UW Pandemic Expert Explains Our Obsession with COVID-19 (Crosscut - by Peter Rabinowitz)

A viral illness spreads across Washington state, causing respiratory illness. Most cases are mild, but some are severe and even fatal. At the same time it causes many fewer illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths than the seasonal flu. So why are we obsessed with this COVID-19? Why is it that pharmacies have run out of surgical masks and hand sanitizer, and people no longer feel shy about wearing a mask in public? Why are conferences and classes getting canceled and governors declaring states of emergency when we don’t do that with seasonal flu?

Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore (New York Times - Quotes Peter Rabinowitz)

The news seemed to be positive: The number of new coronavirus cases reported in China over the past week suggested that the outbreak might be slowing — that containment efforts were working.

But on Thursday, officials added more than 14,840 cases to the tally of the infected in Hubei province alone, bringing the total number to 48,206, the largest one-day increase so far recorded. The death toll in the province rose to 1,310, including 242 new deaths.

Jump in Coronavirus Cases on Ship Poses a Critical Test for Japan (New York Times - Quotes Peter Rabinowitz)

Japan already had several confirmed coronavirus cases when a giant cruise ship arrived at the port of Yokohama last week.

Now, with the disclosure that 64 people from that ship have tested positive for the virus, Japan is scrambling to prevent a larger outbreak even as it prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors for the Summer Olympics starting in Tokyo in July.

What Is the Coronavirus? Symptoms, Treatment and Risks (New York Times - Includes Peter Rabinowitz)

Jan. 21, 2020

A respiratory virus has spread from China to at least a dozen other countries, including the U.S. Here’s what you need to know.

An international outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus has killed at least 132 people and sickened about 6,000, according to the Chinese health authorities.

The New York Times: The Mystery of the Wasting House-Cats

By Emily Anthes

Most days, the back room of the Animal Endocrine Clinic in Manhattan is home to half a dozen cats convalescing in feline luxury. They lounge in their own individual “condos,” each equipped with a plush bed, a raised perch and a cozy box for hiding. Classical music plinks softly from speakers overhead. A television plays cat-friendly videos — birds chirping, squirrels scampering. Patients can also tune in to the live version: A seed-stuffed bird feeder hangs directly outside each window.

The Washington Post: Washington’s wildfires gave this sea otter asthma. Now she’s learning to use an inhaler.

By Sarah Kaplan

One-year-old Mishka has spent nearly all her life in the water. But fires burning miles away are threatening her health.

The young sea otter, a resident of the Seattle Aquarium, was diagnosed with asthma after inhaling smoke from this summer’s vicious wildfires, according to the aquarium.