Excellent COVID-19 resource for decisionmakers at various levels

I started attending various webinars some time ago, like lots of people, and like lots of people, I also got a little webinar fatigue at times.

A great series continues to be organised by the National Academy of Medicine and the American Public Health Association in the US, looking into many topics such as the science of the virus, finding vaccines, health inequalities and so on.

Today’s session, on mitigating direct and indirect impacts in the coming months, was excellent for decisionmakers at all levels – also in the UK! – because it addressed a lot of practical aspects and many angles of the pandemic.

It mentioned the need to provide free wifi, talked about telehealth (telemedicine) and developments expected to take a decade suddenly being realised in a mere three weeks, about the complications food deserts pose, about the politicizing of the pandemic, about how to cope with emergencies such as hurricanes and related evacuations, how to remedy the impact the pandemic is having on non-Covid-related healthcare (such as people with heart attacks not seeking help out of fear of catching the virus), the healthcare clinics getting into financial difficulties as a result (as, I think, we saw earlier with those two doctors in California who owned a small chain of facilities and saw their turnover drop so dramatically that they resorted to unorthodox action), the challenge and need to communicate well and perhaps have ambassadors explain the purpose and reasoning behind social distancing, the massive impact social distancing has on the infection rate and the risk of people that people will no longer observe distancing when lockdowns are relaxed and developing a false sense of safety, and so on and so forth.

Here is a link for a model (simulator) that people can play with to explore the effects of lifting lockdowns: https://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/

The video recording of the webinar will be online soon, at covid19conversations.org:

The slides have already been uploaded, but not all presenters used slides and the Q&A of course is not online yet either. I’ll post the unedited transcript below.

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I just received a welcoming e-mail from a bank where I opened an account some years ago.


I also seem to have missed a lot of postal mail again. This has happened ever since I moved into this address. On one occasion, a package of mail items for me covering several months was apparently found in the mud somewhere and handed in at Royal Mail who packaged it in plastic and handed it over one day. I’ve also had local postal mail arrive about a year after it was sent etc.

COVID-19 makes me lucky

This morning, I read that there appears to be a genetic connection between dementia risk and severity of COVID-19, here:

That makes me very lucky, should I catch it, if it hasn’t already caught me at some point without affecting me.

Dementia most definitely does not run on either side of the family that I come from. Neither does heart disease, by the way.

Cancer does, but as I’ve already survived almost all of those relatives who succumbed to cancer I have little to worry about. I have already lived ten to twenty years longer than they did.


And you, where do you stand?

In my inbox just now

That was a nice surprise! And it includes Mindi Abair, with whom I have a town in common.

Here is one of her older pieces, but one that I quite like because it has that big band build-up feel, really cheerful. And I can, ahem, almost play it somewhat. I tried to get someone to study this with me, person plays clarinet, but felt too rusty, I guess.


Nonhuman rights news

The Nonhuman Rights Project applauds a decision issued today by the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan that “without any hesitation” affirms the rights of nonhuman animals and specifically orders the release to sanctuary of an Asian elephant named Kaavan held in solitary confinement at the Marghazar Zoo.

Learn more here.

How to get as much as you can out of everything you’ve got

Thinking is a high-energy activity. It takes a lot of energy to think.

That’s why it is vital to stop tolerating that so many millions in Britain live in poverty, that millions of children in Britain don’t get proper nutrition (400,000 in London alone, so I understand) and why we cannot let vouchers that replacing school meals right now supply food that does not meet nutritional requirements (which applies to 95% of them, so I understand) and why the last thing we need is yet more data, yet more studies about child poverty and food insecurity in Britain (we already have an abundance of those).

I’ve come up with an unusual idea that would definitely work – it’s delightful – but hey, I don’t know anyone in Britain, so I can’t get it started as it’s of such a nature that it can only work if no publicity is given to it.

A news article about something that happened in Italy in combination with some of my own experiences suddenly gave me the idea.

I then contacted someone about it, someone I don’t know, but the person did not respond. (That’s a completely normal experience for me, people never responding to my communications.)

Maybe that is all it takes. Me contacting complete strangers who share a certain interest. Who’s to say that they don’t read my messages and don’t start thinking about what I wrote, after all?


Greece: 150 deaths
Population: 10.5 million

The Netherlands: over 5,000 deaths
Population: over 17 million

Canada: almost 5,000 deaths
Population: almost 38 million

UK: over 30,000 deaths
Population: 63 million

Vietnam: 0 deaths
Population: 97 million

US: over 75,000 deaths
Population: almost 329 million

Conclusion: Important lessons to be learned and applied. Because these differences cannot be explained – although some might wish – by some of these countries’ populations being in better health.

I should add population density next.

Working from home

It’s all over the news now that companies do not expect to return to the daily 9-to-5 commuter drudgery.

It will be better for the environment and yes, also better for the work/life balance.

I believe that if you see work as something that needs to be separated from life instead of something that is part of life, work is likely to be experienced as stressful.

As someone who’s been working from home for over twenty years, I know both the benefits and the downsides of working from home. Continue reading