Daily Reflection from Fr. Mike

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We continue to walk through these days in faith and trust...let us be willing to accept the challenges and the changes needed in our daily way of life to work to keep our ourselves, our families, and our society healthy and safe.

Because of our faith, we will turn crisis into new opportunities.

Let us pray and do our part for a safer and healthier world!
This is an email that I received from Dr. M. G. LaMar, a retired Navy doctor who is a member of our Parish Family. His comments on the Coronavirus make for an easy read:

Coronavirus is a family of viruses first discovered in 1937. They infect numerous mammalian and avian species. Coronaviruses were found as a cause of the common cold in the 1960's.

Two serious human coronavirus infections that occurred in the recent past are SARS and MERS. Added to that pair, we now have the much milder COVID-19.

This virus came from an open-air market that featured wildlife, in Wuhan, China. All other theories are without evidence to support such speculation and just cause fear and panic.

When the first cases broke, the Chinese government mishandled them, and the disease rapidly spread. It spread easily because it is NOT usually serious, nor quickly fatal like Ebola; so people can walk around spreading it without knowing that they are contagious. 

The cases skyrocketed. China then responded to the epidemic with draconian measures. In truth, they needed to because the genie was well out of the bottle by then.

As cases developed around the world, governments were lax in their response at first. Then the mathematical reality revealed itself in spades. The WHO soon declared a pandemic. We now have somewhat draconian measures at play to varying degrees around the entire world.

Still, the overwhelming majority who get this infection will have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, or a fever and a cough +/- breathlessness. Few will get deathly ill. Here's a CDC chart:

Stage of severity
Rough percentage of people with COVID-19

Mild disease from which person can recover
More than 80%

Severe disease, causing breathlessness
and pneumonia
Around 14%

Critical disease, including septic shock,
respiratory failure, and the failure of
more than one organ
About 5%

Fatal disease

Overall case mortality is still not yet clear. It is speculated that it will be < 1% as the denominator grows with more testing. The people who are most at risk are the elderly (>65 y.o), people with lung disease, those immunocompromised for a host of reasons, and smokers.

So why the quarantine for something just not that deadly to most? Well, 1-2% of 300,000,000 is 3-6,000,000 potential ICU players. We don't have that capacity. So we seek to slow the propagation of the disease to keep the case numbers low. "Containment" is just to prevent the number of severe cases from overwhelming the medical system. See this graph:
We want to stay in the blue zone. Remember: in theory, the same number will get sick; it'll just take longer. We may be able to mitigate mortality, if the resources are there to respond.

Remember, in 1918, 500,000,000 people got the flu worldwide and 50-100,000,000 died. This influenza virus was so virulent that people "dropped dead" in the streets. It overwhelmed all means to contain it; the city of Philadelphia "failed", and had to be rescued.

This epidemic/pandemic will not be that severe; nowhere even close This bug is just not that deadly. Plus, we know better how to respond these days. We learned from the prior debacles.

What do we know? It is very contagious. Droplets carry about 2 meters from a cough or sneeze. Depending on the material surface, the virus can live on surfaces for 1-3d. 

So what can we do? Simple things:

1) stay home to prevent exposure,
2) wash your hands; especially before touching your face,
3) use gels with 60% alcohol, if handwashing is not possible,
4) do not shake hands, 
5) avoid congregating, and maintain ~6' social distance when out and about,
6) cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.

Think you've got it? 

There is no cure for coronaviruses. Most symptoms resemble the common cold. Treatments include self-care and over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Try:
  • resting with the head-of-the-bed raised.
  • to avoid overexertion.
  • to drink enough water (you breathe faster when ill, so you lose water faster, and get dehydrated faster; so drink enough to pee every 4 hours or so).
  • avoiding smoking. (Time to quit?)
  • taking acetaminophen for pain and fever; recent reports advise no aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • using a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.

If you get sick, use a mask to protect others ; especially if you get sick enough to call an ambulance, go to the ED, or to your doctor's office.

Ironically, kids <9 y.o., those 'little petri dishes' inhabiting schools and daycares, are not getting sick from this bug. Perhaps because they have had a recent infection from another coronavirus causing just cold symptoms and their immune systems are 'primed'? No one knows for sure just yet. Ironically, this resistance to this illness could cause children to act as excellent vectors.

And, PLEASE, do not panic and do not hoard. Hoarding forces the most vulnerable to endure repeated exposures to obtain supplies. 

Thank you, Dr. LaMar!

--Fr. Mike

If you know Parishioners who do not have access to email, please share this information with them. Thank you!

If you or anyone you know needs anything, please contact the Parish Office. We are here and will do our best to help.

We will be snail mailing an update to all Parishioners this week. The bulletin will be emailed to everyone on our email list. People without email will be able to request a bulletin via snail mail each week during this time. Thank you!
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