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Posts Tagged ‘Pandemic’

[Note: almost all of the “facts” in this post are taken from the Wikipedia article:  COVID-19 pandemic on USS Theodore Roosevelt .  The conjectures are solely mine.]
The story so far… 
Sometime in November / December 2019, a virus makes a transition from an animal host to a human host.  We currently believe this happened in the Wuhan area of China.  This is a new virus to the human species and (presumably) the host begins transferring the virus to new human hosts while in the incubation / infectious period.  Multiple people get infected and pass on the virus to others.  As many hosts either show no symptoms or very mild symptoms, this transfer can go on undetected for some time.  Eventually, the virus hits one or more hosts who are not able to survive the infection.  People begin to go to the ER and to die.  The infectious period is presumed to be two to three weeks long, and because we live in an age of jet transportation, the virus gets spread all around the world efficiently.
At some time in late February / early March, the virus is carried aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt by someone (presumably a crew member) and begins to spread to other crew members.  [The ship was ported in Vietnam between 5-9 March and the first crew member was tested positive on 22 March –  13 days after departure from Vietnam.  This puts the detection near the end of what we’ve been told is the incubation / infectious period (14 days).]  By the end of March 2020, over a hundred of the crew have tested positive for the virus.  The crew is between 4,500 and 5,000 strong.  On 27 March, the ship is ported in Guam and the crew is restricted to the ship or to the immediate pier area.
On 13 April a crew member dies of COVID-19.  He is the only one (so far).
As of 20 April, 94% of the crew have been tested for the virus, with 678 positive and 3,904 negative results.  About 60% of the people who tested positive did not have symptoms.  [Presumably, by now (18 May), the Navy has tested 100% of the crew.  This means we have an almost completely isolated control group for analysis.  Presumably, this is being done by both the CDC and the Navy.]
Sailors kept testing positive for the virus even after 14 days of isolation; some who tested positive had previously tested negative.  [It is not clear if this means “new” crew are testing positive after being placed in isolation, i.e. crew who tested negative but were put in isolation for two weeks because of contact with infected crew, or if it means crew who tested positive but showed no symptoms for 14 days continued to test positive, or crew who tested positive AND showed symptoms who were isolated, continued to test positive.  ANY of these guesses / conditions implies the isolation period (14 days) is insufficient to result in a “safe” return-to-duty status.  Alternatively, there may be “something” about this population – age and general good health – which naturally resists the virus and therefore takes it longer to establish in an individual host or which somehow otherwise extends the incubation / infectious period.]
In early May sailors who had completed quarantine began returning to the ship.
As of 5 May, 1,156 crew members have tested positive.  That’s over 20% of the crew.
On 15 May, five sailors on the ship developed symptoms and were found to test positive for the virus for the second time.  They had previously completed a 14-day quarantine and had tested negative at least twice before being allowed to re-board.  The sailors were removed from the ship along with some of their contacts.  Officials said it was not clear if these cases reflect actual relapses or problems with the test.
This last part is what I particularly don’t understand.  Mainly because it implies things (to me) which I don’t feel are being reported on by either the government or by the news media:
1)  Did the five show additional symptoms or did they simply get false positives on their initial tests?  Have the samples (all three at least) been retained and can they be retested with an alternate test methodology to determine if they were accurate or if the first test was a false positive?
2)  Was the test used initially (which gave a positive result) the same test as given for the two negative times.  Have these samples been retained and can they be retested with an alternate test methodology to determine if they were truly negative or if either or both were faulty?
3)  If the five crew were infected, isolated and recovered, who did they contact who might have re-infected them?
4)  If they were re-infected / relapsed, were they showing the virus anti-bodies prior to the relapse?  If no, why not?  If yes, is their level of antibodies different from those who’ve recovered but not relapsed?
5)  If they are showing the same level of antibodies as others who’ve recovered but not relapsed, what does this mean for the rest of the general populace?  My first instinct is that if the antibody levels are the same (or higher) as those who’ve not relapsed, we have a much bigger problem as this means we don’t understand the acquired resistance to this virus.  Either there is none, or the virus is mutating and re-infecting hosts – which is virtually the same thing as having no resistance.  In which case, “Houston, we’ve got a problem…
So, I’m left wondering…  Do we have bad tests or does surviving exposure fail to create resistance?  Please…  Somebody talk me off this ledge!   “What am I missing?
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In America, all most of us are being asked to do is stay home, sit on our butts and watch television.  Why are folks acting like this is this so difficult a request?
Happy Easter, everyone!!  Christ is Risen!!  My God counts the insects, the birds, the plants, the fish, the animals and the grains of sand.  And if you are not a Christian, then stay safe anyway.  If you are reading this, know that you and yours are in my prayers and in my positive thoughts…  Namaste!
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The purpose of life is to help others, and if you can’t help them, won’t you at least not hurt them?  I know that is a platitude, that that is sentimental and can easily be attacked.  But loving, caring is simple, and we make it complex.  Our own neuroses make it complex.
  —  Leo Buscaglia
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Thank You!!

My thanks go out to all the healthcare workers, first-responders, supermarket staff, delivery staff (U.S. Mail, FedEx, UPS, Amazon, etc.) and to all the other folks across the country providing “essential” services.  (You know who you are, because you’re still working everyday.)
We are all in this together.  We will ALL get through this!  Together!
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If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.
  —  Carl Sagan
[We’ve already seen #LyingDonald get his personal doctor to write a bogus physical prior to the election.  We’ve already seen #LyingDonald get his White House physician to lie about his health, weight and diet.  Now we get to see if #LyingDonald can get the heads of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to stand behind him and lie to the American public about a pandemic and national health emergency in the making.  Lying will not save lives.
I asked someone I know what his company is doing to prepare for a possible pandemic…  He replied they’ve adapted the GOP response to the epidemic of mass gun violence:  “thoughts and prayers” for those affected.  I’m sure it will be every bit as effective as putting Vice-President Pence in charge of the Federal Government’s response to the Corona Virus.  —  KMAB]
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