1 in 1000 dead from COVID-19 in North Dakota
November 18, 2020 6:46 AM   Subscribe

"North Dakota currently has the highest daily mortality rate...of any domestic state or country in the world" That's not one out a thousand infected have died, that's one out of thousand from the total population - 769 of the roughly 762,000 residents of North Dakota are dead after testing positive for COVID-19
posted by Paladin1138 (284 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
Which ought to put to bed any notion of Covid having a flu like case mortality rate.
posted by ocschwar at 6:54 AM on November 18 [10 favorites]


So, no joke, as of now the Newsweek headline reads "North Dakota COVID Morality Rate Highest in the World, With 1 in Every 1,000 Residents Dead." I'm sure they'll fix that soon. Or maybe it's a comment on "You reap what you sow."
posted by jabah at 6:59 AM on November 18 [27 favorites]


This is an aside. What is up with Newsweek? A fairly obvious typo in one of the key words in the headline (s/morality/mortality/g). An article about COVID in North Dakota today, accompanied by a photo of ambulance drivers in NYC from September. This is not good editing.

This is NOT an aside: Christ. The red states just had to keep going along with the lies, and this is what we get. There is blood on their hands. I do not understand how people are continuing to pretend this is not an issue.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:05 AM on November 18 [18 favorites]


Humanity as a whole seems to be vying for this year's Darwin Awards. Fully 900 Mayo Clinic staffers have contracted Coronavirus in just the past two weeks because the spread is so pervasive throughout the entire Midwest.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:05 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


I'm just going to put this here because I was reading it this morning. A really good visual explanation of the factors in COVID spread.
posted by selfnoise at 7:06 AM on November 18 [71 favorites]


Not related to COVID, but the article refers to the Czech Republic as "Czechia". Is that common at all? I don't think I've heard that name before.
posted by Horselover Fat at 7:08 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Religious services are exempt from the mask mandate, which the governor put into place this past saturday.

Two things:

1. This past Saturday? They didn't mandate masks until NOVEMBER? Has the governor been on the moon for the past six months?

2. Why, in heaven's name, are masks not required in religious services? Why are we still doing that? Don't give me that separation of church and state crap. We wouldn't allow any churches to make human sacrifices, but we'll allow them to kill each other AND THE REST OF US with this stupid bullshit.
posted by nushustu at 7:09 AM on November 18 [74 favorites]


Not related to COVID, but the article refers to the Czech Republic as "Czechia". Is that common at all? I don't think I've heard that name before.

In 2016 the Czech government officially decided on the short name and asked English speakers to use it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:12 AM on November 18 [65 favorites]


currently (as of last year) just under 3M die each year in the USA so adding COVID to this at the ND rate would more than double the total deaths in the USA (mobile morgues like we saw in NYC and now in El Paso are required since all these COVID deaths in hard-hit areas are coming much faster than over one year).

WIth 65,000 cases in ND identified already, and a maybe ~10X undercount on cases, damn near everyone in ND has been exposed to the virus already.

Which is to be expected if a community just goes about business as usual in the middle of a global novel virus outbreak.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:15 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


I was chatting with my friends about being Cassandra earlier this week. We can shout all we want about what will happen in the future if nothing changes in the present, but no one will listen.

Right now, there are basically no hospital beds in much of the US.
Next Thursday, millions of Americans will gather for Thanksgiving anyway.
Two weeks later, millions of Americans will be having symptoms, and looking for care, and not getting it.
Two weeks later, millions of Americans will be dying, just in time for Christmas.

I don't live in the US anymore but I was born and raised there. I just literally have to shut my mind off in re this to get through the days.

I have no idea how Cassandra coped.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:17 AM on November 18 [107 favorites]


I am in Minnesota and yesterday was looking at per capita cases and deaths. The top 4 states by per capita cases are: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Nebraska and Illinois are both in the top 10. We are surrounded.

I am so fucking tired of the news whining about sports being cancelled.
posted by soelo at 7:19 AM on November 18 [49 favorites]


This is the kind of thing I refer to as "the wrong messenger." Nobody was going to listen if Cassandra, or a woman, or a liberal, whatever, was the one communicating the message. Some only hear what they want to hear. Denial gets you high. Or whatever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:21 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]




Will Thanksgiving Be a COVID-19 Disaster? In Canada, the Answer Was 'Yes'

And the US responds with "hold my beer".
posted by octothorpe at 7:23 AM on November 18 [65 favorites]


Why, in heaven's name, are masks not required in religious services?
Freedom!

Iowa's Republican government has completely backed themselves into a corner, because they totally politicized COVID response in the lead-up to the election, depicting Democrats as weak and cowardly and effeminate for taking COVID seriously. And now that they rode that message to victory, they can't very well change their tune and say that everyone should behave like cowardly sissies and wear their humiliating face diapers and hide in their basements. The governor issued a mask "mandate" the other day, but it's not really a mandate, because there are so many exceptions that it's hard to come up with a situation that it would actually cover. Also, she cancelled all high-school sports except football, because football is masculinity, and masculinity is always worth dying for. It's a nightmare.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:24 AM on November 18 [66 favorites]


The nurse in the news about deathbed patients' COVID denials is in South Dakota, whose residents and politicians carry mostly the same attitudes towards the pandemic as everyone else in the area being discussed.
posted by achrise at 7:27 AM on November 18 [31 favorites]


This is an aside. What is up with Newsweek?

It got sold to some kind of cult, I heard.
posted by thelonius at 7:27 AM on November 18 [26 favorites]


North Dakota is unusual in how fast people are dying right now, but it's not the first state to lose 1/1000th of its population to covid-19; NJ, NY, MA, CT, LA, RI, and MI already passed that statistic.

(Overall, 1/1333th of the US population has died from covid-19).

I'm in Iowa, which is part of that same Midwest Doom Cluster of Uncontrolled Spread, and I can remember when it was really bad in New York and everyone (by which I mean Republicans) was saying "The Midwest doesn't have to worry about that, we're spread out! We don't have public transit!" Well, we've got malls and schools and restaurants and bars, same as everybody, and prisons and meatpacking plants, and team sports...

I think we're finally hitting the point where if you don't know someone who's been seriously ill, you know someone who knows someone who's been seriously ill, and you start to take it seriously unless you're really politically committed to not taking it seriously.

But a lot of people are really politically committed to not taking it seriously.
posted by Jeanne at 7:27 AM on November 18 [62 favorites]


currently (as of last year) just under 3M die each year in the USA so adding COVID to this at the ND rate would more than double the total deaths in the USA

There are about 330 million people in the United States. 1 in 1000 would be 330 thousand.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:27 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Wedding becomes another super spreader event.

83 attended. 32 positives so far. Something eventually has to break, right?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:27 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


I just literally have to shut my mind off in re this to get through the days.

It's what I've been dreading since February, when it occurred to me that if the coronavirus came here, there was literally nothing to prevent every city being a Wuhan.

It's hard for me to get my head around. In a few weeks, there simply won't be medical care for serious problems through the Midwest (which is where I live). There won't be care, there won't be hospital beds, people are just going to die and die and die. We're going to have mass graves here like in New York.

Obviously the underlying fault rests with the government, but I don't understand why people are refusing to save themselves. Everyone should be cutting risk as much as possible and I don't understand why they aren't.

It's just so terrifying. I am terrified all day everyday - we're being as careful as possible, but what if something goes wrong or we have some other health issues?
posted by Frowner at 7:28 AM on November 18 [44 favorites]


Obviously the underlying fault rests with the government, but I don't understand why people are refusing to save themselves. Everyone should be cutting risk as much as possible and I don't understand why they aren't.

Humans are going to human. Quarantine fatigue is a thing. Plus since the feds have basically left the states to battle this alone, people need to go out, come hell or high water, to make sure they have money to survive the next two weeks. Half the country can't cover an unexpected $400 expense and the feds have basically said they aren't going to subsidize going weeks without work. What are they supposed to do? Sure you can stop paying rent but you can't exactly walk out of a grocery store with arms full of groceries.

We're basically watching people become martyrs for capitalism. Their blood lubricating the economic gears of the country.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:33 AM on November 18 [110 favorites]


WIth 65,000 cases in ND identified already, and a maybe ~10X undercount on cases, damn near everyone in ND has been exposed to the virus already.

No, unfortunately.

If that were true the new cases would be declining quite rapidly, not still growing, as it would be harder and harder for sick people to find new hosts to infect. They've got a ways to go.
posted by mark k at 7:37 AM on November 18 [25 favorites]


A visual representation of case rates from the past 7 days:

CDC Link: Cases

CDC Link: Deaths
posted by soylent00FF00 at 7:38 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


...they totally politicized COVID response in the lead-up to the election, depicting Democrats as weak and cowardly and effeminate for taking COVID seriously.

Following Trump's line, of course. Of all his Presidential inadequacies, I think that history will judge him most harshly for the current spectacle, but this is a close second. Turning Covid response into an identity-politics shibboleth has perhaps done more damage than the corrupt and botched initiatives for testing and PPE distribution did.
posted by thelonius at 7:39 AM on November 18 [24 favorites]


I have no idea how Cassandra coped.

Well, she was raped, forced to be the concubine of a different dude (so raped again), and then murdered.
posted by medusa at 7:39 AM on November 18 [48 favorites]


What's surprising to me is that both Dakotas are near 8% active cases with only ~10/sqmi population density.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:40 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


A visual representation of case rates from the past 7 days: CDC Link

Almost exactly the same propagation wave as if a literal bomb had been dropped on North Dakota.
posted by penduluum at 7:41 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


We're basically watching people become martyrs for capitalism.

Yes. A national experiment in human sacrifice.
posted by medusa at 7:42 AM on November 18 [13 favorites]


Half the country can't cover an unexpected $400 expense and the feds have basically said they aren't going to subsidize going weeks without work. What are they supposed to do? Sure you can stop paying rent but you can't exactly walk out of a grocery store with arms full of groceries.

Sure, yes, and this is the "government fault" part. But we're looking at a situation where 40% of the country is going to have large Thanksgiving gatherings, spiking the pandemic numbers and crashing the hospitals. No one has to have Thanksgiving. People famously hate Thanksgiving. And yet no amount of frankly terrifying "our hospitals are overburdened, there are no beds" news is enough to get them to call off these totally optional gatherings.

Basically, we need to be a lot more pessimistic about humans than we generally are.
posted by Frowner at 7:48 AM on November 18 [49 favorites]


.

It's so important to remind people of the fact that this also limits the ressources for other healthcare procedures. A relative of mine died in a NYC hospital during the peak there, and since they were extremely ill, they did get a bed and the best treatment available. But it was not a good time or place to be hospitalized.

There will also be an excess mortality where the causes are not COVID-19, because there is no space in the hospitals and no extra healthcare staff.

I don't know any COVID-deniers personally, but I can see how some of my FB friends do, because of the very long posts they are putting up where they explain this. And from some of the "do your own research" replies they get. It's insane.
posted by mumimor at 7:48 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


Meanwhile, here in Colorado the state just decided to modify its COVID-19 dial because a good chunk of the state should now be under a stay-home order according to the old standards but the state leaders are too cowardly to actually put a stay-home order in place. And too cowardly to just give people money to stay home.

I am so pissed off about Colorado politics right now. It would be the perfect moment to say "Fuck TABOR*, suspend it because it's an emergency" and give people money. (*TABOR is our constitutional spending limits amendment.) Forget the budget, GIVE PEOPLE MONEY AND SEND THEM HOME.
posted by medusa at 7:48 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


How about a bit of good news: according to this preprint article, immunity is long-lasting with antibodies still around after more than six months. Also, memory T cells are still responsive even after the antibodies go away.
posted by exogenous at 7:49 AM on November 18 [23 favorites]


Hi! Sitting in North Dakota right now, having attended a business meeting last night in which "it's just a mandate, you don't have to follow it cuz it's not a law; if you're not wearing a mask we'll just assume you have a medical condition" was positively received by a significant portion of the attendees, and one attendee said her "mask-loving daughter caught it, I think masks make it worse" and another insisted they're making up numbers because she knew a guy in New York who was reported to have died from it but he's still alive.

A big portion of my day-job coworkers share videos which prove "masks don't work" and quote statistics about how almost nobody has actually died of covid19 "if you actually do the research". A little over a month ago (before the mandate), I was out West on business and me and one other guy were the only people in Stanley wearing masks.

It's mind-boggling but it's a constant barrage of people taking the "what I want is more important" path. This tragically amusing video summarizes it though.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:50 AM on November 18 [74 favorites]


How about a bit of good news: according to this preprint article, immunity is long-lasting with antibodies still around after more than six months. Also, memory T cells are still responsive even after the antibodies go away.

Thank you for this. Good news is so helpful right now.
posted by medusa at 7:55 AM on November 18 [11 favorites]




I think we're finally hitting the point where if you don't know someone who's been seriously ill, you know someone who knows someone who's been seriously ill, and you start to take it seriously unless you're really politically committed to not taking it seriously.

The easy explanation is that this is untrue, that's why the general population isn't taking it seriously.

I don't know anyone personally who has spent time in the hospital due to COVID. I have had a few relatives get it, but they haven't reported any serious symptoms. My kids' school has been open for class since September (and they have been playing sports in jr high and high school) and they only had their first reported student case last week.

It's beginning to ravage the small town I grew up in, but no hospitalizations or deaths yet. WWII has still killed more residents.

It sucks, but the mantra of small towns and deniers is they don't really care about what happens in other places (especially coastal cities) so COVID is still not 'real' yet.

COVID also doesn't effect US society equally, which sucks, but it helps fuel their beliefs.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:01 AM on November 18 [19 favorites]


>too cowardly to just give people money to stay home

if we tripled the 1%'s tax burden this year we'd get another ~$1.2T to redistribute to prevent COVID spread, ~$10,000 per household.

Aside from saving tons of money on not having to treat millions of severe COVID cases we'd preserve the health and productivity of our future workforce and fellow citizens.

The 1% on the whole would rather see us all die of course.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 8:02 AM on November 18 [46 favorites]


I always knew covid-19 was going to hit the rural areas like this because the idea that they have lower density and more space completely falls apart when you understand how people in rural areas actually live. Their social living amenities are actually more dense. Schools concentrate kinds from larger areas. There will be just one grocery store within driving distance for a lot of people and so on. There will be only one hospital within an hours drive and so on.

I live in a super dense neighborhood in Chicago and I have 5 grocery stores within 10 minutes walk and many convenience stores. I can shop not only for groceries but also for covid-19 safety measures (Trader Joe's is by far the most responsible and Walmart is by far the worst - they re-orged their store during the pandemic to actually force people into close contact! WTF!!). I barely know any of my neighbors. People in rural areas know everybody in their county and lots in neighboring counties because they have to come into regular and repeated contact for almost all aspect of society and civilization. If you work at a grocery store in a rural area you are practically at the center of the local universe. If you have covid-19 you can potentially infect the entire community.
posted by srboisvert at 8:04 AM on November 18 [90 favorites]


>"do your own research"

given the % of the internet that is utter crap, this is synonymous with "break your own brain".
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 8:05 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


Trump and those who worked for him set up the states against each other and their own people.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:10 AM on November 18 [14 favorites]


I do not understand how people are continuing to pretend this is not an issue.

Because to stop pretending COVID is not an issue would mean admitting liberals are right, and that's the cardinal sin for Team Conservative.
posted by Gelatin at 8:11 AM on November 18 [46 favorites]


For the past few months, white people in rural or exurban areas could honestly say they don't know anyone with COVID, if they don't have any acquaintances of color or anyone who was an essential worker in a place without effective measures. Such a person would be right, but they wouldn't have to be stupid.

I know one person who had COVID -- he recovered, but he didn't go to the hospital -- and one person who lost her mother to it and hates Trump now to a degree that even I can only imagine. An elderly couple my parents knew died of it within a day of each other, and it really struck their church community. Since one of them was a doctor, I think he would hope they took a lesson from it.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:12 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


The study mentioned in robbyrobs' link is really interesting actually. Basically, they were unable to stop the spread of COVID even in a really tightly controlled environment with all the recommended precautions followed. The conclusion of the researchers is we need to do more testing but of course, Fox News interprets this to mean we should give up and do absolutely nothing.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 8:16 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]


The easy explanation is that this is untrue, that's why the general population isn't taking it seriously.
I was going to say it was untrue of me but im fact it is: my coworker had a student become very sick with COVID and has been asking me for advice on how to accommodate them, because his instructor of record keeps just not responding when he asks her what to do.

It's that, well, that student doesn't loom very large in my mind. I don't know their name or face. The fact that they had COVID and wound up needing significant care is all I know. So they don't impress on me the sort of "this is real, I know a person in my community" that someone I knew before the pandemic would. I think that's what is missing. That doesn't mean I'm not continuing to be as safe as I can, but it does mean that just knowing someone who knows someone is not enough to impress on everyone that this is here and now affecting real people that they really know.
posted by sciatrix at 8:17 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


There's really no hope for meaningful change at this point, is there. We in the reality-based community will do what we can to keep ourselves safe, wait for a vaccine, and hope that nobody we care about dies.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:20 AM on November 18 [20 favorites]


And that's how sick and selfish America really is. That preventing deaths of people you don't know is a bridge too far.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:21 AM on November 18 [51 favorites]


Sigh. Up were in the NW corner of the state, it's like death and disease are all around us. My wife has an eye appointment in Bismarck the day before Thanksgiving and she's in freakout mode. She's an anxious person and this pandemic had driven her into a state of panic well before our state began to flame out. Now she's all but rending her garments.

Burgum is...hmm, how shall I put this. Oh, I know. A FUCKING COWARD! Please note the statewide mask mandate came after the election. And, like the cowardly lion knew, the base are turning on him in a rabid melange of fury, despair, and just fucking whining. Meanwhile, an entire generation of grandparents and great grandparents are getting wiped out and these assholes whine about their FREEDOM. And it's all because the presidential candidate who carried the state at 65% is an irresponsible toddler and they worship Dear Leader and follow his every whim. Fuck, I am so fucking sick of this fucking state and the fucking morons who fucking live here.

We used to be a rational people. We sent Democrats and Republicans to Washington. We had representatives who were not whores to oil companies and we had much more balance in the state legislature and senate. We thought we had far more common sense than the mad dog legislature down in South Dakota. There was a strong progressive populism here in the 1930s and there were still hints of it (the state has its own bank, its own grain mill, and they still thrive). But that cautious progression and cooperation is all gone now. Faux News and talk radio have sold these people a shitload of lies and conspiracies, they swallowed every one, and then ran to the polls to vote in the worst of us. And now we pay the price.
posted by Ber at 8:23 AM on November 18 [87 favorites]


My wife just got off a conference call with her boss and the rest of the office staff. It seems one of her boss' friends has tested positive, and they were together as recently as last week. My wife was in the office with her boss late last week. The boss wore an N95 when they were together, and my wife always wears a mask (though, not an N95.) Still, there's a possibility my wife has been exposed.

Now, we're just on hold, sitting on a pincushion, until her boss gets the results of her test. Oh, and my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer Monday. So, no stress here, nosirree. Fan-fucking-tastic week.

About a week-and-a-half ago, both our son and daughter-in-law told us both their bosses have tested positive. This is up in tiny-town, drive-an-hour-to-find-a-capable-hospital, Amishland Indiana, where COVID has been "a liberal conspiracy so doctors can get rich billing the insurance companies" since day-one.

Our spineless governor just put restrictions on gatherings back in-place, but, of course, exempted religious gatherings again. The republican party is absolutely a death cult.

Stay the fuck away from Indiana, folks.*

* I know that generally goes without saying in the best of times, but it's true-to-infinity now.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:25 AM on November 18 [63 favorites]


If we don't come out of this bullshit with Medicare for All I fucking don't know.
posted by latkes at 8:29 AM on November 18 [29 favorites]


Basically, they were unable to stop the spread of COVID even in a really tightly controlled environment with all the recommended precautions followed. The conclusion of the researchers is we need to do more testing but of course, Fox News interprets this to mean we should give up and do absolutely nothing.

They were unable to stop the spread. They probably did slow the spread, but that's not what the study was looking at, they wanted to see whether there was any way at all that you could house hundreds of people in dormitories and have them eat together during the pandemic and have no spread at all, which it turns out, no.

But that's a distinction lost on the people who need to hear it.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:30 AM on November 18 [57 favorites]


Let's not slip into the mistake of saying it's 'the Federal government' that is refusing to provide massive aid to the citizenry. It's the Republicans. Full stop.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:30 AM on November 18 [108 favorites]


Mr. Dinty travels for work, and within Minnesota it's been generally all right: he's mostly working with medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers that take covid seriously; he's mostly working alone in a lab and occasionally working in a clean room. But three weeks ago he turned down a job in North Dakota only to have his boss immediately give him a job in South Dakota, which he felt pressured to accept. And when I was explaining why I was worried about it, two different sets of New Yorkers and one person from PA tried to tell me it shouldn't be too risky because the area he's going is super remote (which, sort of? There wasn't going to be chain hotels or much in the way of fast food, but it was in the western portion of the state, so it's all relative). And I just . . . that's not the reality. Even within Minnesota, the border counties and suburbs are worse than the cities.

So at least there's a little more acknowledgement that things are really bad in the northern midwest now. The upside is that it's been a lot easier to point out where Minnesota is on maps for my international friends - I just tell them to look for the state that's surrounded by all of the worst performing states.

Last week they tried to get him to fly to Colorado and I made him refuse. If they fire him for not being a team player, we'll figure out something.

A friend of mine's mom is partially responsible for having a mask mandate for her South Dakota town, and I worry about her - not only because of Covid but the idea that she could be a target.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:31 AM on November 18 [22 favorites]


I'm in a rural area in very red central Wisconsin and sciatrix and The_Vegetables have it: I don't know anyone who's had it. I know a couple people who know someone who's had it, and those have been mild cases. The idea that the world is dying around us is extremely difficult to internalize. It's just so hard to take seriously. And yes, I isolate, work from home, always wear a mask, pick up my groceries curbside, etc., no shopping, no bars, restaurants, no groups, because I am taking COVID seriously. Most people I know aren't. And it's hard to make an argument because nothing is happening. There really are no consequences. From my own lived experience it's so, so hard not to feel foolish because it looks from where I'm standing like not much is happening. All I have to do is turn off the news, and it's the before times. WTF?
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 8:33 AM on November 18 [33 favorites]


Maybe my experiences are atypical because I can't work from home and so many of the people I know are also unable to work from home; my college is having in-person classes (or at least we were, all fall semester; we planned on going virtual after Thanksgiving, but this week permission was granted to go online earlier for instructors who wanted to). I'm responsible for a lot of the makeup testing, and it's been a mad juggling act to accommodate every student and professor who's needed to quarantine.

Most of the time it's just been quarantine because of a confirmed exposure, but I know a lot of people who've had mild symptoms and 3 local people who've had quite severe (though not necessarily hospitalization-severe) cases. This is in a ruralish/micropolitan area that's been really hard hit.
posted by Jeanne at 8:36 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


The study mentioned in robbyrobs' link is really interesting actually. Basically, they were unable to stop the spread of COVID even in a really tightly controlled environment with all the recommended precautions followed.

Here is the actual paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. True, the use of masks and other measures did not completely stop the spread. But I don't think anyone argues that they are 100% effective - remember the Flatten the Curve lessons from springtime?

Here is another way to spin it, looking at data from that NEJM paper: "Our study showed that in a group of predominantly young male military recruits, approximately 2% became positive for SARS-CoV-2 ... Shared rooms and shared platoon membership were risk factors for transmission" (emphasis added).

In contrast, as reported on Nov. 12 for cases in South Dakota: "2,019 infections on 2,968 people tested for the first time for a 68.1% positivity rate, but there was a total of 6,869 total tests reported, which includes health care workers and others who are tested repeatedly, for an overall positivity rate of 29.4%" (emphasis added).

So by taking sensible precautions, the Marines were able to make a even a crowded environment many times less infectious than a rural state.
posted by exogenous at 8:40 AM on November 18 [44 favorites]


Risk map for contacting a COVID-positive person in the US during Thanksgiving holiday.

North Dakota: 100% across I would say 50% of counties.
posted by selfnoise at 8:41 AM on November 18 [8 favorites]


The ability of humans to deny what is right in front of their face if it conflicts with a preconceived idea is astounding.

The dread I feel about what is going to happen to this country in the month after 40% of us gather multi-generational family members around a table sits in my stomach like a stone. Or as I've seen put another way elsewhere:

If you attend a large gathering for Thanksgiving, expect to attend a small funeral by Christmas.
posted by gwint at 8:44 AM on November 18 [36 favorites]


North Dakota has had its cases increasing for 21 consecutive weeks, including 11 straight weeks with the highest rates of any state in the country, going back to the week ending September 5th (about three weeks after Sturgis). Over those last 11 weeks, South Dakota has been #2.
North Dakota has had 67% of their tests show positive the last two weeks, which says their tests are not catching most of the disease.
They will probably peak this week, at least their numbers are showing 1,000 cases a day versus an average of 1,300 which they've had the last two weeks. (that could change: North Dakota had over 2000 new cases one day last week).

The remarkable thing about North Dakota's death rate is that all the other states with the highest death rates achieved their high numbers in the first two months of the infection when ventilator shortage and less information on how to treat was available. North Dakota has had half its deaths in the past month.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:47 AM on November 18 [11 favorites]


What's so tragic now is that we know a vaccine is almost certainly coming that will be pretty effective. I mean yes, it could still all fall apart. But we know we won't have to do this forever.

Hang in there people.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:48 AM on November 18 [19 favorites]


Thorzdad: "Stay the fuck away from Indiana, folks.*"

My sister lives in South Bend. She called me yesterday to tell me that her ex (who had her 4 kids for the weekend) let them all play & stay with HIS ex-wife's 5 year old. Took him 2 days to finally admit that his ex-wife (the 5-year-old's mom) tested positive.

Did the 5-year-old get tested? Nope. Why would they do that? Kid didn't "seem" sick.

So now my (immunocompromised) sister is freaking out over whether her moron ex got her kids sick, whether her kids got HER sick, and of course because it's Indiana her kids are in school in person despite her protests, so now she's also worried that her idiot ex helped her kids bring COVID to school.

It's really fuckin' fun right now. My old home town in MI is facing a school shutdown through December, going fully virtual for the interim, because they insisted on in-person school to start with AND the local parents threw a goddamn fit over sports being canceled, so they allowed in-person sports. My wife's Facebook feed was full of old classmates arguing that their precious baby's senior year of sports was gonna get ruined. Now it's full of those same people scared that their kids might have COVID.

We're in MN. Never have I been so happy to be so far from our hometown. We rarely got visitors in the Before Times, so we are very used to Thanksgiving and Christmas being just the three of us at home. This year, it's a blessing.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:50 AM on November 18 [39 favorites]


it looks from where I'm standing like not much is happening. All I have to do is turn off the news, and it's the before times. WTF?

There's definitely some psychological stuff going on with people not being able to square "there's a deadly plague outside my door" with life going on pretty much as usual. I've noticed that my very liberal friends (and me too, sometimes, I'm not proud to admit) have really relaxed their precautions and are taking chances that were unthinkable a few months ago (having small parties with two or three guests inside their houses where, of course, people drink so you can't always wear masks is a big one). Everyone seems to have different ideas about what is safe and what is not, even if no one is a denier and everyone claims to take it seriously.

One thing I hear a lot is "oh they're my friend - I trust them not to have Covid", which is so so dumb.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 8:56 AM on November 18 [33 favorites]


This is what to do:
I Am Living in a Covid-Free World Just a Few Hundred Miles From Manhattan
(it's a NYTimes Opinion by By Stephanie Nolen, and I don't know if it is part of their free Covid coverage)
HALIFAX, Canada — This morning, my children went to school — school, in an old brick building, where they lined up to go in the scuffed front doors. I went to work out at the gym, the real gym, where I huffed and puffed in a sweaty group class. And a few days ago, my partner and I hosted a dinner party, gathering eight friends around the dining room table for a boisterous night that went too late. Remember those?

Where I’m living, we gather without fear. Life is unfolding much as it did a year ago. This magical, virus-free world is just one long day’s drive away from the Empire State Building — in a parallel dimension called Nova Scotia.

This is one of the four Atlantic provinces that cling to the coast of Canada, north and east of Maine. In Canada, these are typically known as “have-not provinces,” economically depressed areas dependent on cash transfers from wealthier provinces to the West.
In the pandemic era, however, “have not” takes on new meaning.
posted by mumimor at 8:56 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


If we don't come out of this bullshit with Medicare for All I fucking don't know.

I would also include a basic income and a final burial for the ludicrous, anti-scientific idea for mass austerity in this wish list for what I hope Americans finally get around to supporting.

So much needless suffering, all in service to racial capitalism.
posted by Ouverture at 8:58 AM on November 18 [16 favorites]


Most of my family lives in Wisconsin, and my little sister has been on a contract nursing job in Reno since early in the pandemic. Early last week my mom had cold like symptoms and went to visit my little sister in Reno anyway, without telling my little sister that she was feeling poorly. As soon as my sister sees that mom's not feeling well, she insists that they mask up whenever they're in the same room and keep their distance for the entire visit. While my mom's away, my dad comes down with typical COVID symptoms, gets tested, is positive. Mom returns home, still has a cough, gets tested, is positive. Little sister is pissed and quarantining for two weeks, mom insists she did nothing wrong because how could she know, it feels just like a cold? And I'm just watching all this from NJ where I haven't been unmasked inside with anyone except the person I recently combined households with since MARCH, nevermind leaving the state, and just going, WTF family, how am I related to all of you, especially you, mother, who just flew across the country with COVID and exposed who knows how many people, never mind my little sister?
posted by bridgebury at 9:02 AM on November 18 [57 favorites]


I've noticed that my very liberal friends (and me too, sometimes, I'm not proud to admit) have really relaxed their precautions and are taking chances that were unthinkable a few months ago (having small parties with two or three guests inside their houses where, of course, people drink so you can't always wear masks is a big one). Everyone seems to have different ideas about what is safe and what is not, even if no one is a denier and everyone claims to take it seriously.

Same. A few close liberal friends act as we do...but others are not so concerned. It scares me.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:06 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


This past Saturday? They didn't mandate masks until NOVEMBER? Has the governor been on the moon for the past six months?

Missouri hasn't mandated masks and probably will not ever, since the governor is an anti-masker, Trumper type who personally caught the virus, but has been bragging about how well he's protected the state by doing jack shit.

In Saint Louis County, where the executive is a Democrat and a doctor, the Republican majority on the county council keeps trying to remove him, discredit him, and/or block his ability to issue emergency orders. Which are pretty moderate, considering that the hospitals are full. Just yesterday we went back to 10-person gatherings and no dine-in at restaurants and people are freaking out. But at least we've had mandatory masks for a while now, even if compliance isn't great and a bunch of people don't seem to realize you have to cover your nose.

In neighboring Saint Charles County, the executive is a useless lump and refuses to order people to wear masks or to close anything... but is starting to plead that people stay home, wear masks etc. "so businesses can stay open" (not "so people don't die"). Three public library branches have been closed, two because employees tested positive and one because a patron, not wearing a mask, decided that a public library would be a great place to hang out while waiting for the results of a rapid test.

I want to live on the moon.
posted by Foosnark at 9:12 AM on November 18 [24 favorites]


Tune in to Fox on January 21 for an extensive discussion on how the current administration is killing Americans due to it's failed response to the pandemic.
posted by sammyo at 9:12 AM on November 18 [96 favorites]


Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, thanks for helping foreign agents spread destabilizing disinfo.
posted by The Half Language Plant at 9:14 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


My wife's Facebook feed was full of old classmates arguing that their precious baby's senior year of sports was gonna get ruined. Now it's full of those same people scared that their kids might have COVID.

Come to Long Island, where they're still worried about their sports even amid a very clear and alarming upward trend in cases and hospitalizations.

It's so, so clear that in order to have in-person school -- which many (myself included) want -- you need to also practice extreme caution in the rest of your life in order to both keep the community infection rate low and to prevent spread into the schools. But so many don't want to hear that. They want to send their kids to school and then also go on vacations, have play dates, go to gymnastics class, eat at a fucking Friendly's.

Infuriating.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:15 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


Sure, yes, and this is the "government fault" part. But we're looking at a situation where 40% of the country is going to have large Thanksgiving gatherings, spiking the pandemic numbers and crashing the hospitals. No one has to have Thanksgiving. People famously hate Thanksgiving. And yet no amount of frankly terrifying "our hospitals are overburdened, there are no beds" news is enough to get them to call off these totally optional gatherings.

Every site I read has questions and discussions like:
"Okay so we can have Thanksgiving, right?"
"No."
"Okay but what if we all quarantine except for Cousin Jethro haha nobody can make that crazy guy do anything!"
"No."
"UGH okay but what if we all try and stay six feet apart except for Auntie Grace, you know she's a hugger."
"No."
"What I heard was 'It's okay to have a little-a Thanksgiving, as a treat'..."

I just don't know, honestly. Like there have been medical people saying that the MAGAs come in ranting about how it's all a hoax and fake and they only stop screaming when they die or are intubated, but there are also a lot of people that just...seem to have decided since they're sick of quarantine and it's kind of hard and annoying, the virus is just over. Hashtag Coronavirus is cancelled party.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:17 AM on November 18 [33 favorites]


Iowa's Republican government has completely backed themselves into a corner, because they totally politicized COVID response in the lead-up to the election, depicting Democrats as weak and cowardly and effeminate for taking COVID seriously.

We are fucked in Iowa. Not going to get fucked soon, we are fucked now. Our ICUs are full. They are making new ICU beds here at the University of Iowa, but we do not have staff for them. We recorded the highest death number since the start of this today (40), and we are only beginning to see the death increase from the huge case increases we've seen in the past few weeks. We are averaging something like 5x the daily number of cases as Oregon, even though we have a million fewer people.

And fuck Kim Reynolds. Seriously. She spent CARES act money on staff salaries and new software to log state employee hours and time off (she justified this by saying it would make it easier for employees to take sick time if they got covid). She spent $500,000 on PSAs telling people to "do the right thing." Her "mask mandate" is that you have to wear a mask but only if you're inside next to someone closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes and not if you're eating or drinking or at church or a million other exemptions.

The lack of regard for Iowans and our health workers is astonishing from our governor is astonishing.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:19 AM on November 18 [24 favorites]


A human being is the only animal that can know a thing and not believe it.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:24 AM on November 18 [44 favorites]


Laura Ingraham guest, Dr. Ramin Oskui: “Social distancing doesn't work, quarantining doesn't work, masks don't work”

Magical thinking doesn't work.
posted by Gelatin at 9:24 AM on November 18 [21 favorites]


Magical thinking doesn't work.

Sure sells ad space, though.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:25 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]


Every site I read has questions and discussions like:

Well, there was the official CDC Thanksgiving suggestions, which suggested having a window open at all times. Which, I have to assume was written by someone who lives in a very different climate than I do.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:25 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


Grand Rapids, Michigan here. Home of Betsy DeVos, et; al. I know about half a dozen people who have had it and either didn't get very sick, or got sick and recovered are recovering.. I don't know anyone who was hospitalized or died, but a lot of people I know, know people who were hospitalized or died.

Per the comment up-thread, not just Republicans, but the entirety of conservatism as it is practiced in the USA, is a death cult.
posted by JohnFromGR at 9:27 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


What's surprising to me is that both Dakotas are near 8% active cases with only ~10/sqmi population density.

More surprising is when you drill down to the numbers from the (even more) rural counties and exclude the population centers like Fargo or Rapid City. My parents live in a county with a population of just over 1700 — as of this morning they've had 173 confirmed covid cases, most of those reported in the last 6 weeks, in a county with a population density that's damned near measured in square miles per person.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:30 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Ye gods, Thorzdad, I hope your wife recovers fully from everything. Keeping y'all close in my thoughts.
posted by Gelatin at 9:31 AM on November 18 [18 favorites]


If we don't come out of this bullshit with Medicare for All I fucking don't know.

Approximately half of the country do not believe the disease is serious enough to warrant even America's weak response to it. Many do not believe it actually kills anyone or even exists. The Republican politicization of the pandemic has been a complete success in that it has blunted any possibility that it would be a catalyst for structural change.

we're looking at a situation where 40% of the country is going to have large Thanksgiving gatherings

And it's not just the extremists. Friends who "righteously" share memes/tweets like this turn around and announce they are going ahead with long distance travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, with elderly relatives and people at higher risk because they can't work from home.
posted by jedicus at 9:35 AM on November 18 [10 favorites]


I learned last week that one of my employees had gotten it and was at home trying to recover. And then that 4 of the c-suite folks (including our CEO) got it and are staying home. We've all been working remote but some people go into the office and have meetings in conference rooms without social distancing even though they are not required to.

I'm kind of at the angry, fuck-you-people stage where when I hear someone got it after acting stupid I think "serves you right."
posted by emjaybee at 9:37 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


Ber describes the situation in North Dakota well. We are an older state and that probably factors into the high death rate. I'm in Grand Forks, the other end of the state, and the outrage at the governor's too little too late mask mandate is sad. Lots of normally rational people have gone ballistic at cancelling sports, and point to teen suicides as a reason why we shouldn't be shutting down.(Not brushing off the mental health impacts of this at all, but jesus people). I and my boyfriend are both essential workers, and are trying to keep our heads down as much as we can. I just pray we don't need an ED visit for some other reason, since our hospital is swamped.

I do know people who have tested positive and recovered, although no one who has died or lost a loved one yet. And that probably feeds into the "not a big deal" crowd, since a lot of the deaths seem to be in nursing homes. But more deaths are coming I'm afraid, and there will be more people who realize it is not a hoax far too late.
posted by weathergal at 9:37 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]


[Comment with "covid is no biggie/stats are overblown" misinformation and a few responses deleted. Don't spread that stuff here or anywhere.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:42 AM on November 18 [80 favorites]


if we tripled the 1%'s tax burden this year

I'm more in the 2% than the 1%, but that would increase my burden into over 100%, as it would most anyone else who lives in state with income tax (such as California).
posted by sideshow at 9:45 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Tune in to Fox on January 21 for an extensive discussion on how the current administration is killing Americans due to it's failed response to the pandemic.

If only this were in jest. Fox might wait until a week has passed, but I think it's a sure bet that's exactly the line they'll start pushing.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:52 AM on November 18 [8 favorites]


Sideshow, besides the fact you aren't in the 1% per the hypothetical, tripling that demographic's burden would not triple most individual's burden within that group - assuming that hypothetical increase was distributed progressively.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 9:57 AM on November 18 [20 favorites]


Everyone seems to have different ideas about what is safe and what is not, even if no one is a denier and everyone claims to take it seriously.

This. I've ventured out a couple of times to meet friends in what felt to me was a safe manner (outside, masked up, etc) and then found out later that someone who claimed to be taking all the precautions had in fact been potentially exposed (classmate of child tested positive). I get that everyone has different comfort levels and I absolutely know the people in question thought they were being safe, but when you are in a high risk category it is frustrating.
posted by Preserver at 10:00 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


The motorcycle rally in Sturgis will likely be permanently enshrined in epidemiology textbooks. The map of cases in the US looks like bomb went off and Sturgis is the epicenter. There are people who could have stopped the rally from happening. I would say I don't know how they sleep at night, but 2020 has taught me that people just...don't internalize uncomfortable realities. So I'm sure they sleep fine.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:00 AM on November 18 [69 favorites]


Risk map for contacting a COVID-positive person in the US during Thanksgiving holiday.
North Dakota: 100% across I would say 50% of counties.


Here's the tool that map was derived from. It allows the user to modify two variables that significantly affect the outcome; Group Size and "Ascertainment Bias" (measured vs suspected cases).
posted by achrise at 10:03 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


[Comment with "covid is no biggie/stats are overblown" misinformation and a few responses deleted. Don't spread that stuff here or anywhere.]

Even in this thread, in this community--with great information and lots of links to reliable, well-sourced and detailed additional information--there are those who remain in denial. Cassandra, indeed.

And I do think that for most people the pandemic hasn't yet become 'really real,' in that it hasn't yet seriously affected a close friend or relative. Being a teacher, my sample size is maybe larger than most, but I've already had too many conversations in advising sessions, listening to students' stories about themselves and/or family members getting sick, one will soon lose his dad (who has been on ventilation for over two months, and whom he hasn't seen in over five months) and is now working a second job along with his teenage brother so that his mom can make the mortgage, and so on, and I'm just trying to listen and help through a damn computer screen. So maybe it's more real to me than to many, but holy shit...can't we just listen to each other a little more and maybe trust that these horror stories aren't made up or even unusual at this point?

In my own family, who are thoughtful, rational, non-Fox-News types: my 17-year-old niece was twice-exposed because of (different) in-person school activities, and at the start of her 2-week quarantine a nurse told her parents that if she's not showing any symptoms then she's fine. So now my elderly mom is back having dinners at their house nightly, and my niece is going to in-person school this week, 9-10 days before they have any clear sense if she's infected or not (along with all the other students in the two groups she was in that were exposed).

I do not understand.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:13 AM on November 18 [24 favorites]


I don't know anyone IRL from the beforetimes that has officially gotten it and said so yet. Occasionally coworkers have been suspected but nobody's confirmed yet, I haven't talked to those people and since we're all remote, I just don't know. I have met 2 people online during the pandemic, one who said she had it and recovered and another who tested positive but seemed fine the entire time I knew her on Zoom. So as of right this second I can't say I've been affected yet, and as long as I don't leave the house (or read the news) everything seems "normal" inside, you know?

But since some of my coworkers are insisting on seeing their families in other states for Thanksgiving, well. My grandboss (one of those people) was making comments about people being alone and eating tuna fish for Thanksgiving and I said yep, that's going to be me, I am NOT excited for Thanksgiving this year. But at least that way I don't pass on or catch disease. I seriously do not know how my coworkers haven't come down with it yet between all of their trips and visits and how many of them have seen their families. Almost everyone but me has gone to see their family and/or thrown a party and/or gone on a fabulous trip or two or three and I just want to be all "really?! How are you Houdini'ing this stuff?!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:17 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


holy shit...can't we just listen to each other a little more and maybe trust that these horror stories aren't made up or even unusual at this point?

honestly a couple days ago i saw the interview achrise linked above, the one with the nurse describing her COVID patients who died saying "this can't be real, this can't be happening", full of anger and insisting the COVID is a hoax instead of being on a videocall with family to say goodbye.....and it just broke me.

Apparently not only will people not listen to each other and trust that the horror stories are not made up, but they will not even believe that the horror stories are real when they are living in one and dying from one. I do not know how to fix that, or if it can be fixed at all.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:19 AM on November 18 [49 favorites]


No one has to have Thanksgiving. People famously hate Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday after Christmas. I love the food, the warmth, the leisurely togetherness, the ritual, all of it. My birthday is always within a week of Thanksgiving, and I celebrated my 30th birthday by having family from all across the country come to my city where I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 12. It's my best birthday memory. I would have done it again this year if I could have.

Next year. Next year.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:21 AM on November 18 [42 favorites]


Today's Tom the Dancing Bug strip encapsulates the anti-mask attitude nicely.
posted by swift at 10:23 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


In South Dakota, the home of Sturgis, Governor Kristi Noem is a true garbage person. She fought reservations who put up highway checkpoints and has been traveling all over (likely on taxpayer expense) to support Trump. She has also refused to issue a mask mandate or provide any leadership at all to the mayors that this all comes down on. She is also very good at speaking to the MAGA crowd and will probably be a significant threat for a long time to come, probably on the national level.
posted by lauranesson at 10:25 AM on November 18 [20 favorites]


Today's Tom the Dancing Bug strip encapsulates the anti-mask attitude nicely.

Brought this indelible image from last weekend's Trump rally in DC to mind.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:35 AM on November 18 [13 favorites]


Kristi Noem, the Palin of The Plains.
posted by valkane at 10:36 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Noem is an anagram for Nome, a city in Alaska.
S. Palin is an anagram for Plains.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:42 AM on November 18 [11 favorites]


The PTSD that we are carrying and will carry for a long time is the looming crisis that *I hope* the next administration will also take head-on (in addition to COVID-19, racism, income inequality, etc.).

A woman I know, in her 70's, has been caring for her 92 year old mother who has dementia. A very, very difficult job. Last month, a decision was made to find an assisted-living, rehab facility for the mother. She was accepted and, after a quarantine and test, allowed to move in. The family was not allowed to enter the building, per strong-protocols, they said their goodbyes on the doorstep. Flash forward to the present. The family received a voicemail that their mother had symptoms and had tested positive. The family called back. No answer, voicemail. No answer, voicemail. Finally a call back stating that they were allowed one call to the facility each week because they were short-staffed. Also, mom wasn't absorbing oxygen very well and may need to be hospitalized if the condition remained. The woman I know is distraught. She has no options. No path forward. All despair, grief and all of the feelings of hopelessness that you can imagine. I feel for her and want to give her a hug but I can't. I can't believe this is happening to us all. Every day, I feel anger regarding how shittily we are treating each other. Every day this monster is in office is one day too many. The suffering is immense and it was avoidable. My poor friend suffers greatly. I can do nothing. I suffer. This is what America feels like, to me, right now.

I feel like the only path forward will start January 20th and then, then soooo much work has to happen. I know that I have to do the work. It is going to be difficult and I see it coming. Breaking the bonds of the cult is going to take everything I've (we've) got.
posted by zerobyproxy at 10:42 AM on November 18 [48 favorites]


Foolish conservatives pointed to the experience of Mid-Atlantic states in the spring as evidence they were mismanaging the pandemic and that social distancing wasn't necessary when those areas were simply being hit first. The virus spreads quickest in interconnected metropolitan areas, but that doesn't mean it doesn't spread at all in rural and suburban areas; and, when it gets going, it can get out of control pretty quickly.

About the only good news is it looks like cases might be peaking in the Dakotas because the virus is running out of people to infect, which is ..... not a good way to "end" the pandemic in your area. Deaths unfortunately will peak much later. Right now the mid-atlantic states are still the worst hit area of the US in terms of per capita deaths, but that's only because they were hit first. The Dakotas are climbing rapidly, and their probably a couple weeks away from hitting their peak deaths.

That interview with the nurse was depressing. People dying angry and in denial they have COVID: What a way to go out. You'd hope we can learn something from this, but people are so set in their prior beliefs they'll perform whatever gymnastics are necessary to fit events into their pre-concieved notions of the world.
posted by eagles123 at 10:45 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


In South Dakota, the home of Sturgis, Governor Kristi Noem is a true garbage person.

She's just awful. She worries more then almost anyone else in the Republican party in terms of potential future presidential candidates....she's just so knowingly and *gleefully* blind to what is happening in her state. She's having a press conference in 10 minutes or so.....to provide "several updates following up on her trip to D.C." so I'm sure that'll be a well-balanced constructive update /s.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:54 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Governor Kristi Noem is a true garbage person.
Over the summer, they ran commercials for South Dakota here in the Twin Cities metro where she brags about how they don't over-regulate and will stay out the way of businesses. It was 100 percent aimed at people upset with our governor's mandates.
posted by soelo at 10:54 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]




About the nurse video: having gone through far too many losses, of both friends and relatives, I have realized that many people die as they lived. So if you live as a racist, conspiracy theory spouting idiot, that may well be how you die, too.
It's worth thinking about, and discussing with your nearest and dearest.
You can change, too. My gran was a complicated person, and most certainly a bad mum. But she adored her grandchildren, and ended up having us as her carers, holding her hand at her deathbed.

The family received a voicemail that their mother had symptoms and had tested positive. The family called back. No answer, voicemail. No answer, voicemail. Finally a call back stating that they were allowed one call to the facility each week because they were short-staffed. Also, mom wasn't absorbing oxygen very well and may need to be hospitalized if the condition remained. The woman I know is distraught. She has no options. No path forward. All despair, grief and all of the feelings of hopelessness that you can imagine.

Obviously, the pandemic makes that basic "rule" near obsolete. You can have the most wonderful mother in the world, who has been kind and thoughtful and patient, and then she may die alone. My mother is not exactly all of that, but she is locked up in an isolated nursing home where there have been cases of coronavirus. If she gets ill, I will be let in, but only gloved and shielded, wearing a one use coverall. I hate this pandemic.
posted by mumimor at 11:06 AM on November 18 [10 favorites]


Almost exactly the same propagation wave as if a literal bomb had been dropped on North Dakota.

South Dakota - Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - 7–16 August 2020 - 250,000 attendees.

I'm on a FB group for homemade camper trailers and every week at least one person is organizing a multi-state get together of 20-100 people (of which I'd bet 50+% are 60+ years of age). Even if you can't stand the thought of staying the fuck home you are in the position to perfectly isolate while out and about; why the heck would you then gather in a large group? The risk is lower but completely avoidable.
posted by Mitheral at 11:13 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Kristis' conference summary pre-Q&A: Lots of people want to move to South Dakota (including lots of law enforcement officers)! Ethanol! Having fireworks at our monuments is about Freedom! Big Tech is bad and social media is biased! Oh and something about Covid - but we're tired of it....heart breaks etc.....wait for a vaccine......commonsense steps "wash your hands, stay home if sick, avoid vulnerable people"....but not a word on advising mask as a prevention....cases are rising in 41 states so clearly it's nothing to do with refusing to mandate masks or other restrictions.....

The poor sign language interpreter looks like she just wants to cry.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:18 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Sturgis was actually close to 500,000 attendees (excellent WaPo article).

Then at the end of the month, Huron (in the eastern side of the state) held the South Dakota State Fair (ABC News). The nurse who discussed dying people who couldn't admit it was covid works there.
posted by lauranesson at 11:24 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Oregon had terrible smoke from the wildfires back in September - something like 10 days where we only went outside for quick dog walks. One of those days, though, I tried to brave Target for a 5-minute in and out to grab Animal Crossing so we'd have something to do stuck inside. And...I walked in the Target, saw the checkout line stretched halfway to the back of the store, and immediately noped out. I have NEVER seen a Target that busy. And it was clearly boredom shopping and somewhere to go that was not home.

And now Oregon is doing a freeze on bars and restaurants until December, so... that Target is going to be full-on wrecked with holiday shopping, right after everyone ignored orders about Thanksgiving. Hold on to your butts...

*and yes, I know I was at Target too. But I left when it was immediately clear how ridiculous it was.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:25 AM on November 18 [10 favorites]


I don't know anyone IRL from the beforetimes that has officially gotten it and said so yet.

My wife is a prof (thankfully totally remote since March and will be through the winter term as well) and in the past week or so her lab and the students in her grad and undergrad classes have suddenly started getting it. Term is ending and most of the kids will be heading back to their parents for the entire holidays. I'd worry about this seeding covid-19 all over the place....but this time around covid is already everywhere.
posted by srboisvert at 11:28 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


News from the other side of the country: N.Y.C. will shutter public schools on Thursday as virus cases increase
posted by gwint at 11:30 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


I'm over in Iowa and we're barely behind the Dakotas as #3 now. I'm so fucking mad the NYT ran this article today which is A FUCKING LIE. How Iowa’s Governor Went From Dismissing Mask Mandates to Ordering One Herself

We have NO MASK MANDATE. What we have is a loose collection of completely unenforceable and confusing nonsense.

In a store under 15 minutes? No mask required.
Things like bars closed before 10pm? No, that's silly.
Sports? Just fine! A bunch of other weird loopholes exist and it is completely unenforceable.

What a shit article headline. THERE IS NO MASK MANDATE IN IOWA.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:31 AM on November 18 [26 favorites]


My father lives in southeast Michigan, residing in an assisted living facility. Every few weeks they have a COVID-19 case.

My father says the home is good about it, urging people to stay in their rooms, delivering food to them, ramping up entertainment they can do without leaving. This doesn't stop him from leaving his rooms and the house to drive around the area, visiting a library and grocery store (he hates cooking and can't taste anything any longer, arg), then returning back to his facility. He refuses to order cooked food or groceries for delivery.

I'm hundreds of miles away and can't do anything besides call.
posted by doctornemo at 11:36 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


In other Kristi Noem is horrible news, she was selling (may still be selling) t-shirts with the slogan "less covid, more hunting"
posted by dinty_moore at 11:37 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Just want to comment about the foreshadowing of Canadian Thanksgiving - from what I've learned here on Metafilter, Thanksgiving carries only a tiny fraction of the importance here that it does for Americans. It goes something like "Oh, shit, it's thanksgiving this weekend? Ok Ham? Turkey?" and that's it. People don't travel from out of province for it.

So, if we effed up with our lame Thanksgiving gatherings a month ago (not I, we didn't do it) you guys are in for a doozy. Please please please be careful out there. I know you are. I worry for you. And for me. I'm in a province that is about to allow hospitals to be overwhelmed.
posted by kitcat at 11:40 AM on November 18 [21 favorites]




Does anyone have any info, insight, or responses to the Mt. Sinai study of COVID transmission among Marine recruits mentioned upthread and cited by Ingraham?

I took a brief skim of the abstract and press release, and it doesn't appear to me that they were trying to study the effectiveness of masking and social distancing and I can't find any mention of a control group for that purpose.

It looks to me like they were focusing on the ability to detect COVID infections through temperature and symptom monitoring and found that to be ineffective, but didn't make any statement about the effectiveness of masks and social distancing.
posted by Reverend John at 11:41 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


N.Y.C. will shutter public schools on Thursday as virus cases increase

Good thing they tried everything else to control the spread first, like closing indoor dining and gyms and... oh wait.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:44 AM on November 18 [20 favorites]






How do people prevent themselves from feeling hopeless about this? I just feel more and more hopeless about the amount of death, suffering, and developing/future PTSD that will be inflicted because people refuse to believe in reality, in science, in alternatives to death-by-capitalism, in their own mortality, in their own ability to be infected and to be infectious, in the unnecessariness of the suffering of others. I try to stay focused and positive by following news about vaccines and treatments, thinking and holding in my heart all the people researching and volunteering for trials, but I'm still just finding it difficult, humanity-wise, to have yet another constant reminder on my plate about the awfulness of human nature seemingly winning, or at least not being thwarted.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 12:05 PM on November 18 [22 favorites]


So my Province of Ontario looks to be at about 1/4 the rate of North Dakota's Covid deaths and to me all that means is that we're maybe a couple of weeks behind them. In public people seem to be pretty good about wearing masks so I guess the spread is mostly people having private gatherings, although the vast majority of our deaths are in senior homes. Apparently our Premier will be making an announcement on Friday, hopefully instituting lockdowns so that we can try to get a handle on things.

As far as I'm concerned you don't need to have governments that don't believe in Covid to get North Dakota rates. There are enough people out there who flout the rules in private at least and as long as the governments try to keep things business as usual they'll be able to infect others.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:08 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


US media, social media especially, has a huge influence on Canada and Canadians. We've got anti mask rallys here and it's pretty obviously from people drinking the Trump Kool-aid (EG:protesters will be wearing maga hats). Canada, despite much better government response than the US is doing pretty horrible per capita. We can only feel good because the US response is so much worse.
posted by Mitheral at 12:12 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


What is so silly about the attempt to take away the mayor of Fargo's powers is that the votes were two people who had supported a mask mandate long before the mayor, the two people trying to take action against the mayor, and the mayor. It failed 3-2. I can only assume it was done for the purposes of show.

If you really want to marvel at the local mentality, area conservative Rob Port's article "Indignant lectures from martinets with medical degrees are not what we need right now" is so indicative. According to him, the problem is the public not believing doctors about masks, and the fault for that comes from the behavior of the doctors. There is not even an attempt to justify this beyond "science has become politicized".
posted by past unusual at 12:14 PM on November 18


How do people prevent themselves from feeling hopeless about this?

For me it's a combination of 1. accepting my powerlessness to really change anything but my own actions, and 2. knowing that, whatever happens, this time next year will look radically different in ways I cannot possibly predict. That might not sound terribly hopeful or reassuring but for me it is, in a weird way. This state of affairs will not continue indefinitely.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:15 PM on November 18 [26 favorites]


Trump officials clash over coronavirus precautions for Thanksgiving -- Politico

"The fierce criticism of state-level mitigation efforts from Kayleigh McEnany, President Donald Trump’s top spokesperson, came in an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends." She was asked by co-host Steve Doocy specifically about “suggestions and guidelines” from some governors that residents not gather in large groups when celebrating next Thursday.

“I think a lot of the guidelines you’re seeing are Orwellian,” McEnany said, instead referring to Thanksgiving guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The American people know how to protect their health. We’ve dealt with Covid for many months,” she continued. “But it’s Orwellian in a place like Oregon to say, ‘If you gather in numbers more than six, we might come to your house and arrest you, and you get 30 days of jail time.’ That’s not the American way. We don’t lose our freedom in this country. We make responsible health decisions as individuals.”

Like your boss did.
posted by valkane at 12:22 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Governor Kristi Noem is a true garbage person.
Over the summer, they ran commercials for South Dakota here in the Twin Cities metro where she brags about how they don't over-regulate and will stay out the way of businesses. It was 100 percent aimed at people upset with our governor's mandates.


Just last week, I saw an advertisement on whatever I was watching (I think it was Hulu, but it might have been regular network TV) starring Fascist Barbie and she was urging people to come to South Dakota for leisure travel. I put it on mute immediately but my god. I have been boggling about this for weeks.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:23 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


You cannot save people who don't want to be saved. True in relationships, true in a pandemic. Protect yourself, as many others as you can, and wait for the vaccine, is the only action open to many. Hope you don't die gasping alone on a gurney in a packed hospital hallway. But also, write notes and directions for people who may have to deal with your stuff if you don't make it.

And tell people you love them, of course. Get some sunshine and sleep.
posted by emjaybee at 12:25 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


How do people prevent themselves from feeling hopeless about this?

I don't. I expect lots of death this winter. No getting together, not even for funerals. Are they doing Zoom funerals yet?
posted by pracowity at 12:29 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Basically, we need to be a lot more pessimistic about humans than we generally are.

"No matter how cynical you become, it is impossible to keep up" - Lily Tomlin
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:38 PM on November 18 [37 favorites]


Are they doing Zoom funerals yet?

For about the last 6 months.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:44 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]


We make responsible health decisions as individuals.

Abortion? Oh, we can't make "responsible health decisions as individuals" in that case? The hypocrisy is what sends me over the top with anger about this and so many issues.
posted by Mitheral at 12:48 PM on November 18 [41 favorites]


The hypocrisy is part of the point. It shows their contempt for the liberals and signals that it's okay for their supporters and their loved ones to die because it ownz the libs.
posted by Gelatin at 12:54 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


[One comment removed for violating the Content Policy. It's okay to be critical about people you disagree with, portraying their deaths as desirable is not.]
posted by loup (staff) at 1:07 PM on November 18 [12 favorites]


I just got harassed by an anti-masker in the elevator and laundry room of the building in which I've lived for eight years. In Toronto. No place is safe anymore.
posted by wellred at 1:10 PM on November 18 [16 favorites]


We make responsible health decisions as individuals.

This kind of rhetoric really underscores just how antithetical libertarian/neoliberal values are to public health. Framing public health as individual choice? Truly mindblowing.

The invisible hand of the free market doesn't even wash properly.
posted by Ouverture at 1:19 PM on November 18 [40 favorites]


There are times I'm so afraid that we are all going to die because we just can't seem to care about other people.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:19 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


You rode in an elevator with someone without a mask? Nope

I have a storage unit, and in the early days of the pandemic, there was an older couple on my floor, just around the corner from my unit. So I walked the long way around, so I wouldn't have to walk by them. I'm leaving, head the long way back to the elevator, hit the down button. As I do so, I see them heading up the hallway to the elevator. I get on, push 1. The door starts to close. The dude, unmasked, tries to use his trolley cart to keep the door from closing, to get on. I immediately said, "what the fuck?" and got out. He was all "it's OK". I was, "no it isn't, you go on ahead, Jesus Christ...!"
posted by Windopaene at 1:19 PM on November 18 [19 favorites]


This kind of rhetoric really underscores just how antithetical libertarian/neoliberal values are to public health. Framing public health as individual choice? Truly mindblowing.

I agree. It gives presumptive credit for doing the right thing to people who manifestly do not, and fails to take into account the obvious failure modes of individuals -- by the thousands -- making bad choices.
posted by Gelatin at 1:21 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


It sucks, but the mantra of small towns and deniers is they don't really care about what happens in other places (especially coastal cities) so COVID is still not 'real' yet.

This is what absolutely infuriates me. ...People in small towns have televisions and get news reports. People in small towns were seeing the news coverage of the spring pandemic in my city. They saw all the footage of the crowded hospitals, the x-rays of lungs, and the people digging god-damn mass graves. And the deniers decided it didn't matter.

They are treating the things that they saw happen to my city like my city is nothing more than a god-damn reality TV show.

Ostriches, all of them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on November 18 [30 favorites]


What would an anti-masker say if you asked them whether they wear a seat belt?
And if they say no, ask if they routinely go through red lights because freedom?
posted by storybored at 1:26 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


They are treating the things that they saw happen to my city like my city is nothing more than a god-damn reality TV show.

Jared Kushner spoke for them when he said, in the early part of the pandemic, that it didn't matter if his task force did nothing because it would only affect cities, and, therefore, Democrats.

"Conservatism" isn't a political belief; it's a tribe. And they see wearing a mask as belonging to the Other.
posted by Gelatin at 1:28 PM on November 18 [21 favorites]


I did not ride with him. I stopped on his floor, and he didn't have one on. I asked him if he had one, and he said no, and I asked him please not to get on. He started to yell at me and as the door closed he said SEE YOU IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM (he was clearly headed there anyway, as I clearly was as well) and he continued to yell at me about my mental problems there and call me a psycho. I mean, clearly he has some anger or other issues, and I hope he gets help, but I called building security because I felt extremely unsafe. They said they'd check it out and when I went to grab my stuff (and air dry, because the fewer trips up there today the better) he wasn't there. This was a 40-ish white guy living in a reasonably nice building, for context re: calling security.
posted by wellred at 1:29 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]


Are they doing Zoom funerals yet?

Yes. I attended one earlier this year for my grandmother, not even all of her children could attend in person. It's really going to be strange after lockdown, as the family wants a do-over when everyone can be there.
posted by mrgoat at 1:30 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


To tamp down my rage, I have to remind myself that the reason this is happening in the Dakotas is not just because of Sturgis. It's because the attendees at Sturgis stopped at every fucking diner on the way there and back.
posted by ocschwar at 1:32 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


So my Province of Ontario looks to be at about 1/4 the rate of North Dakota's Covid deaths and to me all that means is that we're maybe a couple of weeks behind them. In public people seem to be pretty good about wearing masks so I guess the spread is mostly people having private gatherings, although the vast majority of our deaths are in senior homes. Apparently our Premier will be making an announcement on Friday, hopefully instituting lockdowns so that we can try to get a handle on things.

Nobody wants to admit it but it is the goddam schools. That's what every western country has in common right now. Almost everywhere opened up the primary schools to in-person instruction because we really really wanted to believe it was safe and that innocent children couldn't be carriers (also parents understandably love their children but not full-time without a break). So as a culture we took "Children might be less infectious" and turned it into "Children in mass gatherings are harmless". We collectively still can't face up to the fact that we did this to kids and ourselves. We turned them into little covid bombs and set them loose on our own households. So now we try and pretend that the mass spread everywhere across every western culture is because ...of house parties and get togethers? Nah man.....that would be a palatable moral failure. The one we actually have is much bigger and much worse...even supposed science driven liberals Trumped themselves into believing a very desirable but largely unfounded myth that had only the thinnest veneer of scientific speculation.

We've structured our public health response so that we cannot even detect outbreaks among children. Many places won't test the asymptomatic. Many won't test kids under 10. Contact tracing protocols often outright preclude school contacts and others will only count them if there are no other possible transmission sources (You went to grocery store? Your kid's off the hook). It's as if we are managing this pandemic using The Secret. Like if we believe it hard enough it will become true.

We have to close the schools if we want the vaccines to even have a population to target when they are ready. If we don't about 50-100 million people in the US will get vaccinated the extremely hard way in the next 6 months. I expect a lot of pushback for saying this because parents are extremely motivated to get their kids out of the house (and perhaps terrified that they will lose in the rat race or something) but I am saying it anyway because I DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO DIE (or get serious morbidities).
posted by srboisvert at 1:35 PM on November 18 [42 favorites]


The most compelling comparison for me, when someone demands the freedom not to wear a mask: So, do you want everyone to have the freedom to drive on the sidewalk, soo?
posted by PhineasGage at 1:36 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


What would an anti-masker say if you asked them whether they wear a seat belt?
And if they say no, ask if they routinely go through red lights because freedom?


oh no, don't give them ideas
posted by medusa at 1:36 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Are they doing Zoom funerals yet?

I've been to two of them in the last three months.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:37 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I guess if it helps, my mostly conservative Trump voting family decided NOT to get together this year. My sister-in-law has parents in their 80s that she is very protective of, and she is also a former nurse (though we know even some nurses are conspiracy theorists). I am really proud of them. My family is a swarm of people with lots of kids, there is no way we could get together safely.

An uncharitable part of me wondered if they were also motivated by Trump's loss and not wanting to deal with me being happy about it at Thanksgiving, but you know, that's fine too.
posted by emjaybee at 1:42 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]




To be fair, the head of Segway was killed while riding one.
posted by PhineasGage at 1:44 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Nobody wants to admit it but it is the goddam schools.

Boston public schools have yet to open (except for a small number of high-needs kids) and yet our numbers are rising fast, so at least here, no, it's not schools.
posted by adamg at 1:45 PM on November 18 [18 favorites]


Nobody wants to admit it but it is the goddam schools

Weeeeeell I'm sure they contribute, but I don't think they're the main problem. Scotland has all its schools open, and we're sitting at an R of roundabout 1. Don't get me wrong, I think opening the schools without any goddamn precautions at all was insane, but it's not turning out to be the massive driver of cases I thought it would be.

Personally I support going to a full lockdown of pretty much every other business before closing the schools, but that is clearly not considered an option in the US...
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:46 PM on November 18 [16 favorites]


I read earlier this week a sobering point that many teachers and other school staff have second jobs because teacher salaries are so gutted, and... many of those jobs are on the weekend, in retail or service. So. Everyone focused on "kids don't spread COVID!" which we still don't even have ironclad evidence on but forgot that the teachers might be at Chili's every Saturday.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:46 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


And if they say no, ask if they routinely go through red lights because freedom?

You know they banned red light cameras in many states, mostly because they were ticketing the wrong people.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:46 PM on November 18 [13 favorites]


The schools do feel like that scene in Aliens where they seal up the lab, but not the drop ceilings.
posted by notoriety public at 1:46 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


My parents both had covid in March (mild cases, fortunately, although my dad’s patient who he most likely caught it from didn’t live to see April), and they want me and my sisters to come to Thanksgiving. Granted, they still have antibodies, my sisters both WFH, and we all live locally, but as the one who works a public-facing job I would never forgive myself if I got my sisters sick. I live alone and I’m vigilant about masking, and they don’t seem to be worried about it, but I am currently worried enough about it for all 3 of us.
posted by nonasuch at 1:48 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Yeah, regarding the schools, in my state the schools were just about to start reopening in my county when the cases began to spike. They are now closed and likely will remain closed for the foreseeable future, yet cases and hospitalizations continue to climb. From talking to people, I get the feeling there is a growing undercurrent of dissatisfaction amongst at least some parents who want the schools to reopen.

I get the feeling people are becoming desensitized to news of rising cases and deaths unless it personally affects them, as well tired of social distancing.
posted by eagles123 at 1:50 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


I’m sorry, wellred. That sucks.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:52 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


The study mentioned in robbyrobs' link is really interesting actually. Basically, they were unable to stop the spread of COVID even in a really tightly controlled environment with all the recommended precautions followed.

A couple people have talked about this but it seems to be a study of control measures applied in one of the more naturally unfavorable situations for controlling transmission (dormitories). To me one of the more interesting things that comes out of it is that the initial quarantine did not prevent the virus from entering the population - though I suppose that doesn’t tell us anything completely new since I think 2 weeks only covers the range of incubation time to about +2 SD?

Anybody who pays attention should know temperature and symptom checks are of limited value. Masks... are one of those things that authorities have genuinely not done a great job explaining, but it also seems to be fundamentally hard to explain to people that nobody seriously expects them to be 100 percent effective, especially the kind most people have.
posted by atoxyl at 2:19 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


What would an anti-masker say if you asked them whether they wear a seat belt?

The seatbelt analogy sounds rational now, because we all mostly wear them and it is frankly odd to drive a car without one, or feel comfortable with a driver who isn't clicked in. Most if not all modern-day cars have alarms that will beep loudly until you click in, anyway, so most of us are conditioned just to get the damn car to shut up.

But at the time of their inception, there was major outcry against their inclusion in new cars and in getting people to wear them. People like to hate on Ralph Nader, but he is the reason they are in automobiles, and he had a Sisyphusian climb to get it done.

And in 2020, deciding against wearing a seatbelt is still not a primary offense in 15 American states -- you will have to be pulled over for speeding or some other infraction before you would get a fine for not wearing a seatbelt.

People didn't (and don't) wear them for the same reason that people now don't wear masks -- it is "weak" or "effeminate" to use one, and government should stay out of our lives, etc. According to the excuse rolodex that Maryland DOT keeps, some even claim falsely that they have a medical condition that prevents them from strapping in.

Some Americans are rugged individualist children who don't like being told what to do, even when it might save their tawdry lives. It's often the same bullshit excuses, just different technology.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:26 PM on November 18 [26 favorites]


Masks... are one of those things that authorities have genuinely not done a great job explaining, but it also seem to be fundamentally hard to explain to people that nobody seriously expects them to be 100 percent effective, especially the kind most people have.

That's the thing that's most confusing for people aren't full-on anti-mask conspiracy theorists or whatever, who are more accurately in the "Well, I dunno..." camp. Those are the people who are reachable. Masks are one (very important) part of mitigation efforts. The key word being "mitigation," not "100% effective solution." But in concert with social distancing, frequent handwashing, hard limits (that are actually enforce) on gatherings, etc., etc., they are a very important part of the equation.

The other hard part is getting people to understand the knock-on effect of rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations -- it makes the delivery of other health care harder. People still have cancer testing or treatment they need to undergo, people have all kinds of non-Covid health emergencies, or need various treatments that, if delayed, means a milder condition gets worse, and on and on. It knocks all of this other stuff for a loop, and people get sick, or sicker, and die that way for reasons that are not directly Covid-19 related and it literally does not have to be this way.

I just got harassed by an anti-masker in the elevator and laundry room of the building in which I've lived for eight years. In Toronto. No place is safe anymore.

Goddammit. I'm sorry this happened.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:35 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


A couple weeks ago my 7-year-old made a COVID slogan: “Bad people, bad choices, bad virus.” In my head heard it to the tune of the old South Dakota tourism jingle, “Great faces, great places, South Dakota.” Then it spiked.

I’m in Minnesota. I could write more but it’s all been said above. I’m scared but it’s a tired scared, not the jittery scared I felt when driving on empty streets to the grocery store during lockdown in March/April.
posted by Maarika at 2:36 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


There's a Facebook post from a restaurant here (Richmond, VA) making the rounds, about how they're open and prepared to handle your catered event for up to 250 people, "so stop worrying and call us!" The restaurant responded to a comment by reminding them that the recently announced restriction against events larger than 25 people didn't apply to restaurants.

Fortunately, just about all of the comments have been negative.
posted by emelenjr at 2:38 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


atoxyl: To me one of the more interesting things that comes out of it is that the initial quarantine did not prevent the virus from entering the population

It was an unsupervised two-week self-quarantine of a cohort consisting entirely of 18 to 28 year-old males (median age on the very low end) who then had to break quarantine to travel from their homes (wherever those might be in the US) to South Carolina. I'm surprised the quarantine was as effective as it was.
posted by RichardP at 2:40 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


It was also interesting that 46 out of the 51 young people who ended up testing positive in the study had no symptoms. This would seem to not bode well for the families of college students coming home for winter break in a couple weeks.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 2:56 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


It was an unsupervised two-week self-quarantine of a cohort consisting entirely of 18 to 28 year-old males (median age on the very low end) who then had to break quarantine to travel from their homes (wherever those might be in the US) to South Carolina. I'm surprised the quarantine was as effective as it was.
A third of my students contracted covid at a super spreading event at the first day of the semester in September. In spite of all the control from the wider authorities and the university, it is only now that I see the remainder of the students (quite of few of whom have contracted the virus since then) are taking this seriously. In the middle of November. It's going to be a long winter.

Now we can see that while most young people have none or light symptoms, some get long term symptoms, and are unable to study. And we don't know enough about this disease to say wether this is permanent damage or they will be able to resume their studies in February or next September.
posted by mumimor at 2:56 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Please don't post about seat belt wearing as a mandate that everyone agrees with. Motorcycle helmets and bike helmets most people agree with, yet some states do not mandate it. (Saved my life back in the 80s). I wonder how many riders in Sturgis did not wear a helmet. I know that I read a news article about an accident after that event happened.

As a slight derail, government health care has been around a long time.
posted by baegucb at 3:03 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


How do people prevent themselves from feeling hopeless about this?

I'm just concentrating on keeping myself and the people I care about safe long enough to get the vaccine. That's it.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:10 PM on November 18 [16 favorites]


A lot of the bad info on masks that I've seen was basically not factoring the other possible transmission vectors, such as hand contamination plus face touching, environmental factors, etc. Saying "people wearing masks still contracted the virus" doesn't mean that the masks themselves are not protective. I think the messaging is still not strong and clear enough on this, and I still hear lots of people saying that masks don't prevent intake, they only prevent spreading.

This recent University of Tokyo study was one of the better ones I've seen at isolating to masks. They studied efficacy using active coronavirus, dummy heads in close proximity modified with air/breath generators, and various masks. Results showed that simple masks protected about 40% of coronavirus uptake, and 50% of outward spread. N95 protected about 90% of uptake.
posted by p3t3 at 3:12 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


I feel as though I've been climbing Mount Everest, past exhaustion, entering the death zone, delirious while someone is trying to shove a mask over my face, saying you need this. . .
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:16 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


My wife is from North Dakota. Her father acquired COVID-9 from work. Her mother displayed symptoms but refused to get tested. Even her pro-mask friends still go out to the bar for a drink after work. It is terrifying. Her grandmother passed away in April and she couldn't attend the funeral. Now I am worried that she will lose one or both of her parents before she can get over that loss.
posted by gwydapllew at 3:20 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


We collectively still can't face up to the fact that we did this to kids and ourselves. We turned them into little covid bombs and set them loose on our own households.

This doesn’t seem particularly less driven by personal intuition and bias or more by data than the other side. The openness of schools is as much a patchwork as everything else. I’d rather not do the experiment on a massive scale, but the results are hardly clear.
posted by atoxyl at 3:21 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


So now we try and pretend that the mass spread everywhere across every western culture is because ...of house parties and get togethers? Nah man.....that would be a palatable moral failure. The one we actually have is much bigger and much worse...even supposed science driven liberals Trumped themselves into believing a very desirable but largely unfounded myth that had only the thinnest veneer of scientific speculation.

Please don't spread fake news even if it is personally satisfying to believe.
Places that opened schools: Melbourne, Australia.
Places that didn't: Chicago

NPR
Vox
posted by bashing rocks together at 3:22 PM on November 18 [16 favorites]


The Sturgis SD bike rally, which saw an estimated 500K attendees in August, is a known super-spreader event. But there are bike rallies throughout the U.S. throughout the year, and only some of them have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the pandemic.

The 14th annual Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) started Wednesday, Sept. 16 and ran through Sunday, Sept. 20. By Sept. 26: "The City of St. Louis Department of Health is encouraging anyone who went to an annual motorcycle event in the Lake of the Ozarks to be tested for COVID-19. BikeFest, that was held last week, brings more than 100,000 people to the area every year, according to a press release from the health department. [...] Since it appeared social distancing recommendations were not followed and face coverings are not mandated in the Lake of the Ozarks, the department said attendees are at a heightened risk of getting and spreading the virus." It looks like the 35th annual "Roscoe's Chili Challenge" bike fest in Lakeland, Florida was held earlier this month. Estimates from previous years puts the crowd between 5K and 10K; can't find an attendance tally for this year. The organizers have posted event photos (possibly NSFW, as it's an adults-only rally). It appears social distancing recommendations were not followed and face coverings were not worn at this gathering, either.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:22 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


If we don't come out of this bullshit with Medicare for All I fucking don't know.

Overflowing hospitals mean de facto Medicare for None.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:23 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


A lot of the bad info on masks that I've seen was basically not factoring the other possible transmission vectors, such as hand contamination plus face touching, environmental factors, etc.

My impression is that routes of exposure for which masks theoretically do something probably do account for the majority of infections by far. But there are limits to what they can do, especially ordinary masks and especially over the course of hours.
posted by atoxyl at 3:25 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I would encourage all of us rationalists at Metafilter to hold off on drawing conclusions about school safety. There are widely divergent experiences in different districts, and lots of anecdata, but not enough full information to draw fully informed conclusions.

For example, in Marin County in the Bay Area: "38% of students are in full or partial in-person learning (public and private), with more than 9,000 students a day in class. Out of 300,000 'student days' no cases transmitted in schools. 15 cases from outside exposure."
posted by PhineasGage at 3:28 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]


I have a US family member in a condo mostly occupied by other retirees. They're pretty much all in a high-risk bracket but it's a nice building, they have gated security, each unit has its own laundry and so forth. It's probably one of the better places to live if you want to minimise transmission. Except ... a couple in the building contracted COVID-19. But it's OK, they agreed to quarantine themselves. They only leave their condo to "walk the dog" THREE TIMES A DAY. And they're on an upper floor, so they take the lift. Up and down, up and down, in that little room all the other residents depend upon, six times daily.

Me: How can you guys accept this?
Them: Well, what can we do?
Me: Well, I would have started by paying them to go live somewhere else for a few weeks. But they could put the dog into care, or supply disposable mats for the dog to use on their (hugely capacious) balcony, or get someone else to "walk" it.
Them: Well, we couldn't do that.

I expect that other members of this condo are going to become infected. I hope my family member doesn't, but I just can't get them to take it seriously.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:28 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


A third of my students contracted covid at a super spreading event at the first day of the semester in September. In spite of all the control from the wider authorities and the university, it is only now that I see the remainder of the students (quite of few of whom have contracted the virus since then) are taking this seriously. In the middle of November. It's going to be a long winter.
I don't know about a third, but many of my students have contracted COVID. My sense is that the remainder aren't taking it seriously on their own behalf: they all know a bunch of peers who have had it and recovered, and they're sure they'll be fine if they get it. (I think they're underestimating the risks, but that's typical of young people.) The ones who are taking it seriously are concerned about their parents and grandparents or more generally about older people in the community.

I heard a rumor yesterday that a local high school student died of it, and if that's true, then I think that might change things. But right now, I don't think that familiarity is making people more concerned. If anything, it's fueling the idea that COVID isn't a big deal and this is all an overreaction.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:30 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I feel really bad about how all of this is making me think. I have bad thoughts about how this surge may (or should, or is) primarily affect Republicans and their families. This is entirely in contrast to my charitable nature. I am trying hard not to get any pleasure from this.

My next bad thought is about how this might give Social Security a few more years of solvency. Kill the old people and save money. Fuck that. And yet...
posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:33 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


My next bad thought is about how this might give Social Security a few more years of solvency. Kill the old people and save money. Fuck that. And yet...

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:41 PM on November 18 [23 favorites]


Midnight Skulker I understand the less-than-charitable impulse, but I'd rather not have my (progressive, civil rights activist) Democrat parents die in Mississippi. I'd also rather not have my (single issue abortion, otherwise compassionate) conservative family members die simply because Tate Reeves can't be bothered to care about poor people in the Delta.
posted by gwydapllew at 3:42 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


Please don't spread fake news even if it is personally satisfying to believe.
Places that opened schools: Melbourne, Australia.


What? No. Schools here were closed for the winter holidays in late June. They did not reopen for face-to-face studies for nearly three months. The exception to this was kids in their last two years of studies (who need coursework to matriculate) and some kids with special needs. But then further outbreaks caused most of the schools to close all face-to-face teaching. The whole thing has been something of a mess, but schools were most definitely closed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:47 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


I know 11 people who have had it so far: 1 died, 3 will have life long conditions from it: 1 in his 40's, lungs, other 2 in their late 70's 1 lungs and kidneys respectively.

6 asymptomatic. 1 still not out of the woods but tested negative after 9 days.

This shit is REAL and everywhere. I live in one of the worst zips in Illinois and everyone wears masks. There a a lot of under the nosers though. I have to go back to work tomorrow and all I can say is at least I'll spend most of the day in a spray booth with great ventilation.
posted by Max Power at 3:52 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


The test positivity rate for SD is 60%. Half the states are at 10% or higher. It's supposed to be at 5 or below.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:57 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


The test positivity rate for SD is 60%. Half the states are at 10% or higher. It's supposed to be at 5 or below.

New Mexico reports in today at a 25.2% positivity rate. Our daily new cases has shocked us 7 days running, close to 3,000 new cases today in a state that was shocked to see numbers in the 700s a week ago.

I don’t think I have anything to add to the emotional conversation here. I think just having someone acknowledge that I am sad and afraid would be helpful.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:05 PM on November 18 [43 favorites]


Silvery Fish I see you. My city went from "trending upwards, but ok" to "28 day stay-at-home advisory starting on Friday" in a week. My girlfriend lives in Manitoba, and the province literally shut down all retail last Thursday with no warning. The shock is real. The fear is normal.
posted by gwydapllew at 4:12 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


Ontario's premier Doug Ford is fond of saying "we will do [thing] without hesitation!" right before he hesitates to do [thing]. It's spectacular.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:20 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


For a long time New Mexico was one of a handful of states that combined rigorous testing with low case numbers.
Arizona in mid-July exemplified out-of-control case numbers. Not only has New Mexico passed Arizona's peak, 25 states have this past week.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:31 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Is it ironic or stupid that Trump is the one to wage successful war on Christmas?

I propose rescheduling Christmas to July 2021. We already have all the songs....
posted by eustatic at 4:45 PM on November 18 [18 favorites]


Not related to COVID, but the article refers to the Czech Republic as "Czechia". Is that common at all? I don't think I've heard that name before.

Ice Cube became their travel bureau spokesman with the slogan “Czechia self before you wreck yourself”.
posted by dr_dank at 4:50 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Fauci has pointed out that this is not "wave 2" or "wave 3" but an elongated — and an exacerbation of — the original first wave. This is still Wave 1, which was never under control but just spread to areas with lower population density over time.

I'm in a zone that's been on lockdown since March. Apparently some of the restrictions were lifted - my family ignored them entirely and has not left the house for social reasons since March. (We've had a couple of visits - masked - from people who came over to deliver stuff, and chatted for a while.) Apparently the county is about to go back into lockdown because, sigh, the gov't cannot possibly just pay people to stay at home.

Husband switched his RC model airplane hobby to fishing. $500+ setup costs, but he can now do something outdoors that doesn't involve contact with other people.

I gather there are restaurants and movie theaters open and I just keep thinking WTF, people, this is NOT OVER. We have not reached 'safe' yet!
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:00 PM on November 18 [17 favorites]


I live in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our highly conservative govt has made it abundantly clear that businesses remaining open is the big priority, although we finally have province-wide mandatory masks as of yesterday. Their other big announcements besides restrictions on long term care visitation:
1) Party buses and limos are no longer allowed (how the fuck were these allowed up until now and who the fuck was using them)
2) Private household gatherings are limited to no more than 5 people, including members of the household. Instead, people should gather with their friends and relatives in public spaces like restaurants and bars.

Yes, sadly this is for real. And in response to reporters' incredulous questions, our chief medical health officer suggested that when meeting friends at restaurants/bars everyone will surely sit at separate tables two meters apart to visit. Hallelujah.
posted by DTMFA at 5:00 PM on November 18 [19 favorites]


I was ordering food last night and stumbled onto Whole Foods Thanksgiving prepared meals page. You can pick your local store, ( there are 3 near me ) and the 12 person meal was already sold out. So even in liberal Northern Virginia, there are people ordering enough food for 12 people.

I've over the summer had friends test positive and recover. Last weekend a distant family member died from it, and it's just ratcheted up my ....anxiety, fear, despair another notch.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:05 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Well, to be honest, I'd buy a meal for 12 for 3 of us, just for leftovers, but, yeah, people probably aren't doing that. I think my wife has talked my sister-in-law out of having 15 people over (indoor or outdoor, your choice!) here in New Jersey, but it's an uphill battle, for sure.
posted by mollweide at 6:04 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Target's paper product aisles were already cleaned out tonight.

I'd been stocking up during the past few months but damn we're back to that again.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:18 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


My girlfriend lives in Manitoba, and the province literally shut down all retail last Thursday with no warning.

The province did not do this. They should, but they most certainly have not.

Basically the same situation as Saskatchewan; grandma and the rest of the geezers don’t contribute that much to the economy, so fuck ‘em, Mammon’s gotta eat.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:30 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Lysol is gone as well. November and the supply chain is still fubar'd.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:31 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Ice Cube became their travel bureau spokesman with the slogan “Czechia self before you wreck yourself”.

Don't laugh, Kazakhstan just changed their travel slogan to "Very Nice!" (for real.)
posted by sexyrobot at 6:50 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


I would encourage all of us rationalists at Metafilter to hold off on drawing conclusions about school safety. There are widely divergent experiences in different districts, and lots of anecdata, but not enough full information to draw fully informed conclusions.

Yeah the problem in Vermont is not the schools (which have been a mix of hybrid and open since September) the problem is people who are getting together socially and eating and drinking in really large groups. Or attending big hockey matches together. So they're keeping school open (for now) but have instituted a real crackdown on social gatherings and bars and clubs because that's where the science has been indicating people here are getting it from (and knock-on effects from that). Our governor also had some pretty interesting things to say about patriotism, which I appreciated. He's Republican, won re-election, voted for Biden, has kinda had it with people since the state WAS doing good and is now no longer doing good.
posted by jessamyn at 7:26 PM on November 18 [25 favorites]


Who needs science when you live on a flat earth?
posted by onesidys at 7:46 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I've run the numbers for the cases for the week ending November 14th. I haven't had time to write up a blog post about them.

Vermont lost its place for doing the best in all the country. This week, even with its increases it managed second place behind Hawaii.

Hawaii is the only state not to increase in cases this past week, although they had a dip in their testing so they still rose in positivity rate. Virginia deserve honorable mention due to increasing by only 2 cases out of 9500 for the week.

Thirteen states increased by at least 50% from the previous week, 25 states by at least 40%.

California (ranked 45th in new case rates), Texas (36th), New York (42nd) and Florida 40th), the four most populous states, are keeping the new cases down. If they were to explode the way most other states have (and they might), the national new cases could go over 200,000 a day.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:55 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]




fuck ‘em, Mammon’s gotta eat

Markets are at record highs, but what happens when too many non-senior citizens are sick or dead to buy stuff, let alone work to keep the whole show going. It seems amazing to me that global economies aren't in the tank, right now.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:19 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


ND and SD are amoung the top 5 lowest Rt states now. There are a whole lot of states that are heading up a lot more quickly now than the dakotas ever did.
posted by joeyh at 8:38 PM on November 18


Oh, please don't get me started on seat belts in North Dakota. We have so many highway fatalities due to single vehicle rollovers where the driver/passengers were tossed out of the car because they were exercising their FREEDUMB to not wear a seatbelt. I swear, during the oil boom, there was one reported on the news every other night.
posted by Ber at 8:42 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


It seems amazing to me that global economies aren't in the tank, right now.

Not to derail, but I enjoyed this comic explainer about the current stock market (although I’d enjoy it even more were it finished).

I’m not an economist but my guess is that we’re having a Wile E. Coyote moment. We’ve dashed over the cliff but gravity hasn’t yet asserted itself. Actually, come to think of it, that applies to lots of things just now besides the economy.
posted by disentir at 8:45 PM on November 18 [28 favorites]


On the economy - the aliens haven't landed and blown everything to smithereens. So while restaurants and bars are struggling - takeout and home delivery (eg. Amazon(spit)) has prospered. And the assumption is that a BROAD measure, eg. S&P500, has enough winners that the losers are cancelled out.

And that is probably not a valid assumption.

Especially as regards listed companies - listed companies are NOT the entire economy. In fact, given the compliance requirements, it is fair to say that a listed company is the exception not the norm.

As an accountant, my advice to clients is, "Any projection past 5 years is science fiction." I may start shortening the timeframe to 2 years.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 12:36 AM on November 19 [5 favorites]


There is now pretty solid evidence that it is possible to open schools if you close most other things and ban household mixing and keep R below 1. All the English areas that were in tier 3+ restrictions, Scotland, and now as an emerging set of evidence the rest of England, have kept schools open and all now have falling rates of infections.
posted by atrazine at 1:57 AM on November 19 [5 favorites]


> What would an anti-masker say if you asked them whether they wear a seat belt?
> oh no, don't give them ideas

It's way too late for that. I won't link because fuck giving those idiots any oxygen, but if you google anti-seat belt you'll find 'em.
posted by at by at 5:10 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


it’s london, late november 1940, and a third of the population is furious, furious about how winston churchill, that damned socialist, that leftist, that friend of stalin is taking away their freedom to turn on their lights. they’ll turn on their lights whenever they want! especially in the middle of the night! if they don’t turn on their lights at night, they might stub their toes and die! “you want us to turn off our lights,” they say, “just because there’s some planes overhead at night? planes fly overhead all the time! we’ve never turned off our lights before and we won’t turn off our lights now! german bombers are a hoax! they’re just like blimps, and we get blimps every year! we don’t turn off our lights just because it’s blimp season! anyone who turns off their lights is a sheep, a sheep, a sheep who loves stalin, who hates england and freedom and the magna carta!”

which is to say: the seatbelt analogy is somewhat off, because when a north dakotan doesn’t wear their seatbelt they’re only risking their own lives. not the lives of everyone from coast to coast and everywhere in between.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:29 AM on November 19 [36 favorites]


Target's paper product aisles were already cleaned out tonight.

I'd been stocking up during the past few months but damn we're back to that again.


Which is a hint that for at least some of the anti-mask and COVID denier crowd, they at least recognize that the threat is real and they're only pretending it isn't in public.

Trump's list of crimes is long, but making it a Republican position that the virus and the election are "fake news" are crimes in this year alone that should earn him lasting infamy.
posted by Gelatin at 6:13 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


Which is a hint that for at least some of the anti-mask and COVID denier crowd, they at least recognize that the threat is real and they're only pretending it isn't in public.

No, they just saw the toilet paper disappear last time. They're mostly worried about not being able to wipe.
posted by HyperBlue at 6:45 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Pace thyself. I am convinced we Americans are not yet at Peak Stupid. If you wear yourself out now, you won't have emotional resources later when you will need them most.

Here's a prediction I made on June 26th, 2020 when I was reading about how Americans behaved during the second wave of the 1912 flu pandemic. I wrote down the exact wording of my prediction to keep from fooling myself later about my prescience:
I predict that before the end of the year, we'll see a story on national news about an angry mob threatening someone who is wearing a mask, chiefly because they are wearing a mask.
Unfortunately, I still think we're on track for this prediction to come true.

So for me, right now, I am consciously putting despair aside and focusing myself on the basics:
  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Stay home whenever you can.
  4. Resist social pressure to do the wrong thing.
If you yourself can do more than that, I salute you!

But if you look back on the pandemic and those four things above were literally the only things you did about COVID-19, then I want to tell you that you are my goddamn hero.

Thank you for your service. You did your part. You can be proud.
posted by springo at 6:53 AM on November 19 [21 favorites]


Prediction? An angry mob threaten someone for wearing a mask? We blew past that milestone months and months ago!
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:55 AM on November 19 [16 favorites]


If you wear yourself out now, you won't have emotional resources later when you will need them most.

Emotional resources? We have none left NOW.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:57 AM on November 19 [5 favorites]


It seems amazing to me that global economies aren't in the tank, right now.

As a member of Gen X let me assure you that this is coming. 5 months after 9/11 my team of 12 was pretty happy...3 months later we were a team of 2. Ditto 2008, into which the highly successful with subscribers, blowing through all its targets, magazine/website of my heart launched, and petered along on the strength of audience buy-in until a few years later when it ran out of investment dollars/will.

The good news this time is that it may be a U shaped curve as vaccines will hopefully be the kind of gamechanger people can embrace with optimism.

Except for our traumatized, bereft people, especially healthcare workers and hard-hit communities of course.

...I'm having a moment, we're all home while my 15 year old awaits his test results after popping a mild fever, sore throat, and runny nose yesterday. He's bang in the "highest positivity rate" demographic in Toronto. Any other year we'd be calling this a cold, man.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:35 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


because when a north dakotan doesn’t wear their seatbelt they’re only risking their own lives.

This is false and we’ve known it for a while now. Stop saying it.

Seatbelts protect others in the vehicle from blunt force trauma when your body becomes a projectile in a crash. They also help the driver maintain control of the car, protecting other roadway users.

It’s not on the same scale as a pandemic hazard risking lives nationwide worldwide, granted. But it’s still nonsense.

That’s the thing about public health. People who can’t conceptualize secondary and tertiary consequences of their “personal choices” put the rest of us at risk all the damn time.
posted by armeowda at 7:56 AM on November 19 [42 favorites]


Our governor also had some pretty interesting things to say about patriotism...
I came here to post that link, and though I see Jessamyn beat me to it, I think this part bears repeating:
From the governor-
...So, again, the skeptics are right. They can do what they want. But please don’t call it patriotic or pretend it’s about freedom. Because real patriots serve and sacrifice for all, whether they agree with them or not. Patriots also stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened, and right now, our country and way of life is being attacked by this virus, not the protections we put in place...
posted by MtDewd at 7:57 AM on November 19 [25 favorites]


My go-to is: You wear pants (trousers for our compatriots across the sea) when you leave the house, right? So what makes a mask different than pants? If pants aren't an attack on your FREEDOM, masks aren't, either.
posted by cooker girl at 8:32 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


it’s london, late november 1940, and a third of the population is furious, furious about how winston churchill, that damned socialist, that leftist, that friend of stalin is taking away their freedom to turn on their lights.

I keep seeing people sarcastically draw this comparison as if it didn't happen. It did.

Yet, while the popular myth about ‘Blitz spirit’ has encouraged the idea that all Britons pulled together unanimously in the fight at home, the 925,000 fines issued for lighting violations by the end of the war tell a different story.

According to historians, blackout rules were bemoaned by a section of the public, some of whom felt that blackout was taking a toll on their mental health.

posted by showbiz_liz at 8:47 AM on November 19 [27 favorites]


My go-to is: You wear pants (trousers for our compatriots across the sea) when you leave the house, right? So what makes a mask different than pants? If pants aren't an attack on your FREEDOM, masks aren't, either.

Or to put in a public health framework, nobody goes barefoot into restaurants because of public health regulations, so why is a mask different? It's not.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:57 AM on November 19 [8 favorites]


Not to derail, but I enjoyed this comic explainer about the current stock market (although I’d enjoy it even more were it finished).

Same. Thanks for a link to that.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:08 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Maybe if we told people they could forgo the pants and shoes as long as they're willing to wear a mask they'd say "fair enough" and do it?
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 9:09 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


All these analogies just point to the fact that some people are assholes. All of these public health rules exist for a reason and that we have to have signs on fucking doors that say "no shoes, no shirt, no service" or hand out thousand dollar fines to people for talking on a fucking cell phone while driving continues to be an indictment of the 5-10% of humanity who just don't care about anyone else and only occasionally behave because someone, in the moment, applies a consequence.

How do you solve the problem of selfish people?
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:09 AM on November 19 [10 favorites]


How do you solve the problem of selfish people?
with hefty hefty sintaxes!

Yes, of course: predictably, WWII UK had a pile of deathcult loons, just as 2020 USA has a pile of deathcult loons. The UK's loons attempted to break the blackout rules and demanded their right to bring the bombs down on their neighborhoods. The USA's loons want to clear the way for COVID to wipe out their neighborhoods. The difference is that in the USA in 2020 a flabbybrained president encourages the idea that the freedom to kill your neighbors is sacrosanct, whereas in WWII UK, the prime minister smashed that pernicious idea flat with his powerful taxhammer:
Air Raid Wardens were dispatched onto UK streets in order to enforce blackout, and levy fines on any households caught not complying.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:17 AM on November 19 [9 favorites]


And to be fair, I'm not sure how to enforce all of this stuff anyway since (a) it forces the police or whoever's enforcing to have to go around people who are breaking the laws and likely to be more infectious, (b) do the police want to have to touch these people and be more likely to get infected, (c) if they arrest people and throw them in jail, that means even more infections....

My neighbor was throwing a banging party on Election Night with people dropping by and it was probably so loud the entire building heard it, but I thought, what's the point of calling the cops? Even besides the usual issues one might have from calling cops in 2020, they'll know it's me who did it and I'm a sitting duck if they want to retaliate against me, and what good is it going to do? They've exposed each other for hours singing and screaming, any damage has already been done.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:40 AM on November 19 [5 favorites]


@BoozyBadger
You do not have a constitutional right to be a complete jackass and infect those around you, and the government absolutely has the precedential ability to restrict you from doing so. And today, Typhoid Dipshit, I’m going to go into why.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 AM on November 19 [15 favorites]


And to be fair, I'm not sure how to enforce all of this stuff anyway since (a) it forces the police or whoever's enforcing to have to go around people who are breaking the laws and likely to be more infectious, (b) do the police want to have to touch these people and be more likely to get infected, (c) if they arrest people and throw them in jail, that means even more infections....

also (d) the way the police enforce laws is racist and classist AF and we all know who would be the targets of "you're not quarantining enough" crackdowns, and it's not evangelical Republicans in suburbs nor techbro dudes in expensive condos, no matter how many people their churches or parties infect.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:05 AM on November 19 [11 favorites]


Yeah the problem in Vermont is not the schools (which have been a mix of hybrid and open since September) the problem is people who are getting together socially and eating and drinking in really large groups.... Our governor also had some pretty interesting things to say about patriotism, which I appreciated.

These comments by the VT governor were interesting; for one thing, he says that 70-ish percent of new cases are coming from small gatherings in homes and bars, with alcohol consumption and lax mask usage, and that restaurants, gyms, and schools don't appear to be major spread locations, which is why they made the choices they did.

MeFites who are involved in contact tracing, how does this match up with your anecdotal experience? (PhineasGage, I don't mean to call you out, but if you're reading the thread, your experience would be interesting to hear about.) It would be good to hear about what sorts of activities are a relatively safe pressure-release from full isolation, especially if we're all supposed to skip holidays with the family.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:04 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I've written up another weekly report regarding the COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:25 PM on November 19 [13 favorites]


I don't have real analysis of the data, but from our conversations around the virtual office, it appears the bulk of new infections are happening in 1) crowded, enclosed commercial places (hitting especially the low-wage "essential workers" who have to be there), and 2) group housing (families, multi-families).
posted by PhineasGage at 1:05 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


All these analogies just point to the fact that some people are assholes. All of these public health rules exist for a reason and that we have to have signs on fucking doors that say "no shoes, no shirt, no service" or hand out thousand dollar fines to people for talking on a fucking cell phone while driving continues to be an indictment of the 5-10% of humanity

Lol stupids or lol assholes is underestimating the problem.

Contact tracers have said that prior to Trump, most people would be helpful in tracing down contagious diseases with maybe 5% assholes. Now it's 40% of people refusing to take part in contact tracing and threatening the contact tracers about fake diseases. Trump has turned the 30% of the population who will follow a leader into assholes like him.
posted by benzenedream at 6:00 PM on November 19 [27 favorites]


Wired.com: "Are Covid Patients Gasping ‘It Isn’t Real’ As They Die?"
Doering’s statement that she’s watched “so many” people die from the disease even as they deny its very existence, endlessly repeated on social media and presented by news outlets without corroboration, would seem to represent a broader phenomenon.

But other nurses who work in similar settings say they’ve seen nothing of the kind.

I called a number of hospitals in the same part of South Dakota to ask emergency room nurses if they’d noticed the same, disturbing phenomenon. At Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital, about 20 minutes from Doering’s hometown of Woonsocket, an ER nurse told me, “I have not had that experience here.” At my request, Kim Rieger, the VP for communications and marketing at Huron Regional Medical Center, one of the four medical facilities where Doering works, spoke with several nurses at Huron to get their reactions to the CNN interview. None said they’d interacted with Covid patients who denied having the disease. “Most patients are grateful, and thankful for our help,” one told her. “I have not experienced this, nor have I been told of this experience, ever,” another said.
posted by sylvanshine at 4:17 AM on November 20 [11 favorites]


What I notice with COVID is that people report "so many" when they've seen two or three. There are lots of reports of nurses who have seen "so many" twenty year olds on ventilators, people in their twenties dying, etc etc, and when you look at the state statistics this just can't be the case.

But it's clearly because what's happening is so traumatic and unusual - you're seeing huge waves of desperately sick people, you see a couple of people in their twenties where normally you might see one a year and that stands out to you.

I bet that what happened is that this nurse encountered a small number of people in a short time and because of the fog of the epidemic, feels that it was "so many". It might well be, in fact, that the people she saw were part of the same social circle, where "this is all a hoax" discourse was incredibly, incredibly strong and of course, that means that multiple people would be likely to get infected in a short time. If she were seeing the artifact of one strongly ideologized social circle, that would account for why others aren't seeing the same thing - she's seen what she says she's seen, but it's a strange local phenomenon.
posted by Frowner at 6:33 AM on November 20 [15 favorites]


Sorry to double post, but important Minnesotan public health advisor Michael Osterholm thinks the first doses of vaccine may well be rolled out before Christmas. Meaning that health-care workers would get them followed by the very medically-fragile.

Just vaccinating doctors and nurses would alleviate the pressure on the hospitals, given that hundreds of nurses are out now due to COVID.
posted by Frowner at 6:52 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


I hate to be a downer, but the vaccine is two injections, four weeks apart. Starting in late December won't help much until late January.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:23 AM on November 20


Also, do we know how long it takes for it to work after the second shot before you can relatively consider yourself "in the clear?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:32 AM on November 20


We don't, but at least the Pfizer one was only looking at infections 28 days after the first one, so that's some hint about when they think it's useful.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:42 AM on November 20


Antibody production peaks around 8wks after exposure (whether by vaccine or natural infection). An AB test would definitely read as positive at that point and that's probably your 'in the clear' moment. But of course, you're not really 'in the clear' until 8wks after everybody has the vaccine.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:49 AM on November 20


My thought is "no matter when, better before Christmas than, eg, April". And better "not everyone has this vaccine and the epidemic isn't stopping, but these nurses as a group have far more protection than they did pre-vaccine".

If we have a 90% effective vaccine, sure, not everyone who gets the vaccine is protected. But all those people who are protected aren't in the hospital needing oxygen and ICU beds.

If all we get from the next six months is "there are reduced numbers of sick people and there's a good monoclonal antibody treatment", even that is going to radically reduce the amount of death and sickness.
posted by Frowner at 9:06 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


>"do your own research"

Ask these people what grades they got on their research/term papers in school.
posted by neuron at 10:02 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Ask these people what grades they got on their research/term papers in school.

Ask these people what federal agency funds their biomedical research lab.
posted by medusa at 10:14 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


This is what I find tiring about conservatives: they make stuff up or pass along made-up stuff and expect me to prove them wrong. I usually provide a couple of slam-dunk facts, but the rest is up to them.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:32 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]




In August or so at one of my emotional nadirs I got in a yelling fight with a white dude shopping at grocery store who had his mask underneath his nose. I'm not even working at the bedside but in my job I do a lot of chart review, and seeing the 5 or 6 people in the ICU every day with COVID was so appalling. I can't remember the exact timing but at that time in my county the cases were overwhelmingly Latino. At that time every single person who's chart I looked at was a first generation Mexican or Central American immigrant - most them guys in their 40s, 50s or 60s who were working because they had no other options. It was horrifying how the disease coupled with existing disparities to kill people who were already vulnerable. We also got a bunch of the San Quentin cases and watching these men die because of being trapped in a cell where you can't be safe was so appalling. So anyway that day in the grocery store I couldn't keep in my rage at individuals who refused to care for their neighbors with the basic intervention of just wearing a mask. The fight ended with him flipping me off and yelling "TRUMP 2020" and my yelling an ineffectual FUCK YOU back.

So, I definitly get the rage at the ideology and the individuals who are denying reality right now.

On the other hand, I know friends and loved ones who are seeing friends more than they admit to publicly. Flaunting COVID guidelines is not just a problem of the Trumpist right or the 'low information' conspiracy theorist. Look at Gavin Newsom and the California Medical Association! There are plenty of egregious violations of COVID safety standards across the political spectrum. But there are way more examples of people just less egregiously giving up in a way that I think is just an inevitable response to 9+ months of lack of any centralized response, lack of financial support, lack of honesty and humility by authority figures in government and health policy, lack of safe working conditions. I mean, human beings just have limits.

The fix for this fucking mess is probably not focusing on the people being taken in by false COVID narrative, but is on pushing for policy level, centralized interventions like making OSHA do what they are supposed to do in enforcing workplace safety around COVID, like creating universal, free at the point of service health care for everyone, like funding county health departments and reversing the decades of austerity in housing and human services. Like, there's real tools to address this, and when people's lives start to improve, the wind starts to comes out of Q-Anon sails. We're going to have to really pressure the Biden administration to not try to solve COVID with more bandaids.
posted by latkes at 11:13 AM on November 20 [15 favorites]


Secretary Mnuchin today: "We are working on mass distribution of the virus."

Finally some truth out of the Trump administration.
posted by JackFlash at 12:49 PM on November 20 [20 favorites]


So now we try and pretend that the mass spread everywhere across every western culture is because ...of house parties and get togethers? Nah man.....that would be a palatable moral failure. The one we actually have is much bigger and much worse...even supposed science driven liberals Trumped themselves into believing a very desirable but largely unfounded myth that had only the thinnest veneer of scientific speculation.

Please don't spread fake news even if it is personally satisfying to believe.
Places that opened schools: Melbourne, Australia.
Places that didn't: Chicago

NPR
Vox


I live in Chicago. Chicago absolutely has schools open. Almost all the private schools and the Catholic school system opened for in person instruction in late-August Early September. Public school in most of Chicagoland are open. The Chicago Public Schools did not open (because the Chicago Teachers Union said no) It was a very obvious natural experiment because the public system primarily served the south and west sides of Chicago and the poorer population which got hammered and is still getting hammered by covid.

Affluent Chicagoans in the north side do not typically send their kids to Chicago Public Schools. They send them to the private and Catholic schools. The covid numbers for Chicago's nicer neighborhoods were low and stayed low all the way through the first wave and into....wait for it...September. Now Lincoln Park, Lakeview and the Gold Coast have infection rates that are pretty much inline with the rest of the city. These were the people who previously had the resources, ability and jobs to let them WFH and isolate from the pandemic. Now equity arrived. Brought to you by the private and Catholic school run. I've often joked that parents driving their navy blue SUVs in Chicago will gleefully run people over to get their kids to school. It is now an unfunny joke.

When your public officials say most cases are from gatherings always look and see how many cases were successfully contact traced. 30-60% of traced transmissions is not 30-60% of transmissions and the majority of cases of covid-19 are not successfully contact traced even in compliant countries like Canada. Contact tracing doesn't really tell you who is infecting who so much as it tells you which transmissions are easy (or chosen) to trace. Children now make up something like 22% of all covid infections. Are they out partying?
posted by srboisvert at 1:36 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


When your public officials say most cases are from gatherings always look and see how many cases were successfully contact traced.

I understand your general point but in Vermont the answer is "nearly all of them." Kids in Vermont that get COVID don't get it from other kids, they get it from household members (who are grown-ups) who, in nearly all cases, are getting it from gatherings or from people who got it from gatherings. I'm not denying that there are situations that are less-palatable and I'm sorry for the situation you are in, that we're all in really.
posted by jessamyn at 3:24 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]


W.H.O. Rejects Antiviral Drug Remdesivir as a Covid Treatment [NYT]
In a review of several trials, the World Health Organization found that Gilead’s drug did not improve survival rates for patients nor did it help them recover.
posted by MrVisible at 3:58 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Regarding contact tracing: I just heard a presentation from a physician from our Alameda County (Oakland and surrounding area) Department of Health. They attempt to call every positive case. I believe she said they have about a 40% reach rate. Of those, about 1/2 contracted at a party (gathering of 10 or more people) and 1/2 at work. That sounds like it's changing based on data from other communities but that's the data we had in our area.
posted by latkes at 4:39 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]


Please don't spread fake news even if it is personally satisfying to believe.
Places that opened schools: Melbourne, Australia.
Places that didn't: Chicago


PLEASE DO NOT SPREAD FAKE NEWS OF YOUR OWN

As JoeinAustralia has already stated, Melbourne did close schools for most of the lockdown, with only some exceptions.

Yes, schools are open now but that is because we haven't had any cases for 3 weeks One of our last outbreaks was connected to a school. I don't mean to be rude, but given you were wrong about both Melbourne and Chicago, I'm not sure what your argument is.
posted by daybeforetheday at 9:32 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


One last comment on schools: even when the schools were closed here over the summer, the kids all gathered anyway. They hung out on the beach, on bikes trails, in the parks, in big groups all over each other without masks. I saw them everywhere. You might as well open the schools when the kids are already breathing all over each other, then at least they also get some education

It "seems" logical that schools are case hubs, but so far there doesn't seem to be much actual evidence for that. Our Contact Tracing sucks, but what contacts we have traced are from indoor pubs/dining and gathering in people's homes. Of course there's surges in the West, we opened everything! With the virus still around! You have to make a damn good case for closing schools before closing pubs and gyms, in my opinion, and the evidence isn't there.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:55 AM on November 21


Meanwhile in Germany: German doctor arrested on suspicion of killing two Covid patients
This is driving people crazy.
posted by mumimor at 1:19 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Reporting back from the COVID-soaked steppes of North Dakota:

The school board in the small town (pop. 2500) nearest to my small town (pop. 600) had a meeting early this week and were besieged by whining parents and children begging/demanding that the school board lift the mask mandate for their district. I'm not entirely sure of the legality of it but the school board caved (but for one member). That one member's husband told me today of the aftermath.

The school board/superintendent got a sternly worded email from the State School Superintendent who apparently read them a list of sanctions and fines (possibly including time behind bars) should they not comply. The school board bent back the other way and the kids/teachers will all be donning masks again. Another win in the constant battle against COVIDIOTS. I grow weary of these but at least its a win.
posted by Ber at 1:17 PM on November 21 [21 favorites]


I'm in a relatively ok county of California. My (former) assistant pastor's mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law all got diagnosed with covid and died in the last 2 weeks of October. My husband and I spent Wednesday and Thursday evenings recording the hymn for the memorial service, which happened today. We've been strict about our safety since March (much more so than many friends who say they take covid seriously but then they mention attending various in-person get-togethers). I obsessively read two dozen virologists, epidemiologists, and public health people on twitter every day. 3 friends-of-friends got mild cases and recovered... and even so, since the news about these 3 deaths, we've been processing that "not feeling abstract about covid any more" feeling.

Brains are fucked up.

Silver lining: it seems to have made an impression on my mother-in-law, who on Wednesday's call did not say a peep about us going over for Thanksgiving.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:04 PM on November 21 [9 favorites]


I had a friend yesterday laugh on Facebook about his Lyft driver being pulled over by police in front of his house before he got in the car. He didn't seem to be thinking twice about getting in a Lyft, (or why the driver might have gotten pulled over) despite the fact he lives in the New Jersey county that got hit the worst back in the spring, and things aren't looking great now. His mother and both in-laws are extremely high risk, and he's not dumb. I just don't get it.
posted by mollweide at 5:39 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


and he's not dumb. I just don't get it.

To paraphrase E. Gary Gygax, intelligence is knowing you can catch and spread covid-19. Wisdom is acting on that knowledge.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:45 PM on November 21 [8 favorites]


Welp, we just got a voicemail from our school superintendent saying, basically, that they don’t have the contact tracing or cleaning staff to handle the number of cases students have been bringing in from outside lately, and although he tries to stay in his lane, if we want schools to remain open, we need to make the right choices in our lives outside of school.

It’s about as far as he could go without bringing a shitstorm down on himself. He will certainly take a bunch of angry calls and emails over it. But he actually lives here and has a couple of kids in the district and he sounds pretty frustrated. We’ve gone from getting one COVID notification from the district every week or two to multiple every day in the last two weeks.

I don’t see how they maintain in person classes at this point. It’s reasonably clear based on contact tracing that kids and staff mostly aren’t spreading it among themselves at school, but that doesn’t matter if every day someone comes in positive and you wind up with half the school quarantined.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:58 PM on November 22 [6 favorites]


My son is in a small, out-of-district, special ed school, and they just had their first case in the school this past weekend. It was apparently a staff member who had no contact with the students and few contacts with the staff, so they're continuing with in person for the time being.

Our home district has been playing whack-a-mole with COVID from the beginning of the year. Our superintendent didn't want to go back in person in September, and he was overruled by the school board, in New Jersey of all places. The high school just had a situation where a student who was actually in school when their test came back positive had to be pulled out. Why the hell were they in school while awaiting test results?

The district announced that they're going remote from the end of Thanksgiving break until December 7th. Given that they close schools for two days for cleaning and contact tracing after a positive case, I don't have much faith that most of the 6 schools in the district will get that far. They should stay shut until mid January at the earliest at this point.
posted by mollweide at 6:22 PM on November 22 [4 favorites]


Some interesting background on mRNA vaccines, which is the (amazeballs) technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines: mRNA vaccines — a new era in vaccinology [Nature Magazine review article].
posted by heatherlogan at 3:43 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


I've put up a new weekly report on COVID-19 cases on my blog.
So are COVID-19 cases peaking? The news is not as grim as last week: 17 states showed signs of peaking or else drops in their cases (the ten graphs I showed, six states I named, and Hawaii which is pretty much flatline).
Seventeen states is not great news, but last week I would have put the number at two. New Mexico, Virginia and California showed the highest increases, percent-wise.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:31 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


How likely is it that this is due to maxing out test capability in those states rather than slow of spread?
posted by benzenedream at 10:30 AM on November 25 [2 favorites]


I feel it's quite likely that testing has been maxed out. There was a line wrapped around the corner of a busy road and an urgent care clinic near me earlier this week, assuming they're trying to 'safety check' before Thanksgiving.

Other news: 6 Michigan hospitals at 100% capacity; 18 more at 90% or higher as coronavirus crisis deepens.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 11:26 AM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Massachusetts is one of those states and does not have maxed-out testing. Can not speak to any other states.
posted by jessamyn at 1:50 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


Texas National Guard deployed to help El Paso with morgue overflow (CBS News, Nov. 22, 2020) The city's mayor, Dee Margo, said on Twitter Friday that a "rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations" has brought on a "spike in deaths." The Texas Military will now provide "the critical personnel" to carry out the city's "fatality management plan." El Paso city and county have secured a "central morgue location to further support the Medical Examiner's Office, funeral homes and mortuaries with additional capacity." [...]

There are now more than 300 people in an intensive care unit across El Paso County due to COVID-19. Earlier this month, officials said they were bringing in 10 temporary morgue trailers. So many have died that the county has posted job openings for morgue attendants. El Paso County was paying prison inmates $2 an hour to move the bodies of deceased COVID victims. Prison labor isn't unusual, but videos of inmates wearing striped jumpsuits loading plastic-wrapped bodies onto refrigerated trucks sparked concerns about their treatment during the surge in virus cases, especially as outbreaks of COVID-19 in prisons have been a recurring issue throughout the pandemic.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:39 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]


Well, the crazies have officially taken over. Supreme Court Blocks New York’s Virus Restrictions on Religious Services.

Flames. Flames on the side of my face.
posted by Mchelly at 4:25 AM on November 26 [2 favorites]


How likely is it that this is due to maxing out test capability in those states rather than slow of spread?

I think this week is really difficult to interpret on the fly because so many asymptomatic people are seeking out tests so they can have "permission" to gather with relatives. (It's also scary because as Iceland found out - about 20% of people in 2 test foreign arrival quarantine protocol tested negative on their initial test and positive on their subsequent test 5 days later.)

Looking at the graphs on divoc-19 for Illinois the case numbers have been much more variable in the past week but they do show a peak and decline on the 7 day average plot for the past week or so(we did close indoor dining and bar service a few weeks back). Anecdotally, people have been complaining about test availability and result arrival slowdown for more than a week but total test numbers are pretty much on the same linear climb they have been on for most of the pandemic.

So my take is....who knows? Things will probably be pretty erratic for another week at least with vacation time, holiday rushes and people worried about exposure post thanksgiving. Then maybe a case explosion? Hard to say.
posted by srboisvert at 5:36 AM on November 26


Oops, Sonia Sotomayor, also Catholic. That's 78% Catholic, almost four times their representation in the population. That's just whack.
posted by JackFlash at 8:46 AM on November 26 [2 favorites]


Testing went up by 22.5% this past week. There were 44 states that increased testing. The states that reduced their numbers of tests (week to week) were Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Wyoming greatly increased their testing (backlog?) to about three times as many per capita as the average state and jumped to second place in case rate.

Missouri took over as the leader in fewest tests per capita with Florida second.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:47 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Catholic means "in general," though? Off the top of my head, Sotomayor described herself as a lapsed Catholic in her memoir, Coney Barrett is a member of the People of Praise sect, and Gorsuch was raised Catholic but worships at a liberal-leaning Episcopal church.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:49 AM on November 26


This week is going to be crap in terms of statistics. Even single holidays such Veteran's Day and Labor Day threw reporting off. I imagine few states will be reporting on Thanksgiving, many doubling up on Friday and some waiting until the new week.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:52 AM on November 26


Ontario (Canada) restaurant owner arrested for failure to adhere to public health lock down order after attempting to open his restaurant to dine in service. The arrest for obstruction of justice comes after RCMP changed the locks on the restaurant and the owner hired a locksmith to gain entry. The owner was previously fined thousands of dollars for repeatedly ignoring the lock down order and operating without a business licence.
posted by Mitheral at 1:23 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Oops, Sonia Sotomayor, also Catholic. That's 78% Catholic, almost four times their representation in the population. That's just whack.

What if I told you that until last year, 3 of the 9 SC justices were Jewish. 33% Jewish, which is more than 15x their representation in the population! 15x! They were also three of the four most liberal justices on the Court.

In other words, I'm not sure this sort of analysis is particularly useful.
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


Yes, but Jews represent some 20% of lawyers. A lot of Jews choose law as a profession, particularly at elite institutions, so not surprising to see many of them on the bench.

Not so for Catholics. Catholics are over-represented on the Supreme Court not because so many have choosen the law as a profession but because Republicans chose to elevate a lot of Catholics and I think you can understand why. It's Republicans most important litmus test for the court.
posted by JackFlash at 3:39 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


The BBQ restaurant owner in Ontario is raising tens of thousands of dollars through crowd funding. He’s smiling as they arrest him. He’s thinking no matter what, his resto will always be tremendously favoured by the deplorables. Just another day for a mediocre white man.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:44 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


I think there's something interesting to be said about why there have been so many more Catholic and Jewish justices than Presidents, but this is possibly not the occasion for it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:45 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


In the written decision conservatives on the court quite literally go to that favorite Republican proposition, I quote:

"Members of this Court are not public health experts but ..."
posted by JackFlash at 7:53 PM on November 26


The crowdfunding increases the likelihood of the fines being large actually getting paid so I'm not so upset about it. A judge may not fine a small business owner that much for non-compliance in the normal course but if they see the business has received tens of thousands of dollars in donations then it may as well all go towards fines.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:05 AM on November 27


Think of the crowdfunding as a self-imposed tax on COVID-deniers and it suddenly seems a lot more positive.
posted by heatherlogan at 10:16 AM on November 27 [3 favorites]


South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's Grandmother passed away November 22. No cause of death given....(and she was 98 so it could be non-Covid related) but 12 out of the 13 deaths in her rest home for that two week period had Covid-related listed as cause of death...only her's didn't have a cause of death. So Govenor Noem shambles on, actions against all logic, borne back ceaselessly into the pandemic.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:51 AM on December 1 [8 favorites]


Factoid: today, after many years of indifference and contempt for poor UX design, I finally decided to set up my cable television provider's “Favorites” feature in their video-on-demand interface. Consequently, I browsed through several hundred television shows in short order.

Out of all of them The Connors was the sole show with 2020 episodes for which the thumbnail showed the cast (or hosts, for non-fiction shows) wearing masks. Though I figure it may just still be damage control for Roseanne turning out to be... whatever. I lost my stomach for keeping up after seeing the pictures from the Hitler photoshoot during the whole cancellation thing.
posted by XMLicious at 5:09 PM on December 2


Goddamn the crowdfunding is over $300,000. I don't think the fines are going to be anywhere near that high so this guy's going to make out like a bandit.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:23 PM on December 4


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