Coronavirus Tidbits #48 5/17/20

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Announcements:

First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting.

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt. Pesach is always a bit rough anyway, so I will turn to more nature.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that.

News 

Astonishing editorial from The Lancet, leading British medical journal on Reviving the CDC:

“In the decades following its founding in 1946, the CDC became a national pillar of public health and globally respected…However, funding to the CDC for a long time has been subject to conservative politics that have increasingly eroded the agency’s ability to mount effective, evidence-based public health responses…

The Trump administration further chipped away at the CDC’s capacity to combat infectious diseases. CDC staff in China were cut back with the last remaining CDC officer recalled home from the China CDC in July, 2019, leaving an intelligence vacuum when COVID-19 began to emerge…

punishing the agency by marginalising and hobbling it is not the solution. The Administration is obsessed with magic bullets—vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear. But only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency. The CDC needs a director who can provide leadership without the threat of being silenced and who has the technical capacity to lead today’s complicated effort.

The Trump administration’s further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding WHO. A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic. Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.”

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Wondering what’s safe as states start to reopen? Here’s what some public health experts say.

The Washington Post asked three public health experts where they generally will — and won’t — go, how they’ll make those decisions and what precautions they’ll take.

All three said they’ll leave home more often only as covid-19 cases in their communities decline and continue to do so.

they’ll consider three key points:

●Whether they’d be indoors or outdoors (Outdoors is safer.)

●Their proximity to employees and customers (Can they stay at least six feet from others?)

●How much time the outing would entail (Less is better.)

Before entering any business, they said they will check:

●Are all staff members wearing masks?

●Are employees staying at least six feet from each other?

●Is there hand sanitizer or another way for workers and customers to easily clean or disinfect their hands?

●Are there few enough customers that all can remain at least six feet apart?

They will also:

Carry hand sanitizer and use it when entering and leaving businesses or public spaces.

●Focus on not touching their faces.

●Use the bathroom before leaving home to prevent having to use public restrooms.

●Bring water to avoid having to use drinking fountains.

On socializing:

She’ll make any small get-togethers “bring your own” everything — food, drinks, glasses, plates, utensils — so people can remain at least six feet apart and avoid touching the same surfaces.

Lushniak said he’ll socialize only outdoors and then with fewer than 10 people, at a safe distance and in masks.

All three say they’ll avoid socializing with anyone who is older or at higher risk of covid-19 complications.

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Trump, however, decrees we are opening up, no matter what experts say.

“I want to make one thing clear: Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And, we are starting the process. In many cases, they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it.”

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Grocery prices:

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Kroger screws employees:

“Kroger defended its decision to end hazard pay for frontline employees — while filing a shareholder statement which shows a combined $37 million paid to six executives in salaries, cash bonuses, stock awards, stock options & other compensation, in 2019.” commercialappeal.com/story/news/loc…

Perhaps overlooked – @kroger is not only ending the $2/hour ‘hero’ pay for grocery workers, but, according to @UFCW227, also ending special sick leave policy for COVID-19. “A policy that encourages people to work while they are sick is reckless.” wdrb.com/in-depth/kroge…

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The coronavirus has now reached the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.

“Now that the virus has entered the world’s largest refugee settlement,” an official says, “we are looking at the very real prospect that thousands of people may die.” trib.al/6egI2gs

Diagnostics:

still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Trump says doctors and nurses are “running into death just like soldiers running into bullets” and that “it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

A response to Trump’s “warriors running into death” from Dr. Rob Davidson and lack of testing. More restrained than I could have been.

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They are reportedly concerned that the test results are being used not only by researchers for surveillance of the virus in the community but that the results are also being returned to patients to inform them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/us/coronavirus-testing-seattle-bill-gates.html

This is paternalistic nonsense and hypocrisy. Given the number of crappy tests that received EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) from the FDA, like the Abbott test, one wonders what the real, nefarious reason is. Somebody’s palm not getting greased? Jealousy that it is not Trump’s favored test?

Drugs:

Under an ‘America First’ president, will the U.S. corner the market on Covid-19 vaccine?

“Operation Warp Speed” “would mean prioritizing low-risk individuals in one the world’s richest countries over high-risk health care workers and other vulnerable populations elsewhere in the world.”

…any U.S. effort to inoculate its entire population could incentivize other countries to refuse to share peripheral materials needed for mass vaccination, including vaccine vials and syringes.

Using the earliest available doses for health workers around the world would be in everybody’s best interest – Scott Dowell, deputy director for surveillance and epidemiology at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,

https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/15/under-an-america-first-president-will-the-u-s-corner-the-market-on-covid-19-vaccine/

~ ~ ~

Another Conflict of Interest – what a surprise!

Moncef Slaoui, the former GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical executive Trump has appointed to lead the vaccine initiative said he feels “more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020.”

(NOTE: Fauci and others think this time span is wildly optimistic)

Slaoui still holds over 156,000 Moderna stock options (major vax candidate), worth over $10 million at the company’s current stock price…and company is receiving gov’t support.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/15/trump-audacious-plan-vaccine-covid19/

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VA Says it Won’t Stop Use of Unproven Hydroxychloroquine on Vets for Now

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/05/16/va-says-it-wont-stop-use-unproven-drug-vets-now.html

 

Devices:

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Epidemiology/Infection control:

Good analogy from Jeremy Konyndyk to explain REOPENING:

Read the whole thread here

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More on the racist response of Trump administration

decimating Native Americans, as well as Blacks and POC

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/trump-and-his-white-supremacist-regime-blasted-on-national-tv-for-racist-coronavirus-response/

The latest available data from the CDC demonstrates that blacks, who comprise 12% of the U.S. population, account for 28% of COVID-19 cases and 33% of hospitalizations, whereas Hispanics account for 18% of the U.S. population and 28% of COVID-19 cases, according to Piggott. In addition, data from New York show that blacks and Hispanics are three times more likely to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from COVID-19.

https://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/emerging-diseases/news/online/%7B01384a76-e178-4034-9758-ea4a1b64f550%7D/communities-of-color-experience-higher-rates-of-covid-19-related-hospitalizations-deaths

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Good graphic re reopening:

Tips, general reading for public:

StayAtHome

Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

The Black Patients’ Guide to COVID-19
By Dr. Ruth Arumala, in partnership with Color Of Change 

Useful tips, though I’m not sure that a CXR is always indicated; they are sometimes negative, which is why China used CAT scans.

https://theblackresponse.org/covid-19-resources/

Politics:

Preparedness:

Two months before the novel coronavirus likely began spreading in Wuhan, the Trump administration ended a $200-million program aimed at detecting — well, novel coronaviruses. The staff had been working with the lab in — well, Wuhan. w/ @RaineyTime latimes.com/science/story/…

Not only did the Obama-Biden WH leave Trump a response playbook and an NSC pandemic response office (which he dismantled), but we also launched a program LITERALLY called PREDICT that tracked new coronaviruses in China – which Trump got rid of. ~ ~ ~ Increasing friction between CDC and Trump The CDC repeatedly asked the WH to resume its press briefings, but didn’t get permission & has given up. The White House pushed back when CDC recommended face masks in public. Trump undermined the advice when he announced it, saying he would not comply. washingtonpost.com/health/growing… ~ ~ ~

Trump also said the Space Force the U.S. military is developing “is so important from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, from every standpoint there is.”

“We have, I call it, the super-duper missile,” said Trump. “And I heard the other night—17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now.”

~ ~ ~ Good overview/history 

Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown

https://www.ft.com/content/97dc7de6-940b-11ea-abcd-371e24b679ed

Feel good du jour:

Obama’s speech to High School grads of 2020

Comic relief:

New Study Confirms Cats Can’t Spread COVID-19, But Would If Given Option.

http://theneedling.com/2020/05/16/new-study-confirms-cats-cant-spread-covid-19-but-would-if-given-option/ ~ ~ ~ Forgive me that this is an ad; it is otherwise cute: https://www.youtube.com/embed/1veWbLpGa78

Perspective/Poem

And So It Goes: A Lyrical Illustrated Meditation on the Cycle of Life

“We don’t know when, but those who arrive will leave one day as well.”

by Paloma Valdivia

https://www.brainpickings.org/2020/05/03/and-so-it-goes-paloma-valdivia/

Also available free on Hoopla

~ ~ ~

Poem: Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Bits of beauty:

 

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2 Comments

  • Kay Endriss

    Judy, thank you so very much for doing these posts. They help me so much.
    Sending you much love, joy, and peace.

    • Judy Stone

      Thank you for the kind words, Kay. I’m so happy to hear that they are helpful. That helps keep me going.

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