COVID Crisis Post 54: The Second Surge WILL Happen.
I am a bit tired and am having quite a bit of discomfort today, so apologies if this post is meh. Also received some not-so-great news on my shoulder today from my surgeon so have been processing it all.
But at least I am able to type on my phone to keep connecting with you. And thank you to all the well-wishers, it means a lot.
A second surge will likely happen before I am able to return to clinical duties so I have mixed feelings about sitting safe at home while my friends are saving lives. But being not whole would just be a hindrance and unnecessarily put my patients, and myself, at risk.
We know a second surge will happen when we reopen, we just do not know to what degree. But based on these graphs, I am not hopeful the country is going to fare well AT ALL during reopening:
Data source: COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. So this is a legitimate source.
Just looking at the graphs themselves shows why Sweden vs South Korea is not even a debate (spoiler: even the chief epidemiologist Tegnell thinks they may have fucked up not shutting down), and why things do not look good for the US.
South Korea has been a model for the world. They NEVER fully shut down. And they were doing great for 4 WHOLE DAYS where they had zero new local cases. Most people believe in the idea of social responsibility regarding social distancing, good hygiene, and masks. Where again WE SUCK MAJORLY.
But then they started lifting restrictions on restaurants and bars. Again, remember: they have been STELLAR on the disease front.
But ONE 29 year old gentleman went to 5 nightclubs over a few days span and is now connected to at least 15 new cases in Seoul on Friday, with a total of 40 new cases overall linked to the nightclubs. Officials project he came into contact with at least 1500 other partygoers at the clubs, and now have ordered bars and nightclubs in Seoul to shut down again for another month.
This is the new normal for a country that has done almost everything right. What do you think our new normal is going to be?
The number of new cases are not increasing, but they also are not DECREASING at a significant rate either. And if this is occurring WITH a shutdown, just imagine what will happen once we re-open. We are a ticking time-bomb.
We need contact tracing. More testing. But we are failing. And COVID fatigue has set in and this is SO dangerous. People, wake up. Otherwise get ready for 2020 to continue being the most painful year of your life.
In other news: the first home saliva test for COVID-19 has been approved by the FDA and developed by Rutgers - thankfully the scientists there are better at science than their football players are at football.
This test is a welcome addition. If you have not had the nasal swab, it is AWFUL - it feels like the swab is being used to drill into your brain. Plus, nasal swabs require close contact with patients, potentially exposing health care workers to patient secretions.
And imagine trying to do this with kids - absolute SHITSHOW. And a great way to get a kid to scream and cry and get little nasty virus snot all over you.
The test claims to have improved sensitivity (fewer false negatives) and a high specificity (few false positives). It is easy to collect at home and would increase the amount of testing available dramatically. I am up for anything that works and gives us better insight into the virus.
Finally, I have decided to add a new feature to my posts whenever I come across a term which can be used to understand and/or counter those who spread misinformation.
I call it the COVID-applicable term of the day.
Today's term is the Dunning-Kruger effect. I am sure many of you already know what this is, but for those of you who do not, this is the gist:
The Dunning-Kruger effect occurs when people believe they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, people without real knowledge in a subject or task do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence. The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability leads them to overestimate their own capabilities.
And generally speaking, those who are smart tend to underestimate their abilities due to increased self-awareness, even if they are an expert. But ALL of us can suffer from it at times, even us smarty-pants.
So thanks for stopping by. Now let's (not) party like it's 2020.