First, Texas Face Mask Maker Running Only One Shift. Sailer simply quotes from an article in the Dallas News--If you imagine that a local business making surgical face masks is working 24/7, guess again, and I'll abbreviate it even more:
Mike Bowen runs America’s No. 1 maker of hospital surgical masks, in North Richland Hills. For more than a decade, he predicted a pandemic and the perils of offshore buying.
… During this crisis, you’d think the company would be pushing forward on all cylinders, working 24/7 to manufacture the one commodity that Americans and the rest of the world want so badly.
You’d be wrong.
The company is only operating weekday shifts. You drive by nights and weekends and the employee parking lot is empty. …
The story of Bowen’s unhappiness is a cautionary tale about what can happen if Americans searching for cheaper prices send entire industries offshore to countries like Mexico and China.
Everything Bowen has warned about has come true. He warned that allowing another country to serve as our main supplier of personal protection equipment has the potential to become a national security nightmare.
The common theme is that during an outbreak like this, everybody wants to be his customer. But as soon as an outbreak subsides, his customers dump him and run back to China. The reason? His masks may cost a dime each, but a made-in-China mask might go for two cents.
“Last time he geared up and went three shifts a day working his tail off,” the mayor recalled. “As soon as the issue died, he didn’t have any sales. He had to pay unemployment for all these people, and he had to gear down.”
There must be a lesson in that for us, right? Maybe it's the lesson that President Trump has been trying to get across for the past four years or so.
Next up, some perspective from the UK. Remember how they were going to bravely wait out the pandemic and develop herd immunity? That was then. This is now: Stats on 2,249 ICU Admittees in England Are Not Encouraging.
One of the widespread hopes has been that the coronavirus is merely dangerous to people who were practically on the verge of death anyway even before the new disease came along. Many optimists have seized upon the advanced average age of Italians who died and their high percentage of “co-morbidities” (although nobody seems to want to explain what percentage of the general population also have problems like hypertension).
... I was interested in this brand new report [follow link] on the 2,249 Intensive Care Unit patients with the new disease in England.
Most are still in the ICU, but of the 690 who aren’t anymore, half got better and half died.
Basically, you don’t want to go into the ICU. You have a high chance of dying, and even if you survive, how vigorous will the rest of your life be? ... I’ve got to guess that a week or three in the ICU for any reason will likely permanently damage anybody besides the fairly young.
Generally, as you get older, you come out of a health crisis, even one of only a few months in duration, effectively 5 or 10 or 15 years older than you went into it. ...
So, of the 2249 who went into the ICU, the mean age of admittees was 60 and median was 61. Men made up 73%. 93% were living without assistance. “Very severe comorbidities” were fairly rare. ...
ICU patients were only slightly fatter than the general population of similar sex and age ...￼
Of those who are no longer in ICU, 24% of those under 50 died, 46% of those 50-69 died, and 68% of those 70 or over died. So, basically, you don’t want to go into ICU no matter how young you are.
Most people who get the germ won’t wind up in ICU. On the other hand, the English stats suggest that the poor bastards who wind up in ICU are NOT people who were already on death’s door, but are instead a fairly random selection of average people, just somewhat older & slightly fatter. Randomness plays a sizable role in who is hit hard.
Strictly anecdotal. A short while ago I spoke with my youngest son. He told me that he had spoken (by phone) with his boss, who had lost a friend in CT. His friend was ex-army, mid-40s, ran, did judo. But he's dead now. In the UK study he would have been on the short end of the under 50 cohort, part of the 24% who didn't make it out of the ICU alive. Then again, what would his life have been like afterwards had he survived?
This is what we're talking about with social distancing. It's NOT just about saving obese 80 year olds.