Service of Uncommunicative Left and Right Hands: Counterintuitive Marketing

July 27th, 2020

Categories: Medical Tests, Vote

I am baffled by the gap between reality and the vigorous marketing and promotion of two crucial initiatives that impact millions. Marketers deliberately caused pressure on insufficient supply boosting demand making things worse.

I’m speaking about write-in ballots in the New York State primary and Covid-19 testing around the country. Neither was/is able to meet expectations yet both continued/continue to be promoted.

Will My Vote Count?

I already covered the disgraceful New York write-in ballot snafus in “Service of Uneven Performances During a Pandemic.” I ended up voting in person because my write-in ballot came the day after I voted. Yet the Mayor and commercials urged citizens to request ballots until deadline. A friend’s mother never received hers.

And that is just half this sad story. Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote last week in “More than a month after New York’s June 23 primary elections, state election officials are still counting votes. In some legislative districts, they haven’t even started counting absentee votes. In the best-case scenario, election officials hope to declare winners by the first Tuesday in August—six weeks after Election Day. It might take a lot longer than that. Election officials in New York City have already invalidated upwards of 100,000 absentee ballots—about one of every five that were mailed in from the five boroughs. And furious candidates are already filing lawsuits charging discrimination and disenfranchisement.”

Failing the Test

The Covid-19 testing scenario is a disaster and yet every day the public–in New York at least–is urged to be tested even if they aren’t sick or have no reason to be. Backlogs have created inconceivable delays and who knows why there are so many inaccurate results.

Some examples:

  • One couple was thrown into a tizzy when the wife, whose husband was recovering from open heart surgery, came down with a sore throat and tested “presumptive positive.” She had a second test elsewhere and it was negative. A week later the original lab informed her that the  test was faulty–no virus. Were others who had the virus told they were OK?
  • An acquaintance missed a long-scheduled procedure because the results of her required Covid-19 test, taken six days prior, didn’t come in time. Did you know it’s recommended that patients quarantine themselves after being tested until the operation? How many people can afford to quarantine in addition to potential recovery time from an operation?
  • Others, such as the son of WOR 710 radio morning show producer Natalie Vacca, get their results in two days. Her husband’s took 11. Morning show co-host Len Berman’s son’s test came back in 10.

Standardization? Ha. It’s every man or woman–or State–for him/her or itself. Sady Swanson in the Fort Collins Coloradoan wrote: “With a national backlog of COVID-19 tests causing delayed results, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has announced plans to expand lab capacity within the state to get Coloradans results quicker.”

She reported that some Coloradans waited 10 to 12 days for results. Governor Polis won’t count on national testing. Swanson reported: “The national labs have been receiving ‘tens of thousands’ of tests to process per day from states currently seeing COVID-19 case spikes, like Arizona, Texas and Florida, Polis said.

“With no national testing strategy, Polis said the state is moving forward with purchasing additional testing supplies, expanding state lab capacity and securing more private partners to meet the state’s testing needs.”

So many questions:

  • If an initiative can’t fulfill current requests why prime the pump?
  • Are you planning to vote by write-in ballot in November?
  • Are you concerned that you won’t get your ballot in time or if you do, that your vote won’t count?
  • Should there be a national testing strategy or standardized test for Covid-19?
  • If you had the test, did you trust the result?
  • What good does it do if it takes more than two days to learn that you are a carrier or that you have Covid-19?

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4 Responses to “Service of Uncommunicative Left and Right Hands: Counterintuitive Marketing”

  1. MarthaTakayama Said:

    The questions posed by this posting are reflections of our national domestic epidemic. They reflect the anarchy of our currently leaderless nation, increasingly being overrun by unprepared, untrained, dishonest opportunists, mercenaries and goon squads. It is ridiculous that we cannot have an efficient non-contentious system for permitting mail-in voting. There are no excuses to be believed. Furthermore why have so called “third-world” countries been able for years to conduct obligatory elections on holidays dedicated to that purpose and tally their results on the same day from their most remote and non-industrialized areas such as the Brazilian state of Amazonia?

    Why has there been no aggressive attempt to challenge the illegal voting practices of Trump and all his cronies and officials who have made a practice of voting by mail using fraudulent permanent addresses. It is ridiculous to let these dictator wannabes perpetuate myths about fraud in online voting when it is what they have used for themselves. I am sure a little bit of creative planning with technical high school students or a college in tandem with a fierce defense of the US postal system which Trump is constantly threatening to close could make voting by mail possible. And think of the jobs that this effort might create!

    As for the testing disaster it again reflects a total failure of leadership, a total failure of public health and science being used in a coherent fashion to mount a campaign for testing with serviceable results. Instead we have all kinds of unreliable, fragmented, lemonade stand-like set-ups for getting vague tests with unreliable results. Who is on first? Is there no concern with testing standards, utility of promptly furnished strictly monitored results and prevention of the spread of the virus that this non-policy has generated. I cannot imagine deciding how or where to expose myself to the inherent contamination factors in having a test and I certainly cannot anticipate believing the results if and when they come back. And we do not know the shelf life of the results.

    All these problems reduce any conversations about “opening up” businesses or return to school to fairy tales or fantasy. We need A REAL GOVERNMENT with a REAL SCIENTIFICALLY BASED NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAM not an eviscerated Potemkin Village like the present day CDC.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Brilliant response, far better than the post!

    I love your description: “lemonade stand-like set-ups for getting vague tests with unreliable results.” I fear marching in to street-side urgent care vendors of these tests or the back of a drugstore as I wonder “goodness knows what might I be exposed to?”

    I looked at the online NY State write-in ballot request form figuring I’d give the folks three months to send me a ballot, not the one and a half months I gave them for the primary. Unlike the one mailed to me that had a box to check relating to “Covid-19,” there is no such option for the general election. So I can’t get a write-in ballot, should I not want to gather with others to vote in person indoors even if there’s no resurgence of the dreaded virus in fall, because I fit none of the options: I won’t be out of town or caring for someone who is sick or in jail etc.

    We need standards and viable, reliable, safe, accurate ways to vote and be tested. Instead of creating commercials the directors of these efforts should focus first on those goals.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    A) Unless and until I get sick, I’m not about to expose myself to possible illness by getting tested for a virus. It’s everyone’s responsibility to stay away from trouble.

    B) The write in experiment in my county was a disaster, with some community figures calling for the firing of the entire Board of Elections. While this concept is not a poor one, sufficient staffing and organization is key. Matters worsened on Primary Day because of further incompetence in manning the polls. Long lines with voters waiting hours to vote, compounded public displeasure. With a presidential election in just over three months, will anyone want to come out? It’s not much fun standing for hours on a pleasant summer evening. How about a repeat performance in November? Someone better wake up, and fast!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The BOE is in even worse shape than I thought. This is downright scary given the crucial upcoming presidential election.

    I forgot about freezing in lines in November. I was thinking of standing in lines indoors with fellow citizens in unhealthy overheated indoor facilities, runny noses of the season in full throttle along with Covid-19 droplets.

    As for the tests, Americans are great marketers and its citizens often sheep-like. I suspect many took the test who had no reason to because they saw the commercials that run many times nightly advising them to. Who is paying for these ads? The whole thing turns my stomach. Too many citizens haven’t gotten the message to wear a mask. That is step one.

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