Covid 19: It’s Not so Simple
“You know it’s true…Every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored.” – Tweeted by Neil De Grasse Tyson
Here we are in May of 2020, after a lockdown of all but “essential” services, and things are slowly starting to open up. For better or worse. The country of The United States of America is divided by the looming Covid 19 Pandemic (SARS-CoV-2) and many are setting up shop in one faction or the other. But it isn’t that simple is it?
First some facts (The citations are linked below):
Covid 19 is short for Corona Virus Disease of the YEAR 2019.1 It is NOT the 19th strain of the Corona Virus, despite the ignorance of some idiots with a microphone in front of them.
It is sometimes referred to Novel Corona Virus because it is a new strain, hence Novel. The fact that this is NEW means that we don’t know a lot about it including how it is spread.4
We have no known effective treatments (again despite some idiots with a microphone in front of them), and many that are thought to be effective are being tested.2 If you hear that someone took substance A and the disease let up, that is a correlation, but does not necessarily point to causation.
Scientists have repeated often that the virus was NOT “engineered” in a lab. They know because it does not work in a way that was even known to work in the past.7 Again stop believing idiots sitting in front of microphones.
There were reports that taking Ibuprofen made the disease MUCH worse. Experts say there’s no clear evidence that ibuprofen makes COVID-19 worse.2
Wearing a mask does very little for the person wearing the mask, it is highly effective in preventing the person wearing the mask to spread it to others.4 Not wearing a mask is not a symbol of individuality or freedom, not wearing a mask is a symbol of your inconsideration for others. It really makes me mad that during the heart of the lockdown, half the people in the stores were not wearing masks, including the cashiers. A cashier coughed on my wife’s groceries once. Stop being so inconsiderate.
It is a fallacy that once you have Covid 19, you are immune to it, contributing to “herd immunity”. People are getting it more than once. Since the common cold is caused by a Corona Virus, and we get colds, year after year, there is no reason to believe this one will be any different. You can create a herd immunity, but you need a vaccine first. We don’t have one. So, no herd immunity.8
It is not spread by 5G Towers. Wise up! There are whole countries that do not have 5G technology and they are still getting sick. It is distressing that some of this stuff needs to be said out loud.
Covid 19 isn’t “no worse than the flu”. I have actually heard this from people. There isn’t a lot of them, but they are out there. This chart from the CDC shows that clearly is not the case. As of the writing of this, the number has risen to almost 100 thousand and will reach that easily within the next couple days.
What can we learn?
I am not an expert in anything really, but I listen to the experts and form a conclusion based on the facts and reasonable evidence presented. I don’t always come to the right conclusion as my past will attest. But I try learn from those mistakes. That seems simple doesn’t it? Learn from your mistakes. First of all, you have to acknowledge they are mistakes. You also can learn from the mistakes of others. This isn’t so simple.
Take the Spanish Flu Pandemic (H1N1 virus) of 1918. That pandemic infected at least 500 million people about a 1/3 of the world’s population, and killed at least 50 million people worldwide, which was somewhere between 3% – 5% of the earth’s population.4 That number is disputed. Recent studies in the US estimate that there were between 17 million deaths to over 100 million (I personally doubt that number) in the US alone.3 Because of the lack of reliable tracking of the time, there is no way to know. If the US can have such a disparity in the number, then the numbers worldwide must be taken with a grain of salt. It is easy to conclude the number is likely higher.
It is impossible to track the origin of The Spanish Flu, but was called that because it spread from Spain to France. Spain was not involved in WW1 so they had reliable reporting, while other countries were not about to share that kind of National Security Info (sound familiar? China?). No one else was reporting so Spain got stuck with it. Some recent studies have indicated the actual origin was New York City. The practice now is to not name these things after assumed locations of origin. Now, at least most of the world follows that protocol (apparently not the USA though).
There were 3 distinct waves of the H1N1 virus.1 The first was bad in the US and some cities went into lockdown which “flattened the curve”. Once it started to ease, some cities started letting up on those restriction and some didn’t. Take St. Louis which was quick to lockdown, but also quick to ease up. They flattened the first wave curve, but had a massive spike in the 2nd wave because they eased up too soon. Philadelphia was late to lockdown and suffered the worst spike in the first wave. New York was quick to lockdown and stay locked down but still suffered a massive first wave spike, but had a very mild 2nd wave. There is a correlation between the lockdowns ending and the 2nd wave beginning.
The 2nd wave was much more deadly worldwide, in as much as the first wave had little effect on young, healthy adults. By the time the second wave hit, the virus had mutated and no one was safe anymore. October 1919, during the second wave, had the highest monthly fatality rate of the entire Pandemic. A bad 3rd wave started in Australia where it spread to Europe and the US, and was more severe worldwide than the 1st wave. There was also a minor 4th wave.1
I have heard a lot of experts say that it is too soon to ease restrictions. I have heard very gloomy prospects for the next wave of Covid 19, similar to the 1918 pandemic. The truth is, no matter what you believe, if we give Covid 19 the opportunity to spread, it will. You can’t look at the past and say it can’t.
The point is that there are a lot of similarities from the H1N1 pandemic to the Covid 19 pandemic. Things in our favor are that we have a LOT more knowledge of viruses and diseases than we did in 1918. The bad part is that we do not seem to have learned from our mistakes 1918. Why is that?
There are a lot of people that are opposed to a continued lockdown. I understand there are REAL and very important factors involved. I totally understand there are people that rely on retail work for their living. I don’t know what the solution is for those people. But there are a lot of people that have no good reason to be opposed. There is a faction out there that wants to make this political and about “rights”, and the shutdown is all a “socialist” plot. Another thinks any harm to the economy is worth 10s or 100s of thousands of lives. Still others think it is about religious “rights” and a plot to keep them from going to their churches. A lot of them all fall into all 3 camps. Some gather on state house steps brandishing AK 47s, perhaps they will shoot the virus, who knows? Really it is about political posturing though. But where do they get these ideas from? Who is telling them that is what this is about?
The Freedom Brigade.
Some of you may have seen the video taken by a Costco customer, who was being asked to put on a mask. It was explained to that person that it is store policy that everyone wears a mask while in the store. The guy says: “I’m not doin’ it because I woke up in a free country”. It is not that simple.
Research out of Carnegie Mellon University: “Of the top 50 influential retweeters, 82% are bots, they found. Of the top 1,000 retweeters, 62% are bots.”… “Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.”… “Among the misinformation disseminated by bot accounts: tweeted conspiracy theories about hospitals being filled with mannequins or tweets that connected the spread of the coronavirus to 5G wireless towers, a notion that is patently untrue. Such bogus ideas on the Internet have caused real-world harm. In England, dozens of wireless towers have been set on fire in acts officials believe have been fueled by false conspiracy theories linking the rollout of 5G technology to the coronavirus.”6
We know that there are a lot of people out there that just want an echo chamber, the more they hear their own words repeated back to them the more they are certain they are true. Turns out that those twitter users are being herded like cows into the barn of fake news.
It’s the Economy, Stupid.
Some people are opposed to the shutdown because of the harm it will do the economy. They seem to be okay with sacrificing millions of lives in defense of the economy. Many of these people crossover to the Freedom Brigade and to the God Squad camps. There will be harm to the economy, there already has been, to the little guys. The big tech companies will emerge as they always have with an even bigger share of the economy. Sounds more like a right-wing conspiracy to me. Innovation and creativity will help to expand the food and retail trade.
The God Squad.
People demand the special privilege to go to church, special because no one else is allowed to gather. I have had concerts cancelled and I may have a long-planned and paid for vacation cancelled in October. I understand there are inconveniences, big ones. But church is not required for your continued wellbeing, you will live if you follow the guidelines.
Why is it that when a Christian baker refuses service to a gay couple because they say the baker has the “right” to refuse service for any reason. But when they are refused service in a store because they aren’t wearing a mask, then that store doesn’t have a “right” to refuse service to them?
I was moved by a friend of my wife and I, who was telling me yesterday at his daughters’ backyard social distance gender reveal party, that his church closed down. Not only did they close down, they allowed a shutdown social service for homeless people to MOVE IN! Joel Osteen wouldn’t open his doors for people in the path of a hurricane for a night. My friend said his church isn’t using it and there is a need, they should use it. This should be what churches are supposed to do. People need to stop being so damn selfish about what you want and think about others like this church did.
There are even people that say it is their “right” to gather for church and in normal circumstances that is true, but that is way too simple. The problem is that they will gather, most likely without masks, and then go out into the public, in stores, again most likely not wearing masks, and possibly infect people that followed the guidelines. This effects far more than you. This idea of a “right” is not supposed to put anyone else in danger, your right to swing your fists, stops at my nose.
Finally, we have the real nutjobs that deny there is a virus at all and say this is all a hoax, seems like I heard that from some idiot in front of a microphone a few months ago. Some of the above can be excused because people don’t know any better, but these deniers just don’t care. There are a lot of hilarious theories out there, if you want to read some really crazy ones, such as “The UK Government Are Baking A Giant Lasagne” in Wembly Stadium no less, to feed people starving because of the lockdown, go here: https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/a31892113/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories/
Do you have a legitimate reason to not follow guidelines?
Does that reason supersede reasonable consideration for others?
What if the lockdown is your god sending you help and you ignore it?
What can you do to help others that are struggling through this?
Can you trust the idiots in front of microphones or do you believe real science?