Right now I am sitting at home with my family thinking about how blessed I am to have a family I love and want to be around. I owe that (and pretty much everything awesome in my life) to God.
Part of what I am doing is going over the information from credible sites like the CDC and WHO to take a peek at the data. From there I am going to make a determination on how to proceed. As I was reading, I decided I would inform my readers as to the truth of what’s going on with this crazy virus.
First I want to say that you guys have got to stop feeding off of each other with zero facts to back up anything you’re saying. This is irrational at best – and irresponsible at worst case. I decided to sit here and read through the data for you, give you the summary version, and then you can make an informed decision.
This won’t be politically charged. I am not into that, especially during crises like this. I am simply going to give you the facts. Then at the end I am going to give you some of my thoughts and some ideas on how to look and discern all of this. However, whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. I just want the best for all of you.
What is COVID-19?
There are a few mixed reports, but it appears the first reported case of COVID-19 was reported December 20, 2019 in Wuhan, China. It’s not completely confirmed, but it appears to be linked to the live animal market in Wuhan. Scientists speculate that the virus was transmitted to humans from either a pangolin or a bat. However there isn’t confirmation as of yet.
The first case was recorded in the United States on January 20, 2020 – in Washington State related to travel from China. On January 30th, the World Health Organization proclaimed COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This strain of coronavirus was given its name February 11th, and it was named after the crown-like formations on the tips of its protruding spikes.
Figure 1 Captured from “Front Line Genomics”
COVID-19 is in the same coronavirus family as SARS and MERS. In just a bit I will talk about how COVID-19 compares to influenza, and I will compare it to the other famous pandemics in the last century. You will see that this one is quite dangerous.
However, first I want to introduce you to a very important date for Americans. On February 26th, the first person was identified as positive for COVID-19 who was unrelated to travel with China or contact with someone with a history of travel to and from China. On February 26th there were 53 confirmed cases. Now on March 14th, there are 2,499 cases in America. It’s funny because a week ago I had warned people about this crazy virus – and people almost crucified me. However there is something called exponential growth that most people weren’t considering at the time. I was watching countries like Italy go from 14 to 500 cases in four days. You don’t have to be an MIT graduate to know that’s not good at all. In the last three days, the number of cases has more than doubled… and so have the deaths.
The flu normally starts at the end of September and peaks sometime in February about 4-5 months later. Remember on February 26th, we were at 53 confirmed cases – and now just 17 days later we are at 2,499. Now imagine four more months of just half of that growth. Now can we stop saying that this thing is just another flu?
COVID-19 Compared to the Flu
This is the reason people have to stop comparing COVID-19 to the flu. Exponential growth is a look at how quickly a number (in this instance, cases of COVID-19) grows at an exponential rate. Our World of Data is an awesome website that really breaks down data and explains it in a digestible way. In this article, the site broke down all the data for COVID-19. They looked at its growth for individual countries worldwide.
In America, the virus is doubling every three days. Now that won’t hold true forever of course, but it is a figure we should monitor as long as the growth rate is maintained. As of this morning (I started this article on March 14th and now finishing on the morning of March 15th), we are at 3,045 cases and 60 deaths. Once again, remember this thing started spreading in America on February 26th to people without travel to Wuhan or direct contact with a traveler to/from Wuhan. If this exponential growth continues for just 15 more days, we are looking at 97,440. If it continues to spread for 30 days at this rate, we are looking at 3,118,080.
This is why the government is taking such extreme measures. If the mortality rate is just 2% (we won’t really know for a while until we figure out approximately how many cases went unreported), then that would mean 62,361 people in the United States alone will die from this. I don’t have a doom-and-gloom view of this thing. I just believe that we need to look at the numbers and act appropriately. Yes, the bigger risk is for the older population, but I don’t want my in-laws, my mother, or anyone in my family to die if they don’t have to. Right?
Basic Reproduction Number/R0
This is the number assigned to a bug describing how many people an infected person will spread the disease to. Right now, COVID-19 has an R0 of 2.2 (see here) – meaning that an infected person will spread the virus to 2.2 other people on average. The flu has a rating of 1.3. This is in part because we have a vaccine for the flu, and our bodies have built up a natural immunity to the strands of influenza that we see each year.
On average the flu kills about 0.1% of the people who contract it here in America. Thus far in the 2019-2020 flu season, we are at 0.05%. In contrast, it appears that COVID-19 has a mortality rate of between 2-3% (much higher in some reports) of the people who contract the virus. We will go with 2%, as we won’t know the real number for several months due to the number of unreported cases. The flu reports already have an estimated number of non-reports from past years. Regardless, from the data I have looked at it appears the mortality rate is still about twenty times more deadly than the traditional strands of flu that we receive see each year in America. (0.1% versus 2%)
Here’s a look Worldwide:
So those are the facts. It’s up to you to do whatever you want with them. However, I am choosing to take this moment in time to reflect on the things that mean the most to me like:
- My God
- My Family
- My Friends and Athletes
- All of You
I now have more time to worship, love on my family, plan for my athletes, and produce content for all of you. I am actually enjoying my time at home because I am spending it loving on my precious family. My kids love it because they get me all the time. What I am saying is that this is a time to reflect on the things we have, not the things that we don’t have. If you’re alive, you have so much to be thankful for.
I don’t think this is the President’s fault, China’s fault, or anyone else’s fault. Viruses happen, and they will happen again. Here’s the one thing I know to be true – and that is God is in control. If you are a believer, then you believe that God created the universe. If He did all of that, I am confident that He has a plan for all of this as well.
Job 38 3:7
Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
“On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
These versus let you know exactly who’s in charge, but then the words from Romans 8:28 remind us that eventually it is all for our own good:
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose.
I know some of you don’t agree with my beliefs. I still love you. However, at this moment I am thankful for my faith.
Recommendations to Stay Healthy
By now we all know to wash our hands. A few simple suggestions are:
- Avoid crowds
- Keep working out
- Drink lots of fluid
- Sleep 8-10 hours per day
- Limit unnecessary simple sugar
- Find ways to limit stress
I am going to write a followup article on my thoughts regarding strengthening one’s immune system – with some ways to workout at home with minimal or no equipment. My professor, Chris Sowers, former Biology Professor at the University of North Carolina, is going to help with that article to give all of you some great information on strengthening your immune system and overall health. My goal is to give all of you as much free information as possible in a time when we are all going to need information at a premium.
I want to end with saying that in my opinion the government is not overreacting. South Korea got a hold of this virus the quickest, by testing as many people as possible, and isolating anyone testing positive and the people in contact with those people. Guys, I know this is a pain, but the only way to neutralize this madness is staying at a distance from each other for a while. Otherwise this thing will continue to spread with a vengeance.
Maybe you don’t care about older people. To be clear, I do very much – because that’s my mother and my beloved in-laws. Still maybe you don’t care about the elderly for whatever reason, and I am not judging. However consider this:
- If we don’t get a handle on this, hospitals will be overwhelmed.
- Then people will start dying from many other ailments – such as a major asthma attack or pneumonia caused from other diseases (lack of ventilators)
- Healthcare professionals will start to be vulnerable from being overworked
- Then a minor setback to the economy will turn into a lingering issue that devastates the economy on a global scale
Either way, this thing is going to alter our way of life – no doubt about that one. Our actions will determine just how altered our lives will be and for how long. For once in America, let’s put our emotions and political party aside, and let’s make educated and well thought-out decisions. Let’s help small businesses bounce back when all of this is over. Let’s stop bashing each other over our political beliefs, and let’s start looking at each other for what we all are:
“Humans trying to do our best to make a better life for our families while surviving rough times like this.”
For all of you who are not as financially affected, we appreciate your ongoing business at www.mashelite.com. For those of you who are crushed financially right now, if you need me for anything (and I mean anything), message me at email@example.com and I will provide you with whatever I have in my disposal – for free if need be. I don’t care about money right now. I care about my fellow humans on the planet of ours. I no longer look at other countries as a foreign land. I no longer look at USA versus Russia, or USA versus China. At this point in time and God willing from now on, it’s just Planet Earth. It’s no longer Americans, Chinese, Irish, and Colombians. Now it’s just humans.
I love you guys. I hope to take this time to write more and more, so let me know what topics you want to hear about. Now is the time to get whatever you need from me. I have lots of time on my hands.
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