Chapman Lake Residents Receive Paper On COVID ‘Facts’

The letter that was given to at least two Chapman Lake residents. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

Some residents on Chapman Lake this week received a typewritten one-page sheet of COVID-related “facts,” opinions, conspiracy theories and action suggestions in their paper/mail boxes.

The 72-year-old woman who provided a copy of it to the Times-Union on Tuesday, who referred to parts of it as twisting the truth on COVID-19, was concerned that some of her high-risk neighbors might read it, believe it and then end up sick with COVID-19 or even dead.

Copies of the information were made and provided to Kosciusko County Public Health Officer Dr. William Remington and Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer before Wednesday’s biweekly press conference at City Hall on the coronavirus pandemic.

“That’s been certainly an intertwined issue with this pandemic. The longer it goes, the more of that you’ll see,” Remington said. “We all get weary with masks. We all get weary with quarantine directives and attendance restrictions.”

He said the pandemic is a real event.

“Emerging pathogens are always respectable in medicine. Always. Lots of them fizzle out and don’t intermingle strongly with the population for very long. You never hear about those.”

In modern times, there was the influenza pandemic.

“So we’re not that, but we’re worse than seasonal influenza, which is bad enough. We’re not at the level where people have carts rattling before their front door, calling out for more bodies to add. That’s good. It’s easy to kind of be asleep at the switch cognitively through all that. But it’s a real deal, it is. I don’t know how else to put it,” Remington said.

If a person volunteers in an Intensive Care Unit in a city seeing a surge of cases, they’d be wide-eyed, especially if they worked in the ICU for years previously and never saw anything like it before.

“You’d walk out and – independent of any tests, independent of knowing any DNA tests that finds what this is – you’d walk out, throw your mask off and say, ‘What is this?’ Which is exactly what happened in China in December. And then many more countries to come,” Remington said.

“It’s what happened in Mexico in 2009 with H1N1,” he said, with kids dying.

“That’s emerging respiratory pathogen. They’re all different. You’re not sure where it’s going, but when public health sees this, they sit in their seat, they strap in and they say, ‘Here we go.’ You’ve got to be ready, you’ve to be respectful, knowing that the only tools you’ve got are these funky things we tell people to do: masks, social distance, isolation, quarantine. And you’re very careful at what point you say we must do this because you know just the persona of the population you can only do it so long, and then everybody will get weary about it, they’ll get upset and cranky about it. They’ll get in your face about it and there will be civil unrest just from that. There’s civil unrest when you see the medical disaster in front of you, ask some of the cops in New York City what that was like in March and April.”

Remington said we’re fortunate in Kosciusko County. “Around Chapman Lake, maybe you’ve never seen this. Good. But throw away those things in your mailbox. Put them in a bonfire as a community and burn them. It’s nonsense. We need you engaged. Each of us personally has to be willing to engage. Do it for the love of your neighbor until we think this has settled enough to where we don’t need to do this. And that day will come.”

On that sheet of paper, Thallemer said, “The underlying concern, anxiety through this whole thing has really been a big part of what has made this thing so difficult to navigate. Folks have their ideas. Folks do their own research. Everybody has an opinion and an idea. I have an opinion, I know Dr. Remington has an opinion. We try to keep our management of this thing from a public realm away from opinion. The only thing we have to rest on is science and epidemiology and public health and everything we’ve been talking about here for the last several months.”

He said he doesn’t discount that people are very concerned about what happened in the past, steps that were taken, what’s happening now and what could happen in the future.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, and to me it’s a matter of just trying to just work through this in the most public health-conscious way of navigating it so we don’t have to go back to some of these concerns we had back three months ago when we didn’t know what was going to happen. I think that was the biggest disadvantage, we didn’t know what this thing was going to do,” Thallemer said.

He said the way to handle it was not to just sit back and see what happens.

“Did we handle it properly from day one? I’m sure if we rewound, we’d probably go back knowing what we know now and maybe have done things differently. But, I get as many people saying we’re not doing enough as I get people saying we’re doing way too much. I hope we’re somewhere in the middle trying to lead this very difficult once-in-a-lifetime challenge for most of us for the betterment of our communities and the health of our communities and try to keep the opinions out of it,” Thallemer said.

Remington made an additional comment about one of the “facts” presented on the sheet of paper, which says: “Corona Virus Death rate is under the regular flu at only 0.0032%. The CDC release, 94% of these deaths have pre-existing conditions. Therefore, 6% of deaths are Corona Virus only per the CDC.”

Remington said, “I see and I’ve heard this from other sources that people will say  that like 94% of the deaths, a majority of the deaths of COVID are related to pre-existing conditions. And that’s true. COVID was particularly hard on communities of color. And very hard with the elderly, many of those with pre-existing conditions.

“But it’s the COVID that stirs the pot. Just like influenza stirs the pot every winter. When you see the peak of influenza activity in the winter, you’ll see the peak of the mortality graph in this country from diseases of chronic illnesses, they peak about six weeks later, every winter. Influenza stirs the pot. COVID stirs the pot. These pathogens are inherently involved with the demise of the individual. It’s not just the CHF. It’s not just the diabetes or the hypertension. It’s the pathogen that has provoked the inordinate stress on the system if you will, and the compromised host on a good day is further compromised to the point of passing. So it is the pathogen and it’s the pre-existing illnesses. Sometimes it’s the pathogen alone with no pre-existing  illnesses, just an overwhelming host response that takes the patient out,” he concluded.