Friend in Texas runs, but cannot hide, from coronavirus

Anecdotal evidence that my cherished hope of summertime relief from coronaplague is illusory: a friend in Austin, Texas has developed Covid-19. If the virus can survive not only summer, but the Texas summer, that is indeed sobering.

His Facebook post:

I had a 100ish fever last Thursday night/Friday, with none of the other effects I’ve read about. Got tested just in case so I didn’t increase anyone else’s risk.

No fever or anything else since then except occasional headache and maybe some fatigue. My primary care doc thinks I may have gotten a very small exposure and fought it off quickly – we’ll see. He may have me do an antibody test in a week or two to rule out a false positive.

Be safe – remember that even being very careful, wearing a KN95 mask and gloves at the grocery store with plenty of hand sanitizer, social distancing, etc are not 100%.

UPDATE 6/17: Low grade fever early this morning (100.1) but responded to ibuprofen and now I feel pretty normal. Still no other symptoms.

UPDATE 6/16 – Q from the comments: Do you have a feel for where/how you got it?

A: Not sure. I’ve mostly stayed put since early March since I work from home.

Could have been at the store – KN95 is still 5% failure rate, and even though I bought the masks at Staples, it’s hard to know the quality of the Chinese manufacturing.

We’ve seen a small number of people while socially distancing in recent weeks – that would be my bet, but none of those people (already notified) have reported symptoms so far.

My guess is I’ll never really know.

He’s in his 50s so he is not statistically invulnerable to the plague, but he is otherwise healthy as far as I know, so I am not heading down there to dig a grave for him.

A friend recently traveled on JetBlue (empty middle seats, unlike on American) and was surprised to see a fellow passenger in full Ebola doctor PPE: respirator mask plus face shield. Maybe this is the way to dress for the next 2-3 years!

Alternatively, could we be (very slowly) proving the Bishops of the Church of Sweden correct? They said that the virus would wait for us to come out of bunkers. The U.S. right now has a Covid-19 death rate roughly 30 percent lower than Sweden’s, but we have years to catch up. (And don’t forget we have all of the shutdown-related deaths, e.g., from delayed health care, from unemployment and poverty, etc., that nobody is bothering to tally.)

[Update: his fever went away by Wednesday. So it was a one-week fever with “occasional headache, fatigue, and tight chest but really nothing else.” Both children, age 6 and 11, got it (“mild” and/or “brief” fever), but not the wife. Maybe that tells us something about the typical amount of physical intimacy in an American household with children…]


7 thoughts on “Friend in Texas runs, but cannot hide, from coronavirus

  1. Phil, according to Dr Osterholm (, the Swedish model is a myth! See

    “First of all, the Sweden model no longer exists. It was a myth to begin with. And it now is even being heavily criticized within Sweden to the point where there’s actually a criminal investigation going on about what did or didn’t happen in their long-term care. Sweden has one of the highest death rates in the world in terms of number of people that have died per population. They have not advanced any meaningful way towards a herd immunity level and are not much higher than the United States is right now. And they recognize in retrospect that maybe they didn’t accomplish all that they thought they were going to.

    The adjoining countries of Denmark, Finland, and Norway – who did go into more extensive lockdown activities — have kept their death rates significantly lower than Sweden has. And they’re bringing back the economy, very similar to Sweden is doing. “

    • I do believe the virus is going to slowly burn through us all, and nothing can really stop it except a vaccine. Of course, we can modulate the rate to some degree as it hits, eternally hopeful that the vaccines will come sooner rather than later.

    • Of course the Church of Sweden is a “myth” from the point of view of someone who lives in a Church of Shutdown country. Christianity is a myth for Saudi Arabians. So the Church of Shutdown believer looks at the shut-down U.S., with a death rate 30% lower than Sweden’s, and says “this is a heavenly death-free garden where everyone can enjoy Netflix while drinking alcohol and consuming opioids in between cashing $600/week government checks. The death rate in the population will be even lower going forward as Americans get 800% of their daily recommended intake of Doritos and Coca Cola and are prohibited by law from entering a gym.”

      I don’t think the economy is relevant, since Americans don’t care about money anymore, but only about not being killed by Covid-19. But for what it is worth, here are some data from : “In a report on Monday, Capital Economics presented data that give Sweden an irrefutable edge. From peak to trough, Swedish GDP will shrink 8%; in the U.K. and Italy, the contraction is somewhere between 25% and 30%, according to estimates covering the fourth quarter of 2019 through to the second quarter of 2020. The U.S. is somewhere in the middle, it said. “Even accounting for data problems, the variation in the extent of the economic damage inflicted by the virus on different countries is striking,” said Neil Shearing, group chief economist at the researcher.”

  2. re: Sweden…

    Many countries' success show containment is possible. Sweden is pursuing a batshit crazy idea "Herd Immunity" with massive suffering and death, without returning to normal for months or years, and without evidence it is possible. Compare Sweden to similar countries— Yaneer Bar-Yam (@yaneerbaryam) June 16, 2020

    I don't want to put too much weight on this Apple data, because it's an approximate aggregation, and there are bound to be problems with cross-country comparisons.But it's in keeping with news reports that Swedish restaurants (etc) are de jure open, but de facto empty.— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) May 3, 2020

    re: PPE on planes

    On Planes: I wear 2 masks plus goggles (plus N95 when there is a crowd). [Now]— Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) June 7, 2020

    re: rona burning thru the population… we’re serious enough not to DoS the hospitals but not serious enough to eradicate the virus

    SARS-CoV-2 will burn itself out if it has no other hosts to transmit to. If people keep their distance from others, use face coverings when necessary, get tested if having any symptoms (however mild) & comply with tracing and isolation, it’s possible to drive it out.— Devi Sridhar (@devisridhar) June 17, 2020

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