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The Virus Doesn't Care that You Are Tired of the Process

People are letting their guard down.

The worst of the virus is over and it is time to "OPEN UP!" At least that is how many people are behaving. As we continue to move through the calendar we are about to find out what the ramifications are for ignoring public health warnings.

To bring you up to date on what we know today and hope for tomorrow, listen to this podcast, What We’ve Learned About the Coronavirus.

To summarize some of the points:

  • The Northeast locked down early and hard. They are having the best test results with fewer cases in those states.
  • Southern states that closed down early and opened early are now the hot spots. They might not be New York City as one governor said months ago, but they might be going to experience what it is like to be NYC in the near future.
  • Testing is not an exact science. Watch for the number of hospitalizations as the true measure of the disease.
  • It is not so much droplets, but how our breath aerosols and hangs in the air that is feeding transmission. I'm waiting (we'll have to wait about four weeks) to see what happens in Oklahoma after President Trump's rally there this weekend.
    • An enclosed space
    • People yelling and shouting
    • In close proximity to one another 
    • I'm guessing with a majority not wearing a mask, to match-up with the Commander-in-Chief
  • While the fastest a vaccine has been developed is four years for the mumps, typical timelines are seven years. Given the reported progress we are hearing about, it could be early next year (one year) to have a vaccine available.
  • The federal government is funding production facilities to speed the availability of vaccines in quantity. If it works, it will be one of the few things that they have done right from a planning and execution perspective on this pandemic. 
  • While the protests are held outside, you still have hundreds and even thousands of people in close proximity to one another and many not wearing masks. Not what public health officials would recommend.
My own commentary is that we now have a mix of public health officials saying different things. When the messages get mixed, that puts a serious dent in our ability to positively impact people's behavior. They will look around until they find someone whose message fits with what they want to do personally. 

A grand lab experiment, with us as the lab rats!


Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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