Fred Notes: April 6, 2020

Mike Pence, a comforting quality?

Ten Sure Ways to Know It’s a Pandemic

By Fred Faust

Tests are hard to come by these days. It remains vital to determine if we are COVID-19 positive. I pray that you and your family are safe and well.

While the pandemic issue is no longer in dispute, there was early controversy about the scientific evidence necessary to declare a pandemic. We need to use this opportunity to learn for any future events. Here is a World Health Organization (WHO) white paper on the subject:

“The phased approach to pandemic alert was introduced by WHO in 1999,” explained WHO Director-General Margaret Chan to the IHR Review Committee, “to allow WHO to gradually increase the level of preparedness and alert without inciting undue public alarm. In reality, it had the opposite effect.” Indeed, WHO’s concern that declaring phase 6 could “cause an unnecessary panic” may explain why it momentarily considered adding a severity index to its phasing system before declaring phase 6. WHO subsequently decided that developing a pandemic severity index was too complex, however, the IHR Review Committee has called on WHO to “develop and apply measures that can be used to assess the severity of every influenza epidemic”, while noting that “assessing severity does not require altering the definition of a pandemic to depend on anything other than the degree of spread”.

Now if you read through all of the above, first, congratulations! Personally, I find this very confusing for someone unfamiliar with WHO, the “severity index” or medicine in general. (I let my partner dissect the frog in my eighth grade class, but I can still remember the smell).

As a service to WHO(ever), I have therefore developed my own test for local pandemics. I call it, “the pandemic test.” It’s very simple and I have found it highly accurate amongst my household. Please answer True or False. Once complete, send me back your response and your filled out census form. Your results will also be provided to WHO to help predict the onset of any future pandemics.

Please mark “(T)rue” or “(F)alse” to the following questions.

  • Friends who used to say hello move quickly to the other side of the street when they see me in my decorative mask.
  • I am secretly relieved that my gym is closed.
  • Since the stay at home orders, my dirty laundry is not stacking up.
  • I have noted to myself repeatedly, “my throat is scratchy, maybe I have COVID-19.”
  • I have not watched the entire Nightly News in over a week.
  • Against all common sense, I may have said, “Maybe Donald Trump actually gets it.”
  • I am thinking, Mike Pence has a comforting quality.
  • I recently asked myself, “Tom who?” and “Mookie who?”
  • I often find myself musing, ‘even if school doesn’t resume this year, won’t it be nice to have the kids home for the summer.’
  • Yes, I do have 100 rolls of toilet paper, but I am using them judiciously.

If you need any additional information about COVID-19 or pandemics, the President’s next news conference is scheduled for tonight at 6 PM, prime viewing time on all parts of America.