Eastland County COVID-19 Update, May 11, 2020

Today the National Guard will be in Eastland for the second
round of testing. This is by appointment only but is open to anyone wishing to
be tested. Our positive numbers in Eastland County have been low with no new
cases in over six weeks. Social distancing and preventive measures have been
the protocols for success. We do have very historic data that has been the
basis for the CDC and DSHS guidelines.

In 1918, the deadly virus that would cause a pandemic,
began in Haskell County Kansas. It was first noted by a country doctor that
sturdy hog farmers were collapsing in their fields.  This virus, known as the swine flu and later
the Spanish flu, spread to nearby Fort Riley. There, soldiers training for
World War I, carried the virus to Europe. It spread across the globe from there
and later brought back to the United States, first to the cities on the east
coast.

The comparison of two cities has been the subject of many
epidemiological studies and books.  Dr.
Max Starloff the St. Louis City health commissioner ordered the closure of the
schools, movie theaters, saloons, sporting events and other public spots. There
were even then protests over his ordinance.

Philadelphia had its first case on September 17, 1918. The
next day city officials launched a campaign against coughing, spitting, and
sneezing in public, they did not however, order the closure of schools,
saloons, theaters and such as they did in St. Louis.  In fact, on September 27, 1918, they hosted a
parade with 200,000 in attendance.   

Philadelphia had nearly 10,000 deaths, (748 per 100,000)
while St Louis had 2,700 (358 per 100,000). 
A study in 2007, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
found that death rates were around 50 percent lower in cities that implemented
preventative measures early on, versus those that did not or were late.  The most effective efforts had simultaneously
closed schools, churches and theaters, and banned public gatherings.

As we can look back, the social distancing, the closures of schools, theaters, indoor dining, and large gatherings, as well as strict lockdowns of the nursing homes, the Woodlands, the hospital and group homes has done its part in controlling the spread of the COVID virus. Now as we are opening up, there is risk of a surge. The Flu pandemic in 1918 went on for several years around the world.  We must all continue to do our part to reduce exposure in the re-opening of Texas.  Please help all of us in this effort.

Dr. Robert DeLuca

Mobile Test Collection, Monday, May 11, 2020

Texas Health and Human Service website:
https://hhs.texas.gov/services/health/coronavirus-covid-19
CDC website:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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