Peak Panic

Are we there yet?

States of Emergency, daily Presidential Briefings, fatality numbers, businesses closing, TP shortages, no meat, social distance, markets yo-yoing and everyone looking to “flatten the curve”: COVID-19 is scary and people are responding with varying degrees of terror and reason.

I took this graph from PowerLine. It is interesting and as John Hinderaker observes there we want to be like South Korea. He was referring to the US. Canada is not even on this chart because we are a few days away from the starting point of 10 deaths. Health Canada indicates 4 deaths as of March 17 at 10:30 Eastern. We’ll get to 10 but, with luck, a little more slowly.

There is a lot of skepticism about the Chinese numbers but, apparently, new cases and new deaths have fallen significantly in the past few weeks. We’ll see if that holds as China goes back to work.

There are plenty of reasons to treat COVID-19 seriously beginning with the fact that we lack infinite medical resources to deal with the very real possibility of broad scale infection. We currently lack effective therapies for people unlucky enough to catch CV. We are at least months away from any sort of vaccine.

Panic has been useful in alerting people to handwashing and staying out of crowds. It has given social licence to people who simply want to stay at home. And those basic things may very well reduce the overall incidence of the infection. We won’t know for a while.

What we do know is that testing for COVID-19 is confirming cases across Canada. Here is the weekly case graph to the 8th of March:

So far, so good. However, I have to suspect that there will be surges in these numbers in the coming weeks as more and more people are tested.

If something like this graph holds, even with surges, Canada will have the time needed to reconfigure its medical resources to deal with the challenges presented by the virus. We will also have the time to test potential therapies: yes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – but it would be helpful to have some cures available.

There are also purely environmental effects to look forward to. We don’t know if heat and humidity will kill the virus but there is evidence that they slow its spread.

Spring is around the corner in Canada.

As we get a better handle on the virus, its spread, its effects and, with luck, its treatment the urge to panic will vanish. It will be replaced by an understanding of what it takes to avoid contracting the virus.

In China it appears people are going back to work and production is resuming. Or so it is claimed. South Korea seems to have resumed a relative normalcy. Europe seems, at the moment, to be in the grip of the first wave where the death count shoots up and the case load is overwhelming. They have hit lockdown and there seems to be some improvement in the number of new cases in Italy at least.

Panic grabs people’s attention but it is useless unless it leads to clam, rational, action. Which is what we are beginning to see in Canada.

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One thought on “Peak Panic

  1. […] days ago I wrote a post called Peak Panic. I think I called it about right. There was and still is panic around Convid-19 but there is also […]

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