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    The view from "somewhere else" is usually via the popular news media. There's a Ukrainian journalist/pundit who's rather articulate in his analysis of the events in Russia and Belarus but is completely laughable when it comes to his analysis of the US. That's because his view of the US isn't direct or even well rounded, it's a regurgitation of the whatever channels he can get over there and the related English language websites. But, when it comes to the events over in Eastern Europe/ex-USSR, he has personal contacts and only uses the mass media as a reflection of the existing facts.

    But it's the same in Western Europe too. There are plenty of people who are fully convinced that what is a marginal movement in the US is a genuine tidal wave ... and vice versa.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    The view from "somewhere else" is usually via the popular news media. There's a Ukrainian journalist/pundit who's rather articulate in his analysis of the events in Russia and Belarus but is completely laughable when it comes to his analysis of the US. That's because his view of the US isn't direct or even well rounded, it's a regurgitation of the whatever channels he can get over there and the related English language websites. But, when it comes to the events over in Eastern Europe/ex-USSR, he has personal contacts and only uses the mass media as a reflection of the existing facts.

    But it's the same in Western Europe too. There are plenty of people who are fully convinced that what is a marginal movement in the US is a genuine tidal wave ... and vice versa.
    You cannot blame the media for everything. I see and hear politicians speaking. I read German papers, Dutch papers, American Papers English papers and a lot of other media from left to right. I follow the US for a long time, I have family over there. The tone has changed in the US. And not for the better.


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Publimix View Post
    You cannot blame the media for everything. I see and hear politicians speaking. I read German papers, Dutch papers, American Papers English papers and a lot of other media from left to right. I follow the US for a long time, I have family over there. The tone has changed in the US. And not for the better.
    The tone has definitely changed in the US, among the fringes. Both parties and their most fervent adherents are desperate to win, and see the stakes as higher than ever -- I've heard many say that not only is this election the most important in history, but that the current president may be the last president ever. On the other side, all the attention is put on a tiny group of radicals who have said their stated goal is to get their way, or "burn the whole system to the ground." We have sitting Senators and Congresspeople outwardly, openly calling for a "revolution". Put simply: this is not normal. The fringe elements are dominating the news cycle, and there are those who pander to the fringe elements who are getting facetime on the news, etc. We are well aware and have documented evidence of outside interference by foreign governments who specifically want to stir up chaos in the US, and have agitated both sides and amplified the volume on both sides in an attempt to undermine the stability of our society.

    So no, it's not normal. We do have societal problems that are being grossly magnified by the sadistic and evil curse known as "social media", which magnifies outrage and where the most outrageous (and, frequently, deceptive) thing are the most likely to be shared and retweeted.

    On the other hand, let me tell you the slightest bit about the ACTUAL country. I recently embarked on a cross-country motorcycle trip, solo, across the Continental Divide Trail. I encountered many people who were, generally put, frickin' angels. It was an offroad adventure, across the Rocky Mountains, from the border with Mexico up to the border with Canada. Everyone I met, who I spent any time with at all, was genuine, kind, friendly...

    The trip ended poorly; due to a very bad wrong turn I ended up on the notorious Fleecer Ridge in Montana, which was way too rough for my giant overly-packed adventure bike, and I lost control and hit a tree, subsequently rolling down this absurdly steep hill (my estimate was that it was at least 45 degrees). Kind of a bad crash, three shattered vertebrae in my back. I ended up needing to be evac'd by Search & Rescue. An ARMY of workers swarmed that remote ridge, bringing half a dozen ATVs, trucks, medical equipment, and a couple of expert motorcycle riders to get me out of there. They were angels. There were at least 20 of them, and they were kind and helpful and patient, they did absolutely everything, they packed my scattered gear, they loaded me up, they checked on me a hundred different ways. It took five hours for the whole process. I was horrified at what the bill was going to be, I was figuring I was probably on the hook for around $25,000 or so. Which made it a bit of a surprise when I found out that they were all volunteers. Every stitch of equipment they brought was their own personal gear. They got a call on a Wednesday night at 5:00, and every one of them jumped in their trucks and sacrified their time to go help some random stranger. They were angels. And NOT ONE OF THEM asked me what my political affiliation was, or what my preferred pronouns were, or whether I supported Roe V. Wade or the NRA or told me that "Silence Is Violence". Not one of them asked me what color I was or what race I was or what party I belonged to, they had no idea, they just knew that some moron needed help and they swarmed in overwhelming numbers to give of their time and expertise to help someone. And nobody charged me a single penny, every second of this was pure volunteer efforts, sincere human kindness.

    That's what I've found that Americans are like, over and over, everywhere I've looked, as I've traveled over 50,000 miles across 17 states up and down the USA in the last few years. That's the "ground truth" as to what Americans are like.
    SCREW the news. SCREW "social media". Those things are destroying our country and pitting us against ourselves. Americans ARE great. And that's the bottom line.
    Last edited by Barry_Green; 09-23-2020 at 02:47 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Publimix View Post
    You cannot blame the media for everything. I see and hear politicians speaking. I read German papers, Dutch papers, American Papers English papers and a lot of other media from left to right. I follow the US for a long time, I have family over there. The tone has changed in the US. And not for the better.
    Ya but you're not an average person. I've had German friends over the years - some were the German and the US citizens - and their view of the German politics was very different than of the American press covering the German politics. I look into Deutsche Welle these days (mostly their Russian section that covers foreign politics and economics) more than Der Spiegel and find almost an entirely different Weltanschauung than in the US. And you know what? This is how it's supposed to be. The problem is fitting the events into an existing narrative.

    PS. When the news flare up, I'll read/watch the Russian language coverage from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, the UK and even the US (Radio Free Europe is operated by the CIA and Voice of America by the State Department) and, ideological differences aside, there are definitely cultural reverberations from source to source as well.


     

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    Very well said Barry.


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    It's a flu group virus, so, naturally, it spreads via air too.
    I don't think you're trying to downplay the risks of COVID-19 but you've said a number of times that it is flu group virus and that isn't true. Unfortunately early in the pandemic a number of public figures called COVID-19 a flu which has undermined acceptance public health measures so I think it's important to set the record straight whenever possible.

    All coronaviruses are positive-sense ssRNA (single-stranded RNA) viruses and are quite different from the family of viruses that cause influenza which are negative-sense ssRNA viruses. Ammong other differences, the two types of viruses replicate in fundamentally different ways. Influenza viruses actually are more closely related the Ebola virus which thankfully isn't transmitted by air.

    Influenza viruses as negative-sense ssRNA viruses store their RNA into segments and the virus isn't very good at replicating certain nonessential segments. Because of this error prone copying, most copies of flu viruses are mutants, enough so that the a new version can emerge from an individual host and any immunity is very short lived because the virus changes so quickly.

    In contrast SARS-CoV-2 as a positive-sense ssRNA virus that replicates via a mechanism that make mutations much less likely, because there is error correction built into the replication process. While SARS-CoV-2 typically starts out as a respiratory virus is apparently like to infect other parts of the body including the GI tract.

    One of the things that many scientist find so worrisome about the out of control COVID-19 pandemic is SARS-CoV-2 is still mutating albeit much more slowly than an influenza virus would. Every time a SARS-CoV virus replicates there is a risk of mutation and the risk of a dangerous mutation occurring is much higher if there 20 million cases than if there are 2 thousand.

    One risk is the virus could mutate to become much more deadly like it's close relative SARS-CoV. There is also a risk the virus could mutate in a way that makes one or more of the upcoming vaccines ineffective.

    Think of it this way. Every time COVID-19 spreads it get to play the lottery to see if it stay ahead of our countermeasures. Given the risks, I would rather it only got play 20,000 times vs 2 billion times.


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/healt...s/?arc404=true


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    Whoa, Barry, hope you're recovering well - do your phys therapy religiously... after my motorcycle accident - over 20 years ago now - the only thing that allowed me a full recovery of the use of my hands was a lot of dedicated exercising, othewise all your tendons shorten and muscles atrophy and joints seize up and you're toast. So just a little reminder, which you probably don't need, but just in case. Sucks that it happened out there in the country - usually city motocycle riding is more dangerous (in my case I couldn't prevent a careless van driver crossing the road behind a bend). My wife made me give up the motorcycle (motocycles are called "donor-mobiles" by emergency doctors)... months later she sat me down and we analyzed what led to the accident. It was clear that there was simply no way I could have anticipated or prevented what happened. All my defensive driving courses, all my caution, all my preparation, all the care of I took of my equipment - nothing could have changed the outcome. Once you realize it so starkly, you must acknowledge that sometimes things are not in your control on the road out there and the only way not to have a deadly accident is to give up riding. I still wanted to hold out for cross-country riding, but my wife prevailed. And you have to make that decision, the pleasure of riding vs the odds of an accident, what's your calculus. I decided that it was my responsibility to my wife if nothing else, to give up. I wonder if you are asking yourself such questions now - if so, I sympathize.

    As to the country being full of good people, yes, sure. But I've been around long enough to compare how it was before to how it is now, and I've travelled and lived abroad extensively. And I'm worried. The level of partisanship is at this point dangerous - in my opinion. I could say more, but I don't want to turn this into politics, so I'll stop here. We must learn to talk to each other, because things are becoming dangerous. We're all Americans, in it together, and we must never forget that - and I of course extend this to all our friends in other countries, so let's rephrase it "we're all human beings and we're all in it together". I wish everyone the best.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Postmaster View Post
    And that's why those masks are a joke. What do folks thing where their breath goes?

    And the smoke particles are way bigger than the virus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Postmaster View Post
    Sneezing and coughing of course, but I was talking about aerosols, aka normal breathing.
    Masks work...

    I think the problem with your logic is people don't exhale naked virus, they exhale droplets and aerosols which are actually demonstrably large enough to be trapped by at least some masks. We know most masks can block droplets which would more be enough of reason the use them but there is also considerable evidence that even wearing a surgical mask stops most of your aerosols. That means the asymptomatic carrier you pass on the street who sneezes won't spray you with large droplets and their mask will also reduce the number of aerosols they emit. Everything we have learned points to viral load playing an important role in clinical outcomes so anything we can do to reduce the number of virions in the air is good.

    It's crazy to me that 9 months into the pandemic N95 masks are still hard to find here in the US. In South Korea Starbucks workers have them but here in the US there are hospitals that can't get them. The last thing we need is our health care workers getting sick so I don't understand why we haven't mobilized our industrialized to manufacture more masks. Everyone I know who works at healthcare environments gets a crappy surgical mask because the hospital doesn't enough N95 masks.

    Infectious aerosols are suspensions of pathogens in particles in the air, subject to both physical and biological laws. Particle size is the most important determinant of aerosol behaviour. Particles that are 5 μm or smaller in size can remain airborne indefinitely under most indoor conditions16 unless there is removal due to air currents or dilution ventilation.
    Although surgical masks offer little protection from inhaled agents, they have a role in protecting health-care workers when worn by patients. Placing surgical masks on patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis decreased transmission to guinea pigs by 56%,138 and masking of patients with cystic fibrosis reduced P aeruginosa air contamination by 8%.139 Surgical masks reduced the quantity of influenza viral RNA by 28 times in small particles and by 25 times in large ones.45 More recently, surgical masks effectively reduced large droplets (>5 μm) of seasonal coronaviruses from three of ten patients to 0 of 11 (p=009) and small aerosols (<5 μm) from four of ten patients to 0 of 11 (p=004).47 Similarly, surgical masks reduced droplets of influenza from six of 23 to one of 27 (p=004). However, the reduction in influenza small aerosols (<5 μm) was not significant. There is mounting evidence suggesting that the wearing of masks can reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in community and health-care settings.
    The case studies found worldwide indicate that the behavior of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been unprecedentedly unique with more survival and viable rates in the air and believed to linger in the air for an extended period. The challenge before many healthcare workers in combatting the disease would be a daunting task unless proper administrative, clinical, and physical measures are taken within the healthcare settings.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/l...323-4/fulltext

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293495/


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCorpse View Post
    Whoa, Barry, hope you're recovering well - do your phys therapy religiously... after my motorcycle accident - over 20 years ago now - the only thing that allowed me a full recovery of the use of my hands was a lot of dedicated exercising, othewise all your tendons shorten and muscles atrophy and joints seize up and you're toast. So just a little reminder, which you probably don't need, but just in case. Sucks that it happened out there in the country - usually city motocycle riding is more dangerous (in my case I couldn't prevent a careless van driver crossing the road behind a bend). My wife made me give up the motorcycle (motocycles are called "donor-mobiles" by emergency doctors)... months later she sat me down and we analyzed what led to the accident. It was clear that there was simply no way I could have anticipated or prevented what happened. All my defensive driving courses, all my caution, all my preparation, all the care of I took of my equipment - nothing could have changed the outcome. Once you realize it so starkly, you must acknowledge that sometimes things are not in your control on the road out there and the only way not to have a deadly accident is to give up riding. I still wanted to hold out for cross-country riding, but my wife prevailed. And you have to make that decision, the pleasure of riding vs the odds of an accident, what's your calculus. I decided that it was my responsibility to my wife if nothing else, to give up. I wonder if you are asking yourself such questions now - if so, I sympathize.
    Thanks for your concern, and your story. And yes, I've re-evaluated and decided to give up the offroad portion of riding. It's just not worth it as compared to what it put my wife through. I've done like you did, I've gone over everything in my head as to what went wrong and how I could have prevented it, and at the bottom of all of it is: I made a wrong turn. I specifically calculated my route to avoid Fleecer Ridge, I was aware that it was treacherous, I plotted a route around it to avoid it, and once I was around it and had joined with the main mapped track again, I turned left instead of turning right. Which took me right back to the hill, and ... things went (literally) downhill from there. One simple little mistake, and it caused what could have been life-altering or even life-destroying consequences. Weighing it all, sitting in a hotel room for a couple of days in agony and not knowing (yet) that my T8 was in a severe compression fracture and my T7 and T9 were broken too, and seeing how much work those folks put in to save me and the bike, I made the decision that I'm going to donate the bike to them (they're a registered nonprofit, which survives on boot drive donations in the tiny city of Butte, MT).

    I had visions of tackling the Trans America Trail next. And if I lived alone, maybe I still would try, after healing up. But -- I came within a bone spur fragment's width of being paralyzed and becoming a huge burden on my wife for the next 30 years or however long I live. And that's just such an unacceptable thought; I can't possibly be so selfish as to put her at that risk, so yeah, I'm done with offroad adventure biking. At this time, I'm still planning on resuming pavement riding, pending what the doctors tell me about how my back heals and what the risks are.

    So yes, I totally understand where you're coming from, I sympathize and empathize, and I appreciate you sharing and caring!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
    Masks work...

    I think the problem with your logic is people don't exhale naked virus, they exhale droplets and aerosols which are actually demonstrably large enough to be trapped by at least some masks. We know most masks can block droplets which would more be enough of reason the use them but there is also considerable evidence that even wearing a surgical mask stops most of your aerosols. That means the asymptomatic carrier you pass on the street who sneezes won't spray you with large droplets and their mask will also reduce the number of aerosols they emit. Everything we have learned points to viral load playing an important role in clinical outcomes so anything we can do to reduce the number of virions in the air is good.

    It's crazy to me that 9 months into the pandemic N95 masks are still hard to find here in the US. In South Korea Starbucks workers have them but here in the US there are hospitals that can't get them. The last thing we need is our health care workers getting sick so I don't understand why we haven't mobilized our industrialized to manufacture more masks. Everyone I know who works at healthcare environments gets a crappy surgical mask because the hospital doesn't enough N95 masks.








    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/l...323-4/fulltext

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293495/
    This whole thing has just been a comedy of errors, except it's deadly serious. A few months ago I was either reading or listening to a story about some of the people who were scamming the US government by promising to supply PPE and other medical equipment, like ventilators, even though they had no history of or previous contracts or experience providing for the government(and ultimately were caught), but still landed huge contracts while experienced manufacturers/contractors were ignored and shot-down. There was a US medical equipment manufacturer that had an N95 mask manufacturing line that he had decommissioned/mothballed, but could be re-started if need be, with the proper commitment. He reached out to his govn't contacts(maybe FEMA, don't recall) before everything went south and told them what he was hearing and told them they could get in front of this and start building up a supply. We could have had N95 masks being made here in the US by a US owned and based business, but we all know the decision that was made.


     

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