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Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Official Thread

Note: If you're new to this thread and for some reason are thinking about how you're going to post: isn't this just the flu? Please read the lengthy (sorry) bit of info at the bottom of this one.

This first post will be a running list of all 2019 n-Cov related highlights from this thread. It is my goal to make diving through 70+ pages of posts unnecessary. If you have something you think should be up here, @Hueco me in the thread.




State by State Emergency Response meaning:

New York: New York Gov. Cuomo vows to seize ventilators and PPE from private hospitals and companies not using them: ‘Let them sue me’
Washington: Inslee statement on statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars and limits on size of gatherings expanded | Governor Jay Inslee
California: Newsom executive order allows California to commandeer hotels, motels to house coronavirus patients
Oregon: Gov. Brown orders all K-12 schools to close over coronavirus spread
Oregon: Portland distillery turns their alcohol waste into free hand sanitizer (9 Photos)
Oregon: Tigard-Tualatin schools will close for one week despite no coronavirus cases
Oregon: Portland teachers union calls for school closures for coronavirus, says ‘not a matter of if, but when’
USA: Trump considers travel restrictions to California and Washington in attempt to stop coronavirus spread
Co-pays waived for Oregonians needing COVID-19 testing
Oregon reaches agreement with health insurers on COVID-19 testing - KTVZ

World: Norway Announces ‘Extensive’ Coronavirus Lockdown For Entire Country
World: Ireland to shut schools, universities until March 29 due to virus


So this is making the rounds in a circle of friends I have.
Serious heavy hitters in the dotcom world in California.

Sorry so long...


One of the current problems with addressing the pandemic is the social pressures of taking action today. It's awkward, and feels like an over-reaction. The reason it feels like an overreaction is that most people OVERWEIGHT the currently reported cases and inherently UNDERWEIGHT the mathematics of how the virus is spreading and what will happen in about 30 days time. This is because our brains tend to think linearly as opposed to logarithmically. It’s the same reason many people don’t save for retirement or understand compound interest.

To create a new social norm, human beings like to see behavior modeled. This serves as a signal that says, “oh, someone else is doing it so I should do it also.”


I have already isolated my family. We have canceled EVERYTHING. We have canceled previously scheduled doctor visits. Social get togethers. Normal routine meetings. Everything has been canceled. It's difficult and socially awkward. Some of you think I’m crazy, but I’m doing it not because I am afraid, but because I am good at math (more on that in part 2). I had to have my 16 year old daughter quit her job coaching junior gymnasts at the local gym, with one day’s notice and also tell my kids they can't attend youth group at church. Both of those were tough discussions. I told a very close friend he shouldn’t stay at my house this weekend even though he was planning to and had booked his flight from the Bay Area. I canceled another dear friend’s visit for later this month to go snowboarding on Mt Bachelor.

We are not eating out. Our kids are already doing online school so we don’t have to make changes there. I would not send my kids to school even if they were in public or private school. We have eliminated all non-essential contact with other people. We will only venture out to grocery shop when required. We will still go outside to parks, go mountain biking, hiking, and recreate to keep ourselves sane and do other things as a family, just not with other people. We have stocked up on food and have a supply for ~2 months. We have stocked up on other goods that if depleted would create hardship, like medicines and feminine hygiene products. We have planned for shortages of essential items.


1. Although my family is considered low risk (I’m 49 in good health, Angi is 46 and in good health, and our kids are 14 and 16), we must assume that the healthcare system cannot help us, because the hospitals will become overwhelmed very quickly. Most American hospitals will become overwhelmed in approximately 30 days unless something changes. More on this in part 2 below. So although we are in great health and unlikely to become gravely ill, the risk is greater if you do not have access to the medical care that you need. This is something for everyone to consider. As a society we are accustomed to having access to the best medical care available. Our medical system will be overwhelmed unless we practice social distancing at scale. That said, the medical teams in Italy are seeing an alarming number of cases from people in their 40s and 50s.

2. It’s not a matter of if social distancing will take place, it’s a matter of when. This is because social distancing is the only way to stop the virus today. As I will explain in part 2 below, starting now is FAR more effective than starting even 2 days from now or tomorrow. This has been proven by Italy and China (and soon to be France and other European countries who have been slow to respond.). Wuhan went on lockdown after roughly 400 cases were identified (and they had access to testing that America has systematically failed to do well to date). The US already has more than 4 times this number of known infected cases as Wuhan did when it was shut down, and our citizens are far more mobile and therefore spreading the virus more broadly when compared to Wuhan. Yet our response is tepid at best.

If hand washing and “being smart” were sufficient Italy would not be in crisis. So I pray the draconian measures are coming from our government, because they are required to stop the spread of the virus. It’s better to start sooner than later as the cost is actually far greater if we wait. I pray they close all schools and non-essential services the way that Italy and China have done.

3. Spreading the virus puts those in the high-risk category at much greater risk. This is the moral argument. It’s a strong argument because there are only two ways, as of today, that the virus can be stopped: let it run its course and infect 100s of millions of people, or social distancing. There is no other way today. If you don’t practice social distancing, people downstream from you that you transmit the virus to will die, and many will suffer.

4. The risk of infection is increasing exponentially, because the quantity of infected people, most who will not show symptoms, is doubling every three days. So the longer you wait to self-isolate, the greater the chance of you or someone you love becoming infected and then you infecting others because more of the population is becoming infected. There are twice as many infected people today as there was on Tuesday.

5. The virus is already in your town. It’s everywhere. Cases are typically only discovered when someone gets sick enough to seek medical attention. This is important as it typically takes ~5 days to START showing ANY symptoms. Here’s the math: For every known case there are approximately 50 unknown cases. This is because if I become sick, I infect several people today, and they infect a few people each tomorrow (as do I), and the total count of infected people doubles every 3 days until I get so sick I get hospitalized or get tested and become a “known case”. But in the time it takes me to figure out I am sick 50 others downline from me now have the virus. So every third day the infection rate doubles until I get so sick that I realize I have the virus an am hospitalized or otherwise tested. Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital estimate that there are 50x more infections than known infections as reported (citation below). The implication of this is that the virus is already “everywhere” and spreading regardless if your city has zero, few or many reported cases. So instead of the 1573 reported known cases today there are likely 78,650 cases, at least, in the United States. Which will double to 157,300 by this Sunday. And this will double to 314,600 cases by this coming Wednesday. So in less than 1 week the number of total infected in the United States will quadruple. This is the nature of exponential math. It’s actually unfortunate that we are publishing the figures for known cases as it diverts attention away from more important numbers (like the range of estimated actual cases).

6. Some people cannot, or will not, practice social distancing for a variety of reasons and will continue to spread the virus to many people. So everyone else must start today.

The reasons above are why I have begun to practice social distancing. It’s not easy. But you should do it too.

The hospitals will be at capacity and there are not enough ventilators. You will hear a lot about this issue in the coming few weeks... the shortage of ventilators.


Yes, the virus only kills a small percentage of those afflicted. Yes, the flu kills 10s of thousands of people annually. Yes, 80% of people will experience lightweight symptoms with COVID19. Yes the mortality rate of COVID19 is relatively low (1-2%). All of this true, but is immaterial. They are the wrong numbers to focus on...

The nature of exponential math is that the infection rates start slowly, and then goes off like a bomb and overwhelms the hospitals. You will understand this math clearly in the next section if you do the short math exercise. Evergreen hospital in Seattle is already in triage. I have heard credible reports from people on the ground that they are already becoming overwhelmed. And the bomb won't really go off for a few more days. Probably by Wednesday, March 18th (next week). In just a few days from now we will hear grave reports from Seattle hospitals.

You should assume the virus is everywhere at this point, even if you have no confirmed cases in your area.


To further understand exponential growth, take the number of confirmed cases in your area and multiply by 10 (or 50 if you believe Harvard and Massachusetts General estimations) to account for the cases that are not yet confirmed. If you have no confirmed cases choose a small number. I’d suggest 10 cases in your city, if no cases are yet reported. But you can use whatever number you like. This number of infected people doubles every ~3 days as the infection spreads. So literally take your number, and multiply by 2. Then do it again. Then do it again. Then do it again. Do this multiplication exercise 10 times in total.

2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x (the number of estimated infections in your city today (not just the reported cases)).

This result is the estimate for the actual cases in your area 30 days from now. The math will take 30 seconds to complete with a calculator and it’s worth doing the math to see how it grows. This end number is the number of cases in your city 30 days from today if a large percentage of the population do not practice social distancing.

2 to the 10th power is 1024. When something doubles 10 times, it's the same as multiplying by 1024. The infection rate of the virus doubles every 3 days. In thirty days there will be 1,024 times the number of infected people in your area as there is today if your community does not immediately put social distancing into practice. One thousand and twenty four times as many infected people as there is today, in just 30 days.

Next, divide the final number (the scary big one) you just calculated by the current population of your city and you will be able to get the percentage of people THAT YOU KNOW PERSONALLY who will be infected 30 days from now.

Next take 15% (multiply by 0.15) of that final 30 day number of total infected people. This will provide an estimate of the serious cases which will require acute medical care, and compare it to the number of beds and ventilators available at your local hospital. Google the "number of beds" and the name of your local hospital now. It takes 2 seconds and the number of beds is easy to find. 65% of beds are already occupied by patients unrelated to the coronavirus. St Charles in Bend, Oregon where I live, has 226 beds and the town is roughly 100,000 people. Most hospitals have on average, 40 or fewer ventilators.

These numbers you just calculated are the problem: Too many patients, not enough beds, and a serious shortage of ventilators (the biggest problem) if we don't immediately begint social distancing. More on this biggest problem related to the insufficient quantity of ventilators is below.


And by sick I mean not just coronavirus patients. Your son or daughter that needs acute care surgery this May for his badly broken leg will be attended to by an orthopedic doctor that has been working at maximum capacity and working 18 hour shifts for 7 days every week for 6 weeks because it was required to care for all the coronavirus patients at her hospital. Or the orthopedic surgeon will be sick with the virus and your son or daughter will be operated on by a non-expert or a member of the National Guard. Your elderly Mom that has diabetes and goes into acute distress next month may not receive ANY care because the doctors are consumed and have to prioritize patients based on triage handbooks filled with success rate probabilities. Your sibling’s family that are all injured in a terrible car crash in June will have diminished care. If one of them needs a ventilator there will be none available because all of them will be in use by critical coronavirus patients. Your young friend with cancer and a compromised immune system from treatment will succumb even though the cancer was curable and the treatment was working, because their body was too fragile to combat the coronavirus due to the chemotherapy and they couldn't receive the customized, acute care required due to the hospital being overwhelmed. All of the above is currently happening in Italy, who had the same number of infections we have today just 2 weeks ago. You must start today.

The count of actual virus infections doubles every ~3 days. The news and government agencies are lagging in their response. So we hear that the US only has 1573 cases today (3/12/20), ( see Coronavirus Update (Live): 162,699 Cases and 6,069 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Outbreak - Worldometer) and it doesn't seem like a lot. It would be better to report the estimated actual cases, since reported cases don’t tell us much. However, we know from China that the actual number of cases are at least an order of magnitude greater than the reported cases, because people get infected and do not display symptoms. In math, an "order of magnitude" means ten times difference, or put another way, a factor of 10. 100 is 10 times greater than 10, so it's an order of magnitude greater.

Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital just released their estimate (recording is here: 2020.03.12 A Coordinated, Boston-wide Response to COVID-19) that the actual cases are 50x greater than the reported cases. So we likely have 75,000 cases in the United States already. The number of reported cases is not that important.

But let’s assume the current number of cases is only 10,000 ACTUAL cases in the United States just to be conservative and model out what will happen:

If we don’t stop the virus from spreading, in 30 days we will have 2 to the 10th power more cases of infected people because the infection count doubles every 3 days (the virus doubles every 3 days and there are 10, 3 day periods in 30 days).

The math: 2 to the 10th power means 1,024 times as many cases as we have today (2 times 2 repeated 10 times).

This number is a catastrophically big problem for all of us: We will have 10 million+ actual cases (10,000 actual cases today x 1,024) in the United States in just 30 days’ time if we continue without extreme social distancing. 10 million people with the virus. And it will keep doubling every 3 days unless we practice social distancing.

15% of cases require significant medical attention, which means that 1.5 million people will require significant medical attention if 10 million people get infected (15% of 10 Million total infections = 1.5 million people requiring hospitalization).

1.5 million hospitalizations is about 50% more than we have beds for at hospitals in the United States. And 65% of all beds are already occupied in our hospitals. But patients with the virus need ICU beds, not just any old hospital bed. Only about 10% of hospital beds are considered intensive care. So we will have a huge bed shortage, but that is not the biggest problem, as we can erect temporary ICU shelters and bring in more temporary beds, as Italy has already done, and California and Washington hospitals have already done. Evergreen Hospital in Seattle has already erected temporary triage tents in the parking lot as of 3/13/20. All regular beds are full at Evergreen Hospital as of yesterday.

Once the government of China, Norway, and Italy came to understand this math, they reacted accordingly and shut EVERYTHING down. Extreme social distancing is the only response available to stop the virus today. The United States is not responding well nor are other countries like France or the UK. Countries that do not respond well will pay a much larger, catastrophic price.

But hospital beds are not the big problem. The lack of ventilators is the big problem. Most estimates peg the ventilators in the United States at roughly 100,000 to 150,000 units. See Mechanical ventilators in US acute care hospitals. - PubMed - NCBI (admittedly dated) and The U.S. doesn't have enough ICU beds or ventilators to deal with even a moderate coronavirus outbreak

The primary and most serious comorbid (comorbid is a medical term that means co-existing or happening at the same time) condition brought on by the Coronavirus is something called bilateral interstitial pneumonia which requires ventilators for treatment of seriously ill patients. So if 1.5M people of the 10 million infected 30 days from now require acute care (15% of the 10M estimated total infections), 1.3M may not get the care that they need because we don’t have enough ventilators in the United States. And remember, this is only if ALL OF US EFFECTIVELY start social distancing by April 11th (30 days from today).


If everyone takes extreme measures to social distance, and the United States can dramatically reduce the spread of the virus 12 days from now, the math is very different, as the exponential growth will only be 2 to the 4th power (12 days divided by the doubling rate of every 3 days equals the exponent of 4):

2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16

So instead of 10 Million cases in the United States if we wait 30 days, if we act 18 days sooner, we will have only 160,000 cases (16 times the estimated 10,000 actual cases as of today), of which 15% are likely to require critical care. This is 24,000 critical patients (a huge difference compared to 1.5 million acute patients). The difference between taking extreme measures now, versus waiting even a few days, is very large due to how exponents work in math.

THE OUTCOME IS EVEN BETTER IF WE TAKE ACTION IN THE NEXT 6 DAYS: If the vast majority of the population self isolates and implements social distancing in only 6 days from now the exponential math is 2 to the 2nd power (6 days divided by the 3 days it takes the virus to double means the exponent is only 2). In math this is "two squared".

2 x 2 = 4

Multiplied by the estimated 10,000 ACTUAL cases as of today (3/12/20) that means only 40,000 total cases will develop, 15% of which may be critical which is 6,000 critical patients.

This is why you should share this post broadly. If people begin social distancing in the next 6 days it will greatly reduce the impact on all of us. It's why they say a "post goes viral".


Finally, the longer everyone waits to practice significant social distancing the greater the economic hardship will be on all of us. Lost jobs. Mortgage defaults. Closed businesses. Bankruptcies. All will be minimized if you start social distancing today.

Some of the reasons the economic impacts will be reduced are worth mentioning: If we stop the virus now the overall duration of the outbreak will be far shorter. The stock market will normalize more quickly and recover more quickly. Businesses and people will be able to survive a shorter duration outbreak vs a longer duration outbreak. More companies will avoid bankruptcy if we begin to practice social distancing now.

This is a big financial reason to begin social distancing if you are employed by any company: if companies see that the virus is being slowed, they will be less likely to conduct layoffs. You will be more likely to be laid off or experience a job-related event if we don’t practice social distancing immediately. As an HR executive, I’ve been involved in many, many layoffs. It’s the last thing companies want to do. But if they see that the pandemic will be shorter lived vs long and drawn out, they are less likely to make the permanent decision of laying off staff.

The overall economic impact that hits your bank account will be greater if you wait or you don’t practice social distancing. This is why Norway acted now, because it’s less economic impact to take drastic measures early than to do them later, and it saves a lot of lives and suffering by doing so. And Norway has only one confirmed death as of this writing.
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How long before this hits the US? Maybe we should have inbound flights from China make a pit stop at Guantanamo.



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CDC aware, & has already instituted specific checks at US international airports where the preponderance of Wuhan travelers arrive.



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First Patient With Wuhan Coronavirus Is Identified in the U.S. - CDC confirms it can go from person to person.

A tidbit:

A person in Washington State is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the United States of a mysterious respiratory infection that has killed at least six people and sickened hundreds more in Asia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.

The man, a resident of Snohomish County, Wash., who is in his 30s, developed symptoms after returning from a trip to the region around Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.

He returned from Wuhan on Jan. 15, two days before passenger screening was instituted at three major airports in the United States, but he had no symptoms at the time. He read online about the mysterious new virus that causes fever and respiratory illness, and informed his doctors about his recent trip when he sought care on Sunday, federal officials said.

He was seen at a clinic in Snohomish County and is now hospitalized at Providence Regional Medical Center-Everett. Specimens from the patient were sent to the C.D.C. in Atlanta, and officials confirmed on Monday that he was infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV.

More about:

The outbreak, which began in December in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is spreading: Patients have been identified in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

On Tuesday, Chinese authorities confirmed that six people have died of the infection in Wuhan. Nearly 300 cases have been reported to date in China, and federal health officials said that number is likely to grow. Many of the patients lived in or traveled to Wuhan.

The World Health Organization will meet tomorrow to decide whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency. But information about the new virus is still thin, and it’s not clear whether or how many Americans are at risk.


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