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Quarantine Diary April 18, 2020


It's April 18. Our governor has announced that we are still under a pretty strict quarantine until May 26. The current order can be found here.

The theme of our discussions around here this week have been science. And the lack thereof. I don't plan to outline any of the virology or epidemiology of this Covid-19 pandemic in this blog, but I might, just might, do a little venting.

The lack of scientific understanding among the general public in this country is appalling! When that is added to a general distrust of government (which is likely warranted), we have a mess on our hands!

The coronavirus outbreak was not handled well at the beginning. We will likely be arguing whose fault that was for years to come. What is clear right now is that the CDC and the Trump administration could have done a better job once it was obvious that the disease was coming from China. Once the disease was here, most people understood the need for action.

What has happened since then is that, in places when social distancing has worked, people are tired of the restrictions and see that our states have not had high levels of Covid-19. And this is where our science educators need to come in. Somehow, we need to help people understand why we need to keep up our social distancing.

But, the federal and state governments also need to show us some evidence-based plans for moving forward. What Dr. Birx presented this week at the press conference sounded good, but wasn't specific. And there was no clear guidelines about how much testing needs to be done.

People don't trust the scientists right now and that's a problem. The scientists need to come out and explain things in clean language with simple diagrams. We need science right now. That's the only thing that will get us through, but people are scared and they don't understand the jargon.

I don't get why some people (of both political persuasions) have become convinced that the scientists cannot be trusted and that they are lying to us. The idea that Dr. Fauci, one of the most trusted infectious disease specialists ever, should be fired, is ludicrous. Yet, protesters in Michigan (whom I doubt have medical degrees) are calling for his ouster!

The convoluted speculations you have to come up with to explain any conspiracy theory about the virus being biological warfare from some other country or any of the other crazy theories I've heard just boggles the mind.

Science. Science is what we need here. Science and the will to act. We still need far more testing of asymptomatic people so we can do selective quarantine. We need to start doing antibody assays to see who is immune. And that's just the stuff that doesn't include taking care of the sick people, which is first priority.

When everything around you gets confusing and people start ranting about the government wanting to get you or big pharma or some conspiracy theory, go back to basics. This is a virus that we're trying to control with science followed by rational action.

Let's let cool heads prevail.

Catherine

 

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