Coronavirus unofficial panic guide
Coronavirus is spreading exponentially, humans tend to underestimate exponential trends so will be unprepared when it hits. The number of cases reported outside of China is doubling approximately every four days. As of March 4th there is 15,000 reported cases, so in 4 days time I would estimate there are 30,000 cases.
Confirmed cases outside China:
24 Jan: 30
28 Jan: 84
01 Feb: 173
05 Feb: 248
09 Feb: 382
13 Feb: 587
17 Feb: 896
21 Feb: 1,385
25 Feb: 2,750
29 Feb: 6,800
4 Mar: 14,900
4 days later: 30,000
4 days later: 60,000
4 days later: 120,000
4 days later: 240,000
4 days later: 500,000
4 days later: 1,000,000
4 days later: 2,000,000
4 days later: 4,000,000
4 days later: 8,000,000
4 days later: 16,000,000
4 days later: 32,000,000
4 days later: 64,000,000
4 days later: 125,000,000
4 days later: 250,000,000
4 days later: 500,000,000
4 days later: 1,000,000,000
So in 64 days the virus could infect a billion people. This will be 9th of May 2020.
Of course this prediction won't be perfectly accurate but it gives an indication of how exponential growth works. If you come back and look at this in the future it would be better to indicate how far the prediction is off in the number of days, not in number of cases.
The current confirmed cases may also be under reported because of lack of testing, people not reporting it and also the delay in getting test results.
Current estimated mortality rate is 3.4%, this is skewed heavily towards older people. For seasonal flu the mortality rate is around 0.1%. This would make Coronavirus 34 times more deadly than the flu, I myself don't like getting the flu, so I would definitely not want to be hit by something 34 times as bad. But even if we are conservative with our estimates and say it's only 10 times worse than the flu it would still be the case, if you worked at a company will 1,000 people then you would still be losing 10 of them.
So for people that say "don't worry, its just like the flu", well they're partly right, but it will just hit you mach much harder.
Panic Buying Guide
Well if you're reading this now you're already a bit late to the party. My pantry and fridge are typically completely empty due to my UberEats habit, however after seeing some news about the spread of Coronavirus in South Korea I thought it would be a good idea to stock a bit just in case. The supermarket was fully stocked, even toilet paper was full. I saw one other guy there also with a trolley full of pasta and canned food, we had a good chuckle with each other.. "so.. stocking up early eh?". Well I guess it's a bit odd talking with strangers in supermarkets, I guess these days its more just fighting over who gets the last bog roll.
My thoughts on the toilet paper problem is that because each pack consumes a large amount of space on the shelf, the supermarkets don't hold a large amount of stock of this, then there is a surge in people buying an extra pack so they will have enough if they become isolated at home, this causes the shelves to look empty.. so people then think.. well why not buy two extra packs.. and then when shelves are almost completely empty you will get people loading up their trolley, then coming back for more. This is just irrational buying. What are you going to do with 20 packs of toilet paper?
Over time we are now seeing the same thing with rice and pasta. I would imagine the red cross food drive in the following year will be oversupplied with donations of unwanted rice and pasta.
So what and how much should you be buying?
This is important because it's part of your defense against catching the virus. We touch so many surfaces when out and about, how many people have coughed on that trolley handle, door handle or hand rail, or maybe they used their hand to cover their cough and then touched it. Or maybe you need to shake peoples hands at work or at meetings. The risk here is that you then touch parts of your face which can transfer the virus to you. You'll probably find it difficult to find it on the shelf these days, but don't worry, there are alternatives. Do not pay inflated prices for hand sanitizers, A 500ml bottle should be about $10 to $30. It is possible to make your own hand sanitizer by mixing two thirds isopropyl alcohol and one third aloevera gel. Alcohol wipes are another go to. If you cant find these then a strong bottle of vodka, whisky, rum or any spirits will do the trick, also being dual purpose as you can drink it after. Soap and water is also better for you but its a bit hard to use when your outside. You could also use a pack of disposable gloves and just change them regularly.
This is for situations where you are in close vicinity of someone who is coughing or speaking loudly. Lifts, queues at the market, trams, trains, your workplace... Facemasks are also almost impossible to buy now. You maybe able to ask friends that may have stocked up on masks during the bushfires. The best alternative I can think of is to avoid people who are coughing, if someone coughs then move away, it doesn't mean that they're infected as it could just be smokers cough but hey why risk it. You may be able to fashion a homemade one out of a scarf and some HEPA filter material but I've not seen any guide for this. For me I suffer from hayfeaver so I have my supply of Respro urban masks, I'm not wearing it out yet but I will once its common to see many people wearing masks.
If you take prescriptions then its better to pick up a few extra packs, you don't want to have to visit a pharmacy during the peak of the outbreak. Also pickup some cold and flu meds or ibuprofen, just whatever you're familiar with taking while you've had the flu, don't over do it, just one pack is enough. Meds only tend to cover the symptoms.
Immune boosters, multivitamins and isotonic drinks (8 litre Gatorade powder). Remember don't overdo it. One pack is enough.
Green tea and lemon, lemon juice and manuka honey, long life fruit juice, uht milk. Try to avoid stocking up on fizzy drinks as it's not good having a big supply easily available in your pantry. Some people also stock up on drinking water but I'm fine with filtered water from the tap. Some people will also stock beer and wine, its up to you but you definitely shouldn't drink alcohol if you become sick.
A lot of people are stocking up on rice and pasta, I have a bit but it's not really something that I would want to be eating every day or if I do become sick. I've also brought frozen chips, vegetables, pies and icecream. Also chicken bone broth, chicken soup, vegetable soup, shin-ramen noodles, cereals and canned fruit. Just buy what you like to eat and also some of what you usually eat when you are sick. Don't overdo the rice and pasta.
A thermometer so you know if you have a fever, boxes of tissues, flushable wet wipes if you're sewerage system can handle it. Make sure you have a good supply of consumables likes soap, laundry detergent and toilet paper :'D. Maybe some noise cancelling headphones if that will help you rest if you become sick.
As Coronavirus spreads we will also see a change in our financial situation. While supermarkets and delivery services seem to be big gainers right now, we will see a slowing in travel businesses, restaurant businesses, fitness clubs, major events, schools and university's may be closed. This makes it really hard for small business owners who need to close but will still need to pay rent on the shopfront that they cant use. Governments have tried to keep the economy propped up by cutting rates but this really benefits investors, property owners and home owners. It doesn't do much for the casual workers that will be out of a job but still need to pay rent. To me it seems like money in the wrong place, and we should allow the economy to slow down a bit while this plays out.