Fortunately, I’m almost always “self-quarantined…”
1. Ethics tales of Covid-19:
- Ethics Hero: Senator Ted Cruz has just made a point of serving as a role model by self-quarantining in his Texas home because he interacted with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference who, according to Maryland heath officials, tested positive for coronavirus, . Cruz says he had only a brief conversation and shook hands with the person, and that the contact took place ten days ago. Cruz isn’t experiencing symptoms, and the odds are low that the virus passed to him.
Nonetheless, a public example from a prominent figure of using an abundance of caution can only help.
- On the other side of the Covid-19 ethics divide, we have the father-daughter pair, family members of the St. Louis County woman who tested positive for COVID-19 as the first confirmed carrier of the virus in Missouri, who attended a father-daughter dance at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Missouri, after being told by health officials to be like Ted.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told reporters that the family understood what they had been instructed to do, and just ignored the directives anyway.
Again I ask, what is the appropriate way to punish people like this? All plagues and epidemics spread this way, with the unhealthy contribution of idiots. Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary, was an Irish cook at the beginning of the 20th Century who kept escaping authorities as an asymptomatic carrier of the deadly disease, and going back to work under false names. At least three deaths are definitely blamed on her; she infected more than 50 people before she was finally placed in isolation for the rest of her life.
- This is yet another instance where we see how anti-Trump mania has changed once strong brains into glutinous masses of hate. A really smart friend just wrote on Facebook that the stock and futures market spasms over Coronavirus are unavoidable markers of the President’s doom, guaranteeing that Joe Biden, diapers and all, will soon be in the White House. This is the common, and for smart people, usually avoidable fallacy of assuming that your view of reality is the only one. For the Trump Deranged, every decision he makes is a bad one, and every negative development traces back to the Russia-assisted upset in 2016. This worldwide epidemic, however, is pretty obviously not controllable by human agency, and the United States so far has either been luckier than most countries or is doing something right. The financial markets are reacting to interruptions in supply chains and the interdependence of world markets. Are rational, non-Trump obsessed Americans really going to blame this on the President, no matter how much the Democratic Party/”resistance”/ mainstream media (aka “The Axis of Unethical Conduct”or AUC) try to promote that narrative?
I find this to be extreme wishful thinking. It is just as likely that the President will look good, also illogically, after death totals in the U.S. are far less than the size of the population would suggest compared to the rest of the world.
- The Center for Disease Control, however, seems to be handling matters ineptly. So far, CDC only updates its web page for case numbers on weekdays, “Mondays through Fridays” and “Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.” Last night the Johns Hopkins dashboard, was compiling and reporting case numbers as more than 200% higher than the CDC numbers, with roughly 90% more deaths. Writes Claudia Rosett:
America’s strong suit is that we are a capitalist, free society, steeped in free speech, free enterprise and the ways of individual responsibility, capable of mustering enormous resources and ingenuity to cope with this threat. But what Americans need above all right now, to leverage these strengths, is accurate information. This is vital to making a zillion decisions, big and small, about whether to show up at the workplace, go ahead with a business meeting, get on a plane, meet friends for dinner, wash your hands (yet again) or visit elderly or immuno-compromised friends and relatives, at risk of unknowingly passing along a disease that could kill them…. it might well make an important difference to a great many private calculations, to know that the case numbers, while apparently frozen in amber on the web site of the CDC, have in reality soared, tripling since just before the start of the weekend, while the death count from this virus has almost doubled. The absolute numbers are still relatively low, but the trajectory, and the cases turning up now salted around the country, suggest chains of transmission that the CDC has simply failed to keep up with. President Trump’s restrictions imposed in January on China travel (much criticized in the media at the time) helped buy time to get ahead of this epidemic. The CDC has since been squandering that lead. The CDC botched the production of tests for this virus, made far too few, which turned out to work badly, imposed highly restrictive guidelines on who qualified to be tested, and overall wasted weeks of precious time, as the virus itself escaped the CDC’s snail-mail surveillance and testing methods, and began hop-scotching around the country. At the end of February, Vice President Pence took charge of a task force to coordinate a better response to the Wuhan virus. One of the first things they did…was scrap the CDC monopoly on testing, allowing state and local labs to run their own tests, and enlisting private companies to start producing (functional) tests in the huge quantities needed for a country of 330 million (as of March 5, the CDC, according to its own web site, had tested a grand total of 1,583 patients)….The more the private sector can be brought into this effort, the better.
- It is also clear, or should be, that indeed as the President somewhat clumsily said, this is being handled deceptively by the media, which is doing its best to characterize the Administration’s efforts regarding the outbreak as chaotic, politically driven and incompetent. The news media’s objective regarding this President is exactly the opposite of what ethical journalism requires. It continues to work to advance the fortunes of a political party now desperately searching for some way to manufacture a November victory despite having wretched alternatives for its Presidential nomination. If the nation’s experience with the virus is especially bad, they can blame the President and point to the negative reporting. If it isn’t, they will say he was lucky. The media can’t lose.
Are they actively rooting for the administration’s handling of the Coronavirus to be perceived as inadequate, and trying to do everything in their power to make that perception rampant? Can there be any doubt?
But don’t you dare accuse the AUC of hoping for a virus-sparked recession or for people to die. What to you think they are, monsters?
2. Now THIS is an unethical teaching assistant….In New Hartford, New York police arrested Lisa Hutchinson, a teaching assistant, for paying one student to punch another student. Hutchinson paid the hit-student fifty dollars to do the deed. The student took the money, but did not hit the student, according to police.
Pop quiz: Was that unethical? He accepted money under false pretenses. On the other hand, if he had rejected the deal, she would have presumably hired another student who would have battered her target.
Hutchinson has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.