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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!

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.

People ‘shed’ coronavirus early, but most likely not infectious after recovery

A study of only 9 people, but it’s a start.

Essentially, you can spread the virus even when your symptoms are mild, but probably won’t after 8 days.

Don’t eat the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The good news is that we were warned and it’s Spring, not Winter. (And we don’t routinely greet acquaintances with real kisses in the US.)

The really good news is that you aren’t helpless.

Chances are, most of the people who get sick picked the germs up with their hands and put them in their mouth, nose or eyes. (Gross, I know, but, trust me, I’m a doctor and a mother. I can be more gross than that when I want to get your attention.)

I tend to be a skeptic about panics, and so much of the news coverage about coronavirus is political hyperbole, but … I’m reading some worrisome stories from doctors dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy.

Don’t panic, and don’t share! The coronavirus is spread by particles, droplets that have to enter your body by way of your nose, mouth or eyes. While it’s possible that someone might infect you by sneezing or coughing in your face, most viral infections are spread because of poor personal hygiene.

Virtually no one is immune to this coronavirus and we won’t have a vaccine for months, so people are panicking. I’m not, and here are some reasons why:

The US isn’t Italy. For one thing, we have a younger population. And, although the Lombardy region in Italy is modern and advanced, we have a higher intensive care capacity.

After all, we easily absorb the burden of influenza: up to 49 million infections, half a million hospitalizations, and 50,000 deaths every year due to influenza and hardly anyone even notices.

And we’ve had more warning than they did.

Here’s how fast influenza spreads each year in the US. If we don’t practice excellent self- protection, it’s a preview of how fast COVID-19 could spread.

Confirmed hospitalization history for Influenza in the US. Red = 2019-20, Orange =2017-2018

What’s the rate of spread of influenza in the US each year? This year? The graph above shows the historic rates of confirmed hospitalizations in the US. The red line is this year and reflects just over 16,000 patients, so far. The bright orange at the top is 2017, when we had a poorly matched vaccine.

There have been 200,000+ positive influenza tests reported to the CDC this year, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 136 pediatric flu deaths – not elderly patients with chronic diseases – this year.

We call it “seasonal” influenza for a reason. People tend to share the virus more in winter because of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings (and travel) and because children are in school. Sharing germs.

The coronavirus cases in the US sometimes have unknown “patient 1,” but the bulk have all involved clusters of patients with known physical and/or close contact with someone who was sick. The deaths have mainly been patients in one nursing home and a (different) hospital. In these sites, sick people were exposed to the droplets much more than you or I might be, because medical treatment accidentally aerosolized secretions.

COVID-19 symptoms are a fever over 100.5, a dry cough, and, for some, rapid onset of trouble breathing. Ther might be a runny nose or diarrhea, but there isn’t vomiting.

Use common sense and easy-to-achieve precautions. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth), stay out of crowds, kindly and gently use what influence you have to encourage others to do the same.

If you get a fever, don’t go to the ER unless you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor, and “self-quarantine.”

Most of all, Don’t share your germs and don’t pick up others’ viruses and put them in your body.

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