covid-19 Tag

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to get a vaccine, please do (US-based resource).

Help India with the current COVID-19 wave.

Re: Are Outdoor Mask Mandates Still Necessary?

Speaking of COVID and trying to get back to normal, I just read an article from Derek Thompson at The Atlantic, asking about the necessity of wearing masks outdoors:

The coronavirus is most transmissible in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, where the aerosolized virus can linger in the air before latching onto our nasal or bronchial cells. In outdoor areas, the viral spray is more likely to disperse. One systematic overview of COVID-19 case studies concluded that the risk of transmission was 19 times higher indoors than outside. That’s why wearing a mask is so important in, say, a CVS, but less crucial in, say, the park.

At the restaurant, however, I saw an inversion of this rule. Person after person who’d dutifully worn a mask on the uncrowded street took it off to sit still, in close proximity to friends, and frequently inside. I felt like I was watching people put on their seatbelts in parked cars, then unbuckle them just as they put the vehicle in drive.

I’m still gonna wear masks when I’m out of my apartment most of the time, even after being fully vaccinated, for a few reasons:

  1. I feel better these days when I see someone wearing a mask, so I’ll wear one myself
  2. In NYC, people like standing deep inside other people’s personal space, so masks make even more sense here
  3. In the Winter, they helped with the cold; now in the Spring, they’re helping with pollen
  4. Regardless of the situation, a mask just might help prevent another person from getting sick

That being said, yeah taking into account what we know about the virus, outdoor mask mandates aren’t very necessary. But it probably still helps the situation though.

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Re: Global COVID Cases Hit Weekly Record Despite Vaccinations

I spent the past few weeks feeling annoyed that everyone I know here in the NY/NJ area (and a lot of people I know in CA) were able to get appointments for vaccine shots well before I did. In the meantime though, global COVID cases just hit weekly records…

Jinshan Hong at Bloomberg:

The worrisome trend, just days after the world surpassed 3 million deaths, comes as countries are rolling out vaccinations in an effort to get the virus under control. The data from Johns Hopkins University showing a 12% increase in infections from a week earlier casts doubt on the hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight.

The weekly increase surpassed the previous high set in mid-December. While infection rates have largely slowed in the U.S. and U.K., countries in the developing world – India and Brazil in particular – are shouldering surging caseloads.

I’m glad parts of the world are figuring out the vaccine situation and starting to get back to some kind of normal, but overall we are nowhere near done with this thing.

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Re: Razer has created a concept N95 mask with RGB and voice projection

…I don’t know about this.

I mean, considering we’ll be wearing masks for a while still (right??? please wear your masks), I definitely appreciate any attempts at making them better. I like the idea of having your mouth be visible but illuminated tho? Also, I thought there was kind of an unspoken agreement that relying on people to replace filters on masks like these is not a good idea.

It sounds like it’s still very early in the concept phase, so I guess they have time to figure things out but… I’m not really expecting this to go anywhere.

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How Excel may have caused loss of 16,000 Covid tests in England

A million-row limit on Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software may have led to Public Health England misplacing nearly 16,000 Covid test results. From The Guardian:

But while CSV files can be any size, Microsoft Excel files can only be 1,048,576 rows long – or, in older versions which PHE may have still been using, a mere 65,536. When a CSV file longer than that is opened, the bottom rows get cut off and are no longer displayed. That means that, once the lab had performed more than a million tests, it was only a matter of time before its reports failed to be read by PHE.

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Re: NYC Releases Plan For Handling COVID-19 Outbreaks In Schools

This NYC School COVID-19 plan cannot seriously be the answer.

Aside from testing, the plan lays out six possible situations involving confirmed infections. They range from a single positive case, in which a classroom will close for 14 days and students and staff with close contact will self-quarantine, to more than two cases in different classrooms. Under the latter scenario, the entire school would shut down and transition to remote learning.

So we’re going to open and close individual schools all throughout the year? Really?

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Re: A Very American Suicide

Came across this anonymous blog post about the general narcissistic attitude of certain parts of America right now:

Here is the internal narrative that dictates this state of affairs: “I am the only thing that matters; what I want is the only thing that it is valid to want; what you want is so unimportant that is is not worth discussing. I see you, but I am not convinced that you exist in any significant way, except as a potential blocker to what I want. This is your only real importance. Your assertion of personhood is irritating to me, because it gets in the way of what I want. Which is more money, more power, more self-gratification, at any cost, by any means necessary. The end always justifies the means, and if this means your end, that means nothing to me. My rights trump your rights, always, molehills to mountains no matter. I am not open to discussion of my position. I will become angry if you attempt to discuss this with me, then if you persist, I will kill you, because you are getting in the way of what I want. How dare you disagree with me.”

And:

Internal narrative #2: “I do not recognize that I am part of a society, even though I am wholly dependent on society for my continued existence. My actions, whatever they may be, are justified, because they are what I want. To shed any residual guilt I may have, I will deny evidence as conspiracy. I am, by design, so poorly educated that this does not trouble me at all. So I will not wear a mask in public, and I will not socially distance, because to do so inconveniences me, and I do not want to be inconvenienced, and what I want is the only thing that matters.”

Selfishness in its purest form.

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Re: The Pandemic Is Changing Work Friendships

I’ve definitely been noticing some of these post-pandemic work relationship changes:

According to Gallup research, having a close work friend increases fulfillment, productivity, and even company loyalty; on the flip side, loneliness in the office can affect both professional and personal well-being. The absence of casual hallway chats and long lunch breaks during the pandemic could potentially make workers feel more isolated, according to Hilla Dotan, an organizational-behavior researcher at Tel Aviv University. “What we’re doing through virtual work is we’re neutralizing the social aspect of [work],” she told me.

I don’t maintain relationships well when I don’t see people regularly. It’s been a struggle.

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Re: First Human Tests of Coronavirus Vaccine Are Promising

Some more good vaccine news:

There were no serious side effects associated with the vaccine at any of the dosing levels, though more than half of the study participants who received the vaccine experienced minor events including fatigue, headache, chills, and pain at the injection site. All of the participants produced antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. And when researchers tested these antibodies against a lab version of SARS-CoV-2, they found these antibodies neutralized the virus as effectively as antibodies taken from people who were naturally infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered. They also tested the antibodies taken from a smaller group of study participants against actual samples of SARS-CoV-2 and found their ability to neutralize virus was at least equivalent to that found in people who had recovered from infection.

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Re: Study Finds Black Lives Matter Protests Didn't Lead to Growth in Coronavirus Cases

Also very interesting:

“Our findings suggest that any direct decrease in social distancing among the subset of the population participating in the protests is more than offset by increasing social distancing behavior among others who may choose to shelter-at-home and circumvent public places while the protests are underway,” the report reads.

So based on what we can tell, people protesting outside in open air (with a lot of masks as far as I could see from the pictures) causing everyone else to stay home leads to a better outcome than people doing stuff inside buildings together. That seems to line up with the facts we’ve been hearing.

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Re: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will quarantine travelers from states with surging COVID-19 cases

Interesting:

As of midnight tonight, travelers to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Texas, and Washington state will all be asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Cuomo talked about enforcement, but I still don’t get how it’s supposed to work. Once you found a person from one of those states, how would you know if they were heading into the state for the first time, done with their own quarantine process, or just ignoring it completely?

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Re: Moderna Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Shows Promising Early Results

A coronavirus vaccine trial has gone well! It looks like we might actually be on track for having a vaccine ready by the end of the year, which is critical since the US government has decided that the best course of action is to pretend the virus doesn’t exist.

From the article:

Those people, healthy volunteers, made antibodies that were then tested in human cells in the lab, and were able to stop the virus from replicating — the key requirement for an effective vaccine. The levels of those so-called neutralizing antibodies matched the levels found in patients who had recovered after contracting the virus in the community.

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Re: This Hong Kong restaurant group created a manual about how to handle the pandemic, and it's become a blueprint guide for restaurateurs around the world

I just read an article about restaurants in Hong Kong adapting to the pandemic. I like the sound of a lot of these changes. Considering some governments' complete lack of an attempt to control the virus, we’re just going to have to make a lot of these kinds of changes so we can actually try to safely live our lives for the next two years before we get a vaccine.

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Re: The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying

America’s Racial Contract

The implied terms of the racial contract are visible everywhere for those willing to see them. A 12-year-old with a toy gun is a dangerous threat who must be met with lethal force; armed militias drawing beads on federal agents are heroes of liberty. Struggling white farmers in Iowa taking billions in federal assistance are hardworking Americans down on their luck; struggling single parents in cities using food stamps are welfare queens. Black Americans struggling in the cocaine epidemic are a “bio-underclass” created by a pathological culture; white Americans struggling with opioid addiction are a national tragedy. Poor European immigrants who flocked to an America with virtually no immigration restrictions came “the right way”; poor Central American immigrants evading a baroque and unforgiving system are gang members and terrorists.

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Re: The Real Reason to Wear a Mask

From an article about masks and why everyone is encouraged to wear one:

Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. Luckily, blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth mask.

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