Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Latest COVID-19 Model Data Shows A Running Catastrophe- And Why Preparations For Mail Only Voting Need To Be Started NOW

"The inability of so much of the public to remember what Trump was saying just a month ago suggests that, in addition to the coronavirus crisis, we’re also experiencing a national amnesia pandemic."   - Bret Stephens, NY Times  

"Do not be like us!  Don't make the same mistakes we Italians made!  Learn from our experience!  Be aggressive  in containing the spread of the infection from the very beginning."  -  Dr. Cristina Capellini, physician from Bergamo, quoted in WSJ today ('Italian Cases Starting To Slow',   p. A10)

  "If a few people do the wrong thing it hurts everybody. We saw a picture this weekend of a beach in Florida that was totally empty. The county next door didn't have that rule and as soon you crossed the county line there were people lined up  and squished together.  We can't have that! We are in this together." - Dr. David Agus on CBS this a.m. referencing the new, more dire model forecasts  

"The hope is that the number of American deaths now - if we're lucky - could be more in the range of 100,000 to 240,000, and not 1 to 2 million.  That is essentially the goal as described by the Trump administration. And that is only if the United States somehow gets more serious about preventing people from getting it, and passing it on... But the U.S. has the worst epidemic in the world  and the worst managed. "  Rachel Maddow last night, in her first segment.

Here's a newsflash:  The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, in spite of the social distancing measures that have drastically limited citizens’ interactions and movements.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic will very probably last into at least well into November,  at least from what I can discern using an adaptation of earlier diffusion wave models, e.g.

Applying The Mathematics Of Traveling Waves & Diff...

It's time states commence preparations for mail voting in the general election. The key equation (1)  is that defining the rate of increase in the infected population  I,  which is now increasing for the  U.S. S and I denote the densities of the susceptible and infected populations (per sq. km or per sq. m).  D is the diffusion coefficient and  m  is the mortality rate for the given disease. The coefficient K defines the rate at which the disease is transmitted locally. Using the values currently available and incorporating projections from a just released Univ. Of Washington data ,model, e.g. 

It is abundantly clear this COVID-19 pandemic crisis will go on for months at minimum likely through August and with over 100,000 Americans dead even in the "optimal"  projection case of immediate severe mitigation by ALL states, not just the big Blue ones.  Currently six states have no stay at home orders at all: Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas. That means those states are inevitably susceptible to further spread of the virus no matter what the quarantine states do. That means we are looking at an extension of the disease to months, not just weeks.  In addition, a host of states have only partial stay at home orders: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama.  Again, meaning there is no chance we can expect any "perfect" mitigation to limit the deaths to just 100,000 - 240,000.  The point? Without statewide orders to stay the hell inside, we are looking at a joke or jokes, not any serious plans or proposals.  We are certainly not looking at the given states being seriously committed to limiting deaths, especially in their elderly residents.

Even in the "best case" scenario for rigorous state lockdowns, mitigations we are looking at over 2,000 deaths per day going through May.  See e.g.

But this is assuming full mitigation, not partial like we have now.  The takeaway then cannot possibly be as sanguine as portrayed because it would mean a nation wide order for all citizens to stay at home. Not six states blowing it off, and 11 others only doing it partially. That is the assumption for these models for which the projections are so dire. Hence, the outcome in reality cannot possibly be as "good" as that depicted.  This is given how the Trump bunch has loused up pandemic planning, lying through their teeth with 'happy talk' every step of the way, and even forcing health workers to compete for masks, gowns, ventilators.  But most abominably refusing to order national shutdowns while coordinating use of scarce supplies.  Like it or not, the PR maestro and reality TV idiot -  so beloved by his freakish base-   now faces the specter of being responsible for more deaths than in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.

 This means deaths will still be mounting  deep into the fall and we will be faced with mass shutdowns throughout the U.S. past November 3rd - as inconceivable as that sounds now.  That means the states need to get going with planning and preparation for an all mail ballot general election..

Currently, as noted in a recent WSJ piece (March 28-29, p. A5, 'States Weigh Expansion of Vote by Mail') "all states allow some voters to cast mail ballots, but a third of states apply conditions for residents to use that method."   In order to ensure fairness in the general election those conditions need to be removed, despite what the DOE-Turd said about "Dems winning too easily if we allow mail voting."  No, dope, if you don't allow mail voting in a parlous time such as we're in you are taking away the citizens' franchise - and that is downright unconstitutional.  Besides, we already know the pandemic has already caused some states to delay primary voting (e.g. Ohio).  This can't happen for the general election for which the date is mandated under federal  law.

Colorado, our state, already has mail voting and has used it for years now. Both of us, let me note, have also done the traditional thing of going out to the polling station - both here in the Springs and earlier in Columbia, Maryland - and believe me there is no comparison.  It is far easier to not have to take time off from a job to vote, or to battle illness, physical handicap or whatever. Nor is it necessary to stand in long lines to wait to cast a ballot- only to learn on arriving at the polling station there are no more ballots, so you have to use a "provisional" ballot. 

Why don't more states offer the convenience of mail ballots and early voting? Who knows? But my suspicion is basically they want  to make it difficult to vote for certain demographic groups they don't trust - such as African-Americans, Native Americans and others.  Trump's very words cited earlier, indict him of wanting to "stack the deck" for Repukes by not allowing mail ballots.  He knows in his black heart that easier voting means many more voters going Dem and his Reptiles being forced out of office. This is a no brainer. Or should be, but evidently not among Repukes.  

In the same piece we learn that Miss0uri  Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft isn't buying it. He insists a decision "shouldn't be rushed".  Of course, this is insane and insupportable given "election officials need months to prepare options for the November votes, a date set by federal law."   

As par for the course, Ashcroft's concerns are specious, i.e.:   "He said while he is open to changes his concerns include logistics and protecting mail ballots from tampering."

This is specious because as the Brennan Center of Justice has repeatedly shown ballot tempering is minimal to non-existent. We are talking of incidents in the range from 0 to 0,0001%.  (I.e. out of 10,000 ballots one may be tampered with.) It simply isn't worth bothering about in relation to the potential to invoke this nonsense to deny millions the vote.   Possibly realizing after he said that this was arrant codswallop, Ashcroft then blurted that "there could be problems for voters who mail ballots or vote early - like some did for the Democratic primaries - but for which the candidate then dropped out."  Again, nonsense, as I don't expect either Biden or Trump to "drop out" and those are the two principals to be voted on     

Ashcroft then showed his true Reeptardo colors as he went on to blab:  "If you want to have  the safest election you got to have people show up on election day."  Uh, no you do not, Einstein. Not in the midst of what is turning out to be the worst pandemic in over one hundred years.  Again, this turkey is thinking in terms of the minuscule incidence of ballot tampering which he is blowing up into some major pervasive issue, which it is not.    But his spin falls in line with Trump's given the realization that more expeditious voting plays in favor of the Democrats, not Repubs.  So that is why it is not "safe", because THEY will lose!    

Wendy Weiser, head of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center was quoted as saying:  

"Our election infrastructure right now is not currently prepared for the dramatic increase in mail voting that we're going to have to anticipate and allow."

Well, our election infrastructure had better wake up and get going, or watch our general election dive into the dumpster.  As for the scofflaw red state governors and their obsession with the economy over mitigation, they do well to learn the "first rule of virus economics". As articulated by the University of Chicago's Austan Goolsbee, the essence is to resuscitate the economy you need to stop the virus.  Trying to resuscitate the economy prematurely will only lead to greater disaster because more infected people will be unleashed to spread the virus later and later,.  This should not be 'rocket science' or like a Mensa entry test.

See also:

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's misfires on virus death rates, tests


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