Plague journal 7

Today rothko went to the supermarket so we could restock a few items. She went alone, the idea being that two of us in the supermarket have a bigger chance of getting infected than one of us. She also went in the morning, to try and avoid as many people as possible, and wore disposable gloves. When she got back we wiped everything down with bleach wipes before putting it away.

Plague journal 6

After telling the public that everything was fine, Richard Burr quietly dumped a ton of his stock. Recordings now prove that he knew weeks ago that the epidemic was going to be serious and just opted not to tell the rest of us. The CDC is now saying that contrary to earlier belief, younger people are being hit badly by COVID-19 too, with 20% of US hospitalizations being 20–44 years old.

Plague journal 5

It’s amazing how quickly one can become used to something. On Monday and Tuesday I had a hard time doing anything, but today I got on with work pretty much normally. Yes, we’re in the middle of a massive crisis, and tens of thousands of people are going to die, maybe even over a million… but on the other hand, my daily life isn’t much different to the way it was before.

Plague journal 4

My gym has closed until at least April 1st. I had already decided not to risk it anyway. I’m a swimmer, and it’s not totally clear whether SARS-CoV-2 is destroyed by swimming pool bromine treatments or not. Instead, I’m getting some exercise by going out and walking. My parents have decided to self-isolate. Dad has Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so he’s at high risk. It means they don’t get to see the grandkids, but it’s the right thing to do.

Plague journal 3

Germany is banning gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues. Wynn and MGM have closed their Vegas casinos. Here in Austin, the city has shut down swimming pools, golf courses, and libraries. All Alamo Drafthouse movie theaters are closed. San Francisco is expected to issue a “shelter in place” order any time now. Not everyone got the memo, though. Disneyland (California) was closed down at the end of last week, but Disney World (Florida) stayed open for large crowds on Sunday night.

Plague journal 2

There’s a common logical pattern you’ll see in bureaucratic decision making: We must do something This is something Therefore we must do this Late last week it became clear to the Trump administration that denials weren’t effective against SARS-CoV-2, and they suddenly felt the need to be seen to be doing something. So Trump announced that starting on Monday night, remaining flights from Europe to the US would be blocked.

Plague journal

It turns out that malignant narcissists tend not to make good policy decisions. In late January, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar went to Trump with the news that a new coronavirus was spreading, and that it was serious. Trump didn’t want a program of testing for the virus, though; he thought that increased infection numbers might harm his chance of re-election. Researchers in Seattle were ordered not to test people.

Music for an apocalypse

One of the side effects of the pandemic is that musicians who make their money from touring and commissions — which is most of them, in these days of streaming and easy piracy — are suddenly without any income: Like many others all my work has been cancelled. I’ve had zero income for the past month and absolutely nothing for the foreseeable future, so even the smallest purchase helps out.

Michael Bloomberg

With Bloomberg saturating social media and TV with ads, I’m starting to see some positive comments about him from well-meaning people who apparently don’t know much about the guy. So, let me explain why he is not, in fact, the moderate Democratic Presidential candidate you want running. You think Bernie’s too old? Bloomberg’s the same age. He didn’t become a Democrat until October 2018. He was a proud Republican when he ran for mayor of NYC, and a backer of George W Bush.

Presidential choices

The US Presidential race is basically a big popularity contest. People generally pick a candidate based on personality and how much they like the person, rather than on policy issues. The best way to predict who will win an election is to ask “Which of these people would I rather have a beer with?” Recently I’ve been trying to work out why it’s this way. I’m not asking why people make emotional decisions; I learned in my 20s that when it came to interpersonal relationships and evaluating people, my intuitive emotional responses were much more accurate than my intellectual analysis.