Sat. Sept. 5, 2020 – In which I go out on a limb…

Hot and humid, but maybe less so than last week.

I basically wasted the whole day yesterday.  Some very minor stuff got done, but I spent a bunch of time sleeping at my desk.

Today I’ve got yardwork and all the stuff I didn’t do yesterday.  Joy.


I’ve stopped checking covid medical news daily, or even weekly. If something catches my eye, I’ll scan it, but for the most part, now that the disaster is here, I’ve switched from “getting ready” to “deal with it” mode.

My wife is keeping an eye on the medical news for both of us.

Funny thing is happening. I’m seeing articles confirming stuff from WAY back at the beginning of this. Like this article

Coronavirus can spread throughout apartment blocks by flushing the toilet: Three Chinese families on different floors all became infected after virus spread through plumbing

Or the stuff about HCQ with azithromycin and zinc- there was a guy in the comments at Aesop’s blog VERY early on with a lot of info about this.

The reports of heart and lung damage that were dismissed early on, are now backed up with evidence from infections here.

The idea you could get it again was there as early as Feb/Mar with reports from China, and yet this is just now news?*

My observation is that there was plenty of good info very early, at least in some circles, and that much of what got reported after that was trying to downplay (or wishfully deny) what was known; or it was interpreted thru a political viewpoint. That is also why I’ve stepped back from following every report obsessively, once politics got involved everything became distorted. And, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. There is a virus, it is here, it is killing some people, and I don’t want to get it.


Some things are still true:

If you are old or sick you are more likely to have a bad outcome. If you need to be hospitalized your chances of dying are high. (Just on its face this makes sense- you only hospitalize serious cases.)

There are long term effects, and some of them are serious. Since we didn’t have long term survivors we didn’t (and don’t) have a good handle on what those are. The ones we are seeing are potentially life changing.

Random interactions don’t seem to have high transmission, but if you are unlucky enough to come in contact with a ‘super spreader’ your chances of getting sick and having it bad are much higher. There are a lot of ‘super spreaders’ but they seem to be widely dispersed.

Enclosed spaces and groups are a bad idea.  Wherever we see groups together for any length of time, we see cases.  Oddly to me, about 15% of the group seems to get sick, where I’ve seen good numbers.

This is going to be with us for a long time, basically until everyone who can get it does.

<strong>Consequently, the only official high level strategy goal that matters was and is to manage the number of concurrent cases to try to keep from overwhelming and destroying the health care system.</strong>** Everything else is opportunism or revisionism.

Finally, it bears repeating that there is no one “coronavirus”. There are dozens of different strains spreading and they have different aspects and different outcomes. Just because Johnny got strain x and had no real problems doesn’t mean that if he’d gotten strain y he’d have had the same experience. And it doesn’t mean that if Jane gets strain x she’ll be fine.

We are going to be living with this for a long time. Accept that, get used to that, adjust to that, and get ready for what’s next. The social and economic effects are just getting started. No matter how you feel about the medical effects on you personally or on the country and the world, the social and economic changes WILL affect you. That’s the next storm I see coming, and it’s what I’m preparing for. I sincerely hope I’ll be OVER-prepared, just as it turned out that I am over-prepared for the covid pandemic.  Not only am I replacing used or spoiled material,  I’m adding to the pile, including materiel.  I kindly suggest that you too keep stacking- skills, knowledge, connections, and stuff.


*yeah, no one trusts the chinese, and scientists don’t trust anecdotal evidence, and now finally they have cases in the Western world that absolutely can’t be arm-waved away, or ‘what about’-ed to death.

**This goes all the way back to the initial briefings by CDC and their pandemic flu planning. And it worked. NYFC lost control, didn’t take the necessary steps, and did have bodies pile up outside of overwhelmed hospitals. That could have been everywhere (although worldwide it seems to be worse where the population density is higher than the average US density), and it could have continued longer. The ONLY realistic goal has been to try manage the number of active cases.


29 Comments and discussion on "Sat. Sept. 5, 2020 – In which I go out on a limb…"

  1. Jenny says:

    despise the smooth, green lawn beloved of suburbanites. I’d much rather have wild grasses, wild flowers, and whatever else

    Your note about lawn vs meadow jiggled a memory loose. Mercedes Lackey used to write a bunch of Filk songs with Leslie Fish Heather Alexander, most often in support of fantasy / sci fi stories of the time. They were pretty good for filk and tended to get stuck in my head. She wrote a couple of just plain silly ones About human behavior. This one is called the “Oklahoma Weed Whacker Massacre”. It’s awful, and cuts out near the end, but maybe good for a grin. You really can find anything on the Internet.

  2. Greg Norton says:

    there is something wrong with this story…

    Mom-of-three suffers horrific burns all over her body after hand sanitizer caught fire and exploded as she was trying to light a candle

    No way this sequence of events is accurate.

    I saw the video on the news last night. Round Rock. You’ll never know the truth about what she was doing with the sanitizer. Studies have shown that it is possible to get addicted to the stuff.

    Round Rock/Williamson County is still the “relief valve” for Austin, but I give it five years.

  3. Greg Norton says:

    This one is called the “Oklahoma Weed Whacker Massacre”. It’s awful, and cuts out near the end, but maybe good for a grin. You really can find anything on the Internet.

    We have “Yard of The Month” in my HOA here in Austin. Fortunately, unlike FL, the HOA boards have little real power to fine/lien. One of my immediate neighbors has an eyesore lawn — I hope he never does anything about it or, God forbid, moves. I might have to start fertilizing.

    I’ve written before that my immediate Bat Guano neighbors in FL thought they were going to turn the wife’s divorce settlement cash into a seven figure real estate mini-empire, and I was the obstacle in the way of their house being a “10-bagger”. I was the target of a psy ops project for the entire time they lived there — I thoroughly enjoyed breaking them financially in the end, sending them packing to the boonies of Alabama, where their new house’s mortgage had to include covering their losses in FL.

    And lest anyone think I’m disrespecting honorable service, the husband had a make-work veteran job with a software company and a closet full of t-shirts from the “White House Cannon Brigade”. The wife, according to neighborhood legend, ran the snake torture at Gitmo for [major 150+ year old American consulting firm whose name you would recognize in a heartbeat] and came up in Google searches as being part of “Able Danger” in the 90s. Freak show REMFs . Niedermeyers. While I have no doub they were both capable of hurting me, I doubt they saw any real combat in their lives.

    Carl Hiaasen’s “Skin Tight” features a minor character whose hand gets bitten off by a baracuda (long story) and opts to replace the appendage with a working weed whacker, which is of greater use in his regular gig as a bouncer in a bar than a prosthetic hand would be in its place. I half joke that if you want to understand FL, Hiaasen’s fiction works are the place to start.

  4. Greg Norton says:

    Some things are still true:

    – We’ve failed to manage the Wuxu Flu to the same standard as is applied with TB, which is just as communicable but for which treatments exist.

    – Americans have acted stupidly, even knowing they are ill, using the possibility of asymptomatic carriers as cover for selfish behavior. People need to get a grip on “Fear Of Missing Out”, but it is media driven.

    – The Chinese folk medicine superstitions, particularly about eating things pursuing sexual potency, need a house cleaning just as badly as the Japanese “Emporer as God” and German “Master Race” concepts did 80 years ago.

    – Texas and Florida have serious problems with alcohol as evidenced by the pattern in the numbers of infections when the bars are open vs. bars are closed.

    – The H1N1 pandemic is still worse in terms of numbers of infections and deaths.

    – BillG needs to get a hobby other than his needle fetish and whatever the Maxwell woman reveals about his “reading weekends”.

  5. ech says:

    Researchers used a supercomputer to analyze SARS-CoV-2 and may have identified how the virus works. The mechanism, a bradykinin storm, had been suspected. This would explain the symptoms seen, explain why low vitamin D levels are correlated, and identifies several possible treatments. One of the treatments identified is a steroid therapy that has already been used with great effectiveness.

    So, keep your distance, take vitamin D, and be safe.

  6. Geoff Powell says:


    It’s not just Texas and Florida. We have the same problem in UK, when bars have been permitted to reopen. Local lockdowns have been re-implemented, since bars have often been packed to bursting, despite recommendations of “keep social distancing”, with predictable results. I sometimes despair.

    And yes, I remember, Dr. Jerry said, “Despair is a sin.”

    My new AIO printer, a Canon TS-5151, arrived this morning, and I’ve just finished commissioning it. The installer for a Windoze machine is ass-backwards, it does a ridiculous number or things before it offers a menu of what to install. But at least I could then reject, out-of-hand, everything except drivers and manual. Printing works, so Jane can print from her phone, which is required.

    This beast will be a temporary expedient, until I know how expensive the upcoming house repairs are going to be.


  7. ech says:

    By the way, here is a podcast on COVID that I highly recommend. Avik Roy, a conservative think tank leader in Austin who is an MD, has repurposed his “American Wonk” podcast to do 2 episodes per week on COVID. They call it COVID in 19, and each is 19 minutes long. They have recently covered the NYT article on the issues with PCR tests, explain the CDC data that shows only 6% of deaths are COVID only*, and more. Well worth a listen.

    * 6% is the number of death certificates that have COVID as the only cause of death. But, if you get pneumonia from COVID and die of that, your cause of death would be pneumonia and COVID. The people running around saying we’re being scammed have a misunderstanding of how deaths are reported.

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    “Carl Hiaasen’s “Skin Tight” ”

    –ah the randomness (or not) of life. THANK YOU! I read that story, and some other related ones but could not for the life of me remember the name, author, or even genre. It’s been bugging me for a while. I can’t even think of when or WHY I read something like that, but finally, an answer.


  9. Nick Flandrey says:

    “The people running around saying we’re being scammed have a misunderstanding of how deaths are reported. ”

    –the question is still, “would they have died from their other condition if not for covid, and would they have died then?” If not then the covid contributed.

    A lawyer once explained to me the US system. If your leg is chopped nearly off, hanging by a thread, and someone else breaks that thread, then they are responsible (to some degree depending on where you are) for your leg falling off. Until they acted, the leg was attached. Then they acted and it wasn’t. In those nursing homes, the people were still alive. Then covid came, and they weren’t. It’s both legal and proper to count them as being killed by covid under the rules.

    You may not like it, you may feel that it’s disingenuous, but if the person assigning cause of death follows the rules and precedent then covid killed them.

    It’s like “gun deaths” or “murders” or any other thing. Define how to count and you influence the count. If you don’t declare a death to be murder unless someone is found guilty of murder in a court of law (UK system) your murder rate and “gun” deaths are going to be different than if you used another system.

    As I mentioned above, that’s why I started disengaging. People started arguing theology/dogma, and hair splitting, while losing sight of the bigger picture.

    @greg, I’m missing the point about TB. It’s not curable, the treatments are only partially effective, but it’s not killing a thousand people a day here (whether they have comorbidities or not). It’s rare to hear of it spreading outside of “vulnerable populations” of homeless, and the occasional illegal third-worlder who infects a restaurant and his co-workers. We don’t lock up or even isolate people known to have it, or the homeless camps would be smaller. Our hospitals and ERs aren’t overrun with TB patients. We used to have TB wards, used to have Sanitariums, and still people died from it in job lots.


  10. Greg Norton says:

    @greg, I’m missing the point about TB.

    Test positive for TB and you will be ordered to stay in your home until cleared by local health authorities, subject to enforcement by random visits from law enforcement. That standard doesn’t apply to the Wuxu Flu for some insane reason I don’t quite get.

    The hospitals aren’t overrun with TB because enough upstanding citizens take the quarantine order seriously.

  11. Robert V Sprowl says:

    … I’m missing the point about TB. It’s not curable, the treatments are only partially effective ,…

    I had TB in 1982-3. I completed the treatment – 15 months of pills, no alcohol – and have fully recovered. I disagree with statement above.

  12. MrAtoz says:

    I started watching Raised By Wolves last night. Necromancer androids are awesome. I also started Away with Hilary Swank about a mission to Mars. Not bad, but a lot of personal drama for the characters. S02 of The Boys starts today. I really like that show.

  13. Nick Flandrey says:

    @robert, that was almost 40 years ago, and TB has changed. I thought, and could be wrong, that most of the current cases are drug resistant and can be managed but not cured.


  14. Nick Flandrey says:

    If you are going out and trying to do things in public, keep this in mind. Have an exit plan.

    Keep in mind that you probably don’t want to be the test case resulting from your actions.


  15. ayjblog says:

    My father had TB in the 60s, cured, but simce AIDS this is one of the oportunistic diseases, and resistant to most of medicines, it is not the only one, there are a lot, mainly due to massive use of antibiotics for just in case.
    So, both of you are correct

    As a sideline, some say that people with th vaccine against TB is in better conditions to resist CV, and, in another legend or not, it seems that quina is good, as dexametasona.


  16. Rick Hellewell says:

    Just testing for crickets.

  17. Nick Flandrey says:

    Back from my pickups and visit to my secondary location.

    HUGE downpour while I was out. Nothing really at home. Houston is funny with a lot of microclimates. You can get inches of rain in one neighborhood and nothing in another. One day soon after I moved here we had 2 or more inches at the house, but only 1/2 inch officially at IAH. Points out the futility of using one number to describe something as variable as weather.


  18. Ray Thompson says:

    Heading out tomorrow to Bryant AR for a stop on the journey. Hampton, well Hilton, allowed me to pick my room. A digital key will be sent to my phone. NFC to unlock the room and common doors. No human contact required.

    Technology is amazing. HPFM.

  19. SteveF says:

    Just testing for crickets.

    I spent a good (bad) chunk of the day fighting with my car, fighting with the parts, going to the auto parts store for more parts, and fighting some more with my car. I might have to take it to someone to get the work done. I greatly prefer not to do that. If I had more room to work on it I think I could do the job with the equipment I have and if I had some more equipment I could do it in the room I have. I’ll try again tomorrow and give up.

    Beyond that, the unending attention and aggravation of making a teenager do anything. I’m sure part of her crappy attitude is teenageritis, some is the boredom of house arrest, some is annoyance that the summer vacation is almost over, and some is being a pain in the ass for the sake of being a pain in the ass, which gets back to teenageritis and boredom. As may be, being in effect a single parent of a teenage girl is a pain in the ass.

    (I have an acquaintance who tells me the “being a pain in the ass for the sake of being a pain in the ass” is a thing and you just need to deal with it because nothing you do will get it out of their systems; only time will. As his authority for that statement he cites his status as the single parent of an older teenage girl, about 18 now.)

  20. SteveF says:

    No human contact required.

    It’s … it’s like a vision of paradise!

  21. Nick Flandrey says:

    @ray, give me a heads up when you will be passing thru here, and I’ll try to meet you somewhere, even if just the Whataburger parking lot 🙂


  22. Harold Combs says:

    Still have no personal knowledge of anyone who has been infected.
    Brother in law believes he caught the covid in Feb while transiting Singapore on the way to Kabul. Said he was sick for a couple of days once he settled into Afghanistan. This was before all the protocols were put in place. He has tested negative this month. He did have a very interesting story about his return from Afghanistan in April where he was put in an internment camp in New Mexico for quarantine. As a civilian employee of Army CID and retired captain, he led an insurrection of the civilians being held there. He knew the aid to the 4 star in Afghanistan and had word sent that the army was effectively kidnapping civilians and as CID he could arrange a whole load of manure to start raining down if they didn’t get released. He said it was a career ending move but he was already set for retirement anyway so didn’t give a frack.

  23. SteveF says:

    Still have no personal knowledge of anyone who has been infected.


    A number of “considered to be likely” people but not one, to my knowledge, has been confirmed by any kind of test. Not that the available tests are worth anything, but diagnosis based on having a fever and having come in contact with someone who’d traveled abroad is worth less than nothing, barely more than self-diagnosis of psychiatric problems.

  24. ITGuy1998 says:

    I drove by the local gun store today.its a hole in the wall place, and always busy. They’ve been limiting the number of people they let inside. The line was at least 20 people deep as I drove by.

    I headed on to Rural King. I haven’t been in there before. Completely unimpressed. The store used to be a Gander Mountain until they were bought out. The store had the feeling of a K-Mart. Not a K-mart in the glory days, but of the 2000’s. Crap everywhere, spotty inventory, and a clientele that was sketchy at best. They had a few shotguns, 10 various pistols, and shotguns shells.

    On a positive note the first batch of ammo I ordered online arrived on Friday, with the other scheduled for Monday.

  25. Nick Flandrey says:

    My sibling. My (sometimes) business partner and his wife and daughter. Several of my neighbors. Confirmed by Drs or tests.


    forgot, wife’s office mates x2 plus spouses

  26. Ray Thompson says:

    give me a heads up when you will be passing thru here

    Probably the next week. Plan now is to leave SA on Sat or Sun, head to Austin, then somewhere north of Houston, I think. I am sure it will change.

    I like Whataburger.

    Get me contact information.

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    In the “they don’t make them like they used to” the old printer I installed the other day, HP laserjet 1320, last run in 2011. has 44K pages on it. current toner has 300 pages on it. Fired right up, prints crisp and clean. No way a current desktop laser printer is going to be running in a decade after sitting the whole time, with 44K pages on it. No idea why the school district retired a pallet of them, other than wastefulness.


  28. ech says:

    Still have no personal knowledge of anyone who has been infected.

    One of my poker buddies was ill with it for a month.

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