Day 57: COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place”

 

163 countries and territories now reporting cases of COVID-19. The county were I live (Contra Costa) has imposed a 3-week (for now) “shelter-in-place” order for all but essential persons. The order as best I can determine is identical to that being used in surrounding counties, and possibly the whole state (California). We are technically not quarantined, but it is a”kissing cousin” to one.

But prying my mind from the local situation and looking at the chart above, Italy is expected to go above 31,000 cases when their numbers come in. South Korea is slipping down the list (the good direction) and certainly will have fewer total cases than the major European countries by the weekend. Notwithstanding the “firebreak” measures being imposed in the US our numbers will continue to climb for a time under the best case scenario. The 3-week time period was selected to suppress asymptomatic infections. The hope is that during the third week the numbers will flatten out and active cases will start to decline. Will that happen? We can only hope. We know the decline will eventually come as the virus is denied fuel or mutates in ways that makes it less virulent.

In the meantime we are dealing with a new reality. Our economy is not completely trashed, but have we blown out the pilot light? I don’t think so. If we were operating under a command economy I wouldn’t give us much hope. But our economy rests on billions of independent decisions. We will not be out of the habit of making those decisions. Even now you see people figuring out how to profit from the shelter in place orders by appealing to consumers, not government officials. Yes, some number of these are likely scams — the vermin seem to be nuke proof — but a lot are not. They reflect human ingenuity that fuels healthy economies when central control is limited to enforcement of contracts and punishing the most egregious actors.

Psychologically, this is our On the Beach moment. This is apocalypse porn. It is a bit disorienting. We have an invisible enemy that we are all asked to fight with simple weapons that, we are told, if applied with discipline will assure victory. But we know there will be casualties. And we have front line soldiers in our health care system and those caring for the vulnerable. Behind them, hopefully, are the men and women now producing and distributing equipment necessary for them to do their jobs and as safely as possible.

But the toll for this pandemic is not solely those who sicken and die. It is the many whose work is sidelined and possibly wiped out by this economic “pause” of the “nonessential”. Restaurants in our region are take-out only, so wait staff and bus persons are unneeded for a time. The hair dresser and the nail person have been sidelined as they are not operating some remotely-controlled robotic hand to do their job. My dentist’s office is closed. If your work is not virtual or “essential”, it is suspended.

We are a bit panicked at the moment. Yesterday the parking lot at the local supermarket was full — a rarity for a Monday morning. The shelves were emptying out. I think we’ll get over it. The shelves will be restocked by essential workers manufacturing, packaging, and distributing our toilet paper and other grocery supplies. I don’t know how long it will take to work through the supply shock. I hope it isn’t too long. If its domestically sourced it should be a matter of days. If its China sourced? Who knows.

Meanwhile, thanks to the order I have to come up with some creative arguments against my “honey-do” list.

[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Where is China on the chart?

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Where is China on the chart?

    It scrolled under the headings. Will do another screen grab too correct. Thanks. [Corrected]

    • #2
  3. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Just a note – Social Distancing is not the same as shelter-in-place.  Social distancing is avoiding people, while shelter-in-place is stay indoors. You could spend the entire day outside in the sunshine doing yard work, bicycling on a trail, working on / washing your car, etc while still avoiding people.    If you are not under a specific shelter-in-place order, you are not locked inside.

    • #3
  4. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    There will be a decades long debate about the counter-factual and Monday morning quarterbacking of officials. 

    • #4
  5. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Just a note – Social Distancing is not the same as shelter-in-place. Social distancing is avoiding people, while shelter-in-place is stay indoors. You could spend the entire day outside in the sunshine doing yard work, bicycling on a trail, working on / washing your car, etc while still avoiding people. If you are not under a specific shelter-in-place order, you are not locked inside.

    @omegapaladin, the shelter-in-place order here in the Bay Area does permit outdoor exercise with social distancing. Ironically if people who live in the same house and sleep in the same bed go outside, they are then expected to be 6 feet apart. (As a practical matter for those enforcing the order it is easier to warn people who are “too close” when in public than to inquire whether they share a house/bed before issuing the warning.)

    • #6
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    @phcheese, they won’t be once the Italian numbers come in for the day.  But Switzerland shares a border with the region in Italy that was hardest hit. (For reasons behind that read WHY ITALY AND IRAN? at Powerline blog.) There had to be a lot of interactions between Switzerland and northern Italy in the contagious asymptomatic period.

    • #7
  8. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Rodin: esterday the parking lot at the local supermarket was full — a rarity for a Monday morning. The shelves were emptying out.

    Hey, when they’re lining up for food, that’s a good thing!

    • #8
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Rodin (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    @phcheese, they won’t be once the Italian numbers come in for the day. But Switzerland shares a border with the region in Italy that was hardest hit. (For reasons behind that read WHY ITALY AND IRAN? at Powerline blog.) There had to be a lot of interactions between Switzerland and northern Italy in the contagious asymptomatic period.

    That is quite a story. It certainly explains the ribbon of infection we see in the contagion maps.

    • #9
  10. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Here are the top 23 countries sorted by Case/Million. Includes Italy’s current daily report:

     

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Rodin (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    @phcheese, they won’t be once the Italian numbers come in for the day. But Switzerland shares a border with the region in Italy that was hardest hit. (For reasons behind that read WHY ITALY AND IRAN? at Powerline blog.) There had to be a lot of interactions between Switzerland and northern Italy in the contagious asymptomatic period.

    I find this story rather reassuring in a funny way. It makes the contagion spread seem rational and controllable. Clearly there is a concentration-of-infections aspect to this pandemic. Ships and cities that had a high number of initial patients have fared the worst. As the weather changes and China comes out of it, so will the other cities along the OBOR path.

    Geography is destiny. :-) The Chinese from Wuhan settled in the Lombardy, Italy, region because the weather felt right to them. People migrate to places where they can enjoy weather similar to the place they moved from. I’m talking about mass movements here, not individuals who I know love moving from Boston to the Sahara Desert. :-) We have a very high population of Irish people on Cape Cod, and interestingly, Ireland and Cape Cod have similar weather. :-)

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    @phcheese, they won’t be once the Italian numbers come in for the day. But Switzerland shares a border with the region in Italy that was hardest hit. (For reasons behind that read WHY ITALY AND IRAN? at Powerline blog.) There had to be a lot of interactions between Switzerland and northern Italy in the contagious asymptomatic period.

    I find this story rather reassuring in a funny way. It makes the contagion spread seem rational and controllable. Clearly there is a concentration-of-infections aspect to this pandemic. Ships and cities that had a high number of initial patients have fared the worst. As the weather changes and China comes out of it, so will the other cities along the OBOR path.

    Geography is destiny. :-) The Chinese from Wuhan settled in the Lombardy, Italy, region because the weather felt right to them. People migrate to places where they can enjoy weather similar to the place they moved from. I’m talking about mass movements here, not individuals who I know love moving from Boston to the Sahara Desert. :-) We have a very high population of Irish people on Cape Cod, and interestingly, Ireland and Cape Cod have similar weather. :-)

    And Cod.

     

     

    • #12
  13. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Here are the top 23 countries sorted by Case/Million. Includes Italy’s current daily report:

     

    You were so right about the Italian numbers.

    • #13
  14. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    @phcheese, they won’t be once the Italian numbers come in for the day. But Switzerland shares a border with the region in Italy that was hardest hit. (For reasons behind that read WHY ITALY AND IRAN? at Powerline blog.) There had to be a lot of interactions between Switzerland and northern Italy in the contagious asymptomatic period.

    That is quite a story. It certainly explains the ribbon of infection we see in the contagion maps.

    The question now becomes: do all great plagues in Europe start with Italian merchants returning from the East? Can we stop this by turning Italy into an agrarian economy by force?

    • #14
  15. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Please start citing statistics for each state.  We can’t all live in West Virginia. 

    • #15
  16. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Please start citing statistics for each state. We can’t all live in West Virginia.

    Would be helpful. Are they available.

    • #16
  17. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Please start citing statistics for each state. We can’t all live in West Virginia.

    Not unless we lose our teeth and marry our cousin.

     

    • #17
  18. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Nobody seems to be talking much about it, but I find the numbers from 2009 to be reassuring by comparison.  These are the numbers I have seen reported.  I cannot vouch for their accuracy:

    In 2009, there were up to 1.4 billion worldwide cases of the Swine Flu in the one year it was a global pandemic.  There were up to 575,000 deaths worldwide associated with disease over the course of the entire pandemic.  In the United States, there were 61 million cases of confirmed swine flu, resulting in 12,469 American deaths.

    I don’t know of any rational explanation for why the reaction to the 2009 Swine Flu was so much less panicked than what we are seeing now.  I can think of a lot of irrational ones, starting with the Party of the President in 2009.

    • #18
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Please start citing statistics for each state. We can’t all live in West Virginia.

    @garyrobbins, I haven’t found a single source (yet) that shows the state cases in up to date tabular form. CDC has a map showing a range for each color shading on the map and a table if you click on “States+”, but not the most up to date count. The table below I extracted from a larger spreadsheet on the Johns Hopkins website.

    • #19
  20. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane
    @TheOtherDiane

    Not that it will be of help in Arizona, @garyrobbins, but Florida has just released a new county-by-county interactive map that they say they’ll update twice daily.  Maybe other states will imitate its format.  There’s also a nationwide interactive map that is updated regularly that may give you a clearer snapshot of your area. (Sorry for the repetition  if this info has already been shared here!)

    • #20
  21. Jason Obermeyer Member
    Jason Obermeyer
    @JasonObermeyer

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    Not that it will be of help in Arizona, @garyrobbins, but Florida has just released a new county-by-county interactive map that they say they’ll update twice daily. Maybe other states will imitate its format. There’s also a nationwide interactive map that is updated regularly that may give you a clearer snapshot of your area. (Sorry for the repetition if this info has already been shared here!)

    That interactive map is helpful, but it currently has Alberta, Canada just off the west coast of Ireland. I looked at the map and thought, even the mythical island of Hy-Brasil has cases; this is serious. 

    • #21
  22. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane
    @TheOtherDiane

    Jason Obermeyer (View Comment):

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    Not that it will be of help in Arizona, @garyrobbins, but Florida has just released a new county-by-county interactive map that they say they’ll update twice daily. Maybe other states will imitate its format. There’s also a nationwide interactive map that is updated regularly that may give you a clearer snapshot of your area. (Sorry for the repetition if this info has already been shared here!)

    That interactive map is helpful, but it currently has Alberta, Canada just off the west coast of Ireland. I looked at the map and thought, even the mythical island of Hy-Brasil has cases; this is serious.

    My daughter is studying tectonic plate movements this semester in her geology class at college (or will be when classes resume online) so maybe that plate has slid over just a wee bit with all those small earthquakes that happened in the US this week?!  8-D  Can’t believe I hadn’t actually zoomed out on that map to see it was worldwide, lol!  I have no idea if it’s at all accurate in other ways either….I’d just bookmarked it after seeing it on the Asheville Citizen-Times Facebook page.  Rodin I am not.  

    • #22
  23. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Los Angeles county update:

    144 cases

    1 death

     

    • #23
  24. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Please start citing statistics for each state. We can’t all live in West Virginia.

    West Virginia is now in the club: West Virginia has first confirmed case of the coronavirus

    • #24
  25. Darin Johnson Member
    Darin Johnson
    @user_648569

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Why is Switzerland so high in cases Per capita? It looks like they are the highest now.

    What they said.  Plus, Switzerland is small, and its border is arbitrary with respect to the virus.  The per-capita rate at Life Care Center nursing home is very high.  Same with Diamond Princess.  If you have the virus, the infection rate inside your sweatshirt is 100 percent!

    • #25
  26. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Here’s a link to the document which is being touted as having helped change  the Presidents mind on how serious this infection is and the need for drastic action.

    Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID- 19 mortality and healthcare demand

    Imperial College

    • #26