COVID-19 Discussion (No Politics)

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So so BYU says to the rest. :man_facepalming::man_facepalming::man_facepalming:

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Europe’s Covid Lockdown Lessons

The virus is returning but leaders decide they can’t shut down again.

America’s Democrats often say they want to emulate Europe, and given their fondness for coronavirus lockdowns we can only hope this time they mean it. Parts of Europe, like parts of the U.S., are experiencing surges in new Covid-19 cases. Unlike many in the U.S., European leaders have learned from their earlier experiences with the virus.

The uptick in cases, as measured by positive tests, is noticeable across the Continent—with one exception we’ll come to in a moment. The renewed outbreak is worst in Spain and France, whose seven-day rolling average of new cases per million residents are about 215 and 130, respectively, from lows of about eight during the June lull. The rise elsewhere is less severe but still pronounced. Germany is up to 20 or so cases per million residents, from four earlier in the summer.

These surges aren’t discriminating on the basis of previous government policies. Italy, Spain and the U.K. were serious hot spots in the pandemic’s first wave in the spring and all imposed strict lockdowns. All three are suffering new waves of the disease anyway.

So is Germany, which avoided the worst ravages of the first wave. At the time, Berlin’s aggressive test-and-trace program coupled with a moderate lockdown were hailed as a public-health role model. Now it’s fairer to say the jury is out on whether Germany permanently suppressed the disease or merely delayed its inevitable spread.

European officials are noticing all of this. They also are noticing that although the new wave has brought more cases, so far the death rate has not been as high as in the spring, and hospitals are weathering the storm well. That’s why their enthusiasm for draconian national lockdowns is waning as the pandemic grinds on. Instead Europe is adopting narrow, local lockdowns and milder control measures.

In Britain, some cities have re-entered a form of lockdown. The rest of the country is continuing its reopening, with limits on the size of some gatherings and mask mandates in most indoor spaces. Denmark doesn’t mandate masks except on public transit but does restrict some larger events.

One theme is that politicians increasingly are alert to the health and economic dangers of mass lockdowns, including mass unemployment, missed education and psychological ills. Another theme is that European leaders are now more inclined to focus on individual responsibility than government action. “There is only so much a government can do,” Herman Goossens, coordinator of a European Union pandemic advisory panel, told the Journal this week. He suggests emphasizing steps individuals can take to control the virus’s spread, such as social distancing and mask wearing.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that has been Sweden’s approach throughout the pandemic—and Sweden is the conspicuous exception to Europe’s new coronavirus wave. The country eschewed a mandatory lockdown and instead urged prudent individual measures such as working from home when possible and maintaining social distancing.

While it suffered a higher death toll earlier in the crisis—concentrated, as elsewhere, in nursing homes—a second wave has yet to materialize there. If this trend continues, it will provide an important point in the debate over what, if anything, the spring’s lockdowns elsewhere accomplished.

The most notable feature of Europe’s virus response is that policy makers’ judgments are evolving as leaders learn more about the virus and their countries’ ability to manage it. Americans might well ask when their politicians and media will become similarly adaptable in the face of an evolving pandemic.

In case you need your soul absolutely crushed this morning.

There’s a lot of humanity visible through the zoom windows. Every day we log on—teachers, children, parents—and, invited or not, we enter tiny portals into each other’s lives. In our home, it’s a child, head in hands, struggling to listen through the noise, whispering “I’m tired of this,” water bottle at his side as instructed, a dog running past to bark at a delivery person, and two parents just off camera barely hanging on, desperately asking if he’s muted.

Elsewhere, the gym teacher lays on her kitchen floor, talking kids through a leg lift.

An art teacher sits in her front seat, a baby in the back, parked to teach the lesson, clearly coming from something unexpected.

The kindergarten teacher opens every morning asking children if they had breakfast, knowing not every answer will be yes. Gently, he asks one girl “are there any grown-ups around that can help you?” She shakes her head no, unable to speak because she can’t find the unmute.

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I can attest to some of this. I’ve have my fifth grader set up in my office with her own office. I get to listen to class all day and my hat goes off to her teacher. These are older kids I can’t imagine kindergarten.

My daughter who normally LOVES school had a major meltdown yesterday proclaiming she wanted to quit school. Too many tech problems as teachers try to navigate three or four different platforms which all have glitches, not to mention the individual problems of each kid’s own computers and chrome books.

Plus the isolation. The break for “recess” and my daughter goes out into our backyard for 10 minutes and plays by herself.

She’ll be fine, most kids will do just fine, but for a lot of kids this is ROUGH.

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Given all the mask discussions lately I thought I’d provide this as info from someone that works in the arena.

For all you mask wearers (especially those of you who think wearing it outside is NOT stupid. I know I’m about to burst your “google doctor degree” bubble, but here goes nothing.
So Masks?
I am OSHA 10&30 certified. I know some of you are too. I don’t really know WHY OSHA hasn’t come forward and stopped the nonsense BUT I want to cover 3 things
N95 masks and masks with exhale ports
surgical masks
filter or cloth masks
Okay, so upon further inspection, OSHA says some masks are okay and not okay in certain situations.
If you’re working with fumes and aerosol chemicals and you give your employees the wrong masks and they get sick, you can be sued.
N95 masks: are designed for CONTAMINATED environments. That means when you exhale through N95 the design is that you are exhaling into contamination. The exhale from N95 masks are vented to breath straight out without filtration. They don’t filter the air on the way out. They don’t need to
Conclusion: if you’re in Target and the guy with Covid has a N95 mask, his covid breath is unfiltered being exhaled into Target (because it was designed for already contaminated environments, it’s not filtering your air on the way out).
Surgical Mask: these masks were designed and approved for STERILE environments. The amount of particles and contaminants in the outside and indoor environments where people are CLOGGING these masks very, VERY quickly. The moisture from your breath combined with the clogged mask will render it “useless” IF you come in contact with Covid and your mask traps it, YOU become a walking virus dispenser. Every time you put your mask on you are breathing the germs from EVERYWHERE you went. They should be changed or thrown out every “20-30 minutes in a non sterile environment.”
Cloth masks: I can’t even believe I’m having to explain this, but here it goes. Today, three people pointed to their masks as they walked by me entering Lowe’s. They said “ya gotta wear your mask BRO” I said very clearly “those masks don’t work bro, in fact they MAKE you sicker” they “pshh’d” me. By now hopefully you all know CLOTH masks do not filter anything. You mean the American flag one my aunt made? Yes. The one with sunflowers that looks so cute? Yes. The bandanna, the cut up t-shirt, the scarf ALL of them offer NO FILTERING whatsoever. As you exhale, you are ridding your lungs of contaminants and carbon dioxide. Cloth masks trap this carbon dioxide the best. It actually risks your health, rather than protect it. The moisture caught in these masks can become mildew ridden over night. Dry coughing, enhanced allergies, sore throat are all symptoms of a micro-mold in your mask.
Ultimate Answer:
N95 blows the virus into the air from a contaminated person.
*The surgical mask is not designed for the outside world and will not filter the virus upon inhaling through it. It’s filtration works on the exhale, (Like a vacuum bag, it only works one way) but likely stops after 20 minutes, rendering it useless outside of a STERILE ENVIRONMENT (correct Becky, they don’t work in a bar, not even a little bit).
Cloth masks are WORSE than none. It’s equivalent to using a chain link fence to stop mosquitoes.
The CDC wants us to keep wearing masks. The masks don’t work. They’re being used to provide false comfort and push forward a specific agenda. For the love of God, research each mask’s designed use and purpose, I bet you will find NONE are used in the way of “viral defense.”
Just like EVERY Flu season kids, wash your hands. Sanitize your hands. Don’t touch stuff. Sanitize your phone. Don’t touch people. And keep your distance. Why? Because your breath stinks, your deodorant is failing, your shoes are old and stink, that shirts not clean, & I like my space. Trust me I can hear you from here. Lots of reasons to keep your distance and work on body hygiene. But trust me, the masks do not work.
Occupational Safety & Hazard Association cited.
The top American organization for safety.
They regulate and educate asbestos workers, surgical rooms, you name it.
I know; facts suck. They throw a wrench into the perfectly (seeming) packaged pill you are willingly swallowing. Facts make you have to form your OWN OPINION, instead of regurgitating someone else’s, and I know how uncomfortable that makes a lot of you. If your mask gives you security, by all means wear it. Just know it is a false sense of security and you shouldn’t shame anyone into partaking in such “conspiracies.”
If select politicians stopped enforcing it, no one would continue this nonsense. Don’t drink the kool-aid.
Author: Timothy Damronno

Oh, the irony.

But sure, let’s all just listen to Timothy Damronno (who is he, again?) rather than the multiple scientific, peer-reviewed studies confirming that masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID.

Seems legit.

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I trust what I can see, and here are two things I’ve seen that are worth more to me than your OSHA certification:

  1. In every covid chart I’ve ever seen, the virus bascially did nothing in Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan. There could be various explanations, but the simplest explanation is that in those nations, people wore masks like it was a religion.

  2. I’ve seen fluid dynamics simulations that show circulation of coughing and breathing with and without masks.

Those two things are enough for me for now, especially since there is no downside to wearing a mask.

What is the hidden agenda in this case? Is this a secret ploy by mask making companies?

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1st - agree! posting something seen on social media that says it cites OSHA doesn’t mean it’s really citing OSHA and is accurately depicted.

This is false or half-truths. Let me start by saying I have a PhD focusing on indoor air quality and my research was on particle dynamics and actually designing systems to collect hard-to-collect particles (for monitoring of the nuclear test ban treaty). I’ve done experimental and computational fluid dynamic work. I am not an epidemiologist, although I took a few courses in it. I am not a doctor. I only represent my view from my studies, research, and information from legitimate sources (peer-reviewed research). I give about 0.01% credence to anything on a social media platform. It’s not news. It’s not vetted. It’s often intentionally misleading or half-truths. I try to critically think through them if I even give them a second of thought and see what primary sources lead to it.

I actually agree on the valved N95 (don’t protect others from the wearer expelling) and surgical masks (meant for already clean environments). They are for different purposes - we need things that hold droplets (and subsequent aerosol through evaporation) and aerosols in from someone that is infected (symptomatic or not) while offering some protection to lower the viral load. Double layered cloth masks are the best we have. Single layered scarves, t-shirt, bandanas, even gaitors - not very good at all. Should be a last resort but find that most that wear them are just doing it to ‘comply’.

Cloth masks DO NOT trap CO2. There’s plenty of evidence. People wearing masks all day have used pulse-ox to measure O2 and it doesn’t drop. One man ran a marathon in one (anecdotal only). CO2 are single molecules, a gas, that transport through the weave just fine. AND, people should be washing masks - at least daily! Mildew/mold forming is the misuse of the user. Disposable masks should be disposed. Others should be washed.

I don’t really know why I’m even writing so much. We could collectively provide so many peer-reviewed studies on masks, effects of mask wearing, CDC studies, real OSHA guidelines (which is to protect workers), data from inside and outside our country, etc. But it probably won’t matter. This garbage will continue to circulate. Look outside the country as well - countries with good masking habits and culture have faired MUCH better. Not just for COVID, but for other prior illnesses. When masking eases up (looking at you Europe), exponential growth continues.

Wear a mask. Distance. Wash hands. Avoid large (and even medium and perhaps even small) gatherings, especially indoors. It’s a simple formula that adds layers of protection.

In our house, we established with our kids that they need to have at least 2 out of 3: Outdoors, Mask, Distance.

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So, is this just a long way of saying you won’t wear a mask?

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This is a good piece. I have to admit, early on, I thought lockdowns were necessary. But that was to eliminate the virus, which now seems impossible to maintain. It appears it is possible (like NZ) but then once the virus is introduced again once you open up, it starts all over. As we’ve learned more, I have changed my opinion (WHAT?! that’s allowed?).

I agree that local lockdowns (I would call it local quarantines to contain outbreaks) with testing and tracing is likely the way to go now. Without getting into politics, one side is more of a belief that each individual should decide how to protect themselves while the other is of the belief that we have to work as a team to overcome this. I am more towards the latter since as a community, we spread and catch it together - we have to rely on each other to protect each other. But at the same time, it’s an individual choice (that should be protected) to participate in being part of the team. Frustrating, because it’s being shown that groups (states, countries, etc.) that work together with simple efforts can really help.

It’s also encouraging as we learn more that treatments are getting better and also that through distancing, masking, etc. that perhaps viral loads are lower making the symptoms less severe. This is very encouraging. Still don’t want to catch it and suffer as I’ve seen some others that have recovered, but still good.

It just seems this country took one approach (lockdown), got bored of it, then went to ‘we hope you follow these guidelines, but many won’t’. Kind of did the worst of both approaches.

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Yup, the lukewarm approach to managing the disease really is the worst of both worlds. I’m glad you’ve chimed in, the falsehoods being shared about masks and all other mitigation efforts is disconcerting.

The other thing I mentioned to someone is that nobody ever claimed masks were 100% effective, rather they are reducing the risk. Just like a bike helmet is 100% effective in protecting you from all head injuries - you wear it anyway.

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A good friend of mine lives in New Zealand. He was an exchange student in the US during our Senior year of HS, and we’ve stayed in close contact in the 28 (!) years since.

We were doing a Zoom chat the other day, and he talked about an outbreak in western NZ that required a lockdown to get it contained. I asked him to define “outbreak” and he said “I dunno…6 or 7 people, I think”. It was amazing to me that they were perfectly willing to go into lockdown mode over 6-7 cases to ensure it didn’t spread any further. It was a such a stark contrast to how we are “managing” the virus here in the US.

At one point, he asked, “Does anyone in the US even care that so many of you people are dying?” Sadly, I didn’t really have a good answer for that.

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I think there are plenty of people that care that people are dying and are distancing, mostly staying at home, etc. while there is a smaller group that as long as it doesn’t directly affect them (and because of numbers so far, there are people that don’t know anyone that has gotten sick, let alone died), they’ll keep doing their thing. Until it does affect them. But that only changes 1 person’s mind at a time.

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  1. Correct. I was in Taiwan and Japan from late Jan to early Feb, the height of Covid in that part of the world. Other than a 3-week delay in school re-opening from winter vacation, Taiwan never had a shut-down. Public transit (bus/subway) was my main mode of transportation and pretty much everyone wore mask. Saw no signs of asinine behaviors related to “freedom”.
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This is such a disheartening time. I’ve said this before but the willingness of a certain segment of the population to ignore all science and reason…it’s disheartening.

This virus is new. We know next to nothing about it. As we learn more, we will update how we react to it and get better.

Yes, that means doing one thing one month and then being open to the possibility of doing something different the next month if the data shows we should change our behavior. That doesn’t mean we don’t know what we are doing. Quite the opposite actually.

It blows my mind. It’s ridiculous. So much Dunning-Kruger going on here.

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It’s ok to say “I don’t know” and “let’s look into it and change for the better”.

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While I wish this teacher a full recovery, comments like this are certainly disheartening.

“My mom is currently at IMC in their Intensive Care Unit,” Talesha Jensen said, admitting she was among those who haven’t taken the virus seriously. “I can definitely attest that I was one of those people that was like, ‘This is nothing. This is just the flu.’ But this spreads like wildfire.”

I’d like to think that we could collectively move past the selfish “it’s fake/overblown/a hoax/etc until it happens to me…then it’s serious.” attitude, but I’m not hopeful.

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One problem is that science has been so weak on all this. Epidemiology is not physics with nice, neat repeatable experiments. This pandemic has been a reminder of how limited science is in many areas.

Another problem is that many people have been led (incorrectly) to believe that science is some kind of alternative to religion. That doesn’t win friends or influence people.

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