Mass Hysteria???

Earlier this week, I received the following e-mail from a former Pentagon official with whom I correspond.  He, in turn, received it from a friend of his, Nelson Ford.

Mr Ford was a former Army Under-Secretary and health industry executive who finished his career as president at Logistics Management, Inc. What prompted Mr Ford’s critique was an absolutely hysterical screed written in The Atlantic which advocates  “suppression” designed to “disrupt our way of life”.  The authors imply that nothing short of a military-style mobilization is necessary to prevent another Bubonic Plague.

Things have changed since March 21, but not so measurably that we cannot appreciate his perspective.  It is at least worth considering. 


Sent: March 21, 2020 9:56 AM
Subject: Response to C19 and the Atlantic article “This Is How We Beat the Coronavirus”


I have been disturbed by our national response to COVID-19 (hereafter C19).  I believe that a two week pause in most public activities was warranted because of our uncertainty about how rapidly the infection would spread and how lethal it would be.  However, I don’t understand the effective shuttering of most economic activity given the relatively small number of cases and the outcomes we’ve seen.  This is a mass hysteria, fostered out of an abundance of caution in the public health community, exacerbated by the media (for which it is just the latest natural disaster that we can’t prevent) and amplified by local and State governments.  It has done great economic damage already and, if it continues much longer, could lead to economic suicide.

Much of the hysteria has been caused by the WH Task Force reaction to an article from Imperial College in London written by epidemiologists.  I’m happy to send a copy to anyone who hasn’t read it.  A recent posting from the Atlantic fanned the flames even more.  The response below is largely in response to that article but is based largely in my understanding of facts published by the Johns Hopkins University C19 data (used as a reference source by both the CDC and WHO). 

As many of you know, I believe the ratio of births to deaths is one to one, we each get one of each.  I’ve had a wonderful life and am not looking for it to end anytime soon.  Many of you also know my father is 102 and living by himself in the house he built 70 years ago.  What many of you don’t know is that he has no memories of his father who died in the flu epidemic in 1919.  He was a government chemist who lived with his wife and three children in Chevy Chase.  He was, like many of the fatalities of the “Spanish flu”, young and healthy.  When your number is up, it’s up and there is no magic or medicine that can change that. 

We should all work harder on staying healthy and following medical advice. Public health experts have been telling us for years to wash our hands, don’t go to work when we’re sick, be careful around those with compromised immune systems, etc.  While it might be a good idea generally to avoid crowds, that isn’t human; we are social creatures and depend on interactions with others for most daily activities. 

So, based on my experience and study, I dissent from the hysteria.  Please let me know what you think.  If you have other facts, I’d welcome the opportunity for discussion. 

In friendship,


Response to the Atlantic article

This article is yelling fire in a crowded theater. It is an extrapolation from the Imperial College study that suggests that there is nothing that the US can do that will limit deaths from the COVID19 (hereafter C19) to less than 1,000,000 before the summer.  And it is worse because the article assumes that there has been no medical progress in 100 years  I wonder how many ICU’s, ventilators, PPE, anti-virals and general understanding of how viral disease works there was in 1918.  We’re to be consoled by the fact that it may recede this summer but unless we spend massive amount of money, we’re (the US) looking at 2M+ deaths next year. This is irresponsible journalism and unworthy of the Atlantic.

No one in the world is experiencing these kinds of fatalities.  Not the Chinese, South Koreans, Japanese or Taiwanese yet the epidemic is not running rampant in any of those countries. The Italians admit that, with 47,021 cases and 4,032 deaths so far, the epidemic has overwhelmed their medical system.  But, with over 60 million people, are they projecting an additional 360,000 deaths from C19 this year?  About 1,800 Italians die every day from other causes (~650,000).  They are experiencing a crisis but that isn’t what the rest of the world is experiencing. Why isn’t the Chinese, Japanese, South Korean or Taiwanese experience what we should expect? They have had the virus in their populations for months longer than we (and the Italians) have and are not experiencing high numbers of C19 deaths. 

There are 35M people in Hubei province, roughly 1/10 of the US population. They have had 3,331 deaths to date and are reporting few or no new cases. They were late in trying to contain the epidemic and didn’t close down all activity in the province, they just quarantined it from the rest of the country for several weeks.  Extrapolating that experience to the US suggests 30,000-35,000 C19 deaths which, if added to the current modest flu season, wouldn’t create national alarm.  (We have trouble getting to 50% vaccination rates in the US let alone social distancing or not going to work when you are sick).  If you extrapolate the numbers of C19 deaths/1,000 in Japan, South Korea and Italy to the US population (not as dense or old), the expected totals would be 87, 564 and (so far given that the Italians death rate hasn’t started to fall) 20,000. 

In fact, the Japanese have gone about their business (schools were open at least earlier this week) and have attacked the outbreaks aggressively with testing and quarantines). My friend who is married to a Japanese woman and whose daughter lives in Tokyo, says that things are much as usual. They are, to be sure, more culturalLy reserved than the Italians. South Koreans (their testing is seen as the gold standard for testing that we are to aspire to) only test those with symptoms, not the general population.  True, they perform those tests rapidly and get the results quickly, critical when the incubation period is long as it appears to be in C19.  But they, and others in Asia, had already set up testing centers protocols because of their experience with a previous epidemic originating in China, SARS. Both countries shut down travel to China early on and have very few cases.

So, we are ignoring lessons to be learned from Asia where the pandemic started. What have they done that we aren’t doing yet?  What didn’t they do, that we have done?  If, in the absence of vaccines and therapeutics, why are we not following the more effective practices of others with this virus? True, we were late in getting the testing infrastructure set up and the lack of domestic data has delayed our national response. But our clinical infrastructure is not overwhelmed and it doesn’t appear that it will be. Convert vacant hotels to hospi-clinics, delay elective surgeries, redirect medical supplies. There are a few areas and specific hospitals that need help but we we pull together to meet those kinds of problems after every hurricane, tornado or other natural disasters.

Other points to consider:
1. What’s a life worth?  For more than 20 years, this has been debated in public health. The Standard is called a QALY, quality adjusted life year. It’s the value of an additional year with good quality life.  This is the subject of much academic debate (e.g. what is the value of an additional year of life for retirees dependent on public financing of healthcare given that they have passed their working years?)   But the consensus is that a QALY is worth $50,000-150,000 in the US.  It is probably less in other countries where heathcare isn’t so expensive but that’s another debate.  Let’s take the mid-point of the range ($100K) and see how much value we’re putting on forgone C19 deaths. Stock market has lost $12T, Goldman Sachs estimated the economy would lose about $1T for each of the next 2 quarters. That suggests this is worth somewhere between 120,000 and 20,000 forgone deaths to date.
2. According to Dr. Birx in a briefing earlier this week, the average time after infection to symptoms is 5-7 days, not 14. While there isn’t robust data, there was only one case reported in which the symptoms appeared as late as 14 days. The relatively long incubation period certainly makes tracking C19 exposures a challenge but it doesn’t suggest that it will be months before we understand the scale of the problem.  Again, it looks mostly contained in Asia.



  1. GSV Death and Gravity says

    The reference to a ‘Pentagon official’ and the attribution to a writer with a civilian DoD background is a little ironic on a day when CVN 71 is out of service and headed to Guam due to an outbreak on board, and the DoD is going to reduce the amount of information it shares about cases due to operational concerns:
    The writer is essentially wishcasting. When he writes:
    “Why isn’t the Chinese, Japanese, South Korean or Taiwanese experience what we should expect?”
    China: The author clearly has no understanding of just how extreme the Chinese response was after the initial denial and delay. He wants to extrapolate an outcome for the US based on Hubei while decrying measures that aren’t even as draconian as were implemented in China as hysterical. This is magical thinking. Also while China wouldn’t be able to hide it if it were out of control, there is still some skepticism they have it quite as locked down as their official figures suggest.
    Japan: Japan is in denial and undertesting. Japan is going to get messy in the coming weeks.
    South Korean/Taiwan: The author is wondering why we can’t have the outcome of South Korean and Taiwan without having done with they did. Life doesn’t work that way. The US and South Korea confirmed their first cases on the same day. The South Korean government responded effectively. The US government did not. Thanks to lack of containment and widespread exponential growth, the US on a trajectory to start reporting more new cases in a day than South Korea has reported in total.
    Hence the extreme measures.
    It is as if the writer is a guy who has spent the last year on the couch pigging out on ice cream and is proclaiming that it is perfectly reasonable to expect he will be able to run a marathon in two and a half hours, why isn’t the experience of those scrawny runners going to be his outcome?

    • Gail Michalopulos says

      Not sure how your link correlates with anything said by Mr Ford. Perhaps you could be more specific.

      How could he be “wishcasting”?! There is no evidence that he is hoping to see particular numbers in China, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan; only that the numbers we’re seeing don’t match the projections.

      China wasn’t able to “hide” anything, in spite of their best efforts, and they were very much “out of control”. They mishandled things from the beginning. Check out their timeline:

      What makes you think Japan is going to get “messy”. What does “messy” even mean to you?

      At no point did the author say he is wondering why we’re “not seeing the same results as South Korea and Taiwan”. He said South Korea shut down travel to China early on and had very few cases as a result. What was the first thing we did under President Trump. Oh yeah, we shut down travel from China.

      South Korea is credited with testing and getting the results back quickly for those with symptoms. But one would expect that of a country that has only 51 million people, with test centers set up everywhere. We have 327 million.

      You’re long on opinions and short on facts, GSV. . .

      • GSV Death and Gravity says

        As I noted, my link was irony: that someone with a DoD background was writing how overblown this whole thing was at the same time an aircraft carrier was taken out of action to return to port due to an outbreak. And while COVID-19 infections in the military are spreading fast enough that the DoD is pulling back on reporting details out of national security concerns.
        My opinions are formed by hard facts. As I previously explained, but will reiterate, Mr. Ford’s opinions seem based on wishful thinking that do not align with facts on the ground. China did mishandle things *in* the beginning, not *from* the beginning. The latter suggests they never got their act together. Which they did.
        The United States still does not have its act together.
        His wishcasting is the question of his that I quoted:“Why isn’t the Chinese, Japanese, South Korean or Taiwanese experience what we should expect?”
        And then I explained why.
        Remind me when Trump banned American citizens from traveling back to the US from China or who had recently traveled to China?
        At this point, we don’t need to quarantine Asia, Asia needs to quarantine us. Which China is more or less doing now.
        If having “blocked travel” from China was all that was necessary, and the US and South Korea both did so, then again, why is the US on a trajectory to have more *new* COVID-19 cases every day than South Korea has *total* cases?
        The UK is still going to get really bad because they were late to lockdown. Hopefully they did it soon enough to avoid crashing the health system, but the whole point of doing so is to avoid those dire numbers in the Imperial College report that were estimates of *not* taking drastic action.

        • Gail Michalopulos says

          You say your opinions are supported by facts but you haven’t supported anything you’ve said,. . . again.

          1) It is not ironic that in a pandemic people from the DoD might have gotten sick and in the interest of protecting others, have to turn around.

          2) It was in the beginning that China screwed up the most which is why so much time elapsed before they said a word to the rest of the world about what was really happening there. Had they reported what was going on immediately, we would have been 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the game. Can you IMAGINE how many lives could have been saved? So, yes, they screwed up from the beginning BIG TIME.

          3) Wishcasting is different from asking a rhetorical question. When Mr Ford said, “Why isn’t the Chinese, Japanese, South Korean or Taiwanese experience what we should expect?” he did not say it in the context of wishing it would happen! I cannot believe you said this. He was setting up an argument about how disparate what we were led to believe is from the reality we’re seeing.

          4) I said, like Korea, Trump banned people coming FROM China. (You know, because he was so xenophobic! LOL) No one said it was “all that was necessary”.

          5) Why would it matter what some anonymous person thinks the UK should do? You could at least support your contentions, but you don’t.

          As far as the Imperial College report, even THEY are distancing themselves from their dire predictions. I’ll post their statement, as it’s clear you haven’t seen it.

          What’s absent in almost all (there are no universals or I would have said “all”) your arguments is intellectual honesty. You’re just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks without doing any of the work.

          • GSV Death and Gravity says

            The only piece of speculation I engaged in, albeit informed speculation was that Japan is going to have a bigger problem in coming weeks due to undertesting and a lesser level of concern. Whether or not that bears out we shall see. As a matter of policy Japan has not been as aggressive as say South Korea, Singapore or Taiwan. That part is not my opinion, but what I have been reading about contrasts in policy.
            The rest of my opinions are based on looking at the data and listening to expert analysis of it. For instance, saying the UK is in for a rough patch ahead all boils down to the trends and numbers:
            Curves do not bend overnight, and given the delays involved, we have a really good idea what, for instance the UK is in for over the next couple weeks until they start seeing results from the lockdown. If you are driving at 60 miles an hour and you hit the brakes, it isn’t speculation to state that your car isn’t going to stop on a dime, it’s physics.
            When I say wishcasting, what I mean is Mr. Ford’s essay more or less predicts an outcome for the US based on what I view as faulty assumptions. And therefore he labeled the response to COVID-19 as hysteria.
            Again, I really hope I am wrong, but watching how the last two weeks have gone, I don’t think anybody on this site is really ready for what happens in the coming months.

          • Molon Labe says

            Gail, you are repeatedly missing his point. At no point does GSV say or imply that the author wishes we have the same outcomes as those countries. He is trying to say, politely, that it is foolish in the extreme for us to be extrapolating from those models given how catastrophically mismanaged the outbreak has been in  the United States compared to over there (meaning Taiwan and SK, I agree fully with GSV on Japan). 

            Your circling back to blaming everything on the initial Chinese cover-up is completely beside the point, when it comes to assessing how we ended up where we did here in the States. South Korea was just as disadvantaged as the rest of the world by that 6-week delay, as you say, and yet somehow had less total infections than we are about to have DAILY. Your refusal to objectively cover this administration’s failed approach to the crisis is losing you many long-time readers every day. 

            I find your answer to be intellectually dishonest, as opposed to GSV’s. Finally, I fully appreciated his ironic jab with the aircraft carrier, and am baffled at how you could interpret it as anything but.  

            • George Michalopulos says

              Molon, your criticism of Gail (and defense of GVS) is based on a faulty premise. That the “initial response by Trump was catastrophic” (paraphrase).

              It most certainly was not. Within seven days of the first known outbreak here in the States, Trump issued an Executive Order in which he banned travel from China. He was widely castigated for that. You know: Orange Man Bad. In retrospect though, he was correct. Was he not?

              Also, Gail (and everybody else in the whole wide world) is correct in questioning China and its narrative. This is not to say that China hasn’t taken some heroic (some would say drastic) measures to contain the virus but it has also mischaracterized the origin. Right now, a healthy skepticism is called for.

              Finally, Gail and I proceeded from the outset with said skepticism. Dr Neil Ferguson, the British scientist who peddled the original hysterical prognosis has quietly walked it back.

              Indeed, when all is said and done, we will find out several disconcerting things, among them is that in Italy, doctors are being told to diagnose every death there as due to corona.

              Hence, GVS’s critique of Gail is invalid on many different levels.

              • Molon Labe says


                How do you figure that I’m operating based on a faulty premise, when we are about to have more daily infections than they had in total? You folks keep parroting the point regarding border closures with China… Sure, that’s great. You won’t hear a peep outta me regarding the PCness of the move – couldn’t give a damn. It’s everything else that has now been shown to be an abysmal dereliction of duty.

                • George Michalopulos says
                  • GSV Death and Gravity says

                    The fatal flaw with this article is that it ignores the fact that the US and Italy are not at the some point on their epidemic timelines. Let us say that the US total per capita is currently 300/1M and Italy is 1500/1M.
                    So, PJ Media would have to think, wow, the US is doing 5x better than Italy!
                    Except, for the US to reach 1500/1M, all that has to happen is the number of cases in the US increase by 5x.
                    The US is currently doubling at a rate between every 48 and 72 hours (again see: So the US gets there in about a week.
                    Deaths are going to be a function of how well the US healthcare system copes with the strain. Reaching that per-capita level in the US looks to be a bit under 60,000 deaths. And trends are not good.

                    • Gail Michalopulos says

                      I don’t know how this article could take into consideration where any country is at any particular point in the pandemic since no one can know until after the fact.

                      Yes, apparently the U.S. is doing better than Italy in terms of the mortality rate and at the end of the day, how many people you save is more important than how many cases you had or how many cases you lost.

                      I think what these numbers show is that the U.S. isn’t like any other country when it comes to the virus. You can’t say the U.S. is going to “get there in about a week” with any certainty.

                      Deaths are out of everyone’s hands. It is the lives that are saved that will reflect our skill in handling the crisis.

                    • GSV Death and Gravity says

                      The article can and should have taken this into account. Relative timelines of countries can be estimated to a useful degree once enough data is available. One is a sufficiently high number of cases as a baseline start. There is a reason the FT tracker ( starts from the point of 100 confirmed cases. Then you need enough trajectory data over a period of time. Then you need to know what major factors to account for in evaluating changes in trajectory (i.e. lockdowns).
                      Italy hit 100 cases on February 23. The US hit 100 cases on March 1. The US is currently doubling cases at a faster rate than Italy.
                      In terms of the US hitting 500,000 cases in the next week, I can state that is going to happen with a high degree of certainty. Now, a month out is a different story.
                      Here is where the case count landed towards end of the day Friday in past weeks:• Jan 17 — 0• Jan 24 — 2• Jan 31 — 7• Feb 7 — 12• Feb 14 — 15• Feb 21 — 30• Feb 28 — 65• Mar 6 — 310• Mar 13 — 2,224• Mar 20 — 17,962• Mar 27 — 102,636

  2. Great piece, George.
    I’m sure you saw it already, but the Imperial College London epidemiologists are now backtracking on their initial “doomsday” predications with respect to coronavirus:
    As we all know, our American reaction and policies have been largely based on these Imperial College London epidemiologists initial “doomsday” predictions.  I am not trying to fault them.  I am not an epidemiologist, and I trust that they are far brighter than I am when it comes to numbers.
    I do agree that it is better to be safe than sorry, but I think that there is more to this “mass hysteria” than meets the eye.  I wish it could be quantified somehow.  We all know that the leaders (political elite, media elite, and intellectual elite) in America are overwhelmingly all post-Christian secular atheists.  For people with no faith in God and no belief in a transcendent loving Creator or in the afterlife, this material world is “all there is.”  *Of course* people with beliefs like these are very prone to mass hysteria, when they realize that the foundations of the world that they’ve created for themselves may be nothing more than thin ice.  It’s too much cognitive dissonance and they can’t deal with it — hence, the mass hysteria.
    It’s well documented that the less one believes in God and even the more “leftist” that someone is (these two factors often coincide), the more prone that person is to overwhelming fear and panic.

    Plus, these same media elites who have been wrong about virtually everything in recent years are now the ones telling us to panic and be scared as hell. Remember, these are the same people who for years told us to expect Hillary Clinton and then Elizabeth Warren as the next Presidents — why bother having an election, they’ve already appointed the successors. Case closed.
    I do believe that the mass hysteria/panic that we read about online, in the “news” (being aware that >98% of what passes as “news” these days is mere speculation and/or sensationalism), on social media, etc., is panic being driven largely by the faithless, globalist, political/media/economic elites. 
    They don’t believe in God.  They don’t believe that “if this is my time, I will do what I can but I am ready to be with Christ.”  They don’t believe any of it.  
    These are the same people that when they observe monastics going about their monastic lives and work the same as always, it drives them crazy.  They can’t stand it.  Same way that they cannot stand looking into the loving image of Christ.
    It’s quite sad and a pity, actually.  But same as the Bolsheviks 100 years ago, these people want to drag believers down to their level.  Bolsheviks massacred millions of Christians because the Christians’ peace in Christ infuriated them. 
    I urge all Christians to stay safe these days and to take appropriate and reasonable precautions, but don’t fall for the faithless globalist elites’ mass hysteria/panic.  As we know, this, too, shall pass.  Perhaps this coronavirus is Christ’s way of trying to cajole more people into thinking about Him and relying on Him?

  3. Johann Sebastian says

    May I suggest the following?
    No one is immune to that disease.

  4. E M Cimmins says

    Well, that was enough of that.
    No, I’m not panicking over the virus either.
    With all due respect to the owners of this site and to Sec’y Ford, his point #1 above is humanistic relativism; a life’s worth computed in dollars and cents, the military mindset calculating the KIAs.
    Human life is far more valuable than can be computed by economists or managed by military minds. The fact that life is reduced to such equations and considerations as is displayed here is the mark of the deranged. If I actually have to point this out on an Orthodox Christian website: oh my God!
    I’m sure by such rubrics that abortion is quite profitable and efficient as well. Perhaps Sec’y Ford will readily entertain us with his calculations?
    Does anybody need more examples of how our leadership is rife with narcissists and psychopaths? Sacrifice the unwanted and the ‘foregone’! It’s for the good of the economy!
    E M Cimmins

  5. As I have maintained from the get go, the whole matter could have been completely ignored or given the same attention as H1N1 with no material difference in results.  Italy considers anyone who tested positive and dies as due to the virus so their numbers are garbage.
    The whole exercise was completely unnecessary from the beginning, trillions flushed for nothing.
    And that is what happens when u listen to [Editor Note: removal of pesky little expression that offends]

  6. George Michalopulos says

    Here’s another silver lining to corona virus:

    The exposure of the mass idiocy by leftist college professors, who function as tin-pot dictators and terrorize their students.

  7. I’m going to go into some length of personal anecdote in order to recount the extent of China’s strict lockdown and contrast it with elsewhere in the world. 
    My fiancee lives in China, 150 miles from Wuhan, about an hour away on high speed train. Let me describe what her life has been for the past few months. 
    – At nearly the same time as Wuhan was locked down near the end of January, her city of less than a million people also experienced similar restrictions. We know people in Wuhan and elsewhere in China and have heard their accounts of similar restrictions. My fiancee’s city is so “minor” that a Chinese acquaintance of mine in Wuhan didn’t know where it was. 
    – Her city had ZERO confirmed cases at the time it was locked down. Lockdown meant each apartment had a “pass” to leave their building once every three days for groceries. All other businesses, schools, gatherings, all shut down. When leaving the apartment you had your temperature scanned, hands sanitized, questioned about any symptoms and your reason for going out. No public transit was operating. Wearing a mask was always required. Temperature scanned upon entry to grocery store again.
    – This level of lockdown was loosened only about 2 weeks ago. By which time her province (not Hubei but neighboring Anhui with 60 million people itself) had zero active cases for a week or two. In total that province accumulated about 1000 cases and 6 deaths, but they were still all locked down to that extreme for over a month. At present it’s more common to see people walking on the street, but schools and many businesses are closed, movement is still restricted, no public transport. Many foreigners are not allowed into shops.
    Yes, the severity of the lockdown varied between provinces and even among cities within the same province. Wuhan of course also had restrictions that no one could enter or leave the city (they are saying April 8 possibly for people to start being let back in) but otherwise the restrictions were very similar. 
    This lockdown was very severe, powerfully enforced in a very broad geographic area with a highly compliant population. China did its damnedest and escaped with 3,000 deaths until now, at least if they can keep away the virus from reentering from abroad. On that note China announced today it is temporarily not allowing foreign citizens with valid visas to enter China (with a few exceptions).
    Having watched this unfold for the past few months, the response I see around myself in North America is obviously much less severe. I think people here need to understand the lengths China was willing to go and what the outcome was of that. Maybe I’m wrong but it’s my belief that to the extent countries do less than what China did, they will see more cases, more deaths, and a prolonged period of epidemic. 

    • Gail Michalopulos says

      This is extraordinary. Thank you for sharing, James.

      • There is more to this – the Chinese also have mass surveillance of their citizens, which means if they break any of these laws they will have their social credit score impacted or be put in jail right away. It’s also easier to do there because most people live in huge apartment complexes with food stores in their foyers. None of these things will work here, so the outbreak in the US will be much worse, and for much longer. That having been said, at some point the question has to be asked how long does the economy need to be tanked to slow the spread. But the fear factor is palpable. When someone gets tested positive in a manufacturing plant, who wants to go back to work? Getting the virus is truly awful for those who do – so it’s NOT like the flu – that people naturally are scared. Awful all around. (I was in China multiple times late last year, btw).

  8. GSV Death and Gravity says

    Morning link round-up:
    The claims that Imperial College estimates of the results of “do-nothing” changed isn’t correct. What is being described as ‘backtracking’ isn’t revising those estimates, but rather reduced numbers from the effects of measures being taken to limit the rate of spread:

    One of the people providing US modeling thinks Birx is painting a bit rosier of a picture than is actually justified:

    This line flattening out a bit wasn’t from reduced cases, but from deaths spiking to near 100 yesterday. It definitely helps not run out of ICU beds if people die quickly instead of tying them up for multiple weeks, but I wouldn’t call it good news.

    Frontline reporting from NYC hospitals:

    Why Florida beaches really should have been closed before spring break:

    • George Michalopulos says
      • GSV Death and Gravity says

        Per my link, it isn’t that Birx is “backtracking” it is that she is being borderline disingenuous about representing the data and projections she is getting.
        Also, a simple yes or no question for George Michalopulos: did Trump’s travel restrictions from China bar American citizens in China or who had been in China from returning to the US?

        • Gail Michalopulos says

          When Azar announced the travel restrictions on Jan. 31, the policy prohibited non-U.S. citizens, other than the immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who had traveled to China within the previous two weeks from entering the U.S. So the answer to your question is no.

          Mind you, the virus had hit our shores Jan 20 but we didn’t know it until several days later. The intent was to not let people where the virus originated, who may have been exposed, come into our country unless they had a right to be here, i.e. citizens and immediate family of citizens, as that would be many more people spreading the virus.

          China is the second largest group of Asian tourists, right after Japan. In 2018, there were almost three million visitors from China.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail answered better than I could.  However I will counter your assertion that Dr Birx is being “dingenious”.  You mean like Dr Fauci who lowered the mortality rate from “about 3-4% to less than 1% when all is said and done”?

          • GSV Death and Gravity says

            Not analogous, suggesting that when the dust settles, if, and this is a big if, people who need hospitalization can get it, that the CFR might end up below 1% is a projection that has some support in current global data.
            The issue with Dr. Birx statements about probability of mass infection rates (i.e. 20%), is that as I linked, people doing the modeling say that requires a lot more certainty about distancing and testing than the country can necessarily demonstrate. At least Trump doesn’t unilaterally have the authority to order the country “open” at Easter.
            Not to put too fine a point on it, but from another angle, the more people like you that think the national response to COVID-19 is hysteria, the less likely Dr. Birx outlook is likely to come to pass.
            It is pretty easy to demonstrate that the messaging coming out of the White House over the past couple months has been rather overoptimistic.
            For Trump to truly be able to take an earned victory lap over imposing travel restrictions on non US-citizens and LPRs, the US would have needed to do better screening, testing and isolation of the people who were still eligible to come back. Between those travelers and the cruise passengers, things got out of control in the US.
            There was a clean mopped floor awaiting pending guests. I am apparently supposed to be impressed that now muddy floor isn’t messier because some of the kids with dirty shoes were kept from coming inside. We aren’t talking a stray footprint here.
            “America First” was not supposed to apply to case rankings in a global pandemic. But here we are.

  9. Gail Michalopulos says

    There are 3 things I wish we had done differently in the United States.

    The first is to explain why they are doing what they’re doing.  I think early on they confused people. They kept talking about “stopping the virus.”  We now know it is not possible to “stop” it.  Had they been more forthcoming and said, “we’re worried about not having the ventilators, beds and supplies if everyone gets sick at once, . . .” what they were saying and doing might have made more sense. Even today, commentators are still confusing the words “stop” and “slow”.

    I wish they had set goals.  For example:  “When we see the mortality rate drop below X% for X number of days, we can begin opening restaurants, when it drops below Y% for Y number of days, we can begin opening bars, etc.” I deal with things better when I know there is an end in sight. I remember during my 36th hour of labor with a 9lb 1oz baby and no medication, I was pretty much spent. There was a nurse they brought up form the OR who had the kindest blue, gray eyes, which was all I could see of her face due to the mask she was wearing. She looked straight into my eyes and said, “You can get through this, Gail. Just a few more minutes. You’re almost there.” I actually felt I could see the finish line and was motivated to whatever I had to do to get there. – More and more, this crisis seems like will go on forever and, frankly, if it keeps circling the globe, it could. We, however, cannot continue to live in fear with no expectation of some relief. I almost kissed the TV screen when Trump said that by Easter, we may be able to come out of this. That’s one week before Holy Week. It’s a goal. We need goals.

    I wish they had put hard guidelines in place to protect workers like my daughter, Jessica. Companies should be expected to protect their employees from the virus and by extension, the greater community. – Jessica works in sales for a large beer manufacturer. She has to physically deliver beer to her clients which include 7/11, CVS, Walgreens, gas stations, etc., in short, every place where the coronavirus is most likely to be. When the restaurants and bars closed, everyone moved their partying indoors. Consequently, beer is flying off the shelves at these same places she delivers to. It is not unusual for her to work 10 to 12 hour days just to keep them stocked. Her company, who generated a global revenue of over 52.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, has given her no supplies to protect her. A vendor at a hot dog stand took pity on her and gave her some gloves. A pharmacist did the same and gave her some masks. Her company won’t even provide hand sanitizer, paper towels or disinfectant. She is expected to find all this one her own but can’t because they are no longer selling it in San Diego or the surrounding area. – I suspect if Trump knew these multi-billion dollar companies were not providing their workers with basic supplies to protect themselves during a pandemic, putting their workers, as well as the community at large, at risk, he would step in and do something about it. – Open to any and all suggestions in this regard. I am seriously worried about daughter. Being an only child of an only child, she is all I have left after the death of my son. She is exhausted from working 10 to 12 hour days and now has a unrelated health issue to deal with.

    So, I’m not just critical of China. I wish they had told the world what they knew sooner. I think it would have been a game changer if they had. But clearly they stepped up their game as they got into this. Because they are a communist country and so many of their people live in high rise apartments, it afforded them them opportunity to go to a whole other level of containment which worked for them. I am less optimatic that we could do anything remotely like that here.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Mass Hysteria?   YES!  Rejoice in the Lord Always! Pray for us oh martyrs and Fools For Christ and forgive our weakness

  11. Jacob Lee says

    My Orthodox Church has closed its doors to the faithful. On April 1st my monthly donation will go to another non-profit who needs it. 

  12. E M Cimmins says

    Here’s some good news. I think we could all use it.
    I have a family member that works in a medium-sized food manufacturing facility (100-500 employees). The company is a household name.
    In the last week, the company has:
    ***established medical screening for every employee before their shift at no charge. If you’re feverish or showing other symptoms, you’re free to go home for no loss. A additional two weeks of paid sick leave is provided on top of leave normally available.
    ***established an additional 5% raise for the length of the pandemic as “hazard pay”, plus a $250 bonus for working in March and April.
    This will allow for increased accrual of vacation time, overtime pay, and paid sick time at the higher rate.
    ***offered a $500 bonus to employees for referring a new hire that remains with the company for six months, with the new employee receiving the same for completing six months’ employment.
    ***provided tea, coffee and nutritious food at no charge (in a sanitary fashion to reduce chances of infection), all purchased from local businesses to support them also.
    ***offered to supply coronavirus testing company-wide when tests become available at no charge.
    ***supplied signed letters to all employees (to carry on their persons) designating them employees of “Critical Infrastructure Industries” under Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21), published March 16, 2020.
    I am so impressed by the initiative this company has taken! I know from long experience they’ve been a reliable donor to our local food banks for many years.
    Warmest regards,
    E M Cimmins

  13. George Michalopulos says

    We can’t even rely on WHO anymore. The politicization of science knows no bounds:

    Think of it, Taiwan, which is a big island full of Chinese which sits just across the sea from China, isn’t suffering hardly at all and they’ve taken no draconian measures to contain the pandemic.

    • GSV Death and Gravity says

      That article doesn’t seem to be describing any real politicization of science itself, but more garden variety politics of China keeping Taiwan out of the WHO and making them dance around the fact of Taiwan’s existence.
      It isn’t like Taiwan has any secret medical sauce that the rest of the world is in the dark about. They were just well prepared, with plenty of lessons learned from SARS, so they had solid plans, and enacted them aggressively. As a result, similar to South Korea, they avoided draconian lockdowns like China had to resort to.
      Taiwan didn’t even ban Chinese nationals from entering the country until a week after the US did! But well before that they were monitoring travelers from affected regions, even those who had already entered the country in December. It’s just a further underscore to how incompetent the US response really was.

      • George Michalopulos says

        The politicization comes from the fact that the WHO flunky pretended not to hear the question regarding Taiwan’s handling of the pandemic and then when he was pressed, he “accidentally” cut the Skype connection.

        If that ain’t evidence of politicization, nothing is.