Bits ‘n pieces from east, west and beyond

| April 14, 2020 8:45 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact, which COVID-19 has illustrated so well. A recent sampling:

Q-Anon followers have been told that drinking bleach can fight off coronavirus infection. But the FDA says the ingredient chlorine dioxide can cause vomiting and liver failure. It’s been linked to two deaths.

Digital repression: We’ve had a taste of that given odd behaviors exhibited by the Internet after the traffic load went up 35 percent following during stay-at-home orders. Last year, access to the Internet was restricted in 33 countries that were attempting to control their citizens, The Wall Street Journal reported. The United Nations declared Internet access a human right in 2016.

By early April, the Defense Production Act, which could be used to order masks produced in the U.S., had not been utilized by President Donald Trump, so the crowd-funding Masks For America was launched. Taiwan already had a stockpile of masks, The New York Times said, and all countries should maintain such a cache.

New York State, unable to get federal help for medical supplies, is paying private entities 20 cents for medically protective gloves that normally cost a nickel, $7.50 for 50 cent masks, and a quarter million for portable x-ray machines that cost, at most, $80,000, according to Inequality Media.

A Pew Research poll shows 66 percent of Americans are “uncomfortable” about voting at public polling places during the pandemic. The obvious solution is to vote by mail, according to conservative opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, writing in the Washington Post. So far, the Trump Administration has indicated support for vote by mail, but Politico reports, only for seniors.

Stay-at-home recommendations have resulted in traffic accidents being halved, The Hill reported. Less travel has also resulted in better air quality in many places.

Over a half million people in the U.S. are homeless, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. They have higher rates of infectious, acute and chronic diseases, made worse by minimal opportunities to wash up. During the pandemic, California has turned to their budget surplus to arrange shelter for their homeless.

Infectious disease expert Dr. James Lawler, in TIME magazine, said there could be 96 million COVID-19 cases in the next couple of months. The potential result is 1.9 million ICU admissions (there are an estimated 95,000 ICU beds in the U.S.), 4.8 million hospitalizations and 480,000 deaths.

Some 14 million jobs could be lost by the end of summer due to the crisis, said the Economic Policy Institute.

The best way to dodge an epidemic via a rapid response is cooperation and trust for scientists and leaders, according to historian and author Yuval Noah Harari. He pointed out that those measures frequently have been overlooked in addressing COVID-19, driving the virus to pandemic status.

School’s out: enhance the days spent with family read-aloud time, suggested TIME magazine. Start with 15 to 20 minutes a day, first with an adult reading aloud, and then the children can take a turn.

Another federal fundraising angle: Economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman said a wealth tax of 2 percent on assets over $50 million and 3 percent on assets above $1 billion would, over 10 years, raise $2.75 trillion. Trump’s tax cuts created a loss of $2 trillion, The Progressive reported.

Traffic accidents claim 40,000 lives annually in the U.S. AAA suggested that could be reduced with mandatory ignition interlocks that detect alcohol. While seatbelts and airbags were once optional, AAA pointed out that their life-saving abilities resulted in their becoming mandatory.

Blast from the past: The deadly influenza of 1918 showed up in the spring, and then made a comeback in the fall. Philadelphia was particularly hard-hit, with 759 deaths in one day, connected to a WWI parade attended by 200,000. Within three days of the parade, all hospital beds were full. The city was shut down days later. The response to the flu was further hampered by so many of the city’s doctors having gone to war. As well, morgues could not keep up with demands for their services.

And another blast: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want,” said Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar, 1926-2012, American author, salesman and motivational speaker.