Sweden. Did they get it right? Sweden famously advised caution but issued no stay at home orders. Business remained open and while their world didn't look exactly as it did pre-virus, it's fair to say that this is the most visible experiment that has bucked an otherwise global consensus about how to manage. The numbers suggest that Sweden is worse than it's neighbors but far from the disaster that many other countries have seen. The deaths per million is well below hard hit UK, Italy, France and Spain. At the same time they are significantly higher than their neighbors Finland and Norway. Their case growth is still high but not disaster high (about 2% per day). Is this proof that we blew it? Is this proof we overreacted? It's probably too early to tell for sure, but I suspect (no evidence) that there is another factor currently unknown. Let's say we discover that eating pickled fish acts as a vaccine of sorts. Without good science we really can't be sure if the social distancing is overrated or if there is some other factor. In the past week I've seen hypotheses about smoking, about childhood vaccines and vitamin D that could all play a roll in the impact of the virus. We don't know. Marketers are used to making decisions without all the information they want. Scientists are the opposite; wanting all the information required before making a decision. Let's agree that this is not black and white. We don't have all the information we would like. The people guiding us are clearly erring on the side of life over money. Money can be replaced. Life cannot. I vote for caution.
It's Obvious. LA required masks all the time when people go outdoors. I objected immediately thinking about my dog walks with few people around, the fresh air and my disdain for wearing a mask. And yet, it seems pretty obvious that if we could all agree on wearing masks we could open much faster. And yet business after business seem to be requiring masks of workers but only "suggesting" masks for customers. Everyone has to wear a mask or it doesn't work. It seems like an easy trade off even for someone who will be perpetually walking around with steamed up glasses.
Daylight. It wasn't that long ago that the President was marveling in the strength of daylight to combat the ability of the virus to survive. Daylight and getting out in the open is something that's good for us right now. But daylight as a literal cure doesn't seem to be the same focus when it comes to information. The President has begun to question the numbers from his own administration. He has hired a firm to gather impact data when he already has the same data from the CDC--one would presume to see if he might be able to manipulate less damning numbers. I'm starting to distrust red state numbers for no reason other than it's in their political best interest to fudge the numbers. Nebraska won't shine light on the number of cases in nursing homes or meat packing places. The President implying that less testing would be better than more testing because testing just makes the case count go up. Repeatedly firing or demoting whistle blowers and inspectors general is another form of covering up and suppressing the truth from the American people. Not releasing CDC advice in a timely fashion and banning all public press briefings since early March. These are all examples of casting shadows, casting confusion, cherry picking data and telling us the right political story instead of the truth and the data. The probability that we'll have a "few hundred million vaccines" by the end of the year is similar to what it would take to win the lottery. And yet it's the equivalent of providing the financial advice, the best way to save for retirement is to buy a lottery ticket.
Birthday Girl. We celebrate our second quarantine birthday today. Caly turns 11. She had a long walk this morning and is now trying to recover for a big party tonight.
Next Blog Entry
© Greg Harris, 2020
All Rights Reserved