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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Discussion

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Well, I was referring to your post specifically talking about some of the counties in PA easing restrictions. I gathered from your post that you didn't agree with that, unless I misunderstood? 

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17 minutes ago, KCTD25 said:

Well, I was referring to your post specifically talking about some of the counties in PA easing restrictions. I gathered from your post that you didn't agree with that, unless I misunderstood? 

 

You're right that I oppose lifting lockdowns based on flawed metrics, which is what PA and some other states are doing for reasons that pass understanding.  Can we both at least agree that if you're going to come up with a plan to reopen counties that depends on testing numbers you should use testing numbers that don't count people who have already recovered along with people who have the virus? 

My point in linking to the map and the piece showing all of the lockdown measures that have been lifted in each state is to show that basically the entire country has decided to ease restrictions, so there's really no useful information communicated when you say they should be eased unless you're talking about specifics of what should and shouldn't be allowed.

But really, the more disturbing thing I'm seeing here is this idea that because a certain percentage of deaths are occurring where seniors live, we should just reopen anyway.  Do you have any family in elder care right now?  Do you know anyone who does?  You admit you have no plan for protecting them, and we now know that a country like Sweden that spends more on healthcare than all but two European countries has been unable to protect its seniors, even though that was the key part of their plan to go without mandatory lockdowns.  Why would we in the US, with our patchwork healthcare system, do any better than a Scandinavian social democracy?

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1 minute ago, tonycpsu said:

 

You're right that I oppose lifting lockdowns based on flawed metrics, which is what PA and some other states are doing for reasons that pass understanding.  Can we both at least agree that if you're going to come up with a plan to reopen counties that depends on testing numbers you should use testing numbers that don't count people who have already recovered?

My point in linking to the map and the piece showing all of the lockdown measures that have been lifted in each state is to show that basically the entire country has decided to ease restrictions, so there's really no useful information communicated when you say they should be eased unless you're talking about specifics of what should and shouldn't be allowed.

But really, the more disturbing thing I'm seeing here is this idea that because a certain percentage of deaths are occurring where seniors live, we should just reopen anyway.  Do you have any family in elder care right now?  Do you know anyone who does?  You admit you have no plan for protecting them, and we now know that a country like Sweden that spends more on healthcare than all but two European countries has been unable to protect its seniors, even though that was the key part of their plan to go without mandatory lockdowns.  Why would we in the US do any better than a Scandinavian social democracy?

Agreed on the bolded. 

To your question about family, I have a grandmother in an assisted living facility. Nobody is allowed in that place, for good reason. We leave items outside for her, and they have a very strict system on who goes in (staff only). However, this is obviously different than a nursing home as she doesn't really get day to day contact with staff/other people. Since these deaths have been happening at nursing homes even with the lockdowns in place, how are continuing the lockdowns going to help prevent this from happening? I'm not in government or work at these facilities so I don't have the solution, but maybe these places need to be treated like a military institution until there is a vaccine. Does that mean faculty need to make the sacrifice and live on premises? No one in or out and supplies left at the dock/door? Not sure. I'm just of the belief that continued lockdowns of the outside world seem to have little bearing on the numbers we are seeing in those places. I could be wrong. 

 

Just to be clear, I'm not saying there should be no restrictions. I'm just of the belief that all of these lockdowns should now be eased (which they are) since the entire premise was to "flatten the curve" and not overwhelm the healthcare system. That has been accomplished. There is going to be death. It sucks and hopefully they can somehow get a vaccine by the fall. What restrictions do you feel are necessary, and what do you not agree with specifically about PA reopening? 

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5 hours ago, KCTD25 said:

Since these deaths have been happening at nursing homes even with the lockdowns in place, how are continuing the lockdowns going to help prevent this from happening?

 

This is an incorrect statement of the premise.  From the local reporting on the PA shelters, including one in the Pittsburgh area that's responsible for a large number of the deaths, it's pretty clear that once COVID gets in, it's really bad news for anyone in the facility.  There are facilities who have done better and ones that have done worse, but space and staffing are often limited at these places, meaning it's difficult to segregate the sick from the not-yet-sick.  And remember that a lot of these outbreaks happened well before widespread availability of testing, or during a time when tests were available but so inaccurate as to be worse than nothing when people relied on them to provide a false sense of security.

So, the focus here is not really to stop deaths at nursing homes.  We want to do that, but absent better testing or a giant bazooka of cash aimed at Medicaid facilities that have been nickel-and-dimed to death, they're still going to represent a large proportion of the deaths.  What we're trying to do by continuing shelter-in-place orders, business closures, etc. is to reduce the transmission between otherwise healthy people that would lead to more infections coming into facilities that don't already have them, or to more deaths in the rest of the population that doesn't live in nursing homes.  You can't just focus exclusively on the high number dying in senior homes -- many others are as well, and many more would, as the social distancing study I linked to yesterday clearly shows.

  

5 hours ago, KCTD25 said:

What restrictions do you feel are necessary, and what do you not agree with specifically about PA reopening? 

 

Well, aside from the bogus testing numbers, I don't like the very loose rules.  For example: here in PA, a bunch of counties recently went from "red" to "yellow", but the rules are very vague.  For instance, "no large gatherings (more than 25 people)", but a tiny retail store can't actually accommodate 25 people while still maintaining social distancing.  And when you leave ambiguity, both business owners and customers are going to stretch the rules.  And there's no evidence of enforcement so far, either.

Contrast that with what they're doing in Rhode Island .  Detailed guidelines, based on concrete metrics, with a minimum amount of time between phases.  Businesses can only allow a certain number of people based on square footage, and the disease has to be on the decline, or the restrictions come back.  That's a responsible plan.

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8 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

Nursing homes are where the oldest and sickest people live.  Of course they would be highly-represented in fatality numbers for this disease.  How is that surprising at this point?  Even Sweden, who has a much more robust social safety net than us, and pursued your "isolate the vulnerable" strategy as an alternative to shelter-in-place orders, has had nearly half of their COVID-19 deaths coming in elder care homes.

The numbers are similar in other US states as well -- 66% in Rhode Island, 60% in Washington, 40% in Texas, 41% in Florida,  What does it mean to "protect these people", in your view?  Pennsylvania, along with every other state I'm aware of, has limited visitation, ramped up testing, and isolated patients presenting symptoms.  What else would you do that isn't already being done?

I happen to think that the state of elder care in this country was a travesty before COVID-19 was a thing, so you'll get no argument from me that we should have better facilities and resources for them.  But this notion that somehow nobody thought of protecting them is simply false.  We knew from the outset that the old and sick were the most at risk, so forgive me if I'm not convinced by the sudden interest from people who routinely defund social services in this country to allocating resources for seniors.

Someone should tell Cuomo...

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12 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

 

Hm...  Linking to a libertarian think tank is a bit on the nose for a "Nefarious Industrialist", no? :)

Hey, at least I'm aware of my biases.  Not everyone is, you know.

12 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

Ah well, let's see how long we have to read before we get to our first untruth...

 

Wait, what?  Social distancing as a strategy to respond to contagion is as old as leper colonies.  Using state power to compel people to do it may not be compatible with the American Institute for Economic Research's world view, but it certainly wasn't "dreamed up" by "computer scientists and theoretical physicists".  This was an epidemiological response, developed by experts in infectious disease.

That's true - actually there was another recent article on the same site about this.  The gist of it is that after the H5N1 situation, George W. Bush asked for some experts to submit some plans to him about what to do when the real thing came along.  Two federal government doctors came up with a proposal that brought back the idea of self-isolation, first employed during the Middle Ages.  So yes, it's an old strategy, but this particular plan was not developed by epidemiologists.  This is it, here:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/11/06-0255_article  One of the co-authors, Laura Glass, was the 14-year-old daughter of one of the scientists who authored the paper.  Her contribution was a computer simulation she did at school.  So you're right that it's an old strategy, but it was considered ridiculous by many, especially since we've grown so accustomed to relying on the pharmaceutical industry for this sort of thing.  So yeah, it sounds to me like the particular plan we're living under right now may have actually been "dreamed up" by "computer scientists and theoretical physicists". 

 

12 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

The rest is going to get a big "TL;DR" from me, as I've read more than enough "markets bad, individual choice good" in my day to know that when there's a bald-faced lie about the opposing view in the early going it's not going to end well  There is definitely a case to be made on the harmful economic effects of lockdowns, and that's a fine conversation to have here, but surely we can do it without bringing in people paid to come to the conclusion that anything that interferes with the smooth operation of capital markets is bad, no?

I guess that's fair.  It does sound like you were looking for a reason to dismiss it and were happy to find it right away.  Thanks for the reply though.

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32 minutes ago, Nefarious Industrialist said:

Hey, at least I'm aware of my biases.  Not everyone is, you know.

That's true - actually there was another recent article on the same site about this.  The gist of it is that after the H5N1 situation, George W. Bush asked for some experts to submit some plans to him about what to do when the real thing came along.  Two federal government doctors came up with a proposal that brought back the idea of self-isolation, first employed during the Middle Ages.  So yes, it's an old strategy, but this particular plan was not developed by epidemiologists.  This is it, here:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/11/06-0255_article  One of the co-authors, Laura Glass, was the 14-year-old daughter of one of the scientists who authored the paper.  

Heard the story of Laura Glass on a conservative radio talk show. If it's true she's responsible for the lockdown and social distancing decisions in response to a novel virus that is highly infectious then she's a hero in my book.  

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7 hours ago, MrBrett said:

Heard the story of Laura Glass on a conservative radio talk show. If it's true she's responsible for the lockdown and social distancing decisions in response to a novel virus that is highly infectious then she's a hero in my book.  

As I understand it, her contribution was mainly about how many people schoolkids come into contact with on a typical day -

"Laura, with some guidance from her dad, devised a computer simulation that showed how people – family members, co-workers, students in schools, people in social situations – interact. What she discovered was that school kids come in contact with about 140 people a day, more than any other group. Based on that finding, her program showed that in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, 5,000 would be infected during a pandemic if no measures were taken, but only 500 would be infected if the schools were closed."

I agree this sort of thing is important and helpful.  My problem is when people start treating these theoretical things as "earth is round" fact.  And start basing incredibly important decisions that affect the lives of millions of people on them.  And it looks to me like there are so many hypotheticals being thrown around from every direction, all looking very "science-y" and being treated as fact by anyone with an agenda to do so.  The entire situation has become so politicized - from every side - we all get to pick and choose what we call "fact".  Things being treated as true one day turn out to not be true the next.

 

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Sounds like a pretty banal statement from Fauci -- we should open when it's safe to open, depending on how the disease is where you live and what your individual health situation is.  But nice of him to provide a reality check for anyone who's just really psyched about staying inside their house for the rest of their life.

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4 hours ago, Nefarious Industrialist said:

As I understand it, her contribution was mainly about how many people schoolkids come into contact with on a typical day -

"Laura, with some guidance from her dad, devised a computer simulation that showed how people – family members, co-workers, students in schools, people in social situations – interact. What she discovered was that school kids come in contact with about 140 people a day, more than any other group. Based on that finding, her program showed that in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, 5,000 would be infected during a pandemic if no measures were taken, but only 500 would be infected if the schools were closed."

I agree this sort of thing is important and helpful.  My problem is when people start treating these theoretical things as "earth is round" fact.  And start basing incredibly important decisions that affect the lives of millions of people on them.  And it looks to me like there are so many hypotheticals being thrown around from every direction, all looking very "science-y" and being treated as fact by anyone with an agenda to do so.  The entire situation has become so politicized - from every side - we all get to pick and choose what we call "fact".  Things being treated as true one day turn out to not be true the next.

 

 

I'm not smart enough to know if our solutions to this pandemic were/are the best course of action. Personally, think too many variables are involved and since nobody has the benefit of crystal ball we can't know for sure.

Although second guessing gets tiresome to read and hear for me personally, can see how it might be helpful in making decisions if there is another pandemic like this one in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, MrBrett said:

 

I'm not smart enough to know if our solutions to this pandemic were/are the best course of action. Personally, think too many variables are involved and since nobody has the benefit of crystal ball we can't know for sure.

Although second guessing gets tiresome to read and hear for me personally, can see how it might be helpful in making decisions if there is another pandemic like this one in the future.

I guess that's my problem, too - nobody really knows, nobody really knew - but they behaved as if they did know for sure.  You still hear people shaming others for the sin of wanting to live their lives, based on what they believe are the facts that they're literally killing people by doing so.  When they absolutely do not know that.  And if you're going to literally prevent people from living their lives, the burden is on you to prove that they're definitely endangering others.  There was so much uncertainty at the beginning, and everyone was so freaked out, the panic was somewhat understandable.  There was some leeway because it seemed the danger of overwhelming the healthcare system was real.  As the months have passed, that danger has looked less real.  And the burden of proof is naturally shifting from "Prove you're not killing people" to "Prove I am killing people". 

I don't see this as a theoretical "learn for next time" thing - sure, for next time we know that any actions we're going to take, the sooner the better - there's plenty of evidence of that.  But the continued measures are definitely causing untold amounts of suffering, in some places with no end in sight.  And we're doing it to ourselves.  The severity of the lockdowns are looking more like a much bigger tragedy than the virus itself every day. 

Edited by Nefarious Industrialist
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1 hour ago, Nefarious Industrialist said:

I guess that's my problem, too - nobody really knows, nobody really knew - but they behaved as if they did know for sure.

 

What did people not know?  That social distancing is effective in slowing the transmission of communicable disease?  Sorry, but that's simply false.  Social distancing has been used to slow the transmission of disease since the Roman Empire!

Now, did we know at the outset of this particular outbreak how effective social distancing would be?  No, we did not.  But when scientists don't have an exact experiment, they infer from similar outbreaks, as shown here and here,  These are real world epidemiological studies of similar outbreaks, not toy computer models, making your silly attempt to label it as the work of computer scientists based on the fact that a single 2006 study used a 14 year-old's computer simulation nothing but a blatant attempt to rewrite history.

Look, anyone at this point who believes that social distancing can't slow the spread of flu-like illnesses deserves to be scorned as much as any flat-earther or chemtrail believer, particularly in light of the peer-reviewed results I linked to a couple of pages ago showing that lockdowns have been proven to be effective in this pandemic, in the United States, even when you control for the impact of voluntary social distancing.  Does that mean that the strict lockdowns have to stay in place until there's an effective vaccine?  No.  But what it does mean is that your statement "nobody really knew" is only true in the most narrow sense -- that there was no experiment proving it effective against this particular virus at the time.  Now there is.

If you want to argue about the comparative level of suffering of hundreds of thousands of additional deaths vs. the economic suffering of people losing their jobs and having to collect unemployment, we can have that conversation, but enough of this "nobody really knew" bunk.  Epidemiologists knew as much as one can know anything about a new disease, and their approach has been proven correct.  It remains to be seen how much we can reopen and still keep the pandemic at bay, and people do need to get back to work, but it's not even clear that easing lockdowns is going to bring the jobs back when so many are voluntarily choosing to social distance, as these results from Georgia show.  Your statement that the burden of proof lies on those who wish to continue to control the disease is baseless.  We can replace income and we can forgive debt.  We can't replace lives lost.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Nefarious Industrialist said:

I guess that's my problem, too - nobody really knows, nobody really knew - but they behaved as if they did know for sure.  You still hear people shaming others for the sin of wanting to live their lives, based on what they believe are the facts that they're literally killing people by doing so.  When they absolutely do not know that.  And if you're going to literally prevent people from living their lives, the burden is on you to prove that they're definitely endangering others.  There was so much uncertainty at the beginning, and everyone was so freaked out, the panic was somewhat understandable.  There was some leeway because it seemed the danger of overwhelming the healthcare system was real.  As the months have passed, that danger has looked less real.  And the burden of proof is naturally shifting from "Prove you're not killing people" to "Prove I am killing people". 

I don't see this as a theoretical "learn for next time" thing - sure, for next time we know that any actions we're going to take, the sooner the better - there's plenty of evidence of that.  But the continued measures are definitely causing untold amounts of suffering, in some places with no end in sight.  And we're doing it to ourselves.  The severity of the lockdowns are looking more like a much bigger tragedy than the virus itself every day. 

You seem to want to just place blame. So tell me specifically who you feel is responsible for our failures in our response to this pandemic from the beginning to now. 

 

Edited by MrBrett
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24 minutes ago, MrBrett said:

You seem to want to just place blame. So tell me specifically who you feel is responsible for our failures in our response to this pandemic from the beginning to now. 

 

On 5/22/2020 at 4:09 PM, Gohawks said:

Someone should tell Cuomo...

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/05/21/why-governor-andrew-cuomo-praised-coronavirus-response-column/5220164002/

Quote

Probably the biggest and deadliest mistake was New York’s requirement that recovering patients with COVID-19 be accepted by nursing homes. That’s right — people who were still contagious with a disease that is especially deadly to the old and sick were placed in facilities that were full of the old and sick. Nursing homes that protested were ordered to shut up and take the patients anyway.

More than 5,300 nursing home patients in New York have died from Covid-19, and as an Albany Times Union account notes, critics blame this policy. Cuomo has now tacitly admitted the error by reversing the policy, requiring patients to test negative before they are sent to nursing homes. 

But it took rather a long time to reverse what seems like an obviously deadly policy, one that the Wall Street Journal called a "fatal error." 

Quote

Meanwhile, there’s other bad news for Cuomo: A lengthy report from left-leaning public interest journalism outlet ProPublica compared his performance to that of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and also found Cuomo wanting by comparison. Political infighting between Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio paralyized their response at a crucial moment. 

The numbers were damning: “As of May 15, there were nearly 350,000 COVID-19 cases in New York and more than 27,500 deaths, nearly a third of the nation’s total. The corresponding numbers in California: just under 75,000 cases and slightly more than 3,000 deaths. In New York City, the country’s most populous and densest, there had been just under 20,000 deaths; in San Francisco, the country’s second densest and 13th most populous, there had been 35.”

 

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Cuomo has done a poor job, yes, but last I checked, he's not responsible for the 75% of all US COVID-19 deaths that happened outside of New York, and cases are on the decline in New York, while they're on the rise in many other states.

It's absurd to blame an individual governor for a nationwide catastrophe when so many other countries controlled the virus with a robust nationwide response.  Ultimately, asking 50 individual governors to do the job is a poor substitute for a robust federal response -- one need only look at the grotesque spectacle of states bidding against each other for ventilators and PPE to understand that.  This "patchwork response" puts even the governors who didn't screw things up as bad as Cuomo did in a very difficult position:

Quote

A patchwork was inevitable, especially when a pandemic unfolds over a nation as large as the U.S. But the White House has intensified it by devolving responsibility to the states. There is some sense to that. American public health works at a local level, delivered by more than 3,000 departments that serve specific cities, counties, tribes, and states. This decentralized system is a strength: An epidemiologist in rural Minnesota knows the needs and vulnerabilities of her community better than a federal official in Washington, D.C.

But in a pandemic, the actions of 50 uncoordinated states will be less than the sum of their parts. Only the federal government has pockets deep enough to fund the extraordinary public-health effort now needed. Only it can coordinate the production of medical supplies to avoid local supply-chain choke points, and then ensure that said supplies are distributed according to need, rather than influence. Instead, Trump has repeatedly told governors to procure their own tests and medical supplies. [...]

In some cases, the federal government has actively undermined the states. Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, tried to buy protective equipment, but was thrice outbid by the federal government; he ended up using the New England Patriots’ jet to fly 1.2 million masks over from China, many of which turned out to be faulty. When Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican governor, procured 500,000 tests from South Korea, he kept them guarded in an undisclosed location so they wouldn’t be seized by the feds. This is not federalism working as intended, where different tiers of government work together. Instead of devolving control to the states, the Trump administration has ceded the U.S. to the virus.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

Cuomo has done a poor job, yes, but last I checked, he's not responsible for the 75% of all US COVID-19 deaths that happened outside of New York, and cases are on the decline in New York, while they're on the rise in many other states.

it's 70%, don't try to church it up. NY state has 29,031 deaths to the rest of the country's 67,015

positive cases are declining in the majority of states by now, and rising in only a few

cqDiNeV.png

https://projects.propublica.org/reopening-america/

 

 

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13 minutes ago, lolcopter said:

it's 70%, don't try to church it up. NY state has 29,031 deaths to the rest of the country's 67,015

 

Via Google:

 

image.thumb.png.7ff2c9980e831b3dc1c866d44416b609.png

23,282 / 97,477 = 23.9%, meaning I actually understated it by saying 75% outside of New York.  Not that 5% either way would change my statement that a vast majority of fatalities are in areas that Andrew Cuomo can't do anything about.

Show your own work before you accuse someone of bad faith.

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1 minute ago, tonycpsu said:

 

Via Google:

23,282 / 97,477 = 23%, meaning I actually understated it by saying 75% outside of New York.

Show your own work before you accuse someone of bad faith.

the same Johns Hopkins board as that poor Florida 'architect' who got canned. probably just fluctuating numbers. that said, Cuomo certainly doesn't deserve any more direct blame as any other individual. this is just the nature of a system that is not designed to handle stuff like this at all.

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

9VP1w6B.png

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3 minutes ago, lolcopter said:

this is just the nature of a system that is not designed to handle stuff like this at all.

 

What system?  You're blaming Jefferson and Madison?  Many other countries initiated a robust federal response to contain the outbreak.  We have a strong federal government, with health agencies that have broad power in a pandemic situation.  How is our system responsible instead of the individuals in charge of that system who chose to defer to the states?

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53 minutes ago, MrBrett said:

You seem to want to just place blame. So tell me specifically who you feel is responsible for our failures in our response to this pandemic from the beginning to now. 

 

I don't put a whole lot of blame on anyone outside of China. Sure, it's easy to play Monday morning QB and say we should have done , this, that or whatever but even Fauci wasn't suggesting we start social distancing, wearing masks or lockdowns back in February. Hell, some people said some of the early preventative measures taken were racist/xenophobic. Once this thing was out of the bag, life was going was going to be tragically altered no matter what we did. The only thing that could have prevented this was nipping it in bud.

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Just now, tonycpsu said:

 

What system?  Many other countries initiated a robust federal response to contain the outbreak.  We have a strong central government, with health agencies that have broad power in a pandemic situation.  How is our system responsible instead of the individuals in charge of that system who chose to defer to the states?

good luck dragging this out through November

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3 minutes ago, lolcopter said:

good luck dragging this out through November

 

Once again, a baseless assertion of bad faith does not substitute for an argument.

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11 minutes ago, fletch44 said:

I don't put a whole lot of blame on anyone outside of China. Sure, it's easy to play Monday morning QB and say we should have done , this, that or whatever but even Fauci wasn't suggesting we start social distancing, wearing masks or lockdowns back in February. Hell, some people said some of the early preventative measures taken were racist/xenophobic. Once this thing was out of the bag, life was going was going to be tragically altered no matter what we did. The only thing that could have prevented this was nipping it in bud.

 

Agree 100%. I don't know how, in this interconnected globalized world could the spread of such a highly-communicable disease been averted, if not put out at its source. I would find fewer faults with China if they had been more open about it from the outset. 

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6 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

Once again, a baseless assertion of bad faith does not substitute for an argument.

The federal and state system is working as intended. Comparisons to countries with socialized healthcare and a fraction of our population don't really translate. If you don't want to blame individual governors for their particularly bad situations and would rather run it up the chain, so be it. 

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