Some COVID-19 Ponderings

This  novel corona virus  (COVID-19) and ensuing global pandemic has created  a petri dish for manufacturing new spin terminology.  It feels surreal that I’ve come to cringe every time I hear a Dem politician or Dem-aligned media pundit harp, “We have to trust the science!” The thing that’s become crystal clear is that “the science” isn’t as rock solid on facts as presented and continually shifts to fit the political agenda… which makes it more spin words than actual “science.”  Even much of the information about COVID-19 presented as good faith scientific fact gleaned from careful research keeps shifting, based on new research that upends the previous scientific research and/or the data used ends up being updated with newer, contradictory data.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported two autopsies of deaths from early February in Santa Clara county reveal they had COVID-19, which is weeks earlier than the previously reported first COVID-19 death in the US on February 29th.  Today CA governor, Gavin Newsom, has ordered medical examiners and coroners in CA to review autopsies back to December, to see if more deaths might have been COVID-19-related:

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered medical examiners and coroners across the state to review autopsies dating back to December to “help guide a deeper understanding of when this pandemic really started to impact Californians.”

“When this occurred is important forensic information, profoundly significant in understanding the epidemiology of this disease, all of those things are brought to bear with more clarity and light,” Newsom at a daily press briefing Wednesday. “Not only because of this specific announcement, but I imagine subsequent announcements that may be made by similar efforts all across the state of California.”

Newsom’s announcement came after officials in Santa Clara County said late Tuesday that first American deaths from coronavirus occurred weeks earlier than initially thought.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/494200-california-gov-orders-autopsies-back-to-december-to-find-out-how-long

Twitter tales abound of people wondering if their respiratory illnesses in late 2019-early 2020 were  COVID-19.  There was a dramatic uptick in people presenting upper respiratory infections and these two deaths in early February have moved the confirmed case timeline back several weeks.  It would be very important information to know when the first COVID-19 cases actually occurred in the US, which would give us a better understanding of the data coming from China.

Jim Geraghty at National Review has written frequently about COVID-19 and yesterday he mentioned these two CA autopsies, but he connected this information  to a March Chinese propaganda effort trying to blame the US military for bringing COVID-19 to China:

“In all of the hubbub of mid-March, as the scale of the danger of SARS-CoV-2 and the far-reaching shutdown of American live became clear, it was easy to miss Lijian Zhao, spokesman for the foreign ministry of China, making Twitter accusations that the virus was a U.S. bioweapon. Even easier to miss was his tweet linking to a paper contending the virus was linked to U.S. attendance at the Military World Games, which took place in Wuhan in October 2019. (That paper has since been taken down from the web.)

The 7th World Military Games, an Olympic-style competition, was held in Wuhan and began October 18 and ended October 27. The event was a big one for the city and for China, complete with elaborate opening and closing ceremonies. “More than 9,000 athletes from over 100 countries competed in more than 27 sports, a record number of participants. This year’s games also presented a number of other firsts: the first time the games were staged outside of military bases, the first time the games were all held in the same city, the first time an Athletes’ Village was constructed, the first time TV and VR systems were powered by 5G telecom technology, and the first use of all-round volunteer services for each delegation.”

At the end of March, the state-run Global Times newspaper claimed that the coronavirus, which was first discovered in Wuhan, was in fact manufactured in a U.S. military lab and brought to China by a cyclist who took part in the World Military Games. They cited the work of a man they labeled an “investigative journalist,” who in 2017 contributed to the brief shutdown of part of the port of Charleston, S.C., over a false claim of a dirty bomb on a container ship.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/what-went-down-at-the-world-military-games/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=river&utm_content=featured-content-trending&utm_term=first

 Geraghty states the earliest confirmed case in China, based on a Lancet report, is December 1, 2019.

As one of those people wondering about an earlier severe respiratory infection, I hope that at some point my husband and I can get the COVID-19 antibody test.  My son was sick with an upper respiratory infection the 2nd week of January.  The next week my husband became very ill with an upper respiratory infection and was hospitalized with acute respiratory failure.  Around a week later, I got sick with an upper respiratory infection and my primary care doctor prescribed a Z-Pak.   While I didn’t get severely ill like my husband, I had a cough that took almost a month to clear up.  Of course, as my daughter reminds me, we live in a podunk GA town making COVID-19 exposure unlikely,  I keep reminding her that we are also right next to a large US Army installation, with people coming and going from all over the world.

This COVID-19 timeline in America will be a story I will follow with great interest.  Even if I found out we had COVID-19 already, here again, there’s no sense of security about  “the science” in regards to that providing immunity:

“Another Forbes contributor Bruce. Y. Lee covered many of the main points and what we knew a few weeks ago here, but since then, more reports of people appearing to be re-infected with the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus are popping up everywhere. Most recently, 51 South Koreans with COVID-19 re-tested positive after being released from quarantine. However, a key question South Korean authorities and everywhere else with these “reinfected cases” are now trying to figure out is whether these people did indeed recover and were then re-infected with the virus, or whether they never recovered completely at all.

Although no conclusions about this immunity question can currently be definitively made, a new preprint study from China suggests that some people who have recovered from a mild bout of COVID-19 may have very low, or even undetectable levels of protective antibodies against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, with the researchers claiming that their study is the first systematic examination of antibody levels in people who have recovered from the disease.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2020/04/08/can-you-get-sick-with-coronavirus-again-after-youve-already-had-it-new-research-continues-to-emerge-but-the-jury-is-still-out/#174a944331a5

At this point it seems saying, “We have to trust the science!” isn’t really based on scientifically rock solid facts, but more evolving studies and research.  It seems rather reckless to base sweeping, long-term public policy decisions, completely changing every aspect of American life, based on trusting in science that is still more a work in progress than settled scientific facts.  Would it change our understanding of the “curve” if we found out COVID-19 was spreading for months before that first confirmed case?  Would it change our understanding if millions of Americans were already exposed?  All I know is it seems the certitude of the partisans ranting about trusting “the science,” as always, is more about advancing their political agenda than about public health… or “science.”

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest, Politics

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