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Reaping the Whirlwind–Coronavirus vs. the Flu, the CDC vs Effectiveness; China in Retrospect

Things are going about the direction I figured they would weeks ago.  Two weeks ago, I wondered how our liberties would fare when laid up against the coronavirus.   This was pre-Italy, mind you.  The writing, as it were, was on the wall.

At this point, the question of whether or not we are going to go draconian is moot.   The only question now is of degree.  What I would have preferred was an evidence based approach which zeroed in on the most vulnerable communities–the old folks.

It isn’t that I didn’t perceive a threat to everyone else, or that I didn’t comprehend that limiting the spread in the general population could not also serve as a protection to these vulnerable communities.  Rather, it is because I understood that what it would really take, if we really wanted to “do something”, would come at its own great costs, and these costs, too, should be factored in.

Now we will get a good hard look at that as a society.  Looking back, I suspect that a large number of people will move into the ‘cynicism’ camp, when the bill is rung up.   We will likely save some lives with these measures, but will we destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands more, and, as a consequence, lose even more lives?  Time will tell.

We’re in it now.  The only way through it is through it.

Some brief thoughts on some other items.

Flu vs Coronavirus

There has been quite a bit of battling over the comparison of the coronavirus with the flu.  It seems to me that people (a term with specific meaning in this context) have seriously missed the point of the comparison.   You can tell they are when they make absurd comments like, “Stop saying that its ‘just a flu.’  Have you ever had the flu?  It can be a terrible experience.”  It is always nice when people try to act as though they are the only ones with experiences and therefore only they are in a position to show proper empathy.

Dudes.  You can’t get far into adulthood at all without having some pretty crappy experiences with the flu.  That is really part of the point when people say its ‘just a flu’!  In other words, we already live with a disease which kills tens of thousands of people EVERY YEAR.  Where is our annual national lock down?  Can we expect 2021 to be the beginning of the Annual Pandemic Panic?  Most of us have already lost the ‘flu lottery’ many times in our lives and know how much it sucks.  But on the other hand, most of us already know that if we did what it really took to prevent the flu from spreading, it would be life within a police state.

Similarly, there is this highly offensive essay from an anonymous doctor out of Italy with the title of: “Young and Unafraid of the Coronavirus Pandemic? Good for You. Now Stop Killing People”   She writes:

Now, odds are, you might catch coronavirus and might not even get symptoms. Great. Good for you. Very bad for everyone else, from your own grandparents to the random older person who got on the subway train a stop or two after you got off. You’re fine, you’re barely even sneezing or coughing, but you’re walking around and you kill a couple of old ladies without even knowing it. Is that fair? You tell me.

Well, now, this will be a fun game, right?  This is a game that we can all play.  You see, you can say the exact same thing about the flu.  Mrs. Italian Dr., given that it is a KNOWN FACT that tens of thousands die in the US alone to the flu EVERY YEAR, it stands to reason that not only can we rewrite your paragraph, but we can apply it to YOU.

Now, odds are, you might catch [the flu] and might not even get symptoms. Great. Good for you. Very bad for everyone else, from your own grandparents to the random older person who got on the subway train a stop or two after you got off. You’re fine, you’re barely even sneezing or coughing, but you’re walking around and you kill a couple of old ladies without even knowing it. Is that fair? You tell me.

May we speculate as to how many people Mrs. Italian Dr. has killed in her life in this way?  No, seriously, do tell.   Why does she get to go around killing people without even knowing it, but the rest of us don’t?  Is that fair?  You tell me.

The whole point of the comparison is to try to obtain some scale, some perspective, and some proportion.   How serious, actually, is the coronavirus?  The only way to process that is by comparing it to other diseases.  The problem is that, once you do that, we’re left scratching our heads as to why we’re doing these things with the coronavirus this year, and not the flu, every year.  Something doesn’t add up, and they have failed completely to make their case.  They will pay the price for this failure in loss of trust once this all blows over.

Anyway, this point is moot, as we go forward with our draconian measures, which, God help us, succeed.  I am not going to spend much more time on that particular comparison, especially when there are others which are even more damning.

Instead, I’d like to look ahead, the way I’ve been looking ahead in all my posts, and what I see going forward is that we are due a very hard look backwards.

CDC vs Effectiveness

Personally, it looks like the ones who deserve our ire the most in all of this is the Chinese government.  The Chinese government seems to agree, as evidenced by their media campaign to blame the US for their virus!  This is a technique they’ve certainly learned from the American left, which prides itself on accusing others of doing the very things that they themselves are doing.  Sadly, the technique works too well on the masses.

Nonetheless, it is hard not to see some gross failures by the CDC to date, especially on the testing front.  It is astonishing to me–and honestly, I am not easy to astonish–that after all this time, we still don’t have a good testing program going.

The history of this failure is sordid, indeed.

Here is the headline of an article that is two weeks old (from Feb 28!):

Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus

The CDC designed a flawed test for COVID-19, then took weeks to figure out a fix so state and local labs could use it. New York still doesn’t trust the test’s accuracy.

 Subtitle:

The CDC designed a flawed test for COVID-19, then took weeks to figure out a fix so state and local labs could use it. New York still doesn’t trust the test’s accuracy.

You’re better off just reading it yourself.   Yikes!  But its worse:

‘It’s Just Everywhere Already’: How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response

A little quote:

Later that day, the investigators and Seattle health officials gathered with representatives of the CDC and the FDA to discuss what happened. The message from the federal government was blunt. “What they said on that phone call very clearly was cease and desist to Helen Chu,” Lindquist remembered. “Stop testing.”

Basically, since the CDC was not providing tests, Dr. Chu went forward on her own, and managed to acquire information that was instrumental in moving forward in Washington (the state), although it is impossible to know how many opportunities were lost.    Honestly, you should just read this article for yourself, too.  Yikes!

If those two articles aren’t enough to annoy you, keep this in mind… and this article is just from yesterday (3/12/2020) ….

Redd also revealed in his testimony that the total number of people tested for the coronavirus by the CDC was 1,784. That means that, as of Wednesday morning, the CDC had tested only 77 people for the coronavirus since Sunday. According to a CDC spokesman, the number that had been tested as of Sunday was 1,707.  [emphasis added]

If “WTF” is going through your mind right now, you’re on the right track.

At some point, we’re going to have to get to the bottom of this, because the Trump administration, and Trump himself, clearly were under the impression that the early snafus re: the testing were well on their way to being resolved, and as you can see, as of just yesterday, a full 6 weeks after Trump suspended travel from China to the US due to the threat, we still don’t have the testing regime we need.

By ‘need’ I refer to all the ways we need it… including how it provides the data we need to evaluate the real nature of the threat of the coronavirus.  Without that data, let’s just be honest… can we be honest? … we’re really just guessing.

Who is your God?

9-11 was mind-altering event in my life.  One of the big lessons of 9-11 was the realization that I could not trust my government to protect me or my family.  Even if we allow and grant that many bureaucrats are doing their rock bottom best, they still are not gods.  It is not possible for them to know everything, nor is it possible for them to do everything.  But, sadly, in determining that they are not gods, we discover the shocking truth that they are merely human, like the rest of us.  Which means, they are going to be as prone to failures and blunders as any of us, except that when they foul up, they put the lives of hundreds of millions of people at risk, while you generally have a blast radius of maybe 20 or 30 people, max; unless you count the fact that you go around killing old women without knowing it, I suppose.

So, you should take this opportunity to learn a lesson:  your government cannot protect you.

But you know what?  You ain’t God, either.  You know what else?  Flu or coronavirus, cancer or simple old age, you’re gonna die eventually, no matter what.   This whole affair may serve as a wake up call to your own mortality.  You may wish to consider the possibility that, in the end, perhaps no emergency plan can be considered sufficient, if it has not taken into account your fate after death.   As far as that goes, since the bureaucrats aren’t God, and you ain’t God, it pretty much follows that if there is a God at all, you might want to get in touch with him sooner rather than later.

Anyway, I feel like I should put that there, because its really even worse, once we factor in

China

What can we say about China?

Before I say anything, let me just remind you that as we speak, they have a million or more people in concentration camps.  While we are looking at our collective navels re: the coronavirus, who knows what they’ll be doing to those poor folks.

Anyhow, I’ve been expanding my readings to incorporate more and more information about how this all began.   Its going to be real fun to watch how this all plays out.  Who is to blame?  TRUMP!  or… the CDC!  or… the DEMOCRATS!  Whoa, partner.  There is a very clear culprit in this whole affair, and if we are powerless to monitor and manage our president, our bureaucrats, and our politicians, just think about how powerless you are to force foreign governments to behave responsibly.

In this case, we have a vivid example of how something that happens in a far off place can nonetheless make a deep impact locally.  With almost 2,000 people dead outside of China, to date, that’s a lot of impact.

What do we know about China’s behavior thus far?  This would be a stupidly long post if I went into it in full, so let me bottom line it: we know that China knew how serious it was for a long time, and yet they still allowed, permitted, and encouraged travel from the infected regions into the broader world.   In doing so, they seeded the virus all over the place.

This article, now about a month old, is a chilling retelling of the disturbing tale:

How China’s Incompetence Endangered the World
As the deadly coronavirus began to spread, Beijing wasted the most critical resource to fight it: trust.

Between early December and Jan. 19, the chief Chinese Communist Party narrative from local officials in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, was that a very small number of people connected to a local live fish and animal market had become infected with a new virus, causing a few to be hospitalized with pneumonia. Whatever the cause of the sicknesses, it was not SARS or anything like SARS. All released data conveniently suited that narrative. Anybody who, like the physician Li, hinted at facts that countered the narrative was suppressed.

After the official announcement of the new disease on New Year’s Eve, a second narrative took flight, which argued that shutting down the live animal market had effectively eliminated the spread of the disease, as there was no evidence of human-to-human spread of the virus. For two weeks, the official case numbers barely budged and even decreased to 41. The message to the Chinese people was that there was nothing to worry about, local police and health officials had stopped an outbreak, job well done—a scenario accepted by WHO.

In other words, despite being aware that people could transmit the disease while being asymptomatic, and aware of its SARS-like attributes, China muted its response and worse, allowed potentially infected people to travel at will.   Such was the case until January 22nd.

You have got to give Wikipedia credit sometimes for putting out good, accessible content… but use this timeline with a grain of salt anyway… and prepare to be infuriated.

Basically, China gave us the rope-a-dope for at least three weeks, if not longer, before finally it could not be hidden anymore.

And with a disease with reports of an incubation period of three week on occasion (1-14 days on average, otherwise), obviously, that amount of time is broad enough to drive a pandemic through.

But sure, go ahead and try to use the pandemic to score political points in national politics.  Sure, sure, sure.

And yea, ok, when we look back, it is likely we will find much to legitimately talk about.  (We can start with the CDC’s testing failures).  Some of these will be appropriately related to national politics.  But you are missing the boat COMPLETELY, and probably are nothing more than a partisan hack, if you do not and cannot put China at the front and center of all your criticism.

Honestly, its about time China is brought to heel, don’t you think?


Summary

From the beginning, I have urged perspective and proportion on this topic, and for that, somehow I’ve been accused of not caring about those affected or not believing this is a serious threat.  Both of these things are absurd.   If, in fact, the threat is even greater than the evidence at present suggests, then I assure you, I want to be the first to know.  I have also expressed disdain for those prepared to write off the most vulnerable, in this case, the elderly.   Based on what we know, things do seem blown way out of proportion.   But if the CDC ever gets its act together, we may all discover, conclusively, that things really are far worse than we presently know.  Whether or not that means we go full draconian is moot at this point, as I said above.  Nonetheless, I am not ashamed at my desire to know the facts and keep those facts in context, and I resent any insinuation that this desire entails hatred for my fellow man.  It is exactly the opposite, and if you’re the sort to suggest otherwise, you can bite me.

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1 comment

    • Jenifer Hernaez on March 13, 2020 at 7:37 am

    ‘Honestly, its about time China is brought to heel, don’t you think?’

    Yes, I agree. But I believe China will only get worser to the end times and it may even give away it’s full power and authority like a DRAGON to the Man of Lawlessness. I learned the foreign policy of China and Britain. You may not agree with me. And I won’t derail your main focus into the last days theory. You are well aware that Britain was your Mother Queen before you decided to kick your ‘elderly mother’ out of your place. I’m just making an analogy here but you get the point. Britain is not a lover of America. It tries to be your mother by taxing you to death. Is China the carrier of disease or is it a disease (ideology) itself like a virus that you must eliminate? I doubt you could eliminate the real viral threat to humanity but you can still try. I have faith in God that all work together for good.

    Thank you!

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