At What Point…

I have small businesses in two counties here in flyover country. In one county the death rate from covid is .0000035 – thirty five ten thousandths of one percent. In the other, *much harder hit*, .000020 – twenty thousandths of one percent. And this is taking the death tallies at face value, as if the people died FROM covid, vs. they died WITH covid.

In Illinois, Gov. Pritzker is talking about curfew, temp taking, and a number of other ridiculous lock-downy things.

Eventually, they have to let everyone get back to work, or there won’t be any “work” left.

I’m wondering at what point will the citizenry call “bs” on this and just do whatever they want.

Sure, there are hot spots and sure, there are problems, but if we didn’t know about covid in these places mentioned above there would be no panic whatsoever as these aren’t even rounding errors. And the economy is trashed? It’s far more dangerous to drive your car to the store than, well, going inside the store.

To make it all worse, I can’t have a birthday party for my daughter, but it’s ok for the State of Wisconsin to have an election, and for the mayor of Chicago to go get her hair done.

29 thoughts on “At What Point…”

  1. It is a massive problem that our political and media landscape is so poisonous and disfunctional.

    There are sensible people writing about your questions, and have been for weeks, but they get little widespread coverage because the media is full of morons and vipers.

    Check out for instance:

    Maybe you won’t agree with everything he says, but he’s basically talking (and has for a while) about how to get back to the “containment” phase, rather than the “mitigation” (and “desperately trying to cope”) stage.

    Lockdowns are an attempt to suppress the bad outbreaks in a few big cities and areas, and deal with the fact that since we can’t/won’t impose movement restrictions, we have to do them broadly rather than locally. Shutting down nodes of activity (schools, churches, large events, etc.) has greatly reduced the spread, buying time for treatments to be tested, and resources to be produced.

    What do *you* propose to do about the fact that when your small area opens up, people from Chicago are likely to look at that and say, hey, I want to go there for the duration of this? Are you going to have your local police put up roadblocks to stop them from coming? This isn’t easy, we’re all trying to figure it out, it’s pretty amazing how well people are dealing with this so far (let me say as an aside that the costs would have been miniscule compared to what we’ve paid already if we would have “overreacted” on January 25 and basically closed down international travel).

  2. There are a lot of people who like this situation. I have reliable reports from one of the most deep blue communities in the country. People there get off on showing their enthusiastic compliance with the lockdown. It has become a way to do virtue signaling. People try to outdo each other in their absolute commitment to self-isolation. They don’t want it to end. They want the severity of the crackdown to increase. They want to self dramatize, feel like they are gravely responding to a crisis, generally congratulate themselves on their political and moral purity. These people are either wealthy or derive their incomes from tax revenue and face no consequences if the economy is badly harmed. This exercise of brute, lawless, and unaccountable state power verges on being sexually arousing for such people.

  3. It has become a way to do virtue signaling. People try to outdo each other in their absolute commitment to self-isolation.

    Especially if their salaries are not interrupted, like government employees for example.

  4. The calling of “bs” will be emergent. Some kids go to the tot-lot. Some young adults go to the beach to play volleyball. The barkeeps on a popular strip will open up. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as the opening of the Hungarian border in the summer of 1989.

  5. I wonder if the virtue signalling will survive their having to clean their own toilets and mow their own grass.

    I’m going along quietly with a lot of ill thought out stuff at work. The outside of every package that comes in by FedEx and UPS has to be sprayed down with IPA before opening, the contents are then handled exactly as before. If I had to bet, cardboard wouldn’t be high on my list of possible vectors. In any event, simply opening them carefully, and transporting the packaging directly to the trash while being careful to wash your hands afterward should work. Of course the packing lists and chain of custody forms that may easily have been contaminated by whoever filled them out and preserved in a nice plastic envelope goes straight into the files or out on the floor.

    Gloves are likely to be a better transmitter than skin. I’ve been reminding people not to touch their faces or anything they value for years when they might have traces of concentrated nitric or sulfuric acid on them. I keep having to do it. There is no evidence that this can penetrate intact skin. Gloves like masks are used in hospitals to protect the patient from the others. Wash your hands.

    A work mate that was self-isolating came back yesterday. He says that he was tested for everything but Wuhan. He’s mostly wearing a mask. Most likely any of 12,000 things that there isn’t a quick test for.

    While Trump prevailed upon the authorities to allow the cruise ship passengers to land, there are still 93,000 crew drifting out there with no apparent plan to do anything except keep them there.

  6. It comes to an end when the enforcers stop enforcing — whether because the enforcers become disgusted with this waste of their time or because so many people start crossing the lines that enforcement becomes personally too risky. Or maybe when a “white” Chicago cop tells a “black” Chicago gang-banger that he must put on a mask before he rapes his victim. Can’t have racism, because racism is worse than any virus.

    My sister-in-law and her neighbors decided to have a modified block party — loud music, people dancing & drinking in the street, while always maintaining their distance. Police came round, waved to the crowd, and left. The cracks in enforcement are beginning to appear.

    Long after this is over and C-19 is as forgotten as Ebola, academic studies will appear demonstrating that actual incremental deaths were trivial. Many academics (looking to their next grant application) will say we should thank our big-brain politicians who stopped the virus by their extreme reaction. A few will conclude that the virus was never that much of a problem, and that the over-reaction did more harm than the virus. But the media will then pay no attention to the issue at all.

  7. Waiting for the air conditioning guy for the spring checkup.

    Maybe I am not as worried about stuff like cardboard boxes because I am a doctor and have a supply of hydroxychloroquine if I start to get any symptoms.

    It will be easy to tell because I have not had a cold or flu for years,

    One useful area of study might be the genetics of those who have had a bad reaction with no risk factors. Some of the young cases seem to have succumbed to cytokine storm a rare phenomenon.

    Maybe the greenie left will shut up for a few years about forcing everyone into cities and mass transit,.

  8. This is no longer about health. It is about politics. The shutdowns are a weapon being used against Trump, and against a capitalist system. They are hoping for total wreckage.

    “The worse, the better”. Lenin.

  9. We need mass testing. If we can count 130 million votes on election day then we can certainly test enough people in a short amount of time for an orderly exit from the lockdowns. Establish red, green, and yellow zones where life can either get back to normal or be segregated from otherwise healthy communities.

    What appeared at first to be an overreaction likely saved most of America from the fate of Wuhan, Lombardy, or Queens. Now our most important task is to make sure we aren’t vulnerable to anything like the ChiCom Virus ever again.

  10. The problem with testing is what do you test and how ?

    Antibody testing has potential if only the FDA and CDC stay out of it.

    The PCR testing has been so screwed up by California that it is hard to see how it will help.

    Now, maybe, if they involve non government organizations things will get better.

    California still does not have enough capacity to test for coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday, despite furious efforts by private, university and government laboratories to scale up to handle thousands of more patients.

    To help triage the crush of Californians in the Bay Area who want to be tested for the novel coronavirus, Newsom announced a new website created in partnership with Alphabet’s subsidiary Verily that will provide screening and testing support.

    Starting Monday, Californians with mild symptoms or who are concerned about exposure can take a questionnaire that will direct those especially at risk from the virus to two pilot testing sites in Santa Clara and San Mateo, according to a Verily news release.

    My wife has a cousin undergoing treatment for melanoma who was refused testing for C19 and spent a week in the hospital but no testing.

  11. What appeared at first to be an overreaction likely saved most of America from the fate of Wuhan, Lombardy, or Queens.

    If the general lockdown changed anything is questionable,
    but even if it did-
    as a “virgin field” disease,
    What is going to happen when the restrictions are lifted? Did the people somehow magically acquire an immunity in solitary?

    How many infected will it take, non-symptomatic for a week or more, to reestablish the pandemic? There is no way we are going to somehow eliminate all the cases. So what will we do? Lockdown the country again?

    Meanwhile small businesses are hurting, badly.
    We are a fortunate exception, but even so, I can no longer import from Japan, except at ruinous cost. My main sub contractor is closed up. The phone and email have not brought a new client for weeks.

  12. On the science blog thing of HCQ:

    This is the “atheists in foxholes” fallacy, by the way. You are so convinced of the soundness of your own reasoning that you assume that everybody will eventually reach the same conclusion as you.

    From a guy who says he would absolutely not take it without a controlled trial, really ?

    There is a lot of politics in this thing. Maybe Trump should not have mentioned it but he did. I have been an advocate since I saw the first reports. Some say to add Zinc, some Z Pac, some even say vitamin C which is nonsense. When I was a teen I took vitamin C for colds and it always worked. As a medical student, I learned it should not work and it stopped working,. Probably placebo effect.

    My wife takes Plaquenil for Rheumatoid Arthritis and has seen no side effects. A 30% incidence of QT alteration should be reportable. I don’t believe it.

    I have hopes for remdesivir but there are no trials reported since the first report in NEJM.

    I have HCQ for myself and my family. We’ll see if one of us gets symptoms or if my paramedic son is exposed to a sick patient. So far no cases.

  13. Of course, there are many areas of life where controlled trials are impossible, but decisions still need to be made. If you’re planning the strategy for the D-Day invasion, and there are a couple of alternative approaches, you don’t get to run the experiments first to determine which is better. Similarly in business if you’re launching a new product.

    In social science research, it’s sometimes possible to do randomized-trial experiments, but often it’s not. Statistical methods are used to at least try to isolate the variables involved and their relative effects. Similar approaches can be, and I hope will be, applied to deployment of coronavirus treatments.

  14. David F: “… you don’t get to run the experiments first to determine which is better.”

    That’s true. But if we pay attention to real world events, we can get valid information from serendipitous events which can help us make smart decisions. The real world event which tends to get ignored is the Diamond Princess — probably ignored because it does not support the Orange Man Bad narrative of the media.

    From that event, we know a couple of very important things. First, the At Risk population is the old and/or medically-compromised; those are the people that we need to prevent getting infected. Second, for the rest of the population, we know that the great majority (4 out of 5) will not get infected even when given a heavy exposure to the virus, and the minority who do get infected will mostly have mild symptoms and face very little risk of dying.

    Logical conclusion — Focus all our efforts on keeping the At Risk population safe, and let working age people carry on producing. Why did our Betters ignore the logical conclusions from real-world observation, and instead react to an English model prediction?

  15. The real world event which tends to get ignored is the Diamond Princess — probably ignored because it does not support the Orange Man Bad narrative of the media.

    Exactly, and that should be the basis for reopening the economy. There are two other cruise ships and the aircraft carrier that could provide data. The carrier cases should provide evidence for the effects on young and healthy. I hope they are testing the whole crew and not just those with symptoms.

  16. With far from complete/rationed testing, it’s very tiresome to repeatedly hear various states’ case number count.
    I keep hearing about the superiority of S. Korean testing. Does their data tell us more about the virus itself? Do they have the necessary denominator to give a more accurate fatality rate?

  17. Grurry,

    I read earlier today that he was sitting up in bed and talking with his care givers.

  18. @AVI

    I’m sympathetic to your comment but let me try to respectfully disagree. << scroll down to Sean Davis's Tweets on the IHME model changes tracked to actual experience.

    As Sean notes the IHME models assume full implementation of social distancing, and we're way way overperforming the models even as they get revised downward. Which to me means some combination of

    1) We're actually doing much better at social distancing than people think we are.
    2) The IHME models underestimate the impact of even moderate attempts at social distancing.
    3) C19 doesn't have a transmission profile that gives social distancing much impact (maybe too many people have no/mild symptoms and so don't self-isolate, or you have to be in much closer contact than we suspect)
    4) while it does appear to have higher mortality than seasonal illnesses, it might not be as high as some of the worst experiences, i.e. Italy, suggest.

    All in all, I don't think the 'flattening of the curve' relative to the models is entirely due to social distancing.

    I do think some of the big ticket changes likely helped such as closing schools, stopping large gatherings, no dine-in in restaurants, WFH when possible, and closing non-essential businesses to foot traffic. The more wide-sweeping orders that caused much more disruption are, I think, more problematic.

  19. Here’s a riddle: Why are economies planned by idiots and fools? Because idiots and fools are the only people stupid enough to try.

    I can walk into any mall or shopping center and see dozens of stores that I know I’ll never enter. These are clearly non-essential, I’ve lived all this time without them. Yet they exist, they pay their rent, payroll and taxes. I see it as the free market. No one died and made me God.

    We’re about a week from discovering just how close we are to Venezuela. Something like a third of people didn’t pay rent last week. I read an article talking about how evictions were either being suspended or simply not processed or heard. This was presented as a hardship for landlords as if emptying out their properties would help them and they could instantly replace the deadbeats with paying tenants. It turns out that there really aren’t any non-essential jobs.

    While I’m at it, I think I have discovered a solution to the homeless crisis. We’ll rename the encampments as favelas. All of the journalists that can still afford an internet connection can start writing articles celebrating how the favelas add color and diversity to an otherwise grim cityscape. A lot of us should be looking to stake out our future residence now before the rush.

    By the time we can “restart” the economy without any fear of the Wuflu, there won’t be any economy that matters and finding your next meal will be a more pressing concern.

  20. Never let a crisis go to waste and if you can make one to order, so much the better.

    There are too many arguments about numbers here to shake a stick at. Maybe the U.S. numbers are just as suspect as the Chinese ones, only in the opposite direction. I said already that the information being released is intended to manipulate us into supposedly proper actions and cover various people’s asses. We’ll have to remember to find out what the truth actually was.

  21. MCS link re the Minnesota Dept of Health guidance: “The letter said that if a patient died of, e.g., pneumonia, and was believed to have been exposed to COVID-19, the death certificate should say that COVID-19 was the cause of death even though the patient was never tested, or never tested positive, for that disease.”

    This is why the only way to demonstrate we are in a pandemic would be to report the total daily deaths from all causes — just like today we can report the daily deaths ascribed to C-19.

    We have who-knows-how-many non-essential Federal & State employees “working” from home. When we are in what we are told is an existential emergency and $Trillions are being spent, how hard would it be to put an extra dedicated Fed/State employee in every recording office & hospital in the nation to expedite the reporting of total All Causes deaths each day? Why are the Powers That Be not doing that?

  22. Money quote from a recent international study led by John Ioannidis of Stanford: “Overall, this confirms the assumption that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is negligible in healthy, younger people,” the researchers emphasize. “This is in stark contrast to many news stories about the death of young people and the panic that these widespread reports arouse.” There was an article about the study on the website of the German new magazine “Focus” today. I haven’t seen anything about it in the English language media yet.

  23. It’s all about the denominator. If the number that have the virus is limited to the few thousand that have been tested, it’s a big risk for everyone. If the number is more like a 100 million in the U.S. it’s negligible for most and even fairly small for the at-risk population.

    One thing that’s never pointed out is that this will be the way that some of the third of the at-risk population that didn’t know, find out.

    All of the “models” are exponential. This makes them very sensitive to all of the assumptions that they use. When the assumed number of people infected by each patient indicates that the epidemic should have reached Andromeda by now, it doesn’t mean the danger is even worse that we thought, it just means that the numbers being used are wrong.

    Every bit of evidence I see says that the number of people exposed to this is huge. The great majority of them either didn’t get it, or had such mild symptoms that they never knew. What is showing up are some of the small proportion that are, for whatever reason, susceptible. When this susceptibility, which itself varies from person to person, intersects with a pre-existing condition the results are bad.

    The warmists have put themselves in a box by using this to sell their agenda. We’ll know in a year or two exactly how wrong all of the epidemic models were. The warmists have been tap dancing around the fact that there isn’t actual evidence of their predictions over decades with the “But if we’re right” argument. In a rational world, this real example of both how wrong and how expensive these sorts of predictions are would cause some examination. I’m not holding my breath for an epiphany but I expect to see a lot more push back from all the “expert” pronouncements.

  24. Starting to get some good data on infection rates among asymptomatic cases.

    Over the last two weeks, German virologists tested nearly 80 percent of the population of Gangelt for antibodies that indicate whether they’d been infected by the coronavirus. Around 15 percent had been infected, allowing them to calculate a COVID-19 infection fatality rate of about 0.37 percent. The researchers also concluded that people who recover from the infection are immune to reinfection, at least for a while.

    For comparison, the U.S. infection fatality rates for the 1957–58 flu epidemic was around 0.27 percent;

    This is looking more and more like a bad flu season.

    And it correlates well with the cruise ship example.

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