Covid musings on December 5, 2020 by Dr. Brent Blue:
1. Obviously, the loss of 260,000 plus people is horrible but given the average age is 78 with two plus serious medical conditions, it is important to look at how many would have died from their underlying conditions or other illnesses like influenza during the same time period. The media does not state “260,000 EXCESS DEATHS for the year,” just deaths that have Covid somewhere on the death certificate. Covid could the on the first line (immediate cause of death) or one of the other five lines in order of importance (contributor). To understand this fact, one must examine on the CDC and other various sites the long-term death rates this year compared to previous years.
2. Our reaction to the virus will cause far more damage to lives than the virus itself. Social isolation, economic devastation, and paralyzing anxiety will cause decades of problems which range from suicide to domestic violence to higher levels of alcohol related disease and destruction. We are raising an entire generation of neurotic children.
3. Historically, physicians have rarely listed influenza as a cause of death. They have listed the cause of death due to the complications from influenza such as pneumonia. I have never seen influenza listed on a DC. This fact makes comparison to Covid difficult, so total deaths must be examined on an annual basis.
4. I do support the vaccine mainly because it will make people feel more secure and it will help us get back to normal. However, immunity from having had the disease is better protection than the vaccine.
5. If there is a wake-up call here, it is to get yourself into a healthy lifestyle. That means getting your weight down, exercising EVERY day, adopting a majority plant-based diet, swearing off fast food/processed food, stopping tobacco/vaping in any form, and adopting a cat or dog. This is another area our education system has failed—not teaching a healthy lifestyle.
6. Masks and social distancing may delay infection but people who will get Covid will eventually. The vaccines will help prevent infection but really are most significant for the obese, the elderly, and the infirmed. For everyone else, it is almost irrelevant. Remember that a “case” or “infection” is JUST a positive test. It has no relevance to severity.
7. Stop dumb public health rules. They make public health folks look irrational. For example, closing restaurants at 10 PM is silly. How does that make sense given restaurants are the busiest at 7 PM? I am not favoring closing restaurants. High risk people should just not go to them.
8. Please stop the fear of surfaces. Even the CDC has stated they are not a problem. Yes, washing your hands but that is good for preventing Covid, flu and other diseases but most of that is from shaking hands or handling money. It is nice to see men washing their hands in public bathrooms. Covid has certainly changed that behavior!
9. Health care worker need to reduce the drama. We work with tuberculosis, HIV, strep and staph, and multiple other disease that are far worse than Covid. Yes, right now the work is hard with long hours but that is what we signed up for and which we are paid well.
10. Listen to the news media with a critical ear. The news media has a mantra “if it bleeds, it leads.” This is their way to entice an audience which increases their advertising dollars. Our school systems have failed horribly by emphasizing memory instead of critical thinking. Every time you listen to the news, you should be asking “does that make sense?”
Pet your dog!
Covid Observations (November 10, 2020)
The number of “cases” of Covid are rising as winter approaches and testing has become more available and in particular, more sensitive. A “case” is nothing more than a positive test. It has no implication on severity.
Why are “cases”/positive tests increasing given masks are being worn and contact tracing/isolation being done compared to last April and May when these interventions were not being performed? My thoughts are masks and isolation may delay infection but not prevent it. Unfortunately, the damage of social isolation and damage to the economy will be far more severe and long lasting that the virus. Watch the suicide rates.
Deaths “from” and “with” (an important distinction) Covid have been running about one thousand people a day. This number has not increased with the increase in the number of “cases” (positive tests). This implies the severity of the infection is not near as dire as initially predicted. It is also important to note that the numbers of deaths overall in the country are only slightly higher with Covid than predicted without Covid. (source: https://www.cdc.gov/…/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm…)
When the media reports “active” and “recovered” cases, it is important to understand what that means. I know most in the media apparently do not. Active cases are the number of cases which test positive and are active for 10 days minus the number of people who have died in that group. So, if a 100 people test positive on November 1, they are “active” cases until November 11. They are NOT track individually. It is a statistical tracking number. “Recovered” is the number of positive tests on day 1 minus the number of positives still in the hospital or have died by day 11. These recovered cases also are not track individually.
More important than masks and isolation is a good immune system. Lose weight, eat healthy, exercise daily, and get reasonable amounts of sleep. Stop tobacco and vaping. Do not expect to fight any kind of infection sitting on the couch eating pizza.
Pet your dog!