Sunday, August 1, 2021

1.5 years of COVID

I wrote this on Facebook...

I was very much aware of how devastating the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was. It is estimated that 500 million people got the disease, which was one-third of the planet. The exact death toll is not known, but it was estimated to be between 20 and 100 million people. It was worse for children, and in some areas, half the children died. They were stacking coffins in the street because they couldn't bury people fast enough.

This caused me to always wonder if something like this could happen again? I imagined a situation where people might have to seal themselves in their homes for a couple of months. I thought that it would be a good idea to have some food stored away.

In March of 2020, we went from fifty thousand known cases of COVID-19 to a million known cases in just 30 days. Looking at the numbers available on March 31st, which showed rapid exponential growth, I was predicting Spanish Flu levels of infection and death. Like many public officials, the horrible events of 1918 caused me to take this new pandemic very seriously.

I "sheltered in place" for slightly over a year. Initially, I had almost no human contact. I shut down my chess club meetings and encouraged people to play each other online. After a year, I was sick of playing online and desperately wanted to meet in person again. I resumed my chess club meetings once I got fully vaccinated.

For that year, I told people that I was living like a hermit, which was somewhat true. I didn't see family very often. Sometimes we would meet to share resources, like toilet paper and other supplies, but we would keep our distance as much as possible. After a few months, we started to get together more often, like maybe once per month.

In the evenings I would go for walks. I would see my neighbors, and we would talk to each other from a distance of 30 feet.

As result, I spent much time on the phone and on Facebook as a way of communicating with people.

This year of semi-isolation kind of took a toll on me. I was desperate for it to be over. I was so happy to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 is not done with us yet. We have new variants that are more infectious and possibly more dangerous. I have talked to a large number of people who don't want to be vaccinated and I find this very concerning. This creates a greater probability that new variants will arise.

The very contagious Delta Variant has an "R" factor of 5 to 8, meaning that each person infected might infect 5 to 8 other people.

One of my closest friends in Utah and his wife have caught the Delta Variant of COVID. For them, it is totally debilitating and they are into their third week with no sign of it getting better. My friend is worried that he is going to be one of the people who have symptoms that linger for months.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

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