Date: March 12, 2020
I stopped going to socials (salsa or bachata). We need to flatten the curve. Everyone should just take a few weeks off and see where this goes.
I am in Buenos Aires Argentina. There were 21 confirmed cases nationally when I posted that. 9 more reported today. I only knew of one in BA, 6 km away.
But you know what, those numbers don’t reflect the number of people really sick. It reflects more how many tests are being run. If we wait until there are enough confirmed cases for it to be risky to dance then it is already too late. We have to flatten the curve.
As I was out walking today I saw a bus stop and unload some old dude from the bus. He didn’t look homeless, but he looked sick. And like he had shortness of breath. If that guy on the bus had COVID-19, he didn’t figure out how to get tested before he risked everyone else on that bus and the 6 officers who met him on the street. He looked like any other retiree here who might have back from vacation in Europe a few weeks ago (which was the case for Argentina’s first covid19 case and death).
I was dancing 3-5 socials a week up until Tuesday. Its what I love to do, why I am here. But something just clicked, I realize me missing a few weeks is not that big a deal compared to what we’re going to face in the near future. The socials are still going on, and it was hard to miss last night. I see today that a tango organization has called a collective halt, affecting only one place I know with bachata socials. Its a start:
I think having a partner or small group you meet in isolation is a good idea. That would be part of your isolation unit, like households are an isolation unit.
If you’re dancing any social dance with someone, you’re already just as much at risk as you are in sensual range.
“No cases” in any location in the US means nothing at this point. There are far too few tests being run, despite what the White House is telling people.
In Germany, we had (as of yesterday, I think) a similar or even slightly higher number of confirmed cases (around 1600) and only 5 related deaths. The US was at more that 30 dead already, so I will eat my dancing shoes of the number of confirmed cases over there is a reflection of reality.
Judging from the rapid increase in confirmed cases over the last couple of days, as well as the number of confirmed COVID-related fatalities, there is bound to be a much higher number of untested people who show little to no symptoms but are contagious regardless, people who were ill with ‘mild’ symptoms but had no choice but to go to work (because otherwise they lose their job and starve) and spread the virus, and many others who went untested and unconfirmed and also contributed to the spread. Millions of people without health insurance in the US would rather lose a foot than go to the doctor for what feels, to 80% of those who contact it, like a mild flu or cold. And all those test kits sent over from Europe are still sitting unused and awaiting FDA approval.
The actual number of cases is certainly much higher. And, observing from Germany, it also seems as if US authorities failed at tracking chains of infection, because they could not test properly. Please correct me if I’m wrong here. I’ve only kept half an eye on US COVID-news. Our own crisis is keeping me busy enough 😅
(TL,DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read)
What I’m saying, I think, is: The incubation period of this is up to 14 to even 20 days. Don’t wait until you learn that someone in your local social dancing scene has been tested positive. Or in your city. Limit non-essential close social interaction like social dancing now. Skip that festival. Your government won’t act fast enough beyond political symbolism and blame-shifting. They believe in “beautiful little numbers and beautiful bigger numbers” and that “the consumer will fix it” and that an uncle who taught “a record number of years at MIT” makes you a super genius and expert virologist.
The US Health Care Industry is not well prepared for what’s likely going to come. The sooner we manage to flatten the curves of infection rates in our respective countries, the better we can manage this crisis, and the fewer grandparents and vulnerable relatives and friends have to suffer and die.
So please, learn from others’ mistakes and don’t be irresponsible.
UPDATE Date: March 18, 2020
And a little update from Germany, to give you some perspective on how fast this moves: when I wrote my comment 4 days ago, we had around 1600 confirmed cases in all of Germany. Yesterday evening, we had more than 8000.
I live in NRW, one of the German states that have been hit hardest due to population size and density and because we had one of the earliest clusters in one district. On Monday, our state reported around 1500 cases. By Tuesday evening, it was 3400.
If this rate holds up, and if they are able to test more people to keep up with the exponential growth, we could be at 1.5 million (of a 16.5 million state population) by the end of next week. That means roughly 1 in 11 people. If only 15% of these people need hospitalisation, that’s 225,000 people.
Remember, these are only the tested and confirmed cases. Experts estimate that the real numbers could range between 2x to 10x this.
All nonessential business here is closing or has closed. We’re not yet under curfew / lockdown as in Spain or Italy, but close. And if people don’t behave accordingly, we might soon be.
It is key to slow down the spread of the virus to give our health care systems the best chance to treat as many as possible. If we don’t manage this, people will die that would have survived otherwise. Not just of Covid-19, but of all the “normal” stuff that people get all the time.
Limit in-person social interaction to the absolute minimum.
Keep a distance. Do not shake hands.
Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often.
Don’t touch your face.
Cough and sneeze into elbow. Throw away or wash used tissues.
Stay away from people known to be vulnerable as much as possible to keep them safe. Help them to avoid crowds, if you can. Maybe you can do the shopping for your elderly neighbour while you’re at it.
Don’t hoard. Everyone needs toilet paper and pasta, and half of everyone needs women’s hygiene products too.
Covid-19 is contagious even without symptoms. If you are infected, you can infect others even if you are feeling well. It can take a week, sometimes two before you develop any symptoms. Most people start to recover after around a week. Definitely seek medical attention if you feel like you have the flu and are getting worse after a week, or if you have difficulty breathing.
Be smart and be careful out there, everyone. If we all do our part to slow down the spread, hopefully all of us can dance again in the summer.
I am curious as to which cities you guys are located because I was just in Dallas up until yesterday and since there aren’t any cases there yet, there has been absolutely no talk about even avoiding social dancing let alone canceling events. In Vancouver (40 cases) now though and people are still going out/events still going on. I think they will start canceling them when other events start getting canceled because like the universities and schools are still in session.
Update : another 84 cases have been declared just today in vancouver, first cases confirmed in Dallas. In both cities, all social dancing and classes are now canceled, which I’m very glad about. ( Date March 18, 2020 )