In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

A Different Take On The Coronavirus

Michael Fumento posted an article at The New York Post yesterday about the coronavirus. He believes, based on the behavior of viruses in the past, that the number of cases of the virus will peak quickly and then subside.

The article notes:

More than 18,000 Americans have died from this season’s generic flu so far, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the CDC estimated, there were 80,000 flu deaths. That’s against 19 coronavirus deaths so far, from about 470 cases.

Worldwide, there have been about 3,400 coronavirus deaths, out of about 100,000 identified cases. Flu, by comparison, grimly reaps about 291,000 to 646,000 annually.

China is the origin of the virus and still accounts for over 80 percent of cases and deaths. But its cases peaked and began ­declining more than a month ago, according to data presented by the Canadian epidemiologist who spearheaded the World Health Organization’s coronavirus mission to China. Fewer than 200 new cases are reported daily, down from a peak of 4,000.

Subsequent countries will follow this same pattern, in what’s called Farr’s Law. First formulated in 1840 and ignored in ­every epidemic hysteria since, the law states that epidemics tend to rise and fall in a roughly symmetrical pattern or bell-shaped curve. AIDS, SARS, Ebola — they all followed that pattern. So does seasonal flu each year.

Clearly, flu is vastly more contagious than the new coronavirus, as the WHO has noted. Consider that the first known coronavirus cases date back to early December, and since then, the virus has ­afflicted fewer people in total than flu does in a few days. Oh, and why are there no flu quarantines? Because it’s so contagious, it would be impossible.

As for death rates, as I first noted in these pages on Jan. 24, you can’t employ simple math — as everyone is doing — and look at deaths versus cases because those are ­reported cases. With both flu and assuredly with coronavirus, the great majority of those infected have symptoms so mild — if any — that they don’t seek medical attention and don’t get counted in the caseload.

Furthermore, those calculating rates ­ignore the importance of good health care. Given that the vast majority of cases have occurred in a country with poor health care, that’s going to dramatically exaggerate the death rate.

The article adds:

Like the flu, the coronavirus is afflicting high-risk groups: the elderly, those with ­underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease and those with compromised immune systems. Are there exceptions? Sure. But that’s the case with almost every complex biological phenomenon of the kind.

More good news. This month, the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the countries with the most cases, starts heating up. Almost all respiratory viruses hate warm and moist weather. That’s why flu dies out in America every year by May at the latest and probably why Latin America has reported only 25 coronavirus cases. The Philippines, where I live, has about a third of the US population, but it’s so damned hot and humid here, so far we have had no confirmed cases of internal transmission.

Pray for warm weather soon. Meanwhile, keep washing your hands.

Why A Secure Border Matters

Evidently China has been dealing with the coronavirus since December of last year. The virus has had a serious impact on the country in both economic and health areas. The restriction on Chinese citizens traveling to America that began in January has probably helped prevent a widespread epidemic in this country. However, the risk is still there.

The Daily Wire is reporting today:

“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported. “Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”

…Border Patrol agents told the Times that in addition to the 1,000 illegal aliens who are caught every day entering the United States through the southern border with Mexico, which is also dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus, a significant number of illegal aliens are managing to sneak into the country undetected.

“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”

The article concludes:

Another senior administration official told The Examiner, “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border. Any halting of MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols –the remain in Mexico policy) would exacerbate that threat.”

DHS acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told The Examiner that the department’s top objective was protecting the American people, and that Trump’s efforts have gone a long way toward achieving that goal.

“The American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to protect our homeland. While the general risk to the American public remains low, DHS has mobilized a departmentwide response to keep Americans safe, secure, and informed,” Cuccinelli said. “Fortunately, we were able to engage DHS assistance early to prevent the spread of this virus in the U.S. We remain locked arm-in-arm with our interagency partners, HHS and CDC health professionals, and state and local officials acting as one to safeguard the health and safety of the American people.”

An open border represents both a security risk and a health risk. It is time to stop playing politics with the lives of American people and secure the border.

You Might Not Have Read This In The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Western Journal posted some comments by Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at New York University, a medical correspondent for Fox News, and the author of “False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”

The article reports Dr. Siegel’s comments:

“I’ve been handling these emerging contagions for about 20 years now, and I have to tell you, I’ve never seen one handled better,” Dr. Marc Siegel said regarding the actions of President Donald Trump since the coronavirus first emerged as a concern in January.

…“The task force are really top players,” said Siegel, noting the inclusion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci is “one of the top infectious disease experts in the country,” he noted.

“They’ve been doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, listing actions Trump has called for such as “restricting travel, isolating patients who are sick and, trying to cut down on contact. It’s a very hard thing to do when people are pouring in from all over the world.”

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist, and Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an expert in vaccines who has been sounding the alarm about the virus, are also important members, he said, though he believes the “doom and gloom comment” about the inevitable spread of the virus was uncalled for.

Siegel said that the coronavirus is different from diseases such as SARS or the flu.

“SARS had about a ten percent mortality [rate], but it only affected about 8,000 people. Swine flu had a very, very low mortality for flu, but flu itself really only causes about a point-four percent death rate, and [coronavirus] is about one-point-four percent. So this is killing more than flu, but I want to make a couple of points that will reassure people,” he said.

“One, at the beginning of an emerging contagion, it always appears more deadly than it actually is. The 1918 flu is an exception, but normally as time goes on, it’s less deadly, and part of that is because you see more immunity appearing, and you also find a lot of milder cases — or even cases where people don’t get sick at all. You find that as you start to test more people,” he said.

He also noted that people who were infected but never got sick do not show up in statistics, making the virus seem more deadly than it is.

The bottom line here is that the coronavirus is serious, but it is not the 1918 flu. Wash your hands, and use common sense. Winter is ending, and hopefully the flu season will end with it!

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

Evidently the coronavirus has been around since December. China kept quiet about it, and when it spread to Iran in January, Iran kept quiet about it. One of the ‘advantages’ of a totalitarian regime is the ability to keep the public from knowing about a pending epidemic. Well, there seem to be some consequences of the fact that China and Iran chose to remain silent about the problem. As of now, Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China.

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that after the death of Commander Soleimani,  Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in a secret meeting in Munich. The meeting was in February.

The article includes a quote from the Israel National News:

This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century,” if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.

Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.

In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.

As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.

I don’t wish anyone ill, but it seems like violating the Logan Act might be the least of Chris Murphy’s problems.

We Need To Re-evaluate Vaccine Requirements

There have been stories in recent years that childhood vaccines may cause autism. I have no idea whether or not this is true. My children were routinely vaccinated in the 1970’s with no ill effects, but I have no idea if today’s vaccines are the same as the ones given to my children. However, as more and more people decide to decline vaccinations for their children because of fear of autism, we need to look at the consequences of that decision (for all of us).

The New York Post posted an article today about measles in America.

The New York Post reports:

America has charted 387 cases of measles across 15 states since the beginning of the year — the second-highest number of reported infections since the disease was declared “eliminated” in 2000.

The number was topped only once before, in 2014, when 667 cases were reported by the same date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s graph of year-over-year cases — updated every Monday — shows that 2019 passed last year in terms of outbreaks as of March 28. There were 372 cases confirmed by this time in 2018.

The states that have reported cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Outbreaks — defined as three or more cases — are ongoing in California (Santa Cruz and Butte County), New Jersey, New York (Rockland County and New York City) and Washington, according to the CDC.

Rockland County has banned unvaccinated minors from public spaces. The recurrence of measles in America is the result of two things–parents who refuse to vaccinate their children and travelers who brought the disease to America from foreign countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which currently have measles outbreaks.

We need to find a way to make the vaccine safer (divided into more doses?) to assure parents that it is a good idea to vaccinate their children. This is a public health issue. The other aspect of this measles epidemic is that we need to make sure we control our borders to insure that immigrants are not bringing diseases into this country that have been eradicated. We need to question both legal and illegal immigrants about their health history.

Why Is There A Typhus Epidemic In Los Angeles?

This article is based on two articles, one posted at The Gateway Pundit yesterday and one posted yesterday at NBC 4 Los Angeles. Typhoid shots are often required for people traveling overseas, but it used to be a fairly unusual disease in America.

The article at NBC 4 reports:

Last year set a new record for the number of typhus cases — 124 in LA County for the year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Last October, Mayor Garcetti vowed to clean up piles of garbage throughout the city to combat the typhus epidemic.

The Mayor allocated millions of dollars to increase clean-ups of streets in the Skid Row area, known lately as “the typhus zone.”

…Statement from Mayor Garcetti’s Office:

“Last fall we directed multiple City departments to begin a coordinated and comprehensive effort to improve cleanliness and protect public health in the Civic Center, including City Hall and City Hall East. In addition to increased trash collection and cleanings, aggressive action has been taken to address pests both in the buildings and in the surrounding outside areas — including abatement treatments and the filling of 60 rodent burrows and 114 tree wells. This work in busy and highly populated public buildings is executed carefully to protect workers and visitors, and the scheduling of extermination activities takes these factors into consideration.” — Vicki Curry, spokeswoman, city of Los Angeles

The Gateway Pundit notes:

Typhus is mainly spreading across the homeless population through fleas that live on the rats that rummage in heaps of trash, however Liz Greenwood, the Deputy City Attorney who works at City Hall contracted the disease.

Symptoms of typhus include fever, headache and a rash. Untreated cases are fatal.

I seems to me that Los Angeles needs to increase its efforts to deal with the sanitary problems in its streets and in its municipal buildings.

When The Federal Government Gets Involved In Medicine

Townhall posted an article today about the lack of logic in the current move to put more restrictions on opioids but decrease restrictions on marijuana use.

The article reminds us that marijuana is very loosely regulated in some states:

For example, in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal, users can purchase up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks. This is enough to be stoned every day. Once you have a prescription, you can refill it for an entire year without going back to renew the prescription. It’s easy to get a prescription in most states that have legalized medical marijuana, just inform a doctor you have pain. And if you live in a state like California that has legalized recreational marijuana, there aren’t even any limits on how much you can buy (just how much you can have on hand).

Opioids are another story:

By October of this year, 33 states had passed laws limiting opioid prescriptions. They limit the supply a doctor may prescribe to seven days or less. This exponentially increases problems with timely refilling prescriptions. One chronic pain sufferer complained, “The insurance companies are lying to their own subscribers in the Prior Auth Dept, ignoring, transferring to dead lines, long appeals that go nowhere, on & on….” It also means more co-pays. Some states are now requiring doctors and pharmacists to take a course on opioids. 

Many states have limited the maximum dose as well. Federal opioid prescribing guidelines recommend doctors use caution in prescribing above 50 MME/day. But many patients need 90 MME/day or higher. In Arizona, patients are limited to 90 MME/day. There are exceptions for some types of illnesses — but not chronic pain. For those sufferers, they can only receive a higher dose if their doctor consults with a board-certified pain specialist. 

The article concludes:

The reality, according to the National Pain Report, is “America’s so-called ‘opioid epidemic’ is caused by street drugs (some of them diverted prescription drugs)  rather than by prescriptions made by doctors to chronic pain patients.” More people die from illegal opioids than prescription opioids. Opioid prescriptions were already decreasing before the crackdown started. In Arizona, prescriptions decreased every year since 2013, a 10 percent decrease total.  

And just because a few doctors overprescribed opioids does not mean everyone should be treated like a dangerous addict at risk of overdosing. One size does not fit all. Someone who has been taking a higher dosage of prescription opioids for years without incident should be allowed to continue.  

Over 11 percent of the population suffers from chronic pain. It is cruel and bad medical science to prevent this segment from the population from getting the only relief that works for many of them. The laws need to be changed to allow those legitimately suffering to access adequate amounts of prescription opioids, without risk to their doctor or pharmacist. It makes no sense as we’re relaxing the laws prohibiting marijuana.    

Marijuana has somehow achieved something of a protected status. At the same time we have all but eliminated any positive image of tobacco smoking from our culture, we are promoting the idea of legalizing marijuana all over the country. It truly defies logic.

Common Sense In A Muslim Society

The International Business Times reported today that Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has stated that the recent diarrhoea epidemics in rural Egypt are caused by breastfeeding women who were cleaning themselves properly before feeding their children.

The article states:

Qandil previously caused widespread anger by offering a bizarre solution to Egypt’s power crisis. He urged the Egyptians to wear cotton clothes and gather in a single room to conserve power.

Has anyone asked about the quality of the water the people in rural Egypt are drinking or bathing in? It’s obviously much easier to blame women.

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