What a scandalous year 2020 has been. I was on the phone with a friend of mine this morning and it got me thinking about what is happening here in America. There seems to be much attention turned towards the US government worldwide. However, as I do not experience that insight I am unable to comment further on such, but what I can speak on is how we have been taking on the particular of what we had discussed, being covid 19. It is a controversial topic, and what’s unclear is whether the majority of our population is more focused on the politics associated or the fact of the matter which is a true pandemic, in and of itself.
To keep things clear, I am going to explain things from the beginning. On January 12, China first publicly shared the genetic sequence of covid 19. On the 30th, the World Health Organization issued a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (Coronavirus Outbreak). 7,818 cases were confirmed throughout 19 countries, but primarily in China. At the time, not too much was known about the new disease. On March 11, it was registered as a pandemic. Now let us look at the alleged numbers as of 10/27/20. Keep in mind that about 80% of the cases tend to be mild or asymptomatic, therefor many people have contracted the disease and not been tested.
United States (Population: 328m)
In the US, there has been a shutdown of schools, restaurants, and non-essential businesses in a nationwide quarantine. For the most part, regulations were left up to the individual states and cities to regulate accordingly. Therefore, guidelines have been widely different based on location. The beliefs on the handling of the pandemic have become politically influenced, having been contentious from the start. The reality of the actual issue has begun to become lost in translation as all parties use the topic to debate which of their policies and beliefs would ideally handle the present situation better. Meanwhile, there are complaints about poor quarantine regulations one week while the next, there are millions of people gathering in the streets over sporting celebrations, protests, and riots.
8.85M effected (2.7% of population)
227k deaths (2.6% of 8.85m)
France (Population: 67m)
France was a little bit slow in their initial reaction for handling the outbreak. They failed to do much until the mandatory shut down mid-March, lasting about two months. Although, they did enforce the shutdown strictly in that time. Following, businesses slowly started to open back up.
1.2M effected (1.8% of population)
35k deaths (2.9% of 1.2m)
Sweden (Population: 10m)
In Sweden, no Full-Scale lockdown had been implemented. Most schools did close however, businesses went to reduced hours, and some basic all-around restriction were set in play to reduce spread. This strategy appeared to develop into more of a herd immunity approach long term. In result, they have been regarded as saving their economy. Doing better then most all other European nations in regard to GDP (gross domestic product) dip.
116k effected (1.16% of population)
6k deaths (5.17% of 116k)
Italy (Population: 60m)
Being the first European Country effected, Italy was hit rather ill-prepared. Knowing the virus was out there, they banned flights to and from china from the first couple cases in January. Eventually locking down the entire nation and nonessential production by late March. By late April, after a more flattened curve, Italy had begun to lift restrictions beginning with small business.
565k effected (.94% of population)
37k deaths (6.5% of 565k)
Statistics according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention) from February first to late October
Of all corona involved deaths in the United States, 97% were individuals over the age of 45. Of that, 60% of the deaths were individuals over age 75. Now with the covid deaths of ages 15 and up, almost ½ of those individuals also had pneumonia. Based overall from February 2020 to now, an individual has a 90% chance of dying from another cause then anything covid related.
Ironically, the only economy that has come out on top thus far in the pandemic is China. All elsewhere GDP has declined significantly. Small businesses and tourist-driven locations are amongst the worst to be affected. Governments have been making many efforts to help their people through this time, but it is projected to be a long recovery until we see record high numbers again. Especially considering we still don’t have a vaccine at the moment. Leading to the point again of why this 2020 election is going to be such an important factor. Whoever takes office next year is going to have the recovery of the country on their shoulders.
Of course, there is a balance that must be maintained among keeping the public safe from the disease and not depriving the people of a healthy mental lifestyle. The pandemic has caused an increase in diagnoses of mental health diseases as a result of physical distancing, social isolation, and economic recession. According to a CDC survey, 40 percent of adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. Divorce rates have also gone through the roof as they are up 34 percent than last year between the months of March and June. We need a plan taking into consideration the risk of covid 19 spread to at-risk individuals, economic protection, and the mental health of our people.
As of now, America appears to be doing okay, given the circumstances. Businesses are slowly opening back up, and we have been learning how to cope and thrive with the regulations put forth. There is more outdoor seating at restaurants, more individuals working from home, and everyone is abiding by the guidelines for businesses to operate. The market has been slowly building back up to where it was pre-covid. However, we are far from the end and maybe seeing another wave of coronavirus cases come through shortly. We are already seeing numbers increase heavily throughout Europe. It has been slowly building back up since mid-July and more than doubled just in the past month. This makes sense considering most of the shutdowns have been lifted and people are getting back to their previous lifestyles. Not that that is particularly bad, but it does raise the question of how the pandemic, moving further, should be handled.
With all that said, we beg to question what strategy may prove most ideal moving forward. There is basically two general options to choose from. We either continue to lock down and enforce strict regulation until a vaccine or embrace the likes of herd immunity. If you are unfamiliar with herd immunity, it is where a majority of a population becomes immune to a disease, to a point where it no longer spreads to the extra percent of individuals that have not yet become immune. We have achieved so in the case of smallpox for example. Unfortunately with this tactic, at-risk individuals will have to stay quarantined at home as it would be unsafe for them to be out, although they should ideally be doing so either way. It can be regarded as more of an immoral tactic to many, but there is quite a bit of factors to take into consideration. Those being of the such mentioned previously, creating a domino effect the alternative solution of full scale lockdown may induce.
All in all, this pandemic has been a blow out headliner since January. Being a presidential nomination year, it has taken on a completely different narrative lead by the dominant media outlets. Numbers don’t lie, but their presentation can mislead. I write this with no ulterior motive than to clarify the facts and basics, as well as dip into some of the controversies about the coronavirus, whether they’re around or behind the scenes. Ideally, the point of helping others is to aid them to further deduce opinions of their own.