SIA Director Dismisses Coronavirus, Don't Cancel ISC WestBy: John Honovich, Published on Mar 03, 2020
SIA Director and ISS executive Janet Fenner has come out criticizing the lack of education and the 'mainstream media', arguing against canceling ISC West.
Fenner posted on LinkedIn arguing against canceling comparing coronavirus to the flu:
Fenner responded to IPVM's request for clarification, emphasizing that 'the flu still poses a bigger threat' than coronavirus:
this is a serious matter and I don't envy the heads of corporations that need to make decisions based on the safety of their employees or based on the liability that they face regarding travel. Even our own CEO is contemplating not attending. My post was focused on trying to place this into context and stop a bit of the hysteria that we do as human beings. The reality that the flu still poses a bigger threat is real.
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Coronavirus Far More Dangerous Than The Flu
While the flu today kills more people than coronavirus, the issue is that this can change extremely quickly, in just weeks, far faster than people like Fenner appreciate, because, unlike the flu, there is:
- No vaccine for coronavirus
- No anti-viral medication for coronavirus
- No herd immunity for coronavirus
- No experience testing or treating coronavirus in the US
- Long periods where the virus is undetected but can be passed on to others (think ISC West show floor)
"Going Viral" Expression
Most everyone is aware of the expression "going viral" and it is used frequently in technology and for videos (see this list for examples). These are things that one day have little to no views or usage and then in a week or a month explode to tens or hundreds of millions.
Literal Viruses "Going Viral"
Viruses like coronavirus are literally the origin of the term "going viral".
For example, take this projection from a Harvard graduate in chemistry and physics who ran growth for Uber and Facebook, two of the fastest-growing, viral companies of the past decade:
Why am I so concerned? It all boils down to two simple numbers: the reproduction number (R0) and the case fatality rate (CFR). For the flu, R0 is 1.3 and CFR is 0.1%. For 2019-nCoV, experts currently estimate R0 to be ~2.6 (2x the flu) and CFR to be ~1.5% (15x the flu). If we are not able to reduce these numbers quickly and drastically, 2019-nCoV could become a pandemic that infects over 1 billion people and results in over 10 million deaths.
Or this from a well thought out coronavirus podcast with Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch in which he "predicts that between 40 to 70 percent of adults in the world will become infected with the coronavirus."
The risk of viruses is that they literally go viral. That's why so many scientists, public health officials, governments, etc. are so adamant about taking steps to reduce the virality of the virus.
Perhaps the most infamous story from the Wuhan coronavirus origin is that Wuhan threw the world's largest-ever banquet of 40,000 people while local officials were suppressing and downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus:
This, of course, resulted in mass infections and deaths.
SIA / ISC West Be Careful
Underestimate a virus at your own peril.
The upside is money for SIA and Reed but is it worth the risk of becoming the next Wuhan banquet?
Update March 19, 2019