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Thread: The COVID-19 Discussion Thread (OTB)

  1. #301
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    Thank you for a clear explanation of a tricky subject. Ethical experiments on how effectively virus infects a person from a cough, shout or sneeze are obviously lacking and the proxies may miss essential points. And very few autopsies in this pandemic, again adding to the frustration that even half a year in, we still don’t know important facts while media spread rumours and plain falsehoods. I am surprised that in personal isolation we can still catch minor colds, or maybe these are psychological reactions and not viruses at all. There are of course pollens and goodness knows what dusts arise in just moving about. If only we were equipped with a control knob to turn up our immune system while energy sources are plentiful!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  2. #302
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    Having read the reference I am reminded of a parallel when I was involved in evaporation of surface water from lakes. The situation is complex with droplets being formed and blown away as wind speed increases. There is no simple relationship but a reasonable approximation is that water is removed proportional to wind speed to the fourth power. After time in this situation, waves form and mess up that simplification but the analogy is there for a cough compared to breathing. For effective infection it seems a cough is much more than breathing because of droplets. On the other hand smaller sizes of liquid drops are both more numerous and more easily inhaled. That would suggest that directly receiving a cough is an instant way to get infected while a quarter hour breathing near an infected breather will do it too. The implication for masks is thus much more to do with coughs, while the breathing risk would not be affected much. My personal conclusion is to pause breathing and run from a cougher and keep distance from everybody else!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #303
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Since the three maritime provinces are doing so well they agreed to open up their borders to travel without having to go into 14 day isolation, starting on July 3.
    Is that just among themselves? Because inviting people in from Florida doesn't seem a good idea right now.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  4. #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I'd be interested to see your reference.
    A quick Googling couldn't find the study I'd seen before, but it only produced one study that didn't show that cloth masks were better than no masks, and it was withdrawn for being extremely flawed. (For starters, it tested four people.) All studies also make clear that masks are not a replacement for social distancing and other precautions, but that homemade masks are an important tool in the fight. If for no other reason than that it keeps the medical ones where they're really needed.
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  5. #305
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    If I don't think a 99Ę Store mask is good enough, I suppose I could wear two at the same time.

  6. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    A quick Googling couldn't find the study I'd seen before, but it only produced one study that didn't show that cloth masks were better than no masks, and it was withdrawn for being extremely flawed. (For starters, it tested four people.) All studies also make clear that masks are not a replacement for social distancing and other precautions, but that homemade masks are an important tool in the fight. If for no other reason than that it keeps the medical ones where they're really needed.
    The problem with the mask studies that have been informing us so far is that they're not easily transferrable to the current situation--different settings, different viruses, different exposures, different masks. And, paradoxically, they've become even less applicable now that face coverings are being invoked as a way to reduced spread by asymptomatic individuals who are emitting (presumably) aerosols. Because that would make SARS-CoV-2 unique among the viruses that cause primarily respiratory disease--flu and SARS, from which we have our prexisting mask studies, don't have a significant aerosol component to their spread.
    So I'm slightly reassured that the WHO have now told us that contact-tracing suggests asymptomatic spread is rare, despite what the modelling says--that would put SARS-CoV-2 back with the other coronaviruses, in terms of primary droplet transmission, which makes more biological sense, and would (if correct) make the case for, and application of, improvised cloth masks a little clearer.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #307
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    This just is astounding to me:

    https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/...s/coronavirus/

    It’s a video in a place in Florida that made public mask wear mandatory where some people are absolutely certain that commonly available masks kill people for some unexplained reason. On the news side, they are absolutely certain that masks help protect people. It feels to me like so little of the public Covid-19 discussion even touches on science. Disappointing but not very surprising.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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  8. #308
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    The COVID-19 Discussion Thread (OTB)

    Palm Beach county. To be expected.

    ETA: and a pox on CNN for only showing the more radical points of view, to garner ratings. Iíd be surprised if there werenít others who had milder assertions or straight-forward questions but they didnít make the highlight reel. That said, apparently there were 50 people in attendance who voiced opposition to the mask policy.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2020-Jun-25 at 08:27 PM.

  9. #309
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    New cases in the USA are at the highest rates since April. Or higher. Very disappointing.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Palm Beach county. To be expected.

    ETA: and a pox on CNN for only showing the more radical points of view, to garner ratings. I’d be surprised if there weren’t others who had milder assertions or straight-forward questions but they didn’t make the highlight reel. That said, apparently there were 50 people in attendance who voiced opposition to the mask policy.
    That’s a good point. The level of tweaking a story to push a point of view, as well as outright biased editorializing is pretty astonishing on some sites compared to old style reporting I remember where the reporters seemed to at least try for some level of objectivity. I don’t even try to watch the Fox or CNN channels for what they laughingly call “news.” I do sometimes check the CNN website, which is a little better, but still often annoying for all the obvious personal opinion added. No, I don’t want to hear an announcer with no particular expertise give his opinion.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  11. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    New cases in the USA are at the highest rates since April. Or higher. Very disappointing.
    Yes. I live in California and we started with similar numbers to New York when community spread started becoming obvious but our numbers stayed much lower over time. Unfortunately, we’re getting significantly increasing numbers now since we have been opening up somewhat. I was thinking they would need a few more weeks before phasing in the partial opening, but there was a huge amount of pressure to open up, of course. My neighbor across the street owns a restaurant and is facing tough times, as just one example. They were really happy for the partial opening. I, meanwhile, am getting a bit tired of the level of isolation even though I am by nature more comfortable than most being by myself. Looks like it’s going to be a long slog.

    More and more, I am happy I retired early. My retirement should be safe as long as the economy doesn’t really collapse and I have a fair amount of assets as a buffer too. It was a big step, and I wasn’t sure how well I would do emotionally, but I’ve been significantly happier since retirement. I expect I would be feeling a fair amount of anxiety if I still had to deal with work during this thing.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  12. #312
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    We have a friend who lives in Phoenix. She is undergoing chemotherapy to shrink a tumor in the hopes of surgical removal.
    My wife asked her what was going on with the spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona, and her response was simply, "People are being idiots."
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  13. #313
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    That’s a good point. The level of tweaking a story to push a point of view, as well as outright biased editorializing is pretty astonishing on some sites compared to old style reporting I remember where the reporters seemed to at least try for some level of objectivity. I don’t even try to watch the Fox or CNN channels for what they laughingly call “news.” I do sometimes check the CNN website, which is a little better, but still often annoying for all the obvious personal opinion added. No, I don’t want to hear an announcer with no particular expertise give his opinion.
    I think there are two issues, one about biased reporting and the other about sensationalizing. I completely agree about the bias problem, though actually even in the past, the media was not always objective. It used to be that media owners pushed their own views without considering opposing viewpoints. In the US, Benjamin Franklin was an early advocate of adopting an objective point of view, and I think in the 1900s it became a recognized ideal. Unfortunately, in the last few decades it seems to be losing out again.

    And about the sensationalism, I don't want to say it's a good thing, of course, but it's hard to get away from, because after all, media is a business, and it works. Just a case in point: the coverage of the town meeting in Florida reached me before I saw it here (a friend sent me the link yesterday), so they are clearly getting attention from it.
    As above, so below

  14. #314
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think there are two issues, one about biased reporting and the other about sensationalizing. I completely agree about the bias problem, though actually even in the past, the media was not always objective. It used to be that media owners pushed their own views without considering opposing viewpoints. In the US, Benjamin Franklin was an early advocate of adopting an objective point of view, and I think in the 1900s it became a recognized ideal. Unfortunately, in the last few decades it seems to be losing out again.
    This gets a bit off topic so I wonít say too much, but yes, I know this has varied ofer time. When I was growing up and into early adulthood we had an equal time rule and fairness doctrine for tv and radio, which seemed to help a lot to avoid focus on one-sided opinions and seemed to help set expectations for written media as well. Also, there seemed to be a common view that reporters should focus on facts and let the readers/listeners/viewers make up their own minds about the story. Opinion was left out except when explicitly described as an editorial statement.

    That all seemed to fade after the rules in the U.S. were lifted and has taken a further tumble as the internet has grown. So now you get obvious left oriented CNN and right Fox, and getting back to topic, that unfortunately biases what they say about the science and technical aspects of this subject.

    I agree sensationalism is also an issue, but again this is focused on the audience they are trying to attract. Thereís another issue for topics like this - general news sources have never done that well on science and technology focused subjects because they usually donít have subject matter experts writing the stories. Thatís just gotten worse as reporting budgets have shrunk.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  15. #315
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    New cases in the USA are at the highest rates since April. Or higher. Very disappointing.
    Yes, the US seems to have a big problem with it now. Though the numbers are much smaller, we have also seen an uptick in places in the Pacific Rim, like China, Korea, Japan, and Australia, I think because restrictions have been relaxed somewhat.
    As above, so below

  16. #316
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    Of the 8 'major' Australian States and Territories only 1 is actually having an uptick. In terms of many other countries this uptick would probably seem fairly minor as the number of new community infections has not yet risen above 30 new cases per day in a state population of around 6 1/2 million. Oddly enough, for most of the last few months this state, Victoria, has had the strongest measures and has reduced them less than some of the other areas. Across Australia there are only 12 people in hospital because of Covid - 19 out of a population of just over 25 million. Only 1 person is in an ICU with no-one on a ventilator. The total number of deaths currently stands at 104 with no victim being younger than 40 and only 3 being younger than 60.

    Despite this, it has became a major concern for the other regions as most have not had any new community infections for weeks or months. For example my state, W.A, has not had any new cases in the community for about 2 months and is not the strongest performing region. Most restrictions will have been removed in my State by tomorrow and all restrictions are due to be removed by mid-August. A lot of new cases are being reported across Australia but the vast majority have occurred during the compulsory 14 day secured quarantine detention all returning residents have to undergo. These cases are not considered to be a concern locally. Altogether, there has only been 4 or 5 new community cases in total for the last month among the remaining 19 million population of Australia.

    The national borders are almost certain to remain basically closed until 2021. An Australian/New Zealand 'bubble' is the only foreseeable possibility for a border re-opening before the end of this year. This will probably not happen until the Victorian cases are once again under control.

  17. #317
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    It seems that one of the best indicators of how quickly an area will stop seeing new cases is level of mask use. Regions that required masks early do better than those that don't.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  18. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    It seems that one of the best indicators of how quickly an area will stop seeing new cases is level of mask use. Regions that required masks early do better than those that don't.
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of confounding variables and uncertainties which make that position open to significant doubt. Certainly some much-publicized national comparisons in the last few months have failed to allow for (and in some cases even understand) the complexities of the issue. For instance, there was a great deal of recent publicity afforded to Zhang et al. in PNAS, a paper written by non-specialists which is so naive as to be laughable. Much less publicity, sadly, was afforded to the critique and call for retraction from a large number of actual epidemiologists.

    The data are coming, though. The Germans have produced a nice discussion paper, in which they try to tease out a "mask" signal from the jumble of regional variations in control measures within their country. It's worth scrolling through just to get an impression of how complicated the analysis has to be, even when your data are limited to one country using consistent definitions of "case" and "death". But maybe we should be glad we don't live in Main-Kinzig, where the introduction of face coverings appears to have worsened the situation. (I mention that not because I believe it's necessarily true, but because it emphasizes how difficult it is to saying something definite and universal about a pretty heterogeneous intervention.)

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #319
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    I need to get my library card renewed. I don't use the library much any more but picture ID is required for renewal and masks are required while inside. I just want to see how this works out.

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    Only one library near me allows entry.

  21. #321
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    I cleaned my 99Ę Store mask by dumping two quarts of boiling water onto it. It doesn't seem to have hurt it.

  22. #322
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    I just read that Gilead has set a price of 2,300 US dollars and 3,200 dollars for a course of remedisivir for patients with government or private health insurance. Apparently they justify it saying it will save two days of hospitalization, which is significantly more than that (at least in the US), but that seems an awful lot for a drug that hasn't been shown to reduce mortality but for those who do recover, has been shown to help reduce hospitalization by a few days. Plus, as far as I know, the most recent trial data has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal (and earlier phase 3 trial was).
    As above, so below

  23. #323
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    My wifeís employer is involved in running clinical trials, and is having difficulty obtaining certain PPE. There is still a strain on supply.


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  24. #324
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    It appears that we are not seeing increased cases in protestors, who mostly wear masks, but states that have opened early despite being nowhere near ready to do so are seeing significant outbreaks. So far, my friend who works for a doctor in Florida is showing no symptoms, though there's a confirmed case connected with his office. He sits behind a plexiglass shield.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  25. #325
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    It appears that we are not seeing increased cases in protestors, who mostly wear masks, but states that have opened early despite being nowhere near ready to do so are seeing significant outbreaks.
    Again, difficult to deconvolute all the different things going on within the protests, and around the protests. And one relies on people's willingness to self-report participation in protests. There was quite a useful interview in Scientific American recently, outlining the problems involved in getting a signal out of those data.

    Grant Hutchison

  26. #326
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    More mask research from people not in the medical sciences, but trying to play within their lane. From the American Institute of Physics: Physics of Fluids, researchers evaluate droplet spread with various materials. Looks like the entire paper and graphics are available to read.

    https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0016018

    The use of face masks in public settings has been widely recommended by public health officials during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The masks help mitigate the risk of cross-infection via respiratory droplets; however, there are no specific guidelines on mask materials and designs that are most effective in minimizing droplet dispersal. While there have been prior studies on the performance of medical-grade masks, there are insufficient data on cloth-based coverings, which are being used by a vast majority of the general public. We use qualitative visualizations of emulated coughs and sneezes to examine how material- and design-choices impact the extent to which droplet-laden respiratory jets are blocked.

    Loosely folded face masks and bandana-style coverings provide minimal stopping-capability for the smallest aerosolized respiratory droplets. Well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabric, and off-the-shelf cone style masks, proved to be the most effective in reducing droplet dispersal. These masks were able to curtail the speed and range of the respiratory jets significantly, albeit with some leakage through the mask material and from small gaps along the edges. Importantly, uncovered emulated coughs were able to travel notably farther than the currently recommended 6-ft distancing guideline.

    We outline the procedure for setting up simple visualization experiments using easily available materials, which may help healthcare professionals, medical researchers, and manufacturers in assessing the effectiveness of face masks and other personal protective equipment qualitatively.

  27. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    More mask research from people not in the medical sciences, but trying to play within their lane. From the American Institute of Physics: Physics of Fluids, researchers evaluate droplet spread with various materials. Looks like the entire paper and graphics are available to read.

    https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0016018
    Thanks. Some of the earlier visualizations of this kind came along just as concerns about asymptomatic spread appeared, and helped drive the shift from "masks are useless" to "maybe we'd better wear masks".
    I do wish people would pay more attention to what's going on in the sideways jets, though. We knew about surgical masks shooting moist jets sideways back in the 90s, but the only recent paper I've seen is still a preprint. The style of improvised mask you wear seems likely to make a big difference to what comes out sideways, upwards and downwards, as well as forwards.

    Grant Hutchison

  28. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Again, difficult to deconvolute all the different things going on within the protests, and around the protests. And one relies on people's willingness to self-report participation in protests. There was quite a useful interview in Scientific American recently, outlining the problems involved in getting a signal out of those data.
    More on this. The US media's reports that Black Lives Matter protests have not caused a spike in Covid-19 cases appears to originate from National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 27408. What they showed from cellphone tracking and other data was that cities hosting a BLM protest actually experienced a net increase in social distancing, compared to cities that did not have a protest. Because a lot of people took to the streets, a lot more people decided to stay at home (or were obedient to imposed curfews). A real puzzle, then, to work out how those competing effects balance out.

    Grant Hutchison

  29. #329
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    The mask I wear, and indeed the masks a lot of people I see wearing, also covers the sides of my face.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  30. #330
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    Houston's mayor has advocated wearing a mask since the start and wears one himself in all public appearances. Ditto our police chief.

    So someone decided to take them to task for not following their own advice by posting a picture of them walking arm-in-arm with a protester and none of them was wearing a mask.

    Turns out the picture was from a 2018 protest march.
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