This is the first coronavirus post I put up, on March 9, 2020, over a year ago. Held up pretty well, I think, despite a lack of data and research at the time. Little did I suspect that my ability to live a normal life would be taken away by a grandstanding, ignorant, blowhard of a governor for over a year, and that those actions would be justified by a terror campaign and use of incomplete and misleading information, not to mention outright lies.
The whole world is agog with corona virus and in our over-media-ed age, that means only the most sensational, dramatic perspectives get any air time. Here are some basic facts we should all keep in mind and all of us can communicate and share so that people have the right perspective and aren’t made overly anxious with no reason.
Corona viruses have been around forever, like a lot of other viruses. Like most other viruses, they constantly mutate and evolve and new strains pop up. These viruses tend to become community dwelling, that is they are just around and present. They don’t get and probably can’t be eradicated. And they are not per se particularly dangerous to humans.
The influenza virus is similar and familiar to most of us. We all encounter that virus constantly. Many of us get vaccinated every year, which may minimize our chances of getting seriously ill from particular variations of the influenza virus, but we all are still being “infected” by it all the time. For a relatively few people who are vulnerable in some way that infection results in serious illness and/or death. In fact, take a look at what happens with influenza every year–it kills tens of thousands of people. Are people freaking out? (Flu Deaths) Happens every year and will keep happening every year unless and until the unlikely event that someone figures out a universal vaccine. For most of us, it is good that we regularly encounter these viruses because it allows our body to build up an immunity.
The facts about corona virus are similar. This particular variation is going to become community dwelling; it just is in our over-populated, globally-interacting world. We will all likely be exposed to it at some point. For almost all of us this will be a non-event, at worst a mild cold or bug. It will be good for us when we are exposed, because just like influenza, once we are exposed our bodies can create an immunity. There will be a vaccine that will help protect us. That vaccine, like the flu vaccine, will be unlikely to be effective against all variations, but will aid in avoiding serious illness.
For a few people, the old, those with respiratory conditions or illnesses, those with other illnesses that weaken them generally or weaken their immune systems, the infection will cause serious illness. These people need to be protected, especially until there is a vaccine. They probably should be careful about what they do in public and about infection control, just like they need to be careful in flu season.
Experience in China suggests that among those who become infected, only a small number need intensive medical treatment. And the mortality rate among those tested and verified to have been infected is probably around 3%. But this does not include the many, many more people who have been infected but showed no symptoms or never got tested. The true mortality rate, as for most viral illnesses like this, will turn out to be well under 1%. Serious but not threatening to life or civilization on earth.
So there is no reason for most people to stop going about their daily lives. And there is no reason for drastic public health measures. We need to take steps to protect those who are vulnerable, but the vast majority of the population has little to fear. It is like with politicians, it is not the act, it is the coverup that gets them. Here, it is not the infection, it is the fear and panic that might be unnecessarily induced. My biggest concern is that our generally moronic politicians will get stampeded into taking extreme measures just to avoid being labeled as botching the response, and those measures will make the public more anxious than it should be.
So I am asking each of you to be rational in thinking about the situation and to encourage others to do that. And pass this post on if it helps with that effort. You will still see me eating out, going to sporting events, flying and engaging in my usual activities. I know I will get this virus, just like I have gotten many others, and my health, despite my age, is excellent, so I have nothing to worry about. Neither do most of you.