Questions and more questions

Dear President Trump,

I know we aren’t supposed to panic – check, got it. Well, I’ve got it in theory, anyway. How about you? I’m thinking you’re probably feeling waves of panic too as this thing barrels ahead, no holds barred (I know viruses aren’t sentient, but this is how it feels). I would venture, though, that the reasons for our panicky responses are very different and that in most ways, I probably have the better deal since I’m not in a position to be exposed as an utterly incompetent, heartless fraud the way you are. And, by the way, no matter how fast Jared tap dances, he can’t do jack about this mess so you may as well call him off now.

I spent a fair bit of the afternoon scouring the CDC’s Covid-19 website trying to find answers to what seem like important, obvious questions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find answers to any of them so I’ve sent the following to their email address:

  1. I’m pretty sure the answer to this is yes, but can someone who is not showing signs or symptoms of covid-19 still be contagious (assuming they do have it, of course)? If so, can it be spread if the person is not coughing or sneezing and is washing up well when they are supposed to? If so (again), how is it spread?
  2. What is the timeframe for self-quarantine after possible exposure when one is not experiencing symptoms consistent with covid-19?
  3. What is the timeframe for self-quarantine if one is showing some symptoms consistent with covid-19, but hasn’t been tested?
  4. Does one need to stay in self-quarantine if one is showing some symptoms consistent with covid-19, gets tested, and the test comes back negative? If so, for how long and should the person be retested at some point? (And if so, when?)
  5. If a family member is under self- or work-imposed quarantine, does this mean that family members who live in the household and have not been isolated from the person should also be in quarantine? How far should the chain of quarantine extend?
  6. What exactly does quarantine mean? For example, can someone take a walk outside if they avoid contact with others, cover coughs and sneezes, and don’t touch anything?
  7. Why are countries like South Korea and Singapore trying to test all of their inhabitants and is this a good idea?
  8. Related to #5, are the US testing guidelines actually consistent with what is in the best interest of the public at large or are they calibrated to approximate what is minimally acceptable and can be (theoretically) stood up quickly (again, theoretically)?

Maybe when one is told one needs to self-quarantine, the answers to 1 through 6 are answered, but it sure would be helpful if there were clear guidance out there that’s readily available so people know what to expect and if they feel they need to self-quarantine, they know what the parameters are. Even though this is clearly a fluid situation and knowledge about the virus is evolving all the time, at least 1-6 seem like super basic pieces of information that the public needs right now.

I realize I may not be looking in the right places or Googling the right stuff, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find all this. Is it that answers to these questions really aren’t out there (yet)? If that’s the case, is it because the government doesn’t know the answers and won’t hazard best guesses? Surely there’s information available from other countries and past epidemics and pandemics to guide us – where the hell is it?

As we are seeing, it’s harder to quell anxiety when one is operating in an informational vacuum, or as is the case here, now with you in charge, in a swirl of misinformation and radio silence.

If you all don’t want this puppy biting your GOP-asses for the next 30 years, I suggest you let people who know what the hell is going on speak freely and honestly to the American people. Now.

May we be safe from misinformation and from radio silence.
May we keep pushing for the truth and for useful guidance.
May we do what we can to keep everyone healthy and strong.
May we not check out and accept this poor substitute for governing.

Tracy Simpson

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