COVID-19 #5: Mar 27 notes

Every once in a while, I write something fervently hoping it won’t come true.

That is just false hope of course. The truth doesn’t care about hope.

Over the past few years, such posts have been about the climate crisis. More recently, the post was about the Coronavirus. I wrote 3 things in that post that gave me pause –

i) We don’t understand exponential growth.

ii) The most dangerous places with COVID-19 on the planet today – particularly if you are over 50 years – are places which are neither acting early nor ramping up on testing. Given the lack of understanding around exponential growth, the US administration’s attempts to compare COVID-19 to the flu and downplaying its risks would have lethal consequences.

iii)  The only way out is drastic action – both lockdowns and significantly increased testing. The best action is the kind that looks overly cautious in hindsight.

At the time of writing, I think the number of cases of Coronavirus in the US were around 1000 or 2000. 15 days later, we have already crossed 100,000 cases with no signs of a slowdown as yet. As we’ve finally gotten to drastic measures and lockdowns in many states, I’m hopeful we will begin to flatten the curve in 4-6 weeks depending on how drastic the lockdown is.

It is hard to make an accurate prediction without widespread testing. So, there’s a lot of missing data and that makes it hard to understand what is actually happening. The cost of delay and dithering is significant and real. But, at least, we’re on the path.

I am conscious of the fact that the tenor of my notes in the past weeks have been grimmer than usual. I’m sorry about that. What I write about reflects what is on my mind. And, it has been frustrating to see slow action on a problem that was clearly going to get out of control – especially one that has real impact on lives and livelihoods.

There are no marks in life for cramming the night before the test. On challenging tests, it hardly ever ends well.

If there is one thing you take away from this post, it is that physical distancing is more important than ever – no matter where you are on the planet and no matter what your local authorities are telling you. Even if there are just a few cases where you are right now, it is best to exercise caution.

This is likely the most significant global event since World War II. It is a different kind of war – one that will be fought from the confines of our homes.

It is also a marathon – not a sprint. So, I hope stay safe, find peace amidst the chaos, and find ways to keep your spirit up. Also, let’s continue to replace social distance with physical distance and social connection.

Wishing you well. :-)

Previous posts: #1#2, #3, #4