Random discussion of Covid-19 not specifically related to restaurants or food

After a few months it got pretty easy to compare US states.

This was also true in San Diego. At the time, most of the people staying away expressed that they were avoiding restaurants in general, due to the transmission hazard in enclosed spaces over long exposure times.

As a sidebar, though, I’ll comment that at the beginning of that public response, Asian restaurants took a disproportionately big hit. This was explained in the media as being a precautionary response by many in the public, since the virus had its origins in Wuhan. Frankly at the time, considering the fragmented amount of credibly factual information that was available, that was probably not unreasonable.

In any case, very significant pre-lockdown mitigation behavior in San Diego was manifest spontaneously within the population itself, neither mandated nor endorsed by the federal and local government. We do seem to have a level of ability and willingness to at least partially self-regulate here in the US – at least in some cities/states.

One of the last restaurants I went to before lockdown was actually a Wuhan place!

Withdrawn question about Wuhan cuisine.

Not sure if I agree. If I just look at the different approaches, regulation and recommendations in Massachusetts (and neighboring states) it was a complete mess and very hard to compare. If I drive 10 minutes towards Boston I drive through Somerville, Cambridge and Boston and all of them have and had different mandatory regulations, e.g. how many people are allowed in the restaurants etc

Both of the photos on this link look totally delicious. Wish there were a place like that in San Diego!

I really do love to try the different regional cuisines from a given country.

It’s definitely a good sign that the Chinese-language reviews on Yelp are so positive. Although I have to say I continue to have reservations about the genuineness of some Yelp reviews (as in, “did they get a perk for this great writeup?”). Nevertheless, I would definitely check out Nash Cafe if I were living up in the Berkeley area (which I almost did, many years ago).

IMO, this situation is the lasting result, at least in part, of the failure of our national government last year to develop a strategy, especially right at the outset of the pandemic, that would have strongly encouraged and coordinated a clearly defined mitigation response nation-wide. Other than masks and distancing (as well as lots of hand washing, surface sanitizing, etc.) it was pretty much “every man for himself” in terms of local policy. Still is, really, at the state, and in many cases, city levels – as you pointed out by example exists in Massachusetts, at least in the greater Boston area.

The CDC reports that of 76 million people fully vaccinated in the US, they have counted 5,800 “breakthrough infections.” That’s 0.008%, fewer than 1 in 13,000. Of that 5,800, 406 were hospitalized (0.0005% of 76 million) and 74 died (0.0001%).


Yes, neither the Moderna nor the Pfizer vaccines promised 100% immunity to getting symptomatic covid-19, although both companies have said that they are almost 100% effective against severe illness and death. These data show that those two vaccines are about as effective as any immunologist could ever hope for.

I’ve been anticipating for some time that annual booster shots against covid may be needed, possibly given in the same timeframe that the annual flu shots are administered. The boosters would be tweaked to adapt to variants (although so far, reports are that the current versions seem to be pretty effective against most). I guess the question is whether, if that’s the case, we would have to make two trips to a clinic for the two annual shots, with some period of time in between, or if they could be given at the same time. I know nothing about vaccine production, but as a lay person I doubt the two could be mixed into a single shot.

To be continued…


Well, I’ve been looking at the WorldOmeter plots more closely the past several days. You don’t have to read the numbers on their plots by eye; you can just hover the cursor over the plot and it displays the number for a given date. That’s what I’d been doing – but with not enough attention to actual dates , it seems.

While the big spike in deaths that they put up on the last day on the plot does in fact get replaced, the dropoff in the numbers over the final seven days or so on the plot prior to that keeps changing as well. I hadn’t noticed that. For a fixed day, the number for that day of reporting starts out very low, but then increases until it stabilizes after some time. And the "stabilized " numbers have been in the mid- to upper teens, not the 3 or 4 (and now about 7) visible on the tail – as you said.

That’s pretty misleading, and it appears it was me who was easily fooled. I’ve been looking at the tail of the plots without watching the actual dates . The plot keeps moving, but the value on a given date goes up. Publishing data that hasn’t been finalized is poor form, I think, but that’s what they’ve been doing.

Notwithstanding that misunderstanding, it’s still clear that deaths haven’t followed the same trend as cases in Sweden. In fact, those trends have been very different since late February; i.e., cases rising rapidly, but deaths leveling out – in the upper teens or so.

And the latter figure is currently about half that of LA County, which has about the same population.

Well, the latest Excel spreadsheet for death certificates that a Swedish government agency published a few days ago has some data including week 14, ending Sunday April 11. (A note wrt week numbering: Swedish calendars consider weeks to be Mon-Sun, not Sun-Sat.) I say “some” because death certificates have a notorious lag between when the death occured and when the Government recieves the death certificate from a doctor. So I highly doubt that the number of deaths dropped by half in week 14. That number will be revised upwards as death certificates keep coming in. But even the current number, 47, is quite a bit more than 3 per day.
Week 12: 92
Week 13: 91
Week 14: 47
But yes, the number of deaths hasn’t spiked the way the number of known infections or intensive-care cases have and one would assume that the vaccination effort has something to do with that. Deaths, as opposed to infections, have been strongly skewed towards older age groups and those age groups are the main target for the vaccination effort.

In graphics:

Link to spreadsheet:

The numbers I’ve been looking at on Worldometer are the daily values of the 7-day rolling average, not the individual daily or weekly values. I have no idea where Worldometer gets their data or why it would differ from that given by this Swedish authority. (And I don’t read or speak the language.)

Here’s another excellent simulation, this time airflow in an airplane. With nobody sneezing (although there’s always someone sneezing or coughing), the air inside an airplane is probably about as safe as it gets for a crowded space. There’s some hazard if someone sneezes, although if you’re vaccinated your chances of getting sick are very low. The pattern of airflow and the use of HEPA filtration in the recirculated air path, plus lots of fresh air, are again key elements of the ventilation design, which are pretty standard industry-wide.

In what other situation are you forced to sit within a few inches or a couple of feet of strangers for hours?

Rock concerts, movie theaters, festivals, crowded bars,…

You’re not stuck in place in any of those places and they’re all operating at reduced capacity (if at all).

Meanwhile, most airlines are no longer leaving middle seats empty. And even if they do that still leaves you stuck for hours two or three feet from three strangers.

researchers in Italy used mathematical models to calculate the amount of time it would take for a person to become infected outdoors in Milan. They imagined a grim scenario in which 10 percent of the population was infected with Covid-19. Their calculations showed that if a person avoided crowds, it would take, on average, 31.5 days of continuous outdoor exposure to inhale a dose of virus sufficient to transmit infection.

When I did a lot of 1-stop and later non-stop travel between SD and WDC, back and forth such a great many times, not to mention international flights, I was concerned when someone behind me or next to me on the airplane would sneeze or cough. Repeatedly. That was my only real concern. I was mainly worried about catching a cold. Even at that time I was aware of the steps engineered into the interior airflow, which worked well with microscopic entities, but coughs and sneezes posed a threat.

What I did – seriously – was to instantly stop breathing, or exhale very slowly, for as long as possible after somebody in my vicinity sneezed. At least that gave “the germs” some time to dissipate in the airflow, which I wouldn’t be breathing in, at least not as much, so I thought. In fact, I don’t think I ever caught a cold that I could trace to a single flight. Sounds simplistic, but I thought the breath-holding defense helped.

I don’t think there have been any reports of covid-19 outbreaks traced to the time spent inside an airplane during a trip, anywhere. (Might be a lot of other breath-holders out there.) And of course now, since the pandemic, masks do help protect you against droplets from sneezes and coughs. Post-masks, I might have to do breathing exercises again.