It’s scary times at the moment. The Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19) is raging through Europe at this moment, with hundreds of people dying in Italy, Spain and France and most of the those countries, along with the US, in lock-down. The hospital system is currently not equipped to be able to handle the peak number of patients that will require intensive care: doctors from Italy, France and New York are telling stories about how they have to choose who lives and dies, and I’m fearful that we may start hearing stories like that here. There is currently no cure, nor no treatment. There’s been models indicating that even if we take steps to suppress the virus now, there will be continuous surges in outbreaks until a vaccine is ready in 12 to 18 months, suggesting that we may need to be in a state of lock-down or at the very least, rigid social distancing until August 2021 at the latest. The WHO reckons that a majority of the worlds population will get infected over the next year.
I’m not an doctor, nor an etymologist. I cannot begin to suggest what we should do as a society. But I’m going to give a few thoughts as to how I plan to weather this storm.
I think at this current stage, our enemy, along with the virus, is time. I hope I don’t have to tell you that the virus is moving through the worlds population now, even as we speak. But humanity is not standing still either:
- We are researching the hell out of this thing. One such example is on Tuesday we learnt how the body reacts to the virus, which could help with understanding how best to treat it. Along with this, there are still some very important unanswered questions about the actual death rate and transmission rate, as well as whether heard immunity will work, that we’ll hopefully get the answer to soon.
- We’re started clinical trials of potential treatments, and a vaccine. It’s still early days at the moment, and we probably won’t have anything ready soon, but the early indications of this sounds promising.
- And, if the above should fail, we are (should?) be ramping up our hospital capacity to handle the influx of patients, meaning that if someone should unfortunately die from this, it won’t be because they didn’t have a bed.
So my mantra for the next few months is “don’t get it now.” Wait to get infected for as long as you can. The ideal case is not to catch it at all, but if we’re destine to get infected, best to get in infected later, when some of the points above have been addressed, instead of sooner when they have not. This will obviously mean sacrificing things like going to the gym, going out for coffee, or seeing friends and family. But I believe that this is a price worth paying, especially if the alternative is loosing someone you love, or potentially your own life.
So that’s my current strategy at this time. I don’t know if it will work, and as things develop it may need refining. But after thinking about this for the previous few weeks, it’s the best strategy I can think of. And I think it will help me get through this.
P.S. A lot of my thoughts on this came from reading this article by Tomas Pueyo. He’s obviously more knowledgeable about how we should act on this as a whole. It is worth your time reading this.
P.P.S. I spoke quite abstractly about the health system, but it’s important to remember that these systems are made up of people: doctors, nurses and paramedics on the front line, along with the researchers, manufacturers and logistics who support them. At this time, they are giving their all, and then some, to help us through this crisis. Once this is over, I think we owe every single one of these individuals a beer.
Update On 4th Dec 2022: Almost three years since writing this post, I tested positive for Covid-19 for the first time. My symptoms were that of a pretty rough cold which, given what the possibilities could have been when I wrote this post, meant that I weathered the disease pretty well. I finally caught it at a time when vaccines and treatments were wildly available and I was up to date with my inoculations. So all in all, I’m glad the whole “don’t get it now” worked in my favour.
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