This Weekend in Omaha #63

THIS BLOG CONTAINS A VIRUS – UPDATE & Ben Sasse’s Short, Painful Career In Standup Comedy

This one is for you, Jeremy…

Coronavirus & Commencement Speeches

And the question on every American’s mind – Can one die from embarrassment?


HEY OMAHA – having a good week? Hangin’ in there? Oh you’re not? Ok, well, let’s get right to it then. 

Before we jump into those numbers this week, I thought it would be nice to have a good laugh at the expense of someone who made the news this week for all the wrong reasons. 

The incomparable, the nearly-invisible, and Nebraska’s very own Senator Ben Sasse, delivered what some are calling the worst commencement speech of all time. It’s truly a thing to behold. A cringe-fest for the ages. A mere 7-minute speech that feels closer to the length of Lawrence of Arabia. Personally, I had to pause it several times and take a walk outside just to power through. 

It wouldn’t even be fair to dads to call them dad-jokes, it’s more like your Uncle Terry giving a toast at your wedding after not even seeing the guy in years. What’s his reference point here? Who gave him the microphone? You are not even that close and it’s really embarrassing for everyone involved – he’s out of his element AGAIN and I’d take his car keys too just to be safe. 

Some of the highlights, Sasse — 

  • called young grads fat and lazy
  • insulted Chinese people some say 
  • demeaned mental health and psychologists everywhere (that’s timely)
  • demeaned my friend Jeremy and anyone named Jeremy
  • rambled on about gym teachers or hamsters or something
  • and worst of all – made really unfunny jokes

It was snarky, condescending, inappropriate, and mean-spirited – and if I’m being honest,  I’m not sure if I should criticize him or have him write the next entry of this blog. 

I feel like we haven’t even seen or heard from Sasse in years, since a certain you-know-who occupied the oval, and now we know that he was just gathering his thoughts to finally take the stand we’ve been waiting for – into stand-up comedy. 

I for one applaud the effort, Ben, I really do. And honestly, never change. 

Leave public office maybe, and/or have the courage to speak your mind again, but other than that never change. 

Good times. And a sincere congrats to all those new high school grads out there, your freshman year of college will be the cleanest and most sterile freshman year in American history (See Sasse? Not so hard).

Oh yeah, about that virus…

By The Numbers 

Nebraska COVID 19 Cases/Deaths

Nebraska Statewide as of May 20th 2020 (via DHHS Dashboard):

Total positive cases: 11,122 (+15% versus last week)

Total deaths: 138 (1.24% fatality rate) – up 0.04% from last week

Total tested: 75,864 (14.66% positive rate) – down 1.76% from last week.

Running 14-Day Totals for Nebraska (May 6th – May 20th, rounded due to data available)
05/06/20 Cases:  6,800    Dead: 78
05/07/20 Cases:  7,500    Dead: 90
05/08/20 Cases:  7,900    Dead: 90
05/09/20 Cases:  8,300    Dead: 90
05/10/20 Cases:  8,300    Dead: 90
05/11/20 Cases:  8,600    Dead: 98
05/12/20 Cases:  8,692    Dead: 100
05/13/20 Cases:  8,700    Dead: 103
05/14/20 Cases:  9,416    Dead: 113
05/15/20 Cases:  9,800    Dead: 113
05/16/20 Cases:  10,200  Dead: 123
05/17/20 Cases:  10,300  Dead: 123
05/18/20 Cases:  10,600  Dead: 123
05/19/20 Cases:  10,800  Dead: 123
05/20/20 Cases:  11,122  Dead: 138
Positive Test Rate 04/30/20: 15.52%
Positive Test Rate 05/07/20: 18.33%
Positive Test Rate 05/14/20: 16.42% (-1.91%)
Positive Test Rate 05/20/20: 14.66% (-1.76%)

Top Counties – 

Douglas – 2,692 (+732)

Dakota – 1,475 (+63)

Hall – 1,441 (+49)

Ok, so good news first is that we are seeing the all-important declining positive test rate. After that big spike in single day testing last week, we did see a drop off, but the average per day is still pretty high. That’s good. If we continue to see a decline in positive test rates, with tests per day remaining high or the same, we can start to get a glimpse of what normal might look like. 

Bad news would be is that we did still see a 15% increase in new cases, a drop in %, but still a fairly significant increase week over week. Worst of all perhaps, is that the biggest such increase is coming from Douglas County, which is also the most densely populated county in Nebraska, home to Omaha, and home to the person who writes this blog (and probably home to you too). 

My concern, and continued caution would be that, if you look at just Douglas County alone, there was a +35% increase in new cases, week over week. That’s … a large increase, and in the county most susceptible to community spread. 

What does it all mean? Well, for me, located in Downtown Omaha, it means I am going to continue to do jack-squat. Two sets of pajamas, from 7am to 2pm, changing into the second and more breathable pair from 2pm – midnight. Despite what I am seeing around town…

When I go for my daily walks I can’t help but notice the scores of people sitting in restaurants, NOT wearing masks, and NOT practicing social distancing. So frankly the large increase is not surprising. 

As much as I want and think we need to support our restaurant pals, I won’t be dining in anywhere personally. Probably for the next several months. 

Just think about it – the door handle, the public restrooms (I can’t even imagine), the chewing, the chomping, the slobbering idiot in the next booth over, the close proximity, the server that crop-dusts your table as they walk by to spite you.

I am sorry, but too much for me. I’ll stick with takeout, and TIP FAT on your takeouts. I’m talkin’ 15-20% just for the plastic bag it comes in and a toothpick. We need to safely support our people. 

Keep these numbers and the safety of others top of mind, Omaha.


Other News

Nebraska COVID-19 update: Three more inmates test positive; Life Care Center reports additional deaths Wednesday

  • Good comprehensive update across Nebraska here. Hospital beds and ventilator availability, drive-thru testing clinics, and more

Be Safe Nebraska launched to help local businesses come back from pandemic shutdowns

  • If you are going to reopen as a small business, some resources to help make that work as much as possible in this article


Takeout Hero of the Week

So I have walked downtown many times now amidst all this, and I try to observe every restaurant around, and I will say that if there is one restaurant, or pair of restaurants, that is going the extra mile to stay safe and sanitary, it is without a doubt Plank Seafood and Blue Sushi. Everyone is masked, sanitizer, the servers have insane standards to uphold, paperless menus, fresh plates, you name the precaution and the Flagship people are taking it. I applaud them for that. And plus the servers are my friends and I used to work there so support these folks if you can, takeout or otherwise.

Virtual Events

Saturday @ 8pmNoah’s Ark w/ Little Brazil – Streaming Live from Slowdown

Live streaming concerts are happening – check this one out.

The Omaha Balcony Club for musicians who still want to perform for Omaha, and for viewers who want to see their favorite local musicians perform.

Be well and stay safe Omaha!

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Precautionary Facts: Coronavirus – Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. – via WHO

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