Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19

The madness, the sheer ignorance, or insanity of this modern life, of complacency and certain human logic often cannot be fathomed, not in the least. Today I am beside myself.

A wealthy women’s Republican organization took to the grounds of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 demanding businesses reopen and workers return to their jobs immediately. Their demands came in the wake of still rising confirmed infections of COVID-19 cases of 2,602 (90 more cases) on April 20th from 2,190 on April 15th, including 9 additional deaths in those five days. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County are still rising according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.

PCRW protest Dallas

The Park Cities Republican Women is a political club of wives and women from two of Texas’ most wealthiest urban municipalities within Texas, University Park and Highland Park combined, and second only to Collin County consisting of opulent towns like Plano, McKinney, and Allen, Texas. These two counties are the bulk of the wealthiest Republican seats in North Texas for the last 25-30 years. Some of the nation’s richest billionaires live in three of these four Dallas neighborhoods. At one time in recent history these neighborhoods all barred non-whites from entering these areas of residence.

Park Cities Republican Women Board

Dallas Park Cities Republican Women Executive Board

Researching and digging into these ladies’ current occupations and their husbands’ and those business ties and ventures certainly yielded a very clear bias leaning to DFW mega-businesses in sectors like but not limited to real estate, financial-wealth management, and mass media corporations. That digging also resulted in determining that several of these women on the “Executive Board” are not native Texans or even more than 3rd-4th generation Texans. It soon begs the question, How many times have these ladies gone to and spent significant time in Dallas’ most impoverished areas (Pleasant Grove? Wynnewood or Beckley Club Estates?) for simple charity or stimulus packages/plans for critically needed improvement in basic, public socio-educational programs?

Aside from these protester’s political associations and postures the more pressing, more critical question to be asked is what is required to stop and reduce COVID-19 infections and subsequent deaths. After all, is it not human life, the unnecessary loss of innocent lives that are most important, most morally responsible that is the top priority? Isn’t that the highest importance as if it were your own child or your own parent? Is that an overreaction by anyone who’s own child/parent might be infected with COVID-19?

Overreaction? Seriously!? What planet do you live on!?

No. It is anything but an overreaction people. As of today, April 25, 2020, there are 2.79-million people infected by COVID-19 around the world. To date there have been 196,000 deaths from coronavirus; over 52,400 in the U.S. and rising still. All one need do is examine Italy’s COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.

italy_newplot

From a March 23rd Vox article:

What’s scary about Italy’s experience is that Italy wasn’t exactly passive in its response to the virus. The country did act, quarantining a dozen towns in northern regions on February 23, urging the public to engage in social distancing, and ordering the closure of all schools nationwide on March 4.

The reality, however, of wisely and scientifically managing one of the worst, most devastating pandemics this country has faced since January 1918 with the Spanish Flu pandemic, is that there is a very specific, safe plan to slowly ease out of Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home orders that were ordered to save lives. It is simply called public health and protection of American lives directed and implemented by our elected government officials, on all necessary levels. That’s the theory anyway.

The plan has several phases: Phase one is slowing the spread through social distancing, while ramping up testing capacity, and ensuring hospitals have the equipment they need. In phase two, social distancing restrictions ease while public health workers continue to track and isolate cases.

But it will take a lot to get there. The authors argue these decisions need to be made on a region-by-region basis: Phase two should only begin after 14 days of sustained case reductions in an area, and only after testing capacity is dramatically increased.
Resnick, Brian, “How to safely end social distancing,” Vox.com, accessed April 25, 2020

There is still so much that is unknown, undetermined about the COVID-19 virus, how it spreads so easily, so quickly, and how it is quickly detected. We just learned that six more symptoms have been added to the original 4-5 symptoms. On top of this new evidence there are people in China and Japan that after recovering from infection they have become reinfected with COVID-19. The fact is there is simply not enough collected data and research to determine with certainty whether these new cases were in fact positively infected the first time (U.N. announcement). Therefore, with a known incubation period of at least 14-days before COVID-19 symptoms manifest in patients, it is much more safe for medical professionals and the general public to err on the side of caution.

Remarkably there is still push-back from many Cash-worshipers. The Park Cities Republican Women’s club is not the only protesters voicing their defiance. Lulu Garcia-Navarro hosts NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and she along with Kirk Siegler talked with former Salt Lake City, Utah police officer Eric Moutsos who has become overly vocal since being put on administrative leave from the SLC police department:

In my opinion, not being able to provide for your family is a hundred times bigger health crisis than any virus.

Quarantine is for sick people. It’s when you lock sick people away. But when you lock healthy people away, that’s tyranny.

Moutsos is not alone in his self-made celebrity status. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already made controversial remarks against the sanctity of life for all Americans by stating senior citizens were more concerned about money, paychecks, and the economy. From NBCnews.com:

“And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us,” Patrick said Monday night.

He went on to say that he didn’t want to die but that “we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”

On the contrary, reality according to epidemiologists and virologists around the world is that too many Americans are underestimating how long COVID-19 disruptions will have to last. They blame much of this false hope on the Trump Administration’s erroneous information and timelines disseminated in Press Conferences:

…but quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said.

“The administration has consistently shown a desire to underplay the severity of whatever is coming. And they’re constantly adjusting that — as it becomes harder to deny the reality will be worse than what they’ve conditioned people for,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

But experts say that, even if some restrictions are relaxed, it’s unlikely life as normal will resume in early May.

“Decisions to reopen society should not be about a date, but about the data,” Frieden, now president and CEO of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said during a briefing Wednesday for journalists. “How well and how quickly we do these things will determine how soon and how safely we can reopen.”

Still A Small Minority

Fortunately, these protesting Cash-worshipers represent a small minority in the U.S. as well as Texas. The Texas Tribune’s Brandon Formby and Ross Ramsey write:

Two-thirds of registered Texas voters agree with decisions by Gov. Greg Abbott and several local officials to suspend nonessential business operations. And more than three-quarters of voters support orders to stay home except for essential activities. The poll’s findings come as Abbott says he will soon announce plans to reopen a wide range of Texas businesses.

According to Politico.com only 30% of Americans say getting the nation’s economy up and running is a first priority despite what some news media corporations promote. Here is what Gallup Polling states:

The average American is unequipped to make scientific judgments on virus-related matters. Americans are better able to make judgments on the financial and economic impact of the shutdowns.

While other Gallup data show that a majority of Americans (55%) say they can continue following social distancing practices without significant financial hardship for “as long as is necessary,” 8% say they’re already experiencing significant financial hardship, and another 14% say they will within a few more weeks.

[…]

58% of respondents in the survey chose… “the United States will move too quickly in loosening restrictions and the virus will continue to spread with more lives being lost.”

As of today, the majority of Americans do not want to risk more extended restrictions of Stay-at-Home orders by foolishly and prematurely reopening. This is clear.

Will American History Repeat Itself?

Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Michigan University, Alex Navarro, detailed the historical accounts of the 1918 Spanish flu in 43 cities:

“There was a lot of pressure in pretty much all of these American cities to reopen,” said Navarro, whose research was done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When they removed those restrictions too soon, then many cities saw a resurgence in cases.”

Government authorities in California and much of the West Coast in 1918 – 1919 were doing everything right, they were ‘flattening the curve’ as repeatedly told by doctors and scientists of virology and epidemiology. Sadly, by November and December 1918 too many business leaders and moguls put huge pressure on government officials to reopen and return our struggling economy to normal. Those Cash-worshipers then used the press to further promote and propagandize their declining riches.

San-Francisco-influenza-1918

A congregation praying on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to hear mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, San Francisco, California, 1918 — Hulton Archive / Getty Images

But three weeks after that celebration of removing their masks, the city saw a dramatic resurgence. Officials at first rejected the idea of reopening the city and suggested residents could voluntarily wear face coverings.

But shortly after the New Year in 1919, the city was hit with 600 new cases in one day, prompting the Board of Supervisors to re-enact the mandatory mask ordinance. Protests against the mandate eventually led to the formation of the Anti-Mask League. The detractors eventually got their way when the order was lifted in February.

And as PBS’ poignant Frontline documentary Coronavirus Pandemic proved this past Tuesday, April 21st, the American economy is not just taking a blow from COVID-19, the nation’s economy is suffering directly because of Washington D.C., the White House, and specifically our incapable fake President who delayed and downplayed the seriousness of the virus. He has never been a true leader prior to or during his Presidency or one who proactively or consistently shows compassion, sympathy and empathy for all Americans, or much less the ability to admit publicly when you’ve truly f*cked up. Has the man ever taken full responsibility for his f*ck ups as the country’s incapable leader? The truth doesn’t get any simpler nor more clear.

Nevertheless, getting back to the real issue: the science, when your country’s top, foremost doctor of infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci states If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing then even a preschooler understands what must be done no matter how badly your pocketbook is hurting. Duh!

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Addendum 4/28/2020 — this is an excellent interview by Michel Martin of PBS’ Amanpour & Company called “Former Sen. Bill Frist on the President’s Pandemic Response.” It is well worth watching:
https://www.pbs.org/video/former-sen-bill-frist-presidents-pandemic-response-h6futh/

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64 thoughts on “Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19

    • Those are good, valid questions Ark. I’d imagine that every family’s circumstances are different with moving variables such as geographic locale, financial historical habits, family background and closeness, hunting-survivalist skills, etc, etc. Do you have any ideas? 😉

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      • I imagine that anyone in such a position would consider feeding their family would over ride the risk factor of contracting the illness.
        I am not a medical professional or politician so a fix-all I have not.
        However, while Sweden’s approach might seem reckless I’m sure it can’t be any more frightening than what many people over here are going through who have absolutely nothing to fall back on and are staring hunger in the face.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I know this… most all epidemiologists and virologists say with high probability and experience, COVID-19 will NOT be the last global pandemic to strike in the coming decades. They all explain over and over that unless humanity changes our daily activities and complacency (denial?) to treat Earth with little to no respect and care, Mother Nature will win these types of “wars” most every time.

          For example, if we Americans spent the same level of money, tax dollars we do so liberally on military production and instead spent it on medical research, development of effective vaccines, and had more effective, more refined government oversight and regulation on public health, these type disasters would not be near as crippling or lethal.

          Liked by 4 people

          • But they won’t…..

            One thing that has come out of this for SA is it has increased the drive towards universal healthcare. Ramaphosa has to be commended for this,
            However, that we still have such a yawning chasm between haves and have-nots after 25 years of democracy is shameful.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I do hope universal healthcare DOES happen Ark. There are already a number of northern European nations that have it or a close semblance to it that are quite successful. More elapsed time seems to keep reinforcing their models. I doubt my country will ever do it, not in my lifetime. 😦

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          • Hang on… I really wish I didn’t feel compelled to say so but this either/or framing is not particularly helpful or necessary or even justified… even though it seems to pop up over and over again every time people suffer and die.

            Pandemic preparedness does not mean subtracting from the military nor do epidemics arise primarily from this notion of ‘abusing’ the earth (or being sexually active, or allowing gay marriage, or angering the gods, or whatever). This importing of an ideology and morality into the subject of disease relies on the same line of reasoning used with these others – with only the particulars changed – that framed, for example, the AIDS epidemic, as if HIV were an ‘immoral’ disease. This inclusion other than the disease process itself – no matter how well intended – is a diversion from the matter at hand, namely the best informed public response to a pandemic.

            SARS-CoV-2 is a corona virus like MERS or SARS or even one of the hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold and we don’t pretend these must have a moral component in need of addressing first; they are naturally occurring viruses (because, hey, people do interact and ‘abuse’ nature every minute of every day because we are as much a part of nature as anything else alive and susceptible to beneficial and harmful bacteria, beneficial and harmful germs, beneficial and harmful viruses, and so on) that in this case causes widespread infections of a disease in humans that has a higher than usual fatality rate. We can reduce their viral prevalence by a number of measures and reduce their virulence to kill people in a number of ways without importing some ideology of blame and moralizing to unnecessarily complicate the best medical response to it. Military expenditure has nothing to do with addressing Covid-19. Abusing the earth has nothing to do with addressing Covid-19. Hygiene and best practices for food handling including irradiation and genetically modified foods as well as social practices are different topics regardless of how well changing these might address the potential rising and spread of a new SARS-like pandemic.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Military expenditure has nothing to do with addressing Covid-19

              Of course it doesn’t. However, as with gun control, universal healthcare, , addressing homelessness, drugs and the other myriad issues, it IS about mindset and prioritizing.

              Liked by 3 people

            • On a completely different subject, but one that is fondly close to both our hearts, there has been a lot more chatter here about merging/combining the U.S.’s MLS with Mexico’s Liga MX. I am in favor of it big time for the simple reason that it gets us, that is American-born footballers, that much closer in more numbers than presently or in history to competing at the elite highest levels in Europe’s best leagues! 🙂

              Thoughts? And don’t hold back Ark. Speak your mind Sir! 😁

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            • LOL… I wish we would, a LOT more! But as you are probably aware, Liga MX and Mexican players have many more world-class (or still developing) players playing, both domestically and in Europe, than in our MLS. This merger would at least see more American-born footballers playing with and against more GREAT players that have or could play in Europe’s best leagues. That’s why I’m excited about this. 🙂

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            • Military expenditure has nothing to do with addressing Covid-19. Abusing the earth has nothing to do with addressing Covid-19. Hygiene and best practices for food handling including irradiation and genetically modified foods as well as social practices are different topics…

              If I’m understanding our possible dichotomy here Tildeb, I do ask for your patience with me, with my cognitive sluggishness. 😉 Bear with me here as I mention some obvious analogies. With all due respect, isn’t funding, tax-dollars, and fund-raising a significant factor, something to plan ahead for for many R&D ventures in many industries? Similar to there being only 24-hours in a day, the U.S. economy has only a certain amount of currency in circulation. Hence, budget priorities and spending must be wisely decided for public health as well as protecting domestic interests and well-being first, and others that follow. Yes? Apologies if I’m missing something or not explaining myself very well.

              Of course I have greatly simplified a very complex debate, but with a fairly fixed amount of state and federal income/revenue, should not priorities, expenditures, and decisions be made based primarily upon one’s tax-paying citizens, their health and well-being against invisible, deadly viruses first versus a literal enemy not attacking our homeland or large numbers of foreign-based Americans? Abusing Earth, hygiene, food handling, disregarding factual microbiology within infectious diseases, in my humble opinion, may not be immediately or directly related concerning a virus or infection, but they seem to me to sometimes be related and sometimes have cross-over, related variables nonetheless. Ripple-effects, if you will, from specific or similar sources. In this case, COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China at an “open” dead animal market—horrible raw-food safety practices!—and insects (from bats) most likely easily helped the virus jump from an animal virus to human virus. In the U.S. this is exactly what our EPA, FDA, HHS, FSIS, etc, are charged to do regularly in our private and public sectors. But sadly their budgets are often under-funded and under-staffed for many political and bureaucratic reasons. President tRumpfy is a prime reason today.

              Now, I’m still unsure if I’m understanding or making myself more clear, but perhaps you and I will have to agree to disagree about the relation I see between our military spending and these other domestic “priorities” our political parties and supporters here in America take. I am certainly not the typical, average American male. Unconventional to put it politely. Some of my close friends remind me of this all the time and I know exactly what they mean. 😄

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            • I would add, PT, that “our” president also defunded the very department in our government that oversaw things such as maintaining the health of the people from pandemics and such.

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            • Yep. And sadly, as the World Health Organization’s biggest contributor, he also yanked all U.S. funding to the W.H.O… who by the way DID do everything possible to make this pandemic less crippling and lethal.

              https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/14/trump-world-health-organization-funding-186786

              Maybe President tRumpfy wanted that $57.8-million for W.H.O. ($99.16-million by 2020’s end)* to go to more military production for our longest war in U.S. history: Afghanistan? 😉

              * – Source: https://www.who.int/about/finances-accountability/funding/AC_Status_Report_2020.pdf?ua=1

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            • US budget: approximately 3.5 trillion. CDC budget: approximately 6.5 billion. Accordingly got my off-the-cuff calculations, the CDC is about 1/6th or 1% of the budget. The military accounts for about 16%. My point is that these are not mutually exclusive expenses, where we must choose one or the other. In fact, I think the military aspect really brings no benefit to including it in the discussion; rather, I think it is an ideological pinata.

              In the same vein, we don’t know where this virus got started. All we know it has a high likelihood to be related to bats. We know the Wuhan province is where the outbreak was first reported… not by the CCP but a rogue doctor (dentist, if I recall correctly and there’s no guarantee of that) speaking with colleagues in Taiwan about a bunch of patients exhibiting SARS-like symptoms.

              Because hygiene at ‘wet’ markets is notoriously bad, this makes the one Wuhan market closest to the one cluster a very handy culprit. Bats can be bought for food, which bolsters the case, but the night time bugs attracted to the mess are feasted on by – you guessed it – bats. But bats are also prevalent where people do not ‘abuse’ nature… if there is a stable supply of food. So blaming people for this virus is one step removed from what we know. That’s why it really doesn’t matter in the sense that these viruses will continue to come out of nature. That’s what viruses do. So one of the mitigating policies should be to practice better hygiene not only with food handling but where food and/or other products can be contaminated. But I’ve noticed many people who strongly support better hygiene and handling seem to be last people willing to accept the most effective form of guaranteeing hygiene, namely irradiation. But none of this matters a tinker’s damn when it comes to Covid-19; it’s here, it’s now, it’s real, and it has a fairly high death rate compared to the seasonal flu and other contagions.

              I think when a vaccine is available, I wonder what all those anti-vaccination cheerleaders will do regarding their families? Claim it causes autism?

              Liked by 1 person

  1. The planning required to navigate a pandemic successfully – meaning the economy and workforce are prepared to shelter in place and be ready, willing, and able to rebound quickly – is a huge undertaking. From the front end, steps need to be taken to prepare for the next steps, and the next in order to reach that balance of not only telling people what is going on, what is being done, why one’s participation is important, but have the financial needs for a social and business safety net in place and ready to function as the need increases.

    The US – including many states – has intentionally created the situation needed for people to feel obligated to go back to work, to reopen businesses, to create the situation on the ground for the US to guarantee very high rates of fatalities compared to other first world nations and call this result ‘necessary’. I have little doubt the casting call for ‘essential’ businesses is based much more on being able to reject unemployment benefits than to meet some pressing social need.

    So I don’t hold people in contempt (generally speaking) for demanding that they be able to produce income; rather, I’m surprised at the level of poverty and economic fragility so many people are willing to tolerate in order to try to protect themselves and their families from infection.

    I hold all levels of government in the US in contempt for being willing participants and co-conspirators in this slow motion tragedy. Each level of government knows what they ought to do but until voters themselves recognize their complicity in electing those who do not have their best interests at heart or who wish to put the lives of voters on behalf of their partisan line, the US by each vote cast will continue down the path of helping to crumble their elevated position in the world into an internecine family dispute. Yet I’m pretty sure I read somewhere, We the people… my, my, just look how quickly people forget this core value and fail time and time again to support representatives of this principle with the reins of power.

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  2. Well, like Texas’ Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick recently said, “There are more important things than living.”

    That perverted attitude is a trademark of doctrinaire conservatives and other narrow-minded numbskulls who either can’t or won’t understand that our economic prosperity is dependent upon our public health. As long as COVID-19 rages, the majority of people will refrain from returning to normal activities. It is simply not possible to restore the economy until the pandemic is reversed through government action or until the coronavirus fades away naturally.

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      • In response to a bunch of (paid) ‘freedom’ protesters against the stay-at-home restrictions (what the Conservative premier of my province calls, “a bunch of yahoos and yokels, irresponsible and incredibly selfish”) worried about the state daring to dictate their bodily movements, one tweeter I thought nailed it in one said, “Welcome to the world of having a uterus.”

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    • As long as COVID-19 rages, the majority of people will refrain from returning to normal activities.

      This is an important point that doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough. People are arguing about whether the government should re-open the economy. The government can’t re-open the economy. Only the mass of ordinary people who form the customer base of the nation’s businesses can do that. Yes, the fraction of the population that refuses to take the problem seriously will go back to normal activities (or never stopped), but the stupidest 35% of the population (which tends to be toward the bottom of the income scale) by itself isn’t enough to get the economy back to normal — and as they themselves fall victim to a rising tide of infections, they’ll start recognizing that the problem is real and retreat.

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  3. Boggles the mind. Assuming you have anything left to boggle. I am pretty boggled right now with the state of our virus response. Which amounts to a public meltdown of the orange idiot.

    Why in the hell didn’t they get rid of this blight upon the world when they had him in the sentaorial crosshairs?

    How much of this crap from our dear orange idiot leader must we continue to bear? Have the dumbasses that voted for him in the last election figured out yet why that was a horrible idea? Where the hell is Batman right now? We need help. Someone use the damn bat signal!

    Maybe the orange idiot will use the big red button to cure the virus? I mean at this point there is no scenario that is outlandish enough to omit from consideration, from this brainless, insidious, freaking clown…

    Thank you giving me a place to vent. I feel a smidge better. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome Shell. 😉

      I just finished watching Netflix’s new series Coronavirus, Explained and it, like PBS Frontline’s outstanding documentary proved, and there is no debate anymore that President tRumpfy and his loyalists royally F*CKED this all up in December 2019 and January 2020 when it was glaringly obvious what had to be done, and didn’t. He is the primary one to blame for effin up the American economy LONGER than it had to be by disseminating false information through February and March, and not organizing all 50 states for this pandemic’s earliest measures.

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        • If I understand your question correctly Tildeb, our POTUS could’ve done so much more to avoid our 50 governors bidding against each other and against private sectors/organizations like hospitals for PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment)! But I might be missing your sarcasm(?), if there is some in your question? Lol 🤔

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  4. On my blog a short time back, I suggested a premise in which EVERYONE was required to wear a mask. NO exceptions. IF such a scenario were in place, people actually could go back to work. Of course, social-distancing should continue to be encouraged (enforced?).

    However, there are always those who believe they are an “exceptional” human being and would insist they are exempt from such frivolous actions.

    Oh wait! That’s sorta what’s going on now, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😄 Nan, you sound like you speak from firsthand experience, as if you live on the West Coast, Washington state(?), Oregon(?) where Governor Jay Inslee, Microsoft, Evergreen Health hospital in Kirkland, WA, Providence St. Joseph Health hospital in Seattle, and all of those highly intelligent West Coasters who knew immediately WHAT HAD TO BE DONE and did it despite our President’s idiocy!? 😉 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, yes. I live in Oregon and Governor Brown has been pretty adamant about her coronavirus-related decisions. But we’re not exempt. There are protests even in the area where I live that since the numbers in our county are low, people should have the “right” to reopen businesses. What they (and so many others) refuse to accept is the REASON behind why our numbers are low. *sigh*

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        • Exactly Nan! I’m almost willing to wager (out on a limb) that we here in Texas will see a large resurgence of infections and deaths by COVID-19 come July and August, or sooner. But this has to happen AFTER our infections begin declining! This is currently not happening; they’re still going up.

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    • In Canada, there is some controversy about masks.

      On the one hand, there seems to be medical consensus that infected people should wear one to reduce their ability to spread it but with the period of asymptomatic infection somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks, there is an argument to be made everyone should wear one.

      On the other hand, there seems to be medical consensus that non infected people raise their risk by touching and adjusting their masks, that a false sense of security leading to riskier behaviour (like closer contact) is promoted by those wearing masks, that proper fitting and handling of masks is poorly met. Add to this the need to supply hundreds of millions of masks per day to the already stretched supply chain, and I think we have good reasons for the controversy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes! From a practical POV I totally agree, tildeb. But opening everything up and forcing life back to “normal” isn’t the answer either. IMO, the masks might, at the very least, serve as a preventative.

        Cost of same? Yes. Absolutely a consideration. But in the case of the States, I feel it could be done if the “leaders” would quit doling it out to the already rich.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, I, too, think I would err on the side of hopeful caution and wear a properly fitted N95 mask if I lived in the States. Such a shame and so unnecessary to have first world country with a widespread 5+% mortality rate and even more shameful to be just as vulnerable with just as much community spread and fatality rates to a 2nd and even 3rd pulse. I sincerely hope this will not turn out to be the case but I’m not optimistic.

          Liked by 2 people

    • IF such a scenario were in place, people actually could go back to work.

      Actually, they couldn’t. Masks don’t completely prevent transmission of the virus, they just make it somewhat less likely. In situations where going out in public is unavoidable, such as grocery shopping, masks make it somewhat safer than it would otherwise be. They definitely would not make it safe to be routinely mingling with other people in an office for forty hours a week. Even with 100% mask use and social distancing, sending everybody back to work as normal would still result in a second wave of infections, even if it happened a bit more slowly than it would without the masks.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I won’t debate your perspective … you have a point. But if you read my post, you’ll see I wasn’t just thinking about “ordinary” masks. Nevertheless, it was just an idea that I threw out for discussion. I’m well aware of the drawbacks.

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        • I don’t believe any type of mask exists, or can exist, which would lower virus transmission close enough to zero to make it safe for the workforce to return to work normally.

          To my knowledge, not a single scientist or doctor in any country has suggested that universal mask usage would make such a return to normality safe, even hypothetically.

          Thinking outside the box isn’t a bad thing, but the reality of the situation is what it is.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. The only kind of social contract that the most powerful man on Earth understands is the kind that he can break to save his own skin, improve his approval ratings, assuage his delicate feelings, and to get his virtueless ass reelected. His snake oil still sells.

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    • Agreed John. As I mentioned in the post, with certain Cash-worshiping Republicans, many of them have huge financial investments and leverage within mass media corporations, perhaps even ownership. You don’t say!? Oh really?… “Things that make you go Hmmmm.” 🤔🙄

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  6. What the cash-worshipers don’t seem to realize is that the only reason the country’s death toll has been kept this low is the lockdowns. Without them, such a highly-infectious virus would have proliferated widely enough to drive the death toll into the hundreds of thousands or millions, as the early worst-case scenarios projected.

    Remember, the pandemic is only beginning to hit the South and rural areas, which have been more resistant to social distancing and whose population skews older and less healthy. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    Remember, too, that testing in the US is so inadequate that we actually can’t know whether we’ve “flattened the curve” yet or not. The true number of infections must be much larger than the official figure of 950,000. How much larger, and how quickly it’s really increasing, we simply don’t have any way to know.

    To address the point in Arkenaten’s first comment, the US is a rich enough country that it could afford to provide that fraction of its workforce that is unable to work from home with enough basic income to survive the period when social distancing is necessary. Perhaps South Africa is not, but surely measures like free food rations and a rent moratorium could minimize the number of people who feel forced to put themselves (and their families and neighbors) at risk of infection to survive.

    As it is, the US response has been staggeringly inept, not only because of the stupidity and callousness of Republicans (such as the oblivious ladies of the Park cities), but because of the mass stupidity and disdain for expertise which prevails among about a third of our population. That leads to, not only astroturfed anti-lockdown spectacles like those in Dealey Plaza, Lansing, etc., but also the endless cases of churches holding group events in defiance of the rules, infecting dozens of people at a time and amplifying the spread of the virus through the surrounding communities.

    We’re not going to get out of this mess unless and until one of the drugs currently being tested (such as remdesivir) turns out to be effective as a treatment, something which will take at least weeks to determine.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Infidel, very very well said Sir. Bravo! 👏🏼

      This is the actual Table showing that our “Curve” inside Dallas County is not flattening or going down!

      Table: https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/hhs/2019-nCoV/COVID-19%20DCHHS%20Summary_042420.pdf

      So no matter what these Cash-worshiping people falsely spew out, their justification and ideology is bogus. Period. As of yesterday, April 25th, our County had 105 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 3,014, with 82 total deaths to date*.

      * – Numbers are updated daily. Note: Does not include positive results from persons who reside out-of-state or outside of Dallas County.

      Liked by 4 people

      • The curve is, in fact going down if you understand what this chart says. Flattening the curve means keeping the ratio of new cases to ICU admissions stable over time. This is what the chart shows, that the increases in cases since March 27th to ICU admissions have stabilized over time to mid April. And the reason why this ratio is so important is because the real threat is overwhelming the ICUs so any plans to increase public contact must be based on whether or not the health care system can still respond to the extreme cases.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you Tildeb. You can decipher graphs and the meanings of the data better than I can. Perhaps I should’ve used this chart/graph to explain my own serious concerns with getting infected…

          The “Trend” as of April 29 is still going up, correct? I mean, if I do indeed end up getting infected—seems chances are decent-to-good if I do not practice VERY safe protocols when I MUST go out in Dallas County—and end up in hospital, then perhaps I don’t have as much to worry about not getting necessary medical treatment while there. BUT… I don’t want to get infected in the first place! And yet, more and more Dallas County residents are getting infected—and obviously more are getting tested? Which is good, I think. 🤔

          Am I right that the trend for infections is still rising? And if correct, what are the impacts for me? 😬

          Chart source — https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/what-we-know-about-coronavirus-cases-in-north-texas-around-the-state/2335449/

          Like

          • Until rates of infection decline steadily, you’re absolutely correct to be very concerned that the risk of being infected is either the same or greater. Just look at how poorly the US is doing in comparison to most other countries to know the risk – and the deaths that are a part of that risk – continues unabated.

            My point with my previous comment was that, from a government stay-at-home policy, the first benchmark to achieve is the flattening of the curve so that the medical system does not get overwhelmed. That’s primary. But it is only the very first step to getting a public policy handle on the pandemic. It’s being treated by many as a clarion call to open the bars and bowling alleys and get prostitutes back on their street corners.

            What follows the flattening of the curve is as important a consideration as the flattening itself: how do we know which direction the curve is heading? This fundamental knowledge has to be based on something, and that something is widespread testing – establishing baselines. That’s how you can calculate actual risk of becoming infected. After all, there is very good reason to believe that current numbers of positive cases represent only a fraction of what’s really going on – a consensus from many medical officers seems to be emerging that about 90% of infections are either unreported or asymptomatic and not being tested. Think about that for a moment and what it means.

            But that basic requirement for knowing where the infection rate is and whether it’s increasing or decreasing hasn’t even been met, yet many elected officials think it’s not that important as long as they can point to graph produced by public health officials and say the curve has flattened! Whoopty doo! Nice to know there’s an ICU bed and ventilator waiting… but you can still DIE from contracting Covid-19 that remains somewhere around 5% likelihood today regardless. Hence, your concern is at the very least valid if not the only sane fear to have.

            So this ongoing knowledge of where the curve based on rates of infection is rather than ICU beds available is fundamental to the public if we look to countries that have most effectively dealt with the virus. They haven’t just flattened the curve; they’ve actively reduced the curve to almost nil by strict social policies and firm (enforced) guidelines. Even Taiwan – that kept businesses and schools open, for example – implemented a very early response, early changes mandated, spoke with very open communication with the public and press daily explaining what needed to be done and why (what behaviours must be strictly followed), and spent the money necessary to ensure widespread testing early and often, very fast official responses to a single case combined with massive efforts to quarantine every contact traced, and kept very accurate tracking. And they did all this knowing very little about the virus itself and how it behaves. That’s the lesson we need to learn from them. As my spouse says when getting ready to do some painting, 90% preparation, 10% perspiration.

            So the major risk without testing enough people repeatedly is that the curve will once again rise and threaten the local medical system. So we have to have the means to know if that is happening because it happens so fast that by the time the numbers start rolling in, the system will already be overwhelmed much like finding out a tsunami is already on the way. Hence, widespread testing is essential in order to inform public health policy and this is the litmus test for governments to be able to take before lifting necessary and effective social restrictions. And in Dallas – like much of the country – this just isn’t happening and it’s cause for legitimate worry. That’s why I hope people will be smarter than their governments and business leaders and take as many precautions as they are able.

            But I’ll tell you, if the virus surges again with an ill-prepared public health policy, the Republicans could not only get wiped out of office (it happened in Canada to the Conservative Party that went from the party in power to not enough elected representatives to be recognized as an official party… in a single election), there may be a widespread demand for an overhaul of how people are trapped between either poverty or risking lives, and that means a kind of New Deal by government that should scare the living shit out of the oligarchs.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s primary. But it is only the very first step to getting a public policy handle on the pandemic. It’s being treated by many as a clarion call… […]

              What follows the flattening of the curve is as important a consideration as the flattening itself: how do we know which direction the curve is heading? This fundamental knowledge has to be based on something, and that something is widespread testing – establishing baselines. That’s how you can calculate actual risk of becoming infected.

              Yikes! I think that is just as scary if not scarier. Now I do know that I do not have any of the “underlying conditions” many of the deaths are part of like ages over 60 (though I am not too far off at 57), diabetes, a smoker or already with chronic breathing/respiratory problems, etc. I take a TINY BIT of solace there, but shit… I cannot afford to be in ICU for weeks that’s for damn sure!

              …yet many elected officials think it’s not that important as long as they can point to graph produced by public health officials and say the curve has flattened! Whoopty doo! Nice to know there’s an ICU bed and ventilator waiting… but you can still DIE from contracting Covid-19 that remains somewhere around 5% likelihood today regardless. Hence, your concern is at the very least valid if not the only sane fear to have.

              Exactly! I mean, WHY even continuously play Russian Roulette with this invisible Grim-reaper by going out repeatedly for non-essential reasons!? WTF!?

              We can or SHOULD take heed and model countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, and those few others who have managed extremely well and were much better prepared than the U.S. ever was! And Tildeb, your last paragraph is very spot on! A resurgence is exactly what happened in late 1918 and early 1919 with the Spanish Flu. 😔

              Here are two more news stories that are encouraging in their own ways for me. I was thrilled with the first article and news; happy that we are progressing in our understanding of COVID-19 to better treat:

              Coronavirus In Texas: City Of Dallas Sues Salon À La Mode Owner Shelley Luther
              https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/04/28/coronavirus-in-texas-city-of-dallas-sues-salon-a-la-mode-owner-shelley-luther/

              Viral Brain Attack: Neurologic Manifestations Of COVID-19
              https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/04/27/viral-brain-attack-neurologic-manifestations-of-covid-19/#712991b53024

              From the 2nd article asking “What’s the Mechanism?”:

              The exact pathophysiology is unclear. The authors hypothesize that SARS-CoV-2 is attacking the nervous system in a manner similar to that of the SARS and MERS viruses. Low levels of lymphocytes – a subset of white blood cells that fight infection – among patients with COVID-19 and CNS symptoms suggests immunosuppression, particularly among those with severe infection.

              “While the exact mechanism of neurological involvement remains uncertain, it is likely a combination of direct viral invasion as well as the secondary effects of the immunologic and inflammatory responses directed towards the nervous system,” according to Thomas Pitts, MD, a neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist and Director of Neurology at New York City’s Hudson Medical.

              Patients with severe infection were also found to have higher levels of d-dimer, a protein fragment associated with high levels of blood clot formation and breakdown. These findings are consistent with recent a phenomenon described by the American Society of Hematology as COVID-19-associated coagulopathy. In other words, patients with COVID-19 are exhibiting a high burden of clots in various parts of their body: lower extremities, lungs and the brain, with the latter two presenting as pulmonary emboli and ischemic strokes, respectively.

              Anyway, thank you kindly Tildeb for helping me better understand the more detailed aspects of this. 🙂

              Like

            • Yeah, the chemistry loses me. I don’t know enough to make sense of it. The latest I’ve read is about one symptom noticed in many children: similar to frostbite, meaning swelling and discoloration in the tips of digits then expanding backwards down the digits. Interesting….

              Liked by 1 person

            • Wait… this is addressed to me? Me? Ahem… yes, getting a comment from me is so unusual, I know. Just in case. But asking for a comment from me? Oh my… that”s a first! Well done, Prof. I will check the colour of the sky as soon as I can so we can match it up.

              Liked by 1 person

            • 😄 Alright, now I’m a bit worried that you’re patronizing me—which I probably deserve when I don’t think things through to their end—but I am thick-skinned enough (and thick-sculled too) to not really be super sensitive about it either. Hahahaha! Now THAT should make me rather iconoclastic, yes? 😁

              Like

            • I’m pretty good with patterns and data. Beyond that, however, your guess is as good as mine. But all I’m really saying is that, as you well know, a lack of expertise has never stopped me from making my opinions known!

              Liked by 1 person

            • tildeb, have you ever visited TheEthicalWarrior.wordpress.com blog? If your blood pressure can handle it, you might find his posts, well, enlightening? Interesting? Nutso? One of his more recent posts (The WHO Recants But States Turn A Deaf Ear) is a doozy.

              Like

            • Oh, it’s chicagoja! He pretends he’s concerned with what’s true when he’s not and he has no clue what the term ‘ethics’ actually means in regards to his opinions or the opinions of others. As for being as ‘warrior’ for ‘ethics’ he’s not at all; he demonstrates a misinformed, uncritical, and grossly poor thinker uneducated in recognizing the regular run-of-the-mill fallacies he relies on. Should I comment? I don’t know… should I stick my fingers in my eyes or hammer my head against the wall?

              Liked by 1 person

            • Should I comment? I don’t know… should I stick my fingers in my eyes or hammer my head against the wall?

              Ooo! Ooo! I have your answer Tildeb! …

              Better pack then check and recheck your parachute yourself! DIY I say. 😉

              Like

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