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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Coronavirus: A large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from symptoms of the common cold to severe diseases of the respiratory system that may lead to death.  The World Health Organization describes coronaviruses as zoonotic meaning they are transmitted from animals to people.  The world has now experienced three coronaviruses since first identified; MERS, which killed 858 people in 2012, SARS, which killed 774 people in 2003, today, the newest strain labeled Novel Coronavirus, has killed over 100 people to date. This number is surely going to continue to rise. This new coronavirus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China.  As I write this tonight there have been as many as six confirmed cases in the United States.  Two of those cases are in the Chicago area.  This morning, news reports stated that a Cruise Ship carrying as many as 7000 people may have at least one passenger believed to be infected with this newest coronavirus.  I can only imagine the panic on that ship.

For a couple of weeks now all of us have watched or read something about this virus.  We were told right away of the danger of this virus and that people were dying right?  So why today, right now as I type this, are flights from China continuing to land in the United States!?  Why hasn’t our government forbidden all incoming flights from China. There are hundreds of new cases being diagnosed every day in China and here we are, flying hundreds of people into the United States from China.  “Well you can’t keep every American citizen stranded in China that has already traveled into the country” If you’re in China and you think you may have been exposed to this killer virus where would you rather be treated?  China or The United States?  That’s a no brainer question.  Of course you’re getting on the first flight out of China, early if necessary, and flying to the country with the very best medical facilities in the world; The United States of America.

Why isn’t everyone flying into The United States from China quarantined in China for the number of incubation days necessary to determine whether someone is infected or not?  I don’t know, I’m a simpleton, is this something so outrageously difficult that it couldn’t be done starting tonight?  Have you seen the screening process at our international airports aired on the news?  Someone in a mask and gown points a Star Wars looking thermometer at everyone’s forehead as they enter the terminals to determine whether they might have a fever!  What!?  I haven’t seen any reports in the news about how many people were detained because their temperature was high, determined from this ridiculous screening process.  At least five people made it past these make believe checkpoints for sure.  The sixth case here was from wife to husband contact.  I guess her husband didn’t have one of these hand held heat seeker devices in their medicine cabinet at home.

If China wasn’t going to delay these travelers in China then why are we not doing it here in America because for sure our government could make it happen.  But no, the common folks like you and me are supposed to put our trust for the safety of our lives in some person were not sure has any medical training wearing a mask, gown, and holding a heat seeker pointy thing—a-ma-jig.  The heat seeker pointy thing is pointed at everyone’s forehead as they walk past.  Here’s the best part; these people are screened inside the terminal, not outside as they exit the plane!  So as they walk through the tunnel from the plane door to the terminal they may sneeze, cough, pick their nose, use the handrail, whatever, and does anyone disinfect this area?  Is the interior of the plane disinfected before it loads the next group of passengers bound for who knows where?

Would it not make sense that when these infectious outbreaks are discovered that every country would quarantine everyone leaving the country of origin for the proper number of days just to make sure as few people as possible move from one country to another?  Would this be so difficult that it wouldn’t be worth it to save thousands of lives?  Wouldn’t emergency medical response teams deployed to wherever in the world they’re needed be the second phase of a potential pandemic event after quarantine?  What’s the role of The United Nations that receives billions of dollars every year from contributing members during an event such as this?  Are they only a peacekeeping body?  People, medical supplies, and portable building facilities should always be at the ready for medical events such as this one.  With today’s technical and construction abilities why wouldn’t these teams be up and running within a seventy-two hour window in order to contain and treat those at risk?

Instead of establishing war purpose agencies (UN) throughout the world that are mostly concerned with how to kill off the people of the opposition, wouldn’t it make just as much sense to establish an agency whose purpose is to save lives throughout the world?  I realize there have been forever in my lifetime worldwide agencies that save lives by providing food and clothing.  There are even traveling medical ships and conveys of vehicles that travel around the world with medical teams that treat the sick and hungry in third world countries.  As great as the medical personnel are that make up these teams, they are not equipped or trained to handle an infectious virus with no known treatment.

I don’t understand.  Why would anyone travel when these events are discovered?  Why isn’t the world better prepared to stop the spread of these viruses with a plan to slow worldwide travel to a crawl.  Mobile emergency diagnosis and treatment facilities are a must and a worldwide coordination center should be a permanent piece of the plan.  Come on.  This is the third outbreak in seventeen years?  What’s it going to take to be better prepared before one of these virus events kills tens of thousands of people or more before it’s stopped?  What happens if the incubation period of one of these killer viruses is say sixty days before symptoms develop?  Can you imagine how many people would have traveled to all parts of the world before anyone figures it out!?

Keep on being impressed with the technology of your I phones, tablets, remote this and that, self driving vehicles, smart televisions, Apple watches, and anything else that allows you to do as little as possible.  See how much good they do you when a spec of something that you can’t see enters your body makes you deathly sick or worse!  Billions, maybe even trillions of dollars are being spent every year to make our lives easier and more entertaining but only a fraction of that amount is being spent to keep use healthy.  Why?  Because it’s all about the money to be made.  We are all the blame for this trend.  We’re spoiled as a society and I doubt it ever changes.

(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)

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