Coronavirus Hot Zone: The View from the U.S. Epicenter

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Wayt GIBBS was a member of the board of editors and a senior writer at Scientific American from Nineteen Ninety. Three to two thousand six. He's contributing editor. And he's in a unique position to bring us reporting an insights about the current corona virus pandemic. While at scientific American Gibbs wrote numerous articles that gave him experience highly relevant to the current situation in one thousand nine hundred nine he wrote a piece titled Trailing Virus to research that article. He traveled into the hot zone of the highly lethal Nipah virus outbreak in Malaysia. Like Corona virus that one also spread from bats to people he co wrote the two thousand five article preparing for a pandemic the plan to fight a new flu which has obvious relevance for our current situation. That article is currently available free on our website. He interviewed Bill Gates for two thousand sixteen. Qna called Bill Gates views. Good data as key to global health. That piece is also up on the website and Gibbs wrote the two thousand sixteen article. What ails the human race about a project called the global burden of disease which began a new chapter in academia logical modelling that work originated at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics in Seattle where it continues to this day. And we're gibbs plans to go for reporting for future podcast which brings us to the second factor that makes Gibbs's situation unique in addition to being assigns writer of great expertise in the area of Gibbs lives in Kirkland Washington the epicenter of the US Corona virus outbreak. So what we envision for. This series of podcasts is a combination of traditional science reporting and first person accounts from Gibbs about the situation in Kirkland and the surrounding area where the virus has so far hit the hardest in the US we plan on posting at least one podcast a week for the foreseeable future as the corona virus situation plays out and now. Here's what Gibbs. There's some weeks when history seems to unfold before our eyes. This past week has been one of those in the United States. And here in Kirkland Washington where I live. We have a front row seat to the fast growing. Coruna virus epidemic. My neighborhood is ground zero the hot zone on February twenty ninth we learned that Cova Nineteen had claimed its first fatality in the US here in this city of about ninety thousand on the shores of Lake Washington just across the bridge from Seattle. Is I read about the man in his fifties who had died at Evergreen Health Hospital but it seemed a distant and abstract threat suddenly felt immediate and berry real. I am a man in his fifties. I walked across my living room and looked out the window at evergreen health just on the hill less than a mile away. I thought okay here. We go we. In Kirkland and King County will be the guinea pigs testing how the public health systems in America cope with a crisis that scientists warned us would inevitably come that we could have planned for but that his founders unready our experts in elected officials and employers are scrambling to keep up with the torrent of new scientific information about cove in nineteen and the virus that causes it which goes by. The name SARS Kobe to here in Washington state. They seem to be doing their best to act on that information as they make tough decisions about what to shutdown what to keep open and what to tell the public in this episode Alexandra one particularly difficult question that officials face when to close schools. I'll talk with the local eighth grader. Who's online petition? To close schools in our district has attracted more than thirty thousand signatures will hear. King County's Public Health Officer explained why urged schools to remain open for now as long as they don't have any confirmed cases of the disease and we'll hear from experts at Johns Hopkins University and from Anthony Voucher. The Director of the National Institute of ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES. About the mystery of why so few children have become seriously ill with cove in nineteen. But I I need to explain what the past week was like. Ear in Kirkland Cove in nineteen role do our city like a psychological sue. Nami sweeping aside other topics of conversation. Actually a a wildfire is probably a better metaphor infections. Have jumped quickly and unpredictably from one spot to another with responders racing behind to catch up like the wildfire smoke that now darkened skies across the Pacific northwest each summer. This epidemic has cast a pall on daily life on the other side of the hill from my house. About a half mile.

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