Will we FAIL this test? What about the camera industry?

Nurse wearing respirator mask holding a positive blood test result for the new rapidly spreading Coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China

Will we FAIL this test? What about the camera industry?

By Steve Huff

History can repeat itself.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article here about what I felt we were about to go through. Some scoffed, some said “this is not a pandemic” and some understood the reality we were about to face. Now we are just getting in it, and we are not even close to being done with this virus. With business closing down, retail sales down massively, electronic purchases way way down and camera sales about as down as it can get, what about the future of some of our favorite camera companies? I will speak my thoughts on that later but for now, let’s talk about reality and where we are right now as a globe, but mostly here in the USA where I reside.

The Spanish Flu

The Spanish flu of 1918 killed millions of people around the globe. It had a death rate of 2.5%. Why so many died then was because we became careless, and eased our efforts on staying in. A second wave hit and that was very deadly, then a third wave. While we didn’t have the medical tech then that we have now, the reason we aren’t seeing more die today around the world due to Coronavirus is because of our stay at home and social distancing efforts. They are working to keep infections under the several million it could be. That’s fact and pure common sense. If you have common sense you can see this as clear as a mid day blue sky.

The virus is not even really close to being gone, we are really just now starting to peak and some states will not peak for 1-2 more weeks, IF we stay on track with distancing and isolation. It’s just now starting to get into rural areas where if it gets bad, it will be a disaster due to lack of ICU’s in hospitals in those communities.

The current death rate in the USA of Covid 19? As of today it’s 5.7% if we go by the number infected vs how many have died – . That is the real death rate if we use the official numbers as of today. Math doesn’t lie. Of course, some will say there are many more infected that we do not know about. Yes there are, but the rate of that infection is not known. All we can do is go by the numbers we have. With such a lack of testing in the USA, we just do not know. So I go by the numbers we are given.

As of April 17th

If we loosen restrictions while the virus is starting to peak (now) we very well may lose hundreds of thousands. It’s possible. Your parents, your grandparents, your brothers or sisters. Black, white, brown, gay, straight, kind hearted or mean as sin, we are all possible walking incubators for this virus.

Only going by the numbers we have, for every 100 who get this nearly six are dying here in the USA. That’s very high when you see that the devastating Spanish flu had 2-3 die for every 100 who had it. 1 in 20 who get this virus are losing their life. If the US population was infected all at once, we would lose about 17 million people within 2 weeks. By comparison, 9/11, one of our worst tragedies in this country, we lost 2,700 people and our country came together and united over it. In WWII, we lost just over 400,000 and that was a heart wrenching tragedy. As of now, 36,000 casualties I the USA for Covid but we are still growing by 2000 new deaths a day. We are seeing 25-30,000 NEW cases every day in the USA as well as of April 17th 2020. Sobering indeed.

UPDATE: As of 04/25/20 we have surpassed 54,000 deaths. The “experts” said we would hit 60k in August. We will hit that before May even starts. 

This is Nothing like a cold or flu.

If this were our normal seasonal flu, we would have had 679 deaths with 650k cases as the death rate for the normal flu is 0.1%. With Covid we are creeping up on 36,000 deaths with our 650k cases, or about 35k more deaths than the seasonal flu if we used the same numbers.

This fact is this. This virus we are dealing with today is potentially much more deadly than the catastrophic Spanish flu of 1918. We aren’t seeing the mass casualties only because of our isolation efforts and actions.

With so many wanting to be out and some protesting to do so, it’s more evidence of ignorance (not having knowledge of facts) and people who think they are strong and invincible, without a care for the country itself or for the lives of others.

Being strong.

The reality is that being strong would mean you have the strength to understand what we have here, have the common sense to understand and having the strength to do what you have to do. Stay in, weather the storm. That takes strength. Basing our actions on emotion does not come from strength, it comes from fear. Acting on fear is never ever good. Fear is a killer. Fear is evil. Fear is our worst enemy in life. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. Those are true words and why I dropped all fear from life a few years ago. I also have no fear of death, at all. It’s quite nice to live free of this other “disease” we call fear.

History tells us that If we repeat what we did in 1918, our economy will collapse even worse, we will be in this so much longer and more businesses will close. As it looks now, we seem to want to repeat history and relax our efforts. We are in a war, a new kind of war for us. Some seem to want to lose the war after 4-6 weeks. Crazy.

I still believe 100000% we are far from over with this. Unless the summer heat kills it until next season, this will continue for a long time to come.

Immunity?

We also do not know yet if we can build an immunity to it. This hasn’t been shown yet as some who had this and recovered are now testing positive again. Could be faulty tests but who knows. That’s part of it, we just don’t know. When we are dealing with the unknown we should always be extra cautious.

UPDATE. Now the CDC says this same thing as of 04/24 that impunity is not guaranteed with Covid.

36k+ gone within weeks. (As of 4/24 we have passed 54k deaths, and almost at 1 million cases)

Today, April 17th 2020, here in the USA we have hit over 36,500 deaths as of 1:30 PM Pacific time. Some states are doing well, due to less density of population but it’s still there and still spreading no matter where you are. Some states are not doing well due to more density. Some states are slipping from people being careless.

The Spanish flu lasted two years. We are only in the first weeks of this. Something to keep in mind.

Air travel?

As soon as mass air travel is back the virus will spread like wildfire unless we have mass testing, tracing, wait for our curve to go way down, and have a solid plan. We will be back at square one, and if the virus mutates and become more deadly… then we are in trouble. It happened in 1918 with the second wave. Became more deadly during the second wave.

Sacrifice.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice for the greater good, and have the inner strength to do just that. We all have it within us, and we all can find it within us. Me? I’m at total peace after 4 weeks of isolation. I’m anxiety free, and understand we are in this for the long haul. I mentally prepared myself for the worst. If it works itself out sooner, then awesome. If not, I will live with whatever has to be done. The virus will be done with us when it’s done with us. If we could all find this inner strength, it will make it much easier to get through.

Facts are important.

We can’t erase facts, we can’t change history, we can’t ignore reality. Some do, but it will not do them any favors in the long run. Time will tell wether we learned from history or ignored it. I hope we have learned because ignoring it can make all of this so much worse and last so much longer.

I Love you all, so please be well. For those on the front lines working to bring us health care, food, essentials.. you are the hero’s right now. You deserve 3x the pay, respect and love from all right now. You are saving lives and that can only come from the love within your heart. Bless you all.

Real Numbers. Facts only. 

USA as of today, so far (see image above) 5.7% who have gotten this so far, have perished and lost their battle with this virus (they died). 1 in 20. That’s with our isolation and distancing efforts. That’s only with the numbers we are given. The true death rate, I believe 100% we will see is at close to 2%.

Be safe and be strong my friends. Strength doesn’t come from ignorance it comes from inner peace and being able to see life clearly. To understand reality and facts and the dangers of where we are right now. That’s real strength. Be strong my friends. Love is the key to this life, and those who understand that may understand what we are dealing with a little more clearly.

THE CAMERA INDUSTRY

So now that we understand what we are facing and where we are at, how will this effect camera sales, companies and even going out to shoot like we used to? Well, I do not know, no one does. But we can assume it’s not going to be good.

It’s going to be tough for most companies to stay afloat if this goes long term, and I do think this is with us for the long term. So it all depends on what we do as a people, as a nation, and as a globe. I can see some camera companies failing as I just do not see mass people going out and buying $1000, $2000 or $3000 cameras when 25 million people just lost their jobs over the last 4 weeks, and with many more to come. During the Great Depression we had 20 million who lost their jobs. We have now surpassed this number in 2020.

I do not see anyone but the comfortably wealthy spending big money right now. Most every day people are not worried about what camera or lens they will buy soon, unless again, they are wealthy or ignorant to the facts we are facing right now. My spending has come to a halt 6 weeks ago. I spend today only on essentials like food and home essentials as my earnings have dropped 65% over the last few weeks. But I knew this would happen, and expected it. Even so, I am not full of stress, worry or fear. I am at peace as I said, as I know all is how it must be at this time.

It’s hard to imagine camera companies like Sony failing quickly, or Canon. Others, well it is not so hard to see problems ahead for some smaller camera companies. If this virus continues on, and keeps us social distancing for months to come, photography as we knew it may just be a memory. If we try and save the economy by “opening up” in May, that can have a serious backlash and make things much worse, going back to square one.

That would NOT help the economy at all, but rather, make it worse.

Some out there seem to think we are almost back to normal after a few weeks. Well, no we are not. Not even close. The days of big photo meetups, workshops and press events are over. At least though 2020 and early into 2021. The days of shooting weddings every weekend are over, at least for now and the foreseeable future. People spending thousands on Wedding Photographers are over, for now. The days of Disneyland, the days of sporting events and the days of mass gatherings like concerts are over for the foreseeable future. Photography has embedded itself everywhere and so many of us shoot in so many situations. Most of those situations are for now, gone.

I am staying positive on all of this, but when we look at reality it’s tough to see some industries coming out of this without massive changes taking place. Photography will always be with us no matter what but not at the level it was in 2019 and the years before it. I even heard that Amazon will be lowering affiliate sales commission %. So this is hitting everyone in some way. Influencers are hurting as well, many who use photography in some form to get their message across.

Some are out there documenting this crisis now via photos, every day (with masks and distance I hope) and this is important for history. Photography is emotion, smiles, love, sadness, happiness, grief, and history all in one medium. It’s special and you guys know this. It will never go away of course, but the writing is on the wall. It’s going to change for a while, even when we get out of this.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that many will emerge from this with a new appreciation for what we have, the simple things. A new appreciation for each other, and the human race itself. A realization that we do not need new things to keep us happy and content. A new appreciation for friends and family and human life. A new appreciation for this earth as the earth is what we are. It’s our home. It’s the earth that allowed us to be born, and when we die we go back to this earth. When we are in the womb, our mother eats food of the earth and this food is what allows us grow into what we will become. So we are the earth and we are not here to fight with each other, or be divided or allow ourselves to be led to slaughter. We are here to live, be productive, respect our neighbor and to love.

We can control our own lives and destinies, so it’s up to us. If the is a test for us, let’s hope we pass it rather than fail.

Be well, be strong and be better than you ever have.

Love you all.

As of 4/24. Nearly 20k deaths over the last 7 days. 

101 Comments

  1. There is a song line
    “You never walk alone” this is true even in our moment of passing
    even if there is no one else physically present.

    As we all have to pass away one way or another we should NEVER EVER let fear grip us.

    Instead be PRACTICAL : take as many safety measures as we can.
    Be Practical like Nureses, Doctors, Health carers.

    Instead be HUMANE LOVING : as Humane Loving towards animals people nature as we can.

    Istead be SELFLESS : put others before self as much as we can.

    Instead be CREATIVE : Universe Nature Earth is founded upon constant creativity
    without constant creativity they wither : same with us as human beings.
    Thus to prevent ourselves from withering be Creative.

    Instead be INWARD : there is an untold Inward travel within every one us necessary for us.

  2. Steve is right, my father in law has died from Covid, my wife is sick Covid positive for a week. It’s not fun. I have never seen anything hurt someone so bad. I live in sorrow and anxiety. Stay put, do not go out. You don’t want this virus. I have been texted and wait for my results. So far so good. It I am scared. Here are 2 links about our personal story. https://photopxl.com/covid-19-hit-home/ And. https://photopxl.com/my-father-an-amazing-human-being-tribute-to-jack-fadely/

    Thank you.

  3. HI all.. message from Europe and then with friends in Asia. This virus is nasty. It’s not the zombie apocalypse, but it roughly 10x worse than flu, which ain’t nice. It hits the old and weak, way worse than the young and fit. It isn’t leaving until we get antivirals or a vaccine -and vaccine is at least (best case), 18 months away. So until then, we all have work out how to protect the old and vulnerable from being infected, while keeping the economy going. That’s the complex tradeoff. Good luck to us, love to all. My guess, we work as we can, we stay cool socially.

  4. Agree 100% Steve. Thanks for the post. I read this site for your authentic take on the products you review. Yes, your enthusiasm makes me want to buy gear I can’t afford (it’s nice to dream) but mostly it just inspires me to get out there and use the gear I have (xpro2 with 35mm lens). But if the spirit moves you to write these kinds of posts, please keep it up. We’re all facing the same questions, and even the loudest covid-deniers will sadly soon be directly impacted by a friend or a loved one being struck down by this virus. The virus doesn’t think at all, it just infects. And if you’ve got any kind of health issue at all OR if you have difficulty accessing care due to where you live or how much money you have, you’re in for a tough fight. If the ventilators at your hospital are filled up, you will die. If you’re old and a young person needs your ventilator, you will die. These impossible decisions were being made by doctors in Italy back in March, and they will happen here if we let up too soon on social distancing. We need straight talk from regular people like you to lead us forward.

    As to your larger point, I fear difficult times are ahead for all industries, not just cameras and photography. The comfortably wealthy you mention will only stay like that if their businesses keep selling things to the masses. The Sonys and Apples of the world will burn though their cash fast if they have no sales. But if we little people are all unemployed, where are we going to get the money to buy a new Sony camera or Apple phone?

    Finally, I worry about you and your site. I don’t know how you will keep this site up if there is a significant pullback in the economy (no sales means no ads!). Honestly the only reason I loaded your site today was to click on an amazon link to give you a little affiliate sales boost, but now you say Amazon might be cutting back on that, too. Tough times.

    Looking forward to more posts from you, no matter the content. I’ll miss your low-light concert shots, but perhaps you’ll uncork another one-on-one photo series in the spirit of your homeless persons project.

  5. Steve, thanks so much for using your platform to write this article. I am surrounded by people who call COVID ‘overblown’, or ‘just the flu’. Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows this is not the case. Now more than ever truth matters, especially in this age of Faux news and mass spread of miss-information.

    I can already see the comments here from others telling you to stay in your lane and stick to photography. I completely disagree, it is important that those with a voice speak to truth as it will literally save lives. Photography isn’t going anywhere, this is. crisis that needs a massive collective effort to overcome.

    • Thanks Clint! As for me, I do not have a lane, I am human and we are living in a crisis that effects all humans. But I can’t speak truth to those who choose to live a lie. ; ) Be well.

  6. Oh dear, Steve. You really should know better than to put out honest opinions and true facts. This is the age of Donald J Trump cheques, the USA in complete control and right wing, white people taking back their rights to be free. (It’s ok, l’m English and that is humour) Here in Corfu,Greece – where l live – the National government took control before there were 100 cases in the country. Movements were restricted, the islands were isolated and all social gatherings were banned. The lockdown is total. This is Greece, a country where hugging, kissing, socialising and being close to other people is in their DNA. Currently, it’s Greek Easter. Never has it been so quiet. Never have people missed being with family and friends so much. But, the one thing that Greek people do better than most is to care about others. They understand how important a lockdown is. They will lose millions in tourist revenue this year but they will not lose millions of people. They will come through it. They will survive. They will be stronger for it and they will still have their friends and family. Good luck to you and your family, Steve. I appreciate what you do and what you say.

    • Thankyou. Greece has the lowest rate in Europe. Even Germany, the next lowest, has 28 deaths per million population. Greece has 8 per million. Respect to Greece and the early lockdown. From UK.

  7. I think you have a duty to your website visitors to stick to topics you know about Steve. I.E photography! We have all this data continually being shoved down our throats on a daily basis every time we go online. It would be nice to be able to come to a photography website and be emotionally inspired about photography. Not doom and gloom stats every reasonably intelligent person knows already.
    If anything, you could tell us lesser mortals how to deal with fear that you seemingly have a hold over. Now that would be a great article.
    Maybe you should try and get this post out to your fellow american people who are out on the streets protesting to be able to go get their roots done at the hair dressers.
    Or better yet, send it to your president.

  8. Turn off CNN, go outside and take some pictures. I don’t know one person that hasn’t already had this. The death rate looks so high because they aren’t testing anyone who doesn’t need to be hospitalized. The total deaths in the US will be less then a bad flu season. The disease should be respected, but this is over the top.

    David

    • The deaths have already surpassed a bad flu season after 8 weeks. With social distancing and isolation efforts. Anyone who says this is like the flu is living in a bubble full of lies. Sorry man, bug I don’t watch CNN, nor do I ever watch FOX. Both spread their agenda. I go by facts, not lies that so many seem to go by. The death rate, by THE NUMBERS we have is 5.8% as of today. Since the president doesn’t want to test the masses, thats what we go by.

    • this is roughly an order of magnitude (10x) worse than a regular flu. OK, still not apocalypse. There’s a reasonable debate about human cost of lokdown vs financial cost of lockdown (and the difference is really short vs long term cost) – but don’t underestimate this one., It’s nasty.

    • I am a buisiness owner for 42 years. I have been through some great times and some bad times. The problem that I see is nobody knows the real facts. Therfore, the numbers are not the numbers. It’s not like sitting at the blackjack table and knowing the odds. It goes back to an old saying, “Shit in and shit out”. In order to know the real damage we need the facts. Yes, the virus spreads like wild fire. It would make sense to protect those most vulnerable. We don’t know how many people have actually had the virus. I as well as my employees practice safe guidlines. What I don’t get is why not use all the tools available to help us. Digital thermoters, thermo cameras, ect. We can maintain safe areas and keep biz’s open. That means attacking the problem fom a thinking mans point of view instead of attacking the president or whomever you choose to disagree with. Simply put, two heads are better than one!! We have a divided nation that is going to destroy all of us. No matter what side we are on, until we stop fighting each other we will never get through this. Right now, we are all jus F—Kd. Congrats America, this time we have really done it!! Quite frankly I’m just sick of you all and tired of hearing the constant bullshit!! Take your toys and go home. And at this rate it will be FOREVER!! Is this what you really want!!!! Start thinking with your head and work together, PERIOD. Then we can figure out a logical way out! STOP THE FIGHTING!!!!!! I want to photgraph people, crowds. I want to see their faces, not a buch of masked nobody’s. I’m done with the hatetred in this country!!!!

    • The actual numbers. It’s math. Take the current cases, subtract the recovered cases and look at the death number. Do the math and that is 5.7% as of yesterday. A but higher today. That is going by the numbers we have, reported to us, the people. Anyone who knows math can figure it out.

      • TBH % are all over the place. THe “denominator” is the problem. No-one (even Korea) really know how many have been infected, so no-one really knows what the % death and hospitalisation rates are. You can only measure deaths per population – 2 numbers you know reasonably well; and deaths per hospitalisation. Everything else is flakey, because no-one is collecting robust data of infections.

  9. Please consider that the death rate is among people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. An unknown number of people are SARS-CoV-2 positive, but have not been tested. The true death rate from SARS-CoV-2 is not known until the whole population has been tested. Additionally, there clearly are risk factors for dying from covid-19, mostly old age and comorbidity. Statistics do not lie, but has to be interpreted with caution. So – no – the risk of death is not 1:20 for the general population positive for SARS-CoV-2 , and certainly not for the readers of this web site.

    • Thats what I said. I can only go by the numbers we have NOW. MANY more will die over the next few weeks, months, etc. The virus is not going anywhere, and is still here in full force. Only subdued due to our efforts. The death rate is today a tad higher than 5.7% if we go by the numbers we have. I do not do hypotheticals and since the USA is against testing in any kind of numbers, all we can do is go by the numbers they give us.

      • yes but the 5.7% changes depending on which country you look at – becuase they all use different denominators.

  10. It’s going to have seismic effects on huge aspects of many businesses for at least 18 to 24 months…. along with some of my colleagues, I’ve been modelling the impacts to the tourism industry and tourism the signs are not good unless we change how the industry operates. Same to photography… but equally, going out for walks and safely socially distancing with my leica m8 is what keeps me going and sane

  11. Hi Steve,
    Why don’t you just correct your article? You are calculating mortality by covid-19 numbers confirmed after testing versus confirmed deaths from those tested. The number who had or have covid-19 without having been tested is unknown but without doubt much, much higher. A recent test in Michigan showed a third of all tested had anti-bodies, thus they had had the disease already. Thus, 5% mortality is not true of the population as whole, even if it could be for sections of it (risk groups) and for people admitted to hospital.

    • All I can do is go by numbers we are given. There is nothing to correct as we do not have hypothetical numbers. We only have numbers of what we have tested, and that is what I go by. Since the USA doesn’t want to test, that’s all we can do. I now know FOUR people, friends of mine that I have met and talked with at length who have lost family members from this. Seven of them. Then I see people claiming this is a flu. Lol, denial is what that is.

  12. 39,425 deaths out of 331,002,651 people is .000119. Not 5.7% or about 19 million people as you say. Stick with Photography

    • That’s not how you do the math. You have to calculate deaths into those WHO HAVE THE VIRUS, WHO HAVE BEEN TESTED. Not the population. Death rate is figured out by taking those who have it, minus the recovered and then you take that number and the death number and figure out the %. Easy math.

  13. Thanks for straight talk on a tough topic. I am guessing that a lot of people think the virus and economic problems will begin to wind down in a few weeks. I don’t see it. I agree with you that this is going to be with us for a very long time.
    I have sympathy for people who find restrictions and confinement very difficult psychologically. In this situation, I’m fortunate in that it really does not bother me too much – I’m not easily bored, have hobbies, and home gym equipment that I use daily. Although photography of people and events is out for now, in Oregon, I’m able to get out most days for walks and photography of birds and flowers etc. Focus on what you can do, not limitations.

  14. Thank you Steve for stepping outside the reviews and writing the simple and reasonable article. All the best there!

  15. I quote: “A realization that we do not need new things to keep us happy and content”. A day after you are reviewing speakers with a price over $ 10.000,-. What happened to this photography site in the last two years? Gear really isn’t that important, photography is all about creativity and emotion. And now this pessimistic Corona-article. Yes, stick with photography!!!

  16. Death rate has lag which means it could be worse. People take on average 18 days to die from it which means you need to look at cases 18 days ago to get a real feel for the death rate. Most of the 690 are newly infected in the last three weeks and haven’t had time to die yet. Think about it this way, 58k have recovered and 35k are dead and those that recover are only a week further down the line than those who have died. Of course this is skewed by not testing everyone so the death rate is not super high as loads of people younger than 40 aren’t even showing symptoms but its still possibly double what you think it is.

  17. THE ECONOMY AND CAMERA INDUSTRY:

    America still hasn’t recovered from the GFC and there will now be another generation going through the same thing, possibly leading to revolution. China’s economy is export based and will be heavily impacted, possibly leading to revolution. The EU is under stress and could break up, possibly leading to revolution. Global debt was $250 trillion at the end of last year and the whole thing could come crashing down like a house of cards…possibly leading to revolution.

    The camera industry might not cope well.

  18. Hello Steve,
    thanks for this very precise article.
    While I know your (United States) way of living is quite different to the German way of living, part of it because it is more easy to blend out the rest of the world for the states while Germany is embedded inside Europe, I always respected democracy and your elected President. Even if I didn’t always understand your choice or even the way you election system works (it should never have an impact where you live in the States when you go to an election, but it seems, last time the Republicans had less people choosing them but the lived in the right places).
    Now, with the obvious wrong choices Trump makes, and even now how many supporters he has, I really don’t know what to think about people. How do you deal with such a crowd, ignoring the obvious? Your health care system could be in a far better condition, helping much more people to survive. And guess who is responsible for this?
    The President just has announced that America will not longer support (with money) the WHO. I mean this is the shield to protect the States and to avoid Corona coming back later from countries suffering more and without sufficient resources to fight the pandemic. So later everyone has the fault but not Trump if the pandemic is coming back?

  19. Steve: Many thanks for your intelligent and emphatic writing. WE are all in “deep shit”. I live in Sweden and take the opportunity to explain a little what is done here regarding Cv19: Our goverment was late starters as opposed to nearby Finland who has done perfect (in terms of decision making). Now we are up and running and seems to have passed the peak. As most we try to “flatten the curve” for NHS sustainability. One thing separates us from most countries: People and authorities trust each other and use different wording. Goverments appeal, recommends, and urges. Not make laws with punishments like in more authoritarian countries, democraties or not. But in Sweden we have a liberal lock down that is good enough yet keep parts of the society going. Consequenses of keeping f.i. families locked in for long time do cause conflicts and even violence.
    This will take long: The only ways to stop a pandemic is a)vaccin, b)”group immunity”, the natural way. (Pi flu is still out there but so many are immune that it is a no-threat today)
    The future: Will be different – to what we belive today and what it was like before Cv19. Global travel may be reduced for years. Finacially there will be a recovery rather quick, but to another landscape. Businesses that already were on the brink will vanish. Unfortunately, many of those unemployed by Cv19 will have difficult to come back. (As after the finance crises).

  20. Steve, thank you for writing these articles. It’s good to read a photographer’s perspective on this. Be well and stay strong.

  21. Unless and until there is a safe and effective vaccine this virus nightmare will be amongst us for a long time to come. At some point we’ll all get used to going outside with a mask on, disinfectant wipes and powerful hand sanitizer. If adopting these simple measures is what it takes stay alive and to reduce the chances of infecting others, that doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to ask of people.
    Some people today feel our response is an over reaction and plot to control them and take away their freedom. I hope they don’t get sick with this virus or spread this virus. The virus is what will cause them to lose control and their freedom.
    Keep your distance. Wear a mask. Wash hands often. Stay well.

  22. Steve, ignore the naysayers (which I’m sure you are already doing)… no one is forced to read this. For the record, I couldn’t agree with you more. My wife was recently diagnosed with a condition which makes her high risk, and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for our society to continue to take this pandemic seriously… we all need to remain strong, persevere, help each other and the frontline workers, and most importantly pay attention to the facts and data like you outlines above. Thank you for your compassion and thoughts. I hope you and your family stay safe!

  23. Well said, Steve. I’m in Australia and we are doing the social distancing thing, and its working, apparently. That, plus good hygiene (wash hands, don’t touch your face!) has seen us get reductions in new cases. We can only hope it keeps on. Those who call for “opening up” are merely opening up the probability of a second wave. There’s no immunity to this disease (yet) and may never be… we still don’t have vaccine for the common cold (a coronavirus). I wish you all the very best of luck in staving off the naysayers. And good health to you all, no matter which side of the argument you are on.

  24. Steve, your messages in this post are important and every single death is a tragedy. The death rate calculation you cite is based on reported / known cases. Emerging research suggests a potentially large population of unreported cases due to people that had a mild case, recovered, and most likely didn’t even realize they had been infected. This results in actual infections being under reported and the death rate is unknown as a result. This NYT article provides a good overview of the challenge in calculating an effective death rate. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/us/coronavirus-death-rate.html You are correct that we must focus on facts however getting accurate data isn’t always easy and in the case of COVID-19 until we have widespread antibody testing we will not have all the facts. Stay safe!

    • I go by reported numbers, not hypotheticals. Im sure the actual rate is a bit lower but have to go by the numbers that our country give us. The nearly 800k who have this now, many of them will die over the next 4 weeks. We are still racking up 25-30k new cases a day and at 2-2500 deaths a day. We doubled our deaths in one week in the USA. Thank you, be well.

  25. WOW. A caring, well-documented, apolitical, and humanistic essay. So logical how the pandemic has affected the people, photographers, and the photographic industry.
    There was an article in today’s NY Times about a NYC bartender who was skeptical of the virus “hoax”. On March 1st, he took a 14 day cruise out of Barcelona. After his return, he took another trip. To his funeral. Death by Covid19.
    Glad you had the courage to share your thoughts, and publish them❗️
    As a fellow Phoenician, hope to meet when this is over.

  26. I read a lot of news everyday and over these last weeks and I find your post to be the most truthful and succinct explanation of the state of the world and what our new normal looks like. People flocking to beaches and deploying magical thinking about how this will all be over in May is foolish and a sad indictment of us as a people. Be safe and well, Steve.

  27. Hi Steve, your numbers about the seasonal flu only claiming 679 lives is way off base. In the 2017-2018 flu season for example the CDC estimated 64,099 deaths. Each year we loose 25k-60+k people due to standard garden variety influenza….more than what covid-19 has claimed so far. Who knows where we will be when it’s all said and done. go to the link and look at table 1.

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm

  28. Thank you for speaking up.
    If one more person takes it seriously, then you’ve helped to save a life.
    God bless.

  29. According to the latest WHO figures, the death rate from Coronavirus worldwide is 4%. But if we look at this percentage in the different countries, we discover significant differences. In Italy, for example, on mid-day March 18, there were 2,503 deaths in 31,506 cases, a fatality rate of 8%.

    In Switzerland (where I live), this rate is currently around 1%. In France, it is 2.3% while in Germany, it is only 0.3%. Although these percentages must be respected with hindsight, all people being infected without knowing it not being taken into account, a question arises: why does the mortality rate differ so much from country to country?

    • It depends on the health of the population. For example, here in the USA we have many who are obese, have diabetes, etc. It hits them the hardest. Some countries do not have these issues, as there are more healthy people. Hence, lower death rate.

  30. So well said Steve. A highly welcome dose of informed comments and facing up to reality. I always liked your camera reviews, but I have other reasons for following you now!

  31. My post/posts are gone too

    There was nothing profane or rude

    Maybe not the same/right narrative? Completely Steve’s call as it’s his site

    Surprising though. Admittedly a little disappointing

  32. A very helpful, wise, imaginative review of present and future prospects.
    Thankyou, Steve.

  33. Hey Steve, a very sensible and factual article, especially the sentence that the Spanish flu took 2 years and we are a few weeks in this. Even a vaccine will take about a year to be found and produced. I think we have exploited this planet so much so the only positive out of this is that the earth is getting some ‘space’, less pollution and less industrial production and waste, part of which we generate as we buy new gear and get rid of old.
    I’m glad that you are well and I hope it stays that way. I really miss your reviews, please do write them when you can. Sadly as you say the industry might be worse after this and that Leica M with an evf that I was craving now seems a lifetime away!
    Love to you and your family and Olive?

    Ps- I watched a video of protesters in America on BBC last night where a woman was showing her hair saying she needs her hair done! Wonder what will it take for people to understand the gravity.
    Best wishes from London

  34. Well said, Steve. Unfortunately, people that thrive on conspiracy theories, fake news (the real fake news), and ‘alternative facts’ are the most vocal in the comments on the internet. Don’t let that deter you, I am sure many ‘silent’ readers agree with your words.
    I wish you and your familiy all the best in this trying time.

  35. This is a good, sensible article. The only vaccination we have right now is the ability to distance ourselves and, for the most part, stay home. What we have that those in 1918 didn’t, is connected technology, so we can continue to communicate, support and even work with each other from the confines of our own homes. Of course it takes strength and focus. And a huge amount of self discipline. But it’s still only been a matter of weeks. Ultimately, the fundamentals are there for the economy to recover, albeit over time. Sadly, corpses don’t recover. It’s gonna be a tough call for politicians, scientists and leaders (even sane ones) to create an exit strategy. But they have to do that rationally and responsibly. Of course any true artist knows that there is always creativity in constraint.

  36. 35 thousand died from the flu last year and nobody said a word about it. The death rate is way, way below what you’re saying because way more people have had it and survived . It’s been around since last fall.

    • The flu killed 35000 people, yes. Without social distancing, without isolation. Covid, in 8 weeks had killed 42000 in the USA with social distancing, and isolation. We have close to 800k cases and many of those will result in death over the next 8 weeks. I went by official numbers which is all we can go by, not hypotheticals. Truth and reality is paramount. Lies and sugar coating are not.

  37. I disagree with parts of your assessment. The deaths attributed to COVID-19 are over-reported. This is well documented. One field hospital had to be dismantled because nobody was admitted. NY is bad but it’s an outlier, for several reasons I don’t need to go into.

    As for a temporary lock down, yes, I reluctantly agree. We had to do it, and that’s the way it had to be. But, enough already.

    And, as far as my personal feelings go, I know I’m okay and I always will be. The Law of Attraction has pretty much changed my life, although it’s a slow and steady process. I’m just not happy for the millions who are unnecessarily out of work. Hospitals are laying off staff, and some are even cutting their pay. I hope they don’t let that get to them too much.

      • I don’t watch the news per se, and I don’t think anyone should (Michael Crichton wrote about this sort of thing very well). I pay attention to the back-and-forth between experts in the field, as well as independent commentary. I also keep an ear out for new data.

        Also, I try and keep in mind historical contexts. Many people may not recall the 2017/18 flu season (USA). In short, COVID-19 appears to have a mortality rate double that of that flu season. I don’t believe that shutting down economies for these kinds of things is wise.

        • In 8 weeks we lost about the same as the 2017/18 flu season, and we will surpass it GREATLY in another 3 months. That is of course WITH lockdowns in place. If we did not have lockdowns in place, those numbers would be MUCH higher. If we reopen now, those numbers would explode.

  38. Thank you so much for insight and review of history,which most Americans have no idea about. This is indeed a war on a scale we have not witnessed since 1919.
    I hope some of our politicians have the sense enough to understand what we are truly up against. I have already lost friends and patients to this virus,and I’m afraid many more are yet to fall victim.
    Stay safe and bless you fro your thoughtful words today.

  39. I see you removed my post. Typical. Why not tell the truth instead of spreading unnecessary fear?

  40. You base you figure on the number of confirmed infections. 3.2 million have been tested with 709,201 confirmed. Logic tells us far more people got the virus. There could be 10 to 20 million infected. That radically drops the chances of death. Let’s get real here.

  41. I don’t have any problem with non-photography content here. The site is Steve’s and if folks don’t want to read or like a post, they don’t have to.

    There are no easy answers for the current crisis. This is also a fact though –

    The economy does matter. Hard times can bring out the best in many. Harder times for longer stretches can bring out the worst in many more. If/when enough people have no money for food, gas, utilities, medicine…. you will find that a lot of people are no longer, “all in this together”. I feel bad saying that but it’s true and there flat out is NOT the ability to print dollars forever.

    The economy being shut down is not just a hardship. It is not sustainable. It is not an option. Hard truth.

    • I like and appreciate Steve’s non-photography posts, especially in this day and time. I’ve been coming to this site since the beginning and it’s nice, and appropriate, to comment on the times. Photography and cameras are a fun distraction but it’s nice and reassuring to discuss these things as part of a community.

      • With no social distance, with no isolation, and WITH a vaccine. With Covid we have hit 42k deaths in a few weeks, after a year it will be MASSIVELY larger. That is with social distancing and self isolations. This is no flu my friend, and if you think it is you are getting your facts from someone or somewhere that does not give facts.

    • That’s a great line from Charlie Brown but not really appreciated by those of us that enjoy multiple sources of commentary.
      Faux News is conspiracies and fantasy while the actual hard news sources from Rachel Maddow to the New York Times never address the world of photography.
      Fortunately the NYT has excelled in their COVID-19 photography coverage. Countless pros and amateurs have been imaging their local situations.
      And further I too worry about the future of many of our photo vendors. Don’t you?

    • Yeah Steve is competent there.

      But way off track on this one.

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1

      We report the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in a sample of 3,330 people, adjusting for zip code, sex, and race/ethnicity. …

      Results

      The unadjusted prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Santa Clara County was 1.5% (exact binomial 95CI 1.11-1.97%), and the population-weighted prevalence was 2.81% (95CI 2.24-3.37%).

      These prevalence estimates represent a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April, 50-85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases. Conclusions The population prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Santa Clara County implies that the infection is much more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases

    • Steve is a great guy and I have enjoyed the site for years but I think he’s just kinda burned out on what he used to do here

      • I won’t push camera sales during a pandemic, no. Sorry. Im not all about making money, but more empathetic that most. Sorry. Anyone who doesn’t like it, can easily click away.

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