Category Archives: Quarantine

Update on cases, California on lockdown, auto-immune disorders

Originally posted March 21, 2020 on Facebook


Just a little up date from last week’s talk. I mentioned in the talk that I saw a 10 fold increase in cases since I gave my first talk to a small audience on March 3rd. The US had 125 cases on the 3rd, and 1762 cases on the evening of March 12th. This morning, March 21st, the US has 19,931 cases, another 10 fold increase since my talk last week! Some of this is because of increased testing, but there are certainly many, many cases we don’t know about yet.

The caseload has been going up consistently by about 34% more each DAY in the US, 6000 new cases just yesterday March 20th. We NEED to get the rate of new increases to come down. Increased social distancing measures will help, but because of the long incubation time, it may take a few days or weeks to see a benefit.

Autoimmune disease: There have been recent reports, that those with autoimmune diseases (like me) are at special risk because our immune systems are already overactive, and will do extra damage to our bodies while trying to combat the SARS-2 virus. In a brief search online, I have not been able to find confirmation of this report. If you have Celiac Disease, MS, some kinds of Diabetes, or other autoimmune disease, take special care.

My state, California, has instituted a voluntary ban on non-essential outing from your house, except for:

Getting food
Care for a relative or friend
Get necessary health care
Go to an essential job

If your job is essential, you know it by now!

Going for a walk is still a good idea if you keep a safe distance (at least 6 feet) from neighbors.

Also, consider texting neighbors, or using Nextdoor or a similar site to try to find people in your area who maybe do not have social connections and may need extra assistance, like food and supply delivery. Ding dong ditch!

I also heard a good idea about buying gift cards from your favorite stores in town to support them until things get back to normal.

That’s all for now! Take care!

Don’t fear, but be smart!

An Intro to Coronavirus

Originally posted March 9, 2020 on Facebook

I don’t post much, so you probably don’t know what I’m up to these days. I have a PhD in Molecular Biology, and for years I worked at Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company, specializing in infectious disease. There is still a lot of confusion about the new Coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), and I wanted to clear things up a little bit.

I hear a lot of people say “this is just like the normal flu, and lots of people die from that, and this is just like that.” They also point to the Avian Flu or the first SARS virus and say “those were no big deal, so this is no big deal.”

The current virus is much more lethal that the standard flu. The typical yearly flu has a death rate of 0.14%. The SARS-2 virus has a death rate of about 3.4%, 24 times higher than the normal flu. Also, SARS-2 is approximately 2.5 times more contagious than the normal flu. In short, SARS-2 is not a normal flu and should be taken seriously! If you remember the Spanish Flu from high school history class, SARS-2 has the potential to be as bad as that. But it doesn’t have to be!

Panic is always a bad idea, but do some simple things to protect you and your family:

Wash your hands frequently

Don’t touch your face if you haven’t just washed your hands, and wash your hands again after.

Don’t go out in public if you have a cough or a sneeze

I recommend against shaking hands for awhile! Elbow bumps for me!

If anyone in your family has a cough, sneeze or a fever, everyone in your family should stay at home until you can be tested and be certain you don’t have SARS-2.

My wife and I rarely give each other our colds, so the above works for us! We don’t want to panic, but we do want to protect each other! Stock up on some items, but don’t clear out the store! Other people need those items too!

Stay safe and be good to each other!

Erik P. Johnson