Coronavirus Reality Check

I was so encouraged to watch President Trump’s press conference last evening (Mar. 23). He made it clear that the USA can not shut down indefinitely. If we continue with the current “shelter in place” and “social distancing” for several months waiting for the virus to go away, the US economy collapses, businesses shut down, the supply chain disappears, and we all ultimately end up living in caves or huts made of twigs and leaves; and we forage for roots and berries for food.

The current situation is that most social interaction is eliminated. People are staying put in their homes. Businesses are running at reduced capacity, Most forms of entertainment and professional sports are canceled. Businesses are shutting down or severely limiting their business. This is all being mandated by various levels of government. These are all necessary short term measures, not a long term way of life.

The reality is that Coronavirus is a new virus that the medical community does not currently have a vaccine for or drugs to treat the symptoms. There is a lot of effort by various drug companies and government agencies to find effective drugs and vaccines. They will most likely develop the required drugs and vaccines; within the next 2 years or so. These developments will help the next time we have an epidemic of Coronavirus, perhaps in 10 years or so, but they will likely be too late for the current pandemic.

The current pandemic is very fast moving. Ultimately the entire population of the globe will be exposed and that fact can not be avoided. The majority of those exposed will recover on their own without the need for hospitalization. Some number will have serious symptoms and will require hospitalization, but will recover. A very small percentage of people, with weakened immune systems, because of old age or preexisting illnesses, will not survive. By the way, I am one of those high risk people.

The problem is that this country does not have sufficient medical infrastructure to handle a sudden rise in the number of people needing hospitalization; for any reason. The sad reality is that the US has spared no expense to prepare itself for a global war, but has given little effort to preparing for a global pandemic. This reality will likely never change.

Some people think that we just hide at home and wait it out for a few months, the virus will go away and they will never be exposed. Not true. After you filter out all the useless hype the news media are spewing, the official reason for all the “social distancing” is to “flatten the curve” not to eliminate it. The medical infrastructure, as it existed at the start of this pandemic, could not handle the projected need for hospitalization of the serious cases. Therefore all the special effort being practiced now is to spread the load on the medical infrastructure from a big peak spread over a few weeks to a much lower peak spread over several months. At the same time we need a breather to beef up the medical community’s capacity. The same number of people will get sick. The virus is not going away, a cure is not imminent, it will not magically disappear when summer comes. The plan of attack is we slow the spread down until the medical infrastructure catches up. We also prepare to better handle a future pandemics a few years from now. This or some other unknown virus will come again someday.

Eventually the majority of the global population will be exposed to Coronavirus. All we can do at this point is fine tune the rate of exposure. And that process seems to be working. Have faith in God. The world is not coming to an end.

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