Tag Archives: Pandemic

Covid-19 – update 26/3/20

By now, just about everybody should know about Covid-19, and the danger we all face, but sometimes small, important things get lost in the overwhelming negativity. These are the points I took from Dr John Campbell’s video this morning:

  • At minute 6:56 – if you have pneumonia – don’t lie flat – try to stay sitting up in bed.
  • At minute 7:19 – drink lots of fluids because when the body becomes dehydrated, the mucous in the lungs becomes ‘thicker’, making it harder for the cilia to waft it out. Cilia are hair-like things that help clear the lungs.
  • At minute 8:03 – stop smoking because smoking can slow or even paralyse the cilia in the lungs.

Please watch the entire video as these are simply the points that caught my attention.

Two more things:

Apparently Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not a monarchist, but I have huge respect for the humanitarian principles that have guided the Prince’s actions for decades. I wish him a speedy recovery.

And finally, a huge THANK YOU! to the wonderful people who work for Woolworths. The drivers who home deliver my shopping, and the people who pack it, have made it possible for me to self-isolate properly. And that has meant that I won’t be bringing this bloody virus home to the Offspring.

I don’t like sharing personal, family information on this blog because I don’t believe I have the right to talk about other people’s problems. This once, however, I’m going to break my unbreakable rule and tell you about the medication the Offspring takes to control ulcerative colitis. There are two kinds. One is in tablet form and has to be taken all the time. The second is an infusion – i.e. a chemical pumped straight into the bloodstream – that has to be administered in a hospital once every eight weeks. BOTH of these medications suppress the immune system because ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease.

So is Crohns. Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis are both Inflammatory bowel disease s, and require much the same medication.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune condition as well.

And lupus

And Rheumatoid arthritis

And Multiple sclerosis

And Guillain-Barre syndrome

And CIDP or Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

And Psoriasis.

And Graves’ disease

And Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

And Myasthenia gravis.

And Vasculitis.

In all of these diseases, the immune system is either not working well enough, or working against the body’s own cells. Often the medication used to treat the condition suppresses the over-activity of the immune system.

But what about Asthma?

Asthma doesn’t attack the immune system the way the autoimmune diseases do, but it’s in the extended ‘family’, and similar medications are often prescribed to treat it [e.g. Prednisolone]. As such, Asthma sufferers are in as much danger from Covid-19 as any of the above.

All of these people have next to no defence against Covid-19.

And that’s not counting people with MCS. Or cancer. Or cystic fibrosis. Or COPD. Or Emphysema. All vulnerable. All at risk.

So when politicians reassure voters that most of them will only experience a mild disease and ‘only’ a percent of vulnerable people will suffer complications, they are misrepresenting the figures. There are a lot of people with immune related conditions or other vulnerabilities that make them sitting ducks. And these people come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny kids and strong young plumbers through to Boomers and the elderly.

Every time you break isolation because you’re bored, because you’re going stir crazy, because you’re just plain stupid, you risk getting and passing the Covid-19 virus on to someone who will end up dead.

And then there are the health professionals who are fighting Covid-19 without adequate protections. They are risking their lives every single day, and many are starting to fall prey to this virus themselves. These quiet heroes are dying because of selfish people who don’t care about anyone but themselves.

Don’t be a waste of oxygen. Stay-the-fuck-at-home.

Meeks

 


Covid-19 – a young patient

I just started watching the WHO video on the declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic. The screenshot below is taken from that video. It’s something all young males should see:

A young Italian Covid-19 patient on a ventilator

Look at his chest. This is not the chest of an old man. It is the chest of a young man who was probably fit and healthy. Yet there he is, hooked up to a ventilator, his lungs full of fluid, unable to breathe on his own.

The old bullshit about how you’ve got nothing to worry about is not true.

Change your behaviour NOW.

The life you save may well be your own.

Meeks

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It’s official – Covid-19 is a pandemic

One of the first things I read this morning was that the WHO have finally declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. It’s hardly a surprise, and yet the news sent a sick shiver down my spine. I only hope that authorities all over the world finally throw away their rose coloured glasses and put their countries on a war footing.

What does that mean?

I hope it means that governments close borders, stop public events, restrict public transport, set up drive through testing stations, and triage industry so that everyone gets the necessities of life, like toilet paper. Beyond that, I hope they force industry to change production, where possible, so that critical medical supplies and equipment take priority.

Why? Because we will not be able to source these critical supplies from overseas, not once the virus really starts to bite. Sadly, we are about to learn that self-sufficiency is more important than global trade agreements.

Will it be possible to become ‘self sufficient’ in the critical things?

Maybe. I have no idea whether local companies have the capacity to build hundreds of new ventilators, but at the very least, we need to have people capable of repairing them if need be. And those people should become critical resources in their own right.

Ditto food production and transport.

Ditto food delivery to beleaguered households.

Ditto medical supplies, not just for hospitals, but for people with chronic illnesses. If they can’t get their prescriptions filled, many will die.

Ditto delivery of prescriptions.

And on and on and on. I don’t know enough about how to run a city much less a country, but someone must, and that someone or someones have to put procedures in place to deal with the logistics of supplying a country in lockdown.

Will it happen?

I don’t think so, not yet. From statements put out by state and federal governments here in Australia, it seems that most are still trying to juggle health vs the economy. An example of this is the Andrews government’s decision to allow the Grand Prix to go ahead in Melbourne. We’ve heard on the news that members of the Renault, McLaren and Haas teams have been put into self-isolation while awaiting test results. Yet the government and organisers are still saying the race will go ahead…with spectators.

Why can’t we be sensible like Bahrain and ban spectators? Or be like China and postpone the Grand Prix altogether?

Covid-19 is already loose in Melbourne. The latest victim is a teacher at Carey, a prestigious private school, who tested positive despite NOT having travelled or knowingly interacted with someone who has. That means the virus is already in the community.

I very much fear that shutting the economy down will cost less, in the long run, than letting this virus rampage through the community at the speed of light. Have a look at this graph from Dr John:

The difference between a fast spread and a slow spread of Covid-19

The labels are mine in case you don’t want to watch the whole video [which is here]. In Italy, the authorities were taken by surprise and the virus pretty much spread unchecked before they even realised they had a problem. That is basically the red line. The North Italian hospitals are only treating the most severe patients and they are still not coping. Translate that into people dying because there are not enough beds, ventilators and staff to keep them alive.

The blue line on the graph is what happens when governments stop people from congregating and spreading the virus. There are still infections and sick people in hospitals, but the hospitals can cope and the fatality rate goes waaaaay down.

Oh, and by the way, all those who think that Covid-19 will only kill off the ‘old and sick’, think again. The latest figures from Italy show that the median age is now 65.

Median does not mean ‘average’. Median means the middle point in a long line stretching from youngest to oldest. Or, to put it in really simple terms, there are now as many people under 65 dying of Covid-19 as above 65. Think about that.

You should also think about the positive side of this equation. The ‘draconian’ measures enforced by China to stop the spread of Covid-19 are working. The rate of new infections is slowing. That means China is coming out of the sharp red spike on the graph. Their situation is improving.

Here in Australia we are still in denial, and every day of ‘business as usual’ and ‘let’s protect the economy’ pushes us closer to the Italian nightmare.

We must do better.

Meeks


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