Message to the young and immortal
A fully fit 28 year old who ran marathons tells what it was like for him to get Coronavirus. He ended up spending 13 days in ICU. His ongoing liver problems and weakness will take a month or two to get better.
His message to young people out at parties or on the beach: ” You might survive, but the old person that didn’t get that ventilator might not…”
But the spread of stories like this rule out some future paths.
Forget all the pussy-foot weak quarantines
This shows that the “Let it RIP” approach and the “Herd Immunity” approach were never even worth discussing. The community would not tolerate the risk or inhumanity of either. But this also shows that the Slow Bleed approach of weak Social Distancing for six months will be dumped like a hot rock asap (it’ll be rebadged and quietly wrapped in stronger stuff). As Italy found (and now Spain) weak quarantine doesn’t work very well. Only serious quarantine can solve this.
Speaking of solving this: Good to hear that cases are possibly slowing in Italy. Looks promising. What did Italy do 12 days ago — On March 12th, as the death toll hit 827, and infections topped 12,000, they locked down all shops bar the essential ones. They clamped down on public gatherings. Non-essential travel was stopped. Sadly in the last twelve days the totals have climbed to 64,000 Italians infected, and 6,000 dead and more presumably will die, though it already appears to be leveling (could be an illusion). How many lives would have been saved if Italy had acted a day sooner? (Or a week?). Some countries have the gift of time to act faster.
As stories like these spread (below of the 28 year old) a quite reasonable fear will grow and people will choose to quarantine, indeed some will refuse to go to work. There is no way the economy can keep running along with business as usual while the threat of this ticks in the background. This is not something we can live with for six months — the fear will take over a healthy economy and make it unhealthy without any government intervention anyway. The only option is some variation of short sharp and hard quarantine, or crushing the curve as I’ve been saying. It’s where we are all headed.
If we do the quarantine properly the infection will peak and fall much sooner. If we get enough testing kits, we can pursue this virus and search and destroy every last copy. Then as I said — we reopen the clean zones one by one, keep borders and barriers tight and gradually reduce the infected zone. As each clean zone reopens (sooner than people think) small parts of the economy will spring back to life.
Right now, the path out of this is clear:
1. Start “stay at home” quarantine asap. Close schools (apart from essential services families).Lock all borders. The more the better. Even regions.
2. Order mass supplies of Chloroquine (or all other potentially useful anti-virals.)
3. Build factories to make test kits and ventilators en masse.
4. Use the test kits to identify who has immunity and who does and doesn’t need protective gear or isolation.
5. After two weeks of quarantine we can identify regions with no infections. Build from there.