Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: March 7, 2020

7 03 2020

I meant to get this blog out last evening but I found myself falling asleep before I had finished.  Now it is just going to be a March 7 blog. 

Houston Area Update First

New totals released as of 7:56 p.m. on Friday, March 6, show that we have 8 confirmed cases in the Houston area.  There are three confirmed cases and five presumptive positive (which means the tests here were positive, but they still require the final result to be approved by the CDC).  All the cases are related to travel abroad.  In Montgomery County (which is my county), there is one case of possible COVID-19 which is under investigation.  Eight additional people in Harris County are under investigation as possible cases.  Officials are saying that they do not believe the virus has spread into the community at large.  Local news’ source said that just over 100 people who may have come into contact with the patients are being monitored.  Three presumptive cases in Fort Bend County; 2 confirmed cases in Harris County (one of these people was the Rice University professor); 1 confirmed case and 1 presumptive positive case within Houston; and 1 possible case ‘under investigation in Montgomery County.  The map below shows 19 (these people plus 11 people who were confirmed to have COVID-19 from the cruise ship (not the one currently out there) but when it was going from Japan to the United States. 

National level

The administration still does not understand that having a mixed message, one badly enough that people are beginning not to trust what they are saying, is what upsets the stock market.  Between that and the bungled efforts by CDC (who STILL does not have accurate totals on their web site), it leads the world and most of the United States to bestow a “no confidence” vote on their response.  Example:  VP Pence promised that by the end of the week (which was Friday) there would be 1.5M test kits ready to send out; there are only 75,000.  So far only 1900 people have been tested.  If Trump cannot state the scientific facts as commanded by the task force underneath VP Pence, then he needs to just go play golf somewhere and let people do the real work and get the real information out.  Also, someone needs to tell Trump that every death is a human being, not a number that he fears will weigh him down on Election Day. 


Trump said of the cruise ship (my comments in bold italics): “They would like to have the people come off.  I’d like to have the people stay, but I’ll go with them.  I told them to make the final decision.  I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are.  (Has no one explained to him that the number of infected is going to go up as more kits can start diagnosing more people??) He goes on: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship.  That wasn’t our fault.  I like the numbers…I would rather have the numbers stay where they are but if they want to take them off, they’ll take them off.  But if that happens all of a sudden you are 240 (meaning the number of infected people); it’s an obviously going to be a much higher number and probably 11 will be a higher number.  (Unsure where he is getting 11 from because the total is 352 cases in the US and 17 deaths.  Also, these people on the ship are American citizens.

Trump went on: “Anybody who needs a test gets a test.  They’re there.  Okay?  We have the tests.  And the tests are beautiful.  Anybody that needs a test gets a test.  If there’s a doctor that wants to test; if there’s somebody coming off the ship like they did that monster ship out there, which again is a big decision.  I want to bring all the people on.  If they’d like me to do that.  I don’t like the idea of doing that.  But anybody that needs a test can have a test.  They’re all set.  They have enough.  In addition to that, they are making millions more as we speak as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test—and that’s the important thing.  And the tests are perfect.  Like the letter was perfect.  Like the transcription was perfect.” 

THIS IS A BOLD-FACE LIE.  75,000 tests were just sent out, and only 1900 people have been tested as of Friday morning.  There are very critically ill patients who are suspected as having COVID-19 that can’t get tested because the tests are not available because the administration really fell on their face with regards to this disaster response (they had 6-8 weeks to get ready for this pandemic).  And what the hell?  The “letter”?  I can only assume he meant to say “phone call.”  And like the transcription (please note a word-for-word transcription of the call was never released just a Trump-approved summary, but when the people who also listened to the call were asked if it looked complete, including someone who worked for VP Pence, they both said it was not complete.    

Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims in his first three years in office by the end of 2019. A few days ago, I admonished Trump for saying the coronavirus was a Democrat hoax.  A friend said that isn’t what he MEANT.  I disagreed.  Now I have proof.  A reporter asked for comments from someone waiting in line to see Trump.  She said to the woman: “What are you doing to prepare for the coronavirus?”  The woman said, “That is not real; it’s a story made up by the Democrats.”  I rest my case.  Cult followers are going to believe whatever he says even if it is not reality.  The very horrible truth is that they need to take personal responsibility, even if it just involves their person hygiene habits, to not spread this virus. 

Then Trump was supposed to go to the CDC.  A statement then went out that said: “[T]he President does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.’  But when Trump had some press in the oval office to witness his signature on a bill (a bill that he wanted 8x less money than what Congress decided he needed and Congress upped that to $8.3M because they knew he wasn’t asking for a good number), he said it was because they thought someone at the CDC had the virus.   Azar spoke up that he had sent him so he was going to go see.. but Trump interrupts him and changes his mind on the spot, “We may go….” And explains about the person.  Do I believe him?  No.   

Then there was this segment on another show: Host:  “There seems to be a big disconnect on this testing issue.”  


Guest: “What do we hear from doctors in emergency rooms?  That they don’t have the test.  When NY State complained to the federal government, they can’t get the test.  Obviously, the number of people with the coronavirus is going to explode once they do get tests because we’ll find out all these people who don’t know that they have the virus have it.  So, why does the President say at a time when we know that in his briefings he’s not been told that.  Vice President Pence has acknowledged they haven’t had enough test kits, and they are trying to work on it which is the appropriate health response and also the appropriate political response.” 

Host:  “Then again, I think he fails to realize that people look at this through their own lives.  Here he was last night at the town hall [on Fox News] when he was asked about it because it sort of epitomizes his reaction.”

My comments below for the Town Hall question are in bold italics. 

Town Hall:  A woman asks: “Mr. President.  At the onset of the coronavirus, your administration’s response seemed to some as being confusing or minimizing.  What plans are being considered on a federal level for the possibility of a long-term disruption from the novel coronavirus?  (THIS IS A GREAT QUESTION).  Trump’s response: “Well actually we’re given, I think really given tremendous marks.  You look at Gallup poll, you look at other polls, the way we’ve handled it. One of the things I did was I closed down the borders to China and other areas that are very badly affected and really having a lot of trouble.  I closed them down very early against the advice of almost everybody and we’ve been given rave reviews.    (He talked about closing entry off from China into the US which is in the PAST, not what the woman’s question was pertaining to—what are the plans on the federal level for long-term disruption from this virus.  Also, again, he brings it back to himself – the “me, me, me syndrome” what are HIS poll results about how he is handling this.  All politicians are narcissists but this is where it jumps into a narcissistic sociopath category). 

The Iran hostage crisis wasn’t President Jimmy Carter’s fault, but Americans didn’t think he handled it in a competent way and he was punished for it by not being re-elected.   And Jimmy Carter was facing a nominee that people thought was too old and wasn’t up to the job.  Life surely does repeat patterns, doesn’t it? 

During the Task Force Briefing, an official (didn’t catch his name) said that as of yesterday (Friday), CDC tests shipped out 900,000 tests.  They expected to 200,000 today (Saturday).  They have gone through the quality assurance process.  Another 1M tests will be quality-assessed this weekend; they expect those to go out early next week.   They expect further surge in test capacity beyond that by the end of next week (meaning March 13). 

Also, to correct another comment the task force has made about the states making their own tests.  On another news program, a guest, Robinson Meyer, writer for “The Atlantic” said: “They are not at a place where they could rapidly scale up to a million tests either.  Instead of being able to test 10,000 people or 100,000 people a day, right now, the total national capacity across all these state public health labs that the Trump administration says are going to be testing for this virus is about a couple-thousand tests.  It’s not even 10,000 tests.   The host asks:  Why does the US lag behind other countries?   Guest: “It’s a complicated question.  I don’t think we fully know the answer.  Basically, other countries have accepted the test made by the World Health Organization and has accepted it.  The US through the FDA and the CDC tried to make its own test.  They distributed that test a few weeks ago.  It realized about two weeks before COVID had came up in the news in the US that those tests were faulty.  It then withdrew them and now it has redistributed these new tests, but it started doing that the tail end of last week and so only through this week they started reaching these state public health labs which are now in charge of testing.  The host asks, “Do you recommend, do you find that the experts that you talk to, say that if people feel anything, they should stay home from work, they should go get tested?”  Mr. Meyer: “I should say I’m not a public health expert, but I have to say that right now the issue is that if you go to your doctor, they probably can’t test you for the virus.  Doctors do not have it in their repertoire; there are not enough tests out there to do it right now.  They can’t even test all front-line health workers who are reporting symptoms, but yes, right now the CDC is saying that if you have symptoms and you think you might have been in contact, a dry cough, a fever, then you should start to self-isolate. 

MAPS AND CHARTS UPDATES

These were accurate as of 1:33 p.m. on March 7, 2020.  Ninety-two countries are now involved.  More than 105,400 people have been sick with COVID-19 by official counts only.  Of these, 3557 people have died, all of those were in China except for 487 deaths that have happened in other countries.  In the United States, 352 tests have been confirmed by the laboratory as being positive and sadly there have been 17 deaths (our hearts go out to the family, friends and caregivers of those individuals).  New countries to the list include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Malta, Serbia, and Slovenia. 

Since my Thursday posting, all countries have seen increases with the exception of these countries who are still at their same levels (which just means their labs don’t have any new positives, not that there aren’t more infected people in their midst).  A lot of countries who are reporting just 1 case thus far will change in the coming days; sadly, they always do.   Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine. 


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