As it’s Sunday, no B.C. numbers today… so I’ll throw in my usual guess, which today is just the same as yesterday’s +15, and we’ll leave it at that… and hopefully that’s pretty accurate (we’ll know tomorrow) because it’d imply another good day all across the country. Speaking of good days, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there… I hope those who are celebrating in person have found a safe and socially-responsible way to do so. The weather is certainly cooperating… outside is good, for many reasons. Just stay away from others and it’ll be more than fine. You know the drill.

Mother’s Day every year marks the point in the NHL playoffs where fans around here are trying to figure out who to cheer for now, because if the Canucks made the playoffs, they’ve probably been recently eliminated. There’s a reasonable chance they could’ve gone a little deeper this year, but we’ll never know what this season and post-season would have looked like, were it not so rudely interrupted. We can only speculate.

Speaking of hockey and speculation… back in the day, when Wayne Gretzky dominated the NHL, it became a bit of an issue what to do with him in hockey pools… the pools where you draft players and then accumulate points as the players on your team accumulate goals and assists throughout the season. Fantasy sports leagues do this on a whole new level, where you have to decide who on your roster you’ll “dress” for tonight’s game, because you can’t play your full team of 22 players. Rest assured, in today’s world, the guy who got to draft Gretzky would dress him 100% of the time. In fact, Gretzky was a bit of a hockey-pool one-man wrecking machine, because whoever got him usually ended up winning everything. To prevent that, one possibility was to break Gretzky’s goals and Gretzky’s assists into two, as if he were two separate players, and then someone could draft one or the other. But even there, his assists alone were dominant. Or, of course, nobody got the opportunity to draft Gretzky, and that kept things even.

That was a good example of the tail wagging the dog, a good metaphor where one little statistically-significant aspect of something can have a profound and obfuscating effect on everything else. And, as mentioned, one option is to remove it entirely,… but then things look a whole lot different.

Today’s example of the tail wagging the dog involves a pair of U.S. states, New York and New Jersey, very much the hotspot of this outbreak in the U.S. Let’s call that area NYJ for simplicity.

NYJ has a population of 28.4M out of the American total of 331M which is around 8.6%. But out of the American total test case count of almost 1.4M, they have 35.6% of them. And 44.7% of the more than 80,000 deaths. Not just the hotspot, but now very much the epicentre, which was not always the case.

What’s interesting, and good for NYJ, is that they’ve managed to get things far more in control than was the case not so long ago. The individual numbers there are flattening and trending well. Who knows what that will look like after seeing the crowds in Central Park, but at least they’ve contained things to a manageable level… and, in doing so, made the U.S. numbers in general look a lot better… and consequently, created a lot of false optimism.

The Federal recommendation for re-opening involves declining case rates over a period of 14 days. This does not mean 14 straight days of succeedingly-declining numbers. It simply means a 14-day period after which the number of active cases is simply lower, ie recoveries (plus deaths, I suppose) have out-paced new cases. At present, numerous states are in varying stages of re-opening. At present, the number of states who meet that 14-day criteria is… zero. Nevertheless, openings with reckless abandon. Because that’s Freedom.

Perhaps a better spelling of that word these days, in some places, would be “Free-dumb”. Somehow, freedom and the constitution and liberty and guns all get wrapped up in the same, confused package. There’s the word for it.

Indeed, more than 200 years ago, American founding father Patrick Henry proclaimed “Give me liberty or give me death!”

It seems some Americans, not happy with having to make a choice, and perhaps a little greedily — both from inward-facing and public-facing points-of-view — have found a way to obtain both.

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