Italy Looks to Ease Lockdown As Others Debate Next Steps

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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118 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There is not much realistic thought going on into what it means to “reopen” the economy. The problem is that I can’t tell how much of this is performative nonsense so politicians look like they care or is it honest stupidity combined with large doses of wishful thinking.

    Let’s go back and look at Carolyn Goodman:

    “The politically independent mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, has issued public pleas calling for the Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak to end the statewide shutdown of casinos and non-essential businesses, which she calls “total insanity.”

    https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/04/checkout-time-in-vegas

    Several problems here:

    1. The Casinos/Strip, UNLV, and McCarren International Airport are not officially part of Las Vegas, they are an unincorporated township called Paradise that is governed by the Clark County Commissioner.

    2. As far as I can tell, a lot of casino owners are quite conscious of the fact that having their properties be a hot zone is really bad for business and they want to keep the casinos shut for now.

    3. Even if you did reopen everything tomorrow, the tourists and conferences are not magically going to reappear and everything is going to get back tomorrow. There is a lot of evidence that even before the official lockdowns started in mid-March, restaurant reservations and travel was way down. I can attest to this anecdotally. During the first weekend in March, my girlfriend and I went to meet friends at a popular Ramen shop in the suburbs. Our friends had a baby in November and the mom was itching to get out of the house. This was just after the tech companies announced work from home but everyone else was continuing. That place was still packed on a Saturday night. But after that, it was very easy to get a walk in table at restaurants when they were still open. This is something that has been impossible in San Francisco for years even on a school night. Traffic also continued to get lighter and lighter (my firm did not go remote until around March 19th).

    All the “reopen” plans strike me as people working very hard to keep with their priors and not realize that the post-pandemic reopening is going to be a long haul that might involve a lot of welfare or the dole (the word that sends most Republicans and even many Democrats* to the fainting coaches and wishing for smelling salts). Also a reckoning that a lot of places have economies built on tourism and conferences an that might not be the best. But there might not be better options. Tourism is 13 percent of Italy’s GDP. Tourism is 18.4 percent of the GDP in Southern Nevada and provides 40 percent of the jobs in Clark County.

    But it seems like right now, ideology is holding sway and “reopening” is mainly about owning the libs and also not wanting to fix outdated puritanical reactionary ideas on the dole or fixing broken unemployment insurance systems. Mayor Goodman does not strike me as an own the libs type independent but there is some strange magical thinking in her spiels.

    Other big areas include reconfiguring office spaces because the open layout is no longer going to work and that is how a lot of companies operate. At my girlfriend’s company, only C-suite has offices of their own so even upper-management and some VPs are at open desks like associates.

    TL/DR, yes we need to reopen the economies and potentially sooner rather than later but it is a very serious conversation involving a lot of steps, changes and assumptions to welfare, and how we live. And our leaders seem incapable of it. They do seem quite capable of magical thinking though.

    *Tim Ryan who I largely consider a blue dog moderate came out with an op-ed advocating for giving every person 2,000 a month in income as a stimulus. So did more left members of congress. But Nancy Pelosi apparently did not like Mnuchin’s idea that the government would backstop payroll for a lot of employers including large ones because she felt companies should do the noblese oblige on their own. This ignores the fact that large companies have never done this unless mandated by governments to do so.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Agreed;

      Most of the advocates of reopening aren’t putting forward a realistic plan which acknowledges the needs for testing and distancing and all the rest; There is just this silly notion that we flip a switch and everything goes back to normal.

      There isn’t any evidence yet that those who recover from C19 are immune; Its entirely possible that people will be re-infected over and over.

      And it isn’t just old sick people who are at risk:
      Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/24/strokes-coronavirus-young-patients/

      And “recovering” from the virus is itself financially devastating; This isn’t something where you just have the sniffles for a week and drink some chicken soup. The treatment for the virus often requires intense medical care with all of its attendant costs, and time spent out of work.

      And even for those who don’t need hospitalization, how many employees calling out sick does it take to cripple a company’s ability to function? What happens when these people run out of sick time?

      And even if your restaurant or theater were open, who in their right mind would go to it?

      We will eventually reopen We just need to stop with the absurd search for a magic silver bullet.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        “And even if your restaurant or theater were open, who in their right mind would go to it?”

        I’m of two minds here. The answer might be just enough to create a second wave. I have always been a firm advocate of the “it is okay to go outside for a walk, jog, bike ride, to read a book in the park” school of thought as being necessary for physical and mental health. Not everyone has backyards. Plus these activities can be done with proper social distancing.

        But I went to the Presidio for a walk with my girlfriend on Saturday afternoon and it was clear that even in liberal San Francisco, a lot of people were not following proper social distancing. I suppose it is plausible that all the groups we saw picknicking together lived in the same household but it is doubtful. Most, but not all, of the people hanging out way too close to each other were young twenty somethings and even these ostensible liberals probably feel their youth makes them invincible and COVID-19 will be just a bad cold.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        And it isn’t just old sick people who are at risk: Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes

        And how many people would that be? 200? 500? The median age of someone who dies of this is like 75 and the average number of medical conditions they have is 3.

        Let’s look at apples to apples statistics for age groups. According to the CDC, the number of people ages 36-44 who have died purely from covid-19 is twice that who have died from the flu and half that who have died from pneumonia (during the same time period).

        Even when you combine categories, pneumonia BY ITSELF (from Feb) has killed more “young” people than covid, the flu, and pneumonia+covid/flu etc COMBINED. Further covid is something like 3% of all deaths which have happened in this age group.

        The age groups you’re talking about should be more terrified of pneumonia than covid.

        https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htmReport

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          You’re doing the autodidact thing where you bypass the actual experts and dive into the raw data and unsurprisingly come up with an absurd conclusion.

          If you look at the table you provided, pneumonia kills more people in any age group than C19. So according to your logic, this is not a problem, at all, for anyone!

          Yet, somehow every medical expert in the world is saying this is a pandemic, and a very serious public health issue.

          So you need to come up with a theory that explains the discrepancy between your conclusions and theirs.

          Here’s a start: Google “is covid 19 worse than the flu?”

          There will be a wealth of information for you to discover, including a thoughtful explanation of the CDC data you presented and why it is misleading.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            First, I’m not going to do your research for you. You’re making a blanket appeal to authority and not even suggesting which authority other than somewhere on the internet.

            2nd, those numbers say Covid has killed roughly 5x as many people as the flu in the same timeframe (8x in the 85+ crowd). Ergo asking the internet if covid is worse than the flu should show that it is.

            3rd, if the raw data disagrees with “the experts” then that often translates into “the media picked so-call experts” and we’re into scare mongering. We are poorly served by the media picking the scariest individual case and talking about it as if it’s the average.

            4th, you’re moving the goalposts. Your early post was talking about how even the young and healthy need to be afraid. For all of your carefully picked data on young people dying, for the truly young we have more people dying from the flu (much less pneumonia) than covid. For ages 25-34 covid is roughly tied with the flu.

            What I am doing is trying to give a sense of perspective.

            If you look at the table you provided, pneumonia kills more people in any age group than C19. So according to your logic, this is not a problem, at all, for anyone!

            Only if we consider “pneumonia” to be not a problem, at all, for anyone.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              So all these experts, all around the world, are wrong?
              That this is all a media hype and scaremongering, this is your position?

              Its a pity you don’t want to read more on this.

              You’d find out that the number of flu and pneumonia deaths recorded by the CDC in that table you looked at is different than what is actually recorded by hospitals, and why this is so, and why you shouldn’t compare them to C19.

              You’d also learn why even for those who get C19 and recover, the effects are very different than the flu or pneumonia, and what effect this has on public health and the economy, especially for young people which is what I started with.

              But mostly you need to decide which authority you trust.

              Right now you are saying you want us to trust the raw CDC data, but not their conclusions. You are saying the CDC can be trusted to collect data, but not trusted to analyze it.

              You want to appeal to authority here, but discount it over there for no apparent reason.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So all these experts, all around the world, are wrong?

                Depends on what we consider “wrong”. Was the expert opinion that Covid wasn’t human to human transmittable wrong? Was the 2.2 million estimation of death wrong? Was the estimation of the death rate wrong?

                You go with the best data that you have at the time. If the data changes then you’re supposed to change your mind.

                However whether or not we open up the economy isn’t a public health decision, it’s a political decision. The expert opinion of a public health official is going to be “people will die from the virus if we do this”, but that’s not the only consideration and these “experts” are hyper focused on their fields.

                Moving back to how scary we’re supposed to think Covid is, even if we only use your figures, from your links, you’re pointing to 400 young(ish) people who have died (50k * 0.008) and are trying to claim that’s scary and unacceptable. When we start comparing the risk to young people to other risks society has decided to ignore, we instantly find that 400 isn’t a big number.

                You’d find out that the number of flu and pneumonia deaths recorded by the CDC in that table you looked at is different than what is actually recorded by hospitals

                It’s not lost on me that the CDC is claiming half the people who have died from Covid should be put into “not covid alone” buckets, but I like taking data from one source because it limits data collection and data definition issues. I was using these numbers to compare risks, not as absolutes.

                If you want to use different raw data from different sources, by all means post some links and we’ll talk about them. However what you’re trying to do is point to extreme outliers and claim they are average and somehow justify political conclusions. Even your own links say they are extreme outliers (they just don’t describe them as that).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “It’s not lost on me that the CDC is claiming half the people who have died from Covid should be put into “not covid alone” buckets”

                NO. Just, NO. This is not the point that you should be taking away.
                Again, you’re misunderstanding the CDC data.

                Misunderstanding what those numbers represent, and how they are gathered, and whether or not you can compare flu and pneumonia deaths to Covid 19.

                Seriously. Read some stuff from people who know what they are talking about before you breezily dismiss their concerns.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Misunderstanding what those numbers represent…

                The problem with that counter argument is it fits every argument.

                You’re not even giving a clue as to what you think is wrong, other than you don’t believe what the CDC is black letter saying.

                You’re also not trying to defend your own links which say the situation you find scary applies to only 0.8% of the overall problem.

                Seriously. Read some stuff from people who know what they are talking about before you breezily dismiss their concerns.

                Feel free to post something which indicates you know what you are talking about.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It took you longer to type this response than it would to discover why you were in error.

                Go to http://www.Google.com
                Type in: is covid 19 worse than the flu

                Read any one of the first few links.

                The second one is my favorite, but any will do.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                is covid 19 worse than the flu

                Let’s just quote myself from several posts ago to see what I think about this subject:

                2nd, those numbers [from the CDC] say Covid has killed roughly 5x as many people as the flu in the same timeframe (8x in the 85+ crowd). Ergo asking the internet if covid is worse than the flu should show that it is.

                Following your advice… I see I was right. Funny that. Let’s drill down into your “first link”.

                In New York City, they found, raw CDC data indicated 619 flu deaths from Feb. 1 to April 18, 2020 — as opposed to the agency’s count of 5,870 COVID-19 deaths in the city.

                Hmm… “raw data from the CDC”… sounds like they’re looking at the same website I was pointing to. Of course they’re cherry picking their data since they’re going for a covid hotspot at its worst but even their conclusion is 9x as bad which is reasonably close to my 8x.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            For fun, perhaps we should stir up some alarm over the fact that not a single woman who’s contracted Covid-19 has managed to get pregnant and carry a baby to full term. Not one. I can say that just by looking at the calendar and the timeline of the outbreak, but the question is whether CNN would hit the airwaves with it before pausing to think for a minute. ^_^Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            And you’re doing the thing where we’re not acknowledging that the Experts are reacting to the unknown more than they are reacting to the known… and that emerging knowns should inform Expert guidance.

            Such that 12-months 2-months next week we’ll be told:

            * [After Miracle Vaccine emerges in May] Of course the plan was for a miracle vaccine to emerge in 3-months… that was the entire point of “bending the curve”
            * Of course lockdowns are useless, only Central Quarantines are meaningful policy.
            * Of course everyone is going to get Coronavirus and millions will die, we never said they weren’t, we just said we were going to manage it in an orderly fashion.
            * Of course the West Coast strain was less virulent than the East coast strain, only an idiots like Trump and Gavin Newsom couldn’t read the data and if only we’d exposed more people to the West Coast strain like the experts said we would have reached herd immunity more quickly at fewer deaths and lower costs.
            * Of course Sweden was smart to spike their exposure to the early strains of Covid-19… by “flattening the curve” all we did was create the space necessary for the mutations into Covid-20 which is 5x more virulent…

            Or some other such “Of course we all knew back then…” after the data shows, but not while the data is emerging.

            But the biggest epistemic failure is that there isn’t sufficient appreciation that there isn’t an Expert handbook for Covid-19 and that Policy has to be formed and modified by many Experts and many Generalists who synthesize what the various Experts aren’t Expert on.

            In fact, the true failure of Trump is that he lusts after a need to appear the Expert – which is daily exposed as absurdity – to the extent that he fails his primary duty of exercising the Prudence of the Generalist. But because we have no competent leadership, we’re unable to synthesize the abundance (over-abundance, really) of Expert guesses… and/or we’re seeing multiple syntheses on emerging regional levels (and truth be told, I’m not sure that regional policies aren’t better than one central policy) – some will be wrong, maybe badly wrong, others may be right only accidentally so… the problem is, we’re not really sure which is which. Not, if we’re being honest.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I don’t agree with, well, any of your listed “of courses” but I do think there’s a huge gulf between expert opinion on the likelihood a second wave in the fall and policy positions currently put forward by states, the White House, and others. Eg., the debate right now turns on two opposing views – either “re-open” to Save The Economy or remain shut to save lives knowing that the economy isn’t going to rebound – when we should be pessimistically forward-looking about how to maximize people’s quality of life over the expected time frame required to reach herd immunity. As far as I can tell, though, we have no “experts” in that domain of public policy*, for political or perhaps other reasons. So we’re stuck with a (false) binary choice.

              *I shouldn’t say there aren’t any. More that there isn’t anything like a consensus.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                I don’t think its necessary to think any of the above are likely (though I think two are very plausible, maybe even likely) just to see that Expert opinion in the early stages is based on unknowns and some knowns and some assumptions about knowns. I don’t mean to Rumsfield this up, but the Covid-19 playbook isn’t the Ebola Playbook isn’t the Flu playbook isn’t the SARS/MERS playbook. I’m not saying that this means the current approach isn’t prudent, just that I’m sure whatever the next prudent course of action will be isn’t fully developed right now, and we shouldn’t talk as if its a foregone conclusion.

                I disagree that the debate turns on two opposing views… the narrative seems to be hardening around two opposing views… but that’s precisely the thing I’m trying to caution against, where each narrative hardens into a set of “facts” that requires the abandonment of prudential regard for all the facts in service of the narrative.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                And Jennifer Rubin (spit) got there first.

                We Need a Survival Plan for the Pandemic EraReport

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Weird, I replied to this but my post has disappeared.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Strong agree. We need plans to re-open, but the “re open now” crowd seem completely uninterested. They largely don’t seem to taking this all seriously since they do contain a fair number of Q’s or Bill Gates something something people or other assorted nuts. They don’t seem to taking social distancing seriously or how we will need to modify our lives for a while.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      TL/DR, yes we need to reopen the economies and potentially sooner rather than later but it is a very serious conversation involving a lot of steps, changes and assumptions to welfare, and how we live. And our leaders seem incapable of it. They do seem quite capable of magical thinking though.

      Tyson Foods chairman warns that ‘the food supply chain is breaking’Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Any Mayor in a heavily tourist dependent city like Las Vegas is going to be prone to a lot of magical thinking. Retooling the Las Vegas economy to be less dependent on tourism is a near impossibility because that was why it came into existence in the first place. No tourism, no Vegas. I imagine that the type of person who gets elected into office into Vegas isn’t going to be the steely eyed realistic pragmatic politician either.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Nancy Pelosi’s rejection of Mnuchin’s idea about government backstopping payroll was really short sighted and strangely weird on her part. Even further left European governments realize that the government is going to have to pay the wages and salaries from the government treasury.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Are you even trying?

      https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/gov-murphy-unveils-6-point-coronavirus-reopening-strategy-with-no-timetable-to-lift-lockdown-restrictions.html

      Murphy is a Dem Governor who clamped down hard, which was needed in many ways and got silly in certain ways. In a state that has been incredibly hard hit.

      This plan isn’t perfect and most importantly lacks dates, but to continue to beat the drum that talk of re-opening is all “own the libs” crap is just embarrassing. Seriously.Report

  2. Avatar JS says:

    Reopening too soon — and not just medically too soon, but from the point of view of public opinion too soon — is worse than staying closed.

    Take your average restaurant. Right now, it’s either closed or working “take-out” only. Most of it’s servers and cooks are laid off, leaving just enough to manage the smaller take-out crowd.

    Suddenly the lockdown lifts. First, if it’s closed — business interruption insurance no longer applies. You aren’t closed by order of government or due to medical necessity, now you are doing it by choice. Second, you need to rehire your staff — although you don’t know how many you’ll need as demand is uncertain, but a good chunk just to be save. Those workers must take the offer or lose their unemployment. You have to ramp up purchasing — again, uncertain how much but you have to spend more.

    Then you throw open your doors. Who shows? 100% of your normal business? 50%? 20%? Judging by public opinion polls, probably closer to 20% than 100% — but it’s very likely you’re losing more money than when you were closed, or open only for take-out, because you have a lot of sudden overhead with uncertain demand.

    But you’re no longer claiming business interruption insurance, you’re no longer eligible for certain loans, and your staff isn’t collecting unemployment.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to JS says:

      The data suggests that restaurants were already losing a significant chunk of business (more than half) before the official shut-downs. I can’t speak for other industries.

      This does seem to be more about not wanting to pay unemployment or substantially more welfare than anything else.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to JS says:

      But you’re no longer claiming business interruption insurance, you’re no longer eligible for certain loans, and your staff isn’t collecting unemployment.

      This does seem to be more about not wanting to pay unemployment or substantially more welfare than anything else.

      Excepting Colorado, look at the states rushing to reopen – southern states with republican governors and significant African American populations. Georgia is 31.6% black and has 35.4% of cases African American. South Carolina is 27.3% black; 43% of its COVID cases are in the African American community. Florida is 16% Black and 25.6% Hispanic – its covid cases are 17% black, 22% Hispanic (though their racial breakdowns are hard to find).Mississippi is 37.7% African American, but black Americans here represent 52% of our cases and 60% of our deaths. Those are also states with long histories of racial disparities in healthcare delivery, and states that didn’t expand Medicare under the ACA.

      So aside from having bought the insidious canard that unemployment insurance makes people lazy and unwilling to work,. these are also states where a LOT of African Americans and Hispanics will likely be hard hit economically and medically by a resurgent virus. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Report

  4. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    In Illinois this afternoon, a court is being asked to decide whether the Governor violated the law by extending the stay-at-home order an additional 30 days, given that that the statute only grants him emergency powers “for a period not to exceed 30 days.” I’ve only seen arguments from political writers, not lawyers, but the defenses I’ve seen do not seem very sound. Most states provide time limits to Governor’s emergency powers, so this may not be the last of this issue.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to PD Shaw says:

      This seems like a largely academic debate though. It does not address the problem I raised above which is that there was already a huge drop in revenue for a lot of businesses before the official emergency stay-at-home orders. People will not go out unless they feel like it is safe to do so and the polling largely indicates that people do not think it is safe to go out and will choose to stay at home.

      Do you force people to buy tickets for the White Sox and the Cubs? Do you heard people into bars with guns and demand that they have a good time?

      How would we be reacting if there was no official use of emergency powers and people still stayed home and the service/tourism/retail industry suffered? Or if the healthcare system crashed because magnitudes more number of people were getting sick? Shut down or not, you would still have food processing plants that need to shut down because too many employees have COVID.

      Don’t you think it is kind of insane for Ms. Goodman to think that everything will return to normal once the casinos reopen?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This is a bizarre response, especially from a lawyer. Pritzker either has the legal authority to extend stay-at-home orders or he doesn’t.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Goodman’s job is to be positive and to support the town she is mayor of. And if businesses are not allowed to open, they make no money in any case, destroying themselves and the tax base. So they need to get people to come in, and short of herding people in with police powers, the best way to start this is have the businesses be allowed to open. If they don’t want to be open, they don’t have to be. If someone doesn’t want to go there, no one will make them. Of course it will take time, and if there needs to be a plan it would be to have a ramping set of money to be provided, to cover the cost of it being slow at first.

        But the country cannot sit idle while waiting for some weak kneed politicians to set arbitrary guidelines on when to open. We are already seeing issues with supply lines getting stretched, medical issues other than covid, and people agitating for release. The post-disease opening must take a balance of health concerns, economic concerns and civil liberty concerns into account. Yes, there will be toe dipping, but as the tweet I put up below shows, people are moving, and if gov’t wants to prove that it is even remotely useful, then it needs to lead, and not follow.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

          Are the casino employees allowed to choose whether to risk exposure, or not?

          Meaning, are they allowed to make their own risk assessment, stay home and draw unemployment even if the order is lifted?

          Or are they coerced into working whether they want to or not?Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        But the emergency orders have contained other directives besides closures though, they prohibit gatherings of over 10 people, require social distancing and later this week, masks are mandatory. There are tons of laws and regulations that are in abeyance, including the open meetings act which is what has allowed local government and agencies to do business remotely.

        The reason the ruling may not matter is that it would require the legislature to convene (they’ve been AWOL wince the first week of March) and vote. This will exact a political price in parts of the state that want more local flexibility, but it seems to me like there are too many pieces in place right now for the legislature not to give him most of what he assumes to have.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        In 2016 Hillary suggested that we set up happy fun camps for adults. I could totally see herding people into bars and stadiums at gunpoint and telling them to laugh and cheer.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to PD Shaw says:

      And there it is; judge apparently ruled that the governor’s emergency powers lapsed April 9th (thirty days from the declaration of a disaster). But haven’t seen a copy. The order will be appealed.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Aaron’s post points to another problem with the talk of opening up. There are lots of social activities and clubs that go against social distance protocols like my hobby partner dancing or even just having big family BBQs in your backyard for July 4th. Government officials are going to have to make decision on what to allow and when to allow it. The big commercial social events are easy to regulate because the government can just order the venues closed. The private social events in homes or harder to regulate smaller spaces are going to be a difficult task.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The testing delay did enormous damage in terms of letting the few initial cases turn into the current disaster, but as more and more tests come on line they present a solution to some of the issues with gatherings. The rapid (5 minute) tests would provide a way for a gatekeeper to filter the people allowed into an event, and simultaneously identify those who should self-isolate. It’s probably quite safe to fill an entire arena with people who test negative (with a few caveats about the type of testing), when you crunch the numbers on the likelihood of a spread from an undetectable infection.

      You could possibly combine people’s desire to go to a venue with the benefit of testing all those social butterflies who are most likely to break quarantine. The trick might be preventing any spread in the testing line where infected people haven’t been filtered out yet. You could even have the local news showing people partying on the beach, with the reporter showing all the people who tested negative who are out enjoying themselves. “Come on down and get tested!”Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        and what percentage of the population currently has access to those tests? How will you pay for them? and how do you handle people who test negative but want to go anyway?

        Oh, and isn’t denying people access to things because of their testing status sort of the epitome of jack booted thugs standing on the throats of freedom?Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

          Well that’s where the open events come in. The venue is paying for the test from the cover charge and sales. Instead of you (or someone else) paying $X for the test, you’re paying $X + $Y (food, drinks, markup on the test, etc) for a whole day of worry free partying. That’s value for your hard-earned government check.

          And who might people come out to see? Celebrities. The truly big stars can get people to come out and get tested. Heck, we’ve probably not shown them sufficient gratitude for being there for us. Here’s a video that helps make up for that.

          Heartfelt Greta Lee Jackson tweetReport

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Philip H says:

          I just got an email from a major urgent care chain that antibody testing and infection testing will be available to whomever wants it starting tomorrow 3-5 day response time. I’m fairly certain I was an asymptomatic carrier a month back (with at the very least a high high exposure risk) so I intend to get one. This is in Metro NYC. This reality AND the dat we gather from it are both huge.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Kazzy says:

            I’m glad you have that or will soon. I’m an hour and a half out of New Orleans, in a place where a lot of well to do New Orleanians have beach houses. We can still only get tested If we are full blown symptomatic. Lots of parts of the country are like that. And it means we have a LONG way to go.Report

  6. Avatar James K says:

    As of this morning, New Zealand has dropped down to Alert Level 3. This is still a pretty tight lock-down, but we’ll be able to buy takeaways and any business can operate delivery-only with proper precautions is allowed to open (for the last 5 weeks, the only business that have been allowed to open are essential services).

    We’ll be at Level 3 for at least 2 weeks, at that point Cabinet will look at dropping us to Level 2, which is the point where things start to look more like normal life, except for travel.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to James K says:

      What do you mean by “tight lock-down”? In Italy, for instance, the police stop people from wandering too far from their home and subject them to heavy fines. Where I live, the police are sort of reasoning with people; I’m not sure anybody is getting fined.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Under level 4 it was illegal to leave your home except for: 1) Work (if you are an essential services worker and can’t work from home, you had to carry a letter from your employer in case the police stopped you) 2) Buying food / medicine or going to medical services. 3) Exercise, but you had to stay in your local area. Our police are significantly less stormtroopery than US police, but people were still being fined.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to James K says:

          As far as I can tell, the police haven’t fined anybody in my state, or arrested anybody. My mom was telling me about a golf course near her that illegally opened up a few weeks ago with social distancing measures in place (the club house remained closed, no more than one person in a golf cart, etc.) The governor complained about it, but the county sheriff said he couldn’t do anything about what happens on private property. Which makes no sense since most business is on private property; I just don’t think he wanted to enforce it.Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to PD Shaw says:

            Closing golf courses was just absurd. If there was ever an activity designed for this socially distant era, golf is it.Report

            • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

              Since I don’t golf, I’m pretty ambivalent. On the one hand, when the order came out, I suspect there weren’t a lot of courses open — I think we just had a frost advisory last week (so I’m also confused about when seeds become crucial in Michigan). OTOH, if people are actually being encouraged to get outside and recreate, there have to be open places for them to go or else they are all crowded together somewhere.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Since we are discussing lockdown, Derek Thompson has a good piece about post-COVID cities and it is rather depressing: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/how-pandemic-will-change-face-retail/610738/Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      We’re still in the second half of “pre-COVID”.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’ve been ignoring The Atlantic because mostly they’ve been pushing whatever narrative the Chinese Communist Party wants pushed. Some of the examples are pretty egregious.

      That said, to have an edge over conventional retail, big business and e-commerce have relied on JIT, narrow supply chains, large distribution and fulfillment centers, sales tax avoidance, foreign suppliers, illegal labor, and in some many cases overstretched package delivery services. Now those are vulnerabilities instead of advantages, and in a post-Covid world some of those more-efficient systems may be abandoned.

      Large meat packing plants reliant on illegals living eight to a room had to shut down. The concentration of production in such large plants will have a very serious effect on food production and distribution. What was a strength, the result of pursuing the bottom dollar on costs, became a weakness.

      Facilities staffed by large numbers of employees will remain a bigger problem than small businesses that have a much smaller staff. An Amazon fulfillment center with a thousand employees is a hundred times more likely to have to shut down than a small retailer that employees 10 people. When that center shuts down, the effect is vastly larger than even having a hundred small retailers closed, since the smaller retailers aren’t as efficient in revenue (gross or net) per employee. If the governors had shut down all facilities with more than 50 employees on a shift, the story would be quite the opposite of what the Atlantic is forecasting.

      To analogize it to military operations, Covid creates an environment that favors small, poorly-connected cells over large battalions, because a large unit is more likely to pick up an infection, and when it does get infected, suffers a vastly larger loss of combat power.

      And of course many of these very large companies relied on cheaper imports and iffy deals with Chinese generals, deals that smaller companies couldn’t hope to replicate. Well, all that is likely going away, too, which helps re-level the playing field. People’s reluctance to buy Chinese products will remain long after Covid has passed, and this effect will likely be worldwide.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-27/americans-face-meat-shortages-while-farmers-are-forced-to-cull

    Maybe we should deal with the basics like the supply chain before tackling bigger thingsReport

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Here’s the thing that bugs me.

    I feel like important and relevant information is being withheld.

    The co-morbidities information that keeps popping up seems relevant but talking about it veers closely to blaming the victim and we, as good people, don’t want to “blame” people for getting the virus (or being harmed by it).

    But it feels like there’s useful information that, because it could be read the wrong way, is not being talked about if it’s being investigated to the point where I’m not sure if it’s being investigated.

    (And I figure that there’s a 50/50 shot of this very comment as being read as being crypto-wrongthink.)Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

      So first off you need to be more specific on what you think is being withheld. And second, remember that individual hospitals have to report to their counties/parishes which then have to report to their states which then have to report to the CDC. There needs to be statistical ground-truthing and sometimes revision based on new information. Its not at all a quick process if done well.

      Take testing frequency – for a long time states ONLY reported tests done by their own state health agency laboratories. Then one day (and it differed by state) we started to get accurate reports of total testing – which included private for profit labs, converted university facilities etc. Once could argue that NOT reporting anything but the state labs was a decision designed to keep counts artificially low – my take is it was more about having a reliable reporting channel where none existed before. Given HIPPA and other data privacy concerns (as well as proprietary information concerns) I am not at all surprised it took a while.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

        “So first off you need to be more specific on what you think is being withheld.”

        I know a trap when I see one.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

          Go ahead and say it: You have a friend considering taking up smoking and are wondering how he would go about it.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to PD Shaw says:

            Jaybird knows that he doesn’t know something that might be interesting and has feelings about why he doesn’t know it. For those interested in Jaybird’s feelings, that is useful information. Maybe someone who has actual information about that is known and where, if it is known, it can be found out, can chime in.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to PD Shaw says:

            Based on the data coming out of France, the UK, and the US, everybody should run out and buy a carton of Camels or Marlboros. In the US, smokers are getting infected at only 10% of the expected rate, and in France and England it’s about 1/4 to 1/3 the expected rate.

            There’s some head scratching as to why this might be, and one French researcher suspects it may be due to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR). The French are running an experiment using nicotine patches on Covid patients to see if it helps.

            If the data bears out the link, one of the obvious pathways for reopening the economy is to require people to smoke in bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and workplaces, and especially on airline flights where air recirculation is an issue.

            *this commenter is not affiliated with RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris, British American, or other great tobacco companies*Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

      The co-morbidities information that keeps popping up seems relevant but talking about it veers closely to blaming the victim and we, as good people, don’t want to “blame” people for getting the virus (or being harmed by it).

      The media focuses on the scariest facts because that attracts the most attention. Being told that the median age of someone who dies from this is 75 and he has three underlying serious health conditions makes this a lot less scary.

      So the media reports on the 400 young people, the healthier and more photogenic the better, and we get the impression that “more media attention” means “average”.

      It’s the same phenomenon where the lottery commision puts the face, name, and life story of the person who wins in the news. Winning the lottery is hardly “common” much less “average” but if we know someone’s story it feels a lot more REAL.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

        The media focuses on the scariest facts

        I was alive when the media began covering the corona pandemic, and all it/they did was report things like “Northern Italy has worst day of covid deaths to date” and “Italy places all of Lombardy region on lockdown”. People were justifiably freaked out.

        Your preference is that the media prioritize one type of information – that only the old and sick are at risk! – as if that will *stop* people from freaking out. Lots of people *are* old and sick, and lots of old and sick people are loved by others.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

          While I’m at it, your comments the situation being not-binary were insightful.

          Your preference is that the media prioritize one type of information – that only the old and sick are at risk! – as if that will *stop* people from freaking out. Lots of people *are* old and sick, and lots of old and sick people are loved by others.

          I don’t mind freaking out, but people should freak out productively.

          When people talk about how to protect nursing homes because Covid could/would rip through them and make corpses, that’s productive. When someone talks about serious risks to the young and healthy, that’s not.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

            So what numbers are you seeing for how many young healthy people end up hospitalized or even if not hospitalized may suffer long term problems? Those would seem to be important.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

              There’s this one that talks about the early days.

              I don’t know if we have even entered the long-term yet.

              As for how many were hospitalized, the snapshot has a clear number of that. Kinda. But with a shortage of tests, we don’t know whether that’s a large number of youngish people or a small number of them, relatively.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Their is also the excess death numbers which are not really good. Haven’t seen an age break down or even if there is one. But the excess death number is a shocker and suggests our death stats are likely an under count. And yeah, with such limited testing we are under counting the number of cases. None of that says to me we are just ducky to really loosen things up or that this is just the flu.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                I’m not suggesting that this is a fake plague.

                I’m wondering if the excess deaths have a number of trends in common. Or any.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                That would be great to know. I’m not sure anybody is working on that unfortunately. And some are trying to ignore them as hard as possible.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

              So what numbers are you seeing for how many young healthy people end up hospitalized or even if not hospitalized may suffer long term problems? Those would seem to be important.

              Ask me in 6 months what the long term problems are.

              As for hospitalization it looks like 2.5 per 100k population for age groups 18-49 (compared with 15.8 for 75-84 and 17.2 for 85+). That’s from multiple sources but the underlying data seems to be the CDC’s last publication and which didn’t cover April.

              My expectation is “18-49” skews heavily to the last half of that age (5-17 is crazy low, 0.1) and ALSO heavily to people who are already have serious problems (90% of US patients hospitalized have underlying conditions, high blood pressure and obesity were the #1 and #2).

              Actual hospitalization numbers were something I couldn’t find in detail, but with a million cases it will be something like 200k, which translates into 20k people who lacked underlying conditions. Not sure how many of them we should assume are young.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                you have to go to the state level reports if you want that kind of data up to date. Here’s Mississippi’s:
                https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html

                Every state has something similar. The John’s Hopkins dashboard has most of these numbers too – it data mines the states.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If it turns out 200k people are hospitalized that gets back to the risks of overwhelming hospitals. And if it turns out there are long term problems, which is possible. then that could be a lot of people with new disabilities. That is part of the calculation. Just going by deaths is missing a lot of serious short and long term health problems. That is a serious flaw in just looking at death rates.

                Lots of Americans are obese. Even young ones.

                We are seeing outbreaks in places like meat packing plants to pick an issue that pressing today. I doubt most of those people in their 70’s. So depending on work situation younger people can still be at risk.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

                As I keep saying, deaths are the smallest part of the effect.
                What is the financial impact of millions of workers calling in sick over a short period?

                How many of your fellow meatpacking plant employees have to call in sick before you are unable to do your job, even if you are healthy?

                What is the financial impact of using up all your sick time, but still being sick?

                How many people can afford a few days in the hospital?
                What is the impact on consumer spending when millions of people divert their consumer spending into hospital bills?

                As we’ve seen with the stories of food and agriculture, our economy is a giant interconnected system with very little redundancy.

                Stop one spinning gear (like restaurant food service producers) and all sorts of seemingly unrelated gears stop spinning as well.
                We end up with weird disconnects like people going hungry while food rots in the warehouses.

                Or we end up with food sitting on shelves, but consumers refuse to buy it for fear the workers who touched it were sick with the virus.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah the current problems in the meat packing plants are giant example of why just looking at deaths is really missing a lot.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                This is a dumb question but have there been any recorded food prep transmissions?

                The stuff I keep hearing about is stuff like standing in line or going to choir practice or that sort of thing. Stuff that involves talking.

                I don’t know that I’ve heard of a case of it being transmitted by someone making someone else a burger.

                Have there been any?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                What i heard a month or so ago is that there is no known transmission of any SARS virus through food prep itself. It is why delivered food is safe. However if you get the Rona on your hand from the packaging then touch a mucus membrane you can let it in. The food itself is safe.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                If it turns out 200k people are hospitalized that gets back to the risks of overwhelming hospitals.

                In Michigan that turned out to not be a thing. I think NY came closer (thus the Navy medical boat), but even they are giving away vents because they have too many. If they ever hit the “triage” stage it wasn’t in my news feed.

                The big lacks seem to have been PE (which hits the radar as an unforced error caused by us not restocking after we did this… 10? years ago) and test kits (another unforced error caused by the FDA). Both of those issues will be less of a thing in the future.

                And if it turns out there are long term problems, which is possible. then that could be a lot of people with new disabilities. That is part of the calculation.

                The words “possible” and “could be” are doing a lot of heavy lifting there. This disease has close relatives, how much of a thing is that with them?

                …Looking into whether this was a thing for the Spanish flu, I think the answer is we’re not sure. “We’re not sure” may mean the effects aren’t big enough for us to care much about them.

                Just going by deaths is missing a lot of serious short and long term health problems. That is a serious flaw in just looking at death rates.

                At the moment we’re not diagnosing something like two hundred thousand cases of cancer a month and thus delaying treatment. We’re encouraging obesity. Shutting down the economy means less money for people to buy medical care, education, etc.

                The known negatives for what we’re doing are seriously large.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “The big lacks seem to have been PE (which hits the radar as an unforced error caused by us not restocking after we did this… 10? years ago) and test kits (another unforced error caused by the FDA). ”

                It’s too easy to say this. The government can’t just buy a bunch of PPE and keep it in a warehouse somewhere for ten years past its expiration date, the way you or I do with things; and up until February most of the world hadn’t even heard of COVID-19 so there wasn’t much need for certified manufacturers of Coronavirus Test Kits, and people spent their money doing other things.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DensityDuck says:

                The government can’t just buy a bunch of PPE and keep it in a warehouse somewhere for ten years past its expiration date,

                Which would you rather have, an N95 mask that’s past it’s expiration date or nothing?

                Speaking as someone who is using, and even reusing, my “one use” N95 I can tell you it doesn’t crumble to dust after one use and seems fine. BTW it’s not even a medical mask, it’s a construction one (the difference seems to be the supply chain they’re sold in).

                This “problem” seems self inflicted by demanding medical/legal perfection, i.e. the FDA.

                Similarly we had multiple weeks to let manufacturers get a head start making test kids and they couldn’t because the FDA wouldn’t allow it.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “Which would you rather have, an N95 mask that’s past it’s expiration date or nothing?”

                Why are you yelling at me about this? I’m not the person who would, say, grumble about the government wasting all our damn tax money buying old crap and just leaving it to rot, or expecting citizens to use garbage that’s years out of date, etcetera.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

            I fail to see how discussions of serious risk to the young and healthy is not productive.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

              I fail to see how discussions of serious risk to the young and healthy is not productive.

              It’s something like 1% of the problem, it might even be less than that. So it’s a lot less than drowning, homicide, and so on.

              Let’s whip out the time machine and talk about HIV back in the 1980’s. We know there are three at risk groups, people who take blood products, share needles, and have gay sex.

              This implies if we want to lower the overall transmission rate we need to do things like have needle exchange programs, clean up the blood supply, and give condoms to homosexuals.

              If we instead focus on things like encouraging everyone in the nation to have safe sex (i.e. the lecture I had to have before I got my marriage license), then that’s diluting our resources. “If only one life is saved” reasoning is virtue signalling.

              For Covid, our at risk populations are the old and sick. If we keep that in mind maybe we can think of some policies that are less expensive than shutting down the economy. Trying to whip up concern for the young and healthy seems an attempt to justify horrendously expensive efforts.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “Sick” in this case describes a large number of americans. Old can mean over 50 since that is when death rates start to increase. That is a lot of people.

                Are the meat packing plants all hiring “sick” 70 year olds?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                Are the meat packing plants all hiring “sick” 70 year olds?

                The meat packing plants are enjoying many hundreds (thousands?) of cases.

                “Cases” does not mean “hospitalisation” much less “death”, and their numbers are so large I would expect a few at risk people have been exposed and that they’ve died. It’s even possible some not at risk people have.

                Having said that, I also expect their death rates are FAR less than say a nursing home for obvious reasons.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It is bad enough many/most plants are shut down which seems like a significant level. It’s serious enough trump is intervening to save corporations from liability. So corps are affected and need help. The affect on commerce is right there and no help for actual workers. That will likely happen with insufficient protections and opening up business.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                I think that’s a fair summation. However if we want the economy working again, which in this case means letting people eat, we need to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

                Ideally we give out N95 masks. Less ideally we give out less ideal masks. Even less ideally we give out nothing and don’t let at risk people work there (or just tell them not to).Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                American corporations who employ an outsized number of undocumented migrants in plants where they literally work side by side because its more “efficient” are not entities I trust to do anything close to the right thing for their employees.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

                The Republican plan for this is to force workers to go back to work by cutting off unemployment.

                Then crippling any government regulation of the employer requirement to provide safety equipment;

                Then stripping away the worker’s ability to sue the employer for negligence.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Related:
                Kentucky Tyson plant to temporarily shut down after 70+ workers test positive for COVID-19
                https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2020/04/29/coronavirus-kentucky-tyson-plant-pauses-after-70-cases-confirmed/3047448001/

                This development comes one day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he plans to sign an executive order to to invoke the Defense Production Act to keep meat processing plants open amid the pandemic and also protect plant owners from liability, according to The Wall Street Journal.

                For the rest of the 1,300 workers at the plant, do they get to choose to stay home?

                If the plant is negligent and sloppy in safety procedures, will the workers be able to sue for the damages they suffer?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

                Then don’t eat meat. Or fruit. Or anything else where this is an issue which might be the bulk of our food.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Or, we acknowledge the current corporate based approach isn’t working and take the opportunity to pivot as a nation to something that does. Is there potential pain in that? Sure, but I can’t see any good coming from forcing plants to reopen or remain open whether own workforces are too sick to come in, and then indemnifying the plants from the effects of their prior decisions that allowed the pandemic to spread in the first place. There isn’t a vast pool of ready workers inmost places where these plants are, and so once the workeforce gets sick past a certain point the plant can’t run no matter what Trump wants.

                I also buy about 2/3rds of my meat at the local farmers market anyway – they have competitive prices to national chains, and the farmer is local to boot.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

                Or, we acknowledge the current corporate based approach isn’t working and take the opportunity to pivot as a nation to something that does.

                What did you have in mind?Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                As a start – sack off the ridiculous notion that unemployment insurance – handled by the states – is the way to keep people economically afloat. One of the main drivers for governors to “reopen” their economies is its a way to stop paying UI to people since refusing to work isn’t the same thing as being fired. Take the $500 Billion currently set aside for big businesses that the Treasury Secretary can dole out as he sees fit and put that into the hands of out of work people, who can then pay rent or mortgages and buy necessities. And keep doing that until we have a vaccine.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

                And keep doing that until we have a vaccine.

                So you want to shut down the economy for a year or two? Am I reading that right?

                If that’s the plan, then you’re breaking the budget and lots of other seriously important things.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The economy isn’t shut down now. Scaled back – yes. Operating differently – yes, but not shut down. People are buying food and gas and clothes and medicines. Lawyers and Doctors are still consulting online – and the internet and phone companies and cable companies are still delivering content. Real estate is being bought and sold. Houses are being built. Even meat is being processed though there are serious health issues cropping up with how we have chosen to structure our food supply chain.

                A large number of people are not participating in the economy as they used to – either because their job was taken away or because they are home but still receiving income which they are not spending.

                Given that reality I’m advocating that we deficit spend (if we have to) to keep people engaged in basic economic activity through providing enough income to allow them to buy food, pay rent and keep the utilities on. And I’m advocating that we do that instead of paying large companies to buy back more of their own stock. There is $500 Billion that has been set aside for large businesses who have a history of taking government largess (generally in the form of tax cuts) and NOT plowing that back into wages which increases demand. That $500 BN would go along way to covering the expenses of the 26 Million Americans who have filed for state-based unemployment (it comes out to about $20K per person for the unemployed)

                And I’m advocating that while we do that we complete the process of divorcing health care delivery from a job, so that when stores reopen and we can again safely dine out at restaurants the people there have equitable access to healthcare that transcends who they work for.

                Everything about our current approach and our current status is a choice. I’m advocating different choices.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H says:

                Everything about our current approach and our current status is a choice. I’m advocating different choices.

                For the $500B, you have a strong point. I’m not sure which way is best to limit the economic damage but there’s flexibility in terms of what we try.

                For “equitable access to healthcare” there’s no agreement, much less consensus, on how to reform HC and this is not a great time. There are serious players with lots at stake, it would be a massive time suck for Congress and nothing else would get done.

                I’m in favor of separating the link between HC and employment (although you and I probably differ on the how to do it), but the whole subject is less like a flexible choice on a piece of paper and more like a road that’s already been paved. The road is in the wrong spot but its existence changes a lot.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      The comorb info is entirely unsurprising. Like having other medical problems will always make any acute issue worse. It would be wildly surprising if having comorbidities didn’t make a nasty viral infection worse.

      What sounds like victim blaming is due to it being used as an excuse to …well… put some blame on the dead for dying. So yeah. It is typically phrased as, “its sad they died but they had X Y and Z, so lets open up the businesses.” One of the basic problems the “look they had comorbids” people have is that not every one knows they have one of those problems. You can have HBP but not be diagnosed. Given the US, lots and lots of people have one or more of those comorbidities. They aren’t rare. It’s not a small number of people you can put in a Hampton Inn by the airport to quarantine.

      Doctors are very much looking at all the reasons why people die or dont’ die from this bug.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to greginak says:

        This kind of reminds me of how activists get all excited when coroners declare a death a homicide when they’re shot dead by a cop. No one’s denying the fact the person is dead because he was killed by a person.

        Sure a person who dies of COVID could have been sick with something else, but what got them was COVID. My wife is a breast cancer survivor who currently is dying from glioblastoma. If COVID should happen to get her before the tumor, then that will be what’s on the death certificate.

        Co-morbidity, my ass.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

          Comorbidity is one of those technically correct terms that does us no good in everyday conversations. It just means “other things occurring that might contribute to the death.” Your wife’s case is a tragic illustration of that.

          I am sorry for all you and she are going through. It can’t be good under any circumstances, much less these circumstances.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

          I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. I hope she does as well as possible for as long as possible.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Newsome has just stated that California is planning to be reopen in weeks, not months. My read on this fastish reopening plan is that Newsome and his advisors decided a longer months long reopening plan was both politically and economically unfeasible.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq says:

      These things are only economically unfeasible because the federal government is abdicating its safety net responsibilities in no small measure because republicans see this as an opportunity to hang Democrats out to dry while they consolidate power. We are allegedly the richest nation on earth and we can move our economy in different ways if we choose to, but a small minority of unfortunately powerful people don’t want the needle to move. Newsome is a fool as are all the other governors and his state’s numbers will climb the same way others do.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Just to clarify, Newsom’s plan is a phased reopening of businesses, lasting from a few weeks to several months,, and predicated on maintaining safety protocols and subject to no new outbreaks:

      Newsom said on Twitter that Stage 1 is where the state is now, staying home and working on flattening the curve. The second stage involves lifting restrictions on some lower risk workplaces, such as retail, manufacturing and offices where telework is not possible. Reopening child care centers will be a part of that second stage as well, Newsom said.
      Workers and consumers both must be protected in order to lift restrictions and those businesses can begin reopening with adaptations like curbside pickup, according to California Health Director Sonia Angell.
      “We are not going back to the way things were until we get to immunity or a vaccine,” Newsom said. “We will base reopening plans on facts and data, not on ideology. Not what we want. Not what we hope.”

      The next phase, Stage 3, is “months, not weeks, away,” Newsom said.
      That stage will encompass personal care businesses like gyms, spas and salons, sports without live audiences, in-person religious services and other businesses where workers come in close contact with customers.

      And the final phase, Stage 4, will see the end of the stay-at-home order with the reopening of the “highest risk parts of our economy” being reopened, Newsom said on Twitter. That includes concerts, convention centers and sports with live crowds.
      Newsom said that stage would come only “once therapeutics have been developed.”

      https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/28/politics/california-phased-reopening-plan/index.htmlReport

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