Sunday, December 20, 2020

Liberty Alliance

I might be unfair in this.  I don't know the details.  But it looks...unfortunate at present.  In NH, the "Live Free or Die ("Death is not the worst of evils") state, we have long had a mild libertarian substrate that used to affect even Democrats. That is mostly gone, but you can still find it among the long-term residence. So the fact that our state legislature had a "liberty alliance" of fifty reps, I think all Republican, that met openly a few weeks ago without masks to make a point is not surprising.  It reflects a typical attitude here.  It included the newly-installed Speaker of the House, and a new friend of mine since I moved to the neighborhood who has represented Goffstown for years. I spoke to the latter a couple of months ago who assured me that he was a trained engineer and knew how to read scientific papers and thought that masks were crap.

So the Speaker of the House is now dead from CoVid and my friend has been readmitted and is in intensive care with CoVid. Probably just a coincidence. Small sample size and all that.


james said...

Yikes. Is this the second go-round with Covid for your friend?
So far none of my friends and family have died, but friends of friends have, and an uncomfortably large fraction of the sick were abed for months. Low statistics, but of order 1/5.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Same episode, went home too early the first time. I have to check. He may not be in ICU this time.

Christopher B said...

Apparently lots of people are lying.

Texan99 said...

Does anyone really doubt that some people who don't wear masks will contract the disease? Some people who consistently wear masks will also come down with it. I haven't seen any large-scale studies suggesting that areas with high mask compliance have a lower incidence of disease. There are a lot of confounding factors that, similarly, make it hard to conclude that masks don't work at all, since it's always possible that a mask-wearing population would have been even sicker otherwise. It looks to me like an area we're not justified in reaching firm conclusions about. We don't always know, and we're not entitled to act like we do until we actually do--though of course we can take all the info into account and make a guess how to run our own lives.

bs king said...

So the link Christopher B provides is interesting, because it points to two holes in mask assessment data:

1. The first is eating at restaurants. The activity most reported by the COVID group that was not reported at nearly the same frequency by the no-COVID group was eating at a restaurant in the 14 days prior to contraction. So basically, of those who caught COVID, 70% of them said they "always" wore a mask, but 40% of them also said they had eaten in a restaurant in the previous 14 days. Those two numbers seem pretty mathematically incompatible. I suspect the issue is that people are answering this question as "I always wear a mask when required or able to do so", because they almost certainly weren't wearing one while eating.

2. 50% of the COVID group had a family member with COVID as well. Even the "always" masked group almost certainly doesn't wear one at home, and a chain is only as good as their weakest link.

As for Texan99's question, what are you looking for? There have been within state comparisons (Kansas and Tennessee, where they compared counties) that are good because you can assume the populations are similar (as opposed to comparing say Hawaii and Texas) and you know they are on similar trajectories of the pandemic:

You are correct that masks are not perfect, but the difference is notable.

Additionally, there is still some discussion that mask wearing may reduce severity of cases that wearers get:

If people are in a region where they making decisions for themselves, I think that's an extremely relevant data point to put out there. It's clear that a lot is still unknown about COVID, and that there are some things that are clearly weird. I do look forward to the day when we'll be able to put all these pieces together more cleanly.

bs king said...

David reminded me there was one I sent him that had a state by state comparison:

I still like the within state ones better because you know the population you are comparing, but this had more interesting points about mask wearing and symptoms.