Revisiting Camp Corona: The other day Katie and I went downtown because she needed a haircut. There were a lot of people out, enjoying the nice weather as one does during summertime in Finland. I hung out in a coffee shop and got some work done while she was visiting with the nice Thai lady that does her hair. Afterwards we considered getting lunch, but decided against it because we’re trying to save money. We compromised on getting ice cream, so we stood in line at the stand outside the department store. Ever the traditionalist, I got a chocolate-and-vanilla soft serve in a cone. Katie got a scoop of mango-passionfruit sorbet in a cup.
Are we insane, going out among people in the middle of a global pandemic? Why would we do such a thing? Well, the reason is in the following chart:
I’m writing this on Friday, 17 July, so by the time you’re reading this the data is already at least one day out of date. I don’t think it’s going to matter much. The last day that I reported numbers for Central Finland was 16 May, when they’d just announced plans to reopen the country. There were 130 cases in this district at that time. Two months later, that number has risen to… 137 cases. Yes. Only 7 new cases in over 60 days.
This is not to say that precautions aren’t being taken. When Katie got her haircut, her stylist was wearing a mask and gloves. She does in the back and puts on a fresh mask and gloves for each client. The apron she put around Katie’s neck was disposable, a new one for each client, and disposed of in a very particular manner. There is a lot of cleaning between clients.
A lot of things are still closed or cancelled. All of the major music festivals were scrapped early on. The Rally isn’t happening. Some people are still grumbling, but they’re also a lot more understanding about the necessity of it.
While no one is wearing masks, everyone is social distancing. This is pretty normal behaviors for Finns, though. The joke is that you stand no closer than arm’s length plus the length of your knife. There is hand sanitizer everywhere, in motion-sensor pumps so you never need to touch anything, just put your hands underneath and it delivers a squirt. Cashiers are behind plexiglass and wear masks. Anyone working with food is wearing a mask and gloves.
Schools will be reopening at all levels, yes. But they will so so with heavy precautions. Those will include some continued distance learning, and smaller class sizes.
There is a lot of testing. More testing isn’t resulting in more cases. It’s resulting in fewer cases. Because it allows for contact tracing, and effective quarantine, and reflects that this situation is being handled well. The reason there are only 7 new cases here isn’t because they’ve stopped testing. It’s because they continue to test aggressively.
Compare and contrast this with the United States, and I really can’t explain what the hell is wrong with Americans. Katie and I voluntarily wore masks early on, and stayed inside for weeks at a time, and exercised an abundance of caution. Now we are the opposite of oppressed. We’ve got all the haircut and ice cream.
Revisiting Camp Corona
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