Monday, March 30, 2020

A new senior advisor to the Mayor

Her name is Hannah Woit, started on March 23 for 79K a year. Her last job was an integrative nutrition health coach as of April 2018. She has worked in Detroit for 3 months as an intern.And was a scheduler for former City Councilor AT - Large John Connolly.

If you don't know what an integrative health coach is, like myself, here's what I found:
Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are revolutionizing the healthcare system through the power of nutrition, primary food, active listening, high-mileage questions, goal setting, and other techniques unique to health coaching

So I'm wondering what that has to do with being a senior advisory to a rookie mayor. I can see why Thatcher wants to leave now.

I can't see the Mayor getting advice from a millennial, who was a diet coach in New York, not from here and most likely had never heard of Framingham before. This move doesn't make any sense to me.

I don't think this will help Framingham at all.

China's fail-safe syetem to track contagions failed

 This is free from the NY Times. It was also published in the Globe today. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind how China failed to coral the virus from that market in Wuhan. Even now, leaked government documents reveal the depth of the governments failings.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Various Pandemic news... it's not encouraging

 USA Today is free, no paywall

Feds sidelined, mislead state scientists about virus tests
USA Today

The MWDN has suspended their pay wall for pandemic news.

The Globe has a paywall
This piece everyone should read. I know now why we (in Mass) are so behind the 8 ball. 

In state’s intense chase for protective equipment, coronavirus isn’t the only rival — the feds are, too

By Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane Globe Staff,Updated March 27, 2020, 6:29 p.m.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Governor Charlie Baker spoke at a news conference this week. Blake Nissen For The Boston Globe

In the span of several days, Marylou Sudders and a team of state officials confirmed two separate orders last week: one for hundreds of N95 respirator masks and another promising shipments of 35 ventilators to Massachusetts, every week, for the “foreseeable future," the state’s health and human services secretary said.

They represented victories, if relatively small ones compared to the millions of pieces of equipment the state is chasing. That is, until, it ran into a force seemingly as immovable as the novel coronavirus.

“Force majeure,” Sudders said Friday, citing the legal clause that translates to “superior force” and typically allows parties to opt out of a contract due to unforeseen circumstances. In this case, that was the federal government exercising its authority over the state amid the pandemic, she said.

“They take,” Sudders said, “what we order.”

Such has been one of the many roadblocks Governor Charlie Baker and his administration say they’ve faced in the scramble for PPE’s, the masks, gowns, and face protectors needed to guard front-line medical personnel from the highly infectious COVID-19.

Finding enough has become one of the biggest challenges facing the state and its medical community. And it’s increasingly pushed the oft-diplomatic Baker into a publicly combative stance, challenging the Trump administration to do more.

The frustration spilled into public view Thursday, when the second-term Republican became animated in discussing the “incredibly messy thicket” the state has had to navigate to get equipment. His administration has watched orders “evaporate," he vented. The phrase “quote-unquote confirmed," he said, doesn’t necessarily mean that anymore.

“I’m telling you, we’re killing ourselves trying to make it happen,” Baker said.

“We’ve literally gotten to the point where our basic position is that until the god . . ." Baker said, cutting himself off before he cursed. “Until the thing shows up here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it doesn’t exist."

And several times, it hasn’t. Sudders, who’s heading the state’s coronavirus command center, cited a shipment of 3 million masks that BJ’s Wholesale Club purchased and had landed in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The state, she said, had negotiated to buy them, until the federal government impounded them on March 18.

The same day, the state had confirmed an order with the company MSC Industrial Supply for 400 masks, to be delivered on March 20, Sudders said. The federal government again stepped in — starting a trend that would become familiar when the state’s order for the ventilators also fell apart.

“The order went through," Sudders said, “and the feds did another force majeure.”

The US government hasn’t been the only roadblock, though. Sudders said the state had confirmed an order for 2½ million masks with a Chinese vendor, to the point the state had wire transferred a payment. Then Wednesday, during a nightly conference call with other state officials, Sudders said she asked the state’s purchasing agent for an update.

“I have bad news,” she was told. The Chinese government had canceled the order and rerouted it to Spain. The state got its money back but not an explanation, Sudders said.

“It’s almost as if these orders and products disappear,” she said. “The challenge we’re having now is, you can’t place orders with any level of confidence.”

In his letter to Trump on Thursday formally requesting federal disaster assistance, Baker said the state had already spent $28 million on personal protective and medical equipment. But that’s dwarfed by another $50 million in orders Sudders said the state has placed with little to no return.

And when the state’s been able to tap into the national stockpile of supplies, it’s been a frustrating exercise. On March 5, the state made a request for 4.5 million pieces of equipment, including 750,000 N95 respirators, the masks that offer the fullest protection against contagious respiratory illnesses; 750,000 pairs of gloves; and 750,000 gowns.

As of Monday, the state had received roughly 750,000 pieces in total: 125,000 N95 respirators, 300,000 masks, and 210 coveralls, which weren’t part of the initial request, according to a breakdown provided by the Baker administration.

Sudders said that the federal government told the state Thursday that a third shipment is en route. But still unclear is how many pieces are actually coming, she said.

All the while the demand for equipment has only grown. Many hospitals are requiring doctors and nurses to extend use of masks that they would normally discard after one patient encounter. Massachusetts General Hospital is also studying whether N95 respirators can be sterilized and safely reused. Animal hospitals have even begun donating equipment.

“No one would imagine sending firefighters into a blazing fire without proper clothing and equipment,” reads a petition more than 1,000 physicians signed urging Baker to take additional measures. “But our physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are being asked to treat COVID-19 patients without protective gear.”