Uncertain times. We are certainly uncertain as I write this column. Our lives have changed drastically since I wrote last month’s column and we just don’t know which way is up about many things. Our gyroscopes are tumbling. We are needing to go on partial panel, in instrument flying terms.
The Corona virus variant, COVID 19, that we are dealing with is well understood at many levels. It is quite contagious and is spread almost 100% by transmission via respiration droplets…aerosol, airborne. At the time of this writing there has not been a single case of it being transmitted via a surface, or via food. It is in many ways no different than influenza or other flu’s in this respect. It can be lethal if the person who inhales droplets is in a high risk group, just as is the case with influenza or other flu’s.
Who among us are included in the high risk group? Elderly (while I am sitting at 67 years of age and do not “feel” elderly, I am 65 and over and hence elderly). The “more elderly” the higher the risk of dying from any major illness, including flu epidemics. Since the influenza’s primarily attack our lungs, those with respiratory disease (regardless of age) are at an increased risk. History of smoking tobacco?...high risk. Asthma?...high risk. The more risk factors we have, the greater the risk and with this in mind there is entirely understandable why those who do not survive any influenza, or COVID 19, respiratory infection do not survive. Data from the CDC, as of December of 2017, estimate that between 291,000 and 646,000 die from seasonal influenza-related illnesses each year. To put the COVID 19 into perspective, to date 28,240 have died worldwide from COVID 19 in the first quarter of 2020. Perspective is very important.
It is with these thoughts in mind that the Board of Directors of the MN Pilots Association decided to cancel the 2020 Great MN Aviation Gathering, and many other major aviation events have followed suit. We had to face the fact that the majority of people who attend the GMAG are in a high risk category and that “social distancing” would be nearly impossible and given the restraints our elected officials have placed on us we felt our “social aviation event” should not happen this year. Was any of this necessary based upon the statistics I just shared with you? That is turning out to be the trillion dollar question.
We are so thankful for the businesses and organizations that were willing to support the 2020 GMAG, and we will be recognizing them on our Facebook/MNPilots page and via emails to our members. We issued refunds to all, but some have been kind enough to ask us simply to keep the fees as a donation. We are so fortunate to have this kind of support.
We will be back in 2021, perhaps having the GMAG in May, and we hope to see you there!