President Trump Tests Positive For SARS-Cov-2
I hate to inject this into the discussion…. but I can’t help myself. :p
I object to the term. Not because of any offense it might cause but because it is such a flawed concept. My avatar is an accurate photo of what my body shape is. It is an example of someone who has always taken care of themselves, works hard, goes to the gym, hikes, trail runs occasionally, in general stays in good physical shape for his age, and has a fairly low body fat content.
And by the book I am obese and have been my entire adult life. This definition is something that could come out of an economists handbook. The real world is too complex to depict accurately so just use this hopelessly flawed factor instead. Even just using waist size would be an improvement.
About polls… I think maybe we are too generous. They seem to be ways of shaping opinion not depicting it. I’ve no idea who will win the presidency. But it doesn’t take an Einstein to see how these polls are shaped to get a desired outcome. Will Trump show them wrong again? No idea. But if he does will it really surprise anyone after the last go round?
I have revised my own personal risk/benefit assessment with COVID and am going out again.
I carry hand sanitizer and wear a mask in crowded/indoor places, but I am no longer avoiding people. I disinfect my hands after contact, but shake hands with others because this feels important to me.
The prophylaxis med regime that people here are familiar with seems pretty good.
I have lost weight and am still “elderly,” but no longer obese nor hypertensive. My vitamin D levels are awesome and the exercise induced extracellular SOD (antioxidant) is great. The terrain is about as good as I can get it.
And it is time for me to return to work in the emergency department–which is SC2 exposure central!! I will be working in air ladened with viral aerosols and touching contaminated surfaces many times throughout the day.
I’ll use the continuous HCQ/Zn prophylaxis the Indian healthcare workers used with very good results. [Loading dose with 3 days of HCQ 200 mg twice daily, and 400 mg HCQ / week long term. Supplement Zn, selenium, multiple anti-oxidants. Get enough sleep. Exercise daily, spiritual practices. Ivermectin on hand for an actual illness or a very high dose exposure.]
Personally, I welcome having the young adults and very low risk patients be exposed to SC2 and to develop their T-Cell Immunity. Such a big group of immune people slows this virus and is of great benefit to the entire society. It is the most powerful thing a society can do to bring this pandemic under control.
I would tell all the college kids–Please go out, gather and socialize. (But DON’T go home to your grandparents house immediately afterwards.)
I do believe that this is the pathway to general herd immunity for the society as a whole.
Oh my gosh. Yes. SP. That’s exactly what I meant to say. 🙂
But you said it ever so much better than I did.
Other than taking HCQ and keeping the weight down (it is the beginning of pumpkin pie season, you know,) I’m following the plan that you’re following.
When the Covid first started, the knowledge about it was minimal and the potential fatality rate was too high. Now that we know more about dealing with the virus, the fatality rate is dropping and we’ve identified the elderly and obese as being particularly at risk. There are still some unknowns that leave me a little queasy. Is the antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) going to be a factor? Since this virus shares part of the HIV genome, will that negate our immune response? We just won’t know until we’ve had more time to see how it behaves.
The normal cold/flu season will be ramping up shortly in the northern hemisphere. There are always deaths associated with these maladies. If the Covid death rate increases dramatically, will it really be death by Covid … or will it be death with Covid? How will we really know? Do hospitals have incentive to skew the results? Do you trust the MSM to report the real truth anymore? Hmmm. (I suppose there is a miniscule chance that this will happen.)
DaveF has posted charts of excess deaths versus time. If those charts can be granulized based on cause of death, we might see a precipitous drop in seasonal cold/flu deaths concurrently with Covid death increases. That wouldn’t necessarily be a smoking gun, but it sure would indicate foul play.
The bottom line for me is that I’ll continue to be cautious in public places throughout this fall and beginning of winter season. If there is a drastic, legitimate increase of casualties, I’ll extend my cautious approach. Even after that, I’ll continue to keep my vitamin and mineral levels up.
Thanks for your response, Dave.
‘Much of the population of Sweden have been “exposing others to risk for no reason”, and at this point, they have few cases and even fewer deaths because they have herd immunity.’
We don’t know they have herd immunity for a fact at all, even though they may. We don’t know for certain that lasting herd immunity can be formed for this virus at all, just as it cannot be formed for its coronavirus cousin, the common cold. I’ve been following the Swedish approach from the start, esp. since I do investment work and am particularly concerned about the economic impact of shutdowns. As Chris and others have noted, development of herd immunity may be happening sooner than expected, not just for Sweden, but gradually for the US as well. But it’s not a settled fact yet at all.
Also, though I supported the idea of a lockdown here at the start when we had less data on the virus, I followed info on the response of Sweden as one interesting example – any scientific minded person would (!), but found the South Korean rapid response of mass testing, contact tracing and very localized lockdowns for hot spots as seeming one of the most sensible I saw. And now the White House is not even willing to RNA trace and contact trace its own super-spreader event? Afraid of who the super-spreader might be? Par for the course, I’d say. As usual, afraid of the truth, so needing to be non-transparent, to lie and manipulate truth constantly as pretty much every person in the entire world knows Trump does, including his supporters. Endless lack of scientific thinking, blame always cast elsewhere else but never personally accepted, perpetual chaotic management, foolishness and political posturing. What a joke! Anyway, personally, I became increasingly negative on the idea of going into broad lockdowns after that initial phase, so at this point we likely agree on that.
Before we start cherry picking data and thoughts to prove a particular narrative, why not look at a bunch of ‘raw’ figures first? We likely agree we want to find an approach that 1) Seeks to keep serious illness and death to a relatively low percentage of the population, but 2) balances that goal against economic dislocations so disastrous, and delays in possible herd immunity so large, they also ultimately cause misery and death on a wider scale, true?
So, first let’s look at evidence of ‘serious illness’ outcomes by country and take deaths as our marker for that, ignoring for the moment chronic, perhaps lifelong lung, brain, kidney and other impairments which for simplicity’s sake we’ll figure are proportional to deaths and focused on higher age groups for now. For openers, you and I can likely agree it’s a bit flakey to compare stats country by country in many cases, due to different testing levels, different categorization of what’s ‘a COVID death’, different levels of political honesty in reporting, different levels and styles of lockdown, etc. Still, working with the stats we’ve got and making the big simplification/assumption that for the US and most developed countries those differences aren’t big issues, let’s look at what the data says:
Based on the stats we have, both the US and Sweden have reported among the highest death rates in the world! So, some might say, at face value, at least, we’re comparing two of the most incompetent governments in the world at protecting their citizens. Some samples of well known countries taken from today’s Worldmeter stats:
6th worst in the world = Spain 696 deaths/million Lockdown
10th worst in the world = United States 654 deaths/million Uncoordinated state lockdowns
13th Italy 597 deaths/million Lockdown
14th Sweden 582 deaths/million No lockdown
18th France 497 deaths/million Lockdown
20th Netherlands 380 deaths/million Lockdown
34th Canada 252 deaths/million Lockdown
64th Germany 115 deaths/million Lockdown
65th Denmark 114 deaths/million Lockdown
72th Austria 92 deaths/million Lockdown
89th Finland 62 deaths/million Lockdown
97th Norway 51 deaths/million Lockdown
110th Australia 35 deaths/million Lockdown
155th South Korea 8 deaths/million Lockdown
Okay, so looking just at deaths from COVID so far from the above table, what can we conclude about locking down vs not locking down to date? 1) The range of outcomes from locking down is huge, from fantastic to horrible, with the differences probably (IMO) depending on complicated factors of how it was done, timing, education, belief in science, unity of culture, level of individual observance/precaution, dumb luck, etc. 2) We don’t have enough non-lockdown data points other than Sweden to draw a good conclusion about not locking down’s effectiveness, but we can say that Sweden’s death rate was among the worst in the world, along with the US, but also that it did surprisingly well compared to the worst of the locked down countries like Italy, Spain and the US, given that the medical establishment seemed to think a lockdown was absolutely necessary.
What about Swedish economic performance compared to places that locked down? Well, by my readings (and I have been reading about it intermittently with interest for months, since I do investment work) Sweden also has had a significant economic hit, worse than some, but better than a number of its EU neighbors that did lock down (and which therefore generally fared much better on the deaths/capita stats to date). So, I put economy as a positive for the Swedish approach, but a much more minor positive based on the comparative economic stats than those over-touting the Swedish non-lockdown narrative seem to. Finland & elsewhere apparently did much better than Sweden economically with a rapid lockdowns or partial lockdowns for a couple of months followed by a rapid re-opening. From the Financial Times:
‘Finland has had 90 per cent fewer coronavirus deaths per capita than Sweden and its economy contracted by less in the first half of 2020 as well. Even now as the rest of Europe frets about a big surge in cases, Finland has one of the lowest infection rates on the continent, although it has ticked up in the past two weeks. Experts said Finland’s approach — and the similar one of Denmark and Norway — of shutting down rapidly but not totally to get the pandemic under control, and then reopening after a couple of months has been one of the most successful in Europe in this early stage of coronavirus.’
The value of the Swedish approach as a stand out because ‘it’s established herd immunity’ and therefore can operate at full economic tilt going forward could be true but remains to be seen. It would need to be pretty much ‘done’ establishing herd immunity by now – ie, show no new take off in a second wave compared to comparable neighbors that did lock down. Maybe that’s indeed happening, maybe not. Personally, I think there’s a very good chance that Sweden’s very high per capita death and chronic illness rate will, in the end, herd immunity or no, be a wasted sacrifice of lives – that is, that it cumulatively will never be better on both a public health and economic basis than those countries that by smart, relatively brief or limited lockdowns, contract tracing, etc. knocked down infections initially, then set up aggressive contact tracing keep infections low until good treatments and vaccines could be developed.
Historically, serious pandemics apparently always cause serious economic impacts because people become extremely cautious, regardless what is mandated. As you know, US airlines are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy even though you and I are free to buy a (cheap) air ticket anywhere we want to go (that will accept disease-ridden Americans 😉 ).
Saying that Trump rebounding from getting the virus with $100,000 of medical care and very specialized treatments can become a model and symbol of hope for the US, a country that, unlike Sweden, is so cruel and stupid it does not even have basic, guaranteed healthcare that ordinary citizens can rely on when they’re deciding how much to put themselves at risk, is absurd. Trump and the GOP had full control of Congress and a chance to keep their promise of ‘replacing Obamacare with something great’ and not only didn’t they do it, it’s become clear that their so-called replacement ‘plan’ is vaporware – a lot of crap. They have never articulated a plan and pretty clearly don’t much care about insuring the millions of people they’re ready to throw off Obamacare at the Supreme Court next month. How stupid are the American people on this subject? Not that stupid.
This administration has been among the most un-transparent, careless and incompetent in the world by not quickly stepping in with the best scientific information we had at the time and managing this virus crisis. Trump and the GOP did not lead, didn’t plan, didn’t quickly respond by massively manufacturing PPE, setting up rapid testing, and organizing contact tracing like the most successful countries so far. Obviously, he just wanted this problem to go away in an election year, tried to project that fantasy, and then chaotically tossed responsibility to the states to deal with when it didn’t. Trump acknowledges that he knew it was a serious, deadly virus early on, but did not tell the American people. He has said repeatedly he doesn’t believe the science and made that clear by his inaction. His and the GOP’s response of denial (not a ‘plan to establish herd immunity’ IMO) have acted as though the virus doesn’t exist, isn’t a threat and accordingly, have modeled quite foolish, unprotected behavior – terrible leadership – that I believe has ruined and ended tens of thousands of lives for no reason but ego, and political power plotting. Trump has been a disaster, and I believe the polls showing he has an 83% chance of losing the election are an accurate reflection that most Americans think that, too. I’m no great fan of Biden or establishment Dems – I prefer Bernie, but I know at least 8 friends and family in addition to me who are not just donating, but writing, texting and phoning in to swing states to do whatever we can to make sure this one-man plague of self-absorbed foolishness is removed from office. I’m sure some Trump supporters are doing these things also in support of Trump, but how many? That’s another reason I think the polls are likely accurate. Trump’s supporters may think it’s cute that he lies constantly and antagonizes more than half the country. That strategy didn’t work well for Trump in 2018 when the polls I follow were dead on and the Dems took the House, and I doubt it will work well for him in this election.
Here’s my view:
I agree there are several nations that have done really well with the virus. Mostly, they are in Asia – they were the nations that had a near-death experience with SC1, and were on a hair-trigger alert for a re-run. That’s Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and possibly Japan. We could not have done so – nor did any nation of the West do so. We just weren’t set up for it. Contact tracing works when you have a small case load. It doesn’t work when you have millions of infected people. Its just a waste of effort.
I remember that the West was shocked when Trump imposed his travel ban. Everyone thought he was xenophobic and racist, starting with Biden, and also especially the CCP, who seemed to want desperately to export their sick people from Wuhan throughout the civilized world. And Biden, as we know, is connected to the CCP through his son Hunter and that 1.5 billion dollar investment/management fees. “those aren’t bad folks, folks.” (Please ignore Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the organ harvesting; I digress)
If you recall, at the start, the testing provided by CDC was horrific; as the group who allegedly was responsible for pandemic response, their tests were horribly flawed. Does the buck stop at Trump? Sure. But the techs at CDC blew it. They own the failed testing response. This made sure we couldn’t execute the Korea strategy. We got a wave of infections – from China, and from Europe – and no tests were available. For weeks, if not months.
Likewise, funding that whole gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute was – shall we say – “problematic.” The whole pandemic could been avoided had Fauci not sent the Wuhan institute that $3 million to do the research on gain-of-function on bat corona viruses in 2019. I’d be willing to call this the Fauci virus. If you want to lay blame somewhere, I’d lay it at his feet. I know, he’s a darling, and he really is a good talker – but he funded the research to make this whole mess possible. No Fauci, no pandemic. (Buck stop with Trump? Sure. Did he even know? Certainly not. Fauci = smartest guy in the room. He gets the blame.)
In addition to all this, the NIH/NIAID group was clearly running interference for the vaccine and on-patent medicine Pharma interest. They made sure that no other treatments could be approved, even if they worked. The approach: “We must have an RCT before we will approve it” – and then they refused to fund such an RCT. Catch-22. Except for Remdesivir, which got the usual special treatment for an on-patent medicine.
Trump really tried with HCQ, but he got crushed by the media. “HCQ will kill you!” they said. Lies, as we know now. Who do we blame for this? How many died that would have been saved? Perhaps one hundred thousand people? More? Media deserves half the blame for that; NIH/NIAID the other half. Certainly you can’t lay that one on Trump.
As for your numbers – you can’t look at casualties without first looking at the subject population. 41% of the US is obese; BMI > 30. They are much more likely to die from COVID-19. Regardless of Trump’s response, our people just die faster because they are fat. Certainly fatter than the Europeans. Plus, our minority community also dies 2x as often due to vitamin-D deficiency. (These are approximate numbers). So fat + dark skin (in a high-latitude country) = lots more people die. Is this Trump’s fault? I don’t think so. Our population is just more vulnerable.
We all have our perspectives. If not for Fauci, the whole thing wouldn’t have happened. If not for the media + NIH/Pharma, our casualties would be 50% of what they are. If not for the FDA/NIH, we would have found out about vitamin-D earlier, and sent it out to everyone. If not for Big Food, our population wouldn’t be so overweight.
It takes real work for me to keep a normal BMI in this world we live in. And mostly it works because I’m reasonably successful – I can eat organic, cook my own food, exercise, and it all works out. But I’m swimming upstream the whole time.
I do agree, the pandemic response was bungled. But I don’t blame Trump for it. I blame Pharma, NIH/NIAID, and Fauci. They were the “smartest people in the room.” Bad early response, bad testing, then kneecapping HCQ & other therapies, ignoring vitamin-D and other possible cheap remedies, in favor of Pharma profits and “waiting for the vaccine.” Trump literally could have done nothing, and we’d have 25% of the casualties we ended up having, if the “smartest people in the room” hadn’t been so corrupt. And arguably, without Fauci – the pandemic wouldn’t have even happened.
As they say – intelligent people can differ on outlook. It is awesome we can have a civilized conversation, while we both feel passionately about the subject at hand, and yet still have respect for one another when we are done.
One more parenthetical: Trump has just suggested that he will make the Regeneron treatment he received available to all Americans for free. Certainly he could do that through medicare to the elderly, and perhaps through medicaid to the poor.
And FWIW, I agree with you that US healthcare is horrific. We need a “basic/rationed” government healthcare system (like what the VA provides) available free of charge to everyone. The private system can remain, but it must figure out how to compete with “free”. This outcome is possible – I’ve seen it in operation myself.
Summary in great detail and the truth. Thanks, Dave!
FIRSTLY – I have the greatest respect for the info disseminated by you and others like you on this forum, but I also have concerns and questions:
I’m going to assume you are near 60 (+/- a few years). You said you were “elderly”.
I also assume you are an American physician, licensed to practice in the US. It appears so, I don’t know you at all other than a few dozen posts I’ve read in the last bunch of months.
You have also admitted to self-prescribing HCQ as a prophylaxis.
I appreciate your belief in this drug and in sharing your (the Indian healthcare system’s) dosages and practices. I’m stuck with Quercitin for now because my HCQ is lost in India, but I am supplementing the best I can over the counter at present.
While it is not illegal in the US for an MD to self-prescribe, the AMA frowns upon it and I believe forbids you (or FDA/CDC – whomever does) from prescribing HCQ to your customers. I use the word customer because I believe doctor/patient relationships are now defunct and should be described as merely healthcare-industry/insurance/customer relationships now.
Stick with me, because I hope not to insult you, but this next question may sting at first…
Are you now simply a doctor/employee servicing patients/customers inadequately (your hands are tied, I understand this) all the while self-prescribing a banned medication?
Assuming the above answer is yes, how are we supposed to have any faith in the medical industry after you tell us this?
You are also saying we can get over this by putting our kids in school and just letting it happen, the infection over the masses, all the while sitting in your HCQ bubble that you shouldn’t legally be able to be in, and we have to order our drugs from Canada or India to self-prescribe without an MD behind our name.
So instead of trying to fix the system you operate in, you find an illegal way to circumvent it and continue your life as usual while the rest of us can’t even look at your way as an option unless we know how to acquire pills from Asia.
I’m adding a bit of “malice” in my wording above, for your perspective it would be self-preservation not intentional criminality I suppose.
Can the system get any more fucked up than this?
Also, for all of you elders telling me to just put my kids in school, it will be OK- we need them to get to herd immunity, can all these kids live in your houses while they contract the virus and slowly spread it since you all seem to have the HCQ+ shield going for you?
Because my HCQ and Azithro are stuck in customs in India for the last couple months still and the reorders that also don’t arrive are killing my wallet.
There is a way for you to get HCQ legally in USA for prophylactic use and or treatment. I used the Frontline doctor’s group telemedicine recommendation to get my 17 year old son who is at boarding school protected.
It was $90.00 for consult and $45.00 for 20 pills of HCQ including shipping. Instruction: one a day for five days and then one a week.
I meant to include this:
Click on HCQ