Home History Class covid-19 Understanding Epidemics, Pandemics, & SARS-CoV-2 | Heeding Former CDC Director, Dr. Frieden’s, Warning (Covid-19 Part 2 of 7)

Understanding Epidemics, Pandemics, & SARS-CoV-2 | Heeding Former CDC Director, Dr. Frieden’s, Warning (Covid-19 Part 2 of 7)


DAY 4 #12BlogPosts11Days

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; This is not medical advice or scientific fact; the following article is simply my personal findings on studying Covid-19 via the Internet. The following article is not intended for anything more than a personal opinion piece.)

March 27th. 

2020 feels like it just started- at the same time, I’m not alone in wanting it the fuck over.

It isn’t even that this new virus totally fucked my 30th Birthday plans for Miami Pride- it’s that I made it through February- which was literal hell- only to emerge and learn that everyone had a fucked up February.

Toilet paper is scarce, unemployment is soaring, and no one knows what the hell is going on.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Should I bug out and get my bunker stocked?!


It is just another hoax from the media- this will pass.

Okay, so-

what is the correct response? 

Everyone is wondering where the line is to be drawn with preparing and over-preparing. I always err on the side of paranoid doomsday prepper myself- but I realize not all y’all do, so I tried to keep that in mind while researching this.

Which is what led me to compose this 3 Part (now 7) Blog Series On Covid-19 (but it just kept growing!) and everything that we know revolving around it. I spent days studying anything and everything around Covid-19 and coronaviruses in general. 

I even started a Twitter for y’all; this way, I can stay in more constant contact with the world.


Yesterday we learned about the R0- it’ll come in handy in understanding the following.

COVID-19 (As of March 26th, 2020 according to cnbc.com)

R naught (mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious disease is): 2

Mortality rate: 4.5% (this number is in flux) 

World population: 7.8 billion

Lovelace Jr., Berkeley. “The coronavirus may be deadlier than the 1918 flu: Here’s how it stacks up to other pandemics” THU, MAR 26 2020  

Photo by Cleyder Duque on Pexels.com


-Epidemics & Pandemics: Differences & How They Spread
-Covid-19 Further Explained
-Warning From The Former Director Of The Centers Of Disease Control And Prevention

I wanted to cover

epidemics and pandemics in yesterday’s blog post, but it was already so long. Instead, I evened it out into multiple blog posts roughly the same (long) length. That caused all the posts to grow. No avoiding that.

Getting right in where we left off yesterday-

Epidemics, Pandemics, And How They Spread

Let us start off

with a video. It’s short, informative, and it will help us understand what we will be learning throughout the next portion of the blog post..

How Influenza Pandemics Occur – NIAID

Breaking it down further,


“That word—pandemic—

is enough to induce widespread panic, and with good reason: According to the WHO, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. “A pandemic is when an epidemic spreads between countries,” says David Jones, MD, Ph.D., a professor of the culture of medicine at Harvard University. In the case of COVID-19 specifically, the WHO said that it’s the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. 

In the grand scheme of things, a pandemic is the highest possible level of disease, or a measure of how many people have gotten sick from a particular disease and how far it has spread—but before a common illness reaches pandemic proportions, it has to exceed a few other levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Sporadic: When a disease occurs infrequently and irregularly.
  • Endemic: A constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infection within a geographic area. (Hyperendemic is a situation in which there are persistent, high levels of disease occurrence.)
  • Epidemic: A sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease—more than what’s typically expected for the population in that area.
  • Pandemic: An epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, affecting a large number of people.”

Brabaw, Kasandra. “Epidemic Vs. Pandemic: What Exactly Is the Difference?” Health.com Updated March 13, 2020

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

New England Journal of Medicine has some optimism to offer us all in terms of this new global pandemic.

“History in a Crisis — Lessons for Covid-19”


eventually resolve, whether succumbing to societal action or having exhausted the supply of susceptible victims. As Rosenberg put it, “Epidemics start at a moment in time, proceed on a stage limited in space and duration, follow a plotline of increasing revelatory tension, move to a crisis of individual and collective character, then drift toward closure.” This drama is now playing out with Covid-19, first in China and then in many countries worldwide.” 

Jones, David S. M.D., Ph.D. “History in a Crisis — Lessons for Covid-19New England Journal Of Medicine, March 12th, 2020

I found that article to be realistic yet reassuring. Recently it seems as if anyone, globally, getting up in front of the camera to talk about coronavirus does not really know what they are talking about. In fact, I am not alone in feeling more confidence in the healthcare workers that admit they really do not know what they are dealing with- than with the government, who acts so arrogantly confident in the face of unprecedented uncertainty. 

Coronavirus: US may become next centre of the pandemic – BBC Newsnight

Covid-19 Explained

What is Covid-19

“COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.”

World Health Organization

There is a lot of speculation still,

and while The POTUS appears to be confident of how things will progress- only 37% of USA Citizens are confident in President Trump’s confidence! 

This poll comes from March 17th, 2020, but you can clearly see what kind of lack of trust The American People currently have for their President. NPR did the poll- click here to read “Poll: Americans Don’t Trust What They’re Hearing From Trump On Coronavirus.” 

The Hill has a more recent survey- for those that want frontline news. Still not looking great. “Poll: Most Americans say efforts to combat coronavirus “going badly.” BY JOHN BOWDEN that came out March 24th, 2020.


That number may not be much different than when he started his presidency- but that’s a LOT of American’s left in wonder and fear at what is actually going on.

Back on track,

Cleveland Clinic Newsroom had the same questions about Covid-19 that you and I do. Here is what they have to say.

Q: What is COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.

Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus, and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.

Q: How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

A: COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Q: How long does it take for symptoms of the COVID-19 to appear?

A: CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. To be cautious, many governments are requiring an isolation period of 14 days for people returning from endemic areas.

Newsroom, Cleveland Clinic. “Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”, March 17th, 2020


so avoid the shit out of people hacking in public. Actually- in case you haven’t been paying attention. If you are a NON-ESSENTIAL WORKER, stay the fuck home. Most people don’t seem to be taking this seriously enough- this virus kills. Not just a little, but an increasing amount. For English or Korean speakers, I found an excellent global Covid-19 counter. Check it out.

Corona 19 (Covid-19) Real-Time Situation Board

Good thing after all my travels I ended up back in my home state of Maine- the population is so small, there are very few people to worry about… 

Oh shit- can Moose get the coronavirus?! Is anyone thinking of asking that yet?…

SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV?

I wasn’t fully grasping the distinctions in the name- so I did a deep Goog, and I found this article by Quartz

“Why won’t the WHO call the coronavirus by its name, SARS-CoV-2?”

“It started out

as the “Wuhan virus,” with everyone from researchers to news outlets—including those inside China—referring to it as such. Then it was the “Wuhan coronavirus” and “China coronavirus,” and subsequently, 2019-nCoV. Finally, on February 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave the disease an official name: Covid-19.

To be clear, Covid-19 refers to the disease. “Co” refers to corona, “vi” to virus, and “d” to disease. The virus that causes the disease is SARS-CoV-2, which was named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The “SARS” part of the name refers to the new coronavirus’ genetic link to the virus that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak. So one tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, not Covid-19, as it’s the virus and not the disease that does the infecting. The WHO lays out this distinction clearly on its website.”

Hui, Mary.CALL IT BY ITS NAME | Why won’t the WHO call the coronavirus by its name, SARS-CoV-2?Quartz, March 18, 2020

As I explained,

I have spent many days doing research, and I was chilled when I came across the March 6th, 2020 blog post by Dr. Frieden.

As my students know, and you will soon learn Reader (I hope you enjoy the article and consider becoming a Fellow Student by Following this blog)- I ask a lot of questions.  

As it turns out, I am not the only one that still has questions yet of this new virus. 

Warning From The Former Director Of The CDC

Dr. Tom Frieden

of drtomfrieden.net and Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equally has concerns and questions revolving around this new global pandemic. It is essential to point out that while we may know of other coronaviruses, this particular strain is still in its infancy. Patients that survive Covid-19 are going to undergo regular testing for the next year to see how the virus evolves over time.

You may or may not have heard of Dr. Tom Frieden before- but everyone has heard of the CDC. He was the former Director of the CDC, regardless of what you know of the man, everyone respects that title. If Dr. Frieden is skeptical about what we know- then we all should be.

I have included Dr. Frieden’s March, 6th post, 

Dr. Tom Frieden on 19 Critical Data Gaps Limiting our Effectiveness Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

I don’t need to say anymore. Dr. Frieden’s article did the job.


I will wrap up here. It was another long lesson. I promised my blogs wouldn’t be so long, and then the very next one was. I apologize. That’s the kind of apologizing that is heartfelt- but not enough to do something different in the future. It is definitely more than likely it will happen again. I apologize… (this is another one of those times. I was born in the north but raised in the south. No getting past it I guess y’all).

Law Matheson

DAY 4 #12BlogPosts11Days

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