CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/24/2020

May 24, 2020

Some new testing information: FURTHER CLARIFICATION ABOUT COVID 19 TESTS:

The diagnosis of COVID-19 is typically made by detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in respiratory specimens using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), primarily reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).     (Best antigen or acute testJH)

 

Tests that identify SARS-CoV-2 antigen in respiratory specimens offer the possibility of point-of-care testing but are generally less sensitive than PCR. (More commonly used antigen test, cheaper, not as good, helpful if positive JH)

 

Serologic tests that detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the blood may be able to identify some patients with current infection (particularly those who present late in the course of illness), but they are less likely to be reactive in the first several days to weeks of infection.(Best test to tell you if you have had Covid, or sometimes if you still have it)

 
GREAT ARTICLE AND SOMEWHAT REASSURING
 
Great article about refrigerating vegetables and fruit. Even my resident expert learned a little. 
 
BERLIN(AP) — A German official says the number of confirmed coronavirus infections following a Baptist community’s service in Frankfurt has risen to at least 107.

News agency dpa reported that Hesse state’s health minister, Kai Klose, said Sunday those infected live in Frankfurt and three other counties in the region.

The deputy head of the Evangelical Christian Baptist congregation has said that the service took place on May 10 and it complied with rules under which authorities allowed religious services to resume at the beginning of the month — including a 1.5 meter (5-foot) distance between worshippers and the provision of disinfectant.

Frankfurt health officials say most of those infected appear to have caught the virus after rather than at the service.

Germany started easing lockdown restrictions on April 20. So far, new coronavirus infections have continued to decline overall.

 
 
LONDON(AP) — Toilet experts say urinals may be consigned to history as part of measures to make public conveniences safe for the post-coronavirus world.

Raymond Martin, managing director of the British Toilet Association, says business and governments need to adapt public toilets to make them infection-resistant, adding technology such as foot-operated flushes and sensor-activated taps.

Hospitality industry groups in Britain have also proposed replacing rows of urinals with cubicle-only washrooms for both men and women.

 
“But ultimately the juice is worth the squeeze — if you’re only reaching 5 percent of the people, at some point, you have to ask why and decide maybe this is not the tool we should use.”????????
 
TODAY INSTEAD OF A PUN, I WILL ATTACH A SHORT SHORT STORY THAT MIGHT PERK YOU UP. BUT, WHO COULD FIND A FUNERAL HUMOROUS DURING A PANDEMIC? 
 
 

The Paw Bearer

The best funeral that I ever attended, I didn’t. I overslept. But I could make it to the burial if I hurried. I threw on some jeans and a barely wrinkled, nice’ish black shirt as well as my dressy sandals and hurried into the garage.

I cranked up my SUV then realized that I needed a breakfast beverage for the hot and tedious five-mile journey to the internment. I left the truck door opened and dashed back into the house where I filled a quart sized Mason jar full of vodka and ice, with a little orange juice splashed in for color.

Alas, upon my arrival at the cemetery, I discovered that my best friend and hunting dog, a rat terrier named “Pop”, had snuck through the open door and into the back of the Suburban where he laid low until our arrival (and not for the first time either). Well, the August heat of East Texas was too thick and oppressive to leave him locked up, so I chugged the rest of my breakfast and let him out, onto the crowded grave yard which was full of people trying to stay out of the sun without stepping on somebody’s grave.

 Ole Pop was mostly black with only a little white on his face and neck, but he had four white stocking feet, which gave him a little distinction that he needed since he was otherwise short and fat and, really, pretty common looking. He stared at me quizzically, with his head twisted around a little as if to ask if he should go with me, and why were we hunting squirrels in this heat, what with all these people around?

I ignored him and traipsed across the grass, almost losing my balance as I tried to avoid defiling the ultimate acreage of various dear departeds. My inadvertent tardiness did have some merit, however, because all the preaching and praying, singing and crying, was done with by the time I eased in. I didn’t take the time to sign the register. More likely than not, the dear departed would not be reviewing it anytime soon.

Several folding chairs and a fresh grave were canopied by a mildew-encrusted tent that was steaming in the heat. It smelled like an old chicken coop. Even though the burial service was over, lots of folks were standing around in various shades visiting and a heap of ‘um were looking at me. Somewhat self-consciously, I eased up front, close to the coffin, which was poised on hydraulics, ready to be lowered into an open grave. Thankfully, the casket was closed, but it was draped with a multitude of flowers including a spray composed of magnolia and lily pad blossoms intertwined with honeysuckle vines that I had made and sent over the day before, without a card. Discretely, between the flowers and the casket, I now placed a couple of old risqué post cards that the decedent, who had been my favorite nurse, sent me from Paris some years back. I took my time since I didn’t plan to think about this day ever again.

While I stood there with my head somberly bowed, something salty coursed down my face to the corners of my mouth, sweat most likely, and it must have got in my eyes, because they started blinking and burning and watering uncontrollably. I didn’t want anyone to see my eyes acting so crazy, so I just stood there quietly for a little longer. By then, my legs felt a little wobbly, and my head was kind of spinning, most likely due to the heat or by something I didn’t eat.

I hitched up my pants and put on the sunglasses that I conveniently found on my forehead and took down a real deep breath of air as I turned from the grave. I walked away slowly and alone in an attempt at anonymity, but to my consternation, I was greeted by more than a few of the bereaved. I had hoped that my standoffish demeanor would preclude any graveyard chitchat and niceties — and the hokum about how much better off the loved one is now “in a better place” and all of that terminally titillating mumbo-jumbo bull shit.

However, my impassive facade was quickly disrupted. I heard some muted giggling and carrying on, and, annoyed, I turned around to see if someone was laughing at me. Well, to my chagrin, Pop was walking around sniffing at and peeing on various tombstones and flowerpots, the bigger the better, marking his visitation in his own primal way. I guess I got a little embarrassed, so I looked away, then shrugged my shoulders and shook my head as if to say that the ugly, black, irreverent, penguin-looking little dog was not with me.

Luckily, I spied the decedent’s brother in a nearby shade. He was appropriately known as “Fatboy.” I nonchalantly walked over to commiserate with him, and to my distinct pleasure, I discovered that he was sitting on a beer cooler which he had worshipfully shrouded with a black T-shirt that had only a little bit of a “Hell’s Angels” logo showing.

Fatboy smiled, thanked me for coming and for caring about his sister, and with a crooked grin and great fanfare, he handed me a cold, cold, long-necked bottle of Budweiser beer — and not a light one either. I lovingly drank it off in three swallows and was fixing to get another one when Pop treed a squirrel.

I guess I got a little flustered; I didn’t rightly know what to do what with the dog barking and jumping, and trying to climb a tree in the graveyard, at the tail end of the funeral with semi-reverential folks all around. Pop was barking to beat hell, and I knew that he wouldn’t quit till I killed the squirrel or at least tried real hard to do so. Pop had genuine integrity; he wouldn’t bark on a tree unless he was absolutely sure that there was a squirrel up there; and if he was really hitting on a tree, jerking on vines with his mouth, and chewing on the bark, and trying to climb the tree, then it was incumbent on me to get on over and tend to my end of the partnership. Anyway, by now everyone at the outdoor funeral knew to whom the little black apparition belonged. Obviously, I needed to do something to resolve the escalating cacophony.

Fatboy, who was more than a little amused at the shenanigans, allowed me to get hold of myself a little by handing me another cold beer which I immediately jetted, and I shivered a little as my blood alcohol crept closer to a tolerable level

Since we were a little way out of town and in rural East Texas and all, I wasn’t scared to shoot the squirrel, and that was the only thing that would make the dog stop barking and carrying on. He’d have bit me if I’d tried to manhandle him. He was a dedicated hunting dog and didn’t like an interrupted kill. Besides, the squirrel was in plain sight up in a sparsely branched, isolated, little oak tree. Pop must have caught him on the ground and chased him up there, since, otherwise, there was little reason for a squirrel to be in such a puny tree.

I needed to dispatch that squirrel, so I walked over to my rig to get a gun. I usually have an assortment of firearms lying around in my truck, but, to my great dismay, for the first time in about 900 years, I was unarmed. The truck had been in the shop, and I had neutered it temporarily.

No problem. Fatboy waddled out to his truck. He had declined to ride with the funeral people in an expensive family limousine since they didn’t want to haul his beer. Actually, he didn’t have anyone left to ride with him anyway. He reached under his seat and pulled out a pump shotgun with a suspiciously short barrel. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any shotgun shells amidst all the clutter of empty beer cans, candy wrappers, and turned-over spit cups. He did, however, find a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a loaded magazine. He chambered a round and strolled purposefully over to the tree, with the gun in one hand and the other hand holding onto his jeans they had now slipped south of his enormous gut.

Grinning mischievously, he resolutely, if somewhat unsteadily, aimed up at the big ole red fox squirrel and opened fire. Fatboy wasn’t much of a shot, and he could only use one hand else his pants would fall completely down, but he got close enough with the heavy caliber bullets that the squirrel really panicked — as did some of the folks who were watching the “hunt.” The little varmint jumped and dodged and ran from branch to branch till he was out of room at the top. With no options left, he reluctantly bailed out of the tree and sailed gracefully, like a bird, gliding with all four legs outstretched.

The squirrel hit the ground rolling, twenty or feet yards from the tree, close to the new grave, with Pop snarling and snapping right behind him. He darted across several old graves, through the crowd, under the funeral tent, and barely eluded Pop by jumping up into the back end of the hearse, scattering skittish pallbearers in his wake. Someone slammed the door shut, and so the squirrel was now trapped in the hearse, much to Pop’s displeasure. You could see murder in his eyes as he snarled and shook his head around, slinging spit over those nearby.

Well, the usually demure, gray-looking funeral director started getting real red, and steamy, and all worked up. Innocently enough, Fatboy offered him a beer, but the polite gentleman might have felt that drinking beer at a funeral isn’t decorous  ’cause he started acting really angry, got all trembly and mumbly and his face muscles were jerking a little, side to side, while his eyes started blinking continuously. Then he began to make funny sounds, like he was speaking in tongues or something, and meanwhile he wrung his hands which had seemingly acquired a life of their own and were twitching rhythmically, as if in a choreatic ballet.

Wisely, Fatboy decided to give the gentleman some space, and so we sat down in the shade to rest and recombobulate the situation. Since the cooler was still handy, we sucked down a couple more beers and considered what to do about the unfortunate squirrel, whose energies were rapidly melting down as he whirled around in the empty, hot, black hearse. Pop was now lying down under the hearse, trying to stay cool, but at the same time, staying real close to his squirrel. He knew exactly where the luckless rodent was.

I called the dog over and picked him up so that he could get a drink of water from the beer cooler. Fatboy offered him a beer, but I don’t like for Pop to drink alcohol, so I took it instead.

Fatboy and I now put our less than lucid heads together, and he declared that he would not help get the squirrel out of the hearse. Neither of us particularly liked the undertaker, and we certainly didn’t relish the idea of getting scratched and bit up by the frantic squirrel that by now, we had taken to calling “Rocky.”

Apparently, in this One Hearse Town, there was to be another funeral in a little while, and the high dollar wagon was sorely needed for that function. That, however, was not our problem. Just then, I was really feeling relaxed and comfortable, what with the unexpected camaraderie and with being in the shade with a belly full of beer and all…so, I allowed as how I really didn’t have any quarrel with little Rocky either.

When we declined to help with the squirrel, the distraught undertaker, the myth of his professionalism largely dissipated, reluctantly picked up a handful of long-stemmed flowers off the grave, opened a side door to the hearse, and attempted to shoo the squirrel out of the sweltering trap.

 But he didn’t reckon with Pop. Rocky was Pop’s squirrel, and when door was opened, Pop jumped into the hearse. That little killer, instincts honed by centuries of hunting, was too quick for the frenzied fox squirrel. Pop grabbed Rocky by the neck, as rat dogs will do, and he commenced to shaking him. The soggy squirrel suddenly became more animated in what was likely to be his terminal battle, and he went after Pop’s ears and eyes with his claws and teeth. You would have to say that the combatants did a pretty good job of ripping each other up. Blood and spit and grime and what all were spurting all over the no longer immaculate interior of the hearse.

Predictably, Pop prevailed, and he jumped out of the hearse with the late Rocky in his mouth. Shaking his head side to side as he came, Pop pranced over to Fatboy and me and handed me the squirrel, just like he was supposed to do, much to the admiration of the now fast departing crowd.

Despite Pop’s successful rescue of the hearse, the ungrateful funeral director didn’t seem any happier. In fact, he was walking back and forth mumbling again, and looking up at the sullen sky and then staring at his hands which were even more animated now than earlier. His shark gray suit was sweat soaked and wilted. His necktie now looked like an afterthought, or a noose to conveniently end his troubles? The prospect of getting into the defiled chariot could not have been very appealing to one usually so pristine and proper.

Fatboy put the cooler into his truck and handed me a final beer. Then he chunked Little Rocky into the cooler, swearing to have him mounted in memory of the occasion and of his late sister, who in truth, he loved very much. As did I.

Fatboy started for home, with me right behind him, my unmuffled, straight exhaust pipes rumbling majestically in a funeral bass. With a friendly smile and a one finger wave, I mouthed an “adios” to the director, and we departed the graveyard, with Pop smiling laconically out the window.

 


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To my friends and political frienemies

By George Smith

To my friends and political frienemies who are hardcore on the Trump train. I feel for you, I really do. Carrying around that much angry and delusion is a burden.

And to those who believe immigrants are taking certain jobs:

Few WASPs over the age of 16 in this country would agree to do stoop labor or haul hay or pick peaches for anything less that $12-$15 an hour. And after one dawn to dusk shift, even that is iffy.

It’s called community culture. Some folks run to hard labor because it is necessary, while others run just as hard in the other direction because they hate hard work.

I decided to go to college when I was 14; that was the summer I tried picking tomatoes and cucumbers and hauling hay.

Nope. Nada. 

Uh-uh. Nyet.

The fact that some folks think U.S. citizens raised on social media, video games and hip-hop are going to do stoop labor is laughable and ludicrous.

Who do you think picks strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelons snd cantaloupes that we, the self-entitled, gently place in our grocery carts?

Who stands elbow to elbow to elbow with other workers deboning chickens or cutting slabs of beef and pork into salable packages? Or pulling the entrails out of fish, goats and turkeys?

Be thankful for immigrants, illegal or otherwise; they do work that Most American citizens do not want to do, or cannot do.

And most of Americans are grateful for those who do. And damn well we  should be.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/23/2020

May 23, 2020

To help our readers keep themselves and their loved ones safe, the News Messenger asked Dr. Richard Wallace, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at UT Health East Texas, to talk about ways that people can navigate a world where COVID-19 is still a risk.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that it is mixing the results of two different kinds of tests in the agency’s tally of testing for the coronavirus, raising concerns among some scientists that it could be creating an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic in the United States.
 
The CDC combines the results of genetic tests that spot people who are actively infected, mostly by using a process known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, with results from another, known as serology testing, which looks for antibodies in people’s blood. Antibody testing is used to identify people who were previously infected.
 
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, expressed concern that adding the two types of tests together could leave the impression that more testing of active cases had been conducted than was actually the case.
 
JHARRIS: TEST REVIEW 101:
 
I. ANTIGEN OR GENETIC OR EARLY TEST THAT SHOWS IF YOU HAVE COVID 19 VIRUS IN YOUR BODY. THIS TEST CAN BECOME POSITIVE A FEW DAYS BEFORE YOU GET SYMPTOMS AND MEANS YOU ARE CONTAGIOUS TO OTHERS. THIS EARLY TEST CAN BE PERFORMED ON SALIVA OR NASAL SWABS. THIS ACUTE TEST BECOMES NEGATIVE AS YOU  PRODUCED ANTIBODIES TO FIGHT THE INFECTION AND AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS BECOMES NEGATIVE.
 
II. ANTIBODY TEST IS USUALLY A BLOOD TEST AND BECOMES POSITIVE ABOUT 2 WEEKS AFTER YOU BECOME INFECTED. THIS TEST INDICATES THAT YOU HAVE HAD THE INFECTION AND MAY HAVE SOME IMMUNITY.  NO ONE YET KNOWS HOW LONG  THESE ANTIBODIES (NOT “ANTIBIOTICS”) REMAIN IN THE BLOOD. YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT CONTAGIOUS TO OTHERS NOW, PROBABLY. MAYBE NOT.
 
THE PROBLEM WITH INTERPRETING AND REPORTING THE RESULTS  OF THE TWO DIFFERENT TYPE TESTS ARE THAT THE AGENCIES MIX THE QUANTITIES OF TESTS ADMINISTERED  AS WELL AS THE RESULTS  TOGETHER RENDERING THE REPORTS OF THE RESULTS SEMI-WORTHLESS. THIS IS LIKE MIXING APPLES AND ORANGES. THE TESTS MEASURE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS AND LUMPING THE RESULTS TOGETHER DRIVES NUMBER CRUNCHERS CRAZY.
Wonderful article on same subject:
 
 
THIS GRAPH IS PRETTY SIMPLE AND SCARY. Thank you Edmund Wood
 
image.png
 

Northeast Texas case counts as of Saturday Morning

The total of reported cases of COVID-19 by Friday evening in Northeast Texas was at least 2,403, up from 2,349 a day earlier. Across the region, 108 total deaths had been reported Friday, which was unchanged from Thursday. Here’s a look at totals by county Friday and changes from Thursday:

Anderson: 66 (+2)

Angelina: 175 (+3), 2 deaths

Bowie: 154 (-22), 11 deaths

Camp: 39 (+7)

Cass: 26

Cherokee: 44, 2 deaths

Delta: 1

Franklin: 9 (+1)

Gregg: 195 (+8), 4 deaths

Harrison: 230 (+2), 23 deaths

Henderson: 55 (+3)

Hopkins: 15

Lamar: 133 (+5), 9 deaths

Marion: 15

Morris: 17 (+2)

Nacogdoches: 255 (+11), 17 deaths

Panola: 188, 21 deaths

Red River: 44 (+2), 4 deaths

Rusk: 44, 2 deaths

Shelby: 183, 5 deaths

Smith: 198, 4 deaths

Titus: 248 (+28 from Thursday), 2 deaths

Upshur: 20

Van Zandt: 26 (+1), 1 death

Wood: 23 (+1), 1 death

Totals: 2,403 and 108 deaths

Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services, Northeast Texas Public Health District, local officials

THIS COUNT A A GREAT FEATURE FROM THE TYLER NEWSPAPER
 
That Office AC System Is Great — at Recirculating Viruses  WOOPS. Most buildings have problems with safe ventilation. GOOD READ
 
Can I trust the air?

The largest clusters of virus cling to the heaviest droplets, which behave like falling leaves — swirling and dancing for a moment or two before carpeting the ground. But as we talk, sing, shout, and laugh, we also spray a fine mist that remains aloft for hours, mixing promiscuously with the exhalations of others. We can’t see these traveling fogs, but sometimes we can smell them. A perfume that lingers in an elevator, a plume of cigarette smoke, the odor of frying fish wafting through a vent — these olfactory markers track the course of particulate-laden clouds. It’s not yet clear whether the tiniest, aerosolized droplets can carry a big-enough payload of coronavirus molecules to make someone sick, but it’s a good idea to act as if they do.

 
“If you’re just recirculating infected air, you’re just continuously adding particles to that room. A closed system is probably a nightmare.”
 
A study of a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, in January, raises the possibility that a poorly functioning ventilation system can make things worse. An AC unit apparently focused one diner’s viral fumes in a beam of cool air and shot it across three adjacent tables, sickening ten people and leaving the rest of the restaurant untouched. The lesson from that incident is clear but unhelpful: If you sense a strong indoor breeze, get out of the way or at least stay upstream of anyone who might be infected.
 
Mechanical ventilation systems are expensive, bulky, and unreliable, sucking up energy and spewing bad air back outside for other systems to inhale. Natural ventilation is easier on the planet, potentially cheaper to run, and less liable to sicken the people who work inside.

The ultimate goal is to allow us all to breathe without thinking about it again — to have faith that professionals have done their best to neutralize threats none of us can see and most of us can’t even measure. “How do you visualize the invisible?” Murphy says. “That’s one of the core challenges of design.”

 
 
COLLINS PUN FOR THE DAY:No matter how much you push the envelope,

it’ll still be stationery.

 
 
 
 
 


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Marshall Depot Board shares Amtrak’s plans to restore staffing

Marshall Depot Board shares Amtrak’s plans to restore staffing that was eliminated in 2018 at the Amtrak station in Marshall, Texas and 14 other cities nationwide

Passenger rail advocates from the Marshall Depot Board of Directors shared exciting news on Wednesday that Amtrak is in the process of restoring, in the coming month to six weeks, the paid Customer Service Representative positions at the Marshall, Texas station, as well as the staffing of 14 cities nationwide, which were all eliminated by Amtrak in 2018.

Christina Anderson, member of the Marshall Depot Board and I-20 Corridor Council, who, along with her husband former Harrison County Judge and former Texas State Senator Richard Anderson, headed up the local and regional grassroot efforts in 2018 to urge Amtrak to not eliminate the important staffing at the Marshall station and the other stations nationwide, shared the following statement, on behalf of the Marshall Depot Board:

“During the sadness and difficulty of the ongoing pandemic and with continued gratitude for the brave service of our frontline workers and all working together to battle the current health crisis, we’re very grateful and honored to be able to share some welcomed and happy news with our community and region. On Tuesday, May 19, we received a phone call from Amtrak informing us that Amtrak plans to restore the paid Customer Service Representative staffing at our Marshall Depot station, as well as at the 14 other U.S. cities who had staffing eliminated in 2018.”

Ms. Anderson added:  “Congratulations and much appreciation to all who worked with such dedication—locally, regionally, and nationally—on the grassroots effort to help Amtrak understand the critical role that staffing of our stations plays in our rural and urban communities, plus the critical role that Amtrak’s long-distance National Network plays in providing much-needed transportation options to citizens throughout America. Our community greatly values and appreciates our strong, long-standing partnership with Amtrak, as Marshall is proudly one of the stops along the Texas Eagle route. And, with regard to this issue, we are grateful that our local and national unified voices were heard.”

Cathy Wright, President of the Marshall Depot Board, echoed this sentiment: “We’re so appreciative to all who worked so hard and effectively to bring about this successful outcome, not only in 2018 but over the past two years. We’re thankful for the strong working relationship we have with Amtrak, now and in the past, and we look forward to the relationship continuing to strengthen in the many years to come.”

Amtrak shared the information that there would be a posting internally within Amtrak for the two restored Customer Service Representative (CSR) jobs in Marshall from May 20-May 27. The jobs will then be posted externally. One CSR agent would work Monday through Thursday, the other CSR agent would work Friday through Sunday, for a fully-staffed station in Marshall.

The CSR agents will provide service at the Marshall Depot station in the three hours before, during, and after the arrival and departure of the northbound, as well as the southbound trains on the Texas Eagle route, which provides service between Chicago and San Antonio. The northbound train to Chicago departs each day at 7:31pm and the southbound train to Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio departs at 7:50am.  Marshall is one of only about 525 cities nationwide that has an Amtrak stop.

By way of background, Amtrak announced in the spring of 2018 that the company planned to eliminate the Customer Service Representative staffing at the Marshall Depot station by the end of June of that year.

At that time, Amtrak also announced the elimination of staffing at 14 other cities–Texarkana, Arkansas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Topeka, Kansas; Meridian, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Madison, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; La Junta, Colorado; Lamy, New Mexico; Shelby, Montana; and Havre, Montana.

In 2018, upon hearing the news of the proposed staffing elimination, members of the Marshall Depot Board went into action to inform the community and region about the proposed de-staffing and to mobilize them through a letter-writing and petition-signing campaign to Amtrak officials and members of Congress.

“We worked not only throughout our community and region,” Richard Anderson shared, “but also with advocates in some of the other 14 affected cities. We also worked with national rail advocacy groups such as Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization (TEMPO) and Rail Passengers Association to raise awareness with members of Congress and Amtrak about the negative economic, tourism, and quality of life impact that the staffing elimination would have on Marshall, the other cities, and the National Network.”

The Marshall Depot Board received more than 750 signatures on the petition from citizens throughout the region. Petitions were provided to be signed at community events and at local business such as The Ginocchio Restaurant, East Texas Office Supply, Central Perks, Red Poppy Hair Salon, and the T & P Railway Museum, located at the Marshall Depot.

The final petition from our region was presented via mail to the President of Amtrak, Chairman of the Board of Amtrak, as well as to various members of the Texas Congressional delegation.

In the ensuing months, through a continued collaborative effort by rail advocates nationwide concerning the 15 affected cities and related routes, advocates were able to convince Congress to provide the directive to Amtrak to restore the CSR positions in all 15 cities, including Marshall.

 Dr. Bill Pollard, President of the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization (TEMPO) who also served for nearly 20 years as volunteer Local Revenue Manager for the Texas Eagle, underscored the importance of the CSR staffing to the safety of Amtrak stations.

“Due to their knowledge, experience, and recurrent training,” Dr. Pollard shared, “the Customer Service Representatives provide services to ensure safe entraining and de-training of passengers, safety on the platform, assistance to persons with disabilities and/or special needs, assistance with luggage, and other important services.  They are often the ‘face of Amtrak’ and are the initial or primary contact for the traveling public to access Amtrak’s important transportation services.”

Ms. Anderson shared that the Marshall Depot Board looks forward to sharing additional information as things progress regarding this positive news regarding the restoration of the Amtrak staffing.

She shared: “We can’t underscore enough how fortunate we are to be an Amtrak-served community and the important economic, transportation, and quality of life benefits that Amtrak and the Marshall Depot provide our community and region. We’re also thankful to be a part of  such a strong local, regional, and national network of grassroots advocates in support of passenger rail. Plus, in this uncertain time of the pandemic, we’re fortunate that two jobs are being added to the Marshall economy.”

Cathy Wright added: “On behalf of all the members of the Marshall Depot Board, we wish to thank everyone in our community and region for their support of Amtrak and the Marshall Depot.”


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/22/2020

May 22, 2020

Excellent article from Tyler paper, may also be in LGV and Marshall or should be.
 
 
From CNN’s “Five Things”
The CDC estimates more than a third of coronavirus patients don’t have any symptoms at all, and 40% of virus transmission happens before people feel sick. The figures are part of the agency’s new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, and are not supposed to be predictions of how many people could have or contract Covid-19. The CDC has also released mortality figures and scenarios intended to help public health preparedness. Under the most severe of the five scenarios outlined, the CDC lists a symptomatic case fatality ratio of 0.01, meaning that 1% of people overall with Covid-19 and symptoms would die. But some experts say the figures lowball the proportion of people who are succumbing to the disease.blic pools it is impossible to prevent viral spread).
 
“…I understand the importance of opening up the economy. The worry that I have is that we haven’t put in place a public health system — the testing, the contact tracing — that’s commensurate to sustain the economy…”
 
 
TEST DATA AND SWEDEN’S SITUATION FROM J. HOPKINS:
 
SWEDEN SEROLOGICAL STUDY Sweden’s Public Health Authority announced preliminary results from a serological study, based on more than 1,100 specimens collected across 9 regions. The study is ongoing and aims to collect 1,200 specimens per week over an 8-week period. The preliminary results described in the press release correspond to Week 18 (April 27-May 3). During that period, 7.3% of participants in Stockholm had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the highest of the regions tested. The press release included results from two other regions—4.2% in Skåne and 3.7% in Västra Götaland. Among the specimens tested, participants aged 20-64 years had the highest seroprevalence (6.7%), followed by 0-19 years (4.7%) and 65-70 years (2.7%). Sweden has previously reported results of studies conducted using molecular tests (e.g., PCR). Molecular tests only detect active infection, whereas serological testing can identify individuals who were previously infected. Sweden has been criticized for not implementing more restrictive mandatory community mitigation measures. Sweden continues to report elevated per capita incidence compared to most of Europe, and its daily per capita deaths is currently the highest in Europe.
 
Kawasaki’s Disease Report: An unusual vasculitis seen is some children with Covid is also showing up in young adults — just as many of the young had decided that they were “bulletproof.”
 
COLLIN PUN FOR THE DAY: A rubber – band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/21/2020

May 21, 2020

May 20, 2020 – Today we have 11 additional positives to report in Harrison County. That brings our total to 223 in HARRISON COUNTY

May 21 Tyler Newspaper:

Smith County coronavirus cases increased by three Wednesday for an active case count of 49, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

Total confirmed positive cases in Smith County are at 195.

In Smith County, there are 49 active coronavirus cases, 142 recovered patients and four coronavirus deaths.

 

Tyler hospitals are currently treating 24 patients from East Texas for the coronavirus.

Of the 195 cases, 161 are in Tyler, nine in Flint, six in Whitehouse, six in Lindale, four in Troup, two in Bullard, two in Overton, two in Arp and one each in Hideaway, Winona and rural Smith County near Mineola.

One hundred and sixty-two cases are a result of community spread and 33 are travel-related.

Here is the breakdown of cases:

• 0-20, 14 cases

• 21-40, 74 cases

• 41-59, 61 cases

• 60-79, 42 cases

• 80 and over, 4 cases

Of the 195 cases, 100 are men and 95 are women.

Tyler hospitals are currently treating 24 patients from East Texas for the coronavirus. Some of those patients may not reside in Smith County.

Through May 18, a total of 3,418 tests were performed on patients from Smith County.

PLEASE STUDY THE SMITH COUNTY (TYLER) DATA ABOVE. THESE ARE NOT JUST A BUNCH OF OLD FOLKS OR NURSING HOME PATIENTS WHO ARE POSITIVE FOR COVID 19 OR PATIENTS UNDERGOING TREATMENT IN A HOSPITAL. MOST OF THESE POSITIVE TESTEES ARE WALKING AROUND IN TOWN AND MANY ARE WORKING. 135 OF THE CASES ARE UNDER 60. ALL AGE GROUPS NEED TO TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES….IF YOU ARE GETTING AROUND, YOU NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM GRANDMA. THERE ARE ESTIMATES THAT THERE ARE 40 CARRIERS WHO ARE UNTESTED FOR EVERY POSITIVE TEST OBTAINED. MAYBE MORE? BE CAREFUL THE PANDEMIC IS NOT OVER.

 MARSHALL HAS A HIGHER PROPORTION OF ILLNESS AND POSITIVE TESTS THAN SMITH COUNTY DOES.

Swimming during the pandemic: What the CDC wants you to know before you hit the pool

Hospitals in four East Texas counties, including Harrison, to receive remdesivir to treat COVID-19

FROM THE HOUSTON PAPER: Using cellphone data, national study predicts huge June spike in Houston coronavirus cases

Houston is one of several cities in the South that could see spikes in COVID-19 cases over the next four weeks as restrictions are eased, according to new research that uses cellphone data to track how well people are social distancing.

The updated projection, from PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found that traffic to non-essential businesses has jumped especially in Texas and Florida, which have moved aggressively to reopen.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further    JHarris: Medically, this article is sound and VERY important and worth reading carefully. You don’t have to agree with the author’s political or sociological opinions.  His explanation about the timing and patterns of disease spread in the U.S. is proving to be very accurate, and I agree with him.  Incidentally, were I young and unemployed, I’d learn how to track medical cases, and when I got good at it, I’d start my own tracking company — like the “Danile Boone and Sam Spade Trackers, LLC.”

  “—The patchwork is not static. Next month’s hot spots will not be the same as last month’s. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is already moving from the big coastal cities where it first made its mark into rural heartland areas that had previously gone unscathed. People who only heard about the disease secondhand through the news will start hearing about it firsthand from their family. “Nothing makes me think the suburbs will be spared—it’ll just get there more slowly,” says Ashish Jha, a public-health expert at Harvard…..“It’s inevitable that we’ll see stark increases in infections in the next weeks,” says Oscar Alleyne of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The experiences of other countries support that view. Success stories like South Korea, China, Singapore, and Lebanon all had to renew or extend social-distancing measures to deal with new bursts of cases. And they had all restrained the virus to a much greater extent than the U.S., which despite having just 4 percent of the world’s population has 31 percent of its confirmed COVID-19 cases (1.5 million) and 28 percent of its confirmed deaths (92,000)…..The better strategy is not to try and prevent the virus from traveling, but to build a public-health system nimble enough to catch it when it arrives. Don’t build one big wall; instead, ready a thousand nets….

AND NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS:

BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN NEW YORK    Thanks to Edmund Burton

COLLINS PUN FOR THE DAY: She was only a whiskey – maker, but he loved her still.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/20/2020

May 20, 2020

May 19, 2020 – Today we have no new cases to report and 5 new recoveries. That’s the good news. I also must report 3 new fatalities. Thank you all for your continued prayers for these affected families. We remain at 212 total cases, our fatalities have increased to 22, our recoveries have increased to 39 and our current cases have dropped down to 151.

As businesses and activities begin to return to normal, don’t forget to act responsibly and take precautions for your safety and those around you. In an earlier Facebook post today I provided additional information about the Governor’s latest directive.

 
 

Some newly opened schools in France close again as a small number of new infections emerge.

 
EXCELLENT AND PRACTICAL GUIDE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW. READ IT ALL
“…you’ll have to try to make an informed decision about what’s safest for you and others… “It depends on your own health, your age, preexisting conditions, how much risk you’re willing to tolerate, and the benefit that the activity could provide to you.” Another crucial variable: how much risk you might be introducing for everyone else around you.
 
Case tracking works if reliable testing for the virus is available. 
 
FROM JOHNS HOPKINS:
The New York Times continues to track state-level COVID-19 incidence, with a focus on state policies regarding social distancing. This tracker has been updated to differentiate between states that have relaxed social distancing measures statewide and those that have done so on a regional basis. After holding relatively steady for several weeks—approximately April 7-26—Texas has reported increasing incidence over the past 3 weeks, including a record high daily incidence (1,801 new cases) on May 16. Texas’ “stay at home” order expired on April 30, and non-essential businesses, including restaurants, barbershops/salons, retail stores, gyms, and movie theaters were permitted to reopen. Texas’s COVID-19 incidence was beginning to increase when the statewide order expired, and it has continued that trend in the weeks since. Texas also reported its 2 highest daily death totals on May 14 and 15—58 and 56 new deaths, respectively. Notably, Texas’ testing capacity has increased as well, more than doubling since the “stay at home” order expired. The positivity ratio decreased over that time, from approximately 6% to 4.5%. 

 
 

Cases in and around Harrison County