What Does “Over” Look Like?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Many of us have been locked inside our homes, working amidst the noise and clutter of kids, as much as possible, for the last few weeks, following stay at home orders issued by our state governors. While this has been enough to try the patience of even the hardiest of parents, it seems to be having the desired effect. From everything I’m seeing it looks like the social distancing and staying at home has drastically affected the projected cases of COVID-19, especially the projected deaths.

Of course, there are those who are saying that the stay at home orders were unnecessary and that the models were wrong, because the number of people coming down with the disease and dying don’t matching up with the projections. But that’s why we’ve gone through everything we have in the last few weeks, to make that happen. I projected people making those statements almost a month ago.

The question now is does the good news that we’re seeing mean that we can get back to life as normal again? That’s the question the new team the president has put together is working on. According to preliminary reports, the Secretary of the Treasury, who is running that team, is saying that it won’t be like turning on a light switch, but more like a gradual turning back on of the economy.

Does that mean that the disease has been defeated? By no means; we might be years away from that happening.

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how great it will be when COVID-19 is defeated and people can go back to work. I think these people have forgotten why the various state governors decided to issue those stay at home orders. It wasn’t to defeat the disease, but rather to flatten the curve.

Maybe people don’t understand just what that means. At the start, the big concern was that the disease was spreading so fast, that our country’s hospitals wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. People would die, because there weren’t enough beds or respirators for them. This was the concern as recently as last week. The idea behind flattening the curve was to make sure that the peak number of cases didn’t outnumber the available hospital beds or respirators to treat patients suffering with COVID-19.

That apparently worked. The states which have been the hardest hit by the pandemic are now saying that they are over the hump and the number of new cases is on the decline. Better yet, they have gotten there without overwhelming available medical services. Even New York City, the epicenter here in the United States, the hospitals have been able to handle the load, with only a handful of patients sent to the US Navy hospital ship docked there to assist the hospitals.

So what does this mean? Have we defeated the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19?

By no means; it’s still out there and people will continue getting infected. We can expect as many people to get COVID-19, before all is said and done, as if we hadn’t done a thing to slow its spread. The big difference, is that the people who are falling ill to the disease are spread out over a longer period of time, ensuring they can receive proper medical care. That helps to increase their chances of survival.

In fact, unless medical science comes up with a miracle cure, I’d say that COVID-19, like the flu, is here to stay. Medical science has only succeeded in exterminating one disease in all of human history; smallpox. That took a worldwide vaccination campaign that lasted several years and cost who knows how many millions or billions of dollars. The same might happen with COVID-19; but it won’t be anytime soon.

Our chances are better that hydroxychloroquine, the malaria medication that President Trump has mentioned, will end up being an effective treatment for the disease. While it doesn’t cure COVID-19, like many are saying, it does relieve the symptoms, allowing the patient’s body to heal. In that, it’s much like using ventilators, as in the end the patient’s body has to defeat the disease.

So the big question ends up being, what’s the new “normal” going to be like? Are we looking at drastic changes to society, where people can no longer shake hands and maintain social distancing? Are we going to see death counts displayed all year long? Only time will tell. In the mean time, we need to stay safe.

Maybe prepping will become the new norm, with more people than just us being concerned about keeping their powder dry and their survival gear close at hand. Who knows.

Dr. Rich

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