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As I've mentioned before on this blog, we need to be paying very close attention to the alarming rise in COVID cases in America. According to the former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, we're on a path to look very similar to the unfortunate rise in infections that Europe is seeing today.
An update on CNN explains,
"As Covid-19 cases soar across the US, the country is on a path to "look a lot like Europe," warned Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. European countries have been reporting record numbers of Covid-19 cases as the continent prepares for the pandemic to intensify through winter.
"The reality is the density of the epidemic underway in European countries – like France, Italy and the UK right now – far exceeds what's underway in the United States. Now, that said, we're about maybe three weeks behind Europe, maybe months at the most," Gottlieb told CNBC's Joe Kernen on “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning.
"We're on a trajectory to look a lot like Europe as we enter the month of November. So I think things are going to get worse," Gottlieb said. "What we have is very diffuse spread. We're sort of at the beginning of this steep part of that epidemic curve right now."
Click here to read the full update page for CNN for today, 10/28.
Herd immunity is not a "strategy" to control or contain the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it appears that the Trump administration has essentially surrendered to this virus and given up even attempting to contain it.
An article in STAT news explains the shocking and dangerous comment/proposal mentioned by the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, referring to a comment he made on Sunday, 10/25.
The article explains,
"The World Health Organization on Monday warned countries against giving up on efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, with the head of the agency saying doing so would be “dangerous.”
“Giving up on control is dangerous,” said Tedros Adhamon Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “Control should … be part of the strategy.”
The remarks by Tedros, as he is known, came a day after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows seemed to indicate in a CNN interview that the administration has concluded containment of the virus is not possible.
“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas,” Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Click here to read the full article.
Those of us in the United States need to pay very close attention to what's happening with COVID-19. Specifically, we are seeing massive increases in cases in Europe, and even here in the US, some states are already in an extremely precarious situation.
For example, Utah is experiencing an alarming surge in cases of the virus, and according to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune, hospitals are preparing to have to ration healthcare for patients if the current numbers of infected persons continues. (And the high number of cases are extremely likely to keep coming.)
This weekend, the USA surpassed the highest numbers of cases on a daily basis since the pandemic began. It is now widely understood that this virus has a relatively predictable timeline: infections begin to to tick up, which is then followed by hospitalization increases for those who become severely ill, and then, unfortunately, deaths follow.
As we experienced as a nation (and around the world) earlier this year, the timeline for all of this to occur when a massive surge happens is typically *around* 6 weeks. It has become apparent that this "third wave/surge" has almost certainly begun, likely about a week or two ago, which means that we all truly need to prepare now for what may come.
To be clear, friends, I am obviously not a doctor. However, I do read information essentially nonstop (for better or worse) from the world's top infectious disease experts, and all of the top doctors who I follow have become increasingly alarmed at what is currently occurring as we head into the fall and winter months in America. (One of the most experienced and knowledgeable individuals I follow is Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, and he was recently interviewed on CNN.
Check it out here.
Right now - today - it may a good idea to stock up on items including any food, water, and medications that you may need in the event of another huge surge (with the possibilities of shut-down type actions) so that you will be ready if things do not go well in the country. For some context, the White House Coronavirus Task Force noted last week "early signs of deterioration in the Sun Belt and continued deterioration in the Midwest and across the Northern States.”
Friends, I am simply passing along information to all of you that I am seeing, and I certainly do not want to alarm anyone. Again, I'm not a doctor. That said, I care deeply about each and every one of you, and I highly, highly encourage you all to pay close attention to what's happening as we enter fall and winter. (This means more time indoors, and more opportunities for this virus to spread easily.)
Keep your masks on, friends, and stay alert and informed. (Consider subscribing to this site for updates!)
Click here to read the above-mentioned article in The Salt Lake Tribune.
And click here to read more information about what is happening with the current surge in cases in America.
Now is the time to prepare for a fall/winter surge in cases of COVID-19, which according to experts, has already begun.
According to an interview on CNN with infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the USA is going to continue to experience a huge number of infections.
The article explains:
"The US just marked a harrowing milestone: It recorded its highest one-day number of Covid-19 infections Friday at more than 83,000 -- more than 6,000 higher than the country's previous record set in July.
And as the fall surge continues, the daily numbers will get worse, experts warn.
"We easily will hit six-figure numbers in terms of the number of cases," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN Friday night. "And the deaths are going to go up precipitously in the next three to four weeks, following usually new cases by about two to three weeks."
This comes as the country's seven-day average of new daily cases surpassed 63,000 Friday -- an 84% increase since the average started ticking back up in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data."
Click here to read the full article. And please, wear a mask, friends.
Could the USA really have done a better job handling COVID-19? According to a new report from the Columbia University Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, the answer is a resounding, "yes."
An update on CNN explains:
"The Trump Administration’s faltering response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to anywhere between 130,000 and 210,000 deaths in the United States that could have been prevented, according to a report released Thursday by a team of disaster preparedness experts.
Insufficient testing, a lack of national mask mandates or guidance, a delayed overall response and outright mocking of basic public health practices by the administration has put the US at the top of the global coronavirus death toll, the report from Columbia University Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness finds.
“We estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership,” the report reads.
“Even with the dramatic recent appearance of new COVID-19 waves globally, the abject failures of U.S. government policies and crisis messaging persist. U.S. fatalities have remained disproportionately high throughout the pandemic when compared to even other high-mortality countries,” it adds.
“The inability of the U.S. to mitigate the pandemic is especially stark when contrasted with the response of high income nations, such as South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada, as well as low- and middle-income countries as varied as Thailand, Pakistan, Honduras, and Malaysia. All of these nations have had greater success in protecting their populations from the impact of the coronavirus.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has tallied more than 8.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 222,000 deaths.
“The data establishes that a significant number of lives could have been saved if the Trump administration acted on the advice from the scientific and public health community,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia. “As the country faces a second wave of this virus, we need to hold leadership accountable. The magnitude of loss, caused by a disorganized response, will have devastating and long-lasting consequences for millions of American families.”
When measured by deaths per 100,000 population, the report calculates that the US mortality rate is 50 times higher than Japan’s, and more than twice as high as Canada’s. “Although both the U.S. and South Korea confirmed their first case of coronavirus on January 20, South Korea was able to institute an aggressive diagnostic testing strategy and isolate infected patients, leading to a proportional mortality rate today that is 78 times smaller than that of the United States,” the report reads.
“From the moment the pandemic was first identified, President Trump and his team have downplayed the crisis and ignored basic and widely known public health guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia. “To stop the ongoing epidemic in the U.S., it is urgent to examine the available data, identify the failures, call out the Administration’s relentless misinformation, and hold the Trump Administration accountable for its failure to slow the virus’s spread and the more than 200,000 lives that have been unnecessarily lost.”
The research team compared the US response to the policies in other countries. If the US had followed the policies and protocols of Australia, as few as 11,699 people may have died, the report estimates.
Following Japan’s policies would have led to as few as 4,315 deaths in the US, the Columbia team calculated. Even France did better and had the US followed France’s lead, 162,240 Americans would have died -- around 60,000 fewer than the current total."
Click here to read the update page on CNN.
And click here to read the report from Columbia University Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
It may be a good idea to stock up on items now, and prepare for - unfortunately - another substantial rise in COVID-19 cases. This is according to multiple top doctors and specialists, including Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA.
According to an update on CNN,
"In about a week, the United States may see a "rapid acceleration" in Covid-19 cases, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, predicted on Monday.
"It's going to be a difficult fall and winter. I think we're about two or three weeks behind Europe – so we're about a week away from starting to enter a period where we're going to see a rapid acceleration in cases," Gottlieb told CNBC's Shepard Smith.
"We're seeing hospitalizations go up in 42 states right now, cases are going up in 45 states, and there really is no backstop," Gottlieb said. "The summer was a backstop of sorts to the spring surge and we have no therapeutic backstop and this season, the fall and winter season, is when this coronavirus is going to want to spread."
Click here to read the full update on CNN.
Dr. Fauci has an important message for all of us: the virus is not going away anytime soon. And while that - for lack of a better term, sucks, - this is news that we need to hear to prepare for the months ahead.
According to an article in The LA Times:
"The COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in the winter and continue to be a looming threat through much of 2021.
That is the forecast of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious diseases expert, in a wide-ranging discussion about the pandemic that he delivered this week to the Berkeley Forum.
Fauci warned that a sense of normality post-coronavirus may not come to the U.S. until late 2021, adding that the arrival of a vaccine will not suddenly bring the U.S. lurching back. Rather, it’ll be a gradual transition over a long period of time."
Click here to read the full article.
Today, as more cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the USA and around the world, I hope that you will watch the following webinar - and also listen to this week's podcast episode - from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
The webinar is described the YouTube for CIDRAP as:
"Join the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) as we host a discussion regarding the review process for vaccines to prevent COVID-19. CIDRAP director Michael Osterholm will moderate a discussion with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and former FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Visit the CIDRAP website for more information on COVID-19: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/"
And this week's episode of CIDRAP's podcast description is as follows:
"Osterholm Update: COVID-19
Episode 27: COVID in the Capital
October 8, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Osterholm and host Chris Dall discuss the outbreak of COVID-19 at the White House and the lessons it provides, the CDC's acknowledgement of airborne transmission, and advice on how to vote as safely as possible during a pandemic."
Click here to access CIDRAP website.
One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, "The New England Journal of Medicine" has shared some harsh words about the US handling of COVID-19.
According to an update on CNN,
"In an unprecedented move, the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published an editorial written by its editors condemning the Trump administration for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic — and calling for the current leadership in the United States to be voted out of office.
"We rarely publish editorials signed by all the editors," said Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the medical journal and an author of the new editorial.
The editorial, which Rubin said was drafted in August, details how the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths. So far, more than 7.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and more than 211,000 people have died of the disease.
"This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy," the editorial says.
"Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment," the editorial says.
"When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs."
The New England Journal of Medicine began publishing in 1812. There have been only four previous editorials collectively signed by its editors in the recent past."
Click here to read the letter in the NEJM.
And click here to read the update page for CNN for today, 10/7.
The timeline of a possible vaccine for COVID-19 in America is still on track for one to be developed and produced by the end of this year and heading into 2021, according to the director of the National Institutes of Health in the USA.
According to an update on CNN,
"Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said he's optimistic that the US will have a vaccine by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.“I'm one of those who's optimistic we will have one or more vaccines that turn out to be safe and effective by sometime around the end of this year, maybe a little bit into January,” he said.
The politicization of the vaccine development process has been a distraction, one that has polarized many people, Collins noted during a Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington virtual symposium on vaccine development.
“Putting all that aside and dealing with the fact that we have this huge problem of vaccine hesitancy that needs to be dealt with, I am still guardedly optimistic that come 2021, we're going to be on a path – over many months, let's not talk about this being a quick solution, but on a path – where we can eventually put Covid-19 in the rear view mirror, although we will be changed by it, and I think he will be around us globally for quite a long time to come,” said Collins."
Click here to read the update page on CNN for today, 10/6/2020.