Some information I’ve gotten in the last day or so:
A Chinese clinical study that included a control group found that patients taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) had a shorter time to clinical recovery, as well as improved pneumonia. Even the NY Times reported on this although they downplayed the President’s role in touting HCQ.
One of our family relations in New York City was in critical condition on a ventilator with the COVID-19 virus. His wife had to sign a release to allow the doctors to use a treatment. A couple of days after the start of treatment he is off the ventilator much improved and talking to relatives on the phone.
I had a chance to do some back of the envelope calculations to see how the death statistics look for this thing with respect to patient’s age. Here it is:
So over 88% of people who die are over 60. 82% are over 70. That tells me that dosing all the old age homes with an anti-viral (which HCQ is) would go along way to knocking these death rates down by almost a factor of 10.
There are plenty of smart people who want his thing to end sooner and without hundreds of thousands of deaths. I’m hoping they start looking at the numbers and figure out that targeting the elderly is the key to dropping the mortality from this thing way down.
I’ve been out of the office for over two weeks now. One of these days the medical powers that be will decide that boredom has become more deadly than COVID-19 and we’ll be allowed to emerge from our burrows and walk the Earth again like bears in the spring. And after we remember how the gear shift on our car works, we’ll drive to work and return to our desks and empty out the calls from our desk phones and return our laptops to their docking stations. And we’ll start to work again?
It seems odd. We’ll go back to driving two hours a day to do the same work we did from home in our slippers and Saturday clothes. We’ll sit in conference rooms for hours instead of just reading an e-mail or teleconferencing for a few minutes. Sure, for some of us there’s much that we can’t do from home. If you work on projects that require managing contractors to build stuff it’s not possible to work remotely and if you buy equipment that needs to be tested at a factory then you’ll still have to drive or fly to do that. But it will seem that driving an hour back and forth to sit at a desk for eight hours is kind of stupid. And sure, I’ll admit that going to the office a day or two out of the week would actually be beneficial to ensuring that things are going smoothly and that any mistakes have been caught and to at least keep up the pretense that your boss is useful. But more than that seems a waste of everybody’s time.
Surely, I’m not the only one who has discovered this. Possibly this earthshaking news may filter up to the front office and a more rational approach to the office environment may emerge. Think of the amount of gasoline that will be saved. Think of the car accidents and traffic jams that could be eliminated. Think of all the extra sleep that Americans will get and all the extra time they’ll get with their families. And think of the energy that the office will save with the lights and heat and air conditioning turned off in areas not being used. It really makes you think.
Now this is an exaggeration. I’m currently at the end of some projects and the beginning of some others so this was actually the most convenient time for me to be out of the office. A couple of weeks earlier or a couple of months later and I’d have been forced to go in regardless of pandemic. As I mentioned, construction can’t be managed by remote control but I have definitely seen that part of my work week could be handled from home.
But I would be very surprised if after this whole mess winds down that some steps aren’t taken to make the work week more flexible and make telecommuting a reality for more people. If I were going to pick a day for working from home, I’d make it Wednesday. Staying up late on Tuesday night and getting up late on Wednesday morning would really change the dynamic of the work week into something much more manageable. I think I’ll put that in the suggestion box this week. Oh, wait I can’t. It’s in the office. Maybe they’ll invent the virtual suggestion box.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo has announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. Could they set up a Fredocam to let us watch his last minutes? Would he become smarter as the virus kills off his antibrain cells? Will the increase in average IQ after his death be visible from space? So many questions to ponder. Hail ,hail and farewell Fredo. We hardly knew ye.
If living through this nightmare does only one good thing, it’s this. It will give President Trump a mandate to end globalism once and for all. Once we’re finally released from our cells, we’re going to want him to take whatever steps he can to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And that’s quite a laundry list of things. First off, it’s time to close not only the borders but the airline routes too. Apparently Chinese New Year is the occasion for sending millions of Chinese back and forth from there to here just chock full of whatever pathogens have shown up in the wild game markets of China. That must stop. If China refuses to adhere to modern food hygiene then they should be treated like a plague city and kept at arm’s length. Instituting a quarantine for travelers from China and similar places at the border for say, two weeks would go a long way to preventing another horrific outbreak like the one we’re suffering under now. And because there’s no way of telling at the Mexican border where anyone comes from, we’ve got tot end all the illegal immigration. Not just sorta/kinda, but for real. Use the state of emergency to shut down the border and if a judge says no then declare martial law and do it anyway. The people will approve it. And while we’re at it, suspend legal immigration for the time being. It doesn’t make sense to be bringing people into the country during a catastrophe.
The next thing is to get Congress to declare all sorts of industries critical to Homeland Security and use a carrot and a stick to bring them back on shore. And make it a very heavy stick. Having our pharmaceuticals manufactured in China turns out to be a bad idea. And manufacturing everything else there hasn’t helped either. The President should do himself and us a favor and repatriate pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics, chemicals, metals, building supplies and just about everything else. As far as I can tell we’ll need the jobs badly when this is over and the tens of millions of unemployed people are going to want growth in the economy and plenty of it. And one good way to jump start something like that is to rebuild all the infrastructure that has virtually rotted away over the last fifty years of neglect. Infrastructure projects have often in the past been boondoggles but compared to tossing trillions away to keep people sitting in their homes I doubt you could do worse.
Some will be worried that shifting production here could cause a worldwide depression. I find that unconvincing. The East Asian economies have their own domestic demand that is quite mature at this point and not having ten percent growth won’t kill them. As for the rest of the developing world, if it’s not corona virus from China, it’s dengue fever from Guatemala or Ebola from the Congo. We don’t need any more lessons in epidemiology. We can see that plagues don’t mix well with a modern western democracy. It’s time to roll up the welcome mat and tell everyone out there to stay home and fix their own damn problems. And if it’s not too much to ask how about stop eating bats for a start. Try chicken, it tastes the same.
This is the beginning of Week 3 of the COVID-19 lock-down here in lovely but chilly New England and the cabin fever hasn’t really set in yet. But I must say the news has been a little monotonous. Even Italy hasn’t reached their peak mortality yet and we’re still climbing so we’ll be here for at least a few more weeks.
The only political news is that Creepy Uncle Joe is not just creepy he’s a sex criminal. One of his Senate staff workers accused him of an actual sexual assault on the streets of Washington D.C. back when he was just a lowly Senator. Immediately calls to draft Andrew Cuomo as the Democratic Presidential Candidate began circulating. It’s just amazing how terrible the Democrat bench truly is.
I must apologize for the low output on political posts. I’ve tried to compensate by posting more reviews and photo stuff. Just to let you know why this is, I’ve always felt that banging away at the same old thing when there’s nothing new to say is boring. I assume it’s just as boring for the reader as it is for the writer. So that’s why I haven’t been producing much of that stuff. Chances are this is a very temporary lull caused by the lock-down. We all know that regardless of whether the Democrats nominate Biden or an even worse candidate (as hard as that is to imagine) this election season will be the loudest, nastiest street brawl imaginable so I don’t see the need to pound away at the same old stuff when nothing is currently happening.
What I will do is look for interesting stuff in the news and life and post it along with my own cultural notes. So hang in there. Something horrible is bound to happen in Washington and we’ll have plenty of chances to be outraged sometime soon.
Also I want to start getting some feedback from the readers on the various types of posts I do. After all Vox Populi, Vox Dei. I want to see what is most interesting to the readers and give them more of that.
Camera Girl is a fan of the NCIS shows. Like all women she has her weaknesses. From the few times I’ve sat through these procedurals I have been enlightened as to just how many blonde, beautifully coiffed policewomen there are who can chase down a two-hundred-pound perp, subdue and cuff him while wearing high heels and without breaking a fingernail. Well sure, I can see that.
By sad happenstance tonight she was watching NCI-NO (New Orleans) while I was in the living room. The action was around an NOPD officer who while in pursuit of a robbery suspect becomes surrounded by a crowd of the suspect’s friends and thinking he sees a gun in the hand of a man shoots and kills him. So, of course, the cop is white and the suspect and the shooting victim are black. Eventually we find out that the victim was holding a phone that the policeman mistook for a gun. Speeches and anger by the black cast members over the unjust treatment of black men by law enforcement, shame and appeasement by white cast members over how racist the world is. The policeman resigns in shame. The victim’s mother gives a dignified and loving speech about her son. Everyone looks wistful.
That’s all very nice. But isn’t that exactly what they said was the case with Michael Brown in Ferguson? He was just a gentle giant who was executed by a racist cop. He was a good kid who just accidentally assaulted a policeman, tried to take his gun and even after being shot once, charged the officer rather than surrender. Why that could happen to anyone.
Anyway, what I’m wondering is when the next police show on tv is going to devote an episode to the knock out game. You know, where a black teenager cold cocks some old Hassidic man or woman just to see if he can knock him unconscious with one punch while his friends capture it on their phones. As a special bonus if he hits his head hard enough on the pavement he might even die. Now that would be must see tv. Maybe they could explain how it’s really racism by the old man that caused the incident.
Or maybe they can highlight one of those scenes that get captured on camera fairly frequently of a white or Hispanic or even black teenager being mobbed by black teenagers, knocked down and pummeled relentlessly with fists and feet until unconscious and then robbed of shoes and other belongings. Certainly, this can be shown to be, once again, the result of anti-black discrimination.
So, the point of this post is to say that the bad relations between the police and the inner-city black population is hardly one of inexplicable racism. The police are stuck with trying to keep order within an environment where many of the inhabitants, of these neighborhoods, even the teenagers, are depraved thugs and the rest of the community blames the police for enforcing laws that everywhere else are just normal behavior.
And now since the police have been prosecuted for doing their jobs, they have sensibly stepped back from enforcing the laws in these neighborhoods. And the result of that is criminality and the law of the jungle. Just last week, the Mayor of Baltimore begged his citizens to stop shooting each other so that there would be more beds available for COVID-19 patients. That’s what Ferguson has brought us to in 2020.
Now I know that Hollywood would never have the courage to provide equal time to the politically incorrect truth about life in modern American cities but it certainly would get high ratings and everyone has always told me that Hollywood is a business and what makes money decides what is shown. I don’t think there’s much of a market for the racist cop trope any more.
We had a very warm, snow-free winter this year and now that it’s officially spring, the snow started coming down heavy this morning. But I’m telecommuting today and don’t have to drive so why not? There were five deer in the forest outside my living room window. I was enjoying the view until the German shorthaired pointers joined me. They started barking and scared the deer away. But before the fearless defenders of the castle did their job, I was watching the deer feeding. Apparently, there are enough new shoots on trees and bushes for the deer to browse on. Yesterday the mallards returned to the swamp and grazed on the plant life that has been available since the pond thawed out two weeks ago. Camera Girl saw a turtle swimming around over the weekend and the sound of the spring peepers has been noticeable lately. I put up that photo of the first garter snake and the first bluebird has made an appearance at the feeder. So even though it looks like January 23rd outside my window I’m not fooled. Sure, we could still get the April Fool’s Nor’easter this year and even have to break out the snow blower one last time before moving the lawn mower to the front of the shed. But spring is busting out all over the place. This is just the spiteful spirit of annoying New England and its contrarian position against anything normal and happy. But it won’t win. We just have to be a little more stubborn than the powers of death and dissolution. There’s snow on the ground but Spring’s in the air.