Wednesday, November 11, 2020

More Covid | Lefsetz Letter

Thanks for this Bob.

I am a musician currently recovering from Covid.  I live in Nashville and have been playing live shows here in town 1-2 times a week.  I don’t know how I would pay my bills without the gigs.  There is no safety net for people like me.

By the looks of Downtown Nashville on a daily basis, you would never know there’s a pandemic raging.  There are lines out the door to get into my shows and nobody wears a mask inside.  The culture down there is very much anti-mask, pro-party.

I was hoping for the best until I started feeling like shit.  Got the test and sure enough, I was positive.  So many musician friends of mine have been infected – the majority of the gigging musicians at this point at least in my circle.  It’s only a matter of time until the spike in hospitalizations and deaths is unbearable here in Nashville.

Musicians here are having to make the excruciating decision of taking proper health precautions or risk not being able to pay their bills, being evicted and complete financial devastation.

I am fortunate that I will probably fully recover, however I am on pins and needles monitoring my mom’s symptoms as she was with me prior to me knowing I was infected.  She’s 76.  God help us.

-Jay Bragg
Nashville, TN


Thanks for this Bob.I would even say that pneumonia vaccine  important for younger Demo as well. I am 36 and had double pneumonia with covid in March and then pneumonia again about 2 months ago and only wish I had gotten the pneumonia vaccine prior. I can only hope this hasn’t left lingering damage to my lungs but only time will tell. I have probably paid my Pulmologist’s office rent this year and still am not out of the woods. The long hauler thing is very real. Its just so unfortunate our asshole soon to be former president “downplayed” it. So many people like myself might have had a chance to better protect themselves if awareness and alarm had been raised back in feb. Most people still don’t understand the severity of the virus bc of the lies he and sycophants spread about it . I also agree with you in that I think every single person I know has been hypocritical when it comes to virus safety. They chastise but  when it comes to themselves I see no sacrifice and a severe lack of common sense from generally smart people. It’s a shame.

Jarred Arfa


My wife is an RN at one of the major NY hospital systems. The first wave was devastating for not only those infected and their families, but for the frontline workers including my wife. She’d go to work each day and spend 10 hour shifts intubating patients, flipping their bodies and then watching them get carted outside to the mobile refrigeration unit (temporary morgue). The toughest part for her was lending her cell phone to COVID patients to call loved ones telling them they are going to be intubated. Most of the time, it was the last interaction they had with their families. This went on for weeks. Drives me crazy when I hear people talk about the crisis as a hoax and not take it seriously. People are so selfish and misinformed – and the rot starts at the top with the soon-to-be former president and his team of imbeciles.

Here is hoping people take this next wave seriously and we all act as a cohesive unit and care for one another and not just ourselves. Maybe that’s a pipe dream.

Julian Schubach


I’ve been struggling so much with this part of it, that it’s spreading amongst our close contacts because everyone’s interpreting the guidelines differently.  The idea of not letting my kid see her grandparents and her friends.  We already keep her home for virtual school (one of 3 remote in her 26 kid class – our county votes 70% Republican – wonder if there’s a connection there), and we’re so lucky that she’s excelling, that she’s in kindergarten and never really knew what school was prior to COVID.  We’ve been outdoors all summer, hiking and swimming and playing putt-putt and embarking on every adventure that we can where we can that’s AWAY from others.  But yesterday was the last unseasonably warm day, and it’s cold and dreary and gets dark at 5pm now, and this is our life for the next 5 months.  My business (talent buyer for clubs and theatres with Audiotree in Michigan / Chicago) has been completely obliterated and maybe we’ll come back at this time next year or maybe 2022 if any of us make it that long, but I’m blessed beyond belief to have an owner who’s still paying me to plan for the future, and my wife (dance teacher), it’s not safe for her to go back to work, so we’re just at home, all day.  If COVID doesn’t kill us, those of us in cold weather states may just kill those we live with by the time April rolls around.

But when grandma calls and wants to visit, it’s so hard to say no, you can’t come over, you’re not taking this seriously enough, you’re not wearing masks out and about, you’re still going to church and the weekly car show and your friends’ houses.  Mom, you’re gonna die.  Or you’re gonna kill Dad, or one of your friends.  You’ve got good years left, put a goddamned mask on, stop going out.  That conversation’s hard enough about a normal Wednesday evening dinner.  But with the holidays coming, it’s gonna get REAL dark, and I’m scared about it.  Never mind that they’re big Trump supporters and that conversation is so loaded and emotional right now.

I follow you for your takes on our music business, but I appreciate most your takes on real life.  This one hit home.  Stay safe out there.

Nate Dorough

Hartland, MI


Hey Bob You can add me to that small list . Thank you for all this latest insight  though. Malibu until very recently has been Maskless Malibu and you are right, mind-blowing how people think they wont get it from close friends .

This one had my attention from having worked with two people who died early to an array of friends artists and colleagues of various broad age groups geograpghy etc and the day to day experiences of some of them has been chilling. Anyway I hope we both make it through and finally get to meet up again after so long best Howard Paar


Thanks for sharing that. As a singer,  my last gig was March 11th, the day Massachusetts declared a State of Emergency.  I was invited to participate in a private event for cabaret performers in May. I didn’t feel comfortable. One attendee spent 2 weeks in an ICU, and 6 weeks in rehab.

It is not worth it.

But for performers, particularly singers,  this soul crushing, isolating and frustrating.

We need a national mask mandate now.

Jeanne Crowley


Thank you, Bob, for sharing this with your subscribers. I only hug my 23 year son after his negative COVID tests. I never thought I would write a sentence like that.

Andrew Gross


I play in a band in rural Wayne County PA. We moved from our somewhat cramped rehearsal room to a large 2 car garage with doors and windows open and plenty of distancing. At first, since most of us don’t interact with people much,  only our bassist wore a mask because she’s a farmer and had to go to markets in NYC. Now we all do except the singers when singing. It’s gonna suck when it gets cold, but after very few, slowly increasing cases, we’ve had 33 new ones in our county in just the last 10 days, so we aren’t taking any chances-short of not playing anymore, of course. That’s unthinkable.

Pam Arnold (drummer for Beat the Devil)


I don’t understand how masks became a partisan issue.
I think Trump was a mixed bag of good and bad.
Possibly the worst thing he did was set a terrible example by not wearing a mask all the time.
The CDC and Fauci did not help either. Masks for everyone was so obvious – reduces risk.
Staying home and avoiding crowds – reduces risks.
The whole country needs a lesson on risk reduction.

Another sad story of our times are the special needs children and adults.
My oldest son (severely autistic and blind) used to go to a dayhab that had to close and is struggling to survive.
Fortunately his group home has been able to stay afloat and pick up the slack.
Both are non-profit – which I recommend for anyone with special needs. Making a profit from looking after special needs is not a good business model for the kids or the business.

Dave Machanick


This is so terrible. 1000+ Americans a day are dying of secondhand stupidity.

Paul Gigante


I have been saying everything that you have covered since the start, and I have a daughter who is also in 100% agreement too, in fact she pointed me to this letter.

I too have a highly compromised immune system thanks to Myasthenia Gravis treatment, consisting of Prednisone & Retuximab. The latter to replace the Cellcept that was reducing my white blood cell count!

I also have all the shots – flu, pneumonia, shingles etc, etc. If it’s offered I take it! Can’t afford not to.

I have not been to a shop, restaurant or bar since the end of February. All shopping done via Instacart. The only place I go is to my local Kaiser facility for any treatment/infusions/blood draws and that’s it.

Our daughter comes to see us because she is exactly the same as us. Sees no one, uses online shopping. The only people she sees are via zoom, including the artist she works for. In person meetings are limited to us, her parents, and she will do nothing to put us at risk.

I hope you stay in good health and that you are getting some relief from the Pemphigus. Ageing is a bitch, but it is what it is. Stiff upper lip, and enjoy every minute! 🙂

Keep up the good work


Peter Brentnall


The worst part is reading all of this, agreeing with all of this, and having to go to work where I serve coffee to people who don’t understand they have to keep their mask on the ENTIRE time until they leave the store. If you could hear the customers that come in and call my coworkers and I “brain washed” your jaw would drop. That’s Los Angeles, baby, home of Individualism.

ok, tyler


Thank you, Bob.

But I’ve learned that those who will not wear a mask by now, just will not do it.

Sad that this guy didn’t keep well via mask-wearing.

Hopefully your post helps.

Fran D


60 Minutes recently covered how the vaccine(s) will be distributed via the US Army, and I gotta say… it instilled a heck of a lot of confidence in me. I encourage you to give it a watch as you (and hopefully way, way many more people) stay vigilant as ever until the (literal) cavalry arrives.

Jennifer Carney


Hi Bob. To quote you…what kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in?  How can people take medical advice from Joe Rogan. What are his qualifications?  I’ll take science over uninformed option everyday.

Craig Marlow


Thank you for sharing this, Bob.

If only EVERYONE could get past the Joe Rogan mentality and come to realize that saving lives is just about as UN-‘pussy’-like as one can get.

So…mask up, everyone…let’s get this DONE.

(And then, maybe we can get to work on our language. As in, a new word for ‘pussy’ perhaps?)

Alice Barstow


Correction to the letter from mrpunaway: Joe Rogan is 100% in favor of mask use and has been extremely clear he wears one whenever he goes out. The “masks are for pussies” line was a JOKE. He is a COMEDIAN and people using that line to smear Rogan are doing so in bad faith.

Jonathan Steigman


Great advice. And don’t forget about shingles, which I thought were for roofs. It’s no joke. Any of us olds who had chickenpox has a chance of getting shingles. It’s an awful, painful rash. I know someone who nearly lost his eyesight from it. Get the shingles shot.

Jeff Hillery


My brother, a full-time doctor who teaches Public Health at university on the side, says the vaccine will be given to health care professionals first, then to those in nursing homes, then to those with immunology issues, then to those over 65, and then to the rest of us.  Hope this eases some people’s fear of its side effects.  Can’t wait to see our world enter the next “new normal.”

Susan Rosenbluth


Social Distancing…I keep having to tell my wife that four feet isn’t six feet.   Six feet is a lot (and may not be enough, but it’s pretty good).  This fall so many people have become lazy.  The next wave is going to be a bitch.

Michael Alex


Spot on Bob…Build up that IMMUNITY at all costs especially if your 50+.

I’ve had all the goodies as needed,here in Canada. I’m 70 with hypertension, therefore considered high risk.

* Super Flu vaccine for those 60+ and it’s Free. Everyone under 60 get the regular flu vaccine, Free. Same vaccine that Australian’s use. We Canadian’s produce once their winter season ends.

* Premium Shingrix Shingles vaccine DBL dose CDN $350, 85-90% effective for first 4 years.

* Prevnar13  for Pneumococcal Pneumonia. Free if over 65+ or high risk. Only shot required indefinitely, unless government issue an advisory.


Click to access PSA617300-01_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Stay safe!

Olie Kornelsen


I lived in Asia and Latin America in the 60s and in Africa in the 70s and the idea that we could travel without the whole range of vaccines available (and sometimes mandatory) was simply not an option. I even had to get cholera jabs (they’re painful), even though we knew they were mildly efficient.

Vaccines have saved millions of people in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world and helped get rid of endemic diseases.

So when the Covid vaccine will be available, I know what I will be doing.

And so should everyone.

Emmanuel Legrand


COVID has become an incredible time for experimentation and thinking outside of the box as bands think about making money and building culture.

A group that I work with spent 11 days doing just that this past September and October as they embarked on their first-ever run of outdoor gigs. It was a mix of public backyard shows (where anyone could buy a ticket), private backyard shows (where hosts controlled the guest list), and even some traditional promoter gigs with promoters who host outdoor shows. The DIY-fan hosted shows made up the bulk of the dates and it’s the model they’re bringing to the entire country next summer.

The interesting thing is that for a developing band, it’s possible for them to potentially get paid more from setting up their own show and ticketing them than playing a traditional 250-cap venue. I also feel like we’re going to see more grass roots community come from these shows, even if everyone had to stay masked, seated, and six feet apart for the entire night.

The wrote a little piece about it and I thought you might enjoy it:

Have a great day!

Mark Jourdian


Thanks for that Bob! People need to hear that stuff. It ISN’t going away in a blink!

I live in SW Florida where a HUGE % STILL believe this is a hoax & lean right into your face maskless… just to piss you off & watch you squirm.

I’m a performing musician. (& RN who quit when music got busy)

Like most of us, every festival & gig I had booked was cancelled. Some were virtual. We’re doing zoom shows.

BUT many of us are being asked to do live shows again. Most of us are declining.

We just don’t want to be responsible for spraying goobers out into audiences.

Like the donald.

It stinks, but a year or so of wearing masks & distancing is worth the burden…

Especially when I hear horror stories of the alternative from my former medical colleagues!

Stay safe. Buckle up.

No, you’re NOT hallucinating!

Thanks for spreading the word

Annie Wenz RN/Musician


I love your writings Bob – the musical and the political. We have opposing views politically but your style is compelling as a someone that relishes a world view, I read your missives with pleasure.

I caught had COVID in mid March when returning from a ski trip in the French Alps. As a healthy 55 year old I am in the low risk category. Like a nasty bout of flu it wasn’t pleasant. But like everyone in my age category without any underlying health conditions I came through unscathed.

Wearing masks to stop the spread of infection has merit. Although I see the other side of the argument. Comparing countries or even States that have strict mask rules against those who are more relaxed, the data suggests there are no differences in the infection rate.

But the question is not whether masks stop the infection, it’s whether the cure is worse than the disease. I can understand those in the higher risk categories fearing infection and welcoming tougher restrictions such as mask mandates and a stricter lockdown. But they are far outweighed in numbers by the younger and the healthier in our societies and it is their futures we risk stealing.

Mrpunaway writes that he has had his COVID-19 for two weeks and it sucks. I get it. But faced with that or a future saddled with $ trillions in debt, waiting for a vaccine that may out may not work, I would rather take the former.

I get that you may not want want to publish my email Bob or whether you are even allowed to but one thing I do know, having been a fan of yours for so long, is you are prepared to listen to those of us with views that differ from yours.

Stay safe, stay well.
Andrew Grahame


Thanks as always for writing, Bob. It’s good to hear your perspective.

I can’t help but to chime in here. My paranoia about the vaccines is the first hand witness accounts of nurses and parents saying their kids became autistic from a vaccine.

It isn’t fair to say that anything you read on the internet can’t be true if it doesn’t come from an accredited news source. I just had this argument with my dad the other day. We are in a new era now and the Internet can spread the truth faster than the media in many instances, and it can be a tool if you know how to read thru the bullshit. Just look at Jeffrey Epstein for example: no accredited news source would publish a story on him for years! Did that make it a conspiracy? Well, it was a true conspiracy.

I ask all my doctors about vaccines. I ask them about the autism. Of course they’re going to say there’s no scientific evidence proving that. Their business is medicine! They make money from prescribing drugs. You can’t tell me that you don’t know how messed up the medical industry is in this country. That as much as we are lucky to be in this country the insurance system is messed up, drives up prices and makes the cost of care astronomical. My gynecologist swears birth control is good for you, but it also keeps you coming back once a year for a new prescription, if not for any other reason. Just like a drug dealer! But most women I know under 30 who are educated or ‘woke’ and live in coastal cities like NYC or LA have told me their lives were significantly improved by getting off of birth control. It’s almost impossible to find legit scientific articles about this because the medical industry and the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to.

I’m all for looking at the scientific evidence. Like climate change. We have to be realistic. However you also have to look at the motives of the people writing the prescriptions and of the industry as a whole.

As you mentioned about our food being complete shit, in so many words, everything really is a ‘conspiracy’. If you believe the republicans are trying to keep people uneducated and gullible in order to be more easily taken advantage of – as Trumps team utilized in the last election with Cambridge Analytica – then it’s not that hard to believe that doctors and the government don’t always have our best interest at heart either. The rise in autism is also linked to our food being complete shit in this country. As you mentioned most people either can’t afford to eat ‘organic’, if there even really is such a thing, or they aren’t ever taught how important it is. Do doctors make an effort to educate us on this? Not really because then we would need them a lot less.

The saddest part about the election is that no one talked about fixing the food in this country. That’s the real root of so many problems. I hate to say it but it almost seems like many of the issues the media focuses on are just a distraction to keep us focused on other things, ensuring these huge corporate conglomerates can keep profiting off of our mental and physical downfall.

I don’t disagree with your point about the herd mentality. I myself am guilty of the same thing. I don’t want to be the first one to get the vaccine, or even get it at all to be honest. But that’s because of my basic human instinct of self preservation. Survival of the fittest, or I suppose in todays world the most ‘educated’. If I’m skeptical something may have long term negative side effects, if I have a deep rooted distrust of the system, why in my right mind would I line up for the vaccine? I’d almost rather stay in my house for the rest of my life than do something that doesn’t sit right in my gut. Im not anti vax by any means, but I also have to weigh the pros and cons. I’m terrified of a government mandated vaccine. The whole thing just seems too suspicious.

The sentiment of distrust of doctors and the government is shared by more and more people, especially under the age of 30. There IS usually an agenda if there is something to be gained. Look at all the ‘conspiracies’ that have been brought to light simply by people having social media and cell phones on their person all the time. What if the medical industry ‘conspiracy’ is the next police brutality? You can deny it because you don’t want to believe it until the evidence is undeniable. Over time more of this will come to light, unfortunately for all of us.

Leah Haxhi


Thank you for writing this.
The more influential people pass on this message, the higher the chances someone will listen.
Have been following you for years, I lead the data operations in a Swiss NGO focused on diagnostics for infectious diseases, and it just breaks my heart to see on one side thousands of professionals dedicating their life trying to make things better for the majority who just ignores the basic recommendations thinking they are above everything else and thus immune to all of this.
What kind of a world is this where personal freedom must prevail at all costs?
I might not always agree with your musical taste but please do this again.
Stefano Ongarello


I had Covid 19 in July.  In the morning I had no temperature, felt fine, and did some work at home (I’m an accountant).  In the afternoon I felt tired and decided to lie down.  I was in bed for the next 11 days, sleeping 20 hours a day.  I had intermittent fever and chills (temperature never over 101), a mild dry cough, a bit of trouble when I tried to take a deep breath.  On the third day I could barely smell anything and on the fourth day my sense of smell was gone completely.  At which point I started to grieve as if I had lost a dear friend.  Because – and this was the worst part – from the evening of the first day I was horribly, clinically depressed.  Everything seemed bleak, hopeless, doomed … it was dreadful.  That is not my nature and I have never felt that kind of depression except for once, about 35 years ago, when I had a case of bacterial pneumonia that got really bad because the doctor I saw thought it was viral and didn’t give me antibiotics till I was almost gone.

I couldn’t eat anything, therefore lost a lot of weight and became very weak.

Then, on the 17th day after I came down with it, I got up to get a glass of water and – the depression was gone, I looked around the kitchen and thought, Man, I need to clean this place up!  Just like that.

A couple of days after that I developed very bad edema in both legs/ankles.  I went to urgent care, they sent me flying off to the emergency room because they thought it was a symptom of heart attack, and after the requisite six hours and test after test after test they sent me home with the info that I was in excellent health and they had no idea what was causing the edema.  (I got some detox tea at the health food store and it was gone 48 hours later).

Since then I have had some recurring issues – fatigue, depression (but more like malaise, not that awful feeling of thinking about death and dying all the time), and a couple of times I’ve keeled over for no apparent reason, which I attribute to possible sudden drops in my blood pressure.  I did get a month ago – the test confirmed that I had had COVID and I do have antibodies.

My sister (who lives in Spain) also had it, back in late February or early March, same symptoms but milder.

And, my partner had it around the same time I did, again, same symptoms but quite a bit milder & shorter duration.

I hope this gives an idea of what some of the non-severe (i.e., not requiring hospitalization) effects of the virus are.  The scariest part of being sick was not knowing what to expect, how long it would go on, if it would keep getting worse or get better, or whether or not my sense of smell would come back (it did, after about a week, but food still doesn’t taste the same as it used to).

Take care Bob and don’t get the virus – we need you!

Stephanie Zill


You’re so right, Bob.

And the murderer-in-chief owns this. Along with those who let it supported him in letting it rage out of control – McConnell and the brood.

We live in a country where millions of people have malfunctioning decision criteria – people who say they won’t believe Covid is real because they can’t see it -unless someone they know personally dies of it and even then they aren’t sure BUT – will believe in a supernatural force in the sky they say controls their every waking moment, even though they can’t see it and it doesn’t answer their prayers.

No wonder we’re having a tough time.

I’m with you, mask, hand wash, stay away from me, and I wish we had your weather so we could eat outside this winter.

John Parikhal


I feel very bad for Matthew. He obviously did the best he could but it just shows you the power that somebody like Trump and the right has the power to change the narration. Changing a narration  changes peoples lives and not for the better either. Yet there are still people out there even though there’s a raging pandemic in the Midwest And other parts of the country who still believe masks are bad and the virus really isn’t anything. What the fuck happened to this country? You can have medical experts that truly are geniuses and Nobel prize winners and these freaking idiots don’t believe the science. It is truly astounding and it is something that I don’t know if anybody has the answer for except to say that if they all get sick so be it because they were warned. We need to start the education system way earlier and drop it into young peoples heads about science and the legitimacy of it based on the facts. Because as Kellyanne Conway says they deal with alternative facts,

I send my very best to Matthew and hope he gets through this and it just heightens my awareness of what I have to do to keep me And the circle of people around me safe.

Peace, Jason Miles


Thanks for sharing your story, Matthew. Some advice from someone who’s been in the business a long time: Get rid of the guy. He’s probably not very good anyway, and even without him putting your life at risk, it sounds like you’d end up finding other reasons to want to smash his fucking skull in.

Fingers crossed that he ends up being a long hauler and suffers for the rest of his life for his selfish fucking stupidity. Shit, maybe he’ll die. LOL. Anyway, fuck that guy!

Wade Mosher


thanks for sharing this Bob

i’d love for you to share as many of these stores as possible because i know you have a ton of Trump voters who read your posts.

its just so simple and this story is very clear…


Jean Sievers


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