There are a number of questions no on seems to be asking about Covid-19.
Our news stations and websites are bombarded for weeks now about the coronavirus - the number of confirmed cases; the number who have died.
We hear reports of people on ventilators and see recycled pictures in the news about ICUs overflowing with patients on equipment, supposedly clinging to life, supposedly at death's door from the effects of a new virus that seemed to show up pretty quickly and bring the entire world economy to its knees.
But there are certain things I rarely, if ever, hear discussed. We don't hear about how many have survived, how long it took to recover, and what the expected quality of life is for those who have recovered.
You can use a good search engine to get information overload on the basic questions.
You've probably gotten more different answers than you can imagine about "how long does Coronavirus last on surfaces," and "what is the Coronavirus incubation period?"
I don't hear so many about "what happens when you get the Covid-19 virus?" What I do hear is that "it's terrible." But what does that mean? What is the average length of hospitalization? What proportion of the population that are hospitalized for this thing are high-risk patients?
But this morning, I started to consider all kinds of other questions, both disease and non-disease related. You see,
I got a random phone call this morning that got me thinking.
My dentist called me this morning. He just called to say hello. I've not known him long. But he's a great young guy with a real desire to make a difference for his patients. But he was just calling to check in and say hello.
We have the most interesting conversations sometimes. And he is one of the more thoughtful guys I've met. He doesn't quickly jump to conclusions; he sees the value of saying, "maybe. I don't know. Let's investigate things before we decide."
I had been working on the site this morning, writing about Covid-19 and the political aspects of what looks to me like the left milking this thing for political control.
Everyone as a bias - a "flavour," if you will. Mine leans right.
But I was curious what his thoughts were from a biological standpoint on this thing. I was curious what his take was on it from a health-practitioner standpoint.
We bounced a lot back and forth and mused about what we know and don't know. And what came out of that conversation was a list of questions I've not even seen asked, let alone answered.
We've seen the curve over time. What about a severity curve?
Everyone has seen curves like this one.
The thing that every man and his corona-avoiding dog knows by now is that if we delay the onset of this thing and let it hit gradually rather than all at once, then the expectation is that the hospital systems will not be overwhelmed when this thing hits the peak number of cases requiring hospitalization.
We are also pretty much familiar with the problems that this is posing for the economy.
We never hear discussion about what I call a "triage curve" for treatment of Covid-19.
I never hear discussion about what I call a "triage curve" - a curve for what coronavirus severity across the spectrum of total cases looks like compared to a similar curve for a typical flu cycle.
Consider this, for example. My sketch.
What I'm trying to show in this sketch is what I picture to be a typical flu season in relative numbers. Group 1 is the large majority of the population that survives a flu bug - perhaps with little to no symptoms; perhaps with a week off work, but resting at home. Group 3 is the bunch that, either due to age, complications (like pneumonia) or pre-existing conditions, will not survive the bug.
Group 2, for me, is the "x" factor I'm looking for and it represents the proportion of the population who get the flu and will recover with treatment but would otherwise die without the treatment.
This, for me, is a huge factor and one I don't see discussed with curves to show part of the story about how dangerous Covid-19 really is. What are we looking at with this virus?
If the curve looks the same, then I honestly don't see why we collapsed a world economy over what turns out to be a nothing-burger.
But what if it looks like this?
The great unknown here is whether the level 1 - 2- 3 curve for Covid-19 looks like the normal flu bug or if it balloons in the middle?
In other words, if this thing affects the population with something that really requires medical intervention to save lives for a greater proportion of the people that get it, then isn't this something that should be in the discussions?
The government response seems to be that this thing is being treated as if it looks like the second graph rather than the first; and it looks like they insist on going after it in spite of the fact that numerous studies are indicating that it is more likely like the first picture. Consider, for instance, the latest studies on this, including this one out of the University of Southern California that shows the infection rates are much higher and therefore the "triage curve" concept I referred to above looks much more like a normal flu bug than they first thought.
USC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday released preliminary results from a collaborative scientific study that suggests infections from the new coronavirus are far more widespread — and the fatality rate much lower — in L.A. County than previously thought.
But again, that is only part of it. What about the part that I'm not hearing discussed? How long does it take to recover? And what does recovery LOOK LIKE?
Are the long-term effects different than from the flu?
We hear all the time the number of diagnosed cases, and the number of people who have died from Covid-19. But we don't hear much discussion about the ones who have survived.
What does "being healed" look like? Is there a reduced quality of life after Covid-19 as compared to the flu, which, under normal circumstances, doesn't result in any reduced quality of life at all (unless complicated with pneumonia, for instance)? If that is the case, then the lungs can be scarred from pneumonia; patients are more susceptible to further pneumonia attacks in the future. Breathing capacity can be affected after recovery.
What about Covid-19? Is there scarring? Is the scarring caused by improper treatment, such as putting patients on ventilators when they should just be put on oxygen?
How long does the recovery take and what is the quality of life afterwards? What, if any, is the reduced life expectancy?
I know they're all questions no one knows answers for yet; but perhaps the quarantining and the closing down of the economy deserves some good detailed responses to these types of questions.
What these answers look like will determine how well an informed public is willing to go along with the distancing rules and the like and for how long before they go crazy and revolt.
And then there is all the other stuff...
Are we done with the impeachment?
Not to get too political... at least, not in this post. But is the Trump-Russia collusion "problem" still a thing? Did Joe Biden get a total pass on accusations that he fondled one of his office aides years ago? Does the media still care? Can we ever get past the endless Trump-bashing that goes on in the mainstream media these days and get unified around supporting each other and getting the economy going again?
Are children still starving in Africa and Central America?
What is happening in Venezuala these days? Is socialism still a failed experiment? Has it failed as badly yet as the price of oil? And do they have Covid-19 down there too? How well are they doing?
And 3rd world countries? If you've sponsored a child with Compassion or World Vision, are you sacrificing a little these days to keep those donations going? If it's rough on you, imagine how rough this shutdown is on those who are the least among us?
Can you make a sacrifice right now to help those in need by donation to Compassion or some other organization in these challenging times?
Is zika still a thing?
Are we so paralyzed with fear for our safety that we forget how fortunate we are that THIS is not our normal, day-to-day world we have to deal with?
Have you taken time in this era of getting all worked up about the stupidity of the politicians on the other side of the isle from where your rep sits that you forget to be thankful for how relatively normal your life still is, and that your normal seems so much better than so many millions in this world?
Are there still rockets being fired into Israel?
Or did that stop? Are there still radical Muslims burning Christian churches in Africa with all the worshippers still inside? Are there no more machete attacks?
Is the Chinese government still persecuting Christians and Uyghur Muslims in China? And if you're a Christian, do you get as bothered by Muslims being persecuted as you do about Christians being persecuted?
Do you pray for the persecuted? And just as important, do you pray for the persecutors?
Do you remember that before Paul was Paul, he was Saul?
Does anybody care?