American Elephants


The Day Before St. Patrick’s Update by The Elephant's Child

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “CoronaVirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

“On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. This declaration freed up funding and regulations to aid in efforts until Congress had a chance to act. President Trump also halted all travel from China, other affected areas, and put Americans returning from China into quarantine. On March 11, WHO publicly  characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak. a National Emergency

That’s the official language and dates from the CDC. Washington State and New York State each have 501 to 1,000 cases. King County has reported  today, March 16, that they have 420 confirmed cases and one more death. Snohomish County,  reports 176 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Pierce County 29 confirmed cases and Island County had 6. Which indicates that a lot more testing has been done. Scientists here in King County have produced a vaccine, which has just begun human testing.

I am currently re-reading John McPhee’s Table of Contents. In an essay about scientists at Princeton, he quotes Freeman Dyson as saying: “The first rule of technology is that no one can tell in advance whether a piece of technology is any good. It will hang on things that are unforeseeable. In groping around, one wants to try out things that are quick and cheap and find out what doesn’t work.” which applies to our current situation rather nicely.

ADDENDUM: Late day, checking in with King County virus updates: Confirmed cases have reached 488. This demonstrates that testing is increasing, and identifying those who have been infected. This is a good thing. As testing increases, you should expect numbers to rise–not because infections are increasing necessarily, but because existing infections are being identified. Sadly, 43 deaths in total, most from the nursing home in Kirkland.


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