Texas Salon Owner Defiant About Re-Opening, Gets 7 Days For Contempt

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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95 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I find it kind of amazing about how much negative partisanship and magical thinking are driving the reopening will turn everything back to normal. A lot of data shows that people were canceling restaurant reservations, pleasure travel, conferences, and other discretionary spending before the official shelter-in-place orders. My observations show that as well.

    So even if everything magically reopened tomorrow, we would not go back to months long waits for the hottest restaurants in most places.

    Yesterday, I saw a Tyson exec admitted that nearly 60 percent of workers at one plant had COVID and that pork production was down 50 percent. Supermarkets across the United States are rationing how much meat consumers can purchase to make sure stock does not run out.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Here in LA, construction projects were allowed to continue if they implemented safety procedures like social distancing.

      Yet even then, today I learned that one entire rebar crew was sidelined because of so many of them calling in sick.

      The virus doesn’t seem to care about our economic woes.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        Construction was considered an essential service all over the state and maybe country I believe. Some of this is pure lobbying but I can also see the logic too it. You don’t want a half-completed job that could be a safety hazard and you don’t want someone to have a plumbing disaster when they are supposed to stay at home.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      You think the salon owner was motivated by negative partisanship and magical thinking? You don’t think she is actually concerned about hungry children?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Let’s face it, a lot of professionals were and are only able to remain in lockdown because they have J-I-T single-use servants deliver groceries. Otherwise, I can still do my job and, more importantly, still get paid.

      If we want the shutdown to continue for another… what? Two months? We need to figure out a way to get another set of checks into the hands of people who need them (even if it means giving checks to people who don’t) and a set of loans to small business owners who hope to reopen in… what? Two months?

      And if we know that it’s silly to think that we could get another set of checks out, then we’re stuck hoping that people will be able to get their heads above water if they go back to work.

      Because what’s the other option?

      Seriously. What’s the other option?Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      A lot of data shows that people were canceling restaurant reservations, pleasure travel, conferences, and other discretionary spending before the official shelter-in-place orders. My observations show that as well.

      Mine too. I was volunteering at a production of Pippin that opened March 5th and was supposed to run the four weekends of March. We made it through the second weekend before getting closed, and honestly, we weren’t that disappointed, because despite the quality of the show, _no one was coming_ the second weekend.

      Like…shows always get more people as they go along, with word of mouth. (Unless they’re really bad, I guess, but…that wasn’t this show.) Here, we didn’t start that well, which…sometimes that happens, although Pippin is a pretty popular show. But…it can happen.

      Then it got worse. I think the second weekend averaged something like half the first, which I have never seen before.

      And, I mean, we were annoyed it was clear we weren’t going to be able to finish the run, but we weren’t annoyed when actually told the rest of the performances were canceled, because we would have been playing audiences of two or three people the third weekend, and possibly some sort of negative audience for the last.

      Oh, and you want to know the most surreal thing? People were rescheduling their tickets for later the first, and even second, weekends. It’s like…guys, I hope you know that’s not going to work, and that’s just a sneaky way of canceling them.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      It’s not necessarily “magical thinking.” Reopening and getting 25% of one’s previous business can be better than getting 0%.

      As Kazzy suggested, it’s not necessarily negative partisanship, either, at least to judge solely from the excerpted piece. (Maybe if I followed the link, I’d find more information.)

      A lot of data shows that people who automatically accuse those who disagree with them of “negative partisanship” engage in negative partisanship themselves. My observations show that as well.

      A few minutes ago, I saw a blog comment that pointed out a Tyson exec admitted that nearly 60 percent of workers at one plant had COVID and that pork production was down 50 percent. pointed out there’s a meat shortage. Supermarkets across the United States are rationing how much meat consumers can purchase to make sure stock does not run out. That, of course, does not figure into people’s calculation for wanting to reopen.

      Standard parting disclosure: I support the stay at home orders. But it’s also true I have the resources the weather the storm in relative comfort, compared to the many, many who don’t.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to gabriel conroy
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        says:

        Unless that increased 25 percent leads to more superspreading and the healthcare system gets overloaded and the economy kerplunks further and also it is not necessarily true. Things like restaurants and bars operate on thin margins. There are restaurants that can be packed 5-6 nights a week and still fail because of the horrible margins.Report

        • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          That I agree with. Again, I support shelter in place. But it’s not as simple as accusing others of magical thinking or negative partisanship.

          ETA: People like me (and from what you’ve written, like you) should be wary before judging others who have so much less than I do.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to gabriel conroy
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            says:

            People like me (and from what you’ve written, like you) should be wary before judging others who have so much less than I do.

            That.

            Further the very young (who are often very healthy) are often not very well off or well paid. From their point of view they’re being asked to make major sacrifices for trivial-to-them reasons.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to gabriel conroy
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        says:

        Good comment. I don’t have it in me to turn my nose up at the people out there protesting even if I think it’s pretty misguided. All of this stems from the fact that our government seems only capable of giving aid through big business. If we’d channeled most of the relief to individuals we wouldn’t have people fighting for their freedom to earn a living or whatever. It’s a huge indictment of our system that we don’t account for short term emergencies, including by tolerating wages so low and benefits so tenuous that they can’t tend to it themselves.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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          says:

          It’s a huge indictment of our system…

          This is certainly true, but referring to “the system” allows the problem to remain diffuse and mysterious, like some strange natural event created by a faraway god.

          The system that creates low wages has a name, and a powerful constituency which safeguards it from attack.

          That system is called market-oriented economic policies which views the abstract forces of supply and demand as the appropriate method to set the price of labor, which is viewed as a commodity; This concept replaced the New Deal concept of the government as a guarantor of economic security.

          The promoters of this system are found in both political parties, but they also have a name; They call themselves “conservatives” to distinguish themselves from the much derided “liberals”.

          The “system” didn’t just arise out of nothingness; It was constructed with advocacy and campaigns, and elections which produced policies.

          And what we see today- the economic precarity which positions people to have only two choices, that of risking death or starving, is not the system going haywire;

          This is the inevitable and entirely predictable result of economic disruption and dynamism and nimbleness and just-in-timeness. This is the system working exactly as designed.

          And those who support this system are not contrite or ashamed; At this very moment, supporters of this system are arguing in front of the Supreme Court in an effort to strip away health care protection of the ACA, and allow insurers to jettison anyone at risk of catching the virus and letting them be denied care.

          Supporters of this system are threatening to strip away the sole life support of millions of people who are sheltering in place, by withholding unemployment insurance.

          Again, the supporters of these policies have a name for themselves; Conservatives.

          They are very proud of this name, and they are very eager to have their policies of stripping away health care and unemployment insurance be applied to their names.

          We shouldn’t deny them that.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            I’m sorry, are you suggesting that American conservatives are in any sense market-oriented, especially under Trump?Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James K
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              says:

              There is no substantial change of Trump’s economic policies from any other Republican admin despite the fever dreams of too highly paid pundits and knee jerk contrarian blog posters.

              Those stances are that any problem can be solved by rolling back safeguards and regulations, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, repealing the ACA, etc.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            The New Deal has been in place for a long time, it has only increased in size, and our current social safety net transfers are huge by TND standards.

            You are protesting reality, not policy.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      A lot of data shows that people were canceling restaurant reservations, pleasure travel, conferences, and other discretionary spending before the official shelter-in-place orders. My observations show that as well.So even if everything magically reopened tomorrow, we would not go back to months long waits for the hottest restaurants in most places.

      Yes, agreed.

      Yesterday, I saw a Tyson exec admitted that nearly 60 percent of workers at one plant had COVID and that pork production was down 50 percent.

      Tyson, by itself, has 123 food processing plants.

      Pork is down for a few weeks. There are other problems with food. Whether it would be headline news if it weren’t for the virus is debatable. The media is looking for problems the virus is creating.

      I find it kind of amazing about how much negative partisanship and magical thinking are driving the reopening will turn everything back to normal.

      It won’t get “normal”.

      But it would get a lot better. At the moment I can’t get braces for my kid, swim at the Y, check out library books, or get tested for various medical disorders. It’s not “magic thinking” to believe those are problems.

      My parents have N95 masks, they’re in self quarantine to avoid getting this until we have a vaccination. Open up the economy and that doesn’t change. I expect I’ll be working from home or wearing a mask at work for the next year. That also won’t change if we open up the economy.Report

  2. Avatar PD Shaw
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    says:

    The punishment is too high.Report

  3. Avatar veronica d
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    says:

    Here’s the deal: I think we’re looking at a million dead Americans by the end of the year. Perhaps it will be a shade less than that. However, we should expect over 500k.

    (“Show your work, Veronica!” Simple, 300 million Americans. Say half get exposed. Say 1% die. Shift the dials however you like — it’s a fuckton of dead.)

    One caveat: a medical breakthrough is possible. However, as Popper once said, you can’t predict the future of scientific progress. We don’t know. We’re betting a lot on this possibility.

    Aside from that, we don’t really know what “heard immunity” might look like with Covid. We don’t know how long immunity lasts. We don’t really know how many will die instead of becoming immune. There is so much we don’t know.

    Beyond the base death toll, there will be the other costs. We don’t know the long term effects of Covid. At first we thought it was just a respiratory thing, but now we think it attacks the organs and blood. It can lead to clotting and strokes. Evidently some kids are showing weird symptoms that are probably Covid related. How? Why? We don’t know any of this for sure — although there are a fair number of articles in pre-preprint exploring this stuff. There are many ideas. We’ll see. That said, just “recovering” from Covid might still leave a person with life long health problems.

    People are brandishing guns and spitting on journalists. People are going to “Covid parties” to deliberately get exposed. We want our nail salons back, and our restaurants, and everything else. Our federal government is literally insane. There is no leadership there. The state governments are stuck between zero federal support and a batshit electorate. It’s baked into the system. Our leaders reflect us, and we’re pretty fucked up.

    A million. It’s quite plausible.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to veronica d
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      says:

      Our leaders reflect us, and we’re pretty fucked up.

      Who would have guessed that there would be downsides to making maintaining a pulse for 18 years the sole requirement for voting in elections?Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        In fairness:
        1) Other countries use a similar system and have far fewer problems than you guys do.
        2) We’ve seen what happens when governments in the US use competency rules to control voting and it just turns into racism.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to James K
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          says:

          As far as I can tell, it’s pretty much only the Germanic countries and a couple of East Asian countries that can get it to work right. The whole Mediterranean region is as bad as or worse than the US in terms of quality of governance. And even countries that get it right, really only get it right in a relative sense.

          We’ve seen what happens when governments in the US use competency rules to control voting and it just turns into racism.

          Other way around. There was never any actual attempt to use competency rules to control voting. The literacy tests used for voting were a sham; they gave white people trivial tests or exempted them altogether (grandfather clauses), and gave black people impossible tests. The racism was not a result of competency rules; the sham competency rules were just an attempt to implement racist voting rules while maintaining a thin veneer of compliance with the 15th Amendment.

          The idea that this is an inevitable, or even likely, result of attempts to implement competence requirements for voting in the US in the 21st century isn’t really tenable. Brennan’s proposal to race-norm tests strikes me as suboptimal, but it could be a reasonable compromise. Anyway, this is a purely hypothetical problem, while we are currently dealing with very real problems caused by universal adult suffrage.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Brandon Berg
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            says:

            Also worth noting that most of the countries doing best seem to have major geographic advantages like being an island or a small peninsula. To me the only one where you might get close to apples to apples is Germany.

            Doesn’t mean a lot of problems haven’t been exposed in our system but as I’ve said on other threads there are all kinds of reasons the US is not and never will be South Korea no matter what policies we implement.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
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              says:

              At some point, wouldn’t it take less effort for Americans to achieve success, than developing new excuses for failure?Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yes, I do. I would submit though that ‘look how great a tiny island nation handled this’ is not an actual attempt to achieve success, and is really getting into clear, simple, and wrong territory.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Australia has it virtually defeated, and Australia is a content-spanning continent! New Zealand (the continent of Zealandia, according to recent geological research), also has it almost beat, with zero to one new case a day. We’re not even a whole continent, so this should be a snap. Except we have New York.

                The New York Times has an interesting article that says the majority of US cases, even in Western states, came from New York.

                Basically, most of the our problem was caused by Bill De Blasio, such as encouraging people to go to anti-Covid mass rallies in Chinatown, keeping schools open even though they knew which teachers in the schools were infected, keeping subways running, and later forcing nursing homes to accept Covid patients. Perhaps most criticially, the didn’t do anything to discourage infected New Yorkers from fleeing the city and travelling all across the country. If New York had been run by Chinese Army intelligence agents determined to devastate America, I can’t think of anything they’d have done differently.

                That ongoing outflow likely swamped the early efforts other states were making, and we were ignoring one of the chief lessons from China, which was to seal off the epicenter to limit the rate of spreading.

                Australia and New Zealand may be doing so well because they didn’t let a local epicenter become established, and didn’t have any outside source of continuing infections.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to veronica d
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      says:

      “Aside from that, we don’t really know what “herd immunity” ”

      60%, or so, need to have antibodies to hit that, optimistically. (That’s the number quoted against the original COVID-19 strain, and it varies based on how infectious a disease is, and the strain spreading in America seems markedly more infections — it might need to be 70% or higher). But let’s be optimistic, assume the R value is below 2, and so you need ~60% of the population to have antibodies to reduce the R to below zero and let it burn itself out.

      So take NYC, where the most optimistic antibody tests — which are not super reliable here — show 20% or so were infected?

      Triple the number of dead, assuming no excess deaths from healthcare collapse, and NYC would then see slowdowns in how quickly an infection spreads.

      The actual mortality rate floats around a bit — and probably won’t be determined until well after this pandemic is a memory – -but it’s very likely somewhere between 0.8 and 1.4%. So call it 0.8%, half the country infected — yeah, a million dead by the end of the year seems right.

      Especially since we’ll hit 100k this month, the case numbers are growing steadily — if thankfully not doubling every 3 days like before — and several states and the WH have decided to just give up, half a million by August and a million dead by December seems about right.

      As long as you realize that’s pretty optimistic, using the optimistic figures for mortality, for herd immunity, and assuming no excess deaths due to over-stressed healthcare infrastructure.

      So 20 years of flu deaths in a year. Best case

      That being said, it’s probably a good think the WH gave up. Last I checked they were relying on a model some random non-expert mocked up in Excel, which actually predicts no more deaths by the end of the month. Ended up with a cubic fit, how hilarious. I have no doubt he does not understand what idiocy that represents.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to JS
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        says:

        Yeah, I saw the “cubic fit” thing.

        When Trump got elected, I claimed that this was the end of the United States. Sure, I was being hyperbolic, but I still stand by that claim. It’s not Trump alone. It’s not about his power. It’s about the social forces that elected him. My point was this: the election of Trump was evidence that we were done.

        I don’t have perfect confidence in that claim, inasmuch as I won’t pretend I can perfectly forecast the future. All the same, my gut says it’s true.

        I’ll grant that the right wing nutters aren’t the only people behaving badly during this. Fear makes everyone stupid. However, right wing nutters are the ones surrounding state capitals with guns — while cops who would love nothing better than to beat a black man to death have to stand passive while some fellow moral failure screams in his face.

        On the one hand, they deserve each other. Let fash destroy fash. On the other, the virus doesn’t care, and civil society matters.

        It seems to be something about how human brains works. We can only self organize in the face of a human threat. We can only self organize for war. We cannot, it seems, self organize against non-human foes. We’ll turn into an idiot mob in the face of a virus, or ecological failure.

        War is usually accompanied by the dehumanization of the enemy. It’s weird. We’ll march in lock step to kill others, who we have dehumanized, but we can’t manage to do that against something that is in fact inhuman.

        Trump wants to dehumanize the Chinese so we won’t pay attention to the Virus. This strategy will, of course, work very well.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d
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          says:

          My point was this: the election of Trump was evidence that we were done.

          If anyone needs more evidence, states are banding together to deal with this situation, to coordinate, to share resources, etc.

          We used to call that sort of thing ‘The United States of America’. But, as Trump is making it clear, US’s stockpile is for…uh…him? The United States, except not the states?

          I’ll grant that the right wing nutters aren’t the only people behaving badly during this. Fear makes everyone stupid.

          Yeah, but the left comes up with positive thinking and healing crystals and other dumbassassry, whereas the right parade around with guns and threaten to shoot people, and also screw up emergency traffic. (Man, remember when ‘What about emergency traffic?! It should be legal to run protestors over!’ was a right-wing talking point? At least those people were on foot so could have hypothetically moved out of the way of an ambulance…now we have right-wing morons creating miles of traffic on highways via cars.)

          However, right wing nutters are the ones surrounding state capitals with guns — while cops who would love nothing better than to beat a black man to death have to stand passive while some fellow moral failure screams in his face.

          What?! Don’t they know that blue lives matter?!?!Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to JS
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        says:

        You’re letting “herd immunity” be the only approach to decrease R. If almost everyone is wearing a mask presumably the infection rate drops a lot. Ditto reducing average social contacts. Ditto having the “social butterflies” become immune (that 20% is probably clustered on them). Ditto having the people who can work from home work from home.

        You’re also assuming we don’t get better at treating this thing. Does blood plasma from survivors increase the survival rate? Something else?Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Dark Matter
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          says:

          Well, “everyone wearing masks,” seems to be a non-starter, as people are flatly refusing. But yes, a sensible, smart, and civic minded populous could handle this way better than ours. Sadly, we are not a sensible, smart, and civic minded populous. We are angry, mistrustful, divided, and mean.

          I certainly hope we get much better at treating this. I addressed that in my previous comment: “However, as Popper once said, you can’t predict the future of scientific progress. We don’t know. We’re betting a lot on this possibility.”

          We will almost certainly get better at treating this, but how much and how soon? Furthermore, as we learn more about the virus, we are finding it is worse than we first thought. What else will we learn? Will the better treatments offset the currently unknown costs?

          Without a vaccine, “herd immunity” means “a lot of sick and dead people along the way.”

          How many dead, as states begin to “open up”?

          I don’t know. I would be quite surprised if it turns out less than 200k. I expect it to creep up toward a million.

          But I don’t know. In the end, I’m an empiricist. The world will show us.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            Well, “everyone wearing masks,” seems to be a non-starter, as people are flatly refusing.

            It’s not a binary world.

            My employer has made this a condition of employment or just continue work from home. I will continue to wear one in stores and whatever.

            My expectation is R will go down…

            …which is not to say that 200k will be wrong.

            On the other hand, 200k is 4 years of the flu, massively concentrated on retired people with multiple extremely serious health conditions. This is not a good thing, but it’s also probably not worth shutting the economy down.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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      says:

      Co-signing to all of this. Not only do we not know what Covid-19 heard immunity looks like yet, we don’t know how lethal it is yet or what it really does to people yet. The news reports I’ve seen suggest that Covid-19 is a really nasty and vile virus. It might be leading to strokes and uncontrolled bleeding in healthy young people and has weird terrible reactions in children.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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      says:

      We didn’t flatten the curve. We moved it to the right.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’d say we did both. As we reopen in stages, everybody is going to be keenly aware that the threat is still present, and in fact higher than when we started the lock downs because more people are infected now. I’m sure governors are going to be watching to make sure people are wearing masks to the extent possible, and everyone is going to be eyeing the graphs to see if easing restrictions is creating a new spike. The lockdowns also showed that, as a society, we do have our hand on the throttle, and can dial back the rate of transmission if we choose to, instead of being helpless in the face of this.

        We’ve also bought a lot more time to gain a greater understanding of both the virus and how people respond to government orders, where the weaknesses in our response are, and what disastrous things not to do. (Thanks New York! You’re giant, never-ending screw ups are great data points.)Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          We won’t be able to say how we did until 2022. Maybe 2023.

          We won’t have enough perspective to get anywhere close to accurate until 2030 or so.

          The 2030 World Cup location hasn’t been picked yet.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            That may be true, but we’ll have some awesome lockdown romances on the Hallmark channel far earlier than that, and those will become our shared history of what happened. One of the things that will make the second spike in the late fall and early winter much worse than the initial spring outbreak is the need to add a Christmas element to the love stories. Universities probably won’t re-open in the fall because the plot will need a lonely, single, female professor to be forced to shelter in place with a mechanic, fisherman, or struggling artist.

            That said, a whole lot of professors are going to spend their entire careers studying this outbreak, and some of their students are probably going to do the same. I could see some of them going through old lab samples from a particular town and trying to piece together who infected who based on the virus mutations, like the were uncovering the details of how the events of the Salem Witch trials unfolded.

            By 2022 or 2023 there’s going to be so many non-fiction books written about this outbreak that bookstores will add a new section for them all. Ken Burn’s Covid documentary series will probably be out by 2025.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        It’s just so clumsy. From a technical perspective, this is so obviously wrong I can’t even.

        First, I’m a tech head, so naturally I see this as a dynamical system. Clearly for a dynamical system, there are going to be optimal control schemes and feedback mechanisms. In other words, adjust, observe, adjust, observe.

        I realize that a purely math-smart dynamical systems approach won’t work either, namely because people seldom behave as our nice models say they should — see also, behavioral economics versus “homo economicus”. Fine. But still, that’s the point of feedback mechanisms. You adjust as conditions change. You apply damping to avoid positive feedback cycles. You model. You think.

        The engineer types would certainly need people with political acumen to help guide the models. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get a bunch of smart people in a room, and then listen to them.

        I’m not saying engineers can solve everything, because I know we can’t. We have our own blindspots, our own silly overconfidence (remember MetaMed). That said, dammit people are just being stupid, deeply and horribly stupid.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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          says:

          It’s Maslow.

          If we want people to feel safe enough to stay home, we have to make them feel safe enough to stay home. Because if we don’t, they won’t.

          And we’ll whipsaw back once people feel safer staying at home than going out.

          And then we’ll whipsaw back again.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Back when they first started issuing lockdown, stay-home, close-everything orders, there was a lot of talk about “people are gonna need money, let’s give everyone money”.

            And then there was a lot of talk about “but what if people who don’t need money get money, what if people who don’t deserve money get money, how will we determine who should get money, what else should we do in addition to giving people money”.

            And the second conversation was much louder and longer and taken more seriously than the first.

            And that’s the kind of thing that makes people think “you know what? We can’t expect help, we have to decide this for ourselves.”Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d
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          says:

          There was no way to take an engineering approach because we had virtually no test kits, and even the symptomatic cases have a huge time lag. What’s the safe speed for a ship traveling through a fog bank in an iceberg field when the radar goes out? I’d go with “zero.”

          Relying on experts sounds nice, but the US has over 200 million experts on infectious diseases and public policy and yet they can’t seem to agree on everything.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            It won’t works like a simple PID controller, but you can account for delayed response. The reinforcement learning crowd has a lot of experience with this. The whole “interact with your environment, gather feedback, and adjust according to a delayed fitness response” is well explored territory. Likewise, consider Stochastic Control schemes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochastic_control . We can optimize over random variables.

            Yes, there is a delay between exposure and symptoms. Yes, there are asymptomatic cases. That doesn’t prevent you from building a stochastic model, adding a set of timed interventions into that model, and then using an optimization strategy to choose the interventions. That seems pretty straightforward. It might take a fair bit of compute power, but trust me, my employer would be willing to help. We have a fair bit of compute.

            Then two things: 1) adjust the model as we get new data, and 2) ensure we have enough damping so that the model doesn’t oscillate.

            Easy peasy. I’m sure between Stanford and MIT, you could find a fair number of engineers, data scientists, and operations research cats to build an expert team. Then you just need to choose the “political savvy” people to guide the process.

            The latter part seems way harder to me. Math is easy. Compute is plentiful. People are hard.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d
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              says:

              When you take a complex engineering approach to public behavior, the result is usually an unmitigated disaster. You’re betting on what the public will do in response to what they think the rest of the public will do in response to what they think your model will predict the public will do. And then a bunch of them will do the opposite of that just to be contrarian.

              That’s why a complex model running on a Cray supercomputer will possibly be no more accurate than asking a waitress for her best guess.

              And there’s also the problem, in a pandemic, that any model that’s accurate is useless and any model that useful is wrong, since people change their behavior based on the model’s predictions.

              If the early models had correctly predicted our cases up to now (proving their accuracy), there wouldn’t have been any lockdowns, and thus those models would be wrong because we’d have vastly more cases. We have few cases (compared to the early models) because the models said we’d be swamped.

              It’s like one of those science-fiction time-travel paradox plots. If you predict an avoidable disaster, everybody avoids it, refuting the prediction. If you don’t publish the prediction and let everybody gets hit, what use was the model, other than winning beer bets with your friends?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Ultimately, you’re talking about overfitting the data, which is about assuming your model is precise when it isn’t and in turn optimizing to its noise, not ground truth. Robust optimization can handle this.

                The need for compute it to run tens of thousands (even millions) of simulations to ensure your interventions do “okayish” across a spectrum of responses.

                Note how much I emphasized the need for political savvy. The engineering is easy. The modeling is hard. People are hard. The public is capricious.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pointing out that if you warn people about a looming disaster, predicting X deaths, and thus they take action and avoid it, your prediction fails because what you predicted didn’t happen. If the public is irritated by what you made them do, you and your model are pilloried and discredited. The public and policy makers quit listening to you, so your future predictions become useless.

                That what happens if your predictions are spot on, perhaps based on perfect foreknowledge, in a world where people don’t understand how good disaster warnings are, in a way, inherently self-refuting.

                The management problem in easing the lockdowns isn’t very easy to deal with either because you’re not going to find out the mistakes until a week after they’ve been made. It’s all water under the bridge.

                “We shouldn’t have allowed that event because, as it turns out, a super-spreader attended” isn’t particularly useful. If you get enough information to deal with that, then you don’t need a model or a tuned system because you just isolate all the infected people and two weeks later the outbreak is over.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                We see this in the weather forecast community relating to tornadoes. the National Weather Service now regularly and accurately predicts tornado formation 15-20 minutes beforehand (which is a substantial improvement over a couple of decades ago). Some NWS offices can even predict it out further then that, and the current 3D Doppler weather radar upgrades going on allow forecasters to actually see inside clouds as tornadoes are forming.

                But social scientists that NWS meteorologists work with have a lot of data that if you give people more then 15 minutes of warning they go do things that place them in more danger – like run to the store or try to drive to their kids schools.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, I could definitely see that as a huge hump to successful warnings. “20 minutes? I’ve got just enough time to run over the school and save Jimmy and Lisa!” 20 minutes later all the families get wiped out sitting in the traffic jam of parents who thought 20-minutes was just enough time for a rescue mission.

                Ethically, that’s a horrible place for the forecasters to be in. “Do we withhold information for five more minutes and save lives, or turn this tornado into a total disaster by trying to save other lives?”

                Horribly enough, what we’ll get is probably going to be “We don’t want Channel 27 to scoop us, so run the story!”Report

      • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d like to point something out here, though. By flattening the curve, we’ve also given time for doctors (while not completely overwhelmed) to learn some stuff. For instance, putting patients on cpap instead of ventilators. We’ve learned about the strokes, the heart failure, the Kawasaki-like disease in children…we know more than we did and I think we’ll be able to help save more lives because we had this advance time, even if the curve ends up moving to the right as you say. So it very well may be the curve is not as high as it would have been even if it does still end up cresting.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      We don’t know the long term effects of Covid. At first we thought it was just a respiratory thing, but now we think it attacks the organs and blood. It can lead to clotting and strokes. Evidently some kids are showing weird symptoms that are probably Covid related.

      It’s taking a _lot_ time for the ‘strokes’ to enter the public conciousness.

      In fact, there’s a lot of dumbass conspiracies out there talking about ‘Hospitals count it as a Covid death if you have the disease and die from something else. They’re inflating the numbers!’.

      But, uh…normal healthy young people don’t randomly have strokes. Or heart failures. Or have their leg clotting so much doctors have to amputate it.

      I mean, yes, hypothetically, hospitals might be counting a few extra deaths that would have happened without Covid, but…they’re probably missing way more Covid deaths, if we’re trying to be ‘fair’.

      And hell, there’s some number of deaths that technically do not involve SARS-CoV-2, but _are still_ the fault of the pandemic…because people did not seek medical attention for something when they should have out of fear of catching it, or, they did seek medical attention but weren’t able to get it because resources are so thin. Like…do those people not count as dead?

      We don’t have to guess at the numbers here…we can just look at many people normally die this time of year.

      That said, just “recovering” from Covid might still leave a person with life long health problems.

      Yeah. It screws with clotting and with oxygen being transported by the blood, which…that’s really bad. Not having oxygen get to parts of your body will seriously injury or kill it, which…I mean, it’s sorta like shooting randomly at people. Some of the people will get killed, others just seriously maimed.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        This is why I keep harping on the economic consequences of re-opening without adequate testing.

        For every person who dies of the virus, how many are hospitalized? 25? 50? More?
        How will those people handle the financial devastation that comes with a serious hospital bill?

        For every person who is hospitalized, how many recover at home? Another 50, or a hundred?

        What is the financial and economic impact of 60% of Americans missing work, all within a few months of each other?Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Ah yes. I love it when judges excercise the FUTY clause in the constitution.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      I am probably more sympathetic to a judge enforcing respect for her ‘atority’ than most, but jailing her at a time when criminals are being released because the jails are too dangerous puts the judge clearly on the wrong side here.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw
        Ignored
        says:

        But it seems pretty weird, doesn’t it, where on one hand we are asked to view a night in jail is a horrific injustice, but casually asserting that half a million people be allowed to die is just, well, meh, whatchagonnado?

        I mean, if we should feel compassion and pity for those who are struggling financially, shouldn’t we also feel some compassion for those who are struggling to breathe?

        And do what we can to prevent more of that?Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          We are told to view that a night in jail within the context of a virus spread is disproportionate due to the risk from the virus. She’s being treated disproportionately worse than others with more extensive sentences because she disrespected the judge. The judge had lots of alternatives, including deferred sentences and community service. She didn’t have to be an ass.Report

  5. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    I watched the Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday. It was interesting.

    Report

  6. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Bay Area art galleries are now opening in spite of shelter-in-place order
    https://www.sfgate.com/coronavirus/article/These-Bay-Area-art-galleries-are-now-opening-15249161.phpReport

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      “Don’t forget about us, art is so important. We’re more important than other businesses. I want to be taken seriously.”

      I get that small business owners are in a bad place right now, so I don’t want to be too hard on her, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at this.

      Looking at the list of types of businesses that are allowed to open, the common theme seems to be that they’re outdoors and don’t involve large gatherings. The exceptions are child care for children of workers performing essential services, and real estate, with important caveats:

      Commercial and residential real estate transactions are allowed to fully resume, but with continued restrictions on in-person viewings and appointments.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      The virus isn’t going to care if people are tired of the shelter in place orders.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    People are done with this BS. We are sick of facsist governors, inconsistant rules, incompetent bureaucrats and everything else going on with this. Yes, a few people are sick, but that doesn’t mean the world stops. If there was a reasonable, logical end to it, people would be going fine, and as has been pointed out many times, were in the process of doing it before the states ordered this. But two weeks to flatten the curve turned into two months with no end in sight. And when other states are opening up, well, the slave states are now in revolt.

    And that judge needs to be removed post-hast. They are supposed to be the defence against tyrrany, not the cause of it.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed…Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Remember the “reconstruction” of Iraq’s infrastructure, when the contracts went to donors, grifters, and ideologues instead of people who had, you know, relevant expertise? We’re seeing the same thing with PPE, ventilators, and tests, but this time in the U.S. The logical next step hinges in those being available in sufficient quantities, but Republicans are in charge, so …Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        Which is more important to you? Getting things done, or Bad People Not Benefiting From A Crisis?

        If you think it’s important that Bad People Not Benefit From A Crisis, then you can have that, but it’s really hard to get that and get things done. It takes a lot of time and money to be sure that Bad People Do Not Benefit From A Crisis, often to the point that you don’t actually get things done in a time and to the quantity that’s useful.

        But, y’know, Bad People Did Not Benefit From The Crisis, and we can call that one a win, right?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      . The majority of Americans still support shelter in place and 70,000 dead Americans is not a few sick people. It is more than the number of Americans who died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. It’s also likely an undercount. The actual number dead could easily be double that but we don’t know because we aren’t testing and some states like Florida are deliberately messing with the statistics to undercount all of this.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      “a few”= 70k and climbing to 100k by the end of the month. 100k just by the end of May.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Erstwhile brother Chris posted this to the twitters:

    I agree with him. Pretty wholeheartedly.Report

  9. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Update on the situation from Redstate

    Governor Abbott and the Texas AG are slamming the judge’s decision, and asking for the salon owner’s immediate release.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Would that be Governor “Sure people are going to die if we reopen but who cares” Abbot, who is asking for compassion?

      Or is it Governor “We will force you to go to work by cutting off your UI” Abbot who is calling for freedom?Report

  10. Avatar PD Shaw
    Ignored
    says:

    Texas Governor modifies emergency order retroactively to prohibit confinement as punishment for any of his emergency orders.

    On the same day, the Texas Supreme Court granted her emergency motion for release without bond.

    It wouldn’t seem to me that the Governor’s action alone would be sufficient to free her because her offense is against the court, but the Texas Supreme Court is still reviewing her habeas petition and presumably thought it could review the judge’s actions just as well with her outside of the jail.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw
      Ignored
      says:

      Which answers Saul’s first comment about negative partisanship and magical thinking.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul’s comment doesn’t seem to be particularly directed to these events, he’s made similar comments many times in other posts.

        The Illinois Governor has said similar things as the Texas Governor multiple times about not wishing to see criminal enforcement of his emergency orders. Non-violent felons are being released from prisons in blue states and red states.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw
          Ignored
          says:

          I can’t help but notice that in the protests against the emergency orders, people carry guns and costume themselves up in paramilitary gear and talk about revolution.
          They are saying this is important, so important it warrants bloodshed and the taking of human lives.

          Yet, simply arresting someone as provided by a duly enacted law is somehow an overreaction.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Whatabout what?

            This lady was fined, she could receive other punishments besides an immediate jail sentence.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to PD Shaw
              Ignored
              says:

              Too bad there’s no video. I’d be curious to see how this played out in the courtroom. Without getting into the merits of the sentence I witnessed a handful of situations escalating to someone held in contempt in my brief private practice days (thankfully never involving one of my clients). All of them were after at least some build up and palpable rising tensions.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a video somewhere. I think this was a situation where she tore up the order in front of cameras at her place of business. It then seems like there was a contempt proceeding with a nearly empty courtroom, and the woman was polite in responding with the quote in the OP. So, it wasn’t a losing control of the courtroom situation, she re-expressed her intent not to comply with his earlier ruling.

                I don’t know if Texas law would consider her out-of-court expressions to meet the requirements for direct contempt, or why the judge didn’t give her the keys to her cell with civil contempt, or if this is a situation where the reviewing court would require a different judge. I’ll probably never know.Report

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