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Corona Basics

3/29/2021 COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. This new virus was first reported by China to the WHO in late December 2019 although evidence suggests that the first case was November 17, 2019. Over the last year, the illness spread to virtually every country (213) in the world despite active quarantine measures. The numbers are surging daily with mounting deaths in the US. There seems to be a major surge developing with more infections, hospitalizations and deaths. This is attributed to Virus fatigue by populations and relaxing of preventive measures such as masks, hand washing and distancing.

We now have two vaccines with emergency use authorization in the US, but are they safe. The short answer is probably yes. The long answer is we don’t really know. It generally takes years or even decades to develop a vaccine. This one was developed in months. There is a suggestion that this genetically modifies recipients and they are at risk of a cytokine storm if exposed to other viruses of the corona family even the common cold. This response can even lead to death according to some. Watch this video and let us know what you think…

Active efforts continue to be taken by the CDC and virtually every country to mitigate the global pandemic. Now with surge and suppressions and waves worldwide and emergence of new strains, the direction of the disease is unknown. Now there are talks of a 4th wave with increasing numbers in half of the United States. Currently of greatest concern is the a “fourth” wave of the epidemic in the USA as the USA has eclipsed other epicenters including Italy, the Republic of Korea, the UK, Iran, and Japan. Brazil is again growing in numbers with a reportedly more transmissible strain. The “waves” are being seen in hot spots in the US. This fact sheet gives basic information about the illness and what CDC is doing to contain the Corona virus in the USA.

COVID-19 can spread via human-to-human contact by droplets spewed while sneezing and coughing and even breathing and talking. It appears that only 10-20% of infected people are spreading the infection. It may be transmitted by touching infected surfaces and objects then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although characterized as a respiratory virus, it has been found in the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

With many businesses opened up, it is very important to minimize the chances of infection and a surge/second wave by staying at least 6 feet from others (hard to do on a plane? my flight had 3 people seated in a row and another across the isle, and would not let me move but did move 2 others (American Airlines) Masks were mandated), avoid gatherings (or maybe not as a concert experiment with testing and masks was convened recently), wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and don’t touch your eyes, mouth, nose.

Wear a good quality mask (N-95 or KN95 preferred) (send email to order… kn95@coronapandemic.us)

Stay away from others if possible, even asymptomatic individuals can be shedding the virus and infect you. Plan to do this for months or longer. It is likely that people will become complacent and with recent protests across the US and the world we may see a second wave. At least for now, this is our

The Corona outbreak of 2019-2021

Americans lockdowns were lifted and not surprisingly the Covid Crisis is getting worse with record deaths and positive tests.  The problem is worldwide.   Now with record levels in certain areas and control in others, a crisis may last much longer.   Repeat lockdowns are appearing internationally and domestically restrictions are being imposed. Record numbers are being reported daily in some areas, while other areas seem to be diminishing.  The health system is unlikely to be overwhelmed again.  President Biden is unclear to the American people if he will not re-impose a lock down.  Three vaccines are here (Moderna, Pfizer, J and J), others are being administered in the UK and internationally.  They are now available to the general public in the USA in some areas.  Hopefully widespread immunization will put an end to the death and disability caused by this virus.   According to Johns Hopkins, there are about  127 Million (3/29/2021)  confirmed cases worldwide.  The number continues to grow slowly and will for some time.  The number is just a rough estimate and is certainly much higher (10-100X) as only a fraction have been tested and there are a considerable number of false negatives.  Many patients with mild symptoms were turned away from testing sites or never pursued a test or sought medical attention.  Many have been tested multiple times.  It is not clear if these people were counted multiple times in these figures.  Centers are routinely testing asymptomatic individuals especially first responders, essential workers and health care professionals.  Of the confirmed COVID-19 Corona Virus cases,  to date there have been over 127 Million documented positive tests worldwide and about 2.8 million*  deaths, (the number can be much higher or much lower as there is speculation that there is significant underreporting and overreporting in some countries).   The number climbs by the thousands daily, with record peaks of over 3000 in a day.  Thankfully these numbers have diminished recently.  In fact these numbers seem to be lower now.   In total there are about 562,000* deaths in the US  and growing daily (visit our live update for current statistics)*.

The surge areas are seeing an increased strain on the health care system.  More ICUs are at capacity and on diversion.   More lockdowns are here across the US presumably with a positive impact on life preservation but ill effect on the economy with an estimated thousand of businesses closing forever and leaving more Americans unemployed and on Government assistance.  People across the nation are frustrated, depressed, confused, annoyed and mentally and physically ill.

 

Good news is hard to come by, but vaccines are here and reported to be safe and very effective by Pfizer and Moderna. In extreme circumstances these can be interchanged between the first and second doses.  More vaccines may receive emergency use authorization soon. It is likely that Moderna is effective against the new strains, but it is possible that people will need booster shots.  The J and J vaccine promises to provide immunity with only one dose compared to the two required by Pfizer and Moderna.  Logistics of cold transport and storage may complicate the Pfizer vaccine.  Merk has abandoned their inferior vaccine.   See how many people are vaccinated in each state. The CDC reports that 133 million  Americans have received their first shot.  Currently  47% of the US Population is considered fully vaccinated with two doses or with one dose of the J and J.

It appears that social distancing can decrease cases of other diseases like the flu with a decrease in flu related deaths or perhaps many flu deaths are reported as COVID-19.In most cases, the COVID-19 infection is generally mild but the range in symptoms can be wide even resulting in death now in less than 1% of infections.  
 
The most common signs and symptoms are:

 

  • fever,
  • cough, 
  • difficulty breathing,
  • sore throat,
  • mild runny nose,
  • loss of the sense of smell (anosmia )
  • loss of taste or
  • appetite (50%)
  • diarrhea  

Some had estimated as many as 2.2 million may die in the US.  It is likely if the US would have taken even more aggressive measures earlier, the virus impact could have been significantly mitigated.  Hindsight is 20/20 but what is clear now it that relaxing of restrictions has allowed a growth in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.   In fact if the borders were not closed as early as they were, we may have seen dramatically higher numbers already.  The official number was 100,000 from the Trump administration.  We have passed that number with ease, revisions continue to move up to the 400,000 plus range.  The bottom line is that estimates are merely an educated guess.  It is clear that the numbers are largely inaccurate with many unrelated deaths blamed on Covid-19 as hospitals in the US receive a bonus payment for Covid deaths as these patients consume immeasurable resources.   Hopefully, protective equipment supplies will be maintained.  There are reports that the number of reported cancer and cardiovascular deaths in this time period have gone down.  

 

We are in either a continuation of the first wave or a second wave or a third wave? Large numbers are no surprise with super spreader events (mass protests, opening of businesses, parties, weddings, rallies, holidays, family gatherings etc.)  the easing of lockdown measures.  Cities and states are largely reopened but some like LA are back in lockdown.   Some countries are back on lockdown.  When we reopened last time  nothing has dramatically changed.   We see masks, plexiglass shields and hand sanitizer but many protective measures are being ignored.  Over half of states (38) are mandating masks.   A national mandate is likely in the future when President-Elect Biden is in office.  Is this constitutional?  Necessary?  Sufficient? Unfortunately there are more questions than answers.  Masks have proven effective in other countries but may be too little, too late as the growth in numbers supports. Good news is hard to come by, there was a slow down in new cases but not anymore.  We need widespread, affordable rapid testing to accurately determine who is at risk and who may be immune and who needs to be isolated and who they have potentially infected.  If we can send checks to every American, we can send test kits.  I visited my elderly mother and the test at CVS had results projected at 2-5 days.  People are unlikely to quarantine until results are available and health care workers that are exposed daily are told to work until they have symptoms.   Many nursing homes and facilities test staff frequently.   We can only hope that the potential death count is a gross overestimate but in reality it may be revised upward very soon.  The CDC estimates that 90,000 more Americans can die in the coming weeks.

*click here for current numb

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It was magical thinking to think that the US would be spared. The key is taking EVERY precaution to continue to minimize the effect the Corona Virus Pandemic has on our country. What is the Government doing to mitigate the loss of life? Was the stock market reaction an over reaction? Is the stock market laughing off the greatest recession since the great depression? Are the unemployment numbers meaningless? Are we headed for a second dip in the market? Will we retest the bottom or are keep soaring to new highs. Contribute funds to educate and disseminate information and help those in need.

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