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The Supreme Court upholds restrictions by states on churches during the pandemic, mostly thanks to Chief Justice Roberts’ leadership and reason, where others, expressly Justice Kavanaugh, dissented on religious grounds, ignoring the core of the argument itself. Roberts expressly rebuked Kavanaugh.

Here is the article in Slate with the details.

 

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Some good info about handling the virus, sunlight, air, zinc and vitamins from the Chiefio —

What do the major hot spots of Italy, New York, etc. have in common? Government orders to send Chinese Wuhan Covid patients to elder care nursing homes. It’s time to stop this nonsense, get vitamin & zinc levels up, and get back to work.

via Deliberate Nursing Home Infection – Italy, New York, Dem. States — Musings from the Chiefio

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The full transcript of the excerpt below is available at Whitehouse.gov for your review.

THE PRESIDENT: But when you do 14 million tests, you’re going to find more cases. If instead of 14 million tests we did 3 million — like, Germany is at about 3 million; South Korea is at 3 million, and they’ve done a very good job. It’s not a knock, but we’re at almost 14 million. We’re going to be passing 14 million very soon.

So you’re going to have more tests. If we do 3 million, everyone would say, “Oh, we’re doing great,” you know, in terms of cases. We’re going to have more cases. If we did 3 million — maybe that’s what we should’ve done. I said — if I would’ve done 3 million, they’d say, “Oh, they have very few cases. United States is doing well.”

We’re finding a lot of people. By doing testing, you’re finding people. So we’re doing 14, Germany is doing 3, South Korea doing 3, and I think they’re number two and three. So we’re way ahead of everybody. But when you do that, you have more cases. So a lot of times, the fake news media will say, “You know, there are a lot of cases in the United States.” Well, if we didn’t do testing at a level that nobody has ever dreamt possible, you wouldn’t have very many cases.

So we’re finding a lot of cases, and we’re doing a great job once we find them.

Okay, thank you very much.

Q (Inaudible) follow up. How does it compare to a per capita basis? Obviously, the United States is much larger than a lot of these Europeans countries.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

Q How does our testing compare per capita —

THE PRESIDENT: Sure.

Q — to those nations?

THE PRESIDENT: You want to do that, Deborah?

DR. BIRX: Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Per capita.

DR. BIRX: Yeah, our — you know, our testing now, we’re almost up to 4 percent. So some of the state — some of the European countries are at 4 to 5 percent. And I think our goal is to ensure that we can find the asymptomatics. And I think that’s really our focus right now, working with every state to really help them identify where these clusters came from historically, and then proactively going for those clusters, identifying them early, and finding the asymptomatic individuals before. And no one is intending to spread the virus. I always want to be very clear about that. Asymptomatic patient — people don’t know they’re infected. And so, together, we’re really working to find them.

And I think it’s a — it’s a unique challenge, and I think together we’re really making progress.

THE PRESIDENT: And, you know, when you say “per capita,” there’s many per capitas. It’s, like, per capita relative to what? But you can look at just about any category, and we’re really at the top, meaning positive on a per capita basis, too. They’ve done a great job.

 

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Remember they days when we saw the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs in stores and restaurants ‘back in the day?’ Well, at least in the U.S. that was the case, particularly in areas near beaches and other recreational facilities. Of course, that reminds me of the shock I still remember more than 40 years later, when I was in a supermarket in Soulac-sur-Mer off Bordeaux in France, when a stark naked woman in flip flops with a shopping basket ambled toward me in the milk isle. I still wonder where she kept her wallet?

But back to the U.S. in 2020. Now we’re seeing conservatives complain that their “freedom is impeded” by the requirements of stores to wear masks. And the conservative media supports this.

Seriously?

It’s okay to require shoes in the store, but somehow it’s not okay to require a mask in the middle of a pandemic? I am not sure how I can pick up athlete’s foot if I am wearing shoes myself. But I know I can pick up a virus just from a droplet, a virus that kills 3 to 10 percent of those it infects.

And speaking about restricted freedom and individual rights: Remember when people supported the religious baker who refused to sell a cake to a gay couple? That was acceptable. Now, when a store requires masks, they say you can’t deny people service? Maybe we need to call health “religion” and we’re good?

And finally, we now have reports of establishments that do not allow masks and ask patrons to go elsewhere. WHAT? Darwin’s law will make sure those businesses don’t survive, I guess. Make a stand. Drive your customers away. Get yourself infected with a deadly virus while you’re at it. But don’t ask society to bail out your business or pay for your emergency room bills!

Hypocrisy, all!

 

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I am not a medical professional.

But I can do math very well.

I keep receiving comments from folks who state that “the majority of people dying from Covid-19 would have died anyway,” and therefore no precautions are necessary and we should just go about our business as usual. After all, you can’t cheat mother nature. It will always win.

Nonsense.

If mother nature always won, I would have died 41 years ago at age 22 when my appendix burst. But I fought mother nature, went to a doctor, had emergency surgery, and I have had a productive life, children, built a company, all of which would not have happened if I had not taken steps to secure my health.

Looking at the video below of a patient – to me – is absolutely frightening.

I think I’ll keep wearing a mask for a while.

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“They are warriors aren’t they, when you see them going into those hospitals and they’re putting the stuff that you deliver, but they’re wrapping themselves, and the doors are opening, and they’re going through the doors, and they’re not even ready to go through those doors, they probably shouldn’t, but they can’t get there fast enough, and they’re running into death just like soldiers run into bullets in a true sense, I see that with the doctors and the nurses and so many of the people that go into those hospitals, it’s incredible to see, it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

— Donald Trump, May 15, 2020

 

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Here is a headline in Newsweek I saw today:

White House Misled Public, Buried CDC Reopening Guidelines and is Now Preparing for Second Coronavirus Wave

Newsweek

I wonder what they mean by “Second Coronavirus Wave.” That would mean that the first wave is over. Here is the “curve” of the United States as of Mother’s Day 2020:

Source: Johns Hopkins University

This is the current curve of infections in the United States and represents 1,329,225 positive tests and 79,525 deaths. This is one wave. I don’t see where the first one has stopped.

In contrast, Germany has the 7th most infections in the world. Here is their graph:

Source: Johns Hopkins University

This is what a flattened curve looks like. From that I can see that measures in Germany have been working. When I compare this to the United States in general, there is a marked difference. Germany, and other countries like Italy, France and Spain, are all taking measures that are brutal, but work. The United States is not.

I can take a look at these numbers with a sober eye and a scientific mind. They are what they are. I am not emotional about this.

However, what angers me is when I hear people saying that “people are going to die anyway, so why bother….” This is brutal. Most of the 79,000 Americans that died of this disease would not have died otherwise, at least not yet. If this were business as usual, why do we have:

— Medical workers protesting on the streets

— Emergency doctors and nurses dying in record numbers

— A lack of PPE in hospitals

— Bodies piling up in refrigerated trucks in New York City

This is a virus, and – I hate to use the trite expression – it spreads virally. Without containment, we would see the curves even steeper. If we want to see society as we know it break down, we could try to just let it go. After all, people will just die anyway.

But first, let me move to Papua New Guinea.

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I found this post in Reddit, titled: My Dad is the strongest human I know. Back to 12hr days in ICU a week after his recovery from COVID.

Another doctor posted this below:

Fellow doctor here:

First of all, your dad is an amazing human. He was exposed (likely from a lack of PPE) and went right back into the frying pan.

Now with that out of the way…

I haven’t received a SINGLE penny from any stimulus package, small business loans, nada, because I make too much and because I refinanced my loans they are no longer federal loans. I can guarantee your dad is probably in the same situation. More stress, lack of protection and no additional compensation for showing up and taking care of sick patients.

A lot of doctors (except for maybe ICU and ER) are having to take paycuts. I had to sign a 12.5% pay cut this week, while administrators keep getting their bonuses.

Come on at least give doctors some kind of tax break. You don’t need to pay us more, call us heroes, etc. just let us keep more of what we already earned, at least for a couple of months.

This points out one of the great injustices in our system. We are asking women and men like these to work under impossible conditions, with impossible hours, for weeks on end – while our system is cutting their pay!

Then we have people protesting around the country claiming this is a hoax, the hospitals are not really full. There really isn’t any problem. It’s all hyped by the media. Are they really suggesting that the media is making this up:

— Bodybags starting to stack up outside nursing homes causing neighbors to complain about the stench?

— Refrigeration trucks lining up outside hospitals because they have no place to put the dead anymore.

— As of April 10, over 200 nurses and doctors have died worldwide from Covid-19.

All of this is world-wide media hype somehow created for what to benefit whom?

My (sarcastic) suggestion: Protestors and denialists should wear some identifier that lets the nurses and doctors know what their opinion was when they show up sick at the hospital. That way these whining doctors can decide not to treat the non-existing patients and go on to the real ones.

 

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Covid-19 vs. Vietnam War

58,220 Americans died during the Vietnam War over a period of years. For two generations since we have considered the Vietnam War a disaster in American history. We have a memorial for those 58,220 people in Washington, DC.

As of today, we just reached over 1 million people infected in the United States, and 58,365 Americans have died over less than a six-week period. And these deaths are being brushed aside by some people as “they would have died anyway.” I still haven’t heard Trump express any empathy, remorse or sorrow.

These 58,365 deaths are after draconian measures of most of the economy in this country being shut down. Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken those measures! There are still people in this country right now who are saying that “the cure is worse than the disease.” Seriously?

This is a catastrophe unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.

 

 

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This morning I had a video meeting with a few dozen friends all around the world, from far-away places like Bali, Malaysia, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Newfoundland, England, Guatemala, and many other places. Much of the conversation, as all conversations seem to do now, revolved around the handling of the virus.

Getting a perspective from folks around the world, and the different approaches, was enlightening to me. Here are few points of view:

Sweden – the lady from Sweden pointed out that there was no lockdown of any kind in Sweden, and things were going along ok. We discussed that the demographics of a comparatively small country are very different than those of the United States. The population of Sweden is about 10 million people, the density is 24.7 people per square kilometer. The county of Los Angeles has a population of about 10 million also, with a density of 2910 people per square kilometer. That’s a hundred times denser. New York City’s density is over 10,000 people per square kilometer. That’s 300 times denser than Sweden. When the right wing media in the United States suggests that since things worked in Sweden without any lockdown, it’s a ludicrous comparison when talking about a highly infectious disease. My Swedish friend also pointed out that the Swedish people, for the most part, were self-isolating as suggested, without being forced to do so.

Spain – One of our friends is a Spanish physician with a private practice. He said he is basically wearing an “astronaut” suit all day, and his office manager was scheduling patients every 30 minutes, so there is never more than one patient in the office. The receptionist goes to the parking lot to pick up the next patient when ready. He said that you needed a special pass to leave the house, unless going to work, and you only got it once a week for a period of time to go grocery shopping. The fine for having two people in one car is 600 Euros.

Italy – They need permission to leave the house for essential trips. In some places they even have mobile apps that grant this permission.

Brazil – The streets are empty. The virus is pretty bad. Even the warm weather has not dampened it as some factions in the United States have been hoping it might.

Florida – Our friend in Florida pointed out that more people were out walking the streets than ever before. I see that here in California, too. If I work out in my front yard, there is a constant stream of people walking the neighborhood, many with their dogs. Of course, there is nothing else to do, you’ve got to get out of the house, and you pick an activity that is legal (at least here in California and Florida) and enjoy.

Bali – everything is empty and quiet. The population density is high and people are scared.

Germany – some businesses are now opening up again. The curve in Germany is starting to ease off.

Never before in my lifetime have I seen such unity around the world. We’re all the same people with the same needs. We are all smart and we’re doing the best we can to work together to defeat this disease and come out on the other side healthy and stronger. The disease doesn’t have anything to do with languages, races, religions, countries, even continents. It makes people sick indiscriminately and it seems to kill 5 to 10 percent of those who get sick. It’s a pretty simple enemy.

I have two main thoughts triggered from this:

War – what good is it?

The current United States is still waging war in far away countries. It makes no sense to me. Leave people alone. Why don’t we stop the stupid sanctions of Iran, let the people of Iran have some relief. Good grief, they have enough on their hands  with 90,000 cases of Covid-19 and 5,620 deaths. I am hopeful that the pandemic might help stop wars altogether going forward. The most warlike nation in the world is definitely the United States. I have a vote here. I will vote accordingly.

Climate Change – a common enemy

Just like the pandemic, which kills across borders, a common enemy is climate change. It affects the whole world. It does not care what country caused it or continues to cause it. It does not care what countries it floods. It does not care what natural disasters is causes and where. It will affect our water supply, our food supply, it’ll make some cities and entire countries unlivable, it’ll cause mass extinction of flora and fauna all over the world, no matter how much the current government in the United States thinks it’s “not real.”

Our response and eventual conquest of Covid-19 will not come from nationalist propaganda or competition. It’ll come from the whole world cooperating as best it can. German pharma scientists, Chinese manufacturers, American doctors, will all work together to defeat this common enemy of mankind. Let’s attack war and climate change together next.

I think I’ll go for a walk now!

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Biden/Obama were a disaster in handling the H1N1 Swine Flu. Polling at the time showed disastrous approval numbers. 17,000 people died unnecessarily and through incompetence! Also, don’t forget their 4 Billion Dollar Obamacare website that should have cost close to nothing!

— Donald Trump

Hmmm.

I am wondering why the president is busying himself with stuff that happened 11 years ago. Does any of this matter today? Does it make excuses for his own incompetence when others, more than a decade before him, were also supposedly incompetent?

I might even buy it, if his facts were correct. However:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12,469 people died in the United States from the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, not 17,000.
  • Obama’s approval rating also wasn’t disastrous. A poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News over the course of several months in 2009 showed that Obama’s approval rating for his handling of the H1N1 pandemic ranged from the high 60s to the high 50s. I wonder why Trump is brining up approval ratings? If my loved ones are dying alone in an ICU, I really could care less about Trump’s approval ratings, or, for that matter, Obama’s in 2009.
  • The “Obamacare” website cost much less than $5 billion.

I wish the president got a grip and realized what people need now in a leader:

  • Calmness
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Support
  • Relentless work toward mobilizing government resources to help the people
  • Guidance based on truth and science
  • Unifying and encouraging language

I see none of this in Trump. He seems to be busy fomenting division and blaming others.

How is that helping?

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And there he stood. A man with a mission. See more details here in the post below.  I expected there’d be more people. He looks pretty lonesome. I guess that is good. No cross contagion of the protestors.

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Liberate Posts by Trump

I wonder what Trump means by these posts?

I know there have been protests by thousands of people in Michigan to stop the “stay at home” orders. See some of it here:

But Trump’s mentioning of the 2nd Amendment in his tweet yesterday is pretty scary. He is goading people to defy the local stay at home orders.

Ok, they can go out. What does he want them to do with weapons? Hold up the local AMC-16 movie theater and force them to play movies? Drive up to the Olive Garden take-out counter, hold up a gun, and force them to serve them in the restaurant?

This shows the curve of infections in the United States. We’re now at 732,000 infected people. That’s more than the next six countries COMBINED. Does this curve look like we should go about our lives as we always have? In Italy, over 10% of the people infected have died. In the United States, about 5% have died. That’s a pretty scary, high death rate. It’s close to that of the Black Plagues in medieval times.

I have a hard time understanding how our president can look at this situation and goad people into “liberating” themselves by defying stay at home orders. Does he have a death wish? Is he really trying to make the health care system collapse?

I agree, people have a right to their “freedom.” But people do not have a right to get others killed. If Michigan wants to put itself on a death track, go ahead. But what about those in Michigan who want to keep themselves healthy and get through this as quickly as possible? Once it gets bad, neighbors will avoid the state, food supplies will dwindle, the medical system will collapse and those with a death wish, I guess, get to die.

Call me a fear monger. But looking at the curve above does not give me any comfort and security. It does not make me think that we have this thing under control.

These are tough times, and it does not look like we can shoot ourselves out of them.

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In Dr. I Trust

Dr. Oz

 

Dr. Phil

 

Dr. Scholl

 

Dr. Seuss

 

Dr. Pepper

 

I think Trump should get advice on constitutional law from Judge Judy.

 

 

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“Two-hundred fifty people a year die from poverty. And the poverty line is getting such that more and more people are going to fall below that, because the economy is crashing around us. And they’re doing that, because people are dying from the coronavirus. I get that,” McGraw said. “But, look, the fact that the matter is we have people dying — 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools — but we don’t shut the country down for that. But, yet, we’re doing it for this? And the fallout is going to last for years, because people’s lives are being destroyed.”

— Dr. Phil McGraw on Fox News with Laura Ingraham on April 17.

Ah, there is more dumbing down of America going on every day.

Dr. Phil McGraw (better known simply as “Dr. Phil”) has a doctorate in psychology, but is not a licensed psychologist. And he hasn’t been licensed since his Texas license expired in 2006. But Fox News apparently thinks he is qualified to give second opinions about Dr. Fauci’s advice. The above shows some of the drivel he spouted.

Let’s just pick swimming pools. I don’t know where he comes from with 360,000 deaths a year from “swimming pools”. That would be about a thousand deaths a day. If that were going on, yes, I think we’d need to outlaw swimming pools.

A quick Google check indicates that from 2005 through 2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States (boating accidents excluded). So he is about a factor of a hundred off, but who cares about math and facts, right?

The important point that McGraw might be missing, however, is that swimming pools don’t procreate exponentially (I am avoiding the word “viral” here on purpose). Swimming pools don’t double in count every night and attack unsuspecting citizens and kill them. Viruses do. Obviously, McGraw hasn’t got an inkling about what he is talking about, but Fox News puts him up there next to Dr. Fauci and asks us to take him seriously.

And that is what I mean when I talk about the dumbing down of America.

 

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