21 June 2020 – Sunday – #98

Spain’s State of Alarm ended last night while I was sleeping. I woke up refreshed.

This doesn’t mean Spain is Covid-19-free, like New Zealand. The current Spanish infection rate is about 3 per 100,000 per day and there are about six Covid-19 deaths per day in the entire country. Covid-19 seems more like a very weak case of the flu right now.

Actually, New Zealand reported two new Covid-19 cases yesterday. Even when it appears Covid-19 has been eradicated, it’s lurking somewhere.

Actually, Covid-19 was lurking earlier than everyone thought. Sewage samples from Milano and Torino indicate the virus was first present around mid-December 2019.

The findings echo similar discoveries elsewhere in Europe suggesting the coronavirus was circulating globally well before Chinese authorities flagged the new infection on December 31. For example, a French doctor said samples from patients treated in December for pneumonia tested positive for the virus.

Politico, “Coronavirus found in Italian wastewater in December,” 19 June 2020.

The finding that Covid-19 was in Europe in December 2019 may indicate that the virus can lurk for months before starting a high-mortality outbreak. It also may indicate that, like embers drifting from a distant fire, it took several introductions of the virus to kindle the first blaze.

The questions Spain faces today are how long can it keep Covid-19 in lurking mode and how does it keep embers from drifting in. Now that everyone is on the alert for Covid-19 and understands the consequences of an outbreak, another outbreak seems less much less likely. Or so I hope.

Allow me to switch my narrative to another thing happened while I was sleeping last night. Trump had a campaign rally in Tulsa. Bringing supporters to Tulsa seemed like a recipe for disaster because Tulsa has become a Covid-19 hot spot. So many supporters were expected that Trump’s campaign built an overflow space outside. Supporters who couldn’t squeeze inside the 19,000 seat Covid-19 hot box could watch Trump on jumbotrons. As an incentive to participate from outside, Trump said he would address the remote throngs in person after the main event.

Trump says a million people want to attend his Tulsa rally.

Everyone fretted that pushing tens of thousands of people into close quarters in a city with a rapidly growing Covid-19 case count would add to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. No one lining up for days in advance to get a seat inside the convention center wore masks. Hours before the event, the campaign confirmed that six of its event staff had Covid-19 infections. Just as the horror film was about to start, I went to bed.

This morning I woke up expecting to see the post-rally carnage. Here’s the first view I got of the Tulsa convention center during the rally.

Small crowd at Trump’s Tulsa campaign rally, 21 June 2020.

The crowd of about six thousand wasn’t wearing masks and didn’t socially distance, but at least it was only six thousand. Those Trump’s supporters will spread Covid-19 around Oklahoma, but not as much as if the expected crowd showed up. Only about a tenth as many supporters as Trump anticipated showed up. As with Trump’s entire presidency, we got lucky. It could have been ten times worse.

My point in bringing up Trump’s rally is that there is some hope that either the polls showing Trump is losing support are correct or that even Trump’s supporters don’t buy into his Covid-19 suicide pact. In either case, that gives me hope about Covid-19.

I’m leaning towards the case that even Trump supporters aren’t buying into his suicide pact, that Covid-19 is breaking through the Trump distortion field. Trump is saying things about Covid-19 that make no sense on their face. Here’s one from his rally.

At Tulsa rally event, Trump says he asked for reduced Covid-19 testing.

While Trump doubles down on his “post-Coronavirus” narrative that increased testing is creating more cases of Covid-19, Republican governors are facing the Covid-19 realities of record cases and overwhelmed healthcare systems.

Even staunch Trump ally Florida Governor DeSantis is changing his tune. Last week DeSantis blamed the increase in Florida’s Covid-19 cases to increased testing of farm workers. Yesterday, he admitted that the rise in cases couldn’t be explained by testing.

“Even with the testing increasing or being flat, the number of people testing positive is accelerating faster than that. You know that’s evidence that there’s transmission within those communities.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Covid-19 testing, 20 June 2020.

Which brings me back to Spain. If it’s true that Trump supporters can see Covid-19 as a threat in spite of what Trump tells them, then I have hope that Spain can keep Covid-19 in lurking mode until a treatment or vaccine comes along.

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