RT.LIVE (which, btw, has no connection to Russia Today) is a brilliant site started by the Instagram founders (something I only just discovered, clueless as I am). I’ve been using its data for a while to calculate the proportion of America where the virus is growing. As the site explains:
Rt represents the effective reproduction rate of the virus calculated for each locale. It lets us estimate how many secondary infections are likely to occur from a single infection in a specific area. Values over 1.0 mean we should expect more cases in that area, values under 1.0 mean we should expect fewer.
A month ago (May 26) I first tweeted the calculation:
Then June 1:
Then I hid my head for a bit, ostrich-like. Yesterday, I calculated it again:
I then discovered (or was told, stupid oversight) that the site makes its data available via CSV. I took the data since the beginning of the pandemic and calculated the percent of the nation living with Rt > 1 since the beginning of the pandemic. That’s the chart at the top of this post. (You can see the source and method here.)
Please let’s be clear about how furious this chart should make you. I don’t have the data to calculate how much it cost to get from the top of that graph to the bottom. I’m pretty confident it cost more than public funding for federal campaigns from now until the next millennium would cost. All that investment — in lives and money—has now been squandered because of a President who would render as partisan the simple act of wearing a mask. How many people will die because of this stupidity? Or because of the cowards in his own party not willing to tell him “enough”?
Someday all this will seem obvious — and when it is, the monstrosity of this moment will be literally unbelievable. Enabled by his party, a President is pursuing a policy that will kill (at the very least) thousands of Americans just for (mistakenly) expected political gain.
Let that sink in. And then let us now turn our attention to the cowards who make this possible.