Politics open thread, December 6-12

Your place to discuss politics is here.

From WCE:

Thanks to the pandemic, the shift from coal to natural gas to generate electricity, and falling renewable energy prices, U.S. emissions fell at about the same rate during the four years of the Trump administration as the prior eight years of the Obama administration. Biden’s election likely means that the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement that aims to strengthen the global response to climate change. He will overturn some executive actions undertaken by the Trump administration, and reinstate others undertaken in the Obama years. But, like the Obama administration, Biden’s is likely to find its ambitions hamstrung by a range of long-standing political, economic and technological constraints….

In the weeks since the election, prominent philanthropists, activists and scholars have insisted that climate voters have given the Biden administration a “mandate,” that low-income communities of color are the strongest proponents of climate action, and that, contradictorily, more resources need to be invested in communications and organizing within those communities to convince them of the necessity of climate action.

In reality, the preconditions for politically viable and sustainable climate action have always pointed in the opposite direction. The balance of power in American politics is held by rural and industrial states with energy intensive and resource-based economies. Those states tend to be culturally hostile and economically vulnerable to the regulatory and pricing agenda that the environmental community remains doggedly committed to, and Democrats can’t win or sustain governing majorities without them.

As such, there is no path to significant U.S. climate action that is predicated upon routing these areas politically, and thereby moving the nation away from fossil fuels via brute-force regulations, mandates and taxation. This has been the case since climate issues first emerged in the late 1980s, and it remains so today.

A more pragmatic environmental movement would have long ago come to terms with these realities….

Hitching the future of the climate to the political fortunes of one party—particularly one increasingly centered around Americans who work in the knowledge economy, live in coastal cities, and won’t bear the lion’s share of the costs associated with cutting emissions—was never a good idea.

To Fight Climate Change, Get Real
Activists want the Democrats to transform America. That isn’t happening.

640 thoughts on “Politics open thread, December 6-12

  1. Pretty much ever RV youtuber has a few episodes about their solar and battery conversion. It’s just so much better than having to rely on the generator. You get the sense that this is a pretty conservative group.

    Our resident solar evangelist Finn has talked a lot about the benefits of solar. I was even watching something about a solar/power wall setup where 100% of your home power needs and the power to charge your car all come from your own setup.

    It’s seems sort of odd to me that this technological transformation has a partisan angle. I think a lot
    of it comes down to mood affiliation – people who otherwise don’t have a opinion say, “What does my team think about this issue.” And that’s the position they take.

  2. The local company that sells a coating that improves the efficiency/cleanliness of largescale solar panels is struggling because the company can’t get any insurance for the (low) risk that the coating will damage the existing panels over the long term and the panel manufacturing companies void the warranty if the coating is applied and different laws apply around the world. The risk is also different around the world, due to local pollution levels and local dirt acidity, etc. (All this is simplified dramatically from a legal perspective.)

    My wave energy research friend has discussed similar issues around low risks and long-term environmental liability.

    The long-term environmental liability of a low risk is something the government could help with in the United States.

  3. Rhett, the partisanship is because Republicans think protecting jobs is more important than protecting the environment. So they promote policies that protect the gas and oil industries.

  4. Denver, I’m sure realize how short-sighted thst is. There are plenty of jobs in solar and other types of renewable energy.

  5. “The terrible thing is, that winds up not actually protecting that many jobs.”

    Yeah, look at how much success Trump has had protecting coal jobs.

  6. “It’s seems sort of odd to me that this technological transformation has a partisan angle.”

    A lot of the push to solar, wind, and other technologies that convert existing forms of energy to electricity came due to climate change concerns, which has been a partisan issue.

  7. WCE, I’m wondering if the solar panel coating company has tried to target panels that are already out of warranty.

    I’m also curious how it works. Does the coating have an intermediate index of refraction?

    “The long-term environmental liability of a low risk is something the government could help with in the United States.”

    Locally, the military has been a leader in installing solar as well as wave systems.

    I’d like to see them install wind systems. They have a lot of large buildings that concentrate wind energy that could be harvested.

  8. “Why are Republicans silent at this?”

    They are scared of his base. Much like the left has the Squad and the old school Democrats, the right has the Trumpsters and the Mitt Romneys/Hogans. Not clear who will win out on the left. On the right, the Trumpsters have won, so Republicans who want to hang on to their power cannot cross Trump. I would like to see the old school Democrats and Mitt Romneys come together in a party. Those two groups are more similar than the other groups that are in each of their respective parties.

  9. OK, but “the base” ™ consists of a lot of people. Why aren’t those people hanging their heads in shame? Some of them must be people with normal critical thinking abilities who learned about democracy and the American way in high school…

  10. “Why aren’t those people hanging their heads in shame?”

    I think you are expecting way too much of people. If you supported Trump through all of his nonsense, you might disagree with him on this particular issue, but it seems that the most typical reaction is just to ignore it. Not speak out. And a good percentage believe there is some truth to it.

  11. Yes, the Republicans don’t want to upset the Trump supporters who believe this sh!t. So rather than standing up for the truth, they are caving to the lowest denominator. It’s completely shameful how they have let Trump take over the party at the expense of common decency.

  12. The more centrist parts of each party would fit together, but that seems very unlikely. What I wish would happen, and what seems a bit more possible, is for both of the big parties to split. Most of my lifetime, there have been movements in each of them where one faction got stronger for a while, then another in the same party, but generally when one party seemed about to burst, the other was more united (not actually united, just less likely to split). Of course no faction of either party can go out on its own when the other party is sticking together—that would just guarantee that both new independent little parties (that used to be one big party) would get walloped. But if they both split at the same time, we would have four parties, each roughly similar in size and strength, and perhaps we could move past the “us or them” mentality to parties actually attracting voters based on agreement on issues.

  13. The thing is, lots of Republicans say they don’t like Trump’s personality but like getting conservative judges because they see that as the way to preserve our democracy. But don’t they see that this isn’t a personality thing right now, it is an attack on our democracy that conservative judges are not going for. What he is doing is not what conservatism was ever supposed to be about. Plus it makes him look like a dorky loser, not a strong manly man.

  14. Since Sidney Powell is too crazy for even Giuliani and now that Giuliani is in the hospital getting his antibody treatment, maybe the whole thing falls apart finally. Elite Strike Force indeed.

  15. I think part of the silence is the result of the party realignment Milo first noticed. Politicians don’t want to make a statement because they don’t know how things will turn out. Is Trump an aberration or is he the core of the Republican Party.

  16. WCE, exactly as I suspected, the coating has an index of refraction between that of air and glass. I believe that’s also the case for antireflective coatings for glasses.

    I’m thinking about sending their url to my solar contractor. While they specifically say they’re not in the residential rooftop market, I wonder if they would be open to working with my contractor to coat panels on the ground before installation.

  17. Rhett, that they are refusing to stand up to his lies says everything about their (lack of) integrity.

  18. Finn, I don’t know if they would be open to letting you buy a residential-size quantity in exchange for data. The COO is from the Bay Area and used to work with my former manager, I think, and so your background along with my former manager’s name and a request to forward to the Pellucere COO might get your email forwarded.

  19. I don’t care whether their party is realigning or not. You don’t stand by silently when the President of the United States is pressuring state officials to completely overturn elections. That is just Integrity 101. You can be a populist, you can be a neocon, you can be a Bernie Bro, whatever, but elections are the bedrock of America.

  20. Going after state election officials was weeks ago. Now he’s trying to get the gov to send in electors who don’t vote according to what the state’s voters decided. He says he won’t because it’s illegal. Interesting, because he disenfranchised many voters in prefer to ensure his own re-election not so long ago.

  21. On vaccines — many people have been touting them as the only way for us to get back to “normal,” but there is still much we do not know about them. Including the pivotal issue of whether they prevent infection, or only reduce severity of symptoms in those who are infected:

    “In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, regulators are poring over data from a similar vaccine made by Moderna of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a third produced by AstraZeneca of Cambridge, UK, and the University of Oxford, UK. All three have been tested in large clinical trials, and have shown promise in preventing disease symptoms.

    But none has demonstrated that it prevents infection altogether, or reduces the spread of the virus in a population. This leaves open the chance that those who are vaccinated could remain susceptible to asymptomatic infection — and could transmit that infection to others who remain vulnerable. “In the worst-case scenario, you have people walking around feeling fine, but shedding virus everywhere,” says virologist Stephen Griffin at the University of Leeds, UK.
    Pfizer has said that its scientists are looking at ways to assess virus transmission in future studies. For now, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford might be able to provide the first hints as to whether a vaccine can protect against such transmission. Although they have yet to publish complete results, their trial did routinely test participants for SARS-CoV-2, allowing investigators to track whether people became infected without developing symptoms. Early indications are that the vaccine might have reduced the frequency of such infections, which would suggest that transmission might also be reduced.” https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03441-8

    (Never mind the alarming fact that governments are proposing to roll out vaccines for hundreds of millions of people based on results from fewer than 200 subjects in each of the clinical trials.)

    We can put that aside, and consider that we will be in pretty much the same position three months from now as we are at this moment. People who get the vaccine will still be capable of being infected, and of infecting others. Maybe they will have fewer or no symptoms, but remember that all of our pandemic protections — masks, social distancing, quarantines — are based on the fears of asymptomatic spread.

    So how are we better off with these vaccines? We can reserve them for nursing home residents and others over age 80, which might reduce the mortality load in those populations. That’s great. But it’s hard to see how the rest of society will get back to normal.

    Fauci and Birx have said the quiet part out loud. We will still have to wear masks and avoid contact with other people. For a very long time.

  22. Well, Scarlett, if the vaccines don’t actually work, then I guess we will be wearing masks.

  23. @MM – I totally agree. It is really shocking to see that elected Republicans continue to stand by Trump.

  24. MM,

    I guess it isn’t surprising to see certain people rooting against the vaccine. It interesting to ponder how their ideology led them to this point.

  25. Scarlett, can I ask how you are managing risk in this pandemic? You seem critical of the idea that if we wait a little longer we will be in better shape, new normal, blah blah blah. Do you go out to restaurants and shopping? Gather with friends? Church? With it without masks? I have had less than a handful of get togethers with friends since this started, saw my parents and sibling unmasked for 4 days at a thanksgiving (after 14 day quarantine first), but won’t see them at Christmas. I grocery shop or go to a target in person on occasion but have not done any other in person shopping or dined-in at restaurants except for two of the friend get-togethers. I won’t resume old habits until I perceive the risk to my health to be lower. I know I’m unlikely to die from it, but there is enough info on other lasting impacts that I still intend to avoid getting sick. Even without mandated lockdowns, I’m still pretty cautious. I know I’m not the only who is behaving this way, and the economy can’t rebound until people like me get back out there. Have you fully resumed your pre-pandemic ways?

  26. Anon – the TV shows have annoyed me with their nod to the pandemic. Actors are shown wearing their masks, and then as soon as they’re ready to have an important, close conversation, they take them off. I’m thinking of L&O, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD. A few people will have them on in the background.

    If the vaccines don’t work…I don’t know. I think people are going to just stop trying. Government-run entities like schools, and large employers will keep up the effort for a while, but any willingness to hold off on private functions will completely evaporate.

    My state, and New Jersey iirc, are entering an election year (no, it never ends for us). The backlash to the local representatives, the local school boards, it’s going to be pretty intense if the vaccine doesn’t get us back to normal, and fast.

  27. The TV nod to the pandemic is annoying in the same way that, to any parent of an infant, the I Love Lucy episodes where they supposedly had Little Ricky in the small apartment is annoying — he never cries, he’s never around unless he’s wanted in the scene, and Lucy and Ethel are just as free as ever to pursue their hijinks.

  28. Milo,

    If the vaccine is successful, will it cause you to rethink how you approached the pandemic? If back in March you knew that the vaccine would be out this Friday (which it looks like it will be) presumably you would have approached this a lot differently.

    Would you ever think, good thing no one took my advice?

  29. I Love Lucy episodes where they supposedly had Little Ricky in the small apartment is annoying — he never cries, he’s never around unless he’s wanted in the scene, and Lucy and Ethel are just as free as ever to pursue their hijinks.

    I hear you on the never crying part, but parents used to leave small children alone much more than they do now. I read an autobiography where the author described how she and her husband went out a lot in the evenings, leaving their three young children alone in bed, and asking the neighbor to “keep an ear out” for them. The ways in which childrearing norms have changed in the last 60 years is staggering, really. Stuff that was normal then would have you behind bars now.

  30. Becky,
    I wear masks where required. We have eaten at two indoor restaurants since they have opened, but we never go out much here so that’s not a huge change. Shopping as much as in the before times. The church has been open since late May, and I’m there every day. We have had small numbers of people, including my dad, to our house for both outdoor and indoor dining. Swimming at the gym since it opened in May; taking a pass on the exercise class till I don’t have to wear a mask.

    I am way back in the line for a vaccine, so it’s just a theoretical question at this point.
    We won’t know if the vaccines “work” for a really long time because the rollout will not be clinical trials with groups getting placebos. We won’t even get the chance for more data from the actual clinical trials if the placebo group is allowed to opt for a vaccine. If older people want to take a chance on a vaccine that has not actually been tested with subjects in their age cohort, that’s fine. Not sure whether my dad will choose to be among them.

    There is a lot of wishful thinking about the vaccines. They’re not going to have any effect on the anti-science union activists who are keeping schools closed, for example.

  31. Rhett – I’m hesitant to discuss Covid with you because of some of your reactions to disagreements.

    I don’t know what I was supposed to do differently. I’ve gone to my job and followed the required protocols. We’ve had some social events that were within the numerical guidelines set by our governor. I skipped Thanksgiving with my parents when I thought I might have it.

    Rocky – my mom was sorting through my grandparents’ lifetime of collected stuff, and found her baby book. For the entry of “sleeping the whole night,” my grandmother had written “two weeks.”

    So…yeah, if you don’t have a baby monitor to broadcast every cry, maybe so.

  32. When my dad was a toddler, my other grandmother put him in a harness and leashed him in the yard to one of those runners that clip to an overhead cable.

    If we ever want to raise the birth rate, we’ve got to make stuff like this acceptable again!

  33. I don’t know what I was supposed to do differently.

    Advocate different positions.

    Rhett – I’m hesitant to discuss Covid with you because of some of your reactions to disagreements.

    It’s not the disagreements. It’s the goldfish memory issue.

    Shutdowns don’t work.

    Well….yeh, obviously.

    A week goes by, “Shutdowns don’t work.”

  34. “Advocate different positions.”

    To the dozen or so people on this blog? Why do you think it matters? WTF cares? It makes no difference, I’m not any kind of expert, they’re not going to change their thinking — regardless of where they are on it — because of what I say, and why should they?

  35. The ways in which childrearing norms have changed in the last 60 years is staggering, really. Stuff that was normal then would have you behind bars now.

    Just because it was acceptable doesn’t mean it was okay to do it. It’s like people who say “we never wore seatbelts and we were just fine”, that’s because the people who died from not wearing seatbelts aren’t around to tell you about it.

  36. Why do you think it matters?

    Because something bad may happen to you in the future and your first reaction is going to be, “Well this is how things are going to be forever.” And that’s going to be the wrong reaction.

  37. For those who think it’s just fine to close schools indefinitely for “safety” reasons:

    “After the U.S. education system fractured into Zoom screens last spring, experts feared millions of children would fall behind. Hard evidence now shows they were right.
    A flood of new data — on the national, state and district levels — finds students began this academic year behind. Most of the research concludes students of color and those in high-poverty communities fell further behind their peers, exacerbating long-standing gaps in American education.
    A study being released this week by McKinsey & Co. estimates that the shift to remote school in the spring set White students back by one to three months in math, while students of color lost three to five months. As the coronavirus pandemic persists through this academic year, McKinsey said, losses will escalate.
    “I think we should be very concerned about the risk of a lost generation of students,” said former education secretary John B. King Jr., who is now president of Education Trust, an advocacy and research group focused on equity issues.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/students-falling-behind/2020/12/06/88d7157a-3665-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

    This is, of course, not a surprise to anyone with common sense.
    I will continue to argue that closing schools was just about the most tragic unforced error associated with the lockdowns. And the debacle continues, because it seems that teachers unions have full control and they’re not going back until next fall, if then. When the country finally emerges from this nonsense, there will be millions of kids who have been out of school for well over a year.

  38. (Never mind the alarming fact that governments are proposing to roll out vaccines for hundreds of millions of people based on results from fewer than 200 subjects in each of the clinical trials.)

    WTF are you talking about? Pfizer had 44,000 in their trial and Moderna had 30,000.

  39. Just because it was acceptable doesn’t mean it was okay to do it. It’s like people who say “we never wore seatbelts and we were just fine”, that’s because the people who died from not wearing seatbelts aren’t around to tell you about it.

    Yes, that’s absolutely true, but there were also things (like Milo’s example of the tethered baby) that were really fine.

    My friend’s nanny went outside to sit on the step for a phone call. My friend was enraged because she had told the nanny never to leave the house while the baby was sleeping (or awake). She was on the front steps! Jesus Christ. If the house had burned down she would have noticed. She could probably hear if the kid started crying.

  40. “Because something bad may happen to you in the future and your first reaction is going to be, “Well this is how things are going to be forever.” And that’s going to be the wrong reaction.”

    I didn’t sell any stocks. I increased the amount I was buying.

    Something bad is definitely going to happen to me in the future, sooner or later. It’s been a year since my friend died from kidney cancer in his early 50s.

  41. “Just because it was acceptable doesn’t mean it was okay to do it.”

    ITA. Things like smoke detectors, window guards, and car seats have been responsible for major decreases in child mortality over the past few decades.

    “In the mid-1960s, a New York City Department of Health study found that on average 30 to 50 children under five were dying per year, mostly in Manhattan and the Bronx, when they fell out of apartment building windows; a campaign followed to encourage and eventually require landlords to install window guards, and the annual number of such deaths fell to four by 1980.” https://www.nber.org/dec99/reducing-accidents-key-lower-child-mortality

    But young parents will get grief from older relatives for insisting on safety measures. Granted, some of those safety measures are over the top, but the argument “we didn’t have ___ when you were little and you survived” is really not persuasive.

  42. “WTF are you talking about? Pfizer had 44,000 in their trial and Moderna had 30,000.”

    The efficacy press releases — which have led to the expedited FDA review and actual approval in the UK — were based on the positive COVID tests for fewer than 200 subjects. From the Nature article I just posted:

    “The major vaccine trials so far have enrolled tens of thousands of people, but for each one, conclusions about effectiveness are drawn from fewer than 200 people who have developed disease. As a result, it can be difficult to break up the data to look at efficacy in different groups — such as people who are obese or elderly — without losing statistical power. “We need to see more data in terms of effects of vaccines across different demographics,” says Michael Head, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of Southampton, UK.

    There are early indications that the three leading vaccines protect people over 65. But researchers will probably need real-world data from large numbers of vaccinated people before they can get the demographic granularity necessary to ensure that parts of the population aren’t left unprotected.

    There are no data yet on how the vaccines fare in children and pregnant women. Such trials often lag behind tests in other groups of people, to ensure that as many safety data as possible have been collected before they begin. On 2 December, Moderna unveiled plans to test its vaccine in adolescents.”

    You’re a medical professional working with elderly people. If you missed this point (which, to be fair, was not much stressed in the media coverage), then presumably so have most people who are sure that vaccines will end the pandemic restrictions. They are going to be sorely disappointed, and then maybe they will just do as Milo predicts and throw in the towel with precautions.

  43. Milo,

    Before this did you know you had a really strong status quo bias or did this crisis make you aware of it?

  44. the people who died from not wearing seatbelts aren’t around to tell you about it.

    My mother still feels guilty about the time she went grocery shopping, leaving the apartment door cracked so the neighbor could check on the baby, my sister, who was sleeping. Mom slipped on the ice and broke her leg. Everyone survived.

  45. Should’ve included that they were on an Air Force base, and the Apartments came off an interior hallway.

  46. “I read an autobiography where the author described how she and her husband went out a lot in the evenings, leaving their three young children alone in bed, and asking the neighbor to “keep an ear out” for them.”
    Woody Guthrie lost a small daughter, Cathy, in an apartment fire. Woody was travelling and his wife Nora went across the street on an errand, leaving Cathy alone to play in the apartment.

  47. Rhett – I recognized it. It made things like Plebe Year particularly difficult for me. The most helpful tip I got was from my uncle, outside of Chili’s, a night or two before I left home. He said “No matter what they do, they can’t stop the clock.”

    I passed that on to one of our old regulars when her son was heading to WP.

  48. Agreed – Thank God that things are so much safer than they were for any other generation in history. And that is overall a fabulous thing.

    I tend to think the pendulum has swung too far towards an obsession toward “safety” and controlling all risk – ONLY with a certain (mostly) UMC subset of parents. Not the majority – a small subset that happens to be within my own social circles. The nanny on the steps being a good example. The obsession with perfect car seats. Extreme control over diets/food.

    Or the one I see now – the refusal to let tweens have any autonomy/freedom (or to ONLY have autonomy with electronics and social media, but not in the real world.) DS has a good friend who seemingly is not monitored at all on his devices but isn’t allowed to leave the front steps without a parent. At thirteen!!! His parents walk him the 1.5 blocks to our house when they get together. It’s insanity.

  49. Our neighborhood is quite lax by today’s standards of child rearing. Kids kindergarten age will go to neighborhood houses and roam around the neighborhood playing with their friends. It’s been that way since we moved here. Before we moved here, my kids were not old enough to go around by themselves and I wondered about this but I realized that parents got comfortable when they saw other parents allowing their kids out of their yards. It’s an unsaid group decision.

  50. “or to ONLY have autonomy with electronics and social media, but not in the real world.”
    The problem is that the teens themselves prefer the electronics and social media to the real world. And truthfully, it is really hard to monitor teens on electronics. Even at school, they have all figured out how to override the supposedly secure wifi (it isn’t hard, just use a VPN)

  51. @MM – Do you not see it as an issue that a tween/teen would be allowed free reign over the internet but not IRL? This only pushes more towards electronics if they can play chat/text/facetime all day but need Mommy to walk them across the street. They need to learn responsibility/life skills in both.

  52. “Most of the research concludes students of color and those in high-poverty communities fell further behind their peers, exacerbating long-standing gaps in American education.”

    “This is, of course, not a surprise to anyone with common sense.”

    In NYC, families of color have been substantially more likely than White families to opt for fully remote schooling this year. How — if at all — does that affect your judgment of the effects of remote schooling, particularly that it was an “unforced error” that that was obvious to anyone with “common sense.”

  53. “In NYC, families of color have been substantially more likely than White families to opt for fully remote schooling this year. ”

    Same here.

  54. The fact that certain groups disproportionately choose not to attend school in-person doesn’t mean that the choice should not exist.

    The choice is important. We can trust people to make the best choices for themselves based on their family and employment situations.

  55. “In NYC, families of color have been substantially more likely than White families to opt for fully remote schooling this year. How — if at all — does that affect your judgment of the effects of remote schooling, particularly that it was an “unforced error” that that was obvious to anyone with “common sense.”

    Those decisions were based on fear, which was triggered by the insane levels of panic porn peddled by the mainstream media. Many Americans have a very inaccurate perception of their actual risks of hospitalization (or death) if infected by COVID:

    “Overall, slightly more than half of Americans say they are very (23%) or somewhat (30%) concerned that they will get the coronavirus and require hospitalization; 47% say they are not too or not at all concerned about this.
    Personal concern about getting a serious case of COVID-19 is lower among White adults than those in other racial and ethnic groups. Personal concern is also lower among adults ages 18 to 29 than those in older age groups.
    Three-in-ten of those with lower family incomes say they are very concerned about getting a case of COVID-19 that would require hospitalization. People with lower family incomes are more worried about getting a serious case of COVID-19 than those in middle- or upper-income tiers.” https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/12/03/intent-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-rises-to-60-as-confidence-in-research-and-development-process-increases/

    The data show that fewer than 4% of COVID patients will require a hospital stay — and the odds are much lower for people under age 65 with no health problems. https://covidtracking.com/data

    It’s very unfortunate that the populations that Democrats claim to care about and represent were the most hurt by the anti-science decisions to keep schools closed.

  56. Scarlett,

    But as you’ve said so many times before facts and data don’t matter. It’s how the parents feel that matters. If they feel this is something to worry about that ends the discussion in your mind.

  57. “MM – Do you not see it as an issue that a tween/teen would be allowed free reign over the internet but not IRL? ”
    I would totally prefer that tweens and teens get more monitoring on the internet and less in real life. The reality is that it is impossible to do any level of monitoring on the internet unless you simply don’t let your kids have a smartphone. So many parents, realizing the hopelessness of it, just throw up their hands in despair.
    In my area, teens are pretty free to move about the town – too free sometimes since we had some major issues with middle school kids in huge packs riding their bikes on the school running track at night and scaring off the regular walkers/runners. At the last PTA council meeting, the superintendant went ballistic about the hordes of teens in the shopping plaza back parking lot in the evenings. Parents here are not micromanaging teen movements.
    I think there are some areas of the country where pre-driving teens can’t really move around because of distance between houses and lack of sidewalks. Many towns in CT, especially the eastern part of the state, are like that. So in those cases, it may feel like kids access to real life is being limited by parents – but in reality it is geography.

    We spend a lot of time wringing our hands over what Facebook is doing to civil dicourse among adults, but pay little attention to the way those same algorithms are affecting kids, who consume far more social media than adults do. I don’t see a solution though.

  58. “It’s very unfortunate that the populations that Democrats claim to care about and represent were the most hurt by the anti-science decisions to keep schools closed.”

    No — this is wrong. All New York families were given the option of attending school in person. Fewer than half elected to do so. Families of color and low-income families (presumably that is who you mean when you refer to “the populations that Democrats claim to care about”) were more likely than White families and upper-income families to keep their kids home by choice. I am not arguing that choice should be eliminated. Rather, I am questioning your conclusion that anyone with common sense can see that remote schooling is a failure. The fact that most NYC families freely chose remote learning for their kids seems to suggest that lots of people disagree with your “common sense” conclusion.

    And as for the increased concern about infection/hospitalization among low-income families and families of color, there is actually quite a bit of common behind it. Many of these families live in multi-generational households, so if the kids are in school, the high-risk elders are at much greater risk. And these are precisely the communities that were crushed in NYC’s first wave — lots of hospitalizations and deaths — so I am not surprised that they have high levels of concern this time around.

  59. As a Pew Research report published last week pointed out: “Black Americans are especially likely to say they know someone who has been hospitalized or died as a result of having the coronavirus: 71 percent say this, compared with smaller shares of Hispanic (61 percent), White (49 percent) and Asian-American (48 percent) adults.”

  60. Am I the only one who found it humorous that these two lines were in consecutive posts?

    “If we ever want to raise the birth rate, we’ve got to make stuff like this acceptable again!”
    “Advocate different positions.”

  61. “I don’t know what I was supposed to do differently.”

    After you went to the tinderbox bus event, you could’ve taken more steps to limit the number of people you came into contact with, and to protect those you came into contact with, including your kids, over the next week or so.

  62. WCE, I wasn’t planning to contact the company directly. I was thinking of telling my contractor about them, and let them decide if they want to pursue anything.

    It’s pretty clear they don’t want to deal with someone like me and thirty-something panels already on our roof. But perhaps they’d want to work with my contractor, who’s installing hundreds if not thousands of panels every month and might be able to apply the coating in their shop.

  63. “many people have been touting them as the only way for us to get back to “normal,” but there is still much we do not know about them. Including the pivotal issue of whether they prevent infection, or only reduce severity of symptoms in those who are infected:”

    OTOH, if they are very effective of reducing the severity of symptoms, even without preventing infection, that will go a long way to getting us closer to our pre-pandemic norms. Especially if that reduction significantly reduces the impact on hospitals and HCW

  64. “All New York families were given the option of attending school in person.”

    When? Did parents have the choice to send their children back to school, 5 days a week, beginning in September?

  65. “remember that all of our pandemic protections — masks, social distancing, quarantines — are based on the fears of asymptomatic spread.”

    I don’t think that’s entirely true.

    Even if this disease were like, say, SARS, and contagiousness was largely correlated with symptoms, those precautions would still be relevant, albeit more limited. There’s a reason that the face masks in common use in Asia before this pandemic were often referred to as ‘SARS masks.’

    Those protections are also based on fears of presymptomatic spread.

  66. “I am way back in the line for a vaccine, so it’s just a theoretical question at this point.”

    Is it? I’m guessing your dad is far ahead of you in the line. If he is, that makes it a lot less theoretical for you and how you interact with him.

    More generally, even if you’re not vaccinated, your interactions with others could change if they are. E.g., medical appointments might be easier to come by.

  67. “OTOH, if they are very effective of reducing the severity of symptoms, even without preventing infection, that will go a long way to getting us closer to our pre-pandemic norms. Especially if that reduction significantly reduces the impact on hospitals and HCW”

    That depends.
    Let’s say that a HCW gets the vaccine, but then tests positive in a routine screen. No matter how mild her symptoms, she’s out on isolation for however many days her employer is requiring of positive cases. Her close contacts at work may also be sent to quarantine. She is in no better position than someone in her facility who did not get the vaccine, but also tested positive and had relatively mild symptoms (as do many many people). The only advantage is that she *might* need only two weeks rather than a month to fully recover and return to work. That is big advantage, of course, but right now we don’t know whether that is a reasonable expectation for those who get the vaccine.

    For the old and fragile, it may not matter whether the vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms, because any respiratory virus in this population is potentially dangerous, and even mild symptoms might be enough to require hospitalization. Right now, we simply don’t know whether any of the vaccines would prevent a 90 year old dementia patient from dying of COVID complications. Because it has not been tested in that group.

  68. As I said, Finn, the numbers were within the state guidelines. And I’ve had riskier times at work than that “tinderbox event,” as you call it. We made a couple decent friendships from that, and I would do it again.

  69. If I were low income, I would be very concerned about getting covid as I would be worried about the financial impact of not working as I’d be more likely to work in a job where I only get paid if I showed up and also would be worried financially about the cost of health care.

    I work in finance and find myself often reminding people that a small percentage multiplied by a large number is still a large number. If hundreds of millions of people get sick, then a large number of people will be hospitalized and/or die even though the percentage is low.

  70. “For the old and fragile, it may not matter whether the vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms, because any respiratory virus in this population is potentially dangerous, and even mild symptoms might be enough to require hospitalization.”

    If/when I’m old and fragile, I think QoL would be my priority. So if all the vaccine did for me was reduce the symptoms such that I wouldn’t have to suffer through the headaches, fatigue, etc., that would make a big difference in my QoL, and I wouldn’t need to have my family not visit me out of fear that I’d be infected.

  71. “If hundreds of millions of people get sick, then a large number of people will be hospitalized and/or die even though the percentage is low.”

    It won’t be hundreds of millions, because a good chunk of the population has already been infected and recovered. And it matters much more WHO gets infected than HOW MANY get infected. That’s why hospitalizations and deaths aren’t surging (even waiting two weeks) as case numbers are.
    It’s also true that many hospitalized patients in the COVID counts are hospitalized “with” and not “for” COVID. For instance, you need to read through most of this article on hospitals “filling” with COVID patients to encounter this tidbit:

    “Not every hospitalized patient with the virus represents the same strain on the health care system, Dunn noted. At Mass. General, for example, about 30 percent of COVID patients are at the hospital primarily for some other reason — but also happen to test positive for COVID. They are mostly asymptomatic.” https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/04/business/massachusetts-hospitals-filling-with-covid-patients-still-have-space-more/

  72. “the numbers were within the state guidelines.”

    I’m with WCE and Cass in thinking that state guidelines aren’t always the best guide to balancing risks.

    “We made a couple decent friendships from that, and I would do it again.”

    Note that I didn’t say not to do it. But if you do stuff like that, IMO you should recognize the risks not just to you, but to all those with whom you’ll come into contact subsequently, and have some consideration for them. They gain none of the benefit from you having a fun time, but stand to potentially suffer for it. Also think of the HCW who might need to treat you if you do get infected

    Realize that even if you attend such tinderbox events, there are things you can do to mitigate your risk, and thus the risk of everyone you come into contact with in the succeeding week or two. As I mentioned earlier, there are ways to hold similar events that reduce the risk while maintaining the benefits, e.g., choose a venue that’s better ventilated, minimize the level of background music so people don’t’ need to speak loudly and thus generate fewer aerosols.

    By your own admission, you don’t know what you were supposed to do differently. I’m just trying to help out.

  73. Finn – I think the disconnect here that you’re not grasping is that when my work periodically requires interactions that are higher-risk environments for transmission, it seems illogical to say “well, that’s OK, but I can’t do any socializing on the weekend.”

    If I had been WAH since March, I’d maybe view the situation differently. It’s similar to what Cass has explained about the serfs.

  74. “I will continue to argue that closing schools was just about the most tragic unforced error associated with the lockdowns. And the debacle continues, because it seems that teachers unions have full control and they’re not going back until next fall, if then. When the country finally emerges from this nonsense, there will be millions of kids who have been out of school for well over a year.”

    Let me get this clear Scarlet, you feel as if the data on school spread is adequate to show that schools should be opened but the data on masks is not? I mean, If that’s what you’re working with – wow. Also if teachers unions had the power that people like you seem to think they do, we would have adequately funded schools all over. Lol.

  75. it seems illogical to say “well, that’s OK, but I can’t do any socializing on the weekend.”

    I understand why you feel that way, but it actually is logical. One is supposed to undertake necessary risks, but skip unnecessary risks. The fewer group interactions, the better. So goes the theory.

  76. when my work periodically requires interactions that are higher-risk environments for transmission, it seems illogical to say “well, that’s OK, but I can’t do any socializing on the weekend.”

    Milo…you actually wrote that? Think Honors Spanish and cogitate for a minute.

  77. She’s always careful to say that “mask mandates don’t work”

    Are you referring to Scarlett? She has said many times that masks don’t work.

    The statement that masks “just help” is essentially a religious belief, not a scientific one.

    There is still no actual data that masks reduce transmission.

    And on and on.

    Shall I go on?

  78. RMS beat me to it.

    “when my work periodically requires interactions that are higher-risk environments for transmission, it seems illogical to say “well, that’s OK, but I can’t do any socializing on the weekend.””

    I would assume that the people with whom you socialize are also people about whom you care, and thus would prefer to see to become infected.

    Wouldn’t it be more logical to socialize during the weekends following weeks in which your work did not require interactions that are higher-risk environments for transmission, while not socializing soon after being in higher-risk environments for transmission?

  79. “ The fewer group interactions, the better. So goes the theory.”

    And we’ve definitely done fewer.

  80. It must be nice to be such a perfect person, Rhett. An expert on all things whether you have experience in the area or not.

  81. Finn – I don’t control people other people’s birthday schedules. We won’t over this the last time you got all preachy about the “tinderbox.”

  82. What?

    It looks like the relevant thread was subject to the totebag document retention policy. I’m pretty sure you were part of it.

  83. RMS – Rhett is referring to a story I shared from high school, when my Spanish teacher was talking about Princess Diana’s death, and I said I couldn’t understand why millions of people who never knew her were crying as if she were their own family. The teacher said I was very cold.

    It became one of those inside jokes in our group in high school.

  84. Milo,

    In reality, while I obviously never proof read for spelling, grammar and punctuation, I do double check before making a factual assertion. You said that was the big difference between me and your neighbor*.

    *I’m getting the impression I remember more of this than other people. Meme once mentioned she had the same problem in real life.

  85. “But if you do stuff like that, IMO you should recognize the risks not just to you, but to all those with whom you’ll come into contact subsequently, and have some consideration for them. They gain none of the benefit from you having a fun time, but stand to potentially suffer for it. Also think of the HCW who might need to treat you if you do get infected”

    People who come into contact with Milo — or anyone else — are taking a very small but nonzero risk that he will infect them because of the other people with whom he has come into contact. If they want to minimize that risk, they need to stay home at all times. When they leave their home and come into contact with other people, they risk infections. That has *always* been true of human beings.

  86. “When? Did parents have the choice to send their children back to school, 5 days a week, beginning in September?”
    If that had been the only choice, I think even fewer New Yorkers would have taken it. The idea of all those kids crammed into those small rooms at the same time… Nah.

  87. More of what?

    What we talk about. Finn said he remembers what he said about HHS spots per capita but not what anyone said in response. RMS said we mentioned the payday loan conversation and she didn’t remember it.

  88. The choice to go back in person was pretty early in NYC.

    September 9, 2020 Malls in NYC reopen at 50% capacity with no indoor dining. Casinos reopen across NYS at 25% capacity.
    September 16, 2020 Mayor de Blasio furloughs his City Hall staff, including himself
    September 21, 2020 Pre-K and advanced special-needs classes begin in-person learning in NYC
    September 27, 2020 The union representing NYC principals and school administrators delivers a unanimous “no confidence” vote days before students are set to return to schools
    September 29, 2020 Elementary students return to public school classrooms across NYC
    September 30, 2020 Indoor dining in NYC resumes with a 25% occupancy limit
    October 1, 2020 NYC middle and high schools begin in-person learning.
    October 2, 2020 President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump test positive for coronavirus
    October 4, 2020 Mayor de Blasio says all schools and non-essential businesses will close in nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens, if approved by the state
    October 5, 2020 NYC reports 252,000 COVID-19 cases and 23,861 deaths to date

  89. MM — I agree. But my point is simply that, if everyone agreed that remote learning was an unmitigated disaster, we would expect to see nearly all parents jumping at the opportunity to send their kids into school — even only half time. But that’s not what happened. Most parents chose to keep their kids home. It seems that not everyone agrees with you on this issue, Scarlett. Maybe you need to get out of your bubble.

  90. “I’m getting the impression I remember more of this than other people.”

    I used to be like that, but as I’ve gotten older that’s gone away.

    My MD told me, “your hard drive’s getting full.”

  91. My parents have been friends with a particular couple they’ve known since college, so about half a century. In that time, the guy had a reasonably successful career in government and the private sector. I’m sure they’re Totebag affluent like everyone else. This was one of the couples I mentioned had come to visit them from out of state a few months ago. They’re not crazy or fringe people by any normal indicator. Except now they are fairly convinced that the presidential election was fraudulent. They’re writing letters to the Supreme Court trying to get them to review certain inconsistencies, and they’ve asked my parents for their editing and input.

    So I can’t make myself cry over a celebrity I never knew. But I don’t think that makes me a cold person, and here’s an example why. We all, here, are at least a little bit quirky, in various ways. But if you’ve been friends with someone for over 10 years now, and admittedly looked forward to their conversations, don’t throw that all away because they’ve latched onto a specific viewpoint about this current crisis with the virus. You don’t have to argue everything. You don’t have to try to convince everyone. Just let it go. SM says stuff all the time that I will never agree with, that I’m convinced is completely wrong, and I just ignore it.

    You think that this is particularly dangerous, but Scarlett’s living a quiet life in compliance with the current rules. It’s not affecting anything.

    I like reading different viewpoints, and I think we’ll be very surprised in five years about what has worked and what hasn’t during this time. In the meantime, just bury the hatchet.

    That’s why I’m not cold.

  92. RMS said we mentioned the payday loan conversation and she didn’t remember it.

    I remember you telling me that I had agreed with your earlier objections, but I couldn’t remember the earlier objections.

  93. “People who come into contact with Milo — or anyone else — are taking a very small but nonzero risk that he will infect them because of the other people with whom he has come into contact. If they want to minimize that risk, they need to stay home at all times.”

    IOW, his coworkers shouldn’t go to the office? Should his kids move out?

    I disagree with this position. It absolves Milo of having any responsibility, and those most likely to be affected if he were to become infected, besides HCW, are those with whom he regularly shares air.

  94. BTW, in our district, increasing numbers of families are taking their kids remote, and I am very strongly considering it too. I had thought we weren’t allowed to do it once we selected hybrid, but I have heard from a lot of other moms that they have pulled their kids out. The issue for my kid, is the same as for the othe parents – the constant threat of quarantine. Most of my kid’s friends have been out on quarantine at least once, sometimes twice or 3 times. It is really disruptive for families, not just because quarantine is no fun at all, but because families then all have to go find a place to get COVID testing which is increasingly a pain.

  95. “if everyone agreed that remote learning was an unmitigated disaster, we would expect to see nearly all parents jumping at the opportunity to send their kids into school — even only half time.”

    OTOH, some parents might have seen their choice as between two disasters, perhaps with remote learning being a bit more mitigated by minimizing chance of infection.

  96. The MS and HS were actually fully remote for the last two weeks because so many teachers were on quarantine that they couldn’t staff the school. I had hoped they would have stayed full remote until the Christmas break, but they are back to hybrid again, and I am sure another wave of quarantines will ensue.

  97. If SCOTUS takes up the PA case, Ted Cruz will present arguments for the Trump team. They are something like 1-48 on the post-election lawsuits, so I’m assuming he’s doing this not because the case is a winner but because he hopes Trump supporters will support him in 2024.

  98. “ I disagree with this position. It absolves Milo of having any responsibility,”

    You’d make a good old school Catholic, Finn.

    I’ll take responsibility. I was playing tennis tonight, and that was unnecessary. My driving to and from the courts put other motorists at risk, and I assume responsibility for that, too.

    Let’s all stay home forever, where it’s SAFE.

  99. Interesting data on hospital utilization in Los Angeles — it’s below the levels from December 2019.

    That’s because they reduced/eliminated elective procedures to keep capacity available for COVID patients, and to just reduce the stress on the hospitals. The data is very clear – COVID hospitalizations are surging with exponential growth at Rhett posted. But you only follow the data you agree with.

  100. Scarlett, I’ve been reading and hearing that, in many cases, a bigger concern than inpatient bed occupancy is the availability of personnel to staff those beds.

    From https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/icu-nurses-covid-19/?itid=hp-top-table-main

    “I think one thing that people do not appreciate is it’s not only the number or volume of patients that comes through — it’s the level of care that they require, which is so much greater than a standard patient in the ICU or a standard patient in the floor, because they can get very, very sick very quickly.”

  101. Let’s all stay home forever, where it’s SAFE.

    Weren’t not back to our ongoing discussion where you say lockdowns don’t work and I say:

    And you said, “Grr, I guess you’re right.”

    We’re not doing that again are we?

  102. I’m having a hard time following what Scarlett and Milo think *should* happen. Is the argument that the pandemic is ‘not that bad’, I assume? So should we (1) never have closed anything down or reduced capacity to any sort of indoor gatherings, etc., or should we (2) go ahead and open everything that is currently closed back up again, or both of the above, or (3) something else? It seems like tilting at windmills, but I can’t see those windmills.

  103. Rhett and Scarlett – I’m not saying ANYTHING of the sort. Where have I said that lockdowns don’t work?

    To Finn I’m saying that I’m willing to take occasional unnecessary risks, and will likely continue to do so. If Finn wants me to take responsibility for that, consider it done.

  104. now this could get interesting
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/california-sheriff-refuses-home-orders-constitutional-test

    Politicians decree through executive order regulations that they themselves aren’t willing to follow, and now the police may not be willing to enforce.

    When our governor was pushing the legislature to ban AR-15s, among other gun control measures, a number of sheriffs were promising that they’d never enforce it, and localities were declaring themselves 2nd Amendment sanctuaries.

    For better or worse, the measures all failed in committee.

  105. The police in eastern Washington were assuring plumber-BIL last summer during the BLM protests that they weren’t going to enforce mask mandates or any other mandates related to COVID, regardless of the race of the offender. BIL is a comedian and the way he recounts the police breakroom conversation is hilarious.

    I’m pretty sure the police in many parts of Oregon and California have similar views.

  106. “To Finn I’m saying that I’m willing to take occasional unnecessary risks, and will likely continue to do so. If Finn wants me to take responsibility for that, consider it done.”

    I’d like to see you include the potential effects on others into consideration in your choices and risk assessments.

    Perhaps you are, but one discussion left me with the impression you didn’t.

  107. Where have I said that lockdowns don’t work?

    Every week for weeks at a time. And then you’d grudgingly say, “I just want schools to open and we’ll go from there.”

  108. The police in eastern Washington were assuring plumber-BIL last summer during the BLM protests that they weren’t going to enforce mask mandates or any other mandates related to COVID, regardless of the race of the offender.

    When it came to broken taillights though. Don’t drive while black. He he haha it’s all so funny.

  109. Milo,

    Do you remember the weeks where you argued that a covid resurgence couldn’t occur so let’s ramp up the reopening?

  110. And I’m still waiting for schools to fully reopen. I’m not sure that lockdowns — as ordered or as executed — have worked or are working all that well. Obviously with any infectious disease, increased proximity minimizes transmission rates, but what’s actually happening in practice, with 1,000 other variables, seems to pose a lot of questions.

    But I’m not saying anything about it. What’s the point? We’ll know in a few years. In the meantime, we’re living life as best we can manage. DW and I had a nice lunch in a downtown courtyard on Friday, under a propane heater.

    We’re soldiering on the only way we know how, like the Joads.

  111. I’m not sure that lockdowns — as ordered or as executed — have worked or are working all that well.

    So you’re not sure canceling trade shows and as a result not flying 10s of thousands of people from all over the world to one place to mingle worked?

  112. Rhett – you’re too eager to see everything in black and white, us and them, right and wrong, Covid Saint and Covid Sinner. calm down. live your life. i clearly said (well, actually I made a typo) but I mostly clearly said that *minimizing* proximity will reduce transmission rates.

  113. Milo,

    Then what do you mean by:

    “ I’m not sure that lockdowns — as ordered or as executed — have worked…”

  114. Florida is now using gesrapo tactics to suppress the truth about COVID numbers.

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5fcead8cc5b626e08a2c59e8

    Florida Police Raid House Of COVID-19 Whistleblower Rebekah Jones
    The ousted data scientist has accused the state of asking her to censor and alter public-facing coronavirus data.

    Rebekah Jones, the former Florida official who says she was ousted from her job managing the state’s COVID-19 data for refusing to censor and alter case information, said Monday that armed officers raided her Tallahassee home and took all of her tech hardware.

    “He just pointed a gun at my children,” Jones yells in the footage after telling the officers that her husband and two kids are also in the house.

  115. Exactly what I said. I’ve been on/monitoring a conference call, but it’s over, so I’m going to leave my basement office now.

  116. From the Wall Street Journal, which is notorious for its liberal bias:

    The number of people hospitalized in the U.S. because of Covid-19, meanwhile, hit another record on Sunday, climbing to 101,487, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Intensive-care units are under increasing pressure, with the number of patients in ICUs around the country topping 20,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.

    https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/covid-2020-12-07/card/R7ZSyLXDRK8I39kUt3Tr

  117. Denver, that’s terrifying

    Rhett,being smart about Covid safety means no March Madness (it didn’t happen this year) but also means letting people pick up their baked ziti to go or sit on a park bench wearing masks (with space in the middle). The way the US lurches between 0 and 100% on these things is staggering. It’s like any kind of diet or exercise routine. Far better to let yourself have the marshmallow or half a cookie than to live on celery and water until you can’t handle it and eat 5 Cheesecake Factoryndinners in a day.

  118. “Intensive-care units are under increasing pressure, with the number of patients in ICUs around the country topping 20,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.”

    But HHS says that there are plenty of empty beds in ICU units. https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/hospital-capacity

    And ICU units typically run at 85-90% capacity in normal times.

    You can check your local dashboard. Our county health officer has been issuing dire warnings for literally months, and the ICU is at 70% occupancy.

  119. “I’m having a hard time following what Scarlett and Milo think *should* happen.”

    Governments and the media *should* stop pretending that they can control, with masks and closures and dire travel restrictions, a respiratory virus with such mild symptoms that most people it infects need to get a test to know that they are sick.

    Because the reality is that they cannot control it. California is a textbook case. Locked down for months, masked up even longer, and the cases are surging. Give up this silly game and focus on getting resources to the hospitals.

  120. I am struggling to understand where the current surge in cases for my county is coming from. To my knowledge overall, we (collective, citizens in my county) have been continuing with the same lifestyle for months now. Our cases started increasing before Thanksgiving when the weather got colder. The youngest kids started to go back to school but the middle and high schoolers are still learning remotely. My kids school went remote for a little more than a week since people in the school community were getting infected outside of school. However, from Sep (beginning) to almost Thanksgiving they have been able to attend in person.
    We are going to have to live with virus. Even with a vaccination, not everyone is going to take it and we don’t know how long the vaccine is effective. What needs to be studied is how to live with the virus, the best practices for doing so and how we incorporate the numbers of people being vaccinated with what we can open when.

  121. Just as a PSA, I reached out to my close contact who is an actual expert in vaccine development and is running one of the trials, because I keep seeing the “we don’t even know if the vaccine prevents infection” as posted at 9:12 AM yesterday. He said that some vaccines prevent “carriers” and some don’t, but they don’t see much of a difference in the effectiveness of the vaccines in society. Prevnar seems to prevent carriers, the flu shot does not, for example.

    I post this not to engage in any back and forth, because I understand the ones who post are locked in. But I thought someone who lurks might have been surprised, as I was, by the concept that illness for which we vaccinate routinely and successfully might have asymptomatic cases that develop. It does not mean the vaccine does not “work.”

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled fortune-telling and Dunning Kruger exercise.

  122. “I’m not sure that lockdowns — as ordered or as executed — have worked or are working all that well.”

    Louise isn’t sure why cases are surging in her county. That’s similar to around here. Cases are rising while people seem to ignore or selectively interpret ‘stay at home” messaging. In any case, they’re not following strict orders so I agree that ‘lockdowns’ have not worked all that well.

    Many aren’t buying public officials’ ‘stay-at-home’ message. Experts say there’s a better way…

    The percentage of Angelenos staying home except for essential activities has remained unchanged since mid-June — around 55% — despite pleas from health officials in recent weeks for people to cut down on their activities, according to a survey conducted by USC.

    A similar story has played out nationwide, as millions of Americans zigzagged across the country to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday, flouting the advice of health officials.

    “It’s not because the public is irresponsible; it’s because they are losing trust in public health officials who put out arbitrary restrictions,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco. “We are failing in our public health messaging.”…

    “Some of the things they’re telling you not to do are incredibly low-risk,” Oster said. “When you are so strict about what people can do, they stop listening.”

    There’s more.
    https://news.yahoo.com/many-arent-buying-public-officials-130038983.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr

  123. HFN — That’s good to know. I’m learning so much about stuff I used to ignore. Related:

  124. “Cases are rising while people seem to ignore or selectively interpret ‘stay at home” messaging. In any case, they’re not following strict orders so I agree that ‘lockdowns’ have not worked all that well.”
    If people are ignoring stay at home messaging, then we don’t have a lockdown, so we don’t know if a lockdown would have worked.
    And I agree that the rising case numbers are because people were ignoring the very mild social distancing advice of the late summer and early fall. Remember those hordes of teenagers all sitting crammed together on the playing field at the school track, or clumped together under the school awnings? Remember all the reports of big parties, both adult and teen? Well, not suprisingly, case numbers started to inch up, and once they hit a certain level, it became very hard to control. Especially since it got cold and now everyone was indoors.
    After May or so, we never had anything even remotely resembling a lockdown here in New York,

  125. “It’s not because the public is irresponsible; it’s because they are losing trust in public health officials who put out arbitrary restrictions,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco. “We are failing in our public health messaging.”…

    No shit. I already have a serious animus against public health “experts” dating back to my experience of the incredibly stupid yet amazingly arrogant MPH students at Chapel Hill. Want to boss people around like a doctor but can’t pass Calculus? Be an MPH! Spend your life judgmentally lecturing everyone about everything! And because you peasants are all so stupid, we’ll issue ridiculously absolutist orders and then get our egos in a bunch when you don’t meekly obey.

  126. So I attended the PTA council meeting last evening via Zoom. I find those useful because I learn a lot about what is happening COVID wise in our district. The main speaker is a doctor who is evidently the medical advisor to our district. I got the sense that she is advising a number of school districts. Most of what she had to say was what you would expect, but one interesting tidbit – evidently they are seeing a lot of situations in which a kid in school has mild COVID symptoms, so they require the kid to quarantine and get tested. The kids test negative, though. But a week or so later, the parents come down sick and test positive for COVID. She said it appears to be a real pattern and that they are assuming the kids really had COVID but that the tests don’t pick it up. That implies that there is spread occurring from schoolkids to parents, but it isn’t going into the official statistics because the kids test negative. I hope someone is compiling numbers for those cases, so that we might learn something.

    The other thing I learned, because someone asked the superintedent – the number of parents requesting that their kids move to full remoted has gone way up in the last few weeks. Our district marks those kids as absent. What is going to happen when they hit 12 absences, which is the max you can have in a semester and receive credit?

  127. “ Want to boss people around like a doctor but can’t pass Calculus? Be an MPH! Spend your life judgmentally lecturing everyone about everything!”

    My brother agrees 1,000%. And he has an M.D. and an MPH. And, just for Finn, a BS in engineering. So he took calculus.

  128. I have a nephew who was kicked out of school for two weeks because of contact tracing from another student who was near him. (I’m using kicked out sarcastically, relax, he’s doing remote.) But the next day he got a negative test result so he’s able to participate in basketball.

  129. RMS, our district is trying really hard to discourage families from selecting the remote option. Even kids on quarantine get marked as absent. The superintendant claims they are putting in a notation saying the kid was remote, but the language, which I think comes from the state, is that both excused and unexcused absences count towards the 12 absence max. Other districts in our area mark the kids as “attending remotely”

  130. Milo, was that school basketball or a private league? Our district won’t let kids on quarantine participate in sports. There were several kids in cross country who had to miss practices and meets because of it.

  131. In our district, despite what they initially told us, you can opt into remote whenever you want, Interchangeably. My kids are going to do that next week when we do our quasi-quarantine before going to grandmas. They have said that kids will miss the bus and their parents will say, “oh, just log in to school instead.”

    As long as you attend somehow, you are marked present. They have teachers who are at home and there are five kids sitting in a classroom watching the teacher through their individual Chromebooks.

    (It’s kind of petty how Apple will immediately auto correct and do the right capitalizations for iPad, but it will not recognize chrome book.)

  132. I recently sent this email to our mayor:

    I listened to you yesterday on the Xxxx podcast. I wanted to write to implore you not to push this idea of more enforcement with fines of mask wearing outside. I understand that because of the surge in cases, officials feel they need to do “something.” I know there is good data to show that mask wearing diminishes the risk of contagion, however once you add outside and social distancing to the equation, it is really a minuscule added risk reduction and to cause all this conflict and consternation over that makes no sense. I understand that you are receiving emails from seniors who feel trapped in their homes because people outside are unmasked. I walk several miles every day all over Xxxx and there is plenty of space to remain 6 feet away from any unmasked person. Possibly if you went to the Town square or the Beach on the weekend, you might have some trouble keeping your distance, but the weekdays and all other areas are completely spacious enough.

    My parents (90 and 81) also live here and walk with their masks on and visit with us and their other senior friends outside as much as possible. I would argue that the efforts should be made to reach out to these seniors who feel trapped to engage them in things instead of going out and hastling the rest of the community who is trying to have some activities in the midst of all this disruption.

    I hope you will not overreact to a few people who are just mad that there is a rule that people are not following. I understand this instinct. I myself am a rule follower and feel angry when others don’t follow it. But masks outside when you are distant from others is really just silly to enforce.

    To illustrate my point of how people will feel: Several months ago on a week day beach walk I was approached by the monitor to please put my mask on. Silly, given I was many feet from others in very breezy conditions. Of course I did it with no objection. BUT- I felt singled out and kind of angry – (I noticed he approached me – a petite , middle aged, woman, instead of a potentially aggressive young man who was also not wearing a mask.) Enforcement will inevitably cause people to feel they were selected for some reason or other and cause even more anger and resentment.

    Anyway, thanks for your time. I appreciate all you do and I know it is difficult to be mayor at this time.

  133. So NYC reopened its elementary schools today, something that many on this list advocate for even if the high schools can’t safely reopen. And again, we are seeing the same thing as before – black families are far less likely to send their kids. Asian-American families are also choosing remote. Latino families and white families are more likely to choose to send their kids to the reopened schools.
    “That gulf is illustrated in a startling statistic: There are nearly 12,000 more white children returning to public school buildings than Black students — even though there are many more Black students than white children in the system overall.”

    And black families are complaining that NYC is not giving enough resources to remote education
    ““I feel like the city treats remote like an afterthought,” said Erika Kendall, a Black parent in Brooklyn whose two children decided to learn from home this year.”

  134. if you’ve been friends with someone for over 10 years now, and admittedly looked forward to their conversations, don’t throw that all away because they’ve latched onto a specific viewpoint about this current crisis with the virus. You don’t have to argue everything. You don’t have to try to convince everyone. Just let it go.

    Damn Milo, who’s cutting the onions in here? There are plenty of times I think you & others here are, if not full of shit, then at least running buggy software OR starting from a spot I never realized existed (like Scarlett predicting people protesting calls to wear masks & stay at home). I actually value that, because generally someone here is willing to explain where the other person is coming from. I might’ve caught onto the “open up” demonstrations eventually, but there are plenty of other times where that same thing has been helpful.
    Anybody remember a few years back there were a ton of self-congratulatory posts about what a considerate, friendly, grammatically correct site we had? I may’ve single-handedly taken the grammar & spelling down a few notches (what I wouldn’t give for a site where we could make corrections!), but I’ve genuinely appreciated the viewpoints, friendship, & counsel of this bunch.
    And now I’m logging out for the day. Probably.

  135. Mafalda, your email to the mayor is spot on. As you gracefully pointed out, those rules are sporadically enforced, have little added value, and only cause further divide and angry among humans.

  136. The WSJ had an interesting piece today about how hospital systems are deciding who gets the first vaccine shots. It’s not necessarily those who come into direct contact with COVID patients — one hospital system director admitted that most of their staff infections came from OUTSIDE work. Another noted that they can’t ask employees about health problems that may make them especially vulnerable. And then there is the issue of side effects, such as fever and muscle aches, that may force some workers off the jobs while they recover.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-gets-covid-19-vaccine-first-hospitals-assess-how-to-divvy-up-shots-11607357465

    Lots of factors to consider, but not much discussion regarding whether workers can be required to get the vaccine — the assumption seems to be that most of them are clamoring for it and lotteries may be required. Perhaps that will be the case. We’ll see. It’s unlikely that hospital systems can require their employees to get a vaccine that has only gotten emergency use approval.

  137. Milo & Scarlett,

    so I agree that ‘lockdowns’ have not worked all that well.”

    If there had been no lockdowns and March Madness and SEMA and the bars and concert venues were all proceeding as normal – how many additional deaths and hospitalizations would there be as of today?

    Because it sure seems like your position is that certainly SEMA, bars, Taylor Swift concerts, etc. should be closed. But anything you personally want to do should carry on as if nothing happened. Is that your position.

  138. Rhett – I think you have lost all ability to read nuance. You repeatedly insist on seeing every position as black or white. And then maybe you get a little confused, so you run off to Google and post a picture of a crowded venue. Go ahead, post one.

  139. I think frequent changes to school schedule is hard for parents who work outside the home to digest. It’s easier to opt for remote and have a consistent schedule for your kids and some one to supervise the kids on a consistent basis. As an example, I couldn’t enroll my kids in camps that had middle of the day pick up or ended at 2.30 pm.
    I wasn’t surprised by the NYC schools having more minority kids at home. It’s both safety and the schedule. The hybrid schedule where kids are at home one day a week or classes that start and end at non standard times, don’t work either.

  140. You repeatedly insist on seeing every position as black or white.

    I’m asking you what you think should have happened in all the shades of grey you want. You’re saying you don’t think shutdowns worked. OK. Doesn’t that imply you have some theory of what should have happened? How would it have gone down in your ideal world? How would it have been handled?

    I’d ask the same of Scarlett. She has said and continues to say it can’t and never could be controlled. How does she think it would have gone down in her ideal world.

  141. The median age of those who died with or from COVID is about 80. Nearly a third of those deaths have come from the population over the age of 85. How many 90 year olds with underlying health conditions go to crowded bars and March Madness games?
    (And FWIW, I personally hate loud crowded indoor spaces, unless they are churches for Midnight Mass.)

  142. “You’re saying you don’t think shutdowns worked. ”

    I said that I’m not sure that they’ve worked, or worked all that well, especially considering how they play out in real life. Given that the virus is still spreading and with increasing speed, I’m not sure how you can disagree with that.

    Now, let’s post a picture of a crowded bar and you can ask “BUT YOU THINK WE SHOULD HAVE THIS???”

  143. Louise, the interesting thing is that Latino parents are sending their kids back. It is black and asian-ancestry parents who are sending their kids in fewer numbers.

  144. And no, it can’t be controlled. That is the reality. We’re living it now. The virus can be suppressed for a time with extreme social distancing. And favorable weather. There is a lot of seasonality at work. But because people cannot and will not remain isolated indefinitely, the virus comes back, until it infects enough people to burn itself out in that location, and then it moves on.

    Compare new cases in Florida (where the irresponsible governor has removed many previous restrictions and schools are mostly open) with California (where the governor has followed the science and shut everything down).

  145. Given that the virus is still spreading and with increasing speed, I’m not sure how you can disagree with that.

    But then a lot of things aren’t happening. If the concerts and trade shows and sporting events, bars, music venues etc. returned to normal do you not think that would have a significant impact?

    I guess I read your comments as – things are increasing and that means we should let the music venues, sporting events, trade shows etc. open because it doesn’t make a difference. But you never seem to want to answer that part of the question.

  146. Given that the virus is still spreading and with increasing speed, I’m not sure how you can disagree with that.

    So shades of grey and all letting the bars, trade shows, music venues open and fill to capacity wouldn’t have an impact.

  147. You seriously can not have a conversation without insisting that I’m making statements and arguments that I’ve never made. All I’ve said is that I don’t know how well they’re working.

  148. How many 90 year olds with underlying health conditions go to crowded bars and March Madness games?

    Milo see here is the problem. DD and others have responded to that comment numerous times. But Scarlett, due to chemo brain or dementia or just typical age related cognitive decline, doesn’t remember. So the discussion can’t move forward. It’s like trying to discuss politics with a goldfish.

  149. Milo,

    Then make your argument. As far as I can tell you think shutdowns means shutting down things you’d like to do. Shutting down sporting events in which you have no interest is something else.

    What are you actually trying to say? It’s not clear at all.

  150. “So the discussion can’t move forward.”

    Forward to what? And for what purpose? What are you hoping to accomplish?

    Scarlett’s argument is that shutdowns, as implemented, have been largely ineffective. Therefore, those who are vulnerable due to age or conditions or personal preference need to do their best to avoid situations where infection is more likely.

    You and DD and Finn will talk about the possibility of asymptomatic spread and the fact that it’s not entirely possible for vulnerable populations to isolate.

    Everyone will post links that nobody else will ever click on or read.

    There are competing philosophies here, and a lot of unknowns. Everyone’s favored position is well known at this point.

    How on Earth do you possibly see this discussion “moving forward”? For the love of God, Rhett, what do you think you’re going to get out of this?

  151. Rhett, do you have someone close to you who has been affected by CV-19? In the past, I have observed that your anger is fiercest when you’re writing about experiences that you’re all too familiar with, like child abuse, or the poor treatment of the disabled.

  152. “What are you trying to accomplish here.”

    I like keeping up with different viewpoints. I generally feel better informed when I discuss COVID irl. What HFN posted this morning was particularly interesting, and I liked Mafalda’s letter.

    It bothers me when you get so angry that people disagree with you that you lash out and make personal attacks.

  153. It bothers me when you get so angry that people disagree with you that you lash out and make personal attacks.

    I don’t get mad when people disagree at all. If you think taxes should be 22% of GDP and I think they should be 24% of GDP, that’s fine. It’s when Scarlett says hospitizations aren’t spiking when they very clearly are – that’s a totally different issue.

    In your case you don’t seem to want to explain what shades of grey you’re talking about. Do you mean some lockdown components did work and some didn’t? OK which ones?

  154. “It bothers me when you get so angry that people disagree with you that you lash out and make personal attacks.”

    +1000
    Rhett, after your last set of personal attacks, you said you were done.
    Now you’re back, and back with the personal attacks.
    I have NEVER made any reference to the difficult personal circumstances you have shared in the past. I’m not going to start now.
    But I am done responding to your posts. Happy to have civil discussions with others.

  155. “Do you mean some lockdown components did work and some didn’t? OK which ones?”

    I don’t know the answer to this, and I don’t think anyone really does. You keep saying “Well what’s your argument?? How many more deaths??” WTF? How is anyone going to know that at this point? Mooshi’s point about the possibility of kids spreading it to their households without ever testing positive…again, just one more of a million unknowns.

    “that’s a totally different issue.”

    It doesn’t justify attacking someone personally just to try to hurt them.

  156. How is anyone going to know that at this point?

    You’ve said it yourself over and over again. Reducing close contacts slows the spread of a communicable disease. Then you say things like, “Given that the virus is still spreading and with increasing speed, I’m not sure how you can disagree with that.” Given your previous statement isn’t it logical to conclude that if large crowded events were going on the rate of spread would be significantly higher.

  157. It would seem likely to be higher, to what degree I don’t know. And then we’re told that the protests didn’t result in significant spread, so if people can crowd together in protest, maybe they can crowd together in a baseball stadium.

    Until this morning, I would have thought that someone who was successfully vaccinated wouldn’t be spreading the disease.

  158. “if people can crowd together in protest, maybe they can crowd together in a baseball stadium.”

    Or several thousand students can converge on the field after a college football game.
    Or thousands of people can have Biden victory dance parties in the streets.

  159. maybe they can crowd together in a baseball stadium.”

    The problem is we talked about the Italian soccer match super spreader event back in March. But it seems like you’ve totally forgotten.

    I’m wondering if we had the buy a new car vs. a buy a used car discussion today you’d agree and then in a month say, “Used is always the better deal.” As if the discussion never occurred.

  160. “Scarlett’s argument is that shutdowns, as implemented, have been largely ineffective. Therefore, those who are vulnerable due to age or conditions or personal preference need to do their best to avoid situations where infection is more likely.”

    This is not how I am reading her position at ALL. Her position seems to be that we should do absolutely nothing at all, and that anyone who even thinks that they, personally, should try to avoid getting the virus is an ignorant coward. I will be generous and say that she keeps harping that we should do nothing because she believes there is nothing that we CAN effectively do, and not requote all the insensitive (at best) comments about “dry tinder” or any of the rest of it.

    I do think it is frustrating that we keep going back to the extremes, because as far as I can tell, Scarlett is the only one advocating this “do nothing” position. And on the other side, almost everyone else in this “argument” is taking some calculated risks as well.

    There are definitely measures being advocated that are unrealistic and not even effective (e.g., my Mayor half-assed shutting down outdoor playgrounds or Mafalda’s mayor fining people for not wearing masks outside when just passing people on the street). There are arguments to be made that it is better to keep restaurants open at reduced capacity WITH distancing/mask rules in order to discourage private gatherings where people will not follow any guidelines. I don’t know the answers either – I’m open to discussion on that ,which is why I keep coming back to this page.

    I do firmly believe that large gatherings – particularly indoors – are a terrible idea right now. Both personally and for public health. So definitely good to put controls around crowded bars, weddings, spectator sports, etc.

  161. Ivy, I have never argued that we should do nothing.
    I agree with the authors and signers of the Great Barrington Declaration that we should focus on protecting the vulnerable, especially those in LTC facilities.
    Schools should have reopened as soon as data came in from Europe that children and schools are not serious infection vectors.

  162. Closing restaurants and bars doesn’t prevent people from socializing indoors, with or without members of other households.
    So long as people are unwilling to eat and drink in isolation, there will be more spread of the virus. That is a reality that mask mandates and bar closures can not overcome.

  163. Closing restaurants and bars doesn’t prevent people from socializing indoors, with or without members of other households.

    It doesn’t prevent socialization but does reduce it. Today the first person, outside a clinical trial, received the first dose of the vaccine. The degree to which shutting down bars and restaurants slowed the progress of the disease means many more people will be alive to get the vaccine. The Great Barrington Declaration was based on the idea that there would be no vaccine for years. There is a vaccine being given to the public 10 months after this crisis first started.

  164. Trump screwed up yet again. With potentially severe repercussions to the US. Failed to purchase additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, even after the data was available about how effective it is. And now he has issued some kind of crazy order that Moncef Slaoui says he literally doesn’t know what it means and cannot discuss it. And Trump is yelling that he can compel Pfizer to give more to the US, except, you know, the countries that then entered in to contracts for the vaccine are our allies.

    So, things continue to go well with idiot Trump as our leader. He is such a fcuk up. It is beyond comprehension how anyone can support this fool.

  165. Ugh, ugh, ugh, while you guys endlessly argue about COVID rates, Trump is still trying to convince state officials to overturn state election results. Today it was the Republican speaker of the PA house of representatives. This is fricking embarrassing and completely against what our country stands for. How can Republicans not be hanging their heads in shame while their ostensible leader acts like a wannabee banana republic strongman? Where the h$ll is Pence? He acts like he is so morally superior all the time. Get out there and defend your country’s principles.

  166. “I agree with the authors and signers of the Great Barrington Declaration that we should focus on protecting the vulnerable, especially those in LTC facilities.”

    But you recently criticized a LTC facility that you (or an associate of yours) visited for requiring visitors to distance from residents in the facility. You went on and on about how the emotional damage to the resident of not being able to hug her guest was worse than the risk of her getting covid. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to go full Great Barrington, restrictions on LTC facilities would have to be extremely tight — perhaps even banning visitors entirely. Because if the virus is rampant in the community, there really is no way to keep it out of those places. On the other hand, if a community can get control of the virus, like New Zealand or Australia or parts of Canada, then LTC facilities can operate nearly normally. So can everything else, for that matter.

  167. “Where the h$ll is Pence? He acts like he is so morally superior all the time. ”

    Yeah — “acts” is doing a lot of work in that sentence.

  168. Yes, I can have it both ways.
    Instead of wasting millions of rapid tests on the White House, professional athletes and college students, how about deploying them at LTC facilities? In addition to staff, those who test negative can visit their family member without masks and distancing.
    If even a fraction of the resources squandered on signs and sanitizer and floor arrows and the like had been focused on the elderly, perhaps we wouldn’t continue to keep kids out of school and business operations shut down.

  169. If even a fraction of the resources squandered on signs and sanitizer and floor arrows and the like had been focused on the elderly, perhaps we wouldn’t continue to keep kids out of school and business operations shut down.

    I almost agree with this.

  170. Trump is still trying to convince state officials to overturn state election results.

    As far as I can tell, the system is working the way it’s supposed to. All those state officials are saying “No.” The courts have been throwing out all of the lawsuits. If it gets to the SCOTUS, I’d be stunned if they overturned anything. Trump’s biggest mistake was appointing the people recommended by Leonard Leo instead of appointing Michael Cohen and other skanks. The crawling, cringing, slobbering Republican congress would have approved anyone he nominated. I bet he’s kicking himself now.

  171. I’m not sure if the Great Barrington Declaration is still relevant given that vaccines should arrive for American adults in the next couple years, but I would give vaccine priority to people with relatives in nursing homes/assisted living, probably based on “visited before the pandemic.”

  172. RMS, those state officials are getting death threats. That is not how the system is supposed to work. The loser POTUS is trying to strongarm state officials to overthrow elections. That is also not how the system is supposed to work.

  173. I’m not sure if the Great Barrington Declaration is still relevant

    It’s relevant in terms of evaluating their judgement. That they were so wrong about this calls into question the wisdom behind the rest of their policy preferences.

  174. RMS, those state officials are getting death threats. That is not how the system is supposed to work. The loser POTUS is trying to strongarm state officials to overthrow elections. That is also not how the system is supposed to work.

    What do you recommend we do about it?

  175. I heard Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina go on a rant in an interview about why the country hadn’t put a ton of money and effort into really quick CV-19 tests. He argued that while the tests are crummy at identifying people who are positive, they’re very good at identifying people who are actively contagious. So test everybody walking into the continuing care facilities to see if they are contagious. It takes five minutes. It’s cheap to mass produce.

  176. “I’m not sure if the Great Barrington Declaration is still relevant given that vaccines should arrive for American adults in the next couple years,”

    A couple of years is a long time for kids to be out of school, churches to be closed, and people isolated in their homes for “safety.”

    It’s interesting to review the deaths/million numbers for various countries. These countries — most of which followed some level of lockdowns/mask mandates — are all between 850-950 ish:

    US
    Brazil
    France
    Italy
    UK
    Spain
    Argentina
    Mexico
    Peru
    Belgium
    Chile
    Czechia

    Sweden still hasn’t cracked 700. But it did everything wrong.

    It’s almost as though the virus cannot be controlled by government action.

  177. “So test everybody walking into the continuing care facilities to see if they are contagious. It takes five minutes. It’s cheap to mass produce.”

    Exactly. I need to look up that interview.

  178. Based on what I read about Tanzania in my Compassion International updates, I’m skeptical of the 21 deaths (0.36 deaths per million population) in Tanzania.

    Island nations continue to excel.

  179. It’s almost as though the virus cannot be controlled by government action.

    Yup…

    How will we ever know if that made a difference?

    Unless you mean without government action the venues would be empty and thus your whole argument is based on disingenuous hair splitting.

  180. Wow. That interview I just posted is super convincing. Someone’s going to have to talk me out of it, or tell me the downside, because I’m not seeing it.

    Milo, let me ask you this: If you had had a simple, at-home test to take before you went on the party bus, and if the test revealed you were asymptomatic but contagious, would you have said “Oops, better skip this one; next time, I guess.” Because I think you would have. And that makes so much more sense than saying “Sorry, you can never get together with anyone for the next two years. As Mina points out, that’s a nearly-impossible ask.

  181. RMS, I think everyone should be calling out Trump and his Congressional lackeys on this one. He has been disgusting for 4 years, but this is at a core level.

  182. why the country hadn’t put a ton of money and effort into really quick CV-19 tests.

    Because Scarlett & Co. were screeching against testing when this thing started. Remember her constant dismissal of testing and tracing? Testing and tracing being two different things of course.

  183. And the nerve, after all her histrionics, to come out and say, “I don’t know why we didn’t do more testing.” You really don’t know why?

  184. I have posted a lot about testing and was told I was crazy many times. There are lots of reasons we have not invested in more testing. None of them good ones. All foreseeable. But we shouldn’t hash that out yet again.

  185. “If you had had a simple, at-home test to take before you went on the party bus, and if the test revealed you were asymptomatic but contagious, would you have said “Oops, better skip this one; next time, I guess.””

    yeah, of course

  186. It’s a great interview. And you don’t need to listen to the whole thing. He frontloads the information in the first 15-20 minutes. He did a very good job of explaining to a layperson exactly how these tests work and why they are different from PCR tests.

    I am not sure I buy his idea that everyone should take one of these tests at home every morning, because many people just won’t do that, there is no way to force them to comply, and there is no mechanism for the rest of the world to know whether your test was positive.

    But certainly they could be required for staff and visitors at every senior facility. There is a tent outside with a box full of tests, and in a few minutes you either get the “cleared” card or they turn you away with a referral to a nurse in the COVID tent. It sure beats the current screening procedures.

  187. Well, we can’t go back and have different leadership in early 2020 that cares about testing, or that didn’t recently turn down the opportunity to purchase more vaccine, but maybe that will change in 2021.

    If I’m looking at the report on Pfizer’s phase 3 study, it looks like there was a significant immune response following the first dose. That seems like really good news.

    On the rapid tests, my state is providing rapid tests to all schools. My district turned them down, however, fearing that rapid tests in school will encourage parents to send sick kids to school so they can get tested. Sigh.

  188. I thought the hurdle to rapid tests was the regulatory requirement that all COVID test results be reported to the federal government. There’s no way that at-home rapid tests can meet that requirement.

  189. “I am not sure I buy his idea that everyone should take one of these tests at home every morning”

    Yes, if you’re WFH and only rarely leaving home, do you need to take them daily? I’m thinking those people would only take them for maybe3 to 7 days after potential exposure to anyone contagious.

  190. There is a significant difference between these rapid antigen tests as a screening device for access to a senior facility, and an overly sensitive PCR test that requires a trained medical staffer to administer and a 3+ day wait for results.
    And we have seen how well contact tracing works in this country. That failure was entirely predictable (and predicted).

    If our focus is on protecting those most likely to have a bad COVID outcome — and to avoid harming the rest of the country in the process — it’s hard to argue against these tests.

  191. why the country hadn’t put a ton of money and effort into really quick CV-19 tests.

    Because some of our leaders didn’t want more testing of any kind because more testing means more positive cases.

  192. Scarlett,

    You never mentioned that your objection was only to the PCR test and the rapid test was wonderful. You railed against all testing as being ineffective. Maybe it’s time to apologize for being wrong? It would help your credibility if you did.

  193. “Yes, if you’re WFH and only rarely leaving home, do you need to take them daily?”

    Based on the normal traffic levels I see in my community, there are a lot more people who actually leave their homes on a daily basis than you might imagine. Certainly, those who are mostly staying home would not need to take a test.

  194. The specificity and sensitivity of antigen tests are all over the place.

    And I really cannot believe Scarlett. I feel like this is an alternative universe.

  195. Michael Mina and coauthors seem to disagree with Reality on at least one antigen test:

    “The FDA’s late August emergency use authorization (EUA) of Abbott BinaxNOW, the first rapid, instrument-free antigen test to receive an EUA, was a step in the right direction. The approval process emphasized the high sensitivity of the test to identify people when their infection is most likely to be transmissible, thus relaxing the required limit of detection by two orders of magnitude from the PCR benchmark. These rapid tests now need to be developed and approved for at-home use to enable true community-wide surveillance regimens for SARS-CoV-2.

    Currently, there is no FDA pathway for tests to be evaluated and approved for use in a regimen rather than as a single test or for their public health potential to reduce community transmission. The regulatory lens remains focused exclusively on clinical diagnostic tests, but new metrics could be applied to assess tests in light of an epidemiologic framework if their stated purpose is to reduce community prevalence of the virus. In such an approval pathway, trade-offs among frequency, limits of detection, and turnaround time would be expected and evaluated appropriately.1-3

    To defeat Covid-19, we believe that the FDA, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and others must encourage structured evaluations of tests in the context of planned testing regimens to identify those that will provide the best Covid filters. Frequent use of cheap, simple, rapid tests will accomplish that aim, even if their analytic sensitivities are vastly inferior to those of benchmark tests.1 Such a regimen can help us stop Covid in its tracks.” https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2025631

    Though I can’t agree that these tests will “stop COVID in its tracks,” there is no reason not to deploy them today at LTC and assisted living facilities. We don’t need to stop COVID in its tracks; we just need to keep it out of the nursing homes until residents can be safely vaccinated.

  196. Reality,

    It kinda sounds like Scarlett’s is apologizing for having mislead everyone about testing.

  197. “Michael Mina and coauthors seem to disagree with Reality on at least one antigen test:”

    Nope. I said that the specificity and sensitivity are all over the place for antigen tests. They are. Nothing he says is in any way contradictory. I swear, you just like to argue.

  198. “Reality, Mina makes the case that the BINAXnow test from Abbott is very accurate at identifying people who are contagious. Not necessarily symptomatic, but contagious.”

    Which is important. It is fairly easy to identify people who are symptomatic and exclude them from being around people at high risk of having bad outcomes.

  199. Btw, that is the test that the White House uses/used. And we all know how well that has gone.

  200. In response to a question, Mina also said flatly that contact tracing hasn’t worked, and that public health authorities should stop wasting resources on beefing up tracing at the expense of other more effective measures.

  201. Mina also said flatly that contact tracing hasn’t worked

    Becaue of people like you boisterously campaigning against it.

  202. One of the best parts of Mina’s approach is that he doesn’t demonize people for their behavior during the pandemic. He acknowledges that people *will* travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas and that public health authorities need to accept that reality rather than condemning the millions of Americans who make decisions that don’t coincide with CDC guidelines.

    Here he is on contact tracing:

    “My colleagues, a lot of them will disagree with me. But I get the feeling that that’s because a lot of people just aren’t maybe bold enough to buck the trends. But contact tracing isn’t working. We keep putting a lot of effort into it for sure, but I actually think the insistence on contact tracing and making that a cornerstone of our response is part of the reason we’re in the problems that we have right now. We have to recognize we have to adapt. If we want to tackle a virus like this, we really have to adapt and we have to recognize when something’s working and when something’s not. I have yet to see any evidence that contact tracing does more than just barely dent the epidemic. And we in Massachusetts is a great example. And in Massachusetts, we have some of the best contact tracing in the country. We have some of the best operations with Partners in Health and other groups. We have some of the best testing, some of the fastest testing and the most expansive testing programs in the country. But even here, and we said that contact tracing can only work when cases are really low. So what we’ve seen is that we had cases really low. We had some of the best contact tracing in the country. And we had some of the best testing in the country in terms of turnaround time and even still, contact tracing failed. And so it continues to boggle my mind why we continue to try to use this strategy that is just not working now. Is it bad if it’s not stopping any additional resources away from other potential avenues, then great. Every case counts. And we know that contact tracing captures a fraction, a small fraction of actual cases. And so it can be useful along with everything else. But if it’s using up any of the resources that could go to other more efficient programs, or if it’s distracting us from thinking up more efficient programs, then I would say that it’s probably not worth it to really be putting a lot of energy.

    And we all said, you know, it’s strange, we all said that contact tracing doesn’t work when there’s a lot of cases. Every epidemiologist I feel said it. We’ve always known it. We don’t do a good job at listening to what we know. We keep thinking that we don’t know anything about this virus and we just keep beating our head against the same wall and expecting that, you know, our headache will go away. No, it won’t go away. It will get worse. And so we really have to we really have to try to look around and take a very critical view of what’s working and what’s not working. And I would say that right now, with cases out of control, ramping up contact tracing is spinning our wheels. We know that there is there was a JAMA paper a couple of weeks ago that looked at contact tracing in San Francisco, another good place for contact tracing. Of eight hundred plus people that were positive, and contact traced, they only found about one hundred and twenty additional cases. So that’s good. Every case counts. But we know that of those eight hundred people, they probably went on to infect something like eleven or twelve hundred people on average. And so it’s great that they found one hundred and twenty, but they may be missed a thousand. And of those hundred and twenty that were discovered, it was probably too late. They had probably already transmitted the virus yet another round. So we’re always behind. And so I think we really have to take a very hard look at what our policies are, where we are placing our resources and decide. Is contact tracing and isolation really the best thing to rally around as a cornerstone of our response? Or should we think of new and creative avenues to use testing more efficiently?” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/coronavirus-covid-19-press-conference-with-michael-mina-11-20-20/

    Thanks to RMS for posting this link. It’s quite worth the time to listen to or read this interview.

  203. Scarlett,

    Then you admit you were catastrophically wrong in your passionate opposition to testing? That is refreshing. Progress is being made.

  204. Rhett; dammit, can we just work through topics and ideas together without the relentless score-keeping?

    Tbh, idk what’s happening with contact tracing over here, beyond the app never having caught on. If there is a threshold beyond which it isn’t helpful, that number needs to be established so there can be agreement to stop at that point.

  205. To defeat Covid-19, we believe that the FDA, the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and others must encourage structured evaluations of tests in the context of planned testing regimens to identify those that will provide the best Covid filters. Frequent use of cheap, simple, rapid tests will accomplish that aim, even if their analytic sensitivities are vastly inferior to those of benchmark tests.1 Such a regimen can help us stop Covid in its tracks.”

    This is an example of a federal response to the pandemic. I feel that strong federal leadership could have helped here.

  206. “ Rhett; dammit, can we just work through topics and ideas together without the relentless score-keeping?”

    Hey, SM and I agree!

  207. Our health systems are sending out these vaccine teaser emails. “We are slated to get doses of the vaccine soon”. Blah, blah, blah. The messaging has definitely changed through the pandemic.

  208. Milo,

    Shouldn’t people be held responsible for being wrong? Isn’t that what personal responsibility is all about?

    Keep in mind that I think being wrong is great. We are all human and as a result we are a sea of fallacy and error. The problem occurs when people don’t examine why they are wrong and adjust their world view accordingly.

  209. Why do you think you were so catastrophically wrong insisting that contract tracing was the answer? I find it fascinating that you could be so mistaken. I think it has to do with your biases about government. But why do you think you were so blind? Like I said, I find it just fascinating!

  210. Rhett, I think very probabilistically. I thought there was an 80% chance a vaccine would be widely available within 2-7 years, but I also would never make a commitment to Until There’s a Cure because of that other 20%. I don’t think of it as who was Right or Wrong because it’s so hard to make predictions, especially about The Future.

    In terms of the regulatory compliance aspect of the tests referred to, that’s been a huge issue in our COVID-related tech work since this began. It’s impossible to predict which regulations which now have a negative cost-risk-benefit analysis will get waived and so a lot of things that would be technically useful don’t get pursued because the regulatory framework is both slow and unpredictable. (Face shields are considered medical devices, but the CAD files to print your own face shields are not medical devices, for example.)

  211. Also, why so many people were catastrophically wrong about the need to close schools. How could they be so blind to obvious disastrous harm to the most vulnerable children? Many kids will be out of school until next fall, at the earliest. Even the WaPo and the NYT have admitted, grudgingly, that there is no justification for keeping schools closed.

  212. Scarlett mentioned her support of the Great Barrington Declaration:

    First and foremost, the declaration does not present the most important point right now, which is to say October 2020: By the middle of next year, and quite possibly sooner, the world will be in a much better position to combat Covid-19. The arrival of some mix of vaccines and therapeutics will improve the situation, so it makes sense to shift cases and infection risks into the future while being somewhat protective now. To allow large numbers of people today to die of Covid, in wealthy countries, is akin to charging the hill and taking casualties two days before the end of World War I.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-10-15/great-barrington-declaration-is-wrong-about-herd-immunity

    And she just admitted the value of rapid COVID testing.

  213. insisting that contract tracing was the answer?

    No one said it was. That’s you jumping to conclusions. Testing is one thing tracing is another. That you and Scarlett conflated the two is on you.

  214. My parents have been friends with a particular couple they’ve known since college, so about half a century. In that time, the guy had a reasonably successful career in government and the private sector. I’m sure they’re Totebag affluent like everyone else. This was one of the couples I mentioned had come to visit them from out of state a few months ago. They’re not crazy or fringe people by any normal indicator. Except now they are fairly convinced that the presidential election was fraudulent. They’re writing letters to the Supreme Court trying to get them to review certain inconsistencies, and they’ve asked my parents for their editing and input.

    Milo, this would end a friendship for me because I could not be friends with anyone who genuinely believes the election was rigged. COVID disagreements are understandable to me because there is still so much we don’t know about the virus and the vaccines, but I cannot be friends with someone who is stupid enough to believe Trump’s bullshit about the election.

  215. I NEVER said testing was not important.

    What I remember is that you insisting for months that all we needed was more contact tracing. We just needed to be like South Korea. I just find it soooo fascinating that you were catastrophically wrong. But that’s a good thing, you know? We’re making progress.

  216. Also, why so many people were catastrophically wrong about the need to close schools.

    You’re the one who first introduced me to the idea that things like Head Start don’t work. You very convincingly introduced the idea that you can’t fix stupid.

    Academic ability is largely innate and cannot be meaningfully improved. Do you disagree?

  217. Well, Denver, people are quirky. And many tend to get crazier the older they get, from what I’ve seen.

    I know that for me, it’s difficult to make and sustain good friendships, so I have to overlook things if I want a real social life outside of the Totebag.

  218. SCOTUS has rejected the Pennsylvania challenge. One sentence order, no dissents.

    Okay, back to the argument about who is catastrophically wrong about whatever.

  219. What I remember is that you insisting for months that all we needed was more contact tracing.

    Your memory is getting weak old man. I always said testing and tracing. That you conflate the two is on you.

  220. Then why do you think you were so catastrophically wrong about testing and tracing, or at least the tracing part?

  221. I have a few thoughts about contact tracing – one so that it is not possible to do on a meaningful scale when you have so many cases. The other is that it still is happening in lots of places like schools and work places. And I think it is useful and appropriate.

  222. HFN, that’s good news!

    Denver, I think I’d see it on a couple levels. To have a friend who was strong and intelligent for decades fall prey to this nonsense would really concern me, and I think I’d want to stand by them. But as we see here, for some people, maintaining a friendship becomes difficult if you won’t subject everything to your strange 1-issue lens. There are all sorts of things wrong with the trumpian views of the world, and supporting him means that none of his awfulness is so bad you can’t abide by it. That is a real problem. But if we leave those people all alone, then there is even less chance of them waking up

  223. Then why do you think you were so catastrophically wrong about testing and tracing, or at least the tracing part?

    I wasn’t wrong about it. It works great all over the world. It was people like Scarlett hysterically screeching against it that were wrong. If people said, “Oh a contract tracing app? Sweet!” It would have worked great. But Scarlett and her fellow travelers did everything in their power to scare people away.

  224. HFN, I had just seen that myself. So when are the Republican congresscritters going to come around?

  225. I had no idea Scarlett had such influence with the millions of poor, undocumented, and other marginalized communities who, I believe, are reported to have the least willingness to comply with tracing. You build Scarlett WAY up in your mind. But it’s your bias in central government planning and efficiency that led you to be so catastrophically wrong. Again, it’s just fascinating.

  226. “I thought there was an 80% chance a vaccine would be widely available within 2-7 years, but I also would never make a commitment to Until There’s a Cure because of that other 20%.”

    We have known for a long time that we would have an answer on the vaccines in October or November. This is what has confused me. Why throw up our hands before we have this information? We knew that was a very good chance that we would get a vaccine. We knew approximately when we would know. It seems to me the responsible thing would be to do our best to limit cases and therefore deaths until we got the answer. If we had gotten bad data, then you have to move to living with the virus. But that is betting against what we knew was likely. I honestly have a hard time wrapping my brain around this.

  227. And many tend to get crazier the older they get, from what I’ve seen.

    I can attest to this. It’s not worth arguing every single point. You feel *you* are getting crazy.

    About kids – I feel very strongly about writing kids off. I was not in a school that had tracking and some of my best friends were academically challenged. It was a struggle for them to get through school. They completed college and went on to decent jobs. Not to Totebag standards but still.

  228. Milo,

    You and Scarlett are responsible for what you say and for what you advocate. You seem to disagree on the grounds that no one pays attention to what you say. That’s bullshit.

  229. “You seem to disagree on the grounds that no one pays attention to what you say. That’s bullshit.”

    But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, right? We’re just shooting the breeze and popping off about things that we think. It isn’t like this group is in a decision-making position.

  230. Reality, I think we agree on limiting deaths. I am less sure we agree on the benefits of limiting cases. I finally am familiar with two local COVID cases (hearsay) and both are asymptomatic people who tested positive before an unrelated surgery. I’m not convinced that finding asymptomatic people with high PCR values helps public health.

  231. “ Rhett, you emphasized “test and trace” many times. Don’t be saying that it’s the reader’s fault for “conflating” them. You paired them and you went on and on about it.”

    Thank you. Rhett – you can never admit being wrong.

  232. “I think we agree on limiting deaths. I am less sure we agree on the benefits of limiting cases.”

    Deaths followed from cases, so when therapeutics are in very short supply, I am not sure how you limit deaths any other way but through trying to keep cases as low as possible.

  233. “HFN, I had just seen that myself. So when are the Republican congresscritters going to come around?”

    I think they will come around when the electoral college votes for Biden next week. I’m not saying that’s a good or reasonable way for republicans to have approached this. But I live in a very pro-Trump state, and I’m quite sure my congressman and senators would be toast if they did anything other than that. Congresspeople of all stripes are primarily concerned with getting reelected. It is the way of it. I wish I thought everyone was most concerned with the good of the country. But I think self preservation is the primary motivator on both sides.

  234. For example (and to keep HfN entertained and exasperated), on June 22 WCE was already chiding you with “But at some level, you seem to still think that test/trace/isolate has a good chance of success under the existing U.S. system of laws and borders or you wouldn’t keep pushing it.”

  235. Thank you. Rhett – you can never admit being wrong.

    That’s certainly not true. RMS launched a very persuasive campaign to disabuse me of the idea that HSS grads could write their own ticket. And I said that she was totally correct. Fred provided some data about med school admissions and after trying to prove him wrong I said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong.”

  236. Milo,

    And of course there is Scarlett proving to me that things like Head Start don’t work. I was so eager to Google it and prove she was totally wrong. But she was totally right.

  237. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/12/trump-will-reign-atop-gop-until-2024/617300/

    “The Republican Plan for the Next Four Years Isn’t Normal
    The GOP may function primarily as a promotional tool for Trump—to the detriment of its future.”

    A national party whose leaders won a civil war in the 19th century and a cold war in the 20th looks to be little more than a promotional tool for Donald Trump at this point in the 21st.

    Trump will lose his titular role as head of the GOP when he leaves office on January 20, but a party cowed by his grip on voters is poised to advance his interests even when he’s out of power. The Republican apparatus is coalescing behind its defeated leader and supplying Trump with a platform as he recasts himself as a kingmaker with ambitions of his own.

    He’ll get plenty of help from outside the party structure. Conservative media will keep a relentless focus on Trump as he torments Joe Biden from exile. And at a grassroots level, Republican voters will likely donate to a new political-action committee he’s created as they pine for him to run one more time. (They may not have to wait long: In a brazen bit of counterprogramming, Trump could launch his next campaign during the Biden-inauguration events he’ll likely snub.)

    Etc.

  238. RMS,

    Then we’re back to a philosophical question.

    The ship is sinking. We have to man the pumps and the ship’s carpenter has to work feverishly to shore up the gash in the hull. The solution is “planks and pumps.” Scarlett argues that neither planks and pumps will work. The ship is going down and there is nothing we can do.

    As it turns out the pumps failed due to flooding in the engine room. But the planks did slow and eventually stop the flooding.

    You seem to be saying I’m wrong because I said planks and pumps and Scarlett said neither. Planks is more right, by a huge margin, than neither.

  239. And Milo, now that I delve into the recesses of my
    memory, your advocacy for the efficient market hypothesis has been very influential.

  240. Rhett. Baby. Here’s what I think.

    I think we should wear masks when we’re indoors and we can’t socially distance. I think we should all have bought air purifiers back in March. I think all the schools should have pumped money into HEPA filters and improved ventilation systems (that will help will all transmissible diseases! It will cut down on colds and flu in the classroom!).

    I think that testing of all kinds (PCR, antigen, whatever) should have been deployed waaaay earlier. If we’d had a sensible federal government, a coordinated response like that would have been possible. As much research as possible should have gone into the contagiousness window. (I’m sure a ton of research went into that. We’re still on a greatly compressed timeline.)

    I think the local government responses have been unrealistic. Here’s where I diverge from the mainstream liberal line. All these behaviors we’re supposed to be following are dramatically different from ordinary American behavior. You can ask people to hide in the basement for two weeks, but you can’t ask them to do it for months on end with no end in sight. It’s not realistic. In support of my argument, I would point you to the educated, thoughtful people on this blog who all believe they are conforming to the rules and are being “safe”, but are in fact hugely noncompliant with the rules. I think only L. really follows the rules, and her life seems insanely constricted.

    Buckminster Fuller used to emphasize that you have to work with how people actually behave, not how they should behave according to your neatly-planned system.

    I think that given how Americans behave, and what the norms are in 2020 in the U.S., there was never a possibility that we’d have a terrific outcome.

    If “Just Say No” worked, we’d have no drug abuse. If “virginity pledges” worked, we’d have no pregnancies. We acknowledge those things. I don’t know why we can’t acknowledge that telling people to stay inside, never see your friends and relatives, and stay that way indefinitely, was never going to work either, particularly for a disease that doesn’t cause you to bleed from your eyeballs as you almost certainly die after infection.

    Asking people to test themselves at home twice a week is doable.

  241. “Deaths followed from cases, so when therapeutics are in very short supply, I am not sure how you limit deaths any other way but through trying to keep cases as low as possible.”

    But we *are* limiting deaths, even as cases are skyrocketing. The CFR has dropped like a stone since March, from nearly 9% to .9% as of mid-November. And that’s confirmed cases. That means that the IFR is much lower. We’re limiting deaths both by improved treatments and the increase in cases among younger and healthier people.

    Most people are not going to be eligible for/choose to accept a vaccine until mid-2021. Any sort of snafu with the initial vaccine rollout — especially bad side effects or insufficient efficacy in the elderly — and the takeup rate will decline.
    WCE is right. We do need to learn to live with the virus. Rapid testing would protect the vulnerable while allowing healthy younger people to get back to work and school.

  242. You can ask people to hide in the basement for two weeks, but you can’t ask them to do it for months on end with no end in sight. It’s not realistic.

    I’m not in CA or CO. But asking people to hide in their basements for months on end isn’t what happened in MA. And in taking with co-workers all over the country that’s not what happened there either. Where did this happen?

  243. Rapid testing would protect the vulnerable while allowing healthy younger people to get back to work and school.

    Then it’s a tragedy you fought so hard against it.

  244. “Rapid testing would protect the vulnerable while allowing healthy younger people to get back to work and school.”

    I think that rapid testing is a good thing. But it cannot work alone. We see what happens when you rely on it as the sole preventative measure. You get super-spreading events like the Rose Garden event. In an environment where all of the people are high risk, that could be catastrophic.

  245. Rhett, as a household of six in Oregon, it is currently illegal for us to have anyone over. My friends in households of seven may not legally exist. There was some joking about buying a second house to comply with the new “household limit of 6” regulations.

  246. My friends in households of seven may not legally exist.

    Have you googled it? We had an issue a few days ago where you sheepishly admitted to not looking up Texas’s FAFSA mandate. That isn’t happening again is it?

  247. ITA with everything Rocky said. And I agree that L, and my in laws*, are the only ones I know who are truly isolated. *And even they have to go to their regular medical appointments.

    Rhett – that’s interesting. I didn’t know that you weren’t much of a believer in the efficient market. If by that you basically mean you can’t beat index funds [reliably, consistently, net of taxes, over a long period of time]. But we’re entirely dependent on people trying to do just that.

  248. I didn’t know that you weren’t much of a believer in the efficient market.

    Originally no. I was a Peter Lynch guy. You disabused me of my errant thinking.

  249. If by that you basically mean you can’t beat index funds [reliably, consistently, net of taxes, over a long period of time].

    The only thing you left out is fees. There are a tiny number of people who can consistently beat the market. But they are smart enough to charge for their services. And you once you add in their fees – you’re back at a index fund ROR… or lower.

  250. It was hyperbole.

    Haven’t you mentioned that as the problem? You said Scarlett was making claims about shutdowns that didn’t resemble anything occurring in Golden Corral, IN.

  251. “Academic ability is largely innate and cannot be meaningfully improved. Do you disagree?”

    If by ‘academic ability’ you mean the ability to do well in school, e.g., get good grades, then yes, I disagree.

    Mooshi’s DS1 would be an example of someone who improved his academic ability. I think a lot of kids can improve by learning how to manage their schoolwork, organize their thoughts, better absorb what they read, etc.

  252. “Reality, I think we agree on limiting deaths. I am less sure we agree on the benefits of limiting cases.”

    IMO, if we’re going to prioritize limiting one aspect, it would be limiting the need for hospitalization. That would have the biggest impact on our HC system.

    “I’m not convinced that finding asymptomatic people with high PCR values helps public health.”

    IOW, you’re not convinced that they’re shedding enough virus to infect anyone else?

  253. IOW, you’re not convinced that they’re shedding enough virus to infect anyone else?

    Are you convinced they are? Honestly, there’s just not enough evidence either way to know for sure. In a few years, there will be enough evidence.

  254. “Buckminster Fuller used to emphasize that you have to work with how people actually behave, not how they should behave according to your neatly-planned system.”

    Kinda like those physicists at UIUC who modeled the spread pretty well except they assumed that students that tested positive would actually isolate and not continue to go out to parties.

  255. I know that for me, it’s difficult to make and sustain good friendships, so I have to overlook things if I want a real social life outside of the Totebag.

    I can overlook plenty of things, but someone believing crackpot conspiracy theories that are damaging to our country is well over the line.

  256. I still love our governor. Today he made a ritual rollback to satisfy the most nervous in which he applied statewide some standards that already applied in the mostly dense areas. Gyms and Indoor dining at 40 percent capacity not 50. Wear your mask at the table except when eating and during all exercise at the gym. Those few remaining movie theaters open had to shut. Recommended without enforcement teeth Wearing masks indoors at work all the time. When challenged from the floor he said, it isnt commercial activity or actually playing youth hockey that fuels the spread. It is people congregating with people from outside their household at close quarters. And all we can do is exhort. His one substantive change yesterday was postponement of elective surgery to free up hospital resources and personnel, made at the request of the hospitals (his background is Health Care Group CEO.). All other med stuff continues.

    On a side note, I had my “annual physical” via videochat. I will go in for some routine labs. I provided my own vitals. Got my one prescription refilled.

  257. Buckminster Fuller used to emphasize that you have to work with how people actually behave, not how they should behave according to your neatly-planned system.

    And as Rhett likes to emphasize, you have to deal with the world as it is, not how you want it to be.

  258. “I think that rapid testing is a good thing. But it cannot work alone. We see what happens when you rely on it as the sole preventative measure. You get super-spreading events like the Rose Garden event. In an environment where all of the people are high risk, that could be catastrophic.”

    Rapid testing for nursing home staff would be orders of magnitude better than the systems they are currently using. And it would allow family members to visit and take much of the daily care burden off the staff.

    There is no reason not to do this.

  259. “ And as Rhett likes to emphasize, you have to deal with the world as it is, not how you want it to be.”

    This is what he says regarding things he doesn’t care about. When he’s passionate about something, then there’s no reason why we can’t be South Korea.

    (…in good fun)

  260. “There is no reason not to do this.”

    I agree. If I were in charge, I would test everyone as much as people would tolerate.

  261. My parents self isolated in the home country for months. The population density, there means you can’t safely distance. They wiped down groceries and answered the very few delivery people who were unavoidable wearing their masks and gloves. The whole experience left them very anxious and somewhat traumatized. They were safe but the impact of taking the precautions took a toll. I didn’t understand the impact of isolation and being so anxious about the virus, till I witnessed it first hand. At least here, they are able to leave their apartment to go to the grocery store, have been for a hair cut and have other basic things attended to.

  262. I’ve been following Michael Mina since the early days of the pandemic, and also think the rapid testing he proposes could be such a game changer. Not as a standalone, but as part of the “Swiss Cheese Model” being discussed.

    I’m still of the mindset that we need to go after the low-hanging fruit first- push people outdoors, use HEPA filters, get N95s or at least surgical masks to higher risk people for when they have to be indoors with people outside their household, etc. It’s beyond frustrating that school shutdowns and unrealistic instructions to avoid interacting with anyone outside your household are still the major interventions being used in parts of the country. I think focusing on the 80/20 rule things would also help us move away from tribalism.

  263. “Are you convinced they are? Honestly, there’s just not enough evidence either way to know for sure.”

    No, I’m not convinced either way. Given that, it seems logical to me assume they are when it comes to things like wearing masks and keeping distanced and minimizing breathing of the same air.

  264. Meanwhile people are so irrational and are wasting energy in all the wrong places. Last week some people in my Buy Nothing group started scolding people for offering “non-essential” items like toys for porch pickup. Things that had been sitting untouched for weeks. And surfaces aren’t thought present much risk at all at this point. Like, of all the things to scold people over. Maybe in March that made sense, but we know now that statistically, close to zero Covid cases are coming from things like that.

  265. To add – I think it should be about pushing people towards safer interactions on the spectrum of Covid risk. What are the big things? Limiting large events? Ok done. Discouraging 2019-style open offices from reopening? Ok.

    But then … the next level. So like this summer – we were all outdoors & it seemed pretty clear that was much much less risky than indoor gatherings. But in climates where that isn’t practical – What is the next best way to mitigate risk? Sitting far apart indoors? Testing frequently (even if the test aren’t as sensitive)? Keeping a tight “bubble” of people (like the hybrid school cohorts)? Limiting trips to the store where large groups are meeting? Not doing indoor activities where masks can’t be worn (e.g., indoor dining?). People will try. They won’t do everything and be nit picked for every “non essential” thing they do.

  266. Not to let L feel alone, we are following pretty strict guidelines. DH’s risk is high, and he doesn’t want to lose his transplanted kidney and go back on dialysis. That’s if he didn’t die, which according to his doctors is also a very real risk if he were to be infected with Covid.

  267. @Rio – the crazy scolding over marginal stuff makes me crazy. Meanwhile, you know that person is probably doing something WAAY more risky any rationalizing it.

    And Rocky I totally agree about the filters! Why isn’t this a much bigger area of focus?!

  268. Sunshine, wishing you and your husband all the best.

    Thinking about all the different options schools could take, here’s one possibility, from Berlin, where schools have been open since a few weeks before summer vacation (which they took as usual). From the director of my son’s school:

    This morning, we have been notified by the Berlin Senate that it is likely (but not yet finally decided), that all schools will be asked to extend their Christmas holidays until Friday 8th January. For us this would mean that your children would return to our school on Monday 11th January and not on Wednesday, the 6th. This would also mean that there will be no lessons during that week.

    The Senate wants to use that first week in January week to gather information from the schools about the numbers and levels of Covid infections of their staff and students. This information will then be used by them to decide the best way forward from 11th January 2021 onwards. Hence, it is likely that the Senate will instruct us to gather from you information about the Covid status of your children, family members and any other direct contact persons in that first week.

  269. “Academic ability is largely innate and cannot be meaningfully improved. Do you disagree?”

    Yes. My daughter is a shining example of being able to improve. She went from being in the remedial pullout in reading in first grade, to being largely written off as remedial in elementary schooll, to “improving” in middle school, to straight A’s and honors classes in 9th grade. What happened? Number one, effective ADHD meds starting in late 4th grade. Improvement in the 5th grade, and then in middle school, teachers stopped writing her off as remedial and started holding her to higher standards and working with her to get there. She had several really good teachers. She developed confidence that she could do it and she works really hard. And yes, she gets a lot of oversight from us parents, mainly in keeping her organized and focused. My experience with my oldest taught me that ADHD kids simply take a lot longer to learn how to focus than more normal kids. My oldest has a set of routines that he is almost anal about that help him keep things together, and he is very aware of his problem areas. He has told me many times that the years of parentally enforced routines was how he learned to do it – it allowed him to practice over and over. Eventually he internalized the routines – it just took longer than it does for most kids. DD needs that same kind of practice and help – but her improvements in writing especially have been due to some good teachers and her own hard work.

  270. Thanks for the kind wishes, but it wasn’t my intention to engender sympathy, more to share the day to day reality about people who might not be most obviously on the top list of dry tinder. I can wfh and only go in to the office 2-3 times a month.

  271. “@Rio – the crazy scolding over marginal stuff makes me crazy. Meanwhile, you know that person is probably doing something WAAY more risky any rationalizing it.”

    I’ve found this to be common.

  272. “Academic ability is largely innate and cannot be meaningfully improved.

    Good point. In future I will add, “Unless via the use of drugs to treat ADHD.”

  273. Kerri,

    You are assuming this is only covid related. It’s the culmination of years of this kind of behavior that has finally come to a head.

  274. Rhett, what the ADHD meds did was simply let her focus. She couldn’t learn anything before that point because she couldn’t slow down long enough. She has the very hyperactive type of ADHD. Since she missed a lot of skill building in elementary school. she had to catch up in middle school (and is still catching up) and good teaching helped a lot with that.
    Academic ability involves many things beyond basic intelligence, and improving those factors will improve your academic ability.

  275. Rhett, what the ADHD meds did was simply let her focus.

    Being able to focus is hardly simple. It’s interesting that you think it is.

  276. Rhett – Oh, I am well aware of that. I am genuinely concerned about you. You are the only reason I’m breaking my posting break from the site. There are some things one can’t get over so the choices become limited. For me, that means ignoring certain posts/ posters completely – as many regulars do – or disengaging from the site completely, as we can see from the number of regulars who no longer post.

    The article pushes for greater patience with those who don’t act as we would want and to suggest alternatives to them to encourage risk mitigating behavior. I don’t think that is always possible or effective. The comments on article, in response, say “screw that”. Hard to disagree.

    The moderators aren’t going to kick anyone off the site and don’t want to be arbiters of posts. So, just think about whether your energy is better spent elsewhere or with others, than here.

    If you are ever inclined to reach out, the moderators know how to find me.

  277. “Academic ability involves many things beyond basic intelligence, and improving those factors will improve your academic ability.”

    ITA.
    One of the striking things revealed in biographies or long-form obituaries in the WSJ is the number of smart and successful adults who struggled during the early school years, even to the point of dropping out (when that was more common). Sometimes because of family dysfunction or other childhood trauma, other times because they were “weird” kids who attracted bullies and teacher criticism and whose intense passion for bugs or rocks wasn’t appreciated. Or because they had bad luck in getting a teacher who was just phoning it in. There are a lot of reasons for poor school performance that have little to do with innate cognitive ability.

  278. Scarlett,

    That reminds me of something someone said the other day about their school experience. They had the experience at various times, for various reasons, of already knowing everything. But they were fine with going through the motions. Some people would find that absolutely intolerable.

  279. “@Rio – the crazy scolding over marginal stuff makes me crazy. Meanwhile, you know that person is probably doing something WAAY more risky any rationalizing it.”

    Oh God yes.

    I just think we should stop shaming people for marginal, legal behavior, and focus on making the regulations we do focus on the most effective (80/20) – whether totally enforceable or not.

    And that includes badgering Milo about the party bus months later. Which – as he points out – was legal in his area at the time.

    Again – I don’t claim to know exactly what those 80% regulations are, but not putting 25,000 people in an indoor stadium seems to be a no brainer, and then go down from there. Not having 200-person weddings also seems like a good idea. Wearing masks at Costco is not that much of an inconvenience, so it doesn’t need to be 100% effective at stopping all transmissions to be a good idea. It doesn’t even need to stop 50% of them to be worth it, IMHO. Indoor dining at reduced capacity – I could be convinced that the cost outweighs the benefits. I don’t see why hair salons can’t operate at reduced capacity with masks. And closing outdoor playgrounds and policing mask compliance at the beach are both ridiculous.

  280. Rocky, when I had ADHD meds prescribed, I hated them. No clue if they helped concentration—they raised my blood pressure so much I had a headache & just wanted to sleep/relax.

  281. ADHD stimulants help everyone with school-related activities, whether you have ADHD or not.

    One would also think as more kids are treated what is considered normal also changes. Potentially this could result in a kind of feedback loop.

  282. I also wonder how it is going to work as vaccinations roll out. How to we loosen some of these regulations as they no longer become necessary? I don’t think we all need to be wearing masks or avoiding gatherings in 12 months, but what does it look like in the interim?

    I do think right now – we should focus on slowing spread, but what about in May 2021?

  283. No clue if they helped concentration

    You also mentioned you tried the street drug version of ADHD meds and that worked well for you as I recall.

  284. I think the loosening of restrictions should be based on case rates in a given area, not time-based.

    Given the rate of cases in my area, it won’t surprise me if cases increase after the vaccine is available when the population is only partially vaccinated. We continue to fill sandbags for a flood that hasn’t come yet.

  285. We continue to fill sandbags for a flood that hasn’t come yet.

    Isn’t that the best time to fill sandbags?

  286. Only 24 hours after the first vaccines were administered in the UK:

    “People with a “significant history of allergic reactions” should not be given the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, UK health authorities said Wednesday, after two health care workers experienced symptoms after receiving a shot the day before.

    The precautionary advice was given after the pair “responded adversely” following their shots on the first day of the mass vaccination rollout in the UK, National Health Service England said Wednesday.
    The two staff members — who both carried an adrenaline auto injector and had a history of allergic reactions — developed symptoms of anaphylactoid reaction after receiving the vaccine on Tuesday. Thousands overall were vaccinated in the UK on Tuesday, NHS England told CNN on Wednesday.” https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/09/health/covid-vaccine-allergies-health-workers-uk-intl-gbr/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_content=2020-12-09T13%3A22%3A24&utm_source=twCNN&utm_term=link

    I got a link to this story from a friend (nurse married to a doctor) who is very skeptical about the vaccines. Evidently, people with significant history of allergic reactions weren’t among the subjects in the clinical trials.

  287. The problem with the mask mandates based on little actual evidence is that there is no obvious point at which the powers that be can say, “Ok you can take off your masks now.”

    That day may not come until the CDC guidelines — on which many private businesses are relying for CYA coverage — are changed to reflect reality. Fauci and now the NYT have already warned that getting the vaccine doesn’t mean that you can stop wearing your mask.

    “The new Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna seem to be remarkably good at preventing serious illness. But it’s unclear how well they will curb the spread of the coronavirus.
    That’s because the Pfizer and Moderna trials tracked only how many vaccinated people became sick with Covid-19. That leaves open the possibility that some vaccinated people get infected without developing symptoms, and could then silently transmit the virus — especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.
    If vaccinated people are silent spreaders of the virus, they may keep it circulating in their communities, putting unvaccinated people at risk.
    “A lot of people are thinking that once they get vaccinated, they’re not going to have to wear masks anymore,” said Michal Tal, an immunologist at Stanford University. “It’s really going to be critical for them to know if they have to keep wearing masks, because they could still be contagious.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/08/health/covid-vaccine-mask.html

    Wonder why a lot of people thought that vaccines = no masks? Maybe because the media and the public health authorities have been telling us for months now that the vaccines would let us get back to “normal.”

  288. “there is no obvious point at which the powers that be can say, “Ok you can take off your masks now.””

    when they start losing elections. i can imagine a possibility where that’s what it takes.

  289. As I understand it, until more data is available and if as expected I get the vaccine before other family members I will have to wear a mask at all times inside my house.

  290. The early stage U.K. vaccination program is a giant clinical trial for all the groups underrepresented or not represented in the main trial. That includes the elderly and people with underlying conditions. Since their healthcare is government run all the patient history is right there nice and neat.

  291. Kim – why on earth would you do that? Is the theory that when you’re recently vaccinated, you might be contagious?

  292. The problem with the mask mandates based on little actual evidence

    That’s a huge change from your previous position that there was no evidence for masks. I’m impressed.

  293. As I understand it, until more data is available and if as expected I get the vaccine before other family members I will have to wear a mask at all times inside my house.

    At least until cheap, at-home testing for infectiousness become available.

  294. when they start losing elections. i can imagine a possibility where that’s what it takes.

    Remember your “as a trained engineer” comment the other day? Where you thought the lack of $1000 generators on electric cars was the result of some ideological or political angle. When in reality it’s based on very sound economics and engineering?

    Do you notice you have a problem with thinking there is a nefarious rational behind things when none exists?

  295. S&M,

    Didn’t someone once give you some meth to help you study for something back in the day?

  296. “Is the theory that when you’re recently vaccinated, you might be contagious?”

    Yes. I just saw another report this morning.

    The coronavirus vaccines, in contrast, are injected deep into the muscles and quickly absorbed into the blood, where they stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. This appears to be enough protection to keep the vaccinated person from getting ill.

    Some of those antibodies will circulate to the nasal mucosa and stand guard there, but it’s not clear how much of the antibody pool can be mobilized, or how quickly. If the answer is not much, then viruses could bloom in the nose — and be sneezed or breathed out to infect others.

  297. When I get vaccinated, I won’t be wearing a mask at home. I will wear them where I wear them now until case rates are low (which is whenever I leave the house unless I am in my car or on a run in my local area that is not crowded) I also think that though we don’t have confirmed evidence that vaccination reduces infectiousness, it likely does (even if not as well as it reduces disease).

  298. “when they start losing elections. i can imagine a possibility where that’s what it takes.”

    One of the most surprising — and disappointing — discovery during this year was that there are a lot of people who actually *want* to be told what to do. They clamor for rules and restrictions and guidelines that they imagine will help keep them “safe.” Once that mentality sets in and is reinforced by the daily experience of every venue you visit telling you “Our TOP priority is your health and safety!” — well, it’s very hard to hit the off button and resume responsibility for your own safety.

  299. there are a lot of people who actually *want* to be told what to do. They clamor for rules and restrictions and guidelines

    What an odd observation coming from someone so religious.

  300. Rhett – I’m not sure I agree. I just wasn’t in the mood to think more about it before. It looks like if you upgrade your home charger to the 240 V (a dryer plug), then that’s transferring about 7 kW to the car. And iirc, those can get you to an 80% charge in maybe four hours?

    I have a 7.5 kW generator that was well under $1k. So if you did my theory of running it at a bit under full load when you set out on a long trip, that would be sufficient to keep the charge stable for almost all driving.

    Now, my generator is a lot louder than one of the quiet Honda ones, so there’s that. But it’s certainly doable.

  301. 20 hours at 7.5 kwh (I think). To get to 6 hours you’d likely need a panel upgrade.

    Maximum current capacity of your electrical panel – Your home’s electrical panel can likely withstand the draw of either 100 or 200 amps of electrical current. Charging at 17.2 kW of power on a 240 volt circuit may require a home electrical panel upgrade to 400-amp service.

  302. But it’s certainly doable.

    Maybe things are doable the question is, is there a business case for it? With so many fast charging stations out there now, would someone with a 300 mile range electric car want to pay thousands more for a range extender they may only use a few times a year but would still have to maintain, it would add weight, reduce storage space, decrease reliability, etc?

  303. Rhett – the diagram in your link says Level 2 (240V) 6-20 hours from empty to full. So 6 is within the realm of minimizing your battery depletion enough that you can probably drive at least 18 hours straight on the highway.

  304. So 6 is within the realm of minimizing your battery depletion enough that you can probably drive at least 18 hours straight on the highway.

    That would be a bladder busting trip would it not? If you’re going to have to stop anyway isn’t using the 30 min charging station a better option?

  305. “Does you generator have a starter motor?”

    yes. but its battery died years ago, and I haven’t replaced it because the pull cord is just as easy.

    “would someone with a 300 mile range electric car want to pay thousands more for a range extender they may only use a few times a year but would still have to maintain, it would add weight, reduce storage space, decrease reliability, etc?”

    well, now we’re into an entirely different question. my answer would be yes, since we like road trips.

  306. S&M – does your whole family care epinephrin auto-injectors? If not, I don’t think you are in the same category of the two nurses who became ill.

    I’ve read that the vaccines all produce a pretty robust response in the first 24-48 hours with many people having significant symptoms. I do wonder if that was misinterpreted as anaphylaxis. I’m sure there will be more information soon – well before most of the TBers are offered the vaccine.

  307. “If you’re going to have to stop anyway isn’t using the 30 min charging station a better option?”

    I’m not familiar with their geographic distribution or real world availability, particularly around holidays.

  308. well, now we’re into an entirely different question. my answer would be yes, since we like road trips.

    Why wouldn’t you just use one of the thousands of super charger stations?

  309. And note that is the list of Tesla brand charging stations.

    In March 2020, the U.S. had approximately 78,500 charging outlets and almost 25,000 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles (EVs).

  310. Hugs to you and your family, Sunshine. My FIL died after a transplant several years ago. A macabre silver lining is that at least we don’t need to worry about him through all this.

  311. If you look at the Tesla route planner on their website, there are a lot fewer charging stations then a quick glance at that map might suggest. I believe there might be one in the entire state of South Carolina? In any case, it does lock you into certain stops. So, for our typical drive south, you’d better want to stop in Lumberton, NC, which is fine. Unless you want to go to a restaurant that’s at a different location. It seems like you’re limited to whatever is within walking distance of the charger. And some of them are telling me that this is going to be a 60-minute stop, not 30.

    Hopefully you’re not waiting in line to plug in.

    So it *is* a lot more constrained still compared to fueling with gasoline.

  312. I believe there might be one in the entire state of South Carolina?

    A quick googling says there is one in Greenville SC, Santee, SC and Columbia, SC.

    So it *is* a lot more constrained still compared to fueling with gasoline.

    But you seem to think you can only charge a Tesla at a Tesla brand fast charger. There are many other types you can use. There are 25,000 fast charging locations in the US with 1000 of them being for Teslas. When you buy one it comes with a little bag of adapters so you can use all the various types.

  313. Which isn’t to say it isn’t more constrained. But to avoid that are you really going pay thousands extra and deal with all the downsides of having a range extender?

    Also keeping in mind that while range extenders for primarily electric cars don’t really have a business case. Primarily gas powered cars with a hybrid component have a very strong business case. As you well know with your hybrid CRV.

    Electric only are great. Gas with a electric supplement are fantastic. Electric with a range extender are a sales and engineering dead end.

  314. I don’t know. Mr. LfB’s Volvo, iirc, can do something like 10 or 20 miles in pure EV mode before starting the engine. The Prius Prime is another example, and I believe that one will go a little farther in EV. So these are “electric with a range extender” to some degree, but maybe the engine also links in mechanically to the drivetrain. not sure.

  315. Hang in there, Sunshine. That is so hard. Still not clear about the degree of risk from my rare condition, so we’re being very conservative. I wore an N95 to my outdoor, socially distanced book club because some of the people there don’t take any precautions. But I’ve made a conscious decision not to let differing attitudes about Covid blow up my personal relationships.

  316. So these are “electric with a range extender” to some degree, but maybe the engine also links in mechanically to the drivetrain. not sure.

    Right but the primary source of motive power on a journey of any length is the gas engine. The Prius Prime has a 95 bhp gas engine which is 70,841.5 watts. LfB’s husbands Volvo has a 313 bhp engine which is 234,404 watts.

  317. “Says $2000 for 7500 watts 50 amps. Does you generator have a starter motor?”

    50 amps @ 240V = 12kW.

    At 240V, 7500W means 31.25A, nominally 30A. Normal rule of thumb, also programmed into Tesla software, is to not exceed 80% of nominal, so 24A max.

    Note that 50A at 120V is 80% of 7500W. I.e., while 7500W is max capacity, practically you don’t want to pull more than 6000W from it.

    At 240V, 24A, I think our car would charge at about 21mph. Our 30A circuit has a 20A plug, so we’re limited to 16A, and our car charges at about 14mph at 240V, 16A.

  318. “Mr. LfB’s Volvo, iirc, can do something like 10 or 20 miles in pure EV mode before starting the engine. The Prius Prime is another example, and I believe that one will go a little farther in EV. So these are “electric with a range extender” to some degree”

    The Prius Prime is a hybrid with a big battery, and I’d guess Mr. LfB’s Volvo is that also.

    BTW, the Prius Prime all-electric range is about 35 miles.

    That type of car might make a lot of sense for Milo, like Mr. LfB’s does for him, if typical day to day driving is within the all-electric range.

  319. Finn or Milo,

    In the UK they have 230v plugs and the “mains” electrical service is also 230v. In the US the wire from the pole to your house is 240v but regular plugs are stepped down to 120v. Are those home generators producing power at 240v or 120v?

  320. “if typical day to day driving is within the all-electric range.”

    it’s not, but it can still make sense. but we’re good on cars right now. the next one to figure out is what to replace the van with when the time comes. Easy choice is another van in hybrid. Then I wonder do we really need another van. But when we go somewhere with bikes on the back, biking equipment in the car, tennis rackets and balls, lots of luggage, and the dog, and a cooler, maybe a travel crate for the dog…the answer is yes.

  321. “Are those home generators producing power at 240v or 120v?”

    both. plug into whichever one you need.

    Well, I guess the electrical engineer would answer your question by saying 240V, and then it must just divide it or something in half (I don’t think it’s using a transformer). But I’m not an electrical engineer.

  322. I’ve made a conscious decision not to let differing attitudes about Covid blow up my personal relationships.

    That’s kind of where we are. We’re just discussing whether we basically force ourselves upon family for Christmas. We don’t think it’s likely that we would catch the virus and infect them, but it also doesn’t seem likely that they (Mom, that is—Dad doesn’t always know there is a virus going around) would be able to calm down and enjoy the visit. The last thing I want is for our last visit during my dad’s life to be full of stress and possibly end in tears.

  323. yeah, I know. Rumor is that the Pilot will offer a hybrid next year, and I’d expect Honda to transfer that to the Odyssey soon thereafter.

    The problem is that DW has been periodically talking about wanting a camping trailer that is more sheltered and more comfortable. And I say “then we need something to tow it.” And we consider it, and she usually then says “But we also want a Bay boat, too.”

    So something that can tow a lot more has been in the back of my mind, but I don’t think we’ll actually do it. I think it’s just her pandemic restlessness talking.

  324. SM – You’ve mentioned that he’s not been well the past couple of years, but, still, to me, the way you talk about it now, it seems like there has been a very rapid decline. In any case, I’m sorry to hear that.

  325. Ada, not all the time, but we had to take one with us to my son’s allergy shots in case of anaphylaxis on the way home. Did they mean literally all the time, like people who are allergic to bee stings? That’s not us.

  326. “In the US the wire from the pole to your house is 240v but regular plugs are stepped down to 120v.”

    No, you get two 120V legs that can be combined to give 240V. No stepping down.

  327. Thanks Milo. I wish I f’ing knew. Straight talk is not my family’s strong suit. Small talk isn’t either—that was the point of the advent calendar, but it doesn’t spark conversation any more than anything else—pix of us, of the city, news from school, talk about news…. I have no idea what’s going on, other than that my son wants to feel like a little boy at his grandparents, but is old enough to realize that ship might have sailed. That’s what he wants for Christmas, and they’re asking what tschotchke to throw money at.

  328. “So something that can tow a lot more has been in the back of my mind”

    I’m thinking a hybrid could be optimized for that. Take advantage of the great torque of the electric motor, like diesel electric trains.

  329. Rhett, that was for my written exams, for which you have 3 days to write 20-30 pages on a topic, with appropriate bibliography and citations, a day off, and there are 3 (or 4? Not sure now) cycles. The point was staying awake, not focus per se.

  330. S&M,

    They are both in their 80s, right? They may have a good chance of getting the vaccine within six months. It might be better to just postpone the trip. You’d hate to have something happen. And your mom is already under so much stress dealing with your dad’s decline.

  331. “I’m thinking a hybrid could be optimized for that.”

    You’d think so. But in many cases, the torque is not the limiting factor. It can be suspension, wheelbase, brakes. Or the motor and the systems just aren’t tuned to pull an extra 6,000 lbs.

    On wheelbase, there’s a huge difference in towing between the Jeep Wrangler (the classic one) and the Gladiator (the Wrangler pickup). The latter is much longer. Otherwise the same, I believe.

  332. “real world availability, particularly around holidays.”

    Yes, this I’ve heard of Tesla supercharger stations being full around holidays.

    “But you seem to think you can only charge a Tesla at a Tesla brand fast charger. There are many other types you can use. “

    This is also true. E.g., many stores and malls have charging stations. Our nearest Target has several stations that offer free charging for two hours, and you can pay to continue charging beyond that.

    Most of the free charging stations charge at a low rate, but the stations atTarget charge almost as fast as the fastest we can charge at home.

  333. Yeah – people who carry epipens all the time are a different bunch than the ones who get allergy shots. I’ve seen a lot of skepticism (from allergists) regarding the UK allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis to vaccines occurs and is rare. However, it occurs within minutes of injection, not the next day (as what happened to the nurses in question). Systemic response to vaccine with cough, shorteness of breath, rash, fever, is a common and expected outcome, and would occur about 24 hours after getting the vaccine.

  334. “Maximum current capacity of your electrical panel – Your home’s electrical panel can likely withstand the draw of either 100 or 200 amps of electrical current. Charging at 17.2 kW of power on a 240 volt circuit may require a home electrical panel upgrade to 400-amp service.”

    A 100A circuit practically can deliver 19.2kw of power, using the 80% standard. Many homes do not use 2kw most of the time, especially overnight, which is one of the times it can make most sense to charge a car.

    IOW, I call BS.

  335. ” But in many cases, the torque is not the limiting factor. It can be suspension, wheelbase, brakes.”

    Hybrid and electric cars typically have regenerative braking in addition to regular disk (or drum, I suppose) brakes, so that also would seem to make them well suited for towing.

  336. Many homes do not use 2kw most of the time, especially overnight

    Most people, especially people like Milo, would want to be able to plug the car in, toss a load in the dryer, start preheating the oven, all the while cranking the AC.

  337. “ADHD stimulants help everyone with school-related activities, whether you have ADHD or not.”

    E.g., the classmates of the kids taking the ADHD meds, whose classes are disrupted less due to the meds.

  338. “Unless via the use of drugs to treat ADHD.”

    No, I think many kids don’t learn a lot of academic skills, like how to manage their assignments, how to take notes, how to organize thoughts, etc. Learning those skills can improve their academic abilities.

  339. “One of the most surprising — and disappointing — discovery during this year was that there are a lot of people who actually *want* to be told what to do. They clamor for rules and restrictions and guidelines that they imagine will help keep them “safe.””

    I’m not sure why you’re surprised.

    I a lot of people want to have others do things for them. They lack the inclination, bandwidth, access, or ability to process the available data and determine what they should do. Or they don’t trust their own abilities to make those determinations.

    And of course there’s Rhett’s point.

  340. Finn,

    I’m also thinking the highest temp ever in Honolulu is 95. In Houston it’s 109. I would bet the average Model S buyer in Houston is living in an at least 5,000 sq/ft home that’s AC equipped to deal with 30 days of 100+ Degree temps.

  341. “I also wonder how it is going to work as vaccinations roll out. How to we loosen some of these regulations as they no longer become necessary? I don’t think we all need to be wearing masks or avoiding gatherings in 12 months, but what does it look like in the interim?”

    IMO, not using masks should be the lowest priority. Opening schools, revitalizing the economy, and increasing F2F interactions with other people are all much higher priorities.

  342. “Many homes do not use 2kw most of the time, especially overnight”

    “especially people like Milo, would want to be able to plug the car in, toss a load in the dryer, start preheating the oven, all the while cranking the AC.”

    Umm, Finn, shipmate, if nothing else, I’d like to be able to run my upstairs heat pump throughout the night in January while I’m sleeping and charging the car so I can go to work the next day so I can pay for all this stuff. 2 kW is NOTHING.

  343. “Most people, especially people like Milo, would want to be able to plug the car in, toss a load in the dryer, start preheating the oven, all the while cranking the AC.”

    Then they might need 200A service.

  344. Finn – Picturing the 5,000 sf house in Houston with the Tesla, I’d be willing to bet that you are in the top 0.001% (or maybe bottom 0.001%) of all Tesla owners for total energy consumed.

  345. Milo,

    I didn’t want that to come across as insulting. I think 95% of people would not want to have to think about whether the car is plugged in before they turned on the dryer.

    In the RV videos (and I’m sure this is an issue on live aboard boats) is that you’re constantly juggling electrical load. If you want to run the dryer you have to turn off the AC. If the heat pump is on don’t forget to turn off the electric fireplace before you turn on the oven, etc.

    Very few people want to deal with that in a regular house.

  346. Milo, how much does your heat pump draw?

    In order for 200A service to not be sufficient for that to be running while your car is drawing 17.2Kw, the heat pump also would need to be drawing on the same order as the car.

    So let’s round to 17kw for 12 hours, about 200kwh/night. You have cheap electricity, so I’ll use an easy number of 10 cents/kwh, so your electricity cost for your heat pump would be about $20/night, or about $600/month.

    Do you really use that much electricity to heat your home?

    I realize that’s assuming a constant draw, and you really need to look at peak draw. But it might be enough to determine whether or not what Rhett posted was BS or not.

  347. Finn – Picturing the 5,000 sf house in Houston with the Tesla, I’d be willing to bet that you are in the top 0.001% (or maybe bottom 0.001%) of all Tesla owners for total energy consumed.

    Quite a of Tesla owners have planes. And yachts. And multiple homes.

  348. Rhett, the temp in Tampa doesn’t get over 100, but stretches of a few weeks where temps don’t dip into the 70s overnight are not unusual. When my son was sent home from school early because of “extreme heat” on an 85 degree day, we doubled over laughing.

  349. Finn – I’m thinking it’s only a 1,000 watts or so. It’s just the upstairs. Our upstairs is about 1500 sf. Is it a 1 ton? I forget. No, we don’t pay anywhere near $600 per month.

    I wasn’t paying attention to your amperage numbers, I was just thinking about you saying that there’s no need for 2kW. And that I can tell you, holy shit, I need 2 kW. By God. During a power outage, when I’m running my 7.5 kW generator, it’s a balancing act, and I don’t even try to do the upstairs HVAC. The starting currents of a well pump and a septic pump are large. The well pump is a couple hundred feet down, don’t forget. It’s a big pump.

    Most people buying whole house generators for reasonable sized houses say to get you 20 kW and you can relax.

    With mine running in the driveway, the Keurig coffee maker thermostat would cycle and you’d hear the RPM on the generator drop, and then pick back up.

    Rhett – I did not take it as an insult. Remember, I like power, and I like things to work as they’re supposed to. I like lots of ice, very hot water, long and hot showers, etc. :)

  350. I’d be willing to bet that you are in the top 0.001% (or maybe bottom 0.001%) of all Tesla owners for total energy consumed.

    Your comment is interesting in light of Elon Musk being the second richest person in the world. All the worlds auto executives thought electric cars would be glorified golf cart eco-mobiles. Elon said, nope what people want is gadgets and face ripping acceleration in an S Class and 3 series rival.

    At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the average Tesla buyer is buying the gadgets and performance more than the environmental benefits. I know I would be.

  351. “At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the average Tesla buyer is buying the gadgets and performance more than the environmental benefits.”

    I would be extremely surprised if that were NOT the case.

  352. S&M,

    The boil water notice means they’ve failed over to the redundant backups. Not that there are no backups. It’s not cost effective anywhere to build in treatment for the backup supply. You just have a boil water notice.

  353. “Most people buying whole house generators for reasonable sized houses say to get you 20 kW and you can relax.”

    “A 100A circuit practically can deliver 19.2kw of power, using the 80% standard. ”

    Using the 80% standard, a 20kW generator will power a 16kW load.

    IOW, 100A of service is plenty for many people in reasonable sized homes.

    If you want to add a 17.2 kw load in the form of an electric car charging at a very high rate, 200A of service should be sufficient.

    So I still say it’s unlikely that most people would need to upgrade beyond 200A service.

    BTW, typical AC draw is apparently about 5A/ton.

  354. Nope. I’m agreeing that Tesla buyers want toys. They’re not hanging their laundry out on a clothesline while pondering a dozen different uses for the extra half cup of cream in the fridge.

  355. Finn – those figures seem reasonable. I’d want to get a usage meter or something to verify.

    (My previous comment was to Rhett)

  356. We have 20kW whole house generator and we haven’t had to worry about anything. We were afraid of running the washer and dryer but realized that we can continue on with our normal routines while the generator is on.
    That’s the whole point of getting a whole house generator. We tried the smaller portable generators and in an extended power outage situation which we tend to have, it was not the best option for us.

  357. “Most people buying whole house generators for reasonable sized houses say to get you 20 kW and you can relax.”

    I would take relax as a whole house generator buyer to mean watch TV while the sump pump*, fridge and AC run. I wouldn’t take it to mean I can roast a turkey while doing a load of laundry while running the dishwasher while using the jacuzzzi.

    * I was thinking in Houston you’d want a generator in case of hurricanes so the sump pump could stay running. Then I remembered houses in Houston don’t have basements.

  358. “I was thinking in Houston you’d want a generator in case of hurricanes so the sump pump could stay running. Then I remembered houses in Houston don’t have basements.”

    But with the history of hurricanes and flooding there, you might still want to be able to keep a pump running.

  359. But with the history of hurricanes and flooding there, you might still want to be able to keep a pump running.

    I’m not sure how slabs work. But I’m wondering where you’d be trying to move the water to.

  360. “At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the average Tesla buyer is buying the gadgets and performance more than the environmental benefits.”

    I think the Model 3 changed that. Early on, when they only had the Roadster, I think that was definitely true, and it became a little less true with the Model S (we’ve had one for a week, and I can totally see someone wealthy buying it as a luxury car that also has relative environmental benefits).

    But the Model 3 made Tesla much more accessible. A lot of people who have the money to put a bunch of solar panels on their roofs also had enough money that they didn’t want to settle for an electric version of an economy car (e.g., Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt) but didn’t want to spend what it took to get a Model S or X bought Model 3s (and now a lot of those people are buying Model Ys).

    OTOH, we knew a couple that bought both the Roadster and the Model S when they were first introduced. Their primary reason for buying those cars was to support/encourage Tesla and, more generally, electric car development. They did, however, enjoy the performance of those cars.

  361. “I’m not sure how slabs work.”

    They’re not very complex. You built the mold, put in your rebar and mesh and plumbing, and pour concrete. Add bolts to while concrete is still wet.

    “But I’m wondering where you’d be trying to move the water to.”

    The other side of the sandbags around your house.

  362. Rhett, exactly. Becky and Houston can chime in with specifics on their side of the Gulf, but I sure don’t remember people having pulps the way they had generators. Sandbagging ahead of time? Some places. Industrial fan rental to dry things out later? Yes. But not pumps in the middle of the lake.
    It sounded like you’re fine with no filtration on the backup water system. Yikes.

  363. But the Model 3 made Tesla much more accessible.

    But it can still hold it’s own against this:

  364. “The balance of power in American politics is held by rural and industrial states with energy intensive and resource-based economies. “

    Aren’t many of those states also well suited for the large scale harvesting of solar and wind energy?

  365. “But it can still hold it’s own against this:”

    I don’t deny that it is a lot of fun to drive. And makes short on-ramps much less of a problem.

  366. It sounded like you’re fine with no filtration on the backup water system. Yikes.

    Probably 12 years Boston lost one of its connections to the Quabbin Reservoir. That resulted in the need to fail over to the backup local reservoirs. They had to do a boil water order as the backup reservoirs don’t have their own treatments plants.

    Why would I want to them to build treatment plants for the backup reservoirs that only come online every decade or two?

  367. “ “I’m not sure how slabs work.”

    They’re not very complex”

    LOL!!

    Also, the Houston Tesla owner will have a swimming pool. Pool pumps are big loads.

  368. They’re not very complex

    I was thinking maybe there is some flood mitigation built in.

    Here the living area of most homes is a few feet off the ground. In a place as prone to flooding as Houston do they just build them flat on the ground?

  369. Around here, even when slabs are built on grade in flat areas, the tops of the slabs are at least a few inches above grade.

    Roads are also often a few inches lower.

  370. Finn,

    This might not be as common but I always thought HI homes were built like this:

    I haven’t been to HI so all I know I got from watching news stories and house hunters.

  371. And obviously I know that lava isn’t an ever present threat. I was just using that as that’s what I would typically see.

  372. “You can ask people to hide in the basement for two weeks, but you can’t ask them to do it for months on end with no end in sight. It’s not realistic.”

    First off I cannot understand where the whole “hide in your basement” thing came from. There was never an air raid. Secondly they DID do that in Australia. 112 days or so. A country that is inhabited by people who are a lot like us culturally, certainly when it comes to poor behavior, was able to do it and now they are almost back to normal. It is nearly a non issue for my friends in Oz. We could have done a lot of things, we just didn’t want to because ‘freedom’.

  373. Rhett, those plantation-style single wall houses are still around, but most houses built in the last 60+ years were not built like that.

  374. We get a lot of rain and have slabs. Our landscape is full of gentle hills and valleys. I would never buy a home in the valley part because it’s most likely a creek bed that will get flooded in those once in a way rain events. Also, creeks wind through the landscape and what people think is a dry water flow, behind their yards is actually an active water flow in event of heavy rains.
    People here have found that out the hard way. If the flooding starts happening frequently, the city just buys the land and turns it into a green area.

  375. Lolly – I think the difference is that there was an end in sight. People in Australia could see their neighbors and friends doing the same thing (or not doing the wrong things) and watch the daily covid tally decrease bit by bit. The restrictions also had teeth – people got fined if they broke them. I think few in the US have faith that the restrictions are working or helping.

    We had 5 weeks of hard lockdown (no drivethrough! no amazon! no takeout!! no hiking or mountain biking! no socializing with anyone, anywhere). It was tough- but there was very clearly good things happening and freedom in the future. Also, everyone who couldn’t go to work got 6 weeks of pay upfront. The US could have done a lot of things, but they would have needed to do it together.

  376. Oh FFS were were having a lovey conversation about electricity, slabs, pool pump, hybrid vs full electric cars….

  377. I’m not looking to fight. Lolly has her views, and I couldn’t care less at this point. I’m just curious about the specifics of Ada’s experience. And I think it’s hard to be sitting at home being lectured to stay at home by news anchors and hosts who largely get to live their lives much more normally.

    Then, I’m assuming pharmacists and techs kept working. And then we can build the list from there.

    Not disputing Ada’s account at all.

  378. Yes, please! I surprised the desire to post a Covid-related terrifying tweet just because I was happy to see everyone playing nicely for a welcome change.

    And really, just because the backup resoivar has only been used every decade or so in the past, you still don’t know what it’s future use will be. Then again, if electricity fails so often that people feel the need to install generators, maybe water security isn’t the first priority.

  379. One of the most surprising — and disappointing — discovery during this year was that there are a lot of people who actually *want* to be told what to do. They clamor for rules and restrictions and guidelines that they imagine will help keep them “safe.” Once that mentality sets in and is reinforced by the daily experience of every venue you visit telling you “Our TOP priority is your health and safety!” — well, it’s very hard to hit the off button and resume responsibility for your own safety.

    That’s your interpretation of people expecting their leaders to, you know, actually provide leadership during a global crisis? Yes, people wanted to be told what to do to stay safe during an unprecedented pandemic. They wanted their leaders and medical experts to provide a clear, unified response in order to minimize the impact of the pandemic. Instead we had a president, many governors, and other elected and appointed leaders undermine the health care experts, who definitely aren’t perfect, but were trying to provide the best guidance possible using the data and science.

    I’m disappointed, yet not surprised, that you think people expecting leadership from our leaders is a very bad thing. But we all know that Fauci, Birx, and the other medical experts don’t know nearly as much as the twitter trolls you get your info from.

  380. I don’t think I want a unified front when it means you can’t question what’s essentially a mob consensus. That’s how we got the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War Resolution that I think three of the four subsequent Democratic presidential nominees have either apologized for or tried to squirrel away from.

    Rand Paul is an elected representative and something of a medical expert who has questioned the effectiveness of a lot of the government mandates.

  381. That’s how we got the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War Resolution

    Your status quo bias is showing again. There is a lot more to human and American history than the period from when you graduated form HS until now.

  382. Thanks for engaging Milo! I love to talk about the lockdown, because I think people really misunderstand what it took. It was far different than anything the US has experienced.

    I don’t watch the news, so I not sure how that worked. I do know that maitenance of a free and fair press was considered non-negotiable, so broadcast TV still broadcast. I think many people were broadcasting from home. There was the creation of a new TV channel to nationally administer educational content to assist with home learning. I don’t feel that anyone thought the TV anchors were living life as normal.

    In my community 3 of our 4 pharmacies were closed. All outpatient visits at the hospital were cancelled (which is often 100+ per day). All elective procedures were cancelled. All admin staff worked from home.

    The schools were locked. Teachers were not allowed on the premises.

    There was no restaurant food. Hospital cafe closed.
    No public transit. Some flights still functioned – we had temp doctors coming from across the country on empty planes.

    Gyms, public pools, playgrounds were also all closed.

    Primary industries were allowed to function (what you would call natural resources, also includes agriculture). If your job involved harvesting stuff or feeding NZ, that went on close to normal. Transportation and processing of food continued. The milking machine service place was open – because the milking machines needed to keep running.

    My town has one large grocery store and 6 specialty stores. 4/6 were closed. 3/4 gas stations were closed; the only one open sold nothing but gas and only for a few hours each day.

    The lawn and garden shops were definitely closed, as was the target equivalent.

    No daycares were open. If two parents were essential workers, the government would pay for in home care with a dedicated provider.

    There were road checkpoints that would frequently stop people and ask them why they were traveling. The government set up a hotline and a website where you can tell on people for violating the conditions of lockdown. There were a few high profile blunders – but not many. The health minister went biking (or maybe took kids to the beach), a dozen miles from his house. He was deeply embarrassed and sorry and eventually lost his job over it.

    I only drove my car to the grocery store. They strongly discouraged anyone from shopping with family or children. If two parents and 2 kids showed up to the grocery store, they would be asked to have a parent and childen wait in the car. The grocery store workers were adamant about it and people did as they were told.

  383. Ada, Were parts supply businesses allowed to keep open to service the ag and transportation industry?

  384. “I don’t think I want a unified front when it means you can’t question what’s essentially a mob consensus.”

    It’s also impossible to have a unified front when the actual experts disagree on so many critical issues — starting with how the virus spreads, whether asymptomatic spread is a significant threat, whether masks work either as source or infection control, whether recovered COVID patients can be reinfected, how many people have been hospitalized “with” rather than “for” COVID, how many people have died of COVID, whether particular treatments are effective, whether 3 feet or 6 feet is required for “social distancing,” whether surfaces need to be constantly sanitized, whether those who receive the Pfizer vaccine can still transmit the virus to others. The list is endless and there are disagreements among respected experts on every one of those items.

    But you wouldn’t know that unless you spent some time listening to the contrarians. Especially those who point out the inconvenient facts demonstrating that most countries/states/communities show a remarkably similar curve for new cases/hospitalizations/deaths regardless of the specific interventions ordered by their governments.

  385. Rhett – You may be stretching your armchair diagnosis of me just a bit. The whole “if all you have is a hammer…”

    “ There is a lot more to human and American history than the period from when you graduated form HS until now.”

    Certainly. McCarthyism, Vietnam…

  386. I don’t think I want a unified front when it means you can’t question what’s essentially a mob consensus.

    Who said anything about not be able to question anything? The point is that there needed to be a unified response from those at the top in consultation with the medical experts, and adjusting plans and mandates as more information became available about the effectiveness of the mandates. But there is no way to know if the mandates are being effective when they aren’t consistent and the fucking president is contradicting the CDC.

    And do you really consider having the leading medical experts in the country (and the world) getting together to fight a pandemic to be a mob consensus?

    And for those who like data, we have know passed 285,000 deaths in the US and currently are having over 2,000 a day. Again for comparison, 2,977 people died on 9/11. We are coming up on 100 times that total.

  387. . Especially those who point out the inconvenient facts demonstrating that most countries/states/communities show a remarkably similar curve for new cases/hospitalizations/deaths regardless of the specific interventions ordered by their governments.

    Yes, they are all skyrocketing because people aren’t taking adequate precautions. That’s the data.

  388. And the deaths are growing the most in the states that have resisted precautions the most – SD, Iowa, ND, Kansas, Nebraska. That’s the data.

  389. Arg. Back to the regularly-scheduled cluelessness about how science works.
    the actual experts disagree on so many critical issues — starting with how the virus spreads, whether asymptomatic spread is a significant .

  390. Welp, as long as we’re back at it, here’s that tweet I thought was such a bombshell.

    DogsRoool (@DogsRoool) Tweeted:
    @MollyJongFast @gtconway3d @chrislhayes DEADLIEST DAYS IN U.S. HISTORY
    1.Galveston Hurricane – 8,000
    2.Antietam – 3,600
    3.9/11 – 2,977
    4.Last Thursday – 2,861
    5.Last Wednesday – 2,762
    6.Last Tuesday – 2,461
    7.Last Friday – 2,439
    8.Pearl Harbor – 2,403

    Wear a mask and avoid gatherings

  391. You may be stretching your armchair diagnosis of me just a bit.

    If the shoe fits. And it does seem to fit, doesn’t it?

  392. But you wouldn’t know that unless you spent some time listening to the contrarians.

    The part that seems to escape you is that a contrarian is by definition a contrarian. They are not seekers of truth. Their goal is to be contrary.

    Contrarians will tell you that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.

    Contrarians will tell you that vaccines cause autism.

    Contrarians will tell you that the world is flat.

    For whatever reason you’ve totally missed that part. As far as I can tell you’ve latched onto these contrarians because they tell you what you want to hear.

  393. @Cassandra – yup. The government was very clear that agriculture was essential. That included managing the machinery of ag.

    Notably, the dairy industry in NZ (which is 95% for export) is low input, low output. Cows are rarely fed anything other than pasture grass here. There is enough year round that many people don’t feed through the winter.

  394. The conclusion reached in the analysis at Rocky’s link:

    If Civil War battles were specifically excluded, the list would be slightly more accurate. Daily rates of death for individual dates in December 2020 varied between credible sources at the time the “Deadliest Days in American History” list circulated, and those figures would not likely be finalized for several weeks. Overall, the mass casualty events and respective death tolls listed were largely accurate, and the individual rates of deaths on days between December 1 and

  395. “ If the shoe fits. And it does seem to fit, doesn’t it?”

    No, i really don’t think so. Not here.

    The status quo bias in 2001 and 2002 was that terrorism was our “new normal.” Oh, we stupid Americans thought we were so special living in relative peace, it’s time to face the music that the rest of the world has dealt with, we need a constant security state.

    And I was making comments like “maybe they just got really lucky that one day.”

  396. “I think many people were broadcasting from home.”

    On the local news broadcasts, that’ pretty much been the case for quite a while now. There’s usually one anchor and one weather person in studio, and everybody else reports from elsewhere, either at the news site or what looks to be from their homes.

    Is this the case elsewhere?

  397. The tweet ought to be adjusted for population. And for perspective, we should remember that if cardiovascular disease kills 800k Americans annually, that’s over 2k per day, every day, year in and year out.

    And finally, as one example, Google says the Spanish Flu killed 675k Americans, so, that would have some bad days in the mix, too.

    But people love to share things that scold the generic “others.” It’s like our national pastime.

  398. we need a constant security state.

    My recollection was after a month of nothing everyone moved on and we never ended up with anything remotely like a security state.

    If you want to talk about how terrible your vote for W and his catastrophic foreign policy was, then that’s another matter entirely.

  399. 7000+ people die in this country every day, of all causes. So that tweet was just silly. But then most people have no context in which to put the COVID death numbers, so they are very easy to scare.

  400. I never voted for W.

    More to the point is that nobody opposed him. Not Kerry, not Hillary, and not Biden. They all voted for the war, and the Patriot Act, iirc. We needed a unified front.

  401. More to the point is that nobody opposed him.

    In the navy, if a ship runs aground, does the captain escape blame because no one spoke up? I would assume the vast majority of the blame lies with the captain ordering all ahead full into the shoals. Is that not how it works?

  402. “But then most people have no context in which to put the COVID death numbers, so they are very easy to scare.”

    JFC

  403. The Constitution is not set up such that Anthony Fauci is the captain of all three branches of the federal government, and the states.

    But yes, on a ship, the captain will never be blameless. In your example, it is possible, maybe likely, that the XO, the navigator, the on-watch officer of the deck, and the assistant navigator (typically the senior enlisted leader of the navigation department) will also be fired.

  404. The Constitution is not set up such that Anthony Fauci is the captain of all three branches of the federal government, and the states.

    Nothing like that ever happened so why are you bringing it up? At best Fauci would be akin to Harry Hopkins. Do you have a problem with Harry?

  405. Yes, Reality. Most people don’t keep track of mortality data. They also were strikingly ignorant, as late as this summer, about the actual risks of COVID mortality by age group. I posted this before:

    “Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:
    On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
    Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
    Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger
    by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).
    These results are nothing short of stunning. Mortality data have shown from the very beginning that the COVID-19 virus age-discriminates, with deaths overwhelmingly concentrated in people who are older and suffer comorbidities. This is perhaps the only uncontroversial piece of evidence we have about this virus. Nearly all US fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older.” https://www.franklintempleton.com/investor/article?contentPath=html/ftthinks/en-us-retail/cio-views/on-my-mind-they-blinded-us-from-science.html

    Maybe the perceptions have become more accurate since summer. Certainly, the data is right on the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

  406. “More to the point is that nobody opposed him. Not Kerry, not Hillary, and not Biden. They all voted for the war, and the Patriot Act, iirc. “

    Obama opposed him WRT the war.

    “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

  407. I found this interesting, and thought others here might as well:

    “Some people seem to feel if nobody dies, it’s a success,” said Richard Williams, a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. “But there are a lot of studies coming out now which seem to suggest covid may have some long-term consequences even for young people.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/colleges-fall-semester-classroom-infections-coronavirus/2020/12/09/f6b7288a-3586-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

  408. Here’s a great article about the debate in Mitchell, SD, over whether to enact a mask mandate in response to a surge in COVID deaths.

    McCardle had a yellow legal pad under his arm with his daily tally of coronavirus cases in Davison County since March. The growth he had been so carefully recording had exploded in recent weeks, with 359 cases Oct. 1 to 1,912 that morning (Nov. 16), a 433 percent increase. Locally, 10 people had died in less than seven weeks. South Dakota now has the largest increase in deaths per capita in the nation, according to Washington Post data from Dec. 8.

    The positivity rate at two local testing sites — a key indicator of the virus’s hold on a community — was 33 percent at the beginning of November and would soar to 49 percent near the end of the month, according to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.

    Queen of Peace, which only has eight ICU beds, became overwhelmed and sometimes had to turn patients away, opening up a second covid-19 wing Nov. 8 that filled quickly. Doctors warned of a 50 to 100 percent increase in hospitalizations in the weeks to come. “GOD BE WITH US,” the pandemic-inspired sign outside a feed store read.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/09/south-dakota-mitchell-covid-masks/?arc404=true

  409. WSJ article on Sweden from this Differing analysis from some commentary we’ve been hearing about Sweden. Charts don’t copy and paste well, I tired to remove the clunky parts but likely missed some. Apologize for posting the whole story but it didn’t seem too lengthy.

    Sweden’s Covid-19 experiment is over.

    After a late autumn surge in infections led to rising hospitalizations and deaths, the government has abandoned its attempt—unique among Western nations—to combat the pandemic through voluntary measures.

    Like other Europeans, Swedes are now heading into the winter facing restrictions ranging from a ban on large gatherings to curbs on alcohol sales and school closures—all aimed at preventing the country’s health system from being swamped by patients and capping what is already among the highest per capita death tolls in the world.

    The clampdown, which started last month, put an end to a hands-off approach that had made the Scandinavian nation a prime example in the often heated global debate between opponents and champions of pandemic lockdowns.

    Admirers of the Swedish way as far away as the U.S. hailed its benefit to the economy and its respect for fundamental freedoms. Critics called it a gamble with human lives, especially those of the most vulnerable. With its shift in strategy, the government is now siding with those advocating at least some mandatory restrictions.

    When the pathogen swept across Europe in March, Sweden broke with much of the continent and opted not to impose mask-wearing and left known avenues of viral transmission such as bars and nightclubs open, leaving it to citizens to take their own precautions.

    As late as last month, Swedes enjoyed mass sporting and cultural events and health-care officials insisted that the voluntary measures were enough to spare the country the resurgence in infections that was sweeping Europe.

    Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven last month announced a ban on gatherings of more than eight people.
    PHOTO: JONAS EKSTRÖMER/TT NEWS AGENCY/ZUMA PRESS
    Weeks later, with total Covid-19-related deaths reaching almost 700 per million inhabitants, infections growing exponentially and hospital wards filling up, the government made a U-turn.

    In an emotional televised address on Nov. 22, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven pleaded with Swedes to cancel all nonessential meetings and announced a ban on gatherings of more than eight people, which triggered the closure of cinemas and other entertainment venues. Starting Monday, high schools will be closed.

    “Authorities chose a strategy totally different to the rest of Europe, and because of it the country has suffered a lot in the first wave,” said Piotr Nowak, a physician working with Covid-19 patients at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. “We have no idea how they failed to predict the second wave.”

    Last week Sweden’s total coronavirus death count crossed 7,000. Neighboring Denmark, Finland and Norway, all similar-sized countries, have recorded since the start of the pandemic 878, 415 and 354 deaths respectively. For the first time since World War II, Sweden’s neighbors have closed their borders with the country.

    “We don’t like to say that Sweden has been the black sheep, but it has been the different sheep,” said Vivikka Richt, spokeswoman of the Finnish health ministry.

    Dr. Nowak said medical personnel had never shared the optimism of the country’s public-health agency about so-called herd immunity—population-wide resistance to a pathogen acquired through gradual exposure—and had repeatedly warned that the virus couldn’t be controlled with voluntary measures alone.

    One reason Sweden stuck to its approach for so long despite the warning signs is the high degree of independence and authority enjoyed by the health agency and other similar state bodies under Swedish law.

    Dr. Tegnell declined to be interviewed this week, but in earlier conversations with The Wall Street Journal and other media he said lockdowns were unsustainable and unnecessary. His agency has continued to discourage mask-wearing just as the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, a European Union agency whose headquarters are located near Dr. Tegnell’s office in Stockholm, recommends wearing them.

    In recent months, Dr. Tegnell predicted that Swedes would gradually build immunity to the virus through controlled exposure, that vaccines would take longer than expected to develop, and that death rates across the West would converge.

    Instead, the West’s first coronavirus vaccine was authorized in Britain last week, Sweden’s death rate remains an outlier among its neighbors, and Dr. Tegnell acknowledged in late November that the new surge in infections showed there was “no sign” of herd immunity in the country.

    Economic Downturn
    Sweden’s gross domestic product and unemployment rate have reached the worst levels in a decade.

    Meanwhile, Sweden’s laissez-faire pandemic strategy has failed to deliver the economic benefits its proponents had predicted. In the first half of the year, Sweden’s gross domestic product fell by 8.5% and unemployment is projected to rise to nearly 10% in the beginning of 2021, according to the central bank and several economic institutes.

    Businesses such as restaurants, hotels and retail outfits are facing a wave of closures; unlike in the rest of Europe, where governments coupled restrictions with generous stimulus, Swedish authorities have offered comparatively less support to businesses since they didn’t impose closures.

    “This is worse than a lockdown and it has been a catastrophic year for everyone in the business: They haven’t closed us so they don’t give us any substantial support, yet they say to people ‘don’t go to restaurants’,” said Jonas Hamlund, who was forced to close one of his two restaurants in the coastal city of Sundsvall, laying off 30 people.

    Fear of the virus and the government’s advice to avoid social interactions have weighed on domestic demand, damaging business and investor confidence, said Lars Calmfors, an economist and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    “Countries that had mandatory restrictions have done better than us,” he added.

    In Stockholm, Anna Lallerstedt runs a chain of three popular restaurants that was started by her parents in the 1980s. Last month she closed two of them, shedding nearly 100 jobs. She says she fears that her last restaurant, now employing just over 10 people, might also be at risk with the current surge expected to peak around the Christmas season, which traditionally brings substantial revenues.

    “Maybe we should have had masks earlier,” Ms. Lallerstedt said.

    Mr. Löfven’s intervention amounted to a demotion for Dr. Tegnell, who has de facto ceded control of the government’s pandemic effort. But some scientists said the failed experiment had shaken confidence in authorities and experts in a country with a long tradition of respecting both.

    An Ipsos poll found in November that 82% of responses are worried about the pandemic burden on hospitals, while 44% said authorities didn’t take sufficient measures, up from 31% in October. Dr. Tegnell remains popular, however, with a majority still supporting him.

    “The spread of the disease is increasing in Stockholm and we have a very, very serious situation right now,” said Björn Eriksson, Health and Hospitals Director for the Stockholm region, the country’s most populous area.

    Mr. Eriksson said that the capital’s health-care professions were struggling with the patient load and that the pandemic was putting a strain on the system that could only be eased by more restrictive measures.

    “We like to think of ourselves as being very rational and pragmatic,” Mr. Calmfors, the economist, said. Yet for months, he added, authorities persisted in their approach despite mounting evidence that it was failing. “I can’t recognize my country anymore.”

  410. Thanks for that, Sunshine. I see Sweden’s numbers compared with Italy, Spain and other countries that are significantly poorer and denser. You realize what a horror show their strategy was when you compare it with their peer countries.

  411. we stupid Americans thought we were so special living in relative peace, it’s time to face the music that the rest of the world has dealt with, we need a constant security state.

    For many of us, it was more like “the chickens have come home to roost”. Remember Bush’s speech about “why do they hate us?” Lol. Our foreign policy, particularly covert actions, for decades make that pretty clear.

    some scientists said the failed experiment had shaken confidence in authorities and experts in a country with a long tradition of respecting both.

    Meanwhile, in the US, people who already don’t trust scientists had a heyday with a virus that seems to be changing course as, for example, in the demographics of people who come down with it. We’ve known that it can do lasting respiratory damage, but every once in a while articles pop up about some other part of the body that seems totally unrelated that can suffer serious damage from it—and no one knows how long any of these effects will last. Some seem permanent. So those with an anti-scientific bent who think science lays down unchanging laws are freaking out and claiming the scientists aren’t science going right when they see normal changes in understanding and therefore directives.

  412. “I see Sweden’s numbers compared with Italy, Spain and other countries that are significantly poorer and denser.”

    Or compared with NJ/NY/MA/CN, which each have death rates twice as high as Sweden’s. And those states have been doing the masks and lockdowns for months, with further dire restrictions ahead if people don’t start behaving.

    And then there is South Korea, which I’ve been reliably informed has crushed the virus. They are using shipping containers to expand hospital capacity, and now they are running up against the inconvenient reality that contact tracing doesn’t work very well when cases are widespread and not limited to one large kooky church:

    “Some Asian countries that have been among the world’s most successful at containing Covid-19 are now struggling to beat back a winter resurgence, a sign of how elusive sustained progress can be until a vaccine gets rolled out widely.

    On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting after the country saw a nine-month peak of 686 cases that has forced officials to use shipping containers to address a hospital-bed shortage. Japan on Wednesday recorded 2,810 new cases, the government said, its highest daily total yet.

    “We have overcome coronavirus crises several times but now we are in a more serious situation than ever,” said Mr. Moon, during a meeting with officials earlier this week. He called for expanded coronavirus testing, prompting testing sites to extend working hours and reopen drive-through sites.

    Though the virus tallies pale in comparison with the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, the uptick in outbreaks among Asia’s Covid-19 success stories comes after life had been restored to pre-pandemic levels. But unlike more isolated outbreaks of prior months, this winter upturn is more diffuse, as places once considered havens—a family gathering at home or work sites long reopened—are now the outbreak origins.

    The recent stumbles in Asia show how even well-fortified countries are subject to the pandemic’s cycle of infections: the relaxation that follows a lowering of virus cases inevitably triggers a round of fresh restrictions.

    As Asian governments maintained relatively low infections in recent months, people began crowding bars and restaurants, and increased mobility resulted in infections among family members and during private gatherings. The virus survives longer in colder weather, according to health officials, which has also kept people indoors for prolonged periods, contributing to the sudden rise in infections.

    ‘This time even the contact tracing capacity is reaching its limits because infections are appearing at so many different locations at once.’ — Kim Dong-hyun, head of the Korean Society of Epidemiology
    “Many young people grew tired of the constant warnings and infections spread all the way to elderly homes. This time even the contact tracing capacity is reaching its limits because infections are appearing at so many different locations at once,” Mr. Kim said.
    Social distancing is now at the fourth highest of five tiers in the Seoul area, with gyms and karaoke bars shut down again. Movie theaters, restaurants and hair salons must close by 9 p.m. while cafes can only offer takeout or delivery services. Students can only attend school at one-third capacity.

    Local health experts say contact tracing has become more difficult as younger patients, mostly asymptomatic, unknowingly spread the virus, making it difficult for authorities to track down the source. The positivity rate rose to 4% from 1% in South Korea within a month as infections spread at saunas and college campuses.

    Health authorities have warned of a “medical collapse” in the Seoul area, as three-quarter of hospital beds for Covid patients are occupied. Those saved for patients in critical condition are 90% full. Authorities have asked residents to stay home until the end of the year.

    Lee Hyun-sook, a 52-year-old restaurant owner in Seoul, has only seen one or two customers a day since the government began tightening restrictions starting in November. Even neighboring bars have been empty as cases surge but she can’t imagine wearing a face mask when gathering with family members. Social distancing isn’t easy for restaurant owners who must go to work, Ms. Lee said.

    “In reality people have to take off their masks to eat and it’s too cold to keep the windows open when we have customers,” Ms. Lee said.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-surge-hits-parts-of-asia-seen-as-pandemic-success-stories-11607523625
    (edited version for those who don’t have WSJ access)

  413. “Many young people grew tired of the constant warnings and infections spread all the way to elderly homes.”

    Explains why decisions about schools can’t only be based on physical health of the kiddos.

  414. “And then there is South Korea, which I’ve been reliably informed has crushed the virus.”

    South Korea has had approximately 40,000 cases and 550 deaths during the entire pandemic. Yesterday, we had over 225,000 cases and 3,000 deaths. In one day.

    On a population adjusted basis over entire pandemic:

    S Korea cases per million people – 782
    US cases per million people – 47,000

    S Korea deaths per million people – 11
    US deaths per million people – 895

    S Korea has kicked our butts.

  415. If The Atlantic is posting articles like this, then you know the tide is turning.

    —————————————————–

    The Danger of Assuming That Family Time Is Dispensable
    Americans who are desperate to see their loved ones need advice that goes beyond “Just say no.”

    DECEMBER 9, 2020
    Julia Marcus
    Epidemiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School
    A family eating holiday dinner outside.
    FRANCINE ORR/ LOS ANGELES TIMES / GETTY

    Pandemic shaming, a national pastime since the spring, intensified in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Thousands waited in line, some for many hours, for a preholiday coronavirus test, only to be rebuked as careless, selfish violators of public-health rules. “I do want people to understand that testing on Thursday so you can party on Saturday: That doesn’t work,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s director of public health. “It’s not effective, and you really are in some ways wasting a valuable resource.” Those long lines included people whose families were begging them to visit; students whose campuses had just closed for the semester; and people who were observing state rules requiring visitors to get tested 72 hours before arriving. Yet even people who were trying to be careful weren’t spared from criticism: Many news articles and comments from public officials portrayed Thanksgiving travelers, regardless of the precautions they were taking, as irresponsible people. On social media, they were maligned as #covidiots, recklessly endangering themselves and their loved ones.

    What happened then is about to happen again, as millions of Americans travel for the winter holidays and decide whether and how to gather with relatives. Public-health messaging and policies during the pandemic have acknowledged that trips to grocery stores and pharmacies are essential, while grossly underestimating the strong need people feel to be close to one another. Lecturing showed its limits in late November: While millions heeded the recommendation to stay home, millions of others did not.

    When a public-health approach isn’t producing the desired outcome, it’s time to try something different. Instead of yelling even louder about Christmas than about Thanksgiving, government officials, health professionals, and ordinary Americans alike might try this: Stop all the chastising. Remember that the public is fraying. And consider the possibility that when huge numbers of people indicate through their actions that seeing loved ones in person is nonnegotiable, they need practical ways to reduce risk that go beyond “Just say no.”

    Anger at people who are flouting public-health guidelines is understandable, not least for exhausted health-care workers and those who are especially vulnerable to infection. But many long months into this pandemic, people are at their wits’ end: economically depleted, socially isolated, and disgruntled about—and in some cases genuinely baffled by—the arbitrariness of some of the restrictions on their daily lives. And if the HIV epidemic has revealed anything, it’s that shaming does little to deter risky behavior. Instead, it perpetuates stigma, which drives behavior underground and hinders prevention efforts. Americans have been told during this pandemic that taking any risks, no matter how carefully calculated, is a sign of bad character—so it’s no surprise when people are reluctant to notify others whom they may have exposed or engage with contact tracers.

    As the country enters the most devastating months of the pandemic and hospitals become overwhelmed, officials are erring on the side of abstinence-only recommendations regarding social contact. Like the unfounded concerns about harm reduction for HIV and substance use, the worry is that risk-mitigation tools, such as testing, will give people a false sense of security and promote bad behavior. This misguided notion has been used as an excuse not to offer testing, including on some college campuses. But people who are willing to wait for hours to get tested are not acting irresponsibly—they’re trying, albeit with a far-from-perfect strategy, to reduce the risk of inadvertently transmitting the virus to others. Yes, it would be safer for them to stay home, and the limitations of testing need to be clearly communicated. But if people are going to travel or gather anyway, testing is better than nothing.

    As cases surged in the fall, elected officials blamed the trend on misbehavior at private social gatherings. Restaurants, stores, and other workplaces aren’t the problem, the talking point goes; people just need to behave better everywhere else—in parks, playgrounds, and their own homes. But the resulting message to the public has been nonsensical. Through their policies, states are telling Americans that dining indoors is safe in revenue-generating situations, such as at a restaurant or formally catered event, while private holiday dinners are roundly condemned. Some communities have gone as far as banning all social interactions between people from more than one household, including outdoors. In truth, states probably can’t afford to pay businesses to stay closed, yet governors are under tremendous pressure to act. The result is a web of illogical rules that transfer the responsibility for containing the pandemic—and the blame for failing to do so—from public authorities to the individual.

    If elected officials are going to scold the public for their disobedience, the least they can do is practice what they preach. But one after another, they’ve been caught breaking their own rules. Governor Andrew Cuomo berated New Yorkers the week before Thanksgiving: “If you’re socially distant, and you wore a mask, and you were smart, none of this would be a problem—it’s all self-imposed.” Throwing in some fat-shaming for good measure, he added, “If you didn’t eat the cheesecake, you wouldn’t have a weight problem.” Just days later, Cuomo said his own Thanksgiving plans included getting together with his two daughters and his 89-year-old mother, plans he later canceled amid a public outcry. Maybe governors and mayors are just hypocrites, but the other possibility is that they’re human too, and that even people who understand the risks of family gatherings—and chide others for taking them—feel the powerful draw to this important part of life.

    Very few people want to get infected or get others sick. When people take risks, it often reflects an unmet need: for a paycheck, for social connection, for accurate information about how to protect themselves. Acknowledging and meeting people’s needs will reduce risk behavior; finger-wagging won’t.

    Despite all of the media focus on holiday travel, this pandemic has been shaped more by where people need to be than by where they want to be. While many Americans were busy reprimanding one another for Thanksgiving dinners, people quietly continued to travel for other reasons: Truckers delivered goods around the country; migrant workers kept farms going. The moral outrage about people enjoying themselves during a pandemic is a distraction from where that outrage would be more useful: in pressuring governments to protect the marginalized populations that are most at risk, even when they are less visible—and provoke less indignation—than a crowd of holiday travelers sitting in an airport and hoping for the best.

    As the winter holidays approach and cases continue to surge across the country, people need clear and consistent messaging about the very high risks of travel and gathering. And, just like safer-sex education, guidance for this holiday season must also include nuanced information about how people can protect themselves if they travel to that Christmas dinner anyway: minimizing contacts and testing before and afterward, keeping gatherings small, driving instead of flying, masking when indoors or close to others, meeting outdoors if feasible, and increasing ventilation when outdoors isn’t an option. Giving any risk-mitigation advice might seem imprudent when the dangers of social contact are so acute, but adherence to public-health recommendations is never universal, and everyone needs access to information and tools to stay safer.

    No matter how comprehensive, public-health messaging won’t solve structural problems. The Thanksgiving testing debacle was indicative, more than anything, of a failure of the public-health system: Nearly a year into the pandemic, testing capacity is woefully inadequate and needs to be increased as much as possible before Christmas. And instead of closing outdoor venues and banning all outdoor gatherings, which have been deemed inessential pleasures in a pandemic, communities could do the opposite. Like Montreal, they can create appealing public spaces where people can gather more safely, equipped with open-air tents and heat lamps. They can outfit local parks with firepits and wood, as Calgary did. They can offer free outdoor activities, such as ice-skating, snowshoeing, and even art installations, to reduce pandemic fatigue and lure people away from indoor gatherings. Health agencies can urge people—for just this one year—to exchange gifts by mail and replace the indoor dinner with an outdoor picnic (in warmer states) or a family campfire (in colder ones). Rather than imposing rules that neglect the realities of human behavior and then reprimanding people for breaking them, the message could be a more pragmatic and compassionate one: We understand that this is hard and that social connection is important for health, so we will support you in gathering more safely.

    With the federal government catastrophically failing to respond to the worst pandemic in a century, it feels like only personal responsibility can save us—so of course we’re turning on one another. But viruses are not moral agents, and infection is not a personal failure. Especially with vaccines so close to distribution, Americans need to keep one another safe, and that includes directing our outrage toward institutional deficiencies, rather than fixating on individual ones. Lambasting people for their risky behavior may be effective in expressing frustration over a mismanaged pandemic, but it’s counterproductive to what really matters: reducing infections.
    _________________________________________

  416. “S Korea has kicked our butts.”

    But it has not crushed the virus. We were told, repeatedly, that we just needed to follow their approach, and the virus would be crushed.
    Now they are building new hospital capacity with shipping containers, because confirmed cases are rapidly increasing, even with the country’s acclaimed T&T (and mandatory quarantine) system.
    Because the virus cannot be crushed, only suppressed, until herd immunity is reached by infection or a vaccine.

  417. It’s not just the Atlantic; even the NYT has published an opinion piece pointing out the collateral damage of lockdowns:

    “Extended social isolation can have serious health implications, from heart disease and dementia to depression and death. During the pandemic, our diets and lifestyles got worse, increasing our vulnerability to the very disease that isolation is meant to help address.

    Our mental health suffers, too. The psychological effects of loneliness are a health risk comparable with risk obesity or smoking. Anxiety and depression have spiked since lockdown orders went into effect. The weeks immediately following them saw nearly an 18 percent jump in overdose deaths and, as of last month, more than 40 states had reported increases. One in four young adults age 18 to 25 reported seriously considering suicide within the 30-day window of a recent study. Experts fear that suicides may increase; for young Americans, these concerns are even more acute. Calls to domestic violence hotlines have soared. America’s elderly are dying from the isolation that was meant to keep them safe”

    and

    “There will be significant longterm consequences from school closures as well. About half of the country’s school districts held remote classes, either exclusively or partially, at the start of the year. This approach has meaningfully reduced educational quality, particularly for children of color.
    These losses don’t even take into account the direct effects of the lockdowns on the economy. Small businesses have closed their doors at very high rates as the American economy sputtered in response to stay-at-home orders. One study estimates that 60 percent of the millions of jobs lost between January and April were a result of the lockdowns, not the virus itself. The economic uncertainty caused by unemployment comes with its own health risks.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/08/opinion/covid-lockdown-isolation.html

    Absolutely NONE of this should come as a surprise to those who were familiar with the pandemic response literature in place as of February 2020, and who have been warning for months that the cure cannot be worse than the disease.

  418. These decisions are just so hard. We had decided not to see family at Christmas, but on Monday DH’s cousin died. She lived with his family for much of his life after her own mother took off, and is more like a sister to him. She was my favorite person in his family. They are having a memorial service for her, and I think we should go, but we are still debating it. I don’t want to take stupid risks when the vaccine is on the horizon, and the extended family has some strong anti-maskers. But these rituals were established for a reason, and we need them. Hard to know the right thing to do.

  419. From the parts Scarlett pulled out, it seems as if the authors of that NYT piece made the mistaken assumption that alone and lonely are the same thing. That obviously is not true. Perhaps some emotional intelligence classes are in order for people who can’t tell the two apart, or some other ways to help people get over the emotional difficulties some seem to have with not being around a lot of other people.

  420. Becky, my condolences on your loss. Whatever decision you make will have to be very real about what DBiL is planning, and if he continues to pick up “dates” online with little screening.

  421. “Because the virus cannot be crushed, only suppressed, until herd immunity is reached by infection or a vaccine.”

    Right. And the non-ghoulish way to that is through a vaccine. Which is here. Our approach was asinine and has killed so many people. Their approach was much better.

  422. And the non-ghoulish way to that is through a vaccine. Which is here. Our approach was asinine and has killed so many people.

    Yes, the vaccine is a big problem for some. That’s why you see some rooting against it. They are scared that it’s success will prove to others who they really are and who they have been all along.

  423. Becky, my condolences. Your situation is very tough, and if it isn’t mentioned in the obit or funeral home website, give them a call and ask how they are handling masking/social distancing.

    Last month when my friend’s spouse died I was faced with a similar situation. I’m guessing that your area may handle these services differently then where I am. The funeral home had a very safe one way flow for the viewing. Masks were required, and the staff did a great job of letting you know where to stand until the next group/individual moved on. The service itself was only open to immediate family and close friends. Per my friend, every one was very spaced out (almost comical in how far apart people where). I watched the service online. No singing, and her pastor read the memories that family and friends had left online. It was very beautiful.

  424. Scarlett, he’s in a virtual workshop today and I just found out the details this morning, so we haven’t had a chance to discuss. From our prior discussions I think he’s inclined not to go because many people in his extended family seem to be getting sick. He is extremely reticent, but he has taken this death harder than any other deaths in his family, so I feel like it would be good for him to go. I personally would like to go because she has always been so good to me, and I feel like I owe it to her children. I am thinking emotionally rather than logically, so I probably need to sit on it for a few days before we make a decision.

    On the Christmas gatherings, I think in locations where they can be held outdoors that I would be willing to get together with people. With indoor gatherings, I’d be okay if attendees all committed to quarantining for 7-10 days beforehand.

  425. Lemon Tree, they are requiring masks at the service. I am more worried about my feeling that we couldn’t drive 8 hours to get there and just go to the service. I think we will be expected to visit with the many family members who will be there that we don’t see often because we live out of state. I know from Facebook that some of them are passionately anti-mask, and the deceased is one of a handful that have gotten Covid, so I feel like it’s floating around them. I am unsure how to handle the post-service expectations. I don’t like situations where I feel like I don’t have any control.

  426. “And the non-ghoulish way to that is through a vaccine. Which is here.”

    Except that it’s not.
    Only a small percentage of the population of each state will be eligible for shots — we have no idea how many will actually line up. It will take many months to get to herd immunity via vaccine, and every time there is an extreme adverse reaction, or viral coverage of side effects that are much more serious than most people imagine, that timeline is extended:

    “The Covid-19 vaccines are “more reactogenic than the flu vaccine,” said Arnold Monto, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who leads the panel of experts that will advise the FDA about authorizing Covid-19 vaccines. But reactogenicity is perfectly normal, he added, and people shouldn’t be caught by surprise or dissuaded from getting the vaccines, which come in two shots spaced three or four weeks apart.

    Kristen Choi, a participant in a Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine trial and a nursing professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the second shot left her with intense arm pain, chills, nausea and dizziness that evening. By the next morning, she had a 104.9-degree fever—the worst she has ever had. She took some acetaminophen, which helped with her fever. A clinical-trial research staffer told her that side effects like hers weren’t uncommon.

    While Dr. Choi can’t be sure she received the vaccine—the trial was double-blinded—she suspects she did, and says she wouldn’t have been able to see patients the day after she received the shot.

    “It wouldn’t have been a day I could have gone to work,” she said. “I would have felt too bad to take care of patients.”
    Dr. Choi said her symptoms resolved within roughly 36 hours, except for a sore, swollen bump on her arm at the injection site.

    The most common side effects found in the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine trials included pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain, according to a Food and Drug Administration analysis released Tuesday. Side effects tended to be more frequent after the second dose, according to the analysis.

    Among those between 18 and 55 years of age, 16% of participants who received the vaccine had fever after the second dose. Fifty-nine percent reported fatigue, 52% reported headache and 35% reported chills. Thirty-seven percent had muscle pain, 22% reported joint pain and 10% reported diarrhea. Those older than 55 tended to report fewer side effects, according to the analysis.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-vaccines-to-cause-temporary-side-effects-doctors-say-11607536289

    Keep in mind that, for many age groups, these side effects are *worse* than the symptoms they might experience from an actual COVID infection. It’s a good thing that those over 55 reported fewer side effects. Let’s see what happens to the over 80 group.

  427. “I am thinking emotionally rather than logically, so I probably need to sit on it for a few days before we make a decision.”

    It’s good that you have some time to think about it.
    You can always make a surgical strike trip for the service itself, and then leave afterward with the legitimate excuse that you have a long drive or some other reason to get home soon. The family will greatly appreciate that you made the effort to come — that really means a lot, especially now when traveling isn’t easy.

    Because funerals are for the living, and your DH’s cousin knew how much you loved her, you could also consider planning a trip down the road just to visit with her children in a less traumatic period of their lives. They will hardly have the bandwith to connect with you immediately after the service and might really treasure the promise of a long relaxed visit in the spring.

  428. Ugh, Becky, that is an even harder call….and if the extended family is like mine, you’ll never hear the end of “remember when you came to the xxx’s service and then left and didn’t even stick around for lunch?”

  429. “On the local news broadcasts, that’ pretty much been the case for quite a while now. There’s usually one anchor and one weather person in studio, and everybody else reports from elsewhere, either at the news site or what looks to be from their homes.

    Is this the case elsewhere?”

    @Finn – For many months it the major local news was mostly remote – all anchors at home – and the “on the street” reporters were masked and using long poles to interview people. It’s slowly gone to more in studio, but sitting at separate tables or further apart, but still with the masks and long poles.

  430. Rhett, to understand reasons why the vaccine is a big problem for some, go read some American history with Black people in it. Jeez o Pete.

  431. Becky, I understand you wanting to support the neices/nephews (and very typical of the caring person that you are to want to do that) but I don’t think the funeral is the only way to show them you care and step up for them. Put together a little slide show of family memories, end it with a concrete promise to do a specific thing over the next few months, and remind them of their mother when you do it.

  432. Rhett, reality is much more complicated and less shallow than this accusatory comment you made. Black history gives many examples of other causes for concern, and there are other legit reasons to be worried about the vaccine as well.

    “Yes, the vaccine is a big problem for some. That’s why you see some rooting against it. They are scared that it’s success will prove to others who they really are”

  433. S&M,

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. And you seem to have entirely missed the point of my comment.

  434. This is a very sad story about Dianne Feinstein. Did not see her humiliating double question to Dorsey in the November hearing, but it’s obvious that she is suffering from some serious cognitive decline:

    “But many others familiar with Feinstein’s situation describe her as seriously struggling, and say it has been evident for several years. Speaking on background, and with respect for her accomplished career, they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up. One aide to another senator described what he called a “Kabuki” meeting in which Feinstein’s staff tried to steer her through a proposed piece of legislation that she protested was “just words” which “make no sense.” Feinstein’s staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable. “The staff is in such a bad position,” a former Senate aide who still has business in Congress said. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.” https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/dianne-feinsteins-missteps-raise-a-painful-age-question-among-senate-democrats?utm_social-type=owned&mbid=social_twitter&utm_source=twitter&utm_brand=tny&utm_medium=socia.

    She still has four years left in her term.

  435. Reminds me of Strom Thurmond. Born December 5, 1902 his last day as a US Senator was January 3, 2003.

  436. Rhett, we talked about this recently when a study came out showing that Black people are very hesitant to take the vaccine. But I stead of focusing on their very reasonable reasons for fear, given the history and present of medical abuse and neglect, you choose to make statements like the one I just quoted back to you. Here is one more example, on top of the links I posted when we had the conversation.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/12/04/us/vaccine-distrust-black-and-latino-americans/index.html

  437. Rhett, you’re point was the same one people have been asking you to step back from—people who make the wrong choice are evil and the best way to deal with that is to be ugly to them. That point was loud and clear. Are you catching on that there may be other, more common, perfectly reasonable reasons people see this differently than you do?

  438. SM, are you responding to Rhett’s post about some people rooting against the vaccine?

    I don’t see why black people would root against it, nor have I read any accounts of that, even if they are reticent about taking it themselves. Whether or not they choose to be vaccinated, they’d still stand to gain from others being vaccinated, especially if the vaccinated are much less likely to become contagious..

  439. Becky, I’m sorry.

    I agree with your concerns. Funerals are probably among the higher risk activities, with many people gathering indoors and sharing a meal, and a natural desire to do a lot of conversing, hugging, and shaking hands.

    Are there any plans to livestream the funeral, or to have service or a celebration of life later?

    I know it’s a long drive, but perhaps the safest place to show up and be supportive might be interment if it’s outdoors.

  440. I’m sorry Becky. I’ve always been of the mind that the funeral isn’t as important as people think it is. i mean, yes if no one shows up then in normal times, that’s terrible, but in my experience, the funeral is such a blur of people and conversations and grief can be like a bubble around you so all those expressions are seen but not really seen. They will still be sad in 3 months and everyone will have moved on and maybe then it would be a good time to go and spend time. My two cents.

  441. Things I’m reading/hearing about the Pfizer vaccine:

    -The first shot already confers some immunity.

    -Severest side effects are after the 2nd shot.

    -Supplies are limited, especially given the Trump administration decision to not purchase more when the chance was there.

    So I’m wondering if it wouldn’t make more sense to give twice as many people a single shot.

    At this point, it seems to me that the priority for the next couple months or so is to limit the number of cases severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Which better achieves that goal, 2 shots/person or 1 shot for 2x as many people?

  442. Finn, we haven’t tested the potential side effects of partial immunity. I would be nervous about releasing with an untested protocol and then not knowing whether the number of shots affects the duration of immunity or transmissibility.

    Never release an untested process to production. :)

  443. Texas Totebaggers (and anyone else with knowledge on this issue) — WTF is going on with that lawsuit where Texas is suing Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin over the election results? (Or some such — I probably didn’t state the procedure correctly.) I am having a crazy week and haven’t had time to read articles about it, but at first glance this seems totally nuts even by 2020 standards.

  444. Data:

    “At least 3,124 people in the United States died from COVID-19 on Wednesday, a grim new record as the country grapples with the worst phase of the pandemic thus far.”
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/3000-deaths-single-day-coronavirus_n_5fd1aac1c5b68256b1125b14

    “Newly released data from the US Department of Health and Human Services show at least 200 hospitals were at full capacity last week.
    And in one third of all hospitals, more than 90% of all ICU beds were occupied. Coronavirus patients occupied 46% of all staffed ICU beds — up from 37% in the first week of November.
    Hospitalizations in the US reached a record high of 107,248 on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.”
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/10/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html

    “An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas. Most were rural areas in the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa.”
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/covid-counties-favored-trump_n_5fa46df7c5b6f21920d9596d

    And some might call this exponential growth:

    “(New Hampshire) state reported 969 new cases on Wednesday, a 74% increase from the average two weeks earlier.” https://www.huffpost.com/entry/new-hampshire-dick-hinch-covid-death_n_5fd27013c5b66a75841334b7

  445. No one was wearing masks when the first wave hit Italy and then NY. That is when the vast majority of the deaths occurred in those places. Cases and deaths are rising again in Western Europe and NY now, but the numbers are not close to what they were early this year, and the hospitals (at least in NY) are managing pretty well so far. I suspect that is because the current high level of mask usage reduces transmission and also reduces the likelihood of an infection resulting in severe illlness.

    My recollection is that mask usage was sporadic in NYC before April and non-existent before March. That was exactly the time the disease was silently spreading. I remember being maskless on the subway in mid-March, along with most of the other passengers. Only one or two were masked. Then, by the last week of March, the hospitals were filling and the ambulance sirens were constant. By early April masks were universal.

  446. Sweden has few similarities to Southern Europe. They vary greatly based on density, household size, adherence to recommendations, access to health, baseline health. It’s not particularly useful to compare them.

    Norway, on the other hand, is much more similar.

  447. I’ll preface this by saying that I believe Ada when she says that where her parents live, mask compliance is not very high.

    But speaking locally, compliance seems high where I am, and case #s have been rising significantly.

    I’ll also acknowledge to anyone checking the time stamps that, yes, it is indeed 12 0359R DEC 20, and, apparently, even 3 oz of high-quality bourbon can mess up my sleep.

  448. Milo, we’ve got to stop agreeing like this! I like bourbon too, it messes up my sleep, even just one shot, and I’ve been known to post on the Totebag in the midst of insomniac web wanderings. Hope you had fun while you had your drink.

  449. Our latest Corona news, directly translated from the paper because I’m too brain dead to summarize.

    Headline: Fast 30.000 neue Corona-Fälle – Lockdown rückt näher
    Nearly 30,000 new Corona cases—lockdown getting closer.

    Do, 10.12.2020, 11.03 Uhr
    Der Präsident des Robert-Koch-Instituts, Lothar Wieler, hält den zuletzt wieder registrierten Anstieg bei den Corona-Neuinfektionen für besorgniserregend. Infektionsschutzmaßnahmen sollten konsequent umgesetzt werden, sagte er in Berlin.

    Thursday, Dec 10, 11:03
    The president of the Robert-Koch institute, Lothar Wieler, finds the increase in new infections of Corona registered again recently concerning. Measures to protect against infection (all one word. Why did some of your children choose this language? Lol ) should be put firmly in place.
    (Video of Wieler saying this)

    Der Lockdown rückt näher: Baden-Württemberg hat angekündigt, das öffentliche Leben nach nach Weihnachten wieder herunterzufahren, ähnliche Pläne gibt es in Berlin
    Lockdown is getting closer: Baden-Würtemberg (450 miles away in SW Germany) has announced that after Christmas, public life will be shut down, there are similar plans in Berlin.

    Das Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) hat am Freitag neue Höchstwerte bei den täglichen Neuinfektionen und Corona-Toten in Deutschland registriert
    The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered new high levels of the daily new infection rate and Corona deaths in Germany.

    Das RKI meldete am Freitag 29.875 Corona-Neuinfektionen binnen 24 Stunden und 598 Tödesfälle
    On Friday, the RKI registered 29,875 new Corona infections within 24 hours and 598 deaths.

    In den USA bleibt die Zahl der Todesfälle weiterhin auf dramatischem Niveau
    In the USA the number of deadly cases still remains at a dramatically high level. (always good to see the home team hit the news over here, except when it’s not)

    Bund und Länder wollen offenbar am Sonntag erneut über die Corona-Maßnahmen beraten
    Federal and state (governments) are apparently going to meet about Corona measures again on Sunday.

    Der EU-Gipfel macht den Weg für die milliardenschweren Corona-Hilfen frei
    The EU summit frees the way for millions (of Euros of) Corona help. (such a contrast to what I hear from home!)

    In Frankreich darf Silvester nicht im Freien gefeiert werden
    In France, New Years Eve is not permitted to be celebrated in the open/outdoors. (I still can’t imagine that they will be able to control this in Berlin!)

    In Deutschland sind unseren Recherchen zufolge bislang mehr als 1.273.000 Corona-Infektionen registriert worden, mehr als 21.000 Menschen sind in Verbindung mit einer Covid-19-Erkrankung gestorben
    In Germany, according to our research, more than 1,273,000 Corona infections have been registered; more than 21,000 have died in connection with a Corona infection.

    Bereits an diesem Sonntag soll es eine neue Videokonferenz der von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel mit den Ministerpräsidentinnen und -präsidenten geben. Dort könnte ein zweiter harter Lockdown für Deutschland beschlossen werden. unter welchen Umständen die Menschen in Deutschland Weihnachten feiern und wie sie ihre Vorbereitungen treffen können, ist weniger als zwei Wochen vor dem Fest weiter offen.
    Already on Sunday there should be another video conference of Angela Merkel with the governors of states of Germany. There, the decision for another hard lockdown for Germany could be made. Under what conditions people in Germany can celebrate Christmas and make their preparations (In Germany, it’s all about the prep) is still open less than two weeks before the holiday.

  450. Here cases began rising pre Thanksgiving. They were at a low in October.
    The governor has ordered restaurants (and bars ?) closed after 10 pm. Out in public all the masking, social
    distancing is being followed but the cause of the spike they say is private gatherings. All these months a lot of the socializing was outside.

  451. If masks slowed transmission, we would expect to see at least one state or country or county in which mask mandates could be correlated with sustained drops in case numbers. But we don’t. The data are undeniable.
    Finland and Norway don’t require masks in most public places.

  452. Just got my laptop back–DS used it while his was in the shop. I see I never posted this comment I wrote in response to the payday lender conversation. Here goes:

    18%??? That’s way lower than payday loan rates, which are several hundred percent.

    Cost of a payday loan

    Many state laws set a maximum amount for payday loan fees ranging from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. A typical two-week payday loan with a $15 per $100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400 percent. By comparison, APRs on credit cards can range from about 12 percent to about 30 percent. In many states that permit payday lending, the cost of the loan, fees, and the maximum loan amount are capped.

    https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-payday-loan-en-1567/

    Becky, I’ve heard of “credit builder loans” as a specific type of loan, but the name is all I know. Have you heard of them for the under-banked? I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts on the profitability of payday lending, as described here https://www.responsiblelending.org/research-publication/fact-v-fiction-truth-about-payday-lending-industry-claims#five

  453. NoB – I haven’t heard a lot about the lawsuit but I did see a comment that for some of the states that are joining the lawsuit, their election procedures/rules are *exactly the same* as the rules they are trying to have thrown out! Good grief.

  454. “The court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated,” a brief for Pennsylvania said.
    “Let us be clear,” the brief continued. “Texas invites this court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next president of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected.”

    Sedition. Useful word. Bummer we’re living through it.

  455. If masks slowed transmission, we would expect to see at least one state or country or county in which mask mandates could be correlated with sustained drops in case numbers.

    South Korea

  456. The lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General is “backed by his G.O.P. colleagues in 17 other states and 106 Republican members of Congress.”

    WTF? Seriously, WTF?? This is deeply troubling, to say the least.

  457. Shifting to an actual political topic. How is it possible that so many people were unable to consider the possibility that the Hunter Biden NY Post story was true, instead running and clinging to the absurd Russian bot nonsense?
    Was it their inability to look past their pre existing biases? Or their TDS?
    It’s so fascinating!

  458. On Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem buried her grandmother, who was among 13 to die over a two-week period at a top-rated nursing home swept by COVID-19.

    The 98-year-old grandmother, Aldys Arnold, is said by Noem’s office to have tested negative for the virus, though no cause of death was given. The other 12 of the 13 deaths between Nov. 14 and Nov. 28 at the Estelline Nursing Home are described by the administrator, Mike Ward, as “COVID-related.”

    “All but one,” Ward told The Daily Beast.

    But one less is still a dozen COVID deaths in a short period in one small facility. The number makes clear the lunacy of Noem’s downplaying of the pandemic and her continued refusal to impose a statewide mask mandate.

    “I’ve always taken #COVID19 very seriously, but South Dakota trusted our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe,” Noem tweeted back in July.

    But the report from the Estelline Nursing Home, in a town of the same name, made clear that South Dakotans are anything but safe. Ward confirmed that along with the deaths, all but two of the surviving 38 residents and at least 16 of the staff had tested positive.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/kristi-noem-s-grandmother-died-in-nursing-home-ravaged-by-covid/ar-BB1bwnYW

  459. Scarlett, I thought the NY Post article seemed politically timed and somewhat suspect given that Hunter apparently lived on the West Coast and never came back to claim the laptop, as well even the store owner seemed not certain it was his. And the “disvovery” came after the IC warned repeatedly that other countries were seeking to spread disinformation and were working through Giuliani. But I am open to the idea that Hunter abused his family name to curry favor and opportunities.

    What nonsense are you referring to on the Russian side? Since every single US intelligence agency stated they found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and since that was kept secret during the election so that it would not be seen as a political announcement, I did find that credible. The multiple investigations since then, conducted by this administration and a Republican-controlled Senate have found that the investigation was properly predicated. It did not find that Trump was directly engaged, which I accept, but did find that some people working in his campaign and in his orbit were shady. I find the idea that it was a coincidence that some 13 or so members of his campaign had contact with Russians then lied about when question to not be plausible.

    As for the bots, I commented to friends prior to the election that I didn’t understand why in Facebook or on Twitter I would see hundreds of identical comments. I had never heard of bots and didn’t know it was possible to automate postings from hundreds of accounts. But having seen it happening, I do believe that bots amplified messaging. And seeing some of the crazy stuff people in my network reposted, I do believe the amplification of that disinformation reached a lot of people. Whether it changed how they would have voted, I have no idea.

    But the investigation into Russian influence was done quietly then leaked later. The Hunter information was splashed all over the news without ever having been investigated, then the investigation started after the damage was done. The difference in those approaches makes one more credible than the other to me.

  460. We *still* don’t know where we will be in a couple weeks. I made reservations at my son’s favorite hotel during their Black Friday week promo. I chose the last dates possible before prices went up for the holidays; rooms were over 200 and sometimes over $300 for the next few months. (& over $500 for Christmas & NYE). I just pulled up their website to request an extension to their cancellation policy and saw that it isn’t necessary. Their rates now through early March are $10 less per night than what I paid in the sale. I’m canceling the reservation, of course. If things work out for us to be there, it’s great to know that we can apparently just pull up and negotiate a better room rate.

    Who else is thinking of traveling, and how do rates where you’re going compare to normal?

  461. If Americans have a wildly inaccurate and extremely pessimistic perception of COVID risks, it could be because media coverage in this country is overwhelmingly inaccurate and pessimistic:

    “We analyze the tone of COVID-19 related English-language news articles written since January 1, 2020. Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals. The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials. Media negativity is unresponsive to changing trends in new COVID-19 cases or the political leanings of the audience. U.S. major media readers strongly prefer negative stories about COVID-19, and negative stories in general. Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining. Among U.S. major media outlets, stories discussing President Donald Trump and hydroxychloroquine are more numerous than all stories combined that cover companies and individual researchers working on COVID-19 vaccines.” https://www.nber.org/papers/w28110

    So we have weeks of dire headlines about hospitals “on the brink” or “on the verge of collapsing” and almost no followup coverage showing that the hospitals did not collapse. The many media outlets that covered the opening of Wisconsin’s field hospital in October do not seem interested in reporting the good news that the 500-bed facility (with expansion to 754 beds) has treated a TOTAL of 136 patients. Since November 24, the daily count has been in the single digits for all but two days.

  462. Scarlett, what’s your point? 12 people in the same nursing home died of COVID but it’s okay because they are all old?

  463. For those who keep insisting that kids don’t really need to go to school in-person, here is a chilling story from Illinois:

    Katie Massey, a social worker for the adolescent unit at St. Mary’s, said the ward rarely has an open bed.
    “I definitely know that we are always at capacity and even then, when we have a discharge, we are already usually expecting another one to come in, or even multiple to come in,” Massey said.
    Takahashi says to be hospitalized, a child must have had attempted suicide, had suicidal thoughts or tendencies, or shown severe psychotic symptoms.
    “Because we have been full so much of the time, there is even people sitting down in our emergency room that need some kind of further assistance, too,” Massey said.
    It is not just St. Mary’s seeing an increase.
    While HSHS St. John’s Hospital does not have a child psych ward, they do take patients that require consultations.
    Takahashi said those have skyrocketed.
    “In past years, we would go months that we didn’t get a consult request, but this past year, I would say it has been pretty steady with several per week,” Takahashi said.
    Both Massey and Takahashi said there is one common cause for almost every child.
    “The online learning,” Takahashi said.
    “Typically, every single one of them is mentioning school as a stress,” Massey said.” https://newschannel20.com/news/local/hospitals-see-high-rates-of-mental-illness-in-children-during-pandemic

    Massive, tragic unforced error. The decisions by local districts to keep schools closed have been spectacularly wrong. Kids are paying the price of politicians’ fealty to teacher’s unions.

  464. “Kids are paying the price of politicians’ fealty to teacher’s unions.”

    Too bad they haven’t followed through on your wishes and sentenced every teacher in this country to death. That would be fabulous for the poor, innocent children.

    “Both Massey and Takahashi said there is one common cause for almost every child.
    “The online learning,” Takahashi said.
    “Typically, every single one of them is mentioning school as a stress,” Massey said.” ”

    Where’s your data and proof that online learning is the cause? Where’s the actual statistics? One doctor says it’s “because online learning” in a local news article. This is exactly the kind of flimsy reporting that you would tear apart if it was trying to convince readers that Covid is a problem to be taken seriously.

  465. When we lived in Florida, I thought it made sense that we would see PSAs about emergency kits as hurricane season approached, along with predictions for the coming storm season, and then spaghetti models and cones of uncertainty when storms developed. I don’t see why one would look at a clear blue sky and say “nope, no ‘cane in sight” or why TV news would spend time describing how a pressure cell dissolved instead of building to a category 5 storm. Silly me, I never realized how negative the meteorologist were being.

  466. “Too bad they haven’t followed through on your wishes and sentenced every teacher in this country to death.”

    Now that is panic porn, really.
    Unless teachers are all over the age of 80 with comorbidities, asking them to teach in person is not, in fact, a death sentence. Brown professor Emily Oster, who has been compiling data on COVID in schools for months, can reassure you that infection rates in schools mirror the prevalence of COVID in the surrounding community.

    “One doctor says it’s “because online learning” in a local news article.”

    It’s actually two doctors, but your point is well taken.
    If there weren’t corroborating stories from countless other sources over the past several months, it would be easier to dismiss this story as panic porn, and I would not have posted it here.

    Here is a similar story from Texas:

    “A North Texas children’s hospital said Thursday it has seen an “alarming” rise in suicide patients, especially in August, as school districts continued to debate over the return to in-person learning.
    Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth said they admitted juvenile suicide patients at a rate of almost one per day in August.
    The hospital admitted 29 children last month after they attempted suicide. For the year, the hospital said it has seen 192 of these patients, which is more than double the number they admitted during the same period five years ago.
    “We see kids every day, telling us they’re struggling. They wish they can go back to their normal lives,” said Dr. Kia Carter, medical director of psychiatry at Cook Children’s.
    Carter said the delayed return to school — and return to normal life — is leaving some children with a sense of hopelessness.
    Social media often fills that lack of an in-person connection, but Carter pointed out it also means children never get a break from social pressures during a year when social divide and picking a side has been constant.
    “It goes to that fear of not being included, or not fitting in, or not being a part of something, and not having a strong enough support system where they feel confident that if something does happen and they’re not part of the in thing, that they’ll be okay,” Carter said.
    The vast majority of the patients Cook Children’s is treating have been young girls between 13 and 15 years old.” ttps://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/09/24/cook-childrens-alarming-rise-suicide-patients/

    This alarming trend does not appear to be fake news.

  467. In support of why I have long thought contact tracing wouldn’t work for technical as well as social reasons, from a study on aerosols and HVAC transmission

    “Seung said the study pointed to the need for contact tracers around the world to widen the net in looking for people who had potentially been infected and to alert people at lower risk that they may have been exposed.

    Linsey Marr, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech who studies the transmission of viruses in the air, said the five-minute window in which the student, identified in the study as “A,” was infected was notable because the droplet was large enough to carry a viral load, but small enough to travel 20 feet through the air.”

    https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-12-09/five-minutes-from-20-feet-away-south-korean-study-shows-perils-of-indoor-dining-for-covid-19

  468. In the Texas story, why are this year’s suicide attempts being compared to five years ago? How are we to conclude that the increase is due to online learning based on two seemingly random points in time? How do we know that there hasn’t been a sustained, gradual increase over the 5 year period? Why aren’t you insisting on all of the relevant data?

    Also, they measured hospital admissions in August, which is a month when most students are on summer break for at least part of the month. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I can’t imagine that a week or two of online learning would cause students to become suicidal. My own kids were quite happy when their return to school was delayed a few weeks. Scarlett, maybe you should consider the possibility that these kids were dry tinder.

  469. City Mom,
    We will eventually get all of the relevant data. These are the early warning signs that a real problem is out there, and experts — who are not right-wing bots — are pointing it out with increasing alarm, but no one seems to be listening. Here is Joseph Allen from the Harvard School of Public Health:

    “We are failing. Kids out of school — and I’m talking about K-12 schools — is a national emergency, and it is not being treated as such. The conversation on schools has gotten very reductionist in terms of in-classroom risk. That risk is important, but it actually can be managed and very few are talking about the risks of kids being out of school.
    The consequences are devastating. We have virtual dropouts. We have major school districts in the U.S. where a third of the kids are not logging in every day. This spring, right here in Boston, 10,000 high school kids didn’t log in at all in the month of May. Kids are less social, and the learning is different. According to UNICEF, kids in school are less likely to suffer from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. Over 30 million kids rely on schools for nutrition, so there are food-security issues. There’s a risk from COVID, but that can be managed in the classroom.

    “Is in-person learning coast-to-coast a realistic goal?

    ALLEN: It’s not just a realistic goal, it has to be the goal. If we start with a goal that’s anything short of that, then then we’re not doing what’s needed, which is prioritizing schools. So it absolutely should be the goal. I think the president should be talking about this every day. I think everyone should be talking about this every day. I don’t think I’m exaggerating or overstating the case. Right now, occasionally we’ll see a case of COVID in a school that will make headlines. But you can predict the headlines we’re going to see in the coming months and years about kids who disappeared from the system, the virtual dropouts, the loss of learning, the loss of income, which we know happens when kids are left behind with schooling. The public health headlines in the coming years because schools are closed are entirely predictable, and they’re avoidable if we get our act together and prioritize reopening schools.” https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/10/is-the-slow-approach-to-reopening-schools-failing-kids/

    It is absolutely astounding that smart people such as yourself and other posters cannot admit that keeping kids out of schools is a major educational, social, and medical disaster that will be haunting us for years.

  470. “Unless teachers are all over the age of 80 with comorbidities, asking them to teach in person is not, in fact, a death sentence. Brown professor Emily Oster, who has been compiling data on COVID in schools for months, can reassure you that infection rates in schools mirror the prevalence of COVID in the surrounding community.”

    I was being snarky & it didn’t come through well. The death sentence I was referring to was your comments about executing the nation’s teachers for being lazy cowards. It still bothers me to this day, so it’s fresh in my mind, but probably not yours. But it wasn’t adding anything to the discussion anyway to bring it up, so I retract it.

    My real point was that I find it to be a double standard to claim that Covid is not an issue that anyone under 80 should bother to worry about, that the health care system is perfectly fine, and that there is no evidence that masks work – but then post articles that are really just anecdotes and “depression porn”.

    I do happen to think that both isolation due to shut downs and a rampant virus are an issue FWIW. And I do actually agree that schools can open safely even without 100% vaccination or some of the bizarre demands made by some teachers unions. I disagree that schools can open safely right now many places – including my own district – with high community infection rates. I will also point out that the data you are referencing largely relates to schools open with risk mitigations – masks, distancing, hybrid models, lack of busing to name a few. All of which you are against. Whether or not schools can open with no mitigations is a completely different question.

  471. And tying this into actual politics, Biden has promised to make opening schools a priority during his first 100 days. OK, that gives him until April 20. Oh, and the promise is dependent on Congress “providing the funding,” so it’s actually not a promise at all. It’s just virtue-signaling, with a stern face.

    Kids in most major metro areas will NOT be back in school until next fall, if then. And it has nothing to do with COVID at this point.

  472. It’s just virtue-signaling

    It’s what you’re demanding, for heaven’s sake! If the other team does it, it’s just virtue-signaling? If a Republican had promised it, you’d be gushing.

  473. Virtue signaling to who?? I thought the evil liberals were in cahoots with the lazy teachers and want to keep schools closed. Certainly he’s not “virtue signaling” to the Progressive wing. Of course there needs to be funding – funding from the Feds if you want to make it national. Unless you want to open schools with no mitigations at all, which none of the experts you quoted above are advocating.

    “Kids in most major metro areas will NOT be back in school until next fall, if then.”

    Kids in some districts in every single major metro area have been in school in person this year at least part time.

    If you mean large urban districts – well, NYC already has had hybrid school part of the year and is planning to go back. Chicago announced their plan to start K-8 in February. Denver sent some of the youngest kids, but then had to revise their rollout when Covid started spreading more in the community. I don’t know what happened in LA, Houston, Phoenix, Philly, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, etc. But I don’t think it’s even true that “most” have been 100% remote for the entire school year.

    And that’s not even getting into all the downsides of hybrid or the hypothetical downsides of opening schools with no mitigations. There are no great answers here, just debating the best of the bad.

  474. Thank you, SCOTUS. Any of the lawyers understand Alito’s comment? As best I could tell, he would have let them file, but wouldn’t have granted what they wanted? Or is that not what “any other relief” means?

  475. The 8th largest school district in the US, Hillsborough County, has been meeting f2f since August.

  476. “I don’t know what happened in LA, Houston, Phoenix, Philly, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, etc. But I don’t think it’s even true that “most” have been 100% remote for the entire school year.”

    Here are the largest 12 metro areas in the country:

    NYC
    LA
    Chicago
    Dallas
    Houston
    DC
    Miami
    Philly
    Atlanta
    Phoenix
    Boston
    San Francisco

    Dallas, Houston, and Miami have offered significant in-person learning options.

    The rest of these districts are mostly or completely remote for this semester.
    And there is little hope that they will be making different decisions for next semester.

  477. Sure, I’m glad SCOTUS ruled the way it did, but I’m deeply disturbed that this even happened. If one rogue state Attorney General pulled that kind of stunt to get some publicity to fuel his/her political ambitions, maybe I could overlook it, but the fact that over a dozen other state AGs, as well as over 100 Republican members of Congress, got on that bandwagon is so profoundly unsettling to me. Up to now, I have resisted the “I’m concerned about the future of our country” line of thought, but reading about this court case over the past couple of days really has made me concerned about the future of our country.

    I will say, however, that I have never been prouder of my profession. Lawyers get a bad rap (and sadly it is often deserved), but I think lawyers and judges are doing really critical work in upholding our democracy right now.

  478. “Here are the largest 12 metro areas in the country:”

    How are metro areas defined, in this context?

    I recall a recent discussion in which I discovered that Providence, RI is in some contexts considered part of the Boston metro area.

  479. Scarlett, you are wrong about NYC. NYC has had elementary schools open since late September, except for a 2 week hiatus at the end of last month. MIddle schools and high schools were open until around Thanksgiving and are now remote. I expect the middle schools will reopen before spring, but when is anybody’s guess.

    I understand the concern about remote learning for elementary school. I do think the little kids are at risk of falling behind. But the older the kids are, the better they do with online classes. I have 2 middle school kids in 2 different schools. They are both doing very well. Would I prefer to have them in their regular routine? Of course I would. It is not ideal, but nothing in 2020 is ideal. And the current set up is nowhere near the disaster that you make it out to be. The online learning programs are far superior to what was offered in the spring. The kids are engaged in their classes and they do sports outside and debate club and robotics online. They see their neighborhood friends outdoors whenever they want. They are busy and happy and learning. Rather than get depressed, we have chosen to make the best of the situation. I actually think when they are grown I will look back on this year and be grateful for the extra family time we had.

  480. NYC schools are mostly closed. That is the reality.
    And most students in the largest major metro areas have been out of school since last March, with no reasonable prospect of returning before next fall.
    Private schools are a different story of course.

  481. If one rogue state Attorney General pulled that kind of stunt to get some publicity to fuel his/her political ambitions, maybe I could overlook it, but the fact that over a dozen other state AGs, as well as over 100 Republican members of Congress, got on that bandwagon is so profoundly unsettling to me.

    NoB, I’m with you 100%. I have also tried to take a broader perspective, tried to look back at bad periods in our history and noted how we pulled through. But this is serious banana republic territory. And you know what happens to banana republics? In addition to living in chaotic, constantly changing political circumstances, stronger powers come in from the outside and control them. That used to be us! Our CIA! Now it will be Russia and China, to an even bigger extent than previously. In fact some of our current circumstances are due to Russian interference. It will only get worse.

  482. Unfortunately, RMS, I agree with everything you just said.

    And you know what else happens in banana republics? Those judges and lawyers who are trying to uphold the rule of law get shot. I am not concerned for my own safety, as I work in an area that is not related to these issues, but I am concerned for the safety of the judges who are on the front lines.

  483. I’ve been concerned about prominent individuals —Barack Obama when he was president, Hassan Minhaj when he was on fire after his Press Club Dinner address—for years. But now my concern is for individuals who are much less in the public eye, in the kind of street fighting we had in the early 20th century.

  484. Whatever Scarlett. I live here and have 2 kids in school, but I must be wrong because you know everything about everything.

  485. Rocky, the first line of that article cracks me up. Isn’t that the original meaning of snafu—situation normal, all f’cked up?

  486. City Mom, come on, you know there’s no way you can possibly know more about what is going on in NY right now than Scarlett does just because you live there. You only have first-hand knowledge and experience. She follows “the right people” on Twitter, so clearly she is better informed than you are.

  487. RMS, did you catch this delightful bit of mansplaining today?:

    ******************************
    Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.
    Jill Biden should think about dropping the honorific, which feels fraudulent, even comic.
    By Joseph Epstein
    Dec. 11, 2020 5:56 pm ET

    Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden ” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.

    I taught at Northwestern University for 30 years without a doctorate or any advanced degree. I have only a B.A. in absentia from the University of Chicago—in absentia because I took my final examination on a pool table at Headquarters Company, Fort Hood, Texas, while serving in the peacetime Army in the late 1950s. I do have an honorary doctorate, though I have to report that the president of the school that awarded it was fired the year after I received it, not, I hope, for allowing my honorary doctorate. During my years as a university teacher I was sometimes addressed, usually on the phone, as “Dr. Epstein.” On such occasions it was all I could do not to reply, “Read two chapters of Henry James and get into bed. I’ll be right over.”

    I was also often addressed as Dr. during the years I was editor of the American Scholar, the quarterly magazine of Phi Beta Kappa. Let me quickly insert that I am also not a member of Phi Beta Kappa, except by marriage. Many of those who so addressed me, I noted, were scientists. I also received a fair amount of correspondence from people who appended the initials Ph.D. to their names atop their letterheads, and have twice seen PHD on vanity license plates, which struck me as pathetic. In contemporary universities, in the social sciences and humanities, calling oneself Dr. is thought bush league.

    The Ph.D. may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the relaxation of standards in university education generally, at any rate outside the sciences. Getting a doctorate was then an arduous proceeding: One had to pass examinations in two foreign languages, one of them Greek or Latin, defend one’s thesis, and take an oral examination on general knowledge in one’s field. At Columbia University of an earlier day, a secretary sat outside the room where these examinations were administered, a pitcher of water and a glass on her desk. The water and glass were there for the candidates who fainted. A far cry, this, from the few doctoral examinations I sat in on during my teaching days, where candidates and teachers addressed one another by first names and the general atmosphere more resembled a kaffeeklatsch. Dr. Jill, I note you acquired your Ed.D. as recently as 15 years ago at age 55, or long after the terror had departed.

    The prestige of honorary doctorates has declined even further. Such degrees were once given exclusively to scholars, statesmen, artists and scientists. Then rich men entered the lists, usually in the hope that they would donate money to the schools that had granted them their honorary degrees. (My late friend Sol Linowitz, then chairman of Xerox, told me that he had 63 honorary doctorates.) Famous television journalists, who passed themselves off as intelligent, followed. Entertainers, who didn’t bother feigning intelligence, were next.

    At Northwestern, recent honorary-degree recipients and commencement speakers have included Stephen Colbert and Seth Davis. I sent a complaining email to the school’s president about the low quality of such men as academic honorands, with the result that the following year the commencement speaker and honorand was Billie Jean King —who, with the graduating members of the school’s women’s tennis team, hit tennis balls out to the audience of graduating students and the parents who had paid $70,000 a year for their university education, or perhaps I should say for their “credential.”

    Political correctness has put paid to any true honor an honorary doctorate may once have possessed. If you are ever looking for a simile to denote rarity, try “rarer than a contemporary university honorary-degree list not containing an African-American woman.” Then there are all those honorary degrees bestowed on Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose and others who, owing to their proven or alleged sexual predations, have had to be rescinded. Between the honorary degrees given to billionaires, the falsely intelligent, entertainers and the politically correct, just about all honor has been drained from honorary doctorates.

    As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.

    Mr. Epstein is author, most recently, of “Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.”

  488. Blythe – holy fuck that article. I couldn’t get through it because I was seeing red. Calling her “kiddo”….so freaking sexist.

  489. “ Mr. Epstein is author, most recently, of “Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.””

  490. Watching The Crown the guy who ended up in the queens bedroom had a delightfully British way of say twat (like cat.)

    The Epstein guy. What a twat. I’d use the other word but I don’t want to get in trouble.

    Between this Epstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Richard (only 500 people will die of COVID) Epstein – twats the lot of them.

  491. Scarlett, most NYC parents opted their kids out of in person learning. You know that because we went over it already. But never mind. The schools are closed. The parade of kids passing by my house each morning to get to the elementary school down the block is a figment of my imagination. You know what’s really going on.

  492. I pointed that WSJ article out to a couple of people, you know, look how terrible. The reaction was, yeah, what a jerk. But also, “I always though Jill Biden was an MD, hmmm, I’m much less impressed now.” The article has gone viral because it was so obnoxious and now I bet a lot of people are suddenly finding out she is not an MD

  493. I have wondered about the editorial decision that went into publishing that article. What did the WSJ hope to accomplish by giving this particular writer a platform? I’ve known professors with PhDs who went by Mr. or Ms. This guy just came off as jealous and petty because he doesn’t have a PhD.

  494. That was an appalling editorial. At the same time, I don’t think Jill Biden should use her Dr. honorific as she does. It makes her stand out but not in a good way. Lynne Cheney has a PhD in literature.

  495. Whoopi Goldberg suggested that Biden name his wife Surgeon General because she is such an outstanding doctor.

    It was probably a widespread perception. Until now.

  496. Scarlett, do you think there are many people on the right who didn’t catch on that Goldberg was making a joke? Silly “is there a doctor in the house” are old hat to PhDs, as you well know.

    Kim, I strongly disagree. Obama and Rodham-Clinton made great progress in establishing that a woman can have her own identity and career, no matter what her husband’s job is. I would hate to see the incoming potus’ wife cowed by expectations from the 1950s. Seeing as she teaches at a school in Fairfax, Dr Biden could continue in her role (with a reduced load, if she chooses) as she did when her husband was VP.

    Is this a Covid article? Like the issue I mentioned on the main page, it has to do with the disease, but only as the prop around which the illegality occurred. The governor’s office pressuring any law firm about taking a case, whether it’s representing a news organization or anyone else, is a serious issue. The fact that it’s about protecting an industry is also important. https://www.alternet.org/2020/04/office-of-florida-gov-ron-desantis-attempted-to-squash-newspapers-lawsuit-seeking-coronavirus-records-explosive/

  497. “It makes her stand out but not in a good way. Lynne Cheney has a PhD in literature.”

    Kim — This is an honest question — I am truly curious. Would you feel differently if Jill Biden’s PhD were in a science? (e.g. if she had a PhD in Chemistry or Biology, rather than Education.) My best friend from college is a PhD in a science, but is not an MD. She uses the “Dr.” honorific. I’m wondering if the objection is to PhDs in general using “Dr.”, or just PhDs in certain subjects.

  498. I generally object to anyone using any title outside of a work setting. I heard Biden speak one time, and I can’t remember if it was in person or televised or something (I’ve been to a lot of graduations), but I specifically remember him joking about how Jill’s motivation for getting an Ed.D. was because she was tired of always being “Senator and Mrs. Biden” and that was the easiest way to change it (and he was serious).

  499. That’s up to him and the audience, but if he’s giving a commencement address, then it’s in the course of his position as a U.S. senator.

  500. Whoops wasn’t making a joke. There was an uncomfortable silence on the show after her comments, and then someone else cautiously corrected her.

  501. “Would you feel differently if Jill Biden’s PhD were in a science?”

    No. Many politicians and others in the spotlight have PhDs but don’t insist on being called Dr. – Newt Gingrich, Ben Sasse, Condi Rice, Neil Gorsuch, Madeline Albright, Kyrsten Sinema, etc. Using Dr. in certain contexts makes sense, such as when presenting at an academic conference or as a professor or otherwise when working in their field. Otherwise, most don’t seem to insist on it.

  502. In my experience, academia is the field that most people insist on being addressed as doctor. Even the scientists I know running labs have Ph.D. in their signatures but are only addressed as Dr. when they are presenting at conferences per Kim’s point.

    At work there is an individual who was promoted to a more senior position and since then when coming onto a conf. call will say, “this is Dr. so and so.” This individual has a doctorate that took 4-5 years and was more “applied” then “research” based. The Ph.D.’s that I work with have made an effort to emphasis that point.

    With the increase in professional doctorates versus the philosophy doctorate not to mention the MD versus PhD, I do find it pretentious when someone insists on being addressed as Dr.in certain situations. This is in general and not necessarily a comment on Jill Biden.

  503. “I do find it pretentious when someone insists on being addressed as Dr.in certain situations.”

    Particularly if their doctorate is honorary, a la Bill Cosby.

    I think in general academics like to be called Dr. I also think in general people MDs like to be called Dr. I’ve been surprised on here when people have said they knew (or are) MDs who don’t use Dr. socially. I’ve never known one.

    I just call people what they want to be called. Even the minister I know whose doctorate is honorary but likes to be Rev. Dr. Presbyterian.

  504. “I think in general academics like to be called Dr. I also think in general people MDs like to be called Dr. I’ve been surprised on here when people have said they knew (or are) MDs who don’t use Dr. socially. I’ve never known one.

    I just call people what they want to be called. Even the minister I know whose doctorate is honorary but likes to be Rev. Dr. Presbyterian.”

    Agreed.

  505. I know a lot of academics. Most do not really want to be called Dr. They are Professor Last Name to their undergraduate students, First Name to colleagues and their own grad students. And never Dr. in social or community settings.

  506. My high school principal was Dr Reddick. Education. My high school French teacher was Dr Fagg. A European earned honorific. My former Berlin Tax Colleague who was three rungs below me in corporate hierarchy is Dr Rindtoff because of a German tax rank. We are on first name basis, so titles unimportant. I always address my physicians as Dr xyz. Unfortunately they mostly call me First name, unasked. Or Mrs DH last name, when I accompany him. I can’t get my knickers in a twist about Dr Biden using a legit if possibly misleading title or the MDs or non PhD educators who take offense at it. Had she kept her prior last name when she married Biden the title Mrs Biden would be unavailable and Dr ABC unobjectionable. . But that was politically not the thing in those days

  507. I always address my physicians as Dr xyz. Unfortunately they mostly call me First name, unasked.

    That always bugs me. If you’re Dr. Whatever, then I’m Ms. Stepmom. If I’m Rocky, then you’re Bob.

  508. I agree with this in principle, but in reality, I always prefer my first name to my last name, and I’m fine with anyone using it, although I think kids should generally address adults as Mr./Mrs./Ms. something.

    My problem is that now my “dermatologist” and my “internist” are both PAs, so it seems just a little strange when they come in and I’m like “Hey, Rob.”

  509. “I generally object to anyone using any title outside of a work setting. “

    That’s an interesting attitude considering where you went to college.

    Did you act on that objection while you were in college, or on active duty?

  510. “I know a lot of academics. Most do not really want to be called Dr. They are Professor Last Name to their undergraduate students “

    When I was an undergrad, the profs in my departments were generally addressed as Dr. Lastname. The exceptions were those who didn’t have PhDs, who were addressed as Professor Lastname.

    I suppose addressing all profs as Professor Lastname avoids awkwardness associated with some profs not having doctoral degrees.

  511. “I can’t get my knickers in a twist about Dr Biden using a legit if possibly misleading title “

    IMO it’s not misleading. When people assume someone addressed as “Doctor” is an MD, that’s on them for making assumptions. And we all know what happens when you assume.

  512. “With the increase in professional doctorates versus the philosophy doctorate not to mention the MD versus PhD, I do find it pretentious when someone insists on being addressed as Dr.in certain situations. “

    Any more pretentious than an MD insisting on being addressed as Dr. in similar situations?

    BTW, do you consider an MD a professional doctorate?

  513. There’s a lot of friction between physicians and NPs who have doctorates wanting to be referred to as “dr lastname” in clinical settings. The physicians say it’s confusing to the patients, yet they don’t seem to have a problem with psychologists referring to themselves as “dr lastname.” It’s part of the turf war.

    I introduce myself as “firstname” and ask patients to refer to me that way. I still get a lot of people calling me “dr firstname” and after the second or third time I stop correcting them because there’s only so much you can do.

  514. I have never known a PhD in academia who did not go by Dr. professionally. Socially? Sure. But to students, on the syllabus, in the college/university website/official roster? No. Not one. I don’t think it’s the least bit pretentious – it’s normal. Making a big stink about it socially is a little crass, but not using it in a professional capacity.

  515. “ Did you act on that objection while you were in college, or on active duty?”

    How would you suggest one “act” on that in those circumstances?

  516. Finn,

    Yes an MD is a professional doctorate as is a JD, PysD and an Ed.D. An individual can do a research track and obtain both an MD and a Ph.D. And as DD noted there are doctorates in nursing, social work, business administration etc. A Ph.D. involves a research component and presenting new research to advance an area of study. The professional doctorate is geared toward combining knowledge you’ve already gained in your area of expertise, learning new skills but it is not necessarily new research. In Ph.D. programs you defend a dissertation versus professional programs tend to have a “portfolio”. It might involve a Capstone project or some such requirement but it is not the same.

    And yes, I find many MD’s who insist on being called Dr. in certain situations just as pretentious.

    DD, my take between MD and psychologists is that they are okay with them using Dr. but they are very clear who is driving the medical bus and beware the psychologist who tries to direct a medical diagnosis whereas an MD can more easily swim in the behavioral health pool.

  517. Lots of thoughts on this.

    I have gone through phases of being Dr. Lovelace, Dr. Ada, Just call me Ada – when I am at work. Always to the nurses, “Of course call me ‘Ada’, but please ‘Dr. Lovelace’ in front of the patients.” Because those ladies will turn on you if you put on airs. (I’ve never been bullied by a male nurse, so it’s possible they might turn on you, too.)

    I’ve always been opposed (and have worked in institutions that have this policy) that no one in a clinical setting is called “doctor” unless they have and MD/DO (and perhaps DDS or DPM, if those people have operating and prescribing privileges). No PharmD, PsyD, EdD, PhD. A patient should expect that a “doctor” means physician when they are in the hospital. As DD alludes, it’s a turf war.

    Most recently, the culture in my institution was that all doctors go by first name. I’m old enough (and I typically wore a white coat) that it doesn’t bother me – people still knew I was a doctor. A female friend who recently moved the same institution was appalled by the patients and OR staff calling her by her first name. And the chatty emails she gets from patients.

    In NZ, we are absolutely all first name, all the time. Maybe a Mr. for a surgeon, but a Mr. Bob, who did my gallbladder. What I find interesting is that I am treated as an expert and an authority by everyone here – patients, nurses, etc. In the past month I have had two junior doctors make phone calls to me to apologize for what they interpreted as unprofessional behavior on their parts given my standing as a senior physician (this was completely unsolicited; I hadn’t even complained about the slights). That has never happened to me in 15 years. Nurses offer to make me coffee or tea when the department gets busy. Again, never once in the US. Patients take my recommendations without question. It’s really weird. There is absolute and rigid hierarchy, but not manifest in use of titles.

  518. For Dr. Biden – I feel like she is in an unwinnable situation. I think it is appropriate for her to ask “Dr” be used anytime someone would use “Mrs”.

    I expect everyone to call me ‘Ada’ socially. And in the places I have lived, it is rare that children address adults as Mrs/Mr/Ms. I do not want to be called Ms Lovelace, or Mrs. Lovelace or Mrs. Babbage. Ooh! I particularly hate Miss Ada. I don’t think any of those are appropriate. If you want your kid to be respectful, they should call me by my preferred name, Ada. If you want them to use a title, then if Dr. Lovelace is too hard to say, I accept Dr. Ada.

  519. “How would you suggest one “act” on that in those circumstances?”

    I’m not suggesting anything, just commenting and questioning.

    IME, many people in the military, or formerly in the military, seem to want to be addressed by their rank (or former rank? If you retire as, say, a Commander, are you considered a Commander for life?). I’ve often seen people identify themselves as something like, for example, Firstname Lastname, CDR, USN (retired).

    Thus I found your objection interesting, and wondered if, e.g., you encountered your CO outside of a work setting, perhaps in the exchange, would you address him/her by first name with no mention of rank? Or did you, despite your objection, address him/her by rank?

  520. Finn – I used to work near a base, so I’ll answer for Milo.

    In the military, there is no such thing as “outside a work setting.”

    If, for example, some Saturday night you take some synthetic marijuana and get violent and taken to a private hospital where you proceed to gloriously and proudly pee all over the floor, no one bats an eye if the facility calls the commanding officer. The CO shows up at 2am and supervises you cleaning the floor. You definitely don’t call him/her “Mike” or “Susan” at that point.

  521. “In the military, there is no such thing as “outside a work setting.””

    Even for people who’ve been retired from the military for many years?

  522. Ada, I had the same question for Milo that Finn asked, and it stems not from typical culture of anything, but from his assertion about “outside of work environments”. That would include not just by your subordinates, but by anyone else you encounter. I suspect that Mr Milo overstated his intention in that statement, but maybe he really does think that the the supermarket cashier should have addressed him as “Captain Lastname”.

    I think if you’ve earned a title, you’ve earned it, but it’s silly for people who’ve gotten honorary degrees to confuse themselves with people using an honorific for a degree or rank they’ve earned. The guy who wrote that opinion piece might be bitter like HFN says, or he might just be confused and not understand the difference between the little ceremony someone did for him and Dr Biden’s degree.

    Meme, what is a “German tax rank”?

    Rocky, yes, that newspaper piece I translated the other day mentioned that the shutdown in Baden-Württemberg would probably be applied elsewhere after today’s meeting.

  523. SM, i assume she has a graduate degree or certification or some combination in taxation that grants her the title Dr. She is not a lawyer.

    My high school French teacher was a Belgian WW2 war bride (30ish yrs old in 1946). I believe the Dr was from a law degree. It has been 54 yrs. details escape me. My hs math teacher was Col. Tilton. Jr high was Maj. Hyde. Both retired, but InMyDay they would never have gone by Mr.

  524. “My hs math teacher was Col. Tilton. Jr high was Maj. Hyde. Both retired, but InMyDay they would never have gone by Mr.”

    And, I assume, would’ve thus raised Milo’s objection.

    Again, I’m just commenting that I find it interesting that Milo, given his background, has that objection. Perhaps his background is a contributing factor to that objection.

  525. In the DC area in 1965 it was permitted and customary to use the designation, even in post retirement employment. In 2020 I cant say. , Nor do I know the rules and customs then or now for those who leave the service other than as retirees or disabled, and the rules for officers of junior rank.

  526. Meme, yes, I’m well aware (and think Finn is too) of the normal way of doing this. That’s why Biden was referred to as “Vice President Biden” until he became “President -elect Biden”.

  527. Finn – I talk to my old CO on Facebook from time to time. There, or in person, I will occasionally call him “Captain.” (We stopped by for lunch about eight years ago coming home from vacation.) I think that’s mostly because he was my CO, so it’s more a term of familiarity and a nod to his mentorship, and the fact that he seems a generation removed (although it’s only 15 years, but that’s a lot when you’re 24). Other times I’ll use his first name.

    If I meet someone who is a retired captain now, I don’t use that term, and not feel any obligation to do so. Particularly not at work, because everyone else is on a first-name basis.

    Ads is mostly wrong. There is a social or non-working world outside the military, or whatever the question was, even on active duty. But 2 am in the emergency room when you’ve done something really stupid to get there wouldn’t be the time to exercise it.

    I have no idea what SM is talking about with grocery store cashiers.

    Officers who retire after 20+ years retain the rank/title (and a generous percentage of pay). Those who separate with less time do not. Although nobody seems to have told USAA phone reps, because they are the only people in the world who still call me “Lieutenant.”

  528. “If I meet someone who is a retired captain now, I don’t use that term, and not feel any obligation to do so.”

    When you were younger, e.g., still in active duty, did you similarly not call retired vets by their rank?

  529. Finn – correct. it’s generally not done, or at least not in my circles.

    Maybe where I differ from a lot of people is that I don’t feel that your job, or your past job, or the number of years you hung around at college constitutes your identity.

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