Coronavirus: Random Thoughts

Clueless Red State Governors

Georgia -Just found out within last 48 hours that the virus can be transmitted even from asymptomatic people….(been common knowledge for at least two months before that utterance…Who knew?)

-South Dakota is not New York. We don’t need these closures, distancing measures, etc. (Tell that to Smithfield packing plant employees, where a “cluster” now exists…I guess there are some similarities after all….)

Government People

Coronavirus is nothing new. After all, its name is Covid-19; this is the 19th iteration of the germ (actually, the “19” in the name is the year it first appeared, making it well, new; it’s why they call it “novel”.) Perhaps Kellyanne Conway’s observations were taken out of context. Sure hope so.

Conservative Talk Show Hosts

Coronavirus is basically a common cold-type virus. Why all the fuss? (About 2 million people worldwide have caught this cold, and many have died. Medal of Freedom holder Rush Limbaugh might need to fact check, for once)

Is this even a pandemic, wonders Bill Bennett (former Education Department cabinet secretary; author of the Book of (Republican?) Virtues. If more than 2 million people in 184 countries (that we know of) have the disease, might this not constitute one?

More Thoughts

Biology is not my long suit. I became a chemist, because it’s much easier to understand. What I do know is that viruses may or may not be living things (I think there is some dispute), and they cannot exist outside of a host. This one is particularly contagious. Therefore, to rid us of this plague, we must deprive it of hosts. It appears that social distancing of at least 6 feet renders it unlikely to reach another host, along with wearing facial barriers (masks) to block body emanations, such as saliva. After an unnecessarly late start, social distancing appears to be working, wherever it has been implemented.

Unfortunately, we have had to tank the economies of most of the world, which has caused untold suffering by mostly poor people and minorities. Efforts to alleviate these effects have been, at best, sporadic. Schools are closed; we are using computers to instruct. Sounds nice, except that in many school districts, relatively few have computers at home. We had a considerable disparity of quality of education, even before all this happened. This is, at best, a fig leaf which will widen the gaps between rich and poor. Are we creating a new underclass? It will buy us much trouble going forward.

Yes, we have to open up economies ASAP. We cannot do so, we are told, until widespread testing is available, and we have contact tracing in effect. For some reason, we can’t seem to get our act together to perform either function . Other countries, notably South Korea, have tested a much greater proportion of their populace, much earlier. Why can’t we? At this writing, we do not appear to have funding to hire people (around 100-200 thousand) to conduct contact tracing.

Yes, we need a vaccine. Depending on who you ask, the most rapidly we can expect such salvation is sometime in the next year. I have been struck recently by seeing interviews on CNN of the leader of the effort to develop one. A do-nothing civil servant who happens to be a woman of color. Maybe a helpful sign that we are through wasting such talent through stupid racist prejudice. One can hope.

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