When is it safe to ease social distancing? (state chart with dates)

Discussion in 'World Events' started by wegs, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member


    The numbers have decreased in many states, but if the virus is still circulating, how is it safe to pinpoint a date?

    From the article: The consensus view is that states shouldn't open up unless they have a robust system to detect and quash new flare-ups by testing to see who is infected, tracing their contacts, and isolating and quarantining as needed.

    Doesn't seem like any state has a 'robust system,' yet. Do we need to raise the bar?
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree that it looks like there are no states that are really that prepared.

    I think there is just some recognition that the economy probably can't just be totally shut down indefinitely and it may be some time before there is a vaccine.

    It seems to me the immediately issue is less about "opening up" the state and more about relaxing rules in a more limited way. Forget about, for the time being, allowing large crowds to gather and instead try to look at ways to relax the rules for areas that don't involve large crowds.

    Not every store that we go to is generally crowded. Not every office is crowded. Buses are crowded as are bars and sporting events. I don't have the answers but that seems like a more reasonable approach.
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I agree ^

    Seems like there might be some trial and error, but trial and error when it comes to a potentially deadly virus, seems risky. I think there are reasonable ways to bring back business life, maybe starting at half capacity in movie theaters, salons, retail shops, offices, etc.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Some of that will probably happen on its own anyway. I don't imagine crowds are going to rush into certain businesses right away even if they are open.
  8. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Unfortunately, even if states did have adequate testing, means for contact tracing, and so forth, there's people like this to contend with:


    --so as to... confuse (?!) the media--and everyone else, I guess.

    Fuckwit's tweet reads thusly:
    So... make of that what you will.
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Stolen valor is a common desire.
  10. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I've been noticing that they're "messaging" is a whole lot more schizophrenic of late. More so than usual, that is.
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but we won't. Already there are people who are intentionally going out in public without masks, having parties etc to prove they are not "cowardly sheep." This will just get worse with time.

    What we really need is:

    1) Strong testing, both antibody and viral
    2) Tracing ability
    3) A system to coordinate those

    As of today we don't have good testing set up, we don't have a good way to trace contacts and we don't even know how many people are infected. We are flying blind, and our only real metric is "how many people died." And unfortunately it is likely that we are grossly undercounting them, because a lot of bodies are showing up in mortuaries with "cause of death - unknown." (They don't have the tests to 'waste' on dead people.)
    exchemist and wegs like this.
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    1. What does that mean? Does it mean that many states (how many?) all the sick people have recovered and no new cases are coming in? Or that not quite as many new cases are coming in quite so fast as before?
    2. How do you know this?
    Since most people are not being tested, there is no reliable statistical data on new infections, mild cases and relapses.

    It's not.

    You're closing in on a million reported cases in under 2 months. Yet? How is a 'robust' epidemiology response going to be built during a period of extreme strain on the health-care system? It should have been built during unstressed periods.

    What bar? Where is it it now? Whose job is it to raise or lower that bar?
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I know as much as you do.
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  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I doubt it.
    But what I was asking was: What do you mean? This, you should know better than anyone.
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Why is it that others in this thread, seem to know what I “meant,” except you? You enjoy being rude to me, not the first thread you’ve had a condescending tone towards me so I’mma gonna put you on ignore as that’ll probably help us both. Idk if you’re a sexist or just a bully, but either way, I’m done tolerating you. For real, leave me be on here, Jeeves.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Good points - do you think (at this point) that the only way to slowly ease back to “normalcy” is by winging it? Do you believe that we should be waiting longer to ease social distancing, as a whole? (for say, all businesses)

    “We” meaning the US, not other countries
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    "We" being the US.
    Countries that do have access to testing and contact tracing can begin relaxing shutdowns accordingly, and play whack-a-mole with the spot resurgences we know will come.

    They can also adjust the spot response to reflect local realities - who is actually infected and how, which restrictions work and which are not significant (such as forehead scanning for fever at airports, probably), who should be vaccinated and how much benefit is to be had thereby, etc.

    Countries that do not have the ability to detect infection quickly on demand and trace contacts immediately upon detection cannot safely reduce severe national lockdown, or safely remove even onerous restrictions and expenses imposed nationally. Not even with a vaccine, unless it works really well.

    So the US is looking at essentially permanent lockdown, at least under current Federal administrative competence, if it wishes to preserve its healthcare system in other respects (not kill its nurses and doctors, not lose hospitals as safe places to deal with pregnancy and childbirth, etc).

    The US will not tolerate that, of course. So the end question is how other countries will deal with the US. Mexico may build that wall after all.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Well, I think there are several ways to do it in order of desirability:

    1) Test everyone then reopen with people who are immune. Problem here is that we don't have enough tests for people, and there's a lot of doubt as to whether having an antibody to coronvirus confers immunity. The WHO says there is no evidence (yet) that having antibodies means you are immune. So to accomplish this we'd have to do a lot of research quickly, produce the tests and track people who test positive. Frankly our leadership is not competent to manage this.

    2) Hammer and dance. This shuts down everything for months, then reopens one part of society (say, businesses that have less than 100 people) for two weeks, then shuts down for two weeks again. If this results in a big spike in deaths? Wait longer. If it results in a small blip? Then try it again. If it does not cause a rise in death rate? Then next time reopen more of society. Unfortunately we will not have the political will to do this.

    3) Slowly reopen everything without much of a plan. That's what we are doing now. Problem is that if we see a new wave of infections we won't see the deaths for a month or so and at that point it will be too late to slow it down.

    4) Reopen everything. This is what businesses want. We will see a second big wave of deaths, and then everyone who is at-risk will be dead and death rates will drop.
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I think the UK plan is a bit different from this. As far as I can gather, the idea is to get the infections down to a level at which test and trace can be used to test anyone with symptoms, not everyone. Then you use the mobile phone app to trace all the contacts, get them to isolate and and test them too. In this way you follow the Korean/Taiwanese strategy and control by following up each case and its contacts, rather than shutting down the whole of society.

    The crucial issues are (i) having the testing capacity, (ii) an app that a high enough proportion of citizens will use to make it effective and (iii) enough contact tracing staff to do the follow up to arrange for testing.

    And a prerequisite, of course, is having got the number of infections down to a low enough level that the system can handle it at the start.

    All these things coming together is what gives you the date for removing the lockdown restrictions.

    But this is just my understanding from reading around the subject, The UK government has not set out its plan in detail yet. But we are, apparently, 3 weeks away from having the phone app ready, so it must be the way they are going, I think.
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    The situation in Australia appears to be improving dramatically....
    Coronavirus latest totals for: Australia

    1111... Active cases:
    5542... Recovered:
    89... Deaths:

    Events: 1 - China arrivals blocked, 2 - Iran arrivals blocked, 3 - South Korean arrivals blocked, 4 - Italy arrivals blocked, 5 - Outdoor gatherings limited to 500 persons, 6 - Self-isolation for overseas travellers, cruise ships blocked for 30 days, 7 - Indoor gatherings limited to 100 persons, 8 - Borders closed to non-citizens and residents, 9 - Pubs / clubs closed, restaurants take-away only, 10 - Ban on Australians travelling overseas, 11 - Expanded testing criteria, 12 - Mandatory isolation in hotels for travellers, 13 - , All gatherings 2 persons only


    Various charts and graphs illustrate the progress of action taken so far at the link......
  21. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Ftr, just a bully. Done.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yes, this is how you do it with existing (limited) tests. The flaw here is that it is looking more and more like asymptomatic people are the primary vector. But a combination of this and a partial lockdown might be the way to go.

    BTW they plan to move to stage 2 here in California in a few weeks if cases continue to drop:

    Stage 2: Lower-risk workplaces
    • Gradually open some lower-risk businesses and workplaces, adapted for social distancing
      • Curbside pickup for retail businesses
      • Reopen manufacturing businesses
      • Office workers may return if telework is not possible
      • Increase access to public spaces
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  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Minnesota - a reasonable State to monitor for sane Covid response in the US - is extending its partial shutdown to May 18th (with some tweaks, such as golf courses and curbside pickups and so forth).

    The businesses that open are required to develop and publicly display procedures for maintaining social distancing and minimal contact etc, in line with the modified (relaxed, mostly) State rules.

    This is the second extension of partial shutdown, and the second modification of the State rules, since the State launched its attempt at opening back up.

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