There is an aphorism, the exception that proves the rule. As I first read this truly silly essay, I thought, "Really? Over a forty some year career, this is all you can come up with? You have just made clear that the guy is a fucking saint."
Then I clicked through to the 'evidence' in his links. One was when, in February before we had any cases her, he said the risk of catching it "now"was low. Another, posed as Fauci saying that lower death rates do not matter was actually him saying that saying that the lower morality rate was "false comfort" considering its infectiousness and other such badness.
The rest are equally dishonest. This Peter Navarro guy clearly belongs in the Trump administration.
And this essay is 1) proof that even mortal enemies couldn't find evidence that Fauci is anything short of awesome and 2) the Trump administration and its blatant dishonesty represent a clear and present danger to our country and to our individual lives.
Schools. Tough problem. I agree that kids are harmed by this isolation. I know that the economy is going to be ruined by the lack of child care. That makes getting kids into school a very high priority.
The big challenge is that sending them to school amounts to each household sending one or more representatives to a virus communication center each day.
However, children *appear* to have less ability to host the virus. It appears that this characteristic is inverse with age. That is, small children are pretty safe, both for them and the parents that receive them at the end of the day. Seniors in high school are nearly adults and not very safe at all.
Unfortunately, the practicalities of school are the opposite of what would be needed to accommodate this change in risk. The people who are kept with a single, unchanging group that would prevent cross contamination are the small children with less risk. Older kids change classroom groups several times a day in a pattern that insures that any infected kid can contamination as many people as possible.
I keep trying to imagine what could be done to make this work. There problems are intractable.
The ability to make children wear masks decreases with age. Teenagers simply will not do it effectively.
That means that social distancing is required. Schools are not constructed to support that and students will not cooperate.
Schools need to reorganize so that kids are taught in class groups that never change. For older kids, that means that teachers need to travel from room to room. Teachers, of course, will have wear good, medical masks so that they are neither exposed nor transmitting.
When in classrooms, mask wearing has to be enforced rigorously. A student who won't wear a mask has to be expelled. No mercy.
Since students would not be changing classrooms, behavior in hallways is less of a problem and the fact that students will not wear masks when not under strict control is reduced. Students should not be allowed to linger around the school when not in class.
Extracurricular activities can only occur within class groups. Anything that requires students to mix between groups has to go.
Every classroom should have a no contact thermometer and a raised temperature means class is off. Everyone goes home until 1) that kid is tested negative for covid19 or, 2) two weeks. At the end of that period, only students with normal temperatures would be allowed in. Anyone with a fever stays home unless they are tested negative for covid19.
Whereever possible, ventilation systems should be improved to maximize air exchange in classrooms. Obviously, cleaning should be maximized.
Rooms should be reconfigured to distance children as much as practical.
Rich districts should build teacher isolation mechanisms, clear glass booths or something, to isolate teachers from students both to protect the teachers and to prevent them from carrying virus from class to class.
Here is a list of questions I read somewhere about school openings that motivated my thinking...
• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?
• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?
• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids' families need to get tested? Who pays for that?
• What if a teacher who lives in the same house as as someone who tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?
• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?
• Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?
• What if a student in your kid's class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when?
Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?
• What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?
30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.
We are choosing to put our teachers in danger.
[This was discussed at length on my public facebook page HERE. The original article which this responds to is HERE.]
Right now the only thing we know about the people who can spread the virus that causes COVID19 is that there are lots of them and that they are not showing symptoms. We do not and can not know who we can interact with without risk of becoming infected. While the disease may or may not be bad, the really, really bad thing is that you will not know you are sick for ten or twelve days. During that time, you will be infecting the people with whom you interact and they will infect others.
The only way to avoid infection is to avoid associating with others who are infected.
‘Social distancing’ is the practice of absolutely minimizing your interaction with everyone and doing highly disciplined things to avoid interacting with infected people. Presently that means everyone because there is no way to tell who is will not infect you. and, importantly, you don’t have any idea if are infecting your friends and family. You definitely might be sick but not showing symptoms.
How can you tell when you will not infect others? Do ‘social distancing’ for two weeks. If you haven’t shown symptoms by then, you are not sick. That is, you know if you haven’t gotten infected during those two weeks. But, if you practice careful social distancing, you will not have been in a position to become infected and then you can be confident that you did not get infected during that two weeks and are not infected at the moment.
If you have a friend who has been doing the same thing, ie, not going to bars or crowded places, keeping a six foot permitter at the grocery store and work, washing hands like it’s a job, and otherwise doing everything they can to avoid exposure, then at the end of two weeks, you will also know that they are not infected. That’s good news because it means that they can become part of your ‘social distance’ club and you can hang with them.
What ‘social distancing’ does is provide a signal, a way to know who is safe and who is sick. If you have a couple of friends that you trust to me smart enough and reliable enough to execute ‘social distancing’, then you can socialize more normally. That means you can live life more normally while still keeping some discipline to avoid getting sick.
It also means that we are starting to organize the spread of the disease. If we don't do it now, we may not be able to do it ever without draconian policies that require real sacrifice (and for Americans, that means never). In a couple of weeks of not doing 'social distancing', infected people will be everywhere.
To avoid them will require literally staying in your house like they had to do in China. That wasn't some totalitarian ploy. It took the new cases rate from 4000 a day to essential zero. That would be horrilbe but we might not need to if we start doing 'social distancing' today, this minute.
Equally importantly, you will not have added to the overall societal burden of sick people. That means you will have helped ‘flatten the curve’, that curve of doom where we have a huge spike of sickness that overwhelms hospitals and medical personnel and, as a consequence, will vastly increase the number of people who die. It also means that your grandmother or father or some other at-risk person is less likely to run into someone who is infected.
Below is a link that explains how to accomplish ‘social distancing’. It basically comes down to, for the next couple of weeks, STAY HOME, DON’T INVITE FRIENDS OVER, KEEP A SIX FOOT PERIMETER WHEN YOU GO OUT AND ONLY GO TO THE STORE WHEN YOU MUST. WASH YOUR HANDS, EVEN AT HOME.
For the next two weeks:
So, I was starting a wisecrack about how it is I can't possibly vote to put a man in the White House because he hasn't had a lifetime of controlling his emotions for a few days each month to make him be better able to behave correctly when he is in a bad mood.
It was intended to be a glib reversal of the usual jibe against a woman controlling the nuclear button during her menses.
As I said it though, I thought, Holy Crap!! That's actually a legitimate point.
My female friends often talk about the discipline it takes to manage the heightened emotions sometimes felt during that time of the month. Being in well practiced in the art of recognizing one's emotional state and insuring that its contributions to your life performance are positive is actually a huge virtue.
And it's a good thing that many men lack and it shows in many of the things that men are criticized for.
The problem with these folks is that they think consciousness is something special. Pure anthropocentrism. We have it so it must be important.
Cogito ergo superbus. I think therefore I am arrogant.
Consciousness is an optimization for an otherwise blind consequence of the entropy. All resources must be consumed for the universe to get to its eventual state of cold, gray nothingness (and then a dark energy big bang so it starts over again).
All over the universe, oxidation is a way to consume the energy of a system with a particular chemistry. On Earth, we do that with iron in our blood. Organic metabolism is the local innovation to make sure that our neck of the universe does its part for entropy. Consciousness evolved to supercharge the effort.
I'm sorry to offend all the 'in god's image' people but we are merely bags of chemicals that coagulate into lumps for the purpose of creating more bags of chemicals to more thoroughly reduce all that we touch into cold, gray nothingness.
Our consciousness has no more importance than our ability to shit on everything beautiful. Both are pointless consequences of our mission to consume all resources. One increases consumption. The other wrecks what it touches. I'll leave it to you to decide which is which.
Me? I've always been impressed by fusion. Everywhere you put enough matter, it organizes itself into an energetic system that makes human efforts to at wasting energy seem trivial.