Tag: covid-19

Protesting the Protests

There are some people protesting the stay at home orders – I see videos from outside of DeWine’s daily briefings, and several other states seem to have similar problems. Apart from the question of astroturfing, problem is that there’s very little opportunity for counter-protests. When you go to DC, there are PETA people counter-protesting the people looking to fund medical research (animal testing). There are vegans counter-protesting people looking to increase subsidies in the meat industry. I’ve never seen an abortion protest that didn’t have both sides represented.

These ‘liberate us’ protests? These are people who don’t think they should have to stay at home – they should allowed to hang out at bars, eat in restaurants, shop, party, and … oh yeah … crowd together at protests. The people who think the stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are important to protect their health? Seems like a far smaller portion of them would be willing to hang out in Columbus in a protest. Even if they could find masks and whatnot.

Why drive somewhere nonessential? Your car breaks down, and you’re exposed to others (and exposing them to you). You get into an accident and you’re exposed to others (and exposing them to you). Get injured in the accident and you’re adding to the patient load at hospitals. We’re not just staying at home to avoid large congregations. We’re staying at home to create less load for emergency personnel.

Visualization: Percent of Population Infected with SARS-CoV-2

Updated graph for current infection numbers

And the states kinda like Ohio graph where I still think “distance from NYC” is a pretty significant factor in how many individuals are infected. Ohio, going on a month of kids out of school and entering week three of the shelter-in-place order, isn’t seeing the exponential growth some states with similar population numbers have encountered.

Reopening

I keep hearing Trump talk about his decision to re-open the country (and how it’ll be the biggest decision he’s ever made). Begs the question how. And I don’t mean “what is the plan to resume somewhat normal inter-personal interactions” (although the process question needs to be answered). I mean procedurally how is he going to *open* the country? He’s never closed it! Individual states have enacted various protective measures as they see fit. He really think he can overrule, say, Ohio’s shelter in place order? Issue an executive order mandating we all eat at a restaurant this weekend and … what? The FBI is gonna haul me out of the house if I don’t?

Trump Impeachment / SARS-CoV-2 Timeline

The timeline below was posted to a FB group today, but I wanted a more visual format to show how much nonsense  the “impeachment was a distraction from this serious pandemic business” story is. I cross-referenced dates in the timeline with the number of US SARS-CoV-2 infections using archived data from Johns Hopkins through 23 March and the dataset from COVID Tracking (which is current but doesn’t go back far enough to provide correlation with the impeachment dates). There is some overlap, but it’s not like Trump was completely focused on impeachment activity before 05 Feb. Campaign rallies and golfing were his choice distractions. Both of which continued well after the impeachment trial ended.
Timeline with a few additional impeachment-related events added and location info for rally and golf events:
Date # US Infections Detail
18-Dec-2019 0 House Impeaches Trump
18-Dec-2019 0 Trump campaign rally – Michigan
21-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
22-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
23-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
24-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
26-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
27-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
28-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
29-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
30-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
31-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
1-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
2-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
3-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Florida
4-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
5-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
8-Jan 0 First CDC warning
9-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Ohio
14-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Wisconsin
16-Jan 0 House sends impeachment articles to Senate
18-Jan 0 Trump golfs – Florida
19-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
20-Jan 1 First case of corona virus in the US, Washington State.
22-Jan 1 “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
22-Jan 1 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
23-Jan 1 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
24-Jan 2 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
25-Jan 2 Impeachment defense presentation
28-Jan 5 Trump campaign rally – New Jersey
30-Jan 5 Trump campaign rally – Iowa
31-Jan 7 Impeachment Senate vote against calling witnesses & travel restriction from China
1-Feb 8 Trump golfs – Florida
2-Feb 8 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
2-Feb 8 “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
5-Feb 11 Impeachment Senate votes to acquit. Then takes a five-day weekend.
10-Feb 11 Trump campaign rally – New Hampshire
12-Feb 12 Dow Jones closes at an all time high of 29,551.42
15-Feb 13 Trump golfs – Florida
19-Feb 13 Trump campaign rally – Arizona
20-Feb 13 Trump campaign rally – Colorado
21-Feb 15 Trump campaign rally – Nevada
24-Feb 51 “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
25-Feb 51 “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
25-Feb 51 “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
26-Feb 57 “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
26-Feb 57 “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” Also “This is a flu. This is like a flu”; “Now, you treat this like a flu”; “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”
27-Feb 58 “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
28-Feb 60 “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
28-Feb 60 Trump campaign rally – South Carolina
2-Mar 98 “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
2-Mar 98 Trump campaign rally – North Carolina
2-Mar 98 “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
4-Mar 149 “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
5-Mar 217 “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
5-Mar 217 “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
6-Mar 262 “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
6-Mar 262 “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
6-Mar 262 “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
6-Mar 262 “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
7-Mar 402 Trump golfs – Florida
8-Mar 518 Trump golfs – Florida
8-Mar 518 “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
9-Mar 583 “This blindsided the world.”
1-Mar 583 Travel lockdown from Europe.
13-Mar 2179 State of emergency declared
17-Mar 6421 “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
18-Mar 7783 It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.
23-Mar 42152 Dow Jones closes at 18,591.93
25-Mar 63928 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment.
30-Mar 160530 Dow Jones closes at 21,917.16
2-Apr 239099 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment.

 

Is it helping?

Schools in Ohio have been closed since 17 March (and a lot of districts stayed home on 16 March). Restaurants have been in delivery and carry-out mode for about the same length of time. We’ve been under a stay at home order since 24 March. And the important question is … is it helping? That’s a difficult question to answer because epidemiological predictions have very broad ranges because most of their inputs are so unknown … and the limited testing makes the data being compared wildly inaccurate. But we’ve only got the data we’ve got, so I thought I’d run some comparisons to see how Ohio is faring.

I selected the four states closest to Ohio in population — PA, IL, GA, and NC. Because these states all identified their first case well before Ohio, I added CT because the first case identified there was 08-Mar and Ohio’s first cases appear on 09-Mar.

State 1st Case Population
PA 6-Mar 12,801,989
IL pre 4-Mar 12,671,821
OH 9-Mar 11,689,100
GA pre 4-Mar 10,617,423
NC pre 4-Mar 10,488,084
CT 8-Mar 3,565,287

It looks like our curve is flattened — although North Carolina, where the first infection was identified earlier than Ohio and their their stay at home order was issued on on 27 March, has identified a thousand fewer cases as of yesterday.

Is proximity to NYC a major factor? CT and PA (as well as NJ, which has a relatively high number of cases) are all right there. But Georgia and Illinois are farther away from NYC than Ohio. Is the number of tests a factor in these case numbers? I’d expected a higher correlation between the number of identified cases and the number of tests administered. GA and CT have fewer total test reports (positive + negative tests) and have more infected people. NC has more reported tests, but fewer cases than OH. PA and IL have more reported tests and more infected people.

Commercial and residential demand

The great toilet paper run of 2020 … may not be panicked hording the way it is portraits in the media. I work from home, but Anya is in school (well, was). And used the bathroom there a few times a week. Back when I worked from an office, I used that bathroom once or twice a day. That’s somewhere between a 30 and 50 percent increase in home bathroom usage. Per person, per weekday.

Food is apt to have a simialr shortfall – kids aren’t eating lunch at school, uni kids are staying home, office workers aren’t going out to lunch. Plus people at home have more time to make breakfast … So goodbye eggs at the grocery store.

Now, if I am right, that means there’s a surplus of the one-ply commercial stuff no one likes. There’s not a shortage – there’s a surplus in the commercial supply sector and a corresponding shortage in the retail one. Which is a lot easier to solve – check out Staples or online warehouses that specialize in office supplies. And restaurant supply centers may welcome smaller scale orders.

SARS COV-2 Visualizations

I see charts of the cumulative number of infections (‘the curve’) and the number of tests administered … but comparing the daily number of tests to the cumulative number of infections is not particularly meaningful beyond seeing that the increase in infections is still rather exponential.

A better visualization compares the cumulative tests to the cumulative infections (or, for less staggering numbers, the daily tests administered and the daily number of new infections identified). No, it doesn’t appear that ‘the curve’ is flattening. I’m curious to see, however, the impact of multiple states going into lock-down has in a week or two.

Looking at a number of infections, especially compared across the globe, provides a bit of a distorted view. Comparing countries by the percent of the population that’s been identified as infected instead of the raw number of identified infections avoids the appearance that small countries are less impacted (and that highly populated countries are disproportionately impacted).

Non-Bail-Outs

I don’t get why we they’re talking about “bail outs” instead of making purchases that solving other problems. I was seeing news stories about people stuck abroad followed by news stories about airlines needing money because no one was flying — paying for flights to bring people back to the US seemed like an obvious win-win. Now there are restaurants going under & kids who are out of school not getting meals. Hotels with no customers and individuals without a safe home in which to shelter. Instead of floating loans or handing out money, *buy* services and fix two problems simultaneously.

News and Falsehoods

Even without watching the live mid-day briefings (which we do watch), I’m amazed at how much disinformation makes it to the edited evening newscast. Trump’s got a good feeling about some drug that didn’t have production scaled up for a bunch of “wtf, it cannot get worse” off-label use. Or, hell, his seeming claim to have legalized off-label use because it’s the only way we’re going to address the current health crisis.
 
Before this outbreak, it infuriated me to tune into the evening news and hear “Trump said X” when X was verifiably untrue. Sure, ‘Trump said the untrue thing’ was accurate … but without clarifying the veracity of Trump’s statement … saying “Trump said X” comes across as “X” to a whole lot of people. Hasn’t changed just because it’s more dangerous to say “Trump says chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine is a game-changer and is totally safe”. If nothing else, were I writing copy, I’d delve a little into the difference between the two drugs. Hydroxy- is a less toxic derivative … which doesn’t at all sound like “totally safe, slam some and see if it works” to me.

Republicanism

Reading this, I cannot help but think the response to this pandemic is playing out according to a fundamental tenant of Republican philosophy. Push power down closer to ‘the people’. Each school district, city/township, county, and state gets to decide how to respond to this virus. In other words, it’s a feature not a bug.
Personally, I think it’s important to have a strong federal government to coordinate things that impact everyone — environmental regulations, educational concerns, energy efficiency, public health. I hope people who push for decentralized government think about how chaotic our response is and extrapolate to how their preferred form of governance can react to other important situations, whatever those may be.