Rocketdoc Notes – Week of November 8, 2020
Rocket Scientist’s view of COVID-19 Crisis
I, like many of you, have been shut up at home for seven months because I’m in the endangered portion of the population (I’m 76 years old). I have watched our political masters make mistake after mistake and I finally decided it’s time to speak up. COVID -19 is a new corona virus not too different from the common flu that comes by about this time every year. The problem is that it is a brand-new strain so none of us have been exposed to it before and this makes it highly contagious. But since it is a corona virus, like the flu, it is not exceedingly dangerous, unless you have underlying health issues. Unfortunately, statistics are showing that a large portion of us do have underlying health issues such as a weakened immune system, a weakened heart, various levels of obesity, diabetes, or tendency for pneumonia. As we grow older our immune system becomes less robust and we often suffer from one or more of these health issues. COVID-19 death data indicates that over 80% of COVID deaths suffered from at least one of the underlying health issues I mentioned above. The COVID-19 virus attacks the heart and lungs, stressing the oxygen delivery systems, and when a patient has some underlying weakness, the body may not be able to stand the stress, and this results in the body shutting down.
However, that vast majority of us don’t have an underlying weakness and for those people the survival rate is approximately 99.98%. Statistically, for those of us 70 years of age and older with many of the infirmities listed the survival rate is 94.6%. That’s why I stay home and wear a mask and practice social distancing when I’m out. Even though I’m healthy I don’t like those odds.
The real question here is why, with the vast majority of Americans having a 99.98% survival rate, are we shutting down our country, forcing a financial disaster on 10% to 20% of our population, and ensuring our school children fall behind children elsewhere in the world?
From a rocket scientist point of view this makes no sense. Lockdowns made sense back in March when we needed to flatten the curve to keep from overwhelming our intensive care units. However, now we have new drugs to fight COVID (example: President Trump), we have mobile resources that can be set up to handle pinch points with respect to ICUs, and we have adequate supplies of safety equipment for first line responders. The current governments don’t think outside the box and their only response is a lockdown.
I can see putting social distancing requirements on liquor establishments, restaurants, Gyms, hair salons, etc., but forcing them to shut down when they are meeting current guidelines is unfair. As far as I know there is no proof that these establishments are causing the current wave of infections. Of course, since we have testing but no tracking, we will never know what is generating the third wave.
What the government and the teacher’s unions are doing to our young children is unconsciousable. I know from interviewing my own grandchildren that a large percentage of their classmates are falling behind and this is going to cause major problems in the future. The vast majority of the civilized world has found ways to have teachers and young students in the same room. Changes have to be made such as students in smaller pods and reduced face-to-face time each week, but the result is that a single COVID case can’t shut down the school. Educating the young is working overseas. The difference is that they have rapid, accurate testing and systems set up to trace possible lines of infections along with mandatory quarantine. Look at what they are doing in Taiwan, South Korea, and Sweden for ideas on how to keep infection rates low while safely educating the young. In those countries fighting the pandemic is a team effort with the federal government and local governments cooperating to make sure everything works together. Maybe someday we can do the same.
The bottom line here is how much is each COVID life saved worth in lost wages and children irrevocably left behind academically? I think we are already saving as many lives as we can faced with the underlying conditions problem, and that a lockdown of the remaining 99.98% survivors makes no sense. Tell me what you think?
Thanks for reading.