Category Archives: medical news

U.S. still stands in dubious infamy

By John Kanelis /

The worldwide death count from the COVID-19 virus has surpassed 3 million human beings.

Of that total, more than 560,000 deaths have been among Americans.

OK, so what? Here’s what.

The United States comprises less than 5 percent of the world population of 7 billion people. However, our COVID-19 death count totals more than 20 percent of the worldwide total.

Five percent vs. 20 percent.

Hmm. What do we make of that? I’ll offer this brief bit of spewage/wisdom. The United States failed to respond in a timely manner during the pandemic’s early stages. Our president at the time, Donald Trump, did not sound the alarm. He lied to us about the severity of the pandemic and he withheld what he knew about what would happen, that the virus would spread and would become a worldwide threat to human health and well-being.

Trump got beat in the 2020 election. President Joe Biden is calling for a ramped-up effort to fight the disease. Vaccines have been approved and humans are being vaccinated at an accelerating pace.

However, dammit to hell anyway! We never should have been subjected to this level of misery and pain. If only we had been quicker on the trigger in this fight against a killer.

Waters is right: Shut your mouth, Jim Jordan

By John Kanelis /

So help me Almighty God in Heaven … I want to slap Jim Jordan bald-headed.

The Republican congressman/blowhard from Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District took it upon himself this week to scold, badger, hector and seek to intimidate the nation’s pre-eminent infectious disease doctor.

Jordan decided that he knows more about the nature of the COVID pandemic than Dr. Anthony Fauci. All he did, though, was demonstrate that he is a cheap, craven, loudmouthed political hack who — on matters of public health — can’t find his a** with both hands.

He bellowed and blustered over Dr. Fauci’s efforts to answer when the nation might be able to return to some semblance of normal living. Along the way, he felt the need to remind Fauci that he is elected by his congressional district constituents to represent their interests, while Fauci isn’t elected to anything.

Brilliant, Rep. Jordan.

You ought to take a few minutes to watch it here. It’s a hoot! Only you won’t want to laugh.

Rep. Jim Jordan yells at Dr. Fauci during heated exchange – Bing video

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters was right to tell Jordan to “shut his mouth.” Then again, the more he blathers the more revealing he becomes to those of us who detest his conduct.

Fauci hits back at blowhard

By John Kanelis /

It’s one thing to be hectored by a peer, a fellow expert who has a different opinion on matters with which you both are experts.

It’s quite another to be badgered by a bloviating blowhard whose only apparent mission in life is to make an ass of himself.

So it was when U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio decided to wield the hammer on Dr. Anthony Fauci. What does Jordan know about infection disease, or the treatments of them, or how to protect ourselves against its potentially lethal effects? Nothing!

There he was at a House committee yapping and yammering at Fauci, refusing to give the nation’s most respected infectious disease expert a chance to answer. They argued over whether mask-wearing violates Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Fauci finally had heard enough and accused Jordan of making it all “personal,” to which Jordan said he wasn’t, to which Fauci said he most certainly was personalizing the matter.

Dr. Fauci Hits Back At Jim Jordan: ‘We’re Talking About a Pandemic that Has Killed 560,000 Americans’ (

I am one American patriot who is going to stand with Dr. Fauci over the partisan nonsense that flies out of certain politicians’ pie holes. Jim Jordan has “distinguished” himself only in demonstrating his boorishness in ways that sicken me.

Politics: the ‘other contagion’


This must be said: The killer coronavirus isn’t the only disease that needs Americans’ attention.

We need to focus to a certain extent on what I consider to be the “other contagion” sweeping through the nation. That is the political battle that just won’t subside over the preventative measures we must take.

This needless and frankly stupid fight had its beginning during the final full year of Donald Trump’s term as president. It arose when Trump downplayed the severity of the illness that had sickened us. He hurled racial epithets at the disease, making reference to its alleged origin in China. He told us the virus would disappear when the temperatures rose in the spring and summer of 2020.

Trump poked fun at political foes, such as Joe Biden, who chose to wear a mask. He didn’t speak to us in terms that defined the COVID-19 virus what it turned out to be: a relentless and highly efficient killer.

Those Trumpkins followed their band director’s lead. We have become infected as well by the politics of what for the life of me I cannot grasp should never have devolved to that level.

Trump said he would adopt a “wartime” footing, only to denigrate the scientists who advised him of the dangers that lurked out there. And again, those followers took him seriously.

They, too, have become part of the problem and not the solution.

The political infection of what should be a united national fight is a disgraceful example of pettiness and petulance. It should have no place in a fight that should transcend partisanship.

President Biden calls mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing the “patriotic” thing to do. If we are going to whip this common enemy, we need to push aside the politics that infects us.

One contagion is enough.

Jack Hanna adds face to heartache


It’s happened … again.

Every now and then, a celebrity of considerable note announces he or she is “retiring” from public life. You want to know why. Well, the latest such high-profile retirement comes from famed naturalist Jack Hanna, who this week has announced he is suffering from dementia that has progressed into Alzheimer’s disease.

This one hits me straight in the heart.

I once declared my intention to speak to this issue on my blog. My mother died of Alzheimer’s complications. That was nearly 37 years ago. She was 61 years of age when she left us.

Jack Hanna’s ailment is sure to bring attention once again to this killer. It has afflicted 6 million Americans; the number of Alzheimer’s victims is expected to triple in the next three decades.

What receives precious little attention to this disease, though, is the impact it has on family members of those who are caught in its merciless grip. So, for every single Alzheimer’s disease patient who is battling this monstrous killer, it affects those near them. The effect is profound. Take my word for it.

Do we devote enough attention to Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia? No. We don’t. Our society is aging. This disease is a tragic consequence of advancing years.

Celebrities would gather and sing songs to raise money for AIDS research. They have raised money to help the homeless and the hungry. Crowds are marching against discrimination and hatred against racial and ethnic minorities. These are noble and worthwhile causes.

No one appears to be doing these things to fight a killer that is as merciless and cruel as anything one can imagine.

We must do more at every level to fight dementia at all levels.

The latest celebrity’s affliction will call appropriate attention once more to it. I will pray not just for Jack Hanna, but also for those who love him.

Mixed messaging on COVID?


If you are confused about the status of the war against the coronavirus pandemic, join the proverbial club.

I am, too.

President Biden now says he intends to declare that all adults will be eligible for a vaccine by April 19; he moved the all-eligible deadline up from May 1. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, talks about the nation “on the verge” of a fourth surge in infections. Variants from the virus are infecting more of us. Hospital emergency rooms are filling up with COVID patients.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stands by his decision to lift the mask mandate he ordered a year ago. Texas Rangers fans jammed into the Arlington ballpark to cheer for the  home team.

The government proclaims further success that the millions of Americans are being vaccinated daily, inching the nation toward that state of “herd immunity” that officials hope will squash the pandemic.

So, where in the world are we?

I am going to make a presumption. It is that I have no intention of forgoing my mask when I venture into public places. Nor do my wife and I intend to frequent restaurants, movie theaters or any other venue that puts us in close proximity to total strangers.

I want to remain hopeful that we are on the cusp of eliminating the pandemic. I also want the politicization of mask-wearing and social distancing to become a thing of the past. It annoys me in the extreme to hear so-called “conservatives” bitch and moan about government mandates that aim to keep them and others safe from deadly infection.

All of this does not lessen the confusion I am sensing from those on whom we rely for information about the pandemic. I suppose my option is to believe — and act on — the worst and hope for the best outcome.

Polling data: What does it say?


Public opinion polling has been vilified over the course of recent election cycles, frankly for reasons that astound me.

Major public opinion polls actually had the 2016 presidential election called correctly when they had Hillary Clinton edging Donald Trump; they didn’t foresee the so-called “inside straight” that propelled Trump into the presidency on the basis of his narrow Electoral College victory.

They also called the 2020 presidential election correctly, giving Joe Biden a victory in both the ballot count and the Electoral College.

Still, the critics keep lambasting those polls.

Here we are today. President Biden pitched a massive COVID-19 relief bill that had significant public support. He got it enacted over the objection of every single Republican member of Congress … in both chambers!

Biden is back at it. He now has an even larger package on the table, a $2.25 trillion infrastructure reform package. The public response? Even greater than it was with the COVID relief package. The congressional Republican reaction? Precisely the same as the GOP resistance to lending a hand to those suffering from the economic wreckage brought by the pandemic.

Who, again, is on the right side?

It is looking to me as though the Republican congressional leadership and rank-and-file are not listening to the individuals they represent. They are ignoring the wishes of those who put them into office. The public favors rebuilding our roads, highways, bridges, ports (sea and air) and in buttressing our Internet broadband capability.

What’s going on here? Is the GOP political class listening exclusively to a narrow portion of its constituency? I am left to wonder if congressional Republicans will pay a political price when the midterm election rolls around next year.

They damn near should pay it!

Public opinion polling isn’t a perfect barometer of the national mood. However, it is far more accurate than its critics are wiling to admit. The GOP needs to pay attention.

Anxious to look ahead


I know I am not the only human being who feels this way, but I want to express this brief thought as a symbol for what likely is in a lot of people’s hearts.

This still new year fills me with a sense of renewal after the year we all have endured. 2020 was the pits, man! The pandemic forced us to stay away from our fellow human beings, many of whom were getting sick and were dying from the killer pandemic. We have changed our habits, our normal routine has been tossed into the crapper. We wear masks, hiding our smiles, winces, grimaces and looks of bemusement.

Yes, we’re still doing many of the things we were advised to do in order to stem the pandemic. However, we appear to be turning the corner, albeit ever so slowly.

Am I concerned about the spike in virus detection? Sure I am. I want the virus to vanish as much as anyone else.

However, as I go about my daily routine, I still am taking precautions but I do so with the sense — call it a hunch — that we may be nearing an end to the turmoil.

Communities in Texas, where we live, and elsewhere are being flooded with vaccines. States and local governments are opening up the eligibility for those who can become fully vaccinated. I saw today that 14 percent of Texans are now inoculated against the virus. That number will rise. We will inch our way toward “herd immunity.”

I say all this with the hope that the worst is behind us. For my money, the worst was as bad as anything I can remember in my 71 years of life on this good Earth.

And our Earth, as good as it is, just might be getting better as we look forward more and spend less time looking back at a time we all would rather forget.

Palin finds ‘religion’


Sarah Palin has gone “rogue” yet again.

The 2008 Republican Party vice-presidential nominee and darling of the far right has come out strongly … in support of wearing masks to deter infection from the COVID-19 virus.

Palin has tested positive for the virus. She now has found the religion that many millions of other Americans have preached since the beginning of the pandemic, that mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and avoidance of crowds guard against contracting the virus.

“I strongly encourage everyone to use common sense to avoid spreading this and every other virus out there,” Palin said in a statement to People magazine. “There are more viruses than there are stars in the sky, meaning we’ll never avoid every source of illness or danger … But please be vigilant, don’t be frightened, and I advise reprioritizing some personal time and resources to ensure as healthy a lifestyle as you can create so when viruses do hit, you have at least some armor to fight it.”

I wish the former Alaska governor well. I pray she enjoys a rapid and full recovery. I also want her to become a spokeswoman for the kind of measures that her political allies on the right have scoffed at and ridiculed.

‘Impending doom’?


Dr. Rochelle Walensky is frightened at what she calls “impending doom” over the future of our nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

I think that if the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worries about the virus, well, I think we all should worry, too. So, with that I’ll declare that I share Dr. Walensky’s concern.

President Biden is asking governors to reinstitute mask mandates. He is urging Americans to keep wearing masks. To keep practicing social distancing. To not congregate among strangers.

Yes, the nation has seen a decline in positive tests, in hospitalizations and in deaths from the pandemic. However, it appears that too many of us ae letting down our guard against the virus. It’s still killing Americans!

The Hill reports: “I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I’m scared,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing Monday. 

Spare me the criticism that she’s a doomsayer. That she’s crying “wolf!” where none exists. That she, in the words of the immediate ex-president, is an “idiot,” which is the label he hung on Dr. Anthony Fauci.

CDC director warns of ‘impending doom’ on potential new COVID-19 surge | TheHill

European Union nations are locking down again. Do we really want to join them? Do we dare allow this virus to seize control of our lives?

I am becoming increasingly concerned, too, that too many states might have let their guard down prematurely. Yes, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, that’s you, too!

I have no solutions to this, other than to echo Dr. Walensky’s concern. If she is worried about where we might be moving, then so am I.