Social distancing. It’s the only way.

A number of people are online, saying they won’t be cowed by the virus (or public health officials). They’re posting photos of themselves out, and encouraging others to do the same. Right now, I’m watching a video of people, packed like sardines, inside a Nashville bar. Yesterday, the Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, an avowed anti-vaxxer, was online, posting photos of his kids and him in a crowded restaurant. And he wasn’t alone. A lot of Republican elected officials are doing their part to ensure that people keep going out. Congressman Devin Nunes urged people to continue doing what they would normally time of crisis, saying, “Go to your local pub.” And Senator John Cornyn did him one better, posting a photo of a Corona sitting in front of him at a bar, with the message, “Don’t panic.” While I’m all for people not panicking, and finding ways to support local businesses during the pandemic, public health professionals are advocating, for very good reasons, that we all do what we can to isolate ourselves from others, in hopes of decreasing the tsunami that’s about to hit our hospital infrastructure. [See my last post for projections based on what’s happening right now in Italy.] Here, to give you idea of the dialogue that’s taking place over social distancing, is a clip from the discussion which ensued when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went online to urge people in New York not to go out.

I get that people don’t like being told what to do, but, the truth is, if more of us don’t stay in, there’s going to be hell to pay. Here’s a quote an Italian that ran in today’s Boston Globe. “Many of us were too selfish to follow suggestions to change our behavior,” the person said. “Now we’re in lockdown and people are needlessly dying.” Today, by the way, another 368 people died from the virus in Italy.

As for why social isolation is important, I’d encourage you to read the article Why Outbreaks Like Coronavirus Spread Exponentially, and How to “Flatten the Curve”, in the Washington Post, which is full of useful animations, showing how social distancing can help slow the spread down in such a way as to give our medical infrastructure a fighting chance.

The good news is, people seem to be getting the message. News just broke that the governors of Ohio and Illinois have both ordered that all bars and restaurants in their states be shut down until further notice. [Restaurants will still be delivering food in both states.] It’s a huge step, to be sure, but it’ll likely help slow the spread of coronavirus considerably.

While it would just be voluntary right now, Governor Cuomo has also called for bars, restaurants and gyms to shut down in New York. As for why he’s doing this, I’ve read that, in the entire state of New York, they have just 3,000 ICU beds, of which only 600 are free. I suspect he can see the writing on the wall.

One last thing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, was on television this morning saying that he’d be open to a 14-day national shutdown. “I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for over-reacting,” he said.

update: Can we please get public health ads like this running in Michigan?

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  1. Posted March 15, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

  2. iRobert
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been socially distancing all my life, so I’ve been well prepared for this.

  3. Posted March 15, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I just received an invitation to join a “Socially Distanced Happy Hour”.

  4. iRobert
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    How does that work?

  5. Posted March 15, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

  6. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve made this point before, Barky: How can a VAXXER such as you call someone who wants the CHOICE to take vaccines or not an “anti-vaxxer”? It’s just like everything you do. If someone does not want for themselves what you want for them it’s a sin. They dare to be skeptical of vaccine safety!

  7. iRobert
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Are you socially distancing, HW?

  8. iRobert
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    HW, EOS, & FF,

    To what degree is this all a “hoax,” as the President has said?

  9. Demetrius
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    “I just went to a crowded Red Robin, and I’m 30 … ”

    Well I certainly hope she enjoyed that burger. I also hope she doesn’t have any friends or loved ones who are elderly, have any a major health conditions, or require medications that suppress natural immunity.

    I also hope she doesn’t end up being one of the (thankfully rare) younger, healthy people who nevertheless contracts C19 and suffers critical illness, or even death.

    Because, after all, what really matters is that this is America, and she does what she wants, amirite?

  10. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    He did not say Corona virus is a hoax.

  11. New York Times
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    BREAKING NEWS: New York City will limit restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery in an effort to slow the coronavirus. The city’s public schools will close too.

  12. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 15, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    National Guard activation? Q told us to watch for it.

  13. iRobert
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    National Guard activation seems pretty predictable.

    FF, what was Trump referring to as a hoax?

  14. iRobert
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    I just read the snopes review of Trump’s hoax comment, so I see he said that Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to it was a hoax.

    I guess he was characterizing the Democrats’ criticism of him and his response to the virus as being a misrepresentation. Use of the word hoax was a bit confusing though. It can easily be misunderstood to mean he perceives the whole ordeal to be illegitimate.

    There are certainly many Republican leaders who are treating the whole COVID-19 issue as if it is entirely, or nearly entirely, a hoax. Millions of citizens seem to be following suit as well.

  15. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Yes. I think he was trying to say misrepresenting his response was the hoax. I think his response (and other leaders) has been fine. I hate to see Mark politicizing this here and there. I think we are doing the right things to slow this down. But we need to do even more distancing measures. And we will. I think doing it in steps is the right way. It takes a minute to educate everyone in order to avoid huge freak outs.

    I just want to focus on people understanding that social distancing is the key. Some of us are more equipped for social distancing. I see a lot of people really struggling with the lack of social contact. I hate seeing people fail to distance themselves. People are so compulsive… Ironically, the most insane- doomsday-prepper-type person I know has seen a huge uptick in his social interactions because of this outbreak….He went from one of the less likely people to catch the virus to one the more likely. As they say: “It’s either a comedy or it’s a tragedy”.

  16. iRobert
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    It was good to see the Governor of Oklahoma out possibly contracting and spreading COVID-19. I’d like to see all GOP government officials doing that. It would make us all feel a lot better.

  17. iRobert
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    I was disappointed when I saw Congressman Gaetz has self-quarantined. I think he should go back to walking around the capital in a gas mask and making light of this supposed pandemic. He just looks like a pathetic kiss-ass now.

  18. I bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Aloha, remember. Republicans are only motivated by two things. Greed and fear. Greed is there default setting. That was working just fine until about two weeks ago. Now fear has set in.
    It is important that they mollify folks. Just like after 9/11, “How could anyone seen this coming” , despite the government’s own assessment that “Benladin committed to attacking US.” They will be saving the same thing about this. “No one saw this coming, and it is all China’s fault anyway”.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    More proof that young people are freaking geniuses and we should all listen to them.

    I have said many times that I believe strongly in intergenerational change, but that’s not because you g people lead change. They don’t. They accept change is necessary that previous generations work on for decades. I honestly think their support for Bernie isn’t much different than their response to this pandemic. It’s not thought through. They do what their friends do. And when their friends decide to stay inside, they will too.

    Ohio and Illinois have closed restaurants to public use. I expect MI and NY to do the same soon.

    Pick up curbside and delivery are great options. If you want to help restaurants you like stay open after this, and their workers stay employed, please avoid using grub hub or other delivery services.

    If you can afford to do so, buying gift cards is a great way to help provide cash infusion to make it through.

    I’m working on a list of resources for workers and small businesses and will share that here when finalized.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Whitmer joined Ohio and Illinois in closing bars and restaurants.

  21. Kat
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    FAUCI on flattening the curve: “We can’t do this without the young people cooperating.”

  22. Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I supposes it would be unfair to judge an entire generation by a half people interviewed at Spring Break, but….

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