Berry: COVID-19 Highlights Shortcomings

This article especially written for the California Political News and Views gives the whole story of the gross mismanagement, via regulations, rules and government refusal to tell the whole story, which forces us to take drastic actions.  Dr. Anthony Fauci says he would over react than under react. 

Note that New York City has 123 deaths and NY State has 25,000 cases.  Yet, California much larger, has 2,000 cases.  Could the dense population of New York, the stackem and packem policies be the cause?  Folks in NYC typically live in places of under 800 sq. ft.  Density is part of the cause of the community spread.

Please read this article and pass it on.

COVID-19 Highlights Shortcomings

Marcy Berry, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  3/25/20

Out of greed or foolhardiness oftentimes governments, with the consent of pliable electorates, create incompetent and inadequate social structures.  Then when crisis strikes and those structures predictably start to unravel, the response is always the same:  “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”  

The latest crisis is COVID-19.  The help most of us are experiencing include lockdowns, no medical care to speak of, insufficient hospital beds, scarce medical and protective supplies, empty grocery shelves, and massive economic hardship. This list only includes what hopefully will be short-term adversities.  Long-term misfortunes will include failures of businesses that could not weather lockdowns, significant unemployment, increase in government spending, and normalization of draconian responses to events.

Meanwhile, reports on COVID-19 blanket all media.  Statistics abound.  However, numerous factors turn those statistics into wild guesses at best.

As of the writing of this article, there are 34,717 cases and 452 deaths in the U.S.  Cases are concentrated in New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California, but no state has been spared.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York is testing more people than any other state – thus New York reports more cases than any other state. 

A relatively large number of folks (80% by some estimates) show little or no symptoms, or show symptoms but recover without medical intervention.  The scarcity of tests prompts questionable policies such as testing only those who already exhibit symptoms and actively seek medical assistance.  The significant number of “invisible” individuals such as the homeless and the cautious undocumented are not likely to be counted as harboring or not harboring the virus. 

Shaky information or not, leaders need to do something.  So, they have, indicating COVID-19 “exponential” growth.  All viruses grow exponentially when barriers (vaccines, test and isolation of positives, efficient tracking of infected individuals) are absent. 

For example, in a pandemic epidemiologists estimate the number of cases on average an infected person will cause during their infectious period, absent barriers.  The estimate is called the virus’s R0.  R0 estimates are situational (effective barriers will decrease the R0, while bungled activity will increase it), and dependent on ease or difficulty of detecting transmission As of March 17, according to a report by Lab Blog, the R0 of measles ranges from 12 to 18, that of seasonal influenza 2 to 3, that of 2003 SARS around 2.75.  For COVID-19 the estimated R0 is 1.5 to 3.5.  R0 numbers are not consistent in all reports.

So, in the absence of flexible social structures that can leap into effective action, and lacking reliable information, U.S. residents are left foraging for food and supplies, routine medical needs unmet, money running out, and no way to determine how long the suffering will last.

No silver lining at all in this scenario? Probably not.  However, there could be opportunities to ferret out the economic and social structures that need restructuring, so that future challenges will be more efficiently met.  Let’s use California as example, and point to some random situations related to policies born out of greed and or foolhardiness.

People are wisely stocking up on food and household supplies in anticipation of further lockdown mandates. Re-stocking shelves and fulfilling home deliveries require workers.  But school lockdowns and dire warnings remove many from the workforce. Irresponsible legislation such as AB-5 decrease the availability of flexible workers that can quickly move in and out of the workforce when needs arise.

Strong unions that dominate California government schools mandate a one-size-fits-all approach that benefits an entrenched indoctrination bureaucracy.  When crisis strikes, there is no flexibility that parents and students can quickly fall back on.  There is no Plan B that seamlessly moves all or most children from crowded classrooms to small study groups that could observe social distancing and other precautionary measures.  There is no strategy in place for teachers to teach as usual on line.  Everything shuts down instead.

Governor Newsom and other members of the homeless industry indicated they are here to help legions of homeless at risk individuals move indoors.  The Governor as well as city leaders are leasing private hotel rooms and trailers.  No one mentions the dim-witted housing and drug policies that contributed to growth in homelessness — stack & pack, elimination of private single-occupancy hotels (remember the fight over the closing of the International Hotel?), and support of a robust drug and injection needle industry.

Globalization sounds good on paper.  Today, the U.S. relies on its financial and real estate sectors to sustain its GNP.  Imports take care of consumer goods.  Miles of red tape and regulation keep outliers who might want to innovate in check.  Could we attribute the severe scarcity of COVID-19 tests, ventilators and protective gear on this governmental structure?  And, by the way, open borders, globalizations’ crown jewel, is not fairing so well there days.

 The shortcomings listed above inevitably grow if unchecked.  Things slowly unravel and fall apart unless honest people take action. 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. Absolutely spot on. Hopefully we’ll learn from this and learn to plan ahead (but I don’t have much faith in our government to do so).

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