Quarantine Day 14: Hug a Nurse – when its okay to hug again

I ‘m a glass half full kind of guy that tends to go with the positive up front, that way I can pre-balance the teetering other shoe that’s always about to drop. On the good news front, the COVID-19 death rates both globally and nationally are holding firm. This is especially good news for us because the US has a death rate 226% below the global death rate, which is depicted in the lower right chart.

It needs to stated up front that the Chinese and other repressive countries are skewing the global curve by deliberately lying to the world as well as their own people. As evidence, the Chinese government asserts that only a few thousand people have died in Wuhan, but one funeral home there recently received a shipment of 5,000 cremation urns…and that was just one Wuhan funeral home. When this is over, China must be held accountable, not only to their own people, but to the world. I believe that the US is truthfully and accurately reporting their data, which means relative to the rest of the world, we are kicking it right now.

Note to fellow engineers and other less fortunate number crunchers: To derive infection and death rates for the US, I used current data on the official US population, which means I’m under-estimating the population of people currently residing within the US. In deference to Bolshevik Bernie and Crazy Cortez, I’m not inclined to worry about political correctness and even more salient, it doesn’t matter. If I attempted to estimate rates based on the population of people residing in the US, we’d spend all day arguing about how I arrived at my number. For analyses like I am presenting, its the slope of the curves that matters and once a baseline is established its the rate of change we track; whether I use the official US population or an estimate of the number of people residing in the US is irrelevant (kiss, I mean, ask an engineer if you don’t believe me).

Back to the US kicking it

Have to go with the Hawks for this pic

Mucho grande congrats to federal and state first responders and especially to healthcare workers. If this were a hockey match, you’d all have hat tricks.

Hug a Nurse

We especially need to reserve a shout out to nurses, who are the first line of defense. I had dinner several years ago with a professor from Loma Linda University during the time when they were embroiled in that messy morass surrounding the morality of a family conceiving a baby just so the new born could provide a bone marrow transplant for an older sibling. I was at that time at the forefront of virtual reality research and he was interested in developing telemedicine technology. During the course of our conversation he asked me if I knew the difference between an MD and a nurse? After embarrassingly admitting I didn’t, he explained that MDs dispense treatment while nurses dispense compassion. He went on to described how doctors are trained to be cold, aloof, and divested from their patients. While this may seem shocking, it’s for a very good reason, namely, doctors can’t reliably make objective life and death decisions regarding patient treatment if they’re emotionally invested.

Nurses on the other hand provide that emotional bridge between the treatment doctors prescribe and the emotional, physical, and yes spiritual, care patients so desperately need. A lot has been written in Western and Eastern medicine about the enormous positive impact emotional and spiritual care contributes to patient well being and we have nurses to thank for providing that. So when its safe to hug again, make sure to hug a nurse because while the entire healthcare industry is working to the brink of exhaustion these days, nurses are exhausted on levels far deeper and more profound than doctors can even imagine because along with physical exhaustion, they’ve got the added drain of emotional and spiritual depletion to manage. I’ve never met a nurse who phoned it in, they give everything they have to their patients, even to their own determent.

Now the Bad News

I draw your attention to the lower left chart. Notice that during this past week the US national infection rate has gone up at an alarming rate while the worldwide rate has remained relatively flat. While this does not bode well for the home team, there are underlying catalysts. For one thing, as previously mentioned, the US is truthfully reporting its data while China, Russia, and other repressive countries are playing their usual game of deception and misdirection. Second, while the federal government is being widely criticized for their response by marginal media, the US is testing at a faster and higher rate than the rest of world. As any good engineer can attest, the more you look the more you find. Finally, and this most probably excludes you, many American’s are stupid – do I really have to I say more than college spring break in Florida?

Today’s Dose of Satire: a picture really is worth a 1000 words

Sasha, who I guess has now graduated from high school since schools are closed for the year, has been reminding me on a consistent schedule about how she’s missing senior prom, her senior recital, her chance to cross the stage for graduation, and will in all likelihood not get to realize her dream of skydiving on her 18th birthday. I calmly remind her that I hope she gets to complain about missing all these milestones for years to come.  She is retaining a sense of humor though, something she inherited from her Dad, as you can see from the T-shirt she intends to buy, which quite frankly leaves nothing unsaid.

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