Things That Matter, and Things That Don’t Matter

Lionel has a good question:

“So, with the threat of international epidemics, anyone want to talk about transgender bathrooms?”

Plastic straws then? Plastic bags? Personal pronouns?

These are all things that don’t really matter. The coronavirus epidemic, he reckons, will re-focus our attention onto things that really matter, like life and death.

And I think he could be right – if this epidemic really does become a matter of life and death.

It’s perhaps that, in the absence of really serious threats, people become pre-occupied with unimportant and trivial pseudo-threats. When there are no matters of high priority to be dealt with, they are replaced by matters of low priority. Like plastic straws and plastic bags and personal pronouns.

It’s not just those things that don’t matter. Tobacco doesn’t matter either. It doesn’t really matter if people smoke tobacco. And carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doesn’t matter either.

And sugar doesn’t matter either. And salt doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if people eat cheeseburgers or hot dogs or cream donuts. These things simply don’t matter.

It would matter if the world really is “on fire” like Greta Thunberg says it is. But the world is not on fire. It’s an exaggeration to say that it is. It’s maybe just slightly warmer than it was a century ago. And maybe not even that.

And there isn’t a “tobacco epidemic” like the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control claims. Tobacco is a plant, not a communicable disease. A field of wheat is not a “wheat epidemic.” A forest is not a “tree epidemic.”

It always requires exaggeration to make the unimportant seem more important than it really is.

It’s got so bad in recent years that I still don’t know whether this new coronavirus epidemic is really serious or not. After all, we have a long history of flu epidemics that never happened, and so they’re probably crying wolf again about this latest epidemic. Are the current 3831 deaths worldwide a lot? At what point does it become really serious? Ten thousand deaths? A hundred thousand deaths? A million deaths?

Or perhaps it only becomes serious when you start praying that you don’t get it too. And even more serious when you start praying that your family and friends and neighbours don’t get it. And maybe yet more serious when you pray out loud for absolutely everybody, all the time. A prayer is an intense wish or hope. Sometimes it’s so intense that it’s spoken or shouted aloud. To whom, or to what, are such prayers addressed? Perhaps God is simply whatever it is that prayers are addressed to. Perhaps God is implicit in every prayer, and people only start believing in God when they start praying.

I’ve never been on one, but you hear about planes where the passengers all burst into applause when the pilot lands it successfully at some airport on a stormy day. And that’s because they were all silently praying that he would manage it. Their applause was the expression of their relief when he succeeded. If they hadn’t been praying, they wouldn’t have applauded. And if they hadn’t been praying, it was because they fully expected the pilot to routinely land the plane.

In an unpredictable and uncertain world, people will be praying all the time for one thing or another. And people who are praying are addressing their prayers to Something. And if they’re all praying to God out loud together, they’ll find themselves in a church. So that’s maybe how churches come into existence. It’s not that people go to church and then start praying, but that they start praying and find themselves in a church surrounded by people saying the same prayers. Praying for a good harvest. Praying for rain. Praying for long life. It all starts with prayer. And the churches empty when people stop praying because life has become so predictable and certain and secure that there’s no need for prayer.

So if this new coronavirus epidemic becomes something really bad, people will all start praying. They’ll start praying even if they never go to church, and don’t believe in God. And once they’ve started praying, they’ll start to believe in God, and they’ll start going to church. So the coronavirus epidemic might well end up refilling our empty churches, if only in thanksgiving for having survived it.

About Frank Davis

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33 Responses to Things That Matter, and Things That Don’t Matter

  1. Dr Evil says:

    The information I have seen which is second hand of course suggests that this Corona virus V-19 has a lower mortality rate than influenza virus. If the figures are accurate. It does have a rather long incubation period of up to 14 days which is much longer than normal Corona cold-type viruses. I have to say that there is a lot of hysteria on display and a lot of incompetence as well regarding international travel and quarantining suspected cases. (I am a professional medical microbiologist BTW)

    • beobrigitte says:

      Like this one?

      So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
      Tell this the Italians.

      (I am a professional medical microbiologist BTW)
      Ah, good. Then I don’t have to explain the obvious to you.

  2. robbo(with the small r) says:

    My hands dont like the constant washing with these hand sanitizers, so i predict a lot of dermatitis in the future

  3. beobrigitte says:

    Things That Matter, and Things That Don’t Matter…..

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo criticized the federal government on Sunday for delays in allowing private laboratories in New York State to test for the coronavirus.

    At a news conference, Mr. Cuomo also announced 16 new confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the total number in New York State to 106. But he said that the state would not know the full extent of the spread until it could do more testing.
    “I would get nervous if the number didn’t go up,” he said. He added: “The more tests we run, the better.” In his most pointed criticism to date, Mr. Cuomo said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been slow in responding to the epidemic and then too slow in allowing states to do more testing.

    Mr. Cuomo, speaking at the Northwell Health Labs at the Center for Advanced Medicine, a private laboratory in North New Hyde Park, on Long Island, said seven labs in the state could begin testing immediately for the coronavirus if given federal approval.
    “The C.D.C. has not authorized the use of this lab, which is just outrageous and ludicrous,” he said of Northwell. “C.D.C., wake up, let the states test, let private labs test, let’s increase as quickly as possible our testing capacity so we can identify the positive people. Not to be using this laboratory, not to be using the other private labs around the state makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Stock market or people?

  4. Rhys says:

    And I live in the city (with clusters now) where paramedics won’t come into your flat if you smoke, because the stale smoke is so toxic and they have ‘the right to refuse unsafe working conditions’.

    If this weren’t such a shitshow, I’d be laughing.

    • beobrigitte says:

      WHAT???? You’re kidding!!! ……….. Are you???? Where the %$#& do you live?

      I have just come up with another (very religious) theory: God send this virus to rid us of all the liars and corrupt institutions.
      All we have to do is apply common sense and practice grinning.

      • Rhys says:

        I’m in Beautiful British Columbia. Vancouver, specifically. This happened years ago, and happened again two months ago – both times sciatica flares so bad I couldn’t walk, so had to crawl out the door. Boy, that was fun. I suggested if they were this risk-averse, they might want to consider a different line of employment, but to no avail. Not all paramedics are like that, but if it’s happened twice…

        • beobrigitte says:

          Rhys, I believe you!! My eldest (now anti-smoker!) sibling lives there, too.
          It is rather amusing that my eldest sibling is eager to skype with me. I guess my eldest sibling is beginning to feel rather uncomfortable – Canada today reported it’s first death…

  5. Саня says:

    Really! I did not know that. Well, will not call then.

  6. beobrigitte says:

    Worst first, I guess…
    Italy 9,172 (+1,797) cases; 463 (+97)deaths; 733 critical; 724 recovered
    Although Italy does have a large number of older people, these 1,797 new cases are a bit much in one day.
    I am concerned that the many Italians who frantically left the Lombardy to go south when the new measure of a lock-down leaked are taking the virus with them. (Viral shedding does occur before symptoms start). I was surprised to see so many people running unhindered to and through train stations! I’m afraid, if you’re asked to self – isolate, you do not go out at all! Not even to watch your team playing football or run to take a train!!
    By now Italy’s health system will start to buckle under the strain – health workers do get sick and need to be isolated.
    The whole of Italy is now on lock – down. Staying home has to become the new going out.

    France 1,412 (+203) cases; 30 (+11) deaths; 21 critical; 12 recovered
    Cancelling any event that is greater than 1000 people is not going to make much of a difference. Postpone all sports events! No football game – no people going there! Staying home has to become the new going out.

    Spain 1,229 (+555) cases; 30 (+13) deaths; 11 critical; 32 recovered

    Germany 1,191 (+151) cases; 2 (+2) deaths; 9 critical; 18 recovered
    Oh, well….. God love Health Minister Spahn- because somebody has to!!! The idiot health minister had this glorious idea in this morning’s briefing: do not close schools and Kindergardens. Health workers will be needed in work.
    Erm…. You work in e.g. ITU and your kid brings the virus home because one of the people working there has it/another kid with an infected parent brings it to the Kindergarden etc.etc. is another recipe for disaster.
    Spahn also recommended to cancel events with more than 1000 people. Wha??? No, postpone all events!!!
    “We’re still trying to contain the virus”! Vollpfosten!!! (oops, I had a temporary blackout)
    The 2 virologists, also speaking, were visibly cringing and tried their best to give a realistic picture. They did not mince their words and I am grateful for that.

    USA 624 (+83) cases; 22 deaths; 8 critical; 15 recovered
    By the looks of it, there is more testing going on. I REALLY, REALLY hope so!!! No death today sure still is plausible. [I apologize for my acquired mistrust – the massive delay in testing is inexcusable!!]
    The rest depends on reporting criteria which I haven’t found out yet.
    Donald Trump sure has a lot of time to twitter!

    UK 321 (+43) cases; 5 (+2) deaths; 0 critical; 18 people recovered
    This is far better than I expected!!! (My estimate was in the 400s) I really hope Boris will not wait until 1000 before going into the next phase. Everything has to be now about the slow-down so the NHS can cope. Testing-tracing-testing-tracing – EXACTLY the way to go!! Boris got it right!
    I live in a cluster forming area but feel informed enough to make my own decision. Common sense ones.
    You know, we are not helpless. We can make common sense decisions. And they work best – been proven over centuries.

    Ermm… just a question: will an economic collapse rid us of the anti-smoker infestation and the WHO?

    • beobrigitte says:
      (the bold – my emphasis! checked on various sites)
      Trump attends coronavirus briefing
      President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the White House’s coronavirus task force have arrived in the briefing room to speak to members of the press about the administration’s coronavirus efforts.

      The briefing, originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET, was twice postponed.

      The briefing comes the same day that two lawmakers in recent contact with Trump announced they would self-quarantine.

      It also comes hours after the Dow closed down more than 2,000 points and Trump had a meeting on potential economic stimulus measures.

      I REALLY hope the two lawmakers haven’t got the virus and therefore Trump doesn’t get it. The medical care he would be receiving no-one else gets. And he’d be back on twitter soon.

  7. beobrigitte says:

    Apologies for going a bit overboard with commenting:
    There are videos about that would indicate a second wave (yep, this can happen although I’d rather it didn’t) in China (and elsewhere).
    I have checked NASA data for air pollution in big cities but cannot find any other than how wonderfully clean the air has become, so not much industry but also not much cremating.
    I know this has been “debunked” (by whom?) but I’m afraid working a crematorium 24/7 does produce measurable changes (e.g.nitrogen dioxide and “heat-spots”) in the air.

    At this point in time I therefore believe China is nearing the end of the PANDEMIC.

  8. Griblet says:

    Sorry Frank but completely OT (Nothing to do with the CV)

    With the budget almost upon us I thought you might like to have a look at this:

    The PDF can be downloaded.

    It is mind boggling and frightening in equal measure. We are about to commit to industrial/agricultural suicide. I can’t get my head round it. Is it an early April 1st joke?

  9. waltc says:

    Again, Frank, I’m not sure that when this passes people won’t become even more hypochondriacal and more fearful of anything–or anyone–who might be a disease vector. (See the convenient study that the thirdhand smoke wafting insideously from smokers’ clothes can make a no-smoking movie theater dangerous to innocents.) Nor will it stop the Legislators. Recall that in the immediate wake of Sept 11, Bloomberg downplayed it, claiming that “that many New Yorkers were killed every year from secondhand smoke ” and that that was the danger we should concentrate on. And right after that, he and the gi-along city council banned smoking in bars.

    • waltc says:


    • Frank Davis says:

      I simply don’t see how people can possibly go on and on forever getting more and more fearful of anything.

      Life isn’t like that. When has this ever happened in the entirety of human history? Never.

      Things come and go. They never just keep on coming.

      If nothing else, one terror gets replaced by another terror. We’re seeing that happening right now with the new coronavirus. And in time, the new coronavirus will be replaced by something else that everyone is terrified of.

      • Barry Homan says:

        The reason it hasn’t happened in previous history is simple. Back in the old days, folks dealt with REAL fears, there was no need to create manufactured ones. Infant mortality, crop failure, diseases with no treatment or cures, floods, famine, little protection from severe, ravaging weather… today many such problems have been erradicated. With better, safer living conditions came improved educational standards. More research was devoted to areas like psychology, a new field of study. Research was done into how best to control citizens through fear and propoganda. Goebbels and the nazis succeeded in employing such tactics, so well that such methods still get used today – why not? It works.

        • Joe L. says:

          +1, Barry. I have said before that I think Frank needs to revisit Idle Theory and explore how when a society passes a certain threshold of idleness, it creates do-gooders and busybodies who manufacture fear for control and profit.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Off the top of my head, something I keep going back to: the war on smoking is a moral war being conducted by a bunch of killjoys. They don’t like people idly sitting in bars, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and enjoying themselves. They want them working. They want people working hard. They want them suffering.

          These people invariably fix on things that people enjoy to ban or restrict. Tobacco. Alcohol. Sugar. Meat. Salt. Cars. Warmth (as in global warming). Freedom (they always want control).

          I want people to have maximum freedom and idleness and pleasure. But these people don’t. They want minimum freedom and idleness and pleasure.

  10. smokingscot says:


    economic collapse rid us of the anti-smoker infestation and…

    People or stock markets.

    This is short selling territory, one of the classics. Essentially you sell shares you don’t own then ride the market down and fullfil your contract at the end of the trading day by buying them at a lower price. Markets went down by between 5 and 7% yesterday and it’s been3 days in a row, so people skilled in this type of market can make stupendous amounts of money.

    That’s your 1%.

    And they’re big on philanthropy. And anti smoking is a cause that makes them go all warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t think this wee event will stop them. Nor – especially not – the control freaks, nor the petty tin god’s like Bob Blackman, the MP who always asks for taxing tobacco companies and funding TC.

    The WHO. That’s another Noble Cause for Rich. Last time it was in serious trouble, Ted Turner of CNN fame bunged them a lot of millions. Bill Gates likes the Ethiopian currently in charge of the place, so it’ll survive, especially the Ethiopian.

    However the whole anti smoking thing is suffering from “fatigue” and many of their recent studies and peer reviewed crap is so infantile, so ridiculous and so irrelevant to Mr/s average that they’ve become yet another irritating parasite, taking money from good causes. I’m always pleased when that side of the story is mentioned in MSM comments sections.

    This is blue sky stuff, but if it ever emerges that smokers are several times LESS likely to contract the virus… then they have a real problem. The fact TC are desperate to push the concept that if we do then our outcomes are pretty poor. (Something I disagree with, I believe our outcomes are straight average).

    I know a fair number of front line medical people – and yes they’re all aware there is an element of truth to the rumour that smoking can help protect against the virus. And that’s because they’re seeing it with their own eyes.

    But will concrete data ever emerge?

    • beobrigitte says:

      In short, the answer to my question is No.

      I know a fair number of front line medical people – and yes they’re all aware there is an element of truth to the rumour that smoking can help protect against the virus. And that’s because they’re seeing it with their own eyes.
      But will concrete data ever emerge?

      Any data that shows that smoking is beneficial will be deleted.

      Although the UK is doing exactly what needs to be done at some point there will be a strain on the NHS, thus health workers. I do not know one country that hasn’t cut down on nurses, lab staff (with the exception of Infection Control) and even doctors. The centralisation of laboratories will become an Achilles heel.
      Staff who recently were thumbscrewed into giving up smoking will pick it up in order to cope with stress. The short breaks will energise these people and they return to their work place with new vigour.

      What will ASH et al do? Screech!!! Never mind the pandemic!!!! We “need to safe fictitious lives and screw more cash from governments!!!”

      Isn’t it the people over 60 which are hardest hit by the virus? Here something interesting:
      https ://
      Smoking prevalence, by age
      The likelihood of being a current smoker is highest in younger age groups. Adults aged 25 to 34 were most likely to be current smokers (20%), with those aged 65 and over the least likely (8%).

      Is anybody collecting all that the WHO puts out? At the end of this it will provide enough firing power!!!
      This was Tedros yesterday:
      The WHO said the threat of a pandemic is ‘very real’ but stressed the virus could still be controlled
      I will try and get the full blabb.

      Here a good map of UK cases:

  11. beobrigitte says:

    It is quite interesting to see that the public is split into 2:
    1. The headless chicken – panic buying toilet rolls, running after panicking media, etc. etc. To them this is the apocalypse.
    2. The bird emu policy practicing. Deep down they are even more scared than the headless chicken: “The flu/cancer/bubonic plague/etc.etc.etc kills/killed many more people”.
    Sadly, these people want to be seen to be “heroes” – and will dive into large groups/go to big events etc.etc.

    Sooooo, how to tell what is going on without falling into either group? I have no idea but I function best being told the truth – however pleasant/unpleasant it may be. I’d rather continue observing and work with whatever data I can get.

    As the first new cases of the day are being reported I also listen to the German daily briefing by the Virologist from the Robert Koch institute. He does not mince his words, said that there will be a number of deaths and put out to people to start thinking of missing their football teams’ plays/going to big events/applying common sense for the next 3 month.
    We all are aware that there will idiots that just can’t be helped. But those who preserve common sense can work around them by applying this.

    The BBC is what it is. It looks like it has a few journalists and camera teams in Italy and from what I can tell from it’s interviews there sure are still a lot of people and tourists in Italy’s streets….
    The BBC then went on to promote sports events and the Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate modern that will open it’s doors tomorrow. At the same time the BBC also announced that there is still soooo much false information on the internet and therefore more internet control will be coming.
    It is news like that which confuses people.

    There most certainly are now more tests done in the USA. Hopefully more tests will be produced and the screening criteria relaxed in order to get as close as possible real numbers.

    The UK hasn’t reported anything as yet and the gov site is a day behind (no live updates).
    The start of the UK peak of the coronavirus epidemic is expected within the next fortnight, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
    I sure would be pleased but I’m afraid I have doubts about this. Never mind, I am open to be convinced otherwise.

    will add about 50 – 60 new cases in a while. Hopefully they have finished collecting the overnight data.
    For the rest we will have to wait and see. France and Italy will release their daily data in the early evening.

  12. Rose says:

    Back to the future?

    “Tobacco as a Prophylactic in Contagious Disease.
    Allen (1835) stated that Diemerbroeck [De peste, 1646] has usually been quoted as authority for the anticontagious character of tobacco.
    During the Great Plague in London in 1665, children were told to smoke in their school- rooms (Lancet 1: 1266-1267, 1902); and A Brief Abstract of the Virtues of the American Tobacco Plant (1783) records that buffers of the dead, in charge of dead-carts, at first used tobacco as a deodorizer, “little thinking that what they used for momentary relief would prove a constant preventive.

    When the Plague was happily stayed, the virtues of tobacco began to be investigated, and it was found that those persons who plentifully used it, either in smoking or in snuffing, had most wonderfully escaped the dire contagion: for though they’ visited the chambers of the sick, attended the funerals of cartloads at a time, they unexpectedly avoided the infection.”

    Although Allen in 1835 declared that this idea that tobacco operated as an antidote to contagious and infectious diseases was gratuitous and fallacious, the belief continued to play a role in public health for some time. It was reported in The Lancet (1: 201, 1882) that smallpox having appeared in the Bolton Workhouse, the Guardians resolved to issue tobacco freely to the inmates in order that the wards may be disinfected by the fumes. And, in another note in The Lancet (1 : 406, 1913) of a later date: “A good many years ago it was reported by the senior medical officer of Greenwich Workhouse that the tobacco smoking inmates enjoyed comparative immunity from epidemics, and tobacco-smoking was believed to have had the disinfectant action in cases of cholera and other infectious diseases. Again during a cholera epidemic at Hamburg it was reported that not a single workman engaged in the cigar factory in that city was attacked by the disease.

    Later it was stated tbat amongst a body of 5000 cigar makers only 8 cases and 4 deaths from cholera occurred. Subsequently experiments proved that tobacco smoke destroyed the bacilli of Asiatic Cholera as well as pneumonia.” This note in the Lancet apparently referred to the work of Visalli (1855) who found that tobacco smoke was capable of inhibiting the growth of the bacillus of Asiatic cholera; and indeed, Visalli himself concluded that, since the portal of entry of this bacillus is the mouth, tobacco smoke should have prophylactic value. It is a fact that workmen in tobacco factories are often cited as being immune from cholera and other epdemics.”

  13. beobrigitte says:

    It took quite some time today for the UK to release the data:
    UK 373 (+52) cases; 6 (+1) deaths; 0 critical; 18 recovered.
    So far so good.
    Here a map

    (I hope this one works!)
    And here the classic:

    Initially the number of infected people is low and remains so for quite some time, then it “explodes”.

    Spain is becoming a runaway today….
    So far:
    Spain 1,650 (+419) cases; 35 (+5) deaths; 11 critical; 135 recovered.
    https ://
    419 new cases and 5 new deaths in Spain. Government prohibits direct flights from Italy to Spain. Congress suspends parliamentary activity one week

  14. beobrigitte says:

    Today’s search was about availability of testing laboratories (in the various most affected countries for now).

    As usual, worst first.
    Italy 10,149 (+977) cases; 631 (+168) deaths; 877 critical; 1004 recovered.
    Italy has one of Europe’s best health care system but 877 critical patients is pushing it, and a number of accredited, independent laboratories. This may explain why Italy was able to conduct an incredibly large amount of corona virus tests as a lot of these laboratories also test for genetic illnesses and therefore have a thermal cycler for PCR. This may explain the high number of cases and the median age of the critical patients is 65 explains the large number of deaths.

    S. Korea 7,513 (+35) cases; 58 (+5) deaths; 54 critical; 247 recovered
    It looks like the South Koreans are getting on top of it. I haven’t looked into Korea’s health system or system of laboratories much as yest but we all know South Korea took swift action.
    Unable to find median age of critical patients.

    Spain 1,674 (+443) cases; 35 (+5) deaths; 101 critical; 135 recovered.
    Spain, like Italy, has an excellent health system. As for laboratories and testing capabilities, looking up Spain’s system is still on my list. Unable to find median age of critical patients.
    This infection sure is exploding there!!!

    France 1,606 (+194) cases; 30 deaths; 66 critical; 12 recovered.
    France’s health system in detail + laboratories and testing capabilities, looking up France’s system is still on my list. I have been told that it is similar to Germany’s but need to check this. Unable to find median age of critical patients.

    Germany 1,437 (+213) cases; 2 deaths; 9 critical; 18 recovered.
    Germany has a good health system and a number of independent laboratories capable of conducting the tests.
    Drosten [Virologist] said Germany’s dense network of independent labs received both the technical information needed to conduct tests and the approval to bill for them in January, when case numbers in Germany were still in the single digits.
    “These effects combined, I’m very certain of this, gave us an extreme advantage in recognizing the epidemic in Germany,” Drosten told reporters in Berlin.
    Unlike in other countries, where national laboratories had a monopoly on testing, Germany’s distributed system helped doctors to swiftly determine whether suspected cases actually involved the new virus or a common cold, which can have similar symptoms.
    “Other countries lost a month or even more time because of this,” Drosten said.
    Authorities across Germany opened additional testing sites Monday. In Berlin, almost 100 people lined up outside one of four new sites waiting for it to open. The town of Esslingen set up a drive-in testing site where patients referred by a general practitioner can have samples taken while sitting in their cars.

    The age of DIAGNOSIS is about 40. Unable to find median age of critical patients.
    I expect the number of new cases to sharply increase.

    *Part 1*

  15. beobrigitte says:

    UK 373 (+52) cases; 6 (+1) deaths; 0 critical; 18 recovered.
    The UK has designated laboratories and rumours (!!!) have it that NHS laboratories will start testing, too. (This needs to be verified!!)
    Not having a number for the critical cases (not sure if there aren’t any or if these just aren’t reported and I can’t find (as yet) the median age of the diagnosed patients. As England does not do carnival where younger people get terribly drunk and party over 3 days, I suspect it is 60+.

    Here a site for updates. It’s a bit basic like the Hopkins site but better than nothing!

    USA 788 (+84) cases; 28 (+2) deaths; 8 critical; 15 recovered.
    Testing has just started – and I guess it still is a little wonky. Hopefully the CDC does not need to verify the results again!!
    https ://
    TUESDAY, March 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Millions of much-needed testing kits for COVID-19 are on the way to clinics and labs nationwide, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters during a White House briefing Monday evening.

    https ://
    South Korean officials are setting up “drive-thru” coronavirus screening facilities. Manufacturers in China have the capacity to distribute more than 1.5 million tests a week. The countries, alongside Italy and the U.K., are testing tens of thousands of people for the coronavirus, in many cases processing thousands of samples a day.
    In the U.S., meanwhile, inadequate coronavirus testing has become a full-blown scandal. As U.S. cases spike, the Department of Health and Human Services has launched an investigation into defective testing kits that delayed lab results by several days, and experts are worried that a slow federal response may have given the virus more time to spread.

    The median age of the critical patients is 66.

    • beobrigitte says:

      My offspring just texted that Massachusetts now declared a state of emergency.

      • beobrigitte says:

        That’s why:
        United States new cases include:
        – 51 new cases in Massachusetts [source]
        – 8 new cases in Iowa [source]
        – 1 new case in Virginia (Loudoun County) [source]
        – 1 new death in Washington (King County): a resident of the Life Care Center [source]
        – 6 new cases in California (Santa Clara County) [source]
        – 1 new case in Maryland (Prince George’s County) [source]
        – 1 new case in Florida (Volusia County) [source]
        – 2 new cases in Kentucky [source]
        – 1 in Oklahoma: a woman in her 20’s in Tulsa [source]

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