Author Topic: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?  (Read 248208 times)

frugalnacho

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3000 on: July 10, 2020, 10:02:21 AM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

DadJokes

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3001 on: July 10, 2020, 10:20:52 AM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

vispetto19539

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3002 on: July 10, 2020, 10:36:18 AM »
Anecdotally, the town I live in (which is unusually dependent on tourism) is in total economic collapse. I'd say 75% of the service industry is out of work. Most businesses are closed. Construction is already grinding to a halt, as is school.

If this is the situation across the entire US, it's great depression level collapse we're talking about if it continues for more than a few weeks.

I'll put this question out there: are we risking a result that would be *worse* than uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus if we completely collapse our economy?

I feel like it would make more sense to tell all vulnerable groups to isolate themselves (with plenty of support to deliver food/medicine/etc) and let the virus otherwise run rampant through the healthier/younger population until there's some herd immunity in place. Yes, people would die. But I think fewer than we'd get in a depression.

Maybe I'm crazy.

-W

That's pretty much what the UK has decided to do. It makes sense only if you're confident you know everything you need to know about this virus. I don't see how they can be....
That definitely makes sense. Another way to attack the Covid19 problem is to fund the bio tech industry. Funding should come off of the backs of the Big Tech industry which has profited from the pandemic immeasurably. This would be counterintuitive to these high flying companies. So many of these medium bio Tech's are triple threats with testing , therapeutics and vaccines in their pipelines. Feeling safe from the virus is # 1 concern, this won't happen until we pour all resources into this project.

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frugalnacho

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3003 on: July 10, 2020, 11:16:53 AM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

Clearly doesn't work as people in this thread are already having differing opinions about the spirit of the law.  It would be nice to actually have something to base it on rather than however you choose to interpret it.  What if instead of living in the USA with their backasswards healthcare and health insurance policies I lived in a civilized country with socialized health care?  Would it be wrong of me to retire at age 35 and suck at the teet of the government for my health care, even though I'm perfectly able bodied to continue working and contributing to the system via a massive tax bill? What about age 50? At what age does it become acceptable to stop gainful employment (and thus paying large amounts of taxes) and start leeching healthcare from the government?  Are those situations comparable to me taking advantage of ACA subsidies even though I have assets? 

What about my coworker that earns the same as me, but pays an infinitely higher tax rate because I chose to max my 401k, IRA, spouse's IRA, and HSA so I have no tax bill?  Am I bastardizing the system and going against the spirit of the law by taking it to the extreme and legally minimizing my tax bill?  This was an actual conversation I've had with coworkers who think it's completely unfair that I was able to squirrel away $35k in tax advantaged accounts and they paid taxes out the ass because they were "unable" to save as much me. 

Also reminiscent of some people I know who got their medical marijuana cards, to legally grow and possess medical marijuana in my state, on the basis of "chronic pain" because the "spirit of the law" was intended to help cancer patients who truly need it, and not some bum with faux "chronic pain".  The letter of the law just states you have to have a medical dr sign off that you need the card for one of a bunch of listed reasons, but obviously things just got messed up when putting the law down on paper that now allows this non-cancerous hippy to grow weed totally against the intended spirit of the law.

So is there really some "spirit" of the ACA subsidy law where they didn't intend anyone with sufficient assets to have access to subsidized health care?  I'm not convinced it's immoral or against the spirit of the law. 

HBFIRE

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3004 on: July 10, 2020, 11:18:55 AM »
Anecdotally, the town I live in (which is unusually dependent on tourism) is in total economic collapse. I'd say 75% of the service industry is out of work. Most businesses are closed. Construction is already grinding to a halt, as is school.

If this is the situation across the entire US, it's great depression level collapse we're talking about if it continues for more than a few weeks.



I think it easily would have been headed that way had we locked down longer.  It's become increasingly clear that's not a realistic or feasible solution. 

Plina

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3005 on: July 10, 2020, 12:10:11 PM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

Clearly doesn't work as people in this thread are already having differing opinions about the spirit of the law.  It would be nice to actually have something to base it on rather than however you choose to interpret it.  What if instead of living in the USA with their backasswards healthcare and health insurance policies I lived in a civilized country with socialized health care?  Would it be wrong of me to retire at age 35 and suck at the teet of the government for my health care, even though I'm perfectly able bodied to continue working and contributing to the system via a massive tax bill? What about age 50? At what age does it become acceptable to stop gainful employment (and thus paying large amounts of taxes) and start leeching healthcare from the government?  Are those situations comparable to me taking advantage of ACA subsidies even though I have assets? 


I don't know how it is in USA but in my civilized country with socialized health care, every law has a  background document were you can read about the thoughts behind the legislation.

Actually, the discussion about future contributions is coming up here from people that think you have an obligation to continue contributing to the tax revenues needed to fund everything. The argument from those that plan to FIRE is that they continue contributing through sales taxes that are up to 25 % on some goods and services. You will also have to pay capital taxes. Another argument is that you probably also will need less of the health care services due to a less stressful lifestyle and an ability to hopefully make better choices.

I am curious about what percentage of income you consider to be a massive tax bill? I wonder if you don't in the end pay more when you add to your taxes healthcare cost and day care costs for example.

I am considered as a high earner in my country and paid tax of 50 % for a part of my income in 2017. My total tax percentage (not included sales tax) for that year was 31,8 %. During the 2018 and 2019 I only worked part of the year so I ended up under the state tax limit and my total percentage was 21,2 and 25,5%. So when I hear Swedes rant about their high taxes I always wonder if they have looked at the bottom line or just assumed things.
 

sui generis

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3006 on: July 10, 2020, 12:31:34 PM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Yes, you can read the legislative history of any law. The transcripts of the hearings held, documents legislators wrote about the bill as it was being considered, and there are many more resources if you want to pursue, and are available in different ways depending on the law, and the government that passed them.

Courts sometimes consider legislative history when a law is being litigated, though it is less authoritative then the text itself. And of course how to interpret the plain text itself is a whole other can of worms. In other words, it would be hard to find any one objective answer to what the spirit of every law is. But there are plenty of resources if you wish to learn and come to your own conclusion.

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3007 on: July 10, 2020, 12:44:20 PM »

What about my coworker that earns the same as me, but pays an infinitely higher tax rate because I chose to max my 401k, IRA, spouse's IRA, and HSA so I have no tax bill?  Am I bastardizing the system and going against the spirit of the law by taking it to the extreme and legally minimizing my tax bill?  This was an actual conversation I've had with coworkers who think it's completely unfair that I was able to squirrel away $35k in tax advantaged accounts and they paid taxes out the ass because they were "unable" to save as much me. 




No, you are not "bastardizing the system" or "taking it to the extreme." While your income is not taxed now because you are shuttling it to a tax advantaged account, it will be taxed when you begin to withdraw from your tax-advantaged account(s).

Your co-workers have that same option.


mathlete

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3008 on: July 10, 2020, 01:11:11 PM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

This. The ACA was clearly not written to help millionaires who want to retire after 15 or 20 years of labor. If it does, that’s great. Take advantage of it. But we all know what we’re doing.

frugalnacho

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3009 on: July 10, 2020, 01:47:10 PM »

What about my coworker that earns the same as me, but pays an infinitely higher tax rate because I chose to max my 401k, IRA, spouse's IRA, and HSA so I have no tax bill?  Am I bastardizing the system and going against the spirit of the law by taking it to the extreme and legally minimizing my tax bill?  This was an actual conversation I've had with coworkers who think it's completely unfair that I was able to squirrel away $35k in tax advantaged accounts and they paid taxes out the ass because they were "unable" to save as much me. 


No, you are not "bastardizing the system" or "taking it to the extreme." While your income is not taxed now because you are shuttling it to a tax advantaged account, it will be taxed when you begin to withdraw from your tax-advantaged account(s).

Your co-workers have that same option.

Right, but I definitely don't intend on ever paying taxes on that income.  Shove it in tax advantaged accounts when I earn it to avoid taxes, and pull it out slow enough to stay under the threshold for paying taxes in the future.   Did the legislators intend for me to do that? What exactly is the "spirit" of the various IRS laws that allow this action, and am I violating it? The only thing clear to me is that opinions differ wildly.

Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

This. The ACA was clearly not written to help millionaires who want to retire after 15 or 20 years of labor. If it does, that’s great. Take advantage of it. But we all know what we’re doing.

Can you actually provide anything to backup your claim though?  If it's clear then you should be able to direct me to some type of document that unambiguously explains why there is no means testing.  Why did they limit the eligibility strictly to income and completely ignore assets?  Surely it's not an oversight and there are reasons.  I genuinely don't know, and I haven't read through the text of the actual law, let alone all the supporting documentation like hearing transcripts, debates, etc related to the laws.  But I also suspect that people telling me what the true spirit of the law is also haven't read through all of that, so I'm not sure exactly how they are forming their opinion. 


LWYRUP

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3010 on: July 10, 2020, 01:47:27 PM »
Is there some place I can read about the intent and/or spirit of the various laws and how they differ from the actual legislation, without anyone here giving me their own personal interpretation?

Common sense?

Clearly doesn't work as people in this thread are already having differing opinions about the spirit of the law.  It would be nice to actually have something to base it on rather than however you choose to interpret it.  What if instead of living in the USA with their backasswards healthcare and health insurance policies I lived in a civilized country with socialized health care?  Would it be wrong of me to retire at age 35 and suck at the teet of the government for my health care, even though I'm perfectly able bodied to continue working and contributing to the system via a massive tax bill? What about age 50? At what age does it become acceptable to stop gainful employment (and thus paying large amounts of taxes) and start leeching healthcare from the government?  Are those situations comparable to me taking advantage of ACA subsidies even though I have assets? 

What about my coworker that earns the same as me, but pays an infinitely higher tax rate because I chose to max my 401k, IRA, spouse's IRA, and HSA so I have no tax bill?  Am I bastardizing the system and going against the spirit of the law by taking it to the extreme and legally minimizing my tax bill?  This was an actual conversation I've had with coworkers who think it's completely unfair that I was able to squirrel away $35k in tax advantaged accounts and they paid taxes out the ass because they were "unable" to save as much me. 

Also reminiscent of some people I know who got their medical marijuana cards, to legally grow and possess medical marijuana in my state, on the basis of "chronic pain" because the "spirit of the law" was intended to help cancer patients who truly need it, and not some bum with faux "chronic pain".  The letter of the law just states you have to have a medical dr sign off that you need the card for one of a bunch of listed reasons, but obviously things just got messed up when putting the law down on paper that now allows this non-cancerous hippy to grow weed totally against the intended spirit of the law.

So is there really some "spirit" of the ACA subsidy law where they didn't intend anyone with sufficient assets to have access to subsidized health care?  I'm not convinced it's immoral or against the spirit of the law.

This is the common view regarding our tax system:

Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.  (Judge Learned Hand)

Now, ACA is different because you are getting subsidies not paying taxes, but it is a tax based system.  Other factors to consider:

1.  Our health insurance system is totally messed up and we are forced to pay far higher prices for things like drugs, medical devices, etc. than people in other developed countries (this is in part purposeful, the system is rigged so that this is required so that these companies can profit).  So if you are young and healthy and get some partially subsidized ACA insurance, it's possible you are just paying something that actually reasonably reflects what healthcare would cost in a system that wasn't purposefully rigged to screw over consumers for corporate profit. 

2.  It would of course not be unethical to retire early in a country with socialized medicine.  However, you would likely need to pay far higher taxes on your road to retirement, so I expect your early retirement date would need to be delayed.

In the USA some people get to eat their cake and have it too by paying really low taxes during working years and accumulating a lot and then retiring and taking advantage of the ACA.  From a standpoint of crafting good public policy, this is a flaw and should be fixed.  From a standpoint of arranging your personal affairs, it is logical and not immoral and anyone designing public policy needs to be aware that of course people will structure their life to take maximum advantage of the system.  As long as there is no fraud, etc. there is no legal problem.

If you do this and feel vaguely uncomfortable with yourself, that's your conscience speaking.  You should listen.  However, the solution may not be "randomly continue working a job you hate in order to account for flaws in the system."  The solution could be "use some of your early retirement time to give back to your community, e.g., through volunteering, so that you can justify your existence on earth."  (Probably a good thing to do anyways.)

If you can look at your life overall and feel like you've justified your existence through your works for others, then you should feel free to cheerfully take advantage of every possible (legal, of course) loophole that you are creative enough to structure your affairs to satisfy. 

Just my two cents on all this. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 02:02:27 PM by LWYRUP »

Shane

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3011 on: July 10, 2020, 02:32:10 PM »
Can you actually provide anything to backup your claim though?  If it's clear then you should be able to direct me to some type of document that unambiguously explains why there is no means testing.  Why did they limit the eligibility strictly to income and completely ignore assets?  Surely it's not an oversight and there are reasons.  I genuinely don't know, and I haven't read through the text of the actual law, let alone all the supporting documentation like hearing transcripts, debates, etc related to the laws.  But I also suspect that people telling me what the true spirit of the law is also haven't read through all of that, so I'm not sure exactly how they are forming their opinion.

Pretty sure the answer to your bolded question above is that the intent of the law was to provide health insurance to as many people as possible. That's why expanded Medicaid did away with asset tests. Pre-ACA, many genuinely needy people with extremely low incomes were prohibited from accessing Medicaid, because they couldn't meet their states' ridiculously low asset tests. Other than homeless people, almost no one can qualify for Medicaid if they have to prove <$1K (for example) in total assets. Every normal person, even the working poor, has at least $1K, somewhere (car, furniture, clothes, checking, savings, etc.) An unemployed person living in a house that's worth $80K, with a $75K mortgage, technically wouldn't qualify for medical benefits under the old system, even though there's no practical way she could get the $5K in equity out of her house in order to be able to pay cash for medical bills. The ACA simplified things by only looking at income, thus getting more people insured than under the old system, which was the intent, I think.

mathlete

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3012 on: July 10, 2020, 02:32:53 PM »
Can you actually provide anything to backup your claim though?  If it's clear then you should be able to direct me to some type of document that unambiguously explains why there is no means testing.  Why did they limit the eligibility strictly to income and completely ignore assets?  Surely it's not an oversight and there are reasons.  I genuinely don't know, and I haven't read through the text of the actual law, let alone all the supporting documentation like hearing transcripts, debates, etc related to the laws.  But I also suspect that people telling me what the true spirit of the law is also haven't read through all of that, so I'm not sure exactly how they are forming their opinion.

For what it's worth, my first job out of college was to read the ACA as well as Federal regulation and guidance to see how it applied to the company that hired me. I wouldn't consider myself an expert but I'm more familiar with the law than most people you will run across.

The bill itself is very long and very dry. It's close to 1,000 pages, and it endlessly references other bills and laws that it amends or modifies. As you can imagine, crafting a bill is a monstrously complicated process that takes input from hundreds or even thousands of people. There's the President, his HHS secretary, 535 members of congress, academics, and industry experts etc. The question of why or why not, for any specific facet of the bill, is likely a question that would take thousands of hours to untangle.

Thus, the appeal to common sense. To get to "common sense", you can look at a few things. President Obama's rhetoric, obviously. Here's one example of him talking about it. I specifically picked something that wasn't a stump speech, because no politician stumps on helping millionaires. I picked an example of him talking about the bill in a cold and clinical manner.

https://youtu.be/HsW0l139JD0

He talks about not getting dropped from coverage, coverage being less expensive (presumably by way of the Medical Loss Ratio rebates) and extending coverage to poor or self-employed people with preEx who have to seek coverage through the marketplace. You can cobble together reasons why a rich, early retiree might fit into some of that, but I don't believe that was the intent.

Then there's the matter of funding. The bill included the individual mandate to incentivize people to buy into the system. One problem with insurance as an approach to healthcare is that there's a huge anti selection issue. Almost everyone will incur large medical costs at some point in their lives, so if you effectively do away with underwriting (no denial for preEx and nationwide open enrollment periods) then you open yourself up to an underfunded system unless you prod people into participating. The individual mandate is gone now, but that used to be one way to get people in the system. Another way that people can jeopardize funding is by say, working only until 40, taking 18 years or so of tax breaks on $3.5K a year in HDHP HSA contributions (while paying low premiums because you're healthy and rich enough to pay a high deductible), then retiring, doing some SEPP magic, having low reported income, and riding out subsidies for 25 years until Medicare.

That is probably pretty rare in the country at large, but common on these forums. So maybe it didn't merit getting addressed vs. all the other facets that had to go into the 1,000 page bill.

Lastly, we can think about the will of the voters. Obama voters rated healthcare either #1, or #2 behind "the economy". Obama won a large victory and brought the House and Senate with him. In 2010, they were charged with delivering on the issue that they were elected on, and that became Obama's signature legislation. How concerned do you think the people who put Obama and Congress in those seats were about healthcare for millionaire early retirees?

The confluence of the above paragraphs leads me to the common sense conclusion that the intent of the ACA was not to help artificially low income millionaires take premium subsidies. Let me state that I do not care if you or anyone on this forum does that. But I don't think that was the intent of the legislation. The loophole could be closed, but it's probably not worth expending finite political capital to do so.

Shane

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3013 on: July 10, 2020, 02:45:27 PM »
I'd like another week of data that isn't polluted by a holiday weekend in order to confirm, but it really looks likes US deaths are on the rise again, after falling/leveling out for about 2.5 months.

From mid-March, basically until early June, we barely left our house, except to get necessities and then, only one of us went out at a time. Many US states have recently reopened. It's summer, so more people are out and about. Doesn't seem surprising, at all, that deaths would be going up. Seems like it would be more odd if deaths weren't going up.

mathlete

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3014 on: July 10, 2020, 02:54:52 PM »
I'd like another week of data that isn't polluted by a holiday weekend in order to confirm, but it really looks likes US deaths are on the rise again, after falling/leveling out for about 2.5 months.

From mid-March, basically until early June, we barely left our house, except to get necessities and then, only one of us went out at a time. Many US states have recently reopened. It's summer, so more people are out and about. Doesn't seem surprising, at all, that deaths would be going up. Seems like it would be more odd if deaths weren't going up.

Yeah. Cases have been on the rise for weeks now without a commensurate increase in deaths. So I kind of knew that this was coming. Just sad to see it actually start to materialize.

There was a hope that warm weather, better treatments and a younger population would lower the case fatality rate, and it has. But not enough to stop total deaths from ticking back up. Just really sucks.

scottish

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3015 on: July 10, 2020, 05:41:49 PM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

wenchsenior

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3016 on: July 10, 2020, 06:08:55 PM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

scottish

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3017 on: July 10, 2020, 06:38:44 PM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

Do you live in Texas?      And why are Texans so dis-interested?     You would be socially ostracized here for doing something like that and we have very few cases...

wenchsenior

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3018 on: July 10, 2020, 07:20:23 PM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

Do you live in Texas?      And why are Texans so dis-interested?     You would be socially ostracized here for doing something like that and we have very few cases...

:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever.  The disease, and esp mask-wearing, has been politicized since the beginning.  People 'test' you by coming at you to greet you with bare hands stretched out to shake...I just had someone do this to me a couple days ago; if you don't want to shake...they give you the side-eye.    Recently, the masking edict has increased mask-wearing frequency, but for all the previous months, we've had people give us significant eye contact while getting in our personal space at stores...b/c wearing a mask marked us clearly as "Potentially Liberal, Probably not a Trump Supporter, and Possibly Even Not Good Religious Folk". 

Texas is a brand of crazy unto itself. Florida...well, I couldn't say...they don't strike me as being like Texas, so a different brand of insanity might be happening over there.

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3019 on: July 10, 2020, 08:10:47 PM »

:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever.  The disease, and esp mask-wearing, has been politicized since the beginning.  People 'test' you by coming at you to greet you with bare hands stretched out to shake...I just had someone do this to me a couple days ago; if you don't want to shake...they give you the side-eye.    Recently, the masking edict has increased mask-wearing frequency, but for all the previous months, we've had people give us significant eye contact while getting in our personal space at stores...b/c wearing a mask marked us clearly as "Potentially Liberal, Probably not a Trump Supporter, and Possibly Even Not Good Religious Folk". 

Texas is a brand of crazy unto itself. Florida...well, I couldn't say...they don't strike me as being like Texas, so a different brand of insanity might be happening over there.

Have a FB friend from one of the more “rural” US states if I can put it politely. She’s posting a lot about the rapture and how everyone needs to read Revelation and accept Jesus.

End of days is near according to her...

scottish

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3020 on: July 10, 2020, 08:12:27 PM »
They're owning the libs by shaking hands!     Christians for Trump indeed.

Shane

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3021 on: July 10, 2020, 08:13:14 PM »

:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever.  The disease, and esp mask-wearing, has been politicized since the beginning.  People 'test' you by coming at you to greet you with bare hands stretched out to shake...I just had someone do this to me a couple days ago; if you don't want to shake...they give you the side-eye.    Recently, the masking edict has increased mask-wearing frequency, but for all the previous months, we've had people give us significant eye contact while getting in our personal space at stores...b/c wearing a mask marked us clearly as "Potentially Liberal, Probably not a Trump Supporter, and Possibly Even Not Good Religious Folk". 

Texas is a brand of crazy unto itself. Florida...well, I couldn't say...they don't strike me as being like Texas, so a different brand of insanity might be happening over there.

Have a FB friend from one of the more “rural” US states if I can put it politely. She’s posting a lot about the rapture and how everyone needs to read Revelation and accept Jesus.

End of days is near according to her...

And, for many people in the US, she's right. The end times, they are a comin'!

marty998

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3022 on: July 11, 2020, 02:58:01 AM »

:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever.  The disease, and esp mask-wearing, has been politicized since the beginning.  People 'test' you by coming at you to greet you with bare hands stretched out to shake...I just had someone do this to me a couple days ago; if you don't want to shake...they give you the side-eye.    Recently, the masking edict has increased mask-wearing frequency, but for all the previous months, we've had people give us significant eye contact while getting in our personal space at stores...b/c wearing a mask marked us clearly as "Potentially Liberal, Probably not a Trump Supporter, and Possibly Even Not Good Religious Folk". 

Texas is a brand of crazy unto itself. Florida...well, I couldn't say...they don't strike me as being like Texas, so a different brand of insanity might be happening over there.

Have a FB friend from one of the more “rural” US states if I can put it politely. She’s posting a lot about the rapture and how everyone needs to read Revelation and accept Jesus.

End of days is near according to her...

And, for many people in the US, she's right. The end times, they are a comin'!

Sooner rather than later given the way that curve is ‘flattening’. 70,000 in a day! :O


DadJokes

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3023 on: July 11, 2020, 07:41:40 AM »
:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever. 

...


Lubbock?

GuitarStv

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3024 on: July 11, 2020, 08:10:54 AM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

I'm not familiar with the way sheriffs in the US work.  Are they not obligated to uphold the law?  If a police chief publicly and purposefully failed to enforce the law here, he would be failing to do his job and be removed.

MudPuppy

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3025 on: July 11, 2020, 08:43:24 AM »
Oh, @GuitarStv, upholding justice and unequal policing is kind of in the spotlight in the US right now.

scottish

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3026 on: July 11, 2020, 08:59:50 AM »
Are you kidding?   This is the job of a sheriff in Texas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OibaosBrPr8&t=7m30s

Spiffy

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3027 on: July 11, 2020, 09:10:52 AM »
I live in Texas. People are finally wearing masks in stores. Not everyone is doing it right (lots of exposed noses) but I think they are trying. I have seen people get turned away because they didn't have masks. Our Mayor had to be the voice of reason because the the Governor refused for so long. And I do think another shut down is coming. Yesterday at the grocery store...no toilet paper! Let the hoarding begin again!

wenchsenior

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3028 on: July 11, 2020, 09:15:40 AM »
:shrug:  I live in a college town that is still considered one of the most conservative cities in the entire country.  Most people here are very conservative baptists, and I suspect a lot of people probably believe jesus will protect them b/c they are righteous or whatever. 

...


Lubbock?

Got it in one.

OtherJen

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3029 on: July 11, 2020, 10:11:18 AM »
I live in Texas. People are finally wearing masks in stores. Not everyone is doing it right (lots of exposed noses) but I think they are trying. I have seen people get turned away because they didn't have masks. Our Mayor had to be the voice of reason because the the Governor refused for so long. And I do think another shut down is coming. Yesterday at the grocery store...no toilet paper!Let the hoarding begin again!

You mean they already went through the hoarded toilet paper from March?!

Shane

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3030 on: July 11, 2020, 10:36:03 AM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

I'm not familiar with the way sheriffs in the US work.  Are they not obligated to uphold the law?  If a police chief publicly and purposefully failed to enforce the law here, he would be failing to do his job and be removed.

Unfortunately, sheriffs in the US are usually elected, so they're basically like politicians. Many sheriffs have publicly stated that they will refuse to uphold their governors' and state public health officials' "unlawful" and "unconstitutional" mandates regarding covid. The same thing has been happening with gun laws. Sheriffs, claiming to be defending the US Constitution, have been publicly announcing that they will not be enforcing "unconstitutional" laws restricting citizens' rights to keep and bear arms. Not surprisingly, the sheriffs making these proclamations are usually Republicans and the governors the sheriffs are rebelling against are usually Democrats. Republicans actually learned this technique from Democrats, who, for years, have been doing basically the same thing with their "sanctuary cities," where local politicians, who control law enforcement, refuse to assist the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws.

HBFIRE

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3031 on: July 11, 2020, 11:20:19 AM »
Looks like in AZ, per family members there, they are doing forced testing for all citizens.  They received notifications in the mail.  Good idea.

GuitarStv

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3032 on: July 11, 2020, 02:12:25 PM »
Guys, are the governments in Florida and Texas going to take the pandemic seriously?    Cases are really growing.    Maybe if a couple of Red states did the right thing for their citizens some others would follow and you all could restore some semblance of control...

I see that Greg Abbott is threatening to lock down Texas again, but he's really taking his time.    The situation is escalating very rapidly right now.

Florida is even worse.   Ron DeSantis seems to be completely out of touch...

Based on their track record, I'm guessing no.  But it's mostly a problem with Texas citizens, many of whom are now strutting around openly flouting the recent masking ordinance. The businesses all post signs about masking and social distancing, but do nothing to enforce them.  I have not once seen anyone even speak to an unmasked customer about it.  I was in Sprouts the other day...they've been much better than average in terms of taking this seriously, but yesterday one of their employees apparently got off shift, and proceeded to very ostentatiously take his mask off in the middle of the store and to walk around maskless, then stand in line talking loudly (thus projecting breath) with other employees.    Then there is the fact that a bunch of Texas sheriffs are actively refusing to even attempt to enforce the masking ordinance. So...

I'm not familiar with the way sheriffs in the US work.  Are they not obligated to uphold the law?  If a police chief publicly and purposefully failed to enforce the law here, he would be failing to do his job and be removed.

Unfortunately, sheriffs in the US are usually elected, so they're basically like politicians. Many sheriffs have publicly stated that they will refuse to uphold their governors' and state public health officials' "unlawful" and "unconstitutional" mandates regarding covid. The same thing has been happening with gun laws. Sheriffs, claiming to be defending the US Constitution, have been publicly announcing that they will not be enforcing "unconstitutional" laws restricting citizens' rights to keep and bear arms. Not surprisingly, the sheriffs making these proclamations are usually Republicans and the governors the sheriffs are rebelling against are usually Democrats. Republicans actually learned this technique from Democrats, who, for years, have been doing basically the same thing with their "sanctuary cities," where local politicians, who control law enforcement, refuse to assist the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws.

So US sheriffs are beholden to nobody, and there's no unifying body of law in the US?  You just elect someone (and therefore elect to have different laws) wherever you live?  Seems like an odd way of doing policing.

dougules

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3033 on: July 11, 2020, 02:23:52 PM »
Oh bless y'all's little Canadian hearts.  Southerners have a long history of being contrary just out of spite.  Liberals are telling them there's a pandemic they should take seriously.  Well we're not going to.  It's all a big liberal hoax.  It's not any worse than the flu.  We need to make sure to keep the economy humming. 

And thinking law enforcement is going to enforce any laws foisted upon them by liberals, well refer back to the 1860s.  Things don't change very fast down here.

gaja

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3034 on: July 11, 2020, 02:35:19 PM »
Meanwhile, in Norway, people are holding wedding ceremonies at the border so the groom's Swedish family can attend. The Mayor is officiating in national costume, and the police are laughing in the background: https://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/i/BRo8z0/bryllup-i-grenseland-aldri-et-alternativ-aa-utsette

I think we are about to adapt to a new normal.

(Masks are not mandated in the Nordic countries).


habanero

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3035 on: July 11, 2020, 03:42:10 PM »
(Masks are not mandated in the Nordic countries).

...from which the learning point should be that masks or not ain't the deciding factor for how this goes. I'm a bit baffled by the obsession with masks or lack thereof. Getting infections to a very low rate is perfectly possible without the entire nation wearing one.

In other news the ICU wards in Sweden are emptying at a rather brisk pace. Almost noone ends up there anymore. Despite the country having around 1000 new cases / day (would translate to >30.000 / day if scaled to US population).

deborah

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3036 on: July 11, 2020, 04:00:09 PM »
People here have been buying up toilet paper again too. The shops have reimposed limits.

OtherJen

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3037 on: July 11, 2020, 04:04:24 PM »
(Masks are not mandated in the Nordic countries).

...from which the learning point should be that masks or not ain't the deciding factor for how this goes. I'm a bit baffled by the obsession with masks or lack thereof. Getting infections to a very low rate is perfectly possible without the entire nation wearing one.

Maybe in your country. Too many people in mine think that not being able to get a salon haircut is a violation of their constitutional rights.

habanero

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3038 on: July 11, 2020, 04:09:27 PM »
Maybe in your country. Too many people in mine think that not being able to get a salon haircut is a violation of their constitutional rights.

Yes, but given that attitude I don't think masks will be the silver bullet. The problem is much more fundamental than anything a mask can solve.

We had a mask debate in march/april as well btw, as mentioned above it wasn't mandated and apart from a few very loud voices arguing for it, it was never really close to getting to a thing at all. It was pointed at the Asian success with curbing the spread, to which a popular comment was that "maybe we should stop writing in latin letters as well to stop the spread". Correlation does not equal causality.

I don't think masks are counterproductive, I just think the problem is much greater than anything solvable by a mask.

Plina

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3039 on: July 11, 2020, 04:11:16 PM »
(Masks are not mandated in the Nordic countries).

...from which the learning point should be that masks or not ain't the deciding factor for how this goes. I'm a bit baffled by the obsession with masks or lack thereof. Getting infections to a very low rate is perfectly possible without the entire nation wearing one.

In other news the ICU wards in Sweden are emptying at a rather brisk pace. Almost noone ends up there anymore. Despite the country having around 1000 new cases / day (would translate to >30.000 / day if scaled to US population).

I would guess it is more dependent on social distancing, which makes me worried about the coming situation in hospitals. There are at least two sets of parties among my 20 year old neighbours tonight. One started outside and I guess they joined those inside. Two weeks ago it was about 15 males in their forties drinking beer from lunch to midnight mostly outside.

I got myself tested on thursday as I have had a low grade cold for 1,5 weeks and I would like to travel to my parents if it is a normal cold. I have postponed the rental car twice now. Tonight I got the result that they could not get any results so they recommend another testing. arghh
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 04:13:50 PM by Plina »

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3040 on: July 11, 2020, 04:44:31 PM »
Maybe in your country. Too many people in mine think that not being able to get a salon haircut is a violation of their constitutional rights.

Yes, but given that attitude I don't think masks will be the silver bullet. The problem is much more fundamental than anything a mask can solve.

We had a mask debate in march/april as well btw, as mentioned above it wasn't mandated and apart from a few very loud voices arguing for it, it was never really close to getting to a thing at all. It was pointed at the Asian success with curbing the spread, to which a popular comment was that "maybe we should stop writing in latin letters as well to stop the spread". Correlation does not equal causality.

I don't think masks are counterproductive, I just think the problem is much greater than anything solvable by a mask.
Speaking of Asian success, I think we are very far away from understanding exactly what matters even if mask-wearing is almost certain to be strongly net-positive in controlling spread. For example, the variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is up to 9x better at spreading (in cell cultures) is prevalent in Europe and the US, while the less-easily spread one has been more prevalent in east Asia:
https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global?c=gt-S_614

It's amusing to watch all of this as a non-partisan and non-ideological person and see how each political team frames every bit of news to indicate the other team is batshit crazy (pun intended, though I guess SARS-CoV-2 likely came from a Chinese lab rather than from under-cooked bat soup). But aside from being amusing, that inability to think about reality in a rational way will be the downfall of civilization; if that's the case, thanks, everyone, for all the memes while it lasted!

Bloop Bloop

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3041 on: July 11, 2020, 06:54:13 PM »
(Masks are not mandated in the Nordic countries).

...from which the learning point should be that masks or not ain't the deciding factor for how this goes. I'm a bit baffled by the obsession with masks or lack thereof. Getting infections to a very low rate is perfectly possible without the entire nation wearing one.

In other news the ICU wards in Sweden are emptying at a rather brisk pace. Almost noone ends up there anymore. Despite the country having around 1000 new cases / day (would translate to >30.000 / day if scaled to US population).

I was speaking to a doctor friend and she was insistent that masks reduce transmission and that the health advice of our government to date (that masks are unnecessary/don't help much) is wrong. It's clear that you can get infections to a very low rate without having masks (since Australia and NZ both did that), but possibly masks can slow down any resurgence that comes up. Sort of like an airbag. You should never need one while driving, but it can come in handy nonetheless.

That said, the advice has slowly been changing/evolving (even here in Victoria, we're now recommended to wear masks in certain situations, and that was not the advice till now), so it's hard to draw firm conclusions.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3042 on: July 11, 2020, 08:52:00 PM »
I was speaking to a doctor friend and she was insistent that masks reduce transmission and that the health advice of our government to date (that masks are unnecessary/don't help much) is wrong. It's clear that you can get infections to a very low rate without having masks (since Australia and NZ both did that), but possibly masks can slow down any resurgence that comes up.
Masks are mostly useful for ensuring you don't make others sick, rather than protecting yourself. They're most useful when the risks are high, either because you're working with the vulnerable, or because there's a fair chance you yourself may be infected.

This is why doctors and nurses in hospitals wear them - the people they're dealing with are already sick, and in the case of surgery, you're dealing with someone's internal organs. So the small amount of whatever virus or bacteria you may carry around, well if passed to someone who's already sick, or put in their internal organs, it's going to mess them up.

In my council area we have 3 active cases and 165,000 people. Masks are not worth bothering with, the chances that I or any other random person will be infectious and not know it are trivial. If we had 10,000 active cases amid 165,000 people, then that's different.

Our state government's advice has changed because testing is showing a lot of people who are infected without symptoms, and the number is higher than they thought it was. But this is almost entirely the north and west of Melbourne. Obviously, people move across the city, so it could easily become all of Melbourne and then the rest of Australia, thus the recent lockdown here and the borders being closed.

If I were in the north or west, and/or working in a customer service role like at a supermarket, then there would be a significant chance of my being infected and not knowing it, and/or a smaller chance but with larger consequences (a customer service person can infect many others), so I would mask up. But 3 in 165,000 is not significant, my workplace has been closed again, so it's just daily walks with the kids and occasional trips to the shops, and I've never gone to the crowded shops anyway.

LaineyAZ

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3043 on: July 11, 2020, 09:05:23 PM »
Looks like in AZ, per family members there, they are doing forced testing for all citizens.  They received notifications in the mail.  Good idea.

huh?  Are these people the ones who have been identified by contact tracing?  I haven't heard about any forced tests here.

v8rx7guy

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3044 on: July 11, 2020, 09:10:28 PM »
Trump is wearing a mask now... we must be really fucked in the USA

HBFIRE

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3045 on: July 11, 2020, 10:12:02 PM »

Masks are mostly useful for ensuring you don't make others sick, rather than protecting yourself.

That was the prevalent thinking.  However, new research indicates a mask decreases risk of infection to the wearer by 65 percent


Kyle Schuant

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3046 on: July 11, 2020, 10:21:20 PM »
Not uncontested research. 

The arithmetic doesn't change much either way. If there are 3 cases among 165,000 people, you're unlikely to be a person spreading it, and unlikely to meet a person spreading it. If there are 10,000 among those 165,000, you're likely to be and to meet one. Somewhere in between is where it gets foggy.

Masks will be useful where there are a lot of cases, or where the person comes into prolonged close contact with lots of people, or vulnerable people.

Since most schools, businesses and offices are closed, and we're only permitted to go out for exercise and shopping (for work and education, too, but see: closed schools and businesses), we won't have much if any need for masks here in Melbourne.

In other places it'll be different.

Abe

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3047 on: July 11, 2020, 10:25:19 PM »
Masks reduce infection both ways. I never understood why it would be thought otherwise, and advised masks for my patients regardless. Anecdotally my team only wore surgical masks when interacting with my patient who turned out to have covid, and we were not exposed (PCR and antibody negative). We wore gloves when examining the patient, so that’s another variable. Also I clean my hands around 50 times per day. Point being, all of these measures add up to incrementally reduce the risk of exposure, even in high risk environments. With the known Covid+ patients, we wear N95 masks and face shields along with gowns and gloves.

I agree that masks are low yield in a low risk environment like Australia. In the US they’re very important.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3048 on: July 12, 2020, 04:42:59 AM »
I don't know why there's a debate on basic measures like masks. The people that went to Africa and Asia in the 60s/70s to track down unknown and deadly viruses had nothing. They had literally nothing. They had yellow dishwashing gloves that they rewashed, bleach and masks - and they were up against Ebola, Hanta, West Nile, HIV and a heap of other nasties. By and large, they managed not to infect themselves, and these were in conditions where they didn't even know how the agent infected people! They survived because they had great processes and they were very, very careful. Stringent processes are worth much more than people think. It's not all about antibiotics and vaccines and ventilators. Viruses have been around for millennia. Communities survived outbreaks because of things like quarantines, social distancing, mask and gloves. They didn't have anything else.

Shane

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Re: How long can we wait while flattening the curve?
« Reply #3049 on: July 12, 2020, 05:06:17 AM »
When I have to go inside a store to buy food, or whatever, I wear a mask. People like to argue about how effective masks are and who they protect, but I don't really care about those details. I think there's enough evidence out there that masks help reduce spread of diseases like covid, so I'm fine with wearing one. What worries me is when people start relying on masks to rationalize relaxing social distancing. A couple of at risk relatives, who have been perfectly fine working from home for the past 4 months, are getting forced to go back to working in an office with a bunch of other people, and their companies are rationalizing the move, saying everything will be fine, "because we'll all be wearing masks." I'm sorry, but if workers don't have to be in a shared office, why force them to do so? It makes no sense to me. Masks aren't some kind of panacea. They're better than nothing, but avoiding any unnecessary physical contact with other humans is the only way to be sure of not getting sick. I just feel like masks seem to be giving some people a false sense of security.