Gabriel Roberts

Truth is Beauty

Author: gaberobertsart (page 1 of 11)

Why Increasing Number of Cases of COVID-19 is NOT Bad News: A Florida Doctor Talks Some Sense

From a letter to the editor of the Orlando Medical News:

Several times a day, on every possible news outlet, we are bombarded with updates as to the new number of “cases” of COVID-19 in the U.S. and elsewhere. News analysts then use these numbers to justify criticisms of those who dare to reject the CDC’s recommendations with regards to mask wearing and social distancing.

It is imperative that all Americans – and especially those in the medical profession – understand the actual definition of a “case” of COVID -19 so as to make informed decisions as to how to live our lives.

Older Americans remember all too well the dread they experienced when a family member was diagnosed with a “case” of scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), or polio. During my career in family medicine, including several years as an Army physician, I have cared for patients with chickenpox, shingles, Lyme disease as well as measles, tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. The “case definition” established for all of these diseases by the CDC requires the presence of signs and symptoms of that disease.

In other words, each case involved a SICK patient. Laboratory studies may be performed to “confirm” a diagnosis, but are not sufficient in the absence of clinical symptoms.

Having now been privileged to care for sick patients with COVID-19, both in and out of the hospital setting, I am happy to see the number of these sick patients dwindle almost to zero in my community – while the “case numbers” for COVID-19 continue to go up. Why is that?

In marked contrast to measles, shingles, and other infectious disease, “cases” of COVID-19 do NOT require the presence of ANY symptoms whatsoever. Health departments are encouraging everyone and anyone to come in for testing, and each positive test is reported as yet another “new” case of COVID-19!

On April 5, 2020, a small number of state epidemiologists (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Technical Supplement: Interim-20-ID-01) came up with a “surveillance” case definition for COVID-19.

At the time, there was uncertainty as to whether or not completely asymptomatic persons could transmit COVID-19 sufficiently enough to infect and cause disease in others. (This notion has never been proven and, in fact, has recently been discounted – cfr “ A Study on the Infectivity of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Carriers, Ming Fao et al, Respir Med, 2020 Aug – available online through PubMed 2020 May 13, as well as recent reports from the WHO itself).

The CSTF thereby justified the unconventional case definition for COVID-19, adding “CSTE realizes that field investigations will involve evaluations of persons with no symptoms and these individuals will need to be counted as cases.”

Hence, anyone who has a positive PCR test (the nasal swab, PCR test for COVID Antigen or Nucleic Acid) or serological test (blood test for antibodies –IgG and/or IgM) would be classified as a “case” – even in the absence of symptoms.

In our hospitals at this time, there are hundreds of former nursing home residents sitting in “COVID” units who are in their usual state of good health, banned from returning to their former nursing home residences simply because they have TESTED Positive for COVID-19 during mass testing programs in the nursing homes.

The presence of a positive lab test for COVID-19 in a person who has never been sick is actually GOOD news for that person and for the rest of us. The positive test indicates that this person has likely mounted an adequate immune response to a small dose of COVID-19 to whom he or she was exposed – naturally (hence, no need for a vaccine vs. COVID-19).

It is important as well to understand that the presence of lab testing is not the ONLY criterion that the CDC used to established a diagnosis of COVID-19. The presence of only 1 or 2 flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) – in the absence of another proven cause (e.g., influenza, bacterial pneumonia) is SUFFICIENT to give a diagnosis of COVID-19 – as long as the patient also meets certain “epidemiological linkage” criteria as follows:

“In a person with clinically compatible symptoms, [a “case” will be reported if that person had] one or more of the following exposures in the 14 days before onset of symptoms: travel to or residence in an area with sustained, ongoing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2; close contact (10 minutes or longer, within a 6 foot distance) with a person diagnosed with COVID-19; or member of a risk cohort as defined by public health authorities during an outbreak.” Note that the definition of a “risk cohort” includes age > 70 or living in a nursing home or similar facility.

So, in essence, any person with an influenza- like illness (ILI) could be considered a “case” of COVID-19, even WITHOUT confirmatory lab testing. The CDC has even advised to consider any deaths from pneumonia or ILI as “Covid-related” deaths – unless the physician or medical examiner establishes another infectious agent as the cause of illness.

Now perhaps you see why the increasing number of cases, and even deaths, due to COVID-19 is fraught with misinterpretation and is NOT in any way a measure of the ACTUAL morbidity and mortality FROM COVID-19. My patients who insist upon wearing masks, gloves and social distancing are citing these misleading statistics as justification for their decisions (and, of course, that they are following the “CDC guidelines”). I simply advise them, “COVID-19 is NOT in the atmosphere around us; it resides in the respiratory tracts of infected individuals and can only be transmitted to others by sick, infected persons after prolonged contact with others”.

So you may ask – why are we continuing to report increasing numbers of cases of COVID as though it were BAD news for America? Rather than as GOOD news, i.e, that the thousands of healthy Americans testing positive (also known as “asymptomatic”) are indicative of the presence of herd immunity – protecting themselves and many of us from potential future assaults by variants of COVID?

Why did we as a society stop sending our children to schools and camps and sports activities? Why did we stop going to work and church and public parks and beaches? Why did we insist that healthy persons “stay at home” – rather than observing the evidence-based, medically prudent method of identifying those who were sick and isolating them from the rest of the population – advising the sick to “stay at home” and allowing the rest of society to function normally? And, while we witnessed the gatherings of protestors in recent days with little concerns for COVID-19 spread among these asymptomatic persons, most certainly many are hoping that the increasing “case” numbers for COVID-19 will discourage folks from coming to any more rallies for certain candidates for political office.

Fear is a powerful weapon. FDR famously broadcast to Americans in 1933 that “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”. I would argue that we have to fear those who would have us remain fearful and servile and willing to surrender basic freedoms without justification.

John Thomas Littell, MD, is a board-certified family physician. After earning his MD from George Washington University, he served in the US Army, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal for his work in quality improvement, and also served with the National Health Service Corps in Montana.

During his eighteen years in Kissimmee, FL, Dr Littell has served on the faculty of the UCF School of Medicine, President of the County Medical Society, and Chief of Staff at the Florida Hospital. He currently resides with his wife, Kathleen, and family in Ocala, Florida, where he remains very active as a family physician with practices both in Kissimmee and Ocala.

Thank you doctor! More good analysis of this “Second Wave” in this article at Off-Guaridan: https://off-guardian.org/2020/07/07/second-wave-not-even-close/

Making Out With Old People in Bars with Joe Gruen: Painting Pictures Ep. 77

Part two of Gabe and Joe’s June chat about the ongoing madness of what we see taking place in the USA, and how badly we need to start making out with old people in bars again.  Gabe opens with a lengthy COVID rant.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Here’s a permalink to the episode: https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-06-30_making_out_with_old_people_in_bars_with_joe_gruen.mp3

The Backpack Kid Dance: The Cream and The Clear on Painting Pictures Ep. 76

Joe Gruen returns to dispense wisdom and perspective from sunny Sacramento.  The Cream and The Clear discuss the riots in response to the George Floyd event, and the ongoing lunacy of the coronavirus crisis.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Here’s a permalink to the episode:
https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-06-18_joe_gruen_june_2020_part_1.mp3

 

Professor Dolores Cahill on COVID-19

The most fearless attack on the world’s response to COVID-19 and the most eloquent description of how to change the narrative of fear and depression and improve our society forever comes from one of the most eminent immunologists in the world, Dr. Prof. Dolores Cahill:

Audio podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/nl/podcast/professor-dolores-cahill-why-coronavirus-lockdown-is/id474722933?i=1000476998039

Video: https://freedomplatform.londonreal.tv/why-coronavirus-lockdown-is-killing-more-people-than-its-saving/

Note: This video, and much of what Dr. Cahill has said recently about COVID-19, has been censored by Youtube and Facebook. It is currently only available to watch at Brian Rose’s London Real website, and you have to enter your email address to access the content. It’s worth it!

Check out Professor Cahill’s website and her extensive CV: https://dolorescahill.com/

More Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic: Why I’m Still Not On Board

I’m still struggling to adapt to the “new normal” out here in Vermont.  We’re well past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s becoming more apparent that our society and community have  been fundamentally changed.  I’m trying to remember that there are both good and bad changes that will come out of this, and that much is still to be determined.  Also, to be grateful for my friends and family and community, and for people’s amazing ability to carry on and find a way to get things done no matter what.

I’m not really sure where we’re at in the fight.  I stopped reading the news a while ago, in an effort to focus more on my life and the things that I can actually change or do.  My impression is that we’re stuck in limbo.  At first we had a cause: “Flatten the Curve!”.  Now that hospitals are virtually empty, I’m not so sure what our motto is.  “Make it Last!”, “Try Not to Touch Anybody”, or “Social Distancing 4 Life!” come to mind.  On the other hand, I think lots of people are just plain tired of the whole thing:  “I’m over it!” might be more fitting.  I can’t quite get to this state, because even out here in Vermont, where we surely would’ve had absolutely no idea that there was a pandemic were it not for the news, things have changed.  I’m not happy about the changes.  I don’t like the feeling that the goalposts are being moved on us, seemingly to maintain a perpetual state of fear and social distancing.

I recently had a conversation with my good friend Gabe, who’s working hard out in Scotland to support refugees through the pandemic.  He’s upset at all the people who are questioning public health authorities right now, believing that the way forward is through a unified response, and not through everybody forming their own opinions about what’s going on or how best to deal with the pandemic. He didn’t come out and say it—bless him—but I can tell that he thinks my questions and doubts are a part of the problem.  While I haven’t broken protocol, thrown secret parties, or tried to get super close to people, I’m definitely still not “on board” with this virus.  Why not?  Am I just being contrary?  Is this like in middle school when I made fun of Jack Johnson’s music just because it was popular?
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Evil Gabe on Coronavirus: Painting Pictures Ep. 75

Gabe Q. Vest, aka Evil Gabe returns to Painting Pictures from bonnie Scotland to discuss the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Or listen right here: https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-05-18_gabe_vest_interview_may_16.mp3

May Day with The Cream and The Clear: Painting Pictures Ep. 74

Part 2 of Joe and Gabe’s May 1st 2020 discussion of the coronavirus pandemic.  More on social distancing, the economic shutdown, who we’re supposed to listen to, etc.  Joe takes us out on the piano.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Or stream right here: https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-05-14_may_day_with_the_cream_and_the_clear_part_2.mp3

Leave your comments below or send me an email at gaberoberts@gmail.com

May Day with The Cream and The Clear: Painting Pictures Ep. 73

Five weeks later, Joe and Gabe return to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and how it makes them feel and what it makes them think.  Part 1 of 2.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Or listen in your browser right here: https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-05-05_may_day_with_the_cream_and_the_clear_part_1.mp3

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Until recently, I thought the coronavirus was a hoax. I wasn’t convinced of a global pandemic or even the existence of this never-before-seen virus. The numbers and images that were supposed to be frightening seemed insignificant and inconclusive. I thought that everybody was overreacting, and I went so far as to suggest as much on Facebook. I was corrected quickly and firmly by friends and family with firsthand experience with the virus—many of whom I haven’t interacted with in years. My perspective shifted dramatically, and with some further reading about the virus itself, its origins and capabilities, I came away legitimately frightened. I’m incredibly grateful to be in a low-risk group, and to live in rural Vermont where the virus hasn’t quite taken off. I’ve started wearing a mask when entering stores; while I may not feel it makes much of a difference for my health, I understand its importance to others, and that there are better ways to express my thoughts on the current state of the world than by broadcasting the fact that I’m not afraid.

My thoughts on the state of the world are many. They come on me when I wake up in the middle of the night, and often when I first get up in the morning. They lead me to my computer and the internet, and they multiply. They make me feel sad, angry, and confused. The following is an effort to organize my thoughts at this point, at the peak of the virus’ destruction. I should warn you that I am a conspiracy theorist. I’ve rejected the label for years, but I now understand that to believe something other than the mainstream narrative means you’re probably a conspiracy theorist, so yes, I am definitely a conspiracy theorist, and I understand if you want to stop reading now.

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No More Star Wars with Jeff Krisko: Painting Pictures Ep. 72

Fellow Sacramento Boy and Mira Loma Matador, former museum curator and current fantasy football expert Jeff Krisko joins Painting Pictures to discuss current events and remind Gabe what they learned in high school.

Click here to download the episode and subscribe to Painting Pictures via Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/painting-pictures-with-gabriel-roberts/id846291943

Or listen right here on gaberobertsart.com: https://gaberobertsart.com/podcast/?name=2020-04-12_no_more_star_wars_with_jeff_krisko.mp3

Email me questions at gaberobertsart@gmail.com

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