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April 26, 2020

Comments

What are ya'll expecting from this exchange? I went and looked at the facts, read the details of what happened to date in Germany, agreed with GftNC that they have achieved a better mortality rate than anyone in the west. Their tests per million are at 30k most everyone else is around 20k,

for reference

So, no, I'm not sure that understand why anyone is down on the US. Unless you tell me that the middle aged ex scientist told the hospital system to start preparing then I'm not sure she gets a lot of credit for it. From the article I read the hospitals prepared early which rationally seems to have impacted the mortality rate.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King

Why should e.g. Big Meat companies worry about their workers dying like flies? If their profits go down, they'll get a bailout. A simple result from their wise investment in (mostly GOP) politicians.

Btw, Jabbabonk can force the meat plants to stay open but could he also (legally) force the workers to show up?

Hartmut, IANAL, but the Defense Production Act does mandate penalties for anyone who "willfully fails to perform any act required by the Defense Production Act" and they "may be charged with felony that results in a fine up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to one year or both"

Ah, then the ideal solution would be to jail the unwilling workers, use them as prison labor at their original working place and confiscate their pay to pay for the fine.
And no one could REASONably complain since the workers had the choice whether to work as free persons or inmates.

Seems like Germany also had lots of hospital beds available for pandemic patients.

Not sure how they avoided the pandemic of hospital "consolidation" that the US has been been infected with over the past decades.

"A Plague of Greedheads", one might call it. Thullen seems to have a treatment plan. It involves giving shots. FDA non-approved, by highly effective!

US deaths went up 2%, just yesterday.

now is not the time to reopen.

Thanks, lj, but I realise this one's on me.

Marty, a selection from the history on this thread of our discussions, with my main message to you below:

Marty April 30, 08.36

We had no idea that this would be more meaningful than SARS or Ebola, the concept that any organization or set of individuals had more than a few week headstart on that understanding is completely revisionist.
The extent to which it was universally underestimated is evident in the numbers. The most impacted states to date are all centers of medical knowledge, the best in the country. They were completely unprepared, the state emergency management teams, and governors, in these centers of medical understanding reacted no quicker than the feds.
Some reacted weeks after the risks were obvious.

Marty April 30, 09.32
It was certainly serious in China at that point.
[This is probably a reference to CharlesWT having posted, just before, "Taiwan, who is not a member of the WHO, reported to the WHO on December 31st that there was evidence of person to person transmission of the virus."]Completely unclear to what extent it was a threat here. We reacted by trying to isolate the perceived source, again no one really thought much about it, seemed a logical step.
The step from there to "we should be social distancing" much less shelter in place, would have certainly been perceived as an overreaction. "We should be stockpiling PPE and ventilators" wasnt even an idea.
Not that someone might not have actually said it, it just wasn't an imminent threat and the potential damage was still being determined.
All government is likely to be slow to react, as every one except perhaps South Korea was. It's the reality we live with in a world where those calls are hard to make. I think intelligent, thoughtful leaders should have sheltered us in place on March 9.

GftNC on May 1, 12.19
you are ignoring the fact that it was overwhelmingly the rightwing media in the US giving cover to Trump and his absurd lies with their casual dismissal of the threat for weeks and months, continued long past the point where the rest of the world was taking this very seriously. And they are to some extent still doing so, while he stands up there and tells his lies about the wonderful world-beating availability of testing and PPE and ventilators. Things may be getting better, Marty, but they started from a particularly low bar. And please realise, I am writing this from a country which is also being accused by many of having handled the pandemic very badly, and may well have done so.

Marty on May 1 at 01.30
GftNC, if there is a model beyond South Korea, who for reasons thet have been detailed was uniquely prepared, I havent seen it. Some numbers are better some places, but no one reacted substantially quicker than we did, and by we basically the earliest governors, which is where these battles are fought in the US.

GftNC on May 1, 02.16
I read the following article about the German situation at the beginning of April, at which time "the country had more than 100,000 laboratory-confirmed infections as of Monday morning, more than any other country except the United States, Italy and Spain". and I understand their death rate is still remarkably low. Link below, but money quote is probably this:
In mid-January, long before most Germans had given the virus much thought, Charité hospital in Berlin had already developed a test and posted the formula online.
By the time Germany recorded its first case of Covid-19 in February, laboratories across the country had built up a stock of test kits.
“The reason why we in Germany have so few deaths at the moment compared to the number of infected can be largely explained by the fact that we are doing an extremely large number of lab diagnoses,” said Dr. Christian Drosten, chief virologist at Charité, whose team developed the first test.

Marty on May 1, 2.47
I read that, and the testing is great. The logic, and I have only generally followed their current mortality,seems backwards. The had lots of tests, thus lots of cases. The mortality rate was in line with other places in deaths per million population.
But it's clear they were prepared to test. So better than us, and most, in that vector.

That’s when I first posted Germany’s actual numbers, to which you did not respond.

And that’s when we started this very latest round.

The thing is, Marty, I see you as a good guy, my brother in Dylan-appreciation, and someone who is generally well-meaning toward (hu)mankind. I suppose, and you have been kind enough to forgive me for this, I also see you as an avatar for a certain kind of rightwinger: sensible and savvy enough to despise Trump, but unfortunately still vulnerable to being gaslit by him and his media enablers into thinking they are handling this no worse, and in fact better, than other nations.

In English law we have a concept of the “reasonable man”. E.g. Would the reasonable man, seeing this (whatever it is) have realised that x or y was a likely consequence. So, in addressing you as “the reasonable man”, I I do not aspire to change your political views en masse, but (perhaps indulging in magical thinking) I hope that if you can see how our criticism of the Trump administration response to the pandemic is more or less justified, then that may signal that other reasonable people might be able to be persuaded as well. And that, to me at least, implies that there is a chance , for some significant percentage of the people who currently more or less approve of his handling of the crisis, for them to examine the evidence from outside and conclude that actually, because of his and his administration’s actions, starting with the disbanding of the Pandemic Preparedness unit, tens of thousands of Americans, in a better-run country, would not have needed to die. And, significantly (which is why I brought up Germany) that there are better run capitalist countries with free presses examining their every move.

I don't know if this is possible. But hope springs eternal (at least for now, at least til November).

Snarki, and mercury free shots at that (unless not ATF compliant ones are used).

Btw, Jabbabonk can force the meat plants to stay open but could he also (legally) force the workers to show up?

It appears that Trump can't force the packing plants to open. But neither can states and local jurisdictions force them to close. And if the employers are suited, The Labor Department will intervene on their behalf if they followed OSHA guidelines on safety.

So I see I got so caught up, I couldn't see the wood for the trees enough to put my central point.

Marty, the Trump administration has handled the pandemic very badly. Despite the responsibilities of the individual states, the Federal government has not done what they should do in such a disaster, either at the beginning of the crisis, or on an ongoing basis. They are incompetent, in and of themselves, compared to past administrations and compared to many other democratic nations, and they are lying to the American people about it every night. I am very much hoping you might be able to see and acknowledge this at some point, while not interpreting it as a blanket criticism of your entire political philosophy.

suited sued

if the employers are suited, The Labor Department will intervene on their behalf if they followed OSHA guidelines on safety.

Except that OSHA** regulations are being waived left and right. And note that's regulations, not just guidelines.

Which ones seems to correlate rather closely with requests from campaign donors. Although, to be fair, there are also some cases where donors said DON'T waive the regulation (because it's actually a good idea), but the true-believer libertarians did so anyway.

** Lots of others as well. Just to be clear.

In real life we have a concept that intelligent people can disagree without insulting each other. Constantly claiming I'm being gaslight, rather than I just disagree with the narrative built from the same facts. Germany did well but in terms of deaths per million the US is better than Spain, Italy. France. UK, and a long list of other countries and that varies widely from state to state in the US.

Trump is not a good guy. The US is a large country where the emergency response is centered at the state level. So the criticism of Trumps handling of the pandemic isnt based on a complete understanding of the way things are done.

Cities and counties declare emergencies and pay for state help. States do the same. The President, despite his blabbering, isnt empowered to shut down anything. The timing of the federal government's reaction is driven by the CDC, which contributed to the delay, and outside that their reaction was not so different than governments in other major developed countries.

Some were better. Some worse. The narrative that we as a country really blew it comparatively isnt supported by the facts. I've said I think we should have responded 10 days earlier, but almost no government official in this country, or almost any other, reacted that soon.

I get why everyone wants to blame Trump. I dont like him either, but I like facts better. We've spent a week talking about Georgia reopening, but there are 27 states reopening, 7 of them with Democratic governors. But it's all about GOP greed and stupidity in the news.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/reopening-america-see-what-states-across-u-s-are-starting-n1195676

And people keep bringing up the Pandemic Preparedness unit. I havent seen anywhere that Trump personally picked that unit to disband. In general cost cutting the people in that unit were reassigned, afaict, and it's a good narrative, it's like a CEO who makes a big investment right before a downturn, it's easy to see in hindsight it wasnt a good idea.

So shorter. I think it's a lot more complex than Trump and his administration handled it worse than a few countries. So I guess no, I'm not going to concede that the purposefully incendiary "people died who didnt have to" is an appropriate characterization. Every person who died was killed by a deadly virus that we have been unsuccessful so far in containing or treating adequately despite millions of people's best efforts. We are improving on both of those every day.

A few typos, based on an INcomplete understanding is the most important.

Marty, I won't go on and on, about how for example the US started on its curve later than the other countries you mention in your latest, including Germany (I am quoting a more numerate friend!). But this is just to say that whatever you think, I am not intending to insult you by saying you have been gaslit, nor am I doing so in effect. It is a fact that people can be gaslit, despite their intelligence and best intentions. Whatever we say, the chips will fall where they may, and I am going to try to give up on magical thinking. To quote russell: Peace out.

The US is a large country where the emergency response is centered at the state level. So the criticism of Trumps handling of the pandemic isnt based on a complete understanding of the way things are done.

And yet every time there is a hurricane or an earthquake, there's FEMA. Not, admittedly, always perfectly adept (see Hurricane Katrina). But Federal help routinely expected.

Perhaps a bit off topic, but this is a very good read for a lazy Sunday...more about how we got to where we are.

Ferchristsake, if you can’t see that the buffoon in the White House has been winging it from one day to the next, saying inane and contradictory things, there’s no hope. There’s been a complete lack of meaningful leadership from the president. And that’s the f**king job.

Georgia? The guy who found out asymptomatic spread was a thing a month after it was common knowledge? He’s the one you want to defend? Please.

"I like facts better."

Assertions pulled out of one's ass are not facts. Most people here know that, it's apparently news to Marty.

The US is a large country where the emergency response is centered at the state level. So the criticism of Trumps handling of the pandemic isnt based on a complete understanding of the way things are done.

This is one of the most idiotic things ever written on this blog, and that's saying something. And it’s wrong on more than one level, not that it would make any difference to list them. But it echoes this from much earlier in the thread:

Some numbers are better some places, but no one reacted substantially quicker than we did, and by we basically the earliest governors, which is where these battles are fought in the US.

The idea that the US is to be judged by a handful of sane goverors, and that "we," meaning the US as a whole, are interchangeable with one state or another, and that we can just wave our hand and set aside the malevolent, murderous incompetence of the current administration, is just laughable.

And that’s to say nothing about the patent detachment from reality of asserting that the US reacted about as quickly as anyone else.

Much earlier there was this, in an exchange with GftNC about Germany:

I read that, and the testing is great. The logic, and I have only generally followed their current mortality,seems backwards. The had lots of tests, thus lots of cases. The mortality rate was in line with other places in deaths per million population.

(My bold.) I gave some numbers that made the out-of-Marty's-ass nature of that assertion obvious, and GftNC challenged him (repeatedly, IIRC) to address the discrepancy.

Marty ignored the prodding until about half the blog asked him to address it, at which point came he back with (paraphrasing) "Oh, I looked into it, and they did pretty well. But even so, the US is better than [some other list of countries]."

Not one word of acknowledgment, in response to GftNC's persistent graciousness and attempts to give him the benefit of the doubt (which he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole), admitting and apologizing for the about-face from assertions-about-Germany-pulled-out-of-his-ass to some attempt to actually find information that's publicly available and part of consensus reality among intelligent people. Which, when he found it, and found that it contradicted his out-of-rear-end assertion, required a quick change of subject to another over-simplified pronouncement about the US.

I meant to stay out of this, but I thought GftNC's good will and graciousness shouldn't go unacknowledged. She doesn't deserve the slap-back of pure begrudgery that she got.

GftNC -- if it's any consolation -- and there isn't a lot of consolation to be had these days, I recognize -- your magical thinking as such may be unproductive, but I don't actually think you can measure our (the general "our") chances of getting out of this mess by the yardstick of how impenetrable Marty's...armor...is.

2900 people in the US died of C19, Thursday.

re-open!

The argument here got me curious, so I pulled up the Johns Hopkins mortality analysis page this morning (data current to yesterday) and scrolled down to the "Cases and mortality by country" table. If you look at the US, Canada, and big western European countries, there are three clusters: Germany/Canada, the other Europeans, and the US. Germany/Canada are doing well; the other Europeans are doing crappy; and the US is somewhere in between. We're with Germany/Canada on case-fatality. Our deaths per 100,000 population is approx double Germany/Canada, but less than half the other big Europeans. Most cluster analysis limited to two groups would put us in the Germany/Canada group.

On the range of known outcomes for big rich social democracies, we could be doing a lot worse. And if we're looking for how to do it, even Germany's not in the same class with Japan and South Korea.

There is a federal role in responding to public health emergencies, and are (or should be) federal resources and agencies responsible for carrying those responsibilities out. The federal response, under Trump and to no small degree because of Trump, has been profoundly incompetent. And, as a result, people have without a doubt contracted COVID, and some have died from it, who otherwise would not have.

Some states and cities have done a better job, some have done no better.

FWIW, if people pick on GA it's because that state's governor was not even aware that non-symptomatic people could spread the disease, and his choice of businesses to re-open are so freaking inappropriate as to be a bad joke, if anything about this was funny.

It's entirely possible that there are (D) governors and mayors who are equally incompetent. A pox on their houses as well.

We - Americans - don't even have a basic common understanding that public health is a thing, and that public action in the interest of general public health is legitimate. So we are unable to get the hell out of our own way when we are faced with things like this.

Nothing I've said in this comment is even worth debating, and I won't debate it. People think what they want to think, I don't have the time or interest in trying to persuade them otherwise.

In many states, lifting the lockdown on non-essential businesses will mean that people who don't go to work will lose their unemployment status. Whether you, Marty, or anyone else thinks that should or should not happen is irrelevant. It will happen.

The practical result is that people will be required to choose between having no income, or returning to work in jobs that will put them at risk of contracting COVID. Whether that is what should happen or not is beside the point. It is what will happen.

Everybody would like to "re-open the economy". We'd all like all of the businesses that are currently locked down to re-open. There are ways to do that minimize the risks to the people who work at those businesses. Those ways include testing, tracking, and isolation for people who are capable of transmitting the virus.

Test people who want to go to work. Not once, but regularly. If they are positive, they stay home in isolation, and we support them financially and medically while they are isolated. And if they are positive, reach out to people they have contacted and test them as well, with the same guarantees for support if they need to be isolated.

If that is present, it will be possible to re-open public life without undue risk. If it's not, it won't be. If we re-open public life without those measures, then we will see continued resurgences of COVID in areas that are re-opened. Which is what we see now, in areas that are re-opened.

If we actually thought of ourselves as a society, instead of an economy or a market, we would do the things necessary to make all of that happen. We would mobilize the resources to make them happen. These are not impossible things to do, and we have the resources to do them.

But, we won't do them. Some individual places will - particular states or cities - and they will be hampered in their efforts to do so by the lack of concerted, effective leadership at the national level. They will be more or less successful. As a nation, we will not do them. Because, as a nation, we lack the sense of ourselves as a common society that would motivate us to do them.

We are going to half-ass this for the next year and a half, with some places re-opening and others not, with resurgences of COVID prompting some level of re-introductions of lockdown measures, like some incoherent national game of mole whack. People aren't going to understand what is safe to do and what is not, so the public response will be a mix of people flocking back to things that actually aren't safe yet, and people being reluctant to do things that maybe are safe, but they have no confidence about it, because the information needed to know it's safe isn't available.

We have the resources to make a pretty effective response to COVID. We are failing to make anything like an effective response to COVID. Because we have no shared belief in, or trust in, the institutions that would enable that response.

All of that makes me angry, but mostly profoundly sad. It makes me question the point of thinking about ourselves as a country.

We'll get through it, it's just gonna be kind of a mess, for months and months, maybe a year, possibly two. But probably something like a year, until enough people contract COVID to establish something like herd immunity, and/or until we have a vaccine. And then it will take us a while to pick up the pieces.

That's what is in store for us, it seems to me.

Wash your hands, wear your mask, help your neighbors. Be patient, find things that give you some joy and focus on them. Take care of yourselves and the people around you.

Best of luck to us all.

what hsh said. Might have been better with one or two few f-bombs, but that's just me....

sigh. the 'preview' button is there for a fucking reason, bobby.

Michael Cain -- no doubt Japan and especially South Korea are amazing outliers when compared to US and European numbers.

On the other hand, though I may end up getting squashed for this, I don't think you can just look at a table like the one you cited at a point in time and draw the conclusions you're drawing. If you look at the Worldometer graphs of daily deaths, you'll see that Germany and the US's curves started rising at roughly the same time, while Italy's was raging at least two weeks sooner. That makes a US/Germany comparison more valid than a one-point-in-time comparison of either one of them with Italy. I would like to do a graphic of all these curves lined up on top of each other, so you can see what I'm getting at, but I am going to win a battle with myself over it and go outside instead, at least for the moment. A sunny day in May is not to be wasted.

Shorter: the US deaths per million numbers seem very likely to catch up with those of countries like Spain and Italy where the curve started rising earlier. Germany's, not so much.

Our deaths per 100,000 population is approx double Germany/Canada, but less than half the other big Europeans.

Look, I hate to say this, but our deaths per 100K population is, up to now, mostly based on outbreaks in a handful of places.

NYC, Boston, LA and San Francisco, south FL, WA. Averaged over the population of the whole country.

Maybe it'll stay that way, and we'll start to see the curve bend down in the next few weeks. Or, maybe we're still early days.

Wash your hands, wear your mask, stay safe. Take care of yourselves.

Every person who died was killed by a deadly virus that we have been unsuccessful so far in containing or treating adequately despite millions of people's best efforts.

Fox/GOP spent a month telling people there was no problem. then they spent a week or so pretending to care. now they're telling people it's over. right-wing militias are walking the streets, and storming capitol buildings, encouraged by Fox/GOP, spreading the disease and encouraging others to do the same.

that isn't anybody's "best effort". it's deliberately getting people sick in order to please the god of the 'economy', or to wank about "liberty".

"people died who didnt have to" isn't incendiary. it's exactly what is happening.

https://digbysblog.net/2020/05/masks-are-a-communist-plot/

More later.

Expect violence in the skies by asshole republican and conservative terrorists against flight personnel and passengers:

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3568001-two-u-s-airlines-require-face-coverings-on-flights

Especially on flights out of fascist red states airports.

Can anyone explain this?

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/28/death-toll-coronavirus-estimate-214339

The model, produced by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and frequently referenced by top administration officials, modified its forecast to a projected 74,073 deaths in the U.S. by August 4 — with an estimate range of 56,563 to 130,666.

I think we’re going to hit 74,073 around the middle of the week. WTF? Are they counting on some more narrow basis?

How can you identify a republican conservative bank robber?

She's the only person in the bank who's NOT wearing a mask.

But she's wearing camo and she magically thinks she's invisible, like a killer virus.

The time has come:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpdhWDwvOVY&list=RDPpdhWDwvOVY&start_radio=1&t=4

Responding to hsh at 2:00, but with a disclaimer first: I didn't look at the Politico article. I can't read Politico's stuff on my ad-free and otherwise buttoned-down browser, so I don't read it. But I can offer a thought on IHME.

You can look at their graphs here. They have been roundly criticized from the start, including, here in Maine, for some numbers that IIRC suggested, right around the time of the first Maine COVID death, that eventually Maine would need more hospital beds than the entire state of Mass. (at 5x the population), or maybe even several states. It didn't pass the straight face test, but it was publicized as if it was from people who knew something.

Sad to say, that kind of out of whack nonsense just feeds the skepticism about whether we need to trust "experts" at all.

If you scroll down to see their total death #, they show it leveling off like, tomorrow. I don't think they're taking a single nuance into account, like all the "reopenings" etc. Their projection numbers are dumber than mine. (Which I haven't shared, and won't, because they're not meant to be connected to any reality. Sort of like libertarianism. ;-)

My own obsession with following the numbers worries me, and I continually remind myself what's behind them, and grieve. But I think we need to pay attention, because we can't address a problem if we refuse to acknowledge what it is.

On the other hand, I'm starting to realize that there are a lot of people who don't care how many people die -- even, fair enough, if it's their own loved ones, or themselves. Letting experts or the government tell you what to do is just too high a price to pay, even for life itself. That would be well and good if all those people would go live in a country by themselves instead of sticking around to kill the rest of us. Unfortunately, that not one of the options on offer.

On the other hand, I'm starting to realize that there are a lot of people who don't care how many people die -- even, fair enough, if it's their own loved ones, or themselves. Letting experts or the government tell you what to do is just too high a price to pay, even for life itself.

In short, jihadists are not the only ones willing to embrace martyrdom for their beliefs. And to kill others for their beliefs as well.

This: "I don't think you can just look at a table like the one you cited at a point in time and draw the conclusions..." and this: "Shorter: the US deaths per million numbers seem very likely to catch up with those of countries like Spain and Italy where the curve started rising earlier" sum up the comparison problem nicely.

US regions and European countries -- to group similar sizes of populations -- are each experiencing a process. Yes, they are at different points in that process. But none of them are through the process, which most probably lasts 18-24 months. So we're arguing about forecasts, and the models underlying those forecasts.

The big number we're missing because almost no countries/regions are doing sufficient testing is the actual infection rates past and present. The modeled results that have been shown most often have emphasized that the various isolation techniques spread the cases out over time. They don't say that the total number of cases over the full length of the process will be decreased. Apparently the time when we can get anything like a SARS or MERS sort of outcome is past. (Total cases here meaning infected, including what appears to be a relatively high rate of asymptomatic cases.)

Assuming Germany and the US are going to end up with the same percentage of population having been infected after 24 months, then if Germany is doing better now it follows that the US will do better later. If the discussion is about whether Germany can come out at a better place when the process has run its course, that's fine. But it's a different argument, and undoubtedly will inevitably include discussion of whether Germany can adequately isolate itself from the rest of the world.

In terms of mortality rate in the US, I myself am more concerned with things like old folks homes that aren't providing/getting proper care for their residents, that we are laying off nurses because elective medical procedures are down, and that for decades we have allowed the slow-motion collapse of our rural health care system.

Did I end up in the spam bucket? Short comment. No links. Anyway, thanks, JanieM. They predict deaths to end completely by June 30th.

wj: Nope. Don't know what happened, but it wasn't you getting classified as spam.

The modeled results that have been shown most often have emphasized that the various isolation techniques spread the cases out over time. They don't say that the total number of cases over the full length of the process will be decreased.

The eventual total number of cases won't be impacted by things like isolation. What will be reduced is the number of fatalities. Because spreading out the time over which the cases occur reduces the stress on an already badly overburdened health care system.**

** Which is why one of the most mind-boggling things I've seen it the demand to restore elective/purely cosmetic plastic surgeries. On the grounds that it is an "essential activity." Because "making people feel good is essential."

User error.

I didn't look at the Politico article. I can't read Politico's stuff on my ad-free and otherwise buttoned-down browser...

Wandering off-topic, the Firefox add-on named "Bypass Paywalls by Adam" seems to provide access to a surprising number of sites. I suppose it was inevitable that a majority of sites would wind up using a very small number of paywall software packages, so wide coverage is possible.

Re the WH model(s), I have been horribly frustrated by the fact that the government won't show their work. They won't say what the model is, they won't say what values they're using for parameters, they won't say anything. Look, if it's Jared's wild-ass guess that's okay, I just want to know that's what it is.

Thanks, Michael, that's a helpful analysis.

A lot hinges on this:

The modeled results that have been shown most often have emphasized that the various isolation techniques spread the cases out over time. They don't say that the total number of cases over the full length of the process will be decreased.

...and we won't know if that bit about the total number of cases is true until enough time has gone by. But South Korea's staggeringly low death count suggests that there is a possibility of lowering the overall tally, and not just spreading it out for the sake of not overwhelming the health care system.

I hope we're all around to find out, and still debating everything for years to come.

As for nursing homes -- they have been heavily on my mind as well, for personal reasons. I might write a post about this at some point, but my mom died on Wednesday at the age of 96 and a half. She had been in a nursing home since mid-November but was perking up from the problems that had sent her there, to the point where she was hoping to be moved to an assisted living apartment soon.

Then other health problems snowballed, and -- she left us.

The reason I bring it up is that her nursing home has had no cases of COVID-19, either staff or residents. The place is in a small town in Ohio, where the governor (Dewine, R, kudos to him) shut down very early. That may have had something to do with my mom's facility's situation, but on the other hand, another nursing home in the same town has had some cases, so I don't know what their magic is. Ohio has done very well, partly, one might assume, because strong measures were taken early.

Besides worrying about nursing homes (and one in particular), we have several nurses in our family, one of whom is working directly with COVID-19 patients. So far so good.

As for my mom -- she was unable to have visitors for the last six weeks of her life, until the last couple of days, when no more than three family members could come in, no more than two at a time. They coordinated with the hospice folks, who, thank goodness, were allowed to come in all along.

Sorry, I was crossing up case and death tallies. I'll leave it for the moment.

Look, if it's Jared's wild-ass guess that's okay

Sez you. (Sorry, joke, I did in fact understqand what you were saying!)

I should have thanked you earlier, Janie, for your kind words. These are hard times for the innumerate, I can tell you. Spare a thought, all of you, for your handicapped brethren.

"Bypass Paywalls by Adam"

Thanks, Michael, I'll check that out.

For the record, I do kick in some $ directly to places I read often....I'd much rather do that than put up with ads.

What will be reduced is the number of fatalities. Because spreading out the time over which the cases occur reduces the stress on an already badly overburdened health care system.

Deferring cases also allows for the possibility that our president will get one of the things he is obviously desperate for: an effective treatment or a viable vaccine, either/both in time to make a difference before November. We are seeing some improvements in treatment that are no doubt helping at the margins -- eg, how to recognize the cases where a ventilator is the wrong treatment.

Which of course crossed Janie's about her mom. Sympathy and fellow-feeling to the max, it absolutely goes without saying.

I’m sorry about your mom, JanieM.

Thanks, GftNC and hsh.

But South Korea's staggeringly low death count suggests that there is a possibility of lowering the overall tally, and not just spreading it out for the sake of not overwhelming the health care system.

Nothing like some recent prior experiences with outbreaks of new viruses to focus one's attention.

We know how to get SK/Japanese type results: test, test, test, serious isolation for those infected or possibly infected, and really significant national isolation. In a country the size of the US, harsh restrictions on internal travel. As any number of political analysts have pointed out, reproducing the entire SK/Japanese approach in a western social democracy is impossible.

As any number of political analysts have pointed out, reproducing the entire SK/Japanese approach in a western social democracy is impossible.

With all due respect, why not?

My condolences to you, Janie, about your Mom.

My Uncle, the actor (not well known at all, but I saw him in movies and TV shows over the years, especially in the 1960s and early 1970s, in bit parts) passed on last week in a VA hospital just north of New York City.

He was 94, and the last of my parents' generation.

He was also the soldier subject of a relatively familiar photograph from the Korean War.

There was some Covid-19 in the facility, but he did not experience any symptoms, so, it's a mystery at this point.

But then I read that the very elderly, it has been observed, do not show the roster of symptoms observed in most of the infected population, but instead they express with disorientation and something called 'blue toes", which is when blue and black spots appear on their feet and toes, which is a sign that the oxygen levels in their blood supply has been severely compromised, even though their breathing may appear normal.

Anyway, we are in this together.

Be well.

sorry to hear that, JanieM.

Thanks, John.

Interesting observations about COVID-19 and the elderly. My mom chugged along for years with several chronic problems that worsened gradually, and then the classic thing happened: she broke her hip. Long story, but when people ask what she died of, I'm tempted to say "life." I mean, in the end that's what gets us all.

but instead they express with disorientation and something called 'blue toes"

there's at least one commenter at LGM who has reported having this but no other symptoms.

what a crazy disease.

sorry about your uncle, JT,

Why is this virus so darned capricious?

My condolences as well, JT and JamieM.

I missed cleek's 4:11 -- thanks.

As to the disorientation and "blue toes" -- I was told by one of the nurses in the family who has worked in a nursing home (long before COVID-19) that a sign that death is approaching is dark/blue patches on the hands and feet, because of dropping oxygen levels. And disorientation isn't uncommon in the extremely elderly either.

COVID-19 does seem to have an extremely weird range of presentations, but testing would seem imperative to be sure of the connection. And with someone like my mother it would still be a little fuzzy. She had a blood problem for years, with low hemoglobin levels, occasional transfusions, etc.

Anyhow, there was no autopsy and no test for the virus, and it's too late now.

Thanks bobbyp.

Yes, sympathy JDT on the death of your uncle. And let's all be careful out there. (h/t Hill St Blues)

From a German perspective, I'd say we did not take it that seriously at the beginning but the situation in Italy finally rang the alarm bell, in particular because our first known cases came almost exclusively from Italy. It coincided with the holiday season at both schools and universities, so two very large groups of potential vectors did not have a chance to intermingle at the most critical time. And before the end of the holiday season it was decided to close said institutions for the time being.
So, on the one hand people returning from the holidays brought the virus into the country but were also kept from initiating an explosive spread before the wheels of governemnt got up to speed to impose effective countermeasures.
We luckily got a reprieve and were thus able to avoid (at least until now) a situation like in Italy despite being too complacent initially.

I should clarify that many of the elderly patients found to have expressed with the foot discolorations tested positive for the Covid-19, or if autopsies were done, they were found to be infected then.

Yes, the disorientation comes with the elderly territory (anyone seen my glasses?), but the article mentioned that these patients went from relative competence and alertness to fairly sudden disorientation and quickly downhill from there as the virus entered our national consciousness, and many tested positive for the virus once their medical staff were on to the pattern, if tests were available.

Mask-less Trump and Pence get tested every week apparently. Possibly because the two of them are utterly disoriented and clueless, but with the nuclear button on call for yucks.

My uncle may or may not have been infected, he was 94 after all, and I'm at the moment reluctant to bring up efforts to find out with my cousin.

She had not been allowed to visit with him in person for nearly two months.

I visited with him summer before last at the VA facility. He and my aunt lived in Brooklyn Heights and I would crash with them often when I was in college and as a younger man, as I love NYC.

Their place is still intact with all of their stuff. When I visited, my cousin and I stopped in. It was odd to sit there among the familiar "stuff" without them.

There will be a funeral service in Middletown, Ohio (he grew up and went thru school in Trenton, near there, with my mother and my aunt, his wife, who passed away in 2004) when this mess settles down to some livable plateau.

And, thanks.

I'm so sorry, Janie and John.

Thanks, Marty.

With my eyes on the graphs, I didn't even notice this disclaimer at the top of the IHME page:

Social distancing assumed until infections minimized and containment implemented

Per hsh's question: I think we’re going to hit 74,073 around the middle of the week. WTF? Are they counting on some more narrow basis?

I'd say they're counting on intervention by oh, I dunno, fairies, or the FSM. "Social distancing assumed until etc." is obviously not going to happen, even aside from the vagueness of the parameters.

But -- the people who produce the graphs can let themselves off the hook, via the disclaimer, for what the administration and the media trumpet the numbers as meaning. They mean what they want them to mean, that's all.

Let me also offer condolences, JanieM and John Thullen. Very sorry for your loss.

Reading my question again, the “counting on” looks funny. Like I meant they were counting on something or other to happen. I meant “counting deaths on some more narrow basis.”. But, still, FSM pretty much sums it up. We’re already past their lower bound by quite a bit. I have to think it’s a garbage-in-garbage-out deal (which, much like a profit deal, takes all the pressure off).

Five38 has a bunch (technical term) of models, from about 6 universities' projections, for May 23. They differ quite a bit.

sapient -- thanks.

hsh -- I knew what you meant at the time. My repetition of the phrase was an unconscious play on the original.

Link to 538 article GftNC mentions.

The low-end numbers would require the # of deaths to drop to near zero on or about tomorrow. That would be nice. Opening everything up on the strength of wishful thinking is probably not wise.

The Maine R's want to convene the legislature to take away the governor's emergency powers. Luckily, the D's hold both houses.

The Maine R's want to convene the legislature to take away the governor's emergency powers. Luckily, the D's hold both houses.

Yeah, but if they can reconvene, they still have a shot at getting everybody seriously ill. Which, since the D's are a majority, would result in more damage to the Democrats. So, still a win.

wj -- I haven't read the articles closely, but I don't think they can reconvene without getting some of the D leadership to agree. So far that doesn't look likely.

Janie, sounds like a bulet dodged.

The Maine R's want to convene the legislature to take away the governor's emergency powers. Luckily, the D's hold both houses.

Colorado's state legislature is getting short on time to pass the two critical budget bills, w/o which much of state spending stops on June 30. The state supreme court has already ruled that they can go past the usual constitutional limit on the regular session (May 6 this year). It seems at least to me that the court will be unwilling to say the "no moneys spent without appropriation" part of the constitution doesn't apply. The budget process is likely to be ugly once they start on it. It always is when there is a sudden big hole in state revenues.

Thank you Marty and sapient.

All the regulations being bypassed in the current crisis brings into question whether they were even necessary in the first place.

"Millions of Americans own an Apple Watch, which commands roughly a 50 percent share of the smartwatch market. Among its many features, the Apple Watch can take your pulse. It also contains hardware to measure your blood-oxygen levels, and it has been doing so since the watch was released—but the hardware is not operable by the watch’s wearer, who thus cannot obtain the results. Under current FDA regulation, the function is disabled. It’s another example of how federal regulation of the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the United States is less focused on stopping viruses and other diseases than on blocking private-sector innovators from developing solutions that may not work or might have harmful side effects."
Suffocating Progress: FDA regulations block usage of a feature in Apple Watches that would help millions of users monitor their blood-oxygen levels. (City Journal Tweet)

All the regulations being bypassed in the current crisis brings into question whether they were even necessary in the first place.

Right. Just like dropping regulations against dumping mercury into the water supply (which the very same people have) "brings into question" whether mercury is even toxic at all. Riiiight.

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