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March 25, 2020 06:48 AM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The future is called ‘perhaps’, which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you.”

–Tennessee Williams


39 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. I hope the death count is low. 
    I hope hospitals – permanent and temporary – are effective and safe.
    and so on

    I hope. 


    The curve in NYC is pretty … well, New York New York.
    doubling every 50 hours and accelerating.

    the curve in Colorado is flattish.

    flatten the curve – save lives (and resources) 

    1. I am not an expert, but to me the next phase of this crisis is obvious. New York City is bad and is going to get worse. Trump, being Trump, is doing little to nothing to help and is suggesting the worst is over, blue skies ahead, Happy Easter. Even if the curve is flattening for California, Washington, Colorado, etc., New York is becoming to the US what Lombardy is to Italy. Unlike Hunan, China, I do not believe we can quarantine off the entire State of New York or the entire City. People are leaving and they will continue to leave. People are not going to stay in a place where they reasonably believe that will get sick and not be able to receive treatment. Trump will continue to deflect responsibility, leave the states to duke it out amongst themselves, and this crisis (and the deaths) will continue. 

      1. shite
        That sounds like a plausible analysis

        I think individual health departments could impose restrictions on NY travelers. 
        But I don't know how.

        Florida wants to – not sure how that would work

        1. Right now they are requesting travelers from NY self-quarantine for 14 days. Good luck with that. In times of crisis, a significant percentage of people are going to do what they feel is best for them, and not "sacrifice" their own self-interest.

        2. And it was Florida that refused to close the beaches for spring break guaranting that the infection would be carried home.  What blundering hypocrites.

    2. WOTD2 from Calculated Risk: "A 40-Day Plan to Start Recovery"

      Based on the experiences of other countries, it appears the number of cases per day (and deaths per day) will peak about 2 to 3 weeks after well observed shelter-in-place orders are issued (some areas are reporting less than 2 weeks – that would be great).

      In some areas of the United States, shelter-in-place orders were issued a week or more ago. In some states and communities, orders have still not been issued.

      Based on the experience in China, it appears the recovery can start in about 40 days after a national shelter-in-place – if certain rules are in place.

      So here is a suggested 40-day plan to start recovery:

  2. Donald Trump continues to spout dangerous nonsense, but early this morning, the McConnell Friends and Family Bonanza Bill was rewritten so that it is slightly less of a executive bonus and stock dividend protection bill, and put more money into actually saving lives and preserving the economic security of hundreds of millions of Americans.

    The legislation, unprecedented in its size and scope, would send $1,200 checks to many Americans, create a $367 billion loan program for small businesses, and establish a $500 billion lending fund for industries, cities and states.

    The legislation ensures that these taxpayer-backed loans cannot go to firms owned by President Trump, other White House officials or members of Congress. This would suggest that Trump-owned properties, including hotels that have been impacted, cannot seek taxpayer assistance.

    Other provisions include $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds and $130 billion for hospitals.

    It would significantly boost unemployment insurance benefits, expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four month, on top of what state unemployment programs pay.

    As the bill was coming together in the final days, Democrats fought to make numerous changes. For example, the White House and Republicans agreed to allow an oversight board and create a Treasury Department special inspector general for pandemic recovery to scrutinize the lending decisions and detect abusive or fraudulent behavior.

    “Every loan document will be public and made available to Congress very quickly, so we can see where the money is going, what the terms are and if it’s fair to the American people,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

    1. The few MAGAs I haven't defriended yet are going crazy early this morning on my FB feed.  Are you SURE "that crazy b**** Nancy" didn't slip in funding for abortions in the last minute? Cuz, you know, "evil Democrats". <sigh> 

  3. Running the country, and everything else, “like a business” . . . 

    How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask

    Hospitals began to run out of masks for the same reason that supermarkets ran out of toilet paper — because their “just-in-time” supply chains, which call for holding as little inventory as possible to meet demand, are built to optimize efficiency, not resiliency.

    “You’re talking about a commodity item,” said Michael J. Alkire, president of Premier, a company that purchases medical supplies for hospitals and health systems. In the supply chain, he said, “by definition, there’s not going to be a lot of redundancy, because everyone wants the low cost.”

    In January, the brittle supply chain began to crack under pressure. To deal with its own outbreak, China began to restrict exports of protective equipment. Then other countries did as well — Taiwan, Germany, France and India took steps to stop exports of medical equipment. That left American hospitals to seek more and more masks from fewer and fewer producers.

    . . . when it’s just in time way too late.


    1. At least Ford has stepped up and has the means to quickly ramp up production of respirators.

      Ford announced today that it is partnering with 3M in order to manufacture powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These respirators are often called positive-pressure masks as they take contaminated air, pull it through a filter, then push it to the sealed mask using an air blower.

      The blower motor is sourced from the F-150's front seat assembly and is usually employed as part of the ventilated seat option. These motors are compact and run on 12 volts in the car, so they can be used with a battery pack in a situation where they need to be portable.

      Ford has already started delivering face shields, and we look forward to hearing more progress on the respirator front as they work with 3M to complete the design and ramp up production.

        1. Like Ford and GM, Tesla is still figuring out the design and prepping for manufacturing in the US.

          But Elon Musk did the right thing by ordering a batch directly from China:

          Update for March 24: Musk has delivered 1,255 ventilators, which he bought from China, to California officials, according to Newsweek

  4. WOTD from Rachel Bitecofer: “2020 Bitecofer Model Electoral College Predictions

    Bitecofer is the political science researcher who realized that partisanship dominates the electoral process, and successfully predicted Trump’s 2016 win over Hillary Clinton. For 2020 she is projecting Dem 289, Rep 181, and Toss-up 68.

    In the Toss-up column are Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa. Demographic shifts in the Florida electorate would include voting by felons, and the Republican efforts to kill off older people by promoting coronavirus parties.

    In the July 2019 release of this forecast, I said that little could occur that could alter the basic contours of this election cycle: Democrats are fired up in a way they were not in 2016 because of negative partisanship powered by backlash to Trump and thus would increase their turnout significantly and be less likely to defect to third-party candidates.

    1. Bitecofer's article is the best thing I've read in the past month. She is not a fan of Klobuchar (electorally speaking), because Rural, white non-college educated Trump voters are not a good target audience for Democrats. Instead, she believes the Democrats need to activate the progressive wing, but more specifically, College Educated Women, Millenials and Gen Z. Those are the groups that make up the Suburban Democratic base from 2018.

      …the myth of the disaffected 2018 Republican appears to be just that, a myth. Instead, the 2018 suburban transformation was largely powered by millennials and Gen Z voters, voters of color, and college-educated women, many of whom had been lazy about voting prior to the election of Donald Trump but now see their votes as America’s last line of defense. It was the surge to the polls by these voters, Democrats, but also independents, that my 2018 model anticipated and it’s these voters who power the 2020 version, too.

      Of these “surge” voters, the most vulnerable to turnout failure are young voters and voters of color and the intersection of these two demographics: young voters of color. And for these voters, ideological representation matters. The argument for two moderates on the Democratic ticket is that it avoids alienating disaffected Republicans who might be willing to support the ticket so long as it’s digestible. But again, the 2018 data doesn’t offer much empirical evidence of Republican support at the ballot box for Democrats beyond the average “crossover” rates typical for the polarized era and certainly, the same strategy to court Republicans came up empty in 2016. And the strategy is not cost free. It will, to some extent, cost Democrats support among some Bernie Sanders supporters. While nominating someone on the far left is certainly not ideal, it may not be ideal for the party to go forward with two moderates on the ticket either, because it leaves their progressive flank exposed to what will be a high-tech assault from the Trump campaign and from the RNC who recognize the importance of disaffection among the progressive base plays in their hopes to retain the presidency and control of the Senate.

      As the losing ideological faction from the primary, progressives are about to become the targets of a well-financed, sophisticated propaganda campaign hosted by Republicans attempt to fracture the “not-Trump coalition” and reduce the vote share needed for Trump to carry swing states to the pluralities he reached in the 2016 cycle. If 2020 plays out like 2012, 2008, 2004, or even 2000, with typically low protest-balloting rates, Trump’s path to 270 becomes not just difficult, but nearly impossible because of the president’s low approval ratings. Failing to shore up support among liberal voters, especially at a time of great fiscal calamity could prove to be the Democrats’ Achilles’ heel- as it was in the 2016 cycle.

  5. Back of the envelope calculations:

    If 10% of coronavirus cases are serious and 1% are fatal…

    The US has a population of 330 million. If 30% get sick, then we’ll have 10 million people in the hospital and 1 million deaths. Colorado with 6 million people would have 180,000 hospitalized and 18,000 deaths.

    What is the average hospital stay? A week? 

    Lowering the curve and slowing the virus so that infections are spread over six months (26 weeks), maybe we can lower the hospital count in Colorado to 7,000 beds.

    Does that mean that Colorado hospitals need 7,000 ventilators?

    1. It means:

      a) Battlefield triage

      b) The wealthy will find a way to buy a ventilator to increase their odds of survival.

      c) Trump (and hence all Republicans) will blame Obama.

      1. aj!

        Until now I didn't realize you are a PhD in mathematics.
        Nicely done.


        We should convert the convention center NOW.

        Likewise, any other publicly funded indoor space (s)
        – Auraria
        – UC Boulder  


        1. I hope you’re including the “publicly-funded“ skyboxes at Coors field, whatever the hell that football stadium’s called, and, of course, Kroenke’s Pepsi Center?

          Also the publicly-funded tax-exempted churches?  
          (I’d just love to see all those MAGA-hatted megachurch faith-healing science deniers having to broadcast their vacation island fundraising appeals over an auditorium of the incapacitated and ventilated.)

          1. I am confident the Churches  will have volunteered all they can long before I suggest anything.


            Where I want to be hospitalized is a west side room at the convention center Hilton
            Although Sky box at Coors would be ok, as long as the medical staff are better than the Rockies

    2. Imagine the costs of these hospitalizations.  No wonder they triage out the old and incurable.  There is no way that the retired have the earning ability to recover the cost of their hospitalization through new payroll taxes.

      1. GG, I hope that you were being sarcastic- but you seem serious. 

        There is no way that the retired have the earning ability to recover the cost of their hospitalization through new payroll taxes

        FYI, “the retired” already paid for their retirement and medical care needs by a lifetime of work. (average 3K a year into SS via payroll deduction x avg 50 years = $150K, more via state and local Medicare taxes)

        In the case of female retirees, that was often two jobs- the paid work at 70% of male earnings, ( during my work life – 79% now), and the unpaid “second shift” of household labor supporting the “real” male wage earners, and raising the next generation.

        So yeah, please refrain from this not-funny speculation about triage and letting the olds die, “bagging a granny”, etc. This granny takes offense. 

        Triage based on probable survivability is a grim aspect of the future covid19 worst case scenario. Hospitals won’t have enough beds or ventilators. Care will be rationed. There will be formal or informal “death panels”.  But these brutal determinations should be made case by case, not by demographics. 


        1. Thanks kwtree.  Killing off the old through neglect is a realistic possibility if this thing goes super nova.  Overwhemled staff making spontanious decisions regarding who will live and who will die.  Hope they won't have access to politican affiliations.  It would be very tempting to just start pulling the plug on forever Trumpers.

  6. You have to admire the discipline, coordination and dissemination of the new Republican talking points:

    ‘I’d Rather Die’: Glenn Beck Urges Older Americans To Work Despite Coronavirus

    “It’s not the economy that’s dying,” he said. “It’s the country.” 

    “I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,” he said in comments posted online by Media Matters. “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country.” 

  7. We Don’t Know

    by the Strumbellas

    Oh, we don’t know the roads that we’re heading down
    But we all know if we’re lost, then we’ll find a way
    We don’t know if we leave, will we make it home
    But we all know, if there’s hope, then we’ll be okay
    Oh, we don’t know the roads that we’re heading down
    But we all know know if we’re lost, then we’ll find a way
    We don’t know if we leave, will we make it home
    But we all know, if there’s hope, then we’ll be okay



    “in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.” Carl Sagan

  8. I’ll admit I didn’t have “gays and environmentalists causing worldwide pandemic” on my 2020 bingo card. 

    Trump Cabinet's Bible teacher says gays among those to blame for COVID-19

    In a blog post titled “Is God Judging America Today?” a pastor who leads a weekly bible study group for members of President Donald Trump's Cabinet appeared to blame the coronavirus pandemic on several groups, including those who have “a proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality.”

    America “is experiencing the consequential wrath of God,” the Rev. Ralph Drollinger wrote on his Capitol Ministries blog on March 21.


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