Sunday, March 29, 2020

Our fumbling of the coronavirus tests cost the US a full month in staving off the worst; now we face a direct hit

First, let me preface this post with a note about my own “style”.  I present a lot of different subject matters in my blogs, even within one blog, and report different viewpoints.  Some people think this is dangerous – and we see quickly how authoritarian control of speech develops.  Impressionable people may, for example, think that, given the current public health crisis, that social distancing is a “debate” and not a mandate, and decide just to ignore it, and there are some protests indeed  (which ironically need to be carried out within social distancing). 

But that is what I can offer, fact finding, connecting dots, looking at proposals, with some distance between the material and my own corpus, my own skin in the game.  I could have to defend myself.  I can imagine some very extreme proposals, as I have hinted at in the retirement blog, like possibly protecting seniors over 75 who living alone by taking them into conservatorship.  I have to be able to speak for myself.  To the far authoritarian Left, please respect that.
The most important article of the day is a Sunday Times piece by Michael D. Shear et al, “The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19” with the byline “Aggressive screening might have helped contain the virus within the United States. But technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, and lapses in leadership let it spread undetected for weeks.”   The last part of the article discusses a very interesting effort at Stanford.

David Pakman, in a recent piece “What Trump Should Have Done”, suggests that with proper testing milder lockdowns would have started in February.  That means my screenplay pitch event in Los Angeles would have been canceled;  as it happened, I canceled my own trip because I thought the epidemic was already here (it was, as more recent cases show – it had been in California in mid January) and it looks like at some cost to myself ($700) I made the right decision. I recall mid February, calling the event sponsor, and seeing how people were behaving during the Super Bowl and Oscars.  They didn’t really see this coming.

It is important to find out if we have a substantial number of people already immune from undetected and resolved (likely totally asymptomatic, according to many sources) infection with antibody tests.  
That may give some impetus to partially restarting the economy. It may also, however, be used to channel some people into voluntarism they would not have considered. NBCWashington has a story Saturday night about training volunteers for health care caregiving (requiring masks and gowns) but does not yet have a URL for the story.

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