By Jim Bailey, R.N.
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I am a Registered Nurse and have been one for better than 30 years. I also hold an elected position in local government. Being in the healthcare field, like you, I work with exercises to limit disease transmission on a day to day basis. Trying to pass on the same strategies learned in the healthcare field to people making decisions in local, and higher, government is a head banging, uphill sort of thing.
You are a physician, so you should be a step up on understanding this. You also have a bully pulpit to ask the hard questions not being asked by the media. The media looks at the credentials of these really smart people and they just go along with whatever is said. Same thing, I think, with Larry Nassir. He was the MSU physician who molested how many hundreds of women? Parents were in the same room as the physician while he was molesting some of the girls and the parents did not say anything. Out of the hundreds of women, there was only a couple to a few that raided any questions. These folks, I think, figured Nassir was a Doc and knew what he was doing. Again, people going along with the credentials.
The current government strategy is unsustainable and going to get people killed. We have a chance to correct that by getting the correct information out into the public and into the government folks who can make a difference. We just need to use the current strategies already followed in the healthcare field to be used in the public arena. Let us look at some facts:
A foundation here is this is a respiratory, airborne disease. Hand washing is just a component in the equation.
- Hunkering in place is not sustainable. The public and government still needs to function. To keep people individually unprotected is putting everyone at risk. A face mask can provide varying degrees of protection. A face to face contact is 100% inefficient to protecting an individual from the virus. An N-95 mask is 95% efficient, 5% inefficient, assuming a correct fit. There are materials out there that could provide a N-90 or N-85 level of protection. Some protection is better than nothing for the public. I saw your presentation about health care workers using bandanas. How efficient is a bandana? We have really smart people on colleges and universities who are supported by the government. Among those folks are people who know about materials and have done research on the efficiency of face masks. We could ask the government to contact them to find out what is a Plan B for not having face masks. Materials that are effective, can readily be used for face masks, low cost, readily available, and can be used for homemade masks or commercially produced.
- You know what Universal Precautions are. Everyone is considered infectious and treated accordingly. Instead of worrying about testing everyone and how many have been tested, etc. it does not matter if everyone is perceived as infectious. Testing should be Docs to know what treatments to give.
- The government is trying to stress hand washing. This is a respiratory, airborne disease. Hand washing is just part of the equation. It is misleading the public to think along the wrong route to self-protect.
The Governor and others in government are stressing hand washing. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on television with Seth Meyers talking about hygiene and hand washing to combat the coronavirus. Friend, this is a fatal flaw in the government’s strategy to whatever they are doing. This disease is a respiratory, airborne disease. Hand washing is just part of the equation. A face to face contact is the way to get infected. To show how misleading the hand washing thing is to the public, look at these examples readily taken from the T.V. news:
- Joe Biden had a political rally in Michigan, during the Presidential Primary, a couple weeks ago. Biden’s staff were requiring attendees to take a squirt of hand sanitizer. This was a political rally with yelling and shouting generating virus laden droplets for anyone who was infected. Again, this is a respiratory, airborne disease.
- A marathon was held where the runners had a hand sanitizer station. This was an event where there was deep breathing, so an infected individual would be expelling the virus and an uninfected individual would be sucking it in under the right distances.
- There was a news report where kids going to Florida beaches, for Spring Break, were interviewed. These kids were asked how they were going to protect themselves from the virus? The response was that they had plenty of hand sanitizer.
This disease is a respiratory, airborne disease and this intentional or unintentional misleading of the public, by the government, is incomprehensible. Other government people are making bad decisions as a result. There was a recent minor strike by bus drivers in the City of Detroit, out of concern for their health. The drivers and City were concerned about deep cleaning and social distancing, among other things like access to bathrooms. It did not register that what these folks were dealing with was a respiratory, airborne disease. They were thinking only about cleaning and stuff. The bus is no different than a restaurant or a bar, and to be fair, Walmart, Target, Costco, or the local hardware store. When someone gets on the bus, they are sealed into a confined area sharing the same air. The heaters are moving the air within the bus. There is no “social distancing”. The air is shared. Again, this is a respiratory, airborne disease. The bus driver and others need face masks for personal protection which also allows the people to freely interact. A face mask provides protection in two ways: from an infected individual spreading the virus and then screens the virus from uninfected individual breathing the virus in.
- Trying to light a fire under folks in government is totally uphill. It is eating up time while government folks wait to see circumstances develop around them in order for them to consider things already told to them to possibly consider. They are wasting valuable time. One thing could be done is to go to local governments and put them on the spot by asking them how they are preparing. This is important because local government can be crippled. In Washington State, the Kirkland Fire Department dealing with the Kirkland nursing home where 19 residents have died, had 20 to 24 paramedics quarantined. How many government staff members can be sick, quarantined, or die before the department becomes crippled? We can wait for the government to put things into place to limit exposure, but we both know that is not smart to do. I have tried to clue in some local governments, police unions, DOT unions, etc. and these folks do not have a clue. We need to move faster on this or we are going to possibly see many dead.
I am enclosing some considerations for looking at decreasing the chances of exposure to the disease. Department heads in local governments need to sit down and examine all their procedures in interacting with the public. Some local governments are just delaying doing stuff and continuing to play catch up. Just Tuesday, the City of Detroit sat down with their police union to look at how they can limit staff exposure to the virus. Because they are not working with disease transmission on a day to day basis, and because they are mainly seeing the problem as a “hand washing” sort of thing, some of their solutions will come up short. Make the local governments do it instead of letting them do what they want at their own speed. Doing everything in this situation is better done sooner than later. Learn the lessons from others instead of re-learning the lessons. In Washington State, the Kirkland nursing home that was first hit, and has had like 19+ deaths, there were 20 to 24 Kirkland paramedics who had to be quarantined.
How many government staff members, firefighters, police, Clerk Office workers, electrical inspectors, etc., can be sick, quarantined or dead before that government and community starts to be crippled? These things need to be worked out before things get ugly. It is better to be prepared for the worse, but still hope for the best. I have included some considerations to be “food for thought”.
Some pandemic considerations to think about as the disease spreads:
- This is a respiratory, airborne disease. Had washing is only a part of the equation.
- There are three main ways of increased exposure and increased chance of being infected. One, is large crowd situations of face to face contact. Two, confined populations like jails, nursing homes, prisons, hospitals. Three, situations where there are large numbers of face to face contacts, i.e. police officers, firefighters, border crossing guards, store tellers, etc.
- Closing bars and restaurants does what? You can still go to Wal Mart, Costco, Target or the local hardware stores. The main way an individual will be infected will be from face to face contact.
- Getting onto a public bus differs from a restaurant or bar how? The bus is confined. It has a common air. The heaters are on. Air is circulating. A recent research paper states the coronavirus particles can remain suspended in the air for up to three hours. Where is the consistent public thinking on this? Some places closed and others that are conducive to the transmission of the virus left open.
- The World Health Organization generated a report on the coronavirus saying that airborne transmission is minimal. Just saw a news report, on T.V., where WHO has made it a requirement to wear a face mask to enter their offices. The government tells you not to wear a face mask, but it is O.K. for health workers and paramedics. How do their lungs differ from yours? Think people. The government is mis-leading you When you are told something, or hear it, ask yourself, “Does that sound right?”.
- If firefighters sleep in a common room are there room purifier HEPA filters running to limit any virus that may be floating because someone is unknowingly infected.
- Universal Precautions were developed during the AIDS epidemic. Everyone is considered infectious. This needs to be ramped up, for the coronavirus because this is a respiratory, airborne disease. Universal Precautions including respiratory precautions, meaning face masks.
- Police cars will be carrying infected people. This exposes police officers without face masks. The heaters in the cars will blow the virus around the vehicle.
- When an infected individual is transferred back to the police station, does the air system distribute the virus particles around the whole building?
- How many police officers, fire fighters, or Clerk’s Office workers to die, be sick, or quarantined before the government is crippled? Are these department heads sitting down and looking at all procedures to limit exposure for staff and the spread of the disease?
- Shutting down government, commerce, and interactions is not sustainable. What is Plan? Folks, you need to put the spurs into these public officials and get them to think outside the box in a pro-active way, not after the fact if one is going to get ahead of the virus and the crisis. – How many times due the television channels keep repeating the same programs over and over before the public shoots themselves? Is the objective to get the public to memorize the show, film, or program?
- The government is hinting at this being a respiratory, airborne disease. They say to social distance yourself. Cover your mouth and sneezes. Hunker down. This is code to say that the coronavirus is a respiratory, airborne disease.
- The Prime Minister of Germany says that the things they are doing is to buy time. There is no time to buy. They are only thinking that doing nothing and isolate people will work. There is NO Plan B. Society and government must continue to function. The plan that is in place now does not do that.
- Same mis-leading information is given by the government of Germany as here in the U.S. Washing hands is stressed more than protection of the air you breathe. This is universally going to spread the disease and kill people.
- How do church meetings differ from restaurants and bars? The churches who continue to use common communion chalices or have someone give the bread of life into your mouth puts everyone at risk. Why takes the chance?
- Restaurants and bars are closed. Food is still provided as carry out. If an infected individual is preparing or delivering to food by an infected individual doesn’t that spread the disease? If the cook has to wear a hair net, then why not require a face mask? People who are asymptomatic and with mild symptoms are still shedding the virus which someone else can pick up.
- We are told there are no cures or vaccines for the virus. Cuba and China seem to making some progress with an anti-viral med they have that was developed for AIDS and another virus. If you find you are being treated, make sure you inquire about it Sooner or later the medical system will catch up to these other countries in terms of treatment.
Featured Photo by: Charo Gutierrez