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I'm Tired of People Comparing COVID-19 to the Flu

billchao

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Title. Seriously. Every day I talk to people who underplay COVID-19 by comparing it to the flu. Just today I spoke with someone who told me, "Tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year, we don't shut anything down for that!" Well you know what? It's not the flu. The flu is something we understand and have historical data for. This is new. A severe flu season has a death rate of 0.17% (something like 80,000 flu-related deaths in 48 million cases). As of today, 6,501 people died out of 169,374 confirmed cases, for a death rate of 3.8%. Even if somehow only one in ten people with COVID-19 are tested and confirmed to have it, it would still be twice as deadly as the flu.

The flu also has a shorter incubation period, with symptoms typically presenting after two to four days. An individual infected with COVID-19 may not present symptoms up to 14 days after infection. That's a possible two weeks for a seemingly healthy individual to go about their daily lives, spreading the disease.

I mentioned that it's new, right? Anyone who has had the flu before will have some natural immunity to similar strands in the future. But, viruses mutate. It's not perfect, but it's something. We have no pre-existing immunity to COVID-19, which potentially makes every single person in the world vulnerable to infection.

Quarantines, school closures, and other changes to our daily lives have inconvenienced us. I get it. But this is about so much more than not being able to watch your favorite sports team compete, or your vacation plans being cancelled. It's not about politics or mass media hysteria. This is a real disease with a serious negative impact to the world and we (Americans) have the opportunity to do something about it before it gets out of hand and we end up like China or Italy.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. I'll burn this f***ing soapbox now.

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/people-have-been-trying-underplay-why-coronavirus-different-flu-n1156801

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/does-the-flu-provide-better-immunity-than-a-flu-shot/

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/



21 Comments


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Very well said.    They have recently closed restaurants in Ohio and Illinois except for drive thru.   I expect more.   

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I have to agree with you.

If I could add, I'm also pretty tired of folks using this as a means to advance their political agenda. Folks on both sides of the aisle. Cut it out! 

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It’s infuriating how uninformed / willfully ignorant people can be. Information is not that hard to get these days.

Hundreds of thousands to potentially millions of American lives are at risk, this goes way beyond politics.

I just hope enough people catch on and start doing the right thing. I like to believe that we’re moving in the right direction but I’m not sure. 

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There is so much that is not known. That is why there is so much caution. Even naysayers have to understand that this administration finally understands the gravity of it. We don’t close borders and shut down the economy for no reason.

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1*jOyyJwEmor8XSbngQEJRVg.jpeg

You have all seen a version of this curve of COVID-19 case loads by now:

It's much graver than you think. The sudden high number of people who will need to be in intensive care is much greater than the number of people who die. Think of it this way, 3% of people just don't fall over dead. That would be a lot cleaner. 6% of people need to be put on a ventilator. If this infects 40% of the population, 143,000,000 people, then 8.1 million of them will need to be on a ventilator. 

"if hospitals put all existing ventilators to use, we have 160,000 of them. In addition, the CDC has a strategic stockpile of 8900 ventilators that can be deployed in hospitals that need them."

Social distancing accomplishes two things. 

1. It spreads out the number of people who need a ventilator so it doesn't overload the system as bad as it would otherwise. 

2. It gives more time to find a cure. 

The lucky people are those who get hit with this thing either really early or really late or not at all. 

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Before you burn the soap box...  let me borrow it for a minute.

 I am amazed at how some organizations or people are treating this with a lack of significance.  I was at the Club with my girlfriend for a very "Socially distant" 9 holes yesterday afternoon.  We wiped down the cart steering wheel, cart seat handles, divot fill jars, and bag strap buckles with alcohol (70%) swabs.  We also brought anti-bacterial hand sanitizer for after raking the bunkers.  I know to some of you this may sound like over kill, but My Girl (a former D-1 golfer) has bad Asthma, and I am dedicated to keeping her (and I) safe, while not totally separating us from our live of the game. 

Here is the soap box part of my story...  The club sent an email with an elaborate list of new healthy practices that are in place to protect Staff and Membership alike. (we have a large group of golf members who at at risk due to age and pre-existing health issues).  Among the list was that Cart steering wheels would be sprayed with anti-microbial sprays after each play before the carts are lined up for a round.  I spoke to the Bag room attendant about this process (just making small talk) and he said... we are not doing anything different.  He even asked me if there was a message that actually told the members that it was a new practice?   

Fellow TST members... Please make sure that organizations are actually doing the safety measures that they are promising.  this is serious and lives do depend on it.  Stay safe and Healthy!!!

 

 

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Couldn't agree more.  Frankly (barring any changes), we are lucky that the virus isn't more deadly than it's shown to be because it has exposed how woefully unprepared the world is to handle a major pandemic.  If anyone is interested, check out the Netflix docu-series called "Pandemic"...extremely eye-opening.  

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It's not this particular virus that worries me...it's the one in the future that could be even more deadly. COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning this is the first time it's infected humans so there is no immunity that anyone on the planet has. My late father, who was born in 1914, told me about his vague memories as a small child of something similar, the Spanish Flu, that had three distinct mutations starting in 1918. It was the H1N1 virus that no one had any immunity to either and It was actually the 2nd wave that killed millions.  It was estimated that 1/3 of the world's population of 1.5 billion at the time became infected with 50 million deaths. Hopefully, the epidemiologists and other pharmaceutical researchers here in the 21st century can come up with something to combat this but this is just not going to go away as the weather gets warmer and anyone who thinks so is, as Prof. Harold Hill said, "is closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge and are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table (substitute the word "virus") in your community. And so we have trouble my friends, trouble right here." (Meredith Wilson - The Music Man)

Edited by xrayvizhen

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Read this today.

-China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them.

- Doctors in India have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir,  Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest same medicine, globally.

- Researchers of the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus.

- A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.

- Apple reopens all 42 china stores,

- Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days.

- Good news from South Korea, where the number of new cases is declining.

- Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.

- Scientists in Israel likely to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

- 3 Maryland coronavirus patients fully recovered; able to return to everyday life.

- A network of Canadian scientists are making excellent progress in Covid-19 research.

- A San Diego biotech company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.

- Tulsa County's first positive COVID-19 case has recovered. This individual has had two negative tests, which is the indicator of recovery.

- All 7 patients who were getting treated for at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi have recovered.- Plasma from newly recovered patients from Covid -19 can treat others infected by Covid-19

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20200320-Ventilator-1200x630.jpg

“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube.”

The author interviewed a respiratory therapist who works in an ICU at a hospital affected by COVID-19. I'm going to pull some excerpts from the article. Emphasis is mine:

Quote

Since last week, he’s been running ventilators for the sickest COVID-19 patients. Many are relatively young, in their 40s and 50s, and have minimal, if any, preexisting conditions in their charts. He is overwhelmed, stunned by the manifestation of the infection, both its speed and intensity. The ICU where he works has essentially become a coronavirus unit. He estimates that his hospital has admitted dozens of confirmed or presumptive coronavirus patients. About a third have ended up on ventilators.

His hospital had not prepared for this volume before the virus first appeared. One physician had tried to raise alarms, asking about negative pressure rooms and ventilators. Most staff concluded that he was overreacting. “They thought the media was overhyping it,” the respiratory therapist told me. “In retrospect, he was right to be concerned.”

 

Quote

“Reading about it in the news, I knew it was going to be bad, but we deal with the flu every year so I was thinking: Well, it’s probably not that much worse than the flu. But seeing patients with COVID-19 completely changed my perspective, and it’s a lot more frightening.”

“I have patients in their early 40s and, yeah, I was kind of shocked. I’m seeing people who look relatively healthy with a minimal health history, and they are completely wiped out, like they’ve been hit by a truck. This is knocking out what should be perfectly fit, healthy people. Patients will be on minimal support, on a little bit of oxygen, and then all of a sudden, they go into complete respiratory arrest, shut down and can’t breathe at all.”

 

Quote

“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning.

 

Quote

“Before this, we were all joking. It’s grim humor. If you are exposed to the virus and test positive and go on quarantine, you get paid. We were all joking: I want to get the coronavirus because then I get a paid vacation from work. And once I saw these patients with it, I was like, Holy shit, I do not want to catch this and I don’t want anyone I know to catch this.

 

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It's so funny how many differing opinions are coming out of the medical community on this virus. Some are like you describe above. Others say that it would not be nearly as bad if the media and government weren't bringing in panic.

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I have been scared for over 2 months.  I am a bit tired of the political finger pointing especially WRT ventilators or even like one poster commented that the president finally gets it (seriously?).  Data from China shows that if you get that bad that you need a ventilator, your chance of dying is 81%.  I am not surprised how many people are not isolating.  We need a very, very high level of compliance for this to work.  It is not likely to work based on what I see but hope I am wrong.  Now, I can now sort of understand why the Chinese welded people's apartment doors to keep them inside.

A potentially larger issue than Covid-SaRs-2 is the complete destruction of the economy.  Health doesn't thrive in the conditions Fed Bullocks just described, 30% unemployment and 50% drop in GDP in Q2.  

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1 hour ago, Rippy_72 said:

 

A potentially larger issue than Covid-SaRs-2 is the complete destruction of the economy.  Health doesn't thrive in the conditions Fed Bullocks just described, 30% unemployment and 50% drop in GDP in Q2.  

Yep.

The last numbers I heard, about 70% in the U.S. have less than $1,000 saved.  40% have virtually nothing.

 

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Ironically, the effect on the economy will be more severe with people ignoring social distancing advice. Governments will be forced to take harsher and harsher measures to force people to understand. It may be possible to keep things relatively steady if people limit their activities. This is not true if people go about their daily business relatively unchanged.

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It is a flu.

of course - the Concord is an airplane.  A Porsche is a car.......

What we're tired of is people purposely misrepresenting this thing for various reasons:

  • to continually and remorselessly and exhaustingly push their pro/anti/etc political agendas (I'm been done with the idiotic rationalization by the fringers to push their shit - this is just a continuation of that - can't expect them to put on hold their sole reason for living the life of total assholiness)
  • to satisfy their desire to under or overstate the situation
  • to blissfully soak in a combination of optimism and ignorance to do what they want instead of what they should (did you guys actual LISTEN to the spring breaker interviews?  what a product of today's attempts to brainwash the kids - total backfire - and totally predictable)

so the grumble is about human nature

be smart - keep your separation - wash your hands - stay nice to others - don't hoard shit other people might need too - don't be assholes.  Stop proclaiming what OTHERS should do - just be an example and walk the walk.

For me - it's just too much talking.  (like my post here).  Not enough doing.  again, be an example, not a preacher

it's not rocket surgery

oh - and any time ANYONE quotes numbers - make sure to review your statistics textbooks about sampling, causation, correlation, test patterns, etc.  Journalists are NOT known for their mathematical rigor.

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1 hour ago, rehmwa said:

For me - it's just too much talking. 

A lot of people, stuck at home, have nothing better to do than to come and post here. Which is fine; we can be social while "socially distancing" ourselves.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

A lot of people, stuck at home, have nothing better to do than to come and post here. Which is fine; we can be social while "socially distancing" ourselves.

yup - I'm one of them.  venting is good thing. glad we have places to do it.

(Oh, I have 'better' things to do, but I like you people.  And the 'better' things don't feed my lazy crapulence tendencies as well as posting with online buds.)

Edited by rehmwa

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I've accepted the discipline. A buddy called me the other day whose wife is a nurse at a local hospital. She said this stuff is freaky. Saw the chest x-rays of a patient who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and been stricken with pneumonia. She said his lungs looked like they were filled with shards of broken glass! 

The only place I've been in the last 3 days is to the corner gas station to buy a paper. I wash my hands before I go, and use hand sanitizer as soon as I get home. And since I like to sip a little bourbon of an evening, and alcohol kills viruses, I'm looking on it as a prophylactic measure.

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