WARNING: THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A POPULAR POST WITH SOME.
THE SIMPLE ANSWER IN TWO PARTS:
1.) You and your loved ones will have a far better chance of remaining uninfected by COVID19.
2.) As it starts to become even more obvious that COVID19 is here to stay for a while, this may be your last chance to acquire these supplies (I don’t have data to support this one, but just take a look at the news).
Is this panic or fear based? No. It’s data based.
The first thing we need to do is DROP the mantra “BUT THIS ISN’T AS BAD AS THE SEASONAL FLU!”
It isn’t, YET…but scientific data and disease epidemiologists says it WILL BE…or at the very least IT SHOULD BE. Let’s hope math and the experts are wrong. Or as a good Marine buddy of mine once said, “you can wish in one hand and shit in the other…and see which one fills up first.” You get the not so pretty picture.
THE SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED ANSWER IN MANY PARTS:
1.) COVID19 IS NOT GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON. It’s Reproductive Number (R0 or “R-naught”) is somewhere between 1.4 and 4, which is consistent with historical coronaviruses. R0 is the number of patients each patient infects on their own. An R0 BELOW 1 means the disease dies out. An R0 AT 1 means it infects one person and the disease grows at a steady rate. An R0 OVER 1 means the disease spreads exponentially. Season flu has an R0 of 1.2…WITH A VACCINE ADMINISTERED AHEAD OF TIME AND DURING THE FLU SEASON! COVID19’s R0 is most likely double or triple the seasonal flu, and there is NO VACCINE.
1A.) BONUS! Infected people typically shed the virus (directly give it to you or give it to a door handle that gives it to you) for 7 DAYS before showing symptoms. Some can remain asymptomatic for 14 days…higher time periods are suspected. ALSO, a study released today in the LANCET indicated that the mean number of days a patient remains contagious in ICU is 20 days in survivors. 37 days was the longest observed. This is not like your typical cold or sinus thing, where we all think “once I’m showing symptoms, I’m not contagious.”
2.) COVID19 IS MORE LETHAL THAN THE SEASONAL FLU. The latest data points coming out of China (44K patient analysis) and Italy did not dampen the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as many had hoped. Data confirmed a fairly steady 2.3% overall CFR. That’s 23X higher than seasonal flu at .1%. The older you are, or sicker you are, the worse the scenario. If you’re older than 60, or have comorbid diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc), you are anywhere from 36-148X more likely to die from COVID19 than the seasonal flu.
2A.) BONUS! 37,000 Americans died last year from the flu…and WE HAD A FLU VACCINE (admittedly influenza vaccines are not perfect). We will not have a vaccine for COVID19 for at least a year, maybe longer.
2B.) CYNICAL TAKE. Hey…maybe only the same number of Americans will die from COVID19 as the flu. WHAT A MORBID THOUGHT…one I see repeated day in and day out. One I’ve now seen both the leader of the US and UK state publicly. SEE the part where I say BUY TOILET PAPER and other stuff NOW, because with our leaders spouting this attitude, I can assure you they do not have your best interest at heart. Listen to the experts please.
3.) COVID19 IS MORE WIDESPREAD THAN THE NUMBERS SUGGEST. This is a math based theory.I’m not going to get into the math, but the bottom line is that we haven’t been testing for COVID19 in any wide scale manner. As testing picks up, we’ll start to see a glimpse of the real numbers. WE HAVE TO FACE IT. COVID19 has been here since the first infected travelers got off the plane from Asia. We don’t know when that happened, but since China has been fighting the outbreak since December, it’s fair to say that the first infected passengers arrived in January. TWO MONTHS AGO. If you understand exponential growth, you’ll quickly understand why the currently reported numbers are likely off by a magnitude of ten or more.
SO…WHAT WAS I SAYING EARLIER? Oh yeah. It might be prudent to prepare for a short (2-4 week) period of time when you can stay away from the general public…or anyone outside of your circle of sanitized trust. Make sure the vulnerable in your family or in your neighborhood are similarly situated. Significant social distancing by the population (to include self-quarantine/isolation) will be the only way to drop that R0 below or close enough to 1 to slow this thing down to a manageable level. Please plan accordingly, in a non-panicked manner…before it is too late.
AND an updated reading list for those interested:
Exponential growth explanation: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1236095180459003909.html
Deep dive into the data: https://emcrit.org/ibcc/COVID19/
The basics: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-cases-deaths-countries-symptoms-contagious
Proof I don’t just make shit up: https://www.thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lancet/pdfs/S014067362305663.pdf
Testing is going great in the US…not: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-many-americans-have-been-tested-coronavirus/607597/
Frontline observations from China: https://www.reddit.com/r/China_Flu/comments/fbt49e/the_who_sent_25_international_experts_to_china/
The reason I based my first novel on a pandemic (title of article says it all): https://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/bill-gates-spanish-flu-pandemic
For those with more time on their hands than me (NOT MANY!): https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/coronavirus-synchronous-failure-and-the-global-phase-shift-3f00d4552940
For those of you that made it this far…YES, I should be writing a book right now, but I’m trying to keep you and your peeps alive and well. And I’m happy to do it.