Dear America, coronavirus is spreading and we must act now.
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
In a time where we must be separated, we have to come together, figuratively speaking of course, and we are darn good at coming together when needed.
We need to do better, quicker. We know this is a scary time for the entire world. We are faced with a threat most of us are completely unfamiliar with. We have doubts and mistrust. We have unanswered questions. We have theories and our own vision of how this will play out. We are looking for leadership and guidance in the messages that have been thrown at us from all different angles: from our federal government, state government, local government, our jobs, and friends and family. Today, we want to empower YOU to make the critical decisions necessary to keep yourself, those you love, and the rest of the world safe- so we may all get through this as quickly as possible.
Let’s start with some facts:
1- The growth of outbreaks follow a logistic curve (S shaped), meaning there is an exponential growth phase in the beginning.
2- The numbers may seem small initially, but as of right now, the number of cases are doubling about every 3 days.
3- The US news has only been reporting confirmed cases, with very limited testing, whereas actual cases are between 10-50 times greater than reported cases (due to those with little or no symptoms who never will get tested, as well as the incubation period for those who will become symptomatic).
4- As of March 16, 2020, the number of reported cases was 4,663. The actual number, conservatively (using the lower prediction of 10 times greater), is then 46,630. If we don’t stop the spread now then doubling every 3 days there will be 47,749,120 cases in the US in 30 days.
5- About 15% of cases require hospitalization. That means in 30 days, 7,162,368 individuals could potentially require medical attention.
6- The United States has an estimated 924,100 hospital beds according to a 2018 American Hospital Association survey, with an average of 65% occupancy on any given day, and Johns Hopkins estimated there are about 160,000 ventilators nationwide, with an additional 8,900 is stockpile.
7- The United States of America cannot medically support those in need if this virus continues to wreak havoc at an exponential rate.
8- Slowing this down matters most right now to prevent our health systems from becoming overburdened. With so many limitations, we must ALL act now to assist in keeping the level of medical need to one we can control.
Along with the biohazard, coronavirus, there are two major “hazardous states” that have contributed to the amplification of this hazard. Hazardous states is a term MiEHS Alliance, LLC has created to describe seven different states of mind that can magnify a hazard. The two most prominent hazardous states witnessed during the outbreak are complacency and incompetence. We got comfortable America. Resources and funding were cut and we let our planning and guard down and now we have to deal with the consequences. We’ve been incompetent. We’ve received mixed messages from this is a hoax; political ploy; nothing compared to other public health concerns in our country; something we have tremendous control over; and that only elderly and immunocompromised individuals need to worry or isolate, to we do not have this under control; we do not currently have enough supplies to support the trend of the virus in America; and now forced closures to pressure social distancing in our society.
We cannot gain the lost time back due to misinformation, but if we start now and work together we can still prevent the worst. I want to stress that incompetence is not meant to be degrading, but instead an identified area of weakness where improvement is needed. We need to allow the experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, provide America with the information and the necessary strategy to minimize the impact and ultimately overcome this. We must also listen to the other countries who have been experiencing the effects of this virus and learn from their mistakes and successes. Pandemics cross boarders and so must our efforts.
So, what can we all personally do?
Stay home as much as possible with those you share a home with and limit all other human contact. I know that sounds drastic, but the reality is the virus spreads through person to person exposure. No exposure, no risk. The more exposure, the higher the risk. When we require some exposure, such as going to an essential job, the grocery store, or even having groceries delivered, we must decrease our probability of getting infected. We can do this by staying away from large crowds, keeping distance from other individuals, washing our hands often, disinfecting our work environment or items that may have been exposed, trying to not touch our face, and wearing personal protective equipment. However, because of the shortage of personal protective equipment this now needs to be reserved for those who need it the most, such as our medical professionals.
I want you to envision two scenarios. In reality, there are an endless number of possible scenarios. However, I want you to envision these two drastically different, but realistic ones.
SCENARIO 1- You start isolation and social distancing with your family today. You teach your kids to cook. You read that book you’ve never had the time for. You watch that Netflix series you heard was riveting. You learn a new hobby. You order your groceries for delivery. You facetime or video chat with friends and family around the world. You take free online course with your kids and learn together. You thoroughly clean the house and put items to eventually sell in boxes. You build something. You start exercising and learning yoga. You write that book you thought about doing. You create a business. You go through your photos. You have meaningful, late night talks with your significant other. You plan your future. When the virus has passed you spend quality time with your loved ones and discuss all you’ve done while isolated.
SCENARIO 2- You continue to “live life”. You go out to eat. You hit up the bars with friends. You have play dates with the kids and visit with family and friends. You heard the flu kills more people than this virus and you live fearlessly thinking the media is overreacting. You keep your travel plans and go to the store as much as you want to. At some unknown moment you contracted the coronavirus and although you now have relativity minor symptoms, your mother contracted the virus from you and now needs to be admitted to the ICU. However, there are no beds. They send her home for now and tell her to return if things get worse. Breathing gets difficult, she returns to the hospital. You wonder if you could have prevented this. You are not prepared to lose her. You have regret. When the virus passes you no longer have your mother.
I pray no one has to live scenario #2. However, this is an unfortunate reality for some, but wouldn’t you much rather the more preventable, scenario #1? No one can guarantee how this is going to play out for you personally, but there are things you can do that will lower or heighten your risk and the risk of those around you and that is good news. We have some control. However, we can’t stress this enough… you must act now.
America, in a time where we must be separated, we have to come together, figuratively speaking of course, and we are darn good at coming together when needed. It’s one of the things that make me so proud to be an American. In times of need, we come together, we help each other, we problem solve, and work endlessly until we accomplish what’s necessary. Although we need to physically be separated, we can still call and check in on our loved ones or an elder neighbor who lives nearby. Let them express their fears and hopes. Make sure they are doing okay and have the number for a local grocery delivery service.
We will get through this, but the amount of damage is going to depend on each and every one of us. If we haven’t started already, we must start now. Once we’re through all of this we will celebrate, we will support our favorite businesses, and handshake, high-five, and hug once again. We’re in this together, stay home and stay safe.