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COVID-19 Task Force discusses precautions, exposure, infection and what can be done

July 8, 2020
By PAULETTE LeBLANC ( , Pine Island Eagle

Last Monday, June 29, the Pine Island COVID-19 Task Force opened its meeting with discussion on the new order to keep people from congregating in bars and Florida's plan for the holiday weekend.

Epidemiologist Jim Koopman said the CDC has reported the antibody assay result.

"You know the history of that," said Koopman, "the FDA just approved every single antibody assay and most of them were junk. But these assays were validated. It showed overall about 10 times as many infections as reported cases. That still isn't going to touch herd immunity."

It's Koopman's contention that even if a proven vaccine is 75 percent effective, and 75 percent of the population agrees to take it, that still will not be enough to provide herd immunity. According to his own observation, he said when there were fewer mandates on testing, making it easier for people to get tested, the number of confirmed positive cases seemed to have dropped. He said the sharp drop in numbers was nothing but delusion, although it was used to relax safety measures, which has now resulted in the number of confirmed cases rising once again.

Task Force member Martha Huard voiced her concern that people seem to feel infringed upon if they are told to take the precaution of wearing a mask in public.

Task Force founder Isabel Francis pointed out that directives from Vice President Mike Pence as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist, seem to indicate that it will be nearly impossible to regain control of the U.S. economy without taking these measures, as well as strict adherence to social distancing.

The island group decided to draft a list of questions to send into the political arena regarding the safety of Pine Island and what precautions likely need to be taken. Fearful that the number of confirmed cases may grow by the time the list of questions makes it into the hands of anyone who may answer, the group wonders what recommendations for taking precautions may look like, or what the chances are of Covid-19 becoming widespread on an island such as this.

"The timeliness of the letter is important because a lot will change in the two to three week lag in the death toll," said Jim McLaughlin, a Task Force member who's a longtime islander and former TV news anchor. "Whatever the person answering the questions thinks will be based on the count for that day, but by the time we get everything in and get ready to post it, the count may be two to three times higher than it was."

Koopman pointed out that there are two types of delays involved. One, he said, is simply a delay in reporting deaths, which can be up to two weeks. The other, even larger delay, said Koopman, is between the rise of the epidemic and the rise in deaths, which he explains is roughly four weeks after diagnosis.

Huard noted that keeping an eye on the number of people being hospitalized is just as critical.

"It's important in telling you how many cases there are but also how severe the cases are and also for bed availability," said Huard. "There are many cases that are asymptomatic, and you can shrug it off, but you can't shrug it off once they're in the hospital. It's not the number of testing changing that."



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