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Got some TIME on my hands……COVID19, March 27, 2020

Posted by shaferfinancial in Uncategorized.
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In the past I have been unwilling to go beyond posting about financial ideas on this blog.

But, the COVID19 panic has given me much more time to post.  So, I will post, trying to be as apolitical as possible.

The governor of Vermont (a Republican for all you who don’t know) has canceled the school year.  My son is a High School senior at a school in Vermont. He is devastated. At first when he got a 3 week vacation he was pretty happy, but now realizing he won’t get closure with his friends he is pretty upset.

So, why close schools for 3 months?  Yea, I know all about the “curve” and the modeling.

Two news items have caught my attention.

First, an Italian Medical Scientist who advised the government of Italy made a few comments on the death rate in Italy:

“According to Prof Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health, the country’s mortality rate is far higher due to demographics – the nation has the second oldest population worldwide – and the manner in which hospitals record deaths.

“The age of our patients in hospitals is substantially older – the median is 67, while in China it was 46,” Prof Ricciardi says. “So essentially the age distribution of our patients is squeezed to an older age and this is substantial in increasing the lethality.”

But Prof Ricciardi added that Italy’s death rate may also appear high because of how doctors record fatalities.

“The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

“On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,” he says.”

 

The first part is mostly known.  But think about the fact that 12% of the recorded COVID19 deaths are directly from the virus?????

Here is a little personal story:

My father went into a nursing home at age 95 due to my mother being in the last stages of Breast Cancer and not being able to care for him (my mom was 21 years younger). Most people in nursing homes get few visitors. But, for the 4 years he was in a nursing home we visited him 3-4 times a week (each year we took a 1 week vacation where we couldn’t visit). Every Sunday for 3 1/2 years we went to the nursing home, loaded him into the car and went out to eat as a family.  For the last 6 months we brought him to our house on Sunday for that meal.  He had dementia, but he always knew who I was and who his only grandchild was (He called him “the boy”). He took great joy in hanging out with “the boy.” He walked without a cane or a walker right up to his death (although he was unsteady on this feet the last couple years). Several times he got infections (pretty standard for being in a nursing home) and once he ended up in the hospital for a few days. Each infection made him weaker overall.  There were some workers in the nursing home that suggested we not treat the infection. But, I resisted and instructed the doctors to treat the infection. Maybe, it was wrong, but he was still happy to see us and eat Sunday dinners with us.

An infection is what precipitated his death.  He had a UTI and the staff did not tell us or note it for a few days.  I came to visit him a couple times while he was “not feeling well.” After maybe 5-7 days of the infection, the doctor called me and told me.  Again I instructed him to treat the infection, but it was too late at this point.  He had a heart attack and then after moving to a hospital the final stroke that killed him.

What is the point of this story?  Well on his death certificate it listed MI and CVA (heart attack and stroke) as the cause of death, not the UTI.  Probably should have just listed old age.  If it was in the COVID19 age, and he tested positive, it would have been listed as a COVID19 death.

The second thing that caught my eye was the NY governor saying that they were not denying anyone ventilator care and that some were on ventilators for 2-4 weeks before dying.

Would they have put my father on a ventilator if he was positive?  I hope not, but it sure sounded like it.  My father being in a nursing home with advance directives might have protected him from this, but who knows.

Finally, Ferguson the Brit whose modeling caused much of the panic has released new modeling that moves the deaths in Britain from 500,000 (10 days ago) to less than 20,000 now.  But what caught my eye was him saying that 50% of those deaths would have happened by the end of the year without COVID19 infection because of how sick these people are.  WOW…….now we are talking about the same effect as the influenza.

So, again schools in Vermont are shut down for 3 months.  Gyms, non essential businesses, restaurants, hair cutting salons all shut down.  Stay in home orders. Economy crashed. And the modeling as it gets better data, looks like the flu.

So, I wonder what is going on in New York City that they are running out of ICU beds and ventilators.  And what about New Orleans?? Is this because they have changed their end of life medical decisions?

Just food for thought??????

Maybe all this was worth it?  Maybe not?  But we are down this road and must deal with the repercussions. Maybe the early modeling will prove to be accurate.  Maybe it will prove to be wildly pessimistic.

Protect your assets as best as you can. Deal with your states mandates as best you can. But, keep hopeful and don’t let the media panic you.

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