Inaccurate Coronavirus Case and Death Counts May be Leading to Bad Decisions by Leaders That Are Likely to Result in Higher Numbers

Perhaps April 2 was too soon to expect precise counts and estimates, but in Massachusetts, there were actual counts of only 7,738 cases but the state’s estimates were in the range of 47,000-172,000 for the course of the epidemic. And of course, if a second wave of the virus occurs, the numbers could be significantly larger.

Reasons for the miscounting, are numerous. One is that states are not counting cases and deaths consistently, as specified by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). But the conventions for counting are changing.  And the counts depend on who is doing the counting and their methodology.

The numbers of cases and deaths are worse for men than for women. Women make better than decisions about health, so they live longer (which gives meaning to our website name).

President Trump’s beliefs and actions may be causing more deaths than would have otherwise occurred. He continually pooh-poohs the danger of the Coronavirus and almost never wears a mask (though he did on July 11). And it may cause him to lose the coming election. He apparently is joined by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who supports school openings in the fall.

The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

The USA has become too dependent on the cheap products it gets from China. In the face of the high volumes of people stricken by CoronaVirus it was not able to supply enough face masks. In particular, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has in the past provided temporary shelters (e.g., trailers) and other products to victims of natural disasters, but the nature of the supplies needed to deal with the CoronaVirus was so different that potential suppliers were unprepared to provide sufficient quantities of appropriate items. To make matters worse, President Trump and 3M were feuding because he used the United States’ Defense Production Act to prevent shipments of US-made face masks to Canada or other countries. Fortunately, Trump and 3M changed their minds, though Canada and other countries might not be happy because they would be getting the less-effective face masks made by 3M whereas Americans would get the more-effective models imported from China.

BladderMax is Fake News

A half-page article in my newspaper (The Mercury News (part of the Bay Area News Group)) on March 24, 2020 is headlined “New Bladder Control Pill Sales May Surpass Adult Diapers By 2021”. These fake news stories appear regularly in many daily newspapers.  It had the byline T.J. Roberts; possibly a fictitious person, since a Google search reveals no science journalist with that name. And it quotes Keith Graham, Manager of Call Center Operations for BladderMax, saying how it has exceeded their expectations. One would expect a quote from a noted urologist rather than the head of a “boiler room” telephone bank. fortunately, there are other watchers who are alert, such as Science Based Medicine. And there are legitimate bladder control pills, such as Myrbetriq and SagaPro (at a price one-tenth that of Myrbetriq). One wonders why a reputable newspaper would publish such an advertisement.

Can Fixing Hearing Loss Prevent Dementia?

It is not surprising that a hearing aid company like Beltone would praise the value of improved hearing to reduce the likelihood of a person’s contracting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Beltone referred to a number of studies, which may have included the one by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging.

To Floss or Not To Floss, That Is the Question

While there is little proof that flossing your teeth daily prevents gum disease and cavities, there still may be an important benefit in helping keep Alzheimer’s Disease at bay.

And no less a person than Atari founder Nolan Bushell brought together a team of scientists to create a set of “Anti-Aging Games” that are designed to stimulate the brains of healthy people to help reduce the risk of early memory loss. Included in the dozen recommendations is “Don’t forgt to floss”. Actually, Anti-Aging Games is only one of several alternatives that purport to keep one young by training their brains. Another is Lumosity, which is not uniformly respected. In fact, we are surprised that Public Radio accepts them as an advertiser, though it does have to have sponsorship to stay in business.

Taller Men May be Happier … But Shorter Men Live Longer

According to a number of research studies, including one conducted at Stanford University, men often exaggerate their height and strength. We ran across this after reading a couple of Lee Child’s novels, whose hero is six-foot-five Jack Reacher, that have been made into movies starring five-foot-seven (or five-foot-eight) Tom Cruise. Personally, we have a lot more issues with what Hollywood has done to the plots than the differences in sizes of the fictious hero and the movie one, because Tom Cruise has a lot of derring-do and his own attitude (plus a lot of acting skill) that comes through loud and clear.

Shorter men may not be as happy as their taller male friends or idols, but research studies in Hawaii among Japanese-American men and in San Diego among American veterans has shown that they live longer.