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Home country: USA
Current location: Southern California
Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
Number of posts: 40,055

Journal Archives

Biden leads Trump by 7 points in Arizona

Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump among voters in Arizona, according to a new survey that has consistently shown the former vice president ahead in a state that hasn't chosen a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton.

An OH Predictive Insights poll found that Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is leading Trump by 7 points in Arizona, which Clinton last secured for Democrats in a three-way contest in 1996.

The latest poll shows support for Biden at 50% compared to Trump's 43%, a lead for the former vice president in the organization's third straight survey, which polls 600 likely general election voters in Arizona and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The Democratic candidate has repeatedly led Trump in state polling since February 2019, with just one exception in December that saw support for Trump at 46% compared to Biden's 44%.


The 'Swedish Model' Is a Failure, Not a Panacea

When looking at death statistics, it may seem obvious, but it is imperative to bear in mind what they refer to. Each number is a human being, whose death can bring crushing pain to many others, including relatives and friends. At this writing, Sweden has reported 3,460 deaths. That’s 343 deaths per million people, one of the highest mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world.

What is most attractive about Sweden’s approach to observers around the world is its impact on the economy. But there too, Stockholm’s decision to avoid a shutdown also looks less effective than its fans have hoped.

Riksbank, the Swedish central bank, has offered two economic projections for this year, both dismal. The brighter one predicts a GDP contraction of 6.9 percent; the other, with different assumptions, predicts a 9.7 percent drop of GDP. In either case, it’s a major recession.

Those numbers are no better than Sweden’s neighbors. Norway is projecting a 5.5 percent drop in GDP, Finland and Denmark about 6 to 6.5 percent. However lively the restaurant scene looks in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden’s economy will still suffer from disrupted manufacturing supply chains and a collapse in exports.


"Pro-life" Republicans: Grandma's had a good run.


The United States is a country to be pitied

By Eugene Robinson 
Washington Post Columnist
May 14, 2020 at 2:37 p.m. PDT

Only a handful of nations on Earth have arguably done a worse job of handling the coronavirus pandemic than the United States. What has happened to us? How did we become so dysfunctional? When did we become so incompetent?

The shocking and deadly failures by President Trump and his administration have been well documented — we didn’t isolate, we didn’t test, we didn’t contact trace, we waited too long to lock down. But Trump’s gross unfitness is only part of the problem. The phrase “American exceptionalism” has always meant different things to different people — that this nation should be admired, or perhaps that it should be feared. Not until now, at least in my lifetime, has it suggested that the United States should be pitied.

Thanks to Trump, we have no coherent national plan to survive the pandemic. But also thanks to the federal government — and I include Congress as well as the president — we lack the kind of sturdy economic safety net that protects unemployed workers and shut-down business owners in some of the hardest-hit European countries — nations that once looked up to the United States as a model. In the Netherlands, for example, the government is granting employers up to 90 percent of their payroll costs so they can keep paying their workers rather than resort to furloughs or layoffs. That kind of continuity ought to speed recovery when reopening becomes safe.

Here, nearly 40 million workers have filed for unemployment.


The Covid-19 Spread Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them

A long read, but super interesting and informative. Lots of numbers and facts, no opinion or politics, just practical information and advice on how to avoid infection. It was hard to pick just 4 key paragraphs, but here they are:

In order to get infected you need to get exposed to an infectious dose of the virus; the estimate is that you need about ~1000 SARS-CoV2 viral particles for an infection to take hold, but this still needs to be determined experimentally. That could be 1000 viral particles you receive in one breath or from one eye-rub, or 100 viral particles inhaled with each breath over 10 breaths, or 10 viral particles with 100 breaths. Each of these situations can lead to an infection.How much Virus is released into the environment?

A Toilet flush: Without a seat to close, a single flush releases ~8000 droplets into the air. If the person using the restroom before you was infected, you have a chance of contracting the virus via breathing the air in the bathroom. While the paper in question did not look for live virus, it is clear that infected people are releasing, at a minimum, viral RNA, in bowel movements. Until further experiments are done to determine whether is is just viral fragments, or infectious material, I would avoid public bathrooms or wait a few minutes before entering so gravity can bring the droplets to the floor.

A Cough: A single cough releases about 3,000 droplets and droplets travels at 50 miles per hour. Most droplets are large, and fall quickly (gravity), but many do stay in the air and can travel across a room in a few seconds.

Restaurants: Some really great shoe-leather epidemiology demonstrated clearly the effect of a single asymptomatic carrier in a restaurant environment (see below). The infected person (A1) sat at a table and had dinner with 9 friends. Dinner took about 1 to 1.5 hours. During this meal, the asymptomatic carrier released low-levels of virus into the air from their breathing. Airflow (from the restaurant's various airflow vents) was from right to left. Approximately 50% of the people at the infected person's table became sick over the next 7 days. 75% of the people on the adjacent downwind table became infected. And even 2 of the 7 people on the upwind table were infected (believed to happen by turbulent airflow). No one at tables E or F became infected, they were out of the main airflow from the air conditioner on the right to the exhaust fan on the left of the room.

More happy talk today in the Rose Garden. No promised delivery dates.

It's a reprise of his Rose Gorden dog and pony show from over a month ago, when we were promised a Google site we can go to for testing locations available to us. They're not even promising to do that this time. But one thing they're not doing this time that is good: they're not shaking hands with Needy Amin.

And as usual, the Q&A with the reporters is his nonresponsive whining, insults and lying.

Good idea, Cha! Yup, that should be a requirement!

Georgia's Governor Risks Lives to Reopen His State--Just Not His Family's

“PUBLIC TOURS CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily canceling public tours until further notice to ensure the health and safety of Georgia families.”

That announcement greets anyone who goes to the “Tour the Mansion” page on the state of Georgia website. Gov. Brian Kemp was happy to reopen everything from barber shops to tattoo parlors to movie theaters to bowling alleys.

But he was suddenly possessed with an abundance of caution at the prospect of admitting folks to the governor's mansion.


Same with White House tours. They were one of the first things shut down (WH tours were canceled indefinitely starting March 11) and there is no talk of starting them up again.

Comparing the age demographics of flu vs. Covid-19 deaths, one thing is clear:

Flu deaths can reasonably be described as vastly consisting of people ove 65.


Covid-19 deaths, on the other hand, are over 50% below 75. This disease kills a lot of people of all ages, and all medical conditions. This is not the flu.


Asymptomatic Transmission, the Achilles' Heel of Current Strategies to Control Covid-19

Traditional infection-control and public health strategies rely heavily on early detection of disease to contain spread. When Covid-19 burst onto the global scene, public health officials initially deployed interventions that were used to control severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, including symptom-based case detection and subsequent testing to guide isolation and quarantine. This initial approach was justified by the many similarities between SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, including high genetic relatedness, transmission primarily through respiratory droplets, and the frequency of lower respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) with both infections developing a median of 5 days after exposure. However, despite the deployment of similar control interventions, the trajectories of the two epidemics have veered in dramatically different directions. Within 8 months, SARS was controlled after SARS-CoV-1 had infected approximately 8100 persons in limited geographic areas. Within 5 months, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 2.6 million people and continues to spread rapidly around the world.

What explains these differences in transmission and spread? A key factor in the transmissibility of Covid-19 is the high level of SARS-CoV-2 shedding in the upper respiratory tract,1 even among presymptomatic patients, which distinguishes it from SARS-CoV-1, where replication occurs mainly in the lower respiratory tract.2 Viral loads with SARS-CoV-1, which are associated with symptom onset, peak a median of 5 days later than viral loads with SARS-CoV-2, which makes symptom-based detection of infection more effective in the case of SARS CoV-1.3 With influenza, persons with asymptomatic disease generally have lower quantitative viral loads in secretions from the upper respiratory tract than from the lower respiratory tract and a shorter duration of viral shedding than persons with symptoms,4 which decreases the risk of transmission from paucisymptomatic persons (i.e., those with few symptoms).
Arons et al. now report in the Journal an outbreak of Covid-19 in a skilled nursing facility in Washington State where a health care provider who was working while symptomatic tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 on March 1, 2020.5 Residents of the facility were then offered two facility-wide point-prevalence screenings for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal swabs on March 13 and March 19–20, along with collection of information on symptoms the residents recalled having had over the preceding 14 days. Symptoms were classified into typical (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), atypical, and none. Among 76 residents in the point-prevalence surveys, 48 (63%) had positive rRT-PCR results, with 27 (56%) essentially asymptomatic, although symptoms subsequently developed in 24 of these residents (within a median of 4 days) and they were reclassified as presymptomatic. Quantitative SARS-CoV-2 viral loads were similarly high in the four symptom groups (residents with typical symptoms, those with atypical symptoms, those who were presymptomatic, and those who remained asymptomatic). It is notable that 17 of 24 specimens (71%) from presymptomatic persons had viable virus by culture 1 to 6 days before the development of symptoms. Finally, the mortality from Covid-19 in this facility was high; of 57 residents who tested positive, 15 (26%) died.

An important finding of this report is that more than half the residents of this skilled nursing facility (27 of 48) who had positive tests were asymptomatic at testing. Moreover, live coronavirus clearly sheds at high concentrations from the nasal cavity even before symptom development. Although the investigators were not able to retrospectively elucidate specific person-to-person transmission events and although symptom ascertainment may be unreliable in a group in which more than half the residents had cognitive impairment, these results indicate that asymptomatic persons are playing a major role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Symptom-based screening alone failed to detect a high proportion of infectious cases and was not enough to control transmission in this setting. The high mortality (>25%) argues that we need to change our current approach for skilled nursing facilities in order to protect vulnerable, enclosed populations until other preventive measures, such as a vaccine or chemoprophylaxis, are available.
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