COVID-19 #4: Flatten the curve optimism/roller coaster

Update since I wrote the note below on Friday evening: This turned out to be a false dawn. In fact, it turned out to be a calm before a storm – we followed a low of 7 as today’s report had 68 new cases.

As I’ve been writing a post a week over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learnt so far. And, the biggest one is that there is no “normal” for this sort of thing.

All leaders can do is act quickly, decisively, and clearly (Tomas Pueyo continues to make an important case for decisive action). But, it is important to remember that there’s no playbook for this sort of thing. All we can do is pay attention to the signs and data, act as early as possible, and hope for a bit of luck.

Here’s to that. Stay safe, stay optimistic. We’re living through a period that is undoubtedly going to be an important point in our history as a species. And, we’ll get through this.

While it is very helpful from a productivity standpoint to avoid news websites/Twitter (see Seth’s powerful post on the topic) save for a few mins every day, one Twitter stream I’ve been monitoring at least twice everyday has been from our local county.

Every day, county officials – who’ve been working tirelessly to help those in need while implementing a strong and important cross-county shelter-at-home directive – share an update on the number of cases.

While I wish we had more data and transparency around total numbers tested, the early signs from efforts to flatten the curve are encouraging. As you can see from this graph, the number of new cases has been trending downward over the past 3 days.

As symptoms only show after 5-7 days, this is hopefully a result of major companies enforcing work-from-home 2 weeks ago. And, if so, this underscores why the tougher shelter-in-place/school closures were important steps to take this week.

The true test, again in the absence of testing data, will be if the change in the new case rate continues to remain at these levels (or decreases) in a week as we’ll see the full impact of the shut down.

If these trends continue, it would be really really really positive and will hopefully help further underscore the importance of acting early. Fingers crossed.

Previous posts: #1#2, #3