Our statistics aren’t feeling well

The boys have been back to in-person schooling for more than a month now, and the world hasn’t ended. To hear them complain about having to change out of their pajamas in the morning, you might think it has, but not really.

They’ve had some kids in their classes test positive for COVID. The affected kids stay out for a week or so, then come back, and life goes on. It seems like a normal school year, except that all the students look like they’re about to rob a train.

With everything going along so near normal, you might be surprised to learn that our schools have suffered multiple outbreaks of COVID. That’s because, up until last week, our state defined an outbreak as two positive cases.

Little did I know that my family has been suffering outbreaks of all sorts of childhood diseases for the past 10 years. I always thought of it as just a couple of kids with the pukes, but according to the state health department, it was an outbreak of vomit. It was probably even newsworthy, had I known to call the papers.

There’s probably a vomit heat map buried within the health department web site, with a big, red circle centered over my house.

“There’s puke everywhere!”

I’m tempted to write a biological thriller, titled Outbreak, in which a total of two people come down with a mysterious illness. I haven’t settled on the catalyst for this spine-tingling plot, but I’m leaning toward the sharing of an expired carton of potato salad.

Now, the state has announced a change in this criterion of an outbreak to three positive cases. I give them credit for reducing the ridiculousness of their definition by a whopping 50%. That kind of swift improvement is difficult to achieve in government work.

The reasons for this change are murky, but the obvious conclusion is that outbreaks have become less politically useful to the state than they used to be. In the US, COVID statistics have become an interstate competition. Perhaps, our outbreak totals began to look awkward in comparison to our competitor states, until someone at the big meeting raised his hand and said, “Maybe we should find a way to have fewer outbreaks.” Give that man a raise.

So now we’ll have fewer school outbreaks. As a parent, that’s a huge relief to me. I’m proud to live in a state that is taking such strong measures to defeat this pandemic.

But as I was saying, the kids are back at school. The younger ones complain, but I think there is a secret part inside them that is happy to be back among their friends, despite the school lunches, which are reported to have taken a turn for the worse.

The older one doesn’t complain. He’s in 8th grade now, and girls are starting to become important. And as every schoolboy (who has spent a year of schooling online) knows, girls are much more intriguing in person than they are on Zoom.

12 comments on “Our statistics aren’t feeling well

  1. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh, Scott. I’m laughing as I write this for humor is SO needed in this world. I understand the “ridiculousness” of what the “stats” say and how the “rules” change ever about so that truly no one knows what is up or what is down. My neighbor’s two kids came down with a “flu” yet all were in a panic blaming Covid. Me being me just shrugged and said, “Um, gee, sounds like a normal kid illness to me” and with that the Mom calmed down and said, “Yeah, funny, but that is what our doctor says too.” LOL Thank goodness you kept your brains. So many have not. Brains have become priceless these days, I’ll have you know. THINKING is even more precious then diamonds as well. Um, well, YUP!

  2. Swinged Cat says:

    So, if I’m following the state’s logic correctly, if one prisoner escapes from jail, it’s a breakout. Two convicts tunneling their way to freedom is breakouts, plural. Three scaling the barbed wire fence is an outbreak. Or, technically a breakout outbreak.

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