200,000 Dead, Yet we still Don’t Get It

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There is pandemic fatigue. Americans want things to go back to normal. Many believe it will be gone, as if by magic. The problem is that it is not. So we are now blaming certain groups for spikes. Chiefly, we are blaming college students. My county is a perfect example. While San Diego State has less than one-quarter of active cases, residents are blaming the college for us going back into a more restrictive list. This we avoided this week.

I blame the county. And I blame citizens who are behaving as if they were individuals living on their own. This is proving just how little civic pride and civic society exists in the United States. Perhaps this crisis will prove that we need a lot more community and less individualism. But I am not holding my breath.

The County of San Diego is releasing the positivity rate every day, and that we have clusters. However, except for San Diego State, I have no idea where those clusters are. They are not releasing the names of businesses or communities where there are clusters. I guessed that we had cases where I live. Why? The size of the community and statistics told me that we likely did. Indeed, over the neighborhood grapevine I know we had cases, and I have met a C-19 survivor. In fact, there are active cases. But we do not know, officially.

Here is where this matters. The county is not releasing these clusters at a deep enough granular level. Therefore, I cannot find out what communities or businesses are having outbreaks. My Home Owners Association has refused to do some mitigation. Yes, they have more crew cleaning in the common areas, but they refuse to post signage in places like the anteroom to an elevator and the elevator itself. Some of my neighbors refuse to wear masks, because it is propaganda or a hoax, or they are at home. It is aggravating, to say the least, After all, there is data that suggests elevators can be especially bad since they are confined spaces. I take the stairs as much as I can.

We do not know what businesses are affected either. And in this sense, the high-risk Indian Gaming Casinos have not released any data either. Can I blame businesses? No. None wants to admit to having a single case, let alone a cluster. This could literally kill businesses, especially small businesses that cannot afford to lose any foot traffic. However, they are losing some traffic since there are potential customers that will avoid doing any business beyond essential shopping. I am one of them. I know better than to risk my health.

We also now know that there were active cases early in the pandemic. This is regarding the Jamul Casino, and I am going to assume at this point there are cases stemming from all casinos. In fact, the level of secrecy is such that I suspect there are active cases right now.

But the Times wonders why tribal sovereignty should prevent county health officials from publicly releasing information about COVID-19 outbreaks at local casinos.

Officials have identified 217 San Diego County residents who said they visited the casino in the 14 days prior to illness onset. Of those, 76 were casino staff members.

But officials have failed to identify where these outbreaks occurred. Twelve of the individuals were hospitalized, and one person, identified as a casino patron, died, the Times reports.

We need to stop just pointing to colleges and immature young people acting on the information they heard. They know they will not get sick (they are), and that they will survive (some are not.) Here, via The Atlantic:

Many young people navigating this pandemic are asking themselves a two-part health question: What are the odds that I get infected? And if I do get infected, is that really a big deal?

Much of my reporting has focused on the first question. To summarize that work in a sentence: People are at highest risk of infection in communities with a sizable outbreak, when they spend long amounts of time in closed, unventilated spaces where other people close by are talking or otherwise emitting virus-laden globs of spit, and everything is worse when people aren’t wearing masks. This advice is easy to give, because the best practices hold across the board, for everybody.

“What’s the big deal?” is a harder question, because the person-to-person outcomes of this disease are so maddeningly variable. The most universal answer must begin with the observation that death is not a synonym for risk.


Some young people do die. But more will have lifetime consequences that we are still trying to figure out. Some may be very mild, but others will affect the economic potential of a generation.

This will affect the economic health of the county and the country. This lack of transparency also allows businesses to hide a case, even if that case had contact with the general public. Granted, if we all wear masks, and do what we need to do the risk is less, but not zero.

First, we all need to get it through our thick skulls. This is hardly over. It is more like the end of the beginning. We are hardly going back to any measure of normal until at least 2021. I am going to make a prediction, most likely in 2022. The faster we realize this, the easier it is going to be for all of us to do what’s needed.

Yes, I miss my sister and my brother, and friends. Well, there is Zoom. You and I can still see friends that way. Is this the same as sharing a good dinner together? No, but it is better than other generations that faced the same. We still have family and friends, and can keep up with the joneses even if virtually.

Going to stores is a little riskier, so try to keep your shopping to a fast trip. Remember to always wear a mask in public. Do carry gel, and use it. In my case, I try to avoid exposure by taking the stairs at home because it is up to me. The HOA will not do anything that will make some of my mask slacker neighbors angry. Yet, these are the same people angry that the bars have not opened. Or for that matter that kids are not going to school.

Exercise helps you. There are many reasons for it, from glucose control to weight control, to blood pressure control. It’s also a good way to deal with stress.

Eat a balanced diet. We avoid ordering out, but if you insist, that is among the least risky behaviors. I will be trying a few more recipes. It’s fun and I have the time to cook right now. Yes, I am privileged.

Try to center yourself at the moment and share important moments with family and friends. Yes, ZOOM again, or FaceTime, or whatever you use. I call my elderly relatives every week as well, Why? I will be honest, we already lost one.

We must insist that we get more granular data though. Not because businesses or communities will wear a scarlet letter. But because we need to know where the local hot spots are as well. And by that, if where I live is a hot spot, how can I impress this on my community?

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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