Coronavirus: some random thoughts and observations

in #coronavirus2 years ago (edited)


First off, allow me to state that the below is in no way definitive as I have not studied relevant issues in detail. In a way, I am rushing to write this as the epidemic of the current strain of the coronavirus making its way around the world now is highly dynamic and if my thoughts could help at least one person gain better understanding of the problem and make their situation safer that would be worth it.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 where it was largely ignored during the first several weeks of the epidemic. Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who had discovered that the cases he was seeing were not just normal flu but rather something far more sinister was ignored, even intimidated by the police to keep quiet on his discoveries. He subsequently died of the virus himself.

Since then the virus has spread to multiple countries across all continents. It appears to be rather infective and quite deadly, with the mortality rate of at least 1%, which alone would put it about an order of magnitude above that of the regular flu.

Now here are my thoughts on the subject, in no particular order:

  1. Panic of any kind is harmful. Do not panic.

  2. Complacency in the face of tangible danger is stupid. Don't be complacent.

  3. Even if you get infected you most likely will survive provided you are healthy. Try to stay healthy.

  4. This virus can survive a long time (5 days or more) on smooth surfaces even if the surfaces are cold at +4C or +40F. Incubation period lasts up to 24 days. Do not expect it to never reach your locality.

  5. In case it does, panic and shortages may ensue. Being prepared, having a stock of basic necessities in case that happens may allow you to stay out of the crowds and not be subjected to panic, possible violence and infection itself. That may make a critical difference.

  6. Many plants and herbs, such as oregano, garlic, onions have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. That may be a viable option in both boosting your immune response and staving the virus off altogether. The efficacy of this is unknown - but since no treatment is currently available no option should be off the table unless we are talking something outright harmful.

  7. Viruses tend to mutate, usually towards more transmissible but less potent version of themselves. Hopefully the same happens here. Thus the longer you stay unaffected, the more of a chance that when and if it hits you, that would be a less deadly variant of the virus. At this point, however, it has the retransmission ratio (R0 - "ar naught") of over 4, and to be contained that ratio needs to be under 1, so it is not being contained, not by a long shot.

  8. Totalitarian systems are bad as ultimately they fail to act in the best interests of actual humans. The Chinese system's initial failure to recognize the threat amply - and tragically - illustrates this thesis.

  9. Stay informed. Use a variety of sources and don't expect any knight on a white horse to come to your rescue. Plan accordingly.

These are just some of my thoughts - nothing more, nothing else. Sorry about them not being properly organized - but in the situation currently on the ground, time is a factor.

Your thoughts and comments welcome, as usual.


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Li Wenliang: Coronavirus kills Chinese whistleblower doctor
BBC, 7 February 2020

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