Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thoughts on COVID19

I've kept a close eye on the coronavirus and found a few facts and trends:
  • It seems to me the logistical plan here in the US is to have a lockdown for a few weeks, and in that time, set up hospitals and build personal protective equipment and ventilators night and day so that we don't end up with a bottleneck where there aren't enough supplies to go around. 
  • Heart & lung disease, diabetes and high blood pressure (basically, diabesity) are high risk factors. This is worrisome for the US. I'm being careful to avoid high-carb foods that would raise my blood sugar.
  • Some articles have said the virus is vulnerable to oxidation. I'm not taking high-dose vitamin C. It's being tried for people who are already very sick, but I'm not convinced it's a preventative.
  • COVID-19 can be killed by UV light and heat (low oven for half an hour). Humidity seems to limit transmission. Light, humidity and UV rays sound a lot like summer, and countries in the tropics and southern hemisphere are seeing far lower death rates. Considering that the bats the virus probably came from live in chilly caves, and that bats are nocturnal, it makes sense that the virus isn't well adapted to light and heat. I'm hopeful that warm weather will mitigate this. 
  • Financially--grocery stores, dollar stores and Amazon are hiring by the tens of thousands and the government has passed a financial aid bill. But unemployment filings are through the roof.
  • Socially, there may be a rethinking of the push to live in crowded cities, travel extensively, use public transportation, and show up all day, every day at the office. 
  • While the media has focused on the places that are nightmares, all but a few countries are, so far, seeing a death rate per population that is half or lower of the rate for flu deaths in the US (72 flu deaths per million this season v. 5 COVID-19 deaths per million in the US). (Source: CDC.) Should we have shut down everything for this? I don't know. Even when looking at different approaches in different places, there are a lot of factors affecting the outcome: population density, latitude, how fast they closed the borders, age of the population, smoking rates, pollution, cultural practices like cleanliness and whether generations tend to live together...
  • Investing-wise, I only invest in companies that have a solid balance sheet--i.e., not too much debt. We all need some cushion in times like these. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Forget Italy, Now We're a Week Behind New York City!

Since deaths from coronavirus have leveled off in Italy over the past days, the press no longer says we're a week behind Italy, but a week behind the new epicenter: New York!

USA Today says many states are on a "similar trajectory" as New York:
Looks like leaving Colorado when I did was a good move.

Kidding aside, though, why are people in Trenton, Telluride or Tampa now a week behind New York (City) and not (northern) Italy? Or the UK, or Washington state where it first landed here, or any other place on earth? The answer is clickbait.

Pathologist Dr. John Lee describes disease trajectories in The Spectator:

Those trajectories for the flu level off and come down, just as coronavirus is starting to do in Italy, and just as it's done in China and South Korea. Washing your hands, staying home if you're sick and social distancing all seem like good practices to avoid spreading illness, and we should all be doing those things, but to what extent they're flattening the curve, and whether we need a shutdown, nobody knows. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Worldometer Now Shows Deaths per Million

After I mapped coronavirus deaths per million, Worldometer added a column of deaths per million population. Hey, maybe they liked my maps!

After I brought up some doubts about coronavirus not being the apocolypse on a few sites, the reaction showed that some people are enjoying this crisis too much. I don't mean they enjoy working from home and skipping their commute and avoiding coworkers they don't like, I mean they're oddly resistant to the idea that they're probably going to be fine. Maybe the adrenaline gives them more energy. Maybe panic shopping gives them a sense of purpose. Maybe there's a normal they don't want to get back to.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Are we Two Weeks Behind Italy?

What the media were saying two weeks ago:

Today, two weeks later, we have these total deaths per 1 million population:

Maps here:

Further, the US’s first case of COVID-19 was January 21. Italy’s first cases were January 30. Considering the virus has been in the US longer than it has in Italy, and that we haven't gone the way of Italy, I don't think we're two weeks behind Italy. Maybe the people there had more exposure to the virus due to the significant population of Chinese immigrants. Some have pointed out that the population is fairly old. Maybe their health care system is undersized. In any case, the doomsday predictions have so far not come true.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

My Coronavirus Death Rate Maps

Deaths per million in various countries and states as of March 22, 2020:

Countries with less than one million people and fewer than one death per million have been excluded.

States with 0 deaths have been excluded.

Note: map originally posted had a formula error.

Figures as of March 22, 2020:

CountryDeaths/1M Population
S. Korea2.03

StateDeaths/1M population
District of Columbia4.25
New Jersey1.80
New York5.86
South Carolina0.58
South Dakota1.13

Data and map here

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Just Buy your Weekly Needs in Groceries

"Stores will stay open throughout the days the lie ahead. We were told that hours may be reduced for cleaning and to re-supply, but Americans can be confident your local grocery store's gonna be open, it's gonna be well supplied, and they specifically asked us to encourage Americans, just buy your weekly needs in groceries."

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Food Desert? No Problem!

My doomsday haul.

At least, finding groceries wasn't a problem in the food desert near my house. I picked up a few things at Healthy Harvest and CVS this morning. I didn't get much because I have two normal-sized deliveries coming next week, one of them from a farm in southern Indiana that makes deliveries to restaurants and stores in Indianapolis.

Healthy Harvest was featured on Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe.

Grocery store bare where you live? Your local farmer might be able to hook you up.  Find a local farmer at this site:

Have a happy doomsday!