The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Rich Galen

Monday March 9, 2020

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  • You can't turn on a radio, a TV, or the Internet without hearing, seeing, or reading about the Coronavirus named COVID-19 (COronaVIrusDisease).

  • My house is awash in wipes, sprays, and gels all designed to keep us safe from the Coronavirus.

  • While we are super focused on COVID-19, and rightfully so, there are a lot of viruses floating around. According to one source there are 1031 viruses. That's 1 with 31 zeros.

  • Wanna see it?

  • 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

  • You're welcome.

  • I am not minimizing the dangers inherent in CAVID-19 to the general population, and especially to me.

  • I am the poster child for a high-risk person: Over 70, was diagnosed with heart disease when I was 39, and went through a pneumonia/bronchitis thing last Fall. Age? Check. Heart? Check. Lungs? Check.

  • Yikes!

  • I stopped going into the District of Columbia every day last Spring so I have, effectively, been self-quarantined for the past 11 months.


    The only reason I haven't officially retired is because I didn't have an actual job to begin with, so I have not had a job to retire from.

    But, I have been brushing up on the rules of shuffleboard, and developing a schedule that allows me to be hungry enough to eat the meatloaf and mashed at about 4:30 every afternoon.


  • Back to Coronavirus.

  • I have a history of thinking I have these dread diseases. In April, 2003 I had been to a meeting at the Toronto airport and returned thinking I had contracted SARS. A couple of years ago, following one of my many trips to sub-Saharan Africa I was certain I had come down with Malaria.

  • It took about 11 hours for the hospital, in spite of two huge blood draws, to determine I did not have Malaria. I am convinced they screwed up the first test but had the good sense to send the second sample up to NIH where there were people who had actually seen the parasite that causes Malaria through a microscope.

  • I make that point because IN Africa, if you come into a clinic shivering like you forgot your mittens while filming yet another Emperor Penguin special in Antarctica, the FIRST thing they will look for are those little Malarial Plasmodia. At hospitals in and around Our Nation's Capital, they are far more likely to inquire into your level of recent alcohol consumption.

  • I don't have any better understanding than you do about what's going on with this thing. Unlike our Epidemiologist-in-Chief, I did know that seasonal flu - the one you are supposed to be vaccinated against every Autumn - kills a lot of people.

  • From the LA Times:
    "An estimated 32 million Americans have come down with influenza since this year's flu season began in late September, resulting in about 18,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

  • So, why the big hoo-hah about Coronavirus?

  • Well, for starters, seasonal flu has a death rate of about .056%. The reason 18,000 people have died is because the flu is so easily spread and so many people get it..

  • COVID-19 might have a death rate as high as 3.4% according to the World Health Organization. If as many Americans contract COVID-19 as seasonal flu, we would be staring down the barrel of 1.1 MILLION deaths.

  • In the United States.

  • Don't email me with the details of the conversation you had with your brother-in-law who took a course in statistics in college and told you not to worry.

  • I took about 10 minutes of statistics at Marietta College, Marietta Ohio, 45750. I dropped the class as soon as I realized math was involved.

  • With a disease like this, about which we know so little, we don't know whether it will be like a hurricane: Maybe it will hit downtown Miami with the force of a category four storm; maybe it will veer out to sea and leave Miami with some flooded streets.

  • Better to prepare for the direct hit than to ignore the warnings and watch your garage - car and all - float away in the storm surge.

  • So, do what you can to stay healthy. Keep away from crowds. Wash your hands. Take your meds.

  • And, maybe, say a little prayer that COVID-19 turns out to sea.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the delegate tracker site that updates automatically, a link to that SARS column (which is worth the read), and a link to the LA Times article.

    The Mullfoto is of our cat obeying the hand-washing rules.

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