Thursday, March 12, 2020

Some Factual Information regarding COVID-19


This is getting real, people.

Right now there are news outlets critiquing trump's performance last night in his address from the Oval Office. People on the right are claiming the coronavirus is a conspiracy on the part of the Chinese to cripple America's economy. People on the left are bitching about the fact that trump's travel ban has a carveout for countries where, in a staggering coincidence that fools nobody, his resorts are located. People on both sides are pretty much resigned to the fact that Jared Kushner being in the lead on this in any capacity whatsoever spells the impending extinction of the human species.

None of which is relevant.

There is a lot of information -- and misinformation -- about the COVID-19 virus flying about. Some of the misinformation is malicious in intent, but the vast majority is either the result of honest mistakes, or of trying to rush things to press. To that end, I have included the following links to the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization so y'all can get legitimate information:

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

As of this writing, there have been 1,215 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the United States in 43 jurisdictions (42 states and the District of Columbia). There have been 36 deaths. The vast majority of these cases have manifested in the past few weeks -- prior to Feb 17, there had been one or two cases identified per day, with some days seeing none.

In January, we saw an average of 0.7 cases identified per day. In February, that climbed to 7.9. For March -- even though we only have complete data for the first three days of the month, that average is 16.2. A week-by-week breakdown from January 12 to present is pretty grim, as shown below:

1/12 - 1/18 0.4
1/19 - 1/25 1.0
1/26 - 2/1 0.7
2/2 - 2/8 0.3
2/9 - 2/15 1.4
2/16 - 2/22 6.7
2/23 - 2/29 24.0
3/1 - 3/7* 24.0
*Illnesses that began after March 3rd may not yet be reported

The point of all this is, this is not a Republican/Democrat thing. This is not a struggle between Christianity and Islam. This is not racial in origin. This is not something that can, or should, be used to wallop trump (that can come later). This is a human thing.

If we are going to get past this thing, we have to unite as a species. Closing borders and isolating the United States is not the answer ... after all, the virus is already working its way through our population; does a travel ban make the virus any less here?

As I write this, scientists the world over are working feverishly to find a way to mitigate this. Until that time, it is simply a matter of following some commonsense measures:

  • Wash your hands. I know I'm not the only one beating this drum, but it bears repeating as often as humanly possible: wash your hands. Get under the fingernails, under the cuticles, anywhere a virus might be hiding out (within reason; there's no need to take a belt sander to your knuckles ... yet). If you do not have soap, make sure you are using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  • A new term that has popped up in the past couple of days is "social distancing." This is  just a nicer way of saying, in the immortal words of Sting, "Don't stand so close to me."
  • It sucks, but we have to limit gatherings. The NBA has canceled the remainder of its season. The NCAA will be playing in empty arenas.
  • Do not spread misinformation. Many people on social media are posting links to stories about COVID-19 being a Chinese conspiracy, or that Democrats are fighting against a solution to the problem for electoral reasons, and on and on and on. Knock it off. Check your sources. If you are going to post something, please make sure it is legitimate and not some crackpot bullshit conspiracy theory or partisan bleating (on either side). And for the record, Fox News is not really considered a legitimate source, considering how they attempt to spin everything in favor of trump (by the same token, MSNBC is suspect because they tend to spin things against trump, although to a lesser degree).

We will get through this. There are nearly 8 billion of us; it's going to take more than this to do us in.

I gotta lie down.

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