I would be scared to make predictions or forecasts based on what we now know, because there are still way too many things we do not know about Covid-19. For instance, I have not heard anyone speculate as to whether or not Covid-19 virus will come and go as do ordinary flu viruses, or even the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920, or will it have an agenda of its own, and simply bypass the stop and go and continue on? Also, some of the data just does not seem logical, such as approximately 2.5 people being exposed to one who may be infected. What if those 2.5 become infected and then each expose their own 2.5 and those each do the same?
Based on testing in our area, it is often taking several days or even a week or longer to receive back results of testing, due to shortages of supplies, or other bureaucratic snarl-ups. How many in the meantime are exposed and how many were exposed prior to one suspecting they need to be tested. For instance, we had a health care worker who had traveled with spouse and they returned and went back to work. That worker then exposed around 100 hospital cancer patients plus 12 other workers and a couple doctors. How many others were then exposed to all of them during the times that symptoms were not apparent and then before test results were known? Even at 2.5 per times all those people and then 2.5 times each of their own exposures, to me it gets nearly impossible to calculate because first of all we will never know how many of any of these occurred and secondly, which of those who were and continued to expose others actually became infected, and then how does this multiply when you factor in the spouse? Chris, since you obviously live your life around this analysis and have been working on all this for several months, to me it would be very helpful to hear your beliefs.
Beliefs are predicated upon working knowledge of a given subject matter so who better to be able to render guesstimates and suspicions about this fast moving virus? I do like your analysis of the straight line and perhaps we should either analyze individual states as though they were countries, or at least break up our nation into workable chunks, due to the fact that there are different weather and temps, different population masses ranging from sparse in WY or ND to heavy in NY and CA, etc. If we in fact guess the wrong way on this and Covid-19 decides to run unabated for say 18 months, and we then have to bail out our economy for that long, how will that then fare as to who if anyone will be able to go back to work, because how many employers may have simply disappeared during that time period?
What if like the Spanish Flu, Covid-19 wreaks havoc and then goes off to rest while everyone thinks it is licked and then it comes back with a vengeance worse than the first time? What if in fact there are multiple strains and each of them must run their courses and maybe one or more of them then decides to again mutate, even though the medical brains surmise they will not?
Making correct decisions from faulty data is just as bad as making wrong decisions from correct data. Why in fact are we as a nation bent on arrogantly thinking that because we are who we are, we will somehow fare better than most others in the world? Yes, there were some correct but politically damaging decisions made early on and that may have saved incalculable lives, just by locking us off from affected areas from the get-go. Hopefully that will have made a big difference, but we really do not know for sure yet. Based on all known data, we are only at the very beginning of this nation-wide exposure, which logic would dictate will in fact become much worse perhaps in known ways as well as in unknown ways, just by following all the straight lines.
Why are we not using or mandating masks or applying known pneumonia cures, rather than creating monstrous paralysis of analysis tasks which could well be at least temporarily shelved until we get this under control? There will always be time later to study this, but if we inappropriately apply those dwindling resources to things that we already know will not pay off for years, why do our experts not recognize that such misapplied resources will also equate to lives lost between now and the time that we actually do apply those resources and directions to the things that matter most now?
It is as though the brainiest of brains of our medical world and society cannot see the full picture but only their own single minded rut. That to me is one of the greatest problems our education system creates, and not just in this profession but all of them. Way too many professors know lots of things but cannot relate to ordinary common sense problems of society. Instructing 18,000 people to study computer info in order to search for a cure, forbids acknowledging that such cure for pneumonia was already found in 1920, while they proceed with their tasks of more paralysis of analysis.
Based on such apparently intellectual actions which in fact are not likely to solve any problems real soon, I am not confidant that we will end this problematic situation any time relatively soon, short of a miracle or short of this aggressive virus just getting tired and quitting, and that is ridiculously optimistic. Also, they have stopped having funerals around here due to social distancing — how many of these can be stacked up before we start to create other related problems? For every decision made out of hand, why are our intellectuals not able to envision the material consequences and thus try to prepare such decisions according to the comprehensive picture rather than for only one small narrow path? Knowledge even in abundant quantities does not necessarily equate to wise decisions, mostly due to the fact that we are all mice in the overall scheme of things. The best laid plans of mice and men do not mean a hill of beans when not coupled with wisdom and common sense. I have only touched on a few examples but there has to be literally thousands of unknowns and some of them may in fact be very important, perhaps more important than all of our now-known variables.
Supposing we follow a path because it seems like a good idea, that then takes us over an unexpected cliff of no return? We listen to doctors and professionals every day who continually dispute what others of their same profession are saying. It is obvious that there is not an overall consensus which means that propelling forces are not always even on the same page. For instance, some say that viruses are randomly and dormant-ly in existence, while others say they are alive. Who knows and does it matter?
Well, if this virus can somehow survive for from 5-50 days depending upon the variables considered, how can quarantines of 14 days be appropriate, or are we just placating the masses to accept a number that they might otherwise not think is within their assessment of tolerance? What if we all wore masks and did tests and then applied known cures? Would we not then feel like we were on a road that was allowing us to make progress? On the other hand, if we do not know where we are going, then any road will get us there, but where will that be? Will we actually luck out and make a stumbling, bumbling inroad to progress or will we end up worse off than if we did nothing at all, simply by ignoring wisdom and common sense?
If pertinent knowledge about a given situation is purposely withheld by our political leaders, under the auspices of their fear of (?hip-pa) laws or privacy laws that otherwise protect certain people and information from being publicly disclosed, then how are people to make educated decisions in any given area or region of the nation? Misinformation is often worse than partial correct information, but our laws seem to prevent us from obtaining such information in a timely fashion, or at times even at all. Supposing people knew that they had perhaps been in contact or association with a given person who was exposed or positive. Would they not then know that they too should perhaps be extra careful or maybe get tested? Yet such critical info often is either being withheld or is somehow distorted or only divulged when no longer pertinent. We have set ourselves up for failure just due to the number of laws that we have whereby any people in authority can then decide on a whim whether or not to actually implement or enforce a given law, no matter the consequence of their actions.
I really hate to make the case, but maybe the Mayans were correct when they decided not to advance their calendar forward to our present day situations. Unfortunately we have evolved into a world where most people can no longer see further than their own noses. Others act like they can but really cannot either, even though their educational and professional status might indicate that they can. The other side of the aisle has a group who all seem to be “know-it-all’s” and they comprise a batch of educated folks who take the stance that they already know everything so others are not allowed to confuse them with the facts, no matter how relevant they may be.
Couple that with the fact that many medical organizations are so powerful that they can now dictate what will happen regardless of whether or not it makes sense, as long as it makes lots of cents. I would say that we are all at the mercy of fate, and that fate predicated on so much knowledge that we can no longer make or expect proper rational complex decisions. We may as well ask Forest Gump to step in and take over because everyone already there is either fraught with conflicts of interest or has professional blinders on that sway them to go in directions that may or may not be helpful soon enough. No wonder Einstein said such things as this world will not go out with a bang, but with a whimper.
We seem to be running on paths of potential self-destruction, no matter how hard a handful of well-meaning leaders try to get us back on track. I think it is time for everyone to start thinking of others instead of just for their-selves, and it might not hurt for people to pray for answers because we have proven that we are not always capable of dealing with all the unknown variables. This nasty Covid-19 virus has come upon us in sneaky fashion at the worst possible time, both for individuals and for the masses. Many do not realize nor recognize the absolute power it has to cause us to make serious wrong decisions, or even to know that beyond certain breaking trigger points we will reach undesirable destinations of no return — Will those be to greener pastures or to a world-wide abyss and greater depression?
Since the entire world is facing this same problem, will people gain commonality of disposition and work together to defeat this virus, or will we persist in a fruitless blame game against the supposed location with which the virus cropped up? Will people recognize that it could have surfaced from anywhere that the conditions might have allowed it to, and that there may be even more to come just like it or worse, that could also creep out of anywhere else in the world. Individual and collective energies wasted on such juvenile and unproductive antics are so much energies that might better be spent towards fixing the very problem itself. Perhaps we all do need to go through this monstrous black-hole in order to re-orient ourselves back to the reality of why we are all here in the first place.