Health care workers more likely to get Covid-19 outside of work

Several months ago, I posted the following on the “Oregon Covid-19 Data” page (Since deactivated as I am no longer updating that page).

Intuitively, there was much fear for health care workers contracting Covid-19 “on the job”. My state calls out what percent of health care workers got Covid-19 in their daily web update-but never says whether they contracted Covid-19 on the job or elsewhere. I noticed that health care workers were contracting Covid-19 at a lower rate than one would expect when looking at their numbers in the workforce.

Today, my assessment has been confirmed by a study from Minnesota which finds their risk of catching Covid-19 is more likely to come from home and community settings.

Continue reading Health care workers more likely to get Covid-19 outside of work

Possible explanation for why face masks are not having much effect

I have been perplexed as to why places with long standing face mask mandates have seen explosions in cases months later. We are seeing this all over the world now. A logical question is:  Why are face masks not working?
  • Many face masks used are not using effective filtration materials.
  • Many people are not using the masks properly. Yesterday I saw a news photo of a crowd at a public event where face masks were mandatory for all adults. More than half of the adults had their noses uncovered, their mouth and nose uncovered, or the mask pull down around their necks!
  • Social distancing behavior changes when wearing a mask. We see this at many events where the six foot guidelines seem to vanish when people are wearing a face mask.
  • Finally, it may be because we are required to wear masks where they would have little impact in reducing the spread of the disease -and not required where they would have an impact. Specifically, 40% of new Covid-19 cases come from close household contacts; but no one wears a face mask in their own home. Another 20% or so come from close social contacts, often when meeting in someone’s home. Again, few wear a face mask in their own homes.
  • THIS IS PROBABLY WHY FACE MASKS ARE NOT HAVING MUCH EFFECT – WE WEAR THEM WHERE RISK  IS LOW – AND DO NOT WEAR THEM WHERE RISK IS HIGH (INSIDE OUR HOMES). There is little chance I will catch Covid-19 while shopping at my local mega building supply store – everyone is spaced apart, and if not, its only for a very brief passage in an aisle. There is no extended close contact. But inside our homes? Tons of extended close contact.
  • In actual fact, this issue has begun to be noticed.
  • The likelihood of compliance with mandatory 24 x 7 face mask wearing inside your own home is probably going to be nil.

Germany goes into month long lock down. I’m so old, I remember …. oh hell

I’m sold old, I remember when Germany did everything right.

Mask wearing was mandatory on public transport and in retail shops since April. Two weeks ago, wearing masks outdoors in public spaces became mandatory.

Yet another example of a region that did everything right to great success – until it was no longer successful.

This – repeated in numerous countries – points to public health mitigation strategies that do not work because they are not sustainable, not effective, or do not work. Public health must re-think its response to pandemics. What worked 300 years ago for isolated agricultural and small port cities no longer works today – but public health is doing exactly what they did back then with bad outcomes.

Continue reading Germany goes into month long lock down. I’m so old, I remember …. oh hell

Kroger to offer $25 Covid-19 antibody test

This test may be able to tell you have you have already had Covid-19. This is not the test you take if you think you currently have Covid-19. It is neat that this antibody test will be readily available at Kroger pharmacies and priced at about $25.

Source: Kroger to offer 15-minute COVID-19 antibody tests at pharmacies | kgw.com

My doctor tells me I was ill with Covid-like symptoms last March and suggested I get an antibody test late last spring. I skipped that because it was expensive then ($125), the test accuracy was questionable, and the result of the test was not actionable. (At that time, “experts” were saying we didn’t know if you antibodies would be protective.) But at $25 today, I might do that.

Why are face masks not working?

Looks like all of these areas have had mandated face mask requirements in effect since April-May – with fines on businesses that do not enforce the rules – and yet they saw an explosion of cases in the summer and now again the fall – begging the question: Why are face masks not working?

With its backlog of cases, Los Angeles County reported the largest week-over-week increase. But even subtracting LA County leaves the statewide average 33% higher than it was a week ago.

In the Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino counties each reported an increase in cases of 69% in the past week. In nearby Orange County, there was a 56% increase in cases from a week ago.

In the Bay Area, Alameda and Santa Clara counties each reported at least 37% more cases than last week, while the increase in Contra Costa County was about 26%. An uptick in cases in San Francisco two weeks ago appeared to slow in the past week, as the city reported a modest 4% gain over the past seven days.

Source: Coronavirus: California’s largest counties report uptick in cases

This July 2020 graphic indicates that face mask wearing compliance was high (80+%) in most populated counties. Other surveys put the figure at 90 percent. These are astoundingly high compliance figures. My state has an 84% compliance according to the state public health department.

In July, public health said they believe “wearing face coverings can substantially slow transmission of the coronavirus”. In August the CDC Director said this would all be over with in weeks if everyone wore a face mask. The UW IHME even made detailed forecasts by state of how many deaths would be prevented by wearing face masks[1].

“In one simulation, researchers predicted that 80 percent of the population wearing masks would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown”

Source

It’s now almost November and compliance continues to be high (80 to 95%) in most populated areas.

Why are face masks not working as predicted?

UPDATE:

Why are face masks not working?

  • Many face masks used are not using effective filtration materials.
  • Many people are not using the masks properly. Yesterday I saw a news photo of a crowd at a public event where face masks were mandatory for all adults. More than half of the adults had their noses uncovered, their mouth and nose uncovered, or the mask pull down around their necks!
  • Social distancing behavior changes when wearing a mask. We see this at many events where the six foot guidelines seem to vanish when people are wearing a face mask.
  • Finally, it may be because we are required to wear masks where they would have little impact in reducing the spread of the disease -and not required where they would have an impact. Specifically, 40% of new Covid-19 cases come from close household contacts; but no one wears a face mask in their own home. Another 20% or so come from close social contacts, often when meeting in someone’s home. Again, few wear a face mask in their own homes.
  • THIS IS PROBABLY WHY FACE MASKS ARE NOT HAVING MUCH EFFECT – WE WEAR THEM WHERE RISK  IS LOW – AND DO NOT WEAR THEM WHERE RISK IS HIGH (INSIDE OUR HOMES). There is little chance I will catch Covid-19 while shopping at my local mega building supply store – everyone is spaced apart, and if not, its only for a very brief passage in an aisle. There is no extended close contact. But inside our homes? Tons of extended close contact.

The effect is that while masks work in theory, they do not do much in the real world.

Continue reading Why are face masks not working?

Bingo: “Why False Positives Matter, Too – The New York Times”

I have been pointing this out for months:

In places where the virus is relatively scarce, false positives may even outnumber actual positives — eroding trust in tests and, under some circumstances, prompting outbreaks of their own.

Source: Why False Positives Matter, Too – The New York Times

Some time after the election, this will become a bigger story in the media.  May be not on November 4th, but likely during November or December.

BinaxNOW Covid test claims to have a 1.5% false positive rate and is now widely deployed to screen asymptomatic sample populations.

If less than 1.5% of the sample population are active cases of Covid-19, then this test will produce more false positives than true positives.

Continue reading Bingo: “Why False Positives Matter, Too – The New York Times”

But protests okay:”Covid-19 Is Surging at Weddings, Dinner Parties and Big Group Events”

The desire of Americans to gather at events, including performances, weddings and parties, helps explain the steep rise in new cases.

Source: Covid-19 Is Surging at Weddings, Dinner Parties and Big Group Events – WSJ

But remember, participating in large protest gatherings is actively encouraged by public health experts. And who would dare question public health experts?

#BelievePublicHealthExperts

Should face masks be mandatory 24×7 inside your own home?

Locally (and typical of other areas), 40% of Covid-19 cases originate from a close family contact inside one’s own household.

Similar ratios seen in Santa Clara County, CA which has strict mitigation measures tougher than California requires.

If face masks work, shouldn’t public health demand that everyone wear a face mask 24 x 7 inside their own homes? If face masks work, this would knock out 40% of cases with a single public health mitigation measure.

Simultaneously, public health is telling us that winter is here and spending time indoors will make things worse – but they won’t mandate in-home face masks?

The evidence is overwhelming – public health must immediately mandate the wearing of masks inside personal homes 24 x 7.

“The virus is extraordinarily contagious and as the weather turns and we head indoors it’ll be more important than ever to practice preventive measures,” he [Oregon state epidemiologist] said, noting that wearing masks, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and only gathering in small groups are the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading.“The numbers are stark and show why we must take this virus so seriously,” he said.

Source: Coronavirus in Oregon: State reports 418 new cases, 6 new deaths as new modeling shows potential increase in spread – oregonlive.com

Continue reading Should face masks be mandatory 24×7 inside your own home?

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