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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/13/20

Locked down in Montgomery County, PA: We Have Met the Enemy, But It May Turn Out to Be Not a Virus But Us

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Several Pennsylvania Schools Closing For Sanitizing Over Coronavirus Concerns All Norristown and Upper Merion District schools will be closed on Tuesday.
Several Pennsylvania Schools Closing For Sanitizing Over Coronavirus Concerns All Norristown and Upper Merion District schools will be closed on Tuesday.
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Dave Lindorff

Maple Glen, PA I'm writing this article from my home in Montgomery County, PA, a large suburban, exurban and rural county of 900,000 people which is kind of wrapped around three sides of the city of Philadelphia. At the moment, we are in "lock down," after PA Gov. Tom Wolf announced that MontCo is the "epicenter of the pandemic."

Gov. Wolf yesterday ordered all elementary and secondary schools in the county closed effective today for at least the next several weeks, and ordered all colleges, including Montgomery County Community College and the Ambler campus of Temple University to end classroom teaching, switching over to online teaching. He also asked all retail stores to close their doors for a few weeks, excepting food stores, pharmacies and gas stations.

The suddenness of the order caught residents by surprise. Parents have been scrambling to make arrangements for their young children not easy since child care institutions are also shuttered, and help or sitters can be hard to find.

There is an element of panic, since it's becoming clear that the pandemic is much worse than people up until now had been led to believe. In this so-called "epicenter," for example, the number of "presumptive" cases of COVID-19 invention is currently 17 (since testing kits are scarce in the US, only six of the PA cases have been tested and they were all positive). That's just about half the state's total of 33 as of today. One MontCo resident has died so far, in a hospital in Philadelphia.

What is finally being made clear in the media is that because the Trump administration first cut staffing for epidemics at the Center for Disease Control over the last two years, and was very late to start producing COVID-19 test kids, only 5 people per million have been tested nationally so far (that compares to 3600 per million in S. Korea!), and testing is being rationed, with many reporting symptoms and asking to be tested being turned away by health care providers. Tests can also cost more than $1000 and in Montgomery County, as across the nation, about a quarter of the population is either uninsured or has a cut-rate insurance plan that doesn't pay any benefits until the insured person has paid the amount of the annual deductible, which can often be thousands of dollars or even as much as $10,000.

As a result we are learning that the true number of infected people in a state the size of Pennsylvania, rather than being tallied in double digits, could be as high as 100,000 already, with the vast majority of those infected not knowing if they have or are contagious with the disease. State health officials in Ohio and Washington have stated this openly, but most states are not being so forthright, perhaps fearing that it will sow panic.

For this reason, it seems clear though, that the restrictions being imposed here in MontCo will not be temporary, ending in a few weeks, but will if anything become stricter and much longer-term"

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/we-have-met-the-enemy-but-it-may-turn-out-to-be-not-a-virus-but-us/

(Article changed on March 13, 2020 at 23:35)

 

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments


Steve Schneider

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Hello Lockdown Dave,

Trump supporters ought to consider the following quote:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

The MAGA crowd can help us make America strong and healthy again by replacing our incompetent president. Your article makes it clear that Trump has not protected our country, although he sure likes to talk.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 11:04:10 AM

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lila york

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how many thousands (hundreds of thousands?) have died of pneumonia who were never tested for this virus because there were no tests. US would likely be looking at 100 million cases if there were testing available. the US has 350,000 Chinese university students, most of whom returned from break the first week of january. every person in the US needs to wear a mask, goggles and gloves. unless and until that is accomplished, it will spread and effectively wipe out the population of people over 70. we are all screwed.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 12:40:01 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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You overstate the case. As a 70 year old, I have to correct you. It won't "wipe out" the generation over 70, but it will hit us hard. The fatality rate for people in the 60-69 age bracket is about 4%. The fatality rate for the 7-79 age bracket (mine) is 8%, and the fatality rate for people over 80 is a whopping 17%. By way of comparison, the fatality rate for young people under 29 is 0.2%, but the problem is they can get the disease, not seem very sick, and can infect their parents, their grandparents, and their teachers. At Temple U, where my wife is a professor (and is also 70), the administration was delaying taking any action. The students began a Credo petition calling on them to do the right thing and to close down classes and send students home. They stated in the petition, "We are not concerned for ourselves, but worry that we could infect our senior faculty." Pretty cool! They won, and last Thursday the president announced the school was shutting down classes as of the weekend, with online teaching beginning the following Monday. Foreign students and students whose family homes were far away are being allowed to stay in dorm rooms on a case-by-case basis. But it took a student campaign. Anyhow, we oldsters aren't going to be wiped out, but we need to be extra careful.

Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 2:17:10 PM

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George King

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Do we need to be wiped out for us to care?

According to the 2018 US Census:

There are 37.41 million (women and men total from 60-69 years of age)
4% = aprox 1,500,000 (men and women citizens from 60-69 years of age)

There are 22.66 million citizens (women and men total from 70-79 years of age)
8% = aprox 1,800,000 citizens (women and men total from 70-79 years of age)

This of course is the death of 3,300,000 citizens just in the two age groups mentioned.

This just in the two age groups mentioned if we add in the other age groups it is not hard to guess that it could reach 5 million citizen's death in peace time!

Reminds me of 500,000 children killed but it was worth it........

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 14, 2020 at 10:06:19 PM

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