End the partisan blame, let’s join together to stop the virus

March 21, 2020

Dr. Rene Bravo

Opinion by Dr. Rene Bravo

This Coronavirus outbreak has folks terrified, confused, bewildered, skeptical, doubtful, and some outright just don’t believe it. Retirement accounts have been devastated, businesses are on the brink, workers laid off, grocery and supply shortages.

In a matter of a few short weeks, life as we have known it has come to a screeching halt.

Our leaders are now being forced to lead and make tough choices. Why? Coronavirus-19 ( the Novel corona virus) as it is named, is real. Regardless of origin or causal theories, this virus will change things for a bit.

Why? Because it is deadly and it’s not just another little flu bug. All of the Chinese, Italian and now Iranian experience tells us that it will make the people who get it very sick, and a sizable number will die.

This virus has the ability to really attack the lungs, leading to respiratory distress, and potentially death rather quickly. There is no known cure, although some antivirals are being investigated. Those over 65, especially with pulmonary conditions, the smokers, potentially those who vape, and those with other diseases, are at highest risk.

Since we have no cure, what can we do now after seeing what happened in Europe? Try to prevent the outbreak by halting its transmission. It’s that simple. And we will have only one chance to do this and it’s now. Period.

We won’t be able to revisit this later after the deaths of our friends and loved ones. So the draconian measures we will endure for a while will be the price we pay to potentially save others.

As a doctor, the nightmare scenario of choosing who will get the ventilator and who will not when there are too few available, are looming in front of us. And who we could have saved, and who we will let die. This will happen here as it happened in Italy if we fail to prevent widespread infections.

So we “shelter at home.” That’s the logical, compassionate and scientific thing to do. We are doing this for the most fragile of us who will face the highest mortality from this scourge. The medically frail, the elderly, those with chronic disease, the asthmatics, diabetics and just about any disease that alters your immune system.

It is time we switch off all the partisan political stuff, put away the conspiracy theories for awhile, and for once join together in a common cause, to keep this virus from spreading.

How long will this take? Really no one knows, but likely about a month or more until new cases stop being discovered. Later there will be time for finger pointing and looking back on how we could have done this better, or what was worthless, but with so much at stake (like the lives of our elders and sick among us), let’s make this our finest hour.

Intelligence rather than resistance. Selflessness rather than selfishness. It will be over when it’s over, and I really think it should turn out better because we will chose to learn from the Chinese and Italian catastrophes.

As a doctor, I’m asking everyone to really do their best to shelter at home. And please stay calm, use common sense, and try not to overrun a healthcare system which will be bowing under the weight of current stresses. Like all things, this too shall pass.


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NorthCountyLady

Thank you Dr. Bravo for your message. You are a wise man of integrity and have been appreciated by this community for decades. Yes, I believe we will all get to the other side of this, although it may be a different world. Hopefully one that is better.


My main concern is for the 4000 staff that work at CMC and ASH the two largest employers in SLO County. In these unprecedented circumstances, these people are HEROES continuing to care for a very vulnerable yet dangerous population. There has not been any information as to what is planned to protect our friends, neighbors and ourselves in a very crowded and volatile environment who continue to go to work every day. As with all hospitals, shortages of protective equipment such as masks and gloves are already being experienced or are imminent.


Imagine what it takes to feed, clothe, and maintain daily hygiene for 1200 patients (ASH) and 6000 inmates(CMC) everyday. Can anyone really conceive of how much toilet paper, soap, shampoo, food is needed daily? The staff required, from Custodians, Food Workers to Psych Techs and RN’s to Psychiatrists that are required to maintain this environment? What happens when there are shortages of the basics? How long before patients with severe mental disorders and violent histories explode in frustration?


There has been no information as to how safety and order will be maintained once Level of Care staff begin to be quarantined, test positive, and get sick. Staffing shortages which have been present before we all even heard the word Coronavirus will become unmanageable. Psychiatric Technicians and RN’s have been subjected to Mandatory Overtimes for years. There is no doubt that 16 hour shifts will become the norm for them. Exhausted and sleep deprived, their immune systems will become compromised. They are Front Line Workers and are Essential Personnel.


There are so many impossible decisions to make. Who will care for my children when I’m mandated to do an overtime shift? When will I stop working if I am over 65 (65+ staying home does not apply to Essential Personnel) or have a spouse or child who is at high risk for severe symptoms? When can I justify choosing to stay home if I am at high risk (without pay after depleting sick time) knowing my co-workers and friends will have to work that much harder without me? Who will care for the patients who count on us to be a stable source of support?


The questions are endless and the concerns real.We need answers and information from Public Health and the State Government. Gov. Newsom has taken some very positive steps in hopefully minimizing this crisis but has not addressed what is being done to Plan, Prevent and Protect the front line staff in our State Hospitals and State Prisons. Please, we need answers and support.


mercut1469

Sorry, Dr. Bravo, as usual the comments section has devolved in typical fashion. It really doesn’t matter what has happened in the past. Let’s make the future better by listening to the good doctor’s advice. We can beat this if everyone stays home and only goes out for essentials. Personally, I have my criticisms of Mr. Trump, but today I am praying for him and his administration to do the right thing. As should you all.


kettle

The fact that the public health and safety ball was whiffed at the top is not partisan or a conspiracy, it’s science. Public health is why we had a pandemic response office, but that was closed fall of 2018.


But lets not talk about it in an election year, someone might think we are being partisan when we really don’t want more Americans dying from this contagious disease or the next one that will happen.


Thanks Dr Bravo, be safe.


Hazmateer

You’re wrong.


The redundant and irrelevant “pandemic response office” that you refer to had never identified a pandemic threat during its existence. In fact, I can find no evidence that it had ever even had a meeting. It was of no use.


We had the World Health Organization, who was supposed to be watching out for the next pandemic. We had the Centers for Disease Control, who were supposed to be watching out for the next pandemic. But you think a group of bureaucrats in a conference room in Washington would have made a difference in this situation? I’d like a little of whatever you’re smoking.


When this is over I suspect that we will find that this was Trump’s finest hour. His immediate restrictions on travel from China saved thousands of American lives. Of course, it was loudly criticized by his political opponents. As we see today, with 70% of the cases in the US being in New York, the virus entered our country from Europe, since the restrictions from there were delayed (and again criticized). Hopefully, he will dismantle the CDC and rebuild it to address its original mission – to stop infectious diseases. It has failed in its response to every outbreak over the last 40 years, starting with Ebola in 1976. It has lost its way, is hopelessly broken, and must be reorganized.


kettle

No not wrong, we had one now we don’t, that is true.


“was Trump’s finest hour. ” Lol.


howardroark

Aren’t you doing the opposite of what the article desires we should do?


kettle

“what the article desires we should do?” What a concept.


Mayor Harmon has done a terrible job with the cannabis licensing and cost the city millions in lost tax revenue.


Pres Trump botched and delayed our virus response (it’s a hoax, etc etc) and plays catch up with peoples lives.


Neither of these are partisan statements, criticism is not partisan. If I were to blame the SLO GOP (the author ran for central committee) of whatever, that would be partisan.


Hazmateer

Trump didn’t say the virus was a hoax. He said the opposing party’s characterization of his response was a hoax. Just as your characterization above – a hoax.


Hazmateer

On January 14, 2020, the World Health Organization sent out this tweet:


‘Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China’


But Trump’s to blame for “delayed virus response”??


Interesting spin you have there.


derasmus

Never called the virus a hoax. He called the Democratic Parties attacks on him a hoax, just like “Russian Collusion…”


Get over the 2026 election? You lost…


This is a national ( and worldwide emergency),


Stop the political “gotcha” please,


Thank you Dr. Bravo


https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-coronavirus-rally-remark/


kettle

Jan 11 WHO: encourages all countries to continue preparedness activities, and has issued interim guidance on how to do this.


Jan 13 WHO: coronavirus would emerge outside of China and reinforces why WHO calls for active monitoring and preparedness in other countries.


Jan. 22: Trump: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.”


Jan 28 WHO and China leaders meet in Beijing to discuss coronavirus outbreak.


Jan 30 2020 WHO Public Health Emergency of International Concern declared.


Feb. 2: Trump“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.”


Feb 11 WHO Novel coronavirus disease named COVID-19


Feb 21 WHO WHO Director-General warns that the window of opportunity is

“narrowing”


Feb. 24: Trump “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”


Hazmateer

Hey Kettle, you missed a couple.


Like this one:


On January 14, 2020, the World Health Organization sent out this tweet:


‘Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China’


Also, Trump was correct when he said we shut it down from China. His travel restrictions on January 31 did a good job of that, but was called “xenophobic” by Joe Biden and roundly criticized by his opponents, likely delaying the restrictions on travel from Europe. As we can see by the fact that over 50% of cases are currently in New York, the virus largely entered the US from Europe.


Hazmateer

Let me fill in some of that timeline for you, so everyone can understand what the President had to contend with:


January 11: Chinese state media report the first death from an illness originating in the Wuhan market.

January 15: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Pelosi and her co-conspirators celebrate the “solemn” occasion with a signing ceremony, complete with commemorative pens.

January 21: The first person infected with COVID-19 arrives in the United States from China, where he had been in Wuhan.

January 23: The House impeachment managers make their opening arguments for removing Donald Trump from office.

January 23: China closes off the city of Wuhan completely to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the rest of China.

January 30: Senators begin two days of questioning in the impeachment trial.

January 30: The World Health Organization declares a global health emergency as the coronavirus continues to spread.

January 31: The Senate holds a vote on whether to allow further witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial.

January 31: President Trump declares a national health emergency and imposes a ban on travel to and from China. Former Vice-President Joe Biden calls Trump’s decision, “Hysterical xenophobia…and fear mongering.”

February 2: The first death from the coronavirus outside China is reported, in the Philippines.

February 3: House impeachment managers begin closing arguments in the impeachment trial, calling Trump a threat to national security.

February 4: President Trump talks about the coronavirus in his State of the Union speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tears up the speech on national television.

February 5: The Senate votes to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment.

February 5: House Democrats finally take up discussion of the Chinese coronavirus in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.


So now we’re learning the true cost of the politically-motivated impeachment carried out in the House.


kettle

So partisan blame, got it.


George Garrigues

It is time we switch off all the partisan political stuff, put away the conspiracy theories for awhile, and for once join together in a common cause, to keep this virus from spreading.


I agree. We will have our chance in November. Our elections run like clockwork; we had a Presidential election even in the midst of WW2.


isoslo

Thanks Dr Bravo, we all appreciate your wise words.


commonsenseguy

Very well stated Dr. Bravo. Your words are constructive and informative. I agree that there will be a time to look back and learn and make improvements on some choices that have been made. As individuals it starts with personal responsibility and accountability. A couple things that we as a society need to return to in a major way. It’s always easy to place blame. Who is the best advocate for you and your situation but you. Heed the advice of Dr. Bravo.


info

Amen. Hindsight always 20/20. Thank you Doc.


truthinscience

We certainly are living in the worst crisis ever for the United States since WWII. Doing everything possible to protect myself, family and friends. But, there is one rock-solid foundational factor in this whole mess … our federal government, beginning in the White House, has been a colossal, irresponsible failure in this whole ordeal, actually beginning at least 3 years ago. A great deal of warning had been identified over the past ten years and plans made for monitoring and protection during a major U.S. outbreak and/or pandemic, but that was all thrown out the window over the past 3 years. It is finally critical time for true leadership, which is not presently coming from Washington D.C. The Rise and Fall …….


Gordo

First let me begin by saying thank you to Dr. Bravo for his wise words.


Secondly, the failures of public health preparedness are at all levels of government, federal, state and county.

Why? Because no one, Republican or Democrat, really thought a pandemic of this size would happen. Not “could”, “might” or “maybe”, but WOULD happen.

Now all public health agencies are finding themselves behind the eight ball on this. With commonsense public health orders, like sheltering at home, practicing the hygiene lessons we have been taught since childhood, the best pharmaceutical and research labs in the world and some of the brightest doctors on the planet, we will get through this together.


When the dust settles there needs to be a top down review of the public health systems, protocols and plans to ensure we are better prepared for the next time, because there will be a next time.


Not a whitewash but an honest assessment. Not to lay blame but to improve our response to pandemics.


As citizens it doesn’t matter our political ideology, we should demand a full open review led by medical professionals and hold anyone accountable, regardless of party affiliation, who drags their feet or gets in the way.


laftch

Way to go with the coming together and ending the blame game. Congratulations.


TKG

Well truthinscience you totally whiffed the ball on Dr. Bravo’s great message. Still in the blame game are you? Couldn’t agree with Dr. Bravo more and you less.


oldtimer

This administration cut the CDC budget setting us up for this. How are facts partisan, they arent. Getting negatively emotional over a fact is a huge issue in America it seems, people who should keep calm vs panic and buy up 45 days worth of toiletries and food.


Hazmateer

Wrong. No cuts to the CDC budget have occurred under the Trump administration. In fact, Trump’s budget requested an increase for the infectious disease branch of the CDC.


kettle

” the blame game” Wtf the administration at the top had warning and delayed and spread bs. That is not partisan or a conspiracy, it happened with video, go watch some of the 4-6 week old stuff.


But I find it very convenient that while brave people are at the front lines and the rest of us hunkered down, some people ^ don’t want us discussing what has happened, during an election, but continue to say things like “The dense shroud of secrecy that County staff has been laying down to protect him since the FBI raid is patently unacceptable” but no discussing our current national crisis, it is “partisan”?


To quote TKG “Can it be that we can finally get to the truth about this shameful episode and those who were involved in it?”


Ted R

Bravo, Dr. Bravo.