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The Reset: You’re Doing Awesome, Portland.

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No, none of this is pleasant, but yes, you’re doing great. Keep it up!

Coronavirus (Covid 19) precautions in Portland Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hello, everyone. This is our 41st day without NBA Basketball. The playoffs were supposed to be underway, with teams playing their second game today. Unfortunately, there is no return in sight for the NBA.

Normally I’ve been running random irreverent open threads. But instead, let’s catch up on what’s happening recently.

Northwest Numbers Trending Downward

Finally, some good news: All of your efforts over the past month is being reflected in recent test results. The University of Washington Virology Department (who is also about to start antibody testing) reports that daily infection numbers are finally trending down in the northwest. In fact, the low infection levels led to the federal emergency hospital being shut down without any patients. That’s the best scenario anyone could hope for.

This translates to Oregon, where not only are hospitals below capacity, but they’ve sent equipment to states in need. You can see Oregon’s infection numbers trending down on the Oregon Health Authority’s dashboard. There is limited testing capacity, so there are surely significantly more cases than currently captured, but it’s still promising that the percentage positive is low.

This is great! We could be looking at a very different situation right now, had the Pacific Northwest hadn’t taken this situation seriously. And we need to continue to do so. We’ll come back to that.

Your Feelings Are Legit

If you’re on social media, well, you’ll probably want to log off. But if you don’t, you’ll see all kinds of kitschy graphics about how your great-grandparents went to war, and all you have to do is sit on the couch, so you’re fine. In some ways, they’re right! It could be worse right now. In other ways, they’re wrong and dismissive. Perhaps you’re sitting at home, marathoning The Great British Baking Show for the fourth time, trying to push away your existential angst, and pondering whether that slip-up during yesterday’s grocery delivery is somehow going to send you to the hospital in 10 days. Or calculating whether you can make your rent/mortgage payments. It’s still extremely taxing on your psyche. And it’s ok to feel that way! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Status Quo in the NBA

We should at least mention basketball. There was an interesting idea floated via Yahoo Sports last week that the NBA could consider picking up their season at Disney World. They have dedicated entry/exit points that can be closed, hotels with services, and of course a broadcast-worthy basketball facility. Not to mention the ESPN/NBA synergy. Could it work? Maybe? There are so many moving parts involved. And it’s hard to imagine they’d bring in all 30 teams. For his part, Adam Silver is wisely mum at the moment.

I Really Don’t Care About Michael Jordan

This isn’t important in the bigger picture, I just wanted to say it somewhere.

Players, Coaches, and Front Office Staff Are Not Epidemiologists

The Washington Post talked to infectious disease specialists a few weeks ago. The general verdict? We really can’t be sure when sports can resume. But it may be a while. Everyone wants to give their opinion on it, though, because there’s nothing else to do.

However, it’s best to be cautious when hearing invested parties comment optimistically about a possible restart, without any underlying expertise about infectious diseases. I’m going to pick on one NBA owner, but he’s not the only example. Without the relevant expertise, he said in March, “Hopefully this virus runs its course over the next 60 days or so.” (I’m not sure we could have found a qualified epidemiologist would have agreed with that hope.) Later he said, “Hopefully by the middle of May, we’re starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games.” And then eventually, as he seemingly saw the gravity of the situation, he realized the league probably isn’t starting in mid-May and they’ll wait for guidance from scientists. Just wait until he learns about the whole Disney World idea.

Heck, this is a good time to remind you that I am also not an epidemiologist. Fact-check me, too! But please use credible, rigorously-tested sources?

Unfortunately, We Still Need To Stay At Home

UW’s projections show further reduction in infections in the weeks go come. It’s far too early to predict when any restrictions may be reduced, but it’s definitely not too early to reiterate the importance of staying home.

It’s starting to get sunny, and we’re all looking out the windows at the nice weather. But if everyone returns to their old routines, these numbers would immediately skyrocket and overwhelm medical facilities. There are serious concerns about a “second wave” if everyone suddenly heads out again. So staying at home is still extremely important and will be for a while to come. But get out for a walk around your neighborhood! Heck, you never know what you might see...

Wild Animals Are Starting To Reappear In Cities

Rainier Beer Walking Around
I can’t be the only one who gets this reference. Someone else. Please.