28 July 2020

Too many Americans just don't "get it"

The photo above shows tour boats in the basin below Niagara Falls.  The one on the bottom is from the American side, the one above is Canadian.  If the difference isn't obvious, here's an infographic cobbled together from screencaps from the video at The Guardian:

“I see it many, many times a day. I look out the window, and there it is again,” said DiMaurizio, the vice-president and general manager of the main Canadian tour company, Hornblower Niagara Cruises. 
His company’s boats can carry up to 700 people, but Ontario’s strict social distancing rules have only permitted them to carry six passengers at a time
In contrast, the US-owned Maid of the Mist boats – which can normally hold around 500 people – are operating at 50% capacity. 
The stark difference reflect radically different approaches that Canada and the US have taken to tackling the coronavirus pandemic – and their dramatically contrasting outcomes. 
The US side of the falls lies within New York state, an area with a population of 19.5 million, and which has seen 414,000 Covid-19 cases and 32,000 deaths.  On the Canadian side, Ontario – with a population of nearly 15 million – has seen 38,000 coronavirus cases and 2,755 deaths.
The disparity is a consequence of many factors, including universal healthcare, early travel bans and quarantine rules, mask wearing and physical distancing measures...  
“We would really like to be in a position to have that [many customers] but you do have to balance it with supporting the province and their measures for keeping everybody safe.  “So, yes, I’d like to be there. But I’m really glad Canada is faring as well as it is.”
Video at the link.

In related news:
Dozens of police officers were called to break up a massive party in Ocean County [New Jersey] with hundreds of people in attendance. The party was advertised on Instagram as a “mansion party” and was held at a home on Mill Pond Road in the Whispering Hills section of Jackson Township Sunday night. The party was reportedly held as a celebration of Liberian Independence Day and featured free food and alcohol and a twerking contest.
And this:
Spurred on by a Facebook post Wednesday from the event’s organizer, rodeo fans are planning to show up anyway to protest, asserting their constitutional right to peaceable assembly
“The North Star Stampede will take place with no spectators,” wrote Cimarron Pitzen, whose family has staged the rodeo since 1955. “If people would like to come and protest against this ridiculous Government Over Reach, feel free to do so, I will not stand in the way of peoples ‘Right to Assemble.’ ” 
Within hours of Pitzen’s post, rodeo fans rallied. “I guess if thousands can protest in downtown Minneapolis we can protest in a field!” wrote Mike Milkovich of Hibbing. 
Who says that you can’t be protesting while sitting in the stands … and a rodeo is just happening to be going on,” replied Janet Chartier Bailey of Andover.
I am not anti-American, but I despair and never cease to be amazed by the ignorance, gullibility, and self-centeredness of a huge number of Americans, as exemplified by a man shown on the national evening news last night stating unequivocally "I'm not going to wear a damn mask just for someone else's benefit!!"

Addendum: This report from Vancouver Island, British Columbia:
Creek has been leading a group of volunteer watchdogs to monitor marine traffic, looking for Washington state boaters who have sneaked across the border into Canadian waters. They then report them to Canadian officials to try to keep them from docking and coming ashore. No hard feelings, he told me cheerily by phone this past week. But every American is seen as a loaded vector of disease
“You need to get the pandemic under control. You need a rational person to take the helm of your country. Until then, all we’re saying to Americans is: Stay away. When you come against our wishes, pardon the expression, it pisses us off.”.. 
“Hard pass on opening the border — we’re a healthy nation with big plans, and you’re a failed society,” one Canadian replied to the congressional letter on Twitter. 
“That border stays CLOSED,” wrote another. “Canadians may be polite but we aren’t CRAZY!” 
And another: “There’s no reason to believe Americans will care about the health of Canadians, given that relatively few seem to care about the health of other Americans.”
Amen.  If it were only the stupid people who were dying, it wouldn't be so bad.

Just to clarify it's still a minority:
The “Million Unmasked March,” which took its name from the social-justice march a quarter-century ago, drew about 250 people.


  1. It's hard to know what to do. Available information has changed so much in the past several months. It's especially hard to balance two competing risks: illnesses and deaths from coronavirus infections and economic destruction from locking down excessively. Probably the best option is to mask up, isolate the elderly and immunocompromised, don't touch people, wash your hands, and go back to work. I think that's probably the best balance between the two competing risks.

    A few observations:
    1. It is bizarre how fighting a virus became a political issue.
    2. I wish the President had set a better personal example by masking up in March.
    3. The notion that ordering masking is tyrannical is nutty. I can understand why critics would want orders passed legislatively, but the orders themselves are reasonable as temporary measures.
    4. The approval of Democratic leaders of mass protests and riots, despite the pandemic, reduced the trustworthiness of those leaders.
    5. The actual situation lies between "It's just the flu" and "there are people dropping dead everywhere in the streets". Unfortunately, given how many competing claims there are, we can't be more precise than that.
    6. I doubt I could win a twerking contest.

    1. I don't have any easy answers re what to do, though like everyone I can offer good advice on what should have been done earlier.

      I will make one prediction. If the coronavirus situation isn't brought under control before the start of the annual influenza season this fall, all hell will break loose. Apart from the separate morbidity/mortality, the influenza symptoms will cause the carriers to start aerosolizing their coronavirus.

      And I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that the major league baseball season will end with a whimper. There's no way the teams will be able to bubble all those young men, and the millionaire veterans in the players association are not going to risk their livelihoods for the sake of the owners.

  2. Let me guess: a bunch of armed white men will show up to protest and the police will smile and do nothing, no matter what they do. (In contrast to the police behavior in, say, Portland.)

  3. I'm always hearing "I know my rights". I never hear "I know my duties and obligations as a good citizen"

  4. How do the Canadian boats run with 6 passengers per boat? That makes no economic sense... But asides that, we have come a long way from “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

    1. Why do you just assert that it "makes no economic sense"? Have you run any numbers/

      I looked up rates for the Hornblower boat rides -

      $30 CAD per person = $180 per trip. Boats leave every 15 minutes. Est. $700/hour.

      "Hornblower vice-president and general manager Mory DiMaurizio said it’s not great, but keeps employees working until Stage 3 of the reopening, which will presumably allow more passengers."


      (where it cites $70 CAD per person for a larger package)

    2. Apologizes, I should have said that that seems like it would not make economic sense. I had not run numbers, mea culpa. Still $180(cad) per 20 min trip minus some amount to pay for fuel and other overhead, minus, what do you think, two, three crew? And a few more on the dock, I expect. Seems like it would be pretty slim margins, if any. I was just expressing my surprise that they were able to operate with such small passenger amounts.

  5. It certainly makes no ecological sense. 50 gallons of diesel to take a few people on a pleasure cruise? No thanks.

  6. Every time I start to get angry at these people needlessly endangering American lives for something as frivolous as a boat ride or a haircut, I try to remember that many of them are probably in denial because reality is too terrifying. Seeing me in a mask makes them angry because it shatters the illusion that everything is normal. It's so much easier to blame this existential dread on the cruelty of politics than an uncaring universe.

  7. When there is no vision, the people perish.

  8. The mental gymnastics that people go through to justify not have to wearing a mask is mind-boggling to me. So many selfish people.


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