Mar 25, 2020
Welcome to episode 20 of Activist #MMT. Today in a decidedly non-economic episode of Activist #MMT, I talk with physician Jim Crudele about the growing and unprecedented coronavirus health crisis. Although not specifically an infectious disease expert or epidemiologist, he is board certified in family medicine and geriatrics and has been practicing for thirty years. He has been my primary care physician for the past eighteen.
Dr. Crudele and I talk about the basics of the coronavirus: its symptoms, how to prevent infection and then sickness, testing and testing kits, and what to expect in the upcoming months and year.
Coronavirus is unique in that people are highly infectious for up to fourteen days before showing any symptoms. Although everyone can be contagious, those over the age of sixty are most at risk for severe sickness and death. The biggest overall danger, however, is the growing pressure placed on our nation’s healthcare system. This is especially true since many doctors and nurses are likely to get sick, at which point they will have to quarantine themselves and communicate with their patients through electronic means. Because of all these things and more, Dr. Crudele says we can expect at least three full months of disruption to our normal modern lives.
Because of the current lack of testing kits in the United States, partially due to the questionable decisions of the Trump administration, for at least the time being, we are largely working in the dark. Because of this, in addition to how new and unknown the virus is, we will need to treat this situation in a what Dr. Crudele calls a low-tech manner. This includes quarantine and alleviating symptoms as much as possible. Soon however, we can expect advanced and automated bulk testing for diagnosis, and in around a year’s time, a likely vaccine for all.
Finally, at the end of our conversation, I present a scenario to Dr. Crudele that I am facing right now. That is the obligation placed on all presidential campaigns and their supporters, to collect hundreds of signatures by the end of this month (March, 2020), in person and on paper. The purpose of these signatures is to get the candidates onto the Democratic primary ballots in New Jersey. I ask Dr. Crudele if it is possible for this to be done in a safe manner. Basically, the answer is no.
Postscript: It turns out, after recording this introduction, and only a few hours ago on March 19, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order to stop all in-person collection of ballot petition signatures.
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