“The United States is on track to have the worst outbreak of coronavirus among wealthy countries, largely because of the ineffectiveness of its government,” Fareed writes in his latest Washington Post column. “This is the new face of American exceptionalism.”

The US faces shortages of ventilators and protective equipment, and it seems to have no coherent strategy for dealing with it, Fareed writes; meanwhile, per-capita testing has lagged woefully behind the rates in other advanced countries (South Korea, for instance, had tested five times as many of its citizens, on a per-capita basis, as of Wednesday).

“The United States is paying the price today for decades of defunding government, politicizing independent agencies, fetishizing local control, and demeaning and disparaging government workers and bureaucrats,” Fareed writes. The federal government has added layers of inefficient bureaucracy, while a patchwork of 2,684 state, local, and tribal health systems is unwieldy. As a result, the weakness of US governance is being exposed, in comparison to the likes of South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany, which enjoy “governments that are well-funded, efficient and responsive”—something America is exceptional, among wealthy democracies, for not having.

As the Global Briefing noted yesterday, East Asian governments are getting high marks for how they’ve handled COVID-19, as Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan have earned praise for acting early, tracing suspected cases, and quarantining individuals.

More elements of Singapore’s response were detailed in a March 13 Journal of Travel Medicine paper by three academics with the Singaporean Ministry of Public Health, with additional categories to be gleaned beyond border controls and contact tracing:

Bureaucratic preparedness. A “Multi-Ministry Task Force was set up before Singapore had its first COVID-19 case to provide central coordination for a Whole-of-Government handling of the crisis,” the authors note.

Encouraging sick leave. “As early COVID-19 disease is mild and undifferentiated, medical practitioners were instructed to provide extended medical leave of up to five days for patients with respiratory symptoms.”

Distributing supplies, communicating clearly. “The use of masks was only encouraged for ill persons to prevent them from infecting others, and the government distributed four masks to every household. Detailed anonymised information on COVID19 cases is shared publicly to prevent speculation, while misinformation is quickly debunked and clarified on a government website."

Public screening. “Mass fever screening through thermal temperature scanners is widely instituted at entry to public buildings, such as offices, hotels, community centres and places of worship.”

Those feats may be easier for a small country with lots of governmental authority, it bears noting, and the authors acknowledge that such measures may not be sustainable over time.

The US health system has rated highly on the Johns Hopkins-led Global Health Security Index, science writer Ed Yong notes in a long and comprehensive Atlantic essay, but this crisis has been revealing: “Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations,” Yong writes. “That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.”

Quoting myriad experts, Yong traces a US response hampered by President Trump’s reluctance to invoke emergency production powers and unwillingness to heed warnings. Disease experts have been predicting for years that an epidemic could challenge the American health system, Yong writes, but the government’s failure has been worse than any of them had imagined possible. (Problems with testing, in particular, were stunning: “I’m not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,” Yong quotes Georgetown health law and policy expert Alexandra Phelan as saying.)

If the most prudent strategies are followed, the country and the world are now in for a long haul—a “protracted game of whack-a-mole with the virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced”—and a future in which COVID could return seasonally in different forms, like the flu, Yong suggests.

Can Stimulus Stave Off Catastrophe?

Now that the US has passed an unprecedented economic stimulus package—one that dwarfs the nearly-$800 billion post-financial-crisis package of 2009—analysts are wondering if it will be enough. The usually pessimistic economist Nouriel Roubini has already predicted catastrophe, after US unemployment claims hit a high:

At The Wall Street Journal, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (authors of the 2009 book “This Time Is Different”) write that they’ve ranked economic crises since 1870 and have found that the “current collapse is poised to shatter records for crisis depth. Duration is still an open question.” It arrives as world governments, businesses, and households are already laden with debt, they write, predicting lower and middle income countries will struggle to respond—and that debt repayments will need to be restructured on a global scale once the crisis is over.

Surveillance in the Coronavirus Era—and Beyond

Savvy governments are using an array of methods to track suspected coronavirus cases, monitor and enforce quarantines, and rate citizens’ likelihoods of exposure, The Economist writes: “While Hong Kong uses WhatsApp, South Korea has a customised app that sounds an alarm and alerts officials if people stray; as of March 21st 42% of the 10,600 people under quarantine there were using the app. Taiwan uses a different approach, tracking quarantined people’s phones using data from cell-phone masts. 

If it detects someone out of bounds, it texts them and alerts the authorities. Leaving quarantine without your phone can incur a fine; in South Korea fines for breaking quarantine are hefty, and will soon be accompanied by the threat of prison.” In China, the magazine writes, an app supplies users with a colored QR code rating them as free to travel or quarantined for seven or 14 days.

All of which raises a series of questions: Can phone data be processed accurately and meaningfully enough to truly predict infection likelihood? What happens to privacy in the pandemic era, and will governments eventually relinquish the tracking controls they’ve implemented? With more data than ever available through devices and apps, countries “are learning how to make use of that panopticon’s power in a pell-mell, piecemeal way. The systems that they lash together may last a long time. It would be best to keep an eye on them,” the magazine writes. As the magazine writes in another essay, the coronavirus era has seen an unprecedented expansion of state power, and we’ll want to pay close attention to whether it shrinks after the crisis ends.

A Narrow Window to Avoid the Worst?

The US health system, and New York City’s in particular, is bracing for impact: At The New Yorker, Lizzie Widdicombe chronicles city emergency rooms experiencing the first swell of COVID-19 patients, with mild cases worsening, protective equipment running low, and the influx more than doubling every day in one ER, according to a doctor who noted a “feeling of impending doom.”

With public officials expecting an onslaught, the doctor, health policy expert, and biomedical ethicist Ezekiel Emanuel writes for The New York Times that the country has little time to act: “The window to win this war is about seven to 14 days,” as Emanuel sees it. “If the United States intervenes immediately on the scale that China did, our death toll could be under 100,000. Within three to four months we might be able to begin a return to more normal lives.” Emanuel calls for the entire country to shelter in place, federal coordination of equipment distribution, recruitment of the unemployed to set up testing facilities, and strict adherence to social distancing—otherwise, “recovery may take a decade or more with extraordinary levels of death and dislocation.”

Worrying that drastic measures could damage society, Dr. David Katz argues in another Times op-ed for a more muted strategy, keeping the most vulnerable (the elderly and immunocompromised) from exposure while letting the rest of the population live relatively unrestricted.

To Shut Down, or Not to Shut Down?

While President Trump hopes the US will be open for business by Easter—even as his top health advisers have sounded much more cautious notes—the Times and The Wall Street Journal argue the case in dueling editorials.

As the Journal puts it, on Monday the White House-recommended, 15-day period of social distancing will end, marking a time for recalibration. A national strategy henceforth must strike “a balance between protecting against the virus and resuming commerce and business that is crucial to getting people back to work.” A deep recession, the paper argues, would pose its own health risks.

The Times sees it differently, writing that a nationwide shelter-in-place order, prompted by Trump and issued by governors, is the only way. The US “has passed the point where aggressive, targeted efforts at tracking and containment, like those pursued by South Korea, have a realistic chance of success. And calls for voluntary social distancing have had mixed results, as the photos of spring breakers crammed together on the Florida beaches last week made clear,” the paper writes, concluding that although the country has wasted time, it still has a chance to learn from China and Italy.



MARCH 19, 2020 06:44 PM
Adrienne Byrne, the Sedgwick County health director, talks about what steps the county is taking to combat the worldwide spread of coronavirus. She spoke to the Wichita City Council and media Tuesday. 

The chairman of the Riley County Commissioners suggested this week that the global coronavirus pandemic is not a problem locally because unlike in Italy, there are not a lot of Chinese people living in central Kansas, according to two other officials who attended the meeting Wednesday night.

Before we go any further, the scientific term for this kind of xenophobic falsehood is bunkum.  


Usha Reddi, the mayor of Manhattan, Kansas, went to the meeting hoping that the commissioners would declare an emergency, which they ultimately did. But what she heard from the chairman, Republican Marvin Rodriguez, was this: “I’m paraphrasing, but he said we don’t have a problem here because Italy has a lot of Chinese people, and we don’t have that problem here.”

We do have it already. But, does he understand why it’s dangerous to Asian Americans to talk like that, and that there has been an increase in reported attacks?

Republican Marvin Rodriguez,   “Well, they say it came out of China,” he answered, “and I’m not putting it past the Chinese government in communist China.” Meaning, to export a virus on purpose? “Normally, this kind of thing spreads slowly,” he answered, so “I put two and two together. I’ve been around a long time, girl.”    ( TOO LONG)

He also said that his only public policy goal in saying all of this was to try to discourage panic. “We’re hurting a lot of people in Manhattan” by overreacting, he said. “Places are being shut down for no reason at all.”

All of the above not only encourages racist attacks but also encourages the public to ignore the life-saving advice of public health officials to take proper precautions to avoid transmitting the virus.

“This is false information,” Reddi said of Rodriguez’ remarks. “It’s not keeping the community safe. I felt very uncomfortable” hearing his comments about Chinese people.

Reddi, who is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat but has put her campaign on pause over concerns about the global pandemic, said that in an earlier conversation with Rodriguez, she urged him to take more serious measures to encourage social distancing and self-quarantining, “and he said the way I’m talking about this is Stalin-like.”

John Ford, vice chairman of the Riley County commissioners, said that in the moment, Rodriguez’ remarks really hadn’t really registered. “I didn’t think anything about it, we were discussing so much other stuff. It didn’t sink in. But now, after the fact, I get it … I’m sorry it came to that. I don’t know if it was a slip of the tongue, but I had a lot of other things on my mind.”

Officials at every level do have a lot on their minds, including making decisions that will keep more people alive.


ut such talk is not a slip of the tongue. It hurts real people in real ways to call COVID-19 “the Chinese virus,” as President Donald Trump insists on doing. Our elected leaders should all be making clear that it’s harmful and wrong to speak that way.   ( Leaders? Our current bunch of screwed up assholes are leaders?)

The proof that it is a racial slur is the effect it’s having, with Asian Americans suffering an increase in attacks of all kinds, just when we most need to come together — paradoxically, by staying apart.

That the coronavirus has no nationality should be obvious. It’s no more the fault of the Chinese people, or of their government, than it was the fault of Kansans that the “Spanish flu” of a century ago seems to have started in Kansas. Very close to home for Mr. Rodriguez, in fact, among World War I soldiers at Camp Funston, part of Fort Riley in Geary and Riley counties.

Chinese officials were wrong in their initial response, just as U.S. officials were wrong to downplay first the threat of any pandemic, and then, for months, of this one in particular.   And any official who, like Rodriguez, is even now downplaying the seriousness of this situation is doing a great disservice to his or her constituents.

From the White House to Riley County, Kansas, xenophobia is always an impediment to public safety. Remarks that in any way suggest that the more Chinese people, the bigger the problem, reflect a dangerous lack of both knowledge and compassion.

Reddi was right to call out her colleague. And all the absence of local cases really shows is a lack of testing. “This is devastating, and we’re not ready,” Reddi said of the suffering that’s coming, “but you can’t be an irresponsible public official” and pretend otherwise.

What Does The Coronavirus Do To Your Body? 

Everything To Know About The Infection Process
 (Edited USA Today and CNN)

Americans are taking precautions against the new coronavirus that causes the disease sickening and killing thousands worldwide.  The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise the public be watchful for fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, symptoms that follow contraction of the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.  

  • From infection, it takes approximately five to 12 days for symptoms to appear. 
  • According to the CDC, the virus can spread person-to-person within 6 feet through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 
  • It’s also possible for the virus to remain on a surface or object, be transferred by touch and enter the body through the mouth, nose or eyes.
  • “It’s a respiratory virus and thus it enters through the respiratory tract, we think primarily through the nose,” he said. “But it might be able to get in through the eyes and mouth because that’s how other respiratory viruses behave.”
  • When the virus enters the body, it begins to attack. Fever, cough and other COVID-19 symptoms 
  • It can take two to 14 days for a person to develop symptoms after initial exposure to the virus, Hirsch said. The average is about five days.
  • Once inside the body, it begins infecting epithelial cells in the lining of the lung. A protein on the receptors of the virus can attach to a host cell's receptors and penetrate the cell. Inside the host cell, the virus begins to replicate until it kills the cell. 
  • This first takes place in the upper respiratory tract, which includes the nose, mouth, larynx and bronchi.
  • The patient begins to experience mild version of symptoms: dry cough, shortness of breath, fever and headache and muscle pain and tiredness, comparable to the flu.
  • Some say some patients have reported gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea, however it’s relatively uncommon. 
  • Symptoms become more severe once the infection starts making its way to the lower respiratory tract.

Pneumonia And Autoimmune Disease

  • The WHO reported last month about 80% of patients have a mild to moderate disease from infection. A case of “ Mild" COVID-19 includes a fever and cough more severe than the seasonal flu but does not require hospitalization.
  • Those milder cases are because the body’s immune response is able to contain the virus in the upper respiratory tract, Hirsch says. Younger patients have a more vigorous immune response compared to older patients.
  • The 13.8% of severe cases and 6.1% critical cases are due to the virus trekking down the windpipe and entering the lower respiratory tract, where it seems to prefer growing.  “The lungs are the major target,” Hirsch said.
  • As the virus continues to replicate and journeys further down the windpipe and into the lung, it can cause more respiratory problems like bronchitis and pneumonia. 
  • Pneumonia is characterized by shortness of breath combined with a cough and affects tiny air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, Viscidi said. The alveoli are where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.  When pneumonia occurs, the thin layer of alveolar cells is damaged by the virus. The body reacts by sending immune cells to the lung to fight it off. 
  • "And that results in the linings becoming thicker than normal," he said. "As they thicken more and more, they essentially choke off the little air pocket, which is what you need to get the oxygen to your blood." “So it’s basically a war between the host response and the virus,” Hirsch said. “Depending who wins this war we have either good outcomes where patients recover or bad outcomes where they don’t.”
  • Restricting oxygen to the bloodstream deprives other major organs of oxygen including the liver, kidney and brain. In a small number of severe cases that can develop into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which requires a patient be placed on a ventilator to supply oxygen. 
    However, if too much of the lung is damaged and not enough oxygen is supplied to the rest of the body, respiratory failure could lead to organ failure and death. 
  • Viscidi stresses that outcome is uncommon for the majority of patients infected with coronavirus. Those most at risk to severe developments are older than 70 and have weak immune responses. Others at risk include people with pulmonary abnormalities, chronic disease or compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients who have gone through chemotherapy treatment. 
  • Viscidi urges to public to think of the coronavirus like the flu because it goes through the same process within the body. Many people contract the flu and recover with no complications.   "People should remember that they're as healthy as they feel," he said. "And shouldn't go around feeling as unhealthy as they fear." 



Credits On Information To The Best News Reporting And Thats Cnn

Almost from the start, analysts have posed the Wuhan coronavirus as a test of China’s autocratic system—whether it can handle a crisis effectively and how its information suppression will fare. The Financial Times has added its voice to that chorus, arguing in an editorial that the outbreak challenges the very “basis of China’s social contract.”

Economic growth (key to the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy) has created a gigantic new middle class, and “as people become wealthier, they thirst not only for material wellbeing but also for dignity,” the paper writes. The death last week of Dr. Li Wenliang, silenced by authorities for warning about the outbreak before falling ill himself, symbolized a “cover-up” of the virus and revealed “a state that is capable of lying to its citizens to save face, even when matters of life and death are at stake.” Citizens will see it as part of a pattern, and the Communist Party should take stock once the crisis is over, the FT writes.

That said, the outbreak probably won’t change how China is governed, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd writes in a Project Syndicate op-ed. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s priorities—chief among them keeping his party in power, maintaining stability, and expanding the economy—are here to stay, Rudd writes.

Someone commented this virus with numbers in the thousands will be God’s test as to how the Communists treat their subjects. many will die and we do not get truth sometmes from China as to numbers.

The US Has Botched Its Virus Response

“The evidence is now clear,” Fareed Zakaria writes in his latest Washington Post column. The spread of COVID-19 “can be greatly reduced if governments act early, aggressively and intelligently. Unfortunately, that does not describe the response of the US government to the coronavirus pandemic.”

ED: Once again our Supreme Leader, Liar and Chief Donald F*ck-it-ups, supported by Head up His Ass Pence lied to the public and blamed everybody but the POPE for the outbreak.  Donald who knows more than the Generals and provokes more wars now knows more than the Doctors and Scientists.  I have changed my feelings from impeachment to “ HANG THE BASTARD”.  This lays totally on Donalds shoulders and his primary asshole advisors, Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner. Please someone, somewhere, in this world has a way to rid the world of him… I have never said this before but the method used doesn’t matter, before he kills more people. You would be doing mankind a service.    

Rather, the epidemic has revealed a lack of testing—South Korea’s per-capita testing rate would equate to 1.5 million test in the US, whereas America has managed just over 13,000—and has brought out the worst in President Trump, exposing his tendency to bluff his way through life. The country had lead time to prepare, as the virus spread in China, but Trump’s administration wasted it.

“In most global crises, the United States takes the lead and provides comfort and assurances to the world. In this one, Trump has been mostly AWOL,” Fareed writes—blaming foreigners, demanding ceaseless praise from high-level subordinates, and “emulating the sycophancy, incompetence and propaganda of North Korea,” rather than its well-prepared neighbor to the south.

How the Virus Has Changed One of the World’s Most Vibrant Societies

Renowned for its panache, Italian society has changed, Corriere della Sera columnist Beppe Severgnini writes in a New York Times op-ed Bloomberg story by Vernon Silver, Alessandra Migliaccio, and John Follain, describing conditions in his town of Crema, 30 miles from Milan and 15 miles from the northern Italian towns originally locked down. “Everything is shut: no schools, no meetings, no parties, no movies, no plays, no sporting events. No bars and no restaurants. No shops open, except food stores and pharmacies,” Severgnini writes.  Accustomed to greeting each other warmly, kissing and shaking hands, residents now give each other wide berths, and their movements are restricted.

“For us, life is food, wine, music, arts, design, landscape; the smell of the countryside; the warmth of one’s family, and the embrace of friends. Those involve our mouths, our noses, our ears, our eyes, our hands,” Severgnini writes. “Fear of Covid-19 forces us to repudiate those senses. It’s painful.” And it may be a sign of what’s to come for the rest of us, according to a , who write of a country increasingly shut off from the rest of the world, after the government initially resisted drastic measures.

The Fundamentals of the Global Economy Are …

Markets have already seen their largest single-day drop since 1987, and a decade-long recovery may be ending. So what kind of shape is the global economy in, as it faces a multi-pronged shock on supply, demand, and the value of traded assets?   

Not a great one, economist Raghuram Rajan warns in a Project Syndicate op-edhave warned, warning that “the world economy never fully recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis, nor were the underlying problems that produced that disaster ever fully addressed. On the contrary, governments, businesses, and households around the world have piled on more debt, and policymakers have undermined trust in the global trading and investment system.” The crisis will also reveal, he writes, the significance of a “precariat” of workers who lack stable jobs with benefits.

Economic commentators  that central-bank stimulus might not help (more targeted measures are needed, they write), and in a Financial Times column, Gillian Tett sees signs that markets agree. They could bounce back, she writes, but this week’s crash “might also reflect something else: some investors no longer think that a shot of cheap money works in the face of medical uncertainty, a global recession, looming corporate defaults and weak political leadership,” Tett suggests. “If President Trump thinks he can reverse the rout by demanding more Fed action, he is gravely mistaken. Prepare for more market spasms.”

What the Virus Will Mean for Latin America

As all world regions brace for impact, Americas Quarterly Editor-in-chief Brian Winter predicted in an essay published Monday that while Latin America has often been a haven from global crises in the past, that might not be the case here: Amid protests, inequality, and downgraded growth projections (the IMF placed it at 1.6% for 2020), the virus could exacerbate the region’s problems.

There’s a risk that leaders in the region “might screw it up,” he writes. “If so, coronavirus could accelerate the growing distrust in politicians and in democracy itself we’ve seen in many countries. As noted in the most recent issue of Americas Quarterly, militaries were already becoming more prominent in politics around Latin America, in ways somewhat reminiscent of the 1970s and 80s. A terrible crisis would only increase the clamor for law and order—and accelerate the return of the generals in some places.”

And as Kathleen Page and Tamara Taraciuk Broner write for Foreign Policy, Venezuela’s weakened health system—amid the country’s broad collapse—poses danger. “Just one case in a hospital could lead to transmission within the system, putting already sick patients at risk,” they write, warning of a higher death rate in the country, “where there is no capacity for complex care due to a lack of basic X-rays, laboratory tests, intensive care beds, and respirators.”

Survival Of The Fittist

London (CNN)A woman at an Australian supermarket allegedly pulls a knife on a man in a confrontation over toilet paper. A Singaporean student of Chinese ethnicity is beaten up on the streets of London and left with a fractured face. Protesters on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion welcome cruise passengers by hurling abuse and rocks at them.

The coronavirus risks bringing out the worst in humanity. Never mind that Australia's toilet paper supply is plentiful, that the Singaporean has no links to the virus and that not a single passenger on the Princess cruise ship that docked in Reunion was infected.

Irrational and selfish incidents like these are likely the exception, not the rule, but an everyone-for-themselves mentality -- or each family, even each country -- appears to be growing, putting into question the world's ability to unite and slow the coronavirus' spread.

Leaders of affected nations are scrambling to seize some control of the situation. They impose restrictive measures in their countries, inject money into their economies, and promise their health systems will somehow find the extra beds, doctors and nurses they will inevitably need.
Yet there seems to be little coordination between countries to address what is by nature a global challenge.

Face masks on the production line at a Moldex-Metric factory in Walddorfhaeslach, Germany, on Thursday.

Face masks around the world are running out, as people who don't need them hoard them. The US is stockpiling them, while South Korea, Germany and Russia, among others, have banned their export, to ensure their own people have enough. 

India, which makes 20% of the world's medicinal drugs by volume, has halted certain medicines from being exported. Yes, it is unable to source enough ingredients from China and can’t make its usual output, but it is also likely keeping them for its own people.

Populists Point The Finger

This pandemic has now claimed more than 5,000 lives, infected over 150,000 people and touched every continent, save for Antarctica, as it crosses geographical borders that have politically closed.

European leaders have met several times and it was only on Tuesday that they finally announced some coordinated action. It was aimed primarily at economic stimulus, rather than devising a much-needed gameplan to slow the virus' spread across the region. 

There is serious doubt that the usual economic tools will even work. During a health crisis, injecting money into economies doesn't necessarily get people spending. Consumers travel and shop less, and on the supply side, factories and businesses are closing in countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Italy.

Italy, the worst-affected country outside China, complained the EU had been too slow to help, as it desperately needed more surgical masks and ventilators for patients, which it is now relying on China to provide.


A shopper passes empty shelves usually stocked with toilet paper in Melbourne, Australia, on March 5.

EU leaders have chastized member countries for clinging to protective gear like face masks, as the 27-country bloc is supposed to be united and enjoy free trade.  The pandemic comes at a time when the world was already questioning globalization, emboldening anti-globalization arguments and the populist parties seeking greater isolation.
Italian far-right opposition leader Matteo Salvini called recently for the country to close its border.  "The infection is spreading. I want to know from the government who has come in and gone out.  We have to seal our borders now,” he said in a video on Facebook in late February.

** Captain “ Bone Spurs”, Donald the Dork, The Pr*Ck In The WhiteHouse,

The US Fuehrer,  Don Dickhead, the Schmuck, T-RUMP Once Again Blames

Others For His F*Ck-Ups    ( over 500 names to pick from) 

US President Donald T-RUMP on Wednesday framed the outbreak as a "foreign virus," blaming Europe for failing to act quickly enough, as he announced sharp restrictions on travel from more than two dozen European countries. 

On Saturday the ban was extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland.  Spoken by our PRESIDENT, known worldwide for his lies and conspiracy theories possibly as the biggest lie ever told by a human.  

Captain Fucknuts (T-RUMP) really is to blame as he played down the Conovirus for six weeks while it expanded.  My opinion of him went from simply censuring him to Hanging Him on the WhiteHouse lawn, alongside Pence, Barr, McConnell, Jordan and Nunes…Oh! Add Lindsey the other traitor and the liars who stand next to McConnell on stage when he lies.

Why Humans Can Be Selfish And Irrational 

Much of this each-for-their-own behavior comes from humans' tendency to trust their feelings over facts, a way of thinking that is "evolutionarily ancient," according to Paul Slovic, a University of Oregon psychologist, who studies risk perception.

There are two main modes of thinking, he explains: one an intuitive sense based on feelings, the other a more rational sense based on scientific reasoning, evidence and reason. It is the intuitive mode that dominates, according to Slovic.

"In the earliest days when we were evolving, there were plenty of dangers around, and those dangers were directly experienced, they were threats that we faced directly from threatening creatures or other tribes, it was all very direct and concrete. So these reactions based on feelings were very beneficial in helping us act quickly and to recognize friend from foe, it was us against them," Slovic told CNN. 

"Like if you heard a sound in the bush that might be a dangerous animal, you didn't stop to reason about what was causing the sound -- was it really a dangerous animal? -- you just accepted the fact that it sounded scary and you got out of there. You moved fast. So our survival depended on testing your emotions and behaving quickly, and acting according to those feelings."

Feelings, he said, are usually a useful guide that helps us make good decisions every day.

"It's easy, it's natural, fast -- it's a remarkable capability in our modern brain, except there are a few things it doesn't do well, and one of those things is it doesn't relate to statistics, or numbers, very well." 

This is playing out in the current pandemic, he said, as most of the information received through the media and officials are of the worst cases and fatalities. We aren't computing well that the vast majority of cases are mild, even asymptomatic. 

It's unsurprising that some people might feel threatened by someone who comes from Wuhan, where the virus originated, or China, or another country that is prevalent, he said, because of the way the mind works. 

"It's a natural, protective response, which can be exaggerated and harmful to people who pose really a very low risk," he said. 

"But it's an emotion that should be tempered by reason -- we should say, what do we know about the probability that this group of people is really going to harm us in some way? What's the severity of it? What does the data show? What does it say about the level of risk? What we see is that stigma can occur even when the risk is very low and the stigma is not warranted."

Actually, Stockpiling Isn't Always Irrational

The world is not doomed quite yet. For all the examples of anti-social behavior, there has been pro-social action.

We can feel heartened by the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are still showing up to work, often on the front lines, risking their own health for the greater good.   Cleaners are still working at offices, on trains and in schools and nurseries, doing their part in keeping people safe.    People are taking hand washing and sanitizing seriously -- the sellout of hand gels around the world is testament to that -- to prevent communal spread of the virus. 

Preparing for the virus "is one of the most pro-social, altruistic things you can do in response to potential disruptions of this kind," Being ready with grocery items at home could help stem the virus' spread, if it means not needing to go out to supermarkets and if those stocks can be shared with more vulnerable neighbors who may be less organized. Keeping in good health and getting a flu shot will help keep pressure off healthcare systems, she said.

This pro-social behavior has happened in the past. World War II may have been the worst display of humanity in modern history, but it was also a time where much of the world banded together to fight a common cause. 

It involved an extraordinary marshaling of resources and sharing of information, both between individuals and countries. Soldiers were often sent to fight on foreign fronts to support allies, even in cases where their own nations were not directly under threat.

Most people are inclined to act in pro-social ways when faced with a threat, as long as they feel they can rely on governments and society to provide for them and treat them equally. 

"The problems arise when the demand for healthcare or food or medicine exceeds the resources," she said. 

"The last time in the UK felt this kind of threat was in World War II, and in fact, people were healthier than they had been for a long time -- there were rations, and distributed much more equally. People really went the extra mile to help," she said.

"It's a very good example of 'We're all in this together.' Then you were fighting a common enemy and now we are also fighting a common enemy, with this virus. We need to get that idea into the collective mentality.”

The Toilet Paper Shortage And Hoarding Comments

Overheard on the waiitng lines for toilet paper at Publix Supermarkets…








Bottom Line

As a medical professional who has been getting updates from multiple hospital systems and seeing the postings from friends and colleagues, including one who communicates with colleagues on the battlefield in affected countries, here are a few thoughts to put things into perspective.

1. This thing is serious. Like many of you, I believe the media distorts things to suit their own worldview, but that doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

2. Covid-19 is contagious like the common cold, likely more virulent than the flu and none or hardly any of us have immunity to it. That is a bad mixture.

3. As serious as things are, many of you reading this post are going to become infected and very few if any are likely to become seriously ill. That is not true for the sick and the elderly.

4. The problem is that if we do not do something decisive, the problem is going to get out of hand, and quickly as it has in China and Italy.

5. We have an exceptionally large number of ICU beds and ventilators in this country. That is not the case in countries with socialized medicine. If you or a loved one are one of the gravely ill, you will be grateful for what we have here, as dysfunctional as it can seem.

6. Medical (and to a lesser extent) nursing professionals are highly specialized. If you think your family doctor, or your obgyn, or most other medical specialists have the skill set to operate a ventilator, think again. People have to be trained, and then be able to regularly practice those skills. The docs and nurses who work in the ICUs and ERs are inevitably going to get sick like everyone else since they have no immunity to a highly contagious disease.

7. Not everyone should be tested. I read all these posts attacking the government for not having enough tests. Yes, we should have testing much more widely available, but anyone in medicine knows that over testing can lead you down the wrong path, including being falsely reassured.

8. Don't walk around with a mask. The few masks you can get won't protect you from the Wuhan virus, and high grade N95 masks should be saved for the staff who take care of these patients.

9. Yes. This disruption in our lives and the economic well being of our country is extraordinarily unpleasant, but think of like a wartime, but this time the enemy is a virus. If we come together, we can get through this largely intact.