COVID-19 Has an ‘Impact’

April 2, 2020

Breezy-sunshine this early-evening Thursday lolling in California’s Central Valley. Another episode of the continuing crazy-ass nowadays.

(Illustration: The Twin Towers withstanding an asteroid-induced tsunami from 1998’s “Deep Impact,” found here).

Earlier in the afternoon during a smoke break with my daily Black&Mild, our current living scenario made me for some reason (and not really pondering why) think of those folks caught in the approaching reality depicted in ‘Deep Impact.‘ A huge huge piece of rock hurdling toward earth, and the science predicted some way-horrendous shit to shortly strike hard, some people would be saved, some not, but everybody was feeling fucked, panic-scared and way-apprehensive.
Elijah Wood, pre-Frodo Baggins, well-played the smart, everyman-survivor.
The movie also kick-started a now-decades long crush on Téa Leoni — “Madam Secretary” is simply just the best.

Beyond the theatrics, we’re kind of sensing the same angst-anxiety, but our asteroid is an invisible, malevolent virus, spreading like a freakish cancer, and in obviously deadly ways. Yesterday, a grim story: ‘The Pentagon confirmed that it’s seeking to provide as many as 100,000 military-style body bags for potential civilian use as the U.S. warns that deaths could soar in the coming weeks from the coronavirus pandemic.’
Updates on the number of COVID-19 cases changes nearly by the hour, the picture of our situation looks shitty.

Worldwide telescoped down to the local level — where I reside, Merced County, now has 12 confirmed COVID19 cases, 10 from traveling outside the county, and two from the dreaded ‘community spread’ category. Worse even, we’re not doing it right, as the county got an “F” for not social distancing as prescribed by just about every sane medical/health professional in the country. The grade based on GPS data of distance traveled.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Bird had some dark words for us locals (via the Merced Sun-Star):

“In Merced County at this time, social distancing is only about 10-15-percent less than it had been without those (stay-at-home) orders, and it should be closer to 40-percent,” Bird said.

Bird told the Sun-Star that Merced County’s current capacity is 226 hospital beds, 24 ICU beds and 26 ventilators.

“The prediction is, over the next months, well over half of us will be infected,” Bird said.
“It will drastically impact our hospitals, the equipment they have and their healthcare personnel,” he added.
Health system resources in Merced County fall “far, far under even the best predictions on the modeling,” Bird said.

Projections with social contact reduction remaining around the 20-percent mark show Merced County would need 1,018 hospital beds, 389 ICU beds and 286 ventilators, Bird said.
Cases and deaths would peak around June 3.
The percentage means the decrease in normal social contact following stay-at-home orders.

But reducing social contact by 40-percent would lessen those numbers to just 337 hospital beds, 124 ICU beds and 89 ventilators.
The peak would occur around June 15, allowing the health system to handle fewer cases over more time.
These predictions still exceed current hospital resources, but bring numbers far closer to achievable progress.

“One individual was exposed to the virus within our county, and we don’t know where that exposure came from,” Bird said before the second case of community transmission was confirmed later Tuesday.

Bird’s last comment is way-not-funny scary. And what about, ‘“…over the next months, well over half of us will be infected…”
Maybe about that asteroid…

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Self Portrait Facing Death‘ (June 30, 1972), was originally found here).

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