Loose Threads

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So I was out doing some shopping today (with my mask in hand like an obedient subject) and drove by two restaurants we used to like that are now closed up and gone forever. Certainly not the first nor the last that we are going to see. I realized that while I look at the ‘rona data and see things trending in the right direction, I’m still not going back to restaurants. Part of that is my wife but part of it is still this lingering thought in the back of my mind about what might be floating in the air.

Given all of the unknowns, I think it did make sense to do some of what was done. But every action has consequences and I think we are eventually going to look back and realize that the lock downs did a lot more harm than good. Especially as we learn more about this virus and how to best treat it. Maybe, in the future, “two weeks to flatten the curve” will actually be the policy. Instead of the “you’ll get your life back when I decide and, until then, just shut up and obey” which kind of seems to be how certain politicians are treating it.

I’m going to get into something that is likely controversial. I don’t think it should be but I think it is. It certainly seems that one of the things driving this election is the response to the ‘rona. Saw an ad that kind of highlighted this. Made a point that we “should have this under control by now”. Also dovetails with the thinking that we should have been able to stop this.

Not going to go too deeply into the deaths because I don’t want to seem like I’m minimizing or downplaying them. But the idea that we could have saved all of those lives is a little silly. This is a respiratory disease that primarily feeds on the old and those with significant health issues. Not exclusively but primarily. Along with our inability to properly distinguish “dying with Covid” from “dying from Covid”, there are a significant number of those who died who would have died even if Covid hadn’t existed.

As to the whole “we should have this under control by now”, I have some selected charts from places around the world. As a start, here’s Belgium. When things were running wild here in the summer, Europe was being praised for their efforts. But it looks like they simply delayed the inevitable run that the virus was going to take.

Here’s the same chart for the Netherlands. All data comes from the WHO by the way.

Here’s the picture in Sweden. They do some funny reporting there – some days they don’t report any new cases so you see the lines jump all over the place. Guess we have to see if the two late spike repeat but this looks better controlled than the others. Sweden has no mask requirement by the way and never really closed bars and restaurants.

How about the whole “we could have stopped it” thing. Well here’s a graph from Jamaica. Small bump in April like a lot of the world and then three months of nothing before things exploded in mid to late August. The outbreak seems to be easing but it just shows how tough it is to really keep this thing out.

Here’s a graph for Jordan. So what’s going on here. Almost nothing until recently and now things are climbing exponentially. I’m not enough of an expert to speak to what, if any, precautionary measures were taken there. It is just another example of how hard it is to keep this thing out.

Last one – this is from Myanmar. Like Jordan, they weren’t reporting any cases until recently but have now seen things grow at a very rapid rate.

One last note, India is still on track to pass the US for the total number of cases sometime the last week of October. That might change because the case count in India has finally started to drop. Also, for the record, case growth in the US is slower than the world average. All of this could easily change if we see a second wave but I still think the trend here is moving in the right direction compared to other places where the trend is moving in the wrong direction. And that’s all I’ve got for now.

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