Sunday, August 09, 2020

Random Thoughts on the Pandemic


1) Contrast the following two points and, if you have an intelligent way to fill-in-the-blank for the second one, please comment.

a) When Trump says `open the schools or I will cut of funding' I disagree, or at least he should talk more about how to do it carefully BUT there is an underlying important and serious issue: how to balance health and education. Similar for when he talks about opening up business's - how to balance heath and the economy.

b) When Trump says `hydroxychloroquine is a potential cure for covid' I (and most of the medical community) disagree, BUT FILL IN THE BLANK. Is there SOME serious issue involved here that I am just missing?

2) I have seen several approaches to large gathering, say Churchs, beach parties, motorcycle meeting etc. 

a) DO IT ONLINE.  UMCP classes will be on-line in the fall. My church has been online since mid March and seems like it will do the same in the fall. (Note- Choir is much worse than normal talking for spreading it, so Choir might not resume for a much longer time than Church).

b) HAVE THEM but SOCIAL DISTANCE and MASKS and other precautions. And it works. I hope it works.

c) HAVE THEM, realize that there IS an issue, TRY to do some of the precautions, but fail. This may be what has happened at some high schools, see Here.

d) HAVE THEM and ignore ALL precautions either because 

i) God will protect you

ii) The Government is not my boss. Such people are usually pro-business so they should NOT mind if a business on its own requires masks and SHOULD mind if its the government. I have not seen them making that distinction. Such people are usually against Federalism and for localism. So they should be upset when a Prez or a Gov overides a Mayor's Mask Mandate. I have not seen this.

iii) The whole think is a Hoax. How can people still believe this?

These three may overlap.

3) The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota seems to believe ii and iii. Can someone give any rational reason why they want to have this rally and why its allowed to happen. Given how many people come (usually 250,000- less now?) from all across the country, this could make thinks far far worse. But see next point.

4) Libertarians think that there is too much Government in our lives. This is a fair point of view but it needs to be tested on a case by case basis. There are some things that REQUIRE a more national response. When this happens Libertarians have two choices:

a) Apply their thinking to figure out how Gov can help with the least damage. For example, Carbon tax for global warning. In the current pandemic they might have LOCAL govs pass mandatory mask laws.. Or they would at least set a good example by wearing masks themselves. Perhaps relax regulations on medical stuff so that companies can work together without worrying about anti-trust, and perhaps look more carefully at regulations that get in the way (might be a good idea anyway).

b) Deny its a problem. Man made Global Warming is a myth. Covid is a hoax. Hence its okay to have the Motorcycle Rally. But the problem is, this doesn't just harm the people showing up, it harms others as well.

5) Early on I was puzzled that Trump didn't care more since older people (his base!) are at more risk. Did he think it would only affect democrats (early on NY was hit badly). Why didn't his advisors tell him that it would kill his own base?I ASK NON-RHETORICALLY  Or did they and he didn't list. My point is, for purely selfish reasons Trump should have taken more action earlier, so I am surprised he did not. See next point.

6) Trump could have even taken action in a Trumpian way:

The Chinese and the Democrats are waging a bio-war on real Americans (white rural older) !!! We will STOP them in their tracks and show them they can't mess with us!!  I will LOCKDOWN some cities AND provide online stuff to schools, business's (my cronies)  and churchs (SCREW that stupid sep of church and state- that was only one passage in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote).  

He might have even got Democrats to complain that it will choke the economy and hurt the poor, and that giving stuff to churchs is against the constitution (it prob is). 

7) If a vax for covid is found, will Trump urge his base (some of whom are anti-vax) to take it? Having said that, if it comes out in October it may be untested so I doubt I will take it. I'll wait until Dr Fauci says its okay to take it. (See here for a nice song about Dr. Fauci.)

8) Some people who thought it was a Hoax and then got a bad case of it are saying loudly `I WAS WRONG! Its Real!'  I wonder if Herman Cain realized it was real before he died of it? I wish he had said `I WAS WRONG! ITS REAL! Wear a MASK' (The Whitehouse denies that he got Covid from the Tulsa Rally, here is headline only since something is behind paywalls: here)

9) At Tulsa the presidents people took DOWN signs about safe distancing. So again, why does the Prez want to kill his own base? I ask non rhetorically. I am serious- I want someone to defend his actions intelligently both this one and the hydro-whatever in the first point.

10) Authoritarian governments often claim that they bring order and can act fast to get things done. So they SHOULD have an advantage during the pandemic since they can more easily ORDER a lockdown. Yet they don't seem to be doing better.  

Russia: See Here, number of cases going up fast.

Iran: See here and Here, number of cases going up fast.

These countries and others, and America, had their leaders LIE about the extend of the virus early on. What is the upside of doing this?  I ask non-rhetorically. 


  1. "if it comes out in October it may be untested"

    there are vaccines being tested now on tens of thousands of people, that's how medicine works

    they would not release an untested vaccine

    it will still be a big unknown in other ways though

    1. My fear is that Trump will try to push a vaccinne out the door without it being tested properly since he is so anxious for covid to appear to be under control.

  2. You ask whether there's a serious issue related to Trump pushing hydroxychloroquine.

    The answer is both "no, not at all," and "yes, direly serious."

    Why it's not serious: The medical research says that it's a generally ineffective treatment, and has the potential for harm.

    Why it's very serious: Trump has built his loyalty on the idea that he's the only one you can trust. When he asserts something provably untrue, it is a way to further divide sources of information into those who will loyally echo him, and those who will report the truth. That allows his followers to see who they can trust (those who are echoing him), and to dig in deeper to their distrust of everyone else.

  3. Regarding gatherings: in principle, you could imagine gathering and taking no precautions under the assumption that (i) the benefit of the gathering (compared to no gathering, or gathering with masks) outweighs the risks and (ii) taking minimal precautions is just "theater" with no real benefit. One could imagine making this argument about schools, for example.

    And isn't that the argument in favor of allowing BLM protests?