Monthly Archives: March 2020

Epic Pandemic

I know.  I really suck as a blogger anymore.  I haven’t posted here in … a year?  Time was, I was on it. I think part of it is there are a lot more conservative voices out there now than there were when I started in 2003, so I don’t feel as compelled to vent and “philosophise” as I used to be.  So many more people out there are better at it than I am.  (Not the least of which is our own resident blogger who suggested this blog in the first place, the venerable Severian.)

And that’s a GOOD thing.

I end up combatting people more on The Hello Kitty o’ Bloggin’, as our own Morgan Freeberg calls it … facebook these days.  I do most of my echo stopping there.  I really WANT to get back into this I suppose – it’s worthwhile.  But my voice is now drowned in a sea of better ones.

Still …  I made some observations today I’d like to share, and I’m gonna share them here.

I watched the President’s press conference from the Rose Garden today.

I’m just going to start out by conceding that our president is an ineloquent man. There’s no getting around that. And by nature he’s a bit of a carnival barker salesman, an optimist, and clearly he has a bit of an ego. I’d argue that all of our presidents, some more than others, have a bit of an ego. Don’t get me started on our last one, Trump has nothing on him when it comes to that.

All that being said, where this guy excels is … getting expert advice and making sound decisions.

For all the hand-wringing about his “slow” response to the virus … it isn’t HIS response. It is our system’s response. And I’m really not blaming the CDC, here, either – this is probably the most apolitical government organization we have, and it’s filled with professionals, many career, long-term professionals that monitor this stuff all over the world every day and make decisions based upon that vast experience. Yes, they can make mistakes — they’re human — and yes, there can be and are glitches in the system. But these are the best people we have, and they take their jobs very seriously.   And honestly, the response has been pretty fast given the realities under which we operate.

The President doesn’t tell them what to do, they tell the President what they’re doing, and sometimes what they NEED to do and what they need to do it if they can’t get it under the current system.

To my eye, the President listened to them and talked to a variety of private sector players and had them put together a plan that could be implemented quickly and effectively. Their plan required that he move some government regulations out of the way, and when the President was made aware of them, I’m sure in consultation with a lot of government agencies — he saw fit to remove those barriers.

THAT … is the President’s job. Not deciding when and whom and where to test or how fast a vaccine will be developed, or what events will be shut down or who will be quarantined. His job is to get advice, reccomendations, and remove obstacles in emergencies.

This is what Trump does best.

So despite his bumbling, repetitive and too often hyperbolic words … he’s doing his job, and doing it well especially in this case.

We’ve had, what, 40 some odd deaths from this virus. 22 of them in a single nursing facility. Average age of the dead — 80.

Population-wise, I’ll stack that up against any country. Yes, it will go up. Significantly. Don’t kid yourself. But it will go up in those other countries as well. This is what viruses do. We will minimize it here, especially considering our population and highly mobile infrastructure and numerous high-density population centers.

What disgusted me at the press conference was the presumptuousness of many the press corps, more interested in scoring political points than getting actual, useful perspective for their viewers and readers – the American public — about what we’re facing. Forunately, many of the professionals behind him, none of whom seemed to be the least bit concerned about being near the President even though he had apparently stood next to someone who later tested positive for a few seconds for a photo — filled in very well for him in this area.

Seriously, this is the damned President of the United States. If his physicians were concerned, they’d have him tested and isolated. Would it LOOK better if he’d been tested? Sure. But if there were reason to be concerned, trust me, that concern would be acted upon. The health of the President of the United States is closely monitored.  And honestly, if he HAD been tested, I’m sure the question would be wasn’t it selfish for him to be tested when others couldn’t be? I am tired of these people.

A lot of the questions centered around giving an exact date when “everyone” would be able to be tested. Last I checked, the population was 320 million people. No, we don’t have the capacity to test 320 million people. We will, shortly, have better capacity to test people who have a good reason to be tested, though. And we can’t say, “Sunday night at 7:43 pm”. Stupid, stupid questions.

There was even one stupid question someone asked as if we were looking into why this virus was worse for older people. As if this were unique to this virus. Anyone with any sort of a brain knows that ALL diseases are worse for older people. (I have to wonder if they were trying to paint the administration as “ageist” for not looking into this).

I also read somewhere that “We” refused a test offered by the WHO. I don’t know the details but I do know this. If “We” refused a test from the WHO, “We” — those experts, had a reason. The general we out here may not understand that reason. But it wasn’t arbitrary, and it wasn’t malicious or selfish.

So what I got out of this is that a decently large, but not TOO large (the bigger the group, the worse it is at coming to any concensus) group of people have been highly involved for the last two weeks, analyzing and advising and discussing what to do and how to do it. The widespread closing of many institutions for the next two weeks, at least for now — and other measures like it we heard yesterday and the day before, likely came out of this through back channel reccomendations before this press conference.

It’s not a bad idea. One of the questions was how quickly the president was going to have additional respirators necessary.

Although the President later said that they were requesting additonal respirators, it is clear the general approach here is to render extra ones unnecessary by dulling the epidemic peak. If we don’t have as many patients at a time, we don’t need more respirators. Though we’ll produce some just in case.

In short – I’d rather have an ineloquent guy up there who knows how to get people together and can make sound decisions based on input than some eloquent pie in the sky dreamer who will mandate sunshine from cucumbers.

I was skeptical of this guy at first. But man … he isn’t bad.

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