Confirmed: I’m staying the heck home

This graph bothers me.

It is the number of total reported cases of COVID-19 in Indiana since the beginning. That graph is not leveling out. It says that, on the whole, the virus is still spreading at a consistent rate.

If you’re curious, you can see this graph as part of a fascinating dashboard at the Indiana State Department of Health’s Web site here. It’s updated daily. This dashboard says that, by a hair, the most cases have been reported among people ages 50-59 – my age group. But more than half of the deaths are among people over 80.

I’ve said for a while now that I think Indiana is opening too soon. I recently read this article by a university immunologist. She restates in layman’s terms the studies and research done to date on the virus and its spread. The gist: your risk increases dramatically the longer you spend in a room where you are exposed to the virus. Meals in restaurants, church services, birthday parties — these are the places you’re most likely to get the virus. You tend to be in one room for these things and stay for a while. If you are near someone with the virus, you marinate in it. You are at comparatively low risk at the supermarket, believe it or not, because you keep moving. Your contact with any one infected person is short.

At my church, we’re considering reopening the first Sunday in June. That’s the first Sunday the county allows religious services to resume. As an elder, is my duty to tell the other elders that this is a terrible idea and we should wait. I hope they listen. If they don’t, they will open without me.

Other pandemic reports from sumacandmilkweed, fishfisharcade, Yuri Rasin, Gerald Greenwood, brandib.


41 responses to “Confirmed: I’m staying the heck home”

  1. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    People who are uncomfortable with going out should listen to their gut. I go out but not to large gatherings. Most of the time I am shooting alone or shopping when I go out. I am not sure there is anyway in the next year we can avoid meeting up with the virus unless we stay home permanently. I ordered food for pick up once, the rest of the time I cook. I eat well, try to get sleep, and am waiting to tackle the virus one on one.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s exactly what I’m doing – listening to my gut. I have a lot on the line here — I’m the chief breadwinner for a large family. I need to stay healthy!

  2. analogphotobug Avatar

    I’m not going to be hanging out anytime soon myself. And my employer said today that it may be 2021 before we are all back in the Office. And things will never quite be the same even then.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      At the moment my employer has declared our office will stay closed until at least July 1. We are packed in like sardines in there — I hope it’s far longer than that.

      1. Dani Avatar

        I would be surprised if the office opens up July 1st.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I seriously hope it doesn’t.

  3. Read.Count.Craft Avatar

    Wow. State to state is interesting. We are opening up. But on this side of OR which has less people we’ve had no deaths. It’s the side by WA that got hit bad the Portland side. OR counties are extremely different. Some churches filed injunction against governor which a county judge upheld , state Supreme overturned today. Some are mad about shutdown which scares me . we are opening at levels. Having worked in licensed facilities I was already a germophobe. I would be absolutely terrified if our county had your numbers.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Every state, even every county, is different. New York State appears to be on the downside of its curve, for example. We are clearly not in Indiana.

  4. Keith Walker Avatar
    Keith Walker

    I think you are wise, Stay home saves lives! Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and dry well, the soap breaks the fatty ‘skin’ on the virus which kills it

    Here in New Zealand we have had a 7 week lock down, for 5 weeks at Level 4 the only businesses open were pharmacies and supermarkets then 2 weeks at Level 3 allowed a partial reopening of some businesses,, We are now at Level 2 where we can get together with people we know – family and friends but a maximum of 10. Restaurants, coffee bars and bars can have a maximum of 100 in a room with spacing between custimers of a metre but you must be seated and a server will get your order, and deliver it,

    We are a small country of 5 million, we have had a total of 1503 confirmed and probable cases, 96% are recovered, we have (to yesterday) 96% recovered, we have 40 active dases with 2 in hospital although none are in ICU. We have had 21 deaths all elderly people with other underlying health problems

    We went very hard and very fast right at the start with a complete close down of the country, closed our borders to all but returning New Zealanders wo are all isolated.quarantined in govt managed isolation for 14 days and it has paid off.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I am privileged to be able to stay home – I work in software development, which I can do from anywhere. Not everybody is so fortunate.

      Our federal gov’t. is broken as hell right now, which leaves us all to figure this out for ourselves. It’s maddening.

  5. Mark Avatar

    We live in a fairly rural area; not farms but trees and mountains. So far no county deaths but normally over 3million visitors a year from all over the world travel the 2 lane road in and out. Many locals or maybe foreign bots are screaming for “Freedom and Constitutional Rights”. Guess the constitution does give you the right to be dim.

    This is like Russian Roulette but you don’t know how many bullets have been loaded.
    And who wants to goto the dentist or eye doctor?

    There are bad days and better days. Finally able to go find a camera and take some pictures even if it’s of feet.
    Stay Safe all.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I cannot get over how ignorant a wide swath of the US population is. I don’t hold myself up as smarter than anyone but at least I weigh actual evidence as I make my decisions.

    2. tbm3fan Avatar

      I wouldn’t worry too much about going to an eye doctor. I’m an OD and am conversing with colleagues all over the country. I can tell you they are taking this seriously. I can only see emergencies, which is a bit broad, but I have an 1/2 hour break before the next patient enters so no overlap. They all are asked to wash their hands.They only put their hands on the exam chair armrest which is disinfected with Cavacide. Their face only touches three locations on equipment which is disinfected after use. Everyone has a mask on. Those who are comfortable come and interestingly they are over 50.

      Now my retinal specialist who has a small waiting room which usually contains eight people, seniors mainly, and they are there for three hours, yes it can be that long, that is going to be a problem. An enclosed space, hard to distance, and there for several hours.

  6. J P Avatar

    I think I’m healthy enough that the odds are in my favor, but I am mindful that I live with someone who has more risk factors and is less inclined to shoulder the risk.

    There are no good answers and I think you are right to take all of the precautions that make sense for your situation.

    My office is much more spread out and I am hopeful that we can get back there soon. And it may sound odd, but having spent the previous 5 years dealing with the emotional and financial drain of a parent’s dementia, I would sooner buy it now from Covid 19 than at 80 from a yearslong losing battle with that.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The thing I wish I said above is that I’m the primary breadwinner of my family and we have an immunocompromised daughter. There’s no way in hell I’m taking silly risks. There’s too much at stake.

      However, I do agree with you. I’d rather die in a car crash than have a slow cognitive decline.

  7. brandib1977 Avatar

    Things are opening up here but I have no desire to participate. I did schedule a haircut for early next month but my salon is small and the woman who owns it is someone I trust to keep things as safe as possible.

    That said, I fully expect another surge in a couple of weeks as the effects of people in restaurants, bars and retail stores kick us in the teeth again.

    Stay safe, Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I expect that surge, too. In Indiana, it looks like we are only managing this to the point that it doesn’t overwhelm the ICUs.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        We did a really good job flattening the curve until recently. When the governor announced the first stage of reopening, he announced a mandate for masks in public. By the next day, he had folded like a cheap suit under the weight of complainers. Now it’s required of employees in most work place situations and strongly urged for others. In other words, employees are wearing them and maybe 40% of the public, depending on where you are.

  8. Gerald Greenwood Avatar

    I think you’re making the right decision Jim. And as well as the comments you make about the risk of getting the virus, there also seems to be emerging evidence that the amount of virus you’re exposed to can have an effect on how ill you are. So again, if you spend all day in a packed space, not only is your risk of infection increased, but also your risk of serious illness.

    If my luck holds out and I can hang on to my job, I don’t expect my behaviour to change much this year. I work for a large and very decent company, and I’d be surprised if they even start to tentatively open the office until September, and even then I’m sure they won’t force anyone to go back. In the meantime, they’ve been working on SD measures and installing special filters in the aircon.

    I’m hoping I will at least see more of my girlfriend in the coming months. As for my mum, who’s 86 and lives 3 hours away, I really don’t know when I can expose her to the risk, however slight, of me visiting her. Time is limited. For me, this is the hardest part of all of this.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m extremely fortunate that where I work the company has a large cash reserve, and has publicly declared many times that they intend to keep us all employed for the duration. Our business results are down but the cash is covering us.

      My wife’s father is 88. Even though he lives across town, we’re not having him over. Margaret has gone to visit him, on warm days, briefly, on the deck, 10 feet apart. That’s it. So I know it’s hard. With my mom at least she’s tech-savvy enough to Zoom and so we do a weekly family Zoom call.

  9. Jim Hanes Avatar
    Jim Hanes

    Though seeing crowds of young people congregating here and there sans mask is disconcerting, the virus is going away and the economy must be reopened or we face economic disaster.
    I am a Registered Nurse (Indiana State, ’79) and understand the facts: testing is way more available than it was, so cases that went undetected are now diagnosed. That has led to the larger numbers. Dang few of those people are very sick and the media is grasping at every, barely virus related death, e.g. Annie Glenn, AGE 100 to gin up fear.
    What is telling is the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the Chicom-19 virus, which is nothing like the projections and still a small fraction of all cases. Hospitals are not only un-overwhelmed, but many beds stand empty. Nurses are being laid off.
    Stay the heck home if you like, but most people really need to work. Several Western countries that have not shut down have done about as well as those who did.
    The longer the economic shutdown lasts, the worse the long term consequences will be. The unemployment doesn’t pay much and can’t last forever. Keeping our economy in the toilet is damaging. This is not justifiable when compared to the relatively few number of illnesses and deaths.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You are looking at this societally, which is totally appropriate. It’s also totally appropriate that I look at this personally. I’m the primary breadwinner for my family, and our daughter, who lives with us, has fragile health. I need to make sure I protect my ability to keep bringing in my income, and I need to limit my daughter’s risk. So that’s where I’m coming from.

  10. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    As my city of Napa, CA begins to open restaurants and retail shops (with strict guidelines of operation), I have decided to be very conservative. Even though there are restaurants that I love and some downtown shops I adore visiting, I will not be eating out or browsing the stores any time soon. I am 60 and in very good health, but still in an “at risk” age. I am going to be careful. For a while.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m right there with you. I’m the primary breadwinner here and need to protect my ability to feed my family. Also, one of our children who lives with us is high risk. I miss being able to get a cocktail in a bar but not so much that I’ll put my family at risk right now.

  11. tbm3fan Avatar

    Stay alert and carefully vet what you hear in the next four weeks. I suspect you are going to hear from doctors you don’t know will start supporting a faster opening for ulterior motives.They are not of the same ethics as Fauci as he looks after Americans and the others after one American. I’m a doctor, and I know not all are ethically pure, as I know a couple who defraud Medi-Cal and sometimes patients for personal gain. Disgusts me but you get a cross section of people in each and every field with no honor.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wish I trusted news outlets like I did 30 years ago. As alleged experts speak through reporters, I just don’t know what their angle is.

  12. Edwin Peter Paar Avatar
    Edwin Peter Paar

    Every time some one says the a few deaths are a small price to pay for economic well being, I am reminded of John Donne:

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
    Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thine own
    Or of thine friend’s were.
    Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Great connection to draw. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. M.B. Henry Avatar

    Yow…. I don’t blame you!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ll keep monitoring things and will change my stance when I feel it’s safe to do so.

  14. Read.Count.Craft Avatar

    I tried to like all the comments I don’t know if it worked. I culled a lot out of the comments and I wish every thread was as respectful as this one. It gives me some hope.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I run a tight ship here!

  15. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

    Korea flattened the curve very quickly because it offered free testing and treatment to everyone in the country, even non-nationals and illegal immigrant workers who were told they wouldn’t be deported if they showed up to get checked. Then last week some idiot decided it was a good time to go clubbing in Seoul’s multicultural neighbourhood. This Korean man infected a bunch of people who then went on to infect hundreds more. Luckliy, the government was able to track them all down by using phone data, requests to show up, and so on. Although the guy was Korean, guess who got the blame for another outbreak. The foreigners. I don’t live in Seoul, but heard a market lady here in Gangneung complaining noisily about ‘foreigners getting together!’ the other morning. It’s making me a bit nervous, though it’ll probably blow over soon. Then I can go back to being the ‘weird minority’ instead of the ‘dangerous minority’. :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Is it a good time for you to lay low, then? It’s got to be daunting at times like this to stand out so much in what I imagine is a pretty homogeneous culture.

      1. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

        I haven’t had any trouble except for an unhappy taxi driver the other day. But he could have been unhappy for any number of reasons. He didn’t say anything to me. Some people in this city have said they’ve been turned away from their regular hairdresser, taxis, and stores. Maybe isolated cases. I was on the bus the other day and an older couple very kindly offered to help another foreigner get off at the correct stop to catch the train. The thing about the news and social media is that you usually only hear about the bad stuff.

  16. Rick Avatar

    Oregon has a fairly low infection rate at this point, but I expect our county/region to explode any day. One of the fastest rising Covid locations is only about 30 miles north of me, with an interstate in between. No bueno.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yep, no bueno. Good luck.

  17. Scott Bennett Avatar
    Scott Bennett

    The rate of increase in confirmed cases has remained the same even as the amount of testing done has increased. If the rate of increase had actually stayed the same as testing increased, the graph would bend upward at the end. So the curve is flattening, even if it doesn’t show.
    I think the restrictions imposed were pragmatic, and some will continue to be going forward, but it is time to start moving toward normalcy. Even the vaunted Dr. Fauci has commented on the terrible toll these measures have taken.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s a good point. I wonder if Indiana has tracked the daily test count and if it’s possible to normalize the case count to it. That would be instructive.

  18. Kevin T Avatar
    Kevin T

    I trust the graphs I see the same as I trust polls I see. If you don’t provide me with the full relevant and accurate data, it don’t mean a thing.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The full relevant and accurate data is not available. I am choosing to work with the data I do have available, and as much as I can understand what is missing and how it affects what I’m looking at.

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