Those Ventilators!

Closing Thought–31Mar20

We all have heard the horror stories of the shortages for must needed ventilators……there have been all sorts of accusations….from hoarding to shortages in supply….and then Donald of Orange decided that GM should get money (a billion dollars) to start-up manufacturing……

President Trump ordered General Motors on Friday to make ventilators for U.S. hospitals treating COVID-19 patients through a 1950’s wartime act⁠—but the company says it was already rushing to make the devices, the latest development in a weeks-long drama as officials rang alarm bells that ventilator shortages could lead to a higher death toll.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/03/30/trump-orders-gm-to-make-ventilators-10-days-after-company-says-it-started-making-them/#74e352cc7315

But wait!

MIT has come up with a ventilator that would cost $100……

Clinical and design considerations will be published online; goal is to support rapid scale-up of device production to alleviate hospital shortages.

One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the Covid-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. Now, a rapidly assembled volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

The team, called MIT E-Vent (for emergency ventilator), was formed on March 12, 2020, in response to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its members were brought together by the exhortations of doctors, friends, and a sudden flood of mail referencing a project done a decade ago in the MIT class 2.75 (Medical Device Design). Students working in consultation with local physicians designed a simple ventilator device that could be built with about $100 worth of parts. They published a paper detailing their design and testing, but the work ended at that point. Now, with a significant global need looming, a new team, linked to that course, has resumed the project at a highly accelerated pace.

https://scitechdaily.com/mit-posts-free-plans-online-for-an-emergency-ventilator-that-can-be-built-for-100/amp/

MIT is offering the instructions for free on-line…..and yet GM is working on $1 billion as a start-op price tag…..now thinking about that people.

One more….taxpayer money used to make profits off of ventilators……

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tried to plug a crucial hole in its preparations for a global pandemic, signing a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator that could be stockpiled for emergencies.

This past September, with the design of the new Trilogy Evo Universal finally cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, HHS ordered 10,000 of the ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $3,280 each.

https://www.propublica.org/article/taxpayers-paid-millions-to-design-a-low-cost-ventilator-for-a-pandemic-instead-the-company-is-selling-versions-of-it-overseas-

Then there is GM and its demands…..

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/28/pers-m28.html

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That Vaccine—When?

We hear a lot of information about that marvelous vaccine for the Covid-19 virus…..but seriously…..when will it be ready?

This report in the UK’s The Guardian……

Even at their most effective – and draconian – containment strategies have only slowed the spread of the respiratory disease Covid-19. With the World Health Organization finally declaring a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick.

About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, at least four of which already have candidates they have been testing in animals. The first of these – produced by Boston-based biotech firm Moderna – will enter human trials imminently.

This unprecedented speed is thanks in large part to early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. China shared that sequence in early January, allowing research groups around the world to grow the live virus and study how it invades human cells and makes people sick.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/28/coronavirus-vaccine-when-will-it-be-ready

The report on a timeline for the this vaccine…..

For coronavirus vaccine watchers, some news from Johnson & Johnson. After announcing in February that it expected vaccine trials to begin in as few as 8 months, on Monday it updated that timeline to seven. The Wall Street Journal reports the company has chosen its “lead candidate” and that human trials will begin no later than September. Its vision is to have the vaccine ready to go in the early part of next year and to manufacture 1 billion doses in 2021. Thanks to an FDA emergency-use authorization, that would be a much faster timeline than the 18 months it usually takes for testing, approval, and production; CNBC notes the company says developing a vaccine typically takes it 5 to 7 years.

It’ll get there with help from the feds: The government has agreed to pony up $421 million as part of the company’s overall plan to sink $1 billion into expanded manufacturing capacity. It will start on construction of a US facility now as well as expand its capabilities overseas with the expectation it will have data from clinical trials by the end of 2020 that will let it begin manufacturing vaccines at that point, reports Reuters. For now, animal trials will continue. In terms of the vaccine’s promise, the company says the vaccine relies on the same technology that underpins its Ebola vaccine. Johnson & Johnson says it will sell the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis but didn’t get more specific than that. Its stock is trading up 6.3% on the news.

The US built one of the best pandemic response plans……and then pissed it away…..

Security advisors from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and other interests did not prevaricate over Garrett’s warning: “They went straight to the Oval Office.” Bush ordered the creation of a pandemic preparedness plan, the first to be formulated by the US government.

Garrett had seen what a failure to prepare for disaster could mean when, a week after the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001, letters containing the deadly anthrax bacteria began arriving at the offices of politicians and media organisations in the US. As agencies competed and interfered with one another’s work, Garrett saw fist-fights between investigators.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/north-america/2020/03/america-pandemic-response-swine-flu-avian

Health insurance providers will be hit hard from this pandemic….and what will their response be?

A new analysis warning that U.S. health insurance companies could hike already exorbitant premiums by 40 percent or more next year amid the coronavirus pandemic was received by Medicare for All advocates as further confirmation that America’s healthcare system—driven first and foremost by the profit motive—is ill-equipped to provide necessary care for all, particularly in a time of nationwide crisis.

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Trump In These Dark Days Of Need

The country is ass deep in the ravages of the Covid-19 virus……people are dying by the hundreds and soon could be very worse….

But yet the person that all Americans turn to to help them deal with this disaster, the president, is acting like an immature brat……a spoiled 6 year old shows more leadership than the person elected to protect the country and its people….all the people.

President Trump has told people he wants Americans to see his signature on the stimulus checks that will be sent out after he signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package into law Friday, according to an administration official cited by The Wall Street Journal. Such checks would normally be signed by a disbursing officer, not the president. While signing the bill into law in the Oval Office on Friday, the president appeared to express awe at the price tag attached to the legislation, calling it a “great honor” and saying, “I never signed anything with a T on it.” Trump, who has faced criticism recently for what some see as overly optimistic assessments about the coronavirus pandemic, went on to predict a “rebound like we have never seen before” by the end of the year.  The legislation he signed includes expanded unemployment benefits, direct cash payments to every American earning less than $99,000 a year, and billions in job retention loans for small businesses. 

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

Then there is the pouty 7 year old in the White House….

Shortly after the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic reached 1,500 on Friday, President Donald Trump took to the podium at a White House press briefing and complained that certain state’s governors  are not “appreciative” enough of the federal government’s help—so much so that he said he’d told Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the coronavirus task force, to skip calling governors of some hard-hit areas.  

Trump singled out the Democratic leaders of Washington and Michigan, noting that he had advised Pence not to call them as the healthcare crisis plagues their states and people fall sick and die. 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-says-he-told-mike-pence-to-ignore-governors-in-hard-hit-areas-if-they-are-not-appreciative

How can anyone with half a brain say this is the proper way to handle a pandemic?

Then I read some news that made me doubt our collective sanity.

That said Trump has been vindicated by polls that show Americans for the most part approve of what he is doing…..

For the first time in his presidency, more people approve of the job Donald Trump is doing than disapprove, polls show. The improvement appears to be driven by support for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, the Hill reports. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 48% of those polled endorsed the president’s job performance overall, while 46% disapproved. Before this, his high point was 44% approval, reached in January. Trump does better on the pandemic, 51% to 45%. Still 58% of those polled thought the administration responded to the outbreak too slowly; 66% said the administration will take care of this crisis. The poll was taken Sunday through Wednesday and reported a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

CNN’s Poll of Polls shows Trump just barely underwater but still at a high point for that measure. The poll, which averages five recent polls taken in the past two weeks and includes the Post-ABC poll, found 47% of voters approving of Trump’s job performance and 48% disapproving. Again, he fares better on the pandemic, 52% to 45%. Although approval usually rises for presidents in a crisis, per CNN, this is a modest improvement. President George W. Bush, for example, rose 40 points after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump responded to the Post-ABC poll Friday with a tweet saying that other polls show better figures for him and that 10 points should be added to any poll taken by the Post

Is that because like the corporations the people are getting free money?

Too bad we cannot poll the 1000+ people that have died if they think he, Trump, is doing a good job.

Are the people polled seeing the same information that I am?  Apparently not!

But wait a softer side has appeared…..

President Trump is extending federal guidelines recommending people stay home and away from one another for another 30 days as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, the AP reports. Trump made the announcement during a Rose Garden briefing. The guidelines, originally tagged as “15 days to slow the spread,” had been set to expire Monday. Trump had said last week he hoped to have the country “re-opened” by Easter.

Is his concern for the people?  Is his concern on the numbers in the election?  Is He listening to the health experts?  Or does he just want to be on TV?

Stay calm…..Avoid Crowds…..wash hands often…..stay prepared….

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Biden And Health Care

We have a full blown pandemic raging across this country…….and yet all the info we get about the 2020 election is dribbles that amount to nothing.

Let me help with what I see from Biden.

Looks like Biden will be the nominee…..and I have been showing my readers why I do not support him……but that aside in this time of national emergency I would like to give my thoughts and such on the presumptive nominee and his health stands.

Let me say here….that I do not want you to think as I do because I tell you so…….I am just pointing to the flaws in his nature that I feel will not do anything to make American’s lives any better than they are now. (2020)

What about Biden and health care…..we hear a lot about what is wrong with Bernie and his policies but Biden gets a free ride because he is anointed to run and beat Trump……well that is crap in my mind.

So let us look at Biden’s health care possibilities…..

Whatever the significance of Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s Super Tuesday primary, it’s not good news for the 28 million Americans who have no health insurance — at least according to Wall Street.

We know this because health insurance stocks surged the day after Tuesday’s vote, for a simple reason: Biden suits the interests of for-profit health insurers better than Bernie Sanders, and what’s good for private insurers has historically proved not good for the uninsured.

The Vermont senator, Biden’s principal competitor last week, supports a healthcare-finance system that would cover everyone, principally by marginalizing private insurers. By contrast, Biden calls merely for expanding and improving the 10-year-old Affordable Care Act (or ACA, aka Obamacare), a marketplace made up of private insurers. Now that Sanders has been demoted from frontrunner, the threat to insurer earnings is a lot less ominous than it might have seemed two weeks ago.

Biden would expand coverage with the so-called public option, allowing anyone to buy insurance from a government provider. That would have “very little effect, if any, on the private insurer’s role,” says James Kahn, emeritus professor of health policy at the University of California, San Francisco. “So they’re happy to see what looks like Biden headed toward the nomination.”

Is Joe Biden Hazardous to Your Health?

As an old fart and retired I am always looking to see just where the candidates are on health care…..especially of us elderly……and Biden gives me NO confidence that I will continue to be cared for…..

oe Biden has surged since the South Carolina primary, and the received wisdom is that this was mainly because of the perception by his voters that he was the most electable candidate against President Donald Trump. But there are some potential pitfalls that have not yet surfaced, and some of them concern voters who are currently among Biden’s strongest base of support: Americans over 65 years old.

Biden has proposed a plan for health care reform that has quite literally left senior citizens out in the cold.

This could become increasingly, and vitally, important as the threat of coronavirus increases exponentially. Older Americans are at a vastly higher risk than the general population; people over 65 have accounted for the vast majority of deaths in other countries.

Biden’s Health Care Plan Abandons Older Americans

Yes before the attacks begin….I support Medicare For All…..but that does not make me a supporter of Bernie…..at this time…..

I will search for the right candidate for me…..you see I still vote on principles and refuse to hold my nose and vote.

Plus I know that if for some reason Biden losses his race against Trump it will be my fault for not voting for a candidate that I do not support…..like Hillary’s loss was my fault not that she was a terrible candidate…..I shall bear with it….for I have been blamed before for a Dems loss……

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Women’s History #6–Margaret Sanger

My closing tribute to women for this month…..afterwards I return to the world of Covid-19…..

Margaret Sanger…….Another woman that does not get much play in our study of history unless you are inn a women’s studies class…..she was an important rights activist for women’s birth control rights…..

The consequences of sexual relations between women and men simply were not fair.

An old double standard dictated that men were rewarded for sexual prowess and women suffered a damaged reputation. Males were encouraged to “sow a few wild oats” while women were told “good girls don’t.”

Most of all, if a relationship resulted in pregnancy, it was the woman who was left with the responsibility. For decades, pioneers like Margaret Sanger fought for contraceptives that women would control. With the introduction of the birth control pill to the market in 1960, women could for the first time deter pregnancy by their own choice.

The fight for reproductive freedoms was intense. Organized religions such as the Roman Catholic Church stood firm on their principles that artificial contraceptives were sinful. Many states in the early 1960s prohibited the sale of contraceptives — even to married couples.

https://www.ushistory.org/us/57b.asp

More on Sanger’s life……

In the early 20th century, at a time when matters surrounding family planning or women’s healthcare were not spoken in public, Margaret Sanger founded the birth control movement and became an outspoken and life-long advocate for women’s reproductive rights. In her later life, Sanger spearheaded the effort that resulted in the modern birth control pill by 1960.

Born September 14, 1879, in Corning, New York, the sixth of eleven children born to Michael Hennessey Higgins, a stonemason, and Anna Purcell Higgins, a devoutly Roman Catholic Irishwoman. Sanger’s life course was shaped by the poverty of her childhood and the death of her mother at age 50, which Sanger understood resulted from the physical toll of eleven pregnancies. Sanger later became a nurse, attending Claverack College and Hudson River Institute in 1896 and completing the nursing program at White Plains Hospital in 1902. That year she married William Sanger, an architect, and moved to Hastings, New York, where the couple had three children

Sanger strongly believed that the ability to control family size was crucial to ending the cycle of women’s poverty. But it was illegal to distribute birth control information. Working as a visiting nurse, she frequented the homes of poor immigrants, often with large families and wives whose health was impaired by too many pregnancies, miscarriages, or in desperation botched abortions. Often, too, immigrant wives would ask her to tell them “the secret,” presuming that educated white women like Sanger knew how to limit family size. Sanger made it her mission to 1) provide women with birth control information and 2) repeal the federal Comstock Law, which prohibited the distribution of obscene materials through the mails, and regarded birth control information as such.

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/margaret-sanger

Another woman that has been pushed aside in favor of BS history that features men over women……Margaret Sanger deserves better than to be forgotten by the masses when she did so much in their name.

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Covid-19 Lies!

Closing Thought–30Mar20

There are lots of sites and sources for virus information but I feel we need to step up and point to blatant lies that we should all be aware of in these times of so much confusion….

Quick: A runny nose means you don’t have the coronavirus. True or false? If you said true because of something on Facebook, you were likely duped by the so-called “Uncle with master’s degree post”—one of several coronavirus canards circulating online. The BBC traced a version back to Feb. 7 that appeared on the group Happy People, which has 2,000 members: “My classmate’s uncle and nephew, graduated with a master’s degree, and work in Shenzhen Hospital,” it reads. “He is being transferred to study Wuhan pneumonia virus. He just called me and told me to tell my friends…” The text is anonymous and mixes fact with fiction, advising people to wash their hands with soap (useful!) while peddling myths about runny noses and liquids with ice.

FullFact and Snopes dismiss several claims in the post, like “Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose” (you can have a runny nose) and the coronavirus “will be killed by a temperature of just 26/27 degrees” (that’s not confirmed). Other head-scratchers include “try not to drink liquids with ice” and sneezed particles reach “about 10 feet” before hitting the ground (no one knows how far they go). The post has reached hundreds of thousands in slightly different forms, often copied and pasted by users who make it look original. Another popular fake post claims that Bill Gates has said the virus serves “a spiritual purpose,” the Independent reports. Facebook and Twitter say they’re trying to crack down on misinformation, but meanwhile, the CDC and WHO remain good sources on the coronavirus.

Now my attempt to help my readers find proper and good information on this killer circulating through our nation……

The Atlantic has put together a one stop shopping for Covid-19 information…..The Atlantic’s guide to understanding COVID-19

https://www.theatlantic.com/category/what-you-need-know-coronavirus/

Stay Calm……Avoid crowds……wash hands often…..and stay prepared.

Be well….Be Safe……

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“lego ergo scribo”

883 Page Later

By now the media has been running hour after hour of just how much the new stim plan is needed to protect the people of the US……..well that is bullshit.

Of course that is just my opinion.

But for full disclosure here is the monumental piece of work…all 883 pages of it.

Yikes, the text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has been released (full pdf below).  The Senate took H.R.748 stripped it out, and replaced the text with this bill.   The full 50 page senate record of the activity is available here.

Digging in now.  However, at first blush the size of the spending seems to be a considerable state budget deficit bailout [similar to how Obamacare removed the healthcare pension liabilities from unions].  Here’s the BILL:

 
It is a long read but well worth to see just what games were played…..
 
It points to the capitalism’s response to the pandemic…..

In fact, the paltry bill does nothing for 80 percent of workers, exempting both large employers and small companies that claim hardship. Members of Congress argued that allowing paid sick leave would encourage sick employees to stay home—which is precisely the purpose of the program. As a result, workers will be forced to choose between going to work sick and endangering their coworkers or forcing their families to go hungry.

Nothing will be done for workers threatened by the deadly pandemic. But when it comes to bailing out the banks and propping up share values, there is no limit to the resources the government is willing to mobilize.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/16/pers-m16.html

In case you still do not understand this thing…..maybe this will help…..

more than $2 trillion that has already been pledged to backstop the values of financial assets held by major banks, Congress is debating an additional $2 trillion bailout package.

The vast majority of that proposal consists in various handouts to business in the form of a payroll tax holiday and loans, including measures specifically targeting the airline and other industries. Less than $50 billion of the bill funds emergency measures to combat the pandemic. Just one company, Boeing, is demanding a bailout larger than every public health measure contained in the bill.

While the Republicans and Democrats haggle over details of the bailout, they agree that 1) massive sums of money must be funneled through the major corporations; 2) that no measures be taken that limit or threaten the wealth of the executives and large investors; and 3) that the interests of the capitalist profit system and private property will remain unmolested and unchallenged. The banks and large corporations will not only continue to rule. These institutions and their executives and large shareholders are to emerge from the crisis richer and more powerful than ever.

The New York Times declared in an editorial published yesterday, “The only practical way to limit mass unemployment, and to preserve previously viable companies, is for the government to pump money into the private sector.”

(wsws.org)

If you prefer a graph to make it simpler….

$2.3 trillion in total funding was allotted as follows:

  • 54% to corporations and small businesses through loans, grants and tax cuts
  • 26% to workers and families, including 2% to safety net services
  • 8% to hospitals and other health-related spending
  • 7% to state and local governments
  • 1% to education services
  • 4% to other services

(commondreams.org)

We still believe that corporations need all this cash…..and families deserve a pittance…..health related gets 8%………parties all around for Wall Street and funerals all around for the rest of us.
 
 
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