#OP-ED: They Didn’t Have to Die

MIAMI, Florida – There are over now over 14,000 Americans dead who first heard about the coronavirus pandemic almost two months ago. Fourteen thousand of our fellow citizens. Souls. Friends. Colleagues. Strangers. All dead. Quickly.

They have been killed in every state of our country. Hundreds of thousands of us have been infected by the invisible yet powerful enemy. The worldwide destruction of life and society hearkens of a time over 5,000 years ago when our species had less control of the planet than we do today. The world is now on its knees.

Onto these knees bow the competent and incompetent leaders of our world. We have seen some stalwart efforts by small nations such as Jamaica. With four deaths and over 60 infected persons, Jamaica is fighting to stay closeted from the world and survive. Should they be hit hard, they may not recover.

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Here in the USA, we have been misled and bamboozled by our political leadership masquerading as disaster experts. Worse yet, they are practicing public health and critical care medicine without the slightest clue of what they are doing. Trained experts are sidelined by political mavericks with disruptive agendas.

Yet, we are provided minimal information only. We have so little knowledge about the rate of infection and death amongst African-Americans and other people of color. There is ample evidence in the literature that Black people in this country suffer more diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and arthritis-related complications and disease than all other groups. Black people live in more climate and environmentally damaged communities than other groups. Black people have fewer medical providers in their communities and fewer hospital beds available per capita. Certain chronic, sometimes terminal conditions, such as Sickle Cell Disease, place Black people at more risk from conditions that prey on the immune system, as does the SARS-CoV2 virus, the cause of COVID-19 disease.

Shall we ever receive the vital race-defined data on infection, hospitalization, respiratory support, and deaths caused by COVID-19? Will the people in the marginalized urban and rural communities of color in this country be provided the same personal protective equipment (PPE) as others? What about some face masks at less than $15 each? African-Americans occupy a significant percentage of the staff of many hospitals throughout the country, working predominantly in the nursing and housekeeping departments. As we have seen on television, they are using operating room gowns incorrectly as PPE suits, incomplete plastic shields instead of proper eye cover, bouffant caps instead of head and neck hoods, and other errors of protection. They are subject to infection and the numbers will soon reflect these inadequate practices.

The African-American communities of Florida and this country are on the edge of decimation by this microscopic virus and the bungled approach to its control and hope of containment. Unless drastic action is taken quickly, the community is in peril. The community cannot wait on the government officials to come rescue us. We need to jump to action now.

Protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Distance yourself from others– get 6 to 8 feet from everyone you meet.
  • Stifle your respiratory secretions– wear a mask. Make your own mask or buy from the tailor or seamstress in your community.
  • Sanitize everything– start with washing your hands multiple times every day and sanitize anything that people touch.
  • Strengthen your immune system– find those ancient concoctions that our ancestors drank. Roots drink, herbal tonics, ground food, and build up yourself for the inevitable.
  • Stay fit and healthy– exercise, stop or reduce cigarette smoking and alcohol intake.

There may be a vaccine in 1-2 years. There may even be a cannabinoid supplement or treatment in 1-2 years. An old medication for malaria may even work, if it can get tested and trialed properly by medical personnel and not political lackeys. Our Black communities cannot wait for them. We may not exist in our present form in one to two years if we sit around and wait.

Jah Bless and God Willing

Dr. Anthony J. Hall, MDCM, FACS is a Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Neurosurgeon and the president of the James W. Bridges Medical Society. He has been practicing medicine for over 25 years.

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