Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I Just Realized That Our Governor Isn't Moving the Goalposts...

...he's just playing a version of Calvinball (I have to believe that that name is either Trademarked, Copyrighted, or both, but I couldn't find it.  In any case kudos to Bill Watterson for being able to foretell our future over 20 years ago!).

Wikipedia (here) has two quotes describing Calvinball, which perfectly describe our Goober and his actions.

The only consistent rules of the game are that Calvinball may never be played with the same rules twice and that each participant must wear a mask. 


It's pretty simple: you make up the rules as you go.

If those aren't enough to convince you, here are two links to online images of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips offered as proof: Link 1, and Link 2.  

See it is like this, I was thinking about why the Goober keeps changing the rules.  My first thought was that he's doing it because 1) he knows that it is all bull s**t but it makes it look like he's doing something, 2) by changing it regularly we all are confused for a few days to reduce the backlash, and 3) by the time any lawsuits get to be actually heard and ruled on, he's made it all moot by saying those rules don't matter anymore... but then I realized that all that was ascribing way too much cleverness and deep thought to our Goober and it is really just that he's playing Gavinball.  Anyways, henceforth I shall refer to our Goober as playing Gavinball. With that now out of the way here are the latest changes to the game. 

First, yes cases are rising through out CA and only slightly less so here in San Diego.  Taking action to reduce interactions (and hopefully the spread of the disease) makes sense.  So what to do?  Well, new rule number 1:  California is now divided into 5 Zones.   Are the Zones divided up such that the population within the Zones is reasonably consistent?  Not at all.  For example Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino (the five most populated counties in the state) are all in the same Zone.  But even that wasn't enough for the Goober, he continued and added 6 more counties to Zone 5.  The final population total for the Zone is 22,993,074 of the CA total of 39,502,223 (or 58% of the entire state!).  One poor county that got lumped in with LA is tiny Mono County.  For those of you who don't know, let me say that Mono county is up north against the Nevada stateline, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The county has a total population of 14,444 (that's 1/700th of LA county).  It's population is round-off error in LA.  It is also a 5 hour drive from LA City Hall to Lee Vining.  I drove through Lee Vining once (in the summer time).  If you go left off US 395 (northbound) on to CA 120 (westbound) you go up to 9,943 feet where you enter Yosemite National Park's East entrance.  It's closed most years from late October to late May due to snow.  How'd you like to live there and get all your stuff closed because LA has a problem?  For now at least the Goober isn't doing everything by the Zones.  For example, yesterday a wildfire broke out in Ventura County - also Zone 5.  At least he didn't make San Diego County under go evacuation (although when my phone got an emergency alert in the middle day I had a brief thought that he was, turned out to be a notice about the CoViD lockdown that happened more than 24 hours earlier).  Seriously, given that the Zones are crazy, how did the Goober decide how to divide up the state?  Turns out that the Goober decided to divide the counties so that each Zone had about the same number of counties in them.  Sure.  Why not? It is Gavinball after all.

So what are some other new rules?  New rule number 2:  All restaurants, gyms, barbershops, and beauty salons must close.  This includes the outdoor seating and outside exercise areas despite the facts that the businesses spent some hefty change setting those up to comply with the previous set of rules and that no one has any data suggesting these are significant sources of spread.  Oh Well.  It's Gavinball!  New rule number 3: If your kid's school is already doing in person teaching, they can continue, but if they are not doing in person teaching they can't switch to in person.  Surprise!  The Goober's kids go to a private school doing in person teaching.  New rule number 4: Retail is limited to 20% of capacity.  But wait! It's Gavinball! New rule number 4 gets replaced by new rule number C after 24 hours: Retail is now limited to 35% (apparently CoViD just got less contagious in that 24 hours).  New rule number 5: Playgrounds are now closed.  Gavinball! After 72 hours CoViD just got less contagious again and new rule number 5 gets replaced by new rule number D: Playgrounds are open again.  New rule number 6: Although restaurants, gyms, hotels, and etc. are closed, ski resorts are not.  Wanna bet on what our Goober likes to do when he's not going to the French Laundry for an indoor dinner with 22 people for a lobbyists birthday?

An update on another topic I've opined about

Since we are all so worried about anyone dying here are two points to ponder, one serious, and one not so much.  The CDC has updated their weekly deaths by age through about November 18 (I suspect that the last week is pretty incomplete, but I included it anyways).  The total number of excess deaths for 2020 (that is the total deaths for 2020 minus the average totals for the same time periods for the years 2015 - 2019) works out to 388,323.  The reported CoViD deaths through November 18 was 249,670.   That means there are 138,653 excess excess deaths (i.e., deaths not due to the CoViD-19 disease, but still in excess of a 'usual' year).  I strongly believe that these deaths are due to the actions of our, and I use this word loosely, leaders.  Yet, these leaders continue to ignore these deaths.  Will the closures of our latest round of Gavinball (technically the re-re-closures) exacerbate these excess excess deaths?  I fear so.  For the not so serious point see this Babylon Bee article.  I wish they wouldn't give him any ideas...


† - I should trademark/copyright this, but I'm too lazy and cheap.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

And Our Goober Extends His Hand To Destroy San Diego County... For No Reason

The inevitable happened today and our Goober has made San Diego County 'purple'.  This means he has announced the re-re-re-closing of many of our business, most especially indoor seating for restaurants.  And why did he do that?  Because our adjusted CASE rate is above 7.0 for the second consecutive week.

I have ranted ad nauseum about how crazy this is.  So this time, no rant just SCIENCE.  Also an apology for the quality (or lack thereof) for the resolution of the plots.

Below you can find the plots of daily reported positive tests (total cases), daily hospitalization, daily ICU admissions, daily reported deaths, and daily reported tests for the time periods April 7 to November 7.  Each are shown as weekly running averages to reduce the noise.  The plots for Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and tests are included mostly for completeness sake.  I've also shown the weekly running average of the daily reported positive case numbers for the age groups 0 to 30 and 70 and up, but only for the time period June 9 to November 7 (as I don't have the age breakdown of cases prior to June 9). 

I now invite you to compare the shape of the deaths to that of the total cases.  Are they the same?  Should we be using cases as our warning bell for increasing deaths?  Now compare the deaths to the cases for those 70 and older.  Do they seem to match?  Is this what we should be worrying about?  It is also interesting to compare the shapes of the total cases and the cases for those 0 to 30 (and I note that since the beginning of the outbreak the total deaths in San Diego county for those aged 0 to 30 is four).

So I ask you dear reader, if our goal is to reduce deaths (a noble and reasonable goal), should we be worried about total cases?  Or is there a clearly superior alternate?  And if so, how should that impact our actions?  Should we be closing down our restaurants?  Should we be very concerned with protecting the elderly?  Is there anything here we didn't know MONTHS ago (see my post of April 19)?

Plot of cases for those age groups 0 to 30 (blue) and 70 and up (red).

Plot of total cases over time.

Plot of deaths over time.

Plot of Hospitalizations over time.

Plot of ICU admissions over time.

Plot of tests over time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Goober Nuisance and Burgermeister Meisterburger, Separated at Birth?

Today our Goober published the latest of his Burgermeister rules, in this case those pertaining to Holiday Gatherings.  Just like his predecessor Burgermeister Meisterburger (see the historical documentary Santa Claus is Comin to Town), Burgermeister Goober Nuisance has promulgated his latest stupidity.  In this case his "mandatory guidance for private gatherings during the Holiday season" (or as local TV station KUSI calls it on their website: California releases crazy mandatory guidance for private gatherings this Holiday season).

They really are crazy.  Here are my nominees for his top (bottom?) ten rules:

#10: Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.  

#9: A gathering of no more than three households is permitted in a public park or other outdoor space, even if unrelated gatherings of other groups up to three households are also occurring in the same park or other outdoor space.  If multiple such gatherings are occurring, mixing between group gatherings is not allowed.

#8: The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.

#7: All gatherings must be held outside. 

#6: Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.

#5: Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households.

#4: People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.

#3: Gatherings should be two hours or less.

#2: As much as possible, any food or beverages at outdoor gatherings must be in single-serve disposable containers.


#1: singing, chanting, and shouting are strongly discouraged, but if they occur, People who are singing or chanting are strongly encouraged to do so quietly (at or below the volume of a normal speaking voice).

Mrs Ohioan and I were talking about these and she said it all reminded her of the Burgermeister Meisterburger rules in the aforementioned story.  First Burgermeister Meisterburger outlaws toys, then the children of Sombertown are given toys by Kris Kringle, then we see him...

Burgermeister: Ah, a perfect day.  Everybody is glum.  Ah, see? All the little children are playing with their toys. [Sputters] Playing with their toys?! Stop... in the name of the law! You brats are under arrest! Take them away.

That's our Goober.  I wish I could say that's a parody of our Goober, but read the rules.  He IS the Burgermeister Meisterburger come to life. But he should be careful.  Remember how the story ends...

They kind of died off and fell out of power. And by and by, the good people realized how silly the Meisterburger laws were.  Well, everybody had a wonderful laugh and then forgot all about them.

That is the hoped for future here in California.  The day our Goober is long forgotten and we can laugh about it. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is the Ultimate Proof That Our Goober is a Lying Liar

I've always suggested that our Goober is a liar (since he's a politician, and a San Francisco politician on top of that, it's hardly a surprise that he would be).  Yesterday I added that he's unscientific as well.  The ultimate proof of these claims came late yesterday.

Yesterday San Diego County released our weekly Tuesday update to our case rate per 100,000 as 7.9.  Then the state did their voodoo and reported our county's adjusted case rate per 100,000 as 7.1.  Now I can't say exactly how they do that voodoo (see my previous explanation/rant here), but I can say that I can not figure it out and I'm really pretty good at simple (even not-so-simple) math.  

Well yesterday our lying liar of a Goober topped himself.  Seems that even they can't compute it 'right'.  Why do I claim this?  Because I looked up the data from the state CoViD website (go to here, then scroll to the bottom and click on San Diego county on the map).  But you won't see the 7.1 for San Diego County I saw yesterday at about 2 PM.  Nope.  Late yesterday they 'recalculated' the number and now it's 7.0.  That leaves San Diego in the 'red' tier instead of taking our first step towards the 'purple' tier.

I assume they have some spreadsheet somewhere where they just put the raw numbers in and it automatically updates the final adjusted numbers (that's sure what I would do).  Seriously, are they really trying to tell us that they are unable to calculate the adjustment?  But they want us to believe that we should base our entire economy on it?  I think the phrase is "C'mon man".  Well I for one don't believe it.  I believe that Goober Nuisance had them adjust the adjustment to get us back to red, because he knows that San Diego County has become a hot bed for flat out defiance (and the law suits that would accompany it).  This he does not want to face.

As a complete aside, but worth noting the state website, in a moment of biblical irony, has been named as "The Blueprint for a Safer Economy".  Speechless.  I'm simply freaking speechless.  

One other mildly terrifying thing worth noting. If you go the state website and click on San Diego County you might also not that below the adjusted adjusted case rate per 100,000, they report not only San Diego's positivity rate of 3.3%, but they also report "Health equity quartile positivity rate" of 5.5%.  This I had never heard of.  Guess what, there are tier implications of this number too!  They are sufficiently byzantine that I won't even try to explain it here, just go the website and read it for yourself.  I'm sure our oh-so-woke Goober is using this as a tool to force additional SJW actions on our state.  Heck the website says 

"The purpose of this metric is to ensure California reopens its economy safely by reducing disease transmission in all communities."
Seems clear to me that it will be just another way to keep strangling the economy.

Oh, and speaking of strangling the economy, yesterday the Goober finally announced how we go about opening all the theme parks and attractions that Southern California is known for (Disneyland, California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Sea World, Lego Land, bus/tram rides at the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park, etc., etc., etc.).  It's easy.  All we have to do is get to the yellow tier, which is completely impossible for just about any realistic future in a county the size of San Diego (or Orange, or LA, or really any county with a theme park) without a vaccine.  But once we do those parks can all open at 25% capacity.  Yay!  25% capacity!  Any bets on how long it will take for those parks to 1) layoff every employee, and 2) file for Chapter 11 (or equivalent)? I want before the end of 2020 in the pool.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Some Thoughts On the CoViD-19 Situation and the Associated Science

Item 1: A Fairly Useless Study From the CDC

A recent scholarly article was pointed out to me (Thanks KT!) in which a small (but reasonably random) sample of people were observed to determine what kinds of activities, if any, correlated with increased likelihood of contracting CoViD-19, all cases and studies done over the period June 1 - June 29).  To cut to the rather dull chase, of the 10 activities studied, only going to a restaurant had a clearly higher correlation to disease contraction.  I would point out that given the time frame of the study and the known likely correlation between going to a restaurant and participating in the protests/riots (which was NOT included as an activity in the study), it remains impossible to directly claim that restaurants are an actual source of spread, but I would still accept their conclusion that

Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Implementing safe practices to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2 during on-site eating and drinking should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities
If, as you read that, you uttered a silent "Well, Duh!", you are not alone.

Item 2: Our Goober Remains an Unscientific Petty Tyrant  

First, I will simply update the ongoing shut-out as now being Goober Nuisance: 0, Me: 15 (data at bottom of post).  That's the short way of saying that despite the ups and downs of the various actual and 'adjusted' (i.e., imaginary) case rates and the test positivity rates, there is simply no increase in deaths, here in San Diego County.  Note that nonetheless today our Case Rate number was declared as 7.1, so we are now over the number-of-doom (7.0) for a first week, and if we get assigned another number-of-doom above 7.0 next Tuesday, they will, at least attempt to, re-re-close San Diego County (although it is clear that there will be lawsuits and many peaceful protests in the guise of businesses and citizens - NOT subjects - defying the tyrant - it may well be the impetus for me to actually go to a restaurant for other than take-out).

Second, I recently realized that there is a crazy mismatch between the two metrics our Goober is using.  First a quick review to establish context.  The "Tier" a county ends up being assigned to is determined by where their metrics for "ADJUSTED Case Rate per 100,000" and "Testing Positivity Percentage" fall.  Each metrics establishes a Tier, and the overall Tier is the lower (worse) of the two.  Now I had originally thought that the two would be constructed so that each would produce a number such that, in general, they should put a county into the same Tier.  In fact San Diego County has been in the very top end of the Tier 2 numbers (flirting with Tier 1) for at least the last 5 weeks.  Meanwhile our positivity rate has been declining fairly steadily (with noise of course, but the trend is there) and is now down to 3.3%, making it below the mid-point of Tier 3.  (Note that number is the one reported for SDC by the state - the county numbers (which are a 14 day average) have been below 3.15 for every one of the last 21 consecutive days, so don't ask me how they calculate it).  I decided to look up the metrics for each and every county as reported by the state.  I can safely say that while there are 12 counties in the state's most restrictive Tier 1, there is not a single county that is in Tier 1 for the positivity rate.  Also, I see our Goober still has yet to allow anyone to be in the non-existent Green Tier 5, this despite the fact that two of the counties have case rates and positivity rates of zero (yes, 0).

Oh, and if you still might think our Goober is scientific, be sure to read Items 3 and 4, below.

Item 3: The Ignored 86,000 Has Become the Ignored 115,000

A quick recap of my post of Sept 20: The CDC has a webpage that currently reports the number of deaths, by age and week, for each week from week 1 of 2015 through week 42 of 2020 (approximately Oct 6), although as of my post of Sep 20, the data was only through about Aug 11.  Starting on week 13 (last week of March) and through Aug 11, there were 251,257 more deaths in 2020 than for the average of those weeks during 2015-2019, but the total of the CoViD deaths during that time was only 165,148, meaning that there 86,000 unaccounted for deaths.  Now with the data available through Oct 6, there are almost 115,000 more unaccounted for deaths (325,230 total - 210,232 CoViD = 114,998 unaccounted for).

I really don't understand it.  How can that many more deaths occur, and no one ask why?  Well, other than me, apparently.  Again, I just don't get it.

Item 4: The Great Barrington Declaration

Following a recent conference (in Great Barrington, MA - hence the name), the assembled infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists released this declaration. I will not summarize it.  You should read it for yourself (it isn't long).  This is one of those things that the MSM has simply ignored (except to quote others dismissing it as 'a dangerous fallacy').  It is something that everyone should read, and consider carefully (particularly in the context of Item 3 above) before they simply decide that we need to continue our current use of the blunt hammer of 'lockdowns' to try to control CoViD spread, while ignoring all other considerations.


Table 1.  Predictions and results for San Diego COunty CoViD-19 deaths through last week (week ending  10/17/2020) and my prediction for this week.

Week Ending Prediction  Observed 

Monday, September 21, 2020

There is Always Something New, at the Zoo

Shortly after moving to San Diego, Mrs Ohioan and I joined, have remained, members of the San Diego Zoological Society.  We've gone to the 'World Famous San Diego Zoo' (and the Safari Park) more times than we can count.  First we went there with our kids.  Then just the two of us.  Now its back to with the kids, but with the bonus of going and with their kids, too.  I can't tell you how often we've turned to each other at the Zoo and said, "I've never seen THAT before.  Well, there's always something new to see at the Zoo."  Today was no exception, except that it wasn't so much something new to see, as it was something new to hear.


Llamas vocalizing

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Ignored 86,000 - RIP

It would be an understatement to say that I've been watching the CoViD-19 case and death data, it's more like obsessing over it.  But this past Friday (in order to write a comment over on KT's blog), I actually did a quick analysis of then current CDC data for 'excess deaths' during the CoViD-19 epidemic.   To be blunt I was shocked to find out the excess deaths added up to 251,257 (for the time period March 25 - August 11).  I was shocked because the total deaths attributed to CoViD-19 (again by CDC) on the last day covered by that data was only 165,148 [NOTE: I actually quoted 201,000 over on KT's blog, but I had not taken into account that the excess death data wasn't through September 16, but more than 5 weeks sooner on Aug 11!].  That's why I'm saying that there are over 86,000 excess deaths that are unaccounted for.  That my friends is more than 34% of the total excess.

What has caused all these deaths, and why is no one talking about them?

In my comment I suggested that the causes might be 

"the unintended consequence of the lockdowns/economic strangulation (suicide, domestic abuse, or maybe even people not being able/willing to get proper medical care for other conditions jump to my mind as possibilities)."

So over the last couple of days I have searched obsessively for any data to try to figure out if any or all of these causes might explain such a large number of deaths.  Let's take them one at a time.

For suicides the latest data I could find on the CDC site was through 2017 (worthless!).  I did manage to find a couple of data points.  In an online article they state that

"The spike in suicides in Cook County is especially pronounced in the Black community, which has already seen 58 suicides this year, according to the medical examiner’s office. That outpaces 56 from all of 2019 and 33 during the same time period last year."


"In June, Fresno reported 17 suicide deaths in one month, the highest number in almost three years and up from 10 in June 2019."

Those work out to 'excesses'  of 75% and 70%, respectively.  Of course they are ridiculously small to be used for any kind of extrapolation, but if we do, we'd expect a rise of something like 0.75*47,000*0.5 (the 47,000 is suicides last year, and the 0.5 is to account for the data only covering about a half year), which works out to about 17,600.  While that's a big number, it would only explain about 20% of the excess deaths.

For domestic abuse I could not find any hard numbers of fatalities.  There have been numbers for increases in things like calls reporting domestic abuse, inquiries to safe homes, and the like that range from 20% to 50%, with a almost unbelievable 150% rise in "visits to the refuge website" (see here).  Although these are despicable results, it turns out that the estimate of annual deaths is only 1,000 - 1,600.  So unless the numbers have grown far more than any reasonable estimate this simply can't account for more than 3,000 'excess' deaths.

Trying to assign a number of current deaths from the third possible cause, deferred medical care, is hopeless.  There was a nice study in the Lancet which attempted to figure out haw many people would die prematurely over the next five years and the total years of life lost (YLL) would be in England.  The data are distressing to say the least.  Bottom line, they think that a good estimate of total YLL is about 60,000.  That's for England (population 56 million).  We can (completely without justification) say that projects to 350 million years of life lost here in the US.

So it is currently impossible for me to explain the 86,000 excess deaths reported by the CDC which are over and above the CoViD-19 excess deaths.  Nonetheless I do believe that there truly are nearly 86,000 people who have died in the US, who should not have died, and whose deaths must be attributed to the pernicious unintended consequence of the lockdowns.  Further, the lockdowns have been held on so long (in blue states), that truly long lasting economic consequences are going to cause these unintended consequences to last far beyond whenever the lockdowns finally end (if they end?).  

It is my belief that the 'cure' has become worse than the disease, and that the time is past to end the lockdowns.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Democrats Won't Be Happy Until All Private Enterprise Is Destroyed

I know that title seems like a rather inflammatory and extreme position to take, but I can't figure out how else to explain what is currently going on here in the "Golden State".  I've made my case that the Goober wants our economy destroyed by CoViD-19 repeatedly (actually one could quite reasonably say I've made this point to excess).  But that is hardly the only anti-business action taken recently.

Many of you will have heard about the Union backed anti-business new law, generally referred to as AB5.  That bill originally made it impossible for anyone but doctors and lawyers to generally be an independent contractor, unless you are also registered as a "business".  This of course would require that the business also hold a CA Business License (and of course pay the state annually for that right).  The point of it wasn't to make people become independent business, but rather to make it impossible for businesses like Uber and Lyft to "exploit" their drivers (or so they claimed).  This was based on the (faulty) assumption that the drivers want to be full time employees, when in fact most of the drivers just want to have a small side-hustle to make a few extra bucks.  In truth it was clearly intended to make it possible to Unionize the drivers (and then, of course, get those kick-backs campaign contributions).  So far the app-based companies have gotten an injunction to stop enforcement of this, but it ends on Oct 1.  They've also put a proposition (#22) on the ballot to make the law not apply to these companies.  In the meantime, the legislature has passed all sorts of extra 'exceptions' to the law (like musicians, party planners, etc., etc., etc.), but not the app-based companies in what is clear admission that they have no intention to ever give them a break, but want to reduce the support for the Proposition.  So here's my prediction: Uber and Lyft will cease operations in CA as of Oct 1.  This will be done to bring home to many Californians the realities of the issue.  Nonetheless the sheepeople (Democrat voters) will kill the Proposition, Uber and Lyft will never come back to CA (and lots of other app-based services will stay away), and CA will be left in the past.  If by some miracle, the Proposition passes, then the Democrat Attorney Generalissimo will sue, and our liberal judges will rule the Proposition is Unconstitutional (which in CA is code for "the left doesn't like it, but even though the people do, we'll throw it out.  So much for our lip-service to democracy".

The other big thing our wonderful Democrat controlled legislature has passed is a huge tax on businesses. Well it is huge if you think doubling the tax to add another 11G$ is huge when the current state budget is 222G$ (i.e., a 5% increase in their confiscation of earned income redistribution of ill-gotten money).  But this isn't a general increase, and it hasn't gone into effect, yet.  See it is an attempt to whittle away at Prop 13, by only raising the property tax on businesses (which includes apartments, so take heed you non-home owners).  It might also apply to residential property if used for business purposes (all those folks who are working from home, take heed as well).  For it to take effect it has to be passed as a Proposition (#15 on the Nov ballot).  They expect (and so do I) that a majority of the people will stupidly vote for it, since they will think 'it doesn't apply to me, only to businesses'.  Of course what they won't have thought of is either of the already mentioned risks, nor will they consider the fact that if you raise the property tax on businesses one of two things will happen.  Either 1) the businesses will pass on the increased costs to the people (and the voters will be paying it), or 2) the businesses will go out of business (and that carries a cost to the consumer/voter as well).  I really hope I'm wrong on this one and the Proposition fails, but I won't be holding my breath.