[conspire] Upcoming resumed in-person CABAL, May 8th, 4pm-12m

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 25 16:39:34 PDT 2021

We're going ahead with an in-person CABAL on the scheduled next day, 
Saturday, May 8th.  This next bit is important, so I'm going be pithy:

Guests are welcome.  They must:

o  Be COVID-19 vaccinated, with enough time for ramped-up immunity[1]
o  Feel it's safe to be here in company.
o  Agree this is at your own risk.

I _might_ check arrivals' CDC vaccination cards, _or_ might not.  By May
8th, everyone in my household will be 2+ weeks out from receiving the
Moderna vaccine, and we feel pretty safe (re: COVID-19 risk to

But I cannot guarantee much about your fellow guests, if
you come.  I am not going to require facemasks.  As in before times,
this event will be in my spacious back yard, spilling over into my
house.  The point is, in personally attending, you might be in close
proximity to someone who's asymptomatically infected.  We in my
household have high confidence in the effectiveness of recently
administered Moderna and Pfizer vaccination[2], including against known
newer virus variants.  Which means _we're_ cool.  Whether you're cool
also is for you to judge.

San Mateo County (and adjoining counties) certainly isn't yet rid of the
pandemic, but the stats are hugely promising.
https://www.smchealth.org/data-dashboard/county-data-dashboard  Note on
that dashboard the estimate of 0.85 for epidemiological metric
R-effective[3]:  That is the factor expressing growth trend.  R-effective
of over 1 means increasing spread (to more infected people at a given
time).  Exactly 1 means steady-state infection in a population:  On
average, a single new infection starts as each existing one ends.  Below
1 is _good_:  It means _decreasing_ spread, heading towards, ideally, no 
more disease in the community.  So, 0.85 is modestly good.

Curtailing the pandemic requires increasing the percentage of the
population who've either survived prior infection (and retained immune
system protection against reinfection) or been vaccinated -- this being
the much-abused concept of 'herd immunity'.  Estimates of how high that
vaccinated-or-previously-infected rate must be for herd immunity have
been a touchy point of contention.  Dr. Fauci most recently estimated
70-90%.  He feels it cannot be as high as 95%, what is required for
measles herd immunity[4], and says he'd bet his house on that.

It's difficult to find out what the current vaccination percentage is,
in the county:  All you find online are blatantly self-serving press
releases about rate of coverage of specific subpopulations, and about the
county having a "goal" of 40% overall coverage.  Nationwide, the figure
I see most often is a current 20% vaccination rate for the country's
entire population.

This is why the country as a whole, and also local counties, have a long
way to go, why the push for broad vaccination must be kept up, and why
social distancing and face masks continue to be necessary to save lives
and health.  But we with fully ramped-up vaccine coverage can, in my
opinion, now afford to celebrate and gather just a little with the

I will be doing barbecue, homemade garlic bread, and pies at the
minimum, and am considering what else would help celebrate the spring
and a return to partial normalcy (at least) for some of us.

If you will not be attending in person, we will still be continuing the
virtual portion of CABAL via Jitsi Meet, so that remote and in-person
attendees can be 'together' at least in a sense.

[1] Rampup is observed to require about two weeks for all three
FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

[2] The J&J single-shot vaccine is also excellent, though different, 
and, even though its raw effectiveness against infection is lower, its
effectiveness against _severe_ COVID-19 is extremely high -- which 
actually is huge and in many senses all the really matters, because 
that means a kind of headcold instead of an infection that can ruin your
health of kill you in a particularly horrible way.  As the saying goes,
the best vaccine against COVID-19 is whichever of the three you can get
into your arm soonest.  If you can get J&J soonest, for Ghu's sake, 
jump at the chance!

I initially omitted J&J for simplicity, and because the other two,
despite their 2-dose complications, are an utter triumph and are state
of the art.

[3] Related to the oft-quoted metric R-zero aka R0, the "basic
reproduction number", and the difference is complicated.  Basically, R0 
is the metric for the doomsday scenario where a pathogen hits and all
individuals are susceptible to infection.  R-effective (the "effective
replication number") is the same metric _but_ adjusted for local
conditions such as some portion of the population having known existing

[4] Measles is often cited as a worst-case, extremely infectious
communicable disease.  Its R0 has been about 14-18, during major
outbreaks in the 20th C.  That means each infected person infects on
average 14 to 18 other people before the person's infection abates.
So, to prevent a measles outbreak from continuing to expand, on average
13 to 17 other persons an infected person encounters must be vaccinated
(or have developed immunity from having had measles).  So, somewhere
from 13/14 and 17/18, or 92% to 94%, of the population, need to have
immunity.  This is why public health efforts aim to keep 95% of the 
population vaccinated with the MMR vaccine that protects against
measles.  COVID-19 is somewhere below that nightmare case, but it's not
yet clear what the exact R0 number (or local R-effective number) is.

The two R-metrics are interesting conceptual metrics, but one must
always remember that populations are not uniform, as seen when there was
a California measles explosion in 2014 because a large number of antivax
idiots gathered their unvaccinated children together at Disneyland.
So, even though the MMR coverage is 95%+ statewide, unfortunately for
the kids, it was tragically lower at that place and time, and dozens
of people became pointlessly extremely ill.  

Antivax advocacy kills, and ruins lives.  Just sayin'.

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