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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk
This has unsurprisingly been one of the more divisive threads I've written. Plenty of positive reactions, but also many people tweeting back - often angrily - that they feel it's an about-face, or an collapse of credibility. Let's spend some more time on this, if you're game.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
One of the most important elements of outbreak control, and public health generally, is trust. And many of you have let me know you feel I've broken that trust. I see things differently, but I respect that folks might want more of an explanation.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
A lot of the pushback has been a version of "why don't lockdown rules apply to the protests?" When those rules were first applied, we really didn't understand much about the virus. So lockdowns were an initial blunt, but proven, instrument to slow spread. And they did.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
And as we've learned more, our approach can be less blunt. I worked with colleagues to put out this guidance last month, which takes a more nuanced approach to closures, based on balancing risk and criticality.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
Large gatherings are not recommended; but outdoor activities with mitigation and distancing are assessed as low risk. So as I said in the original thread, a large protest has potential to amplify transmission, but is also not a highest-risk activity.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
Why then, others have asked, is this different from a rally, a worship service, a sporting event, a funeral? The main issue is how much exposure will deliver an infectious dose. That's a function of duration, closeness of contact, air flow, mitigation.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
Anything indoors (worship, indoor sports event or rally, etc) is going to be considerably higher risk than an outdoor protest. I'd be very opposed to doing anything like this indoors. Outdoor events - sports, concerts, rallies - are lower risk but can pose a duration problem.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
I expect super-spreading in those outdoor settings would be limited, because airflow would prevent anyone beyond a very close range from an infectious exposure. But for those seated nearby throughout a whole 2-3 hour event, there'd be a considerable risk.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
Protests are a bit different. Less stationary, less prolonged close contact to any particular person. So that can further reduce (not remove) the risk. I'd put outdoor funerals in a similar category, or even lower risk, assuming everyone is masked and staying distanced.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
Another question - if people are allowed to "balance risks" for these protests, why not let other people, or businesses, do the same? Partly because, again, we initially didn't know enough about how the disease spread. Can't balance a risk you don't understand.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
We know enough now that we can start more of that, and states are generally doing so. But I continue to support a very cautious approach to reopening anything indoors, especially if it involves prolonged close contact (that was my beef with GA's reopening plan).
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
The other factor is the difference between a one-off risk and a sustained risk. While these protests may go on for days/weeks, a reopening policy change is more enduring. Formal policy changes elevate more risk, more universally, in a more permanent way.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
So from a strict perspective of transmission risk, the protests are concerning, but not clear-cut. Not the highest level of risk, but definitely a risk. So the question inevitably comes back to: is that risk worth taking? That's the criticality issue. It's a judgment call.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
On this, some have accused me of being innumerate (I did drop out of calculus, tbf) because COVID will kill more people of color this year than police violence and white supremacy will. To which I can only echo this:
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
It is really, really hard to compare the relative damage of prolonging this outbreak with the damage of a centuries-long epidemic of racial violence. I don't think there's a scientific answer to that dilemma. But I do think what we're seeing in US streets is historic.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
So I don't think the right question is "why are the protests ok if the Ozarks pool party isn't?" (although to answer: MASKS!!) Rather, the right question is: if this were the Selma marches, or Stonewall, would it then be worth the risk? Because it's shaping up that way.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
And for me, that tips the balance. We have a virus pandemic vying with a violence pandemic, and there's no good way to choose between them. But an opportunity for historic cultural change - playing out in real time - is not to be wasted. Even if virus-wise, the timing sucks.
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Jeremy TEST/TRACE/ISOLATE - NO SHORTCUTS Konyndyk Jun 5
Replying to @JeremyKonyndyk
So that's my take, and you can go back to dismissing me as an SJW ideologue if you like. But I hope you can understand where I'm coming from, and why I don't see it as a radical break with what I've been saying for the last five months.
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