Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 6 December, 2020

 

The expression “a slow-motion train-wreck” is often used to describe all manner of drawn out problems.  It seems like a perfect label to place on our US response to the coronavirus.  Look at these two charts, showing daily new cases and daily deaths in the US.

The thing I keep coming back to is that President Trump declared a national emergency to do with the virus on 13 March.  On that day, seven people died of the virus, making a total of 48 deaths since the count started in mid February.  Also on that day, 598 people were detected as having virus infections, bringing the national total to 2,285.  As you can see on the two charts above, mid-March essentially shows as zero on both charts.

Now, after nine months of emergency, how much progress have we made?  Deaths have gone from 7 a day to some days almost reaching 3,000 – two deaths every minute.  New cases have gone from 598 to now sometimes exceeding 200,000 every day.  Five times more people have died in the last nine months than died in nine years of the Vietnam war.

Ignoring micro-states, the US has the third highest case rate in the world, and the seventh worst death rate.

But the only protests you’ll find are not from people saying the modern day equivalent of “bring our troops back” (which now would be “wear more masks, close more businesses”) but from people saying “no more masks!” and “open up our bars and restaurants”.

The pressure on hospital beds and ICU care in particular is 50% higher than in our earlier April peak.  There are now credible reports of ICU facilities having to ration space.  Think about that.  You’ve been careful and prudent, you don’t have Covid, but you’ve just had a heart attack or stroke, or perhaps been in a nasty auto accident.  All the ICU beds are taken by people who refused to wear masks, and who illegally met in large indoor groups to eat, drink, and defiantly have a great time, while claiming the virus was a hoax.

How do you feel about that?  You might die because of someone else’s stupidity – and not just because of the foolishness of the person in the ICU bed that is not available for you – also the inexcusable foolishness of “the authorities” to better control public behavior.  The sheriffs who refused to enforce mask wearing orders, the restaurants and bars that refused to close, and the politicians who refused to enact laws or add enforcement penalties to them.

Well, maybe we can cut those people some slack because they are either ignorant fools or venal politicians (see this article for the latest example of a politician who preaches to his electorate about the need to stay at home and not mix with other people, while doing the exact opposite himself.  He had just having hosted a wedding reception and then flew to Cabo San Lucas for a vacation, and sent his message out while vacationing there).

But what about the FDA, CDC, and assorted other federal, state, county and city public health services?  As you might personally know, the official line remains that if you become infected with the virus, there is nothing that can be done except self-isolate, drink plenty of fluids, and take it easy.  Only if things become severe (ie difficulty breathing) will most healthcare providers then start allowing you access to assorted treatments, with such treatments almost exclusively being very expensive and recently developed drugs.

This is crazy.  A virus is similar to a cancer.  Imagine if your doctor said “Oh yes, you’ve got a cancer, but wait until it reaches Stage Three before you come back and see us”.  As with cancer, the best time to fight a virus is when it is weak, before it has grown in numbers, before it has become almost unstoppable, and before it has started to harm you.

In my new book, I list ten different early treatments that have been advocated by various doctors, groups of doctors, researchers and public health authorities all around the world.  They are all very low cost, they have decades of history and demonstrated safety when being taken for other ailments, and many of them don’t even require a prescription.

Why are we not being told about these?  Sure, there’s no guarantee that, either alone or together, they’ll cure every virus infection in its early stages, but there are also no guarantees that once you’ve become so unwell that you’ve been rushed to a hospital, the many thousands of dollars in new expensive treatments will cure you, either.

These early treatments are like tossing a coin.  Heads – you win, and you’re cured.  Tails, you don’t lose – you’re no worse off than if you’d not taken them at all.  That’s an irrefutable and simple equation – why are we not all being told about this?  Even if they only spare half the people who are becoming infected, that would be saving 1,000 lives a day, reducing our ICU loads from overloaded/turning people away, to instead having spare capacity for other people with other types of emergencies, too.

It would cut the total cost to treat a patient from tens of thousands of dollars to just tens of dollars.  Don’t just take my word for it – here’s an excellent article by a physician who is also the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Now, for the action item in all of this.  With our healthcare system demonstrably failing and in overload, you need to do everything you can to avoid having to rely on it.  If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to download my book, to read through the 112 pages in Part Four (all about treating the virus), and to plan/prepare for what you would do if you became infected (read the 92 pages in Part Three to reduce your risk of infection, too!).

It will be too late to start your planning once you’re infected.  You need to have a plan in place, to already optimize your health and immune system, and to have the medical resources – supplies and a friendly physician – already at hand.

The life you save might be your own, or that of a loved one.

One last introductory comment.  If you’ve not already done so, can I ask you to participate in our future travel survey – please share your opinions about where you’ll start traveling once it becomes safe to do so again, and what will persuade you it has become sufficiently safe to do so.

There have been some interesting trends already in the answers to date, and I look forward to sharing the full findings in Friday’s newsletter.

Current Numbers

No changes in US state rankings – they are all fairly evenly spaced out, and to indicate that, I’m now showing also the numbers for 5th best and 5th worst states.

In the minor country list, Slovenia appears for the first time.  In the major country list, both the Netherlands and Portugal move up a place, displacing two South American countries, and increasing Europe’s hold on the top positions.  On the death list, the Czech Republic debuted at tenth.

US Best and Worst States

Rank Cases/Million Deaths/Million
A week ago Now A week ago Now
1 Best VT (6,571) VT (8,037) VT (107) VT (127)
2 ME ME ME ME
3 HI HI AK HI
4 NH NH HI AK
5 OR OR (20,033) OR OR (245)
47 NE WI (70,791) LA LA (1,416)
48 WI NE CT CT
49 IA IA MA MA
50 SD SD NY NY
51 Worst ND (103,217) ND (108,890) NJ (1,920) NJ (1,965)

 

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (86,813) Andorra (91,181)
2 Montenegro Montenegro
3 Luxembourg Luxembourg
4 Bahrain French Polynesia
5 French Polynesia San Marino
6 Qatar Bahrain
7 San Marino Qatar
8 Armenia Armenia
9 Aruba Aruba
10 Panama (37,639) Slovenia (41,271)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Belgium (49,476) Czech Republic (51,022)
2 Czech Republic Belgium
3 USA USA (45,683)
4 Spain Spain
5 France France
6 Argentina Netherlands
7 Netherlands Argentina
8 Brazil Portugal
9 Peru Brazil
10 Portugal Peru
11 Chile Chile
12 Italy (26,234) Italy (28,613)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Belgium (1,418) Belgium (1,486)
2 Peru Peru
3 Spain Italy
4 Italy Spain
5 UK UK
6 Argentina Argentina
7 USA USA (871)
8 Mexico Mexico
9 Brazil France
10 France (801) Czech Republic (831)

 

I Am Not a Doctor, But….

Is this good news or bad news?  While still very much an unknown vaccine, Russia begins to roll out its vaccine, what it terms “Sputnik V”.

Talking about unknowns, the Chairman of Pfizer made a startling admission in a television interview last week.  He said he was not certain if a person who had been vaccinated with his company’s vaccine could still get sufficient of a dose of the virus to become infectious and pass it on to other people, while not becoming seriously unwell themselves.  He said

This is something that needs to be examined

Well, yes, he sure got that right, didn’t he.  But shouldn’t this be examined before rather than after submitting his vaccine to the FDA for regulatory approval?  Isn’t a vaccine supposed to both stop a person from getting the virus, and therefore, in the process, also stop the person from becoming infectious and passing it on to other people?

Something I’m not at all clear about is whether it is possible to layer multiple vaccines on top of each other.  These new types of vaccines work totally differently to traditional vaccines, and there are some suggestions that some of the vaccines might not be compatible with others – the “immunity” created by one vaccine might attack the immunity-boosting agents in another vaccine.

So, rather than rushing to take the first vaccine that is released, no matter how good or bad it might be, perhaps we should wait another few weeks and then evaluate three or four different vaccine candidates together and choose only one – the best of them all.  In other words, we should find the *right* vaccine rather than the *right now* vaccine.

In view of this, perhaps we should be pleased that Pfizer is having difficulties manufacturing the number of doses of vaccine it had earlier expected.

Perhaps we should also be pleased rather than frustrated that after the “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a vaccine, the FDA seem to be moving at what one Johns Hopkins professor now dubs “Operation Turtle Speed” to actually approve any of the vaccines.

To me, this is all further reason to be slow rather than fast to be vaccinated, and when choosing to be vaccinated, to very carefully choose which vaccine to take.  Currently, I prefer the sound of the Moderna vaccine to the Pfizer one, although they are extremely similar.  I don’t know enough to rate either of them alongside the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Do you remember the controversy, back in March/April, as to where the vaccine originated and how?  Politically correct shackles prevented WHO from even mentioning the word China for the longest time, and people who knew nothing about gene editing but who had loud public voices said it was impossible to artificially create the virus while people who knew about gene editing quietly said “I could do this easily”.

Although my 400+ page book looks at many aspects of the virus, I felt there was no value to be gained by trying to find the truth of where, how, and when the virus originated.  There’s about as much chance of finding the truth about that as there is of knowing who shot Kennedy, how, and why.  Plus, even if we did know the answers, how would it help us now in our battle against the virus?  Not at all, as best I can tell.

I was surprised then to see two different “global efforts” being mounted to trace the origin of the virus.  Are these coordinated attempts to complete the whitewash of the virus, where it came from, and how it evolved?  Or are they valiant attempts at uncovering the truth?  The mention of WHO being involved, and in setting the “rules of engagement” for the researchers guarantees it will be a meaningless whitewash.

A description of one team’s plan of research –

The team will review the global literature comprehensively and from multiple perspectives (ecology, virology, public health practices), and will do its best to engage with China’s public health leaders and scientists

makes it abundantly clear their findings will be limited and unpersuasive.  That team will not actually look for original source documentation.  It won’t go to China (not allowed), but will “attempt” to engage with China’s public health leaders and scientists (good luck with that!).  And it will review the already carefully sanitized derivative literature.

There’s also the still not officially acknowledged puzzling contradiction between the semi-official timeline that has the virus first appearing in China in December and the unofficial evidence of it being present in several western countries before then, most notably Italy in September.

No research can be considered credible unless it addresses these early western cases and explains where they came from.  When there are totally credible documented examples of blood samples dating back to September with the Covid-causing virus within them, why are these teams doing anything other than going to Italy?

Maybe there’s even a repressed truth within China’s claims that the virus did originate elsewhere and came to China from the west, rather than vice versa.

Details here.

Timings And Numbers

After ten states on Thursday reported shrinking rates of new cases, the rt.live site failed to publish data for Friday or Saturday.  Happily it did publish again today, showing now seven states with shrinking rates of new cases.

As expected, the Oregon anomaly of the previous week has now disappeared, and it has gone from by far the worst state for new case growth to the 17th worst state.

While that is good for Oregon, clearly the nation as a whole is nowhere near getting the virus numbers back to a steady or decreasing number.

Now is when we’d expect to start seeing new cases appear as a result of Thanksgiving travel and activities.  It will be interesting to see if there’s any obvious blip that can be seen – we’ll have a better picture of that in the next few days.

Shortages

The more things change, the more they remain the same.  A never-resolved problem that has contributed massively to our growing numbers of Covid cases is the shortage of tests and the inability to get test results back in a timely manner.

This is literally a life and death issue.  This article starkly shows our inability to get this right.

Logic?  What Logic?

 

Virus?  What Virus?

A couple did a pre-flight test for the virus before going to Hawaii.  The test was positive, but they decided to lie about it and flew to Hawaii anyway, claiming the test was negative.  They were arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment upon arriving into Kauai.  Let’s hope the cryptic phrase “they are currently in isolation” means “in solitary confinement in the dirtiest smelliest jail on the island”.

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.

 

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