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Old 03-25-2020, 09:08 PM
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When did you start taking COVID-19 seriously?


And by "seriously" I mean realizing that this is here and you need to take action about it and stop saying stupid shit like "oh it's just a bad flu" or "X people die of Y anyway"?


I'm thinking almost exactly one month ago Coronavirus was firmly filed in my brain under "someone else's problem". In fact, my entire company (about 1200 people) flew out from all over the world to an "all hands" conference in Anaheim, CA for an entire week of sitting in packed rooms full of people, eating and drinking in bars and restaurants and even a night in a packed Disneyland. There was a lot of talking about it over drinks, but obviously not enough to keep us from hanging out in groups.

Although, our company did ban our APAC offices or anyone who had travelled there within the past 2 weeks from attending the conference.


I'm thinking I gave it serious thought about a two weeks later (week of March 8). My company issued a "work from home" order (which we already all sort of do anyway). More concerning, my wife's company issued "work from home" orders (which they NEVER do) starting the following Monday and we started getting messages about my son's school having them go remote.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:11 PM
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I can't really pick out a single moment, but for me, probably the biggest one was when they announced they were going to close schools indefinitely.

Finding out that the library system was also going to close really hit home for me, because I volunteer at one facility. I do understand why they did it, however.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:22 PM
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For me it was mid February, when I had a dermatologist appointment at Kaiser and everyone was asked at the check-in desk if they had been to or been in contact with anyone who had been to China in the last six weeks.

Last edited by blondebear; 03-25-2020 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:24 PM
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I first mentioned it in my daily journal on February 29th, so that probably coincides with the day(s) where it was a big enough deal (to me) to mention it. This would've been a day or two after the first US death was reported in Washington, and Oregon (where I live) reported its first case.

I would say that's about when I began to expect my daily life would eventually be altered.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:37 PM
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Well, I didn't ever think it was "just a flu" or irrelevant to me. I have asthma. I heard about it in mid-January, maybe? By the end of January I was talking about precautions with my students. By early February I was buying a little extra food and supplies with each grocery trip and refilling my critical prescriptions. If things didn't get bad, I'd just have some extra provisions. Both apocalyptic science fiction and my AIDS work informed my idle fantasies and choices.

Last edited by susan; 03-25-2020 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:41 PM
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I wasn't never in the "it's just the flu!" camp. As soon as reports came out of China that people were being quarantined and they were building pop-up hospitals, I knew we weren't dealing with another flu. Still don't understand why people swallowed lthat line so easily.

But it started to sink in that the shit was getting real when the Europe travel ban happened.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:42 PM
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It's hard to pinpoint an exact date, but it was sometime during the last week of February. On Leap Day I was already thinking that the shit was on it's way towards the fan and that it was just a matter of time till it arrived. The moment of arrival for me was the night Trump gave his press conference while the NBA was simultaneously shutting down and Tom Hanks was tweeting about testing positive.

ETA: I was also not in the "it's just the flu" camp. Instead I foolishly assumed it was going to be like SARS, something that would be contained and then eradicated before it got here.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 03-25-2020 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:46 PM
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ETA: I was also not in the "it's just the flu" camp. Instead I foolishly assumed it was going to be like SARS, something that would be contained and then eradicated before it got here.
That's also how I felt at first.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:55 PM
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I became aware of the potential threat when Dr. Anthony Fauci did an interview with VOA in late January where he stated than a global outbreak was likely. Soon thereafter, Dr. Gabriel Leung at University of Hong Kong where he estimated as many as 100,000 cases in mainland China, which was more than an order of magnitude of the official numbers. (Fauci and Leung, by the way, are basically the Steve Rogers and Tony Stark of the infectious disease world; between them they have been involved in nearly every serious infectious disease outbreak around the world in the last forty years.) Shortly after that infected people started showing up in Washington and Canada, then California and shortly thereafter in New York.

I started recommending curtailing travel with my staff back in mid-February and worked from home as much as my schedule allowed, and made everyone aware that they could do the same as long as work was getting done. In retrospect I wished I’d been more vocal but at the time the government was taking a wait and see approach and I didn’t want to sound like a conspiracy nutter even though this was exactly how you would expect a fast spreading pandemic to go.

I also have a shelf filled with books on virology, microbial pathogenesis, and epidemiology, so I’m moderately more aware and/or paranoid than the average citizen about the potential of a global pandemic that epidemiologists have been warning of for decades. And frankly, as bad as this is going to be—and it will be horrifying, especially to those on the front lines working in emergency woulds and ICU care wards, especially when they have to start triaging based upon who might make it, who will definitely die, and worst who could survive if they had a month on a respirator but they just don’t have the beds or machines—this is a love tap compared to a serious influenza A outbreak with meningitis presentation or an aerosolized viral hemorrhagic fever that could cut through the population with a 30% or higher infection fatality rate.

This is a warning to start taking the threat of infectious disease seriously. It’s not just a “gay problem”, or an “Africa problem”, or something that just happens to poor people as a consequence of the moral failing of being impoverished. It’s a human problem, and one that needs serious resources to surveil and combat.

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Old 03-25-2020, 10:01 PM
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By the way, “it’s just the flu,” says everything about the misperception of the public to the threat. Prior to this, epidemiologist were expecting the next global pandemic to be a virulent form of avian or swine influenza. We’re overdue for one by at least a decade, and even though projections about which strains will predominate in a given season have gotten better in the last fifteen or so years, influenza is endemic in the human population (as the SARS-CoV-2 virus will become) and it mutates prolifically so there is never any certainty in those predictions. I used to take a “it’s just the flu” attitude, in part because of the extreme systematic inflammatory response I had to a flu shot twenty-odd years ago but I’ve come to the position that it is extremely critical to do everything possible to limit an outbreak of virulent influenza.

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Old 03-25-2020, 10:11 PM
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I don't know just when I started getting concerned, but I do know that my spouse and I had a yelling fight about his refusal to take it seriously on March 8. We have never had a yelling fight before, so the date will probably be ingrained in my mind until I die. I feel badly that it happened, I don't think anyone anywhere ever changed their minds when someone is yelling at them. It was a week later that he started acting like he was taking it seriously, but he wasn't. He was just going through the actions because he didn't want me to yell at him again.

I am young and healthy. He is old with health problems. I really don't want to be a young, healthy widow, so I will yell at him again if I have to.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:13 PM
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When Michigan voted on March 10, I took my kids with me to vote, and made sure we all slathered on hand sanitizer when we got back into the truck. So I was already aware of the seriousness of it then, to an extent. We had also begun stocking up on groceries and staples in the week or so prior.

But the next day, March 11, is when they started cancelling sports, so that's when we, as a family, started thinking the shit was about to really hit the fan, and we began hunkering down. Then schools began cancelling, after-school activities were cancelling, my wife got the go-ahead to work from home, and I'm home this time of year anyway, so we're all just at home these days.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:14 PM
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I took it seriously in the abstract almost from the beginning, but in the abstract, it was a distant threat. It was something to monitor and prepare for - at some point.

I didn't think that I needed to start loading up on groceries and staying put until about 2 weeks ago.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:26 PM
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I certainly underestimated how bad it would be when the first reports started circulating. It was into March before I really appreciated just how serious the problem was.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:05 PM
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BTW, I live in the Seattle area about 2 miles from the Life Care Assisted Living ground zero, and I lived in Shanghai thru ought SARS. I took notice, when my previous companies, one of the largest manufacturers on the planet and possibly the largest private employer in China, restarted SARS era temperature testing of every employee entering the Wuhan factory a few days before Chinese New Year in January. Two days later Wuhan was quarantined. Five days later, i started to WeChat with my good work buddy who was in the IC in the nearby metropolis of Chongqing with coronavirus (he had been at deaths door but got out of intensive care after about 5 days). My estranged wife came back to the US from lockdown in China about 4 February, and no one from the health department checked in.

It got real when I realized that no testing was taking place a couple of short weeks ago. When I saw the number of 20 or 30 or 40 infected, and the deaths in the Assisted Living, I thought it was something to watch but not a major issue. But as soon as I learned that the dozens of cases was based on at best hundreds of tests (and not thousands or tens of thousands), then I got woke.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:47 AM
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Honestly, not until I heard the Italy was suffering 500 deaths a day. Of course China had probably already reached that point, but it escaped my attention. All the other numbers had asterisks and caveats. Those numbers confused me. Five hundred dead is shocking round number.


Yesterday the US reported 247 dead. China 9. Italy 683. Spain 656.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:11 AM
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After seeing the video of an Italian nurse who stated:" We have stopped counting deaths as there are too many deaths to count in a day".

Last edited by AmyPang; 03-26-2020 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:14 AM
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I realized how serious this virus is after seeing this pathetic video

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Old 03-26-2020, 02:38 AM
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I started taking it seriously when I saw NYC's number get so disproportionate to the rest of the nation.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:31 AM
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Mid to latter January.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:51 AM
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I went to the Mayor's office for a scheduled hearing. It was pushed back an hour or so because the Mayor and his staff were meeting with police and military personnel going over plans in the event of a lockdown.
That had never happened before. I know, I asked around.

This must have been mid to late Feb.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:59 AM
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Februrary 2. That was the day two overseas visitors to my city tested positive. This was the sign that it was no longer a re-run of SARS, and that the spread was on the cusp of global.

Before then I was more concerned that we would see a repeat of problems we saw with SARS, which in Australia meant that the local education industry was going to see a serious cash flow problem as the overseas students vanished. The local exposure to this risk has always been ridiculously high.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:15 AM
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Early March, I think. Before then we'd only had a small smattering of cases, and I assumed the travel ban was going to be sufficient protection against it getting a toehold in Australia

So not right
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:57 AM
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Mid January when they confirmed human to human transmission, locked down Wuhan and at the same time reported that it was all over the world.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:33 AM
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In terms of "merely" taking it seriously, when the news out of China started getting scary.

But in more direct, personal, uh-oh, "It's here now." terms, then the shopping trip I made about 2 weeks ago.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:52 AM
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I stopped visiting with my elderly parents a month ago.

I stopped leaving the house 2 weeks ago.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:00 AM
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When try shut the pubs.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:07 AM
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I'll be honest, it wasn't until March. As of March 2nd I was telling my wife to tell her brother to cancel plans to visit NYC the next week. I was still think we would use the the week to visit some local stuff. So clearly I wasn't treating it really serious until around March 7th.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:14 AM
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When my husband bought two gallons of hand sanitizer and a blood oxygen sensor. That was the last week in January. He told me that from what he could tell there was no way China was going to contain the virus, it was going to spread worldwide, and that deaths could be in the millions. I thought he was overreacting for a couple weeks.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:48 AM
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When I first hear the term "wet market" in the description of a novel disease in Wuhan China. I knew that some bug had jumped species. Again.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:13 AM
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I started a thread 1/29 on this board titled ‘How concerned are you about Coronavirus’. I was concerned then and for the most part this board wasn’t concerned, then POW!
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:19 AM
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I've been following the news since mid-February just as a curiosity but I also thought it was going to be "someone else's problem" for a shamefully long time. All other epidemics I've lived through, even those that have made it to the US, were eventually isolated. I thought for a long time that it would be a Seattle problem, maybe a NYC problem, and then it would be contained and that would be that. I went to my drill weekend 7/8 March thinking that it probably wasn't smart to get a bunch of random people together in a tight room, I also naively tried to buy some hand sanitizer that weekend.

But I know the exact date I realized my local hospital was destined to be overrun. 12 March, I looked at the NYT map of known cases I realized that the US had completely failed to act, it was already everywhere and there wasn't going to be any localized isolation. There were only 5 cases in Ohio on that day but that's when I knew there would be thousands or tens of thousands here in a matter of weeks. Later that day Ohio schools were cancelled, the next day bars and restaurants were ordered closed on Saturday night, and by Saturday itself the whole state was on a suggested lockdown. So things moved really fast and I was definitely not ahead of the curve.

That was only 2 weeks ago.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:28 AM
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Me and two of my coworkers got the flu on February 14th, in fact many people in the building developed a hack over the following weeks. It was not COVID-19 as it had not appeared yet in Michigan and the doctors we saw confirmed it was just the flu. Still we were hacking for three weeks and everyone was making jokes about us having the corona virus. It's not a joke anymore but there are still idiots out there claiming we brought the COVID-19 into the building, despite not a single person testing positive for it.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:09 AM
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When I got the numbers of how fast the infections spread. It's not 1.3 like the regular flu, but between 2 and 3. "Exponential." We've faced deadlier respiratory diseases before, but none ever spread this quickly since the Spanish Flu (as far as I can tell).
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:20 AM
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I was concerned when I heard about it in China, although I had a combination of skepticism about any news from China/recognition that we weren't getting the whole story, as well as a certain "faith" in their totalitarian system to effectively and completely lock down anything like this. What I didn't anticipate was that they'd bungle it, as well as cover it up, giving the virus a few extra weeks to spread outside of China.

After that, once I started hearing about rampant cases in Italy and Iran, it was something I was taking seriously, and have since felt like everything we've been doing has been about 2 weeks too late and kind of wishy-washy for my comfort. I mean, we (DFW area) should have been on shelter-in-place back around March 15 or before, not just starting to enact measures to limit the spread. Same thing for everywhere else.
  #36  
Old 03-26-2020, 10:40 AM
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Mid January when they confirmed human to human transmission, locked down Wuhan and at the same time reported that it was all over the world.
Aye; same. I ordered masks and gloves 26 January and started buying extra rice, beans, pasta, cleaning supplies, etc. around that same time. If necessary, I could stay in my home for at least 90 days with no problems, only venturing out for scrip refills.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:47 AM
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About two to three weeks ago, I think.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:20 PM
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I heard about it in late January, about Chinese New Year. Taiwan was really starting to pay attention to it then.

Schools were supposed to open a week after Chinese New Year in early February, but were postponed for two weeks. My kids were home and only the kindergarten was open at my school.

Because both my wife and I had been in Japan during SARS (but didn't know each other then), we weren't as concerned as others around here in Taiwan because they had lived through that. Talking to my adult students, was my Oh Shit! moment where I started to think that it could get much worse.

Fortunately, Taiwan has managed to keep things under control so far. We will see how it goes, but they have been very aggressive about tracking down people who have been in contact with anyone who had developed it.

We did pick up a bunch of surgical masks while we were in the States. That's helped because I'm required to wear while teaching. Taiwan is rationing masks so we don't have to wait in line.

We made it a habit of having essentials on hand and we increased them recently.

I didn't hit panic until recently and it's a more a worry for friends and family back home because Taiwan is still doing well in containing things.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:52 PM
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The day China started shutting airports down I went out and bought toilet paper. that would have been late January.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:14 PM
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Another one who was never of the "just a flu" ilk. I was somewhat aware of it during February, and I started monitoring Worldometer on March 1st. I distinctly recall noticing there were already a couple of cases reported in Iceland (for a virus that had originated only a couple months prior in China) and thinking, "Shit, that thing travels fast."

The real turning point, however, was March 11, when the NBA shut down. That was when it really hit home that major societal disruptions were looming.
  #41  
Old 03-26-2020, 10:00 PM
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I first heard of a distant plague in early January and was somewhat concerned by mid-February but we didn't take it seriously enough until late February after we visited an attraction (Monterey Bay Aquarium) drawing scads of international travelers. MrsRico picked up *some* respiratory infection and has suffered ever since but we're not COVID symptomatic. Alas, it's really been just a month - much of which had us snowbound and thus quarantined my Ms Nature.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:49 PM
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I started taking it seriously when I saw NYC's number get so disproportionate to the rest of the nation.
What was funny (like "hmmm"...not "ha ha") was a couple I am friends with in NYC was posting the usual "just big flu" and "X people die anyway" stuff" a few weeks ago. But then about the time our lockdown started in Hoboken, they were like "shit be crazy!" and headed off to their vacation home in the woods.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:05 PM
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I took it seriously at the beginning because I figured if China's govenment is announcing something that shows the government or the country in a bad light, it must be serious, damn serious.

The seriousness of it hit home when I returned to Beijing on 13 February. Having to get scanned at the departure airport and being required to show my mask to go through the security check and also to get onto the aircraft also indicated how serious this had gotten by that time. Also showing the seriousness was the fact that upon arrival in Beijing, there were very few people in the immigration queue, both in the foreigners section and the Chinese citizens section. Getting home required wearing a mask, having my temperature taken a few times, going on a bit of a road trip with the taxi owing to some of the communites on the way having walls around them with security guards stopping all who do not live there from entering. And of course having to complete forms for the local government.

The latest development (foreigners banned from coming to China) should show exactly how serious this is here.

Last edited by Monty; 03-26-2020 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:21 PM
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Last week of January. I have a friend couple in Japan whom I was going to meet in Thailand and expressed concerns to them on chat about doing that. I just went back and read the chats. I ended up not meeting them partially because of that, and I'm glad I stayed home, though Thailand was quite safe until just recently.
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:17 AM
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The day China started shutting airports down I went out and bought toilet paper. that would have been late January.
About the same here. About then I read an article that had satellite shots of cargo ships anchored outside the Chinese ports. Realized then that China, Inc. was going to be out of business for a while. Added 1 jumbo pack of TP to the list for my wife's next Costco run. Started looking for everything from China I might need by summer such as new wiper blades and made sure we could last that long. Expected it to at least cause a serious recession here so we slowly topped off the freezer over the next month. Refilled medicine cabinet too.
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  #46  
Old 03-27-2020, 12:30 AM
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I certainly underestimated how bad it would be when the first reports started circulating. It was into March before I really appreciated just how serious the problem was.
Same here. I would say around March 9 or so is when I really started to get concerned.
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:48 AM
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I have some money invested with Edelman's financial services. They are pretty good at keeping their customers informed, kinda. Mostly they just want us to not worry our pretty little heads over things and send emails to reassure us that everything is wonderful and the market will rebound before anyone knows it. Until yesterday, the emails were signed by Ric Edelman, Founder. Today's email came from his wife telling us to wash our hands.
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:08 AM
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The moment China announced a lockdown over more than half the population. China might be willing to sacrifice a single province for PR reasons but China wouldn't hold a gun to the head of the entire economy unless the government knew something way more serious than it was letting on.

What's been more surreal is how long everyone else has been totally complacent absent the few countries around China that went through SARS 1.0 (or MERS as is the case of South Korea). I'd lived in Mainland China before and was following the news closely so it's been surprising and baffling to me how even basic measures that the Chinese took to suppress the virus were either outright dismissed in the West or even aren't known about. Instead, the sum response of China has somehow been distilled down to "welding people into houses" and a total lack of curiosity of anything beyond that.

I also never anticipated the out and out suspicion of any news at all coming out of China being treated with a blanket dismissal of "Everyone knows the CCP lies". If you think the CCP lies, shouldn't you have been more freaked out by this than even the Chinese were? Shouldn't you be even more curious about anything you can get out of China? Everyone knows the CCP lies about Xinjiang but the reaction to that has been to try and spread as much reliable news about Xinjiang out into the West as possible. Now the CCP is lying about the virus but the reaction is to not listen to anything anyone in China is trying to say?
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:59 AM
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I suspect some hindsight bias in this thread. From what I remember, very few people took this virus seriously before a couple weeks ago.

For me, it was when I heard that Italians were leaving old people to die, because their medical resources were that overrun. Before that tidbit of information, I and all the people I spoke to couldn’t understand why this virus was a big deal, because it didn’t seem any more deadly than a number of other health conditions out there. When I heard about Italy, and realized that what sets this disease apart is the transmission rate, rather than the symptoms, that’s when I understood why we were taking the precautionary measures we were, and why not doing so would create a healthcare crisis beyond anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:15 AM
jerez is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 817
A few of you have mentioned March 11. That's the day the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. It was either the WHO's declaration that day or news from Italy around that time that made me think the problem wasn't goiing away. It was coming our way.
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