I got a call from my friend at DPH this afternoon and when he asked how I was doing I said, “I have a feeling my answer will change to lousy in a minute since you are calling me in the middle of the day.” He laughed and admitted that he was calling to give me a heads up that some bad news was going to be released this evening. Crap! Both Plainville and Wrentham are being moved to red on the medical mystery map. Double Crap!
Ok, those who follow me know that I feel this system is overly simplistic, doesn’t bother to take into account real word variables, and causes way more trouble than any possible benefit. It is the perfect example of government bureaucracy - as they probably hired someone’s cousin with a PhD in 20th Century Germanic folk art to color in a map once a week and base their numbers on data without bothering to check if the outcome makes sense and correctly identifies a problem.
So here is the real data- and why this map is flawed and our government is doing us a disservice by slinging this nonsense to cause panic within a community and negatively affect decisions of schools, sports, etc.
Wrentham - depending on which data set you look at has 14-15 cases within the two week range. Ok, that’s pretty significant although by scaling it to the per 100,000 standard it translates as 140-150 cases - another worthless statistic when dealing with a small community as it attempts to compare them apples to oranges with a major city. Nonsense.
But still a big number - nevertheless so lets’s delve further into this - was there a party? Sports practice at the hub of the outbreak? Maybe a particular neighborhood with tremendous spread? Nope - 100% of these cases are all related to one specific cluster in one nursing home. Red is supposed to signify significant community spread, warn the world, shame the community - but this is not spread into the community. The community actually has zero - but on the nightly news and on the Commonwealth’s epidemic map - Wrentham is designated as leper colony. Sooooo stupid - no context is given. And really, no one could look at the few towns that were switched to red and determine if this was a statistical anomaly or some other underlying factor to take into account. But that would require someone in government to actually use their brain and have common sense - two things sorely lacking in 2020 it seems.
Plainville has only 9 cases but that is enough to put them on the black list because their population is so small. Again, no clusters and 4 of those identified are one family. Total catch 22- one person gets a positive and everyone else in the house tests to be safe and even though they are all asymptomatic, blam - Plainville gets shipped off to the Island of Misfit Toys. (caveat: that is the meme reference - not directed at our Governor in case he is reading this tonight.) From what I have been told is that the other 5 cases are not related, no common event, and appears may simply be bad luck from a statistical standpoint- and if these people all lived in a larger community the numbers would average out to show a more even curve as opposed to jagged spikes.
So, what does this mean? Best I can ascertain is nothing mandatory. I assume DPH will be working more closely with the Boards of Health and contact tracing teams. But this does not mean that schools, sports, or hosting a Dooley for Rep lawn sign will be affected. Of course the school committee could decide to do something - but I have confidence that they will not be as knee jerk as the state and will look at the facts.
What I do not know is if between now and next Wednesday, how many people drop off having completed their 14 day isolation. The state uses this number to base everything on and even if every single case were to drop off tomorrow, the state won’t bother to update the map till next Wednesday. I have asked for the state to reevaluate how they compile this system and that more thoughtfulness is taken before they assign such a negative moniker.
And if that bad news wasn’t enough, 20 more people passed away that had this virus and 295 new cases were reported. As has been the case for nearly two months - all the rest of the metrics remain flat or are continuing to decrease. I’m very pleased with this fact because I definitely was worried there would be at least some skewing of the ratios as all of these out of state kids showed up for class.
Well, quick one tonight as I was working on a project really late last night and got up ridiculously early so ended up with under 3 hours of sleep. That isn’t enough even for me. 5 - no problem, 4 and there is going to be a couple of extra stops at Dunks during the day - but once I get under three I’m junk. I’ve been told by other officials on the call that I did an excellent job in testifying in favor of Plainridge’s license renewal in spite of my brain fog. Hopefully no issues there and this renewal will be a formality - but again, it is 2020 - so you never know.
Well, off to bed - I think this is the first time I have been in bed before 11:30 since this all started back in March. What a crazy ride it has been and I am so thankful that I have all of you to share my musings with and know you have my back.