Today marks the first incident that affects Stand Up To Stigma directly. Not unexpectedly, the two weekly STS Laugh It Off gigs we have with State of New Mexico agencies are now on hiatus due to COVID-19 and Governor Lujan Grisham’s emergency response.

Also today I read another comparative usage of COVID-19, this time comparing initial (and inately premature and incomplete) COVID-19 numbers to long-established seasonal influenza numbers.

Comparisons of COVID-19 numbers to seasonal flu numbers, to prove COVID-19 response is overly aggressive and unwarranted, are missing the point both logically and statistically.

Seasonal influenza is a predictable disease with established protocols and available inoculations. Repoductive rate, fomite mechanisms, incubation period, asymptomatic carrier expression, mortality rate, etc., are known well enough that preventative measures and treatment efficacy are in place before each year’s outbreak. Additionally, our immune system is “accustomed” to seasonal flu.

COVID-19 is novel. It’s new. Any information we have is empirical and on the fly. Our immune systems are learning this stuff on the fly, too.

A novel virus means we are reactionary and not preventative.

And, any data population metrics we have are too small for predictive validity. 80,000 flu deaths a year is a metric based upon decades of data collection. COVID-19 has three months of data. No reasonable quantitative comparison is possible.

That said, I’m choosing to keep living my life.