Right now with the COVID-19 illness, we continue to not have exponential growth of cases here in San Diego country, as shown in this graph,1 but the protests appear to have had an effect.
Here, the higher the lines are, the better we are doing (the slower COVID-19 is spreading). The blue (darker) line is “if we maintain the growth we had on a given day (7-day average), how long would doubling take?” and the orange (lighter) line is “how many days ago did we have half the number of cases we had on this day?”.
As we can see, last week the blue line went down: Most likely, those George Floyd protests did increase COVID-19 growth. However, with the protests dying down the blue line is going up again.
Hair cut places are open again. School daycare is opening up again next week. We will see how that affects growth.
There is now, in the heart of downtown Seattle, an area with no police intervention being done. It’s called the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or CHAZ.2 While the area has been police-free for a few days, the place seems fairly peaceful and free of violence.3
The right wing has been claiming there have been attempts to extort businesses in the police-free zone for money,4 but those claims appear to be false;5 we know that the right wing media has been manipulating evidence to make the area look worse than it actually is.6
I can tell you this much: This police-free zone is doing a lot better than Science Fiction authors predicted it would. Larry Niven’s classic 1972 story “Cloak of Anarchy” had things descend in to senseless violence within nine hours after police presence was removed.7 The movie “Class of 1999”, which predicted a police-free zone in Seattle back in 1990, also has overwhelming violence.8
If this area were to remain police-free, my guess is that would eventually end up like a third world country, with houses and businesses needing to be barricaded with high fences to protect themselves. When I lived in Mexico, each house was like a little fortress, with a high wall surrounding it, and doors to the outside that locked whenever you closed them. I am sure police will return to this CHAZ area long before that would happen.
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