A Covid-19 reading list for March 27

Here is a list of coronavirus-related articles, podcasts, and threads from around the internet that caught our eye:

  • Rumors surfaced yesterday that Neil Ferguson, one of the authors of the Imperial College paper whose forecasts spurred governments into taking more stringent actions to combat Covid-19’s transmission, had walked back his initial estimates. Those rumors were false, as Ferguson himself explains.
  • The relative success of early containment measures does not mean fears of Covid-19’s spread are overblown or early forecasts were wrong. They also don’t mean we’re out of the woods. This thread from epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch explain why.
  • “Their models are not meant to be crystal balls predicting exact numbers or dates. They forecast how diseases will spread under different conditions” This piece explains how epidemiological modeling works, why their baked in assumptions are so important and why many of the accusations against them are deeply misguided.
  • One example of why the assumptions built into epidemiological models matter is the new model released Thursday by the University of Washington. The model predicts that the national coronavirus mortality peak will come in mid-April, and that we will reach less than 10 deaths/day by the first week of June. However, the model makes some bold assumptions: namely, that all remaining states that have not enacted strict restrictions on residents will do so in the next week — and that the population will abide by them until summer.
  • A new national poll shows that Fox viewers are much less likely to take the pandemic seriously even as compared to other Republicans.
  • We talk a lot about Covid-19’s mortality rate and a lot less about the immense suffering it causes even to those who experience “moderate” symptoms. This thread is a stark reminder of that.
  • These accounts of death and despair in Seattle and New York, two of the earliest cities to be hit hard by coronavirus, area powerful and frightening reminder of what may be to come for the rest of us.
  • A $2.2 trillion stimulus package is a lot of money. Here’s why even the strictest deficit hawks shouldn’t be worried.
  • “The coronavirus, which has already infected hundreds of thousands of people around the globe could rip through these camps with devastating speed and mortality.” Conditions in refugee camps are already bad enough — coronavirus could make them catastrophic.
  • Here’s a glossary of coronavirus-related terms from “ventilator vs. respirator” to “quarantine vs. isolation” and more.
  • “The resourcefulness of wartime economies offers a useful template for thinking about the broader context of the coronavirus crisis” writes Nicholas Mulder. “When societies shift their economies to a war footing, it doesn’t just help them survive a crisis—it alters them forever.”

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