We are now entering the fourth month of the pandemic with no end in sight. In fact, most areas have not even reached their projected peaks. Doctors Fauci and Birx and most all other medical experts predict the worst is yet to come. More on that later.
As always, the below information is a compendium of reports from various news sources, including the NY Times, CNN, Fox News, CBS and many others.
According to “Worldometer” worldwide cases now exceed 1.1 million with fatalities approaching 60,000. In the US the numbers are 300,000 and 8,000, respectively, with 1,300 fatalities just in the last 24 hours. The virus has been moving very fast, so by the time you read this the numbers will likely be higher, perhaps considerably so. The medical experts are predicting as many as 200,000 US deaths before the virus has run its course, which is truly frightening.
NYS is still far and away the hardest hit state with some 115,000 cases (40% of the entire US) and approximately 3,600 deaths (nearly half of the US total). To put those numbers in perspective, that is more then 3X the number of cases and 4X the number of fatalities of the next highest state, which is neighboring NJ. Other “hot spots” include CA, LA, MI, FL, WA and MA.
Clearly, there is a severe problem with NY and the NYC metro area. There are many theories as to why. I outlined my opinion in a previous blog, and there is no need to repeat it here. Recently, NYS Governor Cuomo told the NY Times that he expects the state to reach “the worst point” of the crisis “within a week or so.” We’ll see. I have my doubts. So far, Cuomo’s record regarding the virus has been mixed at best.
1. Although some areas are likely approaching, are at, or have passed their peaks new “hot spots” will probably emerge, perhaps in PA, CO and Washington, DC.
2. Forty-two states plus DC have issued stay-at-home orders, encompassing some 95% of the country’s population. Dr. Fauci thinks the others should do so as well, but it is within the discretion of the states’ governors.
3. Presently, some 114 cruise ships are stranded off-shore near FL unable to dock. They are carrying an unknown number of infected patients, but also many healthy ones. Great Britain reported 708 fatalities in the most recent 24 hour period, a record.
4. As of now, the Wisconsin primaries, which are scheduled for next Tuesday, will be proceeding as scheduled despite the state’s “stay-at- home order” and a shortage of polling place workers. How will that affect the validity of the results?
5. Tragically, a Detroit bus driver who had contracted the virus from a passenger who coughed on him repeatedly, has died.
6. In a controversial action Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has allowed the state’s beaches to reopen. Officials will be relying on “social distancing” to keep people safe, a dubious prospect.
7. As most of you know, Italy was one of the first countries outside of China to develop into a “hot spot” for the virus. Now, officials feel the number of infections has plateaued. They are hoping to reopen the country’s economy. They are considering a universal blood test. Only those whose blood contains the antibodies to the virus will be authorized to return to work.
8. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn’s views on masks: (a) Their chief benefit is that they prevent one from touching his or her face, which is a big “no-no.” (b) They prevent people who are asymptomatic from infecting others. (c) They can give one a false sense of security, so it is crucial to maintain social distancing when wearing them.
9. Regarding treatments, Dr. Hahn added that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, can be beneficial when prescribed by a doctor. Also, he noted that using plasma from patients who had recovered from the virus, has had some success, and a generally-available vaccine is still a year or more away.
10. A summary of Dr. Fauci’s comments today on “Face the Nation:” (a) We are close to the apex. This coming week should be the peak. The number of cases and deaths will be “shocking.” Afterwards, the curve should “flatten.” (b) Continue with the mitigation guidelines, especially regarding hand-washing, social distancing and staying at home. The mitigation guidelines appear to be working. (c) Before lifting lockdowns we need to be able to do three things: test, isolate and contact tracing. (d) He only wears a mask in public situations in which he cannot control social distancing with others. (e) There is a risk that this could develop into a seasonal illness. Developing reliable therapeutic treatments and a vaccine is crucial. (f) There is not yet any definitive proof of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness.
Well, that didn’t take long. Heretofore, I have tried to refrain from politicizing the situation. As I said, I believe now is not the time for partisan politics, but it has picked up so much steam I feel compelled to comment. To wit:
While most Dem politicians have refrained from criticizing President Trump and the federal government stressing the positive rather than the negative, there have been some notable exceptions as discussed below.
Cuomo, De Blasio, and Schumer have been criticizing Mr. Trump, the CDC and other federal agencies for their delay in providing needed medical equipment. This is disingenuous “BS.” Each state shares responsibility for preparing for pandemics and other disasters. As I have discussed in detail in previous blogs NYS’s and NYC’s preparation was woefully inadequate compared to most other states, and its officials were slow to recognize the magnitude of the threat of the virus. Remember, the feds have shipped copious amounts of medical supplies to NY, built five temporary hospitals and provided a massive hospital ship.
CNN, MSNBC, presumptive Dem presidential nominee Joe Biden, the NY Times, the Washington Post and other media outlets have already begun their campaign of distortion. For example, when President Trump enacted the travel ban at the end of January they decried his action as “racist” and “xenophobic.” Now, in a futile attempt at revisionist history, they are accusing him of not recognizing the threat and acting on it early enough. Huh? They can’t have it both ways.
Pelosi, Schiff and their cohorts in the House announced they will be conducting an investigation of the feds’ response to the virus. Really? I know the Congress has the right, or even the duty, to conduct investigations, but now, in the middle of an existential crisis, is not the time.
Based on the last three years, I predict this investigation will devolve into another political “witch hunt” leading up to the election. I say, at least, wait until the crisis has passed, and we see how it has turned out.
As before, most of the mainstream media will support them regardless of the facts.
Their goal will not be to uncover the truth. Rather, it will be to distort, muddle and obfuscate the facts with the goal of damaging Mr. Trump sufficiently to prevent him from winning the upcoming presidential election. Hopefully, voters will not be deceived.