• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

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Coronavirus and other pandemics

Maister

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Moderator note:

moved from RTDNTOTO

In the interests of full disclosure, the Coronavirus has not officially been declared a 'pandemic' just yet (but is trending powerfully in that direction), however, I have pessimistically titled the thread such because it seems like that's going to be the case sooner rather than later. And, frankly, I'd much rather have folks laugh and point at me later saying "see, there was no pandemic" than for me to be correct in this prediction. So here's to hoping I'm wrong.

One of the reasons for my pessimism is that I have a friend who works at the CDC that has (privately) shared her views on the challenges this bug presents. It comes as no surprise that the world is much much smaller today than it was years ago. One of the side effects of this global connectivity is all that travel and trade increases the potential for worldwide pandemic dramatically. An airborne transmissible virus having an incubation period of two weeks has the potential of exposing hundreds or even thousands of individuals for EACH infected individual. Three airports (say, London, Tokyo, and New York) would be adequate to infect every continent on earth. Viruses with long incubation periods not only have the potential to promote unknowing infection, but depending on the symptoms, make pinpointing contact and diagnosis that much more difficult as no one is going to remember all the times they yawned, rubbed their eyes or entered a public space where someone else coughed or sneezed.

Other scary bugs, like Ebola, have limiting factors such as geographic remoteness or high lethality (folks die too quickly after contracting it to spread much). Bugs like SARS are less transmissible. This Coronavirus has the potential to be really bad.
 
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Whose Yur Planner

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I remember reading The Hot Zone in the 90's while on a bus trip. It was a terrifying book about Ebola. I agree with you than pandemics is a significant downside to our global connectivity.
 

DVD

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Yep, my wife's aunt is all freaked out by the virus. To make it worse there is one reported case at the local university. I don't think she needs to worry since she only leaves the house to play bridge and get more wine.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Remember when there was a big anthrax scare following 9/11?

In the late '90s I actually got the anthrax vaccine (along with a smallpox vaccine) through a series of 6 or 8 shots before traveling to some areas of the world where those diseases were still a risk.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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Remember when there was a big anthrax scare following 9/11?
An odd aside to that. It was during that timeframe that I kept getting sinus and ear infections. As a result. I was constantly on antibiotics. One of them was used for anthrax. I remember thinking that if there is an upside to the constant infections is that I don't have to worry about anthrax.
 

kjel

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Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
Don't cough in anyone's face.
Don't touch your face.
If you're sick, stay home.
 
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michaelskis

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I think that this might be a bigger deal that many are willing to accept, especially for major urban areas where personal contact is greater. I don't think it will wipe out humanity or anything, but I think that it is a much bigger deal than the flu. The World Health Organization has a lot of information on it, and overall, I think with practical prevention methods, we will be ok.

We did have a City Council member show up last week with a mask on for a meeting. It was the first one that I have seen in person since all of this started.
 

MD Planner

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Just because I'm curious, why do you think "it is a much bigger deal than the flu"? The coronavirus has killed 1/10th as many people as influenza.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Just because I'm curious, why do you think "it is a much bigger deal than the flu"? The coronavirus has killed 1/10th as many people as influenza.
I'm curious as well.

The stuff that I've seen shows the coronavirus is infecting a lot of people and spreading relatively quickly but it isn't as severe or as deadly as the annual influenza strain. The worst case scenario models I've seen show that it could infect hundreds of thousands or even close to a million but have a lower mortality rate, especially when compared to what damage other, more familiar, viruses might do if they infected a similar number of people in a season. Coronavirus is noteworthy for the speed at which it spreads, it's "newness", and the fact that they haven't really pinpointed down exactly how it spreads (or, conversely, ruled out ways it doesn't spread). It's not it's mortality rate that is making it noteworthy.


Now if it does indeed spread to a million people, it could definitely have devastating economic effects even if not many are dying, especially if there are significant pockets of infection in large industrial or commercial centers. There have been no reported cases here in Michigan but there is already talk of auto manufacturers slowing down production or shutting down lines as factories in China are facing the possibility of shutting down while the infection scare passes. Then there is the economic cost associated with the time and money it takes to disinfect everything before factories and tech centers open back up. If this worsens and drags on through the rest of the quarter, I would expect the next automotive production forecasts to be revised slightly downward from what they were projecting earlier. The same scenario is likely playing out in other industries as well.
 

michaelskis

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Just because I'm curious, why do you think "it is a much bigger deal than the flu"? The coronavirus has killed 1/10th as many people as influenza.
I'm curious as well.

The stuff that I've seen shows the coronavirus is infecting a lot of people and spreading relatively quickly but it isn't as severe or as deadly as the annual influenza strain. The worst case scenario models I've seen show that it could infect hundreds of thousands or even close to a million but have a lower mortality rate, especially when compared to what damage other, more familiar, viruses might do if they infected a similar number of people in a season. Coronavirus is noteworthy for the speed at which it spreads, it's "newness", and the fact that they haven't really pinpointed down exactly how it spreads (or, conversely, ruled out ways it doesn't spread). It's not it's mortality rate that is making it noteworthy.


Now if it does indeed spread to a million people, it could definitely have devastating economic effects even if not many are dying, especially if there are significant pockets of infection in large industrial or commercial centers. There have been no reported cases here in Michigan but there is already talk of auto manufacturers slowing down production or shutting down lines as factories in China are facing the possibility of shutting down while the infection scare passes. Then there is the economic cost associated with the time and money it takes to disinfect everything before factories and tech centers open back up. If this worsens and drags on through the rest of the quarter, I would expect the next automotive production forecasts to be revised slightly downward from what they were projecting earlier. The same scenario is likely playing out in other industries as well.
The virus was made known on New Years eve 2019 and there have already been more than 1000 deaths and more than 43,000 people now have it. One month ago, there was less than 50 confirmed cases. Some estimates indicate that 60 percent of the global population will become effected with it because of how it is spreading. Scientists say that as of right now, it has a 2% mortality rate. If these rates and estimates remain true, around 90 million could die within a very short time. All of this for something that we learned about 45 days ago... and there is still a lot that we don't know about it, including how it could mutate. It goes back to the idea of the enemy that you know vs the enemy that you don't know.

Now I don't think that many will die and I think the mortality rate will go down, but this has the trajectory to be more deadly than the flu which kills around 500,000 per year.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Based on some quick estimates of the possible exposed population in the hardest hit areas of China and the number of reported deaths, it currently has a mortality rate of 0.0001%. If we were to factor in the rest of the Chinese population or that of most of SE Asia, that rate falls very quickly. While there was an initial round of infections outside of China in January, that looks to have slowed significantly in the past week so maybe containment and quarantine efforts are working. I'm not an epidemiologist but I don't think we're looking at some sort of global health crisis reminiscent of the Spanish Flu.

For some perspective, this current strain of coronavirus has a case fatality rate of 2%, SARS has a cfr of 11% and MERS has a cfr of 45% (both SARS and MERS are other strains of the coronavirus). The H5N1 strain of the flu has a cfr of 60%.
 

Maister

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The virus was made known on New Years eve 2019 and there have already been more than 1000 deaths and more than 43,000 people now have it. One month ago, there was less than 50 confirmed cases. Some estimates indicate that 60 percent of the global population will become effected with it because of how it is spreading. Scientists say that as of right now, it has a 2% mortality rate. If these rates and estimates remain true, around 90 million could die within a very short time. All of this for something that we learned about 45 days ago... and there is still a lot that we don't know about it, including how it could mutate. It goes back to the idea of the enemy that you know vs the enemy that you don't know.

Now I don't think that many will die and I think the mortality rate will go down, but this has the trajectory to be more deadly than the flu which kills around 500,000 per year.
We almost take this sort of thing for granted, but the work that epidemiologists do is often nothing short of miraculous. As mentioned upthread, the global growth of cities, trade, and technology has made the world much more interconnected. This makes things more challenging for epidemiologists. However, they use technology and public (and private) agencies to identify, isolate, track, and quickly control the spread of disease when it crops up no matter where it happens on earth. Naturally, some places are harder to accomplish these tasks in than others. Had the coronavirus struck as recently as 40 years ago there would have been virtually no chance of identifying and containing the virus before it had reached pandemic levels. I hope they can pull it off now.

Based on some quick estimates of the possible exposed population in the hardest hit areas of China and the number of reported deaths, it currently has a mortality rate of 0.0001%. If we were to factor in the rest of the Chinese population or that of most of SE Asia, that rate falls very quickly. While there was an initial round of infections outside of China in January, that looks to have slowed significantly in the past week so maybe containment and quarantine efforts are working. I'm not an epidemiologist but I don't think we're looking at some sort of global health crisis reminiscent of the Spanish Flu.

For some perspective, this current strain of coronavirus has a case fatality rate of 2%, SARS has a cfr of 11% and MERS has a cfr of 45% (both SARS and MERS are other strains of the coronavirus). The H5N1 strain of the flu has a cfr of 60%.
While SARS and MERS have shown higher mortality rates, they are both considerably less communicable than this bug. What makes this one so potentially wicked is the speed and ease by which it has spread. It's also a bit too soon to draw definitive conclusions about its mortality rate. Pose this question 90 days in the future. Odds are we'll see this number go up.
 
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WSU MUP Student

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Listening to the radio on my way into work this morning I heard there was a spike in reported cases in South Korea and it made me think of a coworker who left for a trade mission in Seoul on Sunday morning and hoping he doesn't get quarantined when he returns later this week.

There was a knock on my office door a couple of minutes ago and it appears he cancelled his trip... I cannot say I blame him. Our boss is on vacation but he decided to call him Saturday afternoon after news of the spike first broke and thankfully our boss allowed him to cancel the trip. Another friend at a different agency was on the same trip and went a day early, before the news broke. Hopefully he doesn't have any trouble when he returns.
 

michaelskis

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Well, this could get interesting here in the US. The CDC is now saying to prepare because the virus will cause a significant disruption here in the US. Despite all the efforts to contain it and limit the spread here in the US, it sounds like they know they can't stop it and that it is only a matter of time.


Which makes me wonder what steps you will take with your office and home life to prevent it spreading. I know we will be having a lot more phone meetings, conversations with customers will likely be through the safety glass, and we will be keeping our distance from others at public meetings. We will also have hand sanitizer in every vehicle, at every desk, and at the front counters. I have no idea what they will do at the schools or at my wife's hospital.
 

DVD

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If I were your wife I would stand in the room with the ultraviolet sterilizing thing. Just stand there with my eyes closed and let it do its thing. Then go home.
 

MD Planner

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IF you get it, for most people it will be like the regular flu and you'll fight it off as most people do. Perhaps I'm naive, but I just don't understand the mass hysteria. You need to be more concerned about the regular flu in my opinion.
 

terraplnr

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IF you get it, for most people it will be like the regular flu and you'll fight it off as most people do. Perhaps I'm naive, but I just don't understand the mass hysteria. You need to be more concerned about the regular flu in my opinion.
I feel similarly.

Yesterday the local news announced that a local Navy base was going to be a quarantine facility and one person is already in quarantine there. I made the mistake of reading the Facebook comments on the article. . . :eek:
 

Dan

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I'm seeing a growing number of people around town wearing face masks. There's 9,000 students from Asia enrolled at colleges and universities in this small town, and a large majority of them are from the PRC. The "China adjacent" population in the area is also very large, relatively speaking. Whenever a student from the PRC checks into an area clinic with a bad case of the flu, the rumor mills start going.

Here's an interactive map of confirmed COVID-19 cases. It's updated almost in real time -- there have been times I reloaded the pages, and saw the number of conformed cases go up a bit.

Confirmed cases: 80, 413. Deaths: 2,708. Recovered: 27,904. That's a death rate of about 3.4%.

"But that's mostly in China", you might say. Italy: 322 cases, 10 deaths, death rate 3.1%.

Here's CDC flu stars for the 2018-2019 season. Sounds like I'm talking about sports.

Cases: ~35,000,000. Deaths: 34,200. Death rate: 0.09%

So, chances of dying from regular flu: roughly 1:1000. Chances of dying from COVID-19: about 1:30.

Some estimates indicate that 60 percent of the global population will become effected with it because of how it is spreading. Scientists say that as of right now, it has a 2% mortality rate. If these rates and estimates remain true, around 90 million could die within a very short time. All of this for something that we learned about 45 days ago.
Have a source for that? Right now, the spread seems more arithmetic than exponential.
 

Maister

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IF you get it, for most people it will be like the regular flu and you'll fight it off as most people do. Perhaps I'm naive, but I just don't understand the mass hysteria. You need to be more concerned about the regular flu in my opinion.
The so-called 'Spanish Flu' epidemic of 1918-20 is estimated to have had a death rate of around 2-3%. It reduced the earth's population about 2%. It's still a bit too soon to draw definitive conclusions about death rates, but COVID-19 appears on course to outpace that death rate. The survival of the species is not in question, but make no mistake this is potentially a big deal. The Dow dropping 900 points yesterday gives some idea of the economic impacts it's beginning to have as well.
 
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michaelskis

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Have a source for that? Right now, the spread seems more arithmetic than exponential.
That was from a couple of weeks ago, but here are the details. I am not sure if the numbers have changed.

 
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michaelskis

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I'm seeing a growing number of people around town wearing face masks. There's 9,000 students from Asia enrolled at colleges and universities in this small town, and a large majority of them are from the PRC. The "China adjacent" population in the area is also very large, relatively speaking. Whenever a student from the PRC checks into an area clinic with a bad case of the flu, the rumor mills start going.
Let's shift gears into the correlation between what we do and preventing the spread of communicable disease. What we do by nature is try to improve and encourage people to interact through design and land use. Urban Sprawl is bad and density is good. It is what we have been preached and what we now preach. However that density poses an interesting risk as people are now unable to operate without connection into the common spaces of public lands, hallways, elevators, stairwells, and our 3rd places such as churches, bars, coffee shops, or restaurants. On the other hand, we also have resources that we have never had before. We have several services that will deliver groceries, readable availability of video calling, and telecommuting.

I also think that we now have envisioned new opportunities for many of our underutilized outdoor spaces and I imagine that these diseases are less communicable in an outdoor setting such as a park. What steps do you think our profession can take to help reduce the spread of these for future events?

In the end, our work comes down to health, safety, and welfare.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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It's a matter of X amount people need X amount of space to live and X amount of resources. Add to this an ever increasing number of number of people. We will eventually hit a wall, The question is what happens when we do. Disease and pollution seem to be the only things that puts a dent in the population. Those and stupid personal choices.
 

Maister

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If the Spanish Flu of 1919 came back...it would be a whole lost worse....
If you mean something like the Spanish Flu epidemic emerged now as in some new viral variant suddenly appeared for which there is no resistance, then yes, it could be a lot worse than a century ago. But as for that particular strain of flu that ran rampant 100 years ago, you, me and everyone you know already has considerable resistance having been exposed to it (and its' variants) throughout a lifetime. It's still with us, in other words.
 

JNA

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All schools in Japan told to close until April over virus outbreak

Coronavirus could force cancellation of Tokyo Olympics, IOC member says
 

Hawkeye66

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I was wondering about our schools.

I guess I am having a hard time understanding the hype on this when we are having a bad flu season this year and it is a greater risk generally to people.
 

Maister

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I was wondering about our schools.

I guess I am having a hard time understanding the hype on this when we are having a bad flu season this year and it is a greater risk generally to people.
Dan summed up the underlying concern well:
Dan said:
So, chances of dying from regular flu: roughly 1:1000. Chances of dying from COVID-19: about 1:30
It's only 'hype' so long as it stays away from the general population. The window for that, however, seems to be just about closed as containment efforts are failing all over.
 

michaelskis

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Dan summed up the underlying concern well:

It's only 'hype' so long as it stays away from the general population. The window for that, however, seems to be just about closed as containment efforts are failing all over.
I know that there have been a few schools in our state that closed because of the flu this year and there is something else going around as I know several people who got the flu shot have gotten sick with something other than the flu.

I fully anticipate that they will have to close the schools for a bit. I just hope that part of it is when my kids are on spring break so they don't need to make up as many days. That and we will be able to find child care.
 

Dan

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Here’s a scene from the local Wegmans last night.

55673B5C-D81C-4E79-B4DF-0B9A05A995EC.jpeg

Disinfectant wipes and cleaning solutions - gone. We have some at home, but still, I didn’t expect to see a run on it.

Closest confirmed case is in NYC, about four hours away. There’s a small hotspot in Toronto. I don’t know how the virus does in warmer weather. However, spring break is at the end of March, when thousands of foreign students head home to visit their families. In China. Hopefully they won’t bring anything back.
 

Dan

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The Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market is supposedly where COVID-19 first spread to humans. From the Wikipedia article:

According to media reports, besides seafood, items sold at the market included:
  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Camel
  • Chickens
  • Civets
  • Crab
  • Crocodiles
  • Dogs
  • Donkeys
  • Emmental cheese
  • Fish
  • Foxes
  • Giant salamanders
  • Hedgehog
  • Herbs
  • "Koalas"
  • Marmots
  • Ostrich
  • Otters
  • Peacocks
  • Pheasants
  • Pigs
  • Porcupines
  • Rabbit organs
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Shrimp
  • Spices
  • Spotted deer
  • Striped bass
  • Turtles
  • Vegetables
  • Venomous snakes (including Bungarus multicinctus)
  • Wolf puppies
Okay, cultural relativism, trying not to be judgemental, yadda yadda yadda, but c'mon, wolf puppies?
 

WSU MUP Student

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The Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market is supposedly where COVID-19 first spread to humans. From the Wikipedia article:

According to media reports, besides seafood, items sold at the market included:
  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Camel
  • Chickens
  • Civets
  • Crab
  • Crocodiles
  • Dogs
  • Donkeys
  • Emmental cheese
  • Fish
  • Foxes
  • Giant salamanders
  • Hedgehog
  • Herbs
  • "Koalas"
  • Marmots
  • Ostrich
  • Otters
  • Peacocks
  • Pheasants
  • Pigs
  • Porcupines
  • Rabbit organs
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Shrimp
  • Spices
  • Spotted deer
  • Striped bass
  • Turtles
  • Vegetables
  • Venomous snakes (including Bungarus multicinctus)
  • Wolf puppies
Okay, cultural relativism, trying not to be judgemental, yadda yadda yadda, but c'mon, wolf puppies?
I want to know what "Koalas" are - why is that one in quotes?
 

Dan

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Well, it looks like it's starting to reach the little college towns. Grafton County, New Hampshire -- home of Dartmouth University -- just got hit.
 

Dan

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Fun with demographics!

Concentration of people with COVID-19 in Iran: 1 in 23,102.

Concentration of people with COVID-19 in China: 1 in 17,206.

Concentration of people with COVID-19 in Iceland: 1 in 10,705.

Concentaton of people with COVID-19 in San Marino: 1 in 1,590.

The PRC is like a clean room at a CPU factory compared to the streets of Reykjavik.

EDIT:

vatican_city.png

It's a matter of X amount people need X amount of space to live and X amount of resources. Add to this an ever increasing number of number of people. We will eventually hit a wall, The question is what happens when we do. Disease and pollution seem to be the only things that puts a dent in the population. Those and stupid personal choices.
You forgot educated women. Birthrate of a country is inversely proportional with the education level and earning power of women, and the size of its middle class. I think 100 years from now, a slowly declining population will be the big demographic crisis. A few hundred years of DINKs (of which I'm one half) and one-child families will give future generations some elbow room.
 
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luckless pedestrian

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We had a meeting yesterday of department heads on it - just to make sure we have a common message and understanding

One of the many hazards of having a 21 year old is they know everything and you know nothing and since they are 21, they can do what they want - so my 21 year old is not canceling her trip on the 18th of march to Seattle

what these young-ins don't understand is yeah, if she gets it, she likely will be fine but she can give it unknowingly to someone else before she even shows signs on not feeling well and that someone might be compromised and not do well - it's the grown up that's not here yet - I am not happy ugh
 

Maister

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Concentration of people with COVID-19 in China: 1 in 17,206.

Concentration of people with COVID-19 in Iceland: 1 in 10,705.

The PRC is like a clean room at a CPU factory compared to the streets of Reykjavik.
Ah Iceland. That cesspool of pestilence and plague.

Concerning the notion the press needs to keep quiet about an unfolding pandemic, I would be opposed to that view. Public knowledge is important to combat the spread of the disease. The more folks know about the means of transmission and areas where it has become prevalent, the more ammunition the public has in helping fight the spread of it. Ignorance is this virus' ally.
 

Dan

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I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

washing_hands.jpg

Yeah, I'm a little bit scared.

The county public health department is having a press conference tomorrow. Lots of people in self-quarantine here, but no confirmed cases. I have a feeling that will change on Monday.
 

Maister

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Mrs. Maister has a compromised immune system and already suffers from bad/weak lungs. There's a good chance this virus would kill her if she ever gets it.
 

WSU MUP Student

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There has been a coronavirus death in the area where we are set to go for vacation in a couple of weeks. My wife is seriously considering canceling or postponing our trip.
 

Hink

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We are cancelling our trip to California next week. It just isn't worth the risk. There are no confirmed cases in Ohio, and I have no interest in bringing it back.

I am certain that it is going to be in every state soon. This is really happening, and our country is not prepared for it. Our hospital systems are not prepared for it.

I hope it is nothing, but I am certainly willing to forego elective travel (even if I lose the money) to protect against it in the short term.
 

Salmissra

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We are booked and paid on a cruise this summer. Right now we're not canceling, because the cruise line issued a change in policy in light of COVID-19. We can cancel up to the week before with no penalty. So we're waiting.

Prior to that policy change, we were using the Ides of March as a deadline to decide keep-or-cancel. It's a two-week cruise, so the dates, flights, etc had been worked out way in advance.

I am worried about my dad. He's in a facility for active seniors and has a heart condition. So if it hits, he's at a high risk.
 

AG74683

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The Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market is supposedly where COVID-19 first spread to humans. From the Wikipedia article:

According to media reports, besides seafood, items sold at the market included:
  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Camel
  • Chickens
  • Civets
  • Crab
  • Crocodiles
  • Dogs
  • Donkeys
  • Emmental cheese
  • Fish
  • Foxes
  • Giant salamanders
  • Hedgehog
  • Herbs
  • "Koalas"
  • Marmots
  • Ostrich
  • Otters
  • Peacocks
  • Pheasants
  • Pigs
  • Porcupines
  • Rabbit organs
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Shrimp
  • Spices
  • Spotted deer
  • Striped bass
  • Turtles
  • Vegetables
  • Venomous snakes (including Bungarus multicinctus)
  • Wolf puppies
Okay, cultural relativism, trying not to be judgemental, yadda yadda yadda, but c'mon, wolf puppies?

I was expecting "Emmental cheese" to be something weird. It's just like a standard Swiss cheese.

Apparently 911 dispatch here is adding a "code orange" for calls where coronavirus is suspected.
 

JNA

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Have you seen the APA National Conference posting -

Coronavirus Update
APA is aware of and closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus outbreak with the health, safety, and welfare of those we serve uppermost in our minds.
NPC20 is scheduled to take place as planned, with additional health precautions in place on site. Ongoing conference updates will be posted here as the situation evolves.
with a link to
Coronavirus Action Plan: NPC20
Updated March 5, 2020
 

terraplnr

Cyburbian
Messages
2,341
Points
27
I'm planning on attending a couple of large festival/convention events this summer, and after I heard that the Seattle ComicCon and South by Southwest were canceled, I started wondering about the events I'm planning on attending. But as of now I'm proceeding ahead as if they won't be canceled, because they are still 3 and 5 months away. And one of them we already bought tickets for.

We are planning a family day trip to Disneyland next month, but I'm guessing we'll go ahead with that unless things get crazy between now and then. I hadn't thought about it until just now, though.

I have been thinking about the fiscal impacts to people whose livelihoods depend on tourism and travel, especially minimum-wage workers. My heart goes out to them. :(
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,506
Points
57
FDA, FTC warn 'Jim Bakker Show,' six others to stop selling fraudulent coronavirus drugs

“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health,"
We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”
 
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