Re: Check Ins, Reassurances, and Concerns, 12/19


I just gave a remote talk to about 80 people. My internet went down 5 minutes before the talk but came back on and then went down again about ten minutes from the end but came back up after about five minutes. Harrowing. But the talk went very well otherwise.

Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 2:49 AM
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My grandparents have come through their Covid experience entirely unscathed (although my Grandpa managed to fall over immediately after his quarantine ended!).

Grief remains weird and hard but that's life, alas.

My husband has just been informed he's been in contact with someone who subsequently tested positive (we assume at the shop), so he now has to self-isolate for ten days. We're fairly sure it was brief contact with both people masked so I am personally not too worried, but it puts a huge set of practical obstacles in front of us for the family business over this last week of trading (in a year where it's really essential we take as much as we can!) and some personal quandaries about how we handle it as a household (which is the two of us plus my father-in-law, who is much more at risk). Sooooooooooo. Yes. 2020, the year that keeps on giving!

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 7:55 AM
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I just found out my nephew (the one that just got married in September) has covid.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 11:46 AM
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That's why you should never stand within 15 feet of another person after you get married.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 12:08 PM
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Well. When the app then said I had to self-isolate after exposure to someone with a positive test on Friday, we began to suspect something weird was going on, as I am a hermit and haven't left the house for about a week. It occurred to me that we live in a middle of the terrace home, and while the brick walls are thick, we sleep with our phones against one wall on nightstands. Texted the neighbours who haven't had it yet (other side has), and sure enough, that's where our positive test exposure is coming from. She's doing ok, and now we know it's all fine. A good five hours of stress for nothing.

Hope your nephew is ok, peep.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 12:27 PM
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5: Was this app developed in the Silicon Valley environs, perchance?

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 12:38 PM
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Just because an app is shitty doesn't mean it comes from California.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 1:06 PM
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Anyway, my point is that people take liberal positions like Mike Pence. They get married and yet they are willing to be in the same room with other people as long as it is not just one woman. As if breathing, homosexuality, and orgies didn't exist.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 1:46 PM
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6: Probably by some cronies of Tory politicians, but to be fair to it, we did meet the standard - our phones were under 2 metres from each other for longer than 15 minutes......however, I am genuinely cross that it didn't direct you to better information about how they came to the order to self-isolate, etc.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 2:03 PM
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Thinking more of the assumption that most everyone lives in single-family detached homes. Though I have no idea if it's resolvable based on how Bluetooth works even if you know about apartment buildings.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 3:27 PM
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The NY state app also uses bluetooth and would be subject to the same issues, even though presumably the developers are aware of living conditions in NYC.

Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 3:35 PM
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Yeah, I was thinking about it too - it's unlikely because of the way the houses are laid out that we would match with anyone but the neighbour we did, but surely in many smaller blocks of flats you could conceivably match with at least 2 households. And detached housing must be the exception, not the rule, in most of the U.K. The app itself says it's unlikely in the FAQs, but we have a foot of brick between us and it still clearly happened, so...

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 3:45 PM
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It's one of the reasons I've never bothered to install the app. With maybe five exceptions since March, I basically don't do anything that would result in a legit hit, so realistically it could only be false positives from neighbours.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 4:16 PM
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If people are going to stop installing apps just because they are useless, we may as well go back to the flip phones.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 4:35 PM
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Atossa's pod leader tested positive on Tuesday. We have been self-isolating more than usual and got tested Saturday. No symptoms and we're probably fine, other than unexpectedly having no child care for the rest of the year.

But then, we only have the one kid. Everyone thought Heebie was crazy in the previous thread, but I don't know how she survived this long with four.

Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 4:54 PM
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The Bluetooth proximity thing is bad, but at least the apps aren't just finding people at the same "location". Phone GPS is particularly bad at altitude, so everyone in an apartment tower would end up assumed exposed to each other.

My company has set up a deal with a company that does at-home PCR test kits (self-nasal-swab, drop it in a FedEx box) and wants us to test ourselves weekly.
Pro: Testing is good?
Con: I feel like I'm at a silly low risk level as such things go.
Pro: It's probably not zero-sum, I don't think I'm displacing anyone else who needs a test, am I?
Con: The rest of my family isn't supposed to be using this testing resource.

Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 8:47 PM
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At least you don't have to pay for the qtips you stick up your nose. I'm using my fingers to save supplies because my employers aren't as thoughtful.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-20-20 9:18 PM
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Our company contracted with a big diagnostics company and we're allowed to order one kit every 48 hours for anyone over 18 in our household. They're not encouraging routine testing, though- they recommend only if someone is symptomatic, contact traced for exposure, or pre- and post- travel.
Technically not allowed for use in kids but I'm guessing some people use it for that and just submit under an adult's name. Company pays for everything but we do see the invoices- they're $119 per test (maybe with some additional bulk discount applied.)

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 5:13 AM
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18: Ellume came out with a $30 at-home test that gives results at home. Think it's an antigen test, but people are working on crispr.

I have a mini ATM.

I was at Walgreens Yesterday, and I heard a shift supervisor explain to a new hire that the company did not want them telling customers they had to wear a mask. This particular supervisor was willingbuu to o come over to ring up an unmasked customer.

I talked to the other cashier who was over 50, obese and told me she had asthma. She was really upset about it and enraged that the corporations wanted to get out of liability for COVID at work. What's the most effective thing I can do? Write an e-mail to corporate and say this makes me feel unsafe as a customer? Report to some public authority?

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 6:12 AM
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I have no idea, but I'll throw in "letter to the editor" as a third option, insofar as shame works to an extent. I don't know if there's an appropriately-sized newspaper that would publish a letter like that located in the neighborhood? If it were here in Heebieville, that would be the most effective lever to press.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 6:48 AM
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Companies respond quickly on social media if you tag them although who knows if that will actually change anything.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 7:01 AM
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Still alive and doing fine here. We had a socially distanced cookie exchange that was quite successful. Everyone made 4 dozen cookies and brought them to the store by Thursday evening. Saturday morning I went in, gloved up, and broke the cookies into to 8 identical covered trays for the 8 participants -- so yes, you get your own cookies back. Then contacted everyone and they trickled in over the day and grabbed their cookies.

It wasn't as great as a real cookie exchange, where you all chat and praise each others' cookies, but it was nice to bake thinking about the friends who'd get them, and the thread afterward when people dug in was warming.

Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 11:09 AM
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We are in London, so in the new Tier 4 lockdown because of the apparently more virulent strain of Covid that is circulating (big spike in numbers in London and the South East).* We are also looking forward to the total chaos caused by France and others closing their borders to the UK (because of the COVID strain) and the upcoming crash out of the EU in about 9 days, which, if we don't end up with some sort of trade deal, is going to be disastrous. Food and medicine shortages, the lot.

People will still fucking vote Tory, despite their record as the single most woeful** administration in modern history.

Because of the Tier 4 thing, every single plan we had for the next two weeks is gone. We didn't have plans to do a lot of risky things anyway. One relative over for Christmas Day, one pantomime (with socially distanced seating, masks, etc). Otherwise, every other plan we had was outdoors. But, we've had to cancel all of them. So far, we are, at least, all well.

* South Wales has astronomical numbers at the moment, too. Over 1000 per 100,000.
** incompetent, venal, and corrupt

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-21-20 2:53 PM
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19, 21: I would leave out the part about the employee being upset and focus on you, the customer being upset. Both because corporate probably cares more about you than the employee, and so as not to drag the employee into a public stink if she'd prefer otherwise.

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 10:06 AM
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24: Oh definitely. I mentioned it here pseudonymously, because I can always walk out. She can't. Would you say that writing to corporate about my own feeling of unease if other customers aren't masked or is there another route you suggest.

Walgreens got a big contract to vaccinate, so I think it's important for them to model safe behavior.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 10:36 AM
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Still doing fine here. I wrote a blog post yesterday as part of my series on epidemics and demography. The series will continue with a few more posts covering the history of research, but I'm increasingly thinking the rest of it will go into a new freestanding website of some sort.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 12:26 PM
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Yesterday (Dec 21), the Ontario premier announced an urgent set of measures to stem the tide of the virus, because "if we fail to take action now, the consequences will be catastrophic."

So: a 28-day lockdown for much of Ontario (14 days for Northern Ontario), to begin immediately 5 days after the announcement, on Boxing Day (Dec. 26). So much for taking urgent action now! Dougie Ford is encouraging people to continue with their Christmas shopping and their family gatherings, if sort of warning us that there will be hell to pay come Boxing Day...

Critics are calling it 'Ford's mockdown.'

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 5:05 PM
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Is the this brother of the dead Ford?

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 5:07 PM
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He is the brother of that Ford, yes.

How he ever came to power is a lesson in the perils and pitfalls of a multi-party parliamentary system.

Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 5:12 PM
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25: Yeah, I would emphasize that you no longer feel comfortable shopping there knowing that they are not enforcing mask requirements and are worried about the risk that they have exposed you to. If it were me, not trying to be prescriptive.

Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-22-20 6:57 PM
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In case you haven't seen this yet, Teo --

In the case of the pre-contact population of Hispaniola, such data have arrived. By analyzing the DNA of ancient Indigenous Caribbean people, a study published in Nature on Wednesday by one of us (Professor Reich) makes clear that the population of Hispaniola was no more than a few tens of thousands of people. Almost all prior estimates have been at least tenfold too large.

From NYT article that describes findings of Nature article

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 1:33 PM
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I had not, thanks! Looks very interesting and relevant to my research. I'm a little skeptical about the conclusion, but it's a different methodology from previous work so I'm not as familiar with the assumptions behind it.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 1:38 PM
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How hard would it be to catch a regular cold while avoiding Covid? Because I have a cold and I have been doing the avoid Covid stuff very well

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 5:26 PM
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33: I have wondered about this too, and I think cold germs are spread more readily through surfaces, so that would be the mechanism.

The Blackwater pardons are really fucking upsetting. The U.S. needs to do something about this before the geopolitical consequences snowball -- ideally, Biden needs to make some kind of statement -- but I don't know what the best move would be.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 7:01 PM
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34.1: Thanks. That's helpful.

34.2: It is, but I'm also taking it as a sign that Trump has realized there's not going to be a way to overturn the election.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 7:50 PM
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Anyway, the Manafort/Stone/et al pardons bother me more. Blackwater isn't Trump pardoning his own crimes.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 7:59 PM
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No, he's just fanboying war crimes. Again.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 8:07 PM
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It's not good, by any means.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 8:10 PM
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And demonstrating that our commitments to Iraq that we would apply justice impartially were completely empty.

That pharma guy must be wondering what more he needs to do to get a pardon. There are four weeks left, so there's still time.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 8:21 PM
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I think, at the end of the day, it was the detail of the murdered kid's mother having donated half her settlement to wounded U.S. soldiers that persuaded me that we will reap the whirlwind if this pardon is not widely condemned. Probably naive, but I'm not ready to be cynical about something this evil yet.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 8:23 PM
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I'm just more worried about the cycle of commit crimes to win election, use office to cover-up those crimes, pardon when you fail. The "repeat as needed" is implicit.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-23-20 8:28 PM
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I rarely rarely drink, and I just unsmartly drank a large glass of rum and eggnog, and it feels like I swallowed a bowling ball. Everything feels a little gross. Why didn't someone stop me?

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:35 PM
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I've had four 16oz beers and a glass of wine.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:37 PM
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Did you also want someone to stop you?

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:42 PM
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We were zooming with Jammies' family while kids tediously opened presents on a tiny screen, so it seemed a good time to tie one on. But I should have know it was actually a finite-length zoom call.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:43 PM
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I got a wool sweater and another bottle of wine.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:44 PM
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I didn't get anything yet. We're zooming in for the white elephant gift exchange in another 20-30 minutes.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:49 PM
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We're going to do the rest of our gifts - like from Jammies and me and from my parents - tomorrow. It's all very exciting.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:52 PM
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Mewling puking infant Christ, we are doomed:

Air travel just broke a new record of the pandemic. 1,191,123 people passed through TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, more than the previous record set the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This is the sixth straight day of TSA figures near or greater than one million. [...] These numbers are now more similar to what they were a year ago when 1.9 million people flew. In general, air travel levels have been 40 percent of last year's figures. Now, more than 60 percent.

I don't think I quite believed it was going to go this way, up to the last possible minute of ignorance. 18.6 million cases in the U.S. since the pandemic began; over six million people traveled through airports in the past 6 days alone.

Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 6:54 PM
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Things are bad, but getting drunk and watching Star Wars crap with your family is restorative.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-24-20 7:33 PM
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