Quarantine Day 25: Difference without Distinction

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The debate over the safety and efficacy of using malaria drugs to treat COVID patients continues as we are now five days away from the mythical apex for COVID cases. One emerging aspect of this debate is a growing realization these drugs don’t appear to fight the COVID virus itself, which makes sense since they’re parasitic not viral drugs. That being said, Chlorquine Hydochloride has been shown to help reduce lung inflammation allowing patients to breath on their own. If you’re a patient fighting for survival, this of course is a whole lot of difference without distinction.

Cuomo joins Trump: Once again the media is not accurately portraying the positions of President Trump and Governor Cuomo regarding the use of Chlorquine Hydochloride. President Trump promotes its use based on the potential it’s shown. However, he’s only approved it’s use for hospital patients in critical care and has not approved a more wide spread use to patients with mild cases or as a prophylactic (i.e., preventative measure).

Governor Cuomo continues to caution against the wide spread use of Chlorquine Hydochloride due to potential negative side effects, but has approved it’s use in New York to treat critical care patients. It’s interesting to watch the media hype this phantom Trump versus Cuomo disparity as two gladiators squaring off when in fact, these two politicians jockeying for popularity have converged to the same position, even if they’ve approached convergence from different perspectives.

What do Army Special Forces know: The US Army’s elite special forces do not allow the use of quinine based treatments. They have been assessing risk versus reward in terms of both immediate and long-term effects since sailors and marines first entered the South Pacific theater in WWII. Some of what was called “shell shock” in the 1940s, “Vietnam Syndrome,” in the 1960s, and “PTSD,” today can be traced to the side effects of quinine based drugs. Army special forces have decided the risks are not worth the rewards. . . during normal times that is.

Be Wary of the Industrial Media Complex: The media has decidedly come down on polar extremes regarding the use of Chlorquine Hydochloride. The crazy conservative media promotes its over use, even to the extent of advocating the drug be used as a prophylactic. It seems as though advocates in this camp feel it’s your patriotic duty to take Chlorquine Hydochloride. Meanwhile the lunatic liberal media dismisses the drug out of hand without considering any of the potential positive benefits. It seems they’d rather ban its use all together than admit President Trump might be on to something. You have to decide for yourself, but the instant I hear a doctor order someone to hook me up to a ventilator, I’m demanding a Chlorquine Hydochloride IV, and hope to hell I’m alive afterwards to deal with side effects.

What’s Up With France: France was the first country to embrace the use of quinine based treatments for COVID patients. They should provide much needed anecdotal evidence as to the miraculous value of these drugs, which is why it’s curious that on Monday, France experienced their highest daily death toll so far. India is another place we can look for anecdotal evidence as the country with the most use of Chlorquine Hydochloride. India has a population of 1.4 billion but to date have only had 5,865 confirmed cases and 169 deaths. It should be noted, there is likely high underreporting.

This week a French scientist modeled the expected death toll in his country by the end of this pandemic. His model included variables that mitigate high totals like social distancing and included factors that raise totals like smoking/vaping, diabetes, and obesity. He could not resist the temptation to apply his model to America and his assessment was that it doesn’t look good for the home team. For starters, 42% of American adults are obese.

Obesity is measured by Body Mass Index, or BMI. To calculate your BMI, take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 703. Next divide that number by the square of your height in inches. In other words, if

  • W = your weight in pounds, and
  • H = your height in inches, then
  • BMI = (W * 703) / (H * H)

If your BMI is greater than 25, you are considered obese. Here’s the uncomfortable consequence of that extra slice of toast you had this morning, according to the CDC, 78% of all COVID patients requiring ICU care in the US have underlying conditions and obesity is the most common, followed by smoking/vaping. Don’t blame the French scientist for this bitter pill, he’s just following the data.

But wait there’s more: 21% of Americans smoke (50 million people), and of that demographic, only 5% are obese. This means that 42%+21%-5%=58% of Americans have an underlying condition related to either smoking or obesity. Yikes, one can start to understand why federal and academic models predict such high COVID death counts.

New Mexico braces: The wave has finally moved westward to New Mexico. Tuesday our state saw the largest single day increase in infections to date (108), we did come back down yesterday though. All sixteen COVID patients who have died in New Mexico had underlying conditions. The pandemic is hitting our state’s Indian pueblos and reservations acutely. So far, with the help of God and incredible first responders, our death rate has remained well below national and international rates. The New Mexico rate of death for those infected is 1.85%, while nationally and internationally it’s 3.4% and 5.85% respectively. That being said, 25% of NM’s who have died from COVID have been Native Americans and they only represent 5% of our population.

In response to Tuesday’s jump in infections, Governor Grisham stiffened and extended her lock down orders. While her orders seem extreme, I interpret them to really be intended for more densely populated portions of our state. For those of us in rural areas, her orders remain more reminders to be diligent. Before you freedom loving folks get spun up, I’ll point out that a friend of mine emailed yesterday from Panama where they’re only allowed out of their houses 1.5 hours a day. It would be pretty hard to live in northern New Mexico with that kind of authoritarian lock down.

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