The coronavirus story changes on a day-by-day, no hour-by-hour, basis. We are making incredibly rapid progress, which demonstrates what highly motivated humans focused on a singular goal can accomplish. Let’s not forget that capacity once Covid-19 is behind us. Let’s use this ability to focus on other problems.
Today, I want to highlight three stories. But, I want to begin by saying we are not past the worst of this yet. The numbers of cases are still rapidly rising, our hospitals in the United States are reaching capacity, and the death toll continues to climb. Keep up the work we are all doing with social distancing to give us time to save as many as possible. I don’t report any of this to make you complacent. This is a serious threat and must be taken very seriously over the coming weeks.
Last week I reported a couple of vaccines were in development. Work we have done on other vaccines gave us a head start. The coronavirus’ genetic sequence was found just about two months ago, just two months after the virus itself was found. There are already vaccines in trial. We could still be a year and a half away from a vaccine. But, that is rapid development in terms of vaccines. There’s good reason to believe a vaccine will be found relatively soon.
More treatments are being found:
I’m not going to mention specific drugs here. People are hoarding drugs. Already a prescription drug for Lupus is in short supply. At least one person died taking something that had a name that sounds like something that shows promise. But, anecdotally, a friend who I am almost certain has/had Covid-19 showed remarkable improvement when given the proper drug. It’s reasonable to believe we’ll have several drug treatments that are shown to be safe and effective in a matter of days or weeks.
The worst-case models may be wrong:
A model developed at the Imperial College of London is the one that set off the alarms around the world when it predicted the numbers of infected and dead. Others are now saying that model may have been wrong- maybe even by orders of magnitude. A new model from Oxford gives us reason to believe we might be later in the pandemic curve than originally thought which means we are closer to the peak and the numbers should not climb as high as originally thought. The new thinking is more people may have had the virus than thought and already have immunity. That number could be in the millions. The creator of the Imperial College of London model predicted 500,000 dead in the UK. That number has been revised down to 20,000. If the new estimates are right, that would be great news for the healthcare system and would put Covid-19 on par with seasonal flu. We may be only a couple or three weeks away from the peak.
While this is all excellent news, we need to stay vigilant. I do not want to be a part of this first wave. My plan is to hold off on getting this as long as possible. Social distancing is my best bet to accomplish this. Treatments will get better. We don’t know for certain who will develop serious or life-threatening complications. We need to keep the health care system and our health care workers free from too much stress. Stay the course, keep your distance in public, and stay home as much as possible.