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Yet-Another-Dave

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Agreed there is a lot we don't know. Erh, there seems to be a lot the doctors & scientists don't know and we know less because we're not doing the studies and the reports have errors (for many reasons.)

Two things I've seen reported, quoting different sources, that don't seem well understood related to transmission. One is that close face to face contact with an infected person is thought to be most likely (not only!) source of infection. Perhaps protestors, all facing a common point of focus, spend less time in direct face to face contact than other crowds. Second is data seems to suggest most infected people aren't that contagious, but a few are super contagious. I haven't seen a single theory explaining this second point, but several reports of different sources reporting they have seen the pattern. I suppose this could just be reporting error in the data (i.e. not admitting you were going around coughing in peoples faces...?)

Until our professionals figure out at least a few more key details, I'm afraid were pretty much screwed and still need to hunker down and try to stay safe on our own. Sadly as the infection rates soar that become harder and harder to do.
 

Barmoley

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That's true. But it's also fair to say our own national testing regimen hasn't been overwhelming either, so that cuts both ways. We also likely have much higher numbers than are being officially reported.

From my point of view, one of the problems isn't just our national response (or lack thereof), but our multitude of state and local responses. Just as an anecdotal story, I live in a tourist town that has, until fairly recently, been keeping a good handle on cases. However, as my state has reopened along with nearby national and state parks we have had an influx of tourists from states that have done less to combat the virus and this has helped contribute to my county and other counties nearby having experienced higher case loads. Furthermore, although there is now a state mandated requirement to wear a mask in any business or public gathering place (not exact wording) that can be enforced by law, many law enforcement agencies are choosing not to enforce it. For instance, the city police where I live are enforcing it but the county sheriff department are not. Talk about unproductive and self-defeating.

I think discrepancies between states and between various local authorities and the swaying back and forth on policies are contributing to making many responses in the US ineffective, frustrating to a wide variety of people, and thus vulnerable to political manipulation from both sides.

@Barmoley I think the uncertainty you are experiencing is what a lot of people are experiencing. There is a lot of uncertainty about this virus, both in the ways it spreads, how best to treat it without a vaccine, what the risk factors are for people in various social scenarios, and how best for governments local, state, and federal to address it while maintaining a functioning society. For me, two things stand out. Masks are an undeniable requirement and testing is an absolutely necessity (not only for helping find and contain the virus, but for the additional information these tests and later treatments provide scientists, researchers mapping spread, and politicians trying to understand what parts of their communities are affected). For me, the fact that both masks and testing are under attack from various parts of government on all levels is needlessly nonsensical and dangerous. Some people will always react irrationally but the job of government is to protect them from themselves if necessary, not provoke them to further heights.
Agreed. I thought masks when in public should've been a requirement in the first place even before the original lock downs. Just made sense, while a bunch of yahoos calling themselves "scientists" were running around saying otherwise. Now, same people are saying masks should be worn everywhere. I get that people change their minds as more data is available, but seriously, is it such a stretch to think that masks when worn correctly are useful?
 

Yet-Another-Dave

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... but seriously, is it such a stretch to think that masks when worn correctly are useful?
Given the early supply problems, (which have gotten better, but seem to continue), I can forgive the early maskless position. Even now the masks available here are (largely) most effective in keeping you from infecting others. So my mask doesn't really protect me, it protects you. We seem to have a strong individualistic streak that makes many people uninterested in the overall good, i.e. reciprocally wearing their mask to protect me. All the posturing and politicization of the messages we've been sent certainly hasn't helped with that.

Given the success Taiwan has had, (less than 100 miles from China with a 1M citizens that work in China,) with masks, testing, and contact tracing I think it's pretty hard to argue against it as a strategy. But getting leaders on the same page and getting citizens to follow here... I'm discouraged and just don't see it happening.
 

tgfencer

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Until our professionals figure out at least a few more key details, I'm afraid were pretty much screwed and still need to hunker down and try to stay safe on our own. Sadly as the infection rates soar that become harder and harder to do.
So my sister is an epidemiologist and my wife's best friend is an infectious disease specialist. Both told us basically the same things at the start of this: 1. That a pandemic like this was an inevitability (a matter of when, not if) and that in the scheme of things, covid-19 isn't the worst case scenario, particularly in terms of death rate (compared to say something as infectious as covid but with death rates more like SARS and MERS); 2. That the science of new viruses is inherently difficult and time-consuming because it requires the gathering of LOTS of information, then a reliable synthesis of that information, then the skill and unavoidable luck it takes to develop an appropriate medical response (ie vaccine, medications, etc), and then the time it takes to test such medicines for effectiveness and side-effects.

@Barmoley I think the takeaway is that science isn't an instant cure-all and that it takes a lot of theorizing, learning, failing, and testing to turn a supposition into a fact. Scientists aren't infallible (and some are obviously more fallible than others) but that isn't a reason to throw science out the window (which I know wasn't what you were suggesting). Good government policies in response to pandemics are therefore designed not only to save lives, but to buy scientists and medical professionals time to do their work, and these responses are generally crafted on past responses to similar outbreaks. The U.S. and the Western world have plenty of experience with helping with outbreaks in other parts of the world, but practically zero experience in fighting such an outbreak within our own borders (maybe AIDs aside). Unfortunately, the response of both our government and our population has not been designed with saving lives as a highest priority and definitely has not been much concerned with buying scientists the time they need. In reality, the most effective steps that have been historically proven to work (distancing, masks, lcokdowns etc) were generally well-known from the start, but the political will and economic flexibility to enact and enforce those most extreme measures simply didn't and don't exist in the US and thus we have a multitude of various, compromising responses that haven't worked as well and even been contradictory in nature. Those countries that have successfully tackled the virus are those that have the strength of political and popular will to enact the best policies and enforce them effectively.

Anyway, I'm sure there are others who know far more than I, but that is the general gist of what I've been told by a couple of people in related fields.
 

tgfencer

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I might also piggyback on someone else earlier by saying that as a former academic researcher and later an editor of academic journals myself, there is a whole bunch of politicking that goes into securing funding, developing one's reputation and authority, and just publishing research in general. Doing academic/scientific research as a career is a bit like being a politician, an entrepreneur, and a lobbyist all in one. Needless to say, a lot of these realities do not always lead to best practices or the best, most reliable results. I have zero surprise that some coronavirus related studies have been disproved as unreliable, rushed or outright rubbish, but I'm also confident there are folks out there who are doing it the right way.
 

Luftmensch

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@Barmoley I think the takeaway is that science isn't an instant cure-all and that it takes a lot of theorizing, learning, failing, and testing to turn a supposition into a fact.
You are eloquent. I don't disagree with anything you have said.

I know there is no tension here. That said, it is a long thread and hard to keep track of points of view. @Barmoley uses scare quotes ("scientists") in a broad sense (ill qualified people assuming a position of authority). Back from post [#1,565]:

no disrespect meant, just some scientists are doctors, or political or economic scientists, that's why I put them in quotes in the first place) were saying that masks don't do anything, didn't make any sense. Listen to whomever you want just apply critical thinking, if something doesn't make sense or seems impossible look for more expert opinions
The intention is good but you can also read the scare quotes as a catch-all. One that is a slight against scientists who do know what they are talking about. Self professed experts might be a less ambiguous term?
 

Barmoley

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I am not using scare quotes whatever these are. I am using quotes for scientists because some of the so called scientists are not scientists in the right fields or are not scientists at all. If you want to call them Self professed experts that's fine too, just takes too long to write. I am not against scientists or science I am for it. I am just confused about the message and due to politics on every side don't know whom to trust. Science needs to be independent, but unfortunately it is not and is very much influenced by politics
 

Luftmensch

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I am not using scare quotes whatever these are.
Not knowing what they are called does not mean you are not using them 😉. Definitions are never far away.

I was hoping to clarify that you aren't a sceptic. Perhaps not so successfully 🤪? You stated your position earlier - I only raise it again because the quotes imply a non-standard usage of the word. One that could be read as disdain for the process. This is how I originally interpreted the quotes. Perhaps that says more about me... In my defence, there are some extreme views floating around. Enough to make a guy suspicious :)

I am just confused about the message and due to politics on every side don't know whom to trust.
There certainly is a lot of noise being injected into the discussion!

Science needs to be independent, but unfortunately it is not and is very much influenced by politics
I'd say by and large it is... More often it is politically/commercially driven entities amplifying insignificant or incorrect interpretations of legitimate science or, in the worst case, producing/funding junk science to suit their cause. You are right though, it can make the world a difficult place to navigate
 

tgfencer

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You are eloquent. I don't disagree with anything you have said
Not usually, caught me on a good day.

I'd say by and large it is... More often it is politically/commercially driven entities amplifying insignificant or incorrect interpretations of legitimate science or, in the worst case, producing/funding junk science to suit their cause. You are right though, it can make the world a difficult place to navigate
I agree with this. I also think you and @Barmoley are basically in agreement barking up two different sides of the same tree. There is plenty of legitimate science, but the loudest voices with the biggest platforms are not those of scientists or often even speaking in support of those scientists’ work. Many are instead spreading politically or commercially motivated disinformation as if it were scientific fact and thus not only confusing and frustrating for the public, but giving the genuine scientists a bad rap for being unreliable or in some way fraudulent.
 
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Luftmensch

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Not usually, caught me on a good day.
Then you barely seem to have a bad day!

I also think you and @Barmoley are basically in agreement barking up two different sides of the same tree.
Sure :) It might even be the same side of the same tree.



Doing academic/scientific research as a career is a bit like being a politician, an entrepreneur, and a lobbyist all in one.
I thought this was on point. On top of that it is increasingly precarious. It is taking longer for post-doctoral researchers to find job security. The trend is that you have to be well into your career before you get onto 'hard money' (permanent contracts). Up to that point it is short term contract to short term contract. Many good researchers leave. COVID-19 has illuminated the extent of that. In Australia, the Government did not cover universities (surprise, surprise) under its COVID-19 support/stimulus. This means the academic staff on temporary contracts who were dropped (and there are lots) will not be eligible for income support. Not an inspiring approach to supporting our third-largest export industry. Nor does it seem intelligent to treat R&D poorly when it grows the economy...
 

tgfencer

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@Luftmensch One of the main reasons I left academics and editing. Contracts were often times less than minimum wage once you take the amount of time doing these things correctly takes.
 

Michi

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The fatality rate from coronavirus varies a lot by country. Depending on where one looks, it can be below 1% (Iceland), 4.6% (US), 5% (China), or as high as 14% (Italy and UK). Australian researchers have come up with an estimate of the fatality rate of coronavirus. Their estimate is based on 267 studies from over a dozen countries, and selecting the 25 they considered the most accurate and reliable. The number they came up with is 0.64%. That's about 47 million people world-wide (around 2 million people in the US) if everyone ends up getting the virus.

Seeing that herd immunity would kick in at around 70%, not everyone would get infected. But, assuming a 70% infection rate overall, that would still be about 33 million people world-wide, or 1.4 million people in the US.

 

Michi

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It appears that a vaccine may not be as easy to come by as we hope. In addition, herd immunity may not exist, or be very weak :(

 

WildBoar

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That Guardian article is 5+ weeks old. Not that things have changed much, but just pointing out it isn't new info.
 

Keith Sinclair

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News today says vaccine on the horizon. Hope it is the case. Have friends in the Hotel business still out of work.

Opened up Waikiki for bicycles on Sundays. Janice & I went out to walk wearing masks. It was good to get out. Never seen it like this stores on main Kalakaua Ave. Closed, Hotels empty, only few locals riding bikes. No tourist.

Zoo had just opened. So few people there social distance not a problem.

Bars opening & local parks sporting events have seen a rise in cases.

Hawaii economy is in bad shape. Still not opening to tourist & school opening in August meeting resistance.

Kids must get back in school & parents back to work. Economically. Can't go back to total shutdown.
 

WildBoar

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It will still be crippling if the vaccines are only 40-50% effective. Like playing Russian roulette with bullets in half the chambers.
 

ian

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Especially if lots of people refuse to take it, which seems (inconceivably) probable.
 

jacko9

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Just in case .......

DB Edit: Jack, I get that you have strong political feelings. That's fine.

BUT NOT HERE!

The rules are clear. And while they're relaxed abit for this part of forum they still apply to biased rants. Pro tip: If you're citing CNN, FOX or any of the politically charged websites, you're not making an argument. Pls stop.

And I fully realize you think your biased rants are not rants at all but are special insights into how things really work.

Pls stop.
 
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Barmoley

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Especially if lots of people refuse to take it, which seems (inconceivably) probable.
Why is it inconceivable to not want to be the first to take a vaccine that was rushed to market for a disease that is not extremely deadly for the majority of the population. I can understand why some people are hesitant. We've been brainwashed by the FDA that drugs and vaccines need years and years of testing and that we can't buy and use drugs from other countries that have been used there for years if not FDA approved. Are you saying we've been lied to?
 

ian

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Why is it inconceivable to not want to be the first to take a vaccine that was rushed to market for a disease that is not extremely deadly for the majority of the population. I can understand why some people are hesitant. We've been brainwashed by the FDA that drugs and vaccines need years and years of testing and that we can't buy and use drugs from other countries that have been used there for years if not FDA approved. Are you saying we've been lied to?
You’re right, I mispoke. It’s not inconceivable, it’s unhelpful.

From what I understand, there is no indication that any of the usual steps have been skipped in the development of the vaccine. Things are proceeding more quickly because we’re in a pandemic, so there’s great urgency for the work, and lots of money funneled into it. A few month ago, everyone was like “do we really have to wait 4 years for a vaccine?” and now that there are a couple in later stages of development, people are like “oh, now that’s too fast!”. If a lot of scientists actually start saying they have misgivings about the way it was developed, and cite skipped steps in the process, then yea, we should think twice. But currently, no experts are saying that, at least to my knowledge.

It’s unhelpful not to take it because lots of people are dying, getting really sick, and the economy is tanking. Reducing spread is the only way to stop this, and a vaccine that has passed all the required hurdles (even on an accelerated schedule) has an extremely good chance of helping with this. Even healthy 20 somethings need to take it, because they’re contributing to the spread.
 
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Barmoley

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You’re right, I mispoke. It’s not inconceivable, it’s dangerous and a bit selfish.

From what I understand, there is no indication that any of the usual steps have been skipped in the development of the vaccine. Things are proceeding more quickly because we’re in a pandemic, so there’s great urgency for the work, and lots of money funneled into it. A few month ago, everyone was like “do we really have to wait 4 years for a vaccine?” and now that there are a couple in later stages of development, people are like “oh, now that’s too fast!”. If a lot of scientists actually start saying they have misgivings about the way it was developed, and cite skipped steps in the process, then yea, we should think twice. But currently, no experts are saying that.

It’s selfish not to take it because lots of people are dying, getting really sick, and the economy is tanking. Reducing spread is the only way to stop this, and a vaccine that has passed all the required hurdles (even on an accelerated schedule) has an extremely good chance of helping with this. Even healthy 20 somethings need to take it, because they’re contributing to the spread.

edit: sorry, that came off too harsh. It’s true that it’s totally understandable to feel that way. I just think it’s not going to be helpful.
It is absolutely not helpful, but my point is, it is understandable. People are also rightfully skeptical that something that usually takes years to develop and to study side effects can take month, no matter how much money is poured into it. Some things just take time. It is also understandable why people are skeptical about truthfulness of experts and officials who have huge incentives to hide skipped steps or questionable practices. Bottom line is, it is not realistic to expect 100% of the population to agree to a vaccine. We should definitely vaccinate the most vulnerable and as many people as possible, but there will still be a large portion of the population that will refuse.
 

ian

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@daveb, @jacko9

I wouldn’t have called what he wrote a biased rant. Most of it was fact paired with some arguable extrapolation. (I don’t remember the post completely though.) Makes sense to delete the post as violating the politics rule, but the way it currently reads makes you think that jacko9 said something totally unhinged.
 
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ian

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It is absolutely not helpful, but my point is, it is understandable. People are also rightfully skeptical that something that usually takes years to develop and to study side effects can take month, no matter how much money is poured into it. Some things just take time. It is also understandable why people are skeptical about truthfulness of experts and officials who have huge incentives to hide skipped steps or questionable practices. Bottom line is, it is not realistic to expect 100% of the population to agree to a vaccine. We should definitely vaccinate the most vulnerable and as many people as possible, but there will still be a large portion of the population that will refuse.
Yea, totally. I was agreeing with your correction to my post, while also explaining why it’s unhelpful (just for completeness) and saying why past timelines for vaccines aren’t as relevant in this situation.

Also, I’m uncomfortable leaving it as “understandable”, because while it is completely understandable it’s also very not ok. If a safe and effective vaccine is developed, I really hope that there’s an equally effective campaign to get people to take it.
 

Barmoley

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Yea, totally. I was agreeing with your correction to my post, while also explaining why it’s unhelpful (just for completeness) and saying why past timelines for vaccines aren’t as relevant in this situation.

Also, I’m uncomfortable leaving it as “understandable”, because while it is completely understandable it’s also very not ok. If a safe and effective vaccine is developed, I really hope that there’s an equally effective campaign to get people to take it.
Understandable is just that. Not defending it or excusing it or even agreeing with it, but I understand it. Operative words are safe and effective, which is exactly what people are questioning. In more authoritative countries people will be forced to take it. In the US it is more difficult unless we make it a prerequisite for a job, school, restaurant. Then you'll need to be able to prove that you got it. It is unrealistic to expect most people to risk their health and potentially lives for a theoretical good for people they don't know. Here's an analogy, we now have science to build nuclear reactors that are very, very safe and small enough to power small cities. These would solve our energy issues better than anything else. Yet even when scientists and experts explain it and people in general agree that these are safe, can't explode, leak or be weaponized, they still don't want to live next to them. Selfish, yes, but understandable.
 

ian

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It is unrealistic to expect most people to risk their health and potentially lives for a theoretical good for people they don't know.
I think this plays up the risks too much. Yea, there may be some risk of side effect, but if the side effects from the vaccine are more dangerous than actually getting covid, even for healthy 20 somethings, that would be a vaccine that’s a catastrophic failure. Not taking a vaccine is also a risk.

Also, the good is not theoretical. Having the country open up is an unqualified benefit to everyone, even the perfectly healthy 20-something with no older relatives or friends. And not taking the vaccine is hindering that. Or maybe the point is: how is *my* individual vaccination going to significantly contribute to the country opening up. Then yea, I guess that’s a problem, but it’s not a new problem. Hopefully there can be a clear enough message to counter some of these concerns...
 

ian

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Yet even when scientists and experts explain it and people in general agree that these are safe, can't explode, leak or be weaponized, they still don't want to live next to them. Selfish, yes, but understandable.
I get that more, because by living next to a plant you’re taking on an outsized proportion of the risk. It’s not like the risk is distributed evenly over the population, like it would be with a vaccine. And also, the threat of climate change is more long term and harder to process (even if it’s just as important), so it makes sense that people will be less likely to view it as crucial to substitute that coal power plant with a nuclear one than to make steps toward quelling the global pandemic.

But yea, similar situations.
 
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