Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The U.S. is poised to enter into its worst stretch yet of the coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Post reports:

America is poised to enter the worst stretch ever of the coronavirus pandemic, with cases spiking and the country on the precipice of shattering its daily record for infections in the next few days.

The current surge is already considerably more widespread than the waves from last summer and spring. On Thursday, the number of cases topped 70,000 for the first time since July.

The unprecedented geographic spread of the current surge makes it especially dangerous, with experts warning it could lead to dire shortages of medical staff and supplies. Already, hospitals are reporting shortfalls of basic drugs needed to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

And it’s not simply a matter of increased testing identifying more cases. Covid-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week and are rising so quickly that many facilities in the West and Midwest are already overwhelmed. The number of deaths nationally has crested above 1,000 in recent days. [Continue reading…]

Christopher Ingraham writes:

Despite the clear opposition to masks within the Trump White House and among its allies, Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support their use as a public health measure and say they wear them whenever they’re in public.

Still, there are significant differences in mask-use rates at the state level. And data from Carnegie Mellon’s CovidCast, an academic project tracking real-time coronavirus statistics, yields a particularly vivid illustration of how mask usage influences the prevalence of covid-19 symptoms in a given area. [Continue reading…]

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