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Old 03-16-2020, 08:04 AM
Jim Peebles is offline
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Closure rope-a-dope


I sure hope the epidemiological literature addresses this somewhere. I am sure may of you are familiar with the rope-a-dope metaphor often made to compare a situation to a situation in boxing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope-a-dope
How do the epidemiologists recommending all of these closures know now is the time for all the places they now recommend it? What if things have to open up again to prevent economic collapse, but it was way too early to close things in some places, and then we can't afford to shut down again when the virus moves to those areas? Have they accounted for this aspect in their models?

Last edited by Jim Peebles; 03-16-2020 at 08:05 AM. Reason: ?
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Peebles View Post
I sure hope the epidemiological literature addresses this somewhere. I am sure may of you are familiar with the rope-a-dope metaphor often made to compare a situation to a situation in boxing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope-a-dope
How do the epidemiologists recommending all of these closures know now is the time for all the places they now recommend it? What if things have to open up again to prevent economic collapse, but it was way too early to close things in some places, and then we can't afford to shut down again when the virus moves to those areas? Have they accounted for this aspect in their models?
This is why the lack of testing is such a scandal. We don't know which places should be closed and which can remain open, because we don't know where the virus is or how it's spreading. If we had better data, we could focus efforts where they're most needed. But we don't, so we're closing everything everywhere out of an abundance of caution.

Will this approach come back to bite us? Quite possibly. Way too many unknowns to be sure.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:21 AM
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Back up a moment. Most of these closures aren't being recommended by epidemiologists. For instance, the CDC recommends closing a school when there's a diagnosis of a student or staff member. The governor of Ohio closed all schools in the state when there were a total of five diagnoses in the state.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:44 AM
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Do not worry so much about the economics.

There is a problem there, but this is an Act of God and you have to treat it that way. The concerned governments need to extend money to the citizens and business to cover them. There is plenty of money available to lend, tons of it. Hence our low interest rates! So take that money and use it now. The idea that we can't afford to shut down anything given societies' current level of productivity is erroneous. We certainly can, handled rightly.

Without proper testing etc (which we don't have in USA) shutdown is the right approach.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:59 AM
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Do not worry so much about the economics.

There is a problem there, but this is an Act of God and you have to treat it that way. The concerned governments need to extend money to the citizens and business to cover them. There is plenty of money available to lend, tons of it. Hence our low interest rates! So take that money and use it now. The idea that we can't afford to shut down anything given societies' current level of productivity is erroneous. We certainly can, handled rightly.

Without proper testing etc (which we don't have in USA) shutdown is the right approach.
I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic. It seems the panic is from people saying: watch out, case numbers are going to explode, and hospitals won't be able to treat all the pneumonia cases. I think people put out of work should be given the option of paid training and then be paid to help out in the hospitals if/when they are hit. And if too much of it isn't in China already to start it here, people put out of work should also be offered jobs manufacturing ventilators and antiviral medicines, etc.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:53 AM
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AIUIt, it's a question of balancing what's known about the rate of increase in cases against the known or surmised willingness of everybody else to stick with restrictions for the likely period of infectivity. Impose too much too soon and people will start drifting back into old habits just at the time when incidence is approaching its peak, which is exactly what we don't want.

The UK scientific advisers say they have behavioural scientists working on the public tolerance for restrictions, but there must be a fair degree of guesswork as well. And they haven't been too forthcoming about getting into debates about exactly what evidence they're relying on, other than that we appear to be about four weeks behind other European countries, so it's not yet the time to get too draconian. Which is not to say that we won't fairly soon.
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Old 03-17-2020, 02:31 AM
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There is a strong argument that a Governor's emergency powers do not extend so far as to allow him/her to shut down bars and restaurants:

Quote:
Brian Abraham, the general counsel for the Governor’s Office, suggested the governor’s emergency powers probably don’t extend to shutting down private businesses. In the instances of other states, those shutdowns have actually been strong suggestions to close.
http://wvmetronews.com/2020/03/16/ju...d-restaurants/

Some sanity needs to come back before the economy totally collapses.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Peebles View Post
I sure hope the epidemiological literature addresses this somewhere. I am sure may of you are familiar with the rope-a-dope metaphor often made to compare a situation to a situation in boxing:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope-a-dope
How do the epidemiologists recommending all of these closures know now is the time for all the places they now recommend it? What if things have to open up again to prevent economic collapse, but it was way too early to close things in some places, and then we can't afford to shut down again when the virus moves to those areas? Have they accounted for this aspect in their models?
At this stage, we are just starting up our own infectious curve. The thinking is, if we can get folks to stay home, we MIGHT be able to break the cycle of spreading the infection. 3 weeks buys us time. Time to perhaps slow down the rate of infection, time to get testing in the pipeline (something we should have already had but don't, fully), time to find out who is currently infected but asymptomatic. Just time. It also puts us closer to the spring/summer when these sorts of viral outbreaks die down. I HOPE we use that time to feverishly get everything we need because come fall/winter, this sort of thing can spring back up like a wild fire, and is often worse than the initial outbreak.

BTW, I don't think this is 'epidemiologists' who are recommending this by and large. Mostly, these seem to be political decisions to close at this time. But it's not the wrong move, IMHO, and there is some thought and logic to doing what they are doing now, instead of waiting another 2 weeks for things to really get bad. Not that they aren't likely to be bad anyway, but sending people home is going to help I think.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:50 AM
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Back up a moment. Most of these closures aren't being recommended by epidemiologists. For instance, the CDC recommends closing a school when there's a diagnosis of a student or staff member. The governor of Ohio closed all schools in the state when there were a total of five diagnoses in the state.
Of course since no one is being tested, we don't actually know whether those 5 diagnoses are actually all that there are (they aren't) or whether there are actually 5,000 cases indicating a 0.1% infection rate so that most schools probably do have at least one infected student or staff.
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
There is a strong argument that a Governor's emergency powers do not extend so far as to allow him/her to shut down bars and restaurants:



http://wvmetronews.com/2020/03/16/ju...d-restaurants/

Some sanity needs to come back before the economy totally collapses.
Here anyway, it's been mayors and county judges (the highest county elected official in Texas) doing the ordering.
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Old 03-17-2020, 12:37 PM
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Of course since no one is being tested, we don't actually know whether those 5 diagnoses are actually all that there are (they aren't) or whether there are actually 5,000 cases indicating a 0.1% infection rate so that most schools probably do have at least one infected student or staff.
Seems to me that the earlier the better on this stuff, since it has a way of getting out of hand super-fast.

To use the school analogy, they're looking to limit the spread within the school, but stopping earlier than that could block spread within the school.

And since children, even asymptomatic ones, are generally disease vectors par excellence, shutting schools earlier than later seems like a prudent thing to do. So does enforced work from home policies and the rest of the stuff. The idea is that if one family gets it, they won't spread it beyond themselves, regardless of how they caught it.

Another reason for this is the thought that there might be asymptomatic carriers- either fully asymptomatic, or immediately prior to showing symptoms. Keeping everybody forcibly separate would seriously limit the transmission by them.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:51 AM
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I remember a mathematician explaining exponential growth, and he used the example of a jar of bacteria that doubled every minute, filling up in one hour. He said that instinctively, we'd guess the jar to be half full at around 30 minutes, but that's not how it works. It would be half full after 59 minutes. In the last minute, it doubles one more time and now the jar is at full capacity.

When you have an exponential curve, you must act earlier than seems necessary to prevent the worst. Have we shut down the economy too fast? The unfortunate thing is that if our shutdown is successful, it will certainly look like we overreacted to a large portion of the population.
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