> But covid-19 and the extreme social-distancing measures used to combat it pose a new and more profound danger to the capital
I feel that during lockdown a fair few people have turned mildly insane - they seem to honestly believe that we're going to stand very far apart from other humans for the rest of time.
It's just not the case. I'll be in the pub by the end of the year.
I returned a bike yesterday in North Beach (SF) and people were crowded together. Maybe half of the people were wearing masks. There was a 4 piece street band walking around playing brass instruments like it was a carnival.
That's an aspect of the universal 6-foot rule that everyone seems to forget. It originally appeared as advice for business (restaurants). You don't want to sit too close to someone else in still air. But if we are spitting, singing, shouting, coughing, panting, playing in a Jazz band, or are simply downwind of someone, that 6-foot distance is probably not enough. Airlines have basically said as much about their cabins. If the air is being circulated artificially in a closed environment, specific measured distances are probably irrelevant.
I do appreciate that public health authorities have to make clear and simple recommendations to avoid confusing people. But let's not pretend there is anything scientific about it.
If you walk into the space previously breathed in by an infected person (or even if you just stand a couple of metres away from them) you will still indeed be breathing some infected droplets, but far less than if you stood closer to them. The result is not just that you chance of being infected is less, but that it is disproportionately less. This is born out in the observed consequences of social distancing in many countries. It's pointless to dispute it.
Forgive me for being presumptuous, but I suspect that this isn't really the point of your comment or the main reason for your view. I suspect that you think social distancing is a bad policy even if it does prevent infection. So I suggest against tacking on "oh and by the way it doesn't really prevent infection anyway", which is obviously not true; you're only weakening your credibility which undermines your main point.
I take your point that there will be economic paint - but I think you're being a bit hyperbolic about "tearing society apart" and "resulting in far more deaths and misery". This is the sort of rhetoric that Trump has been using - whilst I agree in principle there is economic pain - please don't treat people's lives as meaningless, or that the almighty dollar is all that matters. It's the job of governments to guide the country through these crises - this is where government stimulus and spending should be used - not just letting people die needlessly.
COVID-19 is a new and novel disease that's highly spreadable, has no known vaccine, and is killing an unprecedented number of people.
And we're not just talking about yourself - perhaps you're young/healthy and are prepared to contract COVID-19 and roll the dice.
However, those around you - family, or friends - may not be so lucky, or it could be a potentially life-threatening condition. Please think about people around you.
The US death toll is nearly 100,000....
That is absolutely heartbreaking.
That is over 30x the death toll from the 9/11 plane attacks - and look what lengths the government went to combat that?
I just got my second COVID-19 test (fortunately came back negative) - my parents (who are older and vulnerable) are paranoid I'll give it to them. So when I got a sore throat, I went to get the test. And a few weeks back, my son had a cough, so I got myself tested.
Our government (Australia) is encouraging people with any symptoms to get tested - and I think that's a good thing, towards eradicating this illness.
But to your point about the economy, we are seeing unprecedented damage to the worldwide economy from the shutdowns. It's not the virus that's doing this. It's the shutdowns. 40 million people are unemployed in the U.S. alone and rising, rapidly. This is unsustainable. The economy has to function or everything falls apart. And a big part of that functioning is travel and tourism and restaurants and it creates value and moves trade along. It's very important to re-establish those things.
Much of those deaths are in nursing homes with extremely vulnerable populations. I think its a tragic shame that many of these outbreaks occurred especially in nursing homes all over the northeast (NY, NJ, PA, CT, etc). However, once a patient gets moved to a nursing home, the average length they live is about 1 year. We can make nursing homes cleaner and safer and we should probably get those patients outside a bit more, but there's also only so much that can be done for people in the last months of their life.
There have been many more virulent and many more destructive diseases than this one. Malaria in particular has been so destructive over thousands of years that it has modified human populations, forcing observable natural selection for traits such as sickle-cell anemia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_malaria
And in many developing countries, there are tragically many deaths caused by poor sanitation or healthcare.
However, this is a disease that has - even with incredibly draconian lockdowns and a global effort from every country to combat it - tragically killed nearly 350,000 people in a matter of months. And this is often in countries with state of the art healthcare systems, and every effort made to keep those people alive.
And as another commenter pointed out, this is often in countries not used to such scale of health disasters, as they have healthcare and good sanitation. Ironically, I read that things like air travel and holidays actually worsened illnesses like this.
Imagine if we'd simply let the diseases run its course.
The thing that baffles me is the US - advanced Western nation - with a death toll of nearly 100,000 people. How is that even possible?
I am hoping we've seen the worst of it.
AIDS has killed around 34 million people since 1981.
That's on average 100k deaths per year since 1981.
Right now we are in our first quarter of covid19 and the official death count is at 340k.
So I suppose somewhat like the situation in the US with COVID-19 today.
"On Saturday, June 17, 1916, an official announcement of the existence of an epidemic polio infection was made in Brooklyn, New York. That year, there were over 27,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths due to polio in the United States, with over 2,000 deaths in New York City alone. The names and addresses of individuals with confirmed polio cases were published daily in the press, their houses were identified with placards, and their families were quarantined."
Measles too. These are diseases that hit the western world, the rich countries, killed thousands, in living memory. They causes panic. They caused quarantines. They caused social change. Polio lead directly to the disability rights movement. Wheelchair ramps as mandatory in all buildings: that's from polio.
it doesn't mean you won't get it outside that radius or that you will get it inside that radius, just that the opportunity to catch it is increased or decreased based on distance.
Such data is much harder to collect after an infection has become endemic, but early contact tracing can provide great data.
You can easily smell cigar smoke at 10 meters but you are ver unlikely to get infected at the same distance, current estimates put it to 4 meters in hospital settings.
Also,the amount of virus you receive matters, and distance decreases it.
The smoke analogy is not perfect, as it's composition is less moist, but it is closer to the truth than the '6 foot' model that was itself already a compromise between the now accepted as disproved macro fluid projectile model and economic concerns.
"The particles in tobacco smoke are liquid aerosol droplets (~ 20% water), ..."
So, sharing a room with someone sick probably gives you a high chance of encountering the virus, but outdoors one hopes the concentrations would be so low that our bodies can fight it off.
And if you're wearing a mask and can still smell cigarette smoke, then surely it means that mask would let the virus particles through as well.
And what you say isn't even true. Plenty of healthy young people get very very sick. The percentages are lower than for older and/or less healthy people, but the numbers are still significant.
Don't think you're invulnerable, cause you're not. Don't think that if you get no or only mild symptoms, no harm is done. Think about the other people you have unknowingly infected, and how you've contributed to the spread of the virus. (Where 'you' = the generic 'you', not you personally).
Such statements were true a few months ago. Now 1 in 6 Londoners have had the disease. So those 1 in 6 know exactly how it will impact them because it already has. There are now more than a few people out there who can confidently say "I'll be fine" because they are fine. In coming days/months many people will be getting tests and learning that they have suffered and recovered from the disease at least once. Others will learn that they have been living with someone who has had the disease but it didn't spread even within the household. The days of shouting "you don't know, you might die" at every naysayer are behind us.
"With further statistical adjustments, they found about 17% of London adults had been infected; this compares to only 4.3% in the north-east of England."
It could impact them differently if they contract it again.
I frankly would be unsurprised if an eventual covid vaccine is similarly administered to at-risk age groups, if not everyone.
It's incredibly tedious that you didn't.
It's fine if the reply would be about the same, the problem is that you don't address the meaning of the words you quote!
Please do not spread misinformation. England has had 132k reported cases. London has a population of 8.9M.
That's the _BBC_, perhaps the most respected news organization on the planet, and unarguably an expert on all things London. They are citing information released by the UK government: 1 in 6 Londoners. Misinformation my a--.
The claim that one in 6 Londoners have had the virus is particularly suspicious because Sweden made similar claims about infections in Stockholm based on rough estimates and they turned out to be wrong when actual studies were carried out.
Need larger antibody tests and data broken down by demographic, globally, but we’ll have them by summer.
I personally know about a dozen people in London who have had probable Covid-19, including myself. None of those cases were ever actually confirmed by testing or "reported" to anyone.
Swine flu was going around this winter, which also will knock you out for a month. If you didn't specifically get a coronavirus PCR test positive, there's about a 10:1 chance that what you actually had was the flu. Outside of major hotspots like NYC and Chelsea MA, I believe the serological studies that suggest about 2-4% of the population has had coronavirus.
EDIT: Hey hey it looks like some information is finally coming out, and what do you know, it supports the idea that milder cases don't develop IgG antibodies as often: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.21.108308v1
I have no idea where you came up with this nonsense, but if anything there are academic studies demonstrating that, even in countries that do a honest job reporting covid19 deaths, Covid19 deaths have been systematically underreported.
There's by now a whole lot of people, including many experts in many domains, who are concluding the lockdown will kill more people than the disease itself. Far more if it turns out they had little impact, which there is also quite some evidence of.
And consider that heart attack and stroke centers are seeing precipitous drops in patient referrals, almost certainly meaning that the fear of catching COVID-19 is causing many people to avoid treatment and die at home: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/patients-with-heart-at...
Unless you want a source that many cases are asymptomatic, in which case you can easily google that yourself.
Have you had high fever and anosmia (lack of sense of smell) or maybe difficulty breathing?
If yes it probably was Cv19, if not, probably no.
Lingering symptoms for a week or so afterwards: “shortness of breath” feeling with slightly sore/tingling chest (but no congestion, snot or phlegm), mild dry cough, all-over muscle aches, feeling much more tired than usual, and sleeping longer than usual. I did not notice any loss of sense of smell.
It might be worth getting an antibody test if it's suspected.
In Toronto Canada:
- Number of tests available are limited still (and were severely so until recently)
- People who are showing symptoms but aren't high risk have been turned away after pre-screening
- People who are showing symptoms but aren't front line workers have been turned away after pre-screening
- People who have had severe exposure but aren't showing symptoms have been turned away after pre-screening
(Heck, understanding it's an anecdote, but my neighbour showed all the symptoms, after waiting hours and talking to all the pre-screeners, they told him, literally "Yup, you have it; we don't need to bother testing". )
Anecdata notwithstanding, it is crucial for people to understand that the number of tested positive cases is by definition, always, under all circumstances, always going to be some subset of people actually sick. And sometimes significantly so... sometimes by order(s) of magnitude.
Of course they are going to be higher.
Even the official counts can be fuzzy. For example, people dying of cancer are often carried off by pneumonia due to their weakened state. Was the cause of death the cancer or the pneumonia?
Died of a heart attack
Caused by blood loss
From being impaled on a fence
After a car crash
While not wearing a seatbelt
And driving too fast
On an icy road
Twas ever thus. Norovirus kills 200,000 people every year, and yet we don't close entire cities every time there's an outbreak.
That's true, but it kills very few people in the developed world. Deaths from norovirus are mostly a result of inadequate treatment, and/or lack of detection.
And, frankly, if covid was only going to kill 200k people, we probably wouldn't be closing anything much. It has already killed almost 350k people, and that's _with_ most countries imposing variously draconian measures.
So we may not be able to resolve this disagreement. Just understand that I’m at least as pissed off as the people on the other side.
You're comparing (cost of measures) to (cost of disease after taking those measures), which is a nonsensical comparison. It's like saying "parachutes are too expensive; almost no one dies from skydiving!"
How many people would die from skydiving if skydivers stopped using parachutes but continued to skydive? Am I a charlatan if I give a rough number?
Surely there is a continuum of uncertainty between the skydivers and "it's impossible to know." Surely diseases can be modeled, and those models used to predict outcomes with various degrees of uncertainty. Surely those predictions have meaning.
With a global pandemic, it is in fact impossible to know, and anyone who claims otherwise is in fact a charlatan. That’s the key detail you’re missing here: The skydiver theory can be phrased as a “will” question, but this is always going to be a “would have” question. We can’t run an experiment to test any prediction - where’s the control Earth? If we can’t run an experiment, it is not science. Period.
You are allowed to believe whatever you like, but this shameful episode will be the final nail in the coffin for all pop-bullshit “science”: https://guscost.com/2020/05/12/pandemic-woo/
I think it is reasonable to ease restrictions when case numbers fall. Hopefully enough people will maintain distance and minimise unnecessary contact to slow it spreading and keep the pressure off the hospitals. However free riders recklessly endangering themselves, others and health care staff should be ashamed of themselves.
They also thought they would run out of ventilators, but never came close to using all of them, started giving them away to other states, and then discovered that ventilators were not actually a good treatment anyway.
In terms of ventilators many people where kept off of ventilators who would have been given them in normal conditions. That was likely a good thing as ventilators have huge risks associated with their use, but things where a long way from ok.
That said, the lockdown likely prevented a much worse situation at local hospitals.
Sadly, that wasn't the case in NY. Even though Chinese doctors warned of the risks of ventilators in Jan/Feb, the US ignored that. There were 2 reasons:
1) intubating patients protected staff from aerosolization after the intubation
2) old understanding of oxygen levels led doctors to intubate way too early for corona.
They never ran out of ventilators, but they did run out of beds.
Also: “In some facilities, the person who is supposed to do the reporting is caring for patients and is overwhelmed,” Schuchat said.
Really? There are well-regarded articles stating that most hospitals were well below normal capacities. The emergency hospitals setup across NY state were barely used, some are closing have not treated even a single patient. No doubt some parts of some hospitals were hit hard, but I see no evidence of the city/state as a whole being anywhere near capacity.
- They quadrupled ICU capacity, taking over empty hospital beds from elsewhere in the hospital. At one point the only patients were COVID. No other admissions.
- Out-of-work doctors like cardiologists, soldiers, out-of-state nurses came in to help. They didn't know what to do in the ICU, so they mostly got in the way.
- At the peak they needed about double the normal number of beds.
- Most 12-hours shifts were done without sitting or having time to go to the bathroom.
So they overestimated the flood of COVID patients and were able to deal with it, possibly because they over-prepared, and there were essentially no non-COVID patients. At least that's n=1 ICU physician's perspective. Her friends in difference cities seem to have had similar experience (all east coast doctors, though), but the only overwhelmed ones are in NYC metro.
Read this article about two of the nurses in NY that committed suicide due to the stress of watching patients die and not having the resources to help them, then tell me those people were not overwhelmed.
The “no non-COVID patients” part didn't happen because suddenly no one needed ICU care or other hospitalization for non-COVID reasons, it happened because people were systematically excluded starting with methods from soft (discouragement to seek care) to hard (bans on classes of procedures, triage prioritization, etc.) from hospital care for non-COVID reasons.
Hospitals in and around NYC were, like those in Italy at the peak of the crisis, using criteria beyond medical need to allocate ventilators because medical need exceeded supply. That's overwhelmed, and ant standard which suggests it isn't is a dumbass standard.
Maybe your threshold for what counts as ‘getting health care’ is different from mine. For me it amounts to more up than just being physically in a hospital. If the people described below were your family, would you be satisfied with their health care?
"Some of them, bless their souls, can't do anything for themselves," she said. "How can I take care of 14 people when I have one tech and they have 30 patients. It's so bad here you guys."
To me is seems straightforward to say that a system that is no longer able to provide an acceptable standard of care to a majority, or large minority if it’s patients, has been pushed beyond its capacity.
> At the peak they needed about double the normal number of beds.
If they had not been able to annex a portion of the hospital for more beds, they probably would've been overwhelmed. Most of the people with normal things (heart attacks, severe diabetes-related issues, alcohol withdraw, etc.) stayed home, so they were able to create more capacity. I think every hospital did the same, so there's no good control group.
You can't hallucinate some new definition for being overwhelmed and then say New York hospitals weren't overwhelmed. That is not rational.
But that's, quite frankly, just dumb luck. At the rate of growth we were seeing in the early epidemic, their safety margin comes out to something like two days. The lockdown almost missed the target.
Quite frankly, a very large number of New Yorkers probably owe their lives to the other early movers in the US that enabled the NYC lockdown: Washington State was a big one. Also when the history is written, the NBA cancelling its season is probably going to be one of the biggest heroes.
But the saturation was not reached because of lockdown, clearing hospital beds from electives, adding more beds, recruiting new sanitary personnel from all over the country.
If all of italy had kept going "business as usual" we'd likely count deaths at a 30x rate.
It’s remarkable the amount of just plain wrong information that people believe in.
It's a better result than if the lockdown hadn't worked and they hadn't ramped up capacity, or if they'd ramped up without the lockdown
Covid is simultaneously currently worse than the flu, but on the order of genuine avoidable human suffering it SHOULD have (and should still) be treated rationally: isolating and protecting the most vulnerable, practicing good hygiene, a moment to reflect on our lifestyles, policies and our self imposed diseases that make us more vulnerable to the virus. It has a mortality function that, statistically, correlates most strongly with a person's already existing X year survival probability. If you plotted out the frequency of ages and deaths over time, it would primarily register as a small blip/compressing of deaths primarily amongst the older.
People who go off on the other end of the spectrum: that this should be the end of society/ socialising, commerce/trade and public life, are just as ridiculous and irresponsible as those who think nothing should be fine, because they illicit fear, partisanship, and stop our finite resources being spent where they do most good, not to mention the harm that's going to come from all the poorly targeted reactions.
In this case it's an opportunity to drop the hyperbole and rationally visit how we deal with healthcare and end of life, because how we deal with the elderly already, especially our experiences with those illnesses I mentioned, are qualitatively worse than the experience of dying relatively quickly from covid, but we accept it because it was "part of the everyday" (or in a lot of societies, deliberately excluded from the everyday so we don't think about it too much).
> If you plotted out the frequency of ages and deaths over time, it would primarily register as a small blip/compressing of deaths primarily amongst the older.
is not strictly true. In certain regions, NYC as an example, you have to look at excess mortality, or the number of deaths that are in excess of expectations given a periodic seasonal model. In some areas the number is much, much higher than normal. It's not enough to read off the reported deaths because there are many more that are attributed to other causes.
The actual reality is that one side wants people to wear masks and gradually open up in a safe manner because other places that opened up irresponsibly were hit by a second wave of infections. The other side takes mask wearing as fascism and will do literally everything in their power to harass people who wear masks or attempt to bypass the requirement for the sake of making themselves feel better. You calling COVID19 a cakewake is irresponsible hyperbole in itself considering it is dangerous and we should not be under any delusion that it is not. But it is manageable if people don't operate under delusion.
If you are diagnosed with covid you have a pretty high chance of being dead before a month has passed.
I think because of the early cohort in Japan, of which most 70+ people ended up deceased.
Indefinite chaining area of effect vs just area of effect roughly.
Also there are other viruses that also cause cancer
So you very well could have a cancer patient coughing on you and giving you cancer but the underlying cause is the virus that they have (that caused their cancer) rather than the cancer itself. So you have chaining of cancer (albeit via a virus).
"The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated that in 2002, infection caused 17.8% of human cancers"
There will always be different opinions and views. Being civil and accepting of others seems to be less and less common under the guise of doing “the right thing”.
I wear a mask, and I choose to wear a mask. I also wore a mask before it was "supported" by the CDC. If tomorrow it was legally required, I would stop wearing a mask.
Perhaps you could spell out this reason, and explain how it also applies to wearing face masks?
You should wear a mask. You may be an asymptomatic carrier, and masks have fairly good odds (~90%) at stopping liquid droplet spread.
However legally mandating masks is a different problem. The state is engaging in compelled action - which is usually right out save a few cases. Just as the state can't legally mandate someone to say they support the president, the state can't mandate helpful behavior - it's just not a power the state has.
Could the state legally require condoms unless you were intending to conceive? Condoms are effective at stopping almost all std/sti, and are 99.98% effective when used properly at preventing unwanted pregnancy. We could eliminate HIV tomorrow if the state forced their usage. You should use a condom, but that isn't the same as legally mandating them.
Maybe you actually do think the state shouldn't intrude on those freedoms, but you would be in a minority holding those views. Personally, I like laws that impose mask use during pandemics, speed limits on roads and restrictions against firing shots randomly into crowds, because their absence intrudes on my freedom to continue existing.
I even consider it possible to like these things while not considering it reasonable to "share your email with the FBI and agree to be monitored at all times". An analogy about condom use does not explain the connection at all.
When I'm not allowed to drive over 65mph, that's a restriction. I have no innate power to use government roads, so even requirements like a license and a seltbelt are aligned.
Let's talk about discharging a firearm since that doesn't have some of these special cases like government vs private roads. I do have a right to bear arms, I don't have a right to discharge them.
Typically there are restrictions even on private property. You can't discharge a firearm in a city, or on property that is too small. But, if I have several acres in the country I can discharge a firearm. If my discharge (either the noise or the round) crosses my property, then I may have an issue.
I agree these are good things but good and legal are unrelated. I think universal condom usage and donating to non-profits is good, but legally mandating those things would be problematic.
If everyone shared all of their data with the FBI - well, we could stop a lot of crime. Insider trading, lots of fraud, some premeditated murder. Though, that would be a grave invasion of your rights, wouldn't it?
Would you consider a law that disallows people from getting too close outside, or being in the same room, acceptable? Technically that is a restriction rather than a compelled action... one that's much more onerous than a mask mandate, but that's not the point, right?
Edit: "universal condom usage and donating to non-profits" are still red herrings regardless of this technicality. The point of masks is stop you from personally and directly killing someone that did not consent to you getting near to them and infecting them. Condoms only directly affect people that consented to be with each other (if one didn't consent then obviously that's another matter). Donating to charity may save lives but that's not the same as stopping you from personally killing someone.
Edit 2: I also feel like masks could be phrased in terms of being a restriction rather than a mandate. Surely a law not allowing you to spit in someone's face is a restriction? What about a law restricting the concentration of your breath droplets that get onto other people's faces, at least during a pandemic? If the only way to satisfy this is to stay well away from everyone or wear a mask, that's still a restriction. (Even I feel like that's cheating. But I also think that the existence of "cheats" like this is part of why the distinction is so silly to start with.)
Going back to speed limit analogy, driving at 100mph down a crowded high street (I'm thinking of a narrow European-style street here where there's no such thing as jaywalking) is tantamount to murder. But - like your seasonal flu argument - even if you set the speed limit at 10mph (imagine a fantasy world where people stuck to that speed limit) occasionally there would be a road death to pedestrians. Does that mean that is essentially murder too, and that we should ban all driving altogether? No, we have to choose some threshold, a speed limit, that is an acceptable trade off between allowing people to live their lives vs safety to others. Any limit like that will always be somehow wrong - too high and too low at the same time, in some sense - but you have to draw the line somewhere. The same goes for a limit to how much we allow people to risk spreading potentially deadly diseases to others.
If that trade off only involves the safety of the participants then you can leave it to them to choose that threshold. For example, some might choose to take part in extreme sports while others consider them too risky. But if the trade off is between the benefit of the participant vs risk to an unconsenting third party, then the threshold of course has to be set in law.
(BTW, on the subject of comment votes, I've not been down voting your comments (except the first one so others don't end up down this rabbit hole), actually I've been upvoting them to ungrey them. Although I still find your views extremely strange it has been interesting and you do seem to be constructively engaging, and I hope I have been too.)
I recall reading years ago about an AIDS patient who was convicted for manslaughter after knowingly having unprotected sex with many people without disclosing their condition.
No, you're making the wrong distinction. The right distinction is between causing actual harm, and not causing actual narm.
You do have a right to travel unimpeded over public roads (since you're a member of the public and a taxpayer). Imposing a 65 mph speed limit on you and giving a cop the power to stop you and write you a ticket that imposes a fine (or a court appearance) for exceeding the limit, even if you have caused no harm to anyone, is wrong. However, posting a sign that says "maximum safe speed 65 mph", and then imposing extra liability on you if you cause an accident and it is found that you were exceeding that posted limit would be fine.
Similarly, forcing you by law to wear a mask in public, even if you have caused no harm to anyone, is wrong. But if you aren't wearing a mask and you cough or sneeze on someone and they get COVID-19 because of that, having a law that imposes liability on you would be fine.
there are places you can live in the world that work much more closely to your post-facto ideal. however, if you want the benefits of the rest a contemporary western industrial society, you'll either have to convince a lot more people that post-facto only is right, or just live with the fact that most of the rest of us thing that post-facto only is wrong.
Yes, because most of the rest of you do not see the harms caused by sanctioning behavior that some government official believes increases the odds of harm. If you did, you would realize that only sanctioning behavior that causes actual harm is the right rule for the government, because humans simply cannot be trusted with the power to dictate the behavior of others based on some estimate of "the odds of harm" when no actual harm is caused.
Most of the rest of you also do not realize that the sanctions of law are not the only kinds of sanctions that can be applied. For example, I do not believe the government has the right to require me to wear a mask whenever I go out. But I do believe the grocery store I go to, for example, has the right to require me to wear a mask before I enter the store (which it does, and which I happily comply with--indeed, I'd be doing it even if it wasn't required), as a condition of being allowed to shop there. (And all the store employees are wearing masks as well.) I also believe I have the right to require anyone who comes into my house to wear a mask (as my wife and I did a few days ago when two people from the flooring company came to look at gaps in the laminate floor they installed--they made no objection to wearing the masks).
When I describe cases like this, I get asked: well, if you're doing the same thing the government is telling everybody to do anyway, what's the problem? The problem is that the cases I just described are the easy ones. What about the hard ones, where someone's particular circumstances make the best thing for them different from what the government is mandating for everybody? For example, an acquaintance of my wife's recently was forbidden from visiting her dying grandmother in a nursing home, because of government mandated lockdown rules. (No family members were permitted to see her.) The family would have been fine with wearing masks and gloves, washing their hands, and taking all other prudent precautions; but nobody was even permitted to exercise common sense, because the government lockdown did not allow for that; it was just a single, one-size-fits-all, hard and fast rule. So the grandmother died with no loved ones there with her, because of a government diktat. That is simply wrong in any country that calls itself a free country. And a government that forces such things on people loses the confidence of the people.
* government policy/law is always one-size-fits-all and that never works
* government is incapable of nuance or intelligence when deciding policy
* government preventing harm preemptively is oppression
So far, I see no evidence that you have any arguments that were not a part of that usenet group from 25 years ago. I feel fairly comfortable with the way these were debated and shot down back then, so in the absence of an actual new argument, it doesn't seem worth continuing.
Is not what you say. If you insist on breaking it down into "axioms", here are some:
(1) Government policy/law cannot take into account the individual circumstances of individual cases, since it is impossible for government officials/lawmakers to obtain that information; so government policy/law that dictates what people must or must not do will always dictate the wrong thing for some people.
(2) The government dictating the wrong thing for anyone is wrong in a free country.
(3) Therefore, government policy/law should not dictate what people must or must not do at all unless failing to do so would make it impossible for a free country to exist.
Whether or not the government dictating that everybody must wear masks in public, or must not leave their homes except for a certain small number of reasons, would be justifiable under #3 is a question that might be worth discussing (I personally think it wouldn't be, but others might be able to give reasonable arguments that it would). However, the grounds under which the government dictating those things is actually being justified is nothing like that. The grounds on which it is actually being justified is that we don't actually have a free country: that the government does not need to meet anything like the above standard before dictating what people must and must not do.
If your response is basically, yes, indeed, we don't have a free country (which is what it seems to me to be), then I guess you're right that the discussion isn't worth continuing. But it certainly seems like a sad outcome considering the country's original goals.
This is because alcohol impairs your judgement and reflexes - and when you're driving a 1 tonne piece of metal that can maim and kill, you want your wits about you.
I confess I find this kind of reasoning very bizarre - I truly do admire the US, and all the freedoms, literature, and amazing critical thought it's given to us. But I still don't understand the strange logic that seems to emanate from certain circles - where people will sincerely claim it's their God-given right to drive over the speed limit and kill people, to take drugs and kill people, to shoot guns and kill people, and other such things.
It's also in this context I hear people from the US complaining a lot about the "nanny-state".
Or that somehow, if the government provides any modicum of healthcare, you are infringing on their God-given right to make really poor healthcare spending decisions.
I get it there's happy medium between the two - and I apologise if there's hyperbole in the above - but as an outsider looking at how the US has handled the COVID-19 pandemic - it's heart-wrenching.
As a country, you have nearly 100,000 people dead (the worst in the world I think?) - and people are still talking about how "mask wearing is oppression", or "lockdowns are trampling on our rights!".
Even your leaders - if the press can be believed - apparently see wearing a mask as a sign of weakness. Yet other governments (e.g. UK, Australia, Scotland) have sacked high-level ministers, simply because they breached the health lockdown rules. It's the complete opposite - those governments are taking it seriously (or at least trying to be seen to be).
There are some things our government does well and many things it does far less than well. Government is also self-perpetuating, so if you’re going to make a mistake, I think it’s wise to make a mistake in having too little government, as that’s easier to correct.
(In any event, I think it’s also fair to observe/predict that “drunk driving is OK as long as the outcome does not result in a crash” is an extremely minority view in the population and does not reflect the laws in any US state.)
You are misstating the view I was describing.
I did not say drunk driving was OK as long as it doesn't cause actual harm. I only said drunk driving should not be punishable by law if it doesn't cause actual harm. Not being punishable by law does not make it any less stupid or irresponsible.
I also did not say that there are no ways at all to address drunk driving that doesn't cause harm. For example, consider the following scenario: I'm a cop, and I see a car driving erratically. I turn on my lights and pull the car over. I am perfectly justified in doing that because the car is driving erratically.
I find out that the driver of the car is drunk. I tell the driver, "sir, why don't we leave your car parked here, off the road, and lock it, and I can call someone to come and pick you up?" If the driver protests, I put him in the back of my police car, make sure his car is safely parked and locked, and drive him to the police station--where I then call someone to come pick him up. No ticket, no citation, no fine--just getting him safely home and avoiding possible harm to anyone else.
Have I overstepped the boundaries that I have argued must be placed on what the government can do? Not at all. First of all, a cop is still a citizen, and any citizen has the right to try to stop someone from continuing obviously reckless and irresponsible behavior. Second, I didn't punish the person; he gets no fine, no jail time, no record of any offense. So the rule that nobody should be punished by law unless they cause actual harm has not been violated.
It is true that supporting the kind of regime I just described, in preference to what we have now, is an extremely minority view. But I think it's because people have simply failed to think through the implications.
I have made no such claims. I did not say anyone had a right to harm anyone else. I explicitly said that people who cause actual harm should be punished.
You are simply attacking a straw man here. And you should definitely not be judging the US by what you see in the popular press.
Surely you can see that's a recipe for disaster?
People are very bad at judging risks - and everybody things they're cleverer/more careful/better than the average.
That's exactly why no government that I'm aware of has ever enacted what you dscribed.
Ok - so you make it that driving whilst drunk is OK - and you will only be charged if you kill/maim somebody. You will soon get a whole bunch of young 20 year old males, who think they are invincible (or that they can hold their liquor like Captain America) who end up destroying families in completely preventable MVAs.
Everybody thinks they're a "better driver than the average" - or that "their reflexes are really good". Unfortunately, the average is exactly that - the average.
Sure, according to you - you can now charge them after having killed a mum and her kid walking across the road - but what about the fact that you've essentially encouraged this behaviour, and raised the probability of such things happening?
Similar logic applies to any risk taking behaviour - yes, there are certainly grey areas - but there's a reason handguns are a restricted item and not anybody can buy them at any corner store. Having a gun in and of itself doesn't "harm somebody", as you say - but having more handguns distributed among the population, without any attempt to reduce the risk (e.g. background checks, safety checks, licensing checks) will increase the risk that something bad will happen.
Likewise drugs are a controlled item.
And with public health directives like this - the aim is to force people to take sensible precautions to protect those vulnerable among the population. I hate to say this, but people are sometimes selfish and only think of themselves (we all do this). So sometime you need somebody to look out for society as a whole.
No. You evidently lack basic reading comprehension, so I suppose it's futile to ask you to go back and re-read what I wrote to see that I explicitly contradicted this.
> People are very bad at judging risks - and everybody things they're cleverer/more careful/better than the average.
First of all, speak for yourself.
Second, evidently you have no clue about how people who actually are good at judging risks get that way. Hint: it isn't by "thinking" anything. It's by objectively evaluating your own behavior the same way you objectively evaluate other people's behavior. Everybody can see when someone else is doing something dumb. All you need to learn is how to look at yourself as the someone else. This is a learned skill.
Third, if it's true that "people" are very bad at judging risks, that's just as true of government bureaucrats and lawmakers. Why should I trust them to properly balance all the risks vs. benefits of various laws and policies? Let alone "look out for society as a whole", to use your phrase? All the historical evidence we have says that they suck at it.
Fourth, drunk drivers don't kill other people, if and when they do, by magic. And they don't do it purely on their own. There is always a chain of events, and there are plenty of places to break the chain. For example, you describe a drunk driver killing a mother and child walking across the road. How did the mother and child come to be walking across the road when a car was coming? If they had waited, they'd still be alive. If you say "well, it was a blind turn and they didn't see the car", why weren't they taking extra precautions if it was a blind turn? And so on.
Similar remarks apply to other situations where irresponsible actions by one person harm others. Everybody focuses on the harm to the victims and the badness of the irresponsible person. Nobody spends any time teaching themselves, or their friends, or their kids, how not to be the victim. But knowing that there are some irresponsible and dangerous people in the world, and learning how to keep from being harmed by them, is supposed to be part of being an adult human being in this world. Certainly an adult human being is not supposed to expect the government to make sure no bad things happen to them; no government can possibly do that, or even come close. But that's what our mentality has become.
Were you firing it at someone on purpose? Or did you just not realize you were pointing it at someone?
If you were firing it at someone on purpose, even if you didn't hit them, that's already a common law crime: in most jurisdictions it's called assault with a deadly weapon or something similar. Whether it would also qualify as attempted manslaughter would depend on your intent: were you actually trying to kill them, or just scare them?
If you just didn't realize you were pointing it at someone, and you didn't cause any harm, you should not be liable for any offense. But if I were the someone you were pointing the gun at, I would do my level best to avoid all further interaction with you since you're clearly a careless and irresponsible person. I would also spread the word amongst the neighbors so they know it too.
I also put my foot down on legal penalties for compelled actions such as mask wearing. I also give masks out for free to my neighbors and friends. I support wearing a mask, I will never support fining or jailing an American over not wearing one.
With rights come... well just rights.
The state requires me to wear underwear on the bus, put kids in car seats, signal at intersections, keep a gun safely, not let my tires go bald, and many other things to protect people around me.
Sometimes asking is better than demanding. Texas asked and had excellent compliance. Michigan demanded and had angry protestors.
The issue is not being asked to wear a mask, the issue is legally mandating them.
I can ask you to donate money to a political party - you may say no, but me asking is perfectly fine. If I force you under duress to donate - well, that's something else, isn't it?
Freedom is the ability to say no, even if that isn't an optimal choice. Taking that freedom away leads to bad outcomes like arresting people for unpopular views and sending Muslims to "re-education" camps.
The US already has numerous laws that few people complain about because they've come to recognize them as necessary for the public good. But that was only after they were passed and enforced.
Likewise, kids do not have rights the same way an adult does. The government can compel education until you're 18 (thankfully).
We do not have laws because they are good. It is the case that some laws are good, but we have laws because the goal of governments is to govern the people. The difference between a democracy and an oligarch is the source of that right.
I have no special rights over you. I am not any better, I am not empowered by any god or special bloodline. I, if elected in a democracy, can pass laws but I can't limit your rights. I can't compel you to worship somebody, limit what you say or take your property - even if I have a good reason.
Seatbelt and helmet laws are a condition of using property that isn't yours (the road). Likewise for drivers licenses and minimum road hours.
A good case here is the Texas anti-sodomy law (Lawrence v Texas) that was struck down in 2006(!) after being used to go after gay men. Here Texas made claims it was acting for the public good, SC ruled the state had no presence on a private matter outside the public eye.
"Mask laws" are a condition of using property that isn't yours (the road, the town square, the park, the trail). Nobody is going to force you to wear on mask on your own property.
Now, can Wholefoods (to pick a private business) force you to wear a mask as a condition of using their store? Absolutely.
Can your friend demand you wear a mask before you hang out and use their pool? Sure.
Can the government demand you use a mask on non-government owned land? No.
Can the government demand you wear a mask before entering a courthouse? Well, that becomes a whole thing and the answer is "maybe?".
There is no "government" as an owner of anything. Anything not owned by individuals (within the USA) is owned by some sector of the public (either the entire nation, or a state, or a city etc. etc.). Governments do not own courthouses, they do not own national parks.
Governments are the structures we use to make decisions about legal, economic and social policy. They are not owners - the public is.
But I've forgotten your posting history, so I can't really tell if we're in violent agreement or if you're just flipping your terminology around.
In England, at least, the law also applies in the (somewhat unusual) circumstances that you happen to own the road.
Going meta here: There seems to be a mental condition that causes people to try to interpret everything in terms of contracts and property rights. In extreme cases it leads to phenomena like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_on_the_land
Yes, you do, if you're a member of the public and a taxpayer.
Indeed, I could go live under a bridge and never pay taxes, and I would still be able to access and use roads.
Yes, but that doesn't mean they don't apply. It is simply not worth the cost to verify that you are a taxpayer before letting you use the road.
Do you have a source you can direct me to showing me the requirement that any publicly (taxpayer) funded road is only usable by taxpayers?
I never stated any such requirement.
What I did say was that taxpayers have a right to use public roads. That is not the same as saying anyone else is prohibited from using them. The latter is a matter of how we choose to make public policy.
Our current public policy is that anyone is, in practice, allowed to use public roads, whether they are taxpayers or not. We could choose a different, more restrictive public policy regarding non-taxpayers, but we don't. (That is probably, as I said before, because it's not worth the cost to check everyone using public roads to see their taxpayer status.)
But we cannot, at least not based on the legal principle I stated, choose a public policy that does not allow taxpayers to use public roads, since they have a right to do so.
If the right is not enumerated, then it probably isn't restricted to taxpayers. Right of mobility is a natural right.
The idea that being a taxpayer gives you an innate right of use of government resources is bizarre. Being a citizen gives you an innate right of supervision, of course, but being a taxpayer doesn't add anything to that, and supervision isn't use.
They're not "government resources", they're public resources. We all collectively own them. The government is an agent that we use to manage those resources, but it doesn't own them. The public does.
Yes, they are.
> they're public resources.
They are public resources that the public has elected to administer through the government. It is possible to have resources that are public because there are no constraints on their use, but the two types of public resources are not the same.
> We all collectively own them.
In much the same way that corporate shareholders collectively own the assets of a corporation. And, for much the same reason as this is not true of corporate shareholders and corporate resources, the constituents of a government don't each individually have the right to arbitrarily use the resources administered by government on behalf of the public.
> The government is an agent that we use to manage those resources, but it doesn't own them. The public does.
The public collectively does, but being a 1/~300millionth owner doesn't give you the right to arbitrarily use resources so owned in contravention of the direction of the management agent employed by all ~300 million owners to protect their interests.
A public road is not the same as, say, a factory. As a shareholder in a corporation, I have no use for a factory, and the factory is not built for direct use by anyone. It is built to produce things that get sold, and as a shareholder I get a piece of the proceeds. (Actually it's often much more complicated than that, but going into all the current problems with corporate governance would take way too long.) But a public road is built with public money for the direct use of the public.
> being a 1/~300millionth owner doesn't give you the right to arbitrarily use resources so owned in contravention of the direction of the management agent employed by all ~300 million owners to protect their interests
The management agent is still just an agent. Yes, I myself am only a 1/~300 millionth owner of the public roads, but I have the same right to use them as the other ~300 million owners. The management agent cannot arbitrarily deny or restrict that right of usage to any of the owners. All it can do is manage the roads: build them, maintain them, repair them, and assess taxes to cover the costs of doing those things.
At least, that's the legal doctrine that should be in place in a free country. Of course it's not the one that's in place in the US at present. To me that's a bug, not a feature.
This is something that has always made me wonder. The libertarian ideal of "less government" makes more sense if one sees the government as above, an independent agent with its own interests. As a citizen of an EU nation, the way I think of it is that voters elect a government to represent them, so "less government" means "less power to voters to represent themselves". But to libertarians it means "more freedom".
So when the government compels you to "shelter in place", social-distance, wear a mask and so on, it is clearly not doing that because it is trying to protect you, because government is not an agent that has your own best interests in mind, but its own. Instead, it's trying to take away your freedom, because that is what government does, it takes away your freedoms.
That's my best explanation, as someone who has never lived in the US. In any case it's clear that the question of "mask or no mask" has become politicised by being caught up in this peculiar interpretation of "freedom". Which is very unfortunate because it's not a political matter, whether everyone wearing masks makes it less likely that anyone will catch the virus. It's a practical matter and what is necessary is a practical decision. But such practical decisions cannot be taken when everything has to be politicised.
I think the confusion is on the other side, and stems from the fallacy of division, wherein people mistakenly treat what is true of the public collectively as true of members of the public individually.
But what politicizes it is precisely the fact that the government is making the decision for everybody, instead of letting each free person make the decision for themselves. If the government didn't force its decision on everybody, then it would not be politicized at all. It would just be a practical decision, exactly as you say.
US citizens are (or should be) used to thinking of the first as the ideal and the second as the reality. The reason we favor limited goverment is that we know the reality will never measure up to the ideal, so the best we can do is to limit the extent to which we make the attempt.
> As a citizen of an EU nation, the way I think of it is that voters elect a government to represent them, so "less government" means "less power to voters to represent themselves".
Again, this is the ideal, but the reality is that "less government" means "less opportunity for the government to advance its own interests to the detriment of the people". There is simply no way to eliminate the inherent conflict of interest that arises whenever you give some humans the power to dictate what other humans have to do or not do, and that's what a government is.
> when the government compels you to "shelter in place", social-distance, wear a mask and so on, it is clearly not doing that because it is trying to protect you, because government is not an agent that has your own best interests in mind, but its own. Instead, it's trying to take away your freedom, because that is what government does, it takes away your freedoms.
I realize that some people's rhetoric frames it this way, but the actual conflict of interest is deeper and does not require a conscious intention on the part of government officials to take away people's freedoms.
The actual conflict of interest in a situation like the current one is that government officials can't predict the future, yet they know they are going to be held responsible for bad things that happen, because they know many people have this idea that the government is supposed to act in the people's best interest. Government officials cannot prevent bad things from happening, because they're not omniscient or omnipotent and no central authority can possibly know all of the individual circumstances in each situation. They can't possibly balance all the tradeoffs for each individual person. No central authority can. So the best they can do is minimize the chance that they will get blamed for the bad things that do happen. They are less likely to get blamed for issuing draconian orders to stay at home, wear masks, etc., and jailing people for non-compliance, than they are for letting indiivdual citizens use their best judgment in their individual situation. So they do the former and not the latter.
But from the standpoint of an individual citizen like me, I know I am a better judge of my individual situation than the government, so if my judgment of what's best for me conflicts with what the government is ordering everybody to do, I am going to have a severe problem. And in a country of hundreds of millions of people, there are going to be a lot of people in that situation. And if it's supposed to be a free country, having a lot of people in that situation is simply intolerable.
For example, my wife knows a woman whose grandmother recently died in a nursing home. The grandmother was ill and family members, including the woman my wife knows, wanted to visit her before she died. The nursing home would not allow it because of the government lockdown orders, even though all the family members agreed to wear masks, protective equipment, wash their hands, etc., etc. In short, the government took away what should be an inviolable right of people to pay their last respects to a loved one, and to have loved ones with them when they die. It does not help at all to say that the government has to go by the greatest good for the greatest number and some people are bound to be negatively affected. To a person who truly understands what freedom means, that's no better than Stalin's famous remark that to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. People are not eggs.
Current law does not allow you to do this, yes. But current law also allows you to be ticketed if you exceed the speed limit. So obviously not all of current law is consistent with the basic principle I have stated. The application of the basic principle I stated to these cases should be obvious.
(Btw, it seems a little odd for you to be saying, on the one hand, that certain current laws are wrong--such as the 65 mph speed limit--and on the other hand to be relying on other current laws for your understanding of what "rights" you have. Surely you should apply the same principles to all of the laws?)
> Can you legally walk down a highway?
I actually don't know what the law is on this one. The application of the basic principle I stated to this case, as to the ones above, should be obvious.
> Current law does not allow you to do this, yes.
Current law in much of the US absolutely allows this, as long as you aren't on a public road or private property where the owner has opted-in to the rules generally applicable to public roads.
Of course, most of the interesting trips a person might want to take by car involve traversing public roads.
I don't think the government should be able to make smoking outright illegal (except on government property like government buildings), but I think owners of individual homes and businesses and public spaces (e.g., malls) should have the right to prohibit it, with violations of the owner's prohibition being punishable by law (similar to how, say, trespassing would be handled).
Laws that allow you to be fined or punished simply for not wearing a seat belt or a helmet? Yes, those are wrong.
Laws that impose extra liability on you if you are in an accident and cause harm (including harm to yourself) and aren't wearing a seatbelt or a helmet? Those would be fine. Indeed, people would probably be more likely to wear seatbelts and helmets under such a regime than they are now. Now they're just risking a fine. Under that regime they'd be risking, for example, not having their medical insurance cover the costs of treating them.
Why should I have to pay, through increased insurance and other societal costs, for your increased economic burden if you are paralyzed or run up huge medical bills because you could not be bothered to wear a seatbelt?
Go back and read the second part of my post, which you failed to quote, which addresses exactly this issue.
That is not how people work. They never think it will happen to them.
Making people wear masks in public transport or other public settings during a pandemic is hardly an overreach in comparison.
Statistically, a mixture of immigrants, minorities and the poor. Not a bunch of well off white soccer moms or gun toting rednecks, but the vulnerable.
And who can stand up for themselves the least? Well, it's those same people - people who have the same rights as you and I on paper if not so much in a court system.
So yes, I would challenge that, because I am in a position to defend myself and go to court. I have the funds, I own a suit, I can retain a lawyer. That's not true for those most likely to be affected by fines and criminal charges for not wearing a mask.
> Well the same reason you don't share your email with the FBI and agree to be monitored at all times.
So if G=government requires me to do thing X, and X=I do thing X
> I wear a mask, and I choose to wear a mask. I also wore a mask before it was "supported" by the CDC. If tomorrow it was legally required, I would stop wearing a mask.
assuming that again G=government requires me to do thing X, and X=I do thing X, you're saying that
How is it "for the same reason" otherwise?
You've also treated two unrelated statements as dependent clauses.
And, no, my point was that you have tried to relate, in a hand-wavy fashion, two unrelated statements. So you can't say "it's for the same reason".
Isn't "requiring hospitalization" pretty much the definition of "severe symptoms"? As far as I can tell, when doctors talk about "mild symptoms", that can include anything from a mild cough to weeks of heavy fever, muscle pains, ... .
But more importantly: even if you're complete asymptomatic, you're still very likely to infect other people and contribute to the spread of the virus and the disease. That's bad for other people's health, causes extra deaths, is bad for the economy, and generally makes everything worse for everybody including yourself.
True, if you are scared then by all mean isolate yourself, do not meet other people.
>causes extra deaths
Assume, in the worse case everyone infected, the estimated death rate is only 1%, that's not going to make difference to most people life or the economy.
And most other causes are not simultaneously sending several multiples of that number to the hospital, or spreading like wildfire in same hospital.
If you are discharged from a hospital and require rehabilitation you will probably be placed in some form of nursing facility with other patients who may or may not have been infected.
The last part is the hidden disaster of the COVID-19 crisis.
Clearly a lot of people are not willing to take the risk of contracting the virus.
This seems a very difficult point for most people.
Early on, we had an exponential rise in cases and it appeared we would overwhelm hospitals. Therefore quarantine orders were issued (rather delayed imo) to offset the growth and allow hospitals to not have more cases than beds/equipment.
We had a lot less data initially and had to be proactive. The initial call was correct, and slowly easing it with monitoring is correct now.
it is totally disingenous to suggest that anyone actually proposing the "lockdown" claimed that it was about eradicating it or waiting for it to pass (both of which are widely understood to be absurd goals at this time).
And no the lockdown isn't about "lot of people are not willing to take the risk of contracting the virus", it is about keeping the pace of the tiny fraction of infections that go bad to under the capacity of the NHS / ICUs. At least that was the stated goal. It seems now that we have switched to a goal of zero infection (and not sure that it makes sense, given that I hear the WHO now refering to this virus as an "endemic disease").
There is no practical way to "isolate the sick and the elderly" when there are no supplies of PPE or testing kits for care workers. The whole point is that the sick and elderly need care, and when there's a pandemic that care requires extra measures to prevent the spread of infection.
In reality the government did the exact opposite - knowingly sending elderly people with Covid infections back to care homes, and then saying "Oh that's nothing to do with us - every move was signed off by a clinician."
And that in turn makes even less sense when you realise that tens of millions were spent on Covid-ready Nightingale Hospitals, which were opened to great fanfare - and then literally left empty, while old people were being sent to nursing homes to infect others.
Evil, or "simply" stupid and incompetent? It doesn't even matter any more A lot of people are dead for no good reason, and far more are going to die in the UK before this is over.
This is just completely wrong. It's a useful exercise to work out how many people would need to die before herd immunity could be achieved. Use mortality numbers based on what we've learned about the virus and estimates of what percentage of the population would need to be infected to achieve herd immunity based on the behavior of any number of other viruses.
And that's assuming infection confers immunity with this virus, which we don't know yet.
As for the death rate, the rate to the non vulnerable population is immaterial. With appropriate isolation we could absolutely achieve herd immunity with minimal losses. Instead we have sent covid infected patients back in nursing homes in both the US and the UK with catastrophic results.
The numbers don't look very immaterial to me.  Granted there's a weird amount of variance between regions and there's a lot that isn't certain.
> If you are still questioning whether infection confers immunity, then what other strategy than herd immunity do you suggest? If we don’t develop immunity naturally, there won’t be a vaccine either. Permanent lockdown?
(Let's hope some reasonable amount of immunity is conferred! It seems likely, but I think it's useful to consider the worst case.)
I'd be happy with people doing what they ought to be doing anyway: exercising some caution and doing the obvious things to limit the spreading of the bug. I'm in a constant state of amazement at how bad we are at all of this.
In the crazy worst case where there isn't much immunity conferred by the infection, we could hopefully rely on Darwin to eventually provide us with a less dangerous version of the virus.
You're looking at the numbers for the case fatality rates (CFR). The CFR is not the same as the infection fatality rates (IFR) which represent "the fatality rate in all those with infection: the detected disease (cases) and those with an undetected disease (asymptomatic and not tested group)... The IFR will always be lower than the CFR..."
Spanish government ran a seroprevalence study and got the following estimates of COVID-19's IFR:
For the age group under 50, the estimated IFR is about 0.003%
For the age group 50 - 69 yo, it's 0.04%
And for those over 70, it's 4.1%
 https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/a... Look for the table on page 15
Here is 14th May report https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/a... that is referenced below the table.
For some reason they chose to use total from the page 3, 19.155 total by age not 27.321, total by region from page 2. I presume that they do not know the details of about 8000 diseased, but it does not matter when it is the total number.
Again while number of >= 70 year old matches the table on the page 3 - 16559, so do age groups <10 and 10-19 but other numbers do not.
The table on the page 15 contains only 263 from the age group 50-69 but the table on the 14th May report contains 2303. The IFR for this age group would be then 0.32%. Not very big but not negligible either.
Group 20-49 contains only 23 people from the 20-29 but omits 62 people from the group 30-39 and 201 people from the group 40-49. The IFR for this age group would be then 0.03%.
Does the document break out IFR-S? Some news came out in recent days indicating IFR-S in the United States was around 1.3%.
I agree, 4% IFR of people over 70 is a scary number. In my opinion, governments around the world should really focus on protecting these people.
The good news is for people under 70 personal danger from the virus is close to zero.
"Does the document break out IFR-S?"
Don't know, sorry. Deciphering that table is really easy as the column names are almost the same as the English terms. And Google Translate does a really good job on the footnotes.
But reading the whole paper I'll have to leave to someone who actually reads Spanish.
I feel like I'm missing some key context that would lead a person to declare that with any sense of certainty. It's on a chart and everything! But it's not in agreement with everybody else's charts, and it's early days when it comes to the epidemiology.
(and at least in the US, our treatment capabilities are vast, but our testing regime is cartoonishly bad)
I haven't seen any other IFR estimate that included a breakdown by age group from a government or another authoritative source. Do you have anything particular in mind?
Is it a certain thing the risk for people under 70 is close to zero? Strictly speaking, no, it isn't.
It's unlikely we're going to see precise IFR numbers any time soon. But countries around the world are lifting lockdowns. Where I am, they're lifting it too. So I'll have to evaluate my personal risks without full information.
Why do I tend to rely on Spanish numbers?
- They are one of the hardest hit countries. If they had relatively few fatalities in the age group under 70, it must be reasonable to assume other countries aren't going to have significantly more.
- Don't have a link handy, but numbers published by Italian government had similar numbers of fatalities per each age group. (They didn't try to estimate IFR, though.)
- I don't think Spanish govt manipulates their numbers. But -- if anything -- they have an incentive to overestimate the IFR to justify one of the strictest lockdowns and a high number of dead.
I'm privileged enough, to be working from home. And staying as safe possible. I just think bad economy can ultimately take lives (not only livelihoods) of more people than COVID-19.
But one difference with the Spanish documents is they don't estimate their IFRs.
And if I'm not missing anything, doing it yourself is not trivial if possible at all. It's not enough to know that 5% (an arbitrary number, just to give an example) of a country's population developed antibodies. You'd also need to know the age structure of those 5%, which may or may not match the country's age structure.
Yes, modeling prevalence is complex but once you have the total estimated infected then finding IFR becomes trivial. Calculating SMR would be much more difficult.
Many (most?) countries do not produce reports in English but only in their native language.
When you search in the native language then it is easier to find relevant data. Especially when you catch the right keywords they use.
I don't really understand why they are using numbers from one table and not the other.
I guess, it may be related to the dates they conducted the seroprevalence study, but it's only a wild guess.
I'll try to look through the documents more carefully later, maybe there's an explanation.
Unfortunately once you scare everyone into locking down you can't reverse course on a dime.
Most studies in Europe show this: 0,5 - 1.
Though I'd be cautious about being too confident in antibody study results, for now. A lot can depend on test accuracy (especially where covid is rare anyway).
This was their criticized quote:
> Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died
It was true.
One they are being scared into thinking that if they get infected they will die a horrible death and so will everyone around them. This is obviously an exaggeration because for people under 40 the vast majority will not even notice the infection. And please if you reply grasping at the straw of ‘some people are ill for long’ specify how many people and if they are seriously ill or just tired for a long time.
Second they are not in a position to set policy. The people who make the rules are even more scared and make the rules much tighter than is useful.
We know that sars-cov-2 is highly contagious - R0 values up above 2 without any action. This means that with no action, the entire population will be infected rapidly. Out of the entire population a certain percentage will have no symptoms. Another group will have mild symptoms. Another group will have severe symptoms. Another group will require hospitalization. Members of the last two groups will die.
The point of current public policy (at least from the POV of the people smart enough to understand and propose it) has been to decrease R0 so that it takes much longer for the entire population to become infected (which will almost certainly happen anyway unless an effective vaccine appears quickly). Why would we want to do that? Because if the entire population is rapidly infected, the numbers requiring hospitalization would vastly exceed the resources of our medical system. That means that:
1. Some of those who might have survived COVID-19 had they received effective hospital care will die.
2. People with other treatements requiring hospital care will find it difficult or impossible to receive it, leading to more deaths from non-COVID-19 causes.
None of this has anything to do with "if they get infected they will die a horrible death and so will everyone around them" - that's nothing but a silly strawman painted by people who, for some reason, want to downplay the risk of allowing a virus with R0 > 2 to plough through a population.
Everywhere you see governments building up these huge emergency hospitals and then tearing them down again without them being used.
If your story were true they’d keep the hospitals and loosen restrictions to maximize use, saving the economy while keeping a safe margin.
> allowing a virus with R0 > 2 to plough through a population
Sounds so scary but
> the entire population to become infected (which will almost certainly happen anyway)
Is the same thing, but put in a not scary manner.
These people making the rules are not as smart as you think they are. When the rules were made there was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of pressure to take action. Logically some of the rules work and some don’t. Truly smart people would just say ‘oh well we will remove the rules that don’t work’. Instead what you see is clinging to ineffective rules, defending them with poor excuses as doing otherwise means admitting you were wrong.
In the US, look at mr. Cuomo and his indefensible failure of sending infected old people to nursing homes. It’s clearly the worst thing to do and look at his reaction now that the results are in! He just says he didn’t know even though his signature is on the page ordering it. How smart is that.
Handwaving nonsense. You said that, not people advocating for serious and sensible public policy re: COVID-19.
> "Sounds so scary ..."
Have you actually listened to the people who had COVID-19 and recovered from more than mild symptoms? If there was an army or a terrorist group about to invade the US and kill 100k people, mostly at random, I suspect you'd consider that fairly "scary", as would most other people.
> "Is the same thing..."
As noted by another sibling comment, no it's not the same thing at all.
> "... there was a lot of uncertainty ..."
There is still a lot of uncertainty. We don't really know what works and what doesn't work. What you characterize as "clinging to ineffective rules" I would characterize as "trying to be cautious in the face of massive uncertainty".
I would never defend all of Cuomo's actions as NY Governor. He made a number of extremely serious errors, even though his demeanour in his later press briefings was exemplary.
Yet there are the unnamed but great
> people advocating for serious and sensible public policy re: COVID-19.
According to you these people have no idea what they are doing. Indeed if you believe that, the only way to go is to keep doing nothing out of caution.
puts a very concrete time estimate on it. We know that the SARS-CoV-2 replicates every 4 days on average, so this scenario has a doubling of cases every 4 days. Starting from a single infected person, the US would become completely infected in roughly 120 days, i.e. they would roughly be done by this point or early next month, with all the consequences that entails. In contrast,
does not imply any specific timeline. It could happen in 30 days, it could happen in 30 weeks, it could happen in 30 years.
And it is not like under 60s are all that safe. In the US 25% of deaths are under 65.
More or less infeasible than throwing millions of people out of work and forbidding everyone from seeing their friends and families?
85% of the US population is under 65. So 15% of the population has 75% of the deaths, meaning a randomly selected person over 65 is 17 times more likely to have died than a random person under 65.
For politicians it was just easier to lock us all in because such measures are more accepted by the public if everyone has to give up and not just a few.
On the other hand, the lockdown for all created so much noise that we didn't focus enough on those at risk and easing their lockdown in some way.
Even Sweden got it wrong by banning visits to elderly homes only by late March.
Besides the lockdown for elderly (and a growing list of others at risk) I wish they'd broken up elderly and care homes where-ever possible. If just half the residents moved to a younger relative for a year (and pay the relative for their work, obviously) the homes might not be those death traps they are.
Here in Austria the government worked a lot with Angst. It went so far that the younger were more afraid of the virus than the elderly. I had to spend days to persuade a 35-yr-old that she doesn't have to be afraid and from her initial "I don't want this virus" position she moved to "I already had it" six weeks after...
Young people in their 20's and 30's are dying too, just at a lower percentage.
Many young people who survive COVID-19 end up with permanent lung damage and other on-going issues.
A New York Times staffer who's 33-years old ran 3 miles and walked 10 more the day before she came down with COVID-19 on April 17.
And now this:
"I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping."—https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/14/opinion/coronavirus-young...
Far lower. It may be still undesirable, but if we want to talk about risk, there is no absence of risk for anyone, yet the risk changes a lot depending on age and comorbidities. This matters if one wants to take the risk or not, given that it will never be zero.
> Many young people who survive COVID-19 end up with permanent lung damage and other on-going issues.
Some of these issues apply to any type of pneumonia. It takes a year or so to fully recover if you had a bad one. And to evaluate "permanent" damage, we need more time. It would be better to say "we don't know yet if the damage is permanent or not".
TBH, I have yet to hear a decent argument against this, given the following thoughts:
1. Development of a vaccine will take a minimum of 12 months, more like 18.
2. It is not feasible, either for democracy or our economy, to stay locked in/sheltered at home for this long.
3. Thus, the main concern should be to "flatten the curve": keep the infection rate low enough so that, even though people still get infected, hospital systems don't get overwhelmed. I think it's important to note that the only places yet that have had overwhelmed (or close to it) hospital systems had extreme density (Wuhan, NYC), often coupled with lots of mixing of young and old (Northern Italy).
4. A corollary to number 3 is that as long as hospital systems aren't overwhelmed, or close to it, that you shouldn't lock down further. The belief is that the majority of society becoming infected within 12/18 months is inevitable, so extreme lockdowns will do little beyond push deaths out a bit.
5. Do everything you can to protect the highly vulnerable (old, immuno-compromised) as they appear to be at exponential greater risk.
I mean, as the US starts to open up, it is quite clear the virus has not been contained, so for better or for worse the above is the approach we are taking as well.
We are deeply embarrassed about Sweden.
Supposedly, Singapore and South Korea were proof that this could work anyway, but it seems to have failed in both places - Singapore had to give up and lock down after cases exploded, whilst South Korea also had a whole bunch of spread that completely escaped contact tracing and nowhere near enough testing to pick it back up again, but somehow managed to reverse it through stricter social distancing measures well short of a full lockdown for reasons no-one has explained. I'd be very interested to see what serology studies have to say about South Korea's actual infection rate.
It is hard to imagine SK's infection rate is anything other than very small, given their extremely low death rate (264 for a pop of ~50MM) - to insinuate otherwise is, well, questionable.
Sadly a different dimension has crept into what should be a reasoned public health emergency response. I'm not sure from where, or why, or indeed who - but we should be vigilant, the cost is terrible.
Herd immunity only happens when a critical mass of the population - >70% at a minimum - is given immunity by a vaccine.
This creates a population with a low enough R to guarantee that outbreaks die out, even if some people aren't vaccinated.
Even then it still doesn't guarantee personal immunity, because people in small clusters can still become infected. But instead of a national health emergency which threatens to overwhelm primary care, you get small localised individual/cluster outbreaks which are very much easier to handle.
I think you've got a selection bias there. Those illnesses are household names because they are/were so prevalent. But what of the illnesses that never became prevalent enough to become household names because populations developed immunity fast enough to suppress the spread?
I can't think of any.
2017 flu had 60k deaths, despite likely undercounting.
As Nietzsche once put it: “insanity is rare in individuals, but common in the herd”
you could be severely sick with some other disease then get COVID19 in addition, what killed you?
I think 10 years from now we will look back at this time as the time where everything was counted as COVID19
These data are subject to being modified after the fact.
This still makes sense if the lockdown has lowered other causes of death like car crashes.
I don't mean to say that Covid is not a problem -- of course it is. But the response is not correct given the magnitude and nature of the problem.
To me it seems like massive government investment in protecting at risk populations is the answer.
A non-trivial proportion of those become seriously ill for months. It's possible they're going be left with permanent health problems.
I know of one music app developer in his forties with no health issues who spent more than a month on a ventilator. He recovered - barely - but it's going to be a while before he's back to working full-time.
Nonsense about flu statistics is just ignorable whataboutery. Covid is a very nasty illness, and until a vaccine is developed it has potential to do huge direct damage.
Without lockdowns it would have spread like wildfire and a lot of people would have been off work at the same time. Some food supply chains in the US are already struggling.
Imagine what would have happened with only ten times more casualties.
You had me up to that one. It does mean you're likely to require hospitalization if you have severe Covid symptoms. You may not require a weeks long stay in the ICU and you may not require a ventilator. If you have severe symptoms, you're at a very elevated risk of death. This is why so many young people have been hospitalized by it as a percentage of all cases ending up in the ICU, even though they're still far more likely to live through the severe symptoms.
If you're in those categories by all means, update your will and self-isolate. But otherwise you'll do fine. Even the healthy elderly, and there are plenty of them, do fine.
Such a case is very unusual and I would question severely the use of "young and healthy" to describe such a person. Sorry if that seems harsh but naming is meaningful here.
So while there are relatively few Covid-19 patients and even fewer Covid-19 deaths, there are indeed a minuscule percentage of such cases. It's not worth worrying about for the average person.
Indeed that is the point: Covid-19 odds are so low that there is no reason for a normal intelligent person to be unduly concerned about catching Covid-19. Take precautions and go about your business. Truth is you're more likely to get killed in a car accident than by Covid-19.
The real problem may be characterised by the fact that half of the population has an IQ below 100. However as a society we've given up on eugenics, so that is a path not chosen!
In the US during 2018 there were ~36,000 auto fatalities. For the first half of 2020 Covid-19 is nearing 100,000 deaths with all the precautions. And there may be a surprising number of people with health complications of one kind or another (over 30% of US population is obese) that could be exacerbated by this virus.
> The real problem may be characterised by the fact that half of the population has an IQ below 100. However as a society we've given up on eugenics, so that is a path not chosen!
We are stronger when we work together. Suggesting that the government regulate procreation to increase society's IQ is ... not going to help toward that end.
> The question Fenner asked was: What happens when such a virulent virus spreads through a very susceptible host species on a continental scale? He focused on two possibilities. First, the highly lethal virus might evolve to become less lethal. Second, the highly susceptible rabbits might evolve resistance. Thanks to Fenner, we now know both happened.
> The work showed that the almost invariably lethal progenitor virus strain was replaced within a few years by strains with case fatality rates of 70 percent to 95 percent. Some field isolates killed fewer than half the lab rabbits. Over the next few decades, things settled down, and strains at both ends of the lethality spectrum become increasingly difficult to find. Fenner showed why. The highly lethal progenitor virus killed rabbits so fast that its infectious period was shorter than that of the less lethal viral mutants. That meant that the less lethal strains were able to infect more new victims and spread throughout the population.
Edit: as an example, my county (Santa Clara) is using under 10% of hospital beds for Covid. This is typical, check your county dashboard if they have one and you are likely to see a similar number. Source: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/dashboard.aspx#ho...
One reason Sweden's approach may work out in the end is they have the highest proportion of single person households of any country on Earth.
Was it? NYC has reported more deaths than Lombardy (with less population) and NY/NJ as many deaths as Italy with half the population.
So far all the places that have had hospital systems overwhelmed (or on the verge) have had extremely high density, lots of intergenerational mixing, or both.
It may work out for them because it's a lowly populated country but I wouldn't try that model anywhere with an higher density.
Sweden has a very low population density on average, but they also have some densely packed metro areas. Just the Stockholm and Gothenburg metro areas make up over a third of the total population.
- Japan is populated extremely densely.
- Japan is number 2 by the population's median age (for comparison, Italy is 5th).
- Japan had 808(!) COVID-19 fatalities.
- Despite the lockdown, in New York "most new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who had been staying home".
- New York had 29112(!) deaths.
One just has to ask, do lockdowns even have that big of an impact on the spread of the virus? Or did it just ran its natural course in each country -- in lockdown or not -- and differences in the numbers of deaths are just down to dumb chance?
"... there’s little correlation between the severity of a nation’s restrictions and whether it managed to curb excess fatalities..."
What kind of differences do you have in mind for Japan given their population of ~126 millions, density and median age?
"One can not and should not simply cherrypick situations and arguments to support one's case."
I don't think the fallacy of cherrypicking applies here. One counter example is enough to challenge a hypothesis and ask very serious questions about it. I gave two -- Japan and people staying at home and still getting infected in NY.
Do these counterexamples immediately disporve lockdowns effectiveness? I don't think so.
Do they mean some very strong evidence is necessary to confirm the effectiveness? In my opinion, absolutely.
"Cyprus initiated a lockdown far earlier than London, and they have had 17 (0.0014% of the population) deaths so far."
I'm going to give an absurd example but consistent with this line of reasoning.
So, I claim the Sun still rises thanks to lockdown, and as a result of initiating their lockdown earlier the Sun is brighter over Cyprus. So does the Sun still rise everyday? Yes. Is it brighter over Cyprus? Yes. Hence, my claim is proven!
Who would choose to die now without a "lockdown" when the other option is die later with a lockdown, including the added bonus of there being more work done to understand the virus and how to treat it, which might mean not dying at all.
0.1% of the rest of my life is less than three weeks, it's not a bad gamble to avoid an 18-month lockdown if that were the choice.
Umm, lots of people? If we prohibited all vehicle traffic we would prevent 1.3 million deaths worldwide, yet lots of people appear willing to drive.
Look, I don't mean to minimize the deaths, and the lockdowns were a very rational response given what was known initially. At the same time, humans make risky choices all the time, and it's not unreasonable to ask if the cost of the lockdowns is worth the lowered risk, especially in lower-density locales.
Sure, seems a bit extreme though. I suggest we remove all the safety features on cars, it costs the car companies loads in R&D to comply with all those regulations. You take a risk when you drive, and to be honest people should just be better drivers and there will be less accidents.
Far less accidents in lower-density locales as well.
There is a lot of pent up health care need building up. Some of it lethal.
The impact of the lockdown is going to be 10-100x that of coronavirus itself. No healthcare system is prepared for it.
But you blew it with those crazy numbers..
It’s already happening
Addendum: and we have financial tools to deal with the economic stress. We don’t have much in the way of treatment for the virus yet.
The fact that we’re not throwing money at the unemployed is a crime.
I'm not sure what's the basis of your idea.
This is direct, primary source data, not a media report.
That you say it's not the case while linking to only your own county.. feels bad.
All the field hospitals in the UK and US have been now closed.
Eventually-eventually, but if it turns out immunity lasts a year and 10% of the population has had it next February, you'll never get herd immunity until people say "fuck it."
Compare with Ebola. They don't have Ebola in Europe. But if it pops up somewhere, we will contain it as soon as possible.
It doesn't mean that they need to live in isolation for the rest of time.
Millions of people with Corona are asymptomatic or have mild flu-like symptoms and are therefore easy carriers.
OTOH once you have Ebola symptoms (and that's when you are infectious), you have only a coin's flip chance of surviving it. You can be pretty sure no random guy on the street is giving you Ebola. You can't say the same for Corona.
It has been widely reported since the very beginning of the pandemic that the likely time to develop and deploy a vaccine is on the order of 18 months. Yes, it might be more, it might also be less (quite a few are already in testing!). But the idea that this is permanent has never been a feature of any expert advice nor mainstream reporting.
The idea that the people who support lockdowns (which is, let's be clear, almost everyone) want to be shut down forever is, itself, a fever swamp hallucination.
Stay home until it's beaten, and then open up slowly so we don't lose control again. Much of the world outside the US and the UK, in fact, is already opening up.
The problem with London are the aristocratic measures of social distancing. The danger of being caughed at at low distance is exponential. The recommendation is 1-2 meter. The UK did 2m, likely because the ones who came with that idea never use public transport, and want to be safe from the plebs. Face masks don't help at all against direct caughing. only against droplets.
2m distancing doesn't work in public places at all. 1 - 1.5m do work, if in the subway, bus, restaurant, pub somehow. I don't know who else did 2m. And the death mortality is directly proportional to the severity of the measures. Maybe not causal, but those are the numbers. 2m don't help at all.
When you are being caughed at, it goes far over 5m, even up to 20m. So social distancing in public places does not help much. indirect caughing via droplets is not that dangerous, transmission via surfaces at very low percentages. there's no known case so far. but hard to prove.
Lifting prohibition wasn't going to make alcoholism disappear.
Lifting the war on drugs won't make overdoses disappear.
There are many things we could do in society to make negative externalities that cause hundreds of thousands or millions of deaths disappear. Yet we don't do those.
If anything it only gives the anti-vaxxers more ammunition and brings down the overall credibility of vaccination as a concept, and heaven knows we don't want to deal with that right now.
I tend to agree that there is some potential for fuckups, but 12-18 months seem reasonable to have most (if not all) of the vaccines as reliable.
For example, the Oxford University team said it may be ready by next fall some weeks ago, and they seem on track for now (i.e. human trials already started and being expanded). Moderna also started human trials and had preliminary positive results.
Other entities said they aim for this winter.
Considering early 2020 as the start of the research I would say that fits the 12-18 months figure.
I just don’t think that people are going to quarantine any longer. Almost no matter how bad it gets, I think people care about social interaction above almost all else even their own safety.
Now that said: I’m in a bar that is only outdoors, it’s sunny, there is a breeze, and the closest person is 15 feet away. Everybody is wearing a mask who isn’t eating, everything is getting washed and sanitized.
People will find a way to keep doing this, and it isn’t going to be VR or zoom calls. It’s going to be real in person experiences where you can see other people’s faces.
> Almost no matter how bad it gets, I think people care about social interaction above almost all else even their own safety.
Ultimately, my struggle is that I don't understand this. I don't value social interaction this way, and most of my close family and friends don't either (though it's far closer to 50/50 than I am comfortable with).
Ultimately people are irrational. People want to be masters of their own destiny. Is it illegal to go outside? Am I going to get in trouble? So long as people can act without consequence, they will.
With a deadly virus that spreads so silently, I really fear for humanity here. The fools will be the end of us all.
The only hope of real consequence is contract tracing and frankly, I don't think the majority of people want contract tracing to even work, especially Americans, who value their liberties to such extremes. People would rather kill anonymously without consequence.
This all makes me so sad.
Your "close friends", unless you met them all on IRC or whatever, literally _exist_ because you met them. Your family exist because you spent time close to each other.
I don't think you really understand what this whole brave new "social distancing" world means. It means never forming social bonds. It means young people never finding a partner, having children. It means children growing up thinking that their friends are virons.
We can do it in lockdown, for a while, that's what we're doing, and sensible people have no issue with that.
If you think we are going to do it for years, you're being daft. It's like imposing a chronic disease on 100% of the population.
Sure, some people will go right back to indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, whatever is allowed to open back up. But, a lot of people aren't going to go back to pre-Covid behaviors just because things are open. Many will seek to resume social interaction, but in safer ways, and your example of the pub is a good one. Time for more beer gardens!
Just thinking about myself, I probably won't dine inside a restaurant for a long while. But outdoor dining set up in a reasonably safe way? That's possible.
For better or worse, we're moving into reopening, so there should be a big focus on harm reduction: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/quarantine...
> What does harm reduction look like for the coronavirus? First, policy makers and health experts can help the public differentiate between lower-risk and higher-risk activities; these authorities can also offer support for the lower-risk ones when sustained abstinence isn’t an option. Scientists still have a lot to learn about this new virus, but early epidemiological studies suggest that not all activities or settings confer an equal risk for coronavirus transmission. Enclosed and crowded settings, especially with prolonged and close contact, have the highest risk of transmission, while casual interaction in outdoor settings seems to be much lower risk. A sustainable anti-coronavirus strategy would still advise against house parties. But it could also involve redesigning outdoor and indoor spaces to reduce crowding, increase ventilation, and promote physical distancing, thereby allowing people to live their lives while mitigating—but not eliminating—risk.
I mean, you might be, but it may not be the pub as you know it. The current Irish plan calls for reopening of pubs in phase 5 (last phase) in late August (I don't think the UK has a concrete plan on this, but it'll likely be similar enough). But it will be pubs with social distancing.
EDIT: Looks like UK pubs may be allowed reopen in July, but with social distancing and table service. So, not very pub-like, then.
People will go out, get smashed, snog, dance, hug, etc. If you force them out onto the street they'll do that. Maybe we'll even have a resurgence of good old pub violence.
Most pubs can't even support this nonsense - a business with 10% of its' normal capacity is a dead business, there's no point in even opening the doors.
I'll accept that the Government _might_ attempt a re-closure after the above happens, but I find that unlikely.
This is denial masquerading as cynical realism. Covid-19 cases in the UK continue to increase at 1% or 2% a day. This is much better than the double digit growth of March and early April, but it is still bad.
At 2% a day cases double every 5 weeks. Would anyone apply this reasoning to any other disease? Can you imagine anyone saying "We have AIDS under control, cases are only doubling once every 5 weeks."
You might say that on the best days, the increase has only been 1%. That's fantastic. As soon as people start going back to the pubs, the rate of spread will again accelerate to something more than 1% a day.
Classic psychological denial is clearly operating in force. A textbook case might be the man with pain in his chest and numbness in his left arm but instead of thinking it's a heart attack he keeps thinking "It's nothing, just stress." Denial is in force when things are so grim that people do not feel comfortable facing how grim they are. Some people don't see reality until they are forced to. Some people only have a lucid moment when they are in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Some people never have a lucid moment, they simply die.
In reality, the struggle against Covid-19 will take at least another year and might take two or more years. Things are going to be very bad for a long time. But no doubt, some people won't see that clearly till they've personally known some people who've died.
The biggest worldwide increase for this illness was 2 days ago:
The people will stop caring, they've already stopped caring.
They're not the ones who are going to die. The realization is dawning that it's only the old that die.
Much like the starving kids in Africa, it's rapidly becoming a "Well, it's tragic, but I can't see it" problem.
Note I don't know how I personally feel about this, I think this is just the reality of what's about to happen in Western democracies.
I think the old will ultimately be chucked under a bus. We'll get lots of tragic stories about care homes and a whole load of hand wringing, but no-one will actually care all that much to bring in another lock-down.
Or, as you say, the other option is that we all throw 5-10 years of our lives away in a massive global recession for some old people who've already had the best years of their lives to live a couple of years more.
I think we've got to start hoping beyond hope for a magic cure, or that basic social distancing kinda keeps r below 1, so we don't have to look ourselves in the mirror in 5 years time and have to face the reality of what we just did.
I think that what's happened is the opposite - the young have been thrown under the bus (even disregarding social activity we have things like school closures, university admissions, exams cancelled), and that economic activity is being hindered unnecessarily, which is having enormous knock-on effects already which will persist for a generation.
I think that the appropriate response is for the vulnerable (old, immunocompromised, or really just anyone with low risk tolerance) to isolate and be given the resources to do so.
Care homes, for example, should be dealt with via paying the staff much higher salaries and having them stay on-site, effectively 'sealing off' the care home and creating an isolated unit.
If you're poor and have to go to work, you should be given enough money such that it's your free choice and you can stay at home if you want.
My vulnerable friends and family are forced into doing this, lockdown or no lockdown, they're disinfecting packages, haven't been outside for months, and probably will be forced into a "new way of life" for the foreseeable future.
This is the sort of thing that we should be using the severe lockdown time for - determining an appropriate way of protecting the individuals which we know to have very high fatality/complication rates - the people for whom we're bothering to do this at all.
What I strongly disagree with is the idea that the lives of the healthy should be deleted in some asinine attempt to drag out the (in my view, inevitable) death toll over a multi-year period.
That's not feasible. Those people have families, too.
They can't even realistically do this with the NBA and associated support staff, and that's a hell of a lot fewer people than vulnerable/old people and their support staff.
I, too, wish it were that easy, but it's simply not.
Why not? I don't think the parent meant staff should stay on-site forever.
There can be shifts. Staff on shift get tested or even stay isolated for two weeks, then enter the unit, spend a month on-site and leave for home.
Does this sound like a dream job? Not really, I guess.
Does it sound that different from sailors, long-haul drivers, deployed military personnel and many other professionals who stay away from their families for prolonged period of times?
It has to happen, because people cannot stay inside forever, with all the will in the world.
This is definitional unless you're planning to create a police state and forcibly prevent the young from interacting with each other for years at a time.
Protecting the vulnerable is the only practical solution.
It is not a practical solution because there is no political will to do it and there is not the competency to do it even if the political will was present.
So we have four weeks of quarantine for every month worked. That means we would need double the staff, and also we would have to pay them way more to even find someone willing/able  to accept this shift arrangement. This means that a huge part of the inhabitants will be priced out of the nursing home market and forced to stay at home with inadequate care.
 Re "able to accept this", for instance, single mothers would not be able to work under these conditions at all.
So now you're in a place where you're intelligent enough, and aware enough, that you follow the rules or you play Russian Roulette with people's lives.
Rage all you want about what could be and reality, the two rarely meet.
The current situation is some sort of distributed trade of mental health for physical health; the brains of the youth for the bodies of the old. It's not a stable state and will break at some point.
Regarding "russian roulette":
Everyone I know who feels at significant risk is doing the whole "don't leave the house" thing.
Care homes are almost certainly fucked regardless.
I tend to think the major impact is going to be amongst 50+ year olds who are in good health and decide that they can't be arsed with staying inside. We basically don't have a way to deal with this issue collectively.
The young are the old, in due time. I'm guessing that the majority of young
people today would prefer to grow old in a society that will care for them,
that has demonstrated that it will care for them, rather than one that is
prepared to "throw them under the bus" to "protect the young".
All of us are young at some point and many of us will grow old. We must be treated
fairly in both states. The sensible way to do that in the current situation is
to establish some sort of protocol for interaction with each other that will
allow economic life to go on, because obviously everyone wants that, but
without exposing the vulnerable to the virus. And that doesn't mean locking
them up until it's gone, because that is still throwing them under the bus.
After all, there is a substantial minority of people with chronic diseases etc
that are still young, and have many productive years of life ahead of them.
But for the rest, also, there is what I say above: if we throw the old under
the bus now, we'll throw the young under the bus also, when it's their turn to
And this protocol must necessarily be a strict form of social distancing and
some measure to reduce transmission, like wearing masks. We know that works.
Until there is a better solution, that's the best solution.
So there's no point in saying "this can't be done, you'll find me at the pub".
It has to be done. And it has to be done for the good of everyone, young
and old, vulnerable and strong. There's no point in thinking that "I'm young,
this doesn't affect me" and carrying on as before because "it only kills the
old and sick". One day, you yourself will be old and sick. And
whatever kills the old and sick at that point will get you, unless the young
and strong around you take care of you, like we are asked to take care of the
old and sick right now.
And if young people don't care for the old and sick right now, they're digging
their own graves.
> they're digging their own graves
Digging our graves for when we're old? Yes, we are all going to die, and probably when we are old. I find your framing interesting though, as if it would be the young treating old people like crap by ultimately choosing to get on with their lives as the mental health costs creep up and up. No, it's the virus, a force of nature, that is doing that. Denying our humanity by enforcing social distancing, well I fail to see how this is a objectively moral position, either.
Lockdown and social distancing is fine and good, but it cannot extend towards a year or more, people will not stand for it.
That looks very close to a lockdown to me... (especially in my country with a very high proportion of obese people. There’s probably an order of magnitude more of people living with an obese person.)
Yes. If we don't treat the old now as we want to be treated when we are old ourselves, why would anyone do us the favour? We work towards the world we'll live in the future, right now, in the present. What we do now, how we behave towards those whose place we will be in one day will determine how we are treated when we are in their place.
>> Denying our humanity by enforcing social distancing, well I fail to see how this is a objectively moral position, either.
This is a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think? "Denying our humanity..."? By not going to the pub?
I note also that the narrative seems to have shifted a bit lately. A few weeks ago it was along the lines of "we can't keep the lockdown for ever, or the economy will go bust". Now, judging from this thread, it's changed to "we can't keep social distancing for ever because our lives will be destroyed".
Or just because the weather is good and people must go to the pub.
We wouldn't be treating old people badly by not completely shutting down the entire country.
>This is a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think? "Denying our humanity..."? By not going to the pub?
Humans are social animals. Being unable to socialise is dehumanising, yes. It's not just an inconvenience, it's very real and very harmful.
>I note also that the narrative seems to have shifted a bit lately. A few weeks ago it was along the lines of "we can't keep the lockdown for ever, or the economy will go bust". Now, judging from this thread, it's changed to "we can't keep social distancing for ever because our lives will be destroyed".
It's not a coincidence, it's because the human cost is creeping up. You're literally just observing the negative impact of lockdown on people's health, but instead you seem to be choosing to interpret it as a negative and selfish character trait. Lockdown is obviously and trivially unsustainable, but so too is social distancing in the not too long run.
Can you show me in one of my comments where I advocated for "shutting down the entire country"? Or stopping people from socialising?
I'm sorry but I don't have much patience for that kind of conversation. It tends to waste too much time with clarifications and refutations of wrong assumptions.
Here are the HN guidelines:
Please read them again, or for the first time if you haven't done so already. Especially the one about responding to the strongest interpretation of what someone says.
From our perspective, that's you seizing control of the narrative and handing out minor concessions. The entire country is currently shut down, unless you change a _lot_, it'll still be mostly like that.
Stuff like 'ok, we'll do 2 meter rule in the pub, that's basically the same, right' feels like a complete joke. It's dreamed up by someone who like, doesn't go there anyway, so what do they care? It pretty much defeats the entire point of even going, and beyond that it's obviously not economically viable anyway.
But that's not all - not only are the suggested steps seemingly absurd (e.g. "soon", we can open restaurants, but can't meet family in their homes) - there's not even a real timetable, it's all conditional on Boris' mood! Months in, and we're still talking about "ooh err, maybe well, maybe this, I guess perhaps, but that, but this other thing".
Basically, it feels like not being taken seriously. It gets people's backs up. I apologise if in conversation I've seemed aggressive, but I hope the above explains why.
The virus exists regardless, but how we choose to respond to it is something that I'm not sure democracy is even capable of handling. I guess you could call it a power struggle?
At the moment the only possible method of contesting is to just ignore the rules, but you're not even taking that seriously, you're pretending it away as if people are irresponsible and just want to see death and destruction.
Re the whole old/young split: I think that the pensioner form of esotericn would be on board with my current views. I know that when I'm older I'm going to be more frail; I imagine spending time inside reading, studying, etc (depending on my eyesight), possibly spending time with my partner, perhaps we have pets, etc.
Sure - the theatre, galleries etc are things I'd like to do, but realistically, I wouldn't take the elevated risks of death in order to do them. If no-one does them though, they collapse, and I'm left with shit like Netflix in my old age regardless.
That's exactly how this is different. Most people in the UK or US don't have a starving African kid in their direct family. They do have people at high risk for COVID-19 in their direct family.
> Or, as you say, the other option is that we all throw 5-10 years of our lives away in a massive global recession for some old people who've already had the best years of their lives to live a couple of years more.
I must live in a weird bubble because none of my friends are willing to sacrifice their parents'/friends'/coworkers' lives for economic indicators. Besides, that is a false dichotomy: adapting to new circumstances is not "throwing 5-10 years of our lives away".
This really resonates with me. yet I've seen highly educated good friends go from "shit we need to do something about this" to "I don't care if people die, I want my summer vacation" within two months now. It's really depressing to see.
It seems that for many people, changing anything about their previous lifestyle is already pain enough that they stop considering the impact on others. And this was a person who prides themselves in adapting and who constantly rants about how people resist change...
So yeah, there are definitely restrictions, but "a complete pause on life itself" would be a wild overstatement. If it's different where you are, it's either because the government failed to take effective steps early on and thus contributed to the spread of the virus, or if your society's culture facilitates the spread better than ours in Germany.
EDIT: For completeness' sake, I am worried that many businesses (restaurants, cinemas, etc.) will not be sustainable if they have to operate under social distancing guidelines indefinitely, since their price calculations are based on a certain occupancy rate. But I'm not an expert in this regard, so I'm honestly not sure how this will play out. Maybe rents will drop when landlords realize that this calculation looks similar for every prospective tenant.
I don't think going back to normal is practical, nor desirable. Ref work-from-home, air travel, etc. But for many people, apparently the bar for acceptable is "everything is exactly as before or it's too much change."
Who are you talking about? You and your circle of friends? Large majorities of the public continue to support lockdown measures, in both the USA and the UK.
You should consider that those who are not in denial are looking at the situation with a risk assessment very different than your own, and such people as those currently constitute the majority.
Yes, most people are on board with a lockdown of a few months. Flattening the curve is a sane aim.
If you persist with this idea of deleting social interaction for multiple years, people are going to rightly conclude that you're insane and just want to force your antisocial vision on them.
That's what's causing the antsiness - there's no exit plan, it's all "oh, well, you might be able to have a normal life.. or perhaps post-2020 we deleted society".
If you can't understand that, you're probably in a special situation (either very introverted, or living with family so you already have some social contact).
If you're living alone, then you still have no idea when it will legally be permitted for you to embrace, play games with, spend the night with, kiss, hold hands with - experience humanity with - literally anyone else.
If you're single, all of that _plus_ you now need to fight through a 2 metre social bubble in order to perform basic human functions like, for example, attracting a mate in order to perform sexual intercourse.
All of the above is very silly to me. I honestly think the whole "let's wait for the science" approach misses the point. At an absolute minimum we need a hard deadline of something like "look, in N weeks/months you can go and be a husband again".
People _will_ take a risk of death in order to do the above. If you think this is all about young individuals believing that they're invincible you've completely missed the point - the issue is that a life without those things is _not life_ - 1 year of being a hermit for many may as well just be a deletion of 1 year of the prime of their life, i.e. a >1% mortality rate imposed upon them anyway.
The longer term view on this is people actually starting to worry that perhaps that's just it - their parents had a good life when you used to be able to go out, party, meet a girl, and so on and so forth - and now, oops, that's illegal, sorry, we're doing social distancing for the next 10 years. It's utter madness.
If the Government refuses to address this, and they very much are refusing to do so, then the inevitable consequence will be that people just begin to wholesale ignore the guidelines.
If I had children on the other side of the country I'm not watching them grow from age 5 to age 6 over a video link regardless of what the R number is. There's no political process to address these concerns, other than just doing it anyway, so people will do it anyway.
But you seem to be advocating for abandoning social distancing altogether and
just letting everyone do whatever they please, without any rules at all. Or
am I misrepresenting your comments in this thread?
You have repeated a few times that there is no exit plan (do you mean an exit
from the lockdown or from social distancing rules?). Indeed, there is no such
thing currently in the UK where I understand we both live because the current
government is a travelling circus run by a band of incompetent clowns (and
don't let me get started on the opposition). However, again, that is no reason
to advocate for just letting everyone run wild and do whatever they please,
regardless of whether it puts others in danger or not.
Other EU countries, many of which had severe outbreaks of the disease, like
Spain, France and Italy, have managed to enter and exit their lockdowns and to
establish new social distancing guidelines, all in an orderly fashion. Yet
other EU countries, like Greece and Germany have managed to impose a lockdown
early enough to avoid the worst of the disease and are also now exiting their
lockdowns and imposing social distancing measures again in an orderly fashion.
It is my undestanding that in every such case, social distancing measures and
even the lifting of the lockdown are provisional and can be expected to either
loosen up or tighten down in the future, depending on how the pandemic
progresses in those countries (and outside) and always with a mind to allow
social and economic life to go on as freely as possible which is of course
I don't understand why it is not possible to do the same thing in the UK or
why, like you say it's madness or antisocial etc etc.
a) you have some atypical neurochemistry which means you don't/can't understand human socialisation properly
b) you're locked inside with your family and so you can't "feel" the dread that millions of people are feeling right now, wondering whether they'll ever touch another human again
For me, it's an urge almost as strong as the urge to drink water. If you refuse to take that on board and just pretend that people are being irrational because your brain doesn't work that way, you're going to remain confused by this.
If you don't want to go to a language class, a theatre, a gallery, a pub, a cafe, sit on a bus, a train, a restaurant, go on a date, have children play in a playground, work in an office, and so on and so forth, for years, or you want to replace them with some wanky dystopian "social distancing" version in which you sit behind screens, wear masks, and have 10 people in a hall built for hundreds, that's cool, you do you. I'll do it for a few months, I won't do it for years, because that represents the imposition of a >2% mortality rate on me anyway by removing all of the good parts of life. My response to this is pretty much "OK introvert", you know?
That over with;
Of course, I do think that we should, for a few months, attempt to reduce the spread of the virus, via whatever measures are reasonable!
I strongly disagree that the status quo of "you can get on the tube to go and work in a supermarket, but can't cuddle your partner" is sustainable.
There's no guidance. As I've repeatedly said, we need a plan to deal with mental health _right now_. Not next week, not "if the R number goes down", not "if Boris has a good day", we need a date at which it will be legal for people to have autonomy and decide whether they want to take the risk to visit their friends and family, and to make new friends.
Notice, by the way, that you're not giving any concrete plans for this in your post - it's all wishy washy "oh, well, we might do this, or I suppose that, well maybe" nonsense. There's no sense of urgency at all. You're really not understanding that many, many people would rather die than live in a dystopian world in which people treat each other as virons. A few months, sure we'll take it. A few years - completely intractable.
We were urgently locked indoors, the world was turned off, and now our needs are being ignored with this child-like "we're not there yet, darling" fluff.
So again - I ask you - what's the plan for long term partners meeting each other? Family members? For dating? For meeting new friends? Do you have one? You do realise that the Government has literally broken up families so that they can prioritise the flower shop opening?
Or are you going to twiddle your thumbs and moan about people breaking the lockdown whilst giving them zero indication that it's ever ending (and seemingly actually _enjoying_ it?)
When people bottle up mental health issues the inevitable result
is a release like a pressure valve.
What an awful communication style. My mistake for trying to hold a civilised conversation, then.
I don't mean to insult you, it's simply baffling to me that you can just ignore this as if it's a nonentity. My brain is different to yours, yours to mine, however we slice it we need to bridge that gap in order to understand each other.
Again: this shut down is trading some lives for other lives. I don't think it's a net gain, I've explained why, and all you can offer is "just wait" on a loop forever. Waiting 1 month locked in a box as a single person is a 0.1%-1% fatality rate depending on demographic.
And yes, '2 meter land' is the same thing if pretty much all of the joy in your life revolves around being close to other people.
You can engage with that on an honest basis, or you can just pretend it away and watch people slowly stream outside, you know? I apologise if I'm getting combative, but it feels like I'm left with no choice...
Also, that's the risk of dying. Serious illness that can do long-term damage is another issue. I'm not sure how common that is supposed to be.
Yes, that's the point that people in this thread is making.
It doesn't matter how serious covid-19 is, nor what the R rate is: young people perceive themselves to be at low risk, and they don't care about the risk to other people, so they're going to go out as much as they used to.
You only need to look at crowded parks and beaches or queue outside fast food places to see this.
Cummings' shenanigans haven't helped (which is I suspect the point of them).
I don't know but maybe the flu ? I don't think focusing just on the infection rate is useful.
> Classic psychological denial is clearly operating in force.
I think the denial is in thinking that we can beat the virus by extending the lock down for years (you say "might take two or more years"). It is likely that all we are doing is slowing down the spread, and that it will eventually infect most of the population, stopping only when we reach herd immunity. I say this is likely because this is where we are headed unless we come up with a vaccine or treatment at an unprecedented speed -- not something I would bet on.
If this is indeed where we are headed, it may be better to open up as much as possible short of overwhelming the healthcare system. Note that in many places, the healthcare systems are significantly below capacity (e.g. ).
There was a polio outbreak in the early 1950s here. A few hundred people died, thousands crippled. My grandmother recalls that the fairs were closed and she couldn't see her friends.
A footnote in history. No one wen insane or revolted. The only significant portion of anyone's youth that was stolen was the impact of polio on its victims.
In 100 years, the only footnote for 2020 will be all the deaths and suffering that this caused. No one will care that you were sad because you couldn't see your friends or go do sports.
> My vulnerable family members will be doing exactly that, regardless of Government advice, and it's very difficult for me to deal with the fact that I won't be able to see them as a result.
It would be easier if you also stayed inside -- then we could eradicate this virus and you could see them again. If only everyone were able to realize that.
It's weird. Why do you empathize with victims of the disease but not with victims of financial hardship? Do you not see people suffering when looking at hour-long lines at food banks and historical unemployment numbers?
Perhaps what will be remembered is the pain of those who were plunged into deep poverty in a New Great Depression that will take us years to recover from.
In my first-world country, most people I know are either:
- working from home, otherwise normal
- got laid off and are receiving government income, which is pretty modest for doing absolutely nothing.
- working with reduced pay/hours, which is subsidized by the government.
Are people starving? Are people dying on the streets of malnourishment? I don't see that happening.
People are dying in hospitals due to a disease. That pretty much trumps everything else that isn't killing people.
> But financial hardship is solvable -- food, housing, etc. can be handed out.
That depends on the size of the handout. At the scale we’re talking about, I’ll just say that I don’t think it’s that simple. It is also without a successful precedent.
> Are people starving?
I don’t think so, but we also know that many people in the US live practically hand to mouth. By now, millions of Americans are probably without any savings or income. See the long lines at food banks for evidence. I expect that the longer this goes on, the more Americans we will see become poor, homeless, and find it difficult to feed their families. I don’t think people will starve, but how will this be resolved? Maybe instead of starving they will go to loan sharks and dig themselves into a hopeless financial hole.
I find it disturbing that you are willing to put all of this aside because you don’t know anyone who is experiencing serious hardship. Do you know anyone who goes to food banks? I don’t, but I know they exist and I don’t want to ignore them and say they will be fine because “we can hand out food”.
The goalposts have moved, I support lockdown on the original basis, not your fantasy, because it's not only physically impossible - we are not doing it politically or socially, so it's irrelevant.
There were enough people outside to make it impossible to have everyone at 2m distance, but for a second I considered breaking social distancing for drinking a beer in a warm sunny day.
So everyone is going back and forth in that narrow band, some jogging, others walking their dog, others pretending, etc.
The whole thing makes absolutely no sense.
I think many politicians don't know how humans actually behave and write policy based on the assumption we're robots or slaves. Or maybe they did not realize that reducing the size of the public space we're allowed to use implies a higher density of people in the remaining space we're allowed to use.
Does this mean that you think the risk of serious morbidity or mortality is overestimated, or because you think at some point the reduction in social interaction is worse than the pandemic itself?
Personally I’m mostly indifferent to whether or not the current restrictions are an overreaction, though I’m in the fortunate position of not being particularly severely affected by them. I would rather an overreaction than an underreaction.
It already seems to be happening - there's a massive ideological split between the group that wants to minimise risk at all cost, and the group that is willing to die to live a normal life.
You maybe, but how many others will? 10-20% less people in pubs, fewer tourists visiting west end shows, banks and other companies using work from home, could have a huge knock on effect on other businesses, property and taxes.
I'm willing to bet you in the next ~12-24 months virtually everyone. This isn't the first pandemic in human history. It's frankly ridiculous how people seem to have no awareness of how strongly we tend to overestimate events simply because we're living through them.
This will obviously be more pronounced in countries with a greater historic discrepancy between tourism expenditure and receipts.
e.g. Spain will no doubt be more effected than NZ, whereas the UK could actually benefit:
I can't help but wonder if we're gonna have another century repeat: After the Spanish Flu came the Roaring Twenties.
Some London pubs have already figured out that they can legally sell take away beers in plastic cups. So while you can't sit down inside the pub, everyone stands around in the street outside the pub drinking their "take away" beer.
"The war will be over by Christmas."
At this point we've gone way beyond any semblance of 'flattening the curve' and gotten stuck because there was no plan to unwind the lockdown.
As long as 1) the virus is still around, 2) we do not have a vaccine, 3) we have not reached a certain level of herd immunity, policy making should be based on the day to day data that we have, and about the immediate term.
Perhaps the evolution of the situation means that it will be safe to be back in the pub celebrating with your buddies for Christmas. But then again, perhaps not. We don't know.
Claiming broad things like "I will be back in the pub by the end of the year" is not about sensible decision making, it's pure emotion and is not what we need right now.
(Watch the people thinking "You're not taking our need to socialize seriously!" burn this comment to the ground...)
A lot more people have lost jobs. Restaurants continue to go bankrupt. Retail and airlines continue to let people go.
To sell the other side as petulant children is bordering on slanderous.
But I have a friend already going through depression who is going through hell with this stupid lock down. It affects people differently.
You may be in a pub by the end of the year, but you won't be in a pub at the end of the year, because at that point we'll locked down in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus, with some pent up seasonal flu thrown in for good measure.
I figure we have N waves, with herd immunity building during the process, and an eventual vaccine which may or may not need to be applied across the whole population by that point.
And how many people have to die to reach it?
What I've been reading so far, the genetic analysis of its mutations has not suggested that it will.
That isn't to say that it won't evolve into something more like the common cold, just that the features that make it SARS appear to me to be locked into specific genetic elements of the current virus (and MERS and SARS-Covid-1).
If this trend continues, then the vaccines developed will provide immunity for people and prevent further widespread outbreaks. Covid-19 will become "just like the flu" in that you get a shot for it (possibly only 1 or 2), and your chances of catching it become low enough that even if you are exposed to someone with it, your immune system will kill it.
At which point the world goes back pretty much to exactly the way it was before, except that we have experienced a worldwide pandemic in "living memory" and there will be a crap ton of sovereign debt which is going to drag on the various economies of the world for a decade at least.
Things to watch for are the results of vaccine trials, and follow the genetic tracking with respect to the virus' use of its 'spike' to infect cells. Good results in vaccines and no change in the virus without also making it just a regular cold virus, and the world goes on.
That said, I was always a germophobe and always practiced social distancing on the train whenever I could so I support this.
Until there is either a vaccine that I have taken, or a complete eradication of the COVID-19 in London; then "the pub" or any other voluntary gathering of strangers in close quarters is an unnecessary risk that I will not be taking.
That is the reality of our situation. You have to face up to it, disbelieving it does not help anyone.
The problem with the thinking of "you do that, I'll do otherwise" is that with an infectious disease, what our neighbours do impacts us. To germs, there really is such a thing as human society.
We won't do it for years - that's a delusion, a fantasy that ignores how the human mind works.
It sounds like you don't want to take the risk of either contracting, or further spreading, the disease.
No-one _wants_ to take that risk.
But if the only alternative that you can suggest is deleting 1, 2, ... years of the prime of my life, staring at screens or meeting friends behind plexiglass, you've lost me completely, because you're describing the actions of a paperclip maximizer, not a human being. You're impacting others by expecting them to give up their lives.
In that world view, either I'm autistic or you are; we don't have the same brain chemistry; your experience of the world is _so far_ from my own and most people I know that a blanket policy for both of us makes no sense.
This is binary, black-or-white, false dicotomy thinking: either lockdown, or we all go to the pub, movies, gigs, football etc, like before.
I accept that it can't and won't be the full lockdown for years. But it won't be the other extreme until it's safe. It will be somewhere in-between.
> But if the only alternative that you can suggest is deleting 1, 2, ... years of the prime of my life, staring at screens or meeting friends behind plexiglass, you've lost me completely, because you're describing the actions of a paperclip maximizer, not a human being
You'd be surprised what people put up with in order to stay alive. Then again, I should say "some people" as there will be literal survivorship bias in that. People do need to realize that this is a period of relative hardship not seen in a few decades, and like WW1 it won't be "over by Christmas" and deal with it in ways that get us through.
I'm not and most people I know aren't. The 2 metre rule will kill off all of the cultural institutions I hold dear. The recent video of a Wetherspoons pub with 2m distancing has people guffawing up and down the country.
It doesn't make sense to me anyway - as I've said, a person in a vulnerable group will not wish to perform outdoor leisure activities, or work, etc, even with the 2-metre-rule in place.
We'll just have to agree to disagree.
So will people dying, far more effectively. What's your point?
> The recent video of a Wetherspoons pub with 2m distancing has people guffawing up and down the country.
And it's also insufficient. Not safe for hours in an enclosed space with strangers and recirculating air, not at 2 meters, or at 5 meters.
I don't think that "it raised a chuckle" is the devastating criticism of a deadly disease countermeasure that you seem to think it is. The virus won't care what you think.
I'll just end this by saying that some people are like you, some people are like me.
We're not going to stay in fear forever. You might. I hope whatever happens that you manage to find peace with it. Godspeed.