Do we have the energy to fight both coronaplague and cleavage?

In the same vein as Time to love smokers again?“Paris Musée d’Orsay sorry for barring visitor in low-cut dress” (BBC):

Temperatures reached 26C on Tuesday, and Jeanne, an art-loving literature student, told of her desire to mark the end of a hot afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay. “It was far from my mind that my cleavage would be the subject of any disagreement,” she says.

Although her friend had a cropped top that showed her navel, Jeanne says attention was fixed on her breasts even before she had had a chance to show her ticket. “Oh no, that’s not going to be possible, that’s not allowed, that is not acceptable,” she quotes a ticket agent as saying.

If society has the energy for this, can we infer that coronaplague isn’t so bad?


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Teachers at our local high school may go into work soon

One of our local high schools was supposed to start up on September 16, providing two mornings per week of in-person instruction (total of 6 hours per week of free daycare!) and the rest via Zoom (“hybrid”).

From the principal of Lincoln-Sudbury High School, on September 12:

I am very disappointed to share that I learned this morning that there was a crowded indoor and outdoor student party Friday evening that involved alcohol and complete lack of safety precautions to protect against the spread of COVID. Police were called to the scene. An estimated number of 15 students ran into the woods. They collected names from 32 other individuals. 13 of those turned out to be made up names. That means at least 13 plus 15 (28) known to be on site are unaccounted for. If these students had been identified they could be requested to be isolated from school, monitored and tested.

The Sudbury Board of Health is stating that we must start school in remote learning for 14 days from the known incident. On the assumption that students involved are more likely juniors or seniors I asked if we could bring in just 9th and 10th graders. The answer is no, because we don’t know that no younger students were involved or that students involved were not siblings of younger students. … We plan to return to in-person hybrid on Tuesday, September 29th.

I agree completely with the Board of Health that this is the most prudent course of action to take given what has taken place. After the intensity of hard work and planning that has been done to be able to start school with students in-person we are profoundly disappointed at this sudden change of plans. I know you must be as disappointed.

… If one person assumes risky behavior upon themselves it is not fair or safe to bring that risk upon others in a shared community.

So… because roughly 50 of the 1500 students chose to exercise what had been their First Amendment Right to Assemble (off campus, presumably at a parent’s house), the teachers don’t have to run any risk of in-person exposure.

(Masks and all-afternoon sanitization prevent coronavirus from spreading student-to-student or student-to-teacher, which is why tremendous efforts are put into masks and why the school is closed all afternoon every afternoon for sanitization. On the other hand, just in case a single student at the party might have had coronavirus, we can’t possible open up our masked-and-sanitized school.)

I wonder if they can keep this going for the rest of the school year, as a friend’s daughter predicted: “Dad, they’ll eventually find a way to have remote only.” Suppose that a teacher says that he/she/ze/they saw a student in the local supermarket. The student looked familiar, but it was difficult to tell who he/she/ze/they was due to the mask. Said mask was being worn under the nose, rendering him/her/zir/them completely unprotected against coronaplague. The teacher also saw some other customers in the supermarket with loosely fitted bandanas and under-the-nose masks. The school needs to be shut down, right?


  • “Parents And Teen Charged Over Party Which Forced High School Into Remote Learning” (Newsweek), noting that the school was forced to close: Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix … said the large group of youths were allegedly “disregarding state mandated social distancing and face covering protocols” and several party attendees “made threatening comments towards the responding officers”. Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix said that the parents involved as being responsible for the party have been charged in Framingham District Court with providing alcohol to minors and violating Massachusetts Social Host Law. Under the state law anyone “who is in control of the premises and who furnishes alcohol or allows it to be consumed on those premises” constitutes as a social host and may face fines, imprisonment or both.
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COVID-19 false positives, explained by the Oxford evidence-based medicine folks

In dealing with coronaplague, Americans have taken a mechanistic view of the human body. Swab an infected human and you’re guaranteed to capture some virus, which will then be amplified by Kary Mullis‘s magic PCR machine and we’ll have a positive/negative result that is as reliable as if we’d checked the tire pressure on a car.

I had always thought that the main failure of humans to conform to this machine-like model was a lot of false negatives. A human is infected, but the virus does not end up on the swab. See “False Negative Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Challenges and Implications” (NEJM) and “COVID-19 false negative test results if used too early” (ScienceDaily, reported on a Johns Hopkins study).

From “Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine and Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University, and his colleague Dr Tom Jefferson, a Senior Associate Tutor,” writing in that august journal of science… the Daily Mail:

And increased Covid testing is picking up dead – entirely harmless – fragments of virus as well as genuine infections. So many of the positive results we think we are getting might not be positives at all.

So Kary Mullis’s machine works as advertised, but we don’t know what we should be looking for. Thus our obsessive testing program might end up giving us millions of false positives in addition to tens of millions of false negatives.

Separately, the rest of the article is a lot of fun. American academics, ever-fearful of being canceled and cut off from the river of government cash, would never be able to write anything this harsh.

Today, our bewildered Prime Minister and his platoon of inept advisers might as well be using the planets to guide us through this pandemic, so catastrophic and wildly over-the-top are their decisions.

Why is it that the Government is once again in the grip of doom-mongering scientific modellers who specialise in causing panic and little else?

Yet our PM, and his Dad’s Army of highly paid individuals with little experience of the job at hand, continue to behave as if they are acting on the basis of certainty.

Instead, they move from one poorly designed, rash decision to another, driven by the misguided belief that we are experiencing a ‘second wave’, following Spain’s ‘trajectory’ and just ‘behind the curve’ there.

Our latest study, out yesterday, shows that nearly a third of all Covid-19 deaths recorded in July and August might have actually been the result of other causes –cancer, for example, or road traffic accidents.

It is unfortunate that Mr Johnson is surrounded by mediocre scientific advisers.

It is strange and concerning, that the Government is still relying on mathematical modellers who have a 20-year track record of getting things wrong and have been particularly wrong in the past six months.

And the result is a confused, rudderless Government lost in a swamp of poor statistics and ill-informed recommendations.

But for now the only ‘circuit break’ we need is an end to the current cycle of bad data, bad language and shockingly bad scientific advice.


… and some photos from a 2014 trip to Oxford. Note the unmasked un-distanced sitting ducks for COVID-19:

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What to do when a family member is an anti-masker?

She walks by “We Believe… Science is Real” signs every day and yet…

I mentioned the need to follow guidance from Dr. Fauci (not last month’s guidance, of course, but this month’s!):

What to do with this household member who puts herself, her family, and the entire country at risk?

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When we wear masks, does the coronavirus thank us for our service?

For the coronavirus to become truly American, it needs to learn to say “Thank you for your service”. But when should the virus say this? Suggestion: whenever we wear our masks.

Case 1: Masks don’t “work” (i.e., don’t slow the transmission of coronavirus).

Suppose that masks as worn by the general population don’t work. Just as #Science tells us in “Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: a controlled study”:

It has never been shown that wearing surgical face masks decreases postoperative wound infections. On the contrary, a 50% decrease has been reported after omitting face masks.

and just as we’d expect from learning that masked-up Japan has 2.5X the flu death rate of the unmasked U.S.

Coronavirus is thankful when we wear masks because our misplaced faith in masks leads us to delay taking effective action against the virus, e.g., building shade structures and holding school outdoors (changing the calendar in northern states so that the school year is during the warm months), decluttering retail stores, etc.

Case 2: Masks “work” (i.e., slow the transmission of coronavirus).

Suppose that masks as worn by the general population work precisely as advertised. Maybe that still helps the coronavirus.

Consider what happens in an unmasked “give the finger to the virus” population, such as Sweden. The virus flourishes for about three months and then fails. Compare to the slow burn of the mostly-masked U.S. and the not-fade-away of completely-masked France:

Maybe the masks protect enough people that the virus can sustain itself at a low-to-medium boil. Especially in a geographically large area in which epidemics have been on different schedules, the virus keeps finding mask-protected populations to infect. The virus stays topmost in our minds, our hearts, and our media. Shouldn’t coronavirus then thank us for our service to it?

Readers: (1) are we doing the virus a favor, whether the masks work or not? (2) which of the below masks do you think is more stylish?

Related: a neighbor with female-identifying handwriting thanks “Pool Guys” for their service…

Note the relative prominence of 2 out of 50 gender IDs for parents:

And an expression of my deepest personal feelings, ordinarily kept out of this blog as best I can…


  • Cornell University, via testing, tracing, and a variety of restrictions that would be generally familiar to convicted felons on probation, is carefully tending a population of tens of thousands of fresh hosts for the coronavirus (as soon as these folks leave the restrictions of the bubble to which they’ve voluntarily subscribed, the virus will be happy to infect them)
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We have now had 50 governor’s orders here in Maskachusetts

The City of Cambridge recently emailed to say “Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order #50 made certain Phase III adjustments, including extension of outdoor dining provisions and opening of indoor and outdoor gaming arcades”. This reminded me that we’ve now had 50 governor’s orders related to this virus.

What’s in the latest one? First, a reminder of how awesome it is to have the power of being a state governor:

(sorry for the images, but the governor distributes these as scanned PDFs without OCR). Then, just as the City of Cambridge says, two pages regarding under what circumstances the state and local License Rajs might allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors and might allow arcades to reopen.

What about a never-shut never-masked country with less than half the COVID-19 death rate compared to Massachusetts? Sweden seems to have had about 10 new regulations in the past 6 months and they’ve either been laws passed by the legislature or regulations issued by bureaucracies, not orders coming down from a muscular executive such as the Prime Minister. Sweden is being governed, even in what Americans have characterized as “an emergency”, by consensus rather than via dictates from individuals.

(How is Sweden doing with plague right now? The WHO dashboard shows them at 578 deaths per 1 million residents (i.e., only 99.94 percent of Swedes remain alive). The U.S. is at 584. So, despite our shutdown, the U.S. caught up to Sweden just as the former chief scientist of the European CDC said (in April) that we would.

What if we compare to the state where I live? Maskachusetts is at 1,134 deaths per million (Statistica). The latest dashboard:

Whatever we have done with shutdowns and/or masks seems to have ensured that we will have a “long tail” of infections/deaths rather than the exponential decline to near-zero that Sweden has had.

Note that this is the dashboard from which deaths-by-age statistics were removed last month just as officials were deciding whether to reopen schools: Maskachusetts: When people aren’t scared enough, change the Covid-19 dashboard )

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Back to School Ebola Decontamination Lessons

A friend’s son goes to a rich kids’ all-boys private school. She has received at least 50 pages of COVID-19-related material in the past few weeks. A sampling…

We are two weeks away from the start of school. We have two weeks to make this work. Please take extraordinary measures for the next 14 days to be sure our boys are ready to go. These include…

Creating a morning routine of taking his temperature, checking his wellness, and completing the Magnus app. No student will be allowed into our building to attend classes if this is not done daily.

Practicing the proper method of wearing a mask, over his nose and mouth. If your son is bothered by the mask resting behind his ears, consider adding an “ear saver” or string to hold the mask ear loops away from his ears. We will provide students with mask breaks regularly throughout the day. Students who do not comply with mask guidelines will be removed from the classroom and could be sent home for the day.

Purchasing a mask that complies with CDC guidelines and the School’s dress code policy. Please no masks with valves. Additionally, the School has adopted a no gaiters policy. Consistent with our dress code philosophy masks should contain no large text, logos, or images ([Rich kids’ school]-branded masks are permitted). Masks are to be worn as students exit a vehicle on campus and all day except during lunch or in designated spaces outside of our buildings. During lunch in our building, we will ask the students to eat quietly while their mask is removed.

Learning how to properly wash their hands. We will ask students to wash their hands multiple times a day. We also have plenty of hand sanitizer, but boys are welcome to bring a small bottle of their own.

Learning how to properly wipe down their materials. At the end of every day, we will ask students to wipe down their computer, their desk, and their chair before washing their hands and leaving the building.

Creating an entrance procedure when your son returns home to include leaving shoes outside of the home, changing and washing school clothes daily, and showering/bathing upon entering the home. [This is my favorite! Decontamination for elementary school kids as though they had just come from a shift in the Ebola ward of the local hospital]

[a few days later]

Boys will be required to wear masks. Gators and vented masks are not allowed at [Rich Kids’ School]. Please be sure your son has an appropriate mask for safety reasons.
The boys will not have access to water fountains, so I would recommend that the boys fill up two water bottles to bring to school each day.
Lunches will be delivered to the classroom, but if you are packing your son’s lunch, please know he will not have access to a microwave.
We will have hand sanitizer in the classrooms, but if you could also send in a smaller personal hand sanitizer for your son to keep at his desk for snack, that would be fantastic.

Like the poster says, “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.” This is the attitude that will get us through the year. [Not “give the finger to the virus” like the infidels in Sweden!]

Beginning on Wednesday, September 9, the Lower School building will open at 7:30am. Once checking in at the front of the Lower School, the boys will proceed through a hand sanitizing station in the Lobby and then go directly to their homeroom.

Please remember to complete the Magnus App each morning by 7:30am. We will be requiring families to complete the health screening before allowing your son into the Lower School each day.

Please remember to send your son with a mask each day, he will need to be wearing it as he exits the car and it will need to remain on throughout the day (except when permitted to remove it at the direction of his teacher). Neck gaiters and masks with valves are not permitted.

[from the nurse?]

Our Health Staff is available for a drive up medication drop off to receive medications required for administration at school including all emergency medications. We will follow all CDC guidelines for COVID-19 procedures during drop off. Please email our Health Office at [] or call directly xxx-xxx-xxxx to confirm arrangement.

All medications delivered to school require a current physician’s order on file in your Magnus Health account and must be delivered in their prescribed container or they will not be accepted. Please store in a clear plastic bag labeled with your son’s name, grade, and date of birth.

Please have your ID and the student’s medication prepared for drop off as noted above. Please wear a mask when our staff meets you at your car to obtain the medications.

Where: Lower School Entrance – a table will be set up and COVID-19 procedures will be in place.

Please do not wait to access your mobile app. Your son’s COVID-19 screening tool is available now. Completion of the symptom surveillance tool is to be completed by 7:30 a.m. for timely submission. If unable to complete timely, please save a screenshot of your son’s final “Pass” to show for school entry.

Directives to set up your Magnus Mobile v2 APP and user credentials are here. Reminder: You must login to MyBackpack and access the Magnus Health portal ONLINE first to create your Mobile App username and password. Hover over YOUR name and choose “CHANGE Credentials”. [… three pages of instructions followed … ]

Parents will need to update the app to the latest Version 20.08.26. Parents using an iPhone can do this by installing the update within the Apple Store, or by deleting and reinstalling the app. Android users are able to perform the same update by updating via Google Play Store, or by deleting and reinstalling the app.

If you have a student at [Rich Kids School] and other schools using Magnus Health for student information or COVID-19 screening (i.e. [some other schools for rich kids in the same city],…anyone using Magnus Health) must log out of the account created for your son’s account for the MOBILE APP and log into your parent account for your other child with the username and password created to access their health information and surveillance tool.

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RFID chips in the necks of college students

“A University Had a Great Coronavirus Plan, but Students Partied On” (NYT) is about how humans did not behave the way that the scientists assumed they would:

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, more than 40,000 students take tests twice a week for the coronavirus. They cannot enter campus buildings unless an app vouches that their test has come back negative. Everyone has to wear masks.

Enough students continued to go to parties even after testing positive, showing how even the best thought-out plans to keep college education moving can fail when humans do not heed common sense or the commands from public health officials.

What the scientists had not taken into account was that some students would continue partying after they received a positive test result. “It was willful noncompliance by a small group of people,” Dr. Goldenfeld said.

Some of the students who tested positive even tried to circumvent the app so that they could enter buildings instead of staying isolated in their rooms, university administrators said in a letter to students.

Attending university is a privilege, not a right. Why not an RFID chip in the neck of everyone who chooses to attend a school? With sensors over each door, each student can be tracked, even if he/she/ze/they fail to carry his/her/zir/their phone. It works well for dogs. Mindy the Crippler has never complained about her chip. The universities can buy kits on Amazon for $14 each, which includes a one-time-use syringe. From a consumer:

Chances are, you are planning to use this kit to microchip your animal yourself and skip the vet visit. If so, you are going to be very pleased. It is super easy to use – implanting the chip takes just a few seconds and registration takes about 5 minutes online (the chip also comes with a snail-mail paper registration form if you prefer). You may feel a little squeamish about the process but as long as you implant the chip quickly and confidently, your animal will probably barely notice. I just chipped my 7 week old Lab puppy and she barely even flinched. It would be a good idea to have somebody hold the animal still so you have both hands free – the needle is EXTREMELY sharp and you don’t want to risk jabbing too deep or potential jabbing yourself.

So the chipping of undergrads could be done by the graduate students who live in their dorms and whose job is keeping them out of trouble. If a student who is marked COVID-19-positive in the database tries to go through a door with a reader, Campus Police is summoned automatically to shepherd the errant soul back to quarantine. (Or, to cut down on policing encounters and costs in the Age of BLM, doors on campus could be covered in plywood and replaced with PetSafe dog doors that open only in response to a recognized RFID chip. The 11×16″ standard size opening would give students an incentive not to load up at the dining hall.)

Mindy the Crippler proudly displays her chipped neck:

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Time to love smokers again?

Strolling by the smokers’ ghetto outside one of our local airport’s FBOs made me wonder when it will be time to abandon our fanaticism regarding the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke. We are certain that any of our fellow humans may kill us with a breath of coronavirus. Why do we worry about the unpleasantness of someone smoking a cigarette 5′ from an exterior door versus 20′? Do we still need Mini-Mike Bloomberg’s 2011 ban on smoking in various outdoor places, such as beaches and parks?

Do we have the energy to fight the anti-smoking battle at the same time as the anti-coronaplague battle? When do we admit that we’re not as capable as Adolph Hitler and his loyal Germans and even they had trouble fighting on multiple fronts?

I’m not a smoker, but I’m now ready to welcome my smoking brothers/sisters/binary resisters with a hearty “You could be exhaling a lot worse!”

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New York Tough at the U.S. Open

New Yorkers are afraid to let even a handful of spectators into the Arthur Ashe Stadium (capacity 23,771). Someone sitting by him/her/zir/theirself could contract coronavirus. When a group of Americans is fully stocked with an Abundance of Fear, how do they characterize themselves? The banners that cover the seats and ensure none of the tournament-affiliated folks can sit there read “New York Tough”.

[Why couldn’t they give free tickets to people who were previously hospitalized for COVID-19? NYC has many thousands of such folks and, so far, there is no evidence that they are catching the Only Disease That Matters (TM) for a second time.]

How about the rest of the messaging in the stadium? “Black Lives Matter”! A lot of the commercials also show that the people who play and/or are interested in tennis are primarily Black. For reference, here are the players who are collectively experts on Black American lives:

At the end of each match, the winner stands in front of a microphone wearing a surgical mask (freely touching it, exactly contrary to WHO recommendations) while answering questions from a masked official standing 10′ away.


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