Memorial Day 2020

It has been well reported that Adam Smith, one of the leaders of the ReOpen NC, Facebook group has posted a video stating that he is prepared for violence and murder to protect his rights. Presumably the violence and murder would be directed at duly elected officials. This is not acceptable and something that I condemn in no uncertain terms.

I am a 13th generation descendant of Edward Fuller. Edward and his brother Samuel signed the Mayflower Compact. While the Pilgrims certainly had their shortcomings, the Mayflower Compact was not one of them and marked an important milestone whereby people agreed to “bind ourselves together into a civil Body Politick” to which they promised “all due Submission and Obedience.”

On May 30, 1868 James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery at the first official Decoration Day. He said, in part,

“Peace, liberty, and personal security were blessings as common and universal as sunshine and showers and fruitful seasons; and all sprang from a single source, the old American principle that all owe due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system—it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in Heaven. It is the encasing air, the breath of the Nation’s life.”

Coming together peacefully in a system of government to enact laws that we willing live by is the hallmark of what we strive for. Or course, we Americans have not been able to achieve this at all times. But we continually renew our commitment to this goal every time we have an election and with every national celebration and observance. As Garfield said, it is the breath of our Nation’s life.

And, this is why today, on Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives for this Country.

Side note: at the time of his Decoration Day speech, Garfield was a Congressman from Ohio. He later became the 20th President serving from March 1881 until his assassination six and a half months later.

May 13 Community Meeting

I had previously announced my intention to hold a meeting on May 14. However, due to a scheduling conflict, I am moving it up a day to May 13.

On May 13 I will hold a virtual community meeting. There will be two sessions. The first session will begin at 7pm and the second session will begin at 8pm. Please feel free to attend one or both sessions.

This is the link for the 7pm Session:

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77077940518?pwd=TzErTXZNTEM4YnhiQ3IxczVtSUlVZz09

This is the link for the 8pm Session:

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/72940694987?pwd=cllXdjJBS011UXBwcG9pUWw2RmJ6dz09

The format of the meeting will be a little different than the first. This will be primarily a listening session where you are encouraged to speak about issues that are of a concern to you. I will generally keep each person’s comments to a few minutes in order to allow as many people as possible to speak.

Look forward to seeing you again!

A Virtual Community Meeting

Here are the details for joining the virtual community meeting..

Time: Apr 30, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada). Simply click this link:

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73337770783?pwd=ZWpXYkpwVk8vTWMxbjM3WXdiZVZBUT09

On Thursday, April 30th, I will host a virtual community meeting that will begin at 7pm.

I will be using Zoom. Anyone with a computer or mobile device should be able to join. I will update this post with a link to the meeting along with login instructions as we get closer to the meeting.

Because I will be using the free version of Zoom, the meeting will be limited to 100 attendees and will last about 40 minutes. I will see how this works out. If more than 100 people attempt to attend or more than 40 minutes is needed, I will consider other options for future meetings. Importantly, if you are unable to get into the meeting but have comments or questions on particular topics, please email me at david.cox@raleighnc.gov.

If you have questions that you would like to ask in advance of the meeting, please send me an email at david.cox@raleighnc.gov.

Antibody Testing for COVID-19

The FDA has approved four tests for COVID-19 antibodies. Here are links provided by the FDA for these tests.

Cellex – a lateral flow immunoassay for qualitative detection of antibodies (IgM and IgG) https://www.fda.gov/media/136625/download

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics- immunoassay using horseradish peroxidase labeled antigen luminescent reaction where the light emitted is correlated with the presence of antibodies. https://www.fda.gov/media/136967/download

Chembio Diagnostics Systems – a lateral flow immunoassay for qualitative detection of antibodies (IgM and IgG) https://www.fda.gov/media/136963/download

Mount Sinai laboratory https://www.fda.gov/media/137029/download

On Reopening North Carolina and the Country

People want life to return to normal and some write to Raleigh City Council wondering what we must do to get there.

The main thing I am concerned about is the spreading of coronavirus by people who have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.  To deal with this, one of the things that I have been pushing for is universal testing.  

God forbid if schools reopen, the virus spreads quickly and is then taken home to people who will get very sick and possibly die.  Right now it is hard to say who will have an adverse reaction.  While older people and people with pre-existing conditions – as a group – are more likely to have adverse reactions, it is impossible to know for sure which individuals are at risk.  Some in this group don’t get sick and many do not die. On the other hand, many people who are healthy and active in any age group have conditions that they don’t even know about.  And if someone unknowingly brings the virus home, then all bets are off.

Until treatments or a vaccine are available, I think what we need to do is to test to see where the virus is and take actions to contain it.  I have been pushing for more testing and I encourage everyone to do the same.  Simply reopening businesses, schools, and churches without a plan will lead to many more illnesses and deaths.  Personally, I am disappointed that testing isn’t at a level that we need to better ensure safety. We need to do more.

We all very much want life to get back to normal and we must do so while protecting lives.

David Cox, PhD
Raleigh City Council

We Need Systematic Testing

WRAL recently presented a story on what we need for life to return to normal based on an interview with Mark McClellan, Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke. Four criteria were presented two of which were 1) that the State needs to be able to test everyone that presents symptoms and 2) to monitor all confirmed cases and their contacts. Within the past two days Dr. McClellan and others at the Margolis Center published a webpage about creating a national COVID-19 testing system

(https://healthpolicy.duke.edu/sites/default/files/atoms/files/covid-19_surveillance_roadmap_final.pdf) .

I applaud this work because such a systematic approach will be vital for any return to normal life.

To date, the efforts to “flatten the curve” really have rested on the shoulders of citizens to 1) close businesses, 2) stay at home, 3) practice “safe distancing”, 4) wear (often homemade) face masks. We need government to present a plan for establishing a systematic COVID-19 testing and monitoring system. We need Federal and State funding.

We need the North Carolina State Legislature to approve emergency funding for such a system. Doing anything less will sadly ensure a long, drawn out effort to control the spread of Coronavirus.

David Cox, PhD

Raleigh City Council

Virtual Raleigh City Council Meeting

FRIDAY, APRIL 3, AT 5PM IS THE DAY/TIME YOU MUST SIGN UP BY IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN PUBLIC COMMENTS OR HEARINGS. SEE LINKS BELOW FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION.

Hearings

On April 7th, Raleigh will hold its first virtual city council meeting. There will be an afternoon session beginning at 1pm and an evening session at 7pm.

We have an aggressive agenda with 17 items scheduled for public hearing in the evening session.

Public hearings are opportunities for members of the public to speak and address Council. How can you participate given that we will be conducting a virtual meeting and the City Municipal building will closed?

To speak at any of the hearings, please follow this link for instructions:

https://raleighnc.gov/services/government/public-hearings-city-council

Public Comments

The evening City Council meeting is also an opportunity to make comments on any topic during the Public Comment section of the meeting. We will hold a public comment section as usual and you can find instructions for signing up at this link:

https://raleighnc.gov/services/government/petition-address-city-council

Other Information

If you do not plan to speak either for a hearing or for public comment, you can watch the meeting either online or on TV.

Broadcast for viewing by the public via the following channels: the City’s website, the City’s YouTube Live Stream, or Chanel RTN-11.  If you are unable to access via TV or web, please contact cityclerkpetition@raleighnc.gov or 919-996-3040 to obtain instructions for how to listen via telephone.

Stay At Home Order

The following information is copied fro the following website

http://www.wakegov.com/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1200

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wake County, so are concerns that the virus could overwhelm our local healthcare system. To help prevent that from happening, Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford signed a proclamation today that puts a stay-at-home order in effect on Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m.

“If we’re serious about protecting our community, we need to get serious about staying at home, so we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Chairman Ford. “That’s why we moved swiftly to implement this measure. Our short-term sacrifices can mean very literally the difference between life and death for some of our residents – and it would be irresponsible not to act.”

The goal of the proclamation is for Wake County residents to stay home and away from others who are not immediate members of their family or household. By restricting contact, the county hopes to reduce the rate at which COVID-19 is infecting residents.

What is Not Allowed under the Proclamation

The stay-at-home order includes the following mandates:

• All non-essential facilities, services, operations and retail businesses must close.

• Gatherings of any size are prohibited.

• People of any age with medical conditions should not leave their homes except to get medical care.

• Social distancing must be practiced while in public.

• Public transportation should only be used if necessary. If public transport is a person’s primary way to get around, they should abide by social distancing best practices, standing and sitting at least six feet apart and using sanitizing products.

What is Allowed under the Proclamation

The stay-at-home does not restrict activities such as:

• Shopping for food at the grocery store or picking up take-out meals from a local restaurant

• Operating businesses that provide critical services like hospitals, government agencies and financial institutions

• Caring for a family member or pet in another household

• Providing childcare for parents who have to go to work at jobs that are considered essential

• Utilizing plumbers, electricians, exterminators and others who help maintain the safety and sanitation of residences

• Visiting a local park, greenway or nature preserve while practicing social distancing

For a comprehensive list, read the proclamation, which is attached to this news release. It will remain in effect until April 17 at which time the county will re-evaluate the situation and determine if an extension is needed.

“We’ve been in constant conversation with our partners at the local hospitals and in the municipalities since the pandemic took hold here,” said Wake County Manager David Ellis. “Together, we looked at the growing caseload in our community and determined a stay-at-home order was the best way to help protect our residents and healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19.”

Information for Businesses

Wake County has set up a dedicated phone line – 919-856-7420 – to address business-specific questions related to the stay-at-home order. In addition, special FAQs focused on the business community are posted on the county’s COVID-19 webpage here.

Wake County is also working with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake County Economic Development to help communicate with the business community about these changes and share important resources to support them during this challenging time.

Protecting Yourself

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:

• Stay home and go out only to take care of basic needs.

• Stay away from sick people and practice social distancing measures.

• Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

• Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces using household cleaning spray or wipes.

• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.

Staying Updated

Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.

You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19.

The webpage also includes a “Help for Residents” area, which provides information about how to access a number of services, such as food and nutrition services, Medicaid, Work First benefits and more.

For additional information, follow Wake County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

AAAS Report on Coronavirus

This is highly technical. But if you are interested, here is a paper from the American Association for the Advancement of Science just published on research to find a vaccine. The paper describes various viral proteins that could serve as targets of a vaccine.

These proteins have 3D structures that facilitate attachment of the virus to human cells. The 3D structures change as the virus attaches. Understanding these structures will be key to developing an effective vaccine.

The laboratory work necessary for this type of research is pretty amazing. Early in my career I worked for a few years as a lab technician in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Rochester and did some of the steps described in this paper such as running affinity and size exclusion chromatography. But that was many years ago. I am by no means an expert.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6483/1260.full