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Re: Genealogist?
Can some please help me read the name of the friend and his address on line 17?
I'm not a genealogist, but went through something similar when searching my own family history. 

As mentioned above, the name you show (from the ships register) looks like Mattes Dornblum. 

A search in shows a Mathias Dornblum who lived at 141 Goerck Street in the 1920 US census.  Going back now to the ships register, it seems like the street listed could have been Georg St, perhaps reflecting the different accents and spelling abilities of the people communicating.  It's generally easier to figure out handwriting if you look at the entire page, and try to find similar-looking letters within words that are more clear, but it seems likely that Goerck was meant.  Goerck Street was on the Lower East Side, but was destroyed and built over in the 1950s.

Perhaps the Dornblums first lived at 139 then moved next door to 141.   Dornblum is the last apartment listed at 141 Goerck, and the next line starts with the Klein family at 139 Goerck, so perhaps the census enumerator mistakenly entered the incorrect house number.

This Mathias Dornblum was 55 years old, as was his wife Lena.  Mathias said he had arrived in America from Russia in 1908, his son Max  in 1909, and his wife and daughter Bluma in 1912.   Interestingly, on the day of the 1920 census, there is also a granddaughter living with them, 2 1/2 year old Annie, who had been born in Connecticut.  Max (25 yo) and Bluma (19 yo) are both single, so it is not clear from this document what was going on there.  Mathias and Max worked as finishers in the manufacture of cloaks (coats), while Bluma made wigs for dolls.

The Dornblums had 2 men living with them as "lodgers" (boarders).  They were also working in Cloaks, as sewing machine operators, and had immigrated from Russia in 1913.  Their names were Ab. Goldman (30 yo) and Charles Schmulger (23 yo).  Is one of these the name of your ancestor?  What is the date of the ships manifest where you found this name?

There had been a NYS census in 1925, and in that year, Joseph, Lena, Bluma and Anna Dornblum were living in Nassau, in Rennselaer County in upstate NY.  I suspect that Joseph is the same person, Mattes.  East European Jews often had two names, a Hebrew and Yiddish one, and used only the Yiddish name or nickname in Europe.  They often changed names several times in America.

In the 1930 US census, Joseph Dornblum says he's a farmer.
In 1931, Bluma Minnie Dornblum married Joe Nudleman (later Needleman)

Looking at the ships register at immigration, there are several immigrants who might be this same family:
Jossel Dornblum, arrived 1909, 40 yo, from Wolchocz, Russia
Lea Durenblum, arrived 1912, 60 yo, from Wocbotzk, Russia
Bluma Durenblum, arrived 1912 (with Lea), 9 yo.  has a "town finder", where you can insert these town names, and they will come up with the location.  This search can be made fuzzier, to find a town that might have been pronounced or spelled differently.  But if this was a friend of your ancestor, you might already know which town they came from.  Does it sound something like Wol...k?

April 12, 2020, 01:45:55 PM
Re: Genealogist? Here's a more complete answer:
Mattes Dornblum IS the same person as Joseph Dornblum.  Joseph/Mattes and his son Max/Meyer and family are all buried in the Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens.  There's a photo of Meyer's matzeiva online, and it gives his name as
נתן מאיר בר יוסף מתתיה הכהן

In Europe, he was known as Mattes (based on the name his friend and nephew gave for the ships manifest when they immigrated) or Jossel (based on name he himself gave at immigration).  In the 1910 census, he gave his name as Max and his son as Nathan! In the 1920 census, he is Matthias and his son is Max.  In the 1930 census and thereafter, he is Joseph and his son is Meyer.

Joseph/Mattes and his wife Lena/Lea had two children who lived with them in America. 
Meyer/Nathan/Max (1896-1978) and Bluma (1902-1982).

Joseph/Mattes arrived first, in 1909, his son Meyer arrived in 1910 (under the name Nussem Dernblum on the ships manifest - probably Nussen)  and Lea/Lena arrived with Bluma in 1912. This kind of "chain migration" was common among poor Russian Jews - The father would go first, save money for a ticket for the next person, and so on.  So they were probably not well-to-do.  Joseph/Mattes said he was a tailor, and he may well have worked in that profession in Russia.  However, Russian Jews knew that workers were needed in clothing manufacture, so many called themselves tailor when they immigrated.

Meyer/Max married Fannie Katz and had a daughter Ann (1917-2007).  Fannie died the following year, in October 1918.  I haven't looked for her death certificate, but October 1918 is famous for having had the peak deaths of the 1918 flu pandemic, when 195,000 Americans died from that cause.  Maybe she was one of the victims. 

Meyer/Max moved back with Annie, to live with his parents and Bluma, and was there in the 1920 census when Annie was 2 years old.  However, he remarried, to Sadie Espass, soon after that census, and had two more daughters:  Sylvia (1921-2013) and Pearl (1930-2000).  Pearl shortened the name to Dorn, and Sylvia's name was always Dornblum, so it seems that neither of them ever married, and had no children.  Sylvia's obit says:
DORNBLUM--Sylvia. May 8, 1921 - May 2nd, 2013. Loved by her friends. Services Sunday at 12 noon from Schwartz Bros. Jeffer Memorial Chapel, 114-03 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, NY. Interment at Mt. Hebron Cemetery alongside her beloved sister Pearl.

Anne Dornblum also seems to have never married and had no children, so there are no descendants from Meyer/Max. 

But Joseph/Mattes' daughter Bluma does have living descendants. 
In 1925 and 1930, Joseph and Lena, with their daughter Bluma, lived in East Nassau, in Rennselaer County NY.  This is a rural area, and perhaps they moved there to try their hand at farming, which was a thing to do back then.  In 1925 Joseph said he was a tailor, but in the 1930 census, he said "farmer".  Lena died in 1932, and is buried in Queens.  I haven't found where Joseph lived after this date, but he was buried in Queens in 1948.

In 1931, Bluma married Joseph Nudleman (1892-1966), and by the 1940 census, they were living in Port Jervis NY with their two children, Eleanor and Seymour, AND their niece, Ann/Annie/Anna Dornblum. 

It's in Ann Dornblum's obituary (2007) that you can find the names of Bluma and Joseph's descendants, Eleanor and Seymour, who were Ann's cousins, as well as their children and grandchildren.   That would be the place to start looking for living descendants!

April 19, 2020, 12:03:23 PM
Re: Termites Do you know if they are drywood, dampwood, or subterranean termites?

My experience is with drywood termites, in Florida.  A drywood termite colony begins with a single male and female who enter a crevice in a piece of wood, seal themselves inside, and mate.  A couple weeks later there will be about 20 young ones, and the adults mate again. They chew on the wood, thereby hollowing out a tunnel in the wood.  They obtain all the nutrients they need from the wood, digesting it, and releasing tiny fecal pellets ("frass"), that look like sand, and which they push out of the tunnels through tiny holes.  This frass is the only indication humans have that there are termites within the structure.  They continue doing this for 3-5 years, at which time the colony has grown to about 2000 termites.  At that time, some termites begin to develop wings, and those are the ones that will fly out in the spring, looking for a mate and a new piece of wood to create a new colony.  This swarming of termites can continue for a few weeks or months in the spring, usually at night, peaking around sunset and sunrise.  Hundreds of the flying termites exit the colony, but the original colony remains in place.  That is, 500 may fly out, but there are still 1500 inside the tunnels. The following spring, a new group will develop wings and fly out. 

So, if you have drywood termites, the answer to your questions are:

Yes, when you see flying termites, they are coming from a colony has been in existence for several years already.

No, the presence of flying termites this year does not necessarily mean that the previous year's treatment was ineffective, just that it was incomplete.  There are at least two explanations:

1.  Last year's treatment may have destroyed part of the colony's termites, which are living in tunnels several feet long, with many branches.  When poison is injected into a tunnel, it will kill many termites, but termites in a distant part of the tunnel can block off that region, and live happily on for many years in regions of the tunnel that are free of the poison.  It can be difficult to completely eradicate the colony in one treatment, so I would not blame the guy if the colony is still active.  Did he make only one visit last year, or did he return a few weeks later to check if the colony was still active? (by seeing new frass deposited outside the tunnels, for example)

2.  Last year's treatment may have effectively destroyed the colony that you identified at that time, but clearly your house is termite heaven.  If one pair found a cozy retreat in a window molding five years ago, and a second pair set up housekeeping in the basement window, and a third pair somewhere else.  So the guy may have effectively destroyed several colonies, but not been aware of all of them. 

Again, this is for drywood termites.  Dampwood and subterranean termites have somewhat different life cycles and living conditions, and I have no experience with them.  But I think my answers would generalize to them as well, that is, (a) flying termites reflect a long-term colony, and (b) the local guy should not necessarily be blamed for the reappearance of flying termites this year.  They can be hard to get rid of, especially after a single treatment.

May 03, 2020, 09:27:33 PM
Re: How much milk do you have in your fridge? To use up the milk:

Chocolate Pudding 

Mix all these together in a pot:

5 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Slowly stir in:

2 cups milk (red, green, blue... whatever you want to use up)

Cook over medium heat, stirring all the time so it doesn't stick and burn on the bottom.  When large bubbles break on the surface, let it boil one more minute.  Take off the heat and immediately stir in:

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cool and chill in refrigerator, even though you're tempted to eat it right away, because it really tastes better when cold. 

If you don't like the "skin" on top, cover it while it cools.
If you DO like the skin, keep it uncovered while cooling and chilling.
If you LOVE the skin, pour some while hot onto a large plate, and you'll get a large plate that's almost entirely skin when it cools.

This makes about 4 adult servings.  You can easily double or triple the recipe, but I recommend trying it first this way, then adjust the recipe to your taste. 
If it's too intensely chocolaty, decrease the cocoa to 4 or even 3 T. 
If it's not sweet enough, increase the sugar to 8 or 10 T. 
If it's too thick, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup milk.

1. Instead of vanilla, try almond or mint flavorings.
2. For a higher-fat creamy taste, stir in 1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter at the end, together with the vanilla.
3. For reducing quarantine-induced stress, stir a little rum into the pot with the vanilla, or pour some into your own bowl just before eating.

May 13, 2020, 03:22:36 PM
Re: How much milk do you have in your fridge?
Forget the milk and apples, I'm inundated with cherry tomatoes which my (any) kids won't touch. So any recipe ideas which include milk apples and cherry tomatoes would be appreciated ;)

This doesn't help with the milk and apples, but I had a similar problem a few weeks ago with cherry tomatoes.  I saw they weren't going to last long, so I chopped them up, cooked them with other vegetables and tomato sauce, till they got good and soft, then made shakshouka out of it.

May 13, 2020, 09:41:16 PM
Re: Dropping Antibody Levels
That graph shows IgG staying in the blood, not dropping to nil as the Dr claimed.
Like I said, hopefully just faulty testing.
This is not my field, but here's how I understand it:
The graph is just meant to show how symptoms and antibodies change over time, but is not showing real data (note the lack of numbers on the y-axis and the Disclaimer below the graph).  The red line shows that IgG decreases after the infection has been fought off, then the line stops in midair. It doesn't necessarily mean that the levels plateau there, just that nobody knows exactly what will happen next.  Like the edge of medieval maps, where dragons and sea-serpents indicated that nobody really knows what's beyond this point.  It IS normal for the body to stop wasting energy producing a specific antibody when it's no longer needed, but it's not yet known how quickly the levels will go down, how far, for how long, etc.

The text on the graph seems a little misleading, where it says "IgG provides long-term immunity".  The ability to fight off future infections does not occur because of the presence of those antibodies in the blood, but rather because of the presence of memory B cells, which "remember" how to produce that particular antibody.   

During the first infection, antibodies are produced to fight the infection, which (in this graph) took about 12 days to reach an effective level, and in the interim, the virus caused disease symptoms. 

In a second infection, the memory B cells pour out IgG antibodies immediately, reaching an effective level so quickly that the virus is neutralized before symptoms can appear.  So IgG IS involved in long-term immunity, but it's not the remaining antibodies from the first infection, but rather similar, newly-produced IgG antibodies.

This is diagrammed on Fig. 2 on this page, don't know how to insert:

So this might be what yeshivabucher expressed in other words:

No your body still retain the ability to spool up again it's just no longer on red alert

May 15, 2020, 05:07:01 PM
Re: Dropping Antibody Levels Most of what I know about coronavirus I've learned through DD, so I'm sure there are many here more knowledgeable than me!  But I'll try to provide an answer of sorts to what I think you're asking, and perhaps others can correct it.

A test for B memory cells wouldn't necessarily get you the information you want, because, for example, one could have B memory cells that are physically present, but that are not functioning properly to produce sufficient antibodies.  What you really want is not to know your level of B cells or any of the other cells and molecules in the fascinating poster that Eru Ilúvatar posted, but rather to know whether you're immune to a second infection of coronavirus.  And rather than answering this by dissecting and analyzing all the components of your own immune system, it makes more sense to answer this for the general case:  Do humans develop immunity to this coronavirus after a first infection?

Answering this would take a long time, as the doctors have told you.  If you want to know whether people are immune for two months or 6 months or 1 year or 2 years after their first infection, then obviously you have to wait two months or 6 months or 1 year or 2 years to get your answer.   There are two ways to study this:

1. Experimental:  Take a group of people who have recovered from Covid-19, infect them with the virus, and watch them over the next two weeks to see whether or not they get sick with Covid-19 a second time.

This kind of deliberate infection research has been done in the past, most famously when Nazi doctors infected people with tuberculosis or typhoid, and took careful scientific notes as they watched the infected people get sicker and sicker and finally die.  The post-war trial that disclosed this research horrified the world, not because it was worse than other Nazi atrocities, but because it was conducted by doctors who had taken an oath to use their skills in healing.  In response, international and national guidelines were composed that now regulate research on human health. 

To do this sort of experiment today, researchers would first need to decide on the exact details of the protocol they will use, including:
What people will you test?  Males, females, or both?  Young, old, or both?  Those who had severe symptoms, mild symptoms, no symptoms, or all of these?  Those who were treated with particular medications?  Those who had tested positive for the virus only, for the antibody only, or both? Etc.
How will you infect them?  Inject them with the virus, or spray it on their face with a sneeze-machine?
Which virus will you use?  Several mutated versions are known to exist already. 
What dose of the virus will you use?  If nobody gets sick, you won't know whether that's because they're immune, or whether you used too small of a dose to cause disease.  If you use too large a dose, and people are not sufficiently immune, you might cause an especially severe disease response.
If people DO get sick after this second infection, how will you treat them?  There are ethical issues in infecting someone with a potentially fatal disease before we have clearly effective treatments.
How will you obtain informed consent?  This means that anyone who participates in the experiment has to agree that they are doing so voluntarily, and have been informed of what might happen to them as a result of this participation.  For example, they might have a slight reaction at the site of the injection, but not get sick beyond that.  That of course is what we're hoping for, and it certainly would be great if that's the result. It's also possible that immunity does not develop, and the people will develop Covid-19 a second time. That would be annoying to go through that again, but at least people know what they're getting into.  But there's a third possibility, which is that following the second infection they will have a worse reaction than the first time.  Perhaps their immune system was partially weakened the first time, and now they are less able to cope and develop a more severe case.  Perhaps they had slight unnoticeable changes to the blood vessels the first time, and with the second infection, they are more likely to develop clotting disorders.  As far as I know, these last possibilities just exist in my imagination, but the point is that the researchers would have to consider all the things that might go wrong, and notify the participants in the experiment of these in advance.

After the researchers have figured out all these and other details, they would have to send this protocol to a review board, which would discuss whether the experiment, as proposed, is ethical and whether it is likely to lead to significant findings.  They might ask for changes, or they might turn it down entirely.  Or they might approve it, at which time the researchers would start looking for people willing to be subjects in the experiment. 

There are probably researchers considering this sort of experiment, but the process above could take weeks or months, so the rest of us won't hear about it until they announce that they're looking for subjects. 

2. Observational.  The second way to determine immunity is to simply wait for people who've recovered from Covid-19 to leave home and lead more normal lives, during which time some of them will inevitable come in contact with the virus again.  People who get sick with Covid-19 will be asked about their previous infections and previous positive tests for the virus or antibodies, and researchers will be able to analyze how many, if any, of the new Covid-19 cases are in people who had an earlier confirmed Covid-19 infection.  If no new infections occur in those who've had confirmed Covid-19 in the past, then we can assume that a first infection causes immunity. 

Again, if those with previous infections don't get sick for two months, we'll only know that immunity lasts two months.  It will take longer to find out whether this immunity is longer-lasting.

This study will take longer than the previous one, because you have to wait for people to incidentally meet up with a virus somewhere, rather than infecting them deliberately all at once, but it can be started more quickly.  In fact, it's started already.  We've heard of a few cases in China and South Korea that suggested that a recovered patient had gotten sick a second time, and researchers there are trying to figure out exactly what that means. Is this really a second infection, or a continuation of the first?  Was the first infection really the flu? There will undoubtedly be more such cases in the US as people increase their social activity.

May 18, 2020, 07:19:59 PM
Re: Dropping Antibody Levels Thanks for this very interesting article! 

It does say that 90% of people have antibodies to coronavirus, but they mean the general class of coronavirus, not  the novel coronavirus that causes covid-19.   

The body fights infections by making antibodies that can neutralize a particular infectious agent, so each antibody is made to neutralize a very specific bacteria or virus. (In rare cases, an antibody may "cross-react" with something else, but we'll ignore that for now.)  So for the 4 different types of coronaviruses they studied, there were 4 different types of antibodies, each with a somewhat different structure.  These coronaviruses have been going around for years and cause typical cold symptoms, especially in children.  They did this study in 2016-2018, and apparently published it now because it might give us an indirect clue about what to expect for the novel coronavirus. 

Of 86 people who had a positive nasal swab test for one of those 4 coronaviruses, 12 had a second positive test for that same  coronavirus within the next year or so, indicating that they were re-infected.  One second positive test occurred just 4 weeks after the first, but most were 9-12 months later. 

So the bad news: This suggests that immunity to a coronavirus may last less than a year, so it's worrying that this might be true for the novel coronavirus, too. 

The more hopeful news:  Only 12 of the 86 (14%) people who got sick were reinfected, so perhaps immunity lasts longer for most people.  And re-infections occurred for only 3 of the 4 coronaviruses they looked at, so perhaps some coronaviruses produce a longer-lasting immune response.  Remember they only looked for about a year, so we don't know how long immunity lasts for that 4th coronavirus they studied.  But it at least raises hope that the novel coronavirus might produce longer-lasting immunity.

The somewhat-good news:  In their records of the cold-symptoms people reported over this time, they found that people who got sick twice had similar symptoms both times.  If they had a mild cold the first time, they had a mild cold the second time.  If they had a severe cold the first time, they had a severe cold the second time.  Interestingly, those who were asymptomatic with the first infection, were asymptomatic with the second infection.  So it's reassuring to hear that the re-infection did not cause worse symptoms the second time around.  And if we extrapolate to the novel coronavirus, it makes us hopeful that those who have a positive virus test but had no symptoms, may really be unlikely to get infected in the future.

Interesting news:  Some families (children and parents) reported mild symptoms, others families had more severe symptoms.  The researchers think severity of disease depends on some unknown genetic factors.

May 20, 2020, 01:28:37 PM
Re: Dropping Antibody Levels

@biobook What is your educational/work background?
I have been educated, and I have worked!  But not in immunology or epidemiology or medicine.  I just read a lot, including here at DD, and am learning all this together with everyone else.

Not to bring any proof from the New York Department of Health, however, in the Nursing Home industry, Cuomo has mandated all employees in New York to be tested twice a week. At first the FAQ stated that an employee who had previously had a positive test and/or has a positive antibody test would be exempt from continuing to take the twice weekly test. However, yesterday they completely reversed this stating that even with positive antibody test they are still required to take twice weekly tests "until more is learned about immunity following Covid-19". Don't know if this is still part of their covering up the mistakes they made with regards to the nursing homes since March or if they are seeing some data in regards to the antibodies.
If they're trying to "cover up", they're not doing a terribly good job, because you've found out about it!  No, it seems more likely that they originally thought that a positive antibody test meant the employee would have long-term immunity, and now they're not so sure, so want to test more frequently to make sure that the antibody levels remain high.  Or maybe they're concerned about false positive tests.

The working theory, IINM, has been that Covid is more contagious than the average coronavirus. Are the 12 recurrences due to immunity of the other 85%, or lack of repeated exposure? Additionally, the study says that reinfection was most common in children. I'm curious to know if that would hold true here, and what the ramifications would be for schools, especially since, at least at one point, children were (or are?) viewed as dangerous silent spreaders. (I'm not sure if this still holds true.)
First, I should mention that they started studying 191 people, and only 86 of those had any positive test at all during the year.  So more than half of the people were never infected at all during the year.  Not surprising, since we all know that when "some cold is going around" not every single person catches it.  But we can't tell if it was because nobody in their vicinity had the virus, or if they were just better at washing hands and keeping hands away from their nose.  And the same applies to the question of why the 85% had virus in their nose the first time, but never tested positive again during the year.  Maybe they weren't re-exposed to the virus, or maybe they managed to wash hands and keep it out of their nose.   

We wouldn't say that 85% were immune, because that would imply that they were infected with the virus but didn't get sick, while these 85% weren't shown to be infected a second time, so we don't know if they were immune or not. This study wasn't trying to figure out how long immunity might last, but rather how short it might be.  So all they can really conclude is that in some people, immunity to these coronaviruses may last just a few months.

Re: children, yes, 9 of the 12 who were re-infected were children.  Again, not surprising, since children are so much more likely to stick their fingers in their nose and to develop colds.  The novel coronavirus affects adults and children differently, so I don't think we can conclude anything at this point.   

The images of lungs with Covid have shown extensive damage, even for those with very mild symptoms. There have also been reports of the virus attacking other organs, on an individual basis. With the average coronavirus, is there documented damage to any internal organs? If yes, how does a second attack on those same organs not cause cumulative damage? If not, is it possible that our virus may prove to hit harder during a second infection due to the attacked organ being weakened by the first infection?
From this article, it sounds like these 4 coronaviruses generally just cause respiratory symptoms, not other internal damage.

If the novel coronavirus acts like these 4, we would expect a second infection to be as bad as the first, but not worse.  But the novel coronavirus is different in so many ways, so this expectation is very iffy. 

If we draw any conclusions relevant to our current situation, it would be that those who've recovered from a bout of covid-19 should not think that they're immune for life, but should be taking the same precautions as those who've never been infected, to try to avoid a second infection.

May 20, 2020, 11:19:37 PM
Re: Interesting Articles: COVID-19 Edition
Thank you! How nutty is that? The CDC had clearly had this on their website for over a month for crying out loud and every national news source is now trumpeting this like it’s major breaking news because some idiot at the Post didn’t read the fine print.

It’s the CDCs website, for goodness sake. How hard can it be to research that??

That’s the media for you.
This news article says that the CDC did make changes to that site this month (perhaps they didn't update the date of update?) but it sounds like maybe it's just changes in editing and formatting.  And it sounds like the CDC pushed this out.

First article on page is "Ex-FDA commissioner urges nuanced read of CDC’s updated guidelines on transmission via surfaces"

It's quoting a CNBC interview, and says, in part:
“Most of the transfer here is probably from respiratory droplets and sustained human contact with people, but I wouldn’t discount the probability that there is some spread through contaminated surfaces,” Gottlieb said... 

Gottlieb said he doesn’t read the study that informed the CDC’s revision as “definitively saying the disease can’t be spread through inert surfaces,” and he stressed that mass transit, offices and any surface that numerous people touch throughout the day should still be diligently disinfected...."

So that was my question.  Is there a new study that led to the revision?  Or is this just a re-wording of the earlier finding, with a different conclusion?

Earlier:  Covid might occasionally spread via surfaces.  So let's all stay home and sanitize surfaces. 
Now: Covid only occasionally spreads via surfaces.  So let's open up and not worry about surfaces.   

May 22, 2020, 10:49:14 AM
Re: Should businesses be given liability protection?
Everyone knows the dangers of the activities they are partaking in at this point. If someone chooses to go to a restaurant there is a chance they will catch the virus. Same for every other activity.

If you are so worried then stay home for ever. Business shouldn’t have to be worried about lawsuits when they reopen.
I understand that businesses don't want to face lawsuits from customers who catch the virus on their premises.

And I'm sure businesses understand that some customers will stay away, knowing that they'll have no recourse should they catch the virus there.

May 22, 2020, 05:24:36 PM
Re: Interesting Articles: COVID-19 Edition 20 year old son of YU professor came down with the corona-related disease that's been found to attack children.  Scary.

May 25, 2020, 10:43:12 AM
Re: yeshivas that are open
Anyone should be able to understand that the risk to young healthy people is negligible.

Read this description of a 20-year old who had mild covid-19 symptoms in March, a positive antibody test in April, and was hospitalized in May with the covid-related inflammatory disease recently described in children.

So there may be health consequences that don't show up till two months after infection. 
Might there be other health consequences after 6 months? 

Hmmm... Let me look that up.... 

Oh, never mind, I'll just ask here:  Did you have covid-19 six months ago?  Any lingering symptoms?

May 25, 2020, 07:17:23 PM
Re: yeshivas that are open
Does that mean that someone in that situation should try to avoid exposure? Or just that they shouldn't assume they are out of the woods?

It means that when a novel disease appears, everything about it is unknown.  We shouldn't pretend that we know that the risks to young people are negligible, when all of humanity has had a mere 5 months to study the disease. 

In general, I would think that טוב לאדם שלא נחלה, משנחלה
If I hadn't caught it, I would make every effort to avoid getting covid.
If I had covid and recovered, I would still make every effort to avoid re-infection.

May 25, 2020, 07:39:18 PM
Re: yeshivas that are open
There are always things we don't know, you can't live in fear all your life.

You're right, there are always things we don't know, and we have to make decisions in life without perfect information about how to proceed. 

People differ in how they make those decisions.  Some ignore the lack of information, and quickly make what seems the best choice.  Others prefer to move more slowly and gather more information before deciding. 

The slow-moving, information-gatherers here are not necessarily scaredy cats suffering from acute anxiety.  They just take a different approach towards decision-making.

May 25, 2020, 08:17:36 PM
Re: Heroes Blog Here! I'd also like to express my appreciation to the DDFers who provided invaluable insight into what was going on.  From  OOT, I had followed the general news reports in Jan/Feb, but was clueless about how this was affecting the Jewish community up north till I took a peek at DDF just before Purim.  The names @yuneeq, @Dan and @chevron stick in my mind as some of the posters I relied on to provide information, especially links for further reading.  It was also helpful to hear the many disagreements among DDFers, which gave me a sense of the variety of ways people were responding to the situation.

Thanks to everyone here, I went shopping right after Purim for enough groceries and paper goods to last through Pesach, so was able to avoid the crowds and shortages that developed later on.

May 26, 2020, 04:41:13 PM
Re: yeshivas that are open
So my daughter's school is beginning 1-hour sessions tomorrow in some girl's house, half the class at a time. I can't risk getting covid, even if I'm healthy.

I'm extremely torn.
I'm sure you won't be the only parent to wait longer, if that's what you decide.

May 26, 2020, 04:50:35 PM
Re: Stimulus Checks
Has anyone received a Visa card instead of dd or check? What is the best way to cash it out? I don’t want to use it as a cc since it has no benefits...
Call the phone number given to activate the card.
Then go to the website they give and create login/password for your account.
It tells you the balance on the card, and gives you several options, one of which is to transfer the money elsewhere.  There's no fee for this (though there are fees for some of the other options).
Put in the routing number and checking account number for your bank account, such as the one you use to pay your cc with benefits.
At least, this is what my mother did yesterday, though I don't know if she checked today to make sure the money was actually transferred.

June 01, 2020, 12:52:37 PM
Re: When will DDF get back to normal? Like pre Covid, Pre #BlackLivesMatter What was normal like?

asked by a post-covid member

June 07, 2020, 02:47:03 PM
Re: Corona virus and your shul
Just read the last few pages here.
Okay, be back in 187 pages...

June 08, 2020, 12:31:04 PM
Re: Corona virus and your shul My question was Why do some shuls observe SD and masks, while others don't?

It can't be due to the discomfort of masks, because that shouldn't differ in Flatbush vs BP. 
These two reasons seem likely, based on what was written here over the last month:

Mistrust of government and politicians
Several people thought the policies announced were unreasonably strict.  I was surprised to see this aggravation expressed at a few weeks of “restrictions”, given the rather large number of restrictions that frum yidden accept for a lifetime.  But it does seem like many non-maskers just want to get back to normal.

Misunderstanding of scientific and medical expertise
Some comments here: “They’re making it up” “Their advice keeps changing” “People stayed home and still got sick”  This seems to be a misunderstanding of how medical and scientific knowledge develops.  Scientists and doctors usually spend years to reach consensus on the best treatment for a particular condition, but in this case, they were doing this very rapidly and in view of a public that was unfamiliar with the nature of scientific discovery. 

Some people responded to this by deciding to trust themselves as experts, using “common sense”:  Assuming that if no uptick in cases occurred in a short time, then masks are no longer needed.  Assuming that if one doesn’t understand why the return to normal is done little by little, then “common sense” decrees these steps are  absurd.  Assuming that if “no one died in that shul”, then it’s obvious that they’re safe there without masks.  Assuming that if “everyone I know” had COVID or has antibodies, then our community is immune to further disease. 

This also surprised me, as I would have expected that a community that values education would seek up-to-date knowledge on which to base critical health decisions, rather than relying on intuition.  But perhaps education has been too narrow, as Reed suggested:

Why can’t we be smart, proactive, cautious?! Is it because we don’t go to college and therefore we don’t see science as an integral part of life? Is it our Yeshiva system that teaches us that we are smarter than everyone else and to scoff at the secular?

Two reasons suggested for why some shuls DO have SD and mask-wearing:

Having a respected authority, either a Rabbi of the shul or community or a Board of Directors that makes and enforces the policy.

Social pressure  Many commented that “Everybody” or “Nobody” wore a mask in a particular shul or town, and that influenced their own subsequent behavior.  The desire to follow the crowd seems to play a role, as well as the concern for specific individuals.   @Yard sale gave an example of deciding to put on a mask when visiting a health provider who had lost a spouse to COVID. 

June 08, 2020, 10:40:32 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
Here's what I'm grappling with. My family has been doing extreme social distancing since the week after purim. I think we should continue doing so until we have strong evidence that no second wave is coming. However, social distancing requires an aggregate effect; I alone cannot prevent the second wave.

If 85% (at least) of my community is not practicing any social distancing, and the same appears to be true in most other communities, and we ourselves are not high risk, why should we continue at all? Convince me otherwise.

Social distancing in March was partly altruistic - to prevent spreading the infection throughout the community, and partly selfish -  to keep the individuals in your family safe. The selfish reason still applies, even if your neighbors are unconcerned.  Given the occasional severe cases in those who are low-risk, and given our complete lack of knowledge of possible long-term effects, it would be better to avoid COVID infection, if possible.

June 09, 2020, 12:22:08 AM
Re: Corona virus and your shul
Can everyone here agree to the FACT that the communities that are open for weeks already have not seen an uptick?
I'm not in those communities and haven't seen the numbers, but I'll assume that you're right.

What I don't understand is why they conclude that "It's gone."  "It's finished." 

What do they base this on?  What do they know about how coronaviruses come and go?

June 09, 2020, 12:54:12 AM
Re: Corona virus and your shul
Here is what they do "know":

1. The medical community at large doesn't really know much about this virus. It has a ton of unanswered and unexplained questions and phenomena related to it. That same community initially made fatal mistakes in treating covid-19 patients.
Agreed.  But if the medical community doesn't really understand it yet, wouldn't people wait for the medical community to learn more about this virus before declaring that the mageifa is over?

2. A huge percentage of their community was exposed to the virus. Tests are only partially reliable. It clearly seems that those that got it aren't getting sick a second time (at least this season), and for most people contracting the virus isn't fatal.
So they're deciding that "the mageifa is over and we can return to normal" based on their expectation that what they know about certain other diseases (measles, flu) must apply to this one as well?

3. They see facts and outcomes. Whether the "scientific medical community" agrees with premises underlying those treatments or not, they trust their senses. That is why those same communities will trust and embrace alternative treatments for a variety of issues, even if practitioners won't present establishment accepted credentials.

So they daven without the mask and SD because they have a gut sense that it's safe?

June 09, 2020, 09:40:18 AM
Re: would you fly now?
thats all nice but I would faster make my decision based on people who know the facts as they relate to aircraft than laymen’s opinion or feelings.

In what sense do you consider epidemiologists to be laymen?  They specialize in research on how disease spreads from one person to another.

June 09, 2020, 10:54:52 AM
Re: Is there any good news in the fight against COVID-19?
It's time to open completely and let the vulnerable population decide their own risk tolerance.

@ckmk47 When you say that, what percent of the population do you imagine is "vulnerable"?  5%?  20%?  75%

June 09, 2020, 11:05:09 AM
Re: Is there any good news in the fight against COVID-19?
@ckmk47 When you say that, what percent of the population do you imagine is "vulnerable"?  5%?  20%?  75%
I don't think it matters, the fact is the governments are keeping healthy people locked up for no good reason. 

I think it matters very much.  You've made the commendable statement that we should protect the most vulnerable.

Do you imagine that  95% of us need to protect the 5% who are vulnerable?

Or is it that 5% of us need to protect the other 95% who are vulnerable? 

Or something in between?  We should have a sense of just how big this protection job will be.

June 09, 2020, 03:03:52 PM
Re: COVID-19 (Wuhan Novel Coronavirus) Pandemic Master Thread
This doesn't tell us how many people are hospitalized at a given time.

True, it doesn't show "current hospitalizations". Is that what you're watching up north?  I was suggesting that one could determine "new hospitalizations" by watching this site every day going forward, and recording the daily numbers.

June 10, 2020, 11:20:13 AM
Re: Defunding police is the answer to racism?
Another narrative gets destroyed.
No matter race, religion, color, nationality or anything else there is evil everywhere.
Yes, though I would put it a little differently, another narrative should be more nuanced.
We can't predict what an individual will be like just by knowing their race, religion, color, nationality, etc.
And we shouldn't assume that any one individual's behavior or attitudes provides some special insight into others of their race, religion, color, nationality etc.

June 10, 2020, 11:26:41 AM
Re: Defunding police is the answer to racism?
Source? Anyway, were they?
I think that many were raised in poor, religiously-observant immigrant families, but I haven't read much (yet!) on this subject.  Though you should be aware that what is considered "religiously observant" in Lakewood or Brooklyn today is not identical to religious observance on the Lower East Side of NYC in the early 1900s (and probably not identical to religious observance at any time in history, but that's another story).

Here's one quote I just found:

Bugsy Siegel worked well with the Italians and brought in more Jews such as Louis Rush and Sam “Red” Levine, who kept kosher and wore a kippah. Levine’s orders were, “Never kill anyone on Shabbos unless it is absolutely necessary!”

A bookmaker’s Yizkor was held at a “pizza joint.” If the World Series fell on Yom Kippur, a parade of vans pulled up at halftime to make a shul for Kaddish in the basement.

June 10, 2020, 12:26:38 PM
Re: COVID-19 (Wuhan Novel Coronavirus) Pandemic Master Thread
Oh, right.  That groups ages as 18-49 years old and 50-64 years old, so can't simply compare to FL numbers.

June 10, 2020, 01:01:51 PM
Re: Life Hacks, Post Your Favorites! When you first open a bottle of soda or seltzer or pop, begin by slowly turning the cap one-quarter turn and wait about 10 seconds, watching for the small bubbles to slow down, and listening as the sssst of escaping gas gets quieter.  Then turn another 1/4 turn, and wait another 10 seconds till it quiets down.  Now open the cap the rest of the way, and look proudly around as you pour a perfect cup.  Don't expect a pat on the back, though, because nobody will realize what didn't happen.  But you'll know. 

Because one day, soon we hope, you'll be at a shul kiddush, balancing a full bowl of aromatic chulent or chili or Hungarian goulash in one hand, and an empty cup in the other, and someone will offer to pour you a drink, and he'll twist that cap quickly, in one fell swoop, and you'll watch as the bottle suddenly erupts, and fizzy, bubbly liquid streams downward, over his greasy hands into your still-untouched chulent or chili or Hungarian goulash, filling the bowl with what now looks like brown soup, which overflows the rim and drips downwards onto your Shabbos shoes, and you'll look up as he sheepishly mumbles "Sorry!  Someone must have shaken the bottle" and you'll think NO, YOU DOOFUS!!!  DON'T BLAME SOMEONE ELSE!  ADMIT THAT YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO OPEN A BOTTLE OF SODA! but you won't say that, of course, you'll just smile kindly and say "It's nothing, I'll get another bowl" and you'll return to the table, only to discover that the pan has now been totally emptied of its chulent or chili or Hungarian goulash, and you'll just sigh.  How could he know?  He's not a DDFer.

June 10, 2020, 09:04:23 PM
Re: Is there any good news in the fight against COVID-19?
And if that's the case they may be able to make adjustments. Open for fewer hours, by appointment, etc. Give people a chance to figure things out and they can come up with solutions.
Yes, I agree! 

People have to figure things out now, and try to come up with solutions, so that once the government gives the green light, they'll have those plans in place.

I see a lot of calls for "let's open up right now!" but not a lot of thought being given to how that opening up will have to proceed. 

June 11, 2020, 10:54:33 AM
Re: Life Hacks, Post Your Favorites! Not sure I want this one associated with me.  Can I change my name?  Oh, wait.  Never mind.  I know how to do this.

From a friend:  When you have socks and underwear with holes and torn seams and stretched out elastic and you're about to throw them out, put them aside instead, and pack them when you travel.  You can get one more day's wear out of them, then toss them in the garbage at night.  You'll have less dirty laundry to shlep around or rinse in the hotel sink, and by the end of the trip you'll have more room in your luggage for souvenirs.

June 12, 2020, 12:19:47 AM
The Vulnerables ARE Us I was bringing grumpiness to the Good News thread, so will start a new one.

Several comments over the past week suggest that we should reopen already, and let those who are fearful or vulnerable just stay home or take the risks.  I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but here are a couple I see:

“I still believe there is some balance where we can mitigate the effects of a second wave (limit big events and protect the vulnerable) as well as open up everything else…”

“It's time to open completely and let the vulnerable population decide their own risk tolerance.”

As if there's an Us and a Them; a young, healthy, risk-taking Us and a small, sickly (though much-loved) Them.

This reminds me of a quote from Isaac Harby, a lawyer in the large Jewish community of Charleston SC.  It was 1816, and Mordechai Manuel Noah had just been removed from his diplomatic post in North Africa.  In firing him, the Secretary of State said that he never would have appointed Noah to work in a Muslim country, had he known that Noah was Jewish.  Harby protested that Jews are not some separate group of Them, protected by a benevolent majority of Us Americans, but rather they are Americans.  There is no “them” and “us”.  Or, as he put it,

"[Jews] are by no means to be considered as a religious sect, tolerated by the government; They constitute a portion of the People. They are, in every respect, woven in and compacted with the citizens of the Republic. Quakers and Catholics; Episcopalians and Presbyterians, Baptists and Jews, all constitute one great political family."

I would paraphrase his argument for our situation today:  The vulnerables are not some miniscule group of unfortunates, to be tolerated and protected by the healthy.  Rather, the vulnerables are closely linked to the healthy, dispersed among them, an integral part of the community.   

The vulnerables are Us. 

Just what “portion of the People” are the vulnerables?

The Kaiser Foundation tried to calculate the number of Americans who are vulnerable, because they’re either over 65, or because they’re in the younger 18-64 year old age group with “heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), uncontrolled asthma, diabetes, or a BMI greater than 40”. 

They concluded that 38% of Americans are vulnerable to serious illness if they get covid. Let’s add 12% to include the immunocompromised, those who live with or care for a vulnerable person, and those who’ve had a severe case of covid and are especially motivated to avoid re-infection.  That brings us to a round 50% who may consider that they must take extreme steps to avoid getting covid.  I would guess the real number is higher.

The vulnerables include the former customers of the businesses who'd like to reopen.  Will those businesses have to close if they invest in reopening and only half of their customers feel it's safe to return?  Is that the "normal" we want?
The vulnerables include Rebbeim and Roshei Yeshiva, teachers and principals, storekeepers and restaurant owners.  How will it change their lives and the future of their mosdos and businesses if we re-open too quickly, before the community accepts the need for safe behaviors?  How many will decide that this might be a good time to withdraw from the public sphere, and close their businesses or retire early, to avoid the danger?  Is that the "normal" we want?

You claim that you’re not seeing these numbers on the streets of Lakewood, where 98% of people are comfortable walking around with no masks and no SD.  This estimate reminds me of the man from Chelm (l’havdil, not calling you a fool) who lost his wallet midblock, but searched for it under the corner streetlamp because the light was better there.  How many people are not on the streets, missing from your calculation, because they're out-of-sight at home, away from the unsafe environment that has been created in the community?   

We need a more accurate estimate of just how many vulnerable people we have in the community, before we cavalierly call for a return to our former normal life.

I’m not advocating for a “forever” quarantine, just that we should stop asking “When can we reopen already?” Rather, the question should be “How can we reopen in such a way that we – the healthy and the vulnerable – can once again become a well-integrated community?”

Part of the answer to that, I think, includes SD and mask-wearing, even by the half of the community who are certain that their own health makes this unnecessary for themselves.

June 12, 2020, 02:23:58 PM
Re: Masks next week, iyh
June 12, 2020, 04:45:20 PM
Re: The Vulnerables ARE Us Slightly shorter version of my OP:
In re-opening, we shouldn't think this means that most of us return to our pre-covid lifestyle, with a few vulnerable people left to stay home.   Rather we need to consider how to re-open such that we include everyone, the healthy and the vulnerable together, in this future normal life.  This is not just for their sake, because the vulnerable people deserve it, but for the sake of all of us – the vulnerable people are too large and too integral a part of our community to conceive of a future that excludes them.

June 14, 2020, 10:41:18 AM
Re: Masks Well, Dan asked for a summary of the article that @aygart posted, but it's disappeared.  And while I wrote a summary, this (better) summary with pictures has been published, but I'll paste mine anyway. Is this too long?

Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19, by Renyi Zhang and others, PNAS, published June 11, 2020

Short summary: Why did COVID-19 stop spreading so much faster in China than in Italy and the US?  And why did new cases plateau so much earlier in NYC than in the rest of the United States?  In both cases, the authors conclude that the onset of mandated face coverings made the difference, preventing tens of thousands of infections. 

Longer summary:
In China, the early response to the outbreak was SD, masks, extensive testing, and contact tracing, all put into effect simultaneously.  In China, the number of new cases increased for about 3 weeks after the lockdown, and had reached a plateau about a week after that. 

In NYC and Italy, the early response was hand washing, SD, stay-at-home, but masks were not required until a month had passed.  In these places, the number of new cases increased rapidly for about 4 weeks after the early SD requirement, and began to decrease only later, after the face covering requirement was implemented.

In the rest of the US the early response was hand washing, SD, stay-at-home and masks were not required, and the number of new cases were continuing to rise steeply (at the time they looked, May 9). 

The timing of these events suggests that mask-wearing was critical in decreasing the spread of coronavirus, quickly in China and after a delay in NYC.

A second piece of evidence they bring is from plotting the total cases in NYC, using a statistical technique called linear regression.  Their graph shows that if the original policy (SD, stay at home) had continued, the number of cases would have been much higher than it actually was.  The pivot point occurred on April 17, when masks were first required, and the caseload started to decline. 

Similarly, their comparison of new infections in NYC compared to the US as a whole (minus the NYC cases) shows that corona cases declined steeply after the April 17 mandated face covering, while new cases remained high during that time throughout the United States. 

Why would masks have such a dramatic effect?

Back in March, experts thought that the virus is communicated by droplets that we expel when we cough or sneeze.  These droplets are pulled down by gravity, so are usually found within 3 feet of a sick person, so we were advised to stay away from an obviously sick person and to wash our hands and keep them away from our face to avoid transferring a virus-containing droplet to our mouth, nose or eyes.  Masks were recommended only for the sick person themselves, to prevent their expelled droplets from contaminating others (WHO, April 6).

But later in April, scientists learned that there’s another way that virus can be expelled, in the form of much smaller particles, called aerosols, especially by people talking loudly or singing. 

You can visualize the difference by spraying a window cleaner and an air freshener on a mirror.  The window cleaner forms small droplets that soon start rolling down, attracted by gravity.  The air freshener forms an aerosol of tiny drops that remain where they fell on the mirror.  In fact, we spray air freshener into the air knowing that these miniscule particles – and their pleasant odor – will remain suspended in the air for quite some time.

The realization that viral particles were found in aerosols convinced the experts that the virus could be inhaled by someone who was more than 3 feet from an infected patient, or even in a room where an infected person had previously exhaled, and this led to expansion of the advice to wear masks: 

•   The knowingly infected should wear masks to avoid spreading their droplets and aerosols, which can contain virus. 
•   The unknowingly infected (that is, presymptomatic, when viral expulsion seems highest) should similarly wear masks to avoid spreading the virus. 
•   The healthy uninfected should wear masks to avoid inhaling the aerosols of the two previous groups. 

They conclude that “wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probably fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.”

My comment:
Finding that the number of cases in NYC began to decrease around the same time as mask wearing was required is not sufficient to conclude that mask wearing was responsible for the decrease.  Did people actually obey the mask-wearing regulation?  Were there other events that occurred around that time that contributed to the decline in new infections?  This paper provides evidence that mask-wearing is important, but it's weak evidence, and the argument could be strengthened by other research.

June 14, 2020, 06:03:48 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
Sounds so idyllic, but unfortunately it's quite disconnected from reality.
Make it real.  Or at least, start.

June 14, 2020, 07:17:57 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
Here you go insinuating stuff. This virus has been around for at least 7 months at this point now and there has not been a single confirmed reinfection. Why do you talk like that?
This is from June 8, and things change so quickly that it might no longer be true, but here it is anyway:

Dr Bauchner:Are most people developing IgG and IgM antibodies?

Dr Fauci:They are, but the titers really, really vary. I have examples of people who clearly were infected who are antibody negative. They probably have such a low titer of antibody that it’s below the level of the cutoff. And then there are others that have very robust antibody responses. It isn’t a uniformly robust antibody response, which may be a reason why, when you look at the history of the common coronaviruses that cause the common cold, the reports in the literature are that the durability of immunity that’s protective ranges from 3 to 6 months to almost always less than a year. That’s not a lot of durability of protection. It may be completely different with this coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2]. It may be that people induce a response that’s quite durable. But if it acts like common coronaviruses, it likely is not going to be a very long duration of immunity.


June 14, 2020, 07:30:57 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
You should take a look at the study I posted because it showed that people who had SARS had T cells which provided immunity to SARS-COV-2. Maybe this virus also produces the same type of immunity. My only point is that it’s more likely then not at this point that immunity lasts longer then some people were worried about.
Everybody hopes immunity lasts longer. 

These are the choices I see for our current behavior and the future:

A. We don't worry, be happy.  No one wears masks.
  • Immunity is long lived.  No one ever gets sick again. Magnificent!  ;D
  • Immunity is short lived.  Many people are taken by surprise and get seriously ill. Horrors!  :(
B. We do worry, a little.  We all wear masks.
  • Immunity is long lived. Nobody gets sick.  We feel like absolute dorks for having worn masks. ::)
  • Immunity is short lived.  Few people are taken by surprise, and only a few get sick. Sad. :(

Since we can't predict whether immunity will be long or short, we should opt for B.  We'll miss out on the Magnificent, but it's more important to avoid the Horror. 

June 14, 2020, 09:38:33 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
Aha. So now we are believing what China has to say.
Just wanted to make sure we're on the same page.
I'll grant you that Chinese politicians hid many details of the pandemic.  But I think answers to the big questions, like reinfections, will be shared.  Much of what is learned is communicated directly between individual scientists, who have contacts and experience in both countries.  Note that the authors of that article on masks were almost all Chinese or Chinese-Americans.

June 14, 2020, 09:43:12 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
I really don't get what you're saying. Even if immunity is "short-lived", by your own admission, it's not less than 3 months. So, for the 3 hottest months of the year, why should those with antibodies wear masks?

We can't be sure how long immunity to the COVID virus lasts.  Here's one way we can find out:  We take a group of people who were all infected around Purim, and once a month we inject them with coronavirus.  We do this for 3 months, 4 months, 8 months, 2 years... as long as it takes to find someone who gets sick a second time.  I've posted earlier on the ethical problems of doing an experiment like this.

The alternative we have is to simply wait... and see how long it takes for re-infections to be reported.  It might be never!  It's possible that immunity is lifelong.  But since we don't know, we have to continue to be careful, at last until a vaccine or a definitively effective treatment is developed.

The other alternative is to look for insight in the behavior of other coronaviruses.  For other coronaviruses, immunity may last 3-12 months, at least in some individuals.  From what we've seen so far, you are right:  It looks like it does last at least 8 months.  But remember, many of the people who were initially infected 8 months ago in China are continuing to SD and wear masks.  So the lack of reinfection may be partly due to continued immunity, and partly due to their protecting themselves from contact with the virus.

Re: the summer.  There's no reason to think that summer temperatures will stop the virus.  Covid was spreading in Florida during the winter/spring when temperatures were pleasantly warm.  There have been peaks of cases reported in Florida in the last few days, when temperatures were close to 90.  It's true that the virus seems to disintegrate faster in the heat... but so do humans.  We spend much of our summer days indoors, with cool air conditioning, so even if feel we can SD outdoors and remove the mask, we still should use it when near others or  indoors around others who might potentially be infected.

June 14, 2020, 10:11:25 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
What about if immunity is short lived but the serious illness and mortality rates are significantly lower than before?
Obviously that would be great.   We should hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Don't forget, while the medical establishment still knows close to nothing about the spread and infection rates, or why certain people get certain symptoms while others get none (or other symptoms) they have definitely learned how to care for the ill.
I would say they have learned how to better care for the ill.  I don't think any doctor would say "Don't worry about getting COVID, we know exactly how to cure it."

June 14, 2020, 10:19:02 PM
Re: Is there a second wave?
Isn't is also possible that each time you inject them with covid that it will act as a booster shot so their body will keep remembering how to fight it?
:) I was thinking about that as I wrote it...  Science is hard!
I think what we'd have to do is use several groups of people.  Some get injected only after 3 months, some only after 6 months, etc.

June 14, 2020, 10:23:13 PM
Re: Masks
Looking at graph A in this image from the article, I would conclude that the number of cases increased for 3 weeks after the stay at home order before starting to descend and continuing to descend for many weeks after with the face mask requirement having no effect. Including the 3 weeks of increase as part of the downward trend is a scam.
@avromie7 If you're saying what I think you're saying, then I agree with you 100%. 

These scientists asked "Do case numbers change after masks were required?" so they drew two dotted lines, one that best fit their data before masks - when cases were only slightly declining - and one line after masks - which show a more dramatic decrease in cases.  (first graph A)

But you come and say "Hey, wait a minute, guys!  There's another way to analyze this!  Instead of starting with the assumption that masks make a difference, just take a look at your data!" and you would draw two lines that show that cases increased for a few weeks until April 12, and then started to decline before masks were required! 

I would add: If masks made the critical difference, then new infections should have decreased immediately, but new cases wouldn't have been reported until several days later when symptoms appear.  So we would have expected the decline in reported new cases to begin a week after face covering began, not immediately.

So all of this is why it should be considered only "weak evidence", which is consistent with the importance of masking.  We'd have a much more convincing argument if it had been decreed that masks had to be worn in Italy but were forbidden in the US, and then we would have had a clearer case for concluding whether or not masks were important.  But obviously we can't do that kind of experiment, and are stuck with the data we have.  As more data analysis is added, we'll get better conclusions, rather than relying on just this paper.

The only part of your comment that I disagree with is calling this "a scam", which implies intentional fraud. The Forbes journalist wasn't as astute as you, and didn't notice the problem with their analysis, but experts in epidemiology surely would have.  (Note that the scientists who did this were actually chemists.)  This is the kind of dispute that always happens as scientists try to reach agreement, and the conflict is usually resolved when additional data either supports or refutes it. 

June 15, 2020, 11:13:58 AM
Re: Is there a second wave?
There are enough ways to ask roundabout questions and get the answer 99% accurately. Just ask Israeli pollsters how they manage with people that try to manipulate the polls. They've gotten very good at it.
Yes, but that's not the purpose of contact tracing.  It's not intended for political polling, or academic research.  It's a public health issue, part of the plan for preventing a second wave of infection. That important goal should not be jeopardized by our curiosity about the more narrow question of the role of protests.

This is a well-known issue - at least well known to social workers, psychologists, public health workers (any here on DDF?) who have had experience in working with people with syphillis or HIV or mental health issues or drug abuse, or victims of spousal abuse or child abuse.  Asking the direct question is often not an effective way to get the information you need.

June 15, 2020, 09:06:08 PM
Re: COVID-19 (Wuhan Novel Coronavirus) Pandemic Master Thread
Next in line for interpretation by @biobook :)
@Dan, Finished my homework:

Recently, van Kerkhove of WHO said that asymptomatic people rarely transmit COVID-19 (though she rescinded that the next day ). Eric Topol tweets to remind us that this is not true.

He mentioned one paper (Nature Medicine,  April 15) that showed that an infected person can shed viral particles 2-3 days before they get sick. 

Kevin Purcell tweeted that we’re not sure if those viral particles are infectious, but Topol responded that another recent paper showed that in at least 17% of those with severe symptoms, viral particles are infectious, generally for 8 days, but could be as long as 15 or 20 days. 

Topol further referred to his own review of 16 studies done thus far on asymptomatic people.  The most informative was one from northern Italy where everyone in a small town was tested and found that 45% were asymptomatic, and remained asymptomatic 2 weeks later.  Finally, they did extensive contact tracing, and showed that at least some of these asymptomatic people were able to infect others.   

Others of the 16 studies confirmed this, finding 40% of a population being asymptomatic, and showing that at least some of these people can infect others.
In addition, they mentioned that seemingly asymptomatic people can actually have internal symptoms, such as lung damage discovered in several.  It’s not known how common or serious this might be.

Also unknown is just how often transmission occurs from the asymptomatic to the healthy.  Considering the large number of asymptomatics, it’s critical that we figure this out, and Topol tweets the need for contact tracing, to figure out where a patient might have been infected and who he might transmit the infection to and repeated testing to see how long the viral particles remain infectious.

All this can take time, and so in the immediate future, we should treat everyone as if they’re an asymptomatic carrier and can infect others.  The best way we know right now to decease the risk of infection is to wear masks. 

June 16, 2020, 12:01:10 PM
Re: Masks
I don't care if they didn't read about it until June, this was already known in February.

The arrogance of American researchers is astonishing, judging by the amount of "new discoveries" for things we already knew about for months (or years, in the case of masks). Puts into perspective how useless most of their COVID research is when they are always 2-3 months behind.

I gotta hand it to you, @yuneeq! How do you keep up with this?  I can barely keep track of the papers I read last week, let alone remember what happened in February.

I suspect that you and I agree that (a) masks may be helpful, (b) this paper doesn't add much, and (c) it isn't worth discussing further. 

I'll just take a moment to point out why the researchers said that aerosol transmission was shown in April, while you "knew" it in February.  It's because scientists prefer to cite a published paper, rather than the sources you listed. 

Feb 19. Global Times.
China’s health agency says that aerosol transmission occurs, based on a statement by a health official at a press conference.  No data or explanation was given, nothing in writing.

Feb 21.  The Scientist
The article says that aerosolized transmission “was discussed by a Shanghai official in early February”, so this might be referring to the above report, but then quotes an Australian virologist who says that there's no evidence that aerosols spread covid.

Feb 20. Bloomberg
This quotes a WHO report saying aerosol transmission “can be envisaged” as occurring during certain medical procedures, and should be studied further.  No data to show it occurs.

March 17. NEJM online
April 16. NEJM
This is the reference [12] cited in the article I reviewed, that showed coronavirus in aerosol, and seems to be the first published research.

after March/April Bloomberg, update to Feb 20 article
This page currently says “Researchers who aerosolized it intentionally found active virus can float in the air for as long as 3 hours.”, and links to the NEJM April article, so this sentence could not have been in the Feb 20 version.

Of course, many people had read the earlier news articles, and it was being discussed and even acted upon in February.  But scientists have long used the date of publication as "discovery" date, so attributing the discovery of aerosolized transmission to March/April seems appropriate.

June 18, 2020, 02:29:43 AM
Re: The science of COVID-19
1. Well the thing is that they had shabbos guests the shabbos after purim, who came down with covid like 2 days later. That was before they (the hosts) got so paranoid. So it's possible that they caught it and were asymptomatic (I don't know how likely, but possible.)
2. I don't know but it might help. But whenever someone mentions to them that maybe they should get tested, the answer is that they don't want to leave the house
3. They are elderly and may have risk factors, I don't know

Is staying home causing them to forgo needed medical care?  To eat poorly? Risk losing a job? Or causing them distress?

If not, their choice to stay home may be rational, not necessarily paranoid, since being elderly is a risk factor.  Our perception of the passage of time also seems to change as we age, and the prospect of waiting a few more weeks - or months - for greater clarity in the situation may not faze them as much as it would a younger person.

If they want the test, check your county health department.  We have something called "homebound testing", for elderly, disabled, those without transportation, but I think at this point that might be limited to testing for the virus, not the antibody.

June 19, 2020, 08:12:04 AM