477 Comments

I no longer participate in Covid Theater. I am fully vaccinated, with a booster. I however will not wear a mask unless I am legally mandated to do so (and then, only if its a do it or be kicked out way). Basically, I wear a mask on airplanes and half-assedly in airports, only because my job requires me to fly.

I will not put on a mask in any other place except for a medical establishment.

The simple fact is, the only reason we wear masks is to protect the very idiots that are unwilling to get vaccinated and I don't give a fuck about them.

Before someone mentions kids.... the risk is miniscule. Yesterday I decided to look up excess deaths my age, and the mortality rate for children is 15-20% lower during Covid that it was before Covid.

The ridiculous amounts of Covid theater we go through are more likely to cause a civil war or permanent split in our country than any other issue.

I've come to the conclusion that blue-state Covid worrying progressives are more irrational than anti-vaxers.

All the anti-vaxers I know at least acknowledge there is some risk, but at the end of the day, they were willing to take it, and that living a normal life is more important. I might not agree with their risk tolerance and evaluation, but I understand it.

Its the young progressive vaccinated people who wear masks everywhere, and avoid leading a normal life that I don't understand. Sacrificing enjoying life, for risk that is equivalent to pre-covid times is ridiculous.

Yesterday in Twitter, I saw someone post a comment from someone who lives in Pasadena who were terrified because they had to bring their two year old kids to Idaho next week. TERRIFIED.

Idaho has had zero children die from Covid. Child mortality is down 15-20%. There child is safer coming to Idaho during the pandemic that they were just living in Pasadena pre-pandemic.

Ok... since I travel. Here is my list of useless pandemic theater

1. the wipes they give you on airplanes even though they say they do super cleaning on planes

2. hotels that won't let you serve your own breakfast, but instead make you stand in line so some person can hand you your plate

3. mask requirements in drive-throughs

4. hotel key disinfectant boxes

5. insisting on contactless payment

The whole world is crazy and I refuse to play it's game.

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>> "All the anti-vaxers I know at least acknowledge there is some risk."

Interesting. All the anti-vaxers I have seen here in central NC are covid deniers. All the protesters at our school board meetings have been anti-vax, anti-mask, covid-denying types. I have yet to hear a "I know there is some COVID risk but not going back to normal life is more harmful" from any of those folks. A friend is on the school board and she has not heard that either. Obviously "people who protest at school boards" has some selection bias in it, but I wonder if the garden variety anti-vaxer is different in different parts of the country.

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I thought about this a little more. The protestors are a tiny percentage of anti-vaxers... they are the crazy ones.

Most anti-vaxers are the type who are scare of needles, fall prey to bad information on facebook, realize Covid is dangerous, but that the risk to them personally is reasonable, but overestimate the risk of Vaccines... or alternatively just don't know the risk of vaccines, so opt to accept slightly higher risk of covid vs unknown risk (to them) of the vaccine.

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As someone who has been in contact with literally thousands of people all over the country, encouraging them to get vaccines, I call bs. People who don’t want the shot overwhelming say they believe the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease, that COVID is a hoax, or claim that several of their friends have died after getting the vaccine. It is totally irrational. I have also on more than one occasion had someone threaten to kill me for contacting them.

I don’t think I’ve talked to a single person who said they weren’t vaccinated because they hated needles.

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Fear of needles is a real concern: "Research by Covid States shows that about 14 percent of the remaining unvaccinated mention fear of needles as a factor."

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/15/opinion/covid-vaccines-unvaccinated.html

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I take back my admission that Grouchy could be right about needles.

Nice save for me James... I was going by memory.

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You said "most", so don't claim victory so quickly. ;)

And besides, Grouchy said they haven't spoken to a single person who claimed a needle fear, which I have no reason to doubt. But at least some of them may be lying about that (or not even realize because all their concerns are mixed up in their mind).

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Eh... Im willing to concede the point about needles. But would they really say they were afraid of needles!

Other than that, I think everything else matches your experiences.

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Yes, they are denying types. But, if you ask them the question... even if covid was real, do you accept the risk, yes or no, they would say yes.

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I expect they would, but that's not very meaningful once they have denied COVID is real. If you asked me if I accept the risk that the aliens hiding in Area 51 might enslave humanity, I'd say "yes" too.

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See my other post. Seems you are dealing with the extremos.

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Maybe, but I have not seen any polling the characterizes the views of anti-vaxers on this question. Maybe you are dealing with the statistical extreme and I'm stuck with the median anti-vaxer.

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No one who attends a school board meeting is a median anything.

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I don't think you can make a good argument that anti vax people are less irrational than over zealous covid progressives. If you want to ignore the science in favor of more or less restriction than you are essentially the same ideologically. It seems like you are just overweighting irrationality of the progressives because of your own bias.

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No, I am not. Because I know the mortality numbers, the science and the data.

A person who is not-vaccinated is extremely unlikely to die. (1 in 6000 maybe) (odds are most of them had covid already), and they are living full and productive lives. Their risk is slightly higher than pre-pandemic and they are sacrificing nothing. (if the person is under 50, their risk is effectively the same as pre-pandemic)

A person who is vaccinated is super, duper not likely to die or get sick, and they are not living full and productive lives. Their risk is exactly the same as it was pre-pandemic yet they are sacrificing a lot.

I guarantee that I know the science way better than you do, and the data.

In February of 2020 I was calling bullshit on the people who said masks dont work. Doctors and scientists were literally responsible for 1000s of deaths. If people had listened to me, a lot of people would be alive. I bet you listened to the scientists.

https://twitter.com/rorynotsorry/status/1233385024533098496?s=20

Two months ago, I went an got a moderna booster after having pfizer. People told me I was dumb, it was dangerous. Today:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/us/politics/fda-mix-and-match-boosters.html

I absolutely trust my judgement more than yours. I have a record of researching and being right.

To put it in ecomomics terms. Risk is cost. Quality of Life is the product.

Anti-vaxers are paying slightly more unknowingly for the same product they always had.

The irrational (not all progressives are irrational) mask and limit lifers who are vaccinated are VOLUNTARILY paying the same amount for an inferior product compared to what they had.

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You alone can fix it huh?

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I would of done a better job that the CDC and FDA and our experts did.

I would of had challenge trials at the beginning. Had the vaccine approved by Summer of 2020. I would have of had Trump sell it as an American kicks ass thing.

Masks would of been mandated in February. Schools would of never been canceled.

So not me alone. But better than the other dudes.

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I wish you luck on your time quest. Bet on LSU to beat Florida for me.

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Im a USC supporter, you don't want me near anything that involves college football that you care about. I've been cursed with Helton for 7-years.

But going with my general theme of awesomeness... I would of fired him back in 2017 if they had hired me instead of Lynn Swann.

One thing you should not do though is take my investing advice. Unless you want to do the exact opposite of me.

If you buy when I sell, and sell when I buy, you would probably be a bitcoin millionaire.

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I think the difference is that there are way way more people who refuse to get the shot, typically for bad reasons, then there are people who are willingly shutting themselves off from living life more enjoyably now that they are vaccinated.

Granted that the latter are still annoying as all heck. But the vast majority of people who have gotten the shots really want to get back to normal life.

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This. I got the shot and I still mask indoors when it's legally required but I'm all for returning to as much pre pandemic life as possible. It's just bad to pretend covid isn't real and this entire thing is a big brother deep state operation. I think the far left and right are both way overestimating the crazies on the other side and the polling generally bears this out.

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"I bet you listened to the scientists."

We were pretty goddamned serious about isolating, etc. in the opening phases (yay China contacts). This was when there was no good treatment and the medical community wasn't yet confident in the profile of who would suffer most. So yea, we listened to the scientists, lol.

Except that I already had purchased a box of 200 3M N95 masks, as well as 20 child-sized blown mesh ones, in late December 2019 and built a homemade UVC sanitizing box to allow for safe reuse on weekly intervals.

Trust but verify, yo.

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I’m not surprised about you David! Not at all.

Bo however seems like a run of the mill type though. Always having to adjust their thinking when the bureaucracy catches up to the actual science.

My feeling from our debates is that you and I are both the deep research with source material have skepticism types.

You are more generous than I am though.

I’m not trust or verify.

I’m don’t trust until I have verified type. Lol.

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Straw man, huckleberry, whatever you need Rory.

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Hey Bo! I don't think that's an exact straw man argument. I provided receipts for my examples.

What were you right about or early on, that was against CDC or FDA recommendations. Where did you excise your rebellious streak?

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Lol. I went a bit nuts, back when we were still in "will essential services continue if folks are too afraid to leave the house?" mode. Lessee...

I'm still running down the supply of canned and dry goods we laid in.

Most of the masks are there for future construction projects.

Almost all of the Clorox wipes got donated to the pre-school.

I finally overturned my 50-gallon drum of potable water and drained it last week. I'd been dropping a few capfuls of bleach in almost every week for a year and a half.

I just remembered two weeks ago to use the 2 10-gallon gas cans to fill both cars before it absorbs too much moisture.

The generator has never and likely will never be fired up.

My home defense weapon is still in its safe and has never left. I do need to go up to my dad's one weekend and get some stress shooting time in at the range where he maintains a membership, I'm rusty to the point of uselessness. Spray and pray would be the name of the game if someone broke in tomorrow.

Better safe than sorry, right?

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You own guns! I’m shocked.

I used to own guns but they were all lost in a freak biting accident. No you can not look in that gun safe. It’s all personal paperwork.

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Did you get a full Moderna booster (presumably) rather than the current ½ dose? You may be even more protected than my 2x J&J + Pfizer buddy.

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Yes, I got the full booster. I haven't actually read about the Moderna booster, is it a 1/2 shot?

I will say the Moderna shot fucked me up compared to my two pfizer shots.

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They are essentially the same thing but the Moderna dose is 100 µg and Pfizer is 30 µg -- so huge dosage difference.

For boosters, Moderna is a half dose, 50 µg, and Pfizer is the full 30 µg.

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AFAIK, yes. And I believe Moderna is roughly 3x the dose of Pfizer though TBH I don‘t fully know what that means given that they‘re not exactly the same thing.

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Ah, this is what started our argument. Yeah, you might have a point. My bias is pretty high on the issue.

I guess I should be more specific. I am talking about the type of progressives, who are under the age of 40, are fully vaccinated, wear masks everywhere, even outside when no one is around, and are fearful that their kids will burst into flames if little Johnny next door goes to school with a masks on with their kids. They also refused to fly, won't eat in restaurants, and generally live in fear.

You don't think that there is a significant portion of the population is overly fearful?

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I live in a purple area outside a deep blue political sea (imagine thin blue line flags, rainbow yard signs, Priuses and F-250's on the same block) and I can tell you 95% of the people I know are perfectly rational about most of this issue. Even folks I know who were waving flags during the marches last summer and own pink pussy hats are taking their kids to day care and going to with park maskless. I think the media plays up the insanity on both sides and the reality is very different. All that said, I'm much more concerned about what the NSA can do in my email inbox than a mandate over vaccines during the pandemic and I really worry the conservative movement has lost the plot on what tools are actually used to curtail freedom. The next authoritarian leader has a great playbook for how to co-opt "patriots" while shutting down freedom all around them.

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I have no issues with mandates over vaccines. I 100% support them. (my only issue is with mask mandates)

I'm not worried so much about my email inbox, because digital privacy is an unobtainable goal.

I'm a simple guy. I worry much more about small things in my daily life.

I travel for work. When I'm home, I go to the gym, hang out at my Brother in Laws restaurant, work on my classic cars, and work on my cabin. I go out to eat.

I am fully 100% vaccinated. So is my entire household. My wife, kids and I have no risk... none. My brother-in-law who is an unvaccinated smoker with health issues does, but that's on him. I love him, but I told him to get vaccinated, attempted to convince him.

All I want to do is not wear masks. That's it. I'm good wearing one at the Hospital or Doctors office, but other than that, I just want to go about my life like it was in 2019.

Yet, when I fly... which I do a lot... I am stuck wearing a mask for 8-hours straight, all so we can protect the unvaccinated.

My earlier comment about irrationality boils down to this. The anti-vaxers aren't putting me or loved ones at risk. They aren't making me do anything, making me not wear anything.

It's the other side that making kids wear masks, making me wear a mask when I travel to blue states, making me have space out when I stand in lines, making me unable to serve my own breakfast in a hotel.

The vaccines is so fricking good and effective, that once fully vaccinated, statistically you are at the same overall risk as you were pre-pandemic.

So lets all move on.

Also, its not my emails I worry about, its my whatsapp chats. Thats where all the shady shit goes down.

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I had a work event cancelled earlier this month because it was slated to be in Boise.

Now, there's some sanity there as the typical attendee for that conference is in their mid-50's. But I, myself, said "let's do it" when the association head asked.

I figured that, worse comes to worst, I try to mostly chill at home the week prior so that I don't end up showing symptoms there and getting stuck without a return flight.

But otherwise, screw it. I'm done.

The only difference between us, I think, is that I'm more willing than you to hold a gun to the heads of the antis and ram it down their throats, because I'd like to see them live. Really, even that is more down to "their communities have vulnerable folks who are trying to protect themselves but can't unless others protect them."

But that doesn't extend to masking up when they refuse to do anything to protect themselves.

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Actually I am very willing to hold a gun to the head of the antis.

If I were king...

All Federal and State employees would get vaccinated.

All companies that fall under OSHA would require vaccines.

Vaccines would be required on any public transport.

Medicaid or Medicare or any Government related healthcare plan would not cover anyone without the vaccine.

Unvaccinated would be last on the list for any medical care... beds, transplants, etc...

Schools would require 100% vaccinations no exceptions.

Government contractors would be required to have entire company vaccinated.

All companies over 100 employees... hell, maybe all companies all together.

If a person wanted to deal with that inconvenience and work for themselves... god speed.

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I got vaccinated as soon as possible and am incredibly frustrated by people choosing not to be vaccinated. However, I'm not thrilled about the government using coercion on this scale. How does the rationale we're using for covid vaccines not apply to:

All possible vaccinations (flu shots, etc.), blood donations, become an organ donor, etc....

All of which I have done voluntarily! - but there is difference between doing something voluntarily and being coerced by the government.

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I actually am sympathetic with you, but quite simply if vaccine mandates mean I don’t have to wear masks, I’m good with it.

So basically I am a selfish hypocrite.

I want whatever it takes to allow mask mandates to end. That’s it. If they said everyone needed to shave their heads one time. Fuck it. Give me the clippers.

I just want masks over.

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tbh i feel this on a spiritual goddamn level

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Judging by your profile picture, that's not much of a sacrifice.

I would prefer to enjoy my (slowly fading) hair while I still have it.

:-P

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Also. The clippers were for you my friend… I’m going to hook you up!

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Ahh, then we're in complete agreement on all fronts, haha.

I'm vaccinated, this is never going to go away, and I am not going to continue to be paranoid about the decision to "get sick now or get sick later."

But I have no issue with lots of coercion put behind effective public health policies. Namely...

Vaccines for everyone, their uncle, and their deceased grandparents! Dig up the recently dead and give them the shot too, just to make sure. Maybe the family dog and cat each get an attenuated viral vaccine as well, why not?

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If you were king you could just say: “Everyone must be vaccinated.” You wouldn’t even have to worry that your mandate comported with something as silly as the US Constitution!

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Of course nothing he suggested was in any way unconstitutional.

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I know. That was the joke.

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If only it could be that way. Vaccines on public transport would probably be hella annoying to enforce, but otherwise I agree entirely.

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The strange thing is that everyone poo poos COVID child mortality when it's many times more fatal to children than chicken pox, which we routinely vaccinate for.

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Note: I deleted an earlier post where I was wrong. I will copy below so you can see. But I just wanted to be fair to Seneca. I don't want anyone to see my wrong info and think its correct.

My super power is being able to admit when I'm wrong!

And props to Seneca for correcting me!

-------------------------------------------------------

This is not accurate.

The fatality rate for children was 1 in 100K before vaccines. Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/varicella.html

The risk of death from Covid is 2 in 1 million. Reference: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-57766717

While I agree that the Covid vaccine should be mandated for kids, I also like to be accurate.

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In fact there are 75 million children under the age of 17 in the US, so using your number the number of deaths from COVID should be 150 if they all had it.

Even if you’re going to assert that deaths are mischaracterized the CFR you’re using is probably off by a factor of at least 9.

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I hereby declare the above post wrong, and Seneca basically made me look like an idiot.

All hail Seneca! Master of Comments.

In all seriousness, I love learning new shit. One less thing to be wrong about in the future.

Should I delete the post above?

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Don't feel so bad. I think you pulled pre-Delta numbers and Delta had a higher hospitalization rate for children.

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There are 542 deaths between the ages of 0-17 according to the CDC. According to your assertion that means 271 million children have had COVID in the USA.

The fatality rate for varicella actually increases with age, but even using a rate of 4-5 per 100,000, there are already many more COVID deaths than there would have been varicella deaths.

That estimate of the CFR you’re using is clearly not correct.

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That's a good point; Rory's number is based on the total population, I think (not his fault - the article is not so clear on this point). These data suggest the CFR for 0-17 is ~15/100,000. Almost all of those cases were symptomatic, though, so no doubt an overestimate; if we assume asymptomatic cases are roughly equal to symptomatic ones, it comes down to ~8/100,000. No doubt that number will be significantly lower if you only consider children with no risk factors, but I didn't see the data broken out like that here, at least.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7003e1.htm

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Traitor! Just kidding... I am agreeing with you. Now I have to eat crow and change my argument to just save face!

What was the adult CFR for Chicken Pox?

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Your CDC link on that appears correct as interpreted.

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Good points. Damn, if I have to eat crow, I'm gong to be pissed off. Let me go off and research.

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I didn't actually know it either... but remember my mantra... don't trust until you verify. So I looked it up (it sound like it might not be true), gut feeling was right.

When my youngest daughter got covid, I was hoping my 11-year old would as well, just to get it over with.

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That'll teach me to trust you... :-P

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Lol... you were just bragging about how you were trust but verify! Serves you right.

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"Basically, I wear a mask on airplanes and half-assedly in airports, only because my job requires me to fly."

It is my understanding (I could be wrong!) that this is somewhat backwards? On an airplane, I thought the ventilation systems were actually really good (once you're in flight - not true during taxiing/sitting at gate) and you basically only put your seatmate at risk. But waiting at a departure gate you've got lots of people there.

https://www.vox.com/21525068/covid-19-airplane-risk-coronavirus-pandemic-airports

Of course, the airplane enforces mask mandates more thoroughly than the airport (we finally took our first airplane flight during the pandemic and I was getting basically a very mild reprimand(reminder) that my 6 year-old daughter should put her mask on between every bite of her airline snack - but she was eating these things at a pretty good clip - putting on and taking off the mask would probably have made her have LESS mask time)

So maybe we've opted for the less-useful but easy-to-enforce method over the potentially more-useful but more difficult to enforce method. (see: surface disinfecting)

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Yes... obviously the mask requirement is dumb on airplanes given the ventilation.

But the cost of not wearing a mask is a flight ban, therefore despite it being stupid, I comply.

And I don't care how crowded or stuffy the gate area is. There are exactly three sets of people.

1. vaccinated - effectively zero risk

2. non-vaccinated - fuck em

3. kids - effectively zero risk

I mean I wear my mask loosely... usually right on the tip of my nose, I've also learned to fold the bottom of my mask up underneath so that it sort of hangs over my mouth but lets me breath.

I have also perfected the art of pulling my mask down to do something, and then "forgetting" to pull it up until I absently pretend to remember, and pull it up, only to repeat a minute later.

Also, just get the seats facing the windows, take the mask off, and no one cares.

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The risk for vaccinated is certainly not "effectively zero". Maybe for 1n 18 year old healthy person it is, but there are a lot of 80 year old vaccinated people with comorbidities.

And your mask behavior is actually the type of behavior that causes problems. I don't know you're vaccinated. In fact your behavior is much more consistent with the anti-vax crowd. So there's a good chance, I'm probably that jerk who is going to rudely remind you that you need to follow the rules or get out.

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The issue seems to be that for folks with compromised immune systems (either because of age or a condition) the "respiratory disease that can seriously harm you" situation is just going to be worse for the next five years than it was prior to 2020. Not clear what society does about this because most people aren't in that situation, but some of the "lots of masking" rules are about trying to get the risk for an 80-year-old back to 2019 levels, which maybe vaccines can't do by themselves.

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I wish I better understood what immuno-compromised really meant. It seems like one of those vague catchall conditions like ADHD. In my ignorance, I imagine there are some people with legitimate genetic or birth disorders lumped in with people who seem to have weaker than average immune systems for no reason lumped in with various other unhealthy or elderly or infirm people.

The spectrum of possible immune strength and causes makes the issue really tricky. I feel bad for an 80 year old guy who is compromised because of cancer but nearly as bad as I do for a young teenager that has to live in a bubble her whole life. But I also imagine the numbers on these categories of people are very different and what society should do for them is different as well.

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Age is probably the biggest risk factor. If you add common conditions for seniors, the risks add up (diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer.) Obesity is a huge risk factor. The young people that get really bad disease are often overweight.

"Immunocompromised" really means medication that suppress the immune system (chemo, meds for auto-immune disease), AIDS and certain very rare congenital diseases.

But, as I've been reminding people over and over, these were always risk factors for getting complications from respiratory illnesses. It's not clear to me that the risk is higher for covid post-vaccination than it has always been for respiratory illnesses of all kinds. My opinion is that masking makes sense in certain places (doctor's office, hospital, maybe mass transit) and otherwise, it's time to allow people to unmask. LA county is crazy conservative regarding Covid and I don't foresee a time when they will relax their indoor mask requirement. I want to go back to my exercise class w/o a mask, but I don't think that will be allowed any time soon. If you go 1 hour away to Orange County, rules are much less strict.

Some of this is media-driven. We were allowed to go w/o masks in early July just before Delta was really surging. Yes, cases went up. The LA times was brutally critical about public health relaxing masking rules. And here we are today with an indoor mask requirement and, as far as I'm aware, no mention of what parameters need to be met before those rules will be lifted again.

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The thing is the teenager probably doesn't have to live in a bubble of any sort if people would just do the most basic things. The simplest is to be vaccinated. If everyone who could be vaccinated, got the shots, we probably could do without any other restriction.

But apparently since people can't do vaccines , we need a bunch of backstops.

I have a young teenager who is living a full life. Yes, he has to wear a mask at school. He plays basketball and he does wear one there (usually -- depends on the audience). And we only eat at restaurants that require proof of vaccination. We go to football games, bowling, and attend birthday parties. He wears masks where appropriate, and does so in a way that is intended.

Would he prefer not to wear a mask? Yes. Does he feel like he's in a bubble now? No. We can protect some people, while still largely living our life.

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To some extent it's just plain age. There was a comment from Emily Oster some months back that an unvaccinated kid had the same risk as a vaccinated grandma. This turned out to be sort of wrong - but only because it understated the issue (I think the equivalent was about a 45-year old, not a 70-year old). So it's just older folks without other issues that are at increased risk in a COVID world. But getting that risk down to 2019 levels (as opposed to only a bit worse than 2019 levels) seems very costly.

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...effectively zero-risk for kids, but I live in a multi-generation household with a immune-suppressed person in their 70's on chemotherapy, so if/when one of my kids brings covid home, it's a Big Fucking Deal.

I'm totally with you—I don't like mask theater nor do I like wearing a mask just for the idiots who refuse to get vaccinated and it's double annoying for those of us who have to fly for work—but I prefer that everyone sit tight until kids under 12 can get their vaccine. Then we're just down to the non-vaccinated and the small percentage of the population that is immune-suppressed and, unfortunately, we can't wear masks forever just for them.

So let's ring in the new year by ditching covid theater. We can toss our masks in the air when the ball drops.

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I suspect you are referring to school masking. I am ok having indoor mask mandates until exactly one month after vaccines are approved for those under 12. That's it.

I fully expect the powers to be to make excuses after that... on... not enough kids have taken it... oh what about the immune suppressed... oh blah, blah, blah.

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No, I'm referring to adults not wearing masks in public spaces around my kids. But yes, as soon as the vaccine is available for kids I want our school to ditch masks and add covid boosters to the normal push for flu shots every fall. I'm totally fine with adding it to the mandatory vaccines—in our county they already require the varicella vaccine, so go ahead and add covid, why not.

As a vaccinated, bushy-bearded and bespectacled person, I am particularly irked by dumb rules like having to put on a mask just to walk my kids to the front door of the school from the car. And my kids (neither of whom are bearded or bespectacled) are indescribably sick of having a mask on all day at school.

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My immunocompromised teacher friends would vastly prefer that school mask mandates stay in place until all the kids in their classes can *and are mandated to* get vaccinated. As long as the willpower to mandate vaccines is lacking, masks still have a role.

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If I was immune compromised I would choose a job that put myself at the level of risk that I was comfortable with and not expect others to have to accommodate me by changing their entire life type.

But making others sacrifice so I didn’t have to is another alternative I guess.

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I'm perfectly happy to wait until ten-ish weeks after the 5-11s have a chance to get their first shot, then treat all of this as pretty much not my problem.

You got vaccinated and got a serious breakthrough infection? I am very sorry that this happened to you, but that's going to happen to people at low rates forever. You didn't get vaccinated, got sick, and had bad outcomes? Thoughts and prayers.

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"Bless your heart, I'm thinking of you." is even better for the last scenario.

Have actually used the phrase. Now I understand why Southerners love it.

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I already suggested 4 weeks. Compromise at 7?

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i like 4. the kiddos aren’t at much risk to begin with, one dose will make their risk trivial to all but the sickest

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Ventilation is not good on airplanes during flight. The air in the cabin must be compressed and is diverted off of the engines. It saps power lengthening flights and costing fuel (which means you must cary more fuel which also costs fuel). Accordingly, they basically keep air circulation to a minimum. If they did circulate substantial amounts of fresh air, it would be bitterly cold. It is all that previously respired air that keeps it so warm and humid on flights.

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This is false. The air change rate in a modern airliner is 20-30 changes per hour. But don't take my word for it, ask ASHRAE.

https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/si_a19_ch13.pdf

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Ok, thank you for the correction.

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> The air in the cabin must be compressed and is diverted off of the engines. It saps power lengthening flights and costing fuel (which means you must cary more fuel which also costs fuel). Accordingly, they basically keep air circulation to a minimum. If they did circulate substantial amounts of fresh air, it would be bitterly cold.

It turns out that when you have two power plants throwing off massive amounts of rotational energy, it's shockingly easy to put compressors next to them and run them for free. Also, compressing air raises its temperature (yay, thermodynamics!).

> It is all that previously respired air that keeps it so warm and humid on flights.

Airplane air is notoriously *dry*, to the point where one of the major advances on the 777 was how much more humid the cabin was.

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I was in this boat last summer. As someone who wears glasses and lives in a humid area (Portland, OR, area), my glasses are forever fogging up. Also, I like to do group exercise classes at the gym - easily the best way for me to stay in shape. That's a serious issue. My wife teaches and cannot judge students' expressions (she teaches math, so reading nonverbal cues is needed), which is a problem because a whole bunch of introverted students don't speak up in class. This is true in common professional spaces, too, like meetings.

I work from home on the regular. I'm a lot more effective around people, though. I'm also pretty social and would LOVE to get back out with co-workers and friends.

From a clinical perspective, there's an argument that not getting regular exposure to pathogens is weakening our immune systems, too. A fellow Substacker, Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, talked a bit about the risks from influenza and RSV this year since no one got exposure last year. We're weakening ourselves.

https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/go-get-your-flu-shot-especially-this

I may have a higher risk tolerance than many but, honestly, if the disease is gonna be around anyway - I haven't read a single ID specialist yet that thinks eradication is even possible, let alone probable - we should get to modifying our living and working spaces to limit spread, then be really tolerant of others who would like to wear masks wherever they go.

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Yeah... I've mentioned the immunity deficit issue several times.

Is it possible that our kids end up with chronic allergies or immune issues because they were so sheltered during the time in their lives when they are meant to be eating dirt in order to build up a life long immunity.

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Shelter in place did not keep my kid from eating dirt.

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eating dirt is really a euphemism for being exposed do a wide variety of germs.

- breathing on other kids. (kids expose each other to germs, very efficient for sharing immunity strength)

- eating dirt from different places

- touching public door knobs

- crawling on the floor at the mall

- public playgrounds

All sources of wonderful germs.

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Dirt is my kid's favorite thing. That and pond water.

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On a separate, kid related noted. I just got my 15-year old daughter a subscription to Slowboring.

I might have to exaggerate less in the comments! But at least she can confirm how dumb I am.

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Wearing a mask while you socialize is standoffish. I will tolerate it, but it makes company less appetizing.

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I always enjoy your comments but this is your best yet.

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I sort of do really love my last sentence.

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Would be better with "its" instead of "it's", but close enough. ;)

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Dude. My whole persona is based around working man’s common sense. I have to insert these grammatical errors on purpose to hide my secret Ivy League education. Gives me credibility.

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It does protect people with impaired immune systems. My wife and I wore a mask for tightly packed inside events (despite 3 shots each) because she was pregnant. Not sure if that was necessary but there does not appear to be enough data to be sure it is not.

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When Greece reopened brothels last year (prostitution is legal there, although most establishments operate without a license) the government advised customers to pay by contactless card if possible

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Cash is better, wives can see the credit card bill.

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A fringe benefit of Official COVID Theater.

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This is the subtext of Matt’s post, but I really think we need to just start thinking of COVID like the seasonal flu. Early on in the pandemic, conservatives were idiots for claiming this. Now, as we approach 100% of the population with some degree of immunity (infection and recovery/vaccination), the comparison is more apt. And as for kids, while there are certainly unknowns in terms of long covid, death rates for individuals under 17 are comparable to the flu — ~500 deaths since COVID started, 500 in a typical flu season. (Although you probably need to adjust these numbers for the NPIs that have been in place since March 2020)

Typed by an unhappily-masked individual on public transit with fogged up glasses.

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founding

I think it also makes sense to make more use of our annual flu surveillance. We should have mask recommendations whenever flu cases get above some threshold, and possibly even mandates if they get high enough even while COVID stays low (the 2017-18 flu season apparently killed 150,000 Americans and most of us weren’t even told).

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I saw a bunch of comments pointing out that we still have to take our shoes off in the security line at the airport (which is pretty dumb), but to take the analogy further...

I got into aviation around 2001 and applied for an ATC job around 2002 or so, and things were _way worse_ in aviation back then. You couldn't visit an ATC facility, and to become a controller you needed the same top-level security clearance that NSA and CIA candidates got, which backed up the hiring processing by over a year.

A friend of mine requested some info about ATC in Boston from the FAA because he was an enthusiastic hobbyist and the FBI knocked on his door. Your kids could not see the cockpit if they took an airplane flight. I felt like I'd discovered aviation a year too late and the door had been slammed shut. Everything was just "no" and "fear".

_Almost_ all of this has relaxed to a large extent. Access to the cockpit during flight is still restricted (and in hindsight it was a little strange that it wasn't - professional pilots have a rule about not talking about anything except flying the aircraft when they're at the beginning and end of the flight so it's a little strange that in that phase a passenger could just open the door and be like "whazzzzzzzup". I lock my door when I'm in a phone meeting so my kids don't barge in) but your kid can come see the cockpit once the passengers have disembarked. You can get onto the tarmac if you ask nicely or visit an FAA facility.

It took a long time and from a rational standpoint a lot of the restrictions were dumb and should have been dropped sooner or never been born, but I think over time humans, when faced with a risk that doesn't happen, start to ignore the risk, both in the case where the risk is imaginary (terrorists decide that the best way to commit an act of terror is to go through the multi-year process of becoming an FAA employee) or real (e.g. listen to Tim Harford's account of flood evacuation in New Orleans pre-Katrina).

I had hoped that when some of the grosser TSA stories came out (e.g. like the ones where they were stealing things from checked luggage) that the whole organization would be disbanded and that would rip off the final bit of security theater cruft but it does seem like we'll be stuck with the shoes forever. It's dumb but not that costly to any one person so it's easier to not change things.

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If we turned TSA over to individual airports -- who do not want to have airplanes leaving from there blown up in the air -- we could get the costs and benefits of safety into better alignment.

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We will be wearing masks on airplanes for the foreseeable future.

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I took my first post-covid flights a month ago and I'm 90% sure we kept our shoes on through at least one of the checkpoints.

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founding

If you get pre-check you can keep your shoes on. Some airports sometimes treat everyone as pre-check at some checkpoints. I don’t quite know why they do that but I don’t complain.

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I agree with argument here, but I want to push back against one thing, because I see it all the time: "It’s true that having this rule in place [masking between the door and table[ also doesn’t particularly harm anyone." I think the idea that this doesn't harm anyone is mistaken in a way that fundamentally structures so many of our culture wars over COVID

There are a lot of people out there that don't mind wearing masks at all, or only a little bit. By contrast, I hate wearing them, and I get the impression that they don't get it; they think I'm being peevish or just giving vent to toxic masculinity if I complain.

I wish there were a way to prove it to people, to show them the depth of my discomfort - I'd rather be forced to smell sewage than wear a mask. If that were an option I'd do it. Thus, I'm closely attuned to arbitrary absurdities of our pandemic control measures. Every inconsistency, every disproportionate piece of hygiene theater undermines my faith in our public health authorities, reducing the likelihood that I will trust them in the future.

I think this qualifies as harm, though maybe not in the sense invoked in the quote.

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I'm not falling over in pain, I'm not gasping for breath. I've worn for eight hours straight working the polls a few times, and it's annoying but I can deal with it.

Just don't bullshit me that the obnoxiousness factor is zero. Then I know you're lying to my face, and I am disinclined to believe you or trust you in the future.

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Yep. I'm a flabby-ass white-collar worker who works from home most of the time, but I've done manual labor in a mask for a few 8-hour days, and boy does it suck.

Tribalism is a hell of a drug, as we were discussing the other day.

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I worked at a restaurant through most of the pandemic and there are few better feelings than after a 9am-10pm day in a mask the whole time, taking the mask off when the last customer left (that is once everyone in the place was vaccinated). Like sure I technically took the mask off for 10 second increments to drink water or take a bite of something, but 13 hour days on your feet are brutal without having slightly worsened breathing the whole time, fogged up glasses, and the my least favorite part, having a mouth full of cloth anytime you breathe with your mouth.

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Yea, a fully outdoor work environment should not require them so long as you are sending symptomatic folks home and people aren't deliberately crowding the shit out of each other.

The only bit of bitching I don't get is from the guys whose jobs already require respirators.

Who the hell cares, at that point? You're just getting a cartridge that deals with volatiles AND meets the N95 standard.

But some folks I've talked with swear they can "tell the difference and it's harder to breathe."

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We know mask use doesn't harm anyone because when stars and politicians are swanning unmasked around benefit dinners and awards ceremonies surrounded by masked servants, we never hear any complaints from the servants.

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That's because the masks hide the gags they put on them.

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People with medical conditions that make masks dangerous are also seriously harmed. Depending on where they live they have spent months either excluded from much of society or they have been dealing with self-appointed mask police demanding to know why they’re not wearing one or accusing them of lying about their medical history.

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I agree with you. I am literally unable to concentrate and feel like Im having an Asthma attack when Im wearing a mask.

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Ongoing Covid precautions are very similar to the performative security theater at airports. Smart people know that taking off your shoes in a security line is pointless in the same way that wiping down tables and bagging remote controls is pointless. The problem is that no one wants to be the first mover to make a change because they will get pilloried for it by the media. In so many facets of life we pile on layer after layer of useless regulation. Why should Covid be any different?

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I don't even think the fear is *just* about being pilloried by the media, though that certainly comes into play. I think there is a real fear that if you stop some faux precautionary measure, and then something goes wrong, people en masse are too collectively dumb to parse out that the thing you stopped doing wouldn't have prevented [bad outcome x], anyway.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

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If we start seeing rising rates, I think people will restrict their activities.

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That's one of the arguments I've seen tossed around as this thing has gone on, no? People are restricting their behaviors, but those self-restrictions are tied much more to people's personal sense of risk than any particular public policy?

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Yes, personal actions will be much faster in responding than legislatures.

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founding

That’s why I think legislatures should put automatic rules in place. When local case counts are above 10 per 100,000 per day, mask recommendation is in effect, and when they get above 40 per 100,000 per day mask mandate is in effect.

Just like the automatic stabilizers Matt wants where unemployment benefits automatically get expanded and extended when unemployment hits certain thresholds, so you don’t have to wait for politicians to act.

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At a minimum this is worth persuading a few places to launch a pilot program or two

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In fairness, wiping down tables and cleaning remotes in hotel rooms is something people did before Covid. Much like putting that paper thing on the toilet seat. It's maybe more extreme now, but I think it more that people do little things that they think may reduce risk. But people are less inclined to do big things.

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I fear it will never wind down. We've all taken off our shoes to get into the airport for like nineteen years after ONE guy tried ONE thing ONE time. No one in any position of power seems to ever have proposed getting rid of that rule that I know of. Besides, while the partisan divide is the most visible one, in my anecdotal experience (in a very blue area) the people most militant about Covid theater (outdoor masking and making sanitizing wipes easily available at CVS, respectively) are older people with other stuff stressing them out in life, which is to say an incredibly powerful voting constituency nationwide. The college policies are pretty telling and distressing – does anything we've heard about colleges in the last five years give cause to believe students will be able to claw back a grain of liberty once the college administration has a new excuse to treat them like children?

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One thing left out of the college conversation is that lots of faculty are old as dirt, and many of them have extra health conditions that make Covid extremely risky.

The college I work at has at-risk faculty basically begging the rest of us to let them have the online classes so that they can stay safe. I'm happy to go into the classroom, but having to beg for the kindness of colleagues isn't really a long-term way to keep workers safe.

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What are your thoughts about balancing the interests in that context? I thought one of the things that The Chair got right about academia is that so many faculty never intend to retire which seems sub optimal for maintaining educational quality and I definitely think that online classes are generally inferior to in person and so I wonder how to strike a humane and fair balance.

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I haven't watched The Chair, but I assure you that I will retire as soon as it is economically reasonable for me to do so. Our bigger problem is that when people do retire, the administration doesn't want to hire a replacement.

As to your main question, I'm honestly not really sure. It's one of those genuinely hard problems. I hate wearing a mask as much as anybody else does (it's hard to lecture for multiple hours with a mask on), and most of my students just don't wear them (I live in GA). I'm fully vaxxed and not at extra high risk, so I just live with them not wearing masks, but I also believe that teachers who are not comfortable in front of unmasked students are not asking for theatrics. I believe they have legit health concerns that their employer should take seriously.

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See I am so blinkered by my all blue world that unmasked students in classrooms didn't even occur to me. I think that requiring masks indoors is fine especially for older faculty -- but long term online seems harder to justify. My son is a senior at a small liberal arts college in PA and he is quite relieved that all his classes are in person this semester -- but they are definitely all wearing masks in the classroom.

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We are explicitly banned from requiring students to wear masks in our classrooms.

I have a lot of thoughts about online learning. When the pandemic first hit and we had to go online at scale for the first time, I had several decent students basically stop doing anything, but I also had a couple of previously poor students suddenly become really good. I think it's great for that second bunch to have the option, but students in the first bunch often don't know that they suck at online learning until after they have failed several classes.

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My school still allows older faculty to teach remotely. I guess a lot are like that?

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"older people with other stuff stressing them out in life [are] an incredibly powerful voting constituency nationwide" made me LOL. Quite true.

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There definitely seems to be a vocal minority of liberal people who have developed purity intuitions around getting covid. I’ve gotten into arguments with people about how dangerous (or rather, not dangerous) breakthrough infections are for the vaccinated, and some people seem to view getting sick with covid *at all* as unacceptable. This was all online though. IRL, all the people in my mostly liberal circle are sensible and going back to restaurants, movies, indoor socializing, etc. after being vaccinated.

It’s funny, a year ago I was exasperated with people for flying or eating out indoors, and now I’m exasperated at people who see those things as unacceptable risks.

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I have had more than one person say they want to keep mask mandates because they don’t want to get a cold and are completely certain that masks are the reason (not rarely leaving the house) that they haven’t gotten one in over 12 months. If they want to mask forever, fine but don’t expect the rest of us to go along.

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Related: shaking my head at the journalism social sphere that keeps pushing future-tense articles about how we're going to learn to figure out how to return to in-person work, or whatever, completely unaware of how many American workers either never left (because you can't stock a shelf over VPN) or have been back for a year-plus.

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I didn't miss a day of work, even if I was the only person in the building. It was my most productive year ever, and part of me is annoyed at all the people around now.

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The other sometimes overlooked factor is how unacceptable it has become to come into work or school sick. I imagine that's a huge factor in the decline of colds and flus.

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The one and only one "new normal" standard that I wholeheartedly support.

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Every time, I giggle at everyone's casual removal of the masks as they sit down at the indoor restaurant table. We all know deep down that we're playing theater, and we're complying with the rules as written.

This in a county that voted for Mondale +10 over Reagan and has only moved left since.

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I’m one of those folks who has not yet returned to normal activities. I was about to if LAs numbers held up in mid June after we lifted our mask mandates etc, then Delta hit and cases went through the roof. I’m obese and have asthma, so getting covid would be much more likely to lead to a bad time then others at my age (31).

That said, LA is imposing a vaccine mandate for basically all indoor activities (alas this does not include grocery stores), and I just received my booster on Friday, so by the time the mandate goes into effect (provided cases don’t go up from here) then I’ll be returning to something closer to normal life and see Dune in theaters, haha.

I don’t really begrudge folks with a lower risk tolerance so long as they’re vaccinated, but I do wish we required vaccines with no testing loophole to do anything at all (go inside any public establishment, work anywhere other than self employment, use any public transit or air travel, etc), and that we do way more on ventilation.

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". . . some people seem to view getting sick with covid *at all* as unacceptable."

Well, Orange Man got COVID.

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“Baby wait do you have protection?”

*Pulls out N95*

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In this situation does one double mask or?

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you'll have to do some follow-up field reporting for us when you make it to campus.

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Listen I am not so posh going to an Ivy League but I can assure you that UMD we only go with one mask during sex. Wouldn't be any fun without a little danger.

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I have to add my own two infuriating covid theater observations:

1) My daughter is in a DCPS elementary. She returned to in-person in February (others didn't, which is a whole other convo). The hybrid schedule had students doing remote learning on Wednesday, under the premise the school would be cleaned. Most parents just found other childcare options for that day.

In other words, the kids left class, each hanging out (read: were exposed to) with a totally different group of people on Weds, and then returned on Thurs, all for cleaning which does zilch to stop covid spread.

2) I like to eat at the Whole Foods hot bars. They decided to require you to sanitize your hands and then put latex gloves on before getting food. Since its virtually impossible to put a glove on a wet hand, you would routinely have a dozen people surrounding this tiny sanitizer island, swearing profusely.

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My Whole Foods hasn't even re-instituted the hot bar (or the salad bar, for that matter!)

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That was a choice made by a combination of regional management and the store itself. The last whole foods I worked at kept the salad and hot bars closed because the couldn't spare the staff to maintain them. Others were in better shape and reopened them, but certain regions (such as the California regions iirc) never made the call to open them

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Before COVID, I had some hope for our world. No longer. We are dumb as hell and don't have the ability to do anything intelligently. If we once had that ability (i am not sure) we have it no longer.

We have many stupid arbitrary rules that do nothing, others that do the wrong things, and many that absolutely nobody will follow because they are entirely unenforceable or nobody is paying attention. The news lately the the FDA and CDC are going to "allow" the mixing of vaccine brands for instance implies we have some concept of what people are doing. That we are tracking it. We are not. We know exactly nothing about your health history.This makes everyone in charge look stupid.

We create arbitrary rules and enforce the arbitrarily. Unless you are poor, then you are really hosed. And unless you are rich, then the rules just don't apply.

We have real serious problems that we are incapable of solving so we just do a lot of petty nonsense while the real wounds fester. It doesn't seem to be in the cards that government will be able to play a role in creating rules that will help. So instead we are boned.

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We are an unserious people.

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We’ve always been so, and we’ve done ok up until now.

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I think at least part of that has been a series of lucky coincidences. After all, we had thousands (10's of thousands?) of years with no appreciable development.

It's only in the last 200 years that we made progress. And we are way too dismissive of the miracle that actually is

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Ehh, the discovery of agriculture was a lucky coincidence that was likely a matter of time, but could only happen in an interglacial period.

If it wasn't this past one, it would have been the next or the following, assuming we survived as a species, which was also highly likely once we dispersed globally.

Everything since then has been, IMO, more or less inevitable, it was just a matter of when and by whom.

Our "technological" capabilities have been steadily increasing for 8,000 years, we just didn't think of it as such, and it just reflected itself in increased carrying capacity and population rather than increased standard of living until rather recently.

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The lack of urgency to improve our ventilation systems is extremely frustrating. Businesses should stop spending money on hygiene theater and instead put that money into improving ventilation. Probably nothing will happen until it is mandated by building codes. That is going to take forever. Also, as pointed out by this article is all the unnecessary waste going into landfill. Which public officials should we put pressure on to make this change?

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founding

Also, building codes have to *stop* mandating *bad* ventilation in the name of fire safety and energy efficiency.

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The point about stupid rules making effective rules less effective cannot be stated enough.

But we also live in a virtue signaling society and people and business care more about that. Putting remotes and towels in a plastic bag, and wearing a mask even when it’s pointless is telling the world that you or your business care and take Covid seriously to the point of doing pointless acts.

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There are still 1600 covid patients dying every day and that number is shocking enough to sustain many of the restrictions. This is especially true of restrictions that only burden service workers, eg masks for waitresses but not for customers. However, 1600 people have died every day from tobacco use since before so was alive and yet tobacco is still legal. I put not getting vaccinated in the same your body your choice bucket as smoking tobacco. The risk of an unvaccinated person infecting and hurting a vaccinated person is similar to the risks posed by secondary smoke— fairly small but big enough that I understand why private establishments might ban smoking and require vaccination cards.

Colin Powell’s death has me questioning the death statistics. I don’t doubt that he had covid when he died or that covid hastened his death. But by how much? He was an 84 year old cancer patient. When would the cancer alone have killed him? Would he have made it all winter without getting influenza before covid? Wasn’t he exactly the kind of person who was at risk of dying if he caught basically anything?

In other words, the death statistics overstate the social cost of covid because a lot of the victims would have died anyway within a year and had a low quality of life to begin with.

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The people being hospitalized and dying are still overwhelmingly not vaccinated. Also agree with your point that many have serious comorbidities and COVID is just the thing that got them, and would have been something else soon. The media loves to pump stories about rare child deaths and similar salacious COVID stories, but the reality is still the same as at the beginning. This disease primarily kills the very old and sick.

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As I understand it, "still" is a gross understatement--no plausible evolution of the virus will make it novel to our immune systems. Our bodies will always recognize it and always have a built-in immune plan for how to kill it.

There's a scenario in which 99.99% of people are vaccinated and 51% of deaths are among the vaccinated, which would violate your "still", but I don't think that's what we mean.

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The challenge of categorizing deaths accurately why the excess death statistic is so valuable.

If Powell's death makes you question the death statistics overall, take a look at the leading cause of deaths among active duty police in 2020/2021. That's not a group of people close to death or with a poor quality of life.

https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-jen-psaki-claim-police-officer-covid-deaths-1640720

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If Covid were to disappear from the Earth tomorrow, you could make the exact same argument about mandatory restrictions to prevent deaths from the flu. Let's force people to wear masks, do hygiene theater, impose quarantines etc. to save the elderly from the flu- 'if it saves even one life', etc. etc.

Ultimately, being alive is a risky endeavor, and I think most of us have had enough of these restrictions. I agree removing them could marginally cause more deaths somewhere, sort of like the parable about how a butterfly flapping their wings on one continent causes a hurricane someplace else. Zero disease spread in a society is not a realistic goal

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I actually DO see people making the exact same arguments to prevent deaths from the flu. These people are silly and they should be rhetorically marginalized.

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founding

I will make this argument for flu. But I won’t say “if it prevents even one death…” I will say that we should use the flu surveillance the cdc already has, and issue flu warnings when cases reach a certain threshold, and maybe even mask mandates when they reach a particularly high threshold. (I would choose the threshold for the mandate high enough that most years it would apply for less than a week in most places.)

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Setting the level of cases/deaths so that people would only have to wear masks for one week seems very arbitrary. Like if its a bad thing, we should try to mitigate it more significantly. If its so minimal that we are only willing to endure one week at most, then maybe just do without mandates.

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founding

There's probably a better way to choose the threshold. But my thought is that if we set it at a level where most years it barely triggers, but in 2017-18 it triggers substantially and cuts deaths by 25% during the peak of flu season, then we can save several thousand lives at very low cost. Putting the threshold a bit lower so that it triggers every year for several weeks may or may not yield substantially more benefits, and may or may not have substantially higher costs. Someone would want to evaluate that.

For just how bad 2017-18 was, see here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/12182020/nchs-mortality-report.html

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This just seems tailor-made to politicize the hell out of everything and should be avoided. The flu is the cost of doing business.

We never actually killed that Horseman, we just roughed him up enough that he's a bit more cautious.

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I live in a community where some people will call you callous for pointing things out that severe co-morbidities hastened a person’s death. Or that you’re callous for not wearing a mask to protect people who are immune compromised. We have to accept that many people die from viral pneumonia in those situations.

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I believe you can look at total deaths above trend and that gets to pretty similar numbers as the COVID death estimates.

IE, yes, COVID as a whole has caused a lot more deaths.

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Our society just isn't capable of collective action because our elites are so bad. Somehow we don't have any policy changes to fix what we did wrong. The most humiliating thing is not one public official (im thinking of one in particular) has ever admitted they did anything wrong.

What's happened is that the weakest people in society-the poor and children- have to suffer under pointless rules that do nothing except arbitrarily punish them. And you are right in that if you don't end them now, there will never be a time to end them.

Ultimately I do blame the media and tech companies for making people hysterical and stupid. The reason I subscribe to you is that you are able to think clearly about stuff rather than just repeat a bunch of bullshit.

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The elites are bad, but part of why they're bad is that us regular people are also bad (similar to how everyone says they want climate action but they also say they don't want to pay for it).

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Also, many elites are elite because regular people made them that way (by, for example, voting for them).

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I wish this were a public post so I could send it to everyone I know! I was a germaphobe before it was cool (serious hand washing, no face touching, clean touchscreens regularly, etc and of course flu shot every year) and I rarely get sick. I was working in a public building in NYC until March 20 of last year, with some people who got terrible cases of Covid-19, and I luckily didn’t get it.

I have friends in places like Montgomery County MD (90+% vaccination rate) who are vaxxed and smart but still won’t go to a restaurant. I still see a lot of people masked outside, even when alone. Even driving alone! Hygiene theater and masks as political signaling—I’m sure there’s some small number of people who really need to wear them everywhere, but I am dreading going back to work in January if I have to wear a mask all day every day—are just making everything worse.

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In late spring, when the entire company was fully vaccinated, several of my colleagues who had previously been in the "trust the science" shouting brigade confessed that they were going to keep wearing masks in the office because they didn't want anybody to think they were one of "those people".

Not sure if I was more disappointed or more pissed off. They didn't want it to end, it was too valuable to them as a social signal.

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Ugh, I am so tired of everything being about which team one is on! I don't want to know just by looking at you!

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But it didn't end, so that was probably the right move.

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FWIW, people wearing masks outside or in their own car don't necessarily think that is a critical part of their covid prevention strategy. Several friends of mine tend to just leave the mask on because they don't really mind it and find it more annoying to have to keep taking it off and on. Or they just forget they're wearing it and don't bother to take it off.

I find wearing a mask to be really unpleasant, so I take it off as soon as it seems reasonable. Other people aren't as bothered about it and so they just leave it on. I wouldn't necessarily read too much into those differences other than personal preference.

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Yeah I leave mine on if I'm about to walk indoors (its required indoors in my state). The 3 extra minutes in which I'm wearing it outdoors don't seem like a big issue to me, though it could be for others

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Yeah, if Matt were to make it public that'd be useful.

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