In the latest outrageous, reckless, and unsupported mathematical claim about the certainly soon to arrive end of the world; New York City Mayor, Democrat Bill DeBlasio says, half of New Yorkers will likely have the Wuhan Virus by September. He is saying more than 4-million people will be infected.
I say, based on what? What are your baseline numbers and assumptions?
While not as reckless as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer predicting 7-million people in her state will be sick with 1-million of those possibly needing to be hospitalized. It is an unsupported supposition that creates more fear and panic needlessly.
The problem with both DeBlasio and Whitmer making such careless public statements, is they cannot possibly make those calculations because we don’t have nearly enough information to reach those conclusions.
Here are some of the variables we would have to know before putting together any kind of reliable mathematical model to predict the course this illness may follow.
1.) Rate of spread or rate of infection (ROI). Until we can arrive at a reliable number about how fast the virus spreads and how easily we cannot determine the ROI. Without this number, almost nothing else is valid. And the number in the United States could vary greatly from other countries.
2.) Who gets infected? Being able to identify those most susceptible individuals will help us slow the rate by keeping the vulnerable out of harms way.
3.) Whether or not social distancing is working. We have not been in the habit of staying away from just about everyone for very long. The time frame has been far too short to determine if this idea even works. If it does it could greatly change the trajectory and the number of people impacted.
4.) Changes in weather need to be considered. As a rule viruses do not do well as the weather gets hotter and more humid. In fact school kids in the 1950’s used to dream of summer and dread the cold weather, which was better known as ‘Polio Season’.
5.) Viruses themselves often mutate and die out naturally. As the virus moves and changes it is possible it could change so dramatically it could vanish on its own. This has happened to viruses throughout history.
6.) We could find a treatment or cure that stops the virus altogether. We have made dramatic leaps forward in fighting back against these sorts of viruses. Who would have thought at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s that somebody could live for decades with HIV? Dramatic advances can and do happen every day in America.
So, with so many unknowns why are so many so insistent on making such dire predictions? Could they come to pass? Yes, they could. We would see a pandemic that claims the lives of millions of Americans but it is not my first inclination. It is possible that some of the most ominous computer models could prove to be true but we don’t have anywhere near enough information to make such declarations.
Right now, there simply is too much information that we don’t know or is incomplete to jump to such dark determinations. It just isn’t supported by what we know at this time.
My first thought is always how we beat this thing. I want to throw everything America has at it and just like challenges in the past I want to see the country I love rise above and crush the enemy, even though this time it is something we cannot see.
I wonder why others are so willing to believe the worst about the country, the future, and even worse about themselves and their neighbors.
I choose hope.
My first inclination is to believe we will win. It always has been. I always believed we would beat the Russians and we did. I also believe we will defeat this virus and in the not too distant future we will also defeat China and we will never be held hostage by that communist nation again.