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There are only hard questions left

April 14, 2020

Humans, 

I sit across from the screen processing the conversation of some friends. Of course, the main topic that we all don’t want to talk about anymore but all can’t seem not to is the COVID. 

How long will it last?
What if anything will remain from this new normal?
What if we all worked from home 1 day a week in the future?
How did you catch the Zoom bombing former students interrupting class?
How do the kids go back and forth from two homes really work?
Why do I feel guilty that I am not suffering more?
Are we going to be better off after this or is Mad Max around the corner?

Here is one answer I do have… there is no question that we got a hold of the exponential growth. I’m not saying our job is done. I’m also not saying there are not hundreds or thousands of curves out there and yes they are all going to tell their own story. But, as a country, we are no longer in exponential growth and haven’t been for about 10 days.

 

Daily New Cases COVID-19 Chart

I don’t know if the curve will stay below healthcare capacity everywhere… no one does. But, I am a hell of a lot more hopeful now than I was 3 weeks ago. The models keep predicting better outcomes and that is not because the models were bad before, it’s because our social distancing efforts are working and we are no longer in exponential growth.

Remember from many many many moons ago (ok 4 wks ago) when we all learned about exponential growth? Recall, its the last days of exponential growth that have the biggest impact on what scale you end up at. Will there be death in the 10’s of thousands, 100’s of thousands, or millions? Well, that depends on how long exponential growth goes on. Well, now that exponential growth appears to be off the table, for the time being, the models can get better but the questions and answers are going to get tougher. 

Three to four weeks ago, the answer was so easy, we had to shut everything down immediately. If we would have had a better pandemic plan, more testing, blah blah blah we could be in a different place. But, you have probably figured out by now, I’m not focusing on the past nor am I writing about who to blame or shoulda, coulda, woulda, I’m writing about today and the future. 

It will be very difficult to know what the right next steps in the coming next phase (the Dance). I want us to be prepared for the confusion and mixed messages with which we will be bombarded. This has already started to consume the conscious of us all and will only become more intense and hotly debated. 

I know the more we can keep:

emotion out, science in 
politics out, policy in
drastic out, incremental in
fear out, trust in

the better we will do and the better we will be.   

I will also tell you this, testing is the key to knowing what we need to do. And the key to opening everything back up faster. Not that I need to reference an article on such an obvious statement but linking to an article is what I do. If we had unlimited active infection testing (the swab in the nose/mouth looking for the virus) and unlimited prior infection testing (the blood test looking for antibodies), the better we would be able to use a far more elegant approach to this problem.

A mentor of mine (a different one than the other night) taught me Without good information, you can’t make a good decision. Right now testing this is what we need to figure out how to make a good decision.

So until we have more of that, we will continue to use the blunt instrument of social distancing. It’s sort of like trying to land a jumbo jet by sight vs instrumentation. It’s going to be a lot bumpier and dangerous landing without lots of testing.

The Dance will be a little different for every person and every community and we will talk A LOT about them in the weeks and months to come but in the meantime...

Here is something someone shared. An unbelievable visual that shows how in a matter of 23 days COVID went from the 10th leading cause of death in the US to the 1st. 23 days. 

And here is an experiment played out in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. 

And here is how you can get your masks in the hands of the healthcare works that need them. 

And here is a great article about what I have written on giving healthcare time to learn about this illness. This illness is perplexing and doctors are learning fast as they can.

And here is a text from a friend today who had COVID almost a month ago.

Got a call today to participate in efficacy trial for antibody tests so donating blood at a lab today and then have a consultation to see if I am eligible to do a second trial where they are using plasma to help make a vaccine! Heading there in a bit... excited to be giving back! Love it

And here is an introspective piece on society at this time.  

And here is the type of technology that could certainly play a big role if enough people get on board. 

And here is where one person I know gets their COVID info.

And today completes one month of isolation for my family. I’m sure many of you just completed or will be completing your one month anniversary soon as well. Happy anniversary.

So, it is in this groundhog day spirit that I conclude tonight’s thoughts with...

 

Stay emotionally connect and physically distant,

Greg