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Well, it has been a while since I posted on here, and that’s because I am trying to focus the majority of my attention on my passion – to help women with adenomyosis. However, I feel like I need to post about the coronavirus now because I have at least some knowledge on the subject since my degree is in Microbiology. I also worked as a microbiologist early in my career prior to my work in genetics. Additionally, I have over 20 years experience working in a medical laboratory.
I watched part of the coronavirus task force press conference yesterday, and I was aghast at what Mike Pence said about the state of our country regarding the coronavirus infection. I would like to address several of his statements:
- Pence said that the “curve has flattened”. This is false. We are currently moving almost completely in a vertical direction. Yesterday, there were 40,000 new cases reported in the U.S. which is the highest number of new cases since this pandemic began.
- Pence insisted that the Trump administration has done a great job in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s remember that 125,000 people have died in 6 months from this virus. The average ANNUAL death rate for the flu is 36,000 people. In comparing the two, I would definitely say that the Trump administration has NOT done a great job!
- Pence made it very clear that we all should be following the CDC guidelines….well, except that he did not mention wearing masks. When a reporter pointed out that the CDC guidelines state that we should be wearing masks and that masks are not being worn at Trump rallies, Pence tried to defend the administration by using the excuse “freedom of speech”. There are several problems here. First, the administration loves to apply the rules to everyone else, but when it comes to them, they always find some kind of excuse why it is OK that they don’t follow the rules. It’s like the reporter said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Second, we all can exercise our freedom of speech digitally as Biden is doing. It is not necessary to have a rally. Stopping rallies due to health concerns is in no way an infringement on freedom of speech. Do it online!!
- When asked again why he didn’t mention wearing masks, Pence encouraged everyone to follow state and local guidelines (he did not mention that it is in the CDC guidelines). He never clarified why he wouldn’t state that masks were necessary EVEN THOUGH the CDC guidelines recommend wearing them.
- Pence actually said that the fact the coronavirus is spreading quickly in younger people is a good thing! I am speechless about this one.
OK, so now I want to get the truth out about some of these false narratives that seem to be circulating social media.
- Yes, it is possible for the virus to penetrate a mask, especially homemade masks. However, scientific studies have shown that wearing a mask will SLOW DOWN transmission. Homemade masks are not meant to PREVENT infection completely. The only way to truly be safe close to 100% is to dress in a biohazard suit and take extreme precautions like what they do in labs where the techs have to deal with these deadly viruses. What the experts are trying to tell us is that if you don’t wear a mask, you will be spreading this virus to the point that hospitals will get overwhelmed and will have to choose which patients live or die. We do NOT want to get to that point. By wearing a mask, infection rates will SLOW DOWN and “flatten the curve.” This will help to prevent the hospital systems from becoming overwhelmed. Please, if you don’t understand this, just know that scientific studies have shown that wearing a mask will help to REDUCE (not ELIMINATE) the number of infections.
- No, wearing a mask will not make you sick or kill you!! I get so angry when I see people spread this lie. I actually saw a woman in Florida at a town hall meeting a few days ago say that masks will kill you. Absurd!! Look…oxygen and carbon dioxide are nothing more than a couple of atoms. Oxygen contains two oxygen atoms (O2) and carbon dioxide contains one carbon and two oxygen atoms (CO2). They both flow freely through masks, especially homemade masks. There is NO risk of harm in wearing a mask. Also, let’s remember that surgeons wear them all day long without any issues. Think about lengthy surgeries that last maybe 8 to 12 hours. These surgeons don’t go home sick….tired, yes, but not sick. This lie is completely and totally ridiculous.
- Let’s talk about asymptomatic spreading. Trump and Pence constantly say they are safe from the virus because they do a temperature check on anyone who comes near them. Let me make this very clear: A NORMAL TEMPERATURE DOES NOT MEAN THAT PERSON IS NOT INFECTED. Many people who have a normal temperature and no symptoms may in fact be infected with coronavirus. Let me explain. Viruses of all kinds have an incubation period. The minute you come in contact with a sick person does not mean you will immediately fall ill. Viruses have incubation periods. With the coronavirus, the incubation phase is thought to be between 5 and 14 days. During this time, you may not feel sick at all. You may not run a temperature. You may not have any coughing or sneezing – no symptoms whatsoever. However, the virus is still in your body, so anytime someone comes in contact with you, you may be unknowingly spreading it to that person. Now, it gets more complicated than this – the number of virus particles that are passed between people also depends on how sick a person gets – but my main point here is that just because you feel great today and are not running a fever DOES NOT prove that you are not infected. Asymptomatic spreading is not an unusual concept. This is how the flu and the common cold are spread, and this is why these infections are so common. Here are a couple of facts: Of the 700 passengers on the Diamond Princess who contracted coronavirus, 46% were asymptomatic when they were tested. In Iceland, half of all COVID-19 positive patients were asymptomatic when tested. At the nursing home in Washington State, 13 of the 23 patients with COVID-19 were asymptomatic when tested. So please don’t think that just because you don’t have any symptoms that you aren’t infected. This is why it is imperative that EVERYONE wears a mask.
- When thinking about the prevention of transmission of this virus, think of this: anytime there is any forceful expulsion of air from the respiratory tract, you are putting others at risk. Examples such as coughing or sneezing are obvious, but think about singing. This is one activity that people don’t think about, but you are forcefully pushing air from your respiratory tract when you sing. There has been a case of a group that had choir practice several months ago, and even though they practiced social distancing (they all sat 6 feet apart), a large number of them came down with the coronavirus. Apparently one member came to practice sick, and by singing, it was spread throughout the group. Even the social distancing didn’t work!
While it is true that younger people fare better when infected with coronavirus, that doesn’t mean they are completely safe. I know of a family near here that almost lost their two sons to coronavirus. Thankfully they recovered, but they spent months in the hospital and were on ventilators. The boys were 14 and 16 years old.
So who exactly is at higher risk? I am sure you have heard that the risk goes up for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. But who exactly is that? Here are just a few examples:
People with weakened immune systems:
- Elderly – our immune systems naturally weaken as we age.
- Anyone receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation
- Anyone taking immunosuppressive drugs to treat an autoimmune disease (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
- Anyone taking immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection after an organ transplant
- Anyone with AIDS
- Anyone with cancer
- Anyone with severe burns
- Anyone (including young people) with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes
Now, what are some examples of immunosuppressive drugs? There are many, but here are just a few of the more well-known ones (I see commercials all the time for these):
This covers a huge portion of our country. This virus doesn’t just attack the elderly. Please don’t think you are immune to it!
About Dr. Fauci – I have seen so many attacks on this man on social media. Some of the people attacking him are listening to people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Trump, and others. This is infuriating to me. Both Hannity and Limbaugh are college dropouts. Carlson, Ingraham….heck, all of them….have NO medical background. NONE. Yet they insisted, especially early on, that the coronavirus was a hoax…or “just a cold” as Limbaugh put it. Dr. Fauci is in his 70s and has spent his ENTIRE career working in infectious disease. Why on earth would people listen to people with NO medical training, two of who never completed college, and believe them over Dr. Fauci and other medical experts??? That question keeps me up at night. It is utterly idiotic to believe these people over the experts.
My last point is this: PLEASE WEAR A MASK. I know they are uncomfortable. I know they are hot. But while you complain about that, think of the 125,000 Americans who have suffocated to death. Those people were certainly a lot more uncomfortable than those of us who have to wear a mask. Sometimes I think that we are so spoiled in this country that we have lost the ability to be compassionate. We have become a country of “me, me, me.” We have become very narcissistic. We need to start thinking about other people and start putting other people’s needs ahead of our own – just like Jesus taught us.
I hope I helped at least some of you to understand this virus a little bit better. And I hope some of you will take it a little more seriously.
Thanks for reading 🙂