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Why Coronavirus Is Shutting Everything Down & You Need To Stay Home (If You Can)

There’s been a lot of confusion about coronavirus COVID-19 since it started infecting Americans, Europeans, and cyborgs. Many people even thought initially that Corona beer could give you coronavirus.

If you don’t want to read my article, here’s a tl;dr video alternative, but note that it is NSFW (not that you should be at work right now anyway, but I know some people don’t like hearing certain bad words):

There’s been a lot of confusion about coronavirus COVID-19 since it started infecting Americans, Europeans, and cyborgs. Many people even thought initially that Corona beer could give you coronavirus. In the US, the situation has not been helped by a president who has filled even pre-written speeches with a ginormous amount of misinformation and initially called the whole thing a “Democrat hoax” and fake crisis that would soon go away (claiming when there were 15 confirmed cases in the US that we’d soon be at 0).

As more legitimate information has gotten out to the public, it seems we have lost our collective mind. (I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of examples of that by now.) Part of the problem is that we are being asked to dramatically change our day-to-day lives for a while. Part of the panic (which, we’ll reiterate for the 3rd time, is not helpful) is also caused by the fact that nearly everything is shutting down — the NBA, top tennis tournaments, Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises, the NHL, SXSW, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, political rallies, movie theaters, late-night talk shows, schools, restaurants … oh yeah, almost everything.

Some people are having a hard time with all of this. (Even as Gen Xers apparently feel like their time to shine has finally come.) The challenge of staying home amidst the invading virus crisis has some people flipping out and losing their s$%^, while it has others rebelling and flaunting their apathy (or perhaps complete ignorance) by boasting about socializing, hugging, and overall douchebaggery at this time. (That also included several top Republican politicians for a while, until some of their kin got infected, the stock market crashed, and they woke up to the fact that this is indeed a crisis, not a hoax. But let’s not even go there today.)

The concern is not exactly that you — gonna — die if you go outside, or even if you contract COVID-19. As you probably know by now, if you’re relatively young and healthy, you’re extremely unlikely to die. This is what seems to confuse some people about the risk — why is it such a danger if the effect of the virus on most individuals is not much different from the flu? I’ll tell you why, in case you haven’t been obsessively learning about this for days. However, real quickly first, note that even being young and healthy doesn’t mean you’ll be fine if you contract COVID-19:

The big societal problem is best summarized in a couple of graphs that we shared via two tweets in an article last Sunday:

Image Credit: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris / Wikimedia Commons

The big deal in those graphs is that they indicate that a spike in COVID-19 cases can overwhelm our health care system. If too many people get infected and need medical care too quickly, there won’t be space at hospitals and clinics for all of them, or perhaps even for half of them. There won’t be the necessary medical equipment to treat the most life-threatening effects of the coronavirus. At that point, people (doctors? hospital directors? insurance companies?) will have to decide who lives and who dies — and it seems our top medical professionals are very concerned this is where we’re headed.

To repeat for emphasis: if a lot of people get COVID-19 quickly, many of them will die simply from not having a bed or respiratory equipment at the hospital to save them.

The problem of averting this catastrophe comes in multiple parts. First of all, the only real way to flatten that curve is for people to stay home / stay to themselves / self-isolate. Unfortunately, 1) people don’t like doing that, 2) there’s a selfish gene in all of us, and more so in half the population than the other half, 3) people have a hard time seeing the risk when they are healthy, 4) people have a hard time seeing the risk when the number of cases is still small. (And, of course, some people don’t have a choice and can’t self-isolate, which I’ll discuss a bit more later in the article.)

As Johnna explained and a certain Congresswoman pointed out in her own way, other problems are that 1) our many service-sector workers have crappy pay and not enough (if any!) paid sick leave, 2) those people have to pay their bills, 3) and there hasn’t been an adequate enough response from corporations or the government to provide these people with guaranteed pay and a request to stay home if they are sick. (Even in the bill passed by the House, as a compromise with Republicans, they only required paid sick leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees, excluding places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, McDonald’s — you get the point.)

In other words, we’re stirring up a perfect storm for one of the worst responses in the world to the novel coronavirus, if not the worst, which may mean the highest death toll of any country. Again, that may not be you dying — especially if you are young and healthy — but the death toll could reach into the millions according to experts, and even if it’s in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, that’s a nasty little pandemic.

One of the best pieces I’ve seen on this topic when it comes to explaining to all of us why it’s so important to self-isolate (#staytheFhome!) is this one from Reuters:

I highly, highly, highly recommend reading that.

Also, social distance the heck out of yourself and feel free to catch up on the 40,610 articles we’ve published on CleanTechnica if you’re bored. Or watch the truly awesome non-Tesla videos Chanan has published. Or find cool movies and GIFs to watch, like this one:

Oh yeah, you can also call your senators (or just Mitch McConnell) and urge them to stop wasting time and pass some helpful legislation.

 

 

And don’t panic. It doesn’t help anything.

 

 
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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