June 8, 2020

It worked

Sometimes the success of actions can be hard to see, and we feel like we over reacted. Today the scientific journal Nature published an article on line that analyzed the effect of the shutdown and other large scale measures in the US and elsewhere. They showed the success of the shutdown- they estimate it prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the US! That means if the estimated mortality rate is 1% (still not clear but that is an estimate); 600,000 deaths were prevented. Amazing work, everyone! The economy has truly suffered, but we avoided, not only the deaths, but the cost of healthcare for so many patients.

Today, also, we hear the news that New Zealand has eliminated the virus from their country. Granted, they are an island nation and it is easier to keep people out. But they eliminated the disease with the tried and true techniques of testing, contact tracing, and isolation. This shows that works.

It can be discouraging when we hear from epidemiologists how long it will take our lives to get back to normal. They say “Well, it depends”. You can look at this article with an eye for deciding what to do and which risks to take, as things open up again. Everyone is anxious about the varied way of opening up in each location, and whether people wear masks or follow the distancing guidelines. Along with concerns about the ongoing large gatherings protesting Floyd George’s death, we expect more infections. This will be an interesting summer. Or not.

What we need to continue to do is make sure we are getting reliable information so we can stay safe. Most epidemiologists and experts anticipate increased cases, we just don’t know exactly when and where. My guess it will vary, so we all need to be aware of your state’s and county’s numbers.

We also know more clearly that much of the chatter on social media can be wrong. Pushing false information is truly another pandemic. You may be spreading mis-information. I may be too! Remember, recommendations change as we learn more about the virus, which can make mis-information easier to spread. I recommend looking at these couple of sites to help you learn to recognize what is false, what is reliable, and what is misleading: Infodemic Blog and Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center from newsguardtech.com.

Yes, things seem to have slowed and life is re-opening, but this ain’t over yet.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, and keep your distance.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.