Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Yes, the virus partially fooled me until mid March, and I should have seen some of this sooner myself


I wanted to note today how indeed I, as was “everybody else” for a long time, fooled by the menace of coronavirus Sars-Cov2 before it “exploded” in the U.S. essentially in mid March 2020. 

How could a virus that many people have almost no symptoms from, create such a catastrophe?  Of course, we know the answer is simply in the exponential mathematics:  extreme contagion (apparently) before or without symptoms, quickly builds up a pool of “infected” persons, and enough of them have severe disease in a short time in a larger city to overwhelm the health care system.  
  
Even as late as early March (I am in DC area) I had hoped that contact tracing "containment" would work alone, and that one could simply be careful about where you went but live normally (but avoid air travel, as well as probably train and Metro if possible). 
   
    
Furthermore, we don’t know what secondary phantom menace exists.  We’re not sure how completely some people recover, given all the info of long term damage to other organ systems, especially kidney and central nervous system. Will the virus become one that can hide and reactivate in some people?  (Washington Post story  There is also other evidence that the virus causes clotting in lungs and heart and that anti-coagulants may be of more help than we had thought (Peak Prosperity).
  
I had written about other menaces that could radically change society over the last few years.  The main one that caught my attention was EMP, partly with the incentive from a few books (by Forstchen and Ted Koppel, especially, as well as papers from Oak Ridge)  

At this point, we don’t know how well vaccines and herd immunity will work, and we keep our fingers crossed.  The potential exists for a virus like this to have a profoundly and permanent negative impact on people (like me) whose values are highly individualistic and global, who don’t form strong personal bonds locally, or who don’t have a lot of hands-on practical skills needed in more localized, communal living (with intentional communities today being the extreme example).  This indeed migrates to new views of personal morality.

But the “jury” is not back yet on this. And it is a shameful pity if we loose the neoliberal system we have now to this.  China is an adversary. The virus appears to occur naturally (from the evidence) but China was certainly reckless (with its lab and wet markets) and hid the data for a while.  And then the Trump administration clearly was blindsided and incompetent (with the test kit fiasco and denials). 
   
Here’s a link on mask-making (from Jack Andraka at Stanford).  Fortunately the masks I ordered are arriving.  I have to say, however, that I feel that seeing everyone (that's not quite happening yet where I live) walking around with a mask makes me feel that the whole country has been contaminated by war. 

(Illustration: The mask above is NOT N95.  I got three of them to use.  I have some cloth masks on order (two different companies, one of them is Custom Ink). They can all be washed easily for reuse.)  

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