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Showing posts from April, 2020

Watch Urgent Care Doctors Video, Banned by YouTube

Two urgent care doctors in Bakersfield, California discussed their own data and questioned the wisdom of social distancing and shutdowns in their area in an interview with a local news station. Californians are under strict stay-at-home orders. Some residents have gotten tickets for watching the sunset at the beach  and one man was arrested for paddle boarding alone on the ocean , while their governor Gavin Newsom commuted 21 prison sentences and pardoned five people, some of whom killed children, citing coronavirus concerns. YouTube removed the video, citing "content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance." Note that their beef wasn't that the information was false or that the doctors recommending violating the law, but that they were disputing the authorities' guidance. But as YouTuber Matt Christiansen observes , the WHO has changed its own guide

Where to Buy Meat? Family Farms to the Rescue!

Due to COVID outbreaks at meat processing plants, the supply of pork is down 25% and the meat supply is down overall according to an Associated Press article . I haven't been to the store in weeks, but my last shopper didn't offer any substitutions on the hamburger I ordered. Maybe it was all gone. However, I was able to buy hamburger, bacon, sausage and lard this morning through a family farm in my state. If I'm not well by the pick-up date, I'll have someone else get it for me. I've ordered from this farm many times. Even a big order fits in the freezer section of my normal-sized refrigerator. You can search for farmers selling directly to the public through . The site lists farms in the US, Canada and a few international locations. Note that there may be a minimum order and you'll probably have to go somewhere to pick it up.

Digging Deep into COVID19 Facts with Experts

Leading COVID expert Professor Woo-Joo Kim of Korea University Guro Hospital discusses relapse vs. reinfection, false negative tests, cytokine storms, severity vs. contagiousness, treatments, fake news, spread to your pets, and lots of other interesting facts in this interview with Youtube channel Asian Boss. Youtube channel Asian Boss also interviews Dr. Jerome Kim, a leading vaccine expert with the International Vaccine Institution. One piece of good news: the virus isn't changing much, unlike the flu. "We hope that the immune response that defeats Strain A will defeat Strain B." Dr. Kim discusses the process and timeline to create a vaccine and who will get it first. Dr. Kim mentions a 2% mortality rate and 10% to 20% of people needing to be hospitalized. Probably, the video was recorded before antibody studies came out showing more widespread infection and therefore a lower death rate.

Breathing Easier

Dr. Google once again came to my rescue. The physician's assistant I saw last week asked if I had shortness of breath and I said no--because it wasn't any worse with my cold. And my oxygen was 96, which looks like the low end of normal. But I was short of breath with any exertion. Dr. Google said to take iron if you wanted more oxygen. I doubled up on my iron pills and voila--it's better. This in spite of a normal iron test a few months ago. Between that and the antibiotics, I felt well enough today to make pizza and put up some hangers in the garage. I even thought that I'd pack the pizza to work for lunch, but I'm still coughing a little and have to stay home until I've been symptom free for three days. At least, I think so. That was what a nurse said when I didn't know whether I had COVID. Indiana has had a mixed bag of COVID rates--several counties have not had any deaths; Decatur County (where I had my test) has one of the highest death rates in th

My COVID Test, UV Rays and Scope Creep

I wish I were one of those low carb/paleo people who never get colds, never get sunburns, never have a complaint. I've had a cold for two and a half weeks, sat in the sun yesterday, and got a sunburn. Monday I read the news that Indiana was offering COVID testing in Greensburg , an hour from home. I drove down there, answered some questions from National Guard members, and got ready to have my finger pricked. In reality, that's the antibody test. This was the test where someone pushes a swab into your nose halfway to the back of your head. It's the closest I've ever come to a violation of the Geneva Convention. I could still feel it an hour later when I was home. Two days later, I was going downhill. I emailed some coworkers that if I stopped answering emails and my phone to please call an ambulance. They asked if I'd like one of them to call me every hour to make sure I was OK, but about that time I got my test results back: negative for COVID. I went to urg

COVID Policy: Science or Wild-Ass Guesses?

There's been a lot of talk about following the science in forming policies on COVID-19. The scientific method is to make an observation, ask a question, form a hypothesis, test your hypothesis, then either accept your theory or form a new hypothesis. In January, the World Health Organization reported  there's no clear evidence of human to human transmission of COVID19 and that they were "reassured of the quality of the ongoing investigations and response measures implemented in Wuhan, and the commitment to share information regularly." Oops. They didn't test their hypothesis. The World Health Organization didn't recommend healthy people wear masks , citing "no evidence," until April. Oops. No test. The World Health Organization advised against travel restrictions to countries experiencing COVID19 outbreaks: In general, evidence shows that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most

COVID19 Antibody Study Results from Stanford

Stanford University did a COVID-19 antibody study in Santa Clara County, California April 3-4. From the pre-print write-up: Under the three scenarios for test performance characteristics, the population prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Clara ranged from 2.49% (95CI 1.80-3.17%) to 4.16% (2.58-5.70%). These prevalence estimates represent a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April, 50-85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases. At this date, there have been 69 deaths from COVID19 in Santa Clara County. That puts the mortality rate at .09% to .14%. Of course, mortality rates may be higher elsewhere. Santa Clara County residents are mostly college educated, high earners, according to the Census . There aren't many black people--a group that's been hit especially hard. And for whatever reason, California has seen few cases compared to most of the US. But the mortality rate seen here is comparable to the regular flu.

Was COVID-19 Around in '19?

Some people have been speculating that COVID-19 was around last year. They or someone they know had a bad cold last fall, and they wonder if it was the coronavirus. I've doubted this from the beginning. First, people get bad colds and the flu every year. Assuming your bad cold last year was the coronavirus is like doubting your new mailman is really new because you've gotten mail before. Second, state governments and the CDC are buggo on keeping track of the flu. They issue detailed weekly flu reports and the CDC performs genetic testing on samples. It seems unlikely they'd have missed a novel virus. Third, surely someone in the federal government checked to see whether this virus had already been circulating for months before shutting down the economy. A couple of studies should put lingering doubts to rest. Trevor Bedford , a professor in the departments of genome sciences and epidemiology at the University of Washington, says , "We tested 3600 samples [from the


I've joined the quarantined masses, having caught cold with a cough a few days ago. Is it the coronavirus? I don't know. Tests are being rationed and my request was denied. The only thing I'm taking is Umcka cold care. Yesterday, pre-quarantine, I saw I needed more--and you have to start taking it immediately after the start of symptoms for it to work. I ordered a box online and picked it up at the store, where the cashier put it in my trunk while I stayed in my car. I even wore a scarf I could put over my face in case I had to leave my car. After getting home, I tried to get a test. In Indiana, you need a doctor's order to get one, so I called the urgent care center I went to for my bronchitis last year. After completing a questionnaire online and talking to technical support, then straightening out confusion over time zones, I had a teleconference with a nurse practitioner. He said that whether I had the coronavirus or just a cold, his advice was the same: stay h

Are Children Dying from COVID19?

This subject came up in conversation today. A nurse (friend of a friend) will be working in an intensive care unit and is, I take it, worried about bringing the illness home to her children. How concerned should she be? Today, The Hill reports that a one-day-old infant died "as a result of the novel coronavirus in Louisiana's Baton Rouge Parish, a coroner reportedly confirmed." But the details are more complicated. Here's what the coroner says in a video tweeted by David Begnaud with CBS This Morning: Here is the coroner — David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) April 6, 2020 "The mother was having COVID19 related symptoms...shortness of breath...she ultimately had to be placed on the ventilator...and has tested positive for the COVID19 virus....she went into pre-term labor, and ultimately... because the baby was extremely premature, did not survive. The child as of now has not tested positive for COVID19. " The baby was only 22

Are we Really a Week from Pearl Harbor?

Forget Italy. Forget Spain. Forget New York, New Orleans, and Wyoming . We're now a week from Pearl Harbor . I don't have a crystal ball, of course, but after weeks of hearing we're a week away from the aforementioned disasters, color me doubtful. There's also the fact that Italy was a perfect storm. As Dr. John Iaonnidis of Stanford University explained in an interview (see video below), Italy had a very old population that smoked a lot, there were certain hospitals that were already at full capacity in the winter, and everyone was dealing with an unknown virus. After hospitals checked in all cases, even mild ones, a large number of medical employees got infected and had to sit out the flood of patients. Another thing:  the model being used to predict hospital beds needed has been greatly overestimating those numbers in most states. It predicts that today, Indiana needs 1,917 hospital beds. With 4,411 positive cases, and 3% of cases in the US being serious acco

Wyoming: The Next COVID Hot Spot?

A company called Unacast is rating states according to their social distancing. Wyoming--my parents' home state, came in last. People who've been to Wyoming disagree. I've been there myself: it's antelope and oil wells. @AnnCoulter Sensing Someone Else May Be Within Five Miles Of His Current Location, A Wyoming Man Prepares To Maintain Proper Social Distance. — Elvis Trump (@Elvis_Trump) April 3, 2020 Meanwhile, highly rated  New York City is properly social distancing . Time for Unacast to go back to the drawing board. Comedian Karen Rontowski can tell them all about Wyoming:

Masks, Part 2, Criticism, & Fact Checking

Zoe Harcombe has a good article on face masks--she looked at several studies on the effectiveness of mask wearing, and concludes they do help reduce transmission. A question many have asked is, why would masks help health professionals but not the general public? A commenter hinted at the answer: health care workers can't stay six feet away from patients. This is, I presume, why masks are popular in the Far East--areas like Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo are very crowded, and from what I gather, people in eastern Asia tend to stand closer together than they do in the US or Canada. That may be why we have fewer flu deaths from lower respiratory infections here. It may be that masks would be less effective here than they are in Asia--most of us are standing farther apart to begin with. That leaves us with the question, if masks are recommended, where are hundreds of millions of masks supposed to come from? The usual answer is "make your own," which is fine as