I learnt this morning, according to a well renowned US TV channel report, that death due to COVID-19 is 50% more in the case of men than women. At this time they are discussing without citing the scientific reasons behind that fact.
Let me cite the scientific facts here :
Reason : ” Women have stronger immune systems than men, and they can mount more effective immune responses against viruses and bacteria “.
How ? Mast cells are the first immune cells to get activated in response to pathogen infections and for developing protective immunity. They are superior in women.
Result : The female hormone ‘oestrogen’ improves the function of blood vessels with a superior immuno enhancing effect in women. The male hormone ‘testosterone’ (in men) is less effective on this count.
Supporting Observations : Two studies are worth mentioning here. 1. Sabra Klein, an endocrinologist in John’s Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, while treating the nasal cells with ‘oestrogen’ like compounds before exposing them to ‘influenza virus’ found that only cells from females responded to the hormone and fought off the virus. (J Peters et al report in 2016, Am Journal of Physiology). 2. Meyanard studied a protein called TLR7 which when encoded by a gene on the ‘X’ chromosome could detect viruses, activate Immune cells, resulting in a stronger immune response in women than in men. (Reported by G Karnam et al in 2012 PLoS Pathogens).
That immune systems of men and women respond very differently to infection is known for a long time but Scientists took a fresh and serious note of them, specially during the 2nd decade of this millennium.
Such key research studies are generally, mostly, ignored by people and the above reporting by the US TV channel with discussions to follow in the next couple of days or so atleast will give a fillip to this finding and place ‘Women’ in new light with lots of surprises.
Benefit : A case for halving the dose of medicine/vaccine in the case of women with the full benefit of a more effective control program can be achieved.
Other supporting studies emphasizing the superiority of women : (a) Many studies reveal that Women are more resistant to ‘radiation’ ; (b) less subject to heart attacks ; (c) better able to endure extremes of heat, cold, pain, noise, and loneliness ; (d) women require less food and Oxygen – all specific bodily/physiological advantages over ‘men’.
An Indian Army Study and report in 2005-2006 revealed that ‘Women had a Clear edge over Men’ in discipline, sickness incidence, and even in academics/panic management. Based on that, the then Vice Admiral, and DG of AFMS, VK Singh said : “the safest career for women is the army “.
NASA in 1962 tested 25 female pilots along with males for astronaut application program. They were given the same tests as Glenn and Allan Shepherd, and they all passed with flying colours. The test involved enclosure in a “sensory deprivation tank” with no outside world contact for a few hours. At least two male astronauts cried and reported imagining the barking voices of dogs with trepidation. It made the females even more satisfied. Alas ! NASA, however, decided not to include female astronauts (in principle) and so they were deprived of a possible Space sojourn. Women’s accomplishments were, nevertheless, highly commended.
Back to the original immunological superiority of women, it needs to be stressed and convincingly emphasized that – with proper diet, proper sleep regimen, proper exercise, and proper meditation women can further develop on this superiority to lower their risks and gain independent advantage as differently powered and empowered.
“Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 – 7.29 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
We are in the midst of a ‘pandemic health crisis’ of an unprecedented nature today. It is the deadly Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), shaking and frightening citizens of the world even while causing health management shake-up that has not happened in modern times. Experts opine that Coronavirus crisis will last atleast another 6 to 9 months.
COVID-19 is pandemic ; it spreads fast ; its infection rate is high ; so is its mortality rate ; and it does not seem to leave any Nation in the world .
COVID-19 poses challenges not just to the Healthcare Professionals/Personnel but also to Leaders/administrators at every level in every nation ; Institutions, businesses, commerce, sports, entertainment, media, and not the least “parents” in every dwelling.
Two events marking our shifting experiences in communities happened last week – PM Narendra Modi’s video conferencing strategic discussions with SAARC leaders on combating the COVID-19 challenge, and his declaration and nationwide observance of “Janata Curfew” on Sunday, March 22, 2020. These, perhaps, are just the thin ends of the wedge, the curtain raisers, for the more important and other leading rounds of initiatives constituting the main courses of actions planned, is the belief at this juncture.
I have not witnessed a health crisis of this nature in my life so far, impacting economic, social, cultural, and even spiritual life of citizens and I cannot fathom out what this will mean for the humanity at large. Uncertainty looms large.
Here comes the Three aspects that I would like to contribute in this short piece :
1. First, I stand certain about one thing at this moment, as the figure below depicts :
Education, Awareness, and Information Sharing will constitute the ‘First’ Line of Defense’ in our protection/containment efforts.
Education leads to Awareness and Awareness leads to Information Sharing is the crux here. When this is fulfilled, our preventive mechanism will get the necessary boost automatically.
Education pertains to : what one should know about Coronavirus (COVID-19) ; how it spreads ; who are the people at risk ; testing ; and precautionary measures.
Awareness sensitises every individual to take interest in knowledge ; getting to know the risks involved ; and be genuinely concerned about the growing threat.
Information Sharing results when sensitised individuals instinctively share the information with others without anyone controlling him/her to do it.
2. Key Precautionary Measures : (a) Avoid contact with people who are sick ; (b) Cover your cough, sneeze with a tissue and throw it in the trash can after use ; (c) Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth often ; (d) Wash your hands often with soap and water for atleast 20 seconds – before eating, after going to the bathroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing ; (e) Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe ; (f) Or use an alcohol based sensitised with 60 % alcohol for cleaning ; (g) Limit contacts with pets and animals ; (h) Use facemasks if you have symptoms of COVID-19 ; and (i) Stay home and relax.
There are many more but these are the most recommended by Health agencies.
3. Many schools and colleges remain closed now. Students and parents face the daunting task of engaging in private study at home with available facilities. On line learning and on line discussions dominate the trend, a blessing in disguise. However, it also restricts to an extent the effectiveness of the face to face learning process. There is no escape from the change, however, at this time. The student needs to prudently assign his/her priorities to gain the maximum output in these circumstances. I am sure that a study schedule preparation and implementation will be of great value enhancing the effect of those in need. Here’s a model one for a school student :
6.00 a.m. Get up from bed, brush teeth, take bath, have a cup of coffee/tea, get dressed.
7.00 a.m. Work out your day’s schedule with parents, get necessary materials ready, head out for a walk – run a km.
8.00 a.m. Have breakfast.
9.00 a.m. Read independently a subject that you are most interested in.
9.30 a.m. Read English prose/study.
10.00 a.m. Do maths practice.
10.30 a.m. Memorize a poem, anecdotes, or great leaders’ saying.
11.00 a.m. Study Social science, geography, and current affairs.
1.00 p.m. Lunch.
2.00 p.m. Science activity, inside home or with friends/classmates.
3.00 p.m. Practice work on Science/Art projects followed by light snack.
4.00 p.m. Mild physical exercise/activity.
5.00 p.m. Meet up with Friends/classmates if nearby (physical or online).
6.00 p.m. Downtime with electronics/music/or book.
7.00 p.m. Dinner.
8.30 p.m. Your favourite programs on TV.
I sincerely hope and believe that this basic and simple what to do, when to do schedule will work for the interested. College students can tweak the schedule according to their subjects of study and their goals for future.
” Dieu avec nous “
Monday, March 24, 2020 – 11.09 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Take care of yourself, and be Healthy “.
Adversity spurs Innovation and New Technology Tools to overcome challenges.
The mysterious human tragedy causing “Coronavirus” eruption encourage the IT start-ups and independent, intelligent brains to devise new apps and web services that can help the assessment, monitoring and control of the emerging disaster.
The faster than expected spread of coronavirus in different countries of the world has made precautionary measures ; diagnosis and effective control of the health impact of the virus ; monitoring and checking the symptoms of patients ; patient testing and prevention of contacts ; and limits to the treatment – urgent and paramount.
A brief account of a few apps and services here :
1. COVID-19 Risk Index : One of the key measures of control lies in identifying the groups, population, and local communities that are likely to get affected rapidly. The index proposed and developed by “Carrot Health”, an IT set-up in Minneapolis, U.S.A., helps predict the individual susceptibility. Public Health advisors and personnel at every level in the region/nation can use this index to swiftly identify the people and make decisions concerning their treatment and protection.
2. “Orion Health”, the New Zealand based software developer, has developed a platform that helps in monitoring patients remotely in their homes ; enable communication between patients and healthcare professionals ; and helping patients discharged from hospitals to continue self health services through this platform. The developers are also seeking to use AI to enable health service providers to identify and monitor patients even while making it the most suitable and effective platform for the purpose.
3. TempTraq is a temperature monitor developed by the Ohio based ‘Blue Spark Technologies’. It takes the form of a soft patch, latex free, with the ability to record/monitor axillary temperature data upto 72 hours in real time. It is a single use, disposable temperature monitor. Its alerts can give information about when a fever will spike. Healthcare specialists can monitor the temperature remotely with no contact or contamination whatsoever ; a distinct advantage from the usual temperature measurement devices in clinics for individuals.
4. Patient Access App developed by NHS, UK, makes it possible for citizens to consult doctors/physicians by video. The System uses a video consultation software across its web platform. This service is free and comes with adequate training and other support materials. The app is claimed to be in use by more than 4000 practitioners and it can help millions of people to have consultation with physicians from home.
5. ‘DocClocker’, a pioneering app developed by the Tampa, Florida, based ‘Fast Pathway’ enables patients to receive real time, the waiting time a patient will take in hospitals. Crowding of waiting rooms in hospitals will be avoided. The patients can access their physicians at the appropriate time without having to wait for long. It helps limit the risks of exposure and prevent the spread of the virus. It gives value to the patients’ time even while providing a positive experience.
More patients engaged ; less time spent ; and efficient/effective control achieved – are the three benefits in all of the above.
“Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 – 6.29 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Coronavirus is a Chinese Virus ” – Donald Trump, US President.
CNN-Univision Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was held in Washington DC tonight.
Former VP, Joe Biden and Senator, Bernie Sanders were the candidates.
Jake Tapper of CNN, Dana Bash of CNN, and Ilia Calderon of Univision were the moderators.
Issues discussed covered : Coronavirus crisis, Women’s Rights, Immigration, Climate Change, and Foreign Policy.
This debate is very special in the sense that it was like a ‘person to person chat’ ; and very special too in the sense that there was no audience to stimulate, cheer, or goad the candidates as they performed. Coronavirus restrictions prevented a gathering and the debate took place in an empty hall.
Coronavirus crisis and how it can be tackled formed the first half of the debate.
Figure below represents Joe Biden’s Strategy to control Coronavirus :
His three priorities are (a) to take care of all people affected and scared of the coronavirus with deployment of resources necessary ; (b) to prepare every state and union to equip better with materials and resources including test kits, ventilators, hospitals, masks, and any other ; and (c) to tackle the economic fall out so as to preserve every citizen’s requirements.
Figure below represents Bernie Sanders’ Strategy to control Coronavirus :
His three priorities are (a) to be an effective and functional President, (b) to take care of all payments necessary to protect the health of every citizen , and (c) to ensure there is no job loss and individual financial scarcity.
My general/salient Observations :
1. Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders came up with relevant points on every issue of discussion. It was a one-on-one competition and the team for both are the Democrats. Both seemed caught up in the emotion of the moment initially while discussing the coronavirus control strategies, and also seemed to be in unison recognising that it is the “emergency need” of the moment, requiring strong and highly effective focus.
2. Neither was there the audience to cheer the speakers nor was there anyone to be cheered by the news/information from the speakers. Lack of comparative enthusiasm was clearly perceptible atleast in the first 75 minutes. If the lack of enthusiasm and desire to get really involved in the debate caused the debate itself to be less impressive, less serious, and less exciting, it will not be an understatement.
3. Bernie Sanders took the opportunity to emphasize on his fundamental beliefs and viewpoints that big companies should not look at profiteering ; stand up for Wall Street’s greediness ; release emergency funding to take care of people immediately ; Medicare for all ensuring that nobody is left to worry for health payments ; and minimum pay for workers. He also added that the situation exposed the dysfunctionality of our health system management ; and fragility of our economics that so few have so much with many left out in the Society. He scored well on these points in the debate.
4. Joe Biden took the opportunity to reiterate the trust and faith that he has gained from the citizens while referring to the misery of an individual sitting out during the debate, and citing some personal experiences and concerns proving his Presidential qualities. This would have made the needed impact on viewers and listeners.
5. Both stayed calm through the debate, spoke clearly, explained their respective viewpoints vividly, and put themselves to be fair and respectful to everyone.
6. The exchange between the two regarding each other voting for the bills or against in the past and now consistently or otherwise was a keenly watched moment of the debate without anyone scoring better than the other. (Presence of audience would have enthused the interactions or even prolonged the arguments as important points).
7. Addressing each other by their first names many times in the debate proving that they are true friends without an iota of unpleasantness was something worth noting in this debate. (Presence of audience would perhaps have altered the excellent sentiments displayed by one another).
8. Joe Biden’s conviction and Commitment to tackling Climate Change citing instances of his stand – be it fracking, taking on big companies, no drilling on federal land, high speed rails – much before those cited by Bernie Sanders must have helped favour his arguments better and more than Bernie Sanders.
9. ” I will pick a woman to be a VP if I become the nominee ” – Joe Biden’s one sentence that would constitute the single most prominent, great, and valuable takeaway from this single most unique TV debate without the audience.
To conclude : Did Joe Biden persuade the voters ? Yes ; Did Joe Biden communicate his value statements ? Yes ; and Would the listeners and viewers have comprehended better ? Yes.
“Dieu avec nous “
Monday, March 16, 2020 – 8.59 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” This is the moment when we have to work with equality including China, Italy, WHO ” – Bernie Sanders.
From threat and peril to safety and surety is the path taken by China since the first case of COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in November 2019.
Having let off the alarmist steam of a serious global voice of public health doom, China adopted an aggressive and comprehensive approach complete with whatever measures experts could advocate under the conditions to bring the situation in full control to ultimately be a dispenser of justice to the dangerous health challenge of a century (since the Spanish flu of 1918). Medical suits, ventilators, and other accompaniments are donated to the European nations, specially Italy, now by China.
Successfully emerging from allegations of cover up and under reporting through its twin robust control elements of (a) Central Government fully taking charge of the local government, and (b) with a military style prompt action in gearing up the Public Health System with every possible measure of Control, China has shown the effectiveness of its actions. New cases of COVID-19 have significantly decreased in China now.
On the other side, Churches in Rome closed for the first time – that which did not happen either during the World War II or Black Plague. In fact, Europe is becoming the new China – i.e. what was China (Wuhan, Hubei Province) in January/February 2020 is now Europe.
Coronavirus Disease is designated COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation. It is a zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from infected animals to infecting humans. Originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, based on first recognised and diagnosed infection.
Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the major symptoms that can result in pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. Mostly infects the throat first. The virus is capable of minor structural changes that can enable it to evade CoV immune recognition. This is a characteristic feature making the identification difficult.
The virus is capable of spreading swiftly ; it has a high infection rate ; and it can cause sudden increases in mortality rates.
The virus is easily transmitted by coughing, sneezing, talking, and touching contaminated surfaces. Mouth, nose, and eyes are the organs through which infection occurs.
Transmission rate of virus is 1.6 to 2.4 times more than that of Flu which stands at 1.2 to 1.4. The virus is said to affect old people disproportionately. Fatality rates for patients above 80 are 7 times average. That for patients above 70 is 3 to 4 times average. That for patients under 40 is just 0.2 %.
Mild symptoms in patients, seasonality (uncertain as yet), and asymptomatic transmission could complicate the correct identification of number of cases.
Concentration of COVID-19 at this juncture can be seen emerging from : (a) China (Wuhan, Hubei Province) ; (b) East Asia (South Korea and Japan) ; (c) Middle East (mainly from Iran) ; (d) Western Europe (Italy) and (e) United States of America (California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Rhode Island). More areas will be covered soon – Africa, Latin America … …
Figure below indicates the economic impact triad of COVID-19 :
Economic impact will be seen in terms of (a) immediate impact, (b) short term impact, and (c) long term impact. China’s incipient recession today could graduate into a depression with time. The week of February 24 witnessed DOW falling 12 % , the fastest correction thus far noticed. In the short-term a bear market trajectory cannot be ruled out. Yields on govt bonds may collapse. No country will possibly be spared. Global economy is facing the most challenging phase induced by less demand and very weak consumer spending. In the long-term, containment of the virus will hold the key – V-shaped, U-shaped, or L-shaped.
Schools, colleges, hostels, institutions, malls, restaurants, theatres, halls remain closed ; shops and some companies remain shuttered ; stringent regulations on travel imposed ; limits on gatherings of people are set – all these have the potential to affect the economy significantly.
The figure below represents the ‘Genesis of COVID-19’.
Figure indicates the immediate and sufficient causes of the occurrence of COVID-19 in a logical and sequential order. Two conditions need to be met first. A concentrated quantum of virus, and a source of effective transmission. The figure assumes the existence of the virus and attempts to deduce the source of transmission further downward in possible combinations.
At the first level (L1), are indicated the events leading to the cause of transmission : (a) presence of infected persons, and (b) person to person contact. The process is repeated at the next level (L2), and the next again (L3) until all the causes are identified and listed.
This helps to present considerable insight into the combinations and sequences of events that possibly occurs in the whole event, COVID-19, making the analysis of consequences further easier. By this method failures and remedial measures having an effect on the primary event, COVID-19, can be evaluated. It is also possible to rank the causes in respect of their importance.
It may even be possible to throw light on the statistical probability of Control and Containment. However, for a clear quantitative analysis we need more cases to be analysed with more information on each case of COVID-19.
Some significant effects noticed : 1. Restriction of start-up funding because of uncertainty and concerns about coronavirus. 2. Education, technology conferences, sports events and gatherings are cancelled or postponed. 3. Colleges prepare to take courses online, short term solutions as video conferencing and synchronous communications and other software video platforms. 4. FB pledged to donate space to WHO and millions of dollars in ad credit to other groups to help combat the spread of coronavirus. It is focused on making sure everyone can access to credible and accurate information.
Nobody can say what is the sure guarantee of total control and containment of COVID-19 as of this day is the verdict at this moment.
” Dieu avec nous”
Saturday, March 14, 2020 – 3. 12 p.m. (IST).
Tidbit: ” Spanish flu in 1918 lasted 15 months, infected 500 million people, and killed 50 million people (3 to 5 percent of world population at that time).”