Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Be careful when using game material in your own videos (especially if you monetize), know the copyright rules


 Ian Corzine has a video (from April 2019) on how to use video game content from others legally, and without getting YouTube copyright strikes.

This issue isn’t discussed all that often.

Generally, you need to apply for a specific license, or use a general license, according to the gamer website.

But you may be able to apply “fair use” by transforming the content as you stream from it.  That means providing commentary continuously as you present it, not undermining the reputation of the site with non-congruence (for example, sexual innuendo) and especially not providing spoilers.

You could wonder about copyright and filming indoor attractions that you have to pay to see (model railroads at ground level could be a good example), although right now with everything virtual because of the pandemic, I wonder if that changes.

Corzine posted his three big rules in a tweet. 

It would appear that PewDiePie would be a typical large channel that critiques games properly. It will be interesting to see what HoegLaw thinks of this post (although the Sony business -- he has a lot of videos on that issue -- would provide guidance.) 

By the way, given all the distractions from the pandemic and Trump's behavior, I haven't seen that the Senate has yet gotten around to passing the Case Act.  

Saturday, September 26, 2020

People look for "morality" in their political systems (??)


Here is a good one.  “The culture war is rooted in morality, complacent Americans accept leftist values they do not hold” on Timcast IRL.

They like saying, Marx was a philosopher, not an economist.

It sounds like people (myself included) get uncomfortable holding onto psychic goodies they didn’t earn on their own (although they pretend they did, under economic “meritocracy”), so they expect a moral system to draw some lines and expect to see people held to them.

I made my own little faux pas on Twitter tonight, someday will talk about it.  You can’t take people too lightly when they make demands – like my days at William and Mary.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Could the newer coronavirus strain get by most masks?


CW Headley on Ladders has an alarming piece (on Smart News) maintaining that masks may become less effective in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV2 because of the newer D614G strain.

That variant was particularly present in Houston with the spike in cases this summer. But it seems to have come from Europe in March.

The variant causes some infected to shed more virus and maybe in smaller aerosols, although it doesn’t make the person sicker (in fact, the variant may be associated with milder and more asymptomatic cases).

The virus may be evolving to get around social distancing. It may work out to its advantage to become less virulent and attract a weaker immune response, and to stay more in nose and throat areas.  Over time, that sounds possible.

There would be a good chance that ordinary civilians need to wear higher quality masks like N95s and that they need to be mass-produced.  Men could not keep beards and fit them properly. 

The Washington Post has a more detailed story Sept. 23, by Chris Mooney, et al.  There is a new preprint report from Houston.  It would be important to study all of the massive numbers of positive cases in college students around the country from partying.  Most likely they will show the mutations. It would be important to know how many of their cases are symptomatic.  That hasn't been reported yet.  The idea that masks won't continue working is dangerous, because it argues for even the draconian lockdowns we have seen in New Zealand and Victoria in Australia -- you have to drive the infections to almost zero so that contact tracing works.  It's also important to consider whether the "rapid tests" catch more contagious strains.  Many pundits have not seriously considered the implications of trying to do "Dictator Dan" type lockdowns in the US.  One encouraging observation seems to be that even with the mutations, outdoor protests don't seem to be causing more positive tests and clinical cases -- but these people are mostly young. 

 Nevertheless, Florida governor DeSantis will allow almost all businesses to open with few restrictions (NBC).  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

"Critical (race) theory" and Me (??)


I want need to talk about “critical theory” for a moment, but I need to get at my stake in it first.

Remember, ever since my self-publication of my three DADT books (starting in 1997), I have been maintaining a large mass of blog content supporting it “free”, except for nominal advertising and sales.

I do constantly get contacted to actively support and promote “other people’s causes”, and I get left with an existential question (even related to the film “Agents of Chaos” last night).  My content, if not paid for, doesn’t “meet anyone’s needs”, a basic reciprocity for everything in a civilization – something markets presume.  But at a personal level, it is something you learn in a family first, and then it moves out – to have someone else’s back when it counts, and vice versa.  (Yup, think about mask wearing.)

Indeed, given the current challenges to self-managed Internet speech, it sounds reasonable to think that speakers have to earn “the privilege of being listened to” (a conditional privilege).  That would generally mean some demonstration of social credit worthiness, somewhat in proportion to any unearned privilege someone may have enjoyed.  That seems like a basic moral precept.

So I would say, if you have been privileged and “gotten out of things” others didn’t (risk taking), at some point in your life, you have an obligation to meet people where they are, when they start approaching you.  Today, that could mean joining others in identarian protests.  When a covert public person (like me) does not show willingness to do that, arguably authoritarian leaders (especially on the Right) may feel emboldened, so the theory goes. 

Usually that starts in the family and has to move out, and neither step always happens.  If you aren’t competitive enough to have your own family (and that’s the way I experienced it during the time I grew up), you will want others to recognize that and respect it; but you will be tempted, if intellectually clever enough, to outflank meeting the social demands of others.

Social media may give you unusual opportunities, and these will become controversial, as we have seen in the past few years (foreign interference, Trump, clickbait, etc).

But, I’m quite struck that “morality” at a personal level is about more than making sound choices.  It also has a component of responsiveness to need when it presents itself.  That is part of character, too.  But that requires that when growing up, and into adulthood, people develop skills to meet real needs, which may be a distraction from their pursuing their own individually chosen goals.  With better integrated young people, though, these sorts of capabilities complement each other (like “well rounded student” thing, with athletics as well as scholarship).  With me, it didn’t work out that way. I really had to outflank things.  I would also avoid bonding with people who seemed “needy” (maybe through personal failure or because of structural disadvantage or both) or with whom I could not “affiliate”, and that became a big deal sometimes (like at NIH in 1962) – and that makes bonding in others in newer groups after leaving home much less likely – individuality remains paramount.

The progressive Left could push a program of expecting employers and tech companies (allowing people on their platforms) to look at social credit in an individualized manner (though that sounds like China, maybe).  Instead, it is focused on identarianism (all the way to intersectionality) – which would, applied to my dyspraxia, would have viewed me as “disabled” or maybe even “non binary” and encouraged me to pal around with like-minded others in common oppression.  Such a philosophy, if widely adopted, leaves the risk-taking to the more competent – or sometimes, if unintentionally, to racial minorities, as we saw with the military draft during the Vietnam era, or with the way “essential jobs” expose minorities to COVID today.

Instead, the Left wants everyone to see their level of privilege as coming from illegitimate power structures.  All of my individualistic values of the past (making good choices, academic accomplishment, content creation later) came from a “white power structure”.  What I didn’t earn can be rightfully expropriated, even by force (or by lawlessness, and the practical reality that if something is stolen back from me I won’t get it back – mafia-style thinking). 

It’s understanding that the extreme Left (like the extreme Right) is drawn back to tribalism. Individualism leaves a lot of people behind, to find meaning only through the common accomplishments of their social groups.   “Critical theory” (power associated with identity mixes) refines to “critical race theory” that is (likewise) hostile to individual thinking and choice and initiative.

But we’re back to a world where we report to our own tribe, and then must personally accept our share of reparative justice imposed on a whole tribe.

In a practical sense, it means that a far-Left protester can barge in on me and demand my solidarity with their extreme demands for reparations or for abolishing the police, even when having dinner outside (although that hasn’t actually happened to me personally yet because I have “stayed home” so much).

But if could mean, for example, that at some point in the future, after some major disruption (even like another lockdown or “general strike” or major infrastructure or power grid failure, a lot of things), I am only allowed back on if I will pay tribute to this group’s (BLM) demands for support of their specific remedies.  They demand my “allyship”.   But I cannot really help people with whom I have had nothing to do with before.

Look also at the Modern Wisdom video.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Facebook sued for moderation failures regarding Rittenhouse shootings; but what about Section 230?


ABC News is reporting that Facebook has been sued byprotesters for putting them in fear and danger, based on the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is also named as a defendant, Catherine Thorbecke reports. 

The lawsuit maintains that a particular Facebook post encouraged Kyle Rittenhouse and others (presumably on the political right) to carry and use weapons in the Kenosha protests, in a way that led to two deaths and one serious injury, and intimidated or created fear in lawful protesters.

It maintains that Facebook failed to take down a threatening post. 

The post may have been against Facebook’s policies but the company cannot always remove such posts immediately.  Such expectations are the law largely in the European Union (like Germany) for example, but not in the US. 

Facebook’s obvious defense is Section 230, the second main provision, which would means it is not liable if its monitoring is not “perfect”.

But the lawsuit may well have been filed as a political ploy, to pressure Biden to try to gut Section 230 if he wins the election.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

YouTube will age-restrict a lot more videos


Julia Alexander writes for “The Verge” that YouTube is going to tighten its age-restrictions, using AI.

YouTube's official blog covers the new rules. 

The article maintains that it might not affect monetization much because YT believes that most of the videos monetized under the partner program are child friendly by being advertiser friendly.

Tim Pool disagrees, however, as in this video today.  I must say, some of his logic I don’t quite follow as the video progresses. Ford Fischer explained his reaction (for News2Share) in a tweet thread

Many videos might not embed without user signon to Google.  Bloggers are not supposed to embed age-restricted (under 18) videos.  But many “soft-core” gay videos (those with no explicit full nudity) are not age-restricted right now.  Visitors accessing embeded videos may find they are asked to sign on to their Google accounts before playing the videos inline.  

 In the EU, users will normally have to provide credit or ID cards when signing on. I don't normally notice any of this because my own account does have credit cards (for renting movies or extra cloud space, etc). 

 I have not yet received this email, maybe because my content is not monetized. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Will most of the college student coronavirus cases remain asymptomatic? Then what?


I’m trying to get more of a handle on whether most of the college students who have tested positive, and many are remaining on campus rather than going home to families (that is controversial) are developing symptoms.  And I’m not finding much.  Anecdotally, it sounds as if about 90% of the students have very few if any symptoms.

Sci-show, however, has a sobering video (July 10) on asymptomatic people.  Some (maybe 1/3) may still show ground-glass abnormalities on lung CT scans.  A few could be susceptible to sudden blood clots.

Most have lower persistent levels of IgG neutralizing antibodies. However they may have protection from their T-cells and memory B cells, which may blunt symptoms.  There are some studies which say that women mount a more beneficial T-cell response than men, who may have more cytokine reaction;  yet among younger patients anecdotally, it seems women are about as likely to have harsher symptoms.

CBSN has a longer video which gives more discussion of the memory cells (Aug 12) and also notes that some teens and young adults with more severe symptoms had used e-cigarettes.

Elliot Choy, a Vanderbilt student who was studying abroad in Barcelona last March, and his roommate Luke, did get symptoms: fever (2 days), aches, cough (about a week) and believe he recovered completely.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

NYU suspends student indefinitely for "off-campus" violation of Covid rules when the student complied with NYC rules and is entirely virtual; also "dictator Dan" in Victoria


Reason (Robby Soave) reports that a male student was suspended indefinitely after he was reported in social media being seen at a rooftop party off-campus, without refund of tuition.

The student was a senior and taking all courses virtually, and did not enter NYU property.

In fact, if you follow the student conduct code through, you see that totally off campus conduct usually does not result in discipline, unless criminal.

The rooftop gathering was being conducted within NYC re-opening rules, and the student was there for long and stayed only with his roommates. 

The article doesn’t say whether masks were worn.

An Odysseus Patrick article in the Washington Post examines the surprising popularity of “dictator Daniel Andrews” in Victoria Australia, for his determination to eliminate almost all community spread of the virus by the strictest and longest lasting rules on the planet, confining people to within 1 kilometer of their homes. He insist it is about saving as many lives as possible and everyone must sacrifice for the most vulnerable or they are all fascists. In all honesty, some of his statements indicate he fears that anything less than perfection takes advantage of low income service workers who must put themselves at extra risk, something that Black Lives Matter doesn't push as hard as it could. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Electronic Frontier Foundation examines the way individual countries in the EU apply the Copyright Directive in the "transposition": Trying to stop filters

European Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle - Diliff

 Christopher Schmon has a detailed article about the progress of the European in its “transposition” of the Copyright Directive in member states.  

 Electronic Frontier Foundation has a detailed response on a pdf which is embedded into the story, which also leads to links about specific developments in Germany and the Netherlands.

EFF does not want automatic filters used unless countries can actually prove that they work. 

It also calls for special efforts to protect smaller companies and platforms.

Embed: Wikipedia, EU Parliament in Brussels (click for attribution) 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Could violent protesters be charged with "sedition"? Also, Trump sees a lot of people as beneath him


Barr (and deputy attorneys) have recommended charging a few of the violent protesters in Portland, associated with damage to the courthouse, with sedition – essentially on the theory of trying to overthrow the US government (or a state) by force. The latest Wall Street Journal article, by Sadie Gurman, is here.  

You could review Woodrow Wilson’s history with the 1918 Sedition Act, such as here.   Criticizing the draft was seen as a threat do national security given the provocative climate of 1917, and we all know how this would feed the flu pandemic later.

Nevertheless, the behavior of some violent protesters (and some could be false flags from the right), when not met by local law enforcement, causes an existential threat to businesses and individuals living in the area.

Barr has also made an unfortunate comparison of the effect of lockdowns to slavery.  But it is true, the long term prospect for individual rights as we knew them is not good if the vaccines aren’t effective, or there aren’t other prophylactic treatments. Despite the advantages (like to me) of living alone, people can be forced back into pod-like or extended family tribal existence with much less opportunity to develop their own agency.

Trump has made some unfortunate comments about “disgusting people” and his utter lack of normal empathy.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

In EU, countries double down on upload filters, memes as Article 17 goes into effect


Glynn Moody has a summary article in Techdirt about the “progress” of the EU copyright directive, and it isn’t good.   

Mandatory filers seem to be the rule in most countries.  France seems to be particularly dismissive of user “rights”.  Most memes, it seems, would be removed after all.

The question remains how quickly will large media companies put the pressure for the same measures in the U.S.  

Monday, September 14, 2020

Former Facebook data scientist slams their inconsistent moderation policies


Craig Silverman, Ryan Mac and Pranav Dixit have a scathing article in BuzzfeedNews about a memo written by a former Facebook data analyst, Sophie Zhang, about the content moderation policies affecting non-western countries.

She turned down a severance agreement in order to be able to disclose the problems. But she says she has “blood on her hands” having unbelievable “power” to affect outcomes in unstable countries where authoritarian leaders or trolls manipulate a rather non-literate population. In some countries, Facebook is “the Internet’.

At the same time, Facebook is doubling down on the increasing potential for harm, as with the wildire situation on the West Coast, stopping rumors of how the fires might have been set. (Most start with dry lightning). This also follows their doubling down on obvious trolls and conspiracy theories (“Qanon”, etc). The most factual story I can find on the fires is in the New York Times Sept. 12.  Update:  US News on one of the Oregon fires (Talent). 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Gaming interests warn us about weakening CDA230


Extra Credits has a nice video “Why You Should Care About CDA 230”.  It pays particular heed to the importance for the gaming industry.

It describes the two main provisions as a “shield” (against liability for user speech) and a “band hammer” (allowing content moderation). 

It also notes Trump’s executive order May 31, and mentions Biden’s desire to get rid of 230 entirely.

It also notes the problems caused by FOSTA. 

It mentions that copyright is not covered by 230, but doesn’t mention that the corresponding mechanism for copyright is the DMCA Safe Harbor.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Harvard weighs in (with the help of Vox) on how to mitigate the coronavirus risk in your life (and some profound ethical questions about expecting sacrifices from young adults)


Ezra Klein presents an interview with Harvard epidemiologist Julia Marcus, “How to think about coronavirus risk in your life” with subtitle “A Harvard epidemiologist offers a framework for making key life decisions while managing pandemic risk”, on Vox. 

Marcus notes that young adults on campuses are being expected to make a personal sacrifice for other people, that may not be recoverable (in terms of missed experiences) and that was demanded suddenly.  I could go back and compare all this to the moral uncertainties of the military draft and student deferments in the Vietnam eras.

A colleague of Marcus, Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard, is proposing a system of Rapid Testing that could provide a roadmap to getting things reopened safely, but that leaves complicated compliance questions open.

Harvard student John Fish had mentioned in a recent video that he would be taking (virtually) a course n ethics and the pandemic this fall.  That might be taught in part by Marcus. 

 Kenneth Chang of the New York Times describes a "rapid test" strategy at the University of Illinois, and yet some students who test positive seem to party on, like it was just survival of the fittest. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Maybe a setback in vaccine trial? More conceptual papers on the mysteries behind COVID19; "Rapid Tests" (Harvard) needs a look


There could be a setback in one of the major vaccine trials, AstraZeneca’s Oxford vaccine, because one vaccinated person has become ill.  But it is not definitely confirmed that the illness came from the vaccine.  Peter Sullivan reports for “The Hill”. 

Here’s an important paper from Ariel Bleicher and Katherine Conrad, at the University of Southern California, “We Thought It Was Just a Respiratory Virus”. 

One of the interesting observations is that the virus is not tremendously “cytopathic”, even compared to flu.  Instead it provokes bizarre reactions from the body’s immune and vascular (especially blood pressure regulating) systems.

ZDogg’s recent video also discusses Mina’s proposal for home tests.

 Katherine Wu has a theory in the NYTimes of how "masks" could provide a crude "vaccination", actually "variolation".

  This is a good time to start looking at Michael Mina's Rapid Tests, which would require lobbying state health departments (as well as FDA) and startup money.  Maybe somebody makes a documentary film and gets it on CNN or PBS, quickly, to sell the idea.  

Monday, September 07, 2020

Rioters use ordinary residents as shields against police tear gas in urban riots (at least in Portland)

Portland Untitled 1.74.1 (50148960596)

 TimCast (Tim Pool) reports “BLM Leftists Riot Near Residential Homes Using Locals as Human Shields”.

This was Day 101, and Tim reports incidents like this in Pittsburgh.

Tear gas is said to be looking into people’s homes.

Is this really from “Black Lives Matter”, or for from extremists (foreign or even extreme right) trying to capitalize on the unrest?

Why is local law enforcement so unwilling to do its job? 

Pool refers to Sean Parnell's op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This is serious, guys. 

Akkad Daily analyzes what "radicalism" wants as Sargon dissects Feminista Jones in this video. There is something awful about this idea that people no longer have their own agency.

Karlyn Borysenko talks about a dangerous encounter in Dallas at a "Walkaway" event Sunday.  Dallas Morning News talks about the issue. 

Picture: Embed from Portland riot from Wikipedia, click for attribution 

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Facebook suddenly removes account of News2Share journalist as he covers unrest in Louisville KY near the Derby, no real explanation UPDATE: Now Restored!


  Sometime late on Saturday afternoon, independent journalist Ford Fischer found that his Facebook account had been suddenly disabled, after he had spent a day in Louisville KY near the Kentucky Derby filming confrontations among various adversarial “militia-like” groups.  The page for his company, News2Share, is still available (as of Sunday morning).  

There are many tweets, but this one is typical.  

One of the groups, the “Not F—ing Around Coalition” had made some unusually provocative (for my sensibilities, at least) about reacting to weapons being pointed on camera, and then had herded away journalists and photographers, forcing them to jump a fence.  Note the provocative statement from an NFAC person as the embedded video from News2share begins.

It appears, when I read Facebook’s community standards, that it is acceptable for journalists to cover violent statements or even acts that they encounter as long as the journalists did nothing to encourage them.  Here is the standard regarding weapons .

Facebook has also recently updated it terms regarding organizations associated with violence.    These policies would appear to be neutral and apply to the far right and to some apparent elements of “Antifa” likewise.    Both the far right and far left are capable of violence, but the far right is more often associated specifically with guns (but that is not absolutely true, as we saw recently in Portland, and previously in Dayton).  It is unclear, with some of the unrest in Portland, Rochester, Louisville, Seattle, Kenosha how much violence may have come from underground subversive agitators from the far right or even foreign sources.  Kyle Rittenhouse’s affiliations, from a factual viewpoint, are not completely clear.  Yet Facebook has banned anyone from appearing to “defend” him, even from legitimate legal theories, on its platform.

It might be possible that Facebook feared that a violent event was eminent, but in this case a journalist was filming what others do;  there was no one setting up their own event (like Christchurch had been). This thread by another Twitter user is interesting on this point. 

NBCNews has a perspective on covering violent demonstrations, by Safia Samee Ali, here.  NBC (I used to work for them!) thoughtfully recounts the Heller v DC argument that the 2nd Amendment protects individual self-defense (and property probably) but not necessarily the "right" to organize your own militia -- property should be protected from violent rioters by law enforcement -- but then if law enforcement loses its public trust with profiled police killings, we're back to a Catch 22.  Maybe that could justify "the militia".  (By the way, I do NOT own a firearm -- it's all theoretical for me in a high rise condo.) 

I personally believe it is relevant whether a journalist is making a living from their activity.  An individual who simply wants to speak for self and not join established organizations (out of personal values) may be on weaker grounds when crossing the line on what is posted.

  I also want to notice that Ford seems to have an uncanny ability to interview "combatants" at a protest and get them to calm down. He demonstrated this with unprecedented detail at the site of a police shooting (under difficult circumstances) in SE Washington DC earlier last week.   That is in an area I had once refused to drive in to for volunteer food delivery.  I haven't seen many mainstream media journalists do this.

Ford's YouTube monetization (partner program) was removed suddenly June 5, 2019 in the wake of the "Maza-Crowder" matter, it was restored in December 2019. There was also an incident where Ford linked on Facebook discussing his YouTube demonetization and the post was removed and he was automatically prohibited from linking for 60 hours.  I tried the same link on a Facebook post and was not penalized.  The tech platforms are not transparent in how they handle supposed "conservatives" who seem to be discrediting "wokeness", it seems. 

I was in Shepherdstown W Va Saturday and made a few videos (embedded here) that now seem ironic.  I was in a “Verizon blind spot” and had not learned any news from Louisville when I made these. I’ll come back to them later.

 UPDATE: Sunday night 7:45 PM EDT  Ford reports Facebook has resorted his account, tweet, FB link. This all happened why I toured 17th St in DC (it was all peaceful this time, blog post coming).  Ford thinks this post (photo) might have been misinterpreted by AI as "advocacy" (English doesn't have a subjunctive mood like French does to make this "conjectural" meaning clear to a computer so, write posts like this in French or other Romance language;  I guess Spanish would work.)  [You'll have to scroll down the thread to see the "photo"; Twitter URL's inside threads don't load just the URL, but instead the entire thread.]    Further update:  Ford reports an email from FB and his reply

Wikipedia embed for Churchill Downs image, click for embed. 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Protests in Rochester again coerce ordinary citizens dining out

Rochester aerial aug 17 2007

Protesters (regarding previous death of Daniel Prude) disrupted outdoor dining and flipped over tables in Rochester, New York, last night, in a night of protests that were largely peaceful (Bill Willcott et al, in the Democrat and Chronicle), but there were other moments of high energy. 

Here is twitter video of the restaurant attack, a lot more emphatic than what happened in Washington DC recently (Aug 26). 

Marissa Lang writes in the Washington Post that more radical protests are here to stay for a while. 

Wikipedia picture of downtown Rochester embed, click for attribution. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Facebook deletes posts that offer newsworthy factual examination of Rittenhouse over "dangerous persons" policy


Facebook has removed a post by “conservative” author Mark Dice which purported to show Kyle Rittenhouse giving aid to a BLM protester. 

Dice has had other actions taken against his account, but the main justification for the latest action was that Dice was supporting a “known dangerous individual” which the company has called a “mass murderer.”

Perhaps the idea that Rittenhouse has not had his day in court is not enough.  But here, as defense attorneys have pointed out (and the defense attorney has apparently been banned from Twitter) there is a lot of fact-finding and investigating to be done before predicting any legal outcome.  There seems to be some credible evidence that Rittenhouse had been attacked.  It’s not clear that his “victims” were legitimate B:M protesters, they may have been from the Right. 

Of course, it is reasonable (even for Facebook) to say a minor, a 17 year old, should not be invited to guard private property with a military firearm in public streets. 

There is also a lot of disturbing uncertainty about Jacob Blake’s actions before he was shot.  We don’t seem to have the facts yet.

Reclaim the Net has a story. 

Breitbart also has a major story. 

Wikipedia picture of Kenosha from air, click for attribution 

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Exactly how should people prepare for possible self-isolation when being tested (with no symptoms)?


Wednesday morning, I do have an annual Medicare physical, and I may or may not have my first COVID test.  I am told they don’t give them routinely (not just to look for asymptomatic spread). I will get the fly shot.

As of June 30, this was the typical situation with doctor’s offices (with North Carolina as a sample).   It seems like the test would be sent out and go through the health department.

Yet on March 28 The Verge had reported on a test from Abbott where the doctor can get a result in about 15 minutes (it is a swab test).

An article Aug. 9 by Ken Alltucker for USA Today sums it up:  except for big league sports, it seems difficult to get results back quickly

So let’s take a quick look at Harvard Professor Mina’s plan for home test kits, which are like diabetics’ testing blood sugar.  Your result goes to your smart phone, and everywhere you go you demonstrate a negative test to get in.  Sounds like a South Korea plan.  But it could get the economy completely reopened in about six weeks without lockdowns.

It would really be a boon for schools and campuses.

But there is one really big problem.  Suppose you have no symptoms but can get a positive test back in 15 minutes.  Maybe by yourself, maybe at a doctor’s office.

By law, your test has to be sent to the health department (maybe by the phone app).  You are legally required to quarantine immediately.  No more groceries, no more computer repairs.  You have to be prepared for immediate isolation.  If you were in a doctor’s office, you couldn’t take a taxi or Uber home. If you live in a high rise, could you even take the elevator to your unit (I presume you have a good mask)?

Health departments say you can call number to work out details.  Typically, contact tracers will ask about other household members and determine if you can be isolated at home.  In many cases you might have to be sent to a hotel. 

But it seems as though finding out you are positive (but not ill) presents a potential Catch-22 that no one has answered.  Mike Hansen has an Aug. 29 video on new rapid antigen tests, which are nasal tests but less intrusive, and as noted a few months ago by Verge, can give results in about 15 minutes (set up like pregnancy tests).  Presumably these should be available soon in doctor's offices. The home version is not yet licensed by the FDA.  Again, if you have a test in an office and can learn the result immediately at the office, you need to be prepared beforehand as to how you would function (if not ill otherwise) and this hasn't been thought through yet. The tests can be tied to smartphone apps to develop passes for entry (or like for flying). 

You could have tremendous “personal losses” from this kind of a trap if not prepared properly.  It sounds like a “Stafford Gambit” in chess.

The Left wants to laugh, “welcome to oppression.”

I don’t really find many answers on how you get stuff done if you get caught in such a trap.  You’re supposed to have a “friend” do things for you.  But then, if you don’t have a family, you have to prepare others in advance, right?

(Posted: Tuesday Sept. 1, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT)