It’s the TESTING, stupid.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (4/
Dear Fellow Readers,
There are a few COVID-19 themes I’ve covered consistently, so while mindful of repetition…
First is ‘when did he know it?’ referring to Trump’s attempt to deflect blame and rewrite history. There are new reports that US intelligence knew about the virus as early as November; The Times of Israel reports that US intelligence agencies “…alerted Israel, NATO to disease outbreak in China in November”, noting the “White House was reportedly not interested in the intel, but it was passed onto NATO, IDF; when it reached Israel’s Health Ministry, ‘nothing was done’.”
“US intelligence informed the Trump administration, “which did not deem it of interest,” but the report said the Americans also decided to update two allies with the classified document: NATO and Israel, specifically the IDF.”
Trump loves to scapegoat. First China, now the World Health Organization (WHO), as he uses repetitious lies to win opinion over facts, “Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration.” The report cites the “more than a dozen US researchers… many from the CDC…as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration.”
Good news – he’s not winning with opinion, 65% say Trump was “too slow” to take major steps.
There are multiple reports the Trump administration ‘knew’ as early as November. Jumping ahead, ‘what did he do?’ – “U.S. sent millions of face masks to China early this year, ignoring pandemic warning signs”.
We’ve seen reports of US shipments of ventilators and critical medical care material while Trump downplayed COVID-19 risk. We now learn Trump turned a blind eye to shipments of face masks and protective equipment to China in January and February. Consider this against Trump telling us when challenged by CBS reporter Paula Reid about what he did in February to prepare, “we did a lot”, before finally telling her, “you know, you’re a fake.”
“Trump Falsely Claims He Inherited ‘Empty’ Stockpile”. But the fact is critical supplies were shipped overseas. But he lied many times about inheriting a military that was out of ammunition – what a guy.
Test, Trace, Trend: The Holy Trinity of Battling COVID-19
There is a lot known about how to fight COVID-19. We know that flattening the curve can slow the spread and prevent our front line health care resources from being overwhelmed. We are proving this works.
There is positive sign measured by the number of new cases confirmed; we are flattening the US curve. But you can use this same research to see the underlying trends:
“Red states are not immune, latest hotspots (# cases currently doubling every 3 days) are counties like Bremer County, IA (26 cases, doubling every two days), Grand Forks County, ND (99 cases, doubling every 2 days), Dakota County, NE (28 cases, doubling every 1.5 days). While not the headline numbers of New York City, it is far easier to overwhelm rural health care resources.
“A looming front to the COVID-19 front is the newly unfolding reporting of a surge in outbreaks in nursing homes across the country. This is also true for correctional facilities and Veterans Affairs facilities.”
There are a myriad of stories – many for each point above. If you scroll the New York Times daily report you find a detailed list of hotspots: Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant, Sioux Falls, SD: USS Theodore Roosevelt, Guam; Parnall Correctional Facility, Jackson, MI: Stateville Correctional Center, Crest Hill, IL.: Soldiers’ Home, Holyoke, MA; Tyson Foods meatpacking plant, Columbus Junction, IA. …
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has been highlighting local newspapers to get a better picture. Pick any of the examples above, or simply pick locations of interest to you. I found:
– Wichita Kansas: “Kansas ranks nearly last in per-capita coronavirus tests”
– Minneapolis: “For Trump and Allies, Virus is Wedge Issue”, “President, some in GOP target Democratic governors”, “20% of US deaths tied to nursing homes”
– Denver: “New Orders From (Gov.) Polis: Masks for essential workers”, “Pandemic recovery “is not a sprint””, “Save Your Great 2nd Amendment: Trump foments protests, alarming Dem governors”, “Health care workers heroic amid worries”
The key to re-opening safely is Test, Trace, Trends. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is not unique with this message, but it is well explained and the Charlotte Observer adds their own twist.
“…to fight COVID-19 in North Carolina through what he calls It’s a strong proposal that’s modeled after progressive testing plans in other states, including California. But Cooper’s plan is missing another important “T” — telling North Carolinians all the information that’s been gathered.
“… more than the usual plea to provide information the public deserves to know. While Cooper has been an effective leader thus far in the fight against the virus, his Department of Health and Human Services has been uneven in the information it provides. That’s resulted in some legitimate questions about gaps in COVID-19 data, and it’s left an opening for political opponents to fill the void with misinformation. That’s not good for anyone, including the governor.”
That’s right, the more we know, the more we understand the real leadership. While Trump “foments protests” targeting Blue state governors, if we dig a layer deeper we find there are examples of how we are all on the same page as this headline states: “Trump foments resistance to Democratic-imposed shutdowns, but some Republican governors are also wary of moving too fast”.
there are serious open questions.
Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard U.S. aircraft carrier are symptom-free.
“The Navy’s testing of the entire 4,800-member crew of the aircraft carrier – which is about 94% complete…. Roughly 60 percent of the over 600 sailors who tested positive so far have not shown symptoms of COVID-19.”
Not an answer, but an important question about transmission and the need for testing. Second…
An important point made here is that “testing shortfalls and other weaknesses in public health surveillance have also sparked concerns that there are jurisdictions . “ There is also a case to be made that many asymptomatic cases go undetected while also adding to the spread of the virus.
Against a backdrop of Trump pushing to ‘reopen’ we don’t have some basic answers, and as Trump politicizes through his opinions and actions we face unnecessary risk.
TESTING. One final example…
Ventilators, Intubation and Propaganda
A fact is that the majority of COVID-19 patients put on ventilators with intubation die. I checked a number of sources to make sure this was accurate. Intubation is used any time a general anesthesia is administered but in the case of the virus intubation is used (along with a general anesthesia) as a drastic last step attempt to save a patient’s life. Intubation is invasive, a tube is inserted through the mouth and there is a list of known risks including ‘erosion of soft tissue’ (damage to the lungs).
There is much to learn about COVID-19. The high deathttps://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/928605h rate is raising questions about intensive care, not just about intubation.
Propaganda is polluting the COVID-19 story
First is an excellent article about “Higher Mortality Rate in Ventilated COVID-19 Patients in Large Sample” that suggests: “Ventilated COVID-19 patients are not more likely to die if they are properly treated.“
Compare this to Russian propaganda: “Of the 388 patients in the advanced or advanced+basic respiratory support group, 83.8% died, compared to only 16.3% mortality in the basic respiratory support group.” There is no attempt by Russia Today (RT; Russian state operated media) to offer context. Deliberately alarmist, to what end? Feel free to dismiss, but watch the pattern over time.
Lack of information leaves a void that can create doubt and be used as a wedge issue. Trump and his allies are driving wedge issues to make his case for his “we can’t have a cure be worse than the problem” while offering NO help – “I take no responsibility” for an effective plan to both save lives and reopen the economy. Propaganda is deliberately subtle, it is designed to raise doubt – is the cure really worse than the problem? Keep and eye out for how often Trump and Russian propaganda align.
An example of much-needed leadership
Red state and Blue state Midwestern governors said they would consider four factors in determining when to reopen: 1) whether the states had sustained control of new infections and 2) their ability to test and perform traces; 3) healthcare system resiliency and 4) social distancing in the workplace.
One example of poor leadership: Red states are getting preferential treatment with money administered through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. Nebraska got 75% of loan filings compared to 23% for New York.
A Virus Vulture: “ was approved for $20 million; it subverted the $10-million loan cap by applying through two subsidiaries, according to the SEC filing.” This is money that could have gone to many small businesses as intended.
One final note. Against a backdrop of “‘They’re Death Pits’: Virus Claims at Least 7,000 Lives in U.S. Nursing Homes”, Florida’s governor once again shows a special flavor of stupid.
A Commoner Call reader sent me this about “my favorite governor”, “Florida to release list of nursing homes with coronavirus infections after Republican Ron DeSantis was sued by Miami Herald”. Our response is upside down – we are being secretive which only adds to the risk to patients, healthcare workers and staff. To be clear, DeSantis has been fighting public disclosure and considering limiting liability for virus-related deaths for nursing homes.
And just because…
One final DeSantis point, don’t take pointers from him on how to wear a protective mask.