For many young medical practitioners who lost their parents or grandparents to COVID-19 while they slugged it out against SARS-CoV-2 in the hospitals, the tears fog their goggles.
Karinna Angeles, a nurse practitioner in the Philippines tells FPMag she has a message from many of those frontliners.
by Sharon Santiago
“This is what we tell families who have lost a loved one, their mom, dad or grandparents,” says nurse Karinna who also wishes she could hug her mom one more time.
“Take heed from the deaths of so many vulnerable seniors. Wear a medical mask in their memory to avail yourself of the opportunity to carry on their life mission of love and joy,” she paraphrased. “This is what we tell the saddened family to give them hope.”
“If every person on Earth protected their respiratory system by staying clean and wearing a .3 micron respirator mask from the outset, there would be no COVID-19 pandemic.” — say many scientists FPMag interviewed.
“We can explain the staggering numbers but there is no solace in that,” says data expert.
“Known deaths as a percentage of reported cases is an illusion that inadvertently paints a faltering reality picture to the lay person. Here is some reality one can count on. If there are 40,000 new reported COVID-19 cases in a day as was seen in America last week, that means the current gross death rate among reported cases will apply to that 40,000, roughly up to one-in-twenty will die in a 30-day period,” says Fred Harris, a scientist who maintains a global coronavirus databank for a Civil Society collaborative.
“We know the large death rate of reported cases will drop as we get closer to dealing with actual numbers and not just the ones governments report,” Harris added.
“Mass testing is critical to reaching that point. Until every human is tested, we must use some estimates.”
“What we know for sure,” he added, “is the number of critical cases arriving at hospitals for treatment.
Now that we have lost our most vulnerable and beloved elders to COVID-19, who will this monster torment next? Photo Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective Magazine
“What we don’t know is how many critical cases never present to any medical practitioner or institution. We suspect a huge number of elderly critical patients never reach a hospital. They died suddenly at home. There is no medical examination in most of those cases, these seniors are simply buried according to local custom,” Harris continued.
Harris believes that countries with large population densities like India, and nations with many rural provinces and high population density plus weaker health care systems might have many elderly COVID-19 victim deaths going unreported. This may not become known in quantum until after the end of the pandemic, or early in the coming year when statistics are annually compiled.
A number of other experts have echoed the same thoughts, but one more thing comes to light. Patients who stayed at home in the early weeks of the pandemic may have experienced a better outcome than those who went to hospital and were immediately intubated. It’s controversial at the moment but a “ventilator for seniors with COVID-19 is and always was contraindicated,” say some clinicians, with good reason.
“Data makes a big difference. That is why it is important countries report consistently and accurately using World Health standards,” say data experts.
“Quantifying the impact of better prevention and treatment is what the queries from most clinical professionals are about,” says Dr. Harris.
“The COVID-19 death rate has always been somewhere between .25 to .3%, roughly three times that of influenza, based on estimates for both. Influenza is seasonal from October to March while COVID-19 is year round so comparison is marginally helpful to the lay person but it’s a good warning for both. People must wear a mask, wash hands and avoid contact with strangers,” says Harris who warns repeatedly that these data are estimates which will necessarily be adjusted after the end of the pandemic.
The estimated .25 to 3% death rate of total reported plus unreported cases is based on colossal numbers of infections most people do not hear about. A computer algorithm calculates the probably total number of cases using data from those countries that have tested the highest percentage of their population. The triggering data comes from hospitals.
A number of science groups have detected that the USA is not reporting as COVID-19 deaths those deaths that have happened at home without a test being performed while the patient was alive. Those deaths are reported as things like pneumonia, thrombosis or just cardiac arrest.
U.S. deaths reported by the USA National Center for Health Statistics during March, April and May were 781,000, and that is 122,300 more than the historical average for the period, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“That seems to be true in dozens of nations and while it is understandable it obscures some important data at first glance. The death rate in America from COVID-19 is assuredly double what is reported. This is an inescapable truth no matter how much politicians fudge the numbers. It’s also true that it is common to assess increases in rates of death beyond what would be expected if the pathogen had not circulated.” says Mr. Harris.
Harris says he has been tracking the number of unusual deaths in the USA and they “tend to support the death rate estimates of the total number of unreported, mild and asymptomatic cases that are never seen by a medical practitioner.”
“As testing rates go up, the death rate as a percentage of known cases approaches more realistic numbers. Estimates of the unreported cases yields something closer to a true answer but the actual number will only be known once the pandemic is over,” says Harris.
“If every person on Earth protected their respiratory system by staying clean and wearing a mask, there would be no COVID-19 pandemic. The horrendously bad advice of government and institutions telling people at the outset not to wear masks has killed at least half a million persons so far and created millions of chronically ill patients with bad outcomes from COVID-19. Wear a mask and stay clean,” insist Harris.
Losing elderly family members suddenly is heartbreaking for many families
Tears are not enough to take away the heartache from families who have lost their elderly loved ones.
Some of these seniors had the best ideas in the world for how to deal with life’s problems, like this pandemic.
Every number has a face. The first souls we lost and now miss terribly were our elder seniors.
Some of the seniors who saw WWII and the hatred of fascists and the horrid willingness to kill, had a blessed message to tell the world each time they saw something going wrong in this era of authoritarianism replacing democracy.
COVID-19 silenced those invaluably wise teachers.
Only an elderly mom or dad ren retell those amazing stories of the things we did before the age when we started remembering. They remember if we had mumps or measles. They remember our first smile. Go hug your mom and dad if you still have them around. Otherwise wrap your arms around yourself and pretend they are in there. Reach out.
They knew how to, “tie the best fly for a fishing cast that would catch the best trout you have ever seen, I’ll show you some day.”
“That’s what my grandpa told me. I never went fly fishing. I wish I had,” said the quiet young British woman looking at her grandfather’s picture, then holding it up for the Zoom video camera. Yes. He was a striking gentleman, full of life at age 84. COVUD-19 took him away..
He died a long way from his family. Nurse Karinna Angeles was taking care of loose ends like personal belongings when she made the Zoom connection to England.
Almost half of the deaths in Canada and the United States so far have been seniors.
It is a shame but not a shame on those countries. It is the nature of the disease and the lack of knowledge on how to treat the illness. Much has been learned to mitigate the death rate. Somebody should have thought out a little better the idea of putting patients on a ventilator, for example.
The learning has included:
- Many patients should never have been put on ventilators. The ventilator may in fact be contraindicated.
- Oral hygiene has surfaced as a major consideration in all pneumonia cases. Treating periodontal disease, according to an article in the Lancet, may prevent some bad outcomes of COVID-19 pneumonia.
- Not enough has been done to protect seniors in old age homes.
One of many types of medical masks. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness hence you must protect your respiratory system. Wear a NIOSH N95 mask outside your home & near anyone in your home who has symptoms or who is quarantined. This is true for all humans without exception. Learn to fit check & wear these masks. It’s your future. Wearing a medical mask does not take one away from a frontliner it keeps you off their dying patient list. Photo Credit: Melissa Hemingway. Photo Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective Magazine
What’s going on with the vents?
The cytokine storms that blow thousands of tiny micro chunks out of the patient’s lungs creating symmetrical ground glass opacities on the radiological images of boths lungs leave the lungs like a balloon with tiny perforations. Blow air through the swiss cheese lungs and the perforations get bigger. That’s the simplistic explanation. It’s a little more complicated than that.
In several locations, The Nurses Without Borders report that “the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy (HFNC) has cut the death rate as compared to ventilators.”
The world will be hearing more about this research in the coming days and weeks.
“There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 hence one does the best they can under the resource configuration and patient circumstance to help the patient suppress the virus load and fight the disease,” says Dr. Anderson of the RINJ Foundation.
Hence deaths are not dropping. A smaller percentage of a spike of massive numbers of cases yields the same rate of deaths averaged over a longer period time.
“In the USA the number of deaths by 31 March 2021 is one million and 3.9 million for the world,” says Harris. Many other scientists are beginning to agree with Harris’s June forecasts,
CDC also clarified the list of other conditions that might increase a person’s risk of severe illness, including additions such as asthma, high blood pressure, neurologic conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease such as stroke, and pregnancy. An MMWR published today further adds to the growing body of research on risk by comparing data on pregnant and nonpregnant women with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Pregnant women were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit, and receive mechanical ventilation than nonpregnant women; however, pregnant women were not at greater risk for death from COVID-19.