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29 March 2020

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Walrus

Probably $500 for the machine and $34500 for product liability insurance. Lawyers got to eat.

Fred

Walrus,

I couldn't get much past $500 either.

The Twisted Genius

Sir James Dyson, of Dyson vacuum cleaner fame, designed a new ventilator ten days after getting a request from the British government and will produce 10,000 by mid-April. He will produce another 5,000 at his own cost for NHS backup and international use. I can't find what the cost per unit is. A Guardian article says ventilators go for 5,000 to 25,000 British pounds based on the model.

Sir James sounds almost as good as Houston's Mattress Mack. If Mattress Mack, James Franklin McIngvale, ran for President, I would proudly vote for him.

elaine

N95 masks now selling for $35 each @ my local hardware store.
A neighbor tried to explain to me some theory that claims what
appears as price gouging to me will really insure the masks go
into multiple hands faster & more efficiently than if they were
selling @ the old price of 88 cents a piece b/c @ 88 cents each a few ppl would hoard large chunks.

will.2718

How the $3k Ventilator project to replenish the national stockpile was killed by corporate greed?

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/business/coronavirus-us-ventilator-shortage.html

Fred

Elaine,

I certainly agree with the supply/demand principle. Those particular masks are likely slightly different than those used in hospitals and are probably stuff already in the distributor's warehousing system. The normal sales volume ofventilators bought for use in hospitals is pretty low. The cost is driven up by what is pretty apparent to be over regulation and legal liability risk (which drive up the cost into the thousands of dollars). There isn't enough day to day demand for a company like GM/Ford or even mask providers like 3M to get into that business. However this crisis doesn't justify the standard price as fixed costs are amortized over what would normally be 3-4 years worth of production and need to be adjusted at a minimun. Given the market reponse for alternative production of ventilators a lot of attention should be paid to medical equipment industry cost factors - regulation and product liability. The first will be easier to correct (See Abbot labs Covid test developed in a matter of weeks) and the latter will take an act of Congress. (Easier said than done.)

Fred

Wil.2718,

That article references some project from twelve years ago, i.e. 2008, the financial collapse. The rest is behind the paywall. I'm sure that the former administration appointees will have an excuse for 8 years of inaction. Greed fits the Bernie pro communist agenda.

optimax

From the Abbot website:

"We're ramping up production to deliver 50,000 ID NOW COVID-19 tests per day, beginning next week, to the U.S. healthcare system.

This comes on the heels of our announcement last week of the availability of the Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA test under FDA EUA, which runs on m2000 RealTime molecular system for centralized lab environments. Combined with ID NOW, Abbott expects to produce about 5 million tests in April."

Fred, why is that ventilator white? Damn racists.

During the '90s a radio host calling himself The Black Avenger said, "I blacks get reparations, I'm going to buy a Cadilac dealership."

Fred

oldman22,

I am not Col. Lang. That link to the NYT article pushing a more than decade old corporate buyout as the reason there is a ventilator shortage is Chinese propaganda at best since it isn't even Fake news but irrelevant news. It was also posted here once by someone else. It is wonderful to see some commentary about quite efficient work in china. Good for them. Maybe they can improve the quality of the test kits being returned by Spain and the masks being returned by Holland. I wonder how many Dutch nationals are going to die because of Premier Xi's Quality equipment. Maybe GM should build their ventilators there in theose now closed Chinese factories using that the same quality of labor.

optimax

Fred

A buzzfeed article states that 9% of the 6205 confirmed covid-19 cases are healthcare workers. The shortage of PPE is going to make matters worse.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zahrahirji/us-health-care-workers-sick-coronavirus

Old drunks falling off bar stools don't die, they just get 86ed.

This out of work sports announcer makes these videos color commenting on everyday life. They're hilarious.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/ikrd/sports-broadcaster-andrew-cotter-dogs-eating?origin=thum

Fred

Optimax,

That's a three day old story and points to a total of 4 deaths in the US. And TA DA, it links the 9% statisitc to a website in Italy with Italian data updates.

"Integrated surveillance of COVID-19 in Italy"

That's NOT fake news, it is propaganda. Thanks for making us all aware of the fraudulent conduct of Buzzfeed and Ms. Zahra Hirji, the reporter who hasn't posted anything more in 3 days. I guess she's just too darn busy working. Perhaps her degree from Brown and that masters in science writing from MIT get in the way of accuracy.

It gets even better as the article she links to states:
"... she had multiple health complications prior to contracting the virus. She was tested earlier that week and diagnosed 48 hours later. " Imagine that. Prior complications.

Did you see Sunday's press conference? I believe Trump addressed the PPE issue, at least in NYC, by highlighting the volume of usage that the CEO of the manufacturer pointed out. Ever seen anything stolen by a shipping dock clerk or others in the supply chain? I have.

Ramon

If Dyson can charge $400 for a hair dryer.....

optimax

I'm not saying they're all dying but but a number (nobody is keeping track) are getting sick and either can't work or are working sick. Maybe NY is getting masks, not every worker is in every part of the country. Wait till you see doctors and nurses wearing jock straps for masks, just like junior high.

Buzzfeed is propaganda. I consider almost all the media propaganda. I consider Trumps press conferences propaganda. We all have to figure out for ourselves what is fact and what is not.

The summer after graduating high school a friend of mine stole a bike from the loading dock he worked. The judge gave him a choice of jail or Army. He made the right choice. Don't know what happened to him though I do know he didn't get killed in VN.

Upstater

An acquaintance works for a large multinational that makes or sells medical imagining equipment.

One part often fails is the high voltage power cable. The company pays $100 each to a contractor in Mexico to make them. They bill the customer (usually hospitals) $2000 for the cable.

The company pays it's field engineers about $40 per hour and bills their time at $800 per hour.

Why do they do this? Because they can get away with it. There are only 2 major firms making that type of equipment. Both have predatory pricing. If you want medical images, you're gonna pay. Money isn't spent on R&D; new machines are coming from Chinese factories, designed there.

Like the DoD, healthcare it filled with rot and grift.

Fred

Optimax,

A teenager steeling a bike 40 years ago is identical to steeling 300,000 PPEs in a health emergency. Thanks for the gratutitious VN meme.

Ramon,
that doesn't mean they cost $400 to manufacture.

Upstater,
"Like the DoD, healthcare it filled with rot and grift." I certainly agree with that.

Eric Newhill

Fred,
Good stuff as always. I got several chuckles and a couple more full bellied laughs out of it. Just what the doctor ordered.

I don't understand this mask and vent shortage crisis. In 2009 - so long ago that it is almost beyond the reach of human memory - the H1N1 virus, which caused serious respiratory issues, infected an estimated 85 million Americans, many children. 12,500 deaths were directly attributed to the virus and many more hospitalizations. CNN said it wasn't as bad as the seasonal flu and Obama thought about shutting down all schools, but settled on only schools were a positive case had been identified.

I digress - My real question is why was there was no shortage crisis then? That was more cases than we have currently of COVID-19. Ventilators were used to sustain life for H1N1. Did they just let the worst cases die? Did hospital staff not wear masks around patients with that highly contagious virus?

Don't hospital staff wear masks around patients infected with the seasonal flu? With hundreds of thousands of flu admits each year and all of the associated deaths, hospital staff forgoes vents and masks? This year is not so bad for the seasonal flu in terms of deaths and admissions as some prior years. So it can't be COVID-19 + the flu = overwhelmed/shortage.

Never a let a good crisis go to waste, I guess.

CK

An interesting factoid that I came across today:
Chloroquine is used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus as well as malaria. There are approx. 3,000,000 Americans who have these two ailments. One wonders how many of this 3,000,000 sample size have been admitted to hospitals for or tested positive for Sars Covid 2019. The sample size is 1% of the US population and is certainly large enough to allow logical conclusions to be drawn.
Of course someone would have to ask the question wouldn't they.

Fred

CK,

Good questions, I've seen some similar online but have not seen any reports out yet on a correlation.

Eric,

I don't think the later was as infectous, there certainly wasn't a media storm like we see and that would drive people to ERs early. As to ventilators, what's the non-crisis utilization rate, 65-70%? There isn't going to be a giant reserve of them, or trained techs to run them, especially given what they were selling for. What was the non hosipital price for a mask then, 50 cents? Was there a black-market price? I don't think so. A lot of people wound up dead though and that was on top of the expected flu season deaths.

Fred

Optimax,

Thanks for your kind reply. Don't comment on my writings in the future.

Eric Newhill

Fred,
I dunno. 85 million infected sounds like a fairly infectious disease and given the potential nastiness of an infection, I'd wear a mask if I worked in a hospital in 2009. Also, I'm pretty confident that someone with a cough who gets nervous about maybe having COVID-19, isn't just being placed on a vent prophylactically. Panic might explain the increase in mask use, but it sure doesn't explain the vent crisis.

I can tell you with certainty that ICUs/vents run at around 80% utilization, normally. Of course there are regional differences and even differences from hospital to hospital within a region. 80% is an avg. The vast majority of the vent utilization is for patients who presented to the hospital with an illness (includes victims of accidents, gunshots, etc.), not post surgical. Are there really enough COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation to use up the remaining 20%? Even if that were true in a particular geography, could the surplus 20% be gathered from other regions and sent to the impacted one? It would be faster and cheaper if so.

One problem with over-supplying hospitals with tech is that the tech tends to be used - meaning clinical thresholds for utilizing the tech become more fluid, expanded and subjective. If you build it, they will use it. IMO, the new gizmos should be govt property to be issued to hospitals when needed and returned to govt storage when not needed - the govt pay for these things after all.

optimax

Fred

I apologize for insulting you. Saying it was a "gratutitious VN meme" made me angry because asking if I evfer saw someone steal something off a loading dock I answered with the only example I have personal knowledge of. Maybe I shared too much for you.

What evidence is there besides Trump's press conference that 300,000 PPes were stolen?

Fred

Optimax,

Apology accepted.
"What evidence is there besides Trump's press conference that 300,000 PPes were stolen?"
Dont take Trump's word, just read the same comments from Governor Cuomo.
"As fear over the new coronavirus in New York spreads faster than the outbreak, people have started to steal masks and other medical equipment from local hospitals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Friday.

Not just people taking a couple or three, I mean just actual thefts of those products,” Cuomo said at a press conference from the state capital in Albany. “I’ve asked the state police to do an investigation, look at places that are selling masks, medical equipment, protective wear, feeding the anxiety.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/people-are-stealing-face-masks-from-local-hospitals-gov-cuomo-says.html
That was 3 weeks ago; imagine how much was stolen. This is pallets full of material. Having worked in a warehouse operation where the FBI and Dallas police busted a multi-million dollar theft ring stealing autoparts by the pallet I can tell you this is not difficult to pull off. The press, such as Newsweek, didn't quote Kenneth Raske, president of Greater New York Hospital Association, when Cuomo made those comments. The label "fake news" is sticking for a reason and what the press leaves out is just as important, if not more so, than what they put in, like " graduating medical student in Michigan who is about to become resident, told Newsweek seeing Trump's comments made him feel angry." That student needs to grow up, and so do the reporters. There are bad pepole in the world and this kind of crime makes the crisis worse, and the press highlighting emotional reactions to reality don't help.

optimax

Fred
Thievery and looting are rampant during times of crisis. A few days ago I read a story about a doctor who found a place to buy N95 masks. He was going to buy something like $17,000 worth for his hospital and the company was charging him a crazy high price. There were aisles and aisles of boxes full of PPE. Telling the press is one thing but he should tell the someone with the authority to confiscate the stuff for the good of the public.

optimax

Adding to what I wrote: shipments of PPE and their warehouses need to be guarded with the same security as gold.

Fred

Optimax,

"Thievery and looting are rampant during times of crisis."
Please provide a link to current examples of looting going on.
"...he should tell the someone with the authority to confiscate the stuff for the good of the public."
So you want martial law nationwide and Donald J. Trump to confiscate goods "for the good of the public"? That's what Premier Xi's government is doing. We aren't a dictatorship.

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