News

CV🦠News, Week of July 13, 2020

Greetings, TVD friends,

Another eye opening piece regarding black history and awareness follows. And please also note that we’re seeing more cases of coronavirus, so we continue with our overarching message:

  • Wear a mask when out in public

  • Use “physical distancing” when going out

  • Shelter in Place as much as possible

And please enjoy and learn from (and share!) our newsletter!

Eye opening: Did you know that the black-white economic divide is as wide as it was in 1968?

For sure, this is a complicated issue, with more than its fair share of very difficult topics to discuss openly, honestly, factually, and compassionately — including racism, biased policies, single parenting, family structure, discrimination, and partisan politics. But without learning and discussing, we cannot move the needle.

In many ways, the gap between the finances of blacks and whites is still as wide in 2020 as it was in 1968, when a run of landmark civil rights legislation culminated in the Fair Housing Act in response to centuries of unequal treatment of African Americans in nearly every part of society and business.

In 1968, a typical middle-class black household had $6,674 in wealth compared with $70,786 for the typical middle-class white household, according to data from the historical Survey of Consumer Finances that has been adjusted for inflation. In 2016, the typical middle-class black household had $13,024 in wealth versus $149,703 for the median white household, an even larger gap in percentage terms.

Read the source article in the “Washington Post” here.

NOTE: CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.

WHY ARE PEOPLE WORRIED IF CORONAVIRUS IS “AIRBORNE”?  IS IT?  WHY DOES IT MATTER?
For the most part, coronavirus is thought to be spread through “respiratory droplets.” These are virus-filled particles that are expelled from a sick individual when coughing, or even just talking, and generally fall out of the air relatively quickly and nearby the person who expels them. In contrast, “aerosols” are microscopic virus-packed particles that are also expelled, but that are small enough to remain suspended in the air. If coronavirus could spread through aerosol transmission as some other illnesses do (measles and tuberculosis, which can remain in the air for 2 hours and 6 hours, respectively), we would need to adjust our methods of  prevention in order to continue to decrease the spread of disease. Recently, 239 researches sent an open letter to the WHO asking for further investigation and guidance about the possibility of aerosol transmission. The letter states:

“Most public health organizations, including the WHO, do not recognize airborne transmission except for aerosol-generating procedures performed in healthcare settings. Hand-washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people.”

At a press conference, Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control responded, “There is some evidence emerging but is not definitive. The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings, especially in very specific conditions — crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings — cannot be ruled out. However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted.”

So whether or not it can be spread by aerosols remains to be determined, however those who believe that it is a relatively important method recommend individuals follow these precautions to protect themselves:

– wear a mask when you leave your home if you are going to be around other people

– avoid being in crowded spaces, whether indoors or outdoors, especially for a prolonged period of time

– if you are in a crowded space, do your best to keep your distance of AT LEAST 6 feet

In order to make crowded public spaces safer if aerosol transmission is possible, in addition to the above individual precautions, ventilation and possibly air filtration systems in buildings will need to be improved and effective modes of sanitation such as UV light will need to be used in highly trafficked and crowded areas. You can read more here.

MY GYM IS REOPENING. IS IT SAFE TO GO?
Whether your gym just reopened and closed again (Santa Clara County) or remains reopened with strict social distancing guidelines (San Mateo County), this question is on many people’s minds.  Exercise is certainly good for both mental and physical health.  And while we know exercise outdoors is safest during the COVID-19 pandemic, some people really miss their indoor gym work-outs. Overall, we’re pretty hesitant to say a return to indoor gym work-outs is a good idea at this point. But, if you and those at home are low-risk and you really want to go, a few things you can do to lower your risk include:

  • Check into your gym’s safety measures – are they taking temperatures of everyone before allowing them in? Are you seeing staff regularly cleaning equipment? Are they enforcing mask-wearing rules?

  • Stay far apart. At least 6 feet from other people, and ideally 12 feet if people are breathing heavily. Avoid group classes where it’s hard to maintain this kind of distance.

  • Make sure there’s good air flow – exercise by an open window, if you can.

  • Wear a mask and make sure those around you are, too.

I’M TRAVELING TO A DESTINATION WHICH REQUIRES A NEGATIVE COVID TEST WITHIN 72 HOURS OF ARRIVAL… WHAT DO I DO?
At this time (July 15, 2020), COVID testing, much less timely COVID testing, remains a real challenge, both locally and nationally. Some destinations are trying to balance tourism with public health, and proposing that travelers who have a negative test within 72 hours of arrival do not need to undergo an otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine. Unfortunately, getting tested, and receiving results within a 72-hour turnaround is virtually impossible today as a healthy person. We are seeing delays up to seven days in scheduling swabs and up to five days or longer for results.

Please note that the rapid turnaround tests (“same day”) such as the Abbot test or saliva test are not FDA-approved and may not be sufficient to meet the destination public health requirements. Patients that need a negative test for a hospital procedure can request to be tested at the facility. Healthcare workers who need a negative test to return to work can contact their local health department to see where essential workers can get tested.

We will continue to update this information as it becomes available.

CAN I CATCH COVID TWICE? WHAT HAPPENED TO HERD IMMUNITY?
Two major studies published within the last week bring the hope of eventual herd immunity into serious question. The first, published in The Lancet July 6th, suggested that too many lives would be lost while waiting to achieve the approximate 60% infection rate needed to provide herd immunity (which describes when so many people have had, and are immune to, an infection that it is effectively stamped out). The second, published online by King’s College London July 9th, showed that antibody levels to the virus may not last very long at all, allowing for reinfection even within the same year. Antibody levels peak sharply after two weeks, but then decline, generally disappearing entirely somewhere between four months and one year. This quickly waning immunity is consistent with our understanding of the four coronavirus OG’s, the “traditional” four members of the coronavirus family for which we have 60 years of research, and which generally only cause colds. They can come back year after year, and reinfect the same people. Even without mutating from year to year like influenza viruses.

This means that naturally occurring herd immunity may never be achievable. This is not cause for dismay but rather a call to action; it will be by our hand that we stop the spread of this disease. And while we wait for a medical solution, government action and strong national leadership has been proven to work to control outbreaks. But every one of us has a role to play: wearing a mask, practicing safe physical distancing, and choosing the inconvenience of self-isolation when we fear we’ve been exposed to infection.

Adapted from:
“We’re Wasting Time Talking About Herd Immunity”
Opinion by William Haseltine on cnn.com, updated July 13, 2020

HOPE AND GRACE
If you have made it this far, time for a reward, something to lighten your day, and acknowledge the human spirit. Find some escape, or perhaps even inspiration, in this collection of works and perspectives gathered from around the world. Please contact me directly if you have come across something that has lifted your heart today.  Dr. Eric Weiss

Baby Beluga, Baby!  Oh, my, calling all (older) parents out there, Raffi’s ear worm, “Baby Beluga” TURNS 40 this year.  Enjoy this version with Raffi AND YO YO MA (you know you’ve made it as a whale when Yo Yo Ma is paying attention), and, if interested, the Raffi store here.  PS: listen all the way through… 👍

Winter of Our Soul.  Please read here another wonderful musing by our friend Nirmala Devi Maa. She writes:

During these summer months, most of us are experiencing a paradox in our lives. Without Covid, we would be swimming, hiking and sharing BBQ’s. Our world would be outside in celebration of nature, warmth and family. Summer is the time for expansion of space, time, self and experience. Our bodies know this rhythm and ache for the freedom of summer.

However, held in tension with the Summers of past, our souls are in the Winter of their maturity. The soul travels in timelessness. Not tethered to external seasonality, or structure of daylight. It meanders across time zones, oceans and lifetimes. And yet, the soul has an inherent journey.

Continue reading here.

Again, CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.

*****

Yours, in health and resilience,

Eric and the TVD MD team…