|Important, but is it happening in time?|
Treatment capacity lines seem optimistic, to me...
assumes healthcare is exceeded vs overwhelmed.
COVID-19: Circling the Wagons
For those of you who don't know it, I've been huffling since the run up to Y2K about TEOTWAWKI - The End Of The World As We Know It.
Now I believe we're watching it unfold.
The basic factors are these
- A fragile, Global Industrial Economy (GIE)... our tightly coupled, deeply indebted Complex Adaptive System (CAS).
- A vast, overshot, human population which depends on a functional GIE for its livelihood.
- Exponential spread of COVID-19 pandemic which will almost certainly overwhelm the healthcare system.
- Failed containment and failing mitigation measures.
- Exponential growth of associated problems.
Exponential growth of anything catches humans by surprise in almost every case. Windows of opportunity for meaningful action / preparation are snapping closed at a rate that's difficult for human beings to grasp intuitively.
NOTE: See here (~4 min vid... visceral impact of exponential growth) and here (~9min vid... exponential spread of COVID-19 vs flattening) to get a taste of the challenge.
David Korowicz lays out the general issues in his paper Trade-off (77 pages for the very interested) and specifically, pandemic based analysis in Catastrophic Shocks in Complex Socio-Economic Systems: A Pandemic Perspective (10 pages for the interested). Both are challenging reading, but, I believe, provide a foundation for viewing current events.
CAS's - such as the human body - have a range of stability. Within that range, they can be astoundingly resilient. But if events drive them beyond that range, a tipping point is reached and the whole system settles into a new equilibrium.
In the human body, an infection can lead to the loss of a critical function (breathing, say), and in a rapid cascade it collapses (and without rapid, correct intervention, dies). In a just-in-time economy, supply-chain interruptions block down-chain production and can rapidly paralyze the economy. In finance, disturbing the mountain of debt can bring currencies and institutions crashing down.
All of these are underway. [Or, for a less detailed and challenging glimpse of the problem, try this article.]
This is my long-winded way of saying that this is both serious and moving faster than we imagine.
My Urgent Advice...
>>> Get together with those you most love RIGHT NOW. Stay together for the duration.
>>> Get together provisions RIGHT NOW (food, water, essential medicines, cooking/heating fuel) for a minimum of two weeks (CDC advice). Longer is better.
>>> Make an isolation / infected plan and put it into action RIGHT NOW.
>>> Don't panic, but GET MOVING.
Whether I'm right or wrong about larger consequences... even if the GIE manages to function beyond the crisis... even if your area has no known cases... whether you are riding this out or hunkering down for trouble...
Containment and mitigation measures are shutting down travel and contact for unspecified periods. If flattening the curve is successful (our best chance), lockdowns will be in place for months, not weeks.
I say again, windows of opportunity are snapping closed.
Fair winds, health and happiness to all of us,
Dave and Anke
P.S. Here's some good advice from a guy who's been there.