Category Archives: Coronavirus

#Coronavirus, #CytokineStorm, #YellowFever, and #Lockdown

From Richard Fernandez at PJ Media:

One of the ways the Coronavirus kills is by stimulating an overreaction of a patient’s own immune system. “Diseases such as covid-19 and influenza can be fatal due to an overreaction of the body’s immune system called a cytokine storm.”

This metaphor can also describe how society can harm itself  when measures taken to control a disease do more harm than good. Perhaps the most forceful and controversial reaction to the coronavirus epidemic has been the lockdown, which believe it or not, did not exist in the American context as a bureaucratic concept before 2006.

   The rest of the story is at The New York Times:

Fourteen years ago, two federal government doctors, Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher, met with a colleague at a burger joint in suburban Washington for a final review of a proposal they knew would be treated like a piñata: telling Americans to stay home from work and school the next time the country was hit by a deadly pandemic.

When they presented their plan not long after, it was met with skepticism and a degree of ridicule by senior officials, who like others in the United States had grown accustomed to relying on the pharmaceutical industry, with its ever-growing array of new treatments, to confront evolving health challenges.

Drs. Hatchett and Mecher were proposing instead that Americans in some places might have to turn back to an approach, self-isolation, first widely employed in the Middle Ages.

How that idea — born out of a request by President George W. Bush to ensure the nation was better prepared for the next contagious disease outbreak — became the heart of the national playbook for responding to a pandemic is one of the untold stories of the coronavirus crisis

So today’s “lockdown” and “social distancing” have the same origin. Actually, lockdown is an older term referring to locking incarcerated convicts into their cells, as might be necessary to gain control of a riot or after an escape. Some of you are starting to feel like convicts.

Little noted by the mainstream media are the medical definitions of quarantine and isolation. From the CDC:

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

    • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
    • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Isolating ourselves to avoid exposure to infection is not the same as the CDC’s  isolation.

I lived in Pensacola, FL, for twelve years. While there I learned about the scourge of deadly Yellow Fever. It’s a viral infection that had migrated from West Africa and is transmitted to humans by mosquitos. It’s not a problem in Florida anymore since we have control of the mosquito population. But earlier, many of the rich folks in Pensacola would move up north during the hot summer months—mosquito season—to escape from the virus. That was probably even before we knew mosquitos were the vector. They just knew when it was hot and humid, Yellow Fever was rampant. I don’t recall exactly where “up north” was, but I’m guessing the southern reaches of the Appalachian mountains in Alabama and Georgia. The wealthy summer migrants weren’t infected, but were self-isolating, in the non-medical sense of the term. Like New Yorkers migrating to the Hamptons or Florida to escape the ‘rona.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Pepe Escobar writes that Dr Hatchett was a proponent lockdown earlier than 14 years ago:

Enter Dr. Richard Hatchett, a former member of the National Security Council during the first Bush Jr. administration, who was already recommending obligatory confinement of the whole population way back in 2001. Hatchett now directs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a very powerful entity coordinating global vaccine investment, and very cozy with Big Pharma. CEPI happens to be a brainchild of the WEF [World Economic Forum] in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Where Did “Social Distancing” Come From? #COVID19 #Coronavirus

You’re too close!

New York Post has an article addressing the U.S. cultural reaction to 1969’s Hong Kong flu as compared to our hysterical over-reaction to COVID-19. The Hong Kong flu (is that racist?), also known as H3N2, killed between one and three million worldwide, and over 100,000 in the U.S. So, not just a typical flu season. Influenza typically kills between 12,000 and 61,000 annually in the U.S.

What I found interesting was the apparent origin of “social distancing,” a term that had never been part my medical vocabulary despite practicing medicine for over three decades.

From New York Post:

Much of our current thinking about infectious diseases in the modern era changed because of the SARS outbreak of 2003, which “scared the hell out of many people,” said Poling. “It’s the first time I recall people wearing masks and trying to distance themselves from others, particularly in situations where someone might cough or sneeze.”

The idea that a pandemic could be controlled with social distancing and public lockdowns is a relatively new one, said Tucker. It was first suggested in a 2006 study by New Mexico scientist Robert J. Glass, who got the idea from his 14-year-old daughter’s science project.

***

“Two government doctors, not even epidemiologists” — Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher, who worked for the Bush administration — “hatched the idea [of using government-enforced social distancing] and hoped to try it out on the next virus.” We are in effect, Tucker said, part of a grand social experiment.

But the differences between how the world responded to two pandemics, separated by 50 years, is more complicated than any single explanation.

“If I were 48 in 1968, I would have most likely served in World War II,” said Moir. “I would have had a little brother who served in Korea, and possibly might have a son or daughter fighting in Vietnam.” Death, he said, was a bigger and in some ways more accepted part of American life.

The New York Times has a related story.

I wonder if any of us living through this Coronavirus pandemic will ever forget social distancing.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Pepe Escobar writes that Dr Hatchett was a proponent lockdown earlier than 14 years ago:

Enter Dr. Richard Hatchett, a former member of the National Security Council during the first Bush Jr. administration, who was already recommending obligatory confinement of the whole population way back in 2001. Hatchett now directs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a very powerful entity coordinating global vaccine investment, and very cozy with Big Pharma. CEPI happens to be a brainchild of the WEF [World Economic Forum] in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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The Rest of the Story: What’s the Deal with Meatpacking and #COVID19

Artist’s rendition of Coronavirus

The snippet below is only a sliver of the story. RTWT.

I heard on local radio a few days ago that 82% of the meat in the U.S. food system is processed by only four companies, two of which are Brazilian-owned.

From Wired.com:

So what is it about these places that makes them such dangerous incubators for the novel coronavirus? It’s a question that urgently needs answers, especially now that concerns over food shortages and an order given on April 28 by President Donald Trump classifying meat processors as critical infrastructure are already forcing workers back to the production line. Like most aspects of the pandemic, this one, too, is complicated by a dearth of data. Figuring out how exactly the disease is spreading between workers and which slaughterhouse practices are to blame is going to take time and lots of epidemiological legwork. But there are some clues.

According to the CDC’s latest report, the chief risks to meatpackers come from being in prolonged close proximity to other workers. A thousand people might work a single eight-hour shift, standing shoulder to shoulder as carcasses whiz by on hooks or conveyor belts. Often, workers get only a second or two to complete their task before the next hunk of meat arrives. The frenzied pace and grueling physical demands of breaking down so many dead animals can make people breathe hard and have difficulty keeping masks properly positioned on their faces. To allow for social distancing, the agency recommended that meat processors slow down production lines to require fewer workers, and that they stagger shifts to limit the number of employees in a facility at one time.

Source: Why Meatpacking Plants Have Become Covid-19 Hot Spots | WIRED

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Prof. Joel Hay: No Evidence That Social Distancing Has Worked #COVID19

KUSI News in San Diego Posted a 6.5 minute interview with Professor Joel Hay way back on April 22, 2020:

USC Professor Joel Hay joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss his stance on how to get people back to work.

Hay said that there is no proof that social distancing works for diseases like coronavirus. He backed up this point by saying we have been social distancing for over a month, and there are no signs that it is helping us contain the spread of the virus.

***

But, Hay says people with pre-existing conditions, elderly, etc. should isolate themselves. He doesn’t believe we need to isolate the young and healthy, as proven by Sweden.

Click to see if you’re at risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19.

Los Angeles County officials disagree with the professor. Their lockdown continues for another three months.

From CBS News May 7, 2020:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that most new COVID-19 cases tracked by hospitals in the state over the past few days were among people who were predominantly at home and not working. They were also mostly among people 51 and older.

He said that even “with everything we’ve done” there were still 600 new coronavirus cases in New York yesterday, “either walking in the door to hospitals, or people who are in hospitals who are then diagnosed with COVID.”

Some of you will say, “Well, they just weren’t social distancing the right way.”

Fortunately for us in Arizona, Gov. Ducy started opening up our economy a few days ago, six weeks later than he should have.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Bill Maher on Your Immune System’s Miraculous Functioning #COVID19

Stop the Hysterics: Average Age of #COVID19 Deaths in Massachusetts is 82 #Coronavirus

Average age of COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts is 82.
Life expectancy in U.S. overall is only 78.6 years.

Average age of COVID-19 deaths in Italy is 79, if memory serves.

You people under 60 who are panicking need to get a grip.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: You want to increase your odds of living longer? Quit eating junk, exercise regularly, and eat Mediterranean-style.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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In the UK, Mortality Rate of #COVID19 Patients on Ventilators Not as High as Expected #Coronavirus

The actual ventilator is out of the picture

SkepticalScalpel reports on death rates for COVID-19 among those on ventilators in the UK:

Data released on May 8 by the UK’s Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) shows the mortality rate for 4287 COVID 19 patients who received advanced respiratory support was 58.8%. This figure is much lower than percentages of 86% to 97% as reported in earlier studies included in my March 30 post on this topic.

Advanced respiratory support was needed in 71% of 6143 critically ill patients with reported outcomes and was defined as invasive ventilation, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) via endotracheal tube or tracheostomy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via endotracheal tube, or extracorporeal respiratory support (known as ECMO in the US).

For folks under 50, the mortality rate was 32%. Among those 50 and older, 65% died. These rates are much improved over the numbers we saw initially from China.

Body mass index in the obesity range wasn’t linked to higher mortality, unlike other studies we’ve seen.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Gov. Cuomo No Longer Sending Deadly #COVID19 Into Nursing Homes

About damn time…

From The Daily Wire:

After months of deadly outbreaks that gave rise to nearly a third of all coronavirus-related deaths in New York state, governor Andrew Cuomo finally reversed a state order Saturday, requiring nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to take COVID-19 positive patients.

Last week, state authorities identified an additional, unreported 1,700 coronavirus deaths that took place in the state’s nursing homes but went uncounted in the state’s official death toll for a variety of reasons. The new report, released last Monday, showed that “at least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 have died at 351 of New York’s 613 nursing homes since March 1, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s new list,” according to Time Magazine.

Those deaths likely stem from a New York regulation requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients after they’d been released from the hospital or face the wrath of the state.

This is yet another macabre example of why we shouldn’t trust politicians with healthcare decisions.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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New Orleans Experience With Severe #COVID19 Illness Confirms Obesity as Major Risk Factor

This can’t be a good prognostic sign

From WebMD:

“We have an epidemic with obesity in the southern United States,” [Dr Leonardo] Seoane says. “Treating obese patients in the ICU is not new to us, so when we first started to get inundated with severely infected COVID patients ending up in the ICU, it didn’t necessarily raise an alarm for us because we typically take care of many obese patients in the ICU,” he explains. “In time, we started to realize this was different, though, as it became clear that the majority of the younger people in the ICU with coronavirus were obese.”

That inspired Seoane and the Ochsner Center for Outcomes and Health Services Research team to gather data. They studied 3,000 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in his hospital system and found that 59% of the hospitalized patients were obese with an average BMI of 33. He says obesity nearly doubled the chances that patients with COVID-19 would end up in the ICU.

Coronavirus deaths double in one week at Illinois nursing homes; have surged past 1,000, data show – Chicago Sun-Times

New York Governor Cuomo was (still is?) sending COVID-19 patients to nursing homes from the hospital, to help spread the infection I guess.

A number of states have already reported alarmingly high COVID-19 deaths among residents of elder care facilities. What’s “alarmingly high”? Forty percent of coronavirus deaths.

This time it’s Illinois. From Chicago Sun Times:

Those tallies mean elderly care facilities have accounted for 44% of the state’s coronavirus deaths and nearly one in seven confirmed cases.

A total of 354 homes have at least one resident who has tested positive, with 75 reporting their first cases in the past week after previously having none. Almost three dozen facilities have suffered double-digit deaths; eight have more than 100 cases.

Cook County has seen more than half the state’s nursing home deaths, 603, and cases, 3,992.

The largest spike in deaths at one home in the past week came at Bria of Geneva in Kane County, where 15 people passed away of COVID-19. Only one person was reported dead there until this week. The medical director at that home told the Northwest Herald there was a “landslide of patients” and “it was pretty obvious we had a severe outbreak in the facility.”

Source: Coronavirus deaths double in one week at Illinois nursing homes; have surged past 1,000, data show – Chicago Sun-Times

When I read statistics like this, I’m never sure if the deaths occurred in the elder care facility or in a hospital where the patient was taken. Doesn’t matter unless the patient actually contracted the infection in the hospital.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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