Perhaps the reason NY is now seeing lower cases of Covid-19 has nothing to do with policies

Herd immunity:

Areas of New York have recorded a nearly 70 per cent rate of immunity to Covid-19, in what scientists have described as “stunning” findings that suggest they could be protected from any second wave.

Source: Scientists hail ‘stunning’ results that show areas of New York may have reached 68 percent immunity

I kinda sorta have a hunch that we will see this same scenario play out in Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Arizona and parts of California, other hard hit areas in parts of New England and New Jersey.

This is kinda sorta how viral pandemics play out. But remember, I have no expertise in any of this and any comments are FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

You become passionate about what you do well

Public school programs have long advised students to pursue their passion. Mike Rowe – and others before him – have noted this is probably not good advice. Instead, pursue success. People tend to become passionate about what they are able to do successfully.

The key is to identify and opportunity and solve a problem that people need solving:

And finding opportunity in the job market is key, according to Rowe. He says many people he featured on “Dirty Jobs” were actually multimillionaires who achieved success by fulfilling a gap in the market rather doing what they were personally interested in.“

The truth is, [for] most passionate people on [‘Dirty Jobs’] anyway, [they] weren’t passionate about what they were doing when they started doing it,” Rowe says.“They simply…learned a skill that was in demand. Then they got hired applying that skill. Then they figured out how to get really, really good at it. And then they figured out how to love it.”

Source: Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe’s career advice: Follow opportunity, not passion

Excellent points: “Weather Forecasting is Fifty Years Ahead of Epidemiological Prediction: That Must Change”

Although a hurricane hitting New York is exceedingly rare, the excellent forecast was based on an extraordinarily weather prediction infrastructure that had been perfected over the past half century, with sustained investment and development:

….

Stunningly, U.S. epidemiological modeling has almost NONE of the above components or systems, and the performance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as poor.

Cliff Mass Weather Blog: Weather Forecasting is Fifty Years Ahead of Epidemiological Prediction: That Must Change

Are Face Masks really just making a “political statement”?

The media is spinning a fake controversy over face masks as a left versus right issue, because the media is incapable of seeing any other viewpoint. In their spin, the left wears face masks and the right objects. And that is the end of the story. And they could not be more wrong.

Not everyone can wear a face mask, and if they can, it may depend on the type of face mask.

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OHSA) has guidelines for evaluating an employees ability to use an N95 respirator type mask. These problems are already well known.

Employers are to take the following into consideration:

C. Medical Factors and Conditions

….

The medical evaluation is designed to identify general medical conditions that place employees who use respirators at risk of serious medical consequences. Medical conditions known to compromise an employee’s ability to tolerate respirator-, job-, and workplace-related physiological stress include: cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (e.g., a history of high blood pressure, angina, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias, stroke, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema); reduced pulmonary function caused by other factors (e.g., smoking or prior exposure to respiratory hazards); neurological or musculoskeletal disorders (e.g., ringing in the ears, epilepsy, lower back pain); impaired sensory function (e.g., perforated ear drums, reduced or absent ability to smell); and psychological disorders (e.g., claustrophobia and severe anxiety).

Source: OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) | Section VIII: Chapter 2: Respiratory Protection | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

As you can see, there are numerous medical and behavioral health conditions that make it difficult, if not dangerous, for many to cover their faces and airway. But from the media’s perspective, it comes down to left versus right politics … thus, if you have a medical or behavioral health condition that precludes mask wearing, the media insists you must be on the right. And if you are wearing a mask, you are obviously on the left.

The media’s spin translates to the world of social media insta-experts. Social media idiots publicly shame everyone who is not wearing a face mask, accusing them of everything from having the wrong politics to wanting to murder people.

Personal comments

I have suffered six traumatic brain injuries and experience “ringing in the ears” as well as generalized anxiety. I also have high blood pressure and exercise induced asthma since I was a teen. That’s 4 of the items on the OSHA list. Not until 2018 was the TBI connection recognized and I received treatment (over the years I experienced about a dozen and half effects of TBI).

Because of these personal challenges, I have been practicing – or training – to wear different types of masks while at home.

At this time, I can only wear an N95 respirator for about 15 minutes while sitting (have not tried it while being active, walking about or working). Around 15 minutes I start to feel slightly breathless and begin to experience mild panic and have to take it off. I tried a home made face mask with multiple layers of cloth and had similar problems. For now, the only “mask” I can wear for longer periods (like shopping) is a bandanna.

Of course, social media idiots are now publicly shaming the use of bandannas as ineffective. You cannot do anything right. I now suffer anxiety about wearing my bandanna while at Lowe’s or the grocery store and fears I will be called out.

I cannot visit Instagram or Facebook without being flooded with “mask shaming” posts by social media insta-experts who lack understanding and empathy. This adds to my  anxiety. I’ve ended up “hiding”, “muting” or unfollowing many people due to their animosity towards those who may not be able to comply. There is zero empathy from the social media insta-experts.

I continue to practice using different masks at home with the intent of over coming these difficulties and finding a mask that works.

Anxiety is Real

Psychology Today has an article on “mask anxiety” (it is a real thing and should not be so quickly dismissed by politicians, pundits and media morons). See How to Combat Mask Anxiety | Psychology Today Canada  

Other media has also begun to mention the topic.

If you look at online forums focused on anxiety, you will find hundreds of posts from people who are experiencing severe anxiety, even panic attacks, due to the mask issue. The disappearance of faces and the loss of face contact can itself be a cause of anxiety and other issues. Even though OSHA recognizes a set of medical conditions , the media quotes “expert” doctors  contradicting OSHA and saying there are no medical conditions to preclude wearing a mask (but see what people with COPD are saying about that). Doctors who say there are no medical conditions to preclude wearing a face mask are dumb asses  who never met a deaf person. Idiots.

The point here is that there are real reasons some cannot easily wear a face mask. Do not publicly shame people – you have no idea why they may not be wearing a face mask or not wearing a politically correct face mask.  Public shaming has led to persons with bona fide health conditions being denied access to stores.

The Anxiety of Mask Violence

A recent paper in The Lancet found home made masks should ideally have 12-16 layers of cotton cloth. However, another study found that at 4 layers and above, most people find breathing difficult.

Considering the emotional toll – and actual violence – as too many have been assaulted, knifed,  even shot for wearing or not wearing a  mask or the right kind of mask – as of July 4th, there is not yet scientific evidence from controlled trials that home made or improvised face masks reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the general community.

Surprising Lack of Data

While reducing the spread of Covid-19 among the general public by wearing a mask seems intuitive, there is not yet  trial data to confirm this. And there are certainly scenarios involving closed in, indoor, extended time contacts where droplet spread seems likely.

But instead of trial data,  we have computer models and correlations that project face masks will reduce the spread when worn in public settings.  But these are not data – and correlations often fail simply by finding a single counter example. 

Some suggest  face masks are a magic bullet solution, seeing only a single variable problem – but reducing the spread of Covid-19 is a multi-variable problem. Face masks may play a large role, a small role, or no role – we literally do not know. From the above list, it is not clear that face mask usage has  had much impact.

The reality may be that real world usage renders masks ineffective:  random mask designs using random materials, worn without covering the nose, or removed when talking to others, or worn around the neck, or using N95 respirators with unfiltered outflow valves, not washing masks frequently and physically mishandling them, and neglecting social distancing when wearing a mask, or handling masks with contaminated hands. All of these real world problems may make mask usage far less effective then staying focused on distancing and sanitization.

We need scientific controlled trials or similar to determine once and for all if face masks work in the real world, in conjunction with how they are actually used and made, and how well they work: a lot, a little, or not at all.

Meanwhile, just visit Facebook or Nextdoor.com to see the barrage of mask shaming that continues every day from the social media insta-experts.

On June 18th the Oregonian newspaper noted:

“…there are no randomly controlled studies yet to answer that question [do masks work?] with great scientific certainty.” https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2020/06/gov-kate-brown-announces-plans-for-mask-requirements-next-steps-in-reopening-watch-live.html

On June 2, LiveScience noted

The bottom line, experts say, is that masks might help keep people with COVID-19 from unknowingly passing along the virus. But the evidence for the efficacy of surgical or homemade masks is limited, and masks aren’t the most important protection against the coronavirus.

https://www.livescience.com/are-face-masks-effective-reducing-coronavirus-spread.html

Parts of California regressing to lock down like conditions

Los Angeles has had a face mask requirement, at all times outdoors, since April 18th. Most of the San Francisco Bay area counties have had a face mask requirement since early to mid-April. Does not seem to have made much difference:

California had been successfully managing the virus, and through May, Newsom moved quickly to reopen much of the economy. But troubling signs emerged in mid-June and have only worsened. Confirmed cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed, and Newsom took action this week to try to reverse the trend.

Source: Second wave of virus closures wallops California restaurants

A number of places that mandated face masks months ago – under penalty of fines and prison if not wearing one – are seeing an explosion in new cases.

My hypothesis is that like the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic, we will discover that face masks have little impact on reducing the spread of Covid-19 in the general public community.

Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

In May, a report said Iceland had achieved the largest penetration of any virus-tracking app, with 38% of its 364,000 inhabitants installing it. But the Iceland app, which collected people’s GPS data, “wasn’t a game changer,” according to Gestur Pálmason, the deputy chief inspector of Iceland’s Covid-19 tracing team. Oxford University researchers have said 60% of a country’s population would have to download a tracing app in order for it to be effective.

“There isn’t a single country in the world to date that would be able to point to an app and say: ‘That was a game changer,’” Stephanie Hare, an independent technology researcher, told CNBC.

Singapore, which was seen as a pioneer in the development of tracing technology, has seen about 2.1 million downloads of its app. This translates to about 37% of the country’s population — still well below the recommended 60% threshold. And although digital tracking measures seem to have helped in countries like China and South Korea, critics say that these technologies came at the expense of privacy.

Source: Why coronavirus contact-tracing apps haven’t been a ‘game changer’

Did you know that the Iceland app could only detect  about 14% of potential contacts?  That’s why phone -side app tracing doesn’t work.

Continue reading Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

Facial recognition’s 96 percent false positive rate

Close enough for government work, eh?

“If we would use the software only [to identify subjects], we would not solve the case 95-97 percent of the time,” Craig said. “That’s if we relied totally on the software, which would be against our current policy … If we were just to use the technology by itself, to identify someone, I would say 96 percent of the time it would misidentify.”

Source: Detroit police chief cops to 96-percent facial recognition error rate | Ars Technica

Not everyone can wear a mask, so let’s publicly humiliate them!

In February or early March, if you wore a mask, you were publicly humiliated and the subject of antagonism on social media – masks were useless when worn by the public said the experts!

Weeks later, wearing a face mask was then encouraged. But if you wore the wrong kind of mask – such as a surgical mask or a non-medical grade N95 used mask you had in your shop, which you bought last year – you were publicly called out for wearing PPE that should be turned over to your local hospital. (Reality check – hospitals threw away donated PPE that had been used or was unsuitable).

Then, they said, use a home made cloth or improvised face mask. If you were not wearing a face mask, you were then publicly humiliated and called out for putting other people at risk, you selfish jerk!

I have seen comments on social media and in newspaper Letters to the Editor, calling out people for wearing bandannas, scarves or other insufficient face covering (which was, in fact, specifically listed as sufficient by the CDC).

Now businesses are banning people with bona fide documented medical reasons for not covering their airway, in violation of the ADA.

No matter what you do regarding face masks, you are  wrong. There is no way to do the right thing – anything and everything you do is  wrong in someone’s view.

Continue reading Not everyone can wear a mask, so let’s publicly humiliate them!

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