Miscellanea

Thank you!

So many people wrote yesterday with really nice messages of support. I really, really appreciate it. Periodically, I do lectures on various topics in front of up to 150 people. You get feedback right away about the effectiveness of the talk – are people looking at their cell phones? Is there a healthy Q&A afterward?

On social media, it can be hard to figure out. These messages are the main way I have to gauge whether I’m on track or not. I post/crosspost to 8 subreddits, and I’ve always maintained that as soon as posts have a negative net vote, or the mods kick me out, I’m gone.

I’m acutely aware I’m a bit player in this dystopian drama we call the plandemic. Contributing something positive is important to my mental health.

History’s a Bitch

In late October 2014, the case count for Ebola in the U.S. rose by 33% in one day – from 3 to 4. The final toll for this outbreak came to 11 cases and two deaths. Here is what prominent Republicans had to say about it.

Darrel Issa (CA): “Any further fumbles, bumbles or missteps … can no longer be tolerated.”

Steve Scalise (LA): “This president in general, all across his agencies, has not shown the ability to run a competent administration”

Donald Trump: “Obama just appointed an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control. A TOTAL JOKE!”

When a doctor treating Ebola came back to the U.S. with the illness, Trump had this to say: “If this doctor, who so recklessly flew into New York from West Africa, has Ebola, then Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!”

Five years prior, one year into Obama’s first term, a new H1N1 virus broke out in California.

Look familiar? – even though H1N1 isn’t a coronavirus.

Within a year, there were 60 million swine flu cases reported, and 12,000 people died. Here is what Trump had to say about that:

Take a look at the swine flu. Right? That’s H1N1. Take a look at that. And it’s not the other way around, by the way. It’s H1N1. Take a look — you know what I mean by that. Take a look at the swine flu. It was a disaster; 17,000 people died.”

Yesterday, YouGov and CBS released a national poll asking 2,226 registered voters whether the current death toll, now over 180,000, was acceptable. 57% of Republicans said that it was. 73% of Republicans said that the US response to covid-19 was “going well.”

I expect the usual people to come out of the woodwork and condemn me for mixing politics with data. But notice that I haven’t written anything political yet; I’ve just reported on some quotes.

Yes, history is a bitch. And it appears to be political, too.

Reinfection? Don’t Panic

Yesterday, Science Magazine reported:

Scientists have found the first solid evidence that people can be reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. A new study shows a 33-year-old man who was treated at the hospital for a mild case in March harbored the virus again when he was tested at the Hong Kong airport after returning from Europe on 15 August, less than 5 months later. He had no symptoms this time. Researchers had sequenced the virus, SARS-CoV-2, from the first infection; they did so again after the patient’s second diagnosis and found numerous differences between the two, bolstering the case that the patient had been infected a second time.

Sciencemag.org

The authors of the write-up on this case said the following: “It is unlikely that herd immunity can eliminate SARS-CoV-2. Second, vaccines may not be able to provide life-long protection against COVID-19.”

As the article in Science explains, however, it’s not that simple. Nothing has been peer reviewed yet. The press constructed their headlines from a press release by the authors, without access to the full paper. It is one case out of 24 million. In other words, don’t jump to any conclusions yet.

Hydroxy. . .Bleach. . . Oleander?

If you have a family member / friend / coworker who drinks the Fox/OANN Kool-Aid by the gallon, they might have told you about the latest “miracle cure” – extract of Oleander.

Just say no. And maybe refer them to this article.

Misinformation & Social Media

At my age – 72 – you can imagine that I’m not especially keen on social media. When the Cambridge Analytica story broke, I deleted my Facebook account completely. I kept my IG account because that’s about the only way I can see pictures of my grandkids and their moms and dads, but that’s it. No Twitter either.

Yes, I know the irony police will excoriate me because Reddit is, after all, social media. This points out the difference between helpful social media and harmful media: moderation. Not moderation in the sense of being “in the middle” on all things, but rather in the sense of keeping outrageous commentary where it belongs – on the sidelines.

Reddit does this through karma, awards, and most importantly, moderators who set the tone. Without this, Reddit would be no better than FB, Twitter, or YouTube.

A large proportion of the misinformation about COVID is spread through Facebook groups, YouTube videos and silly Tweets. Whether it’s the bogus video, Plandemic, hydroxychloroquine promotions, or conspiracy theories, you can find a group or channel devoted to them with thousands of followers. The business models, as well as the ideologies of executives, doesn’t allow for extensive moderation, so misinformation and lies spread like wildfire.

While NextDoor.com isn’t often mentioned in the articles about social media problems, it’s one of the prime offenders. Of course the “moderators” attacked Black Lives Matter. It was a logical extension of the ubiquitous videos from Ring showing a “suspicious person wearing a hoodie”. The Verge even wrote an article about it, featuring neighboring Rancho Santa Fe.

It was only natural that these same people would use ND to promote every bogus cure and meme from Fox/OANN, and they have. The “moderators” are quick to suspend accounts of those opposing this, while allowing phony polls and “community event notices” to proliferate.

Does that mean we shouldn’t fight misinformation on social media? No! When the propaganda film Plandemic came out, millions of people watched it and linked to it. Tara Haelle, in Forbes, came out with a great article about the power of this “documentary” and why it’s so important to combat it. It reads like a primer on how to talk to your family/friends/coworkers when they are swayed by social media, but aren’t full fledged cult members.


Up to date numbers available, even if not in this post

Interactive pages on zorgi.me:


Tentative List of LA Communities to Cover

I’ve compiled the final list (for now) of communities to cover in LA County. My first step was putting together this spreadsheet:

The case and death rates are per 100,000 people rather than absolute numbers. I then sorted all the candidates first by cases, then by deaths. This gave me a list of 16 communities that were in the top 19 for both, and then I added two communities I personally am interested in.

Finally, I took the 5 communities left, and added the case rate and death rate together. Florence-Firestone was clearly the one to add.

Another redditor is generously offering their time to write a script that will upload case, fatality, and testing data for each day. So far, I have no way to get historical data for these communities, so I’ll have to accumulate about 10 days worth of data to produce any meaningful tables and charts.

Election Day is in 70 Days

Sick of the pandemic and ready for a change? Your vote counts, no matter where you live. So plan now: check your registration, make sure your family and friends do that, and motivate others to save our country. And don’t wait until the last minute to drop your ballot in the mail!

Have a great rest of the week everyone and stay safe, healthy, and strong!

2 comments on “Miscellanea

  1. Hey Zorgi. We connected on Nextdoor because I was looking for more information on the outbreaks SD County is tracking. Well it looks like I’m not the only one feeling like that information is vague and being withheld.

    Thanks for tracking the numbers and keep people informed.

    KPBS: KPBS Joining Voice Of San Diego In Suit Against County For COVID Outbreak Information.
    https://www.kpbs.org/news/2020/aug/26/kpbs-joining-voice-san-diego-suit-against-county-c/

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