Well, This Is Bleeped

Is this what the fall of the Roman Empire was like, except with wifi? Every time I look at the news, everything seems to be spiraling out of control.

The pandemic? The New York Times has a headline, Cases in the U.S. Grow to Their Highest Levels Since April. The curve for the nation is going up, never mind not flattening.

More than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the United States on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database, the highest single-day total since late April and the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.

As the United States continues to reopen its economy, case numbers are rising in more than 20 states, mostly in the South and West. Florida on Wednesday reported a new daily high of 5,508 cases. Texas reported more than 5,000 cases on Tuesday, its largest single-day total yet. Arizona added more than 3,600 cases, also a record. And in Washington State, where case numbers are again trending upward, the governor said residents would have to start wearing masks in public.

The issue is not that there’s more testing; it’s that there are a higher percentage of positive results from those being tested. It’s also more hospitalizations in many areas.

Here in Missouri there is an increase in cases, but so far not an increase in hospitalizations, which has led the absolutely worthless Governor Mike Parsons to declare the economy was going to be ALL THE WAY OPEN and there would be NO GOING BACK. So all the restrictions are now lifted, just as cases are going up. I’ve felt relatively safe here until recently; now, not so much.

Just about everyone in the county but me and some elderly ladies of my acquaintance have stopped wearing masks or respecting social distancing. Last week I took a chance and got my first haircut since early March, and there was not a mask to be seen other than mine in the salon. I probably won’t get another haircut for awhile. There haven’t been many cases in the county until recently, but now there’s an outbreak at a state prison not three miles from where I am right now. I never completely left shelter in place mode, and now I’m definitely staying in it.

And it appears that, yeah, the White House is ending federal funding for testing sites. What will happen to money appropriated by Congress and not spent I do not know, as the Senate isn’t willing to hold Trump to account.

The European Union may ban travel from the U.S. If they don’t do it now, they may do it later, as a lot of health experts are warning that fall, when flu season starts, will be brutal. See also New York, New Jersey and Connecticut impose 14-day quarantine on travelers from coronavirus hotspot states.

The Dow did another 700 + nosedive today on news of the increase in coronavirus cases.

An appeals court has ordered the Michael Flynn case be dropped. It was a three-judge panel; the decision split two to one. The judge writing the majority opinion, Neomi Jehangir Rao, is a Trump appointee. The dissenter is an Obama appointee, Robert Wilkins.

Today the Senate confirmed Trump’s 200th judicial nominee.

The police brutality protests, which have been quite successful so far, seem to have entered a messier phase also. A state senator, a Democrat, was attacked in Madison; it’s not clear why. The statue toppling thing really needs to slow down. Confederates, yeah. The particular statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History needs to go, although that one is being moved by the museum. Christopher Columbus, okay. I don’t mind them ripping down Andy Jackson near the White House, if they ever manage to do it. But now it seems people are tearing down statues just to tear down statues. Along with the statue of Ulysses Grant in California, some people in Madison destroyed the statue of a local Union hero who had been a strong abolitionist. This kind of thing threatens to violate the Bigger Asshole rule (“Effective demonstrations are those that make them look like bigger assholes than us.”)  and could hurt the positive public support the demonstrations have enjoyed so far.

And boy howdy, is the Trump Administration in meltdown mode.That’s a positive thing, of course. But it might get more dangerous now.

And I haven’t even gotten into the continuing saga of whatever Bill Barr is up to, but that will have to wait for tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “Well, This Is Bleeped

  1. My # 1 nightmare, apart from being forced to return to an office (I LOVE WFH), is that Trump will phone one of his buddies, like Kim Jong-Un, and say something like, "hey buddy, I need a favor. You know those missiles you were testing…"

  2. One of my co-workers had the occasion to drive cross country recently, and he said it was striking what parts of the country were wearing masks vs those where masks were absent. In NYC, everyone is wearing a mask, although bars and restaurants are open.

  3. First off, stay safe, maha!

    Second,  Did WE tell you you could get a haircut, maha?  NO!  So, no more haircuts FOR YOU, young lady!!!!!  At least not until this tRUMP Plague finally ends.

    As for the mess we're in…  Yeah, we're, what I belive is called, "in a pickle." 

    I think our 231 year representative givernment warranty ran out, and despite the TV ads about buying an extension, no one did.

    So, we're in uncharted water.

    With a corrupt and inept Captain and First Mate, and a do-nothing crew.



    And as a result, we're damn close to a "constitutional crisis.

    And nagurally, the Republicansvare too busy trying to get themselves and tRUMP reelected!

  4. Just about everyone in the county but me and some elderly ladies of my acquaintance have stopped wearing masks or respecting social distancing. 

    I've noticed fewer people here in central IL are wearing masks, and it just goes to show how much influence the presidency has on people, even when the man holding the office is a certifiable lunatic.  People take their cues from leadership; when they see the administration downplay and discount the guidance coming from the "deepstate" CDC, when they see them not wearing masks, and saying things like the virus will just "go away," you're going to have some people believe that, no matter how little sense it makes.  Then there's those who insist on making a political statement by not wearing masks.  But thank God for those who continue to maintain a grip on common sense and wear their masks.  We wear ours every time we go out; so do most of my family and friends.

    I just read, don't recall where, that if the trend towards fewer people wearing masks continues as is, then we're looking at upwards of 180,000 deaths.  A doctor friend of mine told me that, for those of us over 60, we should avoid the workplace in the fall, if at all possible, and mask wearing is going to become even more important then.

    With all the deaths we've seen so far, people are still not taking this pandemic as serious as they should. And a lot of that has to do with the mixed messages coming from the white house.  I've always said that if a crises hits while this clown is in office, we're going to suffer for it.  Unfortunately he'll still be in office in the fall when the virus will be at its worst.

  5. Three months (How time flies when people are dying like flies.) It was just three months ago we hit the first 100 fatalities per day. That's the point it became indisputable that Coronavirus had traction in the US.  Since then, 120K deaths. That's an average of 40K per month. We could easily see as many deaths by election day as we have now – a quarter of a million fatalities. ICUs are filling up – perhaps doctors have developed better strategies for dealing with the pandemic that have longer stays in critical condition. We know what happens when you exceed capacity – Italy. 

    We could be returning to normal but we only flattened the curve. The things we did to stop the acceleration should have been amplified to drive DOWN the rate of infection. It's a FACT we'd be emerging from this with an open economy and less hassle than we have now. The proof is in the data – those countries who had it BAD and recovered didn't get lucky – they did what we refuse to do.  In every country where the  curve actually looks like a bell, there's a clear list of stuff they did and we didn't. There's nothing hypothetical about it. 

    I'm not giving "respect" to anyone on FB who wans to play dueling experts on the effectiveness of a mask. FU. Some masks are better than others but all reduce the distance water droplets from your breath, and the size of the droplets which is a measure of the concentration.  

    I can't do much except try to stay alive. The self-centered idiots who refuse to see the truth and won't observe guidelines can continue to do so. But they won't get any measure of respect. That bugs them – they want their antisocial opinions to have the same weight as indisputable fact. Not from me.

  6. The status quo is not holding.  The United States has elevated idiocy beyond pedestal level status, and we all meander in the morass of morons.  How stupid were the advocates of slavery.  Is it not true that churches were split and bibles were twisted to contend that the holding of slaves was good business and in accord with the 'Christian' gospel.  Is it not true that the moral and ethical standards of western civilization had moved toward the abhorrence of slavery, and the United States was a laggard on the issue?  Now we still have idolized on pedestals images of those who fought against the morally intolerable and in  favor of the status quo of slavery. 

    Now we have a new status quo.  Skin pigmentation no longer equals slave status.  It does merit the opposite of untouchable social status.  Put the lynch mob in uniform and protect them from peer or any other judicial control, and let them run amok.  Meanwhile rig the justice system so that political party affiliation gets certain other people super untouchable status.  They get to flaunt the law, rig the system, and milk the system while avoiding almost any significant consequences.  They also get to skew inheritance laws, admission standard and the like to pave a path to make sure their children can and will perpetuate the present status quo.  

    The promised land of egalitarianism none of us will probably see in our lifetimes.  We might see a change in the status quo away from idiot elitism.  Just because someone put someone's image on a horse on a statue does not mean they deserve the 'honor'.  Evil people are part of our history.  So far, no one has put Benedict Arnold on a pedestal in the middle of a city as far as I know,  I do remember his name from the pathetic American History classes my education provided.  As I recall he was on the wrong side of history and judged a traitor to his country.  That was before the day when traitors to this country had immunity status if they had political party connections and the fix was in for them.  How did some of them get cast in bronze and erected on pedestals?

    The status quo cannot and must not hold.  A bastardized justice system is no justice system at all.  Rule enforcement for the elite needs to be severe, as are they not the ones who benefit the most from the present system? Who had killed and maimed more than the white collar criminals who have pushed painkillers for profit.  Only a few have been punished and or fined,  and I bet the vast majority of you cannot name even the most villainous of the lot.  I know I can't.


  7. The issue is not that there’s more testing; it’s that there are a higher percentage of positive results from those being tested. It’s also more hospitalizations in many areas.

    That it's not more testing, it's the higher percentage – that's kind of a null statement. It's like saying "we take a 7 day average, and since the numbers are all higher this week, the average is higher" – yeah, that's precisely what an average is supposed to do :-).

    One way to look at it is, for any strategy, with a linear increase in testing capacity, an increase in the percentage that are positive likely means more people infected.

    So, if you test everyone who arrives at a medical facility with a cough or fever, and one week you have 5% positive, and the next week you have 10% positive, that means the number of people who have it have probably doubled. Yeah, I know, that's a lousy strategy, but it's simple enough that I reckon it's easy to see why you'd expect a higher percentage to indicate more active cases.

    You might see changes in the positive percentage under other circumstances; if you're changing strategies, or if your testing rate rises or falls, but if your percentage positive is increasing, with nothing else accounting for the change, the only reasonable assumption is "more people have it."

    One reason that's exceptionally dangerous is exponential growth. I think I mentioned earlier, "if testing capacity is increasing linearly" – maybe you have 1000 testing sites, and you'll be adding more, but you're probably expecting capacity to go up by hundreds, or thousands, of tests you can perform per day; but you don't expect testing capacity to double every 7-14 days.

    When an outbreak occurs, and there's no control, epidemics spread exponentially. A simple rule of thumb is, exponential growth with dwarf *all* other growth.

    This is a big reason why, for a testing strategy, you need to watch out for steady growth in the percentage who are found positive. It means you're getting behind in finding newly infected people, and quarantining them, and that means there are more and more spreading at what is likely an exponential rate. So, for example, what scares me about Arizona, is it's been showing 5-7% daily growth constantly – that's a doubling in active cases every 10-14 days, which is too fast to level off.

    It's probably not possible for their testing to be growing that fast – are they really running twice as many tests as two weeks ago, and 4x as many as 4 weeks ago? – and thus, their percentage of positives *must* increase, because the population of infected people is growing so fast. In this case, the continuing 5-7% increase should be slightly scarier than just "the percentage of positives is increasing". I mean, that says that, worst case, if your hospitals are 65% full now, and you did a full shutdown, you might not have done so quickly enough to prevent the hospitals from being overwhelmed – the doubling time is just too fast, and Covid-19 has a lag in showing symptoms (and more time in showing serious symptoms).

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