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Archive for the ‘Pandemic’ Category

If I had been Donald Trump in January 2020 and wanted to get re-elected, I believe I would have had the sure-fire method to succeed.

This is what I would have done:

As soon as I had heard about the problems in China, I would have contacted my ambassador in China and pulled out all the stops to investigate with the Chinese about what they knew, what they were doing about it, and what the United States could learn from them.

I would have immediately gone to the shelf where Obama’s pandemic response manual was lingering, pulled it out, and read through it personally.

Call every one of the “Obama Pandemic Response Team” that worked in the White House that was fired in 2018 and brought back as many of those as possible, if available.

Call Dr. Fauci and asked him to pull together the nation’s 20 (or more) top epidemic experts as a special White House advisory board. I would have directed Dr. Fauci to expeditiously establish an emergency plan and act on it.

Invoke the 1950 Defense Production Act and started creating PPE.

Establish a national strategy and response team, not consisting of my relatives, but the best logistical minds in the CDC and give them carte-blanche to establish a response plan and execute it.

Ordered the response team to give daily briefings from the White House. I would have sat in the sidelines just being there reassuring everyone I was supporting the effort.

Not have tolerated any misinformation, hiding information, and making things look good. I would simply have responded to the facts at hand as they occurred, as quickly and as transparently as possible.

Not have blamed the Chinese, even though the virus originated there. I would have realized that the next virus could come from the United States or any other nation.

Worked with the WHO to help educate nations about how to detect and contain initial outbreaks for future diseases.

Asked Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to come up with working proposals to help the American unemployed, businesses, and the health care community.

Shown empathy for the dead and reassured the public that I cared and that every life mattered.

Stayed out of the way and let all the experts do their work.

I would have asked the country to help me get this done and definitely not made this about me.

My re-election would have been assured. Sorry, Joe Biden, but I got this.

 

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I always thought Trump was in over his head. He just acts like a person who is. I held that opinion when he first took office, and it has only gotten worse as time passed.

My view is the schools should open. This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away.

— Donald Trump, August 4, 2020

This is what Trump said yesterday, and there is more here than meets the eye on the literal sense.

Trump has governed – or not governed – for 3.5 years now by obfuscating matters, piling scandals upon scandals, so the public, which can only focus on one thing at a time, forgets about the old stuff.

In that way, the Russian election meddling, which was a huge deal to all of us, which eventually caused him to get impeached, is now distant history. It’s there, it’s severe, but we don’t have the emotional energy to worry about it anymore.

In that way, the Russian bounty scandal, which Obama or any other president would have been impeached for had it happened to him, is already dimming. I am outraged that our commander-in-chief isn’t defending our country and our troops, and isn’t standing up for us, but I don’t have the emotional energy to keep it up, and thus the Russian bounty scandal has indeed “gone away.”

To use Trump’s words: “It went away, like things go away.”

Being sufficiently calloused and corrupt, you can indeed create enough obfuscation to make many things go away.

But this time, possibly the first time in his life, Trump is dealing with a disease. It does not tire. Its emotional energy does not wane. It will keep killing. And since it spreads – I hate to use the trite Internet term – virally, it will keep killing exponentially more people. This is reality for a change that can’t be explained away.

Trump is in over his head, and this time, the fact that the emperor has no clothes is glaringly obvious.

Can you imagine if this had been Ebola rather than the coronavirus? With the inept handling of the crisis by our president, the world would be a plague-stricken wasteland now. In a way we got lucky it’s a virus that can be stopped by simple social distancing.

But unlike the naked emperor, this reality is still killing 1000 Americans a day, relentlessly.

It’s not going to go away, and Trump – as scary as that sounds – does not seem to grasp that.

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This is a photograph of people at a football game circa 1918.

Everyone is wearing a mask.

Everyone in this picture is dead now.

Conclusion: Wearing a mask causes death.

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  • February 7 – <10 cases: “He (Xi) will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.”
  • February 10 – <10 cases: “a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.”
  • February 25 – 15 cases: “So I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”
  • February 26 – 15 cases: “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
  • February 27 – 60 cases: “It’s going to disappear…One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
  • March 6 – 319 cases: Trump again stated the virus would “go away.”
  • March 10 – 994 cases: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away,”
  • March 12 – 1,631 cases: “It’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.”
  • March 30 – 168,680 cases: “It will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away.”
  • March 31 – 193,954 cases: “It’s going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month. And, if not, hopefully it will be soon after that.”
  • April 3 – 284,504 cases: “It is going to go away. It is going away.…I said it’s going away, and it is going away.”
  • April 7 – 410,788 cases: “It will go away” “the cases really didn’t build up for a while.” “I think what happens is it’s going to go away. This is going to go away”.
  • April 29 – 1,068,111 cases: “It’s gonna go. It’s gonna leave. It’s gonna be gone. It’s going to be eradicated and – uh – it might take longer. It might be in smaller sections. It won’t be what we had”
  • May 8 – 1,326,579 cases: “It’s going to go away. And we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time.”
  • May 15 – 1,517,723 cases: “It’ll go away at some point, It’ll go away. It may flare up and it may not flare up.”
  • June 16 – 2,211,406 cases: “I always say, even without it [a vaccine], it goes away.”
  • June 17 – 2,237,660 cases: Coronavirus would “fade away”.
  • June 23 – 2,246,338 cases: “We did so well before the plague and we’re doing so well after the plague. It’s going away.”
  • July 1 – 2,778,452 cases: “We’re headed back in a very strong fashion. … And I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope.”
  • July 19 – 3,836,674 cases: “I will be right eventually. You know, I said, ‘It’s going to disappear.’ I’ll say it again. … It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right,”
  •  August 1 – 4,620,239 cases, 154,360 deaths: ” Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases. How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups. Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!”

Now I get it. All these cases, and these new infections, are only there because we have done more testing. If we did less testing, there’d be less cases. Does that mean that if we had stopped testing completely on June 17, when we had 2.2 million cases, the spread would have stopped, instead of the number of infections doubling in the ensuing six weeks?

This is obviously a flawed conclusion and meant simply to confuse people, rather than educate them with useful information and facts.

If you do less testing, you KNOW ABOUT LESS cases. The cases are still there. The testing itself hasn’t infected people. The virus has. Doing less testing will simply give us a false sense of security, and more people will die, and the death count will go up. The government apparently is only interested in how bad things LOOK, not in how bad things really ARE. Unfortunately, our citizens are dying based on how things ARE, not how they LOOK for the government.

It’s not about the numbers and recording the numbers. This is not like ratings on TV shows. Real people are dying every day, one 9/11’s worth every three days! Yet, our government is concerned with how the numbers look.

Even Trump’s claim that we have done far more tests than any other country is not accurate. We may have done more actual tests, but our test counts per capita are not first in the world.  Googling for 10 seconds yields this information for anyone to access: Our World in Data: Testing for Covid-19.

I can’t wait for getting back a government that gives its people useful and actionable information, rather than political propaganda.

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I Want a Reliable Government

Our government is telling us that the Covid-19 virus is “going to go away” magically.

The government is trying to hide the real figures, distort what we can see, and avoid giving any advice.

This is what the infection curve in the U.S looks like as of today, July 20, 2020:

The slope is now steeper than ever. There was a gentle attempt at bending the curve in the middle of May, but that’s long gone.

In the face of that, we’re not getting solid information, our medical community is not getting coordinated support, and the general public is encouraged to ignore the whole thing and wait for it to go away.

Those who speak out are called alarmists, and the thousands of doctors who tell us that there are no ICU beds left, are called liars. Everyone in the world suddenly lies, except our government – it is telling the truth?

What good is the government when it does not take responsibility for the most severe crisis we have yet faced? 140,000 Americans dead, with no end in sight. Remember when we thought 9/11 was bad with 3,000 dead? Right now we have that many people die every three days. And the government acts like this isn’t even happening.

Our government obviously does not care about it, whether we get sick, lose our jobs, or die.

Government by the people, for the people?

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I keep hearing everywhere: It’s just a virus and eventually we will all get it.

I never got Herpes. I never got HIV. Those are just viruses, and I took steps to never get them. I am glad I did.

The following summary is apparently attributed to Amy Wright on Facebook, even though it was later attributed to Dr. Fauci, and many re-posters, including myself, did that. I cannot tell if Amy was the first to post this as her original text, but I’ll give her attribution here:

Chickenpox is a virus. Lots of people have had it, and probably don’t think about it much once the initial illness has passed. But it stays in your body and lives there forever, and maybe when you’re older, you have debilitatingly painful outbreaks of shingles. You don’t just get over this virus in a few weeks, never to have another health effect. We know this because it’s been around for years, and has been studied medically for years.

Herpes is also a virus. And once someone has it, it stays in your body and lives there forever, and anytime they get a little run down or stressed-out they’re going to have an outbreak. Maybe every time you have a big event coming up (school pictures, job interview, big date) you’re going to get a cold sore. For the rest of your life. You don’t just get over it in a few weeks. We know this because it’s been around for years, and been studied medically for years.

HIV is a virus. It attacks the immune system and makes the carrier far more vulnerable to other illnesses. It has a list of symptoms and negative health impacts that goes on and on. It was decades before viable treatments were developed that allowed people to live with a reasonable quality of life. Once you have it, it lives in your body forever and there is no cure. Over time, that takes a toll on the body, putting people living with HIV at greater risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, bone disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. We know this because it has been around for years, and had been studied medically for years.

Now with COVID-19, we have a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. The full spectrum of symptoms and health effects is only just beginning to be cataloged, much less understood.
So far the symptoms may include:

Fever
Fatigue
Coughing
Pneumonia
Chills/Trembling
Acute respiratory distress
Lung damage (potentially permanent)
Loss of taste (a neurological symptom)
Sore throat
Headaches
Difficulty breathing
Mental confusion
Diarrhea
Nausea or vomiting
Loss of appetite
Strokes have also been reported in some people who have COVID-19 (even in the relatively young)
Swollen eyes
Blood clots
Seizures
Liver damage
Kidney damage
Rash
COVID toes (weird, right?)

People testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented to be sick even after 60 days. Many people are sick for weeks, get better, and then experience a rapid and sudden flare up and get sick all over again. A man in Seattle was hospitalized for 62 days, and while well enough to be released, still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Not to mention a $1.1 million medical bill.

Then there is MIS-C. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. While rare, it has caused deaths.

This disease has not been around for years. It has basically been 6 months. No one knows yet the long-term health effects, or how it may present itself years down the road for people who have been exposed. We literally *do not know* what we do not know.

For those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity:

How dare you?

How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly. How dare you decide for others that they should welcome exposure as “getting it over with”, when literally no one knows who will be the lucky “mild symptoms” case, and who may fall ill and die. Because while we know that some people are more susceptible to suffering a more serious case, we also know that 20 and 30-year-olds have died, marathon runners and fitness nuts have died, children and infants have died.

How dare you behave as though you know more than medical experts, when those same experts acknowledge that there is so much we don’t yet know, but with what we DO know, are smart enough to be scared of how easily this is spread, and recommend baseline precautions such as:

Frequent hand-washing
Physical distancing
Reduced social/public contact or interaction
Mask wearing
Covering your cough or sneeze
Avoiding touching your face
Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces

The more things we can all do to mitigate our risk of exposure, the better off we all are, in my opinion. Not only does it flatten the curve and allow health care providers to maintain levels of service that aren’t immediately and catastrophically overwhelmed; it also reduces unnecessary suffering and deaths, and buys time for the scientific community to study the virus in order to come to a more full understanding of the breadth of its impacts in both the short and long term.

I reject the notion that it’s “just a virus” and we’ll all get it eventually. What a careless, lazy, heartless stance.

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If you had shown me this chart six months ago, and asked me to guess what it means, I would have had no idea.

If you had urged me to just guess, the word “yesterday” in the title notwithstanding, I would have said it must be the number of deaths due to gun violence last year, but I would have been suspicious that the numbers for Japan and Germany were as high as they were.

If you had then told me that the numbers reflected daily infections of a new and highly contagious disease, I would not have believed it.

I would not have been able to reconcile that our country, with a medical establishment (science, research, medical schools) second to none in the world, would have an infection rate of 250 times as bad as Germany or Japan.

With our population being about four times as large as Germany and three times as large as Japan, we can safely divide the rate again by a third and state that we’re about 100 times as bad as those countries.

Then I hear arguments that this is still not real, since we’re testing so much more than other countries right now (which I actually don’t believe and see no evidence of, but that’s another matter to investigate). So let’s say we’re testing twice as much per capita as Germany and Japan. This would reduce the factor from 100 times to about 10 times the rate.

[I really should be using an equation like the Drake equation to show this in more scientific terms, but this ‘back of the napkin calculation’ makes my points]. We’re still off by a factor of 10.

Something is very wrong in Denmark… ahem …in the United States.

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There are voices out there now that claim that “wearing a mask is living in fear” and similar assertions. Others proclaim their rights are being infringed upon. Whatever happened to the old “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy we had no problem with in grocery stores in the olden days? If I ran a store, I’d put up a sign that says “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service” and be done with it.

I wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle. Heck, I wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle. I wear a helmet when I go rock climbing. I wear a seatbelt when I drive a car. None of those self-protection measures have ever had me cry that my freedom is lost. Of course, I still freak out when I travel in Ohio and people ride motorcycles without a helmet. Any old idiot on the road can not see you on the motorcycle, and hitting your head on the pavement at 60 miles an hour with just your jaw and teeth to protect you is not a pleasant thought.

In our country, we now have 2.4 million people identified positive for Covid-19. We have 125,000 people dead due to Covid-19. That is a horrifically high death rate of 5% for a disease if you catch it. Since older people are much more vulnerable, the death rate is even much higher. I am over 60.

I have done rock climbing. I have done skydiving. I have ridden motorcycles on the highway. None of these activities are even within a factor of 1000 close to the death rate of Covid-19.

And worse, if you survive the disease after weeks in ICU, you have a 7-figures hospital bill.

So if I can wear a mask at the grocery store and give myself a slightly better chance not to catch this bug, I will take it.

I am not living in fear, but I am not very interested in dying, or having a million dollar hospital bill ruin the rest of my life.

Interestingly, we had a slight bending of the curve that gave me some hope, but it looks like the fear of living in fear and the aversion to lack of freedom with a mask is turning it the other way again:

This graph does not show the infection rate of a country that is conquering this virus.

Darwinian effects will quickly take care of this “living in fear” argument, but in the meantime, we’re prolonging the agony of a country shut down, we’re burning out our doctors and nurses, and we’re keeping the economy on a life support system.

If you think living in fear is bad, try going on like this for another few months, after the hospitals finally do run out of capacity.

Where do you go?

 

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Covid-19 Hospital Bills

If you catch this nasty virus, and you need to be hospitalized, if it’s serious and you survive, you’re financially ruined.

This survivor in Seattle had a 181-page hospital bill for $1.1 million.

Here are the risk levels related to activities:

You sure you still want to go to that political rally?

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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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