May 13. Coronavirus Griefs

May 13.  Blowing Off More Coronavirus Steam

I had the idea that we should consider restaurants serving outside, and taking over neighboring streets and parking lots to do so.  This is a rather obvious idea, and is being tested in some states.  The problem is, that kitchens are often small and crowded.  Everybody also uses the same restrooms.

When I was in Japan, half a lifetime ago, I remember their having separate subway cars for women, treating them politely.  I can see New York City running them for seniors and those with medical vulnerabilities, if they have rfid cards issued by their doctors.  These would be checked somehow to be virus free riders, and to have social distancing spacing.  They could be continuously sanitized by attendants.  Signs of respect, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I can see large cities making their own cautious opening rules in states that are run by mainly rural counties.  However, some states are overruling cities, which is really unfair to the city dwellers.  

Trump is demanding that states refuse to pay unemployment to people who refuse jobs, even if the jobs have high infection risks.  He also ordered meat packing plants to stay open under the Defense Production Act, despite them being the major Coronavirus outbreak centers from closely packed workers.  Did this happen because Trump stopped inspecting the plants?  I looked up that 115 years ago, Upton Sinclair wrote the novel “The Jungle” about the mistreatment of meat packing employees.

As NY Times economist Paul Krugman keeps pointing out, the interest rates on borrowing are very low.  Nancy Pelosi wants a $3 trillion bill to bail out states and people.  Governor Cuomo repeats that the Blue states subsidize Red states through federal taxes.  If Republicans don’t aid Blue states to recover their economies, by having to lay off essential personnel and teachers, they will also pay far less federal taxes, and Red state subsidies will disappear.  One of Trump’s economic advisors said openly on Fox News, that they would not bail out Blue states.  Federal workers are supposed to be non-partisan.

While personal care shops can make a few bucks in a few weeks, any Coronavirus cases that they cause have a 1/5 or 1/7 chance of ending up in a hospital, running up hundreds of thousands of dollars to be paid by Trump’s government.  For a business President, it is very short sighted about investments.  No wonder Trump ran as an expert on bankruptcy.  Oh, and our brilliant Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasn’t joking when he said that Blue states should declare bankruptcy. 

It is extremely disturbing that the 60 plus page government guidelines for opening, drafted by the CDC, had to be sent to political operatives in the White House for review.  That is probably not in the CDC mission statement or responsibilities.  That was sent on April 10, we now learn.  It still hasn’t been approved, even in watered down form.  It is now 33 days since April 10.  That is almost 5 weeks.  It is two weeks into opening relaxation of many states.  How many have been infected, how many have been hospitalized, how many have and will die without this input by the CDC.  The New York Times just released the leaked draft yesterday. 

It was also upsetting that at a Senate hearing, the CDC Director Dr. Redfield, had no idea how the limited supply of Remdesivir would be distributed to prioritized cases, which is really the CDC’s responsibility.  Obviously, it will be dealt with politically.

While the Coronavirus is dangerous to a few children who catch it, that is not the point about delaying in-person classes.  A lot of teachers and staff are older, and/or have vulnerable medical conditions.  Furthermore, what happened in Italy, is that kids brought the virus home, infected their parents, and often grandparents living or interacting with them.  Trump wants kids in school, so that parents can go to work, and also get exposed.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court just struck down the Democratic Governor’s stay-at-home order.  We can see Republican suits on this in all such split states.

The problems are that there are not enough tests, tracers, confinement hotels, and attitudes of obeying virus protocols, to succeed in the states opening up.

Another problem is that only 40% of Americans, or 140 million, take the flu shots.  The flu itself can claim 66,000 American lives.  This year, the similarity of flu and Coronavirus symptoms can overwhelm tests and emergency room visits, if people do not almost universally take their flu shots.

Experts have decided that the number of infected people is about 7 times those that have been tested positive, who largely have symptoms, in order to get tested.  That is a lot lower than other communities that have been antibody tested.

The much Trump ballyhooed Abbot 15 minute tests, are now in doubt, but in a very small study.  They might be as much as 50% likely to give false negatives, missing identifying only half of the infected.  This makes the White House a very hazardous place.  Remember Trump excusing the lack of tests on that our tests would be more accurate than any others?

Trump seems to have found a replacement for the deposed head of vaccines who he demoted, Dr. Bright, who also is a whistleblower, to testify tomorrow to the House.  Trump’s replacement is from industry.

So that is about all of my griefs, until more will appear tomorrow.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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