A small denial update

A short follow up on the pro-virus faction. Sarah Hoyt is promoting a protest today in Colorado in a big red font “GRIDLOCK PROTEST AT THE CAPITOL TODAY AT ONE.

On April 4 I wrote this post https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/a-study-in-denial/ with a section looking at Colorado specifically.

Colorado isn’t a mysterious far away planet. We can literally go and see how Covid-19 is progressing in the state. I’ll use the John Hopkins University visualisation tool for tracking confirmed Covid-19 cases that is available here: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 The tool allows you to drill down to state (and within state) data in the USA. Colorado (pop. 5.696 million) currently (April 4 6:50 Sydney time) has 3,742 confirmed cases of Covid-19. For comparison, New South Wales (pop. 7.544 million) has 2,389 confirmed cases and that’s with long established Chinese communities (that Hoyt seems to regard as the only risk factor) as well as Sydney being a major cruise ship destination (an actually pertinent risk factor).

In the time since the number of cases in Colorado has reached 9,440 (as of 5 am April 20 Sydney time) with 411 deaths. The comparison I made then was with NSW but those figures now well exceed the whole country of Australia (6,457 cases, 71 deaths). NSW confirmed cases is currently 2,926.

Here is my other fear. We know that Covid-19 isn’t the worst case scenario, even given how bad it is. We will face worse and this current crisis is a dress rehearsal. Counterfactual beliefs on the right only become MORE entrenched and so the next major pandemic in a window of say 20 years will be met with more strident denial from the right earlier.

34 thoughts on “A small denial update

  1. Early on in this I was a bit worried about how US gun nuts would react to a really bad pandemic situation – say, if hospitals got really overcrowded, stores closed, etc. Would there be people people threatening their way into hospitals to get care for their loved ones? Would doctors be held at gunpoint, threatened with “put _my_ granma in the ventilator, or else”? Would there be an uptick in “self defense” shootings because paranoid gun freaks would feel threatened by anyone passing with less than 1 meter distance on the sidewalk?

    In short, I was worried that a badly handled pandemic, with high casualty rates and a high fear level, might lead to a light version of a classic dystopian breakdown of society.

    Armed protestors demanding less lockdown and a more deadly pandemic was not on my radar, though. Even if looking at it now it sort of makes sense.

    The scary part is that I’m still not sure we won’t see the kind of things I dreamed up a month ago. Even with the same people in the main roles.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. “Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.”
    Eric Hoffer

    And disregard further pandemics for a moment (bad enough). The big one is climate change. It can get so much worse.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I finally figured out a specific thing about her previous rant that annoyed me. (Other than, y’know, the whole thing)

    Her “frictionless sphere model” analogy only applies to *elementary problems*. It’s in the first year textbooks just to make it easier for students to learn the mechanics without getting bogged down in the math. Which is why it appears in the joke Greg told — no actual graduate would use that model; therein lies the contradiction and thus the laugh.

    It’s nothing like actual models with lots of complicated moving parts, such as the Covid projections.

    So apparently her STEM osmosis only absorbed the first semester’s chapters. Or the people she lives with never got beyond first-semester high school physics.

    As one of the rednecks’ favorite comedians says: “Here’s your sign”.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. If I’d known about the rally earlier, I’d have been sorely tempted (but would have resisted) to attend just so I could hold up a sign reading “GO BACK TO PORTUGAL!!!”

      Liked by 3 people

    1. You block access to a hospital, you best believe medical workers will come for you.

      So it seems that there were a series of triggers that then created an organized astroturf campaign from the key funding billionaires and the rightosphere (which Ms. Hoyt seems to have fully jumped on.)

      1) The effort of Wisconsin and federal Republicans to force people to go out to vote during a pandemic blew up in their faces.

      2) Dr. Fauci, despite trying to be as diplomatic as possible, firmly presented the scientific reasoning for having and continuing the shutdown. Part of that claim means that government is good, helps people and that the corporations (as warlords with fiefdoms) can’t just do what they want without regulation in a crisis. All of these contradict the main narrative of the right wing. Fauci being a civil servant and a respected veteran of epidemic battles, he can’t be fired except for cause and Trump’s Fire Fauci text was a PR mess. They need to keep using Fauci to claim the administration is doing something, while letting others call for his firing to keep up the idea that scientists supporting positions that liberals support and that are pro-government action are bad.

      3) Various states have started forming regional coalitions to coordinate handling the pandemic policies and get supplies, since the feds keep stealing what they’ve bought so that it can be sold back to them at mark-up by corporate interests, mafia style. That included the midwest states that were initially the main target.

      4) Black activists, progressives and media have been pointing out the data that black and other POC are being disproportionately hit by the virus, not receiving aid concerning the virus and discriminated against in obtaining treatment for the virus. This supports improving access to equipment, tests, especially in the cities that have high minority populations, and it also makes numerous white supremacy right wing myths look bad.

      For these and a few other reasons, the usual suspects — the DeVos/Princes, the Kochs, white supremacist militia groups, and other corporate backers used their funding groups to roll out a bunch of incoherent and gun waving “protests” against states’ rights, which is the ironic part. They started with right wing pols and mouthpieces floating the refrain that Americans should be willing to die in larger numbers for the profits of corporations. They followed that up with calls for Fauci’s firing and the refrain about models — that the models are right and working and are therefore wrong. (The models predict fewer deaths and spread if we do some things, and that’s what has happened. This is somehow evidence that we should abandon the models that are working.)

      The we should have sheriff fiefdoms separate from rule of law folk — the Bundys and such — started doing gathering protests in rural areas where they won’t get much push-back from cops, declaring that the state government’s powers should be curtailed and policies that are working against the pandemic should be shelved. The idea of “liberating” the populace from government that are trying to flatten the curve was floated through the media sphere. A huckster under criminal investigation in Florida set up all the websites for calls in each state.

      And then they funded and supplied protesters, most of whom have signs lettered with the exact same, unusual font and using the same phrases. They used the usual tea party methods and they all chant the same things. There’s a heavy dose of white supremacy chest thumping with swastikas, Confederate flags and other paraphenalia and a secondary gun terrorism aspect to please the militia groups they got to march. Again, the cops don’t want to deal with a bunch of infection-happy white supremacist gun wielders, so these protesters get to break laws (blocking the hospital,) threaten people with guns and do things that would get black protesters killed and arrested, to show their supremacy.

      At first it looked like they were going after Democratic governors and Republicans who weren’t seen as towing the line enough, who joined in regional coalitions. But Alex Jones ran one in Austin against Abbott, so it seems to be a general synchronized effort. And coordinated and similar protests are going on in Brazil and some other countries. The goal is to get click-hungry media coverage and make it look as if they are a large movement when they are a tiny, instructed minority according to the polls of most Americans. To raise the idea that questioning the scams, profiteering and theft that Trump’s admin and their business buddies are doing is not allowed. The goal is also to call for rule of force and threats of violence — blocking the hospital, slamming up against windows — against government workers and government aid, on the grounds that trying to slow the spread of the pandemic is tyranny. To get people used to again allowing those displays of force to happen and see them as unstoppable and a right of right wing white supremacists. And lastly, to scare non-conservative people about trying to vote in elections this November and having to run the gauntlet of these people.

      All of that is pretty standard by the right wing corporate funded/media playbook. But with it being a highly infectious virus, it’s unusual. These people are risking their lives and their families doing this, protesting against the people trying to help them, blaming states for the lack of aid from the federal government that makes stronger shutdowns necessary (namely a lack of tests and financial aid for lower income workers and real small businesses.) It’s not just paid astroturfing and clan identity. It is an actual death cult, and bizarrely one in service to billionaires. It’s really terrifying even though it has logical goals for right-wingers and is an openly organized operation.

      It’s kind of a new thing, even if it has some echoes to the 1918 pandemic.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Stephen Moore actually announced publicly that they were going to astroturf protest the week before they started up:

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Guess who thinks these protests are real, and maybe even the start of a catastrophic civil disturbance that will end the welfare state, child labour laws, workplace regulations and “experts”? Why it’s everyone’s pro national-socialist libertarian:

      “In this scenario people set themselves free. At some point, they get tired of the disaster porn the media is feeding them and get out of their basements, and look around to realize that no, we’re not all dying like flies, there are no bodies on the streets, the hospitals are so far from overwhelmed that doctors and nurses are choreographing dance numbers in the hallways, all while grandma’s cancer gets worse, and mom goes without heart surgery because the government closed the hospitals, to make way for a surge of COVID-19 deaths that never happened.

      Then people get angry and jam the streets and start screaming and yelling and refusing to be arrested. They, in fact, become the America Hong Kong thinks we are.”

      I always wonder whether her fans/commenters don’t understand she is batshit insane, or they let it slide because she is on their side and a prestigious(?) author besides.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I wonder how much documentary proof of their artificiality it’s going to take to convince the denialists? This?

        Liked by 3 people

  4. The comparison with NSW is meaningless. In CO, something like .17% of people have a moderately dangerous disease. Some people think that justifies a near total shutdown of social, academic, and economic life. Others do not. Those that do not are using their Constitutional right to assemble and petition the government for the redress of a grievance. The governor of CO lacks the power to prevent this. Everyone does.

    I used to wonder why those on the Left were so threatened by the exercise of basic civil rights on the part of those with which they disagree. I don’t anymore.


    1. Let’s see, the US now has the biggest outbreak of Covid 19 on earth–over eight hundred thousand cases and nearly 45,000 deaths. It’s now starting to uptick in so-called “red” states–witness the outbreak at a meat packing plant in South Dakota–and oh hey, a meat packing plant in Colorado, with 6000 employees, was just closed too! (https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/10/us/colorado-meat-packing-plant-coronavirus/index.html)

      It’s hard for me to believe that people can be so selfish as to protest a TEMPORARY shutdown of the economy (which would work out to just a FEW WEEKS if we had a proper mass testing protocol, which due to the so-called President’s dither and idiocy, we do not have as yet). But since you’re talking about civil rights–you do know we gave up or restricted quite a few civil rights to win World War II, don’t you? Are you telling me y’all are so diminished from the Greatest Generation that you can’t put up with a bit of sacrifice for the good of the entire nation? Really? 🙄

      Liked by 3 people

    2. The denial is strong with this one.

      Nobody on the Left is ‘threatened by the exercise of basic civil rights’. People on all sides of the political spectrum are threatened by fools who do not understand epidemiology and who are taking insane risks which will result in more people getting sick and dying. And the Party in charge wants this to happen.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I saw a meme on Twitter. Three photos:

          Police brutalizing black protesters with the caption WHITE PEOPLE: THEY SHOULD HAVE FOLLOWED THE RULES.

          Police brutalizing dark-skinned immigrants with the caption WHITE PEOPLE: THEY SHOULD HAVE FOLLOWED THE RULES.

          White guys dressed like Nazis and such, breaking quarantine and proximity guidelines in a protest against safety measures: WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RULES.

          Liked by 5 people

      1. the Right, famously tolerant of everyone exercising their rights, as long as they do so while white, cis, male, straight and agreeing with what people on the Right think. Okay you can get away with some of those requirements as long as you’re useful as cover for the Right too.

        Liked by 4 people

    3. Let’s go a bit more in-depth here. Currently yes, less than 1% of the population have CONFIRMED cases of a moderately dangerous disease for which, as far as we can tell, the population has *no* immunity to. So, unless some pretty basic laws of biology and maths don’t apply in Colorado that number will keep increasing. Currently, that rate of increase is slowed by some drastic measures reducing the amount of contact people have with each other. Currently, about 20% of cases need hospitalisation. (2,003 hospitalisations of 10,477 cases). The capacity for the state to have its hospital overwhelmed with cases (as has actually occurred in other parts of the world) is very real.
      Currently, with the current measures, the state is avoiding that but not by a great margin.
      Let that run out of control and you know what you’ll get? The near-total shutdown of social, academic, and economic life at a much, much greater scale as well as all the economic impacts you get when your medical systems become overwhelmed and knock-on loss of life as a result. Not to mention a LOT of extra dead people.
      It’s a fantasy that there’s a choice here between lockdown measures or no lockdown measures. It’s a choice between relatively mild measures and functioning hospitals or letting infection rates spirals, and then having to implement far worse measures.

      I get this kind of scepticism say two months ago or even four weeks ago but the world has seen these scenes happen in multiple countries now. They aren’t speculation.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. In NYC, bodies overwhelmed the morgues and they had to dig temporary graves in Central Park. Today, nurses protested outside the White House, bearing the pictures and reading the names of their healthcare colleagues who have died from the virus and begging for the federal government to finally provide them with enough protective equipment, ventilators and funding. To stop their states from having to make black market deals and then hide shipments from the feds confiscating it and turning it over to corporations for resale when the federal government is supposed to be leading the effort to deal with the crisis. They are having to do this protest not just because of the mess the federal government has made of things, but because of right wing protesters funded by billionaires and white supremacist organizations trying to block hospitals and smear the reps of healthcare workers so that they will continue to not get the equipment they need to save lives and not lose their own.

    This is the big political strategy. Try to kill people. It’s not a new political strategy and it has nothing to do with civil rights. It’s just rule of force. They’re going to force us. And they’ll be thrilled if it causes a complete collapse.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for that link. Alexandra Petri never fails. I particularly liked “I am here, banging on the window, like the heroes in a zombie film.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jessica,

      That’s what, 100 people, tops? You could get that many people to turn out for almost anything. Kind of a poor showing for all the astroturfing the RWNJ have been doing.

      My gosh, you could get 25 people holding signs about something in my town on the corner that’s semi-officially dedicated to that on any given Friday. With nothing but word of mouth, In the 90s, before everyone had email and web. With handmade signs and no racism.

      I’m heartened to see fewer people putting themselves and their families/friends/caregivers in danger.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Precisely. And yet, the Media is treating all these protests as if they’re *serious business*.
        One of these days we’re going to have to hold the Media accountable for the damage their ‘reporting’ has done. Faux News is already being sued, how about the rest of the Corporate Media giants?

        Liked by 1 person

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