First off, there is no maybe about it. We are all going to die, but hopefully not today and hopefully not any time soon. With the myriad of ways to go, one way as of late, has come to dominate people’s thoughts and that is because of the advent of the novel Coronavirus epidemic. Unrelated, I had an appointment with my doctor today. It was a regularly scheduled appointment, but as part of the screening process, I was asked if I had left the country in the past 30 days and if I had any respiratory disease symptoms. No and no.
My doctor’s visit progressed normally and everything checked out fine, but there was an emotional undercurrent to this appointment. It was my last visit with this physician, who I have been seeing for the last forty years. He is retiring in August. We spoke about retirement. I asked him about his future plans. Then he asked, if I had any other questions. So, I asked him about the Coronavirus.
Specifically, I asked him when he thought that the epidemic would arrive here. He wasn’t sure that it ever would. He touted the recent travel ban with China, but then worried about what would happen if the virus ever spread to Africa. I think that his concern was related to those nation’s relatively unsophisticated healthcare systems. That is, relative to ours. Then he launched into singing the epidemiological praises of one of the local medical research institutions that belied his concerns that were showing on his face.
Coincidentally, I’ve just discovered a YouTube channel, called MedCram. This channel provides medical information, in a format that a layman can understand, but with the this epidemic it has focused on the Coronavirus outbreak. Lately, it has offered daily updates. The video is nothing more than writing on a smart-board, but the information it supplies is good.
Influenza killed about 80,000 people in the 2017-2018 season, according to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most could have been prevented with a simple vaccination. The Novel Corona Virus is just the latest news alarm. Please try to communicate that this newest epidemic is not a serious risk. Things may change, but it is important to not echo fear. Please do not feed this wildfire.
I don’t think that anyone knows what this disease will be like. There certainly isn’t enough data coming out of China to know. The NYTs has a chart that graphs morbidity versus infectiousness. At its projected extremes this virus is almost as deadly as SARS and as infectious as the flu. Not a good combination. Now is not the time for head burying.
Hope for the best, expect the worst. Although the Chinese govt. is not good at sharing information (they don’t believe in “free range” information), they are pretty good at enforcing quarantines and epidemiology. I bet it tops off at around 200,000 infections, with a 2% mortality rate. Even so this would be a blip in the timeline of human epidemics. And as a “influencer”, you should take the opportunity to calm the fearmongering.
Panic! Panic! Run around and scream and shout, panic!