Post #657: My last word

Posted on April 18, 2020

The US CDC materially changed it guidance to Americans, regarding this pandemic, on 4/3/2020.  People who know nothing about public health have no clue how unusual and important that is.  On 4/16/2020, I blogged about the difference between Fresh Fields — a company that truly gets the new CDC guidance — and Giant Food, which clearly does not.

The CDC guidance was based, in large part, on the head of the Chinese CDC saying that failure to mandate masks in public was “The great mistake” that both the US and CDC were making.  China, you know, the country that has, at this point, about 10% of the cases that the US has had, with a much larger population.  And without the months of warning that the US had.

I have been told that, today or maybe yesterday, our anointed Mayor-to-be Colbert posted a video specifically defending Giant, based on the bullshit defense that “some employees are allergic to masks”.  Which is a hoot, give that a) masks are made hypoallergenic, on purpose, and b) the store across the street has everyone masked up.  And, frankly, all you have to do is be awake, as you shop in person at Giant, to see that employee allergy is not the problem.

Their defense is, as I described earlier, legal mumbelty-speak.  As it was with Safeway.  It does not hold up to any fact-based scrutiny.  It’s something their lawyers concocted to avoid legal liability.

So, I’m just going to copy in here an unexpurgated email that I sent to Pasha Majdi on 4/13/2020, , in response to a generic inquiry as to whether I had bothered watch the last Town Council meeting. So, this is my response, to Majdi’s simply inquiry “Are you watching this”, meaning, the last Vienna Town Council meeting.

Here’s my response.  No changes.  Apologies in advance for the swear words.  Just with the understanding that I’ve been somewhat ahead of the curve so far, in getting a grip on this pandemic.


No, sorry. I am sorry to say this, but I don’t think it matters what Vienna does. E.g., from a public health standpoint, I’m guessing that we can’t safely re-open sit-down dining until the majority of the population has been vaccinated, which (best guess) can’t happen any sooner than a year from now. More likely, 18 months.

Present company excepted, Town Council and Town Staff are not smart enough to think through what that means. And all the other things that will be happening, just like that, at the same time.

Last I heard it was “business-as-usual” for the Vienna town budget, and Fairfax County budget, except for a salary freeze. Only when that particular Titanic hits the new iceberg of fiscal reality will they finally, after the fact, realize what deep shit we’re all in.

Maybe that’s the right course. Maybe that changed last night?

But, as of now, I can only see two endings for this. One is that everybody goes bankrupt, and we wipe the slate clean in the messiest, piecemeal way. Two is that everybody takes a major haircut on their financial assets by, say, doubling the price level.

And I have yet to see any analysis that convinces me otherwise.

Two, three weeks ago, for the first time ever, the Fed announced it was going to buy municipal bonds. I’d bet my house, that’s because of the anticipated wave of municipal bankruptcies. The Town has (or thinks it has) $30M in reserves. Maybe it has deep enough pockets that stay-the-course is an OK strategy. But it’s not like, 18 months from now, they flip a switch and it resets to 2018. Best guess, we start picking up the financial wreckage at that point.

Looking on the bright side, this solves the toilet paper shortage. You’ll be able to get some from any ATM.

Well, fuck it, I was going to continue spreading doom-and-gloom, but you get the picture. Even if we had a functioning President, this would be tough. Even if he hadn’t larded key Federal positions with cronies, this would be tough. As it is, we’re left with whatever remains of the top professional bureaucracy Federally, and, God help us, the Virginia Department of Health. Plus the Federal Reserve.

In that context, the TOV government just … doesn’t matter. Keep the water and sewer running. Keep paying the cops. Whatever other bullshit games the rest of Town Council is up to at the moment, I don’t care. I’ve worked with people who use chaos as a tool for advancing their aims. I’ve worked with ones that caused chaos, so that they could use it. At the least, if they’re still living in 2017, it keeps them from causing further trouble.

Separately, we need a mandatory public mask ordinance. Or, rather, we need to have the Town’s fucking lawyer say that’s not within our power.

I’ll review the tape if you want me to. If there’s something in particular you want me to see, point me to it. I’ll be as helpful as I can, given the circumstances.

My projection, as of today, is that we’ll have 40,000 cases statewide in three weeks. That’s a simple-minded projection using the current daily average growth in cases, which seems to be settling in around 10%/day. Hope like hell we can get the growth rate below that, but there is no sign of that so far.

We’ll be living in a different world by the next time Town Council meets. And a different one again, but the time they meet after that. They’re not capable of grasping that.



Oh, PS:

Sweet baby Jesus, Wally World can figure this out, but our leadership-to-be is making excuses for our local grocery store?  Good luck, Vienna.  You’re going to need it.

PPS:  Convalescent plasma is now a thing.  You may need to keep that in mind.  Search this website if you need an explanation of it.  Risky and rare, but the Chinese experience says this 100-year-old technique works.

PPPS:  Take you zinc, and, some hours later, take our ionphores and your flavonoids.  Can’t hurt, might help.

Signing off now.