Speaking the Unspeakable.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been watching the news from Europe and Asia a little more carefully over the past few weeks than he has before. You see, he figured that since the Covid outbreaks in Europe and Asia for the most part preceded those of the US and Canada they would likely lead any “second wave” that might be happening. Additionally, since Europe and Asia seem to have better prevention and mitigation protocols than the US, it would stand to reason that seeing how bad a second wave of infections might be could illustrate how it could go in the US.

Well… The news isn’t good. This article from The Daily Beast might be one of the first of many that we will see in American outlets: Italy Did Everything Right to Stop a Second Wave of the Coronavirus. So What Went Wrong? The picture is not promising. Here are some salient points:

If you turn on the news in Italy right now, you might be forgiven for thinking you are getting reruns from March. Pictures of COVID-only units, field hospitals being erected, exhausted medics and coffins are again dominating headlines as Italy comes to grips with a deadly second wave of COVID-19. On Wednesday, the death toll topped 125 in a 24-hour period for the first time since May when this country was still under a Draconian lockdown and seen as a harbinger of what was to come.

[…]

On Wednesday, Italy logged 15,199 new infections–nearly three times as many as the worst day of the pandemic last March and a per capita rate that would be the equivalent of 90,000 new cases in a single day in the U.S., which has not yet been reached.

And it is only getting worse. “Certain metropolitan areas like Milan, Naples and Rome are already out of control in terms of containing the pandemic,” Walter Ricciardi, an infectious disease specialist advising the Italian government who holds the same position in Italy as Fauci does in the U.S. said at a conference Wednesday. “Their numbers are too high to be contained by the traditional method of tracing and testing. And as previous epidemics teach us, when you can’t contain you have to mitigate, namely you have to block movement.”

[…]

But authorities are very concerned still that despite all the best efforts to contain the spread, it simply cannot be stopped. The government’s experts insist that the rate of contagion among school children is not the driving factor, but young people who feel confident they won’t get very sick and insist on gathering socially may be. Now major cities like Milan, Rome and Naples have evening curfews to try to stop young people from gathering socially, which seems to be contributing to the spread. Riccardi said that most of the contagion that happens within multigenerational homes comes from young people bringing it in.

But Italy is by no means alone in its battle against the European second wave of the pandemic. France, Spain and the Czech Republic have all broken records in new cases and introduced measures to mitigate the spread. The United Kingdom has also recorded record numbers of new infections in a single day, and Ireland has completely locked down.

Germany—which largely avoided problems during the first European wave— has reported shocking numbers of new infections, which topped 10,000 in a single day on Wednesday. Authorities there have also blamed young people going out or groups meeting privately for the spread. Dr. Lothar Wieler, told the DW network that people going to work is not the problem. “We don’t see so many outbreaks at workplaces or in public transportation, but it’s mostly coming together in privacy, in parties and also in services and weddings,” he said. “We shouldn’t have too many of these events.”

[…]

But for many, the sacrifices that helped during the first round seem lost now, as though they had been made in vain.

Your Maximum Leader is frequently accused of being a pessimist by Mrs. Villain. He counters that he tries to be a realist. (NB: in any context this is an argument for the ages and will never be resolved.) But your Maximum Leader has privately, and is now publicly, wondered if some mitigation is just the best we can do against this virus until there is a vaccine and approved treatment regimen. The data seems to be adding up in the direction of we can try to limit the number of Covid related deaths, but we aren’t going to stop it. Your Maximum Leader remembers back at the beginning of the Covid outbreak in the US it was quarantine to slow the spread and not overwhelm the health care system. If one carefully read the charts and listened to the experts, the number of dead were not going to change just the period over which people died would be spread out. Your Maximum Leader thinks that this is what we are in for as fall turns to winter. All the precautions and steps we may (or may not) take as a nation (or collection of states - more accurately in this situation) are likely only to change the death toll in the margins. The numbers are going to happen and there isn’t much that can be done to stop them from happening.

Carry on.

The Lost Lincoln

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader watched the Discovery Channel program “Undiscovered: The Lost Lincoln” last night. In the program one follows Dr. Whitny Braun (a professional authenticator, bioethics expert, and professor at Loma Linda University in California) attempt to authenticate an image of Abraham Lincoln. This image was alleged to have been taken in the brief window of time between Lincoln’s death and the removal of his body from the Petersen House to the White House.

Your Maximum Leader, upon seeing the photo for the first time on the reveal at beginning of the show, was doubtful that it was an image of Lincoln. Something about it seemed off. By the end of the program your Maximum Leader believed that was plausible that it could be an image of Lincoln on his deathbed. Your Maximum Leader isn’t enough of an expert in Lincoln’s final hours to determine some things that have been pointed out in news articles. (Like the fact that the figure in the photo has a shirt on, but Lincoln was likely shirtless as his shirt was cut away to look for other wounds.) Your Maximum Leader’s biggest gripes with the show are these. They have a firearms expert show how modern weapons affect ballistic gelatin. That is pretty useless gun porn. (NB: Your Maximum Leader is saying this as a lover of gun porn.) The another gripe is that no one who believes the image to be fake was interviewed. There are doubters out there, and getting some of them on camera to explain their position would have been interesting to see. The doubters might not have made for very good TV, but your Maximum Leader would have liked it. Also, there is passing mentioning of the image being “retouched.” (Specifically some very faint color added to the cheek.) That was glossed over. If the image was retouched in any way wouldn’t that increase the chances of it being a fake? Lastly, and this was spelled out early on, the image they are examining is a high-quality digital image of the original image. The original is in a safe deposit box under court supervision (as the ownership of the image is in dispute). So there may be information to be gleaned from the original that can’t be ascertained from the digital copy.

Anyhoo… Your Maximum Leader has wasted 2 hours of his time in worse ways than this program. If you are so inclined, you might try to watch it.

Carry on.

Happy Birthday - R3

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wishes a very happy birthday to King Richard III of England. After Henry II, Richard is your Maximum Leader’s favorite Plantagenet king.

One day, your Maximum Leader would like to travel to Leicester and visit the grave of Richard III. (He’s thought of making a trip to visit the royal burials at Winchester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral as well.) He wonders if he could sneak into Frogmore to see some more recent ones as well…

Well, a happy 568th birthday to Richard III.

Carry on.

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