4th of July, 2020

boom city

Most years on the 4th of July, I am in Port Townsend, Washington, camping at Fort Worden for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. It was cancelled, like most summer gatherings, this year; but they held a “Coviddle Tunes Fest” online instead. Sadly we missed it since we were traveling, but it seemed to be a good way for people to meet up and listen to masters and play some tunes. Not the same, but a creative option.

But what I am really feeling at this minute is how many fireworks are going off in our neighborhood tonight. It is my first 4th in town in years. Lucky for us that our dogs are gone. At Fiddle Tunes, Ida Red, my old hound, would freak out so much, that I would put her in the car with me, turn it and the radio on so loud that she couldn’t hear the booms. That method worked well because the fireworks show lasted only last 30 minutes and her hearing was getting worse and otherwise no fireworks allowed in the State Park. But wow, the fireworks have been going on for hours and don’t seem ready to end soon.

Friends say the fireworks are worse this year. Maybe because the big shows are cancelled. I worry for all of my friends with dogs and cats that can’t get away. Or for veterans and others that have PTSD. Or for the doctors in the ER having to take care of all of the injuries from unexpected explosions. I have worked in ER’s on the 4th of July and you don’t really want me to describe the injuries I have seen.

Fireworks are illegal in Seattle, but it doesn’t seem to matter. It makes me wonder about those who choose not to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 and what they think about fireworks? Are they the same people? An interesting study, perhaps. It is times like these, when I wonder about people and what they are thinking. I wish I understood them better.

Forbes has an interesting article that says that many people who aren’t wearing masks misunderstand how Coronavirus spreads. This leads to misunderstanding how masks can help. They don’t really understand exponential growth. Once they get exponential growth and what it means, they start to value physical distancing. Maybe we can educate them and start sharing all of our stories, videos, and GIFs that show exponential growth. The number of infections seem to be exploding in several states. You can use the information in this Seattle Times article to figure out if the numbers are rising in your area.

The data is more and more compelling that mask wearing and social distancing work. We can decrease transmission of the coronavirus from 17.4% to 3.1 % just with masks. Physical distancing lowers the risks too. If everyone wore masks we can decrease the R0 (the R naught) to less than 1.0, our goal. We should not get discouraged, but continue to help people understand how masks work and how exponential growth works. If we can change the narrative about mask wearing, lives can be saved. I am not asking you to confront people who do not have masks on. They may yell back, which is not safe. The effort is often futile anyway. But perhaps educating skeptical friends and family can help. We are all in this together, after all.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, and keep safe six, outdoors if possible.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.