On Lockdown

This area is for the discussion of what's new, what's on your mind, and general photographic topics. A place to meet, make comments on this site, and get the latest community news.

Moderators: ChrisR, Chris S., Pau, rjlittlefield

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:04 pm
it's not going to happen that way in the US. I'm not the only American who values freedom.
Yes, I agree with you about that. All you have to do is look at the photos of that Trump rallly in Tulsa. Virtually no one wore a mask, even though masks were handed out at the door. The sad thing is that this block of people intermix with people who do everything they can to protect their friends and loved ones from getting the virus. This latter group will be infected by the maskless freedom fighters no matter what they do.
If you could somehow prove that maskless folks are infectious, then I'd agree with you. But you can't.

There indeed may have bee some folks in the crowd who were infectious. Most probably didn't know it, but some probably did. Shame on them, but those folks exist in our society and we don't seem to be willing (as a society) to figure out how to mitigate their impact. You could call them domestic terrorists I suppose. The others are simply unaware of their status, if indeed such status actually exists, and their unfortunate victims will get the virus earlier than they would have had they not chosen to go to the rally, where by the way they had to sign some sort of health waiver.

You seem to think we can protect folks from themselves, Lou, but we can't.

Lou Jost
Posts: 4525
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:03 am
Location: Ecuador
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

If you could somehow prove that maskless folks are infectious, then I'd agree with you. But you can't.
As you know, masks do reduce the probability of infecting someone.
You seem to think we can protect folks from themselves, Lou, but we can't.
I think we can do things to protect each other.

Lou Jost
Posts: 4525
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:03 am
Location: Ecuador
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

Ray, even if there were some uncertainty about the efficacy of masks, wouldn't it be worth wearing one if there was a reasonable chance that it might slow the spread of the virus, thus avoiding another shutdown?

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 20975
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:06 pm
rjlittlefield wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:38 pm
ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:10 pm
Freedom is more important than security.
My grandpa used to say that "One man's freedom to swing his fists around ends at the other man's nose."
I hate strawmen such as this. I'm not advocating freedom to inflict harm. If you know you are contagious, and you go out into the world without a mask, you are liable for any injuries you cause. Let's go back to the core principle of freedom: you can do anything you want as long as it is not illegal or intentionally causes others harm. If you have a fever, or a cough, or have tested positive, or know you have been in contact recently with someone who has tested positive, then if you go out without a mask, you should be held accountable. This is basic stuff, and it's hard for me to imagine why it's so difficult for folks to understand.
Let me suggest that you hate simple summaries like the fist and nose, because you don't really have a coherent response. In the case of public smoking, you know as well as I do that it would be impossible to ever trace lung damage to any specific offender. So, as a matter of practice, the phrase "you are liable for any injuries you cause" would be carte blanche to smoke wherever and whenever the smoker wanted to. As it happens, the citizens of Washington decided we were tired of that, so we passed a law that made it illegal. You've repeatedly said "as long as it is not illegal", so maybe you're fine with our anti-smoking law. But then I note that Washington's mask regulations are rooted in laws that were put in place by elected officials, with the approval of the people, specifically to handle situations that could not have been predicted in detail when the laws were made. I expect this is the case in other states as well. There may be valid constitutional arguments against those regs, but if so then that's for the courts to decide. Deciding it on the street is called "putting oneself above the law", and while I agree that it's a popular activity, I also believe in calling a spade a spade.
This is basic stuff, and it's hard for me to imagine why it's so difficult for folks to understand.
With respect, even basic stuff has nuance that is worth considering. To inject some levity, I note that one of the cases on the Washington State Supreme Court docket for 2020 essentially asked the court to decide whether a snowmobile was or was not a "motor vehicle". Why? Because the complainant had stolen one, had been charged and convicted of "theft of a motor vehicle", and was trying to get off on grounds that it wasn't that, as defined by state law. Sound amusing? The ruling went against the complainant, but the vote was 5-4, with the majority opinion running 14 pages and the dissent another 7. You can read it HERE.

I sympathize with your difficulty in imagining. But in my view that difficulty says far more about your imagination than our understanding. It seems that we see some shades of gray that you do not.

--Rik

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:24 pm
If you could somehow prove that maskless folks are infectious, then I'd agree with you. But you can't.
As you know, masks do reduce the probability of infecting someone.
You seem to think we can protect folks from themselves, Lou, but we can't.
I think we can do things to protect each other.
I agree, Lou. I wear masks when in public, and not because it is mandated by the governor's illegal "order". Even though I don't believe I am contagious, I don't want to be responsible for making someone sick. A lot of people feel that way, but a lot of people don't, and IMO we need to respect the rights of those who don't want to wear masks when they are not sick.

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:07 pm
so maybe you're fine with our anti-smoking law.
Yes, I am fine with the anti-smoking laws in place across the country. It's been proven that secondhand smoke is a killer, and indeed it is annoying. I'd personally feel OK with the laws just for the annoyance factor, but annoyance is not a good enough justification to eliminate someones freedom to smoke.

As you know, forcing folks to wear masks is a very different thing than banning folks from smoking.

rjlittlefield wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:07 pm

I sympathize with your difficulty in imagining. But in my view that difficulty says far more about your imagination than our understanding. It seems that we see some shades of gray that you do not.
Perhaps so. I have not agreed with a few recent SCOTUS findings, though of course each ruling is of a real case, like you described with the snowmobile. "The Devil is in the details". When SCOTUS is unanimous or nearly so, I generally trust that the case was clear. When there is a 5-4 ruling, I worry greatly. Usually the 5 have their black and white, and the 4 see it as white and black. There is not usually much gray. I'm hoping you don't see gray, Rik, as that is a sign of being unprincipled and I don't think that describes you.

kaleun96
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: On Lockdown

Post by kaleun96 »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:45 pm
IMO we need to respect the rights of those who don't want to wear masks when they are not sick.
If we could only make sick people wear masks I'm sure that would go a long way to curbing the spread but of course the problem is that we can't and don't know across the entire US who is sick and who is not at a given point in time. It really does draw strong parallels with the anti-smoking laws in public places.
It's been proven that secondhand smoke is a killer, and indeed it is annoying.
It's been proven that coronavirus is a killer, and indeed it is annoying.
As you know, forcing folks to wear masks is a very different thing than banning folks from smoking.
Is there a point at which you would support mandatory mask wearing? Perhaps if the R0 or mortality rate was higher?

I get the impression that those holding the "but my freedom" point of view would rather see a (hypothetical) virus wipe out the entire US as we know it with everyone's freedoms intact, rather than see the government impose a scientifically recommended order requiring everyone to wear a mask in public spaces.

It's perhaps an admirable value to defend so staunchly yet seems incompatible with survival in a situation where a government needs a coordinated response across the entire population.
- Cam

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

kaleun96 wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:22 am
ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:45 pm
IMO we need to respect the rights of those who don't want to wear masks when they are not sick.
If we could only make sick people wear masks I'm sure that would go a long way to curbing the spread but of course the problem is that we can't and don't know across the entire US who is sick and who is not at a given point in time. It really does draw strong parallels with the anti-smoking laws in public places.
It's been proven that secondhand smoke is a killer, and indeed it is annoying.
It's been proven that coronavirus is a killer, and indeed it is annoying.
As you know, forcing folks to wear masks is a very different thing than banning folks from smoking.
Is there a point at which you would support mandatory mask wearing? Perhaps if the R0 or mortality rate was higher?

I get the impression that those holding the "but my freedom" point of view would rather see a (hypothetical) virus wipe out the entire US as we know it with everyone's freedoms intact, rather than see the government impose a scientifically recommended order requiring everyone to wear a mask in public spaces.

It's perhaps an admirable value to defend so staunchly yet seems incompatible with survival in a situation where a government needs a coordinated response across the entire population.
Of course there is a threshold where more drastic measures are temporarily acceptable. This virus has a fatality rate somewhat higher than a bad seasonal flu, with higher repro, so it seemed (based on the models) that it would heavily front-load and cause system overload. That was sufficient in most people's minds (including my own) to implement mandatory mitigation measures. But once that initial wave died down, we should have returned to more normal routine, with a few modifications. Wearing of masks in public spaces is one of those modifications I support, though I am a bit hazy on the efficacy of social distancing in combination. Hand washing is always recommended so that's a good thing.

The question isn't "should" we wear masks, but for "how long". If the virus continues to mutate like other CoVs, and antibodies only survive a short time, then indeed we may need to protect each other for a very long time.

Lou Jost
Posts: 4525
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:03 am
Location: Ecuador
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

The question isn't "should" we wear masks, but for "how long". If the virus continues to mutate like other CoVs, and antibodies only survive a short time, then indeed we may need to protect each other for a very long time.
Certainly agree.

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 20975
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:07 pm
I'm hoping you don't see gray, Rik, as that is a sign of being unprincipled and I don't think that describes you.
I am very dedicated to the principle that "there are tradeoffs". I see gray almost everywhere. When I don't, I take that as an indication that I should look harder.

I apologize if my principles worry you. Perhaps you will be reassured to hear that the concern cuts both ways. I am relieved to see the word "threshold" appear recently in your own writings.
As you know, forcing folks to wear masks is a very different thing than banning folks from smoking.
I agree that it's different. But which direction is not clear to me. With COVID we're looking at ballpark 1% infection fatality rate. Maybe it's 0.5%. It is almost certainly not less than 0.25%, because that is the observed whole population mortality rate for NYC, year-to-date. It seems quite possible to me that the statistically expected damage from COVID, due to encountering a single unmasked individual of unknown infection status, exceeds the expected damage from second-hand smoke from an individual smoker. If that's the case, then requiring the mask is even more justified than the no-smoking rule.

--Rik

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:57 am
ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:07 pm
I'm hoping you don't see gray, Rik, as that is a sign of being unprincipled and I don't think that describes you.
I am very dedicated to the principle that "there are tradeoffs". I see gray almost everywhere. When I don't, I take that as an indication that I should look harder.

I apologize if my principles worry you. Perhaps you will be reassured to hear that the concern cuts both ways. I am relieved to see the word "threshold" appear recently in your own writings.
As you know, forcing folks to wear masks is a very different thing than banning folks from smoking.
I agree that it's different. But which direction is not clear to me. With COVID we're looking at ballpark 1% infection fatality rate. Maybe it's 0.5%. It is almost certainly not less than 0.25%, because that is the observed whole population mortality rate for NYC, year-to-date. It seems quite possible to me that the statistically expected damage from COVID, due to encountering a single unmasked individual of unknown infection status, exceeds the expected damage from second-hand smoke from an individual smoker. If that's the case, then requiring the mask is even more justified than the no-smoking rule.

--Rik
I never stated that your principles worry me, Rik. We are possibly on opposite sides of things in some ways, but I have respect for folks on all sides as long as their principles are solid. That is the basis of political discourse, and while it causes arguments and worse, it is human nature to disagree.

I am certainly worried that you have concern with my principles, however. Conservatives are under fire in this country, and I'm not happy that I seem to be under fire in this forum, from an admin no less. Shall I take that as an official position, that those with conservative principles are not welcome in this forum?

The no-smoking analogy continues to baffle me. I think the problem is that unlike folks who are blowing smoke into the air, we can't so easily identify folks who are blowing virus into the air. So where it is easy to outlaw smoking since it is verifiable, it's not so easy to outlaw virus blowing.

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Here's another investigative report from the same news agency that uncovered the under-reporting of negatives in Florida. Apparently no matter how people die, as long as they test positive for the virus, they are listed as having died from it. I'd read this in other reports as well but this one is the most blatant IMO: https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/fox-3 ... d-19-death

I've often wondered if you looked at other death statistics, would we see a dip during the time of the virus? I've heard this is the case but I don't have the data. Some of any drop could be attributed to the shutdowns, such that other contagious diseases like the flu might have been suppressed.

kaleun96
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: On Lockdown

Post by kaleun96 »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:31 am
Here's another investigative report from the same news agency that uncovered the under-reporting of negatives in Florida. Apparently no matter how people die, as long as they test positive for the virus, they are listed as having died from it. I'd read this in other reports as well but this one is the most blatant IMO: https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/fox-3 ... d-19-death

I've often wondered if you looked at other death statistics, would we see a dip during the time of the virus? I've heard this is the case but I don't have the data. Some of any drop could be attributed to the shutdowns, such that other contagious diseases like the flu might have been suppressed.
It's worth restating that the exact number is less important than the general trends and patterns in the data. As long as the reporting is consistent or corrected for (e.g. if one state includes "probables" in their death tally and another state doesn't), it's much more important to know whether this week's tally is higher than last week's rather than whether the death tally is partially inflated.

At the end of all of this, a lot of the death statistics are going to be corrected for using historical death rates for each country, region, city etc. It's only then that we will have a true picture of how many lives were lost primarily due to COVID-19 and the impact it had on the health sector (e.g. indirect deaths). This has already been done to some degree, e.g. here's a study I just pulled from Google.

This quote from the article reinforces my point: "We were arguing, [...] Not because of the numbers -- it’s 100…it doesn’t make any difference if it's 99 --". It's not important at this time whether the true number is 100 or 99 or that this death was included, what is important is that this reporting is consistent. If it is not consistent, they will still be able to find an estimate after the fact by comparing excess mortality rates.

So unless everyone with COVID-19 starts dying of something else at an unusually high rate (or the opposite), officials won't be able to hide behind small inaccuracies when it comes to having to account for their response to the virus.
- Cam

ray_parkhurst
Posts: 2726
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

kaleun96 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:53 am
...
At the end of all of this, a lot of the death statistics are going to be corrected for using historical death rates for each country, region, city etc. It's only then that we will have a true picture of how many lives were lost primarily due to COVID-19 and the impact it had on the health sector (e.g. indirect deaths). This has already been done to some degree, e.g. here's a study I just pulled from Google.
...
This quote from the article reinforces my point: "We were arguing, [...] Not because of the numbers -- it’s 100…it doesn’t make any difference if it's 99 --". It's not important at this time whether the true number is 100 or 99 or that this death was included, what is important is that this reporting is consistent. If it is not consistent, they will still be able to find an estimate after the fact by comparing excess mortality rates.
I agree with this overall assessment, but indeed we don't know the actual overcounting number. It will only be known later if someone cares enough to go back and dig, which is going to be a huge job. I suppose the question really is who ordered officials to count every death that is even suspected of having any relation to the virus to be counted as a virus death, and why? In the early days in China, the opposite was done. Testing was limited, and only deaths which were pre-confirmed by test were counted. Many virus deaths were counted as "pneumonia" or as "heart failure". In the US, if someone dies of a heart attack, it is blamed on the virus even if it was only suspected the patient was positive. Thus in China there was a significant under-count, while in the US there is a potentially significant over-count.

I guess this will be sorted out by those historians who will specialize in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. If we're lucky those who will specialize in the 3rd Quarter of 2020 will be able to focus on something as mundane as the lead-up to the 2020 election!

kaleun96
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: On Lockdown

Post by kaleun96 »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:59 am
but indeed we don't know the actual overcounting number.
But as I say, it's not really important at this time. Whether it's 5% or 10% of the total doesn't change the fact that some states are doing far worse this month than they were last month. It will inflate the mortality rate for those that count in this fashion but given the diverse methods for recording COVID-19 statistics across the globe we're going to end up with an average that's probably a close approximation.
ray_parkhurst wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:59 am
I suppose the question really is who ordered officials to count every death that is even suspected of having any relation to the virus to be counted as a virus death, and why? In the early days in China, the opposite was done. Testing was limited, and only deaths which were pre-confirmed by test were counted. Many virus deaths were counted as "pneumonia" or as "heart failure". In the US, if someone dies of a heart attack, it is blamed on the virus even if it was only suspected the patient was positive. Thus in China there was a significant under-count, while in the US there is a potentially significant over-count.

I guess this will be sorted out by those historians who will specialize in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. If we're lucky those who will specialize in the 3rd Quarter of 2020 will be able to focus on something as mundane as the lead-up to the 2020 election!
It's probably a "better safe than sorry" approach and I know NZ took a similar approach. Instead of counting only confirmed cases of patients with COVID-19, they counted and reported the confirmed plus probable. Probably because it was known that most probables end up as confirmed and given a consistent methodology the number of probables is going to be a leading indicator of confirmed cases. It's better if you see signs of an increasing infection rate sooner rather than later and it's already known that the reported confirmed cases is only a fraction of the actual number of infected so it's not like it would be inflating the true number.

Another reason is that it would be incredibly difficult to ascertain the exact effect of COVID-19 on the deaths of each individual patient. One option, which a few countries initially took, was to only report "hospital deaths" where patients were being treated for COVID-19. Later on, they started including death totals from other facilities (e.g. rest homes). There were also reports of some people dying in hospitals without ever having been tested for COVID-19. The smartest and safest approach is to count all deaths where COVID-19 was confirmed as this is going to give the most accurate, consistent, and useful data for responding to the epidemic. It will be much easier to adjust-down that total later on given the expected mortality rates for that month than to try and adjust-up several months later when all the deceased are long buried or cremated and tests for COVID-19 are not possible nor feasible.

I think it will primarily be biostatisticians and epidemiologists rather than historians sorting out all of this out in the end though. I really look forward to what they will find, it will definitely help inform governments to come when a similar crisis occurs. Though if a government already chooses to ignore scientific advice and pretend the problem will disappear overnight then no research in the world can fix those problems.
- Cam

Locked Previous topicNext topic