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LET’S PAY LESS ATTENTION TO THE NUMBERS AND MORE ATTENTION TO THE TRENDS. AND MASK UP!

The Big Bang Theory had a recurring character, a likeable dimwit named Zach who was best-known for saying things like, "That's one of the great things about science—there's no one right answer." That's cute (and utterly false), but in the Time of the Pandemic, in these life-or-death days, being dimwitted (especially intentionally so) is not likeable or useful or acceptable. It's criminal.

Not everybody is good at math and science. That's just a fact of life. However, I've never understood why it's socially acceptable to brag about one's deficiency in that area. ("Oh, I'm horrible at math...giggle.") It's like standing up at a formal dinner party and announcing that you have really bad incontinence. It happens, but keep it to yourself (in both word and deed).

It was obvious from the start of this mess that the media would often take the lazy route and just throw a bunch of numbers at the watchers/listeners/ readers. That way, there is something for everybody and essentially nothing for anybody. You give people a smorgasbord of figures and they can pick and choose what they want to bolster their argument or (as is more often the case) to give themselves an excuse to ignore the reality that's right in front of their faces.

I could spout real (and important) numbers, but then I would be engaging in the same folly I just criticized. More enlightening are trends. There is a figure known as the Effective Reproduction Rate R (sub-t). If it is above 1.0, the virus is likely to spread quickly. If it's under 1.0, that will slow the spread. Arizona was well above 1.0 when the shelter-in-place order went out. Within a couple of weeks, it dipped below 1.0 and stayed there for the entire month of April. As soon as Doug Ducey opened up the state, it skyrocketed back over 1.0 and stayed there from the beginning of May until the end of June. Last week, it dipped just below 1.0 but as of this writing, that's been revised to just about 1.0, which means the virus is, as of the Weekly's deadline, on the spread.

I highly recommend looking at the website rt.live. You can see the charts and the curves that illustrate how Ducey has failed us, how local leaders have nudged things in the right direction, and (most importantly) how the vast majority of Arizonans are taking this (and each other's health) seriously and bending this monster to our will.

Not everybody is on board. There are radio talk-show ass-clowns who, like their Lord and Master, are incapable of admitting that they were wrong about the virus. And there is Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, who somehow believes that wearing a mask can cause cancer from your own bad breath blowing back into your lungs. (She is on her way out; her mind left quite a while ago.)

Sitting through online Mass today, I realized that the gospel about the man who sowed good wheat seed only to have an enemy come along and sow weeds in with the good seed had a modern relevance. The internet can be a valuable source of good information, but it is also a cesspool of ignorance. For every balanced journalistic story about Dr. Fauci, there's a website that claims that his wife is the sister of Ghislane Maxwell. (Sadly, I'm not making that up.) For every informative Covid-19 website, there are four or five that use racist language to describe a virus that's definitely a hoax but has killed the same number of people as the flu, except those people aren't really dead because an out-of-work game-show host knows that the names were made up by the Deep State to hurt Trump's re-election chances.

Websites like rt.live help us to understand that which we already know in our hearts and minds. It doesn't take a math genius to know that infections are going to spike a couple weeks after Arizona goes from sheltering in place to opening up bars and gyms. What it does take is someone who is willing to see and acknowledge the truth. The saying that "there are none so blind as those who will not see" has never been more true. The governor of Oklahoma tested positive for COVID-19 a couple weeks after attending the disastrous Trump rally in Tulsa (without a mask) but swears that there is no way he got the virus there.

I take great solace in knowing that almost everybody these days is wearing a mask. None of us enjoys it, but we're doing it for each other.

I hope that the stores hire gigantic security people to tell the mask-less morons to take their sorry asses on down the road so that the overworked and underappreciated store workers won't have to. I'd be willing to add a surcharge to help pay for the guards. Wouldn't you?

These pariahs don't get the math because they're too dumb to understand it. And they don't get America because they're too selfish to embrace it.

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