Operation Smarter Sweden
Should we open up? The general consensus is “yes.” The question remains “when” and “how.” Sweden has been more or less successful working towards herd immunity quickly. But Sweden made one critical, fatal mistake — they didn’t isolate their elderly enough. Here is a Phase 1 “Operation Smarter Sweden.”
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As an example — Texas, a state of 30 million, with 962 cities, has 3215 Long Term Care (LTC) homes, which are responsible for 36% of Texas’s COVID deaths, as of this writing. The National Guard can play an important part in opening up by protecting these elderly. We can direct the Guard to make these 3215 homes as impervious to COVID-19 as possible. We have the “who”; now we need the “how.”
It’s almost cliché — but everyone coming through the door is a COVID-19 threat. The easiest quick way to minimize the threat is to guard the door. Every person who walks through an LTC home front door is a potential carrier. A Guardsman literally needs to be the Gatekeeper — no one gets in or out without a mask, without washing their hands, without checking their temperature.
But clean hands and a mask isn’t enough. Everyone — the Guard, workers, and residents in every LTC home need to be tested — today and regularly on a weekly basis. Why? Folks will still carry the disease through the door because COVID-19 has an apparent 50% asymptomatic rate. The Guard can’t stop what they can’t see.
Finally, compartmentalize the LTC homes inside. Divide each LTC into zones — folks don’t cross the lines — not even the janitors. So, every worker just became a janitor, a caregiver, and food service. The residents are should be restricted to their zones, and only take meals with the same folks in the zone for the duration. A guardsman needs to watch and direct traffic inside to enforce the zones between workers and between residents.
The guard won’t solve the problem alone — but they will provide a quick source of trainable workmen, personnel that the current structures cannot economically provide. The Guard wasn’t made for this mission, but this mission was made for the Guard. Deploying the Guard to stop COVID-19 in LTC homes is a good, first, smart step so that the rest of us can get to herd immunity quicker.
Thoughts on the Cult of Science
During this COVID-19 crisis, many people are saying we need to “trust the science” and “leave the decisions to the scientists.” When did science become a cult and scientists the priests? Scientists are human beings. The media and the general public put too much faith in scientists, who are just as smart and stupid, ethical and unethical, and inventive and fallible as everyone else on the planet.
Epidemiologists and virologists have disagreements about possible treatments for COVID-19 during the current pandemic, as would be expected, but most generally agree that a vaccine is one year away at best, if it is even possible. Recently, a group of highly credentialed scientists from major universities announced that they had formed a “dream team” to run a Zoom-connected “Manhattan Project” and solve the COVID-19 problem. This dream team said they could guarantee a vaccine in 6 months if the government took their advice and forced pharmaceutical companies to cooperate. And also, if they skipped the human trials, because they were certain their solution would work safely. However, when it comes to science, only one thing is actually certain: if a scientist states absolutes like “all scientists agree” or “we are certain how this works” or “we guarantee results by this date,” that scientist is wrong.
Scientists usually do not agree. That is the beauty of science — they fight their wars on the battlefield of mathematics. The 17th-century Astronomer Royals of England were adamantly certain (and wrong) that John Harrison could not build a clock to determine longitude. Thomas Edison was certain that Nikola Tesla’s AC electrical systems were dangerous and would not work. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr fought vigorously over quantum mechanics and its underlying assumptions.
Some basic science is nearly certain, but Einstein showed that even basic science can be wrong. He found flaws in Newton’s brilliant laws of physics that had been undiscovered for centuries. Scientific research is unpredictable, and scientific models are approximations and thus always wrong — sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. John Ioannidis of Stanford’s Meta-research Innovation Center at Stanford Medical School published an article entitled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” that showed that the results of the majority of published medical research papers cannot be replicated and are thus probably wrong. Wikipedia lists more scientists accused of fraud in biology than in any other field of science.
Where and when did this idea of a scientific priesthood cult begin? Most important national decisions, including the current crisis, need to involve scientists but also economists, business managers, religious and spiritual leaders, foreign policy experts, politicians, and American citizens who need to be educated and involved. Isn’t that why our country’s founding principles were adopted in the first place?
Still spikin’ America! The rise in cases, I mean. And yet we’re out there partying again. From California to the New York island, from the Redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was unmade for you and me.
In early May, politicians across the nation are throwing caution to the wind and shortening the social distance that has helped us flatten things a little. As we go out walking that ribbon of highway, and see above us that endless skyway, have we forgotten the majority of Americans polled in various university-based polls conducted in the latter half of April felt more comfortable with a soft opening later in May, and even June or July?
American governors and mayors looked down below them to that golden valley and decided they had to open. They knew all about the nursing home in Seattle, the cruise liners off the coast of California, the street festival in New Orleans, the funeral in Georgia, the bridge club in Colorado Springs, the meat workers in South Dakota, the Orthodox Jews congregating in New Jersey, and the Christians gathering in Sacramento. And yet, the politicians are tempting that terrible fate all over again. The lessons of history are only a month or two old, and the powers that be have already decided to put them out of their minds, and out of our minds too.
As we roam and ramble, I wonder if we will also forget what we learned about ourselves over the course of this New Year from hell. As we follow our footsteps, we can see as clear as day that we have little idea how to school kids at home, and apparently little desire to do so either. Parents, not providing much educational support for teachers while their kids are in school, turn out to be at an even bigger loss when they aren’t. Not a part of being a parent anymore, it seems.
And we have learned a sad fact about crime in our local world. While we viewed the sparkling sands of our diamond deserts, we saw that blue collar crime went down, but white collar crime went up. All around us a voice was sounding, the blues can be discouraged, but there is nothing that can stop the whites. Spurious medical advertising, ardent pleas for customers to buy big ticket items when they are unemployed and already far over their heads in debt, savage price gouging on little ticket items, big businesses grabbing federal loans out of the hands of small businesses. Capitalism run amok.
And, then, there’s us as preppers. With the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, we realize with some embarrassment that we failed to stock-up rainy-day funds for ourselves and our families.
And where does all this take us? Cradle to grave government support for citizens who have forgotten how to take care of themselves. Leaders of both parties are calling for fabulous expansions of unemployment compensation, federal government payment of salaries, government mandated paid leave, and just plain free money grown on trees for all. A voice was chanting as the fog was lifting, this land was unmade for you and me.
On “Pardon General Flynn,” by Jeffrey Lord
Contrary to Mr. Lord I am totally against pardoning General Flynn until his case is decided by the court. Because I believe/hope the guilty verdict will be overturned. If it isn’t, then President Trump can then exercise his pardon power. In either case AG Barr can and should go after all those concerned in the frame-up.. A reversal would remove the stigma while a pardon would always leave some doubt.
On “When You Gotta Stop Running: The Memories, and Pain, Remain,” by Doug Bandow
Doug Bandow isn’t alone in missing running as activity that made everything better. For my life, better for over 25 years. My sports ineptitude when growing up and in high school and college was much the same. My start in running was also similar, I had started to hear friends refer to me as “Mr. French” from the TV sitcom Family Affair, after all I was rotund and bearded and wore a 3 piece suit to work. Running helped me dump the pounds and a funny thing happened on the way to that goal. IT WAS FUN, and everything was better from mental acuity, my disposition and sex. Crazy. I was able run for 5-6 days a week for over 25 years before finding myself on the shelf for a foot related injury that I cannot overcome. Seeing a footrace taking place, a group of friends out for their Saturday 15 miler, oh how it hurts and oh how I miss it still. The Marine Corps Marathon (2x), Grandma’s, Twin Cities. St. Louis, Boston and more. Oh yeah, great memories and still a sense of loss. But I wouldn’t change a thing other than wish I could still get our for a relaxing 8 mile loop wherever I happen to be. At least the “pain” is now mostly mental after all this time.
Sincerely, please thank Doug Bandow for this piece of writing. I don’t subscribe to The Spectator since the paywall but always enjoy whatever articles can be reached (Usually I look for Dov) and when I saw the running reference and the image I chose Doug’s piece and I chose wisely. Thanks to him and the Spectator.
From Daniel J. Flynn’s Spectator A.M. Newsletter
You are my 2 a.m. alarm clock on the West Coast. I enjoy your musings on how policy impacts Main Street. Thoughtful and consistently spot on. I eagerly await my order of your three books.
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I live in Vacaville. My four sons and a nephew all frequent Primos Barbershop. Three of these young men serve in the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine Service. All three are under the age of 30. I am an aging 58-year-old, who has refused to pay for a haircut for nearly 17 years; the last time, as I recall, was for my mother’s funeral. I, like most my age, chose to cut my own hair (style obviously not important) to save a few dollars to help pay for family expenses.
I broke from my frugal ways this past Monday. I paid for a haircut at Primos. I was fortunate to receive the service from the owner who was so disrespected by the well-coiffed CNN anchor. I paid double the price of the haircut. But my real tip was leaving this small business owner my copy of this month’s Imprimis, “Thoughts on the Current Crises,” written by Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. I felt it was appropriate for me to share an academic perspective to a Main Street reality. The two have so much in common.
Keep up the good work, and thank you for calling out this small business in my hometown. My sons are correct: I can afford to be less frugal.
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