March 14, 2021
It is a year and a day after President Trump declared a “National Emergency”, freeing up 50 billion dollars to fight the new pandemic, Covid-19, caused by the novel Coronavirus. We in the US and the world are breathing a bit easier, as the new cases of Covid-19 seem to be fewer and fewer. More importantly, there seems to be a “herd immunity” among a large segment of the population, which are carrying antibodies from exposure to the virus or had actually fallen ill with it. This is good news. There were many deaths from this scourage virus, and already in many towns and cities, there are public memorials to those who died, some private and some on public grounds, such as parks.
Here is what we as a world learned. We now understand that there will be unknown pathogens that will rise up, seemingly out of nowhere, and travel the earth through its human hosts to infect populations with no immunity. We had a few warnings prior to the 2019/2020 outbreak. There was the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the MERS outbreak in 2013. There were others, Ebola and H1N1. Those were contained and stopped because those scourges were recognized because people who contracted them were not contagious unless they were symptomatic. Not so with Covid-19, which is highly contagious when the carrier is showing no symptoms.
It’s still too early to understand what doctors and scientists call the CFR (Case Fatality Rate), even a year and four months after the first known case in Wuhan, China. When the virus first struck some countries seemed to show a lower CFR of about a sixth of one percent (S.Korea) and others a very high CFR of nearly five percent (Italy). The numbers are still being examined, but now it is believed by scientists that the CFR is around one percent to one and a half percent of all infected, much lower than the initial numbers coming out of some regions of the world suggested.
Most people know someone who was infected. Some had mild symptoms. Some very severe. Some died. A good number of medical professionals were infected. Some gave their lives, doctors, nurses, and operational staff.
Looking back a year to the days following the National Emergency Declaration, March 15, 2020, saw more cases. That Monday, more. Eventually, there were clusters of cases in Chicago and Illinois and then there was an exponential explosion of cases.
It was just math.
Most people were ignorant of the contagion rate of this virus vs the seasonal flu. They can be forgiven for not knowing, as at first media and politicians were either ignorant themselves or were lying or they honestly did not understand the exponential growth that occurs when the contagion rate is so high. A small minority of people watched the science of this newly emerged threat.
Those who watched and understood became more and more alarmed and tried to warn family and friends, only to be rebuffed as an alarmist. Maybe they were alarmists, as the death rate proved to be much lower than, say, MERS or Ebola but many times higher than seasonal flu.
“It’s just the flu,” will resound in history and foolishness and denial, but even to this day, March 14, 2021, despite the evidence to the contrary, it is still being said. Human nature.
Now politicians are giving speeches about how we will never forget the lessons we have learned from Covid-19, and the media are dutifully reporting these speeches, echoing voices from a century earlier when the Spanish Flu swept the earth in 1918 and 1919.
March 14, 2020
It has been one day since President Trump declared a National Emergency due to Covid-19. Many people were taken by surprise and confused. Some panicked and raced to the grocery stores and some just are completely denying that this was a real emergency and that there is some plot behind this virus that was described by the media and politicians as “just the flu” up until a week ago. Indeed, the death tally at this time is much lower than the seasonal flu, which had been fairly virulent worldwide and in the US in the 2019/2020 season. The fear level is still quite low because at this time nobody knows anybody who had acquired the virus. There were a few celebrities who had contracted the virus, Tom Hanks and his wife, being the most famous. But in Chicago and Illinois, there were less than 50 confirmed cases of Covid-19. That’s not a lot.
This is the first Saturday of the official emergency, and many servers at restaurants and bartenders at bars saw a noticeable drop in customers. Nighttime traffic in major US cities was somewhat less, but not too much. Many people had St. Patrick’s Day parties to go to, even though Chicago and other cities had canceled their parades. It seems the calm before the storm.
Some science-based channels: