Daily Update on Corona Virus: Mar 13th, 2020

The Latest on the Coronavirus


Last night, Mar 11th, 2020, President Donald Trump addressed the nation. It didn’t go well. As he spoke, financial futures began crashing, perhaps reflecting a lack of confidence in the executive branch’s response plan.

David Frum, a staff writer and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, wrote a scathing review of the president’s address, calling it “the worst action yet in a string of bad actions.”

“This crisis is not of Trump’s making,” he writes. “What he is responsible for is his failure to respond promptly.”

Some additional reading on the Trump administration’s handling of this outbreak:

  • Americans are looking to the president for answers. They aren’t getting them, Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of Homeland Security official, argues.
  • The misinformation coming from the White House is being amplified by a propaganda machine. And it’s dangerously effective.
  • Some conservative figures are intentionally misnaming the virus—to make a point. There’s a reason why Trump calls it a “foreign virus,” the contributing writer Ben Zimmer argues.
  • The European travel ban just doesn’t make sense. The U.K. is presently exempted. But what happens, our London-based staff writer Tom McTague asks, when things there get as bad as in Italy or France?

Tip of the day: Here’s what you should—and shouldn’t—do during a period of “social distancing.”

One question, answered: A few Atlantic readers are wondering, Can you get the coronavirus twice?

Here’s what Jim Hamblin, our health writer whose coverage of the virus you’ve probably read, had to say:

The working understanding based on what we’ve seen so far—remember that this virus has existed in humans for only a few months—is that it acts like others, insofar as it causes an immune response in people that gives us a temporary immunity. Antibodies are detectable in people who’ve had the disease, and those should stop a person from getting it again for a while. Whether that period is years or decades is not known.

Reported cases of “re-infection” are more likely to be waxing and waning of symptoms, or compounded infections with different organisms. The tests aren’t perfect, and people could test negative in between two positive tests. But re-infection within days or weeks would be very rare for a virus like this, and it is not believed to be happening.

We are continuing our coverage of the coronavirus. View all of our stories related to the outbreak here. Let us know if you have specific questions about the virus—or if you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us.

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