April 7, 2020

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted COVID-19 and has been moved into ICU in London.

Initial reports said the overweight 55-year-old was moved only as a precaution, but the truth is that he is suffering a serious case of coronavirus.

More encouraging UK news is that 77-year-old Prince Charles has recovered from COVID-19 and is now out of quarantine and reunited with wife Camilla.

Undoubtedly both cases will be used for critics and supporters of initial government (in)action to the COVID-19 outbreak. From a more objective perspective it shows little we know about the virus.

The New York Times is running a wonderful tutorial on the biological details of the virus. Remember, a virus is a single cell organism that “rearranges” the DNA and RNA of human cells in order to replicate itself.

However, the COVID-19 virus goes much further, anticipating our body’s reaction and defenses in order to both hide and overcome them. Whether this sophisticated behavior is typical of all naturally occurring flu virus or a sign of human intervention is far beyond my very basic biological understanding. If anyone can help me out on this please educate me and I’ll share it here, but don’t bother unless you can supply academic references.

Speaking of COVID-19…

People are becoming so irrational about COVID-19 they are killing themselves and others.

It’s time to ratchet down the panic and take a moment to take a sane, rational and scientific outlook on COVID-19.

So please read the USA Today article “Stop the panic. Don’t let the coronavirus win”.  It’s a short read packed with science and reason.

Then take a deep breath, relax and share it with a friend.

Even when irrational fears are put aside, COVID-19 will have long term effects on our economy and lifestyle…

This morning Anthony Fauci, the administration’s front man on the COVID-19 fight warns that we’ll never really go back to “normal because the COVID-19 threat will likely never completely disappear.

This, in spite of Major League Baseball and the Trump administration seeking to return professional teams to stadiums.  

This is a good place to post a link to an example of real leadership, Queen Elizabeth’s Sunday speech to Britain.

In economic news…

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that private equity firms are seeking a cut of the stimulus pie. Private equity funds are formed when very wealthy people pool their money into huge holdings and typically use it as equity for loans to amass even more financial power, often in real estate.

This is what “shadow banks” are – off the books lenders that do not come under the scrutiny of banking regulators.

Representatives of these ventures have the pull to score private meetings with Jared Kushner, the President’s adviser and son in-law, and are using that clout to influence policy.

EdSurge is exploring changes in the way education is delivered in the era of COVID-19…

Navigating Uncertain Times: How Schools Can Cope with Coronavirus is a wide-ranging series on the challenges of moving education online.

Online education has its advantages, but not for children of low income, modestly educated parents. There is far more promise for expanded online higher education, paired with traditional employees in large companies.

The takeaway point here is that the education industry partnering with large businesses to chart a path to comprehensive online education. Businesses will likely join them in a trend to online employment. The technology exists, but is now in the wake of COVID-19 is becoming practical for widespread adoption.

The Brookings Institution is running a lengthy article on the acceleration of robots in the workplace. Yes, COVID-19 is accelerating the move from human labor to high tech robot labor.

Here are more details on Spain’s announcement of a move to make Universal Basic Income, (UBI), a structural part of their future economy.

Yes, I included that story after the references to online learning and robots replacing humans because they are related.

Also related is the $600 addition to unemployment benefits, the surge in disability determinations and “safety nets” offering monetary and non-monetary benefits to people struggling financially even in relatively good times.

It seems that UBI is on the way in one form or another.

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

Links may lead to sites where the author has an affiliate relationship.

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