Ok, I’ve come back down to normal from campaign mode. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, supported me, had my back, held signs, mailed in ballots, stood in line, defended me against the on-line trolls, made calls, told friends, had signs in their yards, and when they got stolen put up two more… so many awesome people and I don’t know what I have done to deserve such loyalty - but I am eternally grateful. It truly is humbling to have so many people dedicate their time and energy so I can continue as your representative. As always - if there is anything your need - do not hesitate to ask and I will do my damndest to make it happen.
It’s been awhile that I’ve done a focused Covid update (so fair warning this might be a bit long and I might geek out a little over numbers even though I’m still going on no sleep so might be a little punchy)— but hey - I got a call from the State and Dr. Monica Bharel the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner telling me that COVID-19 is still out there and very dangerous. Who knew? Thank goodness the state called and texted me - next thing I know Facebook and google will be reminding me to register to vote.
And remember kids - it is most dangerous after 10 at night because it comes from Chinese bats and they are nocturnal. Ooops, I’ve been just been notified by my editors that this disease does not come from nocturnal Asian bats. What is now being reported is that it was genetically engineered by the appetizer lobby which is why if you are at a restaurant (before 9:30) you can’t just sit at your socially distant table and have a beer or a glass of wine - you must order an app or the virus will get you. It flies around and swoops in and if no nachos or wings at the table and there is a cocktail and laughter - blamo! You have been covided. Damn, my attorneys have just been contacted by “big appetizer” and I must retract that last comment. Well, you get the picture - lots of restrictions that don’t really make any sense from a science or empirical data standpoint.
Speaking of data, let’s start with the numbers. The saddest one first being 23 people passed away who had been diagnosed with the virus. The average age of death remains at 80 with co-morbitity factors. This daily average is relatively statistically flat since the beginning of August. Little drop in early September and a slight uptick now, but when you look at the overall graph is remains pretty steady. Granted - it is a far cry from zero, but I would like to remind everyone - especially the new readers - this statistic does not necessarily mean that covid was the predominant cause of death, or even a significant factor - just a contributing factor and the vast majority had some other health problem that was exacerbated by this disease. Not minimizing it - just trying to keep perspective.
The next stat is that 1,761 new cases were reported out of 86,359 total tests (holy sh*t - abbott labs bonus check must have kicked in because that is the kind of testing numbers that will help us fight this for realz, yo!) anyway - that is right around 2% as a ratio. The seven day average is 1.9% - so pretty freakin low. So yeah, you go from testing 40,000 people a day to 80,000 people a day and you are shocked that the number goes up??? It nearly doubled - panic! Ummmmm, someone wasn’t paying very close attention during statistics class at B school.
Another bizarre stat that they are now tracking is the percent positive tests if you remove the tests of college students. And that number is up around 3.5%. Yes, if your brain is now making screeching braking sounds - you went down the same thought process as I did when I saw it. That means- all these evil college kids who are doing these secret parties and ignoring the Governor’s orders putting us all in jeopardy and why we have to be in our jammies and tucked in at 10 before the boogeyman shows up are actually so low that they have to be taken out of the equation to show the number is elevated. What? That can’t be right - the parties, we were told, the parties. Well it appears that the higher ed testing ratio is coming in on average at 0.1% (aka: .001). Yes, you read that right - not 1 percent, zero point one percent! As in 1/10 or 1 percent. And that has been steady since the beginning of September. Curious.
And let’s not forget my favorite statistic and the one I feel is most critical: Hospitalizations of covid patients is now at 498. This number has steadily climbed over the last month from 400 to 500. Granted - no break out as to who was admitted solely for covid as opposed to the person in the hospital because they were in a car accident and tested positive for covid after the fact. But they have been playing that game since the beginning so it is worth noting that it is a significant (although not panic worthy) increase. I wonder if I can find any stats to show overall average hospitalization rates as weather gets colder and fewer people outside in the fresh air on a normal year. Any of my hospital admin friends happen to know this factoid? Another important benchmark is covid patients in ICU - which is currently at 115. We were down in the 70’s for quite a while - so trending upward, although again hard to perfectly correlate. Probably a better is intubation which currently stands at 56. These people are obviously much more critical and this is up from the 30’s. Again - worth keeping an eye on and definitely an increase but I don’t believe should be freaking people out.
It is interesting that when they talk about total ICU beds they always say that we are at x capacity - leading one to think that x is the number of covid patients in icu. Nope. That is total icu beds regardless of the reason they are in there. Officially we have 1900 beds designated as ICU beds and currently DPH states that 53% are full. Holy crap - that’s 1,007 beds that are full. Wait a minute (checks notes) only 115 are covid related - therefore, only 11% of the beds being used are covid related which also translates to 6% of total beds. It really depends on how government states things to paint a picture, doesn’t it?
With the election and all I didn’t want to comment on Monday regarding Governor Baker’s latest decree and curfew. Well, I really wanted to but I needed to get to bed and writing would have really fired me up and I would have never gotten to sleep - not to mention I was in a frame of mind with campaign stress that I might have written something I would really have regretted - and I rarely do that! (Wink, wink) Anyway, I was bullsh*t and told Charlie so. I think my words were something like - “you aren’t our dad, stop treating us like children.” He then sent me to my room without any dinner. LOL. He obviously disagrees but I think much of these restrictions are based on emotion as opposed to science and if they aren’t based in fact (regardless of the outcome) people will rebel and simply ignore them. Which I honestly believes hurts the greater goal - because once the people start determining that the government is no longer making fact based decisions and more trying to manipulate with fear and threats - then we will start blowing off all the rules. It is a slippery slope. And I’ve always been more of a carrot than a stick kind of guy - I hate when my government, who I elect, and I pay, threatens me. $300 fine if I don’t wear a mask when Im out alone on a jog? And I don’t think I’m alone in that, I think that is a quintessential American philosophy.
I learned a long time ago - if you have someone way smarter than you willing to speak - let them and sit back and listen. Especially if they make inappropriate analogies.
Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School stated, “Masks are an important prevention tool when we’re close to other people, especially indoors, but there’s really no reason to be wearing a mask when you’re outdoors and you’re not close to anyone.“ Ummmmm, this really is common sense and has been reiterated by the medical professionals for the entirety of this crisis (once they determined we should wear masks).
This full time in public buildings also doesn’t make sense - what about our schools??? Will children no longer be given mask breaks? That seems like a violation - not eating, just not wearing a mask all willy nilly. I didn’t think my kids would be calling to get bailed out of the pokey till they at least got to high school.
Dr. Marcus went on to add, “arbitrary public health rules are a way to break the public’s trust, which is essential to keeping people engaged in public health efforts,” she said. “I think a mandate like this — that people know is arbitrary — is going to do more to reduce trust than it will to reduce infections.” Hey, wait a minute - I just said that. Not nearly as eloquently but damn, I’m thinking like a wicked smaht person!
She also noted that the order means people who don’t have private outdoor space will no longer “be able to go outside and breathe fresh air without a mask on,” which will inequitably affect the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Oh snap, some staffer is getting killed right now for not seeing that one coming.
And the piece de resistance: when Governor Baker retorted, “I can’t express how important it is for all of us to execute on what I would call proper mask etiquette,” Dr. Marcus said she doesn’t believe that reasoning backs up the new order. “It’s a bit like saying we’re going to ask people to wear condoms when they’re masturbating, because we think it’s going to get them to wear a condom when they’re with another person,” BOOM… mike drop! This is Will Farrell in Old School destroying James Carville in the debate, Eminem winning his rap battle in 8 mile, Belushi’s speech about when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor all rolled into one. I do not know this woman - but if anyone does, let her know: I would be honored to buy her a beer, wine, martini, whatever she wants!
And with that gem, I will take my leave. Sorry for such a ramble and hope it makes sense. Keep being awesome. Do what is right, use common sense, and come bail me out of jail on Saturday night because I will be outside, by myself, without a mask on, after 10 pm. Come and get me. Or better yet, protest yourself in front of your own home. Civil disobedience. while not an American invention per se (albeit the term was coined by our native son, Henry David Thoreau), is the embodiment of our spirit, should be celebrated, and practiced in cases such as this.
“That government is best which governs least” ~ Thoreau