Greetings and Happy Friday!
I’m honored to share a few thoughts with you as we approach one of the finest holidays of the year. To Moms everywhere, we literally would be nothing without you! We owe you our existence and so much more! Thank you!
Fauci vs Pompeo
How bizarre was it to see these two polar opposites human beings clash this week? Pompeo (the bull) on Sunday saying there is big evidence that the virus came from the Wuhan lab and Fauci (the bird) on Monday saying there is nothing to suggest it did. I haven’t seen such perfect timing in a routine since Laurel and Hardy. And then Trump on Wednesday say he’s going to release the evidence soon. What is that all about?
Meanwhile, a big Pandemic crossroads has emerged. Danger to the left: stay closed and people die. Danger to the right: open up and people die. What to do? There is a middle path here. We need to find it. Open, with caution, and with a plan. The Public Health sector says States should meet these criteria:
1) Two weeks of declining numbers
2) Rapid testing available and ready to test all people with symptoms, even mild, and people in essential roles
3) Healthcare is ready, and PPE is sufficient
4) Tracing capacity is in place
One thing I’d add to the plan.
If I were in charge for a day, I would put my best resources at the Nursing Homes. I’d have temperature checks for all employees on their arrival to work and screen them for symptoms. I would clearly define social distancing for the workers and I would make it absolutely mandatory. I’d educate them up and down, and I’d make sure the entire staff is capable and committed to staying true to the plan. And, I’d compensate them well. I’d test everyone in those facilities regularly. Our nursing homes are trying but are so vulnerable, and they would do better with more resources.
Who’s Ready to Open?
No one. Apparently, not one State is ready to re-open based on their ability to meet those four basic public health criteria to safely navigate the reopening, so testified a scientist from the famed Johns Hopkins Public Health Center to Congress this week.
There is a lack of power that many of us feel in this time. Not just in that there is not a centralized plan. Doctors and nurses, especially in the hosptials during the surges, have higher rates of fear and overwhelm. We want to be able to help patents, and the situation seems helpless at times. A fellow health care worker and friend said, “Of course the ER doctor in New York killed herself. Of course she did.” You might have heard her story, she was head of the ER at a big NYC hospital. It seems like she was a casualty of the sheer volume of tragedy that she faced. The situation seemed hopeless. The Pandemic does resemble war in the hot spots. And leaders aren’t shy to use that type of language. We are waging a war against the virus, they say.
But, it isn’t war.
The virus is not our enemy. “It would be much more fruitful to speak of the virus as a necessary condition for certain diseases, just as a predisposition in the host organism is a necessary condition” (Nature Institute). So I say let’s leave out the word ‘war.’ We don’t battle bugs. We fall ill. In a holistic view, we strive for a deeper understanding of what we can do to come through any trial better for having done so. We look to stay whole in health and in illness.
“Man and earth with its animals, flowers, rocks are a single, indivisible community; …natures kingdoms are part of our very being, genetically linked with us belonging to us in mutual dependence.”
As humans, we are in the largeness of the cosmos and in the smallness of the virus. I want for us that we speak out of a vision of wholeness rather than the imagery of war. From this perspective we strive to heal the whole planet as a result of this tragedy rather than to kill a capsule of RNA.
Looking on the bright side
Here’s the thing: you can never be as unprepared as you were the first time you face a new challenge. Think parenting. Parents are never as lost as they were with the first kid. With the second child they don’t sneak over to the sleeping infant with the same anxiety to make sure she is still breathing. The question of ‘can I do this?’ has already been asked and answered. There is more experience, more confidence. We will do better if we have to face future surges. The first wave of the 1918 pandemic was barely recognized as a phenomenon. We know a lot better than then what we are up against.
Compared to February, people on average will continue to be a lot more careful. I know a lot of people who aren’t planning on coming out of isolation anytime soon. And it’s the right thing for those at highest risk. Hospitals have some clearer options for the sickest folks: Remdesivir (repurposed Hepatitis C drug) has a new touted study. It didn’t have a clear demonstrable effect on mortality, but patients in the study on the drug recovered faster (from 15 down to 11 days). The IL-6 inhibitor (Tocilizumab) apparently has a promising study behind it now. It’s reportedly coming out soon. Mortality improvement was shown. Those are the blockbusters for ICU level care. Many other drugs are being looked at for prevention and treatment- from Pepcid to Flomax and even Viagra. I don’t think they tested Plaquenil all that wisely and it likely has value, especially when combined with Zinc. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the progress with a monoclonal antibody and convalescent serum as well.
Hospitals have learned a lot, even though in places they went through a very dark period. At Berkshire Center for Whole Health we are working hard to accumulate some good resources for us all in the event we face more challenges. I have successfully built up testing supplies and am working hard to have solid outpatient interventions that stand out as the best options- from ozone injections to protocols for blood thinning during the illness to herbal antivirals (licorice stands out).
We can hope
I hope we come out of this knowing a lot more about viral infections and how a person gets sick. I dream that this revolutionizes how we view illness.
I hope we emerge with a more humane economy. I dream that Good, and Universally True and even revolutionary ideas can take hold.
Together we stand, divided we fall
It’s hard not to think of our country’s history whenever we see this sentence. It applies so strongly ever since Lincoln’s time. But Aesop wasn’t thinking of our seemingly perpetual interest in dysfunction when he first coined this phrase. I find if you apply it just to yourself it opens up something new. In true understanding about yourself, you have your power. When you yourself are ‘together’ you stand strong. There is cohesion in the light of understanding yourself and you are solid and steadfast. Without understanding (divided) you are powerless.
If struggle makes you think somehow less of yourself- an incomplete philosophy- you will fall into pain. But if you live in realization that life has challenges but you can remain whole during them then you have coherence. If you realize your adversity fills your tank in some way- to live authentically, to be in service of others, to live with the goal of development, and if you remember your highest end is love, then we stand in our power, no matter what.
An illness or a family crisis or a pandemic knocks us off our generic desire for pain-free perfection. Now what. Fall? Stay down? No… keep your head up. Seek a true collection of thoughts- a true philosophy- that will allow you to be whole, intact, and on your path even when adversity comes, because of course it will come. And of course a path with trials is how you cut your teeth. And just by living with the peace that comes from knowing you are whole no matter what, you give a gift to the world.
If you recognize you’ve been Forged in the Fire of Life and you’re better off for it, then we come from the same clan.
Stay with it. Realize you are a great and powerful Being connected with the whole cosmos with an important contribution to make.
And if you want to start today with one simple yet profound thought that my wife gave me the other day, try this:
“When the gratitude starts, the suffering ceases.”
With Gratitude for You and Belief in Who You Are and Your Vast Potential,
Dr Cooney and staff
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