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State rep calls for shelter in place; says governor too lackadaisical in face of crisis

State Rep. Mike Connolly (Cambridge and Somerville) yesterday asked his colleagues to step up the state's game against Covid-19 and get the state to order residents to stay inside except when absolutely necessary:

Right now, the Baker Administration is responding to this imminent catastrophe in a similar way to how they would respond to an approaching blizzard or hurricane. There's a great deal of effort being made with respect to preparing the apparatus of state government and coordinating with our municipal and federal partners - and that is all necessary and good.

However, COVID-19 is not like a weather-related natural disaster. Unlike falling snow or blowing wind, we actually have the ability to control, suppress, and practically eliminate the incidence and spread of coronavirus.

Suppression has to be our main and overriding focus right now. Every day and every hour that goes by where aggressive suppression isn't our primary focus - and every time residents of the Commonwealth are having unnecessary interactions in close proximity with each other - there's more potential for the virus to be unnecessarily spreading.

The continued transmission of COVID-19 is a catastrophic problem, because this virus doesn't spread in a linear fashion. It spreads in an exponential or logarithmic fashion. Every three days, we can expect the number of cases to double.

Physicians have told us COVID-19 is some 10 times more contagious than the flu, and that as many as 1 out of every 5 people who are infected will contract a serious pneumonia that will require hospitalization. Epidemiologists have suggested that Massachusetts could see 10,000 cases or more by the end of this month. Our hospitals are on track to look like war-zones in the coming days or weeks.

It must be noted that other countries around the world are generally better prepared to deal with such a pandemic. Our inability to quickly deploy testing will go down in history as a great tragedy. Our lack of preparedness and our already-fractured social safety net means the outcome in the United States could be much worse than what we've already seen in China and Italy or other places around the world.

He added:

we need everyone possible to Shelter In Place right now as part of a very aggressive strategy to suppress the explosive spread of this virus — and from there we can figure out all the other details to make this situation workable for the next few weeks at least. And in making this call, we must also take immediate action to provide space for people to quarantine and provide people who are experiencing homelessness with space of their own.

If we continue on the current course, where we are all working around the clock to figure out the details while suggesting an incomplete program of social distancing, the virus can be expected to continuously spread in an exponential fashion, resulting in the breakdown of our healthcare system and other critical systems, thereby making it ultimately impossible for us to address any of other details in the first place.

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Comments

Thank you, as much as I do not want to give Donald Trump any reason to Lockdown our country, its really needed.

The only way people are going to stop being in groups and just stay home is to shut it all down. We saw that it worked during the Marathon Bombing. Businesses closed, streets were empty, and people just stayed home.

It will suck
It will cause hysteria
It will big economic impacts**

But its a must to try to quell the virus spreading some.

** I think this is why baker has not done so yet. Baker's business friendly and forcing a shutdown would pretty much put many businesses out of business.

It's time folks. We need to do this if we don't want to be battling this for months or even years to come.

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You can't shut down the economy. Shutting down businesses means people will fall into poverty. People will go hungry. People will weigh the risk of getting sick against the CERTAINTY of losing their homes, their livelihoods. Things will get very ugly.

Can you stop bills from showing up in people's mailboxes? Then don't shut down their businesses.

Those who think locking people in their homes will make the crisis past more quickly are mistaken; it will actually slow it down. They will have to stay locked in their houses for months, maybe years, because the crisis won't abate until the majority of us have been exposed to the virus and developed immunity to it.

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Sure, we'd flatten the curve but we'd also destroy the economy. I work at a small business. We will not get a Boeing style bail out. So, that's 11 people without jobs and few prospects of getting a job. Meanwhile, we'll still all be at risk of corona as there isn't a vaccine yet.

We need to do what South Korea did - test everyone all the time and isolate anyone with it and track their contacts. That would require tests which Trump delayed by over a month due to his own stupidity. Test, test, test and let the business stagger along as best it can while keeping social distancing practices in place.

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I Cosign on the Korea method

Test , test and keep testing. If you have it boom you are on lock down the rest of us will drop off food at your door.

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Love this idea. Also should be part of the rules, if you go outside you should get arrested unless you have a pass, lol.

And, we should all be able to snitch on anyone we see breaking the rules. They should give out awards if you catch a lot of people. And if you volunteer to keep a neighborhood watch, they should give you a sash to wear, haha.

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Places in the US and elsewhere that it's being done, it's a misdemeanor, and there are exemptions, including grocery shopping, dog walking, and exercising. You have to allow the first two exemptions, or people are going to go hungry and have houses stinking of dog poop.

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will help make more and more people come down with the Covid-19 virus. Who the hell are you kidding?

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If you honestly think stress causes COVID-19, I suggest you educate yourself.

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I don't agree with this. Alternatively local authorities could be used to break up groups congregating outside. Many of us are already living alone and desperately need to take walks outside and feel the outdoors and nature. I do not like the assumption that people are stupid and need to be managed so ruthlessly.

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Shelter in place does not have to preclude outdoor walks or runs alone or with household members. It doesn't in California. It also allows grocery store and drugstore runs.

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I read through the Shelter in Place rules in CA. You can still go for walks and hikes; you just need to stay away from other people. I'm sure ours would be similar.

I live alone and don't have a yard, so that was definitely on my mind as well.

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I've been going out for walks, and distancing myself far away from other people. and participating in the virtual on-line TKD classes that the TKD dojang that I normally attend three nights per week is shut down right now, as are all the movie theatres. It's not a good idea for the people in charge here to ask people to turn off all things that provide ventilation, such as fans and air-conditioners. My pet African Grey Parrot would die, if I did that.

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It's not a good idea for the people in charge here to ask people to turn off all things that provide ventilation, such as fans and air-conditioners.

Who's saying to shut down ventilation? The only places I see recommending turning off AC are saying to open windows instead. In other words, MORE ventilation. Most AC systems don't ventilate (introduce fresh air), which is why they are recommending opening windows instead. Unless you have a system that does pull in fresh air, it isn't helping Polly that way.

Just FYI, if it came down to your pet parrot dying versus a vulnerable human doing so, pretty much everybody would sacrifice the bird.

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Where does it say turn off fans and AC?

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Earlier, I found several sites saying to turn off AC and open windows. None saying turn off fans. Must have used different search terms, because this is the only one on my first search page.

They all said that recirculating air (which is what most AC systems do) helps viruses spread, but lots of fresh air helps prevent that. Nobody's saying what mplo said.

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But it does sound like going outside would still be allowed based on this: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/us/shelter-in-place-coronavirus-trnd/inde...

Which, honestly, doesn't seem that much different than what's going on now. So maybe start calling people out directly, because many of us are already staying home. Nothing around me is open outside what's included on that exception list.

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Counter-argument against "people aren't stupid": https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2020/03/19/ex-biogen-employee-inv...

Also, see Miami spring break partiers

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and they'll produce even more Covid-19 virus cases, because they'll make their families and other friends, classmates, and roommates ill, as well. They're so goddamned f**king stupid that it's incredible.

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Putting our society and economy in a self-induced coma is going too far.

Is there any evidence of how much more effective shelter-in-place is versus what we're doing now, to justify the tremendous cost this will impose on the state?

Also, great PR for Rep. Connolly, getting his name in the papers (or at least on Uhub)

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There's a WeChat rumor that Trump is about to mobilize the National Guard to enforce a 2-week nationwide quarantine. The white house denies it. Some people just like to create commotion.

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If we can test people with symptoms and exposure risks, then quarantine will help sure.

Of course, what's going to happen is populous red states will get the tests first to better serve Trump's re-election efforts vs. where they are most needed. As always, we should assume MA will get nothing from the feds and just pay our taxes anyways while solving our own problems.

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practically eliminate the incidence and spread of coronavirus

This is naive. We're likely going to be dealing with this for the rest of the year, at least. How long can you realistically expect to extend closures before the local service industry completely collapses or before people get stir crazy and go nuts running outside licking doorknobs or such?

Not to mention -- this was likely spreading in the states since late last year. I wouldn't be surprised if Massachusetts was one of the first areas to get it since Boston is a port city and is densely populated. The entire state is likely beyond saturation point anyway.

It must be noted that other countries around the world are generally better prepared to deal with such a pandemic.

No one is prepared. No country has the capacity to handle a widespread COVID-19 outbreak right now. There is no vaccine and no antivirals for this -- the only treatment is to avoid infecting others and rely on your immune system to fight it. All the hospitals can do is put you on a ventilator if you get respiratory distress. (This is also why testing doesn't really matter in terms of clinical treatment -- protocol is the same no matter if you think you have it or if you're confirmed to have it. And the testing shortages are partially because the CDC and FDA decided to get in a little pissfight back in February, but why let facts matter when panic is sexier.)

The USA is in better shape than many places, really. That doesn't mean that we aren't immune, and we should not get complacent. Best thing to do now is minimize the spread and infection to allow the medical system to prepare for a spike when public life begins to return. Social distancing is much more effective than quarantine. Gradually let people back out with precautions, try to minimize that initial spike, then it goes down. Most likely there'll be another spike in the fall, handle that with restrictions, then get back. It'll be a cycle of restrict-release until a vaccine is developed, and the best case for that is a year. (Or there's enough herd immunity but that's going to be difficult to prove.)

So far I have more confidence in Baker's actions than Connolly's words.

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Hopefully somebody will run against this person. Can't vote R for obvious reasons, but this announcement is pure fear mongering.

It contains medical statements from "Physicians have told us". Either cite a specific statement from a specific verifiable group, or do not spread misinformation.

That's public communication 101.

He may have a point, but it can't be heard under the unnecessary attempt to justify a position with facts not in evidence.

There's also no evidence yet for "exponential" in MA.

This is serious, which means we should not panic, and make fact based decisions.

Lost my vote right here.

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I loved this part:

this virus doesn't spread in a linear fashion. It spreads in an exponential or logarithmic fashion.

Exponential growth just gets faster and faster, and is thus much worse than linear growth. Logarithmic growth, on the other hand, gets slower and slower. What's the problem with that?

This is clear evidence that this person is exaggerating his expertise, which is irresponsible where expertise is so essential. He should shut up, and if he doesn't, he should be ignored.

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It almost certainly will grow in an S curve.

Exponential, transitioning into something like logarithmic.

That's a math PhD and 4 fingers of whiskey talking, so no promises.

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In a logarithmic graph, there is an inflection point before the graph flattens into a plateau. How high that inflection point gets is the exponential part.

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The logarithmic function is the inverse of the exponential function. There is no part of its graph that is exponential. The slope of the graph of ln(x) (for positive x) continuously decreases, while that of the exponential function continuously increases.

Dr. Math is no doubt correct that exponential growth will eventually transition into an approximation of logarithmic growth, but in the process it will also transition through an approximation of linear growth. And it won't end with the logarithmic phase, as the slope must at some time become negative, and eventually fall to zero. Well, almost zero; after everyone in the world has become infected, the only possible new infections are those of newborns.

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That's what happens when I mix math with exhaustion from all this virus stuff.

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I think he is overreacting. Shelter in place is a very drastic measure without a vaccine available. Please remember a vaccine is not a cure but it would be easier to deliver/administer if everyone were at home.

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