Mar 11, 2020

I NEVER IMAGINED





I never imagined that in my lifetime I would read a headline about a declared pandemic. 

Last year I watched the PBS Documentary on the Spanish Influenza that ravished the world's population from January 1918 to December 1920. Millions and millions of people died all over the world. I never imagined this could happen in 2020. Not knowing the science, the math, and all of the inherent perfect storm variables that have to come together, I was optimistic that in 80 years beyond 1920, that a world impacting pandemic was not probable.  And here we are. 

I know that the PANDEMIC headline means many different things to different people. Reactions range from "I don't want to talk about it" to storing three months supply of toilet paper incase we go on lockdown. For all those individuals and families personally impacted, I'm sure the headline means so much more. 

Today I was at a local store, a big box store, shopping. I was not there to stock up on supplies, I was there as a regular shopper and my list was a regular list. I have to admit that about 10 minutes into being there, I abandoned my shopping objective and walked around and observed people. 

It was like I had walked into an experiment, the overall mood in the store was a bit frantic, people seemed to be walking faster than their normal pace and most were determined and focused. There were many more husband and wife teams shopping together, checking off lists, strategizing where to go next. It was Florida hurricane forecast shopping dialed up a few notches on the intensity level. 

It was like I was out of my body, my mind was laser focused on movements, hands, anyone who sneezed, the sounds and motions appeared to be exaggerated and in slow motion. I was in a movie and watching the movie at the same time. I was not uncomfortable, I was not scared. I was simply trying to observe behavior, posture, manners, consideration, so much was going on. It was similar to people watching at the airport but on steroids. 

As I walked around the store, I was thinking about the domino effect if you can call it that, or the Ro factor that I've heard talked about and reported. Pronounced R-Naught, this factor is the mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious disease is. It's also referenced to as the reproduction number. 

This morning I had just read an article that for COVID -19 the Ro is 4. 

So every person that has COVID 19 - passes it on to 4 new persons. Thus the exponentially growth that is being reported around the world.  Again I'm not an expert in any of this, its all information that I'm reading about over and over.

All of this is in my head while I'm also considering that in essence all of what is happening around the world today started with ONE PERSON. There was at one time one true ground zero person who first got this virus. From reports I've read  it was one person, one person in a market handling exotic animals or exotic animal parts which carried the virus originating in snakes. 

Somewhere in a distant part of the world a virus took off, and it's being transported by a vehicle that we all know and need in every inhale, and exhale, the air we breathe. The very same air we expect and know, the air that is supposed to be without bias or intent or prejudice. An invisible tsunami of sorts. 

It's simple and so complex all at the same time. March 11th, 2020, I will remember this day for the rest of my life. I'm sure that much will be written and documented about COVID 19.  There will be books, reports, doctoral thesis projects, white papers, scientific journal articles, hopefully all in the spirit of lessons learned and applied knowledge for the benefit of all the world. 

Wherever you are are, be well, be careful, be kind.