Ben Douglass is an old grumpy white guy who writes poems, novels, reviews, essays, and short fictions, for his own amusement and the amusement of others.
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If you look at the raw numbers it may not seem that impressive, especially since the number of cases and deaths are much higher for seasonal flu. But don't be confused or mislead - this is a much more deadly virus, it is very contagious, and causes serious respiratory failure. Our hospital system will be overwhelmed (like in Italy) if we don't slow down the spread of this disease through aggressive social restrictions (like China did at the beginning). Everyone needs to take this very serious as if their life depends on it, because it does.
Ironically however, if we are successful and avoid a worst-case scenario, like Hong Kong and some other locations have, then the uninformed cynics will say: "See, I told you so, it was all media driven hype to create a panic, and trash our economy and trash Trump." Don't believe them. Don't believe the right-wing conservative talking heads (Hannity, Limbaugh, et al.) saying that it isn't that bad, that you should just wash your hands, go about your business and ignore so-called government over reach.
Rather, we should be seriously preparing for social isolation for several weeks, if not months. This is likely beyond the experience of most Westerners living today, and it may be challenging, but I think we're up to it if we ignore the ignorant naysayers who trivialize this crisis. Listen to the experts instead: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and your local health department officials. Trust your mayors and governors! They really do have our best interests at heart during a public health crisis. And yes, some mistakes will inevitably be made. We need to support each other and work together in a time of community need. Remember: successful solutions start at the grass roots level. Be a patriot. Be brave. We can fight this BUG and win.