Yokemate of Keyboards
Posts: 2638 from 2003/2/24
Well, sitting here with the fevers, dry-cough and a slight ache in my lower throat and lungs (not as in pain, but more like "I sense them" being there. Normally you don't think about your lungs, they're just there doing their job, if you know what I mean, you never notice them or think about them). A bit like the flu perhaps, which it could very well be. A very mild flu in that case (which I can't remember ever having, my flu's has been "binary" - either it's not there at all or it's there in full effect).
No way for me to know if it's covid, the flu or something else, since Sweden (for the last two weeks or so) has completely stopped testing "normal" people with symptoms. In the beginning, before the outbreak turned domestic, they were very active in testing and back-tracing people. But that was when they still fought to prevent an outbreak within the country, back when all cases were "imported" ones. Since then the focus has shifted. Now they are only testing people with *severe* symptoms, people from high-risk groups and hospital personnel. The rest of us with symptoms are simply recommended to assume that *it is* in fact covid and therefore practice all necessary self-isolation and to stay at home, riding it out. Come back to the health care system only if you get trouble breathing, otherwise simply stay at home and let them focus on the people who really needs attention. I'm about to turn 45 years old and not in any particular high risk group, so I suppose that's what I'll do. Stay at home until the symptoms are gone or I get trouble breathing. There is nothing to do about it anyway. It seems like the younger you are, the less risk of getting serious symptoms. Some people have had the disease and hardly even noticed. I heard. I listen to that.
Not doing broad testing anymore also means that we have no way of knowing the number of infected people, because there is no meaningful statistics. There are statistics of people receiving intensive care treatment of course, and of deceased. I suppose they have other ways of getting a broad picture, like sick leave statistics, statistics of calls and inquires to the medical advisory services, etc. All in all they seem to be of the opinion that Sweden now stands just below the "explosive" growth pace in the well-known envelope, while statistics over the infected almost seems to flatten out.
Sweden has taken quite a different route compared to most other countries in this. No longer any testing other than of patients with severe conditions or people from high-risk groups. No closed borders, no closed airports or harbors, all trains, buses, mass transit etc still going as usual. No screening of travelers. No travel bans, only recommendations not to travel to certain places if not necessary. No new, special laws for authorities to control the population. No mobilization. There has been a ban of indoor gatherings larger than 500 people, in some other countries it's like 200, 100, 20, 10, 8, 5 (Germany I heard has as of today a max gathering of 2(!) people!). Schools are open, and the government and disease control authorities are actively defending this decision, which is broadly questioned by the public since everyone is watching the news about how other countries acts. But the rationale is that children and the youth, especially at the lower ages, are statistically not in any danger from covid, maybe they don't even spread it much, and the overall effect a school closure would have on the society at large would be devastating, where many parents (including people working in the health care system) would need to go home to look after their children instead. But since Wednesday all high schools and universities has transitioned to distance learning. But all lower grade schools and daycare is still open like normal. Had this virus been like sars (which affected children more than old people), things would most certainly be completely different.
The whole Swedish approach rests on people's willingness to *volunteer* in slowing down the outbreak by self-isolation. Work from home if you can. Etc. It's a very much debated policy though. People are looking at the rather authoritative measures taken by other countries and question if our authorities are really doing enough. But the government persist, they say it's all about doing *the right* things, and not doing things just for the looks of it that cause damage to the society and economy without really affecting the outbreak very much. Closing schools is deemed being such a thing. I suppose we'll see when it's all over who were right?
Something that *has been* done in Sweden, is a change in the sickness benefit rules. We have many tax-financed benefits in Sweden compared to the USA. Normally, when you call in sick and stay at home from work, you will have to endure one qualifying day of sickness without pay. After that you get 80% of your salary. Only after a week a doctor needs to check you up (doesn't cost anything of course, other than some $10 reception fee or whatever it is now) to determine if you qualify for further paid sick leave, or if you are well enough to go back to work. With the new temporary rules, the moment *anyone* feels *any kind* of symptom (cough, fevers, or whatever, even very, very slightly) you are simply *assumed* to leave work immediately, go directly home and isolate yourself from society to the best of your abilities, and you will get 80% of your salary for two weeks, no questions asked whatsoever! After two weeks, you must see a doctor (if you haven't needed one earlier of course). I believe this will make the world of difference. Self-isolation will be the only way to slow this outbreak down enough for the hospitals to cope until the population reaches flock-immunity and/or a vaccine gets developed (a tested, safe, commercial vaccine produced in volume may still be years away, so that's nothing to rely on at this moment). This policy (making it possible for people to stay at home) I think will be much more effective than calling out the national guard on the streets etc. It's painful to see the situation many people are in the US, people not being able to stay at home if they are sick during normal conditions. It is my understanding that many people (even senior citizens) are working more or less for tip in the service industry like tourism, in bars, restaurants and diners etc, people with zero economic margins in life and who will stand without any income at all if they don't work a day. So they will go to work even though feeling ill, because they have no real alternative option. Many of them comes in contact with huge amount of people through their work as well. This could be very problematic for the US IMHO. You risk being struck very hard this time by your lack of social safety net. Time will tell.
I work as a high school teacher, hence I meet many people as well on a daily basis, and I actually kind of *expected* to catch the bug. Schools *are* notorious in disease spreading, every parent probably have experience of this when it comes to the flu or common cold seasons. Anyway, I'm staying at home now. My 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter is at home with me. They both have a slight dry-cough, like something irritating them in the throat, though no fever or anything else. They are full of energy. I take comfort in the assumption that children will hardly be noticing this outbreak. My wife is also a school teacher, still no cold or flu symptoms. She is very worried though, which I think many people are these days. And there is a psychological side to all of this as well. It's hard to dodge the news, and the feeling that everything is spinning out of control. Many people are feeling bad about it. Personally I almost hope I have actually caught the bug and not just the flu. It would be nice to get it over with and be done with it. Preferably now, instead of when the hospitals run out of ventilators. And if whatever I am feeling now is as bad as it gets, then it's perfectly OK I would say. They say that most people will experience it as a flu or even less. Which is tolerable. And when we reach flock-immunity, this will protect the elderly and high risk groups, probably long before any vaccine is developed, tested to be safe and then mass-produced.
The real blow will be to the economy. It's already a fact, but we may not have seen the bottom by far yet. This is crippling to all small businesses. Restaurants and store owners, who overnight had their entire business erased. Nobody going out to restaurants, bars, clubs. Nobody shops, other than groceries. They have had their legs completely swept away by this, and they will land on their heads. Hard. This will change a lot. E-commerce has been pushing normal stores to the side for a long time. A process that could be fast forwarded by this outbreak by a magnitude. This blow could be one single spine-cracker that will cripple normal stores and malls forever. Changing the trade industry and in a way the world as we know it.
MorphOS is Amiga done right!
MorphOS NG will be AROS done right!