October 2, 2020

October surprise

Well, really, no surprise to me that a superspreader event occurred at the White House last weekend. So far, positive tests have been reported for the President, his wife, 2 Senators, at least 3 journalists, campaign spokespeople, White House staff, the head of Notre Dame, and counting. The ceremony announcing the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court was held outside in the Rose Garden (good), but with chairs close together (not so good), and many without masks (dangerous). Photos show much visiting and talking closely without masks before and after. Since the White House has been cavalier, if not skeptical, of guidelines, a superspreader event like this was likely to happen. Sadly many vulnerable people have been exposed and their health may be at risk.

Now comes a tough challenge: contact tracing, with more testing necessary to contain the outbreak. People exposed will need to quarantine for 14 days. Symptoms of COVID-19 develop usually after 4-5 days, but may take as long as 14 days in some cases. The people exposed in the past few days are very vulnerable, even if they had a negative test today. This includes everyone at the debates, where Republicans did not follow the guidelines of the venue to wear masks, leaving everyone attending vulnerable to infection. The president’s party also arrived too late to be tested by the Cleveland Clinic and were on the “honor system” to have been tested and negative before arriving. Already, there is concern that workers at the debate venue are testing positive. Add to that, the fundraisers and events, that were done on Wednesday and Thursday, put donors and supporters at risk. One was held even after Hope Hick’s diagnosis. Unbelievably careless in my opinion. Superspreader, indeed. The New York Times has made their Coronavirus coverage free and you can read their updates to keep up with this news.

Because of the president’s age and male sex, he has higher risks of complications than younger people or women his age. Add in his obesity which means his risks of complications and death go up. He is already showing symptoms per report after 5 days, assuming he was infected last Saturday. The most vulnerable period of infection is after about a week into the infection when some people develop hypoxia or low oxygen.

He is lucky, though. He has full medical care at his finger tips. He does not need to worry about the cost of his care. He is lucky that just 3 days ago, Regeneron announced good outcomes from initial trials of a combination of monoclonal antibodies to combat SARS-CoV-2. These treatments are like a dose of highly concentrated convalescent serum that has antibodies focused solely on SARS-CoV-2. They are promising, but are not cheap and they are still experimental. Most people will not get access to the treatments. He is lucky, more so, that his doctors requested to use the treatment, even though it is not FDA approved. His one time use of the treatment was immediately approved by the FDA. He received the infusion, plus other meds that show promise, almost immediately. He is not taking hydroxychloroquine, by the way. With these treatments, he should do well. I pray that all those exposed by him and his entourage get the same quality of care and no expensive hospital bill.

And, of course, where would we be without the usual dose of misinformation, pouring in from both the right and the left, as well as Russian and other countries’ bots and trolls. Always a reminder to be careful with your sources. And remember what works to keep you safe. Stay sensible out there.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and be sensible.