Covid Emails with State Rep

My first COVID email to my State Rep was non-partisan. He replied with a partisan email and I was irritated that he did. I sent him the following:

With respect, Representative XXXXX
The moment you used the word “Republican” below, I knew you weren’t on my side. I knew you didn’t care about the people of your District or the State of Wisconsin. Instead you care about your partisanship and you care about making Governor Evers pay politically for his decisions.
I am sick to death of legislators making every damn thing about politics and the optics of a situation. We have a crisis and you put partisanship above leadership. You put partisanship above compassion. You put partisanship above your representation of the common man in your district.
I don’t want you to do anything.Forget my first letter completely. You go do what your handlers want you to do.
I haven’t given up on you yet but every once in a while you might want to nip the Republican hand that feeds you. Remind them you are a Wisconsin dog first and a Republican dog second.
With respect,

 

COVID Email Reply From State Rep

Here is my State Rep’s reply:

Thank you for your thoughts on Governor Evers’ extension of his Safer at Home order through May 26. These are truly unprecedented times, and input from the district on this issue has been incredible.

Wisconsinites care for our neighbors, and even if we were worried, we listened to the Safer at Home guidelines to make sure that we kept each other safe. The fact that our hospitals are still mostly empty is testament to everyone doing their part in a difficult time. However, the actions we needed to take have had consequences that have impacted all of us – economic insecurity, mental health crises, and the grief of not being able to see our loved ones.

A crisis needs leadership, and the extension of this order does not show the kind of forward thinking that will bring Wisconsin out of this crisis successfully. Governor Evers owes every Wisconsinite some explanations:

·         He must tell us what statistics he is using to measure our progress and decide what actions to take.

·         He must tell us what actions his Department of Health Services (DHS) is taking proactively to reduce the harm of this pandemic.

·         He must explain why he is refusing to re-examine what kinds of businesses must stay closed and how he is making those decisions.

·         He must explain what he plans to do with the approximately $2.2 billion that Wisconsin will receive from the federal government’s stimulus package.

From day one of this crisis, Republican leaders have offered our help and our goodwill to the Governor. We passed a bill to ensure that he has the tools he needs to bring Wisconsin out of this disaster. We have recognized that we must all work together for the good of the state. Instead of working with us, he has stonewalled us, refusing to discuss his plans or give us insights into what he thinks it will take to re-open Wisconsin’s economy.

Now, Republicans must consider our options. The Senate has not yet confirmed DHS Secretary-Designee Palm, and it should seriously consider whether her actions have merited the position. We also demand that the Governor explain himself and his goals: even if we are not “out of the woods,” we need to know what the road map looks like.

State law is clear: Governor Evers can use DHS to take drastic action without consultation with the Legislature. However, we cannot and will not accept silence and arrogance when people in our districts need action.

Please know that I am working with my colleagues daily to explore every avenue we have to push back against the Governor’s overreach and make sure that we are putting all of our citizens first. At the entrance of the Governor’s Conference Room in the Capitol, the ceiling is painted with the motto “The will of the people is the law of the land.” It’s time Governor Evers understands what that truly means.

Sincerely,

StayAtHome: Emails with Wisconsin Rep

Four weeks ago I sent my State Representative and my State Senator an email protesting the extension of the Wisconsin StayatHome Order. My State Representative is a good man whom I’ve met several times and he replied promptly. I haven’t yet heard from my State Senator.

The next few postings are about the content of those emails.

Email #1:

With respect, Representative XXXXX
Why is Wisconsin shuttering ALL of its citizens for another month?
One size does not fit all. What is good for Milwaukee County (with a population density of 3,800 people per square mile) does not work for Barron County (with a population density of 52 people per square mile).
If you live in Barron County, you are already shuttered in place.
Can we get a break, please?  After four months of an invasive pathogen, our county has had 6 cases of confirmed COVID-19. Zero deaths. We have already flattened the curve by living here.
Look, we have to learn how to live with this disease. It will be around for three more years minimum. Here’s what should be talked about:
a) Counties with less than 100 people per square mile and a low infection and death rate should have a much more open lifestyle. The more people per square mile, the more restrictions should be in place.
b) every building the public enters should have a sanitation station and signage that says all who enter must sanitize. Same as when they leave.
c) every building the public enters should have a posted “public area sanitation plan” for people entering to decide if that plan is sufficient for their safety.
d) Face masks should be required by anyone, everyone, within 50 feet of a building that the public enters. If you are in the woods or parks or outdoors jogging, no face masks are required if you are with family members. If you are in the same places with strangers, then face masks are required.
e) If a person wears a mask and gloves, no social distancing requirements are required but they are encouraged.
f)  Protect all nursing homes and places where healthcare workers are present. Everyone wears PPE ( gloves, masks, disposable garbs), a sanitation plan is posted, a screening process is utilized for those who wish to enter.
g) Workplaces: sanitation plans are required. Masks and gloves and sanitizing stations available for employees and may be required PPE by management.
h) Counties with more than 500 people per square mile and a high infection rate should have shuttered-in policies for non-work hours. Counties with more than a thousand people per square mile should have 24-hour shuttered-in policies.
i) Meetings and gatherings of non-family and non-colleagues: Sanitization stations, sanitization plans, masks, gloves, and in some cases garb.
j) Neighbors and children playtime: Give some guidance on this, please. Sticky kids (snotty, dripping, drooling, leaking) cannot play outside. All kids come in and change clothes and wash up before roaming the house. Home sanitization plans make a lot of sense. Why not develop them?
The issue isn’t to prevent any possible case of spreading the virus, the issue is to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease while living a normal lifestyle.
Tell the rest of the legislature to start treating people like adults. Give us the plan, give us alternatives, and get the heck out of the way so we can live our lives in peace and freedom.
Protect the elderly and the immune-compromised. Why is that so hard to do?
Let’s get people back to a somewhat normal lifestyle. You and your legislative friends can move mountains, can you also make some plans to live with this disease until there is a cure and a vaccine?

Wisconsin Republicans and the Law

By now everyone in America is aware that Republican leadership in Wisconsin legislature complained to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the renewal of the Wisconsin Stay At Home order was unconstitutional.

The first emergency order came from the Governor and it was uncontested by the Republican leadership.

“Evers declared a public health emergency on March 12 using a state law that grants governors the power to address emergencies resulting from “a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster.” The governor’s declaration authorized DHS to “take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidents of COVID-19.” The Legislature can revoke the governor’s powers, but even if lawmakers don’t act, they expire after May 11.”

The extension of the original order, however, did not come from the Governor. It came from the Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. And she came to her job through an appointment. An emergency appointment that was never confirmed by Wisconsin Legislature. The Republican leadership does not like her and has since demanded that she be fired. This led to the complaint to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that an unelected and unconfirmed Cabinet Secretary was using the power of the law to shutter Wisconsin businesses.

“But it was Palm — not Evers — who issued Wisconsin’s initial Safer at Home order on March 24 and then extended the order until May 26 last week. Palm used the authority given to her under a different set of laws designed to manage communicable diseases. Those don’t require the governor’s approval, and they don’t expire with his emergency order.”

Section 252 of Wisconsin statutes grants powers to the DHS related to communicable diseases. Those powers include the ability to shutter businesses.

The conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court have now ruled that DHS order by Cabinet Secretary Andrea Palm is illegal. This is judicial activism at its worst.

In an unusual twist, the Republican leadership requested the ruling but they also requested that the effect of the Supreme Court ruling be delayed one week while working out new rules through the legislative process. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ignored this request and immediately blocked the Wisconsin Stay at Home order issued by Palm.

Which now leaves Wisconsin in limbo with no state-wide rules and each County can enact Public Health rules as they see fit.

This means nobody is going to pay attention to the County Health Departments’ “guidance” as law.

As you can imagine, the bars in northern Wisconsin are full of people drinking and cajoling and breathing infected air. A spike in Wisconsin’s COVID infection may be expected in four to seven days.

The nature of that spike and the deaths related to it is all on the heads of the Wisconsin Republican leadership and the Wisconsin Supreme Court who decided to meddle in Public Health and the powers granted to the Department of Public Health by law.

Politics kills people. We will know soon enough how many and for how long.

 

Well, well, finally…finally…

OMG. I almost agree with this thinking!

https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation

The issue has always been about living with this infection, not in preventing it. I am feeling justified at the moment.

Looks like we do need a Grandma Protection Plan after all. Keep the Geezers Safe! Yeah!

No one wants to accidentally give Grandma or Grandpa COVID-19.  We need to protect nursing homes and vulnerable populations from COVID-19. Now we need someone to write about it so others can live it!

Let’s not blow the doors off self-isolation but let’s craft a set of practices on how to live with this disease in our society.

1) Announce early retirement with no penalty

2) Develop guidelines for safely visiting loved ones in nursing homes

3) Develop sanitization plans for public places

 

 

 

The Covid-19 opening of government buildings?

COVID-19: How to safely open a government building

Living with COVID-19 is a reality. This thoughts aren’t to prevent all possible occurrences of disease transmission. However, it does reduce the risk that a mass outbreak will occur as a result of a single infected person.

Top government officials within a function or a facility are responsible for establishing an Infection Control policy for employees and citizens it serves. In addition, an Infection Control Committee should be established in functions or facilities that have more than 40 employees. The size and scope of the Committee is to be determined by top government officials. The purpose of the Committee is to reduce the likelihood of a government worker outbreak. The Committee is to reduce, not eliminate, the risks that one infected person may infect multitudes.

An Infection Control Policy should include:

  1. Developing a Function or Facility Sanitization Plan
  2. Strike Zone Sanitization: Sanitize all horizontal surfaces in the Strike Zone that the public or employees may touch when entering, conducting their business, or exiting the building. The Strike Zone is between the knees and shoulders of an average height adult. Sanitize all Strike Zone areas of vertical surfaces like doors and windows and trim, which the public or employees may encounter.
  3. Frequency of Strike Zone Sanitization: Door handles, customer windows, and public work counters/surfaces: every two hours. Trim and other Strike Zone areas before and after the work shift.
  4. Equip all customer-facing personnel with disinfectant to clean as often as they feel it is necessary.
  5. Establish a Sanitization Station at public entrances/exits for the public and employees to sanitize when entering and leaving a government building.
  6. Reducing human-to-human (H2H) droplet transference:
  7. Employ transparent plastic shielding between employees and the public at all public-facing windows and counters.
  8. Employ masks and gloves where appropriate. Change as needed throughout the day.
  9. Implement a “No Sticky People” policy for employees and the public. People with runny noses, sneezy, coughing, drooling, or leaking bodily fluids are not permitted to enter unless they have an appointment. They should be escorted to and from the appointment area wearing appropriate PPE. A designated meeting area for Sticky People is preferred but not required.
  10. Deploying signage throughout the facility explaining the Sanitization Plan for the building and the No Sticky People Policy. The signage should remind everyone that personal responsibility to prevent infection is just as crucial as Sanitization Plans for the public-at-large. People should be told they are in control of themselves.  Because the nature of the disease allows for asymptomatic transmission, adults are encouraged to protect their mucosal areas from virus infiltration.
  11. Protecting personnel:
    1. Government employees will be provided with the necessary PPE for the jobs they do. The appropriate PPE is determined by top government officials in conjunction with the Infection Control Committee.
    2. Personnel may employ additional personal protection as they deem necessary. If the additional protections interfere with other departmental employees or the departmental work, the department supervisor will provide coaching, and set PPE standards for the ongoing performance of the department. The employee has the right to appeal those standards to Human Relations and Infection Control Committee for adjudication. The decision of HR and the Infection Control Committee is binding on the employee.
    3. Social distancing policy is to be utilized in all areas the public-at-large has access. Social distancing rules are relaxed in non-public areas of the building as determined by the Infection Control Committee and top government officials. Meeting rooms and conference rooms shall have the sanitization schedule posted in a visible location.
    4. Change the operational nature of government and citizen interaction: Provide phone assistance with e-form completion and provide web-based tutorials on the use and intent of government services.
    5. Change the business hours for all governmental public-facing activities from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Retain the hours for non-public-facing activities as appropriate. These hours may assist employees in finding convenient and suitable childcare and provides greater opportunity for flexible work hour arrangements. This will also ensure citizens are able to fit government services into their daily schedule as many working Americans work 8-5 pm.
  12. Special Conditions and Rules:
    1. Cafeteria and restaurants: Within a government facility, cafeterias and restaurants are subject to the policies established by the Infection Control Committee and may include: sanitization efforts sufficient to prevent the transmission of surface-to-human infections, droplet protection for sanitized utensils and dinner ware, droplet protection for foods and condiments, and caution signage that advises and informs users of the risks in utilizing the food service, i.e., increased human contact and increased risk of infection.
    2. Handling of money: It is the responsibility of government facilities to accept the traditional monetary method of payment employed by citizens. Traditional methods are checks, money orders, cash, credit cards, and e-technologies that represent the traditional methods. The Infection Control Committee is charged with reducing the infection risk associated with the transference of payment.
    3. Childcare for Employees: It is the responsibility of the employee to provide safe custody and care for his/her children during normal business hours. The supervisor of the department may grant, upon request and suitability, flexible hours and flexible work conditions to employees with safe-childcare obstacles. Closure of childcare facilities present such an obstacle. Supervisors are not required to provide alternatives to childcare obstacles but are requested to be flexible where possible.
    4. The closure of schools does not present an obstacle to safe childcare. It is common for schools to close for three months of the year and to have specific dates in which schools are closed while a government facility is open. These are standard closures under normal conditions for parents to problem solve their childcare needs.

How to hold a public meeting during the COVID-19 crisis

The meeting room should be Strike-Zone sanitized a maximum of two hours before the meeting.

No Sticky People permitted.

All attendees must wear PPE : masks, gloves, and overgarments. Government employees are exempt from this provision, provided social distancing parameters are maintained; however, they are encouraged to adhere to the same guidelines as the public.  A public employee’s facial gestures should be visible to communicate effectively.

Gloves are to be sanitized immediately before entering a room. Overgarments are to be worn after entering the building and before entering the meeting room. Examples of acceptable overgarments include any covering of the Strike-Zone area that doesn’t expose street clothing between knees and shoulders. For instance, Muslim jilbabs, freshly-laundered robes, freshly-laundered coveralls, disposable rain gear, and disposable ponchos. No clothing worn into the building is acceptable without an overgarment. In some situations, onsite disinfection of street clothes is allowed.

A sergeant-at-arms should be designated to remove or correct attendees without appropriate attire.

The public cannot bring materials into the meeting room unless sanitized by government employees.

Participants in meetings cannot distribute materials to the public.

Disinfectants and hand sanitizers should be available.

All attendees are to record their addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for contact tracing purposes.

Social distancing rules may be decreased or suspended by the meeting organizer when this guidance is followed. If everyone is appropriately garbed, there isn’t any risk to anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

The White House Plan to Re-Open

You can find it here.

Summary: Don’t re-open until your number of reported symptoms decreases for two weeks in a row. Don’t re-open until number of new confirmed infections decreases for two weeks in a row. Don’t re-open until hospital treatments can accommodate your current infection rate and you can test healthcare workers for anti-bodies.

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

As I mentioned other times, when you’re only plan for controlling the virus is isolation then removing that isolation will re-ignite the spread of the disease. Except now you have tens of thousands of carriers of the disease and what once took months to spread will now spread in weeks. Two weeks to be exact. That’s how long it takes between infection and hospitalization in most cases.

Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.

The WH gives a long list of academic things-to-do but there is no practical approach to doing them. It reads like a list of goals. It is not a plan. You planners know what I’m talking about.

 

Protect the health and safety of workers in critical industries

Protect the health and safety of those living and working in high-risk facilities (e.g., senior care facilities)

Protect employees and users of mass transit

Advise citizens regarding protocols for social distancing and face coverings

Empty words. A sixth-grader can come up with a plan like that. More of the same, rinse, repeat.

And one item that irritates me is they use the wrong word throughout the document.

Sanitation is the hygienic disposal of waste. No one is talking about waste.

Sanitization is disinfection and sterilizing. This is what we are talking about.  Sheesh.

Well, I am underwhelmed by the talent and capabilities of those who serve the WH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Purpose for Testing

Harrumph.

It took me a while to cut through the baloney of “Let’s test so we know the lethality and the spread of the virus so we can make more informed decisions.” That may have had value two months ago when it came to the US, but that ship has now sailed. Every state has thousands (tens of thousands) of carriers in its population now.

The reasons for mass testing today comes down to this:

  1. a) if you love data and numbers and quantifying COVID-19, you want to make and to mine data for intellectual understanding. There are no decisions to be made about public health that have not already been made.
  2. b) if you love people, you want testing so you can isolate the concealed carriers to prevent spreading it to others AND so you can alleviate the fears in those who are worried they may have been exposed but were not.

There will always be more people infected in week two than in week one, and more in week three than in week two. It will continue until 50% of the population is infected or until a vaccine is deployed…which is the same as infecting the entire population with a weakened form of the virus. As long as there is freedom of movement, the infection will spread. You can’t stop the movement of people. You can change the speed of the spread but not the breadth of it. Changing speed is the purpose of isolation and quarantine.

Removing isolation and quarantine will arithmetically increase the rate of the spread because there are now tens of thousands of infected people walking around. It will be a pandemic on steroids. God help us.

We will all be infected. Eventually, the number of people infected will exceed those yet to be infected, and the spread of infection will become organic in society. Deaths will equal new infections at some point in time, and a balance in Nature will have occurred.

Just as millions of older adults died each year, from pneumonia before COVID-19, millions of people will die from COVID-19-induced pneumonia in the future. I am not making light of this and saying do nothing; I am saying that COVID-19 will be a much more lethal infection to fight in the elderly, and immune-system compromised people, but it will not go away.

Read the intelligent comments in this article. The author is wrong, but the comments are spot-on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing: For what purpose?

The hue and cry for millions upon millions of COVID-19 tests to be conducted every day has me a bit baffled. From a management perspective, what public health decisions are going to be made based upon data gathered?

I completely understand why a person would want to be tested to see if they are infected now or were infected and are now carrying antibodies. Makes complete sense to me.

But exactly how will data from these tests impact public policy?  They can certainly record a snapshot in time but how is that relevant to determining public health policy for the near future?

It’s a managerial pitfall to collect data which cannot be used to correct or control the object it measures.

For example, let’s say you know that red sweaters lead to cancer. You decide to measure how many people have red sweaters in cars. Where do you measure this? Do you stop all cars on Monday and count them? How much value does that information have when there may be thousands of people who don’t drive thru your red sweater counting line?  Maybe people wear red sweaters and  stay home or maybe they  drive a route that has no red sweater counting people.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say you count 2,000 people on Monday who have red sweaters out of 20,000 people counted. That is ten percent. Let’s say you decide to count the following Monday and find only 1,000 people out of 20,000 have red sweaters on. What are you going to do with that information? And if that is only 500 people out of 20,000 the following week, what decisions or conclusions are you going to make about red sweaters and cancer that has any value?

Each week the number of red sweaters on people in cars is going to vary in accordance with conditions that you didn’t expect. Like holidays. Like warm weather or cold weather. Like tourists.

Testing and counting may tell you there is more or less of something but it doesn’t tell you why and it doesn’t tell  you if it makes a difference.