Sunday, March 1, 2020
Contrarian Contagion Vacation!
Having been invited to lecture in Shenzhen, China on Feb 29, 2020, I decided to add trips to Singapore and Thailand—both locations I’ve never visited.
Then, perhaps only a month ago, the CDC advised against all “non-essential travel” to China. I therefore ablated the China part and extended the Thailand one. I write from a little frequented beach town, Krabi (unfortunate name).
Poor me. You’ll see a picture attached if my editor and genius, Andrea, puts it up for me.
The resort is, perhaps, half-full.
The 17-hour plane ride from LAX to SIN was less than half-full.
Friends and family said,
And yet, here I am, learning just this morning that the state of Washington, where one of my darlings lives, has declared a state of emergency.
Where is it safe?
So far, the CDC lists both Singapore and Thailand as safe to travel, even for “at risk” individuals.
Of course, that could change in a hot second.
Meanwhile, I offer this unsolicited advice:
Save your PTO time.
Save extra money for a sudden vacation.
Prepare for an abrupt departure.
Patiently await a health crisis like this one.
As I suggested in a post just the other day, it’s proving extremely difficult to assess just how much of a crisis actually exists.
Here is the range of opinions as of this morning:
On the one hand, the WHO has elevated the Covid-19 risk to its global level risk to very high—it’s highest alert level.
Thus, the empty airplanes as shown above. This one is from the 90-minute flight from Singapore to Krabi. The plane seemed ancient, a used Airbus probably. It creaked all the way over here, arousing greater anxiety than any virus.
On the other hand, Trump declares the virus scare yet another hoax. The media is hyping it, he thinks, to harm the stock market and therefore hurt his chances for re-election.
Just yesterday, and with authority given his extensive training in infectious diseases, Trump told a rally of his base supporters:
The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa.
What are the actual facts so far?
The illness may be like any other type of flu, however it has a 2 percent fatality rate. An infected person is contagious for 14 days. It has spread to more than 50 of the approximately 200 countries around the globe.
And, as of this morning, there are 86,992 cases and 2979 deaths from Covid-19, mostly in China.
According to the CDC, the regular old flu kills 56,000 Americans per year.
Hard to evaluate what that means.
We have seven billion human beings on the planet.
The bubonic plague killed 2/3 of the population of Europe in the middle ages.
The Spanish flu of 1918 killed 50 million people, and just shy of two billion humans lived on the globe then.
In brief, trouble is brewing.
The trouble warrants attention.
But does it warrant panic?
Certainly not, because panic doesn’t help with any situation.
All this leading me to close with this unsolicited recommendation:
If you have the cash, the PTO, and the time, go on vacay NOW!
The planes are empty.
The resorts will charge you 10 percent of their usual rates.
And, who the hell knows if it’s safe in the good ol’ USA?
(Although, with Mike Pence in charge of the Covid-19 crisis, we can all rest in peace, pun intended).
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