Given the shortage of toilet paper and stupid opinions, I thought I’d add mine. (Opinion, you’re on your own for toilet paper.)
Science is hard
The first thought is: Science is hard. While I’m not a research scientist, some of my best co-workers are. I’ve attended presentations on the culmination of five years of work by really bright, hardworking people, where discovering a tiny fact about a tiny part of cell is a major accomplishment.
One of the many stupid opinions I’ve seen was saying Sunlight was used to treat the 1918 influenza epidemic. 1918? In 1918, we didn’t even known what caused it, Crick & Watson’s DNA paper not having been published until 1953. There were no HEPA filters until WW II. And so on. A coronavirus is about 0.00005 inches big. That microscope you used in high school?
Ain’t gonna see no coronavirus with that. Too small. Requires a scanning electron microscope. So that we know what it is, that we’re developing tests and treatments for novel coronavirus just months after discovery, is amazing.
Nonetheless, the truth is … there’s a lot we just don’t know. Community transmission is science-speak for “Heck if we know.” Because of asymptomatic transmission, we really don’t know how widespread the virus is. So take any analysis by self-proclaimed math experts with a grain of salt.
The two best pieces I’ve read thus far on coronavirus are from The Atlantic:
Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful: no one cared much about coronaviruses before now.
Anthony Fauci’s Plan to Stay Honest: “If you have an overwhelming pandemic, there’s almost no degree of preparedness that can prevent all the suffering and death.”
I’d like to say I’m disappointed by politicians using the crises as a coat rack for … whatever. But today’s political world, at least the vocal part, is dominated by who see moats but not beams. I remain hopeful most folks realize we’re in this together (while staying apart) and do what they can to help minimize the death and suffering.
Stop with the memes and the advice
That cute graphic you’re sharing with vast oversimplification or bad math (let’s compare two geographical areas different populations, area, and/or political systems and pretend it’s meaningful!). Ain’t helpful. Best resources:
US: Center for Disease Control
World: World Health Organization
One thing I do know. When’s this is all over, the world will be full of critics and experts who will rant about how bad the response was. Books will be written, documentaries will be made. Two possibilities:
It turns to be really bad: It was obvious! They should have ordered full lockdown as soon as the news from Wuhan starting coming out.
Mitigation/science works: They totally overreacted and destroyed the world economy! The threat was overblown.
Microscope photo from Wikimedia Commons.