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  #51  
Old 03-17-2020, 09:04 PM
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I hadn't heard that. Wow. When did that happen?
You're joking, right? (In bad taste, if you are.) This has been part of the equation all along.
  #52  
Old 03-17-2020, 09:09 PM
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Manda JO, to answer your question about going to the store, I went last Friday afternoon and it was so jam-packed, I decided I wouldn't be coming back anytime soon. And that was also the point we were instructed to say home. I've got enough staples to last a very long time. If I need anything vital, I would consider running into a 7-Eleven.

And this morning my phone died and I stopped into a phone store because I considered that a necessity. But that's really about it. Remember, I'm in Seattle where we're all pretty cognizant of the dangers. An old neighbor of mine from across the street is in the retirement home where someone died last week.

Last edited by needscoffee; 03-17-2020 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:19 PM
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Virtually everyone in this thread has had several colds in their life. So think to yourself: where did you get them? I think most people get more from friends, family and coworkers than these large public gatherings. So I don't understand the belief that some of you have that large public gatherings must be avoided while there is virtually no risk from the small get-togethers.
  #54  
Old 03-17-2020, 09:37 PM
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Maybe this will help convince the skeptics.

COVID-19 spread is fueled by 'stealth transmission'
Quote:
Cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that fly under the radar — without being detected or diagnosed — may have fueled the rapid spread of the disease, according to a new study.

The study found that people with COVID-19 who didn't get diagnosed, likely because they didn't feel very sick, were the source of at least two-thirds of documented COVID-19 cases in China in the early days of the outbreak.

"The explosion of COVID-19 cases in China was largely driven by individuals with mild, limited, or no symptoms who went undetected," study co-author Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said in a statement.

"Undetected cases can expose a far greater portion of the population to [the] virus than would otherwise occur. … These 'stealth transmissions' will continue to present a major challenge to the containment of this outbreak going forward," Shaman said.
....
My bold.

More backup at the link.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:05 PM
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You're joking, right? (In bad taste, if you are.) This has been part of the equation all along.
No, not a joke at all. Everywhere I've seen it requires respiratory droplets and it isn't airborne. CDC says it is mostly likely passed by coughing and sneezing. Breathing? I hadn't heard that.
  #56  
Old 03-17-2020, 10:19 PM
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From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/o...anish-flu.html

The Single Most Important Lesson From the 1918 Influenza
Containment — the attempt to limit spread of a virus and even eliminate it — has failed.
By John M. Barry
Mr. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”
March 17, 2020

Quote:
In 1918, a new respiratory virus invaded the human population and killed between 50 million and 100 million people — adjusted for population, that would equal 220 million to 430 million people today. Late last year another new respiratory virus invaded the human population, and the reality of a pandemic is now upon us. Although clearly a serious threat to human health, it does not appear to be as deadly as the 1918 influenza pandemic. But it is far more lethal than 2009’s H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, and the coronavirus does not resemble SARS, MERS or Ebola, all of which can be easily contained.

...

They involve only advice constantly reiterated today: social distancing, washing hands, coughing into elbows, staying home when sick. None alone provides great protection, but the hope was that if most people followed most of the advice most of the time, the interventions could significantly reduce spread of the disease, or “flatten the curve,” a phrase now all too familiar. This may sound simple, but it is not. As with a diet, people know what to eat but often stray; here straying can kill.

As we begin employing these interventions now, we need to recognize what they can and cannot accomplish. Containment — the attempt to limit spread of a virus and even eliminate it — has failed. China has achieved far more than the most optimistic models predicted, but its initial slowness in responding allowed the virus to spread globally. Once that happened, the virus could not be stopped. Right now it is circulating invisibly in developed countries as well as in developing ones with little public-health infrastructure. That means it is here to stay and will constantly threaten to reinfect even countries that initially control it.

The United States is now in a phase of intervention labeled “suppression” by the infectious-disease expert Michael Osterholm: identifying infected people, isolating them, tracing contacts and asking contacts to self-quarantine. Because its incubation period is longer than influenza’s, Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus, allows that time. Whether we use that time well will determine whether a month from now the United States looks like Italy, where the virus seems out of control, or South Korea, which seems to have gained control by testingmore than 270,000of its 51 million people.

Right now virtually every state in America is in suppression mode, but suppression has no chance of succeeding unless cases are identified. With the United States having tested onlyabout40,000of its nearly 330 million people — the worst record in the developed world — we are struggling to catch up, which will take weeks, all while the virus spreads, possibly so widely that it becomes entrenched and impossible to suppress. Nonetheless, suppression is worth trying because even partial success will slow the virus, giving us precious time to develop therapeutic drugs and vaccines.

...

But this raises another issue: compliance. The need for early intervention was well known in 1918. The Army surgeon general demanded “influenza be kept out” of the basic-training camps, where new soldiers were being prepared to fight in World War I.

...

But an Army study found no difference in morbidity and mortality between camps that did and did not follow orders, because over time most became sloppy. Further investigation found that only a tiny number of camps rigidly enforced measures.

For interventions to work, people have to comply and they have to sustain that compliance; most of that depends on voluntary efforts and individual behavior. Army camps in wartime failed to sustain compliance, so it will be an enormous challenge for civilian communities in peacetime to do so.

...

In 1918, pressured to maintain wartime morale, neither national nor local government officials told the truth. The disease was called “Spanish flu,” and one national public-health leader said, “This is ordinary influenza by another name.” Most local health commissioners followed that lead. Newspapers echoed them. After Philadelphia began digging mass graves; closed schools, saloons and theaters; and banned public gatherings, one newspaper even wrote: “This is not a public health measure. There is no cause for alarm.”

Trust in authority disintegrated, and at its core, society is based on trust. Not knowing whom or what to believe, people also lost trust in one another. They became alienated, isolated. Intimacy was destroyed. “You had no school life, you had no church life, you had nothing,” a survivor recalled. “People were afraid to kiss one another, people were afraid to eat with one another.” Some people actually starved to death because no one would deliver food to them.

...

Compliance today has been made vastly more difficult by the White House, echoed by right-wing media, minimizing the seriousness of this threat. That seemed to change on Monday. But will President Trump stick to his blunt message of Monday? Will his supporters and Rush Limbaugh’s listeners self-quarantine if called upon? Or will they reject it as media hype and go out and infect the community?

This is not a hoax.

John M. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” and a professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Long article. I tried to cut without losing the main points.
  #57  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:57 AM
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Manda JO, I admire and respect you. But I live in King County, WA, and have been discussing this "nuances" business with people in my city on Facebook for days. "It's a matter of balance!!" No, it isn't. I've lost all patience with the justification. People are dying from this. Even if people "only" get sick, if they take a hospital bed, most likely they took someone else's life. People with other medical emergencies will also die. My local hospital could barely handle emergencies before this crisis. I've done my reading and I don't pretend that I won't get this and I'm immunocompromised. So will my 81-year-old mom. But I would rather get it later after we've ramped up our hospital capacity, our medical supplies, hopefully, medical personnel, and knowledge.

We're doing our part to contain this. My mom hasn't been out for two weeks and I was last out very early last Wednesday morning for groceries. We're sheltering-in-place. It really pisses me off that so many people aren't doing their part.

Would I walk with your neighbor? No, even if I weren't immune-compromised. The asymptomatic spread is too big a risk.

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  #58  
Old 03-18-2020, 03:51 AM
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I'd like to ask (probably going to regret this) but I work from home all the time. For over a year. I live alone, so I always enjoy going... anywhere after work. Even in rush hour. Now I can't do that, it's for the better good. No problem.

But running out of things you don't think of right away, as a single person, I've been to the grocery store three times since Saturday. I've given up looking for TP and the basic shit I used to get. I'll make do. I'm asymptomatic NOW... but even if that changes, I'll need runs to grocery/pharmacy for prescriptions.

And I'm VERY afraid of us going on full lockdown here in Los Angeles County. (I'm betting we will have to for a few days.) So I am thinking that now is the time to scourge the stores and grab stuff. I'll have no choice if a lockdown starts. And still waiting for paycheck, so the bills are going up.

And there's many people here in LA County who are also single, or stuck with roommates in the same situation. So does anyone consider it wrong that after work I check the stores for more things I might need while I can? I guess I'm asking, is that too late? I really don't want to be any part of contracting or spreading this crap. So the line I'm drawing, I guess is, better late than never?
  #59  
Old 03-18-2020, 04:54 AM
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I’m not questioning it. We know that it is effective.

I’m immunocompromised from a recent battle with cancer and I currently have a cold. If I get it, It will be bad. Or rather, when I get it, it will be bad. I’m exceedingly grateful to everyone who is pitching in to flatten the curve. A month or two from now, we’ll have more knowledge, more testing kits, etc. and hopefully my immune system will be in better shape.

The question of whether you should continue to socialize in groups is a no-brainer. No, you should not. If you’re so desperate for company that it’s affecting your mental health, than do what you must in the safest way you can. Those of you who want to hang out with your friends to play music or have a dinner party don’t seem to be in this category. You know it’s a bad idea. Be strong.

As far as limiting trips to the grocery store and whatnot - Let’s all just do the best we can.
  #60  
Old 03-18-2020, 05:06 AM
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The question of whether you should continue to socialize in groups is a no-brainer. No, you should not. If you’re so desperate for company that it’s affecting your mental health, than do what you must in the safest way you can. Those of you who want to hang out with your friends to play music or have a dinner party don’t seem to be in this category. You know it’s a bad idea. Be strong.
.
I wonder if this will give "A Second Life" (or equivalents) a...second life. This 2017 Atlantic Monthly article described how the pre-Facebook interactive online platform has remained popular among some people who, for psychological or physical reasons, have difficulties interacting with others IRL.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
And all Richards across the country breathe a sign of relief.



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Welcome back! You've been missed, and I hope you stick around!
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  #62  
Old 03-18-2020, 05:32 AM
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This set of simulations is why I am not "questioning" jack about social distancing.
  #63  
Old 03-18-2020, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cmosdes View Post
While true, the CDC downplays it:

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
This was the main school of thought among experts when you typed this, but in the last 24 hours there has been a major shift toward realizing that asymptomatic carriers ARE major spreaders of the disease. From what I’ve read, this seems mainly to be about folks who will never show symptoms, not so much those who have not yet shown symptoms but will. It is my understanding that this sort of transmission is mainly via breathing nearby (hence all the warnings about six feet/two meter separations).

And...welcome back, Stranger on a Train!
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:21 AM
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t is my understanding that this sort of transmission is mainly via breathing nearby (hence all the warnings about six feet/two meter separations).
Based on what?
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:38 AM
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Based on what?
From what I've read, based on the distance droplets travel from the human mouth/nose.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:39 AM
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Based on what?
These two posts from yesterday link to better explanations than I could give.

We’re not sure yet exactly how this works, but clearly it can be transmitted from person to person without coughing, sneezing, French kissing, or handshaking.

The possibility of transmission via touched surfaces is a complicating factor, but from what I’ve read, that is probably not so important (though it surely is happening when circumstances are just “right”).
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:46 AM
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Also this:

“These undocumented infections are about half as contagious as documented infections because people are not coughing and sneezing.

Yet they were found to be responsible for about two-thirds of documented infections – because they are so abundant. ...

... “We’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg. How much is submerged – five times? Ten times? We can argue about what the exact number is, but if you’re not in a place where you can proactively sample and test, the majority of infections will be undetected.”
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:51 AM
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From what I've read, based on the distance droplets travel from the human mouth/nose.
Yes, but what cmosdes and others need to understand is that “travel” can happen without coughing or sneezing. Apparently this applies more to this disease than in most others, in part (at least) because it multiplies in the throat in such high numbers (see the Herman study in one of the sources I cited), that the tiny, stray droplets we all sometimes emit when breathing or (perhaps especially) talking to someone take on greater significance.

This surprised me, too, but I believe the experts.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 03-18-2020 at 07:54 AM.
  #69  
Old 03-18-2020, 08:01 AM
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German study, not Herman. Here it is.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:18 AM
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There's a fourth possibility. As cmosdes noted, they may believe (rightly or wrongly) that the infection won't inevitably spread from an infected person to and uninfected person just from them being in the same room.

After all, we're being told to wash our hands and cough into our elbows. Why would they tell us that if infection was inevitable no matter what we do?
First, they don't seem to know precisely how contagious the disease is. There is one example of a woman who had the disease and out of the 300+ people she interacted with, only one other tested positive. But the problem is we don't know.

Secondly, even if getting infected were inevitable for everyone, there is still a benefit to delaying it as long as possible.

Finally, if the difference between getting it and not getting it is simply a matter of following certain behaviors, inconvenient as they may be, I'd like to err on the side of not getting sick.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:27 AM
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...I don't want to suggest that the loss of live from this will be traumatic to many people. But we don't have a good idea exactly what the mortality rate is. And if avoiding crowds/excessive contact, washing hands eliminates the vast majority of risk, how far should we go trying to eliminate the remaining portion? ...
The study that the UK is basing a lot of its policies on estimates about 1.1 to 2.2 million US deaths, depending on how aggressively we respond.

Quote:
If Britain and the United States pursued more-ambitious measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, to slow but not necessarily stop the epidemic over the coming few months, they could reduce mortality by half, to 260,000 people in the United Kingdom and 1.1 million in the United States.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...512_story.html

My wife and I loaded up our car and headed from the city to our cabin in the mountains. Mostly because if I'm going to have to work from home, I might as well do it in the woods.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:31 AM
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The big problem is that due to lack of testing we do not have good figures. I have seen figures estimating anywhere from 5x to 50x the number of cases that have been proven by tests. This means that the death rate (currently estimated at 1%) will go way down and the reproductive ratio (currently estimated at 2.3) will go way up. But regardless, once about 20% of the people are no longer susceptible the reproductive ratio will go down. And because of the way infectious disease work over time the death rate will decrease as well. So it is a balancing act, we need enough people to get the disease for these factors to become salient while limiting those sick enough to require medical care to what can be handled. For anyone to die because we are out of respirators or hospital beds is not something that should occur here.
  #73  
Old 03-18-2020, 09:38 AM
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So good to see you Stranger. Please stick around.

I live alone and I'm sheltering in place, even though I haven't been instructed to do that yet. I absolutely do not want to be responsible for spreading this awful virus to anyone.

I also don't want to be on a ventilator, nor do I want to take one away from someone else that needs one and I don't want to put a health care worker in the awful position of having to choose who gets it.

This is really a horrible time for all of us. I can do my small part by staying put.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:44 AM
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Thank you all for your responses.

And I join the chorus welcoming Stranger back.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:47 AM
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These two posts from yesterday link to better explanations than I could give.

We’re not sure yet exactly how this works, but clearly it can be transmitted from person to person without coughing, sneezing, French kissing, or handshaking.

The possibility of transmission via touched surfaces is a complicating factor, but from what I’ve read, that is probably not so important (though it surely is happening when circumstances are just “right”).
Thanks for those links. A friend also sent an article from the New York Times that had similar information. Clearly a dynamic situation.

I didn't go through the first link. It is a 1.5 hour interview and I'm not prepared to sit through all of that yet.

The NYT article I read suggested aerosol can hang in the air for up to 30 minutes and last on some surfaces for days. This bug is obviously really, really nasty.
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:50 AM
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The NYT article I read suggested aerosol can hang in the air for up to 30 minutes and last on some surfaces for days. This bug is obviously really, really nasty.
Have care with taking anything you see in news regarding specifics of how fast the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads, how virulent the COVID-19 disease is, or any other supposedly concrete details as being fact. As any epidemiologist will tell you, with a 'novel' (e.g. newly introduced) pathogen there is great uncertainty in any of these details which will remain until detailed epidemiological surveys can be conducted, which will be months or even years after the outbreak has subsided. One major problem with trying to make any estimates is that testing, particularly in the US where we decided to develop our own molecular test protocols of still-questionable reliability, has been so sporadic even among symptomatic patients and has been quantitatively extremely limited by the number of text kits available (which is an inexcusable failure given access to the sequenced genome and the wide availability of facilities with RT-PCR assay capability) that there is simply no reliable data-based estimate on the number of infected persons.

The best dynamical system models--which are dependent upon assumptions about transmissibility and appearance of symptoms) have such a wide range of estimates that they are essentially useless in making any detailed projections beyond the reality that it is obvious that the R0 is much higher than the "2.0 to 2.3" value originally estimated. I did a quick, back-of-the-digital-envelope model last weekend just using the data reported in The Washington Post and JHU (since they seemed more up-to-date than the numbers the CDC was publishing on their website) and was getting an R0 of at least 4 and maybe higher than 6, which puts it in the same range as mumps, rubella, and the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak, which is unsurprising because the sequenced virus has been found to have 80% to 90% similarity to the original SARS-CoV(-1) virus, and likely the similar pathology and the mode of infection (aerosol vector).

The 2 meter separation threshold is all well and good in an open air environment but inside of a closed building the pathogen may remain active for minutes or even hours while being distributed around by the HVAC system (and no, HEPA filters will not fully contain it, although they will attenuate the distribution of aerosols). This is just a standard public hygiene recommendation that can reasonably be adhered to by people without complete isolation, although it is obviously going to be violated any time you queue up at a grocery line or any essential work function that requires interaction. Which means completely stopping the spread of the virus is impossible (and likely always was), but again, slowing the spread such that hospitals and care facilities are not overwhelmed with a glut of critical patients is still of great value.

Vox:"Why fighting the coronavirus depends on you"

Of course, it also depends on public trust in health officials and public leaders giving fact-based guidance and making the best possible provisions in dealing with the situation. Which has been exactly opposite of what has occurred in this case in many countries including the United States.

Stranger
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:07 AM
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I find this situation extremely curious. I (as I assume many of you) am pretty darned antisocial in the best of times. I am not "touchy feely." I go out infrequently, and when I do, I prefer small gatherings. My wife and I occasionally meet w/ 2-4 people, most often in our home or theirs.

I hear what so many of you are saying, but I still find it challenging to accept. Like I said, my employer is requiring that I come in to work 3 days a week, and interact with others in an office environment. Given that, I'm having a hard time accepting that limited social interactions will pose much - if any - added danger to myself or the species.

The challenge of accepting that is not helped by the fact that nearly every single person I have spoken with in person has expressed the opinion that limited social interactions are OK. Combined with the lack of clear guidance (in our area at least), makes it easier to think that small social gatherings are OK.

Just honestly expressing my confusion. I appreciate all of your responses. Not sure where I'm going to come down on every future situation.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:35 AM
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...I hear what so many of you are saying, but I still find it challenging to accept. ...
I find your skepticism challenging to accept, so I guess we're even. Except my position has less inherent risk than your skepticism.

Quote:
...The challenge of accepting that is not helped by the fact that nearly every single person I have spoken with in person has expressed the opinion that limited social interactions are OK...
Based on what?
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:37 AM
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I find this situation extremely curious. I (as I assume many of you) am pretty darned antisocial in the best of times. I am not "touchy feely." I go out infrequently, and when I do, I prefer small gatherings. My wife and I occasionally meet w/ 2-4 people, most often in our home or theirs.

I hear what so many of you are saying, but I still find it challenging to accept. Like I said, my employer is requiring that I come in to work 3 days a week, and interact with others in an office environment. Given that, I'm having a hard time accepting that limited social interactions will pose much - if any - added danger to myself or the species.

The challenge of accepting that is not helped by the fact that nearly every single person I have spoken with in person has expressed the opinion that limited social interactions are OK. Combined with the lack of clear guidance (in our area at least), makes it easier to think that small social gatherings are OK.

Just honestly expressing my confusion. I appreciate all of your responses. Not sure where I'm going to come down on every future situation.
IMHO your employer is negligent and grossly irresponsible. I work in a 4000-ish employee building and it's been mandated that we work from home unless absolutely necessary. And those who must go to work have very strict protocols to follow in order to keep the population density down and to maximize the physical hygiene of the work areas. Basically, my company isn't fucking around with this. We've had people deployed to other parts of the country (we're in Canada), not even internationally, and they were recalled from their respective business trips ASAP a few days ago, even though they were to be deployed for several more weeks.

What I truly fail to understand is why the empirical evidence visible in places like Italy isn't sinking in. This isn't like some monster snowstorm or power outage where, after a week, we can all brag about our impromptu "adventure" camping out in the living room. If we fuck this up, in a few weeks, here in North America where there isn't a magic barrier, overworked medical personnel are going to be making decisions about which 70-something person gets intubated or not, or gets a ventilator or not or even gets a bed or not.

In various jurisdictions there are discussions about soliciting additional assistance from retired health-care personnel. Notwithstanding the economic fallout or the fact that a shit-load of people won't have their jobs anymore, we're not being asked to do anything that difficult - stay in your house unless you have to get necessities, try to keep a distance from others, wash your hands. FFS it's not like we have to forage for squirrels and wild mushrooms and berries to survive in our crude mud huts while we drink out of puddles.

It's not that difficult.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:41 AM
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Americans fear the coronavirus — but most aren't changing their behavior, poll finds
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:44 AM
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I hear what so many of you are saying, but I still find it challenging to accept. Like I said, my employer is requiring that I come in to work 3 days a week, and interact with others in an office environment. Given that, I'm having a hard time accepting that limited social interactions will pose much - if any - added danger to myself or the species.
Unless you work in a customer-facing environment which provides a crucial public service or facilities that cannot be accessed remotely, you should be challenging your employer as to why they are contributing to the spread of a public health epidemic and not putting the welfare of their employees in the forefront. And even if there is a good reason that you need to be in the office, they should be providing guidance and provisions to prevent contagion as much as possible (though with apparent aerosol transmission those are probably of questionable effectiveness).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
The challenge of accepting that is not helped by the fact that nearly every single person I have spoken with in person has expressed the opinion that limited social interactions are OK. Combined with the lack of clear guidance (in our area at least), makes it easier to think that small social gatherings are OK.
The old saw about opinions being like assholes applies here. The only people who have opinions worth listening to are epidemiologists, who are and have been saying since the this was recognized as occurring outside of the Wuhan provence that restricting unnecessary interactions--even among small groups or individuals--is crucial to blunting the incidence of the COVID-19 disease. Everybody else, from the postman to the President, doesn't have enough information, experience, or "natural ability" to express an informed opinion.

Social interactions within a tight circle are inevitable, as are interactions to get essential supplies and services when they cannot be provided remotely, but once someone goes outside that circle, they are potentially infecting or being infected, and thus contributing to the spread of the pathogen. The mathematics of this are not complicated; if the R0 > 1, then the spread will essentially be uncontained and will be exponential until the spread is so wide that there are fewer uninfected than infected people, and it will either infect nearly all possible connected individuals, or be isolated within a subpopulation in which it 'burns out' and is no longer being shed. The goal, at this point in this public health clusterfuck, is to limit the rate of spread enough to blunt the peak of incidence of COVID-19 so that hospitals do not run out of respirators, beds, and especially essential protective equipment for medical personnel before they can be freed or distributed, and maybe to give enough time to find effective treatments for the most critical patients who may otherwise die.

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  #82  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post

I hear what so many of you are saying, but I still find it challenging to accept. Like I said, my employer is requiring that I come in to work 3 days a week, and interact with others in an office environment. Given that, I'm having a hard time accepting that limited social interactions will pose much - if any - added danger to myself or the species.
Is your employer an epidemiologist? Employers make their employees do unsafe things all the time.

IIRC, you work for the government in a role that isn't conducive for daily telecommuting. I work for government too, and I have a number of coworkers who have positions that don't allow them to work from home all the time. Those employees who can work from home all the time are encouraged to do so to keep down the population density in the building, for the sake of the others. I don't know if the coworkers who at the office are any more in danger than someone working from home. But it is undeniable that their risk level is higher.

My uber boss just told us all employees older than 65+ are required to stay home. For some folks, this means they will not be working because they can't do their jobs from home.
  #83  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Unless you work in a customer-facing environment which provides a crucial public service or facilities that cannot be accessed remotely, you should be challenging your employer as to why they are contributing to the spread of a public health epidemic and not putting the welfare of their employees in the forefront. And even if there is a good reason that you need to be in the office, they should be providing guidance and provisions to prevent contagion as much as possible (though with apparent aerosol transmission those are probably of questionable effectiveness).

The old saw about opinions being like assholes applies here. The only people who have opinions worth listening to are epidemiologists, who are and have been saying since the this was recognized as occurring outside of the Wuhan provence that restricting unnecessary interactions--even among small groups or individuals--is crucial to blunting the incidence of the COVID-19 disease. Everybody else, from the postman to the President, doesn't have enough information, experience, or "natural ability" to express an informed opinion.

Social interactions within a tight circle are inevitable, as are interactions to get essential supplies and services when they cannot be provided remotely, but once someone goes outside that circle, they are potentially infecting or being infected, and thus contributing to the spread of the pathogen. The mathematics of this are not complicated; if the R0 > 1, then the spread will essentially be uncontained and will be exponential until the spread is so wide that there are fewer uninfected than infected people, and it will either infect nearly all possible connected individuals, or be isolated within a subpopulation in which it 'burns out' and is no longer being shed. The goal, at this point in this public health clusterfuck, is to limit the rate of spread enough to blunt the peak of incidence of COVID-19 so that hospitals do not run out of respirators, beds, and especially essential protective equipment for medical personnel before they can be freed or distributed, and maybe to give enough time to find effective treatments for the most critical patients who may otherwise die.

Stranger
I work in R&D. We run experiments and tests that cannot be done remotely. It often requires multiple people to run them. My employer has put all of that on hold because they are a highly socially conscious company that is supporting trying to stem this. It isn't just customer facing jobs that require people to be "at work." There are many jobs in many areas that require a physical presence. Many seem to be saying that we need to stem this regardless of other costs. How many will lose health insurance by being put out of work and will die because they've lost that? This morning's news: 3000 people laid off by a local company. That is just a start. How many are not going to seek medical care for something unrelated to this because they are so fearful of being near a medical facility? How many are going to skip prescriptions or other necessary medications because they want to practice social distancing? Related, how much of a shortage of drugs and other necessities will we run into because the people that need to produce and deliver these goods can't be within 6' of each other?


Thelmalou
Quote:
I find your skepticism challenging to accept, so I guess we're even. Except my position has less inherent risk than your skepticism.
Pascal's wager in a different form.

This thing is, literally, deadly serious. But we make decisions every day that cost of whatever we do and elect to let people die as a result. I'm doing what I can to keep this at bay, but at some point this country, and the world, will need to decide what cost is too high.

Last edited by cmosdes; 03-18-2020 at 12:11 PM.
  #84  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:11 PM
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In various jurisdictions there are discussions about soliciting additional assistance from retired health-care personnel. Notwithstanding the economic fallout or the fact that a shit-load of people won't have their jobs anymore, we're not being asked to do anything that difficult - stay in your house unless you have to get necessities, try to keep a distance from others, wash your hands. FFS it's not like we have to forage for squirrels and wild mushrooms and berries to survive in our crude mud huts while we drink out of puddles.
The first rule of rescue is never to place yourself as the rescuer in the position of becoming another victim. Finding ways to use retired or at-risk personnel in remote applications (e.g. telemedical advice and diagnosis, dealing with paperwork and bureaucracy, helping with the logistics of getting supplies and information where they need to go) is valuable, but placing more people at risk is the absolute stupidest thing to do. Yes, people are dying, and more are going to die, and it is arguable to the point of certainty that at least some of these deaths should be preventable given time to free up and distribute resources and look for effective treatments, but making a panic move to deal with the immediate crisis that puts more at-risk people in almost certain hazard is criminally short-sighted.

As for the people hoarding eggs, milk, and paper towels: chickens are going to keep laying eggs, dairy cows are going to keep producing milk, and civilization somehow endured for thousands of years prior to the advent of the disposable paper products which given the amount of water consumed and carbon footprint produced in producing and distributing them should be minimized anyway. Our food productions systems are so automated that this point that we could lose half of the population and not really be impacted in terms of food availability provided that people in critical production roles are protected and distribution systems are reasonably robust.

The economics of this disruption are something different, and have exposed some fragilities that go very deep into our economy and health care systems. The very people dismissing the notion of universal basic income and 'socialist' support programs are, ironically, now promoting it as a stimulus measure to prevent recession (which is probably unavoidable, but like contagion, anything that can be done to blunt the effect is worthwhile). Hopefully, one good thing that comes out of this mess is a reevaluation of not only our preparedness for public health epidemics but also the absolute economic necessity of having at least basic public support services for people in need rather than assuming that 'the market' will take care of everyone who needs it and that everyone who is poor or has medical issues is a victim of their own personal failings.

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  #85  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:18 PM
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Not sure where I'm going to come down on every future situation.
You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Your employer has a profit motive. Their “opinion” on whether it’s ok to interact at work can be disregarded.

The upshot, however, us that it’s way more likely that you and the rest of your coworkers will be infected. Therefore, it is MORE important for you to limit other interactions as much as possible.

How is this so difficult for you to understand?
  #86  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:41 PM
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How about this - if I DO decide to do anything, I'll be sure not to mention it here!
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  #87  
Old 03-18-2020, 12:49 PM
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Many seem to be saying that we need to stem this regardless of other costs. How many will lose health insurance by being put out of work and will die because they've lost that? This morning's news: 3000 people laid off by a local company. That is just a start.
What you are addressing here isn't a problem caused by the outbreak; this pandemic is merely exposing serious fundamental structural problems with our economy and the conflict between ideological decisions in governance versus actual reality. The reality is that beyond the immediate term, there is almost no real value that is being lost due to the effects of this epidemic, nor is there any real threat that food and medical production or distribution systems are going to spontaneously collapse. Most people, and particularly those of working ages, appear to be showing mild symptoms and recover relatively quickly. In the scope of major pandemics, this is a love tap, and if the industrialized nations of the world can't withstand the comparatively minor impact of this, that is an indication of critical structural problems.

As for the loss of revenue and jobs, it just highlights just how poorly an economy largely based upon unregulated market capitalism is at coping with unexpected challenges and changes. Essentially having people who are non-essential to the supply and distribution of basic goods and services for two weeks work remotely or self-isolate just shouldn't be that deep of a wound For the life of me I can't figure out why the trading markets are still operating amidst errant and almost fact-free speculation, or why the obvious need to limit the spread of the disease isn't immediately evident to major employers and governments. The businesses most immediately affected by this shutdown--restaurants, bars, and public venues--are the least able to weather this kind of fiscal storm, and yet many limited their access or closed entirely even prior to public directives to do so in the interest of protecting employees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmosdes View Post
This thing is, literally, deadly serious. But we make decisions every day that cost of whatever we do and elect to let people die as a result. I'm doing what I can to keep this at bay, but at some point this country, and the world, will need to decide what cost is too high.
While it is true that we make decisions--both individually and collectively--that impact the health and welfare of at-risk people and society in general, it is rare to see a decision that is so positively clear-cut that it can be stated in indisputable mathematical terms. Limiting social contact as much as feasible, even at the cost of a transitory economic hit (which can be blunted by ensuring that people in need of medical service, basic necessities, and other supplementary needs) has tangible, quantitative benefits in reducing actual deaths and the resulting longer term economic impact.

Stranger
  #88  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:12 PM
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The challenge of accepting that is not helped by the fact that nearly every single person I have spoken with in person has expressed the opinion that limited social interactions are OK. Combined with the lack of clear guidance (in our area at least), makes it easier to think that small social gatherings are OK.
Unless the people you are speaking to are health care experts or work for the CDC, I don't think their "opinion" matters that much. Most of the guidance I've received by the people who supposedly know what they are doing has been "less interaction the better".

As a practical matter, I can't really socially distance from my family. And I still need to go to the store to buy stuff. But we aren't engaged in any social activities at this time.
  #89  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:19 PM
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I always enjoy Stranger On A Train’s analyses, particularly his points about (1) the media not differentiating between mild cases of CoV and cases requiring hospital or critical care (more likely to be CoVid-19) and (2) the need to let virulent strains disappear since one prefers milder strains to become more contagious if this must be.

Epidemiologists don’t know the number of people in a group that increases the risk. Because of the mathematics of network analysis, a group of 250 will be riskier than a group of 50, 10, 5, 3 or 2. People and governments are often slow to take advice or react to crises. This is a very poor time to be booking vacations or be like the Canadian who “joked he had coronavirus” causing a plane to be turned round.

In defence of the OP, I think he does not fall into this category. I think he is concerned about coronavirus and its transmission. Perhaps it is a poor analogy, but lives would be saved by lowering speed limits to 20 km/h or objectively considering the science of climate change too. I think the OP should question social gatherings and diminish the frequency, but there are limits to how guilty one should feel for briefly shopping for groceries, say, though this and other things are not risk free. I agree with most of Stranger’s points which are well articulated and deserve more attention.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
What you are addressing here isn't a problem caused by the outbreak; this pandemic is merely exposing serious fundamental structural problems with our economy and the conflict between ideological decisions in governance versus actual reality. The reality is that beyond the immediate term, there is almost no real value that is being lost due to the effects of this epidemic, nor is there any real threat that food and medical production or distribution systems are going to spontaneously collapse. Most people, and particularly those of working ages, appear to be showing mild symptoms and recover relatively quickly. In the scope of major pandemics, this is a love tap, and if the industrialized nations of the world can't withstand the comparatively minor impact of this, that is an indication of critical structural problems.

As for the loss of revenue and jobs, it just highlights just how poorly an economy largely based upon unregulated market capitalism is at coping with unexpected challenges and changes. Essentially having people who are non-essential to the supply and distribution of basic goods and services for two weeks work remotely or self-isolate just shouldn't be that deep of a wound For the life of me I can't figure out why the trading markets are still operating amidst errant and almost fact-free speculation, or why the obvious need to limit the spread of the disease isn't immediately evident to major employers and governments. The businesses most immediately affected by this shutdown--restaurants, bars, and public venues--are the least able to weather this kind of fiscal storm, and yet many limited their access or closed entirely even prior to public directives to do so in the interest of protecting employees.

While it is true that we make decisions--both individually and collectively--that impact the health and welfare of at-risk people and society in general, it is rare to see a decision that is so positively clear-cut that it can be stated in indisputable mathematical terms. Limiting social contact as much as feasible, even at the cost of a transitory economic hit (which can be blunted by ensuring that people in need of medical service, basic necessities, and other supplementary needs) has tangible, quantitative benefits in reducing actual deaths and the resulting longer term economic impact.

Stranger
Your post is dead on and there isn't anything that I can argue against. Mostly.

No matter what we do people won't be allowed back to work in 2 weeks. The layoffs will come and there will be a huge number of people out of work at the end of this. The workforce will remain, as you said, but the jobs won't.

So now there will be people like me. Unemployed, on the other side of middle age, WAY too young for medicaid and unable to afford insurance on our own and pretty much unemployable. Who wants to hire a 50 something engineer? And what happens at that point when we get sick? I won't starve, but I won't be able to afford anything beyond ibuprofen for treating anything.

The economic impact of this is huge. I'm not sure how that can be argued. Real people will die because we are deciding to shut down the country. We are the train switch operator, trying to decide which track to send the train down. The only problem is that we have no idea which track leads where.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:33 PM
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How about this - if I DO decide to do anything, I'll be sure not to mention it here!
Please do tell us what you decide. I know you’re getting slapped around here, but you’ve sparked some good discussion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
I think the OP should question social gatherings and diminish the frequency, but there are limits to how guilty one should feel for briefly shopping for groceries, say, though this and other things are not risk free.
I don’t think anybody should feel guilty for doing what they NEED to do. I think people aren’t always so good at differentiating between needs and wants, however.

I was horrified to find mold on my parmesan cheese yesterday. I was expecting to use that in a number of meals. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? YES. But I’m not going to go buy more right now. I’ll wait until I need to go to the store for other things so as to minimize my shopping trips, and I’ll be putting off that trip as much as I can, and eat other stuff in the meantime.

Like I said above, we all should do the best we can (without going insane).
  #92  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:38 PM
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And all Richards across the country breathe a sign of relief.
Yeah but now I'm a little concerned as to where this is going in four weeks.
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  #93  
Old 03-18-2020, 01:56 PM
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The economic impact of this is huge. I'm not sure how that can be argued. Real people will die because we are deciding to shut down the country. We are the train switch operator, trying to decide which track to send the train down. The only problem is that we have no idea which track leads where.
This. And I am not saying we are doing the wrong thing, not at all. But, for example, we called the cops the other day because a kid showed up at school beat all to hell--2 black eyes, back a mass of bruises. This is not the first time we've called the cops on this dad. This time, the kid was removed--he's with a family member. But his younger sibling and his mom live with a monster, still--a monster who is now facing incredible financial and emotional stress. What do you think is happening in that household?

Remember Andrea Yates? We will have that happen. If you were half way to thinking the best thing you could do for your kids was to kill them, to save them from the world, and then you get locked in a house alone with them, while plague and earthquakes and locusts rain down? We have almost certainly already had mass suicides and murder suicides that just haven't been found yet.

Thousands, tens of thousands of students will never make up for the educational deficit this will cause. I don't know what the economic outcomes will be, because we've never had demand totally collapse all at once, while the fundamentals remained more or less in place. We may bounce back, pretty quickly, like fast forwarding the Great Depression WW2, and the post-war boom. Or we might have half the country drop into poverty and never recover.

I don't know what the right thing to do is, or what the future will be like. I am terrified and clueless. But while it's true I can walk alone and it's true I don't need to visit friends--I don't, and I won't--but there is no bottom to the list of horrible unintended consequences this will have.
  #94  
Old 03-18-2020, 02:15 PM
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Some neighbors decided it was Decameron time and organized a little karaoke party. I would say it goes to show you never know how people will react, but that sort of thing is 100% expected.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:25 PM
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Unless the people you are speaking to are health care experts or work for the CDC, I don't think their "opinion" matters that much. ....
A lot of folk have said this sort of thing, but let me turn this around - how many posters here are health care experts/epidemiologists? As much as I respect Stranger, what are his bona fides?

Not intending to dis anyone, but most of us are in similar positions of trying to find, interpret, and apply the best info in the manner we feel appropriate. Not that it matters too much, but the cellist in our hotzone trio (name for a band?) yesterday, has a PhD in microbiology, as does her husband.

Good luck to everyone navigating these uncharted waters.

Quote:
Please do tell us what you decide.
Oh, believe me - I'm going to quit my job, and my wife and I will isolate in different rooms within our home encased in Purell-filled body condoms. When the beans and rice run out, we'll likely eat the dog.

Actually, I figured one approach would be to combine public safety with second amendment rights, and declare that if someone coughs in public, anyone who happens to be packing should be encouraged to shoot them!
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
...
Oh, believe me - I'm going to quit my job, and my wife and I will isolate in different rooms within our home encased in Purell-filled body condoms. When the beans and rice run out, we'll likely eat the dog.

Actually, I figured one approach would be to combine public safety with second amendment rights, and declare that if someone coughs in public, anyone who happens to be packing should be encouraged to shoot them!
Maybe just quit your job and start a stand-up act.
  #97  
Old 03-18-2020, 02:34 PM
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Tell me about it. The woman in my county who became ill in Louisiana then traveled by plane through at least three airports to reach Wilmington, NC before she visited her physician and was tested positive for COVID-19 is a case in point.

She knew she was sick, but she either didn't think it was COVID, or she knew it was and didn't want to be quarantined far from home. Which wrong decision it was really doesn't matter, it resulted in many people being exposed to a symptomatic victim.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:37 PM
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No matter what we do people won't be allowed back to work in 2 weeks. ...

The economic impact of this is huge. I'm not sure how that can be argued. Real people will die because we are deciding to shut down the country. We are the train switch operator, trying to decide which track to send the train down. The only problem is that we have no idea which track leads where.
Yeah probably not really 2 weeks and economic impact is already huge if you count something like stock market value, which while itself disproportionately affects the upper half economically (and the upper half within that half, and so on) signals it's serious economically.

However and you might agree, I really can't see an argument in favor of carrying on anything like usual in the social sphere, a few friends come over to listen to music...I would say don't. Just walking around my NJ city yesterday going to the supermarket (a necessary risk at some point). Young parents with their kids (no school) in the park casually chatting, right up close to one another. I can't understand their thinking. Right now only one in 10,000 people here is a confirmed case (though that's far higher than national avg ) but as we all know we still need to get a much better handle on the real number of cases. Thing is, it's quite likely we can get much better info on that in a matter of weeks (confirmed cases become a significantly better indicator of real total cases). In the long run we humans need social contact, but a few weeks of radical social cut back isn't going to make the country go insane.

Back on the big economic picture longer term of course nobody knows. I personally feel it's very unlikely this is the start of a long depression. That's not to minimize the situation in the meantime or some people it might push into unemployability.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:40 PM
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The economic impact of this is huge. I'm not sure how that can be argued. Real people will die because we are deciding to shut down the country. We are the train switch operator, trying to decide which track to send the train down. The only problem is that we have no idea which track leads where.
Actually, we do know where the track of not isolating right now leads; millions of avoidable deaths and the attendant costs on our health care and support systems, as well as a glut of non-fatal illnesses which will have a temporary impact upon our economy anyway, for which we have empirical evidence in Italy and South Korea (and soon, I fear, Japan, Britain, France, and much of central and eastern Europe). This is a quantifiable certainty if we do not take effective measures to attenuate the rate of spread of the virus.

On the other side regarding the economy, there are real proactive measures that can be taken now to prevent the kind of economic calamity that you fear, such as instituting some form of universally-accessible health care (whether publicly subsidized private care, "Medicare for All", a hybrid system like Germany, et cetera), temporary income subsidy, tax/debt relief for impacted small business, contingent tax subsidy for larger businesses to maintain employees, et cetera. The economy is a very fungible system which, unlike a viral epidemic, will respond to fiscal measures and assurances to reinforce public confidence if done in a carefully considered manner. And wonder of wonders, the very people who were mocking Andrew Yang a month ago are now embracing and even expanding on his proposal to provide universal subsidy to help stabilize and give security for essential needs for the vulnerable members of the population.

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  #100  
Old 03-18-2020, 02:54 PM
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...Oh, believe me - I'm going to quit my job, and my wife and I will isolate in different rooms within our home encased in Purell-filled body condoms. When the beans and rice run out, we'll likely eat the dog.

Actually, I figured one approach would be to combine public safety with second amendment rights, and declare that if someone coughs in public, anyone who happens to be packing should be encouraged to shoot them!
I know you think that you are being cute, but you have been provided the information that you need to behave responsibly. This information is coming from the scientific community on how your behavior (you, not an abstract, you) can impact the health of others. Choosing to knowingly disregard that advice doesn’t make you funny, it makes you a bad person.
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