July 13 Musings about the COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s now been 4 months since I started staying at home. The world has sure been turned upside down.
There has been some sadness, An Uncle of Gayle’s died and the services will be next year. He was a really cool guy. This is the third relative to have died since March 13th with no services until next year.
There has been some fun stuff. I finished the biggest raised garden bed and will start planting it this week. Our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter continue to stay with us. The three months have been remarkably drama-free. We have been with our granddaughter from the advanced crawling stage to the power walk everywhere now stage. It’s is such a joy.
In the last month, I have continued to see the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Two books that I have read that have helped me understand better what is going on are “Waking Up White and finding myself in the story of race” and “White Awake“. I know that this confrontation with America’s original sin will be good for the country. I have learned about many other blacks that died and the number is saddening.
I fully agree with the resulting movement to remove Confederate statues from public spaces which I define as excluding cemeteries and Civil war battlefields. These public statues were added in the Jim Crow era to support white supremacy. The confederacy was founded to preserve slavery. The Confederacy killed US troops. The Confederates were traitors. These statues of traitors belong in a museum, not in a place of honor. It’s not erasing history, it’s about not honoring those who dishonored America. On July 9, 1776, George Washington’s troops destroyed a statue of King George III, melted it down, and made musket balls out of it to use in the war of independence. Destroying symbols of oppression is far more American than celebrating them.
But back to COVID-19. A month ago I was pretty positive that we had not only flattened the curve but that we were smashing it. It sucks to be wrong.
As we were heading out of Memorial Day California’s mood was great. We had avoided dire predictions of a COVID19 surge, hospitalizations were declining, and businesses were starting to be reopened. However, there were the beginnings of an anti-mask movement. So as a result, in five weeks since Memorial Day, we went from a success story to a cautionary tale. It’s almost like people said something like “The parachute has slowed our descent, we are only 500 feet up now, we can take it off.”
Finally, the Governor required mask-wearing everywhere. The wearing of masks was mandated by the Governor for the same reason we’ve all agreed to stop at red lights—for the collective safety of us all. And I’ve never heard anyone complain that having to stop at a traffic light infringes on their liberty. Have you?
I do not understand how people can see masks as a sign of control by the government instead of simply wearing them to protect cashiers and others in high-risk jobs as an act of kindness.
In 1918 they learned that three things that worked 1) Wear a mask, 2) Social Distancing and avoiding gatherings, 3) and if you could, stay home (Which was a lot harder pre-internet). These are the same things we are now being told are the only things that work….. What took so long?
So infections have gone up. The Rt.live effective spread numbers for most states have gone from mostly green to mostly red. However, the good news is that deaths have not gone up as quickly for a number of reasons.
- COVID-19 is now affecting more young people than before, That is not surprising given the people I see not wearing masks are in their 20s and 30s. They also tend to be the ones in the crowded bars and other settings not wearing masks. The under 60 die at a lower rate than the over 60.
- Health Care Professionals (HCP) have learned a lot about treating COVID-19. Overuse of ventilators had negative results. HCP now can tell the difference between a low oxygen blood level patient that will be helped by a ventilator and those who will not.
- There is now a drug – Remdesivir- that proven to help reduce the severity of COVID-19. Remdesivir was developed under a 70 Million Federal grant and is now owned by Gilead Sciences. They charge $3,100 for a five-day treatment in the US. In India, it costs $80 for a five-day treatment. I know it’s more complicated than that, but do you really want a 20-page essay?
- There is a lag of three to four weeks between detection of infections and deaths. So the next couple of weeks will be interesting. Unfortunately, In the last six days, deaths have started rising from an average of 500 a day to about 800 q day. Check for yourself https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
In many areas, ICU beds are filling up again. HCPs are having trouble getting enough PPE and there are still not enough COVID-19 tests available. It’s sad to hear about friends waiting 2 to 3 days to get a test because supplies have run out. Without federal leadership, the states are forced into a “hunger game” to obtain PPE and Tests. Not a good situation.
Many more families are going to lose loved ones.
I better get used to this stay-at-home drill. Can’t do foreign travel almost anywhere, less than 30 countries allow travel from the US right now.
I think we are in for a long summer and fall.
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