Thursday, May 28, 2020

Coronavirus may never go away. Duh!

From the Washington Post:
There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.
Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population.
Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox.
Do you remember when everyone was scared to death of getting HIV? Sports figures especially were afraid of getting spattered with blood from their gay teammates/opponents. Hasn't turned out that way. In part the fear factor was quashed because it was politically incorrect to be scared of homosexuals--even in situations where blood getting on you when you have an open wound is not unlikely (like in sports). No one called for a shutdown of all sports or identifying all gay people so that non-infected people could stay away. There has been an amazing lack of society-wide response even though lots of people die from HIV each year--770,000 worldwide in 2018.

But, the coronavirus is different according to the Washington Post. We need to have a national response.
So, It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response. The long-term nature of covid-19, they say, should serve as a call to arms for the public, a road map for the trillions of dollars Congress is spending and a fixed navigational point for the nation’s current, chaotic state-by-state patchwork strategy.
We don't have a national response for HIV, but for coronavirus we supposedly need one which unfortunately includes shutting down major portions of the economy and causing widespread poverty, depression and in some places higher suicide death rates than coronavirus death rates. Some fear a major uptick in US suicide rates and domestic violence rates.

The Washington Post concludes that the virus will continue:
With so much else uncertain, the persistence of the novel virus is one of the few things we can count on about the future. That doesn’t mean the situation will always be as dire. There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.
The CDC has a very interesting web article on the reconstruction of the 1918 flu virus. They found a key element of its ability to kill was quick replication:
The fully reconstructed 1918 virus was striking in terms of its ability to quickly replicate, i.e., make copies of itself and spread infection in the lungs of infected mice. For example, four days after infection, the amount of 1918 virus found in the lung tissue of infected mice was 39,000 times higher than that produced by one of the comparison recombinant flu viruses.
Well, what happened to the 1918 flu virus? It mutated and people gained immunity.
The first identified influenza virus, a direct descendant of the 1918 pandemic virus, was isolated from a pig in 1931;3 the human 1918 virus was itself sequenced between 1995 and 2005 from pathology specimens and from a frozen corpse.4 Virus reconstruction and experimental study has led to important findings about its origin, evolution, and pathogenicity.5 The 1918 virus was a novel “founder virus” that has, over the past century, served as the mother of the descendant influenza A viral progeny that have been infecting and killing humans ever since.6,7
, , ,
Although partial 1918 mortality protection of elderly persons (in this case, protection from incident influenza despite the expected higher case fatality) was not definitively observed in 1889, it has been observed in every pandemic since, most recently in the 2009 swine influenza pandemic, in which a cause was first clearly characterized. In 2009, persons who had lived through the first decades of the 1918 pandemic H1N1 era, especially those born before about 1950, were substantially protected from the 2009 pandemic virus by having acquired immunity to the antigenically similar H1 or N1 of the 1918 virus, or both, or to the descendant seasonal H1N1 viruses that circulated over subsequent decades. This is because the 2009 H1 gene was a 1918 viral progeny that had survived for more than 90 years, with minimal antigenic drift, in a domestic pig “time capsule.”18
The key is not for people to keep six feet away from all other people for the rest of their lives. And even the latest research says touching surfaces is not the main way people get the virus. So, all the expert advice that has transformed our lifestyle and economy in the last two months apparently is not going to get rid of coronavirus or keep us safe. We will encounter it eventually if not already (since "up to 80% of COVID-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms").
We know that up to 80% of COVID-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms. Complicating matters, pulmonologist Joseph Khabbaza, MD, says symptoms may sometimes not be evident for up to two weeks. And because those non-specific symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, chills, headache) can mirror other more common illnesses like the flu or a cold, many of those infected — especially early in the outbreak — didn’t realize they were carrying the virus.
The key is developing immunity to it as has already happened to most people who have been infected by coronavirus. Developing immunity seems to be a natural happening since the current people with immunity did not get special vaccines or treatment.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Circuit Court Judge Finds Gov. Kate Brown's Orders "Null and Void"

Update 2: From Judge Shirtcliff's opinion:
These two statutory provisions and Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution carry with them certain powers for the Governor and certain restrictions. The general provisions of ORS 401.165 have allowed Governors since 1949 to direct state resources in times of emergencies. This is the most expansive statute of the three laws and has the least restrictions, especially as to the time limitation of the emergency declaration. However, the statute does not grant the Governor power directly over the movement of citizens and gatherings. ORS 433.441 and its various provisions gives the Governor additional and more specific powers to control or limit entry into, exit from, movement within and the occupancy of premises in any public area subject to or threatened by a public emergency in specific times of public health emergencies. See ORS 433.441(3)(d). This statute gives the Governor power over the movement and gathering of citizens. Reference to provisions of ORS 433.441 through 433.452 and more specifically ORS 433.441(3)(d) are found throughout the Governor’s various executive orders. ORS 433.441(3)(d) is specifically cited in areas where the Governor has ordered that business and retail establishments are prohibited from operating. See Executive Order No. 20—12 p. 4 sec. 2 Closure of Certain Business and p. 3 sec. 1 Stay Home and Save Lives regulating nonessential social and recreational gatherings, which would include churches. Additionally, ORS 433.452 gives the Public Health Director or the Local Public Health Administrator the power to detain individuals that the director or administrator reasonably believes may have been exposed to the virus.  
When granting this additional power over the movement and gatherings of citizens, the legislature saw fit to add additional time restrictions. Those time restrictions contained in section (5) of that provision only allow the Governor to extend the emergency declaration for 14 additional days from the original 14-day period. This provision makes the maximum time restriction to be 28 days by operation of law. The Governor in her original executive order 20-3 set her executive order to 60 days. This is well beyond the maximum 28-days allowed by ORS 433.441. This court finds that when the Governor utilized the provisions of ORS 433.441 in her executive order, she triggered all the provisions of ORS 433.441 including the time restrictions in ORS 433.441(5). By doing so, the executive order became null and void beyond the maximum 28—daytime period allowed by the statute. Moreover, by not complying with ORS 433.441(5) timelines, the Governor’s subsequent Executive Orders 20—05 through 20-25 are also null and void. (see Executive Order 20-12 extended until terminated by the Governor; Executive Order 20-24 extended for an additional 60-days; Executive Order 20-25 extended until terminated by the Governor as examples of extensions beyond 28 days).  
The statutes are to be read to work together with the more specific statute governing. ”Where there is a conflict between two statutes, both of which would otherwise have full force and effect, and the provisions of one are particular, special and specific in their directions, and the other are general in their terms, the specific provisions must prevail over the general provisions.” Colby v. Larson, 208 Or 121 (1956). ORS 401.165 and ORS 433.441 are in conflict over the length of time the Governor’s orders last. ORS 433.441, enacted in 2007, is the more specific statute and relates directly to public health emergencies. It is the more specific statute pertaining to the restriction of citizens in the Governor’s executive orders and also carries restrictions in time that the legislature saw fit to impose. Once the Governor began utilizing the specific provisions of ORS 433.441(3)(d) in Executive Order 20-12, the rights of citizens to assemble and operate their business became significantly curtailed, thereby ensuring the need for further justification and the statutory limitations in time which create a check on this additional power of the Governor. Although ORS 433.441(4) indicates that nothing in ORS 433.441 to 433.452 limits the authority of the Governor to declare a state of emergency under ORS 401.165, it also does not suspend the time limitations of section (5). 
I'm updating on the fly as I get new documents. This seems very well reasoned. We'll see what the Oregon Supreme Court says. In my first update I was relying on the Oregonian's reporting (never a wise thing to do). They said the difference was she was depending on ORS 401.165 rather than ORS 443.441. But Judge Shirtcliff said she was relying on both. From the fuller text above:
"Reference to provisions of ORS 433.441 through 433.452 and more specifically ORS 433.441(3)(d) are found throughout the Governor’s various executive orders. ORS 433.441(3)(d) is specifically cited in areas where the Governor has ordered that business and retail establishments are prohibited from operating. See Executive Order No. 20—12 p. 4 sec. 2 Closure of Certain Business and p. 3 sec. 1 Stay Home and Save Lives regulating nonessential social and recreational gatherings, which would include churches."
Update: is reporting that Gov. Brown is basing her power on ORS 401.165 rather than ORS 443.441 which Judge Shirtcliff ruled is the applicable statute since COVID-19 is a public health issue and she invoked it as one basis for her actions.

ORS 401.192 (4) indicates the governor's power has few limitations.
The powers granted to the Governor by ORS 401.165 (Declaration of state of emergency) to 401.236 (Rules) shall continue until termination of the state of emergency. The powers granted to the Governor by ORS 401.185 (Providing temporary housing during emergency) may continue beyond the termination of the state of emergency and shall be terminated by proclamation of the Governor or by joint resolution of the Legislative Assembly.
However, ORS 401.661 ties ORS 401.165 with ORS 443.441 so the question is does 401.165 have to do with all emergencies (which may have public health needs) except public health emergencies since those are specifically addressed in ORS 443.441 or can the governor choose to treat a public health emergency as a general emergency.
- - - - -

The Associated Press is reporting that Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Shirtcliff has ruled against Gov. Kate Brown's orders because she did not get legislative approval within a month.

I guess Oregon does have limitations on executive orders requiring legislative approval. The Democrat legislature apparently cared not a whit about it's duty to protect the public from executive power overreach. Not that they wouldn't rubber stamp anything she wanted. But, they didn't even try to fulfill their constitutional duties.

Most of the Oregon media didn't care either. So much for the media as watchdogs.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Willamette Week and Lots of Other Oregon News Outlets Continue to Outperform the Oregonian

The Oregonian keeps sending emails about "Need local news you can rely on?". Well, again, it's not the Oregonian. Their last article on Governor Kate Brown's vendetta against Salem hair stylist Lindsey Graham was May 5. Nothing so far on their site about the lawless intervention of OSHA and Child Protective Services. But, Willamette Week picked up the Salem Statesman Journal's May 15 coverage. KPTV, KGW TV, KATU and KOIN TV also have reported on the story. But, from the good old not so reliable Oregonian: crickets.

Obviously, the Oregonian remains not the source of local news you can rely on--especially regarding political and governmental issues.

This is a major reason why their readership continues to plummet.

If you depend on the Oregonian and missed the story here's a brief summary from KPTV:
"SALEM, OR (KPTV) – The owner of Glamour Salon in Salem, Lindsey Graham, announced Friday she was issued a $14,000 citation by Oregon OSHA.
"Last week, she reopened her business against Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order. Stylists at the salon have continued to cut people’s hair.
"On Thursday, Marion County was denied approval to reopen after applying for phase one, which would have taken effect Friday.
“'Everyone’s job is essential, not because what we do or how we do it, but because it’s how we make our living,' said Lindsey Graham, the owner of Glamour Salon. 'I have independent contractors that are choosing to work in this facility. OSHA has illegally deemed them employees and is citing me as an employer, which I am not.'
"Though the Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood could not confirm to FOX 12 a fine had been issued, because the salon owner and her lawyer haven’t officially informed the agency they’ve received the citation, he does say the agency frequently encounters employers who believe the people working for them are independent contractors. He said it may even be in written in a worker’s contract.
"Before issuing a fine, Wood says Oregon OSHA assesses the nature of the work relationship like whether workers advertise on their own or control their own hours. They even look at how the work is described informally, and if there’s a dress code.
"Additionally, a willful violation which Graham’s case would be, automatically sets the minimum penalty at $8,900 according to Wood, with a range all the way up to about $126,000. It’s based on the size of the employer and the level of risk they or their employee’s activities have generated.
"In regard to Graham’s case specifically, Oregon OSHA officials say she is 'unquestionably operating in violation of the governor’s executive order, designed to protect workers and the public.'

"They also say their inspection of Glamour Salon found at least some workers there would qualify as employees.
“'I’m vowing to stay open as long as I can, basically, until the governor tries to take my entire career, something I’ve worked 15 years for, out from underneath me,' said Graham.
"Graham also said Friday, Child Protective Services came to her home last week and interviewed her and her family members.
"She believes it’s a political response and says it’s a false claim."

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Some Oregon Reactions to the 1918 Flu

I was doing some research on two of my relatives (my grandmother's uncle and first cousin) who died in the Dallas area in 1918 from the flu. The uncle was 46 and the first cousin was 19. I came across these newspaper articles and found them an interesting backhanded comment on today's reaction. Most of the articles are from the Polk County Post. The last one in three parts is from the Oregon Journal.

Polk County Post, December 6, 1918

Polk County Post, December 13, 1918
Polk County Post, December 13, 1918

Polk County Post, January 3, 1919

Polk County Post, January 10, 1919

Polk County Post, January 17, 1919

Oregon Journal, January 12, 1919

Oregon Journal, January 12, 1919

Oregon Journal, January 12, 1919

Despite Lowest Oregon Coronavirus Hospitalizations Gov. Brown Extends State of Emergency Powers

Though there is no current factual reason for a state of emergency, Gov. Kate Brown has extended her executive power to July 6th. But, a state of emergency requires an emergency. Currently, coronavirus hospitalizations are at "a new low"--less than 100. A hundred people hospitalized in the state is not an emergency--especially when it is a 40% drop with no facts to indicate a rise is likely.

This is clearly a grab for continued executive power without the normal legislative power to balance executive authority. If this were a Republican governor locking out the current Democrat controlled state legislature, there would be howls of protest by politicians and press. But, because Oregon is a one party state, there is SILENCE.

The Oregonian's take can be seen below. A tiny article on a major extension of executive power and a medium-sized article on the declining danger of coronavirus in Oregon. Both should be front-page news, and their significance should be discussed in the editorial pages. But, they aren't.

Oregonian, May 3, 2020, p.11

Oregonian, May 4, 2020, p. 6