This recently hit the radio station I listen to in the morning. I was not expecting the video to be so beautiful.
Yesterday, I received notification that COVID-19 data would be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services instead of the CDC. That change is effective today. This abrupt change was sent to me from the Association for Professionals in Infection Prevention, then confirmed about a half hour later by email from the CDC itself. As an Infection Preventionist, my duties include reporting regularly to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. Until today, this was the single largest and most accurate repository of infection information in the United States.
Some hours later, the various news services got wind of the change.
I am deeply concerned about the possibility that this could mean COVID-19 data may be buried or even falsified. While no evidence yet exists that this is the case, it is no secret that the Trump Administration and the CDC have disagreed about COVID-19 on many fronts. This administration does have a history of attempting to hide unflattering information.
If you want accurate COVID-19 information, I urge you to keep track of your local health district — my colleagues and I are still required to report to them too. Here’s links to help you find them. And don’t forget that Johns Hopkins still has data available.
Sometimes professionals use words in very specific ways that aren’t obvious. Just the other day I realized that is what happened with those two words. My Facebook friends have seen me 海外加速器永久免费版 carefully point out articles like these, which suggest than COVID-19 is airborne, rather than droplet. I did this carefully because before yesterday, the WHO and CDC staunchly denied any such thing and 免费上谷歌的加速器 the WHO merely confirms that there is “emerging evidence.” Today I want to explain why it’s different, and a really big deal, in fairly simple terms.
I work in a hospital, as an Infection Preventionist. Just as the name suggests, I help keep people from getting sicker in the hospital. We used to be called “Infection Control Nurses,” and it’s a tradition that literally goes all the way back to 免费国外网站加速器安卓. Hospitals use different kinds of precautions — safety measures — to prevent the spread of disease. These measures are based on how the disease itself can move from person to person.
Standard precautions are what we do to protect everybody at all times. This includes keeping your hands clean, using disposable gloves, and changing those gloves between patients. Hand washing is still the most important thing you can do to keep from getting or transmitting any disease. It’s so important the CDC has an entire section on it.
When we know a person has certain infections that could spread, we use Contact precautions. This is for fairly heavy organisms that can survive for a while on surfaces, and that we can inadvertently transport to a new victim on our hands or clothing. One such organism you may have heard of is MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staphlycoccus Aureus. We also use Contact for more mundane bugs like head lice. For Contact, we make sure to use gloves, treatment gowns to cover our clothing, and we are extra sure to wash our hands after taking our gear off.
Now for the meat of this discussion. Droplet precautions are for organisms that can move in droplets we create when we talk, cough, or sneeze. These droplets can go maybe 6 feet or so (that’s where the 6 feet apart for social distancing comes from) before they go SPLUT! onto a surface. Droplet precautions always includes Contact precautions. That surface can be somebody else’s face, which is why the protective gear for Droplet precautions includes a facemask and ideally eye protection, in addition to gloves and gown. The most common organism for which we use Droplet is the Flu. Remember, up until yesterday, the WHO insisted this was all we needed to protect ourselves from COVID-19. And as of this moment — subject to change without notice — the CDC still does.
By contrast, Airborne precautions are for organisms that can float in the air a long ways and a long time. Much farther than 6 feet. And to do this, they are very small and very lightweight. Examples include Measles, Tuberculosis, and Ebola. These bugs are small enough to get through and around normal surgical masks. These patients should be cared for in a special “negative pressure” hospital room — the HVAC system is designed to create lower air pressure than in surrounding areas while still having fresh air move in and out, so germs aren’t likely to go into the rest of the hospital. To care for these patients, you need special masks, such as N95 or a powered respirator, and they need to fit correctly to prevent germs getting around the edges. That’s over any above gloves, gown, shoe covers, hair covers, and eye/face protection.
As you can see, there’s actually a huge difference between droplet and airborne transmission. And although many experts have privately held that COVID-19 is airborne, its a huge step for the WHO to admit that. I hope the CDC joins them shortly.
Just a cool plant I saw on my morning walk.
These were discovered when they moved my office recently. They’re just a little bit past expiration.
Masks in public has become the new normal. So let’s talk about this for a few minutes.
Masks are a whole lot like condoms: they do work; they only work if you use them, and use them correctly; they don’t work with holes cut in them; and they are not foolproof — you and the people around you are safer if you’re all doing something to prevent the spread of disease.
Nor are masks a substitute for things like quarantining the sick, isolating those who are known to have unprotected exposure, washing your hands, or social distancing. Hand hygiene is still the number one thing you can do to keep from getting almost any disease — it will even stop you from accidentally making somebody else sick. That last point is really important, because people can spread COVID-19 two days before they feel sick, and worse yet they can spread it and 外国网页免费加速器.
Again, just like condoms, masks are only one tool to prevent the spread of disease.
We haven’t got a cure or a vaccine for this thing yet. Prevention is literally all we’ve got to prevent more people from getting sick and possibly dying.
Now for those of you who like actual research results: here’s the Mayo Clinic; Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA); some research from Hong Kong; and The Lancet. For those of you who are total data nerds, 能上google免费加速器 some more fine studies.
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This page will give you SNHD’s flu reports. Flu season is generally considered to run from October to March or April here. Let’s call it 6 months. Please note that when they refer to the week number, they mean for the year. So the first week of January is week 1. It is true that we never know exactly how many cases of the flu there are (the CDC estimates tens of millions of cases and tens of thousands of deaths nationwide). That’s because a lot of people recover at home without tests or hospital visits. However, if you look at the 免费上谷歌的加速器, you’ll see that 47 people died of the flu this flu season. This number is pretty close to accurate; someone is either dead or they are not.
Now let’s move over to SNHD’s COVID-19 reporting. Just a reminder, COVID-19 is short for Coronavirus Disease 2019, it’s not the 19th anything. More about the basics here, but back to SNHD. We reported 免费上谷歌的加速器, then our first death on the 16th. As of April 29th, we have 3979 confirmed cases. This needs to be treated as a minimum, because there simply hasn’t been enough testing. A lot of people are walking around with mild symptoms or none at all, blissfully unaware that they are spreading disease. Again, despite the lack of testing, there’s another number that is less prone to distortion.
The fact I want to point out is that as of April 29, Southern Nevada has had 202 deaths from COVID-19. In 6 weeks, 202 COVID-19 deaths, compared to 47 influenza deaths due to influenza in 6 months. Same population. Same location. Same risk factors. That’s four times as many deaths in about a quarter of the time.
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I have become aware of voices on the Internet saying we shouldn’t waste time on a vaccine, but go for a cure. I would like to remind those folks that we never did get a cure for measles, polio, or rabies, just a vaccine. Even tuberculosis had a vaccine decades before we had a cure.
Stay safe out there. Wash your hands. Don’t stand too close to other people. Wear your mask in public. And remember that the economy is meaningless if you’re dead.