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Pandemic Diary XIII

It's been almost two months since I added to my Pandemic Diary. I suppose I should not be allowed to call this a diary, since the etymology of "diary" is the same as "daily." A true diary should be a daily account, and this is far from that. "Journal" would be equally inappropriate, since the root of that word is from the French, "jour," meaning "day."

But does it really matter? Life is boring enough when living through a pandemic and avoiding a lot of in-person social interaction that writing about the etymology of "diary" actually seems mildly entertaining.

Life in Mexico seems increasingly more normal. Taking precautions (wearing a mask, avoiding close contact, frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizer, and getting your temperature taken before entering grocery stores and restaurants) is actually beginning to seem normal. Playing bridge online, instead of in person, feels normal. Sitting at home feels normal.

At the same time, more and more daily activities are resuming. Movie theaters and live theaters are getting the green light to reopen. I seem people taking spin class at a gym near my house. And walking around town, life seems fairly normal. People gather (albeit in small numbers) in cafes, in the plaza and on the malecon.

I have gone to a friend's house for dinner. I've eaten at a restaurant with a friend. And tomorrow night I have plans to go hear live music with a friend at a restaurant. All of this requires trusting other people. Perhaps I will regret doing so.

Now that the US presidential election is just two months away, I am increasingly distracted and anxiety-ridden by thinking about that. The prospect of four more years is so horrifying and yet feels so possible. I am astonished that so many people still seem to support the current occupant, or still see him as the lesser of two evils. The unthinkable has become normal in the US. Kind of like how life in a pandemic becomes increasingly normal.

I've blogged about the election already, and about how I fear a result unfavorable to the current occupant could be invalidated. I try to take comfort in polls, but given what happened in 2016, that's hard to do and dangerous to my mental health.

My favorite map is no longer, which simply uses the most recent polling data. I prefer the Consensus Map at That map is based on aggregated ratings from ten organizations to come up with a composite forecast.

Here's what that map shows today:

  • For Biden
    • 183 safe
    • 29 likely
    • 66 leans 
    • Total: 278
  • For the other guy
    • 88 safe
    • 37 likely
    • 44 leans
    • Total: 169
  • 91 toss-up
In order for the current occupant to be reelected, he would need to hold all 169 of the electoral votes leaning his way, all of the toss-up states, and at least 8 of the electoral votes that currently lean toward Biden.

Could this happen? Certainly!

This same site runs 25,000 data-driven simulations of the election every day. Yesterday's simulations resulted in 82.5% Biden wins, 17% disasters, and 0.5% ties. 

17% does not equal zero.

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  1. As boring as it is, time goes by quickly, hard to believe it's Sept already. Amani is here for a week, Ethel is getting scary big, I walk almost everyday sometimes with Wendy Henderson, it's been hot here, and that's all the news! :)


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