Please stay home

In a new piece in The Atlantic, Ed Yong breaks down how COVID-19 in the US is “not one crisis, but many interconnected ones,” and how that will make it difficult to overcome, especially given the misinformation we are receiving from our own government. I recommend reading the whole thing.

The virus isn’t lying in a bush, waiting to pounce on those who reemerge from their house. It is, instead, lying within people. Its ability to jump between hosts depends on proximity, density, and mobility, and on people once again meeting, gathering, and moving. And people are: In the first week of May, 25 million more Americans ventured out of their home on any given day than over the prior six weeks.

I spoke with two dozen experts who agreed that in the absence of a vaccine, the patchwork will continue.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

This paragraph neatly summarizes my frustration:

Prevention is physically rewarding in the long term, but not emotionally rewarding in the short term. People who stay home won’t feel a pleasant dopamine kick from their continued health. Those who flock together will feel hugs and sunshine. The former will be tempted to join the latter. The media could heighten that temptation by offering what Lincoln calls “disparity in spectacle.” Fringe exceptions like anti-lockdown protests and packed restaurants, she says, are more dramatic and telegenic than people responsibly staying at home, and so more likely to be covered. The risk is that rare acts of incaution will seem like normal behavior.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

And then there’s this:

“When this outbreak began in China, everyone said, Thank God it’s not here,” Jha says. “It moved to Western Europe and people said, They have government-run health care; that won’t happen here. Then it hit New York and Seattle, and people said, It’s the coasts. At every moment, it’s more tempting to define the other who is suffering, as opposed to seeing the commonalities we all share.” But as the virus spreads, Americans may run out of others to discriminate against.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

All you can do is cry-laugh, honestly.

Here’s some information that struck me:

It seems to take an average of four or five days, and a maximum of 14, for an infected person to show symptoms. Those symptoms can take even longer to become severe enough for a hospital stay, and longer still to turn fatal. This means that new infections can take weeks to manifest in regional statistics. May’s declining cases are the result of April’s physical distancing, and the consequences of May’s reopenings won’t be felt until June at the earliest. This long gap between actions and their consequences makes it easy to learn the wrong lessons.

America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

The article is packed with stuff like this. Go. Read. Learn. Let’s face this together, okay? Let’s do something so this doesn’t last forever.

Journalism, and how to fund things without advertising

Interestingly enough, Den Beste recently wrote about the decay of journalism in the United States…I just read his piece.

I don’t know how I would solve the problem either, but I think turning all news organizations into nonprofits would be a good start. Of course, I’m not sure how this would be accomplished while allowing the organizations access to the technology and travel they need to get the story. I hesitate to say that they should be government subsidized, but I’m not sure that advertisers would approach them in the same way if they were nonprofit…and to be honest, I don’t think the news should have advertisements, and this change would certainly destroy their budgets.

It’s gotten to the point where I really just hate advertisements of all kinds. With the Internet, I can pretty much find whatever I need, via informative websites or word-of-mouth on forums or from friends. I can’t actually remember ever seeing an ad, thinking “Hey, I could use that!” and then buying something.

Most of the time I ignore ads completely. I throw away the coupon books and flyers we get in the mail, too. Coupons are a huge scam; they give you discounts on things you didn’t want in the first place. You’re not saving money, you’re wasting it on stuff that clutters up your house, or food that will sit and rot in the fridge because “it was such a great deal!” and yet no one wants to eat it.

I don’t need to even start on how annoying pop-up ads and spam are.

For some time now I’ve been thinking that advertising needs to be eliminated, or at the very least transformed. But I’m not entirely sure how, and that is why I can’t solidly recommend a way to take advertising out of the news.

I’ll probably post more about this later, but my lunch break is over now, so…ta-ta!