Successes from Quick Action

Today, I saw an old article from CNN that details some of the reasons as to how Vietnam has been able to control COVID-19.

  • Quick government action
  • Swift travel restrictions
  • Quarantine/lock down of cities as needed
  • Aggressive contact tracing
  • Public communication of location where new cases occurred
  • Government mandated face masks and social distancing requirements
  • A general population that understand the risks of infection and more importantly accepting the temporary inconveniences to control COVID-19




How would you handle COVID-19?

Since hindsight is 20/20… this is what I would have done with COVID-19.

In late January, announce that the international borders will be closed within 10 hours of the announcement.  The 10 hour buffer allows any current en route flights to land without issue.  Empty inbound international flights are still allowed in order to accommodate any outbound international flights.  The crews from these inbound flights will be sequestered to just two or three hotels only.  This action isolates the crew so to allow contact tracing to be easier in case of outbreaks.  Domestic travel can still operate normally until otherwise told.

I think if just this measure was put in place there might not have been an outbreak in both Seattle and New York.  It’s still possible the cases could appear as there were only 15 confirmed cases back on Feb 15, 2020.  Given the incubation length and the potentila asymptomatic transmission possibility, a January closure would have mitigated the most damage.  According to the NY times interactive modeling, the 15 early cases were linked to transmission from China.  However, what’s more important is that any subsequent cases would be linked to these 15 cases AND there would be no new influx of cases.  Although travel was restricted from China on Feb 02, 2020, restrictions were imposed far too late from Europe on Mar 13, 2020.  Between late January and mid-March, countless travelers passed through the international airports and silently spreading the infection.  Through genetic testing, the outbreak in New York was linked to a European strain.  It shows just how partial restrictions are pointless.

If these borders were to have been closed in late January, I see a number of different scenarios that would be different

  • COVID-19 cases would be limited and probably very manageable by the healthcare professionals
  • Stay-at-Home requirements might never have been issued
  • Businesses would remain open
  • Healthcare system would function at normal capacity without needing to be in constant emergency “war zone” mode
  • No Masks
  • No Social Distancing

What would you do?

Stay-at-Home again…

California is re-imposing the restrictions of gathering indoors.  As long as COVID-19 is not under control, outbreaks will continue to happen.  There are a few effective ways to limit transmission…

  1. Stay at home as much as possible.
  2. Wear a mask if you go outside.
  3. Limit outdoor activities to a minimum including grocery shopping, food takeout, etc.


Asian Enough: Kamala Harris

I posted sometime ago about LA Times’ Asian Enough podcast.  This past week they interviewed California’s US Senator Kamala Harris.  For those that might not know, Senator Harris is half Asian (Indian) and half Black (Jamaican).  She was also one of the many Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential race.

This podcast gives great insight into Senator Harris as a person as opposed to a presidential candidate or senator.  It’s worth listening to.



Use of Masks

Kudos to the California government on the proclamation requiring residents to wear face masks in public.  Masks have been shown to minimize the transmission probability down to 1.5%.  Unfortunately, the general anti-mask populace doesn’t seem to really understand the depth of the problem and are only thinking of themselves and their own livelihood.

One of the challenges with COVID-19 is the fact that people could be infected with COVID-19 without ever getting sick or displaying symptoms.  These are known as asymptomatic carriers.  Furthermore, another challenge is the fact that you could still be infecting others before displaying any of the COVID-19 symptoms.  Both of these reasons are some of the factors as to why COVID-19 very difficult to deal with.  Think about it… you are infected without realizing you’re infected.  And you’re infecting other people all while you have no idea that you’ve been infected.  That’s scary.

One of the effective ways to minimize transmission rates is to not see anyone.  These were the stay at home orders issued by most states.  Another way to minimize transmission rate is to wear masks.  The picture below represents approximate transmission rates for different situations.  Since staying at home full time is not possible (people need to shop for groceries, check up on family living nearby, etc), wearing mask is also another effective way to minimize the transmission rate.

Since a person infected with COVID-19 might not even know they’re infected, wearing a masks not only protects you from getting infected by others, but it also protects others from getting infected by you!  Wearing masks protects everyone whether you know it or not.  An ounce of prevention (wearing masks) is worth a pound of cure (becoming infected and requiring hospitalization)!

So… Wear masks. Save lives.

COVID19 Transmission

Barack Obama’s Response

Here is Barack Obama’s Medium post (found here) talking about the recent nationwide protest.  I agree with President Obama and have always believed in the need to start wielding political power in order to affect change.  Without political power, the status quo will always remain for those in power.

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As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change.

Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.

First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation — something that police in cities like Camden and Flint have commendably understood.

On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.

Moreover, it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct. Those are all elected positions. In some places, police review boards with the power to monitor police conduct are elected as well. Unfortunately, voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues, not to mention the fact that who wins and who loses those seats is often determined by just a few thousand, or even a few hundred, votes.

So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.

Finally, the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away. The content of that reform agenda will be different for various communities. A big city may need one set of reforms; a rural community may need another. Some agencies will require wholesale rehabilitation; others should make minor improvements. Every law enforcement agency should have clear policies, including an independent body that conducts investigations of alleged misconduct. Tailoring reforms for each community will require local activists and organizations to do their research and educate fellow citizens in their community on what strategies work best.

But as a starting point, here’s a report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that I formed when I was in the White House. And if you’re interested in taking concrete action, we’ve also created a dedicated site at the Obama Foundation to aggregate and direct you to useful resources and organizations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.

I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting — that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life. But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful. If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.

Let’s get to work.

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A Powerful Essay from a young Asian American

A friend of mine recently share this article with me.  It’s a powerful essay from a young Asian American in a time when racial divisiveness is at an all time high. Please share the link.


Taken from this source.

Content warning: White supremacy, racial stereotypes, violence

To the Chinese American Community:


My name is Eileen Huang, and I am a junior at Yale University studying English. I was asked to write a reflection, maybe even a poem, on Chinese American history after watching Asian Americans, the new documentary on PBS. However, I find it hard to write poems at a time like this. I refuse to focus on our history, our stories, and our people without acknowledging the challenges, pain, and trauma experienced by marginalized people—ourselves included—even today. In light of protests in Minnesota, which were sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of racist White and Asian police officers, I specifically want to address the rampant anti-Blackness in the Asian American community that, if unchecked, can bring violence to us all.


We Asian Americans have long perpetuated anti-Black statements and stereotypes. I grew up hearing relatives, family friends, and even my parents make subtle, even explicitly racist comments about the Black community: They grow up in bad neighborhoods. They cause so much crime. I would rather you not be friends with Black people. I would rather you not be involved in Black activism.


The message was clear: We are the model minority—doctors, lawyers, quiet and obedient overachievers. We have little to do with other people of color; we will even side with White Americans to degrade them. The Asian Americans around me, myself included, were reluctant—and sometimes even refused—to participate in conversations on the violent racism faced by Black Americans—even when they were hunted by White supremacists, even when they were mercilessly shot in their own neighborhoods, even when they were murdered in broad daylight, even when their children were slaughtered for carrying toy guns or stealing gum, even when their grieving mothers appeared on television, begging and crying for justice. Even when anti-Blackness is so closely aligned to our own oppression under structural racism.


We Asian Americans like to think of ourselves as exempt from racism. After all, many of us live in affluent neighborhoods, send our children to selective universities, and work comfortable, professional jobs. As the poet Cathy Park Hong writes, we believe that we are “next in line … to disappear,” to gain the privileges that White people have, to be freed from all the burdens that come with existing in a body of color.


However, our survival in this country has always been conditional. When Chinese laborers came in the 1800s, they were lynched and barred from political and social participation by the Chinese Exclusion Act—the only federal law in American history to explicitly target a racial group. When early Asian immigrants, such as Bhagat Singh Thind, attempted to apply for citizenship, all Asian Americans were denied the right to legal personhood—which was only granted to “free white persons“—until 1965. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Japanese Americans were rounded up, tortured, and detained in concentration camps. When the Cold War reached its peak, Chinese Americans suspected of being Communists were terrorized by federal agents. Families lost their jobs, businesses, and livelihoods. When COVID-19 hit the US, Asian Americans were assaulted, spat on, and harassed. We were accused of being “virus carriers”; I was recently called a “bat-eater.” We are made to feel like we have excelled in this country until we are reminded that we cannot get too comfortable—that we will never truly belong.


Here’s a story of not belonging: On June 19, 1982, as Detroit’s auto industry was deteriorating from Japanese competition, Vincent Chin, a 27-year-old Chinese American, entered a bar to celebrate his upcoming wedding. Ronald Ebens, a laid-off White autoworker, and his stepson, Michael Nitz, were there as well. They followed Chin as he left the bar and cornered him in a McDonald’s parking lot, where they proceeded to bludgeon him with a metal baseball bat until his head cracked open. “It’s because of you motherf––ers that we are out of work,” they had said to Chin. Later, as news of the murder got out, Chinese Americans were outraged, calling for Ebens and Nitz’s conviction. Chin’s killers were only charged for second-degree murder, receiving only charges of $3,000—and no jail time. “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail,” County Judge Charles Kaufman said. Then who is?


Watching Asian Americans, I was haunted by the video clips of Chin’s mother, Lily. She is a small Chinese woman who looks like my grandmother, or my mother, or an aunt. Her face crumples in front of the cameras; she pleads and cries, in a voice almost animal-like, “I want justice for my son.” Yet, in all of Lily’s footage, she is surrounded by Black civil rights activists, such as Jesse Jackson. They guard her from news reporters that try to film her grief. Later, they march in the streets with Chinese American activists, holding signs calling for an end to racist violence.


Though we cannot compare the challenges faced by Asian Americans to the far more violent atrocities suffered by Black Americans, we owe everything to them. It is because of the work of Black Americans—who spearheaded the civil rights movement—that Asian Americans are no longer called “Orientals” or “Chinamen.” It is because of Black Americans, who called for an end to racist housing policies, that we are even allowed to live in the same neighborhoods as White people. It is because of Black Americans, who pushed back against racist naturalization laws, that Asian Americans have gained official citizenship and are officially recognized under the law. It is because of Black activism that stories like Vincent Chin’s are even remembered. We did not gain the freedom to become comfortable “model minorities” by virtue of being better or hard-working, but from years of struggle and support from other marginalized communities.


On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a Black man, was accused of using a counterfeit 20-dollar bill at a deli in Minneapolis. In response, Derek Chauvin, a White police officer, tackled Floyd and knelt on his neck for seven minutes. In videos that will later circulate online, for three minutes, in a pool of his own blood, Floyd is seen pleading for his life, stating that he can no longer breathe. Instead, Chauvin continues to kneel. And kneel. Meanwhile, in the background, Tou Thao, an Asian American police officer, is seen standing by the murder, merely watching. And watching. And saying nothing as Floyd slowly stops struggling.


I see this same kind of silence from Asian Americans around me. I am especially disappointed in the Chinese American community, whose silence on the murder of Black Americans has been deafening. While so many activists of color are banding together to support protesters in Minneapolis, so many Chinese Americans have chosen to “stay out” of this disobedience. The same Chinese Americans who spoke out so vocally on anti-Asian racism from COVID-19 are suspiciously quiet when it comes to Floyd’s murder (as well as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and countless other Black Americans who were killed merely for existing). I do not see us sharing sympathy for Black mothers who appear on television, begging, like Lily Chin, to see justice for their sons. I do not see us marching with Black protesters. I do not see us donating to Black-led organizations.


I do not see our outrage as White murderers, such as Vincent Chin’s killers, receive no jail time for killing innocent Black Americans. I do not see us extending any solidarity toward the Black protesters who have been sprayed with tear gas and rubber bullets—only a couple weeks after White COVID-19 “protesters,” armed with AR-15s, were barely even touched by policemen. Instead, I see us calling them “thugs,” “rioters,” “looters”—the same epithets that White Americans once called us. I see us, such as members of my own family, merely laughing off President Trump’s tweet about sending the National Guard to Minnesota, as if it were a joke and not a deadly threat.


I imagine where we would be if Black Americans did not participate in Asian American activism. We would still be called Orientals. We would live in even more segregated neighborhoods and attend even more segregated schools. We would not be allowed to attend these elite colleges, advance in our comfortable careers. We would be illegal aliens. We—and everyone else—would not remember stories like Vincent Chin’s.


I urge all Chinese Americans to watch media such as Asian Americans, to seriously reflect not only on our own history, but also on our shared history with other minorities—how our liberation is intertwined with liberation for Black Americans, Native Americans, Latinx Americans, and more. We are not exempt from history. What has happened to George Floyd has happened to Chinese miners in the 1800s and Vincent Chin, and will continue to happen to us and all minorities unless we let go of our silence, which has never protected us, and never will.


Our history is not only a lineage of obedient doctors, lawyers, and engineers. It is also a history of disrupters, activists, fighters, and, above all, survivors. I think often of Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese American survivor of internment camps who later became a prominent civil rights activist, and who developed close relationships with Black activists, such as Malcolm X. “We are all part of one another,” she once said.


I urge you all to donate to the activist organizations listed below. I refuse to call for the racial justice of our own community at the expense of others. Justice that degrades or subordinates other minorities is not justice at all. At a time when many privileged minorities are siding with White supremacy—which has terrorized all of our communities for centuries—I want to ask: Whose side are you on?