“The wintertime in Pierre, you know it’s a cesspool. You’re exposed to a lot of germs,” Greenfield said [Bob Mercer, “With Covid-19, South Dakota Capitol Likely Won’t Be Same for ’21 Legislative Session,” KELO-TV, 2020.09.01].
Senator Greenfield made this comment during an Executive Board discussion Tuesday about how public health safety during Session, particularly for the college interns they usually recruit to do their clerical work. Greenfield’s distractions during this serious discussion also reminded us that his own Republican brain is a cesspool of harmful Trumpist nonsense endangering public health:
Amanda Marsh, who coordinates internships for the Legislature, said the application deadline is October 9. She said the Legislature’s leadership would choose interns in November.
Senator Brock Greenfield, a Republican from Clark, is Senate president pro tem and serves as chairman of the Executive Board. Greenfield suggested inserting the word ‘flu’ for ‘COVID-19′ in the many questions Marsh brought.
“The wintertime in Pierre, you know it’s a cesspool. You’re exposed to a lot of germs,” Greenfield said. He noted that nationally 6 percent of COVID-19 deaths were people who didn’t have underlying health concerns. Greenfield said the same issues need to be considered for legislators and legislative staff.
Senate Democratic leader Troy Heinert of Mission said COVID-19 should be viewed as it is and should be taken seriously [Mercer, 2020.09.01].
No, Brock, inserting “flu” for “covid-19” is not a good idea. There’s no vaccine and no natural immunity for coronavirus. Covid-19 has killed three times more Americans in six months than the flu has killed in our worst recent year:
Dr. Mike Elliot of Avera wanted to make sure people understood the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic when he spoke during a city of Sioux Falls COVID-19 news conference Monday.
Elliot said he’s heard comments such as maybe COVID-19 isn’t all that bad or that it’s media hype. Neither of those two comments or anything similar are true, Elliot said.
So far, more than 170,000 people have died from COVID-19 this year in the U.S. and 5.5 million have had it, Elliot said.
The flu has killed on average 12,000 to 60,000 a year in the U.S. since 2010, Elliot said.
The mortality rate for the flu is about 0.1% while the mortality rate for COVID-19 is about 3% to 5%, according to the World Health Organization [Rae Yost, “Covid-19 Is Worse Than the Annual Flue, Doctor Says,” KELO-TV, 2020.08.18].
…Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, clarified what the CDC data mean.
He noted that the 6% figure includes cases where COVID-19 was listed as the only cause of death. “That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of Covid didn’t die of Covid-19. They did,” Fauci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“So the numbers you’ve been hearing — the 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from Covid-19. Let [there] not be any confusion about that,” Fauci said.
…But the data on which all of this is based come from death certificates, which list any causes or conditions that contributed to a person’s death. In the case of COVID-19, the disease often causes other serious conditions, such as pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Those two conditions are among the ailments with the highest counts in the CDC’s comorbidity chart. Some long-term conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19, such as diabetes or hypertension, were also listed.
The underlying cause of death, however, is the condition that started the chain of events that led to a person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention COVID-19, that disease is listed as the underlying cause of death, Jeff Lancashire, spokesman for the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told FactCheck.org in an email.
As the epidemiologist and science writer Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz explained in a recent post, “it’s pretty rare that someone wouldn’t have at least one issue caused by coronavirus prior to their death, and all it means is that in 94% of cases people who had COVID-19 also developed other issues, or had other problems at the same time.”
Meyerowitz-Katz notes that influenza and pneumonia are listed as the most common concurrent diseases, which isn’t surprising. “Similarly,” he writes, “respiratory failure, something that the coronavirus directly causes, is listed here as a ‘comorbidity’ that 55,000 people had.”
So, it’s misleading to say that 94% of those who died with COVID-19 also had other ailments without explaining that the disease causes other serious illnesses. And it’s wrong to claim that only 6% of the recorded COVID-19 deaths were caused by the disease [Saranac Hale Spencer, “CDC Did Not ‘Admit Only 6%’ of Recorded Deaths from Covid-19,” FactCheck.org, updated 2020.09.02].
Interns, I know that working in the Legislature is is an awesome opportunity and a great public service. But before you wade into the Capitol cesspool, for your own health and the health of your family, friends, and communities, you might want to consider the intelligence and character of the people you’ll be working with. Whatever Brock is drunk on, scotch or Fox News, he needs to put it down, pick up real science, and stop using his position to say things that undermine public understanding of a real and deadly pandemic and put his winter employees at risk.