Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Okay, So ... Here's a Problem?

First, just to update, again, unlike Louisville's mayor and our governor (both Democrats) -  who have told us everything they know, every step the way -  our Republican mayor, here in Lexington, is still being overly tight-lipped about the hows, whens, and whys of the infected, here, so we're pretty much in the dark. 

Meanwhile, I just spoke to my father-in-law in Detroit, who informed me that MSU just shut down classes, this morning, as well as he had just gotten off the phone with my sister-in-law, who lives very close to NYC, and reported that Columbia University has shut down in New York, as has Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  I had just read that Harvard has shut down classes in Boston.  

I just checked the local news of each of these areas online, it's true. 

Now this next aspect is just by his perception, which I haven't verified yet -  but he also said price-gouging has started in certain areas in the state, on things like gas, water, food, etc.  

If I understood him correctly, he says that due to the gouging, as well as the unstable price of oil, at present, the State of Michigan itself chose to step in respond by the state itself lowering the prices of gas across the state temporarily - but again, that has yet to be verified. 

I was surprised at the school closings, because Michigan had no infections until this morning (2).  

I was especially surprised that, if true, the State of Michigan would allow state government intervention, because the state itself is about 65/35, Republican/Democrats - a Republican majority and thus not a fan of government intervention, even in emergencies.

However, if that's true/I understood him correctly, then clearly, Michigan's not playing politics, not playing around, and not taking any chances -  you can't fault them for being safe rather than sorry. 

I haven't seen price-gouging here, though we have confirmed 8 (6 in Lexington/Central Kentucky being treated in Lexington), and believe me, I would notice - I'm all hyper-alert to price-gouging after seeing it after hurricanes when living in Florida, but I personally haven't seen it yet, here. 

I mean, I've noticed the price come down a dime or a quarter, of course, due to the fluctuation in oil prices, right now, but I haven't seen price gouging yet or discussions about a state response to it.  

In fact, the only price-gouging I've seen is by sellers on Amazon for cleaning supplies? When they're charging $100 bucks for a cannister of 70 Clorox wipes - yeah, that's price gouging ;)

Additionally, just as our governor has done, many of these states are passing through bills into law which provide extra leave-with-pay days for state employees.

Ya know, that's great that states are stepping up to the plate - but then we also have one member of the family, who is in the highest risk group being over 70 years of age, who still works for the post office,  which is a federal institution.

This means your mail is still being delivered by people who could be infected, still coming to work because they need the hours as hourly employees, because Trump has done little-to-nothing thus far federally.

(As you may recall, last week, in North Carolina, Trump stated at a rally this was as "Dem hoax" to undermine his presidency.)


I'm not sure I agree with those saying that Trump should declare a state of emergency yet, for the US, but he really should be doing more - at least do something - when it comes to federal institutions and reminding the public of safety precautions, at the very least? 

I tend not to mention politics with my father-in-law because though he's an old-school Republican and not a big Trump fan, his wife is (Mark's stepmom).

However, we did discuss federal response to this and he was in full agreement - Trump isn't doing enough besides meetings with market people.  

In fact, he's minimizing this and making it a "political hoax to undermine his presidency" is politicizing this himself, and that state Republicans following this lead and not disclosing necessary information, keeping people in the dark, is only increasing panic and inaccurate information spread by word of mouth. 

Otherwise, Fayette County Schools  and Jefferson County Schools are still open, but Jefferson County (Louisville) has a plan to close if there are more infections. 

Fayette County Schools have no such plan and place (but some people have chosen to self-isolate).  

In fact, when I read the Lexington Herald Leader article, this morning, I found the excuses I read for the reasons being a bit lame, such as "Kids aren't susceptible" and  "Kids will still congregate at the mall," 

I thought to myself, "Yeah, but they can still be carriers?  And at least you would cut down one congregation area?  Okay, so these excuses are pretty lame - now what's the real reason they don't even have a plan to close if things get bad, though every other school district in the state does?" 

That answer would come just a few moments ago from my personal contact in IT for the schools ;) ;) ;)

And that real reason is, unlike Jefferson County, Fayette County is not equipped to support students at home like Jefferson County is. 

*** In short, despite the excuses being given to the paper, the real reason is, unlike Jefferson County, despite being the second largest school district in the state, Fayette County has neither the equipment, nor the manpower, to support home learning of that magnitude, on that scale. ***

They invested their money in other things - the wrong things, according to my former CIO (in Detroit) husband - but that's always debatable, I guess.

There's being conservative with public funding and then there's lack of preparation and staying relevant, too. 

In fact, my husband implemented a backup home-learning program back in 2006 when he was CIO for a school district in Michigan, and is often frustrated by what the school systems choose to spend their money on here versus other things, calling it "being conservative" instead of, well, selfish, funding their own personal equipment, staff, and pet projects. 

FCPS's motto is "It's About the Kids."

We say, "Is it?  Is it really?  Because I don't think so."

Thus, my husband is still going to work, still putting his hands all over people's PCs and laptops all day, from all over the district, many, many times a day - BUT - as I stated earlier, I insisted he wear disposable surgical gloves, that he changes out 8-10 times a day and washes his hand frequently.  

(I don't "mandate" much, with my husband - or anyone, for that matter - but this one I put my foot down on, especially after he just had a tooth extracted and has a distracted immune system due to that.)

In other words, still not panicking - but I am pretty frustrated with our city's mayor's lack response, lack of prep, and lack of transparency, and lack of information being provided by our city versus Louisville - the state itself has been more forthcoming and transparent. 

I'm blaming that squarely on the fact that our new governor and Louisville's mayor are Democrats, but our Lexington mayor is a Republican and Trump supporter, and thus playing the "It's all a hoax to undermine Trump's presidency" game, as well as following Trump's playbook,  AKA the Chinese-communist method - giving as little information as possible, downplaying it, minimizing it, and politicizing it - which of course did China no good and the world no good, in the end.

Again, this method only increases the level of inaccurate information, speculation and panic spreading, rather than decreasing it. 

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