Coronavirus COVID-19 Update: March 8, 2020

9 03 2020

Updated Totals

I am short on time today.  Maybe I will do a double blog on Monday because there is a lot of ground to cover. 

COVID-19 is now being reported in 97 countries.  In the US, at 12:10 a.m. ET on March 9, 2020, there are 545 confirmed cases in the United States with sadly 22 deaths.  Don’t be surprised in the weeks to come that the numbers will go up, but that doesn’t mean that all of it are new people getting infected; as testing occurs, and only the sickest people are going to be tested until more tests can be made, it is going to appear that there is a high mortality rate.  You can’t extrapolate real percentages when real numbers are not known.  You have to get a large enough sample size of how many people were tested, how many were negative, and how many were positive to get any clear idea of percentages.  For example, there have been 109,900 cases confirmed worldwide at this time but as China is beginning to stabilize some (only 83 new confirmed cases between the 3/8 and 3/9 totals), things are going up in most of all the other 96 countries.  There have been 3825 deaths and all but 706 of them were in mainland China.  In China, there have been 80,734 confirmed cases with 3119 deaths.  That leads to a 0.038% mortality rate.  But in smaller populated countries, the mortality rate could be much lower when this is all over.    

US map:

All countries who have confirmed cases increased their number of confirmed cases with the exception of these countries who have had no new confirmed cases in 24 hours (which does not mean the virus is finished):  Andorra, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia. U.A.E., Ukraine, West Bank and Gaza. 

Egypt and Argentina have reported their first deaths respectively. 

Countries reporting confirmed cases and who were not previously on the list are:   Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Maldives, Moldova, and Vatican City.

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. 


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. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: March 5, 2020

6 03 2020


My thoughts for a blog post in the morning always change by the evening.  Today I learned that three individuals who traveled to Egypt together, that the two in Harris County [Houston] who live in an unincorporated northwest area of Harris County, have had positive tests for COVID-19 and the one in Fort Bend County (which is southwest of downtown Houston in a suburb called Stafford) was presumptively positive.  One of the Harris County travelers was a professor from Rice University.  She had come into limited contact with an employee on February 24-25.  Fourteen Rice doctoral students, faculty and staff have been in self-quarantine away from campus.  None of those individuals have reported symptoms.  Potential contacts of the man from Stafford are being notified and being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.   The only callers coming into the screening line in Stafford being referred for testing were those who were sick enough to go to a hospital and who had either come into contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus or who had also traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea.   People in area didn’t seem rattled by the news. 

The University of Houston announced that it requires students or staff returning from travel to countries under a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 travel warning related to coronavirus to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days away from campus.  Two faculty members and four students from the University of Houston are under a 14-day self-quarantine after returning from Italy and South Korea.

The Houston Health Department laboratory is now conducting COVID-19 testing for specimens collected by medical providers from patients who meet CDC COVID-19 testing criteria.

As a follow-up to my post about how companies planned to profit off Americans to come up with the test kits (and in the future a vaccine), companies we already pay upfront to subsidize their research with our tax dollars, a bright light came from sunny California from Governor Gavin Newsom:  BREAKING: we have ordered health insurance companies to waive ALL out-of-pocket costs for preventive coronavirus testing. Let’s hope other states will follow suit.

On Monday, March 2, 2020, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a public health emergency Monday after the federal government released a woman from quarantine who tested positive for COVID-19.  The woman was among the 91 Americans evacuated from Wuhan and was placed in federal 14-day quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.  She tested negative twice for COVID-19 and was released on Saturday under the guidance from the CDC.  After the woman’s release, the CDC received the results of another test that showed a weakly positive confirmation of the virus that causes COVID-19.  Nirenberg said, “As mayor of this city, I find it totally unacceptable that CDC would release a patient prior to receiving all test results and potentially expose the public to this harm.”  According to the press release, the woman arrived at the Holiday Inn Express Airport at 3 p.m.  The woman also visited North Star Mall, where she browsed stores including Dillard’s, Talbot’s and Swarovski and ate at the food court.  They transported her to Texas Center for Infectious Disease at 2 a.m.  Local officials are tracking 16 people from the mall and three at the hotel who they believe had contact with her.  The city health department has recommended deep cleanings “with disinfectants” to both the hotel and mall.  Nirenberg said, “We simply cannot have a screw-up like this from our federal partners.  While the CDC is encouraging everyone to wash their hands and prevent the spread of the virus, as we would during the season, I would encourage the federal administration to not wash its hands of the responsibility to protect the public.” 

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said that 235 people were still under quarantine at Lackland. They came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined last month off the coast of Japan.  Those evacuees were scheduled to be released Monday but local officials have requested a third round of testing before giving them the all clear. 

Eleven of those individuals had tested positive prior to this gross error and were still being monitored at Lackland. 

I caught some video of a news correspondent who was in Seattle.  It looks like a ghost town; it is creepy.  My husband said that when he went to the gym today (and he goes at the same time every night after work) he noticed more people had dropped off.  On Monday it wasn’t as crowded (like one-third of the people were not there) but he didn’t give it much thought, but as the week went on, it became less and less. 

Meanwhile, China has discovered that the coronavirus has mutated at least once into two strains.  One type, called type L, accounted for about 70% of the cases in China and is much more aggressive than the other strain, called type S, which is milder and is the source of about 30% of cases.  Type L was more common in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan, but began to decrease after early January 2020.  They believe human intervention may have placed more severe selective pressure on the type L, which might be more aggressive and spread more quickly.  But type S, which is evolutionally older and less aggressive, might have increased in relative frequency due to the relatively weaker selective pressure per the scientists.   “The researchers said the S type is thought to be the ancestral strain and that the findings ‘strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019.”   It goes on to say “the genomes studied were only sourced from China, so it is unclear what strains are most common in other countries or if there have been further mutations.” 

The Trump administration said today they will not have the number of kits available as VP Pence stated in his press conference yesterday (stop promising things until you know that this is true).  The stock market does not like uncertainty as one could see by the drop after the gains yesterday.

The CDC still does not have its correct number of cases.  Even though it says their numbers are updated at noon every day (and these were the noon March 5, 2020 totals), they don’t even say these numbers on air.  These numbers aren’t even the ones they publicly said on Monday and it was now Thursday.  Heavy sigh.  They say the numbers that are accurate (which is more than double their number on their web site).   

This is incorrect information — BTW

And here are the stats I post at the end of every blog:  

In the United States there are now 215 cases confirmed by lab tests and sadly 14 deaths.   Deepest sympathies to the family and friends of these individuals. This is as of 12:30 a.m. March 6, 2020.

Of hopeful note, Mainland China only saw an increase of 143 cases between yesterday and today, perhaps a sign that things are getting under control there.  Switzerland has reported its first death from the virus as did the United Kingdom. 

All the countries on the chart below had increases from the day before with the exception of these countries who did not have tests showing positive results (doesn’t mean there aren’t more people infected):  Afghanistan, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Macedonia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, Vietnam.

The only new country on the list tonight is the West Bank and Gaza. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: March 4, 2020

5 03 2020

How US Companies Will Profit Off this Public Health Crisis

Today I had to run down to the Texas Medical Center to see my rheumatologist.  For those of you who don’t know me or don’t know my history, I am on immunosuppressants.  I was curious to see what was going on in the heartbeat of Houston’s best and finest.  Not a damn thing different.  No one was pushing the elevator buttons with their Kleenex; no visitors were washing their hands any better in the restroom.  It was reassuring. 

Before I left to go down there (which is like a 4-hour commitment for me), I saw a segment on my favorite local TV station, Fox 26 Houston, about myths people were writing about COVID-19 and the facts.  I thought that might make a great blog for today.   The mayor’s FB page is RICH with misunderstandings (the one I found the other day, in fact, how a coronavirus test can be positive without it being the China version).  Then when I got home, I saw a post from a friend Michael, from another local news station about a 70-year-old man in Fort Bend County (which is southwest of downtown Houston) who they are certain is positive for COVID-19 (just got back from an extensive overseas trip), and they were awaiting confirmation. 

But then I saw why the stock market was rallying today:  Greedy bastards with their tongues hanging out who plan to profit off this horrible public health crisis.  Read below about the involvement of private companies like Quest Laboratories.  Don’t be surprised if you get the $3000 bill that your insurance won’t cover should you need a test.  Osmel Martinez Azcue had returned from China to Miami.  He was worried about the coronavirus.  Jackson Memorial Hospital told him he needed a “CT scan” to see if he had this.  He said he would have to pay out of pocket for this so asked for a flu test first, which they did, which was positive.  He later received a bill for a test for the flu for $3200 plus the small amount of time someone was saw him in the ER.  I’m glad he didn’t have a CT scan because that could have been $20,000 or more.  Mine was $30,000 for a different thing.  Once you send this out to for-profit companies, you are going to see the internet light up with people taking pictures of what they were billed for the test.  And Quest is an outpatient facility.  Do you really want to sit next to someone coming in to get tested for COVID-19 and you don’t know it?  They obviously haven’t really thought this through.  Hospitals have their own laboratories. 

Later I saw a news conference. I will have to say that Dr. Deborah Birx, the Obama appointee who VP Pence put in charge of the virus effort, after Trump put him in charge of it, was making VP Pence look pretty competent.  As he is talking, you see her in the background nodding her head (as if she herself wrote most of those talking points…up to a point…then her nodding stopped…until he said, “whole of America approach.). 

All my comments will be in bold italics.  

VP Pence:  “All state laboratories and all university laboratories at the state level can conduct coronavirus tests without any additional assets or resources from the federal government.  They have the FDA approved test; they can conduct the test all across the country in all the states.”  (Hmmm.. Does he mean that FDA/CDC flawed test or have they fixed the flawed test? He doesn’t say).  VP Pence continues: “Beyond that, as we announced, through the efforts of HHS, 2500 kits of tests are going out this week… (then he corrects himself) …2500 kits including tests has gone out this week, that’s roughly 1.5 million (WHICH IS ABOUT THE POPULATION SIZE OF PHILADELPHIA).  VP Pence continues: “A test that will available this week, we will continue to build on that number.  But perhaps most significantly, thanks to Dr. Birx’s effort and leadership, we brought together today at the White House the leaders of all of the largest commercial laboratories in this country, companies like Quest who have vast capabilities, logistic and testing capabilities, and we were pleased to report today that they have created a consortium to share information and to share resources and literally have told us that as they go through what is called the validation process on testing that by next week individual companies will be able to do, as they said to me, thousands of tests of coronavirus if they are needed and are required and many many multiples more of that in the not-distant future.  Our objective here is Dr. Birx raised with the task force is we’ve got hospitals in affected areas and those are requesting they have kits.  We’ve got universities and state labs that now can perform the test on a requested basis.  But our objective ultimately, and as quickly as possible, is to have tests made through these commercial laboratories (cough, cough – for profit – your dime), and commercial providers that your local doctor, your CVS (okay so Minute Clinic might have COVID-19 patients now, or will pharmacists be doing that along with vaccines—unless they are thinking of drive-through like South Korea has with hazmat suits??), your Med-Check is able to have coronavirus tests.  That isn’t there yet.  We are working to make that a reality but again it is one more example—its not just a whole of government approach—it’s a whole of America approach (until you get the bill & their profit in a big way or bankrupt a whole family who has to get tested especially if they have no insurance).   Whether it be our nursing home industry or it be our airline industry or whether it be our commercial laboratories, I can (he stutters for a minute) on behalf of President Trump and our entire task force when I say we are profoundly grateful for the spirit—this being reflected by the companies all across the United States of America, grateful for the leadership at the state level, and the American people should be confident (in your pending bankruptcy) that that spirit of partnership is going to continue to drive this at every level as we work our way through dealing with the coronavirus in the United States.   End of VP Pence’s speech. 

Then they were going to let Dr. Birx speak but the segment was interrupted. 

So, there we are—how America will be profiting off this public health crisis. 

The CDC is still showing their incompetence.  This is what their website shows today.  The correct amount is 152 confirmed cases.  Even if they were just going by YESTERDAY’S (March 3) TOTAL, that one was 118 confirmed cases.  ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

And the tally updates: 

There are now 80 countries with some level of confirmed cases.  There are now 152 cases confirmed in the United States (remember, not that there were more infected, but more are just testing positive).  This information was valid as of 10:43 p.m. Eastern Time on March 4. 

All countries on the list have still seen a rise in confirmed cases, the most still being China.  Today, countries not having new confirmed cases (that doesn’t mean there aren’t people infected, just that they don’t have updates in their confirmations) were:  Afghanistan, Armenia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Dominic Republic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Gibraltar, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia,  Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nigeria, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Saint-Barthelemy, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, and Vietnam. 

New to the list are:  Estonia, Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Hungary and Poland.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic March 4, 2020

4 03 2020

Super Tuesday sucked the oxygen out of the COVID-19 talk which I think is really a good thing for us.   Today Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness said, when someone said the word ‘epidemic:” “Actually we have been in a pandemic for some period of time.  This is a pandemic, so pussyfooting around that is not helping anymore.” 

What are you doing (or not) to get ready for possible self-quarantined states? Are you changing your travel plans at all? Has your employer given you a plan yet? I’m interested so let me know in the comments.

Today another case popped up in New York and it appears to be the first “community spread” case in the state.  The man in his 50’s was hospitalized in severe condition.  Nothing in his travel history suggested any direct connection to China or any countries on the watch list.  He had no travel during the [supposed] 2-week incubation period.  His severe symptoms became noticeable at the end of last week, but he had respiratory issues for the last month [which makes me think they may need to rethink their incubation period time as he had been in Israel where 12 people are now testing positive and to Miami, Florida].  He has two sons with a NYC connection.  Both sons are now isolated at their home.  Four schools the one son is associated with are all now closed.  The other is an undergraduate student; he has not been on campus since Feb 27.  Both boys are now isolated at home.  The place of worship of the ill man has been notified.  They have suspended services for the foreseeable future.  Some of the members have been ordered to self-quarantine due to possible exposure. 

Five additional COVID-19 cases are still under investigation.  The state of New York is also testing two families in Buffalo who recently returned from Italy.  They are being tested and are quarantined.  SUNY schools plan to send home students who are studying abroad in countries with high prevalence of the virus.  The state public health laboratory is teaming up with hospitals with a goal of ensuring the state can handle up to 1,000 tests per day.  Governor Cuomo said that New York will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public transportation system. 

There are now 76 countries who are dealing with COVID-19.  There are now 118 identified cases in the United States; 9 people in the United States have died.  The charts were updated 11:50 p.m.  Most of the countries on the list have increased both in numbers of confirmed cases and deaths, although for some their death totals have not changed.  San Marino and Spain both had their first casualties of the virus. 

Several countries have no new confirmed cases to report (but that usually changes as they get their testing processes straightened out):  Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam.

New countries who have had people test positive for the disease are Argentina, Chile, Gibraltar, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Saint Barthelemy, Sri Lanka, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Ukraine. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 3

3 03 2020

People are panicking.  Today I went to pick up a few things at Walmart.  The hand sanitizer I expected to be gone; however, I didn’t expect to see all the Clorox and Lysol wipes to be sold out.  I looked at the man who was looking for an alternative.  I said, “People are panicking needlessly.”  I told him and wrote down for him my alternatives that will work just as well.  Also, all the alcohol was gone (not the kind you drink but the kind you use to sterilize things).  I saw that as I was getting antibiotic cream because we were out of that. I didn’t see anything else that might have disappeared from the shelves but I’m sure there probably is.  I had a specific agenda of things to get (you know, like yogurt, hornet spray, things like that). 

Last night I saw someone post something on the mayor’s FB page and said that their loved one tested positive for coronavirus but they told her she didn’t have the China coronavirus and accused the mayor of the city of a conspiracy.  I decided to reply to him.  I said the common cold is a coronavirus (of course I’m wondering how their loved one was tested to begin with since kits are not readily available but I didn’t say that), but the one in China is a specific coronavirus called COVID-19.  Coronaviruses included SARS and MERS, too, but it also included the common cold so stop freaking out.  What they told them at the hospital was accurate and it wasn’t some kind of conspiracy. 

My favorite infectious disease physician, Dr. Matt McCarthy, of NY-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City (who I believe has finally gotten that 1 person in NYC diagnosed that he was speaking of the other day that he said they all believed had the virus but was having problems with the testing process).  His comments on television today: “Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients.  I STILL do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me.”  The host of the show asked, “That’s easy to do.  Is it hard to manufacture?”  Dr. McCarthy replied, “It’s easy to do for some countries.  What happened in the United States is the CDC created a test, sent out to 50 states, then said, “Hold up.  Don’t use it.  Let us fix it.”  It’s now March.  We hear that it’s coming very soon, but I’m here to tell you right now at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have it at my fingertips.  I still have to call the Department of Health.  I still have to make my case—plea—to test people.  This is NOT GOOD.” 

You could tell how frustrated he is.  And I’m certain he is talking about rapid testing like South Korea has with their drive-through process and also now China. 

Jeremy Konydyk is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. His research focuses on humanitarian response, USAID policy reform, and global outbreak preparedness.  Today he said his frustrations were 1) We have NOT had a disciplined, well-organized federal response; testing is the perfect example of that; there is a critical bottleneck that didn’t need to exist.  2) The fact that they didn’t solve this much earlier. 3) They don’t have any organization and focus that they need.  He hopes that with some of the reshuffling over the last week that it will start to move in that direction. 

As far as the charts below, cases confirmed remained stable in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Oman, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, San Marino, Sweden, and the UAE. 

Sadly, new to the list are Andorra, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Portugal, and Senegal.  

All other places have increased their numbers.  The United States, now at 103 diagnosed cases, will see a huge jump in numbers once the test kits become more readily available but remember that is because of better diagnostics not necessarily that it is spreading.  In the meantime, wash your hands well, keep your hands away from your face and mouth, use a paper towel or your shirt sleeve or tissue to open door handles – take simple precautions; don’t panic; don’t freak-out. 

The map & charts were updated 12:36 a.m. Eastern Time on March 3.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 12:22 a.m. March 2, 2020 update

2 03 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update March 1, 2020

Hand sanitizer is gone.  My sister, who is a nurse, warned me this weekend it was probably gone by now.  I told her we weren’t going specifically for that; we were going to do early hurricane supply run.  After all, hurricane season starts June 1. 

We aren’t panicking; we are being practical.  If we don’t use the supplies we had planned to get yesterday, they will last well past hurricane season this year.  We viewed it more as “we’re doing our hurricane supplies shopping 3 months early.”  No one else was panicked in the store, but you could tell the tone was different with some people; some people it seemed that was just doing their normal Sunday shopping.  We were going up and down the aisles to be sure we didn’t miss anything we needed that might not be on our list, like toothpaste for Jeff (while not a hurricane supply, he actually needed it).  We turned our head and I nodded to my right; I said to him, “sanitizer is gone.”  I told him no worries! I had cleaning hacks we could use to get around that:  Essential oils work.  So do bathroom and kitchen wipes.  Just grab a few before getting out of the car (making sure the lid closes—he forgets to do that part of it at time—and stick it in a snack Ziploc bag that would easily fit in his front pocket and will keep his pants dry. 

Here is what I learned today about COVID-19

HOW IT IS SPREAD:   It is spread from person to person.  Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).  Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

WARNING SIGNS:  Fever, cough, shortness of breath.  It will occur 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure. 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FLU AND COVID-19:   The flu:  Transmitted through respiratory droplets of an infected person.  There is a vaccine available (their best estimated guess based on the past and possible one for the upcoming year; they aren’t always right about that second part).  There are 1 billion+ cases worldwide; there are 291,000+ related deaths.  The average rate is about 0.1% (so one-tenth of 1%). 

COVID-19: “May” also be an airborne virus.  No vaccine available.  86,000+ cases worldwide; 2900+ related deaths.   In the February 18 China CDC Weekly, they were putting the death rate at 2.3% on Mainland China.                              

According to Dr. Natalie Azar, masks on your face will not work.  The ones you are seeing that people can just snap on will not filter the viral particles that you can.  There are N-95 masks that are made for healthcare workers only at this moment.  Yes, you could buy them on line but the CDC are asking people not to do this; it will create a shortage and they are needed to first responders and healthcare workers.  The vast majority of people, says Dr. Azar, are not at risk of being exposed currently and the vast majority may just have an experience of a mild illness. 

The Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA

The first patient to first exhibits signs and symptoms of this virus was 6 weeks ago.  Yep.  Six weeks.  A worker and a resident have tested positive.  There are 288 staff and residents there.  There has been no travel as far as they know, but they are doing their protocols right now.  I did this for a friend to help them understand the contacts problem.  The CDC measure that each person will encounter 1.5 to 3.5 people close enough to spread something (some more and some less, but an average). 

As of March 1, six people infected with 288 total of people who may turn up positive once tested.  A resident of the facility died of the virus and three more are in critical condition.  Let’s just go with the 2 individuals we know about and just say they are patients zero—which they aren’t but the math has to start somewhere: 

1 person x 3.5 contacts = 3.5 (4) people exposed

3.5 people x 3.5 contacts = 12.25 (12) people exposed

12.25 people x 3.5 contacts = 42.875 (43) people exposed

42.875 people x 3.5 contacts = 150.06 (150) people exposed

150.06 people x 3.5 contacts = 525.21 (525) people exposed

525.21 people x 3.5 contacts = 1838.235 (1838) people exposed

1838.235 people x 3.5 contacts = 6433.8225 (6434) people exposed

Now these people have had symptoms for 6 weeks.  You can’t use the last number and figure it out because they exponentially get higher as every day passes.  BUT, we can multiple 288 people in that facility and over 7 days, the total number of people exposed comes to 1,852,972 people.  In a week.  Of course, some of the contacts will be similar contacts (like a daughter who visits every day).  This is just an illustration of how things can multiple out of hand pretty quickly. 

One quarter of the firefighters were in quarantine on Sunday because they had been to that nursing facility.  The hospital has asked visitors to stay away.  A nearby college campus spent the day cleansing its campus because students had visited that nursing home. 

King County earlier on Sunday announced two additional cases of COVID-19 that were unrelated to the nursing home and those patients were in critical condition at hospitals in Seattle and Renton. 


The map says the US has 88 cases; the detailed breakdown by country only says 87.  The map was updated shortly after midnight on 3/2/2020; the detailed breakdown was created at 10:15 p.m. on 3/1/2020. 

As far as the world totals, all countries showed increases in their totals except for Afghanistan, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Estonia, India, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Monaco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, and UAE. New to the list included Armenia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Ireland.

The chart below was updated at 10:15 p.m. March 1, 2020

The first column of numbers are the number of cases; the second is deaths.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Where We Are As of Feb 29

29 02 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Where We Are Worldwide Feb 29, 2020

As of Friday evening, the US has only tested 460 people. South Korea has run more than 35,000 tests (see more about their drive-through testing process). The test the CDC developed was defective; the labs running the tests are not confident with the results. Now the state of New York is going to be making its own coronavirus test after the CDC’s has repeatedly failed.

The first person, as far as we know, who died of coronavirus in the United States: Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC said the person had no known travel disease. The only one in Washington State with no known travel history was a teenager. Trump said, in the same conference, that the person who died was a woman in her 50’s that was medically high risk. Will you all PLEASE GET YOUR MESSAGING STRAIGHT? We don’t have much confidence in your handling in this if you can’t get your stories straight in the same news conference. Deepest sympathy to the family and friends of that individual. (Update 3/1:  The person who died was a man in his 50’s).

How is the rest of the world handling this:

According to Kaiser Health News:

South Korea: There were 28 cases of the coronavirus in South Korea on Feb. 13. Four days had passed without a new confirmed infection. President Moon Jae-in predicted that the outbreak would “disappear before long,” while the prime minister assured people that it was OK not to wear surgical masks outdoors.

As it turns out, the virus had been rapidly spreading at the time through a large, secretive church in Daegu, where it has since mushroomed into the largest epidemic of the coronavirus outside China, with 2,022 cases, including 13 deaths.

Now the president is facing a political backlash over his response as the number of cases continues to climb — 505 new infections on Thursday alone. One million South Koreans have signed an online petition for his impeachment.

BUT: From inside their cars, people can be checked by medical staff in protective clothing and goggles who will lean in through the window at a new drive-thru coronavirus clinic in South Korea. The entire procedure took less than 10 minutes. One individual tested said this was easier than the 1-hour wait at a clinic. (1-hour wait???—let that sink in for all of America who can count on a 6-hour wait during normal hours with no epidemic in any ER of any hospital in this country).

Japan: Apparently closing the schools in Japan shocked parents after weeks of bungling their response to this virus.

USA: We already know that the uninfected people on the cruise ship were placed onto a plane with infected people on the same cruise ship by the Trump administration over the deep objections of the CDC. And thanks to the whistleblower in HHS, we found out that they were allowed to move freely on and off the bases [with infected people on site] and at least hotel and leaving California on a commercial flight. They were visiting Travis Air Force Base. The Safety protocol training did not happen until 5 days after their assignment.

Then we got word that a woman with no known travel history got the virus. Guess where she was living? In the same county as Travis Air Force Base. She was first treated at a hospital 15 minutes from Travis Air Force base. You can bet that infection occurred when someone who was unprotected from that HHS group went into the general public and crossed paths with this woman.

On Thursday, point man VP Pence was in Florida at a $25,000 a plate fundraiser for congressional Republicans and on Friday repeated a Rush Limbaugh theory that the coronavirus was like “the common cold.” It is NOT.

A woman in Florida went in to get the coronavirus test; she had insurance; her insurance refused to pay it; it was $3000. This is a public health crisis; no one should be getting any bill.

Myths and Facts

Myth: This is just like the flu.
Truth: The symptoms are flu-like, but the mortality rate is 15-20 times higher than the flu. (per Dr. McCarthy)

Myth: Trump keeps repeating that there are only 15 cases.
Truth: As of last night, there were 62 confirmed; according to Dr. Matt McCarthy there are probably a lot more infected that just don’t know it because we aren’t testing in mass volumes.

Myth: Trump says it will disappear like a miracle in April.
Truth: That is not what the CDC expects.

Myth: Trump is saying that this is a conspiracy by the Democrats to take his presidency down; that its another hoax.
Truth: This affects everyone; this virus isn’t going to ask your brain what your party designation is. It’s up to his administration to show leadership competence or not. Competence would probably get him re-elected; incompetence will most surely seal his fate otherwise.

The world and of the US updated Feb 29, 2020

Coronavirus Map 1 Feb 29

Coronavirus Map 2 Feb 29

Coronavirus Map 3 Feb 29


Coronavirus Map 4 US cases Feb 29


Coronavirus Update Feb 28, 2020

29 02 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Feb 28, 2020 as of 11 p.m.

The first COVID-19 cases have now been reported in Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, The Netherlands, and Mexico. Japan’s Hokkaido (one of the main islands) declares a state of emergency. Switzerland bands all events over 1,000 people. Kenyan medical personnel are taking charge of border crossings. In the US, the official count of infections stands at 60 as of this morning, but once again, they believe the numbers are much higher as people are likely thinking they have the flu as they share similar symptom presentation. (Has anyone told Trump yet that Dr. Birx, an Obama appointee, is leading the task force now and reporting to Pence who is supposed to be leading the task force?)

Trump was at a rally in South Carolina on Friday saying that this is all a Democratic hoax. You can understand then when the mixed messaging from the administration makes the stock market react, or maybe you can’t because you don’t care; remember that people’s 401K’s are tied to the stock market.

While putting this blog together, the news came through that San Antonio, Texas has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Antonio.  Those infected with the coronavirus, per the CDC, included 9 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, one from the Wuhan group of quarantined passengers and one that was transferred from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, CA. One-hundred-forty-five people remain under quarantine in San Antonio after two planes—one from Wuhan and one from Tokyo—arrived at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland. Ninety people from Wuhan were released after clearing quarantine without contracting the virus. Two of those infected were part of the group that came from Wuhan.

An HHS Whistleblower has now come forth (seeking immunity from repercussions) alleging that the workers met with the first evacuees from China’s Wuhan Province without proper training and without proper infection control or appropriate protective gear. [I apparently know more about infection control than an HHS person with any common sense should have known—I spared my entire family from my bout with the flu in January that lasted 2 weeks. Also when I had surgery and my husband had to change my bandage on my spine, I watched him and every time he broke sterile precautions, he was made to start at the beginning (for example, he would put on gloves, but then touch the sink top, or scratch his face, or blow into his glove to get it on his hand. He got really good after we went through a whole box of gloves the first few dressing changes).] Also, VP Pence is controlling all messaging about the virus which includes health officials. Yes, be suspicious about this. I noticed that on all the channels I was looking at that if someone from the CDC was talking on the news, they spoke their minds. That should reassure you AND make you trust what is coming from them and no others.

My favorite infectious disease doctor, Dr. Matt McCarthy of NY-Presbyterian Hospital and author of the book “Superbugs”, was on a news segment today. The question was asked, “What’s changed since? [he had spoken last].” He said, “A lot has changed. Two days ago, I was here saying we’ve got to focus on testing. Now we have to focus on three things. We have to focus on these drug shortages. That’s the big news going on right now is that what people don’t realize—your viewers may not realize—is when they put a pill in their mouth there are a number of different compounds inside that pill. There is only one that really matters. That’s called the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient). A lot of those APIs are made in China and if we cannot get that API we can’t get to your drug and we’re just starting to see the tip of the iceberg with this. There is the first coronavirus-related drug shortage in the United States. That’s a big problem. And I’m going to say, it’s not just the APIs. We also have to worry about medical devices. We’ve got a whole lot to be worried about. I know we have this Task Force that’s coming out and saying, “Don’t worry; everything’s fine.” Well I can tell you things are not fine.”

How badly did Trump sabotage America’s coronavirus response? Efforts included reducing $15 billion in national health spending and cutting the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, NSC, DHS, and HHS. Neither the NSC nor the DHS epidemic teams have been replaced. Trump said it is no problem; he can get them back whenever he wants them. Can he? The answer is “no” he can’t. In previous administrations people in these agencies would work with and respond to health crises for long periods of time which is essential for a team to work efficiently and trust one another. Drills were done all the time for different case scenarios, much like a fire drill, or sadly active shooter drills, to work out problems when the emergency doesn’t exist so you aren’t having to take time out to fix problems while time is of the essence.

Will this get significantly worse? Dr. McCarthy states (to a question if the numbers are going to get higher): “Absolutely and it is spreading. We aren’t testing at full capacity. We are starting to roll out tests. We are getting more people done.” The interviewer interrupts and says, “So people who are walking around this building who don’t feel so well, and they have it?” Dr. McCarthy responds: “Absolutely; that is a possibility. The concern I also have is that the people who are getting tested, it is a tremendous delay. There is somebody in New York City we think who might have coronavirus. We can’t test them in this city. We send the test to Atlanta, to the CDC; that’s an unacceptable delay. We’ve got to fix that. When you see the testing change to where we can test, at the bedside, which is called point of care diagnostics, that’s when we can actually start to have some certainty about what’s happening. That’s when we are going to start getting real numbers, that’s when the markets are going to stabilize, but until then it’s going to be a guessing game.”

The interviewer asks: “What are the symptoms?” Dr. McCarthy responds: “It’s much like a flu-like symptom. So, you have a runny nose, fever. You’re on the subway and somebody sneezes on you this could ABSOLUTELY spread like crazy. And so, when you have the administration censoring experts, people like Tony Fauci, who is the most respected infectious disease doctor in the country. When I wrote my book, “Superbugs” the first doctor I quote in that book is Tony Fauci. He is no longer allowed to speak freely. He has to clear every scientific statement with Mike Pence and it should be the opposite. Mike Pence should have to clear statements with Tony Fauci and that has to change.”

The interviewer asked what can the media be doing better do to prepare for this: Dr. McCarthy responded: “Asking tough questions.”

Interviewer: “To whom?” Dr. McCarthy: Number One Mike Pence—the buck stops with him. We’ve established the chain of command. I think Trump did the right thing by saying ‘here is the process; I’m putting this man in charge.’ We need to hold his feet to the fire and say 1) drug shortages, medical devices—what’s happening with these things.”

The interviewer: “Your average person doesn’t have access to the Task Force or Mike Pence but you know what they have access to? Social media. Their Facebook page. We already know there is so much disinformation. As it relates to medicine, how do people protect themselves at a time when—the situation around corona for anyone there are more questions than answers, and no doubt people’s Facebook feeds are filled with stuff.”

Dr. McCarthy replies: “What I always say I would never get my medical advice from a stockbroker. I would not go to somebody who is thinking about the stock market or thinking about viewership to get their medical advice. You want to go to medical professionals. I don’t wake up every morning thinking how the markets are going to fluctuate. I’m thinking about how do we to contain this pandemic. And the key here is to get reliable information and it is a mistake to tune into these cable news shows to try to sensationalize things and that’s the problem we have right now.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is Likely Already Here

26 02 2020

Habitual lying eventually becomes a credibility problem. For a president who has lied more than 13,435 times (as of October 14, 2019), credibility points have already been spent a long time ago. So is any competence. With the number of firings he has done, including the “best people he only hires”, the government is stretched pretty thin to respond to crises. He has dismantled the chain of command with regards to many things, pandemics being one of them. The entire pandemic chain of command, the global health security unit within the NSC, and the DHS epidemic team were pushed out; no one was ever replaced. Why? Because President Obama created it and Trump has to destroy everything he did because of a joke at a Correspondent’s Dinner that embarrassed him. Trump also defunded the CDC several years in a row. Last May, he fired his global health response experts that worked at the White House with the National Security Council and never filled these positions subsequently. There is no single individual in charge of this response—not a loyalist who will tow his lies but a real scientist that will give us facts. Now Trump’s just winging it with no real respect of science, but lots of respect for conspiracy theories.

The scientists within the CDC and elsewhere have a good feel for what is going on; the truth always comes out with the CDC speaking out today. The stock market and the course of this disease are things that Trump cannot predict.

It started with Twitter, as all things President Trump does. He posted that everything in the US was fine and under control. That’s a lie; it is NOT. It also said we were very close to a vaccine. That’s a lie; we are NOT.

In two days, the stock market dropped quite a bit, translating to $1.7 trillion of stock-market value. And what does Trump say? He’s worried that with the stock market dropping, it will hurt his re-election chances. I had to rewind what I was listening to and make sure I heard that right. It sounded like him because everything revolves around him, not any of the Americans who are affected.

According to Dr. Matt McCarthy, an infectious disease physician, an expert in superbugs at NY-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, he believes more people in this country are already affected and don’t even know it because it mimics the flu.

Dr. McCarthy, who is a practicing physician and professor of medicine, authored a book called, “Superbugs: The Race To Stop An Epidemic, said this during the interview: “We don’t need $2.5 million for a vaccine. We need to learn how to diagnose this. The FDA and CDC came out with a test and the test is flawed. The US is only testing 16 people a day. The rules [in our country] state that once a public health emergency is declared, certain rules go into place. One of them is that we, in the US, have to approve an FDA test.” His frustration is that he does not have the tools to diagnose this in the US at one of the best hospitals in the world. He said this about what needs to happen:  Liberalize the testing policy. We have to make sure it is a true positive as many companies will come out saying they have a test.

Per Dr. McCarthy: The CDC failed us here. We need a new process. We could reach out to labs all over the country to come up with a test, testing every patient in every hospital that presents with influenza symptoms. This is why the markets are destabilizing; too much uncertainty.

Today, the CDC said, “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.

Dr. McCarthy added that Trump asking for a vaccine is putting the cart before the horse. We have to learn how to diagnose this. Cases are skyrocketing all over the world and the US is eerily quiet because there is no testing for it. The have only tested a few hundred people.

Todd Ackerman of the Houston Chronicle said that there may be a vaccine to thwart the new coronavirus stored in a freezer in a lab in Baylor-UTMB. A vaccine that was being developed for SARS shares 82% of its genes with COVID-19. As the CDC confirmed today, any vaccine will take 1 to 1-1/2 years before it could be brought to the market.

In the meantime, we need to get a test to diagnose this, to separate those with COVID-19 and those who have just the flu or pneumonia. Our health care professionals need to be very cautious because they will wind up having to care for these patients and put their health at risk.

Suspect decisions made by Trump including allowing 14 healthy people to get on a plane after the CDC said they should absolutely not get on that plane with patients who had COVID-19.  Also telling the public that things will taper off “in the spring with the heat.” Again, there is no scientific basis for this statements. These decisions are not being made with the public’s best interest in mind. He also said we have a vaccine coming around the corner; again, not true-best case scenario per the scientists is that we are about 18 months away from something like that. Azar said we had 30 million masks but when pressed then he stated that is clearly not enough. When pressed into telling the truth, things are leaking out. Trump keeps finding himself isolated in these perspectives. Today NEC Chair Larry Kudlow said, “We have contained this. We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.” This is the guy that told people in September of 2008 to buy stocks as the markets were crashing. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy and Plans, Chad Wolf, the agency that is coordinating the response to COVID-19, was ripped apart by GOP Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana for failing to do his job with his less than knowledgeable answers.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said she told her children, “While I didn’t think they were at risk right now, we as a family ought to be preparing for significant disruption to our lives.” I feel this is prudent. My husband and I discussed that perhaps we will get what we normally get for hurricane supplies early. Power could definitely be affected because people have to man the power plants. No power—no gas can get pumped. Perhaps buying some masks to wear. We are likely going to get our containers for gas so that we can use with a small generator we have that would allow us to keep our refrigerator on, or unplugging it to plug in a washer. Prescription medications would be difficult to get in advance, but over-the-counter medications we certainly can stock up on. We aren’t going crazy; just being cautious.

And what is Donald J. Trump concerned about? Not you. Not your family. Not anybody in this country. He is concerned about how this tragedy might help or hurt his re-election chances.  #sad