The first weekend of "Phase 1 reopening" has come and gone here in Multnomah County, and it's got some of us more nervous 'bout the 'rona than we have been in weeks. "Nervous 'Bout the 'Rona" should be a song by Taj Mahal. Instead it's a real-world affliction.
Yesterday the state announced 84 new Covid cases in the county, which is a big jump from the 10-day rolling average. And that average has been climbing for four weeks now. Although new-case numbers can be explained away by frequency of testing, the curve definitely is not what you want to see:
You can click on the image to get a clearer view (all of the charts in this post are my own amateur depictions of some of the official state data, here), but even if you're on a teeny weeny phone, you can see the blue line above, which is new cases by the day, and the orange-y line, which is the 10-day rolling average of new cases per day, in Multnomah County.
Washington County, which has been sorta-open for a while now, isn't looking any healthier, really:
Whereas the rebel territory of Clackistan seems to be faring somewhat better, although still, it hasn't been a great month:
It seems like a heck of a time to turn the 20-somethings of Portland loose on the bars and restaurants, but that's what we have done, and my own Saturday evening stroll on Alberta Street and Mississippi Avenue revealed, if not throngs, certainly crowds of merry diners and drinkers. I would say that Mississippi was at 70 percent of normal capacity, whereas Alberta was more subdued, maybe 40 percent. One beer joint on Mississippi had even commandeered a side street to accommodate more customers. Maybe they do that every summer, but they wasted no time doing it this weekend.
The small-business owners made some badly needed money. And people who have been stuck in the house looking at devices got out and saw friends face to face. All to the good.
But droplets gonna drop. There were a lot of households mixing it up. The tables may have been six feet apart, but there was nary a mask in sight, that's for sure, except on the help. And there were plenty of parties of four and six.
Oh, well. With enough hospital beds and ventilators to go around, at least for now, I guess we'll be in this phase for a while. Here are the statewide Covid hospitalization curves as of Friday. They don't run these numbers on the weekend any more:
To this grouchy old man, we are playing with fire. But what can you do? You leave the pubs and eateries to the young people, I guess. But then I don't know what you do with them when they get back home. Close your own hatch as tightly as you can and hope that your number doesn't get called. Takeout again? It's better than hospital food. Let your hair grow out, better than the undertaker cutting it.
Mom, God rest her, used to say that everything happens for a reason. I don't know what she would have said this time. Maybe more like mercy, mercy, mercy.