Coronavirus: How dangerous a threat?

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The teachers are the ones more worried about schools staying opened. There have been sporadic infections in Australian schools usually only one or two kids or one teacher, and one much larger outbreak in a school which was immediately closed for extra cleaning while self isolation and testing went on. Don't think there have been any Australian fatalities re schools so far. Australia has been using temporary closures, extra cleaning and online learning re schools but initially all schools were closed except for parents who had to work and could not make alternative arrangements for their children.
This going on much longer will render teachers obsolete. One would think the unions might want to avoid over-playing their hand.
 
So you completely ignore the risk in keeping kids home. Okay.



I'm speaking to bad decisions in our recent past and using this as an example.



That's not 100% true... but you prove my point.

So I'll ask the logical question: in your view, when do kids go back to school? What are the metrics? How would you justify the damage we know will happen to kids for the period of time there are kept out of school?
I talked about the risk of staying home, but you chopped that out when you replied. So I didn't ignore it, but the risk of C19 is still greater IMO.

It is 100% true in my area. So your point was? Its a lot easier to get a new shoulder than a C19 test here.

In my view the kids go back to school when *EDIT: No new cases for 14 days, and acceptable safety measure are in place for kids and adults in schools. I justify the slight damage, by avoiding the greater damage.

*EDIT: for clarification
 
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Here’s some more on that Rancourt analysis arguing that N95 and surgical masks don’t work. First, some simple physics. Rancourt says, “the filtration material itself of N95 (average pore size ~0.3−0.5 μm) does not block virion penetration.” This is simply false. It’s true that a single virus particle is smaller than the average pore size. But this isn’t relevant to the ability of the mask to block such particles, for two reasons. First, masks block particles smaller than their average pore size. Particles of the pore size, 300-500 nm in fact are blocked least efficiently by the mask:

N95 have the worst filtration efficiency for particles around 0.3”, Marr said. “If you’re smaller than that those are collected even better. It’s counter-intuitive because masks do not work like sieving out larger particles. It’s not like pasta in a colander, and small ones don’t get through.”

N95 masks actually have that name because they are 95% efficient at stopping particles in their least efficient particle size range—in this case those around 0.3 microns.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/11/fact-check-n-95-filters-not-too-large-stop-covid-19-particles/5343537002/

Here’s a simple way of understanding why they can block smaller particles. Think of a commercial fisherman, trawling the ocean with a net. Suppose the net’s mesh is one foot square. Fairly large fish can get through this mesh, but many won’t. Why not? They get caught in the thread or rope of the net. It’s like that for the virus, only worse, because a virus has no eyes to guide it to the opening, and no means of locomotion to move through it. It’s floating randomly about in the air, and will stick to anything it bumps into. An additional factor is that the N95 masks have an electrostatic charge which attracts the virus and makes the filter in effect even stickier. Smaller particles accelerate towards these charges faster than larger ones.

A second point is that viruses don’t float about in the air in isolation. They’re collected into aerosols or droplets, which are several orders of magnitude larger in size than a single virus particle. So while a single virus particle averages maybe 125 nm, or less than half the diameter of the N95 pore, an aerosol containing viruses will typically be 2000-3000 nm, or larger. Rancourt is well aware of that, he provides this information, but he doesn’t emphasize that this means that most aerosol particles will easily be blocked by N95 masks.

Why not? Here we get to the nub of his argument. He cites a study by Balazy et al that he says supports his claim that masks don’t work. However, Balazy et al. don’t conclude that N95 masks fail to block viral particles at all. They simply point out that sometimes 95% of the particles aren’t blocked; it might be very slightly less (more than 94%!) under some conditions. They further show that ordinary surgical masks are much less protective. One mask they examined blocked about 85% of viral particles, while another only 20% (or less, depending on the size of the particles, and the air flow rate).

What Rancourt’s entire thesis hinges on is that this doesn’t matter. He says, “if the MID [mean effective dose] is amply surpassed by the virions carried in a single aerosol particle able to evade mask-capture, then the mask is of no practical utility”. So if a mask doesn’t block all viral particles, 100% of them, it’s useless. That seems to be the core of his claim.

In the first place, this logic only applies to use of the mask to protect the wearer, which is not why masks are being recommended. The main purpose of the mask is to protect others from the wearer. If the mask blocks only 20% of the viral particles exhaled by an infected someone—let alone 85-95%--that potentially makes a huge difference. It means the concentration of virus in the air surrounding that person is decreased by that amount. That might make all the difference in the world whether someone near that person gets infected. Even if it only takes one aerosol particle, the odds of the person breathing in that particle are decreased according to the concentration of the aerosol in the vicinity.

But second, as I pointed out upthread, Rancourt doesn’t know that a single aerosol particle is always going to be capable of infecting someone. In the first place, we don’t know how many virus copies are required for infection. A rough guess might be around one hundred, but I don’t think anyone really knows.

In the second place, we don’t know how many copies will be in an aerosol. Rancourt goes with an average virus size of .125 nm, and an aerosol particle of 2.5 nm. So the diameter of the aerosol particle is twenty times the diameter of one viral particle, or 8000 times the volume. But because smaller spheres can’t be packed into a larger sphere without gaps between them, the maximum number of virus copies that could form an aerosol of that size would probably be closer to 5000. But the aerosol also contains water, so the actual number of viral copies is likely to be much lower. Indeed, many aerosols may be composed mostly of water, with relatively few (or none, see below) viral particles attached.

Keep in mind that after a virus produces multiple copies of itself, the work it’s designed for is done. It has no way of packaging all these copies into a perfect little ball that can be exhaled out of the body in the direction of another victim. This process happens randomly. If a virus copy bumps into an aerosol, it will attach to it.

So what we need to do is measure the number of virus copies that are actually exhaled in an aerosol. One study reported that for all but one of three dozen subjects, less than 100 influenza viral copies were exhaled per cough. The median was less than 10 copies. This study also reported that copies exhaled were reduced by wearing surgical masks.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994911/

Another study measured the number of copies exhaled through breathing. One subject exhaled 20 copies per minute. The other subjects exhaled less than three copies, and in some cases, none. This study claimed that a single active viral particle could constitute roughly an infectious dose, but also noted that only about 0.3% of the viral particles they detected were active. This same study also found that a large number of aerosol particles were exhaled, in many cases, several thousand or more per liter, but apparently most of them didn’t actually contain virus.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2442192/

In summary, masks do block many virus particles from passing through them, which means any infected person wearing one should be reducing the risk of people nearby. Rancourt’s entire thesis seems to rest on his claim that a single aerosol particle is sufficient to infect someone, but AFAIK, he provides no direct evidence of this, not even a study demonstrating how many SARS-CoV-2 copies may be present in an aerosol.

WH suggests that the pressure to open and threats of financial retaliation for those school systems that don't open is making it's own point.
The WH doesn't fund schools, of course. Mostly, my property taxes do.

I know several personally: neighbor who had quad-bypass in May, colleague of wife open heart in April, colleague of mine chemo all along, spouse of colleague dialyses all along (and scheduled for transplant this summer).
Good grief, that's ugly. It's bad enough having to have those procedures, without at the same time worrying that just by being in a hospital, your chances of getting the virus are greater.

What drives up infections much, much more is leisure (pubs, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, fitness clubs, choirs, etc.), so if you allow that, you should definitely allow reopening schools.
Couldn't agree more. That isn't an argument per se for opening schools, though, as much as for shutting down bars. And pointing to Europe, as the Administration has done, ignores the obvious fact that the case rates in the communities surrounding these schools are orders of magnitude lower than they are in the U.S.

The U.S. is in a very precarious place now. The one bright spot in the latest spike of cases was that the number of deaths was steadily declining. It didn't seem possible that could last, and it hasn't. For the last three days, the number of deaths has been at the highest level in a month. It appears that this number is going to spike, too, though it's too soon to be sure. If deaths continue to rise, perhaps to the levels we had in April, around 2000 a day, or even more, then what? What if large numbers of people refuse to stay home, and the virus continues to spread? In April, we at least were starting from a lower baseiine of active cases, and people were not yet weary of staying home.
 
Great news, Disney World is opening again.

Seems to me that this crisis is exposing politicians who think reality will bend itself to fit their vision. Following advice about 'opening up', i.e. gradually, and for every new step wait for 2 weeks of more decline in infections/hospitalizations, would have avoided so much damage now - health-wise and economic. But... politicians thought they could cut corners... I hope we learn a great deal here - we'll need it to tackle even bigger challenges, such as climate change.
 
That;s funny Scott, "kids must get back to school to avoid life-long damage"..."teachers will be obsolete" who's going to work at the support wards that are so important to your assertion?
Yeah, teachers have the leverage here. The whole house of cards is being propped up by them. Most parents have learned the value of teachers since March. Education by instructional video has been revealed as the paper tiger that most people in the field already realized.
 
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I talked about the risk of staying home, but you chopped that out when you replied. So I didn't ignore it, but the risk of C19 is still greater IMO.

It is 100% true in my area. So your point was? Its a lot easier to get a new shoulder than a C19 test here.

In my view the kids go back to school when *EDIT: No new cases for 14 days, and acceptable safety measure are in place for kids and adults in schools. I justify the slight damage, by avoiding the greater damage.

*EDIT: for clarification
No new cases For 14 days? Can you point to anyplace where this is currently the positive test rate? What are acceptable safety measures in yourview?
 
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Great news, Disney World is opening again.

Seems to me that this crisis is exposing politicians who think reality will bend itself to fit their vision. Following advice about 'opening up', i.e. gradually, and for every new step wait for 2 weeks of more decline in infections/hospitalizations, would have avoided so much damage now - health-wise and economic. But... politicians thought they could cut corners... I hope we learn a great deal here - we'll need it to tackle even bigger challenges, such as climate change.
In light of everything.... Disneyland/world opening up is as in your face as it gets. Looking forward to the critical press coverage.
 
Yeah, teachers have the leverage here. The whole house of cards is being propped up by them. Most parents have learned the value of teachers since March. Education by instructional video has been revealed as the paper tiger that most people in the field already realized.
Keep kids out of school for the next school year and watch what happens.
 
Who is planning on keeping kids out of school for the entire 20-21 school year?
The "no positives for 14 days" "acceptable safety measure " crowd. California Teachers Association & many others.

Cool article and potentially great news... but how does Seth Zost et al evade PC scrutiny when referencing the Zika Virus? Isn't that racist?
 
Yeah, teachers have the leverage here. The whole house of cards is being propped up by them. Most parents have learned the value of teachers since March. Education by instructional video has been revealed as the paper tiger that most people in the field already realized.
Education by instructional video? Well, that would be awesome... My son has had one of them in the past months- a video that was already on youtube, in music. In most subjects it was "page 150, task 14,15,16,19" or "vocabulary page 130-132" and "fill out the worksheets of this week".
In the media they say the technical side is not there, they are not allowed to use zoom or whatsapp for data reasons... but in fact his school has everything they need, including an own video module. They hardly used these things, though.

Personally I am more concerned about the lack of peers if that had gone on much longer, because no, 12 year old boys do not tend to talk on the phone for hours.
My son and his friends usually play together after school, in a group, without arranging, none of that happens now. He's seeing a friend here and there, but that's like twice or three times a week, never in a group, and the rest of the time he spends with me, his mother... Not so great for a boy in early puberty.

Now it's summer holidays anyway. After that probably most things will be back to normal, if there is not a huge second wave or a local lockdown.
But I think it's not just a question of open the schools/ close the schools. There are very different ways to do it. Of course we mostly have a class system here, which differs very much from a course system. If you can form tight, small groups of certain pupils, have the teachers tested regularly, it should be very much okay in areas where there are not many cases.
Boarding schools are a special topic.
 
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No new cases For 14 days? Can you point to anyplace where this is currently the positive test rate? What are acceptable safety measures in you view?
My opinion is that the risk of C19 is greater than the sum of other risks.

You pushing doesn't change my opinion. You asked, what metrics I need, I answered 14 days with no new cases, you pushed to point to a place with that situation...I can't so we shouldn't open schools until that is the situation IMO.

-Most kids have been out of school just longer than their normal summer break (obviously it will be longer). Granted they haven't had full normal activity options, but why are people clamoring about the damage done? There has long been discussion about the loss of learning over breaks, but why now are people suddenly concerned about he emotional damage of this break? Yes, everyone has more mental, emotional stress due to C19 life, but in this discussion of time away from school why is this three months any different than last summer? Isolation could be a point, but I think that you would be hard pressed to find kids who aren't connecting with peers in family/neighbor groups. Also as I shared above, the school district here has programs for at risk kids, the Y is still running camps, refugee/immigrant groups have summer activities. Our bike parks, skate parks, even our water parks our open.

-Also as I shared above less than 1% of kids per year are abused. That is likely under reported so round it up one or two percent, but child abuse isn't a big enough factor to be the reason to rush to open schools. Simply opening schools doesn't eliminate child abuse either, it just reduces the window of time that kids are abused. That being said, I'd love to end/reduce child abuse, but that's a different discussion.

What I really hope is that there is a turning point/breakthrough and this entire debate no longer matters, but at this point, my opinion is that the risk of C19 is greater than the sum of other risks.
 
You pushing doesn't change my opinion. You asked, what metrics I need, I answered 14 days with no new cases, you pushed to point to a place with that situation...I can't so we shouldn't open schools until that is the situation IMO.
Just spit balling here... what if that is never the situation?

What I really hope is that there is a turning point/breakthrough and this entire debate no longer matters, but at this point, my opinion is that the risk of C19 is greater than the sum of other risks.
And that's fair. We just disagree.
 
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The "no positives for 14 days" "acceptable safety measure " crowd. California Teachers Association & many others.

Cool article and potentially great news... but how does Seth Zost et al evade PC scrutiny when referencing the Zika Virus? Isn't that racist?
Individuals will be given the choice in what risk they are willing to accept. And some will err on the side of caution. That is actually good because having hybrid learning will allow some of the teachers with comorbidity an avenue to teach in a more safe environment. Today, a big district in Phoenix has announced that the first two months will be 100% remote learning. Not shocking given the numbers down there. I have not seen any district announce that the whole year will be remote.

This comes up a lot online, but naming guidelines for viruses were changed in 2015. Out of practicality, old names that would not be allowed now were grandfathered in.
Personally I am more concerned about the lack of peers if that had gone on much longer, because no, 12 year old boys do not tend to talk on the phone for hours.
My son and his friends usually play together after school, in a group, without arranging, none of that happens now. He's seeing a friend here and there, but that's like twice or three times a week, never in a group, and the rest of the time he spends with me, his mother... Not so great for a boy in early puberty.

Now it's summer holidays anyway. After that probably most things will be back to normal, if there is not a huge second wave or a local lockdown.
But I think it's not just a question of open the schools/ close the schools. There are very different ways to do it. Of course we mostly have a class system here, which differs very much from a course system. If you can form tight, small groups of certain pupils, have the teachers tested regularly, it should be very much okay in areas where there are not many cases.
I have heard people forming social pods to alleviate this kind of thing. The key is to minimize intermingling with other groups. I think schools will try to group the same students together as much as possible, but rigorous testing is beyond the budget for most districts at present. I hope it works out for the two of you.
 
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Just spit balling here... what if that is never the situation?



And that's fair. We just disagree.
I know that we will get past this, but I honestly can't/won't try to guess when, but since cases are still increasing, I doubt that it will be soon.

To add to my thoughts: when Boise schools decided to close in mid March I questioned it because at that point Idaho had zero positive tests (I'm sure that it was in Boise though ...HP, Micron, others international business based here). I felt that we should keep the kids in school as long as possible before shutting down because I guessed that it would be a long haul. Could we have safely gone another month? Maybe? One school board member said that their thinking was that by taking the week before spring break and the week of spring break would give scientist time to get on top of C19 (15 to zero thinking maybe). Obviously at that time NY and other locations were exploding so that was in their heads too when they extended it though April and then through the academic year. Things are much less safe now, so if it wasn't safe in May it certainly isn't safe now.

Now going back to my original point that safety isn't the number one school opening priority of politicians: the quote from the top was that the CDC guidelines are too tough and too expensive. If safety is the number one priority spend the money, do everything possible to keep everyone in a school well and alive.
 
I have not seen any district announce that the whole year will be remote.
Yet. You have not yet seen... it's coming. Trust me.

This comes up a lot online, but naming guidelines for viruses were changed in 2015. Out of practicality, old names that would not be allowed now were grandfathered in.
In other words, Zika, West Nile and Ebola are not at all racist then. Should we use this sort of thinking for other now racist terms? I ask because the English language and word meaning(s) are changing real fast these days.
 
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I'm not so sure. Nearly 40,000 Americans per year still contract HIV. Influenza, Marburg, SARS, MERS... Virus is still around.

Maybe tell me what you mean by "get past this."
I agree, I've been saying that (including on here) for a while. Virus and bacteria don't 'just go away' we find ways to reduce their impacts (vaccines, treatments, immunity, etc.).

By 'get past this' I mean past the stage of rapid spread, and high death rate, get it to some where like the flu, or other corona virus that we live with. The Spanish flu was really deadly for a few years, but I have never lived my life in fear of H1N1 (a little scare in '10).
 
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I agree, I've been saying that (including on here) for a while. Virus and bacteria don't 'just go away' we find ways to reduce their impacts (vaccines, treatments, immunity, etc.).

By 'get past this' I mean past the stage of rapid spread, and high death rate, get it to some where like the flu, or other corona virus that we live with. The Spanish flu was really deadly for a few years, but I have never lived my life in fear of H1N1 (a little scare in '10).
That's what I've been hoping we'd have several treatments by sometime this fall. I think if we have good treatments that work BEFORE you need to go to the hospital it could get us back to some semblance of normal. Now the two companies doing antibody treatments (Regeneron and Eli Lilly [I think is the second]). If we're lucky both will work well and get approval. In both cases they are doing trials of those hospitalized and those not severe enough to go to the hospital AND trials to see if it will work as a preventative. However, they are saying short term preventative that may last 1 to 3 months, but if it works can buy us time for a real vaccine.
 
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Yet. You have not yet seen... it's coming. Trust me.



In other words, Zika, West Nile and Ebola are not at all racist then. Should we use this sort of thinking for other now racist terms? I ask because the English language and word meaning(s) are changing real fast these days.
The first year I taught Immunology, I asked the class about Ebola and no one knew the etiology of the name. That was the year of the big outbreak. I doubt anybody knows what Zika signifies either. Or Marburg. But the trivial name also doesn't tell you much about the virus. SARS-Cov2 does. It gives you the disease pathology and the viral family. So it was partly about the stigma and partly about making the names more informative.

As for eradication, the only human pathogen people have ever eradicated by vaccine was smallpox. Polio is close and measles is theoretically possible. Any pathogen with an animal reservoir is effectively impossible to eradicate. Ebola is in this class. Unclear where this one fits, but I doubt we will get past COVID-19 as a society any time soon. But I am reading good things about the vaccine candidates. We can get a lot closer to normal than where we are at now. Once you start developing some immunity, the outbreaks will shrink a lot. Sporadic infections will be with us as long as most of us are alive IMO. Once something hits 200 countries, it is going to be endemic somewhere.
 
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The first year I taught Immunology, I asked the class about Ebola and no one knew the etiology of the name. That was the year of the big outbreak. I doubt anybody knows what Zika signifies either. Or Marburg. But the trivial name also doesn't tell you much about the virus. SARS-Cov2 does. It gives you the disease pathology and the viral family. So it was partly about the stigma and partly about making the names more informative.

As for eradication, the only human pathogen people have ever eradicated by vaccine was smallpox. Polio is close and measles is theoretically possible. Any pathogen with an animal reservoir is effectively impossible to eradicate. Ebola is in this class. Unclear where this one fits, but I doubt we will get past COVID-19 as a society any time soon. But I am reading good things about the vaccine candidates. We can get a lot closer to normal than where we are at now. Once you start developing some immunity, the outbreaks will shrink a lot. Sporadic infections will be with us as long as most of us are alive IMO. Once something hits 200 countries, it is going to be endemic somewhere.
As you know and understand a lot more about these things than I do I'll ask this question. Will a combination of a vaccine (or multiple vaccines) plus a treatment (or multiples) that can be used for people before they need to go to the hospital get us back to some semblance of normal? Glad you are seeing good things with the vaccine candidates and I'm sure you understand some of it more than most of us do. I know going to a phase 3 trail is a good thing and means there are positive indications. Would you think it would be a good idea for my husband to try to get into one of these vaccine trials if it's possible. I ask because he not only works at a hospital, but also has health issues which include both allergies to multiple things plus Rheumatoid Arthritis, or should he wait for something to get an approval?
 
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