This is going to be bad Ep. 07
Lets be clear, C-19 can infect everyone and if you get infected you are sick
Even if you don’t have symptoms, even if you don’t believe it
People seem to be having a really hard time understanding what a virgin field disease outbreak means. I was watching them interview people in AZ going to Trump’s rally and they have this perception that “if you are young and healthy you don’t get the virus”. That only the “old and sick” catch it. No understanding at all that everyone can get infected, and even if they don’t have overt symptoms, everyone who gets infected is still sick. That the unlucky 20% just get a lot sicker than the rest of the population.
Although it’s horrible to say it, C-19 just isn’t deadly enough to convince the doubters that it’s real. Roughly 80% of C-19 infections are going to be asymptomatic or very mild. The distribution of the 20% who get seriously ill is going to be random and uneven. Lots of people are not going to touched by C-19 at all and that is going to shape their perception of the pandemic. Imagine three families all with Mom, Dad, two Kids, and three Grandparents nearby.
In family One, the teenage son gets infected at church and brings the virus home. Everyone, including the Grandparents gets infected, but nobody gets sick. From their point of view, C-19 passed them by. None of them ever felt sick, so none of them got tested. They never realize that they all had been infected because they got lucky and all of them were in the 80% with asymptomatic or mild cases. They vote Republican and you will never be able to convince them that the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t “over-hyped” by the fake-news in order to bring down “their president”. After all, not a single person in their family even got sick.
In family Two, Mom gets infected at work and brings the virus home. Everyone gets infected but only Grandpa gets sick. The most at risk group are men over 65 (if they are lower middle class or poor and have any comorbidities the risk of death can approach 50%) and Grandpa fits the profile. His condition deteriorates rapidly and he is hospitalized, going into the ICU. After 12 days he dies. Everyone in the family had C-19 but 4 of the 5 adults never realized that they had been sick. Everyone in the family assumes Grandpa got sick from the grocery store because “no one else had it”. If the family is white and voting Republican, they accept Grandpa’s death because he was “old and in poor health”. Exactly the kind of person FOX News tells them is likely to die. They will never believe that all of the family had C-19 and will blame liberals for destroying the economy for nothing.
Finally, in family Three, the college age daughter gets infected during a night out with friends and brings the virus home. Everyone gets infected and they get very unlucky. Although he was in perfect health, Grandpa gets very sick and dies of heart failure after 8 days in the ICU. Both Grandmas get very sick. One of them dies at home when her oxygen level falls and she collapses in the shower (and because she dies in FL she is not counted as a C-19 death). The other has difficulty breathing but dies in the ICU from a massive stroke caused by a C-19 induced blood clot.
Mom and Dad both get sick. Mom, feels awful for about a month but never has to be hospitalized. Dad (because men have twice as much risk in every age group for poor outcomes or death) has his lungs completely destroyed by C-19 in 10 days and dies in the ICU after 12 days. The daughter and the teenage son both never felt ill but 4 of the 5 adults in the family died within five weeks. Because only a few other people in their church even have symptoms, and no one else has a serious case of C-19, everyone blames this outcome on “bad genes”. There is gossip that maybe there was some “African Blood” in the family tree that made them vulnerable. Everyone thinks it’s “God’s blessing that the kids didn’t get sick too”.
Three identical families, three massively different outcomes due to nothing more than random chance. In each case everyone gets infected but those who were asymptomatic always assume that they didn’t. Because of the randomness of infection severity, and the fact that the majority of cases will not result in serious illness, we know that many families, neighborhoods, and even towns may appear to be spared by C-19. Even though everyone got sick. Get ready for years of White Republican denial that the Covid-19 pandemic was real.