03 June 2024

MY Grandfather Said This 60 Years Ago

My maternal grandfather (born 1899) was a Doctor of Internal medicine, and shortly after my mom and dad married, he remarked to my father, that the new doctors coming out of med school did not know how to keep properly sterile because they knew that they had antibiotics as a back-stop.

This likely contributed to an overuse of antibiotics and the rise of antibiotic resistant infections.

It appears that hospitals are repeating this mistake with Covid 19, though my guess is that this is more profit driven than was the dysfunctional behavior at the dawn of the age of antibiotics.

People who have gone “back to normal” (ignore the existence of COVID-19) often justify their decision by pointing to their own health status as “not high risk”. Implicit in this statement is the existence of a high-risk group of people who should still be taking COVID precautions. Also implicit is the abandonment of collective care and public health, since the “back to normal” crowd places the burden of COVID precaution on disabled, immunocompromised and vulnerable people alone.

For the most part, high risk groups indeed shoulder this burden alone. They are no longer safe in public and many limit their time in critical spaces like grocery stores and pharmacies; forget going to concerts or other “inessential” activities. Millions of Long COVID patients in particular, all too aware of what a single COVID infection can do, have to expend inordinate time, energy, and money simply to continue existing in a society hellbent on infecting them again and again and again. But you might guess that healthcare settings- specifically designed to accommodate the sick and injured- are still a safe haven for vulnerable groups.

Guess again! As COVID continues to cycle through new variants and surges, hospitals are stripping away even the inadequate infection control measures they implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. Come in for heart surgery, leave with a heart-damaging virus. What a business model! 


Infection control is a primary duty of hospitals. If you’re like me, meaning a human being with a brain and heart, you probably think allowing the leading cause of infectious disease death in the US to spread freely in hospitals is both immoral and incomprehensible. But of course, our media always sees two sides to every story. For example, we have the incredibly titled Washington Post piece, “Masks come off in the last refuge for mandates: The doctor’s office”. I want to take a moment to really appreciate the amount of bias packed into this short title. It’s not “Masks come off in the place really sick people are forced to go,” it’s not “Masks come off as patients die,” it’s not “Masks come off as disabled people avoid care.” No. It’s “Masks come off in the last refuge for mandates.” The last refuge for mandates! The hospital could more accurately be called “the last refuge for people who might die of COVID,” but no, the subject being protected by masking in hospitals was the scary right-wing buzzword mandates. Wow! Another win for freedom.

As I have noted before, public health decisions have been driven by so-called public health "experts" who are vociferously opposed to the whole "public" bit, and mask wearing has always been a public act, because you can literally see it.

It doesn't help that public health has been following incorrect information about the airborne spread of viruses for nearly 100 years now, and even now the CDC refuses to let go of the bad science.


Anonymous said...

I recall it as a comment made to Saroff by older docs when he was a Corpsman. But the point holds.

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