A Journal of the Plague Year (2)

March 18, 2020

215,000+, that’s the current world number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. Check back in an hour and it will have increased.

I am intimately tuned in to the best information in the world via the Internet; doctors, virologists, scientists, nurses, stranded travelers, vistas of crowded hospitals with rows of patients adorned with the tubes, wires, screens and sounds of modern medicine, fatuous bloviating journalists, and yet, outside the window, and in our apartment building, an eerie silence prevails.

We have all the supplies required for an indoor stay of several months if required, which gives my suspicious and skeptical mind some quietude. I did venture out for some last minute items today with a mask and rubber gloves treated with Lysol. Am I crazy? Maybe. But having been through this in exercise fashion, I thought, well, this is it, how do you behave when it’s the real thing?

For this reason: IF there are a few cases in the city,
                                  AND we see the experience of China,
                                  AND we see what is happening in Italy and France,
                                 AND if we do not do anything serious right now,
                             THEN  we will repeat the same scenario;
To put it in code-speak. Note from the bar chart, that as of February 9th, there were only 315 cases outside China. What a difference a few days makes.

Get the photo? A few demonstrated cases show that there are at least ten to twenty times that many undetected cases walking around breathing virus everywhere. Based on the transmissibility and the incubation time, the first death will show that the number of undetected cases may be several hundred times the number of detected cases.

To cut off the person-to-person transfer immediately is the only way to halt the spread as shown by the Chinese and the exemplary actions of South Korea.

To understand this, a very informative video will explain it: this is what the Chinese deduced very early on…[here].

Using model hindcasting, this could be seen clearly. Given that, after the Wuhan shutdown, the number of new cases per day started to fall off—a good sign.

In Canada, being the Back of Beyond may be a great advantage for a change. Not to be part of the heaving, sweaty, compressed masses may serve us well.

For most people, including older folks in good health, it will most likely be a nasty flu for a few days. But, even with 5% of the afflicted (not infected) requiring hospital care, the sheer numbers could overwhelm the health care system. This is what terrifies the politicians (and us, of course). Will this change the world? It already has.

All of this is happening with the spring robins appearing outside in a placid quiet city, like a perpetual Sunday morning.

Rebel Yell