Archive for the ‘Pandemic’ Category

When the Black Plague ravaged the world in the 1600s, doctors adopted head to toe protective gear. They didn’t know how the plague was transmitted, but they thought is was from evil fumes. The beak had two small holes in the front and was filled with perfume, masking the smell. The costume was completed by the wide brimmed leather hat, a sign of the profession of doctor, and a full waxed gown, including leather leggings and gloves.

The doctors also carried a cane, which was used to keep people at a distance. They used the canes to remove clothing from sick people and even to check their pulse.

People were terrified of the costume since it often was associated with imminent death.


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John Prine is one of my favorite singers and songwriters.

He is 72, and a lung cancer survivor. I so hope he makes it through!


Hello in There – it’s so very appropriate right now:

After posting this, I found Joan Baez sending well wishes to John Prine, using the same song:

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First in the world! Today the United States surpassed China and Italy with the most people infected in the world.

I am getting seriously pissed off at the vapid drivel of some of our political right in the United States that still, to this day, calls this epidemic “blown out of proportion by the leftist media” to hurt Trump.

Tell that to the 46 emergency room doctors dead so far in Italy. Do we really think that people dying in Italy has one hoot to do with the political sentiment in the United States? This virus kills. Period.

Let’s put some numbers into perspective, shall we?

There are now 104,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. That has DOUBLED from three days ago. This means that there were as many cases confirmed since Tuesday in the U.S. as there were in all the months since January. DOUBLE in three days.

1,500 people in the U.S. have died from this so far. That means a mortality rate of 1.5%. And – let’s not forget – this is while the hospitals are still staffed, we still have enough beds and doctors and nurses. How many think will die when there won’t be any ventilators for the sick? Simple arithmetic tells us it will be a lot more, perhaps approaching three or four percent as we have seen in other countries.

I guess we won’t have to wait long. It’s still Friday, March 27th as I write this. Five days from now will be April 1st. If the rate of increase stays where it is now, we’ll have 250,000 sick by then, which is likely going to be above the capacity of the major city hospitals. That’s when the bodies will start piling up. Just five days from now.

The numbers do not lie and the rates of increase do not coincide with the wishes of our incompetent national leadership, and the truth will not set us free. Praying is not helping.

I can only do what makes sense to protect myself and those I come in contact with.

But I can say that I am very tired of people in leadership positions acting like this is a hoax or a hype. People are dying by the hundreds, and we’re just getting started.

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There is one man in the world who knows how to move air: James Dyson.

We have a vacuum cleaner with his name on it in our house.

He designed fans with no blades.

Now, in 15 days, he designed a ventilator that can be produced at scale and quickly.

These are the brains we need during times of war and crisis. These are the real heroes.

The Dyson Ventilator article at CNN.com.

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Some of us are introverts.

We welcome social distancing. Not having to hug folks when we get together, not having to do small talk at parties or work, not going to crowded events, parties, bars, all the “social places” is making our lives easier.

I am not saying any of this is good – but I don’t mind being relaxed and distanced, and not hurting anyone’s feelings.

Because – some of us are introverts.

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I have friends all over the world – being part of a reunion group of foreign exchange students from all over the world. I see postings from far away places, like the Philippines, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Guatemala, all over Europe and many other places.

The story is the same one. In every country, all contact has shut down. No travel, no meetings, no entertainment, no shopping, try to work from home, stay away from crowds and groups, cancel even casual get-togethers with friends and even family.

The whole world is staying at home. The whole world has stopped commerce. The whole world is worried about their jobs, their livelihoods. All 7 billion of us are in this together.

In all previous catastrophes that I remember, it was always localized. A terrible hurricane. An earthquake. A volcano. A war. 9/11. It was always just one country. Others could come to the aid.

Not this time. Everyone in the world has stopped normal life. We cannot even fathom what this will do to the world economy.

I see stories about complaints in Germany about this being overblown. I see stories about complaints in the U.S. that this is a “left plot” to bring down Trump. Really? Tell that to the Italian doctors that are dying trying to save the lives of their countrymen!

We’re all in this together. Hopefully we will learn together on how to address calamities that are truly human, not national. Perhaps, after we call come out of this on the other side, can we then address climate change together?

Perhaps we can learn from this?

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This is NOT the flu. Here is a good article by a blogger-friend Musings from the Chiefio.

He always makes strong scientific points.

20 March 2020 Covid-19 USA 16,000 Cases, Italy 4000 Dead

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Remember a couple of weeks ago? This was the curve we saw in Italy. A couple of weeks ago was March 6, and our government was still denying this is a problem.

Now, I guess, they have figured out this is real, and politics, wishful thinking, and prayer, do not make reality change. This is the curve in the U.S. today, with 19,500 cases, up from a few hundred a couple of weeks ago. The number increases by about 50% a day now. Our curve looks what Italy’s looked like then.

So, if we want to know what will happen, just look to Italy and Iran. That’s what will happen. Those of us with scientific minds, a sense of numbers, and simple algebra knew this weeks ago, but our self-absorbed leadership didn’t want to hear it.

We’re finally recognizing the brutal facts, and wishful thinking isn’t going to fix anything. The term “going viral” suddenly has a whole new meaning.

Now if Trump would just get out of the way, stop opening his mouth, and let the experts lead us, maybe we can all tackle this thing.

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Watch Dr. Fauci

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The Stand is about a pandemic that kills almost everyone in the world.

I read this book shortly after it first came out in 1978. Then, in 1990, King reissued the “Complete and Uncut Edition” with extra chapters and some changes. I read it again the early 1990s.

I never did a review of the book. Now might be a great time to do so.

If you’d like to read up on details, check the Wikipedia page for the book here.

A modified strain of the flu (sounds familiar?) accidentally escapes a government lab in Texas. It kills almost everyone it infects. Far less than 1% of the population, for some unfound reason, are immune. This means that in any given city or community, there might be nobody or just one person left. Within just a few weeks, the entire country is a grave yard. Rotting corpses are everywhere, in every house and building. Cars run off the roads litter the highways, usually corpses inside. A few survivors eventually run into each other and small groups band together to eek out a life after “the flu.”

The story follows a group of people who start out in New England and make their way west, collecting straggling survivors as they go. They end up settling in Boulder, Colorado. However, as one might expect, there is also an “evil” group, with its own leader, and they congregate in Las Vegas. The epic struggle between good and evil is carried out by the fragments of humanity.

The Stand is King’s largest book. This is a monster, a work the size of War and Peace. However, it’s also, in my opinion, King’s best work ever, and one of my favorite novels of all time. There are some (very) long stretches of less than exciting mystical sections getting into the supernatural of the bad guys in the second half of the book, which I found tedious. But other than that, it’s riveting reading. King portrays a lot of unique and utterly memorable characters that have stayed with me for a lifetime, including the main characters of Stuart Redman, Frannie Goldsmith, Nick Andros and the ever likeable feeble-minded Tom Cullen, “Laws, Yes!” As usual, King’s characters are deeply developed, very real and convincing. The Stand also introduced me to “Payday” candy bars, which I hadn’t known before. After reading The Stand, discarded Payday candy wrappers always bring back post-apocalyptic visions for me when I randomly encounter them.

I am writing this review as we just received the order by the governor of California to stay at home for the next month to fight the coronavirus pandemic. None of us have ever experienced anything like this before, yet here we are, and the unthinkable has happened.

Well, I have read The Stand before, and I saw how it can end. It’s not pretty.

If you find yourself with some extra time and nothing to read, I highly recommend The Stand.


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Bill Gates predicted that the world’s wealth would go down by about $3 trillion in a pandemic.

Gates knew what he was talking about five years ago, and we didn’t listen.

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Trump is Now a Bystander

Here is a very insightful article by Peter Wehner in The Atlantic, titled:

The Trump Presidency is Over

It shows how the nation has started discounting the federal leadership and taken matters into its own hands. Seeing Trump speak now, every time, I can read it in his eyes. He knows it. Everyone does.

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Trump 4 Days Ago:

Obama 9 Days Ago:

Does anybody wonder why Trump keeps blabbering about how he thinks Obama handled the H1N1 crisis poorly over 10 years ago?

That was in 2009.

As if that mattered right now.



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After the post below, here is another inside view from another friend in Italy:

Our life has deeply changed, Patricia. Northern Italy is in a really bad shape.

Around Firenze the virus hasn’t spread so much yet, but we are confined at home to prevent infection. It seems that the highest peak is still to be reached and it is essential that everybody respects the restrictions, otherwise whoever gets sick may not all have the possibility to be perfectly treated. The number of ICU, which is necessary in several cases, is becoming insufficient. There’s a lack of ventilators, even of masks and of specialized doctors and nurses. Unfortunately a lot of people need intubation.

I’m slightly worried about my daughter who also works in the emergency room – she’s a technician of radiology. All of you who live in countries where COVID-19 hasn’t spread, make sure to follow any kind of restrictions. The earlier severe measures are taken, the less the virus can spread. This virus is not a flu, nothing to be underestimated.

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