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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Facts Not Fear

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Facts Not Fear

Author – Tim Metzinger, March 2020

I’m taking sometime today to write this to our valued customers, potential customers and pretty much anyone who will listen, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really frustrated with the hoarders, hype and fear that seems to have robbed some of us of our good ol’ common sense as of late, and perhaps not without good reason given our past collective memories, i.e., the flu pandemic of 1918. This is no doubt a serious matter and not to be dismissed out of hand, so to speak, I believe , we can get through this, however it’s going to take that same spirit we, as Americans, exhibited after the watershed events of 9/11.  As all things of this nature, and cannot be emphasized enough, I believe, “ …this too shall pass”! How things play out, in some significant way, I believe, is up to how we react and how we treat our fellow citizens and neighbors, With Courage, Good Sense, Respect and Common Decency, and most of all with God’s Blessing, we can not only endure this, but as a nation, come out better on the other side, This piece isn’t meant to be a medical statement of any kind, I am simply sharing my opinion based upon some limited research, which I have conducted and I am sharing what I , as a layman, so to speak…in an effort to belay some fear and hopefully bring us a bit closer together with regards to this watershed event in our time.

What is Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), what are its origins, diagnosis and treatments? “Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. This newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness, i.e., pneumonia and other upper and lower respiratory complications and is called COVID-19. It is most likely that it started in China.” It is most commonly spread by means of people who have been infected with the virus in an area, including some people who aren’t certain how or where they became infected. COVID-19 was first seen been in people throughout China and now in over 100 other countries, including the United States of America. It apparently first showed up in in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Health officials and organizations like the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control, in this country are still discovering the exact source of this new strain of the coronavirus, early theories propose that it may be connected to a seafood market in Wuhan, China.  Diagnosis… can be problematic with only a physical assessment because mild cases of COVID-19 may look like the common flu or a bad cold. A laboratory test can corroborate a preliminary diagnosis. As of yesterday, Mar. 18, 2020, 8,248 fatalities have been credited to the COVID-19 virus . However, 82,104 people who were diagnosed with the disease, have recuperated from the illness. This information comes from the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Treatment, as of now, does not encompass one specific method. People who become sick from COVID-19 should be treated with supportive methods like antibiotics and the like such as those that relieve symptoms. For the most severe cases, and those with compromised immune systems, visa vi, the elderly, infirmed and younger children, there may be additional options for treatment, including research drugs and therapeutic drugs and measures (Lauren M. Sauer, 2020).

How does this stack up to the Flu?

Medical researchers, doctors and the scientific community have studied the so called “normal” flu for decades. So, notwithstanding inherent hazards of it, we know a lot about flu viruses compared to Coronavirus COVID-19 and what to anticipate each season. In contrast, very little is known or understood about this new mutation of the coronavirus and the disease process that results, because it’s so new. This means COVID-19 is to some degree, is a “wild card “in relation to how far it will spread, how fast and how many fatalities it will cause.

Medical researchers are sprinting to search out answers and discover more about COVID-19, and our understanding of the virus, its origins and the real threat that it presents. This could change as new information becomes available. Based on what we know thus far, here’s how it compares with the flu.  Standard flu symptoms usually involve a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and, occasionally, vomiting and diarrhea, if the virus attacks the digestive tract, according to the CDC. These symptoms often present rapidly.  The typical patient that gets the flu will usually get over it in about two weeks. However as is the case in certain individuals, the flu can cause complications, including pneumonia… as in those with underlying health conditions. So far as is the case with the current flu season, about 1% of people in the United States have gotten symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized, as was the case with my business
partner. This was similar to the rate of last season, according to statistics from the CDC. With COVID-19, the medical community is still trying to comprehend the full scope of disease symptoms and severity. Reported symptoms in patients vary from mild to severe, and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, these are in harmony with the CDC’s information. In general, studies of hospitalized patients have discovered that approximately 83% to 98% of patients acquire a fever, 76% to 82% get a dry hacking cough and 11% to 44% may only feel fatigued or muscle stiffness and pain, Corresponding to a review and study published regarding the COVID-19 which was published Feb. 28 in the journal JAMA. Additional symptoms, such as headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, and in some cases, diarrhea, have shown up, however it is less likely to be the case. older adults, those with underlying health concerns and the very young with yet underdeveloped immune systems have been hit the hardest as is the case with the flu, the mortality percentage is about 14.8% in those 80 and older; among those ages 70 to 79. No fatalities in children under 9 have been reported currently. The death rate from regular flu is usually about 0.1% in the U.S., according to The New York Times, (Rettner, 2020). However, we should keep in mind there is a vaccine and medications for the flu. We’re not there yet with the COVID-19, however they are closing in on one. I am confident that once they do have one, it will have the same effect on prevention as is the case with the flu.

Contrary to some reports, currently there is no proof that the virus has evolved a new, deadlier strain since it emerged in late 2019. Of course, as with all viruses , they evolve, and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception, but rumors of a destructive new strain have now been retracted. Its rates are less than half the rate at which influenza viruses usually mutate, which is slow enough to allow the eventual production of annual vaccines (https://theconversation.com/, 2020).  Let’s use good ol’ fashion common sense. Keeping this in perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimations indicate that there were approximately 34,000 deaths in the U.S. from influenza in the 2018-2019 flu season. Crucial to avoiding all infections, in general, is good hand hygiene.  Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, that’s about two rounds of Row, Row, Row Your Boat ,for those of us that remember that… or using hand sanitizer is a good temporary solution . Avoid touching your face with your hands until your hands are dirt-free. Call in sick to work, limit traveling, or gathering in large crowds if you think you are sick. Try not to touch your face with your hands until your hands are clean. It is vital to keep in mind that, even though the coronavirus and COVID-19 are serious health matters, most infected individuals do not get seriously ill. The individuals at most risk are the elderly and those persons with diminished immune systems.  So… instead of hysteria, panic and generally freaking out… simply use that good ol’ common sense that the good lord gave each of us in the next several weeks while this gets sorted out! Stay Calm and Wash Your Hands ! Remember, don’t go to work or school if you’re sick or feeling ill, i.e. (fever, chills, vomiting…Wash your hands often – especially after using the bathroom… disinfect and clean common surface areas with an appropriate anti-bacterial solution…and finally, check out a reliable website for health information and updates like CDC.gov (M.D., 2020). No Doubt…The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is causing panic for any number of reasons.  It’s a new virus, and so far, no one has immunity, and there is currently no vaccine. Its uniqueness means that medical researchers aren’t sure yet how it acts, and they have little history to go on. Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the virus as a pandemic. In the financial markets and in our communities alike, mob mentality took over: people are being swayed by one another and we are allowing our baser and unfettered emotions dictate our behavior, instead of taking a calmer and rational approach. The so called mob or herd mentality may explain why both the stock market has plummeted and why toilet paper, paper towel, cleaning products, can goods, guns and ammunition are being hoarded (Staff, 2020)

Supermarkets and stores have become the Wild West, it’s that “every man or woman for themselves” mentality — especially in matters of having enough toilet paper. Consumers are in some cases, fighting it out to determine who gets the last roll. The reaction to the coronavirus goes beyond panic-buying and hoarding. People with recurrent allergies have become targets of “sneeze shaming” — a plane headed to New Jersey landed in Denver because a group became “disorderly” after a fellow
passenger suffered allergic sneezing. Coronavirus-fueled hate crimes are making headlines also. However, we ask ourselves what rationalizes the irrational stockpiling, hysteria, xenophobia and conspiracy theories amidst the coronavirus (Schmidt, 2020)?  People are experiencing anticipatory anxiety. It’s a means of keeping themselves safe and protecting their families. By and large, fear is an adaptive response. It’s a useful alarm system that stops us from getting into danger. It’s only when it becomes excessively intense or persistent — or when there’s no danger — that it becomes a problem. With panic-buying, people feel a strong sense of urgency and a fear of scarcity. There’s almost a fear contagion effect. They think, “If they’re doing it, I better do it, too.” There are images of people with overstocked shopping carts and empty supermarket shelves going viral.
People want to find a way of maintaining control of their situation… Here, are some ways to stay calm amid the torrent of panic.
Limit your social media time and up-to-the-minute news. We don’t hear from the so called “mainstream” media about are recovery and success stories—at least not with the same degree of vigor as the horror stories. The majority of people infected recover without any treatment or intervention other than that which would accompany the flu. When we obsess over the bad news, senseless trepidation, anxiety and obsessive worry take over. If we only focus on the horror stories , it feeds the twin demons of anxiety and fear. Of course, you want to stay informed, so stay up to date with factual updates on the virus from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)however, stop the neurotic Googling!

Know the facts. Yes…the WHO has branded the COVID-19 as a pandemic, nevertheless that doesn’t mean you need to freak out. A pandemic doesn’t describe the deadliness of an illness! It does describe how widespread it is! Currently, 80% of all the people that are exposed and subsequently infected exhibit only mild, cold and flu-like symptoms. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is supposed to be a droplet disease, meaning it spreads from person to person thru respiratory droplets, when a person coughs or sneezes. Practical steps to prevent and limit your exposure and subsequent infection include staying away from large crowds, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands often and not touching your face, nose and eyes.  Remind yourself of reasons not to worry. Assure yourself with positive affirmations and actions that you’re taking to follow the suggested methods delineated by the CDC, such as washing your hands and staying away from social events and large venues. Be deliberate in your defense strategy!  Set up a new routine for yourself and your family. If you’re stuck at home with the kids, go outside, take a walk, go for a bike ride. Being stuck inside the house isn’t good for you, don’t be troubled about
doing things that are low-contact, enjoyable, and healthy, If you’re on the phone or Skype, talking to people has been shown to reduce depression and feelings of anxiousness. However, try not to talk about the coronavirus (Staff, 2020)!

President Donald Trump on Sunday called on Americans to cease hoarding groceries and other supplies, COVID-19 is directly driving the economic costs through our supply chains, demand, and financial markets, affecting business investment,  household consumption, and international trade. It will do so both in traditional, textbook supply-and-demand ways and with possibly large levels of hesitation (Andres Vinelli, 2020)  What’s being done…After talking with chief grocery chain officials, they assured the public that grocers would remain open and that the supply chain remained vigorous. Vice President Mike Pence counseled Americans to only buy the groceries that you absolutely need for the coming week ahead.  President Trump recently enacted far-reaching travel restrictions for those traveling from much of Europe. On Saturday, he added the United Kingdom and Ireland to a list of countries that may face travel limitations during the next 30 days. The State Department on Sunday allowed U.S. personnel to leave their diplomatic or consular posts worldwide if they or family members were medically verified to be at a higher risk of falling very ill if subjected to the virus.  President Trump also has pledged improved U.S. testing for the virus as major employers such as Apple Inc. have sent workers home to telecommute and several states and big cities, including Los Angeles and Boston, and shut down schools for a week or more. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow
expressed assurance that supply lines such as food and commodities will remain essentially unchanged by the virus outbreak (MADHANI, 2020).

Among other measures The Federal Reserve has forcefully cut interest rates, and congress is working on an emergency stimulus package to help plant the U.S. economy on sound footing, CAP recommends that Congress and President Trump administration employ fiscal stimulus and embrace some key principles for economic strategy and action in response to the corona virus outbreak. it is important not only to focus on the epidemiological outline of the virus but also to focus on ways that consumers, businesses, and governments may react to it.  On March 19, 2020 the United States and Canada shut down their shared border to “non-essential traffic” to limit spread of the corona virus. Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump moved to bolster medical equipment supplies and when the outbreak struck Capitol Hill, it was announced that the U.S. Congress passed legislation which will give over $100 billion to private citizens, victims and give affected businesses emergency disbursements which will provide free corona virus testing, paid sick leave and increased safety-net benefits.

Even as legislation was signed into law on Wednesday, President Trump’s advisors, as part of a $1 trillion stimulus and rescue proposition, asked Congress to approve $500 billion in cash payments to taxpayers in two rounds – the first due on April 6 and the second due May 18. Some Senate Republicans have called for delivering $1,000 checks to taxpayers, however the senate democratic leadership proposed that individuals should get more (Doina Chiacu, 2020).  Even during the panic, worry, and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic… While each day seems to bring news that’s worse than the day before. The cause for concern is justified.  But, as in most major disasters, tragedies, and public health threats, there are reasons for hope, and even optimism. They may be hard to see, even if you’re a “cup-half-full” or “it could always be worse” type of person.  There is good news about the coronavirus outbreak… Most people with COVID-19 recover. Estimates now imply that 99% of people affected by the virus which causes COVID-19, will get over it. Some people experience no symptoms at all. It’s true that while thousands of people have perished, the total fatality rate is about 1% (maybe even lower), which is by comparison far less than MERS (about 34%), SARS (about 11%), or Ebola (90%),while higher than the average seasonal flu (0.1%).The loss of life connected to this illness is severe and while more cases are anticipated, based on these fatality rates alone, it could be much worse.  The number of new cases is falling where the outbreak began.  During a speech announcing the coronavirus outbreak, the director-general of the WHO indicated that “China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining epidemics.” And that, Wuhan province (site of the very first cases) has just stated that there are currently no new local cases since the outbreak began. The only new cases had been “imported” from travelers arriving there from other destinations.  While real numbers are tough to verify, and while the means these countries used to check the infection,
such as hard-hitting diagnostic testing and strict quarantine measures, are unlikely to be realistic or acceptable everywhere, if the number of new cases in China is truly on the decline, that’s a good thing and implies that efforts to control the spread of this contagion can be fruitful.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed failings in our healthcare systems throughout the world
that could offer an opportunity to expand them. For example, earlier global response, better and speedier delivery of testing kits, and a better more synchronized and intelligible public messaging system should be implemented the next time around.
Make no mistake: The coronavirus outbreak is a big problem and is expected to become bigger in the weeks and months to
come. For those who are infected as well as those trying to avoid contamination, …these are the times that try men’s souls…”Thomas Paine. Nevertheless, amid all the doom, gloom, panic and anxiety, there are some optimistic stories,  affirmative messages and reasons to stay optimistic. At a time when the people of this country are so politically at odds with each other and for that matter, our government, we can also have faith that this peril brings us closer together in ways yet unfulfilled which will inevitably help us to better identify our commonalities: after all when it comes right down to it, we’re
all human, we get sick, and we fear for our loved ones. As social creatures, we have a duty to each other to try to help one another when bad things happen. When that happens from time to time, it is good news that we may not have foreseen or anticipated before the pandemic (Robert H. Shmerling, 2020).

The bottom line here … I believe, is not to let fear dictate our response. Lets all try to see this as an opportunity to help our fellow citizens and neighbors and not get caught up in paranoia, suspicion and irrational thinking. Lets use that good ‘ol common sense and weather this storm together, do what we must, stay safe, be smart about it, stay informed, learn from it and take what ever steps necessary to help us as a nation, get thru it.  We at MacGregor Tactical are here to help in any way we can and keep you and your loved ones safe!

UPDATE:
On Jan. 31, China had only 46 new fatalities compared with 42 the day before, which Levitt recognized as a slowdown in the rate of progression of the virus. So, he issues a rather positive report, Dr. Levitt said “This suggests that the rate of increase in number of the deaths will slow down even more over the next week,” he also stated that in a memo which was extensively distributed on Chinese social media. Dr. Levitt, who won the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, declared that we should soon see the number of fatalities subsiding daily.  “What we need is to curb our panic and anxiety… we’re going to be fine,” said Dr. Levitt, indicating that the data doesn’t corroborate all the gloom and doom epidemiologists have been threatening us with.
Dr. Levitt has considered all the data from 78 countries with more than 50 reported cases of COVID-19, daily, and foresees positive “signs of recovery,” by focusing on the number of new cases, not the cumulative figure. “Numbers are still as yet a bit preliminary, however there are clear signs of slowed growth,” he told the L.A. Times, maintaining that, however, the trajectory of fatalities in the U.S. back up his findings.  Dr. Levitt stands by his straightforward message: The coronavirus pandemic is “not the end of the world.” (Langlois, 2020)

References
Andres Vinelli, C. E. (2020, March 6). https://www.americanprogress.org/. Retrieved from americanprogress.org: https://www.americanprogress.org/
Broderick, R. (2020, March 12). https://www.buzzfeednews.com/. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeednews.com/: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/

Doina Chiacu, L. K. (2020, March 18). https://www.reuters.com/. Retrieved from
https://www.reuters.com/: https://www.reuters.com/
https://theconversation.com/. (2020, March). Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/:
https://theconversation.com/
Langlois, S. (2020, March 23). Market Watch. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/:
https://www.marketwatch.com/
Lauren M. Sauer, M. (2020, march 18). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus

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