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    • Open Thread & March 28th US Covid Numbers Update
      As usual, use this for topics unrelated to recent posts. Since the blog has been all Covid, all the time this last week, this is a good place to discuss other issues. The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE […]
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A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone about Coronavirus and joking that it might not be a bad idea to start prepping. Also, the stock market is probably a lagging indicator of global economic health.

The reaction was that I was being silly. Flu causes more deaths. So far, this is true. But what I have read about Coronavirus, or Covid19 as the World Health Organization calls it, is that while lethality is between 2-4%, the severity of the illness can be quite serious. More people are hospitalized for longer periods of time and there are more ICU patients. So, it might not be as bad as flu or bubonic plague but it has the capacity to make a significant impact on productivity.

Then there is the healthcare system. In some countries, like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, healthcare is pretty good. In Europe, healthcare is affordable and universal in many countries. If you live in places like that, you probably don’t have to worry about getting sick. As soon as you start to feel ill, you go to the doctor, get treated and get isolated. Along with your town in Italy.

But in less developed countries, and ironically, the United States, people who get sick may not go to the doctor. They might not think they can afford it. Or they don’t think it’s serious until it is and they have to go to the emergency room. In the meantime, they will have been contagious, spreading the virus to the elderly, the immunocompromised and the people with weird little nodules in their lungs that have the potential to make pneumonia life threatening.

If you don’t report symptoms until it’s too late, the disease control specialists will have an undercount. Does anyone really believe that India, a country of 1 billion people, has only 3 known cases??

Wait, come to think of it, isn’t Trump there? And didn’t he have a rally or something in a big arena? Where little virus particles are probably floating around and landing on every surface?

I wonder if there is any way we can get him and his family to extend their visit…?

Oh, that wasn’t nice, RD. Bad blogger! Bad! No biscuit for you.

I subscribe to prepper channels on YouTube. Sometimes, they’re hilariously over the top. But it’s probably not a bad idea to have a bug out bag ready in case you need to walk to a safe place.

That’s not going to be the case with Coronavirus. The safe place is probably your house. I read a Harvard epidemiologist’s tweets last night and he recommends planning for a 2 week home stay. I can do that! In fact, it will be easy for me. I work in an IT department. With secure WiFi, I don’t have to miss a day of work.

But what if you work at a place where you HAVE to go in? What about people in retail, food service, delivery service, manufacturing, or some other entrepreneurial enterprise that requires transportation around your town or face to face interactions?

I think we can run that thought experiment. It’s going to impact the economy pretty hard.

So, it’s going to be bad, like the CDC said today. I don’t mean “Oh My God We’re All Going To Die!!” bad. Clearly, we’re not all going to die from this. We are nowhere near the few roaming bands of remaining humans scenario. I mean that the potential is present for an economic slow down if we need to make people stay home for awhile but it won’t be the end of civilization as we know it. Well… not much of a difference.

I’m checking my prepper stash tonight, maybe buy some extra shelf stable milk and Mac and cheese. Thank god I have Girl Scout thin mints in the freezer. (I’m saved!!) But if hurricane sandy was any reference point, the CDC announcement is going to have people cleaning out the grocery store shelves pretty quickly.

It’s silly but we’re humans and can’t help ourselves.


Just found a link to this Foreign Policy article on pandemic response in the US. Bottom line: when the article was written last month, there wasn’t one. Trump had joyfully fired all those takers on the NSC’s pandemic response team in 2018.

Elections have consequences.


Another update on Covid19 by Helen Branswell at STAT suggests that there aren’t as many asymptomatic cases as previously thought. The chances of getting seriously ill with this virus is significant. 14% will become severely ill, 6% critically ill. As for the fatality rate of 2-4%:

A case fatality rate of between 2% to 4% rivals and even exceeds that of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed upwards of 50 million people. Even a case fatality rate of 0.7% — which means 7 out of every 1,000 infected people would die — is sobering. It is seven times the fatality rate for seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.

No need to panic. Most of us will be fine. But luck favors the prepared mind.

6 Responses

  1. Ohayoo, Corona-chan! 😈

  2. I’ve seen this online–even if the coronavirus doesn’t reach our country, we have become so economically dependent on China that a Chinese CV epidemic could tank our economy.

    THAT could be the Black Swan Event that would allow even Crazy Grampa Bernie to win a general election, on top of all of Benedict Donald’s crimes and follies.

    • I fear to click this link, because I don’t know Marsha Badanes from Marcia Brady. Speaking of viruses, I don’t want my computer to pick up one.

    • Interesting background information about the way the Trumpies have set up the US for disaster.
      Most of the guy’s articles weren’t as interesting to me, but I’ve bookmarked the site anyhow.

  3. I’ve volunteered with remote disaster response since Hurricane Harvey, in all kinds of disasters. We have a former WH doc on our team, and a few others with helpful medical connections. Coronavirus fatalities have been predominantly elderly males (interesting, don’t know why) and those with compromised immune systems, and appear to be much lower than expected outside of China. Tough to get accurate numbers re inside of China at all, however. (Spread in China appears to be partly due to meals: communal, multiple dipping of utensils repeatedly into communal bowls of food and contaminating the bowls with viral particles from mouth, as well as a very dense population.)

    I think I wrote this here before, but the best way to avoid flu/coronavirus/any virus: wash hands repeatedly for at least 2 minutes (sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice while washing) including under nails and between fingers; don’t share utensils; notice how often you touch your face (& stop!); use alcohol-based sanitizer throughout the day and after you touch paper others have touched; stay at least 3′ away from others if they are coughing or appear ill; get enough sleep (best immune booster).

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