COVID-19: Doing It Right

We can defeat the COVID-19 epidemic. We’ve already been shown how.

New York state was hard hit by COVID-19, and hit early by U.S. standards. Because of the incompetent federal response, nobody in the U.S. was properly prepared. Responding quickly, New York State took the tough steps that brought the disease under control. They even forced the outbreak down — they didn’t just “flatten” the curve, they crushed it. And they haven’t wavered, but have stayed the course, holding on to those measures that have enabled them to lower the daily case load from over 400 per day per million population, to under 30.

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COVID-19: Back to School?

One of the first states hit by COVID-19 (some would say, the first) was Washington. It, along with California and New York, formed the epicenter, the focus of the initial invasion of the deadly virus.

But Washington state did a terrific job containing the virus. Perhaps one of the reasons was quick action by state government, including closing public schools very early.

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Please shove your COVID-19 Conspiracy theories up your ass

I’ve received some comments on the blog which went straight to the trash bin.

For instance: someone wrote to tell me that the only reason “red states” (with republican governors) looked so bad is that Massachusetts had a republican governor, even though they’re a “blue state.” Red state outbreak? Blame it on Massachusetts.

Someone wrote to tell me that the southern-state red-state outbreak was because summer broght warm weather, which induced people to go outdoors and do more socializing. At the same time, someone else wrote to tell me that the southern-state red-state outbreak was because summer brought hot weather, which induced people to spend time indoors with air conditioning, in closer quarters.

Then there was the person who declared that “80% of COV19 cases are mild, that being the case who cares how many people have it … the question is how many people “die” from it.” Well, quite a few of those who don’t die are still ravaged, requiring a lung transplant or a life of dialysis or inability to breathe without an artificial oxygen supply — maybe they care? How about the people who actually *love* those who die?

How about all the people on the receiving end, when “mild” cases infect others? I’ll bet those “others” care.

For over 10 years, I fought against the stupidity from those who denied the reality, human cause, or danger from climate change. They brought their crazy idiot conspiracy theories, I smashed them. It was fun. It was useful. I helped stem the tide of lies that climate deniers use to sabotage action.

But I’m not going to do that with COVID-19. Yes there are deniers — people in serious denial (usually for political reasons). Let them bring their crazy theories here. Let them spend hours, days, weeks, composing their manifesto and submit it to my blog. It’s going straight to the trash can.

Because as much fun as it is to show idiots just how stupid they are — I don’t have time.

COVID-19: Where the Bois are

Red dots show grids with over 250 new cases per day per million population. Orange dots, over 100. Blue dots, over 10. Green dots, less than 10. Grid boxes are 2.5° longitude wide, 2° latitude tall.

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Social Distancing


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COVID-19: Red States Blue States Redux

A week ago I posted about the difference between red and blue states when it comes to COVID-19. It attracted quite a bit of attention, including requests to update the results. Happy to oblige.

The “red” states have republican governors, the “blue” states have democratic governors.


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COVID-19: The Cost of Indulgence

You’re one of the best at social distancing. You always have your mask at the ready — and you wear it even in the drive-through at McDonald’s. You only visit face-to-face with your nuclear family. You work from home via internet. You’ve sacficied your hobbies (no more basketball games or knitting groups). You long to see your friends, your nieces and nephews, but you make the sacrifice and do without. You’ve even stopped going to church.

Thank you.

But there’s that one time. You needed to see someone. You tried to take precautions, but you know this wasn’t essential, and it ended up being face-to-face. No masks. A lot closer than six feet.

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How to Lose Control of an Epidemic (like COVID-19)

How do you control an epidemic? In that context, let me discuss the SIR model of disease and demonstrate it in action. It’s the one that gives rise to those curves we’ve seen so many of, the ones that we’re trying to flatten.

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COVID-19: Hockey Sticks

Hey! Ron DeSantis!! WE TOLD YOU SO.

Yes, we told you before you did it that this would be the result. By “we” I mean the worldwide community of scientists, especially the experts in the fields of epidemiology and medicine, especially the ones who work in the field at places like CDC and Johns Hopkins, especially the nation’s leaders (like Anthony Fauci) and the people who work for your own state’s department of health.

We told you so, you ignored the warnings, went ahead with your re-opening plans, and the result was this:

It vaguely resembles a “hockey stick.”

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Message to Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott: Do Not Remove the Control Rods from a Nuclear Reactor

I shouldn’t have to say it. But I do.

Nuclear reactors can use “control rods” to control the reaction. Push them in all the way, they’ll slow the reaction so much it will quickly die out. Pull them all the way out, the reaction grows so fast it goes critical — but before it can “go nuke” it melts. Still a disaster.

The “basic” epidemiological model (the SIR model) makes some very basic assumptions, and treats the spread of a disease like COVID-19 in a straightforward manner. It gives rise to the “bell-shaped” curve (the one everyone wants to flatten) we’ve seen in so many news stories.

Of course it’s not “right” — there are too many unaccounted-for factors to believe that. But they also encompass certain purely logical ideas which are known to be correct. Added bonus: the equations are not unlike what you see when you study how neutrons keep the reaction going in a nuclear reactor. The reactor equations are likewise imperfect, but they too encompass some undeniable logical ideas. The most impressive thing they have in common: experience has shown that they both work.

And now to the real point of this post. Pay attention, because this is the real message and it’s worth it. Here it is:

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