It Takes a Village ..

I posted “It Takes A Village .. And An Army” some time ago.

This is different.

While originally attributed to Hillary Clinton, presented in the phrase’s eponymous text, the intent is clear: children grow into maturity at a sum that is (hopefully) greater than the input of their parents, their schools and their Communities.

Healthy Communities care for us all.  They consist of people who jump cars when batteries have died .. jump out of their cars to help push a stalled car into the shoulder .. who dial 9-1-1 when something is amiss in the neighborhood.

Our Communities have cared for us during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve contributed to food banks, maintained safe distances when we pass each other during walks or at the markets, and talked with each other to ease our isolation.

Now to the children:

  • Our Country needs to employ our people at a measure greater than allowed when parents are compelled to go beyond ‘normal’ parenting by remaining home full-time. Parents are performing daycare and education .. beyond just being parents. This takes time, and when schools are closed, this keeps parents at home. Parents do it, to ensure family safety and the safety of the Community, however with a significant economic impact to themselves and to our Country.
  • Parents need to go to work .. this is obvious, and we all understand it. Many parents do not have a WFH option, and even if they do, prolonged child care will cut into their productivity and effectiveness .. Again risking significant economic impact to themselves and our Country.
  • Children need to be in an environment other than the home for enough of their lives to benefit from peer / social integration, community awareness and third-party checkpoints as to their health and welfare.

So, given that schools appear to be opening prematurely and carelessly in several US markets (including Georgia, where I live), and as evidenced from Israel’s catastrophic school opening in May .. what are we thinking? These careless, half-starts that result (again) in distance learning should be a non-starter when measured against a more sensible approach.

So here’s one .. let’s Engage the Village.

  • Identify parents that can host safe (call it a ‘bubble’) environment of connected families.
  • Ensure the parents are compensated (not always cash) for their time with our children.
  • Release other parents, either full-time, or on a respected cadence, to work or to take their shifts within their ‘bubble’.

Oversimplified, I agree. A Bubble is only as good as those who remain in it .. and there is always a risk for those therein when others from outside pass into it (without a 14-day isolation effort). The Bubble has worked for the NBA and NHL so far (a kudos to the team members), but the lack of a bubble is decimating the MLB and making NFL and College Sports a non-starter this season.

The Bubble can work. Consider “See Hawaiian hotel turned into ‘bubble’ college campus“. This is a real-life project, where students would occupy rooms, studying via distance learning .. but be enabled with an environment that allows them to wander out to an on-site Hub, an on-site Library, the camaraderie of campus life .. in a protected beach setting.

Your mileage may vary .. but consider this. For the proper, motivated and cautious Communities .. There are aspects of this strategy that could return children to attended school, parents to work and help to fulfill those whose gifts are in caring for others.

Please think about it.

Be smart. Join or form your Community. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Whimsy: Time to Take an “Ocho” Break

When I started / restarted this forum (more than once since 2005), I reiterate that my content mix is approximately 1/3 each of original content, reposts / redirects, and whimsy.

It’s past time (again) for a little whimsy .. my last whimsical post was on April 20th (nigh on four months ago “What’s different?“, where I reference the oft-repeated discussion about pants in the in-COVID world (and other things).

Okay .. back to The Ocho. Many will remember the reference to “ESPN 8 .. The Ocho” in “Dodgeball. An Underdog’s Story”, a movie about, well, winning at Dodgeball to save a business.

Whimsy .. whimsy .. no references to current events.

Well, one reference: ESPN, recognizing the need for individual sports AND the opportunity to capitalize (in a good way .. thank you very much) on a terrific reference, launched “The Ocho” (for reals) on August 8th (8/8 .. get it?), featuring:

  • Cheese Rolling, Frog Jumping & Japanese Monster Wrestling.
  • World Deadlift Attempt: Hafthor Deadlift.
  • 2019 Grit ‘N Wit National College Championship.
  • Ohio Grocery Baggers Bowl 2020.
  • 2019 Stupid Robot Fighting League (who could go wrong with this?)
  • 2019 Jelle’s Marble Runs.
  • 2019 Death Diving World Championship.
  • Slippery Stairs.
  • Slippery Stairs: College Tour (do we still have in-person colleges?)
  • 2019 ITSF Foosball World Cup.
  • FOOSBALLERS.

I am somehow reminded of Beer Pong in Las Vegas (rescheduled due to the pandemic), which can be played at O’Sheas, once re-opened, post-pandemic. I’m confident they will make their way onto “The Ocho”.

Kudos ESPN.

For the rest of us: Be smart. Be an adult (even if you’re a kid, because you can spread it too). Even if you’re an adult kid. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Kids Say the Darnedest Things ..

.. even when they’re adults.

For background, Representative Louis Gohmert steadfastly refused to wear a mask whilst in the Capitol .. and then he tested positive for the virus. Famous for saying “If I get COVID, I’ll wear a mask, he was administered a pre-flight test (on Air Force One, no less) and was compelled to skip a trip to Texas with our famously germophobic President.

Then he blamed the mask for giving him COVID-19.

Ignorant. I take no pleasure in seeing Nature prove him wrong. It hurts my heart that he tested positive .. that he may have spread to others in The House and Senate.

For the record, there are 100 Senators and 435 Representatives, many of whom are over 65 .. 48 in The Senate and 147 in The House (updated to reflect the COVID pandemic). 65 and over comprise a higher-risk group for having serious complications from the disease.

His daughter spoke up today: “Rep. Louie Gohmert’s daughter rebukes him for not wearing a mask before coronavirus diagnosis“. Her quote:

“Wearing a mask is a non-partisan issue. The advice of medical experts shouldn’t be politicized. My father ignored medical expertise and now he has Covid”

She’s right. She made a more pointed follow-up quote that speaks to political attitudes about wearing masks in this country, but as I avoid politics herein, please read the entire article and make your own political decision .. but please, please, please make the proper, common-sense and medical decision.

Let’s close this off .. please step away from the politics and into wearing a mask. You’re not proving anything positive .. And risk making yourself and others COVID-positive.

Be smart. Be an adult (even if you’re a kid, because you can spread it too). Even if you’re an adult kid. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Thank You Georgia Mayors ..

.. Atlanta, Dunwoody, Athens, Savannah ..

.. all of whom have mandated wearing masks.

Thank you again which resulted in a misguided Georgia Governor response .. note that this only against the Atlanta Mayor (for now).

Go figure. The CDC says:

Stop.

This is exposing people who don’t need to be exposed .. killing the most vulnerable among us.

Buy a mask. Wear a mask.

Be smart. Be an adult (even if you’re a kid, because you can spread it too). Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

When you Mix Politics and Science ..

.. you get Politics. Referenced herein in the New York Times, but I think the original attribution goes to conservative writer George Will. Thank you, George Will.

So, we have politics.

With or without the politics, we have greater and greater positivity numbers. Please note that I didn’t say ‘test numbers’. Testing doesn’t cause the infection .. it detects it. Please, let’s stay close to the facts.

Oh .. The facts (as of this writing):

  • 3,739,726 US cases.
  • 140,294 US deaths.
  • 18.7% positivity rate in Florida (the present global epicenter). This is the percentage of positive test results .. the rate of which represents community spread (where one person can infect others).
  • 20% positivity rate in Austin, TX ..
  • 37% in Arizona .. and the list goes on to lesser degrees .. 5% is considered urgent.

Some notes for your reference:

I penned “I’m Confused ..” on June 14th, summarizing the cacophony and inconsistency on the messaging from myriad sources.

VP Mike Pence published (note I didn’t say ‘penned’) “There is no Second Wave” on June 16th .. just over a month ago.

Pence was wrong.

Well, wait. In a tragic way, he was right, but only in that we are still in the first wave and not the second. This is worse, because we’re in the season that is typically quiet for virus spread.  On June 28th, I posted “Here We Were Again ..“, where I described this as a tide, and not a wave .. according to the experts, we’ll see the wave when cold and flu season returns in the fall. Mr. Pence is not referring to that ‘wave’ .. Johns Hopkins confirms this and goes into much more detail in “First and Second Waves of Coronavirus“.

:: sigh ::

Testing is so backed up in some areas (Georgia included), that it takes over five days to get a result, positive or negative. This means that people who are tested should be quarantined until they get their results. I’m near-certain that people are not doing that, and are instead, celebrating their results when they come in .. but not knowing if they have the virus from the previous days’ activities.

Some facts:

  • We need more tests and faster test result turnaround.
  • We need those who have taken tests to isolate until they get their results.
  • We need everyone to wear a mask. I go deep on this in “Wear / Where’s Your Mask?” back in early May.
  • We need everyone to “Behave like you have it ..“.

Apologies. I’m going on and on and on here .. happens when I have the news on in the background.

Let’s close this off .. please step away from the politics and into wearing a mask.

Be smart. Be an adult (even if you’re a kid, because you can spread it too). Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

If You Care About ..

Seriously .. This is simple. I talked about this in “Wear / Where’s Your Mask?

If you care about:

  • Sending kids to school in September .. wear a mask.
  • Our economic recovery .. wear a mask.
  • Going to a restaurant or a bar .. wear a mask.
  • Going to the grocery store .. wear a mask.
  • Traveling anywhere .. wear a mask.
  • Keeping your parents healthy .. wear a mask.
  • Keeping your congregation healthy .. wear a mask.

I literally and intentionally sound like a broken record. It’s on purpose. Given all the numbers, wearing a mask is the least-expensive and most-effective tool in our arsenal.

We all get to shape our future. Please do your part.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Here We Were Again ..

I decided to turn my brain off for Saturday .. and then I looked at my pandemic notes from Friday.

Argh.

Two very interesting charts leaped out at me from the news Friday (updated today to include the 26th). The first shows that while we had made progress, we are trending higher at a frightening rate:

CV US New 20200626

.. note that US cases rose another 45,000 on Saturday .. I don’t have that graph yet, but you get my point.

The second is the EU Wave versus US Tide .. this snap from Sunday morning:

CV US v EU 20200626

Europe has managed to flatten its curve and reduce the spread. The US has not.

Despite the ‘second wave’ references you hear, I’ve maintained that we’re in a tide and not a wave, as I commented in “I’m Confused ..” from June 14th. Note that Europe (white line) has created a wave .. but our (green line) high-water mark has not yet appeared.

Some notes on the US tide:

  • I’ve been WFH since March 13th.
  • Georgia (my residence state) issued “Ordered and Commanded” on April 1st .. Note that Georgia closed later than most.
  • On April 9th we had 34,746 new cases in the country, while we were in full shutdown mode.
  • We peaked at 36,291 new cases in the third week of April.
  • States (including Georgia) started opening about the same time, while we were still seeing spikes. Note that Federal guidance was to reopen after seeing 14 days of three-day-average of consecutive decline.
  • We hit a ‘trough’ right around Memorial Day (end of May) .. and then we had the Memorial Day holiday

Most States have reopened too quickly and many too carelessly. The wrong business, the wrong rules, lack of messaging, lack of enforcement. We’ve surpassed the highest number of cases (back in April) with the rise of this tide, hitting a record-setting 40,173 new cases on Friday.

Let me reiterate: we had more new positive cases last Friday than we had at the peak during the shutdown (recall a two-week lag). Hospitalization admission counts will follow this number and are a great cause for concern. Please note that as of today (Sunday) we have:

As to public information, we don’t have:

  • Clear Federal guidelines .. about much of anything: masks, distancing, testing, counts.
  • Clear CDC guidelines, although there’s lots of information on the CDC site if you choose to dig for best practices.
  • Clear state-level guidelines.

On the plus side, the counties and city mayors are taking up some of the slack, even going as far to levy fines for non-mask wearers in public spaces. Without their engagement, we’d all be back t home.

For the record: I do think we can open safely, but requires work on all our parts .. Government, business and People.

Last note: increased testing is not why the numbers are going up. Yes, more tests mean adding more cases to the positive count. However, the positivity rate (the percent of positive tests in the testing count .. regardless of the number of tests administered) is the real number to watch. Last week it has been as low as .5% (New York) and as high as 27% (one county in Florida) last week. Desired is less than 5% positive, alarming is greater than 10% .. both should be followed by isolation.

Those who say the numbers are going up only because of increased test counts are misleading you. While the initial statement is accurate, they are not taking into consideration the positivity rate, which manifests itself in hospitalization rates .. which are increasing dramatically .. there is a two-week lag, meaning reality will strike within 30 days.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

“Get Past It”

Thank you, Dr Fauci, for this quote.

He’s right (of course). Wearing a mask:

  • Is not be a political issue.
  • Is not a demonstration of weakness.
  • Is not an intentional personal affront when you choose to wear one.

Wearing a mask is just smart. My mask protects you, yours protects me. I thank you for wearing yours.

Dr Fauci said it best (and with admirable brevity in the quote above), compared to my lengthy diatribes in “Wear / Where’s Your Mask?, “Respect the Mask“, “Thank you Trump Supporters” .. for those who showed up and wore masks in Tulsa and “Good Personal Responsibility ..“. In each of these, I hope we will all act like adults.

Listen to him and not to me: “I’m not a Doctor ..“. Dr Fauci is. He’s the brains of the outfit.

Skipping the mask, for whatever reason, is akin to smoking around those who don’t, of driving drunk, of having unprotected sex without advising your partner, or .. pick your analogy here.

Skipping the mask puts others in danger. If not those in your immediate orbit, those to whom go home, will meet later on or will encounter in public spaces.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Thank you Trump Supporters

I avoid politics in this forum. I am doing so today.

Thank you Trump Supporters .. I mean it. He’s your guy, and in America, we all enjoy the freedom to have ‘our guy’.

Thank you:

  • For those who didn’t travel to Tulsa for the rally this past Saturday. Not because you didn’t get to enjoy his speech .. I’m hoping you watched on TV. I appreciate your demonstrating common sense and caution about avoiding large indoor crowds.
  • To those who did travel to Tulsa, attended the rally, and chose to wear masks.
  • To those who live in Tulsa, attended the rally and chose to wear masks.
  • To those who were in the rally, and chose to stay outside.

To the supporters who traveled, arrived, entered the building and didn’t wear masks: thank you in advance for getting tested and taking appropriate actions should you test positive. Protect those you love.

We are still in the middle of this .. We need to demonstrate “Good Personal Responsibility ..” .. you’ll hear me ask “Wear / Where’s Your Mask ..” time and time again in this forum.

Again, I thank you. We all make America great.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

Good Personal Responsibility ..

.. please.

Cases are on an uptick in too many states .. Yes, these states are doing more testing, but the positivity rates (the percentage of positive results in the overall test group) are also going up at a frightening pace.

The data changes too quickly for me to list it all here, but a quick snapshot:

Look: many places in this country opened without solid plans and without adult supervision.

Be an adult: “Wear / Where’s Your Mask?“. Your mask protects me, my mask protects you. The combination of both reduces the transmission rate by nearly 17% .. the virus does transmit asymptomatically .. and through the air. Regardless of anything someone else tells you, this is a dangerous time to be breathing in close proximity to others.

Be smart. Be an adult. Do the right thing. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask when you cannot.

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