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  1. #31
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    Dr. Osterholm is also considered to be overly alarmist by many other authorities in his own field. It's a tricky balance though. He has useful knowledge. It's worth paying attention to him. It's also worth seeing other viewpoints in his field.

    For example: He doesn't actually know that COVID19 won't go away with heat--nobody does. Many common colds are caused by a coronavirus, and those infections are highly seasonal and affected by temperature. MERS itself is sensitive to temperature, but maybe not to the temps most of the world sees during a normal spring or summer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6362578/ (Cross-over transmission of MERS from camels to humans is highest when conditions are colder and drier)

  2. #32
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by autolycus View Post
    Dr. Osterholm is also considered to be overly alarmist by many other authorities in his own field. It's a tricky balance though. He has useful knowledge. It's worth paying attention to him. It's also worth seeing other viewpoints in his field.
    Well, i've worked in national healthcare for 15 years and sat in meetings with Dr Osterholm and the only thing I've ever heard any medical director, epidemiologist, infectious disease specialist, or healthcare administrator say about him is question how they could fully implement his recommendations.

    That said, COVID19 is a novel virus, so it's new and we just don't have enough data, so all we can do is compare COVID19 to cousin viruses like SARS and MERS. When one does that, some very scary scenarios become apparent - and some of those scenarios are actively playing out in Italy.

    So each of us has a choice:

    (1.) Assume and act as if COVID19 is highly contagious, potentially deadly, and not going anywhere until proven differently or

    (2.) Hope #1 isn't true and that our behavior isn't endangering our families and communities

    The most important thing we can do is protect our local responders and healthcare capacity.
    Last edited by GrussGott; 03-11-2020 at 03:39 PM.

  3. #33
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    I heard a doctor say something interesting today. He said one of the reasons we are seeing a fast rise in the number of corona virus cases is the increase in the number of test kits. Some of the people who doctors thought had the flu or another virus actually had the corona virus but there was no test kit to prove it.

    Many universities are cancelling classes and going online. Major sporting events are banning spectators. This is not to be alarmist. This is to help block the spreading of the illness. No large groupings less of a chance to transmit or catch it.

    As far as hand washing goes, this is the only doctor who says it doesn't matter. Everyone else, including the CDC and WHO says to wash your hands.

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  4. #34
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    As far as hand washing goes, this is the only doctor who says it doesn't matter. Everyone else, including the CDC and WHO says to wash your hands.
    Very important point: Dr. Osterholm is saying the current data shows the primary transmission vector is breathing, and he's telling you that so you understand how to alter your behavior.

    That is, being in the same room as someone with covid puts you at risk, even if you have clean hands, and even if you wash your hands after.

    So why do the CDC/WHO tell you to wash your hands? A few reasons:

    (1.) covid is not in place of the flu or other diseases, it's in addition to them - and the easiest way for a healthy person to compromise their immune system is already being ill from another condition transmitted via contaminated hands.

    (2.) Hand-washing keeps people conscious of their hygiene and prevents surface contamination - this can help mitigate all disease transmission, not just covid

    (3.) In a crisis, people like having something to do so they feel like they're taking positive action - hand washing fits that bill.

    Also I'll note that having an MD does not make someone an infectious disease specialist - it's why primary care physicians refer patients to experts and Dr. Osterholm has been studying infectious disease transmission in humans for 40 years.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrussGott View Post
    Also I'll note that having an MD does not make someone an infectious disease specialist - it's why primary care physicians refer patients to experts and Dr. Osterholm has been studying infectious disease transmission in humans for 40 years.
    To add a slight bit of levity to this discussion, because I think a little levity is important to keep us all from going insane:

    You'd better not next try to explain why staying at a Holiday Inn Express doesn't make me an expert in EVERYTHING! Wink

  6. #36
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    "I heard a doctor say something interesting today. He said one of the reasons we are seeing a fast rise in the number of corona virus cases is the increase in the number of test kits. Some of the people who doctors thought had the flu or another virus actually had the corona virus but there was no test kit to prove it. "

    Yes.

    Our testing has been hugely inadequate and delayed in the USA. Seattle has widespread community transmission that was happening for weeks. (6+...) The state and labs just weren't able to test or were testing very few with only severe disease (They mostly only tested people coming from China, even until recently.) As testing becomes more widely available and open to a broad spectrum of severity/travel, those cases will spike. Add to that the fact that case rates double about every six days. There will continue to be huge growth, unfortunately.

  7. #37
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Thank you GrussGott. It's reassuring to have you corroborate the information from Dr. Osterholm (in spite of the scary nature of this issue). I'm having trouble getting even close family members to take this as seriously as it warrants.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrussGott View Post
    Well, I've worked in national healthcare for 15 years and sat in meetings with Dr Osterholm and the only thing I've ever heard any medical director, epidemiologist, infectious disease specialist, or healthcare administrator say about him is question how they could fully implement his recommendations.

    That said, COVID19 is a novel virus, so it's new and we just don't have enough data, so all we can do is compare COVID19 to cousin viruses like SARS and MERS. When one does that, some very scary scenarios become apparent - and some of those scenarios are actively playing out in Italy.

    So each of us has a choice:

    (1.) Assume and act as if COVID19 is highly contagious, potentially deadly, and not going anywhere until proven differently or

    (2.) Hope #1 isn't true and that our behavior isn't endangering our families and communities

    The most important thing we can do is protect our local responders and healthcare capacity.

  8. #38
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    'Germs and Statistics and Vaccines and Fear and Pickup Trucks: Stuff to Know as We Prepare for COVID-19" The article below is written by a pediatrician

    https://medium.com/@kenhaller/germs-...r-f3d1f27dc2e2

  9. #39
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    In light of last night's news, it's probably appropriate to jump back to the original post for a minute. There are new practical considerations that are even aside from the questions about the virus itself.

    I would now recommend that you do not travel between the US and Europe in early April. Even if flights are still operating now, and everything you hope to see in Europe is open and functioning, there might be significant difficulty in getting home at the end of your trip. Assuming you are US citizens or permanent residents, you will be allowed to re-enter the country--it's a basic human right to repatriate to your country of citizenship--but you will probably be subjected to significant quarantine. And that's assuming you can even catch a flight, depending on what happens to the airlines' schedules over the next month.

  10. #40
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    Assuming you are US citizens or permanent residents, you will be allowed to re-enter the country--it's a basic human right to repatriate to your country of citizenship--but you will probably be subjected to significant quarantine. And that's assuming you can even catch a flight, depending on what happens to the airlines' schedules over the next month.
    Except for the part about citizens having the right to repatriate the rest is all just opinion and speculation. Why not wait until we get an official announcement.

    All of Europe is not cut off. Only Schengen countries are affected. And the Administration said flights from certain airports within Schengen will be allowed after screening. Those airports have not been named.

    There will be flights because Americans will want to come home and Europeans in the US will want to go home.



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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    Except for the part about citizens having the right to repatriate the rest is all just opinion and speculation. Why not wait until we get an official announcement.

    All of Europe is not cut off. Only Schengen countries are affected. And the Administration said flights from certain airports within Schengen will be allowed after screening. Those airports have not been named.

    There will be flights because Americans will want to come home and Europeans in the US will want to go home.



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    Well of course it's just opinion and speculation. It was my personal recommendation. It was also based on the fact that the OP said their plans were to visit Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, and Paris, all of which are in the Schengen Area. Italy is essentially impossible to visit right now, and nobody should want to visit even if they could--because of the severe restrictions in place, most of the normal tourist activities aren't possible. Yes, there will be flights. They will be less frequent and less convenient and changing plans after being in Europe may become significantly more expensive since there will be fewer options for getting home. Screening will be required. Based on other developments, I think it is very reasonable to prepare for the potential for additional requirements in relation to repatriated Americans.

    None of this should be taken as me endorsing the restrictions that are being implemented. For better or worse, they're happening. I'm just saying what I would consider when deciding about travel to Europe within the next 2-3 weeks (the OP said April 1 departure). Honestly, it's probably applicable to anywhere outside the US. I'm also not saying the OP should change their plans right this second. There is still plenty of time to wait to see what happens to the flights. But I think prudence requires a pretty good look at those things and close monitoring of the situation and cancellation/postponement options.

    My wife and I will probably try to take a trip in April. We have nothing booked yet, but we will probably go somewhere within driving distance for a few reasons: a) I will want to support local and regional businesses that I enjoy and that will be hard hit by this b) I want flexibility in case other restrictions are put into place and c) I want more control over how many people with whom I am in direct contact.

  12. #42
    Forum Member nsh's Avatar
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    We actually have received official advice and recommendation: This morning the Department of State advised ALL U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19.The entire globe (except Antarctica) is at Level 3: Reconsider Travel. “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions," the department said in a statement.
    "Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice."
    Last edited by nsh; 03-12-2020 at 01:14 PM.

  13. #43
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    I'm currently rethinking my travel to France between 7 April and 28 April. The family member I was going to visit has advised that the government is closing schools and there are cases in central Paris now. She is expecting the alert level to rise.
    Last edited by Denises; 03-12-2020 at 05:06 PM.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red and Nebulous Grey, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, Viridian and Grass, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  14. #44
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    Not an expert, happen to have traveled to Western Europe when Covid-19 was "isolated" to China. Currently in the Benelux region. Did not hear about the Schengen to USA travel prohibitions until a few hours ago. Logistically unable to leave before the prohibition takes effect anyways. So I will be here after the travel ban is implemented for better or worse. I spoke to a local doctor and he made the same points (don't get too close to talk to someone, don't be coughed or sneezed on, wash your hands often, avoid hand shaking, and the virus on surfaces dies within 2-3 hours) There is not an alarmist attitude here, I heard indoor gatherings over 1000 people are cancelled out of precaution, mask wearing is under 0.3% in my estimation, French people (I assume) still kiss for greeting others as of today I had seen, and life goes on. It seems life as normal which is scary and comforting at the exact same time.

    I plan to keep my scheduled flight that has not yet been cancelled. If it changes I know there is some EU monetary value for delays. As mentioned above, Europeans still need to get out of the US and US people still need to get home to US. I did read an earlier article that anyone returning to the US from Europe would need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. I think I may find a hotel in the US with wi-fi, food delivery, and I will be good. I don't know whether I will be a disease vector upon my return so that extreme self quarantine will be for family's protection. I will still avoid meeting at risk relatives for a longer period out of caution. I am not stressed by all this, I can care for myself and wait it out here in Europe until my flight back to the US. I think stress will only lowers immune response in light of potential exposure so why add that risk. I will be smart here as I will be about as smart at home with precautions. I have not traveled to any of the known hot spots or came close to those areas. If it transmits as fast as it could/is/has, then I will eventually be exposed to it. I carry the majority of my personal belonging in my bags with me right now, theoretically home is where I am.

    Bit of levity to the situation, I am glad I had a checked bag (small yeoman) for a gift I brought my first host (second time staying there), that caused me to "well I have room, I will take this too" on several items. My A30 was my carry-on. I packed my Pilot, so now I am carrying my A30 as backpack and Pilot with Absolute Strap shoulder carry after reducing the checked bag contents. After following these forums, I now have a Scrubba for clothes washing, TLSS for dirty clothes, laundry detergent, dish soap, insulated bottle, and 2nd one for food, set of utensils, other toiletries, several sets of clothes, umbrella, my Surface tablet, small supply of office supplies and paper, an original large shop bag, and carry a few days of breakfast all in 45 liters total. It has been more work carrying 2 bags versus my first trip at one bag of 25 liters, but I am literally pack in, pack out, set for most anything. Give me wifi, supply of food, a bed, and a bathroom and I would be set for awhile. I don't know what that says about my mental health, but this seems to be a world event that introverts finally have a slight advantage.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by organicfarmer View Post
    There is not an alarmist attitude here, I heard indoor gatherings over 1000 people are cancelled out of precaution, mask wearing is under 0.3% in my estimation, French people (I assume) still kiss for greeting others as of today I had seen, and life goes on. It seems life as normal which is scary and comforting at the exact same time.
    After further discussions with my family member, she confirms that there is not an alarmist attitude, but people are worried. As well as schools, nurseries, and universities being closed, the government has advised people over 70 and with certain health conditions to go out only for food and exercise. She falls into the health conditions category and is taking this seriously. People are also being asked not to visit aged care homes but to phone or write instead. Employers are being encouraged to let as many people as possible work from home. The government is obviously trying to cut down on opportunities for the virus to spread.

    I am looking at postponing my trip, but waiting a bit so I can figure out when to postpone it to.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red and Nebulous Grey, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, Viridian and Grass, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

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