Beating Coronavirus Also Makes Prevention Behaviors Harder to Sustain

A daily Covid-19 update from Andy Slavitt, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
5 min readMar 22, 2020


Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Pulled from my daily COVID-19 updates on Twitter

Today I talked with scientists and innovators to try and get as good a projection of the future that I could. It is flawed by definition, no one knows the future. I also heard some about the present response: the Congressional bill, plans from the Trump administration, and hospital realities.

Let’s start with a piece of positive news. Scientists see rapid testing/intelligence, a vaccine, and herd immunity as the combination we need to return to complete normalcy. Here’s my summary from a bunch of voices: We go through a period of shock, lack of context, and occasional disbelief. Many follow instructions to #StayHome. A number of people don’t. We’re not trying to reduce the spread just slow it on behalf of the frontline health workers.

During this period we see horrific numbers on TV and horrific images of hospital scenes. It’s tough to watch. But it may not be happening in your city/town. And this phenomenon is both good news and a problem.

This bit is newsworthy: I took a look at real time data today of the fever levels reported in two areas; San Francisco, CA where there are strict controls and an area of Florida where people are completely mixing it up. It’s real time data and it makes a comparison to normal fever levels.

Here is the good news. It appears that the measures in San Francisco are working. San Francisco put in place strict #StayHome measure. Miami-Dade county in Florida lagged. Good job Bay Area. I know it’s hard.

Here’s the hard part. It’s completely re-enforcing. Usually we like to see a visual of our progress. People in San Francisco are seeing less of a crush on their healthcare systems and as a result and are wondering, “why are we doing this?” That makes it harder to sustain. If they could teleport to New York, they would know why.