Pandemic mitigation is counter-intuitive, but pretty well understood

posted by Jeff | Sunday, December 6, 2020, 10:38 PM | comments: 0

Diana went back to work today, for the first time in about nine months. The arts center is doing a series of outdoor events, so she'll be masked up on the front lawn of the facility, with people seated in little pods that are properly distanced. The decision to return to work is based on a lot of scientific advice that has accumulated over the last few months, which seems counter-intuitive if you compare to what we knew or assumed in March.

As a friend pointed out in one of our forums, the Japanese advice comes down to three simple "C" things: Avoid close contact, closed spaces and crowds. This simple advice really covers it in a succinct way that no American authorities have clearly expressed, and along with other cultural things, it certainly seems to be working for Japan. What that means is that a capacity-limited Walt Disney World is actually reasonably safe, as is an outdoor concert where people are forced to have lots of space apart. I'm sure it helps when there's strict enforcement of the rules, too.

You would think early on that small gatherings with family were a good idea, but it turns out they're a pretty terrible idea, and huge vectors for the spread of the disease. This is the part that's so counter-intuitive, because you wouldn't expect that having the grandparents over would be a high-risk activity. Of course, packing in a restaurant or bar has the expected results, and I'm not sure why that's so surprising.

The folks in the Dakotas who made it all political, masks and social distancing, are paying dearly for that right now. One in 800 people in North Dakota have died from Covid. That's not just out of infected people, that's the entire state population. I just don't understand the resistance to the relatively basic things that can help to keep the economy at least mostly functional and bodies out of refrigerated trucks.

Avoid close contact, closed spaces and crowds. You can certainly keep living your life with those restrictions.


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