IMHE

After I wrote my blog this morning, I did some more research.  My observations were so at odds with what is being reported that I was concerned. Well to my surprise I just discovered this article which basically reached the same conclusions:

IMHE Coronavirus Model the White House is Relying on is GARBAGE – It Predicted 121,000 Americans Hospitalized by Yesterday; Actual Number?… 31,142

I did not address the hospitalization prediction, but if this is accurate, and it looks accurate, then the hospitalization rate is about 1/4th of what was predicted. This is consistent with what Gov. Cuomo was saying today. It is at least nice to learn that I am not the only one who reached this conclusion.

TDM

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Things are obviously bad in New York. That does not mean it is going to get bad everywhere. While Governor Cuomo says this is coming to a neighborhood near you, that seems unlikely. It is obvious that New York skews every statistic.  Let me show you exactly what I mean.

NEW CASES NEW CASES (PERCENT) DEATHS DEATH (PERCENT)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER
1-Apr 225,998 92,381 133,617 40.88% 59.12% 5,311 2,373 2,938 44.68% 55.32%
1-Apr 207,637 83,712 123,925 40.32% 59.68% 4,601 1,941 2,660 42.19% 57.81%
31-Mar 186,633 75,795 110,838 40.61% 59.39% 3,833 1,550 2,283 40.44% 59.56%
30-Mar 163,131 68,369 94,762 41.91% 58.09% 3,146 1,224 1,922 38.91% 61.09%
29-Mar 141,125 59,513 81,612 42.17% 57.83% 2,458 965 1,493 39.26% 60.74%
28-Mar 123,311 52,318 70,993 42.43% 57.57% 2,211 728 1,483 32.93% 67.07%
27-Mar 100,390 44,635 55,755 44.46% 55.54% 1,543 519 1,024 33.64% 66.36%
26-Mar 83,545 37,258 46,287 44.60% 55.40% 1,201 385 816 32.06% 67.94%

 

Since March 26th.New York is responsible for about 40% of the cases, which doesn’t appear to have changed very much. Since we are increasing testing all over the country, one would expect the number of new claims from outside New York to become a bigger percentage of the total. That is not happening. If anything, the opposite is happening.

While Governor Cuomo says the rest of the country will look like New York, the rest of the country is actually looking better than New York and the difference is increasing, not decreasing. This caused me to look again at New York and a map of where the cases are located. Almost all of the activity is coming from major metropolitan areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and the New York area. The more rural parts of New York are reporting results similar to the rest of the country.

The death rate in New York is also skewing results for the entire country. This is actually good news, because it may mean that all the projections are off:

DEATH RATE ANALYSIS
TOTAL DEATHS NEW DEATHS  (PERCENT OF CHANGE)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER
2-Apr 5,311 2,373 2,938 710 432 278 15.43% 22.26% 10.45%
1-Apr 4,601 1,941 2,660 768 391 377 20.04% 25.23% 16.51%
31-Mar 3,833 1,550 2,283 687 326 361 21.84% 26.63% 18.78%
30-Mar 3,146 1,224 1,922 688 259 429 27.99% 26.84% 28.73%
29-Mar 2,458 965 1,493 247 237 10 11.17% 32.55% 0.67%
28-Mar 2,211 728 1,483 668 209 459 43.29% 40.27% 44.82%
27-Mar 1,543 519 1,024 342 134 208 28.48% 34.81% 25.49%

 

These numbers are as of right now; they will probably be higher by end of day.

Today Governor Cuomo said he expected New York to peak in 7 days. Previously he was saying it would peak in 30 days. He admitted that the number of discharges from hospitals in New York is higher than the number of new admissions. New York appears to be leveling off and may even have already peaked.

It appears that all of the dire predictions are from a model developed by Bill Gates. It is a truly frightening model, but it is only a model. While we should not assume that happy days are here again, we can see that the worst-case scenarios being trumped in the press and elsewhere are far from certain. Dr. Fauci went from predicting millions of deaths, to 200,000 to maybe 100,000 if things don’t go well. In order words, he really doesn’t know because no one has enough data to evaluate.

There are a lot of people saying we are expected to trend like Italy. New York is trending like Italy. But New York, while arrogant enough to think they represent the entire country, is still just New York.

We are doing a ton of tests and so we should expect more positive results. There are wide-spread reports of doctors prescribing hydroxychloroquine and getting great results. If that is true, it should be showing up in a declining number of new deaths.

At least some people have a vested interested in making the COVID 19 virus look worse rather than better. Some sadly want this to get worse so they can blame Trump. Others may even be making money off the situation. In addition there are politicians who are getting a lot of free air time that will go away when this is over.

This reminds me of when I visited a lab that produced insect repellent. One of the top executives for that company was excited to report that because of weather conditions they predicted a lot more mosquitoes to hatch during the coming year. They gleefully expected a banner year for insect repellent sales. To him, that was great news. The rest of us, not so much. There are winners and loser for every situation good and bad.

We will know a lot more by next week. We can expect deteriorating results from places like Detroit, but that may be offset by improving numbers in New York. We will soon know. Remember that ultimately the number of positive tests matters, but not nearly as much as the number of deaths.

TDM

Y 2K

Do you remember Y 2k? That was when the world, or at least the computer driven portion of the world, was scheduled to end. The problem was that a lot of computer programs had been written with the assumption that all years started with 19. That was true from 1901 to 1999, but suddenly around 1995 people realized, with a gasp, that the year after 1999 was 2000. Virtually everyone predicted disaster. The company I worked for set up an entire Y 2k computer task force, gave them a huge budget and set them up in a special conference room. That task force worked full speed from 1997 through the end of 1999. No one thought it was enough. People were certain that New Years Day 2000 would be a disaster.

None of us knew what would happen. Some of the predictions were truly catastrophic. I was assigned to manage our risk management response and had our entire claim department on standby to handle developments. We started by watching the New Years Celebration in Sydney Australia. Nothing happened, other than the usual mistakes made by people who celebrated a little too hard. Then we watched New Years travel across the globe. We were very interested in what happened in London. Again, nothing. Finally, New Year’s Day arrived in New York City. Still Nothing. Chicago, nothing. Denver, nothing. By this time, it was obvious to everyone that Y 2k was a big dud. Now perhaps all the planning to prevent disaster really worked, or more likely the problem was a bit over-hyped in the first place. Regardless of why, the what was more than obvious by the time 2000 approached San Francisco. I thanked all the staff that had waiting so patiently to deal with disaster, and we all went down to the waterfront and watched the fireworks over San Francisco Bay.

Perhaps I am wrong, but this is starting to feel like Y 2k all over again. Oh, the virus is here, and a lot of people are getting sick, but, at least in the U.S., this is starting to look a lot less scary. So, I started looked at some facts, ignored by most of the media.

FACT Number one.  Not that many people have the virus.

Here in the U.S. the testing was slow, so the only people being tested were seriously ill or considered at risk. Yet, many reports show that 85% of these people were testing negative. About 36% of people tested in New York turned up positive, but New York is New York. No place else tested anywhere near this number.

A lot of people assumed and some still assume that there are all these people out there who have the virus with no symptoms. We don’t know that, of course, because they aren’t being tested. Some people think South Korea tested everyone, but that isn’t close to true. South Korea has over 50 million people. It tested 250,000. They ended up with 9,786 people testing positive. That is about 4%.

The Diamond Princess tested everyone and 15% tested positive. If there is any place on this planet where a virus is likely to spread rapidly, it is a cruise ship.

Here is California, we are only testing people who are ill and who are considered to be at risk. So far, about 8% of people are testing positive.

FACT Number Two.  We are just now starting to get real test data.

We have done over 1,000,000 tests and we have about 150,000 positive results. That looks like 15% but remember that about half of them are from New York which skews the results. In addition, the test results were coming in slow. It often took 6 or 7 days to get a result. Now we have a lot of tests that return results in 45 minutes and some new tests give results almost instantly. Less than 5 minutes to test positive, 15 minutes to prove negative.

Fact Number Three. There really aren’t that many deaths, anywhere, other than places like Spain and Italy.

Let’s face it. Even if the spread of the disease became just as bad here as it did in Italy, we would be unlikely to lose any many people. Our death rate is 9 per million. In Italy it is 192 per million. Of course, they have socialized medicine which is obviously so superior to our health care system.

As of now, we have had about 3,000 deaths. While this is likely to grow, it just seems like the predicted 100,000 deaths is a bit of a reach.

Fact Number Four. There are already signs the spread is slowing down.

Even in New York the rate of hospitalization is dropping rapidly. On Sunday it was estimated to double every 2 days. Now it is expected to double every 4 days.  A lot of people are predicting our hospitals will be overwhelmed, but so far that hasn’t happened. That is why ABC had to show video of a hospital in Italy, it couldn’t find good enough video in the U.S.

No one knows, but a couple of things seem beyond obvious. If only 15% of people who have serious symptoms test positive, why on earth would anyone expect a high percentage of people who have no symptoms to test positive. There is no evidence of that happening anywhere in the world. South Korea appears to have tested more than anyone and a whopping 4% are positive. Here is California, although we only test people with serious symptoms, only 8% are positive. Do we really believe that there is this large mass of people out there who really have this virus and don’t know it? I am not sure I buy that.

Our response is moving at the speed of light. In early March no one would have predicted the entire country would shut down like this. Yet, here we are. We already have vaccines; we have found several drugs that appear to be working and more are on the way. Do we really think none of this had an impact?

I went back and looked at the early studies and all had one thing in common. They assumed that huge percentage of the population would get the virus and that the death rate was about 4%. If both those assumptions were true, we would get about 2 million deaths. But are they true? Do you see any evidence of that? Does anyone have any evidence of that?

We will soon know. Like I said, feels like Y 2k in a lot of ways.

TDM

SIGNS OF RECOVERY

As of today, the U.S. shows 135,957 cases, 2,391 deaths and 4,378 recovered. In addition, there are 2,948 people considered to be in serious or critical condition because of COVID 19. The number of recoveries is highly misleading. Once a person who has tested for the disease stops having symptom, they are quarantined for 14 days. Then, in order to be considered recovered, they must be tested twice and with negative results. Yet how many of them are even tested?

In order to get tested in the U.S., you must be a health care worker, a first responder or someone either at risk because of age and health or you must be seriously ill. Anyone else asking to be tested will be told to suck it up and go home for 14 days. If you recovered, you won’t be tested, because you have passed the quarantine period anyway.

Results show that 85% of people being tested do not have the disease. This means we have probably tested close to one million people by now. But odds are few of those tests are being given to people who appear to be recovered. That is why the recovery rate is ridiculous low.

Two things will change explosively next week. Numerous doctors ignored the advice of medical experts like the Democratic governors of Michigan and Nevada and have been prescribing Hydroxychloroquine. I have seen no reports where anyone was injured by this drug. I have seen numerous reports that it is working wonders. Two doctors in New York have prescribed this to over 800 patients. None have died, none have been incubated and only two have been hospitalized. Dr. Didier Raoul, a French doctor, was the first to report success. His initial results were downplayed as being from too small a sample to consider. He has since released an even larger study with similar results. All over the world, other than in Michigan and Nevada, doctors are prescribing this.

Clearly the pharmaceutical industry believes. At least seven different pharmaceutical companies are mass producing this and there may be up to 250 million doses available by mid-April. They are only doing this for one reason, they believe it works.

There are still a lot of doctors practicing medicine in Missouri and demanding show me results. The problem is that if we follow their advice we will know if this works just about in time for next spring. We obviously cannot wait that long. The people who are currently ill or who are exposed to the virus absolutely cannot wait that long. They won’t have to. The results are going to become obvious starting next week.

New tests have been developed that change everything. Previously it took up to two days to get a result. Now it takes about 15 minutes and a positive result is received in five minutes.  Hundreds of thousands of those test kits are on the way. We are already seeing massive testing and by next weeks this will skyrocket.

Now combine the two. People treated with hydroxychloroquine are not only getting better, they are getting better FAST. Some report that after six days they are testing negative.  Thanks to the new test, we will soon have evidence of that. That means many of those patients who started getting the drug this week will start testing negative next week. If that happens, watch the “recovered” statistic to skyrocket. When the number of recoveries starts to exceed the number of new cases, the end is near. Most people think Trump is insane to talk about starting to re-open the country on Easter Sunday. But, if we start seeing a ton of recoveries, that just may happen.

I predict that by the 4th of July, this pandemic will be discussed in historical terms. People will be far more concerned about getting the economy moving again.

I believe there will be wide-spread use of hydroxychloroquine, much more testing, and much more selective isolation of people with the disease. This will create a perfect storm of medicine and science that will blow COVID 19 out of existence.

It will, of course, take the MSM much longer to notice. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never figure this out. It will take even longer for some people to grudgingly admit that Trump was right about this. But you will know. Your neighbor will know and soon the whole world will know the truth.

You won’t have to wait much longer. Now you are inundated with only bad statistics. The number of new cases and the number of deaths. This looks like it is bad and getting worse. But all the numbers you see are based on things that happened three weeks ago. Nothing you see is based on things that happened last week. Either the entire world is insane and shut down their economies in a failed attempt to delay the inevitable, or they are right, and at least some of this worked. In addition, all the horrible predictions are based on no treatment, no cure and no vaccine. The vaccine will take months, but the cure may already be here. If it is not here now, they are testing at least 70 other drugs and one of them will work. Now is the time to consider selling that excess toilet paper and start preparing for a brighter future.  Easter Sunday, maybe, 4th of July, you bet!

TDM

A WORD TO THE WHYS

It is increasingly clear that a lot of supposedly bright people are making major decisions based on highly questionable data. One of the problems is that no one really trusts the data from China where this all started. The Chinese government is telling us what they want us to know. There are reports of people who are ill, who appear to have the virus, who are not tested and are not being admitted to the hospital. That would explain why China is reporting no new cases. If you don’t test anyone, no one tests positive. Most people, not working for CNN, understand this.

Another is that the tests used in China are highly suspect. For example the free tests sent from China to Europe weren’t actually free and the error rate may approach 80%. It is important to note that the U.S. would not accept tests from any other country because they questioned the validity of the tests. The U.S. tests are verified, so the most accurate information we have now is from right here.

Finally, the U.S. health care system is the best in the world and that is becoming increasingly obvious.

Perhaps the best real data we had is from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship where everyone was tested. There were 3,711 passengers and crew on board and 542 people tested positive. That is about 14.5%. Nearly half of them had no symptoms. So far, there is no place in the world where the spread seems to be higher than this.

The U.S. is reporting more cases than anyone else, because we are testing more than anyone else, but it is still about .03% of our population. New York is reporting 55,000 cases. There are about 8.5 million people in New York, so that is about .65%, significantly higher than the rest of the country, but lower than the rest of the world.

The number of cases in New York may skyrocket, but they may level off. Even New York Governor Cuomo hinted at that. One thing is certain, New York is a lot more crowded than the rest of the country. The rest of us travel in private passenger cars, not subways and taxi cabs. It is stupid to predict that the rest of the country will experience the same results as New York.

Yet some are predicting exactly that. California Gov. Gavin Newsom predicts that 50% of people in California will get the virus. That appears to be based on a study done in the UK which predicted 2 million deaths. The author who did that study recently admitted his prediction model was off and lowered his estimate to 20,000 deaths.

Trump has more information that you, me or anyone in the media. This includes the very best experts in the world. He clearly thinks this is about to peak and things will rapidly improve. He also knows the truth about hydroxychloroquine. There are numerous reports that its works. I have seen no reports that it is hurting anyone. The couple in Arizona who drank fish tank cleaner has nothing to do with the actual drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump said today there were 10,000 doses of it being administered.  That means this drug is being tested, results are starting to come in already and next week they will flood in. If Trump was getting any hint of a problem he would have started walking this back. He isn’t doing that, if anything he is doubling down.

If this, or any other drug, starts curing the disease within a few days instead of weeks that will change everything overnight. We will soon know. The only thing certain right now is that Trump is acting more optimistic and his critics are backing down.

One side note. It is clear that Democrats know Joe Biden is in serious trouble and has zero chance of defeating Trump. But, they may still want him on the ticket; because they know Trump is going to win regardless of his opponent. They don’t want to throw good money after bad or a good candidate in an effort destined for failure. They would rather have Biden get hosed and then they could blame everything on him. When defeat is inevitable, people start looking around for the best candidate to throw under the bus. Joe Biden appears to fit all the criteria for that honor.

This reminds me of Winston Churchill’s speech after the defeat of Rommel at El Alamein:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

I think we are at that point with regard to coronavirus. It is not over yet, but we have come a long way from where we started.

TDM

GOING TO DICKENS

From a Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Dickens was writing about 1775, but he could have been writing about today. While most people are somewhat familiar with the revolutionary war, from the U.S. perspective, many are unaware of the impact on Great Britain. It was very expensive to build all those ships and fight a war 3,000 miles away. This put a tremendous strain on Great Britain and crime became a serious problem because all the “enforcers” were on the other side of the world. France, on the other hand, was run by an arrogant monarchy that supported the U.S. revolution probably because France was willing to do almost anything to hurt Great Britain. After the war, Great Britain had serious financial problems and had to raise taxes to astronomical levels. It took years to recover. France experienced the French revolution, inspired by the American Revolution. The French revolution lasted from 1789 to 1799. The monarchy was overthrown, but the result was violence and political turmoil that finally resulted in the dictatorship under Napoleon.

Great Britain turned to William Pitt, who became the youngest Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1783 when he was only 24 years old. Many people give Pitt credit for providing the leadership that allowed Great Britain to pass from the old order to the new order without violent upheaval. France turned to the mob and ended up with Napoleon who looked good in comparison.

The point is that times like this expose people with real leadership skill and it also exposes leaders who are totally incompetent.

I thought it would be difficult to nominate someone for the position of idiot in chief, but the Governor of Nevada rose to the occasion. He issued an emergency order banning doctors from using hydroxychloroquine or any other malaria drug on a coronavirus patient. He did this for two reasons. One is that Trump said this drug has promise, so the Governor is sure that Trump was lying. The other is that a couple decided to self-medicate using Koi Pond cleaner because it lists an ingredient that kinda sorta looks like hydroxychloroquine. It was actually chloroquine phosphate, which promptly killed the husband.

Sadly, fish tank cleaner containing chloroquine phosphate skyrocketed in demand and the price for a bottle of this stuff increased from $10 to over $400 in some cases, even though manufacturers warned against ingesting this stuff.

The governor either did not realize this is not the same drug, or he hates Trump too much to care. In either case he just ordered doctors not to use a drug that is having miraculous results all over the world. It is hard to imagine anyone doing something dumber than this, but there are democrats definitely in the running.

The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcettil said that the city’s neighbor prosecutors will be scouring the city for “nonessential” business that are still operating and he threatened to cut off their utilities like power and water.

Then Ralph (Blackface” Northam, Governor of Virginia, issued an executive order making it a criminal offense to hold a church service attended by more than 10 people. Actually he banded all public and private in person meetings of 10 or more individuals. There are some families larger than that. While the executive order did not specifically mention church services, the Q & A sent out makes the intent clear.

  1. What about religious services? Can I still go to my church, synagogue or mosque?
  2. Virginians are strongly encouraged to seek alternative means of attending religious services, such as virtually or via “drive-through” worship.

In the meantime Trump has told people about hydroxychloroquine and is working with medical experts to make this available while also conducting clinical trials. There are reports from all over the world, including the U.S., that this is working wonders. I know of no reports of anyone seriously injured by the drug.

Trump is talking about getting the country back to work, sooner rather than later. Governors Cuomo and Newsom are saying this will take months. When Trump says we need to make sure the cure does not do more damage than the disease, most people understand. However, leading Democrats in position of leadership are having difficulty grasping the concept. Here is what Joe Biden had to say:

“We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse no matter what,” he said. “No matter what. We know what has to be done.”

It is the best of times and it is the worst of time. This will bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. The good news is that the American people are catching on and the worst offenders are self-identifying. Ultimately the coronavirus may change a lot of things for the good. It is just too bad that like most important life lessons, this type of learning is often very painful. Dickens tried to warn us.

TDM

WHO’S THE DUMMY?

CNN is gloating over a story where Dr. Fauci appears to slam Trump during a phone conversation, clearly intended to be off the record. Naturally the Washington Post quickly ran with the story. This story is only evidence of the lack of responsibility by the main stream media. Even if this was an accurate assessment of the relationship between Fauci and Trump, which it isn’t, what would be the point? How, exactly, does the country gain by not trusting the President of the United States? But it is worse than that. Trump is the one talking common sense and Fauci is too arrogant to consider the possibility that Trump is right about this.

The following story from the Gateway Pundit gives a first-hand account on how hydroxychloroquine worked for one guy:

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/03/coronavirus-victim-52-said-he-expected-to-die-instead-he-says-hydroxychloroquine-saved-his-life/

He was near death. His doctors didn’t even tell him about hydroxychloroquine and when he told them about it his doctor: “gave me all the reasons why I probably would probably not want to try it because there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved.” When the patient insisted, the doctor reluctantly authorized used of it.

Here is how the patient describes the results:

”An hour after an IV with the medicine, he says his heart felt like it was beating out of his chest. “They had to come in and get me calmed down and take care of me. I had another episode about two hours later where I just got to the point where I couldn’t breathe and my heart was pounding again so they gave me some Benadryl through the system and something else. I’m not sure what it was. It allowed me to go to sleep and when I woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning, I woke up like nothing ever happened.”

He now reports that he feels fine, he has no fever, he has no pain and he can breathe again.

Dr. Fauci plans clinical trials. It is important to understand what that means. He plans on testing 45 people for 28 days. They will follow up with them for a year. After this year, the clinical trial results will be published. If the clinical trial results are great, then Dr. Fauci would feel safe in saying we should “try” using this drug. The million or so people who die in the meantime can rest comfortably knowing their contribution to science is secure.

Fauci admits there are reports that this is working well: Many things you hear out there are what I call anecdotal reports. They may be true, but they’re anecdotal… If you really want to definitively know if something works, you have to do the kind of trial that you get the good information with.”

He is willing to risk a year of horrible results, to avoid making a mistake. That would be understandable if this was a new drug and we didn’t know about possible side effects. But it isn’t a new drug, it is a well-tested drug used in a new way. Since there is no other existing drug available, the risk seems minimal. The reward, if it does work, would literally transform the world. It could save millions of lives.

Trump says give it a chance. He also told Bayer to prepare 3 million doses. If Trump is right, this could change our world. If he is wrong, the results will be similar to following the advice of Dr. Fauci.

CNN & the Washington Post vote for the Fauci approach, primarily because they are terrified that Trump might be right. However, if one of them became sick or had a sick loved one, I guarantee they would be screaming loudly for the doctor to at least try hydroxychloroquine.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/the-real-story-behind-the-worlds-first-antibiotic

In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. It was used to treat meningitis, pneumonia, syphilis and other forms of bacteria. But it wasn’t widely used until 1941, during World War II. British and U.S. scientists discovered that it could be used to treat wounds. This was so effective that production increased from 400 million units in early 1943 to more than 650 billion units per month by the end of the war.

Ironically, the first person to receive penicillin because of a wound died. Albert Alexander scratched his nose on a rosebush and it became infected. Dr. Howard Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain had been experimenting with penicillin on mice. Alexander was in such terrible shape that when Florey and Chain heard about it, they asked for permission to try penicillin. He eventually died, but this experiment proved that penicillin worked.

If it hadn’t been for World War II, penicillin probably would have gone through years of clinical trials. But, the horror of World War II resulted in doctors taking a chance and the results were spectacular. During World War I the death rate from pneumonia was 18 percent. Because of penicillin, the death rate from pneumonia during World War II was 1 percent. Many allied soldiers survived the war because doctors took a chance on penicillin. Sound familiar?

Perhaps the better question is: “Who’s the dummy?”

PEARLS OF WISDOM

After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan there were two immediate responses. One was that a lot of people were furious that the United States had been caught by surprise. There was a lot of finger pointing, at Admiral Kimmel and General Short. There was also finger pointing at the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But there was even more anger at Japan. There was also a recognition that the nation only had one president and we needed to unite behind him to fight the greater enemy, the Empire of Japan. The finger point was postponed, and the nation unified behind our president.

Later, when the war was won, there were further investigations with the typical finger pointing. Ultimately, nothing much changed. While there were lessons to be learned from the mistakes that allowed Japan to catch us by surprise, it was far more important to move on from this disaster and come together as a country. Winning the war was far more important than pinning the blame.

The country has already figured that out and is unifying behind the leadership of Donald Trump. It is no accident that there is incredible coordination and joint effort between the Federal, State and Local Governments and between the government at all levels and the private sector. Even Democrats took a break from resisting this president and are working with him to be part of the solution to this very serious situation.

We are in a war with the coronavirus. Any historian will warn us about the fog of war. When you are fighting this kind of battle, you don’t have the luxury of hindsight. You must make the best decisions you can, based on the information you have available. Indecision is the worst decision of all. If you watch the reports from Europe, they are paying a terrible price for not getting ahead of this.

This is a time when we have no choice but to ask our leaders to do their job and to let them do their job. Many of us believe that Gavin Newsom is a horrible Governor. But he is showing real leadership on this and we need to respect that. He will make some wise decisions and he will make some dumb decisions. But he has the power to do what is necessary and we should focus more on praying that God grants him wisdom than mindless criticism. The same is true for Donald Trump. He is the president and he is also showing leadership. Those who oppose him politically should treat him the say way Republicans should treat Gavin Newsom.

My wife and I watched a very interesting documentary on the 1906 earthquake. The Mayor of San Francisco was obviously corrupt. Following the earthquake, he made some very poor decisions. But when necessary he made the critical decision that probably saved the city. He authorized the destruction of homes and businesses along Van Ness Avenue which resulted in a fire break saved the rest of the city. For a short, and I do mean short, period Mayor Schmitz and his opponents worked together to save the city. But in November 1906 he returned home from Europe to learn he was being indicted. Ultimately, he was indicted on 27 counts of graft and bribery, convicted and given the maximum penalty. His conviction was later overturned by the Appellate Court and later the California Supreme Court.

Schmitz later ran for Mayor again, twice, and was defeated. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors again and served on that board until 1925.

https://www.nytimes.com/1906/11/24/archives/mayor-schmitz-back-says-he-is-no-grafter-detectives-will-trail-him.html

One this pandemic is under control; Democrats will turn on a dime and accuse Donald Trump of everything but treason. We can and should expect that. But History will judge Donald Trump soon enough. As for now, we better all hope and pray he is up to the challenge. In my opinion the true test of leadership is to get people to work together as a team for the greater good. Trump seems to be doing a remarkable job of doing exactly that. It is quite possible that because of the action taken by so many people working together for a change we just may get through this horrific situation in far better shape than most countries. One thing is already certain. We live in a very different world than anyone could have imagined early last week. This will change this nation and it will change us. Hopefully a lot of people will learn from this important reminder of what is and what is not actually important. One thing is certain, we already know the importance of toilet paper. That, of course, will change when people get their sh*t together.

We are a different nation with different values today than as recently as last week.

TDM

PANIC OR PLANNING

There is certainly a lot of panic regarding the coronavirus. In some cases, this looks and feels ridiculous. For example, it is hard to justify the run on toilet paper at Costco. But I have given this a lot of thought and I think this might be closer to brilliant planning.

The way this was handled in places like Italy and Germany is a disaster. Germany is now predicting that 70% of the population will be infected. That does not mean 70% will become deathly ill, but it does mean that this virus spreads at an astonishing rate.

That makes the decisions by Donald Trump look brilliant. His decision to ban travel with China, several weeks ago, is the primary reason we don’t have those kinds of problems here today. His new travel ban for most of Europe will buy more time. But he did more than that. It is not an accident that the NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, NCAA and a lot of other organizations have cancelled events. That decision is costing them millions of dollars. This only happened because the Trump administration, through interaction with top executives, made this happen. This is unprecedented. It also might be exactly the right thing to do.

I did a little research and with a pandemic like this it is important to understand the speed at which this can spread and the catastrophic results when that happens. Ironically, China which gets a lot of the blame, also paved the way toward fixing the problem. They literally shut down entire cities, in a way that would only be possible in a totalitarian state. The virus was exploding, so they turned larges parts of the country, into virtual prisons. The results were catastrophic, for people in those areas. Hospitals were overwhelmed and we may never know the final death toll. But this also stopped the virus from spreading rapidly to other areas, and there are signs that things are rapidly improving.

Here in the United States, under the leadership of Donald Trump, we are achieving the much better results with a lot less pain. While a lot of us like major league sports, taking a vacation from them for a while is hardly the end of the world. But what it does do is send a message to everyone to self-isolate which will slow down the spread of the disease. It will still spread, and it will be a problem, but it will spread slower and give the experts valuable time to get ahead of the curve. At the same time massive effort is being spent on developing a fast and accurate test, work on a vaccine and develop drugs designed to deal with the disease. What is more important is that these tests, the vaccine and the medicine will be developed and manufactured here in the U.S.

The timing is perfect, because while the disease will spread rapidly during the winter, like every other pandemic it will slow down significantly during the summer. Trump is  right about that. Temporarily banning large public events will buy valuable time. So will warmer weather. By early fall, there will be tests available at an unprecedented level. They may not even require the tests be administered or monitored by doctors or other trained medical providers. It might be something simple, that people can take home and do themselves, like a pregnancy test. There will be tests developed that will allow everyone attending a major event, like a sporting event, to be properly screened. The same type of screening will be used on Cruise ships and airlines. It will save those industries.

This strategy has been proven to work.  The Democratic method of gun control is to take guns away from everyone. That does not work. But there is a kind of gun control that has been working for a long time. If you go into any stadium, you go through metal detectors that make it very difficult to enter with a gun or any other kind of weapon. That is why there have been no recent major shooting event inside a football stadium, a basketball arena, a baseball stadium or any other event where this type of screening takes place. It is why airplanes are a gun free zone. This works. While you can’t and shouldn’t screen all the people all the time, you can and should screen everyone attending a major sporting event or any other event where there are huge crowds. By fall, they will be screening for coronavirus and ultimately that will have a major impact.

Quite simply Trump bought us time. He is simultaneously putting maximum effort into a permanent solution. He has mobilized a joint effort by public health official and experts in the private sector. He has even got Democrats working overtime to fund a lot of this.

We are very fortunate that it is Trump, and not Obama in the White House. Heaven help us if someone like Joe Biden is ever in charge. Obama let the swine flu get out of control. We were fortunate that it was not a lot worse. But that was not the result of good management, it was the result of a disease that, although contagious, wasn’t in a class with the coronavirus. We already had flu vaccines and we knew how to treat the flu. The problem with the coronavirus is that no one appears to have any immunity to it, and we are just now learning how to treat it. We are fortunate that, so far, the fatality rate is low compared to other diseases.

History has taught us that a new pandemic, if not managed will get out of control. That happened as recently as the Spanish flu. How many people realize that more soldiers died from disease than bullets during WWI. By the way, the Spanish flu wasn’t Spanish, and it wasn’t the flu. It was bacterial pneumonia.

Native Americans were also devastated more by disease than by bullets. They had no immunity to diseases like the measles, so when these were brought to this country by Europeans the results were catastrophic, for Native Americans. These European diseases quickly spread out of control and for a Native American the measles was often fatal. Today, no one worries much about the measles or Smallpox, or yellow fever or even the flu. That is partly because a lot of us have built up immunity, but it is also because of vaccines and the development of effective medical treatment.

The bottom line is that difficult decisions being made under the leadership of President Trump will buy us valuable time and that time is already being used to make this horrible disease manageable. That is not necessarily obvious to many people right now, but historians will rank this as one of the best examples of leadership during time of crisis in the history of mankind. I wonder if, eventually, CNN might even notice. Some people, like Governor Gavin Newsom, have already figured it out. I watched AOC being interviewed by Brett Baier and she astonishingly showed some rational thought. She even backed off from slamming Mike Pence and said “he is in charge and we must work with him.”

TDM

THE STRAW MAN

Joe Biden has won the DNC nomination. Bernie is not ready to admit that, yet, but Biden has won. Technically, Biden didn’t win, everyone else lost. Biden only campaigned in Iowa and New Hampshire and he got hammered in both states. He barely showed up in the rest of the states and that turned out to be the winning strategy. Most people don’t know much about Joe Biden, other than he seems to be a nice guy and he has been around forever. They know a lot about the other candidates and they hate all of them. Bernie is the only DNC candidate with a real following and his followers are far left of the main stream Democratic Party. Most of the other candidates didn’t make it past South Carolina. Even Elizabeth Warren bowed out after Super Tuesday. Tulsi Gabbard can hardly be considered a candidate since she couldn’t actually compete with anyone anywhere. Her political career is probably headed toward being a Fox News contributor.

So, now Joe stands alone and no one even pretends he is up to the challenge. We are about to see a nationwide stealth campaign. We will see commercials. We will see surrogates. We will see carefully scripted, extremely short public appearances, strictly limited to what is displayed on the TelePrompter. The MSM will instantly go into cover-up mode, refusing to cover any negative stories about Biden. Watch for the Biden campaign try, and fail, to prevent Fox News from covering any of his events. The MSM will greatly reduce camera shots to reduce the risk of catching Joe in a moment of candor. We will see everything, but the candidate himself.

The DNC debate is likely to be masterfully produced with the sole intent of protecting Joe Biden. They have already used the coronavirus as an excuse to eliminate a live audience. The debate will be on CNN with hosts Dana Bash and Jake Tapper plus Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. All will be warned not to embarrass Joe. All of them hate Bernie, but Bernie has lost, so they really won’t care what he says about anything, as long as he doesn’t rip on Biden. They will encourage him to rip on Donald Trump. Joe will get carefully worded softball questions for which he is already being coached to read the scripted answer. It is far from certain he can handle even that. Answers will be limited to 30 seconds, so that Joe has neither the need nor the time to think. Time limits will be ignored for Bernie. Strictly enforced for Joe. Remember during the last debate the only thing Joe got right was to shut up when his time was up.

Everything possible will be done to reduce the risk for Biden. One thing they will easily achieve, with or without special effort, is to make this the most boring debate in world history. CNN’s ratings are already in the tank and that won’t change. Even Democrats won’t watch, because they have already settled on Biden. While Bernie will view this as his last chance to sell himself to American, America will probably be watching something else. Anything else.

This is still very high risk for Biden, because there is zero potential he will be impressive and there is high risk he embarrasses himself. Since he doesn’t need to impress, they may even sedate him. That would be perfect, because he will already be sitting down and if he does poorly, they can blame it on coronavirus meds.

Following the debate, I wouldn’t even be surprised to have Joe Biden self-isolate to protect himself and others from the coronavirus. That would be a perfect solution. He will look kind of presidential, because he won’t be talking. He has an excuse for not campaigning and people have an excuse for not going to a campaign rally. We are going to be inundated with a lot of talking heads explaining why Joe Biden is the perfect candidate to defeat Donald Trump. Michael Bloomberg will probably spend another $500 million on commercials. We just won’t actually see much of Joe Biden. If you think the liberal left is good at smoke and mirrors, you haven’t you haven’t seen anything yet.

I wouldn’t even be surprised to see the DNC start cancelling primary elections, because of the coronavirus.

This may actually work, up until the DNC convention. But at some point, Joe Biden is going to have to do something, somewhere, sometime. But don’t be surprised if, for safety reasons, his acceptance speech at the DNC is done by video.There will be an attempt to cancel all presidential debates because of the coronavirus.  A coronavirus caused by Donald Trump. If it is possible to win an election for president by not actually campaigning, then Joe Biden is your guy.

I doubt that this will work, because although CNN is exactly this stupid, the rest of the country is not. That is why Joe Biden is winning now. Most Democrats voted against the insane class. Most, but not enough of them, will vote for Biden in the general election because he is a Democrat. Others will vote for him because they cannot and will not ever vote for Trump. Some will vote for him assuming that his VP will soon take over. But no one will even pretend that Joe’s the man. Very few people will vote for Joe Biden because they think Joe Biden will make a great president. They will vote for Joe, the straw man.

I doubt that anyone thinks this will work, but it will be tried because they are out of other options. When you’re about to go down for the last count, you will clutch at any straw. Joe Biden is the ultimate last straw man. Clutching at straws seldom works. We better all pray it doesn’t work now, because the only thing certain is that Joe Biden will never be the person calling the shots if he is elected President.

If you want to see what this looks like, check out the last part of Woodrow Wilson’s term as President or better yet read up on the Howard Hughes story.

TDM