Link love

Minecraft storytelling camp at NIU was awesome.  STEM through the arts was not– the guy did maybe an hour of class each day and cancelled the second session much of the time.  Ocean Commotion at the Minnesota zoo was also great– much better than the previous Zoo Careers camp, partly because the subject matter was more interesting, but also a lot because the person in charge was way more animated.  Sadly Backyard Nature Explorer at NIU was cancelled from lack of interest.  I suspect STEAM City will also be cancelled (if you have a 5th-9th grader, the signup is here).  After that there’s a museum camp from the city close to us (they sent out their package today!) and then school starts.  I am so terrified about school for DC2 (more on the state government’s prohibition of mask mandates in K-12 schools this coming week).

AAP recommends mask mandates at schools.

And yet, read this thread that captures my feelings.

Digital addiction is real and it’s an actual addiction.

Which of these are you missing?  (After reading this I had a huge craving for Singapore noodles and had to get some take-out.)

A case study of how market timing doesn’t work

30 Responses to “Link love”

  1. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I’m mildly to moderately freaking out about JB’s return to in person school when we have no good info, no vax for under-12, and I didn’t see anything about a mask mandate in the reopening letter. JB has been absolutely amazing about keeping their mask on generally and I hope they will continue to be when the time comes if we have no other option but to send them to school. But I hate this I hate all of this acting like mild COVID is fine too given the long hauler experiences with even mild case, hate and hate. I need to ask the school about whether they’re going to have the kids keeping any kind of physical distance but I am betting that’s a no, too. I’m beyond frustrated with the lack of good decisions and choices.

  2. Matthew D Healy Says:

    I know an ENT who specializes in treating loss of taste. It’s a serious issue. She’s been VERY busy lately.

    I’m in Iowa’s most-vaccinated County, where we had very low numbers until Delta arrived. In this County of 151K people, our weekly cases have gone from 3 to 17 to 50 this week. Over 95% of people aged 65 and older in this County are fully vaccinated, so guess what the age distribution of cases looks like now.

    Fortunately for us, DW and I mostly hang out with folks our age or older who are ALL vaccinated, so among people we know we don’t wear masks. But we’re back to KF94 masks at the grocery store! KF94 are the Korean equivalent of N95; I find them easier to get properly fitted on my face.

    As best I can determine, it looks like two doses of mRNA vaccine give me about 80% protection from the Delta Variant virus and a KG94 maybe 75% protection. Either alone isn’t quite enough, but combined should give around 95% effectiveness.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ooh, do you have citations for those? I’m teaching statistics in the fall and that would be a fun problem to give them during the probability unit.

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        This paper based on UK data
        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2108891
        says “With the BNT162b2 vaccine, the effectiveness of two doses was 93.7% (95% CI, 91.6 to 95.3) among persons with the alpha variant and 88.0% (95% CI, 85.3 to 90.1) among those with the delta variant.” DW and I both got our second dose of BNT162b2 (popularly known as “Pfizer”) in April, so for us those are the relevant numbers. However, other studies claim a much lower effectiveness; I happen to think the UK people are the best in the world at this sort of research right now so I trust their numbers more than I trust others. But for my personal risk equation, I fudged a little below the bottom of their 95% CI and that’s where I get “about 80% protection.”

        With masks, it is really really hard to do a good clinical study. There are MANY mechanistic studies where they basically spray real or simulated infectious agents at the mask on a dummy and measure how many get through, plus a few with infected people where they sample the air they exhale with versus without a mask. But numbers of virus particles stopped doesn’t tell us actual percent reduction of infections, because we don’t know how viral load translates into infection probability; we just assume lower is better. It’s hard to do a real double-blind study of masks. Only way that I can think of to do a real double-blind study would be to have some medics wear masks that were secretly sabotaged and others wear undamaged masks, and assign them to subjects at random, but I cannot imagine any IRB would approve such a study because it would be horribly unethical! There are observational studies where they look at, say, change in case numbers before vs after some change in mask policy, or compare places where mask rules changed on different dates, etc., but obviously there will be a HUGE problem with confounders for such studies. So really my 75% number for high-grade masks is just my own guess, but I don’t think you’ll find any number you can really trust for this!

        Anyway, if the mask by itself cuts my risk by 75% and the shots cut my risk by 80% and those are statistically independent factors, then cutting the 20% risk I’d face with shots alone by another 75% takes my risk down to 5%. So that’s how I got that 95% number.

        Before I got vaccinated, my calculation was, “if the KF94 cuts my risk by about 75%, and if COVID-19 is 20 times more dangerous to me than seasonal flu, then to make COVID-19 truly ‘like the flu’ for me that means I will cut my weekly number of minutes inside indoor public spaces by 80%,” which I basically did using curbside pickup, online ordering, etc., etc. I still did some indoor shopping because I couldn’t stand *never* going indoors away from home! So I chose off-peak shopping for my indoors away from home time. For my daily outdoor walks I never bothered with a mask. Absolutely no food or drink consumed indoors away from home before I was vaccinated.

        Now that DW and I are fully vaxxed, we pretty much follow our pre-pandemic routine in most respects other than in-person restaurants. Among friends whom we trust not to lie about their vaccination status, we go unmasked indoors. Among strangers, we both wear KF94 masks. We never totally stopped masking, but for a while after vaccination we just wore cloth masks. Since getting fully vaxxed, I’ve eaten indoor meals away from home maybe five times — in three months. Pre-pandemic DW and I ate at restaurants at least once a week, plus once or twice a month we’d go to some church event that included a meal. So we’ve cut waaaaay back on that. And absolutely no bars near the local college campus. In this County (Johnson County, Iowa, which is the Iowa City area), over 95% of people age 65 and older are fully vaccinated; guess what age group account for most local COVID-19 cases here right now?

        DW and I were already working from home with colleagues in multiple time zones before the pandemic, and are still working with the same people, so workplace exposure hasn’t been a factor for us.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      (webpage citations are fine)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We just moved back into the red zone this week, with case counts higher than right before the college students left town. Vaccinations have been stalled at 40% since shortly after teenagers could get get vaccinated.

      I am positive that within two weeks of school starting we will be back into hardcore purple.

      Did I mention that researchers are paying big money to our unvaccinated college students to follow them around and see what happens, Tuskeegee style?

      • teresa Says:

        Probably from this? (not yet peer reviewed but presumably that’s less importance for problem creating…)
        https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.28.21259420v2.full
        Actually reviewed and published:
        https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2108891

        We are back to >22 cases/100k/day and escalating rapidly…from consistently 2-3/100k/day a month ago. This is actually not particularly different to the pre-vaccine incidence last July, but that’s not stopping people from having online tantrums about having the indoor mask mandate reinstated. (Also wonder how many of those people actually live here, because I never saw more than a tiny minority of people maskless in stores etc.)

        Also wait, they are effectively PAYING students not to get vaccinated? WTF?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We never made it down that low, and we’re back in the mid-30s/100k.

        And yes, they’re doing a study of the unvaccinated following them to study transmission and the course of the disease and students can earn up to $1000.

      • teresa Says:

        On the current trajectory we’ll be right there with you by the end of the week :( I think I’m actually more frustrated because we WERE in such a good spot incidence-wise, and now, here we are again. At least I live somewhere that the public health dept at least tries with mask mandates.

        $1000 is a lot of money. Especially for students. Sad/horrified that a study strongly incentivizing not getting vaccinated got IRB approval.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m really concerned by the IRB thing too. Especially since not so many years ago I wasn’t allowed to advertise a $25 subject fee because it was “coercive”.

  3. rose Says:

    Thank you. I am so very angry re the callous treatment by ALL political entities and the CDC re children under 12!!!
    Children are not immortal, invincible, immune.

    Thank you also for the wonderful memory treat of so very very many dishes I have not been eating. Delicious and delightful.

  4. teresa Says:

    I wasn’t hungry before I read the food article but now I’m starving AND sad about not traveling. (Really it’s a good reminder that I can get most of those things here if I go somewhere besides my usual 3-4 restaurants…)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We made that Georgian bread/egg/cheese dish during quarantine!

      • Debbie M Says:

        Wow, I’d never even heard of that. I got to eat barbecue (brisket) (someone brought this to a party!, homemade!) and Neapolitan pizza (at a restaurant) in the past couple of months.

        Unfortunately, the pandemic lull is ending. We’re still going through with plans we had through August, but then going back to a lot of isolation. :-(

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I hadn’t either but it was in one of our bread cookbooks and it looked good. To be completely honest it was a bit much—definitely something to share.

      • Debbie M Says:

        By “a bit much” do you mean rich? So maybe have part of one next to soup and/or salad?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yes, definitely rich. Definitely have part of one with much healthier mains. Do not eat half of one in one sitting.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ha ha! Oops, sorry to laugh at your pain. Thanks for the warning!

  5. FF Says:

    Related to last week’s post, the NYT has an article on how to decide if you should opt out of the child tax credit: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/25/your-money/child-tax-credit.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Business

  6. Matthew D Healy Says:

    You might want to send this to the Legal Counsel for your local schools. Illinois is warning school districts about possible LIABILITY and INSURANCE issues if they fail to follow guidance. Might get attention in an especially effective way…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That explains why the principal yesterday made it very clear at the start that they were doing what they could to follow CDC guidelines.

      The problem is that the state has made it illegal for them to follow AAP guidelines.

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        Their lawyer should start a class-action suit with other districts against the State for putting them into legal jeopardy.

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        Won’t surprise me if States with idiotic laws soon start getting letters from insurance companies threatening to reject liability claims if they don’t change those laws.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Thankfully CDC has changed its recommendations re masking in schools.


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