This Weekend in Omaha #61

Kiss Grandma goodbye, Omaha – some of us really need a haircut

“Everything is fine now, it’s safe, and also I’m like super-bored at home.”

Ready to Reopen & Prepared to Die (or kill someone else)

A Closer Look At Corona in the Heartland

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CORONA-REBELS UNITE! Listen up, Omaha, we will never win this fight from the couch, it’s high time we start taking the fight, TO THE VIRUS. Cuz this is America, yall. (And plus I really do feel healthy.)

We value our FREEDOM above all else (even more than Grandma), and we are not letting the government hold us inside because of some little pandemic goin’ around! We have a right to assembly GOSH DARN IT and we ain’t afraid to die! (Or kill someone else.) 

And just what will we, the Corona-Resistance, DO during this great American reopening? 

Well, personally, I am going to go to the MALL!

I need a pair of nice dress shoes. I know I won’t be going into the office anytime soon but I have been meaning to get a new pair because the ones I have now got wet and ruined.  I also have this $5 coupon from DSW so … Yeah! That’s what I’m going to do!

Could also use some new shirts. I have so many T-shirts from college still it’s kind of embarrassing. I don’t know what to wear in the afternoons when I switch into my PM pajamas, so I’d like to get some new shirts. Might take Grandma with me she likes to see me dress well after all…

— OK NOW, all joking aside (you do know I was joking right?), let’s talk about this real quick, Omaha. Because the feeling above is definitely out there in some form, and out of my love and concern for you all, I want to hash this out and share. 

FIRST OFF, everyone is tired of this shit. This really sucks. This is like a new world record of sucking, that we will tell our grandkids about someday. 70,000+ dead, 1M+ infected, 30M+ unemployed, and people losing everything they have in this economy. Heartbreaking, historic, and really sucky. 

Personally, I got laid off to start April due to COVID-19, and now I’m waiting on unemployment going on 4 weeks. As MANY fellow Nebraskans and Americans are. I am lucky though, I am still in a pretty good spot, and I’m grateful to be healthy and for my family and friends to mostly be healthy.

But make no mistake about it, this really fucking SUCKS, and EVERYONE wants to get back to normal.  Sweet, sweet normal…

The BIG question is HOW do we do that? And why and when? And that’s where I am a bit concerned. 

To me, the virus problem, and the economy problem, are the SAME PROBLEM. And it’s actually just the virus problem. Think about it, if the state and federal governments gave ZERO instruction on how to handle this stuff, no mandated lockdowns, etc, and ALL WE GOT each day was the hard data, on new infections, deaths, spread, etc. – then the economy would STILL be fucked. 

Because as it stands the “risk of viral infection and death” is a SIGNIFICANT reason NOT to go to DSW for most Americans (unless you have a $5 coupon like me). SO … We need to FIX THE VIRUS, if we want to fix the economy.  

But HOW do you get control of a disease? Who do you turn to? I am merely a widget salesman and mediocre blogger after-all.

If only there were some kind of place, some central place, where they talk about controlling diseases all day… Oh hey! There is, it’s the CDC – CENTER FOR DISEASE AND CONTROL.

 

What are the experts saying?

It’s important to remember that there ARE countries that are handling this virus really well.  Corona is not a dumpster-fire everywhere for everyone, even in larger countries like ours (Germany for example, 80m people, 7k deaths, beginning to reopen), and so there are models in place on how to go about doing this and doing it right. There are still EXPERTS on this stuff, and they are NOT your Uncle Terry on Facebook. Uncle Terry sells insurance and he’s out of his element here. Pray for Uncle Terry, honestly.  

The CDC, being our experts, have provided some guidelines on how states individually should handle reopening. They released them in conjunction with the White House here

Looking at cases of coronavirus, States should have:

  1. Downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period OR downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests)
  2. Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period & Downward trajectory of covid-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period

Ok so let’s look at that first qualifier for the state of Nebraska. Downward trajectory of cases over 14 days and the percent positive test.

 

By The Numbers – Nebraska COVID 19 Cases/Deaths

Nebraska Statewide as of May 5th 2020 (via DHHS Dashboard):

Total positive cases: 6,438

Total deaths: 82 (1.27% fatality rate)

Total tested: 36,194 (17.79% positive rate)

14 Day Totals for Nebraska (April 21st – May 5th, rounded due to data available)
 
04/21/20 Cases:  1,700    Dead: 33
04/22/20 Cases:  1,800    Dead: 38
04/23/20 Cases:  2,200    Dead: 47
04/24/20 Cases:  2,400    Dead: 50
04/25/20 Cases:  2,700    Dead: 50
04/26/20 Cases:  3,000    Dead: 56
04/27/20 Cases:  3,400    Dead: 56
04/28/20 Cases:  3,500    Dead: 56
04/29/20 Cases:  3,900    Dead: 56
04/30/20 Cases:  4,300    Dead: 70
05/01/20 Cases:  5,000    Dead: 73
05/02/20 Cases:  5,300    Dead: 73
05/03/20 Cases:  5,700    Dead: 78
05/04/20 Cases:  6,000    Dead: 78
05/05/20 Cases:  6,400    Dead: 78
 
Positive Test Rate 04/21/20: 10.4%
 
Positive Test Rate 05/05/20: 17.9% (+7.5%)
 
 
There is NOT a decline in cases nor in the positive test rate. Fail, and fail. Not even close in fact. At this current rate of increase, which is +355% over a two-week period, this is what we get –
 
Estimate cases – May 19th 2020:  22,720
Estimate cases – June 2nd 2020:  80,656

Approximate deaths: ~ 983

That is just 4 weeks from now, folks, and WITH the restrictions in place. Can we possibly argue that the numbers will NOW start to go down as we RELAX these restrictions? And reopen the state? Am I missing something here?

 

My Take

When my car breaks down, I go to a mechanic. When I am sick, I go to a doctor. And when a deadly global pandemic comes to town, I try to listen very carefully to the nerds who devote their ENTIRE LIVES to studying these things. Epidemiologists, Doctors, Public Health experts, etc.

And they are all saying one thing: TOO SOON. Too soon for Nebraska, based on these numbers. 

It’s like we have collectively pushed a giant rock halfway up the mountain, and after running out of our favorite snacks and finishing the Netflix catalog, we have decided to give up. A lot of us want to go back down the mountain. Never mind that massive deadly rock that will be tumbling back down to kill thousands of us. 

I just think it’s selfish. It’s AGAINST the science, and it will PROLONG the economic toll. 

We need testing, lots of testing, we need direction, and we need leadership that is going to do the right thing by the SCIENCE. Because, in this situation, what else do you go by!? 

Ask yourself this, about our current leadership in Nebraska and abroad, is “Reopening America” in the interest of the public health? Or politics? Are they listening to the CDC? Or Trump?

I say this only because I think the only thing worse then where we are right now, is still being here 6 months from now because we didn’t take this seriously . We didn’t keep pushing that damn rock. 

We owe it to the healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, clerks, policeman, and all essential workers who are out there fighting this head on, continuing their work, and we owe it to those who have died or have lost a loved one, to do our very best to fight this virus.

We do that with science, facts, data, and all Nebraskans and Americans doing their part. 

So as you reopen, and begin licking doorknobs and sniffing pedestrians again, please keep all this top of mind. 

End of rant, Omaha.

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I am going to be posting the COVID19 numbers for Nebraska here, as well as sharing some things that are going around in the community and highlighting awesome takeout spots. 

And some day, some day… Those events will come back 🙂 

Takeout Hero of the Week

You know it’s gotta be Kathmandu Momo Station. Saagr and his team are doing takeout curbside pickup, and even selling frozen Momos, so you can cook em up yourself at home. Which is what I did, check it out.

You can get a big bag of 24 momos for just $19. A great deal. I have been rationing a bit but also wanting to eat out once per week at a favorite local spot of mine to help support them.

If you want your favorite local spots to still be around on the other side of this, I’d encourage you to do the same!

Virtual Events

This Saturday @ 11:11AMA Neighborhood Concert Stream

Andrew Bailie, Aly Peeler, and David Hawkins have been so kind as to stream their musical talents each week on Saturday morning. It’s a really enjoyable show, it’s done outside with some neighbors in attendance, and it’s a great way to start your Saturday morning. They are also working with people in the local entertainment/hospitality industry to help those folks out in need via donations through Andrew’s venmo. All in all a great cause, check it!

Also, one last thing, I started 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.

I could use your help in getting it going! Check out the FB group and invite your friends.

Be well and stay safe Omaha. We will get through this and we will do it together.

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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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