Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Never Waste A Good Crisis

Politicians have never met a crisis that they couldn't parlay into more money and power for their friends. The 2020 recession will not be any different.

Since we had about 18 months of news in 24 hours, I'm going to break it down into two posts - the first covering the pandemic news and the response, while the second will address what's left of our markets.

1) This article is worth reading at - Scientists warn we may have to live with social distancing for a year or more.  Since, mid-February this has been my position on the virus.  We have to chose to shutdown society and attempt to avoid everyone for 12-18 months or we have to accept a very high number of deaths in some of the most vulnerable populations. 

"The idea that you can close schools or restaurants for two weeks and you get back to normal - that's not what's going to happen." The concept that the virus will re-emerge without strict movement restrictions is a huge risk in a country like the US where some states are being very aggressive, while others are doing virtually nothing. 

2) This is my proposal - if anyone has a contact at the CDC or the White House feel free to pass it along. 

Test EVERYONE.  Yes, everyone.  It's expensive and it'll be a PITA but hear me out.  We use every available public building to collect samples and rapid test (none of this 5-8 days for results BS). When you test positive, you truly self-isolate.  Everyone else returns to their jobs/school/traveling and life resumes a somewhat normal existence.  The economy would bounce back, schools could open, and we'd have a chance at avoiding a recession without adding another 10% to our crushing Federal debt totals.

On a very small scale look at the success an Italian town had with this approach - "Test all 3,300 in town, isolate the 3 percent who tested positive. Infection rate 10 days later down to .3 percent."

 Obviously, testing 330 million people is different than testing 3,300 but the alternative is failing business, skyrocketing unemployment, bailouts galore, and another 8 weeks stuck inside with your family😂😂😂.

3) I just wanted to share this story of someone's experience with COVID19 testing in NY. 

"I just got swabbed for COVID-19 in NY, and the experience leaves me feeling so much more paranoid about America’s ability to get a grip on this crisis. They still won’t test you unless you’ve been in contact with a confirmed case, which is a nonsensical standard in the context of community spread. But they don’t even ask you for a name, probably because of medical privacy laws. But as a result it’s a meaningless question. Goes almost without saying there is zero effort to do contact tracing. Medical staff didn’t even encourage me to alert people I or my partner had been in contact with (that said, our family has been self-quarantined going on 9 days, even before symptoms started). I walked to the urgent care facility to minimize contact with anyone. I was bracing myself for a long line, so when I arrived and discovered the place to be essentially empty I was a little surprised. Is that because there was a separate entrance for suspected COVID-19 cases? Nope, they walked me through the front door and into an exam room. No instructions to wash my hands (maybe bc I was wearing gloves and a mask). No paper covering the chair I sat in. The total lack of precautions was not just a risk to the people who would come after me in that room, but to myself and my family because presumably the room would have some lingering virus from someone else. This last part was not unexpected, but it remains crazy that results will take 5-8 days while Korea is providing them in a matter of hours. I somehow forgot the most troubling detail. If I hadn’t had insurance, I would’ve had to pay $125 to the urgent care facility and $1,000 to the diagnostic company out of pocket, on the spot, for testing. This is so insanely regressive. We need free, accessible testing now." - via @claydumas on twitter.

This is in NY which has been at the cutting edge for diagnosing cases for the past 2 weeks and as you can tell we are doing a terrible job.  Imagine what the systems are like in other parts of the country.

Again, thanks for tuning in.  Share the link if you find it valuable and follow me on twitter @brianlantier for snarky commentary all day long.

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