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Kris,
yes. Your science say a man in a dress really is a woman - and can even menstruate and have babies! It's an act of hate to say otherwise.

In due time (3 months at most) we will see if your "science" got the prediction right, though I'm sure you'll find a way to weasel around admitting it was wrong if it is.

I grabbed a hold of my walker, dragged my oxygen tank outside and torn the entrails out of a chicken, waved them around while I barked at the moon and the number 21K +/- 4K was given to me by the voodoo gods.

The gods also told me that some of the covid fatalities also had the flu and other serious conditions that would have killed them in the next six months or a year. So the 21K was a clean figure, but we'll just go with it.

ooops...dementia strikes again

meant to say the 21K is *not* a clean figure, but we'll have to go with it.

"Why not start the overhaul now?"

Because nobody implements a massive, highly complicated overhaul of 1/10th of the economy during a paralyzing global crisis.

"We know the failures."

We don't know much of anything, except that the government didn't adequately prepare for a pandemic. Even the governments of NYC and NY state did not prepare, despite two decades spent in expectation of a bioterrorist attack. California's Governor Schwarzenegger prepared for a pandemic (avian flu), but Jerry Brown dismantled the emergency facilities and sold the medical gear, including ventilators, to foreign countries. We could start with those failures ... but only once we restore a semblance of normality. Until then, we're not going to do anything. Obviously.

"So let's say Canada and the US have the same death rate from COVID when all is said and done. Canada managed to do that with a system which spends $7068 per person while we had to $11,172 per person. Why support a wasteful system which could at best tie a system which spent 34% less than it?"

Let's say the US has a 34% lower death rate than Canada. What then?

Matt,
Just to clear up a point, in the U.S. Medicare recipients can not go to any physician or hospital they want and expect Medicare to always pay for services received. Providers have to agree to participate in the Medicare program and some, especially physicians may not agree to participate. - AOD

Then the system is largely vindicated however we both know that isn't going to happen. On the other hand what if Canada does just as well as we do or does better will you admit their system is far more efficient and support creating something similar to it over here? Saves money so why not?

You still have not addressed the problem with people avoiding testing early on because they could not afford it. Do you think countries with universal health care had people turning down free testing for fear of the cost??

Apparently Eric is struggling with dementia now and has confused me for some other Kris that he knows who happens to have those views as I have never once said any of that. Truth be told I have suspected that about Eric for awhile now as that would explain a lot of his views and sheer contrarianism.

You are misrepresenting me Michael as I clearly said:

"We can continue using the system that we have to treat COVID but we can immediately pass laws that address the issues that exist because we use a cobbled for profit system."

We can change our laws immediately to create a system which offers tax payer funded universal medical health care for any who wants it and assuming it is available tomorrow if we wanted to. That would not touch private systems it would just make a parallel public system.

The only reason we don't do that is the private system fears competition and can buy Republicans.

Good comments Eric.
You noted that, “Also, people are just a lot healthier today due to indoor plumbing (not ubiquitous even in 1918), climate controlled homes, improved diet, etc. So they are less susceptible to serious infections than 100 years ago.”

I was going to say that myself as I think that is key to the 1918 epidemic. I grew up in a medium sized town of 80,000 population in the 1940s and both of my grandmothers and my great grandmother lived within the city limits , my great grandmother living within a few blocks of the State Capitol. All of my grandmothers still had outhouses and dug wells at that time. Indoor plumbing and potable water was not common at all except in newer houses. Dug wells, which many of the older homes still had, were generally brick-lined with a hand pump thereby allowing surface contamination to easily get into the drinking water. Sometimes the out houses were way too close to the well allowing contamination to easily enter. My great grandmother still had a rain barrel for additional water. It is no wonder that the “Spanish” influenza virus spread so quickly and killed so many people.

Several kids slept in one bed at that time and bathing was usually once a week. My grandfather used to brag that he had to sleep in the attic and that snow came in through the roof onto his bed. Any heating system they had was from a heating stove usually in the kitchen and fueled with wood or coal and later on central heating furnaces became available but still, in the 1940s they were fueled with coal. I am not sure that my mother and father knew what bacteria and viruses were when they were growing up in 1918 so they had no idea what they needed to do to prevent their spread.

I did not grow up in the ‘sticks’. I grew up in Springfield, a moderate-sized town--- the capital of the State of Illinois

To be honest, Kris, I’m getting tired of you and I suspect others are also. You can’t seem to argue any position without becoming hysterical and making snide personal remarks. This has long been a problem. Though you may not know it, I had to apologize privately to Keith Augustine on more than one occasion for your behavior. I’ve never had to do that for any other commenter. More recently I had to redact your comments when you persisted in attacking someone (probably Eric, but I forget) even after I asked you to cool it. Again, I've never had to do that with anyone else.

I’m not running an online daycare center, and my nerves are a tad stressed because of the epidemic, social isolation, and the oncoming economic depression. So here’s the deal. Argue calmly, maintain civility, and accept the possibility that people can disagree with you without being either cretinous or evil. If you can’t manage to follow these guidelines, I’m afraid I will have to stop posting your comments altogether.

As Danny Glover would say, "I’m getting too old for this shit."

That's fine Michael

You do seem to have a very selective outrage after all as earlier Eric has mentioned armed violence against liberals but hey I guess that is fine. Eric also attributed positions never made by me to me but hey guess that is okay too.

I guess if I am "hysterical" so is the President, the Governors of almost every state and the medical community which happen to estimate around 100K dead minimum with quarantines. The people who disagree with them tend to be online conservatives with no scientific training who are mad at this crises because it is affecting their investments and desperately want to send people back to work with the phrase if they die they die.

I am certainly going to attribute blame to this and the blame lands with conservatives. They elected a completely incompetent man to the Presidency who failed to act on COVID 19 till March. They support a system which discouraged testing by potentially infected people and they support systems which kept those people exposed to the public. You have never addressed that seriously flaw.


Fine I am sick of this quarantine too. I am not keen on the coming recession or depression but hey it's not my side that caused it. Conservatives caused it by electing a man who was incompetent to a position he was not remotely qualified for and by supporting a broken system of healthcare because they either do not want a tax increase or they simply are profiteering off the suffering of others.

We have had over 4,000 people die because of this disease and many of them would be alive now if this administration had acted properly. And this is almost certainly a drop in the bucket compared to what it will be.

Conservatives like to say hey they were old. So what, does being old make your life matter less? By the way many of those old people were probably caring for many young people. The next refrain is that these people had pre existing conditions. So what, is that now a death sentence? People with pre existing conditions also contribute to society. My six year old son has asthma and is considered a high risk for COVID, does his life not matter now because he dared to be born with a pre existing condition? My wife is 37 and recently developed adult asthma, is her life now worthless?

Fine I am a snarky person with a very low tolerance for nonsense. Hence my lack of civility with Keith Augustine as he is a trained philosopher using myther tricks to avoid data. He knows better.

Fine maybe my personality sucks. But I would rather have a crappy personality then be nice and civil and support sending people to their deaths so my Roth will not lose value. Maybe I am a jerk but I am not politely suggesting the elderly and the infirm should be sacrificed just to keep the economy chugging ( as if the far larger fatalities from that decision wouldn't also kill the economy). Maybe I am rude, but I don't support profiteering off the backs of the sick.

People once said the abolitionists, the suffragettes,civil rights activist and gay rights activist were rude . You know what, they were rude and you know what they were absolutely right.

If given the choice between being nice or being moral I will go with being moral anytime.

I think it is interesting to read the differing points of view on the Corona virus epidemic in these comments and how those views are expressed by commenters. It usually serves no good purpose to rant and rave in a comment but emotions sometimes get the better of some of us and sometimes comments are made that if they could be taken back most people would do that upon reflection

Years ago when I was new to commenting on blogs I had a tendency to be somewhat confrontational and contrarian at times but I quickly learned that if I wanted to continue to comment that I would have to tone it down somewhat and be respectful of others, regardless of their points of view. Michael Prescott and Michael Tymn helped me to do that so I thank them both for that.

I do have a few rules for myself which I try to follow. The number one rule is that I won’t engage with anyone who is argumentative or aggressive with me or any other commenter on a personal level. I just don’t respond to them even though I have to ‘bite my lip’ at times. After a while though I think it is not a good idea to just let people get by with spewing their anger and hatred at others on the site. Sometimes it is irresistible and unavoidable that a response must be made in order to prevent a web site from being taken over by deranged crooked-thinking, angry, hateful people.

One of the problems that some Republicans have I think is that they are too contented with life. They generally are not unhappy, hateful or angry with other people. They don’t seem to be ‘fighters’ and tend to ignore or walk away from confrontations. That may be a mistake as I think that sometimes it is necessary to fight back at unreasonable, combative, hateful and ultimately harmful people.

Michael Prescott’s blog has over the years earned a reputation for civil discourse; I hope it can stay that way. I will try to do my part. - AOD

Kris,
I don't think you understand how complicated the healthcare system is. You can't just "switch" to an entirely new model. It would take years. There's a lot of risk involved for everyone.

Just one aspect of the system that would have to be re-worked is contracting with physicians and hospitals. As it is, different insurance companies and the governments (federal for Medicare and states for Medicaid) negotiate reimbursement rates with care providers. Those negotiations are complex. They tend to be annual.

Additionally, part of the negotiations involve ensuring that adequate networks are available; meaning that each geography has a sufficient number of family practice specialists, sufficient cardiac specialists, sufficient neonatal units, sufficient urgent care, sufficient emergency care; basically sufficient every kind of care that a population needs. Much wrangling is involved in lining up all of these individuals and getting them on the same page, playing nice together, etc.

Developing and maintaining provider networks in a geography involves finding the right mix of reimbursement schedules. It is well known that if all players in a geography try to reimburse at Medicare levels, then care providers (Dr.s/hospitals) close their doors and move or they alter their specialty to something more profitable (or they switch to private out of pocket pay if they are in an area where people can afford that). That is not theory or conjecture. It is a demonstrated fact.

So a sweet spot has to be found. The insurance plans (and govts) want to keep cost down by minimizing reimbursement rates, but they can't make the rates so low that providers leave networks.

Rural areas are especially harmed when reimbursement rates are too low. In cities, providers can make up for lower reimbursement on volume - though quality of care suffers because doctors spend less time with patients; sometimes turning over 90% of patient interactions to nurses/nurse practitioners, who are also in a hurry to get patients out the door quickly. However, in rural areas, the volume isn't there. Hospitals close and doctors move their offices to more populous areas.

I'm just scratching the surface here in an attempt to illustrate how much work would have to go into merely one aspect of a switch to socialized healthcare.

After all, you can't just put a gun to physicians' and hospital administrators' heads and force them to accept your socialized reimbursement rate and stay in the location.

There are many more complexities to the contracting issue alone, and there are many complex issues beyond contracting.

Kris's response didn't surprise me. He obviously intends to continue being rude, since he regards his behavior as justified by the monstrous evil of anyone who disagrees with him. Unfortunately, in a moderated forum like this one, it's imperative to maintain civility. Otherwise conversations descend quickly into name-calling and chaos, and intelligent voices are shouted down. Sometimes a heavy hand is required to maintain order in these little online communities; I don't especially like doing it, but I will. I don't plan to post any comments from Kris in the future.

I apologize to anyone who likes his comments or agrees with his point of view. I'm not banning him because I disagree with him, but because he's simply too disruptive and too inclined to make things personal.

For the record, I think most of the stuff he posted in his last rant was nonsense. As I've said before, early COVID testing wasn't done in the US because the tests weren't available. They weren't available because the test kits ordered by the government turned out to be unreliable.

"The three-week delay caused by the C.D.C.’s failure to get working test kits into the hands of the public-health labs came at a crucial time. In the early stages of an outbreak, contact tracing, isolation, and individual quarantines are regularly deployed to contain the spread of a disease. But these tools are useless if suspected cases of a disease cannot be tested. The void created by the C.D.C.’s faulty tests made it impossible for public-health authorities to get an accurate picture of how far and how fast the disease was spreading."

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-went-wrong-with-coronavirus-testing-in-the-us

These things happen. The UK just discovered that their new test kits are contaminated and must be discarded.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/coronavirus-tests-uk-contaminated-covid-19

Blaming the outbreak on Trump and his voters is indeed being hysterical. Are we supposed to believe COVID would have been no problem if Hillary Clinton was in charge? Every country on earth is dealing with the pandemic, and many of them have higher death rates (fatalities per capita) than the US.

Saying that concerns about risk assessment amount to wanting old people to die in order to keep our stock portfolio from dropping is stupid, insulting, and, again, hysterical. I've said nothing about the stock market. I did say that millions of people are losing their jobs and thousands of businesses are likely to close permanently, taking the owners' life savings with them. It is not unreasonable to ask if a nationwide lockdown is the best approach. We did not take this approach in previous pandemics (notably 1957 and 1968), and not all countries are taking it now. South Korea controlled its outbreak without a lockdown. Sweden is trying to do the same, though the jury is still out on whether its strategy will succeed.

Incidentally, not very long ago (on a different thread), Kris was saying it will be good when old people die off because then younger, more liberal voters will enact the progressive agenda.

Anyway, enough of this idiocy. We've generally maintained pretty high standards of decorum on this blog, not to mention intelligently reasoned argumentation, and I hope that will continue. Now everyone please go back to sitting around and wondering if it's safe to go outside. Cheers!

You know your stuff, Eric. - AOD

Yes, one of the strengths of this blog and its community is that Liberals and Conservatives are able to discuss things in a cordial manner.

So that's not fun but it did seem necessary.

In terms of the consequences of not having everyone stay at home, not closing restaurants, etc., I have a real life story for you. Tell me what you think.

My ex and child are in Japan and living with my ex's parents. They are old. My ex has two jobs, one as an instructor in a "juku" (a kind of school for extra study for school kids), and they still want her to come into work. Japan is doing this whole thing in a pretty half-arsed manner. Some things are closed down, a lot are not. Ken Shimura was seen eating out and drinking with his friends on 3/10.

If she gets the Virus, she almost certainly will pass it to one or both of her parents. They're old, so they have a significant chance of dying from it.

And that's a problem a lot of people around the world are facing. It's not just the overall lethality of the virus that's an issue, whether it's 0.5% or 1.5%. It's also the very significant lethality with respect to older people.

You can't just blow that off, right? And like my ex, not everyone has the option of just not going to see their parents, since they live with them.

Thoughts?

I heard now that China was lying about the amount of deaths caused by Covid-19. Could of been much higher than they said?. If so that would not be good at all. This apparently has been confirmed by three agents in the secret service from the USA that they were indeed lying about the total deaths.

BTW, COVID-19 stats updated in real time by country:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

Matt,
I think it is a real dilemma during an epidemic such as the one we are all in, when elderly people are cared for at home by family members or nurses and aides from the local Home Health Agency. My 100 year-old mother was seen every day at home by outside care givers. I and my sister provided the rest of the care but I had to travel from one city to another every other day to take care of her. It was always a challenge to stay healthy and not have a cold or other infection when I made my visit to her.

What to do? Care had to continue to be given or admission to a nursing home had to be considered. Caught on the horns of a dilemma my sister and I had to decide which was worse: placing our mother in a nursing home where we would lose all control over our mother's care or trying to continue to care for her at home. We chose the latter until it became impossible to continue at home.

There is no easy answer here. All my sister and I could do was to wear a mask when we were sick with a cold, keep washing our hands and maintain some distance whenever possible between our mother and us. Not at all a good situation. - AOD

For Eric,

This article says that the number of deaths in Bergamo Province, Italy, is at 6x the normal rate for the period in question:

https://www.ecodibergamo.it/stories/bergamo-citta/coronavirus-the-real-death-tool-4500-victims-in-one-month-in-the-province-of_1347414_11/

"Our evaluation, carried out with great accuracy by means of the official data provided by each local administration, tells us that during the month of March more than 5.400 people have died, and approximately 4.500 of these are ascribable to coronavirus. One year ago, in March, the total deaths were almost 900."

That doesn't sound too good.

Here's a little bit more of the article, Matt.

"Of only 2.060 of them, [total deaths] the «official» certified deaths caused by Covid-19 in the local hospitals (data as at yesterday), we know everything: age, gender, pre-existing conditions. We do not know anything about the other 2.500. Many of them are old people, who died at home or in assisted residential homes. In spite of the unmistakable symptoms, as recorded by physicians and relatives, they were never tested for the disease. On their death certificate you can just read: interstitial pneumonia."

- AOD

Italy is clearly suffering. They seem to be an outlier, though, at least so far. If you arrange the Worldometers list of nations by deaths per million, Italy is almost at the bottom (i.e., among the worst). They are currently at 230 per million, while almost all over countries are under 100. (But I suspect that Iran and China are lying.)

I have no doubt CV is worse than the flu, if only because it can come on so fast and can require days on a ventilator, rather than just hours. Also, the fatality rate is clearly at least somewhat higher than ordinary flu, though initial estimates were way off. At first we were told the fatality rate was 3.4%; now the consensus seems to be somewhere between 1% and 0.5%. That's a big drop, but even the latter figure is higher than influenza, which is usually estimated at having a 0.1% fatality rate, or maybe 0.2% for severe strains.

A tiny bit of good news is that new deaths in the US dropped off a bit yesterday. It's much too soon to say we've peaked, but maybe we're at or near a plateau. Fingers crossed.

Matt,
What Michael said + laying in a bed and being on a vent itself can cause pneumonia.

Also -
Death from Flu is not a clean data bucket - and neither is death or morbidity from COVID-19 - even you if tested everyone so you had a real denominator for case mortality rates. The best you can say is that the virus was present, the patient exhibited some symptoms that are consistent with what is know about those associated with the virus and the patient died (or required a vent, etc). That may sound like a reasonable methodology for counting COVID-19 deaths, but is it really?

Someone is walking down the street and gets shot in head. Cause of death is easy to determine; i.e. gunshot wound to the head.

Cause of death is not so easy to determine with viruses. In fact, it's very subjective. Someone contracts the virus, they feel ill, or maybe have no symptoms at all. Someone else contracts the same virus, becomes very ill and dies. The virus is not like a bullet in the least bit.

The human body is a series of interconnected and interrelated systems - and there's a psychological/spiritual component involved as well.

A healthy person contracts the virus and his body enacts an immunological response that expresses as a fever and a cough. He feels lousy, but fights off the virus and is back on his feet again in a week or so.

Another guy who's overall health is a little less solid (weak points in the systems and system interactions)contracts the same virus, develops a fever and some vomiting and diarrhea and becomes dehydrated. The dehydration then causes some kidney issues because he had undiagnosed kidney disease. His electrolytes are now out of whack. His kidneys become infected. His immune system is overwhelmed. He develops pneumonia on top of the other issues. He dies. What killed him? The virus? The kidney issue? The pneumonia? Dehydration? Had he contracted a different virus prior to, or around the same time as, the virus that everyone is focused on? It is possible to be impacted by two viruses at once. One may even make a person more susceptible to the other.

Another person contracts the same virus. This person is elderly and tired of this life. They are subconsciously waiting for the release that death will bring. They develop symptoms and they decide to not fight. They simply give up and pass away. Did the virus kill them? Wouldn't any inevitable illness have ended with the same result?

However, if someone dies and corona virus is present, then that death is chalked up to COVID-19.

I don't know about the Italy situation. It seems to be concentrated in a single geography for the most part. It seems that the demographics involved are elderly. I feel like there's more we aren't being told. At what rate does that geography/demographic die in normal flu years?

Eric said," laying in a bed and being on a vent itself can cause pneumonia."

Absolutely! That is why good treatment protocols prefer that following surgery, people get up and out of bed as soon as possible to prevent blood clots and pneumonia. The worst thing for any of us, sick or well, to do is to lay around in bed all day. - AOD

AOD,
Medical errors/malpractice kills 150K to 300K (depending on which studies you accept - I think the higher figure is about right) every year. So going to see a doctor is more dangerous than the projected US fatalities of the virus.

Americans are turning out to be a bunch of ninnies.

Eric,

The article said that the area had 900 deaths of March 2019 but 5,600 in March 2020.

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