Ben Crowder

Blog: #covid-19

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Recommended: Zeynep Tüfekçi’s article We Need to Talk About Ventilation from The Atlantic, on the importance of air flow in fighting Covid.


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Yesterday I found out that one of my coworkers (not on my direct team, but in my division) passed away from Covid on Friday. She’s the first person I actually know who has died from it. Unsettling and surreal and very sad.


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Our stake has thankfully decided that given Utah’s current COVID-19 numbers, it’s too early to start church meetings up again. Which seems wise to me. Prudence and patience are what we need here.

Over the past week or so, by the way, I’ve come to realize that we as a family are probably going to need to self-isolate for another year or so while we wait for a vaccine. It’s a long time, but also not that long. Someday this will all be safely tucked in the past. (I should add that I don’t for one second think that COVID-19 isn’t going to leave a permanent mark on the world. The pre-COVID world is surely dead; the world in its wake can’t possibly look the same. But I feel confident that the need to self-isolate will eventually end, at least until the next pandemic.)

This may not comfort others the way it comforts me, but I occasionally think about World War II (I was reading Anne Frank’s diary before the pandemic), more particularly how people wanted the war to end but had no idea in the moment how long it was going to last. It took six years and so many lives, but it did end. As did the 1918 pandemic. This too shall pass.


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Erin Bromage’s The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them piece on COVID-19 is a good explanation of what it takes to get infected. (I found it useful, for example, to know that walking past someone in the grocery store is fairly safe.)

It seems many people are breathing some relief, and I’m not sure why. An epidemic curve has a relatively predictable upslope and once the peak is reached, the back slope can also be predicted. We have robust data from the outbreaks in China and Italy, that shows the backside of the mortality curve declines slowly, with deaths persisting for months. Assuming we have just crested in deaths at 70k, it is possible that we lose another 70,000 people over the next 6 weeks as we come off that peak. That’s what’s going to happen with a lockdown.

As states reopen, and we give the virus more fuel, all bets are off. I understand the reasons for reopening the economy, but I’ve said before, if you don’t solve the biology, the economy won’t recover.

I agree — reopening seems completely premature to me based on the curve.


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