An autopsy of the USA's COVID-19 response
Major article in The Atlantic documents years of failure leading up to the colossal mess that is our present experience; Other news: CDC tells travelers to stay home, and it's no time for cruising.
I hope everyone had a chance to rest over the weekend — while keeping a distance from those outside your own households. Social distancing, face-covering and keeping hands clean are the facts of life for the foreseeable future.
An epic, outstanding article just out from The Atlantic, “How the Pandemic Defeated America,” details systemic issues, leadership mistakes, and many other factors that contributed to the current mess that is COVID-19 in the USA. From hospital supply chains relying on just-in-time deliveries to politicians who ignored year after year of warnings about emerging infectious diseases, journalist Ed Yong finds plenty of blame to go around — and even more problems to solve.
The numbers are still going up, but not as fast in some of. the hard-hit areas.
Scientists are starting to publicly raise concerns about the possibility of political pressure influencing vaccine review and approval by the FDA. “With so many potential shots on goal, scientists are optimistic that a safe and effective vaccine is out there. We can’t afford to jeopardize the public’s health and hard-earned trust by approving anything short of that,” writes vaccine researcher Natalie Dean of the University of Florida in the New York Times.
No certainty but more indication that a recent mutation increases COVID-19’s virulence: You may recall reports from late June about a mutation of the “spike” protein on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Although that report was questioned at the time, there is mounting evidence that this mutation - first found in COVID-19 cases that came to the USA from Europe - is more infectious than the virus that entered the USA from China around the same time.
Another setback for the cruise industry: Despite major efforts to improve sanitation and infection control procedures, two cruise ships that resumed limited operation with guests are now coping with COVID-19 on board.
The CDC’s updated guidelines on travel in the USA have a key message: stay home if you can.
Now at least 21 men who were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco have died from COVID-19. The outbreak at the 1800s-era prison began when infected inmates from another prison were transferred into the previously COVID-free medium-security San Quentin.
COVID-19 has forced every government agency to rethink how it operates. The reliance on printed blueprints and other documents to secure building permits hinders adoption of energy efficient solar power and other innovations. The co-founder of one of my clients, Andrew Birch of OpenSolar, is involved in an effort to standardize and digitize the process to get permits for new solar power installations. Here’s an article that explains why digitizing solar power permits is even more important as we cope with COVID-19.