From London: If you are over 65 with COVID-19, good luck

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The numbers are normalized per 100,000 population.  Since the US is a far larger country the number of deaths will be far larger. Daily deaths are predicted to peak after around three months if people don’t change their behaviour. Image: Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team




From a medical consultant in London. This was sent initially to his family on Sat March 28th, 2020.  It is a frank assessment.  Expect the same situation here in New York and elsewhere in the USA.  (NB: this was sent to me via my British family)

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Fox News Coverage is Dangerous

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  • Fox News coronavirus coverage looks eerily similar to its climate crisis coverage — and is just as dangerous

    There are similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis: The public health and economic threat, if left unaddressed, will be catastrophic and worldwide; immediate action from leaders who listen to those most knowledgeable about the issue is paramount; communication to the public on the scope of the emergency and actions necessary to mitigate its threat should be facilitated by trustworthy news sources; and Fox News has played an active role in misleading and misinforming its viewers about both.

    In the face of the emerging coronavirus pandemic, Fox News has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, promoted misinformation and deployed other tactics to distract from, and attempt to discredit, the urgency of the crisis and the legitimacy of those issuing warnings — just as it’s done for years when reporting on the climate crisis.

  • Tactic 1: Downplay the crisis

    A hallmark of Fox News climate crisis coverage is dismissing the urgency of the threat, if not outright denying it, and labeling advocates for climate action as hysterical and alarmists, as I explained in a 2019 report for Public Citizen. Fox News opinion personalities and so-called news programs have used this same approach in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus. Here are just a few examples:

    On March 9, Sean Hannity on his eponymous Fox News show referred to the public health crisis facing this country as a “hoax” and claimed that “they’re scaring the living hell out of people.”

    On March 8, Fox News’ Pete Hegseth stated, during a segment on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state of emergency declaration, “I feel like the more I learn about this, the less there is to worry about.”

    On February 29, the Fox & Friends hosts rallied around President Donald Trump’s claim that the coronavirus threat is a “hoax.”

    On February 28, Fox anchor Harris Faulkner suggested criticizing the administration’s response to coronavirus is “feeding hysteria.”

  • Tactic 2: Traffic in dangerous misinformation

    Climate deniers and the well-debunked misinformation they spread have made a home at Fox News. Amid this recent national crisis, the network has distributed dangerous misinformation about the severity of the coronavirus threat to its viewers, the majority of whom are among the most vulnerable to and at risk. Here are some of the most egregious examples:

    On March 15, Fox News aired dangerous misinformation from Steven Hotze, a disreputable doctor who has a history of pushing “methods [that] are not supported by science and are potentially harmful” and sells bogus colloidal silver. Hotze dismissed concerns about the coronavirus, saying that “everybody has gone totally crazy about it” and recommending that people should “conduct your life normally.” The segments were part of Fox’s purported “news” division programming.

    On March 6, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel appeared on Fox News’ Hannity and told the host the “worst case scenario” for coronavirus is “it could be the flu.” The appearance on Hannity was one of at least 47 weekday appearances Siegel made to discuss the outbreak in the weeks leading up to the March 13 national emergency declaration.

    In fact, Hotze and Seigel are among a handful of so-called medical experts who have appeared across the network’s programs to misinform viewers and dismiss the seriousness of the unfolding public health crisis.

  • Tactic 3: Finger-point and table-turn

    Deflection is a signature move of Fox News anchors looking to pivot away from the facts of a story or change the trajectory of its most obvious conclusion. One of the more common examples of this appearing in the network’s climate coverage is a focus on an individual’s actions to deflect away from the evidence that supports their position on climate. For example, Fox News hosts often call out the hypocrisy of climate advocates who use air travel.

    In the face of clear mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak by Trump, Fox News has cast around for someone else to blame and landed on its go-to fake villains: Democrats and reporters.

    Media Matters has documented how Fox personalities lashed out at journalists for their coverage of coronavirus and at Democrats for their criticism of the administration.

    On March 16, Laura Ingraham went so far as to say in defense of Trump, “The media, some have been enjoying this moment that has brought great inconvenience, disruption and suffering to American workers and families, let alone all the health challenges, the deaths and the infection rate — because some people think it’s Trump’s downfall, and they are cheering that on as they did during Mueller and all these other crises.”

    On March 2, Sean Hannity got particularly creative in his attempt to deflect from Trump’s handling of the public health crisis by lying about President Obama’s 2009 “swine flu” response.

  • Tactic 4: Attack science

    The backbone of most climate disinformation is a feigned or real mistrust of science and scientific evidence. It is from this place that climate science, scientists, and the institution where they work are attacked by those whose narratives, worldviews, or values they inconvenience, including Fox News.

    The spread of the coronavirus has put our experts in the scientific community in the national spotlight as we rightfully turn to them for information and sound recommendations. It has also triggered one of Fox News’ most oft-employed attacks on the scientific community: They are politicized and therefore compromised.

    On the March 6 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox’s Dr. Marc Siegel claims coronavirus concerns are being intentionally overblown to hurt Trump politically by dismissing the World Health Organization as “overly political” and “incompetent.”

    On the March 4 edition of The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham’s guest attempted to discredit the Center for Disease Control by calling it a “highly politicized organization.”

  • Tactic 5: Legitimize and spread conspiracy theories

    The most notorious climate change conspiracy theory — originating from then-future President Trump — is that it is a hoax “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Another commonly cited conspiracy theory is that climate scientists distort findings or tamper with evidence for financial gain. This claim, which Fox has peddled, was the basis for the manufactured scandal “Climategate,” which Fox News seized on and ferociously promoted.

    As the lethal outbreak of coronavirus spread around the world and the U.S. government warned that it would spread within the United States, Fox News was among the right-wing media outlets spreading conspiracy theories. That included one of the most prominent theories, which claims that coronavirus was manufactured and leaked by the Chinese government, and one of the most racist claims, that it was a result of people consuming animals alive.

    On February 10, Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson speculated about the unsubstantiated bioweapon theory, asking his guest whether COVID-19 is “not a naturally occurring virus” or was “somehow created by the Chinese government.” His theory was debunked by his guest Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a medical director of a chain of urgent care clinics.

    Even though this theory has been widely debunked (even on air during a Fox program), on February 25, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed that “we don’t know yet whether or not this was an engineered virus” and said that there is “a research lab some 300 yards from the epicenter of this outbreak.”

    Carlson, on his January 23 show, also blamed the emergence of the virus on Chinese culture, advancing the unproven theory that it was a result of people consuming animals “alive.”

    While many of the tactics Fox News has used to misinform and mislead its views about the climate crisis and the coronavirus outbreak are the same, its goals are different. As applied to the climate crisis, Fox wields these tactics in an attempt to blunt aggressive climate action. As applied to the coronavirus, Fox has deployed them to shield Trump from political backlash. Either way, these tactics are shameful and dangerous — and their impact is not easily corrected.

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Advice from a New York City ICU Doc

Dr. Frugoni in California:  This is the best explanation of how to protect yourselves, family and friends by a knowledgeable and calm doctor working the frontlines in NYC. Well worth listening to the entire 56 minutes.

Dr. Posnett: This is from Dr. Price at New York Hospital – it is invaluable info from someone taking care of many patients every day.  This hospital is completely over-run by COVID-19. Please share widely with all your friends or patients

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Why is COVID-19 Testing Important?

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Earlier today, March 28, 2020 and According to News 12

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says 4,138 people in the county have tested positive for coronavirus.

Bellone also says 409 people are hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 139 in the ICU.   “There are 2,644 hospital beds, with 570 available. There are also 309 ICU beds, with 78 available.” Clearly, we will soon run out of necessary beds and of course ventilators.

Bellone says there are 30 deaths in the county due to coronavirus.

7 deaths have occurred in the retirement home Peconic Landing


At Peconic Landing, the Greenport retirement home, there was another death today, the seventh.  There are about 40 people known to have tested positive.  Peconic Landing has perhaps 377 staff, and well over 300 residents (301 independent “members” and 86 nursing home patients).  Peconic Landing is the hotbed of COVID-19 in Suffolk county.  Think of it as a “Cruiseship”.  And it is full of frail elderly clients.  Find the updated information regarding Peconic Landing and COVID here.

The leadership of Peconic Landing claims there are no available tests for their home.  I understand that there may be a rush on tests, but isn’t the situation at Peconic Landing a quasi emergency?  Their residents are mostly over 80 years old. If they get sick with COVID-19 one would expect a mortality rate of 10-20% at least.  For the rest of us, the mortality (risk of dying if we get the virus) is more like 1-2% .

Some say “well aren’t they going to die anyway?”   How would you feel if your parent or grandparent were there?

Why is it important to test everyone at Peconic Landing?

There are currently 2 types of testing:

  1. RT-PCR test – it detects viral RNA and therefore a component of the virus itself.  This involves a nasal swab that is sent to a lab and the turnaround is about 1-2 days currently.
  2. Antibody test: A new test for IgM and IgG antibodies (Ab), which are part of the immune system’s response to the virus.  This test takes 15 minutes and involves a pinprick of a finger, like the glucose test performed by diabetics.

Both tests should be done because the combined information might be useful:

Here are the 4 possible outcomes and what they mean.

PCR+ Ab –

you have COVID-19,  symptomatic or asymptomatic. You should take precautions (self-quarantine) to avoid transmission of virus to your loved ones.  You absolutely may not have any contact with residents at a home, like Peconic Landing.

PCR+ Ab+

you are likely recovering from COVID-10 (1-2 weeks out); you may have been symptomatic or not.  Because you are still PCR+ you need to take precautions (self-quarantine).  You absolutely may not have any contact with residents at a home, like Peconic Landing.

PCR- Ab-

you never had COVID-19.  You are susceptible, and if you live or work in a high risk situation, such as Peconic Landing, you shouldn’t be there. But if that is impossible, you should take very stringent precautions.

PCR- Ab+

you are fully recovered from COVID-19.  Generally, this group could be considered “immune” and

    • go back to work
    • might be well suited for caretaker and health provider roles
    • might donate plasma at a blood bank to be administered to critically ill COVID-19 patients in the ICU: it is called passive immunotherapy, used successfully for the Spanish Flu and for Ebola.

On the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, all elderly passengers and those with underlying medical conditions, and all crew were tested. “Passengers who had negative SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results, no respiratory symptoms, and no close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 completed a 14-day ship-based quarantine before disembarkation.  In other words, testing helped make informed decisions to save as many lives as possible.

We should do the same for our senior friends at Peconic Landing.


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Where Were You Lee Zeldin?

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In the March 19 issue of the Western Edition of The Southampton Press, the A section is devoted to articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on Suffolk County and Southampton Town. There are quotes and statements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, mayors, school superintendents and hospital administrators. Conspicuously missing is any statement from Congressman Lee Zeldin.

On the congressman’s Facebook page and in his appearances on Fox News, from January through early March of this year, his comments included supporting President Trump against impeachment, criticizing New York for bail reform, insinuating that Democrats want to enable voting by undocumented residents, and the highlighting the danger of MS-13. But not one word about the growing epidemic.

Now that the pandemic has been declared a national emergency, his website has information for the public about the virus and his office has issued a series of press releases. But we know that Congress was informed by our intelligence services in January that the novel coronavirus that began in China at the end of 2019 had the potential to be a global pandemic. China released the genetic code for the virus at the beginning of January to help scientists in other countries prepare test kits and institute procedures to contain the virus. We did neither.

Instead, President Trump called it a Democratic hoax, Fox News repeated this misinformation campaign, and Zeldin focused on spreading lies about bail reform. Countries like Australia and South Korea that immediately implemented policies to test and contain the virus are in far better shape today.

No resident of the district should be surprised. Zeldin has not stood with protecting the public health of his constituents at any time in his tenure in Congress. He voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, voted for the GOP deficient replacement bill in 2017, and lied about that vote in the 2018 midterm election, pretending he supported protections for pre-existing conditions.

The constituents of the 1st District are now facing a grave danger to both the public health and economic health of our district. Our hospitals in Suffolk County are facing overwhelming numbers of emergencies. And our shuttered businesses and their employees are facing ruin.

We, the taxpayers of this district have the right to know why we are on a COVID-19 case accrual curve closer to Italy than to South Korea. Where was Congressman Zeldin when this threat was building? Why was he busy spouting right-wing talking points and propping up a president who was calling this a hoax rather than raising the alarm about the threat to our district and getting us the necessary resources?

We need answers.

By Barbara Weber-Floyd

Westhampton Beach

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How to Handle Food and Groceries Coming in to Your Home

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Watch a doctor demonstrate how to safely bring groceries home during the coronavirus crisis.  This is very useful!  Specially the latter half starting at 5:00 min.

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Message from Dr. Norbert Goldfield (Ask Nurses and Doctors):

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

From the editorial board of the Washington Post: Trump is spreading false hope for a virus cure — and that’s not the only damage.

A man thought aquarium cleaner with the same name as the drug chloroquine (Plaquenil) would prevent coronavirus. It killed him.

To add insult to injury, and not surprisingly, the Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook.

And there are innumerable vacancies in addition to incompetent leadership in the executive branch.

A symptom of the above challenges: The daughter of one of my hospitalized Covid patients just called me and told me that many at her mother’s housing complex are coming down with the same symptoms.  There is no case tracking here like in S. Korea – so there is nothing to be done.

My efforts to move Republican governors to early on support ‘shelter in place‘ didn’t work. As expected Florida and Texas are rapidly emerging as new potential epicenters.

I continue to organize in swing states and continue to organize roundtables for incumbent members of Congress. All suggestions welcome.

It seems like eons ago when I sent out the following advice: #StaytheFuckHome. Please stay healthy.

Let’s end with some good news. My retired physician colleague who was on a respirator for Covid has just been extubated!

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