Pandemic Statistics

Yesterday I made a facebook post that sparked a good discussion:

A family friend wrote an “open up America!” post. Here was my response:
If we open up completely right now, figure 1/4 of Americans will get COVID-19. It’s about 6% fatal. Here’s the math: 300,000,000 * .25 * 0.06 = 4.5 million dead. That seems a high price to pay for freedom. Thoughts?

That said, I -hate- staying home and hiding from this thing and I know the loss of productivity is staggering. I’m watching my daughter’s development change for the worse and I hate it.

My friend Tim posted an interesting article and I riffed on it here:

And then, here’s some studies that says my estimates could be way off. I’m happy to be wrong. See Reason article 1 and Reason article 2

“A hundred deaths out of 48,000-81,000 infections corresponds to an infection fatality rate of 0.12-0.2%,” they report.* That’s about the same infection fatality rate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for seasonal influenza.”

So maybe if we open up completely, the math looks like this: 300,000,000 * 0.25 * 0.002 = 150,000 dead total.
I wish we knew which way we were headed.

And here is today’s post in the form of a (very long form) question:

So, how dangerous is COVID-19? Should we get back to our lives?
Looking to Sweden’s death toll may be useful to see what may happen in the US. Sweden didn’t shelter-in-place.

This page ( shows Sweden having 32 deaths per 100,000 people, (that is a mortality rate of 0.032%) which isn’t the highest mortality rate; why don’t they have a higher mortality rate with their open policies??
If 0.032% mortality is what we can expect in total, and people actually recover, then there is a strong argument for us to just go back to work, yes?

What am I missing? With a 0.032% mortality rate, the US would be expected to have a total of 102,400 deaths (calculated by 320 million people * 0.00032). That’s… honestly… not bad. That’s in the realm of a “really bad year with influenza”. There are lots of reports out there that say comparing COVID-19 to the flu isn’t reasonable. Why not? In all seriousness, why not?

Let me try to enumerate the important factors of the pandemic. If we can figure out all the important factors and then address them, maybe we’ll get somewhere:
– Concern about a very high mortality rate among individuals that are older and have co-morbidities
– Concern that COVID-19 leaves people permanently injured
– Concern that people don’t build immunity… and subsequently, that the mortality rate will climb insidiously over time.
– Fear. Fear that there is a new disease that we can readily identify but cannot treat.
– what else? What, specifically, am I forgetting in this list?

Presbyopia in a Pandemic

So now I am farsighted as well as being nearsighted. Blah. I’ve been trying to get progressive lenses but my reaction to my first pair in February was this mix of “WOW, I can see close up!” and “AGHGHEHAH the world is spinning out of control! Make it stop!”

I’d wear them for 20 minutes and rip them off in frustration. The close-up “in-focus” area is so freaking small! It’s like 1/3 of the width of any 8.5″x11″ paper I’m reading. I can’t wiggle my nose back and forth fast enough to read at a reasonable rate! And I can’t see well outside that area!
Walking around with them makes me dizzy. And looking at a computer screen is weird and frustrating, tilting my head up and down, left and right to try to catch everything. And stuff wiggles and shifts under my gaze in a slightly disorienting way. Not luvin ’em. I’m not sure if this is going to work out :-(

After 2 weeks, I got them adjusted to be closer to my eyes and that helped a little but not nearly enough.

I likened wearing my progressives to wearing my head mounted magnifiers. They’re really useful but only good for one thing: looking really closely and carefully at stuff. I -can- wear them for an hour or so but why wear clown-goggles when I can wear my single-vision glasses? Bah!

Roanne has been helping me a ton. When optometrist offices open after the pandemic, I’m going to get some “occupational lenses” with a large near-field. In the mean time, Ro got me some +1 diopter clip-on reading glasses to wear over my current glasses. They were like $12 on Amazon. After a few *seconds* of acclimating, they are great!

I’m now wearing 2 pairs of glasses that don’t have anti-reflective coatings, it’s hard to keep them clean but well worthwhile!

I had asked my friends on Facebook what they thought of progressives and got a wide variety of answers!
Chris D wrote: After several weeks, you’ll stop getting mildly disoriented. I’ve had them for close to 10 years and never had any of the worst warned effects (tripping over curbs, rear-ending cars, etc.) but they weren’t easy to get used to at first. Suffer through, it’s definitely worth it long term.

Zee K wrote simply: I hated them.

Most of my friends were able to get used to them, but some were not. We’ll see how it goes!


We harvested 3 of the 19+ artichokes on our fabulous artichoke plant today! They were AMAZING!

I planted it last year and we ate 3 disappointingly bland & mushy chokes from it but got 3 amazing artichoke flowers (have you ever seen one, they are astounding!). On the second year, we truly have the “weird giant” plant I was hoping for in our front yard!

Macular Edema and a Miracle

In 2016, I had a central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) in one eye and macular edema and crosshatching in my vision to go along with it. I was treated with Avastin (that’s the brand name, no one can pronounce the generic “bevacizumab”). I got monthly-ish injections into my eyeball (yeah, squick! but it worked so…!) for a year and my vision returned to 95% normal, hurray!

On April 10th, I started having macular edema again and it was scary business. I made it to the eye doctor last week and got treated Monday (effing insurance wouldn’t cover a “same day pre-approval” so I had to be increasingly blind over the weekend). I am VERY happy to say that my eye has gotten much better over the past 3 days! Wow, what a huge relief! I’ve got more eye injections coming up and I’m fine with that! It is wonderful that this procedure exists! Until about 20 years ago, this condition was mostly untreatable and I’d have gone blind just like that. Now there is a safe and easy procedure to address it!

Macular edema makes everything look like you’re seeing through bullseye glass. I was watching a movie last week when the camera angle switched to looking through a window with bullseye glass. I panicked because all of a sudden BOTH of my eyes had the same view of the world!

To track my vision changes, I put up this eye chart in my office. On the 21st, I could read to line 3 “20/70 vision”. Today I can read to line 6, “20/30 vision” Woo hoo!

Oh and my sister-in-law Roanne has been of great help! She’s a professor of optometry and has helped me and held my hand from the beginning! Thanks Ro!

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

I just watched it again (thanks again to Michael for the recommendation). What a completely entertaining movie!

How are we doing with this whole “flatten the curve” thing?

Are we flattening the curve?

Watch this video, Minute Physics “How To Tell If We’re Beating COVID-19”

and look at this live chart
In brief, when a line is moving diagonally, the virus is growing exponentially (ie. unchecked growth!). When a line starts descending, the virus’ growth is slowing down.

On 4-17-20, this graphical mathematical analysis says, essentially, “Maybe the US has started to flatten the curve as of 4-11-20”. Of course, in order to “keep the curve flat” we have to all stay home… ummm forever. Hmmm.. hmmm…. And what state is doing the best? Well, according to the state chart on the same site, all the states are doing fairly similarly.