People all over the world are talking about the Coronavirus, but should they be? Is it really that serious that we must hide away in caves? Let’s look at some of the fact’s surrounding the situation.
It has already affected the planet on a massive scale. With no place or people spared, nearly 600,000 people in countries all over the world have been infected. This week, the percentages are climbing in terms of mortality rates, with 17% of infected people dying and 83% recovering. The vast majority of fatalities occur either over the age of 60 (mostly those 85+). While older individuals are most at risk, deaths have also frequently been seen in other individuals with chronic health conditions. Some include heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. There also seems to be a high-risk in general for individuals with compromised immune systems. So far, we’ve only discussed the closed cases.
Of those infected now, only 5% have evolved into serious cases, and many are asymptomatic. Only time will tell, though, if those numbers remain in place. This problem will likely get worse as the infection continues to spread at alarming rates, especially in countries that are poorly equipped to handle an outbreak.
COVID-19 And The Economy
The stock markets have plummeted, losing years of hearty gains. The Federal Reserve is scrambling to save what little is left of the American economy. Meanwhile, things are gearing to get worse as governors across the state order the shutdowns of nonessential businesses, and millions find themselves out of work. The numbers of those filing for unemployment have reached record highs, with around 1 million applying in the state of California alone.
As the infection continues to spread, pressing the healthcare systems of the world, in short of vital supplies like masks, ventilators, and viable testing kits, it also threatens to overrun the world’s hospitals. On any front, the implications for both the health care system and the economy are deadly. If we lose one, we will lose both.
Understanding American Fear Behind COVID-19
Ironically the United States has now reached number 1 in Coronavirus cases. All 50 states and 4 additional U.S jurisdictions have already reported a total of more than 85,000 cases. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 Americans have died. Both of these problems are likely induced by radical reactions on both sides of the argument on the American discussion surrounding the seriousness of COVID-19.
Everyone has their theories. Some say it’s a conspiracy by the government to take control, or invented by the Chinese. Others say its a threat that could wipe us all out. Wherever the outbreak came from, it is a serious threat. The threat of an underreaction to this outbreak could have serious economic implications, implications on our healthcare system, and could change life as we know it for the worse. The threat of an overreaction, however, is equally serious.
Why We Need the Economy to Survive COVID-19
I’ve mentioned before that the first COVID-19 case was reported in Gambia. Previously they had believed the patient and outbreak were contained, but since then, more cases have been reported. I predicted that as cases continue to spread in poor countries, the death tolls will rise. Countries with poorer economies will also have poorer public health systems less capable of responding to an outbreak. They will also fail to create an infrastructure and public sanitation and health systems that prevent such outbreaks form both occurring and growing worse.
Western countries must maintain strong economies to avoid becoming like these developing countries who will surely by most affected by the virus. Losing the American economy will means losing what tools we have to respond to this outbreak and to prevent future ones.
The Importance of Caution During The Coronavirus
Governors all over the country are ordering the shutdown of businesses that will put millions of Americans out of work. It will also deprive the authorities of tax revenue that could otherwise be used to address the outbreak. It may also lead to more Americans finding themselves uninsured and unable to have themselves tested and treated.
On the other hand, many Americans, especially those who believe they won’t be affected, are not taking this threat seriously. Aside from infecting loved ones, the outbreak spreading too fast, even unintentionally, to vulnerable individuals will harm the economy and overrun the American healthcare system. Although the young and the health may not be at risk for the death, the carelessness of even safe individuals may cost us all dearly.
Social Distancing Not Isolation
Contrary to what many believe, full isolation and solitary confinement is not the answer unless you have viable reasons to believe you’re infected or require testing, in which case you should speak to your healthcare provider.
Going into isolation as a country, especially for an extended period, may lead to civil unrest and other economic consequences that could make our situation worse. Instead, we should practice commonsense social distancing techniques. The CDC has defined social distancing as physically distancing ourselves from each other to avoid spreading infection. We can do this by maintaining a distance of six feet or more.
For this reason, the CDC has recommended everyone avoid social situations that place you in crowded and confined situations. Bars, restaurants, concerts, and other crowded venues should be avoided. Social get-togethers should consist of fewer than ten people in an open space where this distance can be maintained.
You may further practice social distancing by making lifestyle adjustments to avoid coming into contact with too many people. Utilize drive-thrus and delivery instead of entering a dining hall, utilize mobile and drive-thru banking, order supplies online instead of going out. Work from home when possible. These are just a few lifestyle adjustments that may significantly slow the spread of COVID-19, giving the healthcare community a fighting chance.
Social distancing and commonsense safety measures don’t have to involve shutting down the economy and ending life as we know it. Everyone can make minor adjustments for a major difference. Have some consideration for society’s most vulnerable members.
Healthy Americans who don’t want to isolate should at least consider making some changes instead. Doing so could save lives and prevent much worse from happening.