Mt. Herzyl Cemetery

COVID-19 When Preventing Others’ Death Became Too Inconvenient

Penny S. Tee Article

Sorry, I have to get this off my chest. Then we’ll see what’s happening in Israel and the United States regarding COVID-19. There’s actually some positive news regarding the disease in Israel, at least as far as trying to help cope with or rid the world of this scourge. Deal?

Did you know that you could be a hero? What if you unfortunately have contracted COVID-19, but you didn’t know it? You’re one of those people prior to noticing symptoms or you don’t experience them even though you have the virus. No worry, you’ve been wearing a mask. Think about all the lives you’ve saved on your forays out and about. You have no idea of the numbers and you won’t get an award from the mayor, but who cares? You know you did what you could to save others’ lives on the chance that you might be infected. Bravo and thank you.

Saying that I wear a mask religiously when I go outside and that others should as well, may cause some folks to be angry. They say the government and certainly I don’t have a right to tell them what to do. It’s become political. Some consider it impinging on their liberty. Really?

First, it’s not me or the government telling them to wear a mask―it’s the facts and science. Today we are fortunate to know how these homicidal germs do their dirty work and we are just asking people to prevent genocide by wearing a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth. It’s simple, yet some doth protest so vehemently. Why?

I would ask people who don’t wear a mask why they think their inconvenience in wearing a mask should supersede the stark reality that they just might be killing people? Everyone knows that even if you have tested negative, that far too many of the tests are not accurate, or that it takes time before they would show a positive test result. Why not err on the side of life?

Meanwhile, people may be spreading tiny airborne particles willy nilly. They might be infecting their loved one, their neighbor or someone they don’t know. Why is that acceptable simply because it’s uncomfortable to wear a mask? Or do they just not want to? This may be invisibly killing others―does that fact make it easier to ignore their culpability?

I agree, I don’t like wearing a mask. Especially when I work out at the gym. They take my temperature when I enter which is good, we wear masks and social distance, but unfortunately it still doesn’t mean I’m not a walking carrier.

The mask makes it hotter and I sweat, and I constantly must pat underneath it with my towel. But too bad for me, if it saves someone else’s life, why not? And do I think I have COVID, no. I don’t know for sure but if not, I’m so grateful. But it is not worth it to me to risk others’ lives and it shouldn’t be for people not wearing masks either.

I apologize, but I needed to say it as I see so many piling into political rallies in the United States unmasked, without reasonable distances. In a few weeks these same events will be the latest bemoaned as superspreaders. They were attended by the participants choice and held by their political leaders whose supporters wanted to follow. They just didn’t understand they were following them into a sick bed, the hospital or their own graves. I pray the scientists are wrong, but it’s not likely.

Both the United States and Israel are having similar problems from the political leaders’ courtroom battles to the ultra-orthodox openly violating COVID-19 restrictions invoked to protect them. The leaders seem at times to be cut from the same cloth. You be the judge.

In both the United States and Israel, the statistics are shocking. There have been over 215,9021 people who have died in the United States, which is 2.7% of those who have been confirmed with COVID-19 and over 2,0672 in Israel, which is .7% of those who have been verified to have the disease. While these stats are horrific, what’s truly horrendous is the fact that these are people’s children, spouses, grandparents, siblings and friends―forever gone, when it didn’t have to be so.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates COVID-19 projections. Toward the end of August, they said if we just wore masks, 70,000 lives would be saved by December.3 Thanks to all who do what the scientists tell us is what we need to do.

Israel is going through difficult times because of COVID-19, like we are in the United States.

When Israel began opening the country after the first shutdown, and COVID-19 cases spiraled upward, they determined that they must shut down again. However, the Algemeiner reports that Netanyahu seems to be getting more backlash this time. They’ve been on full lockdown since September 18 and the “release” date keeps moving further out. “Schools and most offices, shops and restaurants are closed, unless they provide ‘vital services’ such as supermarkets, pharmacies and banks, and people stay within a kilometer from their home.”4

In the U.S., COVID-19 infections in so many states are surging upward. What will be done for our protection will have to be acted upon at state level. Let’s hope they proceed quickly and decisively to protect us. Let’s also take responsibility for our own families and do what we can for ourselves. The simplest of which is to wear a mask and distance ourselves from others. It’s not rocket science and the scientists tell us it is effective. Why wouldn’t we?

The last depressing statistic I’ll bring up is that the Times of Israel just reported that “Israeli doctors are investigating 81 cases of COVID-19 patients who appear to have recovered from the coronavirus and later became reinfected. Israel is the first country in the world to confirm such a large-scale investigation into reinfection.”5 We aren’t hearing this on our newscasts. They still speak about one or two reinfections here or there in the world.

While the doctors acknowledged that there is immunity for some unknown time period, Dr. Nachmias also believes that reinfection has been underreported because the reinfected patients are assumed to be immune, and aren’t retested by their doctors.6 So people who have survived this deadly virus shouldn’t believe that they can’t get it again. BEWARE. Oy.

One bright spot in all this gloom is that Israelis have put their brain power to work and are actively looking for medicines to improve patient outcomes, better tests, improved masks and vaccines.

Let’s start with two different improved masks that attempt to destroy the coronavirus.

Sonovia is working on reusable anti-viral masks which are coated in zinc oxide nano-particles that destroy bacteria, fungi and viruses. They believe it can help stop the spread of the coronavirus and eliminates more than 99% of coronavirus.7

The Galilee Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute have put their heads together to help medical workers. Using 3-D printing technology, they’ve developed an “experimental surgical mask that contains a virus-neutralizing sticker. The sticker uses nanofibers to capture nanoparticles and, if things work out, disinfect any viruses caught in those nanoparticles, including the coronavirus.”8

The Israeli and Indian governments are working on a 30-second test where you breath in a tube and quickly get the results. The project is developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development.9

They say it will be approved any day now. “The test is a combination of four technologies — sound waves, breathalyzers based on terahertz waves, isothermic identification, and checking polyamino acids.”10

The great news is that plans have already been made to produce it in India and the rapid test once approved will open up the travel and entertainment industries and can “benefit airlines, cruise liners, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, malls, and theme parks.”11 Let’s hope it is approved soon and makes it to the U.S. quickly.

As we wait for a vaccine, Israel’s Redhill Biopharma signed a manufacturing deal for a potential COVID-19 treatment utilizing an experimental cancer drug, Opaganib. Opaganib is being currently tested in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia in two mid-stage trials―one in the United States and another global study that has received approval in six countries including Italy, Russia, UK and Mexico. Europe and Canada have ramped up production of its coronavirus treatment. The U.S. government is in discussions with Redhill for funding to expand production.12

As far as vaccines, Benjamin Netanyahu said in June that an Israeli company signed an agreement with Moderna, a Boston-based U.S. company to sell their COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna was reported to be starting a trial of 30,000 volunteers of its much-anticipated vaccine in July as the company enters the final stages of testing. Let’s hope this is going well.13

We experience daily that we all are in a challenging atmosphere―some much worse than others. I hope and pray that we all will be safe and enjoy many years to come with our family and friends. If you are suffering from COVID-19 I sincerely wish you refuah shlema (a full recovery).

May you live in Peace, שלום, سلام.

I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…

Endnotes:

1 ”Corona Virus,” Yahoo News, October 14, 2020, https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=E211US1451G0&p=covid+19+in+israel

2 ”Corona Virus,” Yahoo News, October 14, 2020, https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=E211US1451G0&p=covid+19+in+israel

3 By Christina Maxouris and Alaa Elassar, “Nearly 70,000 lives could be saved in the next 3 months if more Americans wore masks, researchers say,” CNN, August 22, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/health/us-coronavirus-saturday/index.html

4 By Reuters and Algemeiner Staff, “Israel’s Second COVID-19 Lockdown Carries Hefty Economic Price,” Algemeiner, October 8, 2020, https://www.algemeiner.com/2020/10/08/israels-second-covid-19-lockdown-carries-hefty-economic-price/

5 By Nathan Jeffay, “81 Israelis suspected of being reinfected with coronavirus — Health Ministry,” The Times of Israel, October 13, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/81-israelis-suspected-of-being-reinfected-with-coronavirus-health-ministry/

6 By Nathan Jeffay, “81 Israelis suspected of being reinfected with coronavirus — Health Ministry,” The Times of Israel, October 13, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/81-israelis-suspected-of-being-reinfected-with-coronavirus-health-ministry/

7 By Zachary Keyser, “Lab tests suggest Israeli-made face mask eliminates over 99% of coronavirus,” Jerusalem Post, October 4, 2020, https://www.jpost.com/health-science/israeli-made-mask-eliminates-over-99-percent-of-coronavirus-lab-tests-suggest-644434

8 Stephen Odzer: How Israel’s technological companies are working to Combat the Coronavirus,” Web Presence, LLC, October 12, 2020, https://apnews.com/press-release/newmediawire/virus-outbreak-technology-military-technology-lung-disease-health-1a71da05661800033300d2f788b35e00

9 By Mohit Manghnani, “Israel, India Give Hope To Businesses Hampered By COVID-19 With 30-Second Test,” October 12, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/israel-india-hope-businesses-hampered-081628051.html

10 By Mohit Manghnani, “Israel, India Give Hope To Businesses Hampered By COVID-19 With 30-Second Test,” October 12, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/israel-india-hope-businesses-hampered-081628051.html

11 By Mohit Manghnani, “Israel, India Give Hope To Businesses Hampered By COVID-19 With 30-Second Test,” October 12, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/israel-india-hope-businesses-hampered-081628051.html

12 By Mrinalika Roy, “Israel’s Redhill Biopharma signs manufacturing deal for potential COVID-19 treatment,” Reuters, October 13, 2020, https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/israels-redhill-biopharma-signs-manufacturing-deal-for-potential-covid-19-treatment-2020

13 By Reuters Staff, “Israel signs agreement with Moderna for potential COVID-19 vaccine,” JUNE 17, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-moderna-israel-idUSKBN23O2RA

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