Saturday, April 4, 2020

COVID-19 in SC, by Zip Codes

I just learned of this list - likely, your own state's health department has a similar breakdown.

It was pretty predictable. As soon as I saw it, I realized that I could have located those cases in the correct areas, just by knowing a few things:

  • Where are the densest areas located? The closer people live to one another, particularly in those areas with lots of apartments that are cramped spaces, the likelier it is to spread. If your living quarters are small and noisy, you are going to want to get out of there. You will be likelier to eat out, socialize outside, and interact with more people, thus increasing the chances of running into someone already infected.
  • Where are the poorer zip codes? Poorer people - generally - have one or more pre-existing conditions that increase the chances of needing hospital attention. Healthier people are likely to have few symptoms, and may not even need a doctor or to be tested. That skews the stats on who is positive for the virus.
  • Where are the transient populations? Understand, this is not just homeless, but also military and colleges. Anytime a lot of people without family are in a small geographic place, they are exposed to new germs. Their immune systems are already under stress. COVID-19 is just the final coup de gras.
Forcing people to harbor in place is not the best strategy for very long. We may have to accept differentiated isolation:
  • By age - sixty and older, stay home
  • By condition - those with respiratory diseases (Yes, even including asthma - many people downplay its seriousness, as it is so common, and generally controllable. But, in situations like this, asthmatics need to STAY HOME!), cardiac issues, cancers, and immunocompromised status.
  • Pregnant women probably should stay home - normally, pregnancy is more of an inconvenience, than a limitation. But, it does stress the body, and should be contraindicated to move about the community freely.
  • For now, children. They are germs little Petri dishes, who pose a serious danger to others. They may not get sick, but they will bring the disease home with them, and back to school. Better to move to online education for now.
  • Major cities. The only people moving around should be essential workers. Others should be home. It's cheaper to provide food and water (and delivered meds), than to pay for treatment and burial. Quarantine for anyone wanted to PERMANENTLY move out. Short-term moves NOT permitted.
The rest of the country should be permitted to return to work and more or less normal life - although with masks and less socializing. Those families with minor children should designate ONE person to work, the other to stay with the kids. Have as little contact with the person going in and out as possible, for a while.


Linda Fox said...

The role of the "super spreaders" - those who infect multiple people - needs to be researched, and public policy adjusted to reflect our need to clamp down on that means of adding to the caseload.

boron said...

Just what we need/want: martial law!
Ben Franklin put it best:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”