STAT’s Helen Branswell On How COVID-19 Has Changed the Health and Medicine Beat – Nieman Reports

Branswell: I first saw that something was going on in China on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t know at all that it was going to be as big as it was, but I knew it was something that I had to watch because China has been the source of several disease outbreaks over the last 15 years or so. I remember having an interview with Trevor Bedford [a vaccine and infectious disease researcher at Fred Hutch, an academic, teaching and research institution based in Seattle] in late January. At the time, the rule of thumb was that each case discovered outside of China probably represented about 500 undetected infections. He thought there were something like 13 cases outside of China, but I said, ‘No, it’s up to 29 cases now.’ He cursed and became audibly flustered. ‘If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic,’ he told me. I emailed my editor when I got off that call and said, ‘I think I just had the most frightening interview of my life.’ I would say, by then, I knew. Source: STAT’s Helen Branswell On How COVID-19 Has Changed the Health and Medicine Beat – Nieman Reports