First, just because there are no cases where you live, means nothing. We will have them. Second, the pattern is repeating. We may have had people in the wild who were infectious but not sick.
According to the Hill:
The infections concerned the first confirmed case in the U.S. on Jan. 20, which involved a man in his 30s, and another, involving a teenager, that was confirmed on Friday.
This means the virus likely was spreading in between, Trevor Bedford, an associated professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, said, according to the Times.
Bedford said it’s possible the two cases are unrelated but that it’s unlikely, as only two out of 59 sample sequences from China had the genetic variation found in both cases. More than 125 genomes from samples around the world have been analyzed by the scientists.
This also happened in China. And as we expand our testing, we will also find more cases. It is a given. So this means that where you live will get cases. The nature of our highly mobile society means that we have people who have been near people who are infectious and don’t know it. This is how this works.
The lethality level is still a guess. Partially because the argument remains. How many people with mild cases or asymptomatic are flying under the threshold of detection? This is hardly academic. According to STAT News, in their conclusions:
A case fatality rate of between 2% to 4% rivals and even exceeds that of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed upwards of 50 million people. Even a case fatality rate of 0.7% — which means 7 out of every 1,000 infected people would die — is sobering. It is seven times the fatality rate for seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.
Then there are the effects on supply chains. We know that one of those chains is affecting ibuprofen, one of our chief anti-fever medications. Tylenol is also under the spotlight because the primary components Chinese in origin and many factories are closed.
It is not just car parts or pet food, but multiple other cogs in the economy. And for a medical response, that could hurt our national response. Check your home, and if need be, stock up on a bottle of Tylenol, or ibuprofen, or both.
Depending on the severity, this will stress the medical system in the United States. This will also be a textbook lesson why this is a fool’s errand to have a private system where profit is the north-star, not care.
Then there are the political implications. One that is obvious to this former health care worker but perhaps not the administration is that political rallies will need canceling. And no, not just the presidents. All political rallies, as well as major conventions, sporting events, etcetera. This is part of the social distancing, which at this point seem unreal to many Americans.
However, the advice to stock up on food and water, while a good idea, is not practical for people on the edge economically. If you can do so.
The response from the White House has is both muddled and ideological. The president has called this a hoax. No matter what spin the president uses with the press, for his base this means they need not take this seriously. This will last just until grandma (older people are at the greatest risk of dying) is in the hospital, or worst dies from it. Real family emergencies have a way of changing the way people think and calling it a hoax will be front and center. There is also a reality that conservative people react with more fear of disease.
However, this should cost Trump support as we go into the fall elections. Why? Hoaxes don’t kill people, the real disease does.
There is another aspect to this…homelessness. Not only is this virus going to hit homeless populations hard and fast, but it will also lead to more people losing their homes. Why? Fourteen days of no work and no gages will be enough to throw many Americans into the spiral that leads to homelessness. None in the media is talking about it, but Americans do not have a spare five hundred dollars to deal with an emergency. Losing fourteen days of wages is precisely this.
Then there is the economy. We already have predictions of a global recession. And as Americans need to hunker down, you can bet that this will lead to less consumption. We also have supply chain disruptions, which again prevent consumption. This will slow down the economy, if not outright throw it into recession. While the markets are not the main economy, they are also spooked. So all this will increase the homeless population and the cracks in American society. If you think certain actors will not use this, I have a bridge to sell you over the Neva River.