I will repeat the sentiment from my last post that you can't believe the news from media and government regarding the flattening of the curve because we are not testing enough to understand the real numbers. There is good journalism about the lack of testing, I just don't see a lot of good challenges to the "we are at the top of the curve" messages that are being put out by the White House. Today we see the largest number of incoming positive cases in the US with 40,000 new cases at the time of this blog post (7:30 PM PT 4/21/2020). The number of new cases globally is the highest in four days and well above the average for the last fourteen days. I don't believe the University of Washington model that predicts 65,976 that the federal government keeps citing. At this rate, it would take only ten days to blow past that number.
To be fair, I don't understand the models being used. I am just looking at and tracking daily incoming rates, death rates, and testing rates over the last thirty days and it doesn't appear that we actually are decreasing or flattening at all. It just seems like more and more suffering is happening to people due to financial, mental health, and physical health concerns. There is little compassion from our leaders and lots of compassion with each other. It's weird to go out in LA and see hardly any cars, people walking their dogs with face-masks on, neighbors crossing the street when they encounter you. These are strange times and getting stranger.
I have been reading more about the economic changes due to coronavirus and am getting more concerned every day. I read This is how an Economy Dies this morning. Large corporations have cash on hand to survive this recession, even depression. They have cash to gobble up smaller, struggling organizations. Small businesses have on hand roughly a month's worth of savings. The stimulus package may offer them a bridge, but how soon are people really going to go back to shopping at brick-and-mortar stores? This statement sums it up pretty well "In the end, what will be left in the wreckages of such an economy is just a handful of mega corporations controlling most of the economy". I believe this will be an opportunity for mega corporations to consolidate market share, increase profits, and buy mid-sized businesses at bargain-basement prices. This could accelerate us into autocracy by corporations. I hope this is not true:
"When societies go through shocks which are allowed, through negligence and folly and failure, to leave entire classes of people suddenly, permanently poorer — then democracy tends to die, too. Think of the Weimar Republic. Think of Soviet Russia becoming Putinist Russia. Think of…modern day America. Trumpism was a direct, predictable consequence of the implosion of the American middle class. Coronavirus is likely to accelerate America’s implosion into autocracy."
I am not buying all the positivity about us "hitting the top of the curve" indicating that we are turning a corner on this pandemic in the United States. I also don't believe it is a good idea to talk about this as a positive sign that we could open for business again. The reason I don't believe that is because of the lack of information and the amount of misinformation:
1. We have only tested .69% of the population for Coronavirus. Even really sick people with all the symptoms are not able to be tested because of our inadequate response in testing scale.
2. Global and US positive rates have gone up daily for the last three days. There is just too little data to describe this as the "top of the curve". Not sure where this finding is coming from as it doesn't reflect the actual counts from open COVID-19 research data.
3. There is new evidence that we are significantly under-counting the number of deaths and new cases.
There are beautiful acts of kindness and compassion happening - with the dying, with essential workers, with families. There are increasing rates of domestic violence. There is huge economic uncertainty. There is indifference and ego within US leadership, limiting our ability to respond. There is disfunction within our supply chains, potentially forcing de-centralization of PPE, energy and food production. It doesn't seem right that we can predict that we are "turning the corner".
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.