27 Adar-4 Nisan, 5780                                          March 23-29, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 632nd Web Ed.



The Coronavirus is a pandemic that most of us don't understand, but we are learning. This disease has taken over 9,000 lives and made over 220,000 more people sick. We've heard via television about it starting in China and its impact even before arriving in America.
So far this is what we know about Coronavirus. The disease is life threatening.  If the disease does not kill you, there is a chance you will be very sick with severe respiratory problems. Thousands of respirators are needed across the country because of the nature of the disease.  Who wants to be in an intensive care unit of a hospital on a respirator?
The virus is teaching us that we are a fragile human race. We are vulnerable to disease, death and chaos. Our masses of wealth can disappear almost overnight.

The stock market has fallen like a rock. As of this writing, everything that the stock market gained in the three years that Trump has been President has been wiped out. What if it crashes totally? How many companies will go bankrupt and everything people have invested will be gone? We could experience a kind of poverty that our country has not known for a long time.

What was it like during the Great Depression? I remember old folks talking about those hard times. Could we be in for that kind of a difficult time, or even worse?
We are learning that what previously seemed far-fetched and unrealistic, for our great economy and planet, is possible. It just takes one plague to rearrange our lives. One virus cleans out the grocery stores, idles our jobs and robs our bank accounts. One virus immobilizes our society and robs us of the social interaction that we have taken for granted.
Most of us are always looking down the pike for better days and greener pastures. Typically, we are on the hunt for the bigger and the better. We usually don't miss the good things of life until we no longer have them. Sadly, we spend a lot of life looking beyond or looking back and we miss the present. I'm sure you've heard before that "now" is life's greatest gift. That's why we call it the "present."  
The Coronavirus is no "gift" and is certainly something we want to put behind us as soon as possible. When this is behind us maybe we will feel different about sitting in our favorite restaurant, a beauty salon, house of worship or entertainment venue. Many Americans already look forward to going back to work and resuming paychecks. Hopefully, grocery stores will once again have ample food, toiletries and other basics that we have come to take for granted.

When we are beyond all this, maybe we won't take all that we have for granted, or will we?

Glenn Mollette, Washington, DC


California physician Dr. James Veltmeyer is calling for a “crash program” to keep non-critically ill COVID-19 patients out of the hospital to conserve staff and resources for those who “truly require live-saving treatments such as ICU and ventilation.”

Veltmeyer, a top San Diego doctor associated with one of the region’s largest and most prestigious hospitals and a past Congressional candidate,says “the main concern now is to keep our hospitals from being overrun.

There’s no reason for that to happen. We can put in place protocols and policies that allow the vast majority of COVID-19 patients to recover at home. There is no need for them to go to the hospital unless their lives are truly in danger and that is a very small percentage of cases. For the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, there is little that can be done in the hospital that can’t be done at home.

Veltmeyer urged the implementation of the following plan:

1.     Increased use of telemedicine ( Skype, phone, text, email ) to allow patients to communicate directly with physicians or nurses about symptoms;

2.     Ask insurance companies, hospitals and other providers to fast-track new and ramp-up existing health care hotlines that patients can access quickly with little or no wait times;

3.     Enlist RNs, VNAs, and CNAS through home health care agencies to assist and care for patients not critically ill with COVID-19 at home;

4.     Dramatically increase in-home care including enlisting physicians (including retired ) for no-charge house calls;

5.     Enlist pharmacies to fast-track free distribution of over-the-counter pain relievers and cough medications to non-critically ill patients;

6.     Enlist the Red Cross and similar organizations to assist non critically-ill patients (including the homeless ) in community centers, veterans’ halls and similar venues;

7.     Improve the care and medical treatment of the elderly in nursing homes to reduce the need for hospitalization;

“We should be doing everything to keep people out of the hospital, if possible. The hospital exposes vulnerable populations to a variety of deadly pathogens. It should be the venue of last resort where containment cannot be done at home,” he stated. “Most importantly, we need to keep healthy during this crisis, through making the right lifestyle choices, such as proper diet and exercise, sufficient sleep, reducing stress, and keeping well-hydrated.”

Dr. Veltmeyer is the host of “Physician on a Mission” radio podcast show and the author of numerous OpEds which have been published across the country, including the Washington Times.

James Veltmeyer, M.D.,  La Jolla, California


                                        EDITORIAL MASTHEAD
Apple, Rabbi Dr. Raymond, Jerusalem, Israel, contributing columnist
Mollette, Glenn, Washington, D.C., contributing columnist
Reuben, Liz  editor
Sackett, Shmuel, contributing columnist
Sattath, Rabbi Noa, Jerusalem Israel, contributing
Teitelbaum, Israel, contributing columnist
Veltmeyer, James Dr., La Jolla, CA
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America is shutting down. Restaurants and bars are closing. Businesses are reducing hours. People are being laid off.  Unemployment may reach Great Depression highs.  Store shelves are empty. People are hoarding. The stock market has collapsed. In the short span of just a few weeks, we have descended from a high-flying economy – the envy of the world – into the abyss. We now have a small taste of what it feels like to live in a socialist nation or how things might look if Bernie Sanders becomes President.

Why has this happened? How could it happen? How could the greatest and strongest republic in the history of the world be brought to its knees by a virus that has so far infected a tiny fraction of the number of people who are sickened by influenza annually? Every year, 50,000 Americans die due to the flu or complications related to it ( especially pneumonia ). That’s almost 4,000 people per week during a typical 13-week flu season. The total number of Americans who have died in the four weeks since COVID-19 became a serious public health issue: about 115 or 29 per week.

Anyone old enough to recall the tragedy of polio during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s prior to the Salk vaccine can relate stories of perfectly healthy individuals ( including children ) waking up one morning and being unable to walk ( think of FDR at Campobello ). Many recovered. Some did not.

Are we overreacting? Will tanking the U.S. economy, throwing millions of Americans out of work and bankrupting entire industries cure the virus?

Will destroying our economy make it any easier for hospitals to respond to the critically-ill? Will denying people paychecks and quarantining individuals in their homes help advance the cause of new antiviral drugs or a vaccine?

Of course not. Certainly, social distancing and “shelter-at-home” orders might slow the spread of the disease, but at what cost? At the cost of people being unable to feed their families or pay the rent because they can’t go to work? Do we kill the patient to cure the disease?

Let’s get real. More than 80% of the people afflicted with COVID-19 will recover at home with rest, hydration and over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, many within a matter of days. Many healthy adults won’t even know they have it ( which raises the question, if it is so serious how come so many people will be  asymptomatic? ). It is true that for a small percentage of adults—mostly over 65 with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems – the risk of complications, even death, rises. Why aren’t we doing more to isolate the most vulnerable population in our society – our seniors – instead of those at very low risk of either infection or serious illness?

We cannot be a nation under martial law. We are a free people. We are a free nation. Forcing people to close their businesses and stay at home indefinitely is unAmerican and will capsize our nation, dragging down the global economy with it. Wiping out the retirement savings of tens of millions through panic on Wall Street is unAmerican.

Again, folks, let’s get real. Too much damage has already been done and we need to step forward to mitigate any additional damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.

Instead of mass quarantines, let’s address the most critical issue involved in this crisis: having enough staff and resources in our local hospitals to treat those small numbers of individuals who will require life-saving intervention as a result of COVID-19. It is beyond belief that a nation that won two World Wars and conquered space cannot produce enough hospital beds and ventilators to deal with any potential flood of patients. The President’s decision to invoke the  Defense Production Act to greatly boost needed medical supplies makes sense as does his action to permit doctors to work across state lines. Let’s focus on the supply side of this crisis by ensuring enough medical staffing and hospital facilities to meet anticipated needs while isolating our most vulnerable populations. Otherwise, let’s get America back to work.

To address the enormous damage that has been inflicted on the U.S. economy already through this pandemic of panic, let’s help those who may be losing jobs or paychecks. We don’t need to have the Federal Reserve engage in an orgy of money-printing to benefit the big banks, which amounts to little more than food stamps for the rich. We don’t need to punish savers by embarking on zero or negative interest rates. Let’s do what Germany did during the crash of 2008, help businesses meet their payrolls for workers suffering reduced hours during this crisis. Extend unemployment benefits as we have often done during recessions.

Suspend estimated tax payments for businesses for the rest of the year as well as enact a payroll tax holiday. Call in the big banks and tell them to suspend mortgage payments for the rest of the year. They can afford it. We bailed them out a dozen years ago to the tune of $850 billion and they are getting free cash every day from the Fed. It’s time Wells Fargo, BofA, and Chase gave something back to their country.

 Yes, we can end this crisis and we can do it soon. However, it will only get worse with permanent, long-term consequences far beyond a cough and fever if we don’t ratchet down the hysteria and get our economy back on its feet now. “Flattening the curve” cannot occur at the cost of flattening our nation.

Dr. James Veltmeyer, LaJolla, California