November 18 Meeting Notes

The November 18 meeting opened on Zoom with half an hour of social time to meet and chat.

Lori Walters provided “Zoom Etiquette” at 12:27. She reminded everyone about the process of accessing Club Runner.  The site can be accessed by

and the user name is: yourfirstname.yourlastname and the password is 1404  She encouraged members to download and use the Clubrunner app.

At 12:31, President Joanne Pierson rang the bell to start the meeting. She introduced Tom Strode who led us in our patriotic song.  Norma Sarkar provided the moving inspiration which included quotes from Mister Rogers about how to deal with difficult times.  “Hey Rosalie” was the song viewed on YouTube with entertaining dance moves.

President Pierson welcomed the members in attendance (95) and thanked the set-up team, the photographer, reporter, and attendance taker. She announced the birthdays for the next two weeks as there is no meeting next week.

Andrew Brenner

Andrew Brenner provided an update about a program facilitated by the Friends of Niger that is installing solar panels in health clinics in Niger.  Currently only 16% of Niger’s population has access to electricity and many rural clinics provide the majority of health care and most lack any electricity.  Four clinics had electricity installed in Bande serving 115,000 people through private funding.  With additional Rotary funding two more clinics had panels installed to serve 92,000 people in Oucha.

Additional announcements provided by President Pierson included a Board of Directors update.  The Board approved disbursement of $22,800 raised from the Paesano fundraiser ($3000 to STRIVE, $9800 to IHPC, $7000 to CAC, $3,000 to Scholarships).  The remaining $6400 will be disbursed at a later date after a needs assessment.  New members Heather Eckner, Julie Pickness, and Kate Van Horn have joined Rotary.  We are implementing a rolling membership now rather than specific times of the year.  There will be a Rotary by-laws addition to be voted on at the upcoming December 2 meeting.  3-2-1 Billing is forthcoming (via snail mail and email) to make your Community Service Assessment.  Rotary Readers and Tutors are needed.  If you have an outdoor fireplace please contact President Pierson.  There are many Rotary jobs/volunteers that are needed so contact Lauren Heinonen or go to the website and click on “itching to give back” link.

Dr. A. Oveta Fuller

Yolanda Whiten introduced Dr. A. Oveta Fuller, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at U-M Medical School discussing “Perspectives of a Virologist:  ‘Home for the Holidays’ on the Endgame for COVID-19”.  She discussed how to keep safe during the holidays.  We are in a crisis and everyone needs to engage to get us out of the situation.  There is a perfect storm for what we are experiencing this winter:  1) high surge in respiratory virus infection, 2) entering winter season when people cluster together, 3) multiple holidays with typical gatherings, 4) college students returning home from campus.  So be pro-active with all COVID-19 preventions to reduce disease and loss of life.

There is a major infection surge in the US right now.  Over 150,000 cases per day, much higher than the previous high point in July.  Dr. Fuller provided a brief overview of the virus and its history.  The pandemic was declared by the WHO on March 11, 2020 with 118,329 confirmed cases to November 17, 2020 of over 55.6 million cases. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person via coughing, sneezing, breathing, singing, exercising, and talking.  The virus affects the bronchi and can transmit to the rest of the body.  Staying at least 6 feet apart is the major method to prevent infection.  Based on a recent study one asymptomatic person was responsible for exposing at least 21 people to COVID-19.  Any gathering of people from different households brings a higher risk of transmission.  The more people and longer time together, the greater the risk especially if not staying 6 feet apart and not wearing masks.

Symptoms can start to appear in 1-3 days after contracting the virus.  However, the virus can be shedding even if not showing symptoms.  More typically, symptoms show up 4-6 days after infection which include fever, cough, loss of taste/smell; however, some people experience no symptoms.  With flu, cold and COVID-19 occurring at the same time, it’s difficult to determine which illness it is until testing occurs.  Currently testing includes a nasal swab and/or blood test for antibodies to see if one previously had it.

COVID-19 can cause a dry cough, shortness of breath, fever and headache, muscle pain; and once it travels into lungs, can cause inflammation and swelling.  80% of people infected have mild to moderate symptoms; 20% may progress to severe disease which can impair lung function that restricts oxygen into bloodstream and can deprive other major organs of oxygen.  Other wide- ranging body effects are:  brain (strokes), eyes (pinkeye), nose (loss of smell), blood (unexpected blood clotting), GI issues, lungs (clots and inflammation), heart (weakening), kidneys (damage to structure).  Most severe cases have been seen in people 65 and older.

Now seeing “long-haulers” including brain fog, shortness of breath, heart arrythmia and hypertension.  A higher rate of death has occurred in African Americans from COVID-19 which is highly disproportionate these populations.

Reduce the risk of the disease by wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart and staying home.  The mask must be worn correctly to work.  It must be worn over the nose and mouth and should be washed regularly.

How do we safely navigate to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” during this winter season?

  1. Remain in your immediate home/family unit.  Do not gather with others.  Isolate from/protect family members for 14 days as possible.
  2. Always follow 3 WCT’s: Wear mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance, avoid Crowds, avoid Combined spaces, and avoid Close contact
  3. Testing, Trace contacts, and Treatment

We are currently between phase 2 and 3 for the FDA approval process for a vaccine.

Remain proactive to always use prevention and model compliance. Numbers are increasing due to increasing testing.

President Pierson adjourned the meeting at 1:30.

No meeting next week.

Respectfully submitted by,

Jennifer Fike


Additional notes post meeting:

Severity depends on how much virus a person is exposed to and condition of person’s immune system.  Take Vitamin C, exercise, not stressing or worrying will all bolster immune system.  Currently, the medical community doesn’t know if you have the antibodies if you are immune. Snowbirds – don’t travel.  This is the year to not travel.  Having an open window is recommended if someone visits since COVID-19 is an aeroilized disease – circulating air helps to dilute the virus.  If you are exercising and there is no one around you, the recommendation is to have a mask available but is not required if you are distanced from others.  Herd immunity occurs when 70-90 percent are immune and with COVID that would mean that between 70-80 percent would be infected.  This is not the way to go as many people would lose their lives.