Coronavirus Graphs Update: Pray for the Big Apple

 

There has been a very significant increase in reported WuFlu cases out of New York City during the last few days. I’ve been monitoring the spread of this disease carefully for a bit over a week, and this new NYC data has been the greatest cause for concern that I have observed. I had to find a new data source to address this, from Johns Hopkins (technical note in the comments).

Pray for New York. Pray for Gov. Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio to lead the people of NYC with wisdom and resolve. Pray for President Trump, and other federal authorities, to provide them with the assistance that they may need.

NYC has 15,793 reported cases as of yesterday (March 22), up from 2,495 cases just 4 days earlier (March 18). NYC had zero reported cases prior to March 10. NYC now has almost half of the cases reported in the entire US:

The next graph shows total reported cases in the US and in NYC, since Feb. 23. This is not adjusted for population, but is the total count of reported cases. Remember that fewer than 9 million out of 330 million Americans live in NYC.

It is possible that this significant increase in reported cases in NYC is an artifact of the data, reflecting the rapid implementation of testing in a very short period. This caveat applies to all of the data that I’ve reported thus far, but perhaps the testing roll-out has been unusually recent and rapid in NYC. If true, this should become apparent in the next 4-7 days, as the rate of increase will decline. But I don’t think that we can count on that.

NYC now has the highest number of cases per capita of any major jurisdiction (and of any jurisdiction that I have seen). The number of reported cases in NYC, per million, is almost twice that of Italy. (It is possible that things are worse in the Lombardy region of Italy, and in specific Italian cities and towns, for which I do not have separate information.)

Here is the comparison of reported cases per million in NYC, Italy, and Spain, starting when each location passed 10 cases per million. I selected Italy because it has the most cases per million, and Spain because it has experienced the highest growth (among the major countries that I have been tracking).

Notice that the NYC trendline starts on Day 3, rather than Day 1. I offset the NYC trendline by two days because on Mar. 10, the first day in which it reported any cases at all, NYC was already at 20.6 cases per million. I have been starting the graphic trendline, for various countries, at 10 cases per million. Italy and all of the other countries I have analyzed were at around 20 cases per million on Day 3 (range 16.8 for the UK to 22.9 for Spain).

Of further concern, the growth curve in NYC is in the very early period, with average daily growth close to 45%. Here is the same data on cases per million, comparing NYC, Italy, and Spain in logarithmic scale. Remember that exponential growth looks like a straight line in a logarithmic graph. I have added trendlines for 45% and 20% daily exponential growth, for comparison.

This is a very important graph. You can see the trendline for Italy (blue) curving gradually down, toward the 20% daily growth line (Italy’s daily growth rate has actually under 20% for a fully 7 days). The trendline for Spain (light blue) is also trending down. But in NYC (orange), it is presently tracking the 45% daily increase line.

So NYC is in a period of exponential growth. We have seen this before, at the early stages for most countries, and the growth line has eventually bent down.

One thing to notice in the NYC trendline, in the logarithmic graph above (the last one), is the upward curve on Days 9-12. That represents daily growth well above 45%. The growth rate has declined a bit from this extraordinary level, curving down slightly on Days 13-15, but this remains a very high level.

I will continue to monitor and report on the situation.

God bless the people of the City of New York, the greatest city. Just the greatest, in the world, of all time, bar none. Fear no darkness.

Published in Healthcare
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  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Technical note: My new data source is from Johns Hopkins (here). My prior reports have been based on the Worldometer site.

    The Johns Hopkins data is not user-friendly for the casual visitor, but has much more detailed information. To access the information, click on time_series_19-covid-Confirmed.csv. I wasn’t able to download this as a file, but I was able to cut-and-paste the entire data set into Excel.

    It reports by jurisdiction, and the categories are idiosyncratic. Most of the data is for entire countries. China is reported by region, Canada and Australia by province/state. The US is reported by multiple sub-jurisdictions, sometimes by state, sometimes by city, sometimes by county.

    The bad news is that there is no single line for the total US figure. The good news is that there is information by state and, most importantly at present, separate information for New York City.

    • #1
  2. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Jerry, this is a link to another site using the Hopkins data and putting it into more useable form which may be of help to you. http://covid19stats.global/

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry, thanks as always for the thoughtful, detailed reporting.

    A couple of things.

    First,

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: Remember that fewer than 9 million out of 330 million Americans live in NYC.

    The population of the NYC metropolitan region — that is, of what most of us who don’t actually live near NYC would consider to be NYC — is about 20 million people.

    Secondly, NYC is such a dramatic outlier (by virtue, I suspect, of its population density, but that remains to be seen) that it skews national reporting. As dire as the situation is for many NYC residents, that suggests something slightly reassuring about the state of the nation and the world: it’s easier to manage a localized catastrophe than a distributed one.

    Thirdly, without knowing the progression and status of stay-at-home and distancing efforts in NYC, and without details about changes to testing frequency and methodology and what informs the case counts, it’s impossible to say what’s really happening today, in terms of contagion. The graph is likely the condition as of roughly a week ago. But I know we all know that.

    I’m going to wait until the end of the week before I start putting a lot of stock in any kinds of projections.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry, thanks as always for the thoughtful, detailed reporting.

    A couple of things.

    First,

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: Remember that fewer than 9 million out of 330 million Americans live in NYC.

    The population of the NYC metropolitan region — that is, of what most of us who don’t actually live near NYC would consider to be NYC — is about 20 million people.

    Secondly, NYC is such a dramatic outlier (by virtue, I suspect, of its population density, but that remains to be seen) that it skews national reporting. As dire as the situation is for many NYC residents, that suggests something slightly reassuring about the state of the nation and the world: it’s easier to manage a localized catastrophe than a distributed one.

    Thirdly, without knowing the progression and status of stay-at-home and distancing efforts in NYC, and without details about changes to testing frequency and methodology and what informs the case counts, it’s impossible to say what’s really happening today, in terms of contagion. The graph is likely the condition as of roughly a week ago. But I know we all know that.

    I’m going to wait until the end of the week before I start putting a lot of stock in any kinds of projections.

    Henry, you’re right about the population figure. The Johns Hopkins data is specific to the City of NY, so I used the population for the city proper.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Those are scary numbers. 

    It’s time to look at sustainable population densities. We have some sense of safe numbers for inside buildings because of fires. We need to look at public safety issues for cities too. Human beings do better when they are spread out. 

    And we need to do a better job of evaluating the need for doctors and hospitals, schools, police, infrastructure and evacuation routes, waste removal, and water supply populated areas. We need to compute a healthy ratio of services per person. 

    I have driven across the country from east to west and north to south so I know we have an enormous amount of buildable land in this country. There’s no excuse or reason to cram people into big unsustainable cities anymore. 

     

     

    • #5
  6. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry, thanks as always for the thoughtful, detailed reporting.

    A couple of things.

    First,

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: Remember that fewer than 9 million out of 330 million Americans live in NYC.

    The population of the NYC metropolitan region — that is, of what most of us who don’t actually live near NYC would consider to be NYC — is about 20 million people.

    Secondly, NYC is such a dramatic outlier (by virtue, I suspect, of its population density, but that remains to be seen) that it skews national reporting. As dire as the situation is for many NYC residents, that suggests something slightly reassuring about the state of the nation and the world: it’s easier to manage a localized catastrophe than a distributed one.

    Thirdly, without knowing the progression and status of stay-at-home and distancing efforts in NYC, and without details about changes to testing frequency and methodology and what informs the case counts, it’s impossible to say what’s really happening today, in terms of contagion. The graph is likely the condition as of roughly a week ago. But I know we all know that.

    I’m going to wait until the end of the week before I start putting a lot of stock in any kinds of projections.

    Henry, you’re right about the population figure. The Johns Hopkins data is specific to the City of NY, so I used the population for the city proper.

    Thank you @jerrygiordano for the work – the research, analysis and writing – and for the reminder to pray for NY’s leaders. NO MATTER HIW HARD IT IS too pray for the NYC Mayor. Their people depend in them, no matter how useless they seem. The other attribute of that very urban environment which may be really hard to incorporate is the commuter effect identified elsewhere, with a really cool map. Where does analysis count the people going back and forth with their infection or immunity as the case may be? Or whether they are tested and throw into the analysis soup? Without answering any of the pertinent questions I’ll thank you for the cogent analysis and clear writing.

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Because of the wide disparity in testing and reporting among the various country/regions/states, and for my own purposes, I base any comparisons I make on the reported deaths of each area. It is very much a lagging indicator, I know.

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Those are scary numbers.

    It’s time to look at sustainable population densities. We have some sense of safe numbers for inside buildings because of fires. We need to look at public safety issues for cities too. Human beings do better when they are spread out.

    And we need to do a better job of evaluating the need for doctors and hospitals, schools, police, infrastructure and evacuation routes, waste removal, and water supply populated areas. We need to compute a healthy ratio of services per person.

    I have driven across the country from east to west and north to south so I know we have an enormous amount of buildable land in this country. There’s no excuse or reason to cram people into big unsustainable cities anymore.

    You realize, of course, that this is 180 degrees from the environmentalist “urban sprawl” line. The reason for the deer eating your shrubbery, falcons nesting on skyscrapers, bears in your garbage cans, etc.

    • #8
  9. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    Cities with less reliance on mass transit can still have outbreaks, but spreading it as fast as in NY probably wouldn’t be as easy.

    • #9
  10. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    Cities with less reliance on mass transit can still have outbreaks, but spreading it as fast as in NY probably wouldn’t be as easy.

    You do recall the images from China and other Asian countries with fully hazmat-suited crews going through spraying mass transit cars… May not be a terrible idea in New York, unless they’ve shut down the subways altogether.

    • #10
  11. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: It is possible that this significant increase in reported cases in NYC is an artifact of the data, reflecting rapid implementation of testing in a very short period

    Exactly. NY ran 35K tests over the weekend.

    • #11
  12. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Oh Lord. If Jerry thinks NYC is in trouble….

     

     

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Oh Lord. If Jerry thinks NYC is in trouble….

    I don’t think that they’re in trouble yet. It is a troubling report, and warrants both close monitoring and prayer.

    If I had to bet, I’d bet that NYC is between 10 and 100 times more capable of responding to a problem like this than Italy. New Yorkers in particular, and Americans in general, tend to be far more competent than just about anyone else. The Germans and Japanese and South Koreans are pretty awesome, too, but we tend to be the very best.

    • #13
  14. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Those are scary numbers.

    It’s time to look at sustainable population densities. We have some sense of safe numbers for inside buildings because of fires. We need to look at public safety issues for cities too. Human beings do better when they are spread out.

    And we need to do a better job of evaluating the need for doctors and hospitals, schools, police, infrastructure and evacuation routes, waste removal, and water supply populated areas. We need to compute a healthy ratio of services per person.

    I have driven across the country from east to west and north to south so I know we have an enormous amount of buildable land in this country. There’s no excuse or reason to cram people into big unsustainable cities anymore.

    I don’t worry about sustainability, and I don’t think that we need to empty our great cities.

    I’m a small-city guy myself, and I don’t want to live in NYC. But I do love NY, and I don’t want it to change. I actually like to celebrate diversity, in a good way. I like living in a country where I can visit Manhattan, or visit a county the size of Massachusetts with just 3,000 people and not a single stop-light in the whole county (Catron County, NM is the one that I know). And everything in-between.

    • #14
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Because of the wide disparity in testing and reporting among the various country/regions/states, and for my own purposes, I base any comparisons I make on the reported deaths of each area. It is very much a lagging indicator, I know.

    I expect to have an analysis of the death figures done soon, perhaps today.

    • #15
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    The problem is, if NYC does go critical, with the concentration of media there, it’ll be amplified across the country, even though NYC has a relatively unique set 0f circumstances.

    • #16
  17. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The problem is, if NYC does go critical, with the concentration of media there, it’ll be amplified across the country, even though NYC has a relatively unique set 0f circumstances.

    I think it won’t much matter where the problem is, in terms of media exposure. Sensationalism sells, crisis sells, and of course anything that makes the current administration look bad sells. It could be anywhere.

    • #17
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Oh Lord. If Jerry thinks NYC is in trouble….

     

     

    My thoughts exactly. 

    • #18
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The problem is, if NYC does go critical, with the concentration of media there, it’ll be amplified across the country, even though NYC has a relatively unique set 0f circumstances.

    I think it won’t much matter where the problem is, in terms of media exposure. Sensationalism sells, crisis sells, and of course anything that makes the current administration look bad sells. It could be anywhere.

    Plus millions of people all over the world have some sort of connection to NYC. It doesn’t have to be sensationalized to be a matter of worldwide genuine concern. And prayers. 

    • #19
  20. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    To keep things in perspective, a graph of percentage of deaths due to COVID-19 would show

    China: 0%

    US: 0%

    Italy: 4% (known to be partly due to methodological errors.)

     

    • #20
  21. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    Cities with less reliance on mass transit can still have outbreaks, but spreading it as fast as in NY probably wouldn’t be as easy.

    You do recall the images from China and other Asian countries with fully hazmat-suited crews going through spraying mass transit cars… May not be a terrible idea in New York, unless they’ve shut down the subways altogether.

    The last report I saw, which is now admittedly 10 days old, indicated the MTA was wiping down the trains every 72 hours, which with the reported 2 1/2 day lifespan COVID-19 supposedly can survive on the stainless steel poles and grab-bars, is about a third less than they need to be doing it. But at the moment, I don’t think they have the money to do 24-hour disinfection cycles, even with weekday service paired back to weekend levels.

    • #21
  22. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The problem is, if NYC does go critical, with the concentration of media there, it’ll be amplified across the country, even though NYC has a relatively unique set 0f circumstances.

    The byproduct of this at the moment though is a lot of media people in NYC (less so in D.C.) seem to be legitimately worried about their and their families’ own personal well-being, and as a result, the sensationalism gets mixed in with an actual concern that the problem get solved ASAP.

    That was why The New York Times was in full freak-out mode Sunday over the Democrats in the Senate blocking the COVID-19 funding package. Whoever was on the desk at the moment wanted progress more than they wanted to help the Democrats play politics, and as a result, we get the most against-the-grain headline out of the Times since “Trump Urges Unity” following the El Paso shootings. The Times’ editorial board this afternoon tried to right the ship by blaming McConnell, no doubt after getting an earful from Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and possibly some people in their own newsroom and op-ed staffs, but the damage was done because other news outlets followed their lead and blamed Schumer and Pelosi for the bill’s failure. They’re in catch-up mode now, but even that’s half-hearted, because their real desire not to die from coronavirus outweighs their desire to go all-out help the Dems politicize the issue for the November elections.

    • #22
  23. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Oh Lord. If Jerry thinks NYC is in trouble….

    Yeah, they’re in trouble. We’re all in trouble. We’re going to have to drink the whiskey and bite the leather while the doc fishes around for the bullet. New York was always going to be a problem. My daughter came back from NYC before coming home, and I gritted my teeth and Xd off calendar days in my mind. Ten days later, I’m unclenching.

    They’re going to get slammed, and because the media regards NYC / DC as the center of the universe, the images will convey the idea that everything’s gone to hell, that this is a preview of our national fate. 

    • #23
  24. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Oh Lord. If Jerry thinks NYC is in trouble….

    Yeah, they’re in trouble. We’re all in trouble. We’re going to have to drink the whiskey and bite the leather while the doc fishes around for the bullet. New York was always going to be a problem. My daughter came back from NYC before coming home, and I gritted my teeth and Xd off calendar days in my mind. Ten days later, I’m unclenching.

    They’re going to get slammed, and because the media regards NYC / DC as the center of the universe, the images will convey the idea that everything’s gone to hell, that this is a preview of our national fate.

    Fortunately, for a significant portion of the country New York City is perceived, correctly, as anomalous. I think it will be a hard sell to portray it as representative of America if the numbers continue to belie that.

    • #24
  25. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    I use NYC transit every day (or did until a couple of weeks ago). I have no idea where it stands now, but when concern about the virus started flaring up the MTA announced that they were stepping up their cleaning protocols … to every three days.

    • #25
  26. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    The last report I saw, which is now admittedly 10 days old, indicated the MTA was wiping down the trains every 72 hours, which with the reported 2 1/2 day lifespan COVID-19 supposedly can survive on the stainless steel poles and grab-bars, is about a third less than they need to be doing it. But at the moment, I don’t think they have the money to do 24-hour disinfection cycles, even with weekday service paired back to weekend levels.

    They could wipe them down every day and the first infected person to come along will contaminate it again. As the population of mildly infected rises it will be impossible not to get contaminated. It will all come down to personal hygiene. 

    In flu epidemics there’s always a proportion of the population that doesn’t get infected. I wonder if anyone has studied them to find out how they managed that.

     

    • #26
  27. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The problem is, if NYC does go critical, with the concentration of media there, it’ll be amplified across the country, even though NYC has a relatively unique set 0f circumstances.

    I’m sure you are 100% right. Any day now the new mantra will be “We are all gonna be like New York City soon.” The old mantra was “We are all gonna be like Italy soon.”

    • #27
  28. Joshua Bissey Coolidge
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around….

    Cities with less reliance on mass transit can still have outbreaks, but spreading it as fast as in NY probably wouldn’t be as easy.

    That’s what I was thinking. I’m not likely to catch an infection driving to work in my car alone, the way I could easily catch one in a subway, or taxi, or just walking down a sidewalk.

    • #28
  29. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    Cities with less reliance on mass transit can still have outbreaks, but spreading it as fast as in NY probably wouldn’t be as easy.

    If it’s any comparison, Washington D.C. has a pretty substantial subway system with the same kinds of metal bars and plastic seats, but they have reported only 137 infections with two deaths so far. Don’t know why they would so drastically different in their infection numbers.

    • #29
  30. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This has been pointed out before, but New York City’s probably the No. 1 place where safe distancing and quarantines make sense not simply due to the population density, but the way people get around. They haven’t had cloth or wicker seats and porcelain grab-handles on buses and subways for about 60 years. All the poles are stainless steel and all the seats are plastic, and the new studies showed COVID-19 survived better outside the body on those two surfaces than on about anything else, so if you’re holing onto a pole on the train, someone two days ago who rode it with coronavirus may be infecting you, unless the MTA is seriously sterilizing all their rail cars and buses every night.

    I use NYC transit every day (or did until a couple of weeks ago). I have no idea where it stands now, but when concern about the virus started flaring up the MTA announced that they were stepping up their cleaning protocols … to every three days.

    I suppose they can roll out their 1930s-era subway cars that normally only run nowadays during the holiday shopping season — no plastic, no stainless steel. Wouldn’t stop a COVID-19 person from riding the train, but the virus wouldn’t find as many surfaces to survive on for 60 or more hours….

    • #30