Thursday, March 19, 2020

Will the coronavirus trigger a recession, or at worse a depression? Hang on because we are in for a wild ride in the months ahead. Plus Bakersfield College also cancels its commencement

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: Kern County has four confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and now that testing is in full swing countywide, you can expect that number to spike dramatically. No one knows
just how high it will go, but don't be surprised if we end up with 100 local cases or more given how contagious this virus has proved to be. Both the city of Fresno and San Luis Obispo County have mandatory shelter in place rules, and who knows if Kern County and Bakersfield may do something similar? Meanwhile. some economists believe we may be headed to a depression - yes, I said depression - while others are hoping that the worst case scenario is a prolonged recession. Hang on because we are in for a difficult period ahead.

 * ... RESTAURANTS: My heart goes out to all the locally owned restaurants who have been thrown into uncharted waters thanks to the coronavirus. Most have gone to curbside service, while others are considering closing temporarily. Here's a novel concept: buy a gift certificate from your favorite eatery to help them get through this period, and when things clear, use it to celebrate the return to normalcy. In some markets, communities are using GoFundMe to raise money to help the restaurant staffs ride through the recession.

 * ... COMMENCEMENTS: Bakersfield College became the latest educational system to cancel its spring commencement, dealing yet another blow to seniors who had hoped to walk across the stage. CSUB and Fresno State University did the same, and we can expect high schools to follow suit.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Just finished the laundry and all my socks had their partners. Is this what having your life together feels like? "

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Everything you need to know about social distancing you will learn from marriage."

 * ... TODAYS CHUCKLE: I just had to share this.

* ... CRIME: Homelessness, the coronavirus, hoarding... what has our world come to? Well don't forget crime, that has yet to take a day off despite all the other distractions. A friend woke to find his truck had been broken into by thieves who unsuccessfully tried to hot wire the ignition. And so it goes.

 * ... MEMORIES: Back in the 1920s, the Panorama Bluffs were the scenes of weekend social activities as hundreds would gather to watch morotcyles race up to the top. Thanks to the Kern County of Old Facebook page for these magical old photos.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Bakersfield teacher implores Gov. Newsom to close our schools. Do the math, she says, without protocols 10,000 people here may be infected by Easter and that is the "best case" scenario

A math teacher’s perspective on Covid-19: Even the best case mathematical scenario results in an over run system  

 By TAMARA CLARK          

A math teacher’s perspective on Covid-19: Even the best case mathematical scenario results in an over run system  
Exponents. Here we are, in the midst of the most pertinent exponent lesson we’ll ever have the displeasure of sitting through. However this time, the bell won’t ring after 55 minutes, freeing us of our mathematical woes. No, Covid-19 is here to stay. Perhaps we do not have any confirmed cases yet, but it’s closing in and fast. Exponents are one of those concepts that can be hard to wrap your brain around. If I save a penny on day 1 of the month and double my savings each day in 30 days I will have $5,368,709.12? That is correct.

This morning March 15, 2020 the Kern County Superintendent of Schools issued a statement reiterating their decision to keep schools in Kern County open. Governor Gavin Newsom took to the airwaves Sunday updating infection numbers to an increase of 14%; 335 confirmed cases and six
Covid-19 related deaths statewide. He also announced the closure of bars and wineries and for home isolation of citizens 65 and over. Closing public places is not enough. We need to close our schools, too.

Regardless of where your thoughts fall on these updates locally and by Governor Newsom, I urge you to consider the exponential reasoning explained here. Further, consider that these figures are reflective of the absolute BEST CASE scenarios as our heroic researchers and first responders work tirelessly to discover the truths and care for those affected by this infection. It is my assertion that we must not discount the documented courses of trajectory regarding Covid-19 in China and Italy and begin our community on the path to social distancing procedures immediately.

The below is what our city will look like in just 30 days, if, for the sake of this discussion, ONE patient tested positive in Bakersfield today and the absolute best case scenario of suggested infection ranges occurs. For every 1 case confirmed it is estimated by virologists at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital that between 10 and 50 exist that are positive for the infection and are unknowingly spreading the virus.

512 is the MOST CONSERVATIVE estimate of the serious life threatening cases (5% of the infected population) requiring ICU hospitalizations in Bakersfield within the next month. Yes, that’s if ONLY ONE patient tests positive today based on our population of 383,579.                                                      

Without social distancing protocols instituted immediately, there will, mathematically speaking, be 1,024 TIMES [not 10 times, 20 times, or even 100 times, but OVER 1000 times] the number of infected people in our city after only 30 days. In this best case scenario, 10,240 Bakersfield residents will be positive for the virus by Easter -- unless protocols to slow the spread are put into effect immediately.

The worst case scenario numbers are much larger, with a multiplier of 50 infected per 1 confirmed case, and the number of ICU critical patients (still assuming, on the lowest side of projections, 5% of those infected needing an ICU bed) would be 2,560 in Bakersfield and a total of 51,200 cases in our city alone.

Here is the real problem, as our seven local hospitals stand today, only a limited number of dedicated ICU beds exist. My research of public record indicates the number is currently in the low 100s. It won’t matter that the majority of the critical care beds will already be occupied by patients not suffering the extreme respiratory distress of Covid-19. The existing non-Corona patients will already be receiving monitoring and ventilation by the doctor, a respiratory therapist and nurse each critical care bed requires. Based on those percentages, even in the best case scenario above even if all ICU beds in the city became available and alternative outdoor shelters were in place, how could the system possibly offer those 512 Bakersfield residents needing critical ICU care?

Only if we now, today, put in place the CDC recommendations including social distancing measures of self quarantine, enhanced infection control in healthcare settings, long term financial crisis planning, and protocols to temporarily empower residents to impose movement restrictions upon themselves does our healthcare system have a chance to weather this. We are all going to have to give up a little to gain a lot in the long run. Why should you limit yourself and your routine if "the odds are in your favor" and you are not in a high risk category? What are the chances we will ALL know someone very personally that will be affected by this shortage of available care? 100%.

Perhaps it won’t be you or one of your children, or even your elderly family members with one of the 5% of Covid-19 cases requiring hospitalization. I’m betting if you’re in a car accident anytime soon your doctor will have been working 18 hour days for the last months because it was required to care for patients. Further complicating things, if you or someone you care about needs a ventilator to survive hospitals overseas are already reporting shortages and attempting to acquire more vents. Here in the U.S. hospital staff and administrators are working tirelessly in attempting to find what they can get their hands on. What if your elderly and ailing parent suffering from diabetes or a stroke goes into distress and may not receive care because the doctors, as widely reported in Italy, are having to make battlefield triage judgement calls on which patients have the best survival chances. In this triage scenario your elderly mom will not get the upper end of that argument when entering the emergency department next to a healthy forty year old father of three. The triage choices that Italian medical professionals are having to make are unfathomable, and they are happening now. It’s not just the elderly that are succumbing to this virus, the immunocompromised cancer patients or bone marrow recipients may not receive the specialized care required for their treatments to continue, let alone be successful. All of the above is currently happening in Italy, who had roughly the same number of infections we have today in the U.S., just weeks ago.  WE must start today.

Above all, let us be kind and empathetic towards one another as we travel this contagion path as a community.

Tamara Clark is a mother to 3 sons, wife to a local fire captain first responder, and 15 year vetern mathematics instructor.

The sole intention of my thoughts expressed here is to raise awareness of basic exponential growth mathematics in relation to peer reviewed published assertions of the heroic medical professionals that are working tirelessly to keep us safe and informed. The opinions expressed here are that of me personally and I have supported my mathematical reasoning with the work of respected researchers and leaders in the field of virology. I have researched the facts and figures included herein and anyone requesting citation is welcome to email me. Anyone, including the metia, is free to share these words, any related content, all or in part, for any purpose in any format with simple attribution to my name, and background if applicable. Please feel free to direct message me via email.

When Starbucks opened its doors (and bathrooms) to the homeless did it also welcome in the coronavirus? Plus Jeff Pickering's hunt for a monster, and are you ready for a two-week lockdown?

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... HOARDING AND THE VIRUS: Now that we have survived our first weekend of hoarding and "social distancing" over fears of the coronavirus, are you ready for a total 14-day lockdown ? As
Draconian as that sounds, get ready for it. Throughout Europe - in Italy, France, Spain and Denmark - governments have put the nations on lockdown. The only businesses that are open are banks, grocery stores and gas stations. If you can work at home, do it. Otherwise everything is closed: no bars, restaurants, sporting events or cafes. My hunch is that President Trump, sensing that his reelection is now at stake, will opt for a forceful action that will curtail the virus and show America he is an effective leader. Get ready for it.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I don’t want to be presumptuous, but you can also just wash your hands even if there’s not some pandemic currently capturing your attention. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion."

 * ... GLASS HALF FULL: Meanwhile, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Can something good come from all of this? According to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, this may be the best thing that has happened to the planet in years. First, Edelkoort said the coronavirus epidemic will lead to "a global recession of a magnitude that has not been experienced before" but will eventually allow humanity to reset its values. According to the website Dezeen, Edelkoort said the virus was causing a "quarantine of consumption" and would have a profound cultural and economic impact. "People would have to get used to living with fewer possessions and traveling less, she said, as the virus disrupts global supply chains and transportation networks. "It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favorites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful," she said. So there you have it, reason for hope.

 * ... STARBUCKS AND THE VIRUS: Remember two years ago when Starbucks decided to open its doors to the homeless, arguing that we should all be more sensitive to the plight of those who live on the street? It sure seemed like a good idea at the time, unless you happened upon a naked homeless man washing his privates in the sink (yes, that happened to me), or had to endure the endless parade of homeless hitting you up for coffee. And now we have the coronavirus where experts say you can contract it simply by touching a surface where a carrier laid his hands. Those same experts now warn it is just a matter of time before the virus infects the homeless community and spreads like wildfire. Outside of nursing homes, there are few more vulnerable populations than the homeless, many drug addicted and most living in filthy and squalid conditions. So now how will you feel about sitting down at a Starbucks table where a homeless man or woman may have sat? Will you willingly share an eating surface at Starbucks where you know a homeless person may have sat just moments before? Will you lay your hands on the "to go" counter as you wait on your carmel macchiato? Have you ever seen a barista disinfecting the inside of a Starbucks? Well neither have I. Ex Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz loved social engineering, and now his company has to live with his decision.

 * ... HUNTING DOWN A MONSTER: Jeff Pickering is better known as the past CEO of the Kern County Community Foundation, which he ran for five years before landing a new gig in his home state of Florida. But Pickering is now known for something other than philanthropy, the victim of a childhood molestation that he repressed for 30 years before the memory was triggered by the #metoo movement. Grappling with issues he had repressed for decade, Pickering decided to track down the man who molested him when he was just 15 years old, an orthopedic doctor who later faced  similar charges of molestation by other men. To Pickering's horror the doctor, William P. Zink, remains practicing today, despite being prosecuted years ago only to see that trail end in an acquittal. Zink is now practicing in the Orlando area, just an hour or so from where Pickering now lives. Picketing tracked him down, found he was affiliated with AdventHealth in Orlando, and began lobbying the Adventist CEO and others to have him fired. The lobbying seemed to work, and Zink resigned from his Adventist affiliation but his still working. Undaunted Pickering will not give up, and he is now on a mission to have Zink exposed so he can no longer come into contact with young men. Listen to Pickering's story this Wednesday exclusively on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM on the Richard Beene Show. (Jeff and Stephanie Pickering above and Dr. William Zink below)

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy these old photos courtesy of my friend Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook Page.