Will almost everyone have had COVID-19 by the time the vaccines are available?

“Government Model Suggests U.S. COVID-19 Cases Could Be Approaching 100 Million” (NPR):

The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers.

Since [September], the CDC’s tally of confirmed infections has increased to 12.5 million. So if the model’s ratio still holds, the estimated total would now be greater than 95 million, leaving about 71% of the population uninfected.

The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test. … Some of these antibody studies have suggested that only about one in 10 coronavirus infections is reported.

Cases are currently “spiking” all over the U.S.:

We yearned for ventilators and, by the time they were available, realized that we didn’t need or want them (since they actually harm the typical COVID-19 patient). Currently we yearn for vaccines, but perhaps we won’t need or want them by the time they’re available in significant quantity. (Though perhaps a vaccine could be useful to boost the immunity of someone who’d had COVID-19 the natural way a year earlier.)

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Trump International Hotel Las Vegas review

One of our young customers got it into his head that we should stay in Bellagio. We indulged him for two nights and enjoyed some of the architecture, e.g., the Conservatory, but the hotel felt crowded despite a 50 percent occupancy limit imposed by the state’s COVID-19 mandarins (subsequently reduced to 25 percent). Lines developed at the breakfast restaurant, for example, and it wasn’t practical to keep a 6′ distance from others when navigating from the parking lot to the room. (Partly this was due to the Swedish MD/PhD prediction that humans wearing masks feel invulnerable to coronaplague.) The air was always a bit stale/smoky. The kids were exposed to scenes of gambling every time we wanted to go out and do anything.

The Trump hotel, by contrast, is all non-smoking and there is no casino. It is conveniently located about one block off the Strip abeam the Wynn. There is a good restaurant in the lobby (“DJT”) with reasonable prices and also a shopping mall across the street with a bunch of additional dining options. We got a corner suite on the 53rd floor. Senior Management: “The bathroom here is as big as our entire room at the Bellagio.” (It was finished with enough marble to entomb a communist leader.)

Our suite had a full kitchen (Wolf, Bosch, Sub-Zero appliances; they must have gotten a screaming deal when buying hundreds of these!), but the plates, silverware, and pots had been removed due to local COVID-19 restrictions.

Valet parking is included.

If you’re a light sleeper, be aware that the hotel is close to some train tracks and heavy/noisy freight trains roll by periodically. (But they’re mostly carrying coal, so President Harris and AOC will put a stop to these soon?) On the plus side, the bed and linens are both top-of-the-line. The photo below shows the train, a sex shop, and a marijuana dispensary (though, as with San Francisco, the sidewalks are now so empty that you might need to buy your own marijuana if you want to get high).

As at other Trump hotels, the staff is superb. We had a great breakfast at lower-than-Bellagio prices and, unlike at Bellagio, the servers got our order precisely correct.

The pool is huge, open longer hours than the casino pools (7a-6p in mid-November during our visit), heated to 80-85, and blessed with open southern exposure for nearly the entire day. It is a perfect late fall/early spring pool. The gym was large, well-equipped, and empty.

Depending on your politics/religion, the strongest or weakest spot might be the lobby’s “Trump Store” with Trump logo items (suitable for wearing in most of America’s counties, if not in the big cities where bigger government tends to spend taxpayer funds). For the Age of Coronapanic, the WiFi is also a weak spot. It seems to be provisioned at 70 Mbps download, but only 3 Mbps upload, a marginal speed at best for video conferencing.

Summary: An almost-perfect hotel in Las Vegas. It would be nicer with outdoor balconies for each room (only a handful of Vegas hotels have these, which is a shame considering the wonderful shoulder season climate) and with a higher WiFi upload speed for Zoom/FaceTime/etc.

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What case for the iPhone 12 Pro Max and what is MagSafe useful for?

After an agonizing two-day post-order wait, an iPhone 12 Pro Max has arrived from Verizon. My main interest in this new phone is the purportedly improved camera (the super wide “0.5x” camera on the iPhone 11 Pro Max was especially bad, with terrible corner and edge sharpness).

Do any of the early adopters have a case recommendation? I’m interested in (a) protecting the camera lenses from being scratched while in my pocket, and (b) making it more secure to grip the camera (a slightly soft silicone case would therefore be good).

Finally, what is MagSafe useful for? It is supposedly a “wireless charging” system that requires connecting the phone to a wire? This could be considered an innovation in the English language, but how is it a useful innovation technologically? If I have to attach a wire with a magnetic connector to the back of the phone, can’t I just as easily attach a Lightning cable to what we would have called the “female” connector in the phone back in the pre-LGBTQIA+ days?

(I don’t have Apple DouchePods nor an Apple Watch, which I understand both interact somehow with MagSafe.)

From Union Square, last week, a toilet for the homeless with a billboard for the new $1,000+ phones in the background. Social Justice, California-style:

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Should we follow the Pope’s advice and make it illegal to drive to church?

“Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts” (NYT):

With some exceptions [here’s looking at you, Sweden!], governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.

Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!

(Imagine a healthy 21-year-old believing that being locked into his/her/zir/their apartment is a reduction in his/her/zir/their personal freedom! He/she/ze/they is free to sit in any room in the apartment, watch any TV show, and eat anything/everything from the fridge.)

If we take the Pope at his/her/zir/their word, after coronaplague is a distant memory shouldn’t it be illegal for people to drive to a Catholic church? When it is quite easy for people to participate via Zoom, if “protecting health and saving lives” is the #1 goal, why let anyone subject themselves and others to the risk of an accident on the roads? A person killed from a car accident is just as dead as a person killed by COVID-19 (and, in fact, the loss of life-years is likely to be much higher due to the much younger age and better health of the average car accident victim).

God is everywhere, according to the Catholic religion. If we #FollowThePope, why shouldn’t the government protect health and save lives by forbidding anyone from driving to church in order to find God?

Related:

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Why aren’t saliva tests for COVID-19 widely available?

We’re more than a year into coronaplague. Saliva-based tests were developed back in the spring of 2020. At least here in Maskachusetts, children need COVID-19 tests before they can return to school following the sniffles and/or a trip to the cousins’ house (nearly every state in the U.S. is considered hazardous, even those with lower coronavirus infection rates than Massachusetts itself). Why isn’t is possible for children and adults to go to the local strip mall, spit, and have Kary Mullis‘s magic PCR machine give a thumbs up or thumbs down answer a few hours later?

(Is it the same answer as why we can’t buy Bounty or Formula 409? The U.S. managed to ramp up production of sophisticated aircraft during World War II (partial list). Why can’t we ramp up production of the tests that our governors and school bureaucrats are demanding? (separate issue as to whether there is any medical value to these tests! Last I checked with an MGH doctor, hospital care for COVID-19 patients still consisted primarily of “monitoring” and the care would be the same regardless of test result))

From the CVS MyChart site (November 26):

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What are we thankful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

What are we thankful for this year? Let’s leave out the obvious “family and friends being healthy” (partly because it is obvious and partly because our media assures us that family and friends were mostly killed in 2020 due to a combination of Covid-19 and Donald Trump).

Here are a few from me…

  • the mostly intact general aviation infrastructure in the U.S. We may not have anywhere to go (and various governors’ travel orders may actually make it illegal or impractical to go anywhere), but very likely there will be an awesome airport near our destination with a helpful FBO
  • the Swedes, for showing the world that a society of humans can have priorities other than avoiding Covid-19 (a bit of credit in this category as well to Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, who also deserves credit for telling people that politicians and bureaucrats cannot protect them from a virus)
  • service industry workers, coming into work despite coronapanic and for wages that are often about the same as collecting welfare (and always lower than collecting child support, with proper planning)
  • dogs, whose value to humanity has gone way up now that humans have given up on most purely human goals and activities

Readers: Now it is your turn! (via the comments)

Related:

  • “Is There a TERF at Your Thanksgiving Gathering?”: Toxic relatives come in many forms: the Trump supporter, the devil’s advocate, the COVID-19 denier. There’s also the TERF: the trans-exclusionary radical feminist. TERFs are transphobes who wrongly believe transgender women are not women … But the reality is that trans women are women…
  • Best Facebook sentiment: “Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family! Fewer people to cook for this year but no fewer to be thankful for!” (from a Swiss immigrant who now does every American thing better than most Americans)
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Thanksgiving in the Land of Liberty

A round-up of Thanksgiving policies in the Land of Liberty (TM), COVID-19 edition:

Feel better about paying $trillions for the military that protects us from losing our liberty to the Canadians or Mexicans!

An immigrant originally from Moscow: “I never imagined that one day people would have more freedom in Russia than in the U.S.”

If you’re a sports car enthusiast, this floor sign from the National Corvette Museum might be a good addition to your living room before the relatives show up…

(Photo taken on Monday. Hardly anyone was adhering to this rule. Just as the Swedish MD/PhDs predicted, once you tell humans that masks will protect them, they don’t worry about proximity to other humans.)

Readers: I hope that your turkey cooking goes well! Our dish towel:

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Vegas casinos implement some of my coronaplague ideas

As readers of this blog may recall, I’m a big enthusiast for reengineering our environment so as to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses such as coronaplague:

One thing that I’ve been wondering for months is that, with $trillions allocated for dealing with coronaplague, why we don’t see handwashing sinks appear in more places.

Where is my dream alive? Based on a recent visit… Las Vegas! There are now sinks in the middle of the casino. Wave don’t push to open the doors. From the ARIA:

Instead of impressing by valet parking our rented Dodge Journey, we had to self park it almost everywhere.

Supposedly casinos were limited to 50 percent occupancy during our visit (just recently cut to 25 percent), but most felt uncomfortably packed. People proved the Swedish MD/PhDs correct: told that masks will prevent coronaplague, they ignore the 6′ social distance directive (and 7′ is the new 6′, according to the overhead projections on Fremont Street; see below and note that folks who confront Covid-19 at 350 lbs. or more can eat for free at the Heart Attack Grill).

Also from Fremont Street, the Main Street casino where whatever you lose goes to Wall Street and the California casino where presumably you’re funding retired public employees…

One positive for Vegas in the Age of Coronapanic is that one’s eyeglasses tend not to fog up when wearing a mask. Dry and hot is apparently perfect!

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Volvo touch screen controls: crazier than Sweden’s coronavirus policies?

We recently rented a 2021 Volvo S60 from Enterprise. Many of the controls have migrated to a central touch screen and there are just a handful of buttons in the center plus some labeled-only-with-icon buttons on the steering wheel. Neither I nor Senior Management could figure out how to do the basics, e.g., keep Google Maps from Apple CarPlay on the screen, sync the left/right temperatures, hang up a phone call from a steering wheel button (from another one of which a phone call had been initiated).

The speedometer cluster seems to be a dot-matrix display, which is nice in theory, but the gauges are not presented as clearly as in a more primitive implementation.

Compared to the typical country, Sweden has taken a different path when confronted with coronavirus. Kids have been in school continuously, for example, and adults at work. The country’s first real restriction, limiting “public events” to 8 people, came a year after the world’s first Covid-19 case (November 17, 2019). (Note that Swedes remain free to assemble privately, e.g., a Swedish family could host a party for 20 friends and not be subject to prosecution (nor be scolded if the guests were unmasked). And the restrictions don’t apply to schools or workplaces.)

(Our Church of Shutdown media, of course, characterizes Sweden as a “failure”, operating from the assumption that the only worthwhile human goal is avoiding coronavirus infection. That said, Sweden doesn’t make the first page of countries ranked by Covid-19 death rate.)

I drive at least 30 different cars per year (rental cars, FBO crew cars borrowed at airports, friend’s cars, etc.). None of them have been as confusing as this 2021 Volvo S60. Who wants to defend Swedish idiosyncrasy in dashboard design?

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