ASLOK Thoughts in the Age of Covid

Plans for attending ASLOK XXXV?

  • Wasn't planning on attending anyway...

    Votes: 46 40.0%
  • Will be there, masks or not...

    Votes: 17 14.8%
  • Will be there, but only if masks are required...

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Will be there, but only if masks aren't required...

    Votes: 4 3.5%
  • Won't be attending due to Covid, but had been planning on it pre-pandemic...

    Votes: 20 17.4%
  • Might be there - depends on how the pandemic develops by the Fall...

    Votes: 20 17.4%
  • Might be there - depends on non-pandemic things like $, vacation, spousal approval, etc...

    Votes: 7 6.1%

  • Total voters
    115
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Paul M. Weir

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We need herd immunity, that’s the best way to make it go away.
That requires a 70%+ infection rate. That's 231+M infected. With even only a 0.5% death rate that still kills 1.15M! The real death rate is unknown simply because the underlying infection numbers are unknown due to asymptomatic and very mild cases not tested or reported. Current US deaths/confirmed-infections give a 5.13% death rate. While that would give 11.86M US dead, I doubt that the death rate is 5%. I suspect more like 0.5% to 2%. South Korea's death rate is 2.25%.
 

von Marwitz

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We need herd immunity, that’s the best way to make it go away.
While basically correct, (provided that the virus does not mutate in a way that an influenza virus does...), the problem is that you cannot get there on short order unless you accept the death of millions (even based on a comparably low death toll of 2% that we have in Germany). To get there in short order would overwhelm the health care system and lead to a much higher death toll.

I think we have to realize that Corona is around to stay for quite some time.

It will take time until a vaccine is developed. Even if estimates now talk about a year from now, there is still no vaccine vs. SARS and MERS which are being worked on for much longer. When a vaccine is available, it needs to be deployed, which will take time. And we can assume realistically that the vaccine will never be deployed covering the entire world.

I believe that if people would manage to be diciplined in the long term with regard to safety precautions (and that is a big if when you ask me...), then the spreading of Corona might be contained in states with a developed health system. Otherwise, chances are that things get nasty.

Should a vaccine be successfully developed as now (IMHO optimistically) predicted in one year, my guess is that it would take another year to deploy it. So in the best case, a really back to normal for developed countries might be expected in two years. Will be interesting to see, how far off I am with that assessment.

von Marwitz
 

Jacometti

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The attendees of ASLOK represent the true core elite of the ASL hobby. The world's greatest players gather in Cleveland each year, but we cannot in good conscience risk the lives of these great players this year. The very life of the hobby may depend upon it.
If a great tree falls, the light now reaching the forest floor will enable new great trees to grow.

You have a different view on life, I see.
 

TopT

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We need herd immunity, that’s the best way to make it go away.
yeah, even though the scientists say that it isn't...

But herd immunity from SARS-CoV-2 is different in several ways:

1) We do not have a vaccine. As biologist Carl Bergstrom and biostatistician Natalie Dean pointed out in a New York Times op-ed in May, without a widely available vaccine, most of the population – 60%-85% by some estimates – must become infected to reach herd immunity, and the virus’s high mortality rate means millions would die.

2) The virus is not currently contained. If herd immunity is reached during an ongoing pandemic, the high number of infected people will continue to spread the virus and ultimately many more people than the herd immunity threshold will become infected – likely over 90% of the population.

3) The people most vulnerable are not evenly spread across the population. Groups that have not been mixing with the “herd” will remain vulnerable even after the herd immunity threshold is reached.

Reaching herd immunity without a vaccine is costly

For a given virus, any person is either susceptible to being infected, currently infected or immune from being infected. If a vaccine is available, a susceptible person can become immune without ever becoming infected.

Without a vaccine, the only route to immunity is through infection. And unlike with chickenpox, many people infected with SARS-CoV-2 die from it.
 

Paul M. Weir

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Finally, posts seem to reflect the utter magnitude of the problem that achieving Herd Immunity would mean.

vonM suggested a 2% death rate. For the US that would mean 330M * .02 * 0.7 = <drum roll> 4.62M, that's MILLIONS of US deaths.

We humans have a problem visualising large numbers, a few tens for family and close friends, a few hundred for a person's entire circle of family, friends, acquaintances and workmates, a few thousand for a small town perhaps. But nearly 5 million, that's nearly the population of the Republic of Ireland. It's one of the reasons that so many don't realise how potentially deep we are in it with this.

Absent a vaccine, the only mitigation that might have an effect on the death rate is to reduce initial virus loading, so to allow one's immune system to get in action before an infection really gets hold on a person. Distancing and masking can go some way to reduce many people's initial viral load. That's all we really have at the moment.
 

Sparafucil3

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vonM suggested a 2% death rate. For the US that would mean 330M * .02 * 0.7 = <drum roll> 4.62M, that's MILLIONS of US deaths.
I was going to respond to this, but nevermind. All I will say is the disease does not need sensationalizing to demonstrate the danger. There is no way to determine the morbidity rate without sizing the denominator properly, and without wide spread testing, there is no way to determine what that is. Add to that, the idea that there are deaths due to C-19, deaths suspected to be due to C-19, and "excess deaths" occurring during the C-19 crisis, and even the numerator is difficult to identify.

Math like this is little better than a guess, even as I sit here, in isolation, for 12 more days waiting to see if I am infected due to my recent plane ride. -- jim
 

Paul M. Weir

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Agree it is just a guess. Initially SK suggested 0.6%. Currently US deaths are 122,681 and confirmed cases are 2,390,268. That works out at 5.13%. Germany works out at 4.67%, vonM suggested 2%. As in a previous post even 0.5% gives you over 1.14M US, SK's 0.6% gives 1.39M.

Whether a death is entirely due to Covid or partially due to Covid (additional strain on top of existing conditions), that person still would not be dead without Covid. I disagree that calculating possible final outcomes is over sensationalising. There are still large numbers (likely less here in GS) that believe that Covid is a hoax, a nothing burger or little more than the flu. You clearly don't believe that, but possible outcomes might provide the sane amongst us with discussion points when talking with those who do. The math is trivial.

While you did everything possible to reduce the risk to yourself and others, if I scare someone here into ensuring they wear a mask, keep distancing, etc and save even one life then I regard my "sensationalising" as worth it. Our biggest enemy is complacency and people getting stir crazy. I want to keep people on their toes.

An analogy is my bad knee. It was quite bad around Xmas, but has greatly improved since. However it is still not quite right and the one thing I learned is that it's not the bad days you have to be extra careful on, but the good days when you forget to be careful.
 

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I was going to respond to this, but nevermind. All I will say is the disease does not need sensationalizing to demonstrate the danger. There is no way to determine the morbidity rate without sizing the denominator properly, and without wide spread testing, there is no way to determine what that is. Add to that, the idea that there are deaths due to C-19, deaths suspected to be due to C-19, and "excess deaths" occurring during the C-19 crisis, and even the numerator is difficult to identify.

Math like this is little better than a guess, even as I sit here, in isolation, for 12 more days waiting to see if I am infected due to my recent plane ride. -- jim
The amount of rubbish I see passed off here as science is astonishing.

I completely agree with Jim. We have no idea of denominators and we have no idea of death rates as a result. Flue has vaccines, widely used by the most vulnerable people in the west. Yet up to half a million people die of it annually as a result. So how does COVID without vaccine compare to influenza with vaccines? Nobody knows, it's all guesswork and scare-mongering.

You want to worry about something scientifically proven (by 40 years of solid worldwide research)? Start with global warming. But against this existential threat, we can not move further than some lame compromises on carbon emissions and a few windmills. Instead we are scared brainless and can surrender our entire way of life for this disease outbreak. All because the effects are visible within the time frame of a "democratic" election. Bravo!
 

Actionjick

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While not really wanting to get involved in this debate I will point out that a recent study in China of @ 100 people who had been infected found that the antibodies that those people had developed were decreasing. If the study is accurate how will this affect herd immunity?
 

Michael Dorosh

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The amount of rubbish I see passed off here as science is astonishing.


Flue has vaccines
Usually when I'm calling out others for what I perceive as stupidity, I do a full spell check to ensure my point isn't lost in an ironic spelling error or wrong word. Flue is a part of your chimney.
 

Sparafucil3

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Agree it is just a guess.
Then label it as such. "Calculating possible outcomes" is another word for <drum roll> guess. Trying to scare people is foolish. All it does it prove you're willing to stretch the truth which makes you less credible in the long run. It allows people to attack the numbers (which is easy with any basic understanding of math which is why I can do it) and then from there, go on to impugn your whole argument which ultimately fuels the deniers that all C-19 is a hoax. Tell the truth, be honest with your guesses and make sure people know you're guessing, stop feeding the deniers with sensationalism. The truth is dangerous enough. -- jim
 

Paul M. Weir

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I'd be surprised if that was not normal. Why produce something that is not needed in the quantity that was needed. Producing antibodies has a metabolic cost. A lower level will still provide an almost instant response to an 2nd initial infection, thus preventing that 2nd infection from taking serious hold. I doubt that my body has the same level of antibodies that I had when immunised as a child with BCG against TB or with Salk against polio, yet I am still likely covered. Even a serious drop in antibody levels should give some protection, a head start and turn a possible serious infection into something more benign, possibly unnoticed.

Why we get yearly colds and flu is that the viruses mutate enough that the immune system partly or fully doesn't recognise them and/or slowly reacts.
 

TopT

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While not really wanting to get involved in this debate I will point out that a recent study in China of @ 100 people who had been infected found that the antibodies that those people had developed were decreasing. If the study is accurate how will this affect herd immunity?
That's the problem. There is so much that the scientists don't know about Covid-19. Right now, they are saying that social distancing & face masks are the best options or staying locked in like a hermit.
Everything (businesses) is going to have to open up in order for people to be able to live their lives. That does not mean to take foolish risks but to each their own. If you want to go to ASLOK, go. Have fun. Hopefully by earlyish next year they will have a vaccine.
 

pixelgeek

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Nobody knows, it's all guesswork and scare-mongering.
Well epidemiologists and public health workers do so as a result I tend to follow their advice. So its not guesswork at all or scare-mongering.
 

MAS01

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Read what I linked to in post #37. Yes, it is long.

Take prudent precautions based on your personal situation and don't panic.
 

TopT

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Read what I linked to in post #37. Yes, it is long.

Take prudent precautions based on your personal situation and don't panic.
Mark, that is pretty much what everyone is trying to say. Each person weighs their own personal risks vs. playing a game. It is that simple.
 

rdw5150

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Hello!

I have been dreading this thread. But at least its not a full blown "its off" post.

Been there every year since 2001 and ASLOK, a music festival my wife and I attend yearly (28 straight years until THIS frickin' year) and a yearly visit with with Burnie (we alternate hosting) are the highlights of my year.

However, I voted "Might be there, it depends"........ which is a total bummer. I would want to wait and see what the pandemic brings in the coming months and I feel (as I type) a little squirrely about being in a closed room with 75-100 people (more or less, if it were 50 I'd be OK, 75, maybe, 100, nope not right now) not to mention using the same rest room as a bunch of dudes (with my pea sized bladder and alcohol, I'd spend more time running up and down the stairs than gaming).

Then there is the ever persistent "mask" issue. While I do not understand why everyone gets so jolted out of whack about wearing a mask while in stores and such, I am not certain I want to wear mask for a week.

If I had to make the call now, I'd probably say no I would not attend. Which pains me to say. But I did make hotel reservations a couple weeks ago, so I do have hope.

Peace

Roger
 
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