COVID-19 Discussion (No Politics)

It has been around a while but the last few years stupidity has become weaponized. In my life I’ve never seen so many just plain idiotic statements and so much willful ignorance. It’s as if people are proud of ignoring facts.


Throughout our history as human beings, we’ve never been bombarded by this much information. The complexity and nuance required to deftly navigate reality results in many people “checking out” mentally and simply going with their gut instinct… which becomes their truth, their facts.

To illustrate this phenomenon, consider the Flat Earthers. They’re beyond persuasion or any kind of reason… on that issue. And they’ve found each other, which reinforces their “passion” or whatever you want to call it, and their shared sense of persecution.

Anyway, I drive past the South Temple mask protesters daily. I’ve already made the decision that if I get a flat tire, I’m not stopping… not there.


A few articles that I read or re-read today on this most fascinating topic:

See the second part.

For something academic…

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, Aleksandra Cichocka

First Published December 7, 2017

Link to the pdf file here:


One of my favorite false equivalencies is Obama saying you can keep your doctor is just as bad as Trump’s thousands of lies.

And then in the fake news bucket there’s “Obamagate”, Biden will open the borders, eliminate the police, take your guns, and turn the nation into a communist country.


What Obama said was not right. Maybe he thought it. But it was a bit misleading.

The false equivalency I see is Biden has lied, so he is the same as Trump. That is just plain stupid. But we must not violate the no politics rule here. We must have a safe harbor.


This post might raise some political issues, but it really is about policy. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has found the limits on gatherings there unconstitutional. There is no telling where this will go now, and I sure wish he had not made that decision.

Here is his 66-page decision. If you’re a glutton for punishment you may want to read it.

Covid19 Update, September 15. My sense is that the worst case scenarios I’ve seen are not going to come to pass. While by far not out of the woods, in some ways things are looking up. But we wait and see.

You all know the drill by now in a series of annotated charts. So let’s just get to it.

  1. What we think we know:

The trends for both new daily infections and reported mortality are going in the right direction…down. I do find it a bit disconcerting to see that the data may be now more suspect. Some states are simply overwhelmed in its reporting and then the CDC has been compromised. On face value, trends are in a good direction, while new daily infections in the last four days are 34,000 and above. Those values remain in excess of the first peak in March-April.

  1. What we think we know and looking forward:

Over the next week, the US will have experienced its 7,000,000 known infection, likely up to 15 times greater than known. And the US will see its 200,000 Covid19 death. The US leads the world in the number of infections and in deaths. In deaths per million people, the US is 11th in the world at 603. Five South American countries have displaced the US and are now in the Top 10. From John Hopkins data, at 3.00%, the US is 51st in the so-called case-fatality ratio.

  1. Modeling forward:

Clearly we are not seeing a substantial back-to-school bump in Covid19, notwithstanding issues with data reporting.

  1. Mortality:

Mortality rates, regardless of how you calculate them, are declining rather slowly.

Masks work limiting the spread of Covid19. If you are willing to wear one, we can get out of this mess sooner rather than later. Covid19 is not a hoax for anything. Like the Spanish flu was a century ago, it is real. The amount of coordination and cooperation required from all countries around the world to pull off a hoax of this magnitude is beyond reason. And to believe it so is seriously flawed thinking.

This morning I learned that my thesis advisor in geophysics at the U and his wife had Covid19 and survived okay.

So be safe, stay safe.

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Rite-Aid Manager in PA asks maskless person to put on a mask, as per state mandate. Maskless person attacks her. She threatens him with a pocket knife and pepper spray that she kept in her locker (which she has because she walks to and from work alone). He leaves, and breaks two of the store windows on his way out. She then gets fired for being in violation of the store’s “no tolerance weapons policy”.

We. Have. Gone. Insane.


Yep. As my father was famous for saying when I would ask him where are we going, “We are doing insane, want to come along?”


Brace for a new Covid record today, for the state of Utah.


911 new cases today, 120 hospitalized, 54 in ICU, 11.9% positive rate.

7 day moving average up to 661 / day


Yikes that’s a sharp increase. What’s the driver here? School openings? Karens refusing masks?





and labor day spread … seeing it here in CO too. But universities around here are leading the outbreaks (CSU, CU, Regis).

Just as the school board announced yesterday the elementary schools will go from hybrid (M/W in-person) to everyday Oct 19. Right after fall break so they can spread it wherever people go. They will re-evaluate Oct 6th, but they have some point system and they need 13-16 points for in-person. As of Sep 15, there were 11 points.

40%of new cases are from Utah County

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500+ of those are BYU. Go cougars!


They’ve finally beaten us. In fact, they’ve left every other school in the state in the dust.



Young / Dumb indeed


Pretty embarrassing.


Just a hunch, but my guess is there are plenty of freedom loving anti maskers in older age groups in Utah County…a few cases of Covid is a small price to pay for their freedom.