COVID-19 12Mar20

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.

As always:

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.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 10Mar20

Two interesting things out of the South China Morning Post this morning. First, the apparent airborne vector for COVID-19 may be able to travel twice as far as the official “safe distance” and stay in the air 30 minutes. If true, very interesting. For now, recommend a grain of salt until this can be verified outside of China. No offense, but anything out of China has to be taken with a grain, or tun, of salt. Two, Asian markets are rebounding this morning as deal hunters go shopping. Not at all unexpected, and what any smart investors should be doing.

A study in courage this morning is this report on why COVID-19 seems to be worse for men than women. Biological males and females are different, who knew!

I will up my recommendation of yesterday, and possibly double-down as well. In the Game of Loads and Vectors, we need to be aggressive to win. Well, the school district I referenced yesterday has shut down ALL schools for two weeks and gone to e-learning. This gives time for things to stabilize and for all schools, busses, etc. to be cleaned and sanitized.

Yesterday, I recommended that this be done state-wide. Today, I will say I think it should be done nation-wide. Yes, it will be something of a hard reset; but, it could just be the firebreak that the coasts (particularly West) need and to keep things from cascading in the interior. This will be politics with a capital P, but it also makes some good epidemiological sense.

For individuals, I continue to recommend hand-washing and good hygiene. I still do not think masks are a good idea for most people unless they have something (other than COVID-19) and don’t want to share/start a panic.

If you are 60+; have smoked and inhaled smoke into your lungs for an extended period of time; currently smoke and inhale smoke into your lungs; have COPD; or, have other underlying health conditions: I strongly urge you not to travel, to limit public exposure, and to take up strict flu protocols. This population is the most susceptible and the population with the worst outcomes for COVID-19. This is also the only population where I would recommend talking with your doctor about the advisability of wearing a mask during limited public exposure.

And, once again, please stop the panic. Yes, this is scary and we don’t know nearly as much about it as we should. That said, the largest reason to slow the outbreak is not to save lives, but to prevent overloading our medical system — which would result in far worse outcomes and many (possibly many many) more deaths. Keep in mind, that while people have died here in the U.S. from COVID-19, the flu has already killed some 20,000 people this season.

The key to this is to stay alert, be informed (which means learning, not reacting to fear mongering and panic-incitement by the politico-media class), and be prepared.

Along those lines, I’ve been meaning to go back and say something about this post by Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, which looked at this article on preparing for COVID-19. Glenn makes the point that:

“This logic, though the author doesn’t quite seem to grasp it, actually applies to all varieties of prepping. The better you can look after yourself and yours, the less of a drain you are on emergency resources. The press wants to treat prepping as selfish, but it’s actually the opposite.”

The media does all it can to portray preparedness and “prepping” in a negative light. Just note the show referenced in the article as one example. Part of this is pure elitism of a media class that lives almost exclusively in the bubbles on the coasts (particularly NYC). Part of it is pure politics, as having prepared, resilient, and self-reliant Citizens runs contrary to enshrining victimhood as a reason to expand government.

Practical preparedness always pays. Not only for you, but for society as a whole. Having larger numbers of people prepared and not a drain also allows more efficient triage in an emergency of any type, as well as a more efficient application of potentially limited resources. All the more reason I need to get back to writing about same and getting the book back underway.

Selfish is not preparation. Selfish is panic buying massive amounts of items, far more than needed, and hoarding them. Selfish is going into work or public places sick, or breaking quarantine to do a public event. Selfish is deliberately encouraging a panic for your own gain.

Don’t be selfish. Be smart, and be prepared.

As always:

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not according to WHO, but most everyone else is saying yes, it is. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never.

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.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

Going to have to be short and sweet this morning, as other duties call. Trust me, would rather be here doing this and other writing than doing what I have to do this morning.

An elementary school student is now the third confirmed case of COVID-19 here in Indiana. The school district where the student lives has wisely (IMO) chosen to implement a system-wide e-learning day today (diagnosis was yesterday) and has announced that the school the student attended will be closed for two weeks. Students there will take part in e-learning and other learning opportunities during that time.

Frankly, I think it would be a good idea for this to go statewide as soon as possible. Right now, we have few confirmed cases and a somewhat reasonable number of what I would call probably exposed. These are people who had more than casual contact with one of the people infected, but not constant contact.

Epidemiology is, in many respects, a game of loads and vectors. You need a certain number of microbes of any type to infect any one person — the load. That number varies based on health, hygiene, and other factors. You need a means of transmitting those microbes, such as sneezing, touch, etc. — the vector.

Washing your hands and strong personal hygiene reduces the number of microbes on you at any time, especially those that could travel via the hands to the mouth, nose, and eyes. Staying ten feet away from anyone sick is a good way of avoiding transmission via cough, sneeze, or just breathing. Being careful what you touch, using the disinfectant wipes at the store on the handles of the grocery cart, and all those other things reduces the amount of microbes that can get to you. You’ve cut the load.

Now we get to vectors. We are still in the early days of this, but we also have an opportunity to break one or more vector chains. If we close all schools, colleges, and universities; and, if along with that we urge people to stay home, cancel public events, and encourage private events to postpone, there is the chance to break vectors relating to physical and airborne transmission. Break enough of the vector chains, and the spread will slow or even stop (temporarily).

This buys time for treatments to be developed, vaccines developed and produced, and will prevent overloading the medical system. It’s a prudent move, though I doubt it will happen. If it doesn’t happen this week or next, the odds are it will be done several weeks too late to be truly effective.

As always:

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not according to WHO, but most everyone else is saying yes, it is. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never.

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.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 8Mar20

The panic is off and running. Want to avoid getting it? Wash your hands, often and well. Consider sterilizing the things you use often as well, such as your keyboard, cell phone, tooth brush, etc. A single molecule/virus is unlikely to infect you: the key is to reduce the load of any microbe below that load needed for infection.

This virus has not acted normally, and now we have a better understanding of why. A friend kindly provided me with links to three studies that have shed new light on how COVID-19 infects people, and it is both fascinating and interesting. Fascinating from a biomolecular viewpoint and interesting in terms of some of the questions this news raises.

This paper outlines how the virus shares an ACE2 receptor with SARS. ACE2 expression explains some of the oddity of who it infects and why it has been more deadly in China. Short version is that ACE2 expression is small (to non-existent) in healthy lungs; but, as we grow older it starts to crop up. When you live with heavy air pollution (such as China) and if you are a heavy cigarette smoker, your lungs are damaged, increasing the expression. This paper gets into the smoking aspect.

The real kicker, however, is that COVID-19 has a mutated gene similar to Ebola and SARS that gives it up to 1,000 times the ability of SARS to bind with human cells. There is a lot of detail to be found in this article at the South China Morning Post.

The good news out of all of the above is that ACE2 inhibitors and a number of HIV drugs may work on COVID-19, or at least slow it down. It opens up several fronts on fighting the disease while effective and efficient vaccines are developed. How and why it developed the similar mutation to Ebola and HIV is a very interesting question. Another question is how much damage the virus does to the lungs, and if it is permanent as this article suggests.

Meantime, the fight is on continuing to throttle the rate of infection spread here in the U.S. So far, that strategy is working despite the CDC (hat tip to Insty) and others. The testing issue is major, as is CDC staffers hanging up on doctors who disagree with them and incidents like this that are far more frequent than is being reported (again, hat tip to Insty). The goal is to slow it down so that warmer weather will slow it further. Why?

As I noted in a previous post, unchecked it will overload the system, just as it has done in China and elsewhere. This report from Business Insider notes that hospitals have been warned to prepare for 4.8 million hospitalizations in a worst-case scenario. By the way, if you are looking for reasonably good and accurate coverage, keep the BI coronavirus search going, and also stay up with the South China Morning Post coronavirus coverage. Also, Instapundit runs frequent updates and collections of stories that are a good resource.

Failure to do things properly is partly the blame with what has happened in Washington State and elsewhere. Improper responses have caused dozens of first responders and health care professionals to have to be quarantined, taking them out of the fight for the time being. I say yet again, if you are a first responder or medical professional, go to the highest level of protocol that your agency will allow. You won’t do anyone any good in quarantine.

Slowing the spread prevents overloading the system. If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed, do like the person in Indianapolis discussed yesterday: 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.

Here in Indiana, IU Health has launched a free online screening process. I expect to see more efforts like this, as it will allow people to be screened efficiently and effectively while limiting exposure and spread.

The continued kicker is that based on anecdotal evidence, there seem to be a higher number of “superspreaders” who also appear to be spreading while asymptomatic. The latest (again from BI) is in NYC and there are 20 cases linked to him.

Again (and again), the best defense is to wash your hands frequently and well, and to use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash or between washings. Want to do more? Avoid unnecessary travel and avoid large gatherings (esp. since many cases have come from conferences and such, including CPAC). Work form home, telecommute, and use virtual meetings for as much as possible. Do not shake hands. If someone is visibly sick and/or not following good protocols (hand washing, covering mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing, etc.) avoid them by about ten feet if possible. If you are 70 plus and/or have health issues, stay home as much as possible. If you have to go out, follow the above stringently. Been at a crowded event? Wash, bathe, and wash your clothes. You don’t need to kill every germ, just enough to stay below the load level.

Again (and again), COVID-19 is NOT Capt. Tripps. So, stop the panic and freakout. It is worse than the flu to certain populations, surprisingly mild in some ways outside of those populations, and right now the mortality numbers here in the U.S. are well below that of flu, which kills between 12,000-61,000 people in the U.S. each year. And, note that thanks to the early travel restrictions, the U.S. has the lowest per capita infection rate of any country with more than 100 cases by a significant margin. So, again, please stop the panic. You can safely ignore most of the media coverage, especially if it focuses on the political angle. So far, such reporting (and the politics) have almost 180 degrees from reality.

Your response to this, ultimately, is as important — if not more important — than the government response. You have the power to protect yourself. You have the power to avoid spreading it. You have the ability to think, plan, and prepare if a general quarantine is put in place for your area.

Think.

Yes, it’s hard and the media is stoking the panic for all it’s worth. All the more reason to stop, think, learn, and do what is right for you and for your fellow citizens.

So, wash those hands, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and don’t go running into an area crowded with already compromised people if you think you have it (i.e. a doc-in-the-box, ER, etc.). Think, then act. Use an online screening process, call your state health department, or similar step and then do what they tell you to do.

Final quick note: bureaucracies are not fast and responsive, particularly when they have mission bloat. That said, for all that some elements of the CDC (and WHO and others) are fucking up by the numbers, there are good people in all them who are having to fight their own administrations (not The Administration) to try to get things done. My hat is off to them, and if there is any way I can help them I’m glad to do it. I have a fond but faint hope that one good to come out of this is that some long-overdue reforms of the CDC and FDA may finally happen. It’s time to have the experts in charge again, not political administrators. Both need to be lean, mean, and flexible — something they are far from being now.

As always:

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not according to WHO, but most everyone else is saying yes, it is. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never.

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.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Think You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

We now have our first confirmed case of COVID-19 here in Indiana. It is a case study in how to do things right if you think you have, or have been exposed to, COVID-19.

The basic story is here. Whatever I may think of the person for having gone to an event at this time, they did things right in a way that should become the text book example of what to do if you have/have been exposed to COVID-19.

Note that they contacted the state health department as soon as they suspected. Working with them, they went to a hospital and parked away from everyone else. They contacted the hospital by phone, who had already been contacted by the state. This allowed them to have those responding take all appropriate precautions. They then took the person in via an entrance not normally used by the public, after putting them in clothing/gear to prevent spread. They was taken to an area of negative pressure for testing. Given that the case is mild at this time, they was taken out the same way and put in quarantine at home.

All of this allowed for: protection of the medical team/first responders involved; it allowed easy decontamination of the areas where this person went; it ensured that the chance of spread to anyone — especially other patients — was minimized.

Note that they did not go to a doc-in-the-box; they did not go to the ER directly; and, they minimized exposure to the public. This is how you do it.

Doing my normal bi-weekly shopping yesterday, I saw panic. People were wearing masks, which is in many respects idiotic. The one person I saw doing it right was from our SE Asian population and they were wearing a mask because they clearly were ill. I steered well clear of them. The others, well, not so much and not so well. Good luck finding disinfectants, hand sanitizer, etc. If you waited until now to begin preparing, well, sucks to be you. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.

Again, wearing a mask if you are sick is a good idea. If not, you are mostly asking to be sick as few know how to put them on, how to wear them, and — most importantly — how to take them off without increasing your risk of infection. Masks, gloves, and other precautions require you to treat them as hazmat, not just throw them in the trash.

Again (and again) the best way to protect yourself here in the U.S. is to stay away from anyone obviously ill, and to wash your hands well and frequently, particularly after using the bathroom. In between washings, use hand sanitizer on a regular basis. Keep your booger hooks away from your face as much as possible. Don’t shake hands. For me, I like the idea of using the Vulcan salute instead.

Given that most people, especially those falling for politico-media fear mongering, have less sense than God gave a cherrystone clam, I would avoid crowds and as much as possible and avoid medical triage areas such as doc-in-the-boxes and ERs. Most people are not, unless educated by posts such as this one and actual medical statements, are going to flock to such places en masse which will increase the rate of exposure and the rate of infection.

If you think you have been exposed, or that you have COVID-19, do like this person. Call your state or local health agency and work with them so as to minimize the chance of exposing anyone, especially medical or other first responders.

Per my previous posts, if you are a first responder of any type, go to the highest level of precaution your department will allow — especially if responding to a report of someone ill. We can’t afford to have a dozen or more first responders quarantined for each incident as happened in Washington state (see previous posts).

With luck, planning, and people taking sensible precautions, the spread of COVID-19 can continue to be slowed until the weather gets better. There is a reason winter is worse for the flu, and the longer we can put off major spread the better. Also, keep in mind that the majority of cases are going to be mild, in keeping with a flu epidemic (which we have every year). There are a number of reasons it will not be as nasty and deadly here as in China (again, see previous posts). Panic will not help, and in fact will hurt. If you are older (60+) and have underlying health conditions, go to full, stringent, flu precautions as you are the most likely to have real problems with COVID-19. Right now, based on data from here in the U.S., 70+ with underlying health conditions is where we have the highest mortality.

It will be at least another 4- to 6-weeks before we have good data on COVID-19 here in the U.S. Data from China, Iran, etc., is both highly suspect (hint, the Chinese government and other governments have and are lying) and not directly applicable. Don’t panic.

Best thing you can do, other than washing your hands frequently, is to prepare for a possible quarantine. Make sure you have food, medicines, and other supplies to stay at home without leaving for at lest two weeks. This includes financial preparations where possible. Stock up prudently, in that what you buy should be what you normally would eat, drink, need. That way, if not needed, you simply fold it into your normal operations and move on while saving some money on food and such on the far end.

This is NOT Capt. Tripps, and while it will be a pain in the end, it is not something over which to panic. Unless you are in that specific demographic for it to be bad or fatal, you will get by. The major impact will be economic, though I suspect/hope it will change how we do business on several levels. We’ve slowly been trending towards remote work, and I expect that to become more the norm. I won’t object if handshaking becomes a thing of the past. For those smart and fast, there are some potentially fantastic business opportunities as we rightly move away from single-point failures in the supply chain.

Again, and again, and again: it is not a cause for panic. Be smart, be informed, and take media/politico reports with a tun of salt. Instead of a tun, maybe even a ton or two of salt.

As always:

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not according to WHO, but most everyone else is saying yes, it is. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never.

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.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness