THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Posted In: News, Investigative Reporting, By: Robert E Martin
14th April, 2020 0
COVID-19 cases in Michigan are plateauing indicating that the ability to lift the lockdown and reopen the state are on the horizon. At a press conference yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed since April 3 when the state reported nearly 2,000 new cases the decline dropped to 997 new cases on Monday.
Michigan’s lockdown has closed businesses statewide and led more than 1 million people - a quarter of the state’s workforce - to file for unemployment. Whitmer said sustaining the plateau of COVID-19 cases is one factor that will inform her decision on reopening the state’s economy. Michigan also needs to ramp up testing and hospitals must have the resources to handle remaining cases, Whitmer said.
State officials are developing a plan to safely ease stay-home restrictions that have been in place since March 24, Whitmer said, adding the plan will likely be rolled out in phases. “We need to get this right,” she said. “It’s going to be a data-driven approach based on facts, based on science, based on recommendations from experts, epidemiologists and economists.”
Meanwhile, Michigan has the highest number of unemployment claims in the Great Lakes region and the third-highest number in the country, behind only California and Pennsylvania. The influx has overloaded the state’s unemployment filing system, crashing the website multiple times - again - but this time just as the head of the state labor department was expected to outline how the state would apply benefits for self-employed workers.
Michigan’s ability to develop immunity to the new coronavirus will be crucial in laying out plans for the state’s return to normal. At least three Michigan health systems are working to answer questions on the topic.
Dr. Matthew Sims, who heads infection research at Beaumont Health, will lead a study that could help lead to treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19. Beaumont Health, the state’s largest hospital system, announced a large-scale study on Monday that it hopes could lead to treatment for COVID-19 or guide vaccine development. Henry Ford Health System is poised to do a similar, if much smaller, study. And in Owosso, Memorial Healthcare, a 150-bed facility with more than two dozen satellites, is also developing serologic testing to determine whether there is broad immunity to COVID-19.
New York hospitalizations also continued to flatten, with total admissions virtually stable at 18,000 and with ICU patients and intubations declining since Sunday. So far, those numbers have been far below the level officials initially braced for. This has also been confirmed from directives instructing doctors list all confirmed and ‘presumptive’ deaths as being COVID-19 elated, as was previously reported by The Review.
That tension was on display Monday as two other sets of governors in addition to Whitmer said they would coordinate how and when they might gradually ease their restrictions on travel and business. Shortly before both initiatives were announced, President Donald Trump tweeted that he alone had the authority to decide when states would return to normal.
According to a study by Goldman-Sachs, much of the improvement is probably a direct consequence of social distancing and the plunge in economic activity, and could reverse quickly if people just went back to work. “But even if this means that a return to “business as usual” is off the table until we have a vaccine, it might be possible to bring back at least part of the lost output with a sharp increase in testing as well as more limited changes to business practices that lower the risk of infection.
“In particular, the manufacturing and construction sectors—which by our estimates account for about half of the total hit to GDP in April—might well be able to increase production from the depressed current levels quite soon. For example, the US auto industry is currently planning to go from production at just 25% of capacity in April to 70% in May, following a thorough cleaning of the plants.”
Another whistleblower, Dr. Cameron Kyle-Sidell is a doctor treating patients in New York City’s Maimonides Medical Center. Nine days ago Dr. Cameron opened an Intensive Care Unit to care for COVID-19 patients in New York City and believes we are treating the wrong disease and should be using oxygen therapy instead of ventilators.
Here is what he learned in his own words:
“In February, South Korean physicians reported that critical Covid-19 patients responded well to oxygen therapy without a ventilator. Patients are getting multiple organ damage from hypoxia. It’s not the pneumonia that’s the killer, it’s the cellular oxygen deprivation. And we are hurting these patients with ventilators.”
And finally, the largest study to date of US hospital admissions for COVID-19 reveals that obesity and age are the largest factors in whether a person had to be admitted to a hospital - a realization that helps quantify susceptible segments of the population and further advances the argument for vertical as opposed to horizontal social distancing.
The study, consisting of 4,103 patient records of those who tested positive for the virus between March 1st and April 2nd, revealed that "The chronic condition with the strongest association with critical illness was obesity, with a substantially higher odds ratio than any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease," according to Christopher M. Petrilli of NYU's Grossman School and lead author of the paper
"Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with Covid-19 disease in New York City," printed April 11th on the medRxiv pre-print server, according to ZD.net, which notes that the paper has not undergone peer-review.
Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)