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1/14/2021 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. Currently of greatest concern is the a second 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 quickly growning in numbers and “second 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, 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… email@example.com)
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 new
The Corona outbreak of 2019-2020
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, a crisis may again be looming. Lockdowns are appearing internationally and domestically restrictions are being imposed. Record numbers are being reported daily. Sadly, the health system may be overwhelmed soon. President Trump assures the American people that he will not re-impose a lock down. Two vaccines are here, one is starting to be administered in the UK and likely will be available to the general public in the USA by April of 2021. This may be too late and poorly utilized to put an end to the death and disability caused by this virus. According to Johns Hopkins, there are about 93 Million (1/14/2021) confirmed cases worldwide. The number continues to grow daily 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. 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 about over 93 Million documented positive tests and over 2 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 just this week of over 3000. In fact these numbers seem to be the norm now. In total there are about 400,000* 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. Logistics of cold transport and storage may complicate the Pfizer vaccine. 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:
- difficulty breathing,
- sore throat,
- mild runny nose,
- loss of the sense of smell (anosmia )
- loss of taste or
- appetite (50%)
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 availabe and health care workers that are exposed daily are told to work until they have sympotoms. 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.
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