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Corona Virus - 2/2020

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#61
My perspective is, who cares how many people have the virus. The important question is how many get seriously ill.
From a healthcare system response perspective, I agree.
But the seriously ill-to-infected ratio is also important from a general policy-making perspective, for making good decisions on how the general population should behave.
Hmmm, possibly a lagging indicator type of situation? The deaths are in patients diagnosed a week or more ago, where the case counts are current. If by mortality rate you mean number of deaths divided by current case count, then you are using the wrong denominator? It should be the number of cases reported at the time the patients who were diagnosed, not the current number?
Technically you are absolutely right, but I think from this perspective a similar lag factor should exist in Australia and ROW, shouldn't it? Perhaps my absolute figures are incorrect, but the difference would still be there, and intriguing.
 
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Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#62
WRT to masks (or respirators), they can't, and are not intended to protect the wearer from getting the virus. They are intended for preventing an infected person (the wearer) from spreading the virus through exhaled droplets (or conservatively, not prevent but reduce the extent).
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#63
WRT to masks (or respirators), they can't, and are not intended to protect the wearer from getting the virus. They are intended for preventing an infected person (the wearer) from spreading the virus through exhaled droplets (or conservatively, not prevent but reduce the extent).
Irrespective of the intended objective, widespread use of masks seem to help significantly, in terms of slowing the transmission mechanisms. The following excerpt comes from this article. Japan, with some of densest, demographically speaking, megalopolis in the World seem to be weathering the pandemic without HUGE lockdowns and economic stagnation. The numbers speak for themselves: "...Japan so far has 10 outbreak clusters, with close to 1,200 confirmed cases and 43 deaths to the coronavirus as of March 24. Only a few dozen new infections are reported every day. ..."

The country typically goes through 5.5 billion face masks every year — 43 per person. Sales of face masks skyrocketed as the virus took hold. Masks have been rationed, and people stand patiently in line waiting for shops to open. Other shops sell strips of fabric and coffee filters, along with instructions for DIY versions.
The Japanese appear to have understood that a person can be infected without showing symptoms, said Michael Paumen, a German business manager who has lived in Japan for many years: "You put the mask on to protect others, so you yourself don't transmit viruses."
The widespread use of face masks appears to have slowed down the spread of not just COVID-19, as indicated by the sharp drop in the number of flu patients in the seven weeks since the outbreak of the coronavirus. A recent study by five Western physicians, including Fabian Svara from the Caesar research group in Bonn and Matthias Samwald from the Medical University in Vienna, found that masks "decrease the transmission of droplets or aerosols containing viral particles by mask wearers."
Apart from social distancing and hand-washing, the experts concluded that face masks could play an important role in slowing down the spread of the virus, pointing out the low infection rates in Japan.
 
#64
making good decision on how the general population should behave.
True, but...no matter how good or bad the decision, the general population is never going to behave. :p

a similar lag factor should exist in Australia and ROW, shouldn't it?
Yes, I would think so. Unless...the faster the case counts are rising, then the more a death rate calculated with current numbers will be off, right? In that case, if the case counts are rising at markedly different rates in Australia versus ROW, that might account for it. But it seems like it would have to be a pretty big difference in order to have much impact on death rates. So I'm not feeling very confident that this is it.
 
#65
Irrespective of the intended objective, widespread use of masks seem to help significantly, in terms of slowing the transmission mechanisms. "
Intended use is everything. In Japan, the masks were intended to slow the spread of the virus in the general population. The masks that are the subject of the shortage are intended to protect healthcare workers who are treating COVID-19 patients in ICUs. Different situation, different transmission modes.

The numbers speak for themselves
These numbers say nothing to me.

It's correlational data, which does not support conclusions of cause and effect. Moreover, to me it is suspect, because Japan has been eager to persuade other countries to continue with the Olympics. They didn't collect these numbers in an effort to determine whether the masks reduced transmission rates; they pulled them together to make a case that Japan is "safe."

They picked one of countless variables that could potentially affect transmission rates (including genetics). They didn't even measure the variable, they just went with sales figures. Neither the sales figures nor the case counts have been independently verified or subjected to independent peer review. I'm not espeically inclined to think other countries cover stuff up any more than my own (they all do it, guaranteed), but I am especially inclined to valid scientific evidence, and this just isn't.

I must say, I feel sorry for them about the Olympics, but they are wasting their time on safe. Japan could be sterile and the air travel would have still been a deal breaker.
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#66
Irrespective of the intended objective, widespread use of masks seem to help significantly, in terms of slowing the transmission mechanisms.
Exactly, through stopping the spread at the source, not at the receiving end...
It's important people will have realistic expectations when they look for and put on a mask.
My comment was less about the official intended use and more about what a mask can and can't do.

All the best to everyone, stay safe.
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Super Moderator
#67
These numbers say nothing to me.

It's correlational data, which does not support conclusions of cause and effect. Moreover, to me it is suspect, because Japan has been eager to persuade other countries to continue with the Olympics. They didn't collect these numbers in an effort to determine whether the masks reduced transmission rates; they pulled them together to make a case that Japan is "safe."

They picked one of countless variables that could potentially affect transmission rates (including genetics). They didn't even measure the variable, they just went with sales figures. Neither the sales figures nor the case counts have been independently verified or subjected to independent peer review. I'm not espeically inclined to think other countries cover stuff up any more than my own (they all do it, guaranteed), but I am especially inclined to valid scientific evidence, and this just isn't.

I must say, I feel sorry for them about the Olympics, but they are wasting their time on safe. Japan could be sterile and the air travel would have still been a deal breaker.
Hear hear.

Maybe the Olympics will be postponed by one year? I hope something of that sort, though no one really knows how the world will look in a year...
 
#70
I understand that the government is claiming that masks are ineffective in preventing the virus but there are also some other interesting correlations:

In countries where wearing these masks is more common (HK, Japan, Singapore) the spread of CV is substantially lower.
[More than you wanted to know and, again, true or false, I can't say, but based on mostly authoritative sources]

I don't know which claims you have been reading, but, once again, it's all about intended use. What the CDC seems to be claiming (their information is a little scattered, but they'd have to reorganize things a good bit to pull it all together, and I think they are otherwise occupied) is that only N95 respirators are effective for the use that is the focus of the "shortage"--protecting healthcare workers and non-infected patients from COVID-19 in hospitals.

It seems unlikely that the masks the general populations are wearing when they are out and about are N95s. If they are, then the CDC would say these populations are very well protected. If they are wearing any of a number of other kinds of masks, they are protected from body fluids, which are often propelled into the air as small droplets when someone is coughing or sneezing. These masks offer the same protection in hospitals, including from blood splashes, and are widely used in hospitals for this purpose. But that's not the primary concern with COVID-19 as it relates to healthcare workers in hospitals.

The primary concern in hospitals is "airborne" virus, tiny particles that are simply exhaled, not larger droplets at are propelled. This is a need for "respiratory protection," because one person is exhaling the virus and the other can inhale it. It is also possible to inhale the body fluids as small droplets, but the droplets are not lighter than air, so they are "airborne" only briefly, with limited opportunity to be inhaled. And their weight makes it harder to inhale them, unless you happen to be taking a deep breath at just the wrong time.

Back to the general population, although N95s offer them excellent respiratory protection, they have limited need for it because if they are practicing a modicrum of social distancing, the air around them will not have a high ppm of virus. For that you need people in relative enclosed space. In a relatively small space, just a few people (ICU) in a large space, a lot of people (concerts).

If I had to guess, this is Japan. A population that is wearing masks is well trained in epidemics, and Asian populations are more experienced than we are. They are not just wearing masks, they are socially distancing, washing their hands like surgeons, etc. All of these behaviors are probably equally correlated with the low case counts, and any and all of them might actually be causal. However, for national PR (Olympics)...hard to put your hands on these data. Masks are products, there are sales figures that we can dress up as "data," so let's credit the masks, It's also possible that none of these behaviors are causal. Genetics should not be discounted. It's an island, after all. Darwin still rules, no matter how hard we fight to overturn him...
 
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