CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/6/2020

May 6, 2020


Harrison County Judge
 Sims:

May 5, 2020 – Today we have an additional 11 cases to report bringing our Harrison County total to 157. No additional recoveries or fatalities to report at this time.

The state has contacted us and scheduled another round of testing this Friday, May 8th from 9am-5pm. You may pre-register on Thursday, 7th. See the phone or website info on the flyer.

Today Governor Abbott announced that Beauty Salons, Barber Shops, Nail Salons & Tanning Facilities may reopen this Friday, May 8th. These businesses are not required to reopen and may remain closed if they desire. The Governor said that details about reopening would be made available on his website. He also stated that they are planning to allow gyms to reopen on May 18th with more details on his website also.

Our daily positive case count continues to rise, so please don’t take the above information as an ‘all clear’ sign. As more businesses reopen, I urge each of you to continue to wear a mask for your protection and those around you. Those who have health issues and are vulnerable should stay home. Let’s all do our part and remember to WASH YOUR HANDS.

Rural America’s digital dIvide

Face it: This is a good time to make a will

(Previously mentioned)

Local company invents oral COVID-19 test to meet demand

·       Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@marshallnewsmessenger.com (I’m not sure this came through yesterday. JH)

 With the discomfort and sometimes pain that come along with nasal swabs, the demand for a less stressful coronavirus testing solution has been high. Thus, a local Marshall company, “mLife Diagnostics LLC”, has answered the call, inventing an oral COVID-19 test kit that’s designed to not only be more manageable, but also more safe.

“We hope eventually it would be available for at-home, but initially it’s available through doctors in our lab,” said Alan R. Loudermilk, CEO of mLife Diagnostics. “But it’s designed to be easy to use — so easy that we do not have to have healthcare professionals such as doctors or nurses to administer it.”

Loudermilk said he was initially working on a drug testing product called “mLife Verified” when the need for a coronavirus testing kit came his way instead.

“About two-and-half years ago, we got involved in a medical startup and were making a drug test where we took a prototype and created this product called the mLife Verified,” he said, noting it’s a drug test that calls for the instant detection of drugs through an oral swab process that’s sent to a laboratory.

“We launched it early March of this year, and then the coronavirus hit,” said Loudermilk. “So, the customer said we’re not interested in drug tests anymore.”

More interested in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Loudermilk then came up with the idea of his new invention, the “mLife DX True” oral fluid/viral collection kit.

“I came up with this idea about six weeks ago,” the inventor and local business owner said. “In 30 days we went from concept to production.

“We came up with the idea sitting right here,” he said of his 511 N. Washington Ave. location, “and then 30 days later, we were in production.”

Loudermilk said the concept is similar to his drug testing kit, which is the collection of oral specimen to be tested. The concept is also to optimize the workflow for COVID-19.

“We’re in production,” said Loudermilk. “It’s available if a doctor prescribes it through the lab. We’re not available for at-home yet, because that requires that extra FDA approval.”

“But we have two, what is called CAP CLIA labs that are certified, that have validated the use of our instrument to detect the coronavirus,” said Loudermilk.

Being CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certified and CAP (College of American Pathologists) accredited guarantee that test results are meeting industry standards for clinical laboratory testing.

“So under their rules if a doctor says run the specimen and test it at the labs, those labs will run the result,” said Loudermilk.

HOW IT WORKS

The test depends on an oral swab that has to be thoroughly saturated with saliva. A solid red rectangle indicator bar on the swab will indicate that the swab is thoroughly saturated.

The kit then instructs to firmly grip the mLife True collector tube in one hand with the bottom of the tube positioned on a firm surface. The saliva swab is then inserted into the vial to be sent to the labs.

And because the aim is to optimize the workflow for corona, Loudermilk said his company created a buffer for the kit.

“The first thing we did was we came up with this design, and then we also came up with a buffer, working with a partner that deactivates the virus,” the CEO said. “So, you have to assume everybody that you test is corona positive, so we assume that’s the case and we collect the specimen and deposit it in this vial. It has a viral deactivation, RNA preservation agent; so it kills the virus, but preserves its RNA, so that we can detect it.”

The sample is placed inside of a specimen bag, and triple bagged for further security.

“You put a label on the vial, put it in triple bags for safety, but the moment you drop it in this buffer, within 30 seconds to one minute, all of the virus is killed,” explained Loudermilk. “It’s deactivated. So the specimen itself, it kills the virus, it kills the bacteria, so this is now a safe sample.”

Another important thing, he said, is that the sample can withstand weeks of ambient, warm temperature.

“We ship this to the lab, so this specimen needs to stay stable for a period of time, so you can ship it to the lab; and so we have data on the buffer that shows that this will stay stable for several weeks,” said Loudermilk. “It can be sent to the lab, the lab receives it and does the test and they post your results either via a secure portal or a secure email link that complies with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Loudermilk said test results have been proven to return in less than 24 hours.

“We had a usability test on (last) Friday. The participants in that study took the test at 4 p.m.; and within less than 24 hours later they had their results,” he said.

REASON FOR DEMAND

Loudermilk said he believes the demand for an oral swab is high because of the presumed comfort and safety it presents compared to a nasal swab.

“Nasal swabs are very painful, and they require a medical professional to administer it,” he said. “Actually, administering it particularly to people that are symptomatic, even if they’re not, you may get a cough or they may breathe on you. You’ve gotta be right up (on the patient).

“There’s no social distancing in administering the nasal swab,” Loudermilk continued. “The healthcare worker has to put on this expensive PPE (personal protective equipment), (and) they’re still exposed.”

In addition to being safer, oral swabs are also considered just as accurate, he said.

“We think that saliva has been proven to be just as accurate or more accurate and it can be administered and put no one at risk,” said Loudermilk. “So this can be self-administered or can be under supervision of a doctor.”

A great thing is it still allows for social distancing, he noted.

“I can be a doctor, my patient can be 10-feet away and guide them,” Loudermilk explained. Thus, “there’s no need to put our healthcare workers at risk for a nasal swab, when this is just as accurate.”

The kit comes along with an instructional video and instructions for users.

“And the virus is deactivated, so it’s safer handling on the shipment there,” said Loudermilk.

“So our view is simple — Saliva is better, it’s just as accurate and no one gets put at risk to take the sample,” said Loudermilk. “And I can do it in a doctor’s office or I can do it in a work setting or down; or down the road if the FDA approves it, I can do it at home. So that’s what we would like to see happen.”

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

News of the Marshall-made invention has already drawn the attention of interested parties across the world.

“We’ve been contacted in the Middle East, South America, (and) Asia about this product already, so the word has spread pretty fast,” said Loudermilk, sharing they’ve also visited with the Texas Secretary of State.

“Our hope is that we can get local labs, and local government agencies and companies to work with us to help people get back to work. And let’s get testing,” he said. “If you need to test somebody, let’s not put our healthcare workers at risk. Let’s do this instead of a nasal swab.”

The next hurdle mLife Diagnostics has to reach now is proving to the FDA that the oral tests are just as good as or better than the nasal ones.

“That’s what the FDA wants us to prove,” said Loudermilk. Thus, “we have to find 60 willing participants who will do the nasal swab — 30 positive (COVID-19 people), 30 negative — and then we will also do our oral swab with them (and compare the accuracy).”

The inventor said they are proud to have designed their oral product in the USA.

“US sourcing is important because we can control it. We do it here. We’re not waiting for something to come in from some faraway place. We control our own production here in the United States — — Marshall invented and US made.”

Shreveport: Caddo Parish increased by only 10 new cases from 1,629 on Monday to 1,639 on Tuesday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health

Caddo Parish’s COVID-19 death reached 134 as of Monday evening, the Caddo Parish Coroner’s office reports. The first Caddo Parish coronavirus death occurred March 24.

Bossier Parish had no increase in new cases and remains the same at 300 reported cases from Monday to Tuesday. Bossier also remains at 17 deaths related to the virus

EARLY SARS-CoV-2 CIRCULATION IN FRANCE A story published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in France in December 2019, a month before the country’s first reported case. The study analyzed retained samples from patients with influenza-like illness from early December 2019 to mid-January 2020 with negative PCR tests for other respiratory infections, including influenza. The researchers conducted RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 on specimens from 14 patients that matched their criteria, and 1 specimen returned a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. The patient’s clinical presentation and radiological patterns were consistent with those reported in early COVID-19 patients in China and Italy. Notably, the patient’s medical history included no travel or other direct links to China, which suggests that community transmission may have occurred earlier than previously thought.

New Mexico Invokes Riot Law to Control Virus Near Navajo Nation (New York Times) All the roads into this city on the edge of the Navajo Nation are closed. The soldiers at the checkpoints have their orders: Outsiders must turn around and drive away. Cities across the country have closed down businesses and ordered residents to remain at home, but the threat of the coronavirus in Gallup became so serious last week that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city. The downtown of shops, bars and Indian trading posts is now nearly deserted.


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A HARD LOOK AT REALITY

By George Smith

Meanwhile, while we are getting goid at isolating, let’s take a hard look at reality.

Reality 1: The debt and deficit are at record levels, thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts, which made the rich  richer, big companies more profitable and allowed top management to get record big bonuses.

Reality 2: With the debt and deficit at already record levels in 2017, cutting taxes only increased the debt and  deficit, as did borrowing money for stimulus money. 

Reality 3: Trickle-down economics has never worked and never will.

Reality 4: The unemployment figure, thanks to the pandemic, slow response by the federal government and chaotic response on all fronts when the problem was finally acknowledged, is approaching that of the Great Depression. 

Reality 5: With millions out of work, less income taxes (much less!) are being collected.

Reality 6: The bipartisan stimulus money had enough loopholes and negligible oversight to guaranteed a big slice of the funds went to BIG businesses, BIG farmers and BIG special interest firms and GOP donors.

Reality 7: Money for pressing needs for American citizens — rural health care, fragile bridges across the nation and highway infrastructure.— will be non-existent because of realities listed above.

Reality 8: This administration and its party faithful are  more concerned about stock market numbers  and election poll numbers than in saving lives.

Reality 9: The officials of the Trump regime are more concerned about kowtowing to the president than in doing the right thing for the citizens of this nation and the world.

Reality 10: This president and his pride of lackeys will go down in history as the most unconscionable, corrupt, unempathetic, and malignantly ignorant administration in this nation’s history.

Reality 11: What else should we expect when the country is in the hands of a sixth-grade  bully who enjoys publicly ridiculing anyone who disagrees with him with derogatory nicknames — Fat Jerry, Pocahontas l, Sleepy Joe, Little Marco, etc. — and who is the definitive expert on every subject from space travel to the stock market to response to a pandemic and the proper treatments and medicines with which to combat it to the psychology of male/female relationships.

Looking with a non-critical eye, there are those who claim this country is blessed.

Reality 12: And, with those citizens, President Trump is well pleased.


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1969 – My Year of Living Dangerously

CyberViewX v5.16.55 Model Code=65 F/W Version=1.00

By Ron Munden – May 6, 2020

I recently scanned a set of photographs I shot of a People’s Park march while attending the University of California, Berkeley.  I decided to google “people’s park Berkeley”.  Reading these articles brought back a lot of old memories – things that I have not thought about in many years. I decided to write them down.

I attended Berkeley in 1968, 1969, and 1970 – some part-time and some full-time.  There were protests on campus during all those years but 1969 was the most interesting and as it turned-out the most dangerous.  Here is what I remember.

First, I was never a protester.  Although by 1969 I had decided that the US could not win the Vietnam war and we needed to get out, the Navy was paying me to go to school so I did not think I should spend time protesting.  While I was a civilian, I thought I should act like the naval officers I knew and keep my thoughts to myself and support the current policies of the United States government.

Second, I considered myself a street photographer.  By this time, I had photographed war protests at UT Austin, Klu Klux Klan parades, Hell’s Angles and Black Panther events.  So, if there was a protest and I was in the area I was probably going to be at the event.

It seems like 1969 was a continuous set of protests at Berkeley.  

Early in the fall of 1968 some black group was always protesting something.  The details are not important.  All that is important is that their method of protesting was blocking students from walking through Sather Gate.  They formed a line, linked arms and would not let people pass.

I found out about this when I tried to walk through Sather Gate on my way back to the Naval Architecture building.  I was stopped and told that I could not pass.  Since I had come to campus from the shipyard I was dressed in slacks, a sports shirt and dress shoes.  I turned around and found another way to get back to the Naval Architecture building.

I was 25 years old at the time and not very mature. I did not want any black, white or green guy telling me I could not go though that gate.  When I got back to my apartment that night, I told the story to a friend that lived in the apartment above me.  He said he might could help me out.

The next time I went to class I wore my new outfit – blue jeans, a leather jacket and steel-toed boots.

I did get stopped again and was told I could not go though the gate.  I said, “I’m going through the gate.”   In the short pause that followed I calculated the trajectory of my steel-toe boot into the exposed shin of the guy immediately in front of me.  But the line parted and I walked through.  I never got to try out my new boots.

This protest ended in a week or so but my new outfit began my only outfit on days I was on campus.  Little did I know at the time, but the campus was about to become a war zone.

War protests began to increase at the beginning of 1969.  From what I saw there was a lot of yelling and foul language but no weapons on the part of the students.  I never knew what provoked the escalation on the part of the police but suddenly there was police officer presence on campus.  As I recall they were state troopers. Tear gas was used by the police.  I can state that as a fact because I was present when it happened on more than one occasion.

Then came the helicopter.  Many reports say it was tear gas.  I think it was pepper spray.  It makes no difference because both caused burning eyes and a runny nose.  Also helicopters tear gassing people is an imprecise science.  They couldn’t control where the wind carried the gas.  So, you could be sitting in class and your eyes would start burning because the gas would have gotten into the ventilation system for the building.

And then came People’s Park.

People’s Park was one square block of land located a couple of blocks off campus.  The land had been vacant for years.  A group of locals constructed a swing set and a couple of other structures on the property.  It was known as hippie park and then became People’s Park.  Everything was going fine until the University announced they were going to build a parking garage on the property.  There were protests and the police came down with a hammer.

I never understood why things escalated so quickly until recently.  The article, “The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969” provided the best explanation I have heard.  The article is now posted on the website.

Anyway, Governor Ronald Reagan ordered out the National Guard and they came on campus.  Now it was the National Guard that was blocking Sather Gate and this was really scary.

I know military discipline when I see it.  The security for Mare Island Shipyard was provided by Marines so there was a Marine barracks on the base.  I saw military discipline every day.

The California National Guard in 1969 was mainly comprised of guys who signed up so they could avoid the draft and going to Vietnam.  They were the keystone cops and in no way resembled a military unit.  This is the group that Reagan sent onto campus with live ammunition and fixed bayonets.

Let me make my point.

One day I was trying to get back to the Naval Architecture building and I found the path blocked by about 25 National Guardsmen with rifles and fixed bayonets.  I walked up to see why the route was blocked.  About 10 yards in front of the National Guard there was a group of four guys yelling at them.   About 5 yard behind the four guys was a group of students looking on just like me. 

One of the loudmouths make a particularly distasteful comment to one of the National Guard.  They broke formation and charged the loudmouth with fixed bayonets pointed at the loudmouth.   Wisely, the loudmouth breaks and runs as do the other three loudmouths and the students behind them.

By this time, the other 24 Guardsmen have all broken formation and are going in all directions chasing students.  When I noticed a Guardsmen moving toward me, I exited stage right with him in pursuit.  At 25 I was still a good sprinter.  Even in my steel-toed boots I left him in the dust.

Another day trying to get through graduate school.

With this as background

When I heard that the People’s Park protest had scheduled a march for Saturday, I thought there would be more confrontation between the protesters and the state troopers/National Guard – a perfect photo op.

Armed with my Nikon F and as much film as I could afford, a friend and I went to Berkeley to shoot.

Wow! I was surprised.  Overnight the mood of the protesters had changed.  They were the hippy flower children I had met in Haight Ashbury in 1967. There was no yelling at the police. When a marcher would pass a policeman they would hand him a flower.  When a marcher passed a National Guardsman some marchers put the stem of a flower in the barrel of the rifle being careful not to hurt themselves on the fixed bayonet.

This is the People’s Park march I photographed on that Saturday in 1969.


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