And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday

"In the chaos of New York City, where coronavirus deaths are mounting so quickly that freezer trucks have been set up as makeshift morgues, several hospitals have taken the unprecedented step of allowing doctors not to resuscitate people with covid-19 to avoid exposing health-care workers to the highly contagious virus." Here come the hard decisions and a hellofalotata Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Also going to note that keeping an N95 in position and fitted is hard enough during routine care (bending, stretching, twisting neck), it's more so while performing CPR.

"White House officials predicted a stark US death toll of more than 100,000 people from coronavirus, saying measures working to curb the spread of the virus are the only hope for keeping that total from rising further."

"'This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is going to be a very bad two, and maybe three weeks. This is going to be three weeks like we’ve never seen before,' Trump said at a White House press conference Tuesday. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. with coronavirus fatalities peaking over the next two weeks."

"A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are "extremely effective" at blocking the ability of the new coronavirus to enter cells, which eventually could be helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19." Where have I heard this before?

"Several rural-state governors alerted President Trump on Monday that they are struggling to obtain urgently needed medical supplies and testing equipment, warning that despite the worsening coronavirus situation in New York and other urban areas, more sparsely populated parts of the country need help, too… In response to requests for more testing kits, Mr. Trump said, 'I haven't heard about testing in weeks,' according to an audio recording of the call between the president and governors obtained by CBS News." Hey all these new tests approved from Abbott Labs? Look, the world doesn't run on Warner Brother's Cartoon Physics. You can't drop an order in the mail, tap your fingers waiting for 2 seconds, and then get delivery of your order by someone on a scooter. Real life doesn't work that way. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"Because health and wealth in the U.S. are so often linked, the coronavirus could hit low-income populations here much harder, experts say." No shit, you say.

"The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Eleven residents at a Massachusetts veterans facility died on Monday and at least five of them had tested positive for COVID-19… Eleven other residents have tested positive, as well as five staff members, and 25 more veteran residents are awaiting test results. NBC affiliate WWLP of Springfield reported the deaths at the Soldiers' Home earlier Monday."

"At least 30 states have issued statewide stay-at-home orders so far. Florida, among eight states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, is the only one without such an order." Dear Gov. DeSantis, failure to lead because someone above you hasn't told you what to do is no defense.

"The U.S. Coast Guard is telling foreign-flagged cruise ships to be prepared to care for people with COVID-19 for an 'indefinite period of time' at sea or to seek help from countries other than the U.S., citing a health care system that is being overwhelmed. The instructions are in a new safety bulletin that took effect this week along the southern Atlantic coast, including Florida – which is reporting more than 6,700 coronavirus cases." Wow, plague ships is not where I saw this going. And while I'm not opposed to the logic of "foreign flagged ships shouldn't receive financial assistance from the US Government", the individual passengers are another consideration.

And in upside-down world news… "During Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is 'a great governor,' who 'knows exactly what he's doing' in response to the coronavirus pandemic."

"In late February, as coronavirus infections mounted in Wuhan, China, local authorities went door-to-door for health checks – forcibly isolating every resident in makeshift hospitals and temporary quarantine shelters, even separating parents from young children who displayed symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how seemingly mild… Caretakers… were pressed into service as ad hoc security guards, monitoring the temperatures of all residents, deciding who could come in, and implementing inspections of delivered food and medicines… Outside, drones hovered above streets, yelling at people to get inside and scolding them for not wearing face masks, while elsewhere in China facial-recognition software, linked to a mandatory phone app that color-coded people based on their contagion risk, decided who could enter shopping malls, subways, cafes and other public spaces." Not to mention the roving "forced hospitalization" crews.

"It was the eighth different definition of what constitutes a COVID-19 infection in China’s official statistics since the outbreak began in late December, with critics arguing that the lack of clarity has made it harder for other nations to adequately understand and prepare for the disease." China's numbers tracking the disease are not to be trusted. Equally dubious is trying to lay the blame for this solely at the feet of the Chinese government.

"Abe also said that everyone entering the country, including Japanese nationals, will be asked to go into a voluntary two-week quarantine. Both measures will be effective from Friday."

And how well has our coordinated response been? "Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand… The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok." It's easy to criticize and see the USAID shipments as "foolish" as we in the US scramble to find PPE, but this is a worldwide epidemic. And if (as there are unsubstantiated early reports) our immunity to this is short lived, helping other countries is helping ourselves. But this is a gotcha either way. Domestically we'll look like idiots for shipping precious PPEs internationally. Internationally we'll look like selfish assholes for not helping poorer countries cope.

How well are people obeying the shelter in place rules? "Hobby Lobby has been 'quietly' reopening stores across the nation, including all locations in Ohio, defying orders in several states closing “non-essential” businesses because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to reports."

"Around 70 people in their 20s are under investigation in Austin, Texas, for possible infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 after they chartered a plane for a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, last month. At least 28 of the passengers from that flight have tested positive for the coronavirus, with dozens more tests pending." Fucking rich kids.

"The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan claims it has no coronavirus cases. But if you happen to utter the word 'coronavirus' while waiting, say, for the bus in the white-marbled capital Ashgabat, there's a good chance you'll be arrested… That's because the Turkmen government, run since 2006 by the flamboyant dentist-rapper strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has reportedly banned the word, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF)." I'm sure that'll stop the virus dead in its tracks.

"A black hole of an elusive class known as 'intermediate-mass,' betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close… These so-called intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are a long-sought 'missing link' in black hole evolution. Researchers consider these new observations the strongest evidence yet for mid-sized black holes in the universe."

"Private companies shed 27,000 employees for the period through March 12, according to ADP and Moody’s Analytics… Actual losses for the month were much worse as indicated by jobless claims numbering in the millions."

"Manufacturing activity slowed in March, according to a survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management… Production and factory employment fell sharply, as the coronavirus pandemic and other problems weighed on the factory sector. New Orders hit their lowest level in 11 years."

Hmm, looks like the Dow Jones is playing the sad trombones today.

"The U.S. Geological Survey reports the magnitude 6.5 temblor struck just before 6 p.m. It was centered 73 miles (118 kilometers) northeast of Meridian, near the rural mountain town of Stanley. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries." What we need right now is a good volcano to complete the "signs and portents" portfolio (note, no it doesn't look like the super volcano under America's West is about to blow, even though it's long overdue).

"New information from the IRS on Monday shines more light on what people can do to get their checks from the government as quickly as possible while many families worry about paying the bills and buying food during the coronavirus crisis, which has cost millions of people their jobs."

"At least three states passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks amid the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic." Never let a good disaster go to waste. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The Justice Department's internal watchdog found widespread problems with surveillance applications submitted by the FBI to the government's national security court, indicating issues with the bureau's FISA warrants extended beyond those targeting former Trump campaign aide Carter Page… The deficiencies, drawn from surveillance applications between October 2014 and September 2019, a period which included the tenure of both former FBI Director James Comey and current FBI Director Christopher Wray, were detailed in a new audit conducted by Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, and made public Tuesday." So what's the recommended correction actions? "The inspector general made two recommendations to the FBI to address the issues uncovered: that it institute a requirement to regularly examine past and future accuracy reviews conducted by the Justice Department and perform an inventory to ensure supporting documentation exists for every wiretap application submitted in all pending investigations." That doesn't sounds like the complete breakdown of procedure and an institution running roughshod over the rules and acting out of control.

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