Mar 30, 2020 - Health

America under lockdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you thought March felt like the longest month in American history, just wait for April and May, when people will be forced to witness spring from the indoors.

The big picture: 28 states are in or entering lockdown, with Maryland and Virginia joining those ranks today. So is D.C., as its mayor made official this afternoon. Those states include roughly 3/4 of the American people, the N.Y. Times notes.

  • "[R]esearchers and medical experts, they're saying that in two weeks' time, the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas could look like New York and the tri-state area," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said today.

Between the lines: Governors in states with beaches or other outdoor recreation have run into problems with keeping crowds at a minimum.

  • The governors from Maryland and Virginia said crowds drawn out by nice weather over the weekend caused them to put the hammer down on mandatory stay-at-home orders.

Why it matters: The numbers that persuaded President Trump to extend the 15-day lockdown are premised under the assumption of a lockdown through May, professor Chris Murray told the WashPost today.

  • Anthony Fauci told CNN today that Trump decided to extend social distancing restrictions for another 30 days after viewing Murray's models projecting coronavirus deaths over the weekend, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.
  • Murray predicts an April 15 hospital peak, when his model says more than 2,000 Americans will die that day.
  • The model expects 82,000 deaths by early August.
  • That's the "if we do it right" scenario.

The bottom line: For most people, this isn't a crisis that can be fixed via direct action. Instead, we're huddling at home, waiting and watching to see how it plays out.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

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The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

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Americans will be forced to weigh personal coronavirus risk as states reopen

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The U.S. is about to embark upon the most momentous social experiment in living memory: What happens when you take laissez-faire economic principles and apply them to public health?

Why it matters: When millions of people make their own individual risk/reward calculations, the result is superior to top-down decision-making by the government. That's the central tenet of capitalism — but you'd be hard-pressed to find any epidemiologists making the same argument.