19 April 2020

Florida by the Numbers

Florida postcard
Thursday, a hundred rankled Orange County protestors and children converged on Orlando City Hall to demand an end to government stay-home oppression. They cried out against the horrors of forced unlabor. They sought to be loosed from the bonds of dictatorial rule and set free. And Mike Huckabee clamored in Florida courts to be unshackled from the Orwellian tyranny that required him to follow laws like ordinary, common citizens. He needed to be liberated from onerous beach-front activity restraints because… something.

When Michigan activists protested in drive-in Operation Gridlock, police noted that in their cars, citizens were inadvertently practicing safe, social distancing. Not so in Orlando, where unmasked citrus cankers breathed and sneezed and coughed at will. The numbers can’t be real: 2⅓-million cases globally, 33 383 in Canada, ¾-million in the US, 25½-thousand in Florida, 3000+ in Central Florida– apparently fake news, including 78 local deaths.

The last time I agreed with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was, um, pretty much never, but damn, folks. We’re trying to save lives.

Central Floridians took matters a step further into the Twilight Zone. They contend Dr. Anthony Fauci is a lying, malevolent hoaxer who inexplicably holds the President’s ear, deliberately wreaking havoc at the Federal level. Fauci’s motives are, um, deep state, Obamacare-coddling, and a really nasty infection that afflicted Florida’s governor. Whatever, it demanded protesting.

By the Numbers

Politicians may choose to ignore the science, but it’s difficult to ignore the math. Updating as you read this, the count of cases and deaths are spooky.

Say, each coronavirus victim infects two other people, and those two each infect two others, etc. It doubles exponentially. (The reality is closer to 2½×, but 2× is scary enough and much easier to calculate.)

In an ancient tale from Persia (or India), a king agreed to pay the inventor of chess in rice, one grain on the 1st square of the chessboard, double that (two) on the 2nd square, double again (four) on the 3rd square, and so on for all sixty-four squares. Beginning with Square Zero (think Patient Zero) each square would contain:

results in…    
results in…    
results in…
1     22
4 194 304     44
17 592 186 044 416
2     23
8 388 608     45
35 184 372 088 832
4     24
16 777 216     46
70 368 744 177 664
8     25
33 554 432     47
140 737 488 355 328
16     26
67 108 864     48
281 474 976 710 656
32     27
134 217 728     49
562 949 953 421 312
64     28
268 435 456     50
1 125 899 906 842 624
128     29
536 870 912     51
2 251 799 813 685 248
256     30
1 073 741 824     52
4 503 599 627 370 496
512     31
2 147 483 648     53
9 007 199 254 740 992
1 024     32
4 294 967 296     54
18 014 398 509 481 984
2 048     33
8 589 934 592     55
36 028 797 018 963 968
4 096     34
17 179 869 184     56
72 057 594 037 927 936
8 192     35
34 359 738 368     57
144 115 188 075 855 872
16 384     36
68 719 476 736     58
288 230 376 151 711 744
32 768     37
137 438 953 472     59
576 460 752 303 423 488
65 536     38
274 877 906 944     60
1 152 921 504 606 846 976
131 072     39
549 755 813 888     61
2 305 843 009 213 693 952
262 144     40
1 099 511 627 776     62
4 611 686 018 427 387 904
524 288     41
2 199 023 255 552     63
9 223 372 036 854 775 808
1 048 576     42
4 398 046 511 104    

2 097 152     43
8 796 093 022 208    
18 446 744 073 709 551 615

The total, my children, if your eyes haven’t glazed over, is 264-1, or 18 446 744 073 709 551 615, eighteen quintillion. Legends disagree whether the king made the maths wiz an economic advisor or executed the smartass.

The numbers, which start out relatively flat, soon zoom out of control. Relating to coronavirus, say the 10th generation victims infect a thousand more and the 12th another four thousand. The 20th level infects one million and the 30th one trillion. This is why it’s critical to disrupt the spread by masks, isolation, thorough cleansing, and sterilizing public places like Washington. But you knew that, right?

Please take care.

The Left Behind

Many are all atwitter about stimulus checks and several states have moved to protect landlords and tenants. In the rush to pass legislation, Congress and legislatures overlooked some citizens, including many college students and working teens. But here an Florida, another group in dire need has been forgotten. Sean Baker even made a movie about them starring Willem Dafoe.

Stay safe and read on…

Orlando and neighboring counties are loaded with weekly ‘residence’ motels. From the late 1940s through the early 70s, wanna-be hoteliers rapidly erected concrete block tourist lodgings, accented with bright colors, a couple of palm trees, and a swing set.

Disney’s arrival sucked the oxygen out of the Florida visitor biome, leaving hundreds of motels gasping for survival. Many became resident hotels, charging weekly for a ‘suite’ featuring a tiny kitchen corner and a bed. Dump trucks long ago filled the swimming pools with rubble and dirt to reduce operating expense. Now, a reduced cleaning staff soaks the accommodations with insecticide to avoid bedbugs and roaches in tight quarters.

Although few tourists advantage themselves of these ancient accommodations, the local inhabitants are unduly dependent upon the tourist trade, even when it dries up during a pandemic. These weekly residents work their asses off in menial jobs as day laborers or cleaning ladies or Binge Burger waitresses, constantly figuring out how to stretch the funds among rent, food, formula, and possibly a payment on a twenty-year-old car before it’s repossessed.

Some people care, director Sean Baker and actor Willem Dafore, for example. They made an award-nominated film, The Florida Project, about children living in weekly motels in Kissimmee. Dafore arrived early and spent a week living in such a motel. It surely influenced his work.

In a bout of irony, many ‘resident’ hotels deny their visitors residency. They kick their customers out after four weeks. Some are forced to sleep in their cars… if they’re lucky enough to have one.

Why? Under Florida statutes, thirty days establishes legal residency and that implies tenancy. Tenancy invokes landlord-tenant law, which establishes certain tenant rights, including that of proper eviction process.

So why should anyone care?

Besides being tourist-dependent, a lot of Florida is rented. To stave off mass evictions during the coronavirus, the Sunshine State has promised to aid both landlords and tenants in these trying times. The problem is that the poorest workers, those living in resident hotels, aren’t covered. While this is couched as an oversight, no politician has moved to correct it. Advice from authorities varies from “Try to work something out,” to “Pray.”



  1. Damn. Sometimes the harder we try, the worse it gets. The mayor of New Orleans shut down Jazz Fest, The French Quarter Fest and all large gatherings for the rest of the year. Haven't seen any protests about it. NOLA has been hit hard by the virus.

    Divisive political rhetoric is so destructive. We all breath the same air. We are all in this together. Politicians who use divisive tactics are doing so much damage. I feel it's going to get a lot worse until it gets better.

  2. I still can't figure out what the Branch Covidians think is going to happen. Is it that they think none of themselves or their loved ones will get it? And that if they do, all it will be is a mild case of the flu? Granted, some of the Proud Boys probably saw the 30% African-American death rate and decided - let 'er rip! But I would like to think not everyone is like that.
    But maybe they are...
    Meanwhile, Sturgis is looming in August. And our Governor Kristi Noem will probably say, let it happen!

  3. Here in Dallas County, our infected case count continues to climb with the Governor babbles about safely reopening stuff starting this week. It can not be done as it is not safe to open. If the idiots screaming bloody murder about their "rights" would just be infected and die off by themselves, it would be one thing. But, their stupidity has huge consequences for the rest of us.

    I am convinced that all this reopening and protesting crap is going to lead to a massive lockdown in a month or so as opposed to the fall and the second wave. Instead, the second wave will come now and disaster in the healthcare system and elsewhere will strike.

  4. Leigh, three things come to mind:

    1) stupid is as stupid does
    2) there are people out there that think as long as whatever is happening to the other guy, instead of to him, then it's okay
    3) God must've loved idiots, because he made so many of them

    stay safe, stay healthy

  5. O'Neil, Florida's governor determined that professional fake wrestling is an essential business, encouraging them to carry on the good fight, or some such. Ultimately the local organization decided to pull out, much more sensible than our politicians.

    Eve, I don't get that at all. BTW, NetFlix just uploaded the latest season of Bosch. It appears someone is framing local sovereign state militia types to hide a terrorist plot. Cue dramatic music.

    Kevin, most of these outbreaks resemble the classical bell curve. A next wave seems inevitable, and I expect that to superimpose upon the first wave. As you say, open the country and live (or not) to regret it.

    RT, I posted on Facebook, "The spread of coronavirus depends on two things: (a) How dense the population is, and (b) How dense the population is. I didn't originate it, but it says it all.


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