I arrived at a rather unenviable and hopefully “once in a lifetime” position recently—having accurately predicted the novel coronavirus now sweeping the globe. It’s an inexplicably eerie feeling. A pandemic is not something you ever hope to be “right about.” You hope it never happens. Unfortunately, one of my greatest fears has come true. A fear with its roots firmly planted in my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic (TJP for short), published ten years ago. The idea for TJP sprang from an already unhealthy obsession with viral outbreaks. Captain Trips from Stephen King’s epic, The Stand, was burned into my psyche from an early age. I burned through The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton in a single sitting. The book Hot Zone by Richard Preston and movie Outbreak was like a one-two punch, released a year apart in 1994-95. The movie 28 Days Later in 2002. Max Brooks brilliant novel, World War Z a few years after that. I couldn’t get enough of these stories. And then the Swine Flu pandemic hit in 2008! Looking back, it should have come as no surprise to anyone, especially me, that my first stab at writing a novel would center around a pandemic. However, despite my initial enthusiasm—the project barely got off the ground. The usual first time, part time writer challenges applied.
A HISTORY OF MY POSTS REGARDING COVID19. Note: ALL OF THESE POSTS ORIGINATED ON FACEBOOK. I REBROADCASTED MOST OF THEM ON TWITTER AND ON THIS BLOG. Another note: I posted a few times between the end of January and the start of my regular posting on Feb 27th, but deleted those posts due to harassment via email and PM on Facebook…and directly on the posts. Most of the harassment centered around the theme “liberal hoax hyped by Fake News Media.” THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN OR POLITICAL ISSUE FOR ME. I was critical of the Ebola response in 2014 in two widely circulated posts. POST ONE. POST TWO. JANUARY 27th Looking at this representation of the Wuhan Coronavirus brings me back to 2008, when I started to write my first novel, THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC. Publicly available, interactive digital maps like this didn’t exist at that point (outside of a few barely navigable sites), so I created what I would want to see if I were tracking a pandemic virus. Looks like I wasn’t alone. LINK to Wuhan Coronavirus tracking site–> https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/…/opsdashboa…/index.html… From THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC (2010) “Next, Alex navigated to the International Scientific Pandemic Awareness Collaborative (ISPAC) site and checked their
As I shift more and more from a WARN to WATCH posture (I’ve always been watching), I’d like to share some resources you can use to keep an eye on big picture and local developments: University of Washington STATE BY STATE PROJECTIONS: When will each state peak. What will happen. EXCELLENT SITE WITH GRAPHS SHOWING VIRUS GROWTH BY COUNTRY. WORLDOMETER U.S. AND STATE DATA with graphs. DETAILED U.S. STATE DATA AND POLICY UPDATES: What is your state doing about COVID19 (hint: probably not a lot). Important…use this to urge state lawmakers to act now*** CORONAVIRUS ACT NOW: How much time does your state have to act? Johns Hopkins Global Tracker: THE BIG PICTURE. Straight forward. No frills. NEW YORK TIMES UPDATE: Superb graphics. Gives you a great sense of how this is progressing in the U.S. BREAKING NEWS crowd sourced tracker. A little chaotic until you zoom in, but it links you to articles used to source information. CDC COVID19 PAGE: At a glance information and nice U.S. map with state statistic. WORLDOMETER COVID19 PAGE: Goes from big to little picture with charts of trajectories plus country by country data THE COVID TRACKING PROJECT: U.S. State data Confirmed cases, testing
(unless something game changing arises): STAY HOME, unless you are running essential household missions (food, pharmacy, critical repairs, etc) OR you are working in an environment that doesn’t put you at risk of infection (you decide). IF YOU GET INFECTED TODAY, and you get critically or severely sick (estimated 20%)—YOU MOST LIKELY WILL NOT GET THE CARE YOU NEED TO RECOVER. The last golden ticket for a ventilator was handed out some time a week or more ago. The virus has been spreading quietly for weeks at this point. DON’T RISK IT. THERE’S NO DOWNSIDE TO PLAYING IT SAFE. IF I’M WRONG—ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER CREDIBLE VIROLOGY EXPERT, DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND PUBLIC HEALTHCARE EXPERT—I’ll gladly eat crow so to speak. I’ll be relieved, frankly. Like Dr. Fauci said…THIS IS THE TIME TO OVERREACT. 20% (1 in 5) are likely to require hospitalization to survive or avoid lifelong lung complications. BAD ODDS. DON’T COUNT ON A BREAKTHROUGH. The medicines they are experimenting with may help…LATER. They won’t be available in the quantities needed soon. JUST ASSUME THAT. STAY HOME. STAY SAFE. SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS. Previous COVID19 POSTS: February 27March 1March 9March 12