May 28, 2020

by eric

Whether due to lockdown fatigue, or skepticism, or confusion, or misinformation, or a sense that the threat has ebbed, more people in the area seem to be trying out social gatherings.  Mostly with some nod to social distancing, but the threat feels more distant and solidarity more tenuous.  Even in California and Washington, lockdowns are being eased.

Maybe there’s some truth to that?  Better scientific studies are starting to emerge, with news both good and bad.  In particular there is an idea circulating that a few “super-spreader” events are driving most of the transmission.  Japan’s strategy to focus containment efforts on preventing superspreading (in combination with mask wearing and other norms) seems to be workingunlike Sweden’s lockdown-free approach.  Perhaps Seattle’s COVID spread began later than initially believed for that reason.

Still, mask wearing and  curtailment of some activities will certainly necessary to prevent a death toll that has already topped 100,000 Americans.  (Remember when the IHME model’s revision of predicted deaths down to 65,000 was taken as “proof” that models were useless?)  But cries for “freedom” and “the constitution” seem to be growing louder–an argument with a long history.

Even as states reopen, the economic effects continue to linger.  Identity thieves have filed tremendous numbers of fraudulent unemployment claims, particularly in Washington State–even my department chair was victimized.

New topics are starting to elbow their way to the forefront of the news, with protests over the killing of George Floyd and others spreading nationwide.