In the third episode of Social Distance, Dr. James Hamblin and Katherine Wells go on a walk. The two friends and Atlantic journalists head to the grocery store in Brooklyn. Wells asks Hamblin about the basics of the coronavirus and how the United States has responded.
Listen to the full episode here:
Some questions that Hamblin answers:
Give us the scientific context. What exactly is the coronavirus?
There are seven known coronaviruses that infect humans. Four of them cause more cold-like symptoms and two of them existed before this year, and they were considered novel coronaviruses. They came from animals and they crossed over into us and they caused really severe, bad disease, SARS and MERS, and they killed a high percentage of the people they infected.
But they were able to be mostly contained. And the overall number of deaths and cases is already much, much higher for this new virus than for either of those diseases. And this is a third novel coronavirus and it’s right in the sweet spot of things that are extremely concerning, which is that it’s highly transmissible and that it has a high case fatality rate.
How has the U.S. done in its response?