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Hispanic Outlook

Artist: Akop Jack Seksenyan, M.D., PhD, Neurologist, Physician-Scientist

Lessons Learned


Six months of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic from the moment it started in Wuhan Province. During this time, great divisions were created to keep people fighting with each other. Common sense solutions should prevail.

The first known human case of COVID-19, caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2, was diagnosed in Wuhan province, China on November 17, 2019. The communist Chinese government not only covered up the subsequent spread, but arrested and forced whistle blowers to recant and “apologize“ for warning the world about the looming pandemic. Meantime, disease spread like wildfire through China and Asia. Because of the mobile nature of today’s society, it likely began spreading worldwide during December or maybe even earlier.

 

Concerns about the origin of the virus were largely brushed aside. Was it a mutated bat virus that crossed over to humans? Was it an experiment led by the communist Chinese government that went horribly wrong? Or is it a globalist attempt at population control or a scheme to reduce the influence of first world nations?

 

It seemed to be a respiratory-spread virus that targets elderly folks and those with concomitant medical conditions like diabetes, atherosclerotic vascular disease and even obesity.  Apparently it is more contagious than influenza. The disease also can lead to runaway inflammation which makes it harder to fight.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO), funded largely by the United States, but controlled by China, didn’t release its findings on the matter until February 1st.  By this time the virus had spread worldwide to most countries from travelers to and from Wuhan. President Trump immediately called for a travel ban to and from Asia and infected regions but was met with great resistance for political, not rational, reasons. At the time, American congressmen and women were reassuring the public that the virus was no worse than the flu while urging them to continue their usual social activities. China was still under reporting infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities.

 

By early March, it was clear that America had infections in New York and a few other large cities on both coasts. This is when state governors began locking down citizens. Governors demanded ventilators but that would prove not only unuseful but counterproductive to patient outcomes in certain cases.

 

Five governors issued executive orders forcing nursing homes and long-term care facilities to take COVID-19 coronavirus patients against their objections and concerns, and against CDC guidelines.  Case in point, New Jersey governor Murphy with his executive order 103 on March 9, 2020. As of the time of this writing, over 7,000 seniors have died as a result. (covid19.nj.gov)

 

Politicians made the jump from reassurance to lock down, abridging and eliminating individual constitutional rights. Executive orders started with “two weeks to attempt to delay disease spread,” but infections were already widespread. The lockdowns went on for at least 12 weeks in many states. This would prove a colossal mistake because citizens’ civil rights were in jeopardy, both their physical and mental health worsened, and everyone’s finances and economics headed toward ruin. Many businesses that were mandated “nonessential“ and closed, will never reopen. FEMA reports that 40% of businesses shutter permanently after a disaster.

 

The news media lit the fire and spread the panic; and politicians seized the opportunity. Great divisions were created and magnified to keep people fighting with each other, while politicians continued to struggle for money and power. In fact, it is the very definition of tyranny for the Government to use force majeure and rule of law to stop people from earning their living, while still demanding tax dollars to benefit politicians and pet projects.

 

Politicians, as they always do, campaign for the November election by magnifying the philosophical differences in approaches to virus prevention and treatment. They try to assign blame, rather than working together on solutions. They play doctor by promoting, or in most cases, obstructing different potential treatments based likely on their own financial holdings or on what their opposition supports. Some states even made it practically illegal for physicians to prescribe for their sick patients.

 

Testing has become available but still suffers from inaccuracy, and long waiting times, complicating and delaying treatment. Data is manipulated and used by politicians and media to scare people into compliance. For example, absolute numbers of cases and previous cases, were all lumped together. Some governors held daily press conferences merely to aggrandize total numbers, which were likely inaccurate, and read death notices. Very few states had clinically-based plans that also aligned with economically-based plans.

 

People are forced to wear facemasks in public places, a policy based on very little actual evidence and science. Some individuals can’t physically or mentally tolerate masks but must conform nonetheless. Again, the media magnified and capitalized on the legitimate difference of opinions over the efficacy and implementation of mandatory masks.

 

Constantly, people were barraged with the news media reporting exorbitant numbers of “cases.“ This seemed intended by politicians to scare people into compliance with their policies and to vote for them in the upcoming election out of fear. Merely reporting numbers of cases accomplished nothing productive. This was indeed the first time in history we had testing of major numbers of incidences of virus in the populace, whether they were affected or not. This only added to the confusion and data overload. The politicians and media never figured out that we were seeing the natural spread of a virus through the population, that we’ve never seen before. Thousands died but millions lived; not bad odds for a global pandemic. But, it seemed to amplify the cries for politicians to take rash actions against the “invisible enemy,” and cause tons of collateral damage as the government, who pays no price for being wrong, always does.

 

Overall, most states and the federal government made critical errors. In New Jersey, Governor Murphy’s handling of the crisis gets a grade of F for killing thousands in nursing homes, ruining physical and mental health of the citizens, and the financial stability and livelihood of New Jersey citizens. Similar errors have been duplicated, time and time again, in other states.

 

As we reopen, we must ask ourselves, “should we have ever shut down?”  I think not. Common sense solutions, not panic, should prevail. Closing borders to those from countries and states with massive infection? Yes. Quarantine the sick and protect the elderly and infirmed? Yes. Physical distancing, respect for individual’s space, handwashing and personal hygiene? Of course.  Economic closures and State citizen lockdowns? Never again. 

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