Open Thread for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Did you get one of these? Did it kinda scare you for a second?

Did you get one of these? Did it kinda scare you for a second?

Yeah, another late-in-the-day post. I continue to be really busy with my day job. Hope to stay busy, but who knows?

Some topics:

  1. McMaster orders closing of nonessential SC businesses — Holy Moly! Did you get one of those bulletins (above) on your phone? Made it seem really dramatic, didn’t it? My wife said it startled her for a second. Well, it’s not an order for everybody to stay home, but he’s inching in that direction. Henry’s problem, I fear, is that he’s way overly concerned about the opinions of people like this.
  2. Coronavirus cases in SC pass 1,000. Four additional deaths reported — The grim numbers roll on. And they’ll climb for awhile.
  3. Residents ordered to stay home for 14 days, exceptions for essential businesses — No, no, no — Henry didn’t man up and take the next step. That’s the local officials in Mt. Pleasant. Misleading headline.
  4. But… don’t a lot more people than that actually have it? — Notice there is no link on this one, because I can’t find an answer to my question. When we read that 1,000 people have it in SC, we know that the real number has to be higher than that. Tests are scarce, and generally only people who are symptomatic are tested — right? And people often have it for a couple of weeks before feeling symptoms and therefore getting tested. So… the real number of people walking around and infecting other people could be WAY more than these grim numbers we’re hearing, right? Someone out there must be trying to do the math to make an educated guess of how many really have it. But I’m finding it. Maybe I’m searching wrong. Surely thousands of other people are thinking the same thing…
  5. Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public? Health Experts Revisit The Question — Uh, yeah. Anything that retards the transfer of those strands, right? I’m doing it anyway. Mostly. But mainly I’m hardly going anywhere. We’re planning an early-morning visit to an unspecified Walmart tomorrow, to resupply. And yeah, we’ll wear masks.
  6. McConnell claims impeachment ‘diverted the attention’ of Trump administration from coronavirus response — Are you kidding me? Senator, Trump was impeached for being an idiot. The impeachment didn’t make him an idiot. You’re confusing cause and effect. Or something. Whatever you’re doing, it’s offensively stupid. You’re saying he wouldn’t have said things would be hunky-dory by Easter if he hadn’t been impeached, right? That’s what you’re saying? Wow. Just wow…

That’s enough for now. Maybe y’all will have some happier topics to bring up…

30 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  1. Barry

    Well, Tara is about as irresponsible as it gets. Thankfully, most people don’t pay her any attention. It upstate conservatives do. Hopefully Henry won’t either.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    With Major League Baseball delaying its 2020 season due to the pandemic, PBS is allowing fans to share in America’s pastime by making Ken Burns’ 1994 documentary series Baseball available to stream for free.

    There’s your good news.

        1. Dirty Ol'Man

          Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that it will continue paying minor leaguers $400 a week once Minor League Baseball’s scheduled Opening Day arrives next week.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Have y’all SEEN the list of “nonessential” businesses?!?!? I can’t BELIEVE places like that were still open! Surely people weren’t going to them!

    I’ve wanted a haircut for a couple of weeks, but have assumed I wouldn’t be getting one until after all this was over. And of this list, that’s the only one I can imagine anyone wanting to go to at a time like this.

    Come on, Henry! Get serious…

  4. Realist

    Re: #5 – Watched a video today by a doctor specializing in virus spread. According to the doctor, when we talk, depending on how loud or forceful we talk, droplets can be expelled up to a distance of 6 feet. They are microscopic and unless one is coughing and/or sneezing, invisible to the naked eye. His recommendation is if you fit the profile of someone in the demographic who is more prone to become infected, then wear a mask. If you are concerned about contracting the virus even if you are healthy, then prudence is in order, wear a mask.

    The other things he pointed out are the things we normally don’t pay attention to or didn’t until the virus presented itself to the world. If you wear rubber or protective gloves, be careful when you handle items in the grocery store. The gloves are a perfect carrier of the virus germs because of their surface. The gloves can transfer the virus from one item to another without one being aware. If you do wear gloves, when removing them, grasp the edge of the glove, roll it down and pull it off with the gloved hand. Then run your fingers under the other glove and pull it forward and down from the hand without touching the outside surface so it can be handled inside out like the other glove.

    It is best according to the doctor to have wipes or hand sanitizer with you and use either often after touching cans, etc. Wipe the grocery items off once you get home to make sure the virus is not on any of the items. The virus can survive up to 3 days on many surfaces.

    We are in a time when we have to rethink everything we normally do and the new normal will apparently be with us for a long time to come. This virus is connected to SERS and MERS directly and apparently all three share the same genesis, bats to human.

  5. Dirty Ol'Man

    If you want to hear some interesting statistics, check out the survival rate of those who have been tested positive and put on a ventilator. A nurse I know who is working in an isolation ward of a large hospital says its less than 20% where she works. Statistics I’m seeing online seem to be in the same ballpark.

  6. Randle

    I think masks are an excellent idea, especially after my experience with close-talkers at Publix this morning during senior shopping hour. People still don’t get social distancing, and I want some armor. But are they available? Medical workers still don’t have enough, from what I read.
    I am really angry that our state hasn’t issued a stay-in-place order. Every day the governor delays means more people sick and dying. And the state economy is not going to recover until the infection has been contained.

  7. Norm Ivey

    #4: About the time the schools closed I read an article with some beautiful simulations by a mathematician that extrapolated the true number of cases based on the current number of cases. The number was huge. I can’t locate it again right now, but I’ll check again in the morning.

    #5: I won’t wear a mask as long as there is a shortage for medical personnel unless I have reason to believe I have been exposed (in which case I won’t be going out at all).

      1. Randle

        Not judging, just wondering about availability since the CDC, the surgeon general and some epidemiologists are reconsidering the use of masks. Not nice to recommend masks and then say, “Oh, but you can’t get them.” I went online after reading Brad’s post last night to see if masks were available and found you can order the paper ones, but not the N95 masks medical people so desperately need. I would think paper masks would be preferable to homemade cloth ones or scarves. Those things could get quite soggy and germy pretty fast. Can’t hurt to use them, and they may help contain spread.
        Meanwhile, Florida is finally issuing a stay-in-place order. Can we have one too, please?

      2. Norm Ivey

        Your situation is different–you’re checking on your parents who at at risk. I’m interacting with maybe 2-3 individuals face-to-face on any given day.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yep. When I put on a mask, it’s about them.

          I definitely don’t WANT this bug, but despite my chronic asthma, I’m in much better shape to get through it than they are, at 91 and 88…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’d like to see that simulation if you can find it.

      The variables, I think, would include calculating what portion of infected people are symptomatic at a given time. Since mostly only symptomatic people are getting tested. (Right? I think that’s the case.)

      You know it seems to me that in a clinical sense of treating an individual patient, there’s little point in testing. You can’t cure it; all you can do is treat the symptoms and try to keep the person alive — which you would have to do if it were the flu or bacterial pneumonia. ASSUME it’s COVID, and proceed accordingly.

      The main purpose of testing, it seems to me, would be the public health purpose — tracking the disease through the population, and ESPECIALLY knowing who has it and is NOT symptomatic, so they can be isolated.

      So really, the most helpful thing would be for the symptomatic people to forgo the tests, and for the rest of the population to get tested — find out who’s got it and who doesn’t, and isolate the infected from the healthy.

      Of course, that’s impossible because we don’t have the tests to do that.

      Does that make any sense to y’all? It does to me, but maybe I’m overlooking something…

      1. Norm Ivey

        I can’t find it, Brad. I’m sorry. Iceland is doing extensive testing and 50% of their results are asymptomatic , so that tells me that the total number of cases is perhaps double the reported number.

        When you compare the South Korean curve with the curve in all other countries, then what I want to know, and the procedure I want to follow, is whatever they did. They’ve got a handle on it.

  8. Ken

    WHO is still NOT recommending generalized use of masks. Their top line recommendations are:

    If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
    Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
    Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

  9. Realist

    Mixed signals from the new normal.

    CDC and WHO are not recommending generalized use of masks except under certain conditions. They make sense based on their recommendations. Then there are other sources that do recommend wearing masks because of the nature of our very acts of breathing and speaking in public places and how droplets can travel up to 6 feet and the long survival ability of the virus.

    Agree that healthcare providers and caretakers should be first in line to receive and use masks, there are considerations to be given for everyone else who choose to wear masks to protect their health. Randle makes a good point about close talkers and others while in public do not respect the social distancing recommendations. Then we have the news articles about other cultures wearing masks on a daily basis, active virus or not and their cases of virus are lower in some countries because of the practice.

    Face shields are essential for health care workers but consider the person at the cash register at the supermarket or any other establishment still open to the public. Should they be provided with protection via a mask or shield since they cannot adhere to the 6 feet recommendation and are exposed to the possibility of 100 or more individuals during a shift?

    In the end, just IMHO, we should do what we believe is the best way to protect ourselves from the virus until the professionals and government officials decide it is safe to return to our normal life routines.

    A little humor for the day based on an old saying I read on Facebook.

    “I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6 foot pole” would become a national policy but here we are.”

  10. Ken

    Researchers who have conducted careful contact tracing at an early hotspot in Europe have said they see no incidence of transmission at/via grocery stores.

    Still, out of an abundance of caution, many if not most groceries there have put in place screens at cash registers and have provided gloves (though not masks) to protect cashiers from potential infection.

    1. Randle

      Are they saying that handling groceries is not a problem? That’s good to know. I didn’t like one of the Publix employees standing 6 inches away from me while discussing the toilet paper shortage. I kept backing off, and he kept moving closer.

      1. Ken

        The report did not mention handling groceries. It merely said that the contact tracing study of a town of roughly 40,000 residents that had seen a strong surge in infections roughly 2-3 weeks ago did not show any evidence of transmission through grocery stores.

      2. Ken

        In an interview, the virologist in charge of the 20-person team conducting the study said that they have seen no evidence of transmission by casual contact. They took samples from door nobs and other household surfaces in homes where coronavirus victims lived. They found the virus present on a number of those surfaces, but had not been able to subsequently grow those samples in the lab. Which indicated to them that casual contact is not causing transmission. The only case in which it is likely that a person could be infected would be if an infected person were to sneeze or cough into their hand, then use that hand to open, say, a door, and another person very shortly thereafter touched that same door nob.


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