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Fauci: it won't be safe to go to the theater until the back end of 2021

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  • #16
    Exactly! "They" need to move away from the speculation stage of this and do more real-world testing to better understand how it spreads and what situations really put people at risk. Whereas bars have been traced to spreading the virus, cinemas have not. Why? And while it may seem obvious that with bars there is inherently close proximity it is bound to also be how people are facing, how the HVAC system operates...etc. Why are cinemas seemingly low-risk? They mostly use recirculated air and are indoors. To continue to speculate when real-world data is contradicting prediction/hypothesis is irresponsible to not only the businesses but the people and the science of understanding how this and potentially future pathogens move about.


    • #17
      Originally posted by Marcel Birgelen
      It's frustrating there is still little evidence about how exactly the virus spreads.
      A monumental amount of scientific research has gone into it, but unfortunately it's all still a work in progress given no one even knew the SARS-CoV-2 virus existed a year ago. What the science and medical communities truly know is evolving as their research continues. It takes considerable time for any scientific/medical theories to finally be proven as fact.

      Early on much of the concern was viral spread via surfaces. Over time that view has changed. More and more evidence is suggesting the biggest factor in SARS-CoV-2 spread is direct person to person infection via respiratory droplets. If you have a bunch of people sharing the same air in a confined space for a substantial amount of time the risk for SARS-CoV-2 spread is very high. Here at Fort Sill we had nearly an entire battery of basic training recruits (over 150 young men and women) get infected in just a couple days. Thankfully most were asymptomatic; only a few soldiers had symptoms and none were hospitalized. Previously our biggest SARS-CoV-2 outbreak locally was at the city jail. There are many other documented super-spreader events that all have shared infectious air within an indoor space as a disease spread vector.

      One would think we all should err on the side of caution with our activities as research continues on learning more about this virus and finding a vaccine. Nope. Some knuckleheads out there are rejecting any advice from scientists and the medical community since the scientists and doctors didn't immediately know all there was to know about this virus from the moment it was discovered. Hence all the anti-mask Karens. It's fucking ridiculous.

      Originally posted by Steve Guttag
      "They" need to move away from the speculation stage of this and do more real-world testing to better understand how it spreads and what situations really put people at risk.
      Do you not think such testing is already being conducted? Scientists and doctors around the globe are working the problem. Some are in collaborative efforts while others are in competition against each other. The problem is it takes time to conduct research, develop results and arrive at things like vaccines that are safe and effective. Meanwhile the virus is still spreading right now. The science and medical fields can't wait until all the research is done and theories proven as fact before giving the public some recommended precautions.


      • #18
        I know they are doing testing...BUT they are also spouting that cinemas are somehow less safe than other indoor businesses too. They need to stop that unless they have the data to back it up. Thus far, real world data is showing that cinemas are as safe or safer than other indoor establishments. Either correct the statements or, at least, back off of the increasingly wrong statements.


        • #19
          Yeah, I have a big problem with anyone singling out cinemas as being more dangerous than other indoor service industry businesses. And I think it's pretty odd so many of these other businesses were allowed to re-open much earlier or even continue to operate the entire duration of this pandemic. I think bars and restaurants are substantially more dangerous than cinemas; their dining/drinking areas typically don't have the cubic air space of a theater lobby or auditorium. Virus particles won't disperse as well in those more closely confined environments. Yet many of those places have been allowed to re-open far earlier than cinemas.

          With that being said, there is not much data on SARS-CoV-2 spread in movie theaters due to the timing of this pandemic. This disease was gaining momentum and news coverage in January and February, a time when theater business is usually pretty slow. IIRC there hasn't been any major box office hits in 2020 prior to the industry shut-down. I don't think Parasite generated much of an Oscar-bump. It's highly unlikely any contact tracing efforts have pointed to cinemas with movie-goers sitting in elbow to elbow proximity to each other. By mid-March just about all the theaters in the US were closed. Here locally our theaters in Lawton had already been closed before any of our first confirmed local cases of SARS-CoV-2 began to appear.

          In short, while there is hardly any documented cases of SARS-CoV-2 spread in American movie theaters that lack of cases doesn't prove theaters to be perfectly safe either. Any indoor business serving walk-in customers is going to pose a transmission risk. The risk goes higher for any business that allows those customers to stay in the building 20-30 minutes or longer.
          Last edited by Bobby Henderson; 09-15-2020, 02:05 PM.


          • #20
            Tenet has drawn quite some crowds over the last few weeks around here. So much, that many theaters actually filled some of their auditoriums to capacity for the first week and a half. Theaters here are obliged to register personal data for contact tracing purposes. Most of them currently only sell tickets on-line and use those details for the contact tracing. If cinemas in their current mode of operation really are a danger, I suspect we hear about it rather soon, as such a thing is sure to hit the news.

            In bars and restaurants, people usually don't wear masks or at least they take them off more often. There is a lot more person-to-person interaction, people roam around much more and you also touch a whole lot more surfaces. So based on simple reasoning, those places seem to be a whole lot more dangerous to me than the average theater.

            But like Steve also indicated, I really miss some hands-on research about how the virus survives in common all-day environments. I hope someone is putting some research into it, but I just can't find a whole lot about it. And while I'm certain everybody is currently busy researching something, it's often boggles my mind to extremes, knowing that just all to often, nobody is really looking at the hands-on stuff. I know there was a rather large experiment in Germany, where they put about 2000 people into a concert hall with tracing equipment installed, which aimed at answering some of the questions how a virus spreads in large indoor events, but I haven't heard any preliminary results from it yet.


            • #21
              I still think the fact that Germany has had no theater outbreaks (as evidenced by no request for contact tracing data) is valuable information. I've been trying to find US data on outbreak sources and have not found anything yet. Colorado does make this data available at .

              For the table below, I added current and resolved outbreaks and counted each "Covid Setting".
              Healthcare - Skilled Nursing 101
              Healthcare - Assisted Living 55
              Office/Indoor Workspace 38
              Restaurant - Sit Down 38
              Other 27
              Restaurant - Fast Food 26
              Retailer 25
              Healthcare - Combined Care 21
              Non-Food Manufacturer/Warehouse 15
              Healthcare - Outpatient 14
              Religious Facility 11
              Child Care Center 10
              Healthcare - Independent Living Facility 10
              Home Maintenance Services 8
              Hotel/Lodge/Resort 8
              Meat Processing/Packaging 8
              Jail 7
              State Prison 7
              Construction Site 6
              Healthcare - Group Home 6
              Indoor Entertainment/Rec 6
              Materials Supplier 6
              School K-12 6
              Homeless Shelter 5
              Social Gathering 5
              Healthcare - Rehab Facility 4
              Specialty Food Retailer 4
              College/University 3
              Construction Company/Contractor 3
              Fair/Festival/Temp. Mobile Event 3
              Food Warehouse 3
              Healthcare - Assisted Living 3
              Healthcare - Facility for Developmentally Disabled (outpatient) 3
              Law Enforcement - Other 3
              Law Enforcement Administration 3
              Personal Services 3
              Bar/Tavern/Brewery 2
              Food Manufacturing/Packaging 2
              Grocery Store 2
              Healthcare - Hospice 2
              Healthcare - Psychiatric Hospital 2
              Outdoor Entertainment/Rec 2
              Overnight Camp 2
              Restaurant - Other 2
              Travel 2
              Casino 1
              Correctional, Other 1
              Distribution Center/Business 1
              Distribution Center/Business 1
              Farm/Dairy 1
              Healthcare - Alcohol/Drug Abuse Treatment (outpatient) 1
              Healthcare - Long-term Acute Care 1
              Youth Sports/Activities 1
              Theaters would probably be under "Indoor Entertainment/Rec". The facilities listed in this report are:
              Recreation Facility and Restaurant
              Night Club/Adult Entertainment
              Recreation Facility and Restaurant
              Members only club
              Restaurant/Adult Entertainment
              The Other category is rather large, so here's further descriptions of those outbreak locations.
              Fire Station
              Coal Mine
              Repair Shop
              Fire Response
              Multifaceted Christian Ministry Organization
              Auto Dealership
              Maintenance Services
              Waste management
              Animal Service Provider
              Employee Housing
              Garbage Collection
              Personal Care Alternative (PCA) staffed apartment
              Oil and Gas Company
              Golf Course
              Laundry Services
              Environmental Laboratory
              Steam Laundry
              Auto Sales and Service
              Fire & Security
              THC Laboratory
              Veterinary clinic
              Drilling Business
              Copper Mountain Employee Housing
              Apartment Complex
              Waste/Recycling Facility

              It would be interesting to see national numbers on this. Of course, theaters have not been very long, so data may not have shown up yet.

              Does anyone know of a national (or even international) outbreak database like this?

              I'm continuing to update .

              Last edited by Harold Hallikainen; 09-15-2020, 04:51 PM.


              • #22
                Bobby, unless something has changed in the past week...there have been ZERO cases of cinemas spreading COVID-19 and there have been millions of visitors (gotta factor in China too). So there is increasing data every day that is indicating that cinemas are "safer" that other indoor businesses. While I can understand the initial prediction based on limited knowledge, but it is like predicting that, on average, you will flip a coin and get equal heads and tails. But if the data is coming in that after a 100 flips, they are ALL have to think that you haven't been given all of the information and need to investigate why the prediction was wrong (e.g. the coin was not equally distributed or even shaped...or they were both heads...something).


                • #23
                  I was talking to a friend of mine (he is a paramedic and is the director of EMS for our county) about the mask thing. He said, your basic cloth face mask doesn't really do much, considering the virus is so small. He said the main hope is that the virus gets tangled up in the cloth. Therefore, the more layers it has to pass through, the better.

                  So maybe the same thing happens in HVAC systems. The air gets recirculated and when that happens, it's drawn through filters which might act like masks and tangle up those viruses.

                  The whole NATO "CinemaSafe" initiative is admirable, but it's out there claiming that all the theaters have "upgraded their ventilation systems." Really? 40,000 theaters have upgraded their ventilation system? I don't know what we would do with ours, outside of putting smaller-particle filters in the A/C, and that won't matter during the winter because we have radiators, not forced air.

                  The emphasis on cleaning surfaces and door handles and such has pretty much evaporated in the frenzy to get everyone to wear masks. That's what's so irritating about this.... there is this panicky OMG OMG OMG DO THIS, and then a couple weeks later that's forgotten for the next thing.


                  • #24
                    I had heard that masks reduce the emission of droplets that carry the virus thus protecting others. True, the virus is small, but the droplets are not, as I understand it.


                    • #25
                      MIke, I think your friend is full of crap! It was not until we had a mask mandate here in Davidson County that the COVID numbers went on the decrease... and once it was in place that decrease was rapid, like in two weeks. This video says it all.



                      • #26
                        At my wife's theatre, they prop the front door open...why? Not only does it let fresh air is one less thing that people have to touch that other people have touched (same with the bathroom doors now. They are doing everything to minimize common contact areas and, of course, sanitizing between shows.


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Mike Blakesley
                          So maybe the same thing happens in HVAC systems. The air gets recirculated and when that happens, it's drawn through filters which might act like masks and tangle up those viruses.
                          I'm a bit surprised that HVAC filtration hasn't been the subject of more discussion in relation to C19; especially when everyone was being urged to stay at home as much as possible (i.e. they will have been spending most of their time breathing HVAC-filtered and circulated air). Back when this all started, I read advice from several sources that the use of MERV 13 filters could be helpful in impeding airborne pathological vectors, C19 included. At the time we were using washable, reusable filters in our home system, but at my wife's request, I got some one-time MERV 13 ones. Whether they are helpful in preventing bug spread I'm not sure, but they certainly are taking a lot more crap out of the air. I've noticed that less dust is landing on surfaces, and we're all sneezing less (even the cats!).

                          Originally posted by Harold Hallikainen
                          I had heard that masks reduce the emission of droplets that carry the virus thus protecting others. True, the virus is small, but the droplets are not, as I understand it.
                          If that's the reason why even cheap, crude masks are effective, it would seem to suggest that higher grade HVAC filters likely wouldn't be. When we exhale or sneeze, the pathogen is suspended in liquid, but circulating around in the atmosphere, it's not (especially in warm, low humidity climates). I do know that high quality HVAC filter elements, regularly cleaned or replaced, are effective in preventing the spread of Legionnaire's Disease (most outbreaks are traced to poor maintenance of HVAC systems), but I'm guessing that the actual pathogen involved is much larger than C19.


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mark Gulbrandsen View Post
                            MIke, I think your friend is full of crap! It was not until we had a mask mandate here in Davidson County that the COVID numbers went on the decrease... and once it was in place that decrease was rapid, like in two weeks. This video says it all.

                            That video doesn't "say it all" or close to "it all." From the video description:

                            "We do not know how this translates to infection risk, which will depend on how many asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infected people are around. However, it shows a single layer is not as good a barrier as a double layer."

                            Whatever caused the decrease in cases in Davidson County, it likely had more to do with something other than a mask mandate. In Florida, Miami-Dade county was the first county to institute a mask mandate in April and never took it away. Not only did Miami-Dade county experience the summer "spike" along with the rest of the state, it had, by far, the worst infection rate of any county, still does and accounts for 24.6% of cases in the State while representing approximately 12.7% of the population.

                            California instituted a statewide mask mandate on 6/19. There was a drastic INCREASE in daily cases after that (I'm not suggesting the mandate led to more cases) which peaked over a month later and still hasn't returned to the pre-mandate level (three months later).

                            The random fabric on their faces that people are running around with are not "masks" and likely do very little to prevent transmission in most environments where social distancing measures are already in place. Psychologically, they make some people feel more comfortable which could lead to complacency and inattention to other measures that can make the spread worse. It also allows a segment of the population to feel good about themselves because they are "doing something."

                            Nowhere has a "mask mandate." They have "face covering" mandates and the two things are very different. I have no doubt that if everybody wore a properly fitted N95 mask and only used each one for the specified lifespan that it would significantly reduce spread. However, it isn't practical to produce hundreds of millions of N95's every week nor is it practical to think that the majority of people will wear them properly fitted or handle them properly.


                            • #29
                              One of the screening rooms I work at had contacted the company who handles the HVAC system in their building to see about putting in those 'high efficiency' (or whatever) filters that would help trap airborne virus particles, but they were advised that since those filters also cut down on the airflow, it would be impossible to install them without upgrading the entire system with higher power blowers, and the size of the ducting would need also to be increased to one zone, costing thousands of dollars. We were told that to just put in the filters, without the other upgrades, would actually make things WORSE, because it would cut down the CFM's in the auditorium to an unacceptable level.

                              I've noticed that The APPLEā„¢ Store(s) and some other retail outlets here in San Francisco have installed these HEPA air cleaners which I think use a combination of filters & electrostatic technology to remove particulates from the air. This is one of at least a dozen or more I saw in use at the TARGET store near me in SF. While they'd probably be OK in a theater lobby, they make far too much noise and are too drafty to be used in an auditorium. They're also darn expensive - both to either buy or lease, and then there's the additional $$ they'll put on your electric bill. From stickers I saw on the machines at TARGET, it appears they are leasing them from some company. Although they had put these in several weeks ago due to COVID concerns, they're at least getting they're momeys-worth, since now they also helping to clear the air from all the soot & dust in the air from the big fires up here in Northern California. The air quality has been dreadful here in SF for almost 2 weeks now.
                              >So, how bad was is the air here in San Francisco? I took these photos last Tues morning (9/8/20)


                              ChurchBadAir.jpg GearyBadAir.jpg

                              The ships & the Russian Orthodox Cathedral were photographed between 8
                              and 9am. By 11am, it had actually gotten DARKER as you can see from the
                              photo I took on Geary Blvd, around 11am! These have not been photoshopped.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by Jim Cassedy; 09-16-2020, 10:55 AM.


                              • #30
                                It was not until we had a mask mandate here in Davidson County that the COVID numbers went on the decrease... and once it was in place that decrease was rapid, like in two weeks.
                                Well that's great.... but here, when there was NOT a mask mandate we had zero cases, and now, a couple months into the mask mandate, we have over 300 active cases and it climbs every day.

                                I think my friend was referring to the fact that when people put a bandana or a shirt-tail or whatever over their mouths, they're doing very little to contain anything as opposed to a "real" mask.

                                The rumor around town here is that the vast majority of our county's cases are on the reservation, which is about 60 miles south of us but is still in the same county. And, the public health department on the reservation (which is separate from the county-at-large PH dept) is very slow to report the numbers of recoveries, and the culture on the reservation does not lend itself easily to practicing social distancing, which probably contributes to more/easier spread there. But our county's public health officer insists they have to lump all the numbers in together in the county. They can't separate out the reservation's numbers (even though the reservation is considered a sovereign nation) because, you know, it's racist to do that.
                                Last edited by Mike Blakesley; 09-16-2020, 11:17 AM.