I Cough, You Scream

03.14.2020

On Thursday, March 12, Loudon County abruptly cancelled school for at least two weeks to sanitize the facilities though no cases of the “novel” coronavirus had been reported among the students or instructors (NBC Washington). Acquaintances living in the Northern Virginia county reported their local grocery store sold out of chicken and hamburger by 6:30am.

I hadn’t shopped in over a week so it was well past time to restock the fridge—an errand that landed me in Wegmans in Gainesville, VA around 11am.

Shoppers zoomed around with overflowing carts, filled with nervous energy. Thankfully, the store management enlisted the department head personnel to work as cashiers to move people through the line as effortlessly as possible—an impressive display of the “we can do this” spirit which sets this company apart from its’ supermarket peers. 

As I conducted my typical weekly shopping, I casually listened to the conversations between couples. Some folks bantered cheerfully while others communicated in short, stressed syllables. A very serious-looking lady cautiously selected items from shelves wearing snow-gloves on the 70-degree day, making every effort to touch only the single item she aimed to retrieve. Feeling devious, I had an overwhelming urge to cough vigorously as I steered around her.

As I wandered through the store experiencing shopping for the first time during a national emergency, I wondered how to cope with the unknowns in this season’s coronavirus outbreak.

Is it possible to use what we DO know to guide us through what is cast as uncharted territory?

For example, the pediatricians I work with have treated extraordinarily ill children who tested positive for flu B this winter only to return weeks later with flu A. Some of these children had the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended flu vaccine. In a nation of over 300 million people, the federal and state government sectors swept closed with 1700 confirmed coronavirus cases(Coronavirus Disease 2019) as of today in the United States—yet a single school has had more cases of the flu (2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season). I am curious about the silence on the related public health and safety concerns of the flu as an estimated infection rate of 17% swept through the US population this season. What would flu statistics have looked like if the superintendents ordered facilities sanitized to prevent this highly contagious and prevalent virus? 

Is it possible we are witnessing opportunistic maneuvering by the progressive globalists to create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety among the public? A legitimate question given that in 2009-2010 under Mr. Obama’s administration the swine flu, a mutated version of SARS which also originated from China (NHS), infected 60 MILLION Americans resulting in 300,000 hospitalizations (Real Clear Politics).I began paying attention to politics around 2009, and as a healthcare professional, I recall not a single Presidential address nor the constant media advisement on precautionary measures.

But what can we do in the face of constant media reporting and inadequate information available about the corona virus? How can we cope and manage in our everyday lives with so few details available? Fortunately, there are some answers to these concerns discussed in a 2015 study conducted by C. W. Keevil, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Keevil and his associates studied the Human Coronavirus 229E and the best recommendation is simply to maintain contact precautions which include washing and drying your hands well–and be sure to take a hot shower upon returning home. 

And what else can we do? Conduct your daily business with calm equanimity; be the example to others. Take every opportunity to present the voice of reason and reassurance. Share facts with compassion and humor, and if the opportunity presents itself, insert some new information—like the fact the American taxpayers fund hundreds of expert-led organizations, the CDC and Departments of Health and Human Services to name a few, to be prepared in such times. How is it possible that the experts in these fields were caught so entirely off guard? Just introducing the question may introduce the idea that, just maybe, the government isn’t the expert it believes itself to be. 

Sources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.” Center for Disease Control, 13 March 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates.” Center for Disease Control, 13 March 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

Keevil, William C. et al. “Human Coronavirus 229E Remains Infectious on Common Touch Surface Materials.” American Society for Microbiology, November-December 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659470/

NBC Washington Staff. “Loudon County Announces Extended School Closure Amid Pandemic, First in DC Area.” NBC Washintgon, 12 March 2020, https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/loudoun-county-schools-to-close-through-march-20-amid-virus-outbreak/2238404/

NHS. “Swine flu (H1N1).” NHS, 12 September 2019, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/swine-flu/

Schwartz, Ian. “Limbaugh: Remember the Swine Flu Panic? 60 Million Americans Infected, 300,000 Hospitalized.” Real Clear Politics, 12 March 2020, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/03/12/limbaugh_remember_the_swine_flu_panic_60_million_americans_infected_300000_hospitalized.html

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