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October 17, 2020


We demand to know Drumph's blood type.

Looks to me like we are going for Door Number 3: Not locked down, not full open, but middling along ensuring both the economic and medical misery shall be widely shared.

This they call a policy....

Green space has been decreasing since I started looking at this map a couple of months ago. Sigh.

Our rock star head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah, has gotten some major attention -- a profile/interview in Scientific American. He deserves it. He's intelligent, patient, clear in his explanations, forthright when he doesn't know an answer...and he's still going strong after seven months of this. We are lucky to have him; the whole country should be so lucky to have such leadership.

Then again, regional/cultural differences matter. Ohio's counterpart, Dr. Amy Acton, was equally impressive in the small bits of her presentations I watched last spring, but regardless of her competence, she was driven out of her role by circumstances including armed protesters coming to her home, where she lives with her husband and kids.

Maine hasn't been without its problems, but overall we've done well, and as Dr. Shah points out, it's not just that we're rural. (See the Dakotas.) On the other hand, my county's case numbers have surged in October, even while other counties have gotten their numbers under better control, and I'm not happy about that. I'm hoping it's a temporary blip, but we'll see.

Don't have time to chase links right now but the article I read this morning about blood type didn't make it sound like there was a huge effect, or a whole lot of clarity yet. ??

We demand to know Drumph's blood type.

it's I

There does appear to be an effect for blood type, but from what I’ve read, it’s nowhere near enough to account for Japan’s relative pandemic performance.

There’s a very, very good Atlantic article (not specifically on Japan) which suggests other reasons:

The relatively low rate of infections in Japan remains something of a puzzle, though.

The evidence for an effect on disease severity is very weak.
There is some evidence for a protective effect in terms of infection risk, but I’m not sure that it’s conclusive.
Here’s a recent paper:

The relatively low rate of infections in Japan remains something of a puzzle, though.

Not sure how big a factor it has been. But I note that, pre-covid, it was already common for folks in Japan to wear face masks. Not to the extent we all wear them now, of course. But perhaps sufficiently to avoid deranged resistance to the whole idea.

@wj -- interesting point. It reminds me that a lot of people wore masks when I was in China in 2010 -- it was February, and the couple that I asked said they wore them to protect their skin from the cold. It was also a very dry part of the country.

In this country, by contrast, I had a friend who wore a mask for a year (?), once she was allowed out after a bone marrow transplant -- to protect her, because her immune system was compromised. People were shits to her about it, on the assumption that she was infectious.

No, it's idiocy that's infectious, assholes.

To clarify -- the story of my friend with the mask after a bone marrow transplant was from a long, long time ago.

I thought mask wearing would become a real fashion thing. It has to come extent - there are gorgeous masks to be had, and themed ones, and masks for every fandom, from movies and games to sports teams.

But, IF Biden is elected and takes office in January, I expect to see masks-as-fashion-statement take off in a big way.

Since it seems we're going to be stuck wearing them for another year.

Here's a very good article on the trade-offs between protecting health vs. the economy (full agreement, though I lack the relevant background):


And here is one on Covid as a class issue:


(makes good points to be remembered by smug middle class people like myself who are serviced by an army of low-income workers - but then these are deeply ingrained problems that will take decades to be solved)

Masks are also far less bothersome in colder weather, though they're far more necessary indoors where the weather isn't much of a factor. Still, anything that reduces the negative associations with wearing masks can't hurt, IMO. I notice I don't have that "rip the damned mask off ASAP" impulse when I get outside now that the weather is cooler. Come December, I can imagine wanting to keep it on for warmth.

I notice I don't have that "rip the damned mask off ASAP" impulse when I get outside now that the weather is cooler. Come December, I can imagine wanting to keep it on for warmth.

Yes. So much more comfortable now.

Doing my school internship currently I have to check consciously occasionally whether I have the mask on because I have gotten so used to it. Sounds absurd, I know. Next week rules will tighten* since the second wave has come to Germany too and schools are in the vanguard.

*i.e. obligatory wearing of masks on school grounds at all times for everyone (unless eating at a safe distance to others). Since public transportation and shops have the same policy, it's essentially putting it on when leaving the house in the morning and taking it off when returning in the late afternoon.

lj, in the OP: Not wanting to dump on journalists, but if they don't have excellent training and the moral fibre to not juice up stories, we are screwed in our news sources. But that is nothing new to anyone here.

All reporters, and not just "science journalists", could learn a lot from a fellow named Peter Hadfield who has been posting on YouTube as "potholer54" for many years. His insistence on tracking down primary sources -- and linking to them -- has resulted in some wickedly funny debunking of climate change denialists, young earth creationists, and assorted conspiracy theorists. His most recent video is probably The difference between Case Fatality Rate and Infection Fatality Rate.


A good article on the trade-offs between public health and the economy:


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