Opinion | A Shutdown May Be Needed to Stop the Coronavirus – By John M. Barry – The New York Times

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Mr. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”

Credit…Matt Chase

“When you mix science and politics, you get politics. With the coronavirus, the United States has proved politics hasn’t worked. If we are to fully reopen both the economy and schools safely — which can be done — we have to return to science.

To understand just how bad things are in the United States and, more important, what can be done about it requires comparison. At this writing, Italy, once the poster child of coronavirus devastation and with a population twice that of Texas, has recently averaged about 200 new cases a day when Texas has had over 9,000. Germany, with a population four times that of Florida, has had fewer than 400 new cases a day. On Sunday, Florida reported over 15,300, the highest single-day total of any state.

The White House says the country has to learn to live with the virus. That’s one thing if new cases occurred at the rates in Italy or Germany, not to mention South Korea or Australia or Vietnam (which so far has zero deaths). It’s another thing when the United States has the highest growth rate of new cases in the world, ahead even of Brazil.

Italy, Germany and dozens of other countries have reopened almost entirely, and they had every reason to do so. They all took the virus seriously and acted decisively, and they continue to: Australia just issued fines totaling $18,000 because too many people attended a birthday party in someone’s home.”

Opinion | Will Warm Weather Slow Coronavirus? – By John M. Barry – The New York Times

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Mr. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”

Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

“Will there be another wave of Covid-19? And if so, how big will it be, and will there be more waves after it?

The answer to those questions depend on seasonality, the susceptibility of the population to the disease, the rate at which the coronavirus mutates and how we come out of lockdown.

Colds and influenza are seasonal because those viruses generally survive outside the body for a shorter time in high heat and high humidity than in cold weather and low humidity. People also spend more time indoors in winter, coming into close contact with others with less ventilation, so respiratory infections are far more common in winter, although of course they can sicken people in summer, too.

But in 1918 and 1919, the years of the world’s deadliest pandemic, the seasons seemed to have little impact on the influenza.”