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BuzzFlash has been warning of the inability — due to Trump’s sabotaging testing so it can appear there is a lower infection rate than is the case — of the US to currently test for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers of the Coronavirus, along with a paucity of serology tests to determine if individuals have had asymptomatic Coronavirus and developed an immunity (perhaps only temporarily) to it.

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No, a thermometer alone is not going to guarantee anyone from contracting the Coronavirus. That it might be thought of as screening out all spreaders of the infection is a testament to how damned we are.

Media reporters, particularly the Stockholm Syndrome Washington DC Press Corps, are ill-equipped to hold Trump accountable for almost anything, let alone what some estimate to be 80% of the COVID-19 deaths (which Trump has gone from saying would be a handful to now 70.000). The journalists covering Trump seem to have at best, for the most part, a two-news cycle memory.

So it is understandable that they understand very little about the Coronavirus because they are political and not medical reporters. That is one of the reasons that Trump is able to escape blame from them for killing tens of thousands of Americans. Now we know, from a new University of Washington Model, that 130,00 Americans may die by the beginning of August (with daily deaths rising to 3000), with other models predicting 300,000 or more deaths in subsequent waves. That the DC Press Corps lets Trump shape the narrative, discounting his earlier assurance to the nation that the Coronavirus “would disappear like magic,” is dismaying.

After all, these are their relatives, friends and co-workers who are dying because we have a sociopathic chronic liar and promoter of genocidal actions toward “disposable and weak people.”

That the media, politicians and the public in general do not rise up in “virtual” outrage calling for Trump to resign or be removed from office is astounding. Imagine if a Democrat used the Coronavirus catastrophe opportunistically and mercilessly as Trump has, you would have had him or her swept from the White House weeks ago. This is an abomination that does not lend itself to the fascination of the media with the Trump “daily spectacle,” so, therefore, the press endlessly speculates on his every word, tweet, or motive — as if he were sane — rather than covering the mass death that is described by the sister of a frontline nurse who just committed suicide as “Armageddon.”

Yes, the generally obsequious press doesn’t understand much about the details of the pandemic. Long ago, the lead journalists on the COVID-19 plague should have been replaced with reporters with medical expertise, and Trump should not been allowed to even remotely continue being the source of endless disinformation that has dangerously confused the American public who desperately want facts and guidance during this perilous time.

That is why, although BuzzFlash has written multiple commentaries on the threat posed by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers (see some of the columns at the bottom of the page), the news media can barely keep the distinctions straight, vis-a-vis symptomatic carriers even though those two groups of individuals may account for perhaps up to 50 percent or more of Coronavirus infectors at a given time. Furthermore, even the national government medical experts are sometimes confused about the threat posed by these two groups. Meanwhile, Trump tries to strong arm a “reopening of the economy,” with a criminal reckless disregard, symbolized most recently by his executive order for all slaughterhouses to stay open (which many are unable to do because they are losing too many workers to the Coronavirus).

There are only a few news outlets who are decrying the rapid, non-scientific reopening of Red States that is going to feed the second wave, as we foresaw in an April 1 commentary, “If Trump "Opens Up the Economy" on May 1, It Will Close Again by May 15 Due to Reignited COVID-19 Infectious Spread.”

The biggest obstacles to reopening are the availability of massive testing, contact tracing and enforced isolation. In the mean time, any pull back from social distancing and shelter-at-home is going to cause a rise to the deadly heights of the new model. The forced back-to-work policies (or lose your unemployment insurance) of states like Iowa and Georgia (with more now following) are going to lead to some workers choosing starvation over risking their lives and some returning to a good possibility of infection. (Although, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp knows that the virus is not disappearing. That is why he hypocritically closed the Georgia governor’s mansion because he feared he, his staff or his family might become infected.)

Another argument for staying sheltered-in-place and not “reopening the economy” is that so much is unknown about the Coronavirus. As far as viruses are concerned, virologists and epidemiologists have much to learn over time about its characteristics. Knowledge about it is in its infancy.

Now, one of the tools being used to screen people for “not having COVID-19” is taking their temperature. In fact, before anyone can enter a White House event, they have to have their temperature taken with a digital thermometer placed on their forehead. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in its Trump friendly revised guidelines, is also recommending that workers exposed to a known COVID-19 carrier now not quarantine for 14 days (Trump is anxious to sacrifice workers without regard for their health), but the worker should return to work after taking his or her temperature and the employer should take the worker’s temperature upon his or her return to work.

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Taking the digital temperature of people boarding airplanes is also being floated, as it is for many possible events and meetings.

The problem with this approach symbolizes the lethal folly of Trump’s desperate reelection push to rebuild the economy: it leaves up to 50 percent of Coronvirus carriers at a given time, asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spreaders, undetected, unknowingly poised to spread and infect COVID-19.

According to a March article based on a New England Journal of Medicine study,

Cough and fever dominate the list of COVID-19 symptoms, but initial signs may be mild or nonexistent, according to revealing new data from the disease’s epicenter.

Investigators on Friday unveiled the clinical characteristics of nearly 1,100 patients using data mined from Chinese hospitals during the first two months of the coronavirus outbreak. While the virus spread rapidly, causing varying degrees of illness, admitted patients often presented with no fever and no lung abnormalities on initial scans, reported Wei-jie Guan, Ph.D., from Guangzhou Medical University, China.

Mind you, this was a study of COVID-19 carriers who were hospitalized, which makes up only a small percentage of the virus’s carriers. Logically, it also follows that if a person is asymptomatic, they most likely do not have a fever. Furthermore, the pre-symptomatic carriers, by definition, are not likely to have a fever.

An April entry in The New England Journal of Medicine captures how problematic ending social distancing anywhere in the US at this time is. It is entitled, “Asymptomatic Transmission, the Achilles’ Heel of Current Strategies to Control Covid-19.” Indeed, one study found that pre-symptomatic carriers are most infectious just before their first symptoms, including fever, appear.

“This ability of the virus to be transmitted by people without symptoms is a major reason for the pandemic,” according to William Petri, a professor of medicine and microbiology, at the University of Virginia

Huckster Trump is leading us to culling the herd of “losers” who are felled by the Coronavirus. That the DC Press Corps is showing a mass killer deference is debasing this nation. Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole recently wrote a widely-praised column on how Trump had brought the US from being a nation that was admired and envied to one that is pitied.

The sound you hear is of the DC Press Corps bleating as they transcribe Trump’s ravings of a mad man.

If Trump had mass-produced test kits with the goal of universal testing and created a public health contact tracing corps we would not be stuck with the choice between social distancing/shelter-at-home and a return to large-scale infections and death. However, he was determined to cull the herd by letting it rage.

No, a thermometer alone is not going to guarantee anyone from contracting the Coronavirus. That it might be thought of as screening out all spreaders of the infection is a testament to how damned we are.
Mark Karlin
BuzzFlash

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