I want to clarify some things about "Con Crud". What we call "con crud" is your typical cold/flu like symptoms that occur from a combination of factors that happen during a convention setting:
* lack of sleep
* lack of eating healthy food options
* excessive alcohol consumption
* lack of adequate rest
When you combine any number of the factors, your immune system will take a significant hit and lose its effectiveness. Then, add into this the number of people present bringing with them bacteria that could cause cold/flu symptoms, then you begin to understand how you get the "con crud".
The coronavirus (or COVID-19) is an entirely different animal. It his "an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviurs 2(SARS coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2), a virus closely related to the SARS virus." This is not the flu or a cold, and it is much more serious. And although people can say that you need to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face/mouth/eyes, it is still VERY EASY to get exposed even while taking these measures.
Remember that we live in a country that does not give paid sick leave to people in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality Industries. When we travel to GenCon, it is safe to say that you will be eating food that was likely prepared by other people. And even though some of these people preparing your food or cleaning your room might not show symptoms yet, they are carriers and can spread the virus before showing symptoms.
Now, I'm not trying to scare anyone from going to GenCon. But I am suggesting the following:
#1: If you are elderly, traveling with small children, or have a compromised immune system, you may want to change your travel plans until a vaccine has been produced and made available for you.
#2: Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly, and avoid touching your eyes/mouth/face without sanitizing your hands first.
#3: Assume every surface you touch and every hand you shake has the potential of introducing you to the coronavirus. This will be a gentle reminder to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly.
#4: Eat regularly and choose healthy options. I know when we're at a convention that we are usually "on the go" much of the time. But doing a quick search of available options, or stocking up on lots of fresh fruits/vegetables and water in our bags will be to your benefit.
#5: Plan on getting at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Your immune system cannot function effectively if you are exhausted. This may mean that you have to miss out of some events, but your body will thank yourself in the long run.
#6: Watch the news leading up to the event. If there is a sudden uptake in the number of coronavirus cases in the US, then you may want to cancel your plans. Remember that in the age of easy airline travel, once the coronavirus gets onto a plane, it could quickly spread to passengers, who then get on connecting flights to infect other passengers, who then arrive to events to infect others. GenCon could quickly a field of tinder that could turn into a coronavirus wildfire. As much as we all enjoy GenCon, I think we all appreciate our good health much more.
The no paid sick leave point is a good one--don't assume sick people will not come to work.
However, to say that COVID is 'much more serious' than influenza might be misleading at this point. We still don't have reliable mortality rates (i.e. a lot of non-Chinese-government-supplied data), although Italy is getting some. But the rates, including R0 rates, seem like a bad flu. COVID could be worse than a bad flu, but it also may not be.
Flu is still bad, we shrug it off when thousands of people die from it each year. But we actually don't know how bad, or how not bad, COVID really is yet.
Best news I have heard all week...
hoping it’s not fake news and they move on it quick:
"The vaccine will go through numerous testing stages and is not likely to be available to the public, pending approval, until the end of the year."
No vaccine is going to get made quickly. Certainly none will be in production before Gen Con.
Note: it also says in the article “If this is declared a pandemic, all bets are off on timing of the release.”
There is an election coming up. The Feds have to move fast, else people will take it out on them in Nov.
Meanwhile...My doctor has upped my asthma control meds and scheduled me for a pneumonia vaccine booster because it’s cold, flu, and pollen season. Hopefully, if/when this rampages through my classroom, that will be enough to keep me breathing like it does when I get the flu.
Honestly, being surrounded by plague vectors all day makes me both insistent on handwashing and washing desks etc., and fatalistic about illness transmission.
Hopefully, all the emphasis on hand washing and hygiene will slow the spread of the flu and other illnesses too.
The R0 is slightly higher for COVID than the typical flu, but around what flu is in pandemic flu seasons.
So, there's a whole lot of data, widely ranging, and the big scary data is, as far as I can tell, based on incomplete Chinese data. (aka not trust-worthy...because of their government covering things up)
we don’t need to rely on Chinese data. We can see what happened in Washington.
So which is it? I don't know. Do you? I'm going with what the health officials say--and not trusting that 'snapshot' figure based on untrustworthy Chinese data. If the math to figure out mortality rates was as easy as you are suggesting it is--determine in from a small (in terms of diseases) number of cases in Washington--why isn't the CDC or the WHO loudly declaring their certainty about the mortality rate?
For me, the issue is not really how accurate the WHO figures are now vs where they end up. That will take a lot of time and patient data before we get a truly accurate number. The issue for me is how much more vulnerable elderly people, people with respiratory issues, or other risks are, as I have elderly relatives and my own breathing issues. If the mortality rate is 1% generally, but let’s say 10% in those subpopulations, then I’m looking at 1/10 chance of dying by drowning in my own fluids. I’ve seen people go that way. Not a good way to go. It’s the reason people are being asked to quarantine themselves, to avoid spreading it to the most vulnerable.
Right now we still don’t know enough except to tell people to be careful and encourage some level of preparation and hygienic practices so we can protect each other.
I'm not saying the two are related, but CBS All Access is remaking Stephen King's The Stand.
Indie Game Studio aka Stronghold and the rest, just dropped out of GAMA.
Alec Usticke, Fans of Gen Con Facebook Group
As of right now I am not overly concerned. As an avid player of Plaque Inc., I will just move to Greenland and never be seemingly touched by any disease ever again. Also as someone who has played many games of Pandemic, I saw we move our medic to Indy before we all come there, we should be fine.
(Sorry my attempt to lighten things up a bit)
GenCon is the perfect combination of things to create a highly infectious environment if even one person showed up to the hall that was hosting the virus.
Lack of sleep, improper hygiene, lack of proper nutrition or unbalanced meals (eating at times your body isn't used to), massive amounts of people in incredibly close proximity all playing games and touching pieces, products, doors, etc.
Con Crud is already bad enough.
If GenCon is not cancelled, and the virus is still spreading over the summer, I probably won't be attending regardless.
The number of people who don't seem concerned is alarming considering people are dying in America who would otherwise be perfectly alive if not for this outbreak as we type. Is this lack of concern why it's spreading so effectively?
This is not Influenza, which has a 0.1% lethality rate. It is a new virus that has a 3.4% to 4% lethality rate.
One reason it's spreading like it is spreading is terrible quarantine management. Ask the Diamond Princess, or numerous other cases of 'quarantine' where the hotel/ship staff were still wandering around the establishment doing their normal work, guests were congregating in common areas, etc. Another reason it's spreading is because the Xi's Chinese government spent critical weeks covering it up and lying about it. By then, it had already escaped--we just didn't know it had escaped until we started publicizing it. The outbreaks we are seeing now are in large part places where it was brought before China said "Oh, hey, so...those jailed doctors were actually right".
Am I 'concerned' about Gen Con happening? Yes. Not panicking, not changing my plans. But I am concerned it might not happen. If it does happen, will I go? That's a decision I won't have to, and shouldn't, finally make until July, which is a long time away in the life of this epidemic. But my current position is that yes, if GC happens, it'll be because the situation is better then, at least in terms of stability.
I have nothing that needs to be canceled now for Gen Con (no flights, for example), so for me to decide now that I wasn't going to a convention in July would be overreaction. You may perceive that as a lack of concern, but that's not correct.
And, again...that 3.4% mortality rate is a number the WHO themselves are saying was an estimate based on terrible data. Stirring up concern by passing along bad data is not helping anything either.