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04 May 2020

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Eric Newhill

PJ20,
Keep talking. You're proving my point.

English Outsider

Eric Newhill - thanks for your assessment. I think you're right that the economy has suffered a most damaging blow, though I do think it likely that the virus has done the most of that rather than government response, and will continue to do so.

But I must say I'm astounded by the lack of elementary administrative ability that has been revealed in so many Western countries by this pandemic.

It's not so much the failure to plan for this particular sort of pandemic, though there were mistakes even there that could have been avoided. It's the failure to prepare for any pandemic at all.

Limited facilities for isolating patients - you wrote recently about a serious failure to isolate that you saw occurring - inadequate stockpiles of kit for medical staff and no plans for producing that kit in quantity if needed, no skeleton infrastructure that could be used as a basis for expansion, not even back-up for the morgues. That's a quite astonishing lack of adequate forward planning.

It's as if a country found itself in a war and discovered its army didn't function and was incapable of being made to function.

This compounded by a devastating slowness of reaction and a refusal by whoever handled the early stages to think on their feet.

When it was finally realised that the thing was serious I imagine that lockdown was the only Hail Mary they could reach for. Quite unnecessary, had the respective administrations had an ounce of mother wit and got a grip earlier.

During that 2016 Trump election campaign the theme was that our various crony administrations ran their respective countries for their own benefit, not ours. True enough, except that what this pandemic has revealed is that most of them can't run a country at all.

turcopolier

EO

"the virus has done the most of that rather than government response" That is demonstrably, visibly untrue. In this country, we have only rapidly dying airlines, railroads, bus lines. We have no schools. We have rapidly developing food shortages in a land of plenty. Food animals are being slaughtered and discarded for lack of market demand. We have a vast sea of us who have lost our jobs and incomes. Our manufactures are declining
by the month. The government did all of that, not the virus.
we must save our country by accepting casualties. Yes. A lot of people will die so that the nation may live.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Food animals are being slaughtered because the meat processing plants have been hit by covid-19. Those plants were going full bore as essential businesses until the virus actually hit the workforce. The food shortages are due more to the direct effects of the virus rather than the enforced shutdown. Local watermen who sell oysters, crabs and such to restaurants are also being hit hard. That's a direct result of government action. Our local Decatur's Crabs are still doing fine since they sell mostly to the public. There's a line of cars to pick up their bushel of number 1 jimmies at their Plank Road location in Fredericksburg.

Fred

Col.,

Yes indeed, the government did it all. Some states and local governments are making it worse, too. Today I made a business trip up to Tampa. The city is like a ghost town even though the state was supposed to start reopening on the 4th. On the way back over the Gandy Bridge Causeway, which has a stretch of beach on either side on the Pinelas County (west end) there were 9 (yes nine) Sheriff's deputies patrolling the 50 odd cars/people in that stretch who were fishing. (Good thing I only picked up a coke at the bait shop on the Tampa side.) It's a perfectly asinine authoritarian overreach but is apparently happening in plenty of other places too. But on a bright note the Mayor (Tampa) is gay, and woman!Yay! A lot of businesses are never going to recover; God knows what she thinks those people are going to do to make a living if she succeeds in economically destroying the places many once worked at. Maybe she can change parties again like she did to get herself elected a year ago.

BTW Traffic on I275 from the Sarasota area to Tampa and back was about 30% of what it would normally be that time of day and this time of year. Sarasota has a different county government and a lot of wealthier segment of retirees so isn't likely to do as bad as Tampa, which is a much bigger and more blue collar city.

Deap

Gateway Pundit: ..." In her report (NYT writer) Fink describes how Imperial College researchers including Neil Ferguson* shared their projections with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and the White House coronavirus task force. They even sent a copy of their report to the task force before its release (March 16)....."


NB: *Imperial College researcher Ferguson's married lover is a key employee of AVAAZ, a radical leftist "click-tivism" group, with 60 million very active online global members.

AVAAZ strongly supported Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 election. Bernie Sanders lost to Biden Feb 29. Bill Gates is also an AVAAZ supporter.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
Thank you. I know you have faced the bullets and age has not diminished your courage, as you are aware that you are in the high risk group for the virus.

Two years ago my wife got stung on the legs by ground bees (nasty little things that inhabit holes in the ground, like abandoned gopher holes). There were welts up and down her legs and she was in pain, but we didn't think much about it other than she decided a warm bath might help. She went upstairs to fill the bath and I was downstairs in my home office wrapping up something for work. About 15 minutes later I heard a loud thud. I knew that wasn't right and I ran upstairs to find my wife semi-conscious on the floor of the bathroom. Her face was swollen and her lips turning blue and she was gasping for air. I knew what was happening and dialed 911. It took them maybe 10 minutes to get to our house. We were lucky because the paramedics had been returning from taking someone up to the city and were closer to our place than they'd normally be. It seemed like forever before they arrived. The whole time I was literally watching my wife die. I felt powerless. I even made the decision that if the paramedics didn't get here in time, I'd try to perform a tracheotomy myself - even had a knife and a plastic straw that I'd run down and grabbed from the kitchen (got to do something, right?). It was the most horrible experience. Fortunately, the paramedics arrived and instantly shot her up up with a couple different drugs They had to hit her a total of five times on the way to the hospital. I bought the lead paramedic a beer a few weeks later and he told me that they had never had to use that many shots to keep someone alive.

I don't ever want to see my wife like that again. I hope I go before she does. We are in an age bracket of increased risk, though not at the highest level yet. However, we are both willing to have the country get back to normal and face the virus - even if it meant a final repeat of the experience - this nation and its ideals are infinitely more important that either of us individuals.

turcopolier

TTG

"The food shortages are due more to the direct effects of the virus rather than the enforced shutdown." Since most infections are either mild in their effect or asymptomatic the shut-downs in the meat factories are largely caused by panic among the workers and management brought on by media hype and Fauci-esque obsession.

turcopolier

Eric Newhill

A terrible experience for you. My doctor and his wife are Chinese immigrants. She is his receptionist. She asked me recently why I am not afraid. I told her that this could be explained as a consequence of a lack of imagination.

English Outsider

Well Colonel, let me get personal for the moment. You have no duty to risk infection for the sake of your country. You have a duty not to.

This site is the only site that gives a balanced, judicious and above all informed critique of neocon foreign policy. OK, there are others that go in for looking at it, but they are all contaminated with gut anti-Americanism or material about behind the scenes conspiracies that don't exist. One can often get information from them, if one makes allowance for the weird stuff, but never authoritative assessment.

So we pilgrims can't spare you, Colonel. Just as you would never have dreamed of strolling around in the open if there were snipers around, you have a duty to keep your head down until we know where we are with this damned virus.

We don't yet, but the general outlines of the disaster are emerging. The economy was inevitably going to be hard hit as soon as this virus got into the West. Sure, these crude lockdowns should have been entirely unnecessary. Had there been a concerted effort from the start to contain infection, and to knock it back as soon as it poked its head up anywhere, this would have been a manageable public health crisis. But that couldn't happen.

1. The scientific/medical consensus was blurred. As late as mid February the responsible European body was assuring us all - and the politicians - that there was low risk. I'm pretty sure that's how it was in the US as well, to go by the statements made at the time.

2. It turns out that such plans as were made for dealing with such a pandemic were the wrong plans. Worse, there were not even sketches of an effective plan for dealing with any pandemic.

So the various authorities were caught on the hop, blundering around and sometimes making things worse. Your contributor, Mr Newhill, has seen this up close in the US and the public health expert I have referred to before on your site, Dr North, sees the same in the UK. Here he is getting to grips with hospital acquired or caused infections that I believe Mr Newhill has seen also -

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=87600#disqus_thread

Scarcely confidence inspiring, not now we're several months into the pandemic.

3. The sharp political conflicts in the States and in much of Europe - that's not exactly conducive to a unanimous and measured approach to the crisis. For much of the American population whatever Trump does he is damned, and for some half of the UK population whatever the PM decides is ipso facto wrong.

Those three points are not partisan points. They outline merely why the initial response to the coronavirus in most Western countries could not have been effective. We citizens are sailing in a ship of fools, Colonel, and no point pretending it could have been any different.

So what now? I'm still obstinately convinced that, given we are where we are, the public health policies for coming off lockdown I've seen outlined by the Trump/Pence team in those early White House Press Briefings are the best way out. I'm also sure the Germans have got a better handle on this thing than most of the rest of us.

But whether that Trump/Pence team will do any good is still in the balance. There's a tendency in Europe to see Trump as C in C America and not take account of the fact he's got to take Congress with him on anything big, and even then deal with State Governors who might well have their own ideas. And the measures taken in Germany, though admirable and so far effective, also have no guarantee of success. It could be that even in the countries with correct policies this disease will become endemic, and in those without it'll be a shameful series of disasters.

And the economy is wrecked either way. The efforts needed to contain this disease cannot but harm the economy. If those efforts are not made, or fail, and the disease becomes endemic, and if no vaccines or effective treatments emerge, then the characteristics of this disease will have their inevitable effect. Whatever governments do the pattern of consumption, of trade, and of work, will change so radically that the economy we know now will no longer exist.

CK

…"I told her that this could be explained as a consequence of a lack of imagination." Or it could be explained by that extraordinary gustatory sense that tells one that the meal being served is overpriced and undercooked bullshit.

Eric Newhill

EO,
I think you're tops, but, unfortunately, just wrong about most everything when it comes to this virus. You're entire outlook, it seems to me, is based on the notion that there is something unprecedented about this particular virus. Yes, the media, the politicians/socialists and the govt epidemiological geeks keep pushing that message, but the data doesn't support it (guess that makes me a geek too, albeit with a broader perspective and background).

I mean I just don't see it. I see nothing to make me believe that it won't behave like the Hong Kong Flu of 1968/1969 or the Asian Flu of 1957/1958. Who remembers those? We didn't destroy our economy and civil liberties over those outbreaks. We accepted the casualties and moved on. And that has been my message since the data started coming in over a month ago.

Deap

The Award for the Most Purple Prose in a single post goes to........???

--damned virus
--disaster
--public health crisis
--contain the infection, knock it back as soon as it poked its head
--ship of fools
--shameful series of disasters
--no vaccines, no treatment -- the economy is wrecked
--change so radical ... the economy we know will no longer exist

Eric Newhill

"I told her that this could be explained as a consequence of a lack of imagination."

Je pense que vous êtes trop modeste. Votre courage et créativité sont manifestes; aussi bien que votre amour du pays.

Fred

Eric,

" ground bees" I feel your wife's pain; I had that experience at age 7 at a park somewhere along the Potomac while my father was still working in D.C. No anaphylactic shock, but 37 or so stings and a lifelong dislike of hornet's nests.

EO,

"For much of the American population ...." I think that is changing rapidly. The left's current assault on our own people, the fraud in the Russia Collusion investigation, the Ukraine Impeachment and now the Flynn case has shorn a great deal of the left's credibility; now there is the implosion of trust in local government capability, especially in NYC, Corona Death Capital of the Republic, mostly due to Cuomo and de Blasio's criminal malfeasance. Some corrupt ass in power in Ventura County California is now backtracking after threatening taking children away from parents "contact tracing" being the excuse. The drawing back of the curtain on the Fauci and Birx corrupt data analysis driven patent medicine show is going to put another nail in the vampire's chest. "It's the economy, stupid" worked for Bill Clinton's campaign, it will only highlight that lefty governors ordered people to be classified as essential or expendable and stay home and do what you are told. Party loyalty uber alles only go so far with the masses. Steal their jobs, their savings, threaten their children - for their own good, and now ask them to vote Biden and his mystery VP because Trump hurts their feelings? Good luck with that one. Better rig the election outright. BTW, did you notice nobody seems to talk about where 22 million illegals went or just how anyone is going to contract trace them? Me neither. How many congressional seats and electoral votes, and votes in this election, do they add up to?

English Outsider

Hi Deap!

Are you a deplorable? If so, welcome, brother, and I would merely observe that literary criticism is best practiced in private before one exposes one's fledgling attempts to the pitiless gaze of the SST commentariat.

But if you're a prog LOOK OUT. I have bad news for the horse you rode in on.

English Outsider


Eric - this is something that you're an expert on and I'm not. So all I can do by way of argument is to throw reports at you from other experts that you've probably already read and in any case understand better than I do.

But could not the argument be broadened out to include the inevitable public response to the panic element of the pandemic, the response of much of the public to how the various governments are handling this pandemic, and the failure on the part of what we might loosely call "Middle England" or the equivalent in the USA to get a grip on what this pandemic might mean for the future.

1. Leaving the epidemiological avenue of approach out, therefore, we might take account of the fact that it's the public response to the virus that will determine what happens to the economy as much as what the authorities do.

That public response, if there's no treatment or vaccine emerging, is inevitable. Many in the UK were going into "personal lockdown" before any official lockdown was announced. In cases I know of local businesses and their employees were therefore suffering loss of trade well before lockdown. For those businesses all that lockdown meant was that the employees got some state money to keep going rather than none at all. But those businesses were part ruined by the public response to the pandemic rather than by what the government did.

When the lockdown is lifted many won't go back to their old buying habits, not for a while and not until they're sure they won't catch the disease. Warren Buffet getting out of airlines (unless that's some "buy the dip you've caused" scam, which I doubt) is clear indication that he expects patterns of consumption to alter.


We don't know yet whether Trump will use the opportunity to cut down on trade with the Far East and cheap labour countries and "bring industry back home". Or whether consumers or businessmen will do it for him. But interruption in that flow of cheap goods, and their replacement by necessarily more expensive home produced goods, will be a radical change.

And the USA sells goods and services abroad. Even if it comes out of the pandemic with a healthy economy, many of its customers won't. That perhaps a more serious problem for the UK, with its over-dependence on Financial Services to keep the ship afloat, but it will also be a consideration for the States.

So leaving the epidemiological stuff to one side, and merely looking at the inevitable consequences of the pandemic, we're in for change unless that treatment or vaccine comes along soon.

Very big change if the colossal reaction by the central banks goes awry.

2. I'm not happy with the reaction of my sort of people - call them deplorables for want of a better term - to this pandemic. Our instinct for the fake - and there's a lot of fakery around at the moment - is leading us to scorn the government policy that led to lockdown. But that's now water under the bridge. The fact is that lockdown or not, there's a lot going wrong in any case with the way our government and institutions are dealing with this pandemic.

The criminal failure to separate Covid-19 patients from others has led to unnecessary deaths and the failure to take normal public health measures, or to push those measures as they ought to be pushed, will lead to more. I don't know about over your way, but over here the scepticism about lockdown would be better employed looking sharp at the strategy for coming off it.

3. But there's a wider concern yet. On the principle of "never let a crisis go to waste" the progressives are certainly looking to see how the crisis can be used to advance their agenda. I noticed that Governor Cuomo, even as he was facing that "Battle on the Mountain" in New York, took time out at one of his press conferences to remark that the pandemic meant things would alter and it would be a good idea to start thinking now about how they should alter.

And I bet the progs are thinking about that very hard. I see no sign that the deplorables, or what AG Barr calls the "Conservatives" and what we in the UK call the "small "c" conservatives" are doing any such thinking.

So in my country at least it looks as if things haven't changed very much in that respect. The deplorables are very good at seeing through the cronies, not that that's difficult. They're vociferous in deploring what has been done. But when it comes to fashioning policies for what ought to be done - on what I'm hearing over here we're a busted flush so far.

Eric Newhill

EO,
I understand what you are saying and I think that, academically, you make some fair points. However, I have to fall back on the Hong Kong Flu, which appears to have been just as bad. None of the drastic measures occurred and life went on as normal. Indeed, I believe that would have been the case with covid had the media, governments and shadow organizations not seized upon the situation to destroy the western world, especially America. That is to say, that, IMO, we are in a war and our enemies are winning, having infiltrated our governments and media.

I don't think this is an actuarial or epidemiological phenomenon at all. I think referring to those sciences is a side show. Again, this is war. The war is not entirely just a perfect storm of opportunists and dunces doing damaging things. There are forces deliberately driving well calculated damaging policies and they are also encouraging the opportunists and dunces to act as they inevitably would. Look at what Avaaz wants and what they are saying about the opportunities the virus presents. Why was Fauci meeting with Bill Gates at a globalist forum a couple years ago?

I believe that had the virus been messaged properly, people would have acted as they did in 68/69 (Hong Kong flu) and the elderly/vulnerable would have been properly protected. We would have built immunity and that would have been the end of it.

Deap

I remeber our schools closing for a few weeks as a result of thee 1957 Hong Kong flu, only because so many kids were out sick that it made no sense to keep the classrooms going.

But I don't remember any panic. Just a bummer flu. Which I did not get. Then everything was back to normal. How did my parents think about this flu or the nation at large as a global danger, not on my radar as a teenager.

There was another flu that hit badly over a Christmas vacation period a decade or so ago, when everyone coming back from the holidays could talk about nothing else other than how bad it was, how laid up everyone was and how nothing else happened during that holiday time off anyway.

Which flu was that - it seemed like it had about a two week spread and duration. And then it was back to business as usual. I got it, stayed in bed, took two asprin and lost 5 pounds. No complaints.

However my elderly father, who was in a senior living center was taken to ER by ambulance for similar symptoms, was given two (2!) CT scans and sent home, with a later fully paid $10,000 Medicare bill. plus the charge for his two aspirins. That is when I became very cynical about mining the elderly for their Medicare policy limits.

English Outsider


Eric - this is the most cogent exposition of the anti-lockdown argument I've seen. I think it might be close to your opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=22&v=bfN2JWifLCY&feature=emb_logo

I like Giesecke. Reminds me of the stolid General Kujat giving it to us straight, back during the Ukrainian hot war. I'm not qualified, as said before, to evaluate Giesecke's argument but I know one thing he got dead right. Once you're in lockdown it's hell's own job to come off it.

And I think that in what's necessary in order to come off lockdown your professional view coincides with my gut feeling.

Thanks for the trouble you've taken in replying. Appreciate it.

Eric Newhill

EO,
Yes. I agree with that Dr. - He says what we are seeing in the data. This is a normally mild virus. Most people who contract it will never know they did so. Those who die from it were going to die from something in the next few months anyhow. The lockdown isn't going to save anyone's life. 60% of those dying in New York City and New Jersey were locked down at home. The virus got into their homes and killed them anyhow. Maybe in some geographies the lock down "flatten the curve" a bit and helped hospitals cope with the patient flow. Observe my use of "some" and "maybe". That's the policy benefit side. Pretty thin gruel.

Then there is the cost side. The trashed economy, The people dying for lack of medical care for non-covid illnesses and the damage to civil liberties.

This should be a no brainer.

Mind you, when I say "we see in the data", I'm not talking about models. I'm talking about actual claims, etc. that allow us to describe who is getting this, build a clinical profile based on medical history, where it's happening, etc. That info can then be tied to proven models that tell us how many years these people would have lived if they never contracted the virus.

Insurance companies are superior to the CDC/WHO because we have to be. $billions and careers are dependent on getting it right. We are not government workers that swim in a political swamp and play with other people's money and who can't be fired.

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