Coronavirus – A Tale of Two Cities: A Cautionary Tale for Shasta County

My name is Nick Germano and I am currently the Chief Resident at my Internal Medicine Residency program and hospital in Mason City, Iowa. In July, I will be going on to complete Fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Dr. Nick Germano

I should mention that I grew up in Shasta County, and left to go to UC Davis as an undergrad at 18, attended graduate school in New York, and eventually found myself in medical school in Arizona. Despite that last decade and a half of school and training, I retain a strong bond to Shasta County, where my parents and grandparents reside, and for me, it will always remain home. This is why I plan to permanently return one day to practice and live.

Like most of you, and certainly those working in healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic has been front and center for much of 2020. Like Shasta County, my County Public Health Department in Iowa took all the precautions necessary, including the “stay at home” provisions, very early on, which has so far greatly limited the impact on our communities, both in Iowa and here at home in Shasta County.

That said, physicians and other healthcare and public health leaders are not unaware that the “stay at home” orders have caused some real hardship on people and businesses. However, the current results of a relatively small number of cases, both here in Shasta County, and in Mason City, Iowa, should be celebrated as a success of decisive action, and not criticized as over reach and a vast conspiracy. This is said knowing that there is a very real possibility that a second wave is out there, and that our communities cannot let our guard down even though many want to feel that the threat is either over or worst yet, not real.

One aspect of this that can be difficult, for it is simply human nature, is that should we not see something with our own eyes, it can be difficult to contemplate the scale of what is happening. To that end, and to draw a stark comparison, let me share an experience. Very recently I volunteered to join my ICU Director here in Mason City to travel to one of the largest outbreak zones in the Midwest, in Sioux City, Iowa, to provide respite to the ICU physicians. These intensivists had been working weeks in a row, 12-14 hours a day, in full protective gear, in an area that could only be crudely described as a COVID-19 war zone.

As you may know, Sioux City, Iowa, has the unenviable distinction of being the number one Coronavirus growth city in America recently. With over 2,400 confirmed positive cases of the virus (knowing that the real number, because of the lack of community testing, is far higher) in a community the size of Redding (about 80,000 residents). Each of the two local hospitals had 70-80 coronavirus patients admitted on a regular basis, many of whom reside in expanded ICU rooms. In my time at the outbreak zone, I saw first-hand what a widespread pandemic looks like.

The mortality figures of those who end up in Intensive Care, from New York and around the world, are not exaggerated. Specifically, those who end up on ventilators exceed an 85% chance of dying. Those with disease progression past basic hospitalization will likely die from horrific multi-system organ failure.

We saw patients who remained intubated for weeks at a time, essentially decomposing on the ventilators through various wounds and bleeding, with no hope to remove them from the vents, but unable to stop treatment due to family wishes. Despite blood thinners, many patients form blood clots that travel to their lungs and cause them to go into cardiac or respiratory arrest from the strain. Should these patients survive, there is a high chance they move onto a bleeding phase that causes massive hemorrhage from nearly every orifice on their body. Those patients who were not intubated and sedated live in constant fear, knowing that should they end up on the ventilators they are essentially being condemned to die. The amazing nurses here, and other staff, try their best to comfort them, but there is no hiding the seriousness of the environment all around them. We lost several patients because of the virus each day, only to be replaced by new patients from the hospital floors or the Emergency Room. Staff were incredibly hard working, but outwardly and inwardly exhausted.

All of us wore personal protective equipment (PPE) from head to toe for our 12-hour shifts, not daring to take it off for fear of exposing ourselves and/or our loved ones at home. Patients’ family members were essentially barred from visiting (for safety reasons), but were allowed very short visits, to one or two people, in the case of end of life. Often, however, this wasn’t feasible, and in many cases they had to say their goodbyes over Facetime. The anxiety in the community was high, for when a family member gets sick from this virus and requires a trip to the hospital, families understood it may be the last time they will see them in person.

I have to say that my time spent helping were among the most difficult and exhausting days of my career so far. As I start my further Critical Care training at Creighton University Medical Center, I am thankful for this experience as I suspect I will unfortunately be seeing more of the worst this virus has to offer. While I am glad I could help and do my part, and see with my own eyes the tragic toll the virus can take, I sincerely hope that most of America, particularly my home town of Redding, never has to experience this.

The lesson to share is what you have all been hearing: socially distance, please wear a mask in public, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face, respect your public health officials and physicians, and take their advice seriously. Most of all, be thankful that the worst of this has not happened. If the community takes these steps seriously, you will greatly lessen the chance of seeing the worst of this disease. Since my parents and grandparents and extended family live in the North State, this is my sincere wish for them and for all those who live there.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nicholas Germano
Mason City, Iowa

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59 Responses

  1. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Great contribution, Doc.
    Thanks for offering some solid, astute, reliable medical advice. Like many US locations, some folks here in NorCal have over-politicized the pandemic response, and we’ve actually had county agents grandstanding, stumping for the camera, and selling their political snake oil in direct contradiction to public health opinion – all the while spouting off as if they knew more about pandemic response than the National Institute of Health, the National Academy of Science, and the CDC combined. It’s refreshing to have you chime in honestly, candidly, and professionally. You are a sight for sore eyes.

    Come on home real soon. We’ll leave a light on for ya.

    • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

      P.S.

      If truth be known, the population of Shasta County is being held hostage by a small group of elected officials that apparently believe they can overcome the pandemic with biblical verse, shotguns, and strict interpretation of the US Constitution. Send help!

  2. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    Dr. Germano, my daughter from Anderson went to college in York, Nebraska and now is on the staff at St Joseph Hospital in Phoenix. Though they do not work directly with COVI patients, those are sent to other hospitals, the staff at St Joseph are checked for temp and required to wear masks. Here in Phoenix there is a real concern over a second COVI wave, cases are rising and the death count flew past a thousand. The reopening with little masks and social distancing along with the protests are a real concern voiced by many health officials
    In contrast the Navajo Nation, at one point the worst COVI hot spot in the country, enforced very strict restrictions and curfews. Now it seems the Navajo Nation has peaked and seems stable but they are not reducing their restrictions. They protest the reopening of the Grand Canyon because the visitors will take away needed supplies from the Nation.
    If the majority of people continue to ignore health official warnings there will be a second wave and it will probably hit areas that have avoided the first wave like Shasta County.

  3. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Time and again when I make a trip to the Post Office or grocery store here in Eastern County, I’m the only one with mask and gloves. I cannot comprehend the thinking of the deniers. Those who say, “We all have to die of something,” should accompany Dr. Germano on rounds and view first hand the horror and tragedy of the pandemic. Thank you, Dr. Germano, for taking the time to write this piece. We look forward to having you back in Shasta County.

  4. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I had an uncle from Denver who died of COVID-19 about a month and a half ago. He went quickly, just two days after being admitted to the hospital, but he wasn’t allowed visitors in those last two days and died alone. Frankly, the prospect of lying in a hospital for days, thinking that I’m probably going to die and not being able to say goodbye to my wife, kids, and grandkids, is terrifying.

    Bill put it well. In Shasta County, we’ve benefitted from a combination of stringent measures taken elsewhere, relatively low population density, the lag period of transmission between cities to rural areas, and luck. Unfortunately, we have several Gomers and Goobers as leaders who want us to believe that our local good fortune so far proves COVID-19 is a hoax. It’s a plot to dethrone Der Pumpkinführer, to destroy the economy, to take away our freedoms, etc.

    Every day I look at ANC’s graph of cases, paying particularly close attention to the shape of the curve. There was a rapid rise when we finally ramped up testing—that was expected—followed by a leveling out. Now the curve is starting to bend up again, exceeding linear growth. Hold your horses.

    We’re likely going to pay a heavy toll for our self-righteousness, anti-science foolishness, and bad leadership.

  5. Avatar Kathy says:

    Thank you!

  6. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    “…The lesson to share is what you have all been hearing: socially distance, please wear a mask in public…respect your public health officials and physicians, and take their advice seriously…”

    I saw ~30% compliance with mask requirements at a supermarket in Redding yesterday.

    Why aren’t the stores even trying to enforce mask use in Shasta County?

    What do you say to someone who not only refuses to wear a mask, but brings their three (unmasked) kids with them to do the shopping?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Thirty percent? That’s pretty good. I’d put it at about 10% out here in Palo Cedro’s Holiday. Sadly, it’s mostly the elderly wearing masks. You can almost hear them thinking out loud: “Nobody gives a damn whether we live or die.”

  7. Avatar Semi-Retired says:

    What is wrong with people in Shasta County and elsewhere?
    The headlines in major news outlets all say wearing masks reduces the number of incidents, and they say another wave of covid is on the way. Yet these people refuse to recognize the science, or as someone previously put it are just “selfish assholes”, and IMO any talk about infringement on personal freedom or constitutional rights is just fluff. I try to shelter in place at home and work and I wear a mask when I shop or go out but the 30% figure seems about right for people who do mask up.

    • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

      “What is wrong with people in Shasta County and elsewhere?”

      I can’t speak to the “elsewhere” side of that question, but here in Shasta County, the problem appears to be that our skilled leadership has determined an appropriate pandemic response consists of torches, pitchforks, and field scythes. Social distancing is for those of inferior genetics. Wear a face mask at peril of being a “girly” man. The continued message to a concerned public remains clear:

      Virility, obstinance, and pure dumb luck will prevail over SARS CoV 2.

      As long as this mentality persists, expect and prepare for the worst.

      We fly on a wing and a prayer… The perpetual one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.
      Hopeful, but doomed. Fifty one cards shy of a full deck. Lights are on, nobody’s home.
      Can’t seem to keep their ducks all swimming in the same pond.
      God help us.

  8. Thank you, Dr. Germano, for sharing such a raw and sobering front-line view of what COVID-19 looks like in places where the virus is more prevalent than it is here. I appreciate so much this cautionary tale and warning for your hometown, and can only hope that people will heed your advice.

    Unfortunately, during my travels around Shasta County I’m sometimes one of a handful of people wearing masks. The attitude here seems to be that the threat from the Coronavirus was exaggerated, all danger is past, and life should return to “normal”.

    I fear that Shasta County may regret that lax attitude come fall. I hope I’m wrong.

    Thank you for your work. Stay safe!

  9. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    New evidence continues to pile up that there is no way to end the pandemic without wearing masks to block transmission:

    “Study: 100% face mask use could crush second, third COVID-19 wave…”

    https://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Study-100-face-mask-use-could-crush-second-15333170.php

  10. Avatar Miguel says:

    Well, that was sobering (yet again). Thanks for taking the time to give us an example of, “this is what it really looks like.” And thanks for your service. I hope you stay safe, Doc.

  11. Avatar Barbara Stone says:

    Here’s what I know: I work with Redding Fashion Alliance, and we are still making hospital gowns and masks for the county. My husband and son both work for the federal government and are still teleworking, no word on when the offices will re-open. And my southern California and Bay Area relatives are still staying at home, wearing masks, and washing hands.

    As for me, I am wearing a mask when I go out and I wash my hands frequently. Small price to pay.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Barbara S., I’m glad you’re here today. I’ve been wondering whether there is still a continued need for additional gowns and masks for the medical community in Shasta County (haven’t heard much about it lately). It stands to reason that the gowns are for our medical community; is the RFA also making masks available to the general public? Sorry, I don’t remember who it was/is(?) making the masks for sale at Enjoy The Store. I wear a mask as well and as weather gets nice and people loosen the reins (even more) on social distancing I think it’s important for people who’d like to wear a mask but aren’t able to make them themselves/don’t have access to the internet/don’t know how to navigate ordering online/can’t afford, etc., to know what local resources are available to them in order to acquire one or two. THANK YOU to you and RFA for stepping in and stepping up to help fill a need (and thanks for personally wearing a mask in closely shared public spaces; I appreciate you for doing so cuz frankly it’s hot and it sucks. Still, as you say, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay).

  12. Avatar Bob Barbanes says:

    Look, this whole mask brouhaha is just silly. As Dr. Germano pointed out, we have no idea…NO IDEA how many people have the coronavirus but don’t have any symptoms. No friggin’ idea. So all of you self-righteous mask-wearers, you think that makes you safe? Immune? Sure, go about your business in public with your mask proudly on (but no gloves, right?)! Then go home, take it off and give COVID19 to grandma, or whomever. Pass it on.

    Let’s look at some numbers. Iowa has 3.155 million people. They report 20,015 confirmed coronavirus cases. You know what that means? It means only 0.63% of the state’s population has been infected with COVID19. A little over one-half of *one* percent. Do you believe that? I surely don’t. That number has got to be a *LOT* higher. I think it’s more like 40%. That means there is a crap-ton of people walking around with the disease who don’t even know they have it. If they had symptoms, they’d go get tested and the number of confirmed cases would be higher. But where are these people? The word is out on that infamous “poke and prod the bottom of your brain” Q-tip procedure. Trust me, NOBODY is going to get tested if they don’t have symptoms.

    What we *SHOULD* have been doing from the beginning is protecting the people who we were told were in the biggest at-risk groups: The elderly and older people with previous health problems. Those people should’ve been quarantined, not healthy people. That’s absurd – and backward. Also, not allowing family members in to see dying relatives was equally absurd in inhumane. What, did the hospitals think that the CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS might become infected and get sick from the coronavirus? They already were! Absurd. We should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation for letting that happen.

    Hey, old people, listen up! You can order your groceries online and they’ll deliver them right to your door now! It’s a thing. You never have to leave your house and mingle with God-knows-how-many young people with no symptoms. In other words, STAY THE HELL HOME! Let the rest of us young people go on living our lives.

    Oh, and by the way, the number of new cases and deaths in Iowa has fallen off drastically. Check it out! On June 6th, Iowa did not have even one single death. I believe they have reached this so-called “herd immunity” early. And Iowa had *no* statewide mandatory lockdown or “stay-at-home” order! Imagine that! So good luck, California…you’re still in for a long ride. The coronavirus ain’t going away on its own.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Iowa as of June 12, 2:42 PDT
      Total cases 23,338
      Today’s new cases 359
      Total deaths 643
      Today’s new deaths 3

    • Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

      In Arizona the new COVI studies show that over 40% of new cases are in the 20-44 age group that are the ones showing up in bars with no masks. So much for only the elderly.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        “…new COVI studies…”

        Of the trending analyses arising out of the COVID pandemic, the more interesting, to me, are those being witnessed amongst the younger patients. Although severe disease is infrequent, it has distinctive features of onset, presentation, and progression.

        Generally, these differences between child and adult presentations of COVID are thought to be attributable to immune system health, existing health issues, and – most recently – prior histories of infection, ranging from other coronaviruses to Epstein-Barr. These studies are very early in data assertion, but they are gaining great interest.

        The neurological symptoms of COVID, particularly amongst the young, are thought to be somewhat predictive of disease severity. In addition to basic reflexive dysfunctions, there have been a number of case studies published describing viral encephalitis and guillain-barre variants with degrees of paralysis. At least one case of VE in an 11 year old, the child actually presented with VE after having been infected for only 5 days at least this is suspected. For those looking for further info, my best results have been in the NCBI, the NEJM, and the JAMA. Good luck…

    • Avatar SB says:

      You seem to have it all figured out! Thank you for your educated and enlightened words! If you weren’t here to contribute, I just may have gone ahead and listened to all of those people who spent 10-12 years studying medicine, biology, and science, rather than listen to couch potatoes who surf the internet and watch cable news for their information. So thank you, kind sir for that wealth of useful information!

    • Avatar Miguel says:

      Well .. that was certainly ..
      Entertaining?
      And with that we can either .. laugh ..
      Or cry.

  13. Avatar Candace says:

    Bob B,
    I’m 63 yrs old. I have my groceries delivered and prescriptions mailed. I’ve seen my 87 diabetic step-father in person exactly twice since March; both times we both wore masks and stood a good distance away from one another. NO ONE I know with a functioning brain thinks they’re immune from getting the virus simply because they wear a mask. Hospitals with dying Covid patients don’t allow relatives to visit is for the protection of the VISITOR not the patient; a visitor who after being exposed runs a higher risk of contracting the virus and ending up in that very same hospital or passing it on to others. You want to cherry pick states for stats? Let’s look at New York and Chicago where my YOUNG kids live and are staying home as much as possible and wearing masks when they’re around others outside of their apartments because they’re NOT self-righteous assholes who believe the the simple fact of them BEING young ENTITLES them to not give a shit about other “at risk” people. ALL “ at risk” people (God-knows -how many) are not OLD; check it out, it’s a “thing”. Finally, if you live in Shasta County as well as many other cities, counties, states, NOBODY is MAKING you stay home right now; not even the people choosing to wear masks.

  14. Avatar Semi-Retired says:

    Candace,
    Thank you again for so eloquently rebutting Bob B. and all the haters and selfish a**holes.

    And Bob B., try educating yourself before you go off half cocked, the scientists will tell you the reason to wear a mask is primarily to prevent others from catching the virus, gods and heaven forbid you or someone you know or love catch this disease from anyone much less some young person so self absorbed that they can’t be a good citizen and take precaution for the good of the community or even themselves especially with all the asymptomatic people with the virus.

  15. Avatar Debborah Duncan says:

    Well said. I’m a retired critical care nurse. This pandemic is real and hopefully anyone reads this will realize the only safe way to leave home is with a mask and hand sanitizer.
    Thankful for Drs and Nurses and all other health care providers for your steadfast commitment to take care of your patients and their extended families. The danger to your own health and your families is very real. Thank you for tolerating full PPE during your long shifts.
    I feel the government should forgive all student debt for anyone who is working in the medical field right now. Thankful to have people like you

  16. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Bob B. certainly personifies the ME, ME, ME mindset that is prevalent in Shasta County.

  17. Avatar Jennie Morgan says:

    It’s very, very simple. I wash my hands to protect myself, I wear a mask to protect OTHERS.

  18. Avatar SB says:

    That message was to Bob B. By the way. These comments get jumbled

  19. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Dr. Germano,

    Many thanks for your profoundly accurate but distressing view from the real world of Covid. As of yesterday, these are the numbers of new cases in the following states:

    TX: 2012
    FL: 1902
    NC: 1846
    AZ: 1654
    CA: 3613

    (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/)

    But on a brighter note, during last Tuesday morning’s “Geezer Hours” at WinCo, I spotted only 3 customers out of 50-60 who were unmasked. That’s something, I suppose.

  20. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    I believe that people can practice REASONABLE safety while still living, to a largely normal degree. Until herd immunity via infection or vaccine is achieved, there will continue to be infections and deaths, and there will be flare ups of COVID-19. It is a pandemic, for goodness’ sake. However, the media and politicians (all stripes and parties) who scared (and continue to scare) the life out of the populace, so that mass one-size-fits-all shutdowns could be instituted, should be shouted down (or worse), and voted out of office, respectively.

    We are protecting our elderly at the expense of our young. It is natural to fixate on the high mortality rate of our elderly and protect them, but we need to remember it is at the short and long term expense of our young. The young are suffering from substandard education, which may result in long term consequences. There are potential long term impacts from lack of socialization and activity at critical ages in their development. Economically, we are foisting massive debt on our youngest generations, which will inevitably have long term consequences.

    It is ironic that younger generations, least at risk, have little or no say in the policies that the older generations, most at risk, are implementing.

    • Avatar Ed Marek says:

      “…the media and politicians (all stripes and parties) who scared (and continue to scare) the life out of the populace, so that mass one-size-fits-all shutdowns could be instituted, should be shouted down (or worse)…”

      The sad thing is that those who made such comments last May, delaying and weakening our short semi-effective national period of “social distancing”, already have caused over 100,000 unnecessary American deaths.

      Listening to them in the future could well kill hundreds of thousands more.

      And yet, unable to admit to and learn from their terrible mistake, they continue to push the same despicable lies.

  21. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Bob B. Anti mask nonsense is a lack of common sense is nothing short of ignorant.
    Doug thinks we are protecting the elderly at the expense of the young. Another concept bordering on plane stupidity.

    Both of these attitudes are contributing factors to the fight against COVID.

    Obviously Bob is part of the cottonwood mentality.
    Doug is part of the whoa is me I’ve got to get back to work regardless of the consequences mentality.

    Sorry Doug, sorry Bob, you both are out of step with facts.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Here are the facts, Chad. “About 80% of Americans who have died of Covid-19 are older than 65, and the median age is 80. A review by Stanford medical professor John Ioannidis last month found that individuals under age 65 accounted for 4.8% to 9.3% of all Covid-19 deaths ” For most people under the age of 65, the study found, the risk of dying from Covid-19 isn’t much higher than from getting in a car accident driving to work. In California and Florida, the fatality risk for the under-65 crowd is about equal to driving 16 to 17 miles per day.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        Doug –
        Regardless of the current statistics wrt mortality, disease propensity, and demographics of COVID severity, it is important to remember that we are early in the disease recognition process, and there may be unrecognized perils in the mix.

        Jury is still out on the long term dynamics of COVID-19 infection, and even those that survive the initial asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic immune response may be harboring predispositions for health conditions as yet undetermined. Best to absorb all the facts before making presumptions that science may eventually refute.

        Relative to medical science, immunology is in it’s infancy, and 90% of the gains in understanding of human immune response have been developed just in the past decade. To quote the Carpenters: “We’ve Only just Begun…”

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          So what do you want to do, Bill? Keep the economy shut down? Keep kids out of school? Keep paying me for being out or work? 99% survival rate, Bill. Life has its risks – I was up flying this morning, knowing full well the risk factor. Glad I was able to have the freedom of choice to take that risk.

          You can continue quarantining yourself as long as you wish. No one is stopping you.

          • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

            Doug,
            You are correct, no one is preventing individual responsibility for attempting to slow the pandemic.

            The real good news is some one is preventing your unabashed attitude toward COVID.

            And Doug, I don’t mind my tax dollars going to support you during this period of time. Perhaps your mindset will change toward those people on welfare assistance.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I am not getting government assistance because of anything I did, or a poor decision I made. I am on unemployment because of the government. they told me I couldn’t work my job. I also don’t accept thsi money as a life choice, the second I’m allowed back to work…I will gladly give up the unemployment money. My guess, Chad is that you will end up blaming President Trump for the $8 trillion increase in federal spending because of the virus, right?

            I haven’t read anything from you or Bill criticizing the protesters filling our streets. Is that also unbashed attitude towards Covid-19? Why are protesters ok? , but I can’t go back to work to provide for my family?

          • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

            “So what do you want to do…”

            Until such a time as either a vaccine or herd immunity becomes imminent, this interim portion of the pandemic response should be all about research, education, and adherence to the dynamics of safe practices. I don’t believe for a moment that folks can’t go about their business to a sensible degree, assured that they are aware of the consequences of a failed return to normalcy.

            Pandemic response is not a game for the impatient, nor the meek. What if innate immunity proves it to a null factor? IOW, what if COVID antibodies do not provide immunity from subsequent infection? Enter round two – a second wave of COVID – and all those previously infected get their second dose, and those of that managed to avoid a first infection become ill as well. This question mark remains foremost amongst the abundance of what we don’t know.

            My thesis is essentially that we don’t know that which we can’t know, and until all the votes are in, optimal precautions are warranted. Go back to work, man. But be aware, be careful. Like daddy used to say…
            “Put a helmet on that soldier.”

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:

            “I am not getting government assistance because of anything I did, or a poor decision I made. I am on unemployment because of the government. they told me I couldn’t work my job. I also don’t accept thsi money as a life choice…”

            Yes, that’s exactly the choice you have made.

            Apparently, you want to work at a job that both risks the lives of others, and is considered “nonessential” to society.

            Stop whining, and get a job in a supermarket, or in any another “essential” activity.

            That way, you won’t have to resume complaining again this Fall, when the “second wave” death rate leads to the next panicked and ill-considered emergency declaration.

            Your former job may well be gone forever, or at least maybe it should be.

            Does it not occur to you that this is only the first of many pandemics to come, proving that the present world economic system is fundamentally unstable?

            You think that THE NEXT novel virus pandemic will also only have a one or two percent fatality rate?

            Do we really wish to bet our future on such a foolish assumption?

  22. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    “It is a pandemic, for goodness’ sake.”

    It’s about time someone recognized it as such. It’s really unfortunate that these 100 year dilemmas lie somewhat outside the constraints of human longevity. Without direct experiential exposure, we – the global we; the royal we – are woefully inept at recognizing the signature prelude to these large scale events.

    Taken in combination, the time it took for WHO to acknowledge our COVID plague as being of epic pandemic proportion, the slow CDC response time in producing an effective test, and the complacencies in mass producing simple, basic PPE – it is painfully apparent that:

    As a global civilization, we are slow to learn from history. If I survive to see the next one, I’ll be the first to let ya’ll know the sky is falling.

  23. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    I sent Dr. Germano’s excellent article to a good friend (conservative) who lives in Sedona, AZ, and just received this in reply:

    “We got an email from our friends that live in Canada and that come here in the winter. She gave us an interesting update from their province (New Brunswick) …”

    “All was going great here until 2 weeks ago! There is a doctor from the northern part of our province that went to Quebec (the hot spot of Canada)for the weekend to pick up his son and upon returning was told to isolate for 14days but he went right back to work and dropped off his son at daycare. They both ended up positive and now we have 1 death and 30 active cases from him. He has been suspended and probably will get criminal charges. People here are not very happy!!”

    And

    “Doesn’t sound like we will be going across the border this coming winter, but we will see as time goes on. Canadian health insurance companies will not supply health insurance until the numbers are under control and there is a vaccine.”

  24. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    These doctors had another view of the pandemic, and reached much the same conclusions:

    “These San Francisco doctors flew to New York to fight the coronavirus — and they have a warning for us

    KEY POINTS

    San Francisco doctors who volunteered to help in New York during Covid-19 outbreak have now returned home.

    They describe some of the terrifying scenes they saw, and note that many patients were in their 40s and 50s.

    They urge people to take the public health guidelines seriously…

    “I’m in a dark place right now,” he told me by phone in late May. “Everyone is impatient. A lot of people are feeling done with this pandemic. They don’t understand this is how it is going to be for a while.”

    Covid-19 is still a major part of the national conversation, but researchers have found growing evidence of a “pandemic fatigue.” Many people are itching for life to resume as normal after months of sheltering in place. Moreover, many states are re-opening shuttered businesses, and President Trump has stated that he’s planning to hold rallies, all which is sending a signal that the pandemic is under control.

    But as of June, Covid-19 is still spreading in the United States. Arizona, Texas and Utah, among other states, are reporting an increase in diagnosed cases and hospitalizations. Epidemiologists and public health experts remain worried.

    Now, these doctors are urging anybody who will listen to take the pandemic seriously and keep observing precautions.

    “There’s no way to describe how awful this disease is until you see it,” said Dr. Michelle Yu, a pulmonary and critical care doctor from UCSF…”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/13/san-francisco-doctors-recount-experience-fighting-coronavirus-in-nyc.html

    • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

      Ed,
      I forget the exact amount of doctors and healthcare professionals from UCSF who actually went to New York. but the number of doctors, nurses, specialty nurses and healthcare professionals who volunteered to go to New York were in the thousands.
      I put in 24 years at UCSF, not as a medical professional, and knew many of those who volunteered.
      They are a very special group of folks.

  25. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Good post, Ed. I salute your perspective. The peripheral side-shows of errant human behavior we witness along the road to either herd immunity or a vaccine are precisely the origin of the word pandemonium – madness, chaos, abject despair wrapped around insanity ad Infinitum.

    It’s not easy to be patient in the face of desperation, but the alternative of an early, uninformed, flagrant return to pre-pandemic social normalcy could quickly deteriorate into the bedlam we were witness to in Northern Italy a few weeks ago…and what Brazil is experiencing as I write…on a global scale.
    Under such maddening conditions, I can only imagine there’s no room for impatience…
    No time to think …and barely room to breathe.

  26. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Just a short note to reinforce my concerns, and something to consider before you go getting all thrilled about the prospect of a quick California return to normalcy:

    Noting from today’s’ Worldometer figures, California is leading the nation in numbers of new daily cases, while still #27 in per capita (number of tests performed per million residents) testing. We still don’t have a handle on how many of those are asymptomatic cases, and contact tracing measures – though being implemented – cannot possibly keep the pace of this accelerated infection rate.

    In addition, the forefront technology of predicting urban COVID spikes from waste water analysis is gainfully in progress, and suggests that much of CA is not even close to the case load threshhold that is reflected by residential sewage analytics. I don’t know that the technology will see use in Shasta County, but it has already shown predictive benefit as close by Corning. Food for thought…

  27. Avatar Richard Roy Christoph says:

    Per Worldometer, the daily average of new Covid cases in the U.S. on Thursday, Friday, and today is 25,274. The trend is not downward.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Cases are caught by testing, and when testing increases, so do cases. The cases will flatten out too. A more accurate picture is to look at the deaths…those are trending down.

      • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

        Doug,

        Perhaps you are correct, but a more accurate assessment of that can be made in a month or two.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Whats going to happen in a month or two, Richard? Maybe Shasta will have 2 more confirmed cases, maybe hospitals will still have no virus cases as it is right now. Maybe in a month or two, even more small businesses will go under and never return, msybe in a month or two our children will become even more depressed and damaged from not being able to play outside. Participate in sports, socialize with friends. Maybe in a month or two my job will completely disappear. Maybe in a month or two Redding will run out of money from the reduction of tax revenue.

  28. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    “Maybe in a month or two Redding will run out of money from the reduction of tax revenue.”

    No worries.
    Bethel would like the opportunity to bail out Redding, and create a general sense of indebtedness, gratitude, and obligation. I suspect they would enjoy a local recruiting effort during these stressful times. Have you considered having a team of supernatural Bethelites come over and lay hands on your business…mumble a few mumbo-jumbos…suck on a few gravesites…roll a few Holies….maybe pass the collection plate a time or two.
    As your president has said time and again: What have you got to lose?

  29. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Doug,
    You seem to be happy that there are funds available to provide assistance to those with jobs being impacted by COVID.
    Regardless of your denial, you my friend are receiving welfare.

    Does not matter if it is your fault or not.
    Do you think everyone on welfare like yourself are getting assistance because it is their fault?
    Do you think single parents receiving SNAP or health benefits are getting this help because it is their fault.
    Do you think those dying from COVID are dead because it is their fault?

    You are not a separate case who are unable to work during this time.
    Why has Cattlemens refused to reopen? Do you think they are being vindictive to YOU?
    Perhaps they think 180 degrees opposite from you. Perhaps they are being proactive during this time.

    Your whoa is me weeping is falling on deaf ears.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      I no longer work at Cattlemens. Haven’t been there for 6 years. But coincidentally, at this very moment I am dining at Cattlemens enjoying a prime rib…they have in fact
      reopened. Mention my name and you’ll get a good seat.

      As Shannon said. Our positive cases versus number of tested is 7/10ths of one percent. Nobody is hospitalized, The curve is flat. The emergency is over. Why can’t we reopen? How many more businesses are you willing to lose in this town? You are retired so you don’t care. 4 people have died so far…fewer than have died on our roads since the outbreak. Do you support the BLM protests? So forgetting about social distancing is ok if its a good cause?

  30. Avatar Shannon D HICKS says:

    Presently our county’s percentage of positive cases versus tests administered (case positivity) is .00726 or 7/10ths of one percent.

    Hopefully, the county will publish weekly and monthly case positivity rates as this metric indicates potential spikes in community spread. More case #’s as testing increases is to be expected. Case positivity is the number to watch closely.

  31. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    The IHME, one of the most influential if “optimistic” of the respected pandemic trackers has significantly increased its fatality estimates for the USA, and California, due to the recent “relaxation” of “social distancing” public health regulations:

    For the USA, “201,129 COVID-19 deaths
    projected by October 1, 2020”

    https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

    For California, 15,155 COVID-19 deaths
    projected by October 1, 2020″

    https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/california

    When you look at the daily death curves you can see the daily fatalities are expected to keep falling for one or two more months, both nationwide, and in individual states like California. The IHME has always used a relatively large seasonal adjustment in its projections, relative to other models.

    Notice, however, that “optimism” during the warmer months, quickly turns to “pessimism” as temperatures cool down. By October first, daily fatalities are expected to nearly double nationwide, and over treble in California, from today’s levels.

    The implication is that we have about five months until the pandemic resurgence brings about the higher infection rates and daily death rates than we had back in April, when the panic finally forced the trump regime to take action.

    Are we really going to let the huge benefits from the Summer “tailwind” go to waste, just so we can party for a few months, before we bring about another disaster?

    Are we really going to wait for another 100,0000 Americans to die this Summer, before we do something?

  32. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    The last sentence of my comment should read:

    “Are we really going to wait for another 100,000 Americans to die this Summer…”

    For a number of (mostly) less “optimistic” pandemic forecasts, see:

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/covid-forecasts/?ex_cid=rrpromo

  33. Avatar Kristin says:

    This is a means to control and shape the masses. Next comes Google/Silicon Valley’s technocracy. See what China looks like, we’re next. See what Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates are up to, especially in NY.

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      There are so many ways to control and shape the masses that have been around since there have been masses to shape and control.
      To what end is the question.
      You bring up China in a vague way. Which of their attributes could get through our Constitution that you fear will happen because controlling and shaping the masses is a tool of capitalist societies also. Our nation has been instilled in this since, well, the Constitutional Convention where they devised a plan to shape and control the masses of our new Country.

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