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The Covid Thread

Edric O

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Well, it's the elephant in the room, isn't it? Everyone is talking about it anyway and literally all current events revolve around it. So I thought it's time to have a dedicated thread about Covid... or the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, to be pedantic.

We all know the story: Humanity is facing the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. As of the time of this post, there have been over 2.1 million confirmed cases, and almost 150,000 confirmed deaths from Covid. These numbers are growing exponentially, so they may well be far higher when you're reading this. In addition, due to inadequate testing, the number of cases is likely to be greatly underestimated. Oh, and the world is heading into the Second Great Depression as a result of this. Interesting times.

Here are some useful resources to track the global situation:

Maps and data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

Covidly.com, a great little website put together by a researcher from Singapore, keeping track of trends. Uses public data to generate a lot of useful graphs.

So, how is the pandemic affecting you, and what do you think about what the future holds?

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Zero commuting has been great but as I work in the staffing industry we have seen a big down turn (not many companies hire during recessions and depressions). Also I'm not at home (I live in Boston and was visiting my SO in Prague when the lock downs hit). Certainly not the worst place to be as Czech's early restrictions have meant a relatively low infection and death rate. Recent articles have stated that many ICUs are half empty and it seems that the number of active infections is stabilizing around 5,200 mark as the number of recoveries increases and the number of new cases stays quite low. 


Obviously my home home (UK) and new home (US) seem to be in quite some dire straits at the moment. (to be honest though most of my news on the US comes from @rebelliousplatypus posts on Facebook 😃)

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Well, currently working at home as well.  I've done some consulting work with the local health department and mayor of my city regarding plans and preparations.  I spent 6 months in Liberia as an Ebola nurse and have worked in around 9 disaster deployments around the world. But despite that, I have very little actual hospital work. A lot of outpatient stuff and things related to that.  My girlfriends a nurse, and she works at a local hospital doing stress testing, both of us are on standby to deploy to Chicago or CT to work in a covid unit. I'm not that worried If I can survive an ebola zone in Liberia, I can survive Covid in chicago. 

Besides that, just dealing with the massive amounts of boredom. 

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This is an interesting article that talks about how complicated the virus has been to figure out:

This is their summary paragraph:


In the space of a few months, we’ve gone from thinking there was no “asymptomatic transmission” to believing it accounts for perhaps half or more of all cases, from thinking the young were invulnerable to thinking they were just somewhat less vulnerable, from believing masks were unnecessary to requiring their use at all times outside the house, from panicking about ventilator shortages to deploying pregnancy massage pillows instead. Six months since patient zero, we still have no drugs proven to even help treat the disease. Almost certainly, we are past the “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals” stage of this pandemic. But how far past?


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Today was a travel day, up early and away, a sad goodbye to the beautiful girlfriend for the next two weeks :(. 

The airport experience was...different and my first time traveling in a COVID-19 world. Security took no time at all, I was the only person there. 

Then the ritual pre deployment beer, drank with a pulled aside mask and gulped hurriedly.

Normally I fall asleep on the flight, but it was  a bit uncomfortable with the N95. Landed, and switched planes. 

Met up with the new team, all of whom seem to be pretty good folks. There's 4 of us on this mission, two nurses, a doc and an NP. We picked up a rental car, made a quick stop at wal mart and headed off.

We we're originally going to work in Gallop but they told us we will be working at a hospital in shiprock instead. Part of any successful disaster response is flexibility, you have to be able to go with the flow, and adjust as needed. Well, I'm a bit nervous on since I haven't done inpatient care in a long time. And Gallup was supposed to be a lower acuity setting. But hey, nerves are normal and I'm sure it will be fine.

We drove first from Albuquerque to Gallup to meet with our team, get some supplies. We had a couple hour discussion with our native American Liaison about culture and history before heading off. 

Gallup itself is under lock down, turning folks away without reason to be there (we had a letter).

Another hour and a half driving to get to our air B&B where we will be staying for two weeks, or however long we're needed.


Attached is photos of checkpoints. 



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Day one:  Day one yesterday was an odd day, but the first day of treating patients. The first half consisted entirely of onboarding with the Indian health systems, finger printing, hippa training ect, meeting coders, medical records ect. It was long, tedious. I thought nextgen was a bad electronic charting system. Indian health ehr is almost DoS like. 

Originally I was supposed to work in the low acuity alternative care site. That's not open yet, so I'm outside in the triage tent helping screen folks. It seems my fate in any pandemic is to wear ppe outside, in the heat. While Ebola had much more intense PPE for maybe an hour or two, this is less intense PPE for much longer. Its very hot, and we had a near constant stream of cars from my arrival at 3pm till I left at 7pm. 

We had a couple cases non covid related, a head wound, a cat bite, and a stomach pain. But everyone else was covid, covid, covid.  

Contact tracing normally focusses on an individual, however due to Navajo culture, whole families, 3 or 4 generations may live together in small homes. So the idea is family tracking instead.  The outbreak continues upwards here, with the Navajo nation instituting a curfew from friday 8pm to monday 5am. All those who violate face a $1,000 fine.

It's not severely complicated work, just getting vitals, moving folks from the parking lot in a wheelchair up a hill, and into the ER. Tech work, but hey it's helping and the staff here is incredibly grateful for the help. The alternative care site to house folks is a gymnasium near here. If I'm here, or there doesn't matter as long as we're helping out.

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