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Two Members of Congress Diagnosed

Two members of Congress have now been diagnosed with COVID-19: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). Both got sick soon after attending a vote on Saturday in which hundreds of members of the House mingled on the House floor.

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Many Insights Here

Give a read to TPM Reader EM’s report from South Korea …

I write this partly in response to CJ’s letter, but more to express what has been concerning me for the past few days.

I’ve been living in South Korea for over a decade where the response to the virus has been rightly praised, having brought daily infections back into the double digits, at least for now. As I see it, there are broadly three possibilities. The worst case is that we have uncontrolled spread of the virus to much of the population within a short time, greatly exceeding health system capacity and resulting in over a million deaths in the US alone. The best case is something along the lines of what has happened in South Korea or China, which both brought substantial outbreaks more or less under control by using various measures. The middle case, which I’m starting to see as most probable, is where we have radical social distancing and a shutdown of a large part of the economy for four months or more, with localized periodic major outbreaks along the lines Italy is experiencing.

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Flying Blind and the Known Unknowns

Today I’ve frequently found myself overrun by the flow of new information, new data on the unfolding pandemic. It’s not clear to me whether that is more a reaction to an accelerating of new information or some cognitive fatigue or degeneration due to everything that has happened over the last three weeks. But my reading today drives home for me just how much we and really the whole world are still flying largely blind as we navigate one of if not the greatest global crisis of our lifetimes.

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It Was So Good to See You!

A few times over recent days I have encouraged people to reach out to elderly relatives or just friends or older people you don’t even know. FaceTime, Zoom, any of the other ubiquitous applications all work just fine. Loneliness and isolation are intrinsic risks of old age under the best of circumstances. Here we have an urgent clinical need for people over 65 or 70 to isolate themselves to a stringent degree. Stay in the house. Don’t have any visitors. Maybe even have the delivery people leave things at the door and come out later to bring it in.

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A Youth Backlash?

I wrestled with whether or not to publish this note from TPM Reader CJ for reasons that will likely be obvious. I decided to because I think the note shows beliefs, feelings, lived experiences rumbling under the surface of our society. They are good to hear even if we disagree with them or are offended or even angered by them.

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The View From Italy

TPM Reader LT sends in this dispatch:
I live in Sicily where we’ve watched this become a pandemic. It’s been  more than one week now that we’ve been asked to stay at home, going outside only for groceries or medicine. Pretty much everything else is closed up and very few people are on the streets now.

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Some Progress?

I want to be clear and tentative here. In a situation of mass outbreak and spotty testing capacity you have to be very cautious interpreting numbers. But there seem to be some possible signs that the outbreak in Italy is beginning to crest. And to be clear, by ‘crest’ here I mean a possible stabilization of the number of new cases reported each day. More than 3,200 new infections in the country have been reported every day for the last four days. So each day the situation is getting much worse. It is simply that the acceleration may be slowing down.

Here’s the trend chart.

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Where Things Stand: The Daily Briefings Continue

This is the most action the White House press briefing room has seen in at least a year, if not longer.

President Trump and his coronavirus task force are holding another press briefing this morning; a near-daily event this week that may soon become standard as the U.S. continues to ward off COVID-19 spread.

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The View from Kuwait ...

From a TPM Reader in Kuwait …

As an American living in Kuwait, I’ve been impressed since the beginning of this crisis by how Kuwait is handling it – and they started taking measures weeks ago – but the contrast with the US (and UK) is stark. (I have two sons in the UK, and I wish they could get back here because they’d be much safer. Every British person I know here has stories of friends and relatives who have symptoms, and in some cases know they’ve been exposed, but can’t get treated or tested. And they’re being contacted by the schools threatening punishment if they don’t send their children to school.)

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