I personally am not so worried about paying more for tea, although I am concerned for the health of people everywhere. Especially in my own family: My wife’s mother is in her late 70’s and not in great health, and she matches way too much of the profile of the highest-risk cases for this virus. I’m sure that my wife and kids and I could get it and ride it out, but that’s not as safe an option for her. I think my parents could weather it too, but hopefully that won’t be tested.
Those are just fragments – others said more. Those comments seemed to capture how this crisis is occurring across more than one dimension, even if they really didn’t add much detail to the human cost some have suffered.
People tend to frame this by looking at the number of flu deaths in comparison, which isn’t completely unfair (16,000 so far for this flu season). The mortality rate is the main concern, probably around 2-3% versus .1% for the typical flu (or at close to 4% dividing out confirmed deaths versus confirmed cases, which is surely incomplete per both stats).
Later update: a lot has changed in the week since I wrote this initial post draft. The US is shutting down now, and I’ve cancelled a family vacation for the end of this month and a trip back to the US in May for a wedding seems unlikely. It’s too bad – I’ve not visited my family for a few years.
None of that changes China’s experience with the virus from the first two months of this year, but perspective on it seems different since that’s now a shared experience. This is why I had a problem with the human cost being overlooked there: Even beyond the deaths — which are personal tragedies — and related economic impact, it seems wrong to just write off the fear and uncertainty experienced by an entire nation. I hope this goes better for the entire world than it now seems that it will.
This situation is bad enough but learning more about risks and protection steps helps balance out sensational media reporting. The Center for Disease Control offers tips for prevention here, and advice on steps to follow if you become sick. It should help to replace blind fear with taking well-informed steps for protection.
The most recent status map version – the pandemic is on now