Kevin Drum switched from comparing total cases by day since a country passes 100 cases (which I was complaining about here), to tracking deaths per million, by day since a country passes 1 in 10 million. This is a far superior metric for so many reasons - tracking deaths is more accurate than tracking cases, and it scales appropriately for each country. (However, he's only doing nine countries, in Europe and North America. I think this is because they have comparable medical care and social distancing measures.)
Because the US is such a large, sparse country, it's really probably more appropriate to track by state. Washington has 83 deaths out of 7.5 million people, California has 24 deaths out of 29.5 million people, and New York has 56 deaths out of 19.5 million people. So those are 11 deaths/mill, .81/mill, and 2.87/mill respectively, which is comparable to ...well, none of them for Washington. Somewhere between France and Spain. For California and New York, Germany and the UK are on par.
Although doubling time is also a reasonable thing to track, and this says that Europe is more successfully dragging out the doubling time than the US is. Although surely that says more about how we're playing catch up on testing kits than anything else.
My method of Covid posting is just to sample whatever I happen to be reading when the urge to post strikes, as opposed to waiting until something clears some threshhold of worthiness, and then posting it.
Here's some footage of New York from 1911:
Two things I'm hanging on to intensely:
1. This doesn't hit kids hard.
2. I'm not being asked to flee my home on foot. As far as generation-shaping events go, it's pretty common that people have to flee their homes, and thank fucking god this is not that.
If I'm spared those two things, I'm grateful.
Anyone else super duper worried about the November election proceeding as planned? I think Fox Nation is going to be whipped into a frenzy against the Chinese and the liberals who tanked the economy, and that outrage, along with the tools of control that will have been deployed to fight the virus, will be used to undermine the election. Tell me I'm wrong!
- Stimulus package: Sending every American $1000? I wouldn't know how to evaluate this, aside from that I don't trust who it's coming from. It was dumb when W. did it. I assume it's not enough for people in cities, and too much of it would go to people whose incomes are stabilized. I do think there's something to be said for the speed, though.
- Can we just shut down the rentier class from collecting rents, and require them to apply for unemployment?
- I'm very worried about small restaurants and bars.
- I thought this was good, on why Americans are flouting social distancing and seeing it as patriotic:
The lesson the war on terror taught was that doing and buying exactly what we want is sticking a boot in the enemy's ass.
That's a really weird lesson, not least because of the way it recasts activities Americans tend to regard as feminine and frivolous, like shopping, as a kind of masculine badassery. That's the type of tension that leads to overcompensation; no wonder some Americans are all the more determined to prove their mettle in contexts where it makes no sense. Real courage and real patriotism call for an entirely different approach.
This habit of confusing dining out with waging war has left us navigating actual challenges like the coronavirus through the haze of an emotional and logical paradox: Americans may subconsciously intuit that going out to spend money is a pretty degrading redefinition of patriotic courage, but because we haven't been given permission to valorize any kind of self-sacrificing or collectivist action, there's nowhere for that energy to go. So yes, a hum of doubt and uncertainty underpins these coronavirus declarations of American bravery. While he was self-isolating after being exposed to the infamous CPAC coronavirus carrier, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted something pretty telling: "I'd rather die gloriously in battle than from a virus. In a way it doesn't matter. But it kinda does." The subtext here should be familiar by now: It's humiliating--emasculating, even--to be brought low by a bundle of protein and RNA.
There are too many articles out there to pick the right ones. Anyway:
But therein lies the core paradox of a successful policy of flattening the curve: in reducing the speed of the coronavirus's spread, it may end up prolonging the amount of time that the U.S. population spends living under measures designed to slow the spread.
To rephrase that: if the policy succeeds, the same number of people will likely get sick, just over a longer period of time.
I know we've discussed this very thing; it's not a new idea. But I'm truly wondering: to what extent are we managing staying at home? If we're successful now, how long until people bail on this semi-isolation all together?
My true fear is this: Most of America bails by, say, June. Over the summer, we get increasingly panicked requests to stay home from the responsible news sources. By August it feels like the dilemma is: Join the failure side of collective action, or be a minority that self-isolates for five more months until 2021.
2. America is a Sham. At least this kind of thing is getting written.
Broadband data caps and throttled internet? Those have been eliminated by AT&T and other internet service providers, because of the coronavirus. But data caps and throttling were really just veiled price hikes that served no real technical purpose. Why did we put up with them?
Police helping landlords evict tenants in times of financial trouble? Due to the coronavirus, not anymore in New York, Miami, and New Orleans. But--and you see where this is going--why do the police aid evictions when tenants are stricken with other, noncoronavirus illnesses?
The city shutting off your water, or your power, as punishment for hardship?... Why in the hell should any Detroit resident have concerns about their water service being interrupted, ever? Shouldn't clean water be the absolute base level of service delivered by a city to its residents?
Sick employees forced to take unpaid leave or work while sick if they want to keep their jobs? Walmart recently announced it would provide up to two weeks of paid leave for any employee who contracts the coronavirus. ... But why should any sick worker fear losing their pay or their job at any time? And why are the most vulnerable to punitive sick leave practices the workers making the lowest wages?
Assuming this does bring down Trump next November, Biden is so not the revolutionary president we need now.
3. But on the subject of next November...Mike DeWine seems to be doing an unusually good job (for a Republican) aggressively putting measures in place to protect and support Ohio. So I'm going to say that his heart was in the right place when he postponed the primary. But it makes me insanely anxious for the precedent it sets for November.
4. In contrast, Abbott is doing a pretty fucking terrible job. That link estimates that as of Monday night, Texas has tested about 700 people total. I know multiple people with symptoms, none of whom have been tested, despite letting their doctors know. If the population is 28.7 million people, that means we're rocking in at 24 tests per million, which puts us around 4th or 5th from the bottom of this list, (last link via Ajay in the comments).
Here's some advice for being cooped up these days.
1) Get outside. Whether it's a balcony or yard or a walk around the neighborhood, or sitting in a park, get some air and move your body. You'll feel better.
2) Do some video chats. It's good to have some synchronous face-to-face interaction. I'm doing a Zoom this week with some high school buddies. Reach out to people you want to talk to; they'll appreciate it.
Consider this the Covid and Covid mental health thread.
Two links from Moss-moss:
1. Differently fucked!
The first is the kind of "existentially horrifying impact of climate change on Asia with stunning photos" that Moss-moss does best, in this case the melting of the Himalayan glaciers on the economies that intersect the Indus valley.
The second is how Bloomberg flouted Facebook's rules on political advertising and FB quietly crumbled like a house of cards to accommodate him.