Monday, March 23, 2020


A friend with a strong background in journalism emailed me with regard to the ProPublica article that I linked in the penultimate post (consonance!). My friend offered this considered opinion regarding that article:

I read the ProPublica piece and found it very compelling at first but on reflection it didn't make journalistic sense. No one has previously described details like this of what it's like to suffer from this coronavirus. Thus, if true it would constitute a very important story; so why wouldn't the author at least get one medical professional to go on the record to describe symptoms no one has yet described? Why would there be retaliation? It's not like the healthcare industry is loaded with pro-Trump professionals; or that the admin itself would seek to target a facility treating patients. If the details are accurate, it would make for a very sound plea for more attention to the illness, for more resources detailed in particular to this specific facility. And yet, she withholds not only the name of the medical professional but the facility itself, in spite of the fact that there are nearly a dozen hospitals in NOLA area. Further, if the account is true it would easy to match it for anyone who was there, so the point of concealing it is not clear. I may ask her on twitter, but wanted to run it by you first to see what you thought. 

Last night Titan 28 questioned not so much the medical veracity of the article as the journalistic credibility, hinting that it may have been a fictional account even if medically accurate. Titan can correct me if I'm mistaken in that assessment.

On reflection I recognized the validity of Titan's concerns, so I'm glad to be able to offer my friend's analysis.

In future I'll strive for a greater degree of detachment. I am now 70, and to have commenters suggesting openly that the likes of me would be better off dying is, well, let's just call it aggravating.


  1. When you hit the target 19 out of 20, you’re doing good work, keep it up. It’s appreciated.

    1. I agree. I find it helpful to hear a wide range of opinions because it helps us avoid information silos and self-validating research. It's just unfortunate that there are a lot of bad actors trying to cloud people's thinking.

  2. Whoa! A “journalist" is questioning and undermining a report from someone on the front lines of treating patients with COVID-19? A respiratory therapist is a medical professional. The article is about their observations. I am not about to snap my mind shut on such flimsy criticism. You’re doing fine, Mark...

  3. There are a number of articles from medical sources about what COVID-19 can do to lungs. Here is an excerpt from one:

    n a new video, lung pathologist Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, MD, lays out in detail how the lungs are affected in these severe cases. The 15-minute video walks through how COVID-19 causes a “dangerous and potentially fatal” condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) while providing stark images that underscore the severity of the damage that condition can cause to your lungs.

    More here:

    Maybe the Cleveland Clinic would satisfy the doubters?

  4. Descriptions of COVID-19’s effect on lungs and other organs by doctors:

    The respiratory therapist was describing what they saw, not just theorizing about what could or would happen:

    1. Thanks for the links, Bebe. To be clear, I'm not questioning so much the medical information in the article as whether that info was packaged in a story with a perhaps fictional person being interviewed. In one sense it's a legit approach, but as journalism not honest.

      BTW, here's a story about a world class swimmer's 'recovery' from Covid 19--so a guy with world class conditioning for his lungs:

    2. My problem, Mark, is not with you, but with the cynics who abound on the internet. I can see a respiratory therapist telling an anecdotal story about a desperately ill patient. I have a problem with a so-called journalist who says "No one has previously described details like this of what it's like to suffer from this coronavirus”. He does not know that. As for the therapist’s revealing more about themself and where they work, HIPAA regulations could cause them to lose their job.

      I see far more ignorance (lack of real information) and questionable motives in the “journalist’s” criticism than I do in the respiratory therapist’s report, which pretty well matches up with what is being reported in general terms by renowned medical institutions like the Cleveland Clinic.

    3. Fair enough. I did wonder about the regs.

    4. Amy Klobuchar, whose husband has it. He's 52, so he's one of those "old people":

      "John started to feel sick when I was in Minnesota and he was in Washington D.C. and like so many others who have had the disease, he thought it was just a cold. Yet he immediately quarantined himself just in case and stopped going to his job teaching in Baltimore. He kept having a temperature and a bad, bad cough and when he started coughing up blood he got a test and a chest X-ray and they checked him into a hospital in Virginia because of a variety of things including very low oxygen levels which haven’t really improved. He now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator."

      Coughing up blood is pretty universally regarded as a bad sign.

    5. Criminy. I have a 40 year old grandson. Makes me ancient?

      John fooled around; Amy should have been at home. He had all the symptoms. Should have been gotten to hospital, test notwithstanding. He’s not on a ventilator, so his lungs are working - inhaling, exhaling. He is on oxygen because his lungs may not be getting enough oxygen into his bloodstream. Descriptions of what COVID-19 does to the lungs explains this.

  5. Any respiratory issue is a big deal.

    Take it from a parent who has all 4 children hospitalized with croup as babies and older.

    Ever see a chest cave in when your 1 year son is tryng to breath in?

    Ever had another, older son aspirate in his 5 point car seat while you are taking him to the hospital because his breathing is bad?

    Been there done that.

    Any breathing issue is inherently bad, period.

    All 4 of my boys are alive and well. One is asthmatic and aside from having a rescue inhaler at home and in school in the nurse's office (can't have it on him at school due to war on drugs), he plays in rec basketball leagues.

    The issue with the Kungflu (yeah, it's not the flu, but eff the establishment), is the potentiality. It is new and now we have another word that will be repeated ad nauseum, novel.

    We will get through this. The panic on this is betond ridiculous. It is good to distance and other measures to attempt to reduce the spread or make it to where hospitals are not overwhelmed and, it should be noted, they are not in the US.

    Life must go on. Life has always gone on.

    I truly believe that one of the main issues of modern society, aside from way too much political propaganda that is called news, is the vast detachment of death from our everyday lives.

    Go to any old cemetery and you will see first hand what I mean. Life went on then.

    Life must go on now.

    If not, there are many who will make sure your life will be as oppressive as it can be all in the name of protecting lives and health.

    1. Wisdom. The perspective that comes from age, experience, and paying attention. How ironic is it to believe a better place awaits after death, yet being terrified of going there...

    2. Thanks for the insights, TD. However, I think the idea that this is a "panic" is unwarranted. The choices we make really will decide HOW "life goes on." Or, for many, WHETHER life will go on. Failure to make sensible choices will have consequences and in an epidemic we don't have the luxury of waiting.

      I do want to urge those who haven't already to do two things:

      Read Wikipedia re the Spanish Flu of 1918:

      "In the U.S., about 28% of the population of 105 million became infected, and 500,000 to 675,000 died (0.48 to 0.64 percent of the population). Native American tribes were particularly hard hit. In the Four Corners area, there were 3,293 registered deaths among Native Americans. Entire Inuit and Alaskan Native village communities died in Alaska."

      But in other parts of the world the death toll was MUCH higher--even exponentially higher in the full sense of that word.

      Then read Rebecca Grant re the Spanish Flu in the US, for more perspective:

      Among other things, she points out that cities that enforced social distancing did much better than cities that did not (Philadelphia):

      "In 1918, New York City’s flu mortality rate was 582 deaths per 100,000 people. Chicago’s was 517. Philadelphia’s was 932.

      On average, American cities saw their flu death rates go up 300 percent to 500 percent in 1918.
      Philly hit the top of that range, with 490 percent more deaths over the 1915 baseline. In contrast, New York City’s faster, tougher measures held expansion to 270 percent. Chicago’s rate was 300 percent.

      Worst off was Pittsburgh, where wartime steel and munitions production made officials reluctant to shut down and isolate. Pittsburgh didn’t confront the epidemic in time, found Brian O’Neill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As a result, Pittsburgh recorded one of America’s highest mortality rates at 1,243 deaths per 100,000 in 1918 ..."

    3. My Mother’s brother died of flu while packed onto a troop ship headed for France in 1918. Hadn’t a chance. And the war was essentially over. A waste of young lives.

      My Dad, a young Army fitness instructor, was saved by his nurse who moved his bed outside of the medical structure in which he was being treated for the flu. She told him he would never survive if he remained inside. He went on to live a pretty healthy life until age 88.

      I get pretty squirrelly when my DH gets a cold (I don’t seem to get them), because he gets the sloppy, drippy, sneezy, coughy kind. I keep my distance and can be very hardnosed about hygiene, handwashing, disposing of Kleenex into a paper bag rather than stuffing it in a pocket… I call myself Nurse Ratched. So far, so good.

    4. I am not saying the measures we are taking are wrong or bad.

      What I am asserting is that our society has deemed this bad enough to believe we will not be able to have anyone farm/ranch/slaughter/package/ship anything. The run on TP is evidende of panic. Thing is, it's just not TP, but other grocery items.

      Of course, no emergency order anywhere in the US states that our food supply chain must be shut down.

      I am all in on our efforts to date, but still I truly believe we are not seeing lessons learned from Obama and his pandemic, but political fear mongering causing irrational feat.

    5. "What I am asserting is that our society has deemed this bad enough to believe we will not be able to have anyone farm/ranch/slaughter/package/ship anything."

      But that's simply not true. Those who "farm/ranch/slaughter/package/ship" have NOT been quarantined. You know that.

      I'm not arguing with what I take to be your central thought. I'm preparing a new post with a video of Michael Osterholm. He addresses the issues you're raising, although without offering concrete proposals. He recognizes we can't all be in lockdown indefinitely.

    6. Yep, they have not been quarantined, yet the runs is n grocery stores continues while our supply chains struggle to keep up.

      Some chains appear to be better at it now while others not so much.

      Heck, places like Lowes and Home Depot had runs on deep freezers.

      Granted, this is not definitive, but anecdotal from actual observation and news reports, this appears, to me, to be irrational panic.

      What's interesting and I found helpful is your posts reflected my own internal thoughts and fears.

    7. I lucked out a bit. Went shopping Friday morning, got what I needed without panic buying--although hadda go to a couple stores to find some items (eggs, half and half--how long do the panic buyers think some of that stuff is good for?). Parking lots looked better yesterday, even better today. May try again tomorrow.

    8. We have managed to get what we need, although we have been warned to stay out of crowded stores. Some are allowing elderlies/disableds to enter early, before the store opens. Trader Joe’s had a lineup a week ago; then reneged at the last minute and said they were treating everyone alike. Bad move. I picked up a gallon of milk and some other food items at the CVS on Friday morning. A fluke. Seems their milk delivery came that morning. Small victory! Costco finally got my Instacart order delivered last night after nearly a week. Younger son is braving his market and bringing produce. We shall survive!

      Hoarders are a pain. Mindless, especially when it comes to things like tp. A funny image yesterday said that a man was finally using in 2050 the last roll of toilet paper that his mother had bought in 2020...

    9. Things may be loosening up on the distribution end. Aldi’s had said no one available to shop and bring our order. Placed order four days ago. No availability this AM. Just got message it would come around 5ish. Now they sent an apologetic message that they were so busy it would be 7ish. Fine. A large amount of the problem is staff: Vons has big email blast looking for new hires. We’ll see what, if anything, they had to omit from our order. I had hoped things would loosen up soon...

    10. We'll be going out early tomorrow. Local grocery is letting seniors in the door before opening, 6-8am. Yikes! We're hoping all the panic buyers have stocked up and we'll be able to shop in relative peace.

  6. Oh, I am TexasDude and forgot to change a gmail account so I do not know what my earlier reply came under.

  7. Slightly off-topic:

    Using Metadata Analytics to Combat Epidemic

    It's a mystery to me why I haven't heard about the government using this technique, because it is very likely to be less invasive and more efficacious in limiting the spread of an epidemic like CV19.

    Premise: commercial business already knows how to use user metadata and advanced software techniques to efficiently micro target their marketing efforts. Part of that involves user metadata, including geotemporal data about when/where the user goes, based on user's cell phone/smart phone device, based either on cell tower geo-location data, or on board GPS that stores the phones gps coordinate even when not activated on a network (downloads geotemporal data later when it is connected.)

    So the phone companies have this data already. (The fedgov may also already have it under the auspices of the Patriot Act, but I am uncertain as to whether or not that practice is ongoing.)

    And it appears that over 80% of the US population now has a smartphone (all of which have GPS capability, AFAIK.)

    So, why not, once a infectious patient is identified, check his geotemporal metadata against the rest of the metadata to identify every phone that came within proximity "r" distance and time frame (delta t) of the infected patient's phone, and for how long, and how close? This does two things: first, it identifies everyone he came close to or in contact with the infected person within the time and distance parameters chosen. This can be used going back in time to help identify who they may have caught the infection from, if not already known. Second, it can be used to identify everyone the patient has come in contact with since infection, who may be at risk of also being infected (and spreading it) but is not yet symptomatic.

    Example: if you have, say, ten infected patients in a hot spot, but do not know where or from whom they caught it, if the past metadata within the geolocation and temporal parameters all intersect one or two individuals or locations, you now have narrowed down the likely spreaders from whom the currently infected caught the illness. Now it's a matter of quarantining the infected plus spreaders (if still infectious) and using the metadata to identify all potential downstream people they may have infected. All of this happens without needing to know the identity of the individuals in order to do the analysis (identifying info like phone number or names can be anonymized before analysis, or stripped out, and retrieved later once you know the people involved are likely to be infected,) which should allay some of the privacy concerns.

    The identified individuals can then be contacted directly to advise them of self-isolation or quarantine requirements, as applicable to the circumstance, the identified locations can be targeted for remedial health clean-up, and given intense education to those concerned about maintaining the needed cleanliness/hygiene to minimize spreading the disease, or closing down the business or location if they are unable or refuse to comply with health regulations, until it is deemed safe.

    Same with identifying possible individuals who may have been second tier contacts (came in geotemporal proximity of one of the people who had contact with a known infection case.) These potentially exposed individuals can then be put in self isolation for 14 days, and/or be administered a test kit to identify those who are not infected, for early release from self isolation.)

    These are the people in an "infection hot spot" who need to be identified quickly and isolated, quarantined, and, where applicable, tested and or treated, before being allowed back into normal public circulation.

    continued part II

    1. 1. China used this technique.

      2. Don't be too sure this hasn't been used here. I've read of a case of a person violating a quarantine who was arrested.

      3. Taiwan's example is worth considering: high degree of transparency. Locations of cases IDed. I saw (from a brother) that you can pretty much do that in Milwaukee County. Other areas, not so much.

    2. Interesting. Had never heard of that. Too many who have symptoms are (being human) not likely to step forward with their hands up...

  8. continued from part one:

    These are the people in an "infection hot spot" who need to be identified quickly and isolated, quarantined, and, where applicable, tested and or treated, before being allowed back into normal public circulation.

    The only other people who need to be isolated are those what are at unusual risk, i.e., the elderly, those with certain respiratory or cardiac conditions, diabetics, asthmatics, etc. Those generally can self identify and self isolate until the threat of infection diminishes sufficiently, and no meta data process beyond what has been described would be needed.

    Meanwhile the rest of the population can go about their business as usual, going to work, eating in restaurants, attending football games, etc. Most businesses would have no need to close, as long as everyone adheres to heightened hygienic protocols.

    Thus, the proposed metadata analysis allows quick microtargeting of those infected and those who have had contact with them for quick effective action for treatment , observation, testing etc. until they are out of danger, to suppress further spreading of the infection. This should cover the 80% of the population armed with smartphones, which I suspect is more than enough to massively slow the spread of the illness and put it into a declining phase quickly in each hot spot. Rinse/repeat as needed for new hot spots, new infected cases, etc.

    This can be done with a fraction of the cost in money and effort compared to the sledge hammer approach of closing all "non-essential businesses," and crashing the economy in the process. It also virtually eliminates the need for trillion dollar federal bailouts to mitigate the consequences of ham-fisted, draconian "shelter in place until further notice" measures imposed on the bulk of the population, most of whom are neither infected not at significant risk presently of catching the infection. It also allows targeting of resources on those most likely to be sick or infected, and not waste them on those who are unlikely to need them. It would minimize the number of people getting infected, the number dying, and how long it takes the infection hot spot to go cold instead of flourishing in an exponential manner.

    So why isn't this being done?

    The feds ether have the data under collection programs already in place, or it is available to them from the phone companies

    The techniques for the described metadata analysis are far less complicated than routine commercial metadata analytics, and would produce results far superior to what we are getting from horse and buggy era epidemic containment schemes currently being employed, and obviating the need for draconian measures that would shut down the economy and cause massive economic dislocations with unforeseen deleterious consequences, which then engender massive government spending "relief programs" that we are told will magically keep the economy from collapsing while ballooning the already overwhelming national debt load by many trillions of dollars.

    Unlike a vaccine for CoronaVirus-19, the technology already exists to do this, and we know it can be effective. And it can be done with very minimal privacy invasion because the bulk of the metadata can be anonymized while still being able to do the analysis. And, unlike vaccines, it also works on any other infectious diseases just as well. It is the universal epidemic killer.

    Why didn't CDC develop this as a standard protocol to handle epidemics long before CV-19 showed up on our shores? It's far cheaper than vaccine development, so cost cannot be the excuse.

    It a mystery to me as to why this hasn't been fired up in the 6-7 weeks we've had since we knew CV-19 was in the US and spreading.

    1. "Meanwhile the rest of the population can go about their business as usual, going to work, eating in restaurants, attending football games, etc. Most businesses would have no need to close, as long as everyone adheres to heightened hygienic protocols."

      Where do you draw the line for "the elderly"?

      "By 2018, 24 percent of men and about 16 percent of women ages 65 and older were in the labor force."

      "So why isn't this being done?

      "It a mystery to me as to why this hasn't been fired up ..."

      Perhaps it's being considered but those considering it are seeing some problems.

      Consider this: On the Diamond Princess over half of those in their 50s had the disease without symptoms. That's a helluva lot of spreaders walking around--unless your definition of "the elderly" is lowered to at least 50.

      I've read the articles advocating what you describe at great length. They offer a tempting prospect, but I believe they're simplistic.

    2. So how far back in the timeline do you go. There are some reports of as much as 27 days from becoming contagious to being symptomatic. Someone who never develops symptoms you would have to go back to what, 1 Jan 2020, because you couldn't stop at the first, most recent, intersection. This could easily run into literally hundreds, if not thousands of contacts that would have to be checked out/warned. Then there are those who possibly use 'burner' phones for whatever reason, ranging from mere adultery, through criminal conspiracy, all the way to just plane paranoia about the gov't tracking them (your paranoid to the think the gov't is tracking you, unless the gov't really is tracking you). After that the homeless/indigent/vagabond, children and the rest of that 20% that doesn't have a phone at all must be accounted for. If the ChiCom's couldn't make it work, with all their ancillary and direct surveillance, not sure the boobs that run our intel/surveillance organizations can do any better (sounds like a job for AI).
      Maybe doable, maybe, but certainly not easy peasy.

      By the way I'll just leave this here:

      ANY statistics that include ANY numbers from are crap.
      Tom S

    3. Nobody with an ounce of sense believes the China numbers.

  9. MW wrote:

    >>Where do you draw the line for "the elderly"? <<

    Ideally, they draw it themselves.

    If we were aggressively identifying infections, their sources, and potential infectees via metadata analysis of geotemporal data from smartphones, and quarantining the infected, and isolating those potentially infected until they are no longer infectious, people in the workplace would have very low risk of infection, including the "Seasoned Citizens."

    I have not seen any articles advocating what I described. (Nor have I been looking for them.)

    Rapid ID of potentially exposed individuals to people who are subsequently found to be infected, and isolating, testing, an/or treating them, is the critical step to nipping any epidemic in the bud. Metadata analysis of geotemporal phone data has to be the fastest possible way this can be done, and it becomes even more time saving the larger the potential population of infectees becomes, compared to doing it without metadata analysis.

    Speed in containing the infected is the key to containing the spread.

    1. "If we were aggressively identifying infections, their sources, and potential infectees ..."

      I agree, of course. I don't dispute the methods you suggest, and they may be under consideration or--in at least some cases--actually in use.

      A less hi-tech but very probable improvement--as Ray-SoCal has been reporting, testing should expand very rapidly this week.

    2. Question: Is there any evidence that earlier discovery (by reason of more ubiquitous testing) leads to better outcomes (not only lower mortality but also fewer complications and fewer and shorter hospitalizations)? If so, that would certainly be a very good reason to maximize testing, wouldn't it?

    3. Early discovery, if it could be treated (chloroquine, etc.), would be a very good thing. You'd get the benefit of exposure--and possible immunization plus slowing spread--as well as the benefit of positive outcome.

    4. @EZ

      I have the same question as Tom S.:

      Wouldn't the delay between exposure and testing and confirmation of infection (a week or more?) result in a sick patient often having contact with dozens (or hundreds) of others before her metadata could be analyzed and warnings sent to those to whom she may have been exposed? Who in the meantime may have been exposed to dozens (or hundreds) of others?

      So, as Mark says, there may be some problems...But I love the idea of figuring out how to use 21st Century technology more surgically than 20th Century overkill techniques to solve this dilemma...


  10. Mark wrote "Perhaps it's being considered but those considering it are seeing some problems."

    How right he is and probably more than 'some'.

    Yes, there is the question of the 'elderly'. Consider that in 2016 there were over 35 million over-55-year-olds in the workforce (of about 160 million). Not insignificant.

    However, also consider that over 60 million Americans age 50 or younger suffer from one or more chronic disease ( heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes).

    That means that approximately 100 million Americans in the work force are either over age 55 or have one or more chronic diseases.

    Then consider:

    CDC has reported that in total nearly half (approximately 45%, or 133 million) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and the number is growing. Of these, about 70 million are over age 50 and the balance 50 or younger.

    Chronic disease is already responsible for seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S., killing more than 1.7 million Americans each year. Treating chronic disease is made even more challenging because one in four U.S. adults have two or more chronic conditions and more than half of older adults have three or more chronic conditions. Add the risk of contracting COVID-19 on top of that.

    Should Americans who have not retired and who have chronic disease go back to work? Should their spouses and partners, who may be at lower risk, go back to work and risk spreading their contagion to their higher risk spouses and partners (who might be staying home)?

    Then consider: There are about 3.8 million live births in the U.S. each year. That means almost 3 million American women are pregnant at any given time. Should they go back to work and risk infection?

    Lot's of folks are suggesting that children should go back to school, especially because COVID-19 seems not to seriously endanger children. But can't children be asymptomatic carriers and bring infections home and infect parents? Then also consider that in the U.S. 5.7 million children under the age of 18 are living in grandparent headed (by definition higher risk) households.

    I've done this research online over a period of less than one hour. I am sure there are dozens of scenarios I haven't thought of.

    Restarting the economy before the high risk of infection period is over may be tricky, indeed.

    1. Thank you. I read a few of the articles along that line this morning and thought, no, you didn't think that through.

      BTW, you left out obesity. Osterholm claims that obesity in America has similar effects re aggravating diseases like Flu/SARS that smoking has in China. Obese people don't go back to work?

    2. Makes ya wonder how humanity has survived this long.

      Yes, I am being extremely sarcastic.

    3. "Makes ya wonder how humanity has survived this long."

      Take a look at life expectancy through the ages. Famine, disease, and war.

    4. I left out obesity, but the CDC didn't in the report I read. Here's their longer definition of chronic disease:

      "A chronic condition“ is a physical or mental health condition that lasts more than one year and causes functional restrictions or requires ongoing monitoring or treatment”

      "Chronic diseases...include...cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases, arthritis, obesity, and oral diseases..."

      Of course I don't know which chronic disease conditions are most impacted by COVID-19. I'm not sure the 'experts' do either.

      You also mention smoking in China. CDC says that an estimated 34.2 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year...

      Should cigarette smokers go back to work?

    5. Everyone wants a simple solution to a nasty problem like an epidemic disease. Problem is, if there were a simple solution the disease would likely never have taken on epidemic proportions.

    6. This is just my 2¢ based on what I've been able to digest from what is known today.

      I'm inclined to say that the isolation period should be fairly extensive, longer than the lets-get-back-to-work crowd would like.

      I'm sympathetic to the lets-get-back-to-work crowd, though, and hope Trump and his advisers will find categories of workers who are safe to go back to work.

      Longer term, I'm listening to the gloom and doom prophets who say an extended period of isolation will destroy our economy and consequentially destroy America.

      My view today is that this is a shutdown event and not a recession event. In this respect I'm inclined to sympathize with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard's views. See:

      But whether a 'shutdown' or a 'recession', I have enormous faith in the strength of the American economy and, in fact, the American enterprise (notwithstanding concern over the leftist shenanigans that brought most of us here in the first place).

      The loss of asset value may turn out to be large, but it won't change the fact that we still have the largest, most dynamic, most technologically advanced economy in the world, together with the world's greatest reserves of energy and natural resources, and huge geographic and geopolitical advantages as well.

      I'm still betting on us.

    7. Perhaps you saw that the Surgeon General said today that the next two weeks could tell the story--presumably whether we're slowing things down. Trump is talking about reevaluating strategy in 15 days. Which only makes sense in a fluid situation.

    8. Innocent Question: Is there a Grade A+ medical face mask which both prevents transmission of and infection by COVID-19? Why couldn't low-risk workers be cleared to go back to work and be required to wear the mask outside their homes? And if this were required, would it reduce transmissions to acceptable (i.e., nearly zero) levels?

    9. My wife and I will be wearing homemade masks and swimmers nose clips when we go shopping tomorrow. Yeah, I know what the doctors all say. But let's be real, who puts coronavirus in a spray bottle, sets it to 'mist', and goes around spraying it? If the primary means of transmission is 'droplets' then even a homemade mask has to help prevent. I think I linked a Japanese public service ad showing people how to make masks out of paper towels.

      The nose clip is because I've read that the virus prefers the nasal passages--something about relative warmth v. coolness compared to the mouth.

      Americans object to wearing masks, and I guess that's understandable, but if everyone wore masks when mixing with others during 'flu season' or 'cold season' or now 'corona season,' I'm sure it would help.

      Now someone else can comment that I'm full of it.

    10. Everyone in photographs of Wuhan seems to be wearing a mask...

      Virtually nobody in USA.

    11. Cuz they're not readily available here.

    12. I understand that, just thinking that wearing them might be a very good idea...and a way to get more low risk people back to work while still minimizing spreading...

  11. This morning the New York Times headlined that "Trump Considers Reopening Economy, Over Health Experts’ Objections".

    This headline infuriates me! Its not just Donald Trump who is concerned about the economy, its (as the actual article concedes) Lloyd Blankfein (ex-Goldman CEO) and Andrew Cuomo (NYS Gov), as well as literally hundreds of other thoughtful and concerned experts and ordinary citizens. And there is no evidence that Trump would overrule bona fide concerns of scientists and health officials.

    So it is undoubtedly the case that Trump is working with scientists and health officials, as well as government officials, economists and business leaders, to figure out how to safely resume a more normal degree of business activity sooner rather than later -- before the harm done to the economy is indisputably far greater than the cost of lives unfortunately lost.

    This is what any rational and competent leader would do. This is what all Americans should be wanting to hear that our leaders are carefully considering. This is what the New York Times should be reporting.

    I really do despise the New York Times.

    1. It appears that Trump's words reflect the 'simple' solution that is being advanced by some. As discussed yesterday, and now in my new post, it isn't so simple. But chloroquine could be a gamechanger.

    2. "It appears that Trump's words reflect the 'simple' solution that is being advanced by some."


      I prefer to trust that Trump and his advisers (scientific, economic, and political) are trying to look at the whole picture, not the simple picture, and find a sensible way that is best for our country.

      I do not believe Trump will adopt a course of action which results in a risk of MORE deaths. Which, of course, the Left Wing would hang him for.

  12. I am not making light of Covid-19. I want to be clear on this. But I would like to see an alternate world where Obama, or another Dem, were President. Just to see how the media would handle this.

    1. Check out the coverage of the swine flu epidemic in 2009 to see.

  13. I wanted to mention the swine flu or H1N1 but didn't have time to research what years they occurred.

    This is real bad, but the breathless media coverage and get Trump mentality don't help. People are frightened and the media aren't helping.

    This may hasten their demise. Just as the Dems seem to be in a death spiral, i.e., loading up a bill with outrageous provisions, so, too, the media seems to be thrashing about as they lose more credibility and people turn to serious sources on the internet.