CORONAVIRUS: THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM IS GUESSWORK

Because it has so much power and money to spend, we tend to focus on the Federal Government. However, the United States is a federation of states. Therefore, when something has to be done involving people all across our country, especially something difficult, state and local governments must take the lead. What is being done to slow down the spread of the coronavirus illustrates this truth. In addition, what follows is an illustration of what we have to do to make a difficult decision. In a crisis, we have to go with the information we have. That is what makes a crisis a crisis. We cannot afford to wait. We cannot wait for information we don’t have. We have to act NOW!

In a crisis, the doctor guesses which antibiotic will work. The wrong medicine is usually better than none. In a crisis, the general guesses the intentions of enemy and concentrates his forces based upon that guess. The wrong plan is usually better than doing nothing. Why is the wrong decision usually better than doing nothing. In a crisis we assume the worst.

View the following video from Ohio. Think of it as reality TV for real. Of course it won’t be as entertaining, we cannot turn off reality when we want to do so. So, reality is not as much fun.

Why my personal interest in Ohio? Even though I live in Virginia, my children live in Ohio, and I want to be certain their state is doing its best.

The content of the video begins at 27 minutes. If it seems lengthy, be patient. For the next couple of months, the coronavirus will make your life all about social distancing. That social distancing can occur either before or after we get sick.

Note that DeWine’s team, especially the doctor, provide an excellent and informative presentation the problem and what we need to do. Therefore, the video is worth your time.

Who is the star of the video above, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (governor.ohio.gov). He is doing at the state level those things our president cannot do at the Federal level. To stifle the spread of the coronavirus, he is limiting the amount of social contacts between the citizens of his state.

When hardly any cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Ohio (Ohio Department of Health confirms fifth coronavirus case in state: ODH update (cleveland.com)), why is DeWine treating the spread of the coronavirus as a crisis? We have not been doing very much coronavirus testing in the United States. Therefore, we don’t actually know how many people have either had or still have the disease. That puts us in a predicament. To prevent the worst, we must presume the worst.

Here are several articles on the problems with coronavirus testing in the United State? We have had an issue producing test kits.

What about Virginia? Our governor has declared a state of emergency (Gov. Northam declares state of emergency after confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to grow in Virginia (nbc12.com)). Since Northam is a doctor, he probably has a good understanding of the problem. Hence, we have an additional reason to take his declaration of a state of emergency seriously. Even though Virginia has not yet seen signs of community spread (spread between Virginia locals instead of Virginians coming home with the disease caught elsewhere), he has taken the precaution of declaring an emergency.

What can we do if we don’t want to bring the coronavirus home to our families and neighbors?

  • Check out Steps to Prevent Illness (nbc12.com).
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Maintain a proper social distance.
  • Check out Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (cdc.gov) for more information.
  • Find out what your local government (Virginia) is doing. Encourage local leaders to take the coronavirus seriously. Since our governor has declared an emergency, they have no excuse for not being on top of the problem.

21 thoughts on “CORONAVIRUS: THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM IS GUESSWORK

  1. Good post Tom. Very informative.

    As much as I don’t think that Trump should be president, for the sake of the nation, I do hope he succeeds in rising to this occasion. The travel bans (Trump’s go to one trick pony) are weird, sort of like locking the doors when the thief is already in the house, but I honestly don’t think that many people should want to travel anywhere right now anyway.

    I wish that Trump could just do his job for a while without constantly telling us and having to be told by sycophants what a great job he is doing. On the other hand, the press needs to call a truce on its war with Trump and focus it’s information and criticism on the crisis at hand. Trump’s lose affiliation with facts and truth isn’t the most important story anymore, in fact it is not even A story anymore, so the constant focus on Trump’s every endless misspoken word isn’t very helpful.

    I worry about Trump. He really, really doesn’t need to get the virus and be out of commission or worse during this crisis. It will unhinge the country and the economy even further. I wish his people would prevail on him to do a little more social distancing. This is true of the leaders of the House and Senate (and the Democratic candidates) as well. These are all “in person” people, but none of them are Spring Chickens. We don’t need the whole government going down in a crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @tsalmon

      Shutting down international flights from infected areas makes more sense than you might think. Because of the confined space, anyone who is infected (especially a stewardess, will spread the virus to a bunch of people. Then, once the plane arrives, those people will spread the virus. Therefore, we need to stop the flights until places like China and Italy get the virus under control. Frankly, however, I think we should resume flights once we have the capacity to test people for the virus before they go to the airport.

      Not too worried about our government shutting down. We have a federation, and more is done at the state and local level than most people realize. In addition, we have a system that clearly defines who takes over when the boss gets sick or dies. Therefore, I may worry Pence (He seems to have Trump’s confidence.) won’t be as strong as Trump, but I am not worried someone competent won’t take over. Well, Nancy Pelosi ….. but let’s not think about that.

      Like

  2. We have a “free” drive thru coronavirus testing center set up in Denver. The line is long though..yesterday over four hours last I heard. Which has its own difficulties…I can see it now. At least it’s still cool outside but surely some of these folks don’t have water.
    Man gets out of car, knocks on window of person behind him.
    “Hey buddy, You have any water? My kid’s thirst. We’ve been sitting here for three hours and don’t want to leave now…”
    (“aaachoooo!” cough cough…)

    Yesterday the stores ran out of toilet paper. I’m so glad we have a bunch.
    And cleaning products like soap.
    So tell me, if I hoard all the soap and others can’t wash is this a net benefit to me?
    This is getting a little silly.
    Probably best most of the WWII generation aren’t around to see what we’ve become.
    A bunch of fat people fighting over toilet paper.
    Stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the link, Citizen Tom! I will listen to it in the car later today.
        When I’m driving around looking for toilet paper. 😆

        (jk about the tp, but I really will listen to it in the car. That’s where I play my podcasts…takes a lot time to get somewhere from up here on the mountain).

        Related side note: The airlines are getting crushed right now. Mike has a retirement to attend that was supposed to be held at the Pentagon, but it is being deferred elsewhere because the Pentagon is closed to outside visitors. Mike’s plane will probably be almost empty. I’m sure American and some others will expect a government bailout after this. Oy vey. SWA still has a lot of cash, but they’ve cut down flights and folks who work there are worried, too. This might be worse for the airlines than 911 was. Even with Russia giving gas away.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. @Liz

          Since tsalmon is a retired pilot, he probably has a lot of money invested in the airline he use to work for. Expect he has to fight to stay in a good mood.

          Like

          1. It’s the best job in the world and a really tough career, but we were blessed. An arbitrator gave us 30 percent pay cut at one point, and then a furlough during the Great Recession dropped me back to first officer for two years, but everyone came back and my airline never went bankrupt. We always tried to live like tomorrow does not owe us anything.

            SWA is a strong airline. All the airline consolidation seems to have put the big ones left standing in a very good position to come out of this bigger than ever. I expect that it will be a rough year or so, but eventually there will be a lot of pent up demand for everything, including travel. I hope so anyway.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Something to keep in mind, to help with keeping things in perspective, a decade ago about 59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized, 12,000 died. We’ve been through this kind of thing many, many times.

    Part of the reason why we distance ourselves is to slow down the spread so we don’t all catch it at once. That helps to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed. Many people will probably catch it (and have already had it,) and will recover just fine. Those few who do need medical support however, need to be staggered out so they don’t all land in the hospital at once.

    So be reassured, all will be well. We got some mediated reality and politics going on, scaring people for no reason, as they are prone to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @IB

      I don’t think FDR was a good president, but he was a first rate speaker. Here is how he started a 1932 speech.

      I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. (from (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/))

      It is just as important to do the right thing at the right time as it is to avoid panic. Unfortunately, during the Great Depression FDR did the wrong things at the right time to make the mess bigger. FDR succeeded in calming the panic, but he failed to end the depression because he assumed control of resources (tax and spend) that should have been left in private hands.

      Consider the irony. FDR made such a mess of the Great Depression that it is conventional wisdom that WWII ended the Great Depression. The chaos of world war is good for the economy? Nonsense! Yet our education system and the news media peddles this nonsense as the gospel truth. IT IS NOT TRUE, but it is effective propaganda. Too many of us are big enough doofuses to believe it.

      That all seem off subject? Think about why we fear. To a large extent we do so because many of us do not trust our leaders. So we must look at the facts and think objectively about what needs to be done.

      To buy ourselves time to do the testing, we will have to slow the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing. That will be costly, but we can make adjustments once testing becomes more commonplace.

      If what is done about the coronavirus is largely lead by state and local official, people close enough to touch, I think we will have more confidence that what is being done is necessary and will produce the desired results.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks To for the useful info. My state, California, was one of the first to declare a SO, which did’t impress me much. I’m not agains the the federal governed helping out where needed and containing Coronavirus certainly requires an all hands on deck strategy. I fear though these SOE calls are done mostly for the funding while requiring little of the states themselves to come up with solutions. I dunno, could just be my cynical brain but that’s how I see it.

    My thoughts on the Coronavirus have shifted quite a bit over the last week and a half. I do feel it’s much more of a threat than initially presented. Let’s hope wise decisions are being made to contain it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Tricia

      Our governor declared an SOE, but he really did not do very much. When he declared the number of test kits adequate (just enough for 500 people), I just shook my head. Admittedly, however, he complained about the CDC supply chain and said Virginia would start developing its own testing capacity. Frankly, I think he was just trying to slam the Federal Government while appearing nonpartisan.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think a lot of politicians are using this as an opportunity to slam Trump which is not surprising. We need to take the coronavirus seriously but there are a lot of decisions being made under a herd like mentality, like shutting down schools when there are virtually no reported cases among young children and very few among older ones. The cost in lost education and in the adjustments working parents will have to make will be enormous.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. @Tricia

          ….. like shutting down schools when there are virtually no reported cases among young children and very few among older ones. The cost in lost education and in the adjustments working parents will have to make will be enormous.

          There are two reasons for shutting down the schools.
          1. To stop the spread of the virus through the schools, the schools have to be closed before the virus gets into the schools. Little like closing the barn door after the cows have walked once the virus is in the schools.
          2. The schools are not so good. Except for “free” babysitting, do we need them open? Much taught in the public schools is propaganda for the Democratic Party. What is taught with respect to math, science, English, and so forth is relatively poor compared to the rest of the world.

          That said, the best way to avoid school closures designed to prevent the spread of disease is to keep the schools small. The smaller the number of students, the less likely it is that any of them are sick and spreading disease. Big is not always better. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy likes them big. That makes it easier to justify paying a principal a bigger salary.

          Like

      1. Yep, the number of cases hit over 22,000 today in Italy. 😦
        Here is a lifter upper, though (TSalmon might like it too)
        Epicness in the extreme!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tom,

    Good informative post. I am happy to hear that our government is making use of their quarantine powers and giving public information broadcasts.

    Frankly in my opinion, if previous government used the same quarantine powers on HIV/AIDs and other STD diseases, or addictive drugs, it might have saved a lot of lives.

    When you consider tha low percentage of fatalities, less than 1 percent, and mainly on high risk old guys like me, the coronavirus is far less deadly. I am self quarantine my activities to hopefully avoid it. Seems others regardless of age should do the same if they are coughing or sneezing..

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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