Pandemic Pondering: A Daily Blog

Jim Baker, MD Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

I was approached by friends and patients about concerns and issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. While I have expertise in vaccines, immunology, lung disease and pandemic response (you can check my LinkedIn site or my twitter site @JRB_UMFA for the specifics), I was reluctant to respond publicly. In addition, I have been impressed by quality of the information from colleagues like Drs. Tony Fauci and Deb Birx. However, they are limited by what they can say due to their overwhelming roles in the government response. Also, I have been increasingly concerned about the presentations and advice given on the television “news” channels, that often have been overly complex, panicked or just wrong.

Therefore, I think having a simple blog that comments on the day’s events and answers questions would be very helpful. It will be only a few, hopefully well-chosen paragraphs that highlight the most important daily developments. It also will answer questions you leave at the site. I will not, however, offer personal medical advice (unless you are my patient at the University of Michigan!).

I won’t continue it once the disease has run its course or when people tell me it is no longer of value. I only paid for the website for a year, so I guess that already makes me an optimist!

Off we go….

61 thoughts on “Pandemic Pondering: A Daily Blog

  1. Thanks Jim. I look forward to reading your thoughts and insights in the days ahead. You have much to offer in these confusing, unprecedented times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Dr. Baker,

    to have accurate data on the prevalence of COVID-19 in a community, do you predict the local public health depts will ask to test samples of “flu swabs” dating back to January, for instance? Presumably the laboratories keep these samples for a while and might provide a better picture of the “slope and length of the curve” in a local population.

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  3. I have heard claims that COVID-19 affects your reproductive organs. Have you heard of any truth to this? Obviously, we don’t know everything about this disease at this time. With that being said, I didn’t understand how a respiratory virus can affect reproductive organs. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I should stick to social work 🤦🏼‍♀️. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The viral infection occurs on all mucosal surfaces, and severe disease can cause all organs to not function well. Usually there is a full return to function after recovery. Thanks for the question.

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  4. What a wonderful service you are affording to our community Dr. Baker, thank you! I am providing childcare for our 6 month old healthy grandson in our home 5 days a week. Baby is dropped off and picked up by one of his parents. We are both 70 and healthy and have been isolating for about one week. Are we putting ourselves at risk of exposure from our son and daughter in law (neither work in health field) when they arrive at our home? And, how much risk is there to the baby from exposure from either parent?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is always risk of exposure, but if your son and daughter in law practice reasonable precautions, use hand washing and other techniques before they pick the child up, the risk should be minimal. The best thing for the child is having both of you care for the baby. It is much safer than a day care unit or other outside the home child care! Stay safe!

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      1. Thank you for your quick response!!! You may see I duplicated my message below. New to this tech format. 🙂 We are grateful that we are able to watch our grandson so that there is no outside daycare involved. Please keep yourself safe!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Dr. Baker, thank you for this wonderful offering! Seeking your opinion pertaining to providing childcare during work week for our healthy 6 month old grandchild. We are both 70 and healthy. We are watching baby in our home. He is dropped off and picked up by a parent. Both his parents working outside their home. Neither in the health care field. Are we at risk from exposure from either parent and/or baby? Is baby at risk? While we can maintain physical distance from the adults it is impossible to do so with our little grandson. Other than our grandchild and his parents no other family members or friends are coming to our home and we are not venturing out to stores. If this question does not meet the criteria for your blog I understand. Thank you for your time and please keep yourself safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Dr. Baker. I missed talking to you at the Allergy Clinic today. I appreciate you keeping us informed. I shared this link with my Facebook friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Please share your thoughts on timelines for therapeutic medications and vaccinations. Thank you for sharing
    untainted, direct information.

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  8. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme
    you’re using? (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme
    slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate
    any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take
    care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

    ~Alex

    Like

  9. Dr. Baker: What do you think about the Covid-19 virus being transported in food? For example, I just bought some lovely chard at Argus, a nearby store where farmers sell their produce, and I wonder whether I should do a special wash, maybe with soapy water, before it’s ready to be cooked? Thanks very much for this blog! We are so appreciative of having a reliable source of information!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi,
    Thank you so much for doing this!

    I have a question. I have been sick with URI type symptoms. I have the COVID symptoms except the high fever, including muscle aches and fatigue. My respiratory symptoms haven’t been severe enough to need treatment.
    I have 2 questions. First, we have elderly family members who have lately had increased mobility issues acutely (multiple sclerosis, and hip problems) at what point is it safe to go help them? (I’ve seen 7 days, or 3 days after symptoms resolve, but want to know if that’s still valid)
    Also, I know there is a need for blood. When am I free to donate?

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    1. Unfortunately even with a lower fever you should assume it was CV. It is good you haven’t need treatment and most patients can stay home until they are better. I would wait a full 7 days after symptom resolution (should be 14-20 days total) before visiting the person with MS, especially if that person has weakness of the respiratory muscles. This would also be a reasonable reason to get tested if the test is more widely available. Hope this helps.

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      1. Thank you. I’ll take the more conservative route you stated as I don’t want to risk harming them.

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  11. Hi, Dr. Baker! Thanks again for creating this wonderful Q&A blog. It is so very reassuring to know that it exists and that we can turn to you for reliable answers to our questions in this era of anxiety..There is so much we don’t know.
    My question is about clothing and whether you think a virus could hide and live in clothes; in other words, if you think you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, is it exaggerating to feel the need to wash all your clothes and shower–as preventive measures?

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  12. Dearest Dr. Baker, you are so well trusted in our allergy world. We miss your wisdom on a daily basis. Thank you for reaching out with clarity through this Covid-19 pandemic.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for taking the time to put together your blog. I’m in WA state and self-isolating. I have always been interested in biochemistry and briefly considered going on to get a doctorate in it years ago. Reading some other articles put a question in my head that you may be able to answer. Is it possible that humans are now in fact a host for previous corona viruses that were once symptomatic in them, or not, and then those viruses mutated to make the present (or other more infectious and more consequential) rather than just a wild animal host? There have been many cases where the corona virus “types” have invaded humans on a pandemic fashion and some of those may just be common colds. Are humans routinely checked for corona viruses to see how prevalent they might be in some populations?

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  14. Thank you Dr. Baker for the informative blog! This is truly resourceful coming from an expert like you in the times where pseudo information is readily available.

    Hope all is well!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have been looking for a trusted source who gives advice free of the constraints that Dr. Fauci and Birx are clearly working under. Thank you for having the foresight to set this up for people who want to listen to the science of this.

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      1. so going forward I will be sufficiently contagious that I need eto take those precautions. Am I vulnerable to a repeat of the virus through contact with others? Thanks .

        Like

  16. Thanks so much for blog. I am referring many friends to your site. They need some quality clinical info. My kids & I miss seeing you.

    Liked by 1 person

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