Please note that's an extremely specific observation and doesn't implicitly suggest anything else, positive or negative, about the rest of this situation.
I am sometimes looking to respond in some way to the specific person in question and let them know that I think they are wrong about something. I generally prefer, if possible, to not turn it into a pissing contest or a big deal that leaves them feeling personally attacked, publicly humiliated, etc.
It's like trying to have a private conversation on a stage in front of an open mic. Maybe no one will pay any attention. Or maybe all eyes will turn towards the two of us and things will get suddenly very awkward. I would like to minimize how awkward it gets, if possible.
I have an extremely high opinion of the Army Corps of Engineers. My father and ex husband were both career Army and I've lived all over the US and spent time in Germany.
There are lots of non military projects that have a sign somewhere indicating the Army Corps of Engineers worked on it. Their work is everywhere.
I don't think I've ever actually met anyone from the Corps. In my mind, they occupy this mystical, legendary space where no one ever sees them, but they magically show up to build huge infrastructure projects of abnormally high quality. Then, like little shoemaker elves, they disappear, leaving behind their amazing work though it seems to me personally like no one ever sees them.
I was just looking for a list of projects to suggest that the Corps does a great deal of stuff and shouldn't be judged harshly for one bad example. And then I found the above page listing so much more than I had any idea they did.
I am even more in awe and even more convinced they are basically wizards stealthily hiding from public view like ninjas while building what sometimes seems like all of the big infrastructure projects in the US.
And I didn't feel there was any way for me to open my mouth and somehow downplay the awe I personally have for their work and have had all my life without sounding like I was coming down on some random person like a giant ton of bricks. So I just left the link and said nothing because there isn't enough time in the world to "write a shorter letter" in this case and subtract a lot of baggage, so to speak. And I don't see any good whatsoever coming out of making a random internet stranger feel like they are being intentionally buried under a ton of bricks for the crime of being unaware that the Corps does vast quantities of things and New Orleans is just one single project.
It seems to me they edited their comment to be less harshly critical of the Corps, so I feel like they probably got the point.
You are more than welcome to just ignore any stand alone links I might occasionally post for some reason in the future.
Terrible hurricane? Show up with a massive floating power plant and water treatment facility plus air logistics.
And I think one of the strongest virtues of the United States is being proven by Trump: the incredible power of leadership at all levels of government. In the absence of a leader at the top you've got senators and congresspersons and governors and mayors and CEOs all getting shit done. This is all an incredible (but regrettable) exercise of numerous fail safes inherent in the American system.
So instead of sending excess equipment around the world, we're playing catch up on our own shortage, and the control measures have to be a lot stricter because of it.
The problem is that the west has nobody in power with living memory of a pandemic. An unfortunate failing of human cognition is that most humans discount that which they have no direct experience of. So it was never going to be clear to most people that this was a problem until we had waited way too long. I mean, most people can't be bothered to not spend everything they make when the last recession was 12 years ago, so what do we expect when there hasn't been a pandemic in the west in over 100 years...
* global cases: 700 million - 1.4 billion
* global deaths: 150,000–575,000
* US cases: 60.8 million
* US deaths: 12,469
A few more counter-examples can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
(Edit: added key stats)
I mean, your point is true, but the lack of action wasn't the fault of the average citizen or their living memory. The decision-makers should have had access to better info, and of course they did. Doctors from China and Italy told us long ago that PPE equipment was a bottleneck. Epidemiologists could see what was going to happen with the rate of spread. Local health officials in states knew at the outset that they needed more tests. Hell, the federal government has a whole departmental center dedicated specifically to the control of disease; they've spent decades modeling out how to respond to crises like this.
Yet... no decisions got made. That wasn't for a lack of "living memory of a pandemic".
Even back just 2 decades ago, in every Asian country, a typical saying would've been "When will we live like in America?"
The West was the envy of the world in its best years, and it can be again.
If you can fix your societal problems, you will be, if you can not, you will not.
Unfortunately I don't know how to get there from here - for the time being, there's no support of anything amateur. We're basically told to be a pro or go home. Not just sport, anything and everything.
In Tokyo sometimes, you walk through a neighborhood where the people have blocked off an intersection for circle dancing in a relatively simple style.
Maybe the easiest thing to get tech people to do would be live CounterStrike. One half of the office is "guarding the VIPs", the other half is rescuing the hostages. People spend hours and hours on these kinds of games as it is. Bringing it into the real world would harness some of that engagement for health and community.
But WOW oh Wow is your insight about sport deep and well said. I think that could be the central focus of the group activity. And perhaps communal art and dance could be the primary replacement for the sermon.
There's something there and I can see how focusing on sport makes the idea more palatable to people who aren't naturally open to meditation, yoga, or Buddhism.
They faced SARS, which never took off in the West.
This outbreak is a litmus test for the competency of many world leaderships. It's a sad fact that it takes a death toll in the course of a few months to cause it, but that's reality. Look at how wrong some very powerful people were in addressing the scale of the crisis. There is still a lot of unfounded optimism going around. This could potentially be highly damaging to their credibility. Maybe we will learn to be more pessimistic when it counts next time, prioritizing reality over individual liberty.
Like other natural phenomena, viruses have no qualms about diplomatic red tape, the efficiency of medical supply manufacture, or personal belief. They will keep infecting regardless.
What happens when another outbreak occurs, more deadly and/or transmissable than this one, when notions of social distancing become even less effective, and self-isolation is actually the only viable option to prevent mass deaths? Will our best-case manufacturing rate always be able to outstrip the infection rate enough, and if not how would we respond? There will probably still be many people that hang on to the belief that something can be done to save the economic structures underlying society, in the face of reality. Given even more dangerous diseases, at what point does this become false? I'm not hopeful that economic measures will always be able to solve economic crises without an economic cause, because nature doesn't care about economic models. If the only solution to prevent societal collapse in the future would be mandatory self-quarantine, regardless of whether or not we'd know this, will world leaders ever be prepared to make that call, and swiftly? This outbreak will probably not lead to the collapse of humanity in general. But with the mindset we currently have of never reacting until it's too late, which outbreak will become the one where we finally run out of options?
I sincerely hope enough of the world has embedded this into their minds and will spread this memory to future generations, and be prepared, to be in time for the next, more severe crisis.
It’s one of my life’s great fortunes that Sister’s home was only about sixty miles from Warm Springs, Georgia, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt had established a polio treatment center and where he’d often travel to find relief from the polio that paralyzed him at the age of thirty-nine.
My mother took me there every chance she had. The nurses would teach her how to perform exercises meant to rehabilitate my leg while also emphasizing her need to make me believe I could walk, even though I wasn’t allowed to.
I bet it left an impression.
It's quite hard to catch and was mostly limited in the US to IV drug users and gay men. It became a human rights issue because both of those populations were generally deemed to be sinners and people tended to not care if they died.
The fight was not just against the disease itself. It was very much against prejudice and the threat of draconian measures aimed at specific populations.
Non drug using heterosexual populations in the US mostly didn't care. It was largely deemed to be irrelevant if you weren't one of the "sinners" that most folks wished would drop dead anyway because we're so loving and Christian and all that.
I don't think we've ever had a global pandemic in my life. SARS was the closest and it was mostly in Asia, IIRC.
My father was a medical doctor at the time, specializing in diagnosing and treating brain cancer, and told me that although docs were scrambling to treat a growing flood of AIDS patients, there was a quiet resentment at the need to reallocate scarce resources for a disease that was largely preventable (except for tainted blood transfusions). Cancer was (and is) a much larger problem, killing hundreds of thousands of people every year; then there's heart disease which kills 647,000 Americans every year.
To say IV users and gay men were "generally deemed to be sinners" who didn't deserve to be cured is a vast exaggeration. Certainly there were and are people who think this way, but the general population, both lay and medical, certainly didn't. That would include the general non-fundamentalists among the American religious community.
The fact is that thousands of unsung researchers worked long hours, first to understand HIV's structure and mechanism, then to figure out how to prolong life, and most recently, how to actually cure it. Unfortunately, some gay activist groups such as ActUp felt these efforts were insufficient, and showed up at medical conferences to chant "killers!" at the scientists who were presenting findings. This created more resentment.
Look, everyone's feelings are inflamed in a time of crisis. It's important to let cooler heads prevail, and not descend to name calling or deriding this or that group. Especially in the current situation, we're all in this together, and we will sink or rise together.
This is all too often how prejudice gets expressed. The resentment and hostility towards the group in question gets justified on some reasonable grounds other than racism, homophobia, etc.
I believe people suffering addiction are self medicating in the most literal sense for either medical or mental health issues that are going largely unrecognized and for which they aren't getting appropriate care. I think blaming them for "getting something preventable" is not significantly different from blaming those who got AIDS via transfusions for being so awful as to be in need of blood.
Gays were often living in the closet. The need to hide their orientation had a lot of real world negative consequences with serious implications for their health choices. Blaming them for getting something "preventable" is similar to telling women their abusive husband wouldn't beat them if they just didn't piss the guy off so much.
For the record, let me apologize to Christians and to the mods. I'm not anti-Christian and I've spoken in their defense before. I was in no way trying to start a religious flame war. My disgust with homophobia and with society's attitudes towards people suffering from addiction wasn't intended to impugn Christians or the Christian religion.
This just is not true. The sidelining of AIDS as someone else’s problem is well documented in Randy Shilts’ book. People were still making jokes about AIDS in 1983 when people had been dying for several years. Ronald Reagan, President throughout this whole time, did not publicly acknowledge AIDS until 1987.
It was initially thought of as a joke, and when gay men were dying, Reagan administration officials were laughing at it.
In the US. This is not true and was not ever true in some other parts of the world.
That is why you got downvotes, I would imagine.
This is exactly my point. Nobody in the west has ever lived through something that has necessitated these kinds of measures. People thought this kind of thing only happened in the movies, Asia, or Africa. That it couldn’t happen to us. And that lack of personal experience is why, in my opinion, our response was probably always going to be slower than it needed to be.
In other words, what are the chances that we look back in a decade, and realize that we inflicted a month of trauma on the country because we assumed authoritarian China must have a good reason for it?
The expected death toll from Covid, assuming an overall mortality rate of 1%, would be about 75 million people. So far the death toll worldwide is about 13,000. That's a big number, but only about 0.02% of the expected total without intervention.
> According to this Wikipedia page about the 2009 flu pandemic (which is what the term “swine flu” references, as best as I can tell), worldwide fatalities are estimated at 575 thousand (upper bound) and worldwide infections are estimated at 700 million (lower bound). Given those numbers, the worst case fatality rate is 0.08%. Then there is this quote:
> A follow-up study done in September 2010 showed that the risk of serious illness resulting from the 2009 H1N1 flu was no higher than that of the yearly seasonal flu.
> Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic
MMR: easily avoided
That leaves swine flu. According to this Wikipedia page about the 2009 flu pandemic (which is what the term “swine flu” references, as best as I can tell), worldwide fatalities are estimated at 575 thousand (upper bound) and worldwide infections are estimated at 700 million (lower bound). Given those numbers, the worst case fatality rate is 0.08%. Then there is this quote:
So my point remains: no one in the west had direct experience of a pandemic.
Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic
In practice, they will let you donate and then mark it for destruction so you can hide the fact from your coworkers that you don't qualify. (Or they did at one time.)
This was a big issue in the US military during the "don't ask, don't tell" era where they would throw you out if they knew, but official policy was to encourage you to just remain closeted. Being outed as gay was career ending if you were career military at that time. Blood drives are common in the military. They had to have some mechanism to honor the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and let you keep hiding your sexual orientation.
I never heard about that as a concern, and I have to dismiss that as silly, given the many reasons why you can be disqualified. I mean, you could just have low iron or some other minor health issue.
What I was alluding to is that some people feel it is not acceptable or just to have a blanket exclusion of men who have sex with men. I can't imagine that your answers to the questionaire are allowed to be shared with anyone though.
I've never heard of anyone being offended by the exclusion of people who have spent time in Africa or Europe though.
We're basically savages in huts over here about some things.
When I had a corporate job, lower level employees were instructed to keep their mouths shut and not tell everyone they were being promoted or whatever until it could be officially announced. Meanwhile, it was common for more than one middle manager type to drop by their cubicle to loudly congratulate them and make small talk, clearly trying to get in good with someone whose skills and such they might need.
I guess we were all supposed to be stupid or something and be incapable of inferring they had been promoted or something.
This was at a Fortune 500 company, so "the best of the best, sir." And it drove me crazy for so many reasons.
My mother is a German immigrant who came from a family of twelve kids. I am routinely shocked and appalled at how bad so many people are at thinking about the larger social landscape and how this will be viewed by others and what knock on effects it may have.
That type of thing seems to be shockingly common in the US and probably plays a large role in a lot of our social issues.
This is not US-exclusive. This is also true in a lot of European countries.
> A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν pan "all" and δῆμος demos "people") is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or worldwide.
> An epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi "upon or above" and δῆμος demos "people") is the rapid spread of disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time.
AIDS does not meet those definitions, unless you restrict “given population” to mean male homosexuals or recipients of blood transfusions.
Epidemic is different with Covid19 not yet qualifying.
What’s useful about separating the ideas is discovering the root cause. Scurvy used to be epidemic among sailers, making it easier to find the root cause and treatments. Highly localized diseases generally have a specific local cause.
Malaria on the other hand has also killed hundreds of millions of people but as it’s a tropical disease with 93% of the cases occurring in Africa it’s not a pandemic.
Again person to person spread results in pandemics, making a definition based on geographic spread useful.
The malaria epidemic is thousands of years old, nobody cares how quickly it spread 20 thousands years ago. Edit: Excluding academic intrest.
PS: And by Covid 19 not qualifying as an epidemic I meant it’s not an epidemic in every country. It however is an epidemic in several countries and will likely become an epidemic in most if not all country’s very quickly.
The reason malaria is not a pandemic isn't the fact that it's been eradicated in some areas, but the fact that it's endemic. Only epidemic diseases can be pandemics; endemic disease (e.g. seasonal flu) cannot be. This is by definition.
Epidemics and pandemics relate to some change from the previous situation whereas endemic diseases refer to stability. This informs our policy responses.
All the heterosexual people worldwide who were infected with HIV by their partners might beg to differ.
In addition, we have had some horrible flus over the years. 1994(ish) and 1977(ish) stick out in my mind.
Anyone who says: "Oh, it's just a nasty flu" has never had a bad flu. I can't imagine being more sick than being stuck in bed for two solid weeks not wanting to move because it hurts so bad but you have to make yourself some food and then choke it down only to throw it up.
And Covid-19 is WORSE THAT THAT! Holy hell, people, I'd do ANYTHING to avoid that.
It’s not, the vast majority of western society (hell, eastern too) has never been at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The vast majority are at risk of COVID-19.
HIV/AIDS is technically a pandemic, but not one that affects all populations/demographics. Completely different.
I’m not here to argue semantics, you win. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic and epidemic.
My point is that COVID-19 can infect anyone that has lungs, and breathes in the virus contained in the air.
HIV/AIDS is contracted via IV drug use, unprotected sex, or mother-to-child transmission.
Notice how one of these is incredibly easy to catch, and the other you have to try and catch? That is my point.
>"The problem is that the west has nobody in power with living memory of a pandemic."
And that is not true. And this HIV/AIDS is particularly relevant because Dr Deborah Birx was chosen as response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force because of her work on a previous pandemic, that of HIV/AIDS.
> AIDS is not a pandemic. Pandemic requires epidemic, which requires rapid spread in a short period of time. AIDS has been slow. Calling it a pandemic is, IMO, motivated by politics (it mostly affects male homosexuals and sub-Saharan Africans). Ctrl-F for my discussion elsewhere in this thread.
"In late 1983, the global presence of the mysterious virus motivated European authorities and the WHO to classify the growing number of diagnoses as an epidemic. In addition to the outbreak in the U.S., patients with similar symptoms were documented in 15 European countries, 7 Latin American countries, Canada, Zaire, Haiti, Australia and Japan. Of particular concern was an outbreak in central Africa among heterosexual patients."
Since wikipedia seems to be the only bar for your argument. Here's two wikipedia entries where it's clearly stated they are both epidemic and pandemic.
And of course more authoritative sources such as the CDC and WHO have also classified HIV/AIDS as both pandemic and epidemic:
The question then is whether it is also epidemic in a greater region, for instance multiple continents or world wide. Since there are subsets of the population in all areas where it is widespread, it seems fair to say that it is pandemic.
Cause and mode of transmission are not relevant to the definition of epidemic or pandemic that you have selected.
So your argument goes like this:
P1. An epidemic is the rapid spread of a disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time. (definition)
P2. AIDS has spread rapidly through people in sub-Saharan Africa and male homosexuals worldwide. (observation)
P3. People in sub-Saharan Africa are not a population. (assertion)
P4. Male homosexuals worldwide are not a population. (assertion)
P5. AIDS spreads sexually, via blood transfusions etc. (observation)
---------- (by P1-P5)
C1. Therefore, AIDS is not an epidemic.
P6. A pandemic is a widespread epidemic, spreading through multiple populations e.g. multiple continents or worldwide. (definition)
----------- (by C1 and P6)
C2. Therefore, AIDS is not a pandemic.
But from this, P3 and P4 are obviously false and P5 is not relevant since mode of transmission is not referred to in P1.
I don't feel like I'm at risk of getting AIDS, so it's a little hard for me to worry about AIDS as if it's a pandemic. But that doesn't mean AIDS isn't a pandemic. It's definitely epidemic according to the definition you picked - I'm just not part of the relevant populations through which it is spreading. You're definitely arguing poorly, since you demand we hold premises that are obviously false and you introduce irrelevant points that have nothing to do with your case.
> Obesity pandemic: causes, consequences, and solutions-but do we have the will?
> Obesity has become pandemic owing to an obesogenic environment (inexpensive calorie dense food, technologies and structure of communities that reduce or replace physical activity, and inexpensive nonphysical entertainment) and excessive emphasis on low fat intake resulting in excessive intake of simple carbohydrates and sugar. . .
An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease (according to Wikipedia's definition, which you have referred to).
A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury... A disease may be caused by external factors such as pathogens or by internal dysfunctions. (according to Wikipedia's definition, which is included by link by its definition of epidemic).
There is no requirement on the definition of epidemic that you have referred to that requires it to be infectious.
Please pick a definition and stick to it. You want a pandemic to be a global outbreak of a disease to which the overwhelming majority of the population is susceptible and which is spread via a pathogen without physical contact. If there's an authority that uses that definition, find them and cite them. Otherwise please stick the definitions you've already cited and move on.
One of the references:
Voss JD, Atkinson RL, Dhurandhar NV (November 2015). "Role of adenoviruses in obesity". Reviews in Medical Virology. 25 (6): https://zenodo.org/record/1229348
So yes, obesity can be caused by contagious disease.
Doesn't really matter what you are aware or not. USA and the major countries have thousands of people that do just that, monitor epidemics. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html That's their job and they have ways to notify leadership. Other look out for steroids, others for hackers hacking power plants, others look out for terror threats and so on.
It turns out that out intel services knew about this and its potential since January but civilian leader more or less ignored it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/us-intellig...
I would hope they knew about it since January because I knew about it since January and likely so did you.
And since the beginning of February I've been warning people in ever more concrete terms.
Here it was, right here on HN in January:
There may be even older ones, for instance, this one:
Which linked to:
which in turn links to:
Which is the oldest western article I've been able to find. Are there older ones?
from Jan 1st, which is 8 days earlier than your second link, but with only 3 points and zero comments, I'm not sure how much that counts.
The BBC story that you linked to is from Jan 3rd, the AP had a story on the 5th, so the public had opportunity to know about it in early January. I can't get Reddit's search to cooperate, so I can't say if there's an earlier mention there (plus Google's dates about Reddit don't agree with Reddit's). Wikipedia has an early timeline page with a lot of details. Public statements were made on December 30th about pneumonia of unknown cause.
If there had been a US pandemic response team, we could have started mobilizing December 30th. Hong Kong did.
What about the HIV/AIDS pandemic? Lots of folks in the HHS have living memory of that. In fact Dr Debbie Birx the WH Coronavirus response coordinator has spent decades fighting on that front.
And the CDC has a presence in 40 different counties through various partnerships and has had first hand experience with SARS, MERS, H1N1 and EBOLA.
The reaction here was a significant counter-reaction to the swine flu overreaction.
Sorry, but we knew it was serious. On January 25th, we closed down and evacuated the US consulate in Wuhan. That was 2 months ago.
Unless by 'most people' you mean Trump and the Fox News audience.
There is a theory that Trump's mishandling of the crisis is somehow what sets the United States or the west as a whole apart from the wealthy liberal East Asian states of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The problem with this theory, though, is that it doesn't explain why countries like Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia all dragged their feet every step of the way. (At the beginning, Germany seemed to respond extremely well, but once it became epidemic in other countries, they gave up.) People were not tested if they showed signs of the disease; they were only tested if they were connected to a known case. Travel was not restricted till the disease was already present in the target markets. When travel was restricted, it was too often done on effectively a racist basis. If you're Chinese, you're banned. People acted as though we would somehow be immune from this disease since our political/health system/language is just so.
In China and in the West, the response was always F-grade. Trump and the US deserve extra comment, but they are not the unique failures. It's the difference between 15 and 45. A huge difference, but a passing grade is 50.
Irrelevant. It's why we have things like (history) books: so that we don't have to relive past events to learn from them and repeat every mistake done in the past. It's cheaper to learn from other people's mistakes than your own.
The Trump Administration was specifically warned about pandemics before they even took power:
> “Health officials warn that this could become the worst influenza pandemic since 1918,” Trump’s aides were told. Soon, they heard cases were popping up in California and Texas.
> The briefing was intended to hammer home a new, terrifying reality facing the Trump administration, and the incoming president’s responsibility to protect Americans amid a crisis. But unlike the coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the globe, this 2017 crisis didn’t really happen — it was among a handful of scenarios presented to Trump’s top aides as part of a legally required transition exercise with members of the outgoing administration of Barack Obama.
Trump could have done something between 4-6 weeks sooner per briefings in January:
When H1N1 appeared in April 2009 the response was swift and decisive:
> The CDC's summary report of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic outlines how tests were administered at the time. The virus was first detected in the US on April 15. The CDC informed the World Health Organization about initial cases April 18. A test to detect this strain of swine flu was developed by the CDC and cleared for use 10 days later, on April 28, and the CDC began shipping tests across the US and around the world on May 1.
China's lack of transparency did not help matters:
> The research also found that if interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease. However, if NPIs were conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks later than they were, the number of cases may have shown a 3-fold, 7-fold, or 18-fold increase, respectively.
* Study: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.03.20029843v...
But all the "technical" knowledge to do the right thing was there. There is nothing new to this situation that we didn't already understand from an epidemiological perspective.
That's a strange way to put it. He took exactly one executive action: he restricted travel from China. This was very important and probably bought us some precious time. But for the next month and a half, Trump squandered that time with complacence, misinformation, and bureaucratic paralysis, all while downplaying the disease and vilifying reports of its severity as a hoax.
Contrast this with S. Korea and Taiwan. The U.S. and South Korea both reported their first cases on the same day -- January 20. The S. Korean government listened to the experts and took quick and decisive action, and they are rapidly getting their outbreak under control without draconian lockdowns.
We have a leadership vacuum at the federal level.
> despite the ongoing impeachment circus
This is supposed to be an excuse? If I remember correctly, Trump told us he was a strong leader who could easily handle more than one task at a time.
You describe the difference between the West and the peri-Chinese liberal wealthy states - not the difference between the US and everyone else. So Trump did something. He didn't do enough. Morrison did something. He didn't do enough. Merkel did as little as she could. She didn't do enough. Johnson eventually acted - and actively tried to get as many British residents infected as he could. If the US failure to take quick and decisive action is Trump's unique failure then every western state has a leadership vacuum.
Yes, there are symptoms of the US partisan malaise in this. Somehow a public health emergency of international concern became a political divide. But that doesn't explain the similarities in the initial US response - the response that meant the disease became established in the US.
It's far, far more likely that all Western leaders relied on the same advice - given to them by advisers who experienced an official pandemic. Swine flu was widely regarded as an overreaction and sowed its seeds of apathy in our experts. We're reaping that crop today.
Trump did far worse than almost any other world leader. He didn't merely underperform. He spent nearly two precious months actively mocking and attacking efforts to try and inform and prepare us for the pandemic.
Only when Trump figured out he could try to spin himself as a "wartime president" did he start to put on an air of concern. Angela Merkel for example was obviously, clearly waiting to be convinced on a scientific basis -- weighing evidence, currying expert advice, waiting for more data until the last possible moment before putting a gun to the head of the economy and pulling the trigger.
To Trump, this is, as with everything single thing he does, primarily a sales and PR mission.
My guess is you're referring to the travel ban issued at the end of January for people who had recently been to China, and the No Ban Act. If so: the No Ban Act would not undo the coronavirus ban if it were passed. It would undo Trump's earlier travel bans targeted towards Muslim countries, which are of course what the bill was intended to address. Although those bans and the coronavirus ban were imposed under the same authority, the bill would not remove that authority entirely, merely put limits on it. Regardless, the bill was not actually passed or voted on by the full House, only voted out of committee.
In this case, they give a "mostly true" rating while barely acknowledging that the anti-trump timeline is missing some events.
Those events, of course, are not minor. They make the timeline into what we call a "lie by omission".
Most importantly, the entire Snopes article neglects to mention that Trump's ban on travel from China was issued on the last Friday of January.
This is typical for Snopes.
There are way too many people using what they know now to criticize decisions that were made 8 weeks ago when the information/evidence wasn't obvious.
It still isn't clear to me if the severe economic shutdowns are going to not have secondary affects that are just as bad as the virus. I think we should all be a little more humble about what should have been done until we are on the other side of this crisis.
I live in a state that is about as blue as they come and our local politicians also failed to do anything until way after the horse was out of the barn.
Doesn't help that the WH pandemic response team was disbanded (fired/resigned and not replaced).
The previous team of CDC made sure that Ebola didn't become one.
They were pretty successful untill Trump wanted to put inexperienced "allies" in place.
China is not smaller and it knows better than to become isolated.
Note: I'm not rooting for China.
If you combine the “Communist block” in 1955, it was significantly larger than the “free world.”
Of course, the “Communist block” quickly turned on itself. But still.
The US has taken on larger powers before, but we had the advantage of strong social institutions.
Our own social institutions have been decaying, but when I think of China’s strengths, “strong institutions” doesn’t come to mind.
The "Communist block" was the USSR plus subjugated/unwilling allies. The US allies were much, much better, since:
1. They actually wanted to be part of their block.
2. Their resources, populations and economies were definitely far ahead of the "Communist block" ones. After all, the UK and France were still colonial empires in 1955. While Poland and Romania... yeah... You could count China, but China basically only got involved in wars near its borders: Korea, Vietnam. It was never going to join the USSR in an all-out, nuclear war against the West unless directly attacked for some reason. It was part of the reason the split happened between the USSR and China (China wouldn't fall in line like Hungary or Czechoslovakia).
The US could still be ahead, but it's alienating all its allies right now.
I don’t think they really liked the US as much as our interests were aligned and we had a gun to their heads.
Did they “like us”? It didn’t really matter.
Who did the Soviets have, that was worthy of being mentioned as an ally? China? That was about it.
And fear of Communism was much higher than fear of the US. Therefore making a lot of countries natural American allies.
I don’t think we’re really disagreeing on much. My original comment was pretty nitpicky.
That B game has been years in the making and predate the current administration since we exported our ability to bring our A game. Hopefully after this, these past short-sighted decisions are sharply corrected.
Unfortunately, Covid probably will not be in the top 100 nastiest challenges. Our global history has some truly terrible things in it
God forbid a state pre-emptively goes on lockdown to shorten the overall downtime vs waiting too long, having to lockdown anyway, and dragging the whole mess out.
I think part of the problem is that we instead specifically prohibited pricing the masks in accordance with the extra costs associated with ramping up production.
Why would any nation cede power willingly to another? Would the EU willingly cede power to the US? What about Britain? That's not how sovereignty works.
The US response has been massive and unprecedented.
More examples - Poland closing borders and not allowing people to pass it to return to their home countries. Or little centralised plan to close borders, both internal and external. Or countries essentially nationalising airlines en-masse, which was strictly forbidden by EU rules. Or Belgium citizens going to party to Netherlands since one has shut down everything and the other one is banking on herd immunity.
Bigger items like ventilators, ICU suites, and hospitals take longer.
As for levels of government, that's very real. People outside the US often don't realize it, but the states have more power than the Federal government in many areas. I'm in San Mateo County, California, and we're in lockdown because the County Medical Officer and the county supervisors decided it was necessary. They didn't have to ask permission from any higher authority to do that. Action by the state governor came later. Action by the Federal government came even later, and was mostly advisory.
California has wildfires, earthquakes, and floods routinely. So the state's Office of Emergency Services is large and well-funded, and their emergency operations center is usually dealing with something. Most large cities have emergency operations centers.
It won't be enough at first. But this is going to be a months long problem, if not a year or two. The support facilities will catch up.
Especially when a local or a statewide emergency is declared. At that point, all bets are off and authorities can do pretty much whatever they want until someone gets a judge to issue an injunction, which they're a lot less likely to do in a state of emergency unless its gross abuse of civil liberties. Even then, if it goes on long enough, executive power at all levels of government becomes even harder to curtail.
Doctors and nurses take even longer.
Car factories and similar manufacturing plants can probably be turned around in a matter of months, and will be able to produce millions of respirators over a year or two.
The virus, unless properly contained, is likely to be a threat for at least 1-2 years, and that is assuming no significant mutations to restart the cycle.
During WW2, the US started ordering Essex class carriers in 1940. Even though they were not present during the critical months of early 1942, they did turn the battle of the Pacific in 1943.
Plus tens of thousands in the Strategic National Stockpile.
The bottle neck will be low margin consumables items as we are seeing now with nasal swabs, plastic cups, pipet tips running out.
But then it was all used as a case study over the next year and became a training drill with new operations manuals for all the agencies involved.
So yeah, I get what you mean. New York seems to be taking the right steps here in the absence of a functioning federal government. I hope we don't get to see California in action, but if we do, I expect it will be a very fast, competent response.
Frankly, that was not my impression from American management or institutions. The most important was rule following, then appearance of effort, results largely unimportant.
You do? Seems to me that there are some areas that this very much doesn't apply too. For example: market processes are preferred over functioning healthcare system. The right to bear arms is preferred over limiting mass shootings.
Capitalism is the ultimate authority in america. It's just so ingrained it's not seen as such.
It’s not in America’s short term interest though so this won’t happen any time soon.
My opinion is a strong no. After hurricanes and floods, we simply rebuild houses where they once stood and forget they ever happened. Our modern hurricane response is nothing to be proud of.
Before WW1, Britain was the wealthiest nation in the world. They controlled the seas of the entire world and despite having one of the smaller populations, could bend huge populations to their will (e.g. India). It took only 4 years for an enormous transfer of wealth to take place from the British Empire, which had itself been sucking up the wealth of the world for centuries, to the United States. The financial hub of the world moved from London to New York. I could certainly see it moving again, and right now the most likely candidate is Beijing.
Clearly we have learned nothing from hurricanes.
But ties changed the entire survivability of a building in high winds.
Just look at children stories like chicken little and the boy who cried wolf.
That’s great when prognosticators are wrong: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/157/3791/914.2
Unlike America, China didn’t ignore Paul Erlich and his ilk. They responded by implementing the one child policy.
Originally intended to preserve their resources, they kept it because it aided in industrialization.
And so China is now a major polluter, is stripping away its resources at a massive scale, and about to hit a massive demographic cliff.
And in the process violated human rights on a massive scale.
Beijing is not even the financial hub of China. That would be Shanghai.
In their heads. But meanwhile, the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish had more than their fair share as well. This whole re-writing of history is what enables 'MAGA' and other idiotic revisionist trends, please don't contribute to them. It only gives more credence to the kind of exceptionalism and nationalism on display.
But I fear what has been done is not enough, because it only feel necessary, but the virus is an exponential growing crisis, our capacity can not possible catch up with it.
Strict lockdown right now. Take the short term pain, but better for long term.
Locking down only works as long as people lock down. Once the lockdown ends, the virus re-emerges. The repeated lockdowns continue until a vaccine is created.
Taking less serious measures - only locking down the elderly - creates heard immunity, albeit with a higher death rate.
The absolute lockdown we are doing now means the crisis will go on longer.
The short term pain solution would be accepting the higher fatality rate for heard immunity.
For the sake of my elderly parents, I’m glad we’re starting with a lockdown.
But it's a much higher mortality rate without the social distancing since the hospitals will be overwhelmed so the mortality rate will approach the hospitalization rate if 15 - 20%
As recently as mid January the WHO was still repeating Chinese propaganda about the virus not being transmitted from person to person (China had known at that point for at least 30-45 days that that was a lie, they were trying to keep the world from isolating them and hammering their economy, hoping they could stop it quickly).
Trump's delays cost the US three to four weeks of additional prep time. From the first week of February (closer to when the US should have began to prepare nationally), versus the end of Feb / first week of March. It was also entirely unclear how infectious it was and what the mortality rate was likely to be, until well into February.
And I feel like these sorts of virtue-signaling remarks makes it harder to focus on what to do now. It isn't even clear that anyone would have listened to the federal government weeks ago. Look at the criticism that was made when Chinese flights were restricted in January.
Who is "blaming" anyone? Suggesting that there was no public consensus for extreme actions 6 or 8 weeks ago isn't blaming anyone for anything it is just stating a fact.
And your last comment seems to be repeating the lie that the President called the virus a hoax, which he did not. He called the unfounded accusations of his lack of actions another hoax. It is unrcontionable to be spreading that misinformation at this point.
I did not. But my comment was flagged so you can make up anything you want about it, so have a cookie.
Strong military logistic?
I think it is such a strong side of US military, that if you compare the entire logistic capacity of the rest of world's militaries taken together, it will still not surpass the US.
The US has a disastrous recent history of failing to respond to multipld hurricanes with adequate support, from Katrina to Maria.
NY is creating EIGHT temporary hospitals total. I can't imagine the logistics, staffing, materials, etc. A few days ago I wasn't terribly concerned, but it continues to look worse and worse for the US.
Static armies are what Saddam, Assad, and the Iranians have. Though their weapons are pretty up to date, they still get squished when fighting Modern armies like the US or France. That is because their 'doctrine' is Static, mostly to be coup-proof. In Static Armies, you don't give field commanders a lot of lee-way or control. You send orders, they execute. They don't get to play jazz. This is due to regime issues that don't translate into up to date warfare.
In Modern armies, you have terribly expensive weapons too. But the training is what makes it really work. You have to train field commanders to play jazz and improvise. It's a constant blitzkrieg of movement and mechanized/digitized warfare. There is no sitting around. That takes training people to think for themselves; a big no-no in regimes.
The US is the example of a modern force, complete with fancy gadgets and fancy training.
We should expect that NYNG could get eight field hospitals going in hours. That is the entire basis of our military, to move really fast and get things done. Imperfectly? Oh hell yes. But fast is the entire name of the game.
Also, acoup's blog post does a really good job of going through the differences in Modern and Static military doctrines. Much better than my TLDR of it.
My dad’s a doc (not in NY) and got sent home so he can be second wave.
The experience is more akin to being in a massive company with tons of middle managers who are always looking to self-promote and cover their a.
The army has many great men and women in it, despite the bs, but let's not pretend it's some "dynamic" entity.
Don't believe me? Read Bob Gates' memoir, where he recounts how as SecDef he had to fight the Pentagon brass just to get MRAPs that would save lives. And he was in charge of the department!
>In Static Armies, you don't give field commanders a lot of lee-way or control. You send orders, they execute.
If we had a Static Army, the Pentagon brass would have immediately yielded to SecDef and executed his orders. The fact that there had to be immense debate around the issue means that everyone is granted the right to do their thing and improvise in the meantime. You can bet troops were trying all sorts of wacky things to IED-proof their Humvees.
But you can bet no high ranking officer in Saddam Hussein's army was successfully "fighting the bureaucracy" to get things through.
One tid-bit I did find interesting was :
"Likewise, armies with weak organization, training and discipline will find chemical preparedness – which involves a lot of training on how to get those gas masks and NBC suits on fast – very difficult; actually getting all of the fidgety equipment to the right spots will also prove hard (but is second-nature to a modern system military which has nothing but fidgety equipment)."
I think that acoup's point extends to most aspects of the military and to parts of civilian life as well. The complex, murky, and seemingly insane rulesets of command systems in Modern militaries is a feature, not a bug, though most people in it understandably disagree and are screaming at their screens right now. There's that old apocryphal quote that goes something like: war is chaos, which is why the Americans do so well in it, as they practice it on a daily basis.
Econtalk had a great bit on chaos in potato chip sales. Brendan O'Donohoe of Frito-Lay mentions that he randomly makes people take vacations, pulls them on to other projects, jazzes things up, so that his team can better sell potato chips. I've no idea of their internal numbers back in 2011, but based on his current LI, he's done alright enough since then (maybe, I really can't judge here)
I think putting 1000 beds in a conference centre sounds a lot less dramatic than 4 new hospitals.
In NYC, there is very little space for something new. And the existing structures are poor locations for actual hospitals.
If the economy is going to be down for a while, might as well use a public space that is shut down for that purpose.
Those new temporary hospital units that they built in 2 weeks, are specialized, negative pressure rooms, that sucks the air out of the room, and runs it through a scrubbing filter, before safely expelling it outside into the atmosphere.
They learned their lesson from SARS, and built these special care units, to treat pulmonary infectious diseases.
These negative pressure rooms will help minimize infected air, such as when you do an intubation, and the virus get aerosolized, then it helps to vacuum the virus out of the air inside the room.
These hospitals were built to treat their most critical cases. Then, they later built general facilities in sporting stadiums, for milder cases, to keep these infected patients away from their families and the public, while they recovered. In retrospect, they should have built these two types of facilities in parallel. This appears to be a lesson learned for them. They underestimated the magnitude of the infection rate, and later realized that milder cases can be triaged and treated separately.
Granted, not a whole lot of information about this was shared in Western media; since most of the effort, was spent smearing China, and their terrible authoritarian government.
And whatever was reported was dumbed down for western audiences. This was frustrating when you wanted to find actual information, and you had to dig deeper, to find actual useful information about what was happening on the ground.
Note: As typical of HN readers, I’m expecting to get docked -4 points for this post, because I actually wrote something positive about China’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. In the end, apparently, it worked.
I think the logistic complexity of building 4 field hospitals is like nothing compared building 30-40+ FOBs, MOBs, firebases, landing grounds, airfield, and other field logistic elements in the warzone, during an invasion.
Saying that, one need to think how shockingly bad the showing of American state apparatus been in recent years despite such an enormous resource at its disposal, unless the actual army is involved.
The rest of government generally only plans but never stress tests those plans. And the few times they do get practice, we rotate them out of those roles every time a new administration is voted in. Any SRE working at large tech companies like Facebook and Google probably have more experience responding to crises and correcting the shortcomings than many of the people on the civilian side of government.
I live in NYC with elderly family members as well as at-risk family members. I also have family in CA. My Friends are also in the same boat.
Unfortunately my business is critical so it will remain open though they are taking this very seriously. They have a rigorous cleaning policy as well as split shifting a crazy schedule to minimize people in the building at once yet moving production along. All office people who can work remote (not me, im tech) are home with laptops. Thankfully I have my own microwave and fridge in my pretty isolated office so im hunkering down there by myself. Only bringing food prepared at home which I have a little stock of. They also said I am free to hide all I want unless it's an emergency which is usually once a week when some old machine decides to throw a hissy fit.
This is one of the few respects in which military wastefulness is useful, since those capabilities are repurposable for zero-sum games played against nature.