The National COVID-19 Spread & Threats it Poses

An unseen enemy in our midst, has manifested itself in over 12 million of us and continues to rage across the entire U.S.

As we are in a crisis that must be addressed with the utmost urgency, this adherence to public health guidelines will literally allow us to save ourselves from ourselves.

We remain fully capable of reducing the projected numbers of CoVid cases and therefore levels of community spread by our strict adherence to public health guidelines, advisories and/or orders as initiated by our public officials.

For the State of Ohio the dominant persons are Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer, Ohio Department of Health. For the City of Cleveland Mayor Jackson and for Cuyahoga County Armond Budish. Newly appointed Dr. Vanderhoff has begun to detail medical aspects of CoVid-19 during the Governor’s weekly updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, other days if conditions warrant, and these can be found in full on YouTube a day or so later.

We must be at war with the virus and not with each other if we are ever going to find our way out of this viral morass.  Saving as many lives as we can and sparing others the suffering and heartache associated with CoVid-19 will require vigilance from all of us to guard against more massive numbers of infection.

Submitted by Jane Halbedel

Dates and Matters We Must Consider to Contain NEO COVID Spread

CoVid-19 COMMUNITY SPREAD THREATENS HEALTHCARE STAFFS

An ad appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on 11.15 signed by six heads of local hospitals due to the pervasiveness of CoVid-19.

 A full page ad in the Sunday edition of the Plain Dealer 

On November 16th this article appeared in Crain’s that speaks to potential hospital overwhelm if cases and hospitalizations continue to escalate. This requests our help to stave off a crisis, especially given the numbers of healthcare staff already impacted and out of service, in some way, by CoVid-19.

NE Ohio hospital leaders plead for vigilance in ‘sobering’ chapter of pandemic

By Lydia Coutré

https://www.crainscleveland.com/health-care/ne-ohio-hospital-leaders-plead-vigilance-sobering-chapter-pandemic

11.17.20

Governor DeWine’s CoVid-19 Update

– Every single county is now high incidence

– Every county in the state is at least two times  the high incident level set by the CDC

Governor DeWine’s Issuance of a 21 day curfew from  10pm – 5am to begin 11.19,  for a three week period

Resources for Ohioans

Ohio Dashboard
CORONAVIRUS.OHIO.GOV

OHIO COVID CALL CENTER
24 HOUR OHIO CARE LINE 

1.833.427.5633
1-833-4-ask ODH

For stressed persons and those with mental  health and/or addiction issues. The caller can speak to a mental health professional around the clock. TEXTING PREFERRED, TEXT:  4HOPE to 741741 

For those in recovery, online meetings are available, hosted by organizations that are confidential and secure in nature. 

11.18.20

Governor DeWine visited Cleveland then remarked: 

 “It’s just a phenomenal raging fire going through the state.”

Dr. Carla O’Day MD, Medical Director, St. Vincent Charity Hospital’s Emergency Room Department shared that she believes Halloween parties led to this most recent spike, expressing concern Thanksgiving might become another super spreader event [SSE].

11.18.20 

Effective immediately through December 17th, 2020.

Resolution 2020143 was introduced by officials, Mayor Jackson and Armond Budish as a STAY-AT-HOME ADVISORY for Cuyahoga County. You can google this for more information.

11.20.20

Fox 8 News announcement:

Ohio breaks record with 8,808 cases of coronavirus reported in 24-hour span

https://fox8.com/news/coronavirus/ohio-breaks-record-with-8808-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-24-hour-span/

This time-lapse map shows the alarming spread of COVID-19 …

CONDITIONS IN NE OHIO AND THROUGHOUT THE STATE

11.23.20  NE OHIO & ENTIRE STATE REQUIRE OHIOANS TO ACT NOW

Gov. DeWine & OH Hospital Association leaders hold special CoVid briefing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4RqlGSO6E

The statistic that stands out for me is the 11,885 plus cases that were reported today, the highest ever reported in 1 day.

11.20.2020

Excerpt from DemocracyNow! headlines 

Disease modelers at the University of Washington School of Medicine now predict over 470,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths by March 1st — unless face masks are widely adopted, something they say would save 65,000 lives.

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/20/headlines/cdc_warns_against_thanksgiving_travel_as_us_coronavirus_cases_hit_another_record_high

11.19.20

U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Passes 250,000.

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/19/headlines/us_covid_19_death_toll_passes_250_000_nearly_1_of_us_population_currently_infectious?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=3383d677cd-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-3383d677cd-192093725

11.17. 2020 

MSNBC, The 11TH Hour With Brian Williams

 “NBC News has obtained a report from the nominal White House coronavirus task force to the states, dated November 15. It warns of “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread….without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration.

..mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”   The upcoming holidays can amplify transmission considerably.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, the gold standard for CoVid-19 statistics; on October 16th, there were 69,000 new CoVid cases in a single day. Then about one month later, November 13th, lists 184,000 new CoVid cases in a single day. CNN 11.15. 2020 Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter

CoVid-19 & KIDS

I would be remiss not to include this article published by NBC on 11.02.20 that works to dispel distorted beliefs and perceptions that CoVid-19 doesn’t infect children:

“In all, 853,635 children have been diagnosed with the virus this year, representing 11.1 percent of all U.S. cases.”

More than 61,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19 last week — more than in any other week during the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital …

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-61-000-children-got-covid-19-last-week-record-n1245851

“The facts of COVID-19 include this disturbing reality: We have little idea who among us is spreading the disease.” 

National Geographic

The reason for this is that due to an absence of symptoms or those of a barely perceptible basis, we don’t know who among us might be infected. These are the asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic and paucisymptomatic infected persons.

Asymptomatic spreaders do not experience CoVid flu-like symptoms but are contagious, none-the-less, and who unknowingly can shed the virus onto others with whom they come into close contact. Those who are not effectively protected and who do not practice social distancing. Those who will never suspect they can contract CoVid from these persons, who for all intents and purposes appear perfectly healthy and free of the virus.

Pre-symptomatic spreaders are in a period where they shred the virus prior to actually coming down with the more typical and more overt symptoms. Again, a threat to others who are unsuspecting illness at the time these persons are shedding the virus.

Paucisymptomatic spreaders experience so few symptoms that they might easily dismiss them, never equating them to oneself being CoVid-19 infected. Being so small in number, nether might you think this person Infected, if you even detect them at all in another.

Medical knowledge of these conditions is still expanding. Future research and studies will help quantify impacts from these three types of infected individuals. This article helps clarify information pertaining to these conditions; explains some research done to the point this was published, but medical knowledge in general, will continue to expand the longer the virus is studied. But know one thing; no one owns a crystal ball and the importance of mask wearing becomes obvious. You can be within a sea of infection never knowing the massive risk about you; the risk to yourself; everyone you love; everyone you know, and perfect strangers you will encounter if you become infected as a result of being unmasked and not socially distanced. This article goes into greater detail: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/07/why-do-asymptomatic-coronavirus-cases-even-happen-cvd/

‘Why do asymptomatic COVID-19 cases even happen?

To that point, at this time, no one knows the amount of virus it takes to become infected, but, the more inhaled, the more going into the eyes, the greater the chance of developing the virus.THIS is why the professionals with knowledge of pandemics, advise:

Do not touch your face or your nose or eyes, to inhibit  transmission. The more VIRUS that travels into you, the greater your risk for developing the virus and the odds of infecting others.reread the above for those who are unaware they are infected. Their number is amplified  when the total number of infections increase. Therefore the greater the number of people walking around with CoVid,  though appearing perfectly normal; except they aren’t.  THEY ARE HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.

Political rallies that did not practice public health hygiene; mask wearing and social distancing, while seated or standing and the protest marches that did not adhere to the known safe practices by the vast majority, had to have contributed to infection spread.

There remain events beyond those I have listed here that have contributed to spread. But bear in mind, each state can have a number of notable events that drew people from both within and without the state, where the event was being held. if the vast majority went unprotected, then infections occurring would be factored into the increases in case numbers post event[s]; to include upticks in positivity rates; hospitalizations and mortality rates adding to the levels of dangerous community spread presently seen.

With this mix of three types of infected persons, previously described, and people had no clue as to who had the virus they innocently had fun with. Ate with. Laughed with. Drank with. Sunbathed alongside. Only to return to their college settings or to their home states, not knowing CoVid had hitched rides in their respiratory tracts.    Close quarters on airplanes likely contributed to spreading more numbers of infections. At that time, airplanes were not executing the level of disinfection being done at present.   And of course, the close encounters with airport crowds gave way to more spread of the virus once more people returned home, or to college, and then continued to spread the virus to others, and those in turn who became infected, spread it to others and so on and so forth.

Think of the game pocket billiards that when triangulated balls are broken apart by the initial player, vibrations cause the balls to explosively circulate outward on the pool table. If you can visualize this, community spread becomes more of a visual reality. That singular initial player, consider his ball is infected; It has the power potential of infecting who knows how many of us, and for how long a time frame he/she will continue to infect others. The analogy being when the balls are tightly compacted together each will feel the vibration, versus were they spread more widely apart at the start of the game. Think social distancing. If you aren’t with me on this analogy, google pocket billiards in Wiki.

Those protein branches that have spike like balls at their ends, allow the virus to attach itself within our respiratory systems that include our lungs.  What comes to mind is like having inhaled microscopic monkey balls. It is that part of CoVid’s constitution that make this so insidious to inhale and give great cause to

MASKUP so they do not embed themselves within you, then replicate to the point of even requiring a ventilator.

Mask wearing at those times, as I have described, was not known to offer levels of protection against infection that are known today. In other words, I am protecting those with whom I come into contact, if I am infected, but I also protect myself from you, if you are infected.   MASKS protect against the comings and goings of respiratory droplets at a molecular level that carry CoVid-19 but no one knows the viral load that will prompt infection. 

Apart from that, infections can range from none to death with the possibility for loads of medical complications in between.There is no knowing how each infected individual will fare, once he or she has contracted CoVid, but medical symptoms can range from none and mild to those causing organ damage, severe fatigue and debilitation, to strokes, neurological and cardiovascular problems. Patients in ICUs can make good progress then suddenly, on the turn of a dime, plummet and die only days beyond appearing out of the woods; something which medical professionals appear to find very difficult to reconcile.

Persistent problems in thousands upon thousands of people can last for months, perhaps even years.

The more fortunate can experience recovery into  the 90th some percentiles post CoVid.  But much needed research is required to assess for impermanence or permanence of prolonged symptoms some now literally existing months after the disease has ceased to exist in those individuals, per testing.

Masks are barriers to this virus. For this dual function it is of paramount importance that we all mask up to reduce the number of infections, therefore the amount of community spread, that presently exists. WE, that’s you and me, must work to safeguard our frontline healthcare workers, the doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants and support staff,  We save them, and we spare ourselves the possibility of horrendous pain and suffering. We save them and hospitals will be available to treat us for other ills or accidents that may befall anyone of us.

Mask Cautions

WEARING MASKS ARE A MAJOR WAY TO CONTAIN SPREAD. Masks that do not fully conform to the facial curvatures can leak viral droplets when we exhale, speak or even yell with them on. Gaps can balloon at either side of the mask and aerosols can leak around the portion beneath the eyes.

Be sure your mask has a nose wire and adjust this to conform to the bridge of your nose.  This will help the mask to conform to your face. Goggles and glasses coming down on the top of worn masks can work to solve the issue of possible aerosol leakage at the masks contact points with the cheekbones. In other words, those sun or eyeglasses that cover your eyes, can be used to cover the top edge of masks, an extra added protection.

Maskers who do not fully cover their nose can breathe out minuscule droplets, so even when masks are worn, mouth and nose must be covered to offer fuller protection of self and others.

Homemade cotton masks or bandanas also require some precautions. The CDC recommends two layers of cotton, and while the bandana is not protective enough it can be worn over a store bought mask.  Remember that if it has a powder blue colored side that is the side that faces outward. Just remember to the toss out the disposable mask with garbage, not on the street. If you are infected, the mask can be a vehicle that could infect city workers or for that matter, anyone who picks up a discarded mask to cut down on litter.

Bandanas and cloth masks should be washed as close to being worn as possible.  Putting them within a plastic or paper bag for transport, is wise to prevent contaminating the inside of a purse or pocket.

When people drop masks around their necks to talk, if they are infected, viral particles will be left on the neck area when the mask is repositioned. Touch the neck, touch a table, touch a doorknob and the virus is left there. Approved disinfectants do well to help curtail viral transference and if the mask must be dropped to the neck area, say for an interview in order to be clearly heard, the neck area and hands can be disinfected after the mask is put back in place.* Please google search to ascertain which disinfectants are approved, as that list is altered with time.Just because a bottle of some level of alcohol has a professional appearance, does not mean that it complies with safety standards.

Completely washing your hands tops and bottoms with some rigor, with soapy warmer water, and saying the children’s rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” is what I learned to do for OSHA while working in a healthcare setting. The poem is the 10 seconds necessary to fully disinfect the hands.

Similarly, washing your clothes in hot sudsy water and use of higher dryer temperature settings, will work toward killing the virus. And cloth masks and bandanas can be washed this way. If shrinkage is possible, hand wash,  but still use warmer H20.

While surfaces are not known to readily transmit COVID-19, doesn’t mean they can’t. Coughs and sneezes unexpectedly occur, and respiratory droplets can even travel beyond six feet of normal social distancing. This means unmasked persons can spew droplets that can land on clothing and surfaces which really explains the reasons for all to wear masks when in the public and even in homes, that are not our own. It is best practice if you are with others, to wash your clothes, once you return to your place of residence.

Be aware. Be careful. But you can best protect yourself in a variety of circumstances if you do pay close attention to your environment and act, accordingly. Avoidance of gatherings carry risks. Gatherings with even people you know, and love, carry risks.

Inside Edition took samples from three volunteers who wear cloth masks and either hang them up or keep them in a purse/pocket. The inside and outside of masks were swabbed then sent to a lab for testing.  According to what IE said, a bacterial count of 10,000 is considered normal.

Lab results from some of the masks tested, ranged from a low of 66 MLN to a high of 680 MLN, the latter of which could lead to a “nasty” skin infection, even pneumonia. Those participants appeared shocked when they learned of the laboratory findings.

How Clean Is Your Mask? offered this advice for cotton maskers: 

‘The CDC says throw out disposable masks after wearing them once.  Cloth masks should be washed DAILY with your regular laundry and dried on a warm or hot setting. Masks should be stored in a plastic or paper bag especially if they are wet from exercising or makeup.’

This episode was shown on 11.10 and is the only one of its kind I have seen since the pandemic began.  I believe Inside Edition aired this segment to help us to stay well as any respiratory/skin/sinus infection, can complicate matters. But especially those of a respiratory nature, due to the similarity of symptoms to CoVid.

The US is entering a period when elective surgeries may need to be postponed to treat CoVid. As such,  we must look to staying as well as we are able, until the pandemic begins to subside and hospital CEOs are comfortable in instituting their full range of surgeries. This will vary in different parts of the country, obviously, pending whether the virus is raging out of control and compromising the wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers and support staff.

Purple face masks received from Aetna Medicare Solutions offer these directions for 3-ply cotton/polyester, nano-technology masks:

How to clean these

To Hand Wash
Wash and soak by hand with soap or detergent and warm water for 5 minutes and then air dry

To Machine Wash
Machine wash with detergent at your regular setting / Wash with like colors

To Dry
Machine dry or air dry

Eyes are also vulnerable to virus transmission. Goggles do protect them; curved sunglasses, similar to those used for skiing can help, as do face shields. But when all three are worn together, those in the general public are best protected from what I will call, protective facial gear.   They can then be wiped down with disinfectant, unless directions say other-wise, once one is back in her/his car or within the confines of home. Tricky, yes. Doable, yes.Worth it to save your life? Yes. Worth it to save the life of another? Yes. Worth it to reduce the spread of CoVid throughout Ohio and protect hospital staff: ABSOLUTELY.

Not dissimilar to air pollution CoVid does not recognize state borders, which is the reason governors at various times, have asked that incoming individuals from states with high CoVid numbers self-quarantine for 14 days, or will advise residents of their states to reduce travel to states with higher rates of infection. It was a reasonable thing to initiate to help protect those residents within their home states from contracting the virus.

Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, gave an incredibly powerful interview on DemocracyNow! on November 19th.  Would that I could, I would wave my magic wand and command that all read or listen to this. It speaks volumes as to the nature and extent of the crisis:

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/19/ed_yong_coronavirus?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=3383d677cd-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-3383d677cd-192093725

CoVid’s initial appearance was more comparable to an arithmetic progression by simply adding 2 to each previous digit, something like this: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 etc. which at least initially appeared manageable until the numbers became so great that they became exponential in nature, to the extent that the virus is now virtually coast to coast.

When on a chart that monitors CoVid cases, a spike occurs, there is a curvature to the line that climbs upward.  As that line starts to become straighter and increasingly taller, to more of a 90 degree/perpendicular angle, that means it is moving to an exponential level. This is the reason we are being warned about Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and now New Year’s celebrations.

To prevent that line from rising straight upward when more infections occur across the U.S., we will enter a crisis beyond the ones that now exists that will be even harder to resist because community spread will become nearly unimaginable.

This is when too many doctors, nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, CNAs either develop CoVid or have to quarantine due to exposures to the virus. This forms the basis for why hospital officials are expressing overt concern for the possibility that at some point their hospital personnel could be potentially compromised, unable to treat the great influx of CoVid infected people. It takes about fourteen days for the cases to become visible. So fourteen days from Thanksgiving will tell a tale.  As will Christmas. As will New Year’s. When at some point, the numbers explode in number, as they are doing in most states, that condition is represented by these: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192. And ironically, the last figure is similar to the Ohio figure I had quoted earlier. Think of exponential as uncontrollable without serious extensive intervention. 

The United States has quite horribly and regrettably moved into the state of exponential spread, which is why epidemiologists and some governors advise the general public to consider everyone whom we encounter as CoVid infected.  Put simply, the virus is virtually everywhere.

The more concentrated the number of infections, the greater the community spread, the greater the risk of contracting the virus and the greater the risk of frontline healthcare workers and support staff contracting CoVid.   As per the Crain’s letter cited at the beginning of this article, and for the ad,  that is where we have arrived and this was the great caution Governor DeWine made clear during his CoVid-19 update on 11.19.2020 in addition to the statistics he presented that tell the tale of deaths, incalculable pain and immense suffering.

On News 5 at 11pm on 11.15.2020, an open letter to Northeast Ohio from 80 physicians noted CoVid-19 is “out of control”. The specific guidelines they offer the general public in our region are:

  • To wear masks whenever you are outside of your home
  • To socially distant to the best extent possible
  • To avoid social gatherings with anyone outside of your immediate household
  • To quarantine per public health recommendations [i.e. not leave your home] if you have been exposed to the virus, have symptoms of the virus, and/or have coronavirus testing pending

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/continuing-coverage/coronavirus/local-coronavirus-news/northeast-ohio-healthcare-workers-getting-covid-from-community-spread-cleveland-clinic-doctor-says

Here is the prediction for Ohio per modeling by The Ohio State University if we do not draw down our rates of infection. This should serve to narrow our choices, considerably, for without all of us, the dangers will prevail and we will suffer immeasurably within nearly every aspect of our individual lives if we fail to curtail viral spread. However, the modeling demonstrates WHAT WE CAN DO, if we treat this as the pandemic it is, and ACT ACCORDINGLY. Note the significantly smaller peak adjacent to the tallest.

WE CAN SAVE OURSELVES, OTHER OHIOANS AND OUR HEALTHCARE  PROVIDERS AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS,  FROM THIS GRAVE ILLNESS.

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards/other-resources/forecast-model

I would turn to the words of Dr. Peter Hotez, Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital, Center for Vaccine Development and share a portion of his words of wisdom on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, on 11.12.2020.

“And the big worry is that as hospital staffs start to get overwhelmed, it’s not just the beds, it’s the staffing.  It’s hard to find a sufficient number of trained ICU nurses.That’s when the mortality rates start to go up. They’re climbing already.

And then when the hospitals get overwhelmed, the ICU’s, that’s when it goes vertically, and that’s what happened in Spain and Italy back in March, if you remember.That’s what we saw in New York City when you heard sirens day and night and now we’re basically replicating what happened in New York City in multiple areas across the mid-section of the U.S.” [Vertically/exponentially]

“And with no federal leadership; no plan for federal leadership, no interest from the White House.  So they’re just letting it rip at this point and the numbers show that we will probably double the number of Americans who will perish from this epidemic, sometime in February.

So by the week after the Inauguration, we’re likely to hit 400,000 Americans who perish from COVID-19 which interestingly enough is the same number of Americans who lost their lives in WWII. We’re reaching those kinds of numbers.”

Exchanges followed on the need for federal leadership, the multiple and promising vaccines forthcoming; the prospect of having a war room at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to identify, “specific areas that need to be temporarily shut down.”   Dr. Hotez made a point of saying, “Remember we’re not talking about doing this into perpetuity.”

He went on to say; “It’s simply a matter of navigating a path to get us through the next few months and not sticking to ideology and being defiant about wearing masks and refusing to social distance. We just need to save lives right now.”

“We can prevent 150,000 lives with smart planning and good guidance and leadership. With what we’re hitting now, we’re going to be hitting 2,000 deaths per day and without having any kind of federal government in place, leading the response, that’s tragically where we’re going to head.”

Dr. Hotez spoke about emerging vaccines and the ongoing need for mask wearing and social distancing. In terms of vaccinations he said: “Ideally you’d like a vaccine to reduce the severity of the illness and keep you out of the ICU and the hospital but also to stop any kind of virus shedding from your nose and mouth in order to stop transmission. And even then, we’ve done some calculations with a group at City University of New York, you’re still going to need about 70% of the U.S. population to be vaccinated so it’s going to be awhile before we get there.”

“So we have to think about these vaccines at least initially, for the first few months, as companion technology, alongside social distancing and masks, not replacement technologies.

But life will start to get measurably better as these vaccinations roll out. And a year from now we’re going to be in a pretty good position, I think.”

And so that’s the message.  Now is not the time to dig in with ideology and be defiant. Now’s the time to save the life of your mother, your father, your brother and your sister. And if you do that, we can get our population vaccinated by starting in the first part of the next year and then really ramp up in the spring.

And think how terrible people would feel, knowing that they lost the life of a loved one that could have been saved had they just paid attention for these next couple of months.”

All things considered, only WE can prevent CoVid-19 from being even more tragic in its toll by doing that which is known to curtail the spread. Needless deaths and suffering, short and long term medical complications can be averted merely by doing what is necessary to stop viral spread.

As Dr. Michael Olsterholm, Infection Disease expert at the University of Minnesota and member of President-elect, Joe Biden’s CoVid-19 Advisory Board, stated on Meet the Press,  November 15th, 2020:

                                    “OUR FUTURE’S IN OUR HANDS”

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