COVIDS – Learning from the Italians

by Jack

It seems every day things get a bit more serious with this COVID virus.  I don’t wish to alarm you, however information ( knowing facts) is key to flattening the curve.  

Italy is  the example many health experts are using to predict what will happen in the US.  Why use Italy?  Well, they are a modern, 1st world nation.  They have good hospitals, doctors and nurses.  But, the rapid rate of COVID’s infection has overwhelmed their resources.  The current fatality rate is about 460 deaths per day and they’re a long way from reaching the peak of infection.

This is what we’re trying to avoid.  I didn’t want to introduce politics into this, but I have to say this one thing:  You can thank Trump for an early travel ban to and from virus hot spots, despite the highly vocal objections from democrats.  So, for once we got a jump on most other nations and that’s really helped delay the spread of the virus here.  Okay, that’s  it.

Despite their (Italy’s) best efforts, doctors and nurses, are getting sick and in a full blown contagion we should expect the same here.  This is exacerbating patient to provider ratios and forcing hospitals to employ strict triage methods (rationing).  For example, patients over 70 are simply told to go home, self quarantine and good luck.

People with surgical needs are being delayed, unless its absolutely critical to their survival.  However, life goes on, people are still getting ill from many other things, accident still happen, but they are all stressing Italy’s already rationed healthcare.  This is what the US quarantine methods are hoping to avoid, thus the “flattening of the curve.”

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte defended the strict measures Italy has taken to contain the outbreak and predicted a stabilizing of numbers soon. But he acknowledged that the rise in cases — the most outside Asia — was “worrisome.”  This may be the understatement of the year.

In Italy the rules about travel, gathering in public, dining out, or just walking in the open are getting more strict as the virus spreads.  Now a new epicenter surges in Spain and we’re seeing a repeat of what Italy is experiencing.

European countries have closed their borders and on this continent even Canada has closed its border with the US.   That’s a first.

Locally and across the country, we’ve witnessed countless examples of silly people hoarding enormous amounts of food and healthcare items.  Why would someone buy a whole case of cough syrup or 150 cases of toilet paper?  This is just crazy!  This disrupts the supply chain, but you can’t really tell people to be sensible, either they are or they aren’t and there are currently no rules to stop them.

We  hope we can learn from Italy’s mistakes and minimize COVID’s impact on us.   Speaking of mistakes, one of our responses has been to release prisoners early to avoid an outbreak within the county jails.  Those with 30 days or less left on their sentence are being released.  In prison, early release is also being considered.  Apparently we learned nothing from the recent spike in crime after the State of California passed sentencing realignment ( prison overcrowding.)   Realignment may have reduced the prison population, but the cost to society has been far worse than the inconvenience of an overcrowded prison and here we go again.

If our police become in short supply due to illness, wouldn’t criminals take advantage of it?  The better question is, why wouldn’t they take advantage?   This new “help” from government has people buying guns that probably would never have considered owning a firearm before.   This is another ripple effect as government leaders consider our options.

And with that I will close and wish you all, “good luck.”

PS  Stock market in freefall.  Circuit breakers engaged early on, but no help, market falling at unprecedented rate.  The week, the stock market has suffered worst one day percentage drop in past 127 years.

 

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23 Responses to COVIDS – Learning from the Italians

  1. Chris says:

    Trump was right to ban travel from China, but I didn’t hear a lot of opposition to that aside from a few Democrats. He deserves credit for this. However, the rest of his decisions were awful! He said a month ago that there would be “zero cases” in the U.S. He and many on Fox News spent most of that month saying that this was a hoax to take him down. When he did finally start to take other measures besides the China ban he made multiple false claims, like that all travel from Europe was banned (leading Americans abroad to think they couldn’t come back), that the Europe travel ban included trade (it didn’t), and that insurance agencies are waiving co-pays for treatment (they’re only waiving it for tests). His administration had previously shut down the pandemic preparedness team on the national security council and when asked why, he said he didn’t know about it and “I don’t take any responsibility.” This man is not a leader! And his slow response will result in avoidable deaths.

    • Chris says:

      Trump said he was “bold” in imposing travel restrictions even though “everybody said, it’s too early, it’s too soon” and “a lot of people that work on this stuff almost exclusively” told him “don’t do it.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the decision stemmed from “the uniform recommendations of the career public health officials here at HHS.”
      Trump said Democrats “loudly criticized and protested” his announced travel restrictions, and that they “called me a racist because I made that decision.” Trump is overstating Democratic opposition. None of the party’s congressional leaders and none of the Democratic candidates running for president have directly criticized that decision, though at least two Democrats have.

      https://www.factcheck.org/2020/03/the-facts-on-trumps-travel-restrictions/

      • Chris says:

        Pie, while Joe Biden did say that, I cannot find any confirmation that he was referring directly to the travel ban. Here’s the Hill’s article on the subject which points out other policies Biden criticized by name:

        https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/481028-biden-slams-trump-for-cutting-health-programs-before-coronavirus-outbreak

        That said, I do think it’s reasonable to believe that Biden was referring to the travel ban. Fact Check says that none of the Dems running have “directly” criticized the ban, which would still be technically true, but they should have included that quote for further context.

        • Chris says:

          Biden could have been referring to Trump’s long history of racism and xenophobia. Trump’s insistence on calling it the Wuhan virus or China virus proves that Biden was right to be concerned with this. Health experts have warned that this language could be counterproductive:

          https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/trump-china-coronavirus-127919

          My mother is proud that I stand for truth and facts and don’t let people off the hook for lying; she does the same. The “basement” crack is just stupid given what you know about my family situation; I’ve been an open book over the years and you know damn well that doesn’t apply to me. Get some new material.

    • Chris says:

      The transcript leaves it unclear whether Trump means that the politicization of his handling of the crisis (which was fair, given that Trump was not taking the pandemic seriously) was a “hoax” or not. Given how unclear his language is I believe my reading is fair. Either way, we need a leader who can speak clearly and accurately during a health crisis. You knew Trump wasn’t that leader in 2016 and you know it now.

      https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-kag-rally-north-charleston-south-carolina-february-28-2020

      The standard is not “perfection.” If you can point to other modern presidents who have made three separate false statements about their own policies in a national speech meant to reassure an anxious public, then do so. If you can’t, you should concede that the problem is that Trump supporters hold him to an incredibly low standard, rather than his detractors holding him to an unreasonably high one.

      • Chris says:

        I’ll note that Pie has still not taken me up on this:

        If you can point to other modern presidents who have made three separate false statements about their own policies in a national speech meant to reassure an anxious public, then do so. If you can’t, you should concede that the problem is that Trump supporters hold him to an incredibly low standard, rather than his detractors holding him to an unreasonably high one.

        I’ll take that as a concession that Trump supporters hold Trump to an incredibly low standard.

        • Chris says:

          I have responded to every one of your answers. You never gave me an example of a modern president making three separate false statements about their own policies in a national speech meant to reassure an anxious public. That is not a ridiculous claim, that is a fact. And I’m “done” when Jack says I’m done. Last time you pulled this I got reassurance from him that I was not suspended. If I have to go through him to get my comments posted as I did last week, I’m happy to do that.

        • Chris says:

          I thought I answered that, Pie. The answer is yes. You should see her Facebook! She once was a huge conservative; took me to the first Tea Party rally that was held in Fresno. We would argue in the car on the way back home from Fresno State while she listened to Sean Hannity and I would fact-check him for her. It took her a while to realize that the people she was listening to didn’t like single mothers, didn’t like people who got financial aid to go to college, and really didn’t like people on food stamps. She’s still pretty socially conservative, but in 2016 her ballot was to the left of me; to her embarrassment, she wrote in Bernie Sanders (something she has regretted since Trump). We now agree on politics and she is more likely to argue with relatives on Facebook than I am!

          How about you? How’s your family? Hope you’re safe and healthy in this difficult time.

    • Chris says:

      In an effort to spread optimism on the economy Trump said “we’ll be at zero cases by April.” He was wrong. No one is perfect.

      He was wrong because he refused to listen to the experts who were saying the exact opposite. Absolutely no informed person believe we would have zero cases by April. This isn’t an example of mere imperfection, it’s an example of Trump once again trying to create his own reality. Why can’t you see that having an American president who rejects facts that he doesn’t want to hear is a serious problem?

      • Chris says:

        Then show me the health experts who were saying that there would be zero American deaths from coronavirus by April. Should be very easy if my statement that Trump refused to listen to the experts is a “twisted perception.” Again, the one thing he did early on that the experts did agree on was the China travel ban, and I’ve given him credit for that. But his initial claims severely downplayed the impact of the coronavirus and that is undeniable.

      • Chris says:

        …That’s exactly what that means, Pie. Every expert said that there would be deaths and that they would continue for months. Trump said there would be no deaths by April. That means he did not listen to the experts.

        How can you deny this?

      • Chris says:

        You’re just a gaslighter, Pie. You may as well point at the sky and say it isn’t blue. You are denying that Trump didn’t listen to health experts when I proved that he did not; now you are denying that you are denying it! It’s insane.

        Deny this:

        President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday he has believed the coronavirus outbreak was “a pandemic, long before it was called a pandemic” — but in January, he explicitly played down concerns when asked about it.

        “No, not at all,” Trump told CNBC in a Jan. 22 interview on CNBC when “Squawk Box” co-host Joe Kernen asked him if there were worries about an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China becoming a “pandemic.”

        “It’s going to be just fine,” Trump assured Kernen during the interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

        “We have it totally under control.”

        https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/trump-dissed-coronavirus-pandemic-worry-now-claims-he-warned-about-it.html

        The president said he isn’t worried about the coronavirus becoming a pandemic. Now he is saying that he called it a pandemic before anyone else.

        That is a lie.

        And you will now lie and claim he never said that, even though it’s right there in black and white.

        Prove me wrong.

      • Chris says:

        Any comment on the president’s lie that he was calling this a pandemic before everyone else, even though he previously denied that it would be a pandemic?

        When you can’t spin, you lob insults. It’s so predictable.

    • cherokee jack says:

      I stopped reading Chris’ crap some time ago. Same as 3 or 4 letter writers to the ER. I check the name at the bottom first. If it’s the same old windbags who think every half-baked thought that occurs to them needs to be shared with the world, I ignore them. Chris deserves the same.

  2. Chris says:

    Yes, it does. He said there were no worries about a pandemic. Health experts were saying the opposite.

    Trying to avoid a panic can be done without denying the problem outright. Or at least, it can be done by leaders with a basic level of skill. Looking at how Joe Biden or even Bernie Sanders have been responding proves that. They have not been stirring a panic, they have just been honest about what is happening and what needs to be done.

    That all politicians lie and exaggerate doesn’t change the fact that Trump does so more than others.

    I was very civil to you up until the point I called you a gaslighter for your gaslighting behavior. Some day I will stop hoping for the same level of civility from you. The personal insults you have lobbed at me today speak to a desperation to deny the obvious: that Trump was ill-prepared for a crisis of this or any magnitude. Again, I believe you knew this in 2016 and I believe you know this now. I do not understand why you pretend otherwise.

    • Harold says:

      “Please spare us your posing of “civility,” it is nauseating.”

      I have to fully agree with Pie.

      The latest of Crocodile tears and unicorn fairy dust in my opinion was his syrupy concern for Peggy, I would wager any poster’s with some length of time on this board will immediately perceive insincerity of such from Chris.

      Chris’s reference of “personal insults you have lobbed” toward him, (all well earned) or his false concern for anyone on these boards who opinion differs from his , I have to liken to that of a criminal arrested, who then states ‘I am sorry’.

      With a little civility and forethought the problem would be a non issue, less a prolonged discussion.

      Words do matter and clearly can be used as a inference to the purpose of a individual’s intention, especially coming from an English major.

      • Chris says:

        Harold, I’ve never said anything on this blog that would lead a rational person to think I can’t genuinely express concern over the health and safety of anyone here. I can think a person is dishonest and ignorant and still hope they are healthy and safe. The two are not mutually exclusive at all. I stand by everything I’ve written here including the few times I’ve apologized for crossing the line. I genuinely hope you and yours are well during this difficult time, and if you can give me a solid reason to doubt that then I will apologize sincerely.

  3. Chris says:

    Trump *has* flip-flopped on his response to Covid-19. This is a fact. You are trying to help Trump craft an alternate reality where this is not happening. It will not work on the majority of Americans, who were not fooled by these attempts in 2016. Let’s just hope their will is reflected in the election college results this time.

  4. J soden says:

    Awfully simple. After reading lengthy, long-winded comments from Chris for a few years, I’ve decided that he really has nothing to say, no matter how many links he publishes.

  5. Pie Guevara says:

    Jack, having dispensed with Chris Souza’s hijack of the comments section I would like to say that your’s is a thoughtful and thought provoking post. I should have simply responded to it instead of being sidetracked by the troll. I should implement a policy to simply ignore him and leave it to you to handle his idiotic and absurdly outrageous assertions and attacks.

    Yes, we can thank Trump for an early travel ban to and from virus hot spots. We can also thank him for his other significant actions and policies as well as thanking the CDC, other government organs and the businesses which have jumped on board and are coordinating with government. There is a huge difference between the US and communist China. We coordinate with business and medical research firms, China gags them.

    Meanwhile the absurd Bernie Sanders attacked big pharm in that completely asinine “debate” Sunday night while big pharm is coming to the rescue dealing with the China virus. It is true, we are at war and this pandemic in many aspects is unprecedented. While some predicted it years ago, coming to grips with the reality is another matter entirely. I appreciate that Trump is now using bully pulpit rhetoric to put us on a wartime footing. It is the right move.

    Trump has expanded coronavirus response across the federal government and centered on a mobilization of military resources at the Pentagon as the outbreak worsens. Today he announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act should we need it. He is deploying military hospital ships to virus hotspots and has plans for deployment of other land based mobile response units.

    Today he also announced a number of other measures aimed at blunting the spread of the virus including looking into self-administered coronavirus tests and pushing for a speedy FDA approval of the self-swab test.

    These are all the right moves and I appreciate them.

    U.S. Air Force revealed today that it has flown half a million coronavirus testing swabs from Italy to Tennessee. THANK YOU ITALY!

    Italy is overwhelmed and given Trump’s actions to combat the spread I hope we are able to avoid also being overwhelmed. There is no doubt about it, cases will increase but Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, has said that efforts by the public and the government to mitigate the pandemic are having an effect despite the growing number of cases. If this trend continues we may yet avoid a spike and gentle the curve of the progression.

    Perhaps the reports of the effectiveness of a malaria drug and the drug treatment for the Japanese flu will help us and the rest of the world, including Italy, beat down the Chinese virus and bring it to heel. I think these probable solutions should be given the green light and not be bogged down in extensive trials. Big pharm and the FDA should be closely involved with this right now with no delay.

    I don’t think that releasing inmates with 30 days left to serve will be much of a problem but if it extends to more than that, yes, crime will spike and citizens will suffer. California policy has been absolutely insane. If there is an outbreak in prisons, so? The population can be put on lockdown and cases will be treated in an already isolated facility. I don’t really see this as much of a threat to spreading the virus.

    Police are just as susceptible to the virus as anyone else. If our police forces are significantly reduced due to infection we are really screwed. Testing and treatment should be a priority for all emergency services personnel. That may not seem fair but I think it vital.

    Yep, the market is tanking. I have always been in for the long term and think of it as an opportunity. I might even buy some Tesla and Amazon if the price drops enough to warrant speculation.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Well said Pie. You are really on top this story and I agree with your ideas completely. The word I got is big pharma and the FDA are doing exactly as you suggested. They (FDA) shifted from devils advocate management style and lets just take our time and be cautious, to clear the decks, get going, lives are at stake! Your comments should be on the front page Pie, would that be okay? Snip the 1st paragraph (since that’s just personal stuff) and we’ve got a great article everybody could use!

      • Pie Guevara says:

        OK by me but some of what I wrote last night was contained in the president’s press conference today. No need to credit me. Use any of it you like.

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