Biblical and Constitutional Politics

 

Nursing Home Deaths

(Inflated Coronavirus Death Rates and Government Overreach)

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

      Last Friday (March 27, 2020) was the third “anniversary” of my mom’s death. In the past week, along with remembrance of my mom, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it would be like if she were still alive today, during our current Coronavirus (CV) crisis. In this article, I will convey those thoughts and how they relate to the hysteria being promoted by the media and provide additional updates on the CV crisis. But first, some background.

 

Background

 

      My mom had suffered with many health problems for many years. She was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes over those many years. She then spent the last year plus of her life in a nursing home. I would go to visit her about every other week, my brother would go about once a week, while my dad would go to visit her every day.

      Several months before her death, she had a particularly bad spell, and she was moved from the nursing home to a hospital. We all thought that would be the end. But somehow, she pulled through. However. after that, she was bedridden until her death. By the time of her death, she had lost a considerable amount of weight, and was literally nothing but skin and bones. It was heartbreaking to watch her so disintegrate over those last few months. When she passed, it was no surprise. It was her time for the LORD to call her home.

 

If It Were Today

 

      If all was this was happening today, it would have been even more heart-wrenching than it already was. Due to the CV, me, my brother, and my dad would not have been able to go to visit her, so she would have been going through all of this all alone. And it would have broken our hearts to not to be able to visit her. We could call her of course, but given her condition, it was hard for her to talk on the phone, so that form of communication would have been limited.

      All of this is to say, my heart and prayers go out to those who have loved ones who are in nursing homes and struggling with end of life issues. The CV restrictions I am sure are exasperating your grief and ability to visit your loved ones and to comfort them in their time of need. It truly is heartbreaking.

 

Cause of Death

 

      With that background, now to get myself into some trouble. When my mom passed, the official cause of death written on her death certificate was a blood infection. When I was first told that, at first, I thought it was just plain silly. But as I thought about it, it upset me. I thought of complaining to the nursing home, but with the funeral and all, I never bothered.

      The reason I was upset is my mom did not die from an infection. She died of old age, of natural causes. It was just her time. That is what should have been written on the death certificate. The blood infection might have been the final precipitating factor, but that is not what killed her. She died because her body had so wasted away, it was unable to fight off even the least of an infection. It was that wasting away, not the infection that killed her.

      If it had not been a blood infection, something else would have precipitated her death. But that notation on her death certificate made it sound like her death was somehow unexpected. When it was not. It was just her time.

 

Coronavirus Nursing Home and Other CV Deaths

 

 

      If my mom had died today, there is a good chance that rather than a blood infection, that precipitating factor would have been the CV. But I would have been just as upset if “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” were to be put on her death certificate as I was that “blood infection” had been so written, as it would have been just as inaccurate.

      Yet, I suspect that this very thing is happening time and again across the United States and around the world. Elderly people whose time have come are being listed as having died from the CV. But in fact, the real cause of death is old age or natural causes, with the CV being just the final precipitating factor. If it had not been the CV, it would have been something else that brought on the final end.

      Please do not misunderstand me. I am not in any way downplaying the deaths of any of these people, just as I would never downplay my own mom’s death. Each and every death is tragic. It is just that people die from old age all of the time. It is just a part of life in this fallen world. And when they die, there might be some final precipitating factor, but that final factor is not the ultimate cause of death. The ultimate case is it was just their time.

      These deaths in nursing homes are being added to the number of deaths from the CV, not just here in the USA but around the world. Yet, in many cases, I strongly suspect the situations are as it was with my mom. It is not the CV that is killing them; it is the wasting away of their bodies that left them unable to fight off the virus that killed them. In other words, they might have died with the CV, but they did not die from the CV.

      The same would probably apply to many people with preexisting conditions who are not in nursing homes who are being listed as CV deaths. They are not dying from the virus. They are dying because their bodies have been so run down by their preexisting condition that they were unable to fight off the infection. But if it had not been the CV, something else would have been the final precipitating factor.

      However, all of these deaths are being listed as being caused by the CV. Then those deaths are added to the number of deaths we see reported every day in the news media, with the death counts being run on TV screens like stock market tickers. Then those deaths are used to figure the death rate, leading to the claim that the CV has a 3-4% death rate. But if those deaths were not counted, then the number of deaths would be far less and the death rate far lower.

 

My Point

 

      My point is; this inflated number of deaths and death rate from the CV is being used to scare everyone into being willing to give up our rights and to abide by draconian government mandates. And those draconian measure have destroyed the economy not just here in the USA, but around the world.  Yet, if these death numbers were not so bloated, then many would realize that the government restrictions are way overblown, and there was no need to trash our economy in response to the CV outbreak.

      Yes, precautions need to be taken to protect those in nursing homes and who have preexisting conditions that put them at high risk of serious complications from the CV. But that number is a tiny percentage of the population. More limited restrictions would have sufficed to protect them, without destroying the world’s economy and taking way all of our rights, that in the end, will cause far more people to suffer than ever would have from the CV.

 

Other Causes of Deaths

 

      I wonder if the media will begin to report in stock market ticker fashion the number of suicides that result from people being distraught over their economic distress, failed businesses, anxiety, lost opportunities, or just plain loneliness that results from being forced to “self-isolate” when they are perfectly healthy. To compound the problem, churches and other places of worship have been closed. But those are the very places people go to find solace in times of crisis.

      Or how about showing the increased number of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes-related deaths in ticker tape fashion? Those could occur due to people not being able to go to gyms to work out due to gyms being closed. As a result of the depression of seeing their hard worked for gains disincarnate, many could fall into depression and spend that former gym time binge eating junk food while binge watching Netflix. Others might turn to alcohol or drugs for solace, increasing the rates of alcoholism and drug abuse. That people's health is suffering can be seen by fitness trackers. they are showing Americans are moving less and sleeping more.

      If such people don’t die from degenerative diseases caused by these abusive behaviors, at the least, they are now at increased risk for serious complications from the CV, which just a few weeks ago, they were not. Yet, all of these people were perfectly healthy and would have been able to easily fight off the virus until the government restrictions.

      I say that, as the fact is, the vast majority of people who contract the CV recover with only experiencing minor symptoms. Moreover, once we start widespread antibody testing, I would bet we will find out that millions of Americans have already had the CV but never even knew it. Once those numbers are added to the denominator, the CV death rate will turn out to be even lower, close to that of the seasonal flu. And all of this hysteria and government overreach will be shown to be unwarranted.

 

Updates from Coronavirus Briefings

 

      Having mentioned churches and gyms, I want to elaborate on a point I make in my article Sadness, Predictions, and More on the Coronavirus. In that article, I state, “Places of business, churches, and the like should operate at half-capacity.” Since then, I have thought of some practical ways that could be done.

      But first, let me elaborate on something Dr. Deborah Birx said at the Coronavirus task force briefing on April 1, 2020. She was asked if the President should institute a nationwide stay-at-home order. She replied that such is not necessary. What is needed is for people to stay at least six feet away from other people. That is what matters, whether someone is at home or in a public place.

      In other words, the stay-at-home orders are just a means to that end. But they are not necessary in most cases. The same goes for the President’s ten-person nationwide gathering ban. Limiting gatherings to ten people or less is not the issue. That is just a way to try to keep people at least six people away from each other. But if sufficient space is allotted, then more than ten people can be at the same place, as long as they stay six feet apart.

      Another point that came up in that briefing was Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed a study that found CV droplets could travel up to 27 feet. That would make that six feet distance insufficient. But Fauci explained the research that found that distance was not based on real world experience. The researchers basically held a sneezing contest. They had people try to sneeze as hard as they could, throwing their heads back then forward as they sneezed. It was only in that way could someone’s sneeze CV droplets up to 27 feet. But in the real world, people do not sneeze that way. If they are polite, they will sneeze into their elbow or at least try to mute their sneeze in some way. They do not try to sneeze as far as possible.

      The fact still remains, in real world circumstances, the virus travels less than six feet, so that distance is sufficient to prevent transmission to others.

 

 

Churches and Gyms Should Have Remained Open

 

      With that background, let me get to my recommendations. These come from having lived during the gas rationing of the 1970s. In fact, I had just started driving when the price of gas shot up all the way to 75 cents a gallon. The gas shortage was also causing long lines at gas stations.

      To alleviate those lines, a plan was put into place based on the last number of a driver’s license plate. Those whose license plates ended in an odd number could get gas on odd-numbered days. Those whose license plates ended in an even number could get gas on even-numbered days. That kept the lines from getting too long, with only half of the people being able to get gas on any given day.

      To apply this to churches, my recommendation would be to at least double the normal number of services. To use the easiest example, a church that normally holds one service on Sunday mornings should hold two. Tell congregants whose last names begin with A-L to come to the early service. Then at the service’s end, have the people exit row by row, so that the exits are not crowded. Then after that service, disinfect the pews, door handles, and the like. Then those whose last names begin with M-Z should come to the later service.

      If two services do not suffice to enable people to sit six feet apart, then have a third or even fourth service and break down the names accordingly. With such a process, churches could have safely held services. Basically the church congregation should look like the press corps during the CV task force briefings. The reporters sit staggered, so that there is an empty seat to each side and to the front and back of each reporter. That seating plan would enable people to get the comfort of worshipping the LORD in a group setting and at least limited fellowship with other Christians. Texas and Michigan realized the importance of these points, as they exempted churches from their gathering bans. I just wish all states were so prudent.

      Gyms could use a similar pattern, except to block out certain hours for one set of names or alternate days for the different set of names. It would also help to be open 24 hours, so people could work out at odd times to avoid the rush. Add to that my previous recommendations in my “Sadness” article, and I do think people could have continued to work out safely.

 

Ways Businesses Could Have Stay Open

 

      Last Friday, I went grocery shopping as usual at Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-op. That kept my mind off of the anniversary of my mom’s death and why it wasn’t until later that I began to think of the above points. But what wasn’t usual at the Co-op was they were only allowing 15 customers in the Co-op at one time. I only had to wait a few minutes, so it was not a big deal.

      As always, I had grabbed my shopping cart in the parking lot on my way to the entrance. As I waited in line, that cart in front of me kept me from getting close to the person in front of me. However, the person in back of me did not have a cart, and he got a bit too close for comfort. However, that problem could be alleviated by a simple trick I heard another store used which also had such an in-store customer limit. They painted lines six feet apart on the sidewalk outside of their entrance. In that way, those in line knew where to stand as they waited for their turn to enter the store.

      That practice would be similar to establishments painting lines in the parking lot for people to know where to park. Most people abide by those lines (except for the occasionally jerk who doesn’t know how to park and takes up two spaces), but most people would abide by those standing lines if they were available.

      In any case, once in the store, admittedly, there might have been times when I crossed closer than six feet to someone. But for the most part, people were doing a good job of keeping their distance from one another. When I checked out, there was Plexiglas separating me from the cashier. I then bagged my own groceries. When I got home, I immediately washed my hands and again after I put the groceries away. I then put all of the clothes I was wearing into the wash, took a shower, then put on clean clothes.

      It is now a week later, and I have shown no symptoms of having been infected with the CV, even though Pittsburgh has become somewhat of a hot spot for the CV. As such, those simple steps seemed to have worked for me, and I will have no qualms about going shopping at the Co-op again next week.

 

Sadness and Mental Health

 

      However, I did notice something disturbing at the Co-op, and this again goes back to my “Sadness” article. All of the shoppers and the workers seemed sad. No one was talking to anyone, not even idle chit chat, and no one was smiling. But then, about half of the people were wearing masks of some sort, so the latter was hard to tell in some cases.

      But still, such widespread sadness is disturbing. And that takes us back to the increased risk of suicide over this whole CV crisis. In fact, I saw mention on FNC that 45% of Americans report feeling like their mental health has suffered from this crisis. Part of that I am sure is due to fear over the virus itself, and part of it is due to the financial worries caused by the government restrictions.

      But on the former, as I have reported elsewhere, the media has overblown the risk of being infected and of having serious consequences if one is infected. The risk of both is actually quite low in both cases compared to the total US population.

      Moreover, rather than reporting the number of infections and deaths, I really wish the media would start reporting the number of people who have recovered from the CV. As people see that number increase over the next few weeks, their fears about the CV will alleviate.

      That number will especially skyrocket as more testing is done. But by testing, I am more referring to the aforementioned antibody test than to the more talked about RNA test. The latter test tells you if you are currently infected by the CV. The former test tells you if you already had the virus but have now recovered from it. But whichever test is used, as they become more widespread, the number of recovered will skyrocket, and it will be seen that the risk of serious consequences and death from the CV was way overblown.

      That projection is based on reports I have seen of the many people without symptoms who have tested positive via one or the other test. The media and the government are using that fact to try to scare people into accepting the mandated self-isolations. But in reality, it should be fear-alleviating. It means many people have or have had the virus but never knew it because they did not have any or only minor symptoms.

      Again, for most people, even if you are infected by the CV, it most likely will not be that big of a deal. You might be sick for a few hours to days, and then that will be that. You will now be immune and can go about your life as usual. But the media isn’t telling you that. Only those at high risk of serious consequences need to take extraordinary precautions.

      As for the economic issues, sadly the authorities have not listened to people like me who have advocated more reasoned approaches to limiting the spread of the virus. Instead, they have opted for the more draconian approaches of stay-at-home orders and shutting down “nonessential” businesses.

      The latter can be hard to define, leading to ridiculous situations like here in PA of beer distributors being allowed to remain open, while laundromats were closed. After many complaints, that was rectified.  But what was not rectified was the closing of churches and gyms, even though many such as myself consider them essential for people’s spiritual, mental, and physical health.

      But be that as it may, these draconian approaches led to ten million Americans filing for unemployment in the past two weeks, shattering previous records tenfold. That is ten million people who will now be fretting over not just economic worries but also dealing with the sense of worthlessness that comes from not being able to work. That then takes us back again to the increased risk of suicide.

      I do hope and pray the bloated $2,200,000,000.00 relief package that was just passed by Congress and signed by the President helps to alleviate the forthcoming recession that is sure to hit, so these people can get back to work soon. But I have serious doubts that will be the case. I fear we could be looking at a protracted and deep recession. But again, I hope and pray I am wrong in that regard.

 

Back to Nursing Homes

 

      The aforementioned recommendations for churches, gyms, and businesses would not work quite so well for nursing homes, as they are a unique case. Nursing homes by their very nature are filled with high risk individuals. As such, more drastic approaches are needed. If my mom were still alive and in a nursing home today, then yes, it would be prudent for me to not be able to visit her.

      However, this is where the need for testing becomes even more acute. It is possible that I have already been infected and recovered from the CV. I say that, as over the last few weeks, there have been various days where I have not felt well. But that is normal for me given my health situation. But who knows? Maybe one of those days was me dealing with the effects of having been infected by the CV. If that were the case, then it would be perfectly safe for me to go visit my mom, as there would be no risk of me infecting her or of me being infected.

      Of course, this simple fact has implications far beyond nursing home visits. Healthcare workers and other such essential personal need to be given the antibody tests as soon as possible. Those who test positive, showing they have already had and have recovered from the virus, can safely go back to working with CV patients with no worries.

      As such testing becomes more widespread, those in other fields who test positive can also safely go back to work without fears of being infected or of infecting others. And again, I truly believe the number of those who have been infected and have recovered is far greater than we currently think.

      I say that as FNC talked to a woman who was tested as being positive for the CV. But she only felt sick for three hours, and that was it. It was only because she was tested that she even knew she had the virus. I truly think there are many more such people across the country and around the world that had similar experiences with the virus. But they were never tested, so they don’t even know they had the virus.

 

Testing and Medical Treatment Updates

 

      Appearing on Fox News Channel (FNC), on Martha MacCallum’s The Story, on April 3, 2020, was Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, White House Task Force Testing Czar. He confirmed that more widespread testing was a major goal of the administration. Within the next two weeks, millions of tests would be available, then tens of millions within the next 3-4 weeks. That testing would include both RNA and antibody testing.

      Martha and the Admiral then talked about the very points I just mentioned, emphasizing the importance of the antibody testing in getting healthcare personal back to work and then others back to work, so that we can get our economy back.

      Then on Laura Ingraham’s show on FNC on the same day, two doctors talked about hydroxychloroquine. It is both a possible treatment for the CV and a preventive. They were saying it would be a “game changer” for healthcare workers. It would also be a possible help when one member of a family gets the CV to help keep others from getting it. They didn’t mention nursing homes, but I would bet it could become standard treatment there soon as well.

      The two doctors emphasized that hydroxychloroquine has been used for decades as an antimalaria drug, and it has been shown to be safe, with minimal side effects. And there has been much antidotal evidence and growing clinical evidence of its effectiveness for dealing with COVID-19.

      Meanwhile, over on CNN, a doctor was calling hydroxychloroquine “snake oil” and warning people against trying it. MSNBC is lying and saying the President is telling people to self-medicate with hydroxychloroquine. He never said any such thing. It is a prescription drug that should only be administered by a physician.

      Both CNN and MSNBC have said the drug is “unproven” and might have serious side effects. The former is true, if by “proof” you mean a large scale, double-blind clinical trial. But such takes time, and with people dying now, a careful use of the drug on those at high risk seems warranted. That is along the lines of Trump’s “Right to try” initiative. When people are at the end of their lives, then a concern about side effects is quite trivial. But in that regard, again, long-term use of the drug shows it has minimal side effects. But still, that is why it should only be prescribed by a doctor, not self-medicated.

      Other than Fox News, the media has been against the use of hydroxychloroquine, solely because President Trump has declared its use to be promising. As I say elsewhere, the media will always say Trump is wrong and promote the opposite of whatever he says. Only time will tell if the President and Fox News or CNN, MSNBC, and their ilk are correct. I suspect it will be the former.

      Then there are many trials of a vaccine that are already underway. One such vaccine is being developed here in Pittsburgh, at UPMC. It has already been shown to be effective in animal trials and is awaiting FDA approval for human trials. A vaccine is the ultimate game-changer. With the number of different possibilities in the works and the speed at which they are being developed, I would bet one will be available well ahead of the 12-18 months that Dr. Fauci has predicted it would take.

      Between increased testing and the use of hydroxychloroquine and eventually a vaccine, we will eventually get this pandemic under control. But I just hope and pray we have not so destroyed our economy and accepted the loss of our rights that we will go from dealing with a pandemic to dealing with a worldwide depression and a totalitarian government here in the USA.

 

Conclusion

 

      Death is tragic. It is not how things should be. But it happens to all of us and is inevitable. That is why it is important to be sure you are right with the LORD now before the expected or unexpected happens. When my mom died, I knew she was now in a better place, as she had as strong faith in the Lord Jesus and His death on the cross for her sins.

      For those of us with such faith, death is not the end. But still, none of us have a death wish. We all what to live long, productive, and happy lives. But when our ability to do so is taken away by government overreach, there comes a point when it cannot be tolerated.

      I don’t know if we have reached that point yet. But what scares me is that once the government gets emergency powers, they are not quick to yield them. Thus, when New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio says that if churches and synagogues do not close now, he will shut them down permanently, that is reason for great concern. When a pastors are arrested for holding church services, that is a further erosion of our First Amendment rights. When gun and ammunition shops are closed, that is an abridgement of our Second Amendment rights.

    When ten people are arrested and charged with six counts of child abuse for holding an engagement party, at which half a dozen children are present, that is alarming. When a dozen people are arrested for attending a funeral, that is disturbing. When people are fined $1,000 for being within six feet of each other in a public space, that is the first step to a police state. The next step is when police issue a citation to a woman for just going for a drive in her own car all alone. When Google starts to track people via their smart phones to be sure they are practicing social distancing, that is another huge step in the direction of a police state and is very frightening. Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now questioning if the extreme restrictions placed on New Yorkers were helpful.

      However, to be clear, as a Christian, I believe we should obey the government. As such, even though I don’t agree with the draconian measures, I am following them. And I would advise others to do so as well. But still, let’s not be so quick to give up our rights due to inflated CV death numbers. At some point, there will have to be pushback if the measures become too overbearing and especially if they become permanent.

 

Warning!  I don’t believe I have to say this, but hydroxychloroquine is not the same as aquarium cleaner, even though the chemical in the latter has a similar sounding name. I say that as the media blamed President Trump when someone in Arizona ate aquarium cleaner and died. The President is not responsible for some idiot self-medicating with a chemical intended for cleaning a fish tank, thinking it is the same as a pharmaceutical grade medicine prescribed by a doctor. It was actually the media-driven hysteria that led that man to engage in such a stupid act of desperation.

 

References:

Standard References for this Website, plus the Presidents Coronavirus task force daily press briefings, of which I try to watch every minute. The instances of government overreach mentioned in the last section are mostly from news reports and articles on NBC News Radio on the iHeart Radio app.

Also:

    Just the News. COVID doctors challenge CDC's rules on cause of death, concerned about inflated numbers.

    Trib Live. 4th person dies of covid-19 in Allegheny County as total cases climb to 605.

    Trib Live. Allegheny County reports 3rd covid-19 death, 16% jump in confirmed coronavirus cases in one day.

    Trib Live. Florida megachurch pastor arrested for violating rules amid virus outbreak.

 

Nursing Home Deaths (Inflated Coronavirus Death Rates and Government Overreach). Copyright 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).

Tearing the USA Apart
From Kavanaugh, to Incivility, to Caravans, to Violence, to the 2018 Midterm Elections, and Beyond

            The United States of American is being torn about by political differences more than any time since the 1960s and maybe since the Civil War of the 1860s. This division was amplified by political events in the summer to fall of 2018. This time period could prove to be seminal in the history of the United States. This tearing apart came to the forefront and was amplified during the confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This book overviews the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings in detail. It then overviews these additional major events that occurred up to the end of November 2018.

The above article was posted on this website April 4, 2020.
It was last updated May 1, 2020.

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