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Jim Bondoux

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Jim Bondoux last won the day on September 27 2020

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    Jim Bondoux
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    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
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  1. Perhaps. Perhaps not. The Martinelli people claim that the seizure of the private plane was instigated via an anonymous complaint from Panama, and not from the US authorities. A three-page email in support of that claim is reproduced in the PanamaAmerica news site (affiliated with Martinelli). https://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/politica/informe-revela-que-incautacion-avion-fue-por-denuncia-en-pagina-web-no-peticion-estados
  2. I am not sure how to read your question. The financial need is caused by past effects of Covid-19 on government revenues. The proposed borrowing was to fill the gap in revenues consequent to the anti-virus measures taken. The amount was to be $1.75 billion, the term three years. The conditions imposed were said to involve the sale of a couple of government-owned assets and new taxes on incomes, property, and a new tax on bank transfers. There has been an intense negative reaction by the opposition parties and by the populace. The Costa Rican border officials went on strike, joining the action of other labor unions, so the border blockage has nothing to do with any trade dispute. Protests have been happening for seven days, and continue, even though the negotiations with IMF were halted last Sunday. Yesterday, Wednesday October 6, the Costa Rican police reported 21 blockades, including one on Route 32 (San Jose-Limon) and one on the Pan-American highway 200 kilometers north of San Jose. The intent is stop the transport of goods. Panama's President Cortizo was quick to state that he is not considering any taxes. Yesterday the general director of revenues for Panama reiterated that the government is not contemplating new taxes. Here is the President of Costa Rica on a gallows labeled "taxes":
  3. I believe there is a misunderstanding in the way this report is presented. The President of Costa Rica has been in negotiations with the IMF for a $1.75 billion loan, the need for which can be ascribed to the economic consequences of the Covid-19-related shutdowns. The conditions required by the IMF include spending cuts and tax increases. The Costa Rican population has demonstrated for several days against the prospective measures, and has blocked up to 36 different roads, paralyzing the country. Today, Tuesday October 6, the police report 17 blockades throughout the country, and there are calls for further demonstrations. The President has aborted the negotiations. Yes, there have been arguments between Panama and Costa Rica over trade and Covid-19 sanitation issues, but this is not one of them.
  4. I sense a lot of excitement surrounding this development. Martinelli needs 40,000 members to confirm the registration of his new political party, and it appears likely he will be successful in short order. The "Tribunal Electoral" is installing atm-like kiosks in transportation hubs and supermarkets to facilitate party registrations. Martinelli founded the CD party in 1998, and ultimately had nearly 500,000 members at the height of his presidential term. He seems confident of success, having publicly told elected CD party members who wish to join the new "RM" party to maintain their affiliation for now, just to send their party officials. They will be welcome at the right time. He announced (my translation) "RM is a new opposition party that will support the government in all things it does well, and we will criticize it in all the things it does wrong. We are going to return the quality of life to the Panamanian people." He also said (again, my translation): "We have learned a lot from the mistakes of the past; RM is a party that does not seek revenge, does not seek fights and when we come to power I want all the haters I have, which are many, by my side to help me and to criticize me if I do something wrong." He has many enemies in the political class, but the memory of the prosperous trends during his administration will likely resonate with a voter mass that is stressed from the economic fallout from the anti-coronavirus measures. Cute logo, that stands for "Attaining Goals" (Realizando Metas) but also the initials of one Ricardo Martinelli.
  5. The lockdowns around the world have disrupted supply lines, and folks are now playing catch-up. The US west coast ports are suddenly very busy, eastbound transpacific cargo rates are at high levels, the container manufacturers are booked solid through next February. Retailers stocking for Christmas are behind schedule. Coats has 60 manufacturing plants around the world, but none in the US, and I imagine they too are playing catch-up with Amazon and all their other US customers.
  6. Today's bulletin from the Ministry of health disclosed a new project focused on oxygen therapy. Working with the Chamber of Commerce (!) a team composed of doctor, nurse and first aid technician will visit symptomatic Covid victims thought to be at risk of severe complications, and adminster oxygen therapy. This in the metropolitan zone of Panama. I hope they introduce it promptly in Chiriqui. The growing use of corticosteroid methylprednisolone (powerful anti-inflammatory), the recent re-introduction of hydroxylchloroquine as a prophylactic, and now tentative steps to provide oxygen therapy are all positive steps. Finally, Panama is attacking the disease and helping victims defeat the symptoms and boost their immune response. Inhaled steroids and anti-coagulants are other therapies that might usefully be introduced to cut down the mortality rate. Since the virus mutates quite rapidly, it seems to me that a vaccine will always be playing catch-up, and only marginally useful once developed. Strengthening the herd's immune system should be the priority. Cooping people up an half-starving them has the opposite effect.
  7. The latest bulletin is also obscure. it states that "the Ministry and the Social Security administration are moving ahead with the acquisition of new medicines. The new strategy, based on several actions, includes the minister's decision to declare without effect the decision taken May 26 to prevent their use." The medicines are not specified. I had to check. May 26 was the day that the Ministry banned the use of hydroxylchlorquine, chloroquine, and azithromycin as treatment/prophylactic drugs for the coronavirus.
  8. The latest bulletin from the Ministry of Health displays some motion, a nice change from the frozen posture of the past. News items of greatest interest to me: 1) Starting tomorrow, July 22, hydroxylcholroquine may be prescribed, at the discretion of the treating doctor. (Comment: nice to see some news about therapies and treatment, rather than total focus on transmission and contagion). 2) Due to an increase in the Rt transmission measure in the provinces of Colon, Chiriqui, and Bocas del Toro, curfew will be enforced in those provinces: starts at 7pm Monday through Friday and is total curfew over the weekend, starting July 25. 3) The provinces of Herera, Cocle, and Los Santos are favored with a reopening of car dealerships, private construction projects and Professional & Administrative services. Separately, Telemetro broadcast an interview with Javier Pitti, the mayor of Tierras Altas (Volcan), in which he announced his intention to use drones as a surveillance method in fighting the "deadly" Covid-19 virus.
  9. From panatimes.com another hint that the authorities are putting their emphasis on contagion and transmission, rather than on therapies and immunity: Minsa evaluates applying total quarantine on weekends in Colón, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced on Friday 17 July that they are evaluating the possibility of applying the total quarantine on weekends in the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro in light of the increase in cases of COVID-19. Here is an official picture of the heat-sensing drone deployed in the province of Cocle:
  10. Fatalities surged again, big-time. I don't read about any analysis of the therapies and protocols used to treat the COVID-19 patients. It's all about contagion and transmission. I wonder if the Panama authorities have implemented any of the approaches that seem to be successful elsewhere, based on corticosteroids, direct oxygenation, anticoagulants, and avoiding the use of ventilators. In any event, it doesn't look promising for an early relaxation of sanitation measures... In
  11. DRONE SURVEILLANCE! Per today's bulletin from the Ministry of Health: Luis Francisco Sucre, Minister of Health, accompanied by Ivor Pitti, Vice-Minister of Security, inaugurated on Friday the operations center for control and community traceability of COVID-19 in the province of Cocle. Drones of the Enterprise model will be used to detect persons who have elevated temperature and who are circulating on the streets and neighborhoods. The drones are high-tech and calibrated to record the temperature in real time and to locate its target. A person identified to have high temperature will be given the test do diagnose if positive for covid-19. I imagine if it is found to be workable in Cocle, the Mayor of Boquete will soon be lobbying for the same tools...
  12. I agree that using masks is mandatory, because of the rulings of the authorities. I also agree that nurses and other medical professionals who work in dangerous environments such as hospitals need to wear masks and scrub often. Dismissing the data in the article without addressing the numerous studies cited in it by attacking the author is a failure of critical thinking called ad hominem argument, and is unconvincing. I'll add a couple of thoughts... The C19 virus seems to be mutating (not unexpected, it's what they do) so the effectiveness of any vaccine is likely to be limited. Even a very successful vaccine will not eradicate the virus. What will do so will be the eventual achievement of Herd Immunity. There is now sufficient statistical evidence from around the world to estimate the threshold for Herd Immunity (HIT) somewhere between 17% and 21% of the population (much lower than originally feared, and close to that of the common cold). The Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) which is the number of infected individuals who die from the C19 virus has been estimated and published by the US CDC at 0.26%, with a higher extreme value at 0.40%. Using those ranges on the population of Chiriqui (about 430,000) suggests that the province will not attain herd immunity until it has recorded C19 deaths of between 200 and 300 individuals. The number is below 60 today. All of the sanitation measures are slowing the transmission rate, but are not making anyone immune. It's been called "flattening the curve" to spread out the congestion in hospitals. I'm guessing that the death rate will peak in a few weeks, but will continue until at least October.
  13. A serious research paper, ten pages including at least 20 article citations, refutes the mask theory (except for the N95). THE RESEARCH IS CONCLUSIVE: MASKS AND RESPIRATORS DO NOT PREVENT THE TRANSMISSION OF VIRUSES Dr. Denis G Rancourt, PhD researchgate.net Mon, 20 Apr 2020 20:47 UTC Abstract Masks and respirators do not work. There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles. Furthermore, the relevant known physics and biology, which I review, are such that masks and respirators should not work. It would be a paradox if masks and respirators worked, given what we know about viral respiratory diseases: The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (< 2.5 ^m), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective-dose is smaller than one aerosol particle.
  14. I consider wearing my mask to be mostly a non-optional fashion statement. We exhale saturated vapor (100% relative humidity) and there are millions of small (sub-micron) condensate drops in every breath. If you are infected, those drops carry huge numbers of virons, enough to infect another person. None of these particles is filtered in either direction by anything less than an N95 mask. The US CDC publishes a journal titled “Emerging Infectious Diseases” and the May, 2020 issue carries an article stating that in 14 randomized controlled trials covering four influenza pandemics, the evidence is that face masks had no substantial effect on transmission. Here’s a link to the article: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article Here’s the Abstract: There were 3 influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and there has been 1 so far in the 21st century. Local, national, and international health authorities regularly update their plans for mitigating the next influenza pandemic in light of the latest available evidence on the effectiveness of various control measures in reducing transmission. Here, we review the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in nonhealthcare settings and discuss their potential inclusion in pandemic plans. Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.
  15. I believe it is reasonable to expect more posts of this kind. The degree of malnutrition of the Panamanian population has been massively increased due to the shutdown of the economy. Confinement has reduced vitamin D production, and wearing of masks negatively affected the blood saturation levels of oxygen and CO2. Widespread stress in addition to those physiological damages. All of which weaken the individual and collective immune systems. Measles, mumps, scarlet fever, even smallpox are some of the words that may return to the daily vocabulary.
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