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

…its almost as if you read this sentence then completely ignored the surrounding context which would have told you that I am well aware of the differences of the two societies. Why did you do that? Why did you ignore everything else I said? Why did you cherry pick this single sentence and formulate an entire response around it when it should have been clear that this wasn’t my position at all?

And it isn’t the difference in scale that matters. And if they literally did the same thing (and we all know that they won’t) then they would have gotten the same results, because science.

Except as has already been pointed out to you that’s exactly what happened. Lockdowns, hospital ships, curfews, queues for foodbanks that go for miles. Its just that you did it without a plan, without leadership at the Federal level, without an exit strategy. Overseas travel curtailed. New border controls. I personally know some Americans who haven’t left the house in six months except to buy groceries and to exercise. The movie and live theatre experience gone.

Its a pandemic. Pandemics turn society upside down. You can either try and keep ahead of the process or do whatever-the-hell-it-is America is doing at the moment.

Dan Patrick was saying in effect that old people should be willing to take a bullet for the economy so that their grandchildren could be prosperous after the pandemic.

Greg Abbott seems to be stuck in the “own the Libs” mode, and was basically trying to have it both ways- not pass any sort of statewide mandates unless he absolutely had to by pawning that responsibility off on the individual counties to handle, AND THEN getting in the way of the (Democrat) county judges in the largest counties (Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Travis, El Paso) when they tried/try to mandate and enforce stricter restrictions than what the Texas GOP thinks are reasonable.

As I see it, you can’t have that both ways- either you handle it at a state level, or you let the counties handle it as they see fit. You don’t say “Oh, it’s YOUR problem counties, as we’re not going to take any state-level responsibility, but we reserve the right to restrict your ability to handle it as you see fit.” That strikes me as deliberately handicapping Democrat county judges in their ability to handle the situation, for solely political reasons.

History allows the informed to be harsh. The more vectors a pandemic has, the more chances there is for the disease to mutate, this is why the minks in Denmark were slaughtered, New strains of the disease are more likely when one considers that there are reported cases of infection among cats and dogs too, so it goes for groups like the young; they are making it more risky for them too by increasing the chances of mutations, some of the mutations will be less damaging, but some can make the disease more deadly. Increasing the number of vectors out there, can change who the targets are. **

Like when the flu of 1918 and the Black Death in 1361, diseases can mutate to then target young people, early for the flu and in a second wave in Europe years later for the Plague. (the first plague wave tried to kill everyone, the second -or third according to some- cruelly targeted children)

And all that still does not counter the point that today with Covid-19 people are beginning to die at rates that are getting closer to the worst days of early in the pandemic in the US, because young people still go back to homes where more at risk family members live.

** One more reason IMHO why those that think that we should gain herd immunity by letting the virus run almost wild among the young is a dumb idea.

Well, we could ask and try to answer those questions, and maybe thereby do something to limit the deaths and the long-term economy hit, keeping businesses solvent and people employed and bills paid and people fed and have life return to something normal in a couple months. Or we could continue to stagger around like a blind drunk on a pub crawl in a crowded downtown bar zone.

I’m aware not all share the same political viewpoint, but it boggles the mind this is a political issue to debate. It is an utter embarrassment and shame that we have to argue with people to wear masks, let alone do anything more challenging.

I’m flummoxed that the party that claims to be about values and wraps itself in the flag (literally) and chants “Back the Blue” and is all about supporting police and first responders and our medical heroes is doing so much to make those first responders’ and medical heroes’ jobs and lives so much tougher, doing so much to argue against decency and looking out for other people. The religious claim that their religion makes them better at charity than the non-religious, but the vast majority of the mask-averse are religious conservatives. It’s a patriotic duty to find a way to mask, socially distance, stay home, don’t do communal activities, and find a way to finance the economic hardships caused by the medical necessity of shut downs.

That’s certainly a creative solution. My first gut reaction is of course that’s ridiculous, why tax those able or required to work when they need the finances just as much as those not working? My second look considers that any response like this might necessarily take into consideration we are talking about a shut down for a specific relatively short time (a couple months, not 9 months or 2 years or whatever). For that kind of brief period, everyone would be making a financial sacrifice to attempt to stave off the impacts of deficit spending.

Maybe that kind of creative thought should be considered. I certainly see how that would incense the fiscal conservatives who see even a brief request of this type as a massive trial run on turning America into a Communist state. After all, once we take 50% of the working stiff’s money for the non-working, the argument is the incentive to work just went away.

I’d rather see other ideas for solutions, including just deficit spending our way out of it. Yeah, killer federal debt and all, but that hole has already been dug, a few feet deeper won’t kill us now, will it?

Now that’s an interesting idea. Say confiscate anything over 10% or whatever is a reasonable line. The 18 to 24% fees would pay a hell of a lot, or the banks/credit card companies would be incentivized to lower their rates to 10%. Which helps anyway, because the people who owe money owe less, so they can delay paying it off longer to stretch funds further, or put that money into other purchases that keep the economy going, like paying their bills.

Exactly. They’re all about local control when we look at federalism, but when we start talking about municipalities doing things the liberal way, oh no, we got to have state control. Make no mistake, the state level or regional coordination that the local leaders were asking for was to prevent, say, Dallas county tightening up and closing everything but Collin County having bars and restaurants and night clubs open wide for all the Dallas county residents to visit, then bring the covid back from. But Abbott seemed to think places like the panhandle or rural zones in central Texas needed the freedom to be looser, but urban centers with large case counts couldn’t have the freedom to be tighter. Nope.

There’s also the fact that New Zealand is a smallish island, able to quarantine itself more effectively. The USA is not. Also New Zealand has a decent leader who sets a good example. The USA does not, at least not until January 20.

I’m not going to try to pretend to know more about New Zealand than I do (and I wish it were true the other way as well, in this thread), but my impression is that it goes a bit deeper than that, and the governmental structure there – or maybe even there’s a cultural element to it that’s every bit as important – allows for more in the way of a coordinated, central response. If there’s a scaling issue, that would be a big reason why.

Then again, maybe it’s not just New Zealand that I don’t well enough, but the US too, meaning that maybe there’s more that’s possible at a federal level than I give it credit for. I guess we’ll find some things out along those lines in the spring (if it’s still necessary then). But I do get the impression that it’s both systematic and cultural in the US that states don’t always want or allow the federal government to dictate their business, nor even counties states.

If it boggles the mind, it may be because you’re looking at it in two different ways at the same time. You are – once again, and even more stirringly this time – doing a fantastic job of laying out the case as you see it, in a manner that feels entirely and necessarily devoid of bias or politics because it’s all about science and incontrovertible facts. (You use those, still, as a springboard for policy, but I’ll leave that aside for the moment.)

The issue is that not everyone agrees with your assessment of the facts. Not everyone believes that your proposed solutions would have the bold effects you claim, that of limiting both deaths and economic damage and getting back to ‘something normal’, all in the span of just a couple months. Others see that as unrealistic, given the same set of facts.

Rather than entertain those opposing ideas on the same basis with which you formed your own, you see them as based on politics. And that’s why you’re flummoxed. You are, or seem, convinced in the infallibility of your own assessments and can’t find any explanation besides bias for why someone else would not be equally persuaded. Open your mind to the notion that your predictions for the future may in fact be open to error after all, and there is no longer anything to be flummoxed about. The explanation is that the other side wants the same end you want, they just think it’s best achieved through different means.

Earlier you gave a litany of great efforts that have already been made and are ongoing. Masks? Mask mandates are all over the country. Testing? Could be more, I’m sure, if that’s what you want, but isn’t there tons of it? Bars and indoor dining? Closed right now in many parts of the country, as I understand it, and have been throughout, in one place or another. Conventions? Outside of protests and rallies, I guess they mostly aren’t happening. Schools? Whole lot of them either online or at limited in-person enrollment with strict distancing. I guess you are claiming that yes, we are doing a lot of things, that we’re not helpless after all, but those things are failing because they aren’t coordinated or because they don’t go far enough? Or because (some) restaurants and bars and schools and churches are still open and not everyone is wearing a mask?

There is another way of looking at it, you know. That much of the country, just like much of the world, is flailing. With one policy after another, swinging away wildly and not really landing any punches. I know it’s no fun to look at it that way, because it means we’re ineffective no matter what we do, and maybe this situation largely remains outside our control, and we don’t like for things to be outside our control. That’s not a comfortable situation to be in, and there seems to be no courage in accepting that idea. But if it’s actually true, then the courageous thing to do, perhaps not just a patriotic duty but a humanitarian imperative, is to figure out a different approach to minimizing suffering.

That’s what those who flummox you want. Not to advance a partisan political agenda, but to minimize suffering. That’s a laudable initiative, it’s one that we should all agree is good, but you would demonize it because it doesn’t line up with your own point of view. That’s what we need to figure out some way to get around.

I don’t believe Texas ever closed restaurants and they messed around with the rules so that many bars could suddenly qualify as retaurants. The
governor was supposed to let local counties decide lockdown levels, then the Attorney General gets local orders quashed.

That sure smells like trying to look like you’re doing something when you’re not. It does not look like someone with an honest different point of view on how to minimize the pandemic.

I’m aware I’m fallible, that my predictions are guesses, that there may be factors that differ enough to affect the outcome. But this isn’t wild speculation. New Zealand did this, and then Australia copied it, after their cases were exploding. Lockdowns worked in Italy and Spain at their worst.

You say that I see others’ opinions as based on politics. But what does it mean for them to want the same results but by other means? What is their philosophy on determining better means? Those choices are being made by some principle, and that is a political evaluation.

They think keep government from doing anything, minimize what the government spends to assist people and businesses to keep taxes low and prevent the debt from exploding even more. They are afraid of “socialism” and “communism” taking over our government. They think keep the economy rolling by keeping people doing everything, don’t close anything. That’s the easiest way to keep people getting income, keep businesses afloat, keep restaurants from failing, keep families fed, protect the stock market, etc. Except it does nothing to control or limit the spread, nothing to reduce the hospitalizations and flooding them over capacity, nothing to keep the hospital workers from being overwhelmed and incapable of treating anything because there’s no room for trauma patients when the halls and aisles and waiting room are full of covid patients. It does nothing to limit deaths. Am I wrong?

Early on we had an excuse for flailing. It surprised us, the federal government failed us by destroying the response plans and White House group to deal with pandemics. China lied about the severity and didn’t control the spread from their own borders. We had to see the level of the problem coming our way from other countries, see the need to organize, and get processes rolling, such as testing.

But there’s no excuse for flailing now. This is not rocket science, or brain surgery, or quantum mechanics. This is epidemiology. This is disease spread. It’s main vector is airborne virus on moisture droplets from breath. The standard, well-known, and well-understood controls are primarily to limit exposure to others and wear masks to control droplets from breathing. It really is that simple. Sure, hand washing and limiting touching and using sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces often are also effective disease vector controls, and those are being implemented, too.

But the primary controls are not. Oh, there have been some efforts to close things, some efforts to encourage “social distancing”, some efforts to encourage mask wearing. But they have been largely very badly done. Republican controlled states refused to close, or closed for a week and then started rapidly reopening. Mask wearing has been protested and mandates ineffective because they have no teeth. The friggin’ Covid19 Task Force created guidelines that no region has followed, except maybe New York.

And not only are people participating in protests and political rallies, which are arguably justifiable on the grounds of value to our democratic process, but people are violating orders on social gatherings. There have been numerous huge parties thrown across the country in some of the tightest lockdown areas. I just heard there was a wedding held in New York recently with over 7000 guests. Is that right? Sounds excessively high, but that’s the number I heard on the news last night. WTF?

And it’s not just republicans and conservatives at fault. Liberals are just as guilty of the partying and going to social adventures like crowded water parks and beaches, going to restaurants in areas they are open, going to bars and clubs when they can, filling the streets around the bars when they can’t get inside.

But there is an organized group fighting mandates: fighting closures, fighting mask orders, and their message is not “There’s a better way to control this,” or “Masks don’t work,” or whatever. Their mantra is “End the Tyranny” and “My Freedom” and “Say No to Socialism”. Those are the gun-carrying, flag-waving “patriots” and Trump supporters. That is explicitly politics.

I get that there is a concern to minimize suffering, not just from the pandemic itself, but from the effects of trying to mitigate the pandemic. I get that we’re facing massive social upheaval, disorder, distress, and real pain from the economic and social impacts. I get that a lot of people lost their jobs, their income, their personal businesses. I get that people are afraid of losing their homes and not knowing how to feed their children. I get that people are scared. That people want to be able to get comfort from friends and family.

But there are explicit forces at work to prevent the effectiveness of lockdowns. There are explicit forces at work to fight mandates of any sort. There are explicit forces at work that see wearing a mask as the first step in some malicious hidden agenda to condition people to being told what to do. The paranoids are out there, and they are being fed through the right-wing media and social spheres. The politics embedded in the resistance is obvious, not invented by me.

I would love to be able to accept the “other side” has different ideas about how to deal with the entire situation. But one political party explicitly avoids taking responsibility to control the spread of the pandemic but asserts authority to prevent localities from doing so. One political party delayed taking advice from the CDC and the Task Force, ignored the steps in the reopening process outlined by the Task Force, and fought shut downs of any kind.

The Texas Governor said localities could mandate that businesses require their customers to wear masks, that the businesses could be fined or lose licenses if the customers don’t comply, but did not give the businesses the authority to enforce mask wearing on their customers. How do I as a business owner tell my customers they must wear a mask or leave when all they have to say is the Governor said they aren’t required to wear a mask, or they have some nebulous health issues that are unspecified and I can’t enquire about? Yet if I call to have police come out to trespass them because they won’t leave, I could be fined because they won’t mask up. Ridiculous!

Yes, I am claiming the efforts we have taken to date as a country and as localities has been poorly coordinated, too limited, not guided by the science but the science recommendations resisted, and because large segments of the population are refusing to comply. And one of the reasons they are refusing to comply is that the process seems to have no end in sight. Except that is precisely an effect of the lack of organization and will to make the restrictions tighter in the first place. A dedicated concerted effort - a real effort that doesn’t, for example, force meat packers to work in super-spreader environments - with the whole country coming together and complying could mean a more limited timespan of needing such tight restrictions. Sure, it might take 9 weeks to break the cycle of infections down to the level that isolation and contact tracing can have a chance to work, but 9 weeks is not 9 months.

That kind of leadership and that kind of commitment from the people has been lacking. Many more people complied early, but as the process wore on, the pain grew. Some of that pain was because Congress couldn’t act, or act strong enough. They resisted funding things to the level required to allow the shut down to work without crushing everyone. So resistance has grown, because people want to return to something like normal life. 9 months is too long a commitment without bombs falling on our heads. But 9 weeks would have been doable back in April or May.

Now? Thanksgiving is going to kill thousands. Christmas is going to kill thousands more. New Years will be celebrated by the funerals of Thanksgiving.

One of those groups lives right in the white house, which isn’t helping anything. Remember a few months back when they had an indoor rally and Trump, when questioned about it, called it a ‘peaceful protest’. How stupid.

In my store, we’ve had people use the same argument. Usually something along the lines of ‘it’s a mandate, not a law’. We generally respond, as nicely as we can with ‘Even if it’s not a law we still require one’.
And WRT health issues, hopefully the store owner can’t be fined because they made up a fake health problem.

I don’t get this. The businesses already have authority. The governor doesn’t need to sign off on a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.

Eta: note that above, I already criticized Texas gov before you. This isn’t a defense of their strategy.

That’s exactly what it is. And I see where the Texas GOP is coming from; their biggest political point is that having been in power for a little more than a couple of decades now, they’ve kept the state free from onerous regulation and kept/guided Texas as an economic powerhouse of sorts, where good paying jobs are more available for working people.

Or so their propaganda goes anyway. I suspect that they’re terrified of doing any sort of serious pandemic-related restrictions because it’ll basically put a stake through the heart of that whole thing- it’ll cause economic issues and widespread unemployment that they can’t displace the blame for.

The thing that amazes me about the “we can’t afford to keep businesses closed” crowd is that what’s keeping most of them closed is lack of customers due to fear of contagion, not some eevil government order.

By refusing to take short term measures to contain the spread AND pay for the short term economic losses, they all but guarantee long term economic losses and increased long term health issues and a larger total death toll.

The tradeoff they keep claiming to see simply doesn’t exist.

I know people say this but it’s not held up by reality. The reason bars should be closed is because people do indeed go to them if you don’t.

Probably depends on the type of establishment. I mean, I doubt there are a lot of people just itching to go to model train shops or other relatively specialized shops in person, but you’re right that there are a LOT of people who seem to think that going to restaurants and bars is just the thing to do right now.

This entire post is complete rubbish, and actually is a form of argument based on making accusations of failure by accusing the other side of doing or not doing exactly the things that the Republicans and anti-mask wearers have been doing throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

There is a logacal fallacy here, the best form of defence is to accuse the other side of the debate of the very things you are doing even when they are not

  1. You claim that there are two opposing and equally effective possible ways to deal with the infection - not true, there is one and one only and the only. Your proposal is is to do at little as possible in order to protect the economy in fact is not any sort of control measure whatsoever because half measures are as effective as no control measures - a bit like saying you can only get partly pregnant if you only wear half a condom.
    The only option is to look at the developing information especially taking into account what has already worked eslewhere, and adjust control measures accordingly. This does not invalidate the integrity of those earlier measures based upon previous knowledge
  1. All completely specious and egregiously wrong, the fact is that one part of US establishment is trying to ascertain verifiable facts and develop policies that can mitigate some of the economic effects whilst bringing the rate if infection and death down.

The ‘OPPOSING IDEAS’ are not ideas at all, they are in fact a political rant from all sorts of idiots with their own agendas based on nothing more than hald assed half baked extremist ideologies without any regard to facts, or previous good and effective pactices elsewhere.

Those ‘OPPOSING IDEAS’ of the type you advocate are actually a systemic disinformation campaign - you have promulgated your anti-mask and anti-science propaganda whilst carefully attempting to appear to cede points in a way that muddies up the water.

You have done this largely by citing old information, misleading claims about China and misdirection about past events instead of taking the more recent reports and statistics except on the very few cases where you quote readily debunked messages from outlier websites whose ‘scientists’ either have no particular expertise in epidemiology but instead have some sort of political axe to grind.

For example you persist in your claims that Chinese people are responsible for the intitial wave of the pandemic and when presented with evidence to the contrary you repeatedly and blithely ignored it, **but worse than that - it really does not matter one jot how the pandemic arrived eight months ago, the only thing that matters is the progress of this pandemic and how to control it - why are you so keen to place blame instead of observing the current situation and what measures are needed to deal with the here and now? It is because you have some odd sort of bias and seem to need to argue to support your ego.Blame will not offer any means of controlling the pandemic, blame is for afterwards when we tally up the gravestones, you are using blame as a sort of cloak and mirror device to divert attention from the emergency and how to deal with it.

Your argument that

  1. Is almost the other end of your timeline of infection argument, you try to state that because some predictions may be wrong then it is valid to do nothing - yet as we know, the information changes and control measures must evolve in the light of that data, it most certainly is not to sit on your hands and do nothing until the data is perfect - this is almost a creationist approach to science.
  1. Just to reiterate, those nations that have failed to control the virus have not followed through fully on the science - hence the reocurrance of outbreaks, yet in China they have opened up, in New Zealand - they have opened up, in Australia - they have opened up, in South Korea, - they have opened up.

The models persued by all those nations have variations, however they have many many things in common, the same is true of nations that are flailing - they are flailing and failing in similar ways for the same reasons.

  1. The US in particular is flailing for one very specific reason - partisan politics - the party in power has decided it is in its interest to portray Covid19 as a political virus that feeds into an anit-republican narrative. The current administration has not only been utterly inneffective, it has wilfully encouraged the undermining of any measures to control the virus - wherever any measures are proposed by its own scientific advice, the advisors themselves are attacked and supportes are encouraged to not wear masks merely for political gain.

You have not responded to the pit thread that was opened in your name and I feel it is absolutely about time you faced that audience and accounted for your postings on this subject to date - so please be my guest and join your avid critics in the pit.

I most certainly did not. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

What a thorough response. :roll_eyes: Like I said, Texas seemed to feint generally accepted protocols and immediately undermined them. That’s quite different than helplessly “flailing” like everybody else.

Some of us are better equipped to deal with than others. Physically and emotionally. My Wife and I already lived a pretty remote lifestyle. Like cooking at home and have individual office space at home for each of us. An OK entertainment system and we like playing games like chess and cards together. We have two dogs that keep us busy that we can take for walks in National Forest right out our door.

Others may have an abusive spouse or a roommate that they barely get along with. Those poor folks are sort of stuck. They are used to restaurants, bars and large groups of people to hang out with. And with winter in the USA anyway, walks to the park are not that much fun. Gonna be a long winter for them.

I spent a few hours yesterday trying to learn guitar. Working on making sourdough bread. And tried to land an F-16 on a computer flight simulator (I suck at that). Staying at home totally fits my lifestyle.

At least in my experience, it’s not people with some sort of untenable/barely tenable situation, but rather people who for whatever reason have nothing else to do. I mean, I have friends whose lives are work, eating with friends, hanging out at bars with friends and/or playing in rec sports leagues (some are run by bars for stuff like flip-cup, etc…) and going to concerts and movies. As far as I know, they don’t really have other pastimes or hobbies other than watching TV or movies.

I don’t know exactly how I feel about them. On one hand, I feel bad for them, in that it must be pretty boring not having the wealth of other hobbies and honey-do stuff that I (and others) have that take up the time without doing things known to spread the virus. On the other hand, I kind of feel like it’s their own problem; nobody owes them a bar to hang out in, restaurants to eat at, or concerts to attend either, and I’m not sympathetic to their claims that they “need” those things either.