Coronaplague is a primarily sexually transmitted disease in Massachusetts?

Here we are in Massachusetts in our third month of shutdown with 2.3X the death rate of never-shut Sweden (some stats). Judging by the shape of the curve of deaths per day, the virus is spreading here at roughly the same rate as it has been spreading in Sweden. Our offices are shut. Our non-essential business are shut. Our flight schools are shut until a bureaucracy can come up with a detailed plan for the few hundred students that might want to fly during the remainder of 2021. Our theaters are shut. Unlike in reopened or never-shut Europe, our schools are shut. How, then, is the virus spreading?

Let’s consider a young healthy person here in Massachusetts. What has he/she/ze/they been able to do?

  • play sports with friends: illegal
  • meander around a mall: illegal and impossible
  • walk outside without a mask: illegal
  • go to the movies: illegal and impossible
  • go to the gym and get fit: illegal and impossible
  • learn to fly: illegal
  • go to the local mosque or church: illegal

How about “Meet someone on Tinder, go to that person’s house, have sex, and sleep over”? Legal and possible.

When the only legal option for entertainment, other than watching Netflix, is casual sex, should we be surprised if young people decide that this is how they want to entertain themselves? In my informal survey of people in their 20s and 30s, more than half have no personal fear of contracting coronavirus and all of the single ones continue to be interested in making, um, new connections (and, without even being asked, quite a few admit to having made new connections).

Is there any evidence for this theory? Supposedly, Tinder achieved a historic peak in usage on March 29, 2020 (WTOP). From TMZ:

There’s an app, Sensor Tower, that gives insights into traffic on popular dating/sex apps, including, Tinder, Bumble and Grindr … and millions and millions of people are, at the very least, looking for love, and at worst, hooking up with strangers.

If Tinder is the primary app for the most casual of casual encounters, consider this headline: “During coronavirus lockdown, Tinder surpasses Bumble, OkCupid, Hinge downloads”

Why don’t we see evidence of this on social media? From “The Secret Lives of Perfect Social Distancers” (Atlantic):

“When I look at my choices as objectively as possible, I should not be doing this,” a 26-year-old speech pathologist told me, referring to the romance she started a few weeks ago.

The speech pathologist, who asked to not be identified by name to avoid repercussions at work, has been renting a car and driving from her home in Washington, D.C., to her new boyfriend’s home in Baltimore a few times a week, and keeping it a secret from almost everyone she knows.

For now, the speech pathologist has told only a few friends (all of whom got mad) and her mom (who also got mad) about her blossoming relationship.

What is the point of shutting down flight schools, public restrooms, museums (10 visitors per hour at the more obscure ones?), and picnic tables for burger and seafood shacks if strangers are going to meet by the millions every week as part of enjoying the one form of entertainment that remains legal?

(You might ask how casual sexual encounters can explain the high rates of coronaplague and associated deaths in nursing homes here in Massachusetts. Let’s assume that the inmates are not using Tinder, but the workers and the children of the workers probably are. The typical young person who gets infected with coronavirus will not develop a forehead temperature that will stop him/her/zer/them from entering a nursing home to go to work.)

14 thoughts on “Coronaplague is a primarily sexually transmitted disease in Massachusetts?

  1. /rant

    The state of New York declared complete victory over AIDS earlier this year. New York has pushed state-funded access to HIV medicines and pharmaceutical prophylactics for some time now. Behaviourial prophylactics, like condom usage and reducing casual sex are not mentioned. The advertising touts the drugs as making casual sex safe.

    So back to the total victory over AIDS. This is victory: New York estimates 90% of HIV carriers and potential carriers are being tested, while 90% of those are being successfully treated. This has lead to a 60% reduction in new cases a year, from 5,000/year to 2,000/year. Total victory. Also note that all HIV postive people and those at risk now need a lifetime supply of very expensive drugs. Victory will cost us billions of dollars annually, forever.

    It is odd that online companies censor wuhan flu skeptics, while promoting a sexual agenda that is more dangerous to long term public health.

    The public monitoring, testing and treatment of STDs of all sorts has been going on for a long time. That this infrastructure has not received more utilization in the fight against Wuhan Flu is noteworthy.

    As American medicine has become increasingly regulated and socialized, it has become worse, unable to handle even a mild flu like coronavirus. New York City lost 20,000 hospital beds in the last 20 years, all while health spending, particularly public health spending, skyrocketed.

    Government subsidies and regulation are killing us. The coronavirus deaths are centered in state-run nursing homes. These homes were places of misery before coronavirus. The coronavirus just showed how bad they were. Worth noting that the NAZIs develloped Zyklon B in nursing homes, when carbon monoxide poisoning proved ineffective.


    I really got to get out more.

    • > The public monitoring, testing and treatment of STDs of all sorts has been going on for a long time. That this infrastructure has not received more utilization in the fight against Wuhan Flu is noteworthy.

      Surely it’s inevitable that every STD eventually sweeps through the entire population. Rather than inconvenience everyone by telling them to wear condoms, get regularly tested, avoid orgies and gangbangs, etc., (for how long?) doesn’t it obviously make more sense to rely on a strategy of herd immunity? E.g., once people are infected with HIV, they develop antibodies, which I assume are able to clear the virus and prevent reinfection.

      And now that the rate of HIV infection has dropped so much, why are we still concerned about testing, treatment, etc. now that the problem has basically disappeared? Time to bring back 1960s free love (I wasn’t actually alive back then but that’s my understanding of what the ’60s were like) and unprotected sex with hundreds of partners (once San Francisco reopens their bathhouses, currently closed due to coronavirus).

  2. As long as we have casual sex, booze, weed and cars we will never completely stop the spread of coronavirus. Even if young people don’t die from it, they’ll spread it, until all the spreadin’s done. And then, I suppose, other people will die from it. It’s definitely a vector in our vast viral vector space.

    Matt Labash and Toby Young must be hiding something, because they miss this completely in their epic 6,500 word debate about the +/- of lockdown, they didn’t mention this possibility, although Labash does talk about condom usage.

    Labash is pro-shutdown, Young is a holocough denier. Their positions are summed up for the tl;dr people as:

    Young: “The civil rights of hundreds of millions of Americans…should be restored immediately.”
    Labash: “That’s a lot of dead people.”

  3. That would cause more women than men to have it, since our culture features a lot of women banging the same high status men. When the state was closed, more affluent parts of Calif* had more women getting it than men. After Calif* reopened & high status wasn’t the only way for men to access women, the gender gap narrowed.

  4. Give them sex and weed and people will let anything be done to themselves and their countries. For example: Boomers.

    • J: Swedes don’t need to meet via Tinder. They can meet in nightclubs, restaurants, bars, on soccer fields, in each other’s houses, in parks (without masks!), in offices (#MeToo!), etc. And, since they have some alternative forms of entertainment and social engagement, young single Swedes may not feel compelled to have sex with as many new partners every month. So coronavirus might be less likely to spread via sexual contact in Sweden. But, as noted in the original post, the virus is spreading with a similarly-shaped curve in Sweden versus Massachusetts. The principal difference is that the death rate in MA is 2.3X than of Sweden. If we are purportedly shut down, how is the virus spreading here if not via Tinder?

  5. Harvard T.H. Chan on NPR, the station for college professors:

    “We’re not anywhere near done.”
    “By the time we’re done… every American will have felt it much more up close and personal”
    “Model of Models” ( )
    Summer will be good because it will then be horrible:
    “…a wave that might be bigger than the wave we just went through.”
    “…really aggressive testing, tracing, isolation program. We know that works.”
    “We want a federal strategy.”

    No mention of Tinder. We’re not even getting started. The ensemble models show it. The Federal government needs to get involved with a national strategy for **aggressive testing, tracing, isolation.** That’s the Health Force. $55 billion to start.

  6. If coronavirus is spreading as an STD, nobody at my local hospital is talking about it, and there aren’t any posters or advisories on it. And very few people are going to the hospital to be treated for STDs or anything else — I just got back from a trip for a blood draw in advance of a CT scan.

    The place looked deserted. The parking lots were 3/4ths empty, the ED was empty, the reception area had 6 staffers, three of which were sitting behind desks to greet incoming patients with hand sanitizer, and I was the only other person in the room. You walk in 10 feet, and are greeted with a squirt of hand sanitizer, checked in, and the check-in workers are behind thick plastic partitions that have been set up since the last time I was there.

    I went up to the lab area for the blood draw and the chairs in the waiting area have been reduced from 5 to 2, spread out for social distancing at opposite corners of the room, but it doesn’t matter because again, I was the only one there.

    I went for the blood draw, which took 5 minutes. My phlebotomist was not wearing a mask. Two contractors in the lab area working on the HVAC ductwork with ladders and tools were also not wearing masks. I was wearing mine! After the blood draw I thought I’d visit the neurology department to ask about an upcoming appointment. Neither of the receptionists were wearing masks. No office visits without a special request. I asked for one.

    Walking through the halls, the place was deserted. Most of the offices were closed, the lights were off, it looked like entire areas of the hospital had been closed off and shut down. There was only a tiny trickle of patients and staff roaming the halls. It was so quiet you could hear the elevator doors opening 150 feet away down the hallways. I didn’t see any evidence of COVID patients being treated, or really anyone else, for anything.

    • Addendum: “Deserted” also fairly describes the businesses and shopping centers along the route back and forth. I was the first car in line at every stoplight and I could have easily driven 75 miles per hour roads posted for 35 or 40. This is undoubtedly why we’re seeing an uptick in motor vehicle fatalities even with the huge decrease in traffic volume: when the next visible moving car is 20 seconds away, you think you can drive twice as fast, and you want to. There aren’t any cars because nobody is going to any stores, and scarcely anywhere else. I saw a lot of “We’re Open!! Essential Business!” banners beckoning nonexistent customers toward empty parking lots.

      My radio accompaniment was the local NPR station, which ran its usual morning roundtable focusing on how in the universe the country voted to elect Donald Trump. The dominant opinion was that it was because of racism. And don’t worry about New York State: one commentator who has followed Cuomo “for years and years” doesn’t think he wants a job in the Biden administration other than perhaps Attorney General or maybe Secretary of State, but thinks its a long shot because Cuomo is “a man who likes to be his own boss.” Also, New York State will be “flush” under the new Biden administration. All their fiscal worries will be taken care of.

    • @Alex – NPR definitely indicates the situation of a country that would elect Donald Trump. Trump’s the champion in this fake news world!

  7. I think you might be confusing cause and effect here. I believe that people are certainly desperate to engage in sexual activity at this time, but I’m not sure how many are succeeding. Tinder made a change to the app to let you swipe in any location around the world (this was previously a feature only paid subscribers had access to). This means that while it’s pretty easy to match people and talk to them (since people are feeling lonely working from home and not going out), the logistics of meeting up are difficult, since most of your matches (at least in a big city people are setting their location to) are hundreds or thousands of miles away. It’s as if instead of being tied to geography, the cities (e.g. New York or Singapore) are just conceptual entities and you’re just talking to people interested in the same entities. Also, a lot of people who previously lived in the New York area have since fled the area and are now living with their parents in the suburbs, which limits the amount of “dating” they’re doing.

    Even if none of the above posed a problem, and you succeeded in finding someone local who’s totally unafraid of coronavirus (and you also wanted to hook up with), you would pretty much just have to meet them at their place, which while certainly not unheard of on Tinder, is a lot less common than meeting at a bar and consuming alcohol first. Maybe if you’re really creative, you could go drink in a public park first.

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