Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

The story of this week is what went down at the port of Long Beach. The port had been brought to a standstill, because there was nowhere to put empty containers and trucks were sitting around with empty containers on them instead of moving freight, and the problem kept getting worse and worse. By taking a carefully planned boat ride, creating a finely crafted Tweetstorm designed to persuade, and getting the right people to assist, Ryan Peterson was able within one day to get the container stacking rule at the port changed from a limit of two to a limit of five, and get cargo moving again. It’s hard to tell exactly how much of a difference this will make, but from everything I’ve seen it will be a big difference. This is not only a huge story for its object level implications, it’s a story of how someone can make a difference, and how we were able to actually do something. 

Yet mainstream media is ignoring the story. Shout it from the rooftops! I’ve split that story off into its own post. If you have to choose between reading that one and reading this one, read that one, it’s far more important.

Meanwhile in the land of Covid-19, things continue as you might expect.  

Executive Summary

  1. Ryan Peterson managed to get them to change the container stacking rules at the port of Los Angeles, which had otherwise reached a standstill, potentially saving Christmas and/or the economy. This got its own post.
  2. Covid-19 conditions continue to slowly improve.
  3. Child vaccinations for age 5-11 on track for November.

Let’s run the numbers.

The Numbers

Predictions

Prediction from last week: 410k cases (-13%) and 9,600 deaths (-10%).

Results: 431k cases (-9%) and 9,506 deaths (-11%).

Prediction for next week: 400k cases (-9%) and 8,600 deaths (-10%).

Slightly disappointing case counts, very slightly good news on deaths. Trends continue and I see no reason for that to change in the next few weeks. Children getting vaccinated soon should help somewhat as well, although that will take a while.

Deaths

Nothing here should be surprising, given what we saw in cases several weeks ago, and it lined up with the predicted outcome.

Cases

We see clear improvement continuing in all regions, with an especially good number coming out of the Northeast. It’s a disappointing number since we had reason to expect better, but there’s nothing here that causes me to worry.

Polimath is back with another state by state analysis of cases and deaths. If you want more detailed graphs that look into different states, it’s a great place to look. 

Vaccinations 

The FDA committee has now approved Pfizer for 5-11 year-olds, so we are on pace to start those vaccinations soon. 

It no longer seems necessary to track this every week, so I’ll probably start spacing out how often I pay attention to it. 

Vaccine Effectiveness

The core problem with booster shots continues to be that the following facts are true:

  1. The vaccines are safe and effective.
  2. Booster shots make them more effective.
  3. Authorities think they need to tell people considering getting vaccinated that it will be sufficient protection.
  4. (Authorities then tell those same people to keep taking all their other precautions, and hope people don’t notice the contradiction until too late.)
  5. If you tell people #2 Proper Authorities assume they are going to question #3, because, I mean, well, um.
  6. So what to do?
Image
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Perhaps what they should say is, the truth? There’s no actual contradiction here, unless you are presenting the world in a black and white ‘protected’ versus ‘unprotected,’ immune versus not immune (see: Gupta on Rogan) because you assume people can’t handle anything else.  

This pattern has been a problem for a while. Authority needs us to to continuously believe:

  1. We are in terrible danger. Unsafe!
  2. The thing they say to do will make us safe.
  3. But not safe enough that we are not in terrible danger anyway.
  4. So there can be a next thing.
  5. And so no one stops doing the other things.

This is a fundamentally nonsensical story. If you think in terms of quantified risks and probabilities, it’s totally fine to say (reasonable guesses but not strongly endorsed numbers) ‘the vaccine works about 85% after a while, also boosters work better and make that 99%, also masks help up to 75% depending on fit, and social distancing helps proportional to how much you do it, opening windows and going outdoors help proportionally, staying at a healthy weight cuts your risk in half or better, and so on. But if all you can do is say ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ then there’s a necessary superposition of quantum unsafeness that shifts depending on what you’re talking about at the moment and what authority wants you to do.

This is also true in other areas, and has nothing to do with whether the things one is told to do are worth doing. If one is told to wear a seatbelt, that needs to make one ‘safe’ while thinking about whether to wear a seatbelt, but not when thinking about whether to buy an airbag, or whether to obey the speed limit, or to avoid tailgating, or not drink and drive, or anything else. And of course, the fact that cars are still inherently unsafe at the end of all that (although nothing like how unsafe they used to be) isn’t mentioned, because authority doesn’t want you to stop driving. Now think about the messaging around sexual activity. Same thing.

This means (along with other similar problems) that authority is prevented from offering a coherent world model that lasts longer than a few sentences. A simple metaphorical concept handle they can do, more than that would expose incoherence. When someone like Rogan last week points it out, the response is remarkably close to a robotic “file not found.”

I probably should post a clean version of this as a stand-alone post, and link to it in the future.

Vaccine Mandates

EDIT: I had something here previously about American companies enforcing the vaccine mandate rules overseas where they made absolutely no sense, but commenters pointed out we have good reason to think the source made this up, given her reaction to requests for sources or examples. My apologies.

NPIs Including Mask and Testing Mandates 

We are finally doing at least some prioritization of rapid testing, my guess is this is because of how schools are forcing massive testing on us. Better late than never.

For example, did you know that soon, you may be able to buy one test instead of being forced by rule to buy a pack of two? Progress!

 Meanwhile, in Permanent Midnight watch, the New York Times has an advocate for permanent masking who strongly disagrees with Robin here.

Think of the Children

Mandating children get vaccinated, the same way we mandate other childhood vaccinations? Well, there’s a little problem

The adult side of things doesn’t make much sense but ignore that for now and focus on the children. They’re going to mandate vaccination, and then force them to wear masks all day anyway. So they’ll be 5-11 years old, fully vaccinated, safe as houses from a Covid-19 perspective, and then forced to come to a building where they’re forced to wear a mask, all day, five days a week. 

There is zero basis in physical reality for such a requirement. This is permanent midnight, a request that children live in a world without faces or ease of breathing, forever. And there’s a chance it will work. Even a LessWrong commenter of mine explicitly endorsed the idea that asks were worth having in school to prevent other diseases, and not letting kids see or show faces should be normalized permanently. 

Any organization, such as the CDC, that would make such a recommendation has declared which side they are on, and it isn’t ours. There is a war.

About this next thing: It’s real. I’m going to quote in full so no one needs to click:

My daughter, 11, has been wonderful throughout the pandemic. She social distances at all times, we never have to remind her to put her masks on, and we found a fully virtual scholastic program so she can avoid the significant risks of large crowds in the public schools.

A few weeks ago, however, her other parent and I had an obligation that we both had to be present for (we are both vaccinated, it was socially distanced, and we were wearing masks). Usually one of us would stay home with her, but because of her maturity level and the short time we would be gone, we assumed we could trust her on her own.

When we arrived home, we found her with a friend of hers who lives about a block away. She has visited on occasion throughout the pandemic but they know the rules. They are to stay outside and on opposite ends of the driveway or patio. The patio only offers about 5 feet of distance, but we decided that should be enough as long as they stay outside and keep their masks on.

Anyway, when we arrived home on this particular day, both her and her friend were in the living room, sitting on the same couch, not wearing masks, not socially distanced, and each putting their hands into the same bowl of chips. Why she would take this kind of risk, I still don’t understand.

I immediately told her friend that she had to go home and to please inform her mother to call me at her earliest convenience. I then expressed my disappointment with my daughter and informed her how dangerous what she did was. I reminded her about the delta variant and how it’s caused so many children her age to end up in the ICU. I told her that she only has to wait a few more months until she’s eligible for the vaccine, and this isn’t the time to become complacent.

We took all the necessary steps to remain safe. She immediately quarantined in her bedroom for the suggested two weeks. I cleaned the house thoroughly and opened multiple windows to circulate the air. Luckily, we all came out of this debacle safely.

I still don’t feel I can trust her, though. I understand it’s normal for her to make mistakes, but this wasn’t forgetting to turn a light off or close the refrigerator. She put her life at risk. How do we start building the trust back?

Here was the response:

Dear Trust Issues,

You can’t expect adult maturity from a child. If your daughter has been cautious and otherwise “wonderful” over the past 18 months, and this is her first time violating your household rules around COVID protocol, I’d encourage you to extend her a bit of grace. A year and a half is a long time for an 11-year-old to go without hanging out with friends. It’s also a long time to expect them to remain vigilant around a threat that seems to be lessening for the adults around them (as vaccination rates continue to rise and the world reopens). Her age group is among the last for whom vaccination isn’t an option, and it’s challenging for kids to watch the trusted authorities in their lives relax their own protocols around socializing, while they’re still being kept away from the people and things they care about.

Your daughter had a temporary lapse in judgment, which is to be expected for a child who hasn’t even reached adolescence yet. It sounds like you’ve sufficiently reprimanded her for inviting an unmasked friend into the house when you weren’t home. Aside from thinking twice before leaving her unsupervised again anytime soon, there shouldn’t be many additional measures you need to take to reestablish trust.

The good news is that this is ‘to be expected’ based on her young age, so further ‘punishment’ for this is not recommended, but it’s worth noticing that this entire situation is completely crazy. And look at what it is costing us. Permanent damage to this family seems likely here based on how the mother is reacting, and for what? For the crime of wanting to hang out with a friend and act like a human being. This has been going on for almost two years.

There’s the note that ‘with the vaccine close now is not the time to become complacent’ but what about after the vaccine? Will that be the time to become complacent? Or will such folks change essentially nothing, and continue to destroy childhood?

Well, did you hear about the horrible latest trend among our kids (WaPo)? That they’re playing (moderate spoiler alert: Squid Game on Netflix, which I highly recommend) actual traditional childhood games?

But some young Hwang Dong-hyuk fans seem to have missed the memo that “Squid Game” is not for them. The games on the show — all based on classic playground games from South Korea, like tug of war and red light, green light — are popping up on real-life playgrounds, distressing parents, educators and development experts, many of whom are wondering how the heck these kids heard about the show in the first place.

Red Light, Green Light. How the hell did our kids find out about this horrible new game called Red Light, Green Light? That deadly, dangerous game where you have to alternate running and standing still? Oh no. I played it in gym class as a child, do I need therapy? I also think I may have played Tug of War. I’m sure this is all greatly distressing to parents, educators and development experts. Talk to your kids before they start playing children’s games with each other, and maybe scrape a knee or have someone win while someone else loses or develop skills, or even worse have fun or learn something or bond with other children.

Then the author goes on to express horror that children might play a number of other games.

Yes, I do realize that the titular Squid Game itself is more violent and less ‘friendly’ than those other games, on par with rugby or football maybe, and that in some cases children are punching the loser afterwards so there will be stakes, perhaps because we’ve trained them that the agony of defeat is not a thing and it is therefore insufficient, requiring the agony of being punched. 

If you’re wondering if childhood and life itself are the enemy these people want to destroy, you have your answer.

In Other News

This FiveThirtyEight list of basic information about Covid-19 seems correct as far as that goes, but also seems designed not to be that useful in terms of what to actually do with one’s life. 

It’s not only health. Have you tried… drawing fair congressional districts?

Americans not trusting the maps to be drawn fairly is good. It is a feature. Because they’re not fair, at all, they’re completely partisan. It would be good if they were not partisan, but the goal there isn’t to restore faith that the process is fair,, it’s to have a fair process. Everything is like this.

I’m not saying telling it straight is flawless. It’s true that Americans might be, shall we say, bad at data analysis

I still don’t see any alternative.

At the movies: I saw Dune, with minimal prior knowledge. People like it a lot. I do not understand. 

At home: I saw Squid Game. As noted above, it is highly recommended. Give it one full episode, then make your decision. There may be a Squid Game Sequence in the works, if I can find the time. 

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36 Responses to Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

  1. H.P. says:

    My working theory on the new Dune: A bunch of Dune fans forced their friends to watch the Lynch movie. Their friends were very confused. The Dune fans sat down and watched the new movie, saw that it explained things in great detail, thought back to their Lynch experience, and declared it great. The new movie is beautiful, I think, but lacks verve. And it is half a movie, not a movie.

  2. unfleshedone says:

    When I read Logan’s Run for the first time a while back, I was properly horrified at the dystopian world described. Looking at some of the things we see people impose on children needlessly I started to understand how such a world could come about.

  3. Aaron Dow says:

    About the safety messaging kerfuffle:

    Never in my life have I felt like playing Dungeons & Dragons conferred to me a superpower. In this case, being capable of responding to all variants of “If x works, then why also y?” with the elegant and straightforward notion that “These bonuses stack.”

    That’s it. “These bonuses stack.” The issue is the cost of the equipment and how much you can carry. In Dungeons & Dragons the +2 helmet of reckoning might be overweight and slow you down from escape or fades over six rounds or whatever, in real life the +1 cloth mask of virus blocking may give you -1 social comprehension and listening skills and permanently reduce the experience points per interaction you get for several rounds or whatever.

    Otherwise you want as many bonuses as you can get, obviously. Like eye-rollingly obviously. This is not a difficult notion to comprehend.

    • Basil Marte says:

      I’d say that “difficult” is not the right word. If somebody habitually(?) thinks in a quantitative/physical way, it’s easy. But if someone happens to have the habit/propensity/misfortune to have parsed the issue with e.g. “we must show contrition to propitiate the gods”, the conclusion is not _difficult_ but somewhere between unparseable and actively harmful (trying to solve the problem on the object level just invites more punishment; compare to resisting police arrest).

      • Basil Marte says:

        As a personal example, I sometimes describe my grandma as “not having a self-image, but an estimate of how other people see her”. As far as I can tell, she treats conformity as synonymous with goodness. She has told me on several occasions that I should “stand in the line”, and advised that I should seek a psychologist/-iatrist to cure my autism. She compulsively gives small gifts to anyone who visits her, and tries to enforce (what she thinks are) the social norms on her relatives. (Her knowledge is a few decades out of date.) Partly “for our own benefit”, partly because she thinks that my non-conformity reflects badly on her. When I let my hair grow long, after I repeatedly resisted pressure to have it cut through more conventional channels, one time when I visited, she (97 years old, barely secure with a walking frame) produced a pair of scissors and “offered” to cut it herself to a less “unmanly” length. She asked, treating it as an argument, “what will the girls say?”. (I *am* straight, just not looking, though she doesn’t comprehend this either.) Sometimes she used to respond to refusals with “I see you don’t love me” until she found that while this works (ahem) on my mom, I’m at most confused by this response.

        One way of summing this up is that she lives at simulacra level 3. But she isn’t insane, or even all that unusual. AFAIK she was like this her whole life, and she was a perfectly functional adult. However, she and people like her don’t find intuitive “this benefit stacks”, even if they aren’t dumb. (On the other hand, a chorus of VSPs announcing “getting the vaccine has always been the tribal norm” is eye-rollingly obvious.)

        Another way of summing it up is to describe an alternative epistemology (I like calling it LARPistemology), where the prototypical questions are “who is most popular” and “what is fashionable”, and “reality” refers to common knowledge. Whatever the players in the scene assent to *is* “real”. Dissent is both threatening in the sense of being an attempted power grab (“you want to install yourself as DM?”) and of decreasing the amount of “reality” until consensus is restored.

        Division of labor means not everyone can know what the social consensus is in every question, hence there are “experts” who speak on their topic with Authority, and whose consensus in their particular field is a Schelling point for the rest of society. Sometimes its supply is restricted with explicit credentials; at other times, with a challenge/response protocol. Ask a question, then evaluate whether the response conforms to the genre conventions of the field. Corollaries: answering “I don’t know” demolishes the claim to expertise; furthermore, this process can only pick out shallow fakes, i.e. there is no distinction between “successfully pretending to be an expert” and “being an expert”.

  4. AnonCo says:

    >should be normalized permanently
    >declared which side they are on, and it isn’t ours. There is a war.
    >”In general, I believe the most important crux with those who oppose mandates is that I believe vaccine mandates are primarily substitutes for destructive alternative restrictions that are worse for freedom, and those who oppose mostly think they are mostly complements that ramp up restrictions of all kinds. If I was convinced I was wrong about this, I’d be forced to reconsider.”

    Well, well, well….if it isn’t EXACTLY what all of the people against mandates were afraid of!

    Turns out if you give governments ludicrous draconian powers in one context they want to keep and expand them in other contexts with no regard at all for what is “right” or “correct”.

    Who could have possibly foreseen this!?!?!

    I notice that I am feeling smug.

    • TheZvi says:

      Yes, you very much are. Self-awareness and honest presentation are good.

      I still think the assumption remains an assumption. Yes, some people are trying to permanently normalize NPIs that make no sense, and they may succeed, but I do not think that in the absence of vaccine requirements we’d be seeing less of it. I agree we’ve seen non-zero evidence against the substitution theory, but I don’t think it’s anything like conclusive – I’ve never seen the rhetorical line of e.g. “We make them take a vaccine, and you’re telling me we can’t make them wear a mask?”

      • Anonymous-backtick says:

        “I’ve never seen the rhetorical line of e.g. “We make them take a vaccine, and you’re telling me we can’t make them wear a mask?””

        Nobody would say that out loud that way. The idea is we used to have an important fence (not really a Chesterton’s fence because everybody but you already knew what it was for) where if you try to tell an American he has to do something invasive to his body he’ll tell you it’s a free country and if you persist he’ll tell you to fuck off. So usually the govt wouldn’t even try to push such a policy. After the masks the common knowledge that this was How it Worked was weakened, after vaccines it’s weakened more, etc. so now there’s less fear of trying whatever mandates. Now they know it won’t lose them a significant part of their voting base, somehow.

        Not that the fence was all that strong already after the Patriot Act/etc.

  5. KJP says:

    Is that advice request to Slate a parody of COVID hysteria that Slate misunderstood as a real request? I believe it is — the detail about immediately quarantining in her room for two weeks is the giveaway to me. But of course, the fact that Slate responded to it as if it were a serious request says something.

  6. Doug S. says:

    My wife doesn’t seem to be able to grasp the ideas of degrees of safety. Either that, or she was being willfully stupid when I tried to explain why “if you can still get the virus after getting the shot, why get the shot?” was a bad argument for not getting vaccinated. :(

    • lunashields says:

      Have you considered that she’s being naturally stupid? And that’s just normal for her, which you haven’t noticed?

    • Quixote says:

      I think cars provide a pretty good analogy for this that people will grasp intuitively. If you run across an interstate and get hit by a truck going 75, you are dead for sure. If you cross a local road and get hit by a car going 40, it’s about 50-50 if you live or die. If you cross a city street and get hit by someone looking for parking while going 10 miles per hour, you’re probably going to live unless you got unlucky. You can describe the vaccine as lowering the speed limit for the virus, its still there and still moving, but its not going to hit nearly as hard.

  7. lunashields says:

    My kid goes to school in Chicago burbs. They told them today, that they can’t wear masks with their halloween costumes, because The Rules. Oh, but they also HAVE to wear masks, just a different kind.

  8. John Bennett says:

    Something doesn’t add up with the Private Sector Vaccine Mandate section.

    The claim is:
    “US companies firing fully vaccinated people who don’t have the *right* US vaccines. Or people who even if unvaccinated have no way to get a US-approved vaccine in their own country.”

    …I don’t buy it. I simply do not believe American firms are firing ALL THEIR WORKERS in countries that do not have access to Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J. We would know about that. I don’t even believe that companies are firing significant fractions of their workforce in countries like the UK, who DO have theoretical access to the American vaccines, but mostly used others. The person you cite provides no evidence for that extraordinary claim, despite several people asking.

    So what’s the real story? Is there a kernel of truth buried somewhere in there, like multinational corporations are requiring their staff IN THE US who were vaccinated overseas to get re-vaccinated with an American vaccine? I can easily believe that, but it’s a much less explosive claim. The specific claim is almost certainly not true.

    • atgabara says:

      Good call that she didn’t provide a single example even after being asked, and that we haven’t heard about this from anywhere else.

      I’m joining you in disbelieving this until anyone can provide any examples of any companies actually doing this, and I think Zvi should remove this, or at least very strongly caveat this, until someone does so.

    • TheZvi says:

      I’ve removed the section. Upon examination of the rest of the thread she’s probably faking it. Note that I do believe we’re capable of being this stupid, but I don’t think we were in this particular case.

      • John Bennett says:

        I agree that we’re capable of that stupidity. Similar things happen all the time. But we’d hear about something that big and widespread.

  9. Craken says:

    An element of the “straight story” is that children 5-11 have a very similar mortality from the flu and Covid. (Among the 5-14 age group, per CDC estimates: 177 Covid deaths and 306 Flu deaths in the last 22 months.) In general, only very unhealthy children have a risk of death or long term disability from Covid. It is not polio. Why take it as a given that all children ought to suffer compulsory vaccination for Covid? Is this just to satisfy the people who do not understand the best estimate of the risk Covid poses to children? Is it to protect vaccinated adults? Is it because some assume, depending on their ingroup, that these vaccines–none of which is a traditional type of vaccine–pose no possible long term risk? A full cost-benefit analysis that might satisfy one of the vaccine outgroups wouldn’t hurt.

    The claim that this will allow them to unmask does not convince me, since they should never have had to mask up for this virus, at least not after adults were given the vaccination option. In the end, I believe this is being pushed because a certain identifiable adult alliance has psychological and cognitive deficiencies that render them unable to manage children in the context of this disease. In fairness, I acknowledge that there is another alliance, which does not overlap the first, that, for similar reasons, could not cope with managing this disease among adults; many of the more vulnerable in this alliance have died. The one alliance is united in mistreating children for no good reason, the other in persuading the elderly to die “naturally” even though the people at high risk of Covid death are also at high mortality risk generally (ie, they don’t have to worry about long run vaccine risks).

    I have difficulty imagining why the adults who have resisted these vaccines would submit their children to such a requirement. Parents don’t usually have a higher tolerance of risk for their children than for themselves. Furthermore, as an unwelcome side effect, hinted at in past posts, members of my tribe in particular, but also certain demographics of the opposing tribe (like black Americans), may even lose faith–and it is a matter of faith for most people–in the traditional childhood vaccines as a result of the Covid vaccine diktats for children. A great quantity of anti-vaxx websites exist. Very few people in America (5%?) can defend themselves against such sites by recourse even to their own information filtration strategies, much less substantive medical knowledge–which also means that you never know if the other tribe might become the anti-vaxx tribe. Kamala suggested as much prior to the election.

    This is not comparable to most other childhood vaccine requirements, as you imply. The diseases for which children are commonly vaccinated are serious diseases–for children. Covid is not. Granted, there are exceptions to this rule, like the HPV vaccine, a childhood vaccine which protects from death in adulthood. But, Covid is also distinguishable from HPV. It is a minor, transient illness for almost all children, one which will confer some degree of natural immunity upon infection, rather than occasionally eventuating in various types of cancer like HPV. This immunity may well last their lifetimes. The education bureaucracy and its promoters in the media are a much greater threat to the health of children than Covid is.

  10. kaminiwa says:

    “not letting kids breathe” seems needlessly hyperbolic. It’s like being forced to wear an itchy sweater, not a threat to your life. I’m usually a pretty big fan of your writing, especially your pithy turns of phrase, but you hit that note twice and it felt out of character.

  11. myst_05 says:

    “This FiveThirtyEight list of basic information about Covid-19 seems correct as far as that goes, but also seems designed not to be that useful in terms of what to actually do with one’s life. ”

    Its technically correct but intentionally written in a way that lets them avoid giving out “uncomfortable” numbers. For example in the kids section they say:

    “But the spread of the delta variant caused cases to come roaring back, cresting in late August at 305.7 per 100,000. Hospitalization rates among kids rose by nearly five times between the weeks of June 26 and Aug. 14, as delta spread and schools began to reopen.”

    Which is technically true… but if you look at the full graph of child hospitalizations you’ll see that the current surge is about the same in magnitude as the one in winter, hence there’s no data to support the idea that delta is somehow more dangerous than previous variants. They’re also not giving out any specific numbers on the likelihood of a child hospitalization conditional on infection – again I suspect this is intentional given that the number is very low.

    In the masks section they neglect to mention that an N95 mask will protect you even if others are not wearing a mask – this is a very uncomfortable fact for the CDC supporters as it undermines the need for mask mandates.

    In the testing section they neglect to mention that antigen tests are better at telling you if you’re infectious or not, which is more important than knowing if you’re infected or not per se. This is again copycatting the official CDC position, as the CDC hates the idea of people testing positive for COVID without this datapoint being shared with “proper” authorities.

    I’m disappointed that Nate Silver allowed this to be published on his website.

    • TheZvi says:

      Yeah, I may have not fully grasped how weasel-based this was. Agreed that they’re normally much better than this.

      • Brett Bellmore says:

        No, they’re not normally much better than this. I suspect that their being like this just normally goes unnoticed by you because it’s clashing with your own views less in most instances.

        [Rant deleted.] I’ll leave it at that: They’re NOT normally much better than this.

  12. AlexT says:

    First: great blog!

    But I have to ask: are you considering adult->kid->kid->adult transmission? I’ve heard of more adults get COVID via this chain, than via direct adult->adult transmission. Anecdotal, to be sure, and where I live there’s an active effort going on not to know too much about the pandemic, to avoid ulterior blame, so therefore we don’t really know how people get infected (or even how many, for that matter).

    Still, imo the best reason to vax and apply restrictions to kids is not for their own safety, but for the safety of their families, and of their friends’ families. The adults ought to be vaxed, but some aren’t, some are vulnerable, and a big enough dose of delta can cause bad stuff to happen even to the rest.

    • TheZvi says:

      Would be pretty extreme for this to be the primary mechanism! Most people aren’t children, and for it to *usually* go A->B->B->A in particular when infecting an A, as a primary cause, is really hard. If it’s A->B->(B any number of times)->A it’s easier, but still requires children be a huge portion of infections.

      Forcing a child to obey restrictions because of people who have made a choice not to be vaccinated (and also who are mostly not present at the time) seems hard to justify, at best, and I still see the resulting gains as highly minimal in terms of risk to adults. I do think it’s a good reason to vaccinate, because it’s a minimal disruption, but asking for NPIs continuously is another matter to me.

      • AlexT says:

        It is indeed easier to identify the source when it’s “some kid in my kid’s class wasn’t feeling well, there’s nowhere else we could *possibly* have got it from”, rendering this narrative more likely to be uttered. Doesn’t mean anything wrt its actual prevalence. If B’s are a good medium of transmission, but the disease is far more visible in A’s, then A->B(->B)*->A doesn’t look too far-fetched as a significant infection path. Especially with delta, which can briefly turn even immunized individuals into plague bearers.

        Not arguing for permanent restrictions, but temporary ones for everyone (kids and adults) are unavoidable if we’re going to control this thing.

  13. Donald Fagen says:

    ‘Any organization, such as the CDC, that would make such a recommendation has declared which side they are on, and it isn’t ours. There is a war.’

    If you mean this, we’d love to have you. The struggle now is how to end crisis mentality in a world where COVID will no doubt continue to exist. Widespread voluntary vaccination of adults should have already done this. It’s failure to do so had very little to do with the virus.

    The Rationality community in general has been failing in my view since very early in the pandemic, when they were admittedly very right. But now I see you and ACT doing things like credulously citing Long COVID ‘research’ like you guys were junior NYT health reporters. That kind of thing will keep us in crisis mode indefinitely.

    • TheZvi says:

      I strongly agree – and I thought I was being very clear – that (at least in the USA and other vaccinated areas) the crisis mentality IS the crisis at this point, rather than the disease, and this has been true since we got vaccines to everyone who wants one, I do think one needs to do one’s best to estimate risk (magnitude and probability) of Long Covid and such, but I’d still have this position even if LC was relatively bad, and also my analysis was concluding that it’s unlikely to be that bad. I don’t know what the alternative is to trying (skeptically) to look at what data is available. The failure of others to vaccinate being on them doesn’t change how one must make one’s own personal decisions. But I’m making my personal decisions on the basis of “I’ve had 3 shots, and the virus is irrelevant to my personal physical interests, I mask when it’s socially asked of me.”

  14. Basil Marte says:

    >>Several members of the FDA’s advisory panel pushed back on the agency’s rush to clear Pfizer’s vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.
    “I’m just worried that if we say yes, that the states are going to mandate administration of this vaccine to children in order to go to school, and I do not agree with that,” committee member Dr. Cody Meissner said.<<
    It takes a special lack of self-awareness to say "I personally forbid this just in case somebody might make it mandatory".

    • Brett Bellmore says:

      I took it as more, “I personally forbid this because somebody is inevitably going to make it mandatory.” And given how marginal any gain from vaccinating 5-11 year olds is going to be, if your only options were forbidding or mandating it, forbidding actually looks like a reasonable option.

  15. Jeff Hallman says:

    The best part of the Ryan Peterson story is that at least 25% of the comments on it concerned the dangers of a ship on a three hour tour. What if the weather started getting rough? Might the tiny ship be tossed? And so on. Made me proud to be a Boomer.

  16. potato says:

    I think you are misinterpreting the article on Squid Game. Educators may be horrified but the final paragraphs leave me thinking the author is pleased.

    > Now that we’re parents, those games do seem dangerous, particularly if we want our kids’ windpipes to remain intact. But back when we were kids? It was glorious. We played it as violently as playground supervisors would allow, and most of us weren’t even in debt.

    > Sure, the games we played might not have been based on a hit TV show. But survival was real. And so, assuming you or your kid is interested, you might want to check out the nonviolent versions of the games in “Squid Game.” Chances are, they are very interested.

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