The Trump administration has failed in its duty of care to its citizens. The coronavirus peril is serious, and we deserve to be told the truth. Fortunately there are sane experts on the ground who can tell us how bad it is and what we can do about it.
Dr. Matt McCarthy is one such expert. He is the author of “Superbugs: the race to stop an epidemic,” and an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and a staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In a recent interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Dr McCarthy said, “Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients, I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me.”
Why is that significant? “I’m here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have it at my fingertips,” he said. “I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by the middle of the week. There’s going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue.”
Why aren’t test kits available? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent test kits out early in the outbreak to public health labs around the country, but those kits were potentially contaminated. Since local clinicians can’t depend on the test kits, some have had to ship samples to laboratories with the ability to run the tests, delaying the process of diagnosis and treatment.
“They’re testing 10,000 [people] a day in some countries, and we can’t get this off the ground,” Dr. McCarthy said. “I’m a practitioner on the firing line, and I don’t have the tools to properly care for patients today.”
In other words, Donald Trump’s boast that, “My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to control our borders and protect Americans from the coronavirus,” is a direct lie. His administration has failed. In fact, right now Trump’s administration is the problem, because people believe him when he says there’s nothing to worry about.
As far as Trump’s pledge that a vaccine would soon be synthesized, the truth of the matter is it will take between 12 and 18 months to produce, if one can be manufactured at all.
While waiting for the Trump-denuded CDC to start shipping much-needed testing kits, there is much that the average citizen can do. The following protocols come from James Robb, MD. Dr. Robb was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, and was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses in the 1970s. Here is his advice:
1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:
1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.
Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.
2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.
4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.
Dr Robb concludes, “I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.”
In other words, personal prevention is our first front line of defense. Treatment is the second. We will have to wait for a vaccine that may never come. But believing Donald Trump, that this menace will soon “magically disappear,” could be hazardous to your health.