The other coronavirus toll

Thousands more excess deaths from heart disease and other ailments

The Washington Post, July 2, 2020

The coronavirus killed tens of thousands in the United States during the pandemic’s first months, but it also left a lesser-known toll: thousands more deaths than would have been expected from heart disease and a handful of other medical conditions, according to an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post.

The analysis suggests that in five hard-hit states and New York City, there were 8,300 more deaths from heart problems than would have been typical in March, April and May — an increase of roughly 27 percent over historical averages.

That spike contributed to a combined 75,000 “excess deaths” during that period in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and New York state and the city, 17,000 more than the number officially attributed to covid-19.

COVID Fears Quackery

Americans are poisoning themselves trying to disinfect against COVID-19

National Post, April 22

A woman who heard people should clean all recently purchased groceries plunged her produce in a sink with a mixture of 10 per cent bleach solution, vinegar and hot water

Calls to U.S. poison centres have increased since the coronavirus landed stateside in January, with a sharp increase in March during the onslaught of lockdowns, according to data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC looked at the number of calls from January to March of this year and compared it to the same period in 2019 and 2018.

The health authority found that calls about exposures to chemicals and disinfectants increased by 20 per cent from 2019 to 2020, with children five years old or younger making up the majority of the victims.

COVID Fears Quackery

A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners

Daily News, April 24

By Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt

An unusually high number of New Yorkers contacted city health authorities over fears that they had ingested bleach or other household cleaners in the 18 hours that followed President Trump’s bogus claim that injecting such products could cure coronavirus, the Daily News has learned.

The Poison Control Center, a subagency of the city’s Health Department, managed a total of 30 cases of possible exposure to disinfectants between 9 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday, a spokesman said.


Young and middle-aged people, barely sick, are dying of strokes

Washington Post, April 25

Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

Thomas Oxley wasn’t even on call the day he received the page to come to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. There weren’t enough doctors to treat all the emergency stroke patients, and he was needed in the operating room.

The patient’s chart appeared unremarkable at first glance. He took no medications and had no history of chronic conditions. He had been feeling fine, hanging out at home during the lockdown like the rest of the country, when suddenly, he had trouble talking and moving the right side of his body. Imaging showed a large blockage on the left side of his head.

Oxley gasped when he got to the patient’s age and covid-19 status: 44, positive.


“I gave this to my dad”: COVID-19 survivors grapple with guilt of infecting family

NBC News, May 16

A haunting feeling afflicts those who believe that in the fog of the coronavirus’ early spread, they unwittingly exposed the people they loved the most.

By Jon Schuppe

Paul Stewart thought he’d caught a bad cold.

In the third week of March, he came down with a sore throat, mild fever, cough, chills and body aches. The coronavirus was just starting to spread across Illinois, shuttering schools and workplaces, including the clinic in DuPage County where he worked as a rehabilitation technician. It didn’t occur to him that he might have the virus, even after a co-worker tested positive. Paul’s symptoms came and went, and on some days he felt well enough to go on a 5-mile run.

Then his father started coughing.


Pregnant and Scared of ‘Covid Hospitals,’ They’re Giving Birth at Home

NYT, April 21

Midwives are seeing a surge in demand from pregnant women who want to deliver their babies at home or in birthing centers.

By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

As the pandemic has battered hospitals across New York and other parts of the country, there has been a sharp increase in demand for midwives who can deliver babies at home or in facilities that are not part of the traditional health care system.


Our Pandemic Summer

The Atlantic, April 15

The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself.

People lounging on innertubes with coronavirus particles in the background
Joan Wong

Story by Ed Yong

The pandemic is not a hurricane or a wildfire. It is not comparable to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Such disasters are confined in time and space. The SARS-CoV-2 virus will linger through the year and across the world. “Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”