Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

New study: Lockdowns & masks are useless and might even increase COVID-19 spread

A recently completed research study by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in cooperation with the Naval Medical Research Center and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that strict quarantine, tightly controlled social distancing, and continuous use of masks did absolutely nothing to contain the spread of COVID-19, and might even have increased its spread.

First, the study used 1,843 Marine volunteers, individuals well trained to follow orders as well as the required procedures. Second, their quarantine took place at Marine facility under the supervision of the military. Both factors meant that the volunteers were going to follow procedures much more correctly than the general public.

Third, no one could enter the study without undergoing 14-days of quarantine beforehand, plus a test to prove they were negative of COVID-19 at the study’s start. The study itself was held in a tightly controlled quarantine campus run by the Marines.

The volunteers then had to follow this incredibly strict quarantine regiment:

All recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors, except when sleeping or eating; practiced social distancing of at least 6 feet; were not allowed to leave campus; did not have access to personal electronics and other items that might contribute to surface transmission; and routinely washed their hands. They slept in double-occupancy rooms with sinks, ate in shared dining facilities, and used shared bathrooms. All recruits cleaned their rooms daily, sanitized bathrooms after each use with bleach wipes, and ate preplated meals in a dining hall that was cleaned with bleach after each platoon had eaten. Most instruction and exercises were conducted outdoors. All movement of recruits was supervised, and unidirectional flow was implemented, with designated building entry and exit points to minimize contact among persons. All recruits, regardless of participation in the study, underwent daily temperature and symptom screening. Six instructors who were assigned to each platoon worked in 8-hour shifts and enforced the quarantine measures. If recruits reported any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, they reported to sick call, underwent rapid qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2, and were placed in isolation pending the results of testing.

Instructors were also restricted to campus, were required to wear masks, were provided with preplated meals, and underwent daily temperature checks and symptom screening. Instructors who were assigned to a platoon in which a positive case was diagnosed underwent rapid qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2, and, if the result was positive, the instructor was removed from duty. Recruits and instructors were prohibited from interacting with campus support staff, such as janitorial and food-service personnel. After each class completed quarantine, a deep bleach cleaning of surfaces was performed in the bathrooms, showers, bedrooms, and hallways in the dormitories, and the dormitory remained unoccupied for at least 72 hours before reoccupancy.

The result? The virus still spread through this population. As they noted in the paper:

Epidemiologic analysis supported multiple local transmission events, including transmission between roommates and among recruits within the same platoon.

None of these strict lock down mandates, including continuous mask use, did anything to prevent transmission.

Table from Marine recuit COVID-19 quarantine study

More significantly, the control group of Marines who did not participate in this study, and thus were not under the same strict lock down rules, actually saw fewer infections, as shown on the table from the study to the right. While the difference wasn’t very large, it existed nonetheless. One could argue that the overuse of masks probably contributed to the higher numbers in the study group, since even in this tightly controlled setting it is still impossible to expect people to wear masks properly. Even if they replaced them regularly, it is unrealistic to expect people to never touch them while they wear them. Over long periods the masks will become havens for the virus, where the person breathes.

The study also demonstrated once again the relative harmlessness of the disease. Almost all of these young healthy Marine recruits who tested positive were asymptomatic, meaning that they wouldn’t have even known they were infected if they had not been participating. Furthermore, it appears no one even got very sick.

Once again, this data continues to reinforce the very very early data from March. COVID-19 is not dangerous to the young or healthy, and it will spread no matter what you do. The best way to beat it and thus protect the vulnerable older and sick population is to have it spread as fast as possible through the young and healthy population, so that it will die out quickly and thus no longer be a threat.

This is how humans have handled these respiratory diseases since time immemorial. Darwin’s rules made us do it that way, with good results. Too bad our bankrupt political leaders and health officials have decided to abandon these well-proven practices. The result has not only been more COVID-19 deaths, but more deaths overall, from the bad consequences of economic loss, depression, reduced medical treatment available for other illnesses, and numerous other issues caused by the lock downs, not the virus..

Sadly, I fully expect that our fans of lock downs and masks will either refuse to read this study, or if they do, will find any excuse to dismiss it.

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53 comments

  • Andrew_W

    So in the study group, who were living together in shared rooms, the 16 originally infected managed to infect another 35 over 14 days.
    In the control group, who had an unknown number of participants infected on day 1, 26 were infected by day 14.
    Since we don’t know how many were initially infected in the control group we don’t know what the rates of transmission were, if it were only 1 person in the control group infected on day 1 that person managed to spread the virus to 25 others, or perhaps 26 people in the control group were infected on day 1. No one knows.

    We know that living with infected people in the same rooms is a major factor in the spread of the virus, the study acknowledges that this was happening.
    Participants who were associated with the two largest transmission clusters (clusters 2 and 5) were identified by means of sequencing and were either roommates or members of the same platoons, which indicates that double-occupancy rooming and shared platoon membership were important contributors to transmission.

    Given the shared accommodation, platoon level contact and failure to collect information on initial infection rates in the control, I see no point in the study.

    If there’s a question over whether or not properly managed isolation procedures – with those in isolation being isolated from each other – there shouldn’t be, it’s been demonstrated numerous times, good isolation procedures, adhered to, can and has eliminated the virus from a population.

  • Andrew_W

    Missed this from the AEIR article:
    The earliest version of this article misstated the conditions of the control group. They were equally locked down with those who participated in the study. The difference between the two concerned testing frequency and the isolation response.

    So the whole set up was a lot like that on a cruise ship, but with the effectiveness of the social distancing and sanitation procedures resulting in a very low rate of transmission over 2 weeks compared to that seen on cruise ships.

  • LocalFluff

    It has been suggested that virus transmit via the toilette plumbing, explaining the spread on cruise ships. Many don’t shut the lid (what do they think it is made for?) before they flush, filling the room with aerosols landing all over the user.

  • Chris

    LocalFluff- never shut the lid – lift the seat
    You want the contents to come out and then on the floor perhaps but not onto the seat that the next person then sits in.

    If you want the best hygiene you need to clean the seat each time.

  • LocalFluff

    @Chris
    I almost never close the lid. I forget it out of automatic habit. Maybe Freud has something to say about my parents’ failed toilette training of me. My mind is elsewhere, even on Mars, it stays out of the bathroom when my body enters it. I’ve had a cold three times during my three decades as a grown up. First time on my first job walking in and out of a cold storage, which was the probable reason, colleagues said it happens to many newly hired. The last time when I was newly wed and my wife took care of me with all sorts of folk remedies that made it a nice experience!

    But those who are frequently bothered by illnesses, or who are likely sensitive to such, should simply close the lid before they flush, if they live in a multi-family house. The lid covers the seat, and ass skin is as far from your lungs as one can get on your body, so I don’t get your point.

    Flushing spays the bathroom with aerosols, which given their source are likely to contain a range of virus and bacteria.

  • Andrew M. Winter

    To Andrew-W from Andrew M Winter:

    From your comment: “So the whole set up was a lot like that on a cruise ship, but with the effectiveness of the social distancing and sanitation procedures resulting in a very low rate of transmission over 2 weeks compared to that seen on cruise ships.”

    Not a cruise ship. They are interested, indeed seriously concerned maybe even desperately concerned with, the close quarters experienced by Marines on Amphibious Assault Ships over the course of an “at sea” deploymewnt with a MEU. The Marine Corps keeps about large portion of their fighting strength at sea on these things,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphibious_assault_ship,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasp-class_amphibious_assault_ship
    Each of these ships carries over 1500 Marines
    more:
    This body of Marines would be a part of a M.E.U. typically at sea for 6 months at a time,
    https://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/pages/amphibiousassualtship.aspx

    It is, therefore, no statistical anomaly that produced the size of the study. That number of Marines participating 1800 or so, is an exact correlation to a full up MEU Marine compliment, when at full augmented status. So this study was not designed to project “percentages” onto a larger population. It was aimed at exact data that would be in play during a MEU deployment at sea! Now the percentages do project outward, particularly given the severity of the controlled “lockdown” methods used.

    But the study wasn’t aimed at a “hypothetical” cruise ship scenario. The study gives the Marine Corp and exact replica of a Marine MEU deployed at sea, which is a lot WORSE, condition wise, than a cruise ship. Marines do not get individual “state room” when deployed at sea.

    So, really good find on that quote. Really good. I just thought you might like to know why The Marines would, possibly, be doing such a study.

  • Micah

    Interesting. I especially liked your last comments. Back when this was just starting up early in the year, I actually wondered about having low-risk people be intentionally infected (voluntarily of course) and quarantined under medical supervision. Then these immune people could be released and give “herd immunity” a kickstart. With telework and tele-schooling, this type of action may not even be very disruptive to people’s lives.

  • Marcus

    Thank you Robert, it was an interesting study. I suspect you didn’t read it though. The most important point is that there was no control group. There were participants and non-participants and the only difference was that they tested and studied the participants more than the non-participants. But both groups underwent the same restrictions (as Andrew_W has already pointed out):

    From the Methods section Procedures subheading:
    “Participants who tested positive on the day of enrollment (day 0) or on day 7 or day 14 were separated from their roommates and were placed in isolation. Otherwise, participants and nonparticipants were not treated differently: they followed the same safety protocols, were assigned to rooms and platoons regardless of participation in the study, and received the same formal instruction”

    The purpose of the study was to better characterize how and how much SARS-CoV-2 spread through the marine recruit population. And they found interesting results:

    From the Discussion section:
    “the epidemiologic analysis suggests that platoon membership and double-occupancy rooming were risk factors for infection, but room proximity and shared bathrooms were not”

    Please read the study. It wasn’t too difficult to understand and it brought up a lot of interesting issues that could be fun to discuss. It left me thinking that there might be no point in doing all the sanitizing and mask wearing if you bunk people together. But some people were infected outside of the rooming situation, and they don’t really know what caused it. Was it the dining room where they didn’t wear masks? Did they break protocol? Was it inside or outside? Lots of questions.

    Robert, I do agree with some of your points on how the media exaggerates the coronavirus risk. But I don’t know how you can beat the mainstream media by posting verifiably false information.

  • Why do so many people wish to ignore the forest of this study and see only the trees? I specifically focused on the strict quarantine measures imposed during this study for a reason: They accomplished nothing. After only two weeks, 3% of the population had become infected. Extrapolate this out into the real world, and it illustrates the absurdity, uselessmess, and totally negative consequences of lock downs.

    But no, we must find any excuse or justification for discounting this obvious result, because if we notice it we might have to admit that the policies of our government (blessed be its name) might be wrong, and so wrong as to almost be criminal.

  • Marcus

    “Why do so many people wish to ignore the forest of this study and see only the trees?”

    Probably because glaringly false analysis of the study stands out and makes people skeptical of whatever other point is being made.

    The study does not show that strict quarantine measures do nothing, so people don’t see that as the takeaway message.

    If you want to convince people of your message, it’s helpful to use evidence that supports it, rather than evidence of something else completely that you then claim supports your point.

  • Sam

    To those somehow still in love with the boot on their face, answer this:

    If these marines became infected and began spreading the virus under such conditions, explain how the most authoritarian lockdown imaginable would prevent the spread of infection in the general population, much less “acceptably” authoritarian measures.

  • Andrew_W

    Sam: . . . explain how the most authoritarian lockdown imaginable would prevent the spread of infection in the general population,

    You put people in family sized groups in social bubbles with no contact between those bubbles, no shared bathrooms, no communal eating halls, no going to work if contact can’t be avoided. Everyone with symptoms gets tested, anyone those people have contact with also gets tested.

    If you can hold it all together for 4 weeks all those in any infected bubbles would have either had the virus and now be non-contagious or never have been infected. If the virus burns itself out in every bubble with no spread between bubbles it would be eliminated from the population as a whole.

    Unfortunately the last part, the elimination, has proven impossible in most countries. So in the vast majority of countries lockdowns only limit the spread, and every time things are opened up it’s back to square one. Barring elimination Sweden’s approach is probably the 2nd best option (assuming an effective vaccine will soon be distributed), but Sweden’s methods still have economic, health and social costs.
    There’s no magic solution, with unrestricted spread, as some in the US have advocated for, it would have burned through the entirety of the US as it did in NYC, about 2 million would have died but the US would now have herd immunity (I estimate the number in the US with antibodies is now North of 60 million, so about 25% of the way to herd immunity). Waay back at the start we were projecting 3 years, about 1000 days, to herd immunity with the rate of spread that was being seen, assuming methods used to restrict spread kept numbers of new cases nearly constant.

  • Questioner

    This courageous Thai-German scientist exposes the Corona lie in all details. It is worth listening to.

    “Are We Being Told the Truth About COVID-19?” | Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnpnBYgGARE

  • Questioner

    Those criminals who have the power to enforce the corona should prepare to be held accountable. This German attorney, who is also licensed to practice law in California, is preparing (along with many other attorneys and supporters) a class action lawsuit pending in the United States and Canada in support of hundreds of thousands of people who have been harmed by governmental corona measures and which are seeking now compensation and justice. Here is a video with all of his arguments.

    German Lawyer Sues The World Over Coronavirus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpOzHHJmy7g

  • Andrew_W

    Andrew M. Winter, good points about the why, I said “I see no point in the study”, your explanation does explain the purpose – the application to the specifics of Marine deployments. Thank you.
    Incidentally, we also share the same middle initial – but not last name.

  • janyuary

    Robert laments: “Too bad our bankrupt political leaders and health officials have decided to …” etc.

    And water is wet, and the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. No, Robert, it is too bad that Americans are not now clamoring for SEPARATION of MEDICINE and STATE.
    It is the only way to sidestep the “bankrupt political leaders and health officials” of both parties.

    But no … instead, they look to the party that GOT them into the mess, to get them out. Robert and readers, speaking as a loyal Republican and conservative for about four decades until I acknowledged that I was voting for more government every time my Republican won, even though I wanted to vote for reducing government … Linus, Lucy, Football.

    How LONG before the “scientific mind” accepts that common sense is LEGITIMATE? How long before they recognize themselves when hearing folks lament of some expensive and complicated study that proves what sensible people knew all along? That Republicans and conservatives have failed miserably to protect American liberty?

    It takes guts to press on. No guts, no glory.

  • Ken Lundermann

    Since both groups mentioned in the paper — participants and non-participants — wore masks except when eating and sleeping, Bob’s headline suggesting that masks may be useless does not follow logically.

    Furthermore, the authors concluded that “double-occupancy rooming and shared platoon membership were important contributors to transmission.” Since platoon members ate together, this suggests that not wearing a mask (while sleeping or eating) may be an important factor.

  • Spectrum Shift

    I’m confused! Should I wear a mask when I flush, or just put the lid down? Seems to me if I put the lid down, I’m still gonna get knee capped by aerosols. Bubba, whatya wearing them masks on yor knees fer?

  • m d mill

    I do not understand how Andrew_W can say that with unrestricted spread 2 million would die in the US.
    In Sweden with mostly unrestricted spread and very few lock-downs 6000 have died out of a 10 million population
    and that will not change much now. That same ratio applied to the US is 300 million*6000/10 million= 180,000 dead.
    The original British models of Swedish dead with unrestricted spread was roughly 100,000.
    To quote Judith Curry’s post:
    “An epidemiological model developed last March at Imperial College London was treated by politicians as hard evidence that without lockdowns, the pandemic could kill 2.2 million Americans, 510,000 Britons and 96,000 Swedes. The Swedes tested the model against the real world and found it wanting: They decided to forgo a lockdown, and fewer than 6,000 have died there.”
    https://judithcurry.com/2020/10/10/what-the-pandemic-has-taught-us-about-science/#more-26644

    Also the longer an imperfect lock-down scenario lasts the more people may die in total for the following reason…an at risk person may be able to hide from the virus for a day, a week, a month, but the odds get worse as time goes on. If the 99.8 percent of the population who are not mortally threatened to date by the virus (ie hospitalized for a life threatening covid-19 condition to date) get group immunity quickly, then the other less than 0.2 percent will not be much threatened after that time….not to mention the economic and social devastation of the long lock-down period.
    Verification of the 0.2 percent hospitalization rate to date (approximate) for covid-19 by the CDC is here using the right axis, ie (45-12)*6/100,000=.00198
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/11132020/images/lab-confirmed-hospitalizations-weekly.gif

    Having said that it must be acknowledged that the lock-down approach did work in New Zealand quickly without too much economic damage. I guess NZ is a special place.

  • Edward

    janyuary noted: “But no … instead, they look to the party that GOT them into the mess, to get them out.” [ellipsis in original]

    They accuse the president of holding “super spreader” events, but directing people to their local Chinatowns were so much more super spreader that three weeks later those same areas declared lockdowns in order to protect their hospitals from the super spread. Had people not been directed to their local Chinatowns, then it would not have been seen as necessary for governors to send Wuhan-ailing patients into nursing homes, either. The cavalier attitude that Democrats had for Wuhan resulted in all the horrific reactions, loss of life and livelihoods, loss of liberty to travel or associate even with family, loss of healthcare, lost finances, and other losses. But somehow we are expected to obey these people who have no idea how to prevent the spread of the disease or how to keep our lives normal and worth living. Instead, by obeying their orders we have failed at both. It was all so avoidable, but obedience resulted in disaster.

    Why should we obey the experts or our fearful leaders when they keep violating their own orders? Why are there people here who demand that we obey these orders when our fearful leaders won’t? Cuomo, de Blasio, Pelosi, Ferguson, and others have been caught violating their own rules or recommendations, but now Governor Newsom, who has set autumn’s rules for celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, has violated those rules for a birthday party. (Was he wearing his mask between bites?)
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/california-newsom-birthday-party-thanksgiving-limitations

    Even Biden, who wants a draconian nationwide mask mandate, is reported to wear his own mask less than he claims to be necessary. Our fearful leaders are well aware that the rules that they set are going much farther than necessary for this not-so-terrible flu.

    They know that it is not as deadly as they want us to believe. They know it is not as contagious as they want us to believe. And they know that their rules are unnecessary. We know this, because they are willing to violate these rules for themselves. They want us to be fearful, but they know that there is no need for the fear they want us to experience.

  • Edward

    m d mill,
    You wrote: “I do not understand how Andrew_W can say that with unrestricted spread 2 million would die in the US.

    I think that you may have erred by using Sweden as an example. I think that we can use the current experience in America as a better starting point.

    So far, we have lost about 1/3 million excess people due to Wuhan and the collateral damage that happened because of the horrific reaction to it. So far, the official number of those infected is 10 million people, but if we were to extrapolate the deaths per infected person to the total population of 330 million, we would find that we could lose more ten million people.

    As you noted, there was an early prediction that we could lose 2.2 million if we did nothing. The predictions were that if we limited travel from badly infected countries and washed our hands frequently, then we would cut down the losses to 200 thousand. We did those things. There was an additional recommendation to perform basic social distancing, staying 2 meters (6 feet) apart in order to bring down the total loss to only 100 thousand. A final recommendation was to hold a three-week lockdown in order to save 40 thousand lives, losing only 60 thousand.

    Unfortunately, our fearful leaders seemed to think that if they extended the lockdown then they could reduce the losses to zero. Extending the lockdown and adding mask mandates is when the stuff really hit the fan, and not only did Wuhan losses skyrocket, but collateral damage began to happen in great numbers. We now have lost more than five times as many people as we should have, had we reopened at the beginning of April, per the plan.

    The idiots running things think that they have the right answers, and if they only apply more of it (as they are starting to do, again) then everything will turn out alright. Unfortunately, their answers have been shown to be wrong, and applying more of their wrong answers will only make matters far worse.

    The states that did not lock down did much better. The theory is that those states should have had rapid spread, but they did not. Clearly, this disease does not spread as fast as advertised, unless we mandate that people do all the wrong things.

    2 million dead may be a low number, if we let our fearful leaders continue mandating all the wrong solutions.

  • Ian C.

    An opportunity to link again to Toby Young’s

    https://lockdownsceptics.org/

    For reference, he also runs the Free Speech Union (UK) and is a Spectator associate editor.

  • Andrew_W

    I do not understand how Andrew_W can say that with unrestricted spread 2 million would die in the US.
    I said “about 2 million would have died but the US would now have herd immunity” notice past tense, without any restrictions it would all have already happened.
    When I said “unrestricted spread” that’s what I meant, in Sweden the spread has been restricted through measures less authoritarian than lockdowns but it’s still been restricted.

    In this discussion mkent crunches the CDC IFR numbers and gets “1.4 million dead Americans by the time we reach herd immunity.”
    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/survival-rates-for-covid-19/#comments

    I’ve assumed a higher fatality rate with the faster unrestricted spread and overwhelmed health services, IFR’s are certainly lower now than they were at the start of the epidemic because medical professionals have a better understanding of the disease with more targeted treatments.

  • wayne

    It’s never enough for these people, not only will we be required to wear ‘masks,’ we will eventually be required to love wearing ‘masks.’ And if you don’t love wearing your ‘mask’, you’re a racist, or whatever.
    If Trump is Hitler, exactly what are these ‘mask’ mandates? Maybe we could color-code them all or something….

    Star Trek Supercut: Landru!
    S01E23 – The Return of the Archons.
    https://youtu.be/nZMuBIJxmnA
    3:26

  • Gary

    My head is spinning.. I always remember Woody Allen’s words, “If you love you suffer. If you don’t love you suffer. So, the only way to be happy is if you love to suffer.”

  • NavyNuke

    Robert, your comments are on target. While the text of the article is comprehensive and provides an excellent summary analysis, the real meat is in the Supplementary Appendix linked at the bottom of the article. The takeaway should be that, given a controlled environment, competent and readily available medical care, and the rigid enforcement of health practices listed in Table S1 on page 9 of the appendix, the virus still managed to transmit within the study population. Even with the most draconian of lockdown mandates you could never establish and maintain these conditions in a civilian population. I hope everyone here also took the time to look at the citing article (again at the end of the article) by Dr. Nelson Michael and his subsequent links to the study on the USS Truman and the cruise ship in Yokohama.

  • RalphF

    Edward, you wrote:

    “So far, the official number of those infected is 10 million people, but if we were to extrapolate the deaths per infected person to the total population of 330 million, we would find that we could lose more ten million people.”

    Surely you don’t think we have had only 10 million cases so far, do you? (11.5 million official cases as of today on Worldometer.) Most estimates are that there have been at least 10 times that many because there are so many asymptomatic cases of the virus.

  • Andrew_W

    NavyNuke, several points:
    Even allowing for the longer time period in the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt outbreak compared to the Marine study it’a apparent that the rate of transmission was significantly higher on the carrier, whether the difference is down more to the greater levels of communal living on the carrier or due to the strict hygiene imposed in the study is impossible to say on the data available, likely both factors contributed.

    Even with the most draconian of lockdown mandates you could never establish and maintain these conditions in a civilian population.

    Over the last few months several tens of thousands of New Zealanders have returned to the country, several hundred of them arrived infected with the virus. On arrival they were housed in isolation facilities (top hotels) with a 3 test regime similar to that in the Marine study, being release to the community subject to 3 negative tests over 14 days. There has been only 1 case of the virus escaping from those facilities into the community (fortunately it was contained again before spreading in the wider population). Of those tens of thousands, only the most recent arrivals are in isolation.

  • janyuary

    BINGO, Robert Z: “Why do so many people wish to ignore the forest of this study and see only the trees? I specifically focused on the strict quarantine measures imposed during this study for a reason: They accomplished nothing.”

    I mean it as a compliment when I say that for at least some of them, missing the forest for the trees is an occupational hazard. Engineers, for example, must be able to focus exclusively on every link in the chain and its performance relative to other parts in sequence. It’s how they are able to build structures that perform marvelously under all kinds of conditions. However, in other aspects of life … well, understand that certain projects regarding abstract concepts, should be budgeted at 150% over if the client is an engineer, as he will take more than twice as long to accomplish the same end, so busy examining the trees he will likely be.

  • Andrew_W

    RalphF: Most estimates are that there have been at least 10 times that many because there are so many asymptomatic cases of the virus.
    I think you just made that up.
    Asymptomatic rates appear to be about 50% of cases, though there’s a question over how asymptomatic is asymptomatic, if you know you’ve had recent close contact with an infected person you’re more likely to see a sore throat as a symptom than if you know of no reason that you might have recently been infected.

    There’s also lot of confusion caused by high rates of positive tests in recent outbreaks of people in close living conditions who are actually presymptomatic and a week or so later do develop symptoms.

  • When I posted a link today to this piece on Facebook it was immediately marked FALSE INFORMATION (perhaps because the headline to the piece goes rather beyond what the substance of the piece in fact describes haha).

    This obnoxious meddling by FB in my puny timeline prompted me to look more closely at all these studies: how to tell if masks do in fact make a difference for better or worse? Not, it seems, easy:

    https://charlescrawford.biz/2020/11/17/covid-19-unmasked/

  • Gospace

    And when I linked this on FAcebook- they asked if I really wanted to share it- since other studies have shown that masks really work! (They don’t…) And covered it with a shield saying it was fake news when I posted anyway.

  • NavyNuke

    @Andrew W. I will only speak to your first comment because bringing up New Zealand response is an apples to pomegranates comparison. NZ is an uncontrolled data point just like Denmark. Lots of things baked into those cakes.

    I will take issue that it is impossible to identify the factors leading to the differences in transmission rate between the Marine recruits and the TR sailors – it is absolutely possible to identify causal factors based upon available data. The US Navy has decades of experience in disease outbreaks aboard ship to draw from. The TR outbreak was not fundamentally different from previous one that were studied in detail. Two that come to mind are the flu outbreak on the USS Ardent (~25% involved) and the TB outbreak on the USS Wasp (~20% involved.) Pictures of a typical berthing space were provided in the TR study appendix. As someone who has been assigned to two Nimitz’s classes, I can tell you first hand that an individual berthing spaces held an order of magnitude more personnel that the Marine dorms, there were communal heads, and meals were not boxed and individually delivered to the sailors. Ventilation systems aboard ship are designed primarily to remove heat from equipment first and crew comfort second. Totally unlike the Marine dorms. NAVMED had the benefit with the Marines to set up a proactive study based on what was known at the time of it’s initiation. TR was in response mode from the day the first patient was identified and relied on regulations put in place based on the decades of experience with known infectious agents. Given the totality of all of the data, that transmission could not be stopped in the Marine study is telling – it’s absolutely a function of the living conditions.

  • Andrew_W

    NavyNukes
    NZ is an uncontrolled data point just like Denmark. Lots of things baked into those cakes.
    Arm waving.

    I said: whether the difference is down more to the greater levels of communal living on the carrier or due to the strict hygiene imposed in the study is impossible to say on the data available, likely both factors contributed.
    Nothing in your comment refutes or contradicts my conclusion that both factors likely contributed.

  • Jeff

    As an alternative to the “masks don’t prevent the spread of the disease” hypothesis, please consider this one: “Masks can reduce the viral load a person receives, making it more likely they will experience an asymptomatic or mildly-symptomatic course of the disease”. When 90% of the infected people are asymptomatic, that seems to be a good outcome that is perhaps translatable to the general population.

  • CK

    So this made it into the NEJM, right? Is it considered “science”? If it is, does it conflict with other “science”? If it does, how am I supposed to know which “science” to obey? I’m so confused. Fauci, save us!

  • Edward

    I had written: “The states that did not lock down did much better. The theory is that those states should have had rapid spread, but they did not. Clearly, this disease does not spread as fast as advertised, unless we mandate that people do all the wrong things.” And we were mandated to do the wrong things.

    I should have added that lockdowns and masks are part of the wrong things, and the study in Robert’s post is an extreme example of lockdown, masks, and isolation from external infection sources. The study shows that Wuhan spread much faster in that extreme environment (2% after two weeks for each group, after a two-week quarantine to prevent introducing Wuhan in the first place) than it does in the U.S. general population (3% [10 million infections out of 330 million population] after eight months of lockdown, with the disease already loose in the population). Inside this study, the disease spread as fast as advertised, despite draconian methods to prevent its spread and great care to prevent the participants from bringing it in with them.

    From the study, Methods section:

    All recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors, except when sleeping or eating; practiced social distancing of at least 6 feet; were not allowed to leave campus; did not have access to personal electronics and other items that might contribute to surface transmission; and routinely washed their hands.

    Masks do not work, otherwise these marines would not have spread the virus. Hand washing and social distancing also seem to have had less effect than for the general public, or perhaps the ill effects of masks and lockdown overwhelm the beneficial effects of hand washing and social distancing.

    The environment that the study seemed to emulate well was the condition of sheltering in place, where people stay at home and do not travel outside, where they might contact other people. This is the basic meaning of lockdown. To help the general public stay in lockdown, many businesses were shutdown, early in the Great Oppression, and if they reopened, then the owners were smacked down until they complied.

    Comparing the lack of spread within states that did not lock down or mandate masks to the spread that occurred in states that did lockdown and mandated masks, to the rapid spread within the severe lockdown and near-constant mask-use conditions of the study, we can see that the more severe the lockdown, the faster the spread of the disease. We already understood that flus spread the most during winter, because more people spend more time indoors and in close proximity with each other for extended amounts of time. In winter, people live in conditions that vaguely resemble a lockdown.

    This explains why contact tracing has shown that the home is the most common place where Wuhan spreads.

    At home, we spend a great majority of our time in close proximity with family members, who would otherwise be off to school, at work, out playing sports, playing with friends, or be at other activities. Social distancing is difficult at home; try putting social distancing marks on your floor, like they do at stores. Keeping us in constant close proximity for months on end is a stupid move by our fearful leaders. But we knew that last spring. Why didn’t our fearful leaders? Why haven’t they learned from their utter and abject failure, these past many months of deaths and increasing infections? Instead, they are now tripling-down on their horrific, deadly reaction to Wuhan. How many hundreds of thousands will die due to this additional lockdown time?

    Lockdowns do not work. We know this., because Wuhan was a big problem during summer, a time when flus disappear. Wuhan, on the other hand, was encouraged by the summertime lockdown, where we kept up the same conditions as a winter. Meaning:

    Lockdowns are counterproductive.

    In addition, the lockdowns also resulted in around a hundred thousand collateral deaths, as well as a tremendous amount of suffering and loss.

    RalphF asked: “Surely you don’t think we have had only 10 million cases so far, do you?

    The official number is what I am going with for this argument. I have no other number. I would be enormously surprised if many or most of the new positive tests were not people who had already gotten over the Wuhan flu. There must be a few million people out there who never knew they had been infected, mostly the relatively young.

  • Randy

    Bob, Thankyou…Govt is having a hayday locking us all down with only the elderly and
    with pre-existing problems dying. What happened to free choice.nah out the door
    with that.I only want recommendations from my govt.Instead I get a nasty order from
    Jay inslee to lockdown.

    Iam done believing anything my govt. say`s or does.What I do believe is trump will win
    and put Americans first.If he doesnt it will be the biggest Fraud ever..Regards..and cheers.!

  • wayne

    time for an inspiring musical interlude…..

    Trump: Silent Running
    Justin Bellucci
    https://youtu.be/OvNB_Y8qPFA
    6:02

  • David

    The masks used in the study were double-layered cloth masks. Isn’t there data showing that surgical masks and even medical-grade masks are preferable to cloth masks?

    Did anyone happen to see why they chose cloth masks? I’ll reread the article to see if there was a reason given for choosing the least effective material to make a mask with.

  • janyuary

    Edward, the lockdowns are extremely effective … at killing local economies, alienating people, causing an uptick in alcohol abuse and domestic problems, and creating bad health as gyms close and happy healthy restaurant dining is drastically curtailed. Government subsidies extend the illusion that things are okay.

    As far as I’m concerned, arguing about the studies is arguing angels on the head of a pin. How obvious does it have to get, that these studies and forecasts are guesswork pure and simple, and that the total number of lives in China, at the time our headlines screamed in early April that the total C19 deaths in the US had surpassed China’s total ……. and the total in China was something like 8,000 out of 1.38 billion people. I did some arithmetic … replaced at China’s birthrate in a hour and 40 minutes.

    What in the wide wide world of sports is going ON????

    WORST of all is the idea that I am liable for the health of some schlub who lives on garbage food, is a dedicated Vegan, and/or who is out of shape — inferior nutrition and/or lack of fitness means lower immunities. And when they get sick they propose to blame me because I didn’t wear a mask and stay six feet away from them? What is WRONG with that picture?????

    Come on, seriously … the virus poses statistically little threat. And for this we wreak havoc on society, instead of standing strong as Americans and saying: Be responsible for your own health and your own fear. If you are afraid of this virus, stay home and order out. Leave those of us who choose to live with courage and confidence, to go about our business.

    Angels and heads of pins, these studies.

  • L. May: Very very very well said. Thank you.

  • Lance Christian

    This study does NOT disprove the effectiveness of Covid safely measures. In fact, it shows that even the Marines know that safely measures against Covid do work.

    For those wondering, ALL Marine recruits from both groups (participants and nonparticipants) were instructed to follow safely measures against Covid.

    “ALL recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors, except when sleeping or eating; practiced social distancing of at least 6 feet; were not allowed to leave campus; did not have access to personal electronics and other items that might contribute to surface transmission; and routinely washed their hands. They slept in double-occupancy rooms with sinks, ate in shared dining facilities, and used shared bathrooms. ALL recruits cleaned their rooms daily, sanitized bathrooms after each use with bleach wipes, and ate preplated meals in a dining hall that was cleaned with bleach after each platoon had eaten. Most instruction and exercises were conducted outdoors. ALL movement of recruits was supervised, and unidirectional flow was implemented, with designated building entry and exit points to minimize contact among persons.”

    The difference between the two groups is NOT due to differences in measure-taking against Covid.

    Thanks for linking the article so I could read it myself.

  • Dave Wyman

    Several people have mentioned Sweden. The head of their anti-covid program, Anders Tegnell, said he no longer understood herd immunity and that it wasn’t working in Sweden.

    Sweden is now resorted to banning sales of alcohol after 10 pm and banning groups of public groups of more than 10 people.

  • Dave Wyman

    Marines self-quarentined in this study. There’s no way to know how many of them, if any, broke quarantine. It was the same situation with the control group. In fact, both groups followed the same protocols.

    This study doesn’t show what would happen with a different kind of control group, though: a similar number of participants who did not wear masks, did not wash their hands and did not maintain some distance from each other.

    I’m sure we’d see a vast distance between those two groups. One would certainly not do as well as the other containing COVID-19. For sure, this study doesn’t offer any evidence that wearing masks, washing hands and socially distancing is not an effective way to keep COVID-19 at bay.

    There is another real-world case study we can look at.. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California, sees about 17,000 recruits undertake basic training every year. So far this year, there are NO known cases of COVID-19 at Camp Pendelton.

    Recruits don’t spend two unsupervised weeks in self-quarentine. They spend two supervised weeks in a hotel room before they arrive at the base. At the base, they and everyone else wear masks, they socially distance and they wash their hands. Again, those precautions and other protocols in place at the base have meant there have been zero cases of COVID-19.

    You can read about this real-world study at the link below.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/16/us/virus-military.html

  • Mary

    Thank you Dave Wyman. I appreciate your setting the record straight with your Camp Pendleton example of 17,000. Masks Do Work!
    Many people have sited the Andrew W marine study to try to prove that masks don’t prevent the spread and they shouldn’t wear one.
    People have also incorrectly claimed states with no mask restrictions have less co-vid. That simply is not true.

  • Putin Reloaded

    “Most recruits who tested positive were asymptomatic”. The whole covid-19 paradigm is based on ignoring clinical pictures and taking lab test results as the ground truth. In medical practice, lab tests are used in support of a clinical diagnosis. Here we have an unprecedented “epidemic” of non-clinical cases. In fact, the lack of a “gold standard” means the sensitivity/specificity of PCR and antibody tests is unknown. That most of the “positives” show no signs of the disease should be a sore red flag. The null hypothesis should be that tests results are random until proven otherwise. We’re witnessing an epidemic of testing, powerful minds trying to make sense of it, and nothing does because the randomness is not being addressed at all.

  • Forrest-Patrick W. Rees

    Andrew W. you stated, “…in the study group, who were living together in shared rooms, the 16 originally infected managed to infect another 35 over 14 days”, did you not read, or miss the fact that, “…no one could enter the study without undergoing 14-days of quarantine beforehand, plus a test to prove they were negative of COVID-19 at the study’s start.” This process that your whole thesis that the study is fouled, is wrong, and shows that the study is still very viable.

  • Andrew_W

    Forrest-Patrick W. Rees, I did not read the passage in the study that you quote, mainly because what you quote is not in the study.

  • Dave Wyman

    “In medical practice, lab tests are used in support of a clinical diagnosis.”

    Putin Reloaded, I don’t think your hypothesis totally stands up to scrutiny. In point of fact, lab tests often help provide a diagnosis as as well as confirm one. That’s because many times patients will present with one or more symptoms and the reason for those symptoms isn’t obvious to an examining physician.

    That’s why, for an example, some people receive a battery of blood tests, rather than just one test that a doctor thinks might reveal the cause of an illness.

    You make a good point about the liability of testing. However, we don’t know if a diagnosis of a positive result in the above study came from one and only one test, or from one or more reconfirming tests.

  • THOMAS

    Would like to build on the excellent comments of Marcus and Andrew W, with no political overtones.

    They are spot-on though perhaps too polite. The study never had a control group, i.e., all ~3500 Marines were quarantined, masked, etc., etc; only interim testing differentiated the two groups (my sense is that whole population was originally intended for the study but many opted out for fear of having to be isolated from the training if they tested positive; the opt-outs thereby created a “separate group” but hardly a “control” of recruits who did not wear masks and the like). The result was an overall ~2% infection rate despite all the routines.

    Robert, how you can post in your Beyond the Black blog that this proves that lock-downs, masking, etc., etc. do absolutely nothing (or worse) is beyond understanding. Moreover, it’s intellectual dishonesty, apparently in pursuit of something to support an anti lock-down crusade (I first saw your posting on the American Institute for Economic Research site, along with a myriad of other anti-lock down articles, some of them with points well argued relative to life vs. livelihood).

    Without a control the study proves nothing about the effectiveness of the routines, not that the routines were ineffective. Actually, given that the all the recruits were tested on Day 14, the ~2% infection rate is analogous to a “positivity” rate wherein the public health goal is to be below 5%. Per Hopkins data as of today, 45 U.S. states have positivity rates in excess of that target. Not wholly apples to apples given that the recruits were all supposed to be negative to start, but limiting infections to 2% could well be seen as quite an accomplishment.

    The study’s sponsors, Mt. Sinai and the Navy, say its purpose was simply to determine the effectiveness of the various preventative procedures on the close-knit group of recruits, and the findings were that despite all the measures there was still a 2% infection rate….that they need to do even more. Concluding anything beyond this misuses their study. Arguing the merits of lock-downs and whatnot else is another matter….fine, but this study is simply nonapplicable.

    Robert, seems like you owe the study sponsors an apology; your readers too. Instead you double-down and say we can’t see the forest for the trees. For shame.

  • Mark

    First mistake that the articles makes is that the study is of Marine recruits. These are men and women that have not gone through basic training and therefore are not well trained to follow orders. In fact I was told when I was a Marine recruit that we were the dumbest, lowest forms of life on the planet.

    As far as the study goes there control group is no good. What they actually needed was a group of similar size with the same amount of infected people that practiced absolutely no mitigation protocols.

    Though I would imagine if you compared this transmission rate of 2.8% to a similar group, such as cruise ship passengers as one person mentioned, it would be several degrees of magnitude lower.

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