Always Advocating Alan – Your Next Stop, the 2020 Twilight Zone

| Opinion | April 2, 2020

Well, if our community is not in the T-Zone already, it sure feels that way. The idea the United States would be shut down, no less the entire world, with citizens told to stay at home and distance themselves from each other, sounds very much like a plot for a 1960 science-fiction movie. Holy Cow! This is America, land of the free and home of the brave. We solve problems, head on. Well, maybe not this time.

So, I asked myself, is the Coronavirus more aggressive and destructive than anything we have been up against before, or have we become a society of snivelers, afraid of our own shadow. As it turns out, our medical scientists tell us, COVID-19 is an entirely new viral strain, with a longer incubation period than previous viruses we have encountered, enabling the COVID-19 to covertly spread faster than the H1N1 did in 2009. Plus, since N1H1 was similar to viruses we were exposed to in the past, the older population had already built up some immunity, but as there is no such luck with COVID-19, the results may end up much more devastating. Therefore, earth’s population started to fight this new threat; without accurate testing, an accepted cure, a vaccine, or enough medical resources to protect the public.

Adding to the problem are all the political talking heads, along with those conspiracy theories being put forth on social media, and our mass media. It is no wonder a portion of the public panicked and emptied the shelves of certain products in neighborhood stores. Plus, while I am a staunch supporter of the second amendment, the sudden prospect of lines forming outside gun stores, lead me to understand the public is sending a message, about fearing for their family’s safety. So, how did the message get answered by our Los Angeles County Sheriff? He closed gun stores and reinforced the negative feelings of those concerned. I’m ready for a new person at the head of the LACO Sheriff Department, how about you?

Now is the time we should come together and fight a common enemy, not use each day, to try and gain a situational advantage. Think back to January, when it was recognized the majority of those infected were residents of China. In order to combat the spread of the virus, a China travel ban to the US was announced, and airlines started shutting down flights. The ban was immediately reported on cable news as racist, xenophobic (fear of strangers), and just wrong. But later, when it turned out to be the right thing to do, those same reporters criticized the travel bans as not being implemented fast enough. Now, there are ideas being floated about restrictions on travel out of U.S. hot spots, and of course, we are hearing the same individuals expound the same nonsense.

Next, came the we don’t have enough “test kits” controversy. Questions were being asked by the media. Why did the Center for Disease Control (CDC) turn down the offer of kits from the World Health Organization (WHO)? Because, as it turns out, they were never offered. “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris. Yet, it all got very quiet when China delivered a large shipment of inoperative tests to Italy. Initially the testing problem centered around the one US location which was able to perform tests, along with a limited capacity to confirm or rule-out a positive diagnosis. Then, as of 1 month ago, it was made known over three types of test kits, widely used to diagnose diseases caused by viruses were available, and now a new method called POCT Rapid Detection only takes 5 min to provide a result.


Remember how fast we reacted in June of 2009. H1N1 had infected approximately 21,500 Americans and caused 87 deaths. “St. Louis University launched clinical trials on an H1N1 vaccine in late July 2009, and it received federal approval within months”. But this time around, medical professionals were much quicker on the trigger, and a COVID-19 vaccine entered its first Clinical Trial in February of this year, with 45 volunteers receiving different doses. Fortunately, “Participants are not at risk of being infected with the bug, because the shots do not contain the virus itself”. In early March 2020 it was also reported, eight institutes in China were also working on different approaches of inoculations in an effort to combat COVID-19 and indicated they could result in a vaccine ready for emergency situations and clinical trials by April. I wonder why our Medical experts are reluctant to move away from “business as usual” and want to spend one year to 18 months to approve a vaccine. Could it be they fear a lawyer-based backlash? Why don’t they have a greater sense of urgency? I’m sure they understand, more people are getting sick every day.

But along with test kits and a vaccine, we need a cure. We know antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections and the race to find a solution is well on the way. For example, certain medical websites have reported, Remdesivir is an experimental antiviral drug originally developed to target Ebola. Researchers have found it is effective at fighting the coronavirus. The treatment is not yet approved, but two clinical trials have been initiated in China and one trial was recently approved by the FDA in the United States. Lopinavir and ritonavir are used to treat HIV. “In South Korea, a 54-year-old man was given a combination of these two drugs and had significant reduction in his levels of the coronavirus. A clinical trial to study AAPN01 is set to begin soon in China, also looking into the potential to fight the coronavirus. While Favilavir is a drug which China has approved to treat COVID-19 symptoms. The drug was initially developed to treat inflammation in the nose and throat and has been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 symptoms during an initial clinical trial.

Chloroquine is a drug used to fight malaria and autoimmune diseases. It’s been in use for more than 70 years and is considered safe. Researchers have discovered it is effective against SARS-CoV-2 virus. Also, clinical trials are currently looking at the use of chloroquine as an option for combating the coronavirus. But now, some governors have become medical geniuses and signed Executive Orders preventing physicians in their states from prescribing Chloroquine. Isn’t that beyond a governor’s authority to play FDA? I believe in situations of last resort; patients should be allowed to opt for experimental treatment. What could it hurt?

Lastly there is the issue of not enough Medical Safety equipment, and I ask whose fault is that? Aren’t we being told to follow our medical expert’s advice? Well if they are the experts, why didn’t they maintain access to a greater quantity of equipment, instead of trying to push the blame off on someone else?

So, if you think you are experiencing what it is like to be in a science-fiction movie now, just wait until you hear what happens when some automotive assembly plants try to retool to produce respirators. If it was me, I would have asked aerospace manufacturers currently producing aircraft avionics to take up the cause, because they are skilled in circuit board and electro-mechanical manufacturing, instead of installing pistons and bolting on wheels.

But then again, it is understandable, as we currently experience, living in the “2020 Twilight Zone”.

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About Alan Ferdman

One Response to “Always Advocating Alan – Your Next Stop, the 2020 Twilight Zone”

  1. Annette Lucas on April 4, 2020 @ 5:50 pm

    Hi Alan
    Great message.
    Another thing that happened when they announced hydroxychloroquine was helping with the COVID19
    the people that were on hydroxychloroquine long term for Lupus and other diseases could not get their prescriptions refilled.
    I don’t think many people mind sharing their hydroxychloroquine but to take it from the existing people and use it on the COVID 19 folks without proper back up everyone was at a disadvantage .

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