I've been reading this thread and trying to figure out what I want to say. It's been difficult to temper my annoyance with the petty bickering (snowflake, Fox News = bad) and seeming lack of sympathy for the overall situation. I'm currently a family medicine resident. I no longer live in St Louis. I don't claim to know all the answers about COVID19, which are changing literally by the hour. My program director is sending out daily emails to keep us informed and they're out of date by noon the next day. That being said, here are some things I want to get off my chest.
1. For everyone comparing this to H1N1, we're far away from knowing what the total numbers of this disease will be. We are very much on the rising side of the infection curve. Maybe lots not compare the epidemic from 10 years ago to the first couple weeks of an epidemic now
2. If you are looking at numbers, know that anything reported is WILDLY lower than the true number of cases. We have tested next to no one yet. The testing system is in shambles. My hospital system had it set up but now the state department of health has stopped us from doing so. If people are giving you mortality rates, they are guessing. You can't have a mortality rate without knowing the denominator.
3. That being said, it does seem to be less fatal than MERS or SARS, and more fatal than seasonal flu. It's early though.
4. For everyone comparing the panic now to the lack of panic around flu season, know that every single medical provider wishes for there to be a SMIDGE of this level of concern for flu. As many people have posted here flu infects millions and kills thousands each year. I try every visit to convince people to get their flu shots, with only some success. So if you actually think flu is worse than COVID-19, you better have gotten your flu shot this year (BTW, there's still time to get it)
5. As others have said, if this seems to go away without 50% of the population getting sick, then all these cancellations and other inconveniences have worked. That doesn't mean everything was overblown. China is recovering because they are a totalitarian government that has the ability to enact draconian measures. That will never happen in the US. But it can be slowed down and prevent the health system from being overrun. Worst case scenario is similar to Italy. If the disease is unchecked, there will not be enough beds or ventilators to care for the COVID patients, not to mention all the other people who get sick. ICUs are usually over 90% full in general. The health system cannot handle an influx of ill patients. Even if most people have a mild case, there could be FAR too many who need ventilators for us to help. If it is slowed down, however, we may be able to care for everyone and save as many as possible. It still might not be enough.