Coronavirus March 26

Posted on 03/26/2020 in misc

Photo of house of cards

Like everybody else, the pandemic is "top of mind" 24 x 7 for me. I'm writing to help myself not internalize all of it. You can find other posts in the series at https://odonnellweb.com/pelican/tag/coronavirus.html

I never got around to writing anything yesterday. Oh well, it’s not like any of you are paying subscribers. I did go grocery shopping this morning in full Unabomber mode - hat, gloves, mask. The number of people out without masks (it is a fucking respiratory disease people!) is staggering. Even a bandanna tied around the face would increase your protection if somebody coughs or sneezes. South Korea and Singapore are beating this with minimal disruption to the economy and minimal loss of life with social distancing and near 100% compliance on mask-wearing when out of the house. We have maybe 1% wearing masks around here. We are a country of fools - too many of them soon to be dead fools.

The blame lies 100% with the Federal Government and its unwillingness to do what is necessary to save lives. Bill Gates gave a Ted Talk in 2015 about our exposure to a pandemic. Smart people at all levels of government having been warning about it. It’s been war gamed at the CDC and the intelligence agencies. The pandemic is not a surprise. Only the “when” is a surprise. I mean, a freaking regional grocery chain in Texas was far more prepared than the CDC or The White House.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is how Coronavirus has exposed a fundamental flaw in capitalism. Just-In-Time inventory was just starting to become a thing when I was in college, back when Reagan was President. For 30+ years management theory in the US has pushed the idea of outsourcing everything and only keeping a 1-day supply of anything around. How do hospitals not have a stockpile of PPE in a storage locker somewhere? Nobody on a corporate level has a rainy day fund. Rainy day funds don’t have a very good ROI, until you need them. Then the ROI is basically infinite. How is it that every day consumers are told to have 3- 6 months operating expenses sitting in a savings account, but every US airline needs a bailout after 2 weeks? If your entire economy can be taken down by a microscopic virus your economy was never that strong in the first place. US capitalism was a house of cards, and the breeze from a passing sibling has just blown the house of cards down. The question becomes, do we rebuild with playing cards again, or do we use Popsicle sticks and a glue gun this time?