Saturday, February 29, 2020

you know where there's been not a single COVID-19 death?

The United States remains, for the moment, death-free when it comes to COVID-19 patients. The Johns Hopkins chart says the US currently has 60 confirmed infected people (the real number of infected is doubtless larger), but thus far, none of these people has died.

So... yay, us?

Here in South Korea, where people are tracking the epidemiology of the virus far more honestly than they're doing in China (which seems simply to have stopped reporting most new cases and new deaths), the number of infected has shot up over the 2300 mark. Deaths in Korea seem to have stabilized at around 13. North Korea, meanwhile, recently shot a COVID-19 patient dead (he was a government official), and it still maintains that COVID-19 has not penetrated its borders. I almost wish the virus were more aggressive, just to show the difference between countries that repress information and those that freely share it. But that's a vain and cruel wish, I know.

My alt-media sources continue to advise some low-level form of disaster prep: people should stock up on calorie-dense goods that can be stored long-term (rice, couscous, canned food, etc.) as a way to prep not so much for a disease apocalypse as for the possibility of a panicked rush for the grocery shelves. In South Korea, there's already been such a rush for face masks: I can't find a single pharmacy or grocery selling such masks in my local area. While I'm contemplating ordering masks online, I also realize that they're little more than a placebo. Koreans have mostly masked up at this point, but I haven't noticed anyone staring daggers at me for not having a mask. Not yet, anyway; we haven't turned into China quite yet.

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