Ben Smith's expectations for ramping up operations

Old Apr 15, 2020, 10:25 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by stimpy
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefined

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedAs mentioned, there are several flights between Europe and the US going on now. But they are not for tourists unless those tourists are returning to their home country.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedEurope is beginning to open up (Austria, Denmark this week) and France will start on May 11th. As they get towards the end of May and the sky isn't falling, maybe they will fix a date in mid to late June to allow overseas tourists to fly into the EU. And you know the French, and most of Europe, will be fighting to have their August holiday!

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedhttps://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefinedThe US will have a similar plan. There is huge pressure to get business flowing again. And tourism is a huge part of business.https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/undefined
You make many good points.
But I am a bit more pessimistic than you.
I doubt that most entry restrictions will be lifted by August. UK have not imposed much travel restrictions, except FCO advice. But most countries are weary of imported cases. Asia certainly is. Whether most of these entry restrictions will be lifted in 3 months (mid-july) is questionable. A more likely scenario is a patchwork of constraints. While domestic travel might resume significantly, possibly intra-European travel, this will be more problematic for international travel unless one is willing to accept some form of testing and quarantine.
And it will take a lot of time for airports to be ready for mass treatment of foreign travelers

I find today's article in the SCMP to be interesting in that respect:
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/transport/article/3080088/coronavirus-hong-kongs-screening-regime-airport-arrivals

As Alexandre de Juniac (Chief of IATA) stated in a widely-publicized conference call yesterday: "“It is clear the health control conditions of passengers will be a key element to restart our industry,” ... “What we are advocating for is having similar measures all over the world, to avoid a patchwork of complex measures in different parts of the world.” When such international coordination will be achieved is unclear, but certainly not by August.
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 10:45 am
  #17  
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Yes there will be a lot of pressure to ensure safety, but ultimately a tough decision will be made to bring the economy back even at the expense of risking more infections. After all, an economic collapse will bring a much bigger public health crisis than COVID. Bringing the economy back will take a very long time. They have to make the first steps soon.

De Juniac is right to fight for common standards. But recall that after 9/11 we had a crazy patchwork of security rules all over the world. It will probably be similar this time around.
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 10:52 am
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There are rumours that France wants the Schengen borders to be closed until September for non-Schengen travellers...
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 10:55 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by brunos
As Alexandre de Juniac (Chief of IATA) stated in a widely-publicized conference call yesterday: “It is clear the health control conditions of passengers will be a key element to restart our industry,” ... “What we are advocating for is having similar measures all over the world, to avoid a patchwork of complex measures in different parts of the world.” When such international coordination will be achieved is unclear, but certainly not by August.
The problem is that there are no foolproof airport checks that can be carried out.

According to the WHO (page 4 of this document), based on small samples, as many as 25% of those infected exhibit no signs whatsoever, but are infectious.

As such, schemes where only those showing fever or illness are prevented from travelling will not completely prevent the disease from continuing to spread. And there are unlikely to be on-the-spot tests that can be performed on travellers in time to re-open the skies in the grand re-opening that I think some people naively seem to expect.

It's not even clear how long those who have been infected and recovered will retain immunity to the virus. It may be a lifetime; it may only be a matter of months - there is not enough data yet to come to any conclusion on this. So even, as some have suggested, those who have recovered are issued with "immunity passports", it is still to be seen how long they may retain that immunity.

In fact, second and third waves are likely and could end up in further shutdowns and travel bans.

I don't actually think that there will be much natural demand for travel anyway, but simply allowing the asymptomatic infected to travel freely will quickly reveal the unsustainable nature of that kind of re-opening.
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 11:04 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by irishguy28
And there are unlikely to be on-the-spot tests that can be performed on travellers in time to re-open the skies in the grand re-opening that I think some people naively seem to expect.
The French Health minister announced that such a rapid test will be available in large quantities in June. I think we can wait until sometime in May to judge whether he could be correct or not.

And again, an economic collapse is a WORSE public health, and public safety crisis than COVID. People are naive to think otherwise.
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 11:11 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by stimpy
And again, an economic collapse is a WORSE public health, and public safety crisis than COVID. People are naive to think otherwise.
I don't doubt that an economic collapse is bad for public health - but I also think that rushing to pretend that business can go ahead as normal is a mistake.

It will take a long time for public and business confidence to return, so the idea that "let's remove all the restrictions and everything will be back to normal in the fastest possible period" will lead its proponents to a disappointing outcome.

And a botched or rushed re-opening may have the effect of further denting confidence - when countries start to experience a second wave of infections. Though such second and subsequent waves are inevitable.

You may open things back up - but your customers may take their time returning, anyway.

Customer behaviour is likely to have been altered for the foreseeable future, based on the events to date alone. The rise in videoconferencing is likely to permanently decrease the "need" for business travel, for one. And consumers won't be so footloose and fancy free when it comes to taking city breaks and other discretionary leisure travel, particularly while several destinations are still experiencing restrictions and/or lockdowns. The entire world won't all emerge simultaneously into a "normal" state, so demand for foreign leisure travel is likely to be severely impacted for quite some time.

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Old Apr 15, 2020, 11:21 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by irishguy28
Customer behaviour is likely to have been altered for the foreseeable future, based on the events to date alone.
As it was after 9/11. But I think that it will come back quickly in this case. Remember that all those millennials believe that they are immune to COVID.
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 11:23 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by stimpy
The French Health minister announced that such a rapid test will be available in large quantities in June. I think we can wait until sometime in May to judge whether he could be correct or not.
I just saw on a Dutch website that Emirates is conducting blood tests, supposedly with the results available in 10 minutes, on all its departing passengers at DXB....

https://www.upinthesky.nl/2020/04/15...an-boord-gaan/
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Old Apr 15, 2020, 11:24 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by irishguy28
The problem is that there are no foolproof airport checks that can be carried out.

According to the WHO (page 4 of this document), based on small samples, as many as 25% of those infected exhibit no signs whatsoever, but are infectious.

As such, schemes where only those showing fever or illness are prevented from travelling will not completely prevent the disease from continuing to spread. And there are unlikely to be on-the-spot tests that can be performed on travellers in time to re-open the skies in the grand re-opening that I think some people naively seem to expect.

It's not even clear how long those who have been infected and recovered will retain immunity to the virus. It may be a lifetime; it may only be a matter of months - there is not enough data yet to come to any conclusion on this. So even, as some have suggested, those who have recovered are issued with "immunity passports", it is still to be seen how long they may retain that immunity.

In fact, second and third waves are likely and could end up in further shutdowns and travel bans.

I don't actually think that there will be much natural demand for travel anyway, but simply allowing the asymptomatic infected to travel freely will quickly reveal the unsustainable nature of that kind of re-opening.
Actually some studies have shown that asymptomatic cases maybe over 50% of infected people, and those are contagious. That is a strong reason why everyone should wear a mask in public. To prevent infecting others.
That's why Hong Kong systematically test all arrivals. But that can hardly be done on a wide scale. Thailand tried to ask for a test certificate done prior to flying for all arrivals but that led to many fake certificates and they simply closed their airports.

As you state, immunity is a very worrying and yet unanswered question. Researchers are worried that there will only be limited immunity for previously-sick patients.

Another question raised by Stimpy is disruption to the economy and is linked to the herd immunity debate. Since immunity has been questioned, that debate must await further scientific data.
But It is difficult to answer hypothetical questions like :what would have happened if France or USA would have applied no mitigation or "circuit breaker" measures (a Singaporean term). Let's say that we get half a million deaths or more n France over the coming year. Would that be less disruptive to the economy?
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Old Apr 16, 2020, 1:44 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by brunos
Actually some studies have shown that asymptomatic cases maybe over 50% of infected people, and those are contagious. That is a strong reason why everyone should wear a mask in public.
The trouble with masks is that they lull the wearer, and those around them, into a false sense of security, and social distancing/hand washing may not be as scrupulously observed by a mask wearer ("My mask protects me! I can relax!"); masks lose their efficacy when they become moist and should be changed frequently, whereas most "civilian" mask wearers will wear the mask for the whole day (if not longer).

Imagine an infected person wearing a mask for an entire day - it has now become saturated with the virus. If touched, taken off incorrectly or put back on incorrectly, those hands are then loaded with virus which can then be deposited on any hard surfaces.

Don't get me wrong - masks *can* make a difference. But they are all too frequently used in ways that negates the potential benefit, or even makes the spread more likely.
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Old Apr 16, 2020, 2:59 am
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Originally Posted by irishguy28
The trouble with masks is that they lull the wearer, and those around them, into a false sense of security, and social distancing/hand washing may not be as scrupulously observed by a mask wearer ("My mask protects me! I can relax!"); masks lose their efficacy when they become moist and should be changed frequently, whereas most "civilian" mask wearers will wear the mask for the whole day (if not longer).

Imagine an infected person wearing a mask for an entire day - it has now become saturated with the virus. If touched, taken off incorrectly or put back on incorrectly, those hands are then loaded with virus which can then be deposited on any hard surfaces.

Don't get me wrong - masks *can* make a difference. But they are all too frequently used in ways that negates the potential benefit, or even makes the spread more likely.
With all due respects, this is a rear guard fight.
No barrier is perfect, but the multiplication of them is what reduces the risks.
Frankly, arguments such as "don't wear masks because you will become careless" or "don't wear masks because you don't remove them properly" might have been useful government propaganda when there were no masks available. But it is bordering on calling someone stupid that they can't learn simple lessons on how to wear masks to prevent their and other deaths. Frankly, irishguy28, I am surprised that someone keeps repeating such arguments after reading all medical recommendations in all countries in the past months.

When masks are available, every single Doctor or country is calling for use of them outdoor and in confined space. Even Singapore which was frowning upon using masks in public is now requiring their use in public with the threat of a big fine. They paid the price for the delay (partly explained by lack of masks). Sadly France or UK does not have enough of them, but government propaganda seems slowly changing as more masks become available..

Sorry for ranting. But when I see the difference where I live (only one community case in the past week, not a single death in the past month for 7.5 million people) or even mainland China, and Ile de France where all my family lives, I fear for their life.
PS to irishguy28: could you empty a bit your mailbox, I cannot send you a PM
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Old Apr 16, 2020, 5:51 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
When masks are available, every single Doctor or country is calling for use of them outdoor and in confined space. Even Singapore which was frowning upon using masks in public is now requiring their use in public with the threat of a big fine. They paid the price for the delay (partly explained by lack of masks). Sadly France or UK does not have enough of them, but government propaganda seems slowly changing as more masks become available..

Sorry for ranting. But when I see the difference where I live (only one community case in the past week, not a single death in the past month for 7.5 million people) or even mainland China, and Ile de France where all my family lives, I fear for their life.
Masks being unavailable in Slovakia and Czech Republic, governments mandated them anyway... and people got into making their own, reusable ones. A veritable industry popped up pretty much overnight. There are ways...
it's interesting how the opinions of masks vane about with time and place. I personally am of opinion, that if nothing else, they don't hurt anything. And empirical evidence from places that have imposed widespread mask wearing (yes, Singapore being a prime example) shows that it seems to be working, not on its own, but working.
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Old Apr 16, 2020, 9:50 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
Another question raised by Stimpy is disruption to the economy and is linked to the herd immunity debate. Since immunity has been questioned, that debate must await further scientific data.
But It is difficult to answer hypothetical questions like :what would have happened if France or USA would have applied no mitigation or "circuit breaker" measures (a Singaporean term). Let's say that we get half a million deaths or more n France over the coming year. Would that be less disruptive to the economy?
I don't think anything is linked to herd immunity in Europe. Macron just said Monday that as there are so very few infected people in France there is no question of waiting for herd immunity. I think that is the opinion of all of Europe.

And sorry to make a dispassionate argument, but yes a half million deaths is less disruptive than an economic collapse. Much less. People are not realizing the danger we are in because the government is covering us all, at least to a certain degree. But the government has hardly any money coming in and a whole lot of money going out. Remember that in addition to these COVID expenses, they are still paying all those pensions and the full salaries of all those government workers. That cannot continue for much longer because government leaders also realize that it will take a long time for the government coffers to be replenished. Years. And when things get tight, it is the poor who will starve or have to fight to eat. All these policies that restrict business fail to account for the fact that they are crushing poor people all over the world. The rich will survive just fine.
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Old Apr 17, 2020, 12:43 am
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Actually I am on your side of "economics" vs "deaths", to put it bluntly. Despite my advanced age, extra kilos and other risk factors that make me a primary target.
I can understand that elected officials are inclined to err on the side of health caution for popularity motives. In some way, it has become some world cup between countries under media pressure.

However, I have been associated with discussions of the practicalities of the alternative of, let's call it for shortcut,"herd immunity" or do little. The concept is simple and seductive. We learnt that the virus was much more agressive, complex and contagious that we thought a few weeks ago. That's bad news. Fatality rates estimates vary widely and have been revised upwards. An "old" WHO estimate is 3.4%, but estimates vary widely from 1 to 10%. We simply don't know, as we don't know the percentage of asymptomatic people and their dynamics. As time passes they might develop symptoms and could well die in the future. Anyone who dies today was likely infected but asymptomatic a while ago Fatality rates are kept pretty low as patients can be hospitalized and oxygened during mitigation when hospitals are not saturated, but that won't be the case if we let the virus spread to continue full economic activity. Fatality rates will be higher simply because hospitals will be totally overwhelmed. We know that older people are dis-proportionally affected, so top management will be more affected than young staff. That might be good news for some
So let's pick and arbitrary fatality rate of 5% with immediate resumption of all activities. That means that roughly 3 million French will die over the year (or maybe less) it takes the virus to spread nationwide. Some dispassionate analysis would say this is a reasonable price to pay to return to normal economics. And my cold heart would tend to agree.

But the practicalities are daunting. The extreme would be to take no precaution anymore and speed the spread of the virus to shorten the time of disruption and be over it in a year time. Unfortunately, the old cliche that covid is just like another seasonal flu, maybe a bit more contagious and deadly, is gone. A significant proportion of the population is going to be sick every day, so that will disrupt supply chain production.considerably and in unpredictable fashion. Given international integration, can the supply chain work if other countries practice different health policies? How would individuals react if they know that they have a good chance to see family, friends or themselves die? And a crucial issue is whether we truly develop immunity, strong and long-lasting, further assuming that covid will not undergo major mutations as influenza does. Several very limited and preliminary studies cast some doubt on immunity efficiency.

I believe tin the current path of serious mitigation which allows the spread of the virus to come to a controlled stage where fatality is reduced by not having a need for a big multiple of hospital capacity, so that sick patients can recover rather than die. Control management after that initial stage requires that we have full supply of testing kits, both to detect infected patients and recovered patients (antibodies), that everyone has masks and practice safe distancing. Tracing would help a lot too and seems misunderstood by French media. Then, work can resume at semi-normal pace. I agree with you that the sooner the better.
Experts have doubts about vaccines for reason that need not be detailed here and despite the glorious hope announcement by private firms working on it. In any case, it won't be available worldwide before a year or two. In the meanwhile we have to resume work in a world where covid-19 is present and adapt our behavior.

Last edited by brunos; Apr 17, 2020 at 12:48 am
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Old Apr 17, 2020, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by stimpy
I don't think anything is linked to herd immunity in Europe. Macron just said Monday that as there are so very few infected people in France there is no question of waiting for herd immunity. I think that is the opinion of all of Europe.

And sorry to make a dispassionate argument, but yes a half million deaths is less disruptive than an economic collapse.
I think that this is correct that there is no expectation of waiting for herd immunity but neither is there an expectation that large number of covid-19 deaths are worth it for the sake of keeping the economy going, on the basis of the argument that more deaths will be cause that way anyway. No politician is going to go for that because public opinion would reek in horror at the vision of a massive increase in covid19 deaths and would immediately demand governmental action and regard the failure to do so as utterly unacceptable.

It seems to me that what most European countries will try to ride the wave as tightly as possible, gradually opening up the tap but with the hand firmly kept on it to turn it back towards the closed position at any sign of increase in the virus reproduction factor above a certain level. I would thus expect neither the economy turning at full capacity for quite some time nor the massive reduction that we are witnessing now but something in between and at variable levels depending on the circumstances.
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