Rather than recap what readers of this blog already know, I’m devoting this post to what I see as the coming coronavirus end game for us here in the United States. To pick up the thread of today’s post read last week’s Coronavirus: Why We Are 3 Weeks Behind Italy.
Over the weekend, Italy reported its grimmest days, with nearly 800 people dying on Saturday alone. The situation in Italy is by all observations Biblical. Emergency medical services have been completely overrun, and the system is near the brink of collapse. When I see the terrible images of suffering by everyday Italians, my heart breaks and I want to weep. The rest of Europe is enduring similar difficulties, with Spain the next worst hit. If nothing, this global crisis is showing all of us what truly matters in life.
I’ve followed this outbreak from day one when the first cases surfaced in Wuhan, China. I realized very early on that the Chinese government was deceiving the world about the crisis there. It didn’t take a genius to realize this, you only needed a calculator and basic math. What baffled me until recently was, why didn’t our government realize the same things? How did they allow the U.S. to be in the position it now is? How could our officials have not seen this coming?
The answer is: they did see it coming. They did realize the same things. The first tip off to that truth came this past week with media outlets reporting that several members of congress (Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)) sold off all their stock holdings months ago, immediately after a closed door briefing to congress about the then unknown virus that was ravaging Wuhan. A federal investigation should be initiated. These elected officials should lose their seats in congress and face criminal charges for betraying the trust of every American in the country knowing ahead of time the severity of the situation to come. It’s a sad day for democracy when monetary presevation is put ahead of saving lives.
The global coronavirus epicenter is currently in Europe, but that will change in the next 14 days. The United States will become the new epicenter, with the number of cases exceeding those in any other country in the world. Part of it has to do with the fact that the U.S. is several times more populous than the most populous country in Europe, and part has to do with how our elected officials squandered early preparation and detection. They squandered it bad.
Thankfully, the federal government and the states have since marshalled every resource possible, and are now racing to determine where we stand. Until we know how widely spread the virus is in this country, we do not know the future we’ll face.
The federal government and states have taken actions reflecting the belief that containment of coronavirus is now impossible. It’s all about flattening the curve now in an attempt to stave off collapse of emergency services, and preventing the worse case scenario.
Another milestone passed this week. The federal government publicly declared that the lethality of coronavirus for millenials and those between the ages of 20-54 is far higher than previously thought. Based on daily data out of Europe, 40% of all cases of coronavirus strike within this age range. Of course, readers of this blog knew this truth weeks ago. Hopefully millenials begin to realize the gravity of the situation and that this isn’t just an effort to get people off the beaches and back from Spring Break.
Over the weekend, President Trump declared that there are no plans to lock down the United States. He is being partially truthful. In the coming weeks the United States will lock down, but it will come at the hands of individual states. The president’s statement was an attempt to juggle economics and fear levels.
The Next 7 Days
By this time next week, the number of cases in the United States will exceed 125,000, higher than any other country in the world as of today’s posting. Through out the week we will awake to shocking numbers coming from the CDC and government authorities, doubling overnight and doubling again. It has everything to do with the population of the U.S. and that millions of test kits will have hit the states enabling detection of cases that are already spreading unchecked. Additional states will move to impose mandatory lock downs during this time.
The Next 14 Days
By this time 2 weeks from now, the number of cases in the Unites States may well exceed 300,000, and we’ll have become the next global epicenter for coronavirus. Many more states will have declared lock downs, and we will have a true understanding of our situation.
As in Europe, we’ll face similar crushing pressures on our emergency medical services and the medical system as a whole. Beyond this, it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
If the authorities have failed in getting the public to adhere to their pleas to stay home, social distance, wash hands frequently, and avoid social gatherings we’ll know. If they’ve failed to flatten the curve, then we in this country are in for very dark days before this is over.
Two Possible White Knight Scenarios
There are two possible white knight scenarios where we avoid what I just laid out. One of them involves the malaria drug Chloroquine and the Ebola drug Remdesivir. As I write, these two drugs are being furiously examined as possible last resort treatments.
In China and Europe, there’s anecdotal evidence that these drugs are successful in treating patients with coronavirus for reasons we don’t yet understand. I contend that here in the United States both of these drugs will encounter high demand out of sheer lack of alternatives. Their efficacy is unknown, but it’s entirely possible in the days to come that we’ll discover that these drugs are beneficial. Each of these drugs can be made widely available very quickly.
The second scenario involves our ability to ramp up emergency medical services, facilities and equipment like the Chinese did. Here in the United States we have huge potential capacity to act quickly in this area. This involves major private sector mobilization, where companies move to manufacture respirators and all the things needed to sustain emergency medical services. We become successful in flattening the curve partly out of government education of the masses and partly because we are able to EXPAND our medical capacities–like the Chinese did.
By now you should have prepared for weeks of self-home confinement. If you haven’t prepared for a long isolation you are almost out of time. Many of the services we still enjoy despite mandatory lockdowns will come to a grinding halt out of necessity. Overseas, carry out restaurants in China operated for a while before closing due to lack of healthy employees, online delivery services nearly ground to a halt for similar reasons and public transportation and works were halted entirely.
While the states will attempt to keep grocery stores and pharmacies open, there may come logistical problems in servicing these entities. Open doesn’t mean stocked.
If you are elderly, the situation is even worse. Coronavirus is ruthlessly killing the elderly around he world, and you will need to self-confine for possibly months. In Europe, governments are telling elderly citizens to do just that. Alot of what government officials are doing right now here in the United States is being taken daily from what is happening in Europe.
I know I’ve laid out a grim scenario, but this is what I see. Our officials see the same things, and they have embarked on a public desensitization campaign in an effort to prepare us for a possible worse case scenario. If you listen very carefully to what they are saying, you will see that I speak truth. How it all unfolds from here is up to you and me. We have our part to play, and we’re all in this together.
*Take action now to keep your families safe. We are out of time.