L for Liberty

…because liberty is not negotiable.

Guest contribution: Thoughts from a COVID-19 positive (in quarantine).

Two days ago, after symptoms of moderate fever and cough, and my wife also getting ill, we called the doctor, who immediately prescribed us a COVID-19 test.

We went to a drive-in testing station close to Luxembourg-City, which was remarkably well organized, and did the testing from start to finish in a couple of minutes.

Less than 24 hours later, my wife was confirmed negative, and to my surprise, I have been tested positive for COVID-19.

Some thoughts (just based on personal experience, and for full disclaimer, I am not a doctor):

– Symptoms can be (and from what I read are in many cases) quite unspecific. Low fever, light cough, serious tiredness, headache were the symptoms I had in the first 3 days. I have not been in touch with anyone confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, and have no clue where I could have caught this. Had I not been deeply involved with the matter for professional reasons over the last 3 weeks, I would not have suspected a COVID-19 infection, and for sure not have called a doctor. If you have such symptoms – isolate if possible, as soon as possible. The only specific symptoms I had after a couple of days was a strange pressure in the lungs and more recently a loss of taste and smell.

– On the other hand: cough and low fever does not necessarily mean you got it (see my wife). So: Do not panic.

– I was lucky that I have been working in home office for the last days before my positive test, and isolated anyway (at least from people outside my household), so I have probably not transmitted the infection to an awful lot of other people. If at all possible: work at home.

– It is a serious disease. It attacks the lungs. Although most of us who get it will be fine (and I suppose me too), for obvious reasons, nothing is known about the long-term effects even for healthy people that do not need to go to hospital. However: we know already that it is a disease that kills many people: elderly people, people with an existing medical condition (that otherwise would not kill you).

– I studied mathematics, and I know an exponential curve when I see one. This outbreak follows an exponential curve. Should I have had complications, there would still have been beds in hospitals and respirators available for me. If we do not manage to reduce the speed of expansion, at current rate, in 10 days, out of a current number of 484, there will be more than 10.000 cases in Luxembourg. So please: if at all possible: STAY HOME, and listen to the government’s guidelines.

– You can find an infection only if you test for it. On the day I was tested, Luxembourg has made 750 tests; on the same day, in France it was about 2.000 tests, in total in the US up to that day 25.000. Had I not been tested, I would have gone shopping for food this weekend, and returned to the office on Monday, and then risked to transmit the disease to plenty of other people. So to the governments in all countries, if at all possible: test, test, test.

– To business owners and leaders (except of course for those that are essential service providers such as care for the elderly, hospitals, food stores,…):

This will get (much) worse before it gets better. Protect your employees, in particular those that are vulnerable. Send your vulnerable employees home, whether they can work at home or not.
Protect your employees, and organize homeworking if at all possible for as many as possible.
Protect your jobs. It will be good for your business in the long run.

Looking at the exponential curve, the time to act for all the countries that are affected (at whatever stage) is to act now, and to act decisively. Many businesses and countries are still far too complacent (albeit less so in Luxembourg).

I am worried about the European countries. Italy obviously, Spain, France, my own country. I think the European countries will be able to deal with this crisis, because we have many of the tools that we need to deal with it already in place. A good social security, excellent infrastructure, a good health system. Short-term liquidity help for businesses. Compensation for workers and companies for temporary low activity.

I am more worried about the UK, weakened by Brexit, questionable advisors to the Government, and with an NHS and social security system that is already under significant strain. They will however also make it.

I am most worried about the US, and how the crisis will turn out there. A weak social security system, bad infrastructure, virtually no public health system. Complete lack of leadership. The wave will also come to the US, and the US is not even remotely prepared for this. In my view, this is also why the downturn in the stock markets is not yet over.

Daniel Hilbert

(crossposting on linkedin)

März 20, 2020 - Posted by | Neues aus Luxemburg | ,

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