Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected us all. COVID-19s mortality rate is estimated ~2% (* heavily biased towards the elderly and possibly subject to selection bias - read more) and the virus itself is said to spread similar to the flu but around ten times more contagious (it lingers long in the air and on everyday surfaces), hence the precautions we should all be taking with gloves, hand-washing and avoiding contact with the face.
My Graphical Representation of the "COVID-19 Safely Scale" (0-10)
The idea: Send to your friend and guess their number... then encourage them to take their number one higher and share with their friends.
As of March 2020, my first friend here in San Francisco, Mila, caught the disease and it almost killed her. And she's in her early 30s. It's not to be taken lightly, but at the same time, the other extreme is to become completely bunkered in, stressed over the news, cut off from people and suddenly you're at risk of depression and other illness due other stresses, such as becoming unemployed and losing your house for many.
My line of thinking is a happy medium. We obviously want to slow its spread and not overwhelm hospitals, but if every single person in the service industry loses employment (US could have as high as 30% unemployment), we have a recession which could cause more damage than the virus itself. Scientists will take over a year to build a vaccine, but while its projected that ~1 million Americans could die during 2020 due to the coronavirus, let us not forget that ~3 million Americans died in 2019 of non-corona causes.
From a personal point of view: this is a time for introspection, and writing sweet message to people you love. If you have friends who are irresponsible, don't guilt them into living up to your standard of quarantine, because for many, the loss of sunshine completely will make them depressed. If however, they are still trying to date or socialize, try sending them this graphic I've created, and encouraging them to just shift up one number. That's a more reasonable thing to do... you spending all your time on the internet blogging (like hundreds of millions of others) might just be spreading fear. I made the graphic below to remind people to be responsible, but to stay a little happy. Where I'm from (Australia), we survive hardships through humor and camaraderie.
The graphic above I created myself. The ones below I have collected because I think they are funny. I'll also keep some informative articles around as well.
Useful Corona Stat Sites
- Coronavirus Dashboard - Very powerful dashboard: "Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University" which lets you drill into countries and see the exponentially rising cases with the exception of South Korea (with their very serious but seriously effective quarantine approach). It gives you more detail than worldometers.info.
- Google's COVID-19 Map - Useful to zoom into US states.
- The Washington Post: Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to "flatten the curve" - My favorite article so far because it has interactive animations to visually show people how stay-at-home (social distancing) and airport quarantines can help flatten the curve and keep you safe.
- Caltech scientist's technique helps provide detailed images of coronavirus in race for vaccine - A former colleague of mine (from my neuroscience days) helped image COVID-19 in 3D, and wow, I had no idea he shared in winning a Nobel prize in 2017 ! Holy f**k Alasdair, congratulations! Nice video.
- Why You Shouldn’t Believe the 3.4% Coronavirus Death Rate - This article suggests COVID-19 data is a classic example of selection bias. I'm sure that's true, but I pulled 2% off wikipedia, not 3.4%, so I'd like to think some of the better scientists are already out there doing proper random sampling. Still - if you haven't heard of selection bias, this is a useful article.
- How Capitalism is Adding Disaster to Catastrophe — in the Middle of a Pandemic - This is more of an angry opinion piece - oversimplified and dramatized to get more readers, but it highlights something I realized something at the beginning of this pandemic. New diseases (a factor of overpopulation) and pollution from new wildfire outbreaks (a factor of global warming) are a new reality. I worked out that even with my life savings, I could probably have bought n95 masks (at bulk of course) for a significant fraction of US citizen (330 million) and enough for San Francisco easily.... let along what a billionares could have achieved. Any billionares who had stockpiled masks would have reached instant hero status by supply their country or perhaps even the whole planet, with needed supplies in an emergency. Imagine that... simply stockpiling good masks (the masks that we will come to need more and more in pollution and disease emergencies), ahead of their worldwide manufacture shortage. The army could have deployed these masks to where-ever needed. There would be no shortage in hospitals, and we'd drastically reduce the spread. For not much extra, a pair of gloves for everyone. In times of war we mass manufactured masks, but not in times of peace. This article talks about ventilators (much more expensive), but still an interesting example of how most countries lacked some serious foresight. In this article the author blames capitalism, so I posted my first Medium reply to his article that says every country lacked the foresight to save enough masks, and unless the author was smart enough to stockpile 100s of masks for his own friends and families, it's hard to throw stones. I think capitalism has terrible attributes, but this title is a stretch.
- 'We've never seen this': wildlife thrives in closed US national parks - Story by the guardian about animals in national parks venturing into areas usually full of visitors.
- Australian flavor:
- The Ballad of Dunny Roll | Sammy J - Love Sammy J. Old school Australian poetry style, for the dunny situation.
- Love in the time of coronavirus (washing your hands is sexy now!) - Doesn't get more Aussie than this. I wish my accent was stronger.... *deep sigh*.
- Honest Government Ad | Coronavirus: Flatten The Curve - This channel is brilliant... highly suggest subscribing to thejuicemedia. Careful... they are never gentle to the US. Never. But they are also brutal on the Australian government.
- 8 ways the world could suddenly end: Stephen Petranek at TEDxMidwest - This is from early 2014, and if you go to 2:22 minutes in you'll see Stephen pretty accurately describes how a COVID-19 could come about, and what we'd need to do to in advance to help deal with the next pandemic. Crazy. I don't agree with his "robots will take over", but notice he recommends everyone should own a gas mask. I know I'll be buying a really good one when I can again.
- Kaiser Permanente - Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - A friend of mine works at Kaiser and they are requesting masks, and even a way for people to make and donate home made masks! Also here is a wider bay area mask donation link.
- Covid Mask Challenge - A challenge I'm still developing (it's a survey tool which will tie into Google Maps API.