This Weekend in Omaha #62

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3 – more tests for you, more tests for me (and more cases)

Come to Applebee’s for the food, stay for the ambience and possible viral death

Heating Up In The Heartland

How is that reopening going? Let’s see


Well, Omaha, I specifically remember saying NOT to lick door knobs and sniff each other over the weekend but it appears that some of you did not listen.  But ok, we are all stir crazy and learning how to deal with this… Let’s wash our hands and dive right into it. 

We saw a sizable jump over the past week, particularly Wednesday to Sunday, going from 6,800 cases to 8,300 in that short span. Spiking again this Wednesday with a massive increase in testing (which is good) – We now stand at 9,416 (not good). 

Notably as # of total tests per day declined, so did the numbers of confirmed cases per day, and as they increase, cases increase. So the “positive test rate” is important to keep in mind, and it’s basically remained flat, with only a slight decrease that may not be significant.

Some good news is we are seeing a significant increase in the amount of testing – we went from 40,900 tests on 5/7 to now 57,300 tests as of 5/14. Having 7,500 tests on Wednesday alone (a single day high). 

That’s good news. Testing is obviously critical to knowing the extent of our infection. 

But that rate of infection is not going down much. Let’s take a gander. 

By The Numbers 

Nebraska COVID 19 Cases/Deaths

Nebraska Statewide as of May 14th 2020 (via DHHS Dashboard):

Total positive cases: 9,416 (+20% versus last week)

Total deaths: 113 (1.20% fatality rate) – down 0.08% from last week

Total tested: 57,315 (16.42% positive rate) – down 1.37% from last week. 

Running 14-Day Totals for Nebraska (April 30th – May 14th, rounded due to data available)
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 
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
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%)
Still very much in the weeds I’d say. No statistically significant good news besides the increase in testing capacity. Keep an eye on that positive test rate, maybe it’s turning a corner, maybe not. 

Should we be over-the-top hysterical? Or get back to licking door knobs?

Probably somewhere in between. For me I look at it as a “spectrum of risk” in our daily lives. 

We aren’t dealing in binary decisions. It’s not “Yes lick door knobs” or “No don’t lick door knobs at all psycho”

It’s more like “sanitize the door knobs as much as you can, don’t do it every day, brush your teeth after, etc”.

Going to the grocery store, probably a medium to high level of risk, but we need to go obviously (unless you can afford delivery). Personally I have been going to Wohlner’s instead of Walmart – lower foot traffic, smaller store, etc. And I try to go once a month. It’s more expensive but the level of risk is much lower, and I’m supporting a local biz. 

I once got drunk and walked into Pepperjax’s downtown – now THAT was risky, and something to avoid for me personally. But an overall strategy to keep in mind. 

Going back to some numbers, county by county,  this is what we are looking at of the 3 largest counties by case count  – 

Douglas – 1,960

Dakota – 1,412

Hall – 1,392

Feels low kind of – What I am wondering is what magic number will cause people to retreat again? Will cause Ricketts to actually close? Are people watching these numbers? When will they become BIG in people’s minds? 

I don’t know and I hope it doesn’t come to that. But again, it is very hard to argue that these numbers will start to go down miraculously as everyone gets back to licking door knobs and going to Pepperjax’s again. 

I don’t have the answers. I just want to provide some context for you all and give you a nice recap of the week. 

I know sometimes it seems like I am trying to scare people into quarantine, but I am not. Just sharing the facts as they stand. But those facts scare me a little, and honestly, if I scare you a little bit, and you choose to stay inside and be safer, then its a win-win for you, me, and the whole community. 

Continue to be as safe as possible, Omaha, and support your local businesses as best you can. 


Other News

Gov. Ricketts: Nebraska given 400 vials of Remdesivir, drug used to treat COVID-19

  • 400 vials! Woopdee flippin’ doo! right? At least we are getting something. Remdesivir has been shown to reduce the duration of the virus by up to 30%, not a cure, but an assist. Hope it can save lives here in Nebraska. 

212 workers test positive for coronavirus after mass testing at Tyson pork plant in Madison

  • They tested 1,400 people to start May, which means about 14.5% of the entire workforce there tested positive. 74 of which, had no symptoms. That’s the scary part in all of this. Our meatpacking plants in Nebraska have been hotzones for the virus so far, and workers are scared to return.  These folks and communities need our attention. 


Takeout Hero of the Week

I don’t always get drunk and dangerously stumble into Pepperjax’s, but when I do, I get drunk off the fantastic rum I bought from LAKA LONO RUM CLUB. In these troubling times, Laka Lono has transformed into the best liquor store in Downtown Omaha, and has an excellent selection of all kinds of high quality rums, and at a fair price. They also have hand sanitizer right there when you open the door – and it feels so good in your hands.

Virtual Events

Tonight @ 7pmCarry The Corner, a Concert Benefiting the Corner Bar

Hey this seems pretty cool. 9 local musicians will be live streaming to support this bar in Fremont. Check it out tonight!

Saturday @ 11:11AMA Neighborhood Concert Stream

As usual, our friends Andrew, David, and Aly will be rocking for us on Saturday morning. Great tunes to have on as you stare into the void of a meaningless existence (quarantine life).

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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