President Julie Pingston was once again the Wizard of Oz making all the things happen behind the Zoom Curtain so that we could maintain social distance while continuing our Rotary comradery. President Julie called the meeting to order at 12:30. We had 51 in attendance at the get go, but that number eventually grew to 60. Today’s invocation was provided by Rebecca Bahar-Cook: a prayer for medical professionals who need all the help they can get. Rebecca made a reference to the “rock of ages” so being curious, I looked it up, you know, wondering where that rock was. The term was originally a religious one, a translation from the Hebrew in the Bible (Isaiah 26:4), which the King James Version has as “everlasting strength.” I’m thinking the medical community is being tested like never before and everlasting strength may well be a welcome addition to their medical toolkit.
Today’s patriotic song was provided by Rotary walker Cathy Zell and consisted of a quartet on a stairway to heaven singing harmony. I failed to note which patriotic song it was, choosing instead to just listen. At 12:37 we recognized visitor Kristina Reitler of the Kellogg Center. I’m really enjoying the increased participation from MSU (the elephant in the mid Michigan room) at our meetings. At 12:40, it was time for health of the club. Diane Sanborn reported that all is good, but noted that yours truly said yes to “would you like a Corona”, not hearing the rest of the sentence, “virus”. Thankfully recovery is proceeding without incident (knock on wood). On a slightly related note, you can order a Rotary mask from this link:
At 12:42, Meghan Martin reported we had 60% participation and $700 of birthday giving so far from the November birthdays. Meghan, a competitive swimmer, loves the smell of chlorine in the morning (Robert Duvall reference). Her birthday question was if you were permitted to swim in any liquid at all, what liquid would that be. This question apparently freaked out John Person, who gave a detailed answer about swimming in water and that anything else would simply be too weird.
President Julie’s Rotarians in the news included Chris Swope traveling to Georgia to assist as a technical expert in the state's post-election audit of the presidential race. The Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards presented this week included: Socially Responsible Entrepreneur Glenn Granger and the Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Tobi Lyon/Ngage Management. Please send any Rotarian updates to Julie including trivial or significan milestones and good news. Really folks, any good news will do. If you’ve ever been to a small club, they show up for each other by celebrating that Bubba got a haircut for ten bucks. It’s a nice way to keep our spirits up and keep in touch. We were treated to some John Dale Smith special music, I would argue his best work of the pandemic. Zurich Dawson, John Dale Smith and Steve Sneed performed "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray.
. Our speaker of the day was Dr. Nigel Paneth, Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatics at MSU. I took 3 pages of notes of the dizzying array of scientific terms and test results and think I can give you a simple shrug of the shoulders as to what it all meant. Dr. Paneth talked about Monoclonal antibodies (good for treating anthrax), convalescent plasma (which I thought was old people blood, but is in reality post viral infection super blood). Convalescent plasma has a successful history in the treatment of meningitis, pneumonia and the 1918 flu, so Dr. Paneth and a bunch of other like minded scientists thought, why not give it a whirl. Check out their web site at
The good thing about convalescent plasma is you can donate two weeks after getting sick, and keep on giving thereafter. Each donation can serve as many as 3 patients, which is neat way of saying turnabout is fair play in the viral world.. There’s no need for factories to gear up as this would be done locally through local blood banks and then administered to patients in need. Dr. Paneth and his team obtained three expedited authorizations from the FDA, initially to conduct research and then for an emergency use authorization. 11,000 people have already participated yielding important data for analysis. My non technical conclusion based on all that was said by Dr. Paneth was that so far the test results are showing it does more good than harm, they’ve seen a reduction in mortality in certain cases, particularly when the convalascent plasma was high in antibody content and when administered earlier in treatment, but that more data from trials is necessary. More detailed information can be found on the website. Dr. Paneth indicated there is a Big Ten blood drive aimed for January and Rotary can help by getting the word out and participating. Of course questions were asked and answered, but it all went over my head. President Julie thanked the speaker in the traditional fashion and one by one the screens went blank.
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