The Coronavirus is a problem - a very serious one that will permanently affect mankind. I have taken the time to analyze it, but before going through what I consider are the action steps the world needs to take, let’s step back and review how most people deal with problems.
Various ways to approach the problem of the Coronavirus
Solve the problem - Just develop a vaccine and inject everyone, right? The problem is while they are fast tracking it, by the time they have a tested cure and it is proven to actually be safe, could take many months or even years - we don’t have that.
Avoid the problem - We are a little late for that. Based on the speed of virus transmission, if immediate action is not taken (and adhered to) millions could die.
Cut the problem down to size - Often, the best way to manage a problem is to figure out a way to resolve it in stages. Especially in this case, this is imperative and being done quite well by our government, as well as that of other countries. This is critical in not only addressing all the issues (economically, physically, socially etc), but also the order they must be done to minimize peripheral damage.
Address an underlying issue - In terms of the Coronavirus, we also must address peripheral effects that we don’t even know about, i.e. will it resurface? Will it come back in a different form? Then of course there are the sociological and economic changes that are taking place in the mindset of people. Will it change how we travel and buy homes? Let's face it - it is already reorienting our relationship to government, to the outside world, even to each other. Some changes these experts expect to see in the coming months or years might feel unfamiliar or unsettling: Will nations stay closed? Will touch become taboo? What will become of restaurants?
Cope with the problem - The point is most problems, especially this one, just have to be managed. There is no simple way to solve or avoid it. The best we can do is try to minimize the physical, social and economic damage from it. One of the most important aspects in this particular case is timing: specifically prioritizing the largest concerns and then addressing the most critical issues with speed and efficiency.
So after much thought, reading and praying, I have come up with the action steps I feel must be taken in order to to get past the Coronavirus. While the United States invests a great deal on important causes, such as defense, social security, debt, infrastructure, debt and health programs, there is about $1.485 trillion listed under Discretionary Spending, much of which should be used on a system to stop an epidemic - such as this one.
You see, we have a system to counter an attack from another country, and probably even plans to stop an asteroid from hitting out planet, but we don’t have a plan to stop an attack from within the human body. But why? Should we have learned our lesson from all the deaths of millions of people? For you non-historians, let’s do a quick recap. In addition to SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and others, here were some of the even bigger ones...
about 35 million people have died from HIV/Aids
FLU PANDEMIC (1968)
About 1 million people died of influenza
(I.e. the Hong Kong Flu - H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus, a genetic offshoot of the H2N2 subtype)
ASIAN FLU (1956-1958)
About 2 million people died
Asian Flu was a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype
FLU PANDEMIC (1918)
About 20 -50 million people died
The fact is we have been lucky, very lucky that more people didn't die. In each of these cases, if we had a system in place, with a team of epidemiologists ready to go, who would have gone, seen what the disease was, seen how far it had spread and initiated a proven plan to address it, millions of people could have been saved.
Haven’t we learned from the past?
Now many of you might respond, isn’t that the job of the World Health Organization (WHO)? After all, they are a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health right? Look at their mandate, which is to advocate for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being. While they did play a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vaccine. They have not created plans to prepare them for a pandemic like Coronavirus.
Keep in mind, the WHO relies on assessed and voluntary contributions from member states and private donors for funding. As of 2018, it has a budget of over $4.2 billion, most of which comes from voluntary contributions from member states. Isn’t the threat of millions of lives worth more than that?
Here are the action steps we must take:
(1) Education/Testing - Everyone must know the truth. In the case of many viruses, people get sick right away and become bedridden - this is not the case with Coronavirus. People infected with the Coronavirus may have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic and therefore don’t see a doctor and therefore spread it without even knowing. For this reason, education and testing are paramount since we have no idea who has it.
(2) Distancing - This can not be done piecemeal or for just a few weeks. This will require everyone distance themselves for a minimum of at least 3 months. Otherwise, it will linger much longer and kill millions more.
(3) Response Team/Facilities - We must quickly ramp up both a response team of qualified doctors and nurses as well as the facilities to house the very ill. As President Trump accurately described, this is an invisible killer. Once more people are tested, we will quickly realize the massive issue we are facing. Keep in mind that it can lie dormant in a person's body for 2 weeks without showing signs!
(4) Plasma/Vaccines - With our advances in biology, we should look for drugs and vaccines that fit for that pathogen in order to defeat it now - and in the future. Also, get the plasma from patients that have recovered and use it to help others. In summary, this is a war with an invisible enemy hidden within a large population of the world that can kill, has killed and will continue to kill. We must all make the sacrifice to defeat it and then create an action plan to stop the next one - which might be airborne...can you imagine what we would do then?
My action steps for the future? Treat it like any other war…
(1) Medical Reserve Division - Prepare a medical reserve division, including thousands of people who've got the training and background and who are ready to go, with the expertise and then tie them into the military to utilize their advanced ability to move fast, do logistics and secure areas.
(2) Simulations - Run through simulations for both airborne and non airborne diseases - especially for cases where it lies dormant for 2-3 weeks. We need to see all aspects and discover the holes in our plans that we have not thought out.
(3) Advanced R & D - Immediately secure the smartest minds in epidemiology and best facilities to begin advanced R&D in areas of vaccines and diagnostics. There are many breakthroughs in utilizing plasma, nanotechnology and Adeno-associated virus, that could work very quickly.
We will get over this epidemic; however, If we continue the path of doing virtually nothing, what will be the cost economically? What will be the cost in lives?What if the next virus is airborne? Now is the time to act...and act fast! here are a few additional things to keep in mind:
A few additional tips to help stay safe where you live
During day-to-day activities
At work and school (when allowed to go)
What if you have flu-like symptoms?
Please note the above is not medical advice, simply my opinion on things that should be done to help us get through the current and future pandemics. Should you have any questions, you should consult a local professional, doctor and of course, the CDC website for more information.