Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for April 18th, 2020

U.S. sent millions of face masks to China early this year, ignoring pandemic warning signs

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See previous post for another reason this Washington Post report by Juliet Eilperin,
Jeff Stein, Desmond Butler, and Tom Hamburger is so galling:

U.S. manufacturers shipped millions of dollars of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government, a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents has found. The move underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat.

In those two months, the value of protective masks and related items exported from the United States to China grew more than 1,000 percent compared with the same time last year — from $1.4 million to about $17.6 million, according to a Post analysis of customs categories which, according to research by Public Citizen, contain key PPE. Similarly, shipments of ventilators and protective garments jumped by triple digits.

“Instead of taking steps to prepare, they ignored the advice of one expert after another,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.). “People right now, as we speak, are dying because there have been inadequate supplies of PPE.”

While the percentage increase of exports to China was steep, they represent a small fraction of the overall U.S. need. Throughout the country, the shortage has forced hospitals, nursing homes and first responders to ration masks and other protective gear as they treat infected and high-risk patients, creating a secondary health crisis among first line providers.

In the early days of the covid-19’s exponential march across the globe, when it was still mostly contained in China, there was no widespread sense of crisis in the White House. But by the end of January, briefings to White House national security staff made clear that the danger of a major pandemic was real. By then seven Americans had fallen ill, and experts said the need for an adequate supply of protective gear should have been apparent.

Nonetheless, on Jan. 30, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Fox Business that the outbreak could “accelerate the return of jobs to North America” because companies would move factories away from impacted areas.

On Feb. 26 — when total deaths had reached 2,770, nearly all in China — the Commerce Department published a flier titled “CS China COVID Procurement Service,” guiding American firms on how to sell “critical medical products” to China and Hong Kong through Beijing’s fast-tracked sales process. Doggett obtained the flier — from the division of the International Trade Association’s Commercial Services Office in China — and other Commerce communications.

On March 3, a commercial officer in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing notified colleagues about the “new service” Commerce was offering, according to an email.

“The CS China healthcare team has been busy working with Chinese government procurement agents and U.S. companies to address local healthcare needs. We created the China and Hong Kong COVID Procurement Service — please find the flyer attached. We welcome you to send this flier to relevant U.S. manufacturers and suppliers.” . . .

Continue reading.

Many Americans continue to express strong support for President Trump and his clown show. I do not know why.

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 2:50 pm

A Nurse’s Hospital Wouldn’t Let Her Wear an N95 Mask. She Hasn’t Been Back to Work in Weeks.

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It’s amazing how many obviously bad decisions are being made these days. Marshall Allen reports in ProPublica:

On March 31, Florida emergency room nurse Naomi Moya took a big risk. Though her hospital didn’t allow staff to wear N95 masks when treating patients who were not diagnosed with the coronavirus, Moya brought one from home and put it on to protect herself.

A supervisor noticed the N95 right away and ordered her to remove it.

“I have my own supply,” Moya recalled saying. “It’s protection for me and you and my coworkers and the community and my family when I come home.”

The impasse was polite, but both sides held firm. Thus, at the height of a pandemic, when there’s a shortage of nurses, Moya stepped away. She and the hospital agreed that she would go on unpaid leave.

Clinicians across the country are weighing similar choices when their hospitals lack the protective gear they believe they need to care for patients. A New Jersey doctor said she left her urgent care position because of safety concerns. “This is an unstable situation with a novel coronavirus with a company that could be protective but is not being adequately protective,” she said.

In North Carolina, Angela Allen said she watched warily as the coronavirus spread, waiting for her hospital to do something to protect the staff. Administrators considered the psychiatric unit where she works as a nurse “low risk,” Allen said. By mid-March, she said she asked for the staff to be tested for the coronavirus, so they could also be sure to avoid infecting the patients, and her manager said that wasn’t necessary. “If we can’t rule out that we are carriers then we have to assume that we are,” Allen said. “And if you’re not giving us the right equipment to at least protect our patients, then I can’t do my job.”

Allen said she didn’t quit but took a leave of absence and hasn’t been back since March 19.

ProPublica spoke to 15 doctors and nurses from New Jersey to California to North and South Carolina who said their administrators have normalized poor infection control practices — putting them at risk and likely spreading the virus. A study published Tuesdayby the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that health care workers are getting infected at high rates, which also makes them a source of transmission.

ProPublica and others have reported on staff who were suspended or fired for bringing their own gowns and masks and other protective equipment, or speaking up about it. But clinicians are saying there’s an even deeper problem. The conditions are so unsafe they’re being forced to choose between their livelihoods and risking their lives — and that means some are walking away.

Moya works at AdventHealth Heart of Florida, a 193-bed facility in Davenport, near Orlando.

AdventHealth did not respond to ProPublica’s questions about Moya. But it said in a statement that it does not have a shortage of N95 masks or other gear. Its statement said staff are not allowed to wear masks unless they are issued by the hospital, to ensure they are medical-grade and properly fitted. The N95 masks are provided to staff who care for suspected or known COVID-19 patients, the statement said.

Lowering Infection Control Standards

In the upside-down world of American health care in the era of coronavirus, a nurse in an N95 is often considered both safe and defiant.

N95 masks are superior to surgical masks for coronavirus protection, but like many hospitals, AdventHealth Heart of Florida has restricted their use.

But the policy doesn’t account for the spread of disease by people who have not yet tested positive or who aren’t showing symptoms, Moya knew.

“We know the disease process,” Moya said. “I don’t know who may be infected or not.”

The United States was caught so unprepared for the pandemic that hospitals don’t have enough N95 masks and other important gear. So facilities have been lowering their infection control standards — and demanding compliance from staffers.

Moya had been prepared. She purchased her own N95 masks, and on that final day of March she put one on under the surgical mask AdventHealth had given her.

When she was told to remove it, she got called to the office of the emergency department director, she said, who told her if she wore the N95 other staff would also want one. Also, the hospital didn’t want patients to feel scared by seeing everyone in a mask, Moya recalled the director saying.

Moya is known for her calm demeanor, according to a nurse who works with her. She speaks English, Spanish and American Sign Language and is nonplussed by even the most aggressive patients.

The problem isn’t just a lack of supplies, Moya and other clinicians who spoke to ProPublica said. The administrators are not acknowledging the hazards, causing a breakdown of trust.

“They know this is real and that people are dying,” Moya said of her administration. “Would you send a firefighter into a burning building without appropriate gear?” . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 2:23 pm

Quite a voice! And quite a story!

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Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 11:47 am

Posted in Music, Video

Why social distancing is so important

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Jonathan Smith, an award-winning lecturer in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Global Health at Yale University School of Public Health, wrote this piece, quoted here from

As an infectious disease epidemiologist (albeit a junior one), I feel morally obligated to provide information on what we are seeing from a transmission dynamic perspective and how it applies to the social distancing measures.

Like any good scientist, I have noticed two things that are either not well articulated or not present in the “literature” of online media. I have also relied on other infectious disease epidemiologists for peer review of this piece.

Specifically, I want to make two aspects of these distancing measures very clear and unambiguous. First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means that even with these measures in place, we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities.

This may lead some to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are.

They may feel futile. They aren’t.

You will feel discouraged. You should.

This is normal in chaos. This is the normal epidemic trajectory. Stay calm.

The enemy we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse.

This is not an opinion. This is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception.

Stay strong and in solidarity knowing that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people continue getting sick and dying.

You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit: if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk.

Second, although social distancing measures have been (at least temporarily) well received, there is an obvious-but-overlooked phenomenon when considering groups (i.e. households) in transmission dynamics.

While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it of course increases contact within a group (i.e. family).

This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics.

The basic mechanics of this mathematical principle dictate that even if there is only a little bit of additional connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates, unnecessary trips to the store, etc.), the epidemic likely won’t be much different than if there was no measure in place.

The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit.

You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit: If one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk.

Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed.


This sounds silly, it’s not.

This is not a joke or hypothetical.

We as epidemiologists see it borne out in the data time and time again. Conversely, any break in that chain breaks disease transmission along that chain.

In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also require sustained action before results are evident.

It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how on a population level “one quick little get together” can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it can.

I promise you it can. I promise. I promise. I promise. You can’t cheat it. People are . . .

Continue reading.

And in the meantime, President Trump is pumping up crowds in Virginia, Minnesota, and Michigan to gather and protest social distancing (after he said that state governments should take responsibility for their own schedules regarding pandemic lockdown).

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 11:42 am

Great news: Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto is on-line for free!

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As I’ve be slowly re-immersing myself into Esperanto, I was pining for the Esperanto books I had donated to the Esperanto League of North America, including the magisterial Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto (Complete Illustrated Dictionary of Esperanto).

“Vortaro” is from “vorto” (“word”) and the suffix “-ar-“, one of the Esperanto affixes that allow easy vocabulary acquisition. Specifically, as explained at

AR = “a whole group or a collection of many things of the same type”.

homo → homaro = all people in the world, the whole human race
birdo → birdaro = all birds in the world or in one region [or a flock – LG]
gazeto → gazetaro = all newspapers and magazines in one region, the press
verko → verkaro = all works of one author
estro → estraro = an elected group of leaders of one organization, a board
arbo → arbaro = a place with many trees growing together, a forest or wood
haro → hararo = all of the hairs on someone’s head, a head of hair
ŝafo → ŝafaro = all sheep of one owner or in one place
meblo → meblaro = all furniture of one room/apartment/house
altaj montoj → altmontaro = a range or chain of high mountains
vorto → vortaro = a book with a list of words and explanations of them, a dictionary
horo → horaro = a table of hours, in which something special is happening, a timetable
ŝtupeto → ŝtupetaro = a tool for climbing, constructed from two posts and many steps (= a ladder)
vagono → vagonaro = a succession of wagons joined together, pulled by a locomotive (= train)
aro = a group, collection, herd, etc.

Because I was pining for the book, I did a search — and lo! the complete book is now available on-line. I’m not sure about the “ilustrita” part, but I’m happy to have found what I did.

I came across this brief video this morning:

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 10:04 am

Posted in Esperanto

Marlborough and the Ascension

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I’ve noticed that using Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar aftershave invariably brings D.R. Harris Marlborough to mind — another good source of wood fragrances (beyond sandalwood). At any rate, I leapt at the idea of D.R. Harris shaving soap — such a good lather! — and reprising the fragrance of wood.

My 22mm Maggard sythetic — the idea size, so far as I’m concerned — blossomed with lather like a cotton boll, and the double-open-comb Phoenix Ascension, here in aluminum, did a very comfortable and very efficient shave. A good splash of Marlborough aftershave finished the job and launched the weekend.

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 9:00 am

Posted in Shaving

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