June 9, 2020

Epidemics multiply

It is true we are suffering from an epidemic, but actually not just one. COVID-19 is here to stay for the time being. We are not going to get to herd immunity quickly, and, the truth is, I don’t want us get to herd immunity that fast, if ever, without a vaccine. Herd immunity is when at least 70% of the population is immune to a disease so that transmission is stopped because it has no where to go. If we get there, then we will have had millions of cases of COVID-19 and probably millions of deaths. We can keep slowing down transmission, while waiting it out, until vaccines are available. This article from an epidemiologist that predicted a pandemic has sage and sober advice about our situation. It is a good read and answers a lot of questions. He encourages everyone to get outside and stay physically distant.

But things are not completely dark. Reassuring news out of Springfield, Missouri where the follow up testing of the 140 clients exposed to COVID-19 by their hairdressers, shows zero positive tests after 2 weeks. This is good reinforcement on wearing masks, especially those that might have it. The fact the hairdressers wore masks, protected their clients. Yay!

So I am hopeful that we can slow things down, wear our masks, spend time outdoors, and be physically, but not socially, distant this summer. I can do this. You can too.

What troubles me more now than the coronavirus pandemic are the pandemics of racism and mis-information. We are vulnerable to both. Many of us are facing our own failings regarding racism and learning, and it’s about time. I am finding the manipulation of information by others, who wish us harm, insidious and dangerous', too. These sources of digital manipulation want to harm the US and they are getting more sophisticated. We should not ignore these facts. Their techniques increase resentment and racial tension, or prevent people from doing things like wearing masks. They scare people about “Antifa” or other fears. Even tonight, I read a social media exchange with wild claims, that were not backed up with data. Exchanges like these inflame tempers, ruin friendships, tear families apart; while everyone digs into their own beliefs. And that’s the aim. We all need to help each other do the right thing and vet our sources. The UW Center For An Informed Public is a great resource to help us learn, to vet our information by investigating the source, checking the claim, tracing the information flow. The more we know, the more we can call bullshit. There are tools to help us.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, and keep safe six.

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.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/view-social-media-skeptically-during-national-crises/

https://www.callingbullshit.org/tools.html

https://www.cip.uw.edu/research/#resources

https://medium.com/@thetacticalfolklorist/confronting-memetics-in-20-20-c43293735c47

https://www.kmov.com/news/health-department-no-clients-contracted-covid-19-from-missouri-hair-salon-where-2-stylists-tested/article_cec3c4c8-678a-5b40-bc53-30d18e6dd1f6.html

https://www.bluezones.com/2020/06/covid-19-straight-answers-from-top-epidemiologist-who-predicted-the-pandemic/

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/what-is-herd-immunity-and-could-it-work-with-covid-19/