Safety Protocols and Zones of Quarantine

Carl Danner writes me:

“Essential activities” has no objective definition.  It implies some blanket degree of risk acceptance that can’t be accurate by any underlying calculus, i.e. as if someone has specifically weighed whether we can tolerate these particular activities because they provide enough value to offset the incremental risk of conducting them.  But the reality is more likely that those conducting most activities (including “essential” ones) are now undertaking risk mitigation measures intended to reduce the chance of virus transmission to very low or nonexistent levels.

What we need instead — and the logical place for governments to go in unwinding these blanket restrictions — is a recognition that any beneficial economic activity should be allowed if undertaken using a protection protocol appropriate to its particulars and sufficient to prevent virus transmission.  This would get government out of the business of choosing which businesses or occupations are essential, vital, important or whatever — including all the problems attendant to making such discretionary determinations across the entire economy for a sustained period.  Without that revised approach, we could start to develop occupational licensing/certificate of need type problems as a general feature of the economy.

In other words, this part of the virus response should transition to a health and safety regulatory concern that is important, but handled like most of the others.  For example, poor food hygiene can also kill you, but governments generally don’t respond by deciding which cuisines are essential and which are not.  Rather, anyone willing to follow the safety rules can put up any menu they want.  So it should be for economic activities of all kinds.

We should not lift restrictions until the number of new cases is declining and low and we have enough testing capacity to squash new outbreaks. But we should start to think about what safety protocols may be reasonable in the future. For example, I think we could allow any firm to reopen that does not deal with the public and where all the employees wear masks. Any workplace that disinfects twice a day and checks worker temperatures might be another appropriate allowance. Another possibility is quarantining at work. I don’t see the latter as useful for most workplaces but for say a nuclear energy plant or air traffic controllers it might be appropriate to bring in mobile homes, as they do for fracking workers in North Dakota. Going somewhat farther afield we might use cellphone data to decide on zones of quarantine, e.g. home or work or driving in between. Obviously such systems can be spoofed but the point would be to offer this as a temporary and voluntary system to move towards normalcy.

Hat tip: Michael Higgins.

Comments

Excellent but too theoretical since the USA will never have a Wuhan-style quarantine and hence will always be infected. Florida Man will see to that.

Infection rate is decreasing. Yesterday's increase was less than 25%, we are not seeing big increases in infected.

The stock market is down and jobless claims are up to 3 million. Investors and workers are saying its getting worse. NYC hospitals are hit hard reaching capacity in some parts and New Orleans is becoming the South's epicenter seeing steeper climbs than Spain and Italy. More people dead there from the virus than all of Los Angeles county.

Awesome post.

"Infection rate is decreasing. Yesterday's increase was less than 25%, we are not seeing big increases in infected."

At that rate, cases will double every three days. Not good enough and without bigger improvements the U.S. is on track to becoming another Italy.

As trading opens the S&P 500 is up strongly today. Markets say you're wrong!

Every time NY Gov. Cuomo opens his panic-stricken yap, my brain screams, "BOHICA!" Most frightening, is that he may be trying to displace Crazy Uncle Joe Biden as Dem nominee for POTUS.

The good news: 8,368,748 (2018 est. pop, 8,398,748 - 30,000 positives) do not test positive for Wuhan Flu and likely 8,396,358 New Yorkers will survive the Corona Virus Catastrophe. Plus, New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States; and worse than the typical third world hellhole. Ergo, NYC numbers skew both the NYS and national numbers.

We should cordon off New York because people are going to start fleeing once the hospitals and morgues reach capacity. That's exactly what happened in Lombardy when italians heard about the quarantine, fled to the rest of Italy, and the entire country had to shut down.

The market has priced in all the possibilities and it's up today!

The S&P is way down for the year. The market is saying this year is way worse than last year.

The stock market is artificial. No longer a reliable indicator of anything other than how much money the government is printing and spending. It is far from a reliable indicator of the virus spread.

The fleeing started days ago, and it is far too late.

Unless all those people self-quarantine for 14 days, which as one can read in many comments here, is a totally unreasonable overreaction. Don't tell the governor of Florida that, as he is not just asking pretty please while trampling on the personal liberty of New Yorkers, some of whom may be visiting their parents in retirement communities as we speak.

"On Tuesday, amid concern that New York residents and visitors were exporting the virus to other cities, President Trump’s coronavirus response team instructed anyone who has been in New York recently to self-quarantine for at least 14 days if they left the city, even for the suburbs. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has gone even further, signing an executive order mandating visitors and residents of his state to self-quarantine if they have recently been to New York."

Trump is way ahead on this. His comment about opening up by Easter is pointing the way forward.

Easter, because sacrifices must be made to the only god that matters: Mammon. No wonder Wall Street loves Trump!

Dr Fauci has said Easter is too soon, and Trump will defer to him. Good theatre. Trump should be sending the message that things will be normal sometime soon, and he looks good following the doctor's orders.

Trump knows more than the experts. He said so.

You need to remember that the current complaint against Trump is that he failed to overrule the experts at the CDC fast enough when the crisis was first brewing here. Otherwise people might think you're an unprincipled troll who flips his arguments capriciously just to be glib.

Really, I don't need anyone telling me what to remember about Trump's broad failures as president during a pandemic, since we can all see those failures play out before our own, though seemingly lying, eyes.

And yes, this is a Trump quote from March 6 - “As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect,”

And this from the same day - “I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump said. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors say, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of running for president.”

No one needs to be told what to remember, since the transcripts are perfectly available, and perfectly represent our president.

What I don't need is people telling me that I want to kill people because I care about the economy.

Nothing like logging into Facebook for a few days to remind you how much you hate progressives!!!

Why anyone goes swimming in them remains mysterious.

Because your friends are there.

Just because your Facebook friends are swimming in a cesspool doesn't mean you need ... ah, got it.

But we can agree that nobody is really has friends on twitter.

You are a Stalinist or Maoist pushing your five year plans at all human costs. You are a progressive more than you realize!

“ he failed to overrule the experts at the CDC fast enough ”

LOL

I lol'd at the same exact part. Trumptards will defend anything for their messiah.

Trump will listen to Fauci, but he will not defer to him. He probably listens more to Dr. Birx. In the end, the leader has to weigh options and make the decision.

I realize that many of the unenlightened cling to the notion that Trump is stupid or evil (or both). But the record speaks otherwise - Exhibit 1 is that he ran for the highest office and won on his first try, spending half as much as the loser and winning against the nearly united opposition of the political establishment and the media. I realize that that won't make any impact on most of you.

"What a fool believes, no wise man has the power to reason away" - the Doobie Brothers.

So what? We've had stupid and evil presidents in the past. Getting elected doesn't make you less stupid and evil. More likely the opposite.

The pope should listen to Dr. Fauci and postpone Easter.

and, more importantly, American government at any level has absolutely no constitutional authority to judge or control “Essential activities” in the private sector,

These rampant 'executive edicts' from state and local government officials are blatant political dictatorship.

Few people notice or care in the midst of Covid-19 hysteria.

Hmmm, it's almost as if jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams.

Public health measures by state and local governments -- such as individual and community quarantining -- during a pandemic have well-established legal and constitutional precedent. Philadelphia's yellow fever outbreak in 1793 resulted in a lockdown of sorts on Philadelphia and led to the creation of modern local public health departments.

Don't confusion collusion to undermine the Constitution with the Constitution. Sure in practice the former wins but might doesn't make right morally.

That's the other side of federalism. Each state has its own quirky set of laws and its own constitution. Do you live in a state with natural disasters? Things get shut down all the time.

All my facebook friends who normally would be screetching about civil liberties and trump's secret plan to seize dictatorial power are clamoring in approval of the mass shutdown of the economy, screaming for more, and accusing anyone who is opposed to it of wanting to kill millions of people.

So, you know a lot of Italians, French, and Spanish people on Facebook? Though in all fairness, they would be talking about thousands of dead, not millions, and would not care about Trump at all.

Actually two of my friend retired in Spain, but, surprisingly, they are the ones screaming about this the LEAST. In fact, they're just talking about how they stocked up on booze, and how sad they are to miss Falles this year.

They must be libertarians of the GMU persuasion. Or Progressives. Same thing.

A list of the essential jobs from the Minnesota governor. Try and find yours there: https://bringmethenews.com/minnesota-news/list-of-essential-jobs-and-reasons-you-can-leave-your-home-during-minnesotas-stay-at-home-order

The failure of the government to clearly define what constitutes an essential service is deliberate. South Korea used social distancing and widespread testing to successfully fight the coronavirus (at least so far). Singapore and Taiwan did something similar. In the US and Canada governments have not been able to implement widespread testing. So they have had to rely social distancing only, and are using fear to motivate people. Hence the very same people people who are responsible for the testing failure are deliberately stoking our fears of the virus.
Libertarian minded people often dismiss government workers as "idiots" or some such. They aren't. On the whole they are intelligent, educated, and motivated people. They know that after this is all over there is going to be an inquiry. They know they are going to have to answer for their failure to test widely. They also don't want to have to answer for any failure to promote social distancing enough. So they are casting the net as widely as possible, while also being vague about essential services. That way, when it turns out that when some services that continued to operate shouldn't have, then it will be the fault of the managers of the services, and not the bureaucrats.
There is going to be a reckoning when this is over and the ass-covering has already begun.

You are incredibly ill-informed. As of yesterday, I believe the number of tests completed with results is over 400K, more than any other country. Of course, now the MSM has shifted to measuring them per capita.

We’ll get there probably in two weeks.

Well I didn't expect anyone who follows this blog to defend the CDC/FDA's testing efforts. Sorry, I just assumed...

It information I've seen is that this week testing will begin at a rate of 10,000 per day. So yes in 2 weeks we will have a clearer idea of where we are at. But if it had happened 5 weeks ago then the response would have been much more focused and targeted. The massive hit to our lives and the economy probably would not have been necessary.

Yes, I know that 5x7x10,000=350,000 which is less than 400,000. I'm assuming testing capacity grows exponentially. Let's think big. Why aren't we at a billion? If McDonalds was doing it we would be. And we would know exactly where we are and what to do.

I am not defending CDC/FDA - they were incompetent and ineffective. Getting the private labs into testing was the reason we are at 400k+ and increasing faster.

Rich, according to the CDC's website we've only tested 94514 people.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/testing-in-us.html.

That's 0.000286% of the population and far below other countries.

They don’t include private labs. Search for total tests.
https://covidtracking.com/

Ok, I see your point. I think we agree. I like that website by the way!

Thank you and be well.

Also this Politico site has good graphics based upon the above CovidTracking data.

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2020/coronavirus-testing-by-state-chart-of-new-cases/

If you click the Show All States button, it will show infected and tested for every state.

You, too, another interesting site if you take the time to understand their approach,

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/global-covid-19-case-fatality-rates/

Best to you and yours and all on MR.

Rich Berger, you are incredibly innumerate. 400k tests assuming that's true out of 330 million people is not "widespread" testing. It's only 0.1% But keep shilling Trump's piss poor job of bumbling this pandemic.

What's your metric and what country meets that standard?

We all know that South Korea was relatively fortunate in having a single well-defined infection vector (the church), and that Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea all benefit from being islands, more or less (the border with NoKo isn't exactly well-traveled). Trying to generalize their experiences onto the US just comes across as deliberately dishonest.

About 55% of Korea's cases trace back to the Shincheonji church. The others are a mix of infections at hospitals, workplaces, gyms, and incidental social contact. As for being an "island," so are the U.K., Australia and the Philippines. There is no evidence it matters as, once you reach a critical mass of infected people, the infection tears through the population without serious public health measures in place.

Singapore reported community transmission very early on so the fact that you do indeed have to cross a bridge (and border checkpoint) to get to Malaysia also doesn't appear to be relevant.

South Korea is not an island.

How many people do you think are crossing the DMZ on a yearly basis? A few hundred? South Korea is about as much an island as any peninsula can be, with the full weight of both North and South Korea attempting to make it impenetrable to anything but fully authorized crossings.

Lol you think people walked from Wuhan to Milan? It’s 2020, Boomers. Think airports.

Seoul airport passengers, yearly = 71,000,000

Taipei airport passengers = 46,700,000

Singapore airport passengers = 68,000,000

And it is still the DMZ, even for snowflakes clutching participation trophies in history or geography class. South Korea is as close to an island like Hong Kong or Singapore as it can possibly be in terms of human travel, without being completely surrounded by water.

Lol, Okay Boomer.

I guess Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea are lucky because of geography. Because it’s 1895.

Let’s not bother to think in terms of stats like “most direct flights to/from mainland China” or “most international traffic to/from mainland China” or “most visited tourist locations from mainland China.”

It’s 2020.

Do you often misread comments like this? Thumbelina said South Korea is not an island, which is true. However, South Korea has a land border that is even more effective at stopping anyone crossing it than a body of water, making it the equivalent of an island in one way at least. Agree or disagree, who really cares deeply about such a trivial thing?

This comments section is all about nerd-sniping, hair-splitting, and needless pedantry. Welcome to the club. The cucks here live for trivia.

And the point is that being an island, whether real or virtual, is not relevant if it’s still one of the most visited places on earth.

+1
also dishonest are the deblasios /cuomos/celebrities & media who blame the president for not quarantining /shutting down the economy earlier

Just do Asian Quarantine Style with Western characteristics. Temp checks for every building. Social distancing. Masks on every face. Gloves on every hand. Quarantines for travelers from hot spots. Work from home if possible. Enforce room and building maximums so nothing is overcrowded. Absolutely agree on critical service workers like power plant engineers and ATC having their own housing segregated from the public. City and county should have a web page for information sharing updated at least daily. More hospitals need to be built, "certificate of need" is a terrible idea and needs to go away. Ramp up domestic production of PPE, medicinal ingredients, and other essential medical supplies, things that never should have been offshored in the first place.

We could skip the GPS/phone tracking that they do in the East and apparently Toronto and Israel. That's seriously oppressive.

The same rules should apply to travel, the government should set safety standards such as all incoming travelers must quarantine for 14 days or until they test negative and let travelers themselves decide whether their travel is important enough to warrant going through with those standards, rather than the government deciding whose travel is essential and whose is not.

There were about 250 million passengers to/from the US in. 2019. Assume 125 million are incoming, that's 342,000 per day. With a 14 day quarantine period, that's about 5 million in quarantine barracks all the time. Assume other countries do the same, it makes an overseas trip a minimum of 30 days.

Then there are air crews, who will essentially never get out of quarantine.

Do we let Florida demand quarantine for people from high risk areas like NYC?

How leaky can the border be w.r.t. illegal entry before it renders such measures useless anyway?

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193590/total-air-traffic-passengers-travelling-to-or-from-the-us/

“ We should not lift restrictions until the number of new cases is declining and low...”
Says the guy whose livelihood will hardly be impacted by the shutdown. It could be 3-4 months before the number of new cases is low and declining.

Says the guy who thinks his livelihood will hardly be impacted by a pandemic. Be patient unless you want to see more of your citizens leave in body bags.

How many lives could we save for, say, $4 trillion?

Furthermore, Alex claims we shouldn’t lift restriction, when there is of course a spectrum of restrictions that could be lifted gradually. But no, wait until the virus is nearly gone to lift any restrictions? He isn’t being serious.

Alex is absolutely right on the money. You don't want a second wave of infections and re-infections. More details at the link:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-wuhan-secondwave/beware-second-waves-of-covid-19-if-lockdowns-eased-early-study-idUSKBN21D1M9

So who is going to keep the trucks running delivering food? Food comes from somewhere last time I looked, planted, harvested, processes. Who is going to do that? Who is going to run the supply chains? Who is going to maintain the communication stuff? Do you think there are four months worth of truck parts sitting on shelves? Things break and wear out. The 'economy' is a bunch of people keeping all this stuff working.

The choke point is very specific; the infection causes a sizeable number of people to need intensive medical care. That is why the lockdowns. Fix that with figuring out medical procedures that can keep the numbers within the current capacity, then the situation changes dramatically and the rationale for lockdown disappears.

Man! It looks like some REALLY amazing video games came out in March!

Despite the economy, I bet sales of video games are excellent!

Yep. Until there is sufficient random testing to estimate where the virus is and how many people have it... we are inviting doom by opening back up.

For once it was pleasing to this border-loving misanthrope to watch the shadow economy hum along. The Central American lawn crews still rumbled through the neighborhood, the trucks of Mexican construction workers still arrived to build the boxy, lot-filling new houses on the sites of the teardowns, while otherwise, the neighborhood temporarily took on a sleepy small-town feel, which families out riding bikes took gleeful advantage of.

It lent that just that air of normalcy, to see somebody doing something. Some people were immune to the shutdown, as they should be, given the nature of their work. But the mayor, who's in heaven, finally noticed there was one still-functioning sector of the local economy that he had overlooked, and ordered a stop to construction yesterday. We're to turn them in. "See something - say something!"

Normalcy? Why would you imagine that was the goal? It will all be worth if just one - just one - person is saved from voting for Trump in November.

Went out for a walk this am to the strip center about a mile from the house. Fair number of families out for a walk. Few cars. Some (but I'd say fewer) yard crews are out.

Construction on a new halal grocery is ongoing, crew at work putting in a turn lane at a new Chevron station, and a crew remodeling a house across the lake. One restaurant was closed for 30 days for remodeling. Vet (in mask) was taking patients one at a time, with waiting area in the parking lot. BOA micro-office open. Liquor store open, offering curbside pickup.

Got a call yesterday from Subaru offering pick up and delivery to do an air-bag recall. I took them up on it. They picked it up this am, "don't need to sign anything, just drop they keys on this clipboard". They sanitized the car before they left, and will sanitize it again after they bring it back.

I told the guy doing the pickup I thought this was a good idea - keeps their staff busy, Subaru pays for the recall work, the customers don't need the car now, shifts work from busy to not-busy period, no traffic makes it easier to move the cars. Turns out the guy doing the pick up was the service manager, and it was his idea. Very heads up.

For example, I think we could allow any firm to reopen that does not deal with the public and where all the employees wear masks.

I should probably note that this is how Shanghai reopened businesses -- they stated that any business was permitted to open as long as it could provide each employee one mask per day. (I assume that businesses were also allowed to reopen selectively, providing masks to employees who had to come to work and not providing them to employees who remained furloughed -- but I have no direct knowledge of this.)

There are some occupations—construction of buildings or roads—which has separation built in. And, there are some projects which can be sped up because people are off the road. So, you could use both features to correct problems at network interchanges or roads where their repair would otherwise slow down traffic.

+1 A friend of mine mused just that - this would be a great time to be doing the sort of road projects that otherwise must take place largely at night.

+100
Accelerate some infrastructure projects - it's a golden opportunity.

On the other hand, giving the money to the states to balance their budgets, or to the education establishment, might be more compatible with the larger goal of burning everything down.

Money already spent on bailouts.

Also, be innovative on how you could reconfigure mass transit facilities to make them less likely to spread disease or be constructed so that if you have to hold onto something it will be cleaned for the next person. How about a poll that has a cleaning dispenser slide up and down it dispensing sanitizer. How about wipes as you enter and disposal bags as you leave.

Let's get creative with places that are hubs or major nodes.\\Including airports...let's have TSA workers swabbed weekly or daily.

Let's focus on network nodes that bring that connect to disparate places which have various rates of infection.

I really wish people would stop claiming that people who are concerned about the economic impact of months of shutdown are monsters who want to let millions die. There's always a tradeoff between number of acceptable deaths vs. economic impact of restrictions, even with the flu. Every time we give a kidney to a teenager instead of a 70 year old, we're making a value judgement about whose life is worth more.

Physical death is not the only variable worth being concerned about. There's tons of people out there that have a lot of things going on in their lives besides this. There's people in abusive homes who are quarantined with their abusive parents or spouses. There's people who just got a cancer diagnosis who might not want to spend their last months indoors. There's people that just bought their first home that don't want to lose their job and have it foreclosed.

When people talk about the economy, they speak in abstract terms and intangible dollars and cents, but all of that represents, in the aggregate, tangible costs to human beings -not millions, but hundreds of millions of them.

Seriously, who is talking about months of shutdown? Even the Chinese didn't do that, and it is extremely unlikely that even Italy or Spain will.

That is the number that I've heard being bandied about by health care workers. 8-12 weeks is what I heard.

Hubei spent 11 weeks under shut down. That's how many months?

Interesting that both responses use weeks as their measure, not months.

They are both at least 2 months. You are being pedantic, instead of just admitting you were wrong.

I was wrong. Hubei shut down for less than three months, and health professionals are recommending 2 to 3 months. Sounds really dramatic when you say less than three months, or two to three months, doesn't it?

3 months is a fucking long time for people who need to make rent.

People aren't as rich as they think they are? Particularly as I though this was standard financial planning advice - 'This is why it's important to build an emergency fund of three to six months' worth of living expenses.'

You don't know many renters. If people could pack away 3-6 months worth of living expenses, they wouldn't be renting. Most renters I have met, including myself, when I was a renter, pretty much have about half of their next months rent on hand during the month. They get paid, they pay the rent and other bills, then they wait for the next paycheck.
It wasn't until after I graduated from college and had a full time salary I started to save to make a down payment. This is even worse now with high rents in major cities and student loan payments to make. Trust me, nobody who has recently graduated college has 6 months worth of living expenses just lying around.

I'll also point out that a lot of younger people who are renters are both (a) least likely to be at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID, and (b) most likely to be out of work because they work retail, food service, or other "non-essential" jobs.

The effect of lockdowns and quarantines right now is effectively making the young give up their jobs and livelihoods to save the very old, particularly the very old who are on their last legs. And nobody is acknowledging that.

'And nobody is acknowledging that.'

Or this, quoting from a March 24 article. "While fatalities were highest in people over 85 years old, catching COVID-19 can result in hospitalization and admission to an intensive care unit for a range of ages, it said. Of the more than 500 people known to be hospitalized, 18% were 45-54 years and 20% were aged 20-44 years.

Of those admitted to intensive care, 36% were aged 45-64 years and 12% were aged 20-44 years. No ICU admissions were reported among people 19 years or younger."

The really interesting number, which is nowhere to be found yet, is how many of those not so old ICU admissions will never be able to breathe without assistance again. The gap between recovered and cases is gaping, and likely includes everyone still on a ventilator, even after 6 weeks.

We will know much more in a couple of more months, at which point it will be fascinating to read what people think about potentially thousands of people under 64 years old requiring breathing assistance for the rest of their lives.

You realize that there are a lot more 20-44 year olds as a percentage of population than 45-64 year olds, and still more 45-64 year olds than 65-80 year olds. Right? Percentage of the numbers admitted to a hospital is not reflective of the distribution of disease severity, because there a lot more 20 year olds out there in the general population than there are are 80 year olds.

https://newyork.areaconnect.com/statistics.htm

Here's the age distribution in new york. About 12% of the population is 65+. About 40% of the populaton is 20-44.

" And nobody is acknowledging that."

Well, this has been debated to death on these pages. It's not exactly a secret. Congress even passed a stimulus to help smooth things over for people. Extra unemployment benefits, sick leave pay, even outright cash. States will add their own relief policies to the mix. One always has the option to temporarily do "essential" work. Grocery stores and Amazon are hiring like mad just to keep up with demand. Of course this doesn't directly address the fact that real "nonessential" work still needs to be done but its a start.

Well, for all of the decades I have rented, it would never have been a problem to pay six months of living expenses from savings.

Hazel Meade +10 points, clear eyed comments.

+1, I think Hazel is making the best case in this subthread.

She ignores the fact that federal, state, and local governments and businesses are all making adjustments. Nobody is ignoring tradeoffs. Hard decisions have to be made in a time of decision action.

I couldn't believe that Tyler, or Straussian Tyler, or Tyrone - linked to those "Ezra Klein sentiments" in that other post. Even if merely to set up a melee in the comments (it is strange that he seems to be doing that lately, versus pitching his voice over our heads at the people who matter). I had actually read those sentiments (a 2-second read!) yesterday, and naively imagined T.C. was linking to something more substantial, if fundamentally stupid in the signature EK way.

There is always in me a womanish compulsion to look for the beautiful thing in whatever, and so I've entertained the thought: isn't it amazing the way that *this* culture - ! - should seem to be going in so strongly for Choose Life (even if thoughtlessly and shallowly and fearfully conformity-driven) - at the far frontier of existence that is extreme old age in a nursing home.

I recently took a new part-time job that (ironically) takes me into nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, etc. My internal reaction to life in such places is evidently so out of the mainstream that I now realize, blushingly, I don't even have the standing to live in polite society. This experience has certainly opened up a further fault line for me, from y'all; I expect it will not be the last such.

I think part of what is going on here is that the partisan Democratic base smells blood and they know that if there is a severe economic downturn that will probably prevent Trump from being reelected. Consequently they do not only not give a damn if the economy goes into recession, they are eagerly anticipating it. And much as I share their opinion of Trump, I care more about having a healthy economy.

Conversely, it's possible that some people might be eager to restart the economy ASAP to try to save Trump. It's sad that this whole situation is so politicized. But there is, or should be, a legitimate middle ground where we are willing to admit that a certain number of deaths of mostly elderly people with serious health problems is an acceptable tradeoff for letting millions of people keep their jobs and livelihoods. We should be debating what that number is rather than posting facebook memes accusing each other of wanting to kill millions of people for the safe of "profits".

Let's hope that the "all R's are monsters who want to murder old people THEY ACTUALLY THINK THIS WAY OMG" talk is a rearguard action by Josh Barro-like media people who've realized how much they don't want to miss their summer vacations, and they got their trillion!-dollar thing, and it means we're actually about to pull back from the brink.

I see you've visited Facebook as well.

What's ridiculous is "it's the economy, stupid" was the slogan Clinton won on. Here we are 25 years later, and its "fuck the economy, people's lives are at stake!" and anyone who says otherwise only cares about "profits".

Haha, no, I don't have Facebook; MR is my Facebook, and is plenty.

I'm reading between the lines on your comment ...

I watched one parent go through the assisted living / memory care path at home, and a mother-in-law do it in a facility. Both were well taken care of, as such things go. I'd say both had negative quality of life the last two years they were alive. With the couple of exceptions, the other residents were in a similar state.

My response was to ensure my medical directives have explicit DNR and "no heroic means" directions, and make it very clear to my family that was under those conditions my wish was palliative care only.

Intubating an 80 years old for mechanically supported respiration is not usually doing them much of a favor.

Especially if they already have chronic liver disease or kidney failure.

I suspect if we lived in medieval times, people would have named this disease the "Angel of Mercy".

Since March 21, they have not put anyone over 80 on a ventilator.

And they should all lose their license for violation of the Hippocratic oath.

“‘Essential activities’ has no objective definition.“ Proof: Washington’s governor Inslee has proclaimed a stay-at-home order and published a list of essential businesses. “Cannabis retail,” an industry that was illegal five years ago, is on the list. Liquor stores, which were state-run about a decade ago, are not. I would love to see the peer-reviewed scientific publication on which this fine distinction is based.

I love this comment more than I can say.

Cannabis legalization began as a medical issue...alcohol is not medicinal.

Is this a good time to be pushing people into cooking up backyard gin?

You can buy liquor at grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. in WA, so it's not like liquor is banned and weed is legal right now.

Let's make being at home or outside enjoyable during a shutdown. And, let's create things now that we will enjoy later.

For example, I've asked an architectural historian to identify houses he thinks should be on a walking tour, and provide commentary. I plan to go out, with my wife, and take pictures of these structures, and make a video, combining the pictures and the commentary, or make a playlist of audio, so that as you walk the neighborhood, you listen to the architect describe the buildings.

None of this involves being near anyone, except my wife.

You can do the same thing by contacting your local historical society and asking if you can do a remote project for them using the audio or visual archives, or if you do catalogue searching to create a playlist or list relevant to a certain topic.

Quarantine can be quality time.

Let's say you flee NYC to another residence.

Will the area you flee to tell you that they will not provide healthcare at their hospital and require you to go back to where you came.

Will hospitals who receive kids with corona virus who got it in Florida be told to go back to Florida and use their healthcare system, or will one state impose quarantines on persons who arrive from another state, and if they turn positive during the quarantine, tell them, too bad, your decision. You go to the end of the line.

At this stage, testing non-critical cases is pointless, shutting things down to stop the disease is pointless. It will eventually infect everyone unless there's a vaccine, so it's now just a question of balancing hospital capacity with expected hospitalizations. Here is my proposal:

1. Assume national lockdown began on March 23rd, so it should end by Friday April 3rd to catch the first wave of cases and give people time to settle down.
2. Mandate companies allow all individuals over 65 or who are considered part of the at risk population by guidelines or a doctors note, or who haven't been allowed to return per point 3 below to work from home or claim full unemployment benefits from now until we have a vaccine.
3. Allow all businesses where social distancing is possible to reopen on April 6th with a specific set of sanitary guidelines and allow people to return to work by randomly drawing first letters of last names (maybe in batches of 9?)
4. Have the government purchase 2 year term $ 1 million life insurance policies on behalf of everyone in the at risk population in (1) to compensate them for their risk and as a gesture of good faith.

Wash your hands, cover your mouth, get back to work, and end this totalitarian experiment?

Any workplace that does not involve daily contact with the public should be able to open now, or never shutdown in the first place. I'm in automation and manufacturing and we're working full-time (overtime actually) and everything is fine. Gyms need to open up as well.

how exactly does a virus distinguish between the" public" and a "workplace employee"?

“checks worker temperatures”

I thought it would be clear to everyone by now that checking temperature is worthless for controlling the spread of this virus. Too many asymptomatic carriers.

Useful commentary. The various state orders (Idaho and Washington, from my own experience) are so shoddily worded and employ such incredibly foggy and imprecise logic ("essential" is not remotely defined) as to render them practically worthless.

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