(Initially posted on Facebook.)
A pandemic like Covid-19 brings us to a place where we can see things from a different perspective, and I invite observations and reflections about that here. I’ll start with a few.
1. We really are a global community. Food sold in an open-air market in China can eventually cause repercussions across the world. Pathogens, in particular, do not respect national boundaries, politicians, social classes, ethnic groups, or ideologies. At a very basic level (biological survival), we’re all in it together. This observation extends to climate change and other areas.
2. Money spent on emergency preparedness for public health and national disasters is well-spent. Like health insurance, you need it when you need it, and if you haven’t prepared, it can be catastrophic.
3. In times of crisis, political leaders need to defer to the guidance of those who have expertise in the areas at stake. Their message should be one of supporting the professionals and encouraging citizens to act according to the counsel of experts. Their tone should be calm, and they should tell the truth rather than demagogue the situation.
4. These times bring out the best and the worst in people. Some will hoard, others will volunteer to work in health clinics.
5. Those on the front lines of health care and emergency response are truly heroes, deserving our gratitude and any support they need.
What’s unique about this pathogen is that it does seem to be 10 - 20X more deadly than seasonal flu and much more contagious, especially considering the fact that it can be transmitted before symptoms appear (unlike SARS, MERS, flu, cold, etc.). So there’s a very real risk of widespread contagion, and there are lots of us baby-boomers still around to bear the most serious consequence.
- Over-65 is now 17% of the U.S. population, and if half of us get Covid-19 and 2% of us die, that’s 561,000 deaths. That’s probably a worst-case scenario, but even 1/4th of that is pretty bad.
I’m not into hysterical responses (e.g., hoarding), but think that during these times, it’s best to heed the counsel of infectious disease experts. Their recommended responses seem somewhat draconian, but the alternative — a runaway epidemic — would overwhelm hospitals and, in the process, hurt all the industries that are being affected by the "lockdowns". There don’t seem to be good outcomes for some sectors, either way.
As in 2008-09, government intervention and assistance will be needed to support many businesses, but some will not recover. So this is a time for prayer, reflection, reading good books, and . . . washing hands.
Here’s a link I found on mortality groups.
I've now set up a web page with resources for coping with Covid-19.
The latest includes a worksheet to evaluate personal risk -- a free PDF.
See http://shalomplace.com/covid-19.html for links to the worksheet and other relevant resources. I will be adding more to this in the days ahead.
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