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COVID Crisis Post 48: What You Resist, Persists. So. Stop.

This pandemic has brought out the best in some, and the worst in others.

The best is a beautiful thing because it is grounded in the belief every human life is precious. We have all seen many examples of this.

But the worst is pretty bad.

Many people have died, but not to the level predicted early on due to the social distancing measures instituted. But as a result, COVID-19 seems now to have been overblown to a vocal segment of the population. The epidemiologists are victims of their own (relative) success.

But if these protections had not been in place, the disease would have spread far and wide, and mass death would have ensued across all populations. The panic would not have been able to be contained. This was always going to be a lose-lose situation for some.

The victim mentality has led to people saying some pretty awful things. Old people have lived a long time, so they were probably going to die anyway. People who are chronically sick would die sooner anyway, so we should not be shutting down the country for them.

Excuse me: my mom has MANY more years to come. So does my sister. And if it ever came to a point for me to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights - I hate guns btw - to protect those two, you better believe I will.

What you resist, persists.

My goal is not to repeat mindfulness clichés. But this is relevant. This phrase describes a psychological paradox but is a great way to summarize the stress with COVID-19 because, let's be honest, this situation has been a major mind fuck. Simply put, the more you oppose something you have no control over, the more those negative feelings will be reinforced with the inability to move beyond the situation. This total lack of control is causing people to fall into a tailspin.

The sooner people come to grips with the new normal, the sooner the country will be able to move forward. So please stop resisting.

In this world, resisting may take the form of misusing data to prove why the country needs to reopen in an attempt to rationalize and maintain some semblance of control over a reality where no control is possible.

"I'm right, you're wrong."

This sort of dispute occurs when two sides start spouting out numbers that seem to contradict one another to prove a point. The immediate belief is to assume one of the data sets must be incorrect. But the consideration BOTH sets of data could be correct is not viewed as a possibility. This may be due to a lack of understanding of how the data is collected or what the data actually represents. Or the capacity to understand is there, but the willingness to accept reality is not. I have seen both instances be true.

For example, I saw one poster who claimed the number of deaths reported by the media is being overblown based on this table from the CDC:

And at first glance, the numbers do look exaggerated. But if you look at the actual title of the table, you'll notice a little *:

*Data during this period are INCOMPLETE because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 WEEK TO 8 WEEKS OR MORE, depending on the jurisdiction, age, and cause of death.

The meaning of PROVISIONAL deaths was lost. Or at least that's what I initially thought.

So I offered a counter-point. In my opinion, excess deaths above those historically expected helps depict disease burden and is a more interesting data set to look at. Any deaths in excess of the threshold is significant:

From the end of March, there is a HUGE spike in excess deaths all clustered together, all correlating with the influx of COVID-19 patients. And these numbers continue to be updated as well. This spike could be due to deaths directly impacted from being infected with COVID-19, or deaths indirectly caused by COVID-19 due to decreased access to care, delayed ambulances, fear of seeking medical care, etc. But also remember deaths from other causes, such as car accidents, have likely declined as well. So these numbers match more closely to the numbers being reported.

Down the road when the CDC actually provides estimates of the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, like they do with the flu, those numbers are likely to be huge.

But it did not matter I shared data from the CDC as well because she continued to resist. I specifically stated I was not trying to argue with her point, but was explaining how both data sets could be correct. But with no discussion, she said it was just "my opinion", and refused to back off her stance. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

Now let us look at a group who is not resisting, but has come to terms with the pandemic and is searching for solutions: The COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative.

This organization has three main goals: 1. Foster an environment where resources can be shared to facilitate genetics research. 2. Identify areas of the genetic code that may increased COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. 3. Provide a platform for sharing conclusions derived from the body of research to the scientific community.

The role genetics play in COVID-19 has been a talking point for a while, but this group is actually doing something about it. If specific genetic determinants are identified, this would allow researchers to not only better understand the virus itself, but could identify high and low-risk groups and determine if certain drugs could be repurposed as a possible treatment for the disease.

So. Cool.

So stop resisting. Come to grips with reality. And get off that hamster wheel and move forward.

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