To battle the COVID-19, the population is majorly relying on the health care workers. Consequently, interacting with patients suffering from a contagious virus, leaves them as the most vulnerable. 20% of the globally infected cases (1,701) during the SARS coronavirus epidemic in 2003, were health care workers.
While age is a focal risk factor for the COVID-19, health workers of any age are extremely vulnerable. Hazardous consequences of the virus do not limit itself to the individuals infected. The capacity of the health care system is incredibly affected after every case of COVID-19 in a healthcare worker.
Health workers consequently risk exposure to viral particles more than the general public, and can possibly result in worse cases. For this reason, a large number of younger Chinese doctors have died.
Moreover, with the number of patients increasing, protective equipments are facing shortage. Meanwhile, less developed parts of the worlds, have fewer and/or inadequate health care facilities, along with overburdened staff that result in exceptionally high risks. The added stress and long duty hours only increases the vulnerability of the immune systems of health workers. Eventually, hospitals turn into a hub for the transmission of COVID-19.
Numerous doctors in Wuhan died due to the COVID-19, but were the first to raise the alarm, despite being silenced by Chinese authorities.
However, many institutions can fail in providing protection to their health care workers. Two nurses IN Dallas, were infected with Ebola in 2014, and while CDC had claimed it to be a result of breach in protocol, the nurses explained how there were no established protocols in the first place. The CDC repeated this with a Californian nurse who requested a test after developing symptoms of COVID-19 after dealing with an infected patient.
China had insisted that 13 was the number of infected doctors, causing everyone to think that the spread within hospitals could be prevented by the standard protocol and was not a concern – for six weeks.
However, on the day of February 14th, the number had jumped to 1,716 and by February 20th, the World Health Organization had reported 2,055 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases among health workers only. The estimated number had come up to 3,200 by March 3rd.
On the contrary, Italy had been reporting high rates of infected health care workers. They reported about 8.5 percent of their total infected cases, to be health workers, which would be 20 percent of their health care workforce. Meanwhile in Spain, over 4,000 infected cases had been found in the health care workforce.
Unfortunately, no matter what circumstances, the risk factor, less or more, will always exist for health care workers due to the nature of their job and workplace environment. Performing certain tasks like CPR, intubation, ventilation, and resuscitation, require the worker to maintain less than a safe distance between them and the patient. Hence, the best of circumstances do not exist.
Even today, there is a shortage of N95 masks, gowns, suits, and goggles, causing an increase in risks and uncertainty for the health care workers.
A shortage of staff (either the infected victims or the ones unwilling to take substantial risks) could cause redundancy of perfect supply chains, with more beds, more hospitals etc. Even If health workers were the only one to receive vaccines, it would still lessen the risk of the collapse of the health systems. However, CEO of a vaccine company has told the financiers that a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 is expected to be available to some health workers.
When there will be no doctors to treat, and no nurses to care, the death rates will increase exponentially – from COVID-19 along with the other usual killers.
Possibility of Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients
Recent researches revealed that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms have a chance of developing fatal brain disorders.
COVID-19 is an infection that differently attacks every individual. Some people develop acute respiratory problems while others only develop mild symptoms like fever, cough etc. Mostly, doctors tend to ignore the patients with mild symptoms as they get normal on their own. However, the recent reports revealed some shocking and disturbing detail about the virus.
Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients
Coronavirus can trigger brain disorders in patients. Scientists have warned that doctors may be overlooking signs of brain disorders in patients with mild coronavirus symptoms. Neurologists in U.K. found over 40 coronavirus patients with severe brain inflammation, nerve damage, delirium and even a stroke. This is a serious condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem). Cases of Adem have risen from one case a month to 2-3 weekly cases in the months of April and May.
Doctors are particularly worried because no virus has previously affected the brain as COVID-19 is. A 55-year-old COVID-19 patient without any history of mental illness, started behaving oddly the day after getting discharged from the medical center. She was having recurrent hallucinations. Another 47 year-old woman was admitted with a headache. However, later, she became unresponsive. The doctors conducted an emergency surgery to cut out a portion of her skull to release pressure on her inflammed brain.
The way COVID-19 affects the brain hasn’t been observed before with any other virus. This could very well be due to the fact that the virus has numerous mutations. However, that is just speculation for now.
So, what needs to be done?
Well, clinicians need to be on their toes about these complications of the coronavirus. Patients with memory issues, fatigue, weakness, numbness, or cognitive symptoms need special attention. Healthcare workers, GPs, and physicians should also consult neurologists in regard to these cases.
Note that these are all precautions. It does not neglect the fact that complete recovery isn’t possible. In most cases, the coronavirus does not involve the brain.
Because of the intensity of the symptoms of the virus most of the patients in hospitals cannot be examined through brain scanners or other procedures. Therefore, the full spectrum of brain disorders caused by the corona virus cannot be determined just yet. Efficient research needs to be done to determine the complete depth of the complications.
One major concern!
One major concern with this new discovery is the possibility of the virus to leave the affected people with brain disorders that could only become apparent later in life. The number of such cases might not be as staggering, but that is still a major concern.
This has happened before in flu outbreak in 1918. After the pandemic, almost a million patients came up with brain disorders.
It is far too early to give a verdict, but it could still haunt the people like a ghost. Like most subtle brain disorders, the effects might not become apparent at once. However, in the years to come it could affect the lifestyles of a lot of people.
One should hope that it doesn’t come to that. But, with a pandemic affecting people by thousands everyday, being alert is the wisest thing to do.
Pennsylvania: Lt. Gov. Fetterman Urges Cannabis Legalization
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urges Cannabis Legalization to reduce the impact of the budget deficit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has suffered a lot. Due to the economic setback, the state faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion.
Fetterman tweeted to support the legalization of recreational marijuana. He says that legalization of marijuana will open new avenues to generate tax revenue. According to Fetterman, the legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit. It will also be helpful in reforming the state prison system.
Recently, Lt. Gov. Fetterman took to Twitter in support of cannabis legalization.
If only there was a widely-consumed unregulated cash crop, wholly confined to the black market, that could generate billions of dollars + 1000’s of jobs + help PA farmers. https://t.co/oIfEeUb8sm
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) July 2, 2020
Catering For Budget Deficit
In an economy greatly hit by the global pandemic, the legalization of recreational cannabis will help providing thousands of jobs to the unemployed.
Majority people of Pennsylvania support the legalization. Fetterman is of the viewpoint that cannabis in Pennsylvania could bring up to 500 million dollars into the state’s coffers which is why he urges Cannabis Legalization.
I don’t know who needs to hear this jk I know who- but earnestly reforming our state prison system + legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit.
It would, however, could have other unintended consequences like justice and personal freedom.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) July 2, 2020
Pennsylvania has a big marijuana market. Its legalization will allow Pennsylvania to stand on its own feet.
Some other politicians, however, disagree with the notion of legalization. They think that instead of adding new taxes, they should try to control the spending. The bill to legalize the adult use of Marijuana is in the committee. However, nothing can be said about the legalization with certainty.
However, According to State Sen. Stefano, his committee is reviewing new research. He told KDKA’s Meghan Schiller that the biggest hurdle is that there is no measurement technique for determining THC concentration in the human body. He said he’s hesitant to move forward, until there’s a way to determine the amount of intoxication.
The State Senator said that the bill was in his committee and he didn’t have plans to bring it up anytime soon. There is still room for a lot of research to be done. The decision to legalize adult-use marijuana isn’t a very wise decision without taking all the factors into account.
However, it’s research business owner Posteraro sees this as an opportunity. He hopes that it doesn’t take too much time to legalize it, because opportunities like these seldom present themselves.
Whether or not Cannabis should be legalized still remains open to debate, but there is no denying could help the nation face a huge financial deficit.
Cannabis Rendered Helpful in Saving Lives of COVID-19 Patients
Recent Researches revealed how Cannabis plant can help in saving lives of COVID-19 patients. The active components found in Cannabis Plant make it seem as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabis
The University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are conducting further researches to study the utility of CBD to check its utility in treating inflammation of lungs caused by coronavirus. The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabis can be especially valuable in improving issues related to behaviour, immunity and brain.
Researchers explained that the infection is related to a cytokine superstorm, that causes symptoms like cough, fever and muscle pain. The increased inflammation can even cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties. Breathing difficulties are the number one cause of deaths due to COVID-19.
Reduction in the Amount of Cytokines
Previously, researches conducted on CBD show that it can bring down the level of several cytokines, that cause inflammation, including IL-6. It also helps in controlling interleukin (IL)-2, interferon gamma, IL-1α and β, inducible protein-10, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Excess of these leads to severe COVID-19 conditions. Moreover, CBD also increases the interferons production. Interferon is a protein that prevents viruse replication and activates immune cells.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have worked wonders for asthma patients by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. CBD also reduces pulmonary fibrosis. This condition causes scarring, thickening and damage to the lung tissue, along with making breathing considerably more painful. COVID-19 actually leaves patients with pulmonary fibrosis. This is the major reason why Cannabis can greatly help COVID-19 patients.
An insight into how COVID-19 works
Much like other respiratory pathogens, COVID-19 is also spread through respiratory droplets. However, it also has potential for contact and aerosol spread.
Coronavirus makes it way into the human body through receptor-mediation. This is done through angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). ACE2 is present in lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and testes.
This information opens door to a new way of hindering the spread of coronavirus. Modulation of ACE2 could prove fruitful in this regard.
A special strain of cannabis can render this function. Through ACE2 modulation it could block the virus’ entry into the human body. Nipping the evil in the bud.
Basically, ACE2 acts like doorways to the virus. The main idea is to temporarily alter the extent of ACE2 gene expression. Therefore, it could very well make the human body a no entry zone for the virus. The same strain could also be used to stop the virus’ propagation if it has made its way into a person’s body.
This is where Cannabis sativa comes into play. Plants with high CBD content have been proposed as a way to modulate the ACE2 gene expression in target tissues.
At this point in time, it is more of a theory than a confirmed fact. However, it sure opens a new avenue with promising prospects. If it proves successful, the next step would be to start manufacture that particular strain into a medication.
It sure looks like CBD properties of cannabis can prove fruitful in the treatment and prevention of coronavirus. However, further research will prove whether it is the case or not.
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