The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Is It A Freight Train Coming At Us?

Sunday evening Trump was doing his min-rally at the White House press room mainly pushing a drug  hydroxychloroquine on the basis of his former appeal to black voters “what have you got  to lose.” We saw what they had to lose after he got elected with the release of the white supremacist folk; we will have to wait to see what the poor folk who are suffering coronavirus have got to lose if they take his drug. Trump has a good medical background to go up against the medical doctors who suggest he should not be recommending this drug because as he said his uncle was a professor at MIT.

All that nuttiness is besides the point. What I came away from the mini-rally was that both Trump and Pence said they could see the light at the end of tunnel. As I wrote last night they had reason for saying that because it looked like the infection rate was slowing down not only nationwide but in most states. The medical experts that were given a few minutes to speak also suggested that information from Italy and Spain showed an ever decreasing number of new positive cases of coronavirus as well as in deaths. One chart predicts the US death rate will be down from 100,000 or over to 87,000 or there abouts. It is based on us continuing to stay at home and doing social distancing.

But as I said one robin doesn’t make the spring  just like a momentary indication of a slowdown especially based on figures given out on Palm Sunday doesn’t mean this stabilizing and downturn will continue. Let’s hope it does but we will have to wait and see.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China where there has been a lock down since late January. Now, having seen almost no new cases, the local authorities are slowly lifting it. When it comes to the point when we believe it is safe to lift the lockdown orders we do though have to closely watch China, Italy and Spain to see what happens there after they have lifted their orders.

An American living in Wuhan offered some of his thoughts on it. “Act as though it’s going to be a lot longer from the beginning — financially pace yourself, physically try to set up a routine, keep some kind of schedule with exercise, with your children’s education and just prepare for it to be a lot longer.”

Even though the lock down is lifted he says: “People are still in a quarantine mindset and I don’t know how many weeks or months they are going to continue to behave as though there’s still an imminent threat, even though we might have almost no infections, there’s always a fear that it’s not actually under control, that it could re-emerge.” 

He went on: “I myself don’t really have a clear bright line for when I would say it’s safe, that I don’t need to wear a mask anymore or socially distance myself,. “I’m not sure any newspaper or any government could just tell me that and I would believe it. I think that it’s going to be a very slow transition.”

I suggest that even when the cases go down to a level where the increases in the US are very low there is going to be two major problem: first, the fear of resuming a normal life will stand in the way of people doing it; second, the likelihood that there may be a second wave if people return to living and working as they did prior to the lockdowns.

One paper reported: “Now scientists — and the rest of the world — are watching closely to see whether easing the intense measures to keep people apart results in an emergence of new cases. An early analysis suggests that, so far, these fears have not come to pass.”

The article above is well worth reading to understand what is down the road. It noted Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore contained the initial spread but that some new infections are now showing up. One researcher puts his finger on what must be done about containment measures before getting back to normal: “[they should be relaxed] “gradually and with ultra-caution and very close monitoring and surveillance”

What we need is to take a closer look at that light in the tunnel. The impatience of Trump with his “we can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,”and “we have to get back to work.  We have to get — we have to open our country again.  We have to open our country again.  We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months.  We’re going to open our country again.  This country wasn’t meant for this.  Few were.  Few were.  But we have to open our country again.” tells me unlike China we will be sending people out earlier than we should and without tests. That’ll mean the light is a big freight train coming at us.


15 thoughts on “The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Is It A Freight Train Coming At Us?

  1. By the way, I stand by all my science-based comments on masks. Masks worn improperly increase the risk of infection, to the mask wearer himself and others. Mask wearers who decrease social-distancing increase the risk of infection. Mask wearers who stop washing hands increase the risk of infection. One Vietnamese study (I’ll cite if you want) showed that cloth masks even in health care workers provided no protection.

    The CDC changed its recommendation because studies showed an increase risk of viral transmission from incubators, whereas prior studies of similar viruses showed the most likely risk of transmission was from the symptomatic.

    All biologic scientists, even today, are still well aware that masks worn improperly can increase the risk of infection, that is why everyone is warned, even mask-wearers to maintain social-distancing, not to touch the front or insides of their masks, and to continue washing hands, etc.

    1. Of course, since day 1, I’ve recommended we follow the recommendations of the CDC and Surgeon General. The Surgeon General recommends masks for congested areas like pharmacies and groceries. Even today, an infectious disease specialist for Tufts recommends masks for such congested areas, too, but also recommend people get out and enjoy the fresh air, because “viruses dissipate rapidly” in the fresh air.
      The Surgeon General, today, recommends even cloth masks. I don’t naysay his recommendation, I just note that a Vietnamese Study showed no benefits.
      My recommendation: Follow the CDC and Surgeon General’s advise: they are the experts, and they get info/data from the best minds in America and the World.

  2. Wa-llahi! Trump helps Afro-American people the same as he does dumb white folks?Say it ain’t so.

      1. On the contrary, Bill. People of color are dying at rate far above their percentage of population. Today’s NYT and WAPO, have articles about Covid 19 ‘s virulence in minority communities. Glorious Leader and his minions seem clueless in this regard. Afro-Americans and dumb white folks are being treated equally bad by the Trump regime. Is that fair?

        1. Khalid, having studied the bio-medical-public-health sciences for a lifetime, I’ll tell you why. The African American community has a higher rate of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma . . . .(perhaps too, cardiovascular disease) . . .that is the same co-morbidity pattern that is most vulnerable to the Co-vid 19 Virus. Medical-Public Health Authorities for decades have been trying to mitigate this disparity in illness, and to what extent it is socio-cultural or genetic, is still being investigated.

  3. 1. Imagine if Matt were the Emperor of Europe in the 1600s when the Jesuits discovered that quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree in Peru could cure malaria. As Oliver Cromwell actually refused to use it (calling it the Devil’s Powder; Oliver didn’t like products produced by Catholics) Emperor Matt would have banned it, saying it hadn’t been “proven.”

    2. And, of course, today, Matt has exhaustively studied the severe public health effects of continuing unemployment and social isolation: (increased mental health illness (depression, stress, suicide) increased rates of alcoholism (folks can’t get to AA meetings) (reports already of increased sales of alcohol) increased rates of drug abuse and drug addiction; increased crime rates (already reported in many cities; Houston, New York) increased rates of domestic violence, marital break-ups, homelessness, etc, which usually attend long-term job loss.

    3. The Concept of Relative Risk is real. Decision makers around the world will weigh the adverse risks of continuing the lockdowns with the adverse risks of viral infections (in consultation with medical professionals, epidemiologists, etc.)

    4. As for hydroxychloroquine (HXQ), when the MSM says it hasn’t been “proven” they mean after large clinical trials. It takes months or longer to do such trials and win FDA stamp of approval on a large clinical trial. We don’t have months.

    5. Here’s what the FDA has done, on considering a number of smaller trials:
    March 29: FDA approval: “The Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine products can be distributed and prescribed by doctors through the Strategic National Stockpile “to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.”
    I’’ve posted previously the successful trials of infectious disease specialists, Dr. Joseph Smith (New Jersey), and of specialists in France and China. I’ve also posted the cautionary note of Paris specialists who reported on 11 cases suffering from severe coronavirus (end-stage), it was not effective. The successful cases, to date, far outweigh the non-successes. Doctor Smith, a world-renowned specialist, notes every patient (78) he has given it too, has not needed intubation. In other words, they’ve been spared from developing severe symptoms.

    Thousands upon thousands of physicians are prescribing HXQ in off-label, authorized uses. Many large-scale clinical trials are underway. There’s some preliminary evidence it may be used prophylactically, too.

    6. During a war, on the front lines, you do not wait for approval from the FDA of the appropriate use of emergency medicines or emergency surgeries. You use your medical skills to save as many lives as possible.

    7. I’ve posted previously that the American Cardiology Association has advised that HXQ be used in conjunction with a cardiologist. Every physician knows his and knows tthat in a small percentage of patients HXQ and the Z-Pac, individually and more so in combination, may cause some cardiac problems (lengthening of the q-t interval.)

    8. These drugs have been used for 75 years. Their side effects are known. The side-effects of opiates are known, too, but physicians don’t hesitate to use them to relieve pain, especially on the battlefield.

    1. Similar to Catholic Popes getting pissed-off at scientific discoveries and their discoverers.

      1. Hutch, i read a great book. “How the Irish (Monks) saved Western Civilizaton, by Thomas Cahill, as I recall. Yes, the Church sequestered Galileo, initially, but opened up to Copernicus and all the great scientists, Catholics and Protestants and Jews, who created Western Civilizations’ advances in physics, astronomy, energy, genetics and medicine. The Jesuits discovered quinine. Think of all the great universities established by the Church; think of all the great advances in Protestant countries and Orthodox Countries (Mendell, in genetics.) Think of all the great advances in the arts, culture, education, that Western Civilization produced. The Catholic Church has been a central force of advancement, not regression. It is the biggest charity in the world. Think of Teilhard de Chardin’s Phenomenon of Man, which embraced evolutionary science and expanded upon it.
        Yes, initially the Church looked askance at Darwin’s theory. Yes, the Church, like all organizations can be criticized for human error, lack of prescience on some matters. But generally the Church, the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish religions have done immense good for us.

        Remember, when the used to burn witches. I read that Protestant Countries burnt more witches than Catholic countries. So, what? Civilization has advanced; then regressed with Communism and Nazism, and then advanced again.

        Onward Christian soldiers, this time armed with plows, not pitchforks, this time armed with medicines, not lances, with vaccines, not M-16, with Kafka’s Hunger Artist, Camus’ Plague, and Dylan Thomas’ The Hunchback in the Park, not little red books and commie-bun-party-doll Manifestos.

        Onward Judaeo-Christian soldiers! And let’s extent the olive branch of brotherhood to our Muslim, Hindu, Taoist brothers and sisters, in Jesus name we pray.

  4. wa-llahi! Glorious Leader, and, those close to him, are invested in a company called Sanofi. Sanofi makes the Trump touted miracle drug. Trump’s lawyer Cohen collected a million dollars in consultant fees for pushing Sanofi. Always, watch which way the money’s going, that way lies the truth.

    In regard to testing for Covid 19, it’s not in Glorious Leader’s interest to have comprehensive testing throughout the nation. People would begin to grasp the enormity of his fuck-up. Numbers are hard to argue with. The statistics gleaned from nationwide uniform testing would clearly indict him for careless, if, not, criminal, stupidity.

    1. U.S. has conducted more tests than any other country. Per capita, we may be a little behind, but we’re catching up.
      @40% of cases and deaths are in New York, concentrated in the New York City metropolitan area. New York State’s population is about 6% of U.S.
      Smears and loose-associations aren’t evidence.

      1. Bill, are you including China? It is absurd on the face of it to claim that the USA has tested more than China. Where do you get your info?

      2. wa-llahi! Stock investments and sales are matters of public record, meaning you can discover them. Glorious Leader just can’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar. He’s in deep with Sanofi, so, is Wilbur Ross. By touting a particular medicine Trump can move the market in his favor. He’s a crook, Bill. Wise up. Think more. Type less.

  5. 124 years ago this week the first modern olympics took place in Athens Greece. The winner of the first gold medal was an American named James Connolly from South Boston. The first prominent heavyweight champion of the world in boxing was John L Sullivan, a Bostonian who attended BC and whose father was from County Kerry. The present world champ is Tyson Fury whose family comes from Galway Ireland. Why are the best athletes in the world from the west coast of Ireland? 2. Blacks have benefited greatly under Trump. The lowest unemployment rate in history. So too have Latinos and women. Trump defeated the Russian collusion hoax. He defeated the impeachment hoax. He will likely prevail over the Chinese virus. In May the country should be fully opened up for those under 60. Those over 60 might want to be more cautious because of risk factors. Let the young and healthy return to normal life.Open the shops and open the school;s. Chloroquine has saved many lives. It has worked in most cases where it has been tried on Covid 19 saving thousands of lives. It always works on Malaria and has been around for 60 years with limited side effects. Keep using it. Don’t let the good be the enemy of the perfect.

    1. With such experienced administrators, whose unassailable integrity instills calm and confidence in the body politic, we will sleep well tonight. Thanks, “Its our equipment” Kushner. What was the final count at that meeting a few floors down from Daddy-in-Law anyway.

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