The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Chagen
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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

Post by Khemehekis »

Chagen wrote:
01 Apr 2020 02:34
My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
:mrred:

Do they also believe that vaccines cause autism?
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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Chagen wrote:
01 Apr 2020 02:34
My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
[ɐ̰ːːːː˦˧˨˩]
Yeah no thy need the direct treatment.
Though I think that Germany's way of handling things may be a little panicky now, it's the result of the above for the first quarter of the year.
Also I'm just easily annoyed because my routine is gone, lol.
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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

Post by Salmoneus »

Worse places to be than Germany.

Germany's conducting 70,000 tests a day - and they started testing in January. The UK conducts under 10,000 a day. It's not clear why this is: lab capacity has been increased to manage around 100,000 a day, but the labs are sitting empty. The government says that we don't have enough chemicals to do the tests - but the industry association says they have provided as much of the chemicals as they've been asked for, and that there is no foreseeable shortfall in supply in prospect. Other companies say they're able to supply complete test kits if asked, while it's also been pointed out that many university labs have plenty of testing kits stored, which are not yet being used.

A concrete problem with this: currently, 125,000 medical staff are off work in self-isolation. However, tests on this population show that on average 85% of them don't actually have the coronavirus, and could immediately go back to work. Unfortunately, only 2,000 of them have actually been tested, so we can't tell which...

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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How every body's looks and discourse in the street is of death and nothing else; and few people going up and down, that the town is like a place distressed and forsaken. (Samuel Pepys, 17th-century diarist from London, 1665-08-30)
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

Post by cedh »

For anyone who's interested in seeing things through the eyes of the virus: https://xkcd.com/2287/

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Salmoneus wrote:
02 Apr 2020 02:39
Worse places to be than Germany.

Germany's conducting 70,000 tests a day - and they started testing in January. The UK conducts under 10,000 a day. It's not clear why this is: lab capacity has been increased to manage around 100,000 a day, but the labs are sitting empty. The government says that we don't have enough chemicals to do the tests - but the industry association says they have provided as much of the chemicals as they've been asked for, and that there is no foreseeable shortfall in supply in prospect. Other companies say they're able to supply complete test kits if asked, while it's also been pointed out that many university labs have plenty of testing kits stored, which are not yet being used.

A concrete problem with this: currently, 125,000 medical staff are off work in self-isolation. However, tests on this population show that on average 85% of them don't actually have the coronavirus, and could immediately go back to work. Unfortunately, only 2,000 of them have actually been tested, so we can't tell which...
In Finland, testing has been targeted to health care staff all the time.
Now they just found out that oh we actually do have the testing capacity and there is a firm within our borders that can produce the tests, nobody just told it. Now they are discussing that there is not staff to do the testing.
Then the argument was that testing cannot do anything if we cannot tract the contacts of the infected. But tracking the contacts shouldn't need any kind of education.
But the government seems to be learning.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Chagen wrote:
01 Apr 2020 02:34
My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
My attitude was close to that during swine flu. Swine flu never developed to a pandemic and the vaccination tuned out to be vain but I really couldn't know that.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Omzinesý wrote:
02 Apr 2020 13:27
Chagen wrote:
01 Apr 2020 02:34
My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
My attitude was close to that during swine flu. Swine flu never developed to a pandemic and the vaccination tuned out to be vain but I really couldn't know that.
It DID develop into a pandemic (it infected 10-20% of the global population), and it killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Of course, flu does this every year.

[the really strange thing about swine flu was that of those hundreds of thousands of deaths, between two thirds and four fifths were of people under 65, compare to under a fifth for ordinary flu. The overall death count wasn't abnormally high, but the lifeyears lost (the estimated time people would otherwise have lived who instead died of swine flu) was far higher]

It's now apparently verboten to mention covid and flu in the same sentence, because that downplays the seriousness of covid. But I think that maybe we should be upplaying the seriousness of flu. It's predicted that the current strain of flu will end up having killed at least 500,000, and possibly over 1,000,000 people by the end of the year. [covid has so far killed about 50,000] [but of course, anyone who dies with both viruses in their system will only be considered a victim of covid...]

["this isn't the flu - even ordinary young people can die of it, look!" - well yeah, but actually less often than they die of the flu! You know what else can kill a tiny fraction of infected healthy young people? Almost everything! A couple of years ago, a healthy friend of mine, around 30, very nearly died of pneumonia. I'm not saying people are safe from covid, I'm saying they weren't as safe as they thought they were before...
"but this is devastating to people with pre-existing conditions!" - well yeah, but so are a lot of things. You know the death rate for people with autoimmune conditions who catch measles? 30%. And measles apparently as a society we've decided isn't even worth bothering to vaccinate against...]

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

Post by Salmoneus »

Ser wrote:
02 Apr 2020 03:06
How every body's looks and discourse in the street is of death and nothing else; and few people going up and down, that the town is like a place distressed and forsaken. (Samuel Pepys, 17th-century diarist from London, 1665-08-30)
Of course, in 2020, covid has killed 600 people in London, or 0.00666 percent of the population; whereas Pepys was talking about an illness that killed around 100,000 people in London, or about 25% of the population.

The past was brutal.


Mind you, apparently Eyam's expecting a huge tourism boost once this is over...

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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The main feature of the novel coronavirus that sets it apart is how infectious it is. So while there may not be a staggering death toll, it has the potential to send a huge number of people into the medical system in very little time. The flu also puts a lot of people into the healthcare system, but it does so over a longer period of time (The U.S. flu season can run from October to May.), and it's an annual thing we plan for, and there's a vaccine. If the hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients, it'll be harder to get proper care for other medical problems.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Salmoneus wrote:
02 Apr 2020 14:46
Omzinesý wrote:
02 Apr 2020 13:27
Chagen wrote:
01 Apr 2020 02:34
My parents are insufferable. Literal denialists in the midst of a pandemic and calling me an idiot millennial for actually listening to medical experts who know what they're talking about. Nothing but "why can't we believe what we want to believe" and "well, it's not literally killing me this instant, who cares lol"
My attitude was close to that during swine flu. Swine flu never developed to a pandemic and the vaccination tuned out to be vain but I really couldn't know that.
It DID develop into a pandemic (it infected 10-20% of the global population), and it killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Of course, flu does this every year.
Indeed, there's an influenza pandemic each year; we're just accustomed to it, so we generally don't make a big deal out of it. Also, the disease it causes is relatively mild in the vast majority of cases, and we have an existing vaccine that can be modified to work against new strains of the virus fairly quickly, so many of those with a higher risk of developing complications can get it in time (at least in countries with reasonable healthcare systems). Nonetheless, it does kill a whole lot of people each year.

It's now apparently verboten to mention covid and flu in the same sentence, because that downplays the seriousness of covid. But I think that maybe we should be upplaying the seriousness of flu. It's predicted that the current strain of flu will end up having killed at least 500,000, and possibly over 1,000,000 people by the end of the year. [covid has so far killed about 50,000]
Yeah, but the number of deaths from COVID-19 has been growing exponentially; it's doubled in the past seven days. If it were to keep doubling weekly (fortunately unlikely for a number of reasons), COVID-19 would've killed more people than even the worst flu pandemics in a bit over a month from now (and in a year, it'd be about 225 quintillion, if my math is correct). But even if the number can't keep increasing this fast forever, it's still going up at a very alarming rate. At least now a lot of countries have set up containment measures, so there's some hope of it slowing down considerably in the more-or-less near future.

COVID-19 both spreads more effectively than influenza (R0 > 2, while R0 ≈ 1.3 for typical strains of influenza) and appears to be more likely to cause severe illness (last I heard, the WHO estimated the infection-fatality rate at about 0.66 %, vs. about 0.1 % for the flu). Now apparently, at least one recent study study has arrived at a much lower estimate for the IFR, comparable to seasonal influenza – but conversely, their estimate for the infection rate is much higher (R0 = 5.2), with there just being an extremely high number of mild or asymptomatic cases. With that level of infection, we'd still end up with many more severe cases than from seasonal influenza – and they'd pile up much more rapidly, causing hospitals to be overwhelmed, which in turn would cause patients who could be saved with proper treatment to die due to not having access to said treatment (which has already happened in at least Italy and apparently Spain).

That being said, I'm not opposed to the idea that there might need to be more public awareness about the dangers of influenza – hygiene is important, people, especially if you're not absolutely certain that you'll never encounter the elderly or other high-risk groups in your daily life. Still, COVID-19 is worse.

Edit:
Dormouse559 wrote:
02 Apr 2020 18:18
The main feature of the novel coronavirus that sets it apart is how infectious it is. So while there may not be a staggering death toll, it has the potential to send a huge number of people into the medical system in very little time. The flu also puts a lot of people into the healthcare system, but it does so over a longer period of time (The U.S. flu season can run from October to May.), and it's an annual thing we plan for, and there's a vaccine. If the hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients, it'll be harder to get proper care for other medical problems.
Welp, seems you posted while I was checking my numbers. [:D] In any case, basically this.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Xonen wrote:
02 Apr 2020 18:43
Edit: Welp, seems you posted while I was checking my numbers. [:D] In any case, basically this.
Eh, numbers, schmumbers! Who needs 'em? [:P] But thank you for checking them anyway; I found your post edifying. And it included some major points I missed, like the fact that treatable COVID-19 patients will die simply because there are so many COVID-19 patients.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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I think you're both missing the point. It's possible to have a position that is neither "covid is no worse than ordinary flu" NOR "covid is so terrible it's like nothing we've seen before!!!"

I'm perfectly aware that covid is worse than the seasonal flu. But I'm also aware, and think people should bear in mind, that it's much LESS bad than the plague (I know Ser may have made that allusion tongue-in-cheek, but I've seen a lot of talk about it), that it's not the end of humanity, and that actually a lot of the terrible things people are apparently just discovering about covid are actually already true of many other more common diseases that people have been quite happy ignoring until now.

In particular, the constant refrain that covid is a killer even for young people, that it's like no other disease we've seen it's so brutal and deadly, really rubs me the wrong way: it's fearmongering on the basis of a small number of unfortunate cases, and it ignores the fact that these unexpected deaths of the young also happen with flu and other diseases that young people AREN'T terrified of. In particular, there's a lot of hysteria over the fact that some teenagers and even pre-teenage children have now died from coronavirus and this supposedly demonstrates that it can (and possibly will) kill everybody - we should no longer be scared for our vulnerable relatives, we're told by the media and government, but for ourselves and our children. But the fact remains, teenagers and children are still more likely to die of a whole host of other infections - including the flu!

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Dormouse559 wrote:
02 Apr 2020 18:18
The main feature of the novel coronavirus that sets it apart is how infectious it is.
I think what should be borne in mind, however, is that covid actually isn't very infectious, fortunately. Each victim infects slightly more than 2 people on average (which is pretty small, when you think about if, for a week or two of continuous coughing and sweating on everything around you...).

By comparison, with a highly infectious disease like measles, studies have estimated that each victim infects between 12 and 18 people. Let's put it this way: if covid were as infectious as measles, almost everybody in the world would already have been infected. Most of Europe and America would have been infected before we'd even heard of the disease.

And sure, measles only kills 0.2% or 0.3% of people, whereas covid kills 0.6% or 0.7%. Covid is two, if not three times more dangerous than measles overall (although each disease has certain high-risk populations where it's more dangerous than the other). But on the other hand, measles is six or nine times as infectious!

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Salmoneus wrote:
02 Apr 2020 14:53
Ser wrote:
02 Apr 2020 03:06
How every body's looks and discourse in the street is of death and nothing else; and few people going up and down, that the town is like a place distressed and forsaken. (Samuel Pepys, 17th-century diarist from London, 1665-08-30)
Of course, in 2020, covid has killed 600 people in London, or 0.00666 percent of the population; whereas Pepys was talking about an illness that killed around 100,000 people in London, or about 25% of the population.

The past was brutal.
By the way, did you notice that Samuel Pepys uses the construction "few..., that..." instead of "so few... that..."? I was pretty surprised by it, since, well, Classical and Late Latin and the bits of Old Spanish I'm familiar with have the same kind of construction you see in modern eurolangs today (namely "so few... that...", with "so...that" as correlative function words).

Standard Arabic and Mandarin have the same construction that Pepys uses though (somewhat literally, Arabic "very few, with-where...", so "very few people are walking with-where the town is like a place distressed and forsaken"; and Mandarin "few get..." (with "get" as a function word), so "the people walking are few get the town is like a distressed and forsaken place").
Last edited by Ser on 03 Apr 2020 03:42, edited 3 times in total.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Salmoneus wrote:
02 Apr 2020 22:20
I think what should be borne in mind, however, is that covid actually isn't very infectious, fortunately. Each victim infects slightly more than 2 people on average (which is pretty small, when you think about if, for a week or two of continuous coughing and sweating on everything around you...).

By comparison, with a highly infectious disease like measles, studies have estimated that each victim infects between 12 and 18 people. Let's put it this way: if covid were as infectious as measles, almost everybody in the world would already have been infected. Most of Europe and America would have been infected before we'd even heard of the disease.

And sure, measles only kills 0.2% or 0.3% of people, whereas covid kills 0.6% or 0.7%. Covid is two, if not three times more dangerous than measles overall (although each disease has certain high-risk populations where it's more dangerous than the other). But on the other hand, measles is six or nine times as infectious!
I agree that what you've said is basically true. But I don't think it's a useful comparison. A disease doesn't have to be the most infectious one on the block for its infectiousness to be a problem. As far as measles, there's a vaccine for that, meaning its effective infection rate these days is a lot lower than what you've quoted. We don't have one for the novel coronavirus and won't for months at least. Even if every infected person only infects two other people, that's still an exponential increase, and one we're woefully under-prepared for, in the U.S. anyway. COVID-19 could certainly be worse; let's thank our lucky stars it isn't. But it also can do a lot of damage if we don't take it seriously enough.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

Post by Salmoneus »

Again, please stop strawmanning me.

I didn't say that "its infectiousness isn't a problem". I didn't say that "it can't do a lot of damage". Why invent these lies about what I said?

It's like there's only one permitted thing to say - not just that one can't deny things, but that one can't ALSO say 'yes but' or 'and yet' without being accused of not taking it seriously. It's not healthy for people or for society to silence discussion like this. The healthiest approach to a problem is to understand it fully, not to shout down anyone who goes beyond the one approved "oh shit we're all going to die there's nothing we can do it's the end of the world" party line. If something is 'basically true', it's bad to stop people from saying it - the truth is its own justification.

I actually think that it's possible both to maintain sanity in the face of the pandemic AND to learn from it about our attitudes toward risk and disease. But any attempt to reason about coronavirus gets one treated as though one is the enemy. I'm not saying people should go and infect themselves, for fuck's sake, don't treat me like I'm a maniac (or an idiot).

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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I apologize for putting words in your mouth. I misinterpreted where you wanted to go with the conversation.

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Re: The Sixth Conversation Thread

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Ser wrote:
02 Apr 2020 23:56
By the way, did you notice that Samuel Pepys uses the construction "few..., that..." instead of "so few... that..."? I was pretty surprised by it, since, well, Classical and Late Latin and the the bits of Old Spanish I'm familiar with have the same kind of construction you see in modern eurolangs today (namely "so few... that...", with "so...what" as correlative function words).
That's not quite what he's doing, AIUI. The 'so' isn't missing from the 'few', it's missing from the 'that'. In Early Modern English, "that" can introduce clauses of consequence all by itself, where now we'd need 'so that' (or just 'so', or in dialect 'so as'). So closer to your Mandarin example, I guess.

Although admittedly I can't off hand think of any quotes, or find a citation (wiktionary only mentions older uses of 'that' as introducing purposes and suppositions, and introducing clause after prepositions; but then, wiktionary doesn't even mention non-purposive 'so that', so...)

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