CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/01/2020

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/01/2020

12/01/2020

From Facebook, Judge Sims: “According to the Governor’s Order #32 if the hospitals in your region exceed 15% of their capacity with COVID patients for seven consecutive days, businesses will have to reduce their occupancy from 75% down to 50%. On November 29, 2020 our region climbed to 15.2%.”

J. Harris: We apparently have only 2 pure “bars” in Marshall, and I don’t know where either of them are located. 

How much did Thanksgiving contribute to Covid-19 spread? It’s wait and see for now

”Patients tend to be at their most infectious for about seven days — two days before they first show symptoms and five days after — according to a new analysis. The C.D.C. has recommended that infected people isolate themselves for at least 10 days, but is considering shortening that period…

”Data from the Transportation Security Administration showed that more than 1 million air travelers were screened the Friday, Sunday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving — a threshold rarely hit since March, though it’s still less than half of the number of travelers screened around Thanksgiving last year.

”Public health authorities have blamed past holiday weekends for spiking cases in some areas, but gatherings of family and friends are just one log on the fire that is the U.S. epidemic. New cases have cropped up among college students socializing, kids playing after-school sports, and people taking exercise classes. They’ve been fueled at indoor restaurants, religious services, prisons, nursing homes, and other sites. Transmission is so high in many places it’s often hard to track down where people got infected.”

The virus chart that forecasts the future

If you track the number of new cases, you can fairly accurately predict the number of deaths three weeks later. Every 100 new cases in the U.S. has led to an average of about 1.7 deaths, with that three-week lag…In coming weeks, deaths seem almost certain to rise, perhaps sharply. The run-up in cases during November suggests that daily deaths may approach 3,000 in December. 

New York City Will Reopen Elementary Schools and Phase Out Hybrid Learning

“…New York’s schools had extremely low test positivity rates during the roughly eight weeks they were open this fall, and there was wide agreement from everyone from the president of the teachers’ union to the mayor’s top public health officials that schools were safer than they had anticipated.

“When school buildings reopen, the city will significantly increase its random testing in schools: rather than testing a sampling of students and staff in each school building once a month, the city will conduct tests weekly. Students will not be allowed to attend school in person unless they have signed consent forms from their parents, allowing them to be tested.”

J. Harris Comment: 

I hope that I’m wrong, but I am reasonably certain that once school restarts, the rate of illness in school will climb again. In addition, holiday acquired Covid cases will become  epidemic in the city, and school teachers and adult MISD employees will  have frequent Covid exposures. Weekly Covid  tests and quarantine might  help throttle the spread somewhat, but it will not stop it. Of course, the students will also spread the virus, but thankfully not as profusely as was initially thought. In addition, children only very  rarely die and as far as is known now, rarely develop long term complications. I am uncertain just how widespread the ravages of epidemic will  have to be before the state and local powers  shut down the cities again. Who knows just how horrible things have to be to elicit measures draconian  enough to protect the lives of  the people, whether they desire help or not. 

Unfortunately, even if there were enough hospital beds  available  for all the Covid ill, there would not be medical staff enough to utilize these beds. Our hospital system is being overwhelmed despite the tireless, selfless, unending work of our medical heros. Alarmingly, more than a few of the very hospitals that are filling up with Covid patients are going bankrupt because they are unable to perform the special hospital services that generate income.  

It would seem to an outside observer that this might be a good time to shut down the schools for about 6 weeks? However, local school counts are not that high and the students are said to be behind in their studies. Lack of the equipment and  computer techniques and skills necessary for internet education are almost certain to persist  while the students and the faculty are figuring out how to teach and learn from home.  Unfortunately, many local families have no wifi, home computers, recent education, or computer skills. Portable wifi hotspots have helped, but not enough. For better or worse, we find ourselves somewhat removed from the Silicon Valley. 

 In addition local schools are charged with total student welfare and safety and accordingly are charged with feeding, baby sitting, and entertaining students (and sometimes their families). It seems to me that our school board has recognized and handled the Covid induced  problems  very well. I appreciate both their devotion and diligence. Nevertheless,  our schools’ Covid problems are likely to get worse before they get better — next fall. 

COVID Models Show How to Avoid Future Lockdowns

“…Despite all this uncertainty, a recent analysis of 131 countries suggests that moderately severe restrictions—applied individually and in combination—have slowed transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to varying degrees. The researchers found, for example, that banning public events and gatherings of more than 10 people could reduce the reproduction number R (the estimated number of people being infected by one infectious individual) by as much as 29 percent a month after implementation. Add workplace closures to the mix, and R would decrease by approximately 38 percent. However, says the paper’s senior author Harish Nair, a professor of global health at the University of Edinburgh, choosing which interventions to implement “would depend on where in the trajectory of the epidemic [a locale is]. For example, if your R is 1.5, you can use a combination of less severe measures—whereas if it [is] over 2, you would need to go into a lockdown.” That is because so long as R stays above 1, cases will continue to increase.

J. Harris: A readable article that suggests we can get this over with once we make up our collective minds to lock down where indicated by disease and not by  economic or political forces. 

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