Commentary on Covid from a hawk, a dove, and a retired epidemiologist. Trusted Talha:
I do keep up with my friends that are doctors, many of them ER doctors. These are guys I have known longer than I have been married, I would trust them with my children’s lives – at least one of them has been my kids’ pediatrician before. They are mostly in So Cal where things are particularly bad.
A few things they have told me and from what I have heard directly from relatives and friends…
1. One of them usually fills out 1 or 2 death certificates a month – he is on pace to fill out around 20 this month.
2. One of them said that the hospital he works at was not built to deliver the level of oxygen that they are providing to their patients. They are making sure oxygen trucks are on stand by in case the system is tasked beyond the breaking point.
3. My sister in law’s aunt died last week of Covid.
4. That week they held 7 separate funeral prayers (outside) on just one day (most from Covid) – I confirmed this with my mother – I’ve never heard of anything like this, even if you assume all deaths are being attributed falsely to Covid.
5. In my local mosque in Chicago-area, I hear of requests for prayers for deaths due to Covid on a near-weekly basis. It’s not as bad as So Cal, but there is an uptick in deaths for sure (again, whether they are truly due to Covid or are just being attributed).
6. A brother who is a neurologist that I have known since university and who I consulted about my own father when he was in a unresponsive state after cardiac arrest stated:
“Even for my field as a Neurologist, I have never consulted on as many COVID patients for Coma/Brain Death prognosis in one week as for influenza in the last >10 years.”
7. Another brother said that it’s like a war zone with patients laying out in the hallways, like something out of the movies.
Do with the above info what you will.
I would suggest people get their information from people they know and trust in the medical field; this issue is way too politicized at this point to rely on media sources.
I am taken ill with it right now. I caught it from a coworker and the rest of my family caught it from me. So this week I am home sick, and caring for the sick.
I now understand why people fear this thing. It’s not that it’s particularly dangerous, because it isn’t. Of all the members of my family, I have gotten much more ill than anyone, and yet I’ve had plenty of colds and flus throughout my life that made me quite a bit more miserable than this has. The experience all in all has been rather mild. I never even developed a fever, but I do have recurring night sweats that still continue even now, 8 days after my symptoms started. I have a cough, my lungs are wheezing a little bit, and I get short of breath when I walk up a flight of stairs. Then there was also the lost sense of smell, but that’s starting to return now for me.
The problem is that the range of symptoms is broad and unusual. I have joint and muscle aches throughout my body and I’ve lost a lot of sensation in my legs. Indeed, I would characterize general presentation of Covid-19 as being a sort of “numbness” that affects multiple tissues, organs, and systems according to their specific nature.
For one thing, the lost sense of smell is more than merely a sensory deprivation. When I was in the thick of the disease, in order to test myself, I opened up a bottle of white vinegar I use for cleaning the kitchen, stuck my nose directly in the spout, and inhaled deeply and repeatedly—and felt nothing. I wasn’t just that I couldn’t smell the vinegar, but I couldn’t feel it either. The chemical astringency of the acetic acid is a different phenomenon from its aroma and, being a more direct physical action, is not subject to the same epistemological doubts arising from the possibility of hallucination, fatigue or other aberrant states of mind attendant upon a bout of illness. This leads me to conclude that my nose had gone completely numb. Since the coronavirus takes up its primary locus of infection in the nasal mucosa, this is where its characteristic numbness is experienced most frequently and severely. The numbness I have in my legs is a more distal instantiation of the same tendency. I suspect that if the “numbness” grows to encompass the lungs, this is when people lose the ability to breathe on their own and either require ventilation or die. If the disease ever reaches that stage, death is quite likely and there isn’t much that any medical science can do about it.
This is why people fear it, other than the media scaremongering of course. The disease manifests itself in such a way that death can be brought about simply by an increase in the degree, not a change in kind, of the symptoms. To experience it at all is to taste the incipient death behind it. The fact that this only happens in a vanishingly small proportion of cases avails little to the imagination of so hysterical an age as ours. The contemporary world is now getting acquainted with a disease that, to a very minor and muted degree, approximates the threat of latent lethality that obtained when cities routinely had to endure outbreaks of tuberculosis, small pox, cholera, and so forth.
The strain on medical facilities is no worse now than it has been in past years of heavy flu outbreaks. The difference is that the current reporting is based solely on overcrowded ERs and ICUs. Other parts of many hospitals are very much under-utilized right now. I’ve determined that to be the case in at least one instance by a personal visit to my local hospital, an affiliate of the Harvard University Medical School. On-line videos of bored nurses and other hospital staff performing impromptu conga lines and other selfie videos on YouTube suggests that this a far from unique situation.
The most rational policy for freeing up hospital ICU and ER beds and dealing with this pandemic would be to set up separate ad hoc medical facilities for dealing with all persons who present with Covid-19 symptoms and quarantining such persons in these facilities. This has been the usual extreme measure for dealing with pandemics like the current one. It worked well in the past, it could have worked well in 2020, and it could still work well if given a chance. Unfortunately our current political, public health, medical, and pharmaceutical establishments are too panicked and/or incompetent, and/or grasping for power and wealth to do the right thing.
Looking at reports of deaths by cause right now, it seems like flu deaths are way down from their usual numbers. This is unlikely. It’s more likely that these missing flu deaths have been improperly reported as due to Covid-19.
There are excess deaths right now. A lot of these are due to Covid-19. Many others are deaths caused by the Rona Panic lockdowns, e.g. suicides, drug ODs, deaths caused by deferred or delayed medical treatment. Making allowances for these deaths and flu deaths mis-coded as being the result of Covid-19, it seems that the numbers of excess deaths, which are likely due to Covid-19, are about the same order of magnitude as the deaths from the Hong Kong Flu, back during the 1968 Hong Kong Flu pandemic.
It’s worth remembering that this country and the world got through that pandemic just fine without any panic or excessive restrictions on individual rights and liberties.
If direct payments to American citizens are good, then it is incumbent upon our Republican incumbents to articulate why prioritizing other legislative spending is even better. That is, after all, what they signaled by refusing to sign onto the $2,000 proto-UBI publicly supported by both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They made no coherent attempt to articulate such a thing, of course. And they never will because their position is rhetorically and philosophically untenable. Direct transfer payments are desirable, but only as long as they are limited to $600 once every nine months? C’mon, man!
No one is buying it, including nebulafox:
If you want to argue that giving away 2,000 dollars per head on fiscal grounds is a bad idea, go ahead and do so. But don’t expect people to take your arguments with a straight face if you can simultaneously still find the money to go and drone wretched Pashtun shepherds or educate Mirpuris on the finer points of 3rd wave feminism. Whether it is part of the same bill or not is irrelevant. The optics do the talking: namely, that the American government will prioritize anything over its own citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Authorities in the United States are not willing to let increasing amounts of Americans work. They also won’t give aid. This won’t end well.
The progressive wing of the Democrat party showed the country it is housebroken by returning Nancy Pelosi to the speakership despite it guaranteeing Medicare-for-all is tabled for at least another two years. Sure, these progressives ran on Medicare-for-all, but now isn’t the time. Maybe it will be time when they can get public support up to 90%. But just 70% support? Nope, definitely not the time!
The problems that got Donald Trump elected are all worse than they were four years ago. The establishment hasn’t spent a day since then reflecting on why the Republican electorate gave them the middle finger by nominating him and then why the American public gave them the middle finger by electing him. This last minute bid to impeach him a second time is an absurd illustration of that. They have no idea what created a president Trump, let alone any clue how to address it. All they can do is shoot the messenger again and again and again. When the corpse is dragged away next week, then what?