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Madelaine McMasters

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Everything posted by Madelaine McMasters

  1. I'm bit confused about this. There's not a tradeoff, but there is... kinda? I think we're generally in agreement here, Qie. My problem with discussing this tradeoff as either-or is that it's ignoring a lot of complexity. China seems (still too early to know for sure) to have achieved containment with less economic damage than some are anticipating here. If it's truly either-or, how'd they escape our choice? Kobayashi Maru? My New Deal example comes from a vague recollection of reading about the termination of government programs in Montana as funding was shifted to the Tennessee Valley Authority. I wish I could recall the book, but it made a compelling argument for the miscalculation of "benefit" that occurs when a focused (in space and time) event comes at the expense of a diffuse one. The newspapers of that time were filled with stories and photographs of bridge construction projects that, while helpful, might not have provided as much overall benefit as smaller and more widespread efforts. Those small, distributed, longer term benefits would never be as photogenic as the big projects, nor satisfy the public desire for immediate results. We've got limited ability to ramp up the care system, so the onus is on mitigation via isolation. That too has a cost, possibly with a very long tail. If we entered a depression because of a six month stoppage in our economy, it would be reasonable to wonder if the decline in standard of living would result in "invisible deaths" spread across the nation and across a decade. It would also be reasonable to wonder if China, or any other nation that recovered more quickly, might obtain a durable competitive advantage as a result. Anyone who's studied compound interest (another exponential growth function) understands how exquisitely sensitive it is to the exponent. This is the New Deal argument in reverse, with a very public and immediate downside (deaths) being weighed against a more distributed and invisible upside. To be fair, there is also a very visible immediate upside in the restarting of businesses. We'll have flare-ups until a vaccine is available, but the theory is that those will be better contained because we're better prepared now. On another note, I'm curious about Andrew Cuomo's pleas for more ventilators. He's blasted FEMA for sending only 400 when he projects a need for 30,000. The entire US contains only 200,000 ventilators. FEMA hasn't got 30,000 to give and NYC isn't the only place that needs them. Ford, if they build any, won't have them ready for months. This was a problem that needed to be addressed years ago. Someone might argue it's not a problem at all. Stockpiling for the worst case also has a cost. ETA: I was wrong about the FEMA ventilator stockpile. I just read that they have have up to 20,000 in reserve. That changes the dynamic between FEMA and NYC and wants an explanation for holding back. I imagine those things can be moved around as necessary, so it seems possible to deploy the entire stockpile and relocate as necessary.
  2. I'm having a very hard time getting my brain to stay with the idea that you are referring to friends, Gadget.
  3. As you've stated, we don't know. Regarding mutations, many have already occurred. AFAIK none of them have shown significant difference in virulence and we don't know if the mutations allow the virus to evade detection by antibodies produced for another strain. We also don't know the half life of COVID-19 antibodies. The fastest way to determine whether herd immunity will develop is to step back and let COVID-19 progress unfettered. We're not gonna do that. Perversely, anything we do to constrain the virus also constrains our ability to determine just what it will do if not constrained.
  4. This would actually be good news, if true. The greater the unnoticed to noticed ratio is, the less severe COVID-19 is, and the greater the already established herd immunity. Until we start sampling populations for antibodies, we won't know that ratio unless we reach a point somewhere that, absent any attempts to control the spread, the virus dies out on its own. At that point, herd immunity is the likely explanation, and we'll have a good handle on morbidity and mortality rates.
  5. It's trite, but there are tradeoffs in almost everything. The problem is we often don't know what they are, even in retrospect. The entire "hammer and dance" idea is a tradeoff, because "hammer until it's gone" would probably kill more people. There's another aspect of these tradeoffs that makes them so very difficult. It's often easier to assess the impact of what you do to address a problem you're focused on than the potentially much more diffuse effects of the things you didn't do as a result. For complex problems, we sometimes solve those portions that are most easy to "show and tell" about. This was true of the New Deal, which put a lot of resources into big infrastructure projects that were easy to put in the news, while neglecting vast swaths of rural America. We'll never know what America would look like if we'd allocated our resources differently.
  6. We've known for a long time that infection rates and immune responses to various pathogens often have a correlation to blood type. I don't think the correlations are terribly strong, and I don't think we've identified the actual mechanisms, which likely vary depending on the pathogen. There are theories that the antigens responsible for creating the four different blood types are directly responsible for differences in vulnerability and there are theories that the connection is indirect, in the form of other genetic differences in blood cells that accompany the antigen differences. From what I've read, blood type does make a difference in COVID-19 infection rates (A is highest, O is lowest), but it's not a huge one. The ABO typing system, as well as RH+/-, is no longer sufficient to label all the important differences in blood characteristics. There's also a P system of antigens that have been associated with susceptibility to HIV. There are lots of missing answers in the world of infection disease . COVID-19 just added some more.
  7. It does sorta feel that way. They're banking on Levitt's "we'll be okay" prediction coming true. There really is a balance between stopping the virus and stopping the economic destruction that results from fighting it. The either-or way they're framing this feels like an admission that we're not up to the task, making MAGA ring hollow.
  8. Of course I have real friends here. I think I chat with my friend Tahani about as much as Scylla chats with her weird 3.9MB friend. SL friendships are different than RL friendships, but no less valuable.
  9. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has a solution... https://www.dallasnews.com/news/public-health/2020/03/24/texas-lt-gov-dan-patrick-spurns-shelter-in-place-urges-return-to-work-says-grandparents-should-sacrifice/ Wisconsin's Ron Johnson and Donald Trump are thinking along the same lines. Their tradeoff is curious though, grandparents for grandkid's futures, as if there's no alternative. We don't yet know how it'll all shake out in China, but they might have preserved both. Does Patrick think we're not great enough to do that? And here's a smart fella, Michael Levitt, who thinks we're gonna be fine... https://www.ibtimes.com/coronavirus-prediction-nobel-laureate-michael-levitt-says-spread-slowing-emphasizes-2944720. I sure would like to hear more about his reasoning. Levitt might be right. Italy now has two days of declining new cases (793 Sat, 651 yesterday, 601 today). If he is right, then Patrick, Johnson and Trump don't seem quite as callous. Here's CDC's Flu Burden Estimate for the 2019-2020 season... https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm And finally, let's hope we don't have to deal with an outbreak of this!... https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/health/arizona-coronavirus-chloroquine-death/index.html
  10. Carsie is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Cinn. Though this is a cover/satire, I like it better than Sheeran's original. You might also like this, as it has a similar theme... I love the juxtaposition of Carsie's cute li'l voice and her badass, role reversing, attitude. I first heard her years ago on an evening college radio show in Milwaukee. I was painting in another room when "Backseat" came on. I couldn't make out the lyrics, but I liked the sound. When it got to 1:35, I heard the familiar melody of the childhood taunt "na na na, na na, na" (or neener, neener, neener) and I dropped everything to find out whodunit. I've been a fan ever since.
  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ito--73QaOM
  12. It doesn't negate the beautiful parts. I see misogyny here, and call it out, too. This was more a matter of being surprised by the blatancy of it all, even though Dad had warned me about it. He got so frustrated with the drunken business dinners, and offers of prostitutes (even after his business contacts had met Mom and me) that he declined to attend any more, cutting short the business part of our trip. We did have a wonderful time at the Kabuki and Bunraku theaters, and discussing woodworking with a craftsman in Kyoto. The young woman who guided us through Tokyo eventually went to college in Boulder, CO.
  13. After a month in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in my teens, I came away from Japan with a very different "appreciation" of their culture. I witnessed men reading graphic/violent misogynistic porn openly on the trains, offering my Father the service of prostitutes during business dinners, and mistreating the young woman who escorted Mom and me around Tokyo. For every Japanese treasure she showed us, she inquired about life in America, where she dreamed of moving to escape the oppression of Japanese society. It was a neat place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
  14. I think you might be confusing the COVID-19 test with the antibody test, Lindal. It is terribly important to be testing people for live virus, as those are the ones spreading the disease. Despite Mike Pence's claims, we do not have enough test kits available for even those who are manifestly sick, let alone everyone else. I don't think we have the ability to test ANYONE for antibodies at this time. Those tests are under development right now. I don't know how much such tests will cost when they're finally available, but if we guess in the range of $100-$1000, and opted to test everyone, that's a bill of $33-$330billion for the US. The best use of limited resources would probably be to perform sampling on populations and then extrapolate. I forgot to mention that, over the course of treatment, a COVID-19 patient will be tested for live virus several times. The total test cost is much higher than the cost of a kit and its use. To test "every-fricking-body" in the US might potentially cost $100 billion-$1Trillion. I think there will be far less expensive tests (pee-on-a-stick equivalent) developed soon, but not soon enough to manage this explosion.
  15. The risk in lifting lockdowns is that people currently contagious will start passing the virus around again. If you've been symptom free from your "flu-like" episode in January, regardless whether you had the flu or COVID-19, you are probably not contagious. Even so, it's important to sample the healthy population for the presence of antibodies, so that we can determine how widespread the disease is, and to identify people who have developed immunity that can be transferred to others via convalescent sera therapy... if that proves effective. I theory, if you could implement a perfect lock down to groups of say 50 or less, it would take only a few infection cycles (lets way two weeks) for any infected groups to develop immunity (and lose members). That's not possible though, because we're not going to leave locked down groups of people fend for themselves. We're going to tend to those who need it, perpetually exposing the health care system, which will eventually become the source of most new infections. I don't think there's much hope for the US to perform the level of tracking done in China and South Korea. We have "freedoms" that prevent the government from doing the sort of invasive investigations done there, and we're generally less accepting of government control.
  16. https://news.gallup.com/poll/162362/americans-down-congress-own-representative.aspx There are two old quotes I like to cite when seeing stories like that: None of us is as dumb as all of us. We have met the enemy and he is us.
  17. Yep, one critical measurement we need to really understand what's going on is the "total infected" number. This requires detecting COVID-19 antibodies. Those will be present in anyone exposed to the virus, including those who were completely asymptomatic. I've also read theories that COVID-19 may have been around much earlier than widely reported. I don't think such claims fit well with the current growth curves. Until we get accurate metrics for total infected population, we won't know just how bad it might actually get. I'd caution against anyone in the US concluding that flu symptoms they experienced, and recovered from, were actually caused by COVID-19. Such beliefs might encourage those who've had the flu to think they're immune to COVID-19 and pose no risk to others. If you ARE having symptoms then yes, behave as if you are carrying COVID-19. If you have recovered from something unidentified and are now fine, I'd presume you are still vulnerable to COVID-19.
  18. It's all a matter of cost. A typical viral assay might cost $100. A panel of them capable of identifying any of a flu season's various strains might cost $1000 or more. If everyone who got the flu also got a test, we'd be looking at massive nationwide costs. There'd also be little benefit from doing so, as the test comes after the infection, when it's too late to do anything about it. There's also not much to be done about it in the first place. It's far less threatening than COVID-19. Doing small sample testing across the population is sufficient to get a picture of the genetic makeup of each year's flu crop, and that's precisely what the health care system does.
  19. Your version must be an old one, Fauve. The windmill fan doesn't have the one dark blade AM added so it would be more obvious it was spinning. That's a keeper! I also have copies of most of the stuff from The Far Away, but I doubt I'd ever re-create the place. I do pull the locomotive out of my purse now and then, to rez it in the most absurd places I can find. While I'm happy that Ziki Questi and Kinnaird continue to support what remains of AM Radio's installation, I'm okay with it eventually vanishing. I can't be nostalgic about it while it's still here. ETA: I just pulled the windmill out of my purse. It's also missing the one dark blade.
  20. No. Vaccines are created by killing or substantially weakening live viruses, then introducing them into the person to provoke an immune response. Then, should the person encounter a live virus, the immune system already has antibodies ready to go, and will continue to produce them until the virus is cleared, and perhaps maintain some level of resistance for an extended period thereafter, possibly forever. In convalescent sera therapy, antibodies are transferred from one person to another. This gives the recipient a small storehouse of antibodies ready to fight the live virus, but no provocation to produce more. The recipient's immune system still hasn't seen the actual virus for the first time, and is therefore not actively producing defenses. If the transfused supply of antibodies can't keep the viral load low until a natural immune response develops, the patient will succumb. Read this article... https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-03-10/millions-of-coronavirus-test-kits-available-soon-pence-says-as-us-cases-top-700 In it, Mike Pence stated, on Mar 10, that over a million COVID-19 test kits had already been distributed, and that another four million would be distributed before the end of the week, March 13. On March 15, Pence stated that drive/walk-through test sites would be set up this week, each capable of screening 2000-4000 people per day. It's now March 21, eight days after he publicly claimed that five million test kits would be in the field and that we'd have dedicated test stations processing 2000-4000 test/day. Hospitals across the nation are still reporting they can't get enough test kits. My local news reported that my local hospital has very few kits, and must save them for only those individuals who's course of treatment would be altered by a diagnosis. I challenge you to explain how more than 5 million test kits, in the field for more than eight days, still leave hospitals without them.
  21. Which is not FDA approval of the drug for use to treat coronavirus. This is much like Trump's claims several weeks ago that vaccines would be available in as little as 3-4 months. He had to be corrected (by Fauci again, I think) who explained that the clinical trials might begin in as little as 3-4 months, but that vaccines are 12-18 months away. If this is a matter of Trump not understanding the difference between approval of the drug at the end of the trial period, and approval of the start of trials, he's had plenty of time to have it drilled into his noggin by staff. The fact that's not happened means the noggin is too hard or the drills are too soft. ETA: Meanwhile, there are other mitigations that might work shorter term, including convalescent sera, which extracts antibodies from those who have cleared the virus from their systems and injects them into those most at risk. It doesn't work after an infection is established, because there is only a limited supply of injected antibodies, but prophylactically or very early in an infection, there may be enough antibodies to shut the virus down. Because this method has been used in the past, and is fairly well understood, it may be possible to field it in advance of the availability of vaccines. There are some risks, but those are also fairly well understood.
  22. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/488796-trump-steps-up-effort-to-tout-malaria-drug-as-coronavirus-game
  23. You were able to understand that "FDA approval" does not (and could not, because of the slow FDA process that Trump has lambasted) mean "approval for Coronavirus" but the President of the United States could easily be confused? That's precisely my point.
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