Doctors Will Be Forced To Decide: The UK declares ‘disaster medicine mode’

(Addendum below.)

The UK medical system has reached the breaking point where doctors can no longer care for all their patients.  I have no insider knowledge, but I suspect “disaster medicine mode” is similar to what happens in war zones and disasters.   Doctors will be forced to decide who lives and dies based on a predetermined list of criteria, reserving care for those easiest to save.

Imagine how much worse it would be if the tories had gotten their way and privatized all health services.

London NHS hospital in ‘disaster medicine mode’ and ‘can’t provide high standard care’

Royal London Hospital is in “disaster medicine mode” and unable to provide “high standard critical care” as the number of people suffering from Covid-19 continues to soar.

The news comes just days after it was reported that emergency vehicles had been forced to line up outside the the hospital in Whitechapel on Tuesday.

NHS chiefs at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel have emailed staff admitting they are so overwhelmed with cases “we are no longer providing high standard critical care, because we cannot”.

[. . .]

A tweet shared by Dr Julia Grace Patterson, Founder and Chief Executive of EveryDoctorUK said that the hospital managers had sent an email to staff warning of the “disaster mode” the hospital had entered. She added that the content of this email was “shocking.”

Hospitals are now so short of staff that they may need volunteers.  Or worse, if a state of emergency is declared, people may be conscripted into working at hospitals.

Recruit the military and cops to do it, not civilians.  They’re getting paid and allegedly “defend the country”.  Don’t force civilians to work under threat of force as slave labour, as was done for the “diamond jubilee” in 2012.

Hospitals make desperate plea for staff as new coronavirus strain spreads ‘like wildfire’

The new coronavirus variant is “spreading like wildfire” in the northwest of England as cases continue to rise across the country, piling further pressure on the struggling NHS.

The more infectious strain was responsible for the dramatic increase in positive cases across the southeast in the weeks before Christmas. Now it has been identified in a spike in Cumbria, according to Public Health England.

[. . .]

This is thought to be behind the surge in infections across the southeast and London which has crippled hospitals and forced the cancellation of thousands of operations.

Nationally, Thursday was another record day for infections with 55,892 cases reported in 24 hours with 964 deaths.

London hospitals are racing to open up more beds with children’s wards, operating theatres and clinic rooms being transformed into bed spaces.

I have several friends in the UK.  Thankfully two are in Shrewsbury (a couple who just had their first child), which is one of the least hit areas.  But another lives in London; she may be in her twenties, but that doesn’t make her immune.  Another is currently hunkered down in Germany (working legally before brexit came into effect), but her family are also from the London area.

A pharmacist in Wisconsin is under arrest for INTENTIONALLY leaving 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine at room temperature and spoiling them.  He did it TWICE.  That could mean as many as 500 more deaths that were preventable.

A life sentence is barely sufficient for someone like that.

Wisconsin police arrest hospital worker suspected of intentionally spoiling Covid vaccine doses

Police in Wisconsin said on Thursday evening that they had arrested a hospital employee who was fired after being suspected of intentionally spoiling hundreds of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Law enforcement and federal authorities in the US had already been investigating after a health center in the state said an employee admitted to deliberately spoiling 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Aurora medical center, in Grafton, first reported that the doses of the Moderna vaccine had been spoiled on Saturday, saying a staff member had accidentally left them out of refrigeration overnight.

On Wednesday, however, it said the doses appeared to have been spoiled deliberately.

Another addendum, from the US:

Covid 19 coronavirus: Los Angeles calls in National Guard to remove bodies of virus victims

America’s coronavirus crisis has reached a new low, with its second-biggest city so overrun with cases that patients are dying in hospital hallways, with morgues now overflowing.

The situation has grown so dire in Los Angeles – a sprawling city with a population of nearly four million – that the National Guard has been called in to move bodies into storage at the LA County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner.

According to the LA Times, which has published a detailed investigation into the disaster facing the city’s health system, hospitals are now so overwhelmed medics are being forced to choose which patients will receive vital care, with Los Angeles County reaching 10,000 coronavirus deaths this week and many healthcare workers also contracting the illness.

The LA Public Health agency is so concerned about the worsening disaster it has launched a Twitter campaign warning that “every 10 minutes someone dies of Covid-19 in LA County”, urging people to do their bit to help stop the spread as the city emerges as the new epicentre of the virus in the US.

Where is says 10,000 deaths, I suspect that means in total, not during a seven day period.  But given that’s in just one country, it’s appalling.

Better Late Than Never: Art Bergmann gets the recognition he deserves

Art Bergmann is a Canadian music legend with a forty year career starting with the Young Canadians in 1979 and his many singles and albums from the 1980s until today.  It was announced this week he along with sixty others would receive the Order of Canada, the second highest award given to civilians.

CBC: Trailblazing women, rock singer, former chief among new Order of Canada appointments

Robert Steadward is a now-retired sports scientist who was instrumental in the creation of the modern Paralympic Games and served for 12 years as the founding president of the International Paralympic Committee. [. . .] In the early 1980s, he helped develop a proposal to centralize the governance of disability sport at the international level. When the International Paralympic Committee was created, he was elected its first president.

[. . .]

Louise Mailhot, a former lawyer and judge who sat on the Superior Court of Quebec and became the first female judge to serve on Quebec’s Court of Appeal in Montreal, is one of several women pioneers being appointed as members of the order — the order’s entry level. [. . .] In addition to practicing employment and public law and serving as a judge, Mailhot was co-editor of multiple legal reviews, authored a book on the appellate process and helped develop a training program for drafting Canadian judges.

[. . .]

Legal scholar John Borrows, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria’s law school, said it was a “jaw-dropping moment” when he found out he was being appointed an officer of the order [. . .] Borrows is being recognized for his scholarly work on Indigenous rights and legal traditions.

Hailing from the Chippewas of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Borrows is one of several people of Indigenous heritage on this year’s list.

[. . .]

Celebrated singer-songwriter Art Bergmann is being recognized for what the Governor General’s office calls his “indelible contributions to the Canadian punk music scene, and for his thought-provoking discourse on social, gender and racial inequalities.”

“It’s humbling. And I want to know who did this to me,” said Bergmann.

Bergmann made his mark on Vancouver’s punk scene in the 1970s and 1980s as a member of multiple bands, including the K-Tels, which was subsequently renamed the Young Canadians. He has since written songs and published albums as a solo artist and won a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album in 1996.

Bergman, who now lives with his wife in Rocky View County, Alta., is known for his sharply political, anti-establishment lyrics. He said he wants to divert any publicity generated by his appointment toward pressuring the federal government over its failure to provide adequate housing and clean water to First Nations. 

“There’s a few things that have gone wrong in Canada … [and] me not having an award for my work is not one of them,” said Bergmann. “Honour the treaties, give the First Nations water and housing and thank you very much, Canada — a work in progress.”

Several of Bergmann’s songs are below the fold.

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Three Weeks Remain: Playing 45s for Forty Five

Two songs for Dolt 45, now that he’s shooting blanks.  First, Nick Lowe.  Second, the Circle Jerks for 45’s unfulfilled ambitions.  Followed by a few memes.

“Little Hitler”, by Nick Lowe

Little Hitler, what you doin’ / Is the passion inflamed again, again

Little Hitler, where you goin’ / Is it go go night again tonight

Ever searchin’ for the action / But the action don’t want to know

I said all along you’re a tough one / (Little Hitler)

Little Hitler, what’s the matter now / Can’t you settle for the center of attention

Little Hitler, now I’m serious / Let me guess why you knocked me off your guest list

As the world turns at the edge of night / And the seed is shot and sown

I’ll make a Little Hitler of my own / (Little Hitler)

When the goin’ gets tough / The tough get goin’

Every now and then / I can see ’em runnin’, runnin’

You can talk with them / You can be shot with them

But you’ll get no change / Only shootin’ at ’em long range

As the world turns at the edge of night / And the seed is shot and sown

I’ll make a Little Hitler of my own / (Little Hitler)

See you someday soon (Little Hitler)

Selfish pleasure, yeah (Little Hitler)

With the one I love (Little Hitler)

Now you’re not alone… yeah (Little Hitler)

With the one I say (Little Hitler)

Little Hitler of my own (Little Hitler)

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Three To See: News about the 30th, 31st, and 1st

Exactly what the title says. . .well, three plus one more.  The three indented links are from the China Post newspaper, the fourth from The Nation.

December 30th marks one year since Taiwan took action against COVID-19, testing people coming from China for fever.  As the saying goes, “First to know, first to act”.  Because of Taiwan’s experience with SARS in 2003 (73 dead), the government created a plan for dealing with future diseases.  As has been noted elsewhere, and even the WHO had to admit, Taiwan’s government warned the WHO on December 31, 2019.  Nothing was done, the information was never passed on to other countries.  Now we’re dealing with worldwide consequences.

Taiwan marks one-year anniversary of fight against COVID-19

Some New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31st will still go ahead, most notably the fireworks display outside Taipei 101.  However, many parties have been cancelled, and masks are now mandatory at all NYE events, indoor and outdoor.  It’s very likely police will be checking all venues for compliance.

For the last few years, the subway system has operated around the clock on NYE, from 5AM on December 31st until 11:59PM on January 1st.  It’s great in most years for those attending parties because getting a taxi home is near impossible.  But with events cancelled, I doubt there will be that many riders.  I’ll be staying home tomorrow night, writing stuff here and sending messages to friends.  On Friday, friends and I plan to meet for coffee and such.

Taipei City makes face masks mandatory on New Year’s Eve

Starting January 1st, the government announced that no new foreigners will be permitted into the country, a response to contract labourers from Southeast Asia who entered during the last few months and tested positive, but moreso the new strain of COVID-19 from the UK.   People with an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC, which I have), business contracts (temporary visitors), diplomats, and their family can enter, but no one else.  Just like last March, the decision to shut the door has come very quickly.  Many who were planning to come here and even had work contracts are now unable to get in.

Foreigners barred from entering Taiwan starting Jan. 1

Additional: China is barring travel during Lunar New Year (February 10-16, year of the Ox).  They’re claiming it’s “a precaution”, but I suspect they’re controlling the spread.

Taiwan is also going through a cold snap tomorrow. . .well, cold for Taiwan, anyway (3°C to 5°C).  This country builds for earthquakes and typhoons, insulation isn’t part of normal construction.  It was five years ago that a cold wave killed 85 people.

Misery Always Repeats: White bearer, white error, white terror

Because it ain’t only history that repeats.

In today’s least shocking news, it’s being reported that the white christian terrorist (*) who bombed Nashville was already known to the police for over a year. (* It’s safe to assume that he was christian.  As Mehdi Hasan noted, if the terrorist weren’t christian, it would have been all over the news as it is when bombers are of other religions or atheists.)

And the cops did nothing about it because he was white.

White bearer of bombs, white error of cops, white terror against innocents.

Nashville Bomber’s Girlfriend Warned Police About Him In 2019

More than a year before the explosion that rocked Nashville last week, Anthony Warner’s girlfriend told police that he “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” according to a police report filed in August 2019.

Yet the report indicates Nashville police never made contact with Warner. Despite having the report in their database, police did not share it with the public until Tuesday evening — four days after Warner drove his RV to downtown Nashville and detonated a bomb out of the vehicle, killing himself and injuring at least seven people.

Whether law enforcement had any warning about the bombing has been an open question since the explosion.

On Sunday, the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told reporters that Warner was not on law enforcement’s radar before the bombing, and on the evening of the blast, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said no prior threat had been made against the city.

It’s the same old, same old: white people are a protected group and “not a threat” even when armed with weapons and making death threats, while non-white people are “dangerous and intimidating” just by existing.

The Racist Corrupt Misogynistic Pricks (RCMP) knew about the Nova Scotia shooter for nine years before he murdered 22 people in April 2020.  That was barely a month befor Regis Korchinski-Paquet died at the hands of Toronto cops, barely two months before New Brunswick murdered Chantel Moore.

Another galling fact about the Tennessee bombing was the racist local newspaper.  A fanatical fundy christian doomsday group called “Future For America” bought a full page advertisement in June 2020, claiming muslims would nuke Nashville, without any evidence for the claim.  The newspaper is just as racist for allowing the “ad” to be published.

Tennessee paper religious ad claims ‘Islam’ will detonate nuclear bomb in Nashville

A Tennessee newspaper said on Sunday it was investigating what its editor called a “horrific” full-page advertisement from a religious group that predicts a terrorist attack in Nashville next month.

The paid advertisement that appeared in Sunday’s editions of the Tennessean from the group Future For America claims Donald Trump “is the final president of the USA” and features a photo of Trump and Pope Francis.

It begins by claiming that a nuclear device will be detonated in Nashville and that the attack will be carried out by unspecific interests of “Islam”.



Elamite Finally Speaks: Mesopotamia wasn’t the only one

Before, Iran, before Persia, there was the kingdom of Elam, dating back over 4000 years.  It was already known that Elam existed at the same time as Babylonia, but their written language wasn’t known, nor how old it was.  It turns out the Elam language and Babylonian language were not just spoken at the same time, but both were written languages that appeared simultaneously.

This isn’t just a breakthough in archaeology, it’s a historical breakthrough.  The deciphered script mentions a goddess named Napirisha.  The Elamites worshipped a female god, not a male one.

French archaeologist François Desset has just deciphered 4,400-year-old Iranian writing

François Desset is an archaeologist. He has just decoded linear elamite. A phonetic writing, cuneiform type, found on multiple clay tablets, precisely in the ruins of the ancient city of Susa, in Iran. The country was formerly called Persia and even earlier, 4,500 years ago, kingdom of Elam, hence the name of the writing in question, linear Elamite.

This is no small discovery: it was more than a century, in other words since the discovery in 1901 of the first tablets, that this writing system was known. But no one, despite all the attempts in 119 years, has ever found the key. No one, until François Desset, 38, associate researcher at CNRS Archaeorient from Lyon and specialist in the Bronze Age and the Neolithic in Iran.

The archaeologist did not just dream ahead Indiana Jones. Ten years of studies, a thesis, a move to Iran, more than fourteen years of work, and finally a click, in 2017, while studying a series of texts found on a silver funeral vase. He identifies repetitions, sequences of perfectly identical signs and understands that it is a proper name. So he finds the names of two rulers, then that of the local goddess, Napirisha, and from there, decodes the rest, syllable after syllable, finding a prayer.

The Tehran Times has also covered the story, though that newspaper’s article claims written Elam predates written Babylonian.  Other articles I’ve seen covering this story say no such thing.

The Kingdom of Elam was located where are today’s Iranian provinces of Ilam and Khuzestan, in southwest Iran.  That is less than 300km from the ancient city of Ur, capital of Sumeria, in modern Iraq. (oops 9_9)

Defunded And Disarmed: Phoenix cops after threatening murder

Cops in Phoenix, Arizona have proven why cops should be defunded: One of them threatened to shoot and probably murder Kate Gallego, Phoenix’s mayor, after she called for defunding cops.

I doubt he is the only one making violent and racist threatsThese are cops we’re talking about.

Report: Phoenix police officer said, ‘If the mayor defunds the police, I’m going to shoot her’

On the afternoon of October 21, seven Phoenix police officers gathered for a briefing in a Cave Creek station when the meeting diverged into a discussion about the defund-the-police movement.

When Officer Steven Poulos expressed his thoughts, the room went quiet: “If the mayor defunds the police, I’m going to shoot her,” Poulos’ sergeant recalled hearing the officer say, referring to Mayor Kate Gallego.

The sergeant broke the silence, saying, “You’re not going to shoot the mayor.”

Poulos doubled down, “That’s a promise,” he responded.

[. . .]

After the meeting, the police report says, Poulos backtracked and told the sergeant his comments were a joke.

Imagine someone talked about “killing cops” and then said “it’s just a joke”.

Mile High Club: EVA Air isn’t having a good month

For the second time in December, EVA Air is mired in scandal. Several male pilots and four women cabin crew members (all Taiwanese) have been fired, quit or under investigation after breaking quarantine as well as fraternizing outside the workplace. As of yet, none of the current or former staff members have tested positive.

EVA fires pilot for quarantine breach

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) on Monday dismissed a Taiwanese pilot for contravening quarantine regulations and posing a risk to his colleagues.

The pilot earlier this year reportedly asked his girlfriend to visit him while he was in quarantine and EVA on Monday launched an investigation.

[. . .]

The pilot admitted contravening the regulations, so the company’s disciplinary committee terminated his contract, the airline said.

[. . .]

The airline is also investigating another pilot and has fired four flight attendants for breaching regulations, while two other pilots resigned, it said.

I doubt they’re going to win another “skytrax 5 star” award after this one.

EVA Air fires another pilot for breaking COVID-19 control rules

Another EVA Airways pilot has been fired for violating the company’s COVID-19 health protocols following the dismissal last week of a New Zealand pilot, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, for the same reason, the airline said Tuesday.

[. . .]

The company said in a statement Tuesday that it recently launched an investigation into whether any flight crew members have broken COVID-19 control rules and identified two pilots suspected of violating protocols, including one whose extramarital affairs were exposed by a tabloid weekly on Monday. . . .

[. . .]

According to revelations in the tabloid, the Taiwanese pilot met women online, lied to them about his marital status and invited several to his residence when he was supposed to be in quarantine.

Other than the fireworks display outside Taipei 101, pretty much every New Year’s Eve party has been cancelled. It might be the quietest NYE in decades.

And unlike the US, people aren’t arguing.  I’ll be staying home.

China Admits: Wǔshí wàn, but how many more?

Jinping is Limping, from China crisis to China crisis.

Beijing has admitted that up to 500,000 cases of COVID-19 were never counted.  Worldometers has not updated this information yet, if it does at all.  Keep in mind back in February China admitted 14,000 new cases all at once, likely so people would quickly forget the number.  They have never admitted the untold dead that were cremated.

500,000 coronavirus cases in Wuhan never counted

A study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) found that nearly 500,000 coronavirus cases in Wuhan were never counted, based on the estimated number of Wuhan citizens who now have antibodies to the virus.

On Tuesday, the China CDC released an online statement revealing some of the results of a recent seroepidemiological survey carried out to determine the extent to which citizens of Wuhan and a few other select cities and provinces had been infected by COVID-19, reported Caixin. According to the China CDC’s official WeChat account, the survey tested for serum antibodies to the virus in over 34,000 people from Wuhan, Hubei, cities and prefectures outside of Wuhan, and six other major cities and provinces, including Beijing, Liaoning, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Sichuan.

According to the China CDC, the cross-sectional study gathered data one month after the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak began in China, though it did not mention which month this was. The survey found that 4.43 percent of Wuhan residents tested positive for antibodies to the disease.

Given that Wuhan’s population as of 2018 was 11.08 million, this translates to an estimated 490,844 people who had been infected with COVID-19 by the first month of the first wave. This is nearly 10 times the 50,340 cases reported for the city of Wuhan and more than five times China’s total case count for the entire year of 2020.

Taiwan News is far from reliable, but I would trust it more than I would trust Beijing.

What Might Have Been: Imagine Van Halen with a different singer in 1985

Life is full of many great “What ifs?”, music just as much as any other.

What if in 1981 Phil Collen had joined Iron Maiden and Adrian Smith joined Def Leppard, the guitarist each band first asked?

What if Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) or Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Gos) had recorded solo albums?

What if The Police had reunited and continued?

What if Rush had broken up after “Grace Under Pressure”?

What if Eric Clapton had not given up his seat on a helicopter to Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1990?

Et cetera, et cetera.

What if Eddie Van Halen had convinced his first choice to replace David Lee Roth as the band’s singer?  

This one really blew my mind.  More below the fold….

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Good To Know: Reputable doctors are trying to educate people

Today I ran across a video by Dr. Duc Vuong .  He is a weight loss surgeon in the US.  While he may not specialize in epidemology, he explains COVID-19 and the pandemic in simple enough terms for anyone to understand.  His language is a little strong and some of his choice of analogies sometimes questionable, but the videos get the point across.

Vuong recorded the first video below in March 2020, explaining how COVID-19 attacks the body and eventually kills people.  Also in the video he made predictions about rates of infection in the US, India and elsewhere over the summer.  His numbers were not exact, but his prediction of trends was.

More below the fold.

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Look Back: The best and worst parts of 2020 for me

I’ve seen people in various places summing up their thoughts on the year.  I thought with all that’s happened in one of the most frantic and tumultuous years, it would take pages and pages.  Nope.

The best part of 2020: Finding out who my friends are.

Every year always has its ups and downs friends and enemies, thinking fact checkers and ignorant rumour mongers. I knew who were the people I could count on, and they both stood by me and stood behind me, watching my back.

What surprised me was finding out certain people I didn’t know also had my back.   It turns out that showing up and helping unconditionally when others need it pays off.

The worst part of 2020: Finding out who my friends are.

Have you ever found that some who talk about social justice actually mean “socially, just us”?  Unsurprisingly, the ones I’ve seen were all white and cis.

It’s disappointing to learn some are “all for and support Me Too, Believe Women, LGBTQIA rights, and oppose racism!”

Until it conflicts with their personal friendships, that is.  Then their “friends” take priority – some of those “friends” being harassers, abusers, racists and bigots.

And while I knew it was a real thing, until 2020 I never knew what survivor guilt felt like.  Now I’m starting to understand.

He Couldn’t Shut Up, Could He?: Racism on top of racism

Dr. Susan Moore was receiving mistreatement at Indiana University Health North Hospital before she died of COVID-19 last week.

While in the hospital, she commented on social media about the racism she endured while there, how white “doctors” believed in and perpetuated hateful myths such as “Black people don’t feel pain” or “she might be an addict” when refusing pain medication.

After Dr. Moore died, the CEO released a poorly thought out statement, within which he says:

And the perspective of a nursing team trying to manage a set of critically ill patients in need of care who may have been intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering.

He actually went there, piling more racism on top of racism by saying a Black woman was “intimidating” and a “threat”.  Even when she’s helpless and can’t breathe.


Credulity Strained: No, this isn’t a Poe or a troll

In a case of “so close to almost getting it”, Galt-right wingnut Jack Posobiec tweeted this:

What if instead of a vaccine we just were able to get exposed to a weak version of the virus that enabled us to build the antibodies we need to fight the real thing

I couldn’t believe he was serious. I spent ten minutes checking, thinking “this MUST be a Poe or a troll account!”.

It isn’t. Unbelievable.  Here’s another link in case that one doesn’t work.