Plague journal 9

Pretending to see the future

Apple is donating millions of face masks to medical professionals.Texas is up to 325 cases as of yesterday, 6,522 tests administered.

The Fed is predicting that we could see 30% unemployment and a 50% drop in GDP in Q2.

US infection rate has now apparently outpaced where every other country was at this point in their infection curves. Each country started the battle on a different date; but N days into the respective battles, we have more infected than China or Italy and a faster rate of increase.

If you think “Oh, well, I can ignore that because it should be per capita”, note that Italy has more hospital beds per capita than the US and still ran out, and check out the helpful per-capita version of the graph someone plotted. Notice that the per-capita infection level at which Italy was forced to go on lockdown matches tomorrow’s expected US levels, and notice the estimated US ICU capacity line we will blow through a week from now unless social distancing measures turn out to have been having a significant effect.

I’m not optimistic about that, because today Senator Rand Paul got tested for coronavirus, went to the gym, had a swim in the pool, had lunch with other Republican senators — and then found out that yes, he has the coronavirus. And he’s a doctor so you’d expect him to know better about the importance of social distancing. I mean, why was the gym even open? They’ve all closed here.

My message here: I hope you’re already taking this situation very seriously, because it is extremely serious, and it’s going to get a lot worse before it starts to get better. Read about what Italy was going through a week ago, because they’re effectively talking to us from two weeks in the future. Sure, I’ll be delighted if it turns out that we’ve been dramatically overestimating US infection rates and everything is fine, but I’m going to try to mentally prepare myself for that not being the case. I don’t think false hope is helpful in a situation like this.

Case in point, Trump praised an antimalarial drug. Lots of hopeful people are apparently self-medicating with it, because there are reports of poisonings. There are horrible side effects from all of the antimalarial drugs which doctors think may prove to be effective against coronavirus; you do not want to take them without medical supervision.

So what did I do today? I made pancakes for breakfast. I went for a walk, and kept my distance from everyone I encountered. I chatted to family via FaceTime, and I played Animal Crossing.