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Here’s why you shouldn’t use the same policies for different cities and states

The panic around COVID-19 caused the people and most governments of the United States to chuck common sense in order to listen to “the experts.” The experts that were crazy wrong about most things with this pandemic. The numbers below from an article on Bloomberg.com show how stupid it is to treat places like Kentucky, Idaho, and Kansas like New York City. Heck even the rest of the State of New York didn’t have to be treated like New York City.

I’m in the Chicago area and it is stupid to treat the rest of the state like the Chicago metropolitan area. A majority of the cases in the State of Illinois are all in Cook County and the collar counties surrounding Chicago.

We reached #PeakStupid in this country.

There is no question that New York State has borne the brunt of the crisis. The Times reports that one out of every three Americans who has died from Covid-19 has been a New Yorker — 17,000 in all. New York City is one of the few places in the country — along with Detroit and New Orleans — where the hospital system has been stretched to capacity. (Although even in New York City, the most catastrophic expectations never came to pass: for instance, the Naval hospital ship Comfort, which came to New York to provide emergency beds, is being returned after treating just 179 patients.)

New York is the densest city in the country, and density is a crucial factor in spreading the virus. Yet cities and states that are far less dense have imposed the same restrictions as New York State. Idaho has a stay-at-home order; it has had 172 hospitalizations and 58 deaths as of Tuesday. 1 Kansas: 504 hospitalizations and 124 deaths. Maine: 163 hospitalizations and 51 deaths. Meanwhile, Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas never instituted a shelter-at-home order — yet the state has only 104 current hospitalizations and 52 deaths. Which suggests an obvious question: Does it make sense for these less dense places to be imposing the same restrictions as New York?

bloomberg.com
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Thoughts

Maybe I should move to Sweden

Professor Johan Giesecke, an advisor to the Swedish government and one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists is interviewed about Sweden’s non-lockdown response to COVID-19 vs. the rest of the world. I started the clip at the part that makes my point but the entire interview is informative and not fear mongering. There is no panic in Sweden over this pandemic.

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What are the mortality numbers of people dying because of delayed procedures due to COVID-19?

So called “elective” procedures have been put on hold and some treatments for cancer have been altered because of the hysteria surrounding COVID-19. Hospitals, in some areas, have too many COVID-19 patients and have halted these supposedly less necessary treatments and surgeries. At what cost? How many people have died that other wise didn’t have to? We need to see that daily death toll along side the COVID-19 numbers.

lthough canceling procedures such as elective hernia repairs and knee replacements is relatively straightforward, for many interventions the line between urgent and nonurgent can be drawn only in retrospect. As Brian Kolski, director of the structural heart disease program at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California, told me, “A lot of procedures deemed ‘elective’ are not necessarily elective.” Two patients in his practice whose transthoracic aortic valvular replacements were postponed, for example, died while waiting. “These patients can’t wait 2 months,” Kolski said. “Some of them can’t wait 2 weeks.” Rather than a broad moratorium on elective procedures, Kolski believes we need a more granular approach. “What has been the actual toll on some of these patients?” he asked.

The New England Journal of Medicine

Mr. R., a 75-year-old man with advanced heart failure, is another of Kolski’s patients for whom the toll has been great. Because he had progressive volume overload and delirium, Kolski referred him to a hospital for an LVAD workup in early March. Then, as his wife, Ms. R., told me, “the world went wonky, and everything went down the toilet.” Having begun admitting patients with coronavirus, the hospital told the couple it was kicking everyone else out. “They are telling me my husband has 6 to 12 months to live without this procedure,” Ms. R. said, “and now they are canceling it on us.” They were then quarantined at home — 2 hours away from the hospital — with no plan in place. Mr. R.’s health quickly deteriorated again, but his wife had been advised to keep him out of the hospital. When they finally had a video visit on April 9, he’d become so ill that the heart failure physician didn’t recognize him. Mr. R. was promptly admitted, and the LVAD was placed. Though Ms. R. is relieved, ongoing challenges include her husband’s persistent delirium, a visitor policy that allows her to be at the bedside only intermittently, and the need for nearby lodging that they can’t afford.

The New England Journal of Medicine
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Thoughts

Behold your future

In the video above Bill Gates talks about digitally certifying people as COVID-19 free. This is crazy crazy talk. I’ve followed Bill Gate’s career, as many people have, and he is a great businessman but a terrible philanthropist. His dictatorial style and bare-knuckle business tactics have not worked in his philanthropic efforts. Since spending billions on do-gooder projects what has been solved? Nothing. Following his advice here will lead to discrimination beyond comprehension.

Behold our future below. Fiction is becoming fact.

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Thoughts

Letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune

I just fired off this letter to the editor. Hopefully it gets printed and people don’t try to string me up for having lack of compassion for my fellow man. I just think that everything the American people and the federal government are doing is far in excess of what was required. Here is the letter.

Just about every step the federal government and the American people have taken to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak has been an unnecessary over reaction and will be more damaging to a greater number of people than those steps are meant to protect. Furthermore, the rush to cast aside free market principals in favor of central government control is disturbing in the speed in which it’s taking place as well as in the lack of resistance from the public and across well known pundits.

From all the reporting to date, about 80% of people that get infected experience little to mild symptoms. So mild in many cases that they don’t even know they have it. 15% get more serious symptoms that are the equivalent of a bad flu. The remaining 5% may need hospitalization but less than half of that are serious enough where they may die. The high risk group are those over 60 and those with compromised immune systems.

The advice for the majority of the population to stop their lives and hide will not do anything to stop the virus. In fact, this behavior may only stretch it out over a longer period of time. The proper advice is to have those in high risk groups take necessary precautions to protect themselves. 

Unless there is more than the public is being told with this virus it does not appear to be lethal enough for the government to shut down the US economy. I don’t want people to die. But I also don’t want to see businesses die and lives destroyed all across the country. Lives that otherwise would not have been tremendously affected by this virus. Instead of concentrating the response where it needs to be we’re spreading out the misery across all sectors of life. 

Our panic reaction is like amputating both legs in order to stop gangrene on one foot from advancing to the rest of the body. Will it fix the problem? Yes, but at what cost?