Monday, April 27, 2020

Covid Journal 3 - Who Will You Kill Today?

Note: This is being published out of order, because I started it on April 8, but didn't finish until today.

I've just about had it with people who compare coronavirus to the flu! Ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignorance can kill.

In response to a Facebook question about going back to work and social distancing, I just posted a graph of the growth of Covid 19 cases in NH. I asked if it looked like it was a good idea to get back to work.

Within moments there was a reply that said, "Thank you art. So why don’t we shut down the state when we have 8,000 flu cases?" Then he added, "We’ve had 24+ flu related deaths this year."

After counting to 10, I took a few breath's and said, "In all the years, we've have the flu going around, have we ever had to social distance to slow its spread? Of course not, but this IS NOT THE FLU!!!
Its epidemiology is different, it's more deadly, and because it is so contagious, unchecked it would have crashed our health system.

Do you remember last year during the flu season, when NY was piling bodies in refrigerator trucks and burying people in mass graves? NO? Well, neither do I. 

If we did for Covid 19 what we do for the normal flu, the number of cases and the number of deaths would DWARF the worst flu statistics, and I don't even want to start on the shape the economy is in. 

The fact is we are peaking shortly. If we keep doing it right, we will start on the down side, but what goes down can go right back up." 

Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine chimed in and said, "Insufficient Data...The testing, both detecting presence, and those that have it, and may be immune...we don't have the data yet. The finger-prick test that could detect forensic presence (present but defeated), if rolled out enmasse, COULD give us the necessary information. but we're finding out where this virus was 10 days ago...not where it is now.."

I have no idea whether our message got through, but my question in the title, is aimed at people who don't get it. Consider John Doe, who is a symptomatic, and is not taking precautions. 

My mother is 98 years old and living in an assisted living facility in NJ. Early on, they began taking precautions. They were cleaning, social distancing, no activities, no visitors, and other precautions.  Despite their efforts, two residents tests positive. The facility went on a tighter lock down and everyone was restricted to their rooms. Then two staff members tested positive, followed by another resident. Since then the number as grown. 

During the lock down, my mother fell and couldn't get up. Even though she had the alert necklace, so does everyone else in the facility. She was on the floor with a broken hip for about a half hour before anyone got to her. The worst thing was, she was able to call my sister who also was not able to get through to alert the facility to her problem. 

My sister was 30 minutes away and couldn't get in even if she was there. She was eventually able to make contact and get staff on the phone. They found her on the floor in pain. From the position of her leg, the suspected a broken hip, but they had to wait for a doctor to do anything. It took about 30 minutes for the doctor to tell them to take her to the hospital. The preferred hospital where she had been treated a number of times, had no beds and she had to be taken to a less desirable hospital? 

24 hours earlier, she was a completely independent. Now she is confused a 98 year-old, in terrible pain. She needed a hip replacement and was extremely high risk just for the operation. She is on Plavix and has only one kidney. 

She is from hearty stock and came through the surgery the operation fine.  She is now in rehab now, but in a few weeks will be going back to assisted living. Both the rehab center and the assisted living facilities have positive Covid patients. 

There is an up side to this story (at least so far). They were going to put her into a rehab center that might have been her death sentence. It had 82 confirmed cases and 14 deaths! My sister was able to do the leg work and got her into the facility we had suggested which has only 7 cases on 0 deaths. Someone was looking out for her, because when she called, they had just one bed available.

When we open up, there will be more case and more deaths than if we sheltered in place. Of course, we have to open up some time, but it needs to be based on science.

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