September 2020 Blog post 

As we wind down the summer, the temperatures remain very high here in the desert and it seems fall will never come. It is hard to believe that we are approaching six months of being forced to suspend our in-person services and that there is no end in sight. The latest from the Governor’s office only adds to the uncertainty as the goal posts continue to shift and we are confronted with the alternate realities by our less than reliable media.

 

One startling piece of data I read this morning was from the CDC. It stated that, as of the August 22 count of 161,392 COVID related deaths in the USA, only about 6% of the people had COVID alone. The other 94% had an average of 2.6 additional conditions or causes of death. Additionally, 91% of deaths were in people over the age of 55. Another report I read discussed the fact that in Japan, the number of deaths among the older population recorded is significantly lower than in the United States in terms of percentage of the population even thought Japan reports one of the oldest average populations in the world.

 

Let us look at what these disparate pieces of data might mean. First, the CDC data certainly exposes the greatest risk to death from COVID is among the older, sicker population. In Japan, prior to the advent of long term care insurance coverage, the elderly and the chronically ill were mostly care for at home. Apparently, that has changed and nursing homes, assisted living and day care are becoming the norm. However, the culture of respect for the older population has resulted in a higher level of visibility of the care providers which in turn has resulted in better infection control and overall higher level of care than that which we provide. To be a care giver, to be a geriatrician, to be a long term care worker is a respected and well paid job in Japan. All of that means they are able to care for and protect their high risk population much better than we.

 

With all the billions and trillions of dollars being discussed and allocated to healthcare, why not take a large carve out and allocate the dollars to improving the care to the segment of society most at risk? Not only would this help rid us of COVID-19 but it would ameliorate future cases of flu and viruses. And even, more important it would celebrate and honor those folks who have brought us into the world, have supported and care for us and have been there for us for all our days. Maybe it is time to return the favor.  

 

Contact our local congressperson, Raul Ruiz:   or our state senator: Melissa Menendez: .

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, determined citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)