525,600 minutes divided by 2

We’ve reached a milestone: half a year with COVID. This is week 26. It’s been half a year since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the US.

Half a year of my life isn’t much of a chunk; I’m old.

Half a year for my youngest grandbaby is a fifth of his life.

525,600 minutes divided by 2

Most of us have been in lockdown, working and learning from home, since mid-March. That’s 4 months, a third of a year.

525,600 minutes divided by 3

And even after half a year, we’ve made no progress. Well, we made some progress at first. But then “we” gave up trying. We are a disappointing species.

Here are this week’s updated graphs for the US and my home state, SC. They tell the story. When the story comes to the page marked “the end” some of us will be very old. Too many of us will be gone. Future generations will review what happened and outline all we could have done to prevent the worst outcome. They’ll wonder why we didn’t know what should be done, when it was so obvious. They’ll wonder how some regions figured out what to do and did it, leading the way out and still other regions wouldn’t heed the lessons. They’ll read journals and blogs and realize we did know what to do to survive, how to reduce the spread, how to stay safe. Most members of the disappointing species just chose to ignore it all, live free, and take their chances.

New record doubles previous high: 430,081 US cases in the last week

july 13 2020 us update

South Carolina updated totals reflecting unchecked rapid spread, and low end projections to Labor Day

july 13 2020 SC update and projections







COVID won’t let me ( ) so I [ ]

Much of normal life has been taken away by this blasted pandemic that we cannot fight off because we can’t stop acting like humans. I use the term “we” loosely. I have suppressed every urge in order to stay alive. Most of you seem part of the “we” that make up humanity, while I watch (and sulk and make graphs and eat). Alas, the void must be filled, so we dump in what we can find.

For example:

COVID won’t let me see my grandbabies

so I made a cake


COVID won’t let me see my mom


so I made a pie


COVID won’t let me see the beach


so I made donuts


COVID won’t let me see my students

so I made these delicious raspberry things


COVID won’t let me go out for coffee

so I made bagels (and another pie)



COVID won’t let me see my friends or siblings or family

so I made a pizza and another pie (the pizza got ate B4 camera could be grabbed)


COVID won’t let me sleep

so I made graphs to keep you awake with me

COVID won’t let me near my life

so I started running again to burn off the cake and pizza and bagels and donuts and pie.

[Insert swear words of your choosing ^%$#*&]

COVID took my friend’s dad

COVID took away hugs

COVID took away funerals

so I brought beer and a card in a Christmas bag and left it on his porch


This week we set a record: close to 365,000 new US cases for the week, and more than 50,000 new cases on an average day. The United States of America is a whisper away from 3 million confirmed infections. The hopeful plateau of May is gone. The spike of June is true. The slope to future new cases is virtually vertical. The tools to stop it are coming, but will be too late for most of us.

july 7 2020

You did so good in March. You hid. You were bored. You had self-control. You gave up. Because you are human. But humans care about each other. And soon even you will understand your role in hurting others. Soon you will hear me, and others like me, shouting into the void. Americans must be free. Humans must be human. Rock beats paper. COVID is everywhere.

Failing to explain incomprehensible (simple) concepts to bare-faced adults who don’t realize they should be reviewing their wills and perhaps ordering a tombstone

I teach impossible chemistry courses to hundreds and thousands of incredible students who work hard to comprehend the material. My students supply consistent evidence of the ability of the human mind to overcome huge challenges. My faith in my students is unshakable. They have convinced me that the human mind is a horrible thing to waste. So imagine my shock and surprise, my exhausted bewilderment, the dumbfounded WednesdayThursdayFriday look on my face from the behavior of multitudes of humans who believe they don’t need to wear a mask or stay home.

Weekly update for SC, where COVID-19 is spreading-like-crazy-I’m-not-kidding

This week the numbers for coronavirus in my state took another turn upward, reaching 27,000 cases. This is triple our number from a month ago (on a day where the math predicted we would reach our current number of cases in three more months). Last week the numbers predicted 70,000 cases in September. With the new data added this week, we are looking at more than 110,000 cases in September, four times the predicted number one month ago. This is ridiculous.

sc june 23 2020Mathematically dis-inclined readers argue if the models keep changing the models must be wrong. I can’t even explain in a way to make them comprehend the problem is not with the model or the math. The models change each week because of their behavior. They behave the way they do because they cannot comprehend the math or the science. I’m a teacher and I can’t make them get this. Is there anyone out there who can do this for us? Are charts the wrong tool? Should I just scream? Something like this: YOU’RE GOING TO DIE AND YOU’RE GOING TO KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE. A LOT OF THOSE ARE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THEM WITH YOU.

Would that help?

Should I wait until they are dead to tell them? Then will they believe me? This will be on a bunch of tombstones: 2020 HINDSIGHT: HE SHOULD HAVE WORN A MASK

In national news, it is clear the south is not alone in ignoring the spread of the virus. The US now has almost a quarter of a million new cases, 120,000 deaths, and as a nation we have accelerated the rate of spread. It was hard to even summon the energy to make a graph for you this week. The one I made induces nightmares to intelligent humans. The bounce is well underway. Oh, whatever, I’m not protecting any of you. Here’s your nightmare: 208,000 new cases this week. Next week we’ll have more cases than any week so far in the pandemic. This is out of control. Don’t you dare look away.

june 23 2020

In my little world, this week I have come within two degrees of three cases: my friend’s father, my other friend’s son, and my other other friend’s roommate all tested positive. The virus is knocking on our doors–yours and mine. How can you ignore it?

it’s that yankee teacher again (bless her heart)

Dear South Carolina,

I did not grow up here, but I raised my daughters here while teaching your children for almost 25 years (so far). I know your children to be smart and kind. They are funny and friendly. They are just like you and you should be proud. I have loved them as my own while they struggled and succeeded in learning impossible science and math in my classes.

I could not help but notice: besides being smart and kind and funny and friendly, your children inherited your stubborn streak, your big hearts, and your inherent insistence that you will not be told anything by that (damn) yankee. Any yankee.

I’m a yankee and I love your home and call it my own.

You don’t want to hear this from me or anyone, but please try to hear me: it is here. The virus is here. The coronavirus is here. COVID-19 is here and spreading and will take your family members away forever while you shake your head and say, “No. It’s happening ‘there’ to ‘them.'”

Well, this is happening to us.

Seeing you without your masks breaks my heart. Why won’t you listen?

We have reached the 100th day of COVID-19 in our state. (Yes, she is mine too. I have lived here almost half my life.) By the end of today our state will reach 20,000 cases. Our per day rate will reach 1000 cases each day by the end of this month, and will continue to increase due to so many natives (and tourists on the coast) and others who ignore safety measures. For money, our citizens will die. This could be prevented. We know how to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 and you aren’t doing it, likely because you are too stubborn to listen and acknowledge the facts. Or maybe you aren’t concerned anymore and just hope it goes away. Or worse, you think it has gone away because for tourist dollars we have reopened.

I made a graph for you that shows the recent change in our state’s rate of spread. At the end of May, about a week after Memorial Day, on day 86, our rate took a turn upwards. Up until then, when we had just broken the 10,000 case mark, our next 100 day projection showed a tripling of cases to 30,000 by early September.

But with our unprotected reopening, we’ll now see at least a 7-fold increase to more than 70,000 cases by September.

SC June 16 2020

And the spread will likely increase unchecked and be worse than that.

I cannot comprehend why so many of you are ignoring this. From one South Carolinian to my friends here, native or not: please take better care of yourselves and family and your wonderful children. Stay home. Wear masks. Stay separated. Be wary. Expect everyone you meet to be the potential person who will change your life, and respect everyone you contact by not giving them the virus you possibly carry. This is simple. It is not gone. This virus is real, it’s here, and it’s deadly.


Your child’s teacher

[Source of all data: our very own DHEC. https://www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/sc-testing-data-projections-covid-19%5D


With more than 8 million cases worldwide, more than 2 million cases in the US, and with the world approaching half a million deaths, my focus on my state may seem trivial. But each community contributes to the whole. Let me update my weekly US tally with a graph that shows the predicted bounce is clearly underway. The 157,514 new US cases this week is the first increase in cases per week since May 5. It was predicted and expected by all. I am sorry that my home state of SC is a contributor.

june 16 2020

(This graph is derived from data from Johns Hopkins database: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. Don’t just take my word for it: always go to the source.)