(168 countries/regions — 303,180 confirmed cases — 12,950 deaths – 91,676 recovered as of 03/21/2020 at 2:13:30 PM)
While COVID-19 is a serious illness that has rocked not only our nation, but also countries around the globe with some countries being harder hit than others, this isn’t the time to let fear overwhelm logic.
One of our greatest challenges is to combat what I can only describe as “fear mongering” being generated by various sources. In some cases these “bad actors” are members of our Fifth Estate (i.e. the Media), some of our erstwhile elected leaders and other social influencers.
While this worldwide pandemic continues to burn its way through country after country and state after state, I think its time to put a few things into perspective. I decided to do this after listening through several days of “Coronavirus teleconferences” and far too many numerous LA County Coronavirus updates. While its important that our elected officials provide timely and accurate information in times of crisis, and in this case pandemic – its not helpful when the information is provided in such a way as to cause even more panic, consternation, and fear.
A case in point: the now nearly daily and sometimes hourly reporting on the increasing number of cases in Los Angeles, State of California, United States and other countries. Without a doubt both Iran and Italy are in the midst of a true medical disaster and crisis. According to a report from Reuters (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-iran-death/in-iran-every-10-minutes-one-person-dies-from-the-coronavirus-health-official-idUKKBN2161YU?il=0) in Iran a person is dying every 10 minutes with the number of deaths climbing to 1,284 as of 03/18/2020. In 2019, Iran reported a population of nearly 83 million, so let’s do the math and the death toll represents less than one percent of the population. This isn’t to say that 1,284 dead isn’t tragic and scary because it very much is and can’t be ignored. However it puts into perspective the scope of this pandemic, but when everyone is focused on the number of dead and ignore the number of the Iranians (6,745) that have recovered we can and do loose focus. It’s important to note that if the information being put forth by the Chinese government (the epic center of this pandemic) is accurate then there is sound reason to believe that when appropriate measures are taken that the COVID-19 pandemic can be slowed and then stopped. Let’s remember that China, at least for now, seems to be slowly emerging from the COVID -19 that nearly crippled their nation and saw some of the most aggressive containment measures to-date.
On 03/19/2020, California Governor Newsom announced even stronger measures to stymie the growth of the Coronavirus that has struck our state and called for all Californians to “shelter in place” (https://calmatters.org/health/coronavirus/2020/03/california-coronavirus-half-of-californians-gavin-newsom-donald-trump/). This was quickly followed with pronouncements of a spike in new cases. A headline from the LA Daily News announced in a banner headline that “New coronavirus cases in LA County jump by 101 in 48 hours now up to 292”(https://www.dailynews.com/2020/03/20/new-coronavirus-cases-in-la-county-jump-by-101-in-48-hours-now-up-to-292/) Scary news indeed, but what we should take away from this increase in new cases is first and foremost is more testing is being done thus more cases are being discovered – a logical progression. As testing becomes more available and wide spread we will probably continue to see even more “spikes” of new cases, but it would also be helpful if those individuals who are holding a daily press conferences to keep everyone informed would also remind us that with more testing we should expect the number of new cases to grow and this is to be expected as we learn the full scope of this pandemic. Just as 292 cases of Coronavirus in LA County is serious we should also keep in mind that nearly 10 million people live in LA County, it is still a serious issue but one that needs to be kept in perspective. It would be great if the public would understand that in the USA you must have a doctor’s order to get a test (except for approved home tests) and also that at this time there is criteria list to be met before you can get tested.
So to help those keep things both in perspective and to stay informed here are two links that should prove helpful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a website dedicated to following the Coronavirus in the United States. You can find the link here – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html). Johns Hopkins has a Coronavirus tracking website (Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)) that provides a global perspective which and can be found here – (https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html – /bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6) This website updates throughout the day and provides a breakdown by country/region with confirmed cases, total deaths, and total recovered.
While the true scope of the Coronavirus continues to be discovered it’s imperative that we do heed the warnings of our Public Health officials, so wash your hands repeatedly, cover your cough should you have one, same goes for sneezes as well, and continue practicing social distancing and don’t forget to get the flu vaccine if you have not done it yet. However, don’t allow the self-quarantine orders to define your life or you’ll find yourself quite possibly facing depression and other mental health issues. Remember while the order is to “shelter in place” we aren’t restricted to the four walls of our home. If you have a backyard or patio go out and enjoy it, take a book or simply sit out in a chair and enjoy at least 10 minutes of sunshine a day – this is great way to improve you mental well being while getting your needed dose of vitamin D, take a walk, call, Skype or Face Time with family and friends you won’t feel as disconnected from the world. When you do venture out to do your shopping bring a list and try not to fall into panic buying, buy what you need and be sure to leave behind items so others can fulfill their shopping needs as well.
In closing stay tuned to your local news station so you can stay up to-date on developments and changes, but be careful not to fixate on just the Coronavirus news – doing so will simply drive you mad.