Bonus episode: What we do and don’t know about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus
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UPDATE: Please also see our COVID-19 landing page for many more up-to-date articles about the pandemic.
Two 80,000 Hours researchers, Robert Wiblin and Howie Lempel, just recorded a discussion about the 2019-nCoV virus.
You can get it by subscribing to the 80,000 Hours Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Learn more about the show.
In the 1h15m conversation we cover:
- What is it?
- How many people have it?
- How contagious is it?
- What fraction of people who contract it die?
- How likely is it to spread out of control?
- What’s the range of plausible fatalities worldwide?
- How does it compare to other epidemics?
- What don’t we know and why?
- What actions should listeners take, if any?
- How should the complexities of the above be communicated by public health professionals?
Below are some links we discuss in the episode, or otherwise think are informative:
Advice on how to avoid catching contagious diseases
- The Wuhan Virus: How to Stay Safe by Laurie Garrett
- Metaculus aggregated predictions regarding nCoV
General summaries of what’s going on
- 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak on Wikipedia
- Rob’s summary of the evidence from 1st February (now out of date)
- CoronaVirus – FAQ, misconceptions, information, from a statistical perspective by Anon
- Clarity, Please, on the Coronavirus Statistics by Maimuna Majumder
- What Is the Coronavirus? Symptoms, Treatment and Risks by Roni Caryn Rabin
Our previous episodes about pandemic control
- Howie Lempel on pandemics that kill hundreds of millions and how to stop them
- Dr Beth Cameron works to stop you dying in a pandemic. Here’s what keeps her up at night.
- Tom Inglesby on how to prevent global catastrophic biological risks
Thoughts on how to communicate risk to the public
- Adjustment Reactions: The Teachable Moment in Crisis Communication by Peter M. Sandman
- “No Reason for Alarm” Is a Foolishly Over-Reassuring Message about the Novel Coronavirus Spreading from Wuhan by Peter Sandman
- Our experts are closely following and analyzing updates on this 2019-nCoV outbreak by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
- WHO nCoV situation reports
- Update January 31: Modeling the Spreading Risk of 2019-nCoV by Lauren Gardner
- Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study by Wu et al.
- Mining coronavirus genomes for clues to the outbreak’s origins by Jon Cohen
- Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study by Chen et al.
- Jan 24th: A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern by Wang et al.
- 2019-20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak: Intense surveillance is vital for preventing sustained transmission in new locations
General advice on disaster preparedness
- Prepare a household disaster kit
- Tweet by Helen Branswell
- Unconfirmed tweet on diagnostic bottlenecks
- Graph of growth in case figures from Jan 31st.
- Growth of nCoV cases outside of China
About the show
The 80,000 Hours Podcast features unusually in-depth conversations about the world's most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them. We invite guests pursuing a wide range of career paths — from academics and activists to entrepreneurs and policymakers — to analyse the case for and against working on different issues and which approaches are best for solving them.
The 80,000 Hours Podcast is produced and edited by Keiran Harris. Get in touch with feedback or guest suggestions by emailing [email protected].
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