Editorial: There’s been a rise in virus recoveries, but you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media

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Recently, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased. What you likely haven’t heard, however, is so have the amount of recoveries.

According to John Hopkins University,there are 3,302,665 cases of Coronavirus in the United States and its territories. Comparatively, currently there are 331,071,213 people living in the United States.

Given those numbers, we see that roughly 0.10% of the population has the Coronavirus. Of that percentage, there are more recoveries than deaths.

In fact, the recovery rate is between 97 and 99.5%.

In Texas alone, 132,638 people have recovered from COVID-19.

According to National Geographic, this week the number of cases decreased in Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Additionally, there was neither an increase nor a decrease in the number of cases in Nevada and New Hampshire.    

Since the original outbreak, more tests have been developed.

According to the CDC, there are currently two tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19. In the United States, there have been 40,787,857 people tested for the virus with only 3,663,490, or 9%, of the tests coming back positive.

In fact, 8 out of 10 people with the virus will only experience a mild case of it and can recover at home without hospitalization. Since April, the number of weekly hospitalizations has steadily declined, according to the COVID-NET Graph.   

Hospitalized patients in critical condition are being treated with Remdesivir, a nucleoside analogue drug (antiviral) that was approved by the FDA for use as an emergency treatment. In a preliminary study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine, Remdesivir was found to shorten the recovery time of hospitalized patients.

In relation to hospitals, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright has proposed the Coronavirus Frontline Workers Fair Pay Act to provide hazard pay to healthcare workers and other essential employees.

Under this act, high-risk healthcare workers would receive a hazard pay increase of $18.50 per hour, while essential workers would receive an increase of $13 per hour.

The pay would be capped at $35,000 and $25,000, respectively. 

Of course, all of this “essential worker” hazard pay included police officers, way back in May when police were still considered heroes. 

Remember that?

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Here’s more on police during the pandemic.

Regardless of where you stand on the scale of fear surrounding COVID-19, everyone has to at least admit that there is an actual threat of both contracting the virus and dying from it. That’s not attempting any sort of fear mongering; that’s just realistic.

We all know that there are groups of people that do not have the luxury of being able to “shelter in place” or “stay at home.” Among those groups are police, fire, EMS, doctors, nurses, and “essential business” owners and workers.

The virus has slowly but surely made its way into the law enforcement community, in some places more than others, and we have no idea how much further it will go.

One thing we do know, however, is that if an officer contracts the virus, it surely wasn’t passed to him through his working-at-home wife who is shut up inside the house with their kids all day, struggling to keep up with her work while homeschooling three children as the house falls into shambles because she just can’t keep up with work, the kids, feeding everyone, and cleaning up (I know I’m not the only one out there!).

If an officer contracts the virus, it came from a contact made at work.

In other words, it came from the line of duty.

Detroit. Los Angeles. Houston. New York. These departments have been hit hard within their ranks compared to the rest of the nation.

Sgt Manny Ramirez is the President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. He told the Associated Press:

“I don’t think it’s too far to say that officers are scared out there.”

Of course they’re scared. Maybe it’s not keeping them up at night, but it’s at least in the back of their minds, along with every other thing that sits there throughout a shift, work-related or otherwise.

One thing they’re scared of is contracting COVID-19, not being able to work, and either becoming permanently sick or damaged from it to the point of not being able to be an officer, or even dying.

Dying, of course, is scary all on its own. But what officers may be worrying about even more than death itself is what will happen to their families after they die; what will happen to them financially, from a non-line of duty injury.

National Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Joe Gamaldi spoke to Law Enforcement Today regarding this very subject.

Gamaldi said:

“We are in completely uncharted territory. Every department must be taking the necessary steps to protect the officers on the frontline with proper PPE and promoting strategies that limit our contact with the public as much as possible in our line of work.

At the same time every state should be adopting a position of “presumptive” coverage for officers. We know officers are getting sick because they are interacting with the public, completely opposite of what every doctor in the world is advising everyone to do.

We don’t yet know the long-term health concerns of contracting the virus, and every state must take care of their officers to carry this as a line of duty injury/illness.”

This is something that needs much attention right away. There are already officers dying out there from the virus- we can’t let that continue to happen without them having assurances that their families will be cared for in the event that they lose their lives.

As law enforcement starts to get infiltrated with the virus, some academies have sped up to graduate officers more quickly in an effort to replenish agencies. This is good for numbers, but obviously dangerous for other reasons, like sending officers who aren’t ready out on the streets.

If staffing levels get low, officer vacation days may be canceled and mandatory overtime may be in the near future. For some agencies, specialty units are being temporarily dismantled to get more bodies on patrol, and in rare cases, retired officers are being asked to consider going back to work to take reports over the phone.

Some agencies worry about a lack of PPE supplies, which is a very real concern giving the amount of contacts officers make on a daily basis.

Many agencies are attempting to minimize the possibility of coming in contact with COVID-19, such as using the phone or internet for more types of calls that would normally have an officer responding in person. Briefings have moved to outdoors or ceased all together in many places, and officers are encouraged to wash hands and sanitize cars and equipment as much as possible.

If they do contract COVID-19, it won’t be for recklessness.

So, wouldn’t that mean they would have worker’s compensation benefits should that happen?

Washington State has the second highest death toll from COVID-19 in the US. While there hasn’t yet been a law enforcement death that we know of from the pandemic, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

The President of Washington State Fraternal Order of Police, Marco Monteblanco, spoke to Law Enforcement Today about what needs to be done here and across the nation to protect our law enforcement officers:

“Obviously, we need to protect our people. We need to make sure that first responders have everything they need as far as personal protective equipment- masks, gloves, sanitizer- and that they’re able to quarantine if they come in contact with someone infected with the virus.

Further, it absolutely should be considered a presumptive injury, which makes it covered by worker’s compensation. Our officers are on the front lines and they deserve the assurance that they’ll be taken care of no matter what happens.”

With so many expressing the importance of worker’s compensation coverage in relation to COVID-19, will legislators listen?

Robert Jenkins, the president of the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, commented on that, saying:

“No one really knows. Unfortunately, we have to be out there. We don’t have a choice.”

No, law enforcement does not have a choice.

They also don’t know what the future holds for them. They don’t know if they’ll have enough PPE to get them through their shifts, or if they’ll get the worker’s compensation coverage they deserve for COVID-19 should they become infected.

And yet, every day our police are on the front lines keeping our communities safe.

This is why they’re our heroes.

Stay safe, brothers and sisters. You’ve got many fighting for you!

 

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