This is why this pandemic is frightening:
I’ve been reading about this virus since January, and like most people, I was cracking jokes about it and did not take it seriously at all. That changed completely when someone explained the numbers to me and explained why we in Ireland in particular are in trouble. I have not stopped thinking about it since. You may not think that we are in trouble based on the number of confirmed cases so far, but we are.
I’m going to write this to you in an effort to explain what the fuck is actually going on and hopefully help in the effort. I don’t know much more than what is in the news, but I have probably spotted some of the important stuff that you may have missed.
I’ve been tracking the numbers and confirmed cases in Ireland have been growing by 30% a day on average, which means the number of cases doubles every 2-3 days. Based on those trends, and without the shutdown, there would be 100,000 confirmed cases within a month.
But the situation is actually much worse. Based on what happened in China and Italy, the actual number of cases in Ireland is almost certainly in the thousands already. The problem is that with this virus, you can have it, not have any symptoms, and still be infecting everyone around you before you feel sick. The Government knows this. That is why they shut the country down.
On the international numbers, over 90% of cases will recover. But 9% will be seriously ill, and about 5% will require intensive care (ICU) and at least 2.5% will need ventilators.
The Government has said between 25% and 75% of the population will get the virus. If 25% of the Irish population get it, which based on the numbers above is a very low estimate, that’s 1.2 million people.
5% needing intensive care means 60,000 people will need intensive care beds to stay alive.
We currently have 277 intensive care beds in Ireland.
I’m going to say that again:
At least 60,000 Irish people will need an ICU bed to stay alive.
We only have 277 ICU beds in Ireland.
If too many people get sick in a short space of time, many, many Irish men and women are going to die when they could have been saved. Ireland is a small country. This is going to be someone in your family or someone you know. Or their mother. Or their father.
The staff in ICU wards know the numbers. Their representative body released a statement on Thursday, which was in the Irish Times, saying that they know that they are going to be making choices on who gets an ICU bed or who gets a ventilator. They said they will be making “challenging decisions”. I’ll translate that: It means the staff are going to be deciding who lives and who dies.
It has been happening in Italy already, and Italy has much better ICU care than we do. In terms of cases, we are 2 weeks behind Italy. The older you are, the less likely they are going to try to save you. Don’t think this only applies to over 70s. If you are over 40, and need ICU, but a 30 year old also needs it, chances are the 30 year old will get it and you will die. If that doesn’t scare you, you don’t fully understand it.
It is absolutely nuts, but this is what is going to happen.
If we can lower the number of cases AT A SINGLE POINT IN TIME, we lower the number of people needing intensive care AT A SINGLE POINT IN TIME, then we free up more ICU beds, and we lower the number of Irish people who die in Irish hospitals. It is that simple.
This could be someone close to you. Your mam. Your dad. Your partner. Your granny. Your granddad. Your brother. Your sister. Your aunt. Your uncle. Your neighbour. Your friend.
You do not want any of them dying because there was not enough ventilators or ICU beds to go around. It will not be the fault of the ICU staff. If you want to blame someone for that, blame years of governments giving tax cuts instead of investing in the health service.
If you are furious even thinking of the idea of your loved ones dead in a coffin because a doctor thinks they are too old or are not strong enough, and giving a bed to someone who is a bit younger, then good, you are right to be. You will also be more willing to listen to what you need to do next to help stop that happening:
STAY THE FUCK AT HOME AND ONLY GO OUT IF YOU NEED FOOD.
Watch Netflix. Read a book. Binge on a TV series. Go on Youtube. Eat food. Learn to cook. Learn to sew. Write a book. Do a diary. Figure out your life. Do press ups. Do sit ups. Do chin ups. Do zumba dancing. Do an online course in astronomy. Or Yoga. Or sports management. Or whatever the fuck you want.
Do whatever the fuck you want. You have absolutely no excuse not to keep yourself entertained at home.
Do not go for pints. Do not have a house party. Do not go to a house party. Do not go for coffee. Do not go for a meal. Do not go for a chat. Do not visit your auntie. Do not visit your parents. Do not bring the kids over to their friends. Do not let friends come over to you.
If you absolutely have to get out of the house, go for a walk on your own or with someone you are living with. But in general:
STAY THE FUCK AT HOME UNTIL THE NUMBER OF CASES STARTS COMING DOWN.
If you want to be a hero in this, and want to save lives, but don’t know what to do, stay the fuck at home.
P.S: The more people who understand what is going on, the better. So send it on to whoever you think would benefit from it.