It doesn't matter if you feel fine. It doesn't matter if you think you'll be ok (I think I'll be ok, too) It doesn't matter if you read about the fatalities only being 0.2% in some country and 0.7% in another.
What matters is that our hospitals and emergency medical professionals are able to continue to perform their jobs with medical supplies and equipment reserved for those who need it most.
What is happening in many places globally, and as close to me as the Seattle area, is the ERs are being overwhelmed with very sick individuals, to the point of having to choose who gets to be intubated, and who doesn't.
I don't want my local Salem hospital to be put in that position.
The measures listed above are those that will give our medical systems the best chance. That's the whole idea of the "flattening the curve." I'm sure you've heard this concept by now. I'm not going to go into detail on it, but you can read more here.
Why this isn't just another viral infection going around
In my 7 years of medical practice (and decades of life prior), I have seen novel viral infections going around. Pig flu, bird flu, we've all seen our share.
But have you ever heard about any of these causing medical supply and staff shortage? I haven't.
Picture this, we just got report of a tidal wave starting a few miles off our coast. We're just now seeing the first few drops.
Some out there will say, "it's just sprinkling, I don't see any tidal wave, I'm healthy, I can swim. There's nothing to worry about."
I am saying, "all the experts are telling us to get to high ground NOW. Many of the loved ones around us need our help because they are too ill to swim. What about this are you not understanding???"
Like with any disaster, you will find the helpers (credit: Mr. Rogers) and those profiteering.
It is happening with hand sanitizer price gauging and it is happening in the medical field.
I've now seen many overnight "experts" hawking their plan that "keeps their patients safe" for a low, low price of whatever it is (I'm not linking it here. I don't need more enemies. Please believe that I've seen this).
Anyone trying to sell you their surefire plan of proprietary herbs and supplements to keep you safe are selling pool noodles during a tsunami.
Sure their pool noodles have worked before in water to keep people's heads above water. But with all due respect, they don't know what they're talking about. It's too new for any of us to have any experience with this. (Ok fine, no due respect. I'm pissed, if you can't tell.)
At the end of the day, take whatever herbs and supplements are prescribed to you by your Naturopathic Doctor. But these should be taken ALONG WITH the universal precautions above. Don't think you are now 100% protected and safe and can disregard the precautions in place because you are taking supplements. They may help, but are no replacement for common sense.
Those of us who are lowest risk are in the position to do the most good
I'm basically at the lowest risk there is for infection complications. Only kids are lower risk than I. Maybe you are low risk, too.
For all us low-risk people, now is not the time to be cavalier, to poo-poo all the precautions and cancellations taking place right now.
Would your actions or perspective change if your friend were on drugs that would put them at a high risk for complications? (such as immunosuppressive medication)
I'm acting as if everyone has a frail 89-year old grandmother at home.
I might be as low risk as it gets, but my 89-year old grandmother Meme is another situation. Her assisted living facility is doing all it can to minimize risk, and for us, right now, that means not visiting.
We are all one person away from spreading disease to a high-risk individual. Please act accordingly.
How do we know our measures were successful?
. Again, I am a Naturopathic Doctor. I'm not an epidemiologist, nor immunologist, but taking best case stats (I can find), an overall mortality rate of 0.2% for a US population of 330 million = 660,000 potential fatalities. So over weeks and months to come as the virus moves through our population, if those numbers are significantly lower, I believe we've done the best job we can do.
The risk of action vs. inaction
Ultimately it comes down to, "what's the worse that could happen?"
The worst that could happen with societal inaction is us repeating Italy. You don't want that to happen. It's bad over there.
The worst that could happen with too much societal intervention is that people like me are called Chicken Littles ("the sky is falling"), which is funny in its own right because if you know me personally, you know that I am about as non-neurotic as it gets. I personally have a high risk tolerance (otherwise I would've never started my own business nor drank from river streams on multiple occasions :D). But this situation is about all of us, not just me.
If the death rate stays very low then it will seem like we made way too much out of this situation.
I can live with that. How about you?
Edit: My calculations on potential fatalities above were way off in the original version. That was an error on my end. I did not intend to add any more panic to our current situation, sorry about that. I am not a mathematician nor an epidemiologist.