May 28, 2020 08:00 · 729 words · 4 minute read

Was the “lockdown” necessary? More importantly: what happens next

In general, I have thought that Governor Whitmer has done a good job with the coronavirus response in Michigan. That doesn’t mean that I am closed off to different perspectives. I won’t entertain discussions in which people talk about the disease being a hoax, because that’s just nonsense which is unsupported by evidence, almost akin to flat earth beliefs.

Alistair Haimes’s Twitter thread caught my attention and led me to read the We’re all in the big numbers now. This article is arguing, reasonably so, that COVID-19 lockdown has been very damaging. Given that there are countries and territories that controlled the outbreak without such damaging measures, I think it is likely that we could have responded differently had we been better prepared, and this article concluded with some decent suggestions along those lines.

I am more interested in what comes next for COVID-19. I responded with a question: “Are we actually at the tail-end of the epidemic” as Alistair claims? This seems like an important question to ask, because it determines how we respond (as a society and individually) this summer and onward. There were several interesting responses with links to other data.

The first interesting COVID-19 claim is that 40-60% of uninfected people could have partial immunity to SARS-CoV-2 due to previous infections with other “common cold” coronaviruses.

Reason reports that nursing homes account for 42% of fatalities from COVID-19. There has been earlier reporting about high numbers of cases in prisons and meat packing plants. This backs up earlier research that showed sharing indoor space is a major infection risk. Conversely, there appears to be far less risk outdoors. And the jury is still out on a second wave.

One thing that disappointed me with much of the data is that it’s focused on infection fatality rate (IFR). Fatalities are only part of the story with COVID-19. This disease results in more hospitalizations, according to current CDC data, “Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 in adults (18-64 years) are higher than hospitalization rates for influenza at comparable time points* during the past 5 influenza seasons.” Comparisons with influenza fall down somewhat when considered against the fact that COVID-19 is more likely more deadly but also likely to be more serious in general. However, it sounds like there’s a paper coming out supporting the idea that masks will lead to less severe cases and less deaths. If we’re reducing deaths and severity, that sounds like a huge step.

There’s so much data of varying quality (and analysis of that data is also done with varying quality) that it can be hard to come to a proper conclusion. There is quite a bit of agreement that being outdoors, keeping a six foot distance, avoiding shared surfaces/items, and wearing a mask results in low risk of transmission.


I listened to an episode of the What Next podcast for the first time, and they featured Emily Oster who runs a site called COVID-Explained, which has a few clear articles that attempt to boil down the latest data about COVID-19.

HTMX uses HTML attributes to help build modern UIs

Web Development has changed a lot over the years and there’s an interesting tension today between building full-on React and JS-based pages and the old-school approaches of server-generated HTML. HTMX uses simple HTML attributes to trigger calls to the server, which then generates HTML. The appeal of this sort of approach is that it allows you to focus your state management on the server and not worry so much about synchronizing state between client and server. This also potentially eliminates having to go through server-side rendering machinations. If you need a mobile app, though, you may be in trouble. hx-boost reminds me of turbolinks. Stimulus is another alternative for a modern approach to sprinkling in some JavaScript behavior with a mostly server-generated page.

RoughNotation for annotating webpages … roughly

RoughJS is a neat library for Web Development that can create drawings with a hand-drawn look. RoughNotation builds on that with animated annotations for web pages like underlines, boxes, etc. This seems like a cool way to add a little bit of dynamic interest to an otherwise static page.

Online version of Hanabi

There have been lots of little games making their way out into the world and now there’s this Hanabi implementation in Rust.

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