My Corona

Okay, at nearly 350 Comments, Jim White’s excellent post, “PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 OUTBREAK”, is getting a little long in the comment tooth. So, I am going to add a new post, even if a short one, to allow continuous commentary on this subject that is of such import and interest.

To set the scene, I have had a touch of walking pneumonia for the last, give or take, 10 days. I finally listened to Mrs. bmaz and went to the doctor early last week and got some prescriptions, most importantly steroids and antibiotics. Things are improving, albeit it slowly.

There is a new wrinkle though! Very late Friday night, actually very early Saturday morning, our daughter flew in and is home now. Why, you ask? Well, about eight days ago, she was in Italy for a week and flew out of Milan (a Level 3 containment area) to return to Boston, where she works. Her employer said “Lol, take two weeks off before coming into work again”. So, she came home to visit.

She is asymptomatic to date other than some sniffles and sore throat, which is not uncommon for her generally. No temperature. But she is considering getting tested anyway. Turns out there was literally no real capacity for testing in Arizona until….today. Apparently. The state DHS announced they could start today, but there are no good instructions on how to do it, or if you will get billed thousands of dollars for doing so. It is maddening. The woman who runs the DHS effort here is not bad, this appears to be caused by the lack of competent interaction by the federal government. Will she get tested? We don’t know. Should she even worry about it? We don’t know that either. And trying to talk to somebody about it is impossible, I can seriously get US Senators and Representatives on the phone easier.

We shall see. Thankfully we have a big enough house that we can mostly keep a distance. But there has to be a better way to respond to this than what the Trump Administration has engendered.

So, for all things Corona, have at it some more. You folks have engaged in marvelous discussion so far, keep it up.

213 replies
  1. bittersweet says:

    I hope you and your family stay (relatively) healthy!
    So, the US has relatively few reported Coronavirus cases because, wait for it…we are not testing for it?! Translated, it is spreading unchecked. Question, how have the diagnosed the 75+ cases they are admitting to?
    I have been wondering how restaurant, grocery, transportation and low level healthcare workers can afford to stay home when they get a cold? Or keep their children home? How can we possibly avoid an epidemic when most Americans have less than $400 in savings, while enjoying less than the quarantine required 14 days of sick pay? How do you get food for two weeks if you are on home quarantine? Eventually, who pays the bill for mass quarantine facilities if it comes to that?
    Sigh. I do not see a logical answer to these basic questions. Mike Pence has some work to do. So does Congress. Sigh.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks. We will be fine. We are not the panicky type, but have to admit, it is all a bit weird, if not hilarious.

    • P J Evans says:

      How do you get extra medications when you’re limited in how much you can get? Some stuff is 30-day scrips, and insurance companies don’t want to authorize more or earlier.

      • Mary M McCurnin says:

        I found this suggestion written by a pharmacist about hoarding medication but it is from 2011.

        “You could also refill each prescription 3 or 4 days early over each of the next few months. After which, you would be able to set aside a 7 to 10 day supply for an emergency.”

        People should start putting aside food now. I have been finding canned soups and beans on sale. I buy a little at a time. I also purchased giant bag of rice. I bought dried legumes. All of these are things that I don’t normally eat but I certainly will if I have to.

        Canned food works better if you run out of your normal supply of water. Since I live in Northern California, I don’t trust the utility companies and we are headed for a strong fire season again. I have containers ready to fill if it looks like the water supply might be compromised.

        • Mike JS says:

          Something to remember when purchasing large bags of rice is there can be rice weevils and other bugs inside the larger bags. You should freeze the bags or purge with dry ice to suffocate them.

            • e.a.f. says:

              We never purchase food from bins because of the risk of infection. Some goods are in gravity feed tubes, which is fine. but wherever anyone can put their hands on the food, not going there, even in non flu season.

              • Raven Eye says:

                Tangentially — one of the reasons the open bin ice machines, once so common at hotels and motels, are banned almost everywhere.

              • P J Evans says:

                Has nothing to do with how the stuff is delivered, but about how easy it is for pests to get in (or to stay in).

        • Mary M McCurnin says:

          Thanks for the safety tips. My bag of rice is ten pounds, I think. Will freeze it. I never buy out of the bins. The beans are in small 1lb bags. I always wash them.

          • Rayne says:

            Do wrap your rice in a second plastic bag as the grain could pick up odors in the freezer. I store mine in the original bag inside a plastic tub in the coolest part of our house — on the basement floor.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Great question! As a physician and chronic patient myself, I can tell you that I have no idea what the answer is. And this is something that pretty much everyone in medicine should know how to do, because many patients presumably take long vacations, so this issue should come up all the time. I’m on something like 11 prescriptions right now, and they’re all “out of sync” in terms of getting refills, so I have to go to the pharmacy every couple of weeks (at least) to get refills. I went in today, and the pharmacy assistant greeted me by name before I had even said a word. I’ve tried to get prescriptions filled before the renewal date before, and the pharmacy simply won’t do it. I’ve never tried getting extra meds to run past a 30 or 90 supply, but I’m guessing there’s no easy way to do it there, either. And even if you manage to get your doctor and you pharmacist to agree to it, your insurance might not cover the extra meds.

        If you’re traveling WITHIN the US, and you end up somewhere near a pharmacy that’s in the same chain as yours (like CVS or Walgreens), you can usually get your prescriptions filled there. If you’re going outside the US, I’m not sure what supposed to do.

        • P J Evans says:

          I ran into the prescription problem last summer, when I unexpectedly had to spend an extra ten days out of town. I got one ‘scrip done for 30 days, but the others never showed up. Fortunately, I managed without them – they’re maintenance, more than anything else – but it was a hassle. And that’s with being able to email the doctors.
          I hear, though, that people with ADHD pr pain meds have real trouble getting more than 30 days, and more than a day or so before they run out. (My sister did run out of her pain meds, more than once. She’s with a different insurance outfit, now.)

        • Bardi says:

          In Milan, running at 4:30 in the morning at a park, tripped over a couple in an unlit area. Talked with the hotel concierge and he told me to go to a pharmacy. In Italy (likely Europe) pharmacists can prescribe medicine. She was very good (IMHO) and determined I had broken a bone in my foot, sold me three pills for pain, € 6, to get me home. I found out they cost $120 each in the states. My regular doctor was amazed.

          Just my experience and a data point to keep in the back of your head.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Unfortunately Mike Pence will simply tell you to pray. that’s not going to work. It is doubtful many of these Republican holy rollers are even going to exercise what was once called, “Christian charity”.

      In China, there were picture so of officials loading buckets of goods to apartment dwellers who were quarantined.

      By Saturday evening, B.C., population 5M and change, had conducted more COVID-19 tests than all of the U.S.A., 340M. The difference is, Canada has provincial health care systems and the testing is just part of our health care system. We will be tested and we won’t have to pay for it. some suggest our health care system is run like a triage system, the most ill get the care first. It works.

      Canada has a federal unemployment insurance program and if you can’t work because of “illness” you qualify. Have to provide care for infants/new born, you qualify’; break your leg you qualify for up to 15 weeks, if I remember correctly. Its not a lot of money–approx. 50% of what you made up to the max. payable, but its better than nothing. People also may qualify for welfare with the province they live in, especially if you’re a renter with few assets.

      All our hospitals are government owned or funded, so if people do become ill, they simply go to their local hospital. When we had SARS, Vancouver had designated one hospital to deal with it.

      You raise a number of very good questions. American governors need to address those questions or they will have a lot of sick and dying people and children without parental units.

    • Will says:

      Amazing point about the savings. I’m in China now, and at least 95% of people in my city have not worked for the past month. I can’t imagine this happening in the States. People wouldn’t follow any quarantine protocol because they literally couldn’t afford it.

    • Lika2know says:

      BMAZ- Read an article by a virologist who said that corona viruses like cool and dry environments-so you might try increasing humidity in your house. He also said that this particular virus can live up to 9 days on a surface with the right conditions.
      Recommends using paper towels to dry hands (and throw them away). Also to be cautious about not moving viruses from one surface to the next (when they are unlikely to have all died in the short time of wiping a surface). Hope this helps.

    • Lefthand says:

      As a healthcare provider in Seattle:
      * Trump admin played significant role in covid spread through:
      * sending untrained folks to care for covid+ patients and then sending them back to their home communities
      * dismantling of critical public health infrastructure as detailed above
      * failing to do ANY surveillance testing for TWO MONTHS
      * In this 2 month period without testing, greedy arbitrage (“hoarders”and crises in China etc have severely impacted critical health supplies in the US health system (masks, PAPR, gel, the meds you need in 30 days, etc).
      * Lack of testing is obscuring large extent of circulating COVID disease. Economic impact will be huge: travel reduction; deaths in folks 50+ (this includes me), no shipments of inputs arriving or leaving US; global economy.
      * COVID is highly contagious (much more than flu) and (possibly) 20x more deadly than flu. I have heard “this is like the flu” from regular folks. It is not. More contagious by a long measure. More fatal by a king measure. No effective treatment (ever). No effective vaccine (ever- despite MERS and SARS).

  2. Molly Pitcher says:

    I am posting this again because it is a NATIONAL map which will be continuously updated.

    To help the public keep track of the spread of Covid19, the San Francisco Chronicle is compiling an online interactive map of every confirmed case in the US, drawn from reports from dozens of public health sources. The Chronicle relies on reports from the CDC plus state and local public health departments, as well as reports from other media outlets for cases outside of California. All cases are confirmed with at least one government agency.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Interesting. I’m have to do a serious dive into the Bay Area coronavirus situation. Owing to my day job, I get regular updates from Santa Clara County’s department of public health. I’ve received several emails over the weekend from them and the number of cases in SCC is starting to increase — as of late yesterday afternoon, there are 7 known cases being treated at local hospitals.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        As of the latest KQED news update, (11:30 am local time) there are 9 in Santa Clara County, all having association with a traveler or were themselves travelers.

        There is a new one in San Mateo County with no known contact.

        My question is how did the people in the nursing home in Washington, where two deaths have occured come into contact with anyone/thing ??

        • e.a.f. says:

          There is some evidence that a person can transmit the virus and not have any symptoms themselves. Some people may not feel unwell or have minor symptoms and go to work. People may have gone to work ill because they did not have paid sick leave from their employer. If there was no testing,, its easy for people to pass the virus on. It could have come in via a staffer, a visitor, we don’t really know how it passes or how long the virus stays on an object and is active. The care home most likely would not have been interested in testing either because it costs money. These are elderly patients and in care homes all over North American care is a term used loosely. The staff, even if unionized, aren’t paid well, the care homes are usually short staffed and they’re for profit organizations. Generally speaking its the very young and the very old who the governments don’t care much about. They don’t vote and they don’t contribute to political campaigns.

          • Raven Eye says:

            “There is some evidence that a person can transmit the virus and not have any symptoms themselves.”

            This may not be true. I get the impression, from listening and reading around, that people may be infected, and capable of passing the virus, but not know that they are infected, or have anything more serious than a cold.

            A virus that causes symptoms to appear slowly is a much trickier problem, and may result in patients presenting after a considerable delay — if at all.

            “Flu-like symptoms” covers a range of intensity. When conducting biological WMD exercises all over the country, that’s how the scenarios started. The trick is figuring out what is really going on and that raises the problem of rapid, accurate testing (pointing back to bmaz’s leading post).

            One of the catch phrases (if a bit insensitive) regarding rates of infection along the age line is “The young, the old, and the sick in the middle”.

      • P J Evans says:

        Did you even read the comment? “Every confirmed case” means they’ve been tested.
        (The virus was in the US for at least two weeks before anyone even started testing.)

    • Lisa says:

      From the San Francisco Chronicle’s website line provided:

      “The Chronicle is compiling an exhaustive list of every coronavirus case in California”

      They’re only tracking cases in California

    • bmaz says:

      Molly, like with Bittersweet, thank you and we will be fine. The point of the post was not us, not in the least, it is how easy this can affect people, and how difficult it is to test and contain. If you cannot easily, and mass, test, you cannot contain.

    • dude says:

      My wife is a statistician and research assistant in public health in North Carolina. She and I monitor the publicly available information nationally and some foreign sources. There is a lot of chatter and it is confusing. About the best information I have heard came from an epidemiologist who said this virus is in the general family as the common cold, so in the absence of knowing precisely what to do for Covid-19, take the same precautions as you would around a person with a bad cold…cover your mouth when coughing, use a lot of disposable tissue, don’t touch your face with your hands, wash hands a lot. And he expected it to become as common as a cold at some point, But an apparent early indicator for Covid-19 is headache followed by sore throat. This is anecdotal information however. I don’t know about you, but when I get bad colds, headache is not a usual symptom.

      • CCM says:

        Symptoms are very non-specific. Fever is the most sensitive finding. Lower respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath are also common symptoms. Unfortunately there are no clinical findings that allow a healthcare professional to distinguish COVID from the illness we see all the time.

      • Yancy says:

        Immunosuppressed patients aren’t warned about exposure to the common cold virus. They are warned about influenza’s potential to cause severe illness or even death. Fortunately, they are given immunizations for flu and can be treated with common anti-viral prescriptions.
        For this reason, I think COVID testing is important.
        (Not a medical expert, but hands-on experience. I was the primary caregiver for my younger brother who had a bone marrow transplant. He died from a fungal infection before he was discharged from the Shands at UF BMT unit. Husband’s kidney transplant was at Mayo Clinic in Jax.)
        my husband is an organ transplant recipient.)

        • P J Evans says:

          When I started chemo, in 2017, I got the flu shot first, to lower my chances of getting anything. (I didn’t have trouble.)

  3. orionATL says:

    how to self-quarantine at home (in china – and grandma cooks for you):

    nice of daughter’s employer to offload the quarantine after italy on mom and dad 😟. but it is a chance to spend time together which, alas, becomes rarer once the children become working adults.

    a front page map in the nytimes shows major cites of infection world wide. moving west from china, iran then italy are prominent. what if any could be the connection for “large” numbers in these two? is this a case of some nations really having their act together when it comes to measuring infection and others not? i certainly don’t feel we are moving together effectively as a nation under competent leadership in a serious national crisis.

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    So… oy. I figured that I’d check in today before heading for Kirkland, WA, where I’ll be for several hours. I’m sniffling, but focusing on staying healthy. Aren’t we all?

    I’d really love to see a specific listing of ‘data’ for one blog, or one city, or one zip code, of medical costs born by Americans. This is what a corrupt, inept political system is costing us every month.

    I’d love to see an aggregate of what people spend, per month, on health care, if there is any way for people to submit anonymously:
    — insurance premiums
    — pharmaceuticals (recommended by qualified physician)
    — diagnostics (MRI, xray, blood labs)
    — wellness costs (massage, exercise)

    We’re in a situation where it’s going to become clear that the neoliberal model of health care we’ve used, which treats medical like any other consumable good, is profoundly flawed.

    As I once wrote at FireDogLake:
    If you get a car, I don’t automatically get a car. But if you get coronavirus, I might get it via association. Medical care simply does not fit into a consumerist, neoliberal ideology: it’s not like cars or shoes or groceries.

    People need to realize the linkages between epidemics and political corruption. This had many *political* antecedents: McConnell (who ignored FBI warnings about Trump in 2016), an RNC/NRA that laundered vast sums of Dark Money into our political process, the GOP Senate, and the Koch-Mercer-Russia-CambridgeAnalytica network that enabled this disaster need to be recognized as contributors to this situation.

    If this virus doesn’t make clear the need for universal health care, nothing ever will. How we get to that goal, and who can lead us toward that goal, is what we’ll argue over in coming months.

    Bmaz, take it easy. Be well. Binge-watch something in order to keep yourself at a lower level of activity while your body heals. All best to your wife, and you were smart to take her advice ;-)

  5. CapeCodFisher says:

    If this does become the next “plague”, which may be possible, infected people are going to be looking to the past to see what they could have done to avoid it. Should I have skipped a visit to the grocery store, should I have washed my hands better, etc.. Gates, who has put $100M into coronavirus research, says prepare for the worst and hope for the best, which I suppose is just everyday good advice. Point is, I think it’s going to be difficult with hindsight to figure out how you could have avoided the virus. Do what you can, stay clean., good luck people…

  6. Vicks says:

    No tests available until today?
    Mike Pence was in full creeper mode all day yesterday praising his master’s deft handling of this NOT-crisis.
    I just moved my 80 year old mom here from NC, she is fragile and the exact target this virus is looking to take out.
    We went to Costco yesterday to get supplies for her new home, and they had someone standing in front handing out wipes. I didn’t watch for very long, but I did not see anyone decline, and I sensed everyone appreciated the gesture, and I’ll bet Costco scored a few points for their thoughtfulness.
    On the other hand, I was at the dentist this morning (you know those folks who all day long get up close, and stick their hands in people’s mouths?) I casually asked what THEIR plan was, and her comment was it’s overblown, it’s no big deal it’s just the flu, and just like the flu it’s only the high risk people that need to worry.
    I realized it was going to be a stupid conversation, so I just responded that we have a vaccine for the flu and caught the eye of her tech (with whom I’d just been discussing my mom) and shook my head and mouthed “NO”
    If all you care about is yourself, DOCTOR Berger is correct, she, her kids or her husband probably won’t die from this virus, so WTF right?
    The problem is, if you give a shit about anyone else, this DOCTOR (to be deliberately dramatic) is dead wrong.
    From what I understand, she could have passed the virus on to me, me to my mom when I go pick her up, and then my mom to the entire (senior) bridge club when I drop her off this afternoon…
    I am going to write a letter to her practice in the hopes it will get the people who work for her at least thinking, but this is just a drop in the bucket of the careless behavior of fools that will be to blame if this thing continues to gain traction.

      • Vicks says:

        Yes Costco has them near their carts as do our local grocery stores.
        I have seen people use them, I never have, and I’m not sure someone like my mom would even know what they were for.
        This woman was at the front door and had a (costco size) box and was tearing them off and (in a very friendly way) actively encouraging people to take them.
        I, like a lot of others grabbed a cart, and did not take a wipe from the dispenser, I did however, take one from her when offered a second opportunity.
        Funny thing, I also made sure to wipe down my cart at my next stop, which was the grocery store.
        I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t just me that got a bit of a jumpstart on developing this new habit.
        Of course I can’t help but wonder how many boxes of those wipes Costco sold in the process….

    • Ollie says:

      Boy Vicks I sure agree w/you. “if you give a shit about anyone else, ” I do and it’s freakish how natural it is now to not care about anyone and there’s sadly, no shame. peaCe

      • Vicks says:

        I think it’s more a question of not getting “it”
        People have habitual ways they deal with “scary stuff”
        I think the (understandable) default for just about everyone is self protection first,
        Some people can process “scary” information and make rational assessments fairly quickly, others get stuck in the scary part and never get to “rational” and others use whatever it takes to justify procrastination.
        I’m surrounded by family that can’t ever seem to get to the bigger picture, and while I don’t think I will ever be able to change their default settings, on a case by case basis I often have a good chance to hook them in with the logic that always seems to wander off when on auto-pilot.

  7. BobCon says:

    I was at the airport yesterday and I am guesstimating that 5-10% of the passengers exiting from the international arrivals area to the baggage claim were wearing masks. I don’t know how many more would have had them on their flights.

    The crack NY Times DC bureau got scooped hard by the Washington Post. The Post ran this article on the scene inside the White House’s “slapdash” response to Coronavirus:

    The Times has published almost nothing about the White House dysfunction. Clearly, they don’t consider it a story.

    • orionATL says:

      sullivan again:

      “…. a startling year-end story, about the roots, in May 2016, of the Justice Department’s Trump-Russia inquiry, reminded astute readers of a Times story, a week before the presidential election, that seemed to let candidate Trump off the hook for any Russia misdeeds — even as the paper was pounding Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, for her email practices….

      With unique access to power, the Times is addicted to it — too often allowing those at the top of government and business to seize its megaphone, sometimes while wearing the invisibility cloak of anonymity.

      Under constant attack from all quarters, the Times often reacts self-protectively, with “both-sides” reporting and presentation, giving equal weight to unequal claims.

      And, the Times is distinctively defensive. Often great and sometimes wrong, it mostly likes to talk about that first part, and has trouble acknowledging the second, which may be one reason its public-editor position lasted less than 14 years….”

      sullivan has plenty of insider understanding of nytimes’ dynamics having been its media critic for three years before cutting her stay short and joining wapo in washington.

      sullivan’s criticism is well-deserved and neither baquet nor sulzberger have earned our trust when they protest criticism.

      • BobCon says:

        What drives me crazy is that the problem on the news side is overwhelmingly concentrated in the DC/Politics bureaus, and they have a lot of talent elsewhere at the paper they could draw on.

        The Magazine and investigative desk have done some outstanding reporting that doesn’t repeat the endless hackery of Haberman, Schmidt, and all of the diner safari team. And there are a ton of experienced, thoughtful reporters at shrinking outlets who would welcome the opportunity to breathe new life into the Times if the leadership would only get rid of the established clique.

        No reader would miss Peter Baker, and more importantly, bringing in a new, smart, incisive White House team would help readers learn things every day they wouldn’t get from CNN anyway.

        • orionATL says:

          focus on the nytimes’ dc/politics bureau as a problem seems to be an important criticism. either sullivan or liz spayd (their last public editor, peremptorily fired) commented once in a piece i read about receiving heavy criticism from three big shots from that section for criticism of coverage. concentrated, defensive firepower. why?

          not to be too optomistic but it does seem to me that ms. haberman is being sidelined and muted these days. is that possible? i always look at the bottom credits for other contributors to a piece where ms.h. used to lurk when not a headline girl. but her name does not appear as frequently these days.

  8. Ollie says:

    I see in the near future the best of health for all…..

    Long time friend in Taipei Tawain just going on and on about the great organization and free medical care he swears is the best in the World. People aren’t panicking and have well informed citizenry and what a difference to what we’re going thru.

    “‘I’ve started working at a new college — so far, so good. Taiwan is doing a splendid job with this virus, so no community spread here yet. Good policies too. The government says that illegal immigrants will be included in the virus response and need not fear deportation. They have already synthesized two of the super drugs being used to combat the virus in Japan and China, and should be rolling them out soon. Masks are cheaper here than anywhere else in the world. All good.
    If you haven’t thought of it already,you may want to see doctors and dentists sooner than later”

    I mean shit, Jon Oliver on the Virus. Or…Just enjoy the song that is going viral around the World. It starts at 6:10. Enjoy the laughs.

    You’re welcome, HAHAHA Stay well everyone!

    • Ollie says:

      Just wanted to add that I sound positive about the future but I’m so ‘tainted’ over Trump/evangelicals that to utter the words ‘thoughts and prayers’ sees so insincere…

      So it’s: I see in the near future best of health to all……k. thanks.

    • Terry Salad says:

      I can confirm that Taiwan has an overall very good healthcare system and has handled this outbreak about as well as you can. I travel there every year and recently had chance to experience health care there first hand. It is a model for all. I was also there during SARS, and they learned from that. The lessons learned are paying off today.

  9. bmaz says:

    So, Coronavirus daughter, who I am stuck at home with, was just singing She’s Not There. When asked her who sang that song, she immediately replied “Santana”. I then inquired who it originally was, and she promptly responded “the Zombies”.

    I have never been more proud. Coronavirus brings families together!

        • bittersweet says:

          As a Minnesotan, I always thought of her as republican lite. Now she begins her pandering for Veep.

          • bmaz says:

            Could be correct! I kind of like her in a way, but she was always the epitome of “moderate Dem”. Now, we have Kyrsten Sinema here. That is a real “Republican lite”.

            • bittersweet says:

              A friend referred to our healthcare as the boiling frog scenario. We have been sitting in hot water so long that we do not feel our impending doom. Moderate Democrat equates, in my opinion, to siting in the pot because it is reasonable and feels nice and familiar.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            In looking at the debates, I kept thinking “what a fine group of future Cabinet members”. Or sometimes, “squish them all together and you’ve got a heck of a candidate.”

            Klobuchar is a sincere and dedicated Senator, but she is…kind of a plodder.

            I want to see Kamal Harris or Stacy Abrams for VP. I wanted to see them for President, but I will take second banana if need be.

            • P J Evans says:

              I’d like to see Warren as pres, but she’d be a really fine VP, especially for an old white man who looks shaky. (Both Bernie and Biden are coming across as a lot older than they are.)

              • bmaz says:

                Warren is from a state that has a Republican Governor. Nobody should make her the VP as, even if for a few months, that would result in a new GOP Senator. Last time that happened, that GOP appointee lasted a long time. That is not good.

                Molly’s suggestions are great. I would also add in Julian Castro, who is young, good, smart and very personable.

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  Well if Kamala got the job, Gavin Newsom could appoint Adam Schiff to take her seat in the Senate. I feel secure that there are capable people to take over his seat in the House.

                  That would leave DiFi’s seat available for Gavin Newsom to run for when she announces her retirement after the Nov election.

                • CapeCodFisher says:

                  One of Massachusetts endless supplies of Kennedys is running for Ed Markeys seat. Whichever one loses would be a shoo-in for Warrens seat if she leaves.

                  • bmaz says:

                    People thought that when Scott Brown got appointed to Teddy Kennedy’s seat and then held on long term until Liz Warren finally took him out. It is not a given, even in MA.

                    • CapeCodFisher says:

                      No Scott Brown got in on a fluke. 3 dems were running that year. 2 guys and a lady. The guys split the male vote and the lesser qualified lady won the primary. I’m pretty sure Brown would not have beaten either of the guys… in fact Brown never won again…

                    • CapeCodFisher says:

                      Oh wait. I get it. The senate seat gets filled by the governor, right. Yeah, ok, I agree then.

          • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

            Meh she has her issues but her office did help my dad in his battle against paying for a defective couch, and as a woman the odds of her being revealed as a sex pest a week before the election were much lower. Plus she was not a septagenerian. Not my first choice but not the worst of the remaining field.

            Edit: I’m remembering how she handled the timing of her Senate run and how it created a scramble to run for AG, that dings her.

  10. OmAli says:

    CDC is not including a “cases tested” row in its COVID19 chart today…. there was one, previously.

    • P J Evans says:

      The screenshots I saw didn’t make it clear whether they left in the “total deaths” line, which was right below the one for “total tested”.

  11. laura says:

    I’m not an economist, but if the only alternative to the market decline is a tax cut or interest rate cut, I cant see how that increases demand if the virus disrupts the workplace in a crappy, shabby service economy. If I were in charge, I’d be proposing a very robust unemployment insurance program right the hell now. In the sudden and unexpected absence of income and the uncertainty of the duration the virus will impact the economy, immediate cash will immediately be spent. Please can someone smarter point out the flaws in my reasoning.

    • FL Resistor says:

      We had our first two cases revealed today in Hillsboro County, Florida which is near the west coast just south of Tampa. I am glad to see our state has finally started testing for covid-19. Governor Desantis has declared a state of emergency presumably at least partially due to our huge population of retirees.
      I am 66 and so in the higher risk group age-wise. My lungs are not great due to pollen allergies.
      I have just spent about three fourths of a one month food budget on some frozen foods as well as canned and of course the pastas rice and beans.
      I think my best bet is to stay home as much as I can. I do have an office but can work from home as well, so my plans are to go to my office to check the mail and drop off and pick up files. Otherwise I will be spending much of March working from home, using the food supplies I already have, and seeing how this all plays out.

  12. holdingsteady says:

    I just finished reading this and wanted to share, as it sounds hopeful in a way. The author, Mark Joseph Stern believes that the timing of the upcoming arguments and the resulting publicity is good for democrats to rouse the public.

    First paragraph:

    “On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. California, a sweeping challenge to the Affordable Care Act that seeks to obliterate the law in its entirety. Legal assaults on the ACA are not typically good news for Democrats. But here, the political ramifications could not be worse for Donald Trump. His administration will spend the run-up to Election Day asking SCOTUS to strip health insurance from more than 20 million people, quite possibly in the midst of a pandemic.”

    • e.a.f. says:

      . if they used the WHO test, who would have made a lot of money. I’m sure who ever got the contract to make those ineffective American tests made money. too bad for them they didn’t work and people figured it out. wonder who got the contract and much they did make and how much they paid to republican caimpaigns.

  13. Brian says:

    Wow, I’m not one to panic but…LOL Italy->thru Boston->Work->back to…!

    “Well, about eight days ago, she was in Italy for a week and flew out of Milan (a Level 3 containment area) to return to Boston, where she works. Her employer said “Lol, take two weeks off before coming into work again”. So, she came home to visit.”

    Seems you could be a little less cavalier considering how many people she came in contact with in different states and countries?

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks for your first time comment “Brian”. That is our daughter. She did not know at the time. And thanks for your first time comment concern about all. How would you treat your own family when they did not know? Also, screw you; thank you for appearing out of the nowhere ether to to spew this bullshit. How swell of you. I hope “your” family never has any concern. It is does, trust me, I will not issue jackassery like you just did.

      • Brian says:

        Beg your pardon I initially applied the LOL to you, apparently your daughter’s Manager was the one sounding cavalier. I understand not knowing and have the same amount of concern your daughter as I do myself or any of my family. I don’t live in nowhere ether, I live in Boston and so, am watching as everyone else intently for possibilities of the spread.

        As you said “And trying to talk to somebody about it is impossible, I can seriously get US Senators and Representatives on the phone easier…But there has to be a better way to respond to this than what the Trump Administration has engendered.”

        I apologize for sounding like an everyday troll ,didn’t mean to.

        It’s exploding around here with the many school and vacation trips to Italy over the period.


        • bmaz says:

          May have been my bad; if so, apologize. Things in Italy that should have been pertinent, she did not learn about until later. She works in a very high tech field. Maybe should have known better, but did not, and was already coming here for work.

          Her manager is probably innocent. If there turns out to be an issue, it is on her, and probably us, not the manager. As to who you can connect with, oh there is surely a better way. That one sentence was not hyperbole on my part.

          FWIW, if there are issues in Boston, I truly doubt it was her. She was in and out in a flash. Not impossible I guess, but we are okay here.

          • Brian says:

            T/Y and good, keep an eye on her, this is how it’s breaking down here…

            Globe headlines just today…

            R.I. school staff member with coronavirus remains hospitalized; third person on school trip being tested
            19 Newton North students returning from Italy will stay home from school amid coronavirus fears
            14 Emmanuel College students asked to self-quarantine after leaving Italy program early

            • bmaz says:

              Heh, we have been a bit concerned, even if not apoplectic, since Saturday afternoon. We have pretty good connections, and could get nowhere until this morning. I Think she is fine. But if we did not think so, what would we do? And, that, I have issues with. In South Korea, where daughter was at a few months ago, anybody who wants to get tested gets immediately tested for free. But we in the US cannot do squat. Distressing.

    • P J Evans says:

      They’re still not sure what the incubation period is; most people who get it don’t end up in the hospital, either. (It’s been in the US for nearly two months.)

  14. ApacheTrout says:

    Self quarantine seems odd to me. Local high school sent home a note explaining that a staff member was not allowed back at school until March 9., as they spent time in n Italy over Feb break. No restrictions on where that staff member is moving around in the community during the self quarantine.

    Same goes for my son’s friend, who also was in Italy for the past 6 weeks. Kid can’t come back to school until March 9, but the kid goes skiing on Saturday with a bunch of classmates.

    Neither the staff member nor my son’s classmate are showing any signs of illness. But if they are carrying, the virus is now in our community.

    • Frank Probst says:

      One of the few pieces of “good news” coming out of the data that we’ve seen so far is that it doesn’t seem to hit kids (18 and under) the way that flu does. China has reported ZERO fatalities in its 0-9 year cohort (which includes several hundred people) and only one in its 10-19 year cohort (another several hundred). I’ve read that no one under the age of 15 has died as a result of Coronavirus, so if that single fatality in China’s 10-19 year cohort is between 16 and 19, that would all fit together. (I haven’t seen any data from South Korea or Italy yet, so I would still consider this finding unconfirmed.)

      What’s NOT clear is whether or not the virus is infecting pediatric patients at high rates, and the kids are then bringing the virus home to the rest of the family. It’s not clear to me if kids are somehow resistant to infection, or if they get infected but don’t show symptoms for some reason. And if they DO get infected and remain symptomatic, how likely are they to pass the virus on to adults they come into contact with?

      • CCM says:

        No clear if Chinese data is apples to apples. US may have greater numbers of children with chronic illness. Pediatric mortality may be higher in US

    • e.a.f. says:

      self quarantine means you stay in your home and you don’t go out. It also means those who you live with ought to stay home. It is not too much to ask, that people stay in their homes, for the 14 days. If they spread the disease, they’ll feel a whole lot worse, I think.

  15. Ed Walker says:

    It’s worth noting the contribution of our sick neoliberal system to this crisis. This is from my post, which preceded this post:

    As another example of the contribution of neoliberalism, consider the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19. We first saw a coronavirus in the SARS epidemic of 2003. The study of the SARS virus ramped up and began to produce results. Then the possibility of an epidemic evaporated, and work slowed to a crawl. Then the new coronavirus, COVID-19 emerged. Now we are forced into a panic-driven research project.

    There was no profit in studying the coronavirus family, and therefore there was no reason to think about it during the 16 years since the emergence of SARS. The role of government is to fill that gap, but the neoliberal state is supposed to operate like a business, so government funding dried up. The government was further weakened by the selection of an incompetent and ignorant businessman as President:

    “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said. “When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

    This is a perfect example of the consequences of electing fools. But it’s also an indictment of neoliberalism.

  16. Rugger9 says:

    Skimming through, and not seeing this above I note that there are reports in the NYT and elsewhere that those sent to quarantine (not optional) have been getting bills for the thrill well past $3,000. This is in addition to the issue of the insurance companies piling on and gouging because they can.

    No wonder people delay going to the hospital and the doctor, since all that as to happen is to have one “out of network” person (which may be the one on call, so you don’t get to pick them either) do something and it’s time for a surprise hospital bill.

    That’s why Medicare for All has traction., and would eliminate the one non-value-added cost for American industry that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the G80.

    • P J Evans says:

      When it’s the government putting you in quarantine, the government should damned well pay for it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        In a sane country that would be true, but the attorneys here could probably refer us to cases where government entities sought to recoup the cost of jailing someone for trial, whether in a fine or in fees such as calling one’s lawyer.

        The GOP likes to talk big in this way (such as “saving” Social Security or Medicare) but it always seems to come back toward pay-to-play.

        Here in the Bay Area we have some GOP yahoo named Mathew Matern (I think) running ads for POTUS where he says he’ll give $10,000 per year to anyone taking in a homeless person into their home. While I agree there is a need and applaud the concept, 10 grand will not remotely cover the costs to address the underlying reason they are homeless (medical, addiction, lost job, etc.) even before looking at liabilities if someone gets hurt in this transaction (robbery and/or violence, in both directions).

        Here we do have several industrial complexes sitting unused while Google and Apple are building mothership / space stations. With some relatively minor modifications these could be turned into places with privacy which (because they were workplaces before) are better set up with mass transit than most homes here. That, we could get behind.

          • P J Evans says:

            Also there are some megachurch where they have more building space than they really need: they could house people in some of it. (I’m thinking of the one that’s built a new auditorium twice in the last 15 years, and they didn’t tear down the old one either time. So now they have part of their parking double-decked, and the overflow ends up in the shopping center across the street.)

  17. Frank Probst says:

    Regarding Daughter bmaz and the potential for Coronavirus testing, I would suggest calling the local ER and seeing if they can do the test. Generally speaking, ERs will give you as little information as possible, so if they start giving you the runaround–and they probably will–say that she has symptoms and she just got back from Milan, so you’re just going to go ahead and bring her in for Coronavirus testing. That will probably get you transferred to someone who knows if they can do the test or not. (GENERAL DISCLAIMER: You should have her call her doctor in order to make any medical decisions, and she should follow her doctor’s orders.)

  18. 200Toros says:

    Thinking of the practical implications of how this thing might impact day-to-day lives. I have two kids in school, and they, and my wife, get every single bug that comes through. The schools seem to be the best possible disease vector that I’m aware of anyway. Well, outside of hospitals anyway. So if there is an outbreak in any given community and it shows up in the schools, seems like a no-brainer to shut the schools down. It’s starting to happen, in Washington for instance. I would think this would be the single greatest challenge many families would need to plan for and face – how to provide care for your now stay-at-home kids. We could manage, but it would be difficult. Huge challenge particularly for those that don’t have flexible work schedules and/or any financial reserves, and so must work no matter what. Thankfully, it appears to not affect the younger kids as much, count our blessings…

    • 200Toros says:

      Frank Probst has some good info on incidence rate in children above, as well as questions that still need to be answered.

  19. posaune says:

    Bmaz — so sorry you’ve been dealing with pneumonia! It can be exhausting. Rest up and get your strength back. And enjoy daughter while you can, too. I’ve only read about one dog transmission. So, hopefully, Puppy Q is fine. Sending best wishes for your recovery.

  20. posaune says:

    My dear friend from youth days is an ER triage nurse in NYC at a major hospital. She worked many years at the Bellevue ER, so she’s “seasoned” as they say. On Sat, a person appeared at her ER, (she was in charge of triage), said he just flew back from Japan, showed serious symptoms, etc ,etc. She suspected corona. With a quick conference, they arranged immediate admission. They already had negative pressure isolation rooms prepared. Turns out it was the first NYC case.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, this post was really to give a new thread from Jim’s previous one. Thank you, and to everybody else, but we are absolutely fine. It is just funny how it can all come home to roost in even the most unlikely places.

  21. it's complicated says:


    I wonder if the post title alludes to “My Sharona”, funnily enough that one went through my head a few weeks ago when first confronted with Covid19.
    My best wishes for your family, and for everybody posting here.

    Korea (which was at ~15000 test/day a few days ago and now also has drive-thru diagnosis facilities) is now at 28 dead and 4335 confirmed diagnoses. Test for it, and you will find it.
    And Korea will also teach us more about the real case fatality rate, they are in the process of testing a whole town of 2.5 million inhabitants, Daegu. Because 3000 of the “positives” are from that town. About 75% of these 3000 are related to/caused by a dangerous pseudochristian cult, another major outbreak was in a psychiatric hospital. Both of which are scenarios that sure cannot happen in the US. Hopefully.

      • it's complicated says:

        *head hits desk*
        My apologies. I do have a stupid eye problem that effectively narrows my field of vision but I should have learned by now to scan what I used to see at a glance.
        If it is any consolation, “my” Germany is also very slow in starting up its response, I really hope the authorities can get their shit together really soon. So here some people reported on having to go from Pontius to Pilate to get a test, and that it took them a few days (and never ever try this on Sunday!). But then it won’t result in a financial shock, at least, so people *do* try. Well, we live in a world where countries cannot be sued for negligence or recklessness…

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, no worries. It was kind of a stupid joke I made on Twitter days ago, so I mindlessly repeated it here today.

    • P J Evans says:

      There are a lot of Koreans in my area, and they tend to be fairly conservative Christians, from what I can see of their churches. I don’t know if that particular sect has a foothold, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were trying.

      • it's complicated says:

        I think I’ve seen members of that cult in Germany ~10 years ago.
        Look up Shincheonji and their founder Lee Man-hee on wikipedia.
        I read a lot about their activities and would regard them as highly dangerous.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’ve seen some elseweb. They’re not tightly wrapped, I think.
          (I was wondering because I’ve seen Koreans passing out religious tracts, only to other Asians. And they bought a large, fairly new, church building in my area some years back.)

  22. P J Evans says:

    Chris Matthews has “retired” from Hardball, and is already gone. Kornacki has taken over this evening.

      • Eureka says:

        In other crimes of MSNBC, they cut way from the Pence et al. press conference while an actual medical professional was speaking — CDC head Redfield, no less. All so Melber could talk horse race (he said they’d ‘let us know’ anything important, but it’s one thing to cut away from propaganda spew, and another from the experts as they are speaking. Let people hear them and translate after if you wish).

        Thank you CNN for continuing to carry it — and they probably did so because they have Sanjay Gupta and a ‘frame’ of carrying this type of info.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            Just REALLY want to thank you bmaz. I have had “My Sharona” on loop in my head all afternoon. You know the beginning drum bit and then the harmonized “My Sharona”…..over and over and over…ARRGGHH

        • MB says:

          Yah, the horse race talk was a clever “dollars per vote” analysis showing how Biden was the “most efficient” and Bloomberg the least. So what. I don’t know if Korniacki is really akin to a Chuck Todd Jr., as bmaz asserts. He’s more excitable than that. Maybe more of a Chris Matthews Jr. Incidentally, the daughter of a good friend of my brother-in-law is the girlfriend of Chris Matthews’ son, so I may possibly be hearing some inside scuttlebutt about this down the line…

        • Frank Probst says:

          I don’t envy the position the CDC and the NIH senior leadership is in right now. You don’t want to quit when you’re in the middle of a crisis (actually, at the beginning of one), but I don’t expect these folks to fare any better than any of the other respected senior experts in this administration that have ended up as career roadkill. The head of the CDC isn’t going to be able to be “the adult in the room” any more than the Secretary of Defense was. The most responsible thing to do would be to resign and hold a press conference saying that you stood up in front of the world on Wednesday and watched a President completely untethered to reality repeatedly give false information to the public. And you watched him put Mike Pence in charge of managing the response to the epidemic instead of someone who knows how to manage the response to an epidemic. Then you got word that all of your public statements had to be laundered through Mike Pence. In just two days, the President was calling the epidemic a “hoax”. Today, the President met with a bunch of people from pharmaceutical companies regarding Coronavirus, because they’re the people who will make money if there’s a vaccine that gets developed, so they’ll be mass-producing and selling the vaccine. The time frame in which this is supposed to happen is vague, but reporters should probably at least MENTION the fact that the scientific community has never been able to produce a vaccine that successfully protects people from ANY strain of Coronavirus, so there might be a few unanticipated bumps on the road to success. There are already so many things wrong with our response to the Coronavirus outbreak right now that unless it gets scrapped and rebuilt from scratch, you’re going to advise all of your former junior officials to resign, too.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes. It is not a good time to be one of those key people. However each plays it, It is hard to do anything but respect them and hope for the best.

            You, Frank, must be dying over all this. There is, at best, mostly stupidity going on in the greater national discussion. Please continue to keep us apprised of your thoughts. Ironically, having input from actual experts is how this blog made it well through the Mouth of Macombo in the Gulf and Fukushima. I trust all of you that really know the current issue will take us through this one.

            • Frank Probst says:

              I wouldn’t survive for more than 15 minutes at one of those pressers. I’d probably quit on the spot and just start giving accurate information (especially when it’s “We don’t know.”) until the Secret Service dragged me out of the room

          • Eureka says:

            YES! The “assumption of vaccine” here has taken over, and is unwarranted as of yet and per history (I almost added this weekend a comment from Jon Cohen @ Science to the effect of how Trump says there will be a vaccine in X time but it may take 1(+) years, 5 years,10 years OR NEVER).

            All of the Pence stuff and the Sunday shows and his endorsement of Jr.’s battshittery makes me physically sick. And the craven capitalist approach to public health.

            Cosign, but that I am really worried about a pipeline of “out-and-next-up” resignations at our most important agencies here. I think they should stay and dig in** and use other public messaging if possible, and if fired, so be it.

            ** this assumes they can avoid being forced to act unethically (re hoping they dig in and stay). But as per concerns I expressed on the previous page, I fear the unethical requests/pressures will be coming harder and faster, especially at pressure points of producing “results.”

            • P J Evans says:

              The pharma execs were telling Trmp that it will take at least a year to develop a vaccine, because it has to be tested. That didn’t get through to him at all.

              • Eureka says:

                Right. Just wait until he hears about “efficacy” and “safety”. And then someone like Bannon or Miller remind him of his (the admin’s) power to change regulations (the FDA is no NIH or CDC; FDA IMO far more prone to political takeover). (And that’s not even getting into the history of drug approvals where post-market ill-effects forced pre-market questions into the light, nor the fact that emerging infectious diseases are treated differently).

                And before anyone characterizes such concerns as alarmist, tell me what agencies and norms and ‘never would happen here’s’ that this admin *hasn’t* burned down for Trump’s/GOP’s exigencies. Rule of thumb: bad things will only not happen if they don’t need to happen (e.g. if disease ends up being mild and transient here). Besides, Trump admin came in with the intent to ~decimate the FDA and hasten approvals with less trial data (will grab a link in a minute).

                I will be shocked — shocked — if something isn’t pushed to market.

                • P J Evans says:

                  I wonder if the pharma execs will push back on rushing it – they do know how long it takes, and what the stakes are if they get it wrong. It’s happened before, and they don’t like class-action suits.

                  • Eureka says:

                    That’s my hope, and they were skeeved by some of his plans before (e.g. as in articles linked — they didn’t want the liability or uncertainty Trump’s plans might have entailed). But some are newer ~unknowns and I’d hate to have to rely on their beneficence. (Smaller companies could get in, and get out…)

                    • Eureka says:

                      [also to clarify — by “pushed” @ 1037pm, I don’t necessarily mean temporally, could be some or any type of square peg/ round hole issue that presents itself; quality/safety related. For now, we have a lot of adults in a lot of rooms here, so let’s hope he doesn’t find anyone willing to help/let him force his way (where “his way” will depend on how things are going on a number of fronts).]

                • Eureka says:

                  It’s really worth re-reading these on Trump admin’s ideals, in light of both the current ~pandemic AND the fact that post-Mueller and impeachment, he is returning to many pet projects:

                  Trump wants the FDA to move faster. His actions are having the opposite effect. – Vox
                  Feb 10, 2017

                  Now that he’s [Trump] in place, the pick for FDA head should soon be named. Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal, has been helping the president shape the process behind the scenes and vet a pool of candidates to lead the agency. Some of the potential choices — including Silicon Valley’s Jim O’Neill and Balaji Srinivasan — would be massive departures from tradition. They don’t have medical degrees, and they’ve called for major overhauls, arguing FDA should dump its requirement that drugs be proven effective, and that we’d be better off if the agency operated more like a “Yelp for drugs.”

                  Researchers who study the FDA point out that it’s already the fastest drug regulatory agency in the world, and that removing the efficacy requirement could be dangerous to public health.

                  (internal links removed)

                  Here’s What We Know about Trump’s FDA Head Nominee – Scientific American

                  March 10, 2017

                  ^^ includes much re admin’s then-plans re hastening approvals with minimal trial data; then-nominee, later-approved Scott Gottlieb (a real doctor, at least), was strongly in favor of Trump’s plans.

                  There’s a good, pertinent one from Mother Jones around this time period, too, link not handy.

                    • Geoguy says:

                      I think the Trump Mar-a-Lago Crowd of termites are tunneling into the Dept. of Veteran Affairs (DVA) because that’s where the money is. For example, Viceroy Research (an investigative financial research group) believes MiMedx is engaged in unethical and illegal business practices with the DVA. Supposedly MiMedx is conducting an independent internal investigation which Viceroy thinks is fraught with conflict of interest. Alvarez & Marsal has been appointed as part of the investigation. Marc Sherman, one of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd is Managing Director of Alvarez and Marsal. ProPublica published an article on August 7, 2018 titled “The Shadow Rulers of the VA” which links Marc Sherman to the VA. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd is also involved in DVA decision and policy making through DVA Secretary Shulkin. MiMedx was saved from a congressional hearing by Senator Isakson who has benefited from donations from MiMedx and the MiMedx CEO and founder, Parker H. Petit. Isakson was Chairman of the committee on Veteran Affairs at the time.

                      Alvarez and Marsal was also involved with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy restructuring where they received half a billion dollars in fees.

                    • Eureka says:

                      Yes, Geoguy, and the whole situation w/ Mar-a-Lago pals, VA, and tentacles seems instructive to how a lot of the people’s business is conducted. That latest installment I linked re the 2019-approved drug might share some context parallels here. Highlights:

                      The ‘unpleasant PR’ of vets killing themselves in VA parking lots;

                      The ‘extraneous’ influence channels, in person and via agencies and Fox news;

                      Trump’s order to “corner the market” on the drug for the VA;


                      Clinicians’ and others’ published concerns about safety, efficacy, and outlier-site trial data shortcomings (besides FDA approved it with restrictions, and besides that it is a ~’molecular tweak for brand name bucks’ type-thing to an existing, cheap generic, one known as a drug of abuse (veterinarians have been robbed over the related drug– not in ProPublica piece, but seen on local news-es)

                      It’s a sobering read about what can happen in Trumpworld when solutions are needed.

                      We are perhaps fortunate in the coronavirus case that the whole world has a stake in the best outcomes.

                    • Eureka says:

                      Adding to 418a: Though most of the stuff you shared I hadn’t heard of (outside of e.g. that main ProPublica piece from 2018, “Shadow Rulers of the VA”), so was only speaking to that aspect.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    “Silicon Valley” is not where I’d go for advice on the FDA. They’ve had enough trouble with products not working as intended (or as expected). Also, damned little pharmaceutical-manufacturing experience in that lot.

                • Eureka says:

                  Video threads of Trump from 3-2-20, related to discussion:

                  Aaron Rupar: “”So you have a medicine that’s already involved with the coronaviruses, and now you have to see if it’s specifically for this. You can know that tomorrow, can’t you?” — Trump has no idea what a clinical trial is …”

                  Oliver Willis: “Infectious diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci has to stop Trump from asserting in a White House meeting that coronavirus vaccine would be available in two months: “Like I’ve been telling you, a year to a year and a half.”…”

          • BobCon says:

            You have to wonder whether the GOP is only planning on using the looming crisis to advance the longstanding drug industry lobbying goals of greater IP protections, reduced availabilty of generics, and faster approval of high profit boutique drugs.

            Only after all that is rushed through will we find that a Coronavirus vaccine is years away. The press will have spent the whole time up to that point on horse race political reporting, not bothering to talk to any medical experts.

            • bmaz says:

              Here is a good one for you Bob and Frank. I’ve had asthma to varying degree since way back when I was a kid. Was bad as a kid, but was almost non-existent in my 20s and 30s, but is pretty much back now. At any rate I use albuterol and Symbicort to control it as needed.

              So with all this crap in my chest, I have been using both heavily and a few days ago, I ordered refills. Albuterol is cheap, but Symbicort on its own can be nearly $150 per puffer. The good news is it is easy to get one of those coupons where you get a puffer for $25, which is fine.

              So, I go to pick up the refills, and they suddenly want $130 for it! I am WTF is the deal here. The very nice pharmacist explains that Symbicort just came out as a generic, and that is what my health carrier now specifies….for $130 co-pay. What was the solution? Go back to the original name brand one from AstraZeneca, don’t run it through insurance and go home with another $25 puffer. This is all totally insane of course. Generics are “supposed” to be cheaper, right?

              • Holly says:

                I only commented one time before, but felt compelled to when you spoke about your asthma, since I have had it since I was a child as well. I now use Combivent Respimat which costs a fortune, but allows me to have the ability to breath. Good luck with your family’s situation and hope that all get well.

                • bmaz says:

                  Was not familiar with that one, but holy crap that stuff is expensive! Hope there is one of those handy coupons for you.

                  It’s funny, back when I was a kid, there were not five million puffers like there are now, there was only Primatine Mist, which my pediatrician allergist allowed me to have, but hated. If things got really bad with an attack, you went to the hospital and were given a “flying machine” treatment on a Byrd Mark IV respirator that misted some something into you. Probably had 4 times where we did that. And, man, it worked! But left you with the damndest headache ever.

                  Also, Holly, join us more often!

              • dude says:

                Generics are “supposed” to be cheaper, right?–

                I didn’t think about the co-pay angle. (I have recently started up on Symbicort and saw there was generic now available.)

                • bmaz says:

                  If they try to screw you, just remember that you should be able to get the original for $25 with an easily obtainable coupon.

              • Frank Probst says:

                Health care pricing in general is pretty opaque. I’m not a pharmacist, but I’m guessing that they’ll tell you the same thing: The pricing for various drugs often makes no sense. Your experience of paying “out of pocket” because it turns out to be cheaper than using your insurance isn’t unusual. The other thing I’ve had happen is that the pharmacy has some sort of “prescription discount card” that you can buy that will lower your prescription prices for certain drugs, and that avenue can be cheaper in the long run than using your insurance.

                The only silver lining there is that many pharmacists that staff the big pharmacy chains (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) are more loyal to their customers than they are to the pharmacy. I’ve had multiple experiences where the pharmacist has gone out of their way to check for any sort of program that will lower my prescription cost, and they’ve done it without me even asking them to. I’ve also just asked the pharmacist if they had a “drug discount program”, and if there is, they’ll tell you whether or not it’s cheaper to go that route than to use your insurance.

              • Frank Probst says:

                Also, you should probably talk to your doctor about Symbicort. I think it’s supposed to be used on a regular basis, not just when your asthma flares up.

                • bmaz says:

                  Oh, I know, I am supposed to do two puffs in the morning and another two at night. But I only really do that during the spring and fall when things are bad. Or times like now.

              • P J Evans says:

                I’ve heard that the middlemen get contracts to supply generics from particular manufacturers, and that allows them to set prices that are higher than they should be.

        • holdingsteady says:

          Is anyone producing distilled version of CSpan?

          (responding to Eureka above at 8:11 pm regarding cable news bs)

          • Eureka says:

            I think that *used to be* NPR (-ish / kind of joking, kind of not). But that’s a good way to put it, c-span distilled, or curated. I’d love to hear people’s suggestions, too, on better info-dense options. For now, it’s hit-or-miss and pluck through twitter to find videos, news, etc.

      • BobCon says:

        I cannot understand the reasons for networks to keep these stiffs for so many years and pay them so much money to phone it in. In two months nobody will notice Matthews is gone. Fox found out that O’Reilly and Kelly were replacable, and NBC quickly learned that Kelly wasn’t worth much.

        It’s a lot like NFL broadcasts — the networks could dump 3/4 of the color commentators and announcers today, and by week one nobody would remember who they were.

        I would vastly prefer they put the money into reporters and behind the scenes analysts who can make the shows more interesting and dig deeper into subjects. 3/4 of the on screen talent offers nothing.

        • dude says:

          I think it is the infatuation with “branding” which so, so many corporate types buy into. Branding, name-recognition–whatever you want to call it–is the same to me as impulse buying. It doesn’t matter if it is talking head or bottle of ketchup (or catsup!).

          • BobCon says:

            I think that’s a big part of it, and the dumb thing is these people never got past the first page of their Marketing 101 textbook.

            Branding can be good or bad. Matthews helped establish MSNBC as a place for shouty ill-informed cranks, just as most NFL color commentators help establish their networks as a place for rambling robotic people out of touch with what is happening around them.

            Maybe not the most desirable demographics.

  23. orionATL says:

    belongs above with BOBCON 2/22/20 1:02pm

    focus on the dc/politics bureau as a problem seems to be an important criticism. either sullivan or liz spayd (their last public editor, peremptorily fired) commented once in a piece i read about receiving heavy criticism from three big shots from that section for criticism of coverage. concentrated, defensive firepower. why?

    • BobCon says:

      The best explanation I’ve seen is that the DC media scene is it’s a big clan that follows the classic inside/outside dynamics of the Mafia, the Vatican or the NYC fashion scene.

      Insiders ratting on insiders is basically the worst sin. Making money only excuses a certain amount of deviance from the norm. A select top group of insiders sets the agenda which everyone else better follow. Upper level caste members can turn on lower level members but never vice versa.

      Think about the way top level NBC execs shut down the reporting of Ronan Farrow (son of Mia, member of the lower level) about Harvey Weinstein (top guy) who locked out lower level actresses he considered risky to him. That’s how the DC media scene works too.

      It’s how DC works in general. That is why the media is repeating 2016 — they fear the Democrats are genuine iconoclasts and think Trump is just posing. They still can’t accept how far he actually will go, and the top people have established a narrative that the Democrats are secretly aligned against a free press. It’s nuts.

  24. joejim says:

    I’m in Seattle, where it is a bit tense.

    The Federal prison at Seatac, near the airport, has “suspended visitors until further notice,” which makes sense, although I seriously doubt if they have stopped accepting new inmates, or are in any way segregating recent arrivals from the regular population. Many new arrivals typically come from the King County Jail, which is an incubator constantly unloading batches of newly arrested addicts whose fluids are exploding from every orifice as they go through untreated drug withdrawal in the same completely unventilated room as 120 other people. Of course policy should always have been to offer methadone, segregate the sick, and for there to be fresh air, but here we are.
    Also doubt if they are putting the staff or attorneys through any special protocols.

    It concerns me as yet another example of a type of unique and complex public health problem in this potential crisis, and at a place where there is both an abysmal doctor/patient ratio, minimal health supplies, poor decision making, and an often nasty and ignorant staff, all of it cloaked in secrecy.

    Also concerning because visitors play an important role in monitoring conditions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are putting the inmates in complete lock down and so forth.

    Also, relatively little Seattle has more homeless than any American cities excpt NYC and LA, which means there are a lot. Main downtown shelter sleeps 300 to a room. Others stay in filthy encampments. And there are almost no public bathrooms in the city at a time when we’re told the best defense is washing your hands all day. Things could spread really quickly.

    I left my place yesterday afternoon, with hygiene on my mind, and the very first person to come into my view is a woman bending over to pick up a discarded cigarette butt. Not to be a downer, but the way we treat the mentally ill and the poor could potentially bite us in the neck, hard. Or other scenarios.

    • viget says:

      Second this. JHU school of public health seems to have the most up to date numbers, they are scouring all news sources and local health depts to get the best info possible. It is laughable that CDC’s “official” count is still stuck at 43.

      Even WHO seems not to have the most updated information. Unbelievable.

      Major shout out to my colleague Dr. Steve Hahn, FDA commissioner, for putting an end to the CDC’s foolish monopoly on flawed testing kits and allowing universities and health departments to develop their own tests.

      • Eureka says:

        Thirded re JHU, and glad to hear you know Hahn. I’d just been scoping out his wiki and was pleased to see that with his appointment in Dec. 2019, we have a legit physician in charge at FDA who does not appear to have conflicting interests, though I don’t know much about him (I have no idea who, if anyone, was appointed — probably another “acting” — between physician-investor Gottlieb and him, so no comment intended there/towards any interim).

        • viget says:

          I was surprised to hear that Hahn was a Trump supporter, but he’s definitely legit as physicians go. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy and a genuine person who cares about people. I know this from personal experience.

          His “acting” (Ned Sharpless) was actually a very good choice too, but I don’t think he would have worked well with Trump, and honestly, we needed him more back as head of the NCI, than FDA commissioner. Hahn, as well as being an oncologist, also is very skilled politically, but in a good way.

          It sounds like he and Fauci have the unenviable job of trying to manage Trump while also making sure good science gets done and running interference on Pence, while making sure the rest of us all don’t die. Kind of like the 2 scientists from the HBO series Chernobyl (although I know they are both amalgamations of many real people).

  25. 200Toros says:

    Funniest part of today’s presser was Fauci saving his job, telling the pharma CEO’s: “you need to understand what the President is asking. He is asking when a vaccine is going to be deployable. The answer to that is a year, a year and a half.”

    Which sounds better than “you need to understand that the president is a complete effing moron who doesn’t understand a single word coming out of your mouths. So speak in crayon.”

    Trump had been giving a 3-4 month timeline for an approved vaccine, since he is the world’s biggest idiot.Gotta laugh so you don’t cry…

    • Eureka says:

      re the “3-4 months”, I think he’s taking in the headlines, some perhaps marketed towards his “bases”. For example, I saw this in a search snippet recently:

      Israeli scientists claim coronavirus vaccine three months away
      Christian Forums|4 days ago
      so we are working to expedite the development process and achieve an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 virus over the next 8-10 weeks and move to safety trials [in humans] within 90 days,” said Migal CEO David Zigdon in a press conference. “The vaccine developed by us for poultry is administered orally and the human vaccine offered by us is …

      One can see even in the snippet (“…_move_ to trials …within 90 days”) that the headline lies. But why read farther, eh?

      The Greatest Perseveration.

    • Terry Salad says:

      What is really worrisome is what Trump said after — “that he’s really prefer a few months” (paraphrasing). It’s like he’s still on his ridiculous Celebrity Apprentice. “Tell Gary Busey he’d better have that vaccine ready in 2 weeks or he’s fired!” Public Health doesn’t quite work like the business world.

  26. pdaly says:

    This Oxford University Press article describes the remarkably well-appearing 6 month-old baby boy infected with the corona virus. Except for a fever of short duration, he looked well the whole time he was in the hospital waiting for his parents to get better from their COVID-19 symptoms. He looked well despite documented infection by nasal swabs, virus in his blood, change in white cells in his blood.

    • Frank Probst says:

      This is one of the big things I’ve been wondering. Pre-teens, including infants, don’t seem to get very sick (if they get sick at all) when they get infected. This is one of the big things that differentiates this from the flu. This infant was infected and appeared to be continuously shedding virus through his nasopharyngeal secretions, so he was presumably infectious for at least a week. We know he got it via a family member, because Singapore is EXTREMELY aggressive with its contact tracing. The concern here is that if your city isn’t on lockdown, is there a risk that the virus will spread through schools and day centers? The kids likely won’t appear sick, but they may be able to transmit the virus to other people if they still have Coronavirus in their nasopharyngeal secretions. That’s the kind of thing that will lead to a widespread outbreak. (I haven’t read the article about the Chinese infants, but I’ll try to comment on that later today.)

      P.S. If you’re looking at the figure and the table in the article, note that the figure graphs 1/Ct, while the table shows Ct values. If you don’t know what this means, then just pretend that 1/Ct is a proxy for viral load.

      • Pajaro says:

        Agree, there needs to be screening among children and not based on symptoms. When I first heard of their low or no symptoms from China I thought there is the rapid spread vector. It will be difficult, but infected children should be handled carefully and precautions taken against spread. The other concerning thing I see is that some patients have become re-infected after release. Acquired immunity or resistance after the course of infection may not be a given. Both these aspects are scary for proliferation, IMO.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I’m not sure what to make of the re-infected patients. I wonder if they might just be rare patients whose viral loads dropped to undetectable levels and then had a second “wave” of the disease. Either way (reinfection or second wave of viral loads increasing), I think we’re getting to the point where we might have to start “requarantining” some people, and that’s REALLY going to scare the hell out of the general public.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Just finished the JAMA article from the Chinese about infected infants. They’re reporting that they’ve seen 9 infants (28 days-1 year) with Coronavirus. All appear to have gotten the virus from a family member. All were admitted to the hospital for observation. None developed any sort of severe illness, none were admitted to an ICU, none required ventilator support, and none had any serious complications. I’m not sure why they didn’t include neonates (babies 0-28 days old). There may not have been any, or they may have been specifically excluded from the report. Neonates typically have a fairly weak immune system and are more susceptible to infection than older infants.

        • BobCon says:

          I know from experience that very young infants with any fever get sent to the doctor/ER ASAP.

          It will be interesting to see how the messaging plays out if Coronavirus is widespread, since they’ll need to keep babies coming in to screen for other issues without freaking parents out.

    • orionATL says:

      since i first read some days ago that very young humans were not as susceptible as adults, that finding has stood out as an important clue to why the virus does more damage to lung cells in some patients than in others. but how? well, for one the body’s immune system strengthens thru exposure and testing up thru late teens to early twenties, but in later life it begins to deteriorate. it may be that the immune systems of young humans and older are triggered to behave differentially by the presence of the virus. one could guess that the younger, still developing systems attack the virus more strongly yielding a stronger antibody response.

      in any case, if the young develop weaker, asymptomatic illness, one important implication is that they can be carriers who distribute the illness without suspicion.

  27. pdaly says:

    bmaz, sorry to hear you are under the weather. Hoping you are feeling better soon and that your daughter can get tested soon so that she can relax for 2 weeks at home.

    • Eureka says:

      Hi pdaly, thank you for the resource.

      FYI, the tracker is in the question mark and everything thereafter– so next time, you can cut it off at and including the “?” (that tracker is from facebook– “fbclid” and the rest of the characters would be account/source identifying)

      (there are some rare exceptions, like legit abc news site urls will have a ? mark)

      • pdaly says:

        Thanks, Eureka.
        I should have remembered that the ? mark is part of it, too. My post didn’t have an edit button. Hoping the mods here can protect everyone and fix link.

  28. r helder says:

    dear bmaz and dmaz,
    when first teaching high school, it seemed i got every bug coming thru the school. even after five years or so, though i developed a lot of immunity, i always seemed to get knocked out for a few days during flu season. then a friend turned me on to the netti pot (always use distilled water with the salt!) it not only flushes nasal passages, put the altered p.h. actually kills virus’ in the pharynx. i never caught even a cold after using the netti — use it still.
    hope this anecdotal evidence can help you both thru a rough period

  29. punaise says:

    Hang in there, famille bmaz. Sorry I don’t have a pithy quip for ya.

    I used to own a Toyota Corona back in the day, so I think I’m inoculated.

        • punaise says:

          The Corona and Celica (early -ish 1980s) were basically the same drive train in a different package. I’m not particularly mechanically inclined, but cars were much simpler then, and with the help of some more savvy grease-monkey buddies I actually managed to pull the engine from Rona and install it in Relica – and it worked!

          This was occasioned by Rona being totaled by the future madame punaise, then visiting from France, who blithely assumed that the stupid “priorité à droite” rule (don’t get me started on that one) works in CA as well. She got T-boned at a T intersection, with moderate injuries. Oops…

        • dude says:

          Recall the Toyota Crown? My Dad bought the Corona instead and I have driven Toyotas ever since….well, until this year. Went to Subaru. My favorite was a Tercel.

      • P J Evans says:

        My first car was a Corona. I was the third owner, and it got totaled when it was about 18 years old.
        We had a joke about it: if you drove it in a certain city, it was a Corona Corona. With a particular cigar at the same time, it was a Corona Corona Corona. With the cigar stashed in a 6-pack, it was a Corona Corona Corona Corona . And if your destination was another area city, it was a Corona Corona Corona Corona Corona .

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Thanks for sharing the info about your cousin, Julie Lynch’s, book. I especially liked that she said this:

      “I think my advice to politicians would be, Don’t try to get fancy about what inequality is, and don’t try to get fancy about the policy tools that you use to try to solve the problem. Just do the stuff that we know works.”

      “As the last paragraph in my book reads: ‘It will require some boldness to break with so many years of taboo, but politicians should take heart in the knowledge that the public, the pontiff, and the IMF all agree that inequality needs to be brought to heel. And if Brexit, the resurgence of reactionary right-wing nationalist parties, and the election of Donald Trump have taught us anything, it is that taboos can be broken.’”

      That whole Penn web page was full of great articles!

  30. 200Toros says:

    I had to check several sources to see if this was real, it’s so bizarre. If anyone is foolish enough to think that Pence has the health and well-being of the American public as his top priority, think again. Here is how he is prioritizing his staff’s time – collecting tweets praising Dear Leader’s handling of the crisis. It’s just unbelievable…

    • Pajaro says:

      For Pence this is probably the divine means to The Rapture and he isn’t going to stand in the way.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      In the HuffPo today: “CNN political analyst Paul Begala this week “guaranteed” that President Donald Trump is going to dump Vice President Mike Pence.

      “This is not a prediction, it’s a certainty,” Begala said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington.

      He even named an exact date: Thursday, July 16.

      “That’s the date the Democrat gives her or his acceptance address,” Begala said on Monday. “On that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago.”

      And that’s when Pence will be toast.

      “He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms,” Begala said. “You watch. Guaranteed.”

      He feels that naming Pence to head the Covid 19 situation is setting him up for failure and an excuse to get rid of him.

  31. punaise says:

    Sort of Corona related: today’s voting was an early morning family outing, a stroll to our local firehouse. Mme. punaise dropped off her mail-in ballot, I filled out my last non-mail-in ballot, as did punaisette who was on her regular walk to the Cal campus. Bit of a time warp as we left the house, like walking her to the first day of kindergarten 20+ years ago!

    Anyhoo, we brought our own pens to mark the ballots and Purelled after. It’s becoming a reflex.

  32. Doug Fir says:

    Here’s some fact-based reporting and advice from Health Canada:

    Infection prevention and control, directed towards healthcare professionals but would appear to be very applicable if you have a case at home:

    • e.a.f. says:

      Hey its just the English version. where’s the French version. You know we’re bi lingual. o.k. o.k, we’re on an American blog and most don’t read French.

  33. Jim White says:

    Okay, with spread continuing and confirmed cases here in Florida, I went ahead and completed buying provisions for us people. We now have enough food and paper goods on hand that with very little warning, we could spend four weeks without leaving the house. I got a bit extra since our daughter tends to “shop” in our supplies fairly regularly.

    I’ll lay in animal supplies tomorrow.

    • BobCon says:

      People should think about any neighbors who are unlikely to have their act together and how they might be able to lend a helping hand.

      People do dumb stuff in emergencies like releasing their pets when they run out of dog food or giving their kids only Diet Coke to drink because they’re too scared to go out to buy milk. A little preplanning on behalf of other people can’t hurt.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Useful advice, given that tens of millions of Americans haven’t the cash to meet an emergency costing $400 or more. Lose a job or a paycheck, and they will really be in the dumps, making it hard to think straight. Being neighborly will not be made easier by the neoliberal tendency to never let a serious crisis go to waste,

        Reminds me of an early Twilight Zone episode. Aliens disrupt the life of an idyllic small town simply by shutting off the power. The viewer wonders whether the townspeople will rediscover their neighborliness when they find out that their “town” has become a few square blocks of earth, bulldozed up and sent off into space, to join some interstellar menagerie.

        Now would be a good time to reject neoliberal isolationism and victim blaming, and rediscover what being a neighbor means. Someone condensed that once into a single sentence, while standing on one leg, before he got back to work.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Rather, it was the convert who stood on one leg, while Hillel explained the whole of the Torah, “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow.”

      • e.a.f. says:

        bought extra creamo/half and half and froze it. When thawed, shake and add water to be more like milk. Keeps well for a couple of months. can’t imagine going through a quarantine with out coffee and creamo. Have 2 month supply of coffee, have to check the food.
        Food in Nanaimo, B.C. won’t actually be a problem, we can order it from any of the supermarket chains and they’ll deliver it.

        • Rayne says:

          What happens if 30-50% of shipping capacity is lost due to workers’ illness and extended quarantine? I don’t need an answer, this is merely food for thought, delivered.

          • e.a.f. says:

            yes, you do have a point there. made me laugh. never gave that a thought at some level. oh, my…….

            We have a number of dairy farms on the Island and its “refined” it right here. Getting it around the Island should there be a lot of sick people could be a problem. Thank you for the heads up, time to go out and buy some more.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It appears that Joe Biden is open to having a Republican as his vice presidential running mate. Would he also apportion his political appointees and judicial nominations on a 51/49 basis?

    That might disappoint the House’s No. 3 Representative, Jim Clyburn. He might have already had a word with Joe, to suggest that that was not what he had in mind when he helped him win in South Carolina, his first presidential primary victory in three attempts over 32 years.

    Mr. Biden’s catastrophic inability to understand Trump, the contemporary GOP, and the Democratic base that will or won’t come out to vote is, sadly, typical of Joe Biden.

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