It got me to thinking: the Dow is plummeting over fears of what will happen if people start avoiding activities that will bring them in contact with crowds. Airlines and such haven't seen any reductions, but based solely on the fears that they will the stock market is contracting.
Someone else pointed out that there are now no protests taking place in Hong Kong.
The reported fatality rate for COVID-19 is lower than the annual influenza numbers are. It's a respiratory ailment not unlike the common cold (in fact some colds are caused by coronavirii) and if we trust the numbers they're giving us, it's not that damned dangerous as long as your health is not otherwise compromised.
It comes down to a question of trust, doesn't it? Who do we trust? We know we can't trust the communist Chinese; they lie reflexively, even about things that they don't need to lie about, just out of habit. I make a habit of trusting our reporters more than I trust the Chinese...but should I? What if the reporters are lying? What if our government is lying? And if they're lying, what lies are they telling? Is the thing better or worse than they're saying?
"You know," someone in Apocalyptic Visions says to one of the main characters, chiding him with a laugh, "they have pills that can help you with that paranoia."
Absent any real evidence, smart money is on China lying and the CDC&P being more-or-less straight with us...though it never hurts to be ready to barricade yourself inside and avoid contact with people while the pandemic burns itself out. But the fact that I do not implicitly trust the information coming from my own government--I have to do a cost/benefit analysis first--is a very telling point.
* * *
Karl Denninger has some reasonable-sounding advice on that point. To be honest, I do not expect there to be mass casualties in the US from COVID-19 except for the demographic that's most vulnerable to any infectious disease: the elderly, the very young, people with compromised immune systems.
Assuming that we're being given the straight dope on the thing it sounds survivable 98% of the time in third-world conditions, and I'm confident enough in my own health that I'm not particularly worried about it. Avoid aspirin and salicylate-bearing medications while you're sick with it, seek medical attention immediately if you're having trouble breathing; otherwise, bed rest, plenty of fluids, blah blah blah etcetera. About 10% of the cases of this thing require more than typical "common cold" measures. BUT I AM NOT A DOCTOR, SO DO NOT LISTEN TO ME. This is my opinion and not to put too fine a point on it, I AM NOT A DOCTOR, DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYTHING I SAY ABOUT MEDICINE.
(Your mileage may vary. Light fuse and get away. Do not hold in mouth.)
If we are not being given the straight dope--if China is lying to the world, if our government is lying to us, whoever is lying about the thing--then of course who the hell knows?
* * *
But if the perception of the thing is bad enough, it hits the economy--and the economy is Trump's strongest point. His popularity, outside of the right-wing voting bloc, is based entirely on the economy and how well it's done since he reversed all of Obama's economy-strangling policies.
If the economy tanks, it hurts Trump. There are people in the government who think, eh, losing 2% of the American public would be a small price to pay for being able to get rid of Trump. And it's a disease, it's an act of God, and no one's name is on it. Heck, we can blame it on Trump himself!
If you think that's not so, then I'm here to tell you that you have the optimism of a child. Do us a favor and skip voting for the rest of your life, or at least until you grow the fuck up.
* * *
Okay, non-COVID-19 stuff:
Illinois is, as usual, broke. "The state currently has a paltry $58,655.62 in its rainy day fund."
The bill backlog is $7.3 billion, and so Illinois has not been saving any money.
* * *
Nobody told me today was Ash Wednesday. *sigh*
* * *
Happened to catch a couple seconds of the Democrat debate while my wife was fiddling with the remote control to play something from the DVR, and one of the useless extrusions (I think it was Booty-judge) was complaining about how racist our criminal justice system is and about how "people of color" should not have to worry about how others look at them.
Me: Maybe if some 30% of the population didn't commit 70% of the violent crime, people wouldn't look at them that way.
Mrs. Fungus: Honey, check your privilege!
Yes, she was kidding.
Me: It's not privilege; it's statistics.
* * *
Biden claimed that 150 million people have been killed by gun violence in America...since 2007. That's a pretty amazing figure, there, Joe.
Maybe stop smoking so much of that ditch weed.
* * *
Bungling Star Wars cost Bob Iger his job. Former CEO of Disney, let go quite abruptly, which usually doesn't happen at that level unless someone really screws the pooch.
* * *
I need to cut carbs and start walking, damn it. And I need to do it starting last year.
* * *
Listened to Hootie and the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View for the first time since like 1995, and when I got to the B side, I rapidly remembered why it's been that long.
* * *
Looked up Bakuon!! on Mangadex and discovered that someone has taken up translating it again, so I read some new chapters. Makes me want to get my motorcycle working.
As promised, it snowed today, but it looks like the storm track shifted and we're not going to get the snow they said we would. It did snow all day--lightly--and the ground was warm enough that it didn't really start to stick before 4 PM and the snow started getting heavy. Even now I think it's still snowing, but it's still light, and it doesn't look like there's going to be all that much of it.
I will find a way to deal, of course.
This winter has been like that, though: they predict some amount of snow, but by the time it happens, there's considerably less of it. So far this winter I've run the snowblower exactly twice. Though, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not complaining about this.
The funny thing was, after about 3 PM the office seemed deserted, as if everyone had gone home early. Oh well.
* * *
Avenue 5 continues to be really unimpressive, and the only reason I've kept watching it is to see Hugh Laurie switching between American and British accents. I've liked his work since Jeeves and Wooster was on Masterpiece Theater. (I never got into Black Adder at all. What I saw of it left me cold.)
The divorcing husband and wife--never funny. "Karen" and her cuck husband--never funny. The rich fat guy, Judd--never funny.
It's supposed to be a comedy. Fail.
* * *
Well--it's nearly midnight and I have work to do tomorrow. I'd better hit the hay.