There are some weird things going on in the coronavirus data. It’s curious that cases dropped so fast, and have stayed pretty low, in the spring hot zones — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. And why did cases remain so low in Idaho and Hawaii until recently?
The mainstream narrative is that it’s all about good behavior when cases go down — mask wearing and giving up our social lives for the greater good. And conversely, bad behavior must be what makes them go up. We talk about certain regions having the virus “under control,” as if falling cases are purely a matter of will-power. A sort of moral reasoning is filling in for evidence.
But why, then, have cases plummeted in Sweden, where mask wearing is a rarity?
This is the time to use scientific methods to understand what’s happening. The pandemic has gone on long enough to reveal patterns in the way it spreads. If it’s all about behavior, that’s a testable hypothesis. If, as a few speculate, dramatic drops in some places have something to do with growing immunity in the population, we can also turn that into a testable hypothesis.
But then instead of shaming, you’d have to wait for evidence. Nobody seems to want that.