Thursday, April 30, 2020


Last Thursday, Bloomberg Businessweek published a story about Wuhan, where normal life is starting up again, if you stretch the definition of "normal."
Every workday at Lenovo’s tablet and phone factory on the outskirts of Wuhan, arriving employees report to a supervisor for the first of at least four temperature checks. The results are fed into a data collection system designed by staff. Anyone above 37.3C (99.1F) is automatically flagged, triggering an investigation by an in-house “anti-virus task force.”

... Before returning to the site, staff members had to be tested both for the virus and for antibodies that indicate past illness, and they had to wait for their results in isolation at a dedicated dormitory. Once cleared, they returned to work to find the capacity of meeting rooms built for six reduced to three and the formerly communal cafeteria tables partitioned off by vertical barriers covered in reminders to avoid conversation. Signs everywhere indicate when areas were last disinfected, and robots are deployed wherever possible to transport supplies, so as to reduce the number of people moving from place to place. Elevators, too, are an artifact of the Before Times; everyone now has to take the stairs, keeping their distance from others all the way.
You can call this totalitarian or dystopian, but if you want to stop transmission of the virus until we have a vaccine or effective treatments, you need to do this, or have an alternative that works as well.

So with all this going on, at workplaces and elsewhere, do people feel safe in public? No.
But inasmuch as citizens can return to living as they did before January, it’s not clear, after what they’ve endured, that they really want to. Shopping malls and department stores are open again, but largely empty. The same is true of restaurants; people are ordering in instead. The subway is quiet, but autos are selling: If being stuck in traffic is annoying, at least it’s socially distanced.
See also this tweet:

Angry Fox-addled protestors in Michigan and elsewhere may have no fear of the virus, but normal people do, especially if they're older. The president and the plutocrats want the economy opened, and in much of America they'll get their wish, even though we're still experiencing more than 2,000 deaths a day from COVID-19, at a time when the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted we'd be at 1,266.

So the right can force the economy open, but many people won't venture out to participate.

What happens then? The anti-lockdown propagandists will begin to say that anyone who's reluctant to shop is a cowardly liberal who wants America to fail. On the left, we're used to being called enemies of the people. But they're about to start demonizing the healthy-but-frightened elderly, as well as people with small children who worry about being lost to them for weeks in intensive care, or worse. They're about to demonize anyone who has okay odds of surviving Russian Roulette with the virus but decides not to take the chance.

Shopping will be patriotism. Legitimate fear will be treason. They're not messing around.

Every ordinary citizen who endorses this is a moral monster.

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