Where to start. Well, let’s start with the same thing as the last few days. If you are depending on the mainstream media for accurate and unbiased news, please stop. What you are getting from them is a deliberate attempt to create panic for partisan and personal gain. You are NOT getting good info. In fact, what you are getting is a threat to your physical health, your mental health, and your freedoms. The latest of far too many was an attempt to smear a hospital and create a climate of fear. There is no excuse for this. Period. Full Stop. Want to see more lies and distortions, go read this. You also need to read this.
The focus on cases and deaths is not helpful, to put it mildly. It is disingenuous at best (but makes breathtaking headlines), and it makes for bad analysis. Polymath on Twitter makes a good case that looking at composite data for the entire U.S. is not a good idea. I agree, and present the case that we need to be breaking it down further. Each state needs to be examined on its own, and within that each state should be looking at county/regional data hard.
Why? It shows trends, clusters, and other data that makes it easier to plan responses, ensure logistics of needed materials, and ensure other resources get to where they are needed most.
Which gets to the other issue we need to be discussing: How do we get America back to work. A one-size-fits-all approach is not the best approach, and will destroy both the American economy and our freedoms. What is needed is a response proportionate to each location. A rural area or even cities where the spread is minimal do not need to be on the same level of lockdown as an area with significant spread. You change things as the data warrants. This needs to apply not only at the state level, but at each county and even within counties.
Expect this to be fought tooth and nail by some. Far too many politicians are grabbing all they can to make things the way they want them to be, rather than what the Constitution says should be. Don’t believe me? Just look at the number of governors, mayors, and others who are using this as an excuse to ban gun and ammo sales, or take other actions to further radical political agendas. Lots to see out there.
In fact, if you want to see the true Evil, take a look at Nevada governor Sisolack , Michigan governor Whitmer, and (no surprise) His Majesty’s Governor Northam, the Earl of Blackface. Each of these has chosen to ban or severely restrict the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for reasons of politics, not medicine. Yes, I do consider that Evil, not evil, as they are willing to kill the citizens of their states for personal and political gain. They may or may not hate you, but they are willing to help you die. In my book, that’s murder. The law may well say negligent homicide, and if any die or are permanently harmed by the lack of treatment, they may find official immunity does not cover them from such charges and related civil actions. They need to be held to account for this before someone does die. If you live in that state, do you really want to have as a leader someone willing to put politics ahead of the lives and safety of those you love?
Nor are they alone. Look at NYC, where the mayor and top leaders deliberately encouraged actions — in the face of warnings from experts at the CDC and elsewhere — encouraged behaviors that guaranteed a catastrophic outbreak in NYC. There are other, similar stories around the country where elected leaders have put their personal and political gain ahead of the lives of their fellow Citizens, people they have sworn to serve (and protect). Congress, state, local. Again, do you really want to have as a leader someone willing to put politics ahead of the lives and safety of those you love?
Now, on to models which is a hot topic after yesterday’s news. Frankly, I’m disappointed with some I know who are both smart and educated in regards their comments about models and the use of same. Add to the list of those who say: it’s the flu, it’s going to kill us all, this was a Chinese bioattack, it’s all Trump’s fault, those that say we should never use computer models again for policy decisions. People who say any of these things are stupid, and you are probably better off without them in your life. Done right, computer models can be a very useful tool. Then again, like all statistics, they can be used to lie.
Dr. Birx has some thoughts on the subject, and on the media use of misleading (cough, lies, cough) models and statistics. They are well worth the time to watch and listen.
As noted previously, models are only as good as the data that goes in them. The GIGO law still applies today, and will always apply. That said, even flawed models can be useful if used properly.
For every model, there are usually four basic runs: best case, worst case, median, and mode. Running a model to get those four shows a range of outcomes. It helps define the limits of the problem, and with smart analysis, the model itself. With the range defined, you can drill down to get a better understanding of how different responses or other actions (such as different spread rates, death rates, etc. in this case) change outcomes. You can also identify critical areas to explore in more detail.
As noted before, if you are a leader facing a crisis be it a dam breaking or a pandemic hitting, you need good info on best case, worst case, median, and mode and you need it fast. While you hope for best case, you plan and act for worst case in order to get something closer to mean or median if you can’t be sure of getting the best case outcome. You have to depend on the experts to get you the data needed to make the right decisions.
In the case of our response (and it is worth noting that according to Johns Hopkins we were the best prepared nation in the world for a pandemic, thought that does not mean we were as prepared as we should have been, we weren’t.), one of the top experts was wrong with his models and our elites were off doing other things rather than their prime and critical job in the years leading up to this. And, yes, you will find the same thing, even more so, at the FDA and CDC. It is not just a problem with the NIH. There are many lessons to be learned and applied once this is behind us.
So, you as a leader are dependent on those of critical expertise, who may or may not have any political or other biases and who may have little to no real-world experience. You go with what you have, do the best you can, and start correcting on the fly as you get better data. This is what has happened and is happening.
Right now, the issue is not the number of cases or the number of deaths. It is how many require hospital treatment, and more importantly how many will require advanced support. It is frustrating that there is not better data on this, and when I talked about breaking it down as far as we can, this is some of the most critical data out there. If you can project the local spread rate and the local required treatment rate and compare it to the available beds and support… This article takes a look at what states/areas are either at capacity or approaching it. It’s not definitive or hard data, but it’s a good start.
So, what to do? I hope the President will continue to do one thing above all others: cut loose the ingenuity and can-do attitude that is American Exceptionalism and free market capitalism. While government bureaucracy has time and time again hampered efforts at effective and efficient response to COVID-19, American businesses have time and time again worked miracles to meet needs.
We need ventilators. There are major companies lining up to make them. Even better, you have MIT developing a $100 model; and, you have James Dyson designing a new ventilator in 10 days and committing to building 15,000 of them as fast as possible. You have another company designing a device to allow one ventilator to help four patients at a time. There are a lot more stories like this out there. Rather than listen to or watch the media, go do a search and I think it will help your outlook.
You will also find stories where companies that still have manufacturing capabilities here are doubling down. 3M plans to make more than a billion masks by the end of the year. You will find the company that makes the swabs needed for testing (and a host of other uses) working overtime to meet demand and get ahead.
So, Mr. President, keep the bureaucrats at bay, replace the lockdown with a gradated series of responses, and let’s get cracking. Use the better data we are getting to analyze each area and decide what response is best for that area. As we do this, let’s look at what worked, what didn’t, what could have been done better (AARs are a good thing, so long as I don’t have to write them) and then use that as a starting point for the long overdue (and bitterly resisted) modernization, update, and refocusing of the CDC, FDA, NIH (and others, please) on their core missions. Let’s also look at the ineffective and unneeded regulations, burdensome laws, and other impediments to our nation and our economy and eliminate, change, and deal with them as needed.
Once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!
Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.
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If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.
Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NO. HELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.
Avoid travel if at all possible. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc. Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc. Not many actually do it, but…
If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.
Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19
Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)
South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)
Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)
More to come
Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support
Pipe Puffer (cigar and pipe) regular hours for now
More to come
Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles: