Please, stay home for the holidays!
Don’t do it. Seriously, why are we having this discussion right now? It makes no sense, there is a pandemic going on and if you live specifically in the US (which I do) you’re going to need to stay home. Sure the holidays can be an important time of year for families, but do we really need a holiday to celebrate with our family? Why not wait until this is over? More importantly is it worth putting all of them, yourself, and the people you come in contact with at risk?
Well, well, well it’s been ~2 weeks post thanksgiving and everyone here in the US decided that the pandemic was magically over. Now we have record numbers of not only COVID cases, but COVID deaths. Yep, we’ve hit historical milestones this month! Today the first vaccines are being shipped and with them the hopes that >90% of the population gets them so we can hopefully eradicate the virus just like we did with smallpox.
We also hit >3000 deaths in a single day. With it I give you all a grim reminder that we knew this would happen, we warned people it would happen, and yet no one wanted to listen because at the time the death toll was in the single digits. Another warning for those who think 3000+ deaths a day due to COVID is still far too low to give a shit, it will get worse. Especially if you decide to be stupid and go outside of people you interact with regularly to visit family and have large gatherings.
No one likes being told what to do, here in the US we tend to do the opposite of what we’re asked to do because FREEDOM! If your actions only affected you I would say fuck it, go out have a blast, die on a ventilator if you really don’t care. Unfortunately it’s all the others you’ll infect along the way that makes people like me stop and try to beg you to not be stupid. More importantly there are other concerns in play here, like overloading hospitals. That will lead in even more deaths because we will have to start rationing care and you know what we should never have to do? We should never have to pick who lives and who dies because we can’t try to save them all.
This won’t be the first time I attempt to do this, but let’s talk about exponential growth… again. Humans aren’t wired to think in terms of exponential growth and our general response to COVID really shows it. Then again we’ve never had selective pressure put on us to understand it, or to care. Nature never bothered to teach us those values, instead we see faces in toast and weird shit, because nature taught us that it could be a predator and THAT would affect our survival.
So some math for those of you who still don’t understand how bad this is. Let’s take it back, way back to the beginning of COVID. Say you’re patient zero, congratulations you little vector. You’re just a single person, so how much damage could you do… right? Well every pandemic starts with a single person, so spoiler, you can do a lot of damage. See if the disease you’re spreading is infectious enough, you can spread it to 10+ people easily. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s the thing with exponential growth, it’s tiny until it isn’t, but by then it’s too late.
Let’s be ultra conservative and say you ONLY infect three people and no one cares because FREEDOM, so they spread it to three people, then those people each spread it to three people, and so on. Now think about all the people you come into contact with on a daily basis, coworkers, people on the street, people in stores, storeworkers, people at hospitals, hospital staff, etc. In this scenario the fact that we’re suggesting that each link in this chain is only infecting three people is EXTREMELY reasonable assuming no change in behavior.
So what does this all mean? Well you infect three people so now we have three people infected in the second link in our chain, then they infect three each, so now we have nine. See where this is going? The count goes like this 3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, 2187, 6561, 19683, 59049, 177147, 531441, 1594323, 4782969, 14348907. That’s 15 links in our chain assuming that everyone in that chain ONLY infects three people. Don’t believe me? No worries, do the math yourself, I know it’s a lot to take in.
In reality some people will infect far more and some will infect none, but in the end exponential growth wins out. The number of infected is small until it isn’t. The number of people dead is small, until it isn’t. The number of needless deaths is far greater than it has to be if you would just wear the damn mask when out. Or better yet stay the fuck home, and do literally nothing.
Another statistic, the death rate. People claim that most will survive, that’s not true. Currently the death rate for COVID-19 is ~1.5-14.5% of infected depending on the country, the US sits at ~2-6% (read more). That may not sound like a lot, but a single person infected didn’t sound like a lot either. When the infected numbers peak like they just did we end up with a higher mortality rate because the care get stretched so people are left without care. Currently there are about 16.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, if only 2% of those people die from it, that’s 324,000 deaths and guess what we’re already at ~ 298,000 deaths (at the time of this writing), which is with certainly an undercount (source). So we’re on average at a ~2% mortality rate, which almost all of those deaths are preventable if people just did what we need to do.
Something else to remember, that mortality rate assumes proper healthcare. When you ignore the pandemic, the numbers spike, like they are doing now. That means hospitals get overwhelmed and people get care based on how badly it’s needed. To be crystal clear, this isn’t a space issue! It’s a number of trained people available to give care issue. It’s also an equipment issue, we’re still stretched on PPE, healthcare workers are still reusing N95 masks, gloves are in short supply, extra ventilators are non-existent, not to mention the mental and physical toll all this is taking on people that you depend on to keep you and your loved ones alive.
Superspreader events, or events that have a high likelihood of spreading COVID-19 to a high number of people, like thanksgiving did and the holidays will (if we do nothing different), are what’s causing the pandemic to be so bad here in the US. We have over 3000 deaths in a single day! Come on now, we take our shoes off at airports for less, you can wear a mask and stop going out unless you absolutely need to!
This holiday season, just stay the fuck home. The last thing you want to do is bury your family just because you couldn’t be bothered to distance yourself in a fucking pandemic. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get people to care, this post is probably not going to do it, but if I can just eliminate one of those links in the chain, if just one of you gets your family to be smart about this, then we can reduce the spread, we can prevent others down the line from dying, and most importantly we can get back to normal all that much sooner.
The vaccine is coming, but until then and until everyone has a chance to get it, we all need to do our part to keep this thing under control. America, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, we’ve done a crap job. It’s time to step up and do your duty for your country. I can’t make you, but as a veteran, I am begging you from the bottom of my heart, this is the most patriotic thing you could do for the country.
Good luck, stay safe, and we’re almost to the end so just hang in there a little bit longer.