• Nina Schwalbe

More on Italy.

Updated: Apr 17

Here is the story. And letting you know that in the next day or so there will be a model coming out of NYU and Columbia with predictions for NYC that will get a lot of news attention.  By this point you know what I think of the models out there – so from now on will only send you a note when there is a good one!  Unfortunately, doomsday messages get the attention of the press.


I realize that many of you particularly in New York are suffering from the shutdown so I don’t want to make light of the situation in any way or the public health impact we will be feeling for years to come because of the strategy that has been implemented. There is so much  data being ignored in our response. For example, in China as you may have read isolation did not occur within families. Rather, people who tested positive COVID were actually moved and isolated.

Per the Italy story above, some countries are now considering whether then to instead implement a strategy to try to protect vulnerable populations until acute care is ramped up – instead of “pausing” everyone else.  There is also a move by some to encourage stronger dialogue with communities themselves about how best to protect those at risk.   

What has surprised me most in this response is that we have not done that in NY or elsewhere - It is very unusual in public health to have everything so top-down without any transparency or community dialogue.  This was a mistake made with the Ebola and HIV responses, and it has been made again with COVID.

We are seeing some interesting signals from the NYC data – including as a risk factors obesity – which may explain some of the younger deaths. An interesting study coming out on this shortly which I will share with you as soon as it is public. 

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