Whether or not a given person will get COVID-19 is unknown. Even if they do get it, healthy people are likely either to not get sick at all or recover after an illness not a lot more severe than the flu. On the other hand, not having any money, not being able to buy food, stay in your home, keep your car, pay your utilities and so forth are immediate, urgent and very tangible problems.

In addition, there is going to be a vast wave of bankruptcies. There will be severe stress on banks and weaker ones are vulnerable to failure. Unless they are rapidly given at least a trillion dollars in federal support, financially weak states are going to essentially collapse and become unable to provide basic services. Cities and towns across the country are going to lay off essential personnel. Services such as fire protection, police and health care are going to be reduced.

The re-opening of America is going to cause an increase in COVID cases and deaths. How great these increases will be is presently a matter of debate, but within 8 weeks, we will have a clearer idea. The danger is that the healthcare system could be overwhelmed and become unable to admit new patients.

People ask me if the visitors have said anything about the crisis. The answer is yes, and it’s a lot. I have not be emphasizing their participation, largely because of fear that this will mean that their suggestions will be singled out to be ignored, or that anybody in the scientific community pursuing them will be ridiculed and ignored, or have their grants cut.

But if you read these blogs, you will find good ideas and straight talk, most of which emerges out of my partnership with this enigmatic presence I call “the visitors.” Probably the most important idea is the urgent need to identify which healthy people have a concealed vulnerability to the virus. Once we know who they are, we can narrow the need to protect and isolate only to people who are actually vulnerable, which are the old, those with underlying health condition, and this as yet unknown group.

We are going to conduct the experiment of re-opening. When people have a choice between losing their homes and livelihoods or possibly getting a disease that probably won’t kill them and may not even make them sick, of course they are going to choose to go back to work.

They will continue for a while obeying closing rules. But not for long. Communities have to either open up at least to the point that relatively normal economic activity can resume, or the public is going to do it for them.

We are forced by the situation to gamble. Will the healthcare system be overwhelmed before antivirals and vaccines can reduce the seriousness of the sickness? Only time will tell. But we don’t have a choice. We have to reopen or see our world, as we know it, destroyed, and with it billions of lives across the planet.

We have to do it intelligently, though, not by listening to people who say things like the virus doesn’t exist, or that it will mysteriously disappear, or that it isn’t as dangerous as it is, and so forth, and using these fallacies and an excuse not to social distance, keep our hands clean and mask our faces in order to reduce the chance that our own breath might infect others.

 

30 Comments

  1. A few minutes ago on Twitter, Tom Frieden, MD, former US CDC Director, called our attention to a new CDC approach to COVID-19 death statistics. Up to now, only certified COVID-19 infections leading to death were included in the “COVID-19 death” statistics. Dr. Frieden notes today that the new CDC approach recommends adding to official COVID-19 death statistics from the large numbers of (statistically) excess deaths in nursing homes, at home, etc. That new CDC policy may be just in time to prevent a really ugly political battle over the true numbers of COVID-19 total deaths, avoiding potential charges of “cover-ups” and the like. Link:
    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e5.htm?s_cid=mm6919e5_w

    There’s also a new US House/Senate bill of COVID-19 relief funding that contains money for US families, block grant money for each US state, money for the US Postal Service, and a lot more.

    1. *Prevent* a really nasty fight over the true numbers? I think that move will only escalate it; perhaps not in the political ring, but in the ring of public opinon.
      I keep reading on the Net (YouTube and AOL reader opinons) that doctors/hospitals are being pressured to report as COVID any deaths in which COVID is present, and even when it is merely suspected, because hospitals get money based in part on their COVID patients. Fake news? False perception? In any case, there are a *lot* of citizens who are *convinced* the mortality numbers are being deliberately inflated. For myself, I’ve figured the current numbers are reasonably accurate, because even if COVID is being overcounted in the manner I just suggested, I take for granted that it has indeed been undercounted by missing people who die at home and in certain sudden cardiovascular events which were precipitated by otherwise silent COVID infection.
      But to count excess deaths (which may be perfectly valid from an epidemiological viewpoint) is going to heighten the perception of segments of the public (*not* myself) that the government, rather than trying to protect our health, is instead intentionally manipulating this pandemic to frighten and control the populace. I take the current health crisis seriously — I was telling friends back in mid-January the world was headed for the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu and the U.S. headed for its worst crisis since WWII. I was already aware before reading your post of the very real phenomenon of excess deaths during the past months. However accurate it may be scientifically, adding those deaths into the mortality figures will be a public relations disaster, IMO.

      1. Author

        As the percentage of asymptomatic cases cannot be known without more general testing, we don’t know the actual death rate, only that it cannot be found by comparing the number of dead to known cases. While I don’t see any evidence that deaths are being over-reported–in fact, if anything, the opposite is probably true–I think that there is an excess of caution being displayed by the authorities because of fear of the healthcare system being overwhelmed. It would not take millions of deaths to do this, but just a few hundred thousand happening faster than the hospitals can accommodate them. This is why officials shut down whole economies over a relatively small number of infections/deaths. The experience of Sweden, which did not require lockdown or social distancing does suggest that these measures have helped in the countries that have used them. However, when you look at the actual numbers, it seems that, even though not being on lockdown will cause an increase in deaths, as long as it doesn’t become a flood, there has to be better care taken to weigh the danger of economic collapse against the hospitalization and death rates. Totally ignoring the danger, as Sweden did, and as more US states are now doing, is not the answer. A higher level of risk taking is, as long as it is carefully weighed against case reports and flexible enough to react quickly if they start to rise too fast. People have to get back to work or we’re going to end up with a vast and uncontrollable economic catastrophe worldwide. To do that, we will need to accept more infections, but manage matters carefully so that the disease doesn’t overwhelm our ability to treat victims. If that happens and there isn’t enough hospital space for people who need it, deaths will soar.

        Here’s a story about the Swedish experience: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/15/world/europe/sweden-coronavirus-deaths.html

  2. This whole thing is pretty dicey. Supposedly people can have it with zero symptoms, or test negative, then positive, then negative. Does that mean they have immunity? Or not? Or? We’re re-opening in Idaho, slowly, but a lot of people are still staying home, when they can. I’m working from home (as is hubby) which is fine. I think we’ll have to re-open and let people decide for themselves how they want to go. We still wear masks going out, but at some point all this will go away. I think some people are getting apathetic, depressed and frustrated. We’re planting more food on our urban lot, getting a few more hens, doing what we can to be a bit more self/community sufficient for whatever plays out. The White House not wearing masks is pretty well sending mixed messages. At some point we’ll all have to decide for ourselves how we want to interact with all of this. No Covid vaccine for me. I was advised to get a Pneumonia vaccine early (by a few years) which I did. While not a fan of vaccines, I opted for that. Time will tell. Tend your garden as the old saying goes….

  3. This whole thing is pretty dicey, people test negative, then positive then negative. Who’s infected who’s not? I think people will just have to make an educated guess (for themselves) about how they want to interact with this situation. Idaho is opening slowly, but a lot of people are staying home, when they can. Hubby and I are both working from home which is fine. We wear masks in public, are planting more food in our urban garden, buying a few more hens (for eggs). Time will tell. I won’t get the Covid vaccine, but I did do the suggested early (a few years) pneumonia vaccine. Plant your garden and hope for the best.

  4. Here’s that link for the new US House/Senate COVID-19 relief bill. It’s called the HEROES bill:

    https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000172-09a9-dc3e-aff6-0dbd032c0000&nname=playbook-pm&nid=0000015a-dd3e-d536-a37b-dd7fd8af0000&nrid=0000014e-f116-dd93-ad7f-f917310f0002&nlid=964328

    For those consuming eggs from commercially grown chickens, I recommend that you have the chickens and eggs checked for salmonella. One recent news article said that doctors are seeing some increase in salmonella infections that appear to be link to backyard flocks of chickens. It’s always something.

    At 90 pages, the above link is not a quick read, but it provides a lot of aid to people, agencies, and states that have received zero Federal aid so far this year.

    1. Our backyard chickens since we have a small flock (2) have always been extremely healthy. They free range and have very clean bedding, it’s really the commercial chickens that are in cages and being pooped on all day that are much more likely to be sick. My brother-in-law worked in the commercial chicken industry for quite a while and said that it’s the filthiest environment you could ever imagine.

  5. Is the filter here being odd or? I came back to read the link in a comment another subscriber posted, now it’s gone??? Or are people not able to post links anymore? thanks

  6. Hi Anna, it took me awhile to find the correct link for the new US Congressional Heroes bill. I had no trouble posting it here … I just had to take a few extra minutes to recheck it to make sure it is a working link.

  7. I totally agree, and it will happen hap-haphazardly. People are getting desperate and its totally understandable. We just aren’t mature enough to tackle this with any unity. We are doing the same thing with climate change.

  8. Are you thinking the basis for the concealed vulnerability is likely in the dna??

    Also to-be-seen is the level of consumer activity when businesses reopen. Some places show very limited return of business in places that have reopened.

  9. Author

    Yes, it’s almost certainly a gene variation that causes some otherwise healthy people to become extremely ill while others don’t. Here’s an example of the sort of thing that is being explored: https://www.wired.com/story/why-does-covid-19-make-some-people-so-sick-ask-their-dna/

    We need a large database of the DNA of people who have gotten the disease to determine who outside of the populations known to be at risk are nevertheless vulnerable to extreme illness.

    1. The innate immune response and the associated component called complement are part of the “over reaction”. The term cytokine storm has been used to describe it. It seems ironic that the over reaction is causing the problems. I suspect this is just one part of a more complicated warfare that has been taking place between host and virus for millions of years. No human engineered virus required here, nature did all by itself.

      Its interesting that 23 and Me is getting involved. I remember when they caught flak for suggesting what disease someone might be susceptible to.

    2. This sounds like a very valuable route. Are the public health officers, CDC, etc aware in general about this and starting to set up the logistics for such a study??

      1. Author

        It is. In fact, it is quickly becoming a crucial research route because its value and practicality are very clear. We’ll have a story on UC on it tomorrow.

    3. My wife is on 23 and me and they are asking all kinds of questions about COVID, such as testing, pre-existing conditions etc. Of course its all voluntary info but they are really trying to gather data on this.

      1. Your prognosis once you acquire the SARS COVID 2 virus is dependent on your DNA.

        Just like with HIV and Ebola…

    4. I have to agree, and now that some children are developing a dangerous inflammatory syndrome, it is clear that there is more going on—COVID is all over the place in terms of the wide variety of symptoms (in many cases, people test positive with COVID or anti-bodies, but NO symptoms). Also, being a senior is no death sentence either, because some people very advanced in age have made it, including some centenarians. DNA must hold the key, or be playing a large part in all of this, because healthy and not-so-healthy people have succumbed to COVID, while others don’t develop—anything.

      Also worth noting is that a so-called ‘cytokine storm’ is what killed so many during the 1918 Pandemic. Young people were very affected (20-40 years old) by influenza, and 45 thousand American soldiers died of it during WWI, compared to roughly 53 thousand who died in battle.

      One thing is for sure. We will not be going back to the ‘old’ reality. We are at a juncture where we can create something completely new for humanity. Our main decision is what we will choose to do.

      1. Author

        My last 2 posts in Whiltey’s Journal and Anne in her recent diary cover these topics. Don’t look for direct quotes from the visitors. Read between the lines.

        1. “Read between the lines.”

          Learn to love in every way you can. And act on that love in every way you can. That is your best possible path to saving yourselves. Follow your current path and you are toast – barring an ultimate Divine Miracle of Mercy at the last minute because we know _we_ are not writing the final script here either.

          Also, get hopping with the technology you do have. This one isn’t even subtle.

  10. I’ve been staying on top of most of the science regarding COVID-19 as have all of us. I’m very curious about the esoteric implications of this disease. I feel, that in our despair to return to the norm, which was actually our destruction, that we are returning with the same immaturity we retreated with. When a beach opens and people leave 13k tons of garbage to be cleaned, we are not getting the basic message of COVID-19 . I am curious if the watchers see this as a chance for some of us to leap to transhuman. It feels massively transforming, eerie, creepy. We have no escape from this tide; no little island to swim to that’s safe like children crawling into mothers safe arms. Just the symbology of wearing masks that cover our mouths and not being able to touch anything tells us we need to be quiet and stop manipulating, fixing and tapping on keyboards and just listen and observe. Are they involved in this? Was this an act of war by darker powers, or earth cleansing herself of us as disease? The watchers are simultaneously being revealed in the news as this happens. All powerful coincidence? I feel the watchers must have a lot to say about this. I’m trying to listen, and I’m hoping that while we work on the science, they will whisper to us about what the greater goal might be.

  11. Whitley’s advice, as ever, is very sound. But I think that there is a lot of wiseacreing about this virus. Most importantly, has anyone troubled to look at how such disasters were handled in the past? One of the major errors which governments have made is to allow people to quarantine in family groups. So if a grandchild gets Covid-19 he or she may infect their parents and grandparents. In the UK until 1954 we had fever hospitals which allowed for victims of smallpox, diptheria, tuberculosis etc to be quarantined separately and away from their family, thus stopping the spread of the disease. The hospitals have all gone now, but similar quarantine measures could be introduced.

  12. Whitley, ever since Covid-19 arrived, I feel like humanity has stepped into another dimension, timeline, or parallel universe. Everything feels otherworldy. And it’s not just me. I have heard others comment that they feel like they are in a “waking dream.”

    I myself am besieged nightly by lucid dreams of my late father, who was a very intelligent, calm, and gentle man. In the dreams he is atypically angry and frightened as he tries to warn me of something scary and imminent. We are always inside a typical Visitor craft, and the Visitors (tall Grays) are always behind me, as they have been my whole life. I cannot hear my dad or my gray friends speak, but I know they’re discussing the pandemic.

    I am very eager to know what the Visitors have to say about our current situation! I also wonder, has Annie chimed in on this terrible subject? Wouldn’t it be amazing to know her “thoughts!”

  13. David Thomas and everyone, there is a lot learned in the past about pandemics, especially by US presidents. Here are 25 examples of that learning:

    https://www.genengnews.com/a-lists/blinking-red-25-missed-pandemic-warning-signs/

    On Sunday morning, May 17th, news reports stated that the US is just about at 90,000 deaths from COVID-19. NBC Los Angeles reporter Conan Nolan interviewed the CEO of the California Hospital Association, who explained in her remarks that California hospitals need state or Federal emergency budget funding, because these pandemic costs could not have been forseen. I posted this link (25 pandemic warning signs) for Conan to read on Twitter as examples of why that CEO’s complaint could not possibly be valid.

  14. Lots of interesting theories here. So I am going to add some communiques with science without all the medical terminology:
    The visitor’s message to me is climate change. There is no villain. The bat is only a great reservoir host. It has an incredible immune system. A virus can find a nice home here and live without killing the bat.
    When the Bat is stressed out, stress hormones in the bat clue the virus that it’s time to make the jump and spillover occurs into the next host. Unfortunately, the next host’s immune system is not as good as the bats’ and the virus may kill the host and sense more stress and make another jump. Its survival, its evolution.
    Why was the bat stressed? Date palms that bats sleep in where cut down for development. Deforestation. Ebola? Strip mining destroyed chimpanzee’s habitat. Bats were smoked out of caves so diamond mining could occur. HENDRA, EBOLA, HIV 1, H1N1, AVIAN FLU, MAHBURGS, NIPAH, SARS, ZIKA, MERS, COVID…the frequency of deadly viruses is increasing because climate change and deforestation and abuse to habitat is increasing. Many viruses we never hear about as they bloom out ;stay regional and then die off.
    The message is simple: ONE HEALTH…Healthy animals…healthy environment… Healthy humans.

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