I have a hard time seeing "news" in the obvious. The big story this week seems to be the discovery that people are more likely to die in nursing homes from Covid 19 than in any other environment. Why is this a surprise?
- First, nursing homes are for profit and care about the money before they care about the people.
- Second, nursing homes are created for the most vulnerable populations. People who cannot take care of themselves because of dementia or heart disease or physical disability or diabetes, kidney failure and other mostly age-related infirmities.
- Third, people packed into close environments are more likely to get Covid 19 than people who are not. Airline passengers, cruise shippers, convention goers are high on the list of early affected populations. (I don't think we have begun to see the actual numbers from jails and prisons.)
- Fourth, nursing home employees are overworked, underpaid and vulnerable themselves. Minority communities (most low-paid nursing home employees are African American) have less access to health care and are more likely to not have health insurance. Thus less able to miss work days and more motivated to come to work sick. My experience with Harry's nursing home stay last year was that the employees are tired, abused by their bosses and resentful. Few are willing to go above and beyond to care for their charges and many to the bare minimum required.
So who could be surprised at the fact that at least a third of the Covid 19 deaths in some communities come from nursing homes?
Are we living in an alternative universe?
I have had that feeling on and off since that fool was elected. How else do you explain the early angst over who had the largest inaugural parade. The Moslem immigration ban. The growing evangelical support for an accused rapist who bribed a porn star to keep her silent about their affair. A president more loyal to Russia than to the USA. Who refuses to believe the work of his intelligence community. Not in my rational universe.
And here is the new madness. Oil prices are in negative numbers. This happened on the day that I went to Costco and, thinking I likely needed gas as I always do when I go there, realized I had filled up last week and still had a full tank. I don't drive anymore. Nobody drives anymore. This is the fact that sets in motion a perfect storm. Nothing rational about most of it. To begin with the Russians and Saudis decided to run each other and all competition out of the market by ramping up oil production to levels unheard of. And they persisted despite obvious ever-dropping oil prices. We learned that USA oil companies had long been overvalued and were operating mostly on investors' money. They would call this a Ponzi scheme except that the market is allowed to operate on unrealistic expectations (assuming no one has intentionally been mislead.) And they kept pumping. The USA because they had to keep pumping to keep the investor money flowing, stupid or not; Russia and Saudi because ... stupid is as stupid does. And putting on the brakes is very hard to do anyway because it's hard to shut down an oil well. So they are pumping and pumping and pumping. And there is no place to store the oil. So they have to pay you to take it. The good news? With oil trading at -$37/barrel, the presnut has decided maybe he can add 75 million barrels to the strategic oil reserve. Has the fool finally made a good business deal? The really bad news besides the fact that the entire industry has crashed... they may end up dumping millions more gallons in the Saudi desert, on the Russian Steppes, in North Dakota farm fields...