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Daily Archives: May 6th, 2020


Amy Duran as told to Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of Microsoft News or Microsoft. MSN Lifestyle Voices features first-person essays and stories from diverse points of view. Click here to see more Voices content from MSN Lifestyle, Health, Travel and Food.

a close up of a person in a white shirt: Powered by Microsoft News© Courtesy Amy Duran Powered by Microsoft NewsI’m a registered nurse and a nursing director for a global healthcare company. At the moment my job is to oversee training for nurses that are coming into a hard-hit area to help alleviate staff shortages due to the pandemic and need to be trained quickly in COVID-19 care. This means that right from the beginning, I have been able to see a broad overview of the illness, how it’s progressing, and the treatments being used for it. Find out the states that are hardest hit by coronavirus.

This doesn’t mean I’m just sitting in my home office running training modules, however. I have to travel all over and help train nurses where they are. A month ago, I had the opportunity to work in New Orleans as a floor nurse which really put this disease into perspective for me. I saw more people die in my first two days than I had in my prior ten years of nursing altogether. It was a huge shock and since then I’ve witnessed some really desperate situations working in intensive care units (ICU) that I’m still trying to emotionally work through.

If you haven’t seen it up close, it’s hard to understand how truly devastating and horrific COVID-19 can be and how quickly it can overwhelm medical facilities. This virus likely isn’t going anywhere until we have a vaccine and/or herd immunity. That’s why it’s so important to practice prevention and mitigation tactics—not just now, but even after the lockdowns end.

Quarantine has to end eventually

I live in Jefferson County, Colorado, and we are under shelter-in-place orders through May 8, after which there will be a partial reopening of businesses. Now that our lockdown is ending I’ve had to come up with a plan to go back to “normal,” while still helping to flatten the curve.

Even though I’ve been incredibly close to the detrimental effects of COVID-19, and I agree that some pretty drastic measures needed to happen in order to curb the spread, I still feel conflicted about the real and detrimental effects of lockdown. For instance, many people, including my nine-year-old son, have suffered greatly from not being able to get routine medical care. Yet while I’m glad that things are going to be opening back up, I realize that I’m very privileged to be able to have my life mostly go back to the way it was before. My loved ones are healthy, and my husband and I both still have jobs. We will absolutely do our best to abide by any government guidance or laws to keep others safe, hoping those laws are coming from a place of collaboration and inclusivity. (Ten surprising things about being a nurse.)

What I won’t do even after lockdown ends

a bed with white sheets© richardnazaretyan/Getty ImagesI try not to ever live my life from a place of fear. That said, there are a few quarantine rules I’ll still be following after the lockdown ends—probably not forever but at least as long as I’m still working with COVID-19 patients. Find out the 20 things you’re doing that nurses probably wouldn’t.

I won’t go out in public without a mask

Even before face masks for everyone became commonplace, I knew my risk to transmit this illness to others was high due to my frequent exposure to COVID-positive patients. Realistically, I’ll be treating COVID-19 patients for the rest of this year, if not the next couple of years. So to reduce my chances of unintentionally spreading the virus, I’ll wear my surgical mask any time I’m out in public and will continue to do so until I’m no longer exposed to it at work. Make sure you’re not making any of these 11 common mask mistakes.

I won’t run non-essential errands

My husband, Gage, has been doing the grocery shopping and other errands and he will likely continue to do so for some time, again, to minimize my risk of spreading the virus. I’m not complaining—fewer errands mean more time with my kids! We have two boys and we are foster parents so our house is always full of chaos and fun.

I won’t share drinks with my kids

I’ve never worried about sharing food or drinks with my kids in the past but I started avoiding it during quarantine just to be extra safe. As long as I’m still being exposed to the virus, I’ll continue to not share utensils, cups, or drinks. (It’s for your own good as well, as kids and teens can be super-spreaders without ever showing symptoms.)

I will never look at a doorknob the same way

I’ve become a lot more thoughtful of the places germs live and now routinely disinfect doorknobs, the fridge, light switches, and any high-touch areas. A fear of germs doesn’t stop me from doing things but it has definitely changed my cleaning habits. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to look at a restaurant table again without wondering if it’s been disinfected.

I won’t leave home without disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer

We now keep our car stocked with items we can use to quickly sanitize our hands and other items. I’m not going to be wiping down the swings at the park or anything but it’s nice to have them available for on-the-go cleaning. These types of small changes are low cost and are easy to do but still provide big benefits.

I won’t skimp on sleep

With the emotional and physical toll of working in the hospitals on top of my regular director role, I’ve had to be more intentional about taking care of myself. If I’m sick, that’s one less nurse out there who can be helping. One way I’m really trying to improve is getting enough sleep every night as it helps reduce stress and strengthen my immune system.

I won’t give up our new bedtime routine

One of the biggest benefits of quarantine has been some really tender moments with my kids. For instance, I just finished reading the Harry Potter series to my tween, who will shortly find snuggling with his mom and a book at bedtime less exciting once life goes back to “normal.” This has been so good for both of us, I’m not giving that up.

I will never take my community for granted again

Pre-coronavirus, I felt that people were generally friendly, but the way the community has shown up for me and other health care workers has fundamentally changed me for the better. Sometimes life gets so busy and I’m so self-involved I forget the power of a village. The “thank you” cards in my mailbox, the masks my neighbors made for my family, the meals brought over on nights we were taking foster kids—I could go on and on. Now that I have all these people who love me, I don’t want to let go of it.

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If we believe TOTUS regarding reopening the Country before this pandemic is contained, we will have fewer voters in November, is it possible that TOTUS understands that the lower voter turnout could benefit him and his party? According to previous analysis of voter turnout during 2016. We must remember TOTUS has no empathy for anyone and is out for himself as he has been all of his life. MA

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

 

2 hrs ago

“I don’t think you can say, how much suffering are you willing to bear in order to restart the economy until you have done everything possible to ensure that every single person in American can take measures to protect their own health, the health of their families and the health of their communities,” Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN Tuesday. “That’s just not the case right now.”

 

Governors across the country have allowed residents to return to some semblance of normalcy after weeks of shutdowns to stop the spread of the virus. But the country’s death toll continues to rise and public health experts have warned relaxing restrictions could cost thousands of lives.

And on Tuesday, a senior White House official told CNN the White House coronavirus task force — the most visible part of the federal government’s response to the pandemic — will begin winding down later this month.

But the US is still lagging behind in factors that are key to helping get the virus under control and combating a resurgence, officials have said.

“We don’t have the testing capacity now to know where this disease is,” Besser said. “We have not scaled up the thousands and thousands of contact tracers that we need, we don’t provide safe places for people to isolate or quarantine if they are identified as either having an infection or being in contact.”

“We are saying, if you have money and you are white, you can do well here,” he said. “If you are not, good luck to you.”

African Americans hit harder than any other US group

Although communities across the US have been devastated, a new study suggests more African Americans are dying from the virus in the US than whites or other ethic groups.

Black Americans represent 13.4% of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all coronavirus cases and almost 60% of deaths, the study found.

Epidemiologists and clinicians from four universities worked with amfAR, the AIDS research non-profit, and Seattle’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, PATH, and analyzed cases and deaths using county-level comparisons.

They compared counties with a disproportionate number of black residents — those with a population of 13% or more — with those with lower numbers of African American residents. Counties with higher populations of black residents accounted for 52% of coronavirus diagnoses and 58% of Covid-19 deaths nationally, they said.

More states reopening

By May 10, at least 43 states will have completely or partially reopened.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who issued the first stay-at-home order and vowed to abide by science despite mounting pressure from business owners, announced this week that some retail stores — including florists and book shops — will be allowed to reopen Friday.

“I cannot impress upon people more, we’re not going back to normal, we’re going back to a new normal, with adaptations and modifications until we get to immunity until we get to a vaccine. We’ll get there,” Newsom said.

For the first time since the outbreak began, the weekly count of coronavirus deaths in the state has declined, according to data from the state’s health department. The week ending May 3 saw 505 deaths, a slight drop from the prior week’s report of 527 victims.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that starting this week, outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed and dine-in services at restaurants will also be allowed to resume.

The state saw its largest number of reported deaths in a day, the governor said Tuesday, adding that Mississippi has also seen the largest number of cases reported in two of the last five days.

In Texas, the governor announced wedding venues can reopen. Weddings and wedding receptions held indoors must limit occupancy to 25%. Those limits don’t apply to outdoor wedding receptions, the governor’s office said.

Starting May 8, hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons and pools will also be allowed to reopen in the state as long as long as they maintain certain guidelines.

As they reopen, some states have pushed to build stronger contact tracing frameworks and conduct more antibody tests to get a better understanding of just how far and fast the virus has spread.

But officials are still learning about the virus.

For example, a new genetic analysis of the virus taken from more than 7,600 patients around the world shows it has been circulating in people since late last year, and must have spread extremely quickly after the first infection.

Researchers in Britain looked at mutations in the virus and found evidence of quick spread, but no evidence the virus is becoming more easily transmitted or more likely to cause serious disease.

“The virus is changing, but this in itself does not mean it’s getting worse,” genetics researcher Francois Balloux of the University College London Genetics Institute told CNN.

before it was identified and had by now infected “large proportions of the population,” the researchers wrote.

At most, 10% of the global population has been exposed to the virus, Balloux estimated.

That’s grim news. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the novel coronavirus — which by his estimate has infected between 5% to 15% of the population — will continue to spread until about 60 to 70% are infected.

“Think how much pain, suffering, death and economic disruption we’ve had in getting from 5% to 15% of the population infected and hopefully protected,” Osterholm said. “Wake up, world. Do not believe the rhetoric that says this is going to go away.”

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Jennifer Rubin
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a man standing next to a train: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) tries out a spraying device that is part of a three-step disinfecting process for a New York City subway car in Queens on Saturday.© Kevin P. Coughlin/AP New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) tries out a spraying device that is part of a three-step disinfecting process for a New York City subway car in Queens on Saturday.How many times have we heard President Trump say he just has a “feeling” or that his “gut feeling” is superior to expert, evidenced-based data? A lot. That “feeling” — whether it’s about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s intentions or the economy or the 2018 midterms — has often been wrong. During the coronavirus epidemic, however, his preference for emotion and feelings can cost lives.

It does not have to be that way. New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) did not mention Trump by name at his news conference on Monday. He did, however, implicitly set up a contrast between Trump (and his minions) and himself when it comes to gradually reopening the economy, schools and public places. Cuomo insisted you have to act with “the best information you have, learning from the lessons you have … which means, don’t act emotionally.” He continued on: “Don’t act because ‘I feel this, I feel that.’ … Forget the anecdotal, forget the atmospheric, forget the environmental, forget the emotional. Look at the data. Look at the measurements. Look at the science. Follow the facts.”

That is as good a model of government decision-making as you will hear, and a complete repudiation of the unscientific (or anti-scientific), impulsive style of political theater now in vogue with many Republicans. “Feelings,” in their mind, take the place of facts. Are facts missing to show the virus was created in a laboratory? Well, he’s got a feeling. No facts to suggest this is all going to “disappear”? Trump has a feeling. Indeed, almost without fail, when he says he has a feeling about something, you can bet there is no evidence for it or that the evidence points in the opposite direction.

Thousands of lives hang in the balance depending upon how elected leaders make their decisions. Trump operates without data (Liberate Michigan!). New York, Cuomo explained, does the opposite: “The rate of transmission goes up, stop the reopening, close the valve, close the valve right away. So, reopen businesses, do it in phases and watch that rate of transmission. It gets over 1.1, stop everything immediately.” Methodical, fact-driven and emotion-free decision-making is called for when the problem — a virus — is a natural phenomenon incapable of being spun, bullied or ignored.

It is not good enough to say, “We have enough tests for everyone!” First, it is not true. Second, it gives no guidance to states as to how they can responsibly reopen. Cuomo explained, “You have to be prepared to do 30 tests for every 1,000 residents. New York is doing more tests than any country in the state by far.” While as a state New York is doing more than any state per capita, “it doesn’t matter what we’re doing statewide. To open a region, that region has to have a testing capacity of 30 per 1,000.” Likewise, on contact tracing, there must be 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents before a region can reopen.

If we are going to reopen the business and return to something approaching normal, we have to be prepared to put facts first. Measure the data. Act on the data. Readjust on the data. Such a rational approach to governance is entirely beyond Trump’s capabilities, which is one reason he is uniquely unfit to govern during a health emergency.

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