Sunday, April 26, 2020


The Stanford study findings as reported in my previous post have created a lot of controversy.  Now a Los Angeles study supports the results of the Stanford study.  Neither of these studies have been published yet to receive peer reviews.   These reviews are vital critical steps in research to examine study elements replicability, credibility and reliability to determine if they are valid to also support the conclusions. 

These studies do indicate the virus is much more widespread than has been thought.  Additional information suggests the first U.S. West Coast cases occurred earlier than believed, possibly in California, not Washington. 

Questions are being raised about the reliability of the study tests used.  Another source of bias was the manner in which social media was used to obtain participants. 

This information is pertinent in determining what is best for each of us to consider in order to prevent our contracting or spreading the virus as discussed in this Modern Health Care Associated Press (AP) article.  Pertinent cautions are offered for individuals and government officials formulating policy including: 

"Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, said the tests are not well validated and they overestimate the number of people who have been infected. Some may conclude that if that many people have been infected without symptoms severe enough to seek a test or medical attention, it's not a major threat.
"The problem is they've given a false sense that this is not a bad virus after all," Topol said. "It's bad math, bad tests and bad outcomes for the confusion that it engenders."
Meanwhile, more people are gradually being tested but so many more should have been tested earlier and still need to be now. 

Most recently critics of the Stanford Study include Travis Gerke, an epidemiologist and visiting scientist at Harvard who discusses another of the study authors, John Ioannidis, also a highly regarded epidemiologist.  He “... has wondered if Ioannidis should consider rereading his own most famous paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.”

“His current study fits most of the high-risk criteria for falsehood that he outlines, such as publishing in a really hot scientific field with few corroborating studies, using a small bias sample, [and] reporting provocative findings in a politically charged arena,” Gerke said.”

This all matters because decisions about how we best protect ourselves, whether or not we shelter-in-place or freely resume business as usual, moving somewhat safely about in our communities, are highly influenced by the results of these studies and more to come. 

Incidentally, the next time we read articles on any topic citing research studies we might be wise to consider if any high-risk criteria for falsehood might apply to their study conclusions.

One upside positive effect of this virus is on our environment here in So Cal.   Los Angeles now has some of the clearest air in the world since we have so few polluting autos on the road.  Air is cleaner elsewhere in the world too, including China and India cities.   More wildlife creatures are making their appearance on the streets in surrounding communities since fewer humans are infringing on what was once the animals’ habitat.  Mother Earth may be sending us a message, but will we listen?

A downside is that this virus is (just as are organized violence. riots, insurrection) a wanna-be autocratic leader’s dream, offering the opportunity to legally take more control of a country, all in the name of securing health, safety and security of the citizens.  Fostering confusion and chaos helps create an environment conducive to being able to take such action with the approval of many citizens.  Maybe even justifying declaring martial law. 

Controls will all seem quite justified and acceptable to the people as they relinquish their freedoms – but with that kind of leader they may never regain those freedoms in the future.   In fact, citizens may lose even more freedoms – truth will become obscured, the press will parrot only the government’s view, dissension will not be tolerated.  History tells us this has happened repeatedly in the past and in our lifetime even now. 

We might want to keep that in mind during our Cornonavirus in the weeks and months ahead.  Can we count on Congressional oversight and our Constitution to insure we would regain any freedoms if we have any taken from us expecting them to be returned?    

Anyone following this blog knows that as shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus was initiated, simultaneously I was without my internet connection and phone land line for almost a week before a repairman was able to come troubleshoot the problem (glad I also had a cell phone).  Fortunately, he didn’t need to come into the house which neither of us wanted.   Seems as I wrote then, he diagnosed, then repaired lines outside my house because some critter – likely a squirrel – had chewed my wiring, creating my communication life-line catastrophe.

My affection for these bushy-tailed squirrelly rodents has been gradually decreasing through the years due to their escalating misbehaviors increasingly outweighing, in my mind, the cuteness of their behaviors.   The past few weeks I’ve repeatedly had to retrieve from the patio cement, items that I had to return to the patio table where they belonged.  I couldn’t understand what was happening with these objects.   One afternoon I glanced out the glassed-in-door-window from my living room to see a switching fluffy-tailed squirrel in obvious deep  thought as he reclined on my lounge chair next to the patio table.  My detective-self pondered the evidence, then thought, aha!

While he/she squirrel was not actually caught in any malevolent acts, I am firmly convinced that squirrel is attempting to move in and take over my residence.  First, the attempts to sever my connection to the outside world.  Then comes the repeated mysterious disorienting relocations of my possessions on the patio table as he moves closer to accessing the interior of my house.  So, there he was, reclining in my lounge chair, plotting his next move.  I carefully moved to unlock my door to confront him but Squirrelly instantly departed upon hearing my lock’s click.  We will likely have a  day of reckoning in our future.   

As if I don’t have enough on my mind with this CORVID-19, though I can take comfort that isolating the past five weeks in my home isn’t getting to me.  I only talked to that web designer spider once, but now they say a possibly worse virus rebound in the fall accompanied by the flu is a possibility, then we may have a food shortage in another year.  My mind reels.

I wonder if I should start a raised garden in my backyard – but what about the squirrel – will he come with his pals and even invite the birds?  The raccoons, possums and skunks can't be far behind.  I’ve noticed the mockingbirds flitting about as they follow my every move when I go outdoors, I suspect calling reports to one another in ever-changing song language codes.   Meanwhile I haven’t lost my sanity – I’m only paranoid, or maybe that's a virus transmitted from our nation’s leader.  I’ll have to take each day as it comes.

Sunday, April 19, 2020


Lots of controversy about whether or not we need extreme shelter-in-place requirements with many businesses closed during this Coronavirus.   I’ve been pretty convinced based on health, science conclusions and recommendations the answer was a resounding “YES”!    Then, as I was readying for bed the other night I heard a name mentioned on the news that I recognized.  Seems he had been involved with conducting some research that was bringing the necessity of closed businesses and sheltering-in-place into question.   

“Via Stanford's Hoover Institution -- Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior fellow at both the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute.

His March 24, 2020, article in the Wall Street Journal questions the premise that “coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines.” In the article, he suggests that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.”

Dr. Bhattacharya was asked “in this edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to defend that statement and describe to us how he arrived at this conclusion. We get into the details of his research, which used data collected from hotspots around the world and his background as a doctor, a medical researcher, and an economist. It’s not popular right now to question conventional wisdom on sheltering in place, but Dr. Bhattacharya makes a strong case for challenging it, based in economics and science.”

Here’s Dr. Bhattacharya youtube interview discussion of test results for COVID-19 conducted “in Santa Clara County, California, one of the most active hotspots in the country”.   Another study recently completed with results to be released soon was done in partnership with Major League Baseball.  He mentions even another recently completed interesting-sounding study with results soon to be released. 

There is discussion of “some signs of hope, and specifics about how the economy can be restarted safely and efficiently.  Dr. Bhattacharya also gives some (unsolicited) advice to Dr. Anthony Fauci, California governor Gavin Newsom and president Donald Trump.” 

Well, what to think now about opening up our businesses and how we safely go about it?  How much do we need to shelter-in-place?   Should we continue to mask?  There is so much still unknown about this virus. 

No matter what develops on businesses reopening, I remain convinced this U.S. President, his Administration, have failed and continue to do so in seeing that our medical community has the potentially life-saving PPE (personal protective equipment) needed.  There must be accountability when the immediacy of the challenges we face now have reached some level of resolution. 

Considering Dr. Bhattacharya’s present research results, I look forward to the eminent reports to come.   Confessing to being a news junkie, I’ll be interested in what actions our California governor, Los Angeles mayor and that of our own City Council take in the days and weeks ahead.  Certainly, the words and actions of our nation’s President will be of concern as well as what other states’ leaders do, and how residents react. 

Ventura County California is expected to become the first area in our state to loosen restrictions including opening golf courses and allowing more access to their beaches which were never completely closed.  People age 70-75 and older are still recommended to stay inside.    

I live in northeast Los Angeles County and continue to stay inside my house.   I wear my mask whenever I venture out to occasional drive-thrus, or as I did today to pick up pre-ordered items brought to my car.   Only a half-block from my home I returned when I realized I had forgotten my mask.   Thinking of the virus I was reminded of the businesses reopening issue, controversy of need to shelter-in-place since Dr. Bhattacharya’s research. 

My thoughts wandered as I started recalling that upper elementary school boy and his younger brother that I used to give rides to school on rainy days.  I remembered when they reached high school, took national tests making such high grades they received a great deal of So Cal recognition, that they had gone on to attend college, Jay at Stanford, that he became a doctor.  I lost track of his further studies but have since learned they were in economics. 

Now I read he has also focused some of his work on aging issues associated with older people.  When last I spoke with his mother we hadn’t discussed our children or grandchildren.  Neither of us have been out in the neighborhood for a while but there will be much to talk about when next we meet.   

Meanwhile, if I kept an isolation diary it might read something like this I poached from another blogger whose name or blog I apologize for forgetting. 

Day 31:  I had a conversation with a spider today.  She seems nice – is a Web Designer. 

There seems to be no one unified message so what do you think about businesses reopening, sheltering-in-place, everyone continuing to wear masks, older people being expected to continue staying in? 

Sunday, April 12, 2020


These days, especially when we’re focused on staying in our homes, can present an opportunity to engage in activities we enjoy and to explore some new ideas, too.  So, when a family member told me her good friend, Melissa R. Phillips, had launched a unique website, in memory of her mother, 
“The Warm Hug Project” (click on link) I was curious to visit, where I read:   

The Warm Hug Project provides donated handmade knitted or crocheted shawls to both men and women living with dementia. When the hugs of Caregivers, Nursing Home Staff, or Family are unavailable, The Warm Hug Project shawls are there to wrap the memory-impaired person in a soft sanctuary of reassurance.”

I noted there was even a helpful link to a YouTube video demonstrating “how to” make the simple stitch needed to create those colorful “warm hug” shawls for those wanting to acquire a new skill some may have always wanted to learn. 

Perhaps The Warm Hug Project is a site and activity you, too, will find to be of special interest.  These are times when we all likely seek comfort, but especially as we maintain distance from one another these shawls will convey their caring message.   Receiving a tangible warm hug shawl for many will continue to be welcomed long after our current health crisis resolves.

Currently, many family members are separated from one another due to COVID 19, able to interact only via technological means, or some only able to engage from opposite sides of a window.  For those individuals with dementia circumstances now could be most confusing with reassuring warm hug shawls most valued.

We often begin to fret as we enter the last half of our age span whether the little forgetful events we occasionally experience indicate we’re developing a serious mental problem.  We fear having a dementia which can result in our having varying degrees of diminishing abilities, also sometimes altering our personalities in unexpected ways.

The most dreaded dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease which ultimately robs a person of themselves in every way.   Friends and loved ones experience having the relationship being stolen from them. The extended period of time this disease progresses is sometimes described as “the long goodbye”.  The individual’s personality gradually erodes as their cognitive skills and memory are lost, along with functional abilities including communication. 

Caregivers are challenged physically and mentally to adapt to a person with Alzheimer’s.  For loved ones this can be especially difficult.  There are inevitable changes that can stress a caregiver’s patience to the extreme.  The caregiver must take care of themselves during this time to maintain their own physical and mental health – easier said than done. 

Not everyone will develop a dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but meanwhile research for treatment and prevention continues.  

I wonder, is there anyone who doesn’t personally know or know of someone who has developed dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease? 

Friday, April 03, 2020



We have now been told to wear cloth (cotton) masks we can make ourselves – NOT to use the N95s and respirator masks that should be for hospital doctors, nurses, health care workers being exposed to COVID 19. 

Soon after, today's TV news interviews with Los Angeles County health officials recommending we wear masks which could protect against the larger COVID 19 virus molecules Californians began taking action.   

I lamented in an email to a friend my sewing machine to make a mask was in need of repair.   She forwarded a link to this Karen S. Kloset video her son had just sent her that will show you how to quickly and easily make your own mask with no sewing required.   

Here's a link to another "zero-stitch mask" designed by Runa Ray that creates a pocket allowing insertion of a filter should you acquire any.
Shortly after emailing me my friend devised a cloth mask for herself without sewing.   She used her granddaughters’ hairbands for hooking around the ears and cut up a colorful old nightgown for fabric, sending me an email photo wearing her mask that I jokingly characterized to her as “bandito” that I won’t share here in respect for her privacy!

Just as I was chuckling at her photo my doorbell rang.  Opening my door I saw an Asian couple I didn’t recognize standing at some distance in my driveway.   These limited English speakers offered me a small bag with free face masks which I appreciatively accepted.   The bag was left for me to retrieve after closing my door to provide the social distancing we maintain.  What a thoughtful generous gesture from unknown to me caring people.

We're being told by some health care professionals to anticipate several more months ahead much as we're experiencing now.  Stay well all!


This is the last from the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 2013 testing the efficacy of homemade masks against influenza for what it’s worth:  “better than nothing”.

For any interested in comparisons of masks worn by doctors, nurses, healthcare workers from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM)  at the University of Oxford.


Born: November 14, 1934 New Orleans, La.     
Died: April 1, 2020  New Orleans, La, -- Complications of COVID 19

Pianist, patriarch of a renowned family of jazz musicians including internationally famous Bradford and Wynton plays his composition - "Homecoming" on his 80th birthday at Lincoln Center in this NPR video.