Differences in COVID Policy Within the USA Are Inconsequential

Dr Fauci was recently confused as to why Texas lifted restrictions on masks and indoor dining and then Texas had reduced cases while New York had maintained restrictions and had cases increase. The reason is that variations between 20-40% restrictions and 60% mask compliance versus 80% mask compliance are not meaningful. Also, most of the mask compliance is kabuki mask compliance. 90% of the people are not wearing masks properly or have for show masks that are not effective.

The COVID policy differences within the US are like the differences between wearing a t-shirt versus wearing a sweater when seeing if they stop a bullet fired from a 9-millimeter gun.

You can try to parse the daily state by state pandemic statistics but the disease is ebbing and flowing on its own. “COVID Policy” and differences in indoor or outdoor dining are meaningless.

Going Through the Motions Restrictions Versus Actual House Arrest for Pandemic Zones

Retail and recreation mobility is only 5% below normal. Work mobility is 31% below normal and mass transit is 19% below normal.

The Work mobility varies from 20%-40% below normal. Retail and recreation mobility varies from 0-10% below normal.

The lockdowns or restrictions are at a minor difference in actual behavior. The actual LOCKDOWN level that would be needed to halt the pandemic is a China-style lockdown where everyone is forced to stay at home for about 2 months and where 2-4% of the people would be making food deliveries to people who are basically under house arrest.

As part of initial efforts to contain the outbreak, the Chinese government announced a cordon sanitaire for the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, starting on 23rd January 2020, one day before LNY holidays. This intervention restricted all non-essential movement into and out of the city. Services at airports, train stations, long-distance bus stations, and commercial ports were all suspended. Several studies have focused on assessing the effectiveness of the cordon sanitaire in Wuhan and other domestic travel restrictions in China in the context of COVID-19 control.

Out-going traffic from Wuhan was reduced by 89% within two days of the cordon sanitaire, according to data from Baidu Huiyan, an internet service company in China that uses location targeting to provide services to users. Baidu’s Location-Based Service (LBS) provides travel fluxes between prefectures in China during the annual Chunyun period to allow monitoring of movement of people using their services.

During the Wuhan restrictions in February and March 2020- Each household could send someone out for necessities just once every three days. Many residents do not venture outside at all, for fear of infection. The government barricaded most of the 11 million residents in their homes.

After 2 months of complete house arrest for about 80 million people, the pandemic was stopped within China in 2020. 90-100% restrictions in local movement that were strictly enforced versus 0-40% below normal. 0-40% below normal is enough to be annoying and economically damaging and to take the edge off overrun hospitals but not enough to truly impact the overall course of the pandemic.

If the US or European COVID policies were truly effective in any region, we could hear news reports like “governor XXX announces 60 straight days without any COVID cases”. Clearly, any location would have no travel from outside or they would have complete enforced quarantines with contact tracing.

No State or area in the US or Europe is going or did go to the actual use of truly locking down. Thus the US and Europe have chosen to reduce spread over two years and to see if vaccination without hard enforced lockdown, masking and distancing will work.

The COVID policies in New York and California are not generating superior results to Florida and Texas.

We will also see if taking 6 months to reach 70-85% vaccination levels at national levels will be sufficient. Clearly, it can reduce hospitalization levels by 5-10 times for a few months. What will happen after a few months? Will global vaccination taking 2 years work? Especially with the need for one to four booster shots or entirely different vaccines? This may prove to be a recipe for generating new virus variants that achieve immune escape. Immune escape is when the virus mutates around initial immunity.

It will likely be necessary for the world to live with different versions of COVID for many years. Living with COVID for years will mean upgrading ALL building ventilation with virus-grade air filters. Other infrastructure changes would be needed to make reducing disease spread by 20 times automatic. This level of intervention would be about $1000-10,000 per building. $100 billion to $1 trillion of actual direct infrastructure targeted at the pandemic. This would be instead of the $2 trillion infrastructure bill targeting roads and bridges which would not be targeting reducing all disease spread.

UK Variant Dominant in USA Now

The UK variant of COVID is the most common type of COVID in the USA.

There was significant travel and gatherings during spring break and Easter.

33% of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 20% are fully vaccinated.

The vaccines are about 60-70% effective against the UK variant.

SOURCES- Nature, NY Times, CDC
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

43 thoughts on “Differences in COVID Policy Within the USA Are Inconsequential”

  1. Where in that study do you find that conclusion. Everything I'm reading in it is repeating the premise that lockdowns and mask mandates are "super duper" effective. And that would tend to make that cite counterproductive to cite.

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  2. We have no way of knowing if whatever China did "worked", seeing as there is no trustworthy source that has access to their actual data.

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  3. We know when we discovered other coronaviruses, but we have no idea how long they've been circulating in the human population. When they first emerged, passed onto us from other species they may have been just as bad as SARS-Cov2 in absolute terms, but not in health outcomes. We have innate resistance to other coronaviruses, but people long ago certainly didn't. All are "novel" at first.

    Think of this coronavirus and who it affects. Had it come to us humans in say 1900 AD we wouldn't have noticed it. Far fewer of the population lived past age 65 back then. Among especially them but also everyone younger they didn't have the extreme levels of obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's we see in our less labor intensive, sugar abundant world. SARS-Cov2 could've swept the globe in 1900 and it wouldn't have been a footnote in history; merely a new cold virus we were unaware of. The death rate would've likely been 95-99% lower. For all we know that's what already happened with other coronaviruses. They slipped into us with no real notice. But we notice this coronavirus because the world is much greyer and multitudes more chronically ill.

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  4. These waves are multifaceted. There looks like a seasonality factor, still overlooked. These duration and intensity of waves depend in part on location and weather. As time goes by the more evidence for SARS-Cov2 becoming merely another common cold.

    We know CD8+ T cells are our immune system's ultramarathon runners, so while some other immune cells MAY fade over 12+ months specific to this coronavirus, we can count on these memory T cells to respond and fight future variants that evolve to cause reinfection. The much hyped "immune escape" merely means future variants that are able to infect people thought to be immune will cause minor illness, unless they're otherwise immunocompromised.

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  5. Since July 2020 we've known there is T-cell cross reactivity against Covid-19 from common cold infections. Immunity isn't as yes/no as people commonly think. The protection provided from recent prior common colds doesn't likely prevent Covid infection entirely but does decrease the severity of a Covid infection. Wonders of our immune system.

    When looking at the high prevalence of T-cell reactivity among populations (40-50% in the USA) at time of study it stands to reason that many of the asymptomatic Covid-19 infections were people who'd had a common cold within a few months before their Covid infection. In a perfect world we'd have been in a better position if we all had a different coronavirus common cold 12-18 months ago. Parents of young children have been more protected than their peers without young kids.

    Spreading colds on purpose from person to person is of course not tenable since the symptoms are so synonymous with other disease states that get mistaken as a common cold. You could think you're conferring Covid resistance to someone by passing on your early stage common cold to them, then oops a few days later you realize it was pneumonia, which by itself is more than 50x deadlier than Covid-19.

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  6. It's still amazing that there are proven nasal sprays not only still waiting Emergency Use Authorization in the USA for months that cause a 99% viral load decrease and stopping viral replication, but there are a couple I'm aware of OVER THE COUNTER that do so. They existed pre-Covid. Xlear and Halodine. They have studies, they're available at major pharmacies. Radio silence from US health care and political leadership.

    It almost seems they're only interested in promoting vaccines for prevention, underutilized monoclonal antibodies as early treatment. All made by the biggest pharmaceutical companies with big price tags attached. Vitamin D – never heard of it for prophylaxis. Nope. Quercetin + zinc = Que? Lo siento. No hablo ingles!! Doctors were threatened and censured from public speaking about corticosteroids for most of 2020. Instead we have people on Twitter freaking out when someone recommends diet and exercise to improve chances if you get infected. A tiny view of our clown world.

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  7. There's still the issue that the US counts deaths as Covid deaths without lab test confirmation. It's described at ourworldindata dot org, let alone the admission of such by US state and federal health officials. Suspected Covid deaths are deemed Covid deaths. And anyone that tested positive within 60 days = Covid death by default. Thing is, with 35-40 PCR cycle threshold you can have a tiny bit of SARS-Cov2 viral RNA linger up your nostril for months after you're no longer sick or infectious and still test positive. An American could've contracted Covid on Christmas Day, have no longer been sick or contagious by January 10th, yet still tested positive on February 14th Valentine's Day and if they died today, April 9th because they're simply 86 yrs old with many comorbidities and no Covid symptoms, they are a Covid death.

    Even if we disregard these facts that create a gaping hole in the boundaries of diagnosis and metrics, we're left with the reality that nearly all deaths (I'm aware there are exceptions, usually under high stress) across the globe have been in people who are preexisting metabolic disasters. This isn't like H1N1 which hit the young and middle aged very hard. It killed almost exclusively people with little lifespan left, people well into retirement and plenty of senescent cells ravaging them daily. Among younger, a 48 yr old that still weighs 300-400+ pounds isn't likely seeing his 55th birthday even in a Covid free world. Harsh but true

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  8. Even if Americans were willing to tolerate despotic style lockdowns, locking down one area where less than 1% of your citizens live (like Wuhan is to China) is quite a different task than locking down an entire, vastly spread out population and vast geographic area like the USA. China's response would have been like locking down just Chicago and its suburbs. Chicago is a very big city hundreds of miles from most of the other very big cities, just as Wuhan is inside China.

    But the US receives the most international travel from across the globe, to dozens and dozens of its cities (my city is medium sized with daily direct flights to and from Paris, London and Latin America), so SARS-Cov2 was spreading around the whole US for months before Americans heard of a virus in Wuhan. The opaque handling of this virus by the CCP in 2019 and early 2020, with assurances of calm to the world while they were locking down domestically speaks volumes to why containment was not possible in the USA or Europe. This virus came to the US and Europe not only from China directly, but also through Italy after China had inadvertently spread it there.

    There is no way of comparison. In styles of government and freedom obviously, but also in how widespread the virus was by February 1, 2020. China's behind the scenes moves had one province locked down, the USA's openness and spread out population would've had to lock down the entire country. Not possible.

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  9. Any plan that doesn't factor in non-compliance is no plan at all.
    "It would have worked if not for everyone deciding not to do it!"
    The original lockdown was supposed to last for 2 weeks until we could "flatten the curve". We did this successfully but they kept the lockdowns "just in case", maybe until Easter (2020).
    The goalposts have kept changing ever since. Even after getting vaccinated, people are still expected to wear masks. Insanity!

    At this point it's painfully obvious that their real goal isn't stopping the virus but collapsing society.

    The other day Joe Biden said he might allow us to celebrate Independence Day.
    The irony of having to get permission to celebrate Independence Day…

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  10. Yes, the paper pretty conclusively shows that a full on mask mandate from the beginning of the epidemic would have slowed the rate of infection only 1% a month. So maybe 13% fewer deaths (<100K). Better than nothing, but certainly not a cure. Better compliance perhaps could have double that to have 27% fewer, but my experience is that mask compliance is generally hard. They did not examine how systematic testing/quarantining did. Certainly worked for the sports teams, and many colleges had good results.

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  11. I think you are misreading the paper. They are talking about the % change in R0. How fast it spreads. That is vastly different than the % infected at the endpoint (because of the magic of compounding). According the paper–mask mandates work. There is no statistical uncertainly whatsoever. On the other hand, the data is marginal that restaurant closures really work (even though common sense says that a bunch of people crowded together talking loudly with possibly infected waitstaff breathing on literally every single customer would spread an easily transmitted airborne disease).

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  12. I don't understand how even 95% compliance could be achieved. That type of lockdown would bring a halt to almost all physical commerce. Who would plant and harvest the crops? Who would transport food, clothing, and fuel? Who would man the power plants and maintain energy infrastructure? Who would staff hospitals and treat the sick? Does anyone believe those who are ages 15 – 25 won't go out for social needs or sex? Again, I don't see any way to even 70% compliance, let alone 95%. Too many essential workers, and too many who will refuse to stay locked up.

    And how can any society overcome such a harsh lockdown? A government can only print so much money, not tied to any actual work performed, for so long. It would eventually collapse, leading to dystopia.

    The amount of devastation already done to third world countries is horrific. Much of the progress made in alleviating poverty over the last 40 years has been undone.

    I find it hard to believe that China, which is still very dependent upon manufacturing using cheap labor, has locked down as heavily as suggested. The amount of activity along the Pearl River delta suggests otherwise…

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  13. If most of the 30+ million verified cases in the US were symptomatic and if that's 20% of all infections, that'd still be "only" 150M cases in the US. And that's after 2 waves (at least 2 variants as I understand your proposition), with the 2nd 2x the first, so waves of ~50M infections and then ~100M infections.

    Assuming that waves subside as herd immunity is approached, suppressing both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, that'd seem to imply variant R0's of only about 1.15 and 2, vs the 2-3 that has commonly been estimated, and the 3-4 (or 4-8 symptomatic-only) that the cited article esimates?

    Unless there were earlier, unidentified waves that gave a very large fraction of the population immunity from infection? Surely it'd be easy enough to test a large random population sample to determine that? If that's the case, the vaccination program isn't going to have much real effect, because most of the population (much more than 150M) is already highly resistant or immune?

    Could the fraction of people who develop immune reaction symptoms to vaccination be an indicator of how common covid resistance is? A Pfizer test showed only about 25-50% had some reaction, and only 10-15% had strong reactions – and that was before December, when we had around half as many known cases?
    https://abc7news.com/covid-19-vaccine-reactions-moderna-vs-pfizer-what-are-the-side-effects-of/8805958/

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  14. They track us anyway, it can be pre written and monitored that the application will be taken down completely when certain public health conditions are met.

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  15. Sure, but that doesn't mean they're doing enough testing to catch most of them.

    Though I guess there's some speculation that serious illness is just so common in India that the people there have really strong immune systems, that aren't particularly challenged by Covid.

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  16. Just because you say I don't have to wear a mask doesn't mean I am taking off my mask. Also results aren't instantaneous. It takes a few weeks for changes in behavior to manifest itself.

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  17. But wouldn't that require large scale infections with the other viruses, in order to sufficiently impact the population of currently susceptible people?

    Unless we're being continuously infected near-totally asymptomatically, that doesn't appear to be the case?

    And if it is the case, that'd be pretty solid evidence that immunity – likely to include from vaccination – isn't likely to last very long, since these waves seem to to have a period of around 6 months.

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  18. That's hilarious, but, let's be serious here. Once we allow our governments to track us like that, they're never giving that tool up.

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  19. There's a difference between behavior that works, and government mandating behavior that works.

    People are gonna social distance, or not, regardless of what you try to legally enforce. But the legal enforcement can still have costs.

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  20. It can be done in a control manner, monitored by an independent body to make sure that the data is used only for disease control and only on a time of an epidemic, plus the economic and psychological impact is much lower.

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  21. Well, with p<0.5 they're VERY confident that masking and social distancing (nothing I read in there said they were able to differentiate between the methods) reduced cases by <2%. OTOH search as you will there's no mention of the margin of error in the study, and that miniscule reduction suggests that the result is actually within MoE. Of course 2% of half a million is a large number by itself.

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  22. You actually want to get closer to 200nm; Not quite vacuum UV, but penetration is so low it's safe for human exposure.

    Still, 222nm coupled with motion detectors would likely get the job done.

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  23. "Instead of home arrest to the entire population, everyone should be digitally traced with apps and special devices. Whoever needs to be quarantined should be digitally monitored for that. These are the times and special measures should be taken."

    So, sophisticated and totalitarian methods, instead? Not seeing that as an improvement; Welding people'd doors shut and having a couple percent of the population delivering food at least has the virtue of being obviously unsustainable; Digital tracking could, and likely would, persist forever.

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  24. The key to understanding it, is that there's substantial cross-resistance between strains.

    Exposure to other coronaviruses, (Even the 4 'common cold' varieties.) SARS, or different strains of Covid 19, gives you substantial, though maybe not complete, resistance to the latest strain. Narrowly focused antibody tests don't pick up on this, because they're too specific.

    So, what you're looking at are waves in the context of rising general resistance. We're headed towards a world where so many people have so much general resistance to coronaviruses, that the latest strain becomes no big deal unless you're immune compromised.

    It's becoming another 'common cold'. Not as fast as we might wish, but that's where it is headed.

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  25. Why have cases come in waves at all, rather than one single long up-slope followed eventually by either a down-slope or crash? If nothing we've been doing has had much impact, why did cases (and deaths) peak and then generally decline until about November of 2020 before surging again? *Something* appears to have suppressed the spread after the first wave – so what was it?

    I mean, we could 'explain' the November-January wave by the holiday season and people being fed up with isolation and getting together more, then after the partying feeling guilty and going back to playing it 'safe'. But that explanation would imply that 'social distancing' was in some sense working.

    A shift in the dominant virus variant might explain waves – i.e. if most people highly susceptible to one got it and got over it, then another variant came along that new people were highly susceptible to. But the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant has been expanding and crowding out other variants while new cases were falling.

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  26. Thanks. It's a pretty damning paper, and the written conclusions aren't supported by their 1% or even fractional differences in outcomes in the actual data tables. The CDC is obviously trying to spin inconclusive conclusions to meet a political objective.
    It gets worse. The on/off formal or voluntary self-induced policies of mask-wearing, social distancing etc. make it impossible to tell whether any change in outcomes is due to policies, or just natural ebb or surge in hospital/death rates (case rate measurement, clouded by voluntary testing, is even much worse, and even the CDC admits 50% of cases aren't even reported). Policy implementation may be measuring nothing more than "peak panic" e.g. prescribing masks and restaurant closures, just when the virus was about to peak within a few weeks anyway. They may be lifted just when the virus is picking up from a trough, as now, though it does seem the vaccines are removing the most vulnerable at least from getting sick. Hospitalization & death are all that matter anyway. Locking down anyone else is just harmful economically for no reason.

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  27. Not protecting senior citizens matters and did matter. However, post-June 2020. the COVID policy differences are not showing statistical significance. Everyone is attempting to vaccinate. The mobility and requirements are not driving behavior that is statistically significant. Things can be done or not done that are statistically significant. However, right now the variances do not seem be significant within the US.

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  28. I would rather have more infections and deaths from COVID-19 than China's CCP as a government. Just the fact that we got hit this hard from the virus had more to do with them quarantining cities in China while allowing international travel than anything we did or did not do. They knew they had a problem, locked down their own cities and exported the issue to everyone else, all while complaining when other countries banned travel to or from China.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/22/world/coronavirus-spread.html

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  29. It's the nature of gatherings, daily ritual, home-family-group, and the separation of the vulnerable that matter. Regions with extended family households (3+ generations) , school-age kids, family members who use daily transit, and high frequency of high-risk behaviors are the super-spreaders and r0>>1 contributers. New twist – unexpectedly high number of vaccine-refusers in areas without protocols for restricting access to such persons on transit, flights, schools, arenas, and high-density, interior areas. I am not personally concerned, its just the large-scale damage to small business and the in-person school learning experience that's the dam shame.

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  30. There are better ways than China crude and totalitarian methods. The virus could be stopped from spreading if people were getting more sunlight and moving to a diet rich in fruits and greens and lean on gluten dairy and eggs which straighten the liver and kills off viruses. Governments could use the pandemic as a vehicle to incentivize these changes. Instead of home arrest to the entire population, everyone should be digitally traced with apps and special devices. Whoever needs to be quarantined should be digitally monitored for that. These are the times and special measures should be taken.

    As far as vaccination, it seems to be working. Countries that have reached 50-60% rates of full vaccination seems to be firmly on the path to eradication, These countries will be able to stay completely clean if they manage to reach close to 100% screening at their borders and they are working on it. Even here, at less than 30% full vaccination the infection rate has stabilized and will start to nosedive soon with the onslaught of 4 million vaccines a day variants or not.

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  31. Another technology that would matter quite a bit globally would be mass produced LEDs that emit at 222nm in far UV-C. That would greatly reduce any airborne infectious disease spread.

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  32. Another follow up, Judicial Watch uncovered that China diagnosed the disease in early December. Mid December we had 1.5% of our blood donations register antibodies, which implies 4,000,000 infected mid December. Hard earned knowledge says that lockdowns always do more harm than good when the virus is already widespread. The NIH had a confidentiality agreement with China not to disclose this. They pushed lockdowns anyway when they already knew it was widespread. AKA it was purely political.

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