Fighting an Inhuman Enemy
Defeating the Sars Cov 2 is often described as winning a war. To snatch victory in this “defining moment” you need clarity and unity of purpose; consistent strategy and effective execution; clear communication of goals and tactics.
So the safety of going to the washroom should not be an issue.
A few weeks ago the surgeon general reversed previous recommendations and suggested everyone outside their home should wear a mask. Studies in Wuhan show far more virus in washrooms, where eventually everyone working in a building must use. The bathrooms in my office building are small and poorly ventilated. You want to wash your hands to prevent infection. There is no space for social distancing.
And no alternative.
So I wear a mask when I go. Masks are primitive herd immunity. Wearing one you protect others more than yourself, but groups using masks protect each other. I tap on the washroom door to find if someone’s there. I leave as fast as I can, requesting nature’s forbearance.
Recently when someone barged inside I said, “excuse me.” He shot in and came up directly to my face, furious. I had no chance to speak. Who was I to ask him to wait 20 seconds to protect himself and me?
I got out of there. Then I asked myself why was he so angry?
Recently I saw the vice-president, nominal head of our pandemic response, in a photograph. He is the center of everyone’s eyes, chatting amiably to patients and medical staff at the Mayo Clinic. Everyone is wearing a mask except him.
Soon after the Mayo Clinic put out a statement. Policy is that everyone who enters the hospital must wear a mask.
The press release was pulled almost immediately.
Later the vice president declared he had been tested for Sars Cov 2, was negative, posed no threat.
Does he have rapid testing equipment in the vehicle that brought him to the hospital? Does he know he is immune to the virus, which at his age (60) produces high mortality? Or was he just making the statement that like the president, he need not follow the recommendation of the surgeon general?
I thought about the anger of the man in the bathroom (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/getting-healthy-now/202004/defending-the-right-infect).
Chlorine Saves the Day
Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said you’re entitled to your opinions but not your facts. Here are some facts regarding recent events:
A. The president communicates with a group in Florida about the effectiveness of chlorine dioxide, a product they claim cures coronavirus, cancer, and heart disease.
B. At a White House press conference an HHS spokesman describes how sanitizing agents and light rapidly kill Sars Cov 2 in laboratory conditions.
C. The president describes how injecting or ingesting doses of sanitizer, or using UV or very bright lights that penetrate the body, might be treatments for the virus. He closes by pointing at his head saying though not a medical doctor, he has a “good you know what.”
D. Physicians worldwide describe the multiple toxic effects of such treatments.
E. Many patients arrive in American ERs after ingesting bleach.
F. Asked if he thought his sanitizer statement had anything to do with the suddenly popular ingestion of bleach, the president says he “can’t imagine that,” and declares he has no responsibility.
G.White House official Dr. Deborah Birx defends the president’s statements and actions.
Soon thereafter, many meatworkers sick with Covid-19 cause causing meatpacking factories to close. The president invokes the Defense Production Act to keep them open. Unions protest. They point out the lack of protective gear for workers. Meatpacking is already highly dangerous, shoulder-to-shoulder work. Some of the largest Covid-19 outbreaks in the country have occurred in meatpacking plants.
Wars are won with unity of purpose, resolutely clear strategy and goals, effective and consistent leadership. Many of the patients I treat are health care workers. They tell me they have insufficient protective equipment. There aren’t enough masks. They worry about going home at night and infecting their kids and parents.
Do I tell them the Defense Production Act was invoked to protect hamburgers but not health care workers?
The nurses and techs tell me they sometimes break down and cry. Then they cry together.
When I think about how the American pandemic has been handled, I often want to cry.
We have been told we are on our own. This is no way to win a war.