Bored with the pandemic

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 5:36 PM | comments: 0

After six months or so of dealing with a world avoiding infection, I can empathize with the general exhaustion that everyone is enduring. I miss cruising and traveling and eating out (indoors) and meeting friends for drinks and having parties. I'm done with it all.

But the pandemic is not over just because we're bored with it.

The good news is that we at least better understand the disease, and we're a lot better at mitigating the spread of it. Hospitals are marginally better at treating it, too, though we're still about 50% over the death rate that bottomed out at the start of July. The bottom line is that we can still live our lives, even if it means wearing our goofy masks. We can still have family gatherings if we isolate two weeks prior. We don't need lockdowns if we mitigate. But it ain't over.

I hate citing anecdotes, but if what I saw outside of a restaurant yesterday, and in front of Target, are any indication, a non-trivial portion of the population here in Orange County believe that because the governor lifted restrictions, the pandemic is over and mitigation protocols are no longer necessary. In reality, the infection rate here is back over 1.0, which one may recall is where we were in May before it topped out in mid-July. In fact, 38 states are now at 1.0 or higher, meaning that the disease is spreading, not shrinking. Case counts nationally are up 15% in the last two weeks, which is not the direction we want to go.

Usually when you bring this up to non-data-driven observers of the world (i.e., politically driven, as if science cared), they try to rationalize why it's OK and it's not that big of a deal. That's puzzling, and maybe they just don't know any of the 200,000 people in the US who have died, or the one in three who "recovered" but are still sick. It's pretty weird that we account for 4% of the world's population and 20% of the cases. This illness does kill people, and spreads quickly without mitigation. Is it really that big of a deal to continue the protocol?

I could see in June that we were headed for a scary place in our area, and sure enough, by July we were seeing 500+ new cases a day in OC, and our ICU's were saturated over 50%. And that's when people were, relatively speaking, taking it seriously. I'm not optimistic about where it's headed.

We can do this, y'all. We don't have to put each other at risk. If we get it right now, the return to normal is faster when vaccines become widely available early next year. Let's not prolong this nonsense.


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