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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 9,430

Journal Archives

Virtual 'Love Sweet Love' From Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students

If there's a sliver of a silver lining in these uncertain times, it's music — from free virtual concerts to suggested playlists. One of the most inspiring efforts we've seen this week comes from a virtual performance of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music.

The student-made performance and video were the brainchild of Shelbie Rassler, a senior composition major at Boston Conservatory. Just a few days after Berklee reverted to online classes only, Rassler found herself at home in South Florida, eager to bring her community together.

She'd heard "What the World Needs Now Is Love" when she was a child but says she felt its power to inspire in 2016 when she watched Broadway for Orlando, a filmed recording of the song by such major artists as Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel and Audra McDonald, honoring the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting massacre.

Rassler had also written a vocal arrangement of the song for a cabaret event at Berklee. Now seemed like a good time to see if she could rally an entire orchestra to record the song. She shared the idea on her Facebook page, explaining to her friends how it would work:

MOre at link:

Stories of Hope- inspiring new Obama website. Stories of selfless acts in this time of need

Stories of Hope

"Even in this uncertain time, we can still find reasons for hope. We’ve gathered stories of people from every corner of the globe carrying out selfless acts in this time of need. Think of it as the virtual hug you (maybe) didn't know you needed. Our team will continue to add to this steady stream of global hope, but we'd like your help. Tell us about the stories—big and small—that are lifting your spirits here (hyperlink)."

So characteristic of Obama- providing inspiration and hope while giving people an opportunity to participate by sending their own stories and to focus on looking for what is inspiring and hopeful.

I have been very inspired by all the creative way people are finding to offer support, inspiration and connection, even in the face of isolation.

Many lovely inspiring stories to read at the link!

There is a newsletter sign up list. I'm in!

What Hong Kong & Singapore's success is teaching us about the pandemic (hopeful)

Keeping the Coronavirus from Infecting Health-Care Workers
What Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s success is teaching us about the pandemic.

By Atul Gawande
March 21
New Yorker


"Yet there are lessons to be learned from two places that saw the new coronavirus before we did and that have had success in controlling its spread. Hong Kong and Singapore—both the size of my state—detected their first cases in late January, and the number of cases escalated rapidly. Officials banned large gatherings, directed people to work from home, and encouraged social distancing. Testing was ramped up as quickly as possible. But even these measures were never going to be enough if the virus kept propagating among health-care workers and facilities. Primary-care clinics and hospitals in the two countries, like in the U.S., didn’t have enough gowns and N95 masks, and, at first, tests weren’t widely available. After six weeks, though, they had a handle on the outbreak. Hospitals weren’t overrun with patients. By now, businesses and government offices have even begun reopening, and focus has shifted to controlling the cases coming into the country.

Here are their key tactics, drawn from official documents and discussions I’ve had with health-care leaders in each place. All health-care workers are expected to wear regular surgical masks for all patient interactions, to use gloves and proper hand hygiene, and to disinfect all surfaces in between patient consults. Patients with suspicious symptoms (a low-grade fever coupled with a cough, respiratory complaints, fatigue, or muscle aches) or exposures (travel to places with viral spread or contact with someone who tested positive) are separated from the rest of the patient population, and treated—wherever possible—in separate respiratory wards and clinics, in separate locations, with separate teams. Social distancing is practiced within clinics and hospitals: waiting-room chairs are placed six feet apart; direct interactions among staff members are conducted at a distance; doctors and patients stay six feet apart except during examinations.

What’s equally interesting is what they don’t do. The use of N95 masks, face-protectors, goggles, and gowns are reserved for procedures where respiratory secretions can be aerosolized (for example, intubating a patient for anesthesia) and for known or suspected cases of COVID-19. Their quarantine policies are more nuanced, too. What happens when someone unexpectedly tests positive—say, a hospital co-worker or a patient in a primary-care office or an emergency room? In Hong Kong and Singapore, they don’t shut the place down or put everyone under home quarantine. They do their best to trace every contact and then quarantine only those who had close contact with the infected person. In Hong Kong, “close contact” means fifteen minutes at a distance of less than six feet and without the use of a surgical mask; in Singapore, thirty minutes. If the exposure is shorter than the prescribed limit but within six feet for more than two minutes, workers can stay on the job if they wear a surgical mask and have twice-daily temperature checks. People who have had brief, incidental contact are just asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

The fact that these measures have succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve carries some hopeful implications. One is that this coronavirus, even though it appears to be more contagious than the flu, can still be managed by the standard public-health playbook: social distancing, basic hand hygiene and cleaning, targeted isolation and quarantine of the ill and those with high-risk exposure, a surge in health-care capacity (supplies, testing, personnel, wards), and coördinated, unified public communications with clear, transparent, up-to-date guidelines and data. Our government officials have been unforgivably slow to get these in place. We’ve been playing from behind. But we now seem to be moving in the right direction, and the experience in Asia suggests that extraordinary precautions don’t seem to be required to stop it. Those of us who must go out into the world and have contact with people don’t have to panic if we find out that someone with the coronavirus has been in the same room or stood closer than we wanted for a moment. Transmission seems to occur primarily through sustained exposure in the absence of basic protection or through the lack of hand hygiene after contact with secretions.

Consider a couple of data points. Singapore so far appears not to have had a single recorded health-care-related transmission of the coronavirus, despite the hundreds of cases that its medical system has had to deal with. That includes one case reported this week of a critically ill pneumonia patient who exposed forty-one health-care workers in the course of four days before being diagnosed with COVID-19. These were high-risk exposures, including exposures during intubation and hands-on intensive care. Eighty-five per cent of the workers used only surgical masks. Yet, owing to proper hand hygiene, none became infected."

More at link. Worth reading.

Rachel: Media should stop covering Trump briefings because they are hurting people.

Just now. Said he is lying about really important things and the media should just stop broadcasting him. Not the first time I've heard this but maybe it will get some traction. Rachel was passionate, pleading.
Even Susan Colllins said he should not be the spokesperson; public health officials should be.

Alan Alda interviews Paul McCartney on how he writes his songs; insightful & welcome distraction!

Paul McCartney: On the Magic of Music - From the Magician Himself Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda

It's really a conversation more than an interview. Very insightful. Both sharing from their hearts.

How does Paul McCartney write a song? What goes through his mind when he's at the piano? What's an "oobley" chord? Where do the lyrics come from when he's noodling away? In this special episode of Clear+Vivid®, Alan Alda sits down with Paul McCartney to learn some of the never before heard secrets behind this legendary musician's magic.


Forget About Donald Trump And Mike Pence. Andrew Cuomo Is Now the President of the United States.


By Thom Hartmann

Forget about Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Andrew Cuomo is now the acting President of the United States. Trump continues to think that the job of president is “reality show moderator in chief.“ Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, the governor of New York State and a former member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, has been doing a morning update every day this week with facts, figures, and reassuring stories about his own family. He has been showing us what humanity, decency, and competence look like. CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News are carrying Cuomo’s morning updates live nationwide. Now that America has figured out that not only has Trump been lying to them for years but that the Republican Party and their trickle down economics for the past 40 years has been a scam, the country is turning it’s back on Trump and the GOP. Every time Trump speaks, the stock market goes down even more and faster.

America now gets it. In Brazil, the people are demanding that right wing president Jair Bolsonaro step down because he did the same thing Trump has done in failing to prepare for a crisis that was obviously coming and then lying to his people about it for months. Soon we will see demands that Trump step down and let somebody who actually knows how to run a government replace him. It can’t come fast enough.

Kitty loves Joe! You'll love this photo.

My friend's cat, Gracie, loves Joe! Gracie is not in the habit of watching TV, but she is quite captivated by Joe. I believe it is a good reflection of a person's character when animals respond favorably to them.
Has anyone read Kinship with All Life? Great true story about a dog who is an amazing judge of character.

Edited to add facial view of Gracie, at the request of Peregrin Took, post #6. As you can see, her face shows intelligence, hence her discernment and good judgment:

The Infuriating Story of How the Government Stalled Coronavirus Testing

Long but very informative article. Worth the read.


How one young doctor at a Seattle lab tried to get out in front of the coronavirus crisis by inventing his own test. And why the absurdity of his struggle should make us all afraid.

By Julia Ioffe
March 16, 2020
FDA testing of the coronavirus in the US
Illustration by Robert Vargas

Alex Greninger was watching it all from the start. An epidemiologist and expert in laboratory medicine, Greninger spent the first few weeks of the year paying close attention to China, where a new SARS-like virus was burning through the city of Wuhan at an alarming rate. He watched as Chinese officials struggled to contain the virus, locking down the giant city of 11 million people, going door-to-door to test its citizens. He watched as the virus evaded their grasp. More than most people, Greninger could guess at what was coming for America. And more than most people, he was in a position to do something about it.

The key to getting an outbreak like the current one under control, say medical professionals, is implementing proper testing protocols. Testing for the virus allows doctors to pinpoint and isolate those who are carrying the virus and prevent them from spreading it. Aggressive testing allowed China, eventually, to get the outbreak in Wuhan under control and bring the number of new infections down dramatically. It’s been central to the strategy that Singapore and South Korea have used, too: test and isolate. And yet, two months since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., tests for the novel coronavirus are still exceedingly hard to find.

How did the U.S. fumble its response to the coronavirus so colossally, even with so much lead time? Why, with the number of diagnosed COVID cases in the U.S. climbing toward 4,000, do we still not have nearly enough tests?

A large part of the blame lies with President Trump, who has not wanted widespread testing, apparently out of an obsession with keeping the number of confirmed COVID cases low. It’s why he waffled so long on whether to let the Grand Princess cruise liner, where COVID infections were spreading rapidly, dock in the United States. “I would rather have them stay on [the ship], personally,” Trump said earlier this month. “I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault.” His administration turned down tests provided by the World Health Organization and instead wasted precious time having the Centers for Disease Control create its own test. While that was underway, the president denounced the spread of the disease as a Democratic hoax, giving the public a dangerously false sense of complacency just as a pandemic was getting underway.

In the meantime, a more prosaic and bureaucratic tangle of frustrations ensnared those on the front lines of the fight—those like Dr. Greninger, whose struggles offer a window into how the rollout of testing has been bungled, and why the situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon.

Much more at link.

Biden on live now on corona virus. Knocking it out of the park.

Just moved it from GD.

Biden on live now on corona virus. Knocking it out of the park.

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