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COVID facts and implications

This is getting real.

I woke this morning to the news that COVID has infected well over 10 million of us and killed almost a quarter million of our mothers, fathers, daughters, siblings, and grandparents.

Worse, the infection rate in the Midwest and Great Plains is exploding

As is the overall US infection rate…

If anything, the trend line is worse than it appears, as it is an average of the last 7 days. With daily new case counts rising rapidly (Wednesday’s count was 142,755), this third wave is looking more like a tsunami.

Latest research

The CDC is finally putting on its big boy pants…

CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Wow…who would’ve thunk it??

Research determined that wearing masks protects the wearer as well as those around them. From CDC:

An investigation of a high-exposure event, in which 2 symptomatically ill hair stylists interacted for an average of 15 minutes with each of 139 clients during an 8-day period, found that none of the 67 clients who subsequently consented to an interview and testing developed infection. The stylists and all clients universally wore masks in the salon as required by local ordinance and company policy at the time.

Make sure your masks:

  • have multiple cloth layers and/or
  • are made of silk or
  • polypropylene.

Vaccine progress

The NYTimes’ excellent – and constantly updated – vaccine progress tracker reports there are:

  • no vaccines currently approved for wide use;
  • 6 vaccines approved for early or limited use; and
  • 11 more in large scale efficacy (does it work?) testing.

Pfizer’s vaccine shows a lot of promise, with early results from a large study indicating it was 90%+ effective in “preventing the disease in individuals with no prior history of the disease.”

The vaccine has some significant logistical challenges which will make distribution tricky indeed; it:

Notably, Pfizer did not take any taxpayer money to fund its research, and its executives specifically stated the company is not participating in “Operation Warp Speed.”

Hospitals in ten high-infection states are at or beyond capacity.  From the Atlantic;

According to local news reports, hospitals are already on the brink of being overwhelmed in IowaKansasMinnesotaMissouriMontanaNorth DakotaTexasUtah, and Wisconsin,


Expect a return to limited availability of facility-based medical services. Hospitals are going to have to cut back on elective services to maintain capacity.

More states will mandate restrictions on group gatherings and business operations. New York has already done so, along with North Dakota and I’m sure several others.

There will be significant economic effects.

What does this mean for you?

If everything goes well, by spring 2021 – that’s late March – there may be enough of us vaccinated to slow the virus’ spread.

Be responsible. Wear a mask.





16 thoughts on “COVID facts and implications”

    1. Hello Denice and thanks for the note.

      I’m afraid I disagree – I have found no report indicatign Pfizer has received any funding from the government. If you have other information please let us know.

      See above for more details.

      Be well – Joe

  1. The CDC published the study on the Missouri salon’s non-exposure (which occurred in MAY, by the way) in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on JULY 17, almost four months ago. It is maddening and mindboggling that the guidance on mask use only changed this week.

  2. Hi Joe. To clarify, CNN fact checked the statement made by Pfizer that they were not part of Operarion Warp speed. “… Pfizer acknowledged in a Monday statement to CNN that it is in fact “participating” in Operation Warp Speed through this deal. Also, at least some independent experts say the Trump administration deserves partial credit for Pfizer’s progress.”. It is true they did not accept federal funding for research, they did agree to a 2 billion dollar purchase order from the US government , which may have played a role in expediting the development process.

    1. Hey Stephen – thanks for the note and observations.

      here’s my view.

      Pfizer did NOT receive taxpayer dollars to fund vaccine development – at least not US taxpayer dollars. Pfizer’s development work – much of which was done by its partner, BioNTech, was funded by Germany to the tune of $445 million, not the US.

      And, human testing began in April, before Warp Speed was even announced.

      Pfizer’s vaccine is part of an advance purchase deal where the Federal government commits to pay up to $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the vaccine.

      This advance purchase agreement was reported on July 22, some 4 months after human trials of Pfizer’s vaccine began.

      Note Pfizer does NOT get paid unless and until it delivers the vaccine. One can argue whether this was or was not part of Warp Speed; as drug development and testing was done prior to Warp Speed’s inception, and never funded by US taxpayers, I’m comfortable with Pfizer executives’ characterization.

      I’d also note that “other independent experts” characterized the Feds’ involvement as “minimal.”

      Net – There is no convincing evidence to support the assertion that the Trump Administration deserves any credit whatsoever for Pfizer’s success.

      Given the catastrophic nature of COVID, it is unfortunate indeed that the Trump Administration took more than 4 months to initiate Warp Speed.

      be well – Joe

    1. Hey Steve – I’m not sure Big Pharma was ever out of the picture…with their gazillions of lobbying dollars they have a lot of staying power.

  3. I’d like to address the potential difficulty of distributing a medication that has to be kept below freezing. When my late husband was being treated for pancreatic cancer, one of his drugs was required to be kept frozen until use. This meant he had to appear at the clinic, check in, and then they would order the drug from the pharmacy. He was required to wait a minimum of an hour for the drug to be delivered and sufficiently thawed before it could be administered. If this same scenario is true for the covid vaccine, and people are required to receive 2 separate doses, the logistics of administration of the vaccine will be extremely difficult.

  4. Hello Joe, Every time I turn on the TV and see post like yours…..there is something missing. What is the survival rate? Hard to find how many people recovered from Covid 19 or mortality rate much lower than in March/April. Also, where are the articles about how to build your immune system to combat Covid or simple flu???

    1. Greg
      that’s a difficult question to answer, which is likely why it isn’t discussed much.

      we have a pretty good idea of the numerator – up to 10/20/20 the US had 300,000 excess deaths this year, 200k of which were from covid.

      We do not know the denominator. The government’s failure to ramp up quick testing means we do not have a highly credible infection count.

      So we have to go by the case fatality rate or CFR. That is 2.3% for the US. That is certainly higher than the “real” rate. That said, he CFR has ranged from 1.7& to 6.0%. That is between 17 and 60 times more deadly than the flu.

      As for articles on immune system enhancement, I’d use the google thing, but be very careful. Lots of nonsense out there. Best cure is prevention – wear a mask.

      be well Joe

  5. Hi Joe, I’m covering the pharmacy in a local hospital today. Here’s a note from the point of the spear. For the past 4 days, this little county critical access hospital in Southern Ohio has been unable to transfer patients to Cincinnati metro hospitals due to their capacity issues. Reports of patients waiting for ventilators in a neighboring hospital.

  6. Pretty scary stuff. My health system not seen a major surge thus far from a surge, but our numbers have been climbing this time around. My home state of Michigan is shutting some things down starting this Wednesday.

    Stay safe, Sir.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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