It was a sudden & absolute shock to hear about President Trump’s positive covid test on Friday morning. True to form, he told the American people himself:
Our prayers & best wishes are for & with him and the First Lady.
We hope all readers offer their fervent prayers for a speedy recover of President Trump & extend their best wishes to him and the Trump family. In fact, we hope those who don’t like him & don’t plan to vote for him do so with greater intensity. Kudos to Vice President Biden for his class act:
- Joe Biden@JoeBiden – – Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.
Later on Friday afternoon, President Trump went to the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed Hospital. He thanked the American people & walked to his helicopter.
There was a lot of media discussion centered on the belief that this was preventable with stricter protocols. We simply don’t know whether that is true or false. We heard a number of discussions with a number of professionals on TV. The one that impressed us the most is the 17-minute discussion on the Ingraham Angle between Laura Ingraham and Dr. Stephen Smith, Dr. Ramin Oskoui and Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya (watch the entire clip below).
Laura addressed the protocols-based preventability question to Dr. Bhattacharya (phonetically Bhatta-Char-Ya), a Stanford Epidemiology Professor and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute. His response was sensible, candid & driven by his experience:
- “… these kind of protocols people are talking about to prevent this disease just don’t work; you see how widespread this disease is; it’s sort of glib to say that the President should have put more protocols when in fact a huge number of protocols were in place and in some sense they failed. … that’s a lesson for the rest of us; you can put on a mask & you think you are safe but you are not safe … it doesn’t protect you from getting the disease; there is no guarantee you are not going to spread the disease either… it is reasonable that public health is telling you to do that but there is no guarantee … this is an infectious disease and it will spread … the good news is it is not as deadly as you think it is … the President even with his risk factors has 95% chance of survival .. it is a disease we should take seriously but at the same time we should live our lives … “
Then Laura raised a key question about what we all have come to feel, that somehow in our highly developed prosperous American society we can eliminate all risk. In financial markets, we live with risks and deal with them every day. We know we can’t eliminate all risks or even protect ourselves against all risks. We also know that overprotection against risk can actually prove more damaging than the risk itself. Think back to 2008 when banks who put on large hedges ended up by losing more money on hedges than they would have lost from the risks themselves.
So it was more interesting & educational to hear Dr. Bhattacharya answer Laura’s question about risk as below:
- “if you think of one risk alone, you are actually gonna end up taking many other risks you didn’t even know you were taking ; I have seen people who are more afraid of Covid than Cancer; they have cancer but they don’t get chemotherapy because they are so afraid of Covid; … everything we do in life involves trade-offs & thinking about those trade-offs is a part & parcel of how we live our lives”
Speaking personally, we focus on cost of risk mitigation vs. downside of the risk itself. So we wear both a mask and a face-shield when going out plus surgical gloves. We understand that all this does not eliminate our risk of getting Covid but the cost of so hedging our risk is minimal compared to the risk. So any benefit we get, however limited, is fine. Above all. we feel good that we have done everything we can to be safe & that confidence is in itself worth the tiny cost & inconvenience.
Finally what happened on Friday shows why human beings have fervently believed in prayer since our species was created.
Editor’s PS: We are delighted to report what President Trump’s medical team said on Saturday at noon – “The President is doing very well; The Team & I are extremely happy with the progress the President has made; He is in exceptionally good spirits; He said “I feel I can walk out of here today“
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