It’s official – Covid-19 is a pandemic

One of the first things I read this morning was that the WHO have finally declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. It’s hardly a surprise, and yet the news sent a sick shiver down my spine. I only hope that authorities all over the world finally throw away their rose coloured glasses and put their countries on a war footing.

What does that mean?

I hope it means that governments close borders, stop public events, restrict public transport, set up drive through testing stations, and triage industry so that everyone gets the necessities of life, like toilet paper. Beyond that, I hope they force industry to change production, where possible, so that critical medical supplies and equipment take priority.

Why? Because we will not be able to source these critical supplies from overseas, not once the virus really starts to bite. Sadly, we are about to learn that self-sufficiency is more important than global trade agreements.

Will it be possible to become ‘self sufficient’ in the critical things?

Maybe. I have no idea whether local companies have the capacity to build hundreds of new ventilators, but at the very least, we need to have people capable of repairing them if need be. And those people should become critical resources in their own right.

Ditto food production and transport.

Ditto food delivery to beleaguered households.

Ditto medical supplies, not just for hospitals, but for people with chronic illnesses. If they can’t get their prescriptions filled, many will die.

Ditto delivery of prescriptions.

And on and on and on. I don’t know enough about how to run a city much less a country, but someone must, and that someone or someones have to put procedures in place to deal with the logistics of supplying a country in lockdown.

Will it happen?

I don’t think so, not yet. From statements put out by state and federal governments here in Australia, it seems that most are still trying to juggle health vs the economy. An example of this is the Andrews government’s decision to allow the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne. We’ve heard on the news that members of the Renault, McLaren and Haas teams have been put into self-isolation while awaiting test results. Yet the government and organisers are still saying the race will go ahead…with spectators.

Why can’t we be sensible like Bahrain and ban spectators? Or be like China and postpone the Grand Prix altogether?

Covid-19 is already loose in Melbourne. The latest victim is a teacher at Carey, a prestigious private school, who tested positive despite NOT having travelled or knowingly interacted with someone who has. That means the virus is already in the community.

I very much fear that shutting the economy down will cost less, in the long run, than letting this virus rampage through the community at the speed of light. Have a look at this graph from Dr John:

The difference between a fast spread and a slow spread of Covid-19

The labels are mine in case you don’t want to watch the whole video [which is here]. In Italy, the authorities were taken by surprise and the virus pretty much spread unchecked before they even realised they had a problem. That is basically the red line. The North Italian hospitals are only treating the most severe patients and they are still not coping. Translate that into people dying because there are not enough beds, ventilators and staff to keep them alive.

The blue line on the graph is what happens when governments stop people from congregating and spreading the virus. There are still infections and sick people in hospitals, but the hospitals can cope and the fatality rate goes waaaaay down.

Oh, and by the way, all those who think that Covid-19 will only kill off the ‘old and sick’, think again. The latest figures from Italy show that the median age is now 65.

Median does not mean ‘average’. Median means the middle point in a long line stretching from youngest to oldest. Or, to put it in really simple terms, there are now as many people under 65 dying of Covid-19 as above 65. Think about that.

You should also think about the positive side of this equation. The ‘draconian’ measures enforced by China to stop the spread of Covid-19 are working. The rate of new infections is slowing. That means China is coming out of the sharp red spike on the graph. Their situation is improving.

Here in Australia we are still in denial, and every day of ‘business as usual’ and ‘let’s protect the economy’ pushes us closer to the Italian nightmare.

We must do better.

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

24 responses to “It’s official – Covid-19 is a pandemic

  • Elizabeth Drake

    flattenthecurve.com. I have been sending this to a lot of people I know to help them understand.

    This was before the big changes here over the weekend. Once the governor declared a state of emergency and closed schools, it started to hit home.

    Like

    • acflory

      If the US is anything like Australia, information, real information has been at a premium with neither govt really telling us anything but ‘everything is fine, don’t panic’.
      Not being political coz my own govt is /still/ pretty much pushing the same line.

      To give you some idea, our schools are still open. Anyone who has kids knows the pre-school and primary school are incubators for every childhood disease known to man, or woman. When we’re told that there’s ‘no evidence that kids will spread Covid-19’ I want to bite something. Or someone.

      Stay healthy and digital hugs to your whole family. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  • Bette A. Stevens

    Same here, Meeks… We must do better!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Candy Korman

    Things are happening quickly. But I think the U.S. is ill-prepared for this. It’s terrible.

    Like

    • acflory

      I saw something about a cluster north of NYC? Rochelle or something like that? All indicators seem to show that the virus has already spread quite a bit in the community so please…stay away from people. There is literally no way of knowing who’s a carrier and who isn’t. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Like

  • Andy McKell

    The WHO seems to be a waste of time, delivering incorrect but reassuring info until they can’t deny the truth any longer. What are these expensive suits actually doing? Maybe their salaries and expenses could be better-spent funding medicines and equipment in disease-crisis areas, providing health to the sick, not wealth to the incompetent?

    Like

    • acflory

      I admit, the delay from the WHO has surprised me too, but I read somewhere recently that many insurance policies specifically do /not/ cover pandemics. I don’t know if that’s across the board or just in some countries, but I wonder if the delay was an attempt to alleviate that problem. Or maybe there is some hard and fast ‘rule’ that defines what can be called a pandemic? No idea, but I’m furious at our national governments for not using the time to prepare. Instead, most seem to be floundering. Not a good time.

      Like

      • Andy McKell

        Well, that might explain it. I just get frustrated at well-paid “experts” floundering when a crisis in their supposed field of expertise blows up and they seem incapable of coping.

        Like

        • acflory

          Me too, Andy, me too. It feels as if they can’t get their thinking out of ‘economy’ mode. I understand that we can’t let society collapse, but who the hell cares if multinational corporations lose some profit, even a lot of profit? The only thing that should matter is reducing the inevitable deaths.

          Like

  • daleleelife101.blog

    Things are moving fast. Not time for complacency.

    Like

    • acflory

      Nope. I was talking to a gaming friend [online] and she’s taking things very seriously because her husband has MS. I think she works in IT. Anyway, she announced to her employer that she was working from home. And that was that. I hope as many people as possible do the same.

      Like

  • robertawrites235681907

    This is a most interesting post, Meeks. We are facing the same crisis here in South Africa and there is no possibility, in my view, of mass isolation here as our people are to poor. They live in squatter camps and shared accommodations so this virus will spread like wildfire if it gets a footing. I have looked and what I notice is that the virus is bad in the business centres of the Western world, like Europe and the US, where people are always travelling. China has always been a fairly closed country and economy with compliant and disciplined people so they could contain it the way they did. I don’t think this will happen in the western world.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Robbie. Is there some way you and your family can self isolate?
      Yes, I agree re the travel. We’ve become so used to doing whatever we want, when we want, that the thought of having our freedoms curtailed is odious. Well, it is to a lot of people. Personally, I ‘live’ my entertainment online and I’m on a pension so I am able to self-isolate. I really fear for those who have casual jobs and live from hand to mouth. They can’t afford to stay home, even if they’re sick. It’s a frightening scenario. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Liked by 1 person

  • davidprosser

    Australia is such a large Continent and made up of a lot of isolated townships that it may prove to be one of it’s strengths. Urgent medical attention is less likely to be needed for coronavirus. The authorities may be able to concentrate on the cities where it has more chance of spreading especially if the Government is going to allow sporting events to take place like the Grand Prix which will spread the germs far and wide.
    I hope those of you with sense order any goods to be delivered without having to see the driver. Above all else, stay safe.
    Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      I hope our relative isolation keeps otherwise vulnerable people safe too. And yes, those who move from group to group are potentially the most likely to spread the virus so utmost vigilance will be enacted in this household. ๐Ÿ™‚
      stay safe too.
      -hugs-

      Liked by 1 person

  • CarolCooks2

    Yikes…This is getting scary…Luckily our long school holidays have started all the kids don’t go back until May…it is our hot season…it is now entertaining them at home.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      That’s one hopeful thing. The virus can survive on surfaces at temps of up to about 37C. Based on new research from China. Washing hands is still key. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Liked by 1 person

      • CarolCooks2

        My hands are nearly washed away.. Thats a positive then as our temps are hitting that already and rising… But I am still going to be vigilant with door knobs, taps and surfaces… Scary times are upon us… ๐Ÿ’ฏ

        Like

        • acflory

          They are indeed. I couldn’t get any isopropyl alcohol for love or money, but I have a couple of spray bottles – one contains straight vinegar, the other contains diluted eucalyptus oil. Been spraying a lot of knobs and handles. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Like

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