I’m Not an Expert But I Play One on the Internet

 

A week or two ago I wrote about how the most fundamental of science knowledge and common sense seems to be eluding a significant swath of the U.S. population. Mainly because so many people are espousing the dangers of wearing a mask due to carbon dioxide toxicity and yet medical professionals have been wearing face coverings for at least one hundred years without passing out on the operating room floor.

But, in a strange turn of events it seems that even though American’s science knowledge appears to be limited we are geniuses when it comes to math. This may appear to be a paradox because science and math are like peanut butter and chocolate – two great things that go great together.

So, it stands to reason that if you excel at math your science acumen would be above average. It’s a head scratcher for sure but let’s not dwell on this conundrum and instead focus on the surprising number of people that are suddenly gifted mathematicians.

Now, when I made this discovery I was flabbergasted, no make that shocked, because most folks will readily admit they don’t excel at math or in some cases (me) not only hate math but are still suffering from PTSD from high school Pre-Calculus.

This is why the volume of people on my social media feeds that are now suddenly math experts has been quite a jolt. It’s impressive to be sure that these folks have morphed from being in a non-math centric careers their entire adult lives to suddenly sharing their insights on complex equations and data.

Nothing has summoned all these hidden math geniuses like the debate on whether or not schools should open for the fall. All of a sudden parents were posting their interpretation on data from a wide variety of sources and proclaiming that based on their findings and mathematical extrapolations that the COVID-19 transmission rate is “way too low” for schools not to open.

The dedicated arithmetic aficionados went even deeper and shared their in-depth numerical calculations on high school sports. According to these newbie math scholars, there is no significant mathematical data to show that team sports should be in any way affected by the coronavirus.

Now Bayesian probability and Diophantine equations aside I get it that a lot of parents want the schools to open.  I’m also cognizant that school district officials that have to make these decisions are in uncharted territory and probably need the skills of King Solomon and the psychic gift of being able to predict the future to even come close to making every parent happy.

There is no answer, game plan, or confluence of ideas that will meet every family’s needs or fit in with every child’s learning style. Basically, it’s a huge nightmare that we all want to wake up from.

As parents we zig and zag and then zig some more and keep repeating the phrase “stay flexible.” But what’s not helping is people all of sudden deciding they’re experts in a field they have zero education in (who knew there are so many people that know more than experienced infectious disease experts) and thinking that reworking data or mining it to reach a conclusion that fits their plan to “get back to normal” is helpful.

It’s hard to do nothing, to just wait. It runs counter to our “see a problem, solve a problem” American sensibility. But if people really want to help the only thing most of us have any real control over is embracing the best health practices to keep our family COVID-19 free.

I don’t know what the math equation is for that but maybe it’s one we all need to learn.

Covidiots

When we make it through the other side of this Covid-19 nightmare I’m hoping future generations won’t look back and say, “What a bunch of idiots.”

Because that’s what I’m thinking right now – idiots. Spoiled, selfish, willfully clueless stooges.

I don’t remember ever being more disappointed in humans. I’m literally going to go running in the streets screaming, while maintaining a safe space six feet distance from other pedestrians, if I hear one more person justify taking their spring break trip in the midst of a pandemic because they had “already paid for it” or “didn’t know it was that bad.”

Are-You-Kidding-Me? You knew it was “that bad” because when the majority of spring breaks happened almost every single college and university in the country had closed down because of the coronavirus. Institutes of higher learning don’t take the unprecedented action of sending more than 20 million students home on a lark. They do it because things are bad, tragically bad.

And that “we already paid for it” argument, well, guess what? The rest of us are now paying for it. It doesn’t matter that you posted on Facebook that you “came home healthy” or your teens are “sunburn and feeling great” because you can have Covid-19 and not know it nor show symptoms and yet you can still spread it with a vengeance. And P.S. as a citizen of the world you should be informed enough to already have this knowledge.

Also, if you have a college aged student that you are supporting financially and you shared on social media that you “can’t tell a 19-year-old to not go on spring break” I’m going to conjecture that the coronavirus might not be your biggest problem.

The fact is the spring breakers knew all this and still chose to go for no better reason than that they wanted to. Damn the science and those pesky guidelines. Those apparently are for other people.

There are friends I’m deeply disappointed with because they’ve been so self-indulgent. Please note these are people I thought were very intelligent who valued science. But I guess science is now something you pick and choose when to believe as befits your lifestyle or spring break travel plans.

If I sound harsh sorry not sorry because I know I’m not alone. There are now therapy websites giving suggestions for how to deal with family and friends that are not following the Center for Disease Control guidelines. #covidiots.

But what about strangers that have chosen being oblivious as their current course of action during this siege? The people who apparently have zero spatial awareness and no compunction about getting within kissing distance of you while in the self-check-out line or the people treating a trip to the grocery store like it’s a family reunion?

Public health officials and grocery stores are pleading with people to only send one person per family. Why is that so hard to understand? The grocery store is not a “fun outing” it’s a tactical Ninja maneuver where you want to avoid people and get in and out as quickly as possible.

And I feel immensely stabby when I still see people still clinging to the “It’s just like the flu. The flu kills more people” mantra. Are these people so brain impaired that they live in a constant state of denial or do they cling to falsehoods in an effort to justify their behavior of doing whatever they damn well please?

While I’m on the topic of denial let’s talk about all the claims of “fake news” or the “hysterical media.” My thoughts on this are if you think the news is fake or the media is blowing the coronavirus out of proportion than check out the World Health Organization or the CDC websites. Also, here’s the deal about throwing around the phrase “fake news” – just because you don’t like the news doesn’t make it fake.

For instance, I’m overweight. That is a fact. Do I like being told that? No. But it doesn’t make the information any less accurate. So, just because you are choosing not to believe the Covid-19 data doesn’t erase its scientific merit and calling it fake doesn’t give you a magical shield of protection it just makes you an egocentric ignoramus. Quite possibly an ignoramus that is not going to follow best practices and result in us being under lockdown well into the summer.

As for the hoarders I can’t go there right now. It’s hurts my heart too much. I currently don’t have the emotional bandwidth to fully digest this level of selfishness.

Perhaps, nothing symbolized to me people’s lack of concern for anyone but themselves more than when I found two used latex gloves in the parking lot of my grocery store. The gloves were by the cart corral and I can only surmise that this gloved person upon returning their cart, took off the gloves and threw them on the pavement because they didn’t need them anymore nor did they want the germ laden gloves in their car.

So, bye-bye gloves and hello some overworked grocery store employee having to pick up your pandemic detritus.

I’m urging everyone, myself very much included, to try to do better so that not only do we come out of this healthy but with a newfound sense of compassion and intelligence that supersedes are own immediate wants and needs.