Post #725: I guess the school of hard knocks is better than no school at all.

Posted on June 20, 2020

Source: Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

It should be “Four Cs!”.  Closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings, and cocktails.  See Post #723.

In tourist-dependent Florida, the last thing the gov’ner wants to do, to respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases, is this:  ” …  announce plans to step up enforcement of social distancing practices in bars and nightclubs.

And yet he has done it.

Now, to be clear, he only did that after exhausting all plausible lies about that increase in cases (it’s due to testing, it’s due to migrant labor).  But he did say it.  Eventually, he was able to deal with reality, even if it’s bad for tourism.  But only as a last resort.  And only after a rapidly expanding epidemic knocked some sense into him.

I put him in the same category as the public health director in Post #721.  Sure, the CDC says to wear masks.  Sure the evidence is there to suggest a benefit from that.  But it’s not like he’d actually wear one.  Until masks averted a major outbreak on his home turf.  And spared his community from a bunch of hard knocks.

Shoot, just look locally.  We’ve gone from having our mayor-elect publicly defending Giant Food’s no-mask policy, to having the Governor (finally) impose a mandatory mask policy for public indoor spaces.  All that took was about a month, and about another 25,000 COVID-19 cases, to get from A to B.  Just a few hard knocks.

The continued spread of this disease isn’t some sort of complicated rocket science.  It’s not magic, or fate, or anything like that.  It’s the three Cs.  Which ought to be the four Cs, as above.

The real shame here is that when epidemiologists bother to calculate R, the number of new infections that each infection creates, it is, on average, in most areas, something like 1.05.  Get the damned R number below 1.0, and the damned pandemic will shrink.

We’re that close.  We need just that little bit more diligence, and we can get there.  And yet we can’t quite get the ball over the goal line.

Other countries get it.  Why are we so stupid?  Ben Franklin nailed it centuries ago:

“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that.”

Unfortunately, what Franklin said then is an apt description of the USA now.  The only way some people will learn is in the school of hard knocks.  And so, all you can do is sit back and watch those hard knocks occur.

As that happens, I’ll ask you not to lose sight of the hog-slaughter cycle (Post #G01).  We haven’t really seen that take hold, yet, in these most recent outbreaks.  That, meaning an apparently uncontrollable growth in cases occurring after authorities have “hit the brakes” on the behavior that was the original source of the outbreak.  But if that happens, even the most right-wing of our governors would probably be prompted to act.  For some people, you really need to hit them over the head with something, before they’ll wake up.  And if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes.  That’s the America we live in.