It's Thursday. Yes, it's getting harder to distinguish one day from the next. It makes me think that our memories of this event will feel compressed and blurred a bit. I find that my memories require milestones that serve as time and place anchors. Don't get me wrong, the entire event will be a huge anchor but I suspect years from now I will have forgotten the feeling of watching this slow moving tsunami creep closer and closer bigger and bigger. I will forget the mild paranoia that sets in when the food supply wanes. I will forget the feeling of walking outdoors and taking a breath of fresh air.
Sports Perspective. I saw a turn yesterday with the President. He's leaning in to his response even as polls are revealing that most Americans believe the federal government's response was "poor." He's confident that he has bent the opinion curve by setting expectations very high and then continually deliver below those expectations and claim victory. He seems to be more confident that the score on the board is going to be interpreted as a win. I suspect that he'll want to string the wins together and that will REQUIRE opening the country before the end of the month to beat another expectation. The source of the pandemic, Wuhan, China, just re-opened the city yesterday after 76 days of a rigorous lockdown. My personal 76 days of lockdown is May 31st and the balance of the country is well beyond that date. While curves have been "flattened" it's not clear to me that they stay flat if people start interacting.
Week 5. Here we are on day one of week 5. I was looking at numbers and see that Hong Kong, which last I heard is remarkably close to China, has but 4 deaths and fewer than 1,000 cases. The city has many of the characteristics that have ravaged other lands most noticeably that the city is incredibly dense. Lifestyle-wise I don't think you can say that Hong Kong is remarkably different one way or the other from other locations, but how were they able to seemingly dodge a bullet that should have easily landed? I'm increasingly wondering about climate's contribution and whether the surprising improvements we are seeing are somehow related to weather. Does heat and humidity suppress the viral nature of the little bugger? You would expect to see a strong correlation to longitude, but I'll leave that for the real experts.
Murderous Thoughts. I'm having them. About that thing that's growing on my face. At first growing the beard was a distraction at a time when I needed a distraction. I struggled to see myself in a way I had never seen before, but that novelty has worn off. As the beard grew in, I realized that there was much about facial hair that I didn't like about having a permanent sweater on my face. There's the tickling when I'm not supposed to touch my face. There's also eating where the hair interferes with the efficient feeding of my being. The day to day progress seems to have slowed to my eye. Easter approaches. The razor is sharp.
Opening Up. Some have complained that there is too much discussion about opening up while we are experiencing our peak threat. I disagree. I want to talk about nothing but opening up. In fact, I'm worried that it sounds like we don't have much of a plan...yet. Here's how I would approach it.
Prioritize essential workers for testing independent of whether they are showing symptoms.
Open counties one by one as they achieve less than 5% positive rate which will only happen if the tests extend beyond those who feel sick.
Open counties one by one only if they can also show that their hospital surge capacity is less than 50%
Create a VIRUS FREE pass for anyone that interfaces with the public. There would be a 30 day expiration period that all essential workers must carry with them in public.
Create a QUARANTINE SAFE pass that are self-affirmed that only allows untested people in public who have quarantined for at least 3 weeks.
Create a rule that says if you don't have a pass, you have to wear a mask in public.
Strongly warn all people with "underlying health conditions" not to interact with the public until a vaccine exists
I'm assuming no ability to determine immunity as there is no such capability as of this writing
Require all workers that can work from home to work from home until there is a vaccine
Require all educational institutions that can teach online to teach online until there is a vaccine
Require airplanes (and all public transportation) not to populate the middle seat and all passengers to wear masks until their is a vaccine
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