Two preventative measure from a former frequent traveler

March 25, 2020, 12:53 PM · With all the discussion about Covid-19 a.k.a. SARS-Co-V2 I want to add two measures that I used to avoid viral infection while traveling almost every week for Bell Labs.

We all know the obvious, wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes,...

I found that sitting on a lot of airliners (usually in the cheap seats way in the back) and dealing with a lot of people in a lot of different places I picked up two interesting tools.

Viral infections work in a predictable way they burrow into the mucus membranes in the sinus and throat and as new crops release they move on to the lungs. The key is to stop them early on. I carried a spray bottle filled with old fashioned brown Listerine - the one with alcohol. I learned how to drop the back of my tongue opening access to the throat and sprayed the Listerine directly on the back of the throat. Yeah, it stings and if there are damaged cells it really hurts. It does kill the virus that is on the surface of the mucus membranes. Yes frequent spraying is necessary in the early stages of exposure. It worked for me. Yes, it can make your mucus membranes a bit dry for a while.

I carried a second spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol (there was no Purel back then). I would use that whenever I needed a quick clean of my hands, or some surfaces. FWIW: Purel is only 60% alcohol the remainder being glycerin and fragrance. Alcohol is just alcohol. Yes, it can, if used to excess, dry the skin on your hands but a little hand cream fixes that.

WARNING: I shared these tips with a fellow frequent traveler at the Labs. He decided he wanted to catch the virus earlier so he sprayed the Listerine into his nose. He said he almost passed out from the pain and he totally lost his sense of smell.


Replies (182)

March 25, 2020, 1:26 PM · Thanks George! I believe modern hand-sanitizer gel formulations use water and a thickening agent such as poly(acrylic acid), which can give you a lot of thickening at very low concentrations. Water, of course, is cheaper than glycerol. Also note that hand sanitizers use ethanol. The MSDS always indicates less than 10% of isopropanol.

I'm going to say that I appreciate your experience and wisdom that has been clearly demonstrated over the years on this site. But lacking peer-reviewed scholarship, I can't really accept your claim that spritzing one's tonsils with Listerine will keep anyone from contracting COVID-19 or anything else. The last thing we need in these kinds of crises is a proliferation of unsubstantiated scientific claims. Go to reliable sources and they will tell you that mouthwash does nothing against this disease.

March 25, 2020, 1:59 PM · I'm volunteering for the "do nothing" control group. It's still speculation but it does seem possible that most of us will catch the virus mildly or asymptomatically and the "herd" will become immune. If that is reflected in the figures from Wuhan it means I'm about as likely to die from Covid-19 this year as I am from cardiovascular disease. Sobering thought - Trump may even have called it right!
Edited: March 27, 2020, 7:51 AM · There are indeed conflicting views. Though I find their views repugnant*, I hope the conservative think tanks turn out to be correct when they say we will be fine.

But why are all the real specialists, virologists, infectious disease epidemiologists, and front-line health care workers so concerned?

"However, arguments about the case fatality rate, the transmission parameters and presymptomatic transmission all miss the point. This virus is capable of shutting down countries. You should not want to be the next after Wuhan, Iran, Italy or Spain. In those places, the healthcare systems have broken down. In Italy, the choices of whom to save and whom to allow to die are real. You should instead look to the example of South Korea, which, through a combination of intense surveillance and social distancing, appears to have gained some semblance of control over the virus. We can learn from South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, all of which have so far done a good job mitigating the worst outcomes despite having reported cases early in the pandemic, and in the case of South Korea, suffering a substantial outbreak."

For herd immunity to take effect, 60% of the population has to be infected. That will happen eventually across the globe, until a vaccine is available. But the speed at which it happens, is allowed to happen, could mean the difference between "broken health-care" systems, which will affect more than Covid-19 patients, and learning to live with the pandemic.

*edited for clarity.

Edited: March 25, 2020, 3:02 PM · I bet if I picked up a nice meth habit, I could keep myself nicely exfoliated and virus free. Of course, I would need to buy the meth in bulk first and then design some kind of meth-dispensing safe that could not be cracked to keep my supply going. And I'd probably have to strongly lock myself in my apartment from the outside and place bars on my windows and remove all my tools from the inside of my house. Crap, and I've actually got a drop ceiling with removable tiles, so I'd probably find a way to tunnel out. Because I'm pretty crafty as it is, but on meth, I would be a jail-breaking force to be reckoned with.

Anyway, my point is, it's important to keep yourself busy during this dark time.

March 25, 2020, 3:27 PM · Isopropyl alcohol is poisonous if ingested, duh!!
Edited: March 25, 2020, 3:46 PM · It seems like hoping the conservative think tank is correct is just hoping for more deaths and cases in China and other 3rd world countries. I have never been there myself, but as a person from Chinese descent, it does upset me that the Chinese government would say such things about the U.S. Jeewon Kim, the article, which you cited when talking about conservative beliefs seems to only have one positive thing to say, and that’s about South Korea. Your name is Korean... hmmmmm...

Edit: Hey, what do I know? I am 15;).

March 25, 2020, 3:42 PM · I am hoping for anti-viral properties of chocolate-- legal and fun :) Just had three pounds of dark delivered; it's the high point of the pandemic, so far!
Edited: March 25, 2020, 4:23 PM · Xuanyuan Liu, you misunderstand my post. I do not agree with the right, who think the US should fully open for business by April 13.

I don't know anything, but I believe the real experts when they say we should self isolate and try to prevent the breakdown of health systems that occurred in some countries, and is starting to happen here, so that we can return to some kind of normalcy achieved by countries like Taiwan and Singapore. I don't write this because I happen to be an immigrant from one of the countries that seems to have gotten things under control for now. I write because I am a concerned Canadian, and I hope North America can turn things around, as it currently appears we are headed toward an outcome closer to Italy than Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

March 25, 2020, 4:26 PM · I guess I have, but you editing your post does not help you. I never called you an immigrant either. I thought wrongly that there was a little bit of prejudice in you, I also should’ve read the article with a more open mind. Learning from these countries that have contained the virus would be beneficial.
Edited: March 25, 2020, 5:11 PM · Help me with what?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. I apologize if I inadvertently offended you in some way. But I'm not trying to pick a fight, just clarify my position. If you need me to spell it out further, my intent was to point out to Steve the potential negative outcome, namely the breakdown of our medical systems, of doing nothing. Not trying to tout some weird nostalgic patriotism for the old country.

*I* told you I am an immigrant because I am. And I'm Canadian.

Editing to say I think it's important to know what the opposing side is saying, even if it is infuriating and even painful. I realize there is a new epidemic of bigotry and racism sweeping parts of the US and the world, along with the spreading pandemic, and I regret having not been more clear. Again, I'm sorry that I caused offense.

March 25, 2020, 5:41 PM · Hey Jeewon, have you seen Burning? In my top 5 movies all-time. Lot of good movies coming out of South Korea the last few years.
March 25, 2020, 6:09 PM · I have other varieties of alcohol to sterilize the vocal cords. Tonight, a perfectly reasonably 2013 Bourgogne, for example.

As for flying, one thing I have heard in a general way is that seats pick up a ton of germs, especially up by the head. So an alcohol wipe is a good thing if you have smooth covering on the seat. Also, nobody worries too much about cleaning the arm rests and tables. So another couple of wipes for those surfaces are useful. I did all that when returning from the UK 11 days ago, and still seem not to be ill.

March 25, 2020, 6:47 PM · Wow, high praise Christian! Will check it out. Thought you'd be more of a "Breaking Bad" kinda guy ;)
March 25, 2020, 6:54 PM · I've actually never seen Breaking Bad - Must be the contrarian in me, and I was probably too busy scrubbing at the time.
March 25, 2020, 8:39 PM · I am breaking dark chocolate almond bark. You guys should Google anti-viral properties of cocoa polyphenols. And, don't waste your chocolate polyphenols as a wipe...
Edited: March 26, 2020, 12:35 AM · Jeewon, in my second post I was admitting to misunderstanding you...

Edit: I was wrongly offended at you and I’m sorry about that Jeewon. Recently one of my friends called me talking about the bigotry and racism cause by covid-19, he was very depressed due to parental pressure and his classmates weren’t helping by spouting some racist things. I guess that put me on edge. I said some things about your posts that were guided by blind emotion, and I’m sorry about it.

Edit: I didn’t fully read your edits and made assumptions, sorry. I didn’t read Steve’s comments fully either, and reading that a may have helped me understand you better. Thank you for correcting me, and again, sorry for the misunderstanding. I have just been on edge lately.

March 26, 2020, 12:40 AM · Erin, I've been panic-buying 85% Green & Black's chocolate bars for years now. I think I may have a problem. There's a chocolate bar called Endangered Species that frankly tastes kinda nasty - Probably all those chunks of endangered species in every bar, which, given the pangolin that got us in this mess, maybe now is not the right time to be eating exotic animals, but if you're looking for a tasty dark chocolate bar, Green & Black's is where it's at (I have not been paid for this actual testimonial, although I totally would accept payment).
Edited: March 26, 2020, 6:41 AM · Steve wrote, "I'm volunteering for the 'do nothing' control group."

Same with basic vaccinations? It's the same silly "libtards" telling us we should protect our kids against measles and diphtheria.

All you "dark chocolate" freaks make me cringe. That 85% stuff is inedible. Why don't you just buy baking squares and be done with it? They're a lot cheaper.

March 26, 2020, 8:32 AM · So sorry to hear about your friend, Xuanyuan. I can't believe the US administration, likely taking cues, if not direct orders, from think tanks like the one I cited, continue to scapegoat and lay blame to divert attention away from their own blunders, instead of taking meaningful action, comforting those suffering, showing real leadership. But I guess we all know by now that's asking too much.

I can see clearly how you might have thought I was promoting a racist point of view, based only on the link I lead with above. I've not experienced any racism personally but I know it's a growing problem in Canada too. Like you, we're all on edge, as if just dealing with the pandemic and job loss and isolation from friends and family weren't enough. I think we can all guess who the 'we' is when such groups say "we'll be fine," but I'm hopeful the majority of my US neighbours will not forget this unforgivable incompetence, callousness, and flagrant negligence displayed by this president in the coming election.

If there's any good to come of this, I hope we can come to agree we truly are all in this together. Rugged individualism is obsolete in this age of rising pandemics.

Take care.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 10:34 AM · Well, I'm not going anywhere. I mean anywhere. My wife just got tested - fever, feels awful, etc. - and I"m now in a quarantine situation with her. Hence, we'll be here for a while. No grocery store, pharmacy, anything, I FaceTime with my 6 year old granddaughter. We play with dolls and unicorns. We also draw pictures, although she says I'm awful, but that she's an artist. So, that's that. I'll practice and take FaceTime lessons. My townhouse neighbors can listen and hear both my playing and my rather loud and spontaneous shouts of profanity when I mess up. The air mattress has a hole in it, so I'll sleep on the sofa. Fortunately, my wife is feeling a bit better, this morning but we're still confined until the test results come back. They say it will be at least 8 days although the average here in Oregon has been 13 days. So, air travel is out, cars, trains, and bicycles too. We plan to eat the rest of our dark chocolate, (Come on, Paul, have a piece. It's good for you.) We'll save our single bottle of wine for when we're in the clear, and continue to bing watch Netflix and Amazon Prime.
March 26, 2020, 10:33 AM · Oh, Michael. Sending prayers for a speedy recovery for your wife and for good health for you.
March 26, 2020, 11:04 AM · Jeewon Kim, how did you come to the conclusion that the US administration is not taking meaningful action?
March 26, 2020, 11:09 AM · Is it safe to order food from Amazon? Or will I get scammed if I’m not careful?
March 26, 2020, 11:56 AM · Michael, I hope your wife will recover quickly, and you will all come out your quarantine no worse for wear.

David, do you believe your government is doing enough?

Edited: March 26, 2020, 12:08 PM · I think they've taken a reasonable course for now, given the available resources. There will always be people who will complain that they are doing too much, and others will complain that they aren't doing enough. That's just human nature.

What do you think they should be doing that they are not?

March 26, 2020, 12:47 PM · I will admit to my liberal leanings off the top, and I don't have much hope that anything will change but:

1. Create consistent messaging. Don't contradict the medical and scientific advice. Let Fauci do all the talking. Put together a centralized health security team. You used to have one. You used to lead the world in bringing together the global health community to fight global threats. Now you don't.

2. Join the global community. Stop referring to Covid 19 as Wuhan, as you did at the G20 this morning, for which you had to stand alone rather than with your G20 partners. Unequivocally condemn racism and violence related to Covid. Stop scapegoating China. Yes, their administration also made mistakes. Own up to your own mistakes, and move on.

3. Unite all the states. Don't just pander to your base in the red states. Blue states are hardest hit right now. Stop partisan politicking. Is there any political motivation behind responding slowly to e.g. New York?

4. Use the emergency aid funding to help individuals, not just corporations.

5. Use emergency powers in a transparent way. Is the DOJ backhandedly trying to bypass habeas corpus? Are you dragging your heels because industry has asked you not to act on quickly providing PPE and ventilators? Or is it because industry, even with the Defense Production Act, is not equipped to turn around such intricate machines in short order. Is the Army Corps of Engineers being utilized well? Are they building emergency hospitals where they are needed?

And much more... I don't know the answers. But these are some of the questions I've come across in my own reading and from the media here in Canada and the Guardian. Yes, mostly liberal sources, I know. But can anyone really argue against 1) 2) and 3)?

March 26, 2020, 1:08 PM · Is this article chock full of lies, or is the US government taking a reasonable course? Can't be both.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 2:06 PM · David, I'd put money on the amount of people complaining that the government did too little rising and the amount if people complaining that the government did too much falling with time.

Unfortunately for us, the point of having government is to plan for stuff, like this, that is going to look different in hindsight. If you went and got new brake pads put on your car, and then another mechanic went and surreptitiously replaced them with heavily used ones, or just stole them, then you'd probably be pretty pissed, but only afterwards, and only presuming that you survived your car wreck. I'm sure that mechanic's response would be to call the fact that you count on driving your car a hoax, but we'll see how that holds up in court come November.

March 26, 2020, 2:13 PM · And...
6. Stop doing stupid sh*t:
Edited: March 26, 2020, 2:46 PM · Jeewon, I would suggest getting your information from multiple news sources (and even multiple "science" sources), since most have a bias of one sort or another.

Regarding some of your specific points:

How has the response to New York been slow? Supplies need to be allocated to various regions, and it takes some time to get them there. And one doesn't want to allocate supplies to one area, leaving others without. We don't know yet where the next surge will be.

Emergency funding IS being allocated to individuals, not just corporations.

Emergency hospitals without ventilators and other essential equipment (for this particular epidemic) aren't all that useful. A couple of major US auto manufacturers are participating in increasing production of ventilators.

Italy, a much more "liberal" nation than the US (including "free" health care), has the highest death rate so far. So I don't think that latching on to either liberal or conservative views offers a solution. Perhaps you can do better than you have so far?

From the outside looking in, it's easy to presume that everyone on the inside is stupid, particularly when the viewer is underinformed. The same thing happens in the fiddle business. This isn't my first rodeo with such prejudices, or with folks lacking sufficient information or experience to adequately asses.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 2:48 PM · Really David? You're asking if an individual in a foreign country can do better than a federal government? Is that a real question? I always took you for a reasonable person.

How do you address 1, 2, 3, 6?

I do try to look for multiple sources, including the Ioannidis article I cited on Dimitri's report from Italy. I don't latch onto political views. I look for what experts in medicine, disease epidemiology and virology have to say. It just happens they are interviewed by certain press more than others.

Editing to add, do you really think there is a valid reason for militarizing the US-CAN border? What could it be? Is anyone in the scientific community promoting that as an effective measure? Enlighten me.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 3:00 PM · Jeewon Kim wrote:
"Really David? You're asking if an individual in a foreign country can do better than a federal government? Is that a real question?"

Yes it is a real question. Wasn't it you who was criticizing the US response?

"Any fool can find fault". The challenge is to come up with better solutions. What do you have to offer?

March 26, 2020, 3:00 PM · Self isolate. Minimize going outside. If you have to go outside, keep a distance of 6 feet. Help flatten the curve to buy time for the scientists to find treatments and a vaccine, and for medical equipment to be produced. Call me a fool for believing the experts. I'm OK with that.

You still haven't addressed 1,2,3,6.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 3:11 PM · "Wasn't it you who was criticizing the US response?"

Based on what a whole lot of experts are saying. Not my personal critique. I'd be the first person to admit I do not have the knowledge, capacity, experience to handle a national crisis, to face a Pandemic.

You still haven't responded to 1,2,3,6.

And it's hard to keep up with all your edits. Maybe you could add a post to clarify, rather than change your post.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 3:28 PM · Those things are already being done in the US.

Here's what's happening in my state.

Perhaps you could make a better effort to keep up?

March 26, 2020, 3:23 PM · You're not addressing the Federal problem. I think it is you who has his head buried in the sand. You still haven't responded to 1,2,3,6.
Edited: March 26, 2020, 3:39 PM · Well, at least I noticed that there was no #6 in your post. Perhaps you can edit your post to add it? LOL

Who has their head in the sand?

When it comes to analytical processing, maybe it would be better to rely less on your emotions?

Edited: March 27, 2020, 8:05 AM · How has the response to New York been slow?

"Beefed-up unemployment benefits
What they got: People who are unemployed would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits to make up for 100 percent of lost wages. The final agreement provides an extra month of unemployment benefits than what Senate Republicans had originally sought.

Why it matters: A group of GOP senators threatened Wednesday to block a fast-tracked vote on the measure, arguing that some workers would actually get a raise over their actual pay. "We have incentivized people not to go back to work," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. Unemployment claims are also climbing by the tens of thousands every day in states across the country, and congressional negotiators acknowledge that benefits may need yet another boost through additional relief packages."

It has nothing to with liberalism. That is the point. Read Dimitri's report.
Trump’s plan would make government stupid

March 26, 2020, 4:19 PM · David put his finger on the problem right from the outset: "I think they've taken a reasonable course for now, given the available resources."

Who's in charge of making sure we have the resources in the first place?

Edited: March 26, 2020, 4:39 PM · Jeewon Kim;

Again, any fool can find fault. What would you propose? Do you think that flaws cannot be found with anything you propose?

March 26, 2020, 4:56 PM · Only complete fools and idiots would think the American response has been appropriate and fast enough so far.
Edited: March 26, 2020, 5:15 PM · I'm surprised you're still engaging with my emotional analysis. I have never claimed to have the answers, but enlighten me David. What are the flaws in my proposals? You've called me a fool. You say I am emotional, but you refuse to address the arguments and proposals laid out by the experts and articles which cite expert advice. Why? Is that your whole argument? All these journalists, doctors, virologists, disease epidemiologists, scientists, governors are just fools? What about all their recommendations? What are the flaws in what they propose?

March 26, 2020, 5:22 PM · Don't worry, David's stupid like that!!
Edited: March 27, 2020, 8:21 AM · Paul, here's another fool, Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, explaining why those in charge didn't act:

"Let’s turn to the coronavirus. The Administration’s response was extremely slow, which could be explained by your theory, by the fact that the Administration didn’t want to see this for political reasons or just didn’t want to deal with it. Do you agree with that?

I do agree. And when you think about the position that Republican Administrations have taken over the last thirty years, it not only makes total sense—it’s completely predictable that this Administration did exactly what it did. They didn’t want to acknowledge the severity of the issue, because this is a textbook example of why we need a federal government. In fact, I’ve noticed that, just in the last week or so, increasingly I’m seeing people writing things like “Coronavirus proves the need for big government.” Because it’s really difficult to control a pandemic on the state or local level. The C.D.C. is a federal agency. The National Institutes of Health is a federal agency. All of the organizations we have that are set up to deal with a crisis of this type are federal agencies.

And so for the Trump Administration to have acted briskly and promptly and in line with the scientific evidence on this would have been for it to embrace the role of the federal government and say, “This is exactly why we have a powerful federal government. This is exactly why we have federal agencies of this sort.” So I think that it would have been much easier for any Democrat to have responded to this issue than for any Republican to have responded. And then you add on to it Donald Trump’s particular—how should I put this politely?—reflex to be hostile to science and hostile to experts. Add that into the mix and I think that’s exactly what you’d expect.

Right. I don’t think Trump’s response and skepticism about its seriousness was motivated by some deep, small-“C” conservative concern about the size of the federal government.

Right, exactly. You add them both together and there’s a pretty dangerous combination. That’s why it makes sense that we saw what was essentially a two-month delay in having the kind of response that we should have had on this issue."

March 26, 2020, 5:32 PM · Jaewon, the US administration is largely following the advice of the doctors, virologists, and disease epidemiologists. Journalists, not so much, and I think that's how it should be.

How would it even be possible to follow the advice of journalists, since their opinions are all over the map? Keep in mind that the way most journalists achieve success these days is not by publishing truth, but by attracting readers. The more readers, the more advertising income, so drama prevails.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 5:40 PM · "...articles which cite expert advice."

All the coronavirus related articles I've found are being offered free, where there's a paywall.

This one is behind a paywall, so I offer a headline:
Trump Hopes to Have U.S. Reopened by Easter, Despite Health Experts’ Warnings

Edited: March 26, 2020, 6:47 PM · Jeewon wrote:
"Trump Hopes to Have U.S. Reopened by Easter, Despite Health Experts’ Warnings"

Can you not discern the the difference between a hope, and a plan or mandate? LOL

Reading and listening comprehension skills are rather important. ;-)

March 26, 2020, 6:35 PM · Can you not discern the difference between a great leader, a narcissistic buffoon, and a criminally dangerous idiot????
Edited: March 26, 2020, 6:59 PM · I'd rather not participate in bashing of either party. Nor am I registered as a voter for either party.
Edited: March 26, 2020, 7:48 PM · David, it's not the fact of whether there is a plan in place that's troubling, it's 1) that he's openly disagreeing with experts 2) the lack of continuity in messaging 3) that he's giving the impression things are going well enough to go back to normal soon, contradicting what the experts are saying and what the evidence is showing.

What is that mixed message saying to all the Covid 19 deniers out there (you're not one of them are you?).

It's bad right now in New York and moving to Detroit and Chicago. Louisiana is getting bad:

As the WHO predicted the US now has the most known cases of infection, surpassing Italy and China, which is very concerning to Canada.

What happened at Mardi Gras illustrates why lack of a central plan is disastrous.

You can LOL me all you want, twist my words. All this seems rather academic to you, but to me, and a lot of other people, the reality speaks for itself: things aren't going well. So who really cares whether my proposals have flaws, or whether I have any proposals at all. What. Is. Happening. I'm out.

What?! You don't vote? Why am I even talking to you? Really out now.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 7:34 PM · @ David. Respectfully sir. Trump lies all the time. I'm surprised he hasn't dislocated his shoulder from patting himself on the back all the time.
March 26, 2020, 8:44 PM · David seems to look to the President as some kind of role model???
Edited: March 26, 2020, 10:43 PM · David put his finger on the problem right from the outset: "I think they've taken a reasonable course for now, given the available resources."

Who's in charge of making sure we have the resources in the first place? Who's in charge of preparedness for the United States of America?

When the President is talking at a press conference, and the qualified experts standing behind them are covering their faces in shame, knowing that they will need to spend the next two hours walking back the stupid stuff he said, that really doesn't reflect well on the office he holds.

Here we've got a national crisis, and here's the kind of garbage Trump says at his pressers:
(1) Easter is a wonderful holiday, it's important to many people, and he really likes Easter.
(2) Our airline industry is great. It's really important. It's the best airline industry anywhere.
(3) Military medical ships are beautiful ships. He's seen one of them and it's very impressive.
The reason he says that useless crap is because he has nothing else to say. His daily briefing material has been dumbed down to a comic book. He has no idea what anyone of his top people are doing or even what they're responsible for.

March 26, 2020, 10:40 PM · I very much appreciate Jeewon's posted articles. Thanks.

The lieutenant governor of my state has suggested that it is the duty of older people to die so that the economy might be better for their grandchildren. It's completely horrifying. Thankfully our city and county leadership are stepping in to fill the vacuum created by a lack of state and national leaders.

Edited: March 26, 2020, 10:54 PM · Mary Ellen your Lt. Gov. is not alone. He's in the fine company of other Republican state officials across the land. Like Kay Ivey, the Governor of Alabama who is "committed to raising the quality of life for all Alabamians." Reminds me a little of that fine gentleman, George Wallace.

Don't worry. Donald Trump thinks it'll all blow over by Easter. He likes Easter. He said Easter is an important holiday to many of us. He thinks having the virus be all done by Easter would be a "beautiful timeline." He feels we'll be "opened up and rarin' to go" by then.

He's got manure between his ears.

March 27, 2020, 12:25 AM · This thread was supposed to be about preventative measures against the virus. Meaning maybe contribute any other ideas how to do this on a personal level?

Now it's just turned into a trashy political debate.

March 27, 2020, 2:01 AM · It wouldn't have to get trashy if we didn't have a lot of trash in the white house putting all of our lives at greater risk.
March 27, 2020, 2:14 AM · Can't that go into another thread?

I read this thread because I'm in another country and set to go back to the US in late April, along with my ancient mother. I just want to read suggestions and advice about protective measures while in an airplane etc. and not have to pick through the trash.

The idea for bringing alcohol wipes to wipe down your seating area in the plane sounds like a good idea. I think I will do that, but other ideas are welcome!

March 27, 2020, 2:51 AM · I will be very surprised if it’s safe to travel as soon as late April.
Edited: March 27, 2020, 3:30 AM · "Italy, a much more "liberal" nation than the US (including "free" health care), has the highest death rate so far. So I don't think that latching on to either liberal or conservative views offers a solution. Perhaps you can do better than you have so far?"

David, this is because Italy was just about the first 'Western' country to be hit by corona. They are abt six weeks ahead of the American numbers. Just wait and see.

So maybe it's a little too soon to say the USA is doing so much better because they are not as liberal as Italy. The President is doing a horrible job; clearly all he thinks about is the Dow and his reelection prospects. His party is now hawking a lugubrious line that senior cits should get back in the work force (yeah, that's going to be a breeze) and 'save the economy', thereby multiplying the chances of contagion and sure death.

It's really unfortunate to see how even civilians are politicizing this horrible epidemic.

FYI Northern Italy has some of the highest rated medical facilities (also in terms of accessibility), so what the mortality rate shows is how serious this is.

And as to the OP and his remedies for flying during an epidemic. The remedy is DON'T fly. An aeroplane is basically a big germ mixing tube. Wiping down the arm rests won't do anything for you, if there's a guy with a beginning cough in some other part of the plane. The AC will bring his cough back to you. It's the last place you want to be in these times. I have cut my socializing way back since Jan 15, while most people only started thinking about this in the second week of March...

March 27, 2020, 3:27 AM · A doctor was telling me, weather also plays a huge role in transmission. If you look at the case map, countries up north are getting hammered by this virus. Countries south of the equator where it’s hotter and more humid, are doing a bit better with less cases and deaths.
March 27, 2020, 3:28 AM · not true in Australia, or Malaysia
Edited: March 27, 2020, 3:32 AM · The big factor, Nate, is mobility. The poorer a country is the better it has fared until now, because fewer people travel by plane.
March 27, 2020, 3:38 AM · Yeah, things are happening so fast. I booked those tickets last year. My mom and I traveled overseas from the US in January when there wasn't much news about COVID-19 yet.

Right now, only essential traveling is advised (not enforced) - I consider returning home to the US as essential! So right now it is a wait-and-see.

I found more information about traveling from the CDC website if anyone needs it - about what to expect exiting and entering countries by airflight. Very helpful:

What really stinks about my situation is my flight stops at New York City. I was suppose to visit with some family there for a week before I go on to my own home state, but now I'm hearing that it has the most infected.

I'm thinking maybe I'll just change it so that I can get another flight to my home state right after the international flight lands so that I won't have to leave the airport.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 5:10 AM · Phoebe, travel (other than in a personally owned vehicle) sounds very risky right now, particularly for your elderly mother. There's really no practical way to avoid contact with surfaces which many other people have contacted. This applies not only to airplanes, but also to ground transportation, and even hotels.

Is it not possible for you to stay in place for a few weeks longer and then reassess the situation? (I'm not ruling out that the situation might get worse.)

Many airlines are allowing changes, even to "no change" tickets. I canceled a trip to Los Angeles, and while Delta would not refund the money, they will give credit toward another trip booked before the end of the year.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 6:07 AM · Herman wrote:
"It's really unfortunate to see how even civilians are politicizing this horrible epidemic."

Then why are you doing so?

If you want to help, one way would be to donate blood. The Red Cross is experiencing a shortage, not because it is needed in corona virus treatment, but because many of their normal "blood drive" campaigns have been canceled due to the pandemic.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 6:11 AM · I’m a little surprised at how much travel is still allowed. In Australia the majority of our cases can still be connected to recent arrivals or contact with them.
There is now a compulsory 2 week home isolation period for anyone arriving by any route from overseas . I have heard that for some transit lounges en route to here that that quarantine also applies .
How that is enforced is still a bit of a debacle . Most notably the cruise liner that was allowed to dock in Sydney and everybody was just let off the ship to their own devices, not being informed that some were taken by ambulance straight to hospital and have since died.
Edit to add that it has just been announced that all arrivals will be compulsorily quarantined in Government organised accommodation at their port of landing, before being allowed to travel their final destination.
Things change so fast.
March 27, 2020, 6:29 AM · "Then why are you doing so?"

Because you started one-upping Italy, saying that "liberal" country (I'd say that's disputable) had more victims. I find that in extremily poor taste.

Today's NY Times (yes, another "liberal" medium if one has a sufficiently far right POV) front page says the US is currently leading the world in the number of corona cases.

So, like I said, it was only a matter of time, and not a opportunity to make a political point (while, obviously, disavowing any political points).

March 27, 2020, 6:55 AM · Okay, who inserted the HTML that blew out the margins.

Phoebe, I was glad you found good information about airline travel. I was kind of wondering how you hoped to glean anything useful from a violin blog.

Someone I know recently flew from LA to DC. There were three people on the plane.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 7:06 AM · "I think they've taken a reasonable course for now, given the available resources."

Hey David, Who's in charge of making sure we have the resources in the first place? [I asked you this three times now. Still hearing crickets. You'd rather take pot shots at Jeewon and Lyndon.]

Hey David, do you think we're all going to be back in the swing of things by Easter? If not, do you think it's responsible to be saying that to the American people? Do you agree that we're going to have a vaccine "soon" as President Trump told a campaign rally in Charlotte on March 2?

Is The Atlantic such a liberal rag that none of what they're reporting in the following article is worthy even of reading, let alone believing? Looks pretty much like fact-based reporting to me.

The problem with "two sides to every issue" is that sometimes one side is just wrong.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 7:47 AM · Herman, I was giving a counterexample to the claim that politics was responsible for the corona virus problem in the US. In other words, I was trying to take the conversation AWAY from political blaming. But apparently that didn't work. People are far too heavily invested in playing the political blame game! LOL

Anyway, the US actually has approximately 1/6 the number of cases per capita, compared to Italy. However, the US numbers will probably increase rapidly as more testing is done, especially if many in the US continue to flaunt the safety recommendations and executive orders.

March 27, 2020, 7:40 AM · If anyone really believes the current POTUS’s response
is in any way up to the measure of a George Bush, Obama etc.
is living in a parallel universe.
I did not like one of those guys mentioned but so wish they were in the seat now.
Edited: March 27, 2020, 8:13 AM · Sorry Paul, it must've been me, since I've inserted the most links.

It's funny we are being accused of politicizing the pandemic when it is in fact the Republican Party and Trump who started it, and refuse to stop even at the behest of the G20, not just politicizing, but racializing what is clearly a global tragedy in the making. From the only platform that matters. Sad.

P.S. did I fix the margins?

March 27, 2020, 8:23 AM · David, I might just do that - not travel if it's still bad at that time. I have no problem staying where I am right now.

But as I have written before, things are happening so fast. It might get worse later on at the end of April, but it might also get better. So I'll just have to wait and see (and hope!).

I think this situation IS being politicized. Know why? Because it's an election year. The key thing is never vote with your emotions. Don't allow anyone to whip you up into an angry frenzy. You won't be able to make wise decisions that way. Don't take what anyone says at face value - everyone has an agenda. Don't get bullied or intimidated by arguments. Do your own research and not just look at one side. Consider all sides. And you'll make a more informed choice when you vote.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 8:56 AM · Exactly. But to use a pandemic? Sad.
"Blame game"? Ha!

Shall we start calling the 1918 pathogen the Kansas influenza virus, or the America influenza virus? By Trump's logic we should.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 8:52 AM · When faced with a medical emergency, listen to medical experts and act responsibly, don't listen to rich, bribery influenced, politicians who are trying to buy their way into the next election, at the cost of the safety and in this case, literally lives of potentially million of people. and read this from disease experts when you have the time

March 27, 2020, 9:05 AM · Rosemary, I'm wondering about quarantines put in place too. If there's a quarantine imposed, would they put people up in hotels for two weeks?

Paul, well someone started a thread (this one!) about preventative measures. That had nothing to do with the violin, and yet, here it is! :)

Also about not a lot of people flying, that's what I've been told too. One of my relatives works for American Airlines and she says there's not a lot of customers flying lately. She's actually worried that she might get temporarily laid off. And if not many people are flying, then maybe less risk of getting infected? *Shrug* I'll have to see when the time comes.

March 27, 2020, 9:36 AM · Phoebe, my understanding is that they are using hotel rooms .
Some small regional airlines here are close to bankruptcy, and pilots from Tiger ( a low cost subsidiary of Virgin) have been stood down.
I think Virgin staff have been stood down too.
Some states have closed their borders meaning that if you want to enter that state you also have to be quarantined. That deters a lot of air travellers.
March 27, 2020, 9:55 AM · Deleted an earlier post, trying to self edit my politics.
But I would like to comment related to an earlier post.
My daughter is ethnically Chinese in a not very diverse
area. Before school let out she was dealing with an escalating
of racial comments.
March 27, 2020, 10:12 AM · As I read these posts, I can't help but be struck by the similarities in the nature of the discussion to
posting over at a piano technician forum:

1. Personal, unproven beliefs about disease cures and treatments, or personal beliefs about how bad or mild the disease really is.
2. Political bashing.
3. Personal attacks.

Yes, we're all at home with little to do but vent. But it's unfortunate to see how the situation has brought out so many of our worst instincts.

March 27, 2020, 10:57 AM · Well Scott, I'm glad you want to take the high road.

As for me, I started down this line of critique because children are being attacked. When it comes to standing up for civil rights, you bet I will argue for it, loudly, using the evidence I have at my disposal. Can anyone here seriously defend Trump's record when it comes to minority and women's rights?

Edited: March 27, 2020, 11:06 AM · Phoebe, your best bet, provided that you can, is to stay put! It may take a month or two to get back. But provided the way things are changing so quickly, you will be putting you and your Mom at a lot of risk. It will not take long for the airlines to realize that they need to make drastic changes to mitigate the damage. Flights with 3 people on board cost them dearly as well as flights halfway around the world. Once you put yourself in their hands, who knows what may happen and where you will end up, and when. So play it safe!
March 27, 2020, 12:15 PM · Rosemary, that's what I feared. Would I have to pay for the 2 weeks hotel stay? If they pay for it, it would probably be at some cheap motel! Yikes!

Timothy, I still have a wait and see attitude, but yeah, it's starting to look like I should put my traveling plans on hold. I hadn't even considered that they might consolidate flights and change routes around because of less passengers as you had pointed out.

March 27, 2020, 12:29 PM · Jeewon, I was curious too so I did a search and this is what came up:

Study Reveals U.S. Minority Groups Have Made Historic Employment Gains Under Trump Administration

I think if you want to spin something a certain way, you can post any given website article that agrees with your opinion and not mention any that don't. But if you want to be fair, you'd show the other side's point of view as well.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 12:53 PM · I debated about chiming in here at all, but feel qualified to address item #1 on Scott Cole's list. Proposals of unconventional approaches to avoid or cure disease are a perennial medical problem, especially when people are anxious or desparate. The medical establishment's approaches to innovation may seem clunky, but they are done that way for sound reasons. The OP mentions surface cleaning with alcohol - sound science there if it's 70% or so, but the use of Listerine, which has some antibacterial, but not antiviral properties, for prevention of viral disease lacks scientific or evidence based foundation. To claim so is unhelpful. The listerine website specifically answers the question:

"Q: Do (Listerine products)...kill the germs that cause COVID-19?

No. LISTERINE® mouthwash has not been tested against any strains of coronavirus.

Only some LISTERINE® mouthwash formulations contain alcohol, and if present is only around 20% alcohol. LISTERINE® mouthwash is not intended to be used, nor would it be beneficial as a hand sanitizer or surface disinfectant.

LISTERINE® Antiseptic is clinically proven to kill 99.9 % of germs that cause bad breath, plaque and gingivitis."

There have been tragic reports out of Iran that people are drinking Methanol out of fear for COVID-19 infection(conventional alcoholic drinks are ethanol), and are even giving it to children, in the mistaken popular believe that it is protective. It isn't, and taking Methanol internally quite reliably causes almost immediate bilateral blindness.

To his second point - COVID-19 is a novel virus, and what it is capable of doing is emerging knowledge. I have daily first hand knowledge of both the mild and the lethal effects of this new disease in our community. It must be taken seriously and rationally, neither dismissed nor irrationally feared. Please listen to the experts.

I own that we are very very far off the topic of improving my poor violin technique, but I felt compelled to add the above. Both the medical and the government echelons are trying as hard as possible to save lives and keep people safe - both should be trusted to do their jobs.

Edited: March 27, 2020, 1:52 PM · @ Phoebe, I just followed the link you provided.
IMHO, you need better sources for better information.

March 27, 2020, 2:21 PM · Thanks for that link Phoebe. I will bookmark that paper for future reference. It's good to hear there are positive outcomes for minorities, especially women, under the current administration. But did you actually read the article from the Washington Post they link to? It's a complex interplay of many things that has led to greater employment.

"A typical white family has a net worth of over $170,000, while a typical African American or Latino family has a net worth under $21,000, Fed data show."

It's a hopeful trend, but hardly economic equality. I guess we'll see how those stats play out in the coming recession/depression. I don't pretend to know anything about economics. I've read a bit. But here's another stat that must be included along with employment rates:

The Western Journal uses the data from the Post's article to prove that trickle down economics is working, i.e. slashing taxes on business and the wealthy stimulates the economy in the short term and benefits everyone in the long term. Notice the emphasis on action for the wealthy. Trumps policies don't care about what happens at the bottom, except to make sure it doesn't interfere with the top. So his claims that increased employment among minorities proves he is not racist doesn't follow. He can be as racist and misogynistic as he wants, as long as that short term boost increases the overall economy. If you like, I can link material explaining why trickle down theories really only benefit the wealthy, but I think our current situation shows a major downfall: there is no investment in systems such as health, fighting infectious disease, global cooperation, social security etc. Again, I'm no expert, but that is how I understand it.

Of course we are cherry picking. This is a forum. Not journalism. Not an academic paper. I'm googling things that I remember hearing about and posting what I come up with. But I do read carefully what I post before I post it. Instead of stating the obvious, people should post their own cherries, like you have done, so we get a more balanced representation from both sides. But the reason why I find the Washington Post more credible than, say, the Western Journal, is that such reputable papers seem to more often try to show a balanced view. I find it commendable they published an article that was so readily weaponized by the right wing. The Western, however, simplified that article down to bare bones, and used it as evidence for one of their pet ideologies. I would've been more impressed if they took the time to analyse the Post's article, adding information of their own, instead of using it as a piece of partisan propaganda. They did not. And I have yet to find a right wing source which is non partisan. Are there any right wing papers out there critiquing the missteps the current administration have taken during this outbreak? Or can it be there have been no missteps, as Trump would have it? If you'd like, I can cherry pick all the racist, misogynistic, spurious, disgusting things this current president has said and done.

Finally, will you answer the question David will not? Do you believe calling the Covid-19 virus by it's city or country of origin does anything to help the pandemic? Do you believe it incites hatred and violence? Why did Trump and the Republicans deliberately switch from using the term recommended by the WHO ( to the current term.

Is Lisa Ling just being emotional, as I have been accused of being?
"The terror of Trump’s finger-pointing is not only that it will surely exacerbate the misdirected anger and violence against Asians and Asian-Americans; it’s that his jingoism undermines the collective effort that’s essential to slowing the virus’s spread."
To me, it seems like he doesn't want to slow the spread.

Looks like Trump may be backing off of the term:

March 27, 2020, 2:28 PM · The Western Journal is basically a hack joint for far right writers.
March 27, 2020, 2:49 PM · Herman, it looks packed to the brim with "conservative intellectuals", LOL.
March 27, 2020, 8:40 PM · Energy needs to be re-directed into understanding that BOTH political parties are too dysfunctional and toxic to ever provide us with proper direction. We need younger, newer, political leaders that know how to work to join us. Thinking these same old hacks are going to ever provide us that is madness. It is an endless circle that is festering into irrepetible damage. Trying to understand them and make sense of them is ridiculous beyond comprehension.

Sorry for the rant, but wake up people!

March 27, 2020, 9:04 PM · Here are 3 opinion pieces from a national paper here in Canada if anyone cares. The Globe and Mail is centre/slightly right (for Canada) paper editorially, representing the liberal business community.




In 3) Lawrence Martin writes about David L. Katz, president of True Health Initiative, who seems to be the main impetus behind Trumps current plan. Linked in the article is his piece from the New York Times (sign up required),

I believe Trump will do what he says. I think this is his hail mary.

March 27, 2020, 9:26 PM · Since all of this started, I've been talking with my sisters almost every day either on the telephone or text or FaceTime. I've spoken with them more in the last few days than I have in the past two years. It's been good to see both of them. One of them is solidly in a different political camp than I am, but we laugh and celebrate our children and grandchildren, My other sister - a middle child - has spent her life trying to make peace with everyone. She has some problems with letting go and enjoying life, but she's a good person. I like talking with both of them.

I've been getting my beard trimmed once a week for the past seven years at a local salon. Knowing they would have to close because of social distancing, I gave them $100 for future beard trims. I also gave the kid at the coffee shop $30. Paying ahead, at a time like this, is a good thing to do.

My neighbors had a wine party last week. They all sat in lawn chairs several yards away from each other. We all smiled.

Like I said earlier in this endless thread, I play with my grandchildren on FaceTime. It's fun.

We're really getting into cooking since we can't go anywhere, and we're getting pretty good at it. Also, I've lost 5 pounds. Frankly, I"m looking pretty good, campers.

My wife and I cuddle a lot. Ain't nothing wrong with that. (Then again, we've always cuddled. I just thought I'd throw that in.)

I can go on, but I don't feel like it. The point is this - you guys can go back and forth about politics, name calling, wherever you want to go with this cockfight. Once I post this I"m not going to be reading this thread, so say what you like. I'll speak with my vote in November.

For now, I'm going to go practice some music, count my blessings, and be glad I'm alive.

March 27, 2020, 10:33 PM · Charles Zack, thanks for your input! I'm glad you posted and I don't think it is an imposition at all! I'm glad that you pointed out that our home remedies such as mouthwash and menthanol won't work on viruses just because they work on certain bacteria.

Jeff, Jeewon, Herman, Christian - Violinist members appear to be predominantly to the left so of course all links you provide are more liberal. I'm an Independent and don't like either side enough to be affiliated with either of them, but I do like reading websites from both sides. I don't like either side because each side paints each other in the worst way possible. So I just listen and read both. Then I just go and vote when the time comes.

I know most of the people here don't like Trump for whatever reason, but that isn't a good reason to vote for the Democratic candidate. I would rather that you guys talk about what plans and policies that the Democratic candidate will work on for the US. What are their plans for employment and the economy? That kind of thing.

March 27, 2020, 10:37 PM · Timothy, this is why I'm an Independent. I really can't get behind either party fully. I don't vote third party though - that's just wasting my vote.

Michael, love your post about living as normal life as possible! Too much angry stuff going on in this thread so reading your post was refreshing!

March 28, 2020, 1:54 AM · Huh, who knew? Learning so much...

Edited: March 28, 2020, 4:49 AM · Phoebe, I'm not 'left' in any way possible.

All I do is think people should not be sacrificed to the cult of infallible leadership that Trump has been building.

And the other thing is, if you get your news from right wing Trump-friendly news sources, you're going to get a false view of what's going on.

David saying that the USA doing so much better than Italy, because Italy is "more liberal," is an example of this. A) not sure if Italy is so "liberal" (remember Berlusconi?), and B) America is doing worse than Italy, by now.

March 28, 2020, 6:09 AM · Herman wrote:
"David saying that the USA doing so much better than Italy, because Italy is "more liberal," is an example of this."

Holy cow, I think some people here are having mental health issues.

March 28, 2020, 7:53 AM · "Italy, a much more 'liberal' nation than the US (including 'free' health care), has the highest death rate so far."

David Burgess, March 26, 2020, 2:46 PM

I don't think Herman's interpretation was much of a stretch.

Edited: March 28, 2020, 9:23 AM · Oh good grief, Paul! I can see how it could be spun that way, if one wants to take one sentence out of context, and then further distort it to meet their agenda. Perhaps I should have included a paragraph of disclaimers for the logic-impaired? LOL

Here is what I wrote:

"Italy, a much more "liberal" nation than the US (including "free" health care), has the highest death rate so far. So I don't think that latching on to either liberal or conservative views offers a solution."

Then, when Herman tried to distort this on a prior occasion, I wrote this:

"Herman, I was giving a counterexample to the claim that politics was responsible for the corona virus problem in the US. In other words, I was trying to take the conversation AWAY from political blaming. But apparently that didn't work. People are far too heavily invested in playing the political blame game! LOL"

Is everything clear now, or are one or two people here going to continue to insist on twisting what I have actually said?

Edited: March 28, 2020, 11:11 AM · Okay, so in order to even the score, you said exactly what Herman said you did? Nice going. I guess it's okay if that was your purpose. The problem is that your counter-claim is a baseless cheap shot. That's always the weakness of "plenty of blame to go around" and "good guys on both sides" and "what about?" kinds of arguments.

Meanwhile the garbage keeps rolling in...

Edited: March 28, 2020, 12:07 PM · A baseless cheap shot at what?

Political extremists are difficult to debate, since they tend to be highly resistant to both listening and learning.

What are you doing to help solve the problem? Or do you just like to whine and moan, to continue in a comfortable state of disgruntedness?

Today, my wife is sewing masks, since a local hospital has made that request. I'll be joining her tomorrow.

While the masks may or may not be adequate for the coronavirus, the idea is to use them for less threatening situations, leaving better availability for the “certified” masks to be used around the coronavirus patients.

Again, what are you doing to contribute? Or are some people more comfortable just sitting back and whining?

Edited: March 28, 2020, 12:28 PM · ...Paul has been educating future scientists and researchers. That isn't enough of a contribution?
March 28, 2020, 1:11 PM · Some people are going well beyond their regular paid gigs.
Edited: March 28, 2020, 1:18 PM · Sure. I could do more. Lots of us could. My "paid gig" is pretty brutal right now because of the change to online teaching, but others have it far worse.

Whether I'm doing all I can, or whether David is, however, is a deflection. The question is whether the leadership in Washington is and whether they have been since before the start of the pandemic.

March 28, 2020, 1:26 PM · Nope. The title of the thread is,
"Two preventative measure from a former frequent traveler"
So it is you and a few others who are trying to deflect, or convert this into a politically biased discussion.
March 28, 2020, 3:56 PM · Phoebe, I'm an independent too! And if the republican party hadn't done everything in its power over the past 40 years to punish and jail the poor and minorities, to funnel taxpayer dollars to the wealthy, to start devastating wars based on racism and lies with no actual plans on how to conduct or end them, to make healthcare harder to get, and I could go on and on, they might be deserving of my vote. I'm not a fan of some democratic machine politics, and frankly, the democratic party as a whole is still in thrall to a lot of morally repugnant neo-liberal influences, I can usually find some agreement with my views among strands of the party - There is no such equivalent for me among republicans.

Just gave $50 bucks to Bernie - May you live in interesting times!

David, I think this discussion has been "converted" for quite some time. I'm happy talking politics in here. Are you?

March 28, 2020, 5:37 PM · David, you asked me what I would do to solve the problem that's better than what our current leaders are doing. I'm answering you for the next pandemic. I'd set up a single-payer national health service which has been shown much more effective in managing the crisis elsewhere. Even Italy is doing far better than they would if they had a system like ours. I'd restructure our economy so that we don't have half our population living two paychecks from bankruptcy and homelessness, starting with a $15 national minimum wage (which probably should be closer to $20 considering how long we've been talking about it). I'd support and invest in science rather than bashing and belittling it at every turn. I'd support education, especially pre-K, primary, and secondary education, so that we don't have teachers working second-shift jobs unloading trucks at Wal-Mart to make ends meet. I'd reverse years of "government is the problem" mentality that was the pandering brainchild of President Reagan. I'd call out abuses of social justice such as the patently racist gerrymandering and voter-suppression that happens everywhere Republicans are in charge. And I'd get serious about climate change.

But of course we've been pounding away at that stuff for years. Many years ago, after leaving office, Bob Dole was asked why he and his colleagues defeated HillaryCare, and his answer was, "Because we could."

Edited: March 28, 2020, 8:01 PM · I can't help but wonder why I'm the only one coming up with multiple sources of information, like I did from the start by linking the Texas Public Policy site, and the John Ioannidis article I mentioned in Dimitri's report from Italy. I also mentioned David L. Katz, above, who is behind Trump's current plan, to return things to normal by Easter. Where are David's sources. Any more from Phoebe? I've offered several reasons why I think the current Feds are doing a poor job, all of which other people, experts and politicians, have said elsewhere. And David has countered by offering evidence of what his Governor has been doing.

But Friday Trump told Pence not to call Governors he feels are not appreciative enough.

"Don't call the woman in Michigan," Trump said at a press conference..."

"I want them to be appreciative," he said. "I don't want them to say things that aren't true."

Whitmer, he said, “has no idea what’s going on, and all she does is say it’s the federal government’s fault."

During an interview with Fox New's Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump claimed the Michigan governor – whose name he forgot – is "not stepping up. I don't know if she knows what's going on. But all she does is sit there and blame the federal government."

"Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me," Whitmer shot back on Twitter. "I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits."
She added: "You said you stand with Michigan — prove it."

Is this behavior worthy of a commander in chief? I don't think it matters to Trump supporters. Somehow Trump has succeeded in convincing his followers that all detractors are enemies, "unamerican", liars and fakes, radical socialists, and now it appears, expendable.

Today, after wasting crucial time while things became worse and worse in NY, Trump is considering the quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Isolate the enemy. Return things to normal, hoping it won't get too bad in red states, and gamble on the virus burning off in summer. It's a last stand. He has nothing to lose really.

"Nothing seems to matter to Mr. Trump – not only in the sense that the things that matter to other people, like love and loss, do not matter to him. Nothingness itself matters: Destruction and annihilation are what he craves. “When bad times come, then I’ll get whatever I want,” he told Barbara Walters in an 1980s interview. His initial reaction to 9/11 was that the collapse of the World Trade Center made his own buildings look taller. His initial reaction to the 2008 economic collapse was joy at his potential to profit. Everything to Mr. Trump is transactional, and you – all of you – are the transaction.

In February, 2014, when asked about the direction of the United States, Mr. Trump rooted for its demise:

“You know what solves it?” Mr. Trump told Fox News. “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have a [laughs], you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.”

Everything Mr. Trump has done since taking office has served to fulfill this goal, from appointing Steve Bannon, who also called for the collapse of the government, as an adviser; to gutting departments that protect national security and public health; to his disdain for slain soldiers and their widows; to his horrific handling of natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria.

For months, Mr. Trump has done little to stop the coronavirus from spreading throughout the U.S., creating a death toll that grows rapidly every day. As citizens self-isolate, he refuses to supply federal funds to states for the much-needed medical equipment, such as masks or ventilators. When a reporter offered him the chance to ease the fears of Americans, Mr. Trump instead lashed out at the reporter for even asking. Pundits have expressed confusion about why he will not invoke the Defense Protection Act, but they should have expected it.

This is who Mr. Trump is, who he always was. In a time when everything is changing, you can rely on Mr. Trump’s apathy to suffering.

What makes Mr. Trump particularly dangerous is that he is not acting alone. He is backed by the Republican Party, which translates his natural apathy to suffering into malicious policies. Mr. Trump is surrounded by brutal plutocrats such as Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, who, like Mr. Trump, are protégés of the infamous corporate raider and former White House adviser Carl Icahn, who set the standard of destroying companies for profit.

Mr. Trump is also flanked by a number of religious extremists, such as William Barr, Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who use biblical imagery to cloak their brutal goals. The overall effect is a group that will sacrifice human lives to lift the stock market. Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas stated that grandparents should die for the U.S. economy. In that mentality, the U.S. exists to be raided and razed, its citizens disposable and inconvenient.

Mr. Trump, a notorious germophobe with a lifelong fear of hand-shaking, is remarkably sanguine about the coronavirus, given that he is in the demographic more likely to die if infected. He is sanguine in the way he was about being impeached, or about being labeled Individual One in a federal indictment.

Maybe it is because the world finally exists as it has in his fantasies: Everything is collapsing, yet he remains untouchable. No GOP member has denounced Mr. Trump, just as they refused to impeach him; because Mr. Trump is still in office, public officials are struggling to contain the virus."

I sincerely hope Michigan gets the equipment and support it needs. My niece and nephew live near Detroit. Their mother is a nurse.

Who are the extremists?

Fox Business parts ways with Trish Regan, host who dismissed coronavirus as 'impeachment scam'

"They want Trump to intervene. The same guy that they've been calling a racist and a fascist for four years, and now they want the racist and the fascist to step in and help them out. You'd think that if a racist and fascist was the guy they needed, they'd prefer to go it alone."

Cuomo's response to threat of quarantine:

March 28, 2020, 8:28 PM · Do you have access to a sewing machine? ;-)
March 28, 2020, 9:38 PM · Taking a break from the hijack, this may be the only way for seniors to boost their immune systems (or rather, restore):

It may have something to do with lean muscle mass:

Sometime during your 30's you will start to lose muscle mass, a process called sarcopenia:  

"Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss."

Here's a graphic illustration of the difference regular exercise makes to muscle mass:  

Resistance training may be a great low impact way of developing muscle mass quickly: 
Chris's book (no affiliation) has simple exercises you can do at home to rebuild your muscles.

Here's to your continued health! 

March 29, 2020, 12:10 AM · Here's another possibility:

March 29, 2020, 2:33 AM · Wow, folks, this made for some interesting reading this morning!

Here's the latest from over here. We're at the peak; the number of people being admitted to the hospitals is "falling drastically". People are still dying, but that is because they were admitted weeks ago. Remember the first confirmed case dates to Feb. 21.

What I think is when the COVID-19 emergency dust settles everywhere, the numbers will begin to show who acted knowledgably and responsibly, and who failed to do so.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 2:44 AM · I'm sorry to say Dimitri that this time I think you have it very wrong and the numbers alone will not tell us who got it right, certainly not who are the "guilty" ones. Every country entered this tunnel with a different set of circumstances - social, medical and political - which largely determined how their governments responded. Nevertheless, after the pandemic is over I foresee a thousand lawsuits claiming that a certain death was preventable and due to someone's inappropriate action or inaction.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 3:05 AM · Respectfully, Steve, I disagree. Number can and will explain everything.

Northern Italy was badly hit because a) it has the highest air pollution numbers in Europe and b) Italy has the third highest average age of any nation (excluding two micro-states).

Numbers include percentage of a population that has access to health care, number of emergency rooms per capita, number of functioning ventilators with respect to the demand, number of available facemasks, and so on, ad infinitum. Numbers can express everything.

I'm not blaming President Trump for government healthcare cuts enacted years or even decades ago (also expressable in numbers). However, IMHO, any leader anywhere in the world who is underestimating this virus is making a lethal mistake.

March 29, 2020, 3:11 AM · @ George Wells. Do I understand correctly that you work at Bell Labs? My parents were friends with Dr. John Pierce.
March 29, 2020, 3:46 AM · Best to you, Dimitri.
The US may end up with just as serious an outbreak... just a different date on the calendar.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 3:54 AM · Thank you David, much appreciated. And best to you and yours too. And to all of you on

You are correct, it's a time phase, with its bell curve. Check out the bar graphs on the page below. It's updated daily and you don't need to be a subscriber to view it:

March 29, 2020, 4:17 AM · Hi Dimitri, I hope you're safe and well.

Nothern Italy just had the bad luck of being pretty much the first EU region hit hard by the virus. So it was relatively unprepared.

Let's hope indeed casualties will level off now.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 6:59 AM · @ Dimitri - the numbers are indeed suggestive evidence but open to many interpretations. As an ex-scientist I ask myself "what do they prove" and the answer with such a poorly controlled experiment has to be "nothing". Let's not jump to any conclusions and encourage the lawyers!
March 29, 2020, 7:22 AM · Seems without question that a system that ties health care to employment is not sensible for a situation like this. Most know, but our system is an accident of history. The government had installed wage controls post WW2, employers started offering health insurance as a way to get around this.
Without doubt, there will be people layed off without insurance, and along with others previously without insurance, who will avoid care because of cost. And die.
I have never understood people’s resistance universal health insurance. The current system favors
large corporations. Think of how many people could start small businesses, tell bad bosses to take a hike. Choose to have one partner stay at home or homeschool. Wal-Mart et al. get to game the system by buying in scale, then paying so little or keeping individual hours low so to shove employees on to government programs. Really crazy and we end up spending more than other nations. And public health? How much more secure and possible lives as musicians and luthiers and everything else not under the thumb of the oligarchs would be in a more rational system.
Seems clear the Italians are suffering from being a much older population, and likely their culturally social nature.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 7:34 AM · As far as I know, almost every hospital in the U.S. is required by law to provide necessary emergency medical treatment, regardless of ability to pay.

March 29, 2020, 7:33 AM · yeah it takes a real genius to defend the American health system, the bill for coronavirus hospitalisation is estimated $35,000
Edited: March 29, 2020, 7:52 AM · Steve, perhaps you can help critique this guy's numbers:

“Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance” by Tomas Pueyo

It's a question of whether a hospital, the whole system, is capable of staying atop of surging intensive care patients, not whether they're required by law to treat them, that has experts worried. Look at that dotted red line.

And the accompanying collateral damage:

Edited: March 29, 2020, 8:17 AM · Yes, one of the biggest challenges in hospital capacity. Even if social distancing should fail to reduce the overall number of people eventually infected, it helps spread that number over a longer period of time, making it less likely that a sudden surge of patients will overwhelm hospital capacity.
March 29, 2020, 8:17 AM · Yes, that’s our system. All will be treated, if they overcome their legitimate fear
of being broken financially. So they drag themselves to an emergency room half dead and cost twice as much. Sensible. Logical.
And fear in general keeps the rest with no choice but to stay employed no matter the pay, treatment, or interest. Under the foot of those who the system suits. Who bought and paid for that system.
You don’t have to be a lefty to see that.
Universal healthcare means more independent workers and small businesses. The last thing corporate America wants.
March 29, 2020, 8:22 AM · I just saw a photo in the NYT of President Trump in front of the Naval medical ship Comfort. Mr. Trump was right: It's a beautiful ship. I didn't know they were white. The picture shows him strolling out on the dock next to an enormous American flag. The first thought that came into my head was "Mission Accomplished."
Edited: March 29, 2020, 8:34 AM · And you can bet the wealthy will buy whatever service or equipment they need. Is it any wonder Trump "is remarkably sanguine about the coronavirus, given that he is in the demographic more likely to die if infected"?

"When I spoke with Wendell Potter, a former communications director at the insurance giant Cigna, on Thursday, he had a succinct explanation: The health-care system in the United States is built for the elite."

March 29, 2020, 8:31 AM · I doubt it Jeewon! To critique anyone's data you need to understand the specific background, how it was acquired, how analysed and how interpreted. But it looks like a good read.
March 29, 2020, 8:34 AM · It might be nice if US lobbying and campaign finance laws were overhauled. But it's difficult to see that happening, since politician are arguably financial beneficiaries of the current system.

I must admit though that I do contribute to a group which engages in lobbing for us old people. LOL

Edited: March 29, 2020, 8:41 AM · Well I hope you can comment on it if you happen to read it, Steve, see if there are any glaring inconsistencies. For us lay people all we have is our openness or bias, capacity for being able to 'listen and learn', but in the end we just have to choose whom to believe, if we can get past our prejudice.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 9:01 AM · I can already say I don't think he has the necessary authority to need to believe him! And that the article is 10 days out of date which is about a year of normal time
March 29, 2020, 9:24 AM · I have insurance through my wife’s job. Sounds like David possibly has his gubmint
Medicare. Guess we’re all set.

March 29, 2020, 9:29 AM · In Singapore, people who violate the social distancing measures can be fined up to 7000 dollars, or be arrested and face up to six months in jail, or both.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 10:49 AM · Yeah, I saw Pueyo's article floating around FBook about a week ago. People were encouraging friends (among musicians) to write their members of parliament to increase enforcement, which experts say is difficult to do. To be honest I haven't read it very carefully because of Pueyo's lack of creds, but also because it kinda hurts my brain. (Was trying to trick you into reading it for me ;)

I wonder if such a thing would influence more people if the experts made easy to understand graphics of their plan. But I guess no expert will commit to such 'propaganda' because of lack of data. Which brings us back to the question of why they didn't do more testing from the start... For instance I understand in parts of Europe and Asia, they have a home blood test which tests for antibodies, rather than virus fragments, which yields results in 15 min. I think they're trying to produce such a thing in Canada right now. I remember early on a prominent epidemiologist said we should be testing like that and providing id's for people who were immune, so that they could go back into the community.

Found it:

Edited: March 29, 2020, 11:52 AM · As Matthew was saying:

"On Wednesday, Trump signed into law a bill that would make Covid-19 testing – but not treatment – free. It’s hence inadequate, given the predicted looming surge in hospitalizations from Covid-19 pneumonia. After all, 30 million Americans are uninsured – a number that will surely grow as the economy tanks and millions or tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs.
You may have also heard in recent years about an epidemic of hospital closures in poorly served rural areas, or the 2019 closure of a major academic safety-net hospital in Philadelphia. These hospitals closed not because they are unneeded, but because they are unprofitable. For the American hospital landscape is shaped by market forces, which largely determine where hospitals grow and where they wane.

At the same time, while our hospital bed supply is relatively low, our ICU bed supply per capita is among the highest in the world. Yet those beds aren’t necessarily where they need to be: a 2010 study in the Journal of American Medical Association, for instance, found large regional disparities in the distribution of ICU beds; the researchers concluded that in the face of a major epidemic, some areas might have empty beds, while others would have too few. Again, this distribution, far too often, is driven by market logic – not health needs.

Finally, healthcare in America is uncoordinated – and ungoverned. Since the epidemic’s onset, hospital and city and state governments have waged “bidding wars” over crucial supplies and ventilators, the New York Times noted. It’s every hospital for itself: some are resorting to pleas to the community for donations of masks; presumably, others are well-stocked – but who knows? “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves,” Trump suggested to state governors on Monday, quoted by the New York Times. This is not a healthcare system – it is atomized chaos. For again, in the American way of paying for healthcare, our hospitals (or increasingly, our multi-hospital systems) are silos, some rich and some poor, each fending for themselves, locked in market competition."

~Adam Gaffney is an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Chaos is just the way Trump likes it, which he foments among his base.

March 29, 2020, 11:25 AM · I thought of a way we could all help prevent the spread of corona virus. Just divide your violin practicing into 10 different time intervals. Everyone washes their hands before they practice, and that would mean one hell of a lot more hand washing.

Just heard on the radio this morning that a local government official representing just a small fraction of Los Angeles cut his own deal with a South Korean company for critical supplies. Thus states and localities are now competing with one another. Gee, I wonder what will happen to the prices.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 1:56 PM · Jeewon, for a while there, I thought you were backing off from your partisan zealotry and fingerpointing. I do realize that when some people get stressed or frightened, their first tendency is to cast about for someone to direct their anger toward. But this does little good right now.

I think my wife has completed four sterilizable reusable masks now for the hospital. One of the more time consuming elements has turned out to be rustling up the materials. We may need to start cutting up our clothes pretty soon! (I hope she doesn't take my Superman underwear.)

What's happenin' in Canada? Isn't that where you live? Aren't there already 5900 known cases there? Isn't that approaching half the number (per capita) of the US?
None listed as having recovered, and 62 deaths so far?

March 29, 2020, 2:07 PM · From the New York Times,

"Faced with the coronavirus, Trump chose not to have the White House lead the planning until nearly two months after it began."

March 29, 2020, 3:03 PM · Jeewon, re “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance” by Tomas Pueyo: I just read it and I don't think there is much to critique. I had read his previous analysis ("Why You Must Act Now") and the paper from Imperial College that he refers to. In one aspect, they may be too optimistic. They assume a 10-day intensive-care stay, which is also the number used by the policymakers here in the Netherlands. But today, the news came that the average IC stay has turned out to be 23 days rather than ten and that our IC capacity will likely be overwhelmed by a factor two.

The "hammer" in the US will not be pretty, but it will pass. However, be prepared for the 'dance' part to last at least until mid-2021, with ongoing restrictions on gatherings (including concerts), mandatory quarantines, everybody wearing face masks, and so on. If the governments succeed in tuning the restrictions such that the hospitals can manage it at their present capacity, it will take 10+ years before there is sufficient herd immunity for the epidemic to end without a vaccine.

I'm not an epidemiologist. I understand the math, but don't have full understanding of the amount of uncertainty in the simulation parameters; for example: how much does the reproduction number decrease as a result of a (partial) lockdown? The outcome is extremely sensitive to these parameters: a tiny difference here can make the difference between 20k or 2M deaths in the US.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 4:04 PM · Thanks so much Han! Nice to have your assessment. Wow, 10+ years. That's sobering. And that probably doesn't take into consideration mutation. Some say they have no reason to believe it will not become endemic, like the flu. They just don't know at this point. I found this site:

But I guess it's anybody's guess how compliant we are all being, and when and where.

Here's a neat animation illustrating exponential spread and the effects of various measures to contain it.

Edited: March 29, 2020, 8:32 PM · Here are 3 sources which illustrate why I think it's important to talk about politics in these times:

1) "In our post-truth era, how we view reality is more important than ever"

2) "Why science matters so much in the era of fake news and fallacies"

3) "Real Truth About Fake News" [pdf]

I don't really know the motivation behind David's arguments, but I've concluded it is not to get to the truth of how Trump and his White House are handling the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes he's arguing to reveal my prejudices and lack of experience and knowledge. I absolutely agree I am no expert in politics or science. Which is why I've turned to various sources, interviews, articles, opinion pieces, to try to get to the bottom. I don't know any virologists or disease epidemiologists personally to ask these questions. I assume none of us does here. And so we rely on the press, journalists, and even newer sources: podcasts, social media, etc. to relay that information to us. My critique started with civil rights, and evolved into a concern which has global implications.

As for his insinuation I am writing out of some weird patriotic, "my country's better than yours" (that's the 2nd time I've been accused! so weird)--I don't know if my Canadian sensibilities are blind to such tendencies (USA #1 or whatever)--Uh. No. I think Canada too was slow out of the gate, and had many missteps. Although I want to trust Trudeau, I can't, not after SNC-Lavalin, but I couldn't go with the other guy, who might've squeezed through if I went with the third guy. I do believe Parliament has a unified plan, and we'll get through this.

But it's clear to me that David's not arguing at all, at least not rationally, only resorting to strawman arguments and ad hominem attacks. He wants you to know that I'm just being emotional, I'm a fool, prejudiced, inexperienced, lacking sufficient information, lacking reading, listening and comprehension skills, partisan, a zealot, afraid and angry. But he has not once addressed any of my arguments directly. As a luthier, I have the utmost respect for David, but I don't think he belongs in this particular rodeo (a poor metaphor for what I think is a rather important topic,) because he hates talking about it, while at the same time trying to muzzle and shame others.

Of course there is bias, and errors are made by journalists, but to lump them all in the same basket, to suggest that all press is suspicious, fake news, is the height of cynicism and the tacit acceptance of the failure of democracy itself. If you can't tell the difference in quality between the Washington Post (the paper that broke Watergate) and an actual partisan paper, I think you need to read those 3 articles above.

"Keep in mind that the way most journalists achieve success these days is not by publishing truth, but by attracting readersd," David said.

I disagree. It might be harder to get to the bottom of a story these days, because there is so much more noise than even 5 or 6 years ago, but dig deep enough and I think you can get to a consensus of what happened, the truth. It seems David demands to be recognized as an expert in his field, but does not give journalists the same courtesy.

Regarding the original question, "how did you come to the conclusion that the US administration is not taking meaningful action?" I will say from multiple sources, to which I'll add this article from THE conservative Canadian paper, founded by Conrad Black, who "was convicted of fraud and obstructing justice in 2007 and jailed for more than three years in the US," and pardoned by Trump on May 15, 2019, and who also wrote, Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other (; no conflict there, right?)

"Inside Trump's risky push to reopen the country amid the coronavirus crisis"

Pretty fact based, not scathing, but not exactly an endorsement of Trump's latest plan. Re.: "Jaewon, the US administration is largely following the advice of the doctors, virologists, and disease epidemiologists." I don't think that's obvious at all. I guess we'll see. I've asked for other sources a few times. But seeing as nothing's forthcoming, I will assume David simply takes Trump at his word, which is quite a feat in and of itself.

When I say Trump is not worthy of the office, it's an opinion. Forums are where we air our opinions. Am I experienced and knowledgeable enough to make such a statement? No. Not on National Television. But this is a forum. Where we offer our opinions. And I believe, on many relevant issues, mine are based on solid sources. I'm not a political zealot, maybe becoming one, because I've never written about politics before. Zero experience. But I have learned a lot in the process and have no regrets. And, out of courtesy, I will do as David asks and end my rant here.

P.S. In the 3rd link above, the article lists two resources which look very useful:

P.P.S. At least I offered two things on the immune system. That's gotta count for something.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 12:49 AM · Not taking the bait. Would take too long. Got things to do. Busy busy busy. :-)
March 29, 2020, 9:38 PM · You mean, you took the bait and spat it back out;) That's cool.
Edited: March 29, 2020, 10:32 PM · Here is a hypothetical situation: An armada of Russian long-range bombers crosses into northern Canada. The Pentagon warns Trump that there is serious radar activity along the DEW line. Instead of taking immediate action, Trump watches as Winnipeg and Ottawa are vaporized. Now the planes are at our own border and unspeakable horror is being visited on Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. Here on, the following conversation ensues:

Jeewon: Trump waited too long to act against the invasion.
David: Why the partisan whining? What would you do now?

Edited: March 29, 2020, 11:14 PM · I'd probably help make ammunition, or whatever else was needed, and save the whining for after the immediate crisis was resolved. Whining tends to be bad for the teamsmanship and morale that can be helpful in a crisis. ;-)

When my wife dropped off the masks today that she had made, she estimated that the dropoff container contained 100-200 more that other local people had made for the hospital. Now that's the spirit!

Edited: March 30, 2020, 6:55 AM · That's what I'm saying. You'd have us all making bullets in our basements while atomic bombs are raining from the sky. That's a sweet gesture, but it's not going to move the needle on the carnage and destruction.

Are you saying it doesn't matter that Trump totally blew it because you and your wife made a dozen masks? Your generosity doesn't absolve his criminal neglect.

In 2012, a State Department facility in Libya was attacked by an Islamic militant group. Four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and four injured. A total of eight casualties. Hillary Clinton was excoriated by the conservative media outlets for failing to have secured, warned, and supplied the installation. A lengthy and expensive congressional investigation ensued.

Now how many casualties will we have because Trump failed to secure, warn, and supply the United States for the coronavirus pandemic? This is his Katrina and his Benghazi. Bengazi possibly multiplied by a million or so. One needs logarithms to estimate the damage of Trump's presidency.

March 30, 2020, 7:01 AM · plus I'm pretty sure cloth masks provide little or no protection for the coronavirus, the holes in the cloth are just too big.
March 30, 2020, 7:36 AM · Paul wrote:
"That's what I'm saying. You'd have us all making bullets in our basements while atomic bombs are raining from the sky."

Nope. What I said was, "I'd help make ammunition or WHATEVER ELSE WAS NEEDED." Try to keep up.

Lyndon, as I explained in a previous post:
"Today, my wife is sewing masks, since a local hospital has made that request. I'll be joining her tomorrow.
While the masks may or may not be adequate for the coronavirus, the idea is to use them for less threatening situations, leaving better availability for the “certified” masks to be used around the coronavirus patients."

March 30, 2020, 7:40 AM · Well, at least the Democrats will have better grounds for impeachment after he gets re-elected. President Pence, anyone?
Edited: March 30, 2020, 8:51 AM · OK I take it back. Because, why is David now ALL CAPS yelling at us? Why is he getting so upset, so hurt people might misunderstand him, especially when misdirection is his primary method of arguing? Why is he taking things so personally?

For me, this is personal. For Xuanyuan and his friend and their families, this is personal.

For Dr. Tony Du, this is personal.

""This is the darkest day I have seen in my 20 years in the United States," [Du] posted on the Nextdoor app he sometimes uses to volunteer help to neighbours in need.
"I think that is very, very wrong," he said of Trump's choice of words. "Here I am preparing to fight for our public, and you stab me in the back.""

For Weijia Jiang, this is personal.

"Last week, CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang said a White House staffer called the virus the "Kung Flu" when talking with the reporter."

For Liang Zhao, this is personal.

"...Liang Zhao, said his son was out walking the dog when a woman walking in the opposite direction asked him to stop and switch to the other side of the road.

Ironically, Zhao, Du and several other Chinese Americans have raised $80,000 in a GoFund me campaign to help provide personal protective equipment to front-line health care providers in the region."

For Aryani Ong, this is personal.

"Aryani Ong is a former civil rights attorney who has specialized in Asian American rights for the last 30 years. She's an Indonesian Chinese American based in Maryland and says that what's happening in her home state with Chinese-Americans is rippling out across the U.S.

She points to big numbers of racist incidents reported on NextShark, an Asian American news site, and on the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council site.

"These kinds of numbers are not something I have seen before," said Ong."

Sure Trump is great at contradicting himself and dialing back everything he says. I'm glad he changed his mind about Easter, and using racist, politicized language. Too late. Honestly, is his erratic, lying, contradictory, confusing, petty, condescending, narcissistic, racist, bullying behavior defensible? I mean, at all? Will David finally tell us why Trump is an acceptable president? Is it because of his elitist policies, which directly led to this state of unpreparedness*? Feeling all that trickle down $? Frankly, I don't understand David's intransigence.


(edited for emphasis. Not yelling, I swear.)

I'm sure Luciana Borio takes this personally as well. Should all Americans?

Edited: March 30, 2020, 9:15 AM · Jeewon wrote: "OK I take it back. Because, why is David now ALL CAPS yelling at us?"

Not yelling. Simply using caps to highlight, since I don't know how to bold, underline of italicize on this forum. Thank you for asking. ;-)

Uh oh, now I guess we're in for more long-winded partisan manifestos.

Instead, have you considered what you might be able to actually do to help in the short term? Is there a food bank near you which could use volunteers? Can you deliver food to the front porches of people who are quarantined?
The Red Cross still has a severe shortage of blood.

By the way, the cornavirus is not Democrat or Republican. Nor am I.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 9:38 AM · David, here are instructions for bold, underline, and italics. However, replace the parentheses with corresponding "less than" and "greater than" signs. Had I used those actual symbols, you would have seen the result rather than how to do it!

Put (i) on the left of what you want to italicize and (/i) on the right.
Bold: (b) and (/b)
Underline: (u) and (/u)
Always check your work to make sure you don't italicize the rest of the thread.

Note that these are simple HTML codes. They work in many online forums. Some forums strip all our codes and just leave the plain text. Others (like Facebook) have more sophisticated text-editing interfaces that provide menu-driven formatting options.

Yes, I've thought about what I might do in the short term. But I'm 55 years old, and guys my age are dying. I've had pneumonia twice in the last three years, so I consider myself susceptible to that condition. One bout was pretty bad and included a serious reaction to one or more of the antibiotics that I was given. Therefore I'd rather not go out and interface with actual people if I can avoid it, because I have a family at home and I don't want to endanger them either. There are individuals in my private sphere who need help, and I am helping them to the extent practicable for me. Right now, in our area, the single greatest need is for people to stay away from each other because we're just starting to see a handful of positive COVID-19 cases at the larger hospitals, e.g., in Roanoke. So far there is only one known case in Blacksburg and one in Radford.

Food banks? FeedingAmerica's website says that "The best way to help our communities is to follow public health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness." It also says, "Some food banks are pausing volunteer opportunities or have new requirements for who can volunteer." Our local food bank does NOT want dozens of new volunteers right now, because that only increases the exposure networks of their regular crews. They mainly want money. I'm also working until midnight every day to meet the demands of my teaching. I could explain that to you but I'm afraid it would be very boring -- partly it is because of my own inefficiency in preparing the online content, but hopefully I will get better at that soon.

And by the way, if you only vote for Republicans, then you're a Republican in practice. Lots of people are "independent in name only" but you don't hear about that because it doesn't make a catchy acronym. And please don't tell me the last time you voted for a Democratic county clerk or water commissioner.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 9:54 AM · For Yuanyuan Zhu, it's personal.

"Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety"

For Constantine it's personal.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 9:45 AM · The current Federal Government under Trump is Republican in name only. True Republicans stand for democracy. Trump is a demagogue, and that is nothing to be taken lightly, just like COVID-19.
March 30, 2020, 9:49 AM · Your link is behind a paywall.
Edited: March 30, 2020, 9:59 AM ·

Trump Is the Founders’ Worst Nightmare
Once in the Oval Office, a demagogue can easily stay there.

By Bob Bauer
Mr. Bauer served as a White House counsel under President Barack Obama.

Dec. 2, 2019

Donald Trump’s Republican congressional allies are throwing up different defenses against impeachment and hoping that something may sell. They say that he didn’t seek a corrupt political bargain with Ukraine, but that if he did, he failed, and the mere attempt is not impeachable. Or that it is not clear that he did it, because the evidence against him is unreliable “hearsay.”

It’s all been very confusing. But the larger story — the crucial constitutional story — is not the incoherence of the president’s defense. It is more that he and his party are exposing limits of impeachment as a response to the presidency of a demagogue.

The founders feared the demagogue, who figures prominently in the Federalist Papers as the politician who, possessing “perverted ambition,” pursues relentless self-aggrandizement “by the confusions of their country.” The last of the papers, Federalist No. 85, linked demagogy to its threat to the constitutional order — to the “despotism” that may be expected from the “victorious demagogue.” This “despotism” is achieved through systematic lying to the public, vilification of the opposition and, as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues, a claimed right to disregard “the Constitution and the laws” in pursuing what the demagogue judges to be the “interests of the people.”

Should the demagogue succeed in winning the presidency, impeachment in theory provides the fail-safe protection. And yet the demagogue’s political tool kit, it turns out, may be his most effective defense. It is a constitutional paradox: The very behaviors that necessitate impeachment supply the means for the demagogue to escape it.

As the self-proclaimed embodiment of the American popular will, the demagogue portrays impeachment deliberations as necessarily a threat to democracy, a facade for powerful interests arrayed against the people that only he represents. Critics and congressional opponents are traitors. Norms and standing institutional interests are fraudulent.

President Trump has made full use of the demagogic playbook. He has refused all cooperation with the House. He lies repeatedly about the facts, holds public rallies to spread these falsehoods and attacks the credibility, motives and even patriotism of witnesses. His mode of “argument” is purely assaultive. This is the crux of the Trump defense, and not an argument built on facts in support of a constitutional theory of the case.

Of course, all the presidents who have faced impeachment mounted a political defense, to go with their legal and constitutional case. And it is not unusual that they — and, even more vociferously, their allies — will attack the process as a means of undoing an election.

The difference in Mr. Trump’s case is not merely one of degree. Richard Nixon despised his opposition, convinced of their bad faith and implacable hatred for him. But it is hard to imagine Mr. Trump choosing (and actually meaning) these words to conclude, as Nixon did, a letter to the chair of Judiciary Committee: “[If] the committee desires further information from me … I stand ready to answer, under oath, pertinent written interrogatories, and to be interviewed under oath by you and the ranking minority member at the White House.”

Mr. Trump has instead described Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as a “corrupt” politician who shares with other “human scum” the objective of running the “most unfair hearings in American history.”

These remarks are not merely one more instance of Mr. Trump’s failure to curb his impulses. This is his constitutional defense strategy. Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, informing the House of the president’s refusal to cooperate, declared that the impeachment process is unconstitutional and invalid — a “naked political strategy” — and advised that the president would not participate. It matters that the president’s lawyer, in a formal communication with the House, used rhetoric that might have been expected from the hardest-core political supporters. Once again, contrasts with past impeachments are illuminating. Bill Clinton’s White House counsel Charles Ruff testified before the House Judiciary Committee, pledging to “assist you in performing your constitutional duties.”

The demagogue may be boundlessly confident in his own skills and force of political personality, but he cannot succeed on those alone. He can thrive only in political conditions conducive to the effective practice of these dark arts, such as widespread distrust of institutions, a polarized polity and a fractured media environment in which it is possible to construct alternative pictures of social realities. Weak political parties now fall quickly into line with a demagogue who can bring intense pressure to bear on party officials and officeholders through his hold on “the base.” As we have seen with Mr. Trump, the demagogue can bully his party into being an instrument of his will, silencing or driving out dissenters. Republican officeholders know that Mr. Trump can take to Twitter or to Fox News or to the podium at rallies — or all of the above — to excoriate them for a weak will or disloyalty.

This is how the Republican Party has become Mr. Trump’s party. It is also why that party will not conceive of its role in impeachment as entailing a constitutional responsibility independent of the president’s political and personal interests. It has come to see those interests as indistinguishable from its own. In this way the constitutional defense of the case against Mr. Trump and the defense of his own interests become one and the same. As another fabled demagogue, Huey Long of Louisiana, famously announced: “I’m the Constitution around here now.”

The implications for the constitutional impeachment process are dire. Until Mr. Trump, modern impeachment has ended with some generally positive assessment of its legacy. Nixon’s resignation appeared to indicate that serious charges could bring the parties together in defense of the rule of law. “The system worked” was a popular refrain, even if this was a somewhat idealized and oversimplified version of events. The Clinton impeachment suggested that the standards for an impeachable offense required a distinction between public misconduct and private morality, and Congress reclaimed its responsibility for impeachment from an independent counsel statute that was allowed to lapse.

The Trump impeachment is headed toward a very different summation. A demagogue can claim that Congress has forfeited the right to recognition of its impeachment power, then proceed to unleash a barrage of falsehoods and personal attacks to confuse the public, cow legislators and intimidate witnesses. So long as the demagogue’s party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, this strategy seems a sure bet.

When this is all over, we will not hear warm bipartisan praise for how “the system worked.” The lesson will be that, in the politics of the time, a demagogue who gets into the Oval Office is hard to get out.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 10:15 AM ·


1 Separation of power
2 Rule of law
3 Freedom of the press
4 Accountability of the government
5 Independence of the judiciary
6 Equality before the law
7 Equal representation in government

Edit: I see, the US is a Constitutional Republic not a Liberal Democracy. So much to learn. Any political scientists out there?

March 30, 2020, 10:04 AM · Jeewon, the punch-in-the-face incident happened in Australia, did it not? What does that have to do with US politics?
March 30, 2020, 10:12 AM · Because the same kinds of things happen here too.

You did graduate high school, right?

Edited: March 30, 2020, 10:24 AM · US politics affects the world. I understand. Trump is not a world leader. MAGA forever. US leaders used to be world leaders. And, as Paul says, it's an illustration of a global problem.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

~Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

I think the current pandemic is a painful reminder that, "[w]e are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."

Edited: March 30, 2020, 10:21 AM · David, are you that ignorant that a punch in the face in Australia is not worth as much as a punch in the face in America??
March 30, 2020, 10:15 AM · I think we know what's wrong with America.
March 30, 2020, 10:26 AM · "You did graduate high school, right?"

Third grade. But I had to go through third grade three times to do it. LOL

Edited: March 30, 2020, 10:40 AM · David remains unmoved. I give him 6 incidences of a violation of civil rights perpetrated on American citizens, and all he can do is focus on the 1 case from Australia. And all he can do is call it a "punch-in-the-face incident." You know how inconvenient it is to put in all those dashes, straining to reach with your pinky N/E? I know "violation of civil and human rights" is a finger-full, but how about "crime"?

(I'm assuming they're citizens, and even if they're permanent residents they "have the right to be protected by all laws of the U.S., your state of residence, and local jurisdictions." But I guess that's all moot if you don't uphold the rule of law.)

March 30, 2020, 10:32 AM · Lyndon, you don't need to defend the toughness your birthland. I have little doubt that some Australians can punch just fine. When I was there, I was warned about going to certain parts of certain cities.
March 30, 2020, 10:39 AM · "David remains unmoved. I give him 6 incidences of a violation of civil rights perpetrated on American citizens, and all he can do is focus on the 1 case from Australia."

Jeewon, the first one is as far as I'd gotten. I'm at work. What are you doing?

Edited: March 30, 2020, 10:47 AM ·
Edited: March 30, 2020, 11:30 AM · Jeewon wrote:
"(I'm assuming they're citizens, and even if they're permanent residents they "have the right to be protected by all laws of the U.S., your state of residence, and local jurisdictions."

I agree. The perpetrator(s) in Australia were identified and arrested, right?

I have never resorted to violence (nor do I approve of it), except in self defense.

Appologies. I am not budgeting the time to read every one of your multi-page posts, or all your links, right away.

Have you ever heard of the concept of "economy with words"? It is based on the notion (scientific study supported), that when anything gets long enough and boring enough, people just tune out.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 11:35 AM · David thinks that one arrest helps to mitigate racism and violence caused by Trump's words.

This is Trump's M.O.:

"Did Donald Trump Encourage Violence at His Rallies?"

"'No Blame?' ABC News finds 36 cases invoking 'Trump' in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults."

"Words matter. Trump bears a responsibility for El Paso"

"Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents Texas' 16th Congressional District, said at a separate event later on that while investigators must complete an investigation, the suspect's "manifesto" suggested the shooting was racially motivated. She said the community was "heartened" by the Justice Department's decision to investigate the shooting as domestic terrorism.

"We are heartened that this has been recognized for what it is: a racially-motivated terrorist attack on our safe and tranquil community," Escobar said during a Sunday evening news conference. "The shooter came into our community because we are a Hispanic community and because we have immigrants here. He came here to harm us.""

"Nineteen minutes before the first 911 call alerted the authorities to a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Tex., a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto appeared online.
"It spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” It detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race. It warned that white people were being replaced by foreigners.""

"El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language"

"At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”
Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”"

"You know. Part of the problem, and part of the reason it takes so long [to remove a protestor], is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right?"

~Donald Trump, 11 March 2016, courtesy: Jeffrey Guterman|YouTube

Edited: March 30, 2020, 11:48 AM · Jeewon wrote:
"David thinks that one arrest helps to mitigate racism and violence caused by Trump's words."

Do you not see an issue when you or anyone else tries to "inform me" on what I think?

Isn't that what megalomaniacs try to do?

March 30, 2020, 11:54 AM · David still refuses to engage in rational arguing and now resorts to name calling.

It begs the question, why did he challenge me in the first place.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 12:13 PM · Don't try to "blame-shift" it onto me. That's an intellectual whimp tactic.

If you haven't realized it already, I place less value on multiple pages of text (particularly on a forum), and more on an ability to "cut to the chase". Repeated repetition does not connote validation.

March 30, 2020, 12:26 PM · David masters irony.

March 30, 2020, 12:31 PM · Are you drunk or somethin'?
March 30, 2020, 12:46 PM · D'oooooh! David gets in another ad hominem jab, but quickly ducks and refuses to cut to the chase (come to the point.) Does David believe calling the Covid-19 virus by it's city or country of origin helps the pandemic? Does he believe it incites hatred and violence? Yes/no questions... 50/50... So simple....
March 30, 2020, 1:05 PM · "D'oooooh! David gets in another ad hominem jab, but quickly ducks and refuses to cut to the chase (come to the point.)"

Your agenda has been made abundantly clear. Mine is putting aside political, race, and gender prejudices, and working toward the common good. While I don't try to overwhelm a forum with my agenda, this is how I actually live my life.

March 30, 2020, 1:09 PM · BS David, your politics are far right, you've made that abundantly clear on this forum and others.
Edited: March 30, 2020, 1:30 PM · Well, I tried...

Qn: Has Donald Trump done enough?

I will leave you with these:

This morning my wife's aunt died in New Jersey from Covid-19. No outside contact whatsoever, except nursing staff. May she rest in peace.

March 30, 2020, 1:31 PM · BS, Lyndon.
Sure, anyone can twist anything I have ever said if they try hard enough, but I consider that to be their issue, not mine.

Fact: I did not vote for Trump.

Edited: March 30, 2020, 2:20 PM · Condolences to you on your loss, Jeewon. I understand, since I have lost many family members too, due to various causes. Even when they wanted to go, it was very hard for me.

March 30, 2020, 2:10 PM · Thank you, David. I hope you and yours stay safe.
Edited: March 30, 2020, 3:58 PM · sorry to hear, Jeewon, may She rest in Peace!

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