“Science”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New CDC guidelines on masks.  We’re told it’s necessary because we must follow the SCIENCE.  Let’s review how we got here:

In March of 2020, when the Covid panic really took hold, there weren’t enough test kits specific for Covid.  States were told to count all deaths from respiratory illness (pneumonia, influenza, emphysema) as Covid deaths even without a test.  And Congress passed the CARES act, which gave hospital administrators a financial incentive to over-count Covid cases to receive the 20% higher reimbursement rate.  The number of deaths attributed to Covid shot up, giving rise to fears of a Surge which would overwhelm hospitals and morgues.  It never arrived.  The refrigerated warehouse sits empty.

House arrest, mask mandate and social distancing were imposed by Governor Walz with vague references to “science” but no scientific studies were cited to support the measures.  The Peacetime Emergency remains in effect.  Governor Walz retains the authority to ‘adjust the dials’ governing every aspect of life, at whim.

In July, the FTC approved RT-PCR test kits.  Reported case numbers skyrocketed as more people tested positive but hospital admissions for confirmed cases of Covid did not.  Instead, the graph of Covid resembled the graph of seasonal influenza – peaks in winter, gone in summer.  The national charts of Covid cases versus mask mandates show mask mandates made no difference to Covid cases.

By the election, President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed had delivered results but mask mandates, social distancing and lock-downs remained in place as case numbers rose (following the same graph as seasonal influenza).  Thanksgiving was cancelled. Christmas was moved outdoors.  No studies were provided to support the orders. In December, the FDA issued emergency approval of Covid vaccines.  It also withdrew its request for emergency approval of the RT-PCR test which some critics had said resulted inover-counting of cases to artificially inflate the numbers to justify extreme measures.

On April 14, 2021, Governor Walz extended his restrictions again but on April 29 he ended many of them.  No new scientific studies were cited to support the change.  Covid case numbers continued to fall, following the pattern of seasonal influenza.

On May 1, 2021, the CDC stopped counting ‘breakthrough’ cases of Covid among vaccinated persons The obvious result is Covid cases are only counted among un-vaccinated persons, which gives rise to claims that the vaccine is working when the truth is we have no numbers to support that claim because we stopped collecting those numbers. 

The change is significant because it makes a year-to-year comparison impossible.  In 2020, millions of Covid cases were reported but was that because there were millions of infected persons or millions of false positives?  In 2021, far fewer Covid cases will be reported but is that because the vaccine works or because we no longer count Covid cases in vaccinated persons, making them the statistical equivalent of false negatives?  And where are the scientific studies which justify mask mandates, social distancing and distance learning?  Where is the SCIENCE?

It’s difficult to make public policy recommendations when the severity of the threat is unknown because the numbers are unreliable but as far as I can tell, the new CDC mask mandates make no sense and are not supported by any scientific justification.  The verifiable evidence supports the conclusion that Covid is a bad flu and should be treated like one – quarantine the sick, liberate the healthy.  The best Covid site on the web is Healthy Skeptic.  This post from last April is a good summary.

Joe Doakes

If only there were a group – in or out of government – devoted to providing Americans (and their policymakers) reliable, unvarnished, unpoliticized information.

But I dream.

Just So We’re Clear On This

I’m far from “Anti-Vax”. I got the J&J vaccine – partly to shut Karen up, and partly because the science that exists convinced me it was worth the fairly minimal risk.

But there are times I wish this country had a national organization, one dedicated to disseminating unvarnished, unbiased, scientific information about public health to the public.

But I dream.

If we did have such an organization – and a news media that actually reported facts rather than emotions and political narrative…

…again, I dream.

By the way, I commend for your attention this 8-10 tweet thread on the latest science re the immunity provided by both natural and vaccine-based immunity. The news is largely if not uniquivically good…

…and you’ll hear little to none of it from our useless media.

I bring that up to arm you all for the upcoming fight – with the CDC sending out trial balloons about renewed mask mandates, and bobblheads like Gavin Newsom actively locking things down again. And if Newsom is talking about it, you know Tim Walz is fantasizing about reliving his Mussolini days, too.

Now, for me it’s an emergency, no matter what our idiot bureaucracy says; I have parents in their 80s in about the health one might expect of people in their eighties, so I take the precautions needed, either way.

But as the inevitable tsunami of Karens who believe one “believes” science, and whose idea of “science” is an NPR piece from April 2020, by a morose millennial reporter living in an apartment in Brooklyn venting their personal depression in the form of a “news” piece about how awful things are, I urge you to keep an eye on the actual science:

Because this time, there can be no deferring to the good will of the participants, like most of us did in the spring of 2020.

This isn’t public health,. This is a social power grab. Nothing more. .

They Don’t Just Super-Spread Social Toxicity Anymore

After 18 months of warning about “superspreaders” that never panned out, Democrats – in this case, the Texas Fleebaggers – finally put their money where their gaping, unmasked-on-airplanes mouths are:

On Tuesday, Axios reported that an aide to the speaker and a White House official tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a rooftop reception to honor the fugitive lawmakers. Both individuals were fully vaccinated, although a White House official downplayed the staffer’s illness.

“Yesterday, a fully-vaccinated senior spokesperson in the Speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” said Drew Hammier, deputy chief of staff to Pelosi.

The group of 50 Texas Democrats flouted federal regulations implemented by President Biden that require passengers on privately charted planes to wear masks for the duration of a flight. As of publication, no legal action has been taken against them, even though the Centers for Disease Control issued explicit warnings about not wearing masks. The Federal Aviation Administration did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon.

Since their arrival in Washington, D.C., six of the Texas Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19. The whereabouts of the Texas Democrats are unknown, and the public does not know how many people they infected during their trip to the nation’s capital. Texas state representative Gene Wu, a prominent member of the group who has shared news articles on Twitter about coronavirus strains entering the country while on the lam, did not respond to a request for comment.

Of course, their mission – gundeck the election reforms via foul means in a way they could never do via fair – remains accomplished.

Call it “divine retribution”.

Consequences

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats seized upon the Covid virus as a means to terrify voters so they would accept suspending the Constitution and mailed ballots (which are easier to harvest and cheat) allowing Democrats to ‘fortify’ the election to remove Bad Orange Man from office.

But terrifying the American public caused panic worldwide and in a global economy, that’s not risk-free. The First Order Effect of The Big Steal was The Garden Administration but what are the Second and Third Order Effects?

Richard Fernandez fears the international order is breaking down.

Sarah E. Hoyt points out the consequences of the hoax at home and abroad.

Even the UN admits the world hunger has gotten worse.

Democrats loosed War, Disease, Famine and Death in the world to gain political power at home.

Prepare yourselves.

Joe Doakes

The history of leftism is replete with examples of actions taken with no regard for, or blithe acceptances, unintended consequences

Fallout

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Setting off a nuclear bomb does immediate damage, but also blasts radioactive dust into the atmosphere which will eventually settle out of the air causing deaths from radiation poisoning.  The death toll from fall-out can be far greater than the death toll from the blast itself.
Governor Walz’ Executive Orders set off a nuclear bomb on Minnesota last Spring.  The immediate blast destroyed civil liberties – placed the entire state under house arrest, banned religion, speech, assembly, and ordinary employment for all except favored groups – but the fall-out damage has yet to be fully realized. 
A family member fell over July 4th weekend, striking her head.  The Urgency Room doctors in Eagan wanted her admitted to a hospital for observation but there were no rooms available at Regions, United or St. John’s in Maplewood.  She ended up at Woodwinds in Woodbury.  She received excellent treatment and is making a fine recovery but the point is beds.  There are no hospital beds.
It’s not Covid.  It’s fall-out from Covid. Walz banned non-emergency medical treatments to keep hospital beds open for the giant surge of Covid cases which were confidently predicted by the U of M computer model.  Hospitals lost millions of dollars every day as beds sat empty. Marginally profitable facilities were closed to save money.  When Bethesda and St. Joseph’s closed in St. Paul, they took 500 beds off the inventory.  Remember our talk about Second Order effects?  This is one of them.  Prohibit hospitals from making money treating non-Covid patients, hospitals close their doors, all patients go untreated. 
We’re going to see more fall-out.  Unemployment remains high because it’s just as profitable to sit home as go to work.  Evictions and foreclosures are halted now but will explode when the moratorium is lifted, adding to the homeless problem.  Business bankruptcies are already on the rise. 
Was it really worth all this so Democrats could ‘fortify’ the election to get rid of the Bad Orange Man? 
Joe Doakes

“Government is the least effective possible way to manage scarce resources”
— Kevin Williamson

If this past year, especially in re healthcare, hasn’t emphasized this to you, then I question whether any emphasis will ever work.

“Mussolini-Like Power” And “Single-Man Autocratic Rule” Must Not Be Polling Well

Governor Walz’s emergency powers ended last night.

Turns out that to the DFL it was all a bone to be thrown over budget money.

“Our agreement with our federal partners to extend [food assistancce] benefits for Minnesotans, coupled with the thoughtful plan outlined in the House Democrats’ amendment to wind down the emergency response in state government, means that we can close this chapter of our history and celebrate the brighter days ahead,” Walz said in a statement late Tuesday.

Anyone but me having a hard time buying the notion that the Governor moved his plan up a month, on a day’s notice, over some bureaucratic tittle-jotting at the USDA?

My guess – and it is a guess – is that the DFL is starting to see that Covid is eating political capital they can’t waste as they try to get ahead of the urban crime problem they’ve created.

Let Them Eat GrubHub

Andy Slavitt – a stockbroker and political contributor who became a FEMA official under Obama, and a Covid “advisor” to President Harris – says we just don’t know when we’ve got it good.

Is there anything you can say about this Administraiton – no, modern Big Left – that you couldn’t say just as well about an abusive parent or spouse?

No, seriously?

VC Day

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Looking back with a year of experience, it’s clear the COVID crisis in Minnesota is over, if it ever began.

70,000 Minnesotans did not die. There was no surge of cases. Hospitals were not overwhelmed, nor funeral homes: the refrigerated warehouse sits empty.  Holiday revelers did not die in droves, nor Spring Breakers, nor school children.  Active cases are in the 300 range, hospitalizations less than 100, out of a population of 5,000,000.  Covid is still a threat to the frail elderly in nursing homes, but poses no general public health emergency.

Why hasn’t Governor Walz ended the Peacetime Emergency and returned power to the people, as he promised he would?

Joe Doakes

Because it was never about public health.

Well, That Turned Around Fast

Friday Morning: local media cover the bejeebers out of a press conference – the sort of coordinated coverage that screams “a PR flak is working this hard”:

While challenges remain, downtown Minneapolis’ progress toward a post-pandemic revival is picking up steam, according to the panelists who joined a Friday morning online forum hosted by the Minneapolis Downtown Council…“My take on all of this is that you haven’t seen anything yet. Downtown is going to come back stronger and bigger than ever,” said Fhima, who leads the kitchen at Fhima’s Minneapolis.

Still, the panelists said, downtown is currently battling the perception that it’s unsafe — a perception Fhima [1] said was fueled by the lack of foot traffic on downtown streets during the pandemic, when many office workers shifted to working from home and widespread closures of restaurants and venues kept visitors away. Just as an empty restaurant might make diners question the quality of the food, he said, an empty downtown can leave visitors unnerved

“Challenges remain”, indeed.

18 hours after that coordinated burst of manufactured sunshine blowing up the Twin Cities collective nethers:

Two people were killed and 8 wounded in a shooting in downtown Minneapolis, police said early Saturday.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that two people were standing in a crowded area and got into a verbal confrontation,” the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement.” Both individuals pulled out guns and began shooting at each other.”

Look – I enjoy downtown. I’ve worked there, and 2-3 years ago I used to go down there for concerts fairly regularly – move the Dakota than the First Avenue these days, but whatever. And as a taxpayer, I’ve had a lot of taxpayers money “invested” in it on my behalf, so it’d be nice if the current occupants at the City Council stopped screwing things up.

Not holding my breath, of course.

[1] Have any of Dave Fhima’s restaurants ever succeeded? . I haven’t paid much attention to the restaurant scene, but going back ten years or so, any of his places turned into their own vacant slices of downtown in a year or so.

Of Dictators And Religions

It was interesting, a few years back, watching the retrospectives of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a sjhort one:

It’s as fun to watch now as it was otherworldly and unbelievable back then: after decades of complete control, a government official’s inadvertent slip causes and uproar; another official’s resigned ad-libbed decision opens a single gate; from there, the entire Eastern Bloc, the Communist world that all the experts reminded us was here “forever”” disappeared inside a couple years.

I thought about that last week, as CDC director Rochelle Walensky abruptly changed course on masks. One week after President Harris was “inadvertently” photographed trying to french-kiss her husband through paper masks on an airport tarmac in front of a random mob of press cameras, one week after “President” Biden did a press conference wearing a mask standing 20 feet from other people, the CDC flipped.

And people started ditching the masks. Major retailers jumped off the Karen Train, joining vast swathes of the country that have changed course, to protecting the vulnerable.

And just like that night at the Bornholmer Straße gate over the Berlin Wall, many – but not all – people ditched the masks. Roughly 10% of the entire population of East Germany roamed the streets of West Berlin, at one point that glorious night, tasting and smelling and buying freedom.

The Communists spent a few years trying to put that genie back in the bottle, and failed. Their distant cousins here are trying to do the same thing.

Promptly, Big Karen – a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Left – leapt into action.

Some cities, and other subsidiaries of Big Left, clung to the ban. Given that the ongoing mask mandate had nothing to do with science – the CDC said so – the only logical conclusion is that “Masking Up” is a statement of faith, almost a religious exercise in self-abasement and rule following.

And Big Left, being the Curia of this particular church, is all about keeping people following rules.

And that explains a lot about Karen, whoever he or she is; they seem to be people whose connection to logic, fact, even “science”, involves logrolling others into following the rules they’ve mastered. It’s the ugly side of the Scandinavian culture to which so much of Minnesota traces its roots – the flip side of close-knit communitarianism is passive-aggressive rule-lawyering.

And that passive-aggression seems to have worked. A casual count of people at newly-mask-free Target in Shoreview yesterday showed about 80% of customers, and probably more among employees, still wearing masks. We know that at least half of those people, likely more, are vaccinated, so the exercise is more or less pointless.

It’s been 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell. There are still people who pine for the days when the Stasi and ZOMO kept things nice and tidy and in order.

And watching some of the urban social media groups, plenty of little Karens are already feeling pretty bereft.

Demotion

SCENE: Mitch BERG is biking through Como Park when he hears some muted sobbing. He looks toward a park bench, where he notices Avery LIBRELLE sitting, wearing four masks, which are becoming slowly soaked in tears. BERG visibly hesistates, but his sense of compassion overwhelms his reflexes. He gets off the bike and walks over toward LIBRELLE

BERG: Er…hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: (Stifles a sob) Stay at least 12 feet away!

BERG: Nooo problem. What’s the matter?

LIBRELLE: I…I don’t know. It’s just that with the CDC suddenly scaling back mask mandates, and Governor…

BERG: Klink

LIBRELLE: …Walz ending mask mandates early, I just feel…(sobs again)I.

BERG: How?

LIBRELLE: Strangely… empty.

BERG: Like part of your purpose in life has been removed.k

LIBRELLE: (Small sob)

BERG: Like all your moral authority has been snatched away.

LIBRELLE: (Bigger sob)

BERG: Like you’ve lost your only response to that evolutionary instinct you have to respond to what you see as an existential threat – a sabertooth tiger or a famine or Pearl Harbor? That you’ve had your power to fill the void left by generations of plenty, safety and security has been ripped from your life?

LIBRELLE: (Wracked with a convulsive sob).

BERG: (Lets LIBRELLE cry a bit, then) Well, the good news is, most people have been vaccinated…you’ve had your vaccine, right?

LIBRELLE: (mustering some irate composure). Of course.

BERG: Well, there. you…

LIBRELLE: Twelve doses.

BERG: (jaw flaps in breeze for a moment before he shakes it off). Makes sense. To go with the four masks.

LIBRELLE: It’s six.

BERG: Of course it is.

And SCENE.

Frozen In Time?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend writes:

***

Google Earth street images, which have a timeline feature, have not had any new images of Minneapolis since Summer 2019.   Places where for past years there are numerous dates to choose from, simply have no images later than June of 2019.  Covid prevented cameras from working on the streets ever since the riots ‘mostly peaceful’ protests started?  I just checked Cup Foods at 38th and Chicago: no Saint Floyd Memorial.  No images of boarded up or burned down buildings.  It’s weird how Covid has had such unique and selective symptoms.”

***

Joe Doakes

Weird.

Could be jiggering the algrorithm.

Could be the class inclined to drive Google camera cars is mostly Karens.

Hard to say.

The Sniff Test

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Covid has killed 600,000 Americans. 

Joe Biden got 81 million votes to win the election. 

The Census Bureau says Blue states gained residents in the last decade, Red states lost residents, as people flocked from warm, low-tax Florida and Texas to cold, high-tax New York and New Jersey. 

Numbers don’t lie.  

Joe Doakes

Something’s not quite adding up.

Firing Across Big Karen’s Bow

I’ve had Covid. It was a symptomatic case, although very manageably so.

As such – as we have established in this space, with information from the National Institutes of Health – I have an enhanced degree of, if not complete immunity, at least enhanced, probably highly-enhanced, resistance to Covid.

WIth that being said, I also got vaccinated. The wisdom or lack thereof, or that action’s adherence to your particular version of libertarian conservative, is not up for discussion, and won’t be discussed in this space. I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because I figured it was the minimum expenditure of effort – one shot and round of side effects rather than two – needed to get at least some of the less-irrational Karens, especially business and institutional Karens, to shut the hell up in the coming months. Given that I also have some degree of natural immunity and likely resistance, the J&J vaccine also provides the results I want; since the evidence shows I’m unlikely to get infected at all, preventing infections – the supposed upside of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – is irrelvant to me. Preventing such an infection from killing me or putting me in a hospital, should the current understanding of science turn up flawed, is my only real goal.

Again – the fact that I got a vaccination isn’t up for discussion.

Evading Karen

What is up for discussion is this: Governor Klink has set the state’s restrictions to end on July 1. May it please the crown, thanks. Sarcasm intended. We’ll be caught up with Wisconsin – in seven weeks. Probably.

That’s right – it’ll be mandatory to wear a mask on June 30, but perfectly safe on July 1. Science!

But let’s ignore that, also. We’ve talked about that in this space for over a year, now.

Given that I, like most Minnesotans, have some combination of natural immunity, vaccination or both, masks are completely pointless.

Completely. Pointless.

And yet there is a lineup of stores – big box and ma and pa – promising to continue requiring masks after July 1.

And I want to make sure that I don’t patronize them after July 1. At all.

But how to tell which business is which?

The first step I’ve seen is this crowd-sourced map.

It’s being provisioned by people on both sides of the argument, of course – and some of the “reviews” would be comical if you didn’t realize these people have the same right to vote that you do.

What’s needed next is some way of searching for businesses that, shall we say, match your preference, so you can find ’em on the go.

Prescription

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are three weeks [as this was written. Currently a little under two weeks, Ed.] until the legislature adjourns. Republicans continue working with Democrats to keep Dictator-for-Life Walz in power and to enact Democrat agendas in police reform, tax increases, and legalizing marijuana.

Why?

Shut everything down until Walz ends the Permanent Emergency and the law
is changed to say he can declare another only with consent of both houses.

Or else drop the masks, change parties and come clean with us. You’re
not staunch conservatives standing up for what’s right. You’re
Republicans in Name Only working hand-in-hand with Democrats to pass
their agenda.

Joe Doakes

It’s high time the MNGOP stood for what’s right, here.

The Covid Nazi Has Spoken

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Empty magazine rack in the hospital waiting room. Because you can catch The Deadliest Virus Ever Known from toilet seats and grocery store check-out belts and waiting room magazine covers.  

Okay, actually, no, you can’t. Scientists have confirmed that the endless cleaning for the last year has been a complete waste of time and resources. But we can’t admit that now or people will suspect the experts don’t know what they are talking about and will no longer blindly follow our orders. 

The Covid Nazi has spoken: no magazine for you.

Joe Doakes

I have a hunch socieity is on the tipping point of a tsunami of satirical mockery.

Well, OK. I hope so.

Fragile

Joe Doakes from Como Park em;ails:

Has anybody else been getting messages saying that in these troubled times, the sender wants us to know how much they care about us?   My credit card company, my bank, even my grocery store care about me now, in these troubled times, which evidently is something new for them – caring about their customers – since they never mentioned it to me, before.

My CEO sent an email to top management.  He pointed out that Thursday was an emotional, soul-searching moment; that the last few weeks had been draining and exhausting for all of us; and how important it is we make space for ourselves to get through troubled times like these, particularly BIPOC employees and leaders.  We must take time to pause and recognize what happens when our systems and structures fail in plain sight.  He asked that staff set aside 12:00 to 2:30 to make space for quiet and to observe Duante Wright’s live-streamed funeral, not to schedule work-as-usual or meetings during that time.

I don’t recall seeing similar messages in the past, when our organization’s mission was to “Delight the Customer.”  I started seeing them when the focus changed to “Racial Justice and Diversity in the Workforce” accompanied by a purge of old White men and promotion of women to management.  Apparently, management now believes it’s essential that we fill the organization with Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color who are unable to do their jobs because they can’t handle the ordinary stresses of life.

I liked it better the old way.

Joe Doakes

I figure people who called 2020 “the worst year ever” never heard of 1942, 1916, 1861, or the Black Death, and have little comprehension of actual difficulty in life.

“Trust The Science”

If there is any justice to come from this pandemic, it will be that our “expert“ culture – the browbeating, anti-scientific version of it that has appropriated the notion of “science“ among so much of our “elites“ – will take a crippling kick to the delicates.

Because they certainly deserve the opprobrium:

The simple, elite explanation for all our problems during the pandemic has been that the public failed to trust the experts and didn’t “follow the science.” This, they argue, is the result of tolerating too much skepticism, which is an ordinary feature of scientific debate. Instead, elites have openly embraced the notion that the public is better served by exaggeration, downplaying uncertainty, or even deception (such as in official estimates of herd immunity).

This disdain for healthy skepticism, a normal part of functioning science and democracy, is corrosive to public trust and impedes the accumulation of knowledge. A climate of overconfidence makes it both more likely that we will adopt bad policy and harder to fix our missteps. Reversals of conventional wisdom are, for better or worse, inevitable in science. We have had many reversals of official positions on COVID-19—from the usefulness of masksto which medications work to guidance about school openings—and will likely see more as evidence continues to come in. The problem is that our current climate locks us into polarized mindsets, which makes it harder to recategorize “misinformation” that winds up being correct.

Among the major victims have been, of course, children – who’s mental health is taking it got shot in the past year.

As it may have all been for nothing:

By June 2020, the evidence was fairly clear on one unusual, but fortunate, aspect of COVID-19 when compared to many other respiratory diseases: It was orders of magnitude less dangerous to children. That’s why even the American Academy of Pediatrics, usually known for its caution, came out in favor of in-person learning in June. Thus, there were two main risks left to consider in reopening schools: the effect on teachers, and the effect on community spread. (On both, evidence was already mounting that schools were not especially risky.) On the flip side, there were risks to consider of children not being in school—their education, mental health, and so forth—which in many cases were drowned out by exaggerated, politically driven coverage of the direct risks of the virus for children.

The entire article is very much worth a read – and worth passing around.

Dropping Like Flies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The “vaccine” is perfectly safe.  Any claims to the contrary are misinformation spread by science deniers. 

I mean seriously, who are you going to believe: the shills paid to sell it to you, or your lying eyes?

Joe Doakes

If the general public took the message it should from this past year, Big Government would never recover.

Public Health Theater Of The Absurd

When “Karen” tells me “I follow science”, I’ve taken to silently appending, often (but by no means always) in my mind, “you absorbed a CDC announcement a little over a year ago”.

The people maniacally scrubbing surfaces? As re Covid, it’s largely a wasted effort.

Via the Atlantic, which nearly along among periodicals has done a good job of actual journalism as re public health:

Whenever I’ve written about hygiene theater, some people have responded with the same objection: “Hey, what’s the matter with washing our hands?” That’s an easy one: Absolutely nothing. “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should wash your hands, especially after you prepare food, go to the bathroom,” or touch something yucky, Goldman said.

But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.

Hygiene theater also muddles the public-health message. If you tell people, “This disease is on surfaces, on your clothes, on your hands, on your face, and also in the air,” they will react in a scattered and scared way. But if you tell people the truth—this virus doesn’t do very well on surfaces, so you should focus on ventilation—they can protect themselves against what matters.

Of course, if you read this blog (and, to be fair, this blog’s citing of writers in The Atlantic), you had a solid hunch about this nearly a year ago.