Week Ending Words

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I don’t watch really any TV. I do watch a lot of You Tube stuff. It fits my shortened attention span. Last night, among the top selections, were from a guy who does news and commentary and a video of a old guy in Canada who feeds raccoons. Yeah, I went with the raccoon video. Sometimes you just have to take a step back from things.

We have still not ventured back into a restaurant – my wife has lingering concerns. So we use the weekends to explore new places that delivery. Yesterday, we got sushi. I’m always a little leery of take out or delivery sushi because that’s a dish that needs to be served cold. I did have to stick some of it in our fridge for a bit but it all turned out fine.

It did feel a little wasteful seeing all the little individual packages – all of which included another little container for sauce. But you really can’t just toss it all together. We ordered a tuna tower which would had to come deconstructed for shipment and now I want to go to that restaurant just to see what it looks like on a plate. Still tasted good but part of sushi is the visual appeal.

The guy last night and the one tonight actually handed the food to me. Neither one of them was wearing a mask. For the limited time we were face to face, it didn’t bother me – I just didn’t tell my wife because she might freak out a bit. I’ll get back to the whole mask thing in a bit.

Since I’ve been home with nothing to do, I’ve done all of the driving the last three months. My wife’s car is 20 years old and she rarely drives anywhere at all but it has been sitting idle for three months and wouldn’t start. Called AAA and they came out to try and start it which didn’t hold so we got a new battery. The guy said he’s been having to jump start a lot of cars lately – guess a whole bunch of them have been on lock down as well.

That gave Rocco a lot to bark about. He didn’t like it that he was inside and we were outside so we let him out. He’s totally friendly – spent all his time sniffing the guy’s boots – sniffing footwear is his thing. Then he got to bark when the guy delivering dinner rang the doorbell. Now he is sleeping – one walk and all that excitement just wore him out. He is old after all.

I don’t know about you but it seems like every other day someone on my Facebook feed is linking to or quoting someone about masks. The mask thing probably would have gone over better if our CDC hadn’t first said they weren’t effective. And, just recently, they admitted they hadn’t quite told the truth about that because they didn’t want people hoarding masks. They wanted to save a supply for health care workers. (Now the fact that we don’t produce enough masks here for this not to be a concern is a whole other issue that I don’t have time to rant about)

People point to studies that say they work and others point to studies that say they don’t. All of the studies though are on different types of masks then the cloth ones we’ve had to use because we don’t produce enough of the other kinds. So are those studies any good. Who knows? I’ll say this, if you are actively sneezing and coughing, then masking up is a good idea. Actually, staying home would be a much better idea.

People like to brag about being a good person and that they wear the mask to keep others from being infected. But the science on how likely you are to get it from someone who isn’t symptomatic is also not clear. Plus, unless you are in a tightly packed crowd, can’t you also avoid spreading cooties by the proper social distancing? (Of course, don’t go looking for studies to support the six feet because that’s mostly just an educated guess)

In case you want to call my a scientific heretic, I never wear a mask when I’m in the park with Rocco. The parks get crowded at times but it is never like you are walking with a mass of people. I did start wearing one to the grocery store but I’ve stopped doing that as well. Why? Because, again, we go early enough in the morning that you can typically be the only person in an aisle. Plus, I can move and come back to places if I need to. I wear it in the doctor’s office for my allergy shots. Mostly because I have to. But also because I need to sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes after the shot and the waiting room isn’t that large. Plus it is a doctor’s office in a medical building and who knows what is flying around in the air.

While I’m rambling about the ‘rona, might as well get into the latest panic here in the states. While cases continue to fall across Europe and Canada, it hangs on here like a really unwelcome house guest. Of course, the increase in cases is limited to a couple of places. Over the last couple of days, 10 states make up about two thirds of the new cases.

As with everything here, politics takes over. One side says it is because these places opened up too soon even though the increase happened about a month after the opening. The other side says it is because of the recent rallies but why would that only impact a few states when there were big rallies everywhere? Truth is nobody really knows for sure.

I did just get all of last week’s numbers from the site I use to track these things. Yes, the number of new cases was the highest it has been since the last week in April. The number of total tests was the highest ever but these increase is over and above the number of tests. What is also true is that the number of deaths declined again and was the lowest since the end of March (right before things started to explode). There is one state that seems to be in trouble and since deaths lag behind positive tests, we could still see a spike but it really seems like we are just finding a whole bunch of new mild cases. And what that means is anybody’s guess.

Now, while cases are dropping in a lot of the places that spiked early, they are still rising in certain parts of the world. Brazil has outpaced the US in new cases recently. And places like South Africa, India, Pakistan and Chile are still on the up slope in new cases.

But what continues to be interesting is that observed fatality rate (Deaths/Cases) is dropping everywhere. I know that’s not a perfect measure but it is the metric we have. Based on WHO stats, the fatality rate for the world was around 7% in late April/early May. Now it sits at 5.3%. Europe, which was hit the hardest had a death rate of 9.5% in late April and is now at 7.6% mostly because some of the places that are spiking now (Russia) aren’t seeing the same number of deaths that were observed in Italy, Spain, France and the UK. The number of deaths in Africa is about double what is was a month ago but the rate has dropped to 2.2%. (Sorry, I get carried with the numbers)

I don’t know what it all means. The rate of cases has been increasing long enough that if those places were going to follow Europe, we would see it by now. Have the treatment improved? Are we now doing a better job of keeping it out of vulnerable populations? Are there differences in immunity somehow?

Well I hope that wasn’t too depressing. Maybe I should spend more time with raccoon videos rather than WHO statistics.


    1. You also have to work among the Karen’s of the world where you can’t always stay away from people. My wife wears her mask in the stores as well. I suspect they help – just not sure how much. And if the store was wall to wall people, I’d act differently.

      1. Hey, I’m cool with you not wearing the mask since you seem to be respectful of the fact that social distancing is a good thing right now. Be careful and stay safe, my friend😗

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