On Lockdown

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ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

Well, this ends the first week of partial lifting of the shutdown in Santa Clara County. Other counties, and the State overall, are possibly on a different schedule, with Santa Clara lagging a bit due to its having both the earliest and a relatively high overall number of cases.

Driving around today, I got a glimpse of the devastation wrought by the shutdown. My estimate is that <50% of businesses which could be open actually came back. They may still re-open over time, but that seems somewhat unlikely. I'd expect any business which could open would have done so as soon as they were able.

Interestingly, some businesses which were able to stay open during the shutdown are now out of business. I saw several closed restaurants in the Ranch99 shopping center just across the street from the Apple HQ (the round one). Those businesses probably relied on the general overall business traffic from other shops in the center, and on their own could not attract enough business. One of my favorite coffee shops, which was at the rear of the complex, is one of the casualties, but I saw at least 5 restaurants that were open even 2-3 weeks ago that are now closed. Perhaps they will come back when the other stores open? Hope so.

The business parks are pretty slow. Some cars are there at the tech company lots but not that many. It seems that working from home is still the norm. The result is that traffic is very light. I actually drove down to Gilroy today to pick up an auction win from a surplus dealer, and traffic during what would have been the rush hour was zipping along at illegal speeds. On my way back the other side had turned into a parking lot, with two major accidents, and one of them on fire! I guess those illegal speeds may not be such a good idea...

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

I've gone out shopping almost every day in the past week, and I've seen a gradual increase in traffic. There is still no "rush hour" like there was before the shutdown, and many businesses are still closed, but there is definitely a sense of picking up of business activity. I may go for a longer drive tomorrow shopping for things I can't get locally, and will also look toward a few stores that I'm hoping are open but fear the worst for.

Overall I expect a sort of "shift" in business models away from those incapable of change, who were operating on tight margins and perhaps over-extending themselves, to a combination of those who had enough savings and solid fundamentals, plus those new businesses which can support current needs (PPE stores, for instance). The problem will be that it's not a quick shift, and there will be a lot of folks unemployed due to the shut down businesses who will take time to realign and find employment, but it will of course eventually happen, that's the strength of capitalism.

On a personal note, I have spoken with a few surplus stores, and they expect a plethora of new equipment to come available in next few months from companies forced to close and liquidate their inventory and capital. It's not a quick process either, but over next year I am expecting to see much more interesting equipment available. It's already happening on eBay, and prices are good due to both supply and relatively low demand as folks have not realized the sea change that's happening. One business I went to was overwhelmed with sales, and folks were lining up to pick up online surplus equipment purchases. Again, capitalism at its best...

enricosavazzi
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Re:

Post by enricosavazzi »

enricosavazzi wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:01 am
enricosavazzi wrote:...
In Sweden it is simply impossible for a private person to get tested by asking for it.
...
With reference to my earlier post, it is possible from today for private persons in Sweden to have a test for antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 (i.e. evidence that one has had Covid-19 and has recovered). The tests are given at some pharmacies (not medical facilities), I don't know how many places and whether available throughout Sweden. Cost is around 80 USD not refundable by public health insurance. Waiting time around 10 minutes.

Tests for the virus (i.e. active infection) are given only to persons displaying symptoms, after initial medical screening at hospitals.
Well, most region governments in Sweden have decided not to offer a test for antibodies for the public, in spite of the decision by the central government to offer tests starting about two weeks ago. So it is in practice still not possible for most private persons to get tested in Sweden. The regions that decided to offer tests are said to be swamped with a much larger number of requests than expected, so even in these regions there are still practical obstacles to getting tested.
--ES

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

enricosavazzi wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:31 am
Well, most region governments in Sweden have decided not to offer a test for antibodies for the public, in spite of the decision by the central government to offer tests starting about two weeks ago. So it is in practice still not possible for most private persons to get tested in Sweden. The regions that decided to offer tests are said to be swamped with a much larger number of requests than expected, so even in these regions there are still practical obstacles to getting tested.
Personally I've decided to refuse to be tested either for the virus or for its antibodies, as I don't want to be part of the inaccurate statistics, nor do I want my name on any list regarding my infection status. It would be nice to know if it could be done anonymously, but that's not possible today. If I had symptoms of CoViD-19, I would probably get tested, but even then I'd probably just self-quarantine unless the symptoms were severe. That's what folks are told to do anyway, so why do the test? Just assume the worst and act accordingly and responsibly.

It may be that the statistics would be useful in determining if an antibody test could help getting the economy running, but I only see this as useful if it is mandated by employers as a means of ensuring a safe workplace. Government mandated antibody testing, and the inevitable misuse of that information, is not a path I want to go down, as it would create new classes of people with rights determined by their antibody status. This might fly in other parts of the world, but could not be justified in the US. I expect other countries are also reluctant to do this as well, but perhaps some intrepid nation (such as Sweden maybe?) may decide to go there, and we can all watch the inevitable outcomes.

Lou Jost
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

The main benefit of taking a test is that you might discover you have it, even though you don't have symptoms. This knowledge might very well save the lives of the people you are close to.

Same with choosing to wear or not wear a mask. Wearing a mask is easy and might well save the lives of your elderly friends and relatives.

Only in the US would such simple and effective community health precautions become politicized.

And the US is paying for it with one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, along with Brazil, whose leadership has taken the same route as Trump. The EU has just banned US and Brizilian visitors (among others) for this reason.

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:49 pm
The main benefit of taking a test is that you might discover you have it, even though you don't have symptoms. This knowledge might very well save the lives of the people you are close to.

Same with choosing to wear or not wear a mask. Wearing a mask is easy and might well save the lives of your elderly friends and relatives.

Only in the US would such simple and effective community health precautions become politicized.

And the US is paying for it with one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, along with Brazil, whose leadership has taken the same route as Trump. The EU has just banned US and Brizilian visitors (among others) for this reason.
I don't believe in the "Typhoid Mary" theory of asymptomatic carriers. I know you will say "there are 436 scientific studies proving you are wrong" but I don't believe them. What I do believe is that there are many folks who have been exposed and had only mild symptoms. Those folks are not going to get tested unless it is mandated and free, and that's not going to happen any time soon. I have not personally had any symptoms whatsoever (and I don't know anyone who has...) so I see no reason to be tested other than curiosity, and you might remember what that did to the poor cat.

Next I know you will say "there are 820 studies showing that you can be contagious after exposure but before any symptoms appear". I expect this is true, at least for folks who will eventually develop CoViD-19, and for sure testing could help here, but what would be the protocol? Test every asymptomatic person every week (or whatever the minimum incubation period is) to be sure they have not been exposed? Maybe give them a pass to allow them to work and mingle in the community until their next test?

Given its contagiousness, I expect that it's inevitable that every person on Earth will eventually be exposed to one or more strains of SARS-2. Delaying the inevitable has benefits to the health system ("flatten the curve") and potentially for individuals to give time to improve their immune responses so they don't develop CoViD-19 from the exposure. Because of this, I am happily wearing my mask and social distancing in public, but until I have symptoms, I don't believe it's practical to be tested to be sure I am not pre-symptomatic or have become "CoViD Ray".

Lou Jost
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

Test every asymptomatic person every week (or whatever the minimum incubation period is) to be sure they have not been exposed?
I think everyone who wants a test should be able to get one. But my main point was that, in the absence of testing, we should wear masks, even if we are asymptomatic, to protect others, and in this I think we both now agree.

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:13 pm
Test every asymptomatic person every week (or whatever the minimum incubation period is) to be sure they have not been exposed?
I think everyone who wants a test should be able to get one. But my main point was that, in the absence of testing, we should wear masks, even if we are asymptomatic, to protect others, and in this I think we both now agree.
Yes, we agree on all those points. Testing, both active virus and antibodies, should be available for people if they want to know. As I've said before, I'd want to do both types of testing if I could do so anonymously, but most folks probably don't care if their medical histories are tracked.

Seems wearing masks is getting more emphasis today with the revival of "airborne" hypotheses. For sure I believe masks are helpful, maybe the only really helpful thing we can all do. It certainly irks me to see folks in public without masks, but I am a bit hypocritical since I wear N95's with ventilators.

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

I read the most pertinent and thoughtful quote today. I don't know who said it so I will just paraphrase:

Future historians will be asked "which Quarter of 2020 do you specialize in?"

Q1: The emergence of SARS-2
Q2: The shutdowns and their initial social and economic repercussions
Q3: So many possibilities!
Q4: The election of 2020, or ???

So far, my July-11 Electronics Swap is still "on". Crossing my fingers.

Lou Jost
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

A fascinating study of three "super-spreader" events helps reveal spreading mechanisms:
https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news ... bdc060e897

ChrisR
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ChrisR »

Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:40 pm
A fascinating study of three "super-spreader" events helps reveal spreading mechanisms:
https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news ... bdc060e897
Those are clear enough and may go some way to quieten the deniers and wishful thinkers. They show that coronaviruses do what other coronaviruses, or "'flu's" do. We knew well what happened with some of those in eg, aeroplanes. Nobody ever suggested why, qualitatively, this one should be any different.
It seemed irrational to me to expect anything else.
Chris R

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

It's an interesting group of studies, and shows that the virus is indeed extremely contagious. I caution folks to make any conclusions about other epidemiological aspects though. The studies all have a common theme that the patient-0 "showed symptoms later that night" or similar statements. This is probably based on an interview with the patient-0's after the fact, and as we all might expect, folks accused of causing a widespread infection of a deadly disease just might lie to protect themselves both from their own guilt as well as any legal ramifications from those they infected. What is more likely is that those patient-0's were feverish and coughing, but since that was still a "normal" thing when these infections occurred, and likely several folks in the groups were also coughing, no one likely took much notice.

As with so many of the studies being shared about, with nice computer graphics and thoughtful-sounding analyses, these are NOT science. The "pre-symptomatic", "super-spreader" aspect of these studies hinges on the veracity of the 3 patient-0's. I personally would tend not to believe people's claim of innocence when they are accused of something this heinous.

rjlittlefield
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

I am often intrigued to see how other people react to articles. In the article that Lou links, the messages I take away are that (1) the bug spread effectively through the air with sustained exposure in enclosed spaces, and (2) it did not spread very effectively to other people despite casual short term contact. To my eye, the article makes no point about patient-0's being either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. In one case, the article is clear that the "superspreader" did have symptoms. In the other two cases, the patient-0's had symptoms several hours later that were serious enough to send them to the hospital. The implication, to me, is that it's highly likely those patients also had symptoms, just not serious enough to keep them away from the event.

Perhaps I'm dense, but all this quibbling over "pre-symptomatic", "never did develop symptoms", or "thought it was nothing important" seems to be mostly distracting attention from the really key point: that someone can be seriously contagious even when they don't think they are.

--Rik

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:40 pm
Perhaps I'm dense, but all this quibbling over "pre-symptomatic", "never did develop symptoms", or "thought it was nothing important" seems to be mostly distracting attention from the really key point: that someone can be seriously contagious even when they don't think they are.
Yes, I don't think you understand the point. Did you read anywhere that the patient-0's didn't think they were contagious? I didn't either, though I may have missed it. I did miss that one of the spreaders did have symptoms. Only on the "bus" study did the patient claim to have symptoms, and only on that study are the words "super-spreader" used. Symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing and fever, plus perhaps other weird ancillary symptoms depending on how it was contracted, the specifics of the patient's susceptibility, etc. It's odd to me that an epidemiologiist, knowing the symptoms, would find it odd that a coughing patient would spread the virus to many others on a tightly-cramped bus, and that the term "super-spreader" would be used. It seems that it's just a case of tight quarters combined with a patient shedding a highly contagious virus.

Ultimately my point is that these studies were of events that occurred before folks were attuned to the spread of this disease. They might have thought they just had a cold or the flu (it was indeed cold and flu season at the time) and did not know they were spreading a more dangerous virus.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:00 pm
an epidemiologiist, knowing the symptoms, would find it odd that a coughing patient would spread the virus to many others on a tightly-cramped bus, and that the term "super-spreader" would be used. It seems that it's just a case of tight quarters combined with a patient shedding a highly contagious virus.
I don't understand why you write "would find it odd". I see nothing in the article to suggest that the epidemiologist was surprised. What have I missed?

As for "super-spreader", I understand that term to mean only that somebody infected way more than the average R_0 number of other people. R_0 is way less than 23, so the bus passenger looks to me like they clearly qualify. In the first case of the call center, no patient-0 was identified, only that the outbreak was highly localized among people who shared an enclosed area. In the second case of the restaurant, the patient-0 apparently infected 9 other people. That's way more than R_0, but also way less than 23, so I would not read much into either presence or absence of the label "super-spreader". Your mileage may vary, of course, and usually does.

--Rik

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