Opinion writers express views about approaches to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
Bloomberg: China Had A Doctor Crisis Before Coronavirus Hit Wuhan
In Wuhan, hospital corridors are filled with patients who spend days and nights awaiting the chance to see a doctor capable of diagnosing and arranging treatment for the new coronavirus. In some cases, the lines stretch out the hospital doors, forcing new arrivals to either go elsewhere — potentially spreading the virus further — or remain amid a concentrated group of people who might already have it. The overworked doctors are beginning to fray and melt down, if increasingly common eyewitness videos circulating on Chinese social media are to be believed. Sometimes it takes a crisis to highlight what’s wrong with a medical system. (Adam Minter, 1/28)
The Wall Street Journal: Act Now To Prevent An American Epidemic
The novel coronavirus now epidemic in China has features that may make it very difficult to control. If public-health authorities don’t interrupt the spread soon, the virus could infect many thousands more around the globe, disrupt air travel, overwhelm health-care systems, and, worst of all, claim more lives. The good news: There’s still an opening to prevent a grim outcome. China failed to contain the virus early. More cases in the U.S. are inevitable. Experience with the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic suggests that emergency measures such as school closures and border screening—in place at 20 U.S. airports—can at most buy time. Several traits of the virus make border surveillance less effective. (Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb, 1/28)
The New York Times: Should You Be Worried About The Coronavirus?
For the third time this century, a new strain of coronavirus, a family of pathogens that cause respiratory illness in birds and mammals, has jumped species and infected humans. Having broken out in the city of Wuhan, the virus, likely spread through coughing and sneezing, has now sickened more than 4,500 people and killed at least 106 in China. (Spencer Bokat-Lindell, 1/28)
The Washington Post: Modern Technology Is Aiding The Spread Of The Coronavirus, But Also Armoring Us Against It
Already the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has drawn the inevitable comparisons to historical plagues: the mysterious ailments that scourged the Roman empire and may have contributed to its collapse; the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed millions in the wake of World War I; and even the Black Death, which is estimated to have taken between a third and two-thirds of Europe’s population. Like those diseases, coronavirus seems to be extremely contagious and quickly spread. And in that, unlike its predecessors, it will have a great deal of assistance from modern technology. (Megan McArdle, 1/28)
The New York Times: How To Avoid The Coronavirus? Wash Your Hands
Americans are watching with alarm as a new coronavirus spreads in China and cases pop up in the United States. They are barraged with information about what kinds of masks are best to prevent viral spread. Students are handing out masks in Seattle. Masks have run out in Brazos County, Tex. Hang on. I’ve worked as an emergency room physician. And as a New York Times correspondent in China, I covered the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003 during which a novel coronavirus first detected in Guangdong sickened more than 8,000 people and killed more than 800. My two children attended elementary school in Beijing throughout the outbreak. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 1/28)
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