Getting a little frustrated with contradictory and flat-out misinformation popping up in social media and elsewhere, so I’m pulling together the reliable and verified info I can find. This is as much for myself as anyone else, but hopefully it will be useful to others.
I’ll try to update things as needed. Let me know if I’ve missed anything big.
How it Spreads
According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of March 3:
“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
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.”
How Dangerous is it?
My son was getting mixed messages at school about how COVID-19 compares to the flu, and which one is more dangerous. Which…well, it depends.
Numerically, the flu is far more widespread and dangerous so far. According to Johns Hopkins’ Medicine, as of March 2, we’re looking at approximately 90,279 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 100 cases in the U.S. There have been approximately 3,085 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, and 6 in the U.S.
But we’re in the early stages of COVID-19, and those numbers are increasing.
For comparison, there are about a billion cases of the flu worldwide and between 9 million and 45 million in the U.S. each year. The flu causes between 291,000 and 646,000 deaths worldwide, and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.
The Clinical Fatality Rate for COVID-19, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is 2.3% overall, per a study of roughly 72,000 cases, updated February 11. For comparison, the mortality rate for the flu is about 0.1% annually.
The Chinese CDC found that the CFR is higher for elderly and critical ill patients:
- 14.8% in patients 80 and older
- 8% in patients ages 70 to 79
- 49% for critically ill patients
In addition, “CFR was elevated among those with preexisting comorbid conditions—10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer.”
There are a lot of factors to consider here. We’re still developing tests and treatment for the disease. Milder cases may be going undetected. Treatment will vary depending on health care in a given country, and how overwhelmed the medical system is.
From the CDC, ” There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.”
There’s currently no vaccine for COVID-19. According to Time Magazine, Moderna Therapeutics is hoping to have a vaccine ready to begin human testing as early as April of this year.
Per the National Institutes of Health, as of February, “a randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19 has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.”
Protecting Yourself from COVID-19
Unless otherwise indicated, these tips come from the CDC.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially:
- after going to the bathroom
- before eating
- after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If at all possible, stay home if you’re sick.
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is effective against COVID-19.
A note about facemasks: “The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.” (emphasis added)
- Get your damn flu shot. COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to the flu, so protecting yourself can save you the fear and panic of a false COVID-19 alarm. Plus, you know, it can save you from getting and spreading the flu.
- Take care of your health in general. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise … all those basic steps that can strengthen your immune system.
Don’t be a Dick
For example, don’t avoid Chinese restaurants because you think “those people” might have the virus.
Also, when talking about the dangers of the disease…
A friendly reminder: people who will be high-risk patients if we get coronavirus can hear you when you reassure everyone we’re the only ones who might die.— Alexandra Brodsky (@azbrodsky) February 29, 2020
Saturday will be six months from the day my wife died. Roughly fifteen months since she began getting noticeably sick.
It’s been a strange journey so far. I still think about Amy every day. I’m still seeing a therapist and going to a support group. I feel like, for the most part, I’ve got the day-to-day under control. Thinking about the future, about the longer term … that remains rather nebulous and overwhelming.
One of the effects I’ve noticed is that, while I’m able to get through most days well, I don’t have as much of a buffer for extra or unexpected stress. My shield is more of a buckler these days.
It’s why I haven’t been blogging as much, particularly about potentially divisive topics. I’ve got plenty of Opinions — that hasn’t changed — but I know the backlash has the potential to knock me down harder and longer than before. I’ll get there eventually, I think. I’m just not there yet.
Little things continue to trip me up, which I know is normal. I was shopping for new glasses and having a really hard time making a decision. Partly because the local eye place doesn’t have a great selection. But partly because the last time I did this, Amy was with me, and helped me pick out my current frames.
Last week, for the first time, I cooked one of Amy’s meals. Nothing fancy — chicken breasts and rice — but it was something she always made, and I never did. My son says it wasn’t quite as good as when mama made it, but he went back for seconds, so I’m counting it as a win.
Then there’s the silly stuff. I’ve been using Amy’s razors to shave my head, and I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t start sooner. Hers work much better than mine. They’ve got safety features and more built-in lotion/lubrication … I may throw mine away and keep buying razors from the women’s section from now on!
Socially, I’m still getting out with friends and family, which is good. I haven’t gone full extrovert or anything, but I’m making more of a conscious effort to communicate with people. Though I still drop the ball there sometimes.
So that’s the current State of the Jim. Things are going relatively well, considering. I’m getting through each day, and starting to try to figure out what the future might look like. And I’m grateful as always for all of the love and understanding and support people have shown.
Friday has commenced the next draft of Terminal Peace!
I started writing Terminal Peace in August of 2018 … a few months before Amy got sick. After her cancer diagnosis, I tried to continue working on the book when I could for a while. A few hundred words here and there when she was free from the hospitals and I had the spoons to write.
Eventually, I gave up. I couldn’t focus on the book, and I certainly wasn’t in the right mental space to write humorous SF. I spoke with my agent and my editor, both of whom were incredibly understanding and supportive. I set the partial manuscript aside and focused on taking care of my wife and kids.
A month or so after Amy died, I started writing again. I had a hard time caring about the story. My life was very different from when I’d started. I was different. I ended up starting from page one, reusing a fair amount of what I’d already written, but adjusting the story as I went. I also added a new plotline that let me process a little of what we’d been going through.
Last night, I finished the first draft of the book.
It still needs a lot of work. Like all of my first drafts, it’s crap — but it gives me a better grasp of the story, and allows me to go back and turn it into something cohesive and exciting and … well … good. I hope.
I have no idea how long it will take me to turn this into a final, publishable manuscript. Nor do I know when DAW would be able to schedule it for publication once that’s done. I’m still not writing as much or as quickly as I was before everything went to hell at the end of 2018, but I’m doing better than I was.
If I had to guess, I’d say Terminal Peace would probably be out within 1-2 years. But that’s a complete guess.
Thanks to everyone for their patience and support. It helps to know people are excited to read the third and final Janitors book, and it helps too that everyone has been so understanding about how long it’s taking me to finish it.
And as a reward for reading this far, here’s a snipped from chapter one that will almost certainly be changed by the time the book is published:
After a month of repairs and upgrades, Mops barely recognized the Pufferfish bridge. Gone were the video game controllers Grom had used to simplify navigation and tactical. All the exposed circuitry and wiring had been repaired, and the various notes and reminders Kumar had scrawled on the walls were scrubbed clean. The air held no trace of the old methane smell from spilled alien slushees.
At Mops’ request, they’d even installed a cupholder at Grom’s station.
Toss a coin to your Friday!
I’m trying an experiment. For the next 48 hours, I’m going to offer direct sales of the hardcover of Terminal Alliance, the first book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy.
I’ve generally avoided doing direct sales, because of the time involved. But, well, I gotta have *some* way to pay for the rest of this tattoo! 😉
- Cost is $20. This includes media-rate shipping within the U.S. (I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to deal with non-U.S. shipping hassles this round.) PayPal button is below.
- Make sure you include a U.S. shipping address.
- The book will be autographed and personalized (if desired). Enter the name of the person(s) you want the book signed for. And please double-check the spelling 🙂
- Books will ship within 2-3 weeks. I have some stock on hand, but I have no idea how many people will want copies. I’ll mail out initial orders relatively quickly, but after that, I’ll need to order additional stock. Sorry about that.
Contact me if you have any questions.
Today is publication day for the mass market paperback of Terminal Uprising, book two in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. Yay!!!
This means the ebook price has also dropped. Yay again!!!
- PAPERBACK: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound
- HARDCOVER: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound
- EBOOK: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | iBooks
- AUDIO: Graphic Audio
If for some reason you’re missing book one, or you’d like to catch up on other Hines books, I’ve also checked and updated the links on my Bookstore page. Some of the old B&N links had broken, but everything should be working again.
I’m continuing to make slow but steady(ish) progress on book three, Terminal Peace. I don’t know exactly when it will be turned in, or when after that it will be put on the publication schedule, but we’ll get there. Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding.
And…that’s it for today. Happy Tuesday, all!