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General Discussion / Spread it!
« on: Yesterday at 11:43:04 AM »

General Discussion / Uncle Donald knows best.
« on: April 06, 2020, 08:15:33 AM »
How long before he starts referring to the American Medical Association as an "Enemy of the People"?

Joint statement on ordering, prescribing or dispensing COVID-19 medications

General Discussion / Covid-19. A Good Christian Virus
« on: April 05, 2020, 05:12:07 AM »
TALLAHASSEE, FL—In a bold affirmation of faith during a time of widespread global pandemic, the governors of several Southern states confirmed Thursday they have exempted religious services from their shelter-in-place orders, arguing that Covid-19 is a good Christian virus that wouldn’t dare to spread during church.

“As far as I can tell, this coronavirus is an upstanding and righteous disease that knows better than to continue its deadly outbreak within a house of God,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement later echoed by Govs. Bill Lee of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Tate Reeves of Mississippi.

“If we were talking about some sort of secular, atheistic virus, churchgoers might have cause for worry. But I believe in my heart this highly communicable pathogen will show respect during services and not do anything to harm the Lord’s flock on our day of rest. Now, what the virus does to the wicked, sinful people in our community—that’s between it and God.” At press time, sources confirmed Southern governors had taken steps to ensure all mosques would be closed indefinitely.

General Discussion / <chuckle>
« on: April 05, 2020, 03:30:07 AM »

“What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose?” Trump said from the White House podium. “Take it.”

He also said he “may take it” himself, though he would “have to ask my doctors about that”.

General Discussion / Where's the joke?
« on: April 04, 2020, 01:27:16 PM »

Wait, what’s the good story?

President Donald Trump this week said the US Strategic National Stockpile is nearly depleted.

Damn CNN for making every good news story into one about Trump's abject failures by quoting Trump's own words.

General Discussion / An outbreak of incompetence
« on: April 04, 2020, 01:01:30 PM »
White House adviser Jared Kushner broke the irony meter as he — not someone qualified, such as Anthony S. Fauci — took over the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday to inform us: “What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody ... think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis.”

Yes, President Trump’s voters, along with those who elected the similarly ignorant and slothful Republican governors in Florida and Georgia who failed to act promptly to stem the coronavirus, should remember that next time. Better to elect someone like California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) rather than someone continually pandering to Trump, resisting readily available scientific advice and attacking the media.

One has the sinking feeling that things are going from bad to worse. Trump and the feds declined to act swiftly, in particular failing to get widespread testing up and running. Now they are failing to remedy the dire medical crisis that their negligence brought on. Kushner said the federal stockpile of medical equipment is for the feds to use, not the states. His father-in-law seems allergic to implementing fully the Defense Production Act, so the bidding war among the states for critical equipment continues.

Republican governors in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama declined to issue prompt stay-at-home orders. Now? Trump refuses to issue one nationally despite Fauci’s advice. “I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” he said in a CNN interview. “As you said, the tension between federally mandated vs. states’ rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be.” The answer: We have a total lack of federal leadership and competence.

Congress set up a $350 billion fund for small-business loans. Beginning Friday, many banks promptly announced that they could not accept applications in the absence of clear federal guidance. The chaos, confusion and delays surrounding the Small Business Administration loans might make the unemployment insurance process seem like a fine-tuned machine. (Thousands, if not millions, of unemployment claims remain unprocessed due to overwhelming demand.)

The Defense Department is no better. Trump jettisoned a career professional serving as defense secretary (James Mattis) for a meek, subservient aerospace executive. The result is predictable. Politico reports: “Defense Secretary Mark Esper is under fire for the Pentagon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as lawmakers, national security experts and people throughout the Defense Department’s ranks fault him for a slow and uneven approach to the outbreak.” His most notable action: Supporting the firing of the Navy commander whose letter pleading to allow his sailors to disembark from a floating petri dish, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was leaked. The military under Trump can forgive war crimes, just not pleas to save men and women in uniform from incompetent superiors.

This is as exasperating as it is frightening. Governors, if you are lucky enough to live in a state with a competent one, can do only so much when, for example, there are no ventilators to be had. The Democratic-led House can only churn out its version of remedial legislation, but it cannot withstand Senate and White House efforts to scuttle anti-fraud, anti-cronyism measures. (“Most big companies that take advantage of the $500 billion corporate bailout in last week’s coronavirus relief bill are unlikely to face restrictions against firing workers or giving bonuses to executives, according to officials familiar with the program.”) And while the House can bird-dog the executive branch as it distributes money, the House cannot do the executive branch’s job for it.

The chaos, confusion and incompetence at the federal level magnify our daily anxiety and uncertainty. We have lost control of our lives, and those supposed to lead us through this ordeal are deepening our national trauma. Years of contempt for expertise, for competent government and for truth itself on the right now haunt us all. God help us.

General Discussion / Because 'I don't want to' - Trump
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:53:24 PM »

General Discussion / Rural America braces for coronavirus
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:40:18 PM »
Rural health systems are bracing for a surge in patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that could overwhelm small and underfunded hospitals in areas where populations are particularly vulnerable to serious symptoms.

The coronavirus outbreaks in the United States have been the most intense in major cities and suburbs like New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Seattle and the Washington, D.C., area. But experts in rural health say they know the virus is headed their way, and they worry that smaller communities are even less prepared to handle an influx of cases than their big-city colleagues.

“We just haven't seen big numbers, thankfully, but I feel like everything I say with COVID I should end with 'yet,’” said Jacqueline Barton True, vice president of rural health programs at the Washington State Hospital Association.

When the virus does come, those experts say they are concerned that the rate of severe and critical cases could be higher than in larger cities. Rural residents tend to be older, are more likely to have underlying conditions like hypertension and heart disease that put them at greater risk of serious symptoms, and in some regions they are more likely to smoke than are residents of urban areas.

“Populations in our rural counties are older and sicker. When you look at those conditions that makes a population more vulnerable to COVID-19, we see a lot of that in our rural counties,” said Amy Stevens, vice president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio. “We do see higher rates of poverty in our rural counties.”

Those in the poorest rural counties are also much less likely to be insured, according to the Economic Innovations Group, which tracks health data across the country. Mortality rates in those poorest counties are already substantially higher than in better-off counties, and the life expectancy is a notable five years lower.

At the same time, an epidemic of hospital closures has limited health care capacity in many smaller communities. More than 120 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to data collected by the Cecil Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, the majority of which have been in Appalachia and Deep South states. Eight hospitals have closed in just the first three months of 2020.

The gravity of the threat posed by the coronavirus is adding financial pressure to the remaining hospitals that were already just scraping by. Health systems face an alarming rise in costs as they ramp up staff, stockpile supplies and prepare for a surge, while at the same time they are losing revenue as patients cancel routine procedures, from regular checkups to elective operations that have been temporarily suspended in many states.

“We have just empty hospitals for those that are not yet impacted. They're not able to do procedures like total knees and hips [replacements],” True said. “That sort of perfect storm is really very concerning. We have a number of hospitals that have less than 30 days cash on hand.”

“You have this pandemic coming and the hospital might not be there when it hits,” she said.

Smaller hospitals, too, are more likely to be overwhelmed, and they have less of an ability to surge capacity to deal with an influx of cases that a larger city might be able to handle. Some rural health systems have already repurposed some satellite clinics specifically to deal with potential COVID-19 patients in order to keep those patients away from other vulnerable people already in hospitals.

Making matters worse, the chronic shortage of personal protective gear and testing kits is exacerbated in areas with smaller populations. A major health system in a big city might order a million masks from a manufacturer in China; that manufacturer is less likely to return calls from a smaller health care system that would only order 15,000 or 20,000 units.

“They're just not even getting the time of day from suppliers, because [the suppliers are] triaging as well,” True said.

Public health departments in small rural communities are also frequently understaffed and under-funded. Many counties even combine health departments with their neighbors, and almost no health departments even in the best-funded big cities in the country have enough staff to conduct the sort of contact tracing necessary to squelch a virus before it breaks out widely.

“In Ohio, we have a very decentralized public health system. That means that a majority of our public health workforce and public health funding in the state is at the local level. We have huge variation in investment and workforce in those departments,” Stevens said.

Health experts said there are some built-in advantages to living in rural communities that might explain in part why the virus has yet to begin spreading widely in many such communities. A much lower population density means social distancing is easier to achieve. Many rural communities do not have public transportation systems — a burden on low-income workers in ordinary times but a potential positive that could help slow the spread in this crisis.

Early reports in New York City show the largest concentrations of cases are happening in areas close to the end of subway lines, potentially suggesting that spending long rides on public transportation could contribute to wider spread.

While New York’s outbreak may peak earlier because of the intense transmission, the spread to rural communities is almost inevitable — delaying, rather than eliminating, the threat.

That could buy rural communities critical time to both prepare their health systems and to deliver messages to local populations about the best ways to protect themselves, a narrow but critical window of opportunity to keep case curves low.

“In some rural areas the peak might be later, because they don’t have that intensive population mixing that you see in a more urban environment,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who helped lead the Obama administration's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. “But they will still get hit by it."


With equipment shortages coast to coast, local officials are left begging residents to stay indoors.

St. John the Baptist Parish, just southeast of Baton Rouge, La., has a population of just over 43,000 — and the highest per capita coronavirus mortality rate in the nation.

Frantic local officials instituted an overnight curfew just this week and are begging residents to stay home. But in largely rural Southern states like Louisiana — where social distancing has been spotty, widespread testing is unavailable and hospitals are poorer and farther apart — the response may be coming too late to avoid a public health crisis as bad as the one now engulfing New York.

Hot spots like St. John the Baptist are erupting across the South. The virus is also poised to consume the area around Norfolk, Va., a rural county in Tennessee just north of Nashville and parts of southwest Georgia near Albany, according to models assembled by Columbia University epidemiologists. And without the resources of major cities, these areas are poised to see disproportionate suffering, economic hardship and death when cases peak.

“There is no city anywhere in the world that can withstand the outbreak that would occur if there isn’t rigorous social distancing,” said Tom Frieden, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.

With the same kind of equipment and staffing shortages plaguing big cities on the east and west coasts, local officials are left begging residents to stay indoors.

As of Friday, St. John the Baptist had nearly 300 confirmed cases and 22 deaths. The state health department says the region is already at 56 percent of its hospital bed capacity and 68 percent of its ICU bed capacity, with the virus’ peak not expected for at least another week and cases doubling every 2.5 days.

Local nursing homes and elder care facilities have become coronavirus clusters, with the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home accounting for more than a third of the parish’s deaths. Area leaders are bracing for that number to continue to rise.

“It will be of no surprise to me if our numbers continue to grow every single day as I continue to push for more testing,” parish President Jaclyn Hotard told residents in a tele-town hall Wednesday night. “I can’t stress enough to our residents to take this seriously.”

General Discussion / Tweet of the day goes to...
« on: April 04, 2020, 11:44:55 AM »
...Adrian ''Elements of Medical'' Wapcaplet

General Discussion / Why 10% of Trump's base are going to die.
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:24:14 PM »

General Discussion / “From Russia with Love”
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:09:00 PM »
Speaking at the White House COVID-19 press briefing on Monday, March 30, U.S. President Donald Trump said many foreign countries were sending help for the coronavirus pandemic. He specifically mentioned China and Russia, without specifying whether assistance was purchased or a form of humanitarian aid.

“Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice.”

Trump’s announcement created a confusion, first because Russia had yet to send the plane when the U.S. president said it already had arrived.

General Discussion / Welcome
« on: April 03, 2020, 04:58:03 PM »
Baranów Sandomierski is a small town in southern Poland, in the Subcarpathian Voivodship, Tarnobrzeg County on the Vistula River, with 1,440 inhabitants. Baranów lies near the Vistula river, along regional road nr. 985, which goes from Tarnobrzeg to Mielec.;u=11251

General Discussion / Depressing
« on: April 03, 2020, 03:00:08 PM »
During the Great Recession of 2007–2009, the economy suffered a net loss of approximately 9 million jobs. The pandemic recession has seen nearly 10 million unemployment claims in just two weeks. Some states are convulsing at a rate of one Great Recession every few days. After the financial crash, Hawaii’s unemployment rate peaked at 7.3 percent. In the past week, exactly 7.3 percent of Hawaiian workers filed for unemployment benefits

As mind-numbingly awful as these official figures are, they likely understate the severity of the joblessness crisis. Some unemployed people don’t know to file for jobless benefits, and others wait several weeks before collecting insurance. There are widespread reports that people have been stymied by crashing websites and hour-long waits on the phone with state offices, which have been slammed by the historic surge in claims. Our economic data, like our public-health data, are shrouded in uncertainty: In many cases, we simply don’t know whether our more dire statistics are measuring reality or we have simply maxed out our capacity to measure in the first place.

In the early innings of the crisis, it was obvious that the forced closure of city streets would be an apocalypse-level event for restaurants, the travel industry, concerts, amusement parks, and any other company in the business of attracting a crowd. But the economic stoppage is now rippling into almost every sector of the economy. When restaurants and stores cannot open, they can’t order new supplies. When farms can’t supply restaurants with food, they can’t afford new equipment. Without new equipment orders, manufacturers have to lay off workers. If you drop a boulder into the middle of a pond, the waves will eventually reach every edge.

The most important question is: What can we do now?

Tragically, the U.S. likely missed its best opportunity to avoid mass layoffs. That would have been to take a page out of Denmark’s playbook and directly pay businesses to meet their payroll obligations and retain their employees. This would have accomplished several important goals. By reducing layoffs, it would have kept workers inside their companies, so that firms would have an easier time ramping up after the crisis passes. By reducing unemployment, it would have kept workers from having to take it on themselves to wait for hours on the phone, or online, to secure jobless benefits. By freezing the economy, it would have reduced anxiety for millions of people who, at this moment, don’t know where their next job is, or when they should realistically think about applying for work.

But with jobless claims surging toward 10 million, we may be too late to pivot toward the northern-European approach.

Instead, the U.S. economic rescue package implicitly encourages layoffs and increases spending on the unemployed. Jobless benefits have been expanded, and many households will receive one-time payments of $1,200 per adult—plus $500 per child.

Strengthening our jobless benefit programs in this way was necessary to keep families from starving, given the inevitability of historic layoffs. But had the U.S. reacted swiftly and creatively to the prospect of a historic sudden-stop recession, this level of layoffs would not have been inevitable. We could have paid workers a living wage to stay with their companies. Instead, companies are firing workers en masse, and we’re scrambling to pay them a living wage anyway.

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