The coming winter may be a very bleak time in the United States, if the country doesn't bring down #Covid19 spread fast. There's no sign, though, of a political or collective will to do the work needed to suppress transmission. https://t.co/GTdMzkgLPB
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) August 10, 2020
Helen Branswell is one of my every-day, most-trusted sources for coronavirus news. Her new STATNews report is getting a lot of favorable notice, for good reason:
… Winter is coming. Winter means cold and flu season, which is all but sure to complicate the task of figuring out who is sick with Covid-19 and who is suffering from a less threatening respiratory tract infection. It also means that cherished outdoor freedoms that link us to pre-Covid life — pop-up restaurant patios, picnics in parks, trips to the beach — will soon be out of reach, at least in northern parts of the country.
Unless Americans use the dwindling weeks between now and the onset of “indoor weather” to tamp down transmission in the country, this winter could be Dickensianly bleak, public health experts warn…[Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Michael] Osterholm has for months warned that people were being misled about how long the restrictions on daily life would need to be in place. He now thinks the time has come for another lockdown. “What we did before and more,” he said.
The country has fallen into a dangerous pattern, Osterholm said, where a spike in cases in a location leads to some temporary restraint from people who eventually become alarmed enough to start to take precautions. But as soon as cases start to plateau or decline a little, victory over the virus is declared and people think it’s safe to resume normal life.
“It’s like an all or nothing phenomenon, right?” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “You all locked down or you get so discouraged with being in lockdown that you decide you’re going to be in crowded bars … you can have indoor parties with no masks. You can do all the things that are going to get you in trouble.”
Osterholm said with the K-12 school year resuming in some parts of the country or set to start — along with universities — in a few weeks, transmission will take off and cases will start to climb again. He predicted the next peaks will “exceed by far the peak we have just experienced. Winter is only going to reinforce that. Indoor air,” he said…
Coronavirus: Is the world winning the pandemic fight? https://t.co/1qfWhfHzoD
— James Gallagher (@JamesTGallagher) August 10, 2020
Lots of useful graphs and data in this BBC report:
…”We’re still in the midst of an accelerating, intense and very serious pandemic,” Dr Margaret Harris, from the WHO, told me. “It’s there in every community in the world.”
While this is a single pandemic, it is not one single story. The impact of Covid-19 is different around the world and it is easy to blind yourself to the reality beyond your own country.
But one fact unites everyone, whether they make their home in the Amazon rainforest, the skyscrapers of Singapore or the late-summer streets of the UK: this is a virus that thrives on close human contact. The more we come together, the easier it will spread. That is as true today as when the virus first emerged in China.
This central tenet explains the situation wherever you are in the world and dictates what the future will look like…
It is driving the high volume of cases in Latin America – the current epicentre of the pandemic – and the surge in India. It explains why Hong Kong is keeping people in quarantine facilities or the South Korean authorities are monitoring people’s bank accounts and phones. It illustrates why Europe and Australia are struggling to balance lifting lockdowns and containing the disease. And why we are trying to find a “new normal” rather than the old one.
“This is a virus circulating all over the planet. It affects every single one of us. It goes from human to human, and highlights that we are all connected,” said Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, from St George’s, University of London. “It’s not just about travel, it’s speaking and spending time together – that’s what humans do.”…
We’re screwed. Even if the bad guys are defeated across the board in November, they’ll still be around until January.
A lot more people are going to die needlessly.
To do another lockdown, a bare absolute minimum would be extending the unemployment and other relief payments so that people can actually, you know, afford to stay home. Given the bunch of nihilistic assholes known as the Republican Senate Caucus, good luck with that.
Polling on 18-22 year olds – Biden 94, Trump 6. I’m not sure even black voters will lean that hard for Biden. And their turnout in 2018 was historically high. Not as high as it should be, but they’re turning out. They know why all of their college classes are on Zoom, and they aren’t happy about it.
Hawaii already pushed back the start of school from Aug. 4 to the 17th. Now Oahu only has announced the first four weeks of schooling will be online only and Maui’s mayor is asking the governor and Board of Education for the same.
And Maui has re-instituted the 14 day quarantine for inter-island travel.
“This is the Sleepy Joe Panedmic now!” – Donald Trump, December 2020.
Isn’t public support for mask-wearing around 85-90%?
Eight weeks, Americans. We can do in now in spite of this president*, get our kids back in school before Halloween, and watch some early spring college football…or we can do it from late January through mid-March, have our kids do ‘distance learning’ for the entire academic year, and wait for fall 2021 to see the ol’ pigskin being thrown around.
Oh…and then there’s all those additional, unnecessary deaths…but for some reason those don’t seem to be getting anywhere near the attention that schools and football do.
Or, what Cacti said.
Let’s crush the community spread, mask up, and test/trace our brains out. It’s not rocket surgery.
And for the love of god, vote as early as you can. Polling among people planning to vote in person 67% Trump, 26% Biden, among vote by mail 81% Biden, 14% Trump.
Not every state counts mail-ins before election day, but many do. California counts mail-in ballots up until the time they need to adjust to start counting in-person votes, then they return to mail in after that task finishes, then they do provisional and do voter contacts for ambiguous ballots, and any double-checks. So in CA, if you mail in early enough, it’ll be counted and part of the election day numbers. If it arrives maybe the day before or the day of, it’ll get counted after. I’m pretty sure mail in ballots dropped off in person on election day get counted after – the issue has to do with the equipment being used for counting, and that equipment is often put aside for the same day machine/hand ballot counting equipment. Again, varies by state, but that’s how CA does it.
Trump is planning on declaring victory based on the election night numbers. He’s already stated that. We’ll see if he actually does that. His intention is really to declare victory and then sue states who are still counting ballots, and tie those efforts up in court, moving the decision from state elected officials to federal judges. In effect, that’s how Bush really prevailed in Florida – the state was ordered to stop trying to sort out the ballot problems. I doubt it’ll work, but it’d be better if we never got to that exercise to find out.
If anyone knows of a source for the counting procedure for each state, I’d be interested in that, otherwise, I might take it on as a project.
@dmsilev: Lockdown isn’t sufficient. We need to institute changes to the testing process at the same time. And that needs to be widely coordinated. The point of a lockdown is to also reopen properly, which we didn’t do the first time. That work still needs to be done.
@Martin: Even though I’m over seventy, I plan on voting in person. GA just tosses to many ballots sent by mail. At least that’s my plan now. They are making the absentee easy to receive by requesting one on line, and that should be available by the end of August.
@Jeffro: We’re miles from tracing. You need proper testing first, and you need caseloads low enough that you can trace everyone. We can’t even get that far. And there’s no national campaign to help the public understand that. Everyone else followed more or less the same formula – the implemented it in different ways but the general structure and milestones were the same. We can’t seem to even acknowledge that part of the problem.
@Martin: What Florida was doing was a recount, not a count. I think that should make a difference If the question gets presented to a judge.
at least, that would be my argument.
right now, my concern is the USPS and the attack on it by the Postmaster General. That can really affect the election, and not in a good way.
Oh, and just to add to 2020, sounds like 50%-75% of Iowas corn and soybean crop was destroyed by yesterdays derecho.
What’s also needed is, along the lines of one of FDR’s alphabet soup programs, a mustering of paid, dedicated tracers.
@Lapassionara: Won’t matter. It’s a binary thing – either you are willing to wait for an accurate count or you aren’t. The courts decided they weren’t willing to wait. They declared the nation needed a president-elect more than it needed an accurate election, and that’s now precedent. Doesn’t really matter what part of the process they are in.
And they don’t need to deploy this everywhere. They’ll ignore CA. We’ll have election night called for Biden no matter what. But the battleground states are going to get fucked with so hard.
@NotMax: Yes. And there’s minimal work being done on that front as well. A good federal response would have been to take the program that does census door knocking and expand it to also train for contact tracing – it’s a large program and there’s a lot of overlap in terms of what they do.
@WaterGirl: great numbers but getting them to vote is problematic… hoping to be wrong.
Sister Golden Bear
My one hope is that if Biden wins and we take the Senate, that by Jan. 20 people might be sick enough of being in purgatory that they’re willing to go along with a 6-8 week lockdown, with appropriate financial support. A girl can dream….
But seriously, I’m thankful for living in a place with a mild climate. The winter rainy season may be a challenge, but Californians are creative when finding ways to do stuff outdoors. I’ll be investing in awnings and space heaters.
The more terrifying thing to me is what happens during the fall fire season when the pandemic is still raging. Fire crews were already stretched extremely thin last year, and typically get reinforced by out-of-state and out-of-country firefighters.
I find myself contemplating all the time we wasted and how hard it will be to recover from that. Literally, if we’d shut everything down in March, and kept it shut down until the back of the pandemic was broken, we’d be where the European countries are. But I am concerned that the halfway measures not only haven’t worked (as anyone could have predicted), but have made people less tolerant of doing what we need to do.
Oh, and assuming Trump loses, he will stop caring about even looking good immediately, except if he can announce a vaccine so he can “prove” that he knew what he was doing. So the fall does not look good at all.
Have you called your Senators and Congresscritter about the Post Office today? If not, you are slacking.
Finishing a cartoon right now, A woman seeing the convention dates on her tv, “Ive been feeling so disconnected, I cant believe I’m actually looking forward to a political convention?!!?”
I just got back from voting in person. There were eight times as many poll workers as there were voters (Narrator: There were eight poll workers.) I was in and out in two minutes (primary runoff, only three races). As I was collecting my “I voted” sticker, another voter came in, and one of the poll workers said “This is the most crowded we’ve been all day!”
University of Illinois rolls out new test as state reports almost 2,000 more COVID-19 infections
Unless well-to-do white people start getting COVID, nothing is going to happen.
What I don’t understand is why they haven’t.
My sister lives in TN, my niece in Iowa. They can recount endless parties and events – which they don’t attend. No COVID.
Some white people died in NYC, but no where near the number of others.
And they were NY-ers so don’t count to Real America.
Unless some of those yahoos at Bedminister contract the virus, Trump will just keep supporting genocide.
@piratedan: In 2018 they turned out in greater numbers than for any previous midterm election, and beat their presidential turnout rate from 96 and 00. It’s still down relative to other age groups, but it was much higher and since Obama was elected, the gap from young voters to older demographics has closed up some.
But frankly, even if their turnout is 40% as it historically has been, compared to 70% for 65+, that vote margin is so massive it’ll swamp the 65 year old Trump margin. Trump would need to win 65+ by 16 points in order to make up just the 18-22 gap. And in 2016 he only won them by 8 points.
@Martin: I plan to early vote in person, going at some off time. Memphis/Shelby County has a good early voting structure, two full weeks.
They will be around till they die. Till then we need to make sure their disease doesnt spread to the new generation or to millennials who will now be at that age of “get off my lawn”.
@randy khan: But back in March, we didn’t have test kits. I commented at that time:
We’ve been screwed for quite a while.
I am planning to vote in person (for Biden!) in Missouri. It may be the only time I get out of the house in November, and I am not sure mail-in voting will even be safe here. I will wear my mask, gloves, and a hazmat suit if I have to to get rid of the shitgibbon.
As a Missourian, I really dread the long, cold, lonely days of winter but will endure 6-8 weeks of lockdown to get this thing under control. We have a mask ordinance in place where I live but lots of special snowflakes with “medical conditions” that make it impossible for them to mask up. Our local university is recommending masks for returning students and SEC athletes, who are already going to bars and everywhere else unmasked and undeterred. I feel trapped in the space between two entirely different worlds: one where reason and sanity rule, and Trumpworld.
@Martin: well seniors are turning too, what they need to swamp are the under 65 non-college white vote… that’s is Trumpy’s Jericho.
Can’t be that high or almost everyone would wear a mask, with or without any mandates.
I just accept the fact lots of people are going to die, and all we can do is take care of ourselves to the best of our abilities.
I imagine we’ll find out either today or tomorrow.
This is why I sent my kids back to school now, outdoors with masks and class size 5 to 7 pupils, no cafeteria or bus. They are too young for online class, hadn’t seen another kid since March. This is their opportunity to get peer interaction while transmission is low in our county, possibly the only chance until next spring. You can’t remotely learn to share, sit quietly at circle time, and use your words. They will only see grandparents outdoors with masks since going back to school, and the rest of the household is still limiting our exposure budget to grocery store once a week, medical appointments, and essential work distanced with PPE.
@raven: Spit tests are a good step. But we’re so far behind on this we need to be testing a massive fraction of the nation, and the testing system is so fragmented and disorganized that’s it can’t meet the challenge.
Note the undercurrent of that story – the test is only for university people. That’s because, like us, our testing capacity has been sitting idle because we can’t plug into EPIC systems for communicating the test results to insurers, etc. So Illinois solved their local problem and only their local problem. They can test 100% of the campus community each week. Which is great, but it only helps if both the university opens so everyone can be there for the tests, and nobody ever fucking leaves the campus because all bets are off once you leave. The people you interact with outside aren’t benefitting from weekly testing, there is no trust chain being built around organizations that are open, etc. So it serves as a marker that the university is ready to reopen but only if the non-university world pulls themselves up to the same level – which they are incapable of doing for a whole range of reasons. You’ll get this minor island of better outcomes that is still sitting in the middle of a raging ocean, always at threat of being overrun.
Don’t get me wrong – at least they are doing something – and total props from me for that but it won’t actually be effective until it’s part of a larger statewide and national plan. Once those plans arrive, they’re ready. But by implementing it now, they run the risk of burning their credibility with the community. If people still get sick, and on Jan 20 that national plan starts to happen, will the community trust the universities good local plan when they saw it previously fail?
Good responses require public trust, and there is almost none left, either due to corruption and mismanagement, but also due to good plans falling short and now being viewed as having been bad plans. You’ve now burned that plan and will need to create a new one.
@Martin: I guess that means that China doesn’t have to neglect to buy it all up as part of Dump’s “deal” to get back to where we were when started squatting in the Oval Office.
mesmer a la carte
@Martin: Not that it matters, but when the Supreme Court decision was handed down it included the proviso that it could not be used as precedent.
@dmsilev: Actually he said over the weekend he’s selected. I’m guessing they are doing the rollout prep. Biden knows by selecting a female VP it’s going to unleash a tsunami of attacks and bad takes. They need to get in front of that – that takes some time to produce. Video endorsements from the other presidential candidates, etc.
I’ve noticed an uptick in the ‘I worked with Kamala Harris and here’s why she’s good’ hot takes in the last few days. I suspect the campaign has contacted people that have worked around the VP candidate and signaled they should get ready to play defense. A lot of people have to strongly suspect/know who the pick is, but are unable to say.
@mesmer a la carte: And stare decis means what, exactly to Roberts and friends? Exactly what they need it to for any given decision.
Too much dooming and glooming. I think we always need to look for opportunities to improve the situation, even small amounts of progress can make a big difference.
Social distancing will also reduce transmission of flu, there is no news from Southern hemisphere of a particularly bad strain, everyone can bug their state government to get a better flu and covid-19 control effort going. You can make sure to get flu shot, and take care of any important non-covid-19 health issues before flu season.
Europe could get the problem solved in 2 to 4 months, so we still have time if individual states can up their games. Other countries have had similar problems to US, for various reasons. For example, severe shortage of testing, and lack of industrial capacity to quickly ramp up production. Small countries with big reliance on international trade that couldn’t print their own money (Eurozone) had some hard budget constraints.
I apologize in advance for not panicking. Panicking, of course, is so helpful in solving problems.
@jl: You may get a talking to about tone policing.
The Moar You Know
@MattF: Got a friend of mine who’s a ER physician at UCSD. Told me last week they’re a few weeks out from running out of tests, with no replacements on the horizon.
@Martin: I guess I’m behind but I thought just having that kind of test was a breakthrough?
” You may get a talking to about tone policing. ”
I tried to give some constructive ideas for ways to solve the problem, will that get me in more trouble?
Gin & Tonic
WaPo reporting “Breaking News” that the Big 10 has pulled the plug on football.
@Martin: Harris seems like the logical pick, though you can make good cases for pretty much the entire (rumored) short list. Whatever; nobody asked us, and it’s not like any of the possibilities would sway us away from voting for Biden.
NOW everyone can crow about the dreaded football being cancelled.
“The coronavirus pandemic led the Big Ten on Tuesday to postpone its football season until at least the spring semester, making the league the first of the sport’s marquee conferences to abandon plans for games this autumn.”
@jl: Fuck if I know. I just get yelled at when I try it.
The Moar You Know
@mesmer a la carte: I remember laughing myself sick when I read that back in 2000. What they obviously meant is that it will never be used as precedent to benefit a Democratic presidential contender.
It will absolutely get used this election if that’s what’s needed to get Trump 4 more years and it’s anywhere near close.
What a fucking joke.
@Gin & Tonic: You mean they didn’t heed Dear Leader’s demand this morning that the games must go on? Sad.
@Jeffro wrote: Let’s crush the community spread, mask up, and test/trace our brains out.
One of these things is not like the others. Where are the tests and the tracers? Shall we clap harder?
@raven: “I guess I’m behind but I thought just having that kind of test was a breakthrough?”
They don’t do much good for control unless you can make up for relatively low test characteristics (false positives and negatives), with scale and speed of processing. I think some FDA problems there, since they freak out over home testing, and they are using grossly and idiotically inappropriate standards for approving tests. On testing, FDA has been a real mess from the beginning. First being too strict when they should have been looser for early diagnostic tests, and then being to loose when they should have been strict for serology tests. They have been completely unable to match proper standards for different sorts of tests to what problems the tests need to solve for real world decisions. Tests are used differently for clinical diagnostics, contact tracking and isolation, individual decisions on isolation apart from contact tracking, and population surveillance, and you need different mixes of test characteristics (speed, scale of deployment, false positives, false negatives, cost per test)
@Gin & Tonic
So they’re running 7 hours behind Balloon Juice?
Gin & Tonic
@NotMax: Tomorrow’s news today.
@NotMax: Wait, who thinks US corporate news media does better on breaking news than an almost top 10,000 cooking, pet, and this fucking old house and gardening blog?
@Omnes Omnibus: Nominated
@Martin: IIRC, that decision explicitly stated it was NOT to be used as a precedent. OTOH, maybe that sets a precedent of issuing rulings that should not be used as a precedent, so no harm doing another one?
Seems to be a mere delay in counting is different that a ballot dispute about how to count flawed ballots, and I hope that makes a difference to the corrupt reactionary loons in the courts.
Edit: anyway, Democrats know what’s coming so no excuse for them not to respond as best they can: GOTV to mail ballots as early as possible, maybe in-person youth turnout GOTV effort.
another part of testing is contact tracing. NPR report on people refusing to cooperate on that is depressing and unsurprising.
I haven’t said this in a while; there are now like 4+ observational studies that find strong correlations between Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 case severity. (There’s also what may be a fraudulent study preprint from the Philippines, not sure, but the other studies look more reputable.)
There are a few RCTs in progress, but Vitamin D supplementation is cheap and safe, and darker skinned subpopulations in northerly (southerly in southern hemisphere) latitudes tend to be more often deficient/insufficient, for several reasons including skin blocking sunlight better and genetic differences related to vitamin D. Actively being investigated re COVID-19 by at least several teams. No big pharma involved because no patents. (There was a UK study (biobank) that probably incorrectly guessed the causality relationships of possible confounders.)
 Genetic Influences on Circulating Vitamin D Level: A Review (11 October 2012, Feng Zhang, Alireza Moayyeri & Timothy D. Spector)
 There is some evidence for all of these re respiratory infections:
Vitamin D (some papers suggest 2000IU (50ug) or maybe 4000(100 ug) for large people, some scientists think the 4000 max is too low by a factor of 2.5, e.g. 10000 per day during the pandemic is probably OK they say.)
Zinc (10-40 mg per day, but no more than 40mg per day)
Vitamin E (200IU, more is worse),
Vitamin C (less evidence, but at least the RDA. 500mg twice a day seems to saturate for most people)
(If anyone wants links, ask here or my nym at gmail.com)
@Gin & Tonic wrote: Tomorrow’s news today.
Seems more like “Today’s news 7 hours after it was announced”.
@jl: My feeling is we are going ti have Covid-19 through 2021 and into 2022. The religious right is buying into “masks and vaccines are dangerous and hurt our religious freedoms”. There may be some assistance in organizing from far right groups. Even if we get Biden and the senate it will be unlikely to persuade 27%, or more, that this virus can be stopped. This may change if these church groups become superspreader events. By then it may become endemic.
With Biden and the senate we coukd get a national test, trace, and isolate / support program so people would know if they can visit friends and family occasionally – the bubble model. At this point we won’t see our friends and family in this state from drippy October to May. Palm Springs as a destination for a long road trip this Fall seems more appealing but we only have a couple friends there and what do we do with our fur babies?
@catclub: Also, at least in CA, counties were allowed to get by with programs mostly still in training, and only as various marks on paper, as up and running programs. So, most counties’ programs fell apart at first contact with reality, because what was on the ground was not what the county advertised. Counties that had real adequately trained staff in the field did OK.
Some countries are showing that you can do statistical contact tracking that is useful. By that, I mean having data and doing statistical analysis on where big outbreaks occur and where they are flowing into general population (usually through commuting patterns). That has allowed some countries in Europe to control some serious outbreaks.
Bad news is that because the US seems to stink at hard problems in disease control at all levels, many states don’t have surveillance capacity or in-house expertise to do even that.
Edit: one thing learned in Europe is that large worksite outbreaks are dangerous and business needs to be watched like a hawk. What happens in the factory, mine, warehouse, food processing plant, construction site, etc., does not stay there. Big outbreak in Spain started in agriculture with bosses who made infected people come to work, spread through nightclubs in neighboring province into general population.
@Martin: No fears. Large agro-business and wealthy farmers will receive a hefty bailout with taxpayer money and no string attached.
Both of those people are probably Ed Rendell.
@Baud: His left mouth doesn’t know what his right mouth is saying.
@Martin: I haven’t read through this yet, but I have it linked in the What You Can Do thread.
When Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing and Counting Can Begin
Does that give you what you want?
Yeah, I’ve been going on about this for months.
A genuinely impossible, will-never-happen idea has been tickling in the back of my mind as something that might should happen:
If Biden wins, once his win is unfuckupable by the GOP, the Dems ought to impeach Trump over his being AWOL on the coronavirus.
The point being to give the GOP Senators, and then Pence, a chance to at least partially undo some of the damage that’s been done by the absence of any unified national approach to dealing with the coronavirus. Even if the Dems waited until the day after the Electoral College met, even that month’s head start would save thousands of lives.
Like I said, there’s no way this would ever happen. No use hoping for it, definitely no point bothering to pester my Congressman about it. It’s way too far ‘outside the box.’
But I can’t help but think they should. I really don’t like it when people die needlessly.
Two (there were others, but would have go deep dive searching to get them correctly) taglines from spoof radio ads in the 60s:
“Remember, you can put today in the past tomorrow at Flexopneumohydroservosystematization & Control.”
“Remember, yesterday’s future is here today at Flexopneumohydroservosystematization & Control.”
Dorothy A. Winsor
Biden should announce his pick right after Trump starts his “news” conference.
This blog knew the GOP was shit well before 2020.
Another thing learned from statistical population based contact tracking, is that people always seem to get ‘shut down’ and ‘distancing’ fatigue, tend to get tired and drop it, get sloppy, or rebel against masks. It’s not an US asshole problem (though it probably is worse here). Denmark’s reopening was almost wrecked because Danes took reopening as signal that they didn’t need masks or social distancing any more. After business cheating to maximize profits, population distance fatigue seems next biggest problem.
So, need very aggressive and high quality public education programs (aka, doing something besides constant shaming scolding and hectoring people). Also better to use simple and very strict social distancing rules, that can be relaxed in a very simple way through reopening while retaining the same conceptual framework, so people can bake the routine into automatic behavior.
US hasn’t been able to do either consistently. We really stink at this stuff. I wonder if because public sector programs haven’t been allowed to actually solve any practical problems in decades. They had to spend all their time defending against budget cuts and legal challenges, and find a way to patch together doing necessary SOP to keep things from falling apart.
Does anyone else feel that Biden is moving too quickly in announcing his Veep pick?
The country is literally on fire and Trump is playing Golf and preparing sketches to have his oversized head sculpture into Mt. Rushmore. Demanding schools to be open without a testing protocol for children, the teachers, the ancillary help, and anyone coming into the school for the day would be an act as callous as tearing children from their parents and locking them up in cages.
@Baud: Biden lost your phone number? Why didn’t you call him? Being virtual, Baud is the obvious choice, can be anything as needed throughout the campaign.
@jl: There was an interesting article in the NY Mag the other day about heterogeneity and how/why COVID-19. I’m sure it has been passed around here. I don’t think the pandemic is accelerating in the US despite some states acting the fool and that is something to look into for researchers. The numbers didn’t drop in AZ and other states because everyone got religious about social distancing and mask use. Youyang Gu‘s covid model is really robust and tells a different story through data. The evidence seems to suggest that spread isn’t exponential until 80% of the population gets it and then it magically stops. But more than once the most susceptible 10-20% get infected the growth slows. It doesn’t stop the spread, and absent any mitigation it will still spread sufficiently to keep killing lots of people, but that more precise measures (testing and tracing combined with some mask use) may be more effective than anticipated.
I do also think that the flu season will be less severe than typical since people will still likely be practicing some physical distancing measures and employing masks. After all, the CDC declared flu season over early this last year because cases dropped off a cliff in March. But I agree with Braswell’s assertion that any flu symptoms will make things confusing to sort through.
We don’t know what we don’t know and there will be good news in there too.
@WaterGirl: I bet it was 75-25 Clinton in 2016. But turnout?
I think people are making too big a deal about it. I don’t think most voters care about the VP pick, but maybe that’s because I don’t care.
Also, I suppose that would be a bad thing for a former VP to say- “doesn’t matter!” :)
@jl: I wonder if several red state Secs of State (FL, AZ, OH?) will just declare their state for Trump on election nite. That’s what happened in FL in 2000, right? Then it would be Biden who’d have to sue. This November’s gonna be a wild ride
@Kay: I was being facetious. We’ve had a lot of anxious comments about the “delay” in making the pick.
@Martin: In Oregon my ballot is validated as soon as it is received. I get an email confirming my ballot was accepted otherwise it is a provisional ballot. If there was a problem I’d need to go to the county elections office to fix it. Ballots are counted the day of the election. Count on election night should be close to the final count since ballots must be received by election day to be counted. The numbers often change a little after election day. I think they allow a few days for provisional ballots to be cleared up.
@Baud: Do you want me to go buy a fish just to slap you with it?
@Dan B: My perspective is influenced by AIDS emerging when I was in my mid-thirties. It began as a series of increasing shocks. First it was far away from Seattle. Then it was only an acquaintance in San Francisco, then LA, then in Seattle. It became apparent that the world had changed. Improvements in the lives of LGBT people became precarious. It was decades before treatments. The world changed and dud not go back for decades.
It’s in the possibility that Covid-19 becomes endemic in the US,Latin America, India, and Russia. How will this affect our lives? Do we become pariahs in much of the world? How long does it take for the development and deployment of treatments and a vaccine?
LGBT people suffered through AIDS but it took a toll and forced changes in our lives and our view of the world. I believe we’re all headed to a major shift.
Pretty fly for a white guy.
The NPR report mentioned companies strongly discouraging any contact tracing when their was an outbreak in their factory.
Democrats should hire one full-time Betsy DeVos demonizer. My God, she’s like a gift from heaven.
You people don’t even know the half of it. Horrible.
I suspected she was attacking working people while ensconced at the waterfront estate. And the OBSCENE amounts she spends on security! It’s a full time job tracking the awfulness.
“In [insert blue state here] we are requesting the court remove from the total any votes cast by those who died between postmark date and election day.”
Nice quote from Tom Nichols: “This party must be dissolved in aqua regia and poured onto the sands of a desert floor.”
@Baud: Considering the DNC starts next Monday, not really. Might push the announcement off until Friday at the latest under that timeframe
eta: and I see you were concern trolling us. Droll, very droll.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
I was thinking exactly the same thing!
And while I’m obviously interested in knowing Joe’s pick, and look forward to seeing the announcement, I won’t miss all these talking heads on cable practically peeing with excitement, as they’ve been doing for the last three hours. Looking right straight at you, BriWi.
@ChrisS: Yes, I’ve read some of that research. It’s hard to know what to make of it. With those large highly aggregated models, it’s difficult to know what those estimated real time effective reproduction numbers really represent in real world transmission process, and how stable they are. That is, if we rely on current estimates of lower than expected herd immunity, will that disappear as soon as you rely on it and individual behavior and mixing patterns change? Probably why research on it is so mixed and so much controversy over implications.
The epidemic has a mysterious pattern of bubbling along at subexponential growth for much longer than expected, and then suddenly exploding into large numbers of serious cases. One epidemiologist called it the ‘dark matter’ problem of covid-19 spread.
@Martin: important if true! I am encouraged.
Run along Tommy. We actual Democrats will choose how we dispose of your shitstain of a political party.
My middle son is working as an electrician at a large auto supplier. They told them yesterday that they have had double digit numbers of “line” employees quietly quarantined for 2 week periods the last 2 months. He was joking that that’s why he never sees the managers. They’re staying clear of the covid pit.
Is this your audition pitch?
Biden likes shaggy dog stories, which might explain his VP selection process.
I just heard ‘breaking news’ that Biden HAS MADE HIS VP PICK!!!!’, but won’t announce it yet. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that over last week since Biden said he’d decided.
My father cares. He has some kind of wholly inappropriate old man crush on Kamala Harris. He already hates you people for not picking her. He’s pre-disappointed.
Like staring at a vat of last week’s warmed over tapioca.
Thank god someone finally recognized the work I was born to do. I would, frankly, be great at it.
Maybe it’s Corn Pop!
Do it! Get on Twitter. Become an FP again! Stalk DeVos! For America!
@NotMax: Chicago Department of Public Health is doing a huge effort to do just that, and using the FQHCs as a major resource for it.
@zhena gogolia: Waddya want? Corn Pop, Harris, Rice, Warren, Whitmer, Blondie with second husband Dagwood? Baud can be any of that. Obvious pick. Don’t know why Baud is playing coy.
Spill, Baud. WTH is Biden going to do about it?
@NotMax: “In [insert blue state here] we are requesting the court remove from the total any votes cast”
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Kay: will he be happy now?
@raven: No, it is. There’s been a few of those showing up in just the last few weeks.
The problem is that the tests we use now are generally designed by the labs that process them, so they aren’t going to change unless some government agency tells them they need to. And you’re still going to run into supply constraints without the DPA help. So you can do it for your population, but you can’t scale it to benefit others without government, which is generally nowhere to be found. Some states may pull it off, but it won’t be many.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
we gonna get a thread on the new Biden-Harris ticket?
There is a ton of hand wringing bout what will happen if Trump loses – white nationalists running amok and not leaving the white house, etc. It is worth considering what might happen if Trump wins. There will be massive civil unrest. It may make the George Floyd protests look like a tea party.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Twitter says Harris is the pick.
ETA: So does Laura Clawson at KOS
@Sab: Utterly no point in calling mine, as they’re both staunch Democrats and tweeting about it 7-8 times a day.
The only problem with living in the
Peoples’ RepublicCommonwealth of Massachusetts is having a Republican Governor. And even he is moderately sensible.
Note: Charlie Baker wants kids to be at school. However, given the MAGAts breaking the Phase 3 rules, even he acknowledges that starting out remote and adding in-person as the fall goes on makes sense.
Just sittin’ here, waiting for the university surge (damn you, BU, Northeastern, BC and Emerson!).
Major Major Major Major
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: there is no pleasing you people
Excellent choice on Biden’s part. Good call. And speaks very well to him picking someone who went after him in the primaries. I look forward to getting the tshirt.
He doesn’t like Biden but he’s voting for him. He says he’s a “draft dodger”. Just this bizarre, archaic criticism that no one else has. He’s really proud of it too. “No one knows this…”
But all could be redeemed by the lovely Kamala. She’s “whip smart”.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: YEA! Can you hear me cheering from my living room!
Kamala for the win!
He’s happy now.
WTF do you mean “wholly inappropriate”?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Major Major Major Major: and the food is terrible! and such small portions! and turn down that music. This isn’t a discotheque!
Is the air-conditioning on?
Go to 7:38 for Maya Rudolph’s great impression of Kamala.
YAY!!!!! I was hoping for Kamala. I was torn between her and Warren in the primary, but wanted Harris for VP once Biden got the nod.
Well, that’s one I never heard before. Am I out of touch (i.e., more than normal)? Or is that just BS?
@Benw: won’t happen in AZ, we elected a Dem to the position in 2018
My only disappointment is that now AG is closed off to her.
Fortunately, there’s probably a deep bench for that role. At least, I hope there is.
As opposed to Private Bonespurs?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I unironically am glad that this probably means more Maya Rudolph on MSNBC.
It’s not really a “possibility”. It’s nearly certain. Respiratory infections do not confer absolute lifetime immunity. It will be very difficult to eradicate – so far only NZ has done so. Even Taiwan hasn’t.
@Kay: I am glad that your father is now a lot more enthusiastic about voting for the Democratic ticket this fall. Yea for Kay’s dad!
Major Major Major Major
@Fair Economist: Unlike with HIV, though, we will most likely have a widely distributed, reasonably effective COVID vaccine in a year or two. Huge distinction.
Report from the coronasphere:
I resumed giving my friend rides to work last week after a two-week hiatus caused by her mother coming to visit. The hiatus was good, because it gave me a chance to (1) figure out what the endgame would be and (2) see what logistical arrangements my friend made and whether any of those could be continued to reduce my load of two drives five days a week. (The ones that were really getting to me were when the store went back to regular hours and I was picking her up at 10:00 p.m.)
1. When I started giving my friend rides in March I thought, as with everything about the coronavirus, “Well, I guess I can do this for a month or so.” ? Now, five months later, we are in the new normal. The proximate cause of giving her rides was that the two Metro stations she used to get to work were abruptly shut down. One of them reopened a month ago, and the other is scheduled to reopen on September 7. So that looks the end point for the Steep livery service.
2. Of her arrangements during our hiatus she said, “I was able to get rides home with a coworker who lives near me.” ? I stifled a spit-take as I thought, “I wonder how long you’ve known that, and when were you going to tell me.” So now I’m giving her a ride to work and not picking her up at night, except on Saturday, when the coworker isn’t working. And that is at 5:00, not 10:00.
This feels like a good tapering off toward the end of this interlude. To get to work she was walking to her nearby (closed) Metro station and catching a shuttle bus to the next open station. Not a huge problem, but time-consuming and uncomfortable in the muggy summer heat. So I can give her a ride for a few more weeks.
Other random notes:
People here in my corner of NoVA seem to be masking up pretty well, although part of that may be an observer effect as I have edited the list of places where I go: a couple of supermarkets, the gas station, the state liquor store, a handful of restaurants from which I get takeout and the occasional one-off place for an errand.
I have been getting cloth masks from various sources and trying them out. I find, though, that I am gravitating to the disposable surgical masks for the long haul. Lightweight, breathable, comfortable and relatively hassle-free. I got 100 from Woot for 33 bucks to try them out, then ordered another 100 after they turned out okay. The description says “non-medical” and “not proven to reduce the transmission of disease,” but they seem to meet the criteria—two non-woven polypropylene outer layers around a polypropylene melt-blown filler middle layer—and Dr. Bro’ Man said they are indistinguishable from the ones he wears all day in his clinic. (He wears one per day.) And they have a metal wire across the top so you can shape them around your nose. As little as I go out, I figure I can use one for up to a week.
I also got from Woot some 75% alcohol wipes, 150 for $21.99. I greatly prefer the wipes to liquid hand sanitizer, not least because I don’t have to worry about them blowing up in the car when it gets hot. And they don’t dry out, because they are individually packaged. I had been getting some store-brand wipes from Safeway, but they are only 65% alcohol and somewhat more expensive. (The Google says anything over 60% alcohol is good, and alcohol should be the active ingredient.) They also can be used to wipe a (small) surface, in a pinch.
Here’s the Safeway wipes, if anyone wants to give them a look.
All of this is commentary on the “new normal,” mentioned above. The government response to the crisis has been abysmal, to say the least, and it’s not going to get better until Biden takes office (FSM willing!) in January. And then we’ve still got the flu season to get through.
A long-distance friend asked me the other day about Virginia’s “reopening” plans and status, and I said that I don’t follow them much, because it’s one step forward, one step back—at best—and the Steep plan has become “I’ll ‘reopen’ when all the dust settles.” And I don’t see that happening for quite a while.
It is what it is, as a great American said recently.
Steeplejack: interesting to hear the epilogue of your chauffeuring story.
I too find that the disposable masks work best, though I am still collecting fabric masks in different colors and patterns for when I feel like dressing up.
Thanks. I’m still picking up the occasional cloth mask too.
@MazeDancer: well my dad’s cousin and husband are recovering, 70’s white in Florida, my mom’s brother and wife have it, they are white, same age, retired white minister up north and yes he probably caught it at church. Not sure how serious it will be yet, just happened. Ministers aren’t good at saying no when people ask…Coworker in his 40’s had a mild case, he is white. He reports that 5 people in his church have died of it here in Florida. It doesn’t seem to be in the news but it is actually happening.
@SFAW: My dad, age 95, has a crush on Nancy Pelosi. My husband, age 69, has a wholly inappropriate crush on Nancy Pelosi.
They both like Kamala Harris, but only my brother in law has an actual crush on her
ETA But my sister in law has “goosebumps” so that might be a crush.
I loved her from the moment she made Jeff Sessions piss his pants in his Senate confirmation hearing. I would have loved her as AG if only to induce Sessions to crap those same pants.
But a heartbeat away from the Oval Office? I can sleep all night knowing that. Now I’m anxious to see the rest of the incoming administration, in a good way.
a thousand flouncing lurkers was fidelio
@MazeDancer: A friend’s uncle down in Alabama died of the virus last week and his wife has tested positive but has mild symptoms only. Their granddaughter just had to come back there for her big, old-fashioned Southern wedding—nothing less would do. So it’s starting to works its way into that demographic.
By and large, these are people who don’t see bad things as happening to them—they don’t really have what it takes to envision this. For them, “bad things” would have been rain during the garden reception, or not enough champagne. Dead grandfathers as a result of your own self-indulgence aren’t on the map at all.
@a thousand flouncing lurkers was fidelio:
“It was Paw-Paw’s time.” Sniff.
@Ohio Mom: I have become quite the connoissieur of face masks
ETA: My autistic grand-daughter, age 6, is adamant about earloops. She does NOT want a face mask that ties behind her head.
test for email not sticking