Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Coronavirus: Panic or Meh.

Image result for don't panic hazmat gif

Disclosure: I am NOT a doctor nor a scientist. These are just MY crappy opinions. They don't represent anyone but me. I'm not claiming to be an expert - without being insanely sarcastic. Follow what I say here with a grain of salt. If you're upset by what you read here, do us both a favor - grab a seat, have a Coke, and calm down.

You ever hear of this thing called the coronavirus? Yeah, if you've been alive, can read, and have decent Internet access, it is highly likely you know what the coronavirus is. Have no fear, I won't waste your time going over too many of the basics here. That said, if you've been online and perused any of your social  media sites long enough, you'd recognize everyone has an opinion on the virus and whether the threat of this virus is exaggerated or worth a panic that would make the Spanish Inquisition seem tame. As your resident "threat mitigation expert/guru/ninja/influencer", I too have opinions on that. Let me borrow a few minutes of your time and I'll explain what they are.

Things we know about the coronavirus (this is entirely too condensed):

  1. The virus has been seen in the "wild" for about six weeks. It's estimated to have infected 80,000 people worldwide. It's likely killed approximately 3,000 with just nine in the United States.
  2. There is no vaccine. Loads of companies claim they have one but none have been tested or vetted through the FDA. That process could take a year before it hits the street.
  3. The virus tends to kill those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and those with "underlying health conditions". Five of the nine deaths in the U.S. were from a single nursing home in Kirkland, WA.
    • Underlying health conditions which could compromise your immune system include but are not limited to the following:
      • Those in chemo
      • Those with HIV/AIDS
      • Those with autoimmune disorders
      • Those who smoke
      • The elderly
      • Those who already have the flu or pneumonia
      • Those who have respiratory problems
  4. The virus can infect anyone. Scientists are still looking for antibodies; thus why no vaccine yet. So far, only a few of the infected have been reported as children. The former director of the Center for Disease Control believes children could have it but be asymptomatic and infect adults unknowingly. Recently, a 3 year old in NY state was quarantined.
  5. Governments are struggling with containment and seemingly everyday a new crop of infected and dead seems to arise. Quarantines have been implemented for infected persons. Some have left quarantine and been later identified as still being contagious.
  6. It is likely part of the information we suffer from with this virus comes from the Chinese government allegedly not being as transparent as they could. For example, some believe the death toll could be higher.
  7. The virus could share the flu's seasonal patterns. That said, the virus is six weeks old and we won't know for sure until the summer.
  8. Emergency workers have been quarantined and major events, venues, and conferences in various cities have been canceled or closed.
  9. The President has appointed Vice President Mike Pence to head the U.S. government's response to this.
  10. Not everyone dies from this and symptoms seem to dissipate after two weeks. Most of the infected described the symptoms as "mild". That said, these were infected persons who didn't have compromised immune systems.
  1. Wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough. Buy a mask not to protect yourself but others from catching the virus should you be infected or have symptoms.
  2. Don't panic but be concerned. This could be an insignificant health crisis. Then again, the death toll is rising and the number of infected people seems undiminished. Pay attention to the news for updates on cancellations and quarantine orders.
  3. Don't come into work, if you're sick. Stay home and call your doctor.
  4. Discuss with your family the importance of hygiene with respect to disease mitigation. Talk about the likelihood of a quarantine should anyone in the family be infected. Show your children where to find official and vetted information. Reinforce the necessity of critical thinking when it come to disaster preparedness.
  5. Don't hide your symptoms but be aware some people react poorly in times like this. Be responsible with what you disclose and with who.
  6. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
  7. Home remedies won't work. Just stop. Please.
  8. Antibiotics will laugh all the way down the toilet at you. Don't take them. They work against bacterial infections NOT viruses.
  9. Gossip happens in times like these. Stop getting angry about exaggerations and innuendo. Rather educate people on factual resources. Turn discussions away from gossip and focus more on steps you need to be taking towards mitigating this threat.
  10. Calm down.
Final thoughts:
  1. There's a difference between being "concerned" and outright panic. One requires you to invest yourself in the discussion so you can determine what if any risk factors you face and what mitigation strategies you can and should employ. The other requires you to ignore logical thought and critical thinking and boil your skin after every handshake. I'm merely suggesting the former. If you're sick of hearing about the disease and confuse the volume of discussion with the content of the discussion, you're missing a whole lot.
  2. This virus will likely not kill or effect you. We live in the most prosperous country on Earth. The majority of our 300 million citizens and resident aliens should be fine. That said, don't let those factors distort the realities between them and your proximity to this threat. It may not kill or infect you but it could likely do the same for someone you know. You may have more skin in this fight than you may care to acknowledge.
  3. There's ZERO harm in being responsibly prepared. Calm down.

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