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Madelaine McMasters

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Everything posted by Madelaine McMasters

  1. I'm not referring to the costs people experience personally. Mom wanted her pacemaker to go to someone who might not other wise get it. The financial impact to her for getting the pacemaker was, I think $320. That's a negligible amount to me, and actually to her. The financial cost to "the system" was (I'm working from foggy memory) about $25,000. Many of those arguing to reopen things will do everything they can to prevent themselves from infecting others, and are well aware of the risks they take themselves. I've been seeing video clips of beyond clueless people in those anti lock-down protests. They remind me of those "man on the street" interviews that pop up on some late night talk/comedy shows. They're rarely flattering and not representative of the thinking of other people of similar belief. The conservative politicians who're making the same argument are on much thinner ground in my opinion. $6T/20,000 = 300M https://www.theglobalist.com/the-cost-of-a-human-life-statistically-speaking/
  2. 4-23-2021 Donald Trump refutes accusations that he lost his bid for a second term as President of the United States by denying he'd had a first term.
  3. Yep, and that 88% failure rate for ventilation at one hospital chain in NYC is fuel for those who might argue there's no reason to overload a health care system that doesn't help the afflicted. I'm not making that argument, I'm anticipating it. In a few weeks, we should have enough data (probably from outside the US because our testing is still abysmal) about total infection rate to start projecting whether we'll hit herd immunity before a vaccine arrives. It will take longer to determine how long individual immunity lasts.
  4. I love ideas that are counterintuitive to me. They usually mean my intuition is broken. As we watch the "Trolley Problem" being debated, pitting lives lost to unrestricted freedom vs lives lost to economic disaster, there's this... https://www.history.com/news/great-depression-economy-life-expectancy https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/11/how-the-recession-improved-life-expectancy-but-didnt-make-us-healthier/265401/ And this... https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-04-08/100-000-americans-die-from-air-pollution-study-finds coupled to this... https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/22/world/air-pollution-reduction-cities-coronavirus-intl-hnk/index.html Yeah, I know the pollution reduction data comes from outside the US, but you'd imagine the US is seeing similar reductions in comparably dense population centers. So much to think about, so little brain to do it with. ETA, there's also this... https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/22/world/air-pollution-reduction-cities-coronavirus-intl-hnk/index.html Mom was making a utilitarian argument about her pacemaker. It was her right to make it. It was my right to attempt to talk her out of it. It's also my right to continue wondering about that.
  5. Unstated is the economic cost of that 32% reduction in mortality. That's the argument being posed by conservatives. It's a tremendously difficult thing to weigh, but people are going to weigh it. I suspect Sweden will ultimately determine they should have clamped down harder, but that's not a certainty for me at this moment. The problem is so complex, and the political divisions so deep, that I have some concern we won't actually learn a lot from this, though I remain cautiously optimistic. If you came to me weighing $6T in government programs, 20% unemployment and the host of other woes we're predicted to encounter against those 20,000 lives, I'd certainly pause a long time before answering. Looking at it another way. If all the destruction to the American economy that's being forecast to precipitate out of lock down measures comes true, and results in only a 32% better mortality rate than Sweden's, we're gonna look like a bunch of dumb SOBs. I too am skeptical of NYC's 21.2% total infection rate estimate. My point is that this number is now out in the wild and will be used to defend herd immunity arguments. If I just blow off someone who's read that article and sees it as justification for backing off on mitigation efforts, I've lost my opportunity to engage. The friend with whom I'm having this discussion remains fully engaged with me. Though he's more certain Sweden is going down the toilet than I am that it's not, we both find it valuable to sit on opposite sides of the argument. Based on my counter arguments, he's now going off looking for evidence to support my view. If he changes his mind, I'll probably take his old position. That's happened before in other arguments. We enjoy the process, as we're both searching for the same thing... the underlying truth. That's no argument until you assign costs to the plans. My mother had to be convinced to get a pacemaker after her stroke. There was a small portion of the cost that was not covered by insurance, and she knew that the bulk of the cost would be born by "the system". She didn't want me to lose that pittance from my inheritance, and she didn't want to deprive "the system" of the opportunity to put a pacemaker into someone who'd benefit more from it. I don't know when she might have died without the pacemaker, but she survived 20 months with it. So, there's a counter counter counter argument. Though this example means a lot to me, It's anecdotal and means little in the grand scheme of things. That's what I try to remember when I work through big problems like this. It's not about me. It's about us.
  6. Right. It's highly unlikely your air filter manual would mention interaction/interference with a computer, as it simply doesn't happen. Alwin might not understand this. Your particular filter contains only a blower and a filter cartridge. You can place it as close to your computer as you wish, there will be no issue. Chaser's concern over ionizing air filters has some small basis in fact. In factories that produce sensitive electronics, it is standard procedure to ionize facility air to reduce the accumulation of static charge on surfaces. Industrial air ionization systems produce equal amounts of positive and negative ions and do not generally remove particulates. That's the domain of air filtration systems. Home ionic air purifiers produced primarily negative ions. Those ions commingle with dust particles, giving them a net negative charge. That produces an attraction between the dust and nearby surfaces, which often are at lower electrostatic potential. Negative ion systems use other objects in the room as filter material, and your computer would be one of those objects, attracting dust out of the air. The net effect would be less dust in the air, and more dust in your computer. There may be some small increase in the amount of static electric shock moving people in the room can generate, but I'd not be terribly worried about that. Wintertime humidification generally solves that (and other) problems in the home.
  7. Yeah, a similar story popped up last week, with a potential explanation... https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/17/health/south-korea-coronavirus-retesting-positive-intl-hnk/index.html
  8. Well, you needn't trust the Chinese study to discover that the claim I quoted is false. The study Qie linked sent me researching immune response in general, and I learned some stuff. There are several ways the body can attack viral infections, only one of which produces antibodies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8423/ The unexpected absence of antibodies in some COVID patients in the Chinese study was theorized to be potentially due to an alternate immune response leading to remission. Nearly two months ago, I read of some COVID deaths attributed to cytokine storms, an inflammatory immune response run amok that damages healthy tissue. I think (I'll have to do more reading) that those victims might not have produced antibodies, as the cytokine immune response is different. So, here we have a trusted medical resource, the Netherland's National Institute for Public Health, making a claim that's (if I'm understanding all I've been reading) not true. These sorts of errors happen all the time, and are useful, if ultimately unhelpful, tools to attack expertise.
  9. Everything about COVID-19 depends on the tests being accurate, including refutation of Sweden's approach. Is there any data right now that you do find compelling, upon which you can be certain of the rightness of your particular position? I'm in a position to stay locked down indefinitely, with only modest damage to my lifestyle. Absolutely, but the Swedes are not the only ones engaging in wishful thinking. That's the human condition, isn't it? There are more levers to pull in addressing this pandemic than those discussed in the history books. Though we understood some benefits of isolation in those historic pandemics, we're in a much different place now, scientifically, socially, and economically. How many of those historic pandemics had tests, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, etc? If the reason one finds to do nothing is that it appears to be the best approach, doing nothing is entirely rational. Again, I'm not advocating for Sweden's approach, I'm simply pointing out that I can construct an argument for it that I can't summarily dismiss. I can, more easily, construct arguments for the danger of their approach. There are more than enough people already doing that, and I am preternaturally contrarian. I just got off the phone with the friend I've been having this "argument" with. He still thinks Sweden should take action, still sees political motivations at work, still thinks this will all come back to haunt them, but also enjoys the different perspective I've taken, and the supporting evidence I've found for a contrarian view. He also knows better than to presume that, because I argue Sweden's case, I agree with it. He and I have a long history of challenging each other in a mutual search for the truth. We have, over more than twenty years of doing this, both been proven wrong. More often than not, we do it to ourselves before the other can. We're also not terribly bothered if the other gets there first, as we share the same goal, to get at the truth. We also discussed a breaking headline. Sadly, Elizabeth Warren's oldest brother died of complications from Covid-19 Tuesday. I asked my friend if he thought this would increase or decrease Warren's credibility in any public COVID-19 discussions to come... "Ooooh, this is a trick question. There's an obvious answer and a right answer, and they're not the same."
  10. I think it was Qie who linked to a small study in China showing that some people who recovered from COVID-19 had NO antibodies. This suggests that an alternate immunoresponse was at work in those individuals (or there was a test error). Without knowing how the virus was cleared, it's not possible to opine about the degree or duration of immunity. If that study was accurate, it refutes a claim in the article you cited... "Everyone who has been in contact with the coronavirus will generate antibodies. By measuring those antibodies in their blood, we will know how many people in the Dutch population have been in contact with the virus." We're a long way from hard pressed facts.
  11. I regularly went to the Wisconsin State Fair during my youth. On one outing, State Senator William Proxmire was shaking people's hands as they entered one of the many agricultural display tents (now rigid structures). I was busily consuming a giant sloppy pickle on a stick held in my right hand. I showed it to Proxmire as I approached, but he was nonplussed. I switched the pickle to my left hand and soaked his right in brine. He did have a very pleasant handshake.
  12. That's very interesting, got a link? I've not yet seen compelling evidence that immunity is fading. What I have read suggests that the virus detection tests are sensitive to non-infectious remnant virus particles, producing false positives that suggest re-infection. On the antibody front, there seems to be significant confusion over actual immune response mechanisms at work and over the sensitivity and specificity of antibody tests. There's certainly reason to be concerned about short lived immunity after exposure, but it's pretty early in the pandemic to be drawing hard conclusions.
  13. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/23/new-york-antibody-study-estimates-13point9percent-of-residents-have-had-the-coronavirus-cuomo-says.html Per that story, NYC is now at 21.2% infection rate. Herd immunity, such as it might be, is within sight. Those taking Sweden's position (because they believe it or like me are just trying to understand it) will point to this as evidence that mitigation efforts haven't necessarily worked. The 88% fail rate for ventilation also comes from NYC, allowing for the argument that treatment doesn't work either. Don't confuse my argument here with my beliefs, as Luna so often does. I'm trying to anticipate the arguments that other people will make in support of Sweden's approach, and I'm able to do so in a way I can't summarily dismiss. I often take the "other" side of arguments, sometimes to check my own logic and sometimes to try to understand others'. I live in a world populated by people who see things far differently than I do. They can't all be wrong. They can't all be nuts. They can't all be bad. They can't all be ignorant. I can, at any moment in time, be any of those things. Two years from now, I will look back and see countless errors in my own judgment of all this. I'm working from incomplete and inaccurate data, in a highly politicized world that values simplicity over truth.
  14. Do you think Sweden's head medical guy is looking at data only from inside Sweden. That would be nuts.
  15. That statement implies you are able to study the evidence. I'll need some evidence that's true.
  16. I've been discussing this with my friend who's wife is Swedish and living in Sweden. Because those two are fairly certain that Sweden's gonna have possibly the worst death rate on the planet, resulting in massive damage to their economy, I've taken the counter argument. That's what I do. My counter argument will miss something, I'm sure. I can't imaging taking any stance on COVID-19 that's bullet proof, there's simply so little we know. So, here's my counter argument. First, some presumptions, all of which can be refuted. I make them anyway because they're not trivially rejectable and may be driving the thinking of those people we don't understand... We're not going to have a vaccine or highly effective treatment for 18 months. I don't think there's a lot of argument about this. We might discover some therapies that significantly reduce mortality, but that hasn't happened yet. Hydroxychloroquine looks to be a bust. One NYC hospital system now reports that 88% of the COVID patients put on ventilators eventually died. I have no data regarding less intensive care, such as nasal O2, or other treatments. Still, absent cures and with such horrific ventilator success, there's an argument to be made that the health care system isn't actually improving the numbers by much. We don't have (and aren't likely to get) any numbers showing relative outcomes for those who seek hospitalization vs those who tough it out at home and possibly succumb there. I've seen articles claiming that symptomatic people, uncertain they've got the virus, fear getting it if they seek hospitalization. They also fear financial ruin. We certainly aren't hospitalizing everyone who might benefit. Two antibody studies in California suggest that the total infected population there is far higher than commonly estimated. If that's even 1/10th true, COVID-19 mortality ratios are far lower than currently reported. If the total infected population is far higher than currently estimated, the onset of herd immunity will happen much sooner. Economic damage starts the moment you curtail activity. There's a level of curtailment you can't avoid, simply because most people will alter their behavior in response to falling ill, or witnessing others do so. The damage sustained by curtailing economic activity is neither linear nor immediately reversible. Reducing economic activity by 25% for four months might be worse than reducing it by 5% for 20. And we're really not going to get economic activity back to normal until there's a vaccine or long lasting herd immunity. From those suppositions, I can make the argument that doing nothing but informing people of the dangers of socializing will produce an ultimate outcome that's comparable or better than the most draconian suppression measures. There no cure on the immediate horizon. Hospitals are not has helpful as we think. Burdening them is a potential waste of resources that could be used to treat other people, with better results. COVID-19 is not as deadly as the current numbers suggest, because far more people have already had it. Herd immunity will arrive sooner than anticipated as a result. Let's come back in two years and revisit this argument.
  17. Nope, gentle satire. https://ogn.theonion.com/animal-crossing-new-horizons-developers-confirm-no-o-1842424849
  18. Though both versions are wonderful, I like the original screenshot best. Blank space has value.
  19. One's pair is night vision, the other's... X-Ray.
  20. Twelve years between those two avis, but it's the same hair.
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