Americans find Ordinary Flu more Dangerous than Coronavirus


Americans are more afraid of the flu than the new crown

Hoarding food and paper and guns, do Americans really panic? The world said that Commissioner Xiaocheng chatted with the local residents about the new crown epidemic that seemed to them "like the flu. Although the public does not have much concern about the epidemic and supplies, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's strict control of the number of tests has caused widespread doubts. The much-maligned health insurance policy of the United States has once again become the focus of discussion with this epidemic.

"The threat of the new crown virus to the United States is still low."


On March 1, shortly after the first death in the United States occurred in Washington State, US President Trump held a press conference dedicated to the prevention and control of new crown pneumonia.

At the press conference, Vice President Pence reiterated the United States. The government's assessment of the epidemic.


Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), also said that although there have been cases of death in China in their 30s, most people are only mildly ill and there is no need to worry too much. "This situation is subject to change at any time," he added.



There are currently at least 160 confirmed cases in the United States, distributed in 17 states. Among them, the west coast is the most severely affected area-the first case of community transmission occurred in California; the first death case and several concentrated outbreak sites are located in Washington State. Currently, both states have declared a state of emergency.

The focus of prevention and control in the United States is still the epidemic from abroad. The government has banned the entry of foreigners who have recently visited China and Iran, and advised their citizens not to visit China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and other countries with severe epidemics. 

Although the US epidemic has entered the community transmission stage, the government has not adopted any traffic control or regional isolation measures in the country.


In a relatively relaxed environment, how do ordinary Americans view the epidemic?


Ordinary people: it's like the flu


Although community communication has begun in the United States, the public does not seem to be particularly worried about it. 

According to a national survey conducted by Reuters in the United States on March 2nd, 80% of Americans believe that the epidemic has no effect on them, and most of those who believe that they are affected only feel the impact of work involved such as decline in sales and postponement of meetings.


The situation reflected in the Reuters investigation is also happening in Ohio where I live. 

Perhaps it is because Ohio has not had a confirmed case so far. The residents I asked in the past two days gave me very similar feedback: this epidemic is like a flu.


They are of different ages and occupations. No one expressed concern beyond the normal flu season, no one took any additional protective measures or purchased supplies, and no students changed their spring vacation plans for this.


As for why they are not worried, the answer many people gave me is: Even if the new coronary pneumonia is caused, there will be no serious consequences. 

This judgment is consistent with the message recently emphasized by Trump and several health departments: COVID-19 is bad news for the elderly or people with underlying diseases, but for most people without underlying diseases, "You will be fine."


Infected people can heal on their own, but the comfort of this sentence to the people may be too much. 

The 14-day (possibly longer) incubation period of new coronary pneumonia, as well as symptoms that are no more acute or visible than the symptoms of influenza A and Ebola, have cast a mild appearance on the epidemic. 

Even after the news of the first death of a new crown patient in the United States came out, everyone was not touched too much. One interviewee said to me: "I was surprised, but after hearing that it was an elderly woman, I felt normal."


The deceased was actually a man in his 50s. However, when Trump announced to the public, he said "a very good lady". Most of the people I asked did not notice the president's mistakes.


Many people have received emails from companies or schools about the epidemic. The content is mostly warnings and suggestions, and there are not too many work or school suspensions around. 

The cancellation of individual large-scale events is mostly due to the independent decision of the organizer, rather than government orders, and the emotions triggered by the cancellation of the event are first frustration and annoyance. 

Also, secondly, concerns about the spread of the epidemic. But they don't know. Ohio has only sent eight suspected cases to the CDC as of March 3.

"I am more worried that I have the flu." Interviewee M is a student. He has been coughing for four or five days. 

M has not been to the most severely affected countries. He believes that if he has a fever, he is more likely to have a common cold, flu, or even an "air allergy" than the new coronary pneumonia.


Like M, most of the people I asked said that if you have a fever, you will first follow the flu treatment at home instead of going to the hospital, which is consistent with the mild disease treatment recommended by the CDC. When I asked if I would go for a test, most people frankly did not consider it. 

M also said that if he goes to the hospital, the doctor may recommend him to be tested, but that will incur a lot of costs. Compared with the extremely small possibility, M thinks it is not worth it. 

M knew that the test itself was free, but he firmly stated that once he went to the hospital, he would incur a large amount of "don't know where it came from" expenses.


Is there a stockpile panic?

Although news of stocks out of stock, food, and even toilet paper and bullets are flying in the Asian online community, most American residents have not felt any shortage of materials that could "affect their lives". 

There will be people preparing for the end of the world at any time: a photo of a California resident hoarding hundreds of bullets and a video of an American wanting to buy Shuanghuanglian appear on the Internet, but the behavior of these people cannot be taken as a whole Proof of the situation.


The cut-off of masks across the United States is obvious, but this cut-off started before the first case of human-to-human transmission in the United States. 

A number of North American volunteers who assisted Wuhan confirmed that the shortage of masks and the substantial price increase first appeared at the end of January. 

Many volunteer organizations have adopted the method of appealing to compatriots to purchase materials and send them to designated warehouses to raise materials. 

These materials have provided vital help to Wuhan, but they also mean a large number of retail channels.


By early February, it was difficult to buy masks or other materials that could be donated across borders at reasonable prices and up to standards across the United States.

But these have not had a major impact on the lives of American residents. Of the ten U.S. residents I asked, only one had considered whether to buy a mask and gave up instantly when he saw the price of Amazon masks. 

He said that American residents did not have the habit of wearing masks during the pandemic outbreak, because wearing masks is not only uncomfortable, but also easy for passersby to avoid themselves; more importantly, wearing masks may be useless.


Similar to Europe, well-known doctors in the United States and mainstream media have all promoted that ordinary people do not need to wear masks. They believe that the negative effects of incorrect wearing and the "false sense of security" brought by masks will increase the risk of infection. 

Wearing a mask all the time is more effective than washing your hands frequently and not touching your face.


Regardless of the masks or protective clothing purchased for personal use or assistance, they did not occupy the supplier’s share of the regular supplies originally provided to the hospital.

Hospitals and other health institutions have sufficient masks. In the words of one interviewee, “use and usual It's just as wasteful, and people passing by want to take some."


At present, about 100 cases of diagnosis in the United States have not brought much pressure to medical institutions, but as the number of confirmed diagnoses has increased almost without suspense, many relevant personnel have expressed their concerns to the media about the future situation. 

What is puzzling is that in the absence of a large shortage of medical supplies, the protective measures of American medical staff seem to be very simple. Even when patients are transferred from the elderly center where the epidemic is most concentrated, they do not wear any protective clothing.

In the same way, cleaning supplies such as alcohol and disinfectant wipes are non-emergency daily necessities in American homes. 

Although store shelves have been emptied in many places, people who bought wipes only once in a few months did not feel these scarce supplies.

A salesperson at a pharmacy said that there have been cases where individuals bought all the individual items recently, but due to the fast replenishment, they did not feel the difficulty in scheduling.


Challenged detection capabilities

People who are not worried about symptoms and supplies are worried because of the CDC. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the US policy of strictly controlling the number of tests has aroused many doubts. 

There are currently no public channels to know the exact number of people tested, because the CDC has stopped publishing relevant statistics on February 29-472 people are the last statistics released by the CDC.


Although the current testing progress is not clear, I have to admit that 472 appears to be an insufficient number even on February 29, especially when compared with other countries. 

Some media pointed out that the United States and South Korea are The first confirmed case was announced on the same day.

6 weeks later, South Korea has completed more than 100,000 tests, while the United States has fewer than 500.


The diagnosis of a female case in California further pushed the CDC's overly strict testing standards to the forefront. 

On February 19, the woman was sent to hospital for treatment. When she arrived at the hospital, her symptoms were already serious. 

The doctor intubated her and set up a ventilator. Because the woman's symptoms are highly similar to the virus infection, the hospital suspected that she was probably infected with the new coronavirus.


California Department of Health does not have the authority to implement virus testing

Since the California Department of Health to which the hospital belongs does not have the authority to implement virus testing, the hospital can only apply to the CDC for testing. 

But because the patient has neither traveled abroad recently nor contacted people returning from foreign countries; her condition did not meet the testing standards for the new coronavirus at the time.


Because of this, the female patient did not receive testing in time. It was not until the fourth day after admission that the CDC finally agreed to the test, and the result was positive-she became the first case of community transmission in the United States.


Previously, in order to be tested, two criteria must be met while clinical symptoms appear: close contact with a confirmed patient, or a history of travel in the affected area. 

In view of the delayed diagnosis in California, the CDC has added a new standard to the original standard. No history of exposure, but severe acute symptoms can also be tested.


Considering that the United States has entered the stage of community transmission, and there are more asymptomatic and mildly infected people, some voices pointed out: 

Will too strict standards cause large-scale missed inspections? 

On March 4, the CDC updated relevant information again, announcing that it would no longer give clear testing standards, and medical staff in various places should make their own judgments.


On the other hand, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recently issued statements announcing the decentralization of testing powers to local medical institutions, stating that US laboratories will have enough materials to complete one million tests within this week.


However, the relevant laboratory personnel told Politico that the testing materials are not equal to the actual testing capabilities. 

Due to personnel and site constraints, the final more practical number of tests will be about 5,000 a day. With the decentralization of more authority, the difficulty for people who tend to go out for testing will be greatly reduced.


The test for COVID-19 is free, but this does not mean that going to the hospital is free. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2018, 27.5 million Americans do not have health insurance, and more people have very poor insurance.


According to preliminary calculations by Business Insider, the cost of a single visit without insurance ranges from US$149 to US$1,151 (not including any testing, treatment, and drug costs), and the average cost of one day of hospitalization is US$4,293. 

At present, there is no clear standard for the specific cost of a single test. In response to the New York Times, a government official said that the test cost may vary from state to state.


The test fee of $3271 for suspected patients in Miami circulating on the Internet is not representative: the patient chose to test first and was diagnosed with influenza. 

The entire medical treatment process does not include any testing for the new coronavirus, and his insurance has a very high personal share. cost.


In response to the problem of medical expenses incurred by the new coronary pneumonia, New York State announced on March 2 that the New York State insurance company will waive all expenses incurred for testing for new coronary pneumonia, including emergency medical expenses, emergency medical expenses, and general medical expenses. 

State governments and large insurance companies such as CVS Health are also actively discussing adjustments.


Two days later, Vice President Pence announced at a press conference that Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance will cover the cost of new coronavirus testing, "because this is basic medical benefits." But he did not elaborate, and there is no insurance. What should I do.

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