“Shithole Country”: A Story in Charts

Back in the old days when people used to travel for fun, you might get an offer to visit a spectacular tropical resort at bargain-basement prices. Those offers always warranted a review of the State Department’s website.

Alongside its spectacular coral reefs and impressive monuments, your visit to Tropicalia might require rabies shots, because the country had no infrastructure for managing the packs of wild dogs that roamed the city at night. You might need hepatitis shots, because that disease’s exotic hep-phabet of strains were poorly controlled by a corrupt and indolent regime.

Take a mosquito net for protection against malaria, dengue, and a collection of unpronounceable illnesses. You probably won’t get them, and they probably won’t kill you, but there’s no treatment. Better safe than infected.

Don’t leave the resort at night, as the police are as likely to rob or kidnap you as the muggers or the bands of roving homeless children. Remain in contact with the embassy for updates on the persistent political unrest which might sweep through the country at any moment. And in the name of all that’s holy, don’t drink the water. Seriously, don’t even brush your teeth with it. Otherwise, have a wonderful vacation.

For a few more dollars a night you could simply visit a country next door, governed by sane leaders, where you wouldn’t need a dozen shots, an extra life-insurance rider, or a visit to a special doctor on your return. Travel to those “exotic” locations was rare and adventurous because those places were poorly governed shitholes, burdened by corrupt leaders more concerned with looting than with the complex and mundane duties of public administration.

In a meeting with Senate leaders back in 2018, President Trump complained about people immigrating here from “shithole countries.” Though his language was impolite and his application of the term predictably racist, we all knew what he was talking about.

With Trump everything is projection. What’s the best way to limit immigration from miserable failed states? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Now, thanks to your disgusting MAGA uncle and the stunningly corrupt leader he reveres, you live in one of those shithole countries.

Disease is personal. Pandemic is politics. You don’t need a rabies vaccination to visit France. That has nothing whatsoever to do with geography, weather or the temperament of French dogs. You don’t have to worry much about rabies in France because France has a stable, effective government capable of basic public administration. You don’t have to worry much about malaria or tuberculosis when you visit Costa Rica. Cross into Panama or Nicaragua and the risk factors shift. Infectious disease risk is a measure of a country’s political IQ.

How did America, and her new Fascist global peers, Brazil, India and Russia, become the festering hotbeds of C19 infection? A few charts tell the story.

America has the world’s most comically dysfunctional healthcare system. We created a reasonably-priced national single-payer health care system, but only for the people most likely to vote – the elderly. For everyone else, ours is the world’s most wildly exploitative system of medical finance, easily doubling the cost of the world’s next most expensive. We spend vastly more per capita on healthcare than anyone else in the world would tolerate and we get remarkably little for it.

How has the US medical and political system responded to this pandemic? By essentially collapsing into Third World conditions. Our President told an audience of his zombie followers in Arizona last week that he scaled back testing so it would appear we had fewer infections. While aides scrambled to claim it was a joke, the President himself said “I don’t kid” and took very public steps to cut off federal support for testing.

How fast is C19 spreading in the US compared to the rest of the world? COVID-19 may be the last place in our new MAGAWorld where the US remains globally dominant. We’re trailing global titan, Brazil, but we’re still outpacing our other new Fascist friends, India and Russia.

The situation doesn’t get any better by looking at per-capita data.

With the federal government crippled by Republicans, states are struggling to set up their own pandemic response initiatives. This is an approach that can only ever succeed in suppressing the disease, not eradicating it, but differences in effectiveness between better-governed Democratic states and their knuckle-dragging MAGAsphere cousins are already apparent.

This graph of C19’s spread, which breaks New York out from the rest of the country, tells the story of a pandemic that remains in its initial phase. Remove New York from the calculus, and the country at large remains on the same steady upward curve from the beginning, only suppressed by a brief period of lockdowns.

New York vs the rest of the country:

Even within solid blue states, there are differences in pandemic response between areas that supported Trump and the places that have been quicker to respond to facts. San Francisco acted promptly to lock down, and did what they could locally to implement test and trace.

Meanwhile in SoCal, the land of Reagan and Nixon, response and results have been very different. While San Francisco locked down, idiots in SoCal took to the streets to protest the tyranny of mask orders and pandemic restrictions. Orange and San Diego Counties, the Alamo of Republican politics on the West Coast, are festering with disease while San Francisco looks more like Asia.

Perhaps the most interesting C19 graphic in the country right now is a little corner of this map displaying the Rt factor for the disease (it’s rate of infectiousness) by state.

Note fast difference between New Hampshire and its neighbor, Vermont.

The “Live Free or Die” state should perhaps update its motto to the more accurate, “Live Free AND Die.” Across the US now, you can gauge relative local success or failure in managing this pandemic by the degree to which a place is subject to Republican politics. Freedom isn’t free. Neither is stupidity.

Georgia’s nutjob Governor summed up the Republican response to this pandemic in an interview this week, explaining “It’s a virus. It’s going to spread. We’re not going to stop it from happening.” As usual for Republicans, he’s wrong. Only in dysfunctional shithole countries is this pandemic an inevitability. South Korea hasn’t had more than 2 C19 deaths in a day for almost three months. Hong Kong has fewer than 100 active cases. They’ve had a total of 3 deaths since March. Canada reported fewer new C19 cases yesterday (172) than Idaho (283) or Nebraska (178). Alabama alone reported five times more new cases yesterday (977) than Canada.

It may be true that we aren’t going to stop this virus, but that’s only because we’re governed by racists and grifters, elected by religious nuts. Elsewhere in the developed world, people are managing pretty well. They plan to stay that way by keeping us out.

Canada has closed their border to US travelers lacking special exemptions. Canadians are in no hurry to risk having filthy Americans endanger their lives and health. EU countries just announced reopening plans that will exclude dangerous travelers from seething shithole countries like the US and Russia.

There are still a handful of flights available from the US to Europe, but good luck getting a seat on one. They are mostly reserved for officials, medical personnel, and the evacuation of EU citizens to a more settled, civilized and safe world. For the rest of America, “the last plane out” has already departed. We’ve been left to make our way, as best we can, in the shithole country our MAGA brethren deserve.

44 Comments

    1. All viruses mutate, Dins. That’s why people get different flu vaccines every year.

      https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-mutation-and-covid-19

      At any rate, a more pressing concern is just how much infections are overwhelming testing, even as we’re doing more. If capacity’s overwhelmed and people are waiting 7 or more days for results, testing itself becomes effectively useless and we’re just playing catch-up on the numbers.

      https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1278781826035789824

      1. Oh, I understand the pathology of viruses, and the wonders of mutation. Every species on the planet is here because of mutation.

        I am pointing out the hopelessness of fighting this thing in failed cult states. Actually, that is wrong. It is pointless to fight cultists, or I guess in the bigger picture, most human nature. The cultists simply will not listen. Chris has detailed that many times.

        You can’t fix stupid, or rather, individuals indoctrinated into such a large and powerful cult. If the cult was smaller, yes, some individuals might be able to be deprogrammed. But that is simply not this situation. The only option is to hope as many die as possible, and frankly, to help that along.

  1. Chris,
    You discussed in earlier articles the likely undercount of covid deaths and I believe rightly concluded epidemiologists will be retro chart chasing this data down for years. I am sharing a link to JAMA out today with the first published swipe at this effort I’ve seen. It includes a github link with large data dumps of reported “excess deaths” and other fun euphemisms for folks who died before we had tests to determine if they were positive or not for the virus.

    I started looking through the data…had to stop. It makes me angry. Glad I am not an epidemiologist and need to spend some energy on getting folks registered to vote.

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2767980

  2. I just saw a Trump TV ad. In June. In Texas. Here’s hoping that the Lincoln Project and VoteVets are working on expanding the airing of their absolutely devastating ads. If Bloomberg really wants to help, here’s a good use of all that $ he says he’ll spend.

    Also noxious Trump-sucking queen of the Qarens Kathaleen Wall is polluting the airwaves heavily. I hope she loses the runoff for TX-22.

      1. I don’t want Team Joe to repeat Team Hillary’s mistake of getting complacent in swing states (FWIW I don’t think they will), but if Joe can give TX a little attention, there are coattail effects to be had. If he just keeps it close, TX-22 & 23 likely flip, and the Dems have a shot at flipping the State House (need 9 seats). Senate is a long shot, but I’d love to see CowardlyCornyn sweat.

  3. You know, I buy gap insurance to cover what Medicare doesn’t. Typically, there is a small annual increase in price.

    Last month, though, the company’s announced annual increase was about 400% greater than earlier increases.

    Health insurance companies have seen the future and it’s expensive.

    1. For sure, that meme (MAGA cap/Face mask over the eyes) is covidiodacy plunged to a new depth! And its owner should capture the ultimate stupid prize, which from one perspective would be a second term for the incumbent president. However, that “prize” would be one imposed on the entire population — not just of the US but of the world — and therefore is unacceptable and must not be awarded. Saner minds must prevail and do everything possible to make sure that NOBODY wins the ultimate booby prize for covidiocy: a second term for Trump.

    2. Hard to tell but it looks like that guy is stupid and brazen enough to try sleeping on a plane with his troll game going on. Commenting directly on his hat would just give him what he wants, but I’d be very tempted to drop something, have my headphones slip out of the plug, get up excessively, etc.

      1. @DP It’s not, y’know, like making life subtly unhappier for the idiots making us sick is the basis of my political identity. (assuming I’d do it at all). But no, I won’t be investing in an arsenal anytime soon.

      2. There’s this thing called humor Dins, which you really ought to try.

        As for real life consequences, the airlines ought to treat that jerk the way they treat any other passengers who disrupts a flight.

  4. One of the more interesting resources released in the last week is CalCAT. It allows you to get county-level data on R-effective and forecasts:

    https://calcat.covid19.ca.gov/cacovidmodels/

    Unfortunately even San Francisco’s performance is slightly above one, and at best, slightly below previously. But I think with the state public health department crunching the numbers, there will be the legitimacy for the government to modify or emphasis orders to try to get us below one.

    It would have been good to have this months ago, but I don’t think the State of California is accustomed to doing so much lifting on this kind of thing. But it’s here now.

    It’s kind of neat that the program is open source, and that State of California has a presence at Github: https://github.com/StateOfCalifornia/CalCAT

    1. What can one say? It is extremely depressing. The github model shows Washington’s King County (Seattle) with an R_t slightly greater than 1 for the last two weeks or so; up from slightly less than 1 previously. The data is sustained, so it is not noise. Approximately two weeks ago is when King County went to Phase 2 of the recovery. Previous to that we were at Phase 1.5, intermediate. People have been more active, and mask wearing is down. I hesitate to guess at a percentage, but maybe 50-60% mask wearers. Yet mask wearing has been mandatory in King County for several weeks. It became mandatory in Washington on Friday in public places whether indoors or outside. But there does not appear to have made a significant difference. Also transition to Phase 4 has been cancelled statewide.

      King County and the other two counties in the Seattle Metropolitan Area are in many respects similar to the Bay Area in California. The rest of the state has a mix of politics. The remainder of Western WA is probably more typical of the Northern California area and could be classified moderately liberal to moderately conservative. On the other hand, WA east of the Cascade Crest is generally very conservative to far right. It is part of the Far West and is MAGA country. The only reason that it does not show on national maps as being very poor on COVID-19 is because it is sparsely populated, except for the three hotspot counties as I explained in the previous blog.

      If we only had some decent leadership at the national level, I think there could be a big difference. But unfortunately, Jan 20 will be the earliest that our leadership will change. By then the COVID-19 picture will be far bleeker. The narcissistic culture that has been so prevalent in America has really turned the nation into a “Shithole Country”.

      Also I think the mask messaging of “wear a mask to protect others” is not correct for America, because of that narcissistic culture. If it was changed to “wear a mask to protect yourself”, it would better fit America’s narcissism. Not that many seem to care about the overall community now. Hopefully with the younger generations that is changing.

      1. Though the most organized and liberal cities are doing a decent job buying time they’re not doing enough to get the R-effective below one.

        Continued population behavior changes, tweaks to procedure and regulation, and perhaps most of all, more effective contact tracing will have to do the trick. If we can get the mix just right, then even re-introductions of the virus should fizzle.

        One tragic thing is our land use issues has created crowding among those with the least, who are also most likely to be essential workers. Though hospital capacity is adequate so that we don’t have an Italy situation — for now — I am saddened to think about how many will have chronic issues and can hardly afford it.

  5. Here’s an interesting Venn diagram for you:
    1) The group of people who believe wearing a mask restricts breathing to the point of endangering their life and they should not have to suffer that abuse
    2) The group of people who believe a cop putting their knee on your throat isn’t a big deal and is entirely justified for public safety reasons.

  6. Actually those graphs are worse than that, because it doesn’t remove NJ’s cases. If you exclude NJ and CT (the tri-state area), that plateau in May becomes a relentless upward, exponential curve. This is what those MAGA idiots who kept harping on the national case rate going down didn’t understand: it was only going down because the tri-state area was a huge portion of the early spike and as they were bringing their numbers down, it was masking the rising cases from the rest of the country.

    But this data isn’t hidden. It’s easily compiled and available. But Trump and his death cult don’t want to see it. Just like they figure if they stop testing, no one can get the disease.

    I thought my outrage was exhausted at numerous points in the past few years. But I truly cannot comprehend how something as simple as a face mask has now become a political issue. FWIW, I understood Trump’s argument for re-opening the country early. No one wanted a quarantine, and under a thoughtful, intelligent leader, we could certainly have a discussion about balancing the economic and other hardships that a quarantine imposes vs. the public health goals, and ask hard questions about what level of risk we’re willing to take on.

    But a f*cking face mask?? Allowing you to go out, socialize, etc. and just asking you to stay 6 feet away and wear a mask to protect others from inhaling your snot and saliva is a grave infringement of your freedoms? Give me a goddamn break. These are not my brethren. I barely regard them as part of my species. That video of the Palm Beach County hearing nearly broke me. I can’t even laugh at them anymore: their idiocy has become a weapon of mass destruction, one that will kill more people than nuclear weapons have done so far.

    I’m in the medical profession, and have been in NYC for the duration of the outbreak so far. All of us now know someone in the profession who’s either died or become seriously sick taking care of covid patients. If it was just that, it would be fine. We signed up to care for our patients even at risk to our own lives. But people who put our lives at risk by their stupidity and willful maliciousness, sorely test that commitment. If they come into my ER, I’ll still take care of them, and do my best to give them back their life, even as they put the rest of ours in danger. But increasingly, I keep thinking of Kerry’s quote about the Vietnam War: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

      1. There’s also the riff on Queen’s “We Will Rock You”:

        “No mask of your face,

        You big disgrace,

        Spreading your germs all over the place.”

        My suburb just made wearing masks inside businesses mandatory.

    1. >] “I thought my outrage was exhausted at numerous points in the past few years. But I truly cannot comprehend how something as simple as a face mask has now become a political issue.

      It’s certainly not pleasant, but at its core, the answer’s a fundamental problem of weakness. I’m confident most, if not all here know or have read about how the MAGAites emulate their Dear Leader (or perhaps it’s the opposite?) in seeing wearing a mask as a sign of weakness in their own right.

      Of course this isn’t a respectable difference of opinion or anything close to it. In what inner world of a person with any degree of self-esteem or confidence would they let something as simple as wearing a piece of cloth over their mouth become controversial? They wouldn’t, but this proverbial apple falls from the rotten tree that is their childish interpretation of freedom and individuality – which, as Tom Nichols has spoken so eloquently on, is little more than the fevered rantings of an infant screaming “I DON’T WANNA!!!” at any demand of responsibility in civilized society.

      Put quite simply, our civil education is a flaming dumpster fire and we’ve a nation of mental infants in adult skin.

      1. “I thought my outrage was exhausted at numerous points in the past few years. But I truly cannot comprehend how something as simple as a face mask has now become a political issue.”

        The normal level of outrage I’ve had about these issues just drained away like sink water once I saw what was happening in New York. It was then that I realized that all my activism was set in the hopes of preventing something like this from happening. Now that it has happened and still is happening, it’s pretty useless to keep activating or struggling in the attempt to prevent it. It’s too late.

        We don’t have a federal government so we don’t have a nation. Find out how you support and protect yourself, extend that support and protection to everyone you want to save, and gear down for a long ride of survival. We may be able to activate and rebuild a nation after this is over, but it’s not worth trying to save the nation right now. Waste of your emotional labor and very wasted effort.

        Only your friends, family, communities, local economies, and their infrastructure matter. The rest is out of your hands. Let it go.

  7. A bit off topic, much more bigger picture.
    Just checked out two states, ND and Montana.
    Both state that to be eligible to register to vote, one must be a resident of that state for 30 days. I am assuming that is the same for the rest.

    Imagine, the Dem’s actually get someone in place who decides not to be in the loser party anymore. I am not talking about a politician, but an organizer, say, based out of California.

    California then subsidizes for say, 400,000 hard core Dem’s to “move” to those those states for a couple months, long enough to vote in any gubernatorial and senate votes. Just how many states like ND, SD, Montana, Wyoming could the Dem’s flood with hardcore voters without giving up California and New York? How many states would the Dem’s have to rig like this, in order to gain the 2/3 needed to wipe out the Electoral College?

    How much of this madness goes away, permanently, if the EC is gone?

    1. “How much of this madness goes away, permanently, if the EC is gone?”

      Not much, unless you do away with the 2 Senator rule. Call me a wild-eyed optimist but I actually think the EC is a good thing. Without it, politicians would retreat to their large home-base states (CA/NY for D’s, TX/FL for R’s), and just focusing on turning out massive numbers of their supporters to swamp the rest of the states. The EC forces politicians to craft policy that caters to a broad section of the country. It does you no good to cater exclusively to CA beyond what’s needed to get 51% of the vote. Your policies must also help IL, OH, PA, AZ, etc. if you want to win. IOW, it forces you to create a winning coalition from a bunch of states, including at least a few battlegrounds, not just a few big states where you already dominate. That’s not a bad thing.

      I understand that for the past 10 years, due to the way our politics are re-aligning, the quirks of the EC structure mean that Republicans have an advantage due to the inherent bias towards small states. But in 10 years (likely sooner), that brief blip will be gone: even rural red states are seeing their cities grow and their rural hinterlands shrink. And those cities are deep blue even in places like Alabama and Mississippi. Give it a few years and even small states will start flipping blue. This is what happened to places like Colorado and New Mexico. It’s not that their rural areas all of a sudden turned dem. If anything rural regions have become even redder in the past 10 years. But their cities kept growing until they swamped the rural base. That’s now happening in Idaho (Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, mainly with California expats fleeing the housing costs), Georgia, and the big one: Texas.

      I’d hate to make a drastic, permanent change to the EC just because we don’t want to ride out a 10 year historical blip.

      1. And it really is just a blip. For all the talk of Republicans having an EC advantage, Democrats are very likely to go into 2024 with a considerable advantage thanks to the shifts of one single state…

        Georgia.

        Indeed, the Peach State’s remarkable, both for its political inelasticity and gradual Democratic shift. Starting from 2012 to 2018, GA has moved roughly 2 1/2 to 3 pts left every election cycle. And this trend keeps happening in seeming defiance of the national mood, whether in Democratic years or Republican ones. Georgia isn’t *completely* immune of course, but it doesn’t really experience massive shifts like you’d see in other states. Voters there are largely locked in.

        And that is *very* bad news for Republicans in a state that’s slowly slipping away from them and could go Democratic this year for the first time since 1992.

        Why? This is why: https://www.270towin.com/maps/N4mBp

        Texas is often talked of as Republicans’ death kneel (and rightly so), but it’s going to be a competitive state for a long time. As much as Greg Abott’s bumblef****d his state’s COVID-19 response, he’ll be governor there for as long as he wants. Georgia is different. Once it goes Democratic, it’ll go there and never look back – and that changes the whole map.

      2. I do not think the POTUS seat should be anything other than direct popular vote, because it shouldn’t matter where in the nation the voters are, POTUS represents every single one of them. Every last one. It should be a popular vote category.

        Balancing and periodically rebalancing the House of Representatives to reflect weighted population distribution across geographies makes sense and we can have very productive conversations about the best way to do it.

        The Senate is far harder to adjust because it operates around a very simple rule that is also Constitutional. However, arguments could be made for changing the Senate to another weighted population balance, one that puts more power into states while the House of Representatives puts more power into population density, for instance. There are very productive conversations about the best way to do that.

        Lastly, I don’t even think the House of Representatives should actually represent state borders at all. I believe that algorithmically decided shortest-line redistricting should be applied to the full United States and the Congresspeople should represent districts even if they cross state borders.

        Behold: https://rangevoting.org/USsplitLine.png This would of course look different if we included Hawaii and Alaska, but not much actually. Yes, it would probably mean someone would represent Hawaii and a part of Californa, and someone else would probably represent a part or all of Alaska and a part of Washington, and even Idaho, but the Senate would insure Alaska and Hawaii get equal state’s representation in the legislature.

        And, states should be obligated to perform algorithmic shortest line redistricting for their state, county, and city governments.

        To roll all of that thought-experiment back: none of this should affect the fact that the President is supposed to represent every single American citizen regardless of where they live, its geography, its density, its state or county or city governance, nothing whatsoever about the arbitrary placement of that voter in spacetime other than that the citizen is registered to vote and followed through with it. There is no purpose to the EC that doesn’t derive from Confederate trolling.

      3. “Lastly, I don’t even think the House of Representatives should actually represent state borders at all. I believe that algorithmically decided shortest-line redistricting should be applied to the full United States and the Congresspeople should represent districts even if they cross state borders.”

        That is a very interesting idea. Certainly it is long past time to increase the # of seats in the House. 438 is an arbitrary number from a time with a much smaller population. The metric needs to be a maximum number of people per district, which is fair game for adult discussion.

      4. To a large extent I concur with Aaron’s general approach, with some differences, which I will not get into. Maybe in the future if we get past the present conservative orientation of the US Government. However, the problem arises with the US Senate. Article V of the US Constitution precludes changing the equal representation in the Senate by amendment.

        “no state, without its Consent, shall be deprived its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

        I however do concur with WX Wall and Ryan that we are going through a realignment with the increasing dominance of the urban areas. That has been apparent for sometime, particularly in the West. In began in CA and spread to OR and WA, more recently NV, NM and CO and is now changing the picture in AZ. ID and UT will be next, but will follow a modified path because of the influence of the Latter Day Saints. Both ID and AZ have sizable LDS populations. That is one of the reasons AZ has been slow in flipping. It is not generally known, but on a per capita basis the West is actually very highly urbanized.

      5. All too little, too late. Who seriously believes that the Republic can last another 10 years under the current climate, and I don’t mean what emanates from the White House.

        The vast majority of you already know this: To change the Constitution is virtually impossible.

        Here is the process:

        https://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/amending-the-u-s-constitution.aspx

        The key takeaway is the constitutional convention, and needing 2/3 of all state legislatures. To game the system that much would require a massive co-ordinate effort by the loser party, and one that would be fought all the way to SCOTUS as residency requirements in states like Montana would suddenly need a full-time job attached to any residency request. I think that currently, 10 state legislatures would have to be flipped using my method of flooding a fascist cult state with hard core Dem voters.

        That would take moving millions of Dem voters from strongholds like NY and CA, for a period of a few months. But it would be possible, if the loser party truly had the commitment to do it. The other option is do nothing, and the U.S. falls into a strong dictatorship, run by a competent tyrant, like a Hitler. That competent tyrant is out there, lurking and learning what not to do.

      6. With the EC, candidates already limit where they actually spend time and money. (R) doesn’t spend time and money in California, and (D) doesn’t spend time and money in Wyoming.

        Battleground states get all the time and money. There’s no broad policy goals in this, you go to where your voters are about even with the other candidate, and try to convince them to turn out.

        Without the EC, it would actually make more sense for campaigns to go to areas of the country where they probably have voters, where each vote would matter. Biden would have a reason to stop by Wyoming. Trump would have a reason to stop by California.

        The EC needs to go ASAP. And the Senate should be outright abolished, with the House of Representatives increased by about 1000 reps.

        Subtract 2000, maybe 2004, and 2016, and our country isn’t teetering on failure.

        I remember doing the math back in the 90s (because I’m weird like that) and because of the EC, about 28% of voters could elect the President over 72%, simply because of arbitrary lines on a map.

        The EC is a gargantuan piece of shit.

  8. Thanks, Chris, for giving a Shout-Out to Costa Rica, which has been my home for the past 10 fantastic years! I do want to set forth a few additional facts about Costa Rica for those who may mistakenly think of it as a shithole country. Far from it!

    Our population is about 5 million; we are quite modern, maybe too much so in some ways. You suggest that malaria and tuberculosis are not much of a problem. In truth, neither is a problem at all. (Dengue sometimes is, however.) We have a comprehensive universal healthcare system, which all citizens and permanent residents (of which I am one) must pay into. It is reasonably efficient and has convinced me to reverse my opposition to government-provided healthcare. We also have very high quality private medical hospitals and other providers.

    As to Covid-19, we currently stand at 3,000 total cases and only 13 deaths. This contrasts to some of our neighbors, like Panama (30,000/575) or Honduras (16,000/475). Nicaragua’s count is completely unreliable. The Costa Rica figures are deemed accurate, and are due to excellent management of the situation (restrictions, healthcare system, etc.) In many other parts of Latin America, the situation is out of control entirely.

    But when you suggest a visit to Costa Rica (ah, yes, our 600 beaches indeed are inviting!), well, that’s another story. Our borders are slammed shut and no one can enter our country at this time. This will not change until at least August 1st, and that is subject to change as the situation dictates. Even then, the government has announced that entry will be allowed on a gradual basis. My own feeling is that Costa Rica may very well follow the EU approach and deny entry to anyone using a US passport! Here, we are well aware that management of the crisis in the US has been less than satisfactory.

    This is an economic tragedy for Costa Rica. Something like 30 percent of our entire economy is based on international tourism; at least 40 percent of that is based on visitors from the United States who come here to play on our beaches and see the incredible sights in this small but blessed land. We will be taking an economic hit much greater than most other countries if we deny access to gringoes, but the health our population is deemed more important than the almighty dollar. The government might not keep gringoes out, but if there isn’t a swift change in the data from up north, I’ll not be surprised to see Americans excluded from Costa Rica for the foreseeable future. But you can always go to Nicaragua; they couldn’t care less there, just don’t trust the small case numbers you read — they’re absolutely fake.

  9. I look at these graphs and despair. I listen to my daughter who lives in Florida cry because she is surrounded by people who have drunk the Kool-Aid and do not mind dying as long as they don’t have to wear a mask. They do not care if others have to die too. As long as they are allowed to breathe free. Meanwhile, my daughter has decided to go into total lock down: no outside people at all; no shopping, no going out. Shop on line. Her in-laws are aghast that she is taking COVID19 so seriously, calling her names and insisting she attend family events. She is terrified they will infect her and her baby. Whose freedoms are are stake here?
    I live in the Bay Area and am watching our own numbers go up since we were released from the total lock down. Folks were supposed to still limit exposure, wear masks, wash hands. And, it is like someone ordered everyone to party like it was 1999! I never realized the depths of selfishness that powers individuals before this. I am not young, but I have always operated under the thesis that it is easier to care for others than to care only about yourself. It is also beneficial to the community in which I live.
    How do we survive this? How do we come together as a country when science is a hoax and a lie is the truth?

    1. “How do we survive this? How do we come together as a country when science is a hoax and a lie is the truth?”

      You let the country go as a matter of your consideration and you build your own community of people who support each other regardless of the collapse of national epistemes.

      I’m going to start pounding this gavel a lot around here because I believe a lot of you are still trying to save conservatives from themselves: let it go. They won their demands to commit to the death cult and take out as many as they can as they go. Now, solely and only responsibility you have is protecting your own from being taken out with them. Focus on their health and welfare, and learn to grieve those you can’t save. Everything outside that world of your own, is no longer your responsibility.

      If it were, we’d have a federal government, but we don’t, so… halas.

  10. > For the rest of America, “the last plane out” has already departed.

    That plane took off on November 8th, 2016. Those of us who didn’t vote for Trump knew we would be making a sacrifice by not getting on that plane because someone had to stay behind to fight to change the nation for the better. Besides, what’s the point of even trying to run to Canada when America just handed control of its 8,000 nukes to an unstable madman. Until Trump is gone, there is no save place on Earth.

    > We’ve been left to make our way, as best we can, in the shithole country our MAGA brethren deserve.

    Well, I don’t consider them to be my brethren anymore since they don’t think I’m a “Real American™” and shown just how hateful they can be toward those they define as others. If I’m a foreigner in their eyes, they might as well be a foreigner in mine. Though the rest of us do deserve this since too many sat out the last election because “her emails”.

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