Preparing for Pandemic

Back in university, I took an elective class in virology/immunology. The class setup was a bunch of graded lab work and a research paper. My paper was on the Herpes family of virii. While viruses fascinated me, what I learned most was how fast they can spread. As a child, I had chicken pox (Herpes Varicella zoster), so I was fascinated how strands of DNA could replicate and work to turn my body into a replication factory for the virus itself. And further, how fast these things spread between infected and non-infected carriers. I’m not an epidemiologist nor even well-versed in the topic, nor do I pretend to be so.

Today, we’ve quantified the spread as a power law distribution known to network science as  a scale free network. Herpes is very common in the human population. If you mapped the spread of herpes you find if follows the same nature as a scale free network. At some point in a public health policy perspective, you switch from containment to managing the epidemic. As the epidemic spreads across a wider area, you define it as a pandemic. I think COVID-19 is quickly going to become a pandemic.

First, let’s define pandemic rationally, before irrational thoughts take over:

an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population

“Pandemic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pandemic. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

I much prefer to be prepared and think rationally about risks rather than respond to a panic and follow “best practices”. What’s often touted as “best practice” is usually “bare minimum requirements for the uninformed”. However, I’m fully wiling to follow the advice until I can find better, as we’re all uninformed about a vast majority of topics. When the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) puts out guidance for companies on preparing for a pandemic, one should take note.

Further, the word pandemic means many things to many people. Popular culture has primed us for the worst in humanity….and for zombies. A very well written essay on preparing for pandemic is posted here, https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/.

Please read it and the CDC recommendations. Please start preparing rationally.

Further perspective, https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/23/what-happens-if-a-pandemic-hits/

#covid-19 #prepare #pandemic #cdc

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