M-m-m-my Corona: Journal #1

The ideas, thoughts, and resources that follow are intentionally not in any sort of logical order. Just where my mind, my fingers, and Google have taken me as I try to learn more about COVID-19 and its impact on our world.


1) Two subreddits of interest: t/coronavirus and r/dataisbeutiful.


The coronavirus subreddit is a solid resource for daily news and discussions related to the spread of the infection. Dataisbeautiful is an awesome subreddit regardless of what's going on in the world; however, during our current situation, it has become an amazing place to find visuals of various data sets related to COVID-19.


2) MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis COVID-19 Reports


The MRC Centre at Imperial College London has a group of over 200 researchers who specialize in modeling infectious diseases. Their reports are obviously very technical; however, I think they're at least somewhat approachable.


Their 9th report on the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs: things such as social distancing and household quarantine of families) created buzz on various news outlets. The report provides a somewhat bleak outlook on where the UK and the US could head with or without certain NPIs.


What I took from this:

- Regardless of whether their models are accurate or not (more on that below), the impact of nationwide social distancing is obvious. Also, the impact of closing schools/universities seems to be a double-edged sword based on their models. On one hand, it slows the spread of the infection; on the other, it lowers the number of available healthcare workers due to a lack of childcare, which can lead to a higher mortality rate.


3) This Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Bill Gates on COVID-19.


It's always fun to see a pretty brilliant mind respond to interesting questions. One question in particular had to do with the Imperial College study linked above. Gates argued that the researchers at Imperial College were a little too negative in the assumptions they used in their models. He mentioned he is personally funding another organization---the Institute for Disease Modeling---to develop additional models for monitoring and combating COVID-19.

4) Two interesting videos on the Wuhan outbreak and response.


This short documentary on the impact of COVID-19 and Wuhan's lockdown is really interesting and worth watching. Let me just say this: transferring 20,000 medical professionals to a single province to combat a disease is a remarkable (and somewhat ominous) response. Also, the vast majority of Hubei province is still on a total lockdown (no transportation, no movement in the streets). They've been under lockdown for almost two months.


Another video from the South China Morning Post that details some of the specific actions China took to respond to their COVID-19 outbreak. They built two hospitals. In days.


Days.

More later.


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