COVID Fears Masking

Hygiene Theater Is a Huge Waste of Time

July 27, 2020

The Atlantic, July 27, 2020

Derek Thompson

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface “isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. “Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,” Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission.

By funneling our anxieties into empty cleaning rituals, we lose focus on the more common modes of COVID-19 transmission and the most crucial policies to stop this plague. “My point is not to relax, but rather to focus on what matters and what works,” Goldman said. “Masks, social distancing, and moving activities outdoors. That’s it. That’s how we protect ourselves. That’s how we beat this thing.”

COVID Fears Rural

On The Brink, Rural Hospitals Brace For New Surge In COVID-19 Cases

NPR, July 3, 2020

In the Idaho mountain town of Grangeville, population 3,200, signs in windows on Main Street advertise that Border Days “is on.”

Up the street, at the 16-bed Syringa Hospital and Clinic, CEO Abner King says his staff is prepared for a possible surge in coronavirus infections in a couple of weeks.

“It’s pretty hard to do an egg toss in a socially distancing manner,” he chuckles.

Syringa doesn’t have an intensive care unit or even a ventilator. Most patients in need of critical care are transferred to larger regional hospitals, which so far during the pandemic have not been overwhelmed themselves as first feared.

Syringa staff members have been preparing and instituting precautions for months, yet to date they’ve not treated a single COVID-19 patient.

“That’s the tough part about all this, because you get all ready for this big emergency and then nothing happens and then you have to fight complacency a little bit,” King says. “We prepared for a flood, and then we were hit with a drought.”

That “drought” has severely affected Syringa’s bottom line. The irony is that small-town hospitals like this one are now on the brink of going broke during the pandemic. King says people just stopped coming into the hospital, its clinic and even its emergency room. All elective procedures were canceled. Since the pandemic took hold in March, revenue here has dropped by half.

Across the U.S., rural “critical access” hospitals were already closing at an alarming rate before the pandemic. Twelve have shuttered since the start of this year alone.

“Even without the pandemic, there’s not a lot of room for surprises and errors,” King said.

One of the main reasons that the hospital has stayed afloat since March is because of federal relief money. Among other things, it has helped pay for personal protective gear and other supplies as well as the construction of a temporary isolation ward for COVID-19 patients.


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.


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.