Sunday, March 15, 2020

Tale of Two Countries: A Coronavirus Story and ONE BIG TAKEAWAY

Obviously the coronavirus story is like nothing any of us have ever experienced. We've read about the bubonic plague and the Spanish Flu epidemics but this is something new in my experience. The last time Major League Baseball shut down was because of a strike, not a pandemic. March Madness is cancelled, as are all kinds of other events where people gather.

It's not uncommon for the stock market to experience sharp declines, but the past three weeks there's blood in the streets like nothing I've ever seen before. (A euphemism for Red Ink.) Yowzer. (As I write this, futures are way up now for today on bipolar Wall Street.)

Friday, Reason.com had this update on the corona virus story after President Trump made some pronouncements about how we were going to defeat the corona virus. The article offered some instructive details regarding how Italy and South Korea responded to this health crisis. One nation has had a significantly different outcome from the other. Here are excerpts.

Italian public health authorities reported detecting the first 16 cases of local coronavirus transmission on February 21. By February 29, the outbreak had risen to more than 1,000 cases and the death toll stood at 29. Not even four weeks later, the country is reporting nearly 12,500 cases and almost 900 deaths.

By way of contrast, here is South Korea's response, and results.

In South Korea, the first community transmission of the virus was confirmed on February 19. By February 26, the number of confirmed cases had climbed to 1,261 and killed 12. At the time, the daily of rate of increase in cases reached 40 percent. To counteract the epidemic, the country's public health authorities engaged in a massive testing campaign featuring drive-by testing sites. As of yesterday, the number of cases had risen to nearly 7,900, with 66 deaths. But the daily rate of increase had slowed to just 1.5 percent. That slowdown is largely the result of the widespread testing, which let infected citizens know they should isolate themselves and helped public health workers track and monitor their contacts. 

Here's an excerpt from a Thailand email I received this morning with detail from that corner of the world:

The virus seems to behave differently in different countries. Almost nobody is wearing face masks here, not even at the huge "fresh market" where there are hundreds of booths selling all kinds of things, fresh veggies and meat included, and including egg rolls they make right there. Probably 1000+ people in there at any one time, a very few people with masks (none of the vendors, that I noticed), and some of the people with masks have them pulled down under their mouth, just around their chins. I carried one in my pocket, just in case the gov't started requiring them all of a sudden.

* * * *

HERE'S THE BIG TAKEAWAY
from all this distracting COVID-News.

If you're staying home because some of the events you usually go to have been cancelled, it might be a good time to turn you attention to that One Big Thing that you've been putting off for so long.

This is something I myself have been doing. Though I do write daily, I've been inwardly casting about for that next Big Thing. This past two weeks I've been assembling a book proposal. It's a lot of work, and that heavy lifting was what was holding me back, frightening me off from taking a stab at it. But there came a point at which I became aware that not writing this book was scarier than writing it.

HERE ARE SOME LINKS
to stories that can help you get started on your own One Big Thing.

How to Start the Big Project You’ve Been Putting Off
How to Finally Get Started on a Big Project or Idea: A Tip to Get You Started
5 No-Fail Ways to Finally Start Your Next Big Project
Eight Smart Ways to Tackle a Big Project

2 comments:

OldBobFan said...

Thanks Ed. This is exactly what we needed now. Hope you're staying well. Our best to all who remember.
- Frank and Pati.

Ed Newman said...

Hey thanks. Appreciate that.
e.