COVID-19: Part 42

August 7, 2020 5:05 pm
  • Quarantine Day 144
  • Livermore cases: 558
  • Alameda County cases: 12,369; deaths: 200
  • U.S. cases: 4,858,000+; deaths: 158,000+

Alameda County rolled out a new website with the tracking data. It took me a while but I eventually found what appears to be the same data I've been reporting presented in a different format:

Well, the U.S. has given up. SARS-CoV-2 is spreading essentially unchecked across the country. The modeling I've been watching is predicting accelerating growth in daily-death rates all the way into December. It's predicting the U.S. hitting 5,000 daily deaths in December (from the current of ~1,000) if nothing changes to mitigate the spread. It's incredibly depressing considering there's no reason for this failure other than national will. We're just not interested in addressing it, so it's not being addressed and hundreds of thousands of people will die. as of 8/7/2020 as of 8/7/2020

Maybe when the people refusing to modify their behavior all know someone personally who has died from it we'll start taking it seriously as a country. Nothing else seems to be getting through to people.

Dr. Fauci's family is receiving death threats. The disinformation campaigns have been a huge success. People have convinced themselves that this professional doctor who has devoted his life to the study and prevention of disease is somehow the mastermind of an elaborate conspiracy to spread a disease for vaguely defined nefarious purposes. AND THE ENTIRE WORLD'S MEDICAL COMMUNITY IS IN ON IT! It makes no sense!

They've also convinced themselves that Bill Gates is trying to implant them with a tracking microchip with the vaccines that are being researched. Of course, these same people are walking around with a phone in their pocket and a dozen devices in their house with speakers and cameras in them which already can track their every movement, word, facial expression, email, text, etc. But it's the non-existent microchip they're worried about for some reason.

Research polling is reporting that only about 50% of the U.S. population even plans to receive a vaccine once they become available; which isn't going to be enough even if the vaccine is 100% effective--which is highly unlikely. So this medical nightmare is going to continue long past a viable vaccine being manufactured.

And Trump is spending his time trying to shut down Chinese-made social media apps for some reason. Claiming that somehow teenagers sharing videos on an app is a national security problem. Which is entirely asinine. While an app as a vehicle for foreign surveillance is real, banning them from use on government phones and within the military would resolve that issue.

It's hard to see it as anything other than him being mad that supposedly kids using these apps ordered a bunch of tickets to his Tulsa rally intending to not show up so that the numbers got really inflated. Whether or not they had any measurable impact is unclear, but the campaign was certainly touting a massive crowd that never materialized. And now, suddenly, they're a national security threat.



In other news, Mom sent the girls a ladybug kit and a butterfly kit. So over the past couple of weeks we watched the larvae turn in to ladybugs and the caterpillars turn into butterflies. We released them all into the wild this week.

One of the butterflies didn't make it. It was the last to hatch and its chrysalis had fallen off the cap it was connected to. When it tried to emerge it came out on the bottom against the floor and tried to push the chrysalis off itself, but it couldn't get all the way out. When I "came home from work" a few hours later I performed surgery with some toothpicks to help it get out of the chrysalis, but it never recovered. It was dead the next day.

The girls had a blast watching them grow. Also, when they are chrysalides they'll shake to scare off predators if disturbed. It's super creepy and I don't understand what structure even exists inside that would allow them to do that.

We also grew some bacteria and fungi in petri dishes as part of a Magic School Bus science kit. It's pretty gross. On the right, we used a wooden scraper against the indicated body part and then rubbed it on the agar. Surprisingly the tongue sample had the least amount of growth overall, though it was unique in color and texture.


I started a promotion this week. I'm now a Group Leader which means I'm responsible for performance management and career development for a group of ~15 software developers. This is in addition to my normal, technical job where I'm responsible for the technical work of my team of 5. The Group Leader position is only funded at ~8% of my time, so just a few hours a week. But the bulk of the work is during annual performance appraisals which are starting now, so it's going to be a very busy couple of months learning the new job while doing its most time-intensive tasks.


We didn't play Dragon Strike last weekend, but I do have the next adventure mostly ready for this weekend. The weekend before I rewrote the previous adventure (we had only done the prologue and I wasn't happy with it). So we played the revamped version which I liked much better. Ivy and Beryl helped repel an attack in the castle, but the Queen was kidnapped and they are now on a rescue mission in the Wromblen Mountains in the southern part of the kingdom.

Last night my friends played part way through the "Crime and Punishment" mission. They identified the murder suspect and chased him to the cemetery and managed to fight their way through the undead and enter the mausoleum. That's where they'll pick it up for next time.


Heather was amazingly willing to part with the piles of junk accumulated in her room and we were able to get her room cleaned up and ready for school. She has a desk under her loft bed where she can be out of the living space during class times. The Chromebook we ordered has arrived and is ready to go. So, we're as ready as we're going to be for online school starting in just a few of weeks.

The school district sent out the 42 page guidebook of what to expect from the online and hybrid systems they've developed over the summer. We'll be online-only for the foreseeable future. Jess and I are both quite pleased with the plan. They seem to have spent the summer working really hard to figure out a realistic approach that addresses as many of the pain points as possible. Given what we're hearing about school districts in other parts of the country, we're feeling pretty comfortable with it.

In other news, a school in Georgia suspended a student for sharing a picture of the shoulder-to-shoulder packed hallway full of kids without masks in their opening week. The excuse for the suspension was that it "made the school look bad." Which, well, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that themselves. After nation-wide pushback the suspension was lifted, but being told you aren't allowed in their petri dish may have been the better option.


I don't think I've mentioned it yet, the girls restarted swim classes a few weeks ago. Each class has only 2 kids in it. The instructors wear face shields and in between classes the entire facility is sanitized. I'm not sure they're technically supposed to be operating under the current guidelines, but they're at least behaving cautiously.


Last week I ran the fourth annual Developer Day event at work (via video conference). It went pretty well, though it's designed to be an in-person event to allow for casual networking throughout the day. So that limits its impact. Hopefully we'll get to do a real event next year.

I had commemorative stickers made of our logo to give out to people along with some books:

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