Lockdown day 26 – Reflections on news about COVID-19

When the news hit that the Chinese whistleblower doctor died of the virus I thought to myself “my God, what are the odds?” He was 34 years old and healthy! All the graphs and statistics we are getting about confirmed cases of COVID-19 show that anyone dying from it under age 70 is very unlikely. But he was a doctor and was caring for these sick patients day in and day out. So when I read the NY Times article by Dr Rabinowitz and Dr Bartman, the idea that the higher exposure you have of the virus, the more likely you are to get severe symptoms, made sense to me. To read the article click here https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/opinion/coronavirus-viral-dose.html?fbclid=IwAR2kybaaQAQM6SuQXpT6mTZRyNFyG2PF__8a-ZcJCplG3a5gwru6n5C6nq0

So what does that mean? It means the mortality rate is more likely much lower than everyone is saying (so, lower than 0.5 – 1.0 per cent). It’s likely that many more of us have already had coronavirus infections but tossed the ordeal to the side as a cold because we simply did not get a big “dose” of it. Looked at another way: I now feel more confident of going to the supermarket without fearing getting full blown ICU-worthy coronavirus symptoms from touching vegetables or food packages an infected person might have touched before me. The virus death rates are based solely on confirmed coronavirus infected patients. Imagine how many people have not been tested or have immunity having got over the lighter symptoms of the disease. Still that doesn’t mean one should go out without doing everything to protect oneself from being exposed. I will of course still wear masks and use antiseptic wipes when I step out of the house.

At the moment in France the government is discussing the feasibility of using applications (Google and iOs) on smartphones to see who might be nearby with COVID-19. If the app works, it could stop people from going near the infected individuals that pop up on the map screen. But if someone has the symptoms, wouldn’t they necessarily be staying at home? In anycase I don’t really see an end to confinement without this or a way to identify healthy individuals with test results showing they are either virus free or have antibodies. If tests are given out on a massive scale there also needs to be a way to identify those healthy individuals without smartphones so I wonder how that would work? Badges? Papers? Embedded Tags? I say just do whatever it takes to allow families to see their older relatives in care homes without worrying about contamination. Maybe in the future we will see, as a result of this pandemic, more elderly being looked after at their adult childrens’ homes instead of at cold plastic-y nursing centres.

I have been reading a lot about coronavirus but what I hate is how reporters with no medical background talk about a possible cure here, a soon to be available vaccine there, or just plain nonsense that gets people’s hopes up only to be completely fabricated tabloid bologne. It’s hard enough being able to sort through what’s true or false but now with cornoavirus being thrown into the equation it seems the whole world is being swept up in a emotional wave of misinformation. I understand the need to feel hopeful of a cure, like from hydroxychloroquine, but with all the hoarding going around the world for this drug it’s horrible to think those who need it regularly (eg, sufferers of Malaria and Lupus in Africa and India but also up to 40,000 people in France, mostly women, who suffer from Lupus) will not be able to get it easily like they did before, risking death. It’s hard to see things rationally while going through what feels like the spin cycle in a washing machine. Then there is all this anguish and pain in watching how many people are dying on a daily basis. Seeing the video of those poor souls be burried into a mass grave in New York because no one came to claim their bodies after 14 days was just heart-wrenching.

I truly hope that at the end of confinement, whether that be in a few more weeks or months, the world doesn’t just simply go back to how we were before. If people can work from home, they should. If people do not need to travel abroad, they shouldn’t. The fewer cars on the roads and aeroplanes in the skies, the better. Look at these clear skies! Look at the clean rivers!

But if it turns out that it is inevitable that we all eventually be exposed to coronavirus then let’s try and get the lowest possible dose.

Stay well. 🙂