Where you’ll find reliable info on Coronavirus and where you won’t

CDC Emergency Operations Center photo
CDC Emergency Operations Center (Photo credit Alissa Eckert; Dan Higgins)

By now, unless you live like a hermit in antiquity, you know Prince Charles of Great Britain is positive for Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Media are having a field day with that one. The virus is, like other contagious illnesses, an equal opportunity offender. As all of us quarantine ourselves where possible, there are places you can find reliable information.

Let’s start with the claim the Coronavirus is three times more contagious than the flu.

Influenza is a mixed bag. Some strains are less dangerous than others. Our last big go round with the flu was with H1N1 in 2009 long before President Donald Trump took office. As I have repeatedly stated, we know at least 12,000+ died with that disease.

Coronaviruses illustration/CDC/James Gathany
An illustration of the morphology exhibited by Coronaviruses. (Image Credit CDC, James Gathany)

We don’t know how many exactly because for one thing, I’ve seen multiple different reports from ‘reputable’ legacy media and even from the CDC where I’m pretty sure a final report was altered to downplay the numbers. I’m not even going to bother to link. I’ve placed links in previous stories and a cursory search via DuckDuckGo or any other search engine will prove me correct.

As for this illness being three times more contagious than influenza, it’s too bad no one in media asked which types of influenza because that is one label applied to diverse types of flu.

Same goes for all these reports on the robust lifespan of COVID-19 on hard surfaces. I’ve seen some eye-popping figures on that. The Guardian, a publication I view as left of center but fairly reliable, did an article explaining the length of time the virus can make you sick and what components are necessary to do the same. You should read this one if you’re interested in how long Coronavirus can last on surfaces. This is the best analysis I found. (Article continues after graphic)

BuzzFeed don't worry Tweet Jan. 29, 2020
As say say on ‘The Twitter’, BuzzFeed’s January 29 tweet didn’t age very well. (Snip @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter)

A number of governors have ordered lockdowns in their states. I’m happy my home state of Florida isn’t one of them. I believe mayors can best determine local needs, and if you compare North Florida to South Florida when it comes to this virus, there’s a big gap. I just checked figures from the Florida Dept.  of Health and it’s obvious that tourism-heavy counties where spring breakers converge are harder hit than areas like Duval in North Florida where tourism is important but not on the level of Miami-Dade or Palm Beach. At present we have 56 confirmed cases in Duval. Dade County has 400.

Meanwhile, the Florida Dept. of Health has created a very useful website about all facets of this pandemic.

It isn’t logical to me to lockdown the whole state. Urging at-risk individuals to isolate is a good move, and limiting crowds is a good move. It’s richly ironic that the same political sector screaming for open borders is now screaming to lockdown all Americans.

Density matters with transmission of this illness. That’s a no-brainer. If you’re in close quarters with others who may be infected, it stands to reason you have more chance at getting COVID-19, especially if someone is demonstrating symptoms like coughing and sneezing. That’s my take based on common sense.

There’s also a lot of debate about the medications Trump talked about in a presser. Media have acted personally offended that the president brought up hydroxychloroquine as a potential remedy for Coronavirus. This drug has been around forever. As long as a patient or a patient’s guardian gives confirmed consent, this drug or any drug that’s been around for a long time should be considered. Harvard University created a website about Coronavirus, including the Hydroxychloroquine debate and others, and it’s worth a bookmark if you’re following the progression of this illness virtually every media referred to as Wuhan Virus or China Virus in the early stages.

Speaking of early advisories, both the Communist Party of China and the World Health Organization deserve very big brickbats for downplaying the risks of this illness early on when the pandemic might have been stopped in its tracks. If you’re a conspiracy theorist worried about foreign interference in presidential elections, you could have a field day with how this played out and how US legacy media echoed whatever the CPC said.

On January 14, the World Health Organization assured us we didn’t have a big problem. The NY Post reported:

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the organization had said.

It also relied on information from Chinese health authorities who have been accused of obscuring facts and figures during the course of the outbreak.”

WHO and China talking points were echoed by media actors like Buzzfeed who told us we should worry about the flu more than Coronavirus.

Legacy media have never liked Trump, or any Republican president for that matter, and they’ve had a field day expressing outrage over everything from the original China travel ban (they like the ban now) to the ability of the US to deal with this pandemic compared to other countries. Trump cited a Johns Hopkins University report on this; media have chosen not to report on it although the report did contain the information Trump claimed it did about the US.

On social media, arguments continue to rage with many, I suspect, being fanned by trolls and bots. Meanwhile, trust but verify what you read and if you’re reading at a meme outlet like Occupy Democrats and ‘keyboard-warrioring’ those memes on social media, maybe take a long break. I’ve started muting posts that state complete nonsense as a favor to the poster.

While steps government at various levels take right now to deal with Coronavirus may seem harsh, remember that we didn’t take aggressive steps on the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 when a different party held power in the White House and somewhere between 12,000+ to 17,000 died here in the US. The CDC provided a look at the H1N1 pandemic, including its impact on the US. Note the time window on the deaths; that may be a source of confusion over the real number of deaths. Also note the length of time on the vaccine, a window most legacy media routinely ignore. The CDC reported on H1N1:

“While a monovalent (H1N1)pdm09 vaccine was produced, it was not available in large quantities until late November—after the peak of illness during the second wave had come and gone in the United States. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.”

“The second wave” sort of puts a realistic take on the spin many media now propagate.

Many of the deaths were among young people. Media completely ignored what might have been an outrage. Congress and the president did the same at the time. Very little was done to drive home the concept of social distancing on H1N1.

(Kay B. Day/March 25, 2020)

Derelict by Rebecca Day
Image of ‘Derelict’ book cover courtesy of author.

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