“I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.”
— Final words of a thirty year-old patient after contracting the virus at a ‘COVID-party’ per San Antonio Methodist Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jane Appleby.
“As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”
— Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, July 9, 2020.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/13/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Coronavirus messages that contributed to the problem: Hundreds of co-workers testing positive but your meatpacking plant reopening is mandatory; return to work or lose your job. It’s mostly older persons that are dying. Be a warrior, return to work. Cruise ship companies can only be profitable if the ships sail at full capacity. “People love Disney”, assures Disney executive Josh D’Amaro. Liberate Michigan! To pick a few; there will be more.
As I write this the US has 3,388,832 confirmed coronavirus cases and 137,648 related known deaths. The number of new cases for July 10 was 68,241, a 55% increase over two weeks. Florida reported on Sunday 15,300 new cases shattering the record for single day new cases for a state. Texas reported 10,351 new cases with a positivity test rate of 15.8% and 10,083 hospitalizations, a 2,193 increase over the prior week. If you process information more easily with graphics, look here to see Florida with a 1,393% increase in cases since reopening, along with other horror stories from Texas, South Carolina, Arizona and more.
The United States is in horrible shape and Trump’s failed leadership is the leading factor. I am tired of the Trumpsters telling us the solution is to have meatpackers and essential works run into the burning building, telling us to be warriors to sacrifice for our country. Telling us our elderly are unimportant.
Trump and his supporters strive to find one observation to discredit the obvious; the obvious is we face a huge coronavirus problem and are managing it as poorly as any country in the world. Trumpsters push back with, “But the number of deaths is low and not increasing”. Why are we discounting a single death especially when it is clear it’s avoidable – Australia has had only 108 deaths. And the number of daily deaths in the US is steadily increasing, again. Texas, Arizona and South Carolina have experienced a 100% increase in related deaths over the last four weeks.
Trump says testing is great and that’s why we’re seeing more cases. Stating the obvious first — increased testing doesn’t lead to increased hospitalizations or increased deaths. But also US testing is both insufficient and highlights the huge increases in the number of cases. The threshold for pandemic level spread of testing positivity is 10% – ten states are at 10% or above. Arizona is at 27% positivity rate, Florida is at 20% positivity. Thirty-five states fail to meet the level of testing required for safe reopening. Wisconsin is at 7% testing positivity and 45% of target rate of testing.
Increased testing identifies presymptomatic and asymptomatic cases and aids stopping the spread. Increased cases lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths. By all measures, we are failing at testing rates as we’re not doing enough; certainly not a virtue as Trump promotes. Trump’s message has been wrong in every way since we first heard of coronavirus. The Washington Post has provided this 2-minute video showing Trump’s cheerleading overlaid against the increase in confirmed cases — he does not want you to see this.
Treatment & vaccine trials
Remdesivir, a drug originally developed to treat Ebola, is showing promise in reducing recovery times and possibly the risk of death from coronavirus. Comparison studies show promise, but there is caution ahead of full randomized trials.
Hydroxychloroquine is being promoted again, this time by Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro. A much criticized observational study noted by Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System is the latest ammunition for Trumpsters to prove Trump right for his promotion of the drug. Credible voices discount the study.
Worth watching, Italian researchers “found the coronavirus and antibodies against it in the umbilical cord blood, breast milk, placentas and vaginas of some pregnant infected women, another suggestion that the virus can be passed to fetuses and newborns.”
The Chinese government is warning citizens of a deadly outbreak of pneumonia in Kazakhstan; “potentially deadlier than the novel coronavirus”. A reminder of the importance of international cooperation.
As we increasingly hear credible non-political voices opine on the availability of a coronavirus vaccine in months, not years, it is helpful to self-educate on the potential risks of a rushed vaccine. This article from Science News via Reader Supported News starts with links to news on Remdisivir and dexamethasone (a steroid showing therapeutic promise and linked to hydroxychloroquine observations) but additionally cautions on speed potentially at the cost of safety and efficacy. There are 180 development efforts underway.
A final report for now suggests COVID-19 may not have originated in China: “Spanish virologists announced they had found traces of the disease in samples of waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the coronavirus disease was seen in China.”
As the fight to require masks has new converts adding their voices to the wisdom of masks, is it too late? Will the persons resistant to masks over concerns for their ‘liberties’ and comfort take note of Trump’s first appearance in public wearing a mask?
More importantly, and a subject for next edition, are we prepared for fifty-six million K-12 students returning to school in a matter of weeks?