With WWIII entering its 13th week, most of WE THE PEOPLE are POWs in our own homes. So let’s reflect on how we got here.
We have all committed to “flattening the outbreak curve”, a new moniker for hiding at home, and vegging out on Netflix.
This time, our Pearl Harbor occurred in China, and was so sneaky, we didn’t even realize there was a problem until weeks later on January 10th. Since then “a state of war has existed”. Haven’t we heard these words before?
Similar to WWII, the government was noticeably unprepared, and only recently has unleashed a decisive wartime effort. Come to think of it, the federal government has rarely been prepared for disasters.
COVID-19 can be caught by anyone at any time. It’s a remarkable offensive weapon,
About 80% of patients keep the virus in their upper respiratory tract and experience a mild to moderate disease without a hospital visit.
In 20% of the cases, however, the infection descends into the lungs and things go south.
The picky virus prefers the windpipe and lower respiratory system including the lungs. Thus starting a tug-of-war between the body’s response and the virus.
Our famous Curve is not an antidote, it’s sole purpose is to smooth out and slow down the inevitable case counts and mitigate the Pandemic’s impact. And the coronavirus curve appears to have a similar pattern among all countries and population centers. Predicting when the curve peaks is a black art, up there with estimating the shortage of hospital beds.
While the virus sets the timetable, it took Korea only 15 days to successfully flatten their curve. Nobody else even comes close.
Outbreaks in the fragmented USA continue on a deadly exponential track.
The infection rate is picking up speed in the NYC epicenter, doubling in the state every 3 days. It could be 3+ weeks until we see the peak. And the NYC curve is perhaps 6-12 days ahead of Los Angeles. Some think the USA is merely a few weeks behind the calamity in Italy.
This is going to be a long war, over the next weeks and months, going into perhaps 2021, and changing our lives in unexpected ways.
But there is hope...
While worlds apart, in 1981 the AIDS crisis began with 100% deaths, but today that virus is rarely noted. Two other lethal coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, both petered out.
One area of investigation is looking at the 80% of the infected population who recover from COVID-19 without a hospital stay. These folks develop antibodies where they previously had no natural immunity. It is thought that these antibodies confer immunity and suggest that COVID cannot be re-caught.
The theory is to harvest these neutralizing antibodies from recovered patients and develop a treatment to infuse these antibodies into current patients.
Also, once recovered, these people constitute a workforce that cannot be easily re-infected.
Meanwhile, our new life-directive is to follow orders and live by the numbers: 6 feet apart, 20 second hand washings, flatten the curve, and stay home.
This is Steve Plotkin