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Thread: Disease and pandemics thread (because it's science)

  1. #901
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    Folks, please let's try to stay at least somewhat on-topic. There's a lot of good information being shared here and good questions being answered, but several posts discussing one's experiences with telecommuting is getting a bit too much off-topic. And that's not the only thing that's not directly related to the disease. We really want to let this thread just run its course and not be too strict on it, but that also could do with a bit of restraint from y'all. Can we do that? Thanks.
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    From Matador Travel Security
    March 11, 2020

    Latest developments:
    The global number of reported infections now stands at 119,279 with 4,287 fatalities.

    In Europe, the country with the largest number of cases is Italy, where the numbers have reached 10,149 cases with 631 fatalities. …

    The total recorded cases in China currently stands at 80,958 with 3,158 fatalities. ... All international arrivals in Beijing must undergo two weeks of quarantine, as China tries to limit imported cases of the coronavirus. Beijing had already required quarantine for people arriving from severely hit countries including South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan but now those landing from any nation will now face 14-day isolation. ...

    India: India has cancelled all visas granted to nationals from Germany, France and Spain issued on and before Thursday and asked Indian citizens to avoid travelling to these countries. The new advisory comes as the number of confirmed cases rose to 50.

    In Asia, the largest cluster outside China remains in South Korea, with 7,755 cases and 54 fatalities. In the Middle East the largest cluster remains in Iran, with 8,042 cases and 291 fatalities.

    In North America, there have so far been 1,037 recorded cases with 28 fatalities in the United States, 93 cases in Canada with 1 fatality, and 7 in Mexico with 0 fatalities.

    Outside of China, the number of confirmed cases now stands at 38,321 with 1,129 fatalities in 117 countries and territories:
    ​​​​​​​Europe and CIS: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Holy See (new), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (new), Ukraine, United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), and Vatican City.
    Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    Africa and North Africa: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.
    Asia Pacific and South Asia: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
    Americas and Caribbean: Argentina, Bolivia (new), Brazil, Canada, ​​​​​​​Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Jamaica (new), Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and the United States.

    Updated figures can be found on Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracking map.​​​​​​​

    Resident employees and returning travelers alike should understand exactly what self-quarantine involves by reviewing the national guidelines publicized in their countries. An example of such guidance from the UK's National Health Service can be reviewed by clicking this link. ...

    Our facilities are encouraged to strengthen their preparedness for health emergencies as directed by their national authorities. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include:
    * regular hand washing
    * carrying hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available
    * the U.S. CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses
    * covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
    * avoiding touching your face
    * eat healthy and get enough sleep,
    * stay home or work from home if you feel ill
    * avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
    * seeking medical attention if you develop symptoms, especially fever or shortness of breath
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  3. #903
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    Here's a good "layman's language" article on how to distinguish cold/allergy from flu from coronavirus symptoms.
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/11/healt...rnd/index.html

    Itchy eyes? Runny nose? You probably have allergies — or a garden variety cold.
    "The issue with seasonal allergies is that they affect the nose and eye," Poland says. "They tend to be nasal, and most symptoms are localized to the head, unless you also experience a rash."

    Coronavirus and flu symptoms tend to be more systemic.
    That is, they affect the whole body.
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  4. #904
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    Last year we were both very ill with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. Imagine what we'd be thinking if we got it now.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    In the US, private entities are acting without government involvement, and this is creating a kind of "sub-level" response to reducing contagiousness that will hopefully become more uniform as the government (finally) gets more onboard. Sports are talking about playing without fans, schools are talking about going online (and some universities already have). We are not seeing quite as much governmental rhetoric designed to downplay the threat, and the voices of experts like Dr. Fauci are starting to become the dominant sounds we are hearing, which is a good sign. The main message seems to be that the longer you wait before you switch into a more aggressive containment mode, the more draconian that containment mode will inevitably have to be, so it's better to bite the bullet and accept major limitations right away, rather than wait and end up essentially in house arrest like China and Italy. A timeframe that has been mentioned for significant curtailment of potentially contagious behaviors is eight weeks, so it's not clear that stocking up food for two weeks is a truly effective strategy-- and if stocking up for 8 weeks is unfeasible, it means we are going to have to keep the economy going and keep food and service distribution going as well. We'll have to watch other places that are a few weeks ahead of us to get a sense of what will be necessary, given that hibernation is not an option.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2020-Mar-11 at 03:05 PM.

  6. #906
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    A timeframe that has been mentioned for significant curtailment of potentially contagious behaviors is eight weeks, so it's not clear that stocking up food for two weeks is a truly effective strategy-- and if stocking up for 8 weeks is unfeasible, it means we are going to have to keep the economy going and keep food and service distribution going as well.
    Has it been determined yet that actual contagion lasts that long, or just visible symptoms?

    If a virus causes, say, pneumonia in the elderly, that effect might last a long time after the virus is no longer present in significant amounts.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #907
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Has it been determined yet that actual contagion lasts that long, or just visible symptoms?
    The eight week figure is not a timeframe for an individual case, it's more like the total time for the outbreak to be contained. So it could make sense to have supplies to get the individual through a period of self-quarantine, but when the streets get empty there is still going to need to be a way to go out and get more supplies. But yes, in terms of self-quarantine, the two weeks of supplies does make sense.
    If a virus causes, say, pneumonia in the elderly, that effect might last a long time after the virus is no longer present in significant amounts.
    Yes, the individual could be finished with it in three weeks, or lung damage could be permanent. The societal timeframe is more dependent on the response we make now, so that's eight weeks if we act aggressively now, and perhaps a year if we don't. Right now the US outbreak is clearly still in the phase of rapid exponential growth, so aggressive measures will be required to avoid overwhelming the healthcare infrastructure, as seems to have been staved off in China. (Apparently they closed one of their makeshift hospitals, a clearly positive sign.) We face the prospects that in a month, you might be better off in Wuhan than in the US. The question is, can a free country be as effective in fighting an outbreak as an authoritarian regime? We may have to take our lead from Italy and South Korea, rather than China.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2020-Mar-11 at 03:42 PM.

  8. #908
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    A timeframe that has been mentioned for significant curtailment of potentially contagious behaviors is eight weeks, so it's not clear that stocking up food for two weeks is a truly effective strategy-- and if stocking up for 8 weeks is unfeasible, it means we are going to have to keep the economy going and keep food and service distribution going as well.
    I haven’t heard anyone (except maybe preppers) suggest so great an impact that food and basic services would be unavailable and it certainly doesn’t seem realistic. What I have been hearing is the suggestion that retirees, as the most likely to have severe symptoms if they get sick, try to maintain two or three weeks of food and supplies, and limit the number of shopping trips and do them at times of low store traffic. And further, otherwise minimize social contact for a while. Stay at home or maybe take the occasional drive into the countryside.

    And I personally have decided to have enough on hand so I can self isolate for a couple weeks if I get sick and so wouldn’t need to have others bring me food, etc.

    Mind you, I have no doubt preppers are all into this. These are folks that have years of supplies stored while waiting for the apocalypse.

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  9. #909
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    We should at least have several weeks of warning of what this will look like, if we watch the situation in Italy and South Korea. There are questions like, what happens to your local supermarket if all the people who work there are in self-quarantine, and so forth. I'm not saying this will happen, I'm saying that this is what we have to try to prevent from happening. In the US, we are now seeing a lot of pro-active efforts to get out ahead of this, as it seems most universities will move to online classes for awhile. I would not be surprised if most K-12 schools also do the same. This means parents will not have public day care, and will need to start making plans now. It all seems like a smart idea to accept the major pains now, to stave off the unthinkable pains later.

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  11. #911
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    And the NBA just suspended the season. Apparently one of the players tested positive for COVID19


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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    And the NBA just suspended the season. Apparently one of the players tested positive for COVID19
    Shocking, people will have to wait a bit to watch basketball games! Meanwhile, travel to and from Europe is being suspended and stock futures dropped heavily right after that was announced. I expect the stock market to drop again tomorrow and it is already in bear territory. If you have cash and ever have thought about investing, it’s time to start thinking about what to do after the panic mostly settles down . . . which isn’t yet.

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  13. #913
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    The European Union travel ban is ... interesting. Travel from the UK and other countries with significant viral presence continues. And evidence from China seems to be that, once you already have a pool of virus in a region, a travel ban into that region from other infected areas simply delays the epidemic peak by a few days--it's the local measures to contain and delay transmission that determine the eventual number of people infected and the height of the peak. Which makes sense--infections from the local pool can make up any difference caused by a travel ban, on a time scale determined by the transmission rate.

    Grant Hutchison

  14. #914
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    I think there is an attempt to be seen as doing something decisive, even if not particularly effective in practice, a question about how much certain parties listen to expert opinion . . . and any comments I might make beyond that would likely be excessively political for board rules.

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  15. #915
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Shocking, people will have to wait a bit to watch basketball games!
    It’s not so much the sportsball games being cancelled, but the ripple effect IMHO. For example, the guy selling hot dogs is now out of a job.


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  16. #916
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    It’s not so much the sportsball games being cancelled, but the ripple effect IMHO. For example, the guy selling hot dogs is now out of a job.
    Good. At least if he is selling hot dogs at a stadium when people should be avoiding them. It will save lives. There shouldn’t be large crowded gatherings of people for the time being. If there are games, they should be done in front of TV cameras only, with limited staff around. Once things settle down, it will be a different story.

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    What's the point in a travel ban that does not take effect immediately? Is it safe to fly until Friday midnite, or is this baloney? Questions might be rhetorical or sarcastic in part, but not entirely.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Mar-12 at 12:29 PM.
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  18. #918
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Good. At least if he is selling hot dogs at a stadium when people should be avoiding them. It will save lives. There shouldn’t be large crowded gatherings of people for the time being. If there are games, they should be done in front of TV cameras only, with limited staff around. Once things settle down, it will be a different story.
    No, not good at all.
    Necessary, but not good.

    I think we are on the same page regarding the necessity part. However, I worry that the virus will destroy a lot of people’s lives in ways that are not strictly medical.


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  19. #919
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    What's the point in a travel ban that does not take effect immediately? Is it safe to fly until Friday midnite, or is this baloney? Questions might be rhetorical or sarcastic in part, but not entirely.
    It's that thing about binary choice in a smoothly varying and unpredictable world, again. (Let's set aside the question of whether such a ban will do anything more than slightly delay the epidemic.) If you are going to institute a ban, you have to pick a point on a rising risk curve. So it's not "safe" now, and it's probably going to be less safe later. If the risk is rising slowly, then the difference between now and Friday is probably not significant, and swamped by the noise. But economically, and practically, the difference between an immediate ban and a slightly delayed ban is very significant.

    There's a general rule, actually. While it may seem like we should be doing full-on containment right now, the advantages to draconian measures are very small when the prevalence of infection in the community is low. But if you institute draconian measures early, then you've got them in place for a long time, and people will eventually start trying to find their way around them either out of boredom or desperation. So your late risk rises. Therefore, if you have the luxury of planning rather than being reactive to a crisis, it makes sense to set future dates for major interventions. (Ideally, you also spend time telling your citizens what's coming next and the likely timescale. I have to say I've been impressed by how that's being handled in the UK in general and Scotland in particular.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It's that thing about binary choice in a smoothly varying and unpredictable world, again. (Let's set aside the question of whether such a ban will do anything more than slightly delay the epidemic.) If you are going to institute a ban, you have to pick a point on a rising risk curve. So it's not "safe" now, and it's probably going to be less safe later. If the risk is rising slowly, then the difference between now and Friday is probably not significant, and swamped by the noise. But economically, and practically, the difference between an immediate ban and a slightly delayed ban is very significant.

    There's a general rule, actually. While it may seem like we should be doing full-on containment right now, the advantages to draconian measures are very small when the prevalence of infection in the community is low. But if you institute draconian measures early, then you've got them in place for a long time, and people will eventually start trying to find their way around them either out of boredom or desperation. So your late risk rises. Therefore, if you have the luxury of planning rather than being reactive to a crisis, it makes sense to set future dates for major interventions. (Ideally, you also spend time telling your citizens what's coming next and the likely timescale. I have to say I've been impressed by how that's being handled in the UK in general and Scotland in particular.)
    Well, when you're right, you're right. That makes sense, anyway. The main thing I couldn't wrap my head around was that the travel ban appeared to be full of holes, but by your logic it makes sense to close up the holes later, and avoid being too draconic at present. Everything is just going to stink for a while, and it's time for me to get used to it. Sorry it took so long to respond, my cell phone has a 1.5" x 2" screen, can't read long pieces.

    Just saw that Canadian PM Trudeau and wife might have coronavirus, which figures for political types greeting everyone.

    ===

    Also saw this, which I was afraid was going to happen.

    CNBC: A top U.S. official said the nation cannot process coronavirus tests as quickly, easily or in the same volume as other countries — even as the virus spreads to 44 states — and that’s “a failing.” “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday at a hearing on the nation’s preparedness for the outbreak. “The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not,” Fauci testified. So, South Korea, China, Singapore, and other places beat us out there. Drats.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/12/top-...s-failing.html
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  21. #921
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    A couple of cases have now been confirmed in Ohio, and I note that very quickly (over the last 24 hours) lots of events are getting canceled, including shows, concerts, public programs at the library, museums, or in the parks, etc. Many of the cities and counties around here have declared states of emergency - they are quick to point out that this is mostly so that rules like getting bids for purchases are suspended, but still. Any restaurant that I have any kind of email or other social media contact with has sent out statements about all the measures they are taking about the virus.
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  22. #922
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    A couple of cases have now been confirmed in Ohio, and I note that very quickly (over the last 24 hours) lots of events are getting canceled, including shows, concerts, public programs at the library, museums, or in the parks, etc. Many of the cities and counties around here have declared states of emergency - they are quick to point out that this is mostly so that rules like getting bids for purchases are suspended, but still. Any restaurant that I have any kind of email or other social media contact with has sent out statements about all the measures they are taking about the virus.
    That's where upstate South Carolina is right now. I'm not even going to bother listing the cases popping up, too many to bother with. Panic buying in full swing and into second stage, buying up things that might substitute for hand cleaning stuff and disinfectant. Bigger event being cancelled, smaller events on the chopping block.
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  23. #923
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    They shut down the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo yesterday, announcing over the PA that they were shutting down and everyone should leave in an orderly fashion.

    Our son and his GF/SO/partner both teach art at junior colleges in the LA area. Those jucos are closing for 30 days.
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    From Matador Travel Security
    INITIAL UPDATE March 12, 2020

    US President Donald Trump has announced sweeping travel restrictions on 26 European countries in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The ban applies to travellers from countries which are members of the Schengen border-free travel area. The UK, Ireland and other non-Schengen countries are unaffected. Exemptions are also being made for US citizens. The new rules go into effect on Friday at midnight EDT.

    Traveler temperature and medical screenings are occurring in airports and other border entry points worldwide. There is no consistent guidance as to what the screening protocols are in each country, nor the consequences of being suspected as sympto​​​​​​​matic of an illness. Travelers manifesting any flu-like or respiratory symptoms may be required to have a medical examination and risk being quarantined pending evaluation. Travelers who are feeling unwell or affected by any flu-like symptoms should absolutely not travel, regardless of trip criticality.

    For a comprehensive list of current screenings and travel restrictions, including flight reductions and suspensions, please follow this link and review as often as necessary if planning travel: https://pandemic.internationalsos.co...-and-screening. ​​​​​​​Travelers affected by such restrictions should reconfirm their itineraries, visa status and the overall feasibility of travel prior to departure.

    Latest developments:

    The World Health Organization has confirmed that the COVID-19 outbreak is now a global pandemic. The global number of reported infections now stands at 126,660 with 4,641 fatalities.

    Italy: the numbers have reached 12,462 cases with 827 fatalities. Effective March 10 2020 the government has placed the whole country under quarantine until at least April 3. On March 12 the authorities announced that Rome's Ciampino airport would shut from Friday night March 13 ... with Terminal 1 at Fiumicino closing on Tuesday March 17.

    The total recorded cases in China currently stands at 80,932 with 3,169 fatalities. Since the end of February Chinese authorities have begun a gradual de-escalation of restrictions to enable resumption of business as usual outside Hubei province, where restrictions are most stringent. Levels of mobility and community restrictions vary across the country, ranging from a cordon sanitaire in some cities to mandatory use of masks in public spaces. All international arrivals in Beijing must undergo two weeks of quarantine, as China tries to limit imported cases of the coronavirus. Beijing had already required quarantine for people arriving from severely hit countries including South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan but now those landing from any nation will now face 14-day isolation.

    Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended travel of citizens and residents and halted flights with several states ... the European Union, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia, the source added, saying the Kingdom had also suspended entry to those coming from these countries. …

    India: India has imposed further visa restrictions and quarantine orders to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The authorities have announced that most existing visas will be suspended from 17.30 (local time) on 13 March until 15 April, with the exception of visas issued to diplomats, officials, UN and other international organisations, as well as employment and project visas. Visa-free travel granted to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders will be temporarily suspended for the same period. ...

    In Asia, the largest cluster outside China remains in South Korea, with 7,869 cases and 66 fatalities. In the Middle East the largest cluster remains in Iran, with 9,000 cases and 354 fatalities.

    In North America, there have so far been 1,321 recorded cases with 38 fatalities in the United States, 117 cases in Canada with 1 fatality, and 12 in Mexico with 0 fatalities.

    Outside of China, the number of confirmed cases now stands at 47,049 with 1,472 fatalities in 124 countries and territories: ...
    ​​​​​​​
    Updated figures can be found on Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracking map.​​​​​​​
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  25. #925
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    Getting more work news. FMLA will cover prolonged work absences. No one is allowed to take your temperature at work. You can be contagious w/o a fever. Up to 15 days sick leave can be advanced if one is ill. You can't refuse to work or stay home out of fear of the virus. HIPAA applies so sick folks can't be named.
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    Jim: South Korea has a fatality rate of 66/7869 = 0.00839. Wow, how did they do that?

    LATER: Oh, enormous amounts of early testing. Duh.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Mar-12 at 07:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    It's that thing about binary choice in a smoothly varying and unpredictable world, again. (Let's set aside the question of whether such a ban will do anything more than slightly delay the epidemic.) If you are going to institute a ban, you have to pick a point on a rising risk curve. So it's not "safe" now, and it's probably going to be less safe later. If the risk is rising slowly, then the difference between now and Friday is probably not significant, and swamped by the noise. But economically, and practically, the difference between an immediate ban and a slightly delayed ban is very significant.

    There's a general rule, actually. While it may seem like we should be doing full-on containment right now, the advantages to draconian measures are very small when the prevalence of infection in the community is low. But if you institute draconian measures early, then you've got them in place for a long time, and people will eventually start trying to find their way around them either out of boredom or desperation. So your late risk rises. Therefore, if you have the luxury of planning rather than being reactive to a crisis, it makes sense to set future dates for major interventions. (Ideally, you also spend time telling your citizens what's coming next and the likely timescale. I have to say I've been impressed by how that's being handled in the UK in general and Scotland in particular.)
    Well, when you're right, you're right. That makes sense, anyway. The main thing I couldn't wrap my head around was that the travel ban appeared to be full of holes, but by your logic it makes sense to close up the holes later, and avoid being too draconic at present. Everything is just going to stink for a while, and it's time for me to get used to it.
    About two hours after I made that post, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Adviser said pretty much everything in my second para at a press conference. So that's good.
    He was also less than enthusiastic about travel bans, confirming that once you have community transmission in your own country, all the modelling suggests they don't buy you any more than a couple of days delay in the epidemic curve, unless you can prevent more than 95% of travel from epidemic areas. That wasn't even possible when China was the only locus.

    Grant Hutchison

  28. #928
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Jim: South Korea has a fatality rate of 66/7869 = 0.00839. Wow, how did they do that?

    LATER: Oh, enormous amounts of early testing. Duh.
    Increasingly, it's obvious that there's a huge pool of people who have the infection but with minimal symptoms, who don't come to anyone's notice unless there's blanket testing. The case fatality rate is recurringly under 1% when you actively go looking for cases of infection, rather than cases of symptomatic disease.

    Grant Hutchison

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  30. #930
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Increasingly, it's obvious that there's a huge pool of people who have the infection but with minimal symptoms, who don't come to anyone's notice unless there's blanket testing. The case fatality rate is recurringly under 1% when you actively go looking for cases of infection, rather than cases of symptomatic disease.

    Grant Hutchison
    Which is a strong argument for increased testing. Two strong arguments.

    If it can be shown that the mortality rate is about the same as the seasonal flu instead of 10-30X, maybe people will stop panic buying, etc.

    Maybe folks who have minimal symptoms will realize they are infected and will be more careful in their interactions with others, lowering the transmission rate.

    Okay, two big maybes there.
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