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Interestingly, my wife took this photo of me yesterday to model an apron she made for a friend.
Oh, Bosco, has no one told you that nothing ever goes away on the Internet?!
I’m good. Trying to write a piece on the US dissolving into god knows what it will become, but having a hard time getting it together the way I think it should be. I know what it will be called: “People Are Going To Die”.
Reminds me of Hugh Hendry: “I see dead people.” And that was back in, what, 2009?
@upstatenyer: one of the things my wife is very cautious about is making statements with incomplete data. So, unfortunately she is very disinclined to speculate about the way things went so far off track in New York. She does know colleagues in the New York state health system, and I’m sure at some point they’ll be sitting in Atlanta eating dinner after a CDC meeting and beans will get spilled. If I get the story at some point, I’ll report back here. It may be quite a while, however, since of course CDC is communicating with state health departments by Zoom like everyone else, instead of flying them in for periodic meetings.
But okay, there are CDC guidelines that may have played a role in the nursing home disaster. Only, what are those guidelines?
Through March and April, the CDC guidelines for release from the transmission protocol were that the patient had to be symptom-free for 72 hours (no fever / no cough, though the cough was open to interpretation) and they had to have two consecutive negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. However, nursing homes and congregated living facilities could accept patients not meeting those guidelines back if they had the capability to properly isolate and care for sick patients. However, there is a lot of leeway in judging if a facility has that capability; my wife the epidemiologist says that staff has to be properly trained and equipped with appropriate PPE for the care tasks involved. For someone interacting closely with a resident that would be the full gown/gloves/mask, while someone delivering a meal and staying six feet away could probably just wear a mask. But here are some of the key take-away: nursing home staff are usually not medically trained (though there is always a medically trained supervisor) and nursing home staff are usually low-paid workers, sometimes without much (if any) paid sick leave. Thus you have a pretty high chance of staff becoming infected, and then they don’t know it at the asymptomatic early stages; later, the incentives are to keep working while possibly low-grade symptomatic, because they need the pay for their families to survive and they don’t have paid sick leave. My take on it is that arguing over whether CDC guidelines are to blame is probably a red herring, and the real failures are more subtle. Our state followed the CDC guidelines and didn’t have the kind of disaster New York experienced; I don’t think it is just the scale of the case load in New York. My wife says the AP article doesn’t really have the kind of detail to make a judgement on the appropriateness of what was done.
My uncle reports that the sanitizing tunnels were set up in their city (Merida, Yucatan) weeks ago. They are just out in the open, scattered around the city; I got the sense that no one was being forced to go through them, they were just set up and citizens were encouraged to use them. They are really fortunate to live in the best-run state in Mexico, Yucatan.
Regarding the recent UVA hydroxychloroquine study trumpeted by mainstream sources, claiming that the patient group given hydroxychloroquine had more fatalities… Chris Martensen dives into the source paper and completely demolishes the conclusions. Turns out the paper was based on chart reviews after the fact, and there was no accounting for many factors (simply because it was a chart review paper, not a well designed and executed double blind study). The biggest confounding factor is that there was no accounting for how sick different patients were when they were put on hydroxychloroquine; the paper acknowledges that it was the sicker patients further along the disease progression that were given the drug as a sort of a “Hail Mary” play to stave off a bad outcome, but that’s not the way to effectively treat with the drug. To put it in plain English, very compromised patients were given the drug late in the game, and it was too late to do any good for a large percentage of them; these were compared against the untreated population where some died, but most didn’t. That is not an apples to apples comparison at all. The paper claims that they accounted for this in the calculations, but they give no details; to me that is the same as “we made shit up to discredit Trump.”
Like any antiviral, the earlier it is administered, the better the outcome. Also, I believe that there was apparently no mention of whether zinc was included in the treatment; pretty much all of the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard says that zinc is a crucial component: the hydroxychloroquine is the ionophore that ensures the zinc passes easily through cell membranes to defeat the virus replication.
My wife the epidemiologist, who directed our states response to SARS (1) and Ebola and a couple of other near-pandemics, says contact tracing of Covid-19 is very problematic, due to the aerosol spread via aysmptomatic carriers. Specifically, the State would have to be incredibly aggressive about what is considered “contact:” were you on a bus with someone who later tested positive? Were you in a store with someone who later tested positive? Did you walk behind an unmasked person outdoors at the recommended social distancing for a block? In the past, contact tracing was much more cut and dried: did you visit someone who was positive? Did you sit next to someone on a plane who was positive? Etc. Essentially, we would have to accept a vast amount of “health surveillance” where Big Brother watches everyone’s moves via facial recognition on CCTV or via Bluetooth proximity apps, and I for one don’t want to go there.
My wife is an epidemiologist, and I ran the “17 days” claim from the first article by CNBC by her… she said it is important to distinguish between viable virus RNA (that could infect you) and the bits of identifiable but non-viable RNA left around after a virus particle partially disintegrates due to time, heat, etc. The wording of the CDC release suggests the latter, though it isn’t especially clear on the point. To prove that it was viable they would have had to do a culture test, while doing the more usual PCR test would almost certainly pick up bits of the RNA, even if not viable. She knows and has worked with several of the authors of the CDC paper; maybe I can get her to prod them to update the article with more clarity.
Strangerdanger457, what was it Yogi Berra once said? Something like “Predictions are hard, especially about the future…” That being true, it is very hard to know if/when capital controls will come to the U.S. I tend to think that you won’t see capital controls until there is a fairly obvious run on the banks. What you seem to be envisioning, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, is One Big Jump out of The System. What I would suggest, instead, is to look for many little ways to lessen your dependence on the system, while still keeping your eyes open for an opportunity that matches your pocketbook. Some suggestions are to pick up useful skills like repairing things, growing and cooking food, and building social relations. Get out of debt at every level. Take complete responsibility for your health by paying a lot of attention to nutrition and exercise. And work hard to ensure that your entire family is on board for the lifestyle change you’re contemplating; sometimes that takes years, or doesn’t even happen then. Also, your question would probably spark a lively debate over at Peak Prosperity, where there are a lot of folks who have either made the transition you described, or are hoping to make the change in the near future.
My wife is an epidemiologist in a western coastal state (until this past January she was the state’s respiratory influenza epidemiologist, now she just gets pulled in on an emergency basis: all hands on deck). The U.S. catches a lot of flak over how little testing is getting done, but the realities of testing are this: there is not enough test capability by a long shot, and sometimes the medical/epidemiological personnel get over-ruled for political reasons. The father of a kid in a school where there was a single case gets pneumonia and demands testing; initial ruling was no test necessary, as his bacteriological test came back positive. But a stink was raised, and he was tested; came back negative. You’ve got people coming out of the woodwork demanding testing for what are essentially seasonal cold symptoms. A much worse example: recently a cluster outbreak popped up in a nursing home in our state; the clamor for testing was intense, and eventually the state health department gave in and ordered everyone tested that was in contact. Here’s the problem: some of those tests are going to come back negative, and we know that this disease has false negatives in testing. Those people are going to think they’re in the clear, and if they’re workers at the facility they will probably not effectively quarantine, no matter what the state tells them. Why would they? Test came back negative! Also, testing the other inhabitants of the facility has no value: they’re not going anywhere, and they will just get treated as symptoms come up anyway. So a whole bunch of testing gets squandered because some county commissioner or whatever made a big stink.
Dr. D, cloudhidden: you might also check out Chris Martensen’s video from yesterday:
At time marker 27:25 he discusses the work of Roland Baker, molecular geneticist at UC Berkeley, and shows a graph of mutations. Is it just me, or do the red and orange markers for the American cases appear to be larger mutations from the initial starting case? Certainly an interesting theory.
I’d like to offer this up as the sound track for Dr. D’s rant today:
“Life is Hard, But Life Is Hardest When You’re Dumb”, written by Mark Graham of the Pacific NW. Mark also wrote “Their Brains Were Small and They Died,” you might want to look that up on your own.
Here’s a nuanced mini-bio of Brother Dave that supports, in my mind, the notion that what caused his Dark Period…
Bosco, what was the point of the Dave Gardner bit?
One welcome feature that has returned: the article summaries on the main page have a direct link and count of the number of comments again. Yay!
Dr D: was that the same guy who said “If people understood the way that banking works in this country, there would be a revolution before the next morning?”
I feel like there needs to be a “Brexit for Dummies” post… I’m never quite sure what is being argued over when they refer to the “Irish backstop.” Have I got this right: once Brexit occurs, there has to be a border somewhere in a place where there currently is no border? It either has to be a border with customs controls between the two parts of Ireland (because Northern Ireland goes with the UK), or it has to be a border between England and Northern Ireland? And if those are the choices, why the hell aren’t we hearing the voices of those most affected, namely the two parts of Ireland? It’s all code words and phrases at this point.
The other big sticking point: is it that the UK currently is in the EU, and governed by a bunch of rules and regulations, and once Brexit occurs those no longer apply? And the UK has apparently done nothing to replace those rules, or harmonize with them, hence the disruption of trade, lorries waiting 48 hours for paperwork, etc etc?
Some of the causes of migration out of Central America are commonly known (as Tabarnick lists above: poverty, corruption, violence, drugs, etc), but often overlooked is the fact that the root causes circle back to those of us living in the center of the empire, sipping our lattes. Coffee bean prices paid to farmers in Gautemala have declined by roughly 2/3, making the country’s dominant agricultural product a money-losing venture. Here is one article, which I refuse to turn off my ad-blocker for; I think it is the same one I read in print last week, however, and that article said that middlemen are now paying only $0.85 per pound for beans, versus $2.20 some years back.
The culprit? Mechanized production in the Amazon basin, which is a two-fer: displaces rain forest and Central American jobs. Meanwhile, prices are the same as they ever were at the end of the pipeline in a Starbucks, which says that somebody, the middlemen or Starbucks, are making a killing.
I would expect David Rovics will be the one to write the definitive song of Assange. I listen to his podcast, and haven’t heard him sing about Julian Assange yet, but he has the chops and the ethos to recognize the importance of what role Assange has played in the world.
When I saw that headline about Trump and 9/11 my first thought was that it was a shot across the bow to certain entities that have been toiling lo these many months to bring down his presidency, as in “I know what you did or didn’t do in 2001, and I’m not afraid to go there.” Pass the popcorn, Fannie, this could get interesting.
Well done presentation, thank you for featuring it on the web site. It is non-partisan enough that I might just be able to convince some of my relatives to sit through it.
Interesting read, unsurprising conclusion. It made me reflect that it has been quite a long time, years at least, since I have seen the trucks carrying windmill towers and blades heading south out of Longview, WA to travel east on I-84 out to central and eastern Oregon. Perhaps that has all been built out as much as it makes sense to do, either because the good sites are all gone, or the subsidies ended. I used to notice the big trucks on the days I would cycle to work, since it would take 12 minutes to cross the bridge over the Columbia, and I would see a lot of the oncoming freeway traffic in that time from a leisurely vantage point.
“UK MPs Campaign to Have Donald Trump’s State Visit Cancelled (G.)”
Thankfully, there’s nothing important going on in Britain right now so they have a lot of time to waste doing this.
Dr. D, you’re killing me here with the deadpan humor! Thank you for posting your daily musings, they are well worth scrolling down to the comments section.
Maxwell Quest said:
The only thing his election has really accomplished so far is that it has provided the circumstances which required the DNC, media, and Deep State to come out from the shadows in order to fix a presidential election that got away from them, and failing that, an attempted coup via the Mueller investigation. All because Trump wanted to throttle back on the war machine. This has been an eye-opening experience for many, awakening them to the true nature of our supposed democracy.
This is really the heart of the matter, and it continually surprises me that so few people, even intelligent people, recognize this fact. Thank you for summarizing it succinctly, Maxwell.
Regarding deflation and the global meltdown: in 2011 the local metal recycling establishment was paying $220 per ton for scrap iron and steel. Two years ago they were paying $160 per ton. Six months ago they were paying $70 per ton. Last week they offered me an unbelievable $30 per ton! They paid me $2.81 for a pickup load of scrap fencing. All I can figure is that the bottom has dropped out of once-insatiable Chinese demand for steel.
John Muir (author of the book “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: a Guide for the Compleat Idiot”) wrote a much lesser known second book, called “The Velvet Monkey Wrench.” A slim volume with a red cover, illustrated in the same style as the VW book, it is a manifesto that lays out how direct democracy might be restored to our North American continent. Given that it was written pre-Internet, Muir envisioned a future in which television screens would be outfitted with voting buttons, and all governance proposals would be submitted directly to the populace for approval or disapproval. The same thing for legal matters: citizens would tune into trials, and vote for guilty or not guilty. As I recall, he also felt that physical money would be replaced with a system of electronic credits. Beppo Grillo’s proposal for direct democracy via the Internet reminded me of this book that I haven’t thought about for years.
It’s been a long time since I read it, but I recall that the proposal that struck me as the most radical was the creation of outland zones: Muir felt that there would always be those in society who preyed upon others, or abused others, or stole from others. Rather than lock them up, and pay for their maintenance and food and such, he proposed that they should be banished to Zones where they were free to practice whatever they wanted. Killed someone? Fine, you’re going to have to live in a primitive, lawless fenced-off area of the Utah desert. No safety net, no laws, no niceties, just the rule of tooth and claw.