Covid-19: Where Do We Go from Here?

I’m not a physician, and though I understand epidemiology models, I’m not really qualified to develop them. But I’ve got some things to say, the first of which I think is original and, I claim, would be effective. I believe the other points should be kept in mind as well.

  1. We keep hearing, accurately I believe, that Covid-19 is hitting the LatinX and black communities especially hard. We should act accordingly! I believe that highly intensive measures should be taken in those communities, while substantially loosening the general societal lockdown. We should be sending “testmobiles” into those communities, going door to door if need be, administering tests, distributing masks, taking temperatures and so on. We should make available government-subsidized sick leave to anyone living or working in high-risk ZIP codes.
  2. Impose draconian penalties for gatherings that do not enforce wearing masks. Set it up just like the laws under which a party host is liable if a guest is drunk and drives etc.
  3. Open the schools! With precautions for both kids and teachers, of course, but it can be done. Taiwan set a good example. And stop politicizing this dire situation! Seems like opinions on the schools situation are highly correlated with politics. I recently heard a radio program on the schools issue, with a number of people cited, mainly politicians and school officials. All but one said “Keep the schools closed.” The one exception? Head of the CA Pediatrics Association, the only real expert. She said we should open the schools, and made a good case for it, I believe. All those Democrats have constantly said during this crisis, “Listen to the science!” Well, do so!
  4. The controversy over Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford physician and statistician, is depressing. A few months ago he led a study that seemed to show that the number of Covid-19 cases was far greater than previously thought. This was a Politically Incorrect view, because, by increasing the denominator, it caused the estimated death rate to be much lower, hence less need for strict lockdowns. It quickly became apparent that the study had a number of serious flaws, largely methodological but even with hints that there had been ethical problems with the study’s funding. Good for Buzzfeed for their dogged refusal to take this study at full face value (see above link). But to my knowledge, the consensus in the field is now that the thrust of the study was indeed correct, and I think the “piling on” of Ioannidis is unfair. I am particularly disturbed by signs I’ve seen that Ioannidis’ Stanfor colleagues are treating him as a pariah. The latest report (again, see above link) is that Ioannidis and others tried to see Pres. Trump to urge him NOT to put the nation in lockdown; people cited in the report made it seem like this was an unprecedented breach of scientific protocol. They ought to check their history books; a group of scientists dispatched Einstein to meet with Pres. Roosevelt in WWII regarding atomic weapons.

If the country has not handled the pandemic well, it has been due to a number of unforced errors.  Still not too late to rethink strategy.

48 thoughts on “Covid-19: Where Do We Go from Here?

  1. I’m normally in almost total agreement with you Norm, but you’ve gone off the rails on this one.

    So many points are just wrong here.

    (1) Yes, that is a fine idea to focus more health resources, right now, on communities of color, HOWEVER, have you read the now abundant research that suggests a probable correlation between Vitamin D deficency (which is known to be more prevalent in communities of color due to less skin absotrption) and disease severity in Covid-19?

    Based on this emerging information, ALL people, regardless of skin tone would do well to start supplimenting with Vitamin D *yesterday*. I would wholeheartedly support government-led initiatives to distribute this vital and often definient nutrient FOR FREE in communities of color. In fact that would be my personal priority #1, if I was running the world.

    (2) Draconian penalties for all of the mask refuseniks…. YES! YES! A thousand times YES! I’m over 60 and have “conditions”, and every new “Karen” video I see on YouTube makes me almost mad enough to do violence to some random stranger. (Not that I ever actually would. I’m angry, but civilized as a matter of principal.) But the problem(s) regarding the mask refuseniks, and other such issues, may not even be exactly where people think they are. I went into Walmart tro get my groceries this past Tues. morning, during “old people’s time” (6-7AM). Every goddamn -customer- was wearing a mask. But I saw no fewer than SIX (6) employees NOT wearing their masks! That made me so effing angry that I did a Karen and demanded to speak to the store manager about it, which I did.

    But even more importantly, why do bars, bowling alleys, and hair salons have to close down AND YET eery single AIRPORT in the U.S. is still wide open and servicing dozens or hundreds of planes a day, all jam paked with potential super-spreaders, squeezed in cheek by jowl, with recirculated air FOR HOURS ON END, just like sardines? And yet nobody even talks about this. THIS is lunacy.

    Don’t get me wrong. I want ALL of this stuff closed down until the virus numbers come down enough that it is even possible again to do contract tracing. I am just floored by the blatant and self-evident logical hypocrisy of kicking three guys out of their neighborhood bar while giving the green light to airlines packing 300 into an even smaller space WITH 100% RECIRCULATED AIR. In which Universe does this make any sense at all?

    (3) The schools. You just aren’t getting in old boy! Yes, the kids, by and large, will be just fine, and yes, were it not for a global pandemic, they would be far better off in school, psychologically and in every other way. The issue is the health & safety of the teachers, the caffeteria workers, the bus drivers, the janitors, the counselors, and the administrators. Those folks DO NOT all have youthful immune systems. More to the point, has government at any level here in these United statdes done anything other than screw this whole thing up (i.e. the pandemic response) as badly as it was possible to screw it up? Yes. The evidence is in, and as Regan once said (even though it wasn’t true then, but is true now) “Government IS the problem.” And the public school system is part of the government. In short, they WILL screw it up, and people will die as a result.

    As one wag on Twitter put it (commenting about school reopenings) “They can’t even keep the bathrooms clean when there is no pandemic! And they are going to disinfect the whole school?? Every day???”

    (4) Ioannidis @ Stanford. This guy committed scientific malpractice in the middle of a global pandemic. Unlike you, I have -zero- sympathy for the guy. When the world most needed real and hard facts, he pumped out some seriously bunk “science”. This he did at a time when political fugures… especially you know who… are doing all they can to discredit science generally. Ioannidis could be 2020’s poster boy for why NOT to listen to scientists! He did a disservice to himself, his professional collegues, his institution, and to science itself. Between him and the retracted bullshit “study” of hydroxychloroquine that was published… and subsequently retracted… in both The Lancet AND the NEJM, it has NOT been a good year for science so far. We need a little less chasing of headlines and a bit more circumspect actual science.

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    • There is a question as to the degree with which Vit. D is a factor. No one in my circle of widely varying skin hue has contracted the virus. As to Ioannidis, I originally had no sympathy for him either, for the very reasons you cite. But my point is that his scientist critics are in large part politically motivated.

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      • Regading Vitamin D, I am forced to agree 100% that the hard data regarding its benefits, or lack thereof, with respect to Covid-19 specifically, is not yet firmly in hand. That fact notwithstanding, there is, as far as I am aware, -zero- evidence that modest daily supplimentation of Vitamin D, say at the level of 2000 IU, is at all likely to cause normal healthy people any harm, and that if anything, it is likely to be beneficial to health generally, even ignoring all possible effects relating to Covid-19.

        Given its near total lack of ill effects for normal healthy people, it is frankly beyond me why almost everybody isn’t already taking Vitamin D on a daily basis.

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  2. At minimum, part of the reason people with dark skin have been hit worse relates to inadequate levels of vitamin D. Dark skin was designed for a much sunnier climate than we have in most of the U.S. The higher levels of melanin in dark skin protects against the sun damage but also results in lower levels of vitamin D.
    As a result dark skinned people living in the US have very low level of vitamin D.

    Vitamin D, long neglected, is now known to be essential for good immunity and works to prevent the ‘cytokine storm’ and protects the inner lining of the blood vessels. The severity of the coronavirus infection is inversely related to levels of vitamin D.

    We’d be much better off testing for vitamin D levels and handing out D supplements.

    The same advice is true for nursing home patients.

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  3. I’m afraid you are largely mistaken about Ioannidis, and about virtually all epidemiologists. I was already vaguely familiar with his “meta” project, and he’s obviously a bright guy, and he was out on the forefront of the antibody side of things, and me being a Stanford grad I gave him a couple of points for that too. So I gave him a good hearing and decided to give it good credence, too, and I largely brushed off the criticism.
    But the existence of this second surge, pretty much throws his results in the crapper, boom, they’re gone.
    I gather it was in the hard core biology that they made their mistakes, the “why’s” have yet to be fully sorted out. But virtually every epidemiologist who surfaces to the public seems extremely bloody-minded, opposing the shutdown because “it’s gonna happen anyway”. Now maybe, in retrospect, given the actuals, and even allowing for the uncertainty and the semi-secret reasons for the uncertainty, the shutdown was a big, huge, gigantic mistake. Yet under those uncertainties, in prospect, there was the very reasonable fear that the numbers were going to be 100x worse, or 1000x worse, or don’t even go there worse. In which case the shutdown would have been criticized since it was so much less draconian than the Chinese shutdown. It seems the entire epidemiologists union ignore those possible worse(t) cases, and I don’t get that. Now, maybe they’ll say even the first few weeks of data simply did not support those worst cases, I said as much, remember explaining it to my biologist brother, and that has (so far …) proven out. I like to say “maybe we’ve been lucky”, … but then I usually start a rant about how useless the CDC and NIH and Fauci have been, and imagine their uselessness if this virus had been 1000x worse.

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    • AFAIK, Ioannidis et al never said we needed no lockdown at all. And I don’t see how the second surge is relevant here; from the various statements they’ve made, it is not surprising to them.

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      • If as early as March something like 60% of the population already had (effective) antibodies against the virus, then surely by June this would have reached that mythical “herd immunity” level and no surge would have been possible.
        Given the surge, these elevated numbers of events and immunity, never happened.
        … unless we believe that the antibodies and resistance disappears that quickly, too, as some studies have suggested, but that’s problematic for other reasons.

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        • I agree that a lot of things like herd immunity are going to have to be rethought, esp. in terms of how long the immunity lasts. In fact, I, the eternal optimist, now fear that things have changed permanently. But that is exactly the point; do we want permanent lockdown? BTW, has anyone in your circle contracted the disease?

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          • I’m actually pretty optimistic about the whole thing, but very frustrated at the existing level of science with which to make such judgments soundly. I’ve been paying an immense amount of attention to it, actually, I had just enough prior familiarity with parts of the biology to engage, at least as a consumer.
            Turns out my PCP doctor caught it in February and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital, never on ventilator, and as of June was still not feeling 100%. A couple I know up in Menlo Park have also tested positive recently, along with minor symptoms, at last contact, was dragging on for some weeks with minor symptoms. All three were 60+ in age, FWIW. And that’s it, afaik. Hey, I’ve actually been doing my own charts on this, I’ll send you my daily update after I get today’s data.

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          • Actually, I strongly suspect that I myself had the disease in Nov. (Earlier reports had it starting in Dec., but there seems to be good evidence that it was around much earlier.) For a few days, I had the worst cough I’d ever experienced, and actually had to dismiss one lecture right in the middle. No other symptoms. But that’s just a maybe, and no one else I know has had it (knowingly).

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          • No, no one I know contracted the virus. Out of my extended family, only two families are in lockdown. We are not permitted to visit our 2 youngest grandkids. If the pessimists are correct, we will not live long enough to visit them – turned 80 this year.

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          • I hope you get to see the grandkids soon. And later, great-grandkids!

            My point about no one in your circle or mine (or others I’ve asked) having contracted the disease is that the Vit. D effect, while likely valid, seems to be not that strong a factor. Not many in my circle live in overcrowded apartments, doesn’t have a work-at-home option, doesn’t have sick leave if they do get sick, etc. It seems that THOSE and related things are the big factors.

            On the Bay Area Channel 2 News last night, they ran a piece about a Latina police dept. employee who died of Covid-19. The report noted that another living down the street had also perished from the disease, and a neighbor across the street was in the ICU. We should have focused efforts on streets like that!

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          • I hope you were not coughing it all over your class, and November would be pretty early.
            Me and a business associate I see once or twice a week both showed up with a little cough and cold on the same day, so perhaps we were exposed together a week earlier, back in February just before it became a big deal. Mine came with some odd little muscle pains and cramps different than anything I’ve had before. I think neither of us had a fever over 99. Then in June I had a little sniffle for a few days, hardly worth mentioning in normal times. Neither of us has been tested for the virus or for the antibodies.
            But the antibody tests now are pretty much worthless, they are far too narrow.
            There is now talk of cross-immunity from other, harmless corona cold viruses, carried by the adaptive immune system and antibodies via T-cell memory cells, or innate immunity without antibodies which apparently is how children deal with it, or nutritional resistance based on things as simple as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and ionophore promoters, which could be a hamburger with onions (supplements for the C and D in sufficient quantity).
            NONE of this made it into the public discussion about this in January, February, March – or later. Though it’s all over the Internet now. So what has the CDC and NIH been doing with themselves since SARS gave them the project in November 2002? Huh?

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          • Yes, I thought Nov. was pretty early too, but I’ve heard many statements that the virus was around well before that.

            fortunately, it was a big class, so almost no one was near me. 🙂 Anyway, I canceled the class.

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          • November is barely possible, I suppose.
            The only speculation I’ve seen of much earlier is a Spanish study that was almost certainly wrong.
            The hard science on this is also amazingly weak, another suggestion is that many people who have had no exposure to COVID-19 already have effective immunity from previous corona viruses, so you could certainly have had one of those, the Spanish study may be seeing one of those, or ten of those.
            I keep asking how the public discussion could possibly have been so much shallower than these more complicated scenarios, but let me answer my own question! Much of this knowledge is very new, invented in the last 5, 10, 20 years, and much remains incomplete, like much new knowledge it tends to raise more questions than it answers, but such is science. Remember that in 1918 and the Spanish Flu, they had not yet discovered viruses at all, they thought it was some obscure bacteria, which they had heard of. We are more at that level of ignorance about the details of COVID-19 than we like to think.

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          • If it turns out in fact that this corona morphs swiftly and reinfection is likely, then the things that would need to change, “permanently”/til vaccine found, would be reconfiguration to accommodate social distancing.
            Impatience is attempting to force resolution now.
            “…anyone in your circle…?”
            Well that’s a wholly unrealistic metric these days, given the ultra sharp schism industry’s overlaid – white collars kept separated from laborers, physically, organizationally and fiscally. Janitorial, subcontracted and night shift. Uber white collar can be on another floor, in another building, on another coast, or another country. For the most part, VP running into janitor, in the cafe line, is Days Gone By.

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          • But that was exactly the point I was making in my original post. We should be concentrating resources in the subpopulations that have a high rate of the disease.

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    • The pandemic is here. The second surge is going to happen. Until we have a vaccine, and after that (due to the requirement of immunizing 8,000,000,000 people, 25% of which will refuse).

      We cannot avoid the disease. Anyone who says we can is a complete fool. The disease is highly contagious.

      Most importantly, there are MANY other things going on which are JUST AS IMPORTANT as the disease. If children are not put into a structured school environment, the 99.5% of children who do not die will be horrible stunted intellectually. What is the cost of that? In addition, 40,000,000 USA citizens are out of work, and the evictions will start next week.

      We need to start up the economy, and ignore the cost in human lives. Because other costs are out there too.

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      • “If children are not put into a structured school environment, the 99.5% of children who do not die will be horrible stunted intellectually.”
        “stunted”?!? You say this because…?
        The older a child is when starting school, the better they do. I’ve never heard of kids being “stunted” from maturing, while not physically in school.

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    • Regarding the “it’s gonna happen anyway” thesis, as I understand it, that was pretty much the entire basis for what might be called “The Sweden Experiment”, which has now been shown so clearly to have failed miserably that even its original proponents have had to admit that they got it wrong, and that with 20/20 hindsight they would not follow the same path again, if given a chance for a do-over.

      The basic thesis was that the old, infirmed, and obese were going to get the virus eventually anyway, and that there was essentially nothing that human ingenuity could practically do to prevent that. So the final few months of life for a narrow sliver of the population would be exchanged for economic expediency. What the people who came up with this prima facia heartless theory failed to take into account was the dramatic advancement of medical knowledge that has happened between the earliest days of the pandemic, a mere 5 months ago, and the present moment — advancements that have allowed people who would have died if they had been infected in, say, April, to nowadays be saved, and to thus go on to live many more years of productive and enjoyable life.

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      • No, the “Sweden experiment” has NOT failed miserably. What has happened is that they have more deaths NOW.

        We will not know for 6-8 months if Sweden or other countries which have been more aggressive about preventive measures do better IN THE LONG RUN. Sweden has combined the 1st and 2nd waves essentially. After Norway re-opens, we will see.

        In addition, Sweden is making the sensible point that, in the midst of disease and illness, we need to live and make money and do things.

        So, I reject this contention.

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        • 1) we need to live
          2) and make money
          3) and do things
          It’s odd that you recognize #1, but not that #2 and #3 are for purpose of #1.
          It’s odd that you redefine “we”, who “need to live”, if that “we” interferes with #2 or #3. #2’s sole purpose is to serve #1.

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          • We also must recognize that no system is perfect. We will never get down to 0 deaths from disease. At some point, the rate is low enough that we can place priority on other things.

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  4. On my opinion, children are placed at greater risk physically, mentally and academically by keeping the schools closed or by some of the absurd proposals for combined in person attendance and distance learning combinations. The decision makers are ignoring the realities of children’s lives.

    Schools provide oversight of what is happening in a child’s home and are able to provide services or intervene in the child’s best interest.

    My family member who teaches disadvantaged ELL elementary students is frantic about the upcoming school year because she believe that her students cannot receive the academics or social services they need and have parents who are unable to contribute to their child’s participation in an alternative learning environment.

    Both DH and I are at very high risk for a poor outcome if we become ill but are willing to take extraordinary actions to protect ourselves for the sake of the children returning to a more normal life.

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    • “Both DH and I are at very high risk for a poor outcome if we become ill but are willing to take extraordinary actions to protect ourselves for the sake of the children…”

      That’s arguably very noble of you, but as I noted in my own comment (see above) the considerations relating to the opening of schools are NOT simply limited to the parents. And this has been a defining feature of this epic disaster in the U.S. so far… WAY too many people are looking at this whole thing ONLY through the lens of what is best or most convenient for themselves or their immediate family members. But if you take a step back, then you’ll see that we need to be concerned also with the teachers, bus drivers, caffeteria workers, janitors, etc. YOU may be willing to take a bullet for the sake of the kids, but do you have the moral or ethical right to effectively force THEM to do so (on pain of them being fired for not showing up)? I think not.

      The good news, if there is any in this tragic situation, is that some research came out just a couple of days ago which suggested that younger children only rarely transmit the disease, whereas older children can and do spread it. So perhaps the best science-based solution here is for school districts to reopen only for elementary and middle school students, but NOT for high-school students. That might work out surprisingly well, since high schools and all of their classrooms could be temporarily repurposed as spaces to continue the socially-distanced education of the elementary and middle school students, and otherwise furloughed high school teachers could be pressed into service to temporarily teach the lower grades, all of which would allow for the kind of much reduced class sizes that we need right now.

      I feel obliged to note one other thing, which is that children are resilient, and the hysteria about reopening schools immediately is quite clearly overblown. What’s the big rush? If children have to stay out of school for a total of just 10 months (Mar->Jan), until we have a vaccine, how does this qualify as a unprecedented national trajedy of epic proportions? Are people not aware that during World War II parents all over the U.K. actually packed their childern up and shipped them off to foster homes to Canada and elsewhere in the English-speaking world, for years at a time, just to keep the kids safe from the blitz? Life is not always trouble-free, and the relatively modest sacrifices that U.S. parents and children are being asked (or forced) to make at this time are not even in the same league with what parents in the U.K. had to endure during WW2.

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      • It is looking increasingly likely that we are in a permanent state of pandemic in one form or another. The current virus may mutate; vaccines may be of only limit effectiveness; more new viruses may be brewing as we speak. It’s “fine” (of course not) for kids to miss one year of school, families to endure one bankruptcy, but what if all this continues, say a new pandemic every three years or so?

        Mass lockdown is a meataxe approach that we cannot afford for even one year, let alone cyclically for the foreseeable future. Most of the ancillary school personnel you speak of are black and brown, and thus covered by my “surge” approach. Again, Taiwan made the schools work; why can’t we?

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  5. Norm, first time I have disagreed with you. By this time next year, at least 90% of everyone in the world will have been exposed to this new “corona” virus. I think all flu viruses are a “corona” based assembly of DNA. Mother Nature or Darwinian evolution will eliminate the least genetic lines and this variation will join the annual flu event. Bill

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  6. HCQ/Zinc/Zithromax is effective as a therapeutic and as a prophylactic. They prescribe quinine like candy in Africa! There have been even more therapeutic regimens discovered, month by month! As a society, we are harming vulnerable populations by withholding known therapeutics.

    So: put up or shut up… The ends (removing Trump and electing Biden by perduring lockdowns until efficient vaccines are deployed to protect every person regardless of age, sex, race, and health) do not justify the means (withholding therapeutics to perdure lockdowns until efficient vaccines are deployed to protect every person regardless of age, sex, race, and health).

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    • FYI – It is actually possible to loathe and despise Trump, as I do, and yet still be persuaded by the long (70+ year) track record of safety of HCQ and by the multiple recent studies that show its usefulness in the fight against Covid-19.

      The problem of course, is that our current political tribalism is making virtually *everyone* blind to facts and science… on both sides.

      I elect to go another way… to continue to despise Trump and virtually everything he does and virtually everything he stands for, and yet look at the actual drug trial data as it comes in. In the end, neither loving nor hating Trump is going to save any of us from Covid-19, but facts and science may still do so, if we let them.

      Of course, it doesn’t help matters when our Tweeter-In-Chief is retweeting spiritual witch doctors…

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      • I agree that we have a “My enemy’s enemy is my friend” problem re people’s views of Trump’s policy, and it is blinding the nation to many important things. One of them is the possibility that we’ll situations like the current one more or less permanently. Do you still feel that’s impossible?

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  7. This crisis has been “medicalized”. And that means that the medical “answer” is not complete.

    The crisis is a crisis of medicine AND of employment AND of housing AND of long-term prospects. Since we hear only the medical answers, we do not listen to the economists or the educators. In fact, the horrible slur of “grannie-killer” is pinned on them.

    In the life insurance world, the value of a human life is part of the equation. The value of a life is computed in the area of accidents. In many cases, a human life is worth $160,000 or so. So, we can now compute the cost of lives lost. What about jobs lost, homes lost, futures lost? All of these should be in the equation.

    Listening to ONE type of expert gives you ONE type of answer. We need to open up the conversation, and we need to be more like Sweden. Sweden’s experiment has thus far been SUCCESSFUL. We have 40,000,000 unemployed due to our failed economic model, and have 452 deaths per 100,000. Sweden’s economy is in much better shape, and they have only 559 deaths per 100,000.

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    • Go for it, Paul. Enlighten us on the economics. What are the medical and funeral costs for covid treatments and deaths so far, given it’s low due to self isolation, compared to ignoring it? I’m sure you can compute both, given NYC originally did ignore it, x the population of the US.
      And what is the value of a life, to the non-insurance industry public? You know, those who’re doing the dying?
      I’ve not heard granny-killer, but I have heard #DieForWallStreet.

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  8. This is not the first epidemic nor will it be the last. The late 40s and early 50s had polio. I recall standing in line as a first grader for my polio shot. I remember pictures of rows of iron lungs in the hospital wards that are not much different than the rows of ventilators waiting in the ICUs. We conquered that as well as small pox, measles, meningitis and other potentially devastating diseases without destroying the economy and petrifying the populace.

    Unfortunately, people will die while a vaccine or cure is found but I am confident that it will happen. With the resources being made available, I believe it will be far quicker than the other diseases that are now rare.

    What is different today is the 24/7/365 news and the dozens of “experts’ and, even worse, those with political agendas who operate on fear rather than facts.

    Unfortunately, I am less optimistic about solving the problems of the violence in our communities and the lack of tolerance of differing opinions by many in our communities. The hatred and abusing rhetoric being spewed by some of the politicians is far more devastating than the physical disease in the community.

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  9. Deaths, death rates, are relative to concurring self-isolation initiative, and not necessarily going to stay that way, upon back to school/reopen the economy.
    As for any comparison to Sweden, I know of nothing in Sweden that comes close to the dense proximity in a functioning NYC(subways/buses/elevators/sidewalks/etc.) , let alone NYC + Boston + San Francisco + Chicago + etc.

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  10. The only draconian penalties should be for those who toss our hard-earned freedoms out the window. What ever happened to “Live free or die?” The biggest problem today is the idea that the state or the government or the mob can substitute its determination of virtue or vice for the individual’s determination without debate or appeal or even the option to go somewhere else where others might agree– and with perhaps three-quarters of the population being arguably insane, that doesn’t leave many options for those of us who haven’t yet been driven insane. With the mob’s determinations shifting like sand from day to day, that approach only looks the more arbitrary and capricious, certainly not a model for anyone to follow.

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    • What ever happened to “Live free or die?”

      Indeed. Good question.

      So, instead of being a “Karen” and insisting on your God-given right to infect people in supermarkets, may I respectfully suggest that you start out small, and instead just start lighting up cigarettes in elevators. I think that ought to be just as good a way to defend your God-given constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of making other people sick for your personal pleasure & convenience.

      P.S. I am a smoker.

      P.P.S. I do not smoke in elevators OR in the frozen foods section.

      P.P.P.S. I never felt that it was… or argued that it was… an affront to my personal dignity OR my constitutional rights when people started telling me to take my smokes outside. Only a self-absorbed narcissist would do that. I also don’t pull down my pants and piss on the floor of the local Verizon store here in Roseville when/if the people there ask me nicely not to smoke in their shop.

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  11. Fundamentally, people who get covid19 become carriers for an indefinite amount of time. It’s basically like becoming a zombie. If there’s no cure, and there’s only going to be an increase in infection rates due to this very very basic fact, what point is there in all these countermeasures? Everyone is just going to get it eventually, lockdown/masks/whatever or not.

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  12. A large number of immigrants is here undocumented. They only earn when they work – on-site. A solution must be found, e.g. monies part as gift, part as a soft loan.

    Many Hispanics and AAs work in sectors where they interact with the public: healthcare, transportation, retail, etc. Better protection needed: people entering and exiting a bus in the back, plexiglas box for the driver, mandatory mouth protection on passengers.
    And these are the people that need to be tested regularly (for free). Same for everyone working at a school that decides to open in one way or the other.

    In response to your Q., Mr.Matloff, my family doctor told it is now assumed the virus was here already in November, December 2019, maybe even earlier. My husband – who worked out of state – traveled through O’Hare twice every week. He started to feel unwell soon after leaving, in the third week of Dec. When he came home (as scheduled) he was really sick and went to bed immediately. A few hours later I heard him talking&singing. He woke up, we took his temperature, it was 104.00 F. I have never seen my husband so ill.

    I wanted a stop to his traveling in early March, based on information about a possible epidemic. But he had to go. That same week the co. decided to put a stap to the travel. Too late. He came home on the 12 of March, I woke up in the night of the 17th thinking I was dying. I still am very tired, have chest pain & breathing problems.
    Neither of us was officially tested so neither of us are in the COVID-19 statistics.

    If Government/the States want to help: a moratorium on property taxes (e.gl the first $500/month) would help many people to stay in their home after job-income loss. I do not hear proposals addressing this.

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    • A moratorium on property taxes is not a bad idea, but that is a state and local level tax. Since governments at those levels are barred from deficit spending, it seems like a nonstarter.

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