Coronavirus – A Weekly Roundup

Friends, ‘First a Happy Friday’. Let us round up the events of this week (June 15, 2020) as we have seen exciting and not so exciting stories for this week. Let us demystify those one after the other – Dexamethasone, Testing, Huge Second wave, Unscientific Americans, declining Antibody titer.

Dexamethasone

This steroid is suddenly touted as a panacea for mankind to protect its herd from Coronavirus. Let me say, Dexamethasone is used only for seriously ill patients. The drug has been shown to reduce the mortality in severely ill COVID patients those on a ventilator. So, make a note – It is for severely ill patients on a ventilator. It is not for prevention or cure of mild or moderate disease, and of course not for asymptomatic carriers.

How does this help me as a common man? This is not for prevention or cure of the mild to moderate disease. Other drugs and vaccines are in the pipeline.

Testing

The percentage of positive tests is rising across the Sunbelt, Arizona has 15.9%, Texas 7.9%, and Florida is high. Rising temperature and spreading Corona has dispelled a myth, that it is associated with Cold. Beyond numbers, an average of 5% – 8% positive are considered within the normal range for a pandemic (ideal is 0%), however, when the numbers rise above 8% it is time for a lockdown. However, let us understand, if the probability of positivity is 8% that means you have a 92% probability of negative test results, or in other words, 1 in 10 patients will test positive with a similar spectrum of symptoms.

Let us look at these 1 out of 10 positive cases. The probability of mild disease (given you have no risk factors) is 80%, another 15% have a probability of moderate disease and 5% have a grave outcome. It is surprising that Corona takes a toll on the young and healthy, and spares often the elderly recover from the disease. Another aspect is the residual scarring after recovery. Both these aspects mandate taking deferring unrequired risk.

How does this help me as a common man? The symptoms between Coronavirus and other respiratory virus overlap a lot. It is wise to get tested and be confirmed negative, rather than deny it and get delayed help.

What is an unrequired risk?

I see several kids interacting in my neighborhood, adults taking a stroll, and few doing their business without masks or adequate protection protocol after presumed exposure. Of course, Coronavirus is not a cloud. So if you have an asymptomatic person taking a stroll in the 2-3 hours window preceding your stroll (let us add no wind current during this time), he has left behind a cloud of virus-laden aerosol which you will naturally inhale. I presume you recollect how tightly the S protein binds to the ACE2 receptors of the human cells. (@ COVIDRxExChange.Org; Visit http://www.covidrxexchange.org).

How does this help me as a common man? It is best to avoid walking in a public place until the second wave has waned.

The Second Wave

We predicted it right before Memorial Day that a second wave is in offing. What I failed to predict was the Floyd Protests and the huge second wave due to claustrophobia. This wave is huge and I will not be surprised to see another lockdown. However, the economy has exhausted its appetite for another lockdown, and only when the hospital beds are exhausted, that they will say, “Flatten the Curve” and impose another lockdown. Let us not worry about the schools reopening in fall. Fall is too long, let us follow R0 (naught).

How does this help me as a common man? 99.99% is not enough; do not let your guards down. Follow precautions as stringently as possible.

Unscientific Americans –

Dr. Fauci is right when he said, Americans are unscientific. Look at the malls, the beaches, and the pool parties. What is the point in having a six feet separation?

How does this help me as a common man? Follow precautions as stringently as possible. Try to understand the science behind the cause and effect. Model your life according to the scientific principles. I would visit CDC guidelines and follow those as strictly as possible.

Antibody Titer

Reports have started emanating that the antibody titers wane after 2-3 months. It does sound scary as the protection from the previous disease (in the exposed and affected) lasts only for 3 months. Well, I want to assure you, cross-reacting antibodies and memory persist and even if re-exposure happens, this memory gets activated and will build a faster immune response. This is how all vaccines work.

How does this help me as a common man? I won’t worry if I read news about waning titer after 2-3 months. My small pox childhood vaccination still offers me a lifelong protection.

Quiz time –

If you inhale one virus, how many daughter coronaviruses are produced in 24 hours?

Shashank Heda, Dallas, Texas (June 19, 2020)

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