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Pancreatic Cancer. Plus The Alex and Ronni Show

Precautions to Help Old People Avoid the Coronavirus

As with seasonal flu, the most vulnerable to the coronavirus are old people and others with compromised immune systems which applies directly to most of us who hang out at this blog.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this week, so far the good old fashioned seasonal flu is more dangerous to Americans than the new caronavirus from China. That will be true until it's not anymore but the precautions work for both illnesses.

There is so much to say about the coronavirus let's get to the most important information first - how to protect ourselves – and then I will pass on some of the peripheral information.

There are other coronaviruses. This one has never been seen before and it has jumped species from animals to humans – most likely from seafood. The first to be infected were workers and customers at the Wuhan wholesale seafood market.

Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed in China, in the United States and in Germany. Tests elsewhere are ongoing.

The Guardian online newspaper has been doing excellent “explainers” of the illness. Here is their information on symptoms:

”The virus causes pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure.

“As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.”

To state the obvious, this year's seasonal flu vaccine is not effective for the c0ronavirus.

As of Tuesday when I am writing this, there are only 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. That doesn't mean it won't change. Here are the recommended prevention measures. We all know them but we don't always follow them.

• Avoid close contact with people who are infected

• If you're sick, avoid interacting with other people - stay home

• Do not go to work if you're sick

• When you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth

• Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth

• Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that could be contaminated with germs (like your phone)

• Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60% alcohol or higher if you can't get to a sink.

China is reporting that face masks are sold out all around China, as they are in other countries as well. However, face masks are not as effective protection as the list above, according to the CDC, and health experts mostly advise against using them.

Last week, David Heymann, who led WHO's [World Health Organization] infectious disease unit at the time of the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, told CNBC that wearing masks can be useful if you’re sick in order to prevent you from sneezing or coughing into somebody’s face.

“But, 'a mask that is used to stop getting an infection is sometimes not very effective because people take it off to eat, many times they are worn improperly (and) if they get wet and somebody sneezes on that mask it could pass through. So, there is really not a lot of evidence (to support wearing masks).'”

Except that masks are recommended for health care workers treating coronavirus patients.

Not according to a variety of news outlets. Reuters reported on Sunday that President Donald Trump seemed to downplay the impact on the United States,

”...telling Fox television in an interview, 'We’re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.'”

We shut it down?

In an announcement on the Health and Human Services (HHS) website last Friday, Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared the coronavirus a public health emergency which allows states, tribal and local health departments to temporarily reassign some personnel under certain circumstances.

Americans in China have been scrambling to return to the U.S. before a two-week quarantine goes into effect. According to The New York Times,

”The Trump administration ordered that as of Sunday afternoon, any American citizen who in the last two weeks had visited the Hubei province, whose capital city is Wuhan, was subject to a quarantine of up to 14 days after arriving in the United States.”

As is too often the case with this administration, facts and details about the extent of the quarantine and who it applies to vary. One person returning from China tried to avoid quarantine by leaving the military base where his private plane landed. (What is the matter with people.)

There may be other impediments to a swift government response. According to Laurie Garrett writing in Foreign Policy magazine last Friday,

”For the United States, the answers are especially worrying because the government has intentionally rendered itself incapable. In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.

“In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion.

“If the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it is.”

Meanwhile, back in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus first appeared, a 1,000-bed hospital was build in 10 days and is open for business. Here is a time lapse of the construction which involved 7,000 workers:

A second instant hospital for coronavirus patients is currently under construction.

The important thing here today is that list above of how to help prevent infection. Let's all follow it carefully and diligently.


There are at least two styles of face masks. The ones commonly seen are a light weight non-woven fabric that has elastic straps that hook around the wearer's ears. They admit unfiltered air thru the sides. I think this type is what Ronni refers to. Most authorities agree they are minimally effective.

Hospital employees who work with highly contagious patients wear respirator style face masks that fit tightly around the nose and mouth, are very uncomfortable but effective. Air is filtered (sometimes twice) thru air entry slots so the wearer can breath (important).

Thanks for writing this!

Remember to always cough into your sleeve, even a bare arm, and not directly into your hands. Wash your hands if you use your hands, to protect your family and friends. And speak up to income others, showing them how to do it rather than just saying.

Thank you, Ronni, for all this great information. Always interesting to me when medicine was my life for so long. The seafood connection caught my attention.

I remembered a news story a few weeks ago about the alarming number (20-30) of previously unknown viruses being discovered in melting ice and permafrost. I was surprised to find several stories from a variety of reputable sources. (Not just another conspiracy theory . Perhaps it validates the old saying-'Just the tip of the iceberg'. :-)

Here is one of them if anyone is interested..Previously Unknown Viruses Discovered in Melting GlacierBy Jan Wesner Childs January 23 2020 06:15 PM ESTweather.com

According to the CDC there's been at least 10,000 deaths from the flu this season in the US and maybe as many as 25,000. The plague is already here folks. All those precautions are applicable right NOW and probably through spring. These are the same as with Cornavirus and should be practiced as 2nd nature.

I have COPD and I spent five days in the hospital two years ago with H1N1 and everyone who came near me had a mask and protective clothing. It wasn't fun. My doctor sent me home with a box of masks for myself and my family. If you are coughing and ill you should wear them so as not to spread your disease. She also added to be sure and wash all my veggies and fruits from the grocery since they get handled and breathed on by the public all day.

I just finished watching “Pandemic”on Netflix. It was fascinating, horrifying and ultimately hopeful. The world is filled with brilliant, dedicated people trying to help keep mankind safe from these “killer viruses”. I can only hope that their dedication will benefit my children and grandchildren and meanwhile, I’ll keep washing my hands.

The CDC is standing by, getting ready as may be needed. However, some restraint is warranted before we launch head-over heels in a full-blown panic. The United States is not China and it would be dealt with should it begin to emerge in larger numbers here. If you listen to the CDC leadership, you would see that they have a handle on it and are ready to act as needed. The President's quick action to ban travel from China and other potential hot spots was swift and probably the best initial move (yes, there can be "leaks" in the ban and always a loophole, but overall, it's being addressed). The resistance does have a tradition, developed over the last three years plus to blame trump for anything and everything possible--time will tell, but too soon for that. The current thinking is that the disease originated with bats--highly likely--but found it's way to humans in open markets, "wet markets" where animal parts and blood gets mixed up with who knows what--yes, even contaminating seafood. It's a mess. Nice post.

I have read that having had the two pneumonia vaccines is a good thing when it comes to the Corona virus. I've had both.

As for the 1000 bed hospitals, I wondered where all of the staff is coming from and where will they be living.

A hospital built from scratch in ten days? I guess authoritarianism has its moments.

Thanks for the prevention tips which are so important for all of us during cold and flu season (or, actually, all year long), even if we never get within a thousand miles of a case of coronavirus.

The type of mask, if worn, does matter as others pointed out here. We wore different type masks depending on patient’s medical issues as Rehab. Providers. Our primary purpose was to minimize as best we could any germs we might carry so as not to expose patients with various weakened immune systems. Then there was need, too, in some instances for precise ways to put on, carefully affix mask, take off and then dispose of certain masks so as to not contract what a patient had, which would be the case with this Coronavirus.

You’ve provided some very important information. Thanks. Frankly, our President utters so many warped and untrue statements anything he says provides no reassurance to me. He seems to have a narrow view of what constitutes the security he’s pledged to ensure citizens. The multiple sources you’ve referenced have much more credibility for me. I find the reports from Foreign Policy Magazine might well indicate we should explore further how well prepared we are for potential problems.

There seemed to be some uncertainty about where the first plane from China with primarily U.S. Govt. staff would go and how long they would be there. First we were told the plane would arrive at Ontario International Airport 20 mins. up the freeway east of where I live. Our TV news broadcast video of areas being prepared at ONT describing where these evacuees would stay — away from the commercial terminals. We were assured the evacuees would be kept there for two weeks. After a few days, suddenly from one day to the next, that plan was changed.

Instead evacuees would land 45 mins or so further east at March AFB and after health checks could leave after 3 days to be checked periodically wherever they went. During this time the individual you mentioned did try to leave even before the 3 day period causing some alarm here in Southern California. Finally, there was a clarification evacuees would stay 2 weeks. I believe another, or maybe more evacuees are expected at March AFB.

Days ago I found on the net a 65 year old blogger originally from Columbus, Ohio living and working in the city of the virus’ origin unable to take that original flight. I wanted to follow him, but he has not blogged since. He was uncertain about future plans, wrote about food access concerns, mentioned China’s laws have free speech limits on what can be said about their country indicating care needed to be taken. So, I don’t know what’s happening with him.

N95 or N100 masks or better will offer you protection from the corona virus (especially if you are within 6 ft of someone who is coughing or sneezing and may be contagious) . The operative words are "if used correctly" and if so, they do work. Why do you think healthcare workers will be using them... to protect themselves from the virus and if they have been unknowingly exposed to the virus, to prevent the spread of the virus to patients. However, using masks require a strong discipline to follow proper guidelines. You can find these guidelines on the CDC web site. For example, you must remove all your facial hair for the mask to be effective and have a tight seal. You should also wash your hands (correctly) anytime you touch something, so if you inadvertently touch your face after that, your hands will be sterile. Do the best you can to stay safe.... but remember, healthcare workers need an ample supply of masks, so don't hoard them.

How about visiting friends at their home. A small get together of about 8 people all around 70 plus years of age.

We have several LPNS and caregivers for my 93yr old Father he is very High risk by all means. Lungs, Home dialysis every other day and Bad heart. The LPNS & Caregivers work at other facilities..

What should they wear when taking care of my Father ? Gloves , Hairnets, shoe covers, Gowns. Due to outside exposures and some come straight from their other jobs of caring for other LPNS patients are in Nursing homes or Hospitals

I worry about the fact that if they were exposed and are going through an incubation stage they can give it to my father.

Please help some have different opinions on this

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