Corona Virus Siege of 2020 – Part 2

FOREWORD:

What began for me as a curiosity from Wuhan Province in China, has become a full blown pandemic as I write this (March 21).  To quote the National Institutes of Health from their March 2 statement, “……the current COVID-19 epidemic is resulting in a social rather than a viral catastrophe.

October 15, 2020, Thursday – By the Numbers, Staying Safe Clarified

By the Numbers:  I have been thinking about the percentage numbers for positive cases and deaths in Indiana yesterday.  It is clear to m e that the 20-29 group is getting infected and the 80+ group is dying.   These statistics have not changed dramatically since April.  So let’s think about the passage of time.  Every day some 79 year olds cross the line into to 80+ group and the oldest in all  the cohorts below them move up.  In ten years each of the cohorts as of today moves up one grouping and the newborns form a new cohort at the beginning.  I suppose this is too obvious but I am moving to make a point, so bear with me.  So the people in the current 20-29 cohort are the most highly infected percentage-wise and they move up in the cohort list every ten years.  The current 80+ group will be mostly deceased in ten years from whatever cause, cerrtainly all in 20 years.  My group, the next one down, has a bit longer to enjoy life.  But each underlying cohort as it moves up brings with it an increased percentage of those who have survived the virus and are thus immune.  I don’t buy the crap about losing immunity, because the virus is not going away and so immunity is continually renewed, and even if the virus mutates the history of all corona viruses that have gone before (influenza, common cold) is that they become attenuated (less virulent).  And so  the number, not the percentage, of deaths in each succeeding 80+ group begins to decrease, and shortly the virus is relagated to a status akin to influenza – deadly in some cases but not like it is now because those aging will have greater immunity.  Hence, herd immunity is achieved.  But deaths will still occur.  The young continue to spread the infection but largely don’t experience symptoms serious enough to kill them, and survive into old age wit\h fewer and fewer deaths.

Staying Safe Clarified:  Today marks the 49 anniversary of the founding of the People of Praise by 29 souls looking for a fuller life in  Jesus.  Ten of them still survive and are living in the South Bend Branch.  Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us all through them.

Following is what seemed to be a a balanced article on Facebook from Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer for the Canadian province of British Columbia.  On my further investigation, however, the original bullet items were collected from  a series of Tweets by an infectious disease expert at at the University of Maryland, Dr. Faheen Younus, and he has since disowned its authorship.  He apparently collected his actual Tweets and published a corrected list on Twitter that the article from Vancouver News1130 by Dean Recksiedler posted July16, 2020 republished. The list presented below is the corrected list published on Twitter on June 6 by Dr. Younus as reported as a screenshot in the Vancouver News 1130 article.

  1. We may have to live with COVID-19 for months or years. Let’s not deny it or panic. Let’s not make our lives useless. Let’s learn to live with this fact.
  2. You can’t destroy COVID-19 viruses that have penetrated cell walls, by drinking gallons of hot water you’ll just go to the bathroom more often.
  3. Washing hands and maintaining a two-meter physical distance is the best method for your protection.
  4. If you don’t have a COVID-19 patient at home, there’s no need to disinfect the surfaces at your house.
  5. Packaged cargo, gas pumps, shopping carts and ATMs do not cause infection. If you wash your hands, live your life as usual.
  6. COVID-19 is not a food infection. It is associated with drops of infection like the ‘flu. There is no demonstrated risk that COVID-19 is transmitted by food.
  7. You can lose your sense of smell with a lot of allergies and viral infections. This is only a non-specific symptom of COVID-19.
  8. Once at home, you don’t need to change your clothes urgently and go shower! Purity is a virtue, paranoia is not!
  9. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t hang in the air for long. This is a respiratory droplet infection that requires close contact.
  10. The air is clean, you can walk through the gardens and through parks (just keeping your physical protection distance).
  11. It is sufficient to use normal soap against COVID-19, not antibacterial soap. This is a virus, not a bacteria.
  12. You don’t have to worry about your food orders. But you can heat it all up in the microwave, if you wish.
  13. The chances of bringing COVID-19 home with your shoes is like being struck by lightning twice in a day. I’ve been working against viruses for 20 years — drop infections don’t spread like that!
  14. You can’t be protected from the virus by taking vinegar, sugarcane juice and ginger! These are for immunity not a cure.
  15. Wearing a mask for long periods interferes with your breathing and oxygen levels. Wear it only in crowds.
  16. Wearing gloves is also a bad idea; the virus can accumulate into the glove and be easily transmitted if you touch your face. Better just to wash your hands regularly. Immunity is greatly weakened by always staying in a sterile environment. Even if you eat immune boosting foods, please go out of your house regularly to any park/beach. Immunity is increased by EXPOSURE TO PATHOGENS, not by sitting at home and consuming fried/ spicy/sugary food and aerated drinks.

The following is a quote attributed to Dr. Henry, although of questionable origin.  It really gives no misinformation as general advice:

Be smart and stay informed!  Live life sensibly and to the fullest.  Be Kind, Be Calm and Be Safe! 

Be that as it may many of these points I’ve covered in earlier entries in Part 1.  The New York Times article I cited on April 20, 2020 by Tara Parker-Pope ( published April 17) is one of these.  The reason they apparently were tagged to Dr. Henry, besides her influential standing, were that they are close to comments she has made during the course of the pandemic.  This summarizes my approach to “Staying Safe”, although as I’ve already made clear I detest the shallowness and ambiguity of this mantra.

October 12, 2020, Monday – Day 179

As a trained public health consultant myself there is some key information lacking from all the reporting concerning a recent increase in St. Joseph County cases.   My problem is this.  It is not the number of cases that really matters, it is the outcomes and demographics of these cases.  One cannot just track the number of positive cases and make informed public policy, or closer to home, informed decisions on school closures, sports program cancelations and the like.  This only produces the hysteria in which we find ourselves embroiled.  To be professionally responsible I would need to include the following in any discussion of the present state of COVID:

1.      the number of hospitalizations and the number of those cases requiring ventilators

2.      a case-by-case listing of the significant demographic data – age, comorbidities

3.      comparative data from the same time period of number of pneumonia/influenza hospitalizations, cases requiring respirators and demographics

The CDC website has published data comparing COVID deaths to pneumonia/influenza deaths over the same period.  Unfortunately I did not put this information into my blog earlier, but the number of deaths were not dramatically different.  Meanwhile the daily death figures from COVID for the state of Indiana continue to be low.

I am very concerned that we are painting ourselves into a corner here.   If we are waiting for the number of COVID deaths to get to zero before we call the pandemic off, I doubt that we are ever going to get there.  If we are waiting for the first pharmaceutical company to announce an effective anti-viral before we come out of hiding, will they guarantee its 100% effectiveness in our litigant society?  Unlikely, so then what?  What hope is there of ever getting an anti-viral for COVID that is any more effective than the present flu shot?  Slim to none.  It is more likely than not not going to be a Jonas Salk vaccine.

The endgame in my mind therefore becomes identifying COVID case and death rates that are similar to our present influenza/ pneumonia case and death rates.  I hope our public health officials are thinking ahead to this.

CDC Mortality Data – Updated October 9, 2020

The three primary respiratory diseases involved in our times are pneumonia,   influenza and now COVID.  This data compiled by CDC is the comorbidity information I am looking for, and I find very interesting:

      • deaths in volving COVID from the week ended February 12 and October 3 account for roughly 10% of these respiratory infection deaths
      • tuberculosis is not even listed; curious
      • from the week ended February 22 thru the week ended September 12 the number of deaths exceeded the predicted value based on the CDC’s historical data from years past, the excess presumable due to COVID, but not necessarily
      • the peak number of COVID related deaths was 17,069 for the week ending April 18; the current level for the week ended October 3 is only 5% of that peak, but all facilities have not reported in and the esath certificates may not have been processed
      • if you subtract Columns 4, 5 & 6 from Column 7 it seems to me that you get a result that is close to the number of COVID-only cases; nationally th\is = 17,858, compared to the COVID (relaated) deaths of 200,499 for the same period, the number reported by the media; as of October 12 this number is 214,108
      • the number of COVID-only deaths from the week ended September  5 thru the week ended October 3 (month of September) = 138

Sorting out the primary cause of death among pneumonia, influenza  and COVID is a daunting and perhaps impossible task, but that’s the task of the death certificate reviews performed by the National Center for Health Statistics.  At least I can conclude that pneumonia (get your pneumonia booster shot) and influenza (get your annual flu shot) are at least comorbidities with COVID and those infected by COVID alone are at a much, much lower risk of serious complications.  Reference the article earlier in Part I that researchers have found the existejnce of T-cells and an corona virus antibodies in pre-COVID blodd samples (2015 – 2017) and suggest that these vaccinations carry an increased immunity to COVID-19.  It is not so novel as perhaps originally portrayed.

Not shown here but among the information I also reviewed is that Indiana’s number of cases has been rising over the past two weeks, since Stage 5 began, but the hospitalizations have not followed suit.  It is probably too early to notice an increase of deaths related to this increase.  I looked at the demographics and here is what I found for Indiana:

It’s pretty clear that the uncontrollably social 20-somethings, old enough to be away from the prudence of their parents, are the source of the new cases and that the deaths are still among the very old and infirm.  But they are not dying, and my information on the street is that their symptoms are “meh” at worst.  That will mean that the hysteria attempting to be spread by the media will have no impact on this group.  So while the number of cases goes up the deaths likely will not follow because members of this older group are keeping their distance not the ones getting infected.

Also I don’t think I have to show the Indiana plots for New Case (big spike this last week) up against Total Daily Tests (big spike this last week) to prove the obvious – more people getting tested, symptoms or not, and not surprisingly there are more cases.  The percentage of positive cases is still only 5% – 7%, no spiking there. – this supports my conclusion.

It continues to be mask on/mask off and keep to yourself outdoors.