General Question

crazyguy's avatar

How long can we keep anti-covid precautions in place?

Asked by crazyguy (1085points) 3 weeks ago

In California the first lockdown happened over six months ago. Even before that we were social distancing and pretty much avoiding all people.

In spite of the precautions, the number of infections has held fairly steady. The virus is not showing any signs of just going away.

So my question is: can we really keep this up for three months? Six months? One Year?

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52 Answers

chyna's avatar

Yes, if you want to live. Up to each individual.

Darth_Algar's avatar

For as long as needs be. Especially for as long as people keep thinking they don’t need to/have to comply. If folks had just complied with regulations then perhaps things could have returned to a more normal state months ago.

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna I wish my actions alone were enough! As you know the disease is still spreading in many countries. I posted a question earlier about the risks of death being much lower than I had believed earlier. So I guess I am wondering at what stage people will be just willing to take the risk of living through a bad disease and get back to their lives.

JLeslie's avatar

I think for at least another year we will need to be cautious if we care about squelching the spread.

We have vaccines and therapeutics in trials now, hopefully we see some good results with both. Also, faster and easier testing.

I think we should be aware of infectious diseases transmission for the rest of our lives. We were too lax in my opinion in America before. Especially during flu season. Forget the stranger handshake forever. A large portion of the younger generation sucks at shaking hands anyway. I’ve said on fluther before that we need Home Ec in the schools and one week spent on etiquette like holding a fork and knife, shaking hands, and setting tables. Now just go ahead and leave out the handshake.

Asia puts on masks readily for many years. When I flew to Japan ten years ago we were given masks. They recommended it for keeping your nose and throat moist, it did seem to help, but also good to reduce viral load in the air.

More and more will be done online. More robotics are being developed. This will mean workplaces might have fewer people crowded together.

I say look around the world, I have said it before, Taiwan used masks and quarantine and never had to shut down any businesses. Too bad we have subversive messaging telling people not to wear masks. If we got the virus low enough we could be normal again, just clamping down when outbreaks happen. In fact, the way I see it, for years to come I think that’s what it will be like, loosening up a little and then clamping down when needed. We already do it with flu.

When flu is very prevalent and especially affecting attendance in schools, schools close for a few days to interrupt the spread. If a few children became seriously ill or die from the flu in a cluster measures would be taken just as we have done before. Now it’s covid.

kritiper's avatar

Until we’re all dead, if required.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I sure hope one of those vaccines in Phase 3 trials proves out convincingly enough that more than half the population takes it. I am not sure how long I can keep up with this. Surprisingly the part I miss the most is my weekly massage!

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper I do not think it will come to that. If it has to be kept up for another year, a lot of us will be dead anyway – killed by boredom!

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan I know you are on the frontlines. I am sure you find yourself wishing every day that people would exercise more caution.

I went to the link you provided, and realized that I had already read the article. I do not remember if it was that article or a different one that made a prediction of a return to 3,000 deaths per day. I find that extremely difficult to believe. What do you think?

I have doctor friends who claim that their hospitals are saving over 99% of all their covid cases.

crazyguy's avatar

You mean the first graph? The second one is cases. I am truly shocked at how big an impact masks are predicted to have. If that is true, can we just let all businesses open and enforce just the masking requirement?

Caravanfan's avatar

@crazyguy 3000 deaths a day seems about right to me, especially if people continue to be stupid.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The way I see it, there will always be enough of us ignoring the disease and believing the risks unfounded to guarantee the continued unnecessary rates of infection. Next, there is the disjointed and place to place huge disparity in jurisdictional approaches to confronting the pestilence, again guaranteeing the continued fueling of the contagion. For in the end, the disease will only be suppressed temporarily even with the best and most stringent measures in place when neighboring locations tolerate and even recommend lackadaisical procedures. If at the outset of this disease someone had predicted 200,000 dead Americans by September they would have been excoriated as rabble rousing alarmists. The smart approach is the cynical approach. Human nature being what it is, the corpses are guaranteed to continue stacking up. Wanna guess how many it will take before the chatter dies down about resumption of “normal” living? Half a million? Perhaps an even million? Does world leadership mean that we must lead the world in infections and deaths? Those of you eager to downplay the risks of this thing are welcome to don your maga hats instead of masks. In the end, there is little point to advising a rational approach in Trump’s every man for himself America. Those of you willing to die in order to revive the economy are welcome to risk it. I just throw up my hands and resign myself to counting the coffins. I’m in no hurry to occupy one.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy If you haven’t watched it yet…Taiwan. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iiUHhHcxHVM Masks.

I want to find out how many cases we are tracing back to Disney that is requiring masks and is basically like a city of its own, but that actually has travelers constantly in and out. I don’t know if Florida is still making any tracing efforts.

Where I live when they open up the squares and the rec centers they (the developer) will be tracking who was where when.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan I, for one, hope not! Even if infections hit new records, surely the deaths will not because of better treatment options. Please tell me I am not completely wrong.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly You are making this thing more political than I intended. However, I am going to ignore your attempt this one time. I am hoping that we can have the best of both worlds – reasonable precautions and reasonable economy.

@JLeslie Interesting video. GO Taiwan! Taiwan spent almost TWO MONTHS in the 440s (number of cases) from early May to early July. In the next 2.5 months, as they allowed some tourism to resume, their case count has jumped to 510. Therein lies the problem with covid-19. Until the entire world gets to ZERO cases, the virus will make a comeback.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You think I am responsible for “making” this disease political? No one has to “make” it political. When Trump loses in November, his handling (or mishandling) of this disease will be reflected at the polls as surely as day follows night. I too would hope for “the best of all possible worlds”. I however have better sense than to predict any such nonsense regarding a disease, the effects and consequences of which are consistently and repeatedly distinguished for being underestimated.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I can’t speak for the general public, but these precautions will be around at my work for a long ass time.

I work in a nursing home. We have been on lockdown and wearing masks since before masks were required.

It will be a long while before my work goes back to normal.

Caravanfan's avatar

@crazyguy there are no better treatment options. Nothing works. The best defense against deaths is not to get sick in the first place.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan Are you saying that the death rate among your patients is still the same as in April?

anniereborn's avatar

@SergeantQueen How is all that now? The first people I cried for were those in nursing homes.
Not being able to see loved ones. Not having activities. Confused people having to keep a mask on. And so on and so on.

What has changed six months on ?

chyna's avatar

One million reported deaths worldwide is too many.

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna Focusing on a raw number independent of any reference number is not only disingenuous but also borders on deliberately misleading. Context is vital.

Let me try and provide context.

One comparison you can make is how do Covid deaths relate to deaths from other causes? One source for evaluating this is “excess death” charts on CDC – see https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

I have tried different sorts on this chart, but still have been unable to get the data I need. If you succeed, please share your conclusions.

I looked at other Google results and have settled on
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02497-w

Here is a link to a series of images in this source:
https://media.nature.com/lw800/magazine-assets/d41586-020-02497-w/d41586-020-02497-w_18336640.jpg
These images show the covid-related deaths through week 28 of 2020 (Data for the last couple of months is not available unless you want to figure it out from the CDC database). It also shows excess deaths that were not attributed to covid-19. As you can see, there was a spike in weeks 12 through 20, but started going down in week 15 and reached practically zero by week 28. We know that did not happen, so obviously the data is not completely correct. Hopefully you will find better data.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Why do you say it didn’t happen? During the lockdown there was a spike for covid, but also much fewer car accidents, work accidents, and likely fewer other illnesses being caught like RSV, meningitis, etc. the number has a lot that goes into it. Maybe even tornadoes, floods, I’m not sure.

I think the CDC data maybe is not looking at all of the possibilities like being hit by lightning, and only looking at disease.

Probably comparing flu is a good barometer. A bad flu season was 2017–2018. I personally feel the government failed us by not asking the public to refrain from some activities like shaking hands and reminders to wash hands and not touch their face.

Here is the flu burden information for 2017–2018 flu season. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm Averages were 45 million symptomatic cases and 61k deaths. So, approximately 0.14% death rate, and we should call it a 12 month period, but the cases and deaths are actually crowded mostly into a 6 month season.

As you can see we are far beyond those death numbers with covid. Probably hospitalizations too, I should look that up.

We can look at cancer, I think that is half a million deaths a year? But, only 2 million new cases a year I think? I’d have to spend time on it. But, we don’t catch cancer by being with other people, except HPV cancers, but that’s intimate contact.

We can look at walking or driving down the street. I think it’s 40,000 car accident deaths a year. Not contagious, but we risk that another driver could kill us on the road. I have no idea how many car accidents are one car collisions, meaning no other car involved in the accident, just someone themselves driving off a road or losing control and not harming others.

Keep in mind covid numbers are with distancing, masks, some high risk businesses closed, and other measures.

Caravanfan's avatar

@crazyguy Death rate is low, but it’s an erroneous statistic. People think it’s binary. Death or not-death. What people don’t realize is that COVID causes severe chronic illness that can last for weeks, months, or even be permanent. I’ve had people on ventilators for a month and they survived. So that’s a not-death, but they’re still dealing with the after effects of that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan @crazyguy If the disease left people without legs or arms, or people went blind or deaf from it then more people would probably be responsive to long term side effects. People need to SEE illness or directly understand the specific consequences to believe it’s there. Ask any chronic pain sufferer. People dismiss their pain, but if they had a knife sticking out of their hip with blood running down everyone would be flinching that the person has pain from a knife stab.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@anniereborn Pretty much nothing has changed. If the county keeps getting worse, we will continue to be on lockdown.

Things won’t change until the cases go down. And in Wisconsin, in my county, it appears that won’t be happening for a long time

People don’t realize the consequences of their own actions. My parents yelling at me for having to get tested while they refuse to wear a mask…. Maybe if people wore them I wouldn’t have to get tested every week, and if the county keeps getting worse, we will be required to get tested twice a week

I hate getting a Q tip shoved up my nose every week, so just wear a fucking mask

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Just so we are clear, My “did not happen” was in reference to excess deaths hitting ZERO after Week 28. I think the point you made applies to that, but I just wanted to be sure.

When you are digging for more info on hospitalizations for flu, and cancer cases, perhaps you can also look at excess deaths.

My point in my reply to @chyna is that a raw number without any context is extremely misleading. As you can see from the charts I linked, covid deaths in the US are horrendous, but not the end of the world.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan I realize the disease itself is rotten; however, I would think if we can reduce the number of deaths per infection, we can also reduce other outcomes.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie As I stated in my response to @Caravanfan, I would think that the new treatments do not just reduce the death rate, but also improve other outcomes.

chyna's avatar

@crazyguy “not the end of the world.” It is if you have lost someone to Covid.

Caravanfan's avatar

@crazyguy “I would think that the new treatments do not just reduce the death rate, but also improve other outcomes.”

That’s a big “nope” right there. Nothing works well.

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna I am confused. I was not addressing the relatives of a covid casualty. I was making a general comment that the total number of covid deaths are high, but looked at in relation to total number of deaths is not earth-shattering.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan So are you saying we have not learnt anything about treating Covid-19 patients?

Caravanfan's avatar

@crazyguy I didn’t write that at all; we’ve learned a ton. I said the treatments don’t work. There are three “approved” therapies for COVID, Remdesivir, Dexamethasone, and convalescent plasma. None have shown any really good activity against the virus. It just has to run its course and we do the best we can to support people through it.

crazyguy's avatar

Assuming some of the therapeutics work on some of the patients, surely there should be a reduction in deaths and other bad outcomes. Otherwise why were the therapeutics approved?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Don’t assume anything @crazyguy . . . . . . . . . .

Caravanfan's avatar

“ why were the therapeutics approved?”

Polítics.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan Are you saying that remdesivoir, dexamethasone and convalescent plasma do not have any beneficial effects on at least a majority of the patients they are prescribed for?

Caravanfan's avatar

Got it in one. They MAY have MILD effects. But the studies were rushed and now we will never know.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan “rushed”. Yes, they did not have the luxury of re-examining every finding and every conclusion umpteen times. When you get right down to it, most studies take so long because time for ideas to germinate is normally built into the schedule. When you squeeze out “idea germination” time, the study is “rushed”.

Why won’t a vaccine be ready in November or December? Because there is no time to find problems with the Phase 3 trials.

Caravanfan's avatar

Thank you for explaining that to me.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan In case you missed it, my post was meant to be sarcastic. During my 73 years, I have seen many tasks accomplished in days that were supposed to take months.

chyna's avatar

@crazyguy Just for future reference, when we say something sarcastic here, we use this ~ at the end to denote sarcasm.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan and @chyna I will do that going forward. However, I think @Caravanfan has given up on this thread.

jca2's avatar

Now we should keep anti-covid precautions in place at least until Trump can come out of isolation.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 Appreciate your concern.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If nothing else, his diagnosis will perhaps alert the rest of his herd to the realities of the risks around this disease.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly The few intelligent ones of his followers did always keep their own counsel.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
stanleybmanly's avatar

@crazyguy And that is an interesting thought. What you are saying is that the fate of us all is dependent on the behavior of the stupid. The results of that stupidity—the disease itself will determine how long those who can “keep their own counsel” will maintain precautions. The obvious implications are that the load is going to fall on the usual suspects: along with those like the President who believe this no big deal, there are those forced to expose themselves in order to earn a living—the ones who cannot hide.

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