Monday, June 29, 2020

Covid Roulette

My old coffee pals are tired of me bringing it up. They don't want to hear about Covid anymore, that was so last week.

They are back to having breakfast together publicly on the weekend, living a normal life. In fact they have asked me to shut up about it, tired of my reproachful texts and covid shaming.

I am a definite buzz kill and the numbers are overblown. They're not going to get it and I need to stfu. At least according to a couple of the people who still speak to me anyway.

I wish I had their optimism and the luxury of gambling but I don't and can not. My health problems and compromised immune system are such that I can't take chances. Call me old fashioned but I think everybody interested in survival should be limiting their unnecessary exposure right now. And definitely wearing a mask.

Fallbrook's cases are growing by leaps and bounds every day. We crossed the one hundred confirmed threshold today, sitting at one hundred and four right now. Seems like it is six to ten more cases every day. I watch the tables very closely. This is an increase of about 80 cases in little more than a month. Our official rate is now 210.4 per 100k of population. There's a lot of places higher it is true but it is definitely lurking silently in our community. We should still be practicing utmost caution because how the hell do you know who has it and is now contagious and/or  asymptomatic?

I mentioned on a friend's blog that more and more young people are getting sick and a guy retorted that few children are dying, which is indeed true. But many of the young are coming down with afflictions and organ damage that might be with them forever. Just a dumb time to be taking chances if you ask me and nobody did.


aferda said...

I think there are a few things to consider when looking at the COVID numbers. The number you quoted (and the number we hear about most often) is the total number of diagnosed cases. It tells you very little by itself. This number will continue to climb until there is an effective and widely distributed vaccine. It says nothing about the current risk of infection because all of these are diagnosed cases, meaning they are not the infectious pre- or asymptomatic cases you need to worry about. As a matter of fact, these are the only people you don't need to worry about infecting you.

The other metric is the rate of increase. It tells you a little more, but has too many other dependencies (like change in the rate of testing).

Then there is the percentage of positive tests which ~7% right now. That is more meaningful. <5% is considered to be the ideal range and relatively safe. The hotspots Florida and Texas are around 15% right as I recall. So this is still relatively low for San Diego county.

Next is the chart that shows estimated illness onset. That one definitely shows a significant increase about 2 weeks ago. If it will stabilize at this level or slightly below, we should be able to manage to stay around the 5% positive rate.

Finally there is the most important number to me, hospitalizations with COVID-19. The fact that this number has been trending down while the number of new cases has been going up, implies that the newly infected people have lower health risks (i.e. young people). This might be explained by the re-opening of the bars and breweries. As you may have heard, many are about to be closed again on Wednesday.

I think it is important to understand what these numbers mean to each of us. At the end of the day we should each follow the three Ws (wash hands, wear masks, and watch your distance to others) and understand our personal health situation. I am one of the friends who chooses to meet with friends on Saturdays for breakfast. I wear my mask to the large 6-person table that is sanitized before I sit down. I sit there with 3 other people and we are easily 5-6 feet from each other. We eat breakfast and put on our masks and go back home. It is a risk I am willing to accept and it seems reasonable to me. I completely understand that it may not be to someone else. Driving my Slingshot to the restaurant is most likely the riskiest part of that morning.

I miss your company but am happy to wait until the time is right for you and our other friends.

Blue Heron said...

Be that as it may, something is causing the conformed case number to grow rather quickly here and I stand with what I said. Right thinking people should limit their exposure.

Sanoguy said...

Well said, Sascha!

Blue Heron said...

7000 new cases were announced in California Monday, our highest one day total ever. Positivity numbers are outpacing those that could be ascribed by testing alone.

"State Senator Richard Pan, a Sacramento physician who led the state’s push to tighten immunization requirements, said that the state might have flattened its curve at first, but that it never bent it down toward zero.

“How this disease spreads is all about the margins,” Dr. Pan said. “All it takes is, like, 5 percent more people doing more high-risk behavior to change its direction.”"

NYSTAN said...

and this is why we evolved socially towards a responsible form of government.....except it clearly went off the rails entirely based on deliberate misinformation, convoluted narratives. When folks claim it is their right to infect other people, whether from refusal to be vaccinated or now, refuse to wear is beyond me. Seriously, you need to start hanging out with different people if they are that lame. It is easy for me to chime in, living in NYC and watching six of the folks in my apartment building come down with the virus. So far, only one died (the youngest one) and my neighbor Jaqueline, after 10 days in the hospital, at death's door, is starting to feel ok, to full months after being discharged, minus, so far, HER HAIR and shortness of breath and exhaustion. I understand the need to look ahead to the day this will fade into history, but denying the reality is foolish. I for one was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to stay safely on a friend's farm in norther Wisconsin. Interestingly, though this is a pretty right wing kind of place, everyone is wearing a mask and taking it seriously. Farmers don't take health risks unless they are alcoholics (and seems the neighbors here are all in AA). Stay safe. Fuck the so called friends. Have coffee with your lovely and beautiful better half. Hey, I saw an eagle this morning up close and personal!

WildBill said...

Somewhat related:
pharangula blog

Jon Harwood said...

Fallbrook is relatively low risk in comparison to other areas but that is no excuse for getting complacent. The thing that I worry about is the potential for the problem areas to get to the point of uncontainable transmission leading to uncontrolled outbreaks nearby. This is not so far off as Arizona demonstrates. Uncontainable means widespread community transmission that is prevalent enough to make containment measures useless we are approaching that level now. I have more or less reconciled myself to an eventual high risk scenario in which the individual has to make the best choices possible for that persons situation within an uncontrolled outbreak.

We walk a line between living in excess fear and rationalizing away the danger. It is necessary to take calculated risks but carefully and with the brain switched on.

Even people who take all available precautions can get infected . If we allow widespread transmission to reach the point of being uncontainable the general risk goes up and more and more people who are trying everything will still get infected.

Willie Makit said...

Robert - I don’t think anyone is disputing your sats, I certainly am not however, I won’t allow you to chastise your “friends” and make us out to look like a bunch of Covid denying idiots.
You have missed our purpose for being there and if don’t get It, well, too bad for you.
I (we) can contract Covid a hundred different ways. If you and your merry band of Covid shammers want stay inside, in bed, with the covers over your head, by all means, do it. And those of us who want to have a nice bfast with friends on a Saturday morning, adhering to all precautions, by all means we should do it.

Jon Harwood said...

Apologies for "double dipping". The two positions I see here on the breakfast controversy both seem reasonable and within the general guidelines suggested by public health workers. The difference seems to be where different folks set their "trigger" for avoiding public activities. If the whole country was within this range (going to restaurants with social distancing and masks vs not going at all) we would all be in pretty good condition, like Europe. Here is why I set my preference to "stay inside, in bed with covers over your head". The US has the highest death rate in the entire world. We have double the death rate of the next country - Brazil. We are screwing this up in a world class way and a lot of people will wind up dead unnecessarily because of it.

It has been a long damn time since the USA has behaved in this sort of incompetent way. Assign any rationale to "why". The issue to me is that I am surrounded by one hell of a lot of self destructive people (not the breakfast group). Since we as a nation are failing the "united we stand" test so badly we are left with "every (wo)man for him or her self".

I tossed in the last him or her part just to irritate people who can't stand political correctness.

Blue Heron said...

Willie, thanks for your post. I am not trying to chastise you (too much) and I know that much of what I say is redundant. I am just imploring you guys to be smart and not think we are out of the woods because it can all happen very quickly. One super spreader can really ruin a Sunday. I want you all to be safe because I like and love you.

aferda said...

@Jon Harwood, one of my favorite quote is from Churchill who said: "You can always count on the United States to do the right thing, having tried everything else first."

Jon Harwood said...

You nailed it aferda!

island guy said...

Having a group of like and unlike minded friends meeting regularly for conversation and companionship seems like a treasure to me of sharing and intellectual challenges. Most families squabble, so no surprise you would disagree at times (especially when you throw Robert’s penchant for provocation into the mix). As a sympathetic but (safely) distant reader, maybe I can share a few thoughts. Aferda’s comments are thoughtful and considered. But his conclusions are by no means certain. If you want to err on the side of personal safety and social responsibility, it’s reasonable to look at group meetings as risky even for healthy people under 60. Are any of you healthy people under 60? As a non US based observer, people outside of the US are incredulous with the aggressive refusal of many Americans to conform to actions designed to minimize possible harm to others, like wearing a mask in public. And living life as usual is potentially causing harm to others because reducing the frequency of interacting reduces the frequency of transmission. Period. As an American, I totally get our tradition of individuality and refusal to let government dictate our every action. But not caring for the welfare of others is not liberty, it’s just selfishness.
Looking at what is happening in the USA it is just unbelievable that it has the worst outcomes on the globe right now.

Jon Harwood expressed my thoughts better than I just did, it’s a pleasure to have him share his comments.