We can stop the pandemic if we slow it down plus heavily ramp up testing. We don’t need to give up and accept that everyone will get it. And we don’t need to stay home for over a year until there’s a vaccine. We just need to do enough testing to figure out who to quarantine. Once we mostly know who has it, the rest is pretty easy, and we’ll be able to manage it when a few cases initially sneak by us. Until testing gets things under control, we must do a lot of social distancing. We can probably get this under control in one month if we take it seriously, which will save hundreds of thousands of lives in USA alone.
To prevent exponential growth of the pandemic, the average person needs to avoid around 70% of their regular contact with other people. That’s a reasonable, achievable number even if most people keep their jobs and go to the grocery store. (70% is a rough estimate based on several sources. Maybe the correct number is actually 80%, but it’s not 99%, it’s something achievable.) People who can isolate extra are a big help who will bring the average down. They’ll make up for some people, such as medical workers, who stay in contact with a lot of people. I’m staying home now.
Don’t go outside for non-essential reasons. Don’t congregate in groups. Stay home as much as you reasonably can. Do your best to leave public spaces for people who need them, e.g. utility workers who keep the water, sewers, power, internet, and phones working. Some people have really good reasons to go outside like healthcare workers, police, firefighters, delivery people, grocery workers, and pharmacy workers. Everyone needs to stop going out for entertainment, luxuries or socializing.
If you can cut down your going out just to work (if you can’t work from home and are in a bad situation to take a break from work), getting medicine and getting groceries when you actually run out (stay home and get stuff delivered if you can), it’ll be a big help to everyone. Get more food at once and eat non-perishables so that you have to shop less often. If you go out, shower when you get home and put all your clothes in the laundry. And don’t place unimportant orders for deliveries right now.
Once the pandemic is under control – we stop it from spreading exponentially, most currently infected people stop being contagious, and we do a lot more testing to find out who has it and who doesn’t – then we can go out more.
Remember: You can spread the disease before you have symptoms or even if you never get symptoms! This appears to be common and is part of why the disease is spreading rapidly.
The best time to get things under control is now, not after the bodies start piling up like they are in Italy.
Slow the coronavirus spread so we can test way more.
Coronavirus info thread (multiple updates per day; anyone can share info or ask questions)
I tweet coronavirus info. Follow me or read my tweets directly at @curi42.
There is a coronavirus channel on the Fallible Ideas Discord
Once the pandemic is under control, things can quickly return to mostly normal:
I'm concerned about my personal safety in light of recent actions taken by local American governments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak, including:
1. Letting prisoners out of jail
2. Ordering police to stop making arrests for theft and burglary
3. Preventing firearm purchases (ceasing to issue permits, not maintaining or taking down background check systems, and closing stores that primarily sell firearms for being "non-essential")
I live in a relatively low-crime district in one of the larger U.S. cities (top 100 by population), but there are high crime districts nearby. I wonder just how bad things could get here and how fast. Maybe it would be smart to rent a house or Airbnb in a small rural town far away from everything, pack up my computers and other valuable stuff, and go there for a while.
#16031 Why would people want to break into your home or attack you? Food shortage? I think grocery stores will resupply and people won't starve. The pandemic will make people sick but won't give them direct motive to attack you. It'll just give criminals some extra cover (a distraction).
A rural place you don't own sounds sketchy to me. If shit hits the fan, the owners will want it back.
> Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?
I'm concerned about:
- people robbing houses (electronics, jewelry, etc.)
- home invasions
- criminals who were let out of jail early due to coronavirus
- mob actions like looting and rioting
I'm worried that some of the above are more likely to occur because of the pause in arrests.
> A rural place you don't own sounds sketchy to me. If shit hits the fan, the owners will want it back.
I expect the shit to hit the fan in the city harder than in rural places. So maybe, if I were staying in someone else's house, the owners would be happy to have a dependable person paying them money to stay there.
Buying my own place is also an option, but it's not as easy to do on short notice as finding someone else's house to stay in.
> Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?
If what Alisa says is true, I believe that the risk of break ins / attacks could increase:
> 1. Letting prisoners out of jail
> 2. Ordering police to stop making arrests for theft and burglary
> 3. Preventing firearm purchases (ceasing to issue permits, not maintaining or taking down background check systems, and closing stores that primarily sell firearms for being "non-essential")
My reasoning for this is:
Some people do not care much about e.g. social distancing during the corona pandemic. I assume this would be true re the prisoners that are let out as well.
If a substantial number of these prisoners are robbers / assaulters they might see #2 (police not engaging with theft and burglary) as some kind of green light to do this under lesser risk than during non-corona pandemic.
If a lot of non-criminal people stay at home, robbers and assaulters might see this as a lower risk of civilians being in their way as well.
So on the question "Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?" could be 1) that there are more people that break in / attack ppl out in society than usual, and 2) that those who want to break in / attack ppl see the current situation as a higher chance of getting away with their behaviour.
If you're not already prepared to bug-out, it's almost certainly a bad idea. Risks are increasing everywhere and rural does not necessarily mean safe, especially for someone with little or no knowledge or history in the area.
The culture in rural areas is less formal / transactional and also more sensitive to and aware of insiders vs. outsiders than in cities. People expect to already know who they're dealing with more of the time, and they won't know you. You'd be an outsider, which may make it significantly harder to get help, supplies, etc. if things do get bad.
I live in a medium sized city (~1 million people) and I expect the crime rate to rise here for the reasons you said. I have both a bug-in and bug-out plan, but for this particular situation I think it's highly unlikely that I'll bug-out.
For theft & riot type concerns that are most relevant to this situation, securing your current house could help a lot.
I have steel security screens like these on all my windows and patio doors: https://crimeshieldsecurityscreens.com/
You can throw rocks, bricks, baseball bats, or molotov cocktails at these without breaking them or the window (a brick house instead of wood helps with long-term surviving the molotovs of course). So they're better than "burglar bars" and also more attractive - they just look like darker than normal window screens covering the whole window, instead of looking like you're living in a jail cell.
I also have dead-bolts + standard out-swing security doors on the entries, like: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Unique-Home-Designs-36-in-x-80-in-El-Dorado-Black-Surface-Mount-Outswing-Steel-Security-Door-with-Heavy-Duty-Expanded-Metal-Screen-5HS620BLACK36/202326389
Is all this impermiable? Of course not. But it's going to take significant time & make significant noise for anyone of ordinary skill to get through. The physical barriers insure I won't be caught unaware by some random thief in the night or hoodlum with a brick. And if I'm aware, then I'm also prepared to defend myself.
If you haven't already got a gun & can't get one now, at least get some bear spray, a baseball bat & practice with a long kitchen knife on a sandbag. If somebody's working on your outer security door or window screen you can open the inner door or window and spray them with bear spray.
You can get the swing-out security doors at home depot. Depending on your skills and tools you could install them yourself or hire a handyman to do it (nothing special). The window screens have to be installed by someone with the right tools & skills; check for a contractor in your area for those.
Wanted to run this by ppl here:
The cases per day continues to climb in Italy despite lockdown. So why?
Lots of reasons. Family units now living 24/7 in close contact. Ppl not taking lockdown seriously.
Another possibility is there is a secondary spreader. Possibly rats as Italy has a massive rat problem exacerbated by streets full of uncollected garbage. They are in the apartment buildings. Lockdown forces ppl into closer contact with rats and rats will be entering buildings more as food sources dry up on the street.
If this is true, lockdown alone is never going to work. Rat extermination has to take place. But is it plausible?
#16047 SARS-CoV-2 takes from 3-14 days (avg 5 days) for you to start showing symptoms after you get infected. During that time you can spread the disease even though you seem fine. Even if we assume that everyone who gets symptoms goes to the hospital immediately and stops spreading the disease, it would still take a while after lockdown for new cases to stop showing up.
Yes, that could be a reason and I thought of that too. The Italian lockdown has been going for 9 nine days. R-value from Mar 17 to Mar 18 is 1.15. Log curve still not too far from a straight line since Mar 10 with slight curve down:
I think this is still how we should expect things to be right?
Not sure how the curve would look if rats were also spreading the disease.
> Italian authorities have pressed charges against more than 40,000 people for violating the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus, according to figures from the interior ministry.
An indication of how much people are violating quarantine. Article from March 18.
Article from Canada about the same kind of situation, warning that Covid-19 will continue rising after social distancing has been enacted:
> It takes about five days for symptoms to appear and another six or seven days for people to become sick enough to seek medical help.
So basically the "new" cases you see are people who were infected 11 or 12 days ago, before quarantine was enacted in Italy.
They also say it takes 16 days before people become critically ill. It's March 19th now, so the critically ill people in Italy would have been infected around March 3rd, about a week before quarantine.
#16043 Andy Dufresne: Thanks for the helpful info on bugging in vs bugging out, home security, and home defense. It's good to hear that you don't consider the situation at this point to be dangerous enough to bug out. Neither does Jonathan Hollerman, a prepper I follow.
Disinfecting Groceries and Mail and Packages
I saw this video about disinfecting groceries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps
That's basically what I was doing with groceries for the last couple of weeks. I hadn't been removing bread from its bag though - that was a good suggestion.
I have a designated intake area I use to process stuff coming in from outside.
For mail, papers, any small packages that can tolerate some heat: We have a large metal box that can still fit in our oven. It's just something that was holding a bunch of bolts in the garage - nothing special but I don't actually remember where I got it. Anyway, I leave the lid off the box, and when stuff comes in that I'll want to handle with heat it goes in the box. Once a day I preheat the oven to 160 F, put the lid on the box, put the box in the oven, set a timer for 30 minutes, come back later when its cool, then I can use everything in the box.
For large packages or stuff that might be heat sensitive it's harder and I don't have a single approach. Right now I'm letting them sit for a day or 2, spraying and/or wiping the outer box with bleach rag, then opening. Depending on what's inside I may put it in the sun for an hour (UV), wipe it with bleach rag, wash it with soap and water, or let it have additional sitting time. I don't have clear standards for what to do in advance.
After touching anything from outside before it has been processed, I wash hands. I try to do things like pick up stuff with 1 hand and use other to close and lock doors. If I can't, I wipe down the door handles I touched with bleach rag after washing hands.
Unlike some other papers this one seems to have tested the virus on some surfaces until it wasn't detectable (instead of saying it was detectable after X days but not when it wasn't detectable).
I think it implies my process for mail is overkill. If the virus is undetectable on paper after only 3 hours at room temp, all I'd have to do is leave the mail in the box at least 3 hours after delivery even if the mailman was the infection source. My box is outside, but absent some strange weather that's going to be higher than room temp during the day for at least the next 6 months, plus it sits in the sun so it's even warmer than ambient temp.
BTW I recommend the mailbox I have. It allows me to remove the mail without touching anything the mailman touched other than the mail. It's: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XQCT5U
I can open the bottom section (where the mail drops) using only the key, never touching the box itself. Also really good for protecting mail & small packages from theft.
Simple video on why to always wear a mask in public: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkN8yCWSGus
I also heard on the news this morning that the government (CDC?) is going to revise their recommendations and start recommending mask wearing by the general public.
Physician criticizes media/government's response to COVID-19
This California physician says that in California health care workers are being furloughed because there isn't enough work. People are not coming in for non-COVID-19 medical treatment because they're scared of getting the coronavirus from the hospital.
He argues that this coronavirus is roughly like flu. He compares death rates and says they are like flu death rates. The death rate numbers he calculated factor in the percentage of people testing positive. But something that wasn't clear to me was how people were selected for testing for the coronavirus. The physician in the video did not talk about that AFAIK. I bet they tested people that were more likely to have the virus, rather than selecting from the entire population. And I think the doctor did not account for that in his death rate calculations. So like if we were able to randomly select people for testing, we'd get a lower positive-test rate than compared to selecting people who were more likely to have the virus. So I think the physician's calculated death rates are lower than they should be (though I don't know if it'd be lower by a significant amount).
At around 18:00, he says that if you sanitize everything around you, your immune system gets weaker because you're not getting much virus/bacteria to practice on, even in a short amount of time like a couple of months. I didn't know about that. I had the impression that the strength of a person's immune system couldn't get weaker so quickly just from not getting much virus/bacteria. I want to learn more about this.
The video is over an hour long and I've only watched 20 min so far.
at around 27:00, the physician makes an argument that doesn't make sense. He says that the virus lives on plastic for 3 days and we're ok with buying water bottles from Costco, and then he implies that because of that we should be ok with going to work and to church. This doesn't make sense to me because it's not an all or nothing issue. If I reduce the number of interactions with people/fomites (compared to my normal), then I reduce my chance of getting (or giving) the virus (compared to my normal).
at around 29:30, he says that doctors reported feeling pressured by their superiors to add "covid-19" as a reason for death during autopsies.
the 2 physicians speaking in the video agreed that we need widespread testing in order for it to make sense for everyone to go back to work. that seems to contradict their previous claim that the current shelter-in-place orders should be removed because (AFAIK) we don't have widespread enough testing yet. (maybe I'm wrong about testing not being widespread enough. I haven't followed the issue much lately and don't know if the testing situation has changed a lot.)
later in the video (some time before 44:00) the physician said something that contradicts what I interpreted him to say in #16447. He said that we should open up slowly. so like initially we would continue avoiding huge gatherings like sports events. so he does think of this in terms of chance of getting/spreading the virus and that being connected with the number of interactions with people/fomites.
Varying policies on counting deaths as Covid-19 vs flu
Dr. Scott Jensen says the government is applying a policy where doctors get to declare the cause of death as COVID-19 without a positive test.
AFAIK that doesn't happen for flu. So comparing this virus's death rates with flu death rates wouldn't work well because the data is being collected differently between them.
But I don't know how flu death rates are calculated. Maybe those calculations incorporate a model aimed at accounting for the cases where somebody dies from flu but there was no positive test associated with the death.
From what I've heard, flu deaths are not counted, they're estimated using statistical models.
Vitamin D helps against COVID-19 ?
Vitamin D seems to play a huge role in COVID-19 sickness.
The guest said that in one study 96% of the people that got sick with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D.
Populations with vitamin D deficiency include black people far away from the equator. These areas get less UVB, which is needed in order for skin to produce vitamin D. Also black people have tons of melanin in their skin which absorbs UVB, resulting in less production of vitamin D. This partly explains why black people have been more affected by COVID-19 than compared to other populations in the USA.
This is 3 hours long. If you are going to reference one part, you should provide a time stamp.
Do they give enough info about the study to actually look it up? 96% sounds really high, so I'm doubtful about it. I would want to look at the actual study.
#16552 CAVEAT: I came across this information before GISTE posted the video link. I haven't watched the video so I don't know if it's talking about the same thing (but I suspect it might be). I also didn't post about this here previously because I'm not confident in my ability to interpret it. I currently take 2000IU/day of Vitamin D supplement.
Section 8 references 4 studies. Links to the studies are provided in the article linked above:
> Alipio, “Vitamin D supplementation could possibly improve clinical outcomes of patients infected with coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19)” SSRN, 2020 examined 212 cases of COVID-19 in 3 hospitals in Southern Asia with vitamin D status. Cases were split by severity into mild, ordinary, severe, & critical. D status was split into deficient, insufficient, & normal. A clear pattern of increased case severity with lower D level is evident from the basic descriptive statistics:
> A multinomial logistic regression reinforced that lower D was associated with more severe cases: a 1-standard-deviation increase in D level was associated with 20x odds of having a mild case instead of a critical case. Notable from the simple statistics: Of the cases with normal D levels, 47 of 55 (85%) were the mildest category and only 2 of 55 (3.6%) were critical. Of the critical cases, only 2 of 48 (4.2%) had normal D. Of mild cases, only 1 out of 49 had deficient D and 1 had insufficient, so only 2 out of 49 (4.1%) had lower-than-normal D. This is a strong association. Age information is not reported.
> Of note, the hospitals tested D levels repeatedly and also had pre-admission levels. The author performed an analysis to determine whether the levels changed much within a patient and found that they did not for 95% of the overall cases examined, which then made up the 212 cases kept for analysis. The vitamin D levels used were pre-admission. Thus, though the data are associative, the reverse causality that the infection caused dropping D levels can be ruled out.
> A smaller study of just 20 people in 1 care facility in the US, Lau et al, “Vitamin D Insufficiency is prevalent in severe COVID-19”, medRxiv, 2020, report the same basic association. 13 of 20 patients required ICU admission. "The baseline prevalence of VDI [Vitamin D Insufficiency] amongst ICU patients is 30-40%. In this study, we found that 84.6% [11 out of 13] of COVID-19 ICU patients had VDI, vs. 57.1% of floor patients." What’s more, "Strikingly, 100% of ICU patients less than 75 years old [11 out of 11] had VDI." Of these, 65% had outright deficiency below the lower 20ng/ml level. Importantly, ICU patients had lower mean age (62 +/-16) than non-ICU (72 +/-15), eliminating age as a confounding variable in this cohort.
> In another small study of 33 patients with COVID-19 and pneumonia but no comorbidities in a single Irish hospital, Faul et al, “Vitamin D deficiency and ARDS after SARS-CoV-2 infection”, Irish Med J, 2020 reports that 12 of the 33 progressed to ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) requiring intubation and ventilation (4 of whom ultimately died). The more severe ARDS group started with lower average vitamin D levels: 27nmol/L (SD 12) vs. 41nmol/L (SD 19). Both of these levels would be considered deficient (<50nmol/L ~= 20ng/ml) by the most common threshold, but the ARDS group much more so. The ARDS group was very slightly older: age 60 (SD 15) vs 56 (SD 14), but the group age difference was very small relative to the spread in comparison to the group D level difference. Using a threshold of 30nmol/L, the authors computed a hazard ratio for intubation of 3.19 (95% CI 1.05-9.7), meaning the extremely low D patients were 3x more likely to require intubation.
> Glicio, “Vitamin D level of mild and severe elderly…”, SSRN, 2020 reports on 176 elderly patients in 2 medical centers in South Asia, showing strong relationship between a binary classification of case severity into severe or mild and a binary threshold of D status above vs below 30ng/ml, but the severe group were also average 4 years older (72.8 vs 68.7) and no attempt to build a model correcting for age is mentioned.
[Question] COVID Vaccines
Should I be skeptical of the vaccine effectiveness results being claimed by Pfizer and Moderna?
Here's why I have so far found the claims believable:
First, the vaccines were created with a specific explanation in mind for how they would work. I'm not any kind of expert, but the explanation seems reasonable. This isn't a grass cure for cold type explanationless correlation.
Second, the test process seemed reasonable: Following animal, serological, and initial safety studies then recruit a large pool of test subjects. Give half the vaccine and half a placebo. Both the experimenters and subjects were blind (didn't know whether they were getting/giving the vaccine or placebo). Wait for a reasonable number of test subjects to get symptomatic COVID. Then unblind the ones who got symptomatic COVID and see how many got the vaccine and how many got the placebo.
 I'm talking about the claim of a vaccine's ability to substantially reduce the risk of symptomatic COVID developing in "ordinary" people who receive the vaccine as directed, for a time period similar to the study period (a few months). Some considerations that may be important but I'm not talking about:
- Protection that lasts substantially longer than the study period
- Protection against asymptomatic Coronavirus infection
- Protection against spreading Coronavirus to others
- Side effects of the vaccine
- Protection from COVID in children, advanced elderly, or people with relatively uncommon medical conditions
- Protection for those with unusually high or persistent Coronavirus exposure like health workers
- Problems of manufacturing, distribution, allocation, or compliance with requirements like receiving 2 doses within a certain time frame
- Differences in results by race or sex
- Differences of a few percentage points + or - in the actual COVID risk reduction from what was claimed
- Societal impacts like: once a certain % of people get the vaccine we can safely go back to life as it was before COVID
- Advisability of getting one of these vaccines vs. some other type of vaccine that may publish results in the future
#18698 Symptomatic COVID and symptomatic COVID that people report to a doctor (or medical study worker) are pretty different. There's lots of overlap on the severe cases but considerably less for mild cases.
I don't know how good their (active?) placebos are. Flu shots often make your arm (where you got it) a bit sore so passive placebos might not work well.
I don't know how much these things are being rushed out and overhyped due to e.g. government pressure, societal desire and CEO incentives. I don't know what sort of suppression of reporting problems or whistleblowing among the researchers exists. I fear (due to general understanding of what society is like) that suppression of problems is significant (whether this vaccine works great or not).
> Symptomatic COVID and symptomatic COVID that people report to a doctor (or medical study worker) are pretty different. There's lots of overlap on the severe cases but considerably less for mild cases.
I agree in general.
But I'd also guess that people who agree in advance to be in a vaccine study are significantly more likely to report COVID symptoms than people in general.
One website also claims the Moderna study had some features designed to mitigate the problem of unreported symptoms:
> The volunteers will have appointments seven times throughout the two-year course of the study, where they will have blood drawn and their noses swabbed to check for Covid-19 infection.
> Volunteers will keep a weekly diary of their symptoms and will speak on the phone with study staff to discuss how they're feeling.
I don't know how effective such measures are. I have an intuition that people who sign up and then are asked weekly if they have symptoms will be reasonably reliable about reporting any symptoms they do have. But I could be overestimating people.
Back to #18699:
> I don't know how good their (active?) placebos are. Flu shots often make your arm (where you got it) a bit sore so passive placebos might not work well.
According to an article I found, only AstraZenica's candidate uses a truly active placebo - a meningitis vaccine. But according to the same article, saline shots can also result in a sore arm.
If partial unblinding of subjects actually happened, it's hard to judge the effect.
Maybe people who thought they got the placebo were more careful to avoid COVID than those who thought they got the vaccine. In that case the partial unblinding would tend to under-report the vaccine's actual effectiveness.
But maybe one or both of the groups wanted to try to "help" the results, so the vaccine group acted more carefully and the placebo group acted more recklessly. That would tend to over-report the vaccine's actual effectiveness.
> I don't know how much these things are being rushed out and overhyped due to e.g. government pressure, societal desire and CEO incentives. I don't know what sort of suppression of reporting problems or whistleblowing among the researchers exists. I fear (due to general understanding of what society is like) that suppression of problems is significant (whether this vaccine works great or not).
I agree there's pressure, desire, incentives, hype etc. to achieve a good result. It's one of the reasons I excluded a bunch of stuff from consideration - potential problem areas that could be getting suppressed.
Beyond that I don't think I know how to think about this concern well. One problem is I don't know what I could find that would address it.