Covid - Nov 2020

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If I were a government policy maker, the most important statistic I would use to make decisions would be the number of hospitalizations.  Number of cases are important, but if treatments are effective or the virus is getting weaker then the number of cases in not the best indicator.   As an individual, I watch number of deaths in the last 24 hours in order to judge the danger level of the pandemic.  The CDC publishes this every day on this webpage.  Most days, I have been taking snapshots of the site and posting them in the comments of this Facebook post
Back in May, my assessment was that if the number of deaths in the country was around 500 a day, most people would believe the pandemic was under control and be looking for lower restrictions.  If it were 2000 deaths a day most people would accept and expect stricter restrictions.  If you look at the screenshots, I posted since May, you see we have basically been around 1000 a day for some time.  On Monday when the CDC updated the page and it showed 490 deaths, it looked like it might be time to start asking the policy makers and the media to re-evaluate the tone they were sounding because of the high number of cases.  On Wednesday the number of deaths reported was 1,859.  Wednesday’s number is very concerning.  Four or five days in a row at or above this number would indicate a very hard period ahead both in heartbreak and economic restrictions. 

Unfortunately, I have not found the CDC or Ohio Government page that tells us how many people are hospitalized.  I hope this information is available to Governor DeWine and other policy makers.   If we had this information, it would provide valuable information for our personal Covid strategies.  

Here are a few of my other thoughts:
  1.  Congress should be working on a Covid relief package and needs to get that out quickly
  1. I was surprised that the historical Flu deaths the CDC published in years past were based more on scientific reasoning than actual flu testing.  Children suspected of having the flu were tested most of the time.  However, adults were rarely tested for the flu but instead diagnosed through symptoms.  We have always known that Covid was one of the viruses responsible for “the common cold”.  Now that we know that Covid 19 usually does not severely affect children and young adults, not testing the older population for flu looks like a bad decision.  If we had been testing for flu and figured out older people were actually contracting pneumonia because of the common cold, we probably would already have a covid vaccine.   Though it is late, scientifically, it may help our knowledge of this and future pandemics if the country would go back and test elderly people who in years past were classified as flu deaths to see if they may have instead had a different version of covid.  Hopefully, there are blood samples available for a representative number of people and bodies would not have to be exhumed.
  1. The media has done a poor job of relaying what treatments seem to be working.  I do not know if this is because the doctors have not been keeping track appropriately/scientifically/through studies.  But whatever the reason, by this time there should be scientific and peer reviewed studies that point in the right direction.  If there are not, the medical community and federal government has failed us.  Someone in authority needs to make sure these reports are being composed.  
  1. I had a couple weeks’ worth of tasty canned goods in case the pandemic forced us into a lock down.  We have mostly eaten those reserves and all we have left is the stuff we do not like.  I hope a decision to go into lock down is not made based on cases.  However, if hospitalizations and deaths increase, it is probably a good plan to restock edible canned goods. 
  1. We should use the lessons learned this year to put into effect work place measures that reduce the chance of spreading flu and the common cold.  Things like work at home and paid sick leave for diagnosed infectious diseases.  Most winters I get a lingering cough.  Two years ago, my cough was so bad, I felt bad about being at my desk for a month.  But I went to work because I did not feel sick.  Last February I had a cough.  Right before the base shut down in March, I tried to limit how often I coughed.  Since we have gone to work at home, I have not have the persistent cough that I often get.  On the same theme, there was another person in the office that came in and coughed excessively and constantly all day for the last two weeks the base was open.  This was after everyone in the office was given permission to work from home.  Not only should businesses be encouraged to put in place policies that reduce the likelihood of spreading the flu and common cold.  People should take advantage of those measures as well.     
  2. I have not seen reports that show we have put into place a system that will get essential goods, like food into the grocery stores if we end up with a very strong wave in the traditional flu season.