America is Partially Reopening. What are Your Limits?

Mish

State-by-state, Covid-19 restrictions are lifting. Some people are ready to do anything, most aren't.

Will You Go to a Bar? Concert? Restaurant?

Statista has an Interesting Poll on Covid-19 reopening activities.

My Answers

  • I seldom go to movies and would definitely avoid them.
  • I miss pubs very much, especially weekend karaoke. But microphone sharing is one of the riskiest things. I will suffer longer.
  • I don't like sporting events or indoor concerts or gyms at all and would not go anyway.
  • I miss eating out, especially on weekends. After dining out, we do karaoke. This is a perhaps, except for the karaoke part. It would depend on the place, the crowds, and distancing.
  • I don't frequent malls, but if I was so inclined, I would go unless they were packed. If there were too many people, I would leave.
  • I would go to museums if they were not crowded, but this is not an activity I normally do.
  • I cut my own hair, miserably, and it is short enough to postpone the decision. When I get tired of my bad cuts I will reconsider. But perhaps I get better and save the time and money.
  • Supermarkets are already in. I am pretty careful when I am in one. Thay have not been crowded.

I doubt if I am close to the typical person, but my answers seem to be in the ballpark. 

Yet, most things are clustered around the 45-55% level. This is higher than I expected, especially for pubs and bars.

Two Caveats 

  1. What people say they will do and what they actually do may be totally different things.
  2. What happens 6-8 weeks from now will very much depend on the results over the next 3-4 weeks.

Heaven help us if there is a second major wave and other panic.

Meanwhile the shutdown costs keep piling up. I expect millions of small businesses may fail. 

For discussion of one owner's reaction, please see Closing Permanently "Thank You From the Bottom of Our Hearts"

Is Sweden's Herd Immunity Strategy the Best We Can Do?

Mish

Comments (116)
No. 1-28
bubblelife
bubblelife

My answers are similar to yours. At the beginning of March I was on my gym's treadmill listening to a woman nearby with a hacking cough. The next day I bought a set of dumbbells and resistance bands. I'm loving my home workouts and really enjoying cycling instead of the usual cardio machines. Mish and karaoke? I would love to see a video of one of your performances.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"What happens 6-8 weeks from now will very much depend on the results over the next 3-4 weeks."

...

Key. My wife and I already discussed and we're going to continue current routine for 3 weeks after opening to see if spike occurs.

One change is I have a haircut appointment next week. First one of the day. The rules are 50% capacity / appointment only / masks for both parties.

randocalrissian
randocalrissian

The relative percentages just about match with my risk multi-ranking of these activities. I would defintely do supermarkets (been the errand guy for family for two months now), hairdresser, museum, and big box stores (have done a few times since lockdown).

For the rest of the list, sporting events and restaurants are the only two highly desirable outings for me, but both can and likely will wait for many months perhaps into 2021 before I venture there.

Bars I have always looked for reasons to avoid, this makes it easy perhaps forever. Theater is months off and low interest. Concerts are something I can't imagine attending (the crowded SRO kind, not the each person gets a theater seat kind) for at least one year, or six to nine months after this event wraps up whichever is longer.

Family vacation for 50th bday to Costa Rica in December will be canceled most likely when our full payment deadline comes. Would have been interesting to see air travel listed here.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Jerome Powell speech this morning. Two absolute laughers:

...

"There was no economy-threatening bubble to pop and no unsustainable boom to bust."

"When this crisis is behind us, we will put these emergency tools away."

Corto
Corto

I have been and am going to work in our office daily since the start. We are deemed essential and it keeps me from going crazy. I live in IL, and Pritzker just said he thinks we have flattened so well that we now won't peak until mid-June. I don't get it. All their metric curves are on a downward slope. Why peak in mid-June now? This has kind of thrown me over the edge. My mother (85) is depressed. My mother in law (79) is uber-depressed. They haven't left their houses for 2 months.

The entire system in the US will be destroyed if kids can't go back to school in the fall. No way would I pay full tuition for my oldest if classes are online. I am so tired of this.

I would go to any of those events and places. I have been an NPR/CBS/CNN guy for a couple years, after Trump never became presidential. I currently, though, find myself turning on Fox more often, and I was even swearing at Fauci on a TV loop at Costco yesterday. There seems to be such an attempt at putting out as much bad news as possible lately.

Carl_R
Carl_R

I don't do theater, bars, restaurants, concerts, malls, museums or sporting events anyway. In general, as long as everyone else has a mask on, I have no problem with going anywhere. So, for example, if i went to the mall, and everyone had a mask on, I wouldn't be concerned about it in the least. The gym concerns me precisely because people can't wear a mask while they exercise, but other than that, nothing else on the list is a concern.

guidoamm
guidoamm

We are fairly certain the virus is already out in the general population.

That being the case, sheltering in place can only slow down the rate of infection.

Assuming Covid19 is as infectious as it is purported to be, upon lifting the lock-downs therefore, a resurgence is guaranteed.

Now however, we are also hearing that some of our leaders want to extend the lock downs till a vaccine is found.

Considering that we have been working on a Corona virus vaccine for the best part of 30 years with nothing to show for it, a vaccine in short order is not in the cards. That Mr. Gates should claim that he is 18 months away from producing one should elicit a healthy degree of scepticism.

On a related note, allow me the following:

If for some reason sea air should turn out to be a phenomenal inhibitor for this virus, we know that in a closed sample Covid19 infects around 30% of the population.

The ships Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Theodore Roosevelt and the Zaandam (for which thanks to The Guardian we have a very accurate time line: https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/apr/07/zaandam-onboard-the-coronavirus-hit-cruise-ship) give us a representative sample of more than 15000 individuals between passengers, crew and sailors, that have been exposed directly and intimately to Covid19 during several days.

In the case of the Zaandam, we have more than 2000 passengers and crew that were stranded at sea for 14 days before Covid19 manifested. During those 14 days therefore, passengers and crew mingled intimately in an environment that is notorious as a breeding ground for germs and viruses.

Keep in mind too that cruise ship passengers, on average, are the cohort that is most at risk for this virus.

Yet, in this sample of 15000 individuals over all the ships in question, we have had fewer than 4000 infections and under 30 deaths.

Therefore, if Covid19 should turn out to be more infectious on land, a second wave is guaranteed.

Eradication is also not in the cards. Not any time in the next few months at least.

So, what are you going to do?

hhabana
hhabana

I'm in healthcare and wear a mask at work. We have various barriors set up too. I'm ok with it. Not into gyms, bars, or eating out. Rather exercise in fresh air, drink my own booze at home and I know how to cook so I eat rather well. Museums and travel is ok with me with a mask. If I'm outside, I don't wear a mask at all. I ride a motorcycle and the only good thing related to Corona is I got clear roads and I'm loving it!

njbr
njbr

My guess for the future of the opening lies with the Kawasaki-type disease in children.

If this becomes even slightly more prevalent or more in the news you will have the modern parent become much more skittish about re-opening anything, including the schools and going back to work.

(When I was little, I guess our parents would have sent us to school in a smallpox epidemic, walking uphill 10 miles to school in a blizzard. And it was uphill again on the way home.)

People apparently don't care about an amorphous at-risk person somewhere who may die, and there is a sense of invulnerability in many young adults, but those very same invulnerable people with children are extremely squeamish about setting their child up for a possibility lifetime of difficulty with a serious effect from this disease.

One study I saw is that kids were biologically half as likely to transmit the disease but socially had twice as many contacts likely to result in transmission, in essence having the same transmission factor as adults.

The logical guidelines for reopening schools would include greater spacing in the classrooms (how--with many classrooms at 30 or more kids?), better ventilation (major expense), teachers that accept the risk of facing 30 or more kids every day with possibly a different batch of students every hour. It's so damn difficult, that on-line learning is the the most do-able thing, which means that at least one parent will continue to be tethered to the house every day. (Liquor stores do do delivery!)

Jdog1
Jdog1

The real issue is effective treatment. The medical community is still struggling to find an effective treatment for this, and that is the real danger. It is doubtful they will ever come up with a vaccine, but if they develop treatment methods that are reasonably effective, it will go a long way towards ending the fear of the virus.
Even though death rates are reasonably low, the virus can do serious permanent damage to lungs and organs which for me is the primary concern. A virus that can easily damage your kidneys irreparably is a real concern even if you are not within a high mortality demographic. Until a treatment is developed that lowers the threat of organ damage, I will continue to avoid all unnecessary human contacts.

Webej
Webej

Already had it, so I'll be doing anything I please if permitted.

When are you all planning to get it?

It's endemic, cannot be contained, so everybody will be exposed sooner or later...

njbr
njbr

Masks aren't magic.

They reduce the amount of virus emitted, and the amount of virus received.

The reduction depends on the nature of the mask of the emitter and the receptor.

However, if you are jammed in shoulder to shoulder for a short time, or in any enclosed space with others for an extended time, or in a place where there is heavy breathing (?!?), there is greater likelihood of transmission despite masks being worn. Even good masks--which most people still DO NOT have. This is not even considering those who refuse to wear masks.

That is where distancing and separation come in as an important adjunct to masks.

DBG8489
DBG8489

I plan to do all the things I love to do as well as many things I have always wanted to do. And the more things that open, the more I will do.

The world is a large and wonderful place and I plan to take this opportunity to explore as much of it as possible while the "crowds" are kept away by fear. The lack of demand should drive prices down which will make it even easier - and more enjoyable.

Yes, lack of demand may mean many of the things I want to do simply won't open - or will close.

However, I am sure there will be plenty to keep me occupied when I am not working.

tokidoki
tokidoki

I will miss traveling. That's it. The rest I can deal with.

njbr
njbr

Missed opportunity and wasted time...

...So what would a more targeted public-health approach look like? Let’s take just the age-skew data and rewind to late February, when the first two residents of the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, died from COVID-19. At that point, given the striking clarity of the data as it was coming out of China, a national effort to focus on protecting the health of the country’s elderly could have begun in earnest. We could’ve immediately prioritized the supply of PPE to old-age homes, perhaps deploying a sort of national monitoring force of public-health officials to hold these facilities (notoriously poorly run) up to standard and ensure that new, coronavirus-specific hygienic protocols were enforced. We could’ve done the same for testing materials, requiring residents and staff to be regularly tested, as New York has just now started to do, only months later, after nearly 5,000 have died in nursing homes in the state. We could’ve stopped discharging from hospitals elderly patients who were going to return to nursing homes and potentially spread the disease, instead establishing a more centralized quarantine system like those in Hong Kong and Wuhan. We could’ve been much more emphatic and explicit in issuing behavioral guidelines for the elderly, their families, and those interacting with them, so that it was much clearer precisely what the risks to the old were and how all of those around them could try to minimize them. We could’ve provided additional support for those living alone, or trying to isolate, in part by ramping up meal- and prescription-delivery programs. We could’ve deployed the limited resources we had capable of real contact tracing to focus on elderly communities, and as we expanded those resources, we could’ve continued that focus even as the contact tracers expanded their purview to deal with more and more of the pandemic.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

We are hunkered down. And, will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

We only go to 2 shops:

  1. the liquor store where get to shop before it is open to the public
  2. our local tiny butcher

Groceries are delivered.
For now, no more travel, dining, movies.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

That survey was a blunt financial forecast. Even if half of those responding ( 20-25% of all respondents ) they would avoid an activity or place, the economic slowdown will lead to a depression.

Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT
Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT

Florida relaxed restrictions, so I've gone out a couple times to my favorite restaurants. Crowds have been light, which is nice. Restaurants are very cautious.

numike
numike

"A healthy person has a hundred wishes, but a sick person has only one.”
― A.G. Riddle, Pandemic

anoop
anoop

Not sure if the poll captures whether the person used to participate in the said activity/event pre-COVID. For a person that never goes to the movies, it doesn't matter whether or not the restrictions are lifted. Same for a person that never goes to bars, etc.
Once the restrictions are lifted and MSM says it's safe to go, everybody will be out there.

Morn
Morn

I'm in my mid-30s, in shape, and relatively healthy - all in all at low risk for mortality from this (as it stands now) and thus not overly concerned about engaging in shopping trips for necessities or outdoor activities with small groups. That said, I'd still vastly prefer to wait until we know more about recovery complications (what's the actual risk of stroke, long-term lung or organ damage, etc) before I willingly subject myself to large crowds or go somewhere with tight quarters where I'd have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others. I'd also like to be able to see my parents again (my father in his late 70s and my mother in mid 60s) with some degree of confidence that I would not be potentially infecting them, so that will further discourage any egregious risk taking on my part even if I felt safe personally. This is also the reason I'll continue to wear a mask in public, as it's not about your own safety (although that's a nice side-benefit), it's about not infecting others who may be more compromised than you are.

Mish
Mish

Editor

@bubblelife "Mish and karaoke? I would love to see a video of one of your performances."

Bubbles B Goode

jfpersona1
jfpersona1

As several have mentioned, travel is a kicker. General items:

  1. Movies - little to no interest
  2. Bars - would be nice, but didn't go very often before and don't plan to go until 'opening' results are better understood
  3. Concerts/Sporting Events - no interest
  4. Restaurants - This is a high interest one for me; but right now I have no plans to start going out. Maybe after a month or 6 weeks I'll re-evaluate based on results in areas that have opened.
  5. Museums - little interest; would consider going if not crowded
  6. Malls/Shopping - little interest; would base on crowds and behavior of those around me. I want this to be relaxed - not a source of stress. So I'd check out stores, but likely will continue with online purchases if crowds make physical stores inconvenient.
  7. Barber - I do want a haircut; but I don't tend to go super often (every few months). Would probably look at what sort of disinfection/distance precautions are being used (within reason).
  8. Supermarkets - This is a hard one. We've used the grocery delivery options and have found them to be subpar. Going to some markets has also been a subpar experience because of the lack of even basic respect (by those around you) and control of distancing and cleanliness. We'll be trying other (unfortunately, more expensive) markets to see if the experience is any better. If I had to recommend anything in this category, it would be getting delivery of Costco items - there is less chance of 'lame' substitutions and yet enough selection and quality that you can get largely what you need. It's not good for everything, though.
  9. Travel - This is a sore point. My son is out-of-state and we would have seen him at least once in this interim shutdown time. Missing the trip was necessary and acceptable, but I'm not sure when we'll be able to 'replace' it right now. Air travel, even as light as it is, is not attractive given the layout of seating on planes (obviously a carry-over from pre-pandemic; but the airlines only appear to be half-heartedly embracing what will likely be a new normal going forward. Filling planes in their current layout is a non-starter for me.) Other travel options have many of the same problems - trains have seating layout issues; car travel is very long and likely involves staying in a hotel/motel. I don't have a solution for this one other than to see how travel options shake out over time and getting comfortable with what I can personally control to make travel acceptable.
El_Ted0
El_Ted0

Movie theaters in the afternoon, unless it's some recently released, dumb Disney blockbuster, are usually pretty empty.

Jojo
Jojo

If you have kids in CA CSU, demand a tuition refund!

May 12, 2020 / 6:29 AM
California cancels fall university classes as Fauci warns of reopening too soon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California’s state university system, the largest in the United States, canceled classes on Tuesday for the fall semester because of the coronavirus, while Los Angeles County said its stay-at-home order was likely to be extended by three months.

CEOoftheSOFA
CEOoftheSOFA

I just renewed my season football tickets and 3 days ago I flew from New York to Seoul, and I'm 65. What does that tell you about my limits? On the way to Seoul we weren't attacked by natives or chased by tornadoes and we never ran out of food or water. The US would never have expanded past the Appalachians if the Colonial people had the backbone of the people today.

Montana33
Montana33

I will only go to the grocery store which I already do and they manage it very well where I live.

  • I love restaurants but I won't go in them. I order a lot to go, at least once a day for lunch or dinner.
  • I struggle with my hair but I'll keep handling it myself.
  • I LOVE going to the movies and did it often, but I won't go anymore. Not worth it.
  • I did frequent the nearby shopping mall but I buy everything online now and will continue to do so
  • My husband used to attend basketball games but he won't anymore
  • We went out for beer every Friday with friends but that's over for good. Now we social distance drink with friends outside.
  • I cancelled my gym membership - breaks my heart. I do Zumba online now.
  • I never went to concerts or museums
  • Travel is what kills me. We LOVE to travel and spend most of our disposable income on it. We cancelled several trips this year and will only travel to a place where we can drive and hike safely with very few people around, which is not much of a vacation. I'll wait until covid is gone before we travel. I don't trust other people.

You are so right Mish - all these businesses are cooked. Even a 5% or 10% decline in revenue can wipe out all of their profits. We're talking about 25%-40% permanent revenue loss. Very few businesses can survive that.

I don’t understand these "magical" thinkers who make statements that the economy can thrive if only we let people go out. They blame the shutdown for all of our problems. They don’t understand that Fear is an incredibly strong emotion and that graph above shows that you can't dismiss people's fears.

I'm quite healthy but that doesn't matter. Healthy people may live but suffer kidney, heart or lung damage. We don’t know enough. Why do people think dying immediately is the only negative outcome? The data says otherwise but we don’t know the rates yet. My mom is old and unhealthy and I have overweight family members which is a big risk factor. I WILL NOT be the one to infect and kill a family member.


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