Wait, You Mean Staying The F*ck At Home WORKS?
There is good news, America. No, really!
You know when you have to leave the house and you see idiots doing idiot things standing like three feet apart, and you want to scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" because in our new world, that is not safe? You know when you go to the Target and everybody is being very good and respectful, except for the one pastor who decides to get 12 inches from your face in the self checkout line and breathe on you about how it's just UNFAIR that he's not allowed to throw Jesus church parties right now? (Happened to a member of our family!)
There is data indicating that those situations are becoming outliers, kind of the loud and obnoxious exceptions to the rule, and that Americans really are doing this whole stop, drop and shelter-in-place thing. A new Gallup poll says fully 72 percent of folks are doing social distancing, so next time you are going feral and singing full arias to your cat in the same bathrobe you've been wearing since last Tuesday, take heart and remember that 72 percent of your neighbors are probably in approximately the same boat. We're all going to get through this together! We mean apart!
Gallup's poll says last week it was just 54 percent of folks doing social distancing, and only 46 percent avoiding even small gatherings with their families and friends. Now the families and friends number is up to 68 percent. The message is getting through. One number that didn't take a huge jump in the last week is people who are hoarding food and other essentials — last week it was 52 percent, this week still just 59 percent. Maybe we can actually flatten the curve on that one before we flatten that other curve. (It's kind of the same situation, dumbshits. If everybody buys 100 chicken breasts at one time, NOBODY GETS CHICKEN BREASTS. And then how can you make your drunken noodles, spoiler you can't.)
(Also that is Chrissy Teigen's drunken noodles recipe, we made it last night, you should do the same.)
Other good news in the poll is that the social distancing has spread across all age groups, and for the most part across all regions. The only scary thing is that there is still a major partisan divide, with 78 percent of Democrats taking this shit seriously, but only 56 percent of Republicans. Gosh, if there was only some way to figure out why. Oh that's right, because Donald Trump and Fox News lie to Republicans all day long and are thereby a public health risk. We forgot.
But is it going to work? Are you hiding in your house for a reason? There is reason to suggest that it is, and that your Netflix-ing is improving public health in the midst of a pandemic. Oh yeah, baby, you are a fuckin' HERO.
Rachel Maddow showed some data last night comparing the incidence of higher-than-expected fevers in America — which is just one indicator, of course — tracked by the Kinsa company, what makes the smart thermometers that have internet access and walk your dog for you. (May not actually walk dog.) Using the data compiled by people who take their temperature, which is then automatically uploaded to Internet Dot Com, Kinsa compiles maps to track who seems to be having a bad "flu season" and who isn't.
For instance, if you look at their current national map of "atypical illness" levels, you can see where a couple of hotspots might be:
We don't need to really share you the full color code, just know that it's flashing red over Florida, where the Trump-ass governor just can't seem to get his shit together, couldn't be bothered to close the beaches until it was far too late, and so on. You also see a big cluster of orange around New York City, the current epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in America.
Maddow's videos from last night, and thus her graphics, are not up yet, but she compared Santa Clara County, California, and Miami-Dade County, Florida, as on Kinsa's website you can actually track atypical illness and fever trends down to the county level, which enables you to see what happens when social distancing starts. Remember that California has been on top of this shit, whereas Florida has not. Look at the difference (the blue dotted line is what would be "normal" for this time of year):
In Santa Clara, you see that atypical illness was tracking up, but then it started to precipitously drop around March 20, far below even normal levels, which seems to suggest that social distancing is also protecting people from the common flu and cold. Meanwhile in Miami-Dade, wow. They've been tracking up for weeks now, really spiked around March 19-20, and while the numbers recorded by Kinsa are going down, they're still way above where they should be.
Maddow noted last evening that Kinsa's data was correct in showing that New York might end up being an epicenter for coronavirus. Is Florida the ticking time tomb?
Anyway, point is, Kinsa has a website for you to play with and you need things to play with right now, and you might even be able to observe curve-flattening in real time. Maddow said that for her, as we all upend our normal lives to stay inside and hide, that is "motivating." We agree.
On a personal level, we can tell you that last week was a lot harder than this week. (Your mileage may vary!) Part of why is that last week we were a lot more focused on the grief of everything we were losing — our 40th birthday celebration, an entire month of May events we look forward to every year, possibly an entire summer of trips, and also the every-weekend socializing we do that keeps us sane — and not really at the stage yet where we were taking ownership of the situation. This week, we are more there.
Maybe being able to track some curve-flattening in our own backyard will be helpful on that front. Maybe for you too.
We still don't know a hell of a lot about the novel coronavirus, and we still aren't sure even where the hell it is, beyond the obvious places. That's why we're starting to hear everybody from President Cuomo to medical experts saying we've got to start doing random antibody tests, to find out where the virus is, who's already had it, and thus who might be starting to contribute to herd immunity.
But in the meantime, staying the fuck home is having an effect, and it's saving lives.
SO STAY THE FUCK HOME!
Seriously, though, make that drunken noodles recipe we linked. It is everything you ever wished for and more.
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