Every Single Cell-Phone

Last night on PBS NOVA, Decoding COVID-19, the award-winning science show since 1974 aired a most intriguing, informatively packed episode about our current progress and fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. From their website introduction:

In an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus—and find a treatment for the disease it causes—is underway. Join doctors on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as they strategize to stop the spread, and meet the researchers racing to develop treatments and vaccines.

Life and Survival vs. Loss of Privacy

In the latter portion of the show doctors and scientists discuss how all biophysicists, epidemiologists, virologists, geneticists, pathologists, everyone around the world in these scientific fields are racing to find a vaccine. A vaccine that can take up to 2-years of testing and manufacturing before it reaches the Earth’s population.

Meanwhile, the only defense we humans have at the moment is monitoring, managing, then restricting our social behavior. In Wuhan, China, the first epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, on April 8, 2020, Chinese authorities reopened the city and province for business. Residents were allowed to travel and move about in public with face-masks. The emotional, mental, and social benefits for Wuhan residents was enormous. However, life in Wuhan was/is nowhere near back to normal.

Wuhan residents, healthcare doctors,  and government officials have a serious concern and fear of a second resurgence of COVID-19 infections soon after reopening. This is justified. And so many restrictions are still in effect there. For example, anyone entering or leaving a building, property, park, or space are required (by law?) to use their cell-phone to scan in, upload special location-marking codes to a regional database. Gates of complexes, condominiums, stadiums, malls, entertainment events, parks, all have entry and exit stations, policed by security guards where every single person must scan a QR-code using a phone app at all specific entry/exit points, with your specific health condition, and based upon everyone else’s health-data condition that has been near you at the same time. Your color-coded COVID-19 warning-status is constantly updated. Green? You’re good, free to move about as you please as long as you have not been near another risk or high-risk person. Yellow or Red codes mean you will not be allowed to enter or exit before medical attention arrives. For those two color-codes, further medical testing, removal and possibly immediate quarantine may be required.

These measures in Wuhan have seemingly been very effective in squashing new outbreaks. They also have further benefits in conjunction with widespread testing. Everyone with a cell-phone will get multiple notifications of anyone who has been in near-contact with you wherever you’ve traveled. Without a doubt, for a lethal pandemic such as SARS-CoV-2 this level and complexity of monitoring is ideal for public health and safety until an effective vaccine arrives.

Therefore, here is my question for you, my readers and followers:

Is your own personal privacy more important than other people’s life and well-being?

In this day and age of hyper-sophisticated electronic technology and the fact that almost all of Earth’s human beings possess a cell-phone packed with GPS monitoring data for wireless providers and other mega-corporations to purchase and to use, is your personal privacy, movement data, and social activity more important than stopping and reducing COVID-19 from wiping out millions of the human race, possibly even taking your life, or someone dear to and deeply loved by you? Would these type of Chinese-inspired data-sets and phone apps help incompetent American leadership in any way for tracking COVID-19 infections, its hot-spots, and then assisting in testing kits and potential hospital admissions?

Yes? No? Maybe? Unsure?

Share your thoughts and feelings below. When is it right to Take One for the Team, the Village, and when is 24/7 electronic intrusion too much and goes too far for some group of questionable people of greed and control?

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Live Healthier — Love More — Laugh with Family/Friends — Learn More Science

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A Salute Before the Storm

This past week our U.S. Navy Blue Angels, an aerobatic squadron performing shows across the U.S. and Canada, flew over north Texas in a fanfare salute to all our front-line healthcare, EMT, police, and fire workers during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The sound, speed, and visual was indeed arousing, uplifting, and a grateful demonstration for our brave workers who have no choice but to put themselves in danger and/or at risk for infection, possibly worse. However, for Texas and the DFW metroplex was this big show a “salute” per se, or a Good Luck Hope You Survive fly-by for what’s about to hit us with a vengeance?

BA over Dallas

I have published a few past blog-posts regarding Conservative Texans and their governmental representatives being either relaxed or intentionally defiant about the seriousness and lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have also posted about some Conservative business-owners protesting and public officials (e.g. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick) acting and speaking downright ludicrous about reopening businesses way too early. I still hold to my original time-frame of late-July or August of returning to business-as-usual. That depends on how well Americans and Texans take serious and endure quarantines and Stay-at-Home orders until the virus is safely under control.

I honestly do not see this happening, particularly when I am forced to must go out in public for essential tasks and items. I have gotten my routine of exiting outside down to once a week, rarely twice. No more.

During the month of March Texans in DFW were doing quite well at staying home, not going to work and working from home, and not flooding public parks and blatantly ignoring social-distancing as reported for days and weeks. The change was encouraging! It seemed we had a decent chance of slowing and kicking wide-spread infections.

This short video shows the first weekend after local Shelter-in-Place recommendations were announced. This is from Well Creative Productions, Dallas, TX – Drone Videography – Cash Sirois:

But that was late-March folks, the first Friday night after Shelter-at-Home orders. After only 6-weeks this footage is no longer representative of today, not even close. Dallas and the state of Texas is seeing an increase in public protests that defy social-distancing and public health and safety. Yesterday afternoon Dallas saw yet another defiant protest of health and safety-for-all in a rally downtown called Set Texas Free. Here is what one of the rally organizers actually said:

“What we, as a people, saw is there are less people dying of COVID-19 than are unemployed.” he [Kevin Whitt] said. “We are losing our economy. There is so many people in Texas that are still unemployed,.”

Sadly, Kevin Whitt doesn’t have a clue about COVID-19’s methods of incapacitation and/or death. The actual numbers of infections and deaths by the virus have at least a 2-week or more lag. Furthermore, if clinics, test sites, and hospitals get overwhelmed by exponential numbers of infections, even serious life-threatening infections, then the death toll will quickly catch-up and surpass in a blink those who are unemployed! What sort of socioeconomic devastation will a 3-5 week hospitalization (perhaps in ICU?) have on those individuals and/or families? For the uninsured, which typically end up being severe cases and longer stays, the cost for the patient and the hospital is near astronomical: upwards of $74,000 per patient. These estimations provided by FAIR Health, Inc. For the insured, though noticeably less, it is still an enormous bill at discharge, about $38,755 or more… assuming the patient lives. Now, try to imagine what those costs would be for a nation of 1.35-million people infected and still rising! And do not imagine those dollar-amounts in just the next few weeks. Imagine them and multiply them for the next 3-6 months for a more accurate estimation!

Then there is the national celebrity Shelley Luther, owner of Salon Á la Mode in north Dallas, and her Republican circus-rally-for-profit. Following is The Texas Tribune’s must read article:

Just last week, Gov. Greg Abbott unfurled the first phase of his plan to reopen the Texas economy. He would allow limited openings of stores, restaurants and movie theaters, but he wanted to go slowly enough to make sure he wasn’t letting the pandemic run loose. Some health experts were nervous, while others were cautiously optimistic. Abbott said he would wait a couple of weeks to reconsider ending other restrictions.

[…]

Others have been pushing for a return to pre-pandemic Texas. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled a 113-page report from what he called his “Texans back to work task force.” One of the stated goals was to recommend ways to “safely and effectively reopen and restore our Texas economy to 100% in the not too distant future.”

[…]

Republican state Reps. Briscoe Cain of Deer Park and Steve Toth of The Woodlands crossed the barricades this week to get illegal haircuts in defiance of the governor. Cain could have been prepping for a court appearance: He’s one of Luther’s lawyers.

That publicity stunt went unpunished.
The Texas Tribune by Ross Ramsey; accessed May 10, 2020

On her GoFundMe site Luther has profited $500,085 as of May 10th. Senator Ted Cruz (R) could not resist jumping on her money bandwagon either.

defiant rebel shelley luther

Local semi-retired sports anchor Dale Hansen with his own show Unplugged had this response to Luther and any other Texans defying legal public health and safety orders and laws during this time. Click here. I promise my intelligent readers and followers it is a must watch video-commentary. I’ve had past disagreements with Dale’s opinions and commentary, however, on this day on this topic about this rebel Prima Donna… I completely agree with him! Sadly, Shelley Luther is not the only whacko-rebel…

May 12, 2020 addendum:
Dallas Morning News headline — Dallas law firm fires employee after ‘threatening’ post about his gun, COVID-19 mask requirements.

K Bain Psychosis

Bain’s psychotic message on Facebook

The firm’s chief marketing officer, Kelby Luther, confirmed Monday that the terminated employee is Kevin Bain, who had worked as a document services manager based in Dallas.

[…]

[Kelby] Luther said the firm’s statement refers to a widely shared Facebook post in which Bain referred to the Whole Foods grocery store on Lomo Alto Drive in Highland Park, saying that any business that insists he wear a mask “will get told to kiss my Corona ass and will lose my business forever.” Bain went on to say “It’s time to stop this [expletive],” the post continued. “Do I have to show the lame security guard outside of a ghetto store my CV19 test results? I will show him my Glock 21 shooting range results.”

Yet the scientific and medical reality is this: Infectious disease experts fear coronavirus will spread as more Texas businesses reopen. This is what an overwhelming amount of nationwide medical, scientific, and epidemiologists warn and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Epidemiologists said they are encouraged Gov. Greg Abbott is assessing data and consulting experts to inform a gradual reopening of Texas’ economy. But they cautioned that for an incremental approach to be effective, sufficient time is needed between each phase to assess its effects on the spread of the virus.

Abbott’s announcement Tuesday that barbershops and hair, nail, tanning and cosmetology salons may reopen provided they follow a strict set of rules came four days after the first phase of businesses, including malls and restaurants, were permitted to begin operating in-person at a limited capacity.

[Shockingly] his decision came sooner than anticipated, as he had previously pointed to May 18 as a possible date for a second phase of reopenings.

Meanwhile, new infection cases in my county and in the DFW metroplex continue to climb in alarming numbers day after day after day, with no sign of slowing. With this fact let’s definitely cheer-on our hyped-up shows by U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Presidential pep-rallies of false information, watching all the non-stop commercials by mega-corporations bombarding us with messages of hope and healing with their corporate logos and self-promotion. And yes, we SHOULD applaud and congratulate our front-line healthcare workers daily for everything they are risking, doing and will risk and do in the coming 6-10 weeks or more! Because in all likelihood they are going to feel the storm hitting their hospital beds, clinics, testing sites, and admissions. They will be overwhelmed because a few of us want to deny what is happening and will happen if we keep ignoring medical and scientific expert’s warnings. For those greedy few—the safety of public health and work-place safety for everyone—miraculously does not apply for them. The minority in a specific demographic of the population are somehow immune from COVID-19 and necessary legal orders of full and/or limited quarantines. But then if none of them are enforced, then what’s the point in any of this? Disturbing isn’t it?

Our Greatest Generation endured over 4-years of unprecedented sacrifice and national unity to get through World War II. This generation, my generation and those younger cannot even last two months! What a legacy. 😔

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May 10, 2020 extension — from The Atlantic:
There’s One Big Reason the U.S. Economy Can’t Reopen — The country faces the same problem today that it did two months ago: There are not enough tests to contain the virus. Written by Robinson Meyer, May 8, 2020.

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Live Healthier — Love Each Other — Laugh Often — Learn Science!

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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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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Listen to Experts

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