200,000 souls lost
200,000 families destroyed
200,000 human beings ignored
1,000 people dying every day
Some are taking the brunt of those losses more than others. Black, Indigenous, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Asians are dying at rate 3x higher than White people.
Healthcare workers have perished unnecessarily because life saving protective gear has been impossible to find, even after all these months.
The meat packing industry suffered huge losses when employees were forced to return to work, or face termination of their benefits, without proper protection and social distancing. Recent documents show concise and rigid CDC guidelines included multilevel protections in factories. These were in response to President Trump’s executive order to keep meat packing facilities open during the pandemic. The suggestions were suppressed and new, optional measures were released by the White House.
Micheal Caputo was appointed by Trump to a top post at Health and Human Services in the spring to shape the public messaging on the coronavirus. He demanded the CDC present only data the White House cleared first. This has led to repeated misleading and inaccurate statements. Most recent was the claim that those exposed to the coronavirus, but asymptomatic, did not require testing. The exact opposite of what all the science dictates. Caputo resigned this month after a tirade on Facebook for “mental health “ reasons.
The FDA was pressured into authorizing the use of hydrochloroquin but later recanted when studies showed it not only didn’t help, but actually harmed those treated with it.
A news briefing in August claimed 35% improvement with the “new treatment of plasma for COVID.” The concept behind convalescent plasma, which dates back more than a century, is that blood from patients who have recovered from an infection will be rich with antibodies against it, making their plasma an effective treatment. This too was recanted when it was admitted convalescent plasma had been used for months and the data claiming it benefited 35% of patients was false. The true value is yet unknown because clinical trials have not been done.
Now the remaining representative in charge of protecting our health and welfare from the virus is Dr. Scott Atlas. He is a former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution. A letter written from Stanford University Medical Center categorically denies any current relationship with him and makes it clear he has no education, training or expertise in dealing with viruses, public health, or infectious diseases.
Atlas, the sole doctor to share the stage at Trump’s pandemic briefings, has long questioned polices that have been embraced by public health experts both in the U.S. and abroad. He has called it a “good thing” for younger, healthy people to be exposed to the virus, while falsely claiming children are at near “zero risk.”
This is categorically not true, While younger people appear to be at lower risk of developing serious complications from the virus, they can still spread it to others who may be more vulnerable, even when they have no symptoms. It has been shown that those under age 5 can carry 100 times the amount of virus. Those 10 and older can carry the same as adults, suggesting kids could be a significant driver of viral spread. As schools reopen the data is not encouraging.
In Trump’s own words to Bob Woodward on March 19, 2020, “Now it’s turning out not just the old people are susceptible, Bob. Today and yesterday some startling facts came out. It’s not just the older people, it’s plenty of the young.”
November 10, 2020 the Supreme Court will hear arguments from the Trump administration to dismantle Obamacare. If successful, it will end coverage for millions and eradicate protections for those with pre-existing medical concerns. Consider now that 7 million Americans already infected with the virus will have a pre-existing condition and will no longer be permitted coverage. Millions have already lost coverage due to cuts in hours or complete loss of work.
We have 4% of the world population and 25% of the deaths. Now Dr. Atlas and President Trump are advocating herd immunity. The idea being that by the time 65% of the population is infected there won’t be enough people left uninfected, so the virus dies from lack of new exposures.
That’s effectively what a vaccine does- mimics infectivity without hurting the host. There’s no guarantee it will function as touted, and millions may die. The immunity may not last or it may take more than one dose weeks or months apart.
The US population is approximately 330M. To reach herd immunity of 65%, over 214M people need to be infected. That’s 30x the number so far. The current infection and death rates have resulted in a fatality rate of 3%, which experts argue is a low approximation due to inadequate testing rates. At a 3% fatality rate, 6.4M will die. Compare that to the roughly 1,264,000 Americans lives lost in our nation’s wars since the Civil War.
While people argue that the amount of deaths directly attributed to COVID-19 are low, any investigation into how death certificates are completed (which you can read here), clearly reflects that in a majority of deaths, there are contributing factors. Whether a primary or contributing factor, these variables interacted with that individual’s system, ultimately leading to death.
Testing, demanding those infected quarantine, and contact tracing continues to be the way to eradicate this virus. It is how we will ultimately open our country back up safely and allow the economy to recover. The two are inescapably intertwined.
We know what can prevent this illness. We know how to stop this from ravaging our bodies and destroying families. As we head into the winter months, forced inside with heightened exposures to each other and other opportunistic infections it’s up to us to protect ourselves and others.
Wash your hands. Socially distance. Wear a mask. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in June estimated that 33,000 deaths could have been avoided by October 1st if 95% of people wore masks.
I hear people claim they are O.K. with the possibility of dying. As a physician in practice over 35 years, I can guarantee you that is never true in the end. Even if you are willing to sacrifice your life, are you prepared to live with the reality you cost others theirs?
I’ve seen up close what this infection can do.
You. Do. Not. Want. To. Get. Infected.
Let’s honor those 200,000 lives by demanding no more be added to the list.