Biscuit is back with his Memorial Day worst COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) ideas of the week. For most of us Memorial Day weekend has a solemn nature remembering those that we have lost in wars and other conflicts. This is an especially appropriate thing to do this year. For Biscuit, it just means the beginning of summer, which means warmer temperatures and more time for sleep! But before he nodded off, he gave his worst ideas of the week.
1) Tracking infections. Hiring thousands of people to try to track down COVID infected individuals overlooks two problems. First, most of the people with COVID are asymptomatic so they don’t seek testing and won’t be identified. Second, respiratory contact tracing will be very difficult to do. The combination of these factors makes it very difficult to conceive of isolating individuals who are spreading the virus unless they are clinically ill, or without testing them almost daily for viral infection.
2) Hydroxychloroquine. Isn’t it time to finally give this up?
3) Science without peer review. On several occasions this week there were definitive front-page articles from major news services based on research that was simply posted on the web without any type of scientific review. Even the announcement of the results from the first human coronavirus vaccine trial were disseminated as a press release and not as a scientific paper, making it impossible to evaluate the actual data. This is misleading and highly problematic as we try to compare different treatments and vaccines.
4) Biotech fundraising based on press releases. It may get money in the short term, but it will result in lawsuits if the hype doesn’t meet the reality of the science.
5) Kawasaki’s disease. This rare syndrome is now sweeping the nation in press releases and articles, but no definitive basis for these extremely rare cases has been found. It is not even clear that this is related to COVID rather than another virus or a combination of infections. Canceling summer camps on the basis of this seems at best premature.
6) Hospitals furloughing workers. Hospitals obviously have financial issues related to COVID shutdowns but firing the very people you need to reopen and provide healthcare seems counterproductive.
7) Delaying healthcare for severe illnesses. In our state of Michigan, the governor has finally allowed regular medical care to occur. The backlog threatens the health of every person in the state especially children who are way behind in their vaccines. This should have been done weeks ago.
8) Worst idea of the week is burning churches over COVID openings. You may not like churches holding services, but burning down the church seems just a bit of an over response! Hopefully they’ll find and punish the people responsible for this.