The last week has had me really wanting to just bang my head on the desk, the wall, or any other hard surface. Or, to hit the already way-to-slim strategic alcohol reserve. Those seem to be the two best responses to the needless panic and media-fueled hysteria over COVID-19.
Yes, it is serious though as we are getting good data (finally!) we are seeing less impact here than is being seen elsewhere. As noted in previous updates, that is because of better health, better health systems, better public and private sanitation, better air quality, and a few other factors. The key for us remains to keep it from overwhelming the health system which it can and will do unless the rate of spread is slowed. Here, unless you are older (70+) and/or have an underlying health condition(s), the odds are it will be more like a cold or flu. If you are in the demographic mentioned, then you have a far greater chance of serious illness or death. Again, so long as we can keep on top of it, and not let things get out of hand, this should remain the case.
That is why I am glad for the travel ban, and I personally would have expanded it a bit. It is why I am glad to see schools, sports, and others cancelling events or going to virtual attendance and participation. It breaks vector chains, which along with good hygiene to lower personal viral loads, should slow down or effectively stop the spread for now. I also fully expect a partisan reaction to it, given that the opposition also fully and strongly opposed the China travel ban, which has been proven to have been effective.
As for the media/political complex, please go read this and then go read this. The media has worked hard to lose the public trust for quite some time, and they can’t understand why people don’t trust them — even as they openly lie about events for partisan purposes.
For those who still claim the CDC and more government are the be-all and end-all, and just what we need to deal with things like this, go read this from the New York Times. (Hat Tip Instapundit) When you’ve lost the Times… Keep in mind that the CDC, WHO, FDA, etc. are first and foremost political agencies and not medical/health agencies. You don’t build power and budgets by sticking to your tasks after all. Don’t think WHO is mostly political (despite some good people working for it)? Then why was it only yesterday that they declared this a pandemic? (Hint, China).
Speaking of China, this bullshit about calling the Wuhan virus the Wuhan virus, the Wuhan coronavirus, etc. being racist is beyond ridiculous. Telephone call for those pushing that: West Nile, Lyme Disease, and the Spanish Flu would like a word with you… Also, counter-intel types: pay attention to who starts this, as you likely will find Chinese money and influence at work, sometimes in the highest levels of government.
Do me a favor: anyone who wants to help me build up the strategic alcohol and tobacco reserves so I can keep wading through the raging torrents of stupid out there, please feel free to do so.
Again, there is no need to panic. In some ways, it is worse than the flu, and in others (for others) it is not. What is needed is rational thought, rational preparedness and response, and just general rationality. To get the latter (or most any of the rest) turn off the media. Then, try turning on your brain. Read, study, listen, learn.
But, hey, don’t listen to me. I’ve only been a science writer (former journalist) for more than 30 years covering medical/biomedical research during that time; been involved with medical/biomedical research to varying degrees for more than 10 years; and earned my basic Military Emergency Management Systems certification/badge. Obviously, by the standards of the politico/media elite, I have no clue what I’m talking about.
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. 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.
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