CORONA 3 sets Coronavillians; HOAs, restaurant inspectors, Uni Title IX admins

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB

HOA Threatens to Foreclose on Residents Conducting Business at Home During Lockdown

BY STEPHEN GREEN MARCH 31, 2020


Charlie Chaplain as The Great Dictator

"The always quotable H.L. Mencken once observed, "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." For some residents of one unnamed Tennessee neighborhood, that time is now.
A Reddit user went to the legal advice thread with a question about being evicted for working from his condo along with 24 other "offenders."


The HOA complaint -- which was verified as legit by thread moderators -- says, "It has come to our attention that you are in violation of Article VII, Section 8 of our Bylaws" which state that "Commercial business may not be maintained or transacted on any Lot or in any residential unit." As a result, "we will be invoking section II, Article 4 of the Bylaws, which allows the Board to foreclose on any property that is in violation." The HOA president demands, "You must vacate the premises by April 30, 2020."
The letter is dated March 30, 2020, and here's a screencap of it:



3,196 people are talking about this






With Tennessee under a statewide lockdown, it's unclear exactly how an eviction would work, or where the evictees would go. Also unclear is the legality of the threat, give that "the letter does not serve as a valid quit notice for TN as there is a lack of requisite language they left out," according to one Redditor. "For tenants," they explain, "it fails to give opportunity to cure; for homeowners, there's a whole host of additional issues."
What is clear is that the HOA president is the kind of organically useless martinet for whom lampposts were invented. Or as one Redditor put it, "Your board member is, simply put, bananas."
We can debate the wisdom of these lockdowns until the next pandemic, but the fact of them means the entire nation must adopt lifeboat rules. What I mean to say is, we need to jettison all the extraneous crap in order to keep the boat afloat.
In this case, the boat is the economy. What needs to get thrown overboard are any luxury rules which in normal times might prevent people from making a living, from innovating, from producing -- even from home. The mortgage is due, the car payment is due, the children are hungry, but the office is closed.

What do we do in times like these? The best we can, and we stay out of our neighbors' way as they do the best they can. But the worst among us exercise petty authority in nasty ways that do nothing but make everything worse.

There's a recurring theme in American speculative fiction in which, having lost our way as a free people, some horrible calamity ensues that forces the survivors to re-examine, re-evaluate, and re-capture our essential Americaness. From Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged to John Ringo's The Last Centurion to John Birmingham's Without Warning, the idea of American liberty reemerging through some terrible crisis has been a bestselling one for decades.
The Chinese coronavirus from Wuhan, a city in China ruled by Chinese Communists where the Chinese-sourced Sino-virus came from, doesn't look at all likely to rise to the level of crisis described by Rand or Ringo or Birmingham. But it is threatening enough that states and the federal government are in many cases suspending a lot of regulatory cruft. In recent decades, the regulatory state has sat on the economy like Horton the elephant sat on that egg -- only with none of the good intentions.


It's my hope that by the time this is over, we'll reassess which of those rules need bringing back (none of them, I hope), and what additional laws and regulations and martinets we can safely throw overboard with the rest.
Starting with whatever fussy little jerkweasel wrote that letter."
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB

L.A. Bureaucrats Shut Down Restaurants for Selling Groceries Without a Permit
"You cannot just decide you want to sell groceries," said Barbara Ferrer, the director of L.A. County Public Health.
BILLY BINION | 3.31.2020

dreamstime_xxl_95119477


"A few Los Angeles restaurants struggling to maintain footing amid the COVID-19 outbreak identified a clever way to generate revenue while still serving the community: Start selling groceries.
The city's public health department promptly shut them down. The reason? The small businesses don't have a "grocery permit."

"It's not really possible for a restaurant to become a grocery store," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Public Health, said in a briefing yesterday. "You cannot just decide you want to sell groceries."
Why anyone can't do exactly that—exchange goods with those who want to purchase them—remains a mystery. Such licensing laws are typically put in place in the name of public safety, but one wonders how this decision could possibly help protect the public.

The restaurants-turned-grocery stores actually provide a rather obvious public health benefit. They are significantly less crowded than traditional grocery stores, which is convenient when considering that every major health organization has advised individuals to maintain a six-foot distance from surrounding passersby.

"Elderly people in the neighborhood really enjoy coming to Bacari PDR," Robert Kronfli, the co-owner of one such restaurant-turned-grocery store, tells Reason. Foremost, "it was a super chill shopping environment," he says, with "only one or two people in there at once." Contrast that with the major chains, which have been overwhelmed with an onslaught of patrons. "They're afraid to go to large supermarkets right now because of the lines and because of the social distancing thing."
A local health inspector shuttered Bacari on Friday morning, citing the establishment's lack of a license.

Kronfli's store offered another advantage to the local area: "We have inventory," he notes, including toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies—the very items that notoriously disappeared from shelves weeks ago when fears started to spread around COVID-19. Many patrons flocked to his business for those goods, he explains, and they also appreciated that they could touch and feel the produce without worrying as heavily about how many hands had touched it first.

Though he says that his conversation with the county health inspector "hit a brick wall," Kronfli is appealing his case to the California Restaurant Association, to Councilman Mike Bonin (D–11), and to the L.A. Department of Public Health. He's hopeful that the city will grant him the right to run his fledgling grocery business again.
"I mean, it's COVID-19, right?" Kronfli muses. "Everyone's doing unprecedented stuff."
He's right, but the government recognizing an entrepreneur's right to sell groceries really shouldn't be all that unprecedented."
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB

LAW & THE COURTS
Coronavirus Is No Excuse to Delay the Education Department’s New Title IX Regulations
By JUSTIN DILLON
  • March 30, 2020
    An empty lecture hall in the Palazzo Nuovo University of Turin after the government’s decree closing schools and cinemas and urging people to work from home and not stand closer than one meter to one another, in Turin, Italy, March 5, 2020

"Those making this argument are taking advantage of a crisis to try to keep due process out of college campuses.

Many disingenuous things have been said during the coronavirus crisis, some of them by the president of the United States himself. But right near the top must be three letters issued last week — from the American Council on Education (ACE), activist groups led by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and 18 Democratic attorneys general — calling for the Department of Education to halt the release of long-anticipated regulations that will restore due process to the handling of sexual-assault cases on college campuses. DeVos’s proposed rule would ensure basic rights for accused students — notice, access to evidence, a live hearing, and the ability to have a lawyer or advocate cross-examine adverse witnesses — that are often or almost always absent in the current Title IX process imposed by Obama-era guidance. That system has yielded more than 170 university setbacks in lawsuits filed by accused students in state or federal court.

In its letter, ACE argued that “at a time when institutional resources already are stretched thin, colleges and universities should not be asked to divert precious resources away from more critical efforts in order to implement regulations unrelated to this extraordinary crisis.” The NWLC letter spoke similarly, but leaned harder on the supposed harm to students: “Finalizing the proposed rule would also unnecessarily exacerbate confusion and uncertainty for students who are currently in pending Title IX investigations and hearings, which have already been delayed and disrupted by the pandemic.” The letter from the attorneys general expressed similar language.

While it’s hard not to admire their chutzpah, their arguments are provably nonsense.
First, the universities have known for more than 16 months — since November 2018 — that these regulations were coming. They have had ample time both to tell the government what they think of the regulations and to start planning for their inevitable release. If some of them have failed to plan ahead, hoping that the regulations would never be released or that a lawsuit by victims’ groups would enjoin them immediately following their release, that isn’t the fault of the coronavirus.
Second, do you know who’s going to have a lot of time on their hands in the next six months? Title IX coordinators. Why? Because the number of Title IX cases is about to drop precipitously.


In recent years, schools have been more interested in staffing their Title IX offices than their humanities departments. The Title IX coordinator at the University of Michigan, whose 2018 sexual-misconduct policy a federal judge recently declared unconstitutional, earns $139,000, overseeing five Title IX investigators who earn almost $500,000 together. And as any Title IX coordinator can tell you, Title IX cases are fueled by college students’ being in close proximity to each other, often with alcohol nearby. Take away the proximity and the alcohol, and you take away the vast majority of Title IX cases. Moreover, figuring out how to implement these regulations can easily be handed on Zoom calls.


The real reason colleges might want to avoid remote meetings is that they might produce a more permanent record that in-person meetings can avoid. That’s what happened in 2017 at St. Joseph’s University. Because a Title IX official was on maternity leave, some of the school’s meetings about Secretary DeVos’s interim 2017 guidance occurred virtually. The university decided to keep its pre-2017 policy, even as communications between St. Joseph’s administrators and the absent Title IX official produced a record acknowledging their procedures might have run afoul of the due-process requests in the guidance.

So this is, in fact, the perfect time for the Education Department to implement the new regulations.


Third, it’s clear that these interest groups — and their political allies — are just trying to delay long enough for a new administration possibly to take over. The coronavirus crisis is unlikely to recede completely before the 2020 election. If Joe Biden wins, he will withdraw the proposed regulations immediately, which will be much harder to do if they’ve actually been implemented. ACE and the NWLC know this, which is why they’re making this argument now. Seeing them exploit the coronavirus to run out the clock brings to mind the old quote from a cartoon in The New Yorker: “How about never — is never good for you?”

And you don’t have to take our word for it. ACE president Ted Mitchell called these new regulations “a step in the wrong direction,” saying they would “impose[] a legalistic, prescriptive ‘one-size-fits-all’ judicial-like process” on universities. The NWLC was even more blunt, calling the proposed regulations “disastrous,” “confusing and illogical,” and “devastating for survivors” (emphasis in original), and even opining that “‘due process’ is clearly a red herring.”


This is all nonsense. The new Title IX regulations may wind up being Betsy DeVos’s greatest legacy. They will finally restore balance and fairness to a process that, due to the Obama administration’s overreach, had little of either.

The time is now. Let’s hope the administration issues these regulations soon and ignores this galling attempt to twist a genuine crisis for political ends."
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB

Mayor: New Haven asks for coronavirus housing help; Yale says ‘no’
By Mary E. O’Leary
Updated 10:19 pm EDT, Friday, March 27, 2020
  • New Haven, Connecticut - Thursday, March 26, 2020: Dr. Katie Gielissen, who specializes in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Health, left, with Red Cross employee Delores Wright, right, participates in a Red Cross blood drive at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven Thursday where hospital employees and Yale University employees turned out to donate much needed blood during the COVID19 pandemic. Photo: Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media / New Haven Register





IMAGE 1 OF 14
New Haven, Connecticut - Thursday, March 26, 2020: Dr. Katie Gielissen, who specializes in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Health, left, with Red Cross employee Delores Wright, right, participates in a Red
... more


"NEW HAVEN — Yale University said no.
But the University of New Haven said yes.

An angry Mayor Justin Elicker said he asked Yale University President Peter Salovey whether police officers and firefighters who are asymptomatic, but who have a family member exposed to COVID-19, or who are not symptomatic, but have been exposed to the virus, or are waiting for test results, if they could use a dormitory at the university.
The answer was no.
He said he then called UNH President Steve Kaplan, “who in the first 5 minutes of the conversation, said ‘yes. We will make this happen. This is important for the community.’”

The discussion on this started at the virtual press conference Elicker held to update the city on COVID-19, a session where he announced a second resident, this time a man in his late 40s, had died as a result of the coronavirus as the number of persons infected in the city had almost doubled from 30 to 52.


He made another strong appeal for residents to practice social distancing to hold down the number of infections as the city appears to be entering the beginning of a surge of cases, something Yale New Haven Hospital physicians made clear in a separate press conference they had earlier in the day. He also thanked the 235 people voluteering to be part of a city Medical Reserve Corp, one day after the plea was published.

On the issue of the dorm rooms, Elicker said “UNH has rolled out the red carpet for us. They have worked to quickly get students’ belongings out of the dorms and they are working with us to address other logistical and liability hurdles. We are quite close to finalizing an agreement with them so that our police officers and firefighters can begin moving into the space in the coming days.”

He said he was very grateful to Kaplan.
Elicker only brought up the arrangement when asked a question on his response to Yale contributing $1 million to a fund being raised in parallel with the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven and the United Way to assist the city in its needs during this pandemic crisis. Yale asked that others join in to bring its total to $5 million, as it matches donations $1 for $1.

Elicker said he had not requested that money, just the dorm space.
“My response is this: if your house is burning down and you asked a neighbor if your kids could stay at your house and your neighbor said ‘no,’ but here is a check so you could stay at the Econo Lodge across town, what would that tell you about your neighbor?

“It is in these times of crisis when people are exposed for their true selves. Everyone needs to do their part at this very difficult time and writing a check does not exempt you from that fact,” Elicker said.

Karen Peart, spokeswoman for Yale, issued a long statement in response to the mayor’s criticism, explaining that the students’ rooms won’t be ready for new occupants for weeks.
“Our student rooms still contain their belongings, but we have teams planning the feasibility of packing and storing all the student belongings so that the rooms could be utilized,” she said.
“We are pursuing schemes that involve professional movers and packers, and using temporary storage. The process will take weeks, as all of the residence hall rooms on campus are filled with student belongings. As soon as we have been able to clear any space, we have informed the mayor that we will let him know,” Peart said.

“We all wish the situation on our campus were different, but because our students had already gone home for spring recess when we implemented our social distancing restrictions, the rooms aren’t ready for others to live in them.” Peart said.

She added that the $5 million fund “is not connected in any way to the fact that we are not able to provide use of the residential colleges at this time.”

Elicker said Salovey called two weeks ago when the COVID-19 crisis was ramping up, and offered whatever support Yale could give. He said he asked Yale late last week about the dorm space.
The mayor said the dormitory request was to provide a place where firefighters and police officers with symptoms could self-isolate so they didn’t have to go home and potentially infect their family or be infected by another family member.

The healthy members could continue to go to work, while those with symptoms would not expose others on the force or in the firehouses, if they had a place to stay.
Elicker said the city faced some of these circumstances in the last few days where there were two firefighters who were exposed to the virus and tested negative, while several others are waiting for test results. They are basically in a holding pattern right now, the mayor said.
He estimated the city needs rooms for between 100 and 150 individuals and UNH “has been very collaborative” on that.

The mayor said he considered asking Yale if the city could use some dorm space to house homeless individuals, as New Haven is trying to reduce the numbers in shelters that are too crowded to allow for social distancing. He said he had not made that request to Yale.
“We are having very productive conversations with other universities in the region,” he said on the issue of housing the homeless.
Peart enumerated the ways Yale University is helping the city in response to the spread of COVID-19.

She said the university took “bold actions to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 ... for our campus and the broader communities of which we are a part.”
She said it will start distributing the funds raised in the Yale Community for New Haven Fund as soon as possible and University Properties has suspended March and April base rent payments for more than 100 businesses in university-owned buildings. Peart also said University Properties was also connecting the merchants with the Small Business Association and inform them of government financial relief programs, The university is also promoting a gift card-buying initiative to support downtown shops.

Peart said Yale Hospitality is continuing to donate food to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and is committed to providing food for the organizations that help the homeless, while boosting food purchases from local vendors.

She wrote that Yale is maintaining the salaries of the 6,000 New Haven residents who work at the university and is donating personal protective equipment to local hospitals; also it supports research on COVID-19 and shares that with the city. She said the Yale School of Public Health, faculty and student volunteers are performing contact tracing to help mitigate the spread of the virus, while acting as consultants to the city in addressing food insecurity, seniors housing and homelessness and helps with online tutoring for K-12 students.

She said more than 300 Yale School of Nursing faculty, students, and staff have volunteered to provide support during a possible surge of cases and the school is developing a text-message based survey to track healthcare workers exposed or diagnosed with the virus.
Peart said Yale School of Medicine researchers are studying how the novel coronavirus infects cells, how the immune system responds, and ways of disrupting that process, while its Clinical Virology Laboratory developed testing for COVID-19 in-house.

The university also established a field hospital in Payne Whitney Gymnasium’s Lanman Center as an extension of the Yale Health Center to treat members of the university community who might become ill, reducing the number who would need to use the hospital.

“We recognize that the pandemic is evolving rapidly, and we will continue to consult with public health and medical experts and local and federal officials as we adapt our response plans and strategies. Our priorities will remain centered on the well-being of our campus and home communities,” Peart said.

Elicker said they are looking for more sites for homeless individuals who may contract COVID-19 in addition to the isolation shelter they are establishing at Hill Regional Career High School. He said there are conversations on that with other entities, whom he would not name.

The city has already decompressed the shelters, to an extent, by sending 84 individuals to hotel rooms, some paid for by the state, some by the city. The state is looking to do more of that.
The second tier of homeless is individuals who may be symptomatic of COVID-19 but have not yet been tested. Elicker said it was important for the city to self-isolate those individuals as they should not be interacting with other people.

He said there were a few examples of this already, where one or two in a group shelter, tested positive for COVID-19. He said the remaining people should be tested and separated from those who were already infected. Elicker said the city needs places where the homeless can self-isolate, while their tests are processed."

Yale College Undergraduate Admissions announced Thursday it offered admission to 2,304 students.
mary.oleary@hearstmediact.com; 203-641-2577.
 

MinnesotaSmith

Has No Life - Lives on TB

The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.
As the coronavirus spreads, the collapse of the project helps explain America’s acute shortage.



A U.S. Strategic National Stockpile in Texas. The government has thousands of ventilators, but not enough to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

A U.S. Strategic National Stockpile in Texas. The government has thousands of ventilators, but not enough to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

By Nicholas Kulish
March 31, 2020


"Thirteen years ago, a group of U.S. public health officials came up with a plan to address what they regarded as one of the medical system’s crucial vulnerabilities: a shortage of ventilators.
The breathing-assistance machines tended to be bulky, expensive and limited in number. The plan was to build a large fleet of inexpensive portable devices to deploy in a flu pandemic or another crisis.

Money was budgeted. A federal contract was signed. Work got underway.
And then things suddenly veered off course. A multibillion-dollar maker of medical devices bought the small California company that had been hired to design the new machines. The project ultimately produced zero ventilators.

That failure delayed the development of an affordable ventilator by at least half a decade, depriving hospitals, states and the federal government of the ability to stock up. The federal government started over with another company in 2014, whose ventilator was approved only last year and whose products have not yet been delivered.


Today, with the coronavirus ravaging America’s health care system, the nation’s emergency-response stockpile is still waiting on its first shipment. The scarcity of ventilators has become an emergency, forcing doctors to make life-or-death decisions about who gets to breathe and who does not.

The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.



Image
Thomas R. Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We definitely saw the problem,” he said.


Thomas R. Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We definitely saw the problem,” he said.

“We definitely saw the problem,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. “We innovated to try and get a solution. We made really good progress, but it doesn’t appear to have resulted in the volume that we needed.”
The project — code-named Aura — came in the wake of a parade of near-miss pandemics: SARS, MERS, bird flu and swine flu.

Federal officials decided to re-evaluate their strategy for the next public health emergency. They considered vaccines, antiviral drugs, protective gear and ventilators, the last line of defense for patients suffering respiratory failure. The federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile had full-service ventilators in its warehouses, but not in the quantities that would be needed to combat a major pandemic.

In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services established a new division, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, with a mandate to prepare medical responses to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks, as well as infectious diseases.
In its first year in operation, the research agency considered how to expand the number of ventilators. It estimated that an additional 70,000 machines would be required in a moderate influenza pandemic.

The ventilators in the national stockpile were not ideal. In addition to being big and expensive, they required a lot of training to use. The research agency convened a panel of experts in November 2007 to devise a set of requirements for a new generation of mobile, easy-to-use ventilators.
In 2008, the government requested proposals from companies that were interested in designing and building the ventilators.

The goal was for the machines to be approved by regulators for mass development by 2010 or 2011, according to budget documents that the Department of Health and Human Services submitted to Congress in 2008. After that, the government would buy as many as 40,000 new ventilators and add them to the national stockpile.



Image
The federal government has spent years trying to increase the supply of ventilators in its strategic stockpile.

The federal government has spent years trying to increase the supply of ventilators in its strategic stockpile.

The ventilators were to cost less than $3,000 each. The lower the price, the more machines the government would be able to buy.

Companies submitted bids for the Project Aura job. The research agency opted not to go with a large, established device maker. Instead it chose Newport Medical Instruments, a small outfit in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Newport, which was owned by a Japanese medical device company, only made ventilators. Being a small, nimble company, Newport executives said, would help it efficiently fulfill the government’s needs.


Ventilators at the time typically went for about $10,000 each, and getting the price down to $3,000 would be tough. But Newport’s executives bet they would be able to make up for any losses by selling the ventilators around the world.

“It would be very prestigious to be recognized as a supplier to the federal government,” said Richard Crawford, who was Newport’s head of research and development at the time. “We thought the international market would be strong, and there is where Newport would have a good profit on the product.”

Federal officials were pleased. In addition to replenishing the national stockpile, “we also thought they’d be so attractive that the commercial market would want to buy them, too,” said Nicole Lurie, who was then the assistant secretary for preparedness and response inside the Department of Health and Human Services. With luck, the new generation of ventilators would become ubiquitous, helping hospitals nationwide better prepare for a crisis.

The contract was officially awarded a few months after the H1N1 outbreak, which the C.D.C. estimated infected 60 million and killed 12,000 in the United States, began to taper off in 2010. The contract called for Newport to receive $6.1 million upfront, with the expectation that the government would pay millions more as it bought thousands of machines to fortify the stockpile.

Project Aura was Newport’s first job for the federal government. Things moved quickly and smoothly, employees and federal officials said in interviews.
Every three months, officials with the biomedical research agency would visit Newport’s headquarters. Mr. Crawford submitted monthly reports detailing the company’s spending and progress.

The federal officials “would check everything,” he said. “If we said we were buying equipment, they would want to know what it was used for. There were scheduled visits, scheduled requirements and deliverables each month.”

In 2011, Newport shipped three working prototypes from the company’s California plant to Washington for federal officials to review.
Dr. Frieden, who ran the C.D.C. at the time, got a demonstration in a small conference room attached to his office. “I got all excited,” he said. “It was a multiyear effort that had resulted in something that was going to be really useful.”

In April 2012, a senior Health and Human Services official testified before Congress that the program was “on schedule to file for market approval in September 2013.” After that, the machines would go into production.
Then everything changed.

The medical device industry was undergoing rapid consolidation, with one company after another merging with or acquiring other makers. Manufacturers wanted to pitch themselves as one-stop shops for hospitals, which were getting bigger, and that meant offering a broader suite of products. In May 2012, Covidien, a large medical device manufacturer, agreed to buy Newport for just over $100 million.

Covidien — a publicly traded company with sales of $12 billion that year — already sold traditional ventilators, but that was only a small part of its multifaceted businesses. In 2012 alone, Covidien bought five other medical device companies, in addition to Newport.
Newport executives and government officials working on the ventilator contract said they immediately noticed a change when Covidien took over. Developing inexpensive portable ventilators no longer seemed like a top priority.

Newport applied in June 2012 for clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to market the device, but two former federal officials said Covidien had demanded additional funding and a higher sales price for the ventilators. The government gave the company an additional $1.4 million, a drop in the bucket for a company Covidien’s size.

Government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies said they suspected that Covidien had acquired Newport to prevent it from building a cheaper product that would undermine Covidien’s profits from its existing ventilator business.

Some Newport executives who worked on the project were reassigned to other roles. Others decided to leave the company.

“Up until the time the company sold, I was really happy and excited about the project,” said Hong-Lin Du, Newport’s president at the time of its sale. “Then I was assigned to a different job.”



Image
Hong-Lin Du was the president of Newport Medical Instruments, a small company in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the time of its sale to Covidien.

Hong-Lin Du was the president of Newport Medical Instruments, a small company in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the time of its sale to Covidien.



In 2014, with no ventilators having been delivered to the government, Covidien executives told officials at the biomedical research agency that they wanted to get out of the contract, according to three former federal officials. The executives complained that it was not sufficiently profitable for the company.

The government agreed to cancel the contract. The world was focused at the time on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The research agency started over, awarding a new contract for $13.8 million to the giant Dutch company Philips. In 2015, Covidien was sold for $50 billion to another huge medical device company, Medtronic. Charles J. Dockendorff, Covidien’s former chief financial officer, said he did not know why the contract had fallen apart. “I am not aware of that issue,” he said in a text message.

Robert J. White, president of the minimally invasive therapies group at Medtronic who worked at Covidien during the Newport acquisition, initially said he had no recollection of the Project Aura contract. A Medtronic spokeswoman later said that Mr. White was under the impression that the contract had been winding down before Covidien bought Newport.

In a statement Sunday night, after the article was published, Medtronic said, “The prototype ventilator, developed by Newport Medical, would not have been able to meet the specifications required by the government, nor at the price required.” Medtronic said that one problem was that the machine was not going to be usable with newborns.

It wasn’t until last July that the F.D.A. signed off on the new Philips ventilator, the Trilogy Evo. The government ordered 10,000 units in December, setting a delivery date in mid-2020.

As the extent of the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States became clear, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed on March 15 that the stockpile had 12,700 ventilators ready to deploy. The government has since sped up maintenance to increase the number available to 16,660 — still fewer than a quarter of what officials years earlier had estimated would be required in a moderate flu pandemic.
Last week, the Health and Human Services Department contacted ventilator makers to see how soon they could produce thousands of machines. And it began pressing Philips to speed up its planned shipments.



The stockpile is “still awaiting delivery of the Trilogy Evo,” a Health and Human Services spokeswoman said. “We do not currently have any in inventory, though we are expecting them soon.”"
 

end game

Veteran Member

HOA Threatens to Foreclose on Residents Conducting Business at Home During Lockdown

BY STEPHEN GREEN MARCH 31, 2020


Charlie Chaplain as The Great Dictator

"The always quotable H.L. Mencken once observed, "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." For some residents of one unnamed Tennessee neighborhood, that time is now.
A Reddit user went to the legal advice thread with a question about being evicted for working from his condo along with 24 other "offenders."


The HOA complaint -- which was verified as legit by thread moderators -- says, "It has come to our attention that you are in violation of Article VII, Section 8 of our Bylaws" which state that "Commercial business may not be maintained or transacted on any Lot or in any residential unit." As a result, "we will be invoking section II, Article 4 of the Bylaws, which allows the Board to foreclose on any property that is in violation." The HOA president demands, "You must vacate the premises by April 30, 2020."
The letter is dated March 30, 2020, and here's a screencap of it:



3,196 people are talking about this





With Tennessee under a statewide lockdown, it's unclear exactly how an eviction would work, or where the evictees would go. Also unclear is the legality of the threat, give that "the letter does not serve as a valid quit notice for TN as there is a lack of requisite language they left out," according to one Redditor. "For tenants," they explain, "it fails to give opportunity to cure; for homeowners, there's a whole host of additional issues."
What is clear is that the HOA president is the kind of organically useless martinet for whom lampposts were invented. Or as one Redditor put it, "Your board member is, simply put, bananas."
We can debate the wisdom of these lockdowns until the next pandemic, but the fact of them means the entire nation must adopt lifeboat rules. What I mean to say is, we need to jettison all the extraneous crap in order to keep the boat afloat.
In this case, the boat is the economy. What needs to get thrown overboard are any luxury rules which in normal times might prevent people from making a living, from innovating, from producing -- even from home. The mortgage is due, the car payment is due, the children are hungry, but the office is closed.

What do we do in times like these? The best we can, and we stay out of our neighbors' way as they do the best they can. But the worst among us exercise petty authority in nasty ways that do nothing but make everything worse.

There's a recurring theme in American speculative fiction in which, having lost our way as a free people, some horrible calamity ensues that forces the survivors to re-examine, re-evaluate, and re-capture our essential Americaness. From Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged to John Ringo's The Last Centurion to John Birmingham's Without Warning, the idea of American liberty reemerging through some terrible crisis has been a bestselling one for decades.
The Chinese coronavirus from Wuhan, a city in China ruled by Chinese Communists where the Chinese-sourced Sino-virus came from, doesn't look at all likely to rise to the level of crisis described by Rand or Ringo or Birmingham. But it is threatening enough that states and the federal government are in many cases suspending a lot of regulatory cruft. In recent decades, the regulatory state has sat on the economy like Horton the elephant sat on that egg -- only with none of the good intentions.


It's my hope that by the time this is over, we'll reassess which of those rules need bringing back (none of them, I hope), and what additional laws and regulations and martinets we can safely throw overboard with the rest.
Starting with whatever fussy little jerkweasel wrote that letter."
I predict that fussy little jerkweasel has made a serious error in judgement.
 

Luddite

Veteran Member
A whispered promise delivered eye to eye may be the only resolution here. Hopefully, the HOA honcho is smart enough to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

Ignoring the 6' social distance requirement just this once may help...
 

Lone_Hawk

Resident Spook

The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.
As the coronavirus spreads, the collapse of the project helps explain America’s acute shortage.



A U.S. Strategic National Stockpile in Texas. The government has thousands of ventilators, but not enough to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

A U.S. Strategic National Stockpile in Texas. The government has thousands of ventilators, but not enough to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

By Nicholas Kulish
March 31, 2020


"Thirteen years ago, a group of U.S. public health officials came up with a plan to address what they regarded as one of the medical system’s crucial vulnerabilities: a shortage of ventilators.
The breathing-assistance machines tended to be bulky, expensive and limited in number. The plan was to build a large fleet of inexpensive portable devices to deploy in a flu pandemic or another crisis.

Money was budgeted. A federal contract was signed. Work got underway.
And then things suddenly veered off course. A multibillion-dollar maker of medical devices bought the small California company that had been hired to design the new machines. The project ultimately produced zero ventilators.

That failure delayed the development of an affordable ventilator by at least half a decade, depriving hospitals, states and the federal government of the ability to stock up. The federal government started over with another company in 2014, whose ventilator was approved only last year and whose products have not yet been delivered.


Today, with the coronavirus ravaging America’s health care system, the nation’s emergency-response stockpile is still waiting on its first shipment. The scarcity of ventilators has become an emergency, forcing doctors to make life-or-death decisions about who gets to breathe and who does not.

The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.



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Thomas R. Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We definitely saw the problem,” he said.


Thomas R. Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We definitely saw the problem,” he said.

“We definitely saw the problem,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. “We innovated to try and get a solution. We made really good progress, but it doesn’t appear to have resulted in the volume that we needed.”
The project — code-named Aura — came in the wake of a parade of near-miss pandemics: SARS, MERS, bird flu and swine flu.

Federal officials decided to re-evaluate their strategy for the next public health emergency. They considered vaccines, antiviral drugs, protective gear and ventilators, the last line of defense for patients suffering respiratory failure. The federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile had full-service ventilators in its warehouses, but not in the quantities that would be needed to combat a major pandemic.

In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services established a new division, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, with a mandate to prepare medical responses to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks, as well as infectious diseases.
In its first year in operation, the research agency considered how to expand the number of ventilators. It estimated that an additional 70,000 machines would be required in a moderate influenza pandemic.

The ventilators in the national stockpile were not ideal. In addition to being big and expensive, they required a lot of training to use. The research agency convened a panel of experts in November 2007 to devise a set of requirements for a new generation of mobile, easy-to-use ventilators.
In 2008, the government requested proposals from companies that were interested in designing and building the ventilators.

The goal was for the machines to be approved by regulators for mass development by 2010 or 2011, according to budget documents that the Department of Health and Human Services submitted to Congress in 2008. After that, the government would buy as many as 40,000 new ventilators and add them to the national stockpile.



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The federal government has spent years trying to increase the supply of ventilators in its strategic stockpile.

The federal government has spent years trying to increase the supply of ventilators in its strategic stockpile.

The ventilators were to cost less than $3,000 each. The lower the price, the more machines the government would be able to buy.

Companies submitted bids for the Project Aura job. The research agency opted not to go with a large, established device maker. Instead it chose Newport Medical Instruments, a small outfit in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Newport, which was owned by a Japanese medical device company, only made ventilators. Being a small, nimble company, Newport executives said, would help it efficiently fulfill the government’s needs.


Ventilators at the time typically went for about $10,000 each, and getting the price down to $3,000 would be tough. But Newport’s executives bet they would be able to make up for any losses by selling the ventilators around the world.

“It would be very prestigious to be recognized as a supplier to the federal government,” said Richard Crawford, who was Newport’s head of research and development at the time. “We thought the international market would be strong, and there is where Newport would have a good profit on the product.”

Federal officials were pleased. In addition to replenishing the national stockpile, “we also thought they’d be so attractive that the commercial market would want to buy them, too,” said Nicole Lurie, who was then the assistant secretary for preparedness and response inside the Department of Health and Human Services. With luck, the new generation of ventilators would become ubiquitous, helping hospitals nationwide better prepare for a crisis.

The contract was officially awarded a few months after the H1N1 outbreak, which the C.D.C. estimated infected 60 million and killed 12,000 in the United States, began to taper off in 2010. The contract called for Newport to receive $6.1 million upfront, with the expectation that the government would pay millions more as it bought thousands of machines to fortify the stockpile.

Project Aura was Newport’s first job for the federal government. Things moved quickly and smoothly, employees and federal officials said in interviews.
Every three months, officials with the biomedical research agency would visit Newport’s headquarters. Mr. Crawford submitted monthly reports detailing the company’s spending and progress.

The federal officials “would check everything,” he said. “If we said we were buying equipment, they would want to know what it was used for. There were scheduled visits, scheduled requirements and deliverables each month.”

In 2011, Newport shipped three working prototypes from the company’s California plant to Washington for federal officials to review.
Dr. Frieden, who ran the C.D.C. at the time, got a demonstration in a small conference room attached to his office. “I got all excited,” he said. “It was a multiyear effort that had resulted in something that was going to be really useful.”

In April 2012, a senior Health and Human Services official testified before Congress that the program was “on schedule to file for market approval in September 2013.” After that, the machines would go into production.
Then everything changed.

The medical device industry was undergoing rapid consolidation, with one company after another merging with or acquiring other makers. Manufacturers wanted to pitch themselves as one-stop shops for hospitals, which were getting bigger, and that meant offering a broader suite of products. In May 2012, Covidien, a large medical device manufacturer, agreed to buy Newport for just over $100 million.

Covidien — a publicly traded company with sales of $12 billion that year — already sold traditional ventilators, but that was only a small part of its multifaceted businesses. In 2012 alone, Covidien bought five other medical device companies, in addition to Newport.
Newport executives and government officials working on the ventilator contract said they immediately noticed a change when Covidien took over. Developing inexpensive portable ventilators no longer seemed like a top priority.

Newport applied in June 2012 for clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to market the device, but two former federal officials said Covidien had demanded additional funding and a higher sales price for the ventilators. The government gave the company an additional $1.4 million, a drop in the bucket for a company Covidien’s size.

Government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies said they suspected that Covidien had acquired Newport to prevent it from building a cheaper product that would undermine Covidien’s profits from its existing ventilator business.

Some Newport executives who worked on the project were reassigned to other roles. Others decided to leave the company.

“Up until the time the company sold, I was really happy and excited about the project,” said Hong-Lin Du, Newport’s president at the time of its sale. “Then I was assigned to a different job.”



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Hong-Lin Du was the president of Newport Medical Instruments, a small company in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the time of its sale to Covidien.

Hong-Lin Du was the president of Newport Medical Instruments, a small company in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the time of its sale to Covidien.



In 2014, with no ventilators having been delivered to the government, Covidien executives told officials at the biomedical research agency that they wanted to get out of the contract, according to three former federal officials. The executives complained that it was not sufficiently profitable for the company.

The government agreed to cancel the contract. The world was focused at the time on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The research agency started over, awarding a new contract for $13.8 million to the giant Dutch company Philips. In 2015, Covidien was sold for $50 billion to another huge medical device company, Medtronic. Charles J. Dockendorff, Covidien’s former chief financial officer, said he did not know why the contract had fallen apart. “I am not aware of that issue,” he said in a text message.

Robert J. White, president of the minimally invasive therapies group at Medtronic who worked at Covidien during the Newport acquisition, initially said he had no recollection of the Project Aura contract. A Medtronic spokeswoman later said that Mr. White was under the impression that the contract had been winding down before Covidien bought Newport.

In a statement Sunday night, after the article was published, Medtronic said, “The prototype ventilator, developed by Newport Medical, would not have been able to meet the specifications required by the government, nor at the price required.” Medtronic said that one problem was that the machine was not going to be usable with newborns.

It wasn’t until last July that the F.D.A. signed off on the new Philips ventilator, the Trilogy Evo. The government ordered 10,000 units in December, setting a delivery date in mid-2020.

As the extent of the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States became clear, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed on March 15 that the stockpile had 12,700 ventilators ready to deploy. The government has since sped up maintenance to increase the number available to 16,660 — still fewer than a quarter of what officials years earlier had estimated would be required in a moderate flu pandemic.
Last week, the Health and Human Services Department contacted ventilator makers to see how soon they could produce thousands of machines. And it began pressing Philips to speed up its planned shipments.



The stockpile is “still awaiting delivery of the Trilogy Evo,” a Health and Human Services spokeswoman said. “We do not currently have any in inventory, though we are expecting them soon.”"
The one thing that was not mentioned in this article is the fact that Obamacare was passed in 2010 and was the actual cause of what happened to Newport Medical.
 

Slydersan

Contributing Member
A whispered promise delivered eye to eye may be the only resolution here. Hopefully, the HOA honcho is smart enough to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

Ignoring the 6' social distance requirement just this once may help...
Well, if someone is 6' underground, that allows you to maintain "social distancing"... just saying.
 

hunybee

Veteran Member
What do we do in times like these? The best we can, and we stay out of our neighbors' way as they do the best they can. But the worst among us exercise petty authority in nasty ways that do nothing but make everything worse.
this above should be the normal practice in life anyway!

right now? oh yah....this should definitely be the one to follow. i am trying to understand what the heck the dicktator is using for justification here. is really simply because they are working their normal jobs from their home (as has been instructed by all and every person in government)? are they all now suddenly trying to start and run businesses from their homes? (refer to the above quote on that)

and the restaurant selling groceries? sweet moses!!! how moronic! it literally helps everyone involved. it is exactly the kind of "pulling together" that should be done, and has been encouraged by everyone.
 

end game

Veteran Member
this above should be the normal practice in life anyway!

right now? oh yah....this should definitely be the one to follow. i am trying to understand what the heck the dicktator is using for justification here. is really simply because they are working their normal jobs from their home (as has been instructed by all and every person in government)? are they all now suddenly trying to start and run businesses from their homes? (refer to the above quote on that)

and the restaurant selling groceries? sweet moses!!! how moronic! it literally helps everyone involved. it is exactly the kind of "pulling together" that should be done, and has been encouraged by everyone.
Texas started to allow this a couple of weeks ago.
 

Lone_Hawk

Resident Spook
That's very interesting to hear about. Please elaborate.
Obamacare placed a 10% tax on all medical equipment and prosthetic etc.. The big players started offering money to the little players who were looking at how they were going to survive in the regulatory hell that Obamacare created. So when offered a premium for their companies, they sold and took the cash instead of the headache.

Once all the little players were gone, the big players did what they do, make decisions that offset the increased taxes and regulatory mandates.

I don't have insider information or a link that said this is what happened, but it is the natural progression when the government gets involved like Obamacare did. My father, who was a Doctor, predicted all of this back in the 70s, and unfortunately, it is worse than his predictions.
 
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