A quick rundown of why you shouldn't put much stock in stories insisting that “half of new COVID-19 cases are in just five states,” implying that the problem is now limited to a literal handful of hot spots. This is a distortion of reality and a genuinely dangerous narrative. …
For one thing, it’s not “half.” Adding together New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey gets 44% of the cases over the past seven days. However, there’s no sudden cliff between those states and the rest of the nation. …
In terms of the pure raw numbers, a national map of new COVID-19 cases aligns pretty closely to population. It’s not hard to pick out cities like Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, or Chicago, even though not in the highly arbitrary list of “hot states.” …
In large part, cases of COVID-19 are now very evenly spread across much of the nation. And it’s extremely relieving to see the map below painted in calmer shades of teal when at the start of the year, most of the nation would have been cloaked in unsettling navy. …
However, this map does show some genuine winners and losers over the past few days. For one thing, California now looks remarkably “cool” on this map. The state has driven case counts down and kept them there, with no sign of a “fourth spike.” Here's what that looks like: …
There are also states genuinely struggling. In particular, Michigan. On March 2, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer surrendered to pressure (that included attempts on her life) and relaxed the state’s social distancing rules. Here's how that looks now. …
Other states have (so far) largely gotten away relatively easy even though they made more egregious changes to the rules. However, Michigan relaxed just as the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant was becoming dominant in the area. It was double-whammy of bad timing. …
When you look more closely, the area of Detroit may generate the highest number of cases, but the “hottest” areas in terms of cases by population are actually on Michigan’s “thumb.” Every one of these counties reporting over 750 cases per 100,000 population is a red county. …
Combine high Republican vaccine avoidance with a fast-spreading variant, increasing cases in younger Americans, and rules that make it easier to congregate both at home in in the most risky business environments. Mix well. What comes out is Michigan’s sore thumb. …
What should be remembered is that the pleasing green color decorating much of the nation still represents a highly significant rate of COVID-19 in almost every county. There are no safe places. Good policy matters more than ever as we come down the stretch toward herd immunity.

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More from @Devilstower

3 Apr
Let's talk about the real reason that Florida's "conservative" Gov. Ron DeSantis is sticking his hands into private businesses and forbidding them from asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Because that reason is about as bad as it could get. 1/9 …
The CDC currently lists over 550,000 US deaths from COVID-19. Researchers believe that the majority would be alive, were it not for decisions made during the pandemic—specifically the lack of federal testing and a federal mask mandate. 2/9 … reuters.com/article/us-hea…
The US wasn’t in the position of medieval plague doctors, waving posies in the face of the black death. The efficacy of masks and importance of testing had been made clear many times over. Trump’s inaction was *deliberate* inaction. 3/9 … dailykos.com/stories/2020/7…
Read 9 tweets
23 Mar
Hi, there. I'm a gun owner. I have in my house, right at this moment: 2 pistols, 2 rifles, and 3 shotguns. Which is a lot, especially considering that my wife has never touched any of them. I'd like to talk to you about why America's obsession with AR-15s is just so damn odd. …
For decades--as far back as the ATF hands out statistics on the web site--Americans bought about 3 million firearms a year. Which seems like a lot. These aren't paper napkins. They're not disposable. Every gun I own is over 40 years-old. One of the shotguns was made in 1908. …
Around 2008, the number of new guns bought each year started going up rapidly. After decades at around 3M a year, it jumped to 5, then 6, then 8, then 10. What happened? What happened was a whole new category of gun. …
Read 13 tweets
20 Mar
This tweet is making me think of just how difficult it is today to comprehend what the forests of North America were like a relatively short time ago. That forest, and and the most "wild" region on the continent today are incomparable. ...
When Europeans arrived in North America, the trees everywhere were genuinely vast, Pine trees over 200’ tall were common. Massive American chestnut made up a third of all trees east of the Mississippi. Sprawling American elms covered hillsides from Nova Scotia to Florida. ...
Contained in that space was the most diverse, most ecologically dense, biome found outside tropical rainforests. It came with a highly developed understory system that filled every inch with vines, and flowers, and fungi. It was a storybook forest. A Hansel and Gretel forest. …
Read 6 tweets
19 Mar
Since Ron DeSantis is running yet another victory lap on a track paved with the bodies of 32,000 Floridians -- that we know of -- it's worth taking a quick at what really happened in his state before Republicans crown him corona king. 1/15 …
On Thursday, America was graced with a gloating op-ed from DeSantis in the Wall Street Journal explaining how "the elites" (i.e. everyone who ever took high school biology) were wrong to be concerned about invisible things that supposedly cause disease. 2/15 …
Meanwhile, Politico opened a tin of their finest boot polish to insist DeSantis "won the pandemic" because "Florida has fared no worse…than other states." Meaning that Florida did worse than CA, or OR, or WA, and 200% worse than ME or VT, but hey, they edged out Texas! 3/15 …
Read 23 tweets
20 Feb
Okay. Now that the lights are on again, let's do this Texas thing one more time from a slightly different angle. Because for a lot of people the REAL disaster of the last week is still on the way. … 1/22
Texas is finally back to a grid capacity that exceeds demand. That's good. However, it's only making it easier to see the water disaster, food disaster, and economic disaster ahead. Which is exactly what has billionaires bragging they "hit the jackpot." … 2/22
For energy companies in Texas, this has been the BEST WEEK EVER. The same goes for natural gas companies. The entire energy industry—including the owners of Texas wind farms—has seen a tremendous surge of profit. … 3/22
Read 22 tweets
17 Feb
Since everyone from @GovAbbott to @DanCrenshawTX are continuing to pass off massive lies about the energy situation in Texas, let's look at it again. Because it's not wind that's the problem. It's profit-protecting "deregulation" and a perverse idea of the "free market." … 1/18
On Wed., millions of Texans are still without power. Meanwhile, Austin is expected to reach freezing just in time for a massive ice storm expected to bring down trees and powerlines. Plus, broken water lines everywhere. So clearly, the people in charge need a scapegoat. … 2/18
Fox News and GOP politicians—including Gov. Abbott — have been taking this “opportunity” to attack wind energy, call for the burning of more fossil fuels, and to make claims that green power is “deadly.” Surprise! They're lying. … 3/18
Read 18 tweets

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