Thursday, August 5, 2021

Random thoughts about Covid

I want to thank you, my readers, for being such great people. You are intelligent. You give thoughtful consideration to sources you consider credible. You make your own decisions and live by them.

Way too many people have devolved to tribalism. You either agree with the opinion leaders in every detail or your are tossed out of the tribe and stoned. Most of those who have devolved are not only not capable of engaging in introspection but actively attack those who do exercise the capability.

Case in point: Cuomo* hits on some attractive women who might be available. He is being thrown under the bus. George Floyd pointed a handgun at the belly of a pregnant woman and he is now Saint George Floyd. Huh? How does that work?

Where I march to a slightly different drummer


Masks are not binary (Totally effective or only a placebo) but they don't need to be to to dampen the growth-rate.

Growth-rate is the old compound interest problem. The difference between 5% growth rate and 10% growth-rate is not 5%. In seventy years 5% will have increased to 30 times the original investment while 10% will be 26  times what 5% generated. Not twice as much. 26 times as much.

From a population-dynamics standpoint the effect of implementing a countermeasure that reduces transmissibility (in a given venue) by 30% is huge.

Note that I am pulling 30% out of my nethermost orifice. When we cough or sneeze we do not expel individual virus. We aerosol droplets of mucus, saliva and sloughed-off cells. Oh, and a few virus. If a mask catches 30% of the droplets (and I assume that is a low-end estimate) then masks have the potential to reduce the transmissibility due to that path of infection by 30%.

It may be almost insignificant to the individual but be large from a systems-dynamics standpoint.

Do I think masks should be worn everywhere? Heck no. Impossible to enforce, for one thing. Educate people when it is needed and let them be adults. If the current best-science implies that most transmissibility happens when there are more than 10 people in 1000 square feet of indoor space, then tell people that and let them make their own decisions.


Both Mrs ERJ and I had the two shots. Will we get the third? Maybe, but not until at least a year goes by and the "booster" has been dialed into the newer strains.

The bus pulled out of the station on the ones the current vaccine targets. Even if you are moderately disposed to trust "vaccines", why would you invest in buggy-whips?

I expect every adult to make their own decisions. If you decide there is too much risk then I respect that. Maybe I am wrong and I die. Should that happen, I am glad that you did not.

All the other stuff

It is incredibly clear that the people who think they are the smartest ones in the room are mostly clueless.

Side-story: I used to think I was allergic to strawberries.

Dad grew strawberries. We picked and sold them to turn a few honest dollars.

My eyes watered and my nose stopped up with snot while I picked them.

For years I avoided strawberries. All of the evidence pointed to the "fact" that I was allergic to them.

It wasn't the strawberries. It was the grass in the rows of strawberries that pollinated at the same time the strawberries were ripening.

The strawberries were big and red and everywhere. I had them squished on my knees and hands. I rubbed my face and it was covered with strawberry goo. I was "picking strawberries" and I had an allergic reaction. Of course it HAD TO BE the strawberries.

But it wasn't. It was pollen from those inconspicuous, green seed-heads bobbing atop the clumps of grass. The same seed-heads that fleetingly brushed against my face while I picked the strawberries.


The "smartest people in the room" cannot explain Covid's duck-duck-goose behavior. Why does it lightly skip over so many and hammer the few? 

The "smartest people in the room" cannot explain the racial disparities regarding transmission rates and severity. Hint: Go to any search engine and type "Brawl" and see what kind of videos show up.

If brawls and raves and house-parties are the dominant mode of transmission, then issuing tickets to 57 year-old suburbanites for letting their mask slip down from their nose isn't going to fix the problem.

The virus does not care if it is not politically correct to point out that certain demographics are statistically more likely to engage in street brawls and demonstrations, more likely to engage in brawling and huge, slam-dancing street parties.

Hammering (mostly) compliant non-spreaders is like kicking the dog after Granny rattled the windows with a fart. It might make the person who kicked the dog feel good but the stench does not dissipate and Granny keeps farting indoors.

It is an example of the story of the drunk who lost his wallet one night on Maple Street but was looking for it on Elm Street because the lighting was better.

*Not a Cuomo fan but using the example to point out a double-standard.


  1. Couple of points:
    Firstly, yes, Masks catch those virus laden droplets.....then the droplets dry out and then the virus becomes airborne on the next breath. Ineffective? No. But not terribly effective either.
    There seems to be a direct relationship with the amount of vitamin D in your system and the severity of Covid, all other factors being equal. "Brawlers", especially inner city types, don't get outside in the sun all that much, and their ancestors evolved ("selected", if you prefer) for an environment with much stronger sunlight...both factors effectively means that they are somewhat vitamin D deficient. While there may be other factor, this is highly likely to be a significant portion of the difference between the "Brawlers" group and their lighter skinned fellows.

  2. And we thought 2020 was bad. (sigh)

  3. Thank you for being being rational and respecting others choices about this. That is a rarity anymore. ---ken

  4. What the press is not reporting (because "bodyshaming):

    "We found J-shaped associations between BMI and admission to hospital due to COVID-19 . . . "

    Want to survive covid? Don't be fat.
    The Phantom

  5. Your comment on mask citations reminds me of speeding tickets.
    According to federal data, speeding is a factor in about 30% of fatal accidents (varies state by state; this is a national average). But speeding tickets are over 70% of enforcement actions... since no matter how many speeding tickets you issue, the problem doesn't drop significantly, it's great for continually justifying more overtime and more restrictions.
    Likewise, random cloth masks have little effect not only because of their large pores that don't stop small droplets (people only emit large droplets when they sneeze or cough) but also because there are MANY other stronger transmission methods for any disease.
    Cleaning surfaces, automatic doors, faucets, paper towel holders, etc will have a bigger effect on transmitting all diseases than masks will - but those have fallen by the wayside.

  6. A minor observation about Cuomo (and Trump, which I assume you were comapring).

    Trump's transgressions were as a private citizen, and he had no particular power leverage over those women.

    Cuomo's transgression appear to have happened entirely while he was Governor (public office) and to people who worked for him and that he could retaliate against.

    One of these things is not like the other. Cuomo's behavior is far more despicable (and criminal) and shows a much more depraved character.

    1. I was comparing Cuomo to George Floyd.

    2. Got it. Those two seemed so disparate that I missed it.

      No one in their right mind would deify Floyd. He too deserved to be thrown under the bus, right alongside Cuomo. He just happened to die at an opportune time for some shysters to take advantage of it. The luck of an anonymous street criminal nobody had heard of before he died.

  7. Why do you advocate kicking Granny?


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