April 9, 2020
  • 11:59 pm From Atheism to Christ
  • 11:58 pm By die Tafel :Wie sit aan?
  • 10:58 pm Delta Cafés “Estamos Juntos” | #fazatuaparte
  • 10:58 pm Santa Cruz Shelter in Place 2020: Day 17

How’s it going everyone? I’m Nick and you are listening to Episode
36 of the Fresh Perspective Podcast. Wow! I can’t get this episode out fast enough! Things are changing crazy fast out there,
but I’m sure I have a few things to share here that will still be useful long after
this pandemic has run its course. For those listening further into the future,
our [email protected] Team code is 236268. If you don’t yet know what I’m talking
about, stay tuned! The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has now become
a global pandemic that is hitting the United States particularly hard. While we can criticize the government or stockpile
toilet paper all day, that isn’t really doing much about the pandemic itself. In this episode, I will give you a quick recap
on how bad the coronavirus is, why it is going to get worse, and what average citizens like
you and I can do to slow its spread and even help scientists discover a cure by volunteering
some of our computers’ processing power to disease research. This program is brought to you by your Local
Free Thought Forum. We help those in need of an inclusive, supportive,
and free-thinking community by hosting public discussions on moral philosophy, healthy living,
and science, to improve the cohesion, health, and scientific literacy of our society. Everyone is welcome, (regardless of personal
background, religious belief, political leanings, etc.) to participate in these open and civil
discussions every week. To find a Free Thought Forum meeting near
you, or to join in this week’s Online Group Meeting, please visit: FreeThoughtForum.org At this point, you may be sick of hearing
about the coronavirus. Covid-19 has been a major news story for months
that has, itself, become viral. The everyday dramatic closures and rising
numbers are like rocket fuel for the 24-hour news cycle. It has flooded our social media feeds along
an exponential curve and is dominating our public conversation. But, as usual, the good information about
what it is and what to do has been mixed with some pseudoscience. As far as I can tell, here is the bottom line:
Broadly speaking, the more seriously we take this pandemic, the better off we’ll be. If we all take important measures, this exponential
rise in cases may slow and plateau earlier than expected. However, the less seriously we take it, the
worse off we’ll be, and the more it will continue to spread despite the warnings of
the scientific community. The US, thus far, has taken the latter option,
so we are all off to a rough start. I will do what I can in this podcast to give
you some good and accurate information along with something positive to do while you self-quarantine. Many of us are not content to just wait things
out, and I am glad to say that we do have a way that we can actually help further the
scientific research needed to find cures, not only for the family of coronaviruses,
but also for cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Influenza, and so on. I’ll be happy to walk you through all that
at the end of this episode, so if you can make it to a computer or laptop before then,
you’ll be able to follow along! This episode has five parts: 1. How Bad is it? 2. Our Government’s Response
3. How Much Worse Will It Get? 4. How to Slow it Down
5. How to Help Find a Cure If you have any corrections or updated information
that can add to the conversation, please add your comments to this episode. I don’t have to tell you that things are
getting crazy out there, and it is almost impossible for anyone to stay 100% up to date. Yet, after talking to a few of my family members,
friends, and forum members, I have come to realize that some important ideas seem to
be getting ignored in the storm of information on the news and social media. So, let’s give them some time! Part 1 – How bad is it? If you have been to your local grocery store
recently, you may have been met with something resembling a scene from the Walking Dead. Even in my small town of Springville, Utah,
many of our local stores have empty shelves and entire aisles that have been stripped
bare. The panic on the faces of everyday people
is haunting, to say the least. But if you haven’t yet had a chance to stockpile,
you’ll be alright. I’ll get into that more in Part 4. For now, it is time to take a sober look at
the pandemic itself. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus. The name comes from the word “corona,”
or “crown,” because of its shape. It most likely came about when a bat passed
it to a pangolin (an adorable endangered animal, much like a scaled anteater or armadillo)
who then passed it to a human at a large outdoor seafood and live animal wet market in Wuhan,
China. (This is just the most recent in a long list
of terrible viruses out of China, but that is a discussion for a different day.) The disease caused by this virus is called
COVID-19. No human immune system prior to this had been
able to create a resistance to this disease. That is what makes it, and other such novel
pathogens that make the jump from animals to humans, so dangerous. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease (first discovered
in 2019). Symptoms tend to be unusually mild and include
a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Those who are elderly or otherwise at risk
may also experience more severe signs of infection such as the development of pneumonia or breathing
difficulties. At this point, the death rate of young people
infected is somewhere between 3.4% and 0.01%, but this percentage climbs to 5%, 15%, and
even higher with age. One of the most dangerous things about COVID-19
is that it can infect a person without that person showing any signs or symptoms for 2-14
days. This is a particularly big problem because
most of the people spreading it don’t even know they have it! In other words, you can spend your time around
what appears to be perfectly healthy people for weeks and you may all still test positive. On January 20th, Washington State saw the
first cases in the US. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared
the rapid spreading of this disease an outbreak on January 30th. On March 11th, 2020, it was finally characterized
by WHO as a global pandemic. As of March 13th, 1,629 cases have been reported
in the United States, and 41 Americans have died. However, this information comes only from
those who have been tested for the virus. No one can say how many more people have COVID-19
that haven’t yet been tested. Some air travel to other countries has been
stopped, and universities, high schools, elementary schools, government programs, churches, political
campaign rallies, amusement parks, concerts, Hollywood productions, and sporting events
all over the country have been shut down to help slow its spread. Right now, even the members of the Executive
Board of the Free Thought Forum are debating about whether or not we will move our in-person
meetings to online meetings for the foreseeable future. All of these closures and interruptions to
our day-to-day lives have had a real impact on our economy. The stock market has had its worse day since
1987 and has plummeted by over 27% (or 8,000 points). Now, we may have a very low reported number
of people in the United States catching this virus thus far, but according to experts,
we are following just 10 days (or so) behind Italy’s same exponential curve, a country
that is now on complete quarantine, much like parts of New Jersey, New York, and Seattle. This virus is especially harmful to the elderly,
but also to those with other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease,
all conditions that are extremely common in the United States. Part 2 – Our Government’s Response Why is our country getting hit so hard when
compared with some others such as South Korea, Australia, or Scotland? To answer that, I’ll need to include some
of the current political conversations that have crossed my radar. I should note that this commentary is all
based on my personal take on the situation. The opinions expressed in this video do not
necessarily reflect those of the directors or members of the Free Thought Forum. As a side note, I do realize that I keep saying
“our government” and “our country.” Many of our listeners live outside of the
United States and I want to give you all a shout-out because many of the things going
on where I live are being echoed all around the world. This episode was originally written with a
much more global snap-shot of this moment in time, but seeing as its length was getting
out of hand, I had to pull back. On March 12th, Director of the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had this to say to the US House of
Representatives, “The system is not really geared to what we need right now… The idea of anybody getting [tested] easily
the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not… It is a failing. Let’s admit it.” Since the virus found its way inside our borders,
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has only tested about 11,000 people, total. South Korea, on the other hand, has been testing
about 10,000 people per day! Our extreme shortage of test kits is largely
the result of our government’s choice to make our own, rather than use those provided
by the WHO. But that isn’t the only place where our
elected officials have dropped the ball in the eyes of their many constituents. Much of the problem comes from how we failed
to respond to this threat before and during its early stages, despite seeing how terribly
it devastated China. By the way, Iran, Italy, and Spain are in
the same boat as us when it comes to a failure to get ahead of this emergency. It is important to note, however, that in
the US, a strange politically-fueled denial about the seriousness of the coronavirus has
become apparent. Republican Matt Goetz, for example, famously
wore a gas mask on March 4th to protest what he saw as the absurdity of voting for a bill
in the house that would dedicate billions of dollars to combat the coronavirus. Just five days later, he and other representatives
announced that they had tested positive and would be self-quarantining until further notice. In 2018, the Trump administration cut 80%
out of the CDC’s budget. Last month, the same administration’s new
proposed budget would cut the CDC’s budget by another 16%. On February 26th, President Trump at a coronavirus
press conference said that the current number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was “going
very substantially down, not up.” When it comes to the death rate of those affected,
he also incorrectly asserted that “the flu is much higher.” On that same day, Trump’s economic adviser,
Larry Kudlow, also spread misinformation by saying, “We have contained this,” and
“[I]t’s pretty close to airtight.” Most damning, in my opinion, is who our president
put in charge of this crisis: Vice President Mike Pence, a politician notorious for not
even believing in evolution. I’ll say that again, Mike Pence, someone
who does not believe in evolution, is now in charge of our country’s response to a
newly evolved pathogen. Unfortunately, any official information that
the CDC and similar government agencies would like to share with the public must first be
approved by him. I’ve now just heard that our president has
declared a state of emergency and that workers can now expect some kind of reduced payroll
tax. If we want our sick citizens to stay home,
why would we give them incentives to get back to work to take advantage of a reduced payroll
tax? Many of us watching this unfold can’t help
but feel like this is all too little, too late. I’m just scratching the surface of the U.S.’s
failure to prepare for or respond to COVID-19, but I think the point is clear. Now I know that some of our listeners and
members are Trump supporters and with a situation that changes so quickly, I suppose we can
excuse some level of miscommunication between government officials. It is also accurate to say that our lack of
infrastructure and systems in place to deal with this can also be blamed on previous administrations. But here is the deal, epidemiologists and
experts all over the country, especially those at the CDC, saw this all coming weeks and
months in advance. If you don’t believe me, look up their reports
on the coronavirus from January and February. A common excuse is that the news has been
exaggerating how serious this really is, so we and our lawmakers have not been sure who
to trust or what to believe. In response, I say that we need only look
at the real situation, happening now, in other countries. If this was all an over-hyped news story,
how can we explain what’s going on in China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Iran, Italy,
Spain, and beyond? Experts are telling Americans that if they
get sick, they must stay home. However, most of us don’t have any kind
of paid sick leave. About 80% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck
and cannot afford an unexpected $500 expense. If we stop working, we stop earning. Many of us cannot afford healthcare. Many of us cannot afford to stay home with
kids whose schools have closed. As you can see, the seemingly simple problem
of slowing a pandemic quickly becomes a major economic and political issue. However, if you are a major bank you will
not need to worry. Over 1.5 Trillian dollars’ worth of bailouts
are making their way to Wall Street (an amount, by the way, that could cover an emergency
Universal Basic Income of $1000 dollars a month to every American adult for four to
five months). On a happier note, this idea of a Universal
Basic Income has already been taken seriously by other affected countries. Japan has begun giving workers about $80 a
day to stay home with their kids, and Hong Kong and Australia are now developing similar
plans. Part 3 – How Much Worse Will It Get? Our number of hospitals, beds, gowns, respirators,
and even our number of doctors and nurses is nowhere near high enough to deal with this
situation. According to most experts, our hospitals and
clinics are going to get slammed far beyond capacity with very little anyone can do about
it this late in the game. In Italy, we already have tragic cases where
a shortage of medical supplies and staff has led to doctors having to choose which patients
to treat and which patients to ignore for days. Tom Frieden, a former Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention director, said on March 9th that, “In just two months, the novel
coronavirus spread from a cluster in Wuhan, China, to an impending global pandemic with
cases in more than 60 countries. This is unprecedented. Never before has a new pathogen emerged and
caused a global spread like this. And that’s scary. It’s new. It has the ability to cause enormous social
and economic disruption.” The average infected person will go on to
spread the disease to 2.3 other people. At that exponential rate, it is easy to understand
why the numbers of confirmed cases nearly double, in certain areas, every day. According to Health Officials, COVID-19 is
going to be worse than the epidemics and pandemics of recent memory like SARS, Swine Flu, Bird
Flu, and even Ebola. However, it won’t be as bad as the 1918
Influenza pandemic. It may be helpful to compare it to a bad flu
season. The seasonal flu can lead to the deaths of
tens of thousands of Americans. (By the way, this is why getting a different
flu shot every year is such a wise thing to do.) Influenza is a big deal. The Coronavirus is about twice as infectious
and 10-50 times as deadly. Some early estimates stated that it will be
about ten-times more severe than our worst flu seasons. At this stage, it is hard to say how long
we will continue to infect one another. Depending on several different factors, the
number of cases may start to slow sometime within the next 2-24 months. That’s quite the range, one that has a lot
to do with what I brought up earlier about how many precautions we set in place now to
flatten the curve over time. Marc Lipsitch, a Harvard epidemiologist, has
predicted that 20-60% of the entire human population will most likely be infected, leading
to a minimum of tens of millions of people completely wiped-out before this is over. On March 9th, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory
Diseases, described this virus as “highly contagious” and said that “it’s fair to
say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States
will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus, and there’s
a good chance many will become sick.” From how things went in China, we can guess
that about 80% of COVID-19 cases in the US will be mild, while 15% to 20% of cases will
lead to serious illness and death. Part 4 – How to slow it down Beyond relying on our governments to help
us out of this mess, there are a few things we can each do to help slow down this pandemic. Again, if you have flu symptoms, stay home
and avoid contact with other people. Take your temperature several times a day
and write down your results, along with other notes about how you feel and when. Close your windows. If it is possible to have friends and family
leave you groceries and other things at your door, that is a good way to get around having
to go to the store yourself. Even as I say all this, I can almost sense
the frustration coming from many of you listening. Most of my past jobs did not offer any paid
sick leave, so I can understand. But this really is a life-and-death situation. Stay home if you are sick. Self-quarantine. You’re not the only one going through this,
so I’m optimistic that special exceptions with landlords, employers, and others will
soon become commonplace. This virus is spread as we send tiny water
droplets from our nose and mouth through the air that land on other people, food, or on
frequently-touched surfaces. The coronavirus can survive in the air for
several minutes, on surfaces for several days, and on our paper money for even longer. So try not to touch any surfaces when in public. Be sure to clean your phones, doorknobs, light
switches, sink faucets, countertops, and other surfaces at home with disinfecting wipes or
cleaning sprays. When you cough or sneeze, cover your face
with the inside of your elbow or with tissues. If you think you may have the virus, call
your doctor before heading to the hospital to be tested. Even if you have mild flu symptoms, don’t
hesitate to tell everyone with whom you’ve come in contact within the last couple of
weeks. This will help them know that they’ll need
to be extra careful and do what they can to prevent the further spread of the virus. If your symptoms are severe, call 911. If you are healthy, you can improve your immune
system by getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water, exercising at home, and by
continuing to eat a diet rich with a mix of diverse nutrients. Wash your hands (with soap for 30 seconds)
before and after you eat, before and after you touch your face, and especially before
leaving your home and just after returning. Avoid handshakes, hugging, or gathering in
crowds. Put as much distance as you can between yourself
and other people. Remember that anyone, even children, can carry
the virus without showing any symptoms. I talked before about people cleaning out
their local grocery stores. Your goal should be to stock up on 2-4 weeks’
worth of the supplies you need such as food, medicine, soap, birth-control, and pet food. If you haven’t done that yet, that’s fine,
you can still return in a few days. Even with several people possibly dropping
out of the workforce and even as the stock market drops, local businesses will still
do their best to stay open as long as possible. Likewise, local governments will do all they
can to keep so-called “essential businesses” open for as long as possible. Ideally, we will all stagger our visits to
the store so that we don’t all go at once. If your store is crazy busy, fall back and
try again in a few days. To avoid crowds, go shopping at odd times
like at noon or very early in the morning. If we panic and try to run off with the entire
toilet paper aisle, then we force other people to wait and make return trips after the store
has had a chance to restock. It is best to exercise some restraint and
only get what you need for 2-4 weeks at a time. If you can arrange to have one member of your
family or household go on behalf of multiple people, that’s even better. Make a list of what’ you’ll need ahead
of time so that you can make every trip to the store count. The main takeaway here is that the spread
of the coronavirus will slow down only when we dramatically cut down our interactions
with other people and keep our hands and living spaces clean. Part 5 – How to Help Find a Cure One constructive thing you can do while self-quarantined
at home is to donate some of your computer’s processing power to help with disease research. I’m talking about the “Folding At Home”
project, a new online volunteer option that has recently been posted on our website. [email protected] helps scientists discover treatments
and cures for diseases like cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Influenza and many others! Based at Stanford and 10 other Universities
around the world, FAH is a distributed computing project that simulates protein folding, computational
drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics. Your body uses your DNA to manufacture proteins
that run your body, your immune system, and even your brain. They are some of the most fundamental biological
units within us, and we each carry billions of trillions of them. Each protein molecule can fold in near-countless
different ways according to the chemical properties of amino acids, its main parts. Most of the time, proteins fold in ways to
produce a shape that causes them to function properly inside us. Some of the time, they fold in ways that negatively
affect our health. Misfolding can happen for a number of reasons. For example, their shape can be altered by
foreign agents such as drugs or pathogens. In other cases, the conditions in which they
were formed may have been a little off. If we understood all of the ways that every
kind of protein in our bodies could fold or misfold, then we would be much closer to understanding
many diseases and how to treat them. However, we have a major problem. No person or supercomputer could possibly
process the tremendous amount of data to make those discoveries. So, to solve that problem, the [email protected]
project has engineered software that we can each download, for FREE, and run on our home
computers. If hundreds of thousands of computers share
in the workload of simulating the folding of genes, then we have a chance to dramatically
advance this particular branch of scientific research. Once the [email protected] program is running on
your computer, data will be received and sent by your computer automatically over your internet
connection. All you need to do is keep your computer running. Even while your sleeping, your computer’s
processing power is put to work to help find these much-needed cures. If you would like to join thousands of people
all over the world to help this project be a great success, and do something positive
in our current coronavirus nightmare, then stick around as I wrap up this episode with
the steps you’ll need to get going. (These steps have also been added to our Online
Group’s page, so you can find them by visiting: www.freethoughtforum.org/online-group.) If you’re following along on your computer
or laptop, feel free to pause this recording as needed to give yourself a chance to catch
up. 1. Visit the [email protected] website (https://foldingathome.org). 2. Download and install their client software
on your computer or laptop. (This program is set to run in the background,
so be sure to grant it “full access” if your computer’s security software asks you
for certain permissions.) 3. Make sure that your internet connection is
good and run the [email protected] client. (If this doesn’t automatically open a new
browser window, then you may want to start your browser first.) 4. Wait for your client to connect. This may take a few minutes. 5. When your Web Control screen appears, click
on the “Change Identity link.” Enter in a new username for yourself and be
sure to join the FREE THOUGHT FORUM team by entering our team number: 236268. (This helps us track the good work done by
our volunteers over time. If you’d like, you can see our team’s
current stats at https://stats.foldingathome.org/team/236268. To help make this number easier for you to
find, I’ve added it to the first few seconds of this episode. Simply start it over and you’ll hear it
again soon enough. We’d love to see our team grow, so don’t
hesitate to share it with other people who may be interested.) 6. Click on the “Get a Passkey” link. 7. Enter your username again along with your
personal email address. Click on the “Get Passkey” button. 8. Leave the Web Control browser window open
and use a new window to check your email to retrieve your passkey. 9. Return to the Web Control browser window and
paste in your new passkey, along with your username and our team number: 236268. 10. Adjust the settings as you like and let the
program run on your computer long enough to complete 100% of at least one work unit. Thank you for your service and for keeping
a level head during this pandemic. If you have enjoyed this conversation or have
learned something from it, please leave a like, subscribe, and share it with other open-minded
people. All of those small things really do make a
big difference and help others find our group and our podcast. Thank you! That is all I have for you today, but the
conversation continues across social media and in the comment sections below. Do you agree with today’s message? Am I mistaken about some detail? What feedback or ideas do you have for this
program or our organization? Feel free to share your perspective. A Special Shout-Out goes to Penny Davis, Dale
Thurber Ph.D., and Brooke Freeman! Your monthly support makes this all possible. To check out our awesome donor rewards starting
at one dollar per month, please visit freethoughtforum.org/donate.

Jean Kelley