Ohio’s Opening Up But I’m (Still) Staying In

So, Ohio is on its way to opening up entirely — restaurants can open their inside dining areas today, and by June first places like banquet halls and bowling alleys can be back in business. This is all presuming social distancing, etc, inside those halls and alleys. A lot of people around here are thrilled, and I can’t say I blame them; it’s difficult to be away from the world for two months, even in the best-case scenario where your job and well-being are miniminally impacted by these events. A lot of people are ready to go back into the world, or at least the bit of it encompassed by Ohio.

I’m probably not going to be one of them. And, briefly, here’s why:

1. Because the virus wasn’t (and isn’t) actually contained.

2. Because lots of people think the virus was contained, when it wasn’t (and isn’t).

3. As a result, they’re not really paying attention to things like masks or social distancing.

4. Or they think that things like masks/social distancing make you look weak and/or like a Democrat.

5. And I live in a county that went 78% for Trump in 2016, so you do the math here.

Sooooo, yeeeeeah. My plan is to stay home for most of June and let other people run around and see how that works out for them. The best-case scenario is that I’m being overly paranoid for an extra month, in which case we can all laugh about it afterward. The worst case scenario, of course, is death and pain and a lot of people confused about why ventilator tubes are stuck down their throats, or the throats of their loved ones, when they were assured this was all a liberal hoax, and then all of us back in our houses until September. Once again, I would be delighted to be proved overly paranoid.

I do plan to leave my house. I have a dentist appointment in June, and it’s likely at some point or another I will go to the grocery store, or the post office, or run some errands. When I do, I’ll wear a mask (well, probably not in the actual dentist chair, but right up until then) and I’ll keep my distance from most folks. You know, like I have done for the last few months anyway. Mind you, even if I stay at home there’s a chance I’ll still get exposed, because people are becoming more mobile in general, so there are more potential vectors for infection, etc. So I’m not under the illusion that I’m safe. Just safer.

(I could go on about all the political/social dimwittery that caused us as a nation to waste the time all of us were inside, and how we could have been in a better place vis-a-vis this virus if we had better leaders, but, honestly, you already know where I would go with all that, and I don’t want to bother right now. I’m angry about it, but mostly at the moment I’m just exasperated. And tired. Possibly mildly depressed. Meh.)

I am of course immensely privileged to have the resources to stay at my (objectively nice and comfortable) home, a job that allows me to work from that home, and a temperament that mostly doesn’t consider staying at home a hardship. As far as dystopias go, mine is quite cozy and it won’t be exactly onerous to hunker down for another month (or two! Possibly three!). I feel sorry for the people who would like to able to do what I can, but cannot, for various financial and personal reasons. And again, I have sympathy for the people who are all, the hell with this, I’ll risk getting sick, just let me out of my fucking apartment. I get where you’re coming from. You probably don’t actually know what you’re asking for. I hope that you never have to learn.

In any event: Hi, I’m still staying home. Probably. Mostly.

129 Comments on “Ohio’s Opening Up But I’m (Still) Staying In”

  1. Same here, dude. Granted, I’m in Virginia. They are slowly opening certain establishments, beaches, etc., but no dice for me or my family. I’ll take a rain check considering today was our second highest daily count since the madness began. In other news, a guy that said he could cure COVID-19 by laying of the hands just died… of COVID-19. Stay safe. Stay well.

  2. Last time I went to the neighborhood Kroger, maybe 10% of the people there were wearing masks or bothering to maintain any kind of distance. Some were pushing carts full of children right up on the person in front of them at the checkout. And this is in a Democratic stronghold.

    I’m not going to Kroger again any time soon.

  3. That makes sense. I’m in the mid-Hudson Valley in NY, outside of NYC but close enough that a lot of people have jobs there. We are still mostly locked down, but I am seeing people starting to crack and wonder why can’t we go back to business as usual, and just wear masks if we want to? Fortunately for me and mine, we are all of similar opinion that we all must stay home as long as we can. Some jobs may force us back to work, in which case there will be masks. Stay home and stay safe, everyone!

  4. Your paragraph beginning with “Sooooo, yeeeeeah” expresses how I feel so well that I’d like permission to quote that paragraph in full, with a link to this blog entry, on my social media pages. So… may I?

  5. So, any chance of a Venn diagram? How’s the overlap if any of the groups “anti-vax” and “no-evolution” and “no abortion” and “Constitutional right to guns and barbers” and “No mask, no reason” and “SF readers”? Or am I overthinking this here?

  6. Anyhow, yeah, I’d think the odds of getting virus-loaded out in public remain high as ever, and will start going up as the “open up” continues. Ware singers, that’s the only caution I can think of. And shouters, of course.

  7. I’m in Northern Colorado, in the healthcare industry so I’ve been working all along (in an office). While I am so, so grateful to continue getting a paycheck, it’s been very stressful. Coworkers have had the virus and I’m sure there will be more. But I continue to wear a mask and will keep as far away from people as I can!

    I miss my 3 year old grandson desperately though.

  8. I have no cabin fever because at this point I suspect I will die if I go outside for sun n’ fun. I’m afraid to breathe the air these days (nobody is wearing masks, my neighbor coughs and sneezes outside multiple times a day, I’m told the students are out partying outside). I have no temptation to leave any more than I absolutely have to, and yes, I am dreading that inevitable dentist appointment. I got invited to a drive-by birthday and if that wasn’t already on the day I have to drive the car so it won’t die, I’m not even sure if I’d do that. Except she’s the only one who went to my online birthday party, so. I will probably have to buy food for the first time in the next few weeks (like a Taurus, I stocked up) and I’m terrified. I don’t want to eat or drink any more, or at least I am cutting down on that stuff where I can.

    Btw, a coworker of mine moved to Ohio “to take care of the grandchildren” and now is taking the train cross-country to see her *other* grandchildren because day care is open in Ohio again! Yaaaaay! I’m just glad I don’t have to see her in person any more, or any other of my coworkers who are making crazy life decisions like having people in and out of their houses all the time.

  9. Yeah, not going anywhere for another month or so. And probably not then, At least CA seems to have a bit of a handle on it, but the virulence is truly scary. Fortunately we’re both able to work from home, I’ll be shocked if I’m back in the office this year.

  10. You sound very optimistic to me. The baseline expectation was that the “elderly” could expect to need to stay isolated 12-18 months, to the extent possible. And for this particular disease elderly has been redefined as starting at age 50. What is true is that we’ll know some things in a month that we don’t know now.

    But having squandered the opportunity to limit the spread early on, and with no national policy, things are clearly not going to go well in the short term.

    I rescheduled my medical/dental for late August/September, with the intention of revisiting that as the time approaches.

    The facts, as far as they are known, are unpleasant, and it’s tempting to decide they can’t possibly be the facts.

  11. As of May 21, 2020, the Darke County General Health District reports:

    – 141 total Covid-19 cases (134 confirmed, 7 probable)
    – 16 total Covid-19 related deaths (13 confirmed, 3 probable)
    – 17 current Covid-19 patients
    – 75 recovered Covid-19 patients

    With an estimated population of 52,968, Darke County’s Covid-19 infection rate is 0.0025 percent, roughly 26.6 infections per 10,000. Dark County’s Covid-19 death rate has enough zeros past the decimal point to drive a truck through.

    The good people of Darke County are at greater risk of dying from boredom than Covid-19.

  12. Pedro:

    “The lockdown worked like it was supposed to, so you didn’t actually ever have anything to worry about, nor will in the future when it is lifted!”

    Pedro, I do wonder if you actually pay attention to what you type sometimes, or think that it makes much sense out in the world.

    Also, you do stats poorly, or at least, think that I don’t see you trying to massage your numbers. According to Johns Hopkins, Darke’s COVID-19 fatality rate is almost 12%, i.e., of those who’ve gotten it, that’s the percentage that have died in our county. Which is not an encouraging number! If you research, you’ll find that a fair number of them were in a nursing home, so there were contributing factors, but living here in the county, let me assure you that the number of people who have comorbidities here would not be encouraging if it spread any further. I think it’s delightful you don’t appear to think the virus is particularly spreadable here in a small rural county, all evidence to the contrary. Not to mention that all indications show surviving doesn’t mean one just “gets better” — there’s lots of evidence that it contributes to chronic health problems.

    Why don’t you take the rest of the thread off, Pedro. I’m really not in the mood for your actual bullshit.

  13. Texting with Niece in Texas (NiT) this morning:
    NiT: Whatcha doin’, Uncle Scotty?
    Me: Drowning in cortisol, just like everybody else. You?
    NiT: Well, I asked Emily (other NiT, NiT #1’s sister) what she wanted for breakfast. Answer: ‘a gallon jug of serotonin’.

    I love my family.

    AND: I have lots, no, barrels, no, BOATLOADS of contempt for those who equate simply being a good citizen (wearing a fucking MASK, for fuck’s sake, or complying with commercial establishments’ internal rules) with being weak, or not MURCAN, or losing their FREEDOM.

    You lose your FREEDOM if you are DEAD. You lose your FREEDOM if you bring that shit home because you were a trucknuts ASSHOLE, and someone in your FAMILY gets dead, just BECAUSE YOU WERE AN ASSHOLE. And on and on.

    I’m done here, now. But I’m still not going out..

  14. I’ve heard it said: We’re not at the end of a pandemic, we’re at the beginning.
    I believe that’s correct.
    I’ll be staying home,
    and when I can’t do that, wearing a mask.

  15. I have a dentist appointment in Boston next month. I usually take the bus to the city then a cab because parking is nonexistant downtown and driving into the city is nervewracking. I’ll be burning incense to the Immunity Gods in the next few weeks.

  16. I’m expecting to be some variety of stuck inside or hypervigilant for the duration of 2020. I’m not happy about it, but it’s much better than getting sick or dying. Fortunate to have a relatively stable job with a boss who’s on board with keeping me working remotely until everything’s looking good and safe in the DMV.

  17. I’m lucky because I live in Boulder, CO (a well known liberal stronghold – also often a stronghold of liberal libertarians and anti-vaxxers, though). Not everyone is wearing masks, and they recently had to close the creek path for a large section due to idiot college students totally not social-distancing and swimming in the creek in large masses. But, overall, I’d say that more and more people are wearing them outside, which is nice to see. I’m hoping for that supposedly magic 60% wearing 60% efficient masks, but not keeping my fingers crossed. Around here, if you tell all the extreme sports people and triathletes that wearing a mask improves their training regime, we’d probably have to pry the masks off them when this is over.

    I braved a couple of stores the other day and happily, everyone was social distancing and wearing masks. However, Colorado is also the state where some jerk shot a store employee because they were asked to wear a mask. The stupid lives close by, here.

  18. I’m quite happy working from home in Michigan. Had to go into the office on Monday and Tuesday and I was the only person wearing a mask. This is a long term situation. Even if our toddler president thinks it will magically disappear. So continue hunkering down. Channel your inner hermit and stay safe and healthy.

  19. What annoys me is the old people using a scarf as a mask and then thinking they can break social distancing in the supermarket. I’m a healthy 42 year old, social distancing is to protect everyone and that scarf isn’t going to help you!

    On a lighter note, have you had to break into that emergency toilet paper yet, or is Athena likely to find it in the basement in like 30 years time?

  20. 141 / 52968 is 0.266%, not 0.0026%. That’s actually a higher rate than Philadelphia, where I live (which is currently at 0.231%), and we’ve had it pretty tough here (and are still largely locked down, for good reason).

  21. I’d cheerfully let the “public health/epidemiology is a librul hoax” crowd suffer the natural consequences of that stance, except it’s (statistically) likely multiple *other* people will suffer for their actions. So it’s mostly “I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people” on repeat, here. (also staying home/mask wearing on the essential grocery trip/etc)

  22. Smart. I haven’t left my property (house and yard) since March 7, nor do I intend to until, probably, mid-September. I might make an exception if the libraries open and provide curbside pickup of books on hold. I’m fortunate that my wife very carefully does once weekly grocery shopping, with mask and gloves. We wash, clean we don’t invite anyone into our home.

    Like you we’re extremely frustrated with the idiocy in the White House and GOP halls, but there seems little to do but vote.

  23. (Correction to my earlier comment: Philadelphia’s 0.236% is for new cases within the last 14 days, not total cases. For total cases, we’re at about 1.3% (20,700 cases in a city of 1,584,000 people). I hope Darke County never gets close to that!)

  24. I guess I WASN’T done.

    If you have lost your job, I have much empathy.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If you are broke because the state or federal gov’t is a shambles, I feel ya.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If you have had to move in with friends or family, that truly sucks.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If, even, YOU HAVE BECOME HOMELESS… well, that’s a really shitty feeling.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.

    If you become DEAD,
    If you kill a friend or a family member,
    You MAY recover from that, but your life will truly suck. Pretty much forever.
    If you, or a family member, or a friend gets REALLY sick…
    … there is ever-increasing data that indicate you, or they, MAY NEVER RECOVER FROM THAT.

    Physical distance. No crowds. No restaurants, bars, or fucking crowded fucking Ace Hardware.
    Your front porch pots can stay empty for one year. They will forgive you.

    Jibbers. I really got worked up.
    Stay safe.

  25. My greatest frustration is the way a faction has used the low-news lockdown time to generate a false “movement” of people seeking freedom. The news media covered the small numbers of protesters without balancing the huge numbers of people trying to cooperate with health policy leaders. Now we have surges of “re-openings” in places that barely closed, growing numbers of people refusing to engage minimal prevention measures (masking, distancing) necessary to prevent the inevitable tragic virus proliferation.

    The initial response by our federal leadership (and a lot of state/local leaders) was highly political and partisan. Responses now entrench these divisions even more deeply, although I think that some people are crossing to one side or the other in disappointment and disillusionment.

  26. Very much my thoughts. I used to only telework when I had an appointment or short work day – wanted to keep my work and home separate… Now fully embracing telework for at least another couple of months.

  27. Good for you Mr. Scalzi. I’m older than you and have several loved ones in very high risk groups. The idea that exposing myself could expose them is not something I wish to live with. I wish more people would consider that risk. Hopefully the numbers will continue to dropping before your dental appointment.

  28. Thank Great Ghu the Grandfather God I live in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. Our moderate republican governor Charlie Baker is doing about as good a job as he can (and the polls reflect it – an 84% approval rating – one of the top 3 in the country)

    Almost everyone I’ve seen when I’ve been in public places (shopping mainly) is following guidelines and every place of business I’ve been in are “no mask no entry”.

    I had to return to work on Monday and there was a mandatory mask order and social distancing whenever you left your individual workstation.

    A couple of idjits (one of the God Provides variety, the other of the Gun Nut variety) would not get with the program. After a few complaints to management they were told to do it or else. The Christian has done so but has to be reminded constantly. The Trumpist stated “MY FREEDOMS!”, refused, and was sent home for the rest of Monday and then the next day without pay. When he returned Wednesday he still wouldn’t and was sent home again and told to stay out until he would follow the rules. He wanted to use vacation time but was told “no, you need to provide two weeks notice”. He still hasn’t returned and I hope he doesn’t since he’s stupid enough to spread it inadvertently and since he’s the facilities/janitor is everywhere in the building.

    I have blocked off access to my office and leave only for the bathroom and go outside telling people to call or email or talk through the door. I have to do my best since my 83 your old mother with half a lung missing, diabetes, and heart disease has about a 1% chance if she gets it.

    Be well folks and don’t be a mo-ron.

  29. John, Agree completely. I’m 73 and live in Iowa (aka “West Ohio”, since a large majority of Americans can’t tell the two state names apart). In Iowa, we have the midwestern trifecta of large nursing/LTC populations, relatively large prison populations, and large meat packing plants. Combine that with a Republican governor who wasn’t elected, but inherited the post when our old Gov moved to China as Trump’s ambassador and who has been currying favor with the Donald and crew ever since. This has meant that our “stay-at-home” left a lot to be desired. And now we are “opening up.” The saving grace so far has been our native instinct to generally keep our distance, normally – but opening up will change that. And our Gov has pronounced that if you stay at home because you fear getting sick and dying, you will not be able to collect unemployment. That’s been a real hit with the meatpackers and prison guards who face a very problematic future. I’m retired so this stupidity doesn’t affect me, directly. But it affects my wife and my sons. Unfortunately, Governor Reynolds is not up for re-election this fall.
    So I’m staying home, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. And to take my mind off of the worst, I’m re-reading the Scalzi oeurve – from “Agent to the Stars” to “The Last Emperox.” I highly recommend it.

  30. My employer was closing down its US offices at the same time it was starting to open up its China offices. I was the outlier in saying we’d be working from home as long a China did. It turns out was I was not nearly pessimistic enough. You can’t even get in to the office if you wanted to without multiple layers of management approval because they took everyone out of card access system except the three guys that work on equipment that they physically can’t get out the door.

    It makes me anxious as heck when I manage to get myself out to the grocery store and I’m internally screaming “Where are your masks? Why are your kids here? This aisle is one way!” but I haven’t figured out how to get mail order onions yet.

  31. I’m one of those who “most probably” had the virus back at the end of March in WA State when we were at the peak of things. No testing because my symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant it and to reserve the tests for the most severely afflicted. Have spent most of March from the 11th onward in complete isolation and did not really feel over it until the beginning of May. Now feeling pretty good, thanks! My doc says that when a reasonable antibody test comes out, I should take it, but from now to then keep acting as if I can get or can transmit the disease (masks, etc.) which I find perfectly acceptable for the sake of the herd (while hoping I can provide more herd immunity all things considered). I am happy that I only felt ill for about 8 weeks and not too badly ill at that, plus that my work shut down entirely for the duration, so I didn’t have to worry about employment disappearing. I will resume when my place of work resumes. Practically everyone I know is thrilled that we are in WA State where actions to mitigate this virus have been good. Still, it is so highly contagious that even a relatively cautious person like me managed to (most probably — doc) contract it. We as a country were not prepared for this, and now what’s going on is more than foolish — it’s deadly.

  32. I work for an intel contractor for an agency (not The Agency, but, like, a relative) in Chantilly Va., so I get to go into the office 4 days a week. We wear masks outside of our own little offices, all meetings are telecons, we all brown bag our lunch. No one who isn’t an actual corporate employee comes in the door. Period. And everyone who can work from home, does. Once a week I go to the Giant for supplies and everyone there is masked. It looks like we’re going to start opening back up, slowly, in a couple weeks. I, personally, have no intention of going out to eat unless it’s on a socially distanced patio.

    We’re still early in this and new aspects are turning up all the time, the latest being that Kawasaki syndrome like disease that’s affecting some children and teens several weeks after their bodies had thrown off the virus.

  33. MN is opening a little less slowly than OH but our cases are still climbing. I don’t understand how they think they’ll know if opening is creating a problem. There are no metrics as far as I can tell. So I’ll just stay home. I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Rare trips to the grocery store are all that are in my future for the time being.

  34. John (and a lot of posters), you are being smart. This is still the beginning. I’m afraid that a lot of people who are not willing to wear protection will suffer the consequences, or cause illness in others. But the MAGA crowd wants this to be over by election time so Trump can win. That’s a really high price to pay.

  35. On this side of the pond in England I am in total isolation till at least 30th June, and probably longer since I have an unpleasant lung disease. When they were deciding which were the most vulnerable people they were working off the assumption that it was a respiratory infection, and it is. Unfortunately it’s a lot of other things as well, and at the moment in England people with diabetes form the largest proportion of fatalities.

    There is bad news for those who are addicted to the dichotomy of you recover from it or you die; a hefty chunk of those seriously ill people who don’t die do end up with long term disabilities as a direct result of Covid-19.

    As I have mentioned before, my daughter is a consultant physician in an Acute Medical Unit: following the (expletive deleted) changes to England’s lockdown measures she expects to see the rise of seriously ill people with Covid-19 arriving at her hospital in between 7-14 days. She would very, very much like to be wrong about that, but the virus doesn’t care about her feelings or anyone else’s: it doesn’t care about anything other than reproducing itself, though if it could express itself it would most probably thank all those nice people who helped it achieve its goals. A bit like the Oscar ceremony really.

    So, please follow John’s example if you possibly can; I know there are many who would want to but don’t have a situation which allows them to, so next best thing are masks, distancing, hand hygiene, chucking your clothes off as you walk in through your front door so they can go straight into the washing machine, if you have one, or warm soapy water if you don’t. You can leave all new parcels somewhere out of the way to let the virus degrade, and wash the perishables before they go in the fridge.

    All of those recommendations come from my (cough, first husband, cough) who lives and works in China, and have been approved by my daughter who would like me to stay alive; I hope it may be of value to those who, like my daughter, have no choice about putting themselves in harms way.

  36. We can blame our leaders all we want but the real culprit is us. Selfishness and stupidity are not a matter of race, color, ethnicity, income bracket, or religion. Keep opening your mouth where you are, keep saying it to people on the street around you: please show courtesy and wear a mask. Please, Mr Business Owner, require your customers to wear masks. Do you love that baby in your arms? Wear a mask. If you sew, carry a couple with you to give away.

    If everyone makes a point of mentioning it, even the jerks of the world will get tired of being pointed out and just wear one to be left alone. Peer pressure does work and is easy to apply. Be kind, but be determined.

    I work in a hotel (not out of choice) and am surrounded by the worst examples in America, of stupid and selfish people, on a daily basis. Anything that’s driven you nuts, I have it way worse and more often, I promise. Please, remember all the people who put themselves at risk so you don’t have to: the delivery truck drivers, the grocery store clerks, those who take your cash and give you food at drive thrus, and a whole lot of people who are even more overlooked now that masks are so important. A little bit of unlooked for kindness means the world to those of us who are stuck on the front lines and come home every night and say, I risked it all today but I gave my community french fries!! Thanks.

  37. I live in a county that went 78% for Trump in 2016

    With all respect, why do you want to live in a place like that? I know firsthand there are better places, even in the midwest. You can live in a nice rural house, if that’s what you choose, work at a university, write, and still live in a Democratic community.

  38. Niles:

    It’s lovely here. They do vote ill-advisidly, however. Also, the house is paid off, so we’re not moving anytime soon.

  39. I had to go to the dentist yesterday for an urgent repair. It was the first time I had entered a building that was not my own house in ten weeks. I’m about to turn 50 and I have a household member over 65; don’t expect to see me anywhere non-essential any time soon.

  40. John:

    Sure, I’m not trying to tell you where to live, only that there are alternatives for a person of means. I hope you make a positive influence where you are.

  41. Another Iowan here. I’ve been avoiding stores as much as possible. Thank goodness for curbside pick up! Every time I drive through a parking lot, I look at how few people are wearing masks. My neighbors have obviously gone from zero to 100 this week. It would be great if the disease just disappeared for the summer. But I’d like to see some evidence of that before I jump in with both feet.

  42. I will sure be glad if and when we have the resources for wide spread testing, of a scientifically random population, because then we might be surprised at what we find. I for one would like to know whether people can get it twice. Yes, the virus is world wide but no, nobody knows the answer yet.

  43. Mask rules are like driving-sober rules.

    Drive-sober rules arent just to protect the drunk asshole who thinks he is sober enough to drive. Those rules protect all the sober people on the road too.

    Masks arent meant to protect just the wearer from getting sick. They are meant to protect the healthy people from the one guy who doesnt know he is sick.

    So, when you say you dont want to wear a mask, youre like the guy stumbling out of the bar saying you’re not too drunk to drive. Both attitudes could kill innocent people.

    And when you say “if you dont want to wear a mask, dont. But dont make ME wear one” you sound about as stupid as someone saying “if you are too afraid to drive while youre drunk, then dont. But dont use your fear as an excuse to tell me what to do. My body. My rights. I know when I’ve hit my limit and no breathalyzer is gonna tell me i cant drive”

  44. I work for a major Aerospace company in a function that can be done from home, which is where I have been working for many weeks now. The company has been actively providing guidance on coping with the COVID-10 virus to airline operators all over the world since 24 January, and it has its own medical staff that has been actively tracking the medical situation to provide internal guidance as well.

    We have been told that the EARLIEST we might be returning to working in the office is 1 August. No surprise to me – I am an engineer, but have been involved with our previous responses to SARS, Avian Flu, MERS, Ebola, ZIKA virus, etc and have been the co-author of multiple messages to airline operators on coping with COVID-19, including the one we wrote on 24 January.

    When we were told that we would be working from home until further notice, some of my colleagues asked me to guess how long that would be. My response was that a best-case scenario (which is definitely NOT what happened) would not have us back in the office before 1 July. At this time, my opinion is that a return on 1 August is very much a best-case scenario, and a return at that time would be a big surprise to me.

    – Tom –

  45. Georgia is already “open”. The case numbers are lies, my corrupt governor is a liar, so I’m staying home given the incredible levels of stupid I’m seeing here in this Trump-addled RichWhiteyTown.

    As a misanthropist, this hasn’t been a big problem as long as I keep getting paid to WFH.

    —D asg-x alum, LTNS B.

  46. As I’ve been telling my spouse, this will be Spanish Flu 2.0 in the history books, thanks to the unholy collision of highly infectious pandemic disease, deregulated capitalism, and America’s worst, greediest, and stupidest president and Cabinet yet. (The other possibility is that Putin has bought and paid for a president and enough Republican Congress-critters to deliberately cripple the U.S. as a world power for a generation, and that they’re doing all this with malice aforethought.)

  47. Maybe. We’ll see. I believe Gov. DeWine has been consulting with people who actually know what they are talking about, and I don’t think he’s making these decisions lightly. To be honest I think that you may be in a bit of a left-wing bubble and you are indeed being (a little bit) paranoid. I guess we’ll find out.

  48. I am mostly staying home as well. I do go shopping for groceries. I take walks, but keep my distance from others. We “eat out” in our home twice a week to support local businesses. I socialize via text and video conferencing. I’m ok with that. We have a lot of freedoms in this country. Endangering others is not one of them.

  49. I’m in a high-risk cohort due to chronic TMB (Too Many Birthdays). In a couple of days I have to travel out of state (own small single engine airplane, luckily) from a blue county with about 80 per 100,000 case rate, and <1% case death rate, to an infrared one with four times the case rate and EIGHT times the case death rate. I'm going masked, of course, and will bring along all my own food and other necessities to avoid having to enter any local stores (where, I'm informed, no one goes masked).

    Have Trump and his enablers not realized that the right-wing rush to reopen will probably, if not decimate (in the literal Roman one-out-of-every-ten sense), at least significantly erode his base? Perhaps the disease should be renamed "Hemorrhoid-19," in that–with the heartbreaking exceptions of those in nursing homes and prisons, and those forced back to work in perilous conditions–it will disproportionately infect assholes.

  50. I have not had the luxury of staying home. I work in a nursing home and I am 64 myself so my anxiety has been off the charts. We have been doing our best to try to keep our residents safe and as of two weeks ago all staff and residents tested negative. When I am not at work I stay home and only go out for groceries and essentials. Our state is slowly opening up with restrictions. Outdoor dining or takeout only at restaurants. I think churches are going to open next week also with restrictions. I don’t think I will be going to a restaurant anytime soon . I live alone so that has been hard sometimes because of not having anyone to talk to and there is a no pet policy. I do have plenty of books to read though, I probably have 2 bookcases with just books that are on my TBR list.
    Stay safe everyone and please wear a mask. I fear what happens in the fall and this virus is still around combined with flu season.

  51. We’re 70 and 72, and living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Davis, California – and on permanent lockdown for the foreseeable future.

    I go out for a ride on the greenway periodically – and that’s it.

    There is no vaccine. There is no cure. And the treatments can be both toxic and incredibly irritating for vulnerable people. NY has an 88% death rate for people on ventilators. I have no idea where ANY of the optimism is coming – and a couple of weeks ago, we older people (many with comorbidities) weren’t going to even be offered ICU beds and ventilators.

    Even when a vaccine starts being available, a quick read about previous vaccination programs – both creating the vaccines and distributing them – would warn that the most vulnerable people are NOT going to get protected first. And the failures – when politicians are pushing – happen everywhere along the supply lines, from the labs to the patients to the hospitals and everywhere in between. And each of those failures (the vaccines don’t work, had a bad ingredient, weren’t refrigerated properly, hadn’t been tested enough…) will kill people in quantities.

    Staying home and finishing my novel trilogy. And hoping management – which refuses to talk about testing – does the protective things or follows county orders properly, because they are TSTL if left to their own devices.

  52. Pence, I haven’t been to Boston recently, but I was in Brooklyn and the Bronx last week and the traffic is way down. If Boston is still on lock down, the traffic will probably be pretty light.

  53. As a horrified Canadian peering across the border at the insanity, it’s comforting to see evidence of smart people doing what they can to prevent the spread of the virus. We have our nutters too but at least our government hasn’t gone right through the looking glass. We’re all wearing masks, staying in, and distancing here. The whole world is crossing fingers for a change at the White House in November. Good luck, hang in there and stay safe!

  54. Smart move! Sitting here looking out at the lovely vineyards in the Alsace, France, we’re still in the middle of one of the ‘hottest’ outbreaks Europe has seen. It feels so absolutely positively morbidly depressing to celebrate the news that ONLY 100 people died in France yesterday. But we have escaped the FIRST bump, noting our wee village didn’t escape the initial wave and we lost several of our elderly citizens to this horrible disease. I will say this: it is refreshing to see that no one here is complaining about the limits still in place – we can travel only in a 100 km radius, still can’t go to restaurants (who are making a KILLING with take out btw, new concept here!) or bars (not that we have one he grumbled) and MUST wear masks. If you don’t have one, they will be provided or you will not enter, full stop. But no guns, no ammosexuals, just a society that has for the most part supported the government actions, the empathy from our leaders and looked at our failures in terms of caring for our elderly with a real commitment to change and do better. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m now ONLY 20 books ahead of my yearly reading targets and have some delectable locally made white wine to enjoy, along with my steak lunch (from small local producers who don’t suffer hundreds of infections from sweatshop conditions) and vegetables shared from neighbours that remember all too well when this area was under foreign occupation! You folks keep the peace and be well!

  55. Restaurants are some of the best (from the virus’s point of view) places to catch an air-born virus. People are close to one another for substantial lengths of time, and ventilation systems tend to blow the exhalation clouds further than they would in still air. And talking and eating spread more than, say, standing quietly in a queue somewhere.

    One article I read mentioned, among other things, a choir (chorus?) that rehearsed in a gym, with everyone maintaining the standard “social distance,” and practically everyone came down with the virus. Again: an enclosed space, and an activity which spreads droplets farther than usual.

    Also, people who’ve studied how far the moisture droplets travel have determined that some travel 30 feet (10 meters), so being 6.5 feet away from someone with the virus doesn’t mean you’re safe.

    My own take is that the epidemic won’t really be under control until summer 2021. Or until practically everyone in the country has had it, so enough are immune that herd immunity takes over. IMHO, easing the restrictions anywhere in the US this calendar year is way, way premature.

  56. Congrats to everyone being careful. Are all USians here registered to vote? And have you made arrangements to vote by mail/absentee?

  57. I’m honestly not sure whether I’m more annoyed by the people who actively oppose the rules keeping me safe, or the ones who just aren’t paying attention.

    I’ve been working from home since two weeks before the UK government announced their lockdown (it helps that our organization’s director is a virologist, though we’re a marine biology research facility…), and my home office looks out over the passing buses. The first bus to pass my window this morning had three passengers on the upper deck, only one masked, all of them in the window seat on my side, and all of them separated by only one empty row of seats! It’s not “what are you thinking?” but “ARE you thinking?”

  58. Ignoring the insult about Republicans for the time being, my state (CT) is slowly reopening. Restaurants are now reopening for patio dining, which will be interesting since most restaurants here don’t have that neat option. A local one near me has creating a larger outdoor dining area complete with a huge canvas tent, properly spaced tables and a small waiting line.

    Office buildings (like my employer the state of CT) are slowly opening their buildings up to more staff, and my particular agency should be back to pre-COVID19 levels by the beginning of July. Of course, two key criteria being applied is that staff will have to be officially tested and will still have to wear masks.

  59. On the lighter side (sorry), if you are unlucky you will have to wear a mask when you are seeing the dentist.

    Whenever I needed a filling, they called for a dam, those nasty black shields to isolate the teeth from the gums and tongue. The function is effectively identical to a mask, but a lot tighter fitting.

  60. A few years ago I bought a P100 type of mask/respirator with a purple-coded set of filters because I wanted to keep out of my lungs the fog of wood/glue particles that filled a badly ventilated room when I was doing power woodworking in there.

    Mine was made by Honeywell but there are other brands. I wear it now when I go out for my weekly shopping. I paid more than $100 Canadian dollars for it but it was worth it then and it’s worth it now to give me the sense that I’m not a safe environment when I go shopping. It also gives me the impression that I’m Dave Bowman in 2001 because I can hear the sound of my breathing.

  61. I saw the Dentist on Tuesday, odd experience. Had to call them when I got there and then stayed in the car until they were ready. My dentist has a HUGE off which crammed all of 3 patients into it. I feel blessed. Another dentist locally filled up normally. He got reported.

    I live in a county that went about 75% for Trump, but actually voted for Andy Beshear instead of Governor “F&*k the Teachers” Bevin. So there is hope.

  62. What really excites me is that the local library reopens for curbside pickup on 6/8/2020. That will ease the pain on the wallet somewhat. They have done an awesome job of extending the number of ebooks you can have but I’m old enough to miss the feel of a “real” book in my hands. When you return them, the books go into quarantine before being handled and reshelved. I love my library.

  63. John,

    I’m in Texas and things are starting to get bad enough here that the state government is hiding nursing home and meat pack plant data and has been essentially lying about their testing numbers by mixing in antibody serology tests. My county, the heart of the Austin metropolitan area, has done really well with social distancing. UT measured ours as high as 94% during the peak using their data. CHoP measured our peak 7 day average at 73% using their different data and modeling. The latter measures our *current* 7 day average at 58% despite the ongoing state interference with the governor jumping in full force on the side of the virus against Texans.

    I don’t much worry about myself, mostly because I rarely do. But I feel like my family, spread across the country, are at great risk and there’s little I can do to help. I think of those suffering, alone and isolated from their families, in the hospital and that pain and trauma even if they do manage to leave. And I think of the toll on those in the hospitals, from the administrative staff to those cleaning it, but most especially on the doctors and nurses providing care. My eldest is an intensive care nurse in San Diego. Those graphs about hospital capacity? Sure, it’s important not to overwhelm capacity since if we do things become catastrophically worse. But if that graphs shows the hospitals running at 50%, 75%, or 90% capacity for weeks and months at a time, think of the faces behind those numbers, not just those suffering who will leave one way or another after some weeks, but of those who will still be there as well. COVID-19 patients are not typical hospital patients. There are no treatments. All you can do is try to keep them alive. Because of infection control, they cannot have friends or family members. The caregivers are the only people they see. They are desperately ill when they end up in the hospital. COVID-19 is a very serious illness. And even the caregivers can’t have their normal routines and contact with them because of infection control. That takes a daily toll on their empathy and it keeps accumulating day after day after day. At that scale it’s like walking back into hell every day with no respite and no end in sight. On top of that you have the fear of infection yourself, the fear you will infect others, including people you love, and the pain that comes from the inevitable loss of coworkers. That’s why we have to actually contain this virus. It’s not enough to simply keep our health care system from being overwhelmed. Human beings cannot function effectively under that level of stress for months on end without any relief. People break. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.

    One son and his family, including my two granddaughters, are in Iowa. He’s furious at his governor and worried about his family. He drives a concrete truck and given the places he has to go and the people he has to interact with, feels like it’s inevitable he’ll be exposed.

    Another son is here local, but he works as a fitness manager at a gym, which the state is reopening. Fortunately his gym is as sensible as they can be in these circumstances and is putting a lot of strict limits in place, but those won’t have much impact. Fortunately, traffic remains light at the gyms here. So that’s something at least.

    My youngest just graduated college here at home. It’s certainly an interesting time to enter the world. Another son graduated law school in 2008, another great time to try to get a career started. (That one is doing as well as can be expected in these times.)

    My wife has systemic lupus. My father, who was recovering from a fractured pelvis at his sister’s, has severe COPD and has had lung cancer.

    So yeah, I’m isolating as much as possible. But it’s a virus. Social distancing only works if significant numbers in a community are able and either willing or forced to do it. It’s impossible to avoid the surrounding human community entirely, no matter how much you try. My family can individually do our best, and I have the luxury of a job that’s almost entirely done on and through my computer or on the phone. I already rarely worked with anyone who lived in the same city as me anyway. My coworkers are spread across the country. So working from home or anywhere I have my computer has little impact on my job. But that’s not enough to really even protect ourselves if the virus is not contained.

  64. One of the sadder things about the politics of institution destruction is that I no longer trust what would normally seem like “real” information. Specifically, the updated CDC guidelines indicating that it’s difficult (though not impossible) to pick up the virus from surfaces. This would appear to be good news! I don’t have to freak out when pickup up a recently-delivered box from UPS!

    Or…not. Was the update made in order for “opening up” to more easily go forward? I hate that this thought crosses my mind.

    As or staying in, yes. We have been lucky enough here in rural New Hampshire (a half an hour outside of the state capital of Concord) that we have not had to go into an actual building in well over two months. Our local farmer-owned market does curbside pickup, ask does the independent bookstore across the street. And we’re going to keep it that way. We also get takeout once a week from our favorite restaurant, who just opened their deck or dining a week ago. I’ll stay away and see how it all works out.

    And like you John, I do hope that I’m wrong about my paranoia/carefulness.

    Be well all of you. Even Pedro.

  65. One thing that helps me keep my worry at least managed has always been to feed myself high quality information. My brain systematizes and organizes information, finds gaps, pulls things in, moves them around, discards things when they don’t fit. I feel a little more settled when I at least feel I have a decent understanding of the best data we currently have available and where the experts are right now. In this instance, this is a novel virus that didn’t exist a little more than half a year ago, so everything needs to be held loosely. Even so, there’s higher and lower quality information out there. (That’s from legitimate sources. There’s tons of nonsense out there.)

    I’m going to provide some of my current sources for those who also find that sort of thing more helpful than the alternative. I know some people are the exact opposite from me and studying something like this and acquiring information increases their anxiety rather than helping it.

    I know Harvard is leading a consortium of universities and has published a lot of online tools to help those in public health model the impact of different decisions to evaluate possible outcomes in different scenarios. I don’t much use their tools because while I know a whole hell of lot more about epidemiology and the math and other science behind it than I did a couple of months ago, I’m very much still just scratching the surface. I find a couple of other resources more helpful for my understanding.

    Given where I live, I pay close attention to the Tier 1 R1 research university in my backyard, UT Austin.

    They have been publishing quickly to try to help.


    I especially recommend everyone in the country read this preprint on how to relax social distancing if you must.


    The projections model they publish are short term ones on COVID-19 confirmed fatalities based on past social distancing information gleaned from their source of anonymized cell phone data. They are doing that because they can compare it to the one fairly good data point (fatalities) they can get without trying to calculate epidemiological parameters like R0 that are still very much up in the air. Remember that deaths are the most trailing of trailing indicators. So everything you see in their model is mostly the result of actions that were taking place in the community a month or so ago.

    CHoP has revised their model and I find it much more useful now. I think they are still underestimating the infectiousness of and probably overestimating the impact of temperature and humidity on SARS-CoV-2 but a somewhat conservative but still perfectly reasonable model is useful. I just keep in mind that their case curves and R estimates are likely to be on the low end of reality as it unfolds. And again, they are basing the projections on *current* practice in a community since they can’t guess what will happen. So as distancing gets increasingly lax in a community, their projections will worsen.


    The CDC’s own journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases has prepublished a paper on the infectiousness of the virus. It’s the highest quality source with the broadest base of data that I’ve seen, but it’s representative of a thread I’ve been seeing. As this virus is studied, we are learning it’s a lot more contagious than we originally believed.


    There’s also a lot of chatter about it being seasonal, sometimes even by experts. That does not appear to be the consensus in the field. It would be a nice short reprieve if it were true, but that doesn’t appear likely. That’s not to say that temperature and humidity have no impact. They have an impact. However, given the novel nature of the virus, a naive population, and high rate of contagiousness, it will most likely be a modest impact at best. And the raw data I’m following don’t seem to support the idea either. A few sources I consider credible and which are easier to read than some of the papers I’ve digested.



    Even influenza, which is normally seasonal, is not especially influence by seasons when it’s a novel strain. Pandemics have never been particularly seasonal. The 1918-1920 pandemic is one of his areas of research.


    I recommend mostly ignoring the IHME model. It became clear weeks ago that its projections bore little relationship to actuals as those actuals emerged. There are a number of reasons why and they keep trying to “fix” their model, but at this juncture it has little credibility.

    If more information helps your anxiety and worry, maybe some of the above will help you feel like you have some idea what’s likely coming and that helps you feel more settled. It’s how things work for me. And if you’re the sort of person for whom more information increases your anxiety, hopefully you used my warning at the top to skip my comment and aren’t reading this now. :-)

  66. Likewise, I’m relatively privileged & adapted to staying in. Gods be praised, my work is talking about a horizon aimed at January. Some coworkers want & get to go in sooner. I wish them the joy of it, and hope for their health & safety. Based on what I’ve been reading, I really hope that bet pays off for them.

  67. Most people here (Brooklyn, but Below the Line rather than hipster Williamsburg, etc.) do wear masks and try and keep a distance. Supermarkets have “Must Wear Masks” signs, and people do. We have a lot of older people here (we are considered a NORC – Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), and I think most of us agree with the Governor. Wear a damn mask! Those who don’t, whether because they are unthinking, caring morons or Trump supporting, conspiracy-minded morons, are risking MY health and my wife’s. If they want to risk their own, go the f#ck ahead, but since you are risking mine too, PUT ON A GODDAMN MASK, Putz.

    /end daily rant

  68. People keep pointing at confirmed cases as the amount of infections out there. Stanford University released a study about three weeks ago that said for every confirmed case there could be as many as 85 other cases out there. Testing shows 35 – 40 percent of those infected suffered no symptoms at all. Many others will have light enough symptoms that they won’t get tested. Don’t make the mistake of thinking there are “only” 1.5 million infected in this country. I would guess that is woefully low.

  69. Bryan: for the love of your librarians, PLEASE wear a mask!

    My wife’s library (she’s one of the department heads) started curbside service on Monday. They were notified that it was going to happen at 3:15 pm the previous Friday — giving them all of 45 minutes to prepare for the change. Since the staff are currently dispersed over a 4-day week, this also meant that the 20% of the staff not working that Friday did not know AT ALL, unless they were checking their emails over the weekend.

    Patrons are notified that masks are required when they come for pickup. They are NOT wearing masks. Our county is a Covid hotspot in our state, which is one giant hotspot. Yes, the governor is a Republican, how did you guess?

    The library staff were promised PPE, and didn’t get any. I spent the weekend sewing enough masks for the entire staff of a major county library. This weekend, I’ll be working on the other regional branches . . .

    Wish us luck.

  70. “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other”
    — Benjamin Franklin

    What’s going to happen is in about 2 weeks of every loosening of lockdown rules, we are going to see a spike in fools dying. Unfortunately, those fools are going to take a bunch of smart people trying to do the right thing with them.

    But the fools will learn, or die defiantly maskless.

  71. I am privileged in many respects (fulltime job I can do from home, paid-off house, decent amount of savings) but I have the misfortune to live in a state where a Republican cohort successfully sued to overturn the governor’s Stay At Home order. And now that counties are enacting local Stay At Home orders in place of the statewide order, that same cohort is suing each county to overturn those orders as well.

    So while I am doing all within my power personally to remain safe, I am also feeling pretty fatalistic about my chances of surviving the pandemic. I am in the high-risk age demographic, as is my spouse, and both of us have health conditions that also enhance our risk levels.

    On the bright side, we updated our wills and health-care POAs last year, so we’ve got that going for us. And I am spending my spare time engaging in “Swedish Death Cleaning” to reduce the amount of crap in the house so that when the inevitable happens, our offspring will have less junk to deal with. I was planning on doing that anyway, of course, just was expecting to have years rather than months to get through the accumulation of detritus.

    What a long, strange road it has been. And continues to be.

  72. I live near John, in Shelby County, Ohio, and have remained at home alone since around March 13. I am fortunate. My job as managing editor of a highly specialized news magazine can be performed from home. My visits out have been limited to grocery store runs about every 3.5 weeks and to my office in Sidney on the weekends when the building is otherwise empty. I am 66 years old and I thus am in a higher risk category. I plan to continue staying at home for the foreseeable future.

  73. Beth,

    I’ll be doing library curbside pickup. In a mask.

    I used to be in the library weekly as part of normal programming, but that is not reopening yet. According to Director Maslin our library system (2 branches plus bookmobile) averaged about 26,000 visits per month pre-corona. Obviously this will be down. Warmer weather will help, unless it gets really hot, as the library also functions as a location with heat/air during cold/hot weather.

  74. Maryland is opening up slowly, but the couple of counties closest to DC are maintaining restrictions longer. They seem to be managing it fairly sensibly, with the exception of reopening things in Ocean City which seems premature to me. I’ve been 100% wfh and my spouse about 80% wfh (essential worker, he goes in when he needs to). We’ve been going out for limited grocery runs, trying to keep to “senior hours,” and occasional drugstore or hardware store runs, wearing masks since that became a thing. Also getting carryout meals a few times a week, partly because I’m lazy and partly to help sustain businesses we like. Our daughter with intellectual disabilities may be the first one in the household to go back to regularly scheduled work outside the home; her job is on a library cleaning crew and when the library staff goes back so will she. We’ve been having her practice putting on and wearing a cloth mask. Her crew cleans in the morning and leaves when the library opens, so limited public exposure and I’m not too worried. I’m concerned about public transit, though, so I will drive her in the morning and initially her supervisor will drive her and the other crew members home.

    My hobby and main social outlet is a women’s chorus, which is on hiatus until who-knows-when because singing is a higher risk than most group activities. (Increased aerosolizing while exhaling plus deep inhaling equals bad news.) This is sad but necessary. We’re trying to put together a plan for a combination of musical education activities and social things to carry us through.

    I miss church, too, but I don’t want to see us rush back and promote an outbreak.

    Otherwise I’ve been contributing money to various organizations, most of which I already supported but which are getting more from me now, in the categories of (a) support for people on the margins (food pantries, homelessness and housing stabilization, first-generation college students at the community college, immigrants and refugees), (b) support for organizations I would like to see still standing when this is over (mostly arts and activities for people with disabilities, some small business support), and (c) political things, including some partisan campaigns and some theoretically non-partisan like voter registration and get-out-the-vote.

    I’m with you in hoping I am needlessly paranoid.

  75. Boy, this hit me in the feels. Michigander here. I was thrilled to see our AG, Diana Nessel, give it to Trump (“petulant child”) and mince no words in her disdain for him. I hope she goes after the Big 3 too if they let him in without a mask when he needs one.
    I’m a university employee and working from home. I feel generally confident about my job even though our U is discussing the need for potential layoffs or furloughs. My struggle has been with my spouse who does not deal well with change and uncertainty. They have swung to the dark side with conspiracy theories and denials and bogus facts. We’ve gotten into big fights about it on a couple of occasions until we both decided to not talk about it. They received unemployment and the generous stipend of $600/wk that the CARES act provided – a total god-send for us, so the frustration didn’t lay with the lack on income. It’s really been stressful dealing with this, more than anything else.
    I love our governor and will vote for her again; think she’s been doing a great job, doing what she was elected to do: take care of the people of Michigan.
    @hank Roberts, that Venn diagram you want is basically just a circle, my friend. IMO, the Ammosexuals (great turn of phrase there, @ziggy nixon) and the Karens all represent Michigan in the worst possible way.

  76. My wife has COVID-19. After three weeks, she has improved but still has a long list of symptoms and needs help getting into bed. This virus makes the flu look like a stubbed toe. Don’t risk it, kids.

  77. I am grateful that we have the luxury of staying home for the next three months. I am very worried about the end of August when the college students come back and schools start again.

  78. I’m sorry to hear that Otto. Yes, COVID-19 is a very serious illness. Some people can have a milder experience though “mild” was originally used to mean a patient didn’t need supplemental oxygen, something I’ve seen notes from people that many in the medical and scientific community now regret. It made sense in their world, but didn’t translate out of it well. We also don’t know the long-term health consequences. SARS-CoV-1 and MERS both had chronic health impact on some. We’ve seen some of that already with SARS-CoV-2, but we as with everything else, mostly we just don’t know.

    Same thing about immunity. Right now it seems reasonable and likely that some people develop some degree of immunity that lasts for some period of time after being infected and recovering. Beyond that, the early data are all over the place, as you would expect with a novel virus that’s only months old. It’s virtually certain the answer won’t be nearly 100% lifetime immunity among survivors like we see with measles. Beyond those two extremes it’s mostly just one of the unknowns. So after recovery, my recommendation is for everyone to act as though they can catch it again until we have solid data. That’s the only safe course of action.

  79. Indiana resident here. We have a nicely scheduled roadmap to being fully reopen by July, which seems like some lovely wishful thinking to me. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home with no loss of income for the last two months, but my employer is phasing office-work back in starting in June, so I’m going to be required to leave more than I’d prefer. Still going to avoid high-density areas of risk as much as I can, and wear my mask and all that. I’m just waiting for that second spike to hit and shut everything down again.

    I do really sympathize with wanting this to just all be over – being shut in with two boys aged 6 and under while trying to work from home full time has been testing the limits of my patience, to say the least. But it’s not worth giving up and just letting more people get sick and die. Mostly I’m just mad that our pathetic national leadership let it get this far.

  80. Ditto, especially since I have an immunocompromised parent at home with me right now.

  81. We live in an apartment building retirement complex. It’s very well run, and the organization is doing every conceivable thing to keep infection down. All residents are being tested for SARS 2-CoV, the staff are not allowed to have second jobs off-site, everyone has to wear masks an any public space, no visitors are permitted, no one is allowed off-campus without subsequent quarantine (five days for a medical appointment, 14 for any other reason), and so on. Even so, several staff and residents have been infected, and one resident has died.

    But this has led to other problems. For example, our polling station used to be in our building. Convenient for many of us who are less mobile. But, since no outsiders are being let in, it had to be moved to another location over a mile and a half away. I can’t see that any of us will choose to vote there, given the constraints I mentioned above. That means absentee voting, and we haven’t yet been informed how to get ballots, or what the rules are in Virginia.

    In Texas, you can’t just choose to vote by mail; you need an official excuse. I’m pretty sure that’s not true here, especially with the legislature and governor newly Democratic. But there may well be laws on the books from former times that would make it difficult. Point is, we haven’t been informed, and the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot for the primary is June 16.

    I have never failed to vote, and I’m not about to start now. Still: I really don’t need new barriers imposed.

  82. John, others,

    I’m glad you are being as cautious as possible. I, like you, hope this will prove to have been unnecessary but expect it will prove justified.

    For those who choose to confront maskless people (I do so), please be careful; many are irrational, some potentially violent. In many places masks are provided and the best course is to ask whoever hands them out to give one to the idiot. I did this at a medical lab yesterday—room with a well spaced number of much older (masked) folk looking with apprehension at a sweating 20-something who had gotten past screening (or discarded his mask). Notified a nurse, she calmly came and gave him one—and checked back in a few minutes and informed him it was not worn on the chin (“you need to adjust it to cover the nose,” nicely neutral). She had already called security, just in case. Talked to her later; apparently a fair number of folks put on the free masks at checkin and throw them out when past the entry.

    I carry some masks with me, as I think it pointless to confront someone if I don’t have a solution to offer. So, “Hi! They require masks here; I have a spare.” And just offer the (bagged) mask. Works often enough, but I’m a tall (but shrinking!) older white male, and so in the safest group to attempt such shenanigans.

  83. People are literally being murdered if they object to someone not wearing a mask now.

  84. One of the things that worries me is that the pandemic might really die down during the summer, because of remaining social distancing, heat, humidity, etc. If we don’t hit the predicted resurgence for whatever reason, it’s going to be taken as evidence that it’s not as virulent. And that would set us up for being slammed in the winter.

    So, I’m going to be watching the curve.

  85. Indeed, I just looked over the requirements for absentee voting. The only one that fits our case is 2A, “my disability or illness”. In fact, neither of us is ill or disabled, but no supporting evidence is required, and apparently we’re being encouraged to lie a little and use covid-19 as the excuse.

  86. I am planning on treating this pretty much the same as you are. And I am also in the lucky camp that can do so without a whole lot of inconvenience. I do know some people in the “I have yet to put on a damn mask and I never will” and “I go out and do what I want, where I want, and when I want” mindset. My response is “Great. Just stay away from me. ‘kthanx”

  87. Also Ohioan. Also staying home, other than occasional grocery store visits and occasional carry out from local restaurants. My wife works at DAY, and is taking all of the precautions that she should. (Still am a bit concerned, though.)

  88. Lots of pent-up people here, chiming in. Me too.
    My niece in California, who was protesting about her loss of freedom, actually responded positively to a humorous email I sent her, about how the virus fully supports her constitutional right to assemble, it wants to assemble with her and get to know her and her friends intimately.

  89. @Theophylact. The form now says

    Voters may choose reason “2A My disability or illness” for absentee voting in the June 2020 election due to COVID-19.

    There was a recent court ruling in Texas that in the context of an epidemic involving a disease for which there is no vaccine everyone has a medical condition. (You might call it a universally compromised immune system.)

    @Scott Morizot
    Nice survey. I particularly appreciate your comment about IHME, which was driving me crazy. We seem to have moved beyond it (or maybe I am more successfully ignoring it – deleting it from my bookmarks helped).

  90. @Scott Morizot, yeah, that’s the thing on public singing that my chorus is going by. Discouraging but apparently sound.

  91. “And here I must observe again, that this necessity of going out of our houses to buy provisions was in a great measure the ruin of the whole city, for the people catched the distemper on these occasions one of another”. – A Journal of the Plague Year

  92. Defoe was five years old at the time; he seems to have based the book on his uncle’s journals. According to Wikipedia, ” Defoe’s account, which appears to include much research, is far more systematic and detailed than Pepys’s first-person account.”

  93. I’m in Massachusetts and lucky enough to be able to WFH, which I have been for what, two months now? DoorDash and Amazon have delivered sufficient supplies (along with two trips to the grocery store and a couple after-midnight trips to an all-night CVS — maybe 5 people in the store including the pharmacist and cashier) to keep me going.

    This morning management sent out an email telling us the current arrangement is extended through at least September 1st. My team may have summer interns who never meet a member of the team in person.

    In the history books, this pandemic and 9/11 are likely to be two of the big events of our lifetime that get at least a couple pages due to the sheer volume of their impact on society.

  94. My employer (which has had all staff working at home since 13 March, with a trial day the previous week to ensure all the tech functioned to enable this) has now said that even if our building can be safely opened sometime later this year, anyone who wants to work from home can keep doing so, with no special permission, until 31 December. I was already working 100% from home before this (although these days it’s more like 120%).

    Luckily our neighborhood is spacious enough that my wife and I can go for walks without masks. When grocery shopping, people around here (MD suburbs of DC) generally seem to be keeping distance and wearing masks as we do. Our county executive is being wisely cautious about opening everything too quickly.

  95. sez GBMiller: “Ignoring the insult about Republicans for the time being…”

    What “insult”?

    If you think it’s “insulting” to make note of the obvious fact that the vast majority of idiot elected officials who want to sacrifice the old and weak to the great god Freemarket just happen to belong to the GOP, maybe you should get out of your echo chamber a little more.

  96. I’ll be staying put for a while. I’m either on vacation or off contract until August 1st. Next semester could go sideways like this spring. I’m going to spend this summer getting ready, just in case.

  97. Agree John. We’re still pretty locked down here on Pennsylvania but I’m certain they’ll open up before I’m ready. I treated myself to a ridiculously expensive fashion mask since I’ll be need it for awhile. I’ve got the mindset that I can lay low in my guilded cage for the next year. For those of us lucky enough to do this employment wise, I have trouble seeing the downside.

  98. To Quote Quentin Long:
    sez GBMiller: “Ignoring the insult about Republicans for the time being…”

    What “insult”?

    If you think it’s “insulting” to make note of the obvious fact that the vast majority of idiot elected officials who want to sacrifice the old and weak to the great god Freemarket just happen to belong to the GOP, maybe you should get out of your echo chamber a little more.

    Agreed. Lifelong Republican here, and I saw no insult. My relationship to the G.O.P. has to do with ethics, ideas, and brotherhood. Of course, I’m more of a 1950’s Republican than a McConnell/Trump Republican.

  99. Steve L.: Unless you’re a lot younger than me, I’d probably include the fall of the Berlin Wall in that list. But, yeah, this is on that level.

  100. My son lives in Indiana, works in a liquor store, which is considered essential (Hey, liquor is essential to me) and I’m glad he’s taking all this VERY seriously, especially as they move away from drive-up only to allowing customers inside stores. We were going to go see him in spring around his birthday, but that’s just when everything hit, so now we get together on Zoom every few weeks. Like I said, he’s being very careful, for which his mother and I are grateful.

    Me? I’m in Chicago, where the mayor and governor are fighting to balance lockdown with the desire to open up. I’m fortunate to WFH as a writer and editor. I go out every other day or so for a quick run to the local grocery store, but I drive now, even though it’s only a block away. (Also, I have back trouble which makes walking even a block or so difficult, but I’d do it if I felt safe sitting down every half-block or so). Always with mask and gloves, although I have a beard, so my mask doesn’t fit perfectly, as a friend of mine frequently shines me about.

    I’d like to see things open up, although at a slow, steady pace backed by science, not the other alternative backed by MAGA lovers.

  101. I’ll be staying home here in Florida. As a stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient (going on two years) I’ve been self isolating most of the time. Whenever someone suggests that I’ve lived a full 59 year life so I should be willing to be a frontline guinea pig, I let them know I’m not done learning or playing or reading or writing. Didn’t go through 1 1/2 years of chemotherapy and now trials because I was ready to quit. 😉
    I’m with you John. Someone else can poke the zombie nest first. Second. Third…

  102. I hope your dentist’s visit will be safe. Up here in Canada, our Dental Colleges (regulators) are requiring incredibly significant changes to practices, to keep patients safe. My dentist will need to do construction to raise walls to ceiling height, add doors to treatment areas, And then update their scheduling to leave rooms empty long enough to allow aerosolized contaminants to fall from the air, and only then clean the treatment space before the next patient. They’re talking about leaving treatment spaces empty for hours between patients, or else making significant improvements to HVAC systems, or both.

  103. I’m another Ohioan, and honestly, the thing that worries me most is the return of school in the fall. I’m retired, so can just hang around the house during the day, while driving my spouse and kids nuts. But come August, my daughter is scheduled to start her junior year in high school, at a school which has already made it plain that they expect kids back unless they have some sort of pre-existing high-risk condition. Well, fuck.

    A) I’m in a high-risk category (actually, now that I think of it, two of them); and B) have they not been reading the recent stories about children and young adults suffering really nasty secondary vascular inflammation problems weeks after they were allegedly past their COVID infections? Even if they significantly reduce the chance of COVID transmission in the school cafeteria, still seems to me as though they’re gambling with my kid’s life and health.

    And as far as I can tell, the Ohio state universities, one of which Athena attends, and another of which my spouse teaches at, are more likely than not to re-open in three months. Just imagine a couple of drunken frat Homecoming parties at Miami if you want to get the shivers. Have you and Krissie and Athena discussed the fall at all?

  104. Far as i am concerened red states cant open fast enough. Wide open, full body contact, open the malls, the churches, hair dressers, nail salons, choir practice, beach parties, you name it. Let them go crazy for a couple months.

    The only way these people are going to “get it” about how bad cv19 is, is only when it affects them personally. Once they know someone who dies of it, they just might get an inkling.

  105. Cozy Dystopia will be the name of my first band,
    Dark humor or clever fail, I can’t tell anymore.

  106. I just can’t go with the “Let the red states learn from the dying” idea. I’m in Michigan; looking at the widely circulated picture of that one spittle-spraying psychotic screaming right in the face of a state cop it is easy to wish him ill. Unfortunately, it won’t be just him.

    Of course, I think “learn from the dying” is not unlikely. But “learning nothing from the dying” is also likely. Such a sad waste.

  107. Dear Otis,

    No, that is an utterly inhumane and uncivilized position to take. It is not morally nor ethically justifiable.

    There is no such thing as a “red” state (or a blue one, for that matter). Every state is purple. Every state is a mix of people every block is a mix of people. Even in John’s county, which is way at one extreme, one in five of his neighbors didn’t vote Republican.

    The virus doesn’t care. It doesn’t care about your moral or ethical stance, it doesn’t care about your politics, it doesn’t actually care how selfish or altruistic you are. It only cares if you have compatible biochemistry and whether it has an opportunity to play house with you. That’s it.

    You want to wish for a whole bunch of people to get sick, it won’t be limited to the ones you want to target, it will be everyone, indiscriminately. You are cheerleading for playing sniper with a shotgun in a crowd.

    And, frankly, I find it reprehensible to even begin to suggest that anyone deserves to die because of their politics or life choices. I heard that plenty from the bigots during the AIDS crisis. How is what you’re advocating in any way in the least bit more morally defensible?

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  108. “that is an utterly inhumane and uncivilized position” .. “I find it reprehensible to even begin to suggest that anyone deserves to die”

    Easy there, killer. Nobody said anything about anyone deserving to die.

    Ever hear the legend of the frog in slowly boiling water?

    You have a frog in a pot of water on a burner. You cant protect the frog. You cant explain to the frog about the boiling. You cant even control the burner. You have zero control of the situation. All you can do is watch the burner start turning up, and all you can do is bope it turns fast enough that the frog notices.

    Its not that the frog *deserves* to be boiled, but a fast increase may be the only way for the frog to notice.

  109. WARNING: Very, Very Lengthy, Aggregated Post

    “a guy that said he could cure COVID-19 by laying of the hands just died… of COVID-19.”

    This should be a lesson to the other idiots and their families’, but alas…
    Meanwhile, we’ve got our own idiots in CA:

    This is some of the best comedy I’ve seen in quite a while.

    And ditto on avoiding those who are making poor life decisions. It just sucks that they also get to make death decisions for others.

    And I love how pro-covid 19 folks think their statistics mean fuck all in a discussion about life and death. Who wants to volunteer to be among the supposedly few people who are likely to contract and/or die of the virus? If the chance of dying and or spreading covid to other, more vulnerable people is more than zero, I’ll take the boredom.

    What really kills me is that when the second and more deadly wave hits, these same pro-covid people are going to further devolve into ruthless hunting parties willing to stab and shoot anyone who stands between them and the last pound of chicken.

    When they catch it, they’re going to flood emergency room waiting rooms, scared to death for themselves and/or their loved ones and demanding treatment.

    “I have lots, no, barrels, no, BOATLOADS of contempt for those who equate simply being a good citizen (wearing a fucking MASK, for fuck’s sake, or complying with commercial establishments’ internal rules) with being weak, or not MURCAN, or losing their FREEDOM.”

    You’re a better person than I, as I could cheerfully watch them all come down with covid and hack and wheeze themselves to death. It sounds cold, I know, but I’m all out of patience and understanding for murderers and their elected enablers.

    “some jerk shot a store employee because they were asked to wear a mask.”

    That’s not just stupid, it’s selfish and evil. Full stop.

    “I’d cheerfully let the “public health/epidemiology is a liberal hoax” crowd suffer the natural consequences of that stance, except it’s (statistically) likely multiple *other* people will suffer for their actions.”

    You can’t fix the stupid, especially that of the hard-boiled variety. You just take the appropriate precautions (you also encourage like-minded and reasonable people to do the same) and hope the “hoax” does its thing with all who agree with and behave like homicidal nitwits.

    I bet Darwin awards make interesting looking headstones. We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?

    “If you have lost your job, I have much empathy.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If you are broke because the state or federal gov’t is a shambles, I feel ya.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If you have had to move in with friends or family, that truly sucks.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If, even, YOU HAVE BECOME HOMELESS… well, that’s a really shitty feeling.
    But you can recover from that. I know, I’ve fucking DONE IT.
    If you become DEAD,
    If you kill a friend or a family member,
    You MAY recover from that, but your life will truly suck. Pretty much forever.
    If you, or a family member, or a friend gets REALLY sick…
    … there is ever-increasing data that indicate you, or they, MAY NEVER RECOVER FROM THAT.”

    “when you say `if you dont want to wear a mask, dont. But dont make ME wear one’ you sound about as stupid as someone saying `if you are too afraid to drive while youre drunk, then dont. But dont use your fear as an excuse to tell me what to do. My body. My right.’”

    All pro-covid folks should be legally required to copy these posts, by hand, of course, ninety thousand times.

    The exercise may not make them less selfish or homicidal, but it would make them miserable for a while. More importantly, it’d keep them occupied, off the streets, and away from the rest of us.

    “The Trumpist stated “MY FREEDOMS!”, refused, and was sent home for the rest of Monday and then the next day without pay. When he returned Wednesday, he still wouldn’t and was sent home again and told to stay out until he would follow the rules. He wanted to use vacation time but was told “no, you need to provide two weeks’ notice”. He still hasn’t returned and I hope he doesn’t since he’s stupid enough to spread it inadvertently and since he’s the facilities/janitor is everywhere in the building.”
    Glad to hear it! 😊

    He can enjoy all the “murican” freedom he likes while he scrambles to find another job.

    “the MAGA crowd wants this to be over by election time so Trump can win.”

    That, and they like that the virus is culling the herd, especially because brown folks and elderly “useless eaters” make up the lion’s share of the deaths.

    “the virus doesn’t care about her feelings or anyone else’s: it doesn’t care about anything other than reproducing itself”

    Sounds a lot like its conservative/libertarian/anti-vaccer cheerleaders, don’t you think?

    “We can blame our leaders all we want but the real culprit is us. Selfishness and stupidity are not a matter of race, color, ethnicity, income bracket, or religion.”


    I think these people should be legally required to register as pandemic supporters and be treated accordingly by our society. There should be an ap and database allowing people to see if there are any in their neighborhood so that they can make decisions about how to proceed.

    Their support for the spread of covid 19 should come up on background checks so that landlords and employers can rent/hire accordingly.,
    In particular, employers at healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and nursing homes should know what kind of people they’re dealing with, as should anyone requiring any kind of in-home service, like a tutor, nanny, dog/house/babysitter, Plummer, contractor, pool cleaner, personal chef, etc.

    You probably wouldn’t let your children play at the home of a serial killer; why would you let them play at the home of someone who supported the spread of a contageous and deadly virus?

  110. Dear Otis,

    ‘Cept it’s not a frog, it’s a person. And it’s not one person, it’s a whole lot of people who have no say over what the one person thinks. And it does not necessarily mean that ultimately fewer people die.

    It’s callous and it’s wrong.

    pax / Ctein

  111. I work at a hospital in Seattle. I have multiple advantages with my current situation. I’m screened everyday so every coworker I meet has also been screened and we all are masked in all common areas throughout the building whether in clinical practice or not. Most non-clinical staff are working from home. We’ve also limited visitation and only direct caregivers(also screened) are allowed in the building. I live in a state with a strong Governor that is using the best healthcare talent at his disposal to make decisions and has already started a phased approach to reopening that half of the lower risk counties have already been able to move toward phase two.

    That being said, we’ve had some demonstrations at the capitol grounds along the way. 200 at most and not very convincing. A couple of lawsuits on “Constitutional” grounds directly at the Governor. One of them by a GOP candidate for Governor looking for some free press coverage the other also by GOP members of state government. Not surprising from that bunch.

    What pisses me off about the current situation is that the anti-vaxxers, of which we have an abundance, There is already some low level noise about refusing to get a vaccine when it becomes available making the rounds. This means that all of the efforts that have been working will be for naught and hot spots and breakouts will continue. Remember the Measles outbreak a year or so ago. Yep, major breakout in the southwest section of the state. Oh well, at least those B@$t@&d$ are consistent.

    I try hard to be more generous in my thoughts like my friend, ctein, but I find myself torn between that and wanting to take a flamethrower to some areas of stupidland.
    I imagine most of us have that problem.

    Stay safe all of you
    Jeff S.
    “I am just an egg”

  112. @jgrantson:
    Agreed, one million percent.

    Good luck, and let me know how I can help. I don’t live in that area but can do what I can to spread the word to people who do.

    “What’s going to happen is in about 2 weeks of every loosening of lockdown rules, we are going to see a spike in fools dying. Unfortunately, those fools are going to take a bunch of smart people trying to do the right thing with them. But the fools will learn, or die defiantly maskless.”
    And when they do, die that is (I hold out no hope that they will “learn” a single thing), I will celebrate their exits and morn the lives they claimed. 😈

    And I don’t know that I would softball them with the term “fools,” at least, not all of them. Fools are, by definition, “silly [people].”

    Many of these people are cold and calculating “soldiers” who know exactly what they are doing. As a whole, they are, ostensibly, fighting for economic security/stability, but the ones who adorn themselves with swastikas and other symbols of hate know that their efforts are genocidal. 😩

    I’d bet my last penny that the vast majority of these folks are well aware that the threat of covid 19 is a real and present threat rather than a “hoax” that “libs” cooked up to kneecap Trump.

    The ones in positions of power want to use it to their advantage, hence the considerable pushback on mail-in voting and the travesty that was the Wisconsin primary. 😠

    Fortunately, millions of others know this, too. 😤

    My only hope is that those who’ve been negatively impacted by this disease and the conservative responses thereto will vote accordingly in November.

    My thoughts are with you and your wife. I hope she recovers soon. 🙏🏻 💔🕊

    “People are literally being murdered if they object to someone not wearing a mask now.”
    “I do know some people in the “I have yet to put on a damn mask and I never will” and “I go out and do what I want, where I want, and when I want” mindset.”

    All the more reason why going bare faced in a crowded place or flouting social distancing policies should be a felony and why part of the penalty should be having to join a registry for pandemic promoters.

    If there is a direct link between someone who has been infected and or killed, they should be charged with voluntary manslaughter or murder one, depending on circumstances.

    If they infect and cause the deaths of multiple people, they should be charged with capital murder.

    At the very least, the charge for going bare faced and ignoring social distancing requirements should be similar to that for either driving under the influence or opening fire in a crowd.

    Failing that, they should be shunned/ ostracized by their communities, as should anyone who associates with them.


    👍 🤣🤣🤣😂 👏🏻

    @Quentin Long:

    Preach! I’m so, so sick and tired of hearing how picked on conservatives, anti vaccers and libertarians feel because no one is letting them projectile vomit their “cull the herd and cut my hair” rhetoric all over the place with impunity.

    Hey Snowflakes,

    Part of that “freedom” you so enjoy is the ownership of the problematic viewpoints you express and of the behaviors you exhibit.

    You also get to experience the profound and far-reaching consequences of that “freedom.”

    Please, pretty please hold your breath waiting for universal approval for your advocacy for and active participation in the murder of innocent, vulnerable people in the name of maintaining your way of life.

    It would behoove such tender hearts to consider why they find being associated with biological weapons, assassins and sociopaths to be insulting.

    I, for one, am more worried about those who take such things as compliments.

    when they die, they should either be unceremoniously cremated or buried in unmarked graves.

    They’re unlikely to be treated like suicides; those who aren’t cremated will likely be buried on hallowed ground.
    Still, at the very least, they should be interred in an isolated spot reserved for pandemic promoters, away from the resting places of innocent covid victims.

    There is no reasoning with these people. They won’t hear logic. They don’t care about the devastation they cause. They either don’t care or can’t understand how allowing the virus to spread unchecked will damage the economy in the long run.

    They neither know nor care about anyone who has contracted or died of covid. They don’t care if they become infected and/or spread the virus to anyone else.

    Most importantly, they know that there are going to be privileged people who will tacitly encourage and justify their behavior in defense of their humanity.

    To such people, I say this: I am a disabled African American. I share living space with people for whom covid 19 would almost certainly be a death sentence.

    When someone from the bright and cushy center shakes a finger at me or others for venting outrage and disgust at the actions of those who want and work actively to see me and mine dead, they are just as guilty as the apathetic homophobes and racists who sat back and enjoyed the deaths of African Americans and gay men during the AIDS crisis.

    Do you know that they are attributing the deaths of black and brown covid patients to “personal life choices”? Do you know that others are celebrating the eradication of “those who bear the mark of Cain”?

    Disingenuous concern trolls equating apathetic politicians of old with justifiable anger with and death wishes for racists, religious zealots and murderers should recognize those notions.

    Yeah, covid 19 infects and kills indiscriminately, but guess who has and will continue to feel the brunt of that “indiscriminate” killing? Those segments of American society who lack access to adequate healthcare, food, another potentially life improving and saving resources and opportunities.

    So, excuse the hell out of me and other folks for treating would be murderers accordingly. Excuse us for failing to recognize the humanity of the “fine people” who want us gone!

  113. “Disingenuous concern trolls equating apathetic politicians of old with *those expressing*justifiable anger with and death wishes for racists, religious zealots and murderers should recognize those notions.

    Also, “another” should be “and other.”

    My only excuse is white hot rage at the “tolerate the intolerant and murderous” argument upthread.

  114. Dear Jeff,

    Those are flattering words you offer up to me, but I must tell you that I have more than my share of ungenerous thoughts whenever I see someone unsafely flouting the rules. You would not want to be living inside my head!

    The thing is, what I keep reminding myself is that the virus, along with not caring about morals or politics, also doesn’t much care about righteous indignation.

    The ideal situation — very unlikely but not medically impossible — would be if it turns out that every governing body that thinks it has a sufficient hand on this epidemic really does, that they can test, track, and control sufficiently well to keep suppressing the number of cases. In that improbable scenario, by the end of the summer COVID 19 is not only not the number one cause of death any longer, it’s not even in the top 10. It is from a humanitarian, medical, and economic point of view the best of all possible outcomes.

    And were that to happen, the flat-earthian naysayers that make both of us crazy will proclaim they were entirely vindicated, calling us all Chicken Littles because, look, the sky didn’t fall! Of course they will be ignoring everything we did (that they opposed) to make sure it stayed propped up.

    They will tell each other they were right all along; you can pretty much count on that from every alt-right talking-pointer. It will be intensely aggravating, to be sure, but ultimately one’ll have to decide not to give a fuck what they think, because the only important thing would be that:

    People. Didn’t. Die.

    It’s kind of like a real life version of an argument on the Internet. You can prove to someone they are wrong… or you can win. The best-case win we could have is the one least likely to convince them they are wrong.

    So… shrug. The universe is unfair that way. It is only able to prove us right, not to persuade the people who think we’re wrong. So unfair!

    I am not especially worried about the anti-vaxxers. The measles outbreak they caused in the US was 1300 cases, a pittance compared to the devastation caused by COVID-19. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in circulation, 5-6 times more so than C-19 (which is 2-3 times more so than ordinary flu). If the anti-vaxxers are equally “effective” in keeping people from getting vaccinated for C-19, the blip in the number of cases is going to be insignificant.

    Which isn’t to say they aren’t extremely dangerous pains-in-the-ass, but they simply don’t wield enough strength of numbers to markedly affect us controlling C-19.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  115. Someone should warn the anti-vaxxers that they are unlikely to have the opportunity to reject the vaccine. Our best efforts at lock down and social distancing have seen 100,000 deaths in four months. Now that everyone is reopening I doubt if we’ll do much better in the remaining 14 months until a vaccine might be available.

  116. Kathe Douglas,

    Best efforts? That’s a strange way to characterize what has happened here. We dithered and delayed and then made gradual, late, and scattershot efforts across the country with no single, unified effort.
    And then much of the country abandoned the effort just as it was starting to make a difference. (Racism and white supremacy play no small part in that dynamic, but our fates are tied together in a pandemic.)

    Further, we completely wasted the months advance warning we had. We’ve now wasted the time gained through the late, inconsistent, and limited lockdowns most of the country did. We still have no meaningful testing, tracing, and isolation infrastructure on the scale we need and the scale the vast majority of other countries now have in place and are still improving. That’s what we must have on a national scale to manage and contain this virus.

    And your timeline for a vaccine is interesting. As a matter of history, I’ll note the fastest we have ever developed a vaccine was for mumps. That took 4 years. With the increased focus, funding, and dire need, hopefully we can beat that record. But as of today, we don’t even know for sure if any vaccine will be feasible. That’s because there’s one key piece of data we don’t know and won’t know for months to come.

    Do the majority of people who recover from COVID-19 develop a natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 that confers significant protection that lasts for at least a year or two?

    The first part is hopeful. SARS-CoV-1 conferred some immunity. We know people develop some immunity when they recover from illnesses (basically colds) caused by the four endemic human coronaviruses. We also know the immunity from the endemic coronaviruses only lasts weeks to months on average.

    If we don’t develop at least a longer term immunity to SARS-CoV-2, an effective vaccine, even one that needs to be repeated every few years, will likely not be achievable.

    In either case, anti-virals and other effective *treatments* are probably a more achievable shorter term goal. A year would still be something of a miracle, but within 2 years seems reasonable.

    This fight is far from over. We are going to be living with this for a good while to come. Right now, too many perspectives seem far too short term.

  117. Between the anti-vaxxers, the “<3 <3 <3 guns/Murican freedom/Trump/let God and natural selection sort'em out" goons and the tone-policing concern trolls who want vulnerable, marginalized people and their allies to empathize with and think “humane” thoughts about their would-be killers, we're doomed. At least, our society is.

    The only question is, how much time will we have to try to survive?

    This first wave killed more than 90,000 people in five months and put our society on crutches, and that was with aggressive stay at home orders in most of the country.

    This next wave may put it in a wheelchair, one that will eventually collapse in on itself.

    I’ve seen little to suggest that people are going to lift a finger to stop this from happening. I’ve seen even less to suggest that they’ll do anything but circle the wagons when it does.

    The tiny handful who bother to try won’t be able to stem the tide. Others will abandon the field to protect themselves and their families.

    It’s pretty to think collapse can only happen in disaster movies, but I’ve seen Hurricanes Isabelle and Katrina reduce peaceful neighborhoods to jungles and warzones in a matter of days.

    My friends and I have had to fend off “neighbors” willing to crack us over the head with hammers for supplies, and we weren’t in the “inner city” but a nice, “safe” and predominantly white neighborhood, one just blocks from a police station.

    The devastation wrought by this second wave is going to make that look like a snow day.

    People in my godmother’s neighborhood were snatching food, medicine and toilet paper out of elderly people’s baskets, and that was when supply lines were mostly intact.

    When things get really bad, worse will happen, as very few people are going to be thinking “humane” thoughts about their fellow Americans, most especially those who aren’t apart of their community or survival network.

    When grocery stores are no longer an option and they’ve got hungry children, they’re going to scavenge and loot. When they get to your house, they’ll give you two choices; give up your supplies or get hurt or killed. That’s if they’re feeling “humane”

    If they aren’t, they’re going to neutralize and rob you if you aren’t prepared to neutralize them first.

    And you better hope they’re only there for supplies; the ones who want to have “fun” because “no police or neighbors willing to help” are the really scary ones.

    If the pandemic doesn’t put us on this path, the depression (this was unavoidable under the circumstances) most certainly will.

    People who claim that “we’re all in this together” need to finish the sentence. We’re all in this together as long as food and other essentials are readily available for us and ours.

    I’m grateful every day that we got prepared, but I hate the thought of what’s coming.

    I just don’t believe that people will protect anyone but their own; watching all of this has killed what little faith I had in humanity, American humanity in particular.

  118. Yeah, I’m not rejoining the masses for a long time. CA seems to have done a decent enough job of flattening the curve and incremental reopening of businesses, but that 2nd, then possibly 3rd and 4th–wave is coming, and my gut says if I get it, I won’t survive it. Or I’ll be asymptomatic, have no clue, and pass it on to a dozen other people…and if I found out that was the truth, *that* would probably kill me. It’s one thing if I die, but if I took people with me? Gawd, no…

  119. Ctein: “It’s callous and it’s wrong.”

    Quick. Call the thought police.

    Since 2016, the lessons I have been learning to stay sane are:
    (1) stop taking responsibility for others peoples actions
    (2) stop feeling responsible for things i have zero control over.
    (3) stop worrying about what other people think.

    If you want to worry about what I’m thinking, if that makes you happy, by all means go for it. If you want to declare me a bad person for things happening in the world that I have no control over, if that makes you happy, go for it. But I dont feel one bit guilty for a state full of covidiots who demands to march off a cliff. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

  120. The literature that’s rolling around in my head right now, got there via the Washington Square Park lliacs, whose come hither waves of scent got me burying my masked face in the — Walt Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” one of his poems about the cruel act of Lincoln’s assassination, then T.S. Eliot’s “breeding lilacs out of the dead land”. I am continuing to think of these poems and These Times. Though WS Park wasn’t Whitman’s park — that was Fort Green — he knew the area so very well. And now, we look at this country and can only see it seems, “a dead land,” made for the Freedumb dwellers.

    I am deeply concerned about Memorial Day weekend. FweDumb USA is determined to pack the beaches, tattoo parlors, bars and parks to the max, without masks, etc.

    24 states – Midwest and Southern, all Red — declaring full open, while their rates of infection and death continue to climb:


    [ “In 24 states, however, the model shows a reproduction number over 1. Texas tops the list, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri, Delaware, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Maryland.” ]

    Yet assholes are refusing service to people wearing masks! And customers come into places of business who request masks, not wearing any, and deliberately cough and spit on the workers. What kind of country is this?????? I watched a video of the R-governor of North Dakota actually crying on camera as he begged NoDaks to stop seeing masks as political, to understand these can be worn by a relative protecting their 5-year old who is undergoing cancer treatments.


    [ “In the last few weeks a spate of American stores have made headlines after putting up signs telling customers who wear masks they will be denied entry. On Thursday, Vice reported on a Kentucky convenience store that put up a sign reading: “NO Face Masks allowed in store. Lower your mask or go somewhere else. Stop listening to Kentucky governor [Andy] Beshear, he’s a dumbass.” “}

    It’s gonna be bad in those Red states — actually it already is – and continuing to worsen every day. But they’re also hiding and disppearing the numbers and lying about the numbers, because that is who They are.

    It will be bad here too, because people from those states will be driving here, looking to party in the streets, if only to own the libtards, while a whole buncha people from NY will have driven to those states to party. Recall, upstate you will find at least as many confederate and nazi flags flying as in Mississippi.

    To make it worse, this weekend the governor caved to the pressure, said 10 people can gather together anywhere for any reason. This means blocks will have, at minimum, clusters, one after another, with a chunk of people shoulder-to-shoulder together next to another chunk of 10 people all the way up and down the streets. And soon they will mingle all together — particularly as they are Young, and you know, I do have a lot of sympathy for that — but not for Dumb and Endangering Others.

    We’re going to have be extra careful, I think for the next two months.

  121. Economies recover, dead people do not. It’s really just as simple as that. Though I’m in the TMB risk group, I’m fortunate that I can work at home, at least thru my college going realtime again. We’re stoopid enough that that might well be in the fall, unfortunately. Fortunately also, my governor is smarter than all but about 45% of population. That still is a lot of stoopid people playing soccer and football in large groups in public parks, including youngsters being “trained” by paid adults.
    I havent been in commercial establishment other than ups store in two months.
    I think John’s ” 2 or 3 months” is awfully optimistic. Masks and social distancing really dont help much given hours indoors, so anyone going to a restaurant etc or working in a crowded office …….

  122. I cannot imagine being in any restaurant in the foreseeable future no matter what to be of any fun at all. It just can’t be like it was, even if the customers refuse to observe and safety protocols whatsoever. Just the stress — and that includes sitting outside among all sorts of people one doesn’t know who have contact constantly with people they don’t know, and on, ad infinitum.

    Also, just thinking of the servers and the others who are working — I’d be unable to ignore their suppressed fear and discomfort.

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