Pandemic-the light at the end of the tunnel

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jtr1962

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They're estimating July 31 but that depends on if things change. They're worried about the "vaccine-hesitant" which could pump the brakes on this thing. I'm still there. I have mine scheduled but deep down I really want to pass.
I might pose the question of why to you and the other vaccine-hesitant. Millions of people have taken these vaccines. A tiny percentage had adverse reactions which medical personnel were able to deal with. The rest were fine. The jury is still out on whether anyone actually died from adverse reactions to the vaccine but if any did, it's a vanishingly small percentage, far smaller than the average person's chances of dying if they catch covid-19. I'm hopeful as the vaccine-hesitant see people they know getting the shot, and those people are fine, their hesitancy will evaporate. The only path back to normalcy with this thing is vaccinations. We've already saw that with mutations you can get it again even if you've already had it. So the herd immunity thing via infection will never work. If enough people don't get vaccinated we'll still be dealing with outbreaks, deaths, lock downs, and masks 5 years from now. Would people rather have that than an extremely small risk from the vaccine?
 

idleprocess

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but some are saying they no longer even have an office at work.

Just learned like this will likely soon be a reality for my work group. I'm disappointed because returning to the office was something I was looking forward to after spending the overwhelming majority of the last year working from home; on the other hand this is motivation to change things up since WFH is no longer a long-running contingency.
 

jtr1962

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Just learned like this will likely soon be a reality for my work group. I'm disappointed because returning to the office was something I was looking forward to after spending the overwhelming majority of the last year working from home; on the other hand this is motivation to change things up since WFH is no longer a long-running contingency.
Well, WFH is going to be permanent for my sister and she's thrilled with it. The only negative for her is that there's nothing much for her to do when she's not working with lots of things still being closed. You may have looked forward to returning to the office but my guess is if you had one week of sitting in heavy traffic (or delayed subway trains for NYers like myself) you'll quickly wish you were working from home again. I've worked from home since late 1990. Whatever negatives there are to not seeing as many people are outweighed by avoiding rushing out the door in the morning, then dealing with the commute both ways. That's also time I'm not being paid for. I never minded working. It was always the getting there part that annoyed me.
 

idleprocess

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A wee bit of OT rambling here...

Well, WFH is going to be permanent for my sister and she's thrilled with it. The only negative for her is that there's nothing much for her to do when she's not working with lots of things still being closed. You may have looked forward to returning to the office but my guess is if you had one week of sitting in heavy traffic (or delayed subway trains for NYers like myself) you'll quickly wish you were working from home again. I've worked from home since late 1990. Whatever negatives there are to not seeing as many people are outweighed by avoiding rushing out the door in the morning, then dealing with the commute both ways. That's also time I'm not being paid for. I never minded working. It was always the getting there part that annoyed me.

Save for a single day in October, it's been almost exactly a year of working from home, so I've got a reasonable depth of perspective on the issue. I will clarify that I'm not looking forward to an end to WFH so much as the option to go into the office as I knew it.

I will miss the daily change of scenery - seeing a slice of the region driving to and from the office, the contrast between office and home, and the niceties of the office. I'll also miss the bookends to the workday in term of both time and space. I'll mostly miss the direct interaction with people - far richer collaboration and socializing with co-workers, and serendipitous encounters with others in the building.

I will not miss the time sink of the 30-45 minute commute each way. I'll also not miss the ~15,000 commuting miles per year I put on the car.

However these are more conscious factors. The unconscious factor I've realized I was anticipating was a return to what used to be normal. I can adapt. A year of satisficement in my personal home office will end and I'll make some quality-of-life improvements that didn't seem worth it during the long contingency. I'll also make some adjustments to my social life since I can see people again in about a month's time.

I suspect the company will condense the footprint down to workspace for those employees that must be centralized for reasons of facilities, internal customer facing roles, or cannot work remotely due to the nature of their job with the remainder of the facility being conference rooms and hotel space. I hope that the the setup of the latter is better-considered than long barren tables and wifi connectivity. Onboarding and developing new employees was difficult during this period; I suspect that something will have to give in terms of having space available to work in for stretches of time during those crucial early days.
 

raggie33

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the vacine is silly im still only wearing a adult diaper and football helmet when i go out. no one gets close to me
 

bykfixer

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Man I'll be glad when DMV goes back to normal. Spending time in an uncomfy chair while 6 of the 7 workers are on break sounds wonderful versus trying to figure out their website.
First off, you get to guess what they call the service you want to perform. Then once you have discovered what that is then you get to guess how to fill out the form. You fill it out and BAM, WRONG……rejected. It says "please click help"……uh, where's the help button btw?"
Eventually I found out how to fill out the form with info for the blank called "customer 1", which I figured was me……nope it wants my driver license number. Well why didn't you say "drivers license number?" And why do you need that to tell me how much a new set of license plates cost?

Now I did have the option of making an in person appointment……in mid-May. Ugh!
This is probably sounding like an anti-DMV rant but that's not the point. The point is I'll be so glad when we can wake up on a Saturday morning, head over to DMV and set in an uncomfortable chair for an hour. That sounds like bliss after navigating their website.
 

PhotonWrangler

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An associate just got the Moderna vaccine. He wanted to tell one of his friends about it so he used the dictation mode on his phone to text his friend about getting the shot. But the autocorrect feature changed it from "Moderna vaccine" to "Madonna vaccine" before sending it. :laughing:
 

Poppy

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As of March 20, 2021, the US CDC said 81,415,769 people had received at least one dose while 44,141,228 people are fully vaccinated as of Sunday.

I calculate that if we have a 330 million population, then we have almost 25% having received at least one dose of vaccine. If even one dose gives a decent amount of protection, and that since they were given to the more vulnerable population, it appears to me that we are well on our way to overall reducing deaths due to covid - unless, more virulent variants pop up.

Certainly there are a number of people who have naturally acquired immunity. The higher that number the better. Hopefully many college aged kids, already have an acquired immunity, and when partying during spring break there aren't as many repercussions as there would be if there were no immunity among them. Let's hope that more virulent variants aren't produced over the next few weeks.

Hopefully, that even if a bunch of college kids on spring break, get infected and share it around, that when they bring it back home, that the more vulnerable will have been vaccinated, and have a good amount of protection.
 

markr6

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I might pose the question of why to you and the other vaccine-hesitant. Millions of people have taken these vaccines. A tiny percentage had adverse reactions which medical personnel were able to deal with. The rest were fine. The jury is still out on whether anyone actually died from adverse reactions to the vaccine but if any did, it's a vanishingly small percentage, far smaller than the average person's chances of dying if they catch covid-19. I'm hopeful as the vaccine-hesitant see people they know getting the shot, and those people are fine, their hesitancy will evaporate. The only path back to normalcy with this thing is vaccinations. We've already saw that with mutations you can get it again even if you've already had it. So the herd immunity thing via infection will never work. If enough people don't get vaccinated we'll still be dealing with outbreaks, deaths, lock downs, and masks 5 years from now. Would people rather have that than an extremely small risk from the vaccine?

You say extremely small risk, but that's the problem. Everyone is focused on what happens 2 hours to 2 weeks after. I don't care about a sore arm or chills, man up. But do we know, FOR SURE, that this brand new vaccine is safe long-term? Do human studies, not petri dishes or tests on rats, or 6-month small-sample trials show that long term? Of course not. They say it was thoroughly tested, but it wasn't. After developing a vaccine they watch for years afterwards for any possible implications.

"To support FDA approval, most vaccine clinical trials include substantially longer follow-up of trial participants to track both safety and efficacy. For example, for shingles vaccines, participants in Shingrix clinical trials were followed for a median of 3.1 years in one study and 3.9 years in another, and participants in Zostavax clinical trials were followed for a median of 1.3 years in one study and 3.1 years in another."

This was cooked up so quick it's not even formally approved. I understand the panic and need for the emergency use authorization. I just hope it all works out. I'd bet money it will, just not testing it myself.

I'm getting the J&J vaccine on Saturday, which I feel a little safer about. And do I recommend and hope others get it? Sure, it seems to be the only way out of this.
 

idleprocess

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You say extremely small risk, but that's the problem. Everyone is focused on what happens 2 hours to 2 weeks after. I don't care about a sore arm or chills, man up. But do we know, FOR SURE, that this brand new vaccine is safe long-term? Do human studies, not petri dishes or tests on rats, or 6-month small-sample trials show that long term? Of course not. They say it was thoroughly tested, but it wasn't. After developing a vaccine they watch for years afterwards for any possible implications.

In a way you're describing the gamble with life. We know the first-order effect with COVID reasonably well - across a broad matrix of variables we can characterize its lethality rate, hospitalization rate, complication rate, etc. We've decided that these first order effects are a serious problem that demand a solution. The vaccine introduces a second-order effect that while not as well understood as the first order effect of COVID, based on our current understanding will have impacts orders of magnitudes lower than COVID.

We see this dilemma elsewhere - an example that comes to mind is water quality. As far as I know every drinking water supply system has to release annual water quality reports which detail levels of specific contaminants in the water. Alongside this is a cottage industry of alarmist groups and those selling solutions to the 'problem' that nitpick the report and/or do their own assessments detailing trace levels of other contaminants in the water - in both cases often suggesting safe levels of these trace compounds should be far lower than specified by the authorities. The unspoken reality of many of these other contaminants is that they're unavoidable byproducts of water treatment and while potentially harmful, the risks they present generally amount to slightly elevated risks of rare cancers - assuming you chug a gallon or more of tap water for decades. Thus, the choice is either deal with very high odds of regularly contracting crypto, giardia, dysentery, and other dreadful waterborne pathogens or the very low odds of a cancer that's quite rare. I know what I'm choosing. I'm sure that someone somewhere sells filters, treatments, or special bottled water costing dollars per gallon that's free of these trace contaminants if it sets your mind at ease but that's an expensive way to remediate something that's verging on vanishingly rare.
 

markr6

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I hear ya. Our tap water is excellent around here, but I also use a 3-stage filter for peace of mind. If they started using some new technology to treat the water, I would like to know before consuming that (and they did in the past)
 

badtziscool

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In a way you're describing the gamble with life. We know the first-order effect with COVID reasonably well - across a broad matrix of variables we can characterize its lethality rate, hospitalization rate, complication rate, etc. We've decided that these first order effects are a serious problem that demand a solution. The vaccine introduces a second-order effect that while not as well understood as the first order effect of COVID, based on our current understanding will have impacts orders of magnitudes lower than COVID.

We see this dilemma elsewhere - an example that comes to mind is water quality. As far as I know every drinking water supply system has to release annual water quality reports which detail levels of specific contaminants in the water. Alongside this is a cottage industry of alarmist groups and those selling solutions to the 'problem' that nitpick the report and/or do their own assessments detailing trace levels of other contaminants in the water - in both cases often suggesting safe levels of these trace compounds should be far lower than specified by the authorities. The unspoken reality of many of these other contaminants is that they're unavoidable byproducts of water treatment and while potentially harmful, the risks they present generally amount to slightly elevated risks of rare cancers - assuming you chug a gallon or more of tap water for decades. Thus, the choice is either deal with very high odds of regularly contracting crypto, giardia, dysentery, and other dreadful waterborne pathogens or the very low odds of a cancer that's quite rare. I know what I'm choosing. I'm sure that someone somewhere sells filters, treatments, or special bottled water costing dollars per gallon that's free of these trace contaminants if it sets your mind at ease but that's an expensive way to remediate something that's verging on vanishingly rare.

That's a very good way of putting it. For the record. I'm 42 and still drink out of the water hose.
 

jtr1962

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I'm sure that someone somewhere sells filters, treatments, or special bottled water costing dollars per gallon that's free of these trace contaminants if it sets your mind at ease but that's an expensive way to remediate something that's verging on vanishingly rare.
The entire bottled water industry exists on the fear of people to drink tap water, even though as you say the risks are vanishingly small (unless you live in places like Flint). The irony is your risk of getting cancer is going to be higher drinking water that has been stored in a plastic bottle than just drinking tap water. That's not even getting into the enormous waste problem these bottles create. NYC took the first step of dealing with this problem. I just wish they would have banned the sale of bottled water in single use bottles entirely. That's probably the next step.
 

Lynx_Arc

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The entire bottled water industry exists on the fear of people to drink tap water, even though as you say the risks are vanishingly small (unless you live in places like Flint). The irony is your risk of getting cancer is going to be higher drinking water that has been stored in a plastic bottle than just drinking tap water. That's not even getting into the enormous waste problem these bottles create. NYC took the first step of dealing with this problem. I just wish they would have banned the sale of bottled water in single use bottles entirely. That's probably the next step.
I agree but am on both sides of the aisle on this issue as I've worked construction where it is hard to drag around a canteen or container that you can refill with water and for hygiene reasons PLUS this Covid stuff refilling containers is not the best thing for some people who have weaker immunity to the virus. Water fountains in most stores have been closed since this started so if you are thirsty and only need a drink of water then you either have to go to a restaurant and order a glass of water or sneak a drink out of someone's water hose or douse your face in a bird bath and hope there is no nasties there. I have a thermos that I take with me in my vehicle that is stainless and insulates anything for close to a day but it is too expensive to risk losing at a job site where you can be up on a lift and kick it off or in a ditch and forget about it or have it fall 4 stories off a building accidentally. I do think that we need more places have recycling bins just for plastics and aluminum cans that someone can call a number on the bin when it is full and get it emptied. Now that my city forced new trash service on us which includes free recycling bins (not free, they jacked the rates up and limited regular trash to 1/4 of what it was) I toss most things that are recyclable in it so as I keep my regular trash down and save 20 cents a bag for trash bags. I also save the Tshirt bags and give them to a local business that reuses them instead of buying new ones. I think this is better than just tossing them in a walmart shopping center recycle bin as it basically is like I didn't even use them to begin with and throw them away like most people do. I've now got into a habit of using the Tshirt bags in my trash cans indoors instead of tossing everything in a larger bag which saves me about $5-$10 a year I figure. One thing that some states used to do, and my state did at one time before plastic bottles came into being is charging 5-10 cents more a bottle when you buy them as a deposit and returning the money to you when you give them back.
We used to save glass bottles and dig through dumpsters and pick up more bottles till cans came into being but we still had bottles and 32 oz glass bottles but the 2 liters wiped out the glass bottles for the most part. As much as I like glass more than plastic it can be more dangerous to deal with and heavy too. I'm guessing the amount of fuel saved by using plastic in shipping vs glass could add up to something over time. What would be cool is when plastic bottles are recycled at centers you could get points towards something that kids would love that way they would be the ones to drive their capture. The alternative is a type of bottle that is biodegradeable somehow.

The alternative to bottled water is bottled other beverages and that means more calories.
 

idleprocess

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Also a tad OT ...

The entire bottled water industry exists on the fear of people to drink tap water, even though as you say the risks are vanishingly small (unless you live in places like Flint).
Eh, tap water in the DFW area can be distinctly unpleasant during the ~4 months of peak summer heat. I gather this is because of summer treatment process switchover and the realities of algal blooms in area reservoirs. The only impact is taste, but I can understand why some would turn to alternatives.

NYC took the first step of dealing with this problem. I just wish they would have banned the sale of bottled water in single use bottles entirely. That's probably the next step.
The fact that bottled water is a thing in NYC confuses me since I've heard from multiple sources that NYC enjoys some of the best tap water in the nation.
 

jtr1962

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The fact that bottled water is a thing in NYC confuses me since I've heard from multiple sources that NYC enjoys some of the best tap water in the nation.
You and me both. Bottled water has a distinctly plastic taste to it. Our tap water is much better. In the summers there's a slight chlorine odor but that goes away if you let the water sit in sunlight.
 

jtr1962

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I agree but am on both sides of the aisle on this issue as I've worked construction where it is hard to drag around a canteen or container that you can refill with water and for hygiene reasons PLUS this Covid stuff refilling containers is not the best thing for some people who have weaker immunity to the virus. Water fountains in most stores have been closed since this started so if you are thirsty and only need a drink of water then you either have to go to a restaurant and order a glass of water or sneak a drink out of someone's water hose or douse your face in a bird bath and hope there is no nasties there. I have a thermos that I take with me in my vehicle that is stainless and insulates anything for close to a day but it is too expensive to risk losing at a job site where you can be up on a lift and kick it off or in a ditch and forget about it or have it fall 4 stories off a building accidentally. I do think that we need more places have recycling bins just for plastics and aluminum cans that someone can call a number on the bin when it is full and get it emptied. Now that my city forced new trash service on us which includes free recycling bins (not free, they jacked the rates up and limited regular trash to 1/4 of what it was) I toss most things that are recyclable in it so as I keep my regular trash down and save 20 cents a bag for trash bags. I also save the Tshirt bags and give them to a local business that reuses them instead of buying new ones. I think this is better than just tossing them in a walmart shopping center recycle bin as it basically is like I didn't even use them to begin with and throw them away like most people do. I've now got into a habit of using the Tshirt bags in my trash cans indoors instead of tossing everything in a larger bag which saves me about $5-$10 a year I figure. One thing that some states used to do, and my state did at one time before plastic bottles came into being is charging 5-10 cents more a bottle when you buy them as a deposit and returning the money to you when you give them back.
We used to save glass bottles and dig through dumpsters and pick up more bottles till cans came into being but we still had bottles and 32 oz glass bottles but the 2 liters wiped out the glass bottles for the most part. As much as I like glass more than plastic it can be more dangerous to deal with and heavy too. I'm guessing the amount of fuel saved by using plastic in shipping vs glass could add up to something over time. What would be cool is when plastic bottles are recycled at centers you could get points towards something that kids would love that way they would be the ones to drive their capture. The alternative is a type of bottle that is biodegradeable somehow.

The alternative to bottled water is bottled other beverages and that means more calories.
I can agree there are niche uses to bottled water, perhaps more now thanks to the pandemic. Transitioning to aluminum might make more sense in the long run. The higher price due to the extra cost of aluminum would probably help wean a lot of people off bottled water who can just as easily drink tap water. Given that they have all sorts of faucet filters now it's hard to make a case for bottled water based on quality. Convenience? Maybe but why not do what I used to do when I worked outdoors in the heat? I put some ice and water in empty 2-liter soda bottles and bought those along. They stayed cold most of the day. I reused the same bottles over and over.
 
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