AMERICA/MEXICO – “No” to violence against women: on 8 March the statues of saints covered in church, while on 9 March it is “women’s strike”

primopiano_9552.jpg

Mexico City – The parish of Saints Cosme and Damián in Mexico City has covered the images and statues of saints and virgins as a symbolic gesture in support of women’s rights and to draw attention to the vast phenomenon of violence against women. Thus the Church in Mexico is preparing to live March 8, international women’s day, to remember the urgency of promoting the dignity of women, in the Church and in society. Inside the temple, the saints and virgins are covered with purple cloaks, usually used to cover all the images during Holy Week.
José de Jesús Aguilar, deputy director of the radio and television of the archdiocese of Mexico said in a note sent to Agenzia Fides: “We strongly support women; it is a support for their deeper dignity, and we are not in favor of any political group”. “In the Lent season in which we find ourselves – the priest explained – covering the images of saints and after 40 days of reflection and prayer, we will be able to rediscover the role of women in our society”.
Father Aguilar adds: “We must remind everyone that violence against women is to be condemned, like other sins committed against them. It is not only a civil offense, but it is a sin to discriminate against them, violate them, abuse their rights, and above all kill them with impunity”, as tragically happens in many cases.
March 8, 2020 will be celebrated in a different manner compared to other years: countless organizations have called a march for International Women’s Day and a “National Women’s Strike” has been called for next Monday 9 March.
The goal is to ensure that there is not even one woman in offices or schools. No women in restaurants, shops and even in public transport. The idea is to present a country without women for a day. The proposal was born from feminist groups, but it has aroused the support of many institutions including the Catholic Church, to give the country a strong and public sign, for the urgent need to end violence against women and change the male-dominated mentality, rooted in society in Mexico. The event is expected to become an important landmark in Mexico’s modern history.
The Bishops of Mexico spoke out in favor of this initiative with a statement that states: “As Mexican Episcopal Conference, we express our support for the #UnDíaSinNosotras initiative which will take place on March 9. This motivation derives from the real tragedies that recently have deeply damaged women, who lead us to reflection on the current challenges of fundamental human rights in our country. As a Catholic Church, we also reaffirm our commitment and take responsibility for building a Mexico in peace, free from violence.”

Florida DOH: 2 New COVID-19 Cases – 2 Deaths

FLorida%2BCOVID%2B7th.png
Fl COVID-19 Stats 10pm March 6th

#15,049

Florida, with 20 million residents and tens of millions of visitors each year, has been testing for COVID-19 for barely a week, and only 5 days ago confirmed their 1st  2 Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Cases

Testing, however, remains quite limited (100 negative results, 6 positive), and so we really have no idea how prevalent the virus might be in our population.  This deficit in testing is not unique to Florida, or to the United States. 

Overnight, however, we’ve learned of two new COVID-19 cases, and two deaths.  This from Florida’s Department of Health.

Department of Health Announces Important Updates Regarding Covid-19 in Florida – Two Confirmed Deaths Regarding Covid-19
March 06, 2020

Contact:
Communications Office
NewsMedia@flhealth.gov(850) 245-4111

Tallahassee, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health has announced updates regarding the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Florida. Two individuals have died and two new presumptive positive cases have been identified in Broward County.

Deceased Individuals

A previously announced COVID-19 patient in Santa Rosa County has died, following an international trip.

A new individual in their seventies that tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 in Lee County has died, following an international trip.

New Presumptive Positive Cases

A 75-year old male in Broward County has been identified as a presumptive positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.

A 65-year old male in Broward County has been identified as a presumptive positive. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.

The Florida Department of Health is working closely with the patients, potential close contacts of each case and health care providers to isolate and monitor persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and implement testing of anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath.

(Continue . . . )

While the number of confirmed cases in Florida remains reassuringly small – at least when compared to Washington State (n=79) and New York (n=44) – the limited testing to date leaves a lot of room for undetected cases, and deaths.

This is flu season, we have a large elderly population, and many people are hospitalized with ILIs (Influenza-Like-Illnesses).  Having worked as a paramedic here, I can attest to the fact that hundreds of (mostly) elderly people die of `natural causes’ each day – and the cause of death is almost never confirmed.

This is why it is so hard to tell how many people die from the flu each year.  Influenza almost never appears on a death certificate as a primary cause of death.

If the patient is elderly, and there are no `unusual circumstances‘ surrounding the death, the patient’s doctor generally signs the death certificate, attributing COD to heart attack, stroke, COPD, or other chronic condition.

As we’ve discussed often, heart attacks and strokes are linked to recent flu infections (see Eur. Resp.J.: Influenza & Pneumonia Infections Increase Risk Of Heart Attack and Stroke) and most of those deaths are attributed to cardiovascular – not viral – causes.   

Two weeks ago, Italy and Iran were both posting reassuringly low, double digit COVID-19 case counts. Today, those two countries have identified close to 10,000 cases, a great many of which were already infected when their surveillance was still reporting only a handful of cases. 
Even when we have point-of-care diagnostics and excellent lab testing and surveillance – as we do for influenza – the CDC can only estimate the number of cases each year, how many of those are hospitalized, and how many deaths.  
CDC%2BBurden%2Bof%2BFlu%2BFeb%2B.png
So far, this winter, the CDC estimates between 350,000 and 625,000 flu hospitalization and between 20,000 and 52,000 flu deaths. No one is actually counting, and so we end up with a pretty wide range.

Without extensive testing, we have no way of knowing how many of these flu deaths might have been due to COVID-19.  Probably not a huge number yet, but nobody really knows. 

Ten years after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, researchers are still arguing its impact. Early estimates (see Lancet: Estimating Global 2009 Pandemic Mortality) – released during the pandemic by WHO – now appear to have captured as little as 5% to 7% of the true number of deaths.

We will likely see the same thing happen with COVID-19.  The number of cases, and deaths, reported in real time during the next few months will only reflect a fraction of the true burden.

At best, in a few years, we’ll have a crude estimate. Not a count, but a benchmark, to compare COVID-19 to 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. 

For now, perhaps the best way to get a crude estimate of the severity of COVID-19 is by the impact it has on hospitals and healthcare delivery, the economic losses attributed to the epidemic, and the severity and duration of societal disruptions.

Governments, and the media, love to report numbers. The public expects them, as they provide a sense of certainty, and of things being under control.

But with infectious diseases – particularly during an epidemic – they should never be assumed to reflect the true burden of an outbreak.