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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Empty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird

So, with the very likely possibility that baseball and basketball — at minimum — will be played to empty stadiums, it begs the question: Will it be as fun?

And before you answer, think about it for a second. No crowd noise. No intensity that builds for the home team or against the away team. Yes, the scoreboard will tell the tale, but the pressure is cranked up when you have a building full of crazy fans screaming their lungs out.

I get that it’s a business and that the money’s at the ML level, but considering crowds, distance from population centers, and the pleasures of relaxed fandom, I’ve been thinking that we might just run some mLs instead.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 28, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 7427 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, fans, stadiums

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   1. JRVJ Posted: April 28, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5945417)
My reaction to every one of these articles is, what's the alternative?
   2. asinwreck Posted: April 28, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5945431)
I watched late-season Pirate games in the mid-90s, so this will not be a new experience.
   3. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 28, 2020 at 12:44 PM (#5945444)
I grew up going to Indians games in the 80s. I'll be fine.

Also, I've enjoyed the hell out of the empty-stadium CPBL games I've watched this month.
   4. winnipegwhip Posted: April 28, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5945451)
The Astros will only need to tap on a empty tin of Copenhagen now instead of a trash can.
   5. Scott Lange Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5945472)
They should let two quarantine-bonded fans for each team into each game. Every time something happens, you can cut to those two either celebrating or despairing. Plus, you'll be able to hear exactly what they're bellowing out.
   6. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5945475)
Will this be like the scene in Bull Durham where the radio people are turning on crowd noise when something happens? Only there will be piped in crowd reactions??
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5945482)
They should let two quarantine-bonded fans for each team into each game. Every time something happens, you can cut to those two either celebrating or despairing. Plus, you'll be able to hear exactly what they're bellowing out.
I'd give it about 3 games max before they start doing the ####### "WHOOOO!!" thing back and forth.
   8. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:05 PM (#5945483)
I dunno...it is kinda at first, but I've been watching Taiwanese baseball for a couple of weeks now and I'm pretty much used to it. Honestly, I can watch most of a game without really thinking much about it, except when the announcers explicitly start talking about it. It will probably be really weird watching the Yankees in an empty stadium at first...maybe I'll just pretend it's 1990. But, really, TV productions of sports are so slick and well produced now and have such great camera angles and closeups and whatnot that it's easy to not think about it.

When I watch my team play on the road, I'm always rooting for a dead silent crowd anyway.
   9. Jay Seaver Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:30 PM (#5945490)
The couple minutes or so I'd catch of the WWE show before Briarpatch for the past month or two have seemed surreal, but I suppose I'd get more used to it with exposure to the whole thing.

My idea: Use cardboard cutout/inflatable crowd things, but sell "virtual season tickets" or whatever to fans, where you can not only have your face put on a mannequin, but can open up your microphone and it will be mixed into crowd noise (be a bigoted jackass and MLB is keeping your money while shutting your mic off for the rest of the season, and quite possibly giving your mannequin a t-shirt that says "bigoted jackass").

I'm kind of only half-kidding here; it's only slightly more ridiculous than the time the Marlins were selling tickets to a no-hitter after the fact.

(I will personally pay for the kazoo guy in Fenway's RF bleachers)
   10. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5945493)
9--robots. Doing the wave. Then self-destructing as punishment
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 28, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5945594)
We've had a few of our "mock the news" shows carrying on with no audience and no laugh track and I've been surprised at how much the humor falls flat. Some of it is that the timing is all wrong ... or maybe the timing is the same but it just sounds weird without the laughs. Also the things you don't think are funny in the original context come across way worse when nobody laughs. But I suspect there are things I would have laughed at in that "communal" setting that I don't without the social cues -- possibly a threshold effect of "I guess that was kinda funny."

But sports at home is already a separated experience. Probably the tense moments won't seem as tense which means the joy/sorrow won't be as great. I suspect the average viewer would take less notice of the best defensive plays or the ones where the runner tries to stretch the double into a triple due to the lack of crowd noise signalling that this is a big deal. You probably get more used to it but we've all become so attuned to those "social" cues.
   12. Baldrick Posted: April 28, 2020 at 05:33 PM (#5945597)
I watch a lot of women's soccer, including in places outside the US where crowds are sparse-to-nonexistent. It's obviously less fun than having a big boisterous crowd, but it's fine.
   13. KronicFatigue Posted: April 28, 2020 at 05:56 PM (#5945604)
How will Fox broadcast a game w/o zooming in on attractive women and/or stressed fans with their hands clasped together?
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 28, 2020 at 06:01 PM (#5945609)
How will Fox broadcast a game w/o zooming in on attractive women and/or stressed fans with their hands clasped together?
They'll cut to shots of stars of Fox shows sitting on their couches at home.
   15. catomi01 Posted: April 28, 2020 at 06:20 PM (#5945621)
When I worked in the Atlantic League, we had a few odd-start times due to rain outs and things like that a few times a season. I have no idea why, but we played one game at like 2/3 PM on a weekday in September in front of maybe 2 dozen people....it was a surreal experience....you could basically talk to the third basemen from the first base dugout.
   16. Traderdave Posted: April 28, 2020 at 06:34 PM (#5945625)
I went to weekday afternoon game in Cleveland in '84 or '85 where the the crowd was so small I heard the bullpen phone ring. The concession stand sold 16 or 17 year old me a beer. I guess they were bored.
   17. Karl from NY Posted: April 28, 2020 at 07:46 PM (#5945645)
We've already had a few instances of empty-stadium sports, besides the Taiwanese league now. During the March week where everything fell apart, there were a couple days of European soccer matches being played and on TV without fans. I was at a sports bar during one of those evenings. It actually wasn't all that weird on TV, in fact I didn't even notice the stands were empty for about the first five minutes.
   18. puck Posted: April 28, 2020 at 07:59 PM (#5945647)
Empty stadium soccer matches aren't that unusual when a team's fans get busted for disgusting behavior. Or watch a youth world cup.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 28, 2020 at 08:34 PM (#5945661)
At least let them play in all 30 stadiums. None of this crap about playing all the games in Florida, Texas and Arizona. That's like the way the NBA used to play in Sheboygan and Hershey, PA.
   20. Greg Pope Posted: April 28, 2020 at 08:52 PM (#5945663)
At least let them play in all 30 stadiums. None of this crap about playing all the games in Florida, Texas and Arizona.

That's a pretty big "at least". You're doing a whole ton of air travel and hotels for all of the players, coaches, trainers, etc.
   21. Greg Pope Posted: April 28, 2020 at 08:57 PM (#5945664)
I dunno...it is kinda at first, but I've been watching Taiwanese baseball for a couple of weeks now and I'm pretty much used to it.

The thing is, we won't be allowed to get used to it. If they start that way, there will be a ton of columnists, radio hosts, and Twitter users screaming about how awful it is. Even if they are a small minority of fans, MLB will work with the broadcasters to fake the noise somehow.
   22. Srul Itza Posted: April 28, 2020 at 09:04 PM (#5945668)
Does the ball carry differently in an empty stadium? Just curious.
   23. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 28, 2020 at 09:19 PM (#5945671)
That's a pretty big "at least". You're doing a whole ton of air travel and hotels for all of the players, coaches, trainers, etc.
In the Passan thread, I linked to a USA Today article indicating that MLB is optimistic about starting in late June or early July, possibly with a regular season limited to divisional play in 3 10-team, geographically-based divisions, playing in MLB cities. Playing in MLB cities may be ‘a bridge too far’ if large urban areas remain coronavirus hotspots. Perhaps it will look different in a month, but playing in Arizona, Texas & Florida seems more likely.
   24. John Northey Posted: April 29, 2020 at 01:29 AM (#5945727)
I'd think the best idea is to pick 'regions' where all the games are played in either a dome or a location where weather is predictable.

Appears to be 7 domes right now...
Toronto: Rogers Centre - Built 1989.
Tampa: Tropicana Field - Built 1990. (closed roof, can't open)
Arizona: Chase Field- Built 1998.
Seattle: SafeCo Field- Built 1999.
Houston: Minute Maid Park- Built 2000.
Miami: Marlins Stadium- Built 2012.
Milwaukee: Miller Park- Built 2001.

Now, doing games in either Tampa or Miami would be the same as always - not like they get crowds (10,016 in Miami last year per game, 14,552 in Tampa for a playoff team).
AL East: 2
AL Central: 0
AL West: 2
NL East: 1
NL Central: 1
NL West: 1

So only the AL Central has no stadium that fits the criteria.

Hard to say on rainouts as I can't find an easy source for rainouts per team. The Angels last May had their 12th rainout ever (first since 1995) so their park is a safe one I'd say. Dodgers last one was in 2000, San Diego has had 3 in Petco Park (opened 2004). So that gives us 10 parks in 5 divisions that could be used easily.

Canada hasn't been hit anywhere near as hard as the US by COVID (US 17.2 dead per 100k, in Canada 7.67 per 100k) thus making Toronto attractive by that standpoint, but Canada also isn't opening up much yet (especially the province of Ontario where Toronto is). Big advantage for Toronto though is the hotel that is built into the park so players technically would never need to leave the park.

Still, lets see...
AL East all play in Toronto, AL Central in Houston (same time zone), AL West in Seattle, NL East in Miami, NL Central in Milwaukee, NL West in Arizona or use the Dodgers & Angels & San Diego parks (close together). 2 to 3 games a day in each park easily (if 3 games then 1 team plays a double header each day - give them the first and last time that day). Try to avoid scheduling teams for the last game the day before they have a morning game, or the morning game the day after they play the late game. It could work.

As a Jays fan I know the Jays owners also own their park so that makes it easy for them to set it up. Not sure on the others, but I suspect none would have trouble getting the right to use the park 24/7 if needed.
   25. bobm Posted: April 29, 2020 at 07:54 AM (#5945747)
We've had this before. It's way better than no baseball.

CWS (on WGN) vs BAL (on MASN)

"Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles Box Score, April 29, 2015 | Baseball-Reference.com"

SABR: April 29, 2015: Orioles and White Sox play for normalcy in empty stadium


[...] One tradition at Orioles’ home games for decades is a mass shouting of “Ohhh” at the start of the line in the national anthem: “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave. . .” About three dozen fans stood outside the stadium, peering through the iron fence, and they shouted their “Ohhh” at the right moment. No ushers were present. No beer vendors. No peanuts or hot dogs. Even the national anthem, normally sung in person, was recorded. [...]

Davis tried to make the best of this bizarre set of circumstances. One of his first-base routines was to toss a ball to fans as he came off the field. In this game, he sent the balls to imaginary fans. “I threw three or four into the lower seats and then I gave some love to the fans in the upper deck,” Davis mused after the game.

The eeriness in the ballpark sparked comment. White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters, “It was just a surreal environment. I don’t think we really want to play another like this. …I don’t think [the Orioles] do either.” Baltimore closer Zach Britton remarked that “it was tougher to stay focused on the game than I thought it would be. The noise just echoed off the [B&O] warehouse. … It makes you appreciate the fans who come out and support you.” Britton added, “It felt like we were playing in a ghost town.” Caleb Joseph said, “Between innings was the most awkward part of the game. You’re used to the Kiss-Cam and all the other between-innings entertainment.” John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” played as usual during the seventh-inning stretch, but there were no fans to sing along. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, “The bullpen phone could be heard ringing more than 400 feet from the dugout.” [...]
   26. BrianBrianson Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:12 AM (#5945749)
Some of the Italian soccer teams are planning to do what's described in post 9
   27. . Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:46 AM (#5945759)
The virus spreads much more effectively indoors than outdoors, so it makes little sense to play in domes.
   28. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 29, 2020 at 09:06 AM (#5945769)
27 - I suspect the dome aspect is not meant to limit the spread but to insure (ensure? no, I think I was right initially) that the games are played without being rained out.

This all should be a treasure trove for researchers to look into home field advantage. Does a roaring crowd make a difference?
   29. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 29, 2020 at 09:10 AM (#5945772)
We've had a few of our "mock the news" shows carrying on with no audience and no laugh track and I've been surprised at how much the humor falls flat.

That's because most of them just aren't funny. (Sure, it's funny to the writers, who come up with the same "let's make fun of you-know-who!" joke over and over again...but for the rest of us, not so much.)
   30. The Duke Posted: April 29, 2020 at 10:01 AM (#5945794)
Well, if the bullpen phone can be heard 400 ft away it’s less likely La Russa calls in the wrong pitcher, so there’s that.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 29, 2020 at 10:03 AM (#5945797)
In the Passan thread, I linked to a USA Today article indicating that MLB is optimistic about starting in late June or early July, possibly with a regular season limited to divisional play in 3 10-team, geographically-based divisions, playing in MLB cities. Playing in MLB cities may be ‘a bridge too far’ if large urban areas remain coronavirus hotspots. Perhaps it will look different in a month, but playing in Arizona, Texas & Florida seems more likely.

The appropriate names for that would be the Grapefruit League, the Cactus League, and the Armadillo League. They could then pump up the postseason by saying that those three leagues have always been at war with each other.

Or if that's too unwieldy, call it the COVID-19 League. Just don't call it the 2020 Major League season.
   32. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 29, 2020 at 11:24 AM (#5945824)
They could then pump up the postseason by saying that those three leagues have always been at war with each other.

Hey, if it's 1984 all over again, then the Tigers are back in first place!
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 29, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5945834)
   34. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 29, 2020 at 12:46 PM (#5945849)
I remember the end of the Expos era. There was definitely a weird vibe for those games. But I think the fact that it was a nearly empty dome also contributed. I've gotten the same feeling from some poorly attended Rays games, but not from just as poorly attended Marlins games.
   35. Zach Posted: April 29, 2020 at 04:35 PM (#5945942)
There's an interesting mention of Arod's business strategy in this profile of Anne Wojcicki:

Alex [as in A-Rod, the spit diva's boyfriend for a short while] is a really sweet guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s a good person. Alex lives in this world of cash-flow businesses, and Silicon Valley lives in this world of the potential of the future. So it was actually kind of a really fun conversation. Alex was really into car dealerships, and I was like, "We’re all about self-driving cars. Nobody’s going to buy a car. You want to buy a car dealership? I’m going to short your car dealership."

Which just goes to show that common sense isn't really required to start a company in Silicon Valley.
   36. Hank Gillette Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:27 PM (#5946000)
I suspect the dome aspect is not meant to limit the spread but to insure (ensure? no, I think I was right initially) that the games are played without being rained out.


“Ensure” is the right word, unless someone gets paid for the rainout.

In Arizona, Houston, and Arlington, it is more about the summer heat.

In St. Petersburg and Miami, it’s about half rain and half summer heat/humidity.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2020 at 08:49 AM (#5946075)
I guess we should move coronavirus discussion over here, since that channel entry is now inexplicably closed.

   38. Hot Wheeling American Posted: April 30, 2020 at 09:00 AM (#5946079)
Oh yeah. I need my fix of The Yankee Clapper's bad faith updates on New York City.
   39. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: April 30, 2020 at 09:18 AM (#5946085)
We've had this before. It's way better than no baseball.


There was a very good Athletic piece on this game recently and one of the things a number of players complained about was that they could hear the announcers commentating on what they were doing while they were doing it and how awkward that was
   40. You'll NEVER take Zonk's Windows - NEVER! Posted: April 30, 2020 at 09:41 AM (#5946090)
“Why does echoing voice keep calling me satan?”

- Every Oriole.
   41. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:02 AM (#5946100)
My guess is Jim.
   42. bobm Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:16 AM (#5946104)
I guess we should move coronavirus discussion over here, since that channel entry is now inexplicably closed.

That is a shame. Is there no way to limit the posting in a particular thread to certain members? Or exclude others from posting? Beyond just using ignore, I mean.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:24 AM (#5946108)
That is a shame. Is there no way to limit the posting in a particular thread to certain members? Or exclude others from posting? Beyond just using ignore, I mean.


I don't know you could, other than an outright banning (and I don't think anyone actually did get banned). But the thread had once again gotten back on track. There wasn't any of the vitriol going on when it got shut down.
   44. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:30 AM (#5946112)
Even the vitriol wasn't particularly vitriolic.
   45. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:33 AM (#5946113)
There was a very good Athletic piece on this game recently and one of the things a number of players complained about was that they could hear the announcers commentating on what they were doing while they were doing it and how awkward that was

That's one of the funny aspects of basketball, how the TV/radio commentators sit about five feet from the court.
   46. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:34 AM (#5946114)
Banning seems heavy handed, but so does shutting down a thread where most posters were doing good work and many excellent work, because of a few bad apples.* BITD, Jim wanted to eliminate OT:P stuff because it was turning off new arrivals coming for the sports content, or so he claimed. Now the there is no sports content, and the site is frankly mostly dead, AND the thread was very mild compared to the old OT:P, AND, as you said, it was mostly back on track, the shutdown is inexcusable.

*I'll cop to replying to YC or Mr. Dot a few times when I shouldn't have. Whatever part I played in the shutdown, I apologize.
   47. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5946115)
It is bizarre, inexplicable, and unwarranted. Why keep posting here?
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:44 AM (#5946117)
yeah, I ain't saying I'm going to take my ball and go home - but I'm not saying I'm not.

just a really foolish decision, frankly, given the alternatives.

makes me reassess if it's worth continuing here at all.
   49. Ron J Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5946119)
47 Worth noting that Jim has said in the past that threads with a high post count are unkind to the site itself. I'd like to think that's what motivated the shutdown of the thread.

Been a while since I've seen Jim shut a thread down but in the past I've never had to guess why.
   50. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5946120)
Because this is still largely a very good community, full of intelligent people, united by at least one shared interest, with decades of history.
   51. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:52 AM (#5946121)
I read that COVID thread daily. It's amazing that people can't just scroll past things they don't want to read. The "uncivil" stuff on there was nothing compared to the rest of the Internet.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5946122)
Like I said, absent any other word from Jim, we should just keep the discussion going over here.

Here's Aunt Bea's last post, which is as good a starting spot as any (also has the added value of considering the Hudson Valley "downstate", which this native appreciates).

AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:23 AM (#5946055)

If (stay with me...), you assume:

A) the last NY state serosurvey was 4500 people (to get to 7500 people total from the original 3000)
B) 2/3 of those 4500 (i.e., 3000) were from Downstate (because downstate is 2/3 the population of NY), averaging a little over 20%, and
C) 1000 FDNY/EMT (at 17.1%) and 1000 NYPD (at 10.5%) were tested this week, as was supposed to happen per reports Monday,

then you actually get an average of around 18% Downstate.

No idea if that's what really happened. I wish they wouldn't just throw numbers out there haphazardly without explaining them better.
   53. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5946124)
Co-sign [50].
   54. You'll NEVER take Zonk's Windows - NEVER! Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5946127)
47 Worth noting that Jim has said in the past that threads with a high post count are unkind to the site itself. I'd like to think that's what motivated the shutdown of the thread.


Yeah - I wouldn't discount this possibility.

I'm by no means a DBA, but databases are configured and optimized to meet a standard set of operations with a standard volume within a standard set of parameters. Doesn't mean they can't exceed those parameters, but inevitably, you run into problems and either you change the configurations to adapt or you just kill the outliers because it's just an outlier... 8K posts over 2 months is significant in comparison to 99%.

It's why some of the OT threads were turned into monthlies...
   55. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:08 AM (#5946130)
So ... supposing for a moment that Stockholm and NYC are both legitimately around the 20-25% infected/antibodies level, which is what more or less what has been reported... what accounts for the differences in rate of death and illness?

I suspect that NYC residents (particularly in the most ravaged areas) may have substantially worse health than our Swedish friends (USA has 50% more obesity, 100% more diabetes). But come on. Does that account for such dramatic differences?

NYC, with its ~8 million, has ~13,000 official deaths.
Sweden, with its ~10 million, has 2,000 official deaths. (Couldn't find numbers for Stockholm itself)
   56. bobm Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5946131)
[55] I suspect that NYC residents (particularly in the most ravaged areas) may have substantially worse health than our Swedish friends (USA has 50% more obesity, 100% more diabetes). But come on. Does that account for such dramatic differences?

Area of Sweden: 173,860 sq mi
Area of New York City: 469 sq mi
   57. bobm Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5946132)
Vox: Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t.

But there are three main reasons why the Big Apple would be worse off than the entire country of Sweden, experts say.

The first is population density: New York City has more than 38,000 people per square kilometer, while Sweden has just 25 people — meaning it’s harder to socially distance in New York.

Second, some hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed while Sweden still has about 250 hospital beds unoccupied. There are indications, though, that the hospital surge in New York City is declining.

Finally, there is significantly more international travel to New York City than there is to Sweden, which means there were more opportunities for people from countries suffering from severe outbreaks to spread the virus to the city than to the European country.
   58. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:22 AM (#5946135)
Bobm, that doesn't address the question much. If the same % of people in Stockholm have it as in NYC, why are the people in NYC so much sicker? The question isn't why it's spread, the question is why it appears to be more lethal (on a per-patient basis) in NYC than it does in Sweden.
   59. Rally Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:24 AM (#5946138)
I don't see how the area matters if the other variables are correct. Having people closer together would suggest that if the virus was introduced to NYC and Sweden at the same time, it would spread much more quickly through NYC. But if you have the same number infected, the area shouldn't change how deadly this is.

Theories:
1. They are not counting deaths in the same manner (I don't know if this is true, just a possible explanation)
2. Differences in population health/risk factors
3. NYC is seeing a more deadly strain of the virus
4. Sweden has much better treatment options

#2 is probably true, but almost certainly not enough to account for such differences. If 4 were true, we would see this in hospitalizations, I don't think that's it.

My guess is #3 being the biggest factor.
   60. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:31 AM (#5946143)
Thank you, Rally.

I think that, at this point, it's probably unknowable. Which is another way of saying that maybe it's #3. But maybe it's not. Maybe there's some environmental factor that hasn't been understood yet.

Naturally, our priors may be wrong. Maybe Sweden is nowhere close to 25% infected. Maybe NYC is way above 25%. These antibodies tests seem pretty sketchy still.

As I've stated repeatedly, I think that Sweden's success (or lack thereof) is basically impossible to analyze. We can't even agree if they have been successful. Agreeing on why is hopeless.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5946144)
2. Differences in population health/risk factors
3. NYC is seeing a more deadly strain of the virus


These two factors could easily interact. A particular strain of the virus might interact more with the health problems that NY have more of.
   62. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:34 AM (#5946147)
Other nations neighbouring Sweden have seen really very low death and hospitalisation rates - lower still than Sweden, perhaps in part because their shutdowns have been shut-downier. It's definitely possible to group by region in Europe:

Italy
France/Spain/Belgium/Netherlands/UK
Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Czech Republic
Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Finland

Not all of those have seen the exact same trends and outcomes, but there are definite themes, I think. Regional variation makes a lot of sense.

EDIT: also, tied to factor 2., I'm betting air pollution in NYC is a lot higher than Sweden, and it has been a linking factor behind many of the worst-hit cities. Milan and Madrid have long-term problems, London's the same. This is a respiratory issue, after all.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5946156)
Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Finland

Not all of those have seen the exact same trends and outcomes, but there are definite themes, I think. Regional variation makes a lot of sense.


Of course, given the different strategies, you'd expect Sweden to have more deaths now. Their approach is going to front load the deaths by letting everyone get exposed quickly. If Sweden is at 30% exposure and Norway is at 5%, it's pointless to discuss deaths per capita.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5946159)
Yes. Sweden knew people would die. But it does seem like they tried extra hard to isolate the sick oldsters, so I think there was some hope that there was one element of society that they could fully segregate until a vaccine / herd immunity made life safer for them, and that by their own admission they haven't done as well at this as they had hoped. Sounds like they wanted to have their cake and eat it too - herd immunity without extra deaths - which was always unrealistic, and therefore doesn't mean that they've been unsuccessful.
   65. bobm Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:55 AM (#5946160)
[58] If the same % of people in Stockholm have it as in NYC, why are the people in NYC so much sicker? The question isn't why it's spread, the question is why it appears to be more lethal (on a per-patient basis) in NYC than it does in Sweden.

The data I have seen indicate that while NYC's population (86% <= 65 y.o.) skews slightly younger than does Sweden's (80% <= 65 y.o.), but that the percentage of deaths <=65 years old through early April in NYC was much more than Sweden, like 30% vs 5%.

[ETA: IIRC the largest observed factor of COVID-19 deaths has been age >=65.]

1. Did Sweden shelter the 65+ year olds earlier and better than NYC?

2. Is the differential impact on the younger NYC population due to socioeconomic differences?
   66. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5946164)
Because this is still largely a very good community, full of intelligent people, united by at least one shared interest, with decades of history.


Totally true. It also has a material faction of schoolmarms and weirdos and eccentrics and unfortunately the weird and schoolmarmy and eccentric side of the place has come to predominate. My syllogism is essentially:

1. I'm a humanist.
2. Humanism is the study of human beings.
3. A subset of human beings are weird and eccentric.

I think that, at this point, it's probably unknowable. Which is another way of saying that maybe it's #3. But maybe it's not. Maybe there's some environmental factor that hasn't been understood yet.


It's going to wind up being mostly 1 and 2.

Maybe Sweden is nowhere close to 25% infected. Maybe NYC is way above 25%.


Maybe. But if the premises of the lockdown hold, Sweden should have far more infected.(*) If we went through all this, and we have a higher infection percentage, it's been a dreadful failure.

(*) I don't see that they've recanted or watered down the prediction that they're "weeks" from herd immunity.

I'm betting air pollution in NYC is a lot higher than Sweden,


I'd bet the same way, but air pollution has gone down dramatically in NYC since the lockdown, which should have been an accelerant/tailwind for the effectiveness of the lockdown. It doesn't seem to have been that at all, and you could likely say the same thing for places like Milan and Madrid. You get people sheltering *and* you get reduced bad respiratory air. Still doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.
   67. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5946170)
I'd bet the same way, but air pollution has gone down dramatically in NYC since the lockdown, which should have been an accelerant/tailwind for the effectiveness of the lockdown.


Wouldn't the air quality issue be more of a long-term exposure leading people who catch the virus to be less likely to fight it off, rather than the population suddenly benefiting from cleaner air?
   68. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5946171)
Wouldn't the air quality issue be more of a long-term exposure leading people who catch the virus to be less likely to fight it off, rather than the population suddenly benefiting from cleaner air?

That is correct. Air pollution could be a risk factor in that people exposed to air pollution during their lives could be at higher risk.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5946172)
2. Is the differential impact on the younger NYC population due to socioeconomic differences?

I would think that's a big factor. Not just current income levels, but where people grew up. If a huge chunk of your population grew up in what were at that time third world countries, with significant malnutrition and rampant childhood disease, their baseline health is always going to be worse than a population that grew up in an affluent Western country.
   70. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5946174)
Both? Can't see that breathing polluted air while in the midst of COVID would be equal to breathing clean air, but that's just intuition talking.
   71. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5946180)
Of course, given the different strategies, you'd expect Sweden to have more deaths now. Their approach is going to front load the deaths by letting everyone get exposed quickly. If Sweden is at 30% exposure and Norway is at 5%, it's pointless to discuss deaths per capita.


This is true. However, without reliable evidence on whether Sweden has actually managed further exposure - there was data circulating around Stockholm's exposure rates, but it was reportedly withdrawn due to math/data mistakes - it's even harder to know this.

Wouldn't the air quality issue be more of a long-term exposure leading people who catch the virus to be less likely to fight it off, rather than the population suddenly benefiting from cleaner air?


I would have assumed that too. However, one estimate from the UK was that the reduced air pollution since the lockdown has saved approximately 1,700 lives. That seems extremely high to me, but they did the science, not me. (Low air quality in several parts of the UK is an un-remarked-upon scandal in my book, as the husband of an asthmatic.) Short-term effects could be material too.

One satirist/hauntologist I follow on Twitter lives less than 10 miles from Berne, the capital (EDIT: of Switzerland, duh). He regularly posts photos of his daily exercise, which is basically 'tour some Alps'. That's got to be good for the lungs.
   72. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM (#5946181)
He regularly posts photos of his daily exercise, which is basically 'tour some Alps'.
Ugh. Don’t be That Guy.
   73. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5946183)
The rest of his feed is basically brutalist architecture and dark comedy photoshops of government information posters, so it more or less evens out.
   74. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5946185)
Maybe. But if the premises of the lockdown hold, Sweden should have far more infected.(*) If we went through all this, and we have a higher infection percentage, it's been a dreadful failure.


Even this is difficult to evaluate. NYC easily could have had a way, way larger dose of the virus around March 15 than Stockholm did. Maybe OOMS larger. It's been 6 weeks, and exponential growth moves fast, but possibly Stockholm is only now catching up?

The proper comparison for NYC is not Stockholm, it's what NYC would have been like absent the lockdown. Which might have basically been an Escape from New York situation. Or not much different. We don't know.
   75. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:35 PM (#5946189)
One thing that will hopefully survive this is the "virtual cinemas" several art house theatres have started. Three initial run movies -- The Whistlers, The Wild Goose Lake, and A White, White Day were well worth the movie price of admission, even though I couldn't sit in an audience. I'm sure their thought is that it cannibalizes the theater audience, but if the "ticket" price is roughly the same, not sure how that matters so much.
   76. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5946192)
The proper comparison for NYC is not Stockholm, it's what NYC would have been like absent the lockdown. Which might have basically been an Escape from New York situation. Or not much different. We don't know.


That's certainly true, but there's no real "absent the lockdown" to use, so it has to be proxied. (Or modeled, I guess. The lead, influential modeler in England had the (allegedly) modeled effect of the lockdown as something like reducing from 550K to 20K deaths, and the experience of the last six-odd weeks shows that that's flat out cray-cray.)
   77. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5946193)
He regularly posts photos of his daily exercise, which is basically 'tour some Alps'.
Ugh. Don’t be That Guy.


Unless you're Johannes Brahms, who was this guy. Then definitely be that guy.
   78. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:02 PM (#5946197)
Stockholm is 13,000 people sq mi.

But the UK has also tried for herd immunity and has lost 0.053 percent of its population, yes, about a third of NYC but less slowind down, I do believe and certainly a different set from Stockholm.

Just as a reference point; overall I agree with Fish that there are too many variables to account for to meaningfully compare cities by death rates.
   79. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:08 PM (#5946199)
But the UK has also tried for herd immunity and has lost 0.053 percent of its population


They gave that up pretty rapidly; I think there were only a few days where that was a detectable strategy. They're now much closer to a full lockdown than that, though not as extreme as Italy has been.
   80. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5946200)
Just as a reference point; overall I agree with Fish that there are too many variables to account for to meaningfully compare cities by death rates.


That's probably true, but it's the wrong question. This isn't just an academic study we can take our time on. The lockdown is such a massive step -- 30 million new jobless claims in 6 weeks, massive decline in production, food and supply runs and shortages, massive loss of first amendment and other basic human freedoms, elections cancelled, looming threats to proper electoral functioning in a presidential election year -- that its effectiveness has to be almost blatantly obvious and scream out at you in the way that Mike Trout's stats do.(*) If you have to the tease the data, run a bunch of multiple regressions, model, stroke your chin, debate, contemplate, and deliberate and you still can't come up with anything remotely definitive or compelling, the answer is: No, it didn't work.

(*) I have little question its designers believed the numbers *would* go "pop" and the impact ex post *would* be obvious -- but they didn't and it wasn't ... and now they're just floundering. At this point, we're essentially locking down for the same reason we stayed in Vietnam. Not good enough.
   81. Rally Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5946201)
Naturally, our priors may be wrong. Maybe Sweden is nowhere close to 25% infected. Maybe NYC is way above 25%. These antibodies tests seem pretty sketchy still.


Yeah, this is definitely not settled science here. I have no idea what the true rate of Sweden is. But I strongly doubt the NYC rate is over 25% - they've tested firefighters and police, seemingly high risk groups who have a lot of interaction on their jobs, and they aren't even testing at 25%. I have to assume that the stock traders who have been forced from big offices to day-trading are going to bring the overall rates higher than that.

If the Sweden rate was correct then you cannot keep the death rates as equal by assuming the NYC infection rate is higher - you'd have to go well over 100%.
   82. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5946207)
If you have to the tease the data, run a bunch of multiple regressions, model, stroke your chin, debate, contemplate, and deliberate and you still can't come up with anything remotely definitive or compelling, the answer is: No, it didn't work.


But if you chart actual deaths against those predicted by the models - not the fanciest models, just X*2.5*2.5*2.5*2.5... - the world has perhaps already saved millions of lives. Pull up that graph, and it's not a chin-stroker. The death rate in many places climbed just as the models predicted in March, then slowed, and now has reversed.

Again, Sweden isn't really not in a lockdown. It's a moderate lockdown, an attenuated lockdown. They've closed colleges, halted domestic travel, huge numbers of people are working from home, etc. They are not just letting the virus burn through the population as quickly as possible. It's possible that they've hit on the best mix of open/shut, and that we should've done the same thing as them. It's also possible that a Sweden style response in NYC would have been an unmitigated disaster. It's impossible to know.

(I support the effort to re-open economies in the US, on a community-by-community basis, as long as we are prepared to constantly evaluate the success of such changes, and are ready to pump the breaks and re-close when necessary.)
   83. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:25 PM (#5946210)
It's possible that Brazil ends up being the best 'what if no lockdown?' testbed that there is. There are certainly local efforts to suppress, but national-level intervention seems unlikely to be a major factor.
   84. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5946211)
To get to "the world has saved millions of lives" you'd need clear evidence of mass graves, bodies strewn in streets, and probably something like crematoria in Belarus, which did basically nothing. (*) Easily obtainable through satellites, intelligence gathering, solid news reporting.

The death rate in many places climbed just as the models predicted in March, then slowed, and now has reversed.


If you can't easily regress effect versus lockout time in days among US states and find a clear impact, the lockdown didn't work. "Not working" doesn't mean "no effect whatsoever," it means "nowhere near enough effect to justify continuation." (It's still quite possible there was "no effect whatsoever," but it's neither here nor there at this point.)

(*) Are Belarus nationals traveling and if so, are they subject to automatic quarantine far in excess of travelers from lockdown countries?
   85. Ron J Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:30 PM (#5946214)
#83 No good statistical record for much of the nation though.

And in certain places the curfews are imposed and enforced by local gangs. Curfew violations are beyond risky there.
   86. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5946218)
I'm sure their thought is that it cannibalizes the theater audience, but if the "ticket" price is roughly the same, not sure how that matters so much.
They would have to figure out how to force you to pay them $38 for a bag of microwave popcorn and a Coke from your fridge.
   87. Lassus Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5946219)
If you can't easily regress effect versus lockout time in days among US states and find a clear impact, the lockdown didn't work.

This is not convincing.
   88. Srul Itza Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5946220)
My favorite Kirk Gibson World Series home run, complete with Sparky Anderson's running commentary


It always strikes me that the only 2 times the Padres made it to the World Series, they ran into the buzz-saw of a team of destiny -- the 84 Tigers, who started the year 35-5, and the 114 win 1998 Yankees.

   89. Srul Itza Posted: April 30, 2020 at 01:55 PM (#5946233)
In NYC and other places, the death rate was enormous in nursing homes, care homes, assisted living facilities, etc., many of which are barely regulated and not well run.

I have to wonder how things are managed in Sweden, and whether that makes a difference.
   90. Ron J Posted: April 30, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5946256)
Manitoba is permitting many businesses to re-open Monday. I guess the businesses will take it, but here are the rules:

If retail businesses do choose to open on Monday, the province said they must ensure staff and customers keep a distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges. All businesses will be limited to 50 per cent of normal business occupancy, or one person per 10 square metres – whichever is lower.

Staff must use the self-screening tool before coming to work, and they must stay home if they are ill. Customers are not allowed in if they are showing symptoms of the virus.

Businesses must post external signs explaining the physical distancing measures, and post floor markings for line ups.

Businesses must have only one entry, and entry into the business has to be regulated to prevent congestion. Hand sanitizer must be available at the entrances and exits.

The limit of no more than 10 people gathering in common areas remains in effect, and any congregation of people should be discouraged, the province said.

The province also said cashless and no-contact payment should be used whenever possible.
   91. phredbird Posted: April 30, 2020 at 02:44 PM (#5946260)


oh come on.

the coronavirus thread got shut down?
   92. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5946270)
phred -- there's speculation above. Personally I suspect the Chinese. ;)
   93. PreservedFish Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5946274)
I just hope AuntBea finds the resurrected thread.
   94. . Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5946276)
I just hope AuntBea finds the resurrected thread.


He was on fire, and it's a travesty his work was ended. Who are the people who actually "complain" about the threads? Do they even exist? Is one of them the weirdo who often bursts into threads with something like "Please close this thread. Thanks."? Very strange that the response to anonymous complainers would be anything other than, "Get a grip."

And I'd advocate a continued no groveling, no begging, no negotiating approach. Liberals don't beg book burners.
   95. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5946278)
then you actually get an average of around 18% Downstate.

As an Orange County NY* resident, I always say that "Upstate New York" begins at the sign that says "Welcome to Yonkers".

*8,650 cases as of this writing; if we were a state, we'd be 22nd or so...
   96. Hot Wheeling American Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5946279)
the self-screening tool

What is this?
   97. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5946282)
the self-screening tool

What is this?


A shotgun.
   98. Srul Itza Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:32 PM (#5946283)
I emailed Aunt Bea through the BBTF system about the new thread.

BBTF is the on-line community I go to for information and camaraderie during events like this.

As was pointed out, even with the problem posters, it is still so much better than what lurks in too many parts of the internet.
   99. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5946284)
the self-screening tool

What is this?


Basically a questionnaire asking if you're sick or have traveled recently:
https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/
   100. Srul Itza Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5946286)
As an Orange County NY* resident, I always say that "Upstate New York" begins at the sign that says "Welcome to Yonkers".


I grew up in Rockland. For us, upstate began at Harriman State Park.
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