Prepare for waves of infection
It’s becoming clear that the coronavirus is not going to simply vanish after restrictions are lifted, epidemiologists say, despite the recent optimistic forecast from the White House.
A recent analysis from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota describes the various shapes that wave might take.
The first scenario shows an initial wave of cases — the current one — followed by “peaks and valleys” that shrink over time.
In the second, a larger “fall peak,” or possibly a winter peak, and subsequent smaller waves come after the current one. This is similar to what happened during the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic.
The third possibility shows an intense spring peak that turns into a “slow burn,” with smaller ups and downs.
What each of these scenarios shows is that a single round of social distancing will probably not be sufficient in the long term. Instead, researchers say, we should be prepared for occasional restrictions and lockdowns over the next few years, until there’s widespread immunity or an effective vaccine.
Dive in: The health news site Stat describes each scenario in stark detail. “There is virtually no chance Covid-19 will end when the world bids good riddance to a calamitous 2020,” it concludes.
Takeaways from the unemployment numbers
The jobs numbers for April were released this morning by the Labor Department, and they were about as dismal as expected: The economy shed 20.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent — devastation not seen since the Great Depression.
The situation was even worse for minorities. Among African-American workers, the unemployment rate was 16.7 percent, and for Latinos it was 18.9 percent. All told, only about half of all Americans have a job — the lowest level on record — and it’s expected to get worse.
While the latest job losses extend across every major sector including manufacturing, retail and even white-collar industries, there was one area of the economy that was particularly surprising to see struggling: health care.
Despite the deluge of patients filling intensive care units, the sector lost more than 1.4 million jobs last month. That’s because the government asked hospitals to stop elective surgeries like hip replacements and operations on slow-growing cancers and focus on the pandemic, and, it turns out, those procedures are much more profitable than fighting a deadly disease.
Make your garden grow. If it’s spring where you live, the time is now to start planting your fruits and vegetables. Here’s how to grow a fabulous garden of any size.
What you’re doing
I have been creating a photo book during the pandemic. It is a combination of news headlines and photos of our family taken each day. Someday my children can give it to their grandchildren when they study the pandemic in school.
— Kenneth S. Stewart, Peachtree Corners, Ga.
Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.