Where there are hospital staff shortages

Reporting for NPR, Sean McMinn and Selena Simmons-Duffins on staffing shortages:

On data availability:

This is the first time the federal agency has released this data, which includes limited reports going back to summer. The federal government consistently started collecting this data in July. After months of steadily trending upward, the number of hospitals reporting shortages crossed 1,000 this month and has stayed above since.

The data, however, are still incomplete. Not all hospitals that report daily status COVID-19 updates to HHS are reporting their staffing situations, so it’s impossible to tell for sure how much these numbers have increased.

The first time.

It was back in March, a few lifetimes ago, when we were talking about flattening the curve so that hospitals could provide care to those who needed it. This federal dataset is just coming out now in November? Obscene.

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Why small gatherings can be dangerous too

A small gathering of 10 people or fewer can seem like a low-risk activity, and at the individual level, it’s lower risk than going to a big birthday party. But when a lot of people everywhere are gathering, small or large, the collective risk goes up. For FiveThirtyEight, Maggie Koerth and Elena Mejía illustrate the reasoning.

The collective part is where many seem to get tripped up. “Flattening the curve” only works when everyone works together. Lower your risk, and you lower the collective risk. You’re helping others. You’re helping those you care about.

Then, collectively, we all get out of this mess.

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State restrictions and hospitalizations

The University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government defined an index to track containment measures for the coronavirus. For The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby and Rich Harris plotted the index against cases and hospitalizations:

When cases first peaked in the United States in the spring, there was no clear correlation between containment strategies and case counts, because most states enacted similar lockdown policies at the same time. And in New York and some other states, “those lockdowns came too late to prevent a big outbreak, because that’s where the virus hit first,” said Thomas Hale, associate professor of global public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, who leads the Oxford tracking effort.

A relationship between policies and the outbreak’s severity has become more clear as the pandemic has progressed.

States with more restrictions tend to have lower rates.

From these plots, it seems clear what we need to do. But I think most people have made up their minds already, and the interpretation of the data leads people to different conclusions.

With the holidays coming up, I just hope you lean towards clarity.

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Coronavirus cases rising in prisons

Coronavirus cases are rising (again), which includes prisoners and prison staff. The Marshall Project has been tracking cases since March and provides a state-by-state rundown:

New infections this week rose sharply to their highest level since the start of the pandemic, far outpacing the previous peak in early August. Iowa, Michigan and the federal prison system each saw more than 1,000 prisoners test positive this week, while Texas prisons surpassed 2,000 new cases.

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Estimate your Covid-19 risk, given location and activities

The microCOVID Project provides a calculator that lets you put in where you are and various activities to estimate your risk:

This is a project to quantitatively estimate the COVID risk to you from your ordinary daily activities. We trawled the scientific literature for data about the likelihood of getting COVID from different situations, and combined the data into a model that people can use. We estimate COVID risk in units of microCOVIDs, where 1 microCOVID = a one-in-a-million chance of getting COVID.

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Spike past 100k Covid-19 cases in a day

Meanwhile… based on estimates from The COVID Tracking Project, the United States had an all-time high for daily counts yesterday, at 103,087. And 1,116 people died.

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How masks work to filter out particles

Masks are effective in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. The New York Times zoomed in at the particle level to show how masks do this.

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Where coronavirus cases are peaking

With this simple choropleth map, Lauren Leatherby for The New York Times shows where coronavirus cases peaked in the past month or week. It appears the United States still has a way to go:

With case counts trending upward in almost every state — and 21 of those states adding more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day stretch — officials in parts of the country are once again implementing control measures. Residents of El Paso are under a two-week stay-at-home order, and indoor dining will be halted in Chicago beginning Friday, Oct. 30. Other officials are considering new restrictions in an effort to curb the virus’s rapid spread.

Oh.

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Illustrations show how to reduce risk at small gatherings

Risk of coronavirus infection changes depending on the amount of contagious particles you breathe in. El Pais illustrated the differences when you take certain measures, namely wearing masks, ventilation, and decreased exposure time.

The suggestions are based on statistical models, so there is more uncertainty than I think the explanations provide, but the sequence of illustrations provides a clear picture of what we can do — if you must do things indoors.

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Covid-19 cases and state partisanship

From Dan Goodspeed, the bar chart race is back. The length of the bars represents Covid-19 case rates per state, and color represents partisanship. The animation currently starts on June 1 and runs through October 13. It plays out how most of us probably assumed at some level or another.

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