By Dr. Jim Ferguson
I am often astounded by what people don’t know or what they think they know. A young professional recently told me she didn’t recognize the name AOC (Alexander Ocasio Cortez), the titular leader of the Democrat party. And last week the New York Times alleged that John Bolton, in a yet to be released new book, is critical of his former boss, President Trump. I have observed that people who are fired are often disgruntled.
The Times admitted they had not seen Bolton’s manuscript and their story was based on another anonymous person’s report. Bolton’s manuscript is under mandatory review by the NSC (National Security Council) to make sure the book will not release national secrets. Would it surprise you to learn that the twin brother of Lt. Colonel Vindman is in charge of the book review? Recall that Lt. Colonel Vindman was the NSC bureaucrat who was offended when President Trump declined to use his talking points during the infamous phone call with the President of Ukraine. Exposure to the NYT’s biased and repeatedly “mistaken” reporting is problematic.
‘Tis the season, but not the Holiday Season. Instead, ‘Tis the flu season. Influenza is a serious seasonal viral infection, sometimes confused with the generic common cold.
Influenza infection typically begins with a sudden chill and malaise, soon followed by high fever (≥ 101 degrees), coryza (watery eyes), severe muscle aches and cough. People with influenza often feel so bad they can’t get out of bed (prostrate).
Over the last three “flu” seasons, an average of 36 million Americans suffered from influenza and 8% died. Mortality and hospitalization are more common in the elderly, in young children and in people with chronic diseases and immune system dysfunction. There are several antiviral agents which can treat influenza if begun in the first 48-72 hours of illness, but it is far better to prevent infection by common sense avoidance of crowds when influenza is present in your community, use of hand sanitizers and vaccination. Flu shots are helpful and prevent influenza or lessen its severity by two thirds.
The common cold is also a viral syndrome primarily associated with upper respiratory symptoms of head congestion, far less malaise than influenza, sore throat and low-grade fever, if any. Colds make you feel unwell, but don’t kill! Antibiotics are useless and there are no effective antiviral medications. Symptomatic treatment with Sudafed-like medications or Nasal Afrin can help head congestion. And never underestimate the value of a steaming soak or a hot toddy!
There are many viruses that cause the common cold including the coronavirus, responsible for 10-30 % of colds. However, recently a new coronavirus has emerged in Wuhan, China. You may recall another mutated coronavirus from China in 2002 which spread worldwide and was designated as SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome. Approximately 25% of patients with SARS required mechanical ventilators and 10% died. Another coronavirus emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 to produce MERS or Middle East respiratory syndrome. This respiratory infection was even more deadly and also produced prominent gastrointestinal symptoms and kidney failure. SARS and MERS eventually resolved with public health measures including isolation and quarantine.
The new Chinese coronavirus has led to sixty million people being quarantined, but apparently too late because cases have appeared in Europe, the US, Africa, the Middle East, Canada and Australia. Multiple airlines have stopped flights to China and Hong Kong has closed its borders with China. At this writing, the US has not stopped air travel to or from China, but I believe the President should do so. In the last several weeks, China has reported almost 10,000 cases of “Wuhan-coronavirus,” greater than the total number of SARS infections during the 2002-2003 epidemic. And I suspect the reported number of Wuhan cases is only the tip of the iceberg. If there is any good news, the reported death rate is relatively low with Wuhan-coronavirus, and the current risk of infection in America is miniscule. By comparison, we’ve already had 30 million reported cases of influenza this flu season.
Quarantine is an effective measure to prevent the spread of infection. In an autocracy like China, cities and travel can be shut down. In a democracy like ours this would be very difficult. Do you think the government could quarantine San Francisco or Los Angeles? These Democrat enclaves can’t even prevent pooping on the street or rampant lawlessness and drug use. Do you think the homeless with drug addiction and mental illness would obey governmental dictates?
We often see people in China wearing surgical masks in the hopes of preventing infection. (I doubt the masked crowds are focused on controlling their own coughed or sneezed secretions.) Surgical masks do not filter small potentially infectious particles nor are they personally fitted to prevent air from entering around the mask edges. Some years ago, during the terrorist anthrax scare, doctors like me who cared for ER and hospitalized patients were fitted with special N95 masks. This expensive mask may be somewhat protective, but is quite uncomfortable to wear.
Actually, it is my exposure to the impeachment farce that has made me ill and further damaged my opinion of the government and our leaders. Many Americans have avoided exposure by tuning out, which is deadly for democracy.
However, when Trump’s impeachment has failed, it will not be over. There will be new claims of malfeasance. The coup d’état, also known as the Democrat resistance, will not stop, at least until corruption in the government is reformed. And this can only begin with consequences for malfeasance in the FBI, CIA, Justice and State Departments, National Security Council and FISA court. When a flashlight is shined in a darkened basement the rats scurry. We can only hope that justice is coming from Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John H. Durham’s investigations.
Until justice is done and America’s “new” Civil War is won, I will hazard “news” exposure by staying engaged and speaking out.
And, I will go out during flu season with a hand sanitizer in my pocket, wash my hands regularly and stay at arm’s length from folks who are coughing and sneezing. This “doctor of democracy” urges you to do the same.
By Dr. Jim Ferguson