The Tick-Tock to COVID-19’s Explosion

[Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

When epidemiologists, virologists, and public health officials first began talking about flattening the curve — using social distancing to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases needing hospitalization at any one time to prevent collapse of hospitals and massive mortality — I kept a running mental tick-tock, resetting this clock as data emerged and events unfolded. We learned from Washington state how the virus spread rapidly because of cryptic transmission, but tracking the virus’s dispersion hasn’t been clear to observers let alone elected officials and business leaders. Missing a concrete picture of how the virus emerges and spreads over time to affect our health care systems, officials have been easily badgered to issue delayed and weak containment orders to suppress COVID-19’S contagion.

The Biogen management conference offered a discrete example of how COVID-19 contagion spread and the time from exposure to illness to new infection:

26-27 February — Biogen, a biotech company, held a management conference in Boston at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel [Day 1-2]

01 March — Biogen employee of Chinese heritage who attended the conference developed a cough. [Day 5]

02 March — A Biogen employee from Indiana developed symptoms; they traveled to Biogen’s facility in Research Triangle Park, NC.

03 March — Biogen conference attendees were notified of a potential COVID-19 exposure [7 days after conference began]

06 March — Attendees received confirmation that they were exposed to COVID-19. Four cases were identified in Boston; two had symptoms. The Biogen employee from Indiana drove home. [10 days after conference began]

09 March — At least 32 cases of COVID-19 of 41 total in Massachusetts on this date were associated with the Biogen conference. [13 days after conference began]

11 March — Chinese Biogen employee flew from Boston to Los Angeles with spouse and child.

12 March — Chinese Biogen employee flew from LA to Beijing with spouse and child.

12 March — 82 cases in Massachusetts have both been confirmed and associated with the Biogen conference. The Marriott hotel at which the conference was held closed for disinfection.

13 March — Chinese Biogen employee tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival.

14 March — 104 of 138 total COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts were associated with the Biogen conference. Two new cases related to Biogen appeared in the cities of  Worcester and Malden.

16 March — Spouse of Biogen employee tested positive for COVID-19 in Beijing. [20 days after conference began]

The case of Biogen’s Chinese employee is incredibly important. The woman visited a hospital in Boston repeatedly for her symptoms, potentially infecting multiple people including health care workers, was given an ineffective antiviral (technically off label for COVID-19), and ended up flying to China, exposing other passengers and airline employees to COVID-19 en route because she couldn’t get tested for the virus until she arrived in Beijing.  She risked prosecution by Chinese authorities for failing to disclose her health status in order to get tested.

The U.S. literally exported two new cases of COVID-19 to China because Trump has dicked around with testing and lied to us about their availability since he first learned about the virus and risk of pandemic.

~ ~ ~

I’ve made up a calendar — not exactly pretty, mind you, since I didn’t quite know how I wanted to present this when I started. But you’ll see the Biogen-based outbreak, the airport terminal debacle thanks to the Trump EU travel ban, and the last holiday during which people gathered en masse in closed quarters (that’s St. Patrick’s Day).

Four states with the largest populations out of the top 11 most populous states issued shelter-in-place/stay home orders after March 17. You’ll see those effective dates noted on the calendar here as well.

Calender - COVID-19 contagion, Feb-April 2020

Note carefully the weekend of March 14-15 when airports across the U.S. were crammed with people, many of whom were likely exposed to COVID-19. As I said in a previous post, this is a hurricane; the mounting deaths over the last couple of days are only the leading edge of a hurricane-like explosion fomented by Trump’s minions’ ineptitude. Every death is on their heads and hands.

The reason for my mental tick-tock and the calendar is the course of the virus and its contagion: exposed persons are contagious about five days after infection; infected persons may begin to show symptoms from 5 to 14 days after exposure; persons who recover are contagious for at least another seven days.

The total 21 days from exposure to the point where an infected person is  clear of virus is optimistic. The WHO China mission report indicated persons may shed COVID-19 for 4-5 weeks in total.

Which brings me to the ultimate point of this post: In no fucking way is it safe to assume the risk of contagion will have been broken by Easter.

No matter what Trump wants or needs to believe, especially since shelter-in-place/stay home orders have not been given across the entire country and not to a uniform standard since states assumed the responsibility to issue these orders and not the federal government.

Perhaps the contagion will be stemmed by the states which gave shelter-in-place/stay home orders, but COVID-19’s spread could resume as rapidly as a trucker can cross a state line or an airplane land at an airport.

A partial lifting of the shelter-in-place/stay home orders might work if everyone had been screened with an antibody test for exposure, and only those persons with active COVID-19 infections were quarantined for the full 4-5 weeks.

But no — we don’t yet have antibody tests. We still don’t have adequate numbers of tests for COVID-19 infections.

Without testing and uniform shelter-in-place/stay home orders across the country, lifting shelter-in-place/stay home orders by Easter only increases the odds there will be another wave of infections on the heels of the first wave. Hospitals and health care workers would not have a break between these successive waves, further stressing the system.

~ ~ ~

Let’s cut through the bullshit here. If Trump wanted to look like a hero to the American public, he’d listen to virologists, epidemiologists, and public health experts.

He’d make sure the health care system had the resources it needs to protect themselves, to treat those who were ill, and to test everyone so the public, their first responders, and their elected state officials knew the status of the virus and where to direct their attentions most effectively.

He’d make sure every American stayed home and had no reason to leave until the contagion was broken.

But this is exactly what he isn’t doing.

He’s even withholding funds from states which are battling to save Americans’ lives from COVID-19 while containing the virus’s spread.


Why is Trump not doing what he’s supposed to do to insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare as executive of the United States?

Why has he ignored the hundreds of deaths to date, all of which can be blamed on his ongoing failures?

Why has Trump only been able to maintain kayfabe — the appearance of being a president without actually being one, like professional wrestlers who don’t actually wrestle?

If this was the reality TV show The Apprentice, Trump should have been fired already for dereliction of his duties and escorted off studio property by security personnel for deliberately hurting cast and crew.

~ ~ ~

Finally, two more groups of people need to be asked why they aren’t acting in the best interests of the country, let alone their constituents whether voters, donors, or shareholders.

Republican senators have rejected the math — like that selfish yard-waste-pile Rand Paul who continued to use the Senate pool in spite of his exposure to COVID-19.

Why are they actively refusing to do the right things to save Americans’ lives including their own?

Corporate leaders like Lloyd Blankfein whine about getting American workers back on the job instead of worrying whether there will be an economy left if workers continue to get sick in the workplace and die.

Why can’t a fucking investment banker like Blankfein and other business leaders responsible for P&L figure out the numbers?

Fire them all come November.

174 replies
    • Rayne says:

      Absolutely this.

      As Peterr wrote earlier, the virus doesn’t care. It just does what a virus does. We’re the humans, we’re supposed to be smart enough to make decisions based on data gathered from what the virus does. Trump definitely proved he can’t.

  1. Master Slacker says:

    As the countdown continues this is starting to look more and more like the invasion of Iraq. The slow slog of the federal government is enhancing the need for another blow out rescue of (don’t hold your breath) Boeing and the airline industry! Yes, it is a war that has been started and pushed by people be they Republicans or Russians who want the United States to submit to totalitarian rule. Some are more equal than others.
    In about 20 years when the Republicans once again claim leadership positions you can bet there will be another crises just before time for re-election and another bail out and yada yada yada… I wonder how many times it will take before we recognize this for what it is and actually do something about it.

  2. Jon says:

    Wait, this is America. Blankfein is only responsible for profits. Us taxpayers are responsible for the losses. It’s what we pretend is capitalism.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Jon.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      A majority of Americans didn’t choose this. If you point to the electoral college I’m going to point to voter suppression.

      Americans chose this the way they choose organized crime.

  3. DLup says:

    The levers of power are in the hands of madmen. The White House and the Senate, many of the states. Fools, charlatans, and madmen. It leaves my quivering with rage and nauseous with dread. Clenching my teeth at my powerlessness and trembling with fear for my family, my neighbors, my friends, and my nation. How can they not see? Why are they waiting? What do they think will be better tomorrow, next week, or the week after? The hand writing is on the wall, a metaphor that most of them should know all too well, and yet they refuse to see.

    At root, I simply do not understand the paralysis, the inaction by Trump, those around him, and the leaders of so many states. Are they simply fantasists? Is it just magical thinking, this cannot be happening? Are that many people in such positions of high power simply that irrational? I find that so hard to accept, and yet I do not know any other explanation.

    It breaks my heart, my mind, and my soul to see what is coming, to know that so many are in it now and so many more also see it, and yet have those who can make a difference simply be indifferent.

    Now we know the torment of Cassandra, even at this point.

  4. Mary M McCurnin says:

    “Why has he ignored the hundreds of deaths to date, all of which can be blamed on his ongoing failures?”

    Trump is killing us. He is doing a good job of it.

  5. Fran of the North says:

    Prognostication is like certain body parts, everybody’s got one. Butt ;o), Rayne’s TickTock math seems pretty darned good. Unlocking the Easter egg called quarantine might seem a proper denouement for a screenplay, but unfortunately it may only be the end of Act One. Generally Act Two starts of with serious setbacks for our protagonists.

    The CDC map of confirmed Covid-19 diagnoses shows that virtually every state is showing growth in infections and presumably ongoing exposures. Until EVERY state and municipality locks down for a minimum of 30 days, it is premature to posit a date when things might get back to normal.

    The next explosion point may very well be Florida. DeSantis seems to have his head firmly buried in the beautiful sand of his beaches, and the numbers continue to grow. Unfortunately, exponential acceleration is probably around the corner.

    Of course, it isn’t his fault, all those dirty vacationers brought it with them.

    • bt says:

      I’m sorry to say, but Florida does seem uniquely positioned, demographically and politically, to be a real blowout.

      It’s been my belief throughout that the reason Trump is not sending critical supplies to NY or California is that he’s saving them for States the will count in his re-election – States like Florida.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The quarantine is more like Pandora’s Box. However, if we keep our wits about us and stay smarter than Individual-1, we’ll pull through.

      Several others around the web have noticed the use of revenge in decisions made about who gets what. This is something that as been going on, such as the Maria response (which still isn’t fixed in Puerto Rico) where people Trump doesn’t like get screwed.

  6. Peterr says:

    Politico posted a story 90 minutes ago that opens like this:

    The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.

    “Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?”

    The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.

    Wait! You mean there was a document that says “in case of pandemic, read this” and no one read it? No one could have anticipated . . .

    Speaking of “No one could have anticipated . . .”:

    Trump has claimed that his administration could not have foreseen the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to all 50 states and more than 180 nations, sickening more than 460,000 people around the world. “Nobody ever expected a thing like this,” Trump said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

    But Trump’s aides were told to expect a potential pandemic, ranging from a tabletop exercise that the outgoing Obama administration prepared for the president’s incoming aides to a “Crimson Contagion” scenario that health officials undertook just last year and modeled out potential risks of a global infectious disease threat. Trump’s deputies also have said that their coronavirus response relies on a federal playbook, specifically referring to a strategy laid out by the Centers for Disease Control.

    The question Politico asks but cannot answer (at least not yet) is obvious: “It is not clear if the administration’s failure to follow the NSC playbook was the result of an oversight or a deliberate decision to follow a different course.”

    IOW, are they idiots or crooks?

    • paulpfixion says:

      “IOW, are they idiots or crooks?”

      The answer is clearly both of the above. “The system was blinking red.”

      We have a commander in chief who has internalized a life-time of manufactured consent, he is a walking cold war political simulacrum of “socialism is bad mkay.” Past GOP Presidents at least understood their cynicism and could see farther than the next quarterly earnings report.

      • paulpfixion says:

        I also just re-read your post “A Virus Doesn’t Care” and replaced the word “virus” with “Trump” every time it occurs.

        “A (Trump) does not care if it makes the host sick. A (Trump) does not care if it kills the host. This is the First Rule of (Trumps) : A (Trump) does not care.”

    • drouse says:

      Everyone pretty much knows the saying never ascribe to malevolence to what can be explained by incompetence. There is a point, however, that they are indistinguishable and should be treated as such.

      • Rayne says:

        “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

        — Auric Goldfinger, in Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

      • Larry says:

        Trump ‘residency policy simply is to undo everything Obama did and also make decisions in opposition to whatever decision Obama would have made. Trump does this because he’s racist and because Obama, in the spirit of the event, insulted the attending Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Obama’s team would have accepted W.H.O.’s COVID-19 detection test, so Trump’s team knew to reject it. Obama’s team prepared the federal government’s pandemic policy response and provided it to Trump’s incoming team, teaching them what it included. Trump’s team knew to ignore it, because they understood Trump’s will in the matter. Racism and stubborn self-defeating ignorance on Trump’s part set this crisis in motion and can’t stop it because they’d do the same thing all over again if they could – because TRUMP IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

      • bmaz says:

        Uh, do you know what the legal definition of “traitor” is? Please don’t bandy that loose junk about here.

        • cat herder says:

          Words can have more than one definition. Also, it’s OK for humans to exist that aren’t lawyers. Your ‘treason can only be used according to the one definition I use at work’ hobby horse thing is getting really old.

        • Rayne says:

          Context matters. Consider the website — the context here is legal definitions. I’ll agree that the word ‘traitor’ can refer to someone who has betrayed others, but if it leads to a discussion of treason, nope. We’re going to put the brakes on.

          Consider also this site is the target of entities who would like to discredit it as well. We don’t want to open the door when it comes to certain topics which hinge upon the use of certain words.

          Lastly, lecturing contributors and moderators about operations is frowned upon. If you don’t like operations here, use the back button.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          If anyone wants to imply treason without using the word “traitor” the following words are easily available: backstabber, betrayer, double-crosser, double-dealer, quisling, recreant, and turncoat. Another site suggested “two-timer” and “scab,” which is my favorite right now, because “I can’t stop looking at the John Hopkins Coronavirus tracker. It’s like picking a scab.”

          “Rat” could be nery good, because those animals spread disease, but it can also be very deceptive in terms of context.

          The online thesaurus also suggested “snake,” “serpent” but even a spitting cobra has substantially more gorm than Trump, so I left those out. I also left out word which imply “heresy.” “Turncoat” got left out for obvious reasons.


          “Idiot or double-crossing scab?”

        • Larry says:

          Your overinvigorated overly defensive insulting of commenters who even slightly disagree with you, even those who do so reasonably and agreeably, is what drove me from emptywheel’s otherwise outstanding site. You two men’s men are sabotaging her efforts, and I can’t really understand why she puts up with it. Goodbye again. Don’t let the saloon doors hit you in the head as you sniff after my exit.

  7. e.a.f. says:

    A friend just sent me a link to an 18 March article in about how the American military was flying Covid 19 test kits out of Italy and other European countries at the request of the American government. I don’t know how to link cannot write out all the numbers etc because I’m still on a hospital bed with this fractured leg. On the upside I do have my cell phone and can still read blogs the news and text. Hospital in lockdown due to virus so no TVs

  8. Zinsky says:

    Acting President Trump is the evil Chauncey Gardener from the movie Being There – a pathologically narcissistic, mentally deficient know-nothing who is entirely shaped by what he watches on TV. He reads nothing and therefore learns nothing. He upchucks things he sees on FoxNews and OANN as if they were gospels spewing from the mouth of God himself. Some lameass dork like Tucker Carlson says something about this COVID thing being over by Easter and the Orange Combover sees that as sound national policy and runs with it. No thinking, no assessment of relative merit, no Hegelian dialectic (i.e. thesis vs. antithesis = synthesis) – just stupid, lazy reflexive diarrhea of the mouth. He is a pathetic excuse for a human being.

  9. P J Evans says:

    The governor of Mississippi has issued an executive order overriding all the local orders on the virus. He’s declaring ALL businesses essential.
    Sorry, good people in Mississippi.

  10. silcominc says:

    Thank you Rayne for a great article. There are some real oddities about this virus. Has anyone else noticed that thus far, GOP politicians dismiss this as nothing (with the exception of a handful of old-time GOPers like Hogan) and even though they test positive and hideout (like Cruz now on his second two weeker at home) but are nonsymptomatic yet Dems who test positive are getting sick? And why is trump, a lifelong germaphobe seemingly unafraid of catching this illness? He has been around a lot of people who have since become ill but he did not even seek out a test until shamed into it. Maybe its time for my tin foil hat.

      • vvv says:

        Because wry and sarcastic humor gets me through stuff, and in the event it helps others:
        “Vampires don’t bite vampires.”
        Which, I know, contradicts, “They eat their young.” Or old, as the case may be …

    • drouse says:

      Could you at least point to a couple of examples that suggest there is something to what you’re saying? I’m at the point where I wouldn’t put anything past the right. But to me, something like this would require a competence that the right seems to lack.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I wouldn’t put it past this admin to issue an order that a vaccine in development be made available to Trump and his buddies. It would play nicely with his desire to turn this pandemic into a partisan issue (“The Dems are fakers! We got it and it’s just a cold!”). I just have trouble believing it wouldn’t leak to the media if that was the case.

      • Rayne says:

        Wouldn’t be a vaccine. There are at least 30 entities chasing a vaccine and no sign of one yet.

        CAVEAT – THEORY ONLY: It’d be an infusion of antibodies collected from recovered COVID-19 patients. It wouldn’t dawn on the Democrats to pay for this kind of therapy; somebody like the remaining Koch brother would pony up the cash to buy plasma and extract the antibodies to offer to the GOP members of Congress and Team Trump.

        • errant aesthete says:

          HEADLINE: A Telluride Couple is Paying for their entire county’s coronavirus tests. They hope the results will stop the disease everywhere.

          “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has not endorsed the testing initiative in southwest Colorado. The San Miguel County screening is done using blood, while the testing the state uses collects samples using nasal and throat swabs.”

          “This will be one of the first times where we screen a whole population,” Hu said. “What you do by testing en masse is you say, ‘What is active outbreak prevalence?’ If you’re positive on antibodies, that means you’ve been exposed to it at some time. If you test again in 14 days and you see that everyone is in the same state, it means that you didn’t have any new infections and you can then begin releasing people.

          “Perhaps most significantly: The testing may be able to show how many people in Telluride and San Miguel County are infected with coronavirus but aren’t aware of it.”

          “Hu and Reese [couple footing the bill] declined to say how much the testing will cost them. They say it’s irrelevant and the focus is on helping their neighbors.”

          R or D?

  11. Raven Eye says:

    Here is what is happening in my patch of Oregon…

    Crowd sourcing: My 3D printer, the big loud one, is behind me working on headbands for health care workers’ face shields — three per setup, over nine hours for each trio. There are individual printers and printer farms around the valley working away too. Someone is lined up for cutting and punching the transparent shields. The elastic/rubber straps are a bit more of a challenge. This is all being done at the request and oversight of one the two major health care providers in the region. We’re using Slack to track progress.

    As a result of the buzz, within hours of the group getting organized a local injection molding company took the design (which originally came from a 3D printer company in the Czech Republic), modified it, and is ready to produce headbands in poly-propylene at the rate of 700-1000 per day, for about $1 each. That’s cheaper and much faster than 3D printing, and the product is much more durable and easier to sterilize.

    This is not a feel-good story for me. It just highlights how desperate the on-the-ground health care workers are, and how the Administration has managed to leap from negligence to misconduct in a single bound.

    It DOES show us that we can transition from a European-sourced *.STL file, to a product ready to enter the supply chain, in around a week to 10 days. It would not take much longer had the DPA REALLY been implemented. There would have been 100,000 to 200,000 more face shields headed to where they are needed most, assuming Trump would have let the FEMA and the appropriate federal Emergency Support Function (ESF) lead agencies get together.

    I need to get to bed – I’ll be up sometime around 2:00 am to bag this batch and set up the next one.

    • LeeNLP says:

      Thank you for your service!

      If there is any silver lining to the disaster which has been this past three years, it is the good people who came forward and asked “what can I do to help?”

      • Raven Eye says:

        It’s a little odd working on this, with all the information being exchanged on a Slack account…

        The project leads are herding the cats, 3D printers are working away wherever they happen to be. I’m hoping that the injection molding comes on line for the head band — last I heard they were waiting the go-ahead from the hospital. Some concerns that the transparent shield material was a little flimsy, but a roll of heavier material may be coming from Colorado. In the meanwhile, 8 1/2 x 11 transparencies from office supply stores will work. Someone made a jig that allows him do the four mounting holes 500 sheets at a time with a drill, and also guide the corner rounding. Getting the elastic band right is taking a bit — it has to stay attached to the headband, but remain moderately comfortable for a long shift.

        …Which means the wheels is getting re-invented all across the country because people have to work with what they can lay their hands on. Not a good thing.

        This points back to the problem of “national” stockpiles of shelf-life products. Those items end up being sidetracked from the supply chain. And, stockpiles are expensive, which makes them a target for budget cuts.

        That the shortages exist should be no surprise for anyone who has even been at the fringes of these situations the past couple of decades. The wild card has been the almost unfathomable incompetence of the Administration.

      • Rayne says:

        Velcro is more expensive, more difficult to gather in consistent sizes and quantities, more likely to collect and retain infectious material during a shift (yuck, that fuzzy stuff). Also has a sharp-ish edge.

        Need something like a tie, maybe polyester paracord of which there is beaucoup easily obtained. I do wonder if we need to think about re-usability and disinfection — don’t know if polyester or nylon (which I think is what Velcro is made of) can be autoclaved.

        • CCM says:

          Most PPE is single use. Get the outside contaminated, stay clean on the inside, throw away. Filter the air down to 0.2 micron. Reuse is due to shortage only. Most of the stuff now is clumsy and uncomfortable. Hard to keep the virus out and not hold body heat in. Someone with a design mind could make a life’s fortune if they come up with a better mousetrap.

        • Rayne says:

          Really need to go back to reusable PPE with autoclaving, but I suspect the worry is infectious prions which can’t be destroyed by heat.

          Study shows reusable polypropylene microfiber treated with NaCL — goddamned salt, of all things — provides resistance against viruses.

          Quan, F., Rubino, I., Lee, S. et al. Universal and reusable virus deactivation system for respiratory protection. Sci Rep 7, 39956 (2017).

          Need a non-woven salt-treated filter in a woven, reusable fabric mask, IMO. The treated filter sandwiched between a double-layer of fabric should get down to 0.2 micron.

          If we’re going to be stuck with shortages for 12-18 months it’d be worth the attempt. If you’re personally stuck in a situation where reuse is necessary, do consider that study re: salt.

          If it were me, I’d alternate masks, wash one w/disinfectant soap, soap in supersaturated saline solution, allow to air dry before next use. I’m treating my own fabric masks I need to wear for trips out in public with saline.

        • CCM says:

          Most hospital supplies have gone in the single use direction. Yes, an autoclave will kill all but prions (not the usual concern, very specific). Disinfection is costly and risks the personnel. Most N95 are paper and cannot be washed. Salt impregnation would dissolve with cleaning.

        • Rayne says:

          I get that salt would dissolve, but that’s not an issue with resusable fabric. Assume natural fibers, washable, with a non-woven insert treated with salt. Dispose of the insert, wash the masks and dry, reinstall fresh salt-treated insert.

          Supplies have gone single use but they’re part of the growing micro-plastic crisis. Sometimes the old stuff was better. As I’ve noted before, my mother said the end of her shifts back before disposable PPE were a thing meant assembling surgical prep packages of washed/dryed reusable PPE which were autoclaved before storage ahead of the next shift. Hospitals went to disposable to avoid the labor. Now hospitals would give a fortune to have adequate PPE, labor cost be damned.

      • Raven Eye says:

        They may be settling on elastic stock that come with regularly spaced button holes.
        They’ve already delivered 900 bands — they’re trying to make it better and more secure.

  12. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    This has been bothering me since I read it back in late January:

    In July 2019, a rare event occurred in Canada. Suspected of espionage for China, a group of Chinese virologists was forcibly evicted from the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, where they had been running parts of the Special Pathogen Program of Canada’s public health agency…. Four months prior to the Chinese team’s eviction, a shipment containing two exceptionally virulent viruses—Ebola and Nipah—was sent from the NML to China. When the shipment was traced, it was held to be improper and a “possible policy breach.”
    The shipment of the two viruses from NML to China is alarming unto itself, but it also raises the question of what other shipments of viruses or other items might have been made to China between 2006 and 2018.
    Qiu made at least five trips over the academic year 2017-18 alone to the above-mentioned Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was certified for BSL4 in January 2017.

    • Rayne says:

      Bothersome, yes, but if you’re thinking we’re dealing with a manufactured pathogen I’m going to stop you right now. This thing has been stripped down so much to look for an opportunity to create a novel vaccine that signs of manufacture should be obvious already.

      And I seriously doubt Xi would shut down the largest economy in the world for a couple months to hide this.

      • Tom Maguire says:

        As to the bioweapons facility in Wuhan – I’ll accept the experts who say the current coronavirus does not look “manufactured”. However, (tl;dr) labs study bugs and have accidents.

        1 – Per the Lancet, something like a third of the early cases are hard to trace to the notorious Wuhan market. Science Mag summary w/ Lancet link:

        2 – Weapons labs can be dual use. They study viruses. This lab could definitely maybe have gotten samples of some pangolin virus causing an outbreak in a remote part of China.

        3 – labs have accidents. One CDC misdventure to ponder with anthrax.

        4 – think about the Chinese government response – delay, denial, and then an unprecedented crackdown. Consistent with responsible epidemic containment? Yes. VERY consistent with “OMG we just had a lab accident and a ghastly virus is loose in Wuhan”? Also yes.

        Hardly matters now – we have to deal with what we’re looking at – but in the longer run, as China tries to win the ongoing PR war with the West, the truth will matter a great deal.

        • Rayne says:

          Yours is the last comment I’m going to allow on this issue in this thread. This is pure speculation. China’s government response isn’t different about this case than it has been about other issues. Any time it looks like there’s a call to organize action they shut down discussion and it’s been this way for years. If this was a weapon that got away from them they would have had a much earlier, more extensive reaction but they didn’t. Nor would they have reached out to WHO and shared the information they had — it would have been squelched until they had a chance to sanitize it after the explosion of contagion reached epidemic in their backyard.

          Done with this until some day our resident microbiologist decides a debunking is worth the effort. Right now I need to spend energy on what might kick this administration’s ass into gear or help save lives — this conspiracy theory isn’t it.

        • timbo says:

          Not entirely.

          There’s the possibility that we (some humans somewhere) could manufacture a much milder form of the this virus and innoculate folks with that. It would be the fastest and cheapest way to get the anti-body into people ahead of the more nasty strain. Not that that will happen, mind you…just it’s a possibility that no doubt may have been discussed ‘somewhere or other’… and might be the only solution to try if there’s ever a more deadly, virulent novel virus to contend with in future…or a much more deadly form of this current one begins manifesting itself.

        • timbo says:

          Noted. Just wasn’t sure where else to post the idea of counter infection with a lesser strength form of the virus that will generate the required anti-bodies (which we aren’t even certain of, alas).

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        As I noted, the information has stuck with me since I read the linked article, and I wondered how it might fit into broader scope of things. A “manufactured pathogen” hadn’t even crossed my mind, and would be an incredibly stupid idea IMHO. My thoughts have been leaning more toward the likelihood of an economic attack, but on whom and by whom–not to mention, to what end?

      • Honeybee says:

        I think I read on WHO link that late cases of SARS in 2003-2004 involved accidental Chinese lab infections. Hard to work safely with viral pathogens. That said, no proof of such.

  13. e.a.f. says:

    Don’t know how they can say they didn’t know or words to that effect. Many of us in British Columbia knew if whuhan had a virus it was coming here. Once the shut down was announced in China we started being careful and adding to our earthquake supplies. By the time it hit a seniors centre in North Vancouver we were ready and self Isolating. If we could figure it out and trump and his administration couldn’t then they all ought to be section 25ed or what ever section the American constitution provides it breaks your heart to see this happen

  14. DrFunguy says:

    While I don’t dispute your Tik-tok, I am curious what the hive mind makes of the assertion by some epidemiologists that infection rates are much higher than generally assumed and the peak is near for many locations.
    The study from Oxford mentioned therein.
    “The Oxford research suggests the pandemic is in a later stage than previously thought and estimates the virus has already infected at least millions of people worldwide. In the United Kingdom, which the study focuses on, half the population would have already been infected. If accurate, that would mean transmission began around mid-January and the vast majority of cases presented mild or no symptoms.” – Financial Times paywalled article excerpted at lawyers guns and money blog
    The only way to know for sure, they say, is widespread testing for antibodies…

    • greengiant says:

      That “study” was a “model”. I think this guardian article puts in the perspective it belongs.
      When modeling one always min/maxes every conceivable variable. So this model is one set of min/max assumptions. Being data driven those assumptions were far off the mark from just US data in late February. Those who promulgate it either do so for political or economic goals or ignore the real world.

      • BobCon says:

        There is nothing wrong with a set of scientists publishing a model, of course, as long as they are transparent about data and methods. You want that kind of free exchange of information, even though that allows models which over and underestimate results.

        What you want to avoid at all costs are the bad faith, arm chair “experts” building projections based on bad data and single track trains of logic. We have been getting that with a bunch of right wingers who are clearly starting with the results they want and working backwards to find the data and assumptions they need to get there.

        That approach has fewer risks in the world of finance and Blankfeins, where you can usually raise more money and start again.

        There are no second chances in a pandemic.

      • DrFunguy says:

        It doesn’t fit my sense of the data either. But I’m more an experimental and field biologist, not a modeler. At least its a falsifiable hypothesis.
        Either by testing for antibodies or by watching infection/ICU admission/deaths for the next week or four, we’ll soon know the answer. I’m betting it will be very bad.

  15. CroFandango says:

    The spread of the disease is much further along than the confirmed cases reflect not only because of the time the illness takes to develop, but because of limited availability of tests requiring rationing of who is tested.
    Here in rural New Mexico, we look pretty good on the NYT’s confirmed cases map, but tests are not being given to those who don’t fit the protocol, so the number skews low as under 35’s get it, and recover, but still shed virus to others. I wonder if states with younger median ages will look good for a while and then gain at a steeper rate because of more cryptic transmission ?

  16. greengiant says:

    By Easter the US, dominated by New York is on track to have over 1 million positive cases. Hospitalizations there went from 1603 to 3805 in 4 days as of March 25 11:45 ET. . NY is still testing limited. Trouble is the percent positive is climbing from 16 percent a week ago to 40 percent the last day’s report. This is not a drill.
    Which brings me to the millions of Americans required to work in close proximity with no masks, no PPE, by their employers. The “our employees will die” business model. And if they refuse to show up, they will be refused unemployment benefits under current practice. In some cases if they report to work wearing a mask they are fired. So much for the 600 dollar a week unemployment kicker passed by the Senate. Forget about the chronic job less, the 1099 gig workers. The US can either give people cash now, give food now, or wreck now.

  17. d4v1d says:

    “If Trump wanted to look like a hero to the American public…”

    given that his approval numbers are actually going up, it appears he does.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve been biting my tongue about this long enough. There are two problems with this, the first being the approval ratings themselves since a parallel measure has been satisfaction with the response and not his popularity, and satisfaction is down.

      IOW, approval rating is a measure of popularity, not effectiveness. Real heroes don’t just play one on TV.

      • Drew says:

        Nate Silver observes that this “rally around the flag” bounce is MUCH smaller than other presidents have gotten at similar times. People want to come together to face a serious threat, they want their leaders to lead & protect them. So they project more leadership and goodness onto leaders initially than they probably deserve (cp. G.W. Bush going to an 85% approval rating after 9/11).

        For Trump to get a 3-5% bump in his approval ratings, is distinctly underwhelming, and not indicative of what will happen down the road. (though his highly partisan base of support is not likely to abandon him, or try to draft Andrew Cuomo for the presidency or anything like that).

  18. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    He wants a “resurrection” and some whack-job told him he’d be just like Jesus if he makes us rise on Easter. The mother phucker is so dim, he can’t get it. This is exactly what you would expect from an anti-science idiot who faces a real science problem. Shows exactly why #EducationMatters

  19. bmaz says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ…..This is really bad.

    “An entire New Jersey nursing home, 94 people, is presumed to be infected with coronavirus, forcing everyone from the facility to be evacuated, officials said.”

    • Doug Fir says:

      Most of the Covid 19 related deaths here in BC are care home related. Helluva way to say, “Thanks”, to our elders….

    • Rayne says:

      I want to know to where they evacuated them. Did they increase the risks to hospitals astronomically by shifting these patients from the home to admissions, rather than treat them in the nursing home? Did they swamp out other emergency demands with this influx?

      This evacuation seems like an incredibly bad move. It’s the kind of thing the Italians warned about — our health care is excessively centralized.

      • Frank Probst says:

        Apparently to another nursing home. The logic of it (if there is any) isn’t clear to me, but I’m going to guess/hope that it was done to bring them in closer to hospitals with ICUs and vents, so that when they start to get really ill, they can be admitted for treatment more quickly. Another possibility is that they’ve burned through most/all of the staff of the home they were in (i.e., they’re either all sick or at least infected), and you can’t just drop an entirely new staff into a nursing home during a crisis and expect things to go well.

        • RLHall says:

          I read the article, which stated that only three nuns were left to care for the sick. Seems like they could have sent in reinforcements and kept the patients in place, but I don’t know if the facility was inadequate.

      • Geoguy says:

        Frank Probst’s comment below is spot on. They were transfered to another nursing home after those patients were relocated. Apparently the tested positive patients will be isolated from the presumed positive patients. The Morristown Daily Record has an article by William Westhoven titled “All 94 residents of New Jersey nursing home presumed positive for coronavirus” updated 3-26-20 (also in USA Today.)

    • Drew says:

      I visited a parishioner in a NYC nursing home on March 6. They had been taking COVID precautions for several days–took temperature & made us mask up on entering. Yesterday I learned that he is tested positive and in an enhanced care section.

      This virus is slipping in in lots of ways that are not expected & it’s spreading fast. (That’s a big nursing home btw, I hope they have some luck with isolation)

      • Rayne says:

        The way this bug is spreading through aerosolized exhalation, only negative pressure will assure a lack of drift.

        I hope you have been in self-quarantine and are feeling okay. You need at least 4 weeks from exposure to be sure you will not expose others even if you don’t have any symptoms.

      • Peterr says:

        Nursing home workers interact with residents in ways that are just as intimate as nurses and doctors. In general, however, trained medical staffers in a hospital are probably much more careful that other folks to take precautions when they are NOT at work, because they know whatever they bring with them to work can be a real problem. I know that nursing home workers are told to take precautions like that, but they don’t have it hammered into their heads in the same way that hospital folks have, from long before COVID-19 ever appeared.

        When you add in the use of temps and “as needed” temporary staffers at many assisted living facilities, the system is that much less secure.

    • CCM says:

      Bad reporting. We do not have presumed positives. We have positives, negatives and results pending. While the results are pending risk is divided into high, moderate and low suspicion.

  20. Jim_RefusedToDifferentiateName says:

    Baby Chump doesn`t give a dump about the situation , SO LONG AS HE STAYS IN THE SPOTLIGHT .

    [Listen, you have been warned numerous times. Find a differentiated screen name here or you will be gone. Also, the President’s name is Trump. You are not cute, you are not smart, and you make everybody here look like idiots because you get a jolly down your leg by saying “Baby Chump”. There is a baby here, and it is you. Whether you continue to be here or not is now up to you. /s/ bmaz]

    [—>>> I took care of this one, bmaz. He’s going into catch-and-release mode — either he uses a differentiated need or his comments aren’t released. /~Rayne]

  21. di says:

    Maddow, citing the National Governors Association, said Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho and Wyoming had not yet implemented statewide measures in response to the public health crisis.

    If this is still the case, Texas and Oklahoma, are two rich oil states. They are also both right in tornado valley and now is the beginning of tornado season. The most recent “large” tornado hit off-season in Oct 2019. The path was next to and partially went through a wealthy neighborhood where George dubya Bush lives.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Texas isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. “Stay in place” orders and school closings are all being done at the local level (like cities and counties). We have a “stay in place” order in Houston, and I think Dallas has one, too. And the governor (who, full disclosure, I loathe) has said that he’d like to continue to have management done at the local level. He did come out and say that lifting any of these orders by April would probably not be a good idea, so it doesn’t sound like he’s planning on overriding any of the local governments in the near future.

      • P J Evans says:

        The county where I lived in west Texas has a case now, and they’ve been closing stuff for a week or so. Not a high-population county, but there is a hospital, serving several other counties as well.

      • di says:

        yes, the Dallas county “stay in place” went into effect Mar 24.
        The State says it is “keeping it local”. Doesn’t sound very coordinated and comprehensive for a state where much wealth lies. Dallas and Houston have the major oil companies and CEOs overlapping, not to mention world-renowned medical centers.

        Will Texas and Florida be ‘the next Italy’ in coronavirus …
        “About one-fifth of Texas’ 29 million people lacks health insurance..”

  22. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne.

    Oliver Willis on Twitter: 3:20 PM · Mar 25, 2020
    Objecting to a provision in the Senate coronavirus bill providing unemployment benefits for people in financial trouble, Sen. Lindsey Graham says nurses are “going to make $24 an hour on unemployment” which he claims would incentivize “taking people out of the workforce.”

    Graham really ticked me off so I called his office stating what he said about nurses is insulting. Are you trying to nickle and dime nurses? They are on the front line. They are the glue to the hospitals. They should be getting hazard pay. Rather than insult be compassionate and help the people in need. That is what caring leaders do.

    PS My friend, a physician’s assistance is returning to the Emery Hospital for work tomorrow and her unit is now a COVID Unit.

    • Rayne says:

      Graham’s remarks were so INCREDIBLY offensive…the shit, literal shit that my mother had to work through during her career as a registered nurse to save people’s lives and he demeans them about unemployment? He demeans people who took out loans to go to college, studied their asses off, have to pass state boards for licensing, obtain CEUs every year, maintain that license, pay malpractice insurance and he thinks the pittance they’ve set aside for unemployment will encourage them to take a bye?

      What’s utterly bizarre is that he thinks NURSES are going to be unemployed at all. I doubt hospitals will be able to offer enough fast enough once nurses begin to die in earnest because of their constant exposure to COVID-19. The nurse-to-patient ratio is one key number I haven’t seen mentioned yet as researchers look at case fatality rate for COVID-19 and yet nurse-to-patient ratios are a critical factor in all other mortality measures in hospital settings.

      And Graham acts like they’re just sitting around eating bon-bons on the job or at home. Fuck him.

      Christ, that’s a post, isn’t it. ~sigh~

      • bmaz says:

        When you do so, also include Franklin Graham. Because if there is a hell, let there be a special place in it for that fraudulent grifter prick.

      • Jenny says:

        NURSES are the glue to health care. They are the caretakers. My mother died on Sunday from a long 6 month bout with cancer. In the hospital it was the NURSES who helped her before and after surgery. It was the NURSES who helped her in ICU. It was the NURSES who helped her in recovery. It was the NURSES who helped her in rehab until she died.

        I am grateful NURSES were there for my mother considering the family could not visit with the lock down for 2 weeks. When I saw my mother for the last time at peace with no more pain and suffering it was a NURSE who was helpful and compassionate in my time of grief.

        • J R in WV says:

          My dad’s hospice nurse was pretty literally an angel. She eased his last months more than any of us expected. He beat a rare leukemia with support from M D Andersen hospital via a clinical trial. But he suffered from COPD from chemo intended to help him qualify for the clinical trial… caused lung damage.

          After he cared for mom as she suffered from COPD from Pall Malls, which murdered her as sure as if Phillip Morris had used a gun. He dreaded COPD and it got him though he quit smoking cold turkey in 1960.

          You all are correct in that nurses are who do the caring, treatment, the nursing. Not all angels, I have run into a couple who seem to care only for the power of the position, but mostly kind caring people. An ICU nurse, former military combat medic with multiple tours in combat in the ‘stans named Rowdy saved my wife’s life when she came down with pneumonia causing septic shock.

        • Duke says:

          Unfortunately, I have had lots of hospitalizations. Mostly, positive experiences. The Behaviors of nurses I had was always far more healing than anytime with the MDs. Currently, my GP is a FNP. I never had a better experiences with high high level consistency until encountering this service provider. The MD he reports to I have only met once.

          I have had low consistency betweenMds than with my service provider. Many times the actual visit with him lasts for 30 – 60 minutes. Nurses in a hospital make more of a healing difference than the 2minutes with the MD.

          Nurses aren’t paid enough and we were lose many.

        • Eureka says:

          Dear Jenny, my condolences on the death of your mom after her long path with cancer. You are a wonderful reflection of her in this world. My best to you, your family, and loved ones.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Yes, Jenny, you are indeed a wonderful reflection of your family. I’m so sorry for your loss, especially in these very difficult times.

      • P J Evans says:

        Normal unemployment is maybe half what you were being paid. $24/hr sounds about right for experienced nurses – though they’re going to be working, not unemployed.

        (I wonder if the four objecters have looked at actual unemployment laws in their home states, because, IIRC, Texas and SC are two of the worst if you need it.)

        • P J Evans says:

          I figured that – I was being paid 55k per year, and that’s $25/hour. (Doing technical stuff.)

        • Rayne says:

          I feel that salary snapshot is accurate. My mom was making north of $40/hour+accommodations nearly a dozen years ago as a traveling nurse — temporary contract nurses hired to backfill short-staffed critical areas like ER departments. (She made more than the permanent folks but the point was that she didn’t have benefits and she might have to work a contract as short as three months.)

      • CCM says:

        Send your unemployed nurses my way! We have an incredibly hard time recruiting and keeping ICU nurses. There is a shortage, not just ICU and everywhere. ICU nursing used to be a destination, a place where you could be considered amongst the best, now it is a stepping stone to getting our masters. A shame as experience counts, takes 3-5 years to really hit stride.

  23. Robert Britton says:

    And where his is accountability?

    This is on us. Our democracy failed, and our society failed. It is the people who allow him to rape, pillage, and get away with not just demagoguery, but, frankly, killing people. This, for me, isn’t so much about his incompetence, narcisism and selfishness.

    This is wholly about our failings as a people to vote “The Apprentice” into office and for failing to even march and protest in any meaningful way prior to this pandemic and crisis.

    Now, we are about to lavish 2.5+ TRILLION in capital spending to benefit even more to the wealthy elites. Trump, Kushner, Mnuchin, Ross, DeVos, Zuckerburg, Bezos, Buffet, et al, will reap the benefit.

    We the people?

    We’ll get a crumb off the table.

    Our Healthcare and first responders? Maybe a little more than a crumb, but not enough to provide any real investment into healthcare.

    My State, NY, the epicenter of concentrated outbreak in the USA? A paultry $3Bn. (Can’t bail out a Sanctuary City who’s AG is investigating The Apprentice!)

    I’ve been drinking heavily and will continue to do so.

    But I guess this is my bloviating way to say:

    Shame on us. We did this. Our lazzez-faire attitudes and lack of acceptance of the responsibilities of our civic duties and embracing of populism and our living in our ideological bubbles.

    Welcome to the new USA, worse than before. Pandemic. Greed gone wild. Death. Demoralization. And with COVID-19, constraints on getting out and protesting even if we want to.

    So sit back, enjoy the fall. Drink if you can. Pray.

    This is going to get a hell of a lot worse.

  24. Leu2500 says:

    Why? See The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

    Don’t want to check out the book? Check out the contributors & others, such as @Duty2Warn, @BandyXLee1, @Narceducator, @yourauntemma. They’ll have links to others too.

  25. Pete T says:

    I have heard the following from various reliable resources though I do not know if it has been “scientifically” proven.

    Some percentage of the 80% or so who get a “mild case” are asymptomatic and may feel nothing more that a little off during the duration of their bout with COVID-19. Setting aside mandatory shelter in place rules, these people had been (have been) wandering around and potentially being super spreaders.

    One reason for mass testing – and I believe what worked in South Korea and elsewhere – was that these potential super spreaders were identified and isolated/quarantined. What aren’t we doing? Exactly what Rayne wrote.

    It’s more than anecdotal that even sick people – who do not fit whatever the criteria of the day is – had/have not been getting tested. We can be assured that super spreaders are not being tested.


    I haven’t checked if the USA has tested more than South Korea – maybe so Orange Monster inkthe WH. I don’t have to even look to KNOW we haven’t tested on a per capita basis anywhere near as much as South Korea nor as effectively as SK has.

    • Geoff says:

      I haven’t looked in a while for updated information, but the last two times I checked, South Korea had tested 29x and 40x the US on a per capita basis. And ultimately, it’s the per capita number that matters, not the total, so Trump’s claim, which whether it is true or not now, will eventually be true, most likely, due to sheer size of the US population ( approximately 7x the size of South Korea). But it very well may not have been true when he said it. Like moth things he says, ultimately, it’s propaganda, since it is a number that may sound good but papers over his massive intentional failing testing.

  26. Melvington says:

    Hi All- Been lurking here a while and have a question for the masses here. One of the prominent right-wing talking points that I’m running across in various social media formats is that the primary reason that we’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases is because we are increasing our testing capacity. This sets off all sorts of BS alarm bells in my head. Anyone have any reasonable evidence-based resources that counter this argument?

    • Rayne says:

      It’s partly logic — if there’s no testing, there’s no confirmed cases. There would only be what the CDC calls “influenza-like illnesses” (ILI) which they track.

      Keep in mind testing confirms cases. A lack of testing just means existing cases aren’t confirmed. What we see in news reports is confirmed case numbers, not the actual number of infections whether active or recovered.

      If your concern is whether claims the infections are growing in number are true, check the CDC’s weekly ILI numbers. They show substantial growth, though many of the ILIs will be tested and sorted for RSV/influenza A or B. The next problem, though, is at what point the CDC will screw with those numbers in order to suppress information about the spread of COVID-19.

      If you need to validate your concerns even after checking the ILI number, just check your local or major state news paper. Like the Italians you’ll see other sources of numbers to confirm this is not just a flu — like the obituary pages.

      The regular flu season is represented by output on the February obit page.

  27. harpie says:

    I want to bring the following here because I feel like it should not get lost. It’s about the NEWS COVERAGE of the death of the man in Arizona who ingested the fish tank cleaner because he and his wife heard Trump say…something about something

    I placed it on Rayne’s previous post, here:

    It’s about the, to my mind, ORWELLIAN DISCREPANCY between initial coverage of the death and the current coverage.

    • harpie says:

      I guess this might turn out to be a little dis-information sub-thread.

      3:38 PM · Mar 26, 2020

      [THREAD] Within the past 3 hours, The Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Hot Air, and Washington Examiner all published articles pushing the same misleading narrative about the #COVID19 study from Imperial College.

      The Federalist published its own version yesterday. 8/ [screenshots] [more of the THREAD]

    • harpie says:

      3] [via Quinta Jurecic]
      3:58 PM · Mar 26, 2020

      The president’s top advisers are consulting with a New York doctor who posts conspiracy theories that China intentionally developed the coronavirus for “population control.” [WaPo link] [Screenshots]

      Links also to Jon Swaine
      3:58 PM · Mar 26, 2020

      We found that Mark Meadows, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, contacted Zev Zelenko, the NY doctor whose covid-19 drug plan was promoted by Hannity this week. Meadows told Zelenko his plan was being evaluated. Here are some of Zelenko’s recent FB posts: [screenshots]

      • P J Evans says:

        I looked at a couple of those screen shots. Of course the RWNJs around Trmp would go for him.

  28. Mikxe6 says:

    I still don’t get Trump’s original strategy of deny and delay. That may have worked if the coronavirus hatched next fall, when the pandemic wouldn’t explode until after the election. But not in January/February, 10 months before the election—when he and his enablers had the classified intelligence and could already see how quickly the virus was spreading in other parts of the world. Surely, he had to know the awful truth and consequences of his deny and delay playbook would be revealed months before the election. What was his endgame?

      • Mosswings says:

        Well, Rayne, I didn’t really see any vast conspiracy in what Max Brooks was saying other than this one that stopped me cold:

        “If we don’t like our leaders, we shouldn’t have put them there. And as much as we would love to blame this historically incompetent captain of our ship of state, we have allowed the ship to rust underneath us. It’s not just President Trump’s fault that institutions like the CDC have been defunded for years. It’s not just President Trump’s fault that we have allowed anti-vaxxers to spread misinformation throughout this country. It’s not just President Trump’s fault that we are continuing to build a society in support of a tech world that is based on comfort and not on resilience.”

        This is something that the US has almost monomanically pursued, as if Milton Friedman had somehow teleported his essence into our DNA. Instead of what the founders hoped, that we would continue to build a society of resilience and engagement, with enough sand in the gears to ensure that we can respond properly to challenges, we instead gladly chased distraction and hyperoptimization of the wrong metrics. Any engineer worth their salt would have told you that a complex system must be built far less than efficiently to withstand failure, and the design must incorporate a huge matrix of criteria. What engineers have come up with is learning software…but if you don’t establish a broad enough scope, you get a racist facial recognition program…or facial recogition programs in the public square. The only way out of this in a free society – and sometimes it goes via the nastiest paths – is an electorate who takes their responsibilities seriously.

        We’ve allowed ourselves to forget about our societal responsibilities perhaps because we fancy ourselves wealthy enough to pay someone else to do it. Certainly the bastard children of Madison Avenue have figured out how to nudge us ever faster that way.

        And now what we have is a gossamer tangle of institutions disconnected from those they serve.

        Trump, of course, is disconnected from everything but his putter.

        • Rayne says:

          Who is “we”? Because if you’re familiar with this particular website it’s not people like those at this site who’ve failed.

          This is dark and grim, but if this virus does one thing right, it’s that it will reset the heads of the “we” Brooks really referred to, if it doesn’t kill them outright.

        • Mosswings says:

          Not trying to blast Emptywheelers. Rather, my intent in posting this is to emphasize that in a nominally democratic society, the electorate must remain aware, engaged, and in control. We are all human, and it’s tough to do that perfectly. Which leaves us vulnerable to the prevarications and manipulations of those for whom the ideals of the Founders are just a pretext. Our national myth of exceptionalism has at last been revealed to be just that, and now the hard work of living real begins.

        • Rayne says:

          A substantive and much older portion of the electorate has been brainwashed by decades of conditioning via commercial media, bolstered by influence operations in social media. Younger voters get it, especially the post-Columbine generation, but they need to be encouraged to get around roadblocks. Change is coming, just not soon enough.

        • Mosswings says:

          Exactly. I’ve been waiting for this reckoning for most of my life, frankly. It’s just taken a virus to make us stop and think.

    • Terry Salad says:

      Trump is a sociopath and is mentally incapable of such planning. The reason things are such a shitshow right now is that Trump’s instinct when confronted with facts that are no good is to deny. He tried to deny the virus was a problem, that the outbreak would soon be gone, etc… When reality shows otherwise, he continues to spin and fantasize an alternate reality. Problem is, reality keeps chugging along. Trump is cooped up in the WH, and cannot go to the rallies that seem to energize him. He is lazy and fat, so he does not want to spend the necessary effort to read and listen to experts to develop a cogent response. His staff are a bunch of useless sychophants. I wonder how much longer til Trump blows and what that will be like. I think it is coming.

      • Pete T says:

        Las Vegas should take odds on this – April 12 would be where my money would go if I had any to spare.

      • P J Evans says:

        He isn’t smart, and he’s ignorant – that’s why he can’t read and learn. (He’s also vain: he doesnt’ want to be seen in public with the reading glasses he needs. Why things he reads have to be in inch-high letters and why he uses Sharpy instead of regular pen.)

  29. DrFunguy says:

    Then there’s this:
    “Nembro, in the province of Bergamo, is the town most hard hit in per capita terms by COVID-19. Currently the town has 31 deaths attributed to COVID-19. But when the two authors looked at the total number of deaths registered in the town in January, February and March and compared it to the average for that period in previous years they found the number was dramatically larger. 158 deaths have been registered in the town during that period this year compared to an average of 35 in previous years.

    The math is simple: the average of 35 plus the 31 COVID-19 deaths gets you to 66. But the town has recorded almost 100 more deaths on top of that. As the authors say, “The difference is enormous and cannot be a simple statistical deviation.”

    The authors applied the same analysis to two other towns and in both came up with anomalous deaths 6.1 times the number officially attributed to COVID-19. The ratio was even higher for Bergamo as a whole. ”

    So either the infection rate is higher than thought (close to 100% with 1% mortality) or they are seeing a huge spike in deaths that would normally be preventable but can’t be now due to an overwhelmed health care system.
    Is this the US in 2 to 3 weeks?

  30. greengiant says:

    Experts are watching closely RNA variants in the Covid-19 virus between China clades and European clades.

    An extrapolation…
    Spike variant 614 found in European clades of the virus RNA maybe correlated to the virulence in New York and New Jersey case clusters while it’s ancestor virus RNA maybe correlated to the painful but less severe results in China, South Korea, and the US west coast generally. Any clusters in the US descending from Italian patient 0 may be spreading faster or is it just correlated with delaying quarantines.

  31. CD54 says:

    Under-testing means under-reporting for deaths.

    Are hospitals preserving blood/tissue for untested patients who die to audit for COVID-19?

    Is the CDC doing it — or do they have a political minder corrupting their mission?

  32. Bonwit Teller says:

    donald has been seething over all those who don’t show him the respect he feels he’s entitled too.
    He will never let go of a grudge, “bad things will happen you’ll see” His reelection plan fell apart on Super Tues, and Biden/Bernie were taking all the headlines.
    A “Chinese” virus became the perfect issue to get everyone focused on him, punish his enemies, hes the most feared person on earth, he will say its too big a crisis so he must stay in office or destroy the country.

    • P J Evans says:

      We’ll be destroyed if he stays in office, and our only chance is kicking him out so hard he’s bouncing a year from now, and his greedy kids become afraid of the consequences.

  33. pdaly says:

    A couple of links:

    Massachusetts General Hospital Medical Grand Rounds has a link that is public:

MGH information page

    Boston Children’s Hospital ‘how-to’ video for health care workers to make their own reusable respirator mask if N95 shortage continues. Cost of materials is $3 per mask.

    Materials are available in most hospitals already:

    • pdaly says:

      The most recent one was today, March 26, 2020

      “Pathogenesis and Management of Respiratory Failure in COVID-19: What We Know So Far”

      Speakers include Drs. Benjamin Medoff, Jehan Alladina, Jayaraj Rajagopal, Jason Griffith, and Taylor Thompson of Mass General Hospital; Dr. Rebecca Baron of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Drs. Ari Moskowitz, Robert Hallowell, and Richard Schwartzstein, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

  34. Cat Silver says:

    Thank you for the lovely welcome the other day. Hello again from sunny old Scotland. Obviously it’s not sunny, but we live in hope.

    Confirmed cases in Scotland are now at 894 out of a total of 11,487 tests, with 25 dead. My hope is that people won’t become complacent because it doesn’t look too serious, but we’re being told cases will probably spike in the next two weeks.

    Even though healthcare in Scotland is devolved to the adults in Edinburgh, we’ve still been at the mercy of Boris Johnson, because with an open border there was no point in Scotland implementing a lockdown when people could travel freely around the UK. Johnson is really far too lazy for this kind of thing. I think that’s partly why he seriously entertained the plan to just let everyone catch it. Underfunding the NHS in England to the point of ruin and getting rid of all those police officers isn’t looking quite so clever now.

    My last significant potential exposure was two weeks ago, and I have no symptoms. My family are fine so far. I had to go to the supermarket yesterday and it was really quiet, and we all stood at least six feet apart in the queue for the checkout. Nobody was there to tell us to do that. We just did it, so that’s encouraging.

    Stay safe.

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