As a youngster, my father used this expression a million times, something like, “That guy always seems to be a day late and a dollar short.” He had served in the military. Preparedness was a top priority in our household. He was even a Scouting Den Leader for me and boys in our neighborhood.
After his service, he became a teacher and coach. It’s an excellent philosophy for both students and athletes. “Get your homework and assignments submitted on time,” he demanded. “Success is 99% practice, sweat and work,” he reminded his players.
Today, my father sent me a text:
“Hi Scott. The doctors in the US are now saying that we should use face masks. Wow! You were correct after all so congratulations and I am sorry that I didn’t believe you. I thought you were too strong about it, but you were correct.”
It was about March 11th. The WHO (World Health Organization) finally declared SARS-CoV-2 a pandemic. Me? On January 28th, I sold about $50,000 worth of stock. The market was racing higher at the time but the virus outbreak in China concerned me. As most recognize now, when China sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. We live in a highly-interdependent society and China is the hub. American Hubris prevents us from accepting this fact.
I’m not a genius. I’m smart, but likely no more than you. I am a scientist. I’m also an excellent analyst. I don’t get distracted by political parties and their agendas. Don’t listen to the constant bickering by politicians and their supporters. I seek data and real numbers. I make decisions based on reason rather than a tribal preferences.
Comparatively, Japan has suffered about 180 deaths (57 X 3) and 7,000 infections (2,300 X 3). As a nation, the U.S. has over 6,000 deaths and close to 250,000 infections.
Asian nations with high-density populations have experience with infectious viral breakouts. To date, Japan — a country of 127 million people — has confirmed about 2,300 cases of COVID-19 and suffered 57 deaths. Around 472 people have recovered. UPDATE: As of Monday, April 6th, Japan reports 3,654 COVID-19 cases and at least 85 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. is about three times the population size of Japan. Comparatively, Japan has suffered about 180 deaths (57 X 3) and 7,000 infections (2,300 X 3). As a nation, the U.S. has over 6,000 deaths and close to 250,000 infections. Politicians say the worse is yet to come.
Japanese officials didn’t shutter their nation for business. Millions still go to work, use public transportation and continue their lives somewhat normally. They did immediately #MaskUp.
The U.S. routinely loses some 20,000 – 80,000 Americans each year due to common flu, and for many, this seems acceptable. I can’t believe the CDC hasn’t recommended wearing masks during our annual flu seasons. To me, it appears we could easily do better.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams (2.29):
“Seriously people. STOP BUYING MASKS!”
“They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
“The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks.”
Gao Fu, director general, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
America is 30-Days Late and $6 Trillion Dollars Short
And, here we are. NYC failed to heed the example of successful nations. They now are infamously Ground Zero for the second time in this new century. We can’t blame New York officials for 9.11. They all have blood on their hands due to their incompetent response to COVID-19 — including Mayor De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The president has blood on his hands as well. The CDC does also. Republicans blew it; Democrats blew it. Americans as a whole blew it. I didn’t actually. I was following Asian directives and protocols. They’ve had the most effective response.
Unfortunately, most of our nation is under lockdown. New York is screaming for more ventilators, hospital beds and professional medical staff. Other cities know they are only days from similar shortages and disaster. We’re 30-days late in our response. SARS-CoV-2 is out of the bag and we can’t get it back in.
Our tardy reaction also cost our nation dearly. Although rich and poor are equally at risk, and we’re all poor now, the price tag for this national failure is unfathomable. The costs of COVID Recovery is over $6 Trillion. We don’t have $6 Trillion. This expenditure goes on the national credit card. We’re running annual deficits over a trillion dollars per year. Essentially, the Federal Reserve in printing money to buy back Treasury bills currently in circulation. This is dangerous.
There was and is a better way. We did not collapse due to poor economic fundamentals, as we witnessed in 2007-2008 under the GW Bush administration. We need simply to “pause” for a couple weeks or months. Such action is unprecedented. We’re facing a novel (new) threat in SARS-CoV-2, yet our political officials applied a remedy from the 1930s. We need a novel (new) strategy. I outlined this plan days ago.
However, we are not only 30-days late, but also $6 Trillion short. And what do most Americans think about the proposed $1,200 stimulus check? This will give millions of citizens enough money to make it to lunch April 4th. What will they do for the next six to eight weeks?
Had the entire U.S. population simply #MaskedUp, practiced some common sense social distancing and personal hygiene, reduced congregating in large groups, and increased testing of suspected infectious individuals, our self-imposed economic crash would not have been necessary. This is what happens when Americans do not have our priorities straight.
I dislike whiners. Despise those who gripe but do not offer solutions. I’m a fixer and problem solver. SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t seem that unbeatable to me. Yes, COVID-19 is a wildfire of a disease. But we are 330 MILLION Americans. We aren’t one tribe. We are the best the world has to offer. We’ve escaped brutal dictators; fled famine; defeated corrupt nations. Collectively we built the most powerful country in the history of all humankind.
SARS-CoV-2 is a monster. It’s an invisible killer. It’s mean, and hurts good people, as well as bad. Although it appears to kill mostly the elderly, babies and children are not immune. Youngsters have better outcomes in general — but will you?
I call this outbreak a version of COVID-19 Roulette. Each person is tossing the dice. You likely will not know if you’re infected. Most of us do not know who is infectious. People are being beat for simply coughing or sneezing in public. This is an insidious, evil threat!
What Do We Do Now?
First thing to do is to stop panicking. America, We Got This!
What do we need? It’s quite simple actually. The list is relatively short.
- All people need to #MaskUp and social distance when outdoors and around others.
- We need 250,000 more hospital beds
- We need 250,000 more medical teams
- We need 250,000 more ventilators and tons of PPE
FIRST: We need a billion masks. We need more PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Not all need a N95 face mask or biohazard suit. Most masks and PPE can be made at home. With millions of people out of work, let’s get busy designing and making masks and PPE. Rather than talk about the FEAR of COVID-19, let’s use social media to share ideas how to make high-quality protective masks and equipment at home.
#MaskUp. Wearing a face mask is the new way to say, “I love you and care about you and your family.”
SECOND: We’re 330 MILLION Americans strong and NYC is hardest hit. They need 10,000 ventilators by next Wednesday. They need more beds. They need more medical staff. Look under your bed. How about your closet? How many old ventilators sitting around collecting dust across the country? How many stored in warehouses?
Who can make ventilators? We have the most ingenious entrepreneurs and scientists in the world. Already creative people have demonstrated we can “pig-tail” existing ventilators so more patients can share one device. This could double or triple our existing supplies.
Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico develops some of our latest bullets and bombs for the war machine. Now they’re working on ventilators. Many, many companies are stepping up. We simply need time. And for thousands of patients, time is something they do not have. We need it now. #JustDoIt
THIRD: We’re calling all those who have professional medical training to serve in this war. Maybe you just had one semester of nursing coursework. You know enough to fight SARS-CoV-2. Volunteer for America! We Can Do It!
Our grandparents fought war on THREE fronts — the Germans, the Japanese, and the Great Depression. We consider them collectively as the Greatest Generation.
However you think of it: God has called on us or Nature has called on us, we recognize we’ve been destroying the environment. We’re not clean as a species. And we admit we have faltered to provide a decent standard of living for all creatures — human as well as non.
This is our re-set. This is OUR opportunity to prove our mettle; to show we are more than selfish people desperate to return to shopping malls. Our youngsters are generally unmotivated and lacking inspiration. They’ve asked for a cause. They have it now. Challenge them to get involved today. Challenge ourselves to do more than sit impatiently in isolation and quarantine.
President John F. Kennedy said famously some 60 years ago, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Are you asking?
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”