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Bob Hess Sr.

December 8, 2020

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Emilie Raguso
Berkeleyside, December 5, 2020

Bob Hess Sr., an iconic figure in the world of Bay Area horse racing, died Saturday morning after being diagnosed in mid-November with COVID-19, Golden Gate Fields racetrack announced.

Hess came down with COVID-19 amid a widespread outbreak at Golden Gate Fields that initially resulted in more than 200 coronavirus cases. But he refused to blame anyone for getting sick and said he was just focused on getting well. (A photograph of Bob with his wife Maria and their horse Maggie’s Magic showed both of them wearing their masks.)

Hess is survived by Maria, his wife of 56 years, and their four children, horse trainer Bob Jr., Howie, Erica and Anna.

When advised Hess had passed away this morning, jockey Abel Cedillo was moved to tears.

“When I was riding up north, he was like a second father to me,” said Cedillo, a Guatemalan native who was the leading rider at Del Mar’s recently concluded Bing Crosby Meeting. “I had so much respect for him. I’m shocked. I’m going to really miss him.”


Trump, still infectious, back at White House — without mask

By Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin and Aamer Madhani
AP, October 5, 2020

President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House Monday night after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — and then he entered the White House without a protective mask.

Trump’s message alarmed infectious disease experts and suggested the president’s own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and several White House aides, including new cases revealed Monday.

He entered the White House, where aides were visible milling about the Blue Room, without wearing a face covering.

The president left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where his doctor, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said earlier Monday that the president remains contagious and would not be fully “out of the woods” for another week.


Elevating Fringe Theories, Ron Johnson Questions Virus Science

By Catie Edmondson and Nicholas Fandos
The New York Times, December 7, 2020

In choosing a slate of doctors to testify about coronavirus treatments before his committee on Tuesday, Senator Ron Johnson has assembled a cast of witnesses who question much of the public health consensus about the virus.

Mr. Johnson has suggested that the dangers of the coronavirus have been overblown and excessively regulated.

Mr. Johnson’s lead witness on Tuesday, Dr. Jane M. Orient, has cast doubts on coronavirus vaccines and has pushed for the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug pushed by Mr. Trump, as a treatment. She helps run a group that believes government vaccine mandates violate human rights.

Another, the Washington cardiologist Ramin Oskoui, said on Fox News last month that it was “settled science” that “social distancing doesn’t work, quarantining doesn’t work, masks don’t work.” On the contrary, it is settled science that all three are effective in limiting the spread of the virus.


The Outlook for Health Reform in 2021

By Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Benjamin Rush Institute, November 30, 2020

Grace-Marie Turner: I really do think that there is so much politicization in academia in medical schools. A friend of mine, Dr. Sally Satel who works with the American Enterprise Institute, actually wrote a book in the early two thousands called PC MD, the political correctness in medicine that really corrupts the science of truth and what physicians need to know. Masks are a perfect example, you know, data shows, and this broad study in Denmark recently showed that masks – it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re wearing masks or not in the infection rate. The politicians still insist that we’re going to have to wear a mask because they really don’t know what else to do. So I think that the real risk is that the more power that we give government over decisions, more academia over decisions, the less power doctors and patients and real science will have over really guiding change and reform in the right way. So, yes, does climate change have a role in medical school? Not sure, but I bet there’s a lot of funding behind that. I want physicians as scientists to be able to make the right decisions for their patients, not a politically directed decision.

At 52:20 of video:


By Don McCanne, M.D.

Bob Hess was a close friend of one of our sons. Sandy and I previously spent a weekend with him and his family, and what a wonderful person he was – a very colorful and caring person – and, of course, his stories about the horse race culture were spellbinding.

Bob said that he refused to blame anyone for him getting sick, but our son, overwhelmed with grief, does cast blame and does so in language laced with four letter words. Hints of where he casts blame are found in the positions expressed by President Donald Trump, Senator Ron Johnson, and Galen Institute’s Grace-Marie Turner. The guidance that people like them are providing to the nation has caused massive, reckless disregard for the health of victims exposed by individuals who believe that the recommended precautions are somehow conspiratorial and that, as a result, people are being deprived of their freedom to associate freely with whomever, wherever and however they felt inclined to do so.

Our son stated that our leaders who are setting an example by going maskless as a right and as a political statement amounts to negligent homicide, and I agree with him. So far, over 282,000 people have died, and many more will – a number compounded by the uncaring leadership that abandoned public health science.

May the memory of Bob motivate more of us to follow the real public health science and move us through this pandemic much more rapidly with the least grief possible. I think Bob would want that. He was too nice of a guy to think otherwise.

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About the Commentator, Don McCanne

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Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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