Pandemic blog 15: “lock them down”

Trader Joe’s on Friday: the first time I had to wait in line to get in the store. To maintain an appropriately low density, they don’t let a new shopper in until someone comes out. This week, about 90% of shoppers were masked. The people who weren’t were mostly college-age. The food supply still seems pretty normal; a few things, like butter, were out, but it’s Trader Joe’s — there’s always something they’re for some reason out of. I asked the store manager whether they were selling more beer than usual, and he said, beer, no, hard liquor, yes.

Large majorities in Wisconsin support the governor’s safer-at-home order, but there are always dissenters:

You might be surprised to hear I have some sympathy for this point of view, though he needs to be more broad with his lockdown; Waukesha County, where Menominee Falls is, has just as high a case rate as Dane does.

But it’s not crazy to imagine that COVID spread might be slower in less dense regions; maybe so much slower that the pandemic could be kept in check with less stringent suppression measures. Let’s posit that, eventually, we open schools and some businesses in rural Wisconsin before we do the same in Milwaukee. So this guy gets his wish.

My concern is this: he is not going to then say “It’s just like I said, I want to work and be productive, I’m glad I’m able to do so and I support strong relief measures for my fellow Wisconsinites in Milwaukee who have to stay home for the sake of public health.” No, I think that guy is going to say “Why should my taxes be paying somebody in Milwaukee to sit at home when I have to work?”

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2 thoughts on “Pandemic blog 15: “lock them down”

  1. If upstate NY is any indication, “lock them down” probably also means “keep those city people from infecting our pristine virus-free rural counties.” And you can guess what “city people” is code for. The way this crisis has been politicized is incredibly depressing.

  2. Look – probably a third of my county would be better off with Pol Pot in charge.

    Lots of people want an end to civilization, because they don’t have the skills to do well in it. We have to figure out (at least when we regain some semblance of normalcy) how to take care of these people before they rightfully take us all down for screwing them. (And, no, handing them UBI and then forgetting about them doesn’t count as taking care of them.)

    “City people” out here is code for “people who have skills that aren’t subsistence farming and hunting and might automate my job away”, not (primarily) racial.

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