Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bleach and Beaches - how human behavior amplifies COVID-19

To be sure, the coronavirus is deadly on its own. But human behaviors being the fallible things they are can amplify COVID–19. Here are two cases in point.

Case 1. I knew this was coming. The Daily Beast reports that a Kansas Man Chugged Cleaning Product After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments

He obviously didn’t pick up on the sarcasm. A Kansas man drank a disinfectant product over the weekend after President Donald Trump pondered out loud whether ingesting cleansers could help fight COVID–19. Lee Norman, the state’s health officer, appeared to blame Trump when he said the man drank the product “because of the advice he’d received.” He added that Kansas Poison Control Center has reported a more than 40 percent increase in cleaning-chemical cases. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has asked manufacturers making hand sanitizer to make sure their products don’t taste or smell nice so kids and teens will stop drinking it. In a Monday advisory, the agency said that calls to the National Poison Data System about hand sanitizer were up by 79 percent last month, compared to March 2019. “Hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID–19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion, inhalation, or intravenous use,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

The Wichita Eagle has the full story which, contains this gem.

… the incident reflects the power of the president’s influence at a time when people across the country are looking for information about the coronavirus and how they can prevent becoming infected.

Asked by a reporter on Monday about “Maryland and other states” where governors say they have seen “a spike in people using disinfectant after your comments last week, I know you said they were ‘sarcastic’“ – the president interjected before the reporter could finish and said, “I can’t imagine why. I can’t imagine why.”

“Do you take any responsibility?” the reporter followed up.

Trump said, “No, I don’t. No, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine that.”

Case 2: It is certain to happen. Just check out the photos showing crowds on Southeastern beaches. The Daily Beast reports on the CDC ’s evaluation of models showing that Easing State Lockdowns Too Early Would Be Disastrous. Seven new scientific models all show U.S. deaths continuing to rise, but easing restrictions now would cost many more lives.

The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in the U.S. will continue to rise sharply if states rush to reopen, according to scientific models reported by CNN. Seven coronavirus models reportedly show deaths will continue to rise in the coming weeks—but how sharply the death toll increases depends on how much “contact reduction” people practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Models that factor in a lot of reduction see new deaths “slow substantially over the next four weeks,” according to the CDC. “Conversely, models that do not incorporate as strong contact reductions… suggest that total deaths may continue to rise quickly.” The widely watched projection by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation raised its U.S. death toll estimate late Monday by 6,000 to 74,073, noting that several states have extended the epidemic’s peak. The Daily Beast first reported on one model prepared by epidemiologists and computer scientists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which showed Gov. Brian Kemp’s rush to lift Georgia out of COVID–19 lockdown could cost thousands of additional lives.

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