American Elephants


The Day Before St. Patrick’s Update by The Elephant's Child

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “CoronaVirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

“On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. This declaration freed up funding and regulations to aid in efforts until Congress had a chance to act. President Trump also halted all travel from China, other affected areas, and put Americans returning from China into quarantine. On March 11, WHO publicly  characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak. a National Emergency

That’s the official language and dates from the CDC. Washington State and New York State each have 501 to 1,000 cases. King County has reported  today, March 16, that they have 420 confirmed cases and one more death. Snohomish County,  reports 176 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Pierce County 29 confirmed cases and Island County had 6. Which indicates that a lot more testing has been done. Scientists here in King County have produced a vaccine, which has just begun human testing.

I am currently re-reading John McPhee’s Table of Contents. In an essay about scientists at Princeton, he quotes Freeman Dyson as saying: “The first rule of technology is that no one can tell in advance whether a piece of technology is any good. It will hang on things that are unforeseeable. In groping around, one wants to try out things that are quick and cheap and find out what doesn’t work.” which applies to our current situation rather nicely.

ADDENDUM: Late day, checking in with King County virus updates: Confirmed cases have reached 488. This demonstrates that testing is increasing, and identifying those who have been infected. This is a good thing. As testing increases, you should expect numbers to rise–not because infections are increasing necessarily, but because existing infections are being identified. Sadly, 43 deaths in total, most from the nursing home in Kirkland.



This Too Shall Pass.* by The Elephant's Child

What’s new, you might ask, in the center of the CoronaVirus in the country? Unfortunately the “stocking-up” goes on apace. Grocery store shelves are empty, deliveries take far longer than was usual. That’s what is reported. We have not left the house. That which we have ordered delivered will be here next Monday (a week away, not tomorrow) And as these things go, the more bare shelves there are, or the more anxiety that is expressed, the more people try to stock up. We used to call it just plain hoarding. But that word has gone out of style.

It’s a growth thing. The more it’s talked about, the more empty shelves, the more people panic, and their actions inflict another bunch.

Two brothers from Tennessee who tried to capitalize on the outbreak of coronavirus bought up nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer which they were selling for between $8 and $70 each. Much higher than any in the local stores. Amazon and other online sellers cracked down on sellers who were found to be price gouging. Now they are stuck with a huge supply and nowhere to sell it. To which the American people are undoubtedly saying “Good! Serves ’em right.”

In New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the CoronaVirus is a case for “Nationalization of crucial factories and Industries that could produce the medical supplies needed” Brilliant! He added that “every factory that can make hand sanitizer should be on 24/7 shifts and the distribution should be going to the places that need it most.” President Trump has just asked companies for their help and offered federal help to them in a time of crisis, and they are going to work.

Some people go to work, others pontificate. Bit of a test of character. The Israelis have a vaccine ready for testing. We have vaccines close to being ready. You have to conduct testing with real people to find out if it really works as hoped for., and that all takes time. Stay calm, study up, and wash your hands a lot.

*“This too shall pass” is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets such as Rumi.




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