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Let's talk about Coronavirus

Mar 15, 2020 6:57 pm
Hey, guys, as this community is an international one, I am curious about everyone's thoughts on the current situation with Coronavirus.

Personally, I think that people overreacting a little bit. Of course, some preventative measures should be be enforced, so, wash your hands and if you are feeling sick, check with a doctor (even if you think it is nothing), be responsible and don't sneeze on people. However, buying toilet paper and other supplies to last for a year is a bit too much in my opinion.

We had one case reported yesterday (our first), the person who checked in the hospital was in the country for a few days and arrived in a plane with 40 other people. Naturally, the borders were closed (and now I am out of work because of it), the government isolated around 150 people (friends, collegues and relatives), so this is being handled pretty well. However, as soon as the news spread, the stores were overwhelmed. The people who are afraid of getting infected and planning to bunker down at their homes storm the stores, creating crowds, which increases the chances of getting infected, so what is the point of rushing in with everyone else.

The virus is not very deadly, it spreads fast, yes, but it has lethal results only if left untreated for long period of time. So, I don't see the reason for such a panic.

What are your thoughts?
Mar 15, 2020 7:07 pm
In France, the virus had propagated a little, the government is a bit slow to react, so it's a safe bet that we'll reach Italy's situation within a few weeks.

One of the problems of that virus is that if nothing is done to slow it down and confine it, it will become more and more difficult to manage, then the number of death will extend exponentially.

So ... Basically, i'm happy to have found GP so that i can play whenever i want.
Mar 15, 2020 7:22 pm
Same here. It will likely explode soon. No one cared (my boss was coughing for a week in the office), nothing was done and, suddenly, everything closes down! Of course it is too late now to contain it ;) Seems like the problem of it spreading is the deadlines on elder people, which is the reason to be careful.

But there are so many rumours that it is difficult to now what is happening. For example, I'm not sure how bad Italy's situation actually is. I mean, besides being arrested if you leave home without a license ;) what I could find is that not even 0.5% of Lombardy's population was infected... and that is the epicenter

Anyway, the recommendation here is not to go to the doctor, so you save resources for the worse cases, which means most cases will probably not be detected

Now, I'm still wondering why toilet paper ...
Last edited March 15, 2020 7:25 pm, a total of 1 time
Mar 15, 2020 7:43 pm
It is being unnecessarily inflated -- so far it really is only dangerous to the elderly (over 60) and those with health complications to a normal healthy individual its just another nasty flu --- and the flu virus last year killed about 30,000+ folks -- versus the 3,000 accredited to Corona. We as a household got it like last November before it was even in the news my wife had it for about 2 or 3 weeks I had it for about 3 days (from my wife) and we are both nearly 60 So much like the flu do the things you ought to be doing to help prevent that. Okay so its incubation period is a lot longer than that of the flu and it lasts longer once you get it but it is no more severe in its outcome than the flu and we are not shutting everything down to combat the flu

I think someone posted a comment about which is worse having 10,000 elderly and infirm people die due to the Corona Virus or have 20,000 people from all walks of life die due to the complications created by over-reacting to it. As I believe that is the estimated total of lives that will be potentially lost due to the major reaction to a minor disease. And they followed with and no I do not hate my grandmother.
Last edited March 15, 2020 7:48 pm, a total of 5 times
Mar 15, 2020 8:03 pm
I have to disagree (not about panic buying tho' which is ridiculous). I agree 100% with government decisions to mitigate the spread. Having an infectious disease control doctor in the family helps me form my opinion (for the US). One of the issues is hospital beds, especially ICU beds and equipment. If we don't flatten the curve, we could be like Italy. Doctors get to choose who gets the ventilator and who doesn't. Who gets treated and who doesn't. We don't have nearly the beds on the current infection trajectory to cope. Also in the US, the test-kit roll-out has been painfully slow so you can presume the numbers of infected are significantly higher than is being quoted. It absolutely is deadlier than the seasonal flu and they are starting to find younger cases now. Seasonal flu death rate is about 0.1%. Corona 3-6%. Yes most people will recover, in fact I am pretty sure I had it, as did my husband. But when you look at the percentages, while the number seems small, because of the high transmission rate (higher than the seasonal flu) the absolute numbers of people seeking medical intervention will overwhelm our US healthcare system quickly. Not only can older people be more seriously affected but diabetics, overweight people and people with immune disorders. Do we write them off or try to protect them? This is why countries and maybe soon the US, are shutting down. It is the right thing to do so we can handle the patient care.
Mar 15, 2020 8:11 pm
Well Austria is shutting down social life as much as possible from monday on.
No more social events of any kind. Restaurants and all non-necessary stores are closed. Funnily enough, tobacco stores count as necessary, just as a sidenote.
You should only leave your house for work and basic necessities. Businesses are told to allow working from home as far as possible.
Our vice chancellor even threatened to cut subsidies for sport clubs that don't cancel their training units.
Unfortunatly this is necessary. And the sooner we act the better the results
Italy, our southern neighbor, has extreme problems. They contracted the virus a bit earlier than us.
The hospitals are overwhelmed and they are at the point where doctors have to choose who has chances to live and therefore gets treatment and who not. I've read interviews with doctors from there and the situation is dire.
Don't let yourself be fooled. This virus is highly contagious and there are no medicaments that help against it. You can only mitigate the symptoms of the pneumonia that it induces but the virus itself can only be fought by the immune system.
And even though 80% of the cases are mild, 20% of the cases need treatment in the hospital. Just imagine if 20% of the cases of the common cold needed treatment in a hospital. And this coronavirus is probably much more contagious than the common cold.
Our current government is rather business friendly so they surely don't just shut down social and business life for fun.
We here in Austria hope that we can mitigate and delay the spread of the virus as much as possible.
Panic surely is the wrong way but the only way to prevent the spreading of the virus is to follow the basic advise of:
-Staying at home as much as possible
-Washing your hands frequently
-Avoid social contact as much as possible

On Friday there where many people who stockpiled food, because they think that we'd run out of basic supplies.
The big supermarket chains guarenteed that their stockpiles are full and the only reason that store shelves are empty is because people are buying so many noodles, flour, and so on in a very short time that the employess don't have enough time to restock them.
While we closed nearly all our borders for personal traffic, goods can still be transported rather freely. I doubt that we'll run into a shortage of food and f***ing toilet paper.
Food delivery services are now providing a 'contactless delivery' where you pay online and then they just put the bag of food in front of your door, ring and leave.
Many government agencies provide their services online and even sick leave can be requested per telephone as opposed to seeing your doctor physically.
Streets are rather empty and while there's no curfew the government is heavily advising against being outside if it is not necessary for buying groceries or taking your dog out.
All in all it's rough but not dramatic. Could be be better but basic needs are provided and we just have to sit this one out or help as much as far as you can.
Mar 15, 2020 8:18 pm
The toilet paper is human psychology at its finest.
*Brain notices a resource being taken by others*
*Brain wants it out of fear of being left out*
I swear we're still monkeys on the primal level.

Right. I am honestly a little worried about Covid-19. Maybe I'm a bit of a doom thinker though. Make your own judgement. I live in the Netherlands, so for context; The confirmed count passed 1000 today, but our health service guesses the true number is around 6000 (in a 17 million country fyi). 20% of patients need hospital care. 5% need breathing apparatus on intensive care. This is in line with patients in other countries. Death count is 1.5% of patients, mostly elderly due to underlying conditions. But young people can also need intensive care (our youngest patient on a breathing machine is 16 years old). Patients that do sometimes need weeks of assisted breathing as they get a lung infection.

The death count is in line with a flu virus for now. So people here are just brushing it off (note: a corona virus is different from a flu virus). But I've been watching a bit what will happen next. Italy is 2 weeks ahead of us in the infection curve. Here in the Netherlands we are doing the whole 'work from home' thing, wash your hands, stop hoarding toilet paper you idiot, etc. If you have even the slightest symptom you can call in sick, no questions asked (and we all have paid sick leave here, thankfully, so no one is 'forced' to come to make ends meet). Gatherings over 100 people are now illegal. But our beloved government doesn't want to close the schools, blathering about kids not being very susceptible to the virus. This is true, they will not show many symptoms. They will spread it though. Schools with 1000+ kids in tight confined spaces? A virus' wet dream. The reason for not closing the schools is likely economical I think. In our country it is the norm for both parents to work to afford the rent. Kids at home means at least one parent at home. Often this is the mom (far more women work part-time jobs then men). The mom often works in healthcare, cleaning, general services. This would take away staff from taking care of people. Problem. Government chickens out.

Anyhow, everyone who does some research thinks that we're heading for widespread national infection. The virus is all over our (admittedly small) country. Our government is gradually letting everyone know the virus can no longer be contained. Isolation and shutting down the country is looming. But it's too late. Let me explain why.

Remember that 1.5% mortality rate? And the 5% intensive care need? Yeah... Italy was surprised by the exponential infection rate and found out they did not have enough medical resources to treat all the patients once it exceeded a certain number. The virus gains momentum at a high rate and patients flood the hospitals. But some go untreated because of the lack of resources. Doctors have to triage, like in the war. Those with the highest chance of survival get treated. The mortality rate goes up dramatically (7% currently over there) as the untreated patients are effectively condemned to die. It's a literal nightmare over there. Doctors are crying and despairing. And I'm pretty sure the Netherlands is awaiting the same. Our hospitals are lean machines, tuned to maximize efficiency. There is very little space for a disaster on this scale. It cannot take an influx of thousands of patients requiring intense treatment.

And this is what worries me. I think that if I were to get the virus, I would survive (my chance is about 99%). I'm healthy and in my thirties. Even if my health goes to the 5% intense treatment requirement, I would likely get preferential triage treatment over the weak and elderly if I need intensive care. Let's not talk about the psychological hit it would take on me to be in a hospital bed knowing that people are dying instead of me. Let's talk economy.

I work from home for a week now. We all got sent home at our company. I work IT, it's doable. But I know humans and psychology a bit. I know a lot of my colleagues are not productive. Some can't work effectively at home. Others don't even try. The company is suffering. It will likely survive. We're big enough to get aid from banks and government. But I'm guessing we'll have the third 'reorganization' in as many years no matter what's going to happen. A lot of other companies won't be able to survive the country shutting down. But signs point at this going to happen, the country will probably shut down for months just like Italy has to. The economy will take a staggering blow. We have great social security in this country, so we won't have American dystopian terror looming over us, but it's not going to be nice the coming years. So no matter what happens, everyone in the country is going to feel it. It's a disaster, first in human tragedy, then in economical backlash, that we will likely need a decade to overcome.

And I truly feel sorry for people in countries who do not have good/affordable healthcare, or paid sick leave. Even if a large part of Europe goes in lockdown and takes an economic blow, we'll scratch up again. But if the United States takes a blow, with its unaffordable health care and lack of paid sick leave making the spread many times worse, there will be another economical blow here as the world economy takes yet another hit as the US economy takes a blow (after the China one). I worry that Covid-19 will bankrupt a lot more people then it kills.

So all in all, yes, a bit worried about Covid-19. Wash your hands all. No need to hoard, there's plenty of food and toilet paper. Don't go to the doctor's office, call instead. Limit physical contact with others. Stay away from the elderly and ask them to isolate themselves. Just sit this out of you can. Even if you are young. You may survive, but that's no reason to give a platform for the virus to spread on.
Mar 15, 2020 8:21 pm
I think that a fair number of people are more worried about the effects the virus has on the systems around them than their chances of actually contracting the virus and dying.

For example, a fair number of companies and other groups have been taking steps to limit the spread of the virus by cancelling large gatherings and closing their buildings. I think this is prudent, but that's definitely an impact that people feel. They have to adapt their lifestyle to the changing circumstances, not to mention the difficulties that come with not being able to work. The large scale effect of this can be seen in how the stock market is extremely volatile, as the situation surrounding the virus evolves.

Going off of this point, I agree that limiting the spread of the virus is important, because our system is not able to handle such a large influx of sick people, and its drastically affecting many aspects for our lives and in our society.
Mar 15, 2020 8:29 pm
Khulod says:

And I truly feel sorry for people in countries who do not have good/affordable healthcare, or paid sick leave. Even if a large part of Europe goes in lockdown and takes an economic blow, we'll scratch up again. But if the United States takes a blow, with its unaffordable health care and lack of paid sick leave making the spread many times worse, there will be another economical blow here as the world economy takes yet another hit as the US economy takes a blow (after the China one). I worry that Covid-19 will bankrupt a lot more people then it kills.
That would be many in the US. But tomorrow the government votes on a relief package for paid leave, free testing and possible covid related care etc. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 2 week shutdown soon after. My son has a small business in Phoenix. He's nervous about how it might affect it. Included in tomorrow's vote is possible relief for medium and small businesses via a payroll tax cut or tax credits. Fingers crossed for everyone.
Mar 15, 2020 9:25 pm
The panic-buying is absolutely absurd, and humans absolutely are just fancy apes.

But the "social distancing" (which I didn't know were two words that could be crammed together in a meaningful way before, like, Wednesday) and cancellation of public events, etc., is a proven measure that is known to save lives, AND has already been shown to work in the context of this specific pandemic. And I'm all for preventing unnecessary deaths. So I'm all for those measures.


I'm worried for my aging parents who fall in the worst-affected age bracket (and of course my similarly aged aunts and uncles and living grandparent).

I worry for my son (5 years), who has asthma, and gets hit really hard by any respiratory illness.

I'm worried for my 38-week pregnant sister in law, who may be having to deliver a baby in the midst of a healthcare crisis that will have stretched our facilities too thin for emergency equipment and personnel, should there happen to be a complication.

I worry for them that people who don't think there's anything to worry about will come to their work with mild symptoms (because the US encourages this behavior with it's crap health policy and people here think that's how it should be, or even that it shows "grit" or some other positive quality), or otherwise expose a swath of the public, and transmit the virus to those many at-risk loved ones in my life. Even while I have great sympathy for those many many people who are in a position where they "have to" come to work when they're sick. And it's A LOT of people in the US, in this position.

I get allergies in the spring, and often have runny nose and scratchy throat and coughing that I just habituallty completely disregard, and so almost worst of all I'm worried that I could conceivably transmit the virus to someone else's at risk loved one.
Mar 15, 2020 9:27 pm
Guess I missed the press conference. The Prime Minister addressed the nation a few hours ago (very rare here, last time was in the 70's). The Netherlands is now partly shutting down for 3 weeks. Schools&childcare are closing, except for accommodations for 'critical role parents' (healthcare, police, fire, etc), restaurants, courts (except for urgent cases), coffeeshops (who got a big rush for people who want their weed and shrooms), brothels, sports clubs, saunas.. Basically all the 'nice things' and the school system.

The government now also asks people to keep a 1.5 meter distance from one another, also in supermarkets.

They're now going to assess if this works. If it doesn't they may escalate further. I guess that would mean quarantine and closing offices and factories. Not much else left.
Mar 15, 2020 9:58 pm
Yes its a major health issue this I concur but how many lives will we lose to these major reactions. I do not mean to seem callous so please do not interpret it that way. My concern is both the short term and long term effects and that is what I am trying to state is where the overreaction is taking place. Ruin some of today's infrastructure and you destroy some of tomorrow's abilities to survive in general. Someone wrote an article on the effects of over-reacting to this virus and based on historical evidence estimated the number of deaths due to overreaction it was dramatically more and more wide spread. So basically it effects a small group now but if not handled properly its going to effect 2 or 3 times that many widespread.

Heck the influenza today while having I higher serviveability than the Coronus did take its same share of victims over the years.
The first real evidence of the virus comes about in 1580 – it starts in Russia and sweeps through to Western Europe and Africa. In Rome it killed over 8,000 and almost destroyed several Spanish cities.

One famous breakout of the influenza virus happened in 1918 and lasted to 1919. Known as the Spanish Flu, people often felt fine during the day and succumbed to their illness after nightfall. The total mortality rate is unknown but it’s estimated that 25 million people died in the first 25 weeks, killing roughly 5% of the world’s population.

Another major outbreak wouldn’t happen again until early 1956 starting in China. The infection spread to Hong Kong and then the United States where about 69,800 people were killed by it. The worldwide death toll from the Asian Flu is estimated to be around 1 to 4 million deaths, the WHO settled on around 2 million for official records. About ten years later another outbreak occurred in early 1968 in Hong Kong. The first case reached the United States in early September with the virus in full swing by December of 1968, most deaths happened during this period. Most recently, a strain of H1N1 payed a visit to the United States. In early 2009 the the H1N1 virus broke out with the first confirmed case on April 15, and by the 21st of April, scientists were hard at work on a vaccine. Five days later the United States declared H1N1 a public health emergency. By June of that year, over 18,000 cases were reported of the virus in the U.S.
So yes its a major health issue but its not a let us all panic and ruin out infrastructure that will help finance a vaccine that helps prevent the spread. I feel the Corona virus is probably going to continue forward much like the influenza virus has and still does. I also concur it is a shame that our emergency health system -- not the normal one -- but the one we reserve to handle major breaks and such is not up to where it ought to be (or perhaps even in existence). Again short sighted reactionary thinking versus long range strategical planning seems to be something that plagues us as people in general
Mar 15, 2020 10:16 pm
emsquared says:
I'm worried for my 38-week pregnant sister in law, who may be having to deliver a baby in the midst of a healthcare crisis
True, most people will survive it, but those few at most risk could be in a really bad situation if this gets out of control. My boss is in the same situation and she got a cold recently :s hopefully, that’s what it is
Khulod says:
The Netherlands is now partly shutting down for 3 weeks.
All Europe is! :o even though walking outside today looked like nothing was happening 😅
Last edited March 15, 2020 10:30 pm, a total of 4 times
Mar 15, 2020 10:26 pm
Yes I concur again here the best solution is major ramping up of short term emergency handling and implementation of the long term plan that is far better then the current situation -- the virus is going to cripple some element of the infrastructure just by being there we do not need to help it by over-reacting

Again focus on isolating those at risk more than the entire world, bring our poor preparedness to level up to at least mediocre by doing two things ramping temporary emergency facilities and start building mothballable permanent emergency facilities

I would hate to see anyone have to die but its a war and there are always casualties in war all you can do is work to minimize the casualties while maximizing ones ability to fight. Destroying your line of support is not the answer.
Last edited March 15, 2020 10:27 pm, a total of 1 time
Mar 15, 2020 10:32 pm
DeJoker says:
. I feel the Corona virus is probably going to continue forward much like the influenza virus has and still does
Yeah, the economy will the the next challenge and there will be a lot of people affected indirectly by the virus (not sure if by the lack of toilet paper 🤔) I fear that medical staff, being over exposed, could lead to lack of by just equipment but also the already limited skilled people at some point (as nurses get quarantined). And the virus will strike again for sure, but it will be weaker as exposure promotes immunity... there is a term for this, biologically speaking, but is not a nice one :’( this will, I am sure, also bump the extremist tendencies, so there’s also that...
Last edited March 15, 2020 10:37 pm, a total of 3 times
Mar 15, 2020 11:12 pm
There is no overreacting by governments. In fact, most governments have so far reacted far too slowly, and that's going to cost lives. Here in the US, we're on track to have our hospitals overwhelmed exactly like those in Italy if we don't apply social distancing effectively enough.
Mar 15, 2020 11:52 pm
I've been getting regular updates from my long time friend that works directly with covid-19 cases. He's an ER doctor by trade. Just today there was a mandatory meeting with a hospital company that has him on contract. They just cancelled all elective surgeries and procedures. They are putting every person with a medial license on call at a minimum, whether they are heart surgeons or orthopedists or anything in between. Most will have to start working shifts regularly as the number of cases goes up.

He has reported multiple adults in the early 40s that were completely healthy but are now dependent on ventilators to survive. He has expressed genuine fear when the number of cases exceeds the number of ventilators available in the US.

It sounds alarmist, but everything I mentioned is just the reality of what he has encountered. The issue is how much we don't know about the virus. Progress on a vaccine is very slow going, too.

So fear-buying supplies is totally off the wall, I agree. But it is reckless and wrong to pretend that this thing is being exaggerated in seriousness. It is very serious. If anything, most governments underestimated it and assumed it was just another version of the flu. That doesn't mean people should go "prepper" over this. But it is advisable to stay at home instead of going to sporting events or your office with several hundred coworkers. Post on GP instead. :)
Mar 16, 2020 12:26 am
@Linus I do not think any one here is saying its not a serious problem.

In fact due to the lack of long term strategic planning about something we do know about (aka disease outbreaks) we do not have the means to treat this occurrence properly as such folks go into panic mode and the knee jerk reaction is to over react and that is what we are doing. We should have an effective plan that covers on a country wide level a break out affecting at least 25% of the population and perhaps more. Then all the real reasons for panic or major concern would be minimal as we would not run out of respirators or anything else that would be needed to handle such an outbreak as we have now.

Further the plan should include the potential for it getting even worse and have the coverage necessary in place to handle allowing time to increase that coverage. Like I said mothballable expanding emergency facilities fully equipped and ready to be brought online would go a very long way to mitigating this panic we are being overwhelmed (or will be overwhelmed) by the fall out

So yes we have a serious problem now due to extremely poor planning and that will always be the case.

Now we need to do what we can to mitigate the emergency without crippling our ability to deal with it. If not the Corona virus might be of next to no concern due to devastation we have caused in reacting to it poorly. Or in other words the effect of the Corona virus will continue to increase while are ability to handle it drastically decreases.
Last edited March 16, 2020 12:28 am, a total of 2 times
Mar 16, 2020 12:39 am
I hear you. However, I believe that there was implication in the original post that the virus itself wasn't serious that the panic was the big problem. While I think we are all in agreement that the panic is making it worse, I am getting first hand accounts from someone I trust (ER doctor) that the virus is dangerous.
Mar 16, 2020 12:54 am
I don't think anyone disagrees with the premise that a nation should have/needs "long term strategic planning" to deal with these sorts of things.

But the devil is of course in the details of that sentiment. What consists of the best "long term strategic planning" varies drastically by political bent. And I think this conversation is being pushed in that direction. Perhaps inevitably so?

Let's not turn this conversation political.

GP does not need that.

I would personally already kind of prefer this thread be locked.

I roleplay as a social and creative outlet and as escapism, and this thread is really messing with that escapism factor...
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