Covid Blues

Covid Blues

by Doyle Ranstrom on Jul 11, 2022

I did my first marathon this past week.  It was not a traditional marathon.  I was attempting to walk from the bedroom to the living area in our MN Condo.  The reason it felt like a marathon was I was dealing with Covid.  I did make it, but I did have to take a break in the second bedroom along the way.  

I am not a runner and would not even consider running a marathon or across the street at this point, however, I have done multiple centuries on my bicycle including one that was 120 miles into wind and rain.  It was infinitely easier than the walk from the bedroom to the living area.  

Over a week ago, I was not feeling well with cold/flu symptoms.  I did take a home Covid test which was negative.  A couple days later I was pretty sure it had morphed into sinus infection.  I went to a local Urgent Care when it opened and got in line.  After a few minutes, I realized I could no longer stand so slid, not very gracefully, down the wall to sit on floor.  A bit after that an angel, otherwise known as a nurse, saw me and brought me a wheelchair.  You know you are really sick when all the rest in line in Urgent Care move away from you because they do not want what you have.

The staff at Urgent care were wonderful.  After multiple tests it was decided I was very sick but could go home.  The Doctor gave me a prescription for the sinus infection. 

Finally he gave me a Covid test.  The difference between the home and Clinic Covid test is the Clinic uses a swab that is about two feet long.  They put it up the nostril, past the eyeballs and when touching the bottom of the brain, take a sample.  

One of the most interesting and saddest parts of the Urgent Care experience is I asked a worker how she was doing.  She said everyone was exhausted.  They were overworked and understaffed.  In short, she said they were all in survival mode.  Keep in mind, every day they spent all day dealing with people like me.  And they are are angels.  They have to be, mere mortals could not get it done.

This individual was representative of our health cafe system overall.  The US health care system is overworked, under-staffed, under-appreciated and under-paid. 

There are a lot of reasons, but for me, one is former President and his supporters.  They simply do not understand health care, long-term planning or in the bigger picture, science.  

A little background.

  • In 2005, then President George Bush instructed his staff to put together a pandemic response plan.  In September, 2006, DHS under Bush issued the PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE, AND RECOVERY GUIDE FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND KEY.  The Bush Administration authorized $7 billion dollars developing a pandemic response plan.  
  • In 2006, Massachusetts, under then Governor Mitt Romney, developed a comprehensive health care plan including a pandemic response plan.
  • In June of 2009, President Obama met with his PCAST advisors, which over the next few years developed an infrastructure for dealing with a pandemic.  This was called the “Playbook for early response to high-consequence emerging infectious disease threats and biological incidents".
  • Trump, when he became President inherited this Playbook, a fact which was denied until the Playbook went public.  In 2018 Trump dissolved the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense.  This one  reason why the US's preparedness and response to the pandemic was disorganized and slow.

As of July 8th, 2022, over One Million people in the US have died from Covid.  About twice the number of the second country, Brazil with over 670,000.  The UK comes in 8th about 180,000 total deaths.  The vast majority of countries in the world have less than 100,000 deaths.   

The US total deaths is not a government failure.  It is not a health care failure.  It is specifically a political party failure.  The party of Trump and his supporters.  

Starting with FDR, US Presidents have embraced public health and science as part of their overall Administrative policy.  This ended with the Trump Administration.  Note the following quotes:

  • President Bush in 2005, "A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire," Bush said at the time. "If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it."  
  • President Obama in 2009 said “Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before,”  He also said “I want to be sure that facts are driving scientific decisions — and not the other way around.”  President Obama met routinely with science advisors regarding global pandemic threats. 
  • Following are quotes from President Trump.  
    • February 10th, 2020, “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.  Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”  
    • February 24, 2020, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."
    • March 4th, 2020, “Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it's very mild.”
    • April 23, 2020, April 23, 2020, "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."...“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn't been checked but you're gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way…"

The reality is Covid is not going away.  With the number of unvaccinated in the US and continuing variants, we will be dealing this for the duration and the pressure it puts on our health care system

We cannot go back and change the past, but what you can do is is not vote for any Trump supporter in the upcoming mid-term elections.  Not only is your personal heath along with your families health at risk by Trump supporters, but so is our overall health care system.   

There is not a doubt in my mind the US poor planning and response to the Covid pandemic will go down in history as one of the greatest failures ever by a President and Administration.  It is up to each of us to make sure it does not happen again.  

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