Sunday, May 31, 2020

May 31 COVID-19 Update

We've hit 11 weeks in Lockdown.  There has been reported 371,995 worldwide deaths out of 6,165,181 confirmed cases worldwide.  The US accounts for 29% of global cases at over a whopping 1.7 out of 6.1 million.

Two weeks ago Harold's office officially opened back up for patients and so I had to vacate the exam room and set up at home.  I am now in the corner of the dining room with the table behind me, where Evan and Hailey are (supposed to be) sitting and doing virtual learning for class.  Certainly more lively over at the house with everybody, but I just have to put on headphones and tune it all out while I work.

Also within the past few weeks The Church rolled out a 4-phase reopening for Temples, with 11 Utah Temples, 3 in Idaho, 2 Germany, and 1 in Sweden leading the way and reopening at Phase 1, which allows for sealings for endowed couples by appointment and under strict safety precautions.
  • Phase 2 will make all living ordinances available, while patron housing, clothing, & cafeteria remain closed.
  • Phase 3 all proxy ordinances will become available with restrictions; patron housing, clothing, & cafeterias reopened as needed.
  • Phase 4 temples reopen back to full operation.

Last I heard 34 Temples are now in Phase 1.

US response to the pandemic has been varied.  States with big cities, like California, have put in stricter measures whereas more rural states have been much more lenient, with some not mandating any precautions at all.  Response to the pandemic has been up to the individual states, since there hasn't been a clear message from the federal government, which would be fine if it weren't for so many changing and conflicting messages.

When questioned about his slow reaction to the virus back at the beginning of the year, Trump blamed his failures on Obama (even though Trump has been president the past 3 years, not Obama).  Plus under Obama we had the H1N1 outbreak, plus the ebola & zica outbreaks and we had experts and measures in place to fight those epidemics.  But when Trump took office he eliminated several Obama-era personnel whose positions are still empty to this day, like firing Ziemer & his global health security team within the NSC and getting rid of Bossert and Borio and their teams of disease-prevention experts.

So those positions remain empty and, prior to this outbreak, Trump even proposed cutting the CDC's budget by 19% including a 10% cut to "public health scientific services," 3% cut to "public health preparedness & response" programs and 7% cut to global health programs.  Trump even cut funding to the CDC's epidemic prevention programs in 39 out of 49 countries, including China.  Instead, Trump initially didn't take reports of the Chinese outbreak seriously, even calling it a hoax by the Democrats once it started spreading here within the US.  Back in January the WHO offered covid-19 tests to 60 countries including the US but the Trump administration didn't believe the seriousness of the outbreak and declined the WHO test.  

No wonder we were caught by surprise and the virus has spread like wildfire here.

And now there are riots around the country.  No, not due to the pandemic, but due to a black man, George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis this past Monday.  Very reminiscent of Eric Garner's death in 2014 who was choked to death by police, an officer knelt on Floyd's neck for 8 1/2 minutes while he said "I can't breathe."

The very next day the officers involved were fired with the main officer charged with 3rd degree murder on Wednesday, which is quite a departure from the other police killings where the officers got off scott-free.  Yet, regardless of that, there have been protests and rioting this whole week.

By Friday it spread to Los Angeles.  The protests, which started off peacefully-enough soon turned violent. Now we're on our third day of rioting in Los Angeles: looting, violence, buildings and cars set on fire.  It's even reached neighborhoods that one wouldn't normally think of having riots.  We saw looting and fires in Long Beach and Santa Monica.  Culver City imposed a mandatory curfew last night at 6pm; today again at 4pm, along with Santa Monica.  There have been cases of rioters who have attacked police.  All of Los Angeles County is currently under mandatory curfew starting at 6pm.

The world turned upside down under the pandemic.  Now the place has just gone crazy.