Am I missing something here? (re: reopening of bars, etc... now)

So I’m seeing all sorts of news stories about various states reopening various things- Texas, where I live, is considering reopening bars, for example. And schools have reopened to in-person students, although where I live, it’s 50% or more that are virtual learning only. And people are starting to socialize, go out, etc… with the general attitude that “If I wear a mask and/ (unfortunately for some) or I’m outside and keep six feet apart, I can live my life just like before.” Like having Cub Scout meetings in person with masks and supposedly six feet apart. Or hanging out at other people’s houses, and letting their kids play together like normal. And so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing case counts start to slowly rise, and we have pretty much EVERY public health expert out there prognosticating a WORSE winter than the summer we just had in terms of cases and deaths.

I’m confused- am I missing something here? Why are authorities and people starting to loosen up even more in the face of rising case counts and predictions of a terrible winter of COVID? This seems reckless, stupid and not a little bit insane.

Because so many don’t see the danger. The stark reality is that the vast, vast majority of people getting this disease recover within a couple weeks. The odds of getting extremely sick, especially if you are young, are low.

My immediate family have done a few things that could be viewed as risky:

  • We went to the beach a few times this summer (but scrupulously stayed away from other people. It was crowded, but not so crowded to make that impossible)
  • My children have started dance classes again (but it’s a private class, and the teacher wears a mask and sanitizes everything between classes and has scheduled enough time that they are gone before the next group shows up).
  • We have allowed my children to play on playgrounds, but only if nobody else is there and they use hand sanitizer liberally afterward.

We haven’t visited my parents, inlaws, friends, church, etc. since…February? March? I can’t even remember anymore.

But, basically we don’t know anybody who has gotten sick (closest is the mother of a coworker, who was fine), and certainly not anybody who has died. It’s really, really hard to continue to put up with the restrictions at this point. There’s no end in sight. I’m afraid my young children are going to develop an antipathy toward being near other people. Isn’t it worth the small risk, just to be able to spend time with people again? No, no it’s not, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

I am angry at the selfish jerks who are ruining life for the rest of us, but at this point I have some sympathy.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not about your own risk of getting it generally; it’s about your risk of spreading it to others.

I mean, I can see why college kids might be rather indifferent toward it- they’re extraordinarily unlikely to even get very sick. But it’s entirely likely that they could give it to their professors, the cleaning staff, the support staff, the dining hall workers, their parents, grandparents, and if they give it to each other, to the parents and grandparents of the people they encounter. As well as anyone in the community they encounter- gas station cashiers, etc…

That’s what makes this so strange; with most diseases, your OWN health is the main risk of not doing what you are supposed to- if you mess around and don’t do what you’re supposed to with the flu, chances are YOU will get sick. You’ll probably spread it around too, but you will get sick. With COVID, you may not get sick, or you may not get very sick. And you’ll absolutely spread it around. And the people you spread it to may not get very sick, but eventually, someone will, and someone will die.

It’s not about their own health, so most people I guess have a hard time rationalizing the behavior if nobody they know gets sick or dies. We’ve already seen this combination of selfishness, ignorance and stupidity with the people who claim mask mandates are an infringement of their right to choose. They don’t get that it’s not a choice they’re making about THEIR own health- it’s a choice to spread it to others or not. Which makes me want to take a bat to their teeth, but so far, I’m not violent about it.

Others seem to have this idea that if nobody’s sick, then everything’s peachy. As if they’re totally unaware of the whole asymptomatic transmission of the virus. Again, thinking only in terms of themselves and their health, and not about the chain of events that transmits the virus.

I’m fairly exasperated- the amount of stupid and selfish is really dismaying me and making me start to be more than a little bit angry.

You are seeing this because there is an election coming up - it is that simple. The gamble has been taken that the consequencies will not be all that apparent until sometime after the poll.

It will take a few weeks for the number of cases to accelarate to a number that might frighten the electorate, however platitudes will be made to reassure and little if anything will be done, it will take a couple more weeks for the number of deaths to become frightening to a level that might impact voting intentions.

That is the trouble with exponential curves - they appear to start off slowly and the mathematical illiterate will simply not understand that even small numbers have great significance - they will not understand the process of the growth curve rising and by the time it is undeniable the vote will be all over.

It’s basically trying to give an appearance - all fur coat and no knickers - but when the cold wind blows everyone gets an unpleasant chill.

That’s something far too many people don’t understand. On FB, I constantly see people throwing hissy fits about schools not reopening. They’ll put up all kinds of statistics showing no one under the age of X has died and kids under the age of Y have little/no symptoms etc etc etc. When I bring up that the kids might not get very sick, but they’re going to spread this to you and your parents, I’m met with silence.

I think part of the problem is the long incubation time. If you went from being 100% healthy to being at the worst part of the illness (either dead or just the worst part) with in 24 or 48 hours, I think people would take it a lot more seriously. When it takes 2 weeks, it’s unlikely you’ll even be able to identify the source and it makes it a whole lot easier to handwave away some of the obvious places it could have happened.

Every time someone says ‘[School] has been open for 6 days now and they haven’t had a single case yet’, I want to smack them.
However, I just keep in mind that were 7 months into this. Everything has been explained to people like that dozens of times. They’re either not going to get it or they’re being stubborn because their personal freedom is worth more than the lives of others, including their own families.

It’s unfortunate you got silence. What they should have answered is that children also seem to be much less contagious. Also, there are real social and intellectual consequences to kids missing school that seems handswept away by shutdown advocates. Schools haven’t been discovered as meaningful sources of community outbreak where they’ve stayed open. Why are children’s education so disposable that your unresearched “what if” questions vetoes it?

“Why are education”?

You’re acting like children are being deprived of an education. It’s just been delayed.

The problem with your rebuttal is that children under 14 seem to be less contagious with real world contact tracing information. High upper tract viral loads have not been shown to be linked to highly contagiousness.

First of all, a statement like that needs a cite.

I feel awful for kids missing school. Maybe not as much for older kids, but K-3rd/4th/5th grade, yeah. I know they’re not going to do as well with virtual learning. I know (well, assume. never researched it) this is the prime time in their life to learn how to socialize. I get that, I really do. But I’d rather my kid had lifelong social issues than have lifelong lung issues…or be dead.

Do you have any cites from schools that have been open for more than a few consecutive weeks that show their aren’t outbreaks? Do those cites outweigh the schools that have had outbreaks?

Which “what if” questions did I even ask? And, as I mentioned, yeah, I’d rather my child’s education was virtual than risk her getting sick.

Cite?
Here’s some for what I said:
This led researchers to believe children are more contagious, calling them “silent spreaders” of COVID-19, regardless of their susceptibility to developing infection.

“teenagers are just as contagious as adults”.

Older children and adolescents appear to be able to transmit SARS-CoV-2 effectively [51,56-59].

(mind you, young kids may spread it less, but teens (ie high school/college kids) spread it at least as much as adults).

Outbreaks in MI schools (be sure to scroll down far enough to see some schools with hundreds of cases)

Schools that have brought students back in person reported a total of 230 cases among just under 100,000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on school reopening, 230 cases per 100,000 over two weeks falls into the red or “highest risk” category.

Mississippi is among states where several outbreaks among students and teachers have been reported since in-person classes resumed in July and August.

Monroe High School to close for 2 weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak

Should I keep going?

If you could include some of the studies showing the relative absence of risk from reopening, then I for one would be happy if you did…

Case counts rising in relation to what? To a bottoming out in the summer? If the thing is truly seasonal, then of course that is going to happen every year. Is there a trajectory that looks like it will approach anything at all resembling what we had earlier this year? I don’t think anyone who believes we didn’t catch more than a small fraction of the infections in the early days thinks things are heading in that direction.

That’s probably a big enough hurdle to shut the discussion down for now – i.e., let’s wait to cross that bridge till we come to it. But if not, then we’d need to think it through completely, the counter that you might be suggesting. By the time we’d feel safe enough to open things back up again after winter, it would be, what, another six months from now? And then in a few months after that we’d have to shut it all down again. The devastation from those policies is not something we’d be able to walk away from.

That seems to me like a really big question, a critical one, one that is far from settled, and one that is not fully within the realm of science. What happens if the majority of people start to think that yes, it is?

If you are so sure they exist, why aren’t you providing them?

Just like I did a few posts up, ask the person that made the claim to provide their cites.

So, there was a gathering a week and a half ago in DC, with something on the order of 150 people; you may have heard something about it. It was held outdoors, but people sat close together at it, and mingled before and afterwards, with minimal (if any) mask-wearing (as well as, apparently, some further meetings being held indoors). It appears likely that this gathering led to at least 11 of the attendees (that we know of) coming down with COVID in the days that followed.

Similarly, a wedding which was held in Maine in August, at which many of the attendees apparently did not heed mask and social distancing guidelines, led to an outbreak in which 170 people (between attendees and those who were later exposed to contagious attendees) developed COVID-19, and 7 of them died.

That is exactly what’s going to keep happening if large numbers of people keep saying, “to hell with it, I miss getting together with people like I used to, a little risk is worth it.” Certainly, it’s not going to happen every time (since there may not be a contagious person at every event), but it’ll keep happening and happening, when it does not have to.

And, I’ll point out that many of those who were infected with COVID due to that wedding were not at the wedding, and did not, in fact, make the choice that “a little risk is worth it.” They were given the disease by someone else, who had made that selfish choice.

Well, think it all the way through, if you are so sure that the answer is we can live without all the gatherings that ‘don’t have to happen’. Think it all the way through. There are many, many people who will come around to the conclusion, if they aren’t there already, that no, it’s not worth it.

Because in my mind it’s a silly debate to have, and it’s disingenuous to cherry-pick certain reports while ignoring the very obvious and by now very well publicized counterarguments such as the schools in European countries that are back in session now or perhaps never closed in the first place, without much collateral damage.

Those who believe that the harms from keeping schools closed outweigh the risks from opening them are not making the argument that all schools can be opened without any resultant spread of the virus. They are also, I might add, essentially arguing for the status quo, meaning the burden of proof should really be on those who are proposing the alternative policy.

I have thought it all the through-people without the self control to stop ignoring what is right in front of their faces are not only endangering themselves. They are endangering friends, neighbors, innocent bystanders and their own families.

You should look at what Europe did to get this under control vs what the US did.