Day 1720- The Corona Virus-What Are We Supposed to Learn?

First of all, the term coronavirus is interesting. We call it that because it’s just actually a new strain of the coronavirus which has been around for a very long time. This is the virus that gives us cold and flu. This new strain is Covid-19. This is a new strain of a very old virus. But, it is novel and it’s new to the human population, making it particularly dangerous since we have no natural immunity to it

We’ve seen it make its way rapidly around the world. It’s got a mortality rate that we’re not really sure of yet. Only the very sick have been tested. So, many people have had it and recovered and we don’t know. It’s probably either a little worse or a little better than the flu. And, similar to the flu for most of us, it’s not a real threat- if we don’t have an underlying health condition.

So why is it causing so much disruption? Well, as I said, it’s new. And because it’s new, we can actually track its progress. We see the flu that every year. We don’t get a case by case update of who’s got it and where they got it. We’ve been able to track this thing as it’s moved around the world, from China to other countries, and then finally into the United States. And now we’re looking at it on a state by state basis. I happen to live in Ohio and I’m recording this on Saturday, March 7. As of today, there are no known cases in Ohio. But in just in the last couple of days, there was a case in Indiana and then just yesterday, a case of Lexington, Kentucky, which is only about 90 miles from where I am. So the fact that it’s not been detected in Ohio, I chalk up to the fact that we haven’t tested the right people yet. I believe it’s in all 50 states at this point. And I think it’s pretty much everywhere around the world, it’s spread pretty rapidly. It’s a very easy virus to contract.

For most of us, it’s, it’s gonna be a nuisance. If we get it, it sounds like it’s pretty much a bad cold with a dry cough. But the thing is, we don’t know. There is a death rate. And the death rate with this virus is particularly high in the elderly. Typically, it’s the very old and the very young, that are susceptible to viruses. With this particular strain. It seems to be sparing children. I just heard this yesterday. That’s great. I’m really really grateful for that. Scientists don’t know why. Children normally don’t have well developed immune systems and are more vulnerable to viruses like this one. It seems to be impacting older people at a disproportionate rate in terms of the mortality rates. One of my friends, even yesterday, was promoting a theory and she came up with it, that this virus may have been developed to kill off the older people in our population. They’re not as productive. They’re a drain on our pension systems, etc. So, she reasoned maybe it was developed intentionally by man, or by the universe,e to cleanse the earth and get rid of us older people. I don’t know that I buy into either one of those things.

I do think about what are the lessons we can learn from Covid-19? The first lesson I see is we’re basically herd animals. We think of ourselves as separate herds. I live in Ohio, someone lives in California, someone lives in New York. I live in the United States you live in China. We are separated, by borders, walls, even oceans. What this virus reminds us of is the world has gotten much, much smaller. Basically we are all one herd at this point. A virus that originates in a remote place in China can literally spread around the world in a matter of weeks and months. In a short time, virtually everyone on the planet could have been exposed to it. So it’s really a lesson in the fact that what we do in one place affects everybody. We talk about this thing called the butterfly effect. We’ve all heard this. A butterfly flaps its wings somewhere in the world, and it creates a breeze that causes this that causes that, and it manifests as a hurricane on the other side of the world. Well, this is a very real illustration of that. Behavior, in one part of a world, can very quickly spread around the world.

Very few of us think about things like supply chains. It’s a term you might not even have heard. In America, we get a very, very large portion of our goods from China, including things we need to stay alive. So ironically, when we talked about like closing off trade with China and closing off travel to protect ourselves from the virus, some people realized, “Hey, wait a minute, we get a lot of our medical supplies from China. We get a lot of our antibiotics, antibiotics from China. If we close up everything from China, our lifestyle here is going to change very quickly and very, in a very extreme way.” It’s really causing us to look at the interdependency that we have around the world. We might have to rethink how smart it is to have so much of what we need to be manufactured elsewhere.

I’m thinking about things like global warming. If we even cut back on emissions here and say, for example, China doesn’t or India doesn’t or whatever, that affects our entire world. Everything is global.

The other thing about the virus that is interesting is how selfish people become I literally saw a fight on Facebook today people fighting over toilet paper. And I’m not sure if this was in England or Australia I couldn’t really tell from the accents. I think it was one of those two places, but they were literally fighting over toilet paper. Standing in a supermarket, duking it out. First of all, toilet paper is not essential to life. Secondly, I don’t know why people are hoarding toilet paper. Worst case they are saying they might ask us to stay inside for two weeks. A two week supply of toilet paper. It’s not that hard to get. We usually have two weeks worth in my house. We buy it at Costco in the giant packages. So the whole toilet and bottled water thing I don’t get. There’s no reason to believe the plumbing is going to stop working. But, people are just going out and taking care of themselves. They are actually creating shortages by hoarding

I will say that I am concerned about this virus. I am not going out of my way to become a prepper and to go to my bunker or anything. I did buy some extra supplies of things like zinc lozenges. I stocked up on vitamin C. I’m going to start taking more vitamin D. I bought some elderberry. And that’s to build up my immune system and the immune systems of my wife and I bought some for my daughter, Kayla. I think that’s just something that’s good to do.

But, it’s not only for myself. The thing about this virus, it does seem to really target certain people. I’m not as concerned for myself as I’m trying to not be a carrier of the virus. I’ve seen a lot of people talk the vulnerable in a very callous way. “Well, it really doesn’t matter because if you get it, it’s just going to be like a cold and it’s going to pass and you’re going to be okay. That may be true for 80, or 90 or 95 or 97% of us. It’s not true for a certain percentage of us. I happen to have two parents that are in their 80s I think about my daughter Shayna, who is no longer with us. But Shayna was on medications that suppress her immune system. So we had to be really careful with saying that when it came to things like colds and flu, so my family started taking flu shots for Shayna, I had never taken a flu shot before in my life. But I did it for her. I plan to practice precautions for others as well as myself.

As this virus spreads, I think we all have a responsibility to try to slow the spread as much as possible. I was talking with a friend in Florida yesterday. He has a very on almost nonexistent immune system. I have another friend in Pennsylvania in a similar situation. They’re very upset by the callousness of people talking about them as if they don’t exist or don’t matter.

I don’t think Covid-19 is the end of the world. I think there may be some disruptions. I’m actually about to jump on a call here. I’m meeting with the leaders of one of the conferences I’m scheduled to speak at. We’re thinking about what are we going to in terms of canceling or going forward People are canceling travel plans, which is going to impact our economy. I just saw that the city of Austin canceled a major conference there the South by Southwest Conference, which is going to have like a $350 million impact on their economy. There have been massive stock market sell-offs. The inevitable recession that was coming is likely to come much sooner.

There will be some impacts from this virus and the panic around it, whether it becomes something that, you know, kills thousands or millions of people are not the regard are going to be consequences of it. My approach to it, as with pretty much everything else is, a middle of the road approach. I am cautious, I’m going to stay aware of what’s going on. We always have two weeks of food supply in our house. That’s not an issue. As I said, we bought some things to kind of beef up our immune systems. I will take precautions in terms of trying to slow the spread of the virus. I’ve been doing a lot of hand washing. My hands are getting pretty dry from all the handwashing. These are the types of things that I encourage other people to do as well. So that we all take care of each other. And we all get through this as best we can.

I really hope this helps somebody keep things in perspective. As I said, I don’t think we should ignore it. I don’t think we should say it’s a government hoax, or a hoax by liberals just to get Donald Trump out of office. I don’t think it’s any of those things. On the other extreme, I don’t think it’s a zombie apocalypse. I don’t think it’s going to end society as we know it. But we could have a rough couple of months coming. Be prepared and let’s take care of each other. We are all one big herd.

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