COVID Is Not Behind Us — It’s Still Sending Children to the Emergency Room

“Americans have declared an unofficial end to the pandemic,” writesRobert Pearl, M.D. For more information, see Robert Pearl, M.D. Forbes. “Most people are no longer willing to mask up, keep their kids out of school or avoid spending time with family and friends…. Americans are moving on from Covid-19, whether or not health-policy experts believe they should.”

You say it all? My dear friend and colleague, a 4-year old boy who came down with a severe case of fever over the weekend, was not told. As with nearly 4 million children in the U.S., my colleague’s child is susceptible to seizuresIf his temperature rises above normal, he will be taken to the emergency room. He became unresponsive after the seizure and was rushed to the emergency department, which had room for him. The medical staff began to reduce his fever and eventually came up with the diagnosis: COVID-19.

But COVID is Over, right? It is supposed to be safe for children, right? They Always You don’t need a dry nose! Right?

You really can’t peddle the “all this is behind us” bullshit to my colleague with her son in the emergency room this weekend, or to my other coworker whose toddler contracted the virus in February and who had to sit up all night listening as their child labored to breathe.

COVID is not far behind us. It is right in front and all around us. The most vulnerable are paying the price for our repeated, comprehensive national failure to act when it was possible to stop this seemingly endless calamity.

Because we seem to enjoy the goddamned solutions more than we can handle the arguments, the sick and dying are the price we have to pay. Profiteers convinced too many people that vaccines had microchips in them and made a lot of money. Masks, which are little more than simple Band-Aid-level technology, were shunned across swaths of the country until the dead stacked a million bodies high… and even higher than that, if researchers at the City University of New York School of Public Health have it right:

The United States is now in its fourth-biggest Covid surge, according to official case counts – but experts believe the actual current rate is much higher. America is seeing an average of 94,000 new cases per day. Hospitalizations are on the rise, but they remain lower than previous highs.

However, Covid cases could be underestimated by a factor 30 early surveyNew York City’s surge is an indication. “It would appear official case counts are By about 30-fold, we underestimate the true burden of infection, which is a huge surprise,” said Denis Nash, an author of the study and a distinguished professor of epidemiology at the City University of New York School of Public Health.

Nash stated that although the study was limited to New York, the findings could be applicable across the country. New Yorkers are likely to have greater access to testing than the rest of the country, which could mean that undercounting could be even worse elsewhere. “It’s very worrisome. To me, it means that our ability to really understand and get ahead of the virus is undermined,” Nash said.

(Emphasis added)

It’s not only COVID, it’s all of the other shoes that are falling now. People have spent the last two decades putting off medically required treatments because hospitals were overflowing with COVID-infected patients. That, and the unrelenting mental and emotional pressure millions still feel despite it all being “over,” is creating a whole new crisis of care across the country. “Scores of health systems say they are dealing with record emergency department volume, sicker patients, a compounding mental health crisis, and an ever-beleaguered workforce,” reports The Boston Globe.

It’s only June, and the warmer weather has in prior years shown itself to be a decently effective barrier against mass infection… but as the Bard was at pains to warn us, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” At present, infection rates are ticking up despite the positive weather, in no small part because of what Katelyn Jetelina has dubbed “The Battle of Omicron.” In short, three variants of the virus are grappling for the title of most infectious, and if this crisis persists into the fall, we could witness yet another detonation in infections. Deadline reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released estimates [on May 31]The increase in cases linked to Omicron variants BA.4 or BA.5 has been 79% over the past week. That means, even as the more transmissible BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant became officially dominant in the U.S. last week, it’s already being pushed out by newcomers BA.4 and BA.5. This would suggest that there are overlapping waves Omicron.

While BA.2.12.1 gained an advantage by being more transmissible than BA.2 before it, the two newer variants are said to be making inroads at least in part because of their abilities to reinfect…. If true, it means that new variants have access to a larger population than previous variants.

I am one of many millions who will spend the rest of my life in a defensive position because of COVID. It would be nice to think that the country will finally decide how to defeat this beast. Our scientific ingenuity and deliberate intention have tossed smallpox polio and smallpox onto history’s trash heap. So why not this?

You can convince people that this is a cruel charade by shadowy forces and that it is possible to make money. Steve Bannon’s basement. It is clear that enough people have consumed the snake oil in name of party/Trumpian fealty, making any mass effort against COVID futile.

So here we sit in the ongoing aftermath of “over,” listening to our children struggle to breathe, watching as seizures render them unresponsive, waiting for an age-appropriate vaccine that will almost certainly turn out to be vulnerable to a variant. This is the new “normal” we’re being asked to swallow, and it is a permanent astonishment.

I used to believe that we were better than this. I have never been so wrong in my entire life.

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