Like a lot of people, I’ve been closely tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a lot of useful resources for keeping track of what’s happening with COVID-19, but there’s also a lot of misinformation. I wanted to put together a collection of the things that I’ve found to be useful, and more importantly accurate.
This is mostly for my own benefit, but I thought other people might find it useful as well. If you’re aware of something that belongs on the list, tell me about it on Twitter or email me (my Twitter username @ Google’s email service).
News and miscellany
This is nice to see.
The state issued a shelter in place order today in an effort to contain the outbreak. There’s confusion about what exactly that entails, and this helps answer some of the questions.
What it is and why it’s serious
The CDC’s website has the most up to date information on COVID-19
I think this was the first article I saw that made it clear how serious this was. It’s thorough and well-written.
This is mostly of use to those who live near me. It’s a good collection of community resources, in particular this page with a list of restaurants that are delivering food.
This is a deep dive into the illness itself, and the diagnosis and treatment of it. If you want all of the gory details, this is the place to go.
The State of Illinois has a site with the latest news and guidance for a variety of businesses on how to prevent the spread. If you live elsewhere, your state probably has something similar.
Great piece by The Atlantic.
I can’t add much to this that the title doesn’t already tell you. I’ll point out this bit though, which I’ve been saying for weeks:
Yes, the virus only kills a small percentage of those afflicted. Yes, the flu kills 10s of thousands of people annually. Yes, 80% of people will experience lightweight symptoms with COVID19. Yes the mortality rate of COVID19 is relatively low (1–2%). All of this true, but is immaterial. They are the wrong numbers to focus on…
In situations like this, the people to pay attention to are the professionals. Doctors, scientists, infectious disease specialists. Larry Brilliant is a professional.
If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.
Facts and figures, with pretty pictures
There are a handful of sites that are tracking the spread of the disease and helpfully display it in chart, graph, and map form.
This is a good visualization of the current state of things. Johns Hopkins has been tracking this disease for quite a while, and has made the data available to other organizations. I look at this regularly just to keep a pulse on things. If you’re into the nerdery behind this, the doctor who made this has put up a great behind-the-scenes look.
This is a good explanation of the data that we have about the spread of this disease, and what it means. I really like this.
Mantained by Wolfram Research, this is based on the data from Johns Hopkins, but presented slightly differently and with more ways to view the data. If you are a Wolfram user, you can create a copy of the notebook and explore the data yourself.
A very readable infographic that shows the impact of the disease, how it affects people, and how it compares to other diseases.
An excellent visual to show why social distancing is important.
I don’t actually understand all the math in this, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Financial Times has some great coverage of the pandemic, with visualizations that illustrate how this is unfolding. The link above is probably paywalled, but you can get to it from the Twitter account of their data visualization journalist
Separating fact from fiction
There are a number of crazy rumors and conspiracy theories floating around, none of which are true.
This was one of the first rumors to come out, and one of the most persistent. It’s also complete nonsense.
Some of the same information in the previous one, but with some additional detail.
This is another persistent conspiracy theory, and also not true. See also: Coronavirus is not a bioweapon created in a lab, scientists say
Original reports were that this was largely a disease the affected the elderly and those with underlying conditions. While they make up the majority of deaths, many younger people end up sick enough to need intensive care. There are also reports of some people who recover but have a 20-30% reduction in lung capacity. It may or may not be permanent. The point is, recovering from the illness doesn’t mean you escape unscathed.
Things you can do to help
» Stay home, if at all possible
Social distancing is the only way to curb the spread and flatten the curve.
» Donate to a food bank: Feeding America
There are likely places near you that are helping to feed families in need, just ask around. Additionally with many schools shut down, there are lots of kids who may have been eating at school and now don’t have enough to eat. Many areas have programs that are helping provide meals for these kids. You can donate money or time.
» Give blood: Red Cross
There’s a severe shortage of blood right now. Give if you’re able.
This is a great idea, especially for those that live alone. There are lots of dogs that need a home, and even if you can’t give them a permanent home, you can get them out of the shelter and enjoy the company of a furry friend.