WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COVID-19
I really did not want to talk about the coronavirus (more accurately named COVID-19). Unfortunately, the current pandemic is so significant that it simply cannot be avoided. COVID-19 will have global repercussions for years to come.
My "day job" as a health-care professional does allow me a certain perspective on the effects of the virus itself, and I would be remiss if I did not pass some (of that information along as well as offer some analysis in how it may affect Canada's Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP).
First off, we need to discuss the virus itself, why it is such a big deal, and what all of us can do to diminish its impact.
The term "coronavirus" is technically correct, but vague. It is like pointing at a F-15E Strike Eagle and calling it an "airplane". Coronaviruses themselves are a classification of many different type of viruses, of which COVID-19 is simply one of many. More specifically the disease is named COVID-19, the virus that causes it is named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2
Contrary to what has been said by some, COVID-19 is not simply "just the flu". COVID-19 has more in common with previous pandemics like SARS, H1N1, the Spanish Flu, and others. What sets COVID-19 apart is how fast it spreads. Whereas someone infected with SARS on average would infect one other person, a person with COVID-19 could infect three. Each of those three could in turn infect another three each, and so on.
There are no definitive treatments as of yet. There are no home remedies. No vaccines. There are promising developments, but it will likely be months before anything major development.
WHY IT IS SUCH A BIG DEAL
First of all, exposure to Covid-19 is not an immediate death sentence. The most recent studies indicate that around half of those infected do not even experience any symptoms. Those that do present with symptoms do so with relatively minor, cold-like symptoms.
What sets Covid-19 apart right now is three things:
- Its has shown to be particularly dangerous to the older population and to those with comorbidities (pre-existing conditions) such as cancer, emphysema, etc.
- It is more easily transmitted than the flu. Possibly two-to-three times more.
- Symptoms can take up to two weeks to manifest, making it harder to determine who is actually infected.
Put together, these factors make for a particularly nasty and prolific bug. Health care systems were already quite taxed before the outbreak. Add an epidemic to the mix, and that health care system starts to break down. There will be no choice but to implement "wartime triage" where resources must be allocated sparingly and some patients will simply be left to their fate.
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
How this will affect Canada's FFCP remains to be seen, but it certainly will. Fighter production is still underway, but there is no way to know if it will continue.
For the near future, governments simply have bigger fish to fry. It is almost inevitable that some things will get pushed back at the very least.
The outbreak of COVID-19 could be described as a black swan event. An occurrence that could not have been predicted yet has major consequences. Its effect will be seen for years, possibly decades into the future at the very least. It is very likely to figure quite prominently into the economic, political, and social future.
Making anything but the most vague predictions at this point is a fool's errand.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
As if it hasn't been drilled into enough already, WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS. Often. A little bit of soap and water does wonders at removing the virus from your skin and ensures it cannot enter the body through your mouth, eyes, or any other orifice.
PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING. It may seem heartless, but the best way to protect yourself from the virus is not to expose yourself or others in the first place. Instead of visit, make a phone call or video chat. Keep shopping trips to minimum. Learn to cook and eat at home.
STAY HEALTHY Covid-19 is much harder on the sick and elderly. You may not be able to do much about your age, but you sure can control what you eat, how much you exercise, and whether or not you smoke.
STAY INFORMED In a world with 24-hour news channels and high-speed wireless internet, there is no reason to be ignorant on the subject.
FOLLOW RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES Whether it comes from a global, federal, provincial, or more local level; we need to all stay on the same page. There are also plenty of ways to get help if needed.
RELAX, BUT STAY BUSY The next few months are going to be rough. Get your rest, but do not sit in front of CNN all day. Checking in on the news once or twice a day is more than enough. Now is the time to finish that book, build that model, bingewatch that Netflix show, or get some yard work done.
WHAT SHOULDN’T YOU DO?
PANIC Don't panic. It is not the end of the world. Our grandparents made it through WWII, we can manage staying home until this all blows over.
HOARD OR STOCKPILE Seriously, if you are one of the people that bought up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer... YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE. People will remember what you did for the rest of your miserable life.
GIVE HEALTHCARE WORKERS A HARD TIME Think your job can be stressful? Try being a healthcare worker in the middle of pandemic. They have a job to do and know how to do it, but they are also human with families to go home to and bills to pay.
IGNORE THE WARNINGS You CAN get infected. You CAN pass it on. You CAN potentially ruin other lives with your own carelessness. You are not just risking yourself, but others.
PASS AROUND MISINFORMATION Do not share anonymous posts that claim the virus is a conspiracy, or that it can be cured by gargling with vinegar. If you find something that you believe everyone should know, CONFIRM it before posting it on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
What is almost certain is that life will go on. The human race has certainly survived worse. We shall make it through this and be stronger for it.
In the meantime, there are some positives. South Korea has shown that the virus can be dealt with. China, where the virus originated, appears to have "flattened the curve". Even in Italy, where the virus has hit hardest, there are signs that the same measures used to protect the population are doing wonders for the environment. Perhaps COVID-19 is the kick the ass we needed to implement serious climate action.
Please stay up to date and informed on the COVID-19 outbreak by going here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
If you can, think bout donating to a local food bank: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/Make-A-Donation.aspx
Consider donating blood. https://www.blood.ca/en
The next few months will be hard on everybody. It will be harder still if we do not come together and help one another through this. Take care of yourself, and each other.