The Herman Trend Alert
July 15, 2020
Where Are We Really?
I know that we are all very tired of hearing about this virus, however it continues to ravage the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere, and many of us are still in relative lockdown, actually fearing for our lives, if we chose to eat at an indoor restaurant. I ask my conservative readers to please bear with me as I attempt to talk about the science---without stepping on politics---if that is even possible to do in the US today?
The Global Death Toll Keeps Rising
Amid the rising numbers of positive tests in the United States, it might be valuable to look at the world view. Spain, France, and Italy all seem to have controlled the spread; each has a slowed down the numbers of cases and deaths. According to CNN, as of yesterday at 3:00 pm, worldwide, we had 13,177,855 confirmed cases and 574,793 deaths. At the same time, in the US, we currently have 3,397069 confirmed cases and over 137,000 deaths. The BBC has estimated that by September, if it continues on its current trajectory, the US will have over 200,000 deaths. While it is true that selected areas of the country are doing okay, we are in dire straits in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. The US has 4.4 percent of the population in the world and over 30 percent of the COVID-19 deaths.
Contact Tracing Difficulties
The virus is raging in these southern affected states and with this level of disease, contact tracing is virtually impossible. To make matters worse, the US is also experiencing problems with testing resources and worst of all, the test results in many areas are not being returned in a timely manner to support contact tracing.
Tens of Thousands of Unnecessary Deaths
Sadly, the US response to the virus has been politicized. That politicization has not only caused the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of US citizens but continues to discourage adherence to the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control. The best thing we could do for our economy right now would be to control the virus, but some do not see the relationship between masking, physical distancing, and keeping some businesses closed with reducing the spread of this scourge. The argument is that we cannot afford to shut down. The truth is we can not afford not to shut down to stop the virus.
Postponing Gratification for Many US Citizens Seems to be a Bridge Too Far
In his landmark book originally published in 2005, Don't Eat the Marshmallow-- Yet! The Secret to Sweet Success in Work and Life, the late, great Joachim de Posada talked about the value of postponing indulgence. The book talked about a study conducted by Stanford University with little kids. The children were left in a room for 15 minutes with a marshmallow on a plate and were told that, if they did not eat the marshmallow, when the adult returned, they would receive a second marshmallow; and they could then eat both of them. Years later, the researchers checked in with the children's parents. The children who had not eaten the marshmallows were leaders of their peers, doing better in school, and generally excelling in every way. Does the US population have the patience and Emotional Intelligence to handle the back-tracking that will be required in some places? Spain, Italy, and France did it; the US citizens should be able to as well.
Bad News on the Virus Front
Unfortunately, we now know having had the virus is not a guarantee that you will not get it again. Whether people are becoming re-infected or the virus simply remains dormant in the body (like Herpes), people who had seemed to recover are becoming sick again.
Good News from a Vaccine
Yesterday, the news broke about one of the vaccines that is showing promising results. Remember the Moderna Vaccine. Today, the researchers announced that patients given their vaccine produced antibodies that can neutralize the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19---and the side effects appear to be minor. Now, they may move to their next phase.
The Solution to Sufficiently Slowing Down the Virus
The answer to this challenging situation has only been made worse by the rising number of infections; however, the solution remains the same: first, we must slow down the spread by wearing masks, staying six feet away from others, and avoiding crowds. Then we must test for infections, contact trace those that test positive; hospitalize and isolate people who have symptoms and quarantine, those who do not.
Next Week: Supporting the Economy for Safe Re-Opening
The Swedish experiment of letting the virus run rampant failed. The unemployment rate is still very high. Small businesses, the jobs' generators of the economy, are closing in record numbers. This Herman Trend Alert will detail our way out---solutions for job seekers as well as small businesses.
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