General Question

Patty_Melt's avatar

Should we resort to old time illness habits?

Asked by Patty_Melt (15222points) 3 weeks ago

Before immunizations, when a kid got measles or mumps, women took their kids to be exposed, so everyone would have it at once, and be done with it.
Are we better off with quarantines, or should we encourage healthy, strong young adults to get it and have that out of the way?
I thought of this question when a doctor on the news pointed out we will always have covid-19 out there, that the initial wave is the big one, but it won’t be gone.
Are we just holding back the inevitable?

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73 Answers

raum's avatar

Most people will probably get it. Social distancing is less about containment and more about flattening the curve

ucme's avatar

Right on sister!
Herd immunity
Look it up, It’s the only way to go.

gorillapaws's avatar

This would be a horrible fucking idea…

We have a limited number of beds and ventilators in our hospitals, not to mention the stamina and risk to healthcare personnel. If they go down, then the problem is much worse. We need to have people coming into the hospital at a slower, managed pace rather than a surge. If we get a surge many more people will die than if we have a slower flow of patients.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Only the most severe cases need hospitalization.

gorillapaws's avatar

Look up how many total hospital beds there are in your nearest city. How many ventilators they have available? Italy is having the “surge” problem: they are out of beds and ventilators (and they have more per capita than we do). Doctors there are basically deciding who lives/dies based on their age over there.

LadyMarissa's avatar

One problem…getting it once won’t stop you from getting it again so WHY rush to get it the first time???

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Triage “for the the living”; old and infirm can die!

Italy is in a tailspin. Here in the states we are 10 or 11 days behind where Italy is today. Social distancing is what will space out when people are in the hospital, several are going to be sick the timing is important for the limited number of ICU beds.

johnpowell's avatar

Yeah, you don’t need a ventilator if you get the chicken pox. But you do if the current bug gets bad.

I’m bookmarking this question.

canidmajor's avatar

And another cautionary tale from Italy:

And BTW, thanks, @Patty_Melt. I know we don’t agree a lot on here, but I’m over 65 and high risk. I wouldn’t rank really high on the triage list.

seawulf575's avatar

Well, look at it this way…if everyone gets it, there will be fewer people in the world which would mean fewer carbon emissions which means climate change will be slower.

stanleybmanly's avatar

So for those who develop pneumonia from this disease would it be better to be infected now before emergency services are swamped, or lock yourself in a cave until an effective vaccine is developed?

SergeantQueen's avatar

pERFECT IDEA. Let’s have a “transfer party” where we all give the virus to each other. Hope none of ya’ll are over 60
or have bad immune systems
or underlying health conditions.

I’m not responsible if you die from the outcomes of the transfer party

stanleybmanly's avatar

15 years beyond 60 and I worry much more about dying in traffic than from ANY infectious disease.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I can change that

stanleybmanly's avatar

Not from Wisconsin. Besides, I worry more about your depression than I do my own health. Is it contagious?

SergeantQueen's avatar

I was joking obviously?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I know. And I’m glad you’re upbeat. We’re gonna need all the good dispositions we can arrange.

SergeantQueen's avatar

My depression isn’t contagious but you can have it if you want it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

God no. I would pick an ice cream allergy over depression or a deliberate bout with the current contagion any day than to go through life with bouts of chronic depression.

SergeantQueen's avatar

^^ So would I

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@gorillapaws We need to have people coming into the hospital at a slower, managed pace rather than a surge.

University of Michigan Health News – Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?

‘It’s called “flattening the curve,” a term that public health officials use all the time but that many Americans just heard for the first time this week.’

’...If individuals and communities take steps to slow the virus’s spread, that means the number of cases of COVID-19 will stretch out across a longer period of time…

’...“If you don’t have as many cases coming to the hospitals and clinics at once, it can actually lower the number of total deaths from the virus and from other causes,” he says. “And, importantly, it buys us time for university and government scientists, and industry, to create new therapies, medications and potentially a vaccine.”

‘Another key factor to consider: the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and many other staff who actually work in healthcare. The more cases of COVID-19 there are at any given time, the more likely some of them are to catch it, whether in the community or at work. Once they’re sick, they need to stay away from patients for weeks.’

jca2's avatar

My daughter’s school is now closed for the next two weeks. I was speculating with another mom that the school is going to be closed for the remainder of the school year. The virus isn’t going away in two weeks. There’s three months left and I bet this is it. Sad for them because although I know they love not having school, they also like school, seeing their friends, going to events, stuff like that.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I didn’t suggest anything. I asked for opinions on whether it would be a good idea, to start a lively conversation.
If anyone thinks I was suggesting anyone be killed off, they are wrong.
I got what I was trying for, a lively conversation.

johnpowell's avatar

So you said shit to rile up people. The kids these days use a different word for that.

Smashley's avatar

Nope. Tons more people would die and crisis mode would go on much longer.

Infected people are going to infect people, and by encouraging more infection, faster, you will infect more people, faster.

There may be a time in the future when there is a good deal of herd immunity, that people choose to expose their children to this virus, without many terrible consequences, but naturally, you do a lot better for more people if you just vaccinate.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I specified young, healthy adults in my question, but okay.

You people do realize they are sending most people home to self quarantine, right? They are hospitalizing only severe cases.

Smashley's avatar

If this virus acts like we hope and we can obtain long term immunity through a vaccine or a single infection, then only the kids will need to be exposed, since it won’t be as common in the future. If it doesn’t act like this, then purposeful exposure is useless anyways.

Ok. More purposeful infections during the mitigation stage of an outbreak means more infections in the community as a whole. More infections means more serious infections means more hospitalizations means overloading the medical system means death.

People can isolate, but only so much and for so long, and many people simply must go to work or the lights will go out, the cars won’t go, food will run out, and the sick will go untreated. The purposeful kind of infection you describe will spread the virus unintentionally as well.

A person isolated is almost as harmful to society as an infected one, because of the jobs they are unable to do during quarantine, not to mention the health effects of loneliness.

JLeslie's avatar

Not with what we have going on right now. This one makes too many people too critical. The death rate is as “low” as it is, because critically ill people are being hospitalized and kept alive. If the outbreak is huge all at once, hospitals cant handle it, don’t have enough personnel or machines, and patients who might have lived die. Doctors might have to decide which patient they choose to survive.

The news should be talking about how many hospitalizations there are just as much as how many die.

The experts say they aren’t sure you get immunity after having COVID-19. If not, there is no reason to purposely expose anyone to it. If it’s true the body does not trigger an immune response, I don’t see how they can make a vaccine for it, but that is another topic, and I am no expert, I am just thinking in my own head.

If C19 becomes endemic, and if it does cause immunity after having it, then maybe it will become a childhood disease like measles and mumps. You probably won’t even need to purposely expose children, they will just get it as the virus circulates.

Remember, parents were safe when their kids caught measles, mumps, and chicken pox, but if people don’t develop immunity then forget it.

Diseases like polio were devastating, leaving many people crippled, or killing them. When a community had an outbreak many parents chose to keep their kids inside and away from other kids for a while.

Each virus has different things that need to be considered. It isn’t impossible what you are talking about, that possibly we will have a new virus that eventually we are advised to expose children, even knowing some will die, but in this time of medical advancement, we prefer to create a vaccination. Years ago we didn’t have the capabilities to make vaccines like we do now.

longgone's avatar

No, definitely not. Those measures make sense when we’re dealing with illnesses that won’t overwhelm the hospitals – either through their nature or their numbers. Just look at the situation in Italy’s ICUs, and you’ll reconsider.

Here is a good simulation that explains why flattening the curve of infections saves lives.

ragingloli's avatar

And here I thought you meant something sensible, like accusing your neighbour of being a witch in league with the devil and burning her at the stake.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Patty_Melt Frankly I’ve wondered the same thing. I’ve lived my life playing in dirt, rolling with any animal that didn’t bite me, and my husband works in a school. I’d love to know if transfer parties would create immunity. And how long afterwards we’d still be carriers.
My mom has compromised immunity so staying away from her will kill me in another week or two. We have self quarantined from both sets of parents most of the winter already so speeding this up would be great.
I may resort to dropping care packages to them but I’m not sure even that is smart. Anyone know?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No, but stick to more traditional methods. Chicken noodle soup, Pepto Bismol, and Ginger Ale; While playing video games, drinking lots of water and getting more bed rest.

jca2's avatar

When my daughter was a baby, she got a virus. Before I knew she had it, I had taken her to her babysitter’s and the kids there all got it. My mom and my stepfather both got it. They were all throwing up and had bad diarrhea.

I didn’t get it and of course I was relieved. However, about a week later I got Guillain Barre Syndrome, couldn’t walk and ended up spending a month in the hospital. Guillain Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune disease. The neurologist said that it was my body’s way of dealing with the virus.

My point is that people may not get the virus but it could do terrible things to them in other ways.

Some people die from Guillain Barre Syndrome. Thanks to the medications that we have today, I came out ok but with the wrong diagnosis or with the wrong neurologist, I may not have. My insurance company paid over 100,000 dollars for my month in the hospital. Thank god for health insurance.

jca2's avatar

I should also mention that after having Guillain Barre, my neurologist told me never to get vaccines again. If you google it, after the Swine Flu outbreak in the 1970’s there was a Guillain Barre outbreak, due to the preservative in the virus (the preservative is the theory). So I have to rely on people around me not getting sick.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are dozens of labs working on different aspects for dealing with this virus – vaccines, for prevention, surface sterilization with chemicals or short wave light to kill it, immediate identification for testing, etc. The longer we wait, the more time we give researchers to find a good solution. What can we citizens do to help? Don’t swamp the system with preventable cases.

Side note I have high energy UVC sources, 254 nm, which will kill Covid-19 quite quickly. Unfortunately that same invisible light it will damage human skin and eyes just as quickly. As we speak, there are researchers working on UV sources that are more selective. 222 nm and 207 nm appear to kill the virus but lack the energy to penetrate human skin or damage eyes. We need a good, relatively inexpensive, energy efficient source for these wavelengths. Right now you can get them from an excimer laser. That is not practical.
In 2014, three researchers in Japan were awarded the Noble prize in Physics for developing the Blue LED they operate in the 400–450 nm range.
We need an LED or laser diode that outputs 207 to 222nm.
You just know scientists will find it and engineers will make it – if they have the R&D resources they need. Help them by practicing social isolation and good hygiene.

Demosthenes's avatar

When I said I was going to have a “corona party”, I meant we were going to knock back a few beers…

As a young healthy person my instinct is to say “how about no”, but my question is, is this going to be like the flu where it mutates every year and thus “getting it once” isn’t so significant? I guess we’ll find out…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My wife still does not understand that we probably won’t be taking our vacation in May. A lot of people are in heavy denial about this right now.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Are You Same here, people have got to take it more seriously.

dabbler's avatar

@gorillapaws nails this point: “how many total hospital beds there are in your nearest city.”

NY governor Cuomo has some sobering words for why the severe quarantines NOW while we have the chance to “flatten the curve” and spread out demand for triage resource :

In the state of New York there are eighteen million people.
On average about 60% of exposed populations (eventually nearly everybody) get the virus.
Of the people who get the virus, 17% of them will need a hospital bed for a while to treat bad symptoms. 18M x 60 % x 17% => 1.2 million hospital stays.

There are 57,000 hospital beds in New York State.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dabbler I like your math. But there’s another missing factor. About 1–2% die from it. = 108,000.
Is that what our leader meant when he said he would work on reducing Social Security costs? ;-)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Most of us are going to get sick with some virus or other. We don’t panic over it because we’re used to it. We get sick. We recover. In every variety of flu or virus, there’s alway a percentage of folks with underlying respiratory conditions that the prevailing virus sets loose & they wind up hospitalized. A few of them die. I have developed habits within the last 10 years or so that should suit me through the “plague”, particularly shopping for groceries and roaming the city at 3–4 AM. I’ve always despised dealing with crowds and traffic which has kept me away from concerts and sporting venues. Those things are now moot as the society shuts down. The mayor is now telling us to shelter in place starting at midnite, but I’ll be in the Safeway at 3AM. (If it’s open) when the shelves are being restocked. Curiously, I’m not that worried for my own mortality about this. If I guess wrong, the rest of you are welcome to dance on my grave. It’s the disruption of the society rather than the illness which will require the tactical and strategic wit nowadays.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Very interesting perspective.

seawulf575's avatar

I saw a stat on the CDC website that since October of last year there have been 21,000 deaths from normal old flu in this country. isn’t it odd that we really don’t talk about that but we have freaked out over Covid-19?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575 the death rate could twenty times a high as “regular old flu” !

Does times 21,000 times 20 equal 420,000. Yes it does !!!!

If you are over 60 “keep your powder dry”. And have your will complete.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: Someone, maybe it was @canidmajor, on another thread, posted a link about “why you should stop comparing flu to Coronavirus.” It was a great article.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Another illustration of why this isn’t like the flu.

South Korea had about 30 cases of Covid-19 on February 20. Now there are 8,000 cases.

6,400 can be traced to one woman (“Patient 31” or attendees of one funeral held a few weeks ago. Flu does not spread that way.

Reuters – How coronavirus cases exploded in South Korean churches and hospitals

stanleybmanly's avatar

Given the article, the lesson for me is that the difference in this virus is that you can be infected and spreading the virus for quite a while without symptoms or signs of contagion. For all we know, there’s no way of knowing the percentage of those infected who may never exhibit signs of infection.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@stanleybmanly Here is a paper where they have estimated undetected infections.

Starting with two things – 1) Observed coronavirus infections and 2) What we know about how infections in general spread – they work backwards from the observed cases and estimate:

”...86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%–90%]) prior to 23 January 2020 travel restrictions…These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.”

They published the data and other scientists can check the work to see if this is a good conclusion.

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Flu does spread that way. Flu and COVID-19 have very similar contagious rates, COVID-19 is possibly slightly worse than the typical flus that circulate routinely, just depending on which flu you look at. It is not nearly as contagious as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and smallpox, those are devastatingly contagious.

raum's avatar

Jesus Christ, stop spreading misinformation.

The basic reproduction number of the flu is 1.3. Covid-19 is between 2 to 3.

JLeslie's avatar

@raum Look up measles, mumps, small pox, polio, and then get back to me. I’m happy to be corrected. I said Covid is slightly more, I just really am sick and tired of people not giving a shit about spreading cold and flu. People should take it all seriously enough to self quarantine when sick, or at least be washing their hands and keeping their distance from others if they have to go out.

The US gets something like 20–40 million cases of reported flu each year, sometimes lower and sometimes higher than those numbers in unusual years, but the actual number is definitely higher than reported. That’s with part of the population being vaccinated, and with old flus, possibly part of the population immune from previously having it. People get very sick and die from flu too. Schools were closed in Nashville for flu when I was there 7 weeks ago. H1N1 was big this year, possibly that was part of the decision to close schools, but I assume with how widespread flu was in general in the area they would have made the same decision no matter what flu strain.

This COVID-19 is more infectious than most flus, but most significant seems to be the percentage of people who need respiratory support or they will die, the number is staggering. I’ve seen estimates of 17–20%! Maybe you have seen more numbers regarding that, I don’t know if that has changed now that they have more information. If it was a 100 years ago we would have many many more deaths from it for the lack of modern medicine.

I’m just very upset that So many Americans actually brag about going to work sick—you know, they never miss a day, great little worker bees. Or, bosses insisting an employee come into work sick, it just happened a week ago my waitress was visibly sick! Her boss made her come in to work. I wrote the company headquarters. Or, when someone standing in front of me, who just hugged me hello tells me they are sick. If one good thing comes out of this, maybe people will be more aware of how illness is passed around.

There is nothing wrong with people learning that washing hands and keeping hands away from their face is a good basic practice. I’ve been saying it on fluther and in real life for YEARS. I don’t want credit for that, I want society in general to be aware, I really don’t understand how people aren’t. I realize with COVID-19 we need to be extra vigilant, I’m not saying I want people all the time behaving to the current extreme.

I guess it just triggers me. I hate giving a minute of my life to illness, I have been sick enough and in pain enough or a lifetime.

JLeslie's avatar

Here, I did the google:

Great visual in this article showing how contagious COVID-19 is compared to other diseases.

This article has a diagram of infectious rates also.

Interesting recent article about infectious rate and that COVID-19 might be a little more infectious than previously thought.

Each little bit causes an exponential difference, so little gets big fast.

raum's avatar

No one is comparing covid-19 to MMR. Not to mention that we have a vaccine for it.

The misinformation is about covid-19 being less serious than the flu. This is dangerous and irresponsible.

Please stop.

JLeslie's avatar

@raum I NEVER said COVID-19 is less serious than the flu. I said the flu is dangerous too, and people need to be prudent all the time, and that COVID-19 is more contagious, more people have serious illness and more people die as a percentage to those infected compared to the typical flus that circulate. What are you talking about?

Patty_Melt's avatar

I wanted a spirited conversation to take place with information sharing and personal accounts. That is why I asked my question.
However, please, lets keep stress levels down.
We are all concerned.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

A little math based on the infection rate. This shows why social distancing/quarantine is so vital right now.

—The average infectee spreads it to 2.5 other people (that number is called R0).
—The time between infections is 5 days

Let’s say we have a community and one infected person arrives. If the R0 can be cut in half to 1.25 (by closing libraries, schools, bars, restaurants, etc.) the number of people infected is over 100 times less!

When R0 = 2.5
Day 5 – new infections = 2.5
Day 10 – new infections = 6
Day 15 – new infections = 16
Day 20 – new infections = 39
Day 25 – new infections = 98
Day 30 – new infections = 244
Day 35 – new infections = 610

When R0 = 1.25
Day 0 – new infections = 1
Day 5 – new infections = 1
Day 10 – new infections = 2
Day 15 – new infections = 2
Day 20 – new infections = 2
Day 25 – new infections = 3
Day 30 – new infections = 4
Day 35 – new infections = 5

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Not questioning your math, but I do have a question regarding how it works in terms of real life.

If there two rooms, each have twelve people and in each separate room they are all interacting, let’s say playing Bunco (4 people per table, everyone touching the dice, and people change tables two at a time) and one person has the flu in one room, and another person has C19 in the other, wouldn’t both rooms have a few people getting sick? I understand that COVID19 is more contagious and it’s exponential, but I mean day 5 I’m guessing 3 to 5 people have the flu. More have COVID19. Or, even if they are not even touching the dice, but just having dinner, aren’t we still going to have multiple cases of both illnesses?

Your example of day 5 there is one new infection, how do you relate that to a real life situation?

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie, I can’t attribute this because it was shared many times before I copied it, but I did a message verification with an old high school friend who is a medical doctor with a specialties in genetics and contagion.

“Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand…

It has to do with RNA sequencing…. I.e. genetics.

Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once, one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

Now…. sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human, for years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, thats what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be..

H1N1 was deadly….but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.

Fast forward.

Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Took off like a rocket. And this was because, Humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs..

That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed…(honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…

And let me end by saying….right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now.

#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks… and share this to those that just are not catching on.”

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Your example of day 5 there is one new infection, how do you relate that to a real life situation?

It’s rounded to the nearest whole number. Here you go.

When R0 = 1.25
Day 0 – new infections = 1.00
Day 5 – new infections = 1.25
Day 10 – new infections = 1.56
Day 15 – new infections = 1.95
Day 20 – new infections = 2.44
Day 25 – new infections = 3.05
Day 30 – new infections = 3.81
Day 35 – new infections = 4.77

Obviously, you can’t have 1.25 infections. It’s an average. Meaning if you looked at 100 towns, sometimes there would be 0, or 1, or 2, or maybe more. The average would be 1.25.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor I am not questioning that COVID-19 is more dangerous. I wrote that it is. I have been in my house for 4 days now, no contact with anyone else. Believe me I would not be doing that unless I believed its very contagious and dangerous.

I NEVER said this is just like the flu like those crazy people on facebook out partying and thinking this is a conspiracy made up by Democrats to get Trump out of office. Crazy talk. You’re not reading my words above completely.

I was saying I want people to take the flu seriously, not that people should ignore COVID-19. I understand why people are interpreting what I wrote differently, but now I have explained it more than once, I hope I am understood now.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay That’s not really what I was asking, but I see now that you are using averages for a geographic area, so it really isn’t telling people one person is around 12 people and 4 people catch it, etc. Obviously, in densely populated situations the model is drastically different at the top end. I mean, you are going to get a huge outbreak in NYC before rural Idaho in almost all instances. Like I said, I am not questioning the models, I think all models that have been put out there show the virus is a big deal.

Interestingly, I just caught up on my DVR, I was watching the president, and Dr. Burk (is that her name, the blonde woman) talked about the models, and how they are going to be meeting with the modeling people to discuss any adjustments and what data they are using. She said each person/group who makes models has their own angle on what they think is the correct info in and info out.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I see now that you are using averages for a geographic area, so it really isn’t telling people one person is around 12 people and 4 people catch it,

That would too small a sample to be meaningful. They aren’t predicting events at a small scale. They describe average behavior over large populations.

From what I gather, R0 is an attempt to put an infection on a scale where you can compare different pathogens in a roughly equal way, to see how easily they spread WITHOUT intervention.

So all else being equal coronavirus (2.2 to 2.5) is much more contagious than something at 1.2 to 1.5.

But a community CAN intervene, and take away opportunities from coronavirus, and get results below 2.2 to 2.5.

Wikipedia – Basic reproduction number

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I never had a doubt about the intervention. Like I said, I have wanted people to wash their hands, not shake hands, not touch their face, and not go to work or shopping if they are sick during flu season my entire adult life. Not only for the spread across a large region, but for the immediate group and myself.

I think the average person grasps things better when it is presented in terms of their immediate environment. Boss makes an employee come to work sick, 3 more people will likely be sick within 4 days, and then 16 more after that, and so on. I don’t understand how some people don’t understand the exponential spread.

Anyone over the age of 50 must remember the Faberge shampoo commercial, “and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on and so.” Or, even more recently with HIV if you have sex with someone you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with. I mean contagion has been explained before to people, but they live in denial or feel like they are superman or something.

By the way, that same Dr. Burk said maybe this will change how we behave during the next flu season and we will change how widespread and deadly the flu is by people using better practices in the future. I said myself I hope that might be one of the silver linings to this horrible thing, but I have serious doubts about the American population permanently changing. It’s worth saying I am not talking about these habits in place of vaccinating, I just mean in tandem with.

Edit: I wonder if they do the math in reverse, if they can estimate how many cases were really here one month ago, two weeks ago, last week. Once there is much more testing being done.

Patty_Melt's avatar

POTUS today indicated that while 19 is dangerous, and requires extreme measures, experts would be watching the measures taken as a guide for what works to be possibly useful in the future against flus.
Flu tragedies are not being belittled. Everyone is hoping that what gets done for 19 will set precedent for ways to battle flu crisis in the future.

Flu is not being cast aside as unimportant.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I wonder if they do the math in reverse, if they can estimate how many cases were really here one month ago, two weeks ago, last week. Once there is much more testing being done.

Yes, that’s what they did in the study I linked upthread.

“Starting with two things – 1) Observed coronavirus infections and 2) What we know about how infections in general spread – they work backwards from the observed cases and estimate:”

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if they can go back to people who had unexplained or idiopathic pneumonia the past 4 months and see if it was underlying COVID-19? Do they keep cultures or swabs past a week? Even deaths that might have happened. I saw the Director of the CDC say part of the death count is figuring out after death that the person had COVID-19. I don’t know how long ago that patient or patients died. No one chose to further question him on that.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@JLeslie You’re asking good detective questions.

The disease appears to be only 4 months old. Before December 2019 it had not mutated to spread from human to human. At that point the outbreak became apparent in China.

When it arrives in an area, hospital admissions will show an unexpected jump. That’s a number which can be used to identify the start of a local infection.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I wonder if there were some outbreaks in some areas before we were testing. Some spikes in admissions.

With the amount of travel Americans do it’s hard to believe it took so long to get here. The one thing that might have slowed it coming over is it is wintertime and I would assume there is less travel between countries, especially in the northern hemisphere. I don’t know travel statistics though.

I remember (but my memory isn’t so great anymore) my mom telling me that she used to see the flu map as the flus moved across the world (she worked in vaccinations at FDA). I think it was late summer that flu would start coming in from Asia into America on cruiseships. Must have been flights too, I’d have to ask her about it again. She’s been retired a while.

Anyway, I think when it hit an assisted living facility here in America is when we saw a huge amount of respiratory distress and death in one place and finally woke us up, some of us anyway. I think what the government did regarding that situation was wrong.

seawulf575's avatar

It is likely that this entered our country long ago. Think about it…China noted the outbreak in November/December time frame. We didn’t take action on travel bans until late February. I’m pretty certain there was quite a bit of travel between China and the United States in that 3–4 month period. Since there was not a “crisis” at the time, no one was being screened or quarantined. If someone was sick, it wouldn’t have been anything to get worried about.

Patty_Melt's avatar

The discussion has shifted some on this thread, but it is still serving its purpose.
I’m glad to see people’s thoughts regarding exposure, quarantine, and travel.
Thanks all for a discussion which has been passionate at times, but revealing.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, ffs, @JLeslie , I posted that because I thought you would find the info interesting.

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