The Last Stand


Beneath this mask is more than flesh. Beneath this mask is an idea, Mr Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof

[This article has a co-author, Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive consultant residing in Lincoln, California. Originally from Falun, Wisconsin, he rose through the ranks at IBM and formed his own consulting business when IBM downsized.

On October 16th, ABC News reported that the United States has only four counties remaining that have not reported any COVID-19 cases. Not surprising is that all of these counties are isolated and rural. One of them, Kalawao, is the site of the former leper colony on the island of Moloka’i, where some 80 or so people still reside. Even though leprosy has been conquered by modern medicine, Most of these residents chose to remain there because they believed their disfigurements from the illness would make reintegration into society impossible. The other three, Esmeralda County, Nevada, Loving County, Texas, and the Municipality and Borough of Skagway, located in SE Alaska, are far more open than Kalawao, which restricts visitors and sees few of its residents traveling beyond its boundaries.

The last of the 39 counties in Washington to report zero COVID-19 cases was Garfield. It reported its first confirmed case on July 12th and by July 14th it reported a second case. As of October 16th, the count had climbed to 13. This is in a county with one town, Pomeroy, and 2,225 residents.

Like Garfield County, the COVID-19 pandemic was slow to reach the other 1,975 rural counties in the U.S., but reach them it did. Moreover, it will reach the last four standing, even Kalawao. Given the isolation and low population density of these rural counties, the majority of residents likely believed that the pandemic was an urban problem and would not reach them. Unfortunately, this belief was itself misplaced and was aided and abetted by their political leanings (typically, Republican, as is the case with Garfield County), which made many residents ill-disposed to outside mandates to self-isolate, practice social distancing, and wear masks, possibly due to the misinformation they consumed from conservative media outlets. The outcome was also, unfortunately, predictable. With Trump himself contracting and spreading the disease around the country and the entrenchment of COVID-19 in rural counties, it appears that our hypothesis was accurate, “being Republican and being in proximity to Republicans” did, indeed, turn out to be a very real risk factor.

To paraphrase the line at the top of this article, which is taken from the film, V For Vendetta, “Beneath this mask is an idea, one about my safety and yours, and ideas like this are bulletproof.”

About David A. Swanson

Posting Citizen Journalist • Member since Mar 31, 2020

David A. Swanson is Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of California Riverside. He served as a member of the U. S. Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee [...]

Comments by Readers

David A. Swanson

Oct 18, 2020

Fear the walking dead is a better phrase for this point in time.


Mike Sennett

Oct 19, 2020

Speaking of fear, it’s a shame that Dr. Fauci has to fear death threats made to him and his family.

Probably fake news, even though I saw him on 60 Minutes. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Atlas shrugs and advocates herd mentality, herd immunity, herd insanity.

I didn’t hear POTUS say he was saved by hydroxyxchloroquine or oleander.

One America News…....consider the source.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been.The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Issac Asimov


David A. Swanson

Oct 20, 2020

CDC has just released a report on the estimated number of deaths in the US due to COVID-19. Below is a summary follwed by the URL to the CDC paper


What is already known about this topic?
As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from COVID-19 have
been reported in the United States; however, this might
underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality.

What is added by this report?
Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late
January through October 3, 2020, with 198,081 (66%) excess
deaths attributed to COVID-19. The largest percentage increases
were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic
or Latino persons.

What are the implications for public health practice?
These results inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or
indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as
efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.




Larry Horowitz

Oct 22, 2020

45 out of 50 US Governors did not force Covid-19 infected patients into nursing homes, but 5 of them did: NY, PA, NJ, CA, MI. That is nearly 40% of all Covid-19 deaths in the US.




Larry Horowitz

Oct 23, 2020

Per CDC as of 9/10/20: COVID-19 survival rates by age:

0 - 19 years: 99.997%

20 - 49 years: 99.98%

50 - 69 years: 99.5%

70+ years: 94.6%

Protect the most at risk! But don’t live in fear!


Larry Horowitz

Oct 24, 2020

Times have really changed at Northwest Citizen… and not for the better. When I was a Northwest Citizen writer, there’s no way I would ever respond to someone who commented on my article the way David Swanson has. It’s amazing to me what John Servais, Dick Conoboy and Deb Gaber have allowed to happen to NWC. 

David, the issue is COVID-19. Not sure how your attempts to embarass a sitting President are relevant, but they certainly say more about you than about our President.

John, Dick and Deb, are y’all ok with this from one of your writers?



David A. Swanson

Oct 24, 2020

I guess our correspondence a few months ago still bothers you given that you finally found the courage to write  a  “last word” in this exchange, something you broke off doing in a huff in the intial round, with similar complaints to John and Dick. It’s a  miraclulous resurrection, coming out from the Edgemoor tomb and making the “commentary” rounds. Is this the first of two post-resurrection appearences? Even if there is another one,  I am so honored to witness the first. Was it that Phi Beta Kappa, private school background that resurrected you or your former Fotune 500 clients that you were compelled to tell all of us about  in the earlier exchange?

Oooh, gimme chicken skin, Brah.  Akimai buggar ah you an’ da kine mensa, eh?


NWCitizen Management

Oct 25, 2020

It is not the role of the NWCitizen editors to be arbiters among commenters.  We do, in fact, ask that commenters refrain from ad hominem attacks and stick to the issues.   A simple policy regarding comments is on our website under Mission.  

“Commenting is available to local readers whose identity has been verified. This encourages responsible and civil dialog and mostly avoids inane threads. Comments cannot be deleted.”


David A. Swanson

Oct 25, 2020

My long-deceased friend with whom I fished in Alaska on his commercial troller, advised that one need not take anything said by a poltroon seriously. I simply extended that advice to  the Trump Trollers like Mr. Horowitz, who peddle the falsehoods and other mis-information spewed out by the poltroon in the White House. If Mr. Horowitz does not like his glorious leader to be ridiculed in my replies to his trolling, instead of whining about it, he should take some direct action for a change -  attend a Trump rally in his MAGA cap and chant, “Lock ‘him up.” Film at 11.00

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