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Covid 19: Online Sourced Food Delivery,

 

and Testing Door-to-Door Is Crucial. March 16,

 

2020 with Updates through April 5th.

 

On March 16, 2020, Trump's advisor on the Covid 19 virus explained why thinking at the White House recently changed. It was based upon a report by the Imperial College of London, led by Neil Ferguson, that was delivered a week earlier. (Link to report.) According to this report, unless the USA goes into major steps indefinitely, for as long as necessary to stop the pandemic, 2.2 million people could die in the USA. See NYT Times article at this link. The Times article said that this report indicates that figure could be cut in half by  taking half measures -- obviously less than a full lockdown.

 

This means full measures over half measures can save 1 million more lives.

 

In the last week as the economic hardships mount, the moral questions arise whether we should suffer economically to save lives, which we will address Biblically in a moment. 

 

The article reads:   

 

Sweeping new federal recommendations announced on

Monday for Americans to sharply limit their activities

appeared to draw on a dire scientific report warning that,

without action by the government and individuals to slow the

spread of coronavirus  and suppress new cases, 2.2 million

people in the United States could die.

 

To curb the epidemic, there would need to be drastic 

restrictions on work, school and social gatherings for

periods of time until a vaccine was available, which could

take 18 months, according to the report, compiled by

British researchers. They cautioned that such steps carried

enormous costs that could also affect people’s health, but

concluded they were “the only viable strategy at the current time.”

 

That is because different steps, intended to drive

down transmission by isolating patients, quarantining those

in contact with them and keeping the most vulnerable apart

from others for  three months, could only cut the predicted

death toll by half, the new report said.  END OF QUOTE OF ARTICLE.

 

 

Other death tolls were projected in the USA as close to 480,000. For more background, see the interview of the Director of the Center for Infection Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Professor Michael Olsterholm from the University of Minnesota at this video link here.

 

It appears in light of China's experience, that the United States, Europe and Canada should consider going into lock-down of all persons until testing becomes widely available where  individual quarantining can replace full lockdown. This means  prior to pervasive testing availability, we must order no departure from homes absent an emergency such as a health issue including for treatment of this disease.

 

UPDATE: on April 3, 2020, Dr. Pauci, point person of five presidencies on health directives, finally said all 50 states should issue orders that citizens stay at home. See link. In the same report, the surgeon general says the president's guidelines previously given should've been interpreted by every state that it would be best to be in a stay at home posture.

The fact is China was able to succeed without its entire country going into lockdown. It prohibited any exit or entry into Wuhan by Travel or Road. So wherever hotspots are should be basically quarantined off. Stay at home orders should be issued for those areas. That's how China did it. It doesn't have to be National unless the virus is spread to become significant in areas outside hot zones. And once there is adequate testing going on, you don't need to lock down, which was the experience of South Korea.

Next what works is that the testing is done for people who are asymptomatic which means then you can actually catch people and quarantine people before they become a serious problem and this has apparently the same affect as a stay at home order. And South Korea practiced use of facemasks in addition, and never needed to completely do stay at home orders to overcome this particular virus. END OF UPDATE.

 

Why do lockdowns prior to the ability to do pervasive testing? Because this is what China did as to 40 million people in 10 cities around Wuhan. As of yesterday, March 18, 2020,  China can show the first glimmer of hope: no new Covid 19 virus victims were found anywhere in China on day 54 after lockdown began in the Wuhan region. See March 19, 2020 AFP news story at this link. Today, March 19, China reports a second day with no reported new case of Covid 19. See link. (China has been doing testing door-to-door, and individualized quarantining at hospitals when testing became available.)

 

The death toll in China apparently will end near the current 3,200 number. Not millions. Just some thousands.

 
How did they do it?
 
We can learn a lot by watching a Chinese documentary on the first 28 days of lock-down, which documents how it was done through February 21.
 
China did not allow anyone to leave their homes absent an emergency or being struck with the disease. Some were angry about the order, worried for their business. However, the resolve to maintain the lockdown never wavered. Then by day 28, testing was going on door-to-door, and those infected were quarantined at a hospital. If one had signs of just a flu, they were asked to go to hospital but it was optional for them.  
 
The documentary shows at the 27:49 mark that food delivery was based upon each person doing their own online ordering. The groceries were left outside their door.  No contact was made with the delivery person. The documentary shows that the tide had finally turned and severely slowed by February 21st. See this  link. That was day 28 of full lockdown.
 
The tally then?
After 28 days of lockdown along with aggressive door-to-door testing and quarantining, i.e., as of February 21, the numbers were down to 615 new cases for that day in the Wuhan area. There were also only 45 in China that day outside the Wuhan region. This was a severe drop from the disease's earlier daily numbers.
 
What obviously made this possible was the decline of any social contact of anyone with others. This is why watching the video near 27:49 is so important. This shuttering in place worked because the people could depend upon food ordered online being left outside their doors. Otherwise they would have been compelled to go outside for food shopping, thereby spreading the disease to the point that all control over the virus would be lost.

UPDATE 4/4/2020: Finally, on April 4, 2020 during Trump's briefing, Dr. Birx clearly said we should all avoid going shopping for groceries. See link. Evidently she learned from the Wuhan experience what we need to do likewise here. And it is feasible with online shopping.
 
Incidentally, the experience of Singapore shows that agressive widespread testing and quarantining can also work as long as social distancing is followed.
 
Now 26 more days of continued lockdown with door-to-door testing and quarantining continuing since February 21, we come to March 19, 2020 -- today. And China reported no new cases of Covid-19 anywhere in China for March 18 and March 19. First see this  link.  It says "zero new domestic cases were reported for the first time." And the same was found at the end of May 19, 2020 at this link, reported as the "second" day of no new cases.
 
That means it took 54 days of lockdown, aided by door-to-door testing and quaranting at a hospital, to show the first sign that China may have killed off the disease in its own territory. (China is now at risk of re-infection if travelers arrive with the Covid-19 virus.)
 
This means unless we are willing to sacrifice 1 million people for the sake of money, we need to take the same measures in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
 
We now have precedent to believe we can confidently and likely eradicate the disease by engaging in at least 54 days of lockdown, which may be shorter and less restrictive if a strong testing-and-quarantine program goes door-to-door asap. But some currently are expressing a willingness to let 1 million lives go by taking half measures to save the economy from the effects of a long lockdown. 
 
Any other measure short of full lockdown when testing kits are not widely available will no doubt prolong the time to eradicate the contagion, and cause many more casualties ... 1 million more if the experts at the Imperial College are correct. 
 
Incidentally, beware scammers who come to your door claiming they have a Covid-19 kit to test you. Wait for the government to contact you in a verifiable way.
 

A Problem Emerges in California, USA.

 

But I have locally checked at Albertson's, Sprouts and Mothers here in so Cal. No delivery is available today and all days out as far as you can check. I at first got one order done with Whole Foods, but since then it is the same story: no delivery is available for any future date.  [UPDATES: As of March 25th, Mothers did deliver food yesterday. And again on March 30th. Next is scheduled in two days.]

 

Yet, obviously we urgently need to have people stop going to grocery stores. However, there is no feasibility to obtain food via online ordering at this time here in southern California. [UPDATE: As of March 25th, for now, this urgent need is being met by my local market.]

Regardless, unless food ordering online becomes available, I suggest and urge each governor to call out the national guard to deliver food ordered online from the stores, dropping the goods off at the people's door. No contact is necessary. Also, there are elderly who are not as proficient with computers, and they need to be called by phone and orders placed for them with deliveries. The National Guard can do this, and they themselves remain generally safe but not without risk either.

 

 

Yet Our Military Must Be Brave.

 

What is inspiring is that China did something crucial with the military to serve its civilian population, and thus to save lives. We need to do something similar.

 

The documentary cited above showed China sent in to Wuhan its military medical corps to lay their lives on the line to treat the massive numbers of victims at hospitals. Doctors and nurses were also drafted from every other province to treat the victims. Nothing was spared of national resources to save lives among the civilian population, and end this contagion as soon as possible. Again, this is all documented in the YouTube documentary which tells the story through day 28 of the lockdown. See link.

 

We can do something similar. We can send in the national guard of each state to keep the food going to the people, relieving the pressure for any of us, especially the elderly, to have to exit our homes to eat, thereby risking catching and spreading the disease at the same time. 

 

Bible Has A Moral Lesson on Point.   

 

As we may remember from Gen. 25, Esau gave up his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage made from lentils.

 

This has been a proverbial lesson through the centuries on foolishness. But for Esau's foolishness, the heirs of Esau would have received the blessing which God gave Israel. But for  Esau exchanging his birthrite for food (there was no short supply),  the blessings of Abraham's seed by God  would pass to Esau as Abraham's first born son. But Esau became hungry, and Jacob offered him lentil soup on terms that Esau would give Jacob his birth right. Esau agreed. The result is Jacob later renamed Israel received the blessing of the Abrahamic covenant, not Esau and his line. This was a foolish deal by Esau that effected all generations of his lineage.

 

The following is how Wikipedia explains the proverbial significance of a "mess of pottage" that a speaker or book might mention. 

  

mess of pottage is something immediately

attractive but of little value taken foolishly and

carelessly in exchange for something more distant

and perhaps less tangible but immensely more

valuable. The phrase alludes to Esau's sale of

his birthright for a meal ("mess") of lentil

stew ("pottage") in Genesis 25:29-34 and connotes

shortsightedness and misplaced priorities. Mess of

Pottage Wikipedia 3-25-2020

 

Let's apply this to our circumstances. 

 

Money is comparatively of little value when compared

to human life. The moral hazard is if we are not willing

to sacrifice money and comforts that we can absorb for a

time to save lives, then we become conscious murderers.

We generally must prefer protecting our grandparents,

immune compromised friends who have asthma or

arthritis or heart disease, or the 45% of our population who are

obese.

They suffer an 8% and up death rate. Their lives are far

more valuable than making money. We can not justify

letting them die when the cost is endurable in terms of

money to prevent it.

 

We also should not risk the 2% who will die who do not

fit these health-compromised categories of individuals.

 

 

There are safety risks that can potentialy flip however

depending on time and later developments. Let's see

whether this can ever justify putting the economy back

on so as to save more lives than the virus can kill.

 

One consideration is some might indeed commit suicide

from the effects of delay if deprived of cash. Yet,

whether they would or would not do so even if you

relaxed restrictions so they could earn money can not be

certain. So you can not trade an uncertain unquantifiable

risk of death by suicide which is a voluntary choice

versus a scientifically calculable risk of death that is not

the choice of millions. 

 

Moreover,  Congress wisely chose on March 25, 2020 to

provide printed money for a time to ease everyone's

financial burden. This will be $1,200 per adult in the

USA whose reported income in one of the last two tax

years (see the law for details) was no more than $75,000.

This measure probably saved deaths by suicide but we

will never know how many.

 

What other justification may arise? 

 

In certain scenarios, economic shutdowns in a country

that has insufficient wealth to go the distance could lead

to collapse of law and order.  Crime becomes a daily part

of life. The cure then becomes more deadly than the

disease. 

In the USA, this can be adressed by use of the national

guard to keep law and order. Only if the national guard

and all police abandon their posts (or all incredibly

somehow die from the virus) can we think the

equation will become necessary to lift the lockdown of

non-vital economic activity. Only if that fails can we

ever consider the cost in the number of lives taken by

criminals versus the cost in lives taken by the virus. 

That is a far-fetched scenario where murders in the street

could ever surpass the numbers the virus would take if

economic restrictions are lifted.

Thus, when you make a decision to go outside today,

breaking local laws to not engage in non-essential

economic activity, what you are doing is risking the life

 of a person not only in your family but also the lives of

people you cannot see -- whom you contact in your non-

essential business activity. Thus, the action of each

individual can result in death to someone far along in a

chain, but your Creator will know it was you. 

 

END

 

Note  Biblical Precedent. 

 

While leprosy is different from Covid-19, the Bible reflects that shuttering in victims in a place away from friends and family was the solution used to control that contagious disease. See, e.g., King Uzziah was quarantined for the rest of his life once he contracted it, per 2 Chron. 19:26-31. Sometimes it could heal and go away. See Lev. 14:2-3. Once certified by a priest as healed, the person would be restored to normal life in the community.

 

Obviously in cases of leprosy, one's family was safe when the victim was quarantined. If the lepper lived outside the community or was quarantined in a house apart from any close contact, the only problem was to deliver food to them. How this was done is not mentioned. Presumably unaffected family members brought the victim their food to eat. So the basic solutions and means of community protection have likely not changed for millennia.

 

 

Future Directions.

 

Dr. Greger in 2008 gave us guidance on how to avoid a pandemic. He was not far off the mark, and that means we need to listen to him on how to head off future pandemics. See his video at this link 

 

Inspiring Music Video

This song is from Italy's most famous band in the 70's. They have donated the copyrights to Bergamo Hospital. Every click on the video means a gift, because YouTube pays the owner of those copyrights per click. In Bergamo hospital, 800 people died yesterday alone. So share this video as much as possible. Grazie! 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D5DhJS5hGWc.  

 

Donations to Overwhelmed Italian Hospital.

 

Also, three nurses at Bergamo Hospital started a Gofundme to buy necessary supplies. If so inclined, please send a gift of any amount. Here is a link:https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergenza-covid-cesvi-per-bergamo