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COVID-19: Lounge thread for thoughts, concerns and questions

COVID-19: Lounge thread for thoughts, concerns and questions

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In order to reduce noise in the Coronavirus / Covid-19 : general fact-based reporting thread, and to create a central place to invite any member to ask a basic question about the impact of COVID-19 on travel, your moderators have decided to open this separate "lounge" thread for related discussion that isn't strictly fact-based reporting.
Any member who can provide a constructive, helpful answer to a question; or post constructively in reply to a member's point-of-view, is welcome to post.

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Old Jan 20, 20, 9:15 pm
  #1  
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COVID-19: Lounge thread for thoughts, concerns and questions

In order to reduce noise in the Coronavirus / Covid-19 : general fact-based reporting thread your moderators have decided to have a separate lounge thread for related discussion that isn't fact-based. Some recent posts have been moved here from other threads.

All FT rules apply.

Discussion of general economic impacts of Covid-19 belongs n the OMNI forum, not here.
Discussion of political/government actions to aid the economy is in the OMNI/PR forum, not here.


your FT Coronovirus and travel forum moderators

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Mar 13, 20 at 9:25 am
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Old Mar 5, 20, 6:45 am
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Covid-19: lounge discussion for thoughts and concerns

Consider the following:

2004 - SARS
2008 - Avian
2010 - Swine
2012 - Mers
2014 - Ebola
2016 - Zika
2018 - Ebola
2020 - Now, Corona

In addition to all of the above, I can't even recount all the other "dire" needs we were briefed on. Perhaps, the Coronavirus is different? Even then, I just don't feel the sense of fear and urgency, because, as they say, I've been around the block so many times. While anything is possible and this "may" prove as or more catastrophic than the Experts are predicting, my experience has been that "this time it's different" are the four most expensive words in history.
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
Consider the following:

2004 - SARS
2008 - Avian
2010 - Swine
2012 - Mers
2014 - Ebola
2016 - Zika
2018 - Ebola
2020 - Now, Corona

In addition to all of the above, I can't even recount all the other "dire" needs we were briefed on. Perhaps, the Coronavirus is different? Even then, I just don't feel the sense of fear and urgency, because, as they say, I've been around the block so many times. While anything is possible and this "may" prove as or more catastrophic than the Experts are predicting, my experience has been that "this time it's different" are the four most expensive words in history.

There is an often used expression. I think it goes "Past results do not guarantee future performance" or words to that effect. And of course the other ones were different than this in important ways. But those are like, details. But in addition, the other ones were greatly mitigated not by chance, but because people took appropriate measure to keep them from doing the most damage. But other than those details, yeah, all the same. Sort of liked getting bumped by a shopping cart is like getting bumped by a bus.
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post
There is an often used expression. I think it goes "Past results do not guarantee future performance" or words to that effect. And of course the other ones were different than this in important ways. But those are like, details. But in addition, the other ones were greatly mitigated not by chance, but because people took appropriate measure to keep them from doing the most damage. But other than those details, yeah, all the same. Sort of liked getting bumped by a shopping cart is like getting bumped by a bus.
Aside from the measures being taken now, what more would you propose? Some specifics?

PS - I do understand the above quote, rest assured. So, since in my entire life the US Gov't has sucked (ineffective) doesn't necessarily mean they'll continue sucking (general incompetence).
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:14 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
Consider the following:

2004 - SARS
2008 - Avian
2010 - Swine
2012 - Mers
2014 - Ebola
2016 - Zika
2018 - Ebola
2020 - Now, Corona

In addition to all of the above, I can't even recount all the other "dire" needs we were briefed on. Perhaps, the Coronavirus is different? Even then, I just don't feel the sense of fear and urgency, because, as they say, I've been around the block so many times. While anything is possible and this "may" prove as or more catastrophic than the Experts are predicting, my experience has been that "this time it's different" are the four most expensive words in history.
Add 1918 influenza, and then you have the appropriate precedent. And yes, you weren't alive, no-one in a position to make decisions was. And that's the problem...

Honestly, I feel like Cassandra.

I would love nothing more than egg on my face and total professional embarassment on this issue.

And as to your other points: the US stance could be understandable if this was a solely US problem...but there's plenty of evidence of other governments taking this far more seriously, and messaging far more realistically. The UK government today has told people not to panic, but to be prepared for widespread community-wide transmission in the UK: and I can assure you, the UK has far less community transmission right now than the US.

tb
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
Aside from the measures being taken now, what more would you propose? Some specifics?

PS - I do understand the above quote, rest assured. So, since in my entire life the US Gov't has sucked (ineffective) doesn't necessarily mean they'll continue sucking (general incompetence).
Stop large gatherings

Stop international travel

Mobilize people and money to do testing or increase the number of tests where it shows up - an emegency preparedness team of probably 10s of thousands of people if possible or fewer numbers training local teams more likely would work

Encourage businesses to allow people to work at home if possible and provide support for this

Probably others as well that don't come to me right away. Many years ago I was working in collaboration with scientists at the CDC on a project. They were handling the actual virus. But in talking with them some of them had played significant roles in the smallpox eradication effort. That won't work here for several reasons but some of the general strategy might. When a case was identified, send in lots of support. In that case to vaccinate which can't happen here but they can help with quarantining and monitoring the patients and supporting them during quarantine. Our county is doing a lot of that now but some counties either because they don't have enough infrastructure or they have too many cases will need help. I'm not seeing (maybe it's there but not apparent) a lot of coordination and support between Federal and local agencies yet.

Oh, and having watched a man walk on the moon, AIDS go from a mystery universally deadly plaque to a well understood, usually prevented and successfully treated disease and countless others I would suggest that perhaps a groundless preconception about the government is replacing what happens in many cases. Oh, and the eradication of smallpox.

Last edited by GadgetFreak; Mar 5, 20 at 7:31 am
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
I would love nothing more than egg on my face and total professional embarassment on this issue.
I can appreciate this more than you know. During the Enron fiasco, many suspected their accounting weren't completely above board, but decided to keep quiet because of potential repercussions and in the event they were wrong. Ultimately, being right when others are wrong is the most rewarding and riskiest endeavor, and I have the highest respect and regard for your doing so here. And, being right when most everyone is wrong is necessary to be considered amongst the best in one's professions. While I too hope you have "egg" in your face, if the worst were to happen, I will take some solace that you were right and should be elevated to the top of your field.

Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
And as to your other points: the US stance could be understandable if this was a solely US problem...but there's plenty of evidence of other governments taking this far more seriously, and messaging far more realistically. The UK government today has told people not to panic, but to be prepared for widespread community-wide transmission in the UK: and I can assure you, the UK has far less community transmission right now than the US.
As I've observed, I'm taking all the precautions, and have probably gone beyond what's advised by wearing masks and sunglasses. I can't control what others do in a free country, and I'm not sure our Gov't can either, at this juncture. Even if we were to adopt draconian measures to stamp this out, what then? Travel restrictions or risk another batch of infections?
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
Aside from the measures being taken now, what more would you propose? Some specifics?
- Ground all cruise ships worldwide. Right now.
- In places where there is evidence of community transmission, close down all movie theaters, and have all sporting events on empty stadiums
- Put a emergency fund for people who don't have paid sick leave to be entitled to 5+5 paid sick leave
- Encourage all businesses in the affected areas to have their employees work from home
- Have Smokey Bear type education campaign - 'Only you can stop virus spread' by telling people how to do social distancing
- Have a poster boy example punishment of some dumb ... who intentionally breaks quarantine.

Enough?
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
- Ground all cruise ships worldwide. Right now.
- In places where there is evidence of community transmission, close down all movie theaters, and have all sporting events on empty stadiums
- Put a emergency fund for people who don't have paid sick leave to be entitled to 5+5 paid sick leave
- Encourage all businesses in the affected areas to have their employees work from home
- Have Smokey Bear type education campaign - 'Only you can stop virus spread' by telling people how to do social distancing
- Have a poster boy example punishment of some dumb ... who intentionally breaks quarantine.

Enough?
More good suggestions and and refinement that is good to one I suggested. We only need to stop large events where there is community spread happening.
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:52 am
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I wonder if parallels could possibly be drawn from the 1918 "Spanish" flu (quotes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu)

[all bolding mine]


Regarding second wave of 1918 flu pandemic:

"This increased severity has been attributed to the circumstances of the First World War. In civilian life, natural selection favors a mild strain. Those who get very ill stay home, and those mildly ill continue with their lives, preferentially spreading the mild strain. In the trenches, natural selection was reversed. Soldiers with a mild strain stayed where they were, while the severely ill were sent on crowded trains to crowded field hospitals, spreading the deadlier virus. The second wave began, and the flu quickly spread around the world again. Consequently, during modern pandemics, health officials pay attention when the virus reaches places with social upheaval (looking for deadlier strains of the virus)."


And under the heading "End of the pandemic":

"Another theory holds that the 1918 virus mutated extremely rapidly to a less lethal strain. This is a common occurrence with influenza viruses: There is a tendency for pathogenic viruses to become less lethal with time, as the hosts of more dangerous strains tend to die out."
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:55 am
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I think the US government needs to change its messaging. This will _inevitably_ happen in the next 7-10 days IF, as I suspect, we discover there are hundreds (or possibly thousands) of cases in the US that had not been counted due to lack of testing over the last 6 weeks. That's still a couple of doublings from if we were to change behaviours now, but it's better than nothing.

I'm actually not advocating shutting down all international or domestic travel. But I think people should really limit to _absolutely essential_ travel. Conferences and large trade shows should probably cancelled. I would do the same for cruises, because although any one cruise right now is low risk, once a ship has an outbreak, it presents a massive burden to the healthcare infrastructure. I don't advocate shutting schools for now, since it will take many essential workers out of the workforce by making them take on childminding duties, but that may need to happen in communities with transmission, and EARLY. And critically, there should be widespread messaging about the benefits of social distancing.

The most important things that need to happen from a federal perspective are a) widespread testing to get a sense of baseline: without that, you can't model what the epidemic growth rate will be, b) announce publicly, preferably by the President, that testing will be free (this isn't an issue for most countries, it IS an issue in the US), c) ramp up measures to increase production of PPE, secure internal supply chains etc.

All of the above are very doable, and won't bring most of the economy to a halt, although certain pockets will certainly take a massive hit, but that's coming anyway: the cruise-ship industry is going to be dead over the next 6 months no matter what, better to bury it now before it causes more damage to early containment and mitigation efforts.

tb
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
- Ground all cruise ships worldwide. Right now.
- In places where there is evidence of community transmission, close down all movie theaters, and have all sporting events on empty stadiums
- Put a emergency fund for people who don't have paid sick leave to be entitled to 5+5 paid sick leave
- Encourage all businesses in the affected areas to have their employees work from home
- Have Smokey Bear type education campaign - 'Only you can stop virus spread' by telling people how to do social distancing
- Have a poster boy example punishment of some dumb ... who intentionally breaks quarantine.

Enough?
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Old Mar 5, 20, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
- Ground all cruise ships worldwide. Right now.
- In places where there is evidence of community transmission, close down all movie theaters, and have all sporting events on empty stadiums
- Put a emergency fund for people who don't have paid sick leave to be entitled to 5+5 paid sick leave
- Encourage all businesses in the affected areas to have their employees work from home
- Have Smokey Bear type education campaign - 'Only you can stop virus spread' by telling people how to do social distancing
- Have a poster boy example punishment of some dumb ... who intentionally breaks quarantine.

Enough?
I'm ok with this. But, any US Const Lawyers chime in if this is legal? Or, can it be declared via EO or even Martial Law? Again, afterwards, start with travel restrictions, or risk the infection all over again?
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Old Mar 5, 20, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
And critically, there should be widespread messaging about the benefits of social distancing.
In China many restaurants have instituted a "one-person-per-table" rule.

And in this pic, where seats are considered too close together, every second one is off-limits:

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Old Mar 5, 20, 8:08 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
I wonder if parallels could possibly be drawn from the 1918 "Spanish" flu (quotes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu)

[all bolding mine]


Regarding second wave of 1918 flu pandemic:

"This increased severity has been attributed to the circumstances of the First World War. In civilian life, natural selection favors a mild strain. Those who get very ill stay home, and those mildly ill continue with their lives, preferentially spreading the mild strain. In the trenches, natural selection was reversed. Soldiers with a mild strain stayed where they were, while the severely ill were sent on crowded trains to crowded field hospitals, spreading the deadlier virus. The second wave began, and the flu quickly spread around the world again. Consequently, during modern pandemics, health officials pay attention when the virus reaches places with social upheaval (looking for deadlier strains of the virus)."


And under the heading "End of the pandemic":

"Another theory holds that the 1918 virus mutated extremely rapidly to a less lethal strain. This is a common occurrence with influenza viruses: There is a tendency for pathogenic viruses to become less lethal with time, as the hosts of more dangerous strains tend to die out."
RNA viruses, which include but flu and coronavirus, have very high mutation rates. These border of what is allowable without the things mutating itself out of existence. But it isn't all viruses. Smallpox and herpes viruses are double-stranded DNA for instance.
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