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CoVID-19

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Right to Life, COVID, 16 May, 2020

The “Right to Life” means the negative right not to be killed by intentional acts. It’s not the right to force others to invest our life, liberty or property other than the duty to intervene against infringement. This is a basic negative right, not a positive right.

There’s a huge difference between personal responsibility in avoiding a risk to yourself and actively causing harm to someone else. Self-defense rather than selfish demands, using only appropriate force on others.

You know, the old “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose!” (Especially Appropriate in this case.)

*You* take the actions *you* believe are responsible. Only frequent places/businesses that require masks if you want, do the work necessary to maintain the social distancing you are comfortable with. Don’t force everyone else to do your work for you.

Test the story! (COVID-19 Fake News)

Even after all this time, bad explanations – fake news and myths – are being spread in Social media about COVID-19.
One of the more pernicious is the accusation that the hypoxia caused by COVID-19 isn’t due to pneumonia or ARDS. Oh, no, instead, there’s a “secret, ” new mechanism for the morbidity and mortality caused by COVID-19. The theory is based on the fact that one of the complications in the sickest COVID-19 patients, as well as earlier SARS1 and MERS patients, is increased coagulation that causes lots of tiny blood clots in the tiniest blood vessels in all the organs if the body. We’ve known for quite a while that viruses cause inflammation, causing the body to inappropriately produce antibodies against proteins called phospholipids. These antibodies attack the platelets and red blood cells, causing blood clots.
Last night I was referred to what my Facebook friend, a non-physician, called “one of the more detailed links” on the research. I would hate to see the others.

Right at the top of the page is this disclaimer: “”Anyone can publish on Medium per our Policies, but we don’t fact-check every story. For more info about the coronavirus, see cdc.gov.'” Good advice.

The author the blog post isn’t identified except by a pseudonym and avatar. While he does admit that he’s not a doctor, we aren’t given a real name, much less a profession or qualifications and clicking on the avatar yeilds no information. There’s not even a link or citation for the origin of the “scientific” quote upon which he bases his entire premise.
(In contrast, a quick Google search, “Coronavirus red blood cell iron,” yeilds an article,“Debunking the hemoglobin story,” by a man who not only gives his name, he also describes his credentials, a seven (7) year MD/Ph.D program in hematology. He tells us he is writing with two other, *named,* Ph.Ds. Dr. Armdahl is worth reading for more detail than I give, here.)
The pseudonymous author has a brand new explanation for the hypoxia due to COVID-19: the virus supposedly breaks iron free from the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells (RBC), poisoning the cells so they can’t carry oxygen. That is proposed as the cause of hypoxia, low oxygen, that leads to the need for increased oxygen and ventilation, as well a being responsible for the damage to organs other than the lungs.
The first author describes the virus “attacking” the red blood cell (RBC) with a “glycoprotein ” produced by the virus. He’s apparently unaware that the RBC does not have a nucleus or the cellular apparatus to produce proteins, much less copies of viruses. That’s a dead end for that virus particle and for any virus that does work that doesn’t enable reproduction.
Further, where is the evidence that these glycoproteins exist in the blood or bone marrow (where RBCs are produced) in concentrations that are significant? Where are the measurements of these mythical glycoproteins , any free iron or the RBCs containing free iron?
Why would there be a “secret?” ***What would be the purpose of the medical community ignoring a valid explanation of the etiology for morbidity and mortality due to SARS-CoV-2? *** The hematologists would be all over this.
The pseudonymous writer isn’t happy with promoting fake physiology and function of the RBC. He also displays his ignorance of the fact that we’ve known at keast since 2007 that the proper treatment for ARDS is low, not high, tidal volume ventilation. More important still, are personalized ventilator settings. More information, here.
If I may make a suggestion, when you come across a story that interests you and that seems new and significant – especially if it’s outside your area if expertise – don’t just share it. I suggest that you do a search looking for evidence that it’s false, as well as evidence that it’s true. Test the story!

#BVILove, #Coronavirus Delayed, not “beaten.” (One small country’s COVID-19 story)

Here in the small Nation of the British Virgin Islands, we’ve delayed, but we haven’t “beaten,” or completely avoided, the disease caused by the novel, or new, Coronavirus, COVID-19. Everyone who hasn’t yet been infected is still at risk. A lot of us will eventually catch the virus if and when we once again interact with the world at all.

If you want to learn about the current state of the science, this video is excellent by a fantastic teacher.

The Nation has done an excellent job of blunting the effect of the disease, beginning with closing all ports of entry to everyone except residents, back in March, followed by a 6 day “lockdown” with an in-home curfew at night and limitedbusiness and shopping.

Beginning about April 2, Government began enforcing a 24 hour in-home curfew, shutting business and forbidding residents from leaving our homes.

There have been 5 people with positive tests. 4 of them caught the disease in other countries and one person may have caught the disease from the last of those 4. The first 3 had mild cases and appear to be recovering.

Unfortunately, that last case was a woman whose disease was only discovered when she became very sick and had to be admitted to the hospital. She died the next day. One of her contacts has tested positive, but has mild symptoms. Unfortunately, not all of the people she might have interacted with have been identified and tested.

Hopefully, over the last 6 weeks, the BVI health department has had time to plan and prepare for multiple sick patients.

Even more: I hope that researchers around the world will come up with good treatments and discover why some patients get so sick so fast.

If there’s ever a vaccine, it’s years away There haven’t been any successful vaccines for other human strains of coronavirus.

It appears from some recent random testing in the US, that about 25% – 30% of an exposed population contracts the disease. Most either have no symptoms or mild symptoms. A small minority gets sick enough to be hospitalized, and a fraction of those end up in the ICU.

You may have heard about the high “case fatality rate,” reported anywhere from 0.01 to 10. Remember that this statistic only counts those who have been tested, predominantly those sick enough to be admitted to the hospital.

There is good news in addition to the fact that most infected people have mild or no symptoms: evidence that we have immunity after recovery comes from one of the treatments undergoing research: serum containing antibodies from the blood of recovered patients helps other people get well.

The scary part of the story is that the virus is very contagious, largely because people without symptoms can spread the disease. Medical personnel have been surprised by what appears to be the unprecedented, rapidity of the onset of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in some patients, usually about day 12 to 14 of the symptoms. In a matter of a few hours, patients become very short of breath, requiring intubation. 80%- 90% of those intubated have died in the ICU.

The virus can also cause the body to produce proteins causing increased coagulation (the tendency for blood to clot). It also can directly infect the heart muscle and brain.

As our country opens up, and goes back to (relatively) more normal interaction, it’s important to remember that infected people may not have symptoms, but are still able to share the virus and spread the disease. They don’t know they have it and you certainly can’t tell by looking at them.

We will probably see our neighbors continue “social distancing” and wearing face masks when we leave our homes. And yes, inevitably, some of us will get sick.

Front lines in the ICU with COVID-19

Reality is teaching a hard reality lesson with COVID-19.

This video concerns the minority of COVID-19 patients who require intensive care and the less than 1 percent who die of the disease. The discussion about the course of the disease and treatment is possibly too technical and brutal for the general public, so watch the whole thing with care.

However, I’m hoping to spur conversations about end of life in light of the broader COVID-19 crisis and specific crisis events.

This is a tough, highly technical discussion between Dr. Zubin Damania, a blogger otherwise known as “ZDoggMD” and Barbara McClean, MN, RN, CCRN, NP-PC, an expert in Critical Care & Intensive Care medicine in an Atlanta, Georgia teaching hospital with over 100 ICU beds. The first few minutes show Barbara McClean as a compassionate caring practitioner and educator. I believe and trust what she says about the worst case (stressing, again: fortunately these are the minority!) outcomes with COVID-19.

If you want to get to the meat of the video, there’s a “philosophical discussion” about the very real, unique in this modern age, futility of CPR in COVID-19 patients whose hearts stop due to the disease at 35:00 to 41:00.

There’s also interesting information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) difficulty (not shortage, but the physical reality) at the segment 30:00 to 35:00 minutes.

COVID-19 is, as Ms. McLean says, an unpredictable, sometimes deadly disease. Currently, patients can go from minor symptoms to death due to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in as little as 4 hours. There is very little success to date in attempts to resuscitate patients who “code,” whose hearts stop, while in distress due to the virus.

I can’t stress enough that we need to talk, we need to make decisions among our families and to understand that this disease takes some options, some autonomy we have come to assume are our rightful “choices,” completely off the table. This disease doesn’t care what we want.

I’m unable to turn comments back on for this post. Please post comments to my Facebook page and I will try to keep up with replies. Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

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