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Home country: USA
Current location: Southern California
Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Good idea, Cha! Yup, that should be a requirement!

Georgia's Governor Risks Lives to Reopen His State--Just Not His Family's

“PUBLIC TOURS CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily canceling public tours until further notice to ensure the health and safety of Georgia families.”

That announcement greets anyone who goes to the “Tour the Mansion” page on the state of Georgia website. Gov. Brian Kemp was happy to reopen everything from barber shops to tattoo parlors to movie theaters to bowling alleys.

But he was suddenly possessed with an abundance of caution at the prospect of admitting folks to the governor's mansion.


Same with White House tours. They were one of the first things shut down (WH tours were canceled indefinitely starting March 11) and there is no talk of starting them up again.

Comparing the age demographics of flu vs. Covid-19 deaths, one thing is clear:

Flu deaths can reasonably be described as vastly consisting of people ove 65.


Covid-19 deaths, on the other hand, are over 50% below 75. This disease kills a lot of people of all ages, and all medical conditions. This is not the flu.


Asymptomatic Transmission, the Achilles' Heel of Current Strategies to Control Covid-19

Traditional infection-control and public health strategies rely heavily on early detection of disease to contain spread. When Covid-19 burst onto the global scene, public health officials initially deployed interventions that were used to control severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, including symptom-based case detection and subsequent testing to guide isolation and quarantine. This initial approach was justified by the many similarities between SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, including high genetic relatedness, transmission primarily through respiratory droplets, and the frequency of lower respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) with both infections developing a median of 5 days after exposure. However, despite the deployment of similar control interventions, the trajectories of the two epidemics have veered in dramatically different directions. Within 8 months, SARS was controlled after SARS-CoV-1 had infected approximately 8100 persons in limited geographic areas. Within 5 months, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 2.6 million people and continues to spread rapidly around the world.

What explains these differences in transmission and spread? A key factor in the transmissibility of Covid-19 is the high level of SARS-CoV-2 shedding in the upper respiratory tract,1 even among presymptomatic patients, which distinguishes it from SARS-CoV-1, where replication occurs mainly in the lower respiratory tract.2 Viral loads with SARS-CoV-1, which are associated with symptom onset, peak a median of 5 days later than viral loads with SARS-CoV-2, which makes symptom-based detection of infection more effective in the case of SARS CoV-1.3 With influenza, persons with asymptomatic disease generally have lower quantitative viral loads in secretions from the upper respiratory tract than from the lower respiratory tract and a shorter duration of viral shedding than persons with symptoms,4 which decreases the risk of transmission from paucisymptomatic persons (i.e., those with few symptoms).
Arons et al. now report in the Journal an outbreak of Covid-19 in a skilled nursing facility in Washington State where a health care provider who was working while symptomatic tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 on March 1, 2020.5 Residents of the facility were then offered two facility-wide point-prevalence screenings for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal swabs on March 13 and March 19–20, along with collection of information on symptoms the residents recalled having had over the preceding 14 days. Symptoms were classified into typical (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), atypical, and none. Among 76 residents in the point-prevalence surveys, 48 (63%) had positive rRT-PCR results, with 27 (56%) essentially asymptomatic, although symptoms subsequently developed in 24 of these residents (within a median of 4 days) and they were reclassified as presymptomatic. Quantitative SARS-CoV-2 viral loads were similarly high in the four symptom groups (residents with typical symptoms, those with atypical symptoms, those who were presymptomatic, and those who remained asymptomatic). It is notable that 17 of 24 specimens (71%) from presymptomatic persons had viable virus by culture 1 to 6 days before the development of symptoms. Finally, the mortality from Covid-19 in this facility was high; of 57 residents who tested positive, 15 (26%) died.

An important finding of this report is that more than half the residents of this skilled nursing facility (27 of 48) who had positive tests were asymptomatic at testing. Moreover, live coronavirus clearly sheds at high concentrations from the nasal cavity even before symptom development. Although the investigators were not able to retrospectively elucidate specific person-to-person transmission events and although symptom ascertainment may be unreliable in a group in which more than half the residents had cognitive impairment, these results indicate that asymptomatic persons are playing a major role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Symptom-based screening alone failed to detect a high proportion of infectious cases and was not enough to control transmission in this setting. The high mortality (>25%) argues that we need to change our current approach for skilled nursing facilities in order to protect vulnerable, enclosed populations until other preventive measures, such as a vaccine or chemoprophylaxis, are available.

Reminder: South Korea controlled Covid-19 without a shutdown.

How? Competent national leadership who acted quickly to get testing and targeted quarantines implemented. Trump failed us horrifically with his lies and two months of dithering and reality denial.

South Korea got their first case on Jan. 20, same day as us. South Korea lost only 240 people to date to the virus because they had a competent, able government who took it seriously, immediately mass producing tests as soon as the WHO made the test available to the world on Jan. 17. Because they had readily available testing, they were able to do targeted quarantines and never had to shut their country down.

The death numbers tell how stark the difference is when you have competent leadership. South Korea has one of the lowest death rates in the world at 4.6 per 1 million population. Trump, on the other hand, lied that it was the flu and sat on his stubby orange hands for 2 months, resulting in a U.S. death total to date of 47,681, and one of the worst death rates in the world, at 145.7 per 1 million population. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/

From a March 26 article in NPR:

How South Korea Reined In The Outbreak Without Shutting Everything Down

As of this week, South Korea had just over 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, which puts it among the top 10 countries for total cases.

But South Korea has another distinction: Health experts are noting that recently the nation has managed to significantly slow the number of new cases. And the country appears to have reined in the outbreak without some of the strict lockdown strategies deployed elsewhere in the world.

"In mid-January, our health authorities quickly conferred with the research institutions here [to develop a test]," Kang said. "And then they shared that result with the pharmaceutical companies, who then produced the reagent [chemical] and the equipment needed for the testing."

So when members of a religious sect in Daegu started getting sick in February, South Korea was able to rapidly confirm that it was COVID-19.


The Ten Weeks That Lost the War: A Timeline of How Trump Lied, Bungled and Screwed America

Great, detailed timeline with links to cited articles:

The Ten Weeks That Lost the War: A Timeline of How Trump Lied, Bungled and Screwed America in the COVID-19 Crisis

In the social media fog of war it can be easy to lose the thread as to just how the COVID-19 crisis came to our shores and what the Trump administration did and didn’t do to respond.

This timeline provides a look at the key inflection points in the crucial ten-week period where the United States lost the ability to effectively respond to the virus that is causing unprecedented death and economic destruction.


First, restart White House tours.

Anger in Sweden as elderly pay price for coronavirus strategy

Source: The Guardian

Last week, as figures released by the Public Health Agency of Sweden indicated that 1,333 people had now died of coronavirus, the country’s normally unflappable state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell admitted that the situation in care homes was worrying.

Its advice to the care workers and nurses looking after older people such as Bondesson’s 69-year-old mother is that they should not wear protective masks or use other protective equipment unless they are dealing with a resident in the home they have reason to suspect is infected.

“The worst thing is that it is us, the staff, who are taking the infection in to the elderly,” complained one nurse to Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “It’s unbelievable that more of them haven’t been infected. It’s a scandal.”

Tegnell’s colleague AnnaSara Carnahan on Friday told Sveriges Radio that the number of deaths reported from old people’s homes was “probably an underestimate”, as regional health infectious diseases units were reporting that many elderly who died were not being tested.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/19/anger-in-sweden-as-elderly-pay-price-for-coronavirus-strategy

They act like there is no such thing as asymptomatic spread. Restaurants and bars are open and the nursing home staff are not wearing PPE to protect the patients. They might as well just wheel the elderly into the bars and skip the middleman.


Land O'Lakes Removing Native American Woman From Packaging After 92 Years

Land O’Lakes is removing the Native American woman who has appeared on its containers of butter and margarine since 1928. Instead, future packages will showcase photos of real Land O’Lakes farmers and co-op members, along with the phrase “Proud to be Farmer-Owned,” according to a company release.

The Grand Forks Tribune noted that many Native people, including North Dakota state Rep. Ruth Buffalo (D), have called the woman’s image racist. Buffalo told the paper the image goes “hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls.… by depicting Native women as sex objects.” 

Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford did not cite cultural sensitivity as the reason for the change.

“As Land O’Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary (in 2021), we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture — and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products,” Ford said in a release.


Navy removes 116 staff from hospital ship after virus infects 7

The Navy has removed 116 medical staff members from its hospital ship docked off Los Angeles after seven of them tested positive for COVID-19, an official said Tuesday.
It’s unclear where or how the sailors became infected, Rieger said.

The ship left San Diego on March 23 when all were screened before they boarded, Rieger said. It arrived to Los Angeles four days later to provide relief to the city amid the pandemic by accepting patients from hospitals who were not infected with the virus.
So far the ship, with 1,000 beds, has taken in 48 patients from hospitals and none has tested positive for the coronavirus or showed any symptoms of the illness, Rieger said. Two medical personnel from the ship who tested positive came in close contact with a small number of the patients but they were wearing full protective gear, including gloves, N95 masks and eye goggles.


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