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Like Light from a Distant Star

Worth remembering: Today’s covid-19 statistics are a glimpse into the past. Today’s new cases generally reflect contacts that happened 5 to 10 days ago, when social distancing had just gotten started.

A study in China found that if patients died, they died 15 to 22 days after onset–or anywhere from 20 to 32 days after becoming infected.

So the mortality statistics from today, March 24, reflect the world of Feb. 21 to March 4. People were still having parties. I was still going to board meetings and driving into Manhattan to tutor 6th-grade math.

On February 21, the stock market was just beginning to react. We were worried about how coronavirus would affect Apple’s production and quarterly profits. On Feb. 25, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow was telling CNBC, “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight. We have done a good job in the United States,” while those pesky folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were warning that a major U.S. outbreak was probably inevitable, and that the country wasn’t prepared.

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