Be kind. Don't be snarky. Have curious conversation; don't cross-examine. Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.
Don't use a thread like this to fulminate or flame. It helps no one. It adds toxic fumes. Regardless of how right you are or which color the fumes, that points in the direction we're trying to avoid in this community.
There are important and interesting issues here. It's fine to debate, but do it within the guidelines. You'll do a better job of making your substantive points that way too.
Maybe the text in italics ("Be kind. Don't be snarky...") should be always shown above the HN comment box? It'd be nice to get the reminder every time we are starting to write something unkind or snarky...
Parts of the UI like that can really only be seen once: once the user has seen that it is just a warning that is always there, it becomes an uninteresting piece of clutter that is zoned over and never again influencing the user.
I think the current system works much better: a thoughtful and appropriate comment written by a human when deemed appropriate (or possibly copied, I don't know).
This reinforces the ideas when necessary, and by itself is already a push for humanity, while a robotic repeating reminder serves only rarely to reinforce good reactions.
I feel like sites experience a downward spiral of intellectual entropy as time goes on if effort isn't put into maintaining a constructive culture.
IMO by HN's usual standards it makes it a worse title, not better.
I assume it's to present it as a debate for discussion rather than appear partisan? (Let me say here I'm British, live in the UK, don't really care for US politics, at that level at least.) But we have controversial titles all the time that are presented as fact (the author's opinion, the author's title) and yet discussed all the same.
If we need a '?' to have a discussion, then every submission needs a '?' suffixed.
Comments should be written in the spirit of colleagues cooperating in good faith to figure out the truth about something, not politicians trying to ridicule and misrepresent the other side.
“Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.”
This is why cross examination in needed in trials - of course everyone tries to make a plausible argument, so noticing the incongruities is important.
Assuming good faith and cross examining are not mutually exclusive.
I think it’s clearer and more direct and has less of an implication of being overly deferential to bad arguments.
In curious conversation, people want to know what the other person really thinks and what their experience has been like. In cross-examination, the goal is to defeat an enemy, so people are aggressive, try to make the other person seem as dumb or awful as they can, and generally seek to back them into a corner.
In one case the goal is to receive information from others' comments, in the other case it is to fire weapons into them. One can't do both at the same time. I think there are even physiological reasons for this: one is in a very different state when doing the one vs. doing the other.
Moreover, since curiosity evokes more curiosity and aggression evokes more aggression, the effects are systemic, meaning they apply to the site as a whole. We must choose which one we want, and we choose curiosity. https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...
I haven't read this whole thread, but the parts that I saw definitely did not lack for pushback. The question is how best to push back. Denunciatory rhetoric doesn't work. Its purpose is to provide momentary relief to the denouncer, at the cost of damaging the container and evoking more, not less, hatred from the other side.
There are better mechanisms for pushing back against hatred: flagging, downvoting, responding within the site guidelines, and in egregious cases emailing email@example.com.
>However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators' ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders."
Why are many taking this position? One can recognize that the protests are risking an increase in virus transmission while still recognizing that it is a risk worth taking. Don't tell us there is no risk from these protests, but there is a risk from stay-at-home protests. The virus is not selective of political beliefs. It completely ruins the credibility of many health professionals. Almost no one's opinions will be swayed either way if they acknowledged that the protests do carry a real risk of transmission.
That's a shining example of weasel speak. They don't explicitly say it's not risky - because that would be plain lying, it is obviously risky - but they are saying they are not condemning it as risky. Which most people would take as implying it's not actually risky - even though they are not saying that. They are saying that the protest is too important to take health considerations into account, but they are reluctant to speak plainly and tell people there's risk but they should be adult and choose to manage the risks themselves and maybe neglect small risk in order to achieve bigger thing. Because that's what they spent last several months - and in fact, many years before - trying to convince people there's no way they can be treated as adults and just given the information and left to manage the risks by themselves. Just in this case, our betters had decided the COVID risk is less important than protesting - so it's OK for us. But only in cases which are approved by our betters. If you want to protest something else - it's still risky as heck and there they can fully condemn.
> When news of a mysterious viral pneumonia linked to a market in Wuhan, China, reached the outside world in early January, one of my first reactions was to order a modest supply of masks. Just a few weeks later, there wasn’t a mask to be bought in stores, or online for a reasonable price — just widespread price gouging. Many health experts, no doubt motivated by the sensible and urgent aim of preserving the remaining masks for health care workers, started telling people that they didn’t need masks or that they wouldn’t know how to wear them.
I sent them a link to the CDC guidance that includes this picture regarding facial hair styles that are ok.
I don't think the notice at the top of said article is helpful whatsoever saying that this isn't advice for covid-19. A proper fit and seal is important. The picture could also be considered somewhat offensive to some.
In your specific example of volunteer health assessments and triage at a homeless shelter, you probably need real honest-to-goodness PPE, and the organization’s advice was wrong. When I’m going down to the grocery store, though, a cloth mask should be sufficient — and my (admittedly short) beard is not going to keep my mask from blocking droplets from my mouth and nose, assuming it completely covers both of them.
If one's beard is creating even more space between the face and mask, it's of course going to make things worse.
1) They capture a lot of droplets coming out of your mouth. Do you sneeze in your elbow or in someone's face? A face mask does better than an elbow, and for every breath (not just a sneeze). So does a beard for that matter; if your sneeze goes around through a beard, it's catching big droplets too.
2) You know the six-foot-guideline? They effectively increase that distance. A person talking, yelling, sneezing, etc. can carry droplets 15+ feet in a straight line. If we're both wearing masks (or face shields), it's not going in a straight line. Beards disrupt linear airflow too.
3) You can't touch your face.
They don't stop virus aerosol. That's where you need a proper seal.
I'm not actually sure facial hair makes any difference with a cloth mask. Surgical mask would be in between. And an N95 probably becomes a surgical.
> But the CDC has recommended against mask use. I hypothesized that the CDC was intentionally lying to us, trying to trick us into not buying masks so there would be enough for health care workers.
> But that can’t be true, because the CDC and other experts came up with their no-masks policy years ago, long before there was any supply shortage. For example, during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, their website offered the following table:
> [table in link]
> And during the 2015 MERS epidemic, NPR said South Koreans were wrong to wear masks:
> “[ . . . ] Masks can be helpful for protecting health workers from a variety of infectious diseases, including MERS… But either type of mask is less likely to do much good for the average person on the street…Wearing a mask might make people feel better. After all, MERS has killed about a third of the people known to be infected. But there are no good studies looking at how well these masks prevent MERS transmission out in the community, says Geeta Sood, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University. “On the street or the subway, for MERS specifically, they’re probably not effective,” she says. One problem is that the masks are loose fitting, and a lot of tiny airborne particles can get in around the sides of the masks.”
> So if studies generally suggest masks are effective, and the CDC wasn’t deliberately lying to us, why are they recommending against mask use?
It’s also unclear what “masks” meant in the initial phases. An N95 respirator? A surgical mask? A homemade cloth mask? Each of these has different uses and effects. I seriously doubt most people knew the difference in early March, I only had a vague notion. The surgeon general likely is thinking of respirators, because all MDs in hospitals get fitted for it. They know how hard it is to put it on and take it off safely, and know how critical it is for it to be a good tight fit. None of those things are going to be true for most people in early March 2020. If that’s your frame of reference, then it makes total sense that you’d recommend people not buy masks.
Everyone going out and buying N95s when they’re not particularly useful to most people unless in a close confined space is a bad thing. It doesn’t actually save many lives, but does make it harder for people who need it (docs/nurses in close confined spaces, particularly with patients on respirators that aerosolize the virus).
People wearing surgical or cloth masks may help some, probably mostly in enclosed spaces and mostly for exhalation rather than preventing you from inhaling a virus from someone else.
Even then, it’s my understanding that the data isn’t awesome here. Many of the papers I’ve seen are under fairly odd scenarios (for example an airplane, lots of the same air, recycled all over, for hours, where the paper showed positive mask benefit). We don’t have much for bandanas, or masks that were washed 3 weeks ago, or masks that are tighter, masks that are looser. I’d wager it helps, a little, especially indoors.
In other words, this shit is complicated, why assume lying when instead we could just say, “it’s complicated, they didn’t get it 100% right.”
OK, let's say CDC guys screwed up and got caught with their pants down (oh man did they...) and now we have no clear guidelines about it. Then come down from the ivory tower and tell us what you have and let us decide without politicians yelling at us and jerking it around - one day you are an idiot murderer because you're wearing mask, next day you're an idiot murderer because you don't. It just breeds contempt for the whole setup.
By that I mean we spend so much time as scientists living with and making decisions about which course of action to take in the context of uncertain data. Other fields obviously do too, but for a bench scientist, every day is is a constant tradeoff on which data you buy, what experiments will you run to confirm/exclude it, and what’s the downside of that decision. The best rarely speak in full certainty, they talk about probabilities.
Contrast to public messaging or journalism which is, “do this, not that.” This has led to people holding “science” as an identity, a talisman of righteousness. That’s not how science works, but people want to feel better by judging people so here we are.
I personally would have preferred a short, coherent statement on what we know for sure and what we don’t, how confident we are about the same, and to treat people as adults.
Remember spending a few weeks agonizing over how to ramp up ventilator production, rather than focusing on masks? And then finally coming around to masks could be useful, with everyone championing DIY cloth masks? We're four months into this thing and most everyone is still proudly wearing those ersatz face-rags, even spending effort to "improve" them as as fashion accessories. Meanwhile a proper N95 costs around $3 to produce and distribute - I thought we were supposed to be an industrialized society!
Not wearing a mask offers zero protection from an illness which is mainly transmitted through droplets and aerosols.
Wearing a mask offers some protection, ranging from little to very good depending on the type of mask. In the mean time we know that surgical masks offer pretty good protection in particular, but there were studies about SARS, MERS and influenza going back years showing that both FFP2/N95+ and surgical masks do help.
We even have studies comparing incorrect, partly incorrect vs correct usage.
The conclusion is inescapable: even if people on average wear masks incorrectly and even if the masks they wear aren't even close to 95% effective, they reduce the rate of transmission.
Why on Earth would you not want to reduce the rate of transmission even if by a few percent?
This is what we do not know (still).
There are plenty of results in life science far more counterintuitive than the hypothesis, “people are less strict about social distancing when wearing masks.”
Although we don't strictly need to ask them, since the head of the Chinese CDC said more than a month ago that using masks is essential and that he doesn't understand why Europe doesn't do it. KCDC specialists said much of the same thing, although I don't know if they expressed concern at Europe's lax attitude toward masks.
And finally here's a couple of anecdotes:
* people in supermarkets seem a bit more careful now, since the masks have been introduced. But keeping 1.5-2m distance at all times is hard and this is certainly not always respected. That's the whole point of why one needs masks instead of relying on distancing - distancing doesn't always work, but having a mask on is pretty simple. And even if the wearer screws up, at least they don't easily infect the others.
* before the mandatory mask thing people generally got out of my way when they saw me with my mask on.
Where it does cause harm is early on if everyone gets N95s and the docs can’t get enough (which absolutely happened) then that actually kills more people (docs, nurses, and the people they would have saved).
The right message in retrospect should have been, “don’t go buy masks, save those for people who need the highest performance, but wear a cloth mask when indoors. Wash it frequently.” We screwed up, but it’s not malice and it is complicated.
You can go back a few months and the WHO went on record plenty of times regarding a couple of points
- Health workers really need good PPE and there is a shortage
- When infected people wear a mask, it reduces transmission
- The benefits of a non-infected person wearing a mask are not super well understood/studied and this topic doesn't really come up much because our main audience is healthcare professionals
So they said at one point, focus on getting the masks to health care workers, and then as mask supply increased they said the infected should wear them too, and now that cloth/paper masks are easy to obtain they say everyone should wear them.
It was always a question of supply and availability, there was no conspiracy.
If you looked beyond the headlines and looked at the context it was pretty clear.
At the same time the amount of people that think that have the mask below the nose or just at the chin or mishandling it because it feels "uncomfortable" to them is astounding. I'm not sure but I believe an intubation is more uncomfortable (and yes these are predominantly people at risk ages)
It's just so pointless to go to the bother of getting a mask and then wear it in such a way that you get no benefits from it.
Recommendations try to take everything in to account.
It's easy now to say: just wear masks. But then, there was even a global shortage of masks for health professionals.
In US there's been many warnings to subsidize a strategic PPE supply and production. This was ignored. Early on (COVID-19) a US mask producer asked officials to provide money to expand production. This was ignored.
It wasn't just easy to predict, it was predicted various times.
But we won't build something now against it because it's a long time ago.
The problem with lying is that your intent doesn’t matter, you still lied, and in a society that is built on gradations of trust, you’re trading against your own credibility every time you lie. You don’t get a discount on the price of your lie simply because you were acting in a paternalistic manner, in fact, Officers and employees of the government taking a paternalistic position makes their lie worse and increases the cost to their own credibility in the long run.
However, lots of people don't trust (various types of) "authority". And for them, the lie is further proof of their prior lack of trust.
It's a hard problem, which has been made a lot worse by the politicising of masks, in particular.
My own prior is that Asian people have been wearing masks for many years, and I am inclined to believe that masks are (somewhat) useful. However, there's been so little research on mask-wearing by the general populace that I am deeply uncertain about those benefits.
It is one thing for us as laymen to discuss the efficacy of masks, staying at home, shutting down the economy, not partaking in the activities we used to enjoy and so on. It is an entirely different thing for a person in some kind of authority, like "public health", where your primary domain of expertise is communicable diseases to step out of their lane (which is communicable diseases) and say despite the supposedly high risk of death and bodily destruction that an apolitical virus with neither vices nor virtues nor policy positions can wreck, it is entirely okay to go out and protest something, but only if it is something that "we in authority" currently agree is worth protesting. This is, by the way, not long after the 9th Circuit said allowing Churches to reopen (even with limitations) would make the Constitution into a suicide pact.
People don't trust authority because authority doesn't want to stay in its own lane. Take Anthony Fauci, he has done a remarkable job staying out of the fray as much as possible and simply acting as an advisor to the President and to the people, and people trusted him even when they wanted to imagine their own politics on him. As a civil servant, absolute standout guy, and he's now considered one of the most trusted medical professionals in the country because he stays in his lane, meaning he allows his politics to take a backseat (not even the backseat, it's back in the trunk) to his job and Office (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).
Forgive me, I went on a small rant, but to conclude, when you have lying in the first instance and not staying in your lane in the second, one of the effects is going to be a loss of credibility, and that's both just and understandable. Choices have consequences, and that includes lying, and that includes using your unelected Office for activist purposes. Even when you're right about something, up to and including the efficacy of masks, you've already lost credibility, and in the case of masks, you've already directly contradicted yourself. (I mean "you" as in public health officials recently, not you specifically my fellow HN).
But what is a thinking person supposed to think when the Surgeon General is saying don’t wear masks in a pandemic caused by airborne viri?
In urban (educated) zones likely to be hotbeds for outbreaks, could the state not do a little nuance and say “hospitals need the N95s and you need a bandana”
Everybody has got a bandana, but if I were to start walking into stores with one before sanctioned, someone would be calling 911. In the meantime, how many weeks go by at R 3...
The WHO actually has a definition for this, when the droplets carrying the disease are <5μm they spread further and drift around for longer and that's when they start calling it airborne instead of droplets, COVID-19 is not in this category.
It's still good to wear a mask, I've lost count of the number of times over the years that some excited extrovert straight up spit in my face because they were worked up about something. lol.
Recently I've read an interview with Drosten (the German virologist which came up with one of the Coronavirus tests) say that they're starting to see airborne transmission as an important transmission factor, maybe not a strong as droplets but comparable. This is especially the case in poorly ventilated spaces.
We already knew for instance that SARS is transmitted through aerosols. Then a new thing comes up which is related to the above and is basically named SARS-2 and we forget about the aerosols and instead think we should wash our hands a lot. Words can't express how stupid this is.
After looking closely I found a small move into the wrong direction (maybe caused by something else?!??)
I think it can change something: currently masks are seen as a necessary evil in stores and public transport. They could and should become ubiquitous.
With mask usage in Germany I see only negative trends in the growthrate of both case and death. I think to make them work something has to be changed.
There is a good chance that it now only works as a reverse placebo - it makes people feel confident and pushes them into more risky behaviour - most likely net negative.
No. Not in 2020. Not with the vast majority of the population. Nuance is dead.
There seems to be a trend to paint people as imbeciles who can't tie their own shoelaces without somebody standing over them, and then on investigation it turns out not to be true.
There was a story a while back about a couple who drank fish tank cleaner (containing chloroquine) after Trump touted chloroquine against the coronavirus. Come to find out the couple were not fans of Trump but were having marital difficulties, so now you've got to weigh the possibility that these two were stupid enough to drink poison against the possibility that the woman discovered a way to intentionally poison her husband and pin it on Trump:
More often than not, when you see someone doing something apparently colossally stupid, it's because you don't know the whole story rather than because they're actually that stupid. People understand nuance plenty when it's important to them.
> Mesa City police declined to comment on the investigation but told the paper that the probe was “normal protocol” for non-natural deaths and noted that the case has not been ruled a homicide “at this time.”
In left-leaning publications they omit "at this time" and make that the headline.
But the interesting thing about the story isn't the police determination. That hasn't been made yet, so it tells us nothing, and anyway the police would have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. The whole point is using that excuse creates a lot of reasonable doubt even if it was completely intentional.
The value of the story is that it gives us some new evidence. The narrative that somebody recklessly drank fish tank cleaner after a Trump recommendation loses credibility when you learn that the person was anti-Trump and thereby not inclined to unthinkingly believe whatever he says, up to and including drinking something with a label on it that says poison. Meanwhile a plausible alternative explanation exists.
I have much more faith in the KCDC for example and otherwise I want to see studies.
And anyway, people are unfairly accused of hoarding masks. It turns out that in the US, Australia, Germany (and probably other countries) China was buying up all the masks.
Regarding the masks, I went deepy down that rabbit hole in February and March. Most production happens in China. China didn't produce anything, needed what was there for themselves and had closed down a lot cities and ports and such. At the same time, demand increased by orders of magnitude around the world. hence the shortage. China didn't buy masks en mass from other countries, they didn't need to. A ,ot of fraud happened as soon as production resumed. No, people who, with a financial interest, tried to help sort out the shortage once the German government failed to do so, are sitting on tons of masks they bought in good faith for 5 - 10 times the normal price. Currently prces are down to roughly 2x the pre-Covid-19 prices. See the problem? People hoarding made the issue even worse.
Hordng mass during that period for retail sales or your own use, thus preventing PPE from getting to medical care professionals, is the deffinition of hoarding.
All of your mentioned institutions are publishing or using studies. Go look them up. But maybe accept that the people behind them know more about the subject than you do.
I don't know if China needed the masks, or if they needed to weld people in their apartments, but apparently they did that anyway. See for example the article "Billions of face masks sent to China during Australian bushfire crisis". This was happening around February.
Spiegel published an article in which a distributor of protection equipment got orders for months of inventory within a day from various Chinese customers. They also claimed that all the other distributors which they knew had a similar situation on their hands. In fact they got so many orders that they alerted the ministry of health about an upcoming bottleneck in procuring PPE.
Then there's the US: "U.S. exported millions in masks and ventilators ahead of the coronavirus crisis". $17.5 millions worth of masks exported during January and February.
And this is in addition to the hundreds of thousands in PPE they received as donations from all over the world.
The average Joe buying a 10 or 20 pack for himself & family is first of all not hoarding, as this is a very small quantity and secondly didn't cause the shortage.
The proble I have is, that now people accuse every institute or offical body of lying. Because they got, in people's minds, the mask thing wrong. Why can't we just accept that even experts can be wrong? Starting to accuse others of lying is the first step towards conspiracy theories, IMHO, as it only leaves black and white. And what is it that the WHO and co. have to be right 100% right from the start and everybody else is just asking questions?
It's mighty noble to donate to Italy after they confiscated all the inland mask production and bought tons of masks from everywhere else. And then they also pressured European politicians to prasise the communist party when receiving said donations.
Not every institute, just the WHO and to some limited extent a few others. Stop setting up this straw man, because that's clearly not the case for me and I listed some organizations which I do trust - because they've proven that they're competent.
Experts can be wrong, sure they can. But if their literal job is to protect us from such pandemic situations and they fuck up, they deserve some criticism.
If they persist in not recommending masks when already most countries are recommending them, like the WHO did until 1-2 weeks ago, they are uselessly incompetent and should be ignored.
It seems to me that the original misinformation on this subject has caused a continued belief that masks are not helpful in reducing transmission. Initial public health recommendations cannot easily be walked back. Once the meme is sufficiently embedded, it's nearly impossible to dislodge.
For a long time I was under the impression that surgical masks don't really help the wearer. There are some studies showing comparable effects to an N95, but I was assuming incorrect N95 usage and I was incorrectly dismissing the benefit of even low double-digit protection.
The thing that convinced me to take a closer look was an interview with the German infection specialist Peter Walger, which said that:
* all masks protect the wearer to a certain degree
* medical grade surgical masks clearly offer partial protection. This was a grave error, which made personnel also in clinical practice not trust the masks and wear them for protection.
The last Sars or Coronavirus illnesses differed from this one, as in those cases asymptomatic people were not spreading the virus very much.
So the (reasonable) assumption was that people mostly know when they are contagious and stay at home.
In that scenario "community masks" (everything below FPP-2) don't matter much.
When researchers found that Covid-19 is different (and that has to do with the massively higher virus load in the throat, where former similar diseases built most of the virus load in the lungs), the stance changed.
That is a good thing! Learn new information, adapt your response.
What's fueling conspiracy theories now is that the messaging back then centered on "we need to preserve masks for the medical community", which was a smaller component of the motivation, sure, but got mostly conflated with the real argument. I think that is because it was much easier to explain to the public and to journalists.
In hindsight that was a mistake. But the conspiracy theories that health officials just flip-flopped for no reason is wrong, and it's damaging the fabric of society even more.
"Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus"
"which was a smaller component of the motivation, sure, but got mostly conflated with the real argument. I think that is because it was much easier to explain to the public and to journalists."
They simplified (and arguably over-simplified) the public communication.
Insisting that they lied is uncharitable at best, and a hallmark of all sorts of conspiracy theories right now.
The point is that when almost all contagious people stay at home, we don't need community masks. We only need them because contagious people are asymptomatic (that's new!), tehrefore don't know about their status and therefore go out in public.
To be fair, I remember looking it up on the CDC website when this all started, and they explicitly stated any masks are not necessary (or useful) unless you are caring for a sick patient.
Too bad this pandemic overlapped with the flu season and with a period of time where many people had colds, thereby rendering the above assumption null and void.
I mean, really. How can people not see the writing on the wall? All of this is political finagling. Black protestors are merely convenient instruments. The political opportunists pushing this bland disingenuous crap don't care about George Floyd in the least.
"The fifth scenario is the CDC's "current best estimate about viral transmission and disease severity in the United States." In that scenario, the agency described its estimate that 0.4% of people who feel sick with Covid-19 will die.
For people age 65 and older, the CDC puts that number at 1.3%. For people 49 and under, the agency estimated that 0.05% of symptomatic people will die."
0.3% of the New York City population has already died of corona-virus. So assuming everyone in New York was infected that gives us an IFR of .3%. But if a more realistic 20% of the population was infected then the IFR could be as high as 1.5%.
I tried going through all the most recent research and almost all of it came up with an IFR in the 0.5-1.2% range. And the few that had a lower rate were looking at anti-body tests in places with very low base rates.
I would find that hard to believe and I also doubt they would have enough data to validate that type of hypothesis. We're still guessing at the number of people infected, not to mention how old are they, what pre-existing conditions did they have, how do those pre-existing condition affect Covid-19 mortality in different age groups, what viral load did they receive, etc..
Perhaps a better way to frame it would be - 2% (?) of patients have serious life-changing consequences. Those under 49 tend to survive them.
A local, healthy 8 year old girl started having symptoms last week Thursday and died the following Tuesday.
I don't expect my family's lockdown to end before well into next year at the earliest. The odds are against dying or long term complications for younger people, but is going out to dinner, a bar, sporting or music event worth the risk? Not for me. Stay safe folks.
So far it looks like these are the absolute exception, but it does sadly happen that young healthy people and kids too get seriously sick and sometimes even die.
The German pediatric association publishes some (incomplete) stats about the disease in children (https://dgpi.de/covid-19-survey-update-kw22/) and there were so far 159 hospitalizations, with 21 of those in intensive care. 140 kids were released, 1 died. ~9600 <19yos registered as sick with COVID.
In any case I agree that the topic COVID and children is particularly sensitive and still blurry right now.
This is a much more interesting data point.
Death tends to have very few ongoing life-altering consequences, and in and of itself has a very low R0.
1.0% in Brazil based on 25,025 samples https://twitter.com/GidMK/status/1267670267624476672
1.14% in Spain based on 60,897 samples https://twitter.com/zorinaq/status/1265405628853305345
0.92% in NYC and 0.84% in New York State based on 15,101 samples https://twitter.com/GidMK/status/1267669314657611777
Also YYG, the guy who runs https://covid19-projections.com/ (a model that has consistently produced the most accurate forecasts) reported his model found that a ~1% IFR gave the best fit: https://mobile.twitter.com/youyanggu/status/1256051255253757...
Note: S-IFR is the fatality of symptomatic cases only. IFR is the fatality of all cases (asymptomatic and symptomatic)
I am also starting to hear some noise that there might be cross immunity between this virus and previous coronavirus. In a recent video Prof Raoult was suggesting it might explain the low infection rate of people under 20 . I am not qualified to tell whether the theory has any leg but it may be that we underestimate the spread of the virus when looking at a specific antibody.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=734&v=zUbiYhknaK... (in french)
15740 deaths ÷ 2700000 infected = 0.58% (they round to 0.5%)
However they note that the official state death count (15740 deaths) «only indicates deaths that happened in a hospital or a nursing home, and does not include coronavirus-related deaths that occurred in a home, which means the official death count is likely higher than that official number»
The true number of deaths, including home deaths, is 20759 as of the date of Cuomo's press briefing, April 24 (source: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nytimes/covid-19-data/mast...)
Furthermore, all the figures quoted by Cuomo were provisional, mid-study. The serosurvey actually completed on April 28 and was published here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.25.20113050v... The final figures as of this date were:
22777 deaths ÷ (19450000 state population × 14.0% infected) = IFR of 0.84%
It is important to take deaths as of April 28 in order to minimize right censoring.
«Both the UK and NY State had a policy of sending recovering patients to nursing home»
Spain and Brazil did not do this and still exhibit an IFR of 1% add per the serosurveys I referenced.
Isn't the death rate the percentage of population that dies when all are infected? Then nothing can be "exacerbated" by that alone? It then just reflects the death rate which results from the people being infected, no matter the speed?
To get the rate one can indeed calculate it with smaller representative sample, but that just doesn't imply that the vulnerable people would somehow never become infected if the epidemic continues, so the deaths of the old can't be avoided then. That the old die much more is a fact, and nothing that by itself "exacerbates" the rate.
Edit: I haven't seen any argument that estimated more than 20% of NY population that were supposedly infected were somehow specially skewed sample to hit only old people, and I'd argue that if the sample is that big it's quite improbable. If the argument is that the virus got faster in the nursing homes, one can also argue that all the old people outside of nursing homes skewed in the another direction by managing to initially not get the infection, but that as epidemic progresses they would indeed eventually become infected and suffer.
Edit2: "the virus is rather showing signs of going away" claim is very curious to me. I don't see it "going away" looking at all the statistics across the different parts of the world. I see only the slowdown of the spread, which corresponds to people generally changing their behavior to slow it down.
If it is the case, you don't expect the same death rate to scale up as the wider population continues to get infected (if it is still happening, the virus is rather showing signs of going away).
I verified that claim:
We know that the antibody tests in NYC gave the estimate of "all infected" of 20% of all. But there were around 20K deaths, and NYC has 8.3M population. Also even if we expect that the spread will stop once the 70% of population is infected the result is: 100e3 * 0.7 / 8e6 = 0.87%
Still much more than 0.4%. That it's closer to 1% matches all the statistics of the countries of the world that did a lot of testing compared to the number of cases and deaths.
Back to the article:
Bergstrom in the article: "Given that these parameter sets underestimate fatality by a substantial margin compared to current scientific consensus, this is deeply problematic."
In the same article, even CDC disclaims that their numbers are predictions:
"The scenarios are intended to advance public health preparedness and planning. They are not predictions or estimates of the expected impact of COVID-19" the CDC says.
So it seems you intentionally misinterpret CDC, given that it's all in the very article you linked.
no wonder people don’t believe in global warming, these “experts” prioritize politics over everything
Today I read about several published studies that were retracted for unreliable data related to covid drugs.
I'm now just using all of these things as one data point to make a decision with. News, politicians, scientific publications, experts, data.
I've also lost faith in certain political parties which I was previously a member for their fanaticism and demonization of people who disagreed with their narrative and who still can't admit their thinking was flawed.
Very sad to see science shoot itself in the foot in the name of dubious politics.
I read this as a clear expression of your frustration. Completely reasonable given the situation.
Are you familiar with the YouTube channel "Smarter Every Day"? There's this three-part series that might offer a new perspective on the distrust and disillusionment you seem to be feeling:
In particular, the channel creator Destin Sandlin explores how YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are being used as a sort of vanguard in a meta-game to undermine our trust in the social institutions we rely on.
It's a pretty dystopian-sounding and bleak theme. However, Destin is really good at conveying a message of hope.
Use your Critical Mind, of course, but also realize that there's a personal cost to adopting absolutist views like `"experts" prioritize politics over everything.'
Is it YTs fault that the WHO was the absolutely dead last institution to recommend face mask usage on the planet? That even some countries that are having a very poor response have already recommended (or made mandatory in some circumstances) the use of masks?
That the WHO is accepting all manners of political interference from China?
Is it YTs fault that Lancet and NEJM published a completely fabricated article about HCQ usage at the point where this has become a contentious point? Sure, in the same week we have had other serious studies about it, but that one was, most likely, a fraud, that was rubber stamped by journals.
That, at a critical moment, researchers from a prestigious epidemiology centre have pulled some models they had on the shelves without enough second-guessing it and predicting very catastrophic results (which granted, there might have been unknown at the time reasons for it)
So yeah, I don't think it's solely the fault of Youtube and Facebook.
public health experts during this whole crisis have been morally and intellectually bankrupt. misinformation on social media is a separate issue
Sweden is mid-pack amongst european nations for death rate due to covid, and notably lower than the UK, Italy and France:
it could be we just delayed deaths that will happen eventually anyway while commuting economic seppuku
Does that potential confuse people? Yes. Are experts always right? No. Are they still the best resource we have? Yes.
and now this whole thing about staying silent about the race riots because they support them even though they’re likely to cause a second wave
The same happened in a few places here in Finland, and I am quite certain that if we'd let COVID-19 through retirement homes the way our dear neighbors did, we'd have a much higher death-rate.
The actual Swedish stragegy, i.e. a soft lock-down with strong recommendations and only minor restrictions in travelling and gatherings, could actually have worked. Unfortunately, we'll never know as they screwed the retirement home situation up as bad as they did.
The Swedish catastrophe is always another 2 weeks away, and secondary effects of a lockdown (like delaying non-critical medical procedures and not screening for cancer) are likely to be much more significant than anticipated. Let's not forget that lockdowns were a knee-jerk reaction enacted by scared politicians, not a carefully considered and data-backed policy.
Where did you get those numbers from? EUROMOMO doesn't include data from Iceland, but for the rest it's obvious that Sweden is an outlier in regards to the overall mortality rate:
Denmark, Finland and Norway are below the normal mortality rates for 65+ since the lockdowns began. Sweden is clearly above. I assume there's not another epidemic over there that we've missed?
Again, I'm not saying the Swedish strategy is wrong, I'm just saying that the failure to protect the elderly has invalidated Sweden as a data point.
There has definitely been a bunch of deaths related to COVID-19 in Finnish retirement homes, but in terms of overall mortality rates for people 65+ it's quite obvious that it's not a big problem. Actual COVID-19 diagnoses are still reported by THL, including everyone who gets diagnosed by the public health system in Finland. Finland has unrelated, considerable, issues with care for the elderly, but that's a completely different topic. :)
> Let's not forget that lockdowns were a knee-jerk reaction enacted by scared politicians, not a carefully considered and data-backed policy.
Definitely. Lock-downs are last-resort measures taken when you've already failed to do what you should have done in the first place; extensive testing of travellers and contact tracing/quarantine of people who are sick. The other Nordic countries failed miserably in that regard.
It's so "obvious" that Sweden is an outlier that people don't bother to look at the data more seriously. Sweden didn't lock down ergo it must be a disaster, the data be damned.
> in terms of overall mortality rates for people 65+ it's quite obvious that it's not a big problem
That's correct. The overal mortality of all Nordic countries is completely unexceptional. Politicians panicked because they believed that this disease would be very deadly (it isn't), kills healthy young people (it doesn't), spreads exponentially (it never has), and spreads through asymptomatic hosts (it doesn't).
This coronavirus hasn't made in a big impact anywhere in SE Asia, even though countries responded in very different ways. This suggests that the virus doesn't take hold for a different reason, e.g. pre-existing immunity.
> This suggests that the virus doesn't take hold for a different reason, e.g. pre-existing immunity.
No, it suggests the variety of their responses were on the effective side of things, while Sweden’s was not. Taiwan’s VP is an epidemiologist who has guided their response from day one and should be credited for that work.
Maybe people are so hostile about Sweden because people keep insisting they be graded on a curve, contrary to the real success stories.
Taiwan started taking action before the first case had even been reported. And yes, they do deserve credit for that.
Sweden's response was also effective, given that the virus had already spread widely across Europe by the time the politicians woke up. There is some variation in the way cases/deaths are tracked between countries, but when you look at All Cause Mortality it's clear that Sweden is right in the middle of the pack, and they accomplished that without the massive externalities (both human and financial) of a lockdown. That's a success, but yes, Europe should have responded aggressively in Dec as Taiwan did.
The South Korean and Swedish responses began at about the same time, so again, this seems like special pleading. South Korea has more direct exchange with China as well.
If your argument is that Europe overall hasn’t done a great job, and Sweden isn’t that far of a deviation from that performance, ok. But again, that’s not an accomplishment relative to the actually successful countries like Taiwan and South Korea. I don’t understand how having many times more deaths be considered “effective” relative to these countries? Again, they didn’t have any of the economic damage caused by lockdowns either.
Also, you're comparing government policy with an academic opinion.
New Zealand: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-type...
That's why there is the joke about people from overseas not knowing how to tip.
It gets tricky for temps and contractors, so. If you are a temp, and employed by a third company lending you ut, that company can ask for Kurzarbeit. In agriculture and food processing, most of the work force are temps emplyed by sub-contractors. Thearetically, they are covered. In praxis, they are more often than not screwed. The sub-contractors sub-contractor is potentially ot evena german omany to begin with.
Shining light on this, is one of the few good things about Cocid-19, if you ask me.
But, paying employees cash only is much harder than it used to be. Many customers now only want to pay card. The tax office sees the card payments coming into your bank account, if you try to pay your employees cash it is easy for them to catch you. So, I think the number of workers actually hurt by that is relatively small.
COVID-19 has accelerated the transition from cash to card payment, because the health advice was to avoid cash payments (due to risk that cash may spread Coronavirus), and many businesses responded by refusing to accept cash entirely.
Guarantee you it is a huge number in Canada, and probably the U.S. as well. Tax fraud in food service, bars, and kitchens is the norm here in Ontario.
If the government would continue—and increase—the individual stimulus checks, it would matter much, much less how long the lockdown must continue. People would still be able to support themselves and keep themselves healthy.
Telling people to stay at home all the time does have a negative impact on many people's mental health. It can both exacerbate pre-existing mental illness, and in some cases even cause the new onset of mental illness.
That's not entirely accurate. Even Faucci answered, in response to Rand Paul, he was a virologist. Not a economist, etc.
There's been little public acknowledgement of increases in suicides, illness from delayed med treatments, economic fall out affecting deaths, etc.
Not being in the US, I hadn't realized the incredible double-standard at play. The US seems to be almost completely paralyzed in trying to deal with this virus, various social dynamics that have been festering for decades are coming to light now.
"So which is it? Were people like Smith lying before about the danger of spreading the virus, in order to promote a political agenda? Or being honest about it but now willing to endanger countless lives, in order to promote a political agenda?
"Adding smug cluelessness to her dishonesty and/or recklessness, Smith also sniffs that the difference is that those who rallied to end the lockdown were merely 'protesting for their ability to get a haircut.'
"Yes, of course, haircuts. It had nothing to do with wanting to get back to work in order to support their families, salvage businesses it took a lifetime to build, avoid depleting their life savings, get their kids back in the classroom, etc. It was all about haircuts." 
I think that excerpt makes my point for me, so I won't belabor it. Unless you want to apply the obtuse label to yourself like you did to bmmayer1.
You can realistically tell people to shop for vinyl from the comfort of their couch, and they might do that.
Given the level of outrage, there were going to be large groups of protests across the country either way, but they were successfully convinced to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and spread out where they can. At least here, every time the mayor talks she urges people who went to protests to get tested.
Persuasion is still everything.
But that's obviously nonsense, given that not all of the participants wear masks, distance cannot be kept, they stay at the same location for a longer time and some are chanting/yelling.
Another excerpt from the article state:
> "We created the letter in response to emerging narratives that seemed to malign demonstrations as risky for the public health because of Covid-19," according to the letter writers, many of whom are part of the University of Washington's Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
"Instead, we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response. We believe that the way forward is not to suppress protests in the name of public health but to respond to protesters demands in the name of public health, thereby addressing multiple public health crises."
They are not thinking about it in terms of supporting/opposing the protests. Rather the protests are a fact and you need to deal with them somehow. You can do that by either suppressing them or addressing their concerns. They do not want their concerns of COVID-19 to justify suppressing the protests, especially if addressing the protestor's concerns is a viable option.
> They are saying that the protest is too important to take health considerations into account, but they are reluctant to speak plainly and tell people there's risk but they should be adult and choose to manage the risks themselves and maybe neglect small risk in order to achieve bigger thing.
This seems almost exactly the sentiment they are addressing in the letter. COVID-19 is a public health concern, so is racial disparities that result in racial disparities in medical outcomes. Their concerns over COVID-19 transmission should not be taken as justification for suppressing the protests.
From the article,
> "Staying at home, social distancing, and public masking are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. To the extent possible, we support the application of these public health best practices during demonstrations that call attention to the pervasive lethal force of white supremacy," the letter says.
They are still giving the same advice they've been giving. The letter also states protest-specific COVID-19 harm mitigation strategies for protestors & police.
> Just in this case, our betters had decided the COVID risk is less important than protesting - so it's OK for us. But only in cases which are approved by our betters.
A more charitable interpretation is that some medical professionals do not believe that the risk of COVID-19 spread is a compelling reason for suppressing protests against racial inequality, especially when the risk of COVID-19 spread can be addressed by responding to the protestors concerns & therefore advancing public health by both mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and addressing the role racism plays in medical outcomes.
The letter to me reads as 100% political because it is suggesting that you can get rid of the protests by addressing their concerns. That option is available to you. Their motivation for writing the letter is largely to say "hey, you can stop the protests by addressing their concerns" and to point out that addressing their concerns in this case also advances what they consider to be a public health interest.
It is possible we had different interpretations of what they wrote, but this felt more like "1000 doctors make a poltiical statement about the protests" rather than "1000 doctors say in their scientific opinions that protests are justified."
Why are you putting your own characterization in quotation marks as if you're quoting someone else? Or did I miss something and this is a quote from the the health professionals in question?
Not to mention, I have family in the field, I grew up with probably a dozen public health experts attending Thanksgiving dinner, and did my first internship at a public health company. At no point in hearing decades of shop talk did I ever hear police brutality being mentioned as a public health issue. Words have meaning dammit.
A difficulty with this view, at least potentially, is that it seems to allow everything in the world (certainly almost every area of public policy) to be in scope for public health, because almost everything in the world has potential to affect morbidity and mortality. At one level this broad view seems obviously correct, but at another level it seems obviously crazy (or at least likely to bring the public health profession into conflict with everyone over weighing in on every kind of decision that anyone ever makes).
In the past there was a fight between some CDC researchers and Congress over something about handgun policy because the researchers were studying something about guns and violence that made some gun rights activists nervous that there would be an argument presented under the banner of public health to limit access to guns. I believe the conclusion was that they told CDC to stop studying this, which, again, seems to me to be susceptible of some mix of "there might be a lot of legitimate reasons to have this information" and "does the public health profession get to weigh in with claimed expertise on every issue?".
I think it's a legitimately thorny conceptual problem because if you think of health as something like "flourishing" or "people having success in living the way they want" or "eudaemonia" or something, almost every public policy question can be conceived of as a "health" question. (Or even, maybe, "minimizing all-cause mortality"?) But if someone says that the policy answer to each question is therefore obvious because a particular profession thinks it knows what would maximize things it thinks it knows how to measure, I imagine a lot of the public is going to say that this doesn't match up with its notion of what health is.
Edit: after writing this, I had this weird imagine of public health as like a superintelligent AI that's super-focused on one goal and doesn't understand, or doesn't care very much, that people might have other goals too. We think there's obviously something that's going to remain outside of the scope of the AI's interest, but since the AI is smarter than we are, it discovers a way that that thing is actually relevant to its interests according to its utility function, after all! (I realize people have also had this kind of concern about other institutions that are happy to define their scope of action more broadly over time, such as profit-maximizing corporations, or militaries. The corporation says "we need to figure out what actions will maximize profit" or the military says "we need to figure out what actions will maximize our capacity to win wars" and perhaps the scope and ambition of their actions are soon larger than anyone would have expected.) I feel like this analogy is actually weirdly apposite, at least for some audiences. :-)
Probably a more sensible approach is to say the medical field concerns itself with the operation of the human body, and how to correct malfunctioning operations.
However, public health continues to actively distinguish itself from medicine (they're different degrees and different departments in universities, for example, and you can get both an MD and a DPH), so I don't think your proposed definition for medicine will satisfy public health experts as a definition of their field. Although county health departments are often led by someone who has both a medical and public health degree, many of the people working in them will have public health training but not medical training.
Even looking at classic public health activities like sanitation/environmental health and epidemiology, sanitation and epidemiology aren't really about the functioning of the human body! They're more about conditions under which the human body is more likely to experience some particular kinds of morbidity...
Even your definition of medicine might be unsatisfactory to some people in the medical field, for example because they think mental health is medicine, or because (to pick an amusing example from my health insurer's claim form) pregnancy is not a disorder or malfunction of the body, but it requires a lot of medical expertise to manage its outcomes well. Other examples could be pain management and anaesthesia (pain, for example during surgery, is not necessarily a malfunction of the body—typically you would like the body to make you aware when it's being cut!) and elective surgeries.
Take your gun example: people should know that if they support the status quo gun laws how many people will die, or what the impact of a new lw is. That doesn’t mean the CDC regulates guns, but it does mean they should have a voice in the conversation.
For example, smoking, sunblock usage, sugary drinks, STDs, binge drinking and falls by elderly people are widely seen as public health issues.
Safety nets on trampolines, malnutrition, illegal drugs, suicide, bad diets and road traffic accidents are sometimes seen as public health issues.
Skiing, rugby, workplace fall prevention, migrants using unseaworthy boats and violence between drug dealers are almost never seen as public health issues.
If there's a clear dividing line, I can't see what it is :)
By the way, I have no public health expertise myself; just recounting as a lay person what I’ve heard public health experts talk about as a proxy for the metes and bounds of the field.
For example, https://cchealth.org/press-releases/2020/0602-Businesses-Reo...
Why create specialized rules for protests that allow an order of magnitude more people to gather than those allowed in a "close cohort" gathering?
And, importantly, all this is not in the context of individual risk, but population risk. The distinction is tricky but important, and one that trips most people up. For any single individual, the personal risk from COVID19 tends to be small, often seemingly vanishingly small. However, since we don't have immunity, it will affect everyone and even a small individual risk multiplied by (almost) everyone is a large impact on the population in terms of overall deaths.
Anyway, how many political protests have you attended in the last 10 years? How many social gatherings?
For me, it is easily 1:100, if not more. Thus, the aggregate transmission risk from protests is much smaller, therefore we can be more permissive of them. And it is the aggregate risk that policymakers care about.
On the other hand, political protest is considered a very, very fundamental right of our democracies, restricting it something to be done only with the greatest reluctance.
Yes, the frequency that people attend protests is on average much less, but the number of other people that one is exposed to is much greater hence why "larger gathering venues at a pace consistent with public health and safety, such as nightclubs, concert venues, and live audience sports" (which are often outdoors as well) are in the very final phase of California's reopening plan. If policy makers agree that protests have a low aggregate risk, why would they place things like concerts or sports events which happen mostly on the weekends in the final phase when there are now protests happening every day?
I do agree that political protest is a very fundamental right and rarely ever be restricted, but many who share your opinion were against the anti-lockdown protests which is contradictory if one believes BLM protests should not be restricted because they are political protest. People protesting the lockdown is also democracy in action, even if one believes the reason for protest is not as important. The democratic right to protest is not dependant on how important the issue is seen to be.
With the current protest, the political situation changes. Opposing these protests is a political suicide. If you can't oppose them, the only way is to have some contrived argument where you are for lockdowns (because see above) but also for protests.
> health officials should not have their risk assessments swayed by political considerations.
You can publish raw information about risk - which is complex and uncertain, and step back, but then you will have little influence on political decisions that follow it. Or you can recommend a policy - and by that inevitably contaminate the scientific assessment with political stance and become invested in certain policy. I'd much like the former, but vast majority of the policy in the US lately completely rejects the idea that the population can be trusted with full information and making its own decisions about it.
The ruling paradigm is that the government should limit people's choices for their own good, and push them into actions that it thinks are beneficial for them. And most people expect that from politicians and blame those politicians which didn't limit their choices enough and allowed them to make choices which ultimately brought bad consequences. So, the politicians and people that want the political action to happen play the game that the public wants to be played.
This is true for the policies, but absolutely not true for advice from public health officials. Globally the policies made in response to this pandemic have been justified almost entirely by appeals to the authority of health officials. The supposed basis of these policies was that those officials were providing expert and politically neutral advice on risk management. Having the expert health and safety advice show a readily apparent political motivation undermines all of it.
Perhaps it’s not so much weasel words as a carefully coded “caveat emptor”
>They don't explicitly say it's not risky - because that would be plain lying, it is obviously risky - but they are saying they are not condemning it as risky. Which most people would take as implying it's not actually risky - even though they are not saying that. They are saying that the protest is too important to take health considerations into account, but they are reluctant to speak plainly and tell people there's risk but they should be adult and choose to manage the risks themselves and maybe neglect small risk in order to achieve bigger thing.
Is there anything about that explanation which is unsatisfactory? It's not as if they simply condemned the statement to be weasel words without any explanation as to why they see it as such.
The reason, of course, is that ignoring the potential for disease transmission in these protests is necessary to stay in the good graces of woke circles.
I think you have this backwards?
And I'd note that this is just an open letter signed by those willing. Perhaps a left-leaning subset.
But yes my first thought when I see this kind of thing is how people have been criticizing religious gatherings.
Edit: oh I see how it can be viewed the other direction, where "thee" is the right and "me" is the left.
Which we kind of were at anyway, but now public health figures have given their signoff on that interpretation.
TBH from the outside it seems that whatever the death count is it never really mattered to a majority of people in the US.
I understand people's frustration with them, and I understand why people don't care about their "signoffs" on what we're allowed to do, especially when the guidelines are completely nonsensical like in California.
Where are the free clinics? Where are the free tests? Where is the free quarantine hotel room? None of that, instead we just get chided for being stupid and uncooperative by leaders. This is completely unacceptable, they failed us, not the other way around.
And the police might actually kill me today, unlike the virus.
It is a straw-man but I think the woke circle isn't that different from religion for some proponents. Different dogmata, same zeal.
And while I don't like people being too sensitive that you refrain from stating anything substantial in public without PR support, this statement is particularly bad.
The lockdown protesters make clear that experts don't decide about their freedoms. This statement just provides evidence for the validity of their point in my opinion.
They just seem to think protesting America's rampant institutionalized police brutality is more worthy than protesting the lockdowns themselves, and I can't say I disagree, but even if I did I wouldn't be able to say they're being inconsistent, because they aren't. They just haven't stuck their heads in the sand of relativism.
That can’t possibly be a valid scientific opinion on the basis of public health data — until recently the virus was killing more people per day than the police kill in an entire year.
It’s a political opinion and this was a political letter.
From now on, when public health experts give advice, we must all wonder if it is based on science, or if it is just political messaging which has no more claim to truth than any other political messaging. That’s dangerous ground to be on if you want science to be taken seriously by the public.
With that in mind, it is important to put an understanding of public health data in context with systemic racism, and why the data looks like it how it does.
What are we going to do!?
Gather in large groups while screaming in close proximity to each other!
It's perfectly valid to see those issues as important but still not worth the risk of spreading COVID-19, but by boiling this down to a contest of how many people each Bad Thing killed in X amount of time, you miss a lot of the nuances in both issues and really preclude any reasonable, rational, productive discussion about the nature of the tradeoffs that are being made.
If you want to ignore all those things and walk away convinced that it's a political stunt, nobody can stop you.
The problem the public health sector has worked itself into is that it dismissed any attempts to analyze “trade offs” when we were talking about economic trade offs. So now they have to pretend like we’re not talking about trade offs at all. Hence the completely non-sensical premise that protests are okay because police brutality is a public health problem.
I'm also not super convinced that "the public health sector" was never receptive to questions about economic tradeoffs. We have a dysfunctional federal government and the same in many local jurisdictions, but where I live the local public health institutions have been working hand in glove with state and local governments to open as quickly as possible while staying abreast of the disease's spread.
My problem with their letter is that they made a judgment about these trade-offs and attempted to portray it as a scientific one, when it really wasn't. Based on the data alone, there is no way to reach their conclusion.
Is that all BS, then? No, I don't think so.
I wouldn't call it a "scientific conclusion", but the point that black people have poor health outcomes relative to other demographics has a lot of merit and honestly who else should be making it but medical professionals and scientists?
That's my point. If it's not scientific, then scientists should not have presented it as such.
I can reason about moving a heavy object from my car to my house using the general knowledge that dropped objects fall downward and often break when they hit the ground; I don't need to whip out the graph paper and prove it.
And at risk of being too on topic and reading the article, the issue is that the gloom-and-doom arguments that a lockdown is necessary and correct have been well and truly rejected by the activist wings of politics, and implicitly by a large portion of the commenting-class of journalists. And business. And possibly the public at large. They clearly don't agree.
It doesn’t seem an irresponsible or unprecedented extension of that principle to say that if your country is rocked by civil unrest, dealing with that is more important than preventing the spread of disease.
it is safe for me if you take morphine; it is not safe for me if you spread an airborne pathogen. see the difference?
Protesting the lockdown is not a just cause.
Saying "Well now anything doctors say is political!" does not show good intent or faith, but someone looking for a gotcha statement so they can say "See, they were political actors all along!"
You can't decide what other people think is unjust. You would be negating the entire point of protests.
I think the quarantine of the healthy was unjust. You're going to tell me I can't protest against it?
Nobody said you cant protest to your heart's content, you can protest over anything. It's just calling out one of those protests is a mite's buzz of a complaint to a lion's roar of shame for the treatment of black people by America.
Science is a minor concern within a sphere of human influence.
When mathematicians of all people, reject prizes for making undeniable progress in their field , you can only imagine what happens in all the other fields that are inextricably tied to politics (economics anyone?)
Here's a depressing quote from Perelman's wiki:
"It is not people who break ethical standards who are regarded as aliens. It is people like me who are isolated."
I'll note that in 1964, people were calling civil rights protests "unwise and untimely".  Somehow it's never the right moment for justice. Anybody suggesting an indefinite delay should be aware that their arguments are indistinguishable from those of people for whom "later" actually means "never". If people really want to end these protests now, instead of arguing for delay they should quickly enact deep structural changes.
Personal racism exists and will probably never go away. It would be nice if it did.
I do think people get profiled and hassled because other people who look like that have done XXX and cops see a possible pattern. This isn't fair to innocent people at all but I suspect this has been what is happening rather than anything "structural".
I learned this firsthand like 20 years ago when I grew long hair and a beard John Lennon style for maybe 8 months. I was very quickly pulled over, hassled and searched (very rudely I might add) on made up charges by a rural cop. This did open my eyes to maybe a small part of what black America goes through in dealing with cops. I cut my hair back to military style, shaved, and it was back to letting me off with a warning and have a nice day.
I feel like this kind of thing is a good part of antagonism but I don't see it as "structural". More many cops (including minority cops as far as that goes) not liking certain types of people. They need to serve the community imo and it would be better for everyone.
Police abuse is sort of a separate issue relating to training and accountability. While it is very definitely fueled by racism and classism, I feel like it is an issue that affects all races, albeit blacks more because of long standing economic and cultural issues. The 'warrior cop' mentality affects us all, and is something that has been slowly improving in many large cities.
"Personal racism" is tough. Racism is a broad term for many things. If my neighbor plays their stereo too loud and they're white, I might call them 'white trash' in private conversation, and depending on their race I might adopt a different epithet. That isn't to say I would deny them opportunity or hate them because of their race, just that their race is a convenient attachment point for my general dislike of them. Now I'm not saying that is good or excusable, but I think it is a different thing than denying someone rights or opportunities because of their color, or making assumptions about them based on their background.
When people of color don't feel safe to walk the streets of their own neighborhood because a Karen can report them as suspicious and the authorities take that seriously and escalate the situation, there very definitely is systemic, structural racism at play. If this were just happening to blacks who appeared 'urban' you might have a point, but it affects even well dressed black people and there are countless stories backing that up. Hell, ten years ago an aquaintence was profiled because her dark Italian skin made her appear Mexican to some stupid AZ cops.
I am a long haired white guy who has also been bald, so I get what you're saying. For years I could guarantee I would have the last open seat on a plane next to me, I'm assuming because of the way I look. That doesn't negate the experiences of people of color, it just adds another facet to the way people can prejudge you. If anything, it should illustrate how bad things could be if you weren't white.
I think "structural racism" is one of the biggest branding failures of the whole movement.
To begin with, it uses the word "racism" to refer to something unintentional, when it normally implies intentionality. That needlessly makes people defensive. So then they want to deny that it's happening rather than admit there is a problem, which is the first step to solving it. Before even step one you've already lost.
Then the definition comes out as something like, structures that produce a racial disparity. But before controlling for confounders that's just everything. There are a slew of factors that correlate with race -- income, culture, in some cases biology (e.g. for Vitamin D). If lower income people get worse outcomes then all else equal, black people will get worse outcomes as a result of lower incomes. Which implies a poverty problem in those cases rather than a racism problem, which means you need anti-poverty solutions.
If you try to insist on a racism frame there, all you're doing is making enemies out of lower income white people who might've been your allies against the actual root cause which affects them too. And you make it all too easy for opponents to reveal the confounders and show that the "racism" isn't there, even though the problem is still there, because the problem wasn't "racism" (as it's commonly understood) to begin with.
It's easier to actually solve the problems if you stop having to constantly fight with people over calling it that.
A pretty clear example is what happened with the phrase "Black Lives Matter". It doesn't involve the R word. And yet, it sends a lot of white people into a rage. Literally, as here, where the menacing white man is shouting: “Black Lives Matter? Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10223827665665524&se...
And it's not just that guy. For many, there is no acceptable way to point our racial injustice. The only acceptable level of protest is one so quiet that it is entirely unseen, unheard. MLK addressed this in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" if you want to read more.
It's more that white people become defensive when you accuse them of racism. Which, when racism means intentionally hating black people, you can understand -- they know whether or not they hate black people and then you're accusing them of something they know isn't true.
Having to explain that it means something else in this context is just handicapping yourself from the start for no reason. Call it structural injustice or something.
> A pretty clear example is what happened with the phrase "Black Lives Matter". It doesn't involve the R word. And yet, it sends a lot of white people into a rage.
In this case the phrase is the name of a group. Now the group is holding mass protests after everyone has been told to stay home because of a virus pandemic. There is a non-frivolous argument that doing that right now could end up killing a lot of people. That has the potential to piss people off completely regardless of what is being protested.
You can certainly find examples of people saying nasty things against the lockdown protesters and trivializing their concerns -- and that even had a reason to be happening specifically now and not a year ago or a year from now. (King's "later is never" doesn't really apply to a temporary public health issue which can't be used as an indefinite excuse.)
But the phrase itself was kind of an own-goal to begin with. The best way to hear the trouble is to compare it to "Blue Lives Matter" -- the tone deaf response that raises the question, compared to what? The original has the same problem, you just don't hear it when it's your team.
The phrase taken literally states something so uncontroversial that it carries the implication it has to be relative to something else in order to mean anything. So people hear "Black Lives Matter More Than ___" and are invited to fill in the blank with something important to them and then get upset.
It was also just waiting for opponents to claim the middle and respond with All Lives Matter, which makes you sound like jerks because they're being inclusive and you're implicitly saying you only care about black people.
Good messaging is hard.
> For many, there is no acceptable way to point our racial injustice.
It seems to me that calling it "racial injustice" rather than "injustice" is not adding anything useful. If there is an injustice not related to race, should we ignore it? Does the racial injustice have some uniqueness to it that requires it to be addressed separately and using some unusual methods not suitable to ordinary injustice?
When you look at something like police brutality, it disproportionately affects black people. But what does a solution have to do with race? If we address police brutality in general, does that not solve the problem? Does that not make it easier to build a larger coalition?
More than twice as many white people are shot by police as black people. This is proportionally not as many. But what does that mean? You bring that proportion of white people in, the ones suffering the same as you, and now your coalition is three times as large. But you have to set your sights on the injustice and not just the "racial" injustice.
Yes, it seems that way to a lot of white people, especially ones who haven't studied the topic. But there are deep historical roots here, and white bias is a major cause of the problem. Continuing to erase that means the problems will continue to remain unsolved.
If you'd like to learn more, I'd suggest Kendi's How to be an Anti-Racist. For the historical roots, Kendi's history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning is fascinating, too. To understand the white pattern of reaction and erasure here, DiAngelo's, White Fragility is a good resource (as is her 2011 paper by the same name).
If you think you can solve these problems via focus on just a generic injustice, feel free to take a swing at it. But I don't think white armchair critique of anti-racist activists is helpful. And I haven't for some years: https://www.facebook.com/williamp/posts/10105565800812373
Your poverty example strikes me as disingenuous because poverty for black people is considerably worse than poverty for white people, even when you control for the big confounders, precisely because of racism. Which means that anti-poverty measures can be a great thing but they will not by themselves be sufficient to level the playing field.
It's funny how it's always --other-- people who are getting defensive, who will refuse to listen, who are lost before the arguments have even been expressed. You're fighting on behalf of a demographic that doesn't exist: people who aren't racist but are unwilling to listen for 2 minutes to an explanation of systemic racism. I bet you just dislike the concept of systemic racism yourself and you're using hypothetical alienation of ignorant poor white people as a cover.
It is very difficult to devise reasonable plans of action when the core terms in the dispute are ill-defined. There also seems to be a current of thought that any attempt to clarify or analyze the situation is an attempt to diminish the grievances. This anti-intellectualism coupled with the chaos and violence of a mob is frightening.
Here's a movie, Thirteenth, which VERY CLEARLY defines and examines structural racism in the criminal justice system in the US, and how it evolved directly from the systems of slavery and its sequel, Jim Crow.
This analysis and conversation has been building for literally decades. It's like showing up for the fifth week of an algebraic geometry class and calling it 'anti-intellectual' because you can't be bothered to pick up Euclid...
And thanks for proving my point that some people view any attempt to analyze the situation as an attempt to diminish the grievances.
Your willingness to jump yet again to the conclusion that I was attempting to dismiss legitimate grievances is frustrating and again an example of the behavior I was trying to call out.
When I pointed out that "systemic racism" means different things to different people and that lack of agreement on that point made it difficult to have a meaningful discussion, you told me to "Go educate myself" and proceeded to lecture me about my ignorance regarding the criminal justice system.
How did you determine I was ignorant about anything? I happen to agree that our criminal justice system has some deep problems, so you just attacked a potential ally.
It seems to me that you jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that I had challenged some assertion about "system racism'. But by doing so you illustrated my point that it was difficult to have a discussion when terms are so ill-defined and that it was even more difficult to do so when people assumed that any attempt to clarify and understand the meaning behind the words was some attempt to minimize or diminish the grievances.
Your reaction was exactly the behavior that I was pointing out as making it difficult to discuss these issues.
You are upset that I am "splitting hairs over phrasing" and that is an example of what I would call "anti-intellectualism". The meaning of words is supremely important if we are to find common ground and be able to work rationally towards addressing the legitimate grievances being expressed in the protests.
Yep that was exactly my point and why I related the story. I learned that people really are profiled and harassed based on their looks or certain assumptions about them. It really does happen.
But not in any structured way, but rather in random human behavior that we might never be able to correct, right?
Unlike the average San Francisco resident I've actually spent a lot of time around blacks and black communities so this isn't theoretical one dimensional abstract signaling of the type that is unfortunately too common lately.
The issue is deep and not nearly as simple as one sided "structural racism social injustice". A lot of it comes down to culture and how people feel about proper behavior. Along with contempt for cultures that don't have the same values. And willingness to engage in violent behavior.
But I don't deny black Americans have a rough time with the police and I do think we should do something about that. Maybe that is what is meant by "structural" in which case I agree, no argument.
I'm not sure what to do about people not liking each others culture though. I expect the bigots are the ones missing out, but I don't know if we can legal that problem away.
A cop and his boss acting badly may be systemic. It isn't structural.
I personally believe profiling is not the same as racism, both have clear definitions. Both also sweep up innocent people and lump them in with miscreants who "look like that" so it's not something to go to the mat over. I basically agree.
What I don't agree with is your over the top rhetoric.
"We've seen 400 years of structural anti-black racism here, with no end in sight. The USA has had more than 240 years to fix that."
This disregards John Brown, the civil war, the civil rights act, affirmative action and a multitude of programs policies and attempts to bring justice and some measure of equality of opportunity to the minority. It also ignores the widespread support of the current protests and paints America with an overly broad brush of racism. In short, it does exactly what racists are accused of doing. I realize you likely read this kind of thing in a book. That doesn't make it any better nor more fair or accurate.
When you say "structural" and attempt to equate profiling with slavery or segregation, both of which were structural in an attempt to imply we are exactly the same place legally and in terms of opportunity, and how the system treats minorities when we manifestly are not, it's offensive, inaccurate and it raise hackles.
I really didn't want to get deep into this, and I'm not debating, but I think this point needs to be raised because there is entirely too much hot and shallow speech about lately and it detracts from the core point.
Structural racism is often called systematic or institutional racism. It doesn't have to be deliberate, but instead is something that perpetuates reduced status of a racial minority by the way laws or institutions are structured.
A commonly used example is the difference in laws and sentencing between crack and powered cocaine. The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act created a mandatory minimum sentence on 5 years for 5 grams of crack cocaine, but the same Act made the 5 year minimum sentence apply to 500g of powered cocaine.
This doesn't appear to have been deliberately racist, and instead it was mostly in response to media hype about crack. But it had the result of meaning blacks were much more likely to be sentenced to prison for minor drug offences.
As an example, you might read Loewen's "Sundown Towns". He covers the Nadir, the post-reconstruction period that includes events like the Tulsa Massacre. He demonstrates pretty convincingly that white-led ethnic cleansing was widespread across the US. Through a variety of historical records, including extensive use of census data, he demonstrates that in town after town, all across the country, white people violently drove out any black people and then used violence to keep them out. And then they quietly erased that history, despite keeping otherwise extensive historical records.
Was any of this covered in my high school or college education? No. That's even though it demonstrably took place in towns all around where I grew up. That a lot of suburban growth was driven by racism. That wealth distribution was driven by racism. That made it easy for me to think that racism was this thing that happened long ago or far away. When instead I grew up soaking in its structural effects.
You said this experience opened your eyes, yet you say structural racism doesn't exist. That was literally structural racism. Do you not agree? This is called white privilege; a black person can't change their skin color, but you can cut your hair.
> I'm not sure how much "structural" racism actually exists in the US at this point. There are no doubt pockets and they should be rooted out.
Well if you're "not sure", they why are you posting your own narrative without becoming sure? It's like if I said, "I'm not sure how cars work, but here's a theory that sounds good to me: it involves lasers and hamster wheels, and so I will now believe it."
This is the one of the biggest issues in America, would you consider attempting to GET sure about it?
Perhaps you should ask for clarity. Here, I'll go:
Structural [institutional] racism never left the US. That's what millions of people are protesting right now. It's not some vague notion.
Here are a few off the top of my head:
- Drug laws that target blacks (crack sentences are 10x longer than cocaine)
- Wealth accumulation that holds back black families (not getting loans means not getting houses means not passing wealth down to children; the GI bill that rejected nearly all black applicants and was primarily responsible for middle-class Boomer wealth accumulation)
- Education (poorer zip codes get less funding and end up less educated and poorer, a vicious cycle)
- Job applications (black sounding names get rejected more frequently)
- The vast sentencing disparity between whites and blacks committing the same crimes (blacks are guilty till innocent, and shot for being black in the wrong place or misdemeanours (jogging, selling loose cigarettes), whites are "good kids" who don't deserve to have their lives ruined by a felony rape)
All are structural, institutional racism that are alive and well today.
Do you think I am way off base, or do you reject what I'm describing as factually incorrect or politically motivated? Or anything other than examples of structural racism. I personally don't know anyone who believes structural racism doesn't exist so I'm in a totally different world here...
The idea that 400 years of structural racism can be proven seems highly doubtful to me. Do you really have 400 years worth of evidence of literal outright racism? How can we hope to inspire change with rhetoric like this? This is the equivalent of simply screaming louder to get a point across. Highly ineffective unless annoying them into submission is your goal.
We had slavery in America from 1619 until 1865. Jim Crow and segregation for 100 years after that. The Civil Rights Act, and related laws, eliminated much of the legal basis for institutional racism. But as we all know, that didn't eliminate racism. Safe to say, there's plenty of racism left in this country. Especially in institutions like the police. That's 401 years.
ETA: That's focusing purely on the black population. If you count what was directed against the native populations, you can go back even further.
The police regularly distort their reporting. There is no centralized collecting of police violence statistics, in large part because they have organized against the collection of those statistics. The 1,000+ number will be far less subject to manipulation.
Here's some additional reporting. The 2014 Tampa Bay Times project to track police violence found 827 people shot in a year. In Florida alone. They spent a huge amount of effort on the reporting because the statistics were sometimes not collected and usually not trustworthy where they were.
While it's fair to say that bias was a factor in Rice's shooting, and I'd agree, pointing to open carry protests as evidence of this may not be the most effective line of argument. Especially since armed Black demonstrators carried out their own demonstrations not long afterward: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/07/michigan-law...
Police were responding to:
> "There's a guy in here with a pistol," the man tells a police dispatcher during the call. "It's probably fake, but he's like, pointing it at everybody."
The problem with systematic racism is the "percieved threat" part. When I have that racisit bias, I obviously will percieve a black person more as a threat than a white one. I may not even be aware of it, and facing ones own biases is a hard thing even more so for such serious things as racism and police brutality. When this bias is combined with the kind of training US police is getting, it a given to end up where the US ended up.
The only nice thing is, it also shows where to sart to remedy theissues. Once the police and the poluation accepted to see the issues.
In this quotation: "we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission". "As risky" seems like a very specific choice of words because they could have said "we do not condemn these gatherings because of the risk" but did not.
Similar to how a judge might say "I condemn you to death" is designating the sentence of death to a subject, "condemning a gathering as risky" is designating the attribute of risk to a gathering. They do not condemn the gathering as risky, so they consciously decide to not designate or apply the attribute of risk to the gathering.
Of course, it could have simply been a mistake to word the sentence in this way, but "as risky" does not seem like the obvious choice of words, "because of the risk" does.
And yes, they do later go on to say to prepare for an increased number of infections and do recognize that protestors can and likely will spread the disease, but that just goes to show that the statement is contradicting itself. They are specifically being inconsistent in the earlier mentioned sentence.
This post is pretty double speaky because these doctors can't quite come out and say stay home because the virus is still here and dangerous. So they say things which are self contradictory and therefore ultimately meaningless but allow themselves to signal their support for the cause.
It's what happens when your institutions become explicitly partisan.
Additionally, what are you even going to do? Use the violence of the state to tell people not to protest against the use of violence conducted by the state?
2.) Lower income minorities are the ones who are often afraid to call the police, due to the widespread racial bias in policing across the US. Do not speak for them if they themselves have very low confidence in the police: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/09/29/the-racial-confid...
3.) It's not racist to criticize the Chinese government. It is, however, racist to misattribute the actions of the CPC to the actions of "the Chinese", which happens far too often.
4.) I don't even understand this point. You can't easily pick and choose what people are deciding to protest about: there is nobody at the top saying "we should protest about BLM and not the Chinese government." And especially don't conflate property destruction with what these protests stand for.
It isn't a matter of equating the perceived importance of the gatherings. It is a matter of the government not being content neutral in its actions. If the government is going to restrict public (and private!) gatherings for public health reasons, the restrictions can't be selective based on the speech content of the gatherings.
> Additionally, what are you even going to do? Use the violence of the state to tell people not to protest against the use of violence conducted by the state?
Factually unfounded? It is pretty clear that opportunists and provacateurs have used the legitimate protests as a shield for their illegal activities.
Protection of property and safety of citizens is "gross misuse of public resources"? Do you think the people living above the stores being vandalized and lit on fire would agree with you?
> Absolutely no one was giving a free pass to looters.
I call shenanigans on this one. The mainstream press has downplayed the looting and violence very consistently conflating criticism of the illegal activities as criticism of the legitimate protests efforts. And there is a vocal minority of voices actually legitimizing the violent activities as an appropriate and necessary extension of the peaceful protests.
Experts are incentivized to maximize results corresponding to their field /in isolation/ - with little or no trade-offs considered. This preserves their reputation, and allows them to recommend within the bounds of their knowledge.
If an expert recommends religious institutions continue to hold only remote meetings, they are not going to suffer any consequences, both directly and as a response. Anger over such a decision will usually be directed to the politicians, instead.
If an expert recommends these protests be halted due to risk, they themselves will likely be affected, and charged with racism and bigotry, likely - in our current environment - leading to total destruction of both professional and personal lives.
The calculus is quite simple, and absolutely dangerous.
Or maybe the lockdowns were a massive over reaction and this is a subtle acknowledgment.
They oversimplified the explanation of the science and pushed for lockdowns at all costs with no exceptions. Now, by admitting there are exceptions, they reveal that they were not being straight with us all along.
I have never seen anyone say there should be no exceptions. They have always said essential things must continue. (although with different ideas of "essential")
1 - Trump is a racist for suggesting that borders should exist
2 - Trump is liable all covid deaths for not closing the borders fast enough
3 - The state/police are great for enforcing stay-at-home orders and social distancing
4 - We need thousands or millions to assemble in the streets to fight police
This is the type of schizophrenic messaging that happens during societal collapse.
Maybe it happens as a matter of social change or economic stress? What evidence is there that "societal collapse" (or what that even means?) has anything to do with these headlines?
“Stay inside”, “don’t gather in groups”, “cancel your wedding”, “wear a mask during sex”, but oh hey, it’s OK to go downtown and riot, burn down buildings, and throw bricks at the police.
These things are all true of the UK. As someone with a family member in the UK I can assure you they had to cancel their wedding, they were limited to an hour of outside time per day, they were told not to gather in groups and notoriously the government just told people if they live apart - even if they're in a relationship - they're not merely required to wear masks but cannot meet at all.
As for the riots:
"A Virginia police chief fought back tears during a press conference as he described how rioters set fire to a home with a child inside and then prevented firefighters from responding as quickly as they could have"
It's a pathetic show from the HN userbase that the post is flagged and dead. Do the people here have any idea how many hundreds of millions of people are thinking exactly the same thing right now?
The public health community's credibility is now zero or lower. Only the most naive in society will ever believe them again. Every time we think they can't fail worse, they do. Their models are always wrong and the most influential was filled with basic C programming errors. They can't decide if masks work. They lauded China at the same time as complaining internally they weren't being given any data. They demanded a massive programme of ventilator production and then none were needed. They demanded censorship of "misinformation" even when that misinformation came from Nobel Prize winners and turned out to be correct. They've published an openly fraudulent paper on a possible treatment championed by Trump that led to trials being suspended, whilst simultaneously tweeting about how much they hate Trump. They demanded the economy be destroyed and the world placed under a totalitarian police state. Virtually all of them protect each other and refuse to criticise each other's work even when it's clearly wrong, and now the final salt in the wound: they decide that protesting against racism is healthy, but protesting against their decisions is not.
This is a sad day for science and these experts should be ashamed.
This is not a good faith depiction of what the protesters are doing.
So yes of course there is risk. However as with anything political no honest discussion is permitted. This is why people calling out the violence and looting are being hushed or intimidated because politicians don't want to talk about that side of the issue. The same politicians who have been building up the police state in blue cities for generations.
> Prepare for an increased number of infections in the days following a protest. Provide increased access to testing and care for people in the affected communities, especially when they or their family members put themselves at risk by attending protests.
The sentence "we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission" is a bit ambiguous, maybe on purpose. The idea is that they won't use the risk of COVID-19 transmission as a argument to disapprove of the gatherings.
They cannot say the gatherings are safe, because they aren't, but they also want to support them. That's how you get such an ambiguous message. I would have preferred a clearer stance as well like "We, as health professionals, recognize the risks, however, blah blah blah. You can minimize these risks by doing blah blah blah".
They express themselves both as medical experts and as human beings, so having a political stance is no problem, as long as they make it clear which part of them is speaking. I think it is not clear enough in their letter, but in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with their message.
Now, this weekend they had a protest here to support the ones in the US, and we just had 25000 people in a smaller place to show their solidarity. How is that going to help people's trust in the decisions taken by authorities, it just makes everything political.
The anti-lockdown protest happened, more or less, during the hight of the lockdown. So totally different circumstances.
All assemblies have to be registered upfront, regardless of COVID-19. SO if the assembly isn't permited, police will break it up. Happened more than once in the last weeks, didn't it? So I doubt your last point.
Would love a breakdown of this. "Community stakeholders" is meaningless. The letter reads like something you'd see on change.org.
huh who could have known this was a partisan issue not about health
Just one example:
They are pretending to base it on science, when it is just another political opinion.
Calculations on what, exactly? There are calculations done on how police brutality and systemtic racism contribute to decreased quality of life for black americans. It's considered widely acknowledged within the healthcare industry that black americans have statistically significant health disparities compared to other races, and that additionally it is statistically known that the covid19 shut down primarily affect the service industry, which hits people of color disproportionately towards white people (as people of color are less likely to have jobs that can be worked from home).
But you'd also have to do the same for the 3 months they've taken from everyone else due to lockdowns.
Until they do that sort of thing, its politics not a social science.
Outbreaks in mass gatherings are responsible for entire epidemics in italy, spain and germany. I can only imagine what will happen in a month, when racial minorities start accusing each other for the scale of the second epidemic.
Don't tell us there is no risk from these protests, but there is a risk from stay-at-home protests.
it's never black-and-white like that.
if my professional doctor's personal ethics includes clauses that motivate him to seek non-standard and unproven treatments, yes, i'd prefer they discard those.
I would prefer it if employees at Planned Parenthood didn't have personal ethical clauses that caused them to purposely give incorrect data and wrong phone numbers to women seeking abortions because their personal ethics sway them to do so.
If I were a very famous politician that had polarizing views on something, i'd prefer if my taxi driver remained a professional rather than kicking my ass out of the car because their personal ethics required that they do that to someone that they view as a political enemy.
I'd prefer prisoners be fed , even if it's against the personal ethics of the food service workers to feed and take care of felony rapists.
There are a lot of professions that require professionals to have a certain level of detachment from 'pedestrians'. It's not at all uncommon.
Or what if I’m doing renovations, and someone asks me to make something I know to be unsafe. I point that out, but they insist... Again, do I just do what they ask because, “professional?”
I suspect you are conflating “professional” with “mercenary.” To me, being a professional means approaching my work with a sense of ethics.
In fact, I suggest to you that saying nothing in these cases is also injecting ethics into my work, only it is my personal investment in “The Status Quo.”
You can’t escape ethics, you can only support the existing structure by pretending you are above petty “ethics” and “politics.”
I would interpret your remark as suggesting, “Professionalism involves ethics, but there is an interpretation of those ethics that suggests these particular people should have made a different choice in this stuation.”
I could agree or disagree with your conclusion, but I can certainly support the form of your argument as sound: Professionals should have ethics, so let’s talk about what those ethics should be, and how to apply them to this situation.
It’s the same conversation as, “Should professional work for a social media business that amplifies and spreads falsehoods, violent rhetoric, &c.”
If someone were to say, “A professional just writes code, the effect of that code on society is not their business,” I think that’s flat-out wrong. Not taking a stand on the matter is taking a stand, but lying to yourself about not taking a stand.
On the other hand, people can and do regularly have discussions about whether there is a “greater good” served by allowing people to communicate and decide for themselves whether George Soros is behind Black Lives Matter, or whether the Coronavirus was actually hatched by Bill Gates in an attempt to use a vaccine to inject people with microchips.
I have opinions about the ethics of that too, but I can appreciate that there are people who are also trying to apply ethics to such decisions, even if they are ethics I disagree with or flat-out abhor.
 many of them have done so for years, for anyone paying attention
Not just the credibility of health professionals, but all professionals.
The big thing will be climate change. This will be brought up to say that technical professionals giving their advice are just partisan hacks who don’t care about the economy and people’s livelihoods, but do care about their virtue signaling.
I'm not really this much of a hack, so forgive me, because what you are saying is true in the most literal sense.
But if you believe in capitalism, a political system, the virus will treat you better if you're rich -- a beneficiary of that system. It's not as reductive as better health care. As a rich person, you can easily stay at home without working, infinitely. The federal government's most effective anti-COVID intervention was actually saving the markets, it's the one promise the government delivered. And the biggest parts of that story are (1) that our society is oriented to protect capitalists, so of course there will be an effective and fast intervention nowadays that protects equities, like a five trillion dollar equities buying scheme, and (2) you can go ahead and sell your stocks to the government now, essentially, and live off this largess. You can go on ordering shit from Amazon and working from home for Facebook. You can shelter in place pretty much indefinitely.
We're not even talking millionaires, we're talking about middle class people, programmers, health officials, pretty much everyone on this forum working for more than the 75th percentile income.
This point of view doesn't even require the bullshit of categorizing your preferred kind of protestor. The reopen people, the peaceful protestor, even the looters all share a common political belief - let me illuminate it for you. None of those teenagers looting Best Buy have trusts, they don't have savings or anything that goes "up" and lets them or their parents stay home when the government props up the stock market. It's not as reductive as simply being poor (i.e. being on the wrong side of the system), or even being bored or angry. It's in opposition to the system.
Imagine 18-78 years of "fuck you, you have to choose to die for money or die from homelessness and starvation" every single day. It's not just the pandemic times, though that exacerbates it immensely, for millions of people. It's like being born directly into jail. You'd go blow up a Best Buy too! You'd show up at the state capitol threatening people with guns!
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren lost the Democratic primary, to the relief of basically every venture capitalist I know. But a series of idiosyncratic votes, as should be obvious to everyone, isn't the end-all be-all refutation to socialist politics, even temporarily.
And just because you don't hear political leaders or even ordinary people taking the leap and asking, "Well is there a point to looting a modern art store?" doesn't mean that there isn't a point. It might be political suicide, send along the down votes, but I can sympathize with people who are mad as hell about not being given the resources to shelter at home as comfortably as rich people do while simultaneously being told to shut the fuck up about it. The only solution to that is straightforward socialism, which lost in the primary but did not lose in the hearts and minds of millions of people. It means allowing stocks to drop, IPOs to dry up, tech workers get laid off, and people being paid to stay at home long past July and not work -- all ideas verbatim rejected by Republicans, venture capitalists and seemingly most on this forum.
Socialist politics are stronger than ever. That health care officials may sympathize with those politics -- that it's a very specific capitalist system we have that is culpable for brutalizing minorities and failing to protect many people from a pandemic -- isn't surprising; they're smart people who have a very special perspective on what suffering really means. They, like many peaceful protestors, want to show solidarity with losers of the capitalism system without appealing to violence or coercion in the pursuit of an abstract goal like declining infection rates or whatever.
Limited access to healthcare is not a theoretical challenge. The link between historical injustice manifests every day in the pandemic crisis. And the nature of this virus - rapid, asymptomatic contagion - means that any vulnerable population can be a source of ongoing infection in the general population.
Never has the bond in our common good been more clear.
So sure, there are political positions to be taken in how best to move forward, but the virus doesn't care.
Why are we assuming it's systemic access to healthcare and not say Vitamin D deficiency? Healthcare access is worst in Africa and yet their numbers and outcomes are exponentially better. So what are the differences between African communities in the US and the ones in Africa?
It just seems so politically American to assume that it must be evil systemic racism anytime a population does not do as well as white people, and yet not a peep is uttered when white people are lapped by another population.
The difference is the stay-at-home protesters overwhelmingly didn't wear masks  and the BLM protesters are overwhelmingly wearing masks . Hong Kong has proven it's possible to have massive protests while wearing masks and not being vectors of infection. 
The risk there is much thus lower than places that have already have tens of thousands of cases, although it also depends on how long the protests continue and whether an outbreak can be caught early through testing.