[koko] the Ides of March 2020

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

In spite of the pandemic, I feel blessed today. Blessed that my mother was a public health nursing professor, who taught me hygiene and many other useful practices especially useful now. Blessed that my father was a public health statistician, that my sister is a family practice physician, that my graduate studies and early professional life engaged me in probability, modeling, and simulation. I feel better prepared than many to understand and adjust to this new reality.

COVID spread graph

A friend started talking to me week before last about modeling the spread. My reaction at the time was that we don’t know enough, don’t even know when it really started. He agreed. But we’re beginning to know more. Maybe we know the start date. Yesterday and today I’ve begun to find interesting resources. Last night I found The Elegant Mathematics of Social Distancing. That referenced the graph above and led to Georgia Tech prof and colleagues explain why and how large gatherings pose real risks which includes it. There is a “Corona Simulator” at Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”.

social distancingI’m still pondering how much social distancing is appropriate. My baseline, before the pandemic, was to mostly stay at home, work at home, work from home. Last week I left home 5 times, more than usual. Still, I’ll probably stay home more. Also, how do we adjust when we do engage? The photo at right struck me. [Aside, it is good to see Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other normally paywalled media punch holes in their paywalls for COVID-19 stuff.]

allergy countsThis time of year is the worst for my seasonal allergies and this year seems worse than most. Mold spores get me all year long, but oak, ash, and elm pollen seem to be especially troublesome, more so than the locally infamous “cedar fever”. I’ve had stuffy nose, throat irritation, mild cough for about 6 weeks. Today I took my temperature, sub-normal as I expected, not close to the 100.4F that seems indicative of COVID-19.

P.S. See, also, “A quarantined boat is an ideal—if unfortunate—natural laboratory to study a virus.”

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