What’s the Big Deal? Experts Unpack the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Taylor Beck

Listen to the news and you may fear a plague or a zombie outbreak. A cruise ship off Japan’s coast has been quarantined with nearly 3,700 passengers. Its American passengers were just evacuated, including 14 infected with the virus. In Wuhan, China, the very doctor who tried, unsuccessfully, to warn people about the disease, is now dead. Facemasks, common each winter in Asia (and, more recently, in California’s worsening fire season), have been popping up as an eerie reminder of our susceptibility to this supervirus. The new coronavirus—recently named Covid-19 and theorized to have come from bats—has spread from its epicenter in Wuhan to two-dozen countries, infecting 75,000 patients worldwide. It’s killed over 2,000, roughly two percent of those treated. Still, most people infected with the virus just catch what feels like a bad flu, and never even see a doctor.

How scared should we be? What can we do to protect ourselves from the next pandemic?

We’ve heard something like this before. In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) spread from bats to camels to humans. Newspapers filled with horror-movie headlines then, too. SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, began in China in 2003, spreading from the live animal market to humans. SARS was another coronavirus, named not for the Mexican brewski but for its characteristic spiky halo. While your odds of surviving the new coronavirus is higher, the virus is more pervasive than SARS ever was. The question remains: How scared should we be? And since we are seeing more coronavirus outbreaks now than before, what’s the reason? What can we do to protect ourselves from the next pandemic?

To answer these questions and more, California spoke to UC Berkeley epidemiologist Dr. Arthur Reingold. For questions on bats, Dr. Reingold referred us to Dr. Cara Brook, a postdoctoral bat biologist in Dr. Michael Boots’ Integrative Biology lab.

The World Health Organization, the United States, and other countries have called the new coronavirus a “global health emergency.” But the flu has infected 26 million Americans this year and killed 25,000—more than coronavirus. Why don’t we call flu a global health emergency, too?

Arthur Reingold: Worldwide, I think the estimates are that half a million people may be killed by influenza. So when people make that comparison, “half a million people worldwide are killed by flu,” I think people do it in order to give some perspective.

We in Public Health, who know something about influenza, do try to get people worried about flu, to get their flu shot, et cetera. If we were paying the same amount of attention—updating the story every two hours, updating the number of deaths and the spread every few hours—to another disease, like influenza, people might be alarmed by that, right? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is new. There’s a lot that’s not known.

How can you tell a case of coronavirus from a cold or flu?

AR: The novel coronavirus is more of an infection of the lower respiratory tract. [People with coronavirus] are more likely to have a fever than symptoms [of] a common cold. It can be very difficult, I would say it’s impossible in fact, to take someone with symptoms of what we call a respiratory infection and decide which virus is causing it, based on the symptoms. If you really want to know, you need to do appropriate laboratory testing. And obviously, if you stay home with your respiratory symptoms, we’ll never know that you were sick, and we’ll never have a chance to test you.

“If we were paying the same amount of attention to another disease, like influenza, people might be alarmed by that, right? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is new.”

[Now] we are trying to avoid the kind of widespread community transmission that China is experiencing. So a lot of testing is going on now that a test is available. If we can find people with this virus, we are going to isolate them to try and prevent them from transmitting it to other people. And, somewhat unusually, if we think someone has been exposed to this virus, even if they are not showing symptoms, [the Department of] Public Health might choose to quarantine them, test [them] and, if they have the disease, isolate them for a time.

Just to be clear: Isolation is the term we use for what we do with sick people, to prevent them from transmitting an infectious disease. Quarantine is what we do to people who don’t have symptoms; they’re apparently well, but there is a possibility that they may be incubating the disease and may show symptoms later.

What’s the deal with “super-spreaders,” individual patients who infect large numbers of people?

AR: Presumably, in simple terms: A) They are putting out more virus, for some reason: their body’s not controlling it, or they’re at a later stage, and B) They may have more contact with people, more opportunity to transmit to other people. In the real world, it’s probably a combination of the two.

In past outbreaks, healthcare workers were often infected by super-spreaders. And a “super-spreader” in China has already infected 14 healthcare workers. What’s going on?

AR: During the SARS outbreak, there was quite a bit of transmission to healthcare workers in Hong Kong and in Toronto. That’s in part because healthcare workers didn’t know how infectious these patients could be, and appropriate infection control measures, isolation measures, were not taken. That’s why, if you see the pictures, people are wearing the [hazmat] suits and all the protective gear. We want to protect healthcare workers.

[Recently] there was the story of the Chinese ophthalmologist who died. [And now the director of a Wuhan hospital]. He’s an example, presumably, of a healthcare worker who got infected by a patient. So clearly that is happening in this situation as well: Healthcare workers who, bravely, or for lack of equipment, or because they don’t know how infectious the virus is, [are] not taking precautions to protect themselves. I think another factor almost certainly is: These are individuals giving off a lot of viral particles, either in their blood, or vomit, or feces, or their respiratory secretions. For SARS, that happened particularly in the later stages of the illness, when the body was not controlling the infection any more.

When you say, “respiratory secretions,” you’re talking about coughing, sneezing… Not breathing, right?

AR: If you’ve ever seen a picture of a cough or a sneeze, you’ll know: you put out a cloud of small particles and larger droplets that we call aerosols. So yes, I’m talking about what comes up out of your respiratory tract. Snot would be one term for it.

“I find it hard to believe that we’ll have large quantities of a vaccine that we’re willing to put into large numbers of people in less than a year.”

We in our field refer to droplets: a droplet is large; it has weight. I need to be relatively close to you to hit you with one of my droplets, because droplets are basically carried to the ground by gravity. But if you are close to me and I cough or sneeze on you, I can hit you with my droplets. Aerosols are small particles that can remain suspended in the air, depending on temperature and humidity, potentially for hours.

Take the case of measles: Measles is the most infectious disease we know. Someone with measles could be in a room, cough or sneeze, leave the room, and someone else could enter the room two hours later. They’ve never met. They’ve never shaken hands. But that second person can catch measles. Those aerosols are still suspended in the air two hours later. So that’s a very efficient form of transmission. We know it happens for tuberculosis, too. We don’t know, for this new coronavirus, how much of the respiratory transmission is from large droplets and how much is from small aerosol particles..

I’ve read that the vaccine development is expensive, risky, and time-consuming. Anthony Fauci, [director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)] told an interviewer that he wouldn’t expect a vaccine for the new coronavirus for “at least a year.” Do you agree, and if so, what are the main limiting factors?

AR: I would say Dr. Fauci is right about this. I personally find it hard to believe that we’ll have large quantities of a vaccine that we’re willing to put into large numbers of people in less than a year. I think that would be astonishing, even if the people in the lab say we can start making it tomorrow.

There are at least a dozen groups around the world currently trying to make a coronavirus vaccine, including the NIH, people in China, biotech companies, and the like. In the old days10 years ago, 15 years ago—if I said I wanted to make a vaccine for a disease, generally people would tell you the timeline was 10 to 15 years between starting and having a licensed product, at a cost of a billion dollars. The lab work took a lot longer. Now, modern biologists will tell you the technologies we’ve developed in the last 10 years that have revolutionized everything. We can genetically engineer things. We can mass-produce things. But before we start giving a vaccine to large numbers of people, we want to make sure it’s safe and effective.

First of all, vaccines are put into animal models—guinea-pigs, rats, mice—before they’re put into people. Then you need to do the same in healthy human volunteers. You may be able to tell within a few days if they’re dropping dead [from the vaccine]; we hope not. You need to figure out the dosage, if you need to give them two doses spaced out in time—the schedule. These things take time. All that’s even before we have enough confidence to do a trial in humans and see if it prevents illness.

What else do people need to know about the new coronavirus?

AR: I’m going to divide the world into three groups. First, China and Wuhan: I think it’s anybody’s guess what things are going to look like there in 6 months. I really don’t know how to predict how this outbreak is going to unfold in China.

“We have no idea if this virus has made it to Uganda or Kenya or Congo or other places where China is doing billions of dollars in construction. But if it does, those countries are not prepared to deal with it.”

I am optimistic that we will not have the kind of community-wide outbreaks in the United States that they’re having in China, that our public health infrastructure, even if it is under-funded and ignored by politicians in quieter times, is up to the task of identifying people, isolating them or quarantining them if necessary, and that we’re not going to have a massive epidemic in the U.S.

I am much more concerned about a third group, which are the world’s poor countries: in Asia, countries like the Philippines and Indonesia; and in Africa, countries where China has enormous economic investments, enormous numbers of workers, and where the infrastructure to detect, diagnose, treat, and have a public health response to a problem like this is crushingly minimal. At the moment, we have no idea if this virus has made it to Uganda or Kenya or Congo or other places where China is doing billions of dollars in construction. But if it does, those countries are not prepared to deal with it.

Doctors to treat is obviously part of it. But I would say the bigger problem is the labs to make diagnosis possible; the infrastructure to handle sick people, to potentially isolate sick people and protect healthcare workers; the ability to quarantine people.

“Why do so many of these viruses originate in bats?”:

Cara Brook: Our lab group has shown that bats are reservoirs for many viruses that infect humans: Ebola and Marburg filoviruses, Hendra and Nipah henipaviruses (in Australia); SARS and MERS coronaviruses that originated with camels. [Rabies was found in bats in 1911. Since the 1990s, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and many other viruses have been found in bat hosts.]

Bats are the only flying mammal. For flight to evolve as a physiologically viable means of locomotion, bats had to evolve a fast metabolism, and also anti-inflammatory responses. [When a bat flies, its body temperature rises above fever level for most mammals. This adaptation, some biologists believe, keeps viral load down: viruses like Ebola, rabies, and coronavirus alive, but controlled]. So bats seem not to get sick from these diseases.

When the virus spills over into something that lacks the immune response of a bat, then it will be more virulent.

Coronaviruses [infect] the gut in bats, whereas they are respiratory infections in humans. The gut is less sensitive to viral damage than the lungs—a less important region, So a virus replicating in the gut will cause less damage to an organism than in the lungs.

How do we get from the virus being in bat feces to being in human lungs? Increasing the number of contacts. We have some evidence that this is happening. We are seeing more stressed animals forced to live in urban areas, where food sources are less available. Heightened stress on the [bat] species, along with higher contact rates at the human-animal interface, would raise the probability of viruses being transmitted from animals to humans.

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We have here with the latest Coronavirus typical sensationalism and a media just dying to spread the next big bad news story. My goodness just stop. The flu kills hundreds of thousands of people every year - I don’t see travel get suspended or the media reporting on every patient that comes up with the flu or dies as a result of it so why is this virus any different? I see no earth-shattering issue here so far in what I am seeing and reading - why the sensationalism … oh my God, the world economy will get shattered, oh my God, 2 people died and thousands are infected, oh my God a new patient which we cannot trace to a source, so what??? People are like sheep and if one sheep jumps off the cliff apparantly so do all the rest … the stock market is a classic sign of that. Today was hilarious to watch and I’m sure the same nonsense will happen tomorrow because God forbid one more person out of 70000 who have the virus will die out of 7.7 BILLION people .. my goodness shut the airports, trains, schools, and grocery stores! What a joke - stop sensationalizing this illness - it is no different than the flu and it has not killed nearly enough people to create this world wide hysteria. I want to end by saying my condolences to the families of those who have died but let’s get a grip people - remember that 1.25 million people die from car accidents every year and almost no one cares.
you are brilliant, and every word you wrote is so true!
Great article. Lucid and sober perspective. Also, I agree with Navaid’s comment.
Since bats are known carriers of many diseases, including the corona virus, why is it illegal to kill them?
Please read, John M. Barry’s book, The Great Influenza, or another on that pandemic, and you, above, can better appreciate the concerns and precautions of those of us in the public health sector about this outbreak. Viruses mutate and can change their infectivity rate and with smaller doses. Malcolm Gladwell’s article, “The Dead Zone,” in the The New Yorker Magazine, September 29, 1997, pages 52-65, points out that in Philadelphia 7,600 people died within 14 days, during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, after President Wilson refused to cancel the Liberty Loan Parade which his public health care professionals advised. I would also suggest that you read the June 2018 Discover Magazine’s article “Something Stirs: New and Ancient Threats Emerge as Permafrost Thaws.” This is the 21st Century and global travel has greatest increased the rapidity rate and spread of any emerging highly infectious disease. There are over 1,000,000 people traveling by air around the globe daily. It is my opinion that this country is particularly vulnerable to a very serious highly contagious pathogen because we do not have universal health care cover for all people living in the country. People who may have symptoms and who do not have access to medical care due to no health insurance, fear of deportation, etc. will not seek medical care and will spread the germs. If you are not completely self sufficient for your food, housing, auto and personal needs, etc., you and all of us will be at risk. The globally connected world of the 21st Century dictates that our health care system changes to meet the challenges being presented to us presently and in the future. As the permafrost thaws, it is conceivable that we could be hit with a situation of not only facing new emerging pathogens, but also the Plague, which there has been 3 cases in the last year, the Spanish Flu virus of 1918, and other unknown viruses never seen before, as noted in the Discover Magazine article. We are in a brave new world, and if we are wise, we must change our beblieves, behaviors, thoughts and attitudes to meet 21st century challenges. We must change our ways of thinking about health and existence in our biosphere.
This article gives credible perspective to the news and stock market declines. So it’s prudence, not panic that’s important.
Many thanks to Dr. Reingold and Mr. Beck for perspective on this novel virus. Especially appreciated the insight on the Bat virology with regard to being a transmitter to humans, given their unique immunology system as a flying mammal. Very helpful, thanks to all the UC Berkeley experts for their insight!
I think Navaid’s comments are very misguided. I hope he realizes his mistakes. Certainly the virus is deadly. Health workers must be protected and infected persons must be quarantined to stop the spread of the virus.
Your comments are on the mark. If my elderly neighbor with her chronic smoker’s cough dies of the flu this season, she becomes one of many tens of thousands to have passed away. However, if word gets out that she was diagnosed with, in the words of the press, ‘That Deadly Disease’, sudden panic sets in. Measured responses, such as reinforcing proper hygiene, producing test kits to assess the magnitude of the epidemic, and working feverishly to find a vaccine or a cure, are appropriate, but wholesale panic has no positive outcome.
I completely agree, thank you for mentioning this here!
The World Health Organization released an estimate this week that the mortality rate for COVID-19 was 3.4% vs. 0.1% for most influenza. There is huge uncertainty in this number, along with other data on this virus, but until we learn more, we face the possibility that the number of deaths from COVID-19 could be many times higher than from influenza. Unfortunately, public health decisions must be made with far-reaching consequences in the fog of extreme uncertainty. There are costs to over-reacting, but there are serious penalties for under-responding, too. Disparaging the level of worry and caution that has arisen, as some in this thread have done, is ill-advised, and betrays a confidence in one’s knowledge about COVID-19 that is completely unsupported by the data.
If you have not had a sick or elderly person in your care, it’s likely not to seem like a big sensational deal. But when you are a healthcare worker, caretaker or have kids, the COVID-19 can lead to worsening conditions if not treated right away. I cannot stress enough to others how overloaded already hospitals or care facilities get with patients and sure we have measures to prevent the flu, but COVID-19 has been known to spread quickly and there has been lack of clarity to the fact that it can live on surfaces longer than 24 hours. It’s likely that if something was missed in cleaning, that is a risk factor itself. Now think about all the normal people who don’t have good hygeine despite efforts to have reminders and the amount of people daily touching surfaces at schools or elsewhere. That is why sanitation products are being sold out. People want to be cautious to try to lesssen the chance of viruses living on the numerous surfaces as our current age of technology is all about touch screens or the like. Our economy has been so bad with more people becoming homeless that not only are homeless at risk, but we also have risks to people who pass by them or vice versa, workers who can’t afford to take time off work and think they have small cold and go to work. If that person has a virus, this one takes up to 2 weeks to cycle. So that is why there is hysteria. Maybe it’s not quite the black plague, but then hyigene wasn’t good and there was spreading from rodents in close contact w others. At that time people had to wear masks or be quarantined. So yes, I say it should be cautionary because if we shrug it off like the flu to which we have vaccines for, COVID-19 has no vaccine yet and it went global very quickly. I’d rather be safe than to have the virus keep evolving and have something that isn’t containable.
It is illegal to kill bats, in part, because they are responsible for pollinating a large portion of our food supply.
Your comment is just amazing! I cannot agree enough! This is absolutely ridiculous!!!! It makes me wonder if their making a huge thing about this just to be hiding something so much bigger SMH!
But did you actually read this?
Thank you, well said!!!
@don butcher: Bats are incredibly important to our ecosystem. Bars eat an immeasurable amount of insects and are essential pollinators. Killing them would be hugely disruptive. And, when you think about it, humans carry many diseases. Should we kill ourselves? ;-)
I can clearly see how you have tried to use fear as a way to manipulate people into believing in your political agenda. Universal health care is not going to solve anything! You’re the type that thinks quantity over quality is somehow better. Its all about context and its all situational. Universal health care COULD work, but having it doesn’t mean it will. What really matters is quality, and if physicians and staff have pay cuts, which they most certainly will, then you will certainly have a decrease in quality of care. I know many physicians, and I do not know one doctor who has been for universal health care, in fact, Obama care has directly hurt many private practice doctors, and has only helped the big corporate run hospitals and medical facilities, while also hurting the standard of care. The fact is, the Coronavirus is not much of a threat, unless there is something they are not telling us! I have read about all the symptoms and the possible dangers, and like the author of this article said, there is not much to be afraid about, and the flu generally kills 500 thousand people a year world wide, so the panic is unnecessary. You’re bringing up the other pathogens which have nothing to do with this article and nothing to do with the coronavirus. Do you want to talk about the Coronavirus? Or do you want to talk about hypothetical situations that are not real imminent threats at this particular time? You are all over the place, pushing your agenda, universal health care, then you talk about pathogens mutating that can literally happen anywhere and at any time! If you want to be concerned about something, then be concerned about the ice melting in the north pole, where there are bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can pose a serious threat to mankind because they have been hibernating in the ice for a long time!
I can’t wrap my head around the panic. I understand that this is unnerving and frightening. Claiming that it’s not because you’re unconcerned is dismissive of people who might have very legitimate reasons to be worried; Ill children, elderly relatives, their own compromised immune systems, etc. Fear is valid. But so is skepticism. I’m of the same state of mind as most of you in the comments: the sensationalization seems… Extreme. It’s leading to wide spread panic where people are clearing out grocery stores and leaving nothing behind for those who couldn’t get there in time, Hint hint: those potentially of higher risk. We have every reason to be aware and take precautions to be safe and prevent the spread, but at the same time we can’t just stop living and hole up in our homes until this passes. This could take a long time. I don’t trust the media. I don’t trust politicians. I try to educate myself as best I can but even after hours of reading I’m still left feeling confused. All I know is we must get through this together. So stop buying all the toilet paper, damn it!! Make smart choices but don’t stop living your life. STAY HOME if you feel unwell. Help out those who may be fearful and unwilling to go to the grocery stores on their own. Now is the time for togetherness, even if were facing isolation and quarantine ❤️
@BRENT very well said, exactly what i was thinking while reading that
Vera, how can people not have access to healthcare when we have Obamacare? Wasn’t that the point of this massive tax? In addition, as far as news reports are concerned, the vast majority of victims are elderly patients who ostensibly have something called Medicare. Prevention, not treatment, is how you stop the spread of a disease. How many people have died who received treatment? How many died who never were infected? Would you prefer to avoid getting the virus or get it and be treated? Open borders and a lack of vetting is making us vulnerable, not a lack of access to healthcare.
. ” It is my opinion that this country is particularly vulnerable to a very serious highly contagious pathogen because we do not have universal health care cover for all people living in the country. People who may have symptoms and who do not have access to medical care due to no health insurance, fear of deportation, etc. will not seek medical care and will spread the germs. If you are not completely self sufficient for your food, housing, auto and personal needs, etc., you and all of us will be at risk. The globally connected world of the 21st Century dictates that our health care system changes to meet the challenges being presented to us presently and in the future.” With all due respect for those of “us in the public health sector”, it is when you reached this point in your comment that you stopped making sense and the entirety of it became suspect. The same old healthcare drone.
The biggest joke is you not understanding the impact this virus has had on the world. You’re laughing at the stock market plunge, closing borders and schools. And as much as I want to laugh at you for your ignorance I will not. Instead, I wish you and your family the best of health and safety - in particular, the elderly. And if you don’t have any elders in your immediate family then you’re one lucky ignorant guy lol
This is exactly what I’m trying to communicate to people only to hear their reply: “if you can prevent death why wouldn’t you?” Of course I want to prevent death! I feel terrible for those suffering. I don’t want anyone to get infected by this horrible virus. I take great measures to clean our family and business environment while doing all that is possible to avoid spread of infection to others. We live minimally and respect the recommended social distancing. We are not naive. I have an autoimmune disease. I am health conscious. I read;) Yet, the extreme action has me questioning the sanity of so many perceivably relative intelligent people. Even these articles which try to justify actions continually prove “not enough.” I am not an insensitive person. In fact, I’m extremely sensitive to the plight of people. I work continuously to help people around the globe and my community experience life freedom from social injustices. I do everything I can to help open and create ability for people to thrive in life and overcome circumstances of poverty and inequalities! I care about life. I care so deeply that is has caused my own story personal sacrifice of time, money, and lifestyle to help come alongside others in meaningful ways….Which is why I deeply care how this hysteria is causing greater life threat! This hysteria doesn’t affect the wealthy. They view it as a fun adventure of sweet family time. Yes, they can’t go on their planned vacation. (Well, actually most just got back thankfully) Instead, they are working at home from computers and ra-rating themselves as do-good individuals; who for a couple weeks can judge others while they offer pb sandwiches to poor kids they have never met the names of. Meanwhile their kids play in spacious backyards and homes and have devices and everything they need to continue education; including home libraries. Their basements and barns are full of resource they presently stock and store to get through these inconvenient times. And perpetuate this ideal on social media and to their neighbors and friends. >>If only we could compare numbers of everything side by side. What costs this will get played out on society’s whole? Forgetting the Reality: People are risking lives everyday in simple choices. Biggest Example is Driving. Should we ban all transportation and walk instead? Using the logic of the world at this moment. Given the numbers. Yes. Will any of these individuals give up vehicle ownership? I don’t think so. Reality: What is inconvenient for some; will domino to great indenture for most others. But these numbers we never care to talk about. Because it’s “those” people. Let us keep right weights and scales on what probability outweighs what… none of this is adding up. I know the numbers. The number of greatest concern is the count of instability—-a people majority in their misguided reasoning affecting so many lives around them.
Taylor, huge kudos on your piece on the Bubonic Plague of ’19! I am watching in total disbelief as the media has hyped this coronavirus into teh end of the world! We are destroying our lives, relationships, and businesses- when desperation sets in, the fear-mongerers will see the fruits of their labors, from bread lines to suicides. I’m not saying this virus does not warrant a serious response, but maybe it’s like chemo and cancer- which would you rather die of? Despite the annual flu being a much greater killer, now we are scared of our own shadows, and dare not interact with humans except virtually. The cure is worse than the disease in this case. If there are some folks who wanted the stock market to decline for political reasons, that’s one thing, but I think they got more than they bargained for. And you’d sure better not let anybody know you didn’t sign onto any of the draconian moves taken and planned for this disease- your rights mean nothing- just drink the KoolAid, people! And referring to the “Spanish Flu” (which didn’t even start in Spain) of 1918- are you serious?! Yes, it was horrible, but are you actually saying there haven’t been any improvements in health care in over 100 years?! I wonder what we’ll be left with if/when this is over. Or will we be so contorted from this freaking out that we will never be the same again? Will we ever be able to shake hands or hug again? Will every cough be reason for virtual incarceration? If our airlines and hotels and restaurants survive, will we even use them again? Will we ever be able to have a gathering of more than 10 people without a permit and a health care professional onsite? As for me and my house, we are going to live life, and not cower at the sight of other human beings. We are going to shake hands, hug, and do all kinds of irresponsible human, caring things, because we are going to choose life, not fear.
It would make sense to quarantine those at high risk: the elderly or those with chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure, immune deficiency due to disease or certain medications, or diabetics as examples. But destroying the US economy - is an unnecessary overreaction, and is suspect. People not in the above groups who contract Covid-19 get relatively trivial symptoms, or no symptoms at all. And the unknown numbers of those people would - if known and if added to the death rate’s denominator - vastly lower the death rate for this virus via simple math, without firing a shot. So don’t destroy jobs and the U.S. economy to boot. The culture should treat it the way we treat the flu, with the exception of keeping the infirm sequestered. Let the asymptomatic young (<65) and healthy go to work, .
Come on guys!, it’s the Coronavirus, of course people are going to panic and take precaution, how can you expect to do these things with risk of contracting the virus….
It is definitely weird. The stress, distress and hysteria caused by the global reaction to this flu virus could cause more harm than the virus itself.
Have you seen what humankind does to the planet? To animals? To other humans? Maybe you should be asking a different question.
Nobody cares about there health. People drink, smoke, do drugs, wage wars, eat meat, eat fast food, destroy there environment, poison the air and waters, the list goes on and on and now with covid19 everybody suddenly cares about there health. What a joke!
THANK YOU!!!! Someone needed to say the things you said about media sensationalism bs. I am all for spreading message of reality not this fantasy land of people thinking our governments could or would even try to save us or even tell truth about this virus or anything else for that matter. Small groups getting rich from things like this and average joe out of work and spending more just to feed family. All i can say is thank you for stating the obvious.
Agreed! Thank you, it is sensationalism! Washing hands and staying at home (when possible) with a cold or flu is always appropriate and should be practiced! But my forefathers didnt come to this land and fight for the freedom we have today to have it revoked for an insignificant number of people. No, I dont want them to die, but we always weigh the use against the cost, yes even with lives. You do so everyday when using your car, using electricity etc. People died building our country. And while I wish this number to be as low as possible, we cannot sacrifice the financial well being of our children and grandchildren!
The difference between the common flu and Covid-19 is the death rate to those infected. If I recall correctly, the death rate of the common flu is .02% of those who get the flu, succumb to it. Compare that to Covid-19 where 4% of those who get it, succumb to it. those numbers could have very well changed since I saw them and the death rate may very well drop as they begin testing more people and determine that many have been living with it without symptoms. While 45,000 die from the flu each year, the potential of Covid-19 is devastating, Hence the proactive approach. It takes nothing from those who died of the flu but this virus has potential the kill so many more than the flu.
The flu has never been studied and recorded like this virus plus it has not had to contend with social media. No statistics are 100-percent reliable, as I understand it statistically the flu kills more people. And if we find eventually that this virus kills more people than the flu well, scientifically, how do we know that it wasn’t the self isolating measures which were responsible for that.
If it dosn,t come from God, you can kill with kindness as well
Fear God not covid. Even better, love God.
That’s so mean that you would want to kill bats. All you got to do is stop playing with them. In other words leave bats alone don’t have them as pets.
Across the pond over-reaction is the daily UK diet. Media profiteering frenzy. Drones filming lone rural walkers. Rural police fining people more than 50m from their front doors. National clapping event this evening for the NHS for doing their jobs. Not seen such an overblown mawkish vomitous out-pouring since Diana. I will punch the next person who says ‘Stay Safe’ instead of goodbye. Get a grip people. Whether this is a global economic reset exercise or a virulent flu outbreak - am sick of being told to be scared. Pious do-goodery is spreading faster than this bug. China - stop farming, eating and rubbing on bits of endangered species. America - stop doing deals with corrupt despots. UK - stop pretending to give a shit.
Feel stupid now Navaid?!?
I have been baffled by all this too. For a while in throuht i had missed the memo. Nope, the numbers are true and this is just a new flu. I certainly feel for those who have had to endure a loss from this, that would be a harrowing ordeal and my heart goes out you through out these moments. I’ll be damned to believe that the experienced governments in place would shut the world down over this. Is there something we aren’t being told?? I mean, if this is the levels of hysteria we are going to reach, then why don’t we do the same for the 725,000 people who die each year from mosquitoes?? What’s really going on here?? Soon to be revealed I suppose.
You still feel this way one month later?
We continue to be statistically lied to every single day in America. March 30th- 3,008 deaths / 160,000 confirmed cases underlining a scary 1.8% mortality rate. So misleading. No one in the media is publishing the real denominator: a scientific and mathematical estimate to all those in America EXPOSED! I calculate this fairly high. Most knowledgeable experts believe the virus was here a good month before detection. Not unusual for any virus. If we use the mathematical model developed by one of the left’s exalted- Robert A.J. singer- which states 1 exposes 2.5 every 5 days and 406 in a month (exponential). And, lets say social distancing reduced March exposure by half…. the math is straight forward in an aggressive virus: 406x406x203= a whopping 33M have been exposed in America. A less-than-scary 0.009% mortality rate. The exponential rate we are experiencing now is based on an exponential testing rate. The more we test the larger the number get because- 10% of us have already been exposed. This is a deadly disease for those with weakened immune systems by condition or age. And yes, we should be protecting those folks. But to shelter ourselves and think we are flattening a curve. The curve is based on TESTED not EXPOSED. The curve will flatten when the scientific community shares with the fear-mongering press that it has flattened. We have disrupted an economy, destroyed jobs and effected the lives of 345M all due to a virus that kills at a 0.009% rate / exposed. Look, a statistic that looks different than the fear-mongers. “There are lies, damn lies & statistics”. Mark Twain. Let’s measure based on exposure. Let’s protect our most vulnerable. Let’s get back to work…damnit. You wanted a basis Mr. President - here you go.
I agree. I think this is sinister. The truth is, without having to refer to statistics, we are being locked in our houses. Christianity cannot operate like that for long.
I just want to know the truth about this coronavirus, all the reading and tv grandstanding, a president acting like a petty child and people sitting home getting brainwashed into fear by not being able to be around people who you enjoy and share your views,the world powers are up to something, and the working class people of the worldare in for a rude awakening——demand answers people—-the power elite know whats up
Thats how i feel…..look how people our with our homless and addicts in this country. WHY isnt. EVERY ONE FREAKING OUT AND COMMING TOGETHER ON THESE ISSUES ? oh yeah there third class after all washington closed homeless shelters because of the virus…now people are acting like there carriers and twice as rude to them..WAKE UP AMERICA …..p.s. Fuck Big Pharma…your pills cause ADDICTIONS! We need to come together on THESE PANDAMICS!!!
I think the real question we should be asking, is Who’s more affected? The Coronavirus Victims, or the Economic Victims?
Relax and stay shut down isn’t cutting it. And no offense, but Bill Gates isn’t a Doctor and this vaccine that they are trying to push or to wait for is way-off and there’s just something about this whole thing that isn’t being handled right-not that it’s a course or something where we’re used to being sent home and stay home. I think a lot of it is political and maybe some of those guys need to take a few days off.
Unfortunately, you are failing to consider all the facts at hand. Wuhon, Italy, Spain, New York have all grappled with the people coming in with the disease and who are hospitalized for WEEKS. These are not back-woods, 3rd world countries. As an RN, reading the reports of hospitals being overwhelmed and healthcare staff dying indicates that simply put: THIS. IS NOT. THE FLU. Don’t get me wrong, this is not “Planet of the Apes” either. But please, have a shred of faith in your local health department!
Well I would like to know why the UK NHS department that deals with this for the public leaves a message on the answering machine stating that most people with the Virus will only experience mild symptoms and recommends paracetamol and to expect recovery in a few days. I think we are experiencing unprecedented times rather than an unprecedented flu. Ordinary flu can quite easily develop into something more serious given the right conditions, like queuing for ages in the rain for food , not to mention finding empty shelves when you get inside. We don’t need to carry weapons anymore either. Just breathe over someone should do it.
I have to agree with everything you have said. There is a greater conspiracy behind all of this. The media is having a feeding frenzy as this is all they can talk about. If I hear “hunker down” or “we are all in this together” one more time I think I will blow my brains out and lessen the population.
Hunker down, We’re all in this together
I am optimistic that we will not have the kind of community-wide outbreaks in the United States that they’re having in China, that our public health infrastructure, even if it is under-funded and ignored by politicians in quieter times, is up to the task of identifying people, isolating them or quarantining them if necessary, and that we’re not going to have a massive epidemic in the U.S. WELL THAT DID NOT AGE WELL!!
Reading this article now in late May I have a little hindsight and retrospective vision to use. As an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Science I have seen so many different things going on in and out of the hospital. So much of the new rules of engagement seems arbitrary, from who can open up for business, to why everyone wears paper masks that are absolutely useless to particles as small as the virus in question. I even see people by the hundreds wearing disposable gloves for everything from exchanging cash, to picking up items in store. So much of our current approach seems to completely discard what we know about public health and public health measures. All of this in the name of stopping a virus we are all likely to meet and deal with. Nobody in the higher echelons of power seemed to consider quarantining the elderly, the very young, and the most vulnerable due to compromised immunity and chronic disease likely to flare up if they caught the virus. And yet, the governors of each state decided on lock down, as if following the pied piper over the cliff in a domino effect. No other reason given other than stated they are following the so called “prevailing wisdom” of the WHO. That organization is not free from question or challenge and is not our sole best resource, either. The government should have taken the idea of lock down cautiously and taken baby steps to do so. The fall out of a locked down society is rife with collateral damage we have yet to deal with. Nobody considered that when they decided to do what they thought everyone else was doing. Not one governor, senator, president, wants to take responsibility for the fall out, either. It becomes a question of how many are we willing to sacrifice to a virus that we will all get, as opposed to the real danger to the economy and peoples lives by eliminating jobs, healthcare, pensions, and savings to the millions who have been devastated by the governor’s ruling by executive order. Nobody bats an eye at the thousands upon thousands who die of other viruses and other fatal encounters on an annual basis. Response has seriously crippled the population, whereas the virus has yet to be seen to do so. The numbers just don’t make any sense that way no matter what source you seek out. I hope there are scientists and PhD students willing to study the response and not just the virus itself, which we can handle. We handled far worse things in the past. And that is why we have an immune system to begin with. This was built in to the human makeup from the very beginning. Our immune system evolves, too. Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens will evolve resistance and mutate and there is little we can do about that. Does that mean we shut down and stop living? Emphatically, NO!
I totally agree with all of your comments. The cv19 as i call it is not the problem. It is the lock down of the society where people need to work and live their lives. They say wear masks and social distancing will stop this virus but the flu is worse then this virus has ever been. Only .0008 percent of the the world’s population has died out of 7.5 billion on earth. The numbers don’t add up. The real killer here is the government themselves. The federal government give the state government full rein over their own state which should never have happen because they should just have let this virus alone and then react to it. Not let the media have control and the state governments have the control. We as human beings of a free nation need to be in control. We seem to be going back to the 1920’s and the beginning of ww2 where the brainwashing began in germany. That is what is happening today is just brainwashing. Because if this virus was as bad as it they say it is then there would be half of the world’s population would be gone. So it is time to let us live again and have a real life and stop all of this stupidity.
…did you read the whole article? Because it appears as if you didn’t. This article isn’t causing hysteria, it isn’t claiming that we need to shut everything down to get a handle on it. It’s talking about different viruses and diseases and comparing and contrasting them. It is talking about a vaccine and how soon it could be produced. It’s talking about how more undeveloped countries, specifically West Asian countries are at higher risk for a mass pandemic, unlike the US which has a more stable (if only slightly) healthcare infrastructure. If you had actually read and comprehended the whole article you would know this, but it looks like you just read the title and went off on your cute little ignorant rant.
The answer for your question, “What can we do to protect ourselves from the next pandemic?” can be answered by no one. However, irrespective of whether you are concrete driveway contractor or a GP, you need be as hygienic as possible.