COVID Update November 21: The US vs. Europe. What’s different about this wave.

I spoke to the head of one of the national European health systems this week.

Here are 7 key differences. 1/
I was doing an interview with the @StarTribune in Oct when I was asked a tough question.

“Andy, you say the US can be down to near 0 cases in 6 weeks like other countries in the world.”


“Doesn’t Europe’s spike prove you wrong?”

“No. They’re going to show us how again.”2
I added that these waves may be inevitable, but in the meantime— May to October, we lost 4x the lives they did. 3/
I said fighting a new wave from zero is like battling a wild dog. Starting from where we were was like fighting off a pack of dogs.

You use different weapons. From zero you can test, contact trace & isolate. From where we sit, you have 2 choices— retreat or mass death. 4/
What I didn’t say, but should have thought to say, is that when the time came for a second wave, European countries can be counted on to do the tough effective thing. Our country cannot. 5/
For one— we aren’t fighting this as a country. We’re fighting a global phenomenon provincially. We’re chasing digital with analog. 6/
Many of our governors don’t have the political courage. A governor called me this week to legit brag that he did something I called & begged him to do 8 weeks ago.

Because they are taking so much shit. From their legislatures. And the public. And 0 Fed support. (#barbonds) 7/
Some governors are doing it right despite everything.

Here are 2 states, close to the same size.8/
1. Politics: I asked this person (not a health minister but Chair of a country’s national system— we have no equivalent) how it was going.

The answer: terribly. People are exhausted. Disappointed to be back at this. A little less compliant. 9/
Is wearing masks a political statement? I asked.

He thought I had lost my mind. How is that a political statement? Some don’t because they don’t believe it works. Many do but complain. But it’s not a political statement. How could it be he wanted to know. 10/
I told him here, it’s not a public health argument, but a statement of what kind of American you are, it’s identity.

Wow. I had heard that— he told me— that sounds impossible. We don’t have that problem.

That’s difference number 1. 11/
2. Financial support: In Germany, bar owners are paid to stay closed. Artists are paid a fee. Social support is much better everywhere. These aren’t all wealthy countries. Much less so than the U.S. 12/
“We’re all in this together & we have your backs” is the general message in Europe.

Ours is “hey, good luck.”

And “PS. You’re sick, you work. Dead or alive, we’re collecting debts: rent, college loans, etc. so tick-fucking-tock.”13/
3. Government compact: When it comes time for the government to ask people to sacrifice, people trust more & say yes. Probably because the government shows it cares.

Possibly because 30% of the population isn’t fantasizing in the basement about a coup/revolution. 14/
So when the government says “stay home unless...”, people don’t love it. But they get it.

And when cases start to rise, hospitals start to fill, people listen & it drops quickly. But in the U.S...we read contra arguments about how hospitals have PLENTY of capacity. 15/
In the US, there are people who call you alarmist for suggesting cases & deaths should be avoided.

Those assholes exist all over the world. But the difference from what I can see is our politicians are scared of them. Bow to them. Differ to them. 16/
4. Honesty: CDC officials are replaced about as fast as election officials for the sin of honesty. I have a record of a Trump propoganda official banning ppl from speaking to the media for using the phrase “but things could change” at the end of presenting a rosy scenario. 17/
5. Cohesion— European politicians are asking citizens to do it for “one another.” I played recordings of several speeches.

How quaint. For one another. 😂 Like that shit would fly here. Good one. We do things for number 1 here. MY liberty. MY rights. MY freedom. 18/
What kind of country would you have if people didn’t only do things for themselves? I mean, besides one where more people are alive. And not starving. Or homeless. 19/
6. Coordination— Not only are the European counties supporting their people. But the EU is providing stimulus & relief. I know we have a “federalist” system. But they’re not even a country! Why coordinate policies & help each other. 20/
Meanwhile I live next to North and South Dakovid and I expect refugees to start spilling over the border any time now. I realize getting elected governor of South Dakota doesn’t sound like a lot. But turns out, it’s an easy way as any to kill people
7. Budget garbage. I’ve been hearing for 40 years the greatest threat to our country is THE BUDGET DEFICIT. And high taxes could kill us. And too small a military. So we must stop SPENDING SO MUCH $$$ DOMESTICALLY!

Turns out? No. Not our biggest threat after all. 22/

Turns out
Low and behold massive corporate & estate tax cuts couldn’t prevent the pandemic. But cutting 55,000 public health workers was a problem. Cutting our strategic stockpile of PPE which the GOPAnon Congress did and not giving people health care— BIGGER PROBLEM. 23/
And NOW— we had to spend $3 trillion in a matter of months because of everything we didn’t do. See in Europe they have health care & a public health care system. And somehow we let people demonize it.

Rich people pay taxes there.
A pandemic shines a light on what kind of choices we’ve made and are still making. And even in a pandemic the things we are unwilling to change. We can do this in less than 6 weeks any time we want. /end
Going to stop you right there. Lo and behold. Lo and behold. Lo and behold.

It wasn’t autocorrect ‘s fault just me and my lo-ly grammar.

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More from @ASlavitt

23 Nov
BREAKING: AstraZeneca/Oxford announces effectiveness data that is 90% effective in 2 dose regimens.

This is huge news because @UniofOxford intends low cost worldwide distribution.
3 billion doses worldwide planned
Effective against severe cases and moderate
Safety data to come but one investigator who has seen prelim data told me no concerns
No profit venture
Can be refrigerated for easier distribution
Manufacturing in 10 counties
*Some evidence that it also reduces transmission*
Tested in 2 diff doses (on 90%, one 62%)
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
In less than 2 months, he will have no access to call local officials
no access to a justice department
no cabinet
no access to the Lincoln bedroom
no access to intelligence briefings
no ability to direct ICE
no ability to obstruct a COVID response
no authority to build a wall
no government funds or airplane to pay to fly him to rallies
no reason for people looking for government favors to use his hotels
no way to appoint his family to powerful positions
no way to fire government workers for doing their jobs
no military parades
no one saluting him
no pomp or circumstance
no presidential legal protection
no Rose Garden access
no ability to intimidate the press
no ability to appoint a judge

So while he tries to manipulate our democracy, he has the sad awareness that soon all he will be is a legally-troubled Twitter troll.
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
South Dakota vs Vermont: 2 small states w big differences
-SD: heartless/headless— governor & Hosp ceo say masks are just symbols, no actions
-VT: heart & head— found hotels for homeless, pay low income ppl to isolate
SD: Sturgis rally — infected 10s of thousands or more across country, Gov would do it again
VT: Hazard pay to essential workers who make less than $25/hour
SD— headless & heartless: dismissed meatpacking outbreak. Picked fight with SD tribes for trying to stay safe
VT— head & heart: acted immediately in March, one of slowest times reopen, tests frequently
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov
COVID Update November 21: There is a big ugly COVID divide in this country.

Plus some fascinating distractions. Anyway...1/
On one side of the divide, you work in the service sector, & are a renter, this is COVID:

-You were forced to work,
-12 million job losses
-no paid medical leave
-Student loans, eviction, unemployment protections— all disappearing
-multiples higher death rates 2/
At the end of the year all those protections disappear. Likewise, if you are an independent contractor, you lose access to unemployment— unless Congress acts. 3/
Read 19 tweets
20 Nov
It is simply more dangerous out there than it was a few weeks ago.

At the beginning of October, 5% of people tested were positive. Now it’s 12.3%. Activities that were safer then aren’t any longer. 1/
34 states are now above 10% test positive. 22 above 15%. Mostly north, central and west but including AZ & FL.

1.4 million new tests/day and it’s clear we’re not close to scratching the surface.
In North Dakota, 2/3 of tests come back positive. Hospitals in Iowa, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas are growing fairly rapidly. Mitigation efforts in these states are weak.
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov
COVID Update November 19: Here’s the idea. It’s a 3 pronged patriotic appeal here for Americans: #BarBonds.

Buy bonds. Save lives. Save businesses. (And eat and drink.)1/
We are at a watershed moment in the response to COVID-19. 1900 deaths
175,000 cases

Per day & worsening

Alarming rates. Winter months are coming. Holidays. Fatigue. Hospitals are nearing the point in many places where caring for patients will be difficult. 2/
Belatedly, state governors are beginning to act. Those that are acting consistently are in much better shape.

They are beginning to take actions on everything from small gatherings to mask mandates to limiting bars & restaurants. Often late. Reluctantly. 3/

Source @nytimes
Read 18 tweets

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