Get a flu shot : Covid and flu symptoms are very similar

What will happen when we get colds and the flu and start coughing or sneezing? Will everyone near you run away? Getting your flu shot can help! I can’t remember the last time I heard the sounds of either one after Covid came, so I don’t know what will happen. Many people move away now when another person does not wear a face mask. Updated 10-14-20

Do you want to risk getting the flu and having to go to a hospital with a lot of very sick Covid patients? Covid and flu symptoms are very similar. Public health experts are very worried about hospitals being packed with both flu and Covid patients. Only about 40% of people get the annual flu shot. Getting both Covid and the flu, although unlikely, would be a nightmare! 410,000 flu hospitalizations in 2019-2020.

When should you get your flu shot?

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The Fauci Tracker

When people ask me about the best source of scientific information on Covid, I always say Dr. Fauci. That’s why I started this Fauci Tracker!! He is a very reliable source for the “big picture” including forecasts, but interviews with him can be hard to find. He is an “insider” who is on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, plus does Covid vaccine research in his lab. Fauci explains topics so everyone can understand what is happening now and his forecasts for the future.

In this blog, I post information on Dr. Fauci’s most recent “sightings” on youtube, Facebook live, podcasts, etc. plus written interviews, so you can listen to the full version of what he said. I post the interviews that are well done, with experienced interviewers.

Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci! 10-18-20

Fauci on his media restrictions, Trump contracting COVID, masks, White House superspreader event, death threats, and more. Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci!

In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview on October 18, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his frustration with a Trump campaign ad. He explains why, early in the pandemic, masks were largely recommended for health care workers; and says that he plans to vote in person.

The episode included videos from a previous 60 Minutes interview 4 years ago, including his vaccine lab.

My comments:

I have watched Fauci on video many times. This one was different, as he was very outspoken with his opinions, including discussing Trump. Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci! In response, of course, Trump had to say mostly incorrect negative comments about Fauci. But, he did say that Fauci was a nice person.

The interview is very personal and includes his wife, who seldom speaks out. He and his wife have had death threats and his adult children have been harassed.

Why is Fauci discussing “politics” after 40 years of a “no-politics” policy? He does not register to vote with any party. Looks like it was the use of a video clip in a Trump ad, taken out of context, implying that he supported what Trump was doing.

To read my full post, click here

Table of contents – Fauci tracker recent posts

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About Ann O’Rourke, the author of this blog

Ann O’Rourke has a science background (college, labs) plus has been a writer and publisher since 1992. I have been a self-employed real estate appraiser since 1986 and have given presentations around the U.S. and Canada about appraisal business issues. I have two appraisal newsletters and have written for many appraisal publications.

My first job after college in 1986 was in a toxicology lab. I worked in other labs plus worked for 5 years at a biotech company.

In both science and appraising, you are trained to be objective and analyze the data. You look for the truth.

I want to provide a reliable source in the blog to help everyone understand what is happening with Covid-19. Every day I spend 2-4 hours learning about Covid, including reading original research studies. I am a writer, not a journalist, and often give my opinion. Both my business and science writing is based on my related education and experience.

I select the articles, podcasts, and videos that are most useful for this blog They have interviewees that are experts and can write or speak well. I always include references to related information and links to the original research papers, when available.

To read more about my science, appraisal, and business backgrounds and, why I started this blog, informations sources I use, and how to contact me, etc. Click “Continue Reading” below.

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What Virus causes the disease COVID-19?

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes Covid-19. A virus is genetic material contained within an organic particle that invades living cells and uses their host’s metabolic processes to produce a new generation of viral particles. What Virus causes the disease COVID-19? Coronavirus, Novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19 What are the definitions?

How big are viruses?

The size of a single human hair is comparable to the size of as little as 400 SARS-CoV-2 particles to as many as 1,000 particles.

Virus sizes vary from the extremely minuscule – 17 nanometre wide Porcine Circovirus, for example – to monsters that challenge the very definition of ‘virus’, such as the 2.3 micrometer Tupanvirus.

How much smaller are most viruses in comparison to bacteria? Much smaller. With a diameter of 220 nanometers, the measles virus is about 8 times smaller than E.coli bacteria

Are viruses living or not?

For about 100 years, the scientific community has repeatedly changed its collective mind over what viruses are.

First seen as poisons, then as life-forms, then biological chemicals. Viruses today are thought of as being in a gray area between living and nonliving. They cannot replicate on their own, but can do so in truly living cells and can also affect the behavior of their hosts profoundly.

Some say it’s more accurate to think of viruses as part of the continuum between chemistry and biology, one that isn’t clearly divided into living and non-living.

When could we first see viruses?
Electron microscopes were invented in the 1930s. For the first time, we could see what viruses looked like, such as the H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu.

Where did the word virus come from?
The word virus comes from a Latin word describing poisonous liquids. This is because early forms of isolating and imaging microbes couldn’t capture such tiny particles.

Resources, including good Covid short videos

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National Mandatory Face Masks Can Prevent Covid-19 From Spreading

If the virus cannot get inside our lungs, it cannot infect us. The primary method of transmission is by human breathing. It is a respiratory virus. The virus is not alive. It is inert and “driven” to reproduce by spreading among humans. As fewer humans are available to infect, spreading will decline. It “waits” for us to give it an opportunity to spread. National Mandatory Face Masks Keep Covid-19 From Spreading.

Compared with other viruses, not many people
die from Covid, about 0.6%. The flu is about 0.01%. If more people died, we would be much more willing to wear face masks, avoid crowded interiors, etc. We are very lucky that a relatively low percentage of people die with Covid. The death rate for the 1918 Spanish Flu was 6.5%. SARS was 10%.


50% have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected.

Face Masks keep the virus from spreading and primarily keep other people safe if you are infected. Face Masks can protect you from infected people coughing and sneezing in your face.

Fall/winter surges is not new. They occurred in the 1919 Spanish Flu and is currently happening in Europe.

We are all waiting for a vaccine or multiple vaccines to become available. We will still need to wear face masks. Vaccines will not be available to everyone until mid- or late 2121. The transmission will decline as more people are vaccinated. The virus will probably always be around, such the flu viruses.  

Not everyone will be protected by a vaccine. We will still need to wear face masks. The measles vaccine is 97% effective with two doses. The flu vaccine is about 50% effective. If 100 people get Covid vaccine shots that are 50% effective, 50 will not be immune. If 50% of 100 people refuse to take the vaccine, 50 people will not be immune. That does not leave many that are resistant to infection.

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Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci!

Fauci on his media restrictions, Trump contracting COVID, masks, White House superspreader event, death threats, and more. Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci!

In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview on October 18, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his frustration with a Trump campaign ad. He explains why, early in the pandemic, masks were largely recommended for health care workers; and says that he plans to vote in person.

The episode included videos from a previous 60 Minutes interview 4 years ago, including his vaccine lab.

Watch this video!! To listen to the 13 min. 28 second interview click here Worth waiting for 30 second ad to finish.

My comments:

Continue reading “Don’t Mess With Dr. Fauci!”

Overweight Covid Risk Get your BMI to find out!

More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Now, CDC says there is overweight Covid Risk. Before it was just obese.

Click here  for more info and a BMI (Body Mass Index) online calculator Source: CDC
There is also an iphone app “NIH BMI Calculator”. Simple and easy to use.

Obesity and Overweight COVID-19 Risks Podcast 25 minutes Oct. 15, 2020

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States required to submit Covid-19 draft distribution plans by Oct. 16, 2020

The CDC required that states submit their draft plans for vaccine distribution by October 16, 2020. I have no idea how the states could do that reliably as to who gets the vaccine is uncertain. For example, do healthcare workers include nursing home workers and hospital janitors? The final national distribution report from experts was not available until Oct. 2.

The recent report on vaccine distribution came out Oct. 2. Link to my post on Oct. 2 final report on Covid vaccine distribution. The primary candidates for approval (using mRNA, a new technology) require vaccine storage at below 94 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pfizer’s vaccine requires special ultra-low temperature freezers that can store the vaccine at minus-328 degrees. Also, all require two vaccine doses, very complicated.

For those reasons (vaccine storage and 2 doses) and other reasons, Phase 1a in the new report above gives the vaccine to health care workers and first responders. They have jobs, can be tracked for the second dose, and can get both doses at their places of employment.

What is your state’s plan?

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New Report: Who Gets The Corona Vaccine First

Oct. 2 release National Academies Release Framework for Equitable Allocation of a COVID-19 Vaccine for Adoption by HHS, State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Authorities. Discusses the phases in detail.

On Oct. 2, 2020, the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued its recommendations. For lots more information see below. A podcast, press release, and an article discuss the recommendations on who Gets The Corona Vaccine First

The NASEM was asked to develop its allocation plan by both the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This plan will set the US government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is coordinating vaccine and treatment trials

This framework can also inform the decisions of other groups, such as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  In addition to the framework, the report includes recommendations for HHS.


Phase 1a covers approximately 5 percent of the population and includes front-line health workers
Phase 1b covers approximately 10 percent of the population and includes people of all ages with comorbid and underlying conditions

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Fauci on Current Status of Covid Infections

Recorded 10-8-20 8 min. 19 sec. video. The interviewer asks Fauci the very tough current questions about infections in the NFL, Trump, and the White House, surges in some states, etc. Fauci does not “point the finger” at anyone. Instead, he repeats what the science says about what should be done. Listen to the video or read the transcript. Fauci on Current Status of Covid Infections

Excerpts: “…obviously, this is a formidable virus that has an extraordinary capability of being transmitted from person to person. But the kind of outbreak that we had in the United States and that many other countries have had does not necessarily have to have been inevitable.”

“I have said (this) multiple times, and I have no problem repeating it now, that what you should do to avoid acquisition and transmission of infection is the universals wearing of masks, avoiding close contact, avoiding crowded situations, trying to do things outdoors much more than indoors, and washing your hands regularly.”

To watch the video and read the full transcript Click here

My comments about speaking (and writing) the truth about Covid

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College Student Q&A with Dr. Fauci

Recorded 10-6-20 41 minutes. Most of Fauci interviews are by adults: scientists, media interviewers, etc. This was a Q&A format with college students. College Student Q&A with Dr. Fauci addressed students’ concerns, the trajectory of the pandemic, and ways we can respond and help.

College Student Q&A with Dr. Fauci had a wide variety of questions

  • Inequality
  • Your most critical decision
  • College sports and White House recent infections
  • How do you stay steadfast when times are bad
  • Advice for how to succeed at your job
  • Obligation to get a vaccine
  • International cooperation

Fauci’s background

Toward the end of the event, Fauci talked about his own background, including the sense of social responsibility his family taught him that led him to his current career.

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How to reduce Covid airborne transmission risk

Research shows coronavirus spreads primarily through the air. Recorded 9-22-20 – Video 6 minutes with a full transcript. How to reduce Covid airborne transmission risk.

More research is showing that airborne transmission is an important factor in transmitting Covid. How should we change our behavior to reduce our risk of infection? Virginia Tech’s Dr. Linsey Marr about aerosols vs. droplets, ventilation and more. She’s a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her expertise is in the airborne transmission of viruses. How to reduce Covid airborne transmission risk

Large droplets and much smaller aerosol particles

Short, very understandable with a good expert speaker and practical video excerpts. Only 6 minutes. To watch click here

Cigarette smoke example

Excerpt: … Cigarette smoke is a great way to think about different specific scenarios, whether you’re indoors (or outdoors). Do you want to be indoors with that smoker? Well, you think about what affects the ventilation in the room. If the room is really well-ventilated and there’s lots of outdoor air coming in, then that smoke will be kind of pushed outside.

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Deep Cleaning For Covid Is Not Very Effective

Podcast. 9-28-20. 16 minutes. Research has shown that COVID-19 transmission is largely through airborne droplets and particles expelled during sneezing, coughing, talking, and singing. There’s little evidence that surfaces are making us sick. Deep Cleaning For Covid Is Not Very Effective

Microbiologist Dr. Emanuel Goldman talks with Stephanie Desmon about the science behind COVID transmission research, the strong evidence that infection comes from aerosols and not surfaces, and how excess sanitation in public spaces may be giving us a false sense of security.

Hygiene Theater: The Deep Cleaning Performances That Offer Little Protection from COVID-19 To listen click here Note: play button is below the orange image on the right side.

Link to Dr. Goldman’s Lancet article, “Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites referenced in the podcast. Lots of references. A bit technical, but no too bad. Dr. Goldman did literature research and has many references and links to other articles. Many thanks to him. To read the article click here

My comments: The best explanation I have heard about Covid and surfaces (fomites!!)!

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Fauci Vaccine Update – approval, distribution, vaccination

9-25-20 39 Minute Video. Much easier than listening to a lot of 2-3 minute excerpts on the news. This Fauci Vaccine Update – approval, distribution, vaccination lets you know what is happening now plus a few tidbits on Fauci and baseball! Fauci has been working on vaccines in his laboratory for a long time. He is also on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which meets every week. He knows what is happening from the “inside”

List of topics below for Fauci Vaccine Update. Many live stream audience questions and written comments after posting on youtube.  

Vaccines are a very hot topic now. We are all waiting for vaccine approval!

Topics discussed in this Fauci Vaccine
Click below to and go the topics you want to hear.

Click below for a timed list of video topics plus Fauci comments on Multiple Vaccines

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Five Covid-19 Misconceptions That Are Important To Know

9-25-20 5 common coronavirus misconceptions and the science you need to know– 4-minute video plus a short, well-written article with lots of references for more information Speaker: Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. To watch the video and read the explanations, click here.

I have written about all of these topics in this blog and previous newsletters . This short video and article put the primary misconceptions in one place. I hear and read about them online a lot. These Five Covid-19 Misconceptions Are Very Important To Know

The 5 Misconceptions

  • Misconception No. 1: Only older people are impacted by the virus
  • Misconception No. 2: Masks don’t protect you against coronavirus
  • Misconception No. 3: You can only catch Covid-19 if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has symptoms
  • Misconception No. 4: This is like the flu
  • Misconception No. 5: Everyone can a get a vaccine this winter


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Dr. Fauci and Dr. Sanjay Gupta – vaccines and winter risks

9-22-20 on Citizen CNN 27 minutes
Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Fauci- vaccines and winter risks. Good questions and answers. Fauci and Gupta make some relevant comments and analysis on many important topics. Fauci’s lab does vaccine research, plus he is on the White House Coronavirus Task Force Team.

Fauci works on the Task Force and in his lab every day. Plus he gives virtual presentations all over the Internet, from very technical scientific conferences to Instagram and Facebook. Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Fauci- vaccines and winter risks make a good team.

19-minute Audio recording of the above video. Checking in with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Gupta’s Podcast “Corona Virus Fact and Fiction with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Good, short podcasts, usually around 10 minutes.

Topics include:

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Dr. Fauci answers questions many people have

Posted on youtube 8/31/20 34 minutes. Tiffany Haddish is an actress and comedian. There was lots of smiling and laughing. She asked about all the stuff on his wall in the the rear. A question I always have ;> Quite a contrast to Fauci’s usually very serious interviews! Dr. Fauci answers questions many people have. I get these questions a lot when people find out I write about Covid.

If you, or someone you know, want understandable explanations from a widely recognized expert for questions that a lot of people have, email the link to them.

The first question was “Was the coronavirus manufactured in a lab or did it come from bats?

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When can we get fast cheap Covid-19 testing at home?

Saliva test sample

9/14/20 Testing, testing, testing 1, 2, 3 (Podcast, 47 minutes) In the Bubble Podcast with Andy Slavitt, a former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Also a very good interviewer.

Speakers: Michael Mina, Harvard infectious disease specialist and laboratory director, and Robby Sikka, who helped develop the SalivaDirect test with the NBA in partnership with Yale University. Plus Q&As.

I want to get fast, cheap Covid-19 testing at my home now so I can go out anytime, anywhere, with anyone I want !! I can test every day or several times a day.

UPDATE 10-2-20 Two companies, E25Bio and OraSure, have abandoned using spit tests for antigens. They will be using nose swabs, which are more reliable. This is used by the Abbott 15 minute tests. Spit samples vary too widely among people. For more details click here

SalivaDirect is being used in 3 labs now. For more info on SalivaDirect click here.

Topics included

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Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Appraisers are exposed to the virus when going inside homes, apartments, and other buildings for relatively short periods of time. Understanding appraiser Covid safety risks is important.

Everyone decides their own level of risk. Some rarely leave their homes or only leave to go to the grocery store. Others, such as appraisers, are essential workers who must leave their homes to work.

Appraiser Personal Risks

  • Age – the older the higher the risk
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Who is in your household and their risk factors
  • Your level of personal protection risk – from none to a lot. If you get infected, you could infect your household members. To me, that is the most significant risk.

Safety risks when appraising

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COVID-19 Humor – Risk Rating Charts What we all need!!!

You may have seen the “official” chart of CovidRisk Rating Charts, such as going to the grocery store, gym, or restaurants. This “alternate reality” graphic is Lotsa fun and includes weird stuff such as risk rankings for shoplifting at a grocery store and ax catching contest!! This Covid Risk Rating chart is very funny and sorta weird ;>

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is COVID-Risk-Chart-humor.png
COVID-19 Risk Chart – Just for Fun!!

Link to Original Funny Risk Chart above

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COVID-19 Public Health and Scientific Challenges by Fauci

On 9-10-20 Dr. Fauci spoke at a live webinar, with over 6,000 virtual attendees and many questions.

Harvard Medical Grand Rounds Webinar — Dr. Fauci’s lecture, “COVID-19—Public Health and Scientific Challenges” was 1 hour and 6 minutes. Started with an introduction, then Fauci started speaking at 4 minutes. Click here to watch.

This 1-hour webinar covered many of the topics I discuss in this newsletter. Fauci was very understandable, of course. The three panelists were good also, only occasionally using technical terminology. 

Often, the media only shows short clips  of what he said. At this event he has lots more time plus good slides to illustrate what he is saying. Using very good slides made a big difference

Viewing advice:

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