Ask A Genius 541 – Fresh Prince of Air-Heads: 60,000 Unspeakable Acts, Unspoken Words
April 30, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, the American response. Jared Kushner was proclaiming about the virus that it was more or less mission accomplished. The best statement that I heard about that was, 60,000 people were not available for comment.
Rick Rosner: Yes, we’re at sixty-three thousand.
Jacobsen: Good old Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air died today.
Jacobsen: Yes. He died today.
Rosner: It is all pretty sad.
Jacobsen: I do not know if he died from the virus.
Rosner: Any discussion of the response in the US with a discussion of Republicans who dominate our national government and many of our state governments. So the deal is that, as Reagan was the first modern Republican president in the 70s and 80s, conservative think tanks realized that there are tens of millions of dumb people in the US that they can more easily politically exploit.
And they started making themselves into the party that leverages angry, dumb people. They get people angry about issues like abortion or gun control, and then they bring them under this big, angry umbrella.
Then 30 years ago, Fox News began, which is a constant outrage engine for its viewers. You are constantly getting them worked up about the issues they’ve been taught to care about.
And two more things about the Republicans. One is they are under demographic pressure. The Republicans are a white people’s party and an old people’s party and as their members gets old and age out of being voters, as the country gets browner; they’re under pressure because they’re losing numbers.
So are the Democrats, the independents are growing at a higher rate. The Democrats are holding up a little better. That can vary month to month.
Jacobsen: What are the percentage of the independents now?
Rosner: The last time I looked, it was, 26 or no, 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat and the rest independent. But the month before they were straight up tied. Republicans and Democrats with this coronavirus thing has cost them a few percentage points.
The last thing is that since they’re under demographic pressure, they have to do all sorts of anti-democratic stuff to maintain their political advantage. With the main two of the main tools being, voter suppression and gerrymandering. We do not have to go into the specifics of that.
We do have one thing is that given that we may still be under quarantine for the general election, the Republicans are trying to stand firm against vote by mail because vote by mail is more Democratic. if everybody was able to vote by mail, the Republicans would be wiped out politically. Because if everybody votes, Republicans are destroyed.
So there is a very terrible part in there. They hold the presidency and they hold the Senate and they have a lot of sway in the courts. The Republican President Trump blew off responding to the virus in any effective way for roughly 10 weeks after he learned of it.
People started getting inklings of it in November. But that was really kind of way too soon to expect national governments to do anything about it. It was just fairly on the rise. A really, really good, national government might start paying attention in December and then any competent national government would have started paying sharp attention in early January.
Trump didn’t do anything effective until March. He did one ineffective thing around January 29th or 30th, which is a travel ban for people from China, which was really sterilely porous. Anybody who’s a U.S. citizen coming back from China maybe got their temperature taken, that was prohibited from entering the country.
So since the China traveling to the talks about how that saved America, which it obviously hasn’t. Since we have two and a half times as many deaths as any other country and one third of all the confirmed cases in the world and more than one quarter of all the deaths. Obviously, our response wasn’t adequate.
Banning Chinese travelers didn’t do much because by the time he did that, the virus was already across Europe and it was European travelers; and it was already here. It was European travelers who were bringing it as opposed to just Chinese travelers.
So the ban, even though, that was the one thing that might have been a little effective that he did. So he talks about how that is a hugely important thing that he did. But really, it didn’t do much. What would have done much better was testing, but he didn’t do any testing until March.
Then the CDC testing was just pathetic. We’re one week into March, at the time, and the CDC processed a total of 77 tests, 11 on average, of 11 tests a day. Testing is still wildly inadequate for three weeks. Testing averaged 150,000 a day until this last week. 150,000 is roughly 0.042% of the US population.
Now that’s increased to roughly 210,000 a day or roughly – Oh, I do not know – 0.62 percent of the population. We’re still not at 2 percent of the population being tested. So testing has been awful. We have a million, 1.08 million, confirmed cases.
We probably have at least a million unconfirmed cases because testing sucks, maybe as many as 2 or 3 million unconfirmed cases. Or if you look at the antibody testing, it could be wildly higher, many millions.
But the antibody tests, which measure if you were exposed to it at some point, those tests are all super shitty and they give a number of false positives. So the number of false positives might outweigh the number of actual positives for the antibody tests.
OK, so constantly, there’s a whole timeline of Trump and his people saying that the virus is no big deal and it is going away. Yesterday, the US had 2400 confirmed coronavirus deaths. As we’ve talked about, a lot of deaths get missed either intentionally or unintentionally.
And if you compare the number of the average mortality per month in the US or per week in the US, it is apparent that many more people are dying than are being counted as official coronavirus deaths. It might be as many as 54 percent more.
So we’re still losing thousands of people a day to coronavirus and even just 2,000 people a day. If that continues for a year, you’re looking at 736,000 deaths, which would make that the deadliest pandemic in US history, even more so than the Spanish Flu, which killed, estimates vary wildly. But, the last number I saw was 675,000 people in a year and a half in 1918-19.
This also means that Republicans who are doing anything they can to deflect blame of use per capita arguments, that it is really not so bad on a per capita basis. The deal is, it is still fucking bad. We’re number one in deaths and cases on a non-per-capita basis.
On a per capita basis, we might be 9th or 10th. That’s still shitty because we’re a developed country. We prided ourselves on doing shit and we shouldn’t be in the top 10 most fucked up countries, developed countries, first world countries, because of this. So that’s pretty much it.
And it looks like it is going to continue. There have been hopes that summer would make it drop back some. It is still kind of early to tell. But we’re still racking up, as I said, thousands of deaths a day. Also, Republicans keep grasping at a cure at that.
There is the big thing about hydroxychloroquine, which looks like it is just not very good. It is a little bit killy, the heart arrhythmias.
There is the new thing that’s being touted. It seems as if it is anti-biotic, I guess, antiviral. It is an anti-something that even a set of tests reduce the recovery time from on average 15 days to 11 days. This is typical of antiviral treatments that they do not just keep.
They do not cure things magically. They only reduce the severity. Because viruses are far simpler, infectious machines than bacteria. Bacteria are alive. If you kill them, they become noninfectious.
Viruses aren’t alive. They’re just little fricking spring-loaded machines that inject RNA into cells. They do not live. They just exist. They do not breathe, because they’re simpler and because there are no biological processes, like breathing or eating or whatever to interrupt.
They’re harder to wipe out. So antivirals are much less effective than antibacterials. So this new thing reduces the recovery time by 30 percent, according to one test, and it may reduce mortality by 11 percent versus 8 percent for other treatments, but which is a non-statistically significant result.
So you’ll probably hear if you’re listening to American media, there’s assholes like, Fox News; Laura Ingraham and company are still touting hydroxychloroquine and saying there’s a conspiracy.
They like to say stuff like there’s a conspiracy to make Trump look bad because it is his cure by not using it and letting more people die. This is his horse. This is just complete horseshit. So they’ll keep pushing chloroquine and they may talk about this new ‘cure,’ if that’s what you call it, in super glowing terms, when it is really just one of a whole bunch of antivirals that offer very mediocre results. That’s pretty much it.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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