Corona virus and you

The corona virus is going to be a big problem here in Southern California sooner or later.  We’ve all been hearing about it, how awful it is in China, and now in other countries as well.  We have been fortunate to date that there has been no break out here.  But it is coming.  How do I know?

In the first place President Trump was slow to impose an immediate and strict quarantine on travel to and from China, but he did it.  For the sake of absolute safety the entire  border should have been sealed.  To be fair, in American administration would have acted as swiftly as necessary under the circumstances, preferring to treat China as our friend, which it definitely is NOT and trading partner.  It is likely that other administrations, being more sensitive to the charge of racism, would have acted considerably slower.  And of course President Trump has been trying to control the border since his administration began, meeting unrelenting and even frantic opposition from Democrats.

Trump did address the issue head-on, he did well.

But since strict quarantine was imposed it has been broken at least twice.  First when a cruise ship with suspected passengers from Wuhan, China was allowed to dock and discharge passengers in New Jersey.  Thousands of people potentially exposed to the virus scattered everywhere.  Presumably most of them have been tracked down and undergone voluntary quarantine.  Secondly when a State Department flunky disobeyed President Trump’s direct order and allowed 14 infected people from the Disaster Diamond Princess docked in Japan to fly home with over 300 formerly uninfected people.  One can only hope that all of them are resting comfortably in a military base somewhere in a military base a million miles from nowhere.

To date no breakout, and that is a good thing.  It gives us time to prepare; we dare not be slow about it.  Once everybody twigs to the reality of the situation it will be too late.  The CDC gave warning yesterday, pay attention!

How to prepare.  1. Don’t panic, it only makes you stupid and that only makes things worse.  2. Don’t be shy about going about your preparations.

In general you are going to want to be able to survive without leaving the house for 30 days.  That means no one comes in from the outside.  If someone leaves the house it needs to be understood that they will not be allowed back in until the all clear has been given + 5 days (I say) just to be sure.

Stock up on medications if you can.  As we heard at the meeting this evening, China controls 85% of the medicine production of the entire world (a little more nuanced than that, but close enough) and China, for all intents and purposes, is no longer providing them.  This is a national security issue that has not been adequately addressed even now.  Did you hear this discussed in the Donk debates recently?  Given the situation a glaring omission.

  • Try to get ahead on medical prescriptions when you can, in case of very predictable supply chain disruptions, and so you won’t have to go out to the pharmacy at a time when there may be long lines of sick people.
  • Start to stock up on enough non-perishable food to last your household through several weeks of social distancing at home during an intense wave of transmission in the community.
  • Take your kids out of school and activities. There is no need to freak anyone out; what kid doesn’t enjoy a snow day? Handle it right and they’ll be happily saying “thank you, Corona-chan!”
  • Cancel all unnecessary social engagements. As one friend said, it’s a good time to spend the evenings kicking back and having margaritas with your wife.
  • Get permission to work from home. Most businesses will embrace this and those who are most proactive about it will get permission first.
  • Stock up on soap, laundry detergent and toilet paper.
  • Use the same precautions as would with the ordinary flu.  Especially wash your hands with soap and hot water frequently.
  • A surgeon’s style face mask is not going to protect you from much of anything, it will protect others from your coughs and sneezes.  Adequate face protection would be something like your dentist uses, known as an N95 because it will keep out 95% of germs; it works because it seals against your face.  Face masks are difficult to find, you have to line up very early outside of your local pharmacy on delivery day to get them.  Even dentists who need them are having difficulty getting their N95 masks.  I recommend getting splash proof goggles as your eyes are also infection super highways for aerial transmission.
  • Nitrile gloves are good too, but do no good if you are careless taking them off.  Remember not to touch your face while wearing them; on average people touch their faces 250 times a day.  Between leaving a potentially contaminated environment and removing them once in your safe environment touch NOTHING until you have safely removed and disposed of them.  Then wash your hands and your face with soap and hot water.

Stay away from crowds.

We can get through this fine if we are prepared, smart and careful.