June 24, 2020
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: Fauci ~ California Uptick ~ Pandemic in Mexico ~ New Order for MLB
Fauci in the House
As reported in the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci (who leads the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force) appeared before the house Energy and Commerce Committee in a five-hour session, during which he observed a “disturbing surge” of infections in some parts of the country as some ignore social distancing guidelines and states reopen without adequate plans for testing and tracing. Specifically, he noted that “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and in other states.” While cautiously optimistic about the availability of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020 or early 2021, Dr. Fauci (pictured here from NYT) pledged that he would not let any vaccine go to market until it was proved to be both safe and effective. Much of the hearing, which was marked by partisan questioning, focused on testing, with respect to which Adm. Brett P. Giroir (assistant secretary for public health), who also appeared, said, “We want to do more testing and of higher quality. The only way that we will be able to understand who has the disease, who is infected, and can pass it, and to do appropriate contact tracing is to test appropriately, smartly – and as many people as we can.” To sum up his best advice for us all, Dr. Fauci stated simply, “Plan A: Don’t go into a crowd. Plan B: If you do, make sure you wear a mask.”
California Sets Daily Infection Records
As reported by the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and now the New York Times, California experienced back-to-back-to-back record-high coronavirus infections on Monday (5,813), Tuesday (6,419) and today (7,149) surpassing the previous highwater mark of 4,515 cases on June 20. Governor Gavin Newsom commented, “I want to remind everybody that we are still in the first wave of this pandemic.” In addition, the California Department of Public Health reported yesterday that both the positivity rate (infections per number tested) and the hospitalization rate are trending upward on a 14-day trailing average basis. According to Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer, “This is far from over. [W]hen we go out for essential needs or services, we must wear face coverings and keep physical distance from others because that’s what helps us protect one another. Our ability to move forward as a state depends upon it.” According to update.covid19.com, Los Angeles County is far and away the most highly infected county in the state with over 85,000 cases of the statewide ~190,000 cases.
The Pandemic in Mexico
As reported in the Economist Today, an inconsistent response and early reopening by the government has led to increased cases of the coronavirus in Mexico. Within the city of Mexicali, for example, Dr. Eric Mercado reports that, whereas a trickle of coronavirus appeared in the state of Baja three months ago, now the hospitals are so overrun with COVID patients that, for every five that need a bed, four have to be turned away. More than 90% of the area’s hospital beds are now taken, and the number of fatalities tripled in the first half of June. While the government closed the formal part of the economy on March 30 (when there were fewer than 1,000 cases), the order failed to contain the outbreak. Further, President Lopez Obrador has been somewhat blasé about the threat of this pandemic; even now he continues to meet and travel without apparent regard for social distancing. Despite new cases still rising in 27 of its 32 states, as pointed out by our country manager, Marco Salcedo, Mexico is trying to keep pace with the US and Canada in reopening in spite of the upward trend in cases. Note in these graphs by the Economist, how the trend in cases per 100,000 in Mexico, City was still rising when lockdown measures were eased, whereas, by contrast, authorities in Madrid, Spain allowed the lockdown to suppress the pandemic curve before easing the lockdown. If this trend continues, the pandemic will likely keep its foothold in Mexico and continue to strain regional hospitals.
Baseball by the Book
As reported by MSN Sports and as a follow-up to yesterday’s report, as part of the 60-game season that was announced by MLB season, players and staff will be required to abide by a new 100+ page COVID manual. It is worth focusing on a number of measures that will change the way this game is played. Among the more predictable requirements are face coverings in the clubhouse – no problem. How about these, though – no high-fives, fist bumps or hugs. Okay, players can probably restrain themselves. Here’s another – no fighting. This is not a new rule, but typically, these guys fight when they can’t control themselves. So, here, we’re saying, even if you can’t control yourself, control yourself. Also, the day of the communal Gatorade jug is over. In addition – get this – showering is discouraged. So, this picture (from Getty Images) of a guy getting showered by Gatorade would be a double violation. Finally – and this may be the hardest of all – no spitting. This includes saliva, tobacco and sunflower seeds. On the bright side, the expectoration ban should drastically reduce the cleaning bill for the dugout. – TD
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COVID-19 Advisory: Fauci ~ California Uptick ~ Pandemic in Mexico ~ New Order for MLB