Posts Tagged ‘corona virus’

Members of the N.J.  Air National Guard work at Holmdel testing site 3/23. National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht.  (via NJ.com)

Paul Goldfinger, MD   Blogfinger.net

On April 22, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced that COVID-19 testing in New Jersey could be done on those without symptoms.  This would be important to identify infected individuals who feel fine but are still infectious. It would be helpful information as we strive to get people back to work or other activities.

Of course, a negative test one day could turn positive soon thereafter if the person gets infected subsequently.  And a negative test could be a false negative, complicating the situation.

Later in the day on the 22nd, the Governor announced that a waiver from the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services would be required to go ahead to testing asymptomatic people at state testing sites.

Evidently there have been some non-state testing sites  such as urgent care facilities that would do testing on asymptomatic people.  The state site in question is at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel where FEMA is running the show.

From the APP:  “Gov. Murphy said the state is conducting a ‘top to bottom’ review of its testing infrastructure, with the goal of doubling the number of tests available once the statewide shutdown ends. Officials have said testing is critical for authorities to identify and contain new outbreaks once restrictions are lifted.”

From Newsweek:  “The Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience” report published on Monday by Harvard’s Center for Ethics suggests a combination of widespread testing to identify cases, contact-tracing to find those who may be infected, and measures to isolate the sick in order to re-open the economy while stopping the coronavirus spreading. This would enable the country to regain some sense of normalcy by August, they indicated.”

But testing done in satellite centers won’t be able to keep up with the numbers needed.  LabCorps has just gotten approval for an at-home testing kit, but it won’t be available for awhile, and it will cost $119.00.  First it will be available only to healthcare personnel.

And Rutgers has a testing settup that can do 10,000 tests per day. Just approved.

April 23 update:    NJ deaths are now 5,368. Total cases are 99,989. The 100,000 mark will be reached tomorrow.  There were 3500 new positive tests in the last day.

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It’s not all black and white. Don’t just stand there; go wash your hands. Paul Goldfinger photo. Ft. Myers, Fla. April, 2020 ©.




“Home Among the Gumtrees.”


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Philadelphia. Internet photo.


By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC

Everyday we hear of new findings and new questions about the pandemic.  As fast as research groups look into specific emerging issues, new revelations pop up to confuse us and worry us.

You can’t put this stuff into a textbook or create solid public health guidelines until we have more answers.

As for hypertension, we heard about the link between hypertension and a poor outcome with the virus, but what annoyed me was, at first, the failure to explain if it is merely a diagnosis of hypertension or high blood pressure out of control which moderates the risk.  And this is important because 30-70% of individuals over age 60 have hypertension.

Researchers are now saying that a diagnosis of hypertension with controlled numbers is not alone a reason for an adverse outlook.

But if the BP is out of control, there is a substantially increased risk, so get yourself a BP machine, continue your meds, and call your doctor if your BP is consistently above 140/90  (this is my own cutoff, and others might disagree about the numbers—it’s a chronic thorn in the side of hypertension experts.)

You may have heard that certain BP medicines might be harmful if you take an angiotensin receptor blocker such as Losartin  (aka Cozaar) or an angiotensin blocker such as Lisinopril  (aka Prinivil) . This is all unproven, and, in fact, these agents may actually be beneficial in the face of coronavirus.

Here are some quotes worth reading:

WebMD: ” High blood pressure makes it more likely that you can get COVID-19, have worse symptoms, or die from the infection.”   Also they say,  “A weaker immune system is one reason why people with high blood pressure are at higher risk.”

US News: “It’s not clear whether having hypertension on its own, without any accompanying forms of cardiovascular disease raises the risk of dying…”

USA Today:  “According to a CDC report,over 90% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had one or more underlying health conditions, and 76% of them had high blood pressure”

Web MD:    “Data from China and Italy — countries hit early by the virus — show higher risk of COVID-19 infections and complications in people with high blood pressure.     In China, 25% to 50% of people who came to hospitals with coronavirus had high blood pressure.”

Final note, you can search Blogfinger for our series called “Confessions of a high blood pressure doctor.”  Use the search box at the upper right hand corner  (If you are a lefty, it’s still at the right hand corner)

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Internet graphic


Kevin Chambers, a long-time Grover, has been making a case on Blogfinger that the Corona scare is a hoax drummed up by the “main stream media.”    Recently, in New Jersey, a state with high rates of Corona infection, we have been warned about an impending “spike” in viral infections and fatalities.  Citizens are appropriately worried, except perhaps for citizens who are doubters, like Kevin.

Here is his latest comment  (4/10/20):

“You state that the death rates continue to spike, but for whom? That is the question that should be addressed. Is the death rate spiking for the elderly, especially in nursing homes? Are they spiking for people with severe underlying health issues? Or are they spiking for normal healthy people?

“The ‘main stream media’, looking to scare the public through its fear-mongering, never seems to give these facts.”


At Blogfinger we encourage readers to express opinions, but they must adhere to our “rules” which include such concepts as no name calling, no attributing of motives, no false information, sticking to the subject, providing facts, no repetition of ideas, and others.   Our rules have been re-posted on top of this home page.

Kevin’s remarks, in my opinion, are ill informed and not backed up by facts. They are insensitive to all those who became ill or died in our area, in our state and in our country. They are disrespectful to all those healthcare workers who are truly placing their lives on the line to help others.

And he doesn’t tell us how he would change public policy at this time, and especially in the face of climbing numbers of infections.

However, giving him the benefit of the doubt, here are some facts for him and all of you to consider:

NJ.com offers a headline:  “NJ hospitalizations near peak.”

As of yesterday, April 9, 7,570 New Jerseyans remain hospitalized, and 1,663 are on ventilators—(NJ Department of Health.)

NJ.com reported:  “The peak number of hospitalizations is expected to hit within a few days, said the Governor, with a new total of 14,400 people expected to be hospitalized.”

“The number of cases reported and deaths from the virus continue to climb. Officials said at the Thursday (April 9) press briefing that there were 3,748 new positive tests and 198 more deaths reported during the 24 hours between Wed. (April 8 and Thurs April 9) bringing the State’s number of people affected to 51,027 and raising the death toll to 1,700.

The number of infected people would be even higher if more extensive virus testing could be done.  Some people who actually have symptoms report that they cannot get tested.  And there is another group of those who are infected and infectious but have no symptoms yet. No one will test them.

“And, as of today, April 10, NJ has 3,627 new cases and 233 new fatalities.  The total number of coronavirus cases for this morning April 10 is 54,588 and 1,932 deaths. “

And “officials on April 9 said the peak number of hospitalizations could come in two to three days.”

The New Jersey counties with the highest numbers of people who have tested positive are in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, and Passaic.  But just below them are Middlesex and Monmouth counties.

In Monmouth County, as of April 7, there have been 3,248 cases with 98 deaths.  Neptune reports 156 positive tests, but there is no breakout for Ocean Grove.  Again, where are our local officials with the OG numbers?

Asbury Park has 60 testing positive so far, Belmar has 4, Bradley Beach has 13, and Avon-by-the-Virus has 9.  Ocean has 140. Long Branch 152.  Marlboro 239, Freehold has 226.  And Deal has 20, and Holmdel 100.

Kevin implies that the numbers are fake, and that we would have a totally different impression if only the reports were categorized by age, residence, and medical history. But to be complete, the risk categories ought to then be broken out by race, gender, socioeconomic group, geography, home conditions, community problems such as crowding, poverty, crime, sanitation, etc.

But although there are variations of risk within categories, that doesn’t change the fact that we are under assault by this virus and that it is peaking in our community as we speak. We are not talking mostly about numbers; we are talking about people.  So whether or not one group or another is at greater risk, we as a civilized society must view all the risks as all our concern.


Paul Goldfinger MD.  Blogfinger.net

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Photo Marketwatch.com. Supermarkets are the leading location to catch the virus in towns where most businesses are closed.


4/4/20:    This video and text  is by Joe Schwarcz, PhD from the McGill (Canada) Office for Science and Society:



“The current COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example of how rapidly evolving observations can impact conclusions. Studies about micro-droplets in the air visualized by special photographic techniques, coupled with observations of disease transmission among asymptomatic people in indoor environments, are causing scientists to reconsider the value of masks for the general public.

“One impactive episode that has come to light is that choir practice in Washington state in which 45 of 60 people became infected despite no physical contact with each other.

“The issue is not about wearing a mask when out for a walk. Contracting the virus in that situation is virtually impossible as long as you exercise physical distancing.

‘However, being indoors with a significant number of people, such as in a supermarket, may be a different story. In such a case a mask may reduce the risk since there are two factors that seem to be important: the concentration of viral particles in the air, and the contact time with these particles. In the Washington choir episode, the singing, which does involve more expectoration than just talking, went on for more than two hours.

“So, as we stretch towards that finish line, we are making changes in our stride and it is likely that we will hear recommendations that wearing masks in indoor commercial spaces offers some protection. But remember that science rarely has a final word and what we say today may change by tomorrow. Or in this instance, an hour from now.

“As that great philosopher, Yogi Berra, said, “you can observe a lot just by watching.” And now I’m watching Zorro and wondering if a bandana mask is of any use. At least it doesn’t take a mask away from a health care worker.”


Editor’s note: Paul Goldfinger, MD:  April 4, 2020.

I have discovered that nearly everyone I talk to in the last few days is a medical science expert.  And they care little about my opinion, even though they are aware of the MD after my name.  Of course they are merely spouting information that they heard, some of which is gibberish, on the Internet, radio, and/or cable news.

For some reason Dr. Oz is suddenly the prime expert for everything medical.  I think he is a quack—a celebrity doctor; an entertainer.  When he was a heart surgeon at Columbia P&S he was already famous as a purveyor of nonsense as he promoted all sorts of alternative and complementary medical  advice including a study he did on the power of bedside prayer to improve post-op. survival.  (Does it work?  He said, “Yes.”)

The current mask story is a bit bizarre;  it boils down to a home remedy, since the home-made cloth masks currently recommended are of unproven value.  The idea that it would block the outgoing virus-loaded droplets but not the incoming droplets makes no sense. Nevertheless, if you imagine tiny germ-bombs enclosed in micro-drops of spit, it makes sense that a mask might be helpful, so go for it, but don’t expect the expert scientists to be very enthused*.

You Tube is full of  “how to make masks” to combat the Coronavirus. Some say that you can do it using a sheet for material and without any sewing—done in 10 minutes.

The Internet is full of all sorts of baloney such as washing your hands with Listerine will kill Corona bugs, but Listerine only has about 20% alcohol, an inadequate dose of virus killer.  In this regard we will have more to say about antimalarial drugs for Coronavirus.

*The World Health Organization and the CDC have continued to stand by their recommendations from earlier in the coronavirus outbreak. They argue that mask usage should be limited to people who have COVID-19 or may have contracted the illness and their caregivers, including health-care workers.

But on April 3, the CDC said to go ahead and wear masks when out and about, but do not use the most effective masks (N95 and surgical) which are to be reserved for healthcare workers.  The advice is not mandatory at this time, but there are some nations that have done it for the entire country  (like South Korea and Singapore.)

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Covic-19 virus under an electron microscope.

Paul Goldfinger.  Blogfinger.net   3/25/20

Blogfinger:     New Jersey Governor Murphy fired the first round on the subject of second homers in a tweet last weekend when he asked that second homers not come to the  Shore during this difficult time.

Only one OG citizen, a second homer, has contacted Blogfinger to complain about Murphy’s  second-homer decision, but we have heard of complaints from Long Beach Island and the Atlantic City area.

This topic related to second homes may explode as “the tension grows.”  One woman from LBI said that the risks to her family include “physical and emotional health.”  She feels that she is entitled to stay in her 2nd home without interference.  It is unclear how such a mandate could be enforced.

But Murphy’s requirements soon expanded via Executive Order which says that everyone in the state (9 million) should follow his “near lockdown” order to stay at  home except for “essential travel” such as going for “essentials” such as food or for medical reasons.  He also asked for non-essential businesses around the state to close and for most people to “stay off the roads.”

You can go outside for walks or other forms of exercise and you can visit family or close friends.  If you go outside you must follow the “social distancing” 6 foot rule and do not assemble in groups. No parties.

APP:  NJ has had 62 Corona deaths so far and 4,402 cases.  New Jersey has the second highest number of cases in the country  (Daily News Roundup. Montclair University.)

Monmouth County has 207 cases and 2 deaths.   Ocean Grove has had only one case so far documented with a positive Corona test.   Asbury Park has 4, Belmar 1, Bradley 1,  and Ocean 4. Ocean County has  Jackson 18 and Lakewood is highest with 69.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced via a  March 23 Executive Order that passengers flying from the New York area would be subject to mandatory isolation (self-quarantine  for 14 days)  to slow the spread of the virus.

Later it was announced that the Governor’s Executive Order would be expanded saying that anyone flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut would be subjected to 14 days of self quarantine or face misdemeanor charges.   This was reported by the News Press  (Ft.Myers)

The report said that the self quarantine order was not for car or rail passengers.

“It is critical people adhere to the Federal Government’s request so New York City does not become “another seeding point” for the rest of the country, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”

Politico:  The Federal Government is mandating that anyone from New York who travels out of the state should “shelter in place” for 14 days no matter where they go.

VP Pence said, “We have to deal with the New York City metropolitan area as a high-risk area, and for that reason we are taking these steps and asking for the cooperation of the American people,” Pence said.

So far 11 states have passed mandatory “stay at home” orders including New Jersey and New York.  These also have mandatory closing of nonessential businesses.

Residents of New Jersey may still leave their homes to head to the grocery store, seek medical care, visit close family or someone you have a “close personal relationship” with like a romantic partner, report to work or go outside for exercise. However, Murphy urged everyone to continue to practice safe social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.

New Jersey Patch report regarding Asbury Park says,

Asbury Park officials want people to adhere to social distancing or they’ll close the beaches and boardwalk during the coronavirus crisis. The Asbury Park Police Department will be monitoring the Asbury Park boardwalk and beaches to ensure social distancing practices are being followed per Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order.  Should residents and visitors fail to follow guidelines, the boardwalk and beaches are subject to closure, officials said.    Running and walking on the boardwalk is permitted.  Bicycles are not permitted on the boardwalk from 10 a.m. to midnight. Groups of two or more and congregation on the boardwalk are not permitted.

Seaside Heights has closed its beaches. (along with Pt. Pleasant, and Ocean City.)  The Seaside Mayor there has asked people with vacation homes in that town to “stay away.”   (NJ.com)  As of Monday Seaside Heights became the first shore town to shut down its beaches — even for casual walks for year-round residents — to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.


Other notes, reading between the lines: 

a.    Morristowngreen.com   According to  a Morristown infectious disease specialist,  “We still are learning about how the virus is transmitted, its life span, the kinds of surfaces on which it lingers, and how long it can survive in a variety of conditions     “It makes good sense to wash your clothes in general,” he said, adding, “If you come into contact with someone who appears ill or you think is ill, it’s a good idea to wash your clothes in hot water.”  So routine clothes washing is not essential.

Still, “social distancing measures are the most effective part the mitigation strategy as it currently exists,” he emphasized.

b.    In Italy they are studying the use of lung ultrasound exams to look for evidence of viral invasion into lung tissues.  this is being done to help physicians decide on who must be hospitalized.  Not everyone who has a positive Corona test needs the hospital.

Screening in emergency rooms remains a challenge since patients with mild symptoms, even with a positive test, usually can go home.

For those with positive tests and mild symptoms, the ultrasound has been useful for that kind of triage.

c. NBC News reports that plasma taken from recovered Corona patients might help those who are very sick. It is the antibodies in the plasma which may be found to help. Studies are ongoing.

d.  NBC News:   The use of drugs: anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine  and the antibiotic zithromycin in combination has been found to be helpful in reducing the severity of disease.

e. Shortage of nurses is developing, especially for ICU and ER.






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Undoubtedly, the virus epidemic will be going on for months, and encouraging folks to walk around town and mingle with others will not be a good idea even though the event would be outdoors. Social distancing would not be possible.

We can reconsider having it in the fall, but cancelling May 9 seems like the correct decision since that date will be upon us pretty quickly.



Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.


DORIS DAY.    “Que Sera, Sera”

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be”

This song was featured by Doris Day in the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.

It won an Oscar for best original song  and it was a #1 hit for Doris Day and became her signature song.

Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart. The Man Who Knew Too Much.

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