Captain's Log 16 MAR '20 Virus vs Weather...HOPE vs Fear
Written by Bill Kirk
March 16, 2020
19 March 2020 Thursday: An Important Message from weathertrends360
16 March 2020: Let's just call it Monday without the normal Happy. But we'll end with HOPE over FEAR and that deserves a :) CLICK ON IMAGES FOR A LARGER VIEW.
With FEAR & PANIC gripping the world on every front, we thought we would try and bring some CALM & HOPE in today's update. One of our financial services clients sent out some of our long range outlooks as it relates to when U.S. regions will exceed 77F; one of many research studies suggesting that's the magic temperature when the COVID19 will begin to diminish. There is plenty of other research that suggests that the combination of temperature, humidity and UV sunshine will ultimately lead to the demise of this virus even sooner. We'll explain.
Looking back at other viruses we see a common theme...they love cold weather. Even the term "Influenza" comes from its original Italian name of "influenza di freddo" meaning "influence of the cold."
The graphic above shows the 1918 Spanish Flu peaked in the Fall and Winter before diminishing; it infected 500 million worldwide (33% of the world population at the time) and killed an estimated 20-50 million including 675,000 Americans. Then SARS in 2003 which was far less deadly but had brought plenty of fear and panic that we'd see a repeat, but it did what most flu-like illnesses do and peaked in late Winter - Spring and then plummeted in activity in May. The CDC flu graphic shows U.S. flu activity ramps up in the Fall, peaking in Winter or early Spring and then plummets. Expectations from many are COVID19 will ultimately react similarly. Why?
An interesting research study from Dr. Richard Hobday looks back at some lessons learned from the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 and what we might expect from Coronavirus. Recall this was also the end of World War I when thousands of troops in Europe were coming home, many were already sick with virus as they returned home creating the outbreak in America. What's most interesting from the study is that many of the sick were treated outdoors, out of the hospital due to over crowding and those patients actually fared much better! Patients treated outside, exposed to the Sun and higher UV had 30% less death rates from the treated inside the hospital.
We all know that hospitals are germ infested petri dishes back then, even today they're not the safest places, which speaks to the value of self-quarantine as a viable consideration if conditions are not life-threatening and getting outside for some SUN VITAMIN D! Other research shows our immune systems are weakest in the cold Winter months and in part explains why other respiratory infections tend to peak in Winter.
Another contributing factor the global PANIC & FEAR is unfortunately social media where instant panic can be spread on a global level leading to a run on toilet paper...toilet paper! Sorry for the pun if you caught it. :) Back in 2003 with SARS there was some concern but not the widespread panic we have today.
In part...no Facebook (2004), no YouTube (2005), no Twitter (2006), no Instagram (2010). And now we have information web sites like this one showing every infection, every death. But it also reminds us of some simple math. 169,387 cases over the past 3 months..that's 0.002% of the world population. This clearly isn't the Black Plague, death's 0.00008%...lightning far more likely to kill you.
So, let's use our social media platforms to instill HOPE & CALM for our collective greater good.
In the mean time we continue to live our lives as best we can, be vigilant in washing our hands, using sanitizers, stay home if you have any indication of being sick, don't sneeze or cough in the air and avoid large crowds. And especially the elderly who are always at higher risk for Pneumonia and other respiratory illness. Children are taught at an early age to cough and sneeze in the kink of their arm, sadly too many adults have forgot the practice. Just recently heard someone say they sent their kids to school very sick so they didn't lose their "perfect attendance"...that's called selfish inconsiderate foolishness we can all live without.
The good news THIS WEEK (16-22 March) is we have a continued warmer pattern for the Eastern half of the country. Overall the U.S. looks to trend 4.2F warmer than last year, 9th warmest in 35 years with above average temperatures. The West and Northern Plains are the cold spot.
Snowfall for the week up over last year with a moderate snow event for the Rocky Mountains into the Plains and Upper Midwest Thursday-Friday.
Next week (23-29 March) the U.S. should again trend warmer than last year, +4.6F warmer and 5th warmest in 35 years with much above average temperatures, the West still on the cool side. Rainfall the wettest in 11 years, 3rd wettest in 35 years but snowfall likely to be 13th least in 35 years and well below average. Theme - warm and humid so let's HOPE this begins to attack this viruses' longevity.
Now for the interesting. The National Weather Service radar in Key West Florida caught a migration of birds moving North out of Cuba into the U.S.! Maybe they know something that Spring is indeed here. See today's video for the animation of the flock.
I'll end with some words from 55 to 2000 years ago. Reverend Billy Graham said in 1965, "Historians will probably call our era "the age of anxiety." Anxiety (crippling disease) is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us." - Billy Graham 1965...even more applicable in 2020.
"Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name." - God Psalm 91 (The Bible...2,000 years ago).
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - God Jeremiah 29:11-13 (Bible 2,000 Years Ago)
"The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face SHINE upon you, And be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you PEACE."
- Captain Kirk out. PLEASE try and be the calming voice with your friends, families and communities.