Selected References on Coronavirus

… back to Discussion Group Resources

BC and Canada case counts and press updates

BC Centre for Disease Control, Case Counts & Press Statements, at

Epidemiological summary of COVID-19 cases in Canada, at

Advice from Arthur Brooks and André Picard

Arthur Brooks on Finding Purpose During the Pandemic (2020, Atlas summary and links to articles and podcasts), at Arthur Brooks on Finding Purpose During the Pandemic, accessed 29 May 2020.

André Picard (2020), Coronavirus questions answered, Globe and Mail, updated 25 May 2020, at, accessed 29 May 2020.

Experts on Twitter (no log-in required)
Medical Experts

Marc Lipsitch, Harvard:

Neil Ferguson, Imperial College:

David Fisman, University of Toronto:

David Naylor, University of Toronto:

Nicholas Christakis, Yale:

Other Analysts

Ian Bremmer,

Tomas Pueyo, Course Hero, Inc.:

Yascha Mounk, Harvard:

Nate Silver,

Other websites with regular status updates

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 in the U.S., at

Canada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard, at

Ontario Ministry of Health, COVID-19, at

Worldometer COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak, at

Oxford Martin School, Our World in Data, COVID-19 Statistics and Research, at

Oxford Blavatnik School of Government Coronavirus Government Response Tracker, at

Harvard Coronavirus Resource Center, at

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, COVID-19, at

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Global Cases Dashboard, at

World Health Organisation, COVID-19, at and Situation Reports at


Ed Yong (2020), America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further, The Atlantic, 29 April 2020, at, accessed 29 May 2020.

Ed Yong (2020), Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing, The Atlantic, 29 April 2020, at, accessed 30 April 2020.

Larry Brilliant with Ian Bremmer (31-minute podcast, 2020), Dr. Larry Brilliant on how to end the COVID-19 pandemic, 27 April 2020, at, accessed 27 April 2020.

Richard Layard, Gus O’Donnell, et al (2020), When to release the lockdown – A wellbeing framework for analysing costs and benefits, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, April 2020, at, accessed 27 April 2020.

David Katz with Bill Mayer (2020, 16-minute video), Real Time with Bill Maher, 24 April 2020, at, accessed 26 April 2020.

Public Policy Forum (2020, 43-minute podcast), Public trust of government in a crisis with Peter Loewen, Policy Speaking podcast, 24 April 2020, at, accessed 26 April 2020.

Jordan Heath-Rawlings and David Fisman (2020, 33-minute podcast), What COVID-19 can teach us about being wrong, The Big Story, 22 April 2020, at, accessed 23 April 2020.

The Herle Burly Podcast (2020), Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response with Scott Clark, 31 March 2020, first 35-minute portion of podcast at, accessed 1 April 2020.

CTV News Diplomatic Community (2020), 10-minute video with Lawrence Haas and Jeremy Kinsman, Leaders around the globe grapple with the crisis, 31 March 2020, at, accessed 1 April 2020.

Public Policy Forum (2020), The Economy After COVID-19 with David Dodge, Policy Speaking podcast, 26 March 2020, at, accessed 27 March 2020.

Jeremy Kinsman (2020), Bilateral Distancing: The Trudeau-Trump COVID-19 Divide, Policy, 26 March 2020, at, accessed 27 March 2020.

Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson (2020), Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do, New York Times, 25 March 2020, at, accessed 27 March 2020.

Chen Shen et al (2020), Review of Ferguson et al “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions…,” Academia, at…_, accessed 27 March 2020.

Ed Young (2020), Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful, The Atlantic, 20 March 2020, at, accessed 22 March 2020.

Ivan Semeniuk (2020), When does social distancing end? These graphs show where we’re heading and why, Globe and Mail, 20 March 2020, at, accessed 20 March 2020.

Nicholas Kristof (2020), The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst, New York Times, 20 March 2020, at, accessed 20 March 2020.

Gary Mason (2020), The moral choice that may soon be facing Canadian doctors: who lives, who dies, Globe and Mail, 19 March 2020, at, accessed 20 March 2020.

Tomas Pueyo (2020), Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance, Medium, 19 March 2020, at, accessed 27 March 2020. [PLEASE NOTE: Pueyo is not an epidemiologist; his LinkedIn profile is at]

Alex Usher (2020), Coronavirus (6) – Postcorona, One Thought to Start Your Day, Higher Education Strategy Associates, 19 March 2020, see Usher’s Coronavirus series at, accessed 19 March 2020.

Peter Baker and Eileen Sullivan (2020), U.S. Virus Plan Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic and Widespread Shortages, New York Times, 17 March 2020, at, accessed 19 March 2020. See pdf of full plan: Department of Health and Human Services (2020), U.S. Government COVID-19 Response Plan, 13 March 2020, “For Official Use Only” but made public by the New York Times on 17 March 2020 at, accessed 19 March 2020.

Sheri Fink (2020), White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll, New York Times, 16 March 2020, at, accessed 17 March 2020.

Neil Ferguson et al (2020), Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, 16 March 2020, at, accessed 17 March 2020.

Josh Katz et al (2020), Could Coronavirus Cause as Many Deaths as Cancer in the U.S.? Putting Estimates in Context, New York Times, 16 March 2020, at, accessed 16 March 2020.

André Picard (2020), Canada, here’s how we are going to survive this pandemic together, Globe and Mail, 15 March 2020, at, accessed 16 March 2020.

Andrew Cuomo (2020), Mobilize the Military to Help Fight Coronavirus, New York Times, 15 March 2020, at, accessed 16 March 2020.

Harry Stevens (2020), Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve,” Washington Post, 14 March 2020, at, accessed 15 March 2020.

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (2020), Flattening the pandemic and recession curves, Clausen Center, University of California at Berkeley, 13 March 2020, at, accessed 18 March 2020.

André Picard (2020), Make no mistake – Italy is not an outlier in this global pandemic, Globe and Mail, 13 March 2020, at, accessed 15 March 2020.

Sheri Fink (2020), Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths, New York Times, 13 March 2020, at, accessed 15 March 2020.

Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson (2020), How Much Worse the
Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts, New York Times, 13 March 2020, at, accessed 13 March 2020.

BBC4 Best of Today podcast of 13 March 2020 (12 minutes), The UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser defends the current approach to coronavirus, at or mp3 file uploaded to the Atlas at

Articles in Neoscope ( such as why soap and water works better than hand sanitizers ( and the results of an October 2019 simulation of the spread of a hypothetical coronavirus ( accessed 13 March 2020.

Canadian Society of Association Executives Webinar (one-hour audio, no date), with Dr. David N. Fisman, Head of the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Toronto, at, accessed 12 March 2020. [PLEASE NOTE: to listen to this webinar one has to register by providing one’s name and email address. The link comes from the 12 March 2020 Maclean’s article by Stephen Maher at]

Tomas Pueyo (2020), Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now, Medium, 11 March 2020, at, accessed 12 March 2020. [PLEASE NOTE: Pueyo is not an epidemiologist; his LinkedIn profile is at]

Roy Anderson et al (2020), How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic? The Lancet, 9 March 2020, at, accessed 11 March 2020.

Matteo Chinazzi et al (2020), The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Science, 6 March 2020, at, accessed 15 March 2020.

Jenny Gross and Mariel Padilla (2020), From Pandemic to Social Distancing: A Coronavirus Glossary, New York Times, 11 March 2020, at, accessed 12 March 2020.

Glossary of Terms for Infectious Disease Modelling (2016): NCCID at, accessed 11 March 2020.

Epidemiology terms (Anderson, Ferguson, NCCID, NYT, and PHAC refer to the articles and advice above)

Basic Reproduction Number (R0): the mean number of secondary cases generated by one primary case when the population is largely susceptible to infection. For an epidemic to take hold, the value of R0 must be greater than unity in value. The fraction likely to be infected without mitigation is roughly 1–1/R0. (Anderson)

Serial Interval: the mean time it takes for an infected person to pass on the infection to others. (Anderson)

Incubation Period: the time period between the occurrence of infection (or transmission) and the onset of disease symptoms. (NCCID)

Latent Period: the time from infection and infectiousness. (

Infectious Period: the period during which an infected person can transmit a pathogen to a susceptible host. (

Pre-symptomatic: a disease stage in which the individual exhibits no symptoms, but is infectious and can transmit the disease. (NCCID)

Generation Time: the time duration from the onset of infectiousness in a primary case to the onset of infectiousness in a secondary case infected by the primary case. (NCCID)

Community Transmission: when a patient who is not exposed to anyone known to be infected and has not travelled to countries in which the virus is circulating tests positive for infection. (

Epidemic: an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above normal expectations in a set population.

NPI: non-pharmaceutical intervention, such as social distancing

Suppression: “Here the aim is to reduce the reproduction number (the average number of secondary cases each case generates), R, to below 1 and hence to reduce case numbers to low levels or (as for SARS or Ebola) eliminate human-to-human transmission. The main challenge of this approach is that NPIs (and drugs, if available) need to be maintained – at least intermittently – for as long as the virus is circulating in the human population, or until a vaccine becomes available. In the case of COVID-19, it will be at least a 12-18 months before a vaccine is available3. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that initial vaccines will have high efficacy.” (Ferguson)

Mitigation: “Here the aim is to use NPIs (and vaccines or drugs, if available) not to interrupt transmission completely, but to reduce the health impact of an epidemic, akin to the strategy adopted by some US cities in 1918, and by the world more generally in the 1957, 1968 and 2009 influenza pandemics. In the 2009 pandemic, for instance, early supplies of vaccine were targeted at individuals with pre-existing medical conditions which put them at risk of more severe disease. In this scenario, population immunity builds up through the epidemic, leading to an eventual rapid decline in case numbers and transmission dropping to low levels.” (Ferguson)

Case Fatality Rate (CFR): the ratio of deaths from a certain disease to the total number of people diagnosed with this disease for a certain period of time. (

Attack Rate: the proportion of individuals who experience disease over a period of time. (NCCID)

Herd Immunity: a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. (

Social Distancing: measures that are taken to increase the physical space between people to slow the spread of the virus. (NYT)

Protective Self-separation: Avoiding contact with others, and staying home when possible. Recommended for those who are high-risk (older adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised). (PHAC)

Voluntary Home Quarantine (“Self-isolation”): remaining in a home setting and avoiding contact with others. (PHAC)

Shelter-in-Place Order: a self-isolation directive such as that declared on 16 March 2020 for seven California counties. (

Surfactant (such as soap): a compound (named for “surface active agent“) that breaks down the interface between water and oils, and thus destroys a coronavirus by disintegrating its lipid (fatty) envelope (see

Alcohol: “Alcohol is effective at killing different types of microbes, including both viruses and bacteria, because it unfolds and inactivates their proteins. This process, which is called denaturation, will cripple and often kill the microbe because its proteins will unfold and stick together.” (

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 24 May 2020.