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    I hope this makes more businesses realize that people can work from home 90% of the time for a great many positions. The amount of time saved, gas saved, and stress saved is immense….not to mention the amount saved on office space and associated costs.

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      I’ve been working from home for over a week and I’ve been much happier.

      I just need to go for a walk around my neighborhood each day to at least leave the house. I never go for a walk when I go to the office. Its nice, I went around and took some photos on my Nikon FE2 today (been getting back into film recently)

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        I got a dog to force me get out every day and it’s rewarding in many ways.

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        I also hope this could be the case, but I think there’s also a possibility that it could have the opposite effect, owing to:

        1. Rushing into it without time to prepare and test remote-working infrastructure.
        2. Being forced to suddenly go all in, rather than easing themselves into it gradually by initially having some people working from home some of the time.

        If a company experiences problems because of it, they might be more likely to dismiss the possibility in future.

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          Bram Cohen has a good Twitter thread about this - https://twitter.com/bramcohen/status/1235291382299926529 - “My office went full remote starting the beginning of this week related to covid-19 … This isn’t out of fear that going in to work is dangerous. It isn’t, at least not yet. It’s out of concern for not spreading disease and erring on the side of going full remote sooner rather than later.” Making sure you can strikes me as a good idea.

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          If only I could work at McDonald’s from home. Sure would be nice if I could just receive a case of patties in the mail, cook them up, and mail them out. They have enough preservatives that it wouldn’t be an issue, right?

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            There’s something that resonates about this. I wonder if these companies also encourage their data center engineers to work from home. Or even their cleaning and cafeteria staff. ‘Working from home’ requires an economic infrastructure that we expect to keep working, even though it requires people not to ‘work from home’.

            I’m absolutely sympathetic to the argument that not packing people together in tight spaces might, if we’re lucky, limit the spread of the virus. Maybe this is the wrong moment to wonder about the classist aspects of this.

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              I think the idea of restricting workplace interaction gets a bit muddled in transmission.

              A pandemic of this kind is almost impossible to stop absent draconian quarantine practices.

              The point of getting (some) people not to take public transport, go to restaurants, hang out around the water cooler etc. is not to ensure that those people don’t get sick. A certain percentage of them will get sick, no matter what. The point is to slow the transmission, to flatten the curve of new illnesses, so that the existing care infrastructure can handle the inevitable illness cases without being overwhelmed.

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                I’m not sure what is there about class. There are white collar jobs that can’t be remote, like doctors. And there are some blue collar ones that can, like customer support by phone.

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                  There are always exceptions. But in general, “knowledge work” is both paid higher, and also allows the employee greater flexibility in choosing their place of work.

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                    Agreed with this take, yes.

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                    Many middle class jobs in the United States provide very few paid sick days, let alone jobs held by the working class. Paid sick leave is a rarity for part time jobs.

                    People who hold multiple part time jobs to survive will face the choice of going to work while sick or self-isolating and losing their income.

                    There’s absolutely a class component to consider, especially in America where social safety nets are especially weak.

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                      While it’s true that not all doctors can work remotely and others can’t all the time, telemedicine is a significant and growing part of the medical profession. Turns out there’s a lot of medicine that does not require in-person presence.

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                    What do you think this comment possibly adds to the conversation except being snide?

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                  My contract was abruptly ended about two weeks ago so I’m already staying home. I haven’t put nearly as much effort into jobhunting though, because I’m pretty sure interviewing is going to grind to a halt.

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                    Had that happen recently as well. It’s a bit of a pain. Good luck when it comes to looking for a new contract!

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                    MIT is still in a holding pattern. I suspect they won’t close offices (and campus in general?) until there’s community transmission in the Boston area… which is also what I’m waiting on personally.

                    My current bet is roughly March 15 for the first report, although I don’t think I’d actually stake money on it. (I mean, that would feel immoral. On the other hand, I’m already staking my health on it, so whatever.)

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                        The University of Washington has the same plan! This is basically the stop light problem, everyone knows there is an unsafe intersection, but the stop light won’t go in until someone dies.

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                          Except it’s more like a stoplight that stays red for 6 hours at a time.

                          If you close things down too early, you do a lot of very real damage. People get quarantine fatigue, and may break quarantine just at the worst time. It’s a massive stress, not just psychologically, but financially. It’s hard to compare different kinds of damage against each other—stress vs. sickness vs. losing a job—but, people could even die from the protective measures.

                          The first cases of community transmission don’t necessarily represent someone dying, just someone getting sick. Community transmission is not impossible to shut down. Very difficult, not impossible. Massive self-isolation might do it.

                          Obviously, the right time to start is about a week or two before that starts, but we’re not omniscient. So I can’t actually fault people for using this as their signal.

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                            I think it’s insane. COVID-19 is everywhere already. No one is testing for it. The Washington area cases were discovered almost by accident.

                            The lack of closures is greatly accelerating the virus’ spread.

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                        I always stay home. :/

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                          We are currently doing a mandatory WFH test run where our office is closed today and everyone is working from home. So far it’s been interesting, lots of zoom meetings (context: I work for Blend, our SF office is around 300 people).

                          We are also allowing people to electively WFH for the foreseeable future.

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                            Go you! So many places are all “I guess we’ll deal with it when it happens”, but there’s nothing like a test run.

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                              Similar. I work from home normally though, but part of a big office in London. We’ve been rotating departments the last week, each department testing their team working from home. We’re in public health though so we’re trigger happy mitigating anything that will mess with business continuity.

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                                I’m in ops, and our WFH game is 100% cos we have to be able to do our entire job from a laptop as needed when on call. Our devs are not on call, but they are similarly well set-up.

                                The rest of the company is being dragged into the present quite nicely! We have a shiny new OpenVPN setup that’s doing the job of connection.

                                The sticking point is phone meetings - suitable software (RingCentral sorta sucks; Google Hangouts really sucks; Slack’s audio is way better, but only tech is on Slack), and having the people in the room give a damn about making sure the microphone can hear them.

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                                  Zoom any good? Their name seems to crop up in this context a lot.

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                                    Zoom has been excellent the few times I’ve used it this year – far above all other solutions I’ve experienced besides Blue Jeans (I’d say they’re tied for top of the heap).

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                                      RingCentral is actually a fork of Zoom, I think. I’ve only used Zoom myself for podcast recording, and it was fine?

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                                  I am in Italy (green zone, 300km far away from COVID infection center). I am just think that the government is supporting hysteria and increasing panic with exaggerating countermeasures. I am working from office without any changes, my company (US based global company) suggests persons that was in the red zones and people with healty problems (like diabetes or cancer) to work from home.

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                                    Not yet… definitely not traveling, and trying to avoid public spaces with lots of people, though.

                                    I’ve encouraged the company I work for to come up with a plan and think about how we’ll react when certain things happen.

                                    Curious if/when the schools get shut down.

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                                      Most of my team (MS Outlook in Redmond) is working from home at the moment.

                                      We’ve been joking that COVID-19 will be the most traffic that the vs online team has had in a long time, since everyone in the puget sound offices is going to be using it.

                                      Jokes aside, it’s a lot more seamless than what we were doing before, which was RDPing into our work machines.

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                                        What’s the difference between ‘Required’ and ‘Enforced’?

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                                          I’m staying at home because I got something. Maybe cold, maybe flu. Or maybe something I dont have any budget to diagnose. The remedy is all the same for these viruses.

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                                            If you’re sure it’s virus a that might be reasonable, but bacterial infections can be very dangerous without antibiotics.

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                                            Hasn’t really hit Boston in force yet but the management at my office are preparing to pull the plug and essentially mandate universal WFH if this spreads to Boston at scale.

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                                              My employer also recommends staying at home, but I’ve been working from home almost every day since the beginning of the year so that’s hardly a change.

                                              Incidentally, I was abroad visiting a friend for a week when it blew up in Italy, there were a few cases in my town too (later turned out to be false positives) and for a few days I considered not going back and just couch surfing at friends’ places around Europe for a while. The airline even blocked flights to and from Italy a few days after I left, so I guess I missed my chance to be stranded abroad. Definitely would’ve been more fun than being holed up at home. Oh well.

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                                                Anyone else getting a cert error for this site? For some reason the root CA isn’t trusted on my computer…

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                                                  Amazon intranet is sinkholing the DNS resolution for this site for some reason. If you’re an Amazon employee, that might explain it.

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                                                    Fine for me on Chrome (Windows and Mac).

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                                                    Not me.

                                                    The company didn’t lifted their strict policy regarding only singe weekday for WFH. Understandable as I couldn’t bring a $30’000 hardware at home (and it’s kinda bulky) but sucks at times where I can do stuff remotely or using patched QEMU.

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                                                        This just isn’t true. Within the next four weeks, there will be a million cases at this rate.

                                                        The panic is entirely rational. https://bedford.io/blog/ncov-cryptic-transmission/

                                                        The virus isn’t the problem. The problem is that our social structures are at risk of breaking down under the strain of trying to care for everyone.

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                                                          The number of active cases is on a down trend or stable at ~40.000. Certainly no trend towards a million. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-cases/#active-cases

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                                                            That’s because the majority of cases so far have been in China, which appears to have gotten the disease under control through strict lockdown/quarantine policies. If you look at the charts for the rest of the world on the same page, they tell a very different story: lagging behind China in absolute number of cases but a clear exponential growth rate.

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                                                              Again, you’re not understanding that the risk isn’t the virus. The risk is everything you take for granted breaks down.

                                                              Grocery stores. Hospitals. Public transit.

                                                              Let me ask you this. Who do you think is going to take care of a million patients globally? Are there even enough beds? And when there’s not, then what?

                                                              And that doesn’t even get into the question of what we should do with people who have the virus. Put ‘em in isolation, okay. Then what? People in isolation need food. Who’s going to bring it to them? When are they safe to release? Are they ever safe to release? If not, what then?

                                                              Work out the exponential growth.

                                                              It’d be one thing if the virus was only targeting certain subsets of the population. But it’s targeting all of us. Anyone can be a carrier, even if they’re not at risk of dying.

                                                              If you don’t believe how fast this thing spreads, look at this: https://twitter.com/luisferre/status/1235235076193112070

                                                              Merely driving someone to the hospital was enough. Close proximity = infection.

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                                                                My wife said something along the lines of “I have a conference in the summer, I guess we have all had the virus by then and life can go on as usual”.

                                                                I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation to show that this is probably not what we want. I saw recent estimates that during a pandemic (which would probably happen if no further measures are taken) an expected ~60% of the population would be infected. I think the current statistics state that ~20% of the ill need to be hospitalized. The Netherlands has ~17 million inhabitants, so roughly ~2 million people would need to be hospitalized. Even if the 20% somewhat overestimated (because cases where COVID-19 is like a mild cold are not reported), this is going to be absolutely brutal. For reference, NL had 37.753 hospital beds in 2017 [1]. Of course, most hospital rooms are not going to be prepared for this scenario (fitted with proper fans, etc.). Besides that, this would also result in ~200,000 deaths (at the 2% mortality rate).

                                                                Everything possible should be done to slow down this corona virus. First to have headway to scale up capacity and to have time to study existing cases to see what therapies are effective and what not (a vaccine is probably still too far away to be helpful).

                                                                At least the officials in our country have been honest honest on what to expect. They try to avoid panic, but they have also stated in very clear terms that they believe that scenarios where a significant chunk of the population will be infected are realistic.

                                                                [1] https://www.staatvenz.nl/kerncijfers/ziekenhuisbedden

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                                                                  Besides that, this would also result in ~200,000 deaths (at the 2% mortality rate).

                                                                  Nah, way higher. It’s 2% when those who need emergency care do get hospitalized. When the amount of available beds is a rounding error of the amount of needed ones, you’re in deep trouble wrt mortality rate.

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                                                                    Since the serious cases require respirators and oxygen, there’s a threshold where mortality will increase sharply: when there are no more respirators available doctors are going to have to start making hard decisions.

                                                                    If we manage to keep the rate of new cases low enough, this will be not much worse than a normal flu. If the rate is too high, things look bleak for those over 70 years old.

                                                                    But it’s not like it’s an airborne ebola with an R0 rate of 5. The current media frenzy (social and traditional media alike) is overblown, IMHO.

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                                                              I mean, you’ve already established in past threads that you place a high value on your travel-centric lifestyle.

                                                              Wash your hands, comply with local public health officials, and tell the truth about where you’ve been during border screenings.

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                                                                Sitting in SEA for three months doesn’t feel particularly travel-centric. I’m not backpacking. I’m renting an apartment and living here for an entire quarter.

                                                                Also, I’m not sure if the command at the end of your comment was directed specifically at me. If it was, then that’s a pretty weird thing to say to a stranger.

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                                                                  Ah, I think the ending that said “that’s the best any frequent traveler can do” was eaten by a grue.

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                                                                    Ah, sorry. Yes, I think you’re right.

                                                                    Sorry for being defensive.

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                                                                I wonder, do you still hold this opinion?

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                                                                  Yes. I still hold this opinion.

                                                                  I am in Vietnam, where they have done a relatively good job of containing the virus. People here are not self-isolating, and there is absolutely no panic-buying. There’s a seemingly endless supply of toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

                                                                  People here are wearing face masks in public places like supermarkets, but not at cafés or the beach.

                                                                  People are still working. People are still going into offices every day. We are going into an office every day.

                                                                  The sensationalism prevalent in Western society — and apparently also among the members of this forum — is the reason why people are panic-buying and our grandparents are put in a compromised position where they may have to do without basic supplies. I still think many people on this forum are very stupid. I won’t point fingers, but I will say again that the implication that COVID-19 is a life-long affliction is one of the stupidest things I’ve read in this community. We’re all meant to do some kind of scientific work, aren’t we? Doesn’t that mean measuring and looking at real data? Don’t we already have a huge amount of data on the recovery rate? Even if you [not you specifically] do think the panic is rational, surely nobody’s case is helped by just making shit up?

                                                                  Naturally I expect to get downvoted into oblivion again, as people are awfully touchy here.