Friday’s Forum

Another week of coronavirus and a lot to talk about.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    I watched Navarro yesterday on CNN, the administration official in charge of equipment and supplies, completely unable or unwilling to provide a single fact or number.
    (This is heavily paraphrased)
    How many ventilators?
    Obama’s fault!

    This physicians group estimates 960K additional ventilators needed, worst case – can we get there?
    I never heard of that number!
    You should have, it’s a credible organization, why haven’t you?
    It’s a ridiculous number! We will never reach worst case!

    You keep saying you have shipped so much. What have you shipped and to who?
    This focus on numbers is just frightening people!

    Think about that last statement and then remember: this is the logistics guy, whose job is literally all about numbers.

    Given this and some key phrases the orange monkey has inserted into his ramblings, I have a sick feeling that they are deliberately sabotaging the federal response so that libertarianism will save the day. Are the billionaire hobbyists so entrenched that they are attempting to impose their failed Kansas experiment on the whole country in response to a deadly epidemic?

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  2. Scott says:

    This ia a good news story about organization and leadership. Unless you want to compare to some other large, unnamed organization and leader.

    Inside the Story of How H-E-B Planned for the Pandemic

    The grocer started communicating with Chinese counterparts in January and was running tabletop simulations a few weeks later. (But nothing prepared it for the rush on toilet paper.)

    San Antonio-based H-E-B has been a steady presence amid the crisis. The company began limiting the amounts of certain products customers were able to purchase in early March; extended its sick leave policy and implemented social distancing measures quickly; limited its hours to keep up with the needs of its stockers; added a coronavirus hotline for employees in need of assistance or information; and gave employees a $2 an hour raise on March 16, as those workers, many of whom are interacting with the public daily during this pandemic, began agitating for hazard pay.

    HEB is our hometown grocery chain here in San Antonio. A good, well run company who drove out Kroger and Albertsons and fought to a standstill Walmart. The Butt family who owns the chain are good people, too.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: WASF.

    @Scott: I wish we had one.

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  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy from a thread the other day. The cruise industry won’t be bailed out using the current bailout. Short answer is that the cruise lines aren’t US companies and do not have substantial assets in the US. The ships are registered elsewhere, the back office operations as well, while the vast majority of the crew hails from developing countries. Often the corporate office is here, but only because no executive wants to live in a place like Liberia.

    On related subject. The NYT this morning has an editorial asking why the US is choosing mass unemployment.

    The answer in part is that businesses use economic crisis as an excuse to restructure their workforce. Too many older, long term employees making too much money? Lay them off. The business needs to change, new markets, new tech, new products that will require extensive retraining? Lay them off and hire those with different skills. Not happy with your current hires? Lay them off and start over. When times are good, many companies, particularly smaller ones, won’t be so brazen and ruthless, but an economic crisis provides a cover. Since the political class is owned by the employers, no one will do anything to stop this.

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  6. Teve says:

    I’ve been paying attention to the number of cases and the number of deaths, but a friend of mine alerted me to something important—the number of hospitalizations in the United States, and the rate of increase. Because even if this thing has a fairly low mortality for people who get adequate medical help including ventilators, once the beds are filled, shit changes.

    Here’s the cumulative hospitalizations from the virus for the last 5 days:

    2,554
    3,325
    4,468
    6,136
    10,131

    https://covidtracking.com/us-daily/

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    a friend of mine alerted me to something important—the number of hospitalizations in the United States

    Exactly. It also matters how they are distributed — we can easily overwhelm the capacity in one place (say, New York City) while having plenty of excess capacity in places too far away to help. Even if we had the ventilators to ship to the point of need, the ICU beds are much less portable.

    *”Beds” here being shorthand for not just a thing you can lie down on, but a lot of supplies and support equipment and personnel that go with it. You can build emergency tent facilities or convert dormitories fairly quickly, but the “beds” in those facilities aren’t the kind of beds you need without a lot of other work and stuff.

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  8. DrDaveT says:

    Boris Johnson has tested positive, is self-isolating. Symptoms mild so far.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been involved in medical device development for more than 15 years, including some work with ventilators. I am not at all optimistic about these partnerships with automobile and ventilator manufacturers that are going to stand up new ventilators, manufacture them and ship them to patients in a month. Ventilators have to work continuously, 24/7. Once that tube is down your throat you cannot breath without the machine running. Over and under pressure can’t be seen by a nurse but both can cause severe or fatal damage in their own way. I could go on, but the point is that MacGyver solutions rarely work for extended periods of time.

    Traditionally, ventilators are designed under the most rigorous practices but they are still tested for months until they are put on human beings because problems in design, components or build process inevitably arise. Then when it is time to put them on patients it is done so in a slow rollout as they come up against the real world, and it is not unusual for changes to be needed even at that late stage.

    The idea that people’s lives are going to depend on something rushed through this process scares me.

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  10. Teve says:

    A friend of mine who works at UF is home with some kind of illness right now, she doesn’t think it’s coronavirus, it seems to be gastrointestinal, but she says no doctor will see her. And nobody will test her for anything. Basically they’re telling her we don’t want you in our office.

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  11. Kit says:

    Yesterday, @OzarkHillbilly had a link to an article claiming that deaths in a certain Italian city were far higher than the numbers being reported due to coronavirus, even taking into account those deaths typically expected. My question, not directed to anyone in particular and more out of a sense of wonder than of doubt, is: how could people not realize this? I assume that a city could handle twice the number of dead than usual, but five times that? Wouldn’t the sheer logistics have tipped off people that the real numbers were far higher?

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  12. CSK says:

    Well, I just learned over at Lucianne.com that “this Chicom virus thing” was invented for the sole purpose of destroying Donald Trump.

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  13. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: I saw a chunk of that interview as well and found myself wishing every journalist who talks to one of these administration bozos would hit them as hard as Brianna Keilar did Navarro. When he started blathering about what they “inherited” from Obama she just said, “why are you wasting your time on this and not solving the problem that you have?” When he tried to deflect from her asking if we could get to a million ventilators by saying “we got dealt a bad hand by China” she replied with “we’re out of time and that’s just ridiculous” and ended the interview. It was incredible.

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  14. Mikey says:

    @Teve: Gastrointestinal symptoms can indeed be COVID-19.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/939vmy/diarrhea-fever-coronavirus-covid-19?utm_source=dmfb&fbclid=IwAR2XP5jbiqr_gjgykhfJAHTXgika81M1dV_sM51GwZghxhWFQTCKZ7tZwLU

    I had a bout of gastrointestinal distress earlier this week, but no diarrhea and only a low-grade fever for less than 24 hours. But I won’t say I wasn’t really nervous.

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  15. Scott says:

    And you thought cruise ships are petri dishes!

    ‘We’re Fucked’: Aircraft Carrier Outbreak Sends Troops Scrambling

    U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service members in Guam were ordered on Wednesday to break their own quarantine to set up makeshift shelters for U.S. troops coming off a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, where an outbreak of the novel coronavirus is rapidly spreading within the hulls of the ship.

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  16. Mikey says:

    Here’s an interesting item on Germany’s handling of the pandemic. It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows Germany.

    Why Germany’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Far Lower Than In Other Countries

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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Many (most?) states are “work at will” states. They can and do do that all the time. They just need to cross a few “t”s and dot a few “i”s and they can fire anyone they want.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Take a look at the numbers from Bergamo Italy, TPM had a post saying the mortality rate has tripled in some towns. I posted the link yesterday.

    @Kit: And Kit provides a link to the link I posted. Thanx, I could not remember where I posted it.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I read somewhere (yeah, ton of salt) that in early stages the covid can cause lower intestinal issues (the runs).

    ETA and @Mikey: gets there with the real deal.

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  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kit:

    Epidemiologist get prissy about numbers and accuracy. No diagnosis so they don’t consider the corpse a victim of Covid-19. Medical pros on the front lines of this are saying far more people are dying of the virus than are being counted because they weren’t tested when they became ill and tissue or blood samples weren’t harvested after death. You’re only dying of Covid-19 if you’re, diagnosed, otherwise it is something else on the death certificate. Even in countries where testing is more complete, they are missing thousands.

    @Scott:

    And Pompeo and the Iran hawks are rattling the sabers about how this is a good time to come down hard on Iran, including military action.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “work at will” states

    Which is why social pressure keeps companies from doing this on a mass basis, giving them an even greater incentive to take advantage of the crisis and over layoff.

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  21. 95 South says:

    @CSK: I heard one just as crazy, that Trump and his people are deliberately sabotaging the federal response so that libertarianism will save the day. All it takes is for a couple of comments like that to go unchallenged, and a site becomes a cult.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: My wife lost her job because she was too old, too well paid, had earned too much vacation, etc etc. I lost mine because I was just plain and simply too decrepit.

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  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ben Wexler
    @mrbenwexler
    Today’s ad, hot off the griddle.
    Someone did see it coming.

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  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seasonality of SARS-CoV-2: Will COVID-19 go away on its own in warmer weather?

    Marc Lipsitch, DPhil
    Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    (tl;dr) Probably not.

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @95 South: Under any normal adminstration I would agree that it is paranoia. But all of Trump’s actual efforts seem to be about Jared Kushner running around asking for voluntary help from private companies. All of the nonsense he spouts about tests and ventilators being available and masks being shipped turn out to be BS, evert single time. If they were shipping these things they wouldn’t be keeping it a secret as to where they are going. I don’t believe they are shipping anything except to some political allies.

    If you think I’m wrong, fine. Show me a single confirmed shipment and receipt of vital supplies going to a non-Republican led state. Show me a place where “everyone who wants to be tested can be tested”, as he stated 10 days ago while patting himself on the back. Show me where the thousands of military ventilators sitting in crates are being put to use and where local officials can confirm that. Show me any actual evidence of anything, not just talk.

    I actually want to be wrong. I really, really do.

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  26. Mikey says:

    The U.S. is still exceptional — but now for its incompetence

    Why did this happen? It’s easy to blame Trump, and the president has been inept from the start. But there is a much larger story behind this fiasco. The United States is paying the price today for decades of defunding government, politicizing independent agencies, fetishizing local control, and demeaning and disparaging government workers and bureaucrats.

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  27. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I just watched video of this. He literally tries to blame Obama and Biden from 2009 for this happening. Fortunately the CNN anchor, I don’t know her name, tore him a new ass.

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  28. CSK says:

    @95 South:
    Lucianne.com has been a Cult45 site since 2016.

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  29. Teve says:

    Comment I just saw on Twitter, “I’m pretty sure if the email lady had won, this wouldn’t be happening.”

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  30. 95 South says:

    @MarkedMan: Speculative venting is unhealthy in the best of times. Now it’s dangerous. In both situations it’s paying more respect to your hunches and grudges than to known facts.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I actually want to be wrong. I really, really do.

    You’re asking the question puts lie to this statement.

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  32. Kingdaddy says:

    Recent podcasts that are worth your time:

    The Lawfare episode with Steve Vlaceck on the US government’s emergency powers.
    The Fresh Air episode with Max Brooks on how the government can mobilize in a pandemic.

    The scale of what isn’t being done is extraordinary.

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  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Feminist Proper Gander
    @dappergander

    ·
    22h
    Here’s Dilbert creator Scott Adams suggesting that invading another country to take its hydroxychloroquine supply should be on the table.

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  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook

    The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration.

    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.

    “Each section of this playbook includes specific questions that should be asked and decisions that should be made at multiple levels” within the national security apparatus, the playbook urges, repeatedly advising officials to question the numbers on viral spread, ensure appropriate diagnostic capacity and check on the U.S. stockpile of emergency resources.

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  35. gVOR08 says:

    @95 South: A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots. If Jared and his henchmen are delaying action it wouldn’t be part of some political plot, it would be so they can buy companies or rights first. Like Kushner tried to do with the German tests. Ain’t rumor when it comes from the head of the German company. We still don’t have the story on just how CDC screwed up the test kits.

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  36. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: That. This is the result of conservative propaganda going back to the sainted Reagan’s nine words and before. And speaking of libertarian conspiracies, this is one, right out in the open. It ain’t just Trump. GOPus delendus est.

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  37. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Plans? We don’t need no steenking plans.

    We got a stable genius.

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  38. MarkedMan says:

    @95 South: I am speculating on motives. But im not speculating on facts. There is no evidence the federal government is shipping any number of meaningful supplies. The few confirmed cases I saw were for meaningless quantities and went to red states. By saying this is speculation you are implying that they are shipping but keeping it secret, as are the recipients. That makes no sense.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Absolutely not. I truly hope I am wrong and the Trump administration has those ventilators, masks and tests and are not holding them hostage. I absolutely do not want my fears to be real.

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  40. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Here’s Dilbert creator Scott Adams suggesting that invading another country […]

    Many people mistakenly assumed that Dilbert was the autobiographical character in that strip. It was Catbert all along.

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  41. 95 South says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “But im not speculating on facts. There is no evidence…”

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  42. gVOR08 says:

    https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/03/trump-blocking-emergency-medical-supplies-from-being-sent-to-michigan-because-he-doesnt-like-the-nasty-woman-governor-who-said-mean-things

    I expect Trump will declare an emergency for MI and ship supplies, making a big public deal out of both. Someone will remind him he needs MI’s EC votes. Which is all he cares about.

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  43. MarkedMan says:

    @95 South: So there is evidence? Can you show us? Or is it merely Trumpian in nature?

    Note the post directly above, linking to a summary of a Hannity interview where Trump basically admits he is the one deciding where relief goes and if a governor speaks ill of him then that weighs into the decision.

    Show me the counter evidence.

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  44. gVOR08 says:
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    According to this website, 17,224 new cases of covid yesterday. (you have to click on the Yesterday button to find that number) I wonder where it is coming from?

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: But you keep asking all these inconvenient questions. If you truly wanted this to all go away you would just bury your head in the sand and pretend that all was well in the land of OZ.

    (hopefully this time you got my sarcasm)

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  47. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    I heard one just as crazy, that Trump and his people are deliberately sabotaging the federal response so that libertarianism will save the day

    The problem is that the first half of that, deliberately sabotaging the federal government’s ability to [fill in the blank], has been a major part of the GOP platform since Reagan. This is fact. I’m not going to attribute specific motives to anyone in this administration, but they are visibly sabotaging the federal response. Whether that’s out of habit, malice, or sheer incompetence is unclear — but malice would be a much smaller step from their established positions than you seem to realize.

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I wonder where it is coming from?

    Are you asking where the data are coming from, or where the new confirmed cases are coming from?

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Now that you mention it, both actually. It seems a big jump. My first instinct was to wonder how many are old cases newly reported.

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  50. mattbernius says:

    I didn’t expect to have John Kerry down as a possibility for best tweet of the week, but then this happened:

    Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He's given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!) https://t.co/N1CNLPsZjc— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) March 27, 2020

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  51. Kingdaddy says:

    This is not the time to insulate people from seeing what COVID-19 really means. Aside from the statistics, which need to be way better (more testing, better collection and aggregation), we need to see the human face.

    https://youtu.be/SQ0vXVyTdVk

    And people need to hear what it’s like to die from respiratory failure.

    And we need solid numbers of people who are not being treated for life-threatening conditions, and dying from them, because of COVID-19.

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  52. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Does it matter whether Trump is sabotaging the federal government’s response, or whether he’s too incompetent to direct it effectively, or whether he’s just making stuff up to make himself look good? The result is the same: more dead Americans, more damage to the economy.

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  53. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There is no evidence the federal government is shipping any number of meaningful supplies. The few confirmed cases I saw were for meaningless quantities and went to red states.

    NYC is getting a hospital ship, and a few thousand ventilators (far short of their request… but a significant number). The army corps of engineers is working with Seattle to turn Seahawks Stadium into a hospital, and NYC with the Javitts center.

    This isn’t nothing. It’s just not enough.

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  54. Jay L Gischer says:

    I don’t like Trump, but the Feds are shipping stuff, lots of stuff, to CA, for instance:

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Trump-approves-federal-aid-for-California-15149754.php

    In addition [to a Major Disaster Declaration], the Federal Emergency Management Agency will ship eight mobile hospital units with 2,000 beds to California in the next few days, and the federal government will pay for National Guard deployments aimed at helping in the response to what is expected to be a surge in coronavirus cases across the state.

    I understand you thinking that something else might be going on. I can even believe that Trump might brag to some about stiffing CA. But he would be lying, as ususal.

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  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: They have been promised ventilators, not received them. And the ship hasn’t left the harbor. The Army corps of Eng work sounds good but it isn’t medical supplies.

    It seems pretty obvious that Trump is personally approving who gets what and it appears that he’s deliberately driving things into shortages to increase his leverage.

    It is months into this and no administration official is willing to tell us how many masks and ventilators are in the strategic reserve, or how many masks, ventilators and tests have actually been shipped and to where. That’s not normal incompetence.

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  56. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I’ll believe those units are coming when they arrive, as of right now it is just more Republican talk. And even with the promise, the other side of the equation is being kept secret: how many do we have left? Is that 8 mobile hospitals out of 8? Out of 100? 1000?

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It seems a big jump. My first instinct was to wonder how many are old cases newly reported.

    There are a couple of things going on here. One is that, due to the shortage of tests, most places only test people who have plausible symptoms of COVID-19. Those people would have been infected 10-15 days ago. If you think back, very few parts of the US were doing any social distancing at all on March 12. Washington State didn’t close bars and restaurants until March 15, and it was the first hot spot in the US. The people who got infected during the last few days of nonchalance are just now showing up in the numbers. (The lag is even longer for deaths; the people dying today got infected 3 or 4 weeks ago.)

    The other thing is exponential growth. The number of confirmed cases in the US is doubling every 2.7 days (down from every 2.3 days as of a week ago, so hallelujah). However big the numbers get, you can expect the number of new cases the next day to be a significant fraction of that, until we achieve actual containment the way South Korea has.

    ETA that last phrase.

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  58. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: There was an column in the NYT or WP this morning with a NYC hospital physician describing her day. She dealt with a half dozen patients with obvious symptoms of Covid-19, but according to their protocol, all those without active pneumonia were sent home untested.

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  59. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Does it matter whether Trump is sabotaging the federal government’s response, or whether he’s too incompetent to direct it effectively, or whether he’s just making stuff up to make himself look good?

    Not to me, but apparently it does to some. The old mantra about “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” wasn’t designed to cope with this administration.

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  60. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Not when there is so much incompetence and malice nesting together.

    BTW, concerning the promised supplies, I’m reminded of a scene from Atlas Shrugged:

    James Taggart: Copper wire? I have obtained for you the top priority on copper wire, the first claim, the uppermost ration level, I’ve given you all the cards, certificates, documents and requisitions— what else do you want?

    Dagny Taggart: The copper wire.

    James Taggart: I’ve done all I could! Nobody can blame me!

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  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I understand all that but this seems extreme. Ah, just found the data I needed. This is in line with exponential growth. My last memory was of something like 5,000 new cases but that was last Friday to Saturday. Tuesdays to Weds was 12,000. I just need to keep better daily score.

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  62. gVOR08 says:

    I complained a few days ago that the supposedly liberal MSM avoid talking about a candidate or official’s religion. I sort of feel we should know if a Justice, who may rule on separation of church and state is a Dominionist. Or if maybe someone involved with ME policy desires the end days. NYT, who generally observe the taboo, provided a more currently relevant example, The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals.

    Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.

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  63. Michael Cain says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The number of confirmed cases in the US is doubling every 2.7 days (down from every 2.3 days as of a week ago, so hallelujah).

    Expected. We know the underlying process looks like a sigmoid function, not an exponential one. Most of the pros I’ve skimmed are fitting logistic functions (or more complicated) to the data, and using that to predict when the peak(s) will occur and how big they will be. I’ve almost given up banging my head against the wall of people fitting exponential curves to a non-exponential process. (I’m too much of a masochist to have given up entirely.)

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  64. Liberal Capitalist says:

    This is a MUST READ. Stop what you are doing, and read this article.

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/the-story-of-a-coronavirus-infection.html

    This shows the idiocy of Mississippi’s governor and others who think we can just ignore the virus.

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  65. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Jesus Fucking Ballsack.

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  66. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I’ve almost given up banging my head against the wall of people fitting exponential curves to a non-exponential process.

    Three caveats on that:
    1. For weeks, growth in every western country has looked exactly exponential — dead straight lines on a semi-log plot. That tells you some things about transmissivity, and also tells you that you aren’t anywhere near the turnover portion of the curve.
    2. If you want to get people to modify their behavior enormously, you want them to believe that the exponential growth will continue unless they do. Which is only a half-lie; in truth it would only continue until it runs out of potential victims. Which would be a very bad outcome.
    3. Those semi-log plots also make it much easier to see when countermeasures start to show an effect, and how much.

    It’s not fitting the exponential curves that’s dumb; it’s using them to extrapolate more than a week or so into the future. That said, we will know how much our countermeasures have helped if Easter rolls around and we don’t have 30,000+ dead already.

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  67. Kathy says:

    Did anyone see this? The US has indicted Maduro for drug trafficking and terrorism.

    At first glance, I thought this ridiculous. I mean, look at the reward. Everyone knows where maduro can be found. I wonder how many people will try to collect by saying he’s in his residence or office.

    But then I thought, “Isn’t this how they got Noriega?”

    I can totally see El Cheeto sending troops to apprehend Maduro and his other indicted cronies.

    The flip side is Maduro isn’t that easy to get to, while US darling Guaido is rather easy for Maduro to collar. I’d flee to Miami if I were him. Or rather, to one of the countries that recognized him as president. He can’t be sure the US would allow him to stay as a refugee.

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  68. Tyrell says:

    After being outside most of the day, I have one observation: adolescents don’t know how far six feet is.

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  69. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Expected. We know the underlying process looks like a sigmoid function, not an exponential one.

    I probably should have been more clear in my reply: the rate of doubling in the US is not slowing because the underlying curve was always sigmoid and we have reached the point where there isn’t enough fuel to sustain exponential growth even without social distancing and isolation. It’s slowing because we are finally taking some precautions, even as the spread is still in its initial stages. Even the most pessimistic estimates I’ve seen only have about 1% of the population exposed to the virus so far.

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  70. Mu Yixiao says:

    China has closed its borders to all foreigners–not just visa holders, but those holding resident permits.

    It’s “temporary”, but there’s no end-date listed. M visas (business visas) only allow 30 or 60 day stays*. As each of those people leave, they won’t be allowed back in. Tourist visas are 30 days. Z visas (work visas that get converted to a resident permit) are 365 days, but as each one expires, they won’t be replaced.

    Xi is isolating China. And it has nothing to do with the health of the Chinese people.

    I think we’re looking at the start of a new Cold War.


    * I have an M visa that’s good for 10 years–but I can only stay in China for 60 days at a time.

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  71. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain: Kevin Drum has been eyeball fitting a normal curve to some of the data. So far the fit is pretty good.

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  72. charon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Here’s Dilbert creator Scott Adams suggesting that invading another country to take its hydroxychloroquine supply should be on the table.

    Hydroxychloroquine is a hoax, the studies are faked data from a dude with a history of other hoaxes.

    https://twitter.com/schneiderleonid/status/1242889208651448322 

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  73. CSK says:

    @charon:
    I got a message saying the page doesn’t exist.

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  74. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/schneiderleonid/status/1242889208651448322

    This seems to work and it looks like the same link. Weird.

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  75. charon says:

    @CSK:

    I don’t understand why it didn’t work the first time, posted it again it seems to work.

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  76. CSK says:

    @charon: The second link seems fine.Thanks.

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  77. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Tyrell:

    Walking around today, I heard several high school age girls talking about the virus. Yeah they were only 2′ apart, but they were processing the information at hand. That’s better than coronovirus parties.

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  78. mattbernius says:

    FYI, Doug checked in on Twitter earlier tonight:

    I just want everyone to know that I’m okay, I’m safe in my home and I have access to food and all that good stuff. I haven’t been sick and in addition to everything else, I am doing what everyone else is doing to avoid exposure to Covid-19 I hope you are all doing the same.

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  79. Jax says:

    Wyoming has apparently been informed by surrounding states that they will not accept our people should they need ventilators.

    Hope Governor Gordon has kissed sufficient Trump ass.

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  80. Kathy says:

    One of Mike Duncan’s rare misfires, IMO, was his commentary on the Terror during the French Revolution. Yes, relatively few people were executed. Yes, there were more bloody periods during the Revolution. Yes, the wars which took place in the era were far worse.

    But the issue wasn’t so much imprisonment or execution, but rather the chronic uncertainty, worry, and fear. You never knew when an innocent mistake would get you beheaded, or whether a jealous, spiteful, or merely disgruntled neighbor or colleague would drop a dime on you. That’s what made it Terror. You had to watch all you said and whom you said it to, you had to second-guess yourself constantly. It must have been exhausting.

    This sounds a lot like life under a paranoid, totalitarian dictatorship, like the USSR (especially under Stalin), or nazi Germany, or approximations of one, like McCarthyism.

    But, you know, it also sounds a little bit like life in the COVID-19 pandemic. Words won’t hurt you, but actions might. A temporary distraction when you’re tired and rub your eyes might kill you. You don’t know whether the person you passed on the street, or the delivery person from Amazon, or the take out clerk at the restaurant, or the people at the supermarket, might be carriers who’ve gotten you exposed. And if they do, you may not find out for days or weeks.

    It’s terrifying, and it’s exhausting.

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