Do you feel like the goalposts have been moved a lot wrt pandemic restrictions?

I disagree that “flatten the curve” was really a goal. It was a rationalization of why we needed restrictions for a disease that is, after all, very mild for most who contract it.

People decided that when we flattened a curve we’d be done with restrictions, not understanding that lifting restrictions too much would result in having to flatten the curve again, and again, and again. That’s what we’ve been doing until vaccinations start hitting the streets.

Likewise I don’t understand how anyone could honestly pretend that “take delivery of vaccines” was an endpoint. People were observing since April that we were missing basic stuff like a billion syringes! Do folks think they’re safe just because a hundred million doses of vaccine is in a warehouse somewhere?

Some folks are just going to be mad forever about this, and those people are going to claim that the goalposts are always moving and nobody knows what’s going on. That’s just how people are.

I feel like here the goal posts have been moving the other direction, easing restrictions, not increasing them.

In January the state government said that counties at the Red level could choose to switch to the less restrictive Orange level, if they wanted.

In early February the state rolled out “Dial 2.0” which switched from using a 14-day average to a 7-day average for cases. It also raised the case count acceptable at each level. So
Dial 1 - Yellow = 75-175/100,000, 14-day
Dial 2 - Yellow = 100-300/100,000, 7-day

If I had heard “new evidence suggests that spread can still be reduced with fewer restrictions, etc.” I’d have accepted it, but what they said was “the high restrictions really hurt, so we’re going to lower them.”

I agree the goalposts have moved as we learn more about this disease. For example, at first grocery stores tried to implement one-way aisles, and there was widespread concern that your grocery items may be contaminated with the virus. We learned that the primary avenue for transmission is thru the air, and tho it may be possible to get sick from surfaces, the one-way aisles have disappeared and no one has suggested grocery stores are a likely place to catch the virus (assuming current safety measures are in place like mask requirements, markers on the floor to keep people apart, etc.).

Here in California, we had a fairly severe lockdown, if that is what you want to call it, over the holidays, and that time frame saw the worst of the pandemic for this state’s hospitals, particularly in Los Angeles County. I am not sure of the lockdown prevented things from getting worse, or somehow worsened things (people opting to get together in one-another’s home rather than at an outdoor-seating restaurant). I dunno.

I think there is a conversation to be had as to what is an acceptable number of hospitalizations and deaths in order to prevent the economy from cratering. It needs to be somewhere between “no sickness!” and " let it rip!" I think “flatten the curve” to maintain some capacity at the hospitals was probably the right move early-on, but as we learn more, and see what lockdowns end-up doing to a community and society at large, it may be prudent to see if the data supports that measure, now that we have some experience.

Personally, I think there are two or maybe three competing issues going on here.

  1. The situation changes.
  2. The scientific knowledge changes.
  3. Most importantly, COVID restrictions have been politicized.

So as the rate of transmission, deaths and cases rise and fall, the restrictions in place need to be aiming a bit ahead of those as I understand it; if you’re expecting a huge burst of transmission at say… Christmas, it would have behooved the country and states to actually crack down harder ahead of time in hopes of blunting that rise. But now, with the rates falling surprisingly quickly, there’s not as much reason to crack down harder right now.

The scientific knowledge has changed- first it was no masks, then masks, and now double-masks. And lots of other stuff as well. It’s just the way it is- we’re figuring it out as we go.

But the third is the most important IMO; we have abject clowns like Greg Abbott basically putting reverse tripwires in place to remove restrictions as Texas’ case counts/hospitalizations decrease beyond a certain point. I’m sure this is to placate the reluctant mask-wearers in his constituency who want to eat in restaurants, etc… but I don’t think it’s a good idea at ll. Better to have just clamped them down and only moved them if there was a good reason, rather than have a bunch of too-little, too-late restrictions on the front side, and a bunch of too-much, too-early lifting of restrictions on the other side.

Combine that with a lack of a clear anti-COVID message from the White House until February, and you have a recipe for what looks like serious shifting sands when seen on the ground.

Oh, I think it’s about more than just eating in restaurants. Education, jobs, healthcare. How low do you want to see the case counts get before you think it’s a good idea to get those going again?

…did you just move the goalposts?

I don’t even know where the goalposts are right now.

My state changed restrictions in response to case load. Now that the numbers have dropped considerably the restrictions have been lifted.

So the goal posts didn’t move but the restrictions did as needed.

The goalposts DID move, and that’s OK. We learn more, we know more, we take new action.

My problem is that, at least in my neck of the woods, when the rules contradict the previous ones (maybe with good reason) nobody says “we were wrong in our previous assessment, the new data points out to do this.”

For example. “Flatten the curve” was the mantra for several weeks, everyone shared the same graph of cases-time with and without flattening. When that didn’t pan out, the same person who’d been saying “look at my credentials, I’m Scienceperson, believe and obey” would never say “dude, my bad, we couldn’t quite flatten the curve, this is the new approach.” It was “guess what? Two more weeks”.

And also, in my neck of the wood, Scienceperson& Friends, started to get too cozy with the government and began giving political/social opinions (suprisingly similar to the Gov’s) when they were biologists/M.D.s.

I wear a mask, wash my hands, social-distance and will get the vaccine as soon as I can, BTW.

Frankly, what I am wishing for is an utterly brutal/draconian lockdown to stamp this whole thing out. We should have done it last March or April.

Turn the entire country into North Korea for one month, then - once the problem is eradicated - tightly monitor incoming travelers.

We could have had 1/20 the infections and deaths we have now.

So if we needed to move the goalposts, we should have (and still ought to) move it in the direction of total barbed wire. One month or so.

Sure, I actually enjoyed my Covidcation last year.

Could use another few weeks off this year, paid for by my good friends at the SBA through forgiven PPP loans.

But we can’t do that. People still need to eat. People need to shop for food. People need to work in the places that sell and produce food.

We also obviously need emergency responders. We also need people to be out and about enforcing this draconian lockdown of yours.

Do you propose to just lock everyone in their homes for a month, and just let things fall as they may?

People that work at the water works and the power plants and gas utilities stay home, too?

There are a number of things we could have done to achieve that sort of result. Imitating North Korea would not be one of them.

And after a month, when it flares back up, go back to total lockdown again?

Point is, that you need quite a number of people out and about in public in order to keep everyone from simply dying in a connected society like ours.

Limiting the number of people, and instructing them on best practices is a great idea, and it will help to reduce transmission.

But, short of actually locking everyone up, including the people needed to keep the lights and water going, including healthcare workers, including the very people who would be enforcing such a lockdown, you are not going to get to zero transmission.

And that’s assuming, of course, that the people obey such orders. We had people storming state Capitols and planning on kidnapping governors over the restrictions that we did have in place. You plan on authorizing the troops (who shouldn’t be out and about in the first place to prevent transmission) to shoot anyone going for a hair appointment?

Sounds like? I mean, isn’t that actually what it would be?

Are the people who get the vaccine being punished by having to social distance and wear masks, or are they being punished by still having the threat of COVID out there in the unvaccinated population.

Those are two different frames of the issue, but it feels as though it is being framed as though it is those imposing the mask mandate as being the ones doing the punishing.

Policymakers ultimately want eradication if possible, but they have to make decisions based on what the most immediate concerns are and also based on what’s most realistic in the short-term first.

As an example, in the very early days of the pandemic, policymakers were talking about the importance of contact tracing. It’s still important, as it might help us gather data, but nobody now is thinking that contact tracing is going to have a substantial impact in terms of staying ahead of the infection.

A lot of people have assumed that vaccines would mean that life would immediately go back to normal, which is not necessarily the case. It’s entirely possible that new variants make vaccines considerably less effective in controlling the spread. Vaccines are a layer of protection; they’re not necessarily the end of the pandemic.

The second, but it feels like the first. If the unvaccinated got vaccinated* this (masks, distancing, etc) would be far less necessary, so it just gets me cranky at those who refuse to get vaccinated.

*Of course, some people have immune system problems and can’t get vaccinated. They’re going to be greatly outnumbered by the vaccine hesitant. Also, if the vaccine hesitant got vaccinated, the population would reach herd immunity, protecting those who cannot get vaccinated.

So, what is it that you want? We invent a vaccine, so before anyone has it, or before anyone has had time to develop immunity from the vaccine, let’s make everything wide open so as many people as possible can get it right before they get vaccinated and protected from it?

I’ve seen so many people express “vaccine was approved, open everything!” like they desperately want to rack up the kill count as much as possible just before we start seeing widespread protection from the vaccine, like the clock is ticking and we really need to get those deaths done before it’s too late.

FFS, the vaccine is here, we’re rolling it out, give it a few fucking months to actually protect people. Don’t race to kill as many people as you can just under the buzzer.

The attitude I was referring to (but do not follow, for the record) was regarding recommendations that even fully vaccinated and immune people continue to socially distance and wear masks.

How do you figure? Here in Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot announced yesterday that the positivity rate is the lowest since this crap started. How is that more severe?

Well, I would assume he meant the country as a whole. Right now case numbers/day are at late November numbers and about late October positivity rate. I personally think comparing today with March '20 stats isn’t meaningful here as the testing rates aren’t comparable.

I agree about the testing rates being different, so comparisons to Mar '20 aren’t particularly relevant.

However, how is the pandemic more severe in the U.S. now than it was in Oct/Nov?