Monday, March 30, 2020

Virginia, Maryland governors issue formal stay-at-home orders; what is considered "essential"?


Today both Virginia governor Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued stay-at-home orders.  Washington DC had already issued a stay-at-home order with a cell-phone alert on March 25.  (DC’s order could invoke 90 days in jail.)
  
Gov. Hogan’s order was indefinite and would theoretically jail a violator for one year and/or a $5000 fine. Northam’s presentation  little less punitive but last until June 10, unless he changes it, and still theoretically offers a one-year jail term  (and people could get coronavirus in jail).  Both governors were incensed at overuse of campgrounds and some specific gatherings in their states over the weekend.
  
   
The critical orders for Virginia are 55 (issued today) and 53 (Issued March 24).    As worded, Order 55 refers to 53 and allows travel to retail businesses deemed essential, like obviously grocery stores and pharmacies (and takeout from restaurants is allowed).  Those businesses include computer or iPhone or communications retail stores.  So as I read it, if your computer breaks you can still replace it.  (For home cable users I really recommend having a smartphone hotspot as a backup Internet sources, especially now.  They’re almost as fast as cable and pretty usable for ordinary Internet.   I also recommend you use and check your devices frequently.)

Maryland’s order today also refers to an earlier order regarding essential businesses. His list merely makes a generic link to CISA to identify companies considered critical infrastructure. That appears, when tracked, to include the normal network of server farms that, for example, support social media. (In this Metro area most of those facilities are near Ashburn VA in Loudoun County, but some for cable companies are in other counties.)   Cox has a statement on how home users can help reduce overuse of resources (most of these are pretty simple).
  
Neither state’s orders (or DC’s) seems to have a “Mathilda’s Law” or to prohibit seniors from shopping for themselves (without asking or pleading for assistance). Most grocers and pharmacies now have some seniors-only hours.  (I don’t know why Gov. Cuomo didn’t suggest this for New York State).
  
The Baltimore Sun editorialized on Hogan’s order as not that significant.
  
Ford Fischer (News2share) has a Twitter thread noting the potentially punitive aspects of the orders. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

More sources say most people should wear at least improvised masks when out in public; WHO and CDC look at this as cultural and apply it to caregiving, healthcare settings


The New York Times now has an op-ed suggesting that persons out in public should wear masks if using public transportation or coming into contact with others. The story by Knuvl Sheikh is here, “More Americans should probably wear masks for protection”.   This contradicts official CDC and WHO guidance. I actually couldn’t find a clearcut CDC page on ordinary public use (outside work). WHO’s link leads to a downloadble PDF that does ratify the need for masks in caregiving and healthcare settings and maybe crowded places but not in open space in public away from crowds.
  
The Boston Globe, in an article by Robert Hecht et al, expresses a similar idea. 

Laura Geggel of Live Science offers a more balanced view.  
   
Some of the more rational reasons include discouraging you from touching your face (particularly after touching a surface). There is also “emotional solidarity” with others and remind them that we all share troubling times.  I am not one for group emotional expression. That is more common in Asian culture.  In China people were wearing masks outside even when a long way from others in cities outside Hubei.
  
Some say you should not talk to others in public now unless you have at least a homemade mask.
  

But Peak Prosperity (Chris Martenson) practically orders everyone to ”wear a mask”. Many sources encourage use of homemade masks for informal situations and believe everyone should learn to make them.  This reminds me of a line in “Cold Mountain” – “I can embroider but I can’t darn”. 

Update: March 31

The CDC contemplates recommending the use of masks to stop transmission from asymptomatic people, NYTimes

NYTimes offers a home-sewing lesson on making a mask. 

Huffington Post offers ideas for making masks without sewing

It takes about 10 days to get a mask from Amazon right now.  That could put some non-handy people in the bad proletarian situation of being required to wear an adequate homemade mask to enter a property.  



Friday, March 27, 2020

Bill Gates wants a national lockdown of 6-10 weeks to drain all the infections


Bill Gates, former Microsoft Chairman, has appeared on various media and has, somewhat unofficially, called for a nationwide lockdown of 6-10 weeks.

Oregonlive has a good report (from March 25) and he is also quoted on a Reddit.

The call for lockdown seems to be a reaction to Trump’s desire to reopen businesses in less affected (more rural) places in the country by Easter Sunday, April 12.

It is not clear how absolute the lockdown would be.  Even Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC has been in a “stay at home” mode (with light travel to groceries, pharmacies, etc, permitted) officially since March 24 but practically speaking since March 16 when most non-essential businesses closed.  Restaurants can still do drive-thru takeout only.

Does he mean absolute lockdown, with no leaving an apartment building or a residential street without a “hall pass” from police? 


This could lead to extreme proposals, like forcing seniors to move into special hotels.  Louise Aronson has a rather disturbing perspective on Vox

But Ian Millhiser writes that there are limits on what Trump or Congress can do in a “national lockdown”. 
  
 But the president does have considerable arbitrary powers under a national emergency. So farm he has been reluctant to use them, surprising people, but that can change in an instant.
I would wonder, would Internet companies continue as they have now so far?  So far it has held up, but there have been slowdowns due to bandwidth, and some support problems with tech companies working from home and probably having more absences and being caught by the suddenness of all this.  Would they be forced to block non-essential sites? (like mine).  After the lockdown ended, would they be allowed to go back to normal?  Would the Internet return as it had been?  Maybe this would be the final breaking point (with all the other issues like FOSTA, net neutrality, radicalization, fake news, etc) for amateurism.   People have to go to work, mostly from home, but already there are some slowdowns and support problems creeping up.
    
It is possible to imagine opening up “resilience zones” where people from outside them are not allowed to enter (but this is getting to be rather dystopian).

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Respectability discusses how effective Congress's coronavirus stimulus will be for people with disabilities


Respectability sent me a press release on the stimulus package in Congress, with respect to persons with disabilities, but also with respect to other kinds of worker as in the gig economy.  The link is called “Stimulus passes stimulus package, but will it help people with disabilities?
    

It will not count as toward asset limits but it may complicate recipients of SSI.

The article also notes that it runs only through July.  The assumption is that the social distancing will have flattened the curves to an acceptable level and the economy can more or less run.

The site notes that actor Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) grew up with dyspraxia (so did I). 

Picture: lower Manhattan, my photo from Freedom Tower, Nov. 2015. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Commission recommends women be subject to Selective Service


Timcast IRL reports that a special commission has recommended including women in the registration requirement for Selective Service.
  

It’s feminists who are most affected.

Tim’s show includes Adam Crigler.

Lara Seligman’s story on Politco reports the commission report. 

There is practically a “draft” of retired medical personnel now.

Tim discussed the idea that men are more expendable as individuals than women if society is itself threatened, like on a rescue spacecraft.

I am contemplating the idea of a film about “The Demands of Others” and include topics like the draft and now quarantines and lockdowns because of biothreats.

At 15 minutes in the video, Tim says he thinks, if a biothreat actually killed 20% of the people, he would get a national security letter saying what he had to say as propaganda on his program!  Actually, I've talked about this quid pro quo before.  

Chapter 2 of my DADT-1 book (and 7 of DADT-3) cover the draft in detail.  

At 19 minutes Tim says what he really believes, and I concur. 
   
Coronavirus has shut down the social justice warriors! 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

No, Trump can't cancel the November election and stay in office (and other rumors)



“Can Trump cancel the November election?”  Ian Millhiser says, on Vox, No.  The New York Times urges a system now to vote entirely by mail


The president’s term end on Jan 20, 2021.  There is an intricate procedure more ensuring that the electors meet in December (specified in the Constitution, and I'll leave it to Vox to explain the legal details).  Were the November 2020 general election to be very difficult to have, there are still some ways to determine the electors, as covered in the article.

David Pakman, in the article above, discusses the same question and pretty much has the same answer. But he is a political science professor. 
  
Tim Pool talks about the martial law rumors (as did Pakman in the video) and notes that Big Tech seems to be trying to shutter talk of it (video), at 8:33. Pool also explains that the Daily Mail article describes a largely theoretical scenario.



Saturday, March 21, 2020

Trump DOJ wants new powers to detain individuals indefinitely in emergencies when courts are closed


Betsy Woodruff Swan reports in Politico that DOJ wants new emergency powers to detain persons (especially immigrants, probably) during emergencies if court cannot convene because of the health emergency, story here


It would have to go through Congress, and a Democratic Congress probably would not approve.

It’s possible that the powers could be used if an individual’s behavior were somehow perceived as a public health threat, perhaps a potential "super spreader".

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Could asymptomatic "carriers" be "rounded up"? Not yet, but I wonder


A couple of serious questions keep coming up, which, if you connect the dots, have frightening implications.
   
One is the asymptomatic carrier issue, well explained in a March 17 article in Health. 
  
This has been debated ever since an early case in Germany, and later with a superspreader who visited sky lodges in Europe and himself had only very mild illness.


Today, after one of Trump’s briefings, the idea was floated to make mandatory testing for everyone when that is possible (not yet) and remove everyone who is positive to some facility that sounds to me like a Diamond Princess petri dish. You could well just do quarantine at home (as with normal contact tracing now).  Carnival Cruises is already reported offering its cruisers to house quarantined (aymptomatic) patients?

Previously, the idea of rounding up seniors for their own protection has been tossed around (at least in the UK).  The recent reports of younger adults getting severe illness may have put away that idea (for building "herd immunity" in the young). 

But as you ponder this, remember that it seems to have started "accidentally" in a foreign, ideologically hostile state.  It certainly makes a case for forced collectivism, upon the western world. 
  
By the way, Italy right now has more deaths than China.  
    
In China, people who have tested positive have, according to some reports, had all their possessions destroyed by force because these could be contaminated by fomites. I gave the link to the NEJM story in yesterday’s post. You can imagine how quickly you could destroy lives (however “privileged” in the mind of the Left) and make everybody start over in a Maoist purge.  If you were taken by authorities to a quarantine center until you became negative, what would happen to the rest of your life when you returned?  It's likely that infection occurs after touching a surface only if you then touch your face or eyes. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Providence Health in Washington State wants volunteers to make masks for healthcare


Providence Health Team in Renton, WA (near Seattle, and a town that I have a reason to remember because of a particular incident in 1976) has initiated a 100 Million Mask Challenge, where volunteers will sew and make masks for health care teams. The website is here.


I heard about this on Chris Cuomo’s hour on CNN tonight (Wednesday March 18).

I have never heard of volunteers making professional medical equipment, not since maybe WWII. 
It would seem that the workspaces for the volunteers would have to meet cleanliness standards that would be difficult for many homes to meet (including mine).

This rather blows my mind.

I’m a little surprised that they are already short of masks.

Young adults may be at higher risks (The Hill) than thought before, based on CDC studies of hospitalizations in the US and at least anecdotal reports from France, Italy, and Belgium.  There are even reports of young adults recovering with reduced lung function and fibrosis. 
   
Here’s the controversial report about the SARS COv2 virus on surfaces, relevant especially in hospitals.

Update:  March 20 

Peak Prosperity, at 35:28, wants everyone with a sewing machine at home to make masks. Governor Cuomo is encouraging small manufacturers in New York State to make medical equipment (press conference today) but these are companies with factories. They're essential, not confined by work from home.  Cuomo also said "the Internet has to work". 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What does "shelter in place" mean?


CBS has a valuable discussion of “shelter in place” as it applies to coronavirus in San Francisco and might apply in New York   
   

On San Francisco, it means you stay inside your residence except to go out for essential purposes, as for groceries and pharmacy, maybe work if an essential occupation.  If you work for a tech company, is keeping a social media site running an essential occupation?  Oh, I guess you do that from home.  But a few people would have to be in the building.  Several Bay Area counties are included, which would house the tech companies, which I visited in Sept. 2018.
  
Governor Cuomo said that the city probably can’t completely quarantine itself without the state’s permission. 

Nevertheless, Di Blasio says that some NYC hospitals are already under stress, with 60 serious cases right now (source).  Somehow this reminds me of the movie title "Take Shelter".   But the normal meaning of the phrase (a more obvious disaster like a hurricane or tornado, or radiation) seems inapplicable;  it's a collective danger, not one to yourself merely by going out. 
 
Picture:  Along the Castro in San Francisco, Sept. 2018, my trip; now this is closed. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Reuters analyzes the financial markets' stability with the coronavirus detection


While Trump, Pence et al and a blue chorus had another briefing today, the main announcement was the Fed’s lowering interest rates to 0.25%.  Futures were still down Sunday evening.
  
Elsewhere, NYC closed schools, Ohio and Illinois closed bars and restaurants (and the Illinois governor scolded young adults for partying and indirectly putting their elders at risk).
  
Washington DC closed 35 places and posted rules limiting the seating capacities and arrangements in bars.
  
   
Reuters has a sobering article by Tommy Wilkes, The plumbing behind world’s financial markets is creaking. Loudly”.  There are technical comparisons (including Libor) to the crisis of 2008.  Only a medical solution will provide stability.  

Peak Prosperity is warning (ordering) everyone to be prepared for a national lockdown – practically martial law. 

A Facebook friend shared this article on the morality of social distancing form the American Conservative, on what it is like to be on a ventilator.  Your immortality v. someone else's morality?  I put it more in military, national security terms -- vulnerability and health care. 

Courtney Vinapal of PBS is imploring people to assist the food banks now.  But social distancing might make most volunteerism difficult (especially for over 60). 

There will certainly be charities to help those who lose employment from the social distancing, but it's hard to see how the needs will be administered by normal non-profits, which themselves are hampered now by social distancing. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Trump declares National Emergency, Congress seems to approve coronavirus relief; mainstream media looks at loss of civil liberties and social distancing



Donald Trump sounded sleepy as he rambled through a press conference this afternoon.  Incredibly, he said "I take no responsibility". 
  

He declared a National Emergency and invoked the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act
  
A declaration of the emergency could give him police powers, including closing down Internet access or severely restricting people by various groups, an idea discussed in the Books blog in Jan 2019 based on an Atlantic Avenue.   David Pakman livestreamed it and a couple callers asked about martial law.  It is even possible for a president to freeze personal bank accounts (although that could be challenged);  you can imagine a sufficiently Leftist president using that power for expropriation from the undeserving rich, so it's an idea to remain aware of. 
     
Wall Street liked it, the Dow recovering 1985 points.

But the loss of civil liberties to flatten the curve bears on a lot of our minds.
  
Angela Dewan of CNN has a sobering article examining the existential psychological threat to the loss of civil liberties if there are true China or Italy style lockdowns, but they work.  
  
Sheri Fink of the New York Times examines how variou ssocial distancing measures could measurably affect the models of future deaths, which in the very worst scenarios   could be over one million in the US, many more than in China. 
  
Congress entertained the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act this evening. 
   
Trump was mistaken in the credit he gave to Google/Alphabet for a website assisting patients fining screening, story in the Verge, by Dieter Bohn. 
  
On Smerconish CNN Saturday morning, a caller suggested absolutely complete shutdown for two weeks after the national emergency, but I don't see that in mainstream news accounts (yet).
       
 Another idea that I would watch for could be some systematic effort to separate out seniors over a particular age (maybe as young as 60 or 65) because of increased vulnerability to this particular virus.  But if you think about it, that sounds likely counterproductive. 
   
Artwork gallery:  MGM Grand at National Harbor MD.



Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Congress hear testimony from Fauci, others today on coronavirus; a usable vaccine is over a year away; some want national social distancing and mitigation standards now


The Washington Post, as well as many other news outlets, are livestreaming the testimony by various public health officials before Congress this morning.
  
  
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at about  20 minutes from the beginning of the livestream, and Dr. Redfield follows. On Feb. 25 there were more cases outside of China than inside.
  
Some speakers on CNN want national standards of social distancing now, such as a limit on gathering sizes.  Washington State is limiting gatherings of more than 250 people.
  
Major League Baseball has not delayed the start of the season, believing that the fact that most games are outdoors changes everything (but some stadiums are enclosed). I wouldn't hedge my bets;  it might have to delay; it start too early in late March as it is. 

Tom Bossert, a former Homeland Security adviser, has a sobering op-ed in the Washington Post March 9. He compares the experience of Singapore and Hong Kong in flattening the curve, with that of Italy, where it got out of control very suddenly. The main problem seems to be sudden demands for ICU care on the health care system.  The point of social distancing is to “flatten the curve”. 
  
CNN has a rather moralistic article, “Coronavirus is about to change your life”.  I also want to give an evidence-based article on how the Sars-Cov2 virus spreads compared to measles and flu, in Livescience. Apprarently the droplet particles can travel a few feet before gravity pulls them to the ground.  Transmission through touched objects in a building is not thought to be as important.  Transmission from fecal remains in toilets might be possible,  There is research in sewage and building ventilation that does not seem to be definitive yet.  APNews has another story by Marylyn Marchione about the virus on surfaces, that seems inconclusive now. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Cuomo locks down hotspot in New York State; British man describes what a full blown case is like


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a partial containment zone in New Rochelle NY, NE of the Bronx toward Connecticut, of a circle of radius 1 mile around the synagogue that seems to be the center of the coronavirus outbreak.  Forbes has a summary of all of the major developments today. 
  
  
The National Guard will provide some food and essentials deliveries to residents.  The area is being managed in a manner similar to a natural disaster (like Hurricane Sandy in 2012).

Picture: from 2014 along the Harlem line 

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Can coronavirus spread inside apartment buildings from a unit where someone is quarantined or isolated?


A particular concern happens if someone is quarantined at home because of exposure to a close contact and lives in a high rise apartment building, and the person has not “themselves” tested positive and has no symptoms.
  
Most apartment buildings are supposed to vent air through the roof, but often there can be problems in ventilation systems.  It would seem that if a person is allowed to stay home in the apartment there could be, at least in more extreme cases, “cruise ship” problems. 
  
A site called Brickunderground has a good discussion.
  
Joseph G. Allen has information in the New York Times, and suggests that if building ventilation is not good, that portable air purifiers of certain quality (they may cost around $100) may help.

Some buildings, even condos, may not be well set up to allow home isolation and it doesn’t seem as though this topic is well researched yet.
  
WJLA7 in Washington DC, on March 4 late news, mentioned a question to the Arlington County VA health department on the building issue and the official thought most modern buildings have proper ventilation to allow isolation at home.  But WJLA7’s website doesn’t have the story.

Update: March 6

On a post on the retirement blog, I embedded a video by Peak Prosperity, and he mentions the ventilation issue at about 38:00.  Maybe not good. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Texas laws that crimped voting in minority areas caused long lines yesterday in black communities


Mother Jones in an article by Sam Van Pykeren, notes how Texas has “gutted the Voting Rights Act” with the blessing of the Supreme Court, link here
  
Texas removed many polling places in heavily minority populated areas, making lines longer and driving distances longer.
  
  
Students waited in line for more than three hours to vote at TSU in Houston yesterday, also a burden on election officers who don’t get paid for the extra time (See IT Job market post today).

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Fairfax County Health Department confronts novel coronavirus



The Fairfax County Health Department (Virginia, Washington DC suburb) has a video on COVID19 disease.


Currently there are no known cases in the county and none in Virginia, which so far has said it has had about 310 total persons under observation,  mostly related to travel.

But the video does talk frankly about quarantine, isolation, and social distancing. It says it will isolate someone with a positive test, or quarantine a close contact even before testing.

Julia Belluz on Vox discusses WHO’S high alert designation, which leads to and article by Daniel Takriti about coronavirus in the US.

Sharon Begley of Stat asks "who's getting sick" and it very much looks like Covid-19 is presenting a "survival of the fittest" mechanism and moral dilemma. No, a 19-year-old who can pretend to run for president would never even notice any symptoms if he did get it.  

Saturday, February 29, 2020

First death from Covid19 occurs in US; more medical literature explains infectiousness, suggests use of anti-HIV drugs as the most promising clue


Here is the New York Times coverage on the whole issue of quarantines, rationing, effect on small businesses, by Andrew Jacobs and Sheri Fink. 

Stephen Chen writes in Inkstone why Coronavirus SarsCov2 is more contagious than the 2003 virus.  It has a lot to do with the ability of the virus to hook on to a protein called furin, which anti-HIV drugs target.  This has less to do with ACE2, which is less common in healthy people, which SARS inhibits. Losartan has been suggested as a possible medication.  But the most likely result will be the use of some kind of variation of anti-HIV drugs. Trials can’t start soon enough.

  
The United States has incurred its first death, in King County WA.  Details on the patient will be released at 4 PM EST.  Trump announced she was a medically challenged  and in her late 50s. Washington state governor said the patient was male. 
  
 At the press conference, a reporter challenged Trump ("rude question") on whether Fauci had been muzzled (Fauci spoke to that). Azar said that Americans should still go about their daily lives normally. Fauci also said that it was very unlikely that people get the disease a second time, despite scattered media reports of "bi-phasic" positive tests, which apparently may result from the fact that many infectious diseases take a long time to go completely negative. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

COVID19: Are you on your own? Or are we all in this together? This is all crazy (are quarantines worse than the disease for most of us?)



We need to have a straightforward and frank discussion on individual citizen responsibility.
  
It looks more and more like this is a disease that largely spares the strong with few symptoms, maybe none, but focuses on those with other medical problems (or sometimes health care workers who got huge exposures at once), including the elderly (me).
  
Zynep Tukfeki talks about our “civic duty” in Scientific American, Feb. 27.
  

Some of this is pretty simple.  Yes, I got my flu shots.  Yes, it’s not too much to ask to use hand sanitizers properly in public places.  I live alone, so it should not matter much – unless a repair person has to come for service and so that matters then.

I’ve already noted in previous posts that there are problems with people being required or asked to self-isolate because of accidental contact with another case.  This hasn’t been talked about much (as I discussed on the LGBT blog Feb. 25).  There are scattered reports.  The “8400” in Newsome’s announcement were previous travelers;  about 70 people associated with the community acquired case.
    
On Wolf Blitzer today, the question came up, would every American be tested?  No (impossible);  but doctors will test everyone with significant URI.  
         
There was a tweet today about New York State having 700 people under self-isolation, article.   I’ve reported that Virginia has monitored about 270 so far, with no positive tests yet.  Previously I've reported another article that says about 700 are under monitoring in Washington State around Spokane, not sure why so many. 
  
Most of these appear to be people with more known close contact with people who have traveled to affected countries (mainly China).
   
Asking someone never to leave a residence for any reason sounds Draconian.  What if something breaks?  It is very difficult to have to spend so much time on tedious preparations and remain competitive as an individual.  Yes, I’ve got the canned food and will pick up the water soon.
   
One risk could happen with the primaries super Tuesday.  Are the election officers (usually paid little for very long days) suddenly taking on a risk comparable to sudden enlistment in the military?  Hopefully, no one is allowed to work if symptomatic (even a cold), and hopefully no one who was asked to self-isolate would show up to vote.  But in the testing flurry to come, certainly there will be positive tests after the fact.  Mathematically this could catch almost everyone.  There is some point at which this madness must stop – even as more evidence exist that a majority of positive cases, if everyone is tested, will be asymptomatic.

In China, people who were infected have been forced to destroy all their personal belongings. OK, China is Communist, about the we, not the I.  Would that happen here?  What about the few “bi-phasic” or relapse infections that are reported, even after cure.  Are they just artifacts, or reinfections, or incorrect tests?   One imagines the dystopian ending where anyone tainted by the virus is segregated forever.  Or is this the stuff of horror movies.

You can imagine lives being destroyed for nothing. You're still responsible for your own outcome;  you can't sue Communist China. 
  
At some point, you need to look at the medicines, and start trying more interventions (Losartan looks promising).
  
Remember, probably 90% of all people infected will never have symptoms and know it unless they are forced to be tested.  In the United States, as far as I know, we do not have clusters of people with ARDS or on ventliators above what we usually have from everything else.  Most of the casual spread should have occurred before the travel restrictions so there should have been time for more severe cases to show up.  (We do have the two new ones in California, LA Times report today.

I’ll let the reader judge Chris Martenson’s “You’re on your own” video.  Basically, that’s true.  That’s why I don’t want to be isolated for nothing.

One more thing – we really need to think, quickly, about how we will conduct the mass gatherings of elections and primaries and caucuses – and the implications.

I have a (Facebook) friend who predicts martial law will happen, because Trump wants one last chance for chest hair.  Just like China?  BUT, remember, most cases are asymptomatic.
   
(Posted: Friday, February 28, 2020 at 8 PM EST)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

First community-acquired coronavirus case in US in California, as markets reel around a support point; what does home isolation really mean?; 8000+ people under observation in CA




The Los Angeles Times (Taryn Luna)  reports about the new “community spread” case of Novelcorona-virus(sars2) or Covid19 disease, where there was a week delay in getting back the test result of a week.  She had been admitted in serious or critical condition, possibly needing a ventilator. Some hospital workers were asked to self-isolate at home. 
  
Supervision of persons at home or under quarantine normally falls to state health departments.  It’s a little surprising that the state could not get pressure put on the CDC to get a test back sooner.
  
  
Which leads to the next criticism, that the United States is not performing tests quickly as are other countries hit harder.  There was a narrow criteria (foreign travel) and there were problems with the first test kits.  Doctors in five cities are supposed to have access to tests. 
  
Widescale screening will probably lead to a large number of asymptomatic patients, leading to new public health quandaries in the US, where at a constitutional level, excessive use of isolation or quarantine might face legal challenges.
  
Victoria Kim has a different story in the Los Angeles Times about the aggressive contact tracing in South Korea, which is carried out with electronic surveillance like China’s, to an almost unbelievable extent.
  
A tour guide in Japan has had a relapse (or second infection), quite disturbing (AOL news story).
  
I want again to emphasize how disturbing the unpredictable threat of sudden quarantine or forced isolation could be, and it could happen to anyone.  There are things you could do to make your movements in public less traceable (not using electronics, turn off location, pay with cash) if you fear you really would be tracked down under extreme measures.  These situations seem unprecedented in my own adult lifetime, and can lead to dangerous circumstances for persons with poor social capital. 
   
 They can lead to novel moral quandaries that threaten democracy itself.
  
This video from John Campbell in the UK discusses the possibility of transmission by objects, such as elevators buttons in buildings, and sound rather extreme. He does say that persons on home isolation can have food or other items delivered.  Would this be allowed in a high-rise building?

Update:  Gavin Newsome, California governor,. said that about 8400 people are under observation in California.  Apparently this was before the contact tracing for the community case above, but the CNBC story (which rattled markets) was unclear.  There are 33 confirmed cases in California. Virginia has about 110 persons to observe with two outstanding tests. 

Update:  San Francisco Chronicle reports that the 8400 (sounds like "The 4400" sci-fi series!) were returnees from China, implying that the stock traders misunderstood the story.  About 70 people are in home isolation based on contact with the UC Davis patient (which would have happened almost 2 weeks ago, doesn't make a lot of sense) and at at least one college in California 3 rommates are on isolation. Wall Street may have mixed all these stories up (LA times, Colleen Shalby).