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Neven

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Lessons from COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 02:55:02 PM »
What lessons can be learned from COVID-19, and how might they impact policy and solutions with regard to AGW?

A picture says more than a 1000 words:



Two pictures say more than 2000 words:



Lessons can be learned from a crisis, when the causes of the crisis are understood. So, what caused the impact of COVID-19? I believe the causes are two-fold:

1) Of, course the disease itself. Although no one can say with certainty how the disease came into being, it is clear that it could rapidly spread itself around the world due to globalisation. Globalisation is caused by neoliberal policies, predicated on neoclassic economic theories of endless growth. These policies cause the outsourcing of jobs, planet-wide shipments of goods and mass tourism.
2) The context in which the disease can successfully cause lots of casualties. Due to neoliberal policies, industries like Big Oil and Big Auto have caused massive air pollution, severely impacting lung development and health, which is obviously ideal for the respiratory diseases caused by COVID-19. The same neoliberal policies have also given free rein to industries like Big Pharma, Big Agro, Big Sugar, Big Tobacco to parasitically extract profit from the health of the general population.

In my view, there are two options after the crisis is over:

1) Treating the symptoms: Manufacturing vaccines and medications, developing plans for mass surveillance, massive bail-outs that benefit large corporations and further enslave populations. This will naturally lead to zero structural changes to the status quo, and future crises will be assured, instead of mitigated and prevented.
2) Taking away the causes: Putting an end to and reverting neoliberal policies, by switching to alternative economic theories that are more in line with laws of nature and universal moral principles. Given the goal of these neoliberal policies, ie endlessly increasing and concentrating wealth, this wealth will fight extremely hard to prevent any change to the status quo. An additional problem is the decade-long cultural condition of a heavily addicted and perverted majority of the population.

What lessons will be learned?
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2020, 04:51:41 PM »
Lessons on living, and the transition to what will come.

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief
Quote
Some of the HBR edit staff met virtually the other day — a screen full of faces in a scene becoming more common everywhere. We talked about the content we’re commissioning in this harrowing time of a pandemic and how we can help people. But we also talked about how we were feeling. One colleague mentioned that what she felt was grief. Heads nodded in all the panes.

If we can name it, perhaps we can manage it. We turned to David Kessler for ideas on how to do that. Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. His new book adds another stage to the process, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. Kessler also has worked for a decade in a three-hospital system in Los Angeles. He served on their biohazard’s team. His volunteer work includes being an LAPD Specialist Reserve for traumatic events as well as having served on the Red Cross’s disaster services team. He is the founder of www.grief.com which has over 5 million visits yearly from 167 countries.

Kessler shared his thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it. The conversation is lightly edited for clarity.
HBR: People are feeling any number of things right now. Is it right to call some of what they’re feeling grief?
Kessler: Yes, and we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.

You said we’re feeling more than one kind of grief?
Yes, we’re also feeling anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. Usually it centers on death. We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.

One particularly troubling aspect of this pandemic is the open-endedness of it.
This is a temporary state. It helps to say it. I worked for 10 years in the hospital system. I’ve been trained for situations like this. I’ve also studied the 1918 flu pandemic. The precautions we’re taking are the right ones. History tells us that. This is survivable. We will survive. This is a time to overprotect but not overreact.
 
And, I believe we will find meaning in it. I’ve been honored that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s family has given me permission to add a sixth stage to grief: Meaning. I had talked to Elisabeth quite a bit about what came after acceptance. I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times. Even now people are realizing they can connect through technology. They are not as remote as they thought. They are realizing they can use their phones for long conversations. They’re appreciating walks. I believe we will continue to find meaning now and when this is over. …
https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 05:07:14 PM »
“The separation of health and environmental policy is a ​dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with.”

Coronavirus: 'Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/coronavirus-nature-is-sending-us-a-message-says-un-environment-chief
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P-maker

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 05:54:07 PM »
Neven,

Thank you for opening this thread. May I suggest you change the title to: Learnings from..., since in these days of home schooling at all levels all over the World, it is not really about lessons, but more about learning collectively.

Having one leg in each camp ( my wife as been at home with live video meetings all week ), I can say that Big Pharma is also trying to get through this crisis together with the rest of us. However, they do not see it as the end of the Neoliberal regime yet. They still have confidence that they are doing something good in order to help society get through this crisis

I also flagged those two images you selected to my wife. However my comment was: Does N2O emissions have anything to do with human vulnerability or susceptability to Corona virus? Seeing the Wuhan province and northern Italy clear up after these incidents, made me think that N2O may not be the best thing to give to women giving birth.

In this country, we are currently discussing whether pregnant women are vulnerable or not.

My suggestion would be that we try to clear up the facts (e.g. on the effect of N2O) before we try to change the system).
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 07:19:50 PM by P-maker »

kassy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 05:56:46 PM »
On a very general level we saw that people mostly ignored the science. This sounds familiar. Even on this short time frame people can´t imagine the logical consequences of ´todays data´ + what we know about the virus and humans.

The sad thing is that a virus is just a virus. Over time they basically always evolve to become more benign because those infections spread more. Even if we did nothing the problem would be self limiting because people would be immune or dead with the dead concentrating in higher age groups with pre-existing conditions.

This is not possible with global warming.

It will make every ones live a lot more complicated then it needs to be to put it mildly. Yes you can move out of cities that are both too hot and have a failing water supply but you are going to end up with more refugees somewhere.

The important lesson is plan for the future.

Everyone wants to slow walk their efforts to solve this and try to be competative be we really cannot afford that.

Basically the big historical polluters have an obligation to help the rest of the world transition quicker but most don´t think that way.

Everyone wants to drag things out while that makes our problems worse.

We are losing carbon sinks rapidly (arctic permafrost is a net emitter and the Amazon is on the verge of death).

We need so much more action on greenhouse gasses, soils and water. It would be worth giving up a piece of our western consumer wealth for it. Especially if you have kids and grandkids that you don´t hate.

The problem is that many people are in this bubble where you work, buy stuff etc. And then you vote for some figurehead on some big issue while the whole political system is just playing us. The ones with stakes have direct lobbying access (and pre write laws) while there is always some social program that can be sacrificed.

We could have a much better world society if we were more inclusive but everyone is playing their own game. I remember these development models which worked for Europe but not for Africa. And there is a reason for that. There was another theory about centre and periphery and off course that became a global thing. Read Moneyland for some depressing insights.

They will keep peddling symptom stuff until the public does not take that any longer but how quick that will be... for some reason you will have a small but non negligible chance to die next year promotes more hands on action then live will be hell for our kids. This kind of irks me.

There is no immunity to global warming.

Take away lesson: prevention rocks.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

be cause

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 06:01:05 PM »
at this stage ? That govt's should follow ASIF and act ! ..b.c.
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 + 2 = 2021 + 1 =  ' if only we could have seen it coming ' ...

kassy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 06:02:31 PM »
My suggestion would be that we try to clear up the facts (e.g. on the effect of N2O) before we try to change the system).

It just gives nice pictures and thus functions as a proxy for all kinds of polutions not emitted.

Why would you not want to change the system? (project currect trjectory etc)
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

harpy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 06:23:35 PM »
We're not going to return to the previous state of the world, this virus has permanently changed society.

We have reduced emissions quite a bit at this point, and the people with the most power know this and will not let economic activity resume.

At some point, the human death rate will exceed the birth rate, and our species will begin its decline towards extinction.

kassy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 06:45:00 PM »
If you listen to Trump f.e. he seems to want to resume economic activity asap.

Also this disease is not going to make a big difference (mostly old people die) but global warming will render whole parts of the planet unliveable. Those people are going to move.

And basically we are on a path to multiple failures. If today looks like a mess you should see 2050 on todays trajectory.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 06:46:16 PM »
We will treat the symptoms.
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Aporia_filia

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 08:59:45 PM »
Some people already have all the answers  :o  ::)

https://theintercept.com/2020/03/24/trump-cabinet-bible-studies-coronavirus/

RALPH DROLLINGER, a minister who leads a weekly Bible study group for President Donald Trump’s cabinet, released a new interpretation of the coronavirus pandemic this week, arguing that the crisis represents an act of God’s judgment.
“Relative to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, this is not God’s abandonment wrath nor His cataclysmic wrath, rather it is sowing and reaping wrath,” wrote Drollinger. “A biblically astute evaluation of the situation strongly suggests that America and other countries of the world are reaping what China has sown due to their leaders’ recklessness and lack of candor and transparency.”
Neither does he miss a chance to condemn those who worship the “religion of environmentalism” and express a “proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality.” These individuals, Drollinger argues in “Is God Judging America Today?”, one of the minister’s posts about coronavirus pandemic, have infiltrated “high positions in our government, our educational system, our media and our entertainment industry” and “are largely responsible for God’s consequential wrath on our nation.”

TerryM

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 10:37:25 PM »
^^
Will organized religion see a resurgence in the time of CO19, or will religionists be seen as charlitans when they and their followers show no particular resistance to the virus?


This could be an important result no matter the outcome.
Terry

Bruce Steele

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2020, 10:49:58 PM »
I couldn’t venture a guess without knowing how food infrastructure holds up. If we go into a depression and food supply issues panic the public the lesson learned will burn far deeper into our collective conscience . Maybe we will hoard and prep like 1929 depression survivors did ?

gerontocrat

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2020, 10:55:18 PM »
Lesson 1 : "It's the economy, stupid".
Fed QE + Govt fiscal stimulus reassures the market.
Saw a headline on Bloomberg TV - Qu4 2020 / Qu1 2021 could be boom times (for Stock prices)

Lesson 2 : The same bunch of people are in charge
Trump gets a phone call from some investors.
Suddenly the campaign starts to restart the economy before Easter.
Watch the CDC being shoved sideways in the next week or two?

Lesson 3 : "It's the economy, stupid" and don't you forget it.
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Alexander555

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2020, 10:59:15 PM »
There is also a possitive thing. The wild goose are arriving. And normaly they stay far from the road. But because there is almost no traffic. They just sit next to the road. They have the time of their live.

oren

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2020, 04:12:39 AM »
I hope the lesson from the COVID-19 debacle will be that it's better to listen to scientists, and that pessimistic projections could well be true, and that ignoring them could risk your life. If people understand that on an intuitive level, maybe treatment of AGW (and changing the system that inevitably leads to it) could have more support. I am really hopeful this lesson will take hold in parts of the population.

Another lesson could be to elect able leaders, rather than narcissistic idiots who would bury us all alive just for reelection and getting the stock market back up. When they say "What have you got to lose??" well you got lots to lose and now you know it. But I doubt this lesson takes hold.

Alexander555

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2020, 06:31:42 AM »
The communist party has a big responsability in this. Even the day before the lockdown in Wuhan the official point was "no human to human transmission" . Even after the doctors told them weeks before that there was human to human transmission. Than the WHO would probably have sounded the alarm much faster.

Alexander555

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2020, 06:59:20 AM »
On the other hand, even today airports are still open. Not many people anymore, but still open.

bluice

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2020, 09:40:38 AM »
The number one lesson should be that we as a civilization are not immune (sic) to the surrounding environment. Despite all our advanced technology, complex infrastructure and organized societies we have not completely conquered nature and will not to do so in the foreseeable future.

The number two lesson is that risky behavior in regards to environment will have it's consequences. In case of infectious disease the biggest risk comes from industrial animal farming and in this particular case irresponsible handling of wildlife. In case of AGW it is fossil fuel use but we mustn't neglect other issues such as biodiversity loss, land use and runaway nitrogen cycle. They all have consequences.

The lesson number three is that it is always cheaper and easier to prevent a crisis than to clean the mess. If a crisis cannot be prevented, it must be stopped swiftly an efficiently. after many close calls COVID-19 became a pandemic because first it wasn't stopped before starting an outbreak in Wuhan, then it narrowly escaped China and eventually countries such as Italy and Iran failed to stop the initial outbreak. This is where we able and responsible leaders and scientifically lead competent institutions come into play.

blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2020, 09:48:48 AM »
The communist party has a big responsability in this.

You, as an outspoken trump supporter, have the guts to blame the Chinese leadership? Seriously?

China took the most rigorous actions in an attempt to contain this, buying the west time to react, while your beloved orange manchild was ignorantly throwing away this headstart by actively sabotaging the development of testing methods (to name only one of his multiple failures). And still, you have the guts to blame China?

A lesson i learned in all this is just how stupid some humans can be.
 

TerryM

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2020, 10:07:44 AM »
^^
Ramen!!
Terry

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2020, 11:30:29 AM »

blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2020, 11:44:34 AM »
When i see this, i can only wonder how many people got infected in this huge crowd.  :-[

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2020, 11:45:30 AM »
The communist party has a big responsability in this. Even the day before the lockdown in Wuhan the official point was "no human to human transmission" . Even after the doctors told them weeks before that there was human to human transmission. Than the WHO would probably have sounded the alarm much faster.
You know, if the CCP had put the lockdown in place the first day they knew of the virus, we would not have these threads on this forum.  Now, all those ten year predictions I read January 1 have been tossed into a crock hat before the first year was one quarter over and I am having dreams that my hair grows as long as a bridal veil because all the barbershops are closed.
Think we will learn never to downplay an outbreak again?
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blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2020, 12:19:00 PM »
You know, if the CCP had put the lockdown in place the first day they knew of the virus, we would not have these threads on this forum.

First, we don't know that, Tom. This virus spreads so fast, even a faster reaction time would have only bought a little more time. Like days. The moment they knew what it was, they reacted. No other country in the world reacted that fast and rigorously.

Second, what do you expect? That they know the R0, the symptoms, the death rate, the correct measures to put in place, all that stuff from day one? How could anyone possibly know all that by just knowing there is something new?

Which society/government in the world is clairvoyant enough to see the future and react in the absolute correct manner at day one? You need to react on all levels of society, at the exact time this thing is seen the first time to achieve that. How would this even be possible?

In Italy, apparently people died from COVID-19 as early as November. They attributed it to natural deaths because the age group who dies from this virus was so similar to the age group in which people die. It is not surprising they didn't immediately attribute it to a new form of a virus, because in Italy, there was also no psychic doctors! So, will you blame them as well? Or why do you want it from China only?

If you really need to blame someone, blame the guy who dismissed early intelligence reports laying out exactly what will happen, who dismissed all experts, who actively sabotaged the doctors and scientists who fight this, who sends people to death because his hotels and golf courses lose money.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2020, 12:26:20 PM »

You know, if the CCP had put the lockdown in place the first day they knew of the virus, we would not have these threads on this forum. 

That isn't remotely true.  As soon as a handful of people were infected, possibly even before any of them were sick, the die was cast.  It's a contagious virus, with days of asymptomatic spread before illness is apparent.  This epidemic could not possibly have been contained. 

China made a few missteps, but most of their response has been laudable.  There were published reports of an odd pneumonia before the cause was identified.  They quickly identified the virus as a novel coronavirus, and publicized this finding.  They very quickly determined the genetic sequence and published the information.  The world watched as Wuhan was put under the strictest quarantine in human history.  China bought the world weeks of time to prepare.  Most of the world utterly squandered that precious time.

Neven

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2020, 12:40:43 PM »
What I also find interesting, is how governments suddenly are willing to put screeching brakes on the economy, and print money for whatever is deemed necessary. But when it's about protecting the environment, mitigating AGW, universal basic income, or, in the US, providing affordable/free health care as a human right, free college, livable wages, and so on, the answer is always: How ya gonna pay for that? How ya gonna pay for that? From both the right and the fake left.

It'll be interesting to see how the current crisis will affect that conversation. Too bad Bernie Sanders has already been cheated out of the nomination.
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bluice

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2020, 12:53:21 PM »
One thing to take home from this is that it will be lot more difficult to de facto AGW deniers to say we cannot reduce emissions because of the economy. It’s obvious we can, the question is if we want to.

blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2020, 12:54:37 PM »
IMHO, the only thing that could have reasonably contained the virus would have been to suspend all air traffic and all tourism worldwide from the day China announced there was this new SARS virus. In this case, new cases outside China could have easily been tracked down to individuals. These individuals then could have been quarantined consequently (South Korea approach).

Next time a new kind of virus pops up, the world must do this. Without hesitation! Completely ignoring economic or social problems involved with such a measure.

bluice

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2020, 01:57:22 PM »
In fact China was very quick to ban all Chinese citizens from travelling to destinations outside China. So even though we can with hindsight (it’s so easy to do things with hindsight) say that the only place to contain the outbreak was at origin in Wuhan, it’s unfair to say the Chinese didn’t do enough. They did everything in their power once they realized what they were dealing with.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2020, 02:07:10 PM »
Learn to care, and take action, when a study says you will fail miserably at something important?

The months-long U.S. government exercise in 2019 simulated a pandemic and how the government would react.
Result:  THE U.S IS HIGHLY UNPREPARED FOR A PANDEMIC.
Trump admin:  Meh.

Trump Administration Failed Dry Run ‘Crimson Contagion’ Pandemic Exercise
The 2019 simulation exposed underfunding, muddled leadership and equipment shortages that have plagued the U.S. coronavirus response.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/crimson-contagion-exercise-trump-administration-failures_n_5e744105c5b6eab7794560e6
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2020, 02:56:03 PM »
I am sure Li Wenliang is glad they immediately took him seriously.
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Alexander555

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2020, 02:56:37 PM »
You know, if the CCP had put the lockdown in place the first day they knew of the virus, we would not have these threads on this forum.

First, we don't know that, Tom. This virus spreads so fast, even a faster reaction time would have only bought a little more time. Like days. The moment they knew what it was, they reacted. No other country in the world reacted that fast and rigorously.

Second, what do you expect? That they know the R0, the symptoms, the death rate, the correct measures to put in place, all that stuff from day one? How could anyone possibly know all that by just knowing there is something new?

Which society/government in the world is clairvoyant enough to see the future and react in the absolute correct manner at day one? You need to react on all levels of society, at the exact time this thing is seen the first time to achieve that. How would this even be possible?

In Italy, apparently people died from COVID-19 as early as November. They attributed it to natural deaths because the age group who dies from this virus was so similar to the age group in which people die. It is not surprising they didn't immediately attribute it to a new form of a virus, because in Italy, there was also no psychic doctors! So, will you blame them as well? Or why do you want it from China only?

If you really need to blame someone, blame the guy who dismissed early intelligence reports laying out exactly what will happen, who dismissed all experts, who actively sabotaged the doctors and scientists who fight this, who sends people to death because his hotels and golf courses lose money.

  If people were already dying in november in Italy. Than why was Wuhan overrun much faster than Italy ? <snip, can you guys organise some boxing match somewhere? N.>
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 03:13:04 PM by Neven »

Alexander555

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2020, 02:59:51 PM »

You know, if the CCP had put the lockdown in place the first day they knew of the virus, we would not have these threads on this forum. 

That isn't remotely true.  As soon as a handful of people were infected, possibly even before any of them were sick, the die was cast.  It's a contagious virus, with days of asymptomatic spread before illness is apparent.  This epidemic could not possibly have been contained. 

China made a few missteps, but most of their response has been laudable.  There were published reports of an odd pneumonia before the cause was identified.  They quickly identified the virus as a novel coronavirus, and publicized this finding.  They very quickly determined the genetic sequence and published the information.  The world watched as Wuhan was put under the strictest quarantine in human history.  China bought the world weeks of time to prepare.  Most of the world utterly squandered that precious time.

The die was cast ? So you are saying that they could not have managed it better better when there were only a few cases. But now there are 80 000 it's possible.

Neven

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2020, 03:23:39 PM »
Here's a Financial Times article by Yuval Noah Harari that has some interesting points that I've selected:

Quote
Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus | Free to read
This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come

(...)

We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.

(...)

In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.

(...)

In their battle against the coronavirus epidemic several governments have already deployed the new surveillance tools. The most notable case is China. By closely monitoring people’s smartphones, making use of hundreds of millions of face-recognising cameras, and obliging people to check and report their body temperature and medical condition, the Chinese authorities can not only quickly identify suspected coronavirus carriers, but also track their movements and identify anyone they came into contact with. A range of mobile apps warn citizens about their proximity to infected patients. 

This kind of technology is not limited to east Asia. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel recently authorised the Israel Security Agency to deploy surveillance technology normally reserved for battling terrorists to track coronavirus patients. When the relevant parliamentary subcommittee refused to authorise the measure, Netanyahu rammed it through with an “emergency decree”.

You might argue that there is nothing new about all this. In recent years both governments and corporations have been using ever more sophisticated technologies to track, monitor and manipulate people. Yet if we are not careful, the epidemic might nevertheless mark an important watershed in the history of surveillance. Not only because it might normalise the deployment of mass surveillance tools in countries that have so far rejected them, but even more so because it signifies a dramatic transition from “over the skin” to “under the skin” surveillance. 

Hitherto, when your finger touched the screen of your smartphone and clicked on a link, the government wanted to know what exactly your finger was clicking on. But with coronavirus, the focus of interest shifts. Now the government wants to know the temperature of your finger and the blood-pressure under its skin. 

(...)

As a thought experiment, consider a hypothetical government that demands that every citizen wears a biometric bracelet that monitors body temperature and heart-rate 24 hours a day. The resulting data is hoarded and analysed by government algorithms. The algorithms will know that you are sick even before you know it, and they will also know where you have been, and who you have met. The chains of infection could be drastically shortened, and even cut altogether. Such a system could arguably stop the epidemic in its tracks within days. Sounds wonderful, right?

The downside is, of course, that this would give legitimacy to a terrifying new surveillance system. If you know, for example, that I clicked on a Fox News link rather than a CNN link, that can teach you something about my political views and perhaps even my personality. But if you can monitor what happens to my body temperature, blood pressure and heart-rate as I watch the video clip, you can learn what makes me laugh, what makes me cry, and what makes me really, really angry. 

It is crucial to remember that anger, joy, boredom and love are biological phenomena just like fever and a cough. The same technology that identifies coughs could also identify laughs. If corporations and governments start harvesting our biometric data en masse, they can get to know us far better than we know ourselves, and they can then not just predict our feelings but also manipulate our feelings and sell us anything they want — be it a product or a politician. Biometric monitoring would make Cambridge Analytica’s data hacking tactics look like something from the Stone Age. Imagine North Korea in 2030, when every citizen has to wear a biometric bracelet 24 hours a day. If you listen to a speech by the Great Leader and the bracelet picks up the tell-tale signs of anger, you are done for.

(...)

Even when infections from coronavirus are down to zero, some data-hungry governments could argue they needed to keep the biometric surveillance systems in place because they fear a second wave of coronavirus, or because there is a new Ebola strain evolving in central Africa, or because . . . you get the idea. A big battle has been raging in recent years over our privacy. The coronavirus crisis could be the battle’s tipping point. For when people are given a choice between privacy and health, they will usually choose health.

(...)

But to achieve such a level of compliance and co-operation, you need trust. People need to trust science, to trust public authorities, and to trust the media. Over the past few years, irresponsible politicians have deliberately undermined trust in science, in public authorities and in the media. Now these same irresponsible politicians might be tempted to take the high road to authoritarianism, arguing that you just cannot trust the public to do the right thing. 

Normally, trust that has been eroded for years cannot be rebuilt overnight. But these are not normal times. In a moment of crisis, minds too can change quickly. You can have bitter arguments with your siblings for years, but when some emergency occurs, you suddenly discover a hidden reservoir of trust and amity, and you rush to help one another. Instead of building a surveillance regime, it is not too late to rebuild people’s trust in science, in public authorities and in the media. We should definitely make use of new technologies too, but these technologies should empower citizens. I am all in favour of monitoring my body temperature and blood pressure, but that data should not be used to create an all-powerful government. Rather, that data should enable me to make more informed personal choices, and also to hold government accountable for its decisions. 

If I could track my own medical condition 24 hours a day, I would learn not only whether I have become a health hazard to other people, but also which habits contribute to my health. And if I could access and analyse reliable statistics on the spread of coronavirus, I would be able to judge whether the government is telling me the truth and whether it is adopting the right policies to combat the epidemic. Whenever people talk about surveillance, remember that the same surveillance technology can usually be used not only by governments to monitor individuals — but also by individuals to monitor governments.
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Neven

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2020, 03:25:51 PM »
For those who haven't seen it, here's a re-post of this Naomi Klein video, writer of the Shock Doctrine. Every shock is abused by governments to fast-forward policies that serve the interests of concentrated wealth, at the expense of the entire population:

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blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2020, 05:15:17 PM »
Another takeaway from all this could (IMHO should) be that when facing a potential threat, in order to protect lives, governments should overreact rather than waiting for things to develop for too long.

I mean, any expert warned for decades a global pandemic would come sooner or later. Why hasn't there be reserve ICU facilities? Why do hospitals run on low PPE stock? Why isn't there already a 'stop all air-traffic' switch in place? etc

Many of us wish for this in the face of climate change for >30 years...

Of course, i don't mean military spending when i call for addressing potential threats.

kassy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2020, 06:50:22 PM »
I will say it once again but a pandemic will wane. You might have lots of deaths but more survivors.

We really need to stop BAU and fight climate change like this disease.

Some things need to be moderated like local shops could open but maybe we really should do things differently. Price in the carbon costs on anything (so people will buy less useless shit). Promote a universal loader for all the ephone and tablet crap and no planned redundancy.

Take out all the easy to eliminate point sources that have existing solutions.
Stop wasting money running fracking crap for economical warfare.
Build local grids everywhere and what we need beyond that (but not in nature reserves ffs).
Stop free market crap and make sustainable things. This also means paying a fair share to local producers and to those making exotic things far away like chocolate.

If we were serious about GW we could make a list of industry we need and crap we don´t really need.

But we get this talk circus but no real action. The extra carbon needs to go to zero.

Also there is global warming but also the decline of water tables/aquifers rampant pollution and soil degradation.
 
If i was 18 i would so wonder how people thought this current state was ok.


 
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #38 on: March 26, 2020, 06:59:17 PM »
It appears to me that, no matter what your 'politics', they are confirmed by your experience of this pandemic.  Left, Right, Extreme, Moderate, Undeveloped, Disinterested:  no change, by and large.

Bernie is still the savior or still a distraction.  Donald is still great or still a simpleton.  Communism is bad, bad, bad or the Chinese did what nobody else could do or something in between. 

Or have you heard anybody say, "Oh my, I was clearly wrong all along.  Please forgive me!"?
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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2020, 05:12:23 AM »
Let us think more about the world wide population and all of living nature when discussing economics and energy policies and the future. Let us think more long term and all-inclusive.

This pandemic shows that we are all in the same boat and should help each other.
Especially in times of crises. The main crises are AGW/Biosphere collapse.

This pandemic tells us that 'our' main focus should be on (other) humans and not on the economy/finance.
Let us seriously analyse and rethink the evil dogma of Neoliberalism.

Let us stop with the dogmatic focus on growth. Let us rethink long term solutions. Take the reins away from commercial enterprise.
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bluice

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2020, 10:59:59 AM »
Harari's FT article linked here by Neven gives a wider perspective to the pandemic.

I'm starting to feel the crisis became global largely due to breakdown of international cooperation and leadership in the Trump-Brexit-Populist era.

When nations only look after their narrow short term interest they become incapable of handling cross-border issues such as COVID-19 or AGW. Instead of tackling the problem we see a blame game between the US and China and the lack of cooperation in the EU while China and Russia are scoring goodwill points with highly public relief efforts.

This is nothing new of course, but COVID-19 is a concrete example what our new normal means in practice. The inevitable economic crisis that follows is likely to worsen the situation. Economic protectionism and decrease in international trade and commerce is a near certainty but I wouldn't rule out total breakdown of the European Union and wars between nations somewhere around the globe. Emission reduction will be impossible when nations resort to local, usually fossil, energy reserves.

NeilT

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2020, 12:42:52 PM »
If anyone thinks that the economy will be sacrificed after this level of spending, they can simply forget it.  Not only will the economy be the primary focus when this is over, it will override every other concern by quite some margin.

The UK, for instance, is funding nearly twice as much as the US, if you consider population and economic size.  Resolving that funding gap will be the primary focus after the virus and the environment will be put on the back burner.

On a personal note I have a son in Argentina, not on holiday, he has lived there for 15 years.  He is extremely vulnerable to the virus due to a pre existing lung condition and I need to get him out of the country.  He was 1,000 miles from BA.  His existing identity documents have expired and I need to move him.

He managed to get some 200 miles closer but had to navigate 10 checkpoints to get there.  When he arrived, 5 hotels were open and nobody would take foreigners.  If it were not for the British embassy, who have been magnificent, he would probably be in jail by now and dead by the end of next week.

In order to solve the problem I have had to hire a private jet to get him back to BA.

Qualms about doing so? Zero.  Qualms about flying him on a 13.5 hour flight from BA back to the UK.  Zero.

I'm just glad that the private jet infrastructure exists to allow me to get him home.

Fortunately, with all the other flights closed, the impact to the environment of this single flight is negligible.

This virus is the worst thing for concerted action against AGW in the future.  Governments are going to focus on getting economies back on a level footing so they can pay back all this money they are borrowing now.

We may be seeing a drop in many pollutants right now.  But we will pay for that in a lack of reduction from BAU when the virus finally blows itself out in 2 or 3 months.  Or at least mainly blows itself out.
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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2020, 12:51:00 PM »
NeilT:
Even that drop is canceled by aerosols dropping
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kassy

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2020, 01:22:44 PM »
Can you buy him a spaceship when global warming starts to bite?
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Neven

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2020, 02:49:37 PM »
This virus is the worst thing for concerted action against AGW in the future.  Governments are going to focus on getting economies back on a level footing so they can pay back all this money they are borrowing now.

First of all, that's not how it works. A government isn't like a private person or household borrowing money from the bank, and then paying it back over time, with interest. These are fairy tales, brainwashed into people's minds by free market fundamentalists and right-wing politicians.

Second, and more importantly, the government doesn't pay back anything. It's the tax payers who are paying back. Concentrated wealth has taken over the economic and political systems, and so it's normal, average people who have to foot the bill, not the temporary guardians of the wealth, aka the rich. And that money goes straight to concentrated wealth.

I know some people want to keep it that way, so they can fly private jets across the planet. But it doesn't have to be that way. COVID-19 is a lesson that can potentially teach people that it doesn't have to be that way. Money is created out of thin air, has hardly any relationship with the real economy anymore, and can be set to any use, not just the endless increase and concentration of wealth.
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blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2020, 02:58:45 PM »
It's the tax payers who are paying back

I agree, Neven. Only the quoted part is kinda wrong.

They 'print' that money. What's happening here is the devaluation (inflation) of the dollar.

So this means it's cutting the buying power of every US citizen (and the countries the US dollar is currency).

Of course, this is only a short term pump, but the loss of buying power will stay.

Neven

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #46 on: March 27, 2020, 03:28:28 PM »
BTW, NeilT could be entirely right, of course. He to me represents the current level our collective consciousness is at.

What we have here, is a sure sign of a failed system that a) causes a pandemic, b) causes massive damage because of the decade-long degeneration of populations due to malnutrition and over-medication, and c) causes a highly deficient response due to underfunding, corner cutting and maintaining that health care is a privilege, not a right.

But as NeilT says, this sign will be used as an argument to double down on the system. And given the many NeilTs in the world, it will probably receive wide support. I mean, just look at that insanely corrupt stimulus package that was pushed down everybody's throat in the world's largest banana republic. One could describe it as 'ironic', if it wasn't so criminally murderous.
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2020, 05:02:13 PM »
...have you heard anybody say, "Oh my, I was clearly wrong all along.  Please forgive me!"?
Yes! 
Quote
Young Admits He Was Wrong on the ‘Beer Virus’

March 27, 2020 at 9:31 am EDT By Taegan Goddard ...

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who on March 13 told a group of seniors that fears of the “beer virus” have been overblown by the media, on Thursday delivered a very different message, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Said Young: “Weeks ago I did not fully grasp the severity of this crisis, but clearly, we are in the midst of an urgent public health emergency… This pandemic is dangerous and is especially threatening our senior citizens, of which I am one.”
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blumenkraft

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2020, 05:16:44 PM »
Hell freezes over!

\o/

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Re: Lessons from COVID-19
« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2020, 09:19:05 PM »
Amid Social Distancing, Walmart Sees an Interesting Sales Trend
Quote
Americans have been adjusting to a new normal as tens of millions of people are suddenly being compelled to work from home. Among other changes, people who rarely had to communicate via videoconferences now have to do so regularly.

That has led to a surprising change in purchasing patterns at Walmart Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett explained what is happening on Yahoo! Finance Live on Thursday.

What are people buying?
"In one of your previous segments you were talking about people with Zoom, and doing those types of conferencing: We're seeing increased sales in tops, but not bottoms," Bartlett said. "So, people who are concerned, obviously, from the waist up."

It sounds silly, but people who appear on video conferences generally are only seen from the waist up. Of course, it's never a good idea to be too casual in case you do end up on camera showing your entire outfit.

"These behaviors are going to continue to change and evolve as people get accustomed to this new lifestyle, if you will. And we're able to accommodate that, both online and in our stores," he added.

A new reality
This sales trend raises a lot of questions. What were people wearing to work before the coronavirus? Do people feel a need to dress better online than they would in person? What are consumers going to do with their half-outfits when this ends?

What this particular trend shows is that consumer demand patterns may shift in areas beyond food, household items, and other staples. It doesn't really make sense to buy new half outfits, but people are doing it and retailers may have to shift how they stock their apparel departments to meet changing demand.
https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/amid-social-distancing-walmart-sees-an-interesting-sales-trend-2020-03-27
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