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Fri May 1, 2020, 08:57 AM

Why Humanity Will Probably Screw Up The Next Pandemic As Well; Our Economics & Politics Dictate It

EDIT

Given the resilient weaknesses that Obama’s team identified and the manifold deficiencies in America’s systems of public health and medical provision, how confident are you that a Democratic administration could have averted a catastrophe like this one?

Most epidemiologists believe that we live in an age of pandemics. Of course, avian flu, including its new variety, the H7 variety, is just as dangerous as coronavirus. And according to the WHO, an outbreak is imminent. But the difference in the Obama administration would have been, first of all, we would have had a better early-warning system. Just last year, Trump defunded a CDC-related program that monitors viruses present in wild and domestic animals that could possibly cross over to humans. That program was allied with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is the world’s leading expert in animal-to-human coronaviruses.

So that would have been in place. And if Obama had received the warnings about critical shortages in personal protective gear and ventilators that Trump had, and if he had stocked the strategic stockpile, then I think our experience of this may have been closer to Germany’s. And we may have avoided a catastrophic economic shutdown or at least gotten by with a much shorter one.

Having said all that, in this country, the pandemic has taken root in a medical environment characterized by continuous disinvestment, particularly at the county and state levels. There are 60,000 fewer employees in public-health departments than there were before 2008. So many [Great Recession–era] cutbacks haven’t been undone. Meanwhile, since the election of Ronald Reagan, we’ve been converting hospitals into financial systems running on just-in-time inventory and keeping as few beds as possible.

Nursing homes are a similar story. They’ve become a big industry dominated by private-equity firms, which extract the highest profits they can out of the lowest costs. And from the very beginning of the outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, it was clear that nursing homes were going to turn into mortuaries. James Straub, who’s the union representative for that nursing home, was telling me in March, “Look, the public-health people are not on top of this.” You know, everybody thinks Washington is the most progressive state in the world. But not on these issues. The homes are very poorly regulated. And when the public-health officials went to collect the first bodies, they didn’t bother to interview the nursing-home workers. These workers had no protective gear at all. They had minimal to no training in infection control. The officials didn’t bother to interview them. These nursing-assistant jobs pay $10 an hour. The only way people can make ends meet is to moonlight. So a large minority of people who work in nursing homes also work at least part time in another nursing home. So you have this transmission belt that links all the nursing homes together in a given region. James told me in March, watch what happens in nursing homes — thousands of people are going to die. Well, 12,000 have died in them by the latest count (and that’s absolutely an undercount).

EDIT

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/coronavirus-next-pandemic-mike-davis-avian-flu-covid.html

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Reply Why Humanity Will Probably Screw Up The Next Pandemic As Well; Our Economics & Politics Dictate It (Original post)
hatrack May 1 OP
appalachiablue May 3 #1

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun May 3, 2020, 10:00 PM

1. Also FL facilities during the last big storm, Gov Rick Scott

..."Having said all that, in this country, the pandemic has taken root in a medical environment characterized by continuous disinvestment, particularly at the county and state levels. There are 60,000 fewer employees in public-health departments than there were before 2008..

Nursing homes are a similar story. They’ve become a big industry dominated by private-equity firms, which extract the highest profits they can out of the lowest costs..

The homes are very poorly regulated...Nursing-assistant jobs pay $10 an hour. The only way people can make ends meet is to moonlight. So a large minority of people who work in nursing homes also work at least part time in another nursing home. So you have this transmission belt that links all the nursing homes together in a given region..

James told me in March, watch what happens in nursing homes — thousands of people are going to die. Well, 12,000 have died in them by the latest count (and that’s absolutely an undercount)..."
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