Covid-19 pandemic & Fake News - How you can help

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Agreed, as I have said before, dismissing widespread mask use out of hand purely on the basis of aerosol behaviour does not adequately address all the variables at play in a nationwide pandemic response. For example:

- While SARS-Cov-2 appears to spread primarily via airborne means, it can persist on people's hands/bodies as well as on surfaces outside the body (even outdoors). As a consequence, significant emphasis on hand hygiene seems to be warranted:


- Masks and face coverings can significantly reduce the amount of aerosol particle emission/viral shedding from expiratory activities. While a dangerous viral load may not travel far in an outdoor setting, that still means less viral inoculum to be coughed/sneezed/breathed onto an individual's own hands and then transferred to other individuals or frequently used surfaces like door handles etc.


- Mask use also seems to reduce the amount of face-touching behaviours that individuals engage in, which is again favourable in any setting (indoor or outdoor).


- There's also the big picture question of how to elicit the needed behaviour from the population to bring the disease under control. While inconvenient, I would posit that mandating mask use outdoors in hard-hit areas ensures that everyone has a mask on them at all times when leaving the house. So, when they move from the park to the store they still have their mask on them. Earlier modelling suggests that macro-scale mask use should help to control the virus:


- As has been said before, nobody is claiming masks to be a panacea, but there is good reason to think they can help. Perhaps it is time we stopped idly fretting over how much they (a minor inconvenience at worst) impinge on a given individual's "personal freedoms" and focused more on what actually helps to beat the disease.

- That is much more a conversation about mitigation (apparently what PhysicsMan advocates) vs suppression. The simple reality is that we have very little (if any) data to suggest that mitigation "works" in hard hit areas, while numerous countries have used suppression with favourable results (if not out of downright necessity).

 
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swerve

Super Moderator
The point is simple. I don't want to do stupid things my government makes me do.
Therein lies the problem. You've just said, in effect, that your analyses are biased, & you're seeking arguments to support what is basically a political stance.

If you'd limited it to "I don't want to do stupid things", everyone could agree with you. When you add "my government makes me do", it starts to fall down. Such a statement is usually associated with the assumption that governments are consistently wrong & do not act in the best interests of the people. While that is true some of the time (& a lot more than "some" for many governments), even rather tyrranical governments like that of China very often act in the public interest, if for no other reason than that it coincides with their own interests. A raging epidemic weakens the country & can threaten the personal survival of the leadership. Minimising its impact increases their prestige & the goodwill of their subjects. Win-win!
 
There is alot of great information posted on here, with some very thoughtful insights into this global topic. What I wanted to stress (among other things) was that it may be time (as someone already mentioned here as well) to refine the approaches and sort out what works and what does not. My own understanding of the situation tells me that the spread is highly non-linear in its response to measures taken. As often is the case in multi coupled systems such as this one, perturbations/disturbances to one element of the system can lead to a system-wide response disproportionate to the perturbation (as it may seem). I will give one example that everyone can relate to. Recall a time when you are steadily moving along on a multi lane high speed road, filled with a fair amount of vehicles but not enough to slow the traffic down. Then, all of a sudden, the traffic comes to a crawl, and five minutes later you notice a single very slow moving car in one of the lanes. In fact, at some point you may find yourself moving SLOWER than the broken car. How does one broken car slow down a five lane (for the sake of argument) highway? The behavior of all elements of the system is coupled to that of each other, creating this susprising effect. I see the response of the spread to various suppression measures fitting into a conceptually similar model. The task is to determine which measures create this disproportionate response, and which ones are just a background noise. Many countries/governments/entities (whatever) took a sweeping approach where they threw everything they could think of at this thing, and it worked (for some). While that is an appropriate response in a high stress crunch time of the onset of the pandemic, we are nearing to a year from the start, and many of those things start to look very, very questionable to many smart people.
There are some obvious measures that must be taken, such as preventing people from congregating in close proximity in enclosed spaces. All of my posts focused on the measures that are far from obvious and in many cases are downright ridiculous. This thing is driven by superspreader events particular to certain behaviors/situations - not all of them. The normal 80/20 rule becomes more like 90/10 in this case - 10% of events lead to 90% of effects (non-linear system). And the same holds for the suppression measures, where 90% of efforts lead to 10% (and I suspect much less in some cases) of results. Is California with its love for controlling people doing better than Texas that is sort of opposite? It's not, despite the VERY striking difference in mask wearing behavior of people and how they get around and live their lives in the pandemic. Do masks outdoors help reduce the spread? Does making people stay home, avoid work, parks, forests, any places work? The answer is YES. But a more relevant question to ask is HOW MUCH do they help? Not all measures are worth the effort and the burden they impose on people. And, yes, there is that nagging question of personal liberty. I do not want a government to track me, I do not trust it to NOT do that once the pandemic is over.
Many of the government imposed measures mentioned on here I fully support. But it is time to be more careful about sorting them out from the ones that do not influence the big picture and likely hurt people in more ways than we even realize at this point.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
This thing is driven by superspreader events particular to certain behaviors/situations - not all of them.
Source needed.

And the same holds for the suppression measures, where 90% of efforts lead to 10% (and I suspect much less in some cases) of results.
Source needed again.

Is California with its love for controlling people doing better than Texas that is sort of opposite? It's not, despite the VERY striking difference in mask wearing behavior of people and how they get around and live their lives in the pandemic. Do masks outdoors help reduce the spread? Does making people stay home, avoid work, parks, forests, any places work? The answer is YES. But a more relevant question to ask is HOW MUCH do they help?
You are changing the goalposts now. At first you dismissed masks as one of the dumb things the government was making you do on the basis that they would not help thanks to the dynamics of aerosol behaviour, which you described as "the science of COVID transmission". Now you acknowledge that they can help (but not enough?).

I can't comment on the specifics of California's case overall (not an SME), but expecting mask use to drive the difference in overall outcomes vis a vis Texas is absurd. Please be more scientific here - there is good evidence to suggest that they can be a valuable part of the solution, but not the entirety of it.

Not all measures are worth the effort and the burden they impose on people. And, yes, there is that nagging question of personal liberty. I do not want a government to track me, I do not trust it to NOT do that once the pandemic is over.
Many of the government imposed measures mentioned on here I fully support. But it is time to be more careful about sorting them out from the ones that do not influence the big picture and likely hurt people in more ways than we even realize at this point.
Problem is that a quarter of a million of your countrymen have had their civil personal liberties annihilated... forever, with many more to follow. The research you are looking for is being done as we speak (I have already posted some of it) - you just need to bother to look for it. Unfortunately I don't see how you are going to get this thing under control without using a suppression based strategy, and that is going to mean the temporary sacrifice of some personal liberties (by design).
 
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Source needed.


Source needed again.


You are changing the goalposts now. At first you dismissed masks as one of the dumb things the government was making you do on the basis that they would not help thanks to the dynamics of aerosol behaviour, which you described as "the science of COVID transmission". Now you acknowledge that they can help (but not enough?). I can't comment on the specifics of California's case overall (not an SME), but expecting mask use to drive a difference in overall outcomes vis a vis Texas is absurd. Please be more scientific here - there is good evidence to suggest that they can be a valuable part of the solution, but not the entirety of it.
I am not changing anything, you just missed the point of that statement. Does me holding in a fart right now help reduce greenhouse effects? Yes. But how much? Nature works in probabilites, not like the digital world.


Problem is that a quarter of a million of your countrymen have had their civil personal liberties annihilated... forever, with many more to follow. The research you are looking for is being done as we speak (I have already posted some of it) - you just need to bother to look for it. Unfortunately I don't see how you are going to get this thing under control without using a suppression based strategy, and that is going to mean the temporary sacrifice of some personal liberties (by design).
[/QUOTE]
 

swerve

Super Moderator
I'm not sure what you mean. The stupid things I am made to do come from government, do they not? How does that in any way imply that government does that consistently and in always detrimental way?
I feel there is this need on here to bring politics into my arguments and use it to go: aha! you're political therefore all your arguments are invalid! If you want to call discussing actions of my goverment political, by all means. I just do not see how we can discuss government driven actions without talking about, humm... government.
You're echoing what certain ideologues say. That may be unintentional, but when that happens, there's always a suspicion that you buy into the rest of the programme. You've said other things that fit it, which adds to the suspicion.

The question of facemasks has become a mark of political identity on the American right, to the bafflement of most of the rest of the world. The medical consensus worldwide is that they reduce the spread of covid-19, as they do other droplet-borne diseases. It's not that they're a panacea, or equally useful in all circumstances, but they help. Arguing against them because their effectiveness is limited misses the point: this is biology. It's messy. Things are almost never 100%. It's bloody complicated, so much so that precision is generally impossible. It runs on approximations.

Facemasks fit that perfectly. Partial protection, highly variable depending on circumstances, differing from invidual to individual. It's a typical biological thing. But in biological terms, they're obviously advantageous. Reducing the number of viruses someone inhales (not blocking them completely) can prevent them from catching the disease. 50% stop can be 100% protection. Or 0% protection, in circumstances identical except for the people involved. It's complicated.

Epidemiologists know this. To them, I think that arguing about precisely what percentage of droplets is caught by a mask as if it decides whether it means effective or worthless is puzzling. They talk in terms of averages, of degrees of effectiveness, etc., whether of masks, drugs, vaccines, behaviour, or whatever.

I'm afraid that to me your arguments have a flavour of . . . how do I say it . . . . ideology . . . rather than being practical.

Sometimes what governments do is data-driven & pragmatic, the sort of thing which most opposition parties in a European country will probably support, or at least not oppose, or argue only about details of implementation. Treating everything as political is mixing up categories. I see the US mask debate as a case of that. Opposing them (& there are people who actively oppose their use) is clearly political signalling, & to me it's bizarre.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Apologies for the length of this post, but I think it is pertinent, as I have already posted a source that addresses the question raised below.

I am not changing anything, you just missed the point of that statement. Does me holding in a fart right now help reduce greenhouse effects? Yes. But how much? Nature works in probabilites, not like the digital world.
"These analyses may explain why some countries, where adoption of facemask use by the public is around 100%, have experienced significantly lower rates of COVID-19 spread and associated deaths. We conclude that facemask use by the public, when used in combination with physical distancing or periods of lock-down, may provide an acceptable way of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and re-opening economic activity. These results are relevant to the developed as well as the developing world, where large numbers of people are resource poor, but fabrication of home-made, effective facemasks is possible. A key message from our analyses to aid the widespread adoption of facemasks would be: ‘my mask protects you, your mask protects me’."

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You're echoing what certain ideologues say. That may be unintentional, but when that happens, there's always a suspicion that you buy into the rest of the programme. You've said other things that fit it, which adds to the suspicion.

The question of facemasks has become a mark of political identity on the American right, to the bafflement of most of the rest of the world. The medical consensus worldwide is that they reduce the spread of covid-19, as they do other droplet-borne diseases. It's not that they're a panacea, or equally useful in all circumstances, but they help. Arguing against them because their effectiveness is limited misses the point: this is biology. It's messy. Things are almost never 100%. It's bloody complicated, so much so that precision is generally impossible. It runs on approximations.

Facemasks fit that perfectly. Partial protection, highly variable depending on circumstances, differing from invidual to individual. It's a typical biological thing. But in biological terms, they're obviously advantageous. Reducing the number of viruses someone inhales (not blocking them completely) can prevent them from catching the disease. 50% stop can be 100% protection. Or 0% protection, in circumstances identical except for the people involved. It's complicated.

Epidemiologists know this. To them, I think that arguing about precisely what percentage of droplets is caught by a mask as if it decides whether it means effective or worthless is puzzling. They talk in terms of averages, of degrees of effectiveness, etc., whether of masks, drugs, vaccines, behaviour, or whatever.

I'm afraid that to me your arguments have a flavour of . . . how do I say it . . . . ideology . . . rather than being practical.

Sometimes what governments do is data-driven & pragmatic, the sort of thing which most opposition parties in a European country will probably support, or at least not oppose, or argue only about details of implementation. Treating everything as political is mixing up categories. I see the US mask debate as a case of that. Opposing them (& there are people who actively oppose their use) is clearly political signalling, & to me it's bizarre.
I agree with almost everything you said. Believe me, I am fully aware of the partisan nature of this politically-driven debate. And I agree it is dumb.
Having said that, you must realize that taking a position on any of the high profile social topics will put one on one side of the isle or the other. It can't be avoided. But what's important is that one does not do the reverse - take a position on a topic based on his political leaning - that is the really dumb thing to do. Many do just that, follow the herd. To quote a great American mind, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain.
One last comment on face masks. I do not advocate their complete uselessness, I never made a statement to that end. They are helpful when a danger is real. When I'm in a store and I see a lot of people around, I make sure my mask is on, snug and all.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #91
Data & advances for those in denial — Part 1

You're echoing what certain ideologues say. That may be unintentional, but when that happens, there's always a suspicion that you buy into the rest of the programme. You've said other things that fit it, which adds to the suspicion.

The question of facemasks has become a mark of political identity on the American right, to the bafflement of most of the rest of the world. The medical consensus worldwide is that they reduce the spread of covid-19, as they do other droplet-borne diseases. It's not that they're a panacea, or equally useful in all circumstances, but they help. Arguing against them because their effectiveness is limited misses the point: this is biology. It's messy. Things are almost never 100%. It's bloody complicated, so much so that precision is generally impossible. It runs on approximations.

Facemasks fit that perfectly. Partial protection, highly variable depending on circumstances, differing from invidual to individual. It's a typical biological thing. But in biological terms, they're obviously advantageous. Reducing the number of viruses someone inhales (not blocking them completely) can prevent them from catching the disease. 50% stop can be 100% protection. Or 0% protection, in circumstances identical except for the people involved. It's complicated.

Epidemiologists know this. To them, I think that arguing about precisely what percentage of droplets is caught by a mask as if it decides whether it means effective or worthless is puzzling. They talk in terms of averages, of degrees of effectiveness, etc., whether of masks, drugs, vaccines, behaviour, or whatever.

I'm afraid that to me your arguments have a flavour of . . . how do I say it . . . . ideology . . . rather than being practical.

Sometimes what governments do is data-driven & pragmatic, the sort of thing which most opposition parties in a European country will probably support, or at least not oppose, or argue only about details of implementation. Treating everything as political is mixing up categories. I see the US mask debate as a case of that. Opposing them (& there are people who actively oppose their use) is clearly political signalling, & to me it's bizarre.
1. Agreed. Numerous ideologues in America are in deep denial. Denial does not change the fact that:
(a) 1 out of every 500 residents in New Jersey are dead due to the pandemic.​
(b) 1 out of every 675 residents in North Dakota are dead due to the pandemic.​
(c) 1 out of every 721 residents in Mississippi are dead due to the pandemic.​
(d) 1 out of every 731 residents in South Dakota are dead due to the pandemic.​

2. Beyond New Jersey, North Dakota, Mississippi, and South Dakota, 8 other states and DC have already hit the 1 in 1,000 dead milestone: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa.

3. Five other states are likely to join that "club" soon: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Indiana.

4. This amazing post by Biden was made in Oct 2019, before CORVID-19 pandemic struck. We should not lose sight of these facts:
(a) More Americans have died from Covid-19 in 9 months than in combat over 4 years in World War II. The virus death toll exceeds 292,000, compared with 291,557 American World War II battle deaths.​
(b) Reported US coronavirus deaths:​
  • Feb. 12: 0 deaths
  • Mar. 12: 41 deaths
  • Apr. 12: 22,073 deaths
  • May 12: 83,425 deaths
  • Jun. 12: 116,036 deaths
  • Oct. 12: 220,210 deaths
  • Nov. 12: 242,310 deaths
  • Dec. 12: 302,762 deaths
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #92
Data & advances for those in denial — Part 2

5. Pfizer's vaccine has already received emergency approval in Britain and Canada. In more good news, an emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the US. See: FDA Takes Key Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine
Additionally:

View attachment 47854

I hope this addresses your question. If you are still in doubt, it might also be worth questioning why:

- The USAF
- The USN
- The US Army
- The USMC

...have all adopted widespread mask/face covering policies.
6. Mask wearing is important because 42.5% of the confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections detected across the two surveys were asymptomatic (that is, did not have symptoms at the time of swab testing and did not develop symptoms afterwards).

7. While the paper is not peer reviewed, and there isn’t a big enough population based study to reliably answer the question of the percentage of asymptomatic carriers, I would take, as a guide the numbers published in — Nature. 2020;584(7821):425. Epub 2020 Jun 30. Notably, 42.5% (95% CI: 31.5-54.6%) of the confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections detected across the two surveys were asymptomatic (that is, did not have symptoms at the time of swab testing and did not develop symptoms afterwards).

8. High mask wearing compliance (99.5%) and lack of community spread of CORVID-19 enables Singapore to have a slower and staggered roll out of a vaccination program. To date, Singapore with a population of 6.5 million, has done 4,834,370 CORVID-19 swap tests on 1,247,202 individuals (some of whom are tested routinely). Singaporeans will be watching the safety data revealed by the despairing Brits (with 55,508 dearths) and Americans (with 302,762 deaths), as the tropical country rolls out its vaccination program in late 2021.
(a) UK became the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outside of a clinical trial after British regulators granted clearance. The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which is enough for 20 million people since it requires two shots.​
(b) In July 2020, the US agreed to a deal with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for 100 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, if it proved safe and effective.​

9. But Pfizer is only 1 of many vaccine options. Interim data of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab suggests 70% protection, but the researchers say the figure may be as high as 90% by tweaking the dose — at a much lower price. The results will be seen as a triumph, but come after Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed 95% protection. However, the Oxford/ AstraZeneca jab is far cheaper, and is easier to store. Overall, there were 30 cases of Covid in people who had two doses of the vaccine and 101 cases in people who received a dummy injection. The researchers said it worked out at 70% protection, which is better than the seasonal flu jab. Only 3 people experienced serious adverse events (which were possibly related to the vaccine, but we don’t know for sure). Nobody getting the actual vaccine developed severe-Covid or needed hospital treatment.

(a) Prof Andrew Pollard, the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial's lead investigator, said he was "really pleased" with the results as "it means we have a vaccine for the world". However, protection was 90% in an analysis of around 3,000 people on the trial who were given a half-sized first dose and a full-sized second dose.​

(b) "The announcement.... takes us another step closer to the time when we can use vaccines to bring an end to the devastation caused by [the virus]," said the vaccine's architect, Prof Sarah Gilbert.​

(c) The US gives AstraZeneca US$1.2 billion to fund Oxford University coronavirus vaccine — America would get 300 million doses. The UK government has pre-ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and AstraZeneca says it will make 3 billion doses for the world next year. In the UK there are 4 million doses of the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine ready to go. But nothing can happen until the vaccine has been approved by regulators who will assess the vaccine's safety, effectiveness, and that it is manufactured to high standard. This process will happen in the coming weeks.​
(d) The US will buy 100 million additional shots of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine — doubling its initial order of the vaccine. Moderna has also announced a rolling review for its vaccine with the Health Sciences Authority, Singapore’s regulatory body for health products. In addition, the Singapore Government has been working really hard to ensure that Singapore has access to these vaccines.​

10. Singapore will work towards securing a portfolio of vaccines to cater to different segments of population, given the multiple factors that come into play regarding vaccine distribution including the lack of data concerning the sustainability of the immunity of particular COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had said in Nov 2020.
 
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StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think you can kill the mask debate by looking at our very public study groups - GOP and the Trump administration have been very lax on basic measures like distancing and mask wearing vs the Democratic parties very strong "on message" stance with masks etc.


The sheer number of infections in the GOP should give you at least an anecdotal confirmation.


On the UK and the Pfizer vaccine, the NHS have already been in contact with my mother to line her up. We had a bit of back and forth and I've managed to persuade her that getting vaccinated is a Good Thing. Key workers and the oldest down will hopefully save lives, and certainly when it comes to care homes, some relatives may live to see a couple more Christmases.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I've already seen the odd idiot on Facebook here claiming that the vaccine will give you Aids. They've been shut down reasonably quickly too by fellow Kiwis with some very direct Kiwi language. We won't be getting the vaccine until the new year and it will be going to the frontline border and quarantine personnel first.

With the summer break over Christmas and New Year coming, most of the country will be on the move. The government has started a media campaign to reinforce the message about using the government COVID-19 tracing app, basic hand hygiene, and compulsory mask usage on public transport. We are being told if we fail to follow the guidelines, we'll risk losing summer. No beaches, no watching the cricket, no live concerts.

We understand the risks and costs of COVID-19 escaping from the Managed Isolation Quarantine Facilities because that was the cause of the August outbreak in Auckland earlier this year.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I've already seen the odd idiot on Facebook here claiming that the vaccine will give you Aids. They've been shut down reasonably quickly too by fellow Kiwis with some very direct Kiwi language. We won't be getting the vaccine until the new year and it will be going to the frontline border and quarantine personnel first.

With the summer break over Christmas and New Year coming, most of the country will be on the move. The government has started a media campaign to reinforce the message about using the government COVID-19 tracing app, basic hand hygiene, and compulsory mask usage on public transport. We are being told if we fail to follow the guidelines, we'll risk losing summer. No beaches, no watching the cricket, no live concerts.

We understand the risks and costs of COVID-19 escaping from the Managed Isolation Quarantine Facilities because that was the cause of the August outbreak in Auckland earlier this year.
you've got the advantage of time - Covid is pretty much sorted in Kiwi-land in terms of daily infection rates - no reason at all to hurry into a vaccination program - definitely, get one done but you can literally take some time and work out what one works, is easiest to store/transport and which is most efficacious.

BZ
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
you've got the advantage of time - Covid is pretty much sorted in Kiwi-land in terms of daily infection rates - no reason at all to hurry into a vaccination program - definitely, get one done but you can literally take some time and work out what one works, is easiest to store/transport and which is most efficacious.

BZ
Indeed, NZ is just about the only place on the planet with the luxury of waiting to see which vaccine product is best. Hopefully there isn’t a bad choice for countries that must proceed now.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well, the major driver behind the speed of getting a tested vaccine to market is money - usually arranging human trials in any numbers is expensive. With the current situation, well, I'm reminded of Gene Krantz's comment when his "failure is not an option" quote started to get used in mainstream management.
"When failure is not an option, success can get pretty expensive"
You can't fix *everything* by throwing a billion or two at the problem but it seems to have worked in this instance.

And hey, if we do all start growing spare heads, you can sit back, point and laugh :)

We're underway with vaccinations and thankfully, so far, that seems to be going smoothly, possibly because the purchase and delivery isn't dependent on the contract being awarded to a company incorporated last month by one of the PM's mates. Koff:pPE..
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Another solid look at the state of misinformation during the pandemic, ranging from the efficacy of lockdowns to an interesting examination of how Sweden has actually responded to the crisis.

 
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