COVID-19 Virus Action List: What You Should Do, When

March 16, 2020

ReferencesCNN HealthSTAT NewsCDC Pandemic PlanNew York TimesOurWorldInData,

Ok, here is the best data we have now. And a list of what you should do when. Yes, COVID-19 is a big deal. The 1919 Influenza killed 2.5 people per 100, resulting in 675,000 American deaths. The regular seasonal flu kills about 1 in 1,000, for reference. Regular flu kills by setting off pneumonia or heart attacks. COVID-19 causes a cytokine storm and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome, requiring a ventilator). So, it is about 10-20 times more dangerous. Stop the silly argument, "30,000 people a year die of regular flu." We are going to get there, and much more if we don't act. 

So, what are your risks? Actually, it all depends on your age and gender. Young kids, no big deal. Very low attack rate in children. Up till age 50, your risk is probably less than 1%. In China, the CDC found that only 0.9% of cases were under age 9 and even fewer deaths. In your 60s. you are likely in the 4-6 % range. Seventies are 8%. But over age 80, it's 14.8%. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39. Gender has bias too! It's only 1.7% death rate overall for women and 2.8% for men, China CDC reported. 

So: it's bad and it's going to get worse. It is being spread by asymptomatic people so avoiding sick folks wont do it. We have to do a higher level of battle, and that depends on testing. Short of that, consider these steps: 

1. Practice washing your hands: soap and water, 3 times a day and every time you come in from outside. Just start doing it.

2. Don't touch your face or pick your nose. Don't rub your eye. Get a tissue. Rubbing your eye is a particularly good way to introduce viruses into your tears, and then into your nose. 
3. Avoid crowded places with people from far away. Planes, sports venues, malls, movie theaters. Social Distance: At least 3 feet, 6 is better. Elbow bumps are cool.

4. Wipe and Clean. Get a package of alcohol wipes and carry it in your car. Wipe the gas pump before you use it. Wipe your home doorknob before you use it.

5. Shop for food at 8 am Sunday morning, Monday morning. Check yourself out. Wipe yourself down.

6. Get creative about your work. Consider working from home. 
7. Limit your excursions out of your home. This is going to last a year until we get a vaccine. The thought that we will have it over in a month is probably unrealistic. 
8. "Snow Days" when everyone stays in on lockdown - works if you go for 2 cycles. 10 days. Hard to maintain.

9. You need to hang on to your will power and your soul. This is a terribly frightening journey into darkness. We need to do battle with your darkness. Keep in touch with loved ones. Skype. Talk. Visit (a little) folks you know who are safe.. 

10. Support the organizations you love. Your church, your theatre group, your zoo, your sports team. Stay connected and give them support. They are more desperate than you.

THEN (Maybe soon - we are rising quickly still.) 
11. Shutdown. Do you have three months of food? Soap. Toilet paper.

WWW: What will work for me. I'm reading everything I can get hold of. I welcome your suggestions. I intend to add to this list and would welcome any thought you may have. I've subscribed to a newsletter you may like. The by Ryan Hagan - academic epidemiologist who studies pandemic diseases. I'm buying Thymosin A for myself for home injections. I'm walking every day and eating tons of vegetables.

Pop Quiz

  1. Ok, if you read Ryan Hagan's newsletter you would see that mortality reports doubling every __?__ days. Answer: 3
  2. And in that same newsletter, how many Americans will die according to a leaked report to the American Hosptial Association? Answer: Over 400,000
  3. The 1918 flu virus killed how many per 100? Answer: 2.5. The annual regular flu in America kills about 0.1%, so roughly 1/20th as bad. Today: 14 % for 80-year-olds.
  4. If you are over 80, what is your risk of death if you get it? Answer: 14.8%. 8% if you are in your 70s. 6% in your 60s.
  5. This virus is going to calm down over the summer. T or F. Answer: We don't know for sure but Australia is in summer and they are getting it. Singapore got it.