Pros and Cons of Corona

The London Times reports on the Wuhan coronavirus in Italy:

Giuseppe Natalini, head of intensive care at the Fondazione Poliambulanza hospital in the northern Italian city of Brescia, one of the places hit hardest by the coronavirus, does not mince his words.

“The situation is catastrophic, unimaginable,” he said. “If someone had told me on February 21 [when the first cluster of cases was diagnosed in Italy] that today we would be in this situation, I would not have believed it.

“Two or three weeks ago I would have considered the strict measures that have been in place in Italy disproportionate and alarmist. Now, absolutely not.”

Italy had 17,660 coronavirus cases and 1,266 deaths by Friday.

That works out to 7 percent mortality so far.

Natalini urged Britain and other European countries, feared to be two weeks or so behind Italy, to step up their containment measures before it is too late.

“It is fundamentally important to avoid any large groups of people getting together until this is over,” he said. “Italy was the first in Europe to pay the price for mistakes it made unwittingly. It got burnt and is now learning the lesson. Anyone who gets burnt a second time is a fool. When this infection explodes, you are facing an apocalyptic situation.”

In the U.S., large groups of people have pretty much stopped assembling. My organization, Center of the American Experiment, holds an Annual Dinner as a fundraiser. Our event, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the featured speaker, was scheduled for April 4. It generally draws from 800 to 1,200 people. We were deliberating whether we needed to try to reschedule the dinner when we got a call from the Minneapolis Convention Center telling us that they have canceled all large events through April 12. Happily, we were able to reschedule for June 18. I assume the country will be back in business by then.

Earlier today, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams delivered a briefing that appears more optimistic than the apocalyptic vision of Italy portrayed above. Among other things, he said:

Almost all people will recover, 98, 99 percent of people will recover. People need to know that. We heard a great story from NPR this morning about an 89-year-old from that nursing home facility in Seattle who has recovered. Number two, we must lean into protecting the most vulnerable. Those with chronic or severe medical conditions, especially seniors. Now is the time for us to lean into that and we are taking measures to protect them at HHS.
We need your help. Social distancing and mitigation, they’re not to protect the 30-year-old or the 20-year-old from getting coronavirus. They’re to protect your nana. They’re to protect your granddaddy. They’re to protect the people who you love in your lives and we need your help.

Let’s hope the more optimistic view proves true here.

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