There is huge news this morning, news that may or may not get the coverage it should, both in terms of quality and quantity. In some ways, it is not unexpected but is rocking the epidemiological community.
The reason I started doing these updates was that I did not think the story was getting the coverage it should. One of the things I do is look at data and spot patterns. I did not like the pattern I was seeing even before the mainstream media started paying attention. It was clear something was going on; that it was far worse than China was admitting based off what data could be obtained; and, it was also clear that China was flat out lying with the data provided. It didn’t take much of a dive into Chinese social media (or into commercial intel) to figure that out.
One of the first places I found that was taking it seriously and trying to model what was happening was the Imperial College of London. Their model(s) were one of the first efforts to identify, chart, and project and I, like many others, linked to them and used them in our analysis.
This morning, I awoke to the news that Neil Ferguson at the ICM has revised, yet again, the projections. This is the third pivot, and while a lot of people are going to be castigating him, I’m not yet prepared to. For while we knew the data from China was incorrect, it was all we had. The problem is, in any model, that when you put garbage in, you get garbage out. GIGO applies today as it always has. While I did consider his previous advice on herd immunity — a reaction plan quickly dropped by the government — was idiotic, it was to some degree understandable.
The short version for those that don’t follow the link: it’s bad, but both the UK and the US should have enough beds and capacity to handle what is to come. It will get very close in some areas, and a few may hit capacity, but the death toll will be much, much lower. Seriously, go read the article.
Here in the U.S., I suspect that NY and California are going to be our two major hotspots where this may not hold. The unconscionable actions of DeBlasio in NYC in the early days have made a bad situation catastrophic. Previous decisions by him and by Gov. Cuomo pretty much guaranteed they would not be ready to handle something like this. California, well, much the same boat. It is anecdotal for now, but the countries and areas that had tight government controls on, or socialized centralized government healthcare, have faired the worst. An interesting point for debate sometime soon.
This news is going to change our response as well. Again, I will point out that we had to plan for and initiate a response based on worst-case until we had enough accurate data to understand the situation. We are now getting accurate data in amounts that will allow that, though we won’t have a truly clear picture for weeks. However, we have enough to begin considering options while we watch what transpires between now and the end of the 15-day period.
Also, I will admit I was wrong about masks. I did not think they would be effective under the circumstances we thought we were facing. The fact is, there is now evidence that if everyone were to wear surgical masks (and if we had them for people to wear them), it would slow the infection rate down. Note: just wearing one yourself won’t do a lot of good. This will only work if everyone wears one. A bit of anecdotal data on this is here. Again, the problem there is that we would have to have them, and right now we don’t.
There is a lot to learn from what has happened/is happening. There needs to be some serious and intense debate about it, and we need to massively overhaul and update the CDC and FDA — including trimming out the major mission creep in both and returning them to their original and vital functions.
Again, ignore the media and the breathless fixation on cases and deaths. Do not give in to the panic they are trying to create. Yes, as noted before, cases are going to spike both because of transmission and the rapid expansion of testing, which will generate a false spike as existing cases are confirmed. Yes, sadly, people will die but the number is going to be far less than most other causes including the flu.
As I noted yesterday: “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.”
Once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
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. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, 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: