Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘pandemic’

Papa Francesco Writes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 27, 2020

Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts

To come out of this pandemic better than we went in, we must let ourselves be touched by others’ pain.

By Pope Francis
Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome.

November 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/opinion/pope-francis-covid.html

In this past year of change, my mind and heart have overflowed with people. People I think of and pray for, and sometimes cry with, people with names and faces, people who died without saying goodbye to those they loved, families in difficulty, even going hungry, because there’s no work.

Sometimes, when you think globally, you can be paralyzed: There are so many places of apparently ceaseless conflict; there’s so much suffering and need. I find it helps to focus on concrete situations: You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope.

Papa Francesco (It.), Pope Francis

These are moments in life that can be ripe for change and conversion. Each of us has had our own “stoppage,” or if we haven’t yet, we will someday: illness, the failure of a marriage or a business, some great disappointment or betrayal. As in the Covid-19 lockdown, those moments generate a tension, a crisis that reveals what is in our hearts.

In every personal “Covid,” so to speak, in every “stoppage,” what is revealed is what needs to change: our lack of internal freedom, the idols we have been serving, the ideologies we have tried to live by, the relationships we have neglected.

When I got really sick at the age of 21, I had my first experience of limit, of pain and loneliness. It changed the way I saw life. For months, I didn’t know who I was or whether I would live or die. The doctors had no idea whether I’d make it either. I remember hugging my mother and saying, “Just tell me if I’m going to die.” I was in the second year of training for the priesthood in the diocesan seminary of Buenos Aires.

I remember the date: Aug. 13, 1957. I got taken to a hospital by Read the rest of this entry »

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We Can Do Better

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dorothea Lange. “Nipomo, Calif. March 1936. Migrant agricultural worker’s family.
Seven hungry children and their mother, aged 32. The father is a native Californian.” Gelatin silver print, 7 3/8 × 9 5/16″ (18.8 × 23.6cm). Farm Security Administration–Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

Hourly Wages
Dollar General: $8
Kroger: $10
Walmart: $11
CVS: $11
Home Depot: $11
Lowe’s: $12

2020 Profits
Dollar General: $1.4 billion
Kroger: $2 billion
Walmart: $15.6 billion
CVS: $6.2 billion
Home Depot: $10 billion
Lowe’s: $4.9 billion

U.S. workers need at least $15/hr and a union.

Per capita health care spending:
Norway: $6,647
United States: $11,072

Number of uninsured/under-insured:
Norway: 0
United States: 92 million

COVID-19 deaths:
Norway (population 5.3 million): 306
Louisiana (population 4.6 million): 6,260

Yes. It is time for Medicare for All.


https://www.WashingtonPost.com/business/2020/11/18/food-stamps-medicaid-mcdonalds-walmart-bernie-sanders/

Federal Study: Millions of Full-Time Workers Rely on Federal Health Care and Food Assistance Programs – Walmart’s and McDonald’s Employees Lead the Way

by Eli Rosenberg
November 18, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. CST

Some of the biggest and most profitable companies in the United States, including Walmart and McDonald’s, pay their employees such low wages that significant numbers of them must turn to Federal food and medical assistance.

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan Congressional watchdog agency, made at the behest of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) there is a direct relationship between employers paying low wages and employees receiving the Federal assistance. The report examined February data from agencies in 11 states that administer the Federal programs Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Walmart was one of the top four employers of SNAP and Medicaid beneficiaries in every state. McDonald’s was in the top 5 of employers with employees receiving federal benefits in at least 9 states.

The GAO research found that in the 9 states that responded about SNAP benefits — Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington — Walmart was found to have employed about 14,500 people who were receiving benefits, followed by McDonald’s with 8,780. In six states that reported Medicaid enrollees, Walmart again topped the list, with 10,350 employees, followed by McDonald’s with 4,600.

In Georgia, for example, Walmart employed an estimated 3,959 workers who were on Medicaid — comprising an estimated 2.1% of the total of non-elderly, non-disabled people in the state who were receiving the benefit. McDonald’s was next on the list, employing 1,480 who received Medicaid, or 0.8% of the total of non-elderly, non-disabled people on the program.

In Oklahoma, 1,059 Walmart workers on Medicaid made up 2.8% of the state’s total, and McDonald’s was next, with 536 workers, or 1.4%.

In Arkansas, where Walmart was founded and maintains its global headquarters, 1,318 employees were receiving SNAP benefits — comprising 3.1% of the state’s total. McDonald’s was next on the list with 865 workers, which made for 2% of the state’s total.  And in Georgia, another 3% of SNAP recipients worked for Walmart.

The GAO report found that the next companies with large numbers of workers receiving federal benefits included Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Amazon, Burger King and FedEx. (Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In a statement by McDonald’s spokeswoman Morgan O’Marra, the company claimed Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Be Selfish During The COVID Pandemic

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wear a mask.

Yes, it’s just that simple.

None of this “I ain’t gonna’ wear a mask and you can’t make me, ‘cuz this is ‘Murka and we have FREEDOM!” kind of malarkey.

No, that simply won’t do.

Look out for A-number-one – yourself.

It’s like saying, wear gloves when you go outside, because it’s -30º below zero Fahrenheit. Protect yourself. Gloves only protect the person wearing them.

You see, even though we do have liberties – as good ol’ Justice Samuel Alito – a Bush II-appointed Supreme Court Judge who has been on the court since a 58–42 vote of Senate approval on January 31, 2006 – we also have limits. But Justice Alito doesn’t think so, and, has said as much.

Most recently, Justice Alito addressed the Federalist Society’s 2020 Annual National Lawyers Convention – which, despite its name, opposes a strong federal government – and since their 1982 inception, have been bit-by-bit-piece-by-piece tearing down and destroying the Federal government under guise of promoting personal liberties and freedom.

It was the Supreme Jurists who gave We the People the nefariously infamous and disastrous rulings in:
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission – essentially ruling that money is free speech;
McCutchen v Federal Election Commission – essentially allowing unlimited money to be contributed to candidates/politicians, and;
Shelby County, Alabama v Holder – essentially gutting the Voting Rights act by removing sections 4(b) and 5, which were its “heart and lungs,” whereupon the decision, many states enacted restrictive voting laws.

There are others, of course, but those three are perhaps the most notorious during the oversight of Chief Justice John Roberts.

And that was all in the name of “originalism” and “textualism,” the preferred interpretive modality of The Federalist Society.

So, it should come as no surprise that Alito – a longtime member of the Federalist Society, who said “I have been a member for many years,” and by his own admission has attended every annual meeting for the past 14 years – would sacrifice the greater good upon the altar of “originalism” to the god of individual liberty.

Where in our nation is the sense of shared sacrifice for the greater, common good? That some obviously think that they simply MUST have “freedom” to do whatever they want, when they want, where they want, without regard for anyone else is anathema and contrary to the very idea of a “united” states – e pluribus unum – though many, one. And of course, now, we’re paying for it. For if you’re gonna’ dance, you gotta’ pay the piper. And we’re dancing like mad. But the greatest problem is, eventually, there’s nobody to dance with, and the piper gets sick and dies.

But hey… “You danced like hell, didn’t you!?!,” read no headstone ever.

Of course, the members would recite a quote often misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, though historical researchers tell us that the phrase was Read the rest of this entry »

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Trumpvirus Death Count – Monday, October 19, 2020

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 19, 2020

As we draw in toward the close of the day, Monday, October 19, 2020, today’s Trumpvirus Daily Death Count is 220,095 220,110 at 2335 CST.

So… let’s put this in perspective, shall we?

ALL Deaths are Battle Deaths + In Theater Deaths, unless otherwise noted
Source: U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Deaths
Vietnam (1964-1975) = 58,220

World War I (1917-1918) = 53,402

Korean War (1950-1953) = 36,574

Mexican War (1846-1848) = 13,283

American Revolution (1775-1783) = 4435

War of 1812 (1812-1815) = 2260

Indian Wars (~1817-1898) = 1000

Spanish-American War (1898-1902) = 385

Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991) = 383

TOTAL = 168,942

Trumpvirus has KILLED 30.2784% MORE than ALL the COMBINED Battle and In Theater Deaths in 8 Major Wars in which America was involved.

FYI
Deaths
Civil War (1861-1865)
Union = Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump’s 4-Stage Coronavirus Plan

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 16, 2020

Here is the Trump administration’s detailed plan for their response in the event of a widespread outbreak of coronavirus:

Stage I: We say, Read the rest of this entry »

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Trumpvirus Death Count Saturday, 10 October 2020

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 11, 2020

This death count brought to you by:
The once Grand Old Party, who reminds you, Vote for Biden!

The GOP reminds you:
VOTE FOR BIDEN!

There are at least 214, 367 reasons to NOT vote for Trump.
Those are dead reasons.
There are 7,717,392 living reasons to NOT vote for the Liar in Chief.

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Trump-Biden Debate Number 1 Is Over

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It’s OVER!

Thank goodness!


“The angriest Presidential debate in American history.”

“A relentless attack on Joe Biden…”

“In the end, Biden ignored the rules as well.”

“What we got was a dogfight.”

“Mr Trump was far less honest than Mr. Biden.”

–– characterizations by the BBC on the First Trump v Biden Presidential Debate


Despite the absence of fawning sycophants to which Read the rest of this entry »

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Tragically Ironic, Poetic Justice Serves You Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 24, 2020

I hate to admit this, but I am practically at the point of saying, when it comes to so-called “anti-maskers” (who are most often Trump supporters and GOP types), and others who proudly flout and steadfastly refuse to wear any type of face mask thereby endangering the lives of others, and who deny that COVID-19 is a pernicious health threat to our nation’s people, and by extension to our national security, I am just about ready to say to them all – FUCK YOU. I hope you get it, and die. It would serve you right.

Their maliciously malignant behavior is not merely stupid, it is cruel, and inhumane.

Michael L. Parson is the 57th Governor of Missouri.

Yet, there comes a time when good will is exhausted, and there is nothing remaining for those who would otherwise need it the most. The dregs having been long drained from the bottom of the barrel of the milk of human kindness, it has become bone dry, and utterly bereft of anything but empty space – a yawning void, a catastrophic chasm of unimaginable vacuousness. Yet it was them who gleefully rejected all sound advice, and threw caution to the wind.

They might as well die.

It’s the classical Darwin theory – the survival of the fittest – at work.

That’s how utterly FED UP I am with the ignorance-promoting, anti-science nut jobs who loudly bray their ignorance like a donkey does its presence. Perhaps even more so.

And just yesterday, when I read the news that Missouri’s Republican Governor Mike Parson, a virulent anti-masker, along with his wife Teresa, tested POSITIVE for COVID-19, I thought that it serves him right. There is poetic justice in this world, and it’s often tragically ironic.

However, I hasten to add this:

The sowing of confusion and chaos in this matter is the work of America’s enemies, most notably, Russia.

And sadly, the American president (yes, like it, or not, he’s America’s President), has long played friendly with totalitarian regimes, again, most notably, Russia, long before he became the Misleader of the Free World, and Liar in Chief.


Springfield News-Leader (Missouri)
https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/18/white-house-covid-19-advisors-urged-texas-style-mask-rule-missouri/5824275002/
Despite Parson’s Rejection, White House COVID Group Urged Texas-Style Mask Mandate Here
September 18, 2020 by Austin Huguelet
Gov. Mike Parson publicly rejected the idea of implementing a mask mandate in Missouri Read the rest of this entry »

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Trumpvirus Daily Death Count – 9/20/20 PM

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 20, 2020

199,474 – TOTAL U.S.A. COVID-19 Deaths

197,544 – TOTAL number of casualties – deaths, injuries, POWs, MIAs – from the Top Ten Major Civil War Battles of:

Gettyburg
Chickamauga
Spotsylvania Courthouse
Shiloh
Stones River
Antietam
First Battle of Bull Run
Second Battle of Bull Run
Fredricksburg
Cold Harbor

Civil War Battlefield Deaths – 204,100

Only 4,626 to go.

196,103 deaths on 9/16/20.

199,474 deaths on 9/20/20.

That’s an average of 843/day.

At that rate, we’ll surpass that figure in 5.48 days – by September 26.

At the current rate, Trumpvirus Deaths will ECLIPSE Civil War Battlefield Deaths

959,059 – TOTAL Global COVID-19 Deaths

Current as of Last Updated at (M/D/YYYY) 9/20/2020, 7:22 PM
via Read the rest of this entry »

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Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President: Mandate 6-Week 50-State Lockdowns to Save Lives -and- Economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 10, 2020

Hey, I’m ALL FOR THAT IDEA!

But… you’re gonna’ have to open up the purse WIDELY — V – E – R – Y — W – I – D – E – L – Y — for it to even begin to work.

And there’s a wee bit of GOOD NEWS!!

Yes, there’s a very bright spot in this matter, and it is this:

“We can actually fund the additional unemployment benefits, for example, or additional support to small businesses from our own domestic resources. That is much, much better than having to borrow it from abroad. So this recession is very unique in how we’ve shut down part of the economy because it’s also generating savings that can support the workers who are most affected. I know it’s complicated, but this is a unique moment when the traditional concerns about government deficits, debt to GDP, do not apply.

But part of, if not the exclusive problem, with Trump’s response is that it’s misguided (as in “uncentered, and lacks focus”), and has no cohesive unifying action, or standard. There’s no clear guidance on what to do, who does what, when, how, to what extent, or anything… literally.

FEMA… if ever there were an emergency, this is it – what have they done?

Zero, zilch, nada.

Seriously.

Have you seen them in YOUR state, or neighborhood? Have you read, or heard of anything they’re doing in your state or community?

I didn’t think so.

How has the Red Cross been involved?

That I’m aware, that I’ve heard of, or read, they haven’t been asked.

Same thing as FEMA – have you seen them in YOUR state, or neighborhood?

I didn’t think so.

U.S. Border Patrol, in conjunction with the Coast Guard… could’ve been swabbing nasal passages and mouths of every person crossing and along our nation’s borders, and coasts.

Nope.

Didn’t happen.

Same thing for our National Guard – EVERY SINGLE UNIT NATIONWIDE could’ve been Federalized and activated, and swabbing nasal passages and mouths of every person in every town across America. Manpower for the 50 states’ National Guard – Army and Air Force – stands at approximately 444,600.

They could’ve shipped out millions of testing kits, and hundreds of thousands of laboratory analysis machines to hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Nope.

Didn’t even happen.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross in conjunction with the USDA could’ve been handing out staples of food rations – meat, eggs, flour, oil, cheese, milk, bread, vegetables, etc., just like the Red Cross has been doing in Australia – including daily well-being calls.

Nope.

‘Twas just a fleeting dream.

POTUS could’ve Federalized (mobilized/activated) the U.S. Public Health Service and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and established a 50-State testing response, and contact tracing system.

Nope, didn’t happen.

“Anemic,” and “practically non-existent” is how I’d describe the FAILED Federal Response.

Numerous individuals have repeatedly asked the POTUS to invoke the National Emergency Powers Act, and he delayed response until March 13.

He was repeatedly begged to appropriate the Defense Production Act, and his response was

“The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping.
You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”


Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari visits “Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street” at Fox Business Network Studios on October 11, 2019. Kashkari is calling for a return to mandated lockdowns in every state for up to six weeks in an effort to save both lives and the economy in response to COVID-19. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The United States has now surpassed five million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 160,000 deaths from the virus as tens of millions of Americans file for unemployment, causing experts to debate how the nation should respond.

Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, says the answer should be Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and Read the rest of this entry »

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Who are YOU willing to sacrifice for this economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Your Money, or Your Life… You Choose.

Presently, there are increasing calls clamoring for our states’ and nation’s economies to be returned to a state of “normalcy” (whatever that may be, or look like). Those voices are largely cacophonous, often belligerent, threatening with violent, even lawless displays, such as in Michigan recently, when renegades and insurrectionists stormed the State Capitol building armed with loaded assault weapons, and battle accouterments such as helmets, flak jackets, and bullet-proof vests, threatening to kill the Governor, and attempted to seize the Legislative floors.

In response, some states’ Governors are “reopening” their states’ economies, which have been largely shuttered for the benefit, and protection of the Greater Good, preservation of Public Health, and the prevention of loss of life, through unwitting dissemination of a particularly insidious and occult disease for which we have no cure, neither validated, nor verified treatment, nor vaccine – the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, aka COVID-19.

It seems to me that, in essence, what is being done – not merely said – is presenting a “your money, or your life” robbery type scenario, a practical sacrificing of human life upon the altar of filthy lucre to the god of mammon, through the high priests of Read the rest of this entry »

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French Scientists Discover COVID-19 In December 2019 BEFORE The China Outbreak

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

This information, which was reported just yesterday (Monday, 4 May 2020), is turning the entire understanding of this disease on its ear.

Previously thought to have originated in China, COVID-19 is now thought to have been spreading globally long before the outbreak in Wuhan, China ever occurred.

An interesting observation:
This individual –and– “Patient Zero” in Wuhan were BOTH fishmongers.

A germane question:
Could this virus be related to, or capable of being transmitted in aquatic wildlife?


Who: 42 year old man born in Algeria, lived in France for many years, worked as fishmonger

What: retrospective investigation for SARS-COV2 (novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19) in respiratory samples collected

Where: intensive care units (ICUs) of hospital north of Paris, France

When: December 27, 2019

Why: Presented to emergency ward with hemoptysis (coughing up blood/bloody sputum), cough, headache and fever, evolving for 4 days

How: RT-PCR test (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) the most sensitive technique for mRNA (genetic) detection and quantitation currently available

Additional Facts: Last trip was in Algeria during August 2019. One of his children presented with ILI (influenza-like illness) prior to the onset of his symptoms. His medical history included asthma, type II diabetes mellitus. Had not visited China.

See also: COVID-19 in France since December, hospital test suggests
Researchers testing old samples found COVID-19 in a man treated a month before France confirmed its first cases.
(https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/covid-19-france-december-hospital-test-suggests-200504154024084.html)

See also: French hospital discovers Covid-19 case from December
Man found to have had virus a month before government confirmed first cases
(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/french-hospital-discovers-covid-19-case-december-retested)

See also: After retesting samples, French hospital discovers COVID-19 case from December
(https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france/after-retesting-samples-french-hospital-discovers-covid-19-case-from-december-idUSKBN22G20L)

See also: French hospital discovers country’s first known Covid-19 case, from December
A French hospital which has retested old samples from pneumonia patients discovered that it treated a man who had Covid-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first cases.
(https://www.france24.com/en/20200505-france-s-first-known-covid-19-case-was-in-december)

See also: After Retesting Samples, French Hospital Discovers COVID-19 Case From December
(https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/05/04/world/europe/04reuters-health-coronavirus-france.html)

See also: Genetic Study Shows COVID-19 Was in France Weeks Before The First Case Was Reported
(https://www.sciencealert.com/genetic-investigation-reveals-covid-19-was-circulating-in-europe-before-cases-were-reported)


International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents

Available online 3 May 2020, 106006

Highlights

• Covid-19 was already spreading in France in late December 2019, a month before the official first cases in the country.
• Early community spreading changes our knowledge of covid-19 epidemic.
• This new case changes our understanding of the epidemic and modeling studies should adjust to this new data.

Abstract

The COVID-19 epidemic is believed to have started in late January 2020 in France. We report here a case of a patient hospitalized in December 2019 in our intensive care, of our hospital in the north of Paris, for hemoptysis with no etiological diagnosis and for which RT-PCR was performed retrospectively on the stored respiratory sample which confirmed the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. Based on this result, it appears that the COVID-19 epidemic started much earlier.

SARS-COV-2 was already spreading in France in late December 2019


Introduction

After its onset in December 2019 in China, the new coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) spreads widely in several countries, causing COVID-19 illness.1 World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.3 France reported the first cases of SARS-COV-2 related infection on January 24, 2020.5 Both cases had a history of travel to Wuhan.6 To the best of our knowledge, these 2 cases are believed to be the first confirmed cases in France. COVID-19 most commonly present with influenza-like illness (ILI).7 While China was facing COVID-19 outbreak, European countries were struggling with seasonal influenza.8 Clinical symptomatology between COVID-19 and ILIis similar,we therefore decided retrospectively to look for SARS-COV2 in respiratory samples collected in the intensive care units (ICUs) of our hospital near Paris.

Methods – Retrospective analysis

Selected records

We reviewed medical record of ICUs patients admitted for ILI between December 2, 2019 and January 16, 2020, with a negative RT-PCR performed at admission. Every respiratory sample collected in our hospital are Read the rest of this entry »

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Donald Trump made America Number 1

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 18, 2020

Donald Trump has made America Number 1 again!

Here’s a look at the leader board as of Saturday, April 18, 2020, 2000 ET (0000 GMT).

Top 25 Most Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Internationally


Global – 2,317,759
732,197 – United States
191,726 – Spain
175,925 – Italy
149,149 – France
143,342 – Germany

115,314 – United Kingdom
83,787 – China
82,329 – Turkey
80,868 – Iran
37,183 – Belgium

36,793 Read the rest of this entry »

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Mayo Clinic to have COVID-19 Antibody Test by Monday

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 3, 2020

“How can I know if I’m FULLY recovered from COVID-19 novel coronavirus?” is a question that gets asked by many, particularly by those who have been infected by COVID-19.

Unfortunately – to this point, at least – the answer to that question has been “We don’t know.”

Fortunately, however, researchers have rapidly doubled-down on their research, intensified their efforts, and are becoming fruitful.

Here’s a brief story about one such effort.

MPRNews.org

Mayo Clinic expects COVID-19 antibody test to be ready Monday


The Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building
Pedestrians cross the street as they leave Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building in Rochester, Minn., in 2016. Mayo researchers say they’re close to releasing tests that would tell whether a person has had and recovered from COVID-19.Alex Kolyer for MPR News file (Minnesota Public Radio)

Researchers at Mayo Clinic expect to release a test that would tell whether a person has had and recovered from COVID-19 on Monday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the University of Minnesota is also narrowing in on an antibody test.

The tests would help public health officials understand the scope of the outbreak and identify people who could safely be in public to help with relief efforts. They would also help in an effort to treat critical COVID-19 patients with plasma from individuals who have recovered.

Elitza Theel is director of the Mayo Clinic lab testing COVID-19 antibody tests. She spoke with MPR News host Tom Crann Wednesday.

You can listen to the interview by clicking on the audio player above, or read the transcript below, which has been edited lightly for clarity and length.

Q: Tell us first, what is an antibody?

A: Antibodies essentially recognize the virus and can help inactivate and kill it.

It’s important to know that these types of tests are different than all of the molecular tests that are being done off of nasal swabs or throat swabs. Those tests detect viral genetic material [to show whether the coronavirus has infected that person].

These [blood serum] antibody tests are detecting a person’s immune response to that virus. It takes, in some cases, 10 to 11 days for a person to mount an immune response and produce these antibodies, so these tests aren’t going to be used as a diagnostic in patients that are presenting with two or three days of symptoms.

Q: Tell us how soon they’ll be ready

A: At Mayo, we hope to have it available as early as next week. We will be doing kind of a slow roll out because, similar to the situation with molecular tests, there’s a limited supply of these tests. We’re hoping that commercial manufacturers will ramp up here in the next few weeks so that we can make it available much more widely.

Q: Then it can go straight to to doctors, public health departments, or is FDA approval needed? How does that work?

A: FDA approval is not needed at this time. However, laboratories that are offering these tests have to go through a very rigorous verification process to make sure that the tests they’re offering provide the right results.

Clinicians will be able to order this in individuals who they think having are a result for would be helpful to either guide return to work [decisions] or further quarantining.

Also, you may have heard about the convalescent plasma treatment trials. As we wait for antivirals and vaccines to be developed and deployed, we need some sort of bridging therapy. So, the idea here is to identify individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, collect their plasma, make sure that it has the antibodies, and then use that plasma to treat acutely ill patients. We’re basically providing somebody else’s antibodies to ill patients who maybe don’t have an immune response mounted yet, and these antibodies would essentially help to fight off the virus.

Q: How close are we on plasma treatment?

A: Clinical trials are starting very soon, both here at Mayo Clinic as well as many other locations across the U.S.

Q: Why is it important to have this information about how many people have been infected, even if they are recovered?

A: There’s a couple of reasons. One, we know there’s a significant number of individuals who have been infected without symptoms. So, knowing the true number, the true denominator of individuals who have been infected with COVID-19, would allow us to determine the true case fatality rate. And then the other reason this is important is identifying when, as a community, as a region, as a nation, we’ve reached herd immunity status.

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