Category Archives: Uncategorized

Appalling: Vermont demands school children snitch on their parents

Advice to all children – you have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not answer their questions:

Next week, when children return to school, their regular daily health checks will include questions about whether they attended gatherings outside their households, Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday.

Any students who attend events with more than just their immediate household will be required to take online classes for a two-week quarantine period, or to quarantine for a week and then have a negative COVID-19 test, Scott said.

Source: Vermont schools will ask students if they celebrated at home

Asking children to snitch on their families is appalling.

Continue reading Appalling: Vermont demands school children snitch on their parents

Oregon revises how it calculates “positive test” percentage and state’s rate is cut in half

https://twitter.com/OHAOregon/status/1329872327622889473

Over the past few weeks, the number of tests given has increased by 60%.

As best I can tell, Oregon previously calculated the percentage positive value as:.

  • Positive test results / number of people tested.

Because many people are tested more than once and receive multiple positive test results, this had the effect of dramatically increasing the state’s positive test percentage by about a factor of 2!

Now, OHA will calculate the percentage using:

  • Positive test results / number of tests given.

Of course, this produces a lower result. Oregon will now calculate percentage positive in the same way that the CDC and other states have done this.

Continue reading Oregon revises how it calculates “positive test” percentage and state’s rate is cut in half

Covid cases rising almost equally in states with and without mask mandates

Based on population per state, the number of new Covid-19 cases occurring in the past week is about the same in states with mask mandates and those without mask mandates.

Source: Memo To Joe: COVID Is Skyrocketing In States That Already Have Mask Mandates – Issues & Insights

A problem with this analysis is that it ignores the time dimension, as remarked on this blog, many times. States that did poorly in the past seem to do better in the present and states that did “everything right” in the past are now doing poorly. Because the virus spreads unequally in time – not all places have the same outcomes at the same time. The above analysis only looks at the past 7 days.

Their point is that face masks appear to have a minor affect and Biden’s claim that a national face mask mandate would change things is not supported by evidence.

Continue reading Covid cases rising almost equally in states with and without mask mandates

Lockdowns forever: research finds they are not sustainable and might not work long term

Similarly, lockdowns, self-isolation and quarantines are remedies that have been around for as long as humans have been battling deadly viruses.

As the first wave of COVID-19 swept through the world, lockdowns followed in just about every jurisdiction. We’ve grappled with the easily-measured economic effects ever since and struggled with the less-tangible mental health aspects of isolation. In return, the virus has ebbed, almost in concert with the lockdowns.

But early in May, a professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh published a working paper that pointed out an odd trend in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom.

Source: The Great Unknown: Uncertainty reigns as researchers scramble to measure the effectiveness of lockdowns | National Post

This has been known for some time but public health continues to adopt approaches that may or may not have worked 300 years ago, and appear not to be working today.

Continue reading Lockdowns forever: research finds they are not sustainable and might not work long term

More examples of “they did everything right” until it wasn’t anymore

For several months, the media – and social media – have repeatedly told us about regions, states or countries that “did everything right” and had Covid-19 under control – if only we would follow their examples, the U.S. would have had everything under control.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, these sorts of correlations do not work because they ignore the time dimension. Places that did well often do poorly a few months later; and places that did poorly, often do well, a few months later. There is no unified theory to explain this – just many ad hoc theories du jour and hand waving assertions and assumptions.

Last spring, Germany was widely heralded by the media as having done “everything right”. Now, they are off the rails and back into a month long lock up of their population.

Germany

A professor of epidemiology cited Germany as a success story way, way back on October 7th (3 weeks ago!) But boy, things have changed rapidly since then.

And of course Norway – the poster child for how “not to be Sweden”. Norway did “everything right”. Until it wasn’t right any more.

Norway

Iceland

Finland

Ontario, Canada

As mentioned here previously, a paper was published on September 24th, using data for Ontario up through August 15th. The authors concluded that wearing face masks reduced cases in Ontario by 25% – until, of course, they apparently began causing new cases 🙂 Look what happened after August 15th – ouch!

Sweden

Sweden was the example of “how not to do things” – and now they too are seeing escalating cases but so far, deaths remain subdued. They’ve gone to a “protect the vulnerable” strategy but we don’t know if that works yet as deaths are a lagging indicator. Wait a month or two to see what happens.

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 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 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.
  • 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.

More evidence:

Oct. 30 (UPI) — Children age 12 years and younger infected with COVID-19 pass the virus to other members of their households more than half of the time, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teens aged 12 to 17 years infected others in their households nearly 40% of the time, the data showed.

….

These findings suggest that transmission of [COVID-19] within households is high, occurs quickly, and can originate from both children and adults,” the agency researchers wrote

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2020/10/30/Kids-with-COVID-19-infect-others-at-home-more-than-half-the-time-CDC-finds/2091604076291/

And more from CNN – household transmission is common and quick. Yep, we need to mandate face masks 24 x 7 inside our homes.

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

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?