On Lockdown

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rjlittlefield
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:27 pm
But I can't find any non-politicized data or information that I can trust. I feel like we're in the "fog of war" at the moment. Does anyone have any real information they can share? I mean real, verifiable, objective info?
I'm curious to know what sort of data or information you would trust.

Just now I made a quick query to Google on covid cases deaths database us . It returned a first page with links to cdc.gov, ourworldindata.org, jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University), worldometers.info, and nytimes.com . Again on quick scan, those sources look consistent with each other to within rounding error, and for the numbers at my own state and local level, they match up with what I'm seeing in other state and local sources.

On a day-to-day basis, I use the summary at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... cases.html . That provides US-level summaries and also permits drilling down to state and county level if desired. Near the bottom of the long page is a table of links for states and other countries. Below that is the list of 116 named people who contributed to the page contents.

Can the data be wrong? Sure. There are over 3000 counties in the US, and each of those has multiple testing sites and multiple hospitals, with "countless" doctors deciding on cause of death and "countless" technicians doing the data entry. (Note: I'm using "countless" here in the same sense as Fox News: I haven't made any attempt to count, but I want to imply that the unknown number is large.)

But if the data is wrong, how do you propose to get better data?

It is an unfortunate fact of life, and I'll speak solely about myself for a moment, that virtually everything I believe is something that was told to me by somebody else. There are a very few areas -- mostly in physical sciences -- where I am both skilled and interested enough to make a small number of observations for myself. But even in those regimes, most of what I believe eventually traces to some book or article that was written by somebody else.

As a result, it is completely unavoidable that what I believe is intimately tied to who I believe, convolved with some personal set of biases about prior and conditional probabilities -- that is, "what makes sense" -- and who knows where those come from?

In a moment of hubris, I happen to believe that this awkward state of dependency is true not only for me, but also for every other human.

So I will now rephrase my sorry state: it is completely unavoidable that what you believe is intimately tied to who you believe, convolved with some personal set of biases about what "makes sense".

That might be no problem if you and I agreed on who to believe, and had similar biases about what makes sense. But we've already seen that you put great stock in some things that I think would be better labeled "parody" or "fantasy", and when I first mentioned "New York Times" a couple of months ago, your immediate response was "probably also suspect (as is anything from the NYT)". So, it's challenging to find common ground.

Adding to my confusion, you complained about one of Lou's sources that "It is just data, with no information." With respect, "information" is just data with some interpretation imposed on it. So to trust the information, you have to trust that both the data and the analysis are correct, or at least that whatever flaws there are in the data have been properly factored into the analysis of it. Again with respect, I think your analysis process is not nearly as structured, objective, and reliable as you seem to think it is.

Let me try to be clear that I agree with a lot of your points. I'm not at all sure that shutting down almost all businesses is the best way to proceed. I have a lot of sympathy for the writer in the local paper who said that we should just "open everything up again and let the chips fall where they may". That said, the way I read the data strongly suggests that the cost of that approach would be ballpark 1% total mortality, and I don't hear any general enthusiasm for knowledgeably accepting that as a short-term cost.

So that leaves us where? As far as I can tell, it leaves us with trying to dynamically manage our workplaces and personal habits so as to keep the reproduction number averaging right at 1. If it's consistently higher, then the infection rate grows and we overwhelm the medical community. If it's consistently lower then the infection rate shrinks and we relax because "we've won!" The problem right now is that the recent reproduction rate seems to have been consistently a lot higher than 1.

I apologize for spending so many words. I wish that short simple summaries were sufficient.

--Rik

Lou Jost
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

I don't care about what other countries are doing, Lou. They have different laws and can do things differently than we can, and that's not to say they can do them better.
You ask for data, you want reliable information about what is the best course of action, but then you say you don't care to look at the experiments of other nations. Ae you sure about that?

You have said that increasing death rates are inevitable during a restart, but here again, the data from other countries prove that this is not the case. Other countries do provide useful data and useful context. Other countries are succeeding where your country is failing. You should want to look at why that is.

About the constitution: I'm no lawyer but I think states do have the power to regulate anti-social behavior. Not wearing a mask in public is now anti-social behavior. It is worse than smoking in public. Many states now closely regulate where you can blow smoke into public places. I think they can and should also regulate where you can spew potentially deadly aerosols in public spaces.

Finally, I just saw on the news that the Trump administration, which has consistently and deliberately spread misinformation throughout this process, has now taken control of the information streams from hospitals, apparently forbidding hospitals rom sending their data to the CDC which had previously been in charge of data collection. (This is breaking news so it needs confirmation.) The administration is trying to move the data out from the control of scientists and bring it under the control of highly partisan politicians who have a track record for dishonesty. If you were afraid of data manipulation before, you should be terrified of it now.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

Lou Jost wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:21 pm
Many states now closely regulate where you can blow smoke into public places. I think they can and should also regulate where you can spew potentially deadly aerosols in public spaces.
I do not disagree. The trouble is that as a practical matter, getting those laws in place is challenging and time consuming, and enforcement of individual behavior is notoriously difficult. The phrase "herding cats" is not nearly strong enough to describe Americans who feel their liberties are being encroached.

Here in Washington State, the state-level action has been to impose "no mask, no service" as a requirement on businesses, enforceable if necessary through the mechanisms for business regulation. That seems to be working pretty effectively. The latest field study by local health department counted 95% of customers wearing masks, on exit from assorted grocery stories. I've only been shopping once since that regulation went into effect, and at the one store and time I went, I saw no violations. At last count, I'm in the third of three counties still stuck at the lowest level of re-opening, due to high case rates and previously low compliance with recommendations. I'm hoping that people have finally caught on.

--Rik

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

Rik, I am glad to hear that in some states at least, most people are acting sensibly and responsibly.

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Smokedaddy wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:38 pm
Not that it's relevant but Intel Fab 42 has been going strong here in Chandler Az., 6-10's+ has been pretty typical for the last year but work is slowing down but not because of COVID.
I'd think that a semiconductor fab is one of the safest places to work in a pandemic. Maybe a Level-4 biohazard facility would be better, but the bunny suits and hepa filtering has got to be pretty effective. Not much fun IMO but safe.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:21 pm
You ask for data, you want reliable information about what is the best course of action, but then you say you don't care to look at the experiments of other nations. Ae you sure about that?

You have said that increasing death rates are inevitable during a restart, but here again, the data from other countries prove that this is not the case. Other countries do provide useful data and useful context. Other countries are succeeding where your country is failing. You should want to look at why that is.
...
Finally, I just saw on the news that the Trump administration... has now taken control of the information streams from hospitals, apparently forbidding hospitals rom sending their data to the CDC which had previously been in charge of data collection. (This is breaking news so it needs confirmation.)...If you were afraid of data manipulation before, you should be terrified of it now.
Yes, I am sure that I don't care what other nations are doing. The US implemented a broad range of responses, and had a broad range of outbreak intensities, so I think all the data needed exists right here. However, I'd be curious to see data (even untrustworthy data) from other countries which shows a continuing decrease in cases and deaths after a shutdown is lifted. I have not seen such data. Can you point me to your source?

I suppose the one thing that looking at other countries would be useful for is if there was some data comparing the different strains of the virus. That said, at this point I'm pretty sure that most strains have likely made it to our US shores, so my original statement still holds.

Regarding the data being filtered through the political administration, for sure this is a problem. The CDC is actually a part of the administration as well, so it seems it would be better to simply better-regulate the CDC rather than bypass it completely.

Note that I removed your political statements from my response...
rjlittlefield wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:53 pm
I'm curious to know what sort of data or information you would trust.
At this point, I do not trust any data coming from any source related to this pandemic, or any models or conclusions based on that data. The data has been bad from the very beginning, and whether it's simply incompetence, or malice, or politics, or some combination of factors, we continue to be shown bad data from which bad conclusions are made. The situation was already bad, but literally just after I posted my complaint, the bad positivity data was exposed! We are truly in the fog of war.

I do appreciate your long and thoughtful discussion.
rjlittlefield wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:18 pm
Here in Washington State, the state-level action has been to impose "no mask, no service" as a requirement on businesses, enforceable if necessary through the mechanisms for business regulation. That seems to be working pretty effectively. The latest field study by local health department counted 95% of customers wearing masks, on exit from assorted grocery stories. I've only been shopping once since that regulation went into effect, and at the one store and time I went, I saw no violations.
While I am fully in agreement with the "no mask, no service" approach (plus entry temperature checks), I am not so sure that it can be legally regulated either at the State or Federal level. One of the basic principles of a free society is that the government cannot force you to do something you don't want to do. Laws and regulations can limit your ability to do things, and those limits can be contingent on your doing other things, but the limitations cannot generally be of things necessary for living. So, the government can't say "you must wear a mask at work or you won't be allowed to work", nor can it say "you must wear a mask when you go to a grocery store or you won't be allowed to shop for food". Some locales have indeed imposed these restrictions, and people are generally complying, but I don't think they would hold up in court.

Lou Jost
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

One of the basic principles of a free society is that the government cannot force you to do something you don't want to do.
This is not true. Governments everywhere balance the rights of the individual to do what they want versus the general well-being of society. State and local governments have explicit rights to do this. I gave the example of smoking in public, which is regulated at various levels.

Edit: I now see your distinction about forbidding things that are necessary for life. Not sure about that...If your coming to work without a mask puts all your coworkers at risk of dying, I think governments have the authority to prohibit you from doing that.
I'd be curious to see data (even untrustworthy data) from other countries which shows a continuing decrease in cases and deaths after a shutdown is lifted. I have not seen such data. Can you point me to your source?
Compare the last graph (new deaths per day) for each of these:
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/florida/
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavir ... alifornia/

versus these, where shutdowns have also been partially lifted as far as I know:
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavir ... ry/france/
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavir ... y/germany/
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-york/
Note that I removed your political statements from my response...
Objective facts are not political. Denying them is. Anyone can go back and look at Trump's and Pence's false statements about this, repeated many times even after they had been corrected by the facts. You've agreed earlier that Trump lies often.
Last edited by Lou Jost on Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:47 am, edited 3 times in total.

Smokedaddy
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Smokedaddy »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:58 am
Smokedaddy wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:38 pm
Not that it's relevant but Intel Fab 42 has been going strong here in Chandler Az., 6-10's+ has been pretty typical for the last year but work is slowing down but not because of COVID.
I'd think that a semiconductor fab is one of the safest places to work in a pandemic. Maybe a Level-4 biohazard facility would be better, but the bunny suits and hepa filtering has got to be pretty effective. Not much fun IMO but safe.
To be honest I'm not sure. It probably one of the safest airborne particles wise (.5um and larger) considering the particle count requirements but that would also depend on what class clean room area you're working in. Air exchange/flow is huge of course. On the construction side they're just given a simple 3 layer surgical mask along with their gowning protocol. There are many more dangerous gases and chemicals to worry about than COVID, especially on the construction side. On another note, I was quite surprised how well made clean room gowns are from a particle stoppage perspective although maybe I shouldn't be coming from that field.

https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-wVzqDd/i-bmbsk9D/A

-JW:

ray_parkhurst
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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:42 am
One of the basic principles of a free society is that the government cannot force you to do something you don't want to do.
This is not true. Governments everywhere balance the rights of the individual to do what they want versus the general well-being of society. State and local governments have explicit rights to do this. I gave the example of smoking in public, which is regulated at various levels.
Smoking is an example of government forbidding something.

It is indeed true that the US governments can't force you to do anything. There are emergency situations of course where you must follow police instructions, but that's something very different than what we're discussing here.

The core principle of liberty and a free society is that you can do anything you want as long as it's not specifically forbidden by law, or does intentional harm to another.
Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:42 am
Edit: I now see your distinction about forbidding things that are necessary for life. Not sure about that...If your coming to work without a mask puts all your coworkers at risk of dying, I think governments have the authority to prohibit you from doing that.
Only way I can see that being the case is if you knew you were contagious based on test results, and intentionally went to work or a store without a mask. That would be illegal.

Be careful about how you look at this. You say "authority to prohibit you from [coming to work without a mask]", which is a double negative. What you're really saying is authority to force you to wear a mask when at work.
Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:42 am
Compare the last graph (new deaths per day) for each of these:

versus these, where shutdowns have also been partially lifted as far as I know:
I'm not sure about the timing of the reopenings in those countries, but indeed those graphs look good. I suppose all I could say is that the protests were a bad idea from an epidemiological perspective. But hopefully they will be just a blip and nothing to worry about.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

I suppose all I could say is that the protests were a bad idea from an epidemiological perspective.
In fact most protestors wore masks, and the surge is, for the most part, not traceable to the protests, though there is much uncertainty:
https://www.nber.org/papers/w27408.pdf
https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing ... 6/protests
https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2 ... 361712002/
Note that the first link above is based on research partly financed by the libertarian Charles Koch Foundation.

For my own sanity I have to stop posting on this thread.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:58 am
One of the basic principles of a free society is that the government cannot force you to do something you don't want to do. Laws and regulations can limit your ability to do things, and those limits can be contingent on your doing other things, but the limitations cannot generally be of things necessary for living. So, the government can't say "you must wear a mask at work or you won't be allowed to work", nor can it say "you must wear a mask when you go to a grocery store or you won't be allowed to shop for food".
Again I'm confused.

The last I checked, the government says that I must wear clothes whenever I'm in public. I do not hear widespread protests against that rule.

What is the fundamental difference between wearing clothes and wearing a mask?

--Rik

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:02 pm
The last I checked, the government says that I must wear clothes whenever I'm in public. I do not hear widespread protests against that rule.

What is the fundamental difference between wearing clothes and wearing a mask?
No, the government does not mandate you have to wear clothes, Rik. There are laws against exposing certain body parts, but again this is something that is forbidden, not forced. You can go out in public with a coconut over your privates, and nothing else, and it's perfectly legal in most locales. It's your choice how to cover up.

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by Lou Jost »

That's sophistry Ray. You are required to wear something (it can be a coconut). No different in principle than a requirement to wear a mask (can be home made or nice, just like coconuts vs Fruit of the Loom).)

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Lou Jost wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:50 pm
That's sophistry Ray. You are required to wear something (it can be a coconut). No different in principle than a requirement to wear a mask (can be home made or nice, just like coconuts vs Fruit of the Loom).)
Not sophistry, just the principle of freedom. You could cover yourself with your hands if you want.

edited to add: an actual law might be that "it is illegal to expel air from your mouth or nose such that it can escape into the surrounding airspace unimpeded."

further edit: the above law could be followed by covering your mouth and nose with your hand. That might even work to minimize the spread of the virus!

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Re: On Lockdown

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:54 pm
edited to add: an actual law might be that "it is illegal to expel air from your mouth or nose such that it can escape into the surrounding airspace unimpeded."
If the law were written by somebody who was careful about what they were doing, it would specify the functional characteristics of the filtering mechanism, and for convenience of enforcement, would also list some specific examples of mechanisms that, in the absence of other evidence, would be legally presumed to either meet or not meet the requirements. Sleeves, handkerchiefs, and fingers would fall in the latter category. If somebody can demonstrate that their fingers are the functional equivalent of several layers of cotton fabric, and that they were using them consistently in that manner, then of course they should be permitted to do that.

--Rik

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