Smalbany Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

13 Mar

We’re faced with a pandemic and the uncertainty that an election year and all of its intrigues, misinformation, and conspiracies that come with a high-stakes political event! We’re also faced with our government’s failure to safeguard our health, well-being, and economic interests by keeping us in the dark about what they know about what their friends are cooking up, and what we’re cooking up without knowing it. I mean the fact that we are not only importing massive amounts of Chinese chicken and pork, but also the new viruses they are creating through their unethical and irresponsible industrial farming and meat production practices, and our laws prevent us from getting the information we want about the food we eat! Think about that when you vote for your congressmen!

But what’s even worse is that in this election year we just happen to have a plague, and we just happen to have someone to blame it on. I’m not waxing political or becoming a conspiracy theorist at all. But don’t you think it’s a bit fishy that with all the Liberal and Democrap fringe repeatedly attempt to character-assassinate the POTUS, and with their embarrassing failures to date to eliminate him, this COVID-19 pandemic comes at a very suspicious moment in our history. With all the angst and media hype, colleges cutting face-to-face classes, state governors declaring states of emergency, and political conventions just around the corner, something’s really rotten in Washinton. Fear, angst, isolation… Think about that.

If you don’t wake up, you’re dead in the water!

OK. Now back to You, Joe and Jane average, and how you feel about this new plague! Yeah! We’ve been watching as you empty the shelves in your local supermarket. It would appear that the propaganda and the media hype is having the desired effect: Your scared shiteless! You’re stocking up for the Apocalypse. Right? But you’ve already been exposed, and those pork chops and chicken you have in your cart, well, they’re probably from China. You’re dead in the water, honey!

Time to get some facts and time to stop playing into the hands of the politicians and the media. We have a problem and the only way to resolve it is to get some true facts. That’s what we’re here for.

The Facts

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a virus that focuses on the respiratory system; it is the virus that has caused severe pneumonia, and was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since the first reports of human cases in China, COVID-19,  is now spreading person-to-person and is infecting growing numbers of people around the world, and has been reported in more than 50 countries; about 94% of the cases are in China.

Coronaviruses are not new and make up a large family of viruses that are common in humans, and other species. From time to time, we see new (a.k.a. “novel” in CDC language) coronaviruses that have not previously been described in human beings. There are many types of human Coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses in human beings.

This virus was originally thought to have emerged from an animal source that ultimately mutated to infect humans, but now we are seeing this virus being spread from person to person. As of this writing, it remains unclear how easily this virus can spread among people.

COVID-19 can cause mild cold-like symptoms as well as severe pneumonia requiring ventilator support. In 5% of cases, it can be virulent and in some susceptible people such as the very young, the elderly, immuno-compromised people (immune deficiency diseases or chemotherapy), cancer patients, weakened persons, diabetics, etc. The virus can cause severe pulmonary disease, which has been observed in previous outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), for example.

Coronavirus is spread person to person, and like the common cold it is spread by droplets generated when a person coughs or sneezes

So how does COVID-19 spread? Epidemiologists don’t know exactly but their current understanding of how this virus spreads and causes COVID-19 disease is based on what they know about Coronaviruses in general. It is believed that the virus is spread person to person, and like the common cold it is spread by droplets generated when a person coughs or sneezes. Exposure usually requires relatively close contact (a radius of about 6 feet) with  someone who is infected but not be clearly symptomatic. The greatest risk of contagion and infection is when a person has symptoms. It’s important to understand that people have become sick after contact with someone with few or no symptoms at all. Spread by an asymptomatic person is unclear but still demands caution.

COVID-19 can cause mild cold-like symptoms but can also cause a severe pneumonia requiring ventilator support, and may even result in death.

Coronavirus is thought to be more contagious than the seasonal flu

The latest areas of widespread infection and disease include China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy.

COVID-19 may spread relatively easily in a close community. In fact, it is estimated that that for every 1 person that is infected, potentially 2 other people can get the infection if they do not protect themselves with simple prevention measures, such as hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, etc.

Coronavirus is thought to be more contagious than the seasonal flu but much less than other highly contagious viruses, such as measles or chicken pox.

Some simple prevention measures

Many people are asking how they can protect themselves. Well, common simple everyday personal hygiene and courtesy are preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, and they will work with this novel Coronavirus. Some simple prevention measures include: washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Obviously, you should avoid close contact with people who are sick, and presumed infected with COVID-19, which is common sense whether it’s COVID-19, the flu, or even a cold. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Very importantly stay home when you are sick. So many people are so inconsiderate and stupid, even if they have sick time benefits that they go to work in crowded offices etc. when sneezing and coughing. Self-isolation in any contagious or infectious disease is a personal responsibility, and if employees are such irresponsible idiots to go to work and put their co-workers at risk, employers should send them home immediately out of concern for the health and well-being of the other employees.

Visit COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn more about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19 (links provided below)..

Even if you have done everything right, you still need to be able to identify the symptoms of COVID-19 disease.

The current symptoms reported in patients with COVID-19 included mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. According to the CDC symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, or if you have recently returned from travel in an affected area (such as China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, or Italy), you should contact your primary care physician or a  health care professional and inform him of your recent travel or close contact. Your doctor or the healthcare professional will cooperate with the public health authorities in your area and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Public Health Response and Current Situation

Although this is an early stage of a possible pandemic, it is just an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, about which the public health authorities still know little but the CDC says it will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.

Reliable information and ongoing updates are available about CDC’s response to COVID-19 online. (See the links at the end of this article.)

Although there are a number of concentrations of COVID-19 affecting entire communities, it is still a relatively low risk in many communities. But that may give many people a false sense of security; we may still eventually have cases of COVID-19 in more communities, affecting wider regions. We need to keep in mind that this is a very rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.

Obviously, we can’t rely on wishful thinking of people in La-La-Land, or on the media that irresponsibly reports false or incorrect facts. Fear and anxiety are powerful forces if people don’t use their heads and think clearly.

We know that cases in the US have done very well, in part due to access to healthcare and the preparedness of hospital providers caring for the individual cases but the sad fact is that most people are inconsiderate and behave stupidly. Another sad fact is the shameful lack of access to healthcare for a large number of people. It seems that in the midst of a fear culture, the early cases get celebrity treatment. Then confusion and damage control set in at the higher levels of government, the plague rages on while they’re diddling Mr Wankie, and the rest of us fall through the cracks. History repeats itself, unfortunately.

COVID-19 is here in the United States, in the UK, and we have to face that fact. People are infected and people are infecting other people. The governments have been slow to respond with adequate treatment of the cases even though the first infection with COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The outbreak in China was well known some time before that. That is not surprising when you consider how irresponsible China is with industrial farming, antibiotics, and the fact that Americans are kept unaware of the number and quantity of Chinese meat and other products arrive on our tables! There’s no telling what we are being exposed to, and our government is at fault for dropping the ball!

So the question is very reasonable whether you are at risk for COVID-19 or another plague from a package or products shipping from China? Well, the good news is that, in general, Coronaviruses don’t survive very long on surfaces, there is presumably a low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperatures. But don’t feel too safe too soon! There’s an awful lot that we still don’t know about this new strain of Coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly about how it spreads.

Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of the virus causing COVID-19 associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases reported in the United States that are attributed to contact with imported products but that isn’t very convincing. The key word in that last sentence is “reported.”

We know what we know but we don’t know what’s being kept from us. Do we?

Yes. COVID-19 is here and if you start to feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you think you’ve been exposed, seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms, so that they can take infection control precautions, if necessary, to safeguard the health and well-being of the other patients.

First and foremost:

  • Avoid contact with others. Do not travel if you feel sick, and certainly not if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of the tissue immediately or place your contaminated clothing in the wash.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.

Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 situation summary page to find the most current information on the COVID-19. Click this link for a handy COVID-19 Symptoms.graphic.

For Further Information and Official Updates, Please Visit these Sites:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.


Johns Hopkins Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Cases

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

Map of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE (Center for Systems Science Education)

Information for Travel


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