dare not request help lest they fall into the clutches of ICE for deportation? Aren't we likely to face a self-sustaining epidemic among illegal immigrants that will defeat all the grand measures of Congress and the Administration to control the rate of infection? Shouldn't we grant amnesty and and citizenship rights to all undocumented residents, as a condition of controlling the pandemic? Of all industrialized countries only the US has a large resident population without the rights and protection of law.
ma77hew (America)
Profits over People/Pandemics... this will not end well.
Lonnie (New York)
I am no fan of Trump but he was excellent today. You can see he is taking this serious and listening to his experts who are some of the most respected in the field. It’s Friday the 13th but oddly it was a good day, the only thing that would really make it complete would be for NYC to close the schools and flatten out the infection curve. What de Blasio is doing is suicidal.
Pmangelo (CT)
What part did you like best? The moment when he lied about cutting the Pandemic Response Team, or all the handshakes with the CEOs on the dais with him?
MBT (MichigAN)
Interestingly, all were white male CEOs ready for their companies to profit from this calamity.
Christina (Oregon)
@Lonnie No he was not. He lied. He said a bunch of meaningless words. He praised a bunch of rich CEOs who are going to profit from this mess. He touched everyone. He lied some more. He took no responsibility for his lack of leadership. He did nothing. Absolutely nothing.
tdb (Berkeley, CA)
I just hope our illustrious maximum leader keeps shaking hands and holding rallies. He and his followers may then "get" it. Some people learn and get things the hard way. Others when it is too late. Still others never. Maybe the epidemic will take care of those not willing to learn. Unfortunately, some of those who learned may nonetheless suffer the consequences of policy led by an ignoramus and incompetent Commander in Chief and his close followers.
Mark (Fairfield CT)
What are best case, where is pragmatism, where are the calming reassuring voices. News media is causing hysteria, this is part of it
Eric (Maryland)
This same statistical model predicted ~1.4 million individuals getting Ebola in 2014/2015 (albeit if intervention wasn't used).
Son Of Liberty (nyc)
Americans should take a deep breath before they criticize Donald Trump's response to Covid-19, because his uncle was a famous MIT professor. Even more calming is the fact that Jared Kushner asked Karlie Kloss's father, who IS a doctor, to ask his Facebook group for coronavirus recommendations. Feel better now?
r mackinnon (concord, ma)
It is shocking to me the vitriole that some of these comments reflect, regarding the dire, science/based modeled projections in this article. It is almost as if a vocal portion of America is so used to being told what they want to hear, even if it’s propaganda and lies, that they simply cannot accept reality or truth. Wonder how we got to this point......
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
Does this mean we shouldn't have put stock in Trump's original expert analysis that the warmth of April will bring a beautiful end to this thing?
MrJ (Missoula)
The Montana State high school association has ordered state basketball championships to be played at all levels at four sites in the state today and tomorrow. This is completely irresponsible. All we need to one infected grandpa from Seattle coming to watch his granddaughter play “state” and you have a potential disaster that could easily been averted. Totally shameful!
Hugh (LA)
The data these projections were based on were out-of-date even at the time of the conference. Now on March 13, they are even more stale. Thus, the projections are long past their shelf life. Further, the experts point out again and again, the modelling is subject to large uncertainties. Yet when most folks read a story like this, what sticks are the worst-case outcomes. “You can’t win. If you overdo it, you panic everybody. If you underdo it, they get complacent. You have to be careful." Dr. -Ira Longini I hope The Times is being careful.
Jeff pozmantier (Houston)
If four scenarios are mentioned, why not mention all four or at least the range so that you actually shed light and do more than fear monger and draw clicks?
jazz one (wi)
... Interventions now underway." As in ... 'just began, with a pouty 45 grudgingly agreeing to do ANYthing out of the ordinary.' Well, I hope it helps. Helps enough people in enough time. He made some snarky remarks today about how 'botched' the H1N1(2?) response was, and muttered something about 14,000+ deaths. Well, then, I guess that will be his benchmark to be measured against? I surely hope we don't reach 14,000 ... yet even conservative projections, with interventions, have a death toll far, far higher. Which makes me think he STILL DOESN'T GET IT. Good luck to all.
David J (NJ)
Finally, trump is listening to those very much smarter than him. (Advice President Obama had given him on the day of the inauguration.) When this ravaging disease is conquered and defeated, let’s hope the lesson learned will transcend to the Department of Intelligence and the military. That trump is not smarter than his generals, as he professed, that our intelligence services are doing their damndest to protect our democracy, in spite of his ignorant interference.
Mac (NY)
“The C.D.C. declined interview requests about the modeling effort and referred a request for comment to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.” As if we could get a truthful answer from the White House.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
@Malinoismom "Too many people in my (very red) area are still saying that this is a sham, a scam, or a hoax." Just tell them that if they die from Covid they won't be able to vote for Trump. Maybe that will get their attention!
Mati (Lake Worth)
Can't think of a reason to use that title other than to create and add to existing panic. Can't agree too much with this administration, but titles like in your article demonstrates a bit of irresponsibility on your part and the paper. I have read three whole article. That is not the issue. Disappointed.
mm (nyc)
If this virus crises is not controlled/contained soon, it will bankrupt/destroy many more than it kills. In the end, it all translates into death.
Sam Runyon (Pittsburgh)
What is the point of publishing the data base on models created a month ago? The scientists involved seem to say long term models and estimates of those who could be infected as well as estimates of deaths won’t be as accurate as short term estimates. This is the worst way to MAKE NEWS and it is irresponsible. It does, however make for flashy headlines. Shame on The NY Times.
skepto (lala)
This will be a textbook case of unwarranted panic egged on by by irresponsible and mass media. predictions First... The current flu season is responsible for a thousand times more deaths and mild illnesses than covid19 Second the vast majority of people will hardly even be aware of mild clinical symptoms Third... Effective treatment is available already And finally effective and safe vaccines will start to be bootlegged from places like Mexico in weeks... on a take at your own risk basis... while overregulated and CDC red tape choked government suppliers will take years... due to shyster obstruction. Check back in 2 weeks or a month.
Apm (Portland)
@skepto If only YOU were in charge!!
Country Girl (Missouri)
Skepto I hate to blow your mind but there will be no vaccine for a at least a year at the earliest. If there is a vaccine bootlegged, it will be untested, unsafe, dangerous.
Diana (Barcelona)
Absolutely unnecessary panic-stiring article. What a shame.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
It’s amazing how many people really detest and hate Donald Trump. There’s hope after all.
Matt S (PA)
This is a completely irresponsible example of the liberal left NYT yelling fire in a crowded theater. What about Tom Hanks saying it’s the equivalent of a mild cold??
SW Gringa (NM)
@ Matt S, So if one famous person has a mild case, you seriously think all other empirical data , differing individual responses, stated concerns by medical experts, should be completely discounted????
Cindy (California)
@Matt S Someone should go back and tell that young Chinese doctor that he didn't really die because Tom Hanks feels like he only has a cold. The thousands of other people who have died, and the thousands more who are hooked up to ventilators in crowded ICUs, are probably just drama queens. It's okay to yell fire in a crowded theater when there's actually a fire. According to all of the scientific data, there's a fire happening right now.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Matt 250 people died in Italy today. Today.
Sumit (San Jose)
I say this as paying subscriber and believer of the NYTs. At what point have you switched from providing news and information and to fear mongering to sell newspapers? I listened to the daily this morning and I have to say... it’s absolutely irresponsible to put a germaphobe panic ridden reporter on and there is much better way to provide the same information. Look, we need to cautious. We need to slow spread so our healthcare system is ready. We need to protect vulnerable. But over panic has a cost that will take the form of racism, small business and long term suffering of hourly wage workers.
Damien (providence)
This is God's punishment for our having elected Trump
Sari (NY)
Rip Van Winkle just woke up. However, his awakening only had him lying and contradicting himself. All he said when on script was to reiterate everything that has already been said by doctors and the experts. Off script he babbled. He flatly refused to take any responsibility for the delay in the testing. While taking questions from the press one journalist, who appears on Morning Joe and PBS News Hour asked a specific question and he said, "that's a nasty question" and literally shut her up. What a waste of valuable air time. Just ignore him but do listen to the doctors and those with experience in the health field.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
I’ll believe the interventions promised when I see them. In the meantime, anything coming from the White House and Donald Trump is suspect. Trump is a proven liar, a failed president, a predator and a loser.
Left Of San Diego (SanDiego)
Nothing to see here, folks. Please move on.
Paul Mc (Roswell, Ga)
So, you gathered a bunch of professional guessers. Nice.
Uly (New Jersey)
It looks like Donald is running out of COVID-19 to blame to. It is time for you to look in the mirror. Your tan does not look good at all.
Dred (Vancouver)
The most important information here is that experts or not, they don't know. And really small differences in a couple of variables swing the predicted outcomes dramatically. So it's bordering on irresponsible to put out numbers like this. As a university professor, I know my share of experts in this area. They're all over the map when it comes to predictions; but mostly they expect the outcomes to lean strongly towards the mild end. The tendency of experts is to err on the safe side. But with dire predictions like this, if they happily turn out to be very wrong, we'll be looking at the next virus and remembering this one in the same way that we remember Y2K.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Dred But you know, I was really, really happy we were prepared for Y2K.
Dred (Vancouver)
@Country Girl That's funny. I agree.
CM (Colorado)
Party aside, don't wait for the government to tell you what to do. As individuals, we need to be proactive and make the decision to stay home, forego travel or eat at home, for the good of our whole society. If everyone stayed at home for two weeks, it might help to "flatten the curve" and slow or reduce transmissions. Remember, it’s not just about not getting sick ourselves; it’s also about not passing something on to others and overwhelming our hospitals to the breaking point. Don't panic and don't be oblivious. Stay home, clean the house, make repairs, do puzzles, talk, watch movies, read, work on a hobby you never have time for, take long walks outside or experiment with new recipes (that’s what most of us did growing up anyway!). Finally, offer to shop/run errands for the elderly or health-compromised for whom going out is truly risky.
Opinioned! (NYC)
Trump: Here’s the allotted 8 testing kits per day. By the way, what happened to the 8 I gave you yesterday? CDC: We used all of them. Trump: And how many tested positive for this virus stuff? CDC: 8. Trump: See? If get another 8 tomorrow, we are plateauing already. Great job Donald! You’re really a genius!
Mickey Kronley (Phoenix)
But if there were more tests the numbers would go up. And Trump likes the numbers where they are now
Eric (NYC)
And meanwhile, make sure you don't have a heart attack, a stroke, a car accident, fall of a ladder... Absolute SHAME on Trump and his administration.
Lizardo (Palatine, Illinois)
China built hospitals exclusive for Coronavirus victims in a week for their crisis. They tested hundreds of thousands of people in a short period of time, isolating those who were positive. They had less knowledge than we do now, because the virus had just been discovered. Despite their slow start and bureaucratic bungling, China dealt with the Coronavirus far better than Trump, even though our health care system is better, our availability of hygiene is greater, and we had advance details of the virus. Number of cases and deaths has decreased dramatically in China by their sensible tactics. The US government is simply allowing the illness to flourish.
Navit (NYC)
Why are you writing this right now? Is this really what the public needs? Worst case scenario information? This is scary and so upsetting.
Jeff (Jacksonville, FL)
So we should all bury our heads in the proverbial sand?
Mari (Left Coast)
Truth is better than ....lies!
Lonnie (New York)
@Navit to scare you, so you blame Trump
The diagnostic side of COVID 19 is about to improve significantly. Roche had their Cobas automated diagnostic systems receive emergency approval. Their bigger system can do 4,000 COVID 19 tests per day. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-13/roche-gets-clearance-for-coronavirus-test-that-s-10-times-faster The importance of hand washing can't be overstated, its not sexy or sophisticated but it can make an immense difference. Disinfect your cell phone regularly too as well as your steering wheel, gear shift know, radio and heater/SC controls and yes, your key fob too. The minutia can be mind numbing but every little bit helps. When people speak, they spew germs. Smile and wave, people will figure it out. STAY HYDRATED TOO.
Coastsider (Moss Beach CA)
"The C.D.C. declined interview requests about the modeling effort and referred a request for comment to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the task force, said that senior health officials had not presented the findings to the group, led by Vice President Pence, and that nobody in Mr. Pence’s office 'has seen or been briefed on these models.'" Morons. And in his overweening ignorance Trump eliminated the pandemic planning structure of the NSC in 2018: “Who would have thought we would even be having [this crisis]?” President Trump said last week. In fact, the director for medical and biodefense preparedness policy of his own National Security Council gave a speech in Atlanta in 2018 saying, “The threat of pandemic flu is our number one health security concern. We know that it cannot be stopped at the border.” The day after she made this speech, the White House eliminated her unit.
I Was There (LA, CA)
Exactly! Trump has muzzled the CDC (as well as other scientists) from giving interviews with the public outside WH review & messaging. This is high censorship. We’ve always mocked this in other countries! It’s been going on in Climate Science for quite some time. So much public, taxpayer funded information ripped down from the internet government sites! This is just another chapter. Certain data is damnable to this Administration. While the main immediate issue is getting through this, Americans deserve to see plainly how this republican administration type of so called “lean” government is dangerous. It has decimated vital services that have made our country strong. It wants to cut even more. People have to do more than just vote. We need to think about what’s happening here.
meloop (NYC)
Once more, the nonsense and often vulgar political mean spiritedness-("burn out the virus"-oi!) point to a better solution by closing the comments section of the paper-at the least in such "national emergencies-"choke. . !" Very few people understand every issue they read about yet many are absolutely convinced they know more than everyone else-anyway. Uninformed commentary wastes of space and just make frightened people into angry zealots-often permanently.
Boyfromnj (New Jersey)
Why does this article even exist in its current form? Why print that estimates of deaths were catastrophic but that those estimates did not account for actions that have been taken? This is nothing but trying to get people to click on an article — it’s reminiscent of National Enquirer headlines.
patriot (nebraska)
Because too many people got there heads in the sand on this.
Charles (Long Island)
This is a despicable article and beneath the NYTimes. Our fates are in the hands of fate (and a virus and an array of governments abilities to deal with what's going on). I believe in expecting the best while preparing for the worst. How about an article on best case scenarios? Even if they don't make the ImPOTUS look every bit as incompetent as he is?
B Miller (New York)
Charles, People need the worst case scenario in order to decide to comply with the directives. Too many people are still saying this is no big deal. It only won’t be a big deal if everyone follows Fauci’s instructions.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Because, Charles, then people will be lulled into complacency and wishful thinking, just like trump and his administration.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
And all the right-wing entertainers are imploring their groupies to ignore all "government" pronouncements and just go about business as usual. It's all hoax, according to them. Considering that the average age of those listening to right wing entertainers is 65, the upshot may be that many, many more right wingers than liberals die from this, so are unable to vote, and so Trump loses the election.
Gary Brownell (RI)
The article talks about 4 scenarios, and then focuses on just the worst case. Does the Times have another article that describes the 4 scenarios and the assumptions that go into them? Aren't the other scenarios "fit to print"?
Publicly Funded (New Zealand)
Indeed, if the worse case scenario is ‘the stick’, where is our ‘carrot’? The other three scenarios might give us more incentive to adapt low-risk behaviours.
Chuck (CA)
The US government continues to flounder in responding to this virus...... ..... and in other news.. A Chinese Billionaire has committed to provide 500,000 test kits and a million masks to the US, and has been donating similar resources to other nations for weeks now. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/jack-ma-coronavirus-test-kits-128522 And Americans continue to hate on China, pretend the virus is a hoax, and continue to lick Trumps boots. I wonder, with Trump block this generosity???
JGM (Indianapolis)
Crickets from our billionaires, smh.
Kip Leitner (Philadelphia)
Here's the math, doubling every six weeks (we're at 1,000 now) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Week 1: 1,024 Week 2: 2,048 Week 3: 4,096 Week 4: 8,192 Week 5: 16,384 Week 6: 32,768 Week 7: 65,536 Week 8: 131,000 Week 9: 262,000 Week 10: 524,000 Week 11: 1 Million Does everyone now understand why you should be encouraging your neighbors to wash their hands?
abe (nyc)
we are not on week 1, first of all. second of all this same kind of Galaxy brain math was being circulated widely on sites like 4chan when supposedly this was just in China. The logic was basically exponential and predicted that more people than exist on the planet right now should be dead. well, that's not where we're at obviously. models operating in a vacuum of assumptions are a dangerous and ultimately unnecessary thing to put in front of the masses without proper context.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
@Kip Leitner: According to the CDC, America - as of the week ending March 13, 2020 - has 1,629 cases of COVID-19. That’s since January 2020. Since. January. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html There go your numbers. To put this in perspective, last week alone we had 10,157 cases of flu in the USA with a mortality rate of 7.1% (a mortality rate of 7.3% is epidemic level). https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
@abe: Glad you mentioned China. Here's the latest: As of March 11, China has only had 0.0056% of its population infected with the coronavirus. Wuhan, China, the town that is suspected of being the origin for the virus, had only 1% of its population infected with the coronavirus. - CDC http://emcphd.wordpress.com
Rock Winchester (Peoria)
Who can trust these government estimates? The New York Times should seek information from insiders who provide the worst possible predictions. There is no room for calm.
Michael Perrotta (Rochester NY)
I am disappointed by the NYT for portraying the models in such an outlandish way. Why not lead with the model showing results for no preventative steps taken? That will get us readers. Really, this is not responsible journalism, and reminds me of yellow journalism just before the Spanish American War. Be responsible and have a headline that reads : Models of Impact, and say this worst scenario is unlikely given US progress to date.
Kathy (Boston)
Actually, the worst case scenario is, at this point in time, the most likely given that the administration sat in this for nearly 3 months. “Studies of previous epidemics have shown that the longer officials waited to encourage people to distance and protect themselves, the less useful those measures were in saving lives and preventing infections.”
Brian (NY)
The only thing worse than the virus is the amount of American hate going on in these comments.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Brian Sorry. Not worse than the world wide pandemic.
Jim Lynn (Columbus, Ga.)
Alarming. Hope this piece has been thoroughly reviewed by senior editors.
Country Girl (Missouri)
No Jim Lynn, it is not worse than the pandemic situation.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
people wonder, and rightfully so, where has the Trump administration been on this for six weeks. and people rightfully wonder where has the NYT been on this? where was this reporting six weeks ago? there is not one piece of information in this article that wasn't available six weeks ago.
Kathy (Boston)
It’s been out there. The NYT has even published it. This article just compiles it all.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Mary Elizabeth Leade It seems that the NYT cannot win on their reporting, so they must be doing a good job.
Bruce Kirschenbaum (Raleigh, NC)
Completely irresponsible. It is a worst case with NO ACTION taken but it is already being taken. So why publish this - a headline to attract readers. Journalistic standards have really been lowered.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
@Bruce Kirschenbaum: Thanks for showing critical thinking abilities! Your comment will disappoint those who are addicted to fear, but you reinforce what I have long known: some of the brightest people on earth live in Raleigh, NC! https://emcphd.wordpress.com
jeuca (California)
@Bruce Kirschenbaum I think that this article was published prior to Trump's press conference outlining action.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
@jeuca: And you think nothing was done before that press conference? Really? https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Vesuviano (Altadena, California)
Reading this piece, it strikes me above all that it is vital to have our political leaders believe in Science. To have Republicans in charge of the White House and the Senate right now is not a good thing, and I'm not speaking out of snark; the Republican Party over the last forty years has shown itself to be anti-Science, anti-expert, and anti-knowledge in general. If we let the Republicans keep the White House and Senate after this, we are truly a collectively stupid country.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
@Vesuviano: Before we bend our knees to the altar of Science, we may wish to look into the biggest scientific crisis of our time: The Replication Crisis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis QUOTE: The replication crisis (or replicability crisis or reproducibility crisis) is, as of 2020, an ongoing methodological crisis in which it has been found that many scientific studies are difficult or impossible to replicate or reproduce. The replication crisis affects the social sciences and medicine most severely. Because the reproducibility of experimental results is an essential part of the scientific method, the inability to replicate the studies of others has potentially grave consequences for many fields of science in which significant theories are grounded on unreproducible experimental work. --- "MEDICINE MOST SEVERELY..." https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Objectivist (Mass.)
Why headline the worst case ? To drag in salacious viewing for more mouse clicks ? How about doing what the professional sdo ? Discuss the uncertainties, the best case, the most likely case, and then, the worst case. Tawdry editing.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Objectivist Disagree wholeheartedly. People should not be lulled into complacency. Their life, and the lives of the people around them, depends on their response to this pandemic.
Patty Mutkoski (Ithaca, NY)
It's VENTILATORS not respirators.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Patty Mutkowski I think the term respirator is bring used for the N-95 masks. It is confusing, and it shoukd be clarified, because I see the word respirator being used for masks quite often. Ventilators, indeed, are the mechanical breathing machines used in ICUs.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
Are your "projections" any more accurate than those you threw at us during the 2016 election? https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Vision.-.Revision (Indianapolis)
God is punishing us for electing Trump and Pence.
Opinioned! (NYC)
“Can we impeach the president for incompetence?” —Donald Trump, the world’s funniest comedian
Eyes Wide Open (NYC)
This a JOKE, right? Roughly ONE HUNDRED people ALLEGEDLY have died in the US. That's 130 or w/e. Give me a break with your fear mongering, PLEASE. Panic food buying??? Give American citizens a break from your relentless, division sewing mischief. Fear mongering like crazy in Trump deranged NYC (not everyone by any means) - You know what "coronavirus" is? It's a manufactured, unconscious and TRANSPARENT projection.fantasy of BIG BAD Donald Trump by the loony left - he's a "virus" that they can't fathom and can't cure! No, no one's getting "infected". But they double down on their TDS - MANY even convincing themselves that they are actually ill when they are 100 percent well, if only it will make BAD ORANGE MAN go away... It's classic, text book psychology...deranged transference and projection is what I'd call it!
Robert (Out west)
You know what actually looks like a lot like panic to me? Haphazard, badly-organized screeds that repeat the same old guff, skip all the actual issues and facts, and are liberally sprinkled with lousy spelling, capital letters, and exclamation points. That’s TDS. That’s hysteria. But do feel free to act on your, ah, views, and auto-Darwinate. Just please don’t take too many of the elderly, the ill, and the immunosuppressed with you.
Jeffrey (Northern California)
Just wait. Screenshot your comment and look at it in 10 weeks. You’ll be seeing a very different reality then. As this ramps up and has the hospitals Phil and as they run out of bed set as the deaths begin to mount, it will become clearer how correct the time is it is it has been. Google Italy this week.
Susan (Marie)
It is definitely worth destroying the US economy to damage Donald Trump in any way whatsoever. 40 dead people versus 14,000 - 17,0000 dead Americans during the swine flu epidemic. But that was under the most faultless Barack Obama. The American people are not idiots and this will backfire on you long before November - unless legions more die in an effort to assist your cause. It is truly disgusting.
Fran (Alyce)
@Susan I don't know how this will end, but other nations are taking this very seriously. Italy is basically in lockdown. The Chinese introduced strict quarantines to stop the spread. Look at the measures being taken by European countries to halt the spread the virus. Should we just ignore the virus and hope for the best?
Realist (Santa Monica, Ca)
Gee, wouldn't it be nice to still have the money Trump gave to the 1%. Trump is a great history teacher. I never understood how Nazism overwhelmed Germany or what the Spanish Flu was like.
Johnny Woodfin (Conroe, Texas)
For all those hollering about the dummies who think this CV19 stuff is "fake news." Really? Guess whose fearless leader just pledged 50 Billion tax dollars to deal with a "fake" disease - and, oh yeah, just did all he could with "your" money to buy the NEXT election too. Har-de-har.
M (US)
Congress should empower the CDC to ramp up screening and treatment medical clinics across the country https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/13/dr-faucis-latest-interview-is-just-devastating-trump/
John Murray (Midland Park, NJ)
This is all Trump’s fault.
Gene S (Hollis NH)
It's incredible!!! All that egomaniacal idiot in the White House has to do is put a few competent people in charge and the Stock Market goes up 3%. Now...if would only remember that speech is silver but shut-up is gold--and go for the gold, but that's probably too much to ask...
gary (mccann)
we can't prepare....just rely on Jesus and the Free Market! Those coalition that rules this nation is a combination of the corrupt, the theologically addicted, and the simply stupid. a shame.
Collins Flannery (Washington DC)
I just read this thorough and thoughtful analysis. You may find it useful. What we do today is important. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca
slim1921 (Charlotte NC)
Now would be a GREAT time to have a functioning human being who wasn’t a malignant narcissist in charge in the White House
JDL (Malvern PA)
Imagine a President DJT at the helm during WWII ......Guten Tag
Daniel Merchán (Evanston, Illinois)
I’m counting down the days until the Fox News audience — whose thought leaders are telling them to live it up, that COVID-19 is nothing, to go lick stairway banisters — are stricken down by COVID-19 in droves… only for their surviving relatives to turn around and claim COVID-19 was all a liberal plot in the first place, bla bla bla…
Country Girl (Missouri)
Daniel I know I shouldn’t laugh, but the “licking the bannisters” comment was just too funny.
How stupid! Don't these people know that nobody is sick? All us crisis actors take a hit of Febriliy (tm) that Soros sends to fake the whole thing. Gotta love those sweet, sweet Hoax Bucks that King George sends us as we roam around acting all sick.
pi (maine)
In today's update, Pres. Trump's prepared statement included that 'regulations on the medical industry are being lifted so that Americans can receive the healthcare "they are entitled to."' Has the Trump administration just taken the unprecedented, for Republicans, step of asserting that we are entitled to healthcare? I hope some one will run with this before they walk it back.
Cornflower Rhys (Washington, DC)
@pi No, that would be a misinterpretation of the message. The message is that they are using the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic to do what they always want to do, further de-regulate the health care industry and make it even less safe and more expensive than it already is.
Ukosi (Multiple)
Everything Happens For A Reason, CORONAVIRUS IS THE BEST ADVOCATE OF MEDICARE FOR ALL. The timing is not by chance, but by divine planning and design. It comes right on time to practically show the Doubting Thomases Of Democratic Party (and those who're Mouthpieces of Middlemen called Private Health Insurance) why Medicare cannot be "For Some Who Want It", but must be "Medicare For All". One person with Coronavirus without a good health Insurance that carries no deductible or co-payments is a threat to everyone's health. HEALTH IS WEALTH. A HEALTHY NATION IS A WEALTHY NATION. A Chain Is As Strong As It's Weakest Link. Since The Doubting Thomases of United States Rejected The 78-year Old Crumpy Political Prophet Of Medicare For All and abandoned him in a political Wilderness, God Almighty Sends Down Coronavirus So That The Doubting Thomases May See With Their Eyes, Repent and Believe in "Medicare For All".
angel98 (nyc)
"If new infections can be spread out over time rather than peaking all at once, there will be less burden on hospitals and a lower ultimate death count. Slowing the spread will paradoxically make the outbreak last longer, but will cause it to be much milder, the modelers said." There is a fascinating interview: Christiane Amanpour and Rory Stewart on this topic. https://www.pbs.org/wnet/amanpour-and-company/video/rory-stewart-on-brexit/
Prof. Yves A. Isidor (Cambridge, MA)
CORONA-VIRUS, WHEN CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM MET - Just as much the global reaction, in various ways, and with extraordinary rapidity, to confront the dangers of the outbreak - health wise and by, in significant way, adopting John Maynard Keynes's policy recommendations, such as “governments should increase spending and lower taxes in order to stimulate demand in the face of recession” - had the allure of an application of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s social contract; an action or fact of showing the potent words of President Abraham Lincoln, "government of the people, by the people, for the people," despite the fact many still believed that credit for such potent words should rather be duly attributed to John Wycliffe, who in 1384 had the diligence to write in the prologue to his translation of the Bible, "The Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People,” even very long after those words could easily go far beyond an abstract idea.
I’d like to make a request to the NY Times, to please start reporting some stories on people in this country who have recovered from C19. And, I’d like to know ages, gender, and symptoms. I want to see recovery numbers from each state to this point. We don’t have tests to know all numbers yet, but of the confirmed cases we should.
Robert (Out west)
There’s one today.
Matthew Sower (California)
Thank you to Sheri Fink for your stellar reporting on COVID-19 in today's piece, and in co-authored items on local transmission in Washington and the work of Dr Helen Chu earlier this week. It is a challenging time. We are all better off when your insights and significant expertise appear on the front page and we will benefit even more when our leadership begins to take them more seriously.
Joe (Ohio)
The Coronavirus Task Force has not been briefed? That would seem to be information necessary to determine the speed and scope of the response. We seem to be drifting into a position that it's too late for testing so we'll just treat what might be the coronavirus as if it is. If this was a common flu with vaccines that would be fine but it is not. The failure to develop or acquire testing (readily available in other countries) is a combination of incompetence and hubris "the likes of which has never been seen" to use tRump's vernacular. This degree of disruption to our society and economy was unnecessary and that is on this administration
ronjoan (Virgin islands)
Remember that for weeks DJT said the virus was a hoax spread by the Democrats, then as it progressed he said it will go away quickly like a miracle, as a worldwide pattern of increase prevailed. Now months later, Pence thanks him, before each speech for his vision, foresight and leadership in eradicating this disease. Meanwhile only a handful of people have been tested, so the experts cannot develop the behavior and trajectory of the disease. Does anyone know what the REASON was for rejecting the test kits from the WHO?
Country Girl (Missouri)
Ronjoan Hubris. Malignant narcissistic hubris.
Linzay Kelly (Houston)
Sure would be nice to have universal healthcare at a time like this...
Washandia (Pacific Northwest)
Can Americans come up with a commonsense approach with regard to surgical masks? Masks have not been recommended, have their own set of issues, and are ineffective because particles can go in through the sides. So can people assimilate and stop wearing masks? It’s unsettling. Wearing scrubs outdoors in the USA became unacceptable, years ago to avoid bringing infectious agents outside. Americans should not go backward and follow this illogical mask wearing pattern. To the people wearing masks -If you are sick -stay home. If you’re healthy don’t hoard precious medical supplies, and instead think about the community-and “herd health” by investing in a personal long-term health program that -if possible- includes an accredited medical doctor. Know went to see a doctor/specialist, get check ups, care about personal health by doing known basics of weight lifting, aerobic exercise, mediterranean diet and enough sleep. Make a long term plan to stay up-to-date with reputable sources about weight-gain, over all health and hygiene. Take care of your skin, keep your fingernails short, clean your nose with a tissue, say no to invasive procedures like having someone cut cuticles, facials, and definitely -avoid anything unhealthy -like tattoos which can create micro tears in the skin. And it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Washandia All good ideas but even a poor quality mask can keep out 50-60% of virus particles. Note that if someone in your household is sick, both they and everyone else in the house is advised to wear masks. Yes, masks do help.
This isn't helpful right now. Lets concentrate on making sure everyone stays away from other people right now. Stress social distancing right now, it crucial. Don't highlight articles like this at the top of the front page.
djpo (Vancouver)
The UK just announced they are banning the export of hydroxychloroquine (a generic drug being used to block the replication of the coronavirus)and Kaletra ( an HIV antiviral drug from AbbVie) as they are stockpiling them for use in use treating covid-19 patients. I guess they are following South Koreans lead. Linkhttps://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/comment/parallel-export-covid-19/
Melanie Lawrence (North Carolina)
Hydroxychloroquine is NOT used to block virus replication, I don’t think. It is anti-MALARIAL (unclear mechanism of killing target parasites) and anti-inflammatory (which is why it might end up being helpful in this particular virus in which it may be the immune response that kills people). It can be dangerous if overdosed. So, let’s not go crazy here.
Roget T (NYC)
@djpo That drug has antiviral properties in lab cultures, but has never shown any efficacy in animal studies. Just another shot in the dark.
djpo (Vancouver)
@Roget T The South Koreans have been using hydroxychloroquine or Kaletra for treatment of covid-19 for the last month and with their death rate and critical care rate a fraction of other countries then something must be working otherwise UK wouldn't be stockpiling these drugs for their own use. Everyone points to South Korea as an example in testing for the virus but that doesn't explain their success in treating people as they just either isolate and observe you if you have mild symptons . But if you are elderly or get worse they then treat you with Kaletra or hydroxychloroquine for 10 days. If it wasn't working they wouldn't be doing it would they? Why would the UK ban export and start stockpiling these drugs if they didn't work?
Mark (BVI)
Stop looking at the glass as half empty. People who survived the Black Death in the 14th century came out on the other side pretty well-off. For the first time they found they had disposable income. That lead to economic investment and all kinds of good stuff. Those of us who survive will be fine.
MIMA (heartsny)
Such a Democratic hoax. If Donald doesn’t stop and just let others speak we will never, ever believe him. Well, that’s a given. Please Mr. Trump. Don’t speak. Dr. Birx praising Trump for all the hideous errors is obnoxious.
mutineer (Geneva, NY)
American exceptionalism died the day he who shall not be named became president. The US response to the Coronavirus removes all doubt.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
Speaking of the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html As of the week ending March 13, 2020, the nation had 1,629 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 41 deaths, 2.5% of the cases. That’s since January 2020 To put this in perspective, last week alone we had 10,157 cases of flu in the USA with a mortality rate of 7.1% (a mortality rate of 7.3% is epidemic level). Fascinating stats... https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Frances Grimble (San Francisco)
@Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD We have no idea how many cases of COVID-19 we have in the US because almost no one is getting tested.
old guy (New Mexico)
But on the bright side if enough senior citizens die it could bail out Social Security.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
Trump’s a senior citizen. In Donald’s case, we can always hope.
Keith (New York)
Why is only the WORST case scenario presented in this article?!? Why isn’t presented WITH the other statistics opposed to a wave-of-the-hand “they differ widely”? Caution and awareness are good, excessive citations to panic are not helpful.
Beth (Colorado)
Well, this writer is obviously completely misinformed. President Trump has just assured that we have very few cases because of his brilliant measures. He says everyone can be tested and everything is working perfectly -- thanks to his genius. I just don't know why the liberal media keeps making up these stories.
Esther (Princeton NJ)
The article incorrectly reports that Philadelphia did not close public gathering places such as schools, churches and theaters during the 1918 flu pandemic. This well researched article on Philadelphia during the flu pandemic (https://www.upenn.edu/gazette/1198/lynch4.html) clearly states that public places were closed, pursuant to PA state instructions in October. Contemporary letters from my great uncle, who sadly died during the pandemic, also attest to such closings. It may have been a case of too little, too late, but precautionary measures were followed.
Joe Miksis (San Francisco)
Hopefully, California will get minimal federal oversight from the Trump administration in our fight against COVID-19. The last thing we want in our state is to have a bunch of Trump's inept, incompetent political hacks telling us who of our citizenry, by ethnicity, religion and wealth, can be treated, and who can't.
Tom Paine (Los Angeles)
Ok, this is from today's LA Times. NY Times, please confirm. WASHINGTON — Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services.
K Henderson (NYC)
The lack of sufficient ventilators in the USA is deeply concerning. That is how folks are going to die of Covid if/when it takes off in the USA. You'll be in the hospital; your lungs are not oxygenating, and not enough ventilators to go around.
Carrie (Stillwater, MN)
A reporter asked this question in the news conference. The experts didn’t address it. Then Trump got to the mic and said he would have enough. Apparently, the others weren’t willing to lie to our faces. Deeply troubling.
Carter Cohn (nyc)
We must protect Ruth Bader Ginsburg at all costs. Seriously.
Baron95 (Westport, CT)
Lets see... China, a country with 4x the US population, and the ONLY country where coronavirus was a surprise only had ˜80,000 infections and ˜3,000 deaths, and brought it under control in 8 weeks after they mobilized. And all these experts think there will be 100M+ infections and millions of deaths in the US? Why? Because the Chinese are better than we are?
Country Girl (Missouri)
Baron95 Short answer: Yes They locked everybody down, and they separated people presenting with fevers from the well population, sent the sick to “fever clinics” where they had mobile CAT scanners which they used to look for the characteristic lung findings of Covid-19 infection. They ramped up their number of hospital beds, actually built temporary hospitals, literally, to take care of the sickest and keep them out of the general population. So. Yes, the Chinese handled this way better than we are doing. Trump a few days ago was saying, yeah, trump rallies will continue, no worries.
Kate (NE)
I can't believe how bad this has gotten
Flic B (NYC)
Over the decades, I've come to expect more from The NYT than this article. It adds to the fear/panic, exactly the opposite of what it could do. It supports President Trump's contention. The article should start with the quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci about models and assumptions. Next the A, B, C and D scenarios are presented. For example: Scenario A: -Projected Cases: -Projected Deaths: What follows is a paragraph for each scenario again citing the numbers, explaining the scenario and including the assumptions. I don't understand why The Times highlighted the following: -Between 160 million and 214 million could be infected -Infection could last months (it already has!) or even over a year -As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million could die (China reports 81,000 cases with a popluation of 1.5 billion. 214 million cases in the U.S. means 65% of us will be infected. Say What?) Why any of the following are included: -"How the virus could tear through the population" -"Potentially crushing the nation's medical system" -"...top experts believe the virus could ravage the country..." Interventions are increasing daily with actions by governments, civic groups, educational institutions, private companies and individuals. All will help. The Wall Street Journal sent an email about the virus. I can get their newsletter. I'll try it hoping it's focused on the facts with no sensational quotes and speculation like The Times. I'll trust Dr. Fauci, based on an article by The Times.
Moosh (Vermont)
So, am I alone in assuming Trump has it? That he is infected? Not just the company he keeps but holy cow how he looks and sounds these days. I would steer clear of that fellow. He should of course be tested (& probably has been) and tucked away fully. Such a selfish bully. Getting us all sick in so many ways, oh let us count the ways. Politicians - like all of us - need to be far more careful than they are being. Stop gathering. We have Google Classroom, my kid is already using it, how about Google Senate? Google Congress? Legislators need to be truly careful, please.
Dearson (NC)
About a month ago, the W.H.O. warned the nations of the world that this coronavirus was spreading and that China had brought the world time to prepare. In the same statement, the W.H.O. also warned that "the window" was closing. Well, the window is now closed and the nation is caught in a full blown pandemic. It is disturbing to realize that the Trump Administration was aware of how bad the situation could get, and Trump did not tell the public to prepare. It is time for the people of the U.S. to determine whether the poor quality of national leadership, as displayed by Trump, is all we deserve.
Francis (Munich, Germany)
As important as the deaths directly caused by the pandemics are the indirect death from insufficient medical treatment because the medical system is overloaded. In a country with so few hospital beds (a bit more than 2 for 1000 people compared to 12 for South Korea and 8 for Germany), the numbers of indirect deaths will not be low.
Mme Chauchat (NYC)
I pray we have the wisdom as a country to shut as much down as possible--except what must remain open--and to keep as many people as home as possible, as soon as possible. We must embrace the ethos of social distancing and self isolation for the next few weeks. We must petition our institutions that do not understand the importance of this to do so. We must allow our emergency workers and health workers to do their jobs, and to help them by staying healthy.
Douglas Lloyd MD (Austin. TX)
Please consider serious conversations within the Congress and the Cabinet. Article 1 Section 9 of the U. S. Constitution states: "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended when in the cases of Rebellion or Invasion the PUBLIC SAFETY may require it." Clearly this was intended for human forces. Already there is minor league chaos at stores and places to get basic staples of life. As stores are stripped of supplies, there will be attacks around supply trucks and I expect soon this will expand to areas set aside as quarantine areas. Those clambering to get in and ignoring normal police patrolling. We should not expect our president to endorse what he will consider a ridiculous idea. but we have already seen the growth of community underdiagnosed cases and the the rapid growth of new cases where no known chain of transmissions has been identified, Are we destined to be the new Italy? Undoubtedly some will ignore orders to quarantine. Pressure and paranoia will cause civic disturbances. It is best to begin the dialogue of back up coordinated forces to handle what I expect to be a panic. Just consider the paucity of our preparation and supplies. This will call for a coordinated response. Better to begin the discussions and worst-case scenarios. I am reasonably sure that the civic discord is coming and the time to consider it is now.
John (Boston)
My hunch is one biggest common fears is for the elderly loved ones in our lives, especially 80+. Part of that fear comes from the fact that we see the headlines of the 15% mortality rate for those 80+. What you probably didn't hear is the 2/3 of the 80+ that died in Italy had *3* or more serious underlying conditions, this was cited in Vox and from a clinical study done in Italy, not a rumor. Google "coronavirus and age vox" and you can find the study. In addition, in Wuhan China, the smoking rate is very high and its already been stated that over half the deaths had high hypertension and many had other health problems. The living conditions, environment, time to care also likely played a major role in morbidity rate. Bottom line, we can't extrapolate a 15% death rates for those 80+. In fact, reading through the worst case predictions below of even about a million deaths and 150 million infected, means the 15% is a totally invalid mortality extrapolation for elderly in the U.S.
Public School Teacher In DOE (NYC)
Me again, a few more thoughts- 1. Teaching in a low income/high need school, we have classroom sets of materials to assure no one is without: calculators, rulers, compasses, markers, pens, books. There is no time to clean these items and kids are literally facilitating transmission just by doing as their told, reporting to school, being compliant, completing their assignments. We are out of cleaning products and custodial staff do not clean classroom items. Kids need us (adults) to call 311, contact officials immediately. Please do. 2. My school cafeteria holds over 500 kids per lunch period... isn’t that a gathering? Why are large events cancelled yet kids are crammed in a cafeteria in the basement with inadequate staffing (due to school staff with sick family members/underlying conditions). 3. We don’t have any hand sanitizer. At all. The shipments never came. How many times can kids leave the room (one at a time) to use the restroom in a 45 minute period? Letting too many kids out becomes a safety issue as adults are not in student bathrooms in schools, can lead to roaming hallways, pulling other kids out of classes, all while short staffed. Anyone, anywhere, if you have a minute, the 1.1 million kids in public schools in New York City need a voice.
Alex (Cambridge, MA)
This is the kind of projections we need to hear discussed more, now. It's incredible that this meeting took place "last month" (at least two weeks old, then), and basically nothing was done. I'd like to hear what the updated modeling for the US looks like now, after a couple weeks of inaction. I see some eerie similarity with global warming (except of course that this virus is a short term crisis, and climate change a slowly unfolding catastrophe). Modeling (based on known physics and statistics, validated by past observations) identifies threat and predicts impacts ahead of time... Scientists being excessively cautious in communicating uncertainties (see in this article)... Complacency, disbelief and self-serving lies from leaders, lack of public reaction... Too late to avoid all impacts, still time to act drastically to mitigate the worst...
Michael (Philadelphia)
We're only going to be as healthy as our least health insured fellow citizen. Saw Pence on the news last night promising to make Corona virus treatment and testing free. Why stop there? how's about the opioid epidemic, cancer, heart disease? It's amazing to see these people resort to "socialistic" solutions in a time of crisis, when they claim to be in such opposition to the ideology. Think of all the lives that could have been saved who have died from lack of access to healthcare in general. Why don't we declare a state of emergency for that?
Castellano (San Diego)
Can someone please tell me an honest estimate of the actual mortality rate of this infection? It doesn't sound very high at all.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Dr Fauci of the NIH said that Covid-19 has a 10 times higher mortality rate than seasonal influenza.
Castellano (San Diego)
@Country Girl That kind of discredits Fauci, doesn't it? If the rates were that high then it would be obvious.
Dymphna (Seattle)
You can't use a fire extinguisher if you don't know precisely where the fire is. We desperately need widespread testing. Other countries have done that. Why has our our government been unable to make that happen?
Country Girl (Missouri)
Dymphma Because our leader in the WH did not believe this was a real threat, said it was a hoax (a democratic hoax) as late as 2 weeks ago. Thus, we got way behind the eight ball.
Casey L. (Brooklyn, NY)
"But those numbers don’t account for interventions now underway." So why even report them? The media really is making this worse than it is (and hopefully will be).
Country Girl (Missouri)
Casey No. The media has put pressure on our inept government to get their act together, get tests out to the front line, get PPE out to the front line, recommend social distancing, close public events, etc. Otherwise we would probably still be accepting trump’s false assurances that “all is well.”
AmateurHistorian (NYC)
I’ve been to Singapore 3 times and is suppose to be there again right now if I didn’t cancel the trip. New York isn’t Singapore. There is no part of Singapore that you’d be afraid walking through during the day and that’s certainly not the case of New York. The much less healthy, much sicker, and much less stable population of New York worries me. The hospital would be completely overwhelmed so if my father is sick, it’d be hard getting him treated. Certain areas of the city could also see riots, looting, and gang rules if social service and law enforcement aren’t prepared. A lot of low income individuals will lose their job, medication, and social support groups. Fighting might be their only option.
SridharC (New York)
Yesterday, in NYC, all social distancing failed completely in grocery stores. Everyone stood packed for hours and touched everything in that store. If it had not spread enough it did last night.
M.B. (st louis)
The upper range of the worst case scenario is 160-214 million infected and 1.7 million deaths? To my calculation that is a .8% death rate. China underreported their death rate at 2.1% and figures now look closer to 3.4%. The case has been made that many people may be infected and not be tested, therefore skewing mortality, however, there are many people now counted as ill who will die but have not yet died. A death rate of even 2% of 160 million is 3.2 million deaths. Did the numbers from this article come from Donald Trump directly?
Think (Wisconsin)
The days of reckoning for the mishandling by our government of this disease will soon be upon this. How many commissions will be formed to begin the inquiry as to why our government failed us so badly? We are all shocked and dismayed, despite the fact that experts having been telling us for years a pandemic of some kind was inevitable. Hopefully the same commissions can be kept intact for use when the investigations begin as to why our government ignored the global warming crisis. The days when we could afford incompetent leaders and government are now gone.
Dusan Grujic (croatia)
if you say 80% of the population will be affected, people dont grasp the seriousness. if you say the dow will drop 80% everybody understands the seriousness. why throw 1.5 trillion at the markets, and only 8 billion at the virus. fix the virus and the market will look after itself
Marvin (MD)
I can't believe people are panicking over something this ridiculous. The real reason for the high calculated mortality rates is probably just a smaller sample size. With small sample sizes a lower count causes a higher calculated rate and proportion whereas with large sample sizes even a very high count might not cause a high calculated rate. Every year millions of people get the seasonal flu and it kills hundreds of thousands (the sample size is larger so the calculated mortality rate is low). Since younger people rarely die from the coronavirus if more younger people are tested positive for it the calculated mortality rate should go down dramatically. It's just calculation tricks. The coronavirus is not really that dangerous except for the elderly similar to other things like heart disease. Every year more than 600,000 people in the US die from heart disease (mostly elderly) that's not causing an alarm so why should this? It's just fantasy and imagination or wild exaggerations. What people should be focusing on is building a strong immune system rather than this fantasy stuff. Eventually everyone dies (especially the elderly) this has been happening since forever.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Marvin Wow. All you need to add to your comment is: “Too bad boomer.”
Marc Peloquin (Montréal)
Fauci knows that screening is already too late in the USA. It’s OK to do it but that will not stop how late the US is. This means the US has moved away from best case scenario of death. It’s also very telling how complex the American health system is and how they have to rely on private sector for this. Not pretty by any means.
patrickD (San FranciscoCA)
The Indian Gambling Casinos in California include extremely large numbers of elderly customers and are refusing to close. The State government has no power to force them to close as they are "sovereign states". They are engaging in a disingenuous PR campaign promoting ineffectual measures like "more frequent cleaning". Will FEMA have the political will to shut them down?
JB (San Francisco)
When this virus is contained, which it eventually will be, credit will be due the millions of individuals and communities across the country who ignored the narcissistic ramblings and disinformation of the Trump crime family and its propaganda ministry at Fox News and changed their daily lives to protect themselves and each other. Washing hands regularly, keeping social distance, avoiding large groups, monitoring for symptoms, self-quarantines, ordering food from local restaurants to keep them afloat, checking on neighbors - simple but important acts that when multiplied are hopefully helping to “flatten the curve” of viral spread. Once testing is widely available, more effective steps can be taken, but the efforts of many in our country to act responsibly now deserve a shout out.
How Much Is Enough? (Northeast)
Scary. Do we need an updated estimate? When and where can we obtain it?
robin (california)
I was screaming at my screen as Trump forced person after person to take and shake his hand at today's news conference. How could all those people stand there and let him do that on live TV seen by millions of Americans?
Grunt (Midwest)
The entire world should hold China responsible for unleashing this death, illness, panic, and financial despair. It's bad enough they allowed it to happen by being opaque rather than transparent, but now they're officially blaming the US for launching a biomedical attack upon them. It's just too much -- they've proclaimed themselves an enemy, which isn't a surprise to many Americans, but our dependence upon them in so many ways has to be upended in the same fashion that we took control of energy needs from OPEC after decades of bending the knee.
AhBrightWings (Cleveland)
How aspirational to hear "steps" in the plural. I mean, I knew this was going to be bad back in January. I thought it would be a catastrophe by February, but even in my worst case scenarios I could not have imagined that even we, fallen as far as we have, would flub the single most important step--in the singular--testing, and then simply refuse to pick up speed and do anything from that point onward. Enough. Enough of Dr. Fauci standing in front of a mic and making vague noises about why we still do not have them. I have watched innumerable hours of coverage over the past months and heard hundreds of experts opine and not a single one has come up with any explanation (forget credible) for why we still cannot produce enough tests. At this point, we have to take the putative president at his word. We don't have them because he does not want "HIS" numbers "messed up." In at least six pronouncements last week he literally said he wants his numbers kept down. We must deal with this immoral confession.It isn't dysfunction. By his own word and deed, this man is repressing life-saving tests in order to manipulate the political landscape. If this is not a crime, it should be and it should definitely be an impeachable offense. At this point it's easier to simply ignore him, but the historical record will show that when lives were at stake, our president did nothing to help and everything in his power to obstruct help. That is not even deplorable. There is no word for it.
James (Arizona)
Please do these two things, if nothing else: Wash your hands several times a day, and wipe down all surfaces, handles, door knobs, etc. in your home with bleach water. This will make us feel much better, give us a sense of control. And I would also suggest not hanging on the news and obsessing over each and every headline. This will put you in a reactive, instead of a pro-active, posture. We want to be pro-active, not reactive. Blaming our politicians is reactionary. Doing something positive is pro-active. Thank you
Country Girl (Missouri)
James I agree with you. There will be plenty of time afterwards to blame those responsible for our being so very unprepared and uninformed.
Steve (Seattle)
As of this morning there is nowhere to go in Seattle and get tested. Perhaps trump would like to share all of these test sites or at least where Senator Graham got preferential treatment.
Dr Elaine O’Brien (Ocean Grove, NJ)
One of the best interventions would be if Trump would lead the way and get tested, especially due to his proximity to others infected. His daughter too. We don’t need them blatantly infecting others. But oh, poor planning, maybe they can’t get the tests?
bill (washington state)
Hmmmn. Isn't the CDC the same gang that mastered the test kits. Gonna have to take anything they say with a huge grain of salt.
NYChap (Chappaqua)
If your intent is to add more panic to the pandemic you succeeded. That is about it. Not sure what else you intended with an article titled "Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths" other than to scare people even more than they are scared now.
Country Girl (Missouri)
NYChap People need to know the worse case scenarios so that they can take steps to protect themselves. Knowledge is power.
No Slack Jack (SF Bay Area)
Is it cruel, to point out that DJT's base is mostly older, lower educated white males, and the older part drops them neatly into the bucket of those most adversely affected by the virus? It is tragically sad that people are dying from something that could have been better mitigated, so even though it's easy to feel vindicated that proportionally high death rates in his base will be terrible for Trump, there are going to be scores of reasonable people who are going to suffer and maybe die because of the willful ignorance of DJT and his supporters. For the survivors, take a bit of comfort knowing that the apolitical virus will likely wipe out his reelection if things remain somewhat normal. However, the FEMA Act allows for the President to declare martial law, and his behaviors indicate that that is a real possibility unless the Senate is pressured to develop some spine.
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
So why not skip testing and go into a three week localized quarantine across all of America? Be cheaper in the long run and we can pick up the pieces afterwards.
Chuck French (Portland, Oregon)
The daily death rate in the US from this disease has remained stable at three to four per day since the first death was recorded on 29 February. In other nations like China, and in Italy where governments did not impose travel bans from Asia, the coronavirus ran out of control. Death rates in Italy rose steadily from four deaths the first day a death was recorded to 133 on Day 14. In China, the rates quadrupled on those first two weeks. Perhaps this will eventually run out of control in the US, but as of now it looks far more like the situation in Japan, where the virus was rapidly brought under control. In the US as of today, there have been 41 deaths and 10 people in critical care, for a total of 51 people so far placed in serious danger. In other places where the virus took hold the impact was immediately catastrophic. All the US deaths were elderly or sick, and half are from one elderly care facility. A good site to keep track of these statistics is: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ Information is power, and it can prevent panic.
Courtney (IL)
@Chuck French Japan took action immediately and closed its schools for a full month. Our deaths look similar because you don’t die immediately upon becoming diagnosed; it can take weeks. We will have deaths proportionate to the fatality rate unless we take immediate action to contain this.
Natalia (Baltimore)
I hope something can be done about grocery stores. While people stockpile, they go to local stores that are overcrowded. The lines are long with people standing close to eachother. This creates a huge risk of further spread of the coronavirus disease.
Patty O’Fernachure (Florence, Italy)
Here the supermarkets are fully stocked. People queue outside and are required to stand approx 10 feet apart from each other, wait usually 30-60 minutes and are admitted in small groups. Inside, gloves are required. This process seems to work quite well and check out is quick because there are no lines!
Allison (Colorado)
Just a note of gratitude to the NYTimes for making coronavirus articles available to those without a subscription. It's a generous gift to the public. Many thanks!
G. Harris (San Francisco, CA)
I along with many of my colleagues at now closed firm called Global Business Network, have been in this scenario development area for a long time. Knowledgeable people will know this emerged out of the nuclear arms program and the oil industry (especially Shell Oil). This seems to be good scenario work as far as it goes. It needs to go further into alternative strategy development, deeper systemic analysis that allows learning, and the use of early warning signals tied to specific strategic responses. I hope they are doing some of this, but I doubt it based on reading this article. What is also missing here is a deeper assessment of the impacts of deaths and economic damage. Who is dying and what harm is being done to the economy needs to be thought through. For example widespread deaths of health care personnel would be a big deal in terms of who is dying. The economic analyses need to extend beyond the stock and bond markets to the community level so that local banks and governments can support key institutions to get them through a rough patch. The quality of the thinking we do here will save lives, communities and the economy.
JPruitt (East Lansing)
Why Shell Oil?
G. Harris (San Francisco, CA)
@JPruitt Royal Dutch Shell used scenario-based planning in the late 1970's (and still does) to think long term about oil prices and energy markets. You can find out more at their website. They are famous for predicting the possibility of the Arab Oil boycott and being prepared for it. My former boss at GBN, Peter Schwartz, is the author of "the Art of the Long View," which explains a lot of this. My website at artofquantumplanning.com has details as well.
Giorgia (Italy - Lombardy)
When the outbreak started in China, it was just news to watch on TV. That perception was so much different from the one I have now, being on a territory (Italy) entirely locked-down. It is uncharted territory, but we're facing it with courage and determination, keeping to the vigorous restrictions imposed by the government. We have a great health care system here but it's risking the collapse. We're doing everything we can. I'm confident this can be, if we want it to be, an eye-opening experience from many different points of view. As we lose our certainties, we can weigh up our values and start seeing this as an opportunity to gauge our strength, do some deep thinking, feel connected to one another and choose love over fear.
Mike S. (Eugene, OR)
It's easy for me: I do a lot of stuff outdoors, don't have a lot of friends, don't mind being by myself, and am a retired physician. I feel for the majority of the country, who love crowds, do a lot of touching, and have big circles of friends. My adjustments still have not been easy; yours will be incredibly difficult.
Allison (Colorado)
@Mike S.: You raise a valid point. The most difficult part of this will involve convincing healthy people to comply with social distancing efforts. Just this morning, my teenager, whose school district has closed for an extended Spring Break, was champing at the bit to go out and visit with friends. It's been ONE DAY, and he already has cabin fever! Weeks of this is going to be incredibly challenging.
Marc Peloquin (Montréal)
I share your thought has I find joy being alone running in the woods. This is something that I cherish.
Gardengirl (Deep South)
@Mike S. My semi-retired spouse and I are moderately social, but also have no problem being home for long stretches of time. The fact that we were work-from- home employees for many years (husband still is) has helped. My biggest worry is having enough food and paper goods for the bathrooms and kitchen.
FurthBurner (USA)
I am a man in my mid forties in good health, and I am using social distancing to the best of my ability to minimize my interaction with others during this very critical time. Where I live, my child's school is off until the end of the month and my daughter will be living at my place and her mothers' half the time. I am keeping away from public places (I work from home) and meeting people in large gatherings. I feel like I should do my part even though I am healthy, so as not be a carrier to other parts of the population. More stringent than usual hygiene protocol is in effect at home. I have a number of very healthy friends in the same area and they are in the late twenties to late 40s age group. All of them are planning to be at parties and pubs this very weekend. I am simply alarmed at this and wonder why they would be so callous about a protocol at such a difficult time. I don't want them to panic, but at the same time, this is not normal circumstances.
Don Juan (Washington)
@FurthBurner -- perhaps it will take enough casualties from the 20-40 range for these folks to realize that by doing as they please they put the lives of others at risk.
PS (Florida)
The CDC models are very optimistic by using both a lower hospitalization rate and a lower death rate than what we see in other countries with more prepared health care systems. The W.H.O. found that in China 20% of people with the virus needed to be hospitalized for 3-6 weeks and that the death rate was 4-5%. Italy's death rate is over 7% of confirmed cases. It seems like wishful thinking to model much lower rates in the U.S. when we don't have proper testing or nearly enough ICU beds to handle the influx of a lot of covid-19 patients.
Sequel (Boston)
The Spanish Flu exploded in early March 1918. But that was only its first, and mildest wave. It faded out as weather warmed, but then returned for a fierce second wave in the fall, aided by the international troop transit of WWI. It could be that spring weather will bring relief, but it isn't safe to assume that all safeguards and precautions can or will be rolled back at that point. It is possible that only the development of vaccine will permit that.
Kenneth Kleefeld (Montclair NJ)
The virus has been spreading in Brazil, which does not suggest that spring will bring much relief.
Will Hogan (USA)
If the federal government does not provide guaranteed pay for hourly workers without paid sick leave, they will work until they drop and spread this virus to everyone else and get very sick themselves. They should stay home A) if they are exposed B) if they have symptoms, or C) if they have other health conditions, including being over 60. That pay to stay home is a good investment even though it is supporting non-wealthy people with taxpayer money. It saves money just in health care costs, not just saving lives. Republicans, please try to understand.
Peter Lorraine (Niskayuna NY)
Social distancing reduces the probability of the disease being passed on but it doesn't need to be an all or nothing approach. Perhaps we could start this with something like an odd even system where you stay home depending on whether your birthday falls on an even or odd date? This could be rolled out more rapidly with less disruption and perhaps would get people prepared for more extensive distancing later on.
Country Girl (Missouri)
Peter Yes. I am sure that us what China did.
Peter (Boston)
We have an administration believing that everything can be spun and there are many "alternative" facts. Salesmanship does not work on mother nature.
Karen (FL)
As usual, the president is not a role model. If he was, he would be tested as per the protocol since people he has been in contact with have now been diagnosed with COVID-19. I hope people are keeping their distance from him.
Mungo Maxwell (Upper Black Eddy Pa)
I certainly am!
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
I'm thinking. Think. Think. Think. I'm thinking you could easily replace this announcement with a dire prediction about climate change. The two conversations are synergistic. We have a Venn diagram. That's what I'm thinking.
JPruitt (East Lansing)
Or ending the ongoing senseless wars
KMW (New York City)
Governor Cuomo thanked President Trump and Vice President Pence for their actions in fighting the coronavirus. This was so reassuring to hear and this should not become politicized. This virus does not discriminate. It has affected both Democrats and Republicans. If the politicians can put aside their political differences, we will deal much more effectively with this catastrophe. They all should remain level headed at this very difficult and trying time.
Robert (Out west)
Oh. So Trump’s stopped screaming at Nancy Pelosi every morning, then. No more yelling on FOX, Hannity, Breitbart, Rush, and the rest of the massive right-wing media wither. Good to know. Thanks.
Lindsay K (Westchester County, NY)
@KMW - I completely agree. Now will someone please tell that to President Trump? He’s the one who has said this will just “go away” if we all remain calm.
drmaryb (Cleveland, Ohio)
I am utterly shocked by the number of intelligent people who believe that the threat of this pandemic is being "blown out of proportion". I realized that some people may not follow the news closely enough to understand the potential dangers but I also think that we in the the US are complacent. We may have a regional disaster, e.g. tornado, hurricane, etc. but we are not used to envisioning widespread disaster and therefore unconsciously assume that it won't affect us. I don't see sick people around me. In fact, the only visible problem right now is that people are hoarding toilet paper (go figure). Hence, it is easy to imagine that there is no real danger. But, as I have been mentioning to people, if we wait until we have large numbers of sick people around us, it will be too late. And we don't even really know how many sick people there are because there are no enough test kits and people with milder symptoms may not seek testing. This is time for people to work together and leave political in-fighting aside.
KMW (New York City)
The New York Times has been giving us excellent coverage without causing hysteria. It has been for the most part fair and balanced at this very difficult time. Thank you and please continue this extraordinary reporting.
JessD (NH)
If anything good can come from this, hopefully this virus has finally convinced people that believing in science and facts, listening to actual experts, being competent, having empathy, telling the truth, and having planning skills are important characteristics for a president. Vote wisely because it matters. Trump is a colossal disaster, as are the Republican Congresspeople and Senators who enabled his every despicable act.
Diana (Texas)
There's no way these numbers are accurate. The infection rate in China is 50 per 1 million people. The "experts" cited in this article think that 50% of the entire US population is going to get coronavirus? There's no way that happens. If it does, then the USA will be by far the worst country in the world to get hit. Let's take a look at some numbers. Infection rate by country (cases per 1 million residents): China: 56.1 Italy: 292.1 Iran: 135.3 S Korea: 155.6 Spain: 92.7 Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries Let's take the worst case scenario, Italy at 292 per 1 million residents. USA has 330 million people, so that would translate to 96,360 cases. That's an infection rate of 0.03%, nowhere near the 50% numbers that the article uses. Let's calm down folks. Coronavirus is a bad pandemic, but to project that 150 million people in the USA are going to get coronavirus is irresponsible based on all available data we have from other countries.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
@Diana your comparisons to Italy and China ignore their mitigation efforts...mitigation efforts NOT being implemented here.
Don Juan (Washington)
@Diana -- The German Chancellor said to expect an infection rate of 60-79% of the citizens. Expecting half of the US population to end up with the virus, while a doomsday scenario, is very real.
FurthBurner (USA)
@Diana Sorry to break it to you, but epidemics and pandemics do not follow your neat linear growth projections. They are closer to exponential in their infection rates. That said, until the half-life of the infection is understood better, no comment can be made with respect to whether or not this is a serious threat. Erring on the side of caution is the smart way to approach this. No one should panic, but understanding that you could get infected but merely be a carrier is something you should understand.
Joseph (Greenwich, CT)
A few thoughts from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, 1726. “I said, 'there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid." “... he never tells a truth, but with an intent that you should take it for a lye; nor a lye, but with the design that you should take it for a truth...” “He said, he knew no reason why those who entertain opinions prejudicial to the public should be obliged to change, or should not be obliged to conceal them. And as it was tyranny in any government to require the first, so it was weakness not to enforce the second: for a man may be allowed to keep poisons in his closet, but not to vend them about for cordials.” “...Providence never intended to make the management of public affairs a mystery to be comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius...” “...they have no conception how a rational creature can be compelled, but only advised, or exhorted; because no person can disobey reason, without giving up his claim to be a rational creature.”
angel98 (nyc)
@Joseph Swift never disappoints.
rockafella (san francisco)
The authoritarian communist Chinese government orders and enforces quarantine - 3,000 die Here in the good ol' USA with our vaunted freedom to behave irresponsibly and only 1/4 the population of China CDC worst case scenario is 1,700,000 dead? Freedom kills but it's worth dying for. Hmmmmmm...........
Bartokas (Lisbon)
But wasn't the Coronavirus just a simple type of common flu according to the half witted rightwing pundits?
Robert L Smalser (Seabeck, WA)
USA this morning 325,000,000 population 1885 cases Covid-19 39 cumulative deceased Average age of fatalities is 81 (Italy) 0 in US currently in serious condition ZERO NADA NIL This is entirely a media manufactured panic. https://ncov2019.live/data
Robert (Out west)
You just want to hit your head against the wall. First, that’s the number of cases CONFIRMED BY TESTING, not the number of cases. We have no idea what the actual numbers are, BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT BEEN TESTING. Second, we got from a few confirmed cases to 1885 darn fast. Third, the science says hold onna yer hat, because when we do start testing, that number starts straight up I’d like to be able to say so what, kill yourself and your own family as you like. Problem is, you’re endangering us adults.
bob (cherry valley)
@Robert L Smalser By all means, please don’t wash your hands.
Don Juan (Washington)
@Robert L Smalser -- of course. And I bet you believe in the Easter Bunny as well.
Dennis (Oregon)
This is a dangerous time. Right now. Because the government has botched its most important job--keeping the American public safe. Trump has once again shown his incompetence in not pushing faster and harder for a test to be readied in time for us to know decisively where to isolate communities and how to slow the rate of exposure. Trump's carelessness and his incompetence will kill people now. Just as when his thoughtless abandonment of the Kurds led to many deaths among people who had fought and died for our security. As a commander-in-chief Trump gets an 'F.' Now, for the economy, he gets an 'F.' Is there any subject he is passing? Thanks to all the people, especially Democrats, who voted for Trump in 2016. Do you see now what you did?
Bruce Roemmelt (Virginia)
So has the president re-hired the Pandemic Planning Team that he fired?
RM (Vermont)
What, Me worry? I sit here with my hoard of toilet paper and 200 cans of tuna fish and Campbell's Soup, and am prepared to sit it out in self quarantine. Going to drink some Coronas to boost my immune system, pull up a chair, turn on the TV, and watch some exhibition baseball and March Madness.,,,,,,, but I can't seem to find them on my cable guide.
Country Girl (Missouri)
RM Worry about mercury poisoning maybe.
Opinioned! (NYC)
“Anyone who needs a test, can get a test. Anyone.” — Donald J. Trump, the world’s funniest comedian
Dale In NYC (Manhattan)
“There are only 15 cases, and most of them have made a remarkable recovery. . . Soon the number will be down to zero.”
Dog girl (Tucson)
The world’s biggest liar.
NewsReaper (Colorado)
Noam Chomsky: Today’s GOP is ‘the most dangerous’ threat to the species ‘in human history’
Mari (Left Coast)
For a couple of weeks, I’ve been asking WHY the U.S. supposedly the most powerful land wealthiest nation on Earth doesn’t have enough test kits?! I suspect it is because Trump is deliberately keeping the numbers low! In the meantime, folks who are infected are spreading the virus, unbeknownst to them or others. This is what we get when we elect an egotistical, narcissist whose only concern is for himself and “his approval numbers.” Thanks Republicans, YOU own this incompetent fool!
Jon (SF)
Fix the problem. Stop playing politics. I wnat solutions to the virus. I'm not interested in placing blame. Make us safer!
Roger (Seattle)
I only want to hear from highly trained and experienced medical professionals. The rest of you politicians and pundits, please shut up!
James Michie (Baton Rouge, LA)
My wife and I are ages 83 and 81 and are necessarily in lockdown where we live, St. James Place, a retirement community of more than 400 residents in South Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We are at a furious loss to even begin to comprehend the abject failure of the demonstrably and hopelessly dangerous and destructive "administration" of Donald Trump in the ongoing coronavirus crisis. We await you, New York Times, your publishing of an editorial condemning Trump and his gaggle of idiots for subjecting us to this threat of death, while he inconceivably contradicts the nation's health experts on the severity of the coronavirus threat.
Howard (Los Angeles)
Here’s why social distancing works: if 10% of the population distances itself then there remains (roughly) 90% of the population interacting with only 90% of the population. So you have only 90%*90% = 81% as many interactions (and opportunities to transmit disease) as you normally would. This is a reduction in infectious interactions of 19% from baseline. - 10% social distancing results in 19% fewer opportunities for transmission. - 20% social distancing results in 36% fewer opportunities for transmission. - 30% social distancing results in 51% fewer opportunities for transmissions. If you have the ability to stay away from other people, please do so. It is not being selfish, it is an act of generosity.
pam (houston)
The actual cases for the US is showing artificially low because they aren't testing anyone. We should be testing as many people as possible. (see South Korea, keeping their curve flat by testing more people every day than the US has tested cumulatively) But Trump is only focused on keeping the numbers low - he didn't want the cruise ship to come to shore because it would "add to our numbers". (see his comments during his tour of the CDC) I'm astounded at how many smart people are not realizing this is something that can be transmitted without symptoms - and week by week the numbers will explode. (see Italy)
Hillary (Minneapolis)
These are not even worst case scenarios - 1% death rate? That's lower than China and Italy (and many other places). If our hospitals are overwhelmed it could be much higher than 1%. Also, the low range is a quarter of a percent? No place in the world has that low of a death rate right now - the absolute lowest we've seen is like 0.6 percent.
In an age where we have more knowledge, science, and technology at our disposal than any other time in history, we have allowed a single-cell organism to cause such calamity. Surely we could do better than this.
Justin (Seattle)
@LTM It's not even a single-cell organism. It's just a strand of RNA--a molecule--in many respects not really alive. But it was just such molecules that created life on this planet. There's no reason to believe that they can't extinguish whatever species they "chose" to.
Marilyn Ward (Florida)
A virus is an RNA or DNA core covered by protein that attacks a cell, not a cell, is that correct?
KMW (New York City)
Governor Cuomo is currently holding a press conference and is giving us very pertinent information to deal with the coronavirus. I am not a fan of his but he has been excellent in his delivery. He has made some very good proposals to keep us safe but is not sugarcoating this outbreak. He knows it is serious and we do not know how much worse this will become. It will get worse before it gets better. He said this will not end next week or even next month. We must all be aware and take this seriously. He is taking this seriously and we must too. We must listen to the experts and follow their advice.
Robert (Out west)
With that I agree. But bit of a pity Cuomo or Inslee or Obama or Clinton ain’t running the country, don’t you think?
Edgar (NM)
Our state...schools closed, churches closed, museums closed, senior centers closed, emergency funds tapped, full state response for all. Our governor is a former Secretary of Heath and a director of the Agency on Aging. Everyone working together. This is why you vote responsibly.
r mackinnon (concord, ma)
@Edgar My state too No drama, capable, professional governor. No drama, professional mayors. Professionals with experience in the jobs that require professionals with experience. Nobody’s ridiculous kids running around playing at being “leaders” I want my country back
r mackinnon (concord, ma)
@Edgar My state too No drama, capable, professional governor. No drama, professional mayors. Professionals with experience in the jobs that require professionals with experience. Nobody’s ridiculous kids running around playing at being “leaders” I want my country back
DW99 (East Coast)
@Edgar Oh, just say it outright: This is why you vote for Democrats, or should. Always.
Sally (California)
By limiting our exposure to other people we reduce risk. Here in California we are trying to be sensible, to practice caution and do our part in consideration of others. We're in this together and if that means taking walks or riding our bikes instead of elbowing around cafes we'll do that. Like you, we're just trying to wait this out.
Brian Whistler (Forestville CA)
Not sure how polite people are being. Here’s an experience a friend of mine shared regarding behaviors observed in Berkeley CA yesterday: I was just in Berkeley bowl. It's a riot in there. Half the shelves are empty. They were almost totally out of bread. while in line of pushing match broke out by somebody telling someone not to get so close to them and they literally were ramming their carts into each other violently.
Can someone suggest a polite way to ask strangers in public to keep their distance? I am at high risk but I still have to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, etc. What's worked for other people?
Katy (Seattle)
@KM Try wearing a mask. Yes, I know, we should leave the actual surgical masks for the health care workers, but there are fabric masks you can buy, or you can make your own. Hopefully people will see it, wonder if you're sick, and keep their distance. Either way, it will get the message across that you are trying to be careful.
Dog girl (Tucson)
Tell them you are high risk and please give you space. Nothing rude about it. Wear a bandana over your mouth so they get the message loud and clear. Stay well.
Cal (Maine)
@KM I'm ordering through Amazon rather than shopping in person.
Eknath (ithaca)
The one number that I wish you had included, for context, is how many people die naturally or from accidents each year in the US anyway, because the more extreme numbers are very scary. It is almost 3 million per year. So while a number in the hundreds of thousands is extremely scary, to the extent those were deaths that were likely to happen that year anyway, you can't just add the two.
Yuri Pelham (Bronx)
Well that’s very consoling. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Kayle Simon (Olympia WA.)
It isn’t just people dying “anyway.” They was is in addition to, and avoidably has we been testing and isolating responsibly the way other countries are doing. Had Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson been one CA they would not have been tested. Or isolated. Multiply that by literally millions.
Justin (Seattle)
@Eknath The most hilarious conservative line we've heard recently is that 'everyone dies--we should not be concerned about increasing the rate at which they do so.' This apparently is an excuse for Trump failing to address this issue reasonably. Conservatives, however, didn't apparently feel that way after 9-11. "Only" 3,000 people died then--and (using your logic) many of them would have died anyway, from other causes. So why were you so aggrieved by that? If you kill someone, even if it's only 5 minutes before they would have died anyway, it's still murder. The president withheld critical testing knowing that people would die because of it. That's murder.
Frunobulax (Chicago)
Envisioning worst case scenarios may be useful for disaster planning but has nothing to do with actual events as they are currently unfolding. Nearly two months since the first reported U.S. case we have forty deaths in a country of 330 million. Indeed, the obligatory footnote, even one virus-related death is too many, but even in China, where the new strain originated, the deaths, according to WHO statistics, have been dramatically reduced. Hysteria much less complaining are hardly useful responses in this situation. This is a controllable pandemic and if we stop shooting ourselves in the feet and elsewhere we'll get through it fine.
John Walker (Coaldale)
We still need well-designed population tests for antibodies to gauge transmissibility and the case fatality rate.
RSB (New Hampshire)
I've really had it with the media adding unneeded fuel to this pandemic. You now have the elderly in an unnecessary panic. We're going to get through this just fine. The mortality % of this virus will eventually be reported much lower than current estimates. We can't use numbers from countries with lower medical and sanitation standards as our baseline. It's not just China either. There are hospitals in Italy that with conditions that would leave the average American in utter disbelief. The lack of testing in the US does not help Trump by keeping the infection numbers down like everyone's postulating. If we had widespread testing, the death-rate would be dramatically reduced. That's the number that matters because the 3% number is whats causing all the unnecessary panic. You need to look at countries with good medical care systems. South Korea and Germany provide a more accurate statistical representation of what can be expected in the US. Tens of thousands die annually from the flu, and the low % of deaths vs infection rate is what keeps that figure out of the news cycle. It would be nice to see a best case scenario companion article to this one. We know that will never happen. I hope once this blows over and the outcome is not as bad as predicted. That the same media that over-hyped the danger will apologize for fanning the flames. When they fail to do so, I hope you will finally realize they are not above exaggerating any opportunity for political ends.
Rebecca (New York)
@RSB Just FYI, Italy has a healthcare system considered one of the best in the world -- better than ours.
Pde (Here)
Shotgunning today’s Faux News talking points doesn’t really add much to the conversation. Compare best case mortality rate of coronavirus with that of the common flu and you’ll see the rate is estimated to be at least four times greater for Covid 19. So, better safe than sorry.
RSB (New Hampshire)
@Rebecca In the main cities their healthcare is acquit, but overall it's certainly no where near best in the world. We're not talking about overall patent satisfaction ratings. Look at their 5 year survival rates for cancer diagnosis. In their smaller cities and towns there's no comparison with the US health care system. The virus mortality numbers reflect the country as a whole. Not just the areas with good hospitals. China has some great hospitals as well. That means nothing for the overall statistics when some areas are severely lacking. The worst hospital in the US is a far cry above the worst hospital in Italy or china. @Pde I don't watch fox news, so I wouldn't know their current narrative. I'm not trying to disparage any country's medical system. I'm only stating that the worst case scenario numbers are woefully inaccurate for a US baseline. Therefore the panic they are inducing is unneeded and reckless.
John (Virginia)
The mortality rate for Coronavirus in the US is among the best of all nations that have a substantial number of cases. I would say that the UD healthcare system is doing a great job of dealing with this pandemic.
Ehill (North coast)
As we aren’t testing, it’s also quite possible there are more fatalities than are being attributed to coronavirus at this time. It would be useful to look at all deaths with a diagnosis of bilateral interstitial pneumonia since mid-Jan.
Neerav (Nowhere)
@Ehill OMG! THE SKY IS FALLING!!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!! Please, stop giving into the media driven hysteria.
C. Chapman (Nederland CO)
Thank you for revealing these numbers. I think it is a scandal that there hasn't been immediate transparency about these numbers by government agencies. Sure, there are uncertainties. But the delay in helping people appreciate the likely seriousness of this pandemic will have caused many needless deaths. The U.S. should have been testing and started augmentation of the nation's hospital facilities weeks, if not months, ago. Also, messaging should stop saying that you should be tested, or undergo quarantine only if you (or your relative/friend/coworker/neighbor) shows symptoms is *inadequate*. If there are typically a few days that a person can be shedding virus before they have symptoms, then everybody -- regardless of age -- should be staying away from everybody else, and away from places where others might be, unless necessary. Keep up the honest reporting!
kramnot (USA)
If this was known in February, why did Trump sit on his hands until this week? The numbers are shocking, and no one was taking effective action other than banning travel from China. Blood is on the hands of those who were told about this CDC report and did nothing.
I have a friend who is a doctor in LA. While they are taking swabs of patients they think might have COVID-19, they can’t get the tests. So we have no way of knowing what the real numbers are. Ignorance is not bliss in this case.
Observer (midwest)
I don't understand. The low estimate is 200,000 American deaths and the high is 1,200,000. China has four times, almost five times, the American population and the death total in that country, the epicenter of the disease, is around 8,000. Why would America deaths, at the lowest estimate, be 25 times the total deaths in China when our population is 1/4 as large? Korea had a substantial outbreak that now has subsided after a few hundred deaths. Can someone explain why projected American fatalities are so off the chart compared with other recent national expriences?
Ehill (North coast)
We can bend the curve in the US but have yet to take the type of actions deployed in China and South Korea. Epidemiologists can model those actions, once they know what they are, to see how they affect the peak. As actions in the US to date have been largely inconsistent and uncoordinated across the public and private sectors, it is hard to project their effects on the population. The heaviest fatality rate occurs when the case rate exceeds capability of the health system to provide supportive care. So retarding transmission to keep the peak down is critical to keeping the fatality rate down.
Richard Katz (Seattle)
Our slow response compared to those two countries
John Townsend (Mexico)
trump really has some gall dumping on Obama for the Coronavirus outbreak. The trump administration over the last three years has been drastically cutting budgets and gutting public health agencies, eliminating preparedness teams, and abruptly dismissing expertise. It has been a deliberate concerted effort to dismantle the important measures Obama made to effectively protect the nation from the 2014 Ebola infection crisis. And as with all things Obama, trump is doing these things vengefully and recklessly. The nation is already paying a huge price with the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak and more is definitely on the way. Meanwhile FOX news (essentially trump’s propaganda agency) is fully engaged in a concerted cover up to camouflage just how badly managed the COVID-19 response has been and continues to be in the US.
Bad Grief (NYC)
@Ms. Pea Don’t be snowed! The new normal you envision will likely be on the order of those following 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, with the tragic distinction that our leaders’ hubris (and the decline of our democratic ethos over the last four decades—excepting a few bright exceptions proving the rule) has brought this catastrophe upon ourselves. Around the world, individuals and governments are at varying points on the learning curve regarding implications of this dress rehearsal for apocalypse. I say ‘dress rehearsal’ because while *millions* are expected to die as a result (likely 1MM in the US alone—inconceivable until this week to all but a cadre of muzzled experts), the dynamics of arrested grief sustaining the denial which brought us to this point are exactly the same as those we must transcend if we’re to save ourselves from the *utterly* obliterating peril of global climate change. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance are the tasks with which we must progressively come to terms—individually and collectively—if we ever hope to flatten the emissions curve necessary for preserving the viability of our species and planet. While current attention must remain laser-focused on recovering from the effects of this epidemiological own-goal, I pray we don’t then squander the opportunity to process our horrendous loss through to acceptance of the need to better learn lessons of informed preparation...lest we all then shrivel and die in this precious blue-green pod.
CSadler (London)
The figures in the article look to be an underestimation rather than a worst-case scenario. There's an excellent Coronavirus article by Tomas Pueyo available on-line which also includes links to the underlying calculations based on real life experience in China etc. His figures conclude that around 20% of all coronavirus cases will require hospitalisation, and 5% will require critical care. The virus will become endemic. The US has failed to contain the disease, so it will spread until eventually everyone will have some exposure. Within the next 2-4 weeks it will likely arrive in your neighbourhood if it isn't already there. The US has passed the point where the rate of infection becomes exponential i.e. doubles each day. Most health policies have moved from containment to mitigating the rate of infection to allow health care services to retain some capacity i.e. if 20% of your population requires hospitalisation, it is better to see that need spread out over months (or years) than arrive in the next 12 weeks. In S Korea where the rate of infection has been slowed, hospitals have coped and the fatality rate is below 1%. In Italy where the rate of infection has not been slowed, hospitals have been overwhelmed and the fatality rate is around 4%. We are starting to see images of mass graves being dug in Iran.
tdb (Berkeley, CA)
You need to provide a range, worse and best scenarios. And scenarios with testing and not testing. Where are the testing kits? We're still waiting for them. Someone write an article about why they are so important.
Chas Smith (Pittsburgh)
Great stuff, NYT. Data and background we all need. Here are some other things you need to report on to ease our minds: 1. Are the ventilator manufacturers now on a "wartime footing" in terms of production? If not, why not? 2. Are the hospitals rapidly staffing up their ICUs? If not, why not? 3. Can you provide an educated guess (as the state of Ohio did yesterday) on the actual number of infected Americans TODAY? thanks!
AhBrightWings (Cleveland)
Frankly, nearly as alarming are the best case scenarios. The CDC announced mid-week that even if we now step up our game and do everything right (and there are no signs that that is happening) we can conservatively expect to need 2 million beds in hospitals. We currently have 1 million. Can someone please explain to me how we plan to conjure/create a million beds in a few weeks? The Chinese built two hospitals in that time; we cannot even manage producing enough masks or tests. We also lack enough respirators, masks, nurses, doctors, and supplies just to care for the C-virus patients. Now layer in the "regular" daily sick who will receive no care and you begin to grasp the scope of the crisis. It's time this nation ignored the willfully ignorant and uninformed and plowed ahead in the attempt to ameliorate the worst. A fatal lack of inaction is going to cost us many more lives. Because tragically, our best case scenario is still abysmal. ----- A friend just told me that her friend, who is a nurse in northern Italy, called to warn her to expect the very worst and then amplify it. This Italian woman says the coverage has not even begun to limn how dire things are; her hospital is basically out of all medical supplies and doctors and nurses are now falling sick. My friend is taking this so seriously that she is sending her daughters to the family farm in West Virginia until this is over.
Catherine (Chicago)
First, I want to thank Dr. Sheri Fink for her amazing reporting work in recent days. She has carefully explained WHY the United States is so far behind in testing and in other ways to contain the virus. Thank God we have so many highly intelligent people in the country delivering the truth about what we can expect going forward. Too bad we are about 6-8 weeks behind in testing compared to other countries. South Korea has been able to test more than 200 thousand of its residents, even the UK has been able to test some 30 thousand. Have we even hit 2 thousand Americans tested yet? I wish Jerry Falwell Junior (another Trump nutcase) would read this story. He said this morning he thinks the whole coronavirus outbreak is the work of the Democrats "out to get Trump." But he good news is he offered another (conspiracy) theory so we can take our pick. He says he was talking to a man in a restaurant recently and he thinks Kim Jong un got together with China to "send the Christmas gift to the U.S." One more note: We Americans are all in this together. Let's try our best to hold on to our civility with one and other. Went to Whole Foods last night in downtown Chicago where tempers were flaring. One man hurled his basket of food to the floor blaming the virus for the long checkout lines. I stopped at the Jewel grocery store after that where it happened again. Folks, we're all in this barrel together, let's roll with it with patience and dignity toward our fellow Americans. Thank you.
WJ (New York)
In the not too distant past a pandemic like this ( or something far less) would bring out the religious folks telling us that it was god’s punishment for one thing or another. Where are they now? I guess when the outbreak is being mishandled by their own they know enough to shut up.
Max (New York)
If your immune system is compromised, isolate yourself, we cannot all isolate ourselves, if we did , we would run out of food to eat, you would run out of water to drink, the supply chain would collapse. Someone needs to keep the machines going. Bernie did do one thing better than all the others. He brought the healthcare industry to light, in all its naked, ugly glory. High costs hurt so many Americans. Now that the virus is upon us, it will make healthcare costs even worst and we will have lingering anger and frustration long after the virus finally dissipates.
Kris (Bellevue, WA)
I visited my doctor in January for a pneumonia vaccine after I heard about our state’s “first” patient. This patient traveled on a plane, sat in an airport waiting room, and walked through an airport. I asked my doctor if I should stop going to hot yoga classes because of my age and vulnerability. My doctor was nonchalant and told me not to visit China. Washington is now the worst hit state for Coronavirus. When I rarely venture out, it is for a walk or to go to the grocery store. It disturbs me that people aren’t observing social distancing. We are so used to the good times that we appear to be unable to responsibly safeguard ourselves and thereby our communities.
@Kris Kris, I'm also at risk, and you have my sympathy. I've figured out what I think is a polite way to tell people to keep their distance, and I'm also going out as little as possible, with the exception of long walks. Healthy people, especially young healthy people, just don't understand the fear I feel every time one of them coughs in my vicinity. I wish you well.
A New Yorker (New York)
@Kris It's worth noting that unfortunately the pneumonia vaccine does nothing against COVID-19.
RNS (Piedmont Quebec Canada)
@Kris Being retired I don't have to go out that much. However yesterday I went to the grocery store and thought I would try my hand at social distancing. It's hard. It was an eyeopener. Another thing I realized is I touch my face far more often than I thought. But one posiive is I think I have the cleanest hands in the country.
Daniel (Walker)
This is a great and informed article, but I unfortunately think it underestimates the numbers due to the indirect effects on the healthcare system. The overwhelmed system and over burdened clinicians will no longer be able to provide care for all other conditions to the same level they currently are. ICU beds are currently not empty - and take care of critically ill patients. Sacrificing these beds for COVID-19 patients will undoubtedly have consequences.
C (A)
How can we learn anything about the virus’s transmission if we can’t test people who have symptoms? How can we analyze data if private labs are not required to share the results of tests with the CDC? I have lost faith in the U.S.’s ability to manage a crisis.
MerleV (San Diego)
@C - The U.S. has the ability to manage a crisis, just no under this administration.
Quills (Pennsylvania)
Epidemiologist Kristen Mertz (Allegheny County, PA) maintains that there have been no known transmissions of covid-19 while at the same admitting that testing can only happen in emergency rooms. It’s so easy to make a case for “no known transmission” if no testing has been done. Too many officials are blowing smoke to cover their inadequate responses to this pandemic.
Kevin S. (Salisbury, MD)
Let’s not forget we have a President who didn’t want the cruise ship off the coast of SF to dock because it would add to the totals. It’s hard to think of a federal response more callous than that. Of course, if there is one, I have no doubt they’ll find it.
Sam (Austin)
There is: witness President Obama declaring a national emergency 6 months after the CDC called the swine flu an epidemic. He did so by releasing a written statement, not actually speaking to the nation. That was in late October of 2009. The CDC estimates that up to 80 million Americans were infected that year, 18,000 died. The NYT reported this.
Kayle Simon (Olympia WA.)
This is not the flu. The flu kills that many every year. We are only at this start of this; it is believed to kill conservatively 7x more and could many more people. Please compare the numbers a year from now not a few weeks in when we aren’t even testing adequately yet. Be responsible. If it isn’t so bad, great; it didn’t kill you to do your best for your community members when we didn’t know for sure.
Kevin S. (Salisbury, MD)
You’re relying on the real fake news to make that claim, which has been thoroughly debunked: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-wait-swine-flu-n1h1/
JMM (Worcester, MA)
There is one test most of us can do, which was done in China and other places, take your temperature before you leave the house. Oral thermometers are pretty common and we can all make sure we don't have a fever before we leave the house. And wash you hands.
Paul Kent (Los Angeles, CA)
There were no thermometers left at any of the stores we visited this last week. Most of the cold tablets and cough medicines were sold out as well.
Mathias (USA)
We need to take steps to burn the virus out, identity where it is and keep people receiving a pay check while maintaining infrastructure. To burn it out people need to know when to stay home or isolate in communities. And they need to know their bills and businesses will be okay. We don’t need payday loans. This isn’t a time for profit. Focus on helping people feel confident to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the entire community.
Rs (Nyc)
@Mathias no testing for general population only if you are rich or well connected glitterati do you get test
AynRant (Northern Georgia)
@Mathias.. Does this also apply to the millions of resident illegal immigrants who don't dare apply for assistance lest they fall into the clutches of ICE?
pi (maine)
@Mathias Good point. People are already being laid off from all levels of jobs. Others have small operations (food carts) and gigs. All are affected. In many areas they are being gouged for rent. What are they to do? I hope it gives people an idea of what millions face everyday with no relief in sight. This is where the inequities of tax policies, wage, and wealth are so baldly obvious.
djpo (Vancouver)
Use containment like China and treat patients like South Korea (Kaletra or hydroxychloroquine for 10 days). China has basically stopped the spread of covid 19 and South Korea has mitigated the critical care needs of those infected(look at the amount of critical care patients there as opposed to Italy) why don't we just copy what works instead of panicking?
Robert (Out west)
There is no hard evodemce that those drugs work, and they are absolutely NOT what’s driving the rates down in those two countries.
dtm (alaska)
Alaska reported its first case yesterday. If it's here, it's going to be everywhere. The local university has implemented a plan for switching all in-person classes to online-only and is closing the dorms in an attempt to spread out the students. Faculty and staff are being told to keep all gatherings under 25 people. But how can we proctor exams in classes with 40 or 50 students? Answer: split them into groups of 20-25! Obey the letter of the rules while attempting to circumvent the spirit and reasoning for them in the first place! (The suggestion was made by the youngest, healthiest person in the room, apparently oblivious to the risk to older or less healthy individuals. )
Bruce (MI)
@dtm - The college I teach at is shifting to all online and we have been told to not proctor exams. Concerns about potential cheating on an exam pale in comparison to concerns about coronavirus. As they should.
Pde (Here)
If nothing else, the coronavirus is showing us the egregious failure of our nation’s health care system. We see failure of the current executive branch of the federal government to coordinate, to lead, to inspire constructive action. We suffer the failure of our profit-driven health care model to provide adequate resources in the wealthiest nation on earth. If not for the Boogie Man of the ACA, how many millions of people would be left on their own, unable to afford treatment? We have become the lab rats in the experiment testing the hypothesis that less government is better. How’s that working out?
David Polewka (Chapel Hill, NC)
The longer that people live, the more of their estate goes to doctors and caregivers, instead of their kids, thereby INCREASING inequality!
Marcus Aurelius (Terra Incognita)
@David Polewka You win the prize for oddest comment of the year...
Bluntnib (London)
The UK Government has adopted a different strategy to everyone else, which is either a stroke of genius or an act of mass murder. Only time will tell. Rather than draconian lockdowns they are merely attempting to smooth out the peak of infections so the health service is less pressured. The result should mean fewer deaths - because every critical case will get intensive care - but wider infection over a longer period. This may not be a bad thing if the population develops immunity whereas other countries will keep facing spikes in cases when they come out of lockdown. Anyway that, I think, is the theory. Let's hope it's right
Chris (Boulder)
So public health information was withheld from public consumption for a month. During that month the cretins in the white house, russian republican party, and state run propagandists on fox were talking about conspiracy theories and downplaying expert opinions. When democrats regain total control of everything in November, there better be some serious payback. I'm talking revocation of fox's broadcasting license. I'm talking criminal investigations for republican abettors. Democrats, please rewatch Pulp Fiction. Because it is high time to "get medieval" on them.
Nycdweller (Nyc)
Fire up long dormant factories and start making medicines here in the USA. No more dependency on China
Opinioned! (NYC)
“All red tape has been cut. Ready to go.” —Donald J. Trump, the world’s funniest comedian (Trump has once more disparaged the CDC as “very slow.” Imagine that.)
bt365 (Atlanta)
Give it some weeks and increased testing, more will know how widespread this virus is in America. Alabama no infections to date? Get real. They'll always be those among us suspicious of science, but fully accepting of the most nonsensical religious teachings imaginable..and so it goes.
Harris silver (NYC)
I have been told that this is a failing newspaper with fake news so this seems like nothing other than a hit job on a very fine microbe. And by the way there are very fine microbes on both sides. There really are. We are winning.
John (California)
The seriousness of the illness doesn’t seem to match with the public message of “Just wash your hands for 20 seconds and don’t go to large gatherings.”
John (Northport)
When did the top authorities learn this and why didn’t they say early on this is not fake news?
HPK (60606)
Step aside, Donald. Let the adults take over! You are not a "natural".
C (VA)
Thank you, just the kind of apocalyptic news we needed.
Dusan Grujic (croatia)
you cannot get tested. they dont want to test you. they are frightened to have big numbers. it is unchecked and growing exponentially. if this continues it will be a tragedy for mankind NY times, wake up
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
and Trump is intent on making it the worst case...Republican malign intent on full display. "Trump administration blocks states from using Medicaid to respond to coronavirus crisis" "WASHINGTON — Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services." https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-03-13/trump-administration-blocks-states-use-medicaid-respond-coronavirus-crisis
JB (San Francisco)
One has to wonder if the Trump-Kushner crime family isn’t hoping for a peak crisis in October to justify calling off the 2020 election. Crazy idea no? Of course it is, but ....
VT1985 (Atlanta)
THANK YOU for FINALLY putting the potential impact of this virus into real numbers!! People have no clue what percentages mean, particularly when they seem "small." I continue to be appalled at the people who minimize this by saying "only" 2% or 1% will die (or worse, "So what? Old people die all the time.") They have no flippin' clue what those percentages even mean when you take into account the total numbers. Now, if only we could get Faux News to be truthful about the potential numbers ...
MGerard (Bethesda, MD)
Here's how mortality statistics work: If the probability of death is only 0.1% but you die, you'll be 100% dead!!!! Follow all recommended preventive hygiene measures!!!!!!
omartraore (Heppner, OR)
Oh yeah, and hey, President Einstein, how about rescinding all of those efforts to cut food assistance, especially as K-12 schools close and kids may not be getting even the minimal nutritional needs and other supports that have been folded into the school-based centers. And more people around the house, with extended families and elders, increases risks for some but changes the locus to households. These are simple measures that an administration that could walk and chew gum at the same time would consider. At this point, most of us would settle for just walking.
Max (New York)
COVID-19, how long has it been here, among US? No one really knows. With World travel what it is it is hard to imagine a few cases did not landing on our shores well before identified. A small number of cases concealed as part of the current bad flu seasons. I had the Mother of all chest colds this January, stayed home until recovered. It would be nice to know, slim chance if it was COVID-19, most likely not. If so I would have "some" immunity and could help the sick rather than just shelter in place. We need to know our status short term infection virus positive protect others from your infection, and longer term antibody immunity to the virus, safe to serve others that are infected.
How do you triage a looming implosion like this one? Our nurses and doctors are not bionic and cannot make up for lost time and incompetence. Sure we are scrambling and we will somehow survive but the reality of what we are facing has not fully sunk in yet. Even Disney is closing Disneyland. Let's face it we are living in a fantasy land in real-time. The former FDA commissioner just a "couple of days" ago - stated, "We are 10 days from our Hospitals getting creamed". We do not have tests on the scale we need today and most are taking "days" to get results. What more do we need to know? There is no way to catch up. Our stats will be higher than Italy. We don't seem to get the "concept of time" to take action. Are we so checked out in magical thinking that we are paralyzed? I can't believe it. Maybe in some weird way, this jarring, wake up call of a pandemic ----and economic fallout, will also serve to mobilize the world toward "real actions" regarding our looming climate changes and the "time we have left" to address it . Scientists agree we have a 10-year action window. How can we accept our fragile world before Disneyland reopens and we just get back on the rides and forget about it the reality of everything? Like the song on my favorite ride- it's a small world after all.
Kenan Porobic (Charlotte, NC)
There are two contemporary and intertwined pandemics caused by the coronavirus and brainvirus. The first one attacks the lungs and results in high fever. The latter attacks the heads and makes the people come up with the wrong conclusions. If our health care system was completely unprepared to confront the coronavirus pandemics and conduct enough testing, you don’t blame the White House incumbent for the structural deficiencies but the entire health care system and its unpreparedness. If that were the case, we don’t have the superb health care but the inferior one in comparison to the other countries. If our health care system is failing us, then we have to blame the lifelong politicians for it - like Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnel and Joe Biden… We should promote the leaders who advised us about the imperfections of the current system. Who was the only one to do that? Bernie Sanders…
Robert (Out west)
Oh, for crying...out...loud. You know, you’re doing the politicking equivalent of price-gouging on Purell. I’d point out to you...oh, never mind. Go look up Joe Biden’s actual record on this stuff. His ACTUAL record, mind you. And no, no, no, M4A is NOT the only way of providing universal coverage in an affordable system. Obamacare would do precisely that, if the types from Trump to Berniacs who’ve been hopping up and down and screaming would let it. And now is NOT the time for the big post-mortem, or for selling woulda coulda shoulda for a guy who is not...going...to win...the primary.
Dennis (Oregon)
@Kenan Porobic So "You don't blame the White House incumbent" for unpreparedness, and you hold up Bernie as our savior. That just confirms my suspicion once again that you guys, for Trump and for Bernie, are peas from the same pod. Keep trying to sell that notion that Democrats are behind the coronavirus crisis and you will further damage your own credibility and the appeal of your candidate. People can't help thinking, if these people are for Bernie and they seem to be deranged, what kind of man is Bernie Sanders?
KN (New York)
Bernie Sanders is the definition of lifelong politician.
ss (Boston)
One very simple question. How do those numbers compare to the number from China which, by all intents and purposes, is having a much harsher and stronger impact? Or had it. Let's line up the numbers from that real life development and what is listed here, millions and such. Why not do that, just to put it all in perspective?
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
Projections based on CDC worst case estimates of Corona fatalities are too late and too unreliable. Currently there is a lot of uncertainties and all plans for travel and gatherings are up in the air. I just provided solicited advise to a group trying to hold an International Poxvirus meeting in Philly, PA to consider placing on hold making arrangements or postponement or cancellation for the meeting in July, 2020 for 30 days. Why did I advice to place on hold making arrangements for 30 days? I was selected to give a presentation to a group investors in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, CA and the organizers postponed the summit West to May first week. Fair enough? I had already made my booking with American Airlines and I am having a hard time connecting to cancel without a penalty. I have decided to place on hold any new booking because if the Summit gets postponed further, I will have even more difficulty cancelling. So I am sitting tight waiting for clarity. All other opportunities to travel to meetings, I am already saying no thank you. Love to visit Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Singapore again but because of the panic pandemic uncertainty at the current time, I am unable to make any commitments at this time. These projections are worst-case estimates and for sure these numbers don't account for individual and government interventions now underway. As an individual I am confident that my interventions will keep my family, my friends, my colleagues and my community safe.
Robert (Out west)
Those international meetings happen biannually, through such orgs as the University of Pennsylvania. And I’d have thought that Important People would know that this article discusses three or four possible scenarios, and emphasizes that the outcomes depend on our actions.
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
@Robert from out west. The Poxvirus meeting in 2020 is the first time such a meeting would be occurring in Philly. Yes Poxvirus meetings occur once in 2 years and alternate between North America and Europe. The article is hardly a basis for making decisions based on projections no matter how many scenarios. The major concern right now for the organizers is financial more than logistics. Why should anyone do booking of flights and accomodation, right now for a meeting in July, knowing the cancellations and postponement could come with penalties.
Robert (Out west)
NO, they happen biannually. The Philly conference is set for June, not July; the next is in December. Of this year. Not in Europe, but in Bangkok. I looked it up, okay? So you got the timing wrong, the month wrong, and the CONTINENT wrong. And it sure looks like you are again trying to downplay the problems, by pretending that an international conference on virii and epidemics is going to look at the money first. Please stop this. It is, in its small way, harmful.
Bobby (LA)
Let’s see, given there are only about 209 million people over the age of 18 in the US, the upper limits of this projection would mean that every adult would be infected. It only takes the application of a small amount of logic to understand why this is impossible. And since what we know so far is that children, for whatever reason, appear to not be impacted by this virus, it makes these projections even more implausible. Something to think about.
H. Clark (Long Island, NY)
Seems like the horse left the barn long before the door was shut, at least in the U.S. Not smart, but it's too late now. All we can do is cocoon, hunker down, and ride it out. HEY Jeff Bezos, how 'bout offering Americans FREE Amazon Prime for a year until this crisis passes so we can stay out of stores, have products delivered, and be safe? Just a thought.
Benny (NYC)
Question: I wonder how they estimated the possible number of deaths (“between 200,000 and 1.7 million people”). This would represent a ridiculously low mortality rate assuming that “between 160 and 240 millions people” would be infected. If we take the lowest mortality rate so far (0,89%), which is in South Korea, a country conducting very aggressive testing, it would mean that between 1.42 million and 2.13 millions people could die in the US. By an average mortality rate of 2% like in France, then between 3.2 and 4.8 millions people could die. I’ll let you do further calculation with the mortality rates of Northern Italy where the health system is collapsing...
Eero (Somewhere in America)
What does Pence do all day, then? "Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the task force, said that senior health officials had not presented the findings to the group, led by Vice President Pence, and that nobody in Mr. Pence’s office 'has seen or been briefed on these models.' "
KMW (New York City)
The coronavirus is the only thing people seem to be talking about. This is all the media is talking about too. Yesterday as I was walking along the street in Manhattan I overheard people discussing the coronavirus. People were buying out the supermarket shelves and wanted to be prepared for this pandemic. They do not know what tomorrow brings and want to be prepared. People are justifiably concerned because of the speed of its spread. We know so little about the virus and the unknown can be very frightening. We must try to relax but at times like this it is easier said than done. Panicking will not help the situation. These are difficult times and we must be alert, take the proper hygienic precautions and use common sense.
Robert (Out west)
The only people I see panicking are Trump and Trumpists, who veer between near-catatonia and shrieking attacks. Sorry, but when I see Hannity and Rush and Trump and all the rest, what I see is hysterical blindness. Leadership, it ain’t. And one sign of panic is to cling to ideas and hatreds and ignorances and the incompetent and a pack of lies and slogans when you meet up with a threat.
Pete (Phoenix)
@RSSF Very smart thinking. We need your brainpower in the White House. I’d recommend two additional Federal actions to be acted up immediately: — purchasing thousands of pulmonary ventilators that be deployed with deliberate speed sooner vs. later. — ensure we have the capability to build temporary hospital structures and staffing just as China did That these actions are not already underway speaks volumes.
Justin (Seattle)
Apparently the mathematicians have left the CDC. If the death rate is, conservatively, 1% and 160-214 million people get the disease, then 1.6-2.14 million people will die. As of March 6, the worldwide death rate was about 3%. Moreover, if (again very conservatively) 8% of patients require hospitalization and hospital beds and respirators are not available, many more--who otherwise could have been saved--will die. This may, in fact, be the greater risk. Maybe with better care, and as we learn more about the disease, that can be brought down, but we don't know that yet. The death rate will, undoubtedly, be reduced by the availability of testing. And that's why our government's intransigence is, frankly, criminal. People will die because people have not been tested.
Don Siracusa (stormville ny)
well were does that put me, I am 2 months form 89 years with COPD and chronic bronchitis. If NY Times comment writer cease to see my name,well it has been a great life so far. My son wants me to stay home but I just hate to. i still drive and my wife has doctors appointments, (married over 65 years) Love you comment people my main reason to subscribe to the Times.
JOSEPH (Texas)
China is rebounding. People back at work, factories open, and emergency hospitals closed. Look at their stats, ours probably won’t be far off. The over reaction is going to cause more damage and possible death than if everyone would just be responsible. Chill out.
Katy (Seattle)
@JOSEPH They are rebounding because they reacted to the virus and took steps to keep people from spreading it. The measures they took to control it were more extreme than the ones you're now dismissing as "overreaction." What makes you think we can get their outcome without putting in the same effort?
Steve (British Columbia)
@JOSEPH But they won't be responsible and we aren't going to have forced quarantines like Chian did.
Robert (Out west)
I’d suggest, folks, that before you attack Trump et al yet again—you too have only so much time to get ready for this. I’m not talking about running out and buying toilet paper. I’m talking about getting your stuff set up so you can cope, changing your habits, making rational preparations. Recriminate later; Pasteur knows Trump et al deserve it, and throwing his tail out of office would only be a good start. But right now, read the CDC advice. Read the advice published here. Start practicing for in case. Do it now.
Adam S Urban Warrior (Bronx NY)
The more information emanating from local and state governments the more action taken at the local Level in the absence of Federal leadership means one thing: The more visible it is that the Emperor Trump, has no clothes The failure of leadership is clear to see Vote accordingly Nov 3
Robert (Seattle)
The comments from the Trump supporters here are frightening. If the vast majority of us don't do what we must, we will see millions of needless deaths. That is, we won't be able to minimize the damage unless most of us do our own little part of doing the right thing. Time and again these scoffing Trump supporters here are making the same claims. "Trump is right. It isn't serious. There have only been 40 deaths. It's a hoax. He is right to worry only about the economics." This unfit ill-intentioned president and his credulous culty base might very will be directly responsible for millions of deaths here--unless the base wakes up and the president recuses himself from the entire response process. It could very well be too late. As Nicholas Kristof writes here today: "At this point we may already have tens of thousands of infections in the United States — no one knows, because testing has been catastrophically bungled ... We have already squandered weeks in which the president scoffed at the coronavirus ..."
William (Cape Breton)
This rogue Trump nation's Center for Disease Control can no longer be trusted with factual information? How low can you go?
Sharon (Leawood, KS)
And then there's the guy who was apparently symptomatic, took the time to test, and then before he knew the results of the test he got on a plane with a few hundred people to fly to Miami. Midway through the flight he gets a call that he is positive. Ignorant people will be our undoing. You can cancel all the college classes you want and close elementary schools but as long as there are stupid people in this country the disease will spread.
r.brown207 (Asheville, N C)
Never has there been a shortage of foolish, cavalier individuals, who place self-interest above the common good. The time in which we live resoundingly illustrates the point. Thinking otherwise, in the US, at the moment is dillusional. Being led by an elected—world class—narcissist speaks volumes about the country.
Joanne Klein (Clinton Corners, NY)
Trump said:“Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth.” Later, when asked about people returning to the United States from abroad, he very falsely claimed that everyone is tested upon arrival." My sister arrived yesterday on a flight from Germany and did NOT even have her temperature taken! LIES LIES LIES. Get rid of the LIAR. His incompetence will aid in the deaths.
Ashleigh Adams (USA)
I work at a hotel, and just a few days ago I had guests complaining loudly at the bar about sports events being cancelled. The bartender said she would go to work every day no matter what. Two guests outright told me it was a hoax. Several people said (I kid you not) that the rate of deaths from car accidents was higher than COVID-19, and therefore we should be banning cars instead of calling off events and shuttering schools. By the time I got home I was so infuriated I was shaking. As someone with family who is at risk, this nonchalance is terrifying. I myself had been sanitizing and distancing so much that my hands are cracking, they are so dry, but this is a community effort that should be treated as such, and some people are not doing that. And I live in a very liberal community!
Bill White (Ithaca)
These do sound like worse case scenarios and it does not have to be that bad. I n Hubei Province, worst hit by the virus and with roughly 58 million people there have been 67,000 confirmed cases, which translates to a little more than 1100 case per million of population (only 56 per million for all of China). The epidemic appears to be winding down there (only 22 new cases in the past day in all of China). Certainly an effective response can limit the impact. Italy already has 250 cases per million of population but the number is increasing rapidly. It will be interesting how things progress there. But a big question remains: can our system handle this epidemic as well as China has? It is not encouraging so far.
Zhanwen Chen (Nashville, TN)
We in the US should now accept that test kits cannot catch up with the spread any time soon. Why can’t we supplement them with clinical diagnosis based on a combination of symptoms, medical/travel history, and CT scans, which Hubei, China had to do at the worst of their outbreak? They used that to confirm more than 10,000 patients overnight, most of whom were later tested positive once supplies caught up.
Wayne Cunningham (San Francisco)
"nobody in Mr. Pence’s office “has seen or been briefed on these models.”" What?!! Is this continuing willful ignorance at the Federal level? Are the CDC officials afraid to present these models to the White House? Is Pence not interested in the science? Unbelievable!
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
To the naysayers and those that refuse to follow actual Expert Advice : it’s not about YOU. It’s about protecting the vulnerable. Grow up, or go live on your own Island. Seriously.
Make-it Better (Texas)
Thank you NY Times for finally giving us the figures....High Rise city dwellers: --knock on your floor neighbors doors and see if they are alright/running a fever --If they have flu symptoms have them measure their temperature and stay home don't fluid the hospital --bring them some tamale, Tylenol, and a pack of gator aid --check on them every 6 hours or so and make sure they are getting better, if not call in to an on call internet doctor/nurse practitioner and get their advise This is the USA....we take care of the world, why not our own. Mexico only has 12 confirmed cases....check out the map
I Gadfly (New York City)
Trump’s lie: "Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth! We've done a good job on testing!" Dr. Fauci’s truth: “The idea of anybody getting [the test] easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that! Do I think we should be? Yes! But we are not!”
CED (Colorado)
Trump Virus: The additional cases caused by our self-serving president and his enablers.
Turgut Dincer (Chicago)
In view of the ignorance and ineptitude of the Trump administration about scientific facts, there is no need to be an expert to predict that our Corona virus cases might soon exceed that of China in the coming days.
Lisa Simeone (Baltimore, MD)
From the NYT's own coverage: Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test By Farah Stockman Updated March 13, 2020 This is criminal. I don't know how else to put it. The Trump administration's handling of this crisis, ALREADY PREDICTED IN JANUARY, has been criminal. China gave us 6 weeks -- 6 full weeks -- of lead time, and we've squandered it. Richest, most powerful country in the world, and we're so far behind everyone else on this. Meanwhile, over at Fox, the robotic sycophants continue to drone on. The only movement they've made has been from "it's all a hoax" to "it's just like a bad cold" to "it's terrible and it's all China's fault." Give them time; I'm sure they'll blame it on Hillary's emails before long.
Farina (Puget Sound)
The LA Times is reporting that Trump is refusing to let states use Medicaid to pay for coronavirus response. Talk about short sighted and vindictive.
DD (Over There)
Could this be the confidential data presented to Congress, the result of which encouraged some congressmen to lament the secrecy? They’ve known what was to come and couldn’t share. Criminal!
American Akita Team (St Louis)
The true death count would be 3 to 4 times higher as people with non-COVID-19 diseases would be rationed out of care due to a lack of capacity such that our health system would cease to be able to treat people with other life threatening conditions. Also in 1917 the population of the US was 103,268,000. By 1918, even before the end of WWI on 11/11/2018 the population decline by 60,000!!! Previously the US population had been growing by 1,300,000 per year - so while immigration during war time stopped and we suffered war casualties, a good part of the decline was due to the first and 2nd waves of the Spanish Influenza pandemic which inflicted more casualties in US troops than did combat. While we have better care than we did in 1918 - we have only 10% of what would would need in a worst case scenario and we don't have stockpile or surge capacity so battlefield triage in civilian hospitals would rule the day as the most critically ill would be left untreated to die while doctors allocated limited resources to those with best chance of survival. Regardless the political, economic and societal impacts of this pandemic will forever change America's domestic agenda and will be felt for decades. We have not seen anything like this in our lifetimes and we are witnessing history as helpless bystanders.
Deborah MorrisonDid (Portland, Oregon)
Did you read Laura Spinney’s Pale Rider? Very instructive and terrifying for the times we are in
Ben (Oregon)
I guess those private health insurance companies are gonna be needing the fat stacks of cash they have been siphoning off of the American people for decades. Dear Federal Government, you better not bail them out. This is their bill to pay.
Neal (Arizona)
This kind of reporting is simply irresponsible. The models show a range of possibilities, in part depending on actions we take now. Saying we're all going to die and there's nothing we can do leads to inaction. That, of course, makes the report the kind ofself-fulfilling prophecy we've seen in the past. "Trump win inevitable. Don't bother voting" springs to mind.
Lisa Simeone (Baltimore, MD)
@Neal Straw man argument. This article doesn't say "we're all going to die and there's nothing we can do."
Moehoward (The Final Prophet)
No, as one commenter said, this is not a "zombie" plague movie. But, this is REAL LIFE, and the "plague" is coming not from zombies but from otherwise healthy people unknowingly or deliberately spreading this virus.
Sam (Austin)
So, basically: 1. Sometime no less than 2 weeks ago (more likely a lot longer than that if the figures were valid through Feb 28), the CDC released 4 potential impact models of the coronavirus. 2. The worst case scenario numbers are predicated on no action being taken to slow the transmission of the virus. 3. The NYT ignores the 3 other models the CDC presented and prints only the worst case scenario numbers of an unchecked infection rampage even though the unchecked infection did. Not. Happen. Responsible reporting at its finest. No wonder I can’t buy a single bottle of disinfectant while there are people whose individual hoards of it could supply small nations.
John Doe (Johnstown)
Factor in the decline in traffic fatalities due to the hysteria clearing the roads and it’s probably a wash, maybe even proving that the Coronavirus frenzy saves lives.
Pete (Spokane)
So happy to know that the US will offer a dismal comparison to the textbook responses of Singapore and Hong Kong.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
Our Covid-19 problem is a symptom of the disease known as the Big Lie of Conservative fiscal policy. "a rising tide raises all boats" "tax cuts pay for themselves" "tax cuts have yielded more tax revenues, which allows us to shrink the deficit.” “sensible tax cuts increase economic growth and add to the federal treasury.” “Reductions in top marginal tax rates lead to greater government revenues in the long run.”
RB (Woodside, CA)
Such an appropriate quote: "As in the case of an approaching hurricane, Dr. Mecher said, “You’ve got to take potentially very disruptive actions when the sun is shining and the breeze is mild.” It is so hard to take drastic action and inflict economic damage when the sun is out, the weather is mild, everyone seems happy happy happy.... It was not until I read an article on Medium that clearly explained the experience of other countries which did or did not take speedy action, the experience of the 1918 flu in the 2 cities (which this article uses), that I at last understood why this was not just the H1N1 pandemic - serious but not "shutting down the world" so. I was then able to change by whole attitude and behavior. And note: I am a research veterinarian and have training in herd health, and have a masters in epidemiology. Yet I too still did not "get it" until the facts were made clearly and truthfully with the real life examples. This is a great article. Thank you Sheri.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
Britain has socialized medicine and it has been underfunded by the Conservative Party and Blair's Third Way Laborites for 30 years. Britain's situation in the face of Covid-19 is more dire than ours. Follow the money.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
Today we are reaping the rewards of adopting Laffer Curve fiscal policy and Republicans making Grover Norquist's drive to "drown government in the bath tub" a success. This is the end point of 40 years of Republican policy being implemented at all levels of government.
Martha (Dryden, NY)
"When people change their behavior," worst case scenarios are unlikely, experts say. This is applicable to so many aspects of health and well-being. We should eat more organic plants and less meat, and get more exercise. We all know that. But why leave out the countries that periodically, beginning in at least 1917-18, launch these animal-to-human virus transmissions? If China had ever really tried to regulate wet markets and eating habits based on superstition rather than science (these animal parts will make me more viral, etc.) we might well avoid these catastrophic illnesses spread all over the world and save countless endangered animals. China is now trying to shift blame, incredibly, to the U.S. That doesn't bode well for remedying the cause of these health crises that wreck economies as well as individual lives. There is debate about whether this virus was created and accidentally released from a lab in Wuhan or emerged from the virus-carrying animals cruelly killed and eaten for their magical properties, bats, civet cats, or pangolins. Why not leave them in the wild and eat healthier food, one could ask. Some aspects of national cultures need to change, since they lead to so much suffering. If we don't want to keep dealing with SARS, MERS, or Corona, we have to go to the source of these illnesses and change our behavior (that includes the behavior of leaders who refuse to regulate and who repress information). This is not "racism." It is common sense.
BlueBird (SF)
But the administration and other sources keep telling us that 80% of people will only have very mild symptoms.
Katy (Seattle)
@BlueBird Mild symptoms. Not "very mild." Mild includes pneumonia that can be treated at home. More importantly, 80% mild means 20% severe or critical. When no one has immunity and it spreads easily, 20% of infected being severely ill adds up to a lot of people needing treatment.
Dg (Aspen co)
Bottom line the trump administration ( yes all of them under trumps leadership) thought of Covid as a political issue not heath crisis ergo the resistance to calling it a pandemic. Sadly the best time to move fast and break things was 6-8 weeks ago but it is still best to overreact. Trump et al talk about test kits but ignore the process to read those kits. It’s like sending out printers without ink. It also has been a chance for me to teach my kids the meaning of the word disingenuous. All politics. Move fast and break things. Let state and local and private labs run tests. Expand Medicaid yesterday. Paid sick leave. Start building more hospital beds. Assume the worst and pray for the best. And vote blue no matter who we need a government that will invest in the future and leaders who can admit mistakes and learn from them.
Mitchell Turner (As bury Park)
Hopefully there won't be more detrimental interventions from the president that could confuse these projections.... more rallies?
Public School Teacher In DOE (NYC)
We are out of sanitizer, sorely understaffed and have kids crying because they are afraid of getting sick. Teachers with high risk existing medical conditions are still teaching. This profession has such a high attrition rate because it’s a highly skilled profession with zero respect and acknowledgement of the way we are put on the front line. This is not about a place for the homeless kids- the homeless kids have many of the respiratory illnesses that put them at risk for catching COVID-19- such as asthma, and they are without an inhaler or access to consistent medical care. The demands of teaching have not subsided- we are still human shields against gunmen, still nose to the grind for state tests in two weeks, still babysitting although the kids aren’t really learning because they are anxious and overwhelmed. If there was a fight, an active shooter, or a gas smell and we needed to evacuate, we do not have enough staff. No“student friendly video” was provided to show kids about social distancing, precautions, HOW to properly wash their hands. The high school kids who do not attend school in their geographic district are traveling on multiple trains for up to two hours, then going home to inter generational households in small apartments. Kids are still kids, they are sharing potato chips, passing phones, tickling and being playful. If we wait for community spread, it will be too late. Call 311, tweet the mayor, this is a kindling fire.
HotGumption (Providence RI)
@Public School Teacher In DOE A completely compelling appeal to sanity. Teachers are targets of disdain whenever someone needs a scapegoat on the failure of so many kids to thrive, when it is actually teachers who are desperately and courageously trying to hold together this tattered human infrastructure. I feel your pain and righteous outrage. It sounds like a roaring fire already.
TMW (Albany, NY)
It would appear that Trump's incompetence will be directly linked to the deaths of many more people than should have happened. Why? Because of his concern for reelection. His stalling may cost us loved ones, who "maybe" could have been better prepared for a pandemic. Competent Leadership would have mobilized the appropriate Health Professionals to meet the needs of the US population.
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
"Those assumptions are based on what is known so far about how the virus has behaved in other contexts, including in China." These assumption have existed for six weeks. "Studies of previous epidemics have shown that the longer officials waited to encourage people to distance and protect themselves, the less useful those measures were in saving lives and preventing infections." Trump has substantially impaired our chances of saving lives and preventing infections.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
There have been other U.S. Presidents who were challenged by national health crises. Roosevelt (polio), Kennedy (smoking) and Reagan (AIDS -- although belatedly) all made important contributions to ameliorating these deadly health problems Hopefully, Trump will not prove to be the exception. Although he has bungled the opportunity to get ahead of the coronavirus, he still stands a very good chance of contributing greatly to our understanding of mental illness and obesity.
Philip W (Boston)
A family member has had a fever for 4 days and was told criteria for testing is so strict he doesn't qualify, but to quarantine for 14 days. So much for Trump's claim "plenty of test kits"
kay (new york)
US should ramp up production and distribution of disposable masks for the public and make them wear them by law like they did in San Fransisco, one of the very few cities who escaped massive deaths during the first wave of the1918 flu. Give them away for free along with hand sanitizer, especially in cities. Encourage businesses to let their employees work from home. It should be mandatory that people with any underlying health issues stay home. The only way to lower the deadly outcomes is to take action now to prevent it. The more mitigation, the better the outcome, as inconvenient as that is to some. Governors of cities need to be bold and aggressive. It could cut the death toll in half. Encourage people to stay home and wear disposable masks outside along with washing their hands everytime they go out and come home. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make it easy (and mandatory) for people to do the right thing.
tom harrison (seattle)
@kay - The overwhelming majority of cases here in Washington were people who had stayed at home, as in were in a home. They did not travel out and about the city and got exposed, they were at home and the virus came to them. More teenagers will die this year driving a car than almost the total number of COVID deaths across the planet so far. That should be our national concern right now.
Jacob Sommer (Medford, MA)
If we do not take drastic measures to combat the spread and deadliness of COVID-19, we face far more drastic impacts on our families, communities and societies. For example: what will happen if close to an extra 1% of our population dies within a year? What will that do to the housing market? Stocks, bonds and commodity markets? Struggling restaurants and supermarkets? What will that do to our healthcare system? Our hospitals? Our graveyards? Our insurance companies? Our banks? Our courts? All of these questions and many more need to be on the minds of our leadership if we want to deal appropriately with this outbreak. I have some faith in certain leaders in Congress and faith in the scientific prowess of the doctors still at the CDC. Unfortunately, I have no faith in the management planning of the current White House. Sorry, but dismissing your entire pandemic preparedness team (in 2018) and not replacing it, and drastically cutting back your international response team and not replacing those teams, and *even now* requesting cuts for the CDC while in the midst of the current pandemic, is an abject failure of public health management.
Kevin (Phoenix)
I question the closing of schools in areas with older populations. The schools serve as a protection for the elderly population during the daytime so that they can go about their day without worry of exposure to the virus. Now where are all these kids going to go? The expectation that they will stay at home all day in their rooms and stay 6-feet away from people is quite unrealistic.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Kevin - I'm older and already see a couple of specialists but if I wanted to, I could easily avoid kids the rest of my life. Every grocery in my area (except the Asian market) has a website and even home delivery. Or, I could order items online and pickup at the store right inside the front door. I do this with Lowes and Home Depot frequently - I let them find a 6"-to-5" reducer in their store. Or, I can go to the grocery store when they first open at 5 a.m. or just before closing when kids are still in bed. That is what I have been doing lately. But having schools open exposes every single teacher and staff member of a school to whatever is floating around a city during any given season. I have many options. The teachers have only one - teach and be exposed.
Rev Winton Dupree (UK)
Having followed Italian media on this I'd like to point something out about the mortality numbers coming out of Italy. Though they break the daily death toll down by age range, and it seems to show that otherwise well people under 60 or even 70 are at very low risk of dying, this is actually quite deceptive. The reason being that doctors in Italy are making heart-breaking but necessary decisions on who to treat based on a) probability of survival and b) expectations around probable remaining years of life. So, the variant death rates by age are at least in part due to differential treatment by age. Critically, from this it logically follows that the more overwhelmed health services are, the lower cut-off points for care that results in survival will be pushed, and the higher death rates for the under 70s will go.
woody (new york)
In light of this article, I cannot believe that the New York State Education Department is not lifting the 180-day school year mandate that is compelling New York State school districts to remain open, thereby contributing to the spread of the virus, thereby jeopardizing the health and well-being of students, teachers, administrators, staff and their families. What, besides a pandemic, would it take for the NYSED to rescind the mandate so that school district officials, in consultation with public health agencies, can make decisions in the best interest of their local communities.
patalcant (Southern California)
People in senior communities are panicking as they read statements like the following in your article: "...these groups have proven especially likely to become critically ill and die in the current coronavirus pandemic.." While there is no doubt that the relative risk of fatality for older adults who get this virus is very significant, as you will see from the link below the absolute numbers reflecting the odds of dying from it are about 15%, as seen in the link below. Therefore, even in those elderly populations the odds of surviving the virus are greater than the odds of dying. Yet, because of the way this has been cast in the media, as a geriatric clinician I am encountering countless older adults who are terrified, and that kind of stress in itself could be devastating to their health. Please try to bring more objectivity into your reporting and back up your claims with actual data. Even for intelligent older adults, many of whom read the NYT, the words "especially likely" imply that if they catch the virus the odds are that they will die. This is simply not so; according to the figures cited in the link, 85% in the 80+ age group would actually survive.
A part of the whole (USA)
@patalcant I agree the writer needs to be careful in describing the challenge and potential lethality. But a 15% fatality rate in any population group is a serious and frightening rate.
Dan (USA)
@patalcant Do you not understand how significant a 15% mortality rate is?
mja (LA, Calif)
@patalcant Not sure how you much you can trust the numbers when the actual testing and confirmation is so far behind. But, on an equally positive note, Mr. Trump now expects Mexico to pay for 85% of the wall . . .
Malinoismom (Spirit)
Too many people in my (very red) area are still saying that this is a sham, a scam, or a hoax. I fear that when we finally get hit, the refusal to take this seriously will make things much worse than if we stayed calm, educated ourselves on prevention, and took appropriate measures to slow the spread. We do not have testing yet (as of yesterday, per an RN friend employed at the local hospital) so no local cases have been reported. China took extraordinary measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, the likes of which will not be tolerated in the US. They locked down millions; yesterday I couldn't even get the person behind me in the Wal-Mart checkout line to back off by 3 feet.
Adam S Urban Warrior (Bronx NY)
@Malinoismom Those who go ostrich for whatever reason pay rhe ultimate price
History Guy (Connecticut)
@Malinoismom Generally speaking, Red areas score below the national average on tests of intelligence, are less educated than other areas, and have lower rates of college education. They are also more isolated than than the richer, more educated coasts where Covid is more prominent now. Couple ignorance and isolation and you get "hoax" or at least disbelief.
WeNeedFacts (Riding a Rainbow)
@Malinoismom: The best thing for you to do is, when you are again in Walmart with a crowd of disbelievers, say out loud "when people are dying in a few months, remember you were lied to." This will plant a seed in their mind, that will come alive when people begin to die in large numbers.
Malinoismom (Spirit)
Too many people in my (very red) area are still saying that this is a sham, a scam, or a hoax. I fear that when we finally get hit, the refusal to take this seriously will make things much worse than if we stayed calm, educated ourselves on prevention, and took appropriate measures to slow the spread. We do not have testing yet (as of yesterday, per an RN friend employed at the local hospital) so no local cases have been reported. China took extraordinary measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, the likes of which will not be tolerated in the US. They locked down millions; yesterday I couldn't even get the person behind me in the Wal-Mart checkout line to back off by 3 feet.
Pete (California)
@Malinoismom If you can, move before living in a red area becomes a threat to your life.
Owen (California)
@Malinoismom The lower case numbers in rural areas are due to virtually zero testing, a situation likely to change dramatically if and when this starts. I'll be curious then if folks in red states still think it's a hoax once their older populations with less access to health care start dying at higher rates.
Dr.MD (California)
In a Hospital I work it is business as usual. I guess they didn’t get a memo.Lots of surgeons would like to curb elective procedures, but hospital administration doesn’t want to loose income.We are already short on many supplies, including personal protection equipment and some of PPE is inadequate for dealing with this type of infection.If schools in the area are going to close, lots of nurses will stay at home, besides we are not properly trained to use Hazmat type PPE and I predict that lots of health care workers will get infected.We have waisted lots of time on both local and federal level and I do not see turn in right direction yet. We should all demand action and accountability from those responsible, it is the only way to turn the tide.
RSSF (San Francisco)
The cost of taking care of mass infection of millions will be a lot more than taking steps at a war footing to spot the spread now. these should include NOW: 1) Radically greater testing availability and capability. Allow automated testing for all labs. 2) Free testing on doctor's agreement. No guidelines/requirements beyond that. 3) Drive through testing in all major metropolitan areas, and hotbeds. 4) Protective suits and masks for medical personnel. 5) All pandemic/epidemic costs/treatment to be borne by government as a matter of public health policy (just like fire and police protection) MID-TERM: 1) Continue vaccine and treatment development. IN FUTURE: 1) Contingency epidemic plan in place. 2) Use the first available kits (from WHO or wherever else), rather than delaying and developing our own. 3) Stockpile test kits, protective gear. Just like Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Periodically use for regular use from reserve and replenish with new. 4) Assign specific industry responsibility for key products (e.g., Johnson n Johnson to develop swabs, 3M for protective gear, etc.) as a requirement for doing business, and require them to have contingency plans to deliver in quantities when needed.
It makes no sense to draw up US models based on experience from China or South Korea, which are light-years ahead of the US in their response. China opened 14 new hospitals in days. It never ran out of ventilators because only a tiny portion of the country was in the outbreak zone, so it could ship them in from elsewhere. A better example for the US is Italy -- though even Italy has taken much stronger measures than the US and will see much slower new infection rates. So this model assumed that "either 1 percent or a quarter of a percent of people experiencing symptoms would die. Those assumptions are based on what is known so far about how the virus has behaved in other contexts, including in China." But China's hospital capacity was never overwhelmed. Covid-19 probably does have a case fatality rate of about 0.5% when ICU space and ventilators are available. Once that capacity is surpassed the death rate rockets. Italy is reporting 6.63%. I won't do the math to tell you what that would mean for the US, and you might not want to either.
tom harrison (seattle)
@OD - Fortunately for me, I have YouTube insurance. Its the best! I have already found a chiropractor channel where I have been taught how to intubate myself. And I have found a Russian hack channel where I have learned how to make such a device using a Coke can, a garden hose, and a fireplace bellows. I'm good!
Malcolm (NYC)
If you feel safe, or if you are young and healthy but feel your more vulnerable, older loved ones are safe, you are wrong. We do not know how many people are infected already, because we don't have nearly adequate testing. We do not know how the greater part of the US is faring, because we have no testing. The virus does not immediately manifest itself as a whole lot of hospitalizations, because it can spread widely before the symptoms are present in individuals. That revealing imagery of the sunny breeze before the hurricane is apt And that sunny breeze could last for two or three weeks in your town or city before that hurricane hits. Cities and states that practice social isolation tactics now WILL be in better shape in two or three weeks' or months' time. Not 'may' -- WILL.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Malcolm - Its been 2 weeks since the first deaths in Kirkland. By now, large swaths of people should be heading to the hospital but that is not the case yet. But we are avoiding each other like the plague. Even the hookers are quiet in my neighborhood.
EB (San Diego)
It's hard to be sure how things will unfold, but unfolding they are...most of my professor and teacher friends are switching to online work. Some friends are now home, worried about bills and healthcare coverage. It's a shame we don't have universal healthcare and lack coherent national leadership. As a former hospital COO, I'll be checking with state and local officials online to stay abreast of the latest planning, the latest advice. And I'll keep tabs on my friends, closely. As they will on me.
Steve Fortuna (Hawaii)
How unfortunate that this great chance to thin the human herd will at worst take 1/2 a million Americans. At 65, I'm more than ready to be among the This is a drop in the bucket compared to the pruning the population needs to reach the design and use specifications for the infrastructure we have. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America needs to lose over 30 million people in order to match the population that can be handled safely by our current road, water, sewer, freight terminal and transportation infrastructure. Bottom line, unless a major telecommuting initiative and paid family leave program are realized, traffic gridlock, grimy, sweaty and grueling commutes will continue; water filtration and delivery systems will continue to erode and airports, bridges and ports will continue to be bottlenecks until we run out of cemetery space. OR we can pretend to be a 21st Century First World nation and start spending and investing like one so this kind of Medieval outcome becomes a remote possibility. That means TAXES, from Bezos, Musk, Koch, Gates and the rest. If mass pandemic isn't enough to get a balanced progressive tax system in place, then we might as well buy indulgencies, self-flagellate and light incense censures.
smeagel (new mexico)
We still remain well behind the rest of the world in our ability to test people. There is not adequate testing and most place take at least 24 to 48 hours to get the results of the test. We have only testing about 12000 people so far, the only facility that has a test that allows results to be given in about 6 hours it on hospital in Nebraska. My attitude based on the response from out inept gov't leaders the best advice is expect the worst and hope for the best.
Jim (PA)
It is universally agreed upon in the health care community that America’s Achille’s Heel for this specific crisis is the number of ventilators. That is the one most critical piece of equipment that can save a gravely infected patient whose lungs are failing. There is too much discussion about hospital beds. “Beds” mean nothing; a cot with a ventilator beats a bed without one every time. So, what is the government doing about this? Has anyone contacted the ventilator manufacturers, offered them a contract and told them to go to two or three production shifts a day? It seems like this would be a minuscule investment and have a profound impact.
Herr Andersson (Grönköping)
The NYT is doing excellent reporting about the pandemic, especially in the Daily podcast. I hope it wins awards for the important reporting about what other countries have done to beat the virus. It just goes to show that when the NYT stops trying to be a political organ, there are still tremendous reporters there.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Herr Andersson - It should win an award simply for lifting the subscription cost to keep people informed during a health crisis.
Jazz Paw (California)
The delay in ramping up testing and the happy talk from Trump and his allies is causing this time bomb to increase in severity. The trajectory in other countries cannot be ignored. This will probably explode in the coming weeks. More preparation and lockdown early should be emphasized in the media to limit the intensity of this epidemic. We have no reported cases yet in my city, but I am largely locking down except when absolutely necessary. I believe the virus is in my community and by the time we see it reported, many will already be infected and headed for trouble.
AlennaM (Laurel, MD)
On a positive side, all of this "social distancing" and sanitizing will probably help reduce the numbers of basic colds and flu and other contagious diseases too. On the negative side, what about the effects of all of these sanitizing ingredients on the environment. It all has to go somewhere, and I suspect we will have lots of dead fish, algae, insects, and other creatures as we poison rivers and lake with hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps.
Jane Bond (Eastern CT)
@AlennaM Also respecting the gravity and imperatives of the situation (no need to bash, NYT readers, no more water conservation, either, as we need to wash hands for several minutes, and more frequently. But at least, proven reduced pollution already in China.
tom harrison (seattle)
@AlennaM - I was at the hospital this week and one nurse was showing her hands to another nurse. The frequent use of the hand sanitizer is literally burning her skin.
Dave T (Seattle)
Ethanol, the ingredient in hand sanitizers, is biodegradeable.
Malinoismom (Spirit)
If I put 50 Skittles in a bowl, but one was poison, would you eat from the bowl? Oops, wait I think that analogy was used already... I keep hearing from many in my (very red) community that this is a scam, a sham, or a hoax, and doesn't need to be taken seriously. We're a little off the beaten path so we haven't yet been impacted much, then again testing is not available locally. (This from an RN friend working in our local hospital). While I keep telling co-workers not to panic, I'm also trying to explain this is real and we have to take measures to help in the fight. I think much of what I'm saying falls on MAGA-deaf ears. This behavior will make things much worse when we do finally get hit. Our local demographic also skews to elderly, sick and elderly, plus higher than average number of smokers, binge drinkers, and opiate users. We are a potential disaster in the making. (Apologies to the makers of Skittles, which I really do like.)
Bill B. (Pensacola, FL.)
@Malinoismom What your letter suggests is Red State people by their refusal to acknowledge the epidemic may well die off in greater numbers. Do you see now how ignorance is very much at play as an evolutionary feature?
Stourley Kracklite (White Plains, NY)
"It remains unclear how far Americans will go in adopting socially disruptive steps that could help avert deaths." Steps *are* being taken. Implying that they are not and that dire consequences may therefore result is counterproductive.
IN (New York)
The public health reality is very distressing and should prompt a comprehensive reassessment of our current hospital bed model. There is a need to have in reserve additional hospital beds and ICU facilities and respirators to deal adequately for extreme pandemics in the future. The planning must start now so that we can learn from the mistakes in our handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. In the future there must be thorough testing of all the public and visitors to our country as soon as possible so that there is more adequate information to handle the pandemic properly and prevent its community spread. This will require much more efficient global health cooperation. In addition, we must study the Chinese model of quarantining patients so that we can improve our practices and mitigate the consequences of this virus as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.
Richard (Savannah Georgia)
Unbelievable. I just read that the Trump administration just blocks states from using Medicaid to respond to coronavirus crisis even though this has been done in other fast moving health crises. Trump has botched testing and now he’s delaying emergency response and expanded medical care! Trump’s no leader. Trump’s no friend.
Bill B. (Pensacola, FL.)
@Richard Trump has undercut most of the sound procedures public health planners have tried to put into place.
Tom (San Francisco)
I've sent this to Kamala Harris' office. We need for the government to pay the cruise ship industry for their ships. We can dock them in port and use them as beds. Obviously, critical care won't work, but have something like 3000 beds each. This is assuming we have medical staffing and medicine to care for those patients.....
tom harrison (seattle)
@Tom - I like your idea. If I had to be quarantined, I would rather it came with a shuffleboard and an afternoon buffet than being locked up on some floor of a hospital listening to the overhead speaker call for Dr. X all night long.
CATango (Ventura)
In modeling, it is entirely appropriate to build high/low/conservative scenarios, as this appears to be. But it is entirely wrong to pick one or the other and to deliver that as "the" model.The next and key aspect would be to assign probabilities to each: say, 5% for the low/optimistic scenario, and say 50% for midrange scenario, and then a number for high estimates; 5%? Ten percent for a worst-case catastrophic scenario would be very high since it would exceed the 1918 pandemic by a huge margin. With infinite resources you might plan for worst case, but in the real world you are forced to pick the "likely" number, which would the sum of probability for each times that number, all summed. That would give you a "best estimate," absent any information that tells you one or the other is 100% probable. My discussion yesterday with a very senior doc at Cedars Sinai in the lung transplant area heard him say he thinks case fatality rates, including China's, are in the 2-3%, and that with huge underreporting to date, that could be cut in half. About what a “bad flu” would give us. This piece says this pandemic is equally transmissible as the 1918 flu with 625,000 deaths. That would have been about 0.6% overall fatality rate, translating to almost 2 million today. Catastrophic at the local level; it would hit older people and less healthy more. But not catastrophic to society. I’m in a high risk group, as is my lung tx son.
I need some recovery stories. I want to know what things are like on the other side. Let’s hear from the patients, nurses and doctors...those that have an ounce of time right now.
tom harrison (seattle)
@A - The very first American case never got sick enough to call a doctor but did so after seeing a news report about this virus. He was moved to a small regional hospital north of Seattle rather than the top research facilities in town. They watched him for a few weeks and let him out all good to go. He is a male, about 30 years old, and had travelled to Wuhan before it got locked down. A local teenager felt ill on a Monday and stayed home from school. He went back on Friday and for some reason, he got tested and was positive. But he did not get rushed to the ER and die. No, he will attend his senior prom provided he stays away from drinking/driving and Tide Pod challenges. I could give you lots of local stories like this. If you are elderly and already in a nursing facility then this is as serious as a flu bug or pneumonia. If you have been put into a nursing facility, you have to be pretty ill to begin with.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
Why no testing kits yet? Why has the subject been classified? This entire situation smells to high heaven. Someone is lying. How much does Trump stand to profit?
Mike C. (Florida)
Republicans won't like this article at all... They're still in denial. Many still think it's a hoax or a means to manipulate the stock market. Under Trump they've developed complete mistrust of science, math and the government. It's unfortunate the U.S. has an average IQ of 98 and is ranked about 25th in intelligence. As for the epidemic, Trumpers have a serious date with reality.
JCC (Newport Beach, CA)
I literally threw my phone across the room last night when my 66 y/o mother-in-law sent us a link to a Dennis Prager video titled, “Panic, or Pandemic?” In it he asks why we don’t get so worked up about the flu, along with other right-wing talking points that are currently circulating. This, on top of an article sent by my own 74 y/o mother from some obscure conservative website proclaiming that coronavirus cases are already tapering around the world, but it isn’t reported because “dems want us scared.” The article is prefaced with a long disclaimer from the author that they have no medical or epidemiology training. Sigh. Meanwhile, my husband and I are actively reading the Times, the WSJ, the Atlantic, news from Italy, and updates from the CDC, WHO, and NIH. We’re limiting outings, postponing travel, working from home, and our kids’ school just closed. We’re making all these sacrifices for our parents’ generation, and guess what, they don’t want to be protected! They’re still going to the theater, singing in an enormous choir at church, planning vacations to Europe, etc. I really believe if Democrats were in power, and minimizing this virus in the media, my mom would be digging up all sorts of articles on how dangerous this virus is, and complaining that Democrats don’t care about the elderly. How did we become so cynical? I’ve moved more center left over the years, and now see Fox News for the cultural poison that it is. I just want to cry.
Robert (Out west)
Your mom’s not cynical; she’s scared, so she’s gone to the equivalent of pulling the blankie up over her head so the monsters can’t find her.
Max (NYC)
How is it possible that my beloved CDC, the organization that inspired me to go into medicine and global health, the organization that I’ve admired, respected and looked up to ever since I was old enough to know I wanted to be a doctor and a researcher, allowed itself to be so thoroughly corrupted and coopted by Trump and his poisonous administration? History will not be kind. To quote a great man: it takes [many] years to develop a good reputation and only 5 minutes to completely destroy it. History will not be kind. Thank goodness for Tony Fauci.
Matt Andersson (Chicago)
The worst-case estimate is actually the best-case outcome for the underwriters of the program. Out of sight of most of the public last year at Davos--and by extension the W.H.O.--was the effective ratification of the ID2020 program. It may seem unreasonable but is quite real: https://www.globalresearch.ca/coronavirus-causes-effects-real-danger-agenda-id2020/5706153. The author and director don't get the whole story, but they're close. Regards.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Matt Andersson - :) I see you have been listening to David Icke:))
Sherry (Washington)
Too bad this was kept secret. Maybe if people had known the worst case scenario we would have been better prepared to avoid it. Then again, since Trump ditched his epidemic team in 2018 in his never-ending quest to undo whatever Obama did, maybe they would have stumbled ineptly anyway.
RNS (Piedmont Quebec Canada)
Governors, mayors, state and local health officials should be the only ones you pay attention to. Heads of pro sports leagues should also be applauded for their actions. No one should pay the slightest attention to that lump, perched on the edge of his chair, sporting a scowl, spewing out misinformation and outright lies.
Rick Tornello (Chantilly VA)
Keeping the data from the public? Impeach him again, make him test for the virus, make all the staff and family test. All the other world leaders are being just that LEADERS. Then impeach him again.
Maria Rodriguez (Texas)
We pound Iran and China and other "non-democratic" governments with accusations about not being transparent and here we are in a Democracy and not even the media can get accurate information. And worse, now these meetings will be "classified" which means the public is left to make up stuff and fend for themselves, even subscribing to fake cures promoted by "upstanding" religious zealots. The so-called leader of this country has shown the many potholes in the Constitutions, which have been used effectively by the demagogue to avoid the law and enrich himself and his family. Hurricane Maria uncovered the vast inequities in Puerto Rico, and now the coronavirus is showing the vast inequities and shortcomings of this administration and his hooligans.
Re the hopeful statistics coming out of China that the numbers are going down. Don't believe them. A friend talked with a co-worker who has family in China. People who have symptoms are choosing not to notify medical personnel or the authorities because, if they do, they will be sent to quarantine detention camps. Instead, those with symptoms are hiding out in their homes.
Robert (Out west)
Oh. Somebody talked to somebody who talked to somebody, and this I am spozed to believe.
citizen vox (san francisco)
Thank you for this piece. It's good to know even this little bit of information from the CDC. Although the information I found useful was annoyingly scattered throughout the text, they could be found. How about a follow up piece focusing on what the CDC has learned from the experience of China, Italy, S. Korea? I heard a report yesterday of mortality rates from covid 19; they were strikingly different in different countries. Let's learn more. I had forgotten how important the CDC used to be. In the 1980's, when I earned my MPH in Epidemiology, the CDC was the dominant public health institution in the US. We all looked to it as THE source of research and data on all aspects of our public health. Its waning importance may be due to cuts in funding over the years, And there is at least one area (research on gun violence) that was politically suppressed via threats of funding cuts. So there are at least these two factors that surely weakened this once strong institution. I notice Fauci of NIH has stepped in as the major voice of public health. However, I doubt even Fauci can replace a major institution. In the absence of a strong federal response, states and cities are left to respond on their own. Much as I value the independence of our state, epidemics, pandemics do not stay within state or national borders and so there is need for strong federal and global leadership. In these days of covid 19, we lack strong institutions and the president is woefully inadequate.
Martha Reis (Edina, MN)
One thing that is strikingly absent from the White House: mention of the greater good. Healthy people need to act to help all people. If we each practice "social distancing," we can collectively delay the peak numbers or reduce the total peak numbers. Whatever we can do to reduce burden on hospitals and emergency rooms, we must do - as a people. As the prime minister of the UK has said: Loved ones will be lost before their time. This is a time to rally Americans to reduce "social risk." With this administration, it is also a time when we need at the local level to overcome the moral vacuum at the top.
Martha Reis (Edina, MN)
@Jackson It's a moral imperative in a time of crisis to explain to people what they can and should do to help the society as a whole. It's what responsible government does.
Liz Varley (Milwaukie Oregon)
I'm very grateful that we have the excellent reporting of Sheri Fink to fill in when the CDC and the Trump Admin can't get a clear message through. The CDC worries about inducing panic with less than 100% proven information, but here we have a clear and rationalized explanation for why it is important to take measures as soon as possible to prevent a spike in cases that our healthcare system simply can't handle. While I'm sure some people want answers, and will panic regardless, most of us just want a little direction, and perhaps need a little encouragement in the form of statistics.
Dan M (Massachusetts)
There are worst case scenarios for numerous types of nuclear, biological and chemical catastrophes. I find it amazing that many commenters have no concept of limited resources and emergency management. Should there be 200 Million beds stored in warehouses ? Along with prefabricated mobile hospitals that can be immediately assembled with capacity for those 200 Million beds ? The NYT had an opinion piece in 2001 about preparedness for anthrax attacks and smallpox outbreaks. I quote from the NYT 19 years ago on the subject of antibiotics. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/07/opinion/fears-of-anthrax-and-smallpox.html "From a societal viewpoint, it makes little sense to divert precious antibiotics to cope with a problem that is unlikely to materialize."
Robert (Out west)
1. That’s an opinion piece. 2. It ISN’T likely that we’d have a giant smallpox outbreak. 3. It has been likely for THIRTY YEARS that we’d have an outbreak of a highly-contagious, flu-like virus. We were told this again, again, again, and again. And by the way, Trump FIRED the NSC guy and the staff THAT HANDLED EPIDEMICS. And cut the preparedness funding and staff.
Deus (Toronto)
@Dan M No, those are the words coming out of the mouths of the CEOs of corporations within the "private" healthcare system in America.
MD (tx)
This article only adds evidence to my worst fears: that the gov't is covering this up and agencies like the CDC are being muzzled by the leader(s) on the very top, or are having to answer to the politicians who appointed them and not the public. They are not communicating with the public on purpose. Testing is not being rolled out on purpose. If you don't test people, you can keep the official case numbers low. The problem doesn't exist. The sad thing is that if you don't have "layers" of social distancing like the article said, a few of us doing the right thing will make no difference. The non-believers (aka people who think this is a "fake" virus or "hoax) will indeed end up going about their lives like normal and contributing to horrible outcomes.I really don't know what can be done.
Ben Ludlow (NJ)
This is a human tragedy unfolding in real time. Estimates of between 200k and 1.7 million people will die. While he didn't cause this, Trump has stalled the response by trying to "control the narrative" in an election year to boost his chances of reelection. Treating coronavirus essentially as a "PR problem." Putting self-interest above public interest in a pandemic like this is criminal negligence. Aside from impeachment, this will be his only real legacy.
Sam (NY)
If and when a vaccine is produced, how long would it take to produce and distribute enough vaccines for everyone in the U.S.? A year?
Paul (Atlanta, GA)
@Sam and how will you convince people to take the vaccine in enough numbers to be effective for the commnunity.
Zejee (Bronx)
And how will people afford it
Sam (NY)
@Zejee Free, like most flu shots currently are. If not, government should pay.
Patrick Henry (USA)
This isn’t a zombie apocalypse movie, although some of the panic shopping behaviors look like it. Hunker down, be with your family, make good chili, work when you need to, and read a book. Now is the time make some simple life changes and get a few things done. Nothing crazy, keep it simple. Get some spring cleaning out of the way, it’s a good time. Lay low because if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And wash your hands.
Son Of Liberty (nyc)
The basic problem for America right now is that C.D.C. and epidemic experts, like experts in various fields, have been systematically discreded by Donald Trump and the GOP. Experts knowledge often conflicts with their political goals and to achieve these, Donald Trump needs to be able to become a dictator. The other day Donald Trump claimed that his knowledge of Covid-19 comes from the fact that his uncle was an MIT professor even though most Americans, know that this is not how knowledge is imparted. With 49% Republicans saying they do not believe in evolution, it may be difficult just to get them just to wash their hands.
Erik Frederiksen (Oakland, CA)
Lack of critical thinking ability in Trump and his followers breeds complacency about this virus. They will take less precautions and have a higher infection rate. If it weren’t the case that these folks will also infect others I’d just brush it off as natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Incredulous of 45 (NYC)
The most troubling aspect of this pandemic, especially in our modern nation, is that we are unable to and do not have nearly the same number of testing kits as other developed nations are ==SOMEHOW== able to produce and use. Why is this? Related is the fact that trump, who is so bent on casting blame and avoiding responsibility, has not blamed the CDC or any government agency for a lack of test kits. Last night I saw Dr. Fauci, whom I respect greatly and see him as one of the few experts trying to help, was asked to explain the great shortage of test kits. His response was odd. He said we do not have the ability to create enough test kits. This is problematic because one it's not true. We have at least equal capability as Germany, Italy, and the U.K. (in fact we have more manufacturers authorized by the FDA in this industry, than Europe has such companies). Second, it's problematic because that does not explain the extremely low number of actual test kits distributed (acknowledged by state labs). trump last night said there are "4 million kits". Last week he and Pence both said 1 million test kits had been shipped. So in a week we produced 3 million test kits, yet few state labs have enough? Most state labs say they have about a thousand. Relatedly, CNN's Dr. Gupta said that the CDC is testing around 8 coronavirus cases a day, when in South Korea they test 10,000 per day. Why? Why is the trump administration not allowing/doing testing? Can someone explain, please?
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
@Incredulous of 45 Supply side Economics. Grover Norquist. Laffer Curve.
Janelle Carron (St. Louis)
As a retired nurse I am saying, believe the epidemiologists and the public health experts. Two is not a big number, but let's do some math: 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2........ Now we have a serious number. If Italy had paid attention to the math when things "weren't too bad", they wouldn't be living the crisis they are today. Are we ready as a society for our doctors to tell us they are taking our mothers or grandmothers, who are currently on ventilators for their FLU/COPD illness, off of their lifesaving treatments so that a 45 y.o husband and father of younger children with serious COVID19 can have a reasonable chance of recovery. Or do you want to be triaged out of the limited health care lottery? Yes, this will be a common scenario if we don't take the critical advice of our public health experts and practice some social distancing. The leadership from our WH has been woefully negligent and criminal and our CDC, which was once the preeminent expert in global health, has been decimated during the last 3 years. All of the horses are out of the barn and everyone one of us must do our part now to halt some of the spread of this disease. My parents were asked to make sacrifices during the Great Depression and WWII. This is the crisis of our lifetime and we must step up and sacrifice some of our social lives to protect the greater society. I am proud of my St. Louis hometown's history of doing the right thing a century ago and hope that we can do the same thing now.
Jazz Paw (California)
@Janelle Carron Thank you for making this real for readers. We have a society that is ignorant of the potential scale of this epidemic, and in too many cases politically motivated to ignore the math, science and health facts that should be informing their behavior for the next weeks and months.
Misplaced Modifier (Former United States Of America)
If you think about what Trump has done — claiming this pandemic a hoax — and if you think about what his supporters in the Senate, Fox News media, and social media (Facebook and Twitter) have done in propagating that message — then it seems clear that Trump’s actions go beyond dereliction of duty or incompetence. Trump and his team KNEW about Coronavirus at least a month before it arrived in the states and they did nothing to prepare or alert the public. Furthermore, Trump continues to push cuts to Medicaid and Social Security. His Republicans have also voted against coronavirus emergency aid. What kind of heartless, irresponsible people behave this way? Trump and his powerful group of supporters in Congress and media — all of whom who have a special privilege of access to public trust and public attention — have made a conscious decision to call a highly contagious airborne deadly new pandemic a “hoax.” That is unconscionable, unethical, immoral and in my view criminal. The decisions these men are making have already led to lives needlessly lost and will probably end in hundreds of thousands if not millions of senseless deaths. All because a narcissistic president wanted his “numbers” to look good. Everyone involved in the Trump circle is engaging in immoral activities of the highest order.
EpidemDoc (Planet Earth)
From the live updates at The Guardian: “The Jack Ma Foundation, the charitable foundation set up by the founder of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, has announced plans to donate 500,000 testing kits and a million masks to the United States.” But will the U.S. accept? This administration already turned down test kit offers from the WHO. Trump and his administration and all those science-denying freaks at Fox have blood on their hands.
See also