By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We have had a very contentious election campaign. What is inevitable in every election is that one candidate will lose. The followers of that candidate will react to the loss. The reaction will follow the typical grief reaction that comes with any loss.

The first stage will be denial. There will be concerns about cheating. There will be concerns about missing ballots. There will be concerns about voter suppression. There will be a variety of other concerns raised. This is only natural. It is a way of denial of the facts that are presented.

The second stage is anger. This is often more evident when an election has been particularly contentious. The real question is how that anger will be channeled. For small things we often do that by shooting the messenger.   

When I was an Air Force Commanding Officer, I had three different angry wives come to my office. The story was the same in all three cases. Their husband had died of lung cancer. Their contention was that my physicians had not taken a chest X-ray early enough to make the diagnosis. It would have saved their husband if they had.

I could not give the correct responses. Those included the fact that the husband had caused the cancer by cigarette smoking. They included the fact that by the time lung cancer showed up on a chest X-ray, it was already too late. So my only course of action was to be the target of their anger.

Hopefully, the anger from the supporters of whoever loses the election will be channeled correctly. That remains to be seen.

The third stage is bargaining. In an election, there is not much room for this. However, there are opportunities. For example, it is possible that the large number of absentee ballots might delay the final results of the election. If that is the case, bargaining will occur.

It might take the form of a “quid pro quo.” Someone may pray for the results. As part of that prayer, they might make a promise to lead a less sinful life. That frequently occurs with individuals who have been diagnosed with a fatal illness and are starting treatment for it.

The fourth stage is mourning. This is the period of sadness that occurs once the realization has set in. The election is over two months before the inauguration. That means for many the period of mourning will last until the finality of the inauguration.

The last stage is acceptance. The speed with which this occurs will vary from person to person. Some will quickly move through the stages over the first few days after the election. Some will continue bouncing back and forth between the stages until they arrive at acceptance.

Some will get stuck in one of the stages. They might to continue to deny it. They might continue to be angry. If that happens. It will lead to an unhealthy mental state. That would not be productive for them in the future.

The fact is that it is likely that almost half the population will go through these stages after the election. The faster the individual moves through them, the healthier the outcome.

COVID-19 Update

We hit over 100,000 new cases on a single day last week. The total for the week was about 588,000 new cases. The previous week was about 502,000 new cases. So while there was an increase, it was not overwhelming.

The story was similar at a local level. Sussex County had 368 new cases this week. That compared to 284 new cases the previous week. Both are significantly higher than the 100 or so cases we had been running.

The real question is whether this increase has some special implication or not. If you remember I have long been discussing the rate of doubling of the virus in the population. That is the expectation for airborne virus spread. What people may not realize is that even if the period of doubling remains the same, the number of cases per day needs to increase for that to happen.

For example assume we start with 100 cases and they double to 200 in ten days. That means there will be ten cases a day for those ten days. However, if we go from 200 to 400 in the next ten days, that means there will be 20 cases a day for 10 days. Thus, we have to see increased numbers of cases even if the rate of doubling remains the same.

The last period of doubling nationally was 88 days. That took us to about 8,600,000 cases. If we continue at the current pace of about 100,000 new cases per day, it would take us 86 days to accumulate another 8,600,000 cases. Therefore the rate of doubling would remain about the same. This is all very consistent with how a respiratory virus spreads.

We continue to have the 8th highest death rate in the world. That amounts to just over 700 deaths per million people. To put that another way, we have had one COVID-19 death for every 1400 people in the U.S. Delaware has done a little bit better. We have one death for every 1700 residents.

There has been a lot of interest in over-the-counter remedies for COVID-19. President Trump’s physicians had him on zinc, Vitamin D, melatonin and antacids. It is possible that they might improve risk of severe infection.

There has been some evidence that zinc helps the immune system in general. Therefore, it might offer some protection against COVID-19. Including zinc in a daily multivitamin supplementation is a low-risk option.

There has also been evidence that Vitamin D might have a protective role in COVID-19 infection. Supplementation with a multivitamin containing Vitamin D carries a relatively low risk.

There is one word of caution. Vitamin D and zinc should only be taken in normal doses. High doses (as people do with Vitamin C) could be dangerous with these two substances.

A third common drug that is being studied is melatonin. This is a chemical produced by the body to induce sleep. It has some immune effects. For example, ventilated patients (COVID and non-COVID) seem to do better on it. It is not clear if melatonin helps non-ventilated patients. It is not clear if it helps directly or if its effects on producing better sleep habits makes the difference.

There has not been much evidence that antacids have any effect. A small study (only 300 patients) in India is the only info to this point suggesting that.

We know that severe COVID infections cause clotting issues. We know that aspirin interferes with clotting.

There are some patients already on one baby aspirin daily to prevent heart disease. On October 25th the University of Maryland released some data suggesting that these individuals did better from the standpoint of COVID complications.

Unfortunately, aspirin can be a dangerous drug in some individuals. It should only be taken on a doctor’s recommendation.

I have been on a daily adult aspirin since I had a TIA in the early 1990’s and have had no problems.

My wife had to have her daily baby aspirin stopped because of frequent bruising from it.

I pointed out a few weeks ago that Peru had the highest death rate in the world. When their governmental research institute published some unflattering statistics, they fired the head of the institute.

Now Brazil has gotten into the foolishness act as well. They have the second highest death rate in the world. They have the second highest number of total deaths after the United States.

I reported over the last few weeks that they had put in an order to purchase 45 million doses of Coronavac.

I also reported that their vaccine research institute had found that Coronavac had the fewest side effects of the four vaccines they were testing.

Well, the President of Brazil prefers (for no real scientific reason) the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Therefore, he has canceled the Coronavac order that was requested. In addition, he has broadcast to the people in the country that they should oppose taking any vaccine that comes from China.

There clearly is not any one world leader who has yet cornered the market on stupidity when it comes to COVID-19.