Tag: covid denial


About a year ago, my boss observed that this entire pandemic sitch is just a nightmare for those with analytical thought processes.. Engineering, science, analytic types. Mathematically? The country was basically in a worse place when the health orders were lifted than it was when the orders were put in place last year. That was astonishing to me. And kind of like the anti-environmentalists who don’t seem to realize they need to drink the water and breath the air … even if you’re vaccinated and have a very good probability of avoiding hospitalization? Getting sick for a week sucks. It sucked ten years ago, it’ll suck ten years from now. But, if you can mitigate your risk of feeling like an elephant is roosting on your chest for a week … what’s the reasonable thought process that leads to someone saying “I’m going to show how very free I am by getting painfully ill”?!

I mean, there are plenty of ways to partake in your American Freedoms that aren’t painful illness. Head out to the range, rent a gun for a few hours, and fire off a couple dozen 50 caliber rounds. Publish a rant against whatever part of government irked you this week. Spend the weekend attending church services for ten different religions. Hell, marvel at the fact there’s not an uninvited soldier camped out in your spare bedroom and that the cops aren’t rifling through your belongings. And that just covers the first five articles in the bill of rights.

In fact …

Article Way to enjoy it
I Spend a weekend attending services for a dozen different churches (synagogs, mosques, etc)
II Hire a gun at a range and spend the afternoon popping off 50-cal rounds
III Marvel at how your spare bedroom is not occupied by an uninvited soldier
IV Notice how the police are not rifling through your personal belongings just because they can
V, VI, VII, VIII Don’t know that I’d commit a crime just to enjoy my right not to provide evidence against myself, be subjected to cruel or unusual pubishment, or experience a speedy, public trial … but you do you.
IX Go to work?
X Oooh, experience all of the things your state does control — maybe hang at the DMV and renew your license
XI Umm … well Michigan hasn’t sued Ohio today. Does that count?
XII Well, you cannot be part of the electoral college … but you CAN vote
XII No more slaves
XIV The state isn’t depriving me of life, liberty and such.
XV My rights aren’t being abridged because of my race
XVI Taxes were withheld from my paycheque this week. Yeah!???
XVII My state has tw senators
XVIII Grab a pint!
XIX I’m a woman, and I can vote!
XX Watch the certification of the election
XXI Grab another pint!

Understanding Exponential Growth

Using the data from https://covidtracking.com/data/national/cases: in the most recent seven day span (10-16 November), 1,056,346 people in the US have been infected with this coronavirus. The total number of cases yesterday was 11,047,064. That means 9.562% of the *total cases* in the US were new cases in the past week.


This is how exponential growth works — and why you heard a lot about ‘flattening the curve’ earlier in the year. If you put a penny on the first square of a chess board, double it and put two pennies on the second square, double it and put four pennies on the third square, and continue in that fashion … mathematically, you have 2^n pennies on each square, where n is the numeric sequence of the square, 0-63. On the last square in the first row, square #7, there are 2^7 pennies — 128 pennies, or a buck and twenty eight cents. Not a lot. And the end of the second row, you have 2^15 pennies — 32,768 pennies. That’s $327.68 — over three hundred bucks. A lot more than a buck, but not a huge amount of money. But you’re up to 2^23 at the end of the third row — 8,388,608 pennies or $83,886.08. Eighty three grand is a lot of money. By the time you get to the mid-point on the board, the end of the fourth row, you have 2^31 pennies on a square. 2,147,483,648 pennies for $21,474,836.48 — over twenty million dollars. A lot of money, but it’s possible. The second half of the chessboard is where exponential growth becomes unsustainable. The end of the fifth row is 2^39 — 549,755,813,888 pennies. The end of the sixth row is 2^47 — 140,737,488,355,328 pennies. The end of the seventh row is 2^55 —  On the final square, you have 2^63 … 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 pennies for $92,233,720,368,547,758.08 … 92 quadrillion dollars. If the going price of Earth is only five quadrillion dollars, you’re putting a marker for the entire solar system (and then some) on that last square.

And that ignores the accumulating total — while you have 92 quadrillion dollars on the final square, you have another 92 quadrillion dollars on the entire rest of the board. Now, obviously, we are not doubling our rate of infections every day. But we’re entering “second half of the board” territory just the same.

In Denial

There are a lot of similarities between the climate change debate and our current pandemic response debate (and I found both debates similarly frustrating).
With climate change, one side is right; and, since we won’t know for twenty or fifty years, let us spend the intervening decades arguing over which one of us is right. Now that we’re seeing massive wildfires, hurricanes, etc … well, I’m still hearing a lot of denial and “normal climate variations”. So I guess we’ll wait another decade.
The pandemic response attempt at redirection, lying, and denial? It’s such a short term that I don’t see the viability of the climate denial approach. Back when the debate started in March, once side was right. We’ve waited, what, four months? And we’re seeing who that was right, and people are noticing the full ICUs this week. Given how the climate change debate has gone, I expect we’ll spend another four months arguing over who was right. And people will notice the emergency tent hospitals in town squares. When we get to the point almost everyone has a close friend or family member who has died or been hospitalized for three months? Is that when everyone will take the problem seriously?