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May 19, 2020


Sorry the print is so small and the colors aren't that easy to distinguish. Excel does most of the work, and my patience for fine-tuning is limited.

Germany's curve is the one that maxes out at just below 100. South Korea and Japan are indistinguishable at the bottom. Italy is the highest; Belgium's #s are higher, I believe, but I haven't included it.

That the virus got going at different times in different countries matters somewhat, but I didn't try to set a zero time point by country and then match the curves that way. Plus, a lot of time has now gone by for everyone, enough to give these curves some shape.

It sure looks like some of them are not going to catch up with others, assuming we do get a vaccine someday. If we don't, well, the future is probably an even more foreign country than we can currently imagine.

I'm starting to worry about my eyes, because I'm finding it very difficult to work out which coloured line is which country using the key. As far as I know, I only have one very slight colourblindness: some kinds of sludgy green don't look green to me. Doesn't explain why I'm finding for example so many of the blue lines so similar on the actual graph. Is anybody else having this trouble?

If you click on the image, it will appear larger and more legible in a popup window.

Sorry Janie, I posted my comment before I saw any other comments! Charles, I tried that, it didn't help. What seems to help a bit is magnifying the actual image without clicking on it. However, I do think my eyes need testing, but I have had to delay it because of lockdown. Janie's link to Our World of Data dealt with the problem, because if you make your own selection of countries they helpfully tell you what each one is at the end of the line!

List of countries top to bottom at the right edge of the graph:

South Korea

Thanks Janie. We're second best! (as Trump would no doubt say, if he were me. Actually, scratch that-second best is still a loser)

Don't know if you know -- in Chrome or Firefox you should be able to magnify what the browser is showing by typing control and the plus key simultaneously, or make things smaller by typing control and minus.

That doesn't help with the colors, though.

I use Chrome, and I didn't know that, I'll remember it if I ever need it. But I can enlarge the image on my laptop by "stretching" my fingers on the typepad.

We're second best! (as Trump would no doubt say, if he were me. Actually, scratch that-second best is still a loser)

Don't lose hope! Italy's curve is flattening a little. But the UK's is still driving up linearly. (As are Sweden and the United States.) So you could win yet.

I heard somewhere that San Marino's #'s (as a fraction of population) are horribly, horribly bad. Which was blamed on "small sample size", but having visited a couple of times, seemed to me like it had a rather high population density.

There's going to be so very many small-scale tragedies buried in the larger ones.

Snarki - as of yesterday, looking at the OWID data, San Marino has had 41 deaths (but no new ones since 4/27), with a population of 33938, for a deaths per million of 1208.

If you were to rank all the locations by population density, San Marino's is in the higher end of the list, about 585 (per km squared), but still a small fraction of that in places like Singapore and Hong Kong, or even, much more comparably, Monaco, which has a population density of 19347.5, a population of 39244, but only five deaths.

Makes you wonder if San Marino had a cluster of deaths (maybe a nursing home)?

An Italian village with a cluster was quarantined and profiled in this video. The mayor is cool.

Small tragedies indeed.

It really says something that all these countries are in on the hoax.

It really says something that all these countries are in on the hoax.

How else? It is, after all, a hoax run by global elites.

The country names, or at least three-letter abrreviations at the end of each line would be most helpful. Oops -- like your list of countries, only part of the plot.

When I just glanced at it, I expected the second line down to be the US because it's clearly a series of little outbreaks, one after the other.

Here’s a comparison: Norway and Sweden.

Norwegians have admitted that Sweden, comparied to Norway, has better neighbors...

1. I'll work on readability for next time.

2. Below, very quick and dirty (anyone know how to make a comment box recognize a tab?), all the locations with total deaths per million > 100 as of 5/18:

San Marino 1208.085
Belgium 781.044
Andorra 660.066
Italy 527.738
United Kingdom 510.208
France 430.619
Sweden 364.284
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
Netherlands 331.488
Ireland 312.488
Isle of Man 282.247
United States 270.578
Montserrat 200.04
Switzerland 185.103
Luxembourg 170.933
Ecuador 155.075
Canada 153.197
Bermuda 144.525
Monaco 127.408
Portugal 119.45

Those little 'countries' are just made up and don't really exist except maybe as theme parks. And some seem to be not even at the higher area end for theme parks. Some of the names are dead give-aways*. Isle of Man? What-I-Can? Tranny Dad and Tobacco? Not to forget islands named after clothing items or sliced bread.

*not to be confused with ex-parrots. Those have to be paid for properly

Makes you wonder if San Marino had a cluster of deaths (maybe a nursing home)?

My guess is that a few San Marinans were, at the very beginning of the outbreak, at a fancy ski resort. The authorities (in Germany? can't remember details) were fairly sure, at the beginning of the pandemic, when they were able to trace contacts, that someone had gone straight from China to some ski resort (can't remember which one), and that a lot of the early transmission into the rest of Europe was a result of skiers returning from their vacation to their home countries. Sorry for vagueness!

Austrian resort:


Then there's this:


Mostly one man's story:

He died, at home, on March 29, 2020. Officially, the cause of death was chronic lung disease. But there was more going on than just that. A sudden illness had left him too fatigued to leave the house, and he had had contact with multiple people who later tested positive for COVID-19. Yet Bob’s death certificate doesn’t list that disease as a cause or even a probable cause of his death. He never got tested — he didn’t want to enter a hospital and be separated from Fran, his wife of 48 years.

@hsh 9:32 -- this blurriness is one of the reasons why I'm ambivalent about continuing to track the numbers.

I generally take the numbers as "at least" figures. But it does make comparisons fraught when one place - be it a state, territory, or country - has a different version of "at least" than another.

Also from my last link, regarding "at least":

All deaths in the state of New York went up in March, and these excess deaths — deaths above the usual rate for that place and time of year — outstrip diagnosed COVID-19 cases statewide by nearly three times. Data collected by The New York Times suggests that the high number of “excess” deaths in New York continued through April.

Yet another reason why experts say we’re not overcounting COVID-19 deaths is that we’re now counting them in much the same way as we have always counted deaths from infectious disease. The methodology is longstanding and is used for all sorts of diseases — and there’s never been cause to think that the methodology made us overcount the deaths from those other diseases.

If you look at the CDC’s annual report of flu deaths, for example, you’ll see that it’s “estimated,” modeled on official flu deaths reported, deaths from flu-like causes reported, and what we know about flu epidemiology. The calculation is done this way precisely because public health officials know that a straight count of formally diagnosed flu deaths would be an undercount of actual flu deaths.

More from hsh's link:

Bob was a person, beloved by his family and his community. Ever since he died, Bob has also become a number — data entered into a spreadsheet, just like the tiny shellfish he and his daughter once pulled from cold Michigan lakes.

This is something I think about every night when I look at the numbers and remind myself that they're not just numbers. Each death is a story of suffering, fear, and in many cases loneliness, an unexpected rewriting of the future, a grieving family.

Even with my mom -- she didn't have COVID-19, but it affected the last weeks of her life just the same. My brother had been spending time with her every evening -- and then he couldn't, until she was "actively dying."

There were also decisions that had to be made about treatment, decisions that had to be made in a context reshaped by the pandemic.

So she spent her last weeks with strangers, increasingly confused, paranoid, and in pain. None of us, including my mom, objected to the shutdown -- and her nursing home had no COVID-19 cases last I knew, so lives were surely saved in that facility by the quarantine. But lives -- and deaths -- were also reshaped in ways no one could have foreseen.

Neither side of that equation will ever be counted in any statistics.

And this: The New York electronic death records form provides three lines for cause of death, which are supposed to be filled out in a way that tells a story. The idea is that nobody ever really dies of just one thing, Aiken told me.

Words to live by.

Or die by.

Mostly when someone asks me what my mom died of, I want to say, "life." She was 96! She had half a dozen ailments and injuries! Her body had just had enough.

We put "of natural causes" in the obit, because it was important to at least one of us that it be clear that she didn't die of COVID-19.

All deaths in the state of New York went up in March, and these excess deaths — deaths above the usual rate for that place and time of year — outstrip diagnosed COVID-19 cases statewide by nearly three times.

And it's worth noting that deaths tripled in spite of deaths from things like traffic accidents going down, due to all those people sheltering in place rather than on the streets commuting,

My father died 2-1/2 years ago of "cadiogenic shock." He was only 76, but had one thing after another go wrong health-wise over the course of a couple decades. Even before that, he had major kidney surgery when I was really young. The only thing I remember from it was seeing the large, fresh scar on his back. I was probably about 5 at the time.

The last couple of decades of his life included multiple angioplasties and stents, diagnosis with type-2 diabetes, two medically induced comas (one in 2010 and one in 2014) when he was in sepsis - both of which had me mourning what I expected to be his imminent death, given what the doctors were telling me. (They have this way of looking at you and saying quietly, "Your father is very, very sick." It's like they're trying to see in your face that you understand that he might not make it without their having to come out and say it to you bluntly.)

My dad was really tough, though. Both times, he made it out of the hospital and, after convalescing, back to caring for himself and going out and doing normal things. But each time took it's piece out of him. He went from being middle-aged to what I'll just call "old" after the first one. And he went from old to something more like elderly after the second one. Still independent, but far more limited. And his kidneys were slowly failing.

He went to the hospital with what he thought was a gall stone, but what turned out to be a mild heart attack. They took him into the cath lab the next day and he became "unstable." He wasn't conscious, would never be conscious, and the only way his heart could continue beating normally was repeated defibrillation. He was on multiple acute medications, the main one to keep his blood pressure up, and he was only breathing because of a ventilator.

There were too many things wrong with him to manage at once, and he died. Was it the heart attack? Sort of. But if he were otherwise healthy, they may have been able to do another angioplasty or put in a stent, and may have lived another 10 years.

I've been think about him a lot since this pandemic started. Mostly I think about how afraid I would have been for him, and how I would handled visiting with him. He used to come over my house just about every Sunday morning, and he loved seeing his grandchildren. I don't know how I would have dealt with that. Maybe we'd all sit in the back yard ten feet apart or something.

Somehow, not having to deal with all of that is making me miss him even more right now.

My family had the same experience, Janie, except that the quarantine was not effective.

I wrote about it here:

Nigel, I am so sorry for your loss. I do not want to add to your pain, but I only question your sentence It appears to have happened without thinking.

I imagine nobody had the stupidity to put anything to the contrary in writing, but eventually no doubt these questions will be investigated.

I have several times during this crisis stopped and thought "thank God my mother is not still alive." I feel intense sympathy for anyone having to worry about vulnerable elderly parents in this situation.

I'm sorry, Nigel. I don't know how angry and frustrated I would be if I were you, on top of being terribly sad. It's hard to imagine.

deaths above the usual rate for that place and time of year — outstrip diagnosed COVID-19 cases statewide by nearly three times.

wj: deaths tripled

I do believe we've touched on this before, and argued about it. ("We" being the commentariat in general, not just wj and me.)

Strictly speaking, with my copy editor hat on, I would not have left that first quote as is. If you outstrip something, you go beyond it. If you outstrip it by three times normal, to me that means you've gone past normal by an amount equal to thrice normal, i.e. deaths were normal, plus three times normal, for a total count that's four times normal.

"Outstrip" makes this example even a little mushier than the usual mush people make of talking about numbers in words. People often write something like, "We had three times more than normal attendance" -- when it would be clearer to write "We had three [our four] times the normal attendance."

/grammar nerd irritation

Argh. Apologies, Nigel, I got a phone call in the middle of writing that grammar comment, then posted it without seeing that your comment and link had come in the meantime.

I'm so sorry about your dad -- it's hard enough at the best of times, without the extra stress (or might I say outrage) of why it happened this way.

Janie, point taken. I plead that I hadn't yet had my tea this morning. (It's a poor excuse for sloppyness. But it's all I've got.)

wj -- I was really aiming at the original quote, not at you. You just got in the line of fire. ;-)

"Temporary care workers transmitted Covid-19 between care homes as cases surged, according to an unpublished government study which used genome tracking to investigate outbreaks.

In evidence that raises further questions about ministers’ claims to have “thrown a protective ring around care homes”, it emerged that agency workers – often employed on zero-hours contracts – unwittingly spread the infection as the pandemic grew, according to the study by Public Health England (PHE)."
Agency staff were spreading Covid-19 between care homes, PHE found in April: Exclusive: results of unpublished study were only shared with care home providers last week

I pulled the daily US and UK totals into this thread. I didn't update the deaths per million graph -- will try to do that in a couple of days.

No need to apologise, Janie, and thanks.

Why does it use 6-day rolling averages? I suggest that 7-day rolling averages would make more sense.

A 6-day rolling average smooths out some of the weekly cycles of the data.

Bizarro World: In Weld County, Colorado, workers at the meat plant can only be tested for Covid-19, if they had NO contact with ANY person showing ANY symptoms ANYWHERE. Calls to the health department, whether that was a mistake or just a typo in the official document get informed that, no, it means exactly what it says. In essence, no test for you, if you work at the meat plant and there is the slightest chance that the test result could be positive.
No surprise, if the numbers keep dropping.

Testing labs don't operate 24/7, so results are backlogged over the weekend, and land with higher rates on Monday/Tuesday.

So a weekly average makes sense to...a six day average will remove most of the noise, seven day average is better.

I'm so sorry, Nigel, for your loss, and for the way this disease has affected your family.

Hi Nigel, thanks for sharing that, it's so hard to talk about loss at a time like this, when there are so many other losses around. I wanted to post something on mother's day about my mom who passed away 11 years ago and how I miss her, but how I also feel like GftNC feels: Grateful that she's not alive to see all this.

She was a nurse and though she stopped when she got married, she ended up keeping up with studying (she had gone back to school to take classes and maybe get a BA as she had a nursing 2 year degree) and ended up working as a medical secretary. I mentioned this when I wrote about my daughter getting Kawasaki's, and when we had various aches and pains, she would tell us oh, you must have done this, do this for that. Fortunately, both my brother and I have been pretty lucky and I only really started to fall apart after she passed. If she were around, I'd feel safer, knowing I could call if one of us got sick and get reassured, but I would have hated to think of how she would feel seeing all this happening.

But anyway, I wanted to post something on facebook and say basically the same thing, but my facebook is full of people from Mississippi, which is also something I'm trying to write a post about now, but I just didn't want to deal with people taking offense at my observation. But I share it with all of you here, hoping that some of you might understand.


It is interesting, I have had a very similar experience this week. My father passed ten years ago yesterday and I wanted to post something that reflected on his life, and mine without him, but it just seemed, inappropriate.

Meanwhile, three weeks ago my mother-in-law passed. She was 93 and in poor health but her passing was probably hastened by the doctors hesitance to put her in the hospital.

I did talk to my Mom about how my Dad would feel about the world today. But there was really no place to share how I thought he would feel, or my wife's frustration about her mother's passing.

All this just to say, I empathize with you, and you Nigel.

Nigel, sorry to hear it.

Why does it use 6-day rolling averages? I suggest that 7-day rolling averages would make more sense.

Here’s OWID’s data. Here’s Worldometer’s, though they don’t offer raw data in a downloadable format AFAICT. A guest post would be most welcome.

Even if you just want to spectate, OWID, among other sites, provides a vast selection of views of the data, including a 7-day moving average of deaths per million of population; you can interactively add other countries besides the defaults.

When I started this a month ago, I was responding to hsh’s wish that Worldometer would publish graphs of multi-day averages, which I was curious about too. I took the 6-day average idea from some Kevin Drum graphs that bobbyp had linked to. At that point I didn't know about the systematic weekend reporting issues. If it weren’t for those, using six days vs seven would make very little difference to the shape of the curve.

Here’s an interesting piece from Kevin Drum about using actual dates of death vs reported dates of death, which eliminates the weekend reporting problem. Still, Kevin himself switched to 7-day averages soon after I copied his 6-day idea, but I don’t read him regularly, so didn’t see that there was a new idea to consider copying. I am not a statistician or an epidemiologist; I was doing this casually, spurred on by hsh’s interest and my own, and thought I might as well share.

To put it more briefly, this is Obsidian Wings, not Alice’s Restaurant, LOL.

[Aside to hsh: If you’re willing, put your email address in a comment box, or send it to the kitty and lj can forward it to me. I thought I had it from years ago, but I can’t find it.]

Nigel and Janie, so sorry for your losses. Not being able to be with loved ones when they pass is doubly hard.

JanieM, I thought I would be unbelievably clever and email you directly, sure that I had your email address. No dice! So I emailed The Kitty / lj.

Thanks Marty, I appreciate that and I'm sorry for what you are having to deal with. I don't have to tell you but dealing with a spouse's loss is so tricky. It is so easy for there to be a gap between what is needed and wanted and what you think may be needed but the partner doesn't agree. It's such a minefield.

I also appreciate how it is hard to find a space to share what you think your parents or other people who were close to you might think. It's something that does need to get said, but when deployed in an debate, it is another mindfield.

At any rate, take care and stay safe.

Below is my chart using a 365 day rolling average. The White House has expressed interest.

| .


He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best—
A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
And that was to tingle his bell.

....excerpt from The Hunting of the Snark, OF COURSE.

Even if you just want to spectate, OWID...

Poking around at OWID, I came upon Case fatality rate of COVID-19 vs. Median Age, which I assumed was ... well, I'm not exactly sure ... so let's just say something other than what it was.

It was (and still is!) a graphic showing the case fatality rate in each country on the y-axis with the median age of each country along the x-axis. Each country is represented by a colored-in circle, the size of which represents the total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in that country as of whatever date, selected by sliding a bar at the bottom from Jan 19th to the far left and May 22nd to the far right. Or you can press a play button that will move the bar gradually from the far left to the far right for you.

What surprised me was how great the variation is in median age among different nations. The median age in Niger is 15. (I'd put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence were it not for factorial notation.) In Japan it's 47. I'm mostly surprised by how low the low end is.

(A similar thing happened when Worldometers added a column for the population of each country to their main table. FREX, I would never have guessed that nearly 115M people lived in Ethiopia.)

Snarki's excerpt from The Hunting of the Snark: a perfect metaphor for much of our current situation, as no doubt intended.

Give me liberty or and give me death:

Been playing around with FT's data for an article I'm working on.

This stat blew my mind.

Italy and Spain had among worst outbreaks in Europe. But by day 80, Italy was down 80% from peak, Spain was down 93%.

US (top line in chart) at same point is down only 28% from peak. pic.twitter.com/TC70RCGAD7

— Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) May 22, 2020

h/t Anne Laurie at BJ, as usual.

what the hell

It's tempting to try to remind people that "freedom" is not, and has never been, absolute, that "freedom" is always a balancing act.

But you can't reason with toddlers, or fanatics. And fanatic toddlers are really the worst.

We've come to a place in this insane country where in a lot of people's minds, they are "free" to, oh let's say, shoot people at the drop of a hat. They are free to prevent sick people from getting to hospitals. The freedom of the rest of us to live in safety is of no account to them.

They want to be "free" like bratty toddlers with no adults to supervise them or teach them how to play well with others.

It's not really that surprising (however dismaying it may be) that people who claim that their right to own, carry, and use machine guns for private purposes can't be restricted also claim the right to breathe their viruses all over the rest of us.

"people who claim that their right to own, carry, and use machine guns for private purposes can't be restricted also claim the right to breathe their viruses all over the rest of us."

I *really* need to stock up on flamethrowers, to sterilize the virus clinging to Trumpers MAGA hats.

what the hell

I think this is great, actually. It's like the evangelical churches which want to reopen with no masks and hugs all around. Cold hearted it may be, but this is gathering the selfish together where they can hopefully weed themselves out of society. (And, if you go for nature over nurture, out of the gene pool.) All without the rest of us having to lift a finger.

I'd have the same view of the (probably overlapping) anti-vaxxers. Except that, instead of hurting themselves, they're putting their children at risk with their stupidities.

On which topic, i.e. stupidity, see this from the (Republican) governor of North Dakota
"senseless culture war" indeed.

from the Department of OMG Who Could Have Foreseen This:

A Missouri hairstylist may have exposed 91 customers and coworkers to coronavirus, public health officials said, after the state’s governor allowed businesses including salons to reopen on 4 May.

The stylist who tested positive for Covid-19 worked at a salon in Springfield on eight different days while experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
America begins to unlock for summer – but is it inviting a disastrous second wave?
Read more

Because the stylist and the customers wore face coverings, health officials said on Friday, they hoped the interactions would lead to “no additional cases”. Those potentially exposed would be contacted and offered testing, officials said.

The potential exposures started little more than a week after Missouri allowed salons to reopen.

Out of laziness, I’m copying and pasting something I wrote as a comment on my cousin’s facebook post after someone wrote that wearing a mask won’t stop the virus but will make you look like “a wimpy pussy” (classy, right?):

Cloth masks help keep droplets coming out of your mouth from spreading far and wide into the air, reducing the chances that you can infect someone else. N95 masks can filter out droplets that can carry the virus, protecting the wearer. This should be common knowledge by now. Why wearing a mask to protect your fellow Americans and human beings in general makes someone look wimpy is beyond me. Think of the sacrifices we’re memorializing this weekend against that of wearing a mask around other people. Who’s the wimp? I’d say it’s someone who can’t tolerate wearing a mask to save our country.

What hsh said.

Those guys who obsess about looking whimpy are just so incredibly insecure. Perhaps with reason.

Because the stylist and the customers wore face coverings, health officials said on Friday, they hoped the interactions would lead to “no additional cases”.

I actually hope they follow up on this, and let us know whether customers got sick from this exposure while both parties were wearing masks. If not, it's somewhat comforting that there's a protocol that works.

Obviously, experimenting on people in this way isn't ideal, but I'm in favor of resuming as much normalcy is available if we can manage to take effective precautions.

The anti-mask people can then be dealt with as Snarki suggests.

hsh -- if I were on Facebook, I would steal your paragraph. Nicely done.


The stylist who tested positive for Covid-19 worked at a salon in Springfield on eight different days while experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

I'm in favor of resuming as much normalcy is available if we can manage to take effective precautions.

The key words here are "while experiencing symptoms." For eight days!

As far as I'm concerned, "normalcy" should never involve going to work when you're sick with something other people can catch, never mind in current circumstances. In a properly run society that would be about as acceptable as peeing on someone else’s lunch.

If this stylist was one of those "my liberty entails the right to infect other people" people, then I won't even put into words what I think s/he deserves.

If it was someone who didn't have enough sick leave to get by while staying home, that's on our whole system, not only on the worker, although I still think that if you're sick, you stay home, all the more right now. (I realize that hair stylists are usually or often self-employed, which makes the "sick leave" question harder. Lay it on the pricing structure and no one wanting to pay a price that would cover externalities.)

Out in public, where we all have to function (which is different from let's say hospitals), masks are encouraged or required because COVID-19 can be passed on by people who are symptom-free, not so that people who know they're sick can knowingly circulate amongst the rest of us. People who know they're sick should quarantine themselves, period. And we should make sure they're taken care of in every way, financial, medical, child-care-wise, whatever.

Not that we will do that, partly because the same assholes who are screeching about liberty will be the exact same ones who don't want to kick in a share of what it would require for all of us to take care of each other. No sirree, that would be socialism.


From the CDC website:

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

Stay home except to get medical care

Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.

Get that? If you're sick, STAY HOME.

Me: No sirree, that would be socialism.

And as we all know, and as has been IIRC said on this very blog, if not in these exact words: "Better dead than red." (In the older meaning of "red," of course.)

So death it is.

Those without the wit to realize that "he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day."

European fashion designers are already offering lines of 3-piece bikinis for the 2020 summer season. Who knows if they will sell.

Nobody is nuts enough to offer MAGA masks. But Ivanka might give it a shot if Daddy lets her.


If this stylist was one of those "my liberty entails the right to infect other people" people, then I won't even put into words what I think s/he deserves.

Doesn't seem likely, since the person was wearing a mask. As far as symptoms go, I've been exhibiting symptoms since March 1, because it's been a terrible allergy season this spring. It's quite easy for someone who needs to work, and has a cough, to rationalize it.

I'm not in favor of judging people who are making an attempt to do the right thing. This is about a germ. The government is handling it poorly, giving conflicting messages, and making it extremely difficult for people on the edge to cope. People don't want to live in solitary confinement.

It's reasonable to try to find safe ways to be somewhat normal. Masks are one thing people are trying. I'm anxious to see what the fallout is from this person who wore a mask, and tried to work.

By the way, JanieM, you are in a demographic where you probably get social security, plus (if I'm not mistaken) you work from home. Easy for you to say.

And we should make sure they're taken care of in every way, financial, medical, child-care-wise, whatever.

That's funny. Is that happening anywhere? Maybe on a GoFundMe basis.

Nobody is nuts enough to offer MAGA masks.

Hold my beer.

If you don't want to wear a mask, stay the hell home. Nobody will make you wear a mask in your own home.

If you want to go into shared public spaces, wear a freaking mask.

As far as the Springfield MO hairdresser goes, I think we need to distinguish between a couple of things.

Being faced with the horrifying choice of not being able to pay the bills vs possibly exposing other people to a horrible and possibly fatal illness is not the same as wanting to "return to normal". If people are exposing other people to COVID because they want to "return to normal", somebody should take them aside and give them a clue.

Normal is not available at this time. Proceed from that assumption.

Allergies and COVID-19 have generally different symptoms. If you're sniffly and congested and your eyes are itchy, you probably have an allergy. If you have a dry cough and a temperature and have lost your sense of smell or taste, you may have COVID. You can get a blood oxygen level monitor for about $20, which isn't nothing, but it is within reach of most households. If your blood oxygen levels are low, you may have COVID. Allergies and COVID aren't the same thing, and have different symptoms.

We'd all love for all of this to be over and to be able to do all the things we used to do and enjoy. Those things aren't available right now, and probably won't be for a while. All of that sucks.

Trying to pretend otherwise, and putting other people at risk of illness as a result, is freaking irresponsible. There is no excuse for it.

Is that happening anywhere? Maybe on a GoFundMe basis.

Yes, among other ways. Most likely a variety of things of that nature are available to most if not all people reading this.

The feds under Trump can't find their ass with two hands and a flashlight, so it's mostly gonna be up to other actors. Like you and me.

Consider contributing whatever you can.

Allergies and COVID-19 have generally different symptoms.

Not always, and not really. I have actually been taking my temperature, even though I've been pretty sure it's allergies, just to be sure. But, I wor from home, and nobody's going to fire me if I don't show up for something.

We're talking about millions of people trying to figure out what to do day to day. Not just us old people, who (most of us - I know it's different for hsh and a few others) are pretty normalized with just doing what we do in our house (and I, for one, am not totally in that category, because if I don't work, we are foreclosed on). We're talking about people who are terrified about the possibility of being evicted, of being foreclosed on, of having all manner of horrible shit happening to them on June 1, or July 1, or August 1.

So, russell, why did you do that last gig that your wife gave you a side eye? You may want to look back at that time as to why people aren't as militant as you are today.

I turned the gig down.

And that was not quite 100k dead people ago.

I am completely sympathetic to people who are facing any of a variety of disasters. I'm all for relaxing lockdown protocols where that can be done safely.

Cutting someone's hair is working in direct physical contact with that person, for an extended period of time. It's basically textbook high risk.

Going to work as a hair stylist *while you have symptoms consistent with COVID* is just profoundly irresponsible. Do it long enough and you'll kill somebody.

The downside of being old enough for social security is that you're an order of magnitude more likely to die of COVID if you catch it.

I turned the gig down.

Good for you. Didn't catch that follow-up.

Going to work as a hair stylist *while you have symptoms consistent with COVID* is just profoundly irresponsible.

Although I agree-ish, easy for you to say. A person wearing a mask might think that s/he is good to go. And maybe was! I was suggesting that we find out.

The downside of being old enough for social security is that you're an order of magnitude more likely to die of COVID if you catch it.

The upside is you can probably stay home, where others maybe not.

And maybe was! I was suggesting that we find out.

And how do we find that out? Wait and see who gets sick?

The general effectiveness of different mask materials is, to my understanding, reasonably well known.

Yes, all of this is easy for me to say. I have a job, I can work from home, I'm an introvert to the point of being anti-social so quarantine is basically a net win for me, personally.

I've also had periods in my life where no work meant no pay, and I've worked sick and/or injured at one time or other. So I get the "do what you gotta do" thing.

But this isn't the fucking flu. People who have reason to believe they may have COVID should not be cutting hair. They are, literally, putting other people's lives at risk.

They shouldn't be forced to make that choice, but we live in a callous and greedy culture, so lots of people are faced with that choice. I get that.

But we all need to do our best to make responsible choices, just as we all need to do our best to help other people do so.

And really, if you're sick, stay the hell home.

And how do we find that out? Wait and see who gets sick?


Yes, all of this is easy for me to say. I have a job, I can work from home, I'm an introvert to the point of being anti-social so quarantine is basically a net win for me, personally.

Yep. Lots of us.

Let's stop it with the hairdresser is bad thing. Or anybody who isn't a militant anti-mask bullshit person is bad. We can focus on them.

Sorry - have a lot of distractions. If anyone didn't get the drift of my previous comment, say so. I'll explain later.

I'm momentarily without distractions.

We are at a cataclysmic economic point of a major depression.

I've also had periods in my life where no work meant no pay, and I've worked sick and/or injured at one time or other. So I get the "do what you gotta do" thing.

Yes, but the people who are in that place now are in it perhaps forever.

I'm pro-mask. The hairdresser had a mask. I'm pro-hairdresser.

And how do we find that out? Wait and see who gets sick?


No thank you.

Just to re-focus this - we are talking about somebody who went to work as a hair stylist *while experiencing symptoms of COVID-19*. And, who ended up testing positive for COVID-19. And, who came in sufficiently close contact with 91 other people that those people are now at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Everybody understands that a lot of people are suffering financially due to the virus. Everybody. Statements like "yeah, well, easy for you to say" are freaking rude.

There is a need to prevent widespread financial disaster. There is also a need to prevent 1,000 or more people a day from dying of COVID for the forseeable future. And if you think the numbers are trending in a positive direction, so no worries, take a look with NY factored out.

There are ways to re-open businesses safely. In general that requires:

* Testing
* Contact tracing
* Isolation of people known to be / at risk of being positive

We won't do those things, because a fairly significant slice of the population suffers from an ignorant, ahistorical, childish understanding of what political liberty means. Some of them will shoot you before they'll comply with basic public health measures.

So where does that leave us?

Where it leaves us is with the choice of probably millions of people out of work, or probably 1,000 people a day dying of COVID until somebody, somewhere, comes up with a vaccine and that vaccine is made widely available.

You're in favor of wear a mask, go to work, and we'll all take our chances. Even if that means people who are sick end up cutting your hair. We'll just see how it turns out.

I'm not. I don't want people who have symptoms of COVID cutting hair, serving or preparing food, giving massages or tattoos, or doing anything that involves direct contact with other people. I don't want them doing anything but staying home, frankly, but at a minimum I don't want them working directly with other people. Don't want them on buses or subways or cabs or ride shares. Mask or no mask. Anybody who spends any time out in public understands that mask discipline is.... a mixed bag, at best.

If you have symptoms of COVID, stay the hell home.

In a sane world, "stay the hell home" would be accompanied by "and we'll make sure you don't end up starving or homeless". We don't live in a sane world. The federal response to all of this has ranged from farcically incompetent to malicious if not criminal. States... vary. So people are going to have to help each other out. If that means GoFundMe, then do that. If that means leaving a 50% or 100% tip when you get a takeout meal, then do that. If that means just giving people you know some money, then do that.

Will it be enough? No, it won't be enough. Some people are going to be FUBARed by this. FUBARed here means losing their livelihoods, savings, livelihoods.

And guess what? Some other people are going to die from this. Not just die, but die isolated, saying goodbye to their loved ones over a phone, or not at all.

Nobody asked for any of this.

If you're sick, stay the hell home. Don't make other people sick.

Well (definitely not), an increasing number of econonists, economic heavyweights and their political lackeys openly say that 1000 dead (usually silently added: peasants) per day is a price worth paying and that the risk of starving outweighing the risk of death per infection is a proper incentive. When the likes of Lindsay Graham say that any extension of unemployment benefits will be passed only over their dead bodies, he's wrong only in the way that he does not actually say 'their' but 'our' (knowing that the risk of getting starved of donations clearly outweighs the risk of getting lanternized by his constituents. Something Hamlet about method and madness, I presume.

NC had 1,108 new cases, yesterday. highest number yet.

people are out eating in restaurants (up to 50% capacity).

You're in favor of wear a mask, go to work, and we'll all take our chances.

I'm actually in favor of the measures you mentioned: testing, contact tracing and quarantine of sick people. We don't live in that world.

Statements like "yeah, well, easy for you to say" are freaking rude.

Perhaps. I'm wondering why people don't think it's rude to shame someone who may face eviction, and who may have dependents (like kids) to feed, and whose personal safety net may be depleted. I am not in that situation, and few here are. If I were, I might well tell myself that things would be okay if everyone just tried to be careful.

I'm not in favor of going to work sick. Or at all if people can help it. My hair is a mess, and I'm not changing that anytime soon even though my hairdresser is open for business. However, if some of the precautions we're learning to take actually work, maybe we can take them, and some people won't be forced to drown in financial misery. The hairdresser had a mask. Her customers had masks. I hope there's a follow-up to find out how many people got sick. If no one, it's not because of a miracle: it's because of the precautions that were taken.

Very little about the government safety net will change until at least January of 2021. Personal charity isn't going to save everyone. It would be nice if some people could, with precautions, do what they need to do to survive if that doesn't mean infecting other people.

I can mostly stay home. On the few occasions otherwise I can stay very far away from people. I'm not in a position to shame people who don't have that luxury.

From the article russell posted:

The first fact is that the initial experiments with easing the strictures on social and economic life have not generated the spikes in new cases that some predicted. Georgia is the clearest case of this. Neighboring Florida is another. We don’t know yet why this is the case. Perhaps we need to wait longer to see the impact. Perhaps continuing mitigation efforts are more effective than anticipated. Perhaps there are cultural, social, epidemiological or even climatic factors that make these states less susceptible to the kinds of outbreaks we saw in New York and other urban centers in the North. But we’ve seen enough data to say with some confidence that the worst predictions are not coming to pass, or at least not quickly.

Georgia is the clearest case of this.

oh i wouldn't say that. since, the GA govt is lying about the numbers.

I'll be more impressed by the cases Marty notes when we've got a month of data from them. (And even then not so much with Florida. Which, it appears, may be fudging their data.)

Well, while certain state officials attempt to hide the true # of deaths from COVID-19 (even setting aside the question of what is a death from COVID-19), do they not understand that people are also tracking the # deaths in general, and that that # can be compared to some baseline?

Or maybe they think they can hide those #s too.

Anything can be called "fake news" these days, after all.

Back in real life, there are lots of complexities to every aspect of this kind of counting.

Interesting article in the WaPo (I weakened and got a subscription) on the economic implications of each death as usually calculated by government when considering e.g. public health innovations, and the surprising lack of such calculation during the pandemic:


Economists at the University of Wyoming estimated the economic benefits from lives saved by efforts to “flatten the curve” outweighed the projected massive hit to the nation’s economy by a staggering $5.2 trillion. Another study by two University of Chicago economists estimated the savings from social distancing could be so huge, “it is difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to American citizens.”


What these academics are doing — and what Trump’s tweet is getting at — is measuring how the extreme efforts to avoid covid-19 deaths compare to the devastating economic fallout. They do this by putting a price tag on the deaths avoided. It’s something the federal government does all the time when deciding whether to require carmakers to install new safety features or drugmakers to add new warning labels. And it’s required by law for big-ticket new regulations, such as road safety laws and pollution controls.

But this kind of approach has been missing from the debate about how to respond to the covid-19 pandemic, which has killed almost 100,000 Americans and fueled historic unemployment rates.

Sorry, trying to do an italiexo!

I'm not in favor of going to work sick.

Since that is the situation we're actually discussing, it appears we are of one mind.

Since that is the situation we're actually discussing, it appears we are of one mind.

A lot of people are going to work while contagious (often not knowing they are sick), and relying on masks and hygiene. Whether those precautions are effective is the question I was pondering, and IMHO a more worthwhile discussion than shaming people who are fearful of losing their income.

The flip side is shaming people who are fearful of themselves or others slowly drowning alone in a hospital bed, which is also a thing right now.

Since that is the situation we're actually discussing, it appears we are of one mind.

Shaming people in any situation seems counterproductive, especially when there's so much opportunity for people to learn ways to cope with whatever situation they happen to face.

What is your tut-tutting of people writing comments on a blog if not shaming? And how does one learn ways to cope with being dead? It seems cleek’s comment about a COVID-positive hairdresser with symptoms started this, so what happens if some of the people potentially exposed end up infected? What happens if someone dies as a result? Shaming seems kind of insignificant next to that.

Maybe I’m not getting your point here, sapient.

Please forgive a question from someone who is, perhaps, less socially aware than others. Is "shaming" a blanket term? Or is there some level at which you can communicate to someone else that their behavior is not (any longer) socially acceptable? Some level where you are doing something that is only teaching. Or is anything you might do in an attempt to communicate necessarily shaming?

Thanks for any enlightenment you can provide.

Or is there some level at which you can communicate to someone else that their behavior is not (any longer) socially acceptable?

How do we determine what's socially acceptable if we don't know whether the behavior caused a problem? There was a hairdresser who had Covid symptoms (which s/he may or may not have known were Covid) who wore a mask, and (let's assume for this exercise) washed hands or wore gloves, using recommended sanitation protocols, and her customers also wore protective equipment. Let's assume also that the symptoms are irrelevant since Covid is spread by asymptomatic people.

Let's assume that nobody got sick. We can conclude that the protocol worked.

Let's now assume that several people got sick from the contact. We can now conclude that the protocol did not work, and that it is NEVER safe to go to a hairdresser because there's no guarantee that the hairdresser is without disease.

We can be safer if we wait until the hairdresser is required to be tested at regular intervals, and displays the results in the shop.

Isn't this conversation more constructive than assessing the level of recklessness of this particular hairdresser? Yet people seem offended by the idea that maybe the masks worked, and we should find out. I hope they did keep the disease away from the customers. If so, we don't have to worry as much about the hairdresser's decisions so long as we know that the protocols are in place. But that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

I dunno', but maybe sapient is trying to convey the plight of somebody who (rightly or wrongly) feels they are at the end of their economic rope, having been ill-served by our joke of a safety net, and decided they have no other choice but to return to work, and "shaming" them is not going to convince them to reconsider that decision, and thus is counterproductive.

It's an argument, but it is misplaced.

The real shaming should be directed against the Trump administration, the GOP, its funders, and the conservative movement in general. But as we all well know, those folks are utterly shameless.

They need to be taken to the political woodshed.

FFS, this is not about "shaming people who are trying to make a living".

If you're sick, you shouldn't be working if your job involves direct contact with other people. Period. That was true before COVID. It's true if you have regular influenza, it's true if you have a freaking head cold. It surely is true if you have symptoms of COVID.

Imagine if the hairdresser, having tested positive for COVID, went back to work, except we put a sign at their station - "this hairdresser has tested positive for COVID, but is wearing a mask for your protection". Think anyone would let that person cut their hair, mask or not? Would you?

You're asking people to take that risk, without even knowing they're doing so. It's insane.

If you really want to shut the economy down, by all means move forward with a policy that anyone who thinks they might be sick should come to work nonetheless, as long as they wear a mask.

Good luck with that.

If you're sick, stay home.

I don’t think individual people should be running their own personal experiments on the effectiveness of COVID-19 safety precautions. That’s stupid.

Thanks, bobbyp.

Would you?

As I've indicated, I would like to know whether masks work to protect a customer from a hairdresser who has Covid. It doesn't matter whether the person is symptomatic. Although I trust my hairdresser to be as careful as possible, I am going to purchase a gift certificate for myself from her shop so that I can wait a little longer. She is working, even though she's worried about it, because she can no longer afford not to.

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