Shanghai Disneyland will close its gates on Saturday in an effort to stop the spread of a new SARS-like virus that has killed 26 people and sickened at least 881, primarily in China. It’s not known when the theme park may reopen.
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It's that closing everything down and cowering in fear in our houses (6' apart of course) isn't really helping, and is causing more collateral damage than the virus was ever going to inflict.
I'm genuinely curious: what leads you to believe either of these two statements. If they are true or close to true then absolutely we should open a lot of stuff up and quite possibly "riskier and less essential" stuff like amusement parks. But I haven't seen a convincing argument that they are.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
It's that closing everything down and cowering in fear in our houses (6' apart of course) isn't really helping.
It definitely helped initially in March, but is it helping now? COVID statistics are either plateauing or slowly decreasing in most places. People still have it and it's still spreading, but not as many/much as before. People are talking about mass-testing and contact tracing, but I doubt how viable things like that will be in the U.S. Most people just don't care. Anecdotally, I've heard daily revenue at gas stations is back to where it was pre-COVID. If you keep places closed, people are just going to spread it at wherever's open now.
and is causing more collateral damage than the virus was ever going to inflict.
This is a very difficult question to answer. How many people's lives have to be adversely affected to prevent 1 COVID death? By adversely I mean severe things such as losing access to medical care because of the pandemic, falling into permanent mental illness, or becoming unemployed and becoming irrecoverably impoverished. There are all very real things that are happening to certain people because of this. How many people would have gotten COVID and died regardless of social distancing? I really don't know, but many "non-essential" businesses do have an important part on people's well-being in more subtle ways.
Things clearly have to reopen at some point. Another month of being closed isn't going to change things overall. The key is where, when, and what things should reopen first. And it's different for every state and city. Some places are undoubtedly opening too soon. Maybe this will result in many deaths that could have been avoided, or maybe it won't. We'll have to see.
Another month of being closed isn't going to change things overall.
It could if we didn't have our heads so far up our butts when it comes to testing.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
Lowkae answered well. Shutting everything down is a blunt instrument that is delivering diminishing returns. The trouble with an experiment like this is that there is no control; we have no idea what would have happened if we hadn't "cancelled" St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day and Memorial Day. There is no way to know for sure. It's the classic 'security problem'. We will never know if we did too much, but it sure looks like NYC did too little.
As for collateral damage, I confess that aside from the obvious problem that I haven't been on a roller coaster in six months and i'm getting really tired of my own cooking, my biggest issue is that I still haven't been able to get my broken tooth fixed, and it has taken two months for my grocer to get a reliable supply of toilet paper. All relatively minor stuff. But I'm fortunate. I know people whose lives are slowly being destroyed by job losses and failing businesses. None of that is because of the damage done by the virus; it's because of the damage caused by the State response to it. Getting things moving again is all about mitigating that damage, hopefully while keeping the virus under control.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
/X\ _ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
My cousin was supposed to get a tumor removed before all this. Surgery got cancelled and now that they are finally starting to schedule "elective" surgeries again her insurance has run out (been out of work for some time to start because of health) so she's back to square one. I'm one of the fortunate ones to not be impacted financially...yet. Depending on what happens by this fall I may have to find a different career.
Hope your cousin is able to get needed care. Unfortunately, delayed cancer treatments will result in cancer spread an more complications/death. Cancer screenings are down as well. That will result in more cancers going undetected, spreading and more deaths. Child vaccinations are down significantly in certain parts of the country which is not without issue. Just counting direct Covid deaths does not get to the entire picture.
Nursing homes are a problem for multiple reasons. As we age, our immune systems become less effective. Thats why there is a flu shot for people over 65. And pneumonia and shingles vaccines for older people. Pretty much everyone in nursing homes is 65+ and significant percentage are over 75. Nursing homes are also community living. Many are understaffed (when things are normal much less an infectious disease is spreading within). Food brought to many residents and meds multiple times per day. Covid is worse for those with underlying conditions. With few exceptions, no one is in a nursing home unless they have at least one serious health condition that requires long term care. If you have none of those conditions, you are living at home. Nursing homes are a problem in many other countries.
We could isolate workers and vendors at nursing homes and decrease the spread significantly. However, based on the small amount earned by most working in nursing homes, no way they sign up being isolated from families (also need to pay costs of taking care of kids in many instances).
A lot of the people you see who are championing the stay home longer approach (overall not saying on this board necessarily) are not very impacted financially by the stay at home orders. Media broadcasting from their basements. Medical workers still at work every day (and much larger focus of attention than normal). Government positions with zero threat of losing their jobs (that is not the case with all government employees though). Not true for millions of people who have been significantly impacted with many businesses effectively being destroyed.
I think there is a spectrum for everyone. Number of people who are saying lock everything done (with a very narrow definition of "essential" which no state is using) or open everything up like it was May 2019 is incredibly few. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle.
As I said before, not sure there is a good way out. Can't open everything back up like its 2019 or lock everything down until there is a vaccine (still not clear there will be a vaccine much less the timing for one). So the best approach seems to be natural herd immunity. How do we get there? Given current climate (politically -- huge partisan divides on just about everything, certain aspect of media machine running it as worst thing ever, others running it as totally overblown, etc), I am not sure how likely we are likely to do that in a rational way.
One thing that I have mentioned above and is more clear every day for the "I can't believe we're reopening, it's way too soon, this is a terrible idea" crowd is that it's happening whether it's too soon or not. The conversation needs to fully shift from "when do we open?" to "we're open or about to open - how can we do it as safely as possible?" Not because it's the right approach. But because it's the one that has already been decided and we are well into.
We closed down to prevent the healthcare system from being overloaded, not to stop the spread of the virus completely. I think many have forgotten that. The healthcare system fared fine, now start reopening things and lets move forward.
NYC spent over 20 million converting a port terminal into a makeshift hospital, it never saw one patient.
I feel that so many people saw the stay at home suggestions as something that would eliminate the virus, and only then would we reemerge and resume society. That was never the goal.
There are a couple of suggestions from the “Just Wait til the Second Wave” folks, such as find a hobby and try to make it vegetable growing and canning. Bread baking. Freezing. Sprouting. Stockpiling in advance.
But the suggestion I thought was interesting was to get your oldsters, parents, etc (not those already requiring nursing care) out of their apartments and care facilities and bring them home with you. Incorporate them into your family safe bubble and do it early. It’s the best way to keep them safe and worry free.
We closed down to prevent the healthcare system from being overloaded, not to stop the spread of the virus completely.
If that was the intention, it was short-sighted.
I'm endlessly frustrated with this sense of American exceptionalism. We have 4.5% of the world's population, but a third of the cases and almost a third of the deaths, and we think we're winning. It's embarrassing.
Shutting everything down is a blunt instrument that is delivering diminishing returns.
Yeah? Tell that to New Zealand. They've had 21 deaths total, in a nation of 5 million people. They did this by locking down hard and early and making testing and contact tracing the priority from the start. Now they're in a place where they can restart with something as bad as a "regular horrible recession." I can assure you that we're headed for far worse. When we're done partying in the Ozarks and dealing with more outbreaks, they'll be drinking kiwi smoothies and having group hugs in New Zealand.
And yeah, I know, New Zealand is a smaller country, by a lot. What does it say about the fact that the richest country in the world couldn't suck it up and deal with this in a consistent way that minimized the life and economic damage we'll be feeling for a very long time? "We couldn't do that here" is the refrain of a nation incapable of providing health care for everyone, eliminating racism after 250 years or even electing a leader with enough basic literacy and self-awareness to not golf in the midst of a global crisis. Everything is always someone else's fault. There is no "can do" attitude anymore, it's always "can't."
But here's where I can be optimistic. It's the Jeff Daniels speech in the first episode of The Newsroom. Wait for the ending part.
Kstr 737 said:
Remember this curve? The whole point of flattening the curve was to keep the hospitals from getting over taxed.
I also think people would have been more willing to truly lockdown for a month or two if they knew their job would pick up when we were on the other side of this That they wouldn't have to pay rent for their small business during the two months of closure. That they wouldn't have to pay rent for their apartment or home. The fact that for so many people the money stopped coming in but they were still expected to cover all or nearly all of their bills is part of why the lockdown didn't work.
Across the street from my office there is a small deli and coffee shop that is primarily take out and is probably smaller than my family room. In the four years I've worked where I work it's always pleasantly busy with folks coming in and out. An older couple owns and operates it, they are the only staff and they have been around for 20 years and do very well with limited hours of 6am-2pm Monday-Friday. I stop in a few times a month and we recognize each other by face and wave hello when I stop in or if we pass in the parking garage.
When I started going back in the office in early May I was pleasantly surprised to see them open. I stopped in for a sandwich and they were glad to see me, we exchanged the typical "this is so weird" conversation. They told me they were at 10% of their typical monthly revenue for the month April (they stayed open for delivery/takeout) and were on track to be at 15% for the month of May. They were still expected to pay all of their rent and utilities as usual, and the amount saved by not purchasing nearly as much product was "trivial". They said they have savings to dip into, but that will only get them through June.
If my neighborhood deli couple knew they could freeze all of their rent/utilities/expenditures during a shut down and come back as usual once we are all clear - they probably would be willing to wait it out as long as needed. But their story is the average American worker/business owner story right now. Those folks have to get back to work and open back up no matter what the virus and science say.
Say what you want about Americans being entitled a$$holes that feel we are better than everyone else and that's why we are defying the stay at home suggestions and opening back up. And of course that's happening everywhere. But there's also a sense that nobody has their back and they are on their own to figure out how to bring their businesses and lives and careers back from catastrophe. And if nobody has their back, then yeah, they'll say f**k it and reopen.
Yeah? Tell that to New Zealand. They've had 21 deaths total, in a nation of 5 million people. They did this by locking down hard and early and making testing and contact tracing the priority from the start. And yeah, I know, New Zealand is a smaller country, by a lot.
The federal government definitely could have done far better, particularly in February when it first hit the states. Early lockdowns in select places (Seattle, NYC) where it first hit may have helped significantly. Being able to do a "complete containment" (New Zealand, S Korea) was never going to happen in a country this size without years of preparation. I'm talking about the kind of stuff Bill Gates discussed in 2015 when he said we weren't ready for this kind of thing. Even post-COVID this will be very hard. There are a lot of airports that bring people in and out of the country constantly.
That being said, some individual states are doing far better, albeit once we realized how serious this was. Looking at some current data (the chart on page 9), the Pacific Northwest and New England seem to be doing relatively good jobs of keeping things under control, and they were where it started. On a state-wide level, something resembling "complete containment" is slightly more viable.
Pick any country you want and compare them to us, but in the end it isn't important. Until a vaccine exists, people are going to contract the disease. Chances are really good that you will at some point become infected, unless you remove yourself from society. New Zealand is a great example of abatement, but, they are going to reopen and when they do cases will almost certainly increase again.
Everyone can think what they want, the crowd that screams to continue lockdown is most likely the same crowd who are still receiving a paycheck. Those who have businesses or are sitting on unemployment are a whole different story. Then there are those who are happy getting their increased unemployment benefits, until next year when they get their tax bill. Good luck with that.
Chances are really good that you will at some point become infected.
This just isn't true and isn't how disease works. Right now estimates are that 4% of the U.S. population has had it. This has been going on significantly for ~2.5 months at this point. Let's say the current infection rate overall holds for months on (a gross generalization, but one I'll use). Let's assume it takes 14 more months to make, approve, and distribute a vaccine to everyone (another reasonable, but made up number). 14/2.5*4% is ~22% of the population that will get it. The remaining population will (hopefully) get the vaccine until we reach herd immunity at 80% (another estimate). This would mean that at least 60% of the population (who hasn't already had it) would get the vaccine and avoid contracting the disease. Taking reasonable precautions to prevent further spread is entirely justified from an epidemiological level.
Well, hence why I said until a vaccine exists, once that happens the risk will decrease dramatically.
Shortest development of a vaccine ever was 4 years. We don't have an HIV vaccine though efforts have gone on for decades to produce one. Vaccine was developed for dengue fever produces some cases that are worse than without the vaccine.
None of that is to say we will not have a Covid vaccine in a year to 18 months. Just that we cannot assume that will be the case. If the idea is we need to shut various levels of activities down and the cost to do so will be $x trillion for 12-18 months when we have a vaccine, what do you do if there is no vaccine in 12-18 months?
Many differences with New Zealand and the US. Ignoring those is naive and dangerous.
And just wishing we were in the same situation (ignoring realities in the process) is just as problematic.