In early March, looking for a park to sit quietly with my thoughts in the sunshine but away from others, I found myself in a local cemetery. Alone, but not far from a great many people.
Seattle's a pretty young place on the scale of things. I was surprised to find that our local graveyard had a substantial contingent that had lived through the 1918 flu. After noting, to my surprise, that there wasn't an obvious peak in the deaths in 1918, I sat there and silently asked a number of them what they'd tell us, if they could. I wasn't sure of the answers, but my perspective was changed.
Everything all of us know as "normal" came after a number of devastating pandemics. It'll be back, it'll be slightly different, but it will be the same.
Don't dig up my body and recreate the 1918 virus?
> Because the corpses were buried in the "permafrost" - ground that is frozen even at the height of the Arctic summer - tissue samples from the brain, kidney, lungs and spleen were well preserved.
I want to agree with you, although usually when we say things like that about viruses a few years later we find a class that can.
Indeed, this will pass. It's bad, we have a lot of work to do before it does. There's more suffering to come. But it's not the end of anything.
A disproportionate number of US/UK severe cases are dark-skinned people. Have you seen research into the cause?
Sadly, Vitamin D does not have a pharma marketing budget to convince people that they would be hosed without expensive, emerging, and relatively unproven designer drugs OR addressing Vitamin D deficiency in northern climates.
Cockpit doors were reinforced, with nobody allowed in during flights.
Things on the ground were even more changed, with security still heightened to this day (even if much of it is theatre). AFAIK, it was also around then that tickets became non-transferable. People's luggage can no longer travel with out them. We have 3D body scanners and can only carry small quantities of liquids in a tiny bag (I realise this came a bit later, but the point stands). Being brown results in even more unpleasantness.
Things absolutely did not return to normal after 9/11.
COVID-19 is different. We're having an extended period of time to realize that we simply don't need to fly anywhere. And that airplanes always were flying petri dishes and that that sometimes matters a lot.
I'm older that most here, and it's somewhat difficult to imagine ever getting on a plane again. It's always been sort of marginal, and now it just looks like a loser.
If we actually achieve confirmed herd immunity, perhaps I will feel different.
I think we're all learning right now that we don't need to do a lot of things, but we still want to.
I can't imagine getting on a plane either, but only this year. I expect I'll be traveling in 2021 or 2022. I wouldn't even be opposed to going on a cruise again in the next few years. If there's not a global pandemic going on, cruise ships really aren't that big of a risk. I've been on 10-15 cruises and have never picked up anything. Norovirus is the typical risk, but you're probably at more risk of catching it on land than on a cruise ship. There's just not the same level of monitoring and reporting of norovirus at places like restaurants.
Airplanes always were flying petri dishes, but so are any place where people gather. It's not just airplanes and cruise ships, it's restaurants and concerts and schools and churches and extended family get-togethers. There's just no evidence that the pandemic will affect those things in the long run.
Once it's safe to do so, we'll be clustering together again, like we always have.
I think we're agreeing. The question is how soon each individual will judge the situation "safe enough". The young (50 and under or so) will soon realize that they were probably never at much risk, and will revert to normal faster.
The not-young will remain quite wary for a very long time, partly because old people are risk-averse to begin with, and partly because they are at higher risk from COVID-19 specifically.
Economic factors will play a large role as well. Most of us are realizing (faster or slower) that we just got whacked financially. Many have lost jobs, had their retirement accounts depleted, or suffered other downsides. And as a society we will be paying for this for decades in terms of higher taxes, lower services and social safety nets.
I don't see how airplanes are any more "petri dishes" than buses, trains, theatres, stadiums, conventions, churches, restaurants, or the DMV. (We're not going to start building everything 4x bigger in every dimension just so people can safely sneeze at an IMAX screening.) Instead of seeing that they don't need to fly, they'll see that flying is no worse than 20 other things they do.
We just have to hope that the government doesn't take advantage of the situation to create a TSA of COVID-19, with mandatory worse-than-useless "health theater".
Airplanes are uniquely awful in that people are packed closely together and the air is almost entirely recirculated. Nothing else even comes close.
Some of the steps like social distancing, wearing masks, temperature checks, sanitizers, etc will remain even after the vaccine is found.
Even after SARS (another corona virus), there were a bunch of candidates and some preliminary successes but none actually made it to market because interest (aka funding) subsided. The same over and over again.
As of Jan 1, there were zero. People predicting "we'll have one in a year!" is based on hope and other models, not corona-oriented vaccines. :(
We didn't need vaccines for SARS or MERS because they were both gone pretty quickly and the number of affected individuals was never high enough to warrant completing the expensive testing required to get approval for a vaccine.
We can turn to history to get a sense of what they might have told us. Seattle acted quickly and swiftly, and the damage was mitigated. Compare that to Philadelphia, where it wasnt. And ultimately, research into influenza led to confirming the causative agent and developing the first effective influenza vaccines. We learned, we adapted, and we fought back. Don't know how long it will take, but it's good to remember that for the past few dozen millenia, the lack of fear of pandemics was not normal. The normal we are trying to return to is a new normal created by our species unwillingness to let infectious disease have the last word.
Well, you've seen photos of mass graves circa this year, right?
Occasionally “normal” changes faster than it takes for the whole set of humans to change over, this seems like one of those times.
With some pop culture antecedents as well:
It's a mess and I don't think the (domestic) airline industry will look the same a year from now.
You can call ahead and arrange for a sky cap to assist you with luggage, or if you ambulatory help, such as a wheel chair. This is well worth it if walking through an airport will be challenging for you. The sky cap will get you past the lines and through the airport in record time.
Make sure to tip them, as they work for tips.
Tip high. They exceeded expectations in every airport.
I actually think it's reasonable that the woman expects more from the airport. They levy very high margin charges for landing, departure, parking, rent for vendors, and so on. Reasonable service seems expected. Perhaps not a pre-staged cart, but at least nearby phone (or number to text) to ask for one.
That means the car seat wouldn’t be checked: it would be strapped down to a seat and the baby strapped in that.
In this case, it’s very possible - even likely, because airlines like selling seats - that baby was a revenue passenger entitled to a carry-on bag of its own.
A child seat on a plane is an illusion of safety. If the plane crashes it won't help. The only reason to bring one into the cabin (and it is a good reason) is if you need one where you are going.
> Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.
> The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight
Checking (at bag drop) a car seat risks invisibly compromising the protection it affords. Gate checking is likely better.
I've been digging up videos of people from the early 1920s and I see very little impact of the Spanish Flu on people's mannerisms even just within a year or two after (like no masks in the streets even though mask wearing was apparently a big thing during the pandemic). Just the other day, I was reading up on Charlie Chaplin. Looking at his filmography, I noticed a a gap of just 1 year (between "A Day's Pleasure" released Dec 1919 and "The Kid" released Feb 2021) which is when the pandemic would've been raging across the land. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Chaplin_filmography)
So, while I certainly watch in horror at what is happening with COVID-19 and how the whole world has come to a standstill, if history is to be believed, we'll bounce back faster than we suspect. Not tomorrow, maybe not even within the next six months, but very likely within a year I think we'll be back in full force.
We have never successfully developed a vaccine for a coronavirus before. And even if it's proven to be feasible, it will be unlikely to be very practical (are we going to manufacture billions of doses? How long will it take? Won't there be some kind of herd immunity by then?) and there are also indicators that such vaccines would not be effective beyond 6 months or so.
The more I hear about a vaccine for this coronavirus, the less it seems like the true solution for this crisis.
For example, we already produce and distribute an annual vaccine on the scale of billions (the flu). The flu also has tampering effectiveness on a pretty short time scale. The flu vaccine is also not 100% effective. And despite all of those short comings, we're able to mitigate flu into something that people literally use as the low bar for infectious diseases in terms of spread and severity.
I think you're right that the vaccine is unlikely to let us eradicate coronavirus, but it'll let us get back to a new normal - one that isn't fundamentally different from our old normal (at least from a health perspective - who knows what happens at a societal or policy level).
But what is interesting is that the current lockdown in Norway killed the flu with season ending abruptly.
Can you back that up with some kind of science? There are >100 in development and several are done with phase 1. Hell, one is already entering production in anticipation of final approval later this year.
Short term, we'll probably rely heavily on plasma.
The reason we don't have vaccines against any coronaviruses is because there aren't very many that infect humans and all of them other than SC2 are so mild it isn't worth spending the effort to eradicate them.
Coronaviruses affect animals too, and yet we haven't been able to develop vaccines against them. And yes, there are vaccines for many other infections for animals.
First, noted in the article, is a false sense of security. If the Secret Service in the White House can have an outbreak, any workplace can have an outbreak. The pandemic has yet to hit large swathes of the planet, but it will probably do so before a vaccine is available. This is really, really bad, and will be until there is some substantial change.
Third is a sense of false optimism: There is one antiviral that has been tested to have a significant but relatively modest effect on recovery time, and that may reduce risk of death by an as yet unknown amount. Other than that, no confirmed breakthroughs in treatment. Nothing that sharply reduces risk of death or duration and severity of illness. In other words, the risks are almost the same as on day one. Why does anyone thing a lockdown can be lifted with a price in terms of many tens of thousands of lives just in the US?
Lastly, there is a sense that we will be in a permanent pandemic. As the above comment points out, the direct impact will be felt for one or two years. There will be permanent changes, perhaps as a result of the realization that access to health care is key to minimizing pandemics. Perhaps infectious disease surveillance will rise in importance. But the economy will resume. Un-parking airplanes will happen. Humans want to travel. Businesses may realize that business travel can be cut down. Schools may realize distance learning can work. But I see no reason why discretionary travel would not resume and grow. I see no reason why in-person social mingling would not resume, maybe with a bang, as people celebrate being vaccinated.
Business travel right now is non-existent and many companies are finding that things still work just fine without it and will not return to previous spend levels.
yes, this is solveable, but it will take time. the pandemic needs to rage for several more years before a change in behavior can be normalized
I feel like that exited back in 2011.
Also, China has paid an enormous price for this. Do you think that Chinese administrators are looking at what happened and saying, "golly, we got off lightly here, no need to make any changes".
Also: claiming that someone has to pay a price for doing something without having in mind a realistic mechanism for making them pay is not reactionary, just dumb.
So yeah, I would say the US definitely suppressed news of the 1918 flu.
Sure in parallel we should see if and who is guilty of what , but this should be a side thing and not the main focus.
I think there were a few interesting factors this time around:
1. Better communication: In the previous cases, there was no internet. Communication even between doctors would have happened via governments, international media, or international conferences.
2. Increased travel: The globalisation of the virus was certainly a bit faster than it otherwise would have been due to the greater level of international travel that (until covid) had been the status quo.
3. Politics: It seems as though health issues, whether to wear masks, whether the virus is "real", how businesses should respond, and so on have become divided along political lines. I'm not sure whether this happened in 1918, 1957 and 1968, but I am guessing it didn't happen to the same degree.
Will we be better prepared next time? Ideally yes, but I'm not sure that it's a certainty.
Of course it will. For several reasons, not the least of which is that China turned back on the wildlife wet markets already. Just like they did after SARS. We should encourage them to modernize their food supply so this is not necessary.
The Chinese government has the incentive to not let something like this happening again because they still need the queit cooperation of their population, a slow-burning dissent would still lead to their downfall...
30% of ICU patients experience kidney problems and require a consultation with a nephrologist or dialysis.
It's not as simple as "all good" vs "death".
To be clear: I'm not panicking or living in fear, just keeping firmly in mind that there's likely more we don't know than do know about it.
Or maybe not. Georgia reopened 3 weeks ago. Any jumps in cases? No.
This is a blatant falsehood. You have no idea what conditions other people carry.
I assume they mean something else. We are dealing with a virus. Alcohol and bleach wipes ftw.
More data is necessary. It seems likely to me that exposure to the disease will confer immunity for some period of time, because so many other diseases work that way. But we just don't have solid data that shows that to be the case. (We also don't have data that says the opposite is true.)
I kind of have a gut feeling that the total number of people infected is much higher than we think it is, and thus there is less risk. We can watch the states that have reopened to see if that's true (and ship everyone an antibody test with their Census forms or something). More data is being acquired, and with that data, we should be able to make better guesses as to what the next course of action should be.
(Reacting to this article specifically, I'd love for the author to get an antibody test. It seems so unlikely to me for people in these very high risk environments to have managed to not get the disease. People travel sick. People wear masks wrong. The disease is incredibly contagious. How could you not get sick? It is all kind of amazing to me.)
Counterpoint: I would volunteer for this today if it was an option.
I feel that I'm well informed on the potential risks to myself.
Put in reverse - what duration and severity of restrictions to your life would you be willing to endure in exchange for a three-week boost to your life expectancy?
I'd even sign up for periodic attempts at re-infection to ensure that I'm (still) immune.
The thing is, it's not just a personal decision, increased social contact results in increased spread for everybody, not just a 3 week risk for a given individual.
Of course, lots of people are starting from the premise that 100% infection is inevitable, and then apparently tacking on it not being worth slowing things down while interventions and vaccines are researched, in which case it doesn't make any sense to worry about other people (because they think it's a foregone conclusion).
I'm not really sure how your other points relate to mine? The point of voluntary infection is that my social contacts then wouldn't be a risk to others.
Coronaviruses don't tend to produce strong, long-lasting immunity, and we have no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 does, and, also, young otherwise healthy people are dying from strokes that seem to be due to the virus: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/24/strokes-cor...
So, this would be both high-risk and of dubious utility even in the case where significant adverse effects didn't occur.
This is a bit misleading. The common coronaviruses that cause the "common cold" do not seem to confer long lasting immunity. But there are very significant differences between those viruses and SC2. The best estimate we have is that immunity will be similar to SC1 (SARS) and immunity to that lasts several years.
Sure they do. But the immunity lasts a few years instead of a lifetime.
"Voluntarily allowing people to get infected" creates a perverse incentive for poor essential workers to put their lives on the line in order to put food on the table.
If voluntary infection is allowed, employers may favor employees who test positive for antibodies—for example, by offering a pay increase, or some additional amount of paid sick leave prior to recovery—because they would be less likely to fall ill en masse at some unpredictable later date. States with continued (or resumed in a second wave) shutdown restrictions may exempt businesses whose employees are deemed immune.
The people most likely to be incentivized to take this risk are the people who are most economically vulnerable already. I would never consider that risk, but I'm a well paid software engineer working from home.
The perverse incentive would be for non-essential workers, but only if this is coupled with one of the existing proposals for “certificates of immunity” (which there is little scientific basis for, but that's another issue) being a factor in allowing them to return to non-remote work.
That does seem to be the prevailing public understanding, but it's not actually yet known to be the case.
Of course it's possible, but it would be gambling not just on successful recovery (as it always would) but also that it would end up being effective anyway.
They are less crowded than usual because elective procedures have been cancelled in many cases, but people are still there for non-elective procedures, emergencies, births, etc. And yes, covid cases requiring a hospital are lower than predicted... but they do exist.