First, if you are depending on the mainstream media for accurate and useful information, you are endangering your physical and mental health. It is not about how many cases there are, what celeb or leader has it, people having to change their wedding plans, or how many have died. The media has both a monetary incentive and an agenda-driven incentive to stoke panic. Remember, if it bleeds it leads, and this is an industry that has been hemorrhaging viewers/readers and revenue for some time now. Don’t give in to bad info and deliberate efforts to incite panic.
Second, the number of cases and the number of deaths really don’t matter right now. The number of cases (as has been pointed out here, in the task force briefings, and elsewhere) are spiking for two different reasons.
One is spread. The other is the expansion of testing, and I suspect once testing ramps up and really gets going we are going to find that it is far more widespread than the current numbers show.
The other is that testing is escalating (despite the FDA, who once again has played bureaucratic roadblock to an effective response). As more tests are used, and don’t have to be saved for bad cases, the number will go up. Most of those are going to be with people who were asymptomatic or had minor symptoms.
What are the numbers to look at? First, what is the number of patients requiring treatment in a hospital. Second, what is the number of people requiring treatment in an ICU? Third, what is the number of patients who require ventilator support? You might be surprised at the age ranges of those needing ICU and/or ventilator time, as a surprising number of them are NOT in the at-risk range.
The whole purpose of the lockdown is to slow the rate of spread, so as to avoid overwhelming the medical system as has happened in far too many countries. Go do a quick search on the number of countries that are refusing to treat people 60 or up, or otherwise at high risk of death as they no longer have the ability to do so. It is scary, and more than one are First World countries.
That said, we have a new set of numbers to start watching this week: those being treated with hydroxychloroquine, by itself or in tandem with other drugs. Here’s a fairly good read on the testing results in France and the U.S. Here’s a link to the French research paper; a link to a Chinese research paper; and, an interview with a U.S. doctor who has treated 350 patients with great success. We should be getting more numbers, and a better assessment of effectiveness, very quickly.
As a quick aside, if you need yet another example of how run-away bureaucracy has hindered an effective response, the CDC was advised in 2005 that Chloroquine was effective in treating coronaviruses. Either they didn’t make a note, or didn’t care. Yet another of why the CDC and FDA need a major overhaul and to be refocused on their prime missions. Here’s a link to the paper.
Once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
There are a lot of good stories out there about people helping others, particularly those who are on the front lines. A front line that has grown to include grocery clerks, truckers, people in logistic centers, and more. Note that it is the “working stiffs” who are keeping things together for us all. Take time to thank them, and do something for them if you can.
What happens now depends on what happens with the treatments. The lockdown can’t continue. It is destroying our economy, and posing a serious danger to our civil liberties. What is needed is a plan to return the country to “normal” or what passes for it. President Trump has said such is in the works, though it is evolving and will evolve based on how things go. Frankly, I think that sharing even a bit of the plan, and emphasizing there is a larger one even if evolving, will go a long way to helping stop the panic and growing anger.
Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.
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If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.
Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NO. HELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.
Avoid travel if at all possible. Right now, there is no way I’m going to a trade show, major convention, etc. If you can telecommute, get that set up now. If you have to travel, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc. Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc. Not many actually do it, but…
If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.
Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19
Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)
South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)
Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)
More to come
Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support
Pipe Puffer (cigar and pipe) regular hours for now
More to come
Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles: