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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Update on thoughts on mask tech and mask use

I don't know how much my general thoughts on mask use for the general public have really changed in the last six months. I suspect the Swedish stance (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-sweden-cases/sweden-says-no-need-for-face-masks-as-covid-19-deaths-top-7000-idUSKBN28D1TH) on mask use is probably still being followed in many countries like Sweden, Norway, New Zealand. Immediately below there are some links to some earlier articles I wrote on mask use for the general public and farther below that are some new thoughts I have had on the new 'Covid-19 killing' mask tech: 

In line with the results of Danish RCT study (https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-6817), I doubt whether most current mask or 'face covering' use by the general public is actually slowing the spread of Covid-19 in the United States. But I think if you are going to wear a mask in the general public, you should take advantage of the latest tech in masks. Some have suggested N95 or KN95 lines of mask because they are now more available. Without a doubt approved N95 masks, if you can buy or afford them, can provide high levels of protection if fitted correctly. 

Personally, I find 3M N95 masks are excellent to wear while cleaning your heating system, vacuuming your garage, sweeping the patio. But I think it is improbable that the general public will don the tight fitting N95s as they pull masks in and out of their pockets between storefronts. What is more intriguing to me are the advances in 'germ killing' masks whose design appears to take into consideration the contamination dangers of most 'mask for the general public' usage.  Google "masks that kill Covid-19" for more information. 

CNN has a long article on this here: https://www.cnn.com/style/article/antimicrobial-fashion-coronavirus/index.html.  An article on designing better masks is here: https://hbr.org/2020/06/we-need-better-masks . These two vendors below are selling masks they claim can kill Covid-19 on contact: 

Here is the big problem I have with my mask use:  Many of those of us with Asthma (reputedly some ~25M or 1 out of every 13 in the US - see https://www.aafa.org/asthma-facts) simply can't breathe well with masks on. The snot, flem and the moisture start to pile up inside the mask which really invalidates the effectiveness of the mask and quite possibly makes a face mask a dangerous harbor of bacteria and a possible infection source; although about this danger is some debate. 

If you are going to use a face mask, you should at least follow the CDC recommendations here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html. Depending on your budget, I would recommend having some number of high quality, comfortable masks that work for you so you can get through the week without washing or reusing old or unclean masks. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Social Consequences of Online Learning

"The district isn't sure exactly what the issue is. A district spokesperson said they are trying to figure out if the low attendance during the "Strong Start" days has to do with connectivity issues or if there are other problems."  from "Half of Seattle students haven't logged into remote learning system this fall"

Imagine that schools in the wealthy and tech savy city of Seattle, WA are having such troubles with online learning and student participation. Most probably, Seattle schools are doing better than many others. The low participation numbers are just probably an example of Seattle school district's ability to monitor its students. Most probably, students across the nation are simply logging off and finding something else to do with their day than online learning. Few epidemiologists I read seem to have the ability to calculate the damage lack of school attendance may create in American society.  ( One of the few who seems to understand is Anders Tegnell, the Swedish chief epidemiologist .). But I will weigh in from my east Oakland youth:  If your local school district doesn't keep track of your children, the narcotics trafficking industry will.  Let us all pray and hope that online learning doesn't lead to exacerbated wealth gaps, increased drug and arms trafficking and extended social chaos.

I am sure the Seattle schools are working hard to solve technical problems and that local press around this issue is simply another example of how King County and Seattle residents care about their community. I would bet most remote school districts nationwide not only don't track those that drop out but don't have a method to do so. That may sound harsh to you. Go ahead and ask your local SD what their attendance and drop out numbers are and how they determine that information. More links below the break.

Monday, September 7, 2020

US States Over 7M in population: Covid-19 Cases and Deaths as of September 07, 2020

Above: History of daily Covid-19 cases and deaths in the United States to September 07, 2020. Click to enlarge the charts.

 Covid-19 cases and deaths march on in the United States. These charts below contain the daily cases and daily deaths from states with over 7 million in population as of September 7, 2020.  Data accessed with NCoVUtils @ https://github.com/epiforecasts/NCoVUtils . Click to enlarge the charts! 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

US States Over 7M in population: Covid-19 Cases and Deaths as of August 09, 2020

Covid-19 deaths march on in the United States. These are the cases and deaths from states with over 7 million in population as of August 9, 2020.  Data accessed with NCoVUtils @ https://github.com/epiforecasts/NCoVUtils . Click to enlarge the charts!  Note that some retroactive one days totals for cases and deaths are unmitigated outliers.   

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Palantir is now in charge of US and Britain Covid-19 data

I missed the news cycle that put Palantir in charge of the US and Britain's Covid-19 data. Some links below: