More Important Than Money: Social Distancing

Most of my readers know me for my investing, but sometimes something more important than money arises.

And this message certainly is: in order to avoid catastrophic collapse of our health system, it’s necessary to slow the rate of coronavirus infections. You can see what I mean below (from the Spinoff).

Given my severe asthma, I’m also doubly keen to avoid the virus, since I’m likely to be a high burden on the healthcare system. After all, the 80% of so-called “mild” cases include people whet pneumonia but don’t need a respirator. Given I get pneumonia from the occasional rhinovirus, that’s probably my best case scenario.

One of my bug bears has been people saying that getting the virus is inevitable. It is not. Nothing is. Although a large proportion of people will probably get it, I believe eventually we will get a vaccine and if you can hold out until then, you won’t get the virus. Might be a crazy plan but that’s what I’m shooting for.

This afternoon, we packed the car, locked up our apartment in Bronte and as a family headed to Pearl Beach. The reason for this is that on this weekend it will rain. Keeping in mind that most infections in Australia are in Sydney, I think it’s quite likely that this weekend will see major spreading in my home city. You can see below that the number of new confirmed cases are accelerating each day.

It was a huge relief to hear that the government has banned non-essential gatherings of over 500 people, but the problem is that the ban only comes into effect on Monday. In an epidemic, most infections are the result of super-spreaders. By denying super-spreaders the opportunity to infect large numbers of people, we can flatten the infection curve considerably. As a result, it’s quite possible that this weekend will be the point of maximum danger in Australia. If that were to be the case, then we will probably fare quite well as a country.

However, it remains to be seen what the second- and third- order consequences of permitting super-spreaders this weekend will be. It may well be that the echo of this weekend haunts us.

For me, it’s time for social distancing.

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