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Social distancing looks to be flattening the curve, Partners Healthcare emergency director says

The Harvard Gazette interviews Paul Biddinger, medical director for emergency preparedness at Partners Healthcare, which owns both Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's hospitals, who says that while the volume of patients continues to increase, we may no longer be heading toward a hospital collapse of the sort seen in Italy:

Roughly about a week to two after the implementation and then strengthening of social distancing - physical distancing instructions from the governor, from multiple mayors here in Eastern Massachusetts, we now have seen that our curve of arriving patients, both with general illness and critical illness, has decreased. ...

Now, for about a week or so, our data no longer looks as much as it did like a Northern Italian situation.

Biddinger added that this doesn't mean the hospitals aren't seeing g



Morons are going to say people panicked and closed up shop when there was nothing to fear. They won't admit it was only because people did the right thing that the worst case scenario isn't happening.

It's like all the politicians in Washington who love to reject the work of scientists and experts, blissfully stupid to the fact that they only have an easy life due to efforts of educated people.

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Normally I'd agree, the morons won't get it. And maybe they won't. But we can look at other parts of the world that took this on the chin before we did, that could be us. Some hospitals in NYC did experience the beginning of that (Elmhurst, for example) but we are large enough and NY had a large enough hospital system to respond to those localized explosions. If we hadn't acted as fast as we did, knowing what we would look like if we didn't act.

We may never know the true toll in China, but I don't think anyone is going to claim we don't know the reality in Italy. At least, not anyone worth listening to.

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With covid19 becoming the #1 cause of death in America, over heart disease and cancer, I think more and more people will realize we have to keep doing what we're doing and figure out how to be safe from infection when we return to public life.

I understand what the Partnews Healthcare Emergency director is saying, he's saying the growth rate of new cases is not exponential but they are still increasing so that when graphed they show to be increasing. He needs to choose a more appropriate metphor to describe the phenonmena because flatten the curve is not apparent and so people listening to him and the governor who said the same yesterday are asking people to believe what their eyes say is a lie.


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There will be less Covid-19 deaths in the US this year than cancer or heart disease deaths.

Covid-19 is a scary pandemic, but let’s not pretend it’s worse than it is.

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Had society not switched to social isolation mode, the number of deaths would be in the millions, much greater than other causes of deaths combined. Yes, it is that scary.

Also, we have no idea what happens from here. We don't know if it comes back with a vengeance once things go back to normal. There's so much unknown at this point.

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Anonymous' point is bad. Even the worst case scenario with the current measures being taken never pointed to deaths to the scale of cancer or heart disease.

But yes, what public health officials said we are doing now is keeping the death numbers down.

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You can't catch cancer or heart disease from other people

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We all need to work together to beat this thing, which is why social distancing is key. My point was and is that the histrionics I replied to are untrue. We need to be careful, not scared shitless.

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It looks like heart disease and cancer kill about 1,700 and 1,600 per day while corona killed more than that each day the past few days.

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But cancer and heart disease had a 3 month head start on Covid-19.

And given the estimates that the University of Washington are giving (assuming people do the right things) I don't see Covid-19 getting up to the half million deaths range.

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Is the curve of infections the same as that of those requiring hospitalization?

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Context is everything. What would our mortality rate be if there were no COVID19? Compare deaths due to this pandemic to deaths due other illnesses, within one, five, and ten year time frames.

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If you knew this, what would it tell you, and how would that be useful?

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It's not as if the choice is COVID-19 or something else. It's COVID-19 plus something else.

COVID-19 has the potential to rapidly kill off a huge number of people in ways no other natural illnesses can.

We have treatments for Cancer and just about everything else. We've got nothing for Coronovirus. The only thing we can do is wait it out in isolation and that is working, at least for the moment.

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