Monday, March 30, 2020

Hitting the Reset Button

I have made some serious predications as well as speculations as to when the Pandemic of 2020 will end and what will happen in the interim.  None of it positive and few good things will result from the national lockdown and self quarantine that was mandated to varying degrees across the country.

What we did see was a struggle for power and in turn some quiet legislation and laws that have been brought forward that do everything from repress a woman's choice to suppression of voter's rights, the long term affects are yet to be seen as we are still in the early days of some other laws and ordinances that will likely remain long after the virus has left town with the dead in its wake.  It is like the westerns of yesteryear or the science fiction show, Westworld, where the robots seek revenge as this will not be over and we all go back to work all relieved believing the worst is over.

One thing that Americans do is say that "well it's over now" as if yes you are right, that day I was held hostage and in lockdown for 90 days not communicating with others or having any sense of independence or freedom is over now let's get back to partying!  I just went through this in Nashville so few get what it is like to be utterly captive to a situation, to have to pander, cater, and argue to have your point of view heard only to be ignored and be ostracized for it.  Well surprise America you just have and its not easy to 'get over it.'

I had been shuttling back and forth between my home here in Jersey City only spending most of the time getting settled, moving shit back and forth from one storage unit to the next and in between flying back and forth for weeks at a time being gone and then back to simply get some semblance of organization and order to leave again. Apparently all in the time frame when the Corvid virus was just starting to emerge in China and beginning its move west.  And the last time I was in Nashville I skirted a Tornado that destroyed a great part of the city and outlying areas that have not yet recovered and then the virus hit.  It is why I call it the Coronation Virus as it seems to crown you over the head as a soldier for the Emperor to remind the world the power and history of China only instead or warriors they found the ultimate death machine - disease.

America is now facing the use of social media the ultimate distancing machine to plant and sow seeds of discontent in a country already well divided and now conquered by an invisible sword waiting to wreak havoc on the next victim.  Cities and States are seeing themselves at odd with each other in ways that are reminders of another war that was called civil but was anything but.  And the next will be civil unrest when Americans exhausted and frustrated beyond belief finally rise up (or those still healthy) demand answers and some kind of solutions to the increasing walls that are being built everywhere not just along the Mexican border.

Walls are not just physical they are metaphorical and we Americans have them right at the minimum distance required, arms length, to proffer and keep anyone away - a cell phone. That is our instrument of death as we have taken selfies while plunging to our deaths or having bears or other wild life take a  swipe to end that pandemic of environmental destruction all in pursuit of the perfect pic. We have those walking to their deaths before cars and trains rather than walk with caution and of course the ultimate wall - the one of silence- for those times when communion is best shared - the family dinner.  Funny how this virus has now forced everyone to the table and in close quarters to share and bond or not as many are finding risking a virus is better than being home.

Let's be honest why Spain and Italy are high on casualty rates is that they have large families, are highly Catholic and of course live in multi generational communities that are highly intimate when it comes to socialization.  Distant is not a word I would use in either country when it comes to being in your business.  I said to a friend the other day why do you think we have such high rates here in New York and New Jersey area? Shitloads of Irish, Italian and Jewish folks whose idea of a boundary is something to be knocked down not put up when it comes to bonding and building community.  Now not everyone is like that but it does explain why the hot zones are in largely in those tightly knit highly religious communities.  Some of the early came during the high holidays and of course traveling during the holidays themselves meant packing a little something extra to bring home.

And have you been on planes lately? The issue of being packed in has been a issue as a security concern and safety issue so one wonders if that will become one going forward as the airlines look for a bailout.  Maybe some distancing there might not be a bad idea.

So funny I move to a new city not knowing anyone and by the time I was ready to put down roots, go back to work teaching part time or even working retail to meet folks I go under house arrest. Not the first time by choice and by court order so I get it I really do and now I can hit the reset button to see what I really want to do.  The few contacts I had made were slight and only in the new beginnings like seedlings that need light, water and warmth to grow and this spring is starting out cold so where they go I have no clue.  Some I think will thrive and some not.  I know I don't want anyone with drama so already I have ruled out a couple of people with endless family bullshit that is not my issue nor anything I am actually interested in.  I have no baggage in that compartment so while I liked initially meeting this woman less is more moving forward.  There are others who irony I am getting to know in the middle of this and that may be the odd dice thrown that in all things may grow and others that I am not sure as it is all on hold.  So I am holding the cards here that are pledging a vow of silence and when this ends I suspect I will throw it down.  I have a chance to reset this and I want to come away from this nightmare with some concept of hope and belief that at least I can be better for it, the rest of the great unwashed well they need their ears scrubbed as I don't see much optimism or hope there.
Vow of Silence I decided to take this for the next year, which can be longer or shorter as time passes, but was a decision made as  Corvid virus changed radically how we lived and assimilated in society. What I saw during the pandemic was civilized chaos; Panic buying, hoarding, suspicion, fear and utter disregard and disrespect of each other and the greater good.  In order to distance myself, not physically just socially, I elected to take a vow of silence and speak only when necessary. I found that I can do without idle conversations and spontaneous exchanges, even those of laughter and tears as I spent my time in isolation it taught me what I can and cannot do and more importantly need to do in order to move forward. So I am continuing to socially isolate while being physically present.  It will take immense patience and tolerance on my part, as well as those around me, to enable me to find my voice again. Please understand and acknowledge this vow as a way of coping and of reconciling what I experienced during a time of crisis, as this was not my first but hopefully my last in this lifetime. For me aging gracefully means communicating meaningfully and with that the intent going forward means listening and speaking in the same way. During the pandemic we were told to leave our homes for essential needs and from that I found out that conversation was not essential; However, for professional, emergent or necessary situation I will speak but other than those occasions I will continue to pursue this vow as a way of finding my place and role in the world.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

A New Housing Crisis

If you are rich bitch (Comedy Central ran a marathon of Chappell Show) you will have no problem having a roof over your head, most likely two in fact to retreat to and shelter in place away from the great unwashed.  And now that I use that expression I realize that there is some truth in that as until this pandemic hit I had no idea how unsanitary and unclean people were with regards to personal hygiene.   I knew that teaching public schools with kids but seriously all kids are annoying and are little walking germs so I when they wanted to hug (really annoying), shake hands (the most fakes of  adult interactions) or were picking their noses, endless need to touch each other I used to remind them that how I make a living as a Substitute was through sickness and that as a result I need to not get sick so stay away, use a tissue and quit touching shit.  And frankly I often after classes would get out the bleach wipes and wipe everything down as many rooms looked like Banksy had swung by and did a graffiti class.   And that behavior became essential when Seattle was hit by Whooping Cough which I contracted and later Measles which I paid significant money to get a booster shot at age 52.  I learned early on that I was not exceptional I was just lucky.

And to think this idea of homeschooling for the next three months is going to keep your kid on track and on grade level. Well again the rich have Tutors, access to internet and to varying methods of access and availability to do so but the poor, not so much.   And I wonder with the extensive teaching shortage across the country and now this what it means when schools resume whenever what that will be like.  It ain't gonna be good.

In my former city of residence, Nashville, has two housing crisis - the one from the Tornado -  other from an insatiable desire to build "luxury" apartments and housing for the lowly paid hospitality workers who are now unemployed.  The endless announcements by the City of the varying businesses locating there will abate because again this pandemic will have them reassess their needs and costs and some will go there as it is cheaper than a major urban center but it is also a city where the infrastructure is seriously in trouble and was pre-tornado, that the city budget in trouble pre tornado will be for certain with the lack of tax dollars from the hospitality trade their largest contributor to the city coffers.   I certainly am glad to be gone and sure as fuck would not move there post pandemic until of course more tax incentives and other bribes were thrown in my direction so expect that to happen across the country as ways to show how they survived the great Pandemic of 2020.

The last four months I have traveled extensively between Nashville and Jersey City on planes and in turn through airports, stayed at varying Air BnB which cleanliness thrives on you and you have to buy all the tools  to do that, so hence my storage unit with my own towels, linens, cleaning supplies and booze and other "essentials" for my camp down.  And I could do that as I had that scheduled, planned and organized.  THANK THE SPIRIT DADDY!   The last three days I sprung for a hotel, had disposed of all the "essentials" and then three days later literally it barely survived the tornado that wracked the city.   Again just luck. But this is how you survive when you can afford to and most cannot as we are now realizing the economy was booming just not across the board that much is clear.  And it exposed the medical field as how little prepared they were for any massive crisis despite the endless ones that have passed by the last decade that should have served as a warning.

That said again the gold coasts of East and West will survive there will be some bleed off as they reassess their needs for large corporate offices, the supposed deaths of their staff (I want to meet someone who can name three people they knew and knew well who died or was in hosptial and given that I live in ground zero I should expect to and yet I don't think so, I shall see) and of course the bottom line of profits and meeting Wall Street's expectations for a rebound.

The rich have many options and even in hard hit cities such as New York (well until Friday) luxury construction continued yet meanwhile the endless reminder that hospitals had no space available, they were converting parking lots, empty malls and convention centers into field hospitals for the onslaught.  Gosh they could move into the luxury apartments that are vacant? Couldn't they? And in San Francisco where the entire city is shut down except housing construction. Are they going to get that marble from Italy still, I mean well you know.....I hope they fill their wine cellars with a good Barbaresco they will be prime collectors ones soon, very soon **wink wink** And the same goes in Europe as the wealthy flee to their estates, villas and country homes bringing with them anger, rage and likely the virus.  I am finally starting to get why the designer houses boarded their windows, shit I could use a nice pair of Choos to go with my looted Gucci bag.

And of course this migratory bird pattern is not confined to the rich but it does cross a line of usually white well off professional couples who are of course liberal, intellectual, quasi hippies and the like who buy some cabin as a way of preserving nature and all that they go to a week a year and think they are living off the grid.  I met many in Seattle who were fascinated that growing up there going to Yakima was a pain in the ass and that I had never hiked or skied in my life.  I had tried both and that was that.  That was almost the flag and tag that you were an "outsider" as no one I knew growing up did that as it cost money and shit and I grew up working class so luxury to us was going out to eat at the steak house and pay for my education with cash not a loan.  Ah different times.

And what the fuck is everyone with compromised immune systems? What does that mean? You smoked? You had cancer or another illness that does that? Really you did? How do you hike/bike and live in an urban center with air pollution off the grid.  And yet you have a car drive across the street and refuse to vest into public transportation which if you did it could be less crowded, better maintained and safe. Well no I can drive my car with my face mask on, its all good.  Hey guess what again another sign that maybe density and urban dwelling is a shitty idea as the air and water quality sucks.  Just ask Newark and they have not one, not two but three hot zones for the Corvid virus!  And shitty water too.  Love that Florida is worried about New Yorkers.

But I do think that there will be a re-examination of living in urban settings by the older crowd and by families and that in turn will address some of the issues of dying small townships, small tier cities like Nashville or Cleveland that can provide some of the cultural opportunities (for the record Cleveland could easily step up to that today) and the distance one needs to have space for living.  Suburbs not as bad anymore right?

 ***Funny Pittsburgh which is a cool place seems to have endless problems making me sad as I had originally thought of going there over Nashville, guess that worked out!  But still it and Cleveland are below the top of the list cities to go.. LA, Seattle, Bay Area.  JC not on the list - BINGO! Well we have Corvid. SHIT!***

But the rich will continue as again the Real Estate market is always pivoting to meet the needs of buyers and sellers and make commissions for largely doing nothing but opening a door but hey whatever.  And for the record I saw on Million Dollar Listing, Ryan,  show a house with a robot, he was ahead of the curve there.   Now if they could get a Robot to replace everyone else on that show other than Ryan I would watch it.

But when we finally go into Martial Law we can turn into Stasi Agents and report on our neighbors through the NextDoor app and make sure they are recycling waste, not leaving unless essential and what they are or are not wearing. Tattling annoys the fuck out of me and was one of my other pet peeves about children when teaching but again I miss the little fuckers.  But hey you mirror your dipshit parents and gosh who would have thunk that simple disposable gloves and masks could do some good and if you wore them then I could go shopping normally rather than standing outside a bakery taking a photo of the options and calling in my order.  Oh wait I am not doing that. Sorry you lost my business unless there is no one there and I am just standing outside bored which is normal at this point.. I am really really bored of this all.

Now the last thought on today's rant is rent.  There is little in place to protect renters and some cities/states are halting evictions but that is also because they have few municipal workers in place to enact and enforce the process and in turn who is going to show, rent and pay for the endless fees here to rent a place. Remember those Real Estate brokers?  Well they charge a months rent as a fee, then you have the month and half security deposit and in turn a months rent making even a 2000 dollar unit a month up front cost 7000 dollars, not including moving costs and other extraneous costs from utilities and the rest to hook up service.  Here a couple had to move out a day early as the moving company could not secure enough workers for another day given what is happening and in turn a huge push by many who are in process of trying to move out before month's end and paying rent.

In New York and New Jersey there is the 90 day Moratorium which again confirms what I have been saying that this is to run through June but then what? Before the virus took hold there was a migration pattern already establishing as many were looking to move out of large urban dwellings as housing prices had become a major issue but now we have issues such as natural disasters and the pandemic which all happened after that report came out. The irony that the Census is now taking place should also be interesting as it will not be fully clear as to where people are living and this too may need an extension to fully examine the affects of this pandemic on migration.

But the federal plans don’t cover more than 40 million renters, many of whom, housing advocates worry, may not be able to pay their rent next month.

As renters and homeowners grapple with mass layoffs and business closures, housing advocates, the mortgage industry and banks are growing increasingly concerned that the country will soon face a housing crisis that will rival the one that helped nearly take down the economy a decade ago. 
This time, rather than mortgage delinquencies growing over time, it could spike suddenly as people suddenly find themselves without a job, said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
 Without a federal plan, renters face a patchwork of approaches. The Los Angeles City Council this week approved an emergency plan to temporarily halt evictions and create a citywide rental assistance fund. In Oregon, Home Forward, which provides affordable housing throughout the state, is offering renters affected by the coronavirus outbreak a rental break until May 31. The renters will be able to repay their skipped payments over 12 months, according to Home Forward. In Mountain View, Calif., the City Council has approved $500,000 renter assistance program for people affected by the coronavirus.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Face This!

I heard about this Mayor from Walton Kentucky and had a chance to catch him on MSNBC today and he is much more a representative of the types of persons you meet in Kentucky over the losers that represent that State in Congress but then again nothing makes sense anywhere anymore. But fuck it I love the guy he is right actually but I love the salutation.  Clearly there are many who could take his advice as the Guardian covers in this article about Covoid morons... some things can never be cured.   But the Mayor did follow up that Facebook post with this... but still its awesome!

It has been brought to my attention that I may have, in fact, lost my shit. For that, I apologize. I probably could’ve handled all of your comments with a little more tact and professionalism.

Then again, some of you got told what you should’ve.

Wash your hands you filthy animals

Listen up dipshits and sensible people. I might not have the best bedside manor. I might not put you at ease like the Governor does, but I don’t care. You need to realize that this is a serious ordeal. In fact, it’s a big f**cking deal. Stay at home.

I didn’t give you information to induce panic. I gave you information, so that you’d be informed.
Maybe, just maybe, I am privy to information that you aren’t. I’m sorry for being the gossiping Mayor.

I’m tired of Covid-19 conference calls. I take 3 a day, plus one extra on the weekend with Kenton County. If you don’t like what I’m telling you, then go buy some toilet paper.

I pray every night that the State, County and region that I love with all of my heart will stop doing nonsensical things. Treat this seriously. If you don’t, then screw you (f#ck you is what I want to say, but I can’t).

This will pass. Take it seriously. It is here. Act like you have the virus and don’t spread it to other people. I have no doubt that it hasn’t already been here, but testing had been limited. More cases are coming. If you ignore this problem, the worst thing that could happen is that your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles could die.

Be responsible. If you don’t, then screw you.

Warmest regards,
Mayor Gabe Brown

Divided We Fall

The Virus does not know class, race, gender, age, ethnicity or any extraneous factors that make you special.  It does however give a clear distinction when access and availability to escape from quarantine, curfew, large mass populations and potential zones of infection.   Living in a small apartment with multiple family members makes it tight in the best of circumstances in the worst, impossible. There is where the rich have the distinction to live in larger spaces, have second even third homes to escape to and of course private planes and other modes of transportation that lessen potential infected contacts.  But that is a small circle in which to travel and we have seen some famous and others who run in that crowd survive and others not as again the virus takes no prisoners.

This is one example of how the rich are distinctly different and this is another how the poor try to stay alive when all the rugs, nets and floors beneath them have fallen and the roof over their head is next.   And of course the shops and stores where the elite greet and meet and the aspirant class desire to own have literally shuttered their stores in fear of the great unrest which will occur but I am not sure we are storming the gates of Versailles and taking the Vuitton.

When I read this story I understood it in ways that few do.  I live alone, however, have no extended family and am currently without health insurance due to the move.  I could have purchased insurance without the marketplace but right at the same time the outbreak began and I felt given my age I would likely be refused and at this point I thought if I survived something this serious what then?  Throw myself under the bus as I would be broke and have no job or even prospects given my age and with the 4 plus million unemployed who is hiring me?. When you have nothing and no one you simply live in the moment.  And perhaps that is why I am vested in being the biggest bitch ever and taking that vow of silence as a means of coping and moving forward until I can come to terms with what this was and how to rationalize this.  I cannot change others behaviors but I can change my response and behavior and so I shall.  In the interim I will still take long walks just stay well away now or even later on. Thanks

No Longer Just a Walk in the Park

The New York Times
By Jodi Kantor
March 27, 2020

I’m 77 years old and I want/need to walk. The two buildings in my complex have a basketball court between them. I have previously taken the freight elevator down 36 stories at 5:30 a.m., meeting no one but armed anyway with mask, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer. I walked for 35 minutes and went back upstairs, again meeting nobody. Should I force myself to continue? I am simply afraid to go outside.

Ms. Motola’s world has mostly shrunk to one room. She lives by herself in a studio apartment high above Manhattan, with a piano, books and a narrowing set of routines. Her longtime habit of swimming laps is on pause. So are her dates with her children and grandchildren.

“The walking was truly helping me keep it together,” she said on the telephone. But she stopped a week ago and hasn’t left her building since. “As this ramped up, I kept weighing anything and everything I was thinking about doing outside, and saying: ‘Is it worth getting sick for? Is it worth dying for?’”

She’s not the only one asking. The outdoors is now contested ground. Parks and trails from Los Angeles to the Great Smokies are being closed. (Too many people were socially distancing in the same places, and therefore not at all.) Authorities are patrolling others, warning people to disperse. This week, India’s prime minister told 1.3 billion people not to set foot outside their homes. “Stay Home Save Lives” has become a rallying cry and a pressure point on social media.

“If you’re still not sure about an activity, skip it,” said Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, one of 22 states and counting where residents have been told to keep to their residences.

While some continue to congregate, many others are now worried about venturing outside at all. “Can we sit on an open lawn with a family member?” a reader from India wrote to ask.

The unpleasant truth, especially for city dwellers, is that every time you step outdoors, your risk of infection rises. Last week, scientists established that coronavirus droplets could linger in the air for a half-hour, raising new concerns about what is safe. Then there’s every surface you encounter on your way outside and back: doorknobs, keys, elevator buttons, gates, the carton of eggs you pick up at the deli that’s still open.

“The safest way to prevent the spread of this virus is for you to stay at home,” said Dr. Craig Spencer, a global emergency medicine specialist at Columbia. “This virus won’t infect you if it never meets you.”

But when we posed Ms. Motola’s dilemma to Dr. Spencer and other public health experts, along with scientists who study the virus’s behavior in air, each one recommended that she resume her dawn walks.

“We’re all struggling with a greater degree of ambient risk than we’re used to,” said Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease specialist and ethicist at the University of Vermont. Each day is an exercise in trying to lower risk: avoid this, scrub that.

Public health practice is as much about reducing risk, as eliminating it — which is often impossible. The AIDS crisis was not stemmed by persuading people to quit sex, Dr. Lahey said. Instead, people adopted tolerable rules like choosing partners carefully and wearing condoms. The term “safer sex” worked because it seemed doable, he added.

The safer-sex equivalent of an outdoor walk, most medical authorities say, is one that involves six feet of distance from others. (Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who studies how particles move through air, says she gives it 10 feet just to be cautious.) Governments are beginning to put in place rules to encourage people to spread out. This week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a pilot program in New York to close some streets to traffic in order to give pedestrians more space. As of Tuesday, the French must follow new restrictions on outdoor exercise: It can be done alone, for up to an hour a day, within a one-kilometer radius of home. Walkers and runners must carry permission slips that can be checked by authorities.

If the distancing rules are too strict, prohibiting excursions entirely, people could give up, said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, a public health and AIDS specialist at Emory University. “I want to be sure that people don’t get frustrated and say, ‘We won’t be able to defeat this,’ because we can,” he said.

“Our mental health is going to be so important,” added Dr. Spencer, who was treated for Ebola in 2014 and endured 19 days of near-total isolation. “This is only going to get worse.”

“Telling people to stay inside works right now, but in two or three weeks, it’s going to be a tough message to hold up,” he said.

Walks and runs are signs of life to which even doctors and scientists on the front lines are clinging. Amandine Gamble, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a co-author of that study that raised alarm last week about how the virus lingers in the air. She walks near her home in Santa Monica every day. She finds complete adherence to the six-foot rule challenging, she said, and if someone crosses her path, she does not panic.

Dr. Spencer spends his days treating Covid-19 patients at Columbia. When he comes home, he laces up his sneakers and goes jogging, sometimes late at night.

“It’s one of the only ways I can decompress and disconnect completely from coronavirus,” he said.

We called Ms. Motola to share what the experts had advised. She wasn’t convinced.

“I do have to sit and calculate the risk,” she said. “As soon as I contemplate putting on my sneakers, my anxiety goes right up.”

“One of these mornings I will be brave enough,” she said. “I have to be brave.”

Stay! Sit! Shake? NO!

Those commands are ones we often give to dogs to train them and it may be necessary to eliminate the paw swipe as we re-examine what it means in the future to greet and meet strangers.  Never one to the kiss on the cheek which I find oddly faux European in origin (given what we have seen in those countries that follow that protocol a big no on that ever!) we usually shake hands and in turn use the firmness of grip as a determinate of power.  Weak shake, weak person. Trump one upped that with some bizarre see saw death grip which again given he is a germaphobe has now suddenly felt compelled to shake hands to the posse that is clustered about him during each crazy ranting conference in clear violation of social distancing protocol established as safe by the CDC.

If one thing we have learned you cannot change someone else you can only change your behavior and your response to it.

Right after I wrote my last blog post, Stress Test, I found this article in the Washington Post about the landscape of America post pandemic.   Each essay is from an individual in a given profession that is of course taking credit for seeing this in some sort of divination of what the future will hold as if we know, care and assume you are an authority on life other than your own.

This essay held the most weight as it was a based on history and of course the reality of the present in comparing this to the 1918 Flu Epidemic:

As influenza ransacked their communities, many Americans clung to the familiar, adhering to established ways of doing things. Men and women faced pressure to respond to the pandemic according to gendered norms. In letters and diaries from the time, women openly discussed their fears and their experiences of loss; because they were assumed to be innately self-sacrificing and skilled at caregiving, women were called upon to be nurses. Men, meanwhile, were expected to exhibit only strength and stoicism; they expressed guilt and shame when illness required them to take to their beds. People of color continued to face segregated health care: Philadelphia opened emergency clinics for white residents but did nothing for its African American community. Eventually, a local black physician organized their care. In Richmond, African American patients could visit the new emergency hospital, but they were relegated to the basement until the staff secured another, separate space for their treatment. 
The pandemic did not disturb the social and economic inequities it had made visible. And yet, while knowledge of the past is essential to understanding the present, history is rarely a reliable predictor of the future. We need not repeat the mistakes of those who came before.

The other that stood out is this about urban planning:

The current pestilence is likely to accelerate those shifts, which bear major ramifications for how Americans get to work. Transit ridership was doing poorly before the crisis, declining throughout the country, while telecommuting and driving alone continue to grow. With the specter of contagion, city-dwellers are told to avoid crowded subways, removing a critical element that makes ultradense cities work. In New York, subway traffic is down precipitously, as many commuters now work at home instead. Toronto is eliminating much of its downtown train service. The Washington Metro is also cutting back. 
Just as progressives and environmentalists hoped the era of automotive dominance and suburban sprawl was coming to end, a globalized world that spreads pandemics quickly will push workers back into their cars and out to the hinterlands.

Nashville with its lack of sidewalks, its lack of decent highways and its near to non-existent public transportation will find itself back to 1950 segregated neighborhoods and a city that will not offer any appeal what-so-ever as building high rises adjacent to the tourist trap that runs the city economy is hardly where anyone with money would elect to live so hello Williamson County.   For me here in Jersey City nothing will change and for that it means for me but for many of my weird fucking neighbors whom I don't speak to or even acknowledge I say - BYE! They are largely young professionals, with larger than normal families as they live multi generational and in turn have just realized that maybe living in a city with no parks, places to play and confined to a high rise might not be the best place to live as a family. I had to explain to one of the Concierge's here that he thought that might mean that families would move to Jersey City.. no unless they move into a single family brownstone then no and that still is limiting when it comes to space and yards and again if you are going to commute anyway why not further out to get more for your money.   So this will be the single occupants, the newly coupled and transplants as it is still cheaper than Manhattan but it is not a family city unless you head into the Western area of the city (which is undergoing gentrification and this will speed it up) as it is now building light rail to connect to major urban transit.  But again I suspect much of this work force will be working from home now and in the future as driving into Manhattan sucks.

But for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle I think that there will be a sea change as the cost of real estate has already pushed people out and now it will further that movement in a new way that these same cities have pushed for the greening of America will be on the forefront of greening of suburbia.

And again Jersey has tried to push a narrative that is so fucked up and confusing that any of these Mayors remain in office after this will only prove me wrong that people here do vote and do care as Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark have been having a massive dick off that makes little to no sense and actually contributes to some of the problems that are about social distancing, proper self management and respecting businesses. As of today the Bakery nearby has a phone order only in place. You stand outside look in the window as to what is on offer and then call to pick it up from the door.  The ice cream store is the same and I suspect more will follow as some restaurants tried pick up and delivery and it just did not work so they are closed "indefinitely".  Here is where leadership and calm voices and rational heads would be useful.  Instead its hysterics over watching friends play soccer, how close are you and hey don't you all know each other and why would anyone sick play? Again it is as if we are all children with no sense of self regulation.  Hey if they get sick they are at least easy to track and of course if they live cite for a misdemeanor.

When my daily conversation is with a Barista who is the most annoying individual I have ever encountered, who has no social clues and is often rude to the point of unkind this is where I am at with social distancing and yet I feel immense pity for her and wish that I could model at least some type of appropriate ways to tease and riff people without the abject nastiness that she displays. I felt that way with the religious kooks in Nashville so it is just more of the same only different. And again much of what I see here comes from two different places: The urban dweller who is used to crowds and the other is a distinct cultural bend that includes a strong religious community of conservative practitioners of their faith both in Judaism and Catholicism.

So where will be when this ends, and that is not until June which puts us out 90 days, I suspect more businesses will close or some will pivot again and figure it out and some will just go on as business as usual; Which the bagel street across the street from the bakery has and it is just fine, the only behavior I change is mine, I wear gloves, a mask and cover my head and they don't treat me any differently and that is how it should be.

In the shadow of New York, New Jersey faces its own deepening crisis as virus spreads

By Richard Morgan, Ben Guarino, Tim Craig and Devlin Barrett
March 27, 2020
The Washington Post

HOBOKEN, N.J. — At New Jersey's oldest hospital, the demands of fighting a pandemic threaten to overwhelm the city's medical resources — a frightening prospect confronting more communities as coronavirus burrows deeper into the United States.

With just 333 hospital beds for a commuter city of 55,000, Hoboken University Medical Center has less than a week before “we will not have the resources to save lives,” said Ravinder Bhalla, the city’s mayor.

Sometimes mocked as “Bro-boken” for its hordes of young professionals who cross the Hudson River every day to work in Manhattan, this town is bracing for the same onslaught of critically ill people now gripping New York.

So far, Hoboken has only 59 confirmed cases, but the mayor noted that many of those people are in their 20s and 30s, and he thinks it’s only a matter of time before the figure jumps dramatically.

“In New York, in a span of two weeks, they’ve gone from about 50 cases to 25,000,” Bhalla said. “So it feels like we are looking across the river at a wave, and what I’m trying to do is hold my hand out and push that wave back.”

Like the rest of state, Hoboken’s bars and restaurants and most businesses are closed. But even in a shutdown, many of the residents still commute to New York for jobs.

“I want people to know, even though we only have about 50 cases, this feels like the calm before the storm,” Bhalla said.

John Rimmer, director of the hospital’s emergency department, has been working from home since he contracted covid-19, the potentially lethal respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.

So far, the number of patients hasn’t been overwhelming, he said, but the severity of their illness is straining resources. The hospital is using eight of its nine ventilators for critically ill patients, according to hospital officials. There is an emergency reserve of another 10 it can draw on if necessary, but those are designed for short-term emergency use, not longer-term recovery. The hospital is seeking another 13 respirators.

“We’re trained for trauma, but shooting events, train crashes — things that end in a few hours,” Rimmer said. “With this, there’s no end in sight.”

The hospital, which was founded during the Civil War, is now seeing about 130 patients a day, and 3 out of 4 of those are suspected of being infected with coronavirus.

The hospital’s CEO, Ann Logan, said her staff has been “watching this, chasing this, planning this. This is our every day now.”

As of midday Friday, New Jersey had nearly 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 108 deaths. The state is second only to neighboring New York in the number of cases, underscoring just how easily the disease leaps and spreads across state lines.

“These are not abstract numbers, these are our neighbors, our family, our friends, all of us, we are in this together and we mourn together,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D). “But we have expected, with a heavy heart, that this would take an increasing toll on our state.”

Unlike in New York, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) has tried to make coronavirus tests widely available, Murphy and New Jersey health officials say they are trying to reserve their tests for only those showing flu symptoms.

“We need to know we are testing the right people, and not wasting tests,” Murphy said.

Even with the strict limits on testing, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli said it currently is taking as long as seven days for tests to be completed. The lag time has unsettled state leaders, who say they remain unsure just how bad the pandemic will become in coming weeks.

“This is a war, and we all know what the ingredients are for winning a war,” said Murphy, who noted that the most recent predictive models show the crisis may not peak until mid-April.

Amid widespread concern from hospital staff and first responders about a lack of personal protective equipment, Murphy took the extraordinary step of ordering all private businesses in the state to disclose to his office by Friday evening whether they had any stockpiles of protective supplies.

“This is not an ask, it’s an order,” the governor said.

In Lakewood Township in Ocean County, Mayor Raymond G. Coles feels as if the storm has already slammed into his community. Over the past week, the number of cases there doubled to more than 100.

Coles said the outbreak has been centered in the city’s Orthodox Jewish and Hispanic communities, both of which have tightknit family structures and frequent contact through social and religious gatherings. The virus quickly spread through the Orthodox community, which makes up about 60 percent of Lakewood’s population, before anyone even knew the contagion had made its way to the East Coast, Coles said.

“Folks just don’t understand with the Orthodox community, just how central daily life is in synagogue and with schools,” the mayor said. “People want to pray three times a day, and learning is paramount to life.”

In the Latino community, Coles noted, the virus quickly spread through some households because it’s not uncommon for more than one family to live together.

“And if one person gets it, it just spreads,” he said, adding that local and state officials are now working to try to ensure that immigrant communities understand they will receive treatment for their illness even if they do not have health insurance.

Over the past two weeks, amid warnings from state and local officials about remaining indoors, Coles said most of Lakewood’s residents now “understand” the virus and “are afraid of it and respect it.”

But he wishes he had more guidance from government leaders and health experts.

“If we had been made aware a few weeks sooner, we would have locked down a lot sooner, because once people were aware of what was happening, this town has pretty much locked down,” said Coles, noting that at least three Lakewood residents have died. “We really wish we could just push the self-isolation back in time.”

The scale of the pandemic is bigger in New York, where more than 500 have died. But New Jersey is facing the same steep hill to climb.

“New Jersey is literally right behind [New York],” said Maria Refinski, president of the New Jersey Nurses Union CWA Local 1091 and a nurse at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. “As they start to peak, we are going to be right there also. We’re behind, but not by much, in regards to timing.”

Refinski said some hospital staff working in intensive-care units are already resorting to buying their own versions of hazmat suits to try to guard against getting sick, because protective equipment is “constantly running low.”

A survey released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 90 percent of mayors who responded think their communities lack the necessary gear to effectively fight the spread of the virus.

Taken together, the cities reported a need for 28.5 million face masks, 24.4 million items of personal protective equipment such as gowns and gloves, 7.9 million test kits and 139,000 ventilators.

In Paterson, N.J., the mayor and other city officials became so concerned about supplies at the local hospital that they raided the city’s emergency stockpile, amassed in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

On Thursday, officials went to a Passaic County warehouse and removed 15,000 surgical masks, 1,000 N95 masks, thousands of rubber gloves, 500 thermometers and 100 stethoscopes for delivery to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center.

Stanley Trooskin, the chief medical officer at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, said his facility has spent the month of March gearing up for what they fear will be a flood of coronavirus cases. The 600-bed facility has been devoting more of its beds to intensive-care work.

In canceling family visitors and other activity, the hospital is more quiet than usual, giving it a “very eerie feeling” as staff wait for the coming storm, Trooskin said.

“I’ve never seen this level of cooperation and people putting their petty issues aside,” he said. “We think about a week ahead, five days and 10 days, this giant wave that’s going to overwhelm us — we don’t know that for sure.”

Two tents were recently set up to direct incoming emergency patients. In the first tent, a health-care worker dressed in protective equipment asks about possible covid-19 symptoms. Patients who potentially have covid-19 are directed to a second tent, where a robot awaits to allow an emergency medicine physician to perform a remote physical.

Health-care workers at the hospital have protective equipment in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New Jersey guidelines, but “optimally we’d walk around in spacesuits taking care of these patients,” Trooskin said.

******ETA**** Since posting this Trump has gone full tilt boogie crazyz-cra  with this announcement***

2:04 p.m.
Trump says he’s considering a two-week quarantine on the New York metro area

President Trump said Saturday he may announce later in the day a federally-mandated quarantine on the New York metro region, placing “enforceable” travel restrictions on people planning to leave the New York tristate area because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said he spoke with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in the morning. Asked if the quarantine pertained to limiting travel out of those areas, Trump said it was and it would be enforceable.

“I’d rather not do it, but we might need it,” he said.

Cuomo, however, said he had not spoken to Trump about a potential federal quarantine.

“I haven’t had those conversations,” Cuomo said when asked about Trump’s comments, which came as the governor was giving a news briefing. “I don’t even know what that means.”

Stress Test

We are all there now and the endless confusing messaging, the grandstanding by Politicians (this weeks winner the asshole from Kentucky, Thomas Massie) and the overall stillness of the city streets that ebb and flow depending on the weather and how stir crazy individuals get.

For the first time I shopped in a calm Whole Foods who were letting people in one at a time, the same with Target (although they were not really doing so as the joint was kinda empty like the streets) and the ferry once again transported a single passenger to Manhattan (me) and only myself and one other and the terminal empty, the Seaport path utterly deserted if not a few walkers/runners; All of which were kept within social distancing guidelines.   But yesterday when the temps hit in 70s I just felt I could not go out as I knew that they would be out there. They are those who seem to have no concept of social distancing, seem to think they and their baby carriages, dogs, bikes and partners they are walking with take priority when it comes to navigating the sidewalks.  Again why Jersey City closed its small parks that people could at least walk around or sit away from each other and be outside is beyond my understanding but then again this is the dick off where the Mayor here wants to shove his in anywhere he can prove his is the biggest as the State park a two stop light rail ride is wide open and all parks are open across the water so much for not leaving the house and confined to your closet in a tower of germs.

This has done one thing for me, never wanting to live in an apartment complex again. From not knowing how to properly dispose of waste/recycling/breaking down boxes to just their overall superiority that comes from insecurity explains why New York is the epicenter with Jersey as the second.  There is something about the mindset here that contributes to the way they behave and interact with others.  Before the virus I actually liked the tough as nails demeanor and it suited me but  with the crisis it like the medical center has revealed that beneath the tough shell is a weak soft mass of tissue that is utterly untenable.   Which explains the histrionics about how every city needs the biggest the mostest the bestst medical equipment to the overwhelming honorifics and beatitudes that have the medical professionals equivalent to the Military or the "First Responder" club which for decades has been the way to acknowledge those who work in shitty jobs but are given faux titles of respect to somehow compensate for failing to compensate and recognize them for their work and in turn excuse them for their behaviors when they fail to live up to these absurd concepts and beliefs about said men (and women) with guns.  And that goes with Doctors and Nurses and the bizarre parallel universe that has them now Generals and Soldiers on the "front" line of defense.  When we have heard repeated story after story of turning away symptomatic patients and in turn handling some equipment and treatment without training and of course the decision about who gets treated versus who does not.   Expect more of that to be reveled when the crisis is over.

Yes folks I am not one to hyper grandstand or laud praise on those people who elect to enter fields of choice, pursue the necessary study, licensing or training required to be in said fields.  As we also know the quality and consistency of said education and training is a variable that is akin to the transmission of a virus, it is a matter of luck and some careful precautions.

I saw a parade in one Jersey township of lovely white middle class families lining the streets of their neighborhood with signs and balloons as the Teachers drove through the streets in their own cars and waved to the adoring students and their families.   I would love to see that say in the Bronx or Queens which are the hot zones for the virus and where many families have no access or availability of the internet connections, space or tech skills required to access distant learning. Again like the restaurant and food industry you get what you pay for and what you can pay for defines the type of food and place you can eat. And the same concepts of Education that you can apply to the food industry you can apply to the medical industrial complex as well.    Access and availability are dependent upon your income, your status in society and of course race and gender as well as age. Ugly truths are just that truths not ugly ones just uncomfortable ones, like anal warts or herpes. Treatable but not always curable.

This is not over by a long shot I suspect it will move through June as we now are cycling through a massive seasonal change that now revolves to the countries below the equator. As New Zealand already closed its borders and in turn contained the virus the same would have to be in all countries that are moving into winter when viruses thrive.   And it means all of those in the Northern climes have to vet, test and force not request FORCE those entering into quarantine for 14 days.  And yes we have that power to do so but how and to what that means is another massive attempt at closing ports both air and sea and mobilizing a massive effort to do so.  This is not impossible but it is.

Then we have the issues that run from immigration, residents on visa's or pending ones, we have massive economic switches that have been pulled which means every single sector of our GDP will have to rethink how they do business and what that means for them going forward. This is not like 2008 which had to focus on the banks, lending and financial service industries.  NO, this is about every single business and industry and even institutions on how they will go forward post pandemic.

In 2008 that was called the stress test:  A bank stress test is an analysis conducted under hypothetical unfavorable economic scenarios, such as a deep recession or financial market crisis, designed to determine whether a bank has enough capital to withstand the impact of adverse economic developments. In the United States, banks with $50 billion or more in assets are required to undergo internal stress tests conducted by their own risk management teams as well as by the Federal Reserve.

Now change that word or business "bank" and replace it with Hospitals, Medical/Health Insurance, Education/Schools, Contracting, Food and Restaurant Industry, Supply Chain - as in any and all; Government,  Manufacturing; Tech, Utilities, Infrastructure, Communication, Hospitality, Small Businesses that run a wide gamut of type, Transportation both local, national and international, Finance and Investment, and even Government and its unyielding bureaucracy.  In other words: Every single business, industry and institution that provides services in the United States and within the larger global economy will have to undergo a stress test.

What that means again is deep cleaning to find out what is needed, what needs to be tossed and what we can use and repurpose for dual purpose or for something else entirely. Think about a multi cooker and all it can do in your home during a  medical crisis? Yogurt - check.  Rice - Check. Bread - Check. Sear - Check.  Steam - Check.  Slow cook - check.  High Cook - Check.  We now get why the Instant Pot  is so popular it does it all! That is one item that can withstand a stress test.

I suspect that some of these furloughs and layoffs will continue on well past the lifting of quarantine as each industry evaluates the need over the reality.  That insurance company, that bank, that distribution company or builder that has made do with a piecemeal effort of staffing and closing of offices, branches and moving those to online or remote work spaces I suspect will continue. This means that business can literally switch many employees akin to Uber drivers as they can work out of their home, using their own internet connections, equipment and more importantly their residence and this will reduce overall operating costs in which to downsize and in turn scatter their offices to varying cost friendly tax incentive award locations.   And that big bribe will become the new big dick in the room as varying States and Governors will use the data from Covid and their varying dick measuring protocols to prove how "SAFE" and "PRODUCTIVE" they were during this pandemic.  This is where the stress test is about voting and being active in the election process.  Some dicks need a condom to stop the spread of disease and some simply need a circumcision.

So Seattle, San Francisco, Boston (why I have no idea that place is horrid but whatever oh wait HARVARD)  and of course New York will end up as always winners in the crap shoot but then look at Nashville or other second tier cities that are already in mid stream but Tornados or other issues that plague the city - finding out it has no infrastructure, the industry they relied upon such as Hospitality is now suddenly a non essential service as we move forward will bring much of the growth to a halt. And the city long before the double whammy was already in budget crisis. So how it pulls out I am not sure but right now it won't pass a stress test of any kind.

But that goes for many other cities of similar nature - Las Vegas. There was a mass shooting that should have already changed the way the game is played and now this.   As I suspect the old road trip will be the new staycation and the idea of getting on a flight to spread germs, get germs and the need to have a collective germ-a-thon, like Mardi Gras, Coachella and other larger festivals and gatherings will also need to be less of a must go, as can I see it online?

That will not last but the disposable income, the need to Instagram and top one another most likely will when you are simply trying to get out of this and move forward. America has always been a competitive top the Joneses type of country.  As my Parents were first generation Immigrant or second generation immigrant but WASPS in every sense of the word we were much more isolation oriented, aka "private" and yet highly socially conscious as my Parents saw first hand the troubles in ways that I had not.  And as a result I got how things get bad and how you get through it when it hits the fan.  Americans and that includes Immigrants as they came here in pursuit of the bullshit peddled to them and are in fact more vested in that mythology than the native born truly are narcissistic empty folks that rely upon colloquialisms and false notions peddled to them by those whom they have aligned.  The message is as only as good as the messenger and we have many that are mixed if not utterly contradictory. Few of them regardless can withstand a stress test.

I knew what that was like living in Nashville as I heard repeatedly the talking points peddled to them by the real leader in the City, the head of Tourism, Butch Spyrdion, then the Chamber of Commerce that also had tremendous influence if not actual policy plans that were enacted by the supposed elected council and my other favorite body of power, the MDHA that never met a plan or builder or a check attached to a developers hand than the housing authority.  And that is everywhere as I have seen some idiotic building here that blows me away for its arrogance.  And I call it that as the housing is not in line with actual incomes and businesses that live and work in Jersey City.  This is not a suburb of NYC it is a small city that would like to be Williamsburg but it can't it just is Jersey and that is why I like it.  And I love Manhattan but funny I decided to not live there as I needed to always be socially distant so I would never get too close and too infected with all that is that city.  And all places are in the eye of the beholder. And I always do a stress test before I make a critical decision and while I did not fully do that in this move I am relieved to be here I cannot imagine living in Nashville during this nightmare.

This week 3 million filed for unemployment, that does not include the self employed, the gig employed, the contract employees or those small business owners.  Then we have what this means in the bigger cities with diverse economies that shut down fast and furious and put us all in shock and awe will come out of it better for it but there will be also a sea change about how we work and live. For years the greening of America encourage urban density and clearly we saw that sucks so I suspect a new model of the suburbs will evolve and rather than malls being shopping meccas they will become community centers that have gyms, older day care, younger day care, some shopping, some library and other services that enable mobility and opportunity. The other is building of better neighborhood schools and stopping the insanity of school choice as busing kids across townships is not healthy nor productive.  Perhaps finally Teachers may get the respect they deserve.  And in turn dying towns once neglected may find themselves restored and renewed the essential message of building green.  If it is broke can it be fixed and what does it take? Can it withstand the stress test?

We have become a nation of disposable wipes and then we hoard them when we need to share them. What that says is that we failed to learn that when we were young but then again when all those around you fail to model what they ask you do to.. don't do as I do do as I say ... well you get what we have today.  I was well schooled and maybe this might do what we have failed to do for decades in the me nation.  Ah fuck it we will be back to it within 24 hours of this pandemics end.  Just go for a walk and see what I see.  It is not pretty it won't stand up to the stress test.

Friday, March 27, 2020


I have nothing not one thing to say good about Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Washington. They are dangerous, deadly and utterly decrepit.  Yes I have personal experience in their malfeseance but long before my near death experience at their hands they had a long history/legacy of being a dump of a hospital; However from that I began to actually look into the medical system and Pro Publica has been long established in this so I am not alone in my disdain regarding medical care.  And hence that is why I am persistent in my complaints about the supposed great American medical system. It is if you are successfully treated  then you think in those terms but until you aren't you dont and no I was not I survived in spite of Harborview not because of them.   It is during times like these I don't believe many hospitals are very different and this pandemic has exposed them for what they are - insufficient, incompetent, hard-working, sometimes successful, many times not; Over priced, understaffed, under-trained and utterly unprepared for real disaster.  Call them heroes if you choose but I call them medical professionals just doing their job and for some that is less than enough and for others it is more.  I fear going in one of those facilities more than Corvid. 

Harborview Medical is at the center of coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you need to know

The death of the 54-year-old man at Harborview Medical Center, the ninth announced in Washington so far, has put the Seattle hospital in the spotlight. The hospital says that “potentially exposed staff” are being monitored and screened daily for the disease officially called COVID-19.

Harborview has faced critical inspections of its nursing staff and poor ratings for its emergency room. And this is not the first time the hospital has unwittingly exposed its staff to a disease. Last year, more than 150 workers in the Harborview operating room and the lab were tested and offered antibiotics after a lab worker dropped a test tube filled with potentially deadly bacteria in the hospital.

Days before Washington went onto high alarm because of the novel coronavirus, the 54-year-old man was being treated at Harborview. His caregivers at Harborview didn’t know it at the time, but he was positive for the virus. He died on Thursday

“We have determined that some staff may have been exposed while working in an intensive care unit where the patient had been treated,” UW Medicine said in a statement Tuesday. “We don’t believe that other patients were potentially exposed.”

The patient, who had underlying health problems, had recently been at Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, under quarantine after at least four patients died from the disease. About 50 people from the nursing home’s more than 100 residents and 180 staff are being monitored, public health officials said during the weekend, the Seattle Times reported.
Here’s what else we know about Harborview:

Major trauma center for the region

Harborview is a 433-bed public research hospital managed by the University of Washington School of Medicine. It’s the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma and verified burn center in the state of Washington, and it serves as a regional trauma and burn center for Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

It’s also the disaster preparedness and disaster control hospital for the city of Seattle and for King County. Last month, Harborview began sending out medical teams to make house calls to test people with symptoms of coronavirus. The five-person team — equipped protective gear, including respirators, full-body gowns and latex gloves — is designed to prevent infected people from coming to the emergency room and exposing others.

“Patients given priority for care include the non-English speaking poor; the uninsured or under-insured, victims of domestic violence or sexual assault; people incarcerated in King County’s jails; people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, particularly those treated involuntarily; people with sexually transmitted diseases; and those who require specialized emergency, trauma or burn care,” its website reads.

The Harborview Capital Planning Leadership Group recommended $1.74 billion in improvements to the facility, including a new tower, a behavioral health building and other renovations. The Seattle Times reports the county plans to seek financing through a bond measure as early as November.

How does it compare?

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare online ranking system, which tracks hospitals based on things like emergency room wait times, infection rates, costs and patient outcomes, gives the hospital an overall ranking of two out of five stars.

The hospital received poor marks for having a particularly overcrowded emergency department. The federal government noted the hospital struggles with emergency room wait times. It also has a high rate of patients leaving the department without being seen by a doctor and for having a “very high” emergency department volume.

Its rate of healthcare workers receiving a influenza vaccine was 81 percent, around 10 points below the Washington and national averages.

The hospital did have infection rates similar to the national benchmarks, and its death rates for common conditions like heart attacks, pneumonia and strokes were no different than the national rates, the federal government reported.

Lab worker exposes staff to bacteria

Last summer, 158 employees of Harborview were monitored and tested for potential exposure to brucella, a bacteria that can cause the infectious disease, brucellosis

The exposure occurred in an operating room and a laboratory at Harborview, after a lab worker dropped a test tube with brucella bacteria in it, KIRO reported. A patient had been transferred from another hospital to Harborview for an urgent operation and later tests revealed that person had brucellosis.

People can get the disease when they’re in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria. No employees appeared to have contracted the disease; the workers were offered antibiotics as a precaution.

Data breach

Last year, the hospital was among those linked to a University of Washington Medicine data breach that led to the release of the information of more than 1 million patients.

The files were exposed Dec. 4, 2018, because of “an internal human error,” The Seattle Times reported.

UW Medicine said files contained patients’ medical-record numbers, names, a description of the information shared and a description of who received the data. The reports do not include more detailed personal information such as Social Security numbers, the hospital chain said.

State inspection reports

State inspectors have issued critical reports of the hospital a handful of times, state records show. The reports from the Washington State Department of Health show the hospital, among 90 in the state, was noted for two violations on March 5, 2019, and another on Feb. 15, 2019.

The violations from March include failing to document when and how they moved patients in their beds and around the hospital.

This task by the “patient handling team” was supervised by the nursing department, and is considered important because failing to note how they handled patients “created risk for patient harm” and protected staff from injuries while moving patients.

The March inspection also noted that the hospital failed to ensure a patient who had fractured both legs had received daily skin assessments for signs of discoloration and bed sores. “The patient reported severe to moderate pain levels from fractures, especially movement in bed,” the report stated. “Pain levels interfered with routine daily patient care, including required assessment.”

Recent lawsuit

In 2018, The Seattle Times reported a King County jury issued a $25 million judgment for a woman who went to Harborview Medical Center’s Stroke Center for treatment but became paraylzed during her stay.

Doctors in Montana had sent Jerri Woodring-Thueson to Seattle in October 2013 to get care at the stroke center, which UW Medicine calls the region’s first comprehensive stroke center. Her attorneys alleged her symptoms got worse during the stay and she was largely treated by inexperienced interns and residents, the Times reported.

Read more here: