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Nationalist Pundit

America First and Always!

America Hunkers Down

As Monday, March 16 dawns, America is hunkering down.  Thousands of school districts, colleges and businesses are closing for the next few weeks.  Many will be closed for the next 2-4 weeks, others are already telling folks not to show up for 8 weeks.  A wave of panic buying has emptied store shelves, much like what happens when hurricanes approach a coastline.  During a press conference yesterday, President Trump informed the nation that he has been assured by the major retail stores and primary food supply chain companies, like Conagra and General Mills, that they will continue to provide products during this national emergency.  That there is no need to over-buy.  Later, principle department heads announced that high, through-put testing will in full swing this week across the country.  Some 2,000 private medical testing labs will be able to process coronavirus tests.

 

When the COVID-19 outbreak began, all tests in the United States were initially being processed by the CDC lab in Atlanta.  At best, they can only do about 60 tests per day.  Soon, local city and state public health labs increased testing capacity.  But they still relied on 'manual' testing of each sample, a process which can take 2-3 days before results can be reported.  Thanks to American know-how, a private company quickly developed the technology to process test swabs automatically by the thousands per day.  This equipment is being distributed nationwide.  By the end of the week, most test results will be known within 3-4 hours, and eventually, in an hour or less.  Ah, the fruits of Capitalism!

The focus now is on improving mitigation rather than testing.  Thus, the emphasis on 'social distancing'.  To have as much of the population self-quarantine or isolate to reduce the spread of the disease.  People are advised to keep at least 6 feet of distance away from others.  On Sunday, many churches either cancelled services or limit attendance to allow for the '6-foot-rule' to be used.  In California and Illinois, their governors have ordered all bars, nightclubs, etc, to be closed for the next few weeks.  California has ordered restaurants to reduce their capacity by 50% for social distancing.  

During yesterday's White House briefing, America was introduced to the leaders of our country's Public Health Safety team.  Most are military doctors who have much experience with infectious diseases, such as working in Africa during the recent Ebola outbreaks.  When President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, this group was fully mobilized to aid our nation's hospitals in responding to the potential flood of patients.  Emergency hospitals, like MASH-type units, were readied to be deployed where needed.  The plan for now is to use these facilities for caring for Coronavirus infected patients rather than treating them in existing hospitals if possible.  This would reduce potential further spread of the disease, especially amongst healthcare workers, and patients in hospitals for other reasons.  

The goal currently is to try to limit the number of positive cases as much as possible such that our systems are not overwhelmed.  If the outbreaks in China and South Korea are accurate guides, we will soon know if the plan works.  There is no doubt that we will see a spike in confirmed cases, now that 'high-thru-put' testing is ramped up.  But, thanks to closing down travel from hot spots early, President Trump bought our healthcare system the time to prepare.  It took China and South Korea over 2 months to reach the position we are currently in.  Now, some 8 weeks later, new cases and deaths have been reduced to a trickle.  With any luck, we may reach that point also in 8 weeks, if not 4-6 weeks.  If we maintain good hygiene, wash our hands, clean surfaces and stay 6 feet or more away from others for the next few weeks, America should get through this crisis quickly. The lessons we are learning now should help when the next disease darkens our doorstep, and such will happen.

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