Click the image to bring up the C-Span video.

The lede is buried at 1:05 into the hearing.

Nationwide deaths from the virus have surpassed 200K and worldwide cases have passed 30M.

Please, please, please, wear your mask, and wear it properly, when around other people.

This is an open thread.

54 Replies to “Sunday open thread: Your mask is more guaranteed to protect you than a vaccine”

  1. What happened to the meme that the mask was to protect other people from you spreading the virus? Except the neck gaiters that increase transmission. How does the mask protect you from contact spread (i.e. rubbing your eye after touching an infected surface)? Is a mask better than getting the measles vaccine? Maybe what he was saying is it’s time to start hording all the medical grade N95 masks you can lay hands on.

    Mean while, back at the King Co Daily COVID-19 outbreak summary they’ve added some nice features like when you hover over any of the charts you get not just the daily count but the 7 day average. The original purpose of the lock down was to prevent overwhelming our medical facilities, right?

    1. Contact spread is at the low end of the spectrum. Covid transmits primarily through the air via viral load exposure + time. That’s the formula.

      Doctors wear masks when they operate on you to prevent infecting you. They don’t wear it because of a “meme”.

      We prevent overwhelming the medical facilities by social distancing and wearing a mask because there is no vaccine or treatment to reduce transmission and infection. You can’t just turn it off because “hey, hospitals are ok right now so “masks off” everyone!”

      Over a half a year into this thing and people still can’t understand the basics about Covid and trying to reduce spread. No wonder this country is screwed.

      1. Over a half a year into this thing and people still can’t understand the basics about Covid and trying to reduce spread. No wonder this country is screwed.

        This is a reflection of how dumb down & brainwashed our society has become.

    2. You may be surprised to read that “One dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective against measles, 78% effective against mumps, and 97% effective against rubella.” Expecting a vaccine that is 99%+ effective against the coronavirus is not even good inductive reasoning.

      Having the vaccine won’t mean we all get to stop wearing masks. Getting the cases down to essentially zero is hopefully what we have the collective patience to do. If the People’s Republic and Autearoa can do it, what is stopping us besides mass individual stupidity?

      Consider also that if people are refusing to wear masks, why do we expect they will all agree to take the vaccine?

      When it comes to ending this virus, the sum of the tactics is much more powerful than doing only one of them.

      1. ” if people are refusing to wear masks, why do we expect they will all agree to take the vaccine”

        Exactly why this claim that a mask is more effective in protecting you is so hard to hear coming from someone that’s supposed to be providing not only a correct but a consistent message. The message, up until this gaff is that the masks need to be worn to prevent the spread of the disease; not to provide “immunity” to the wearer.

        And since this has become a political football every time there’s a glint of good news there’s barrage of negative information which will only serve to make more people decline to get vaccinated.

      2. That’s just trying to spin it in a misleading way. I listened to the segment again to see if he said anything like masks give immunity. He simply mentioned masks in passing and compared them to a vaccine, which he may have thought of on the spur of the moment and didn’t have time to word it like a press release. I interpreted it to mean that masks are effective for all the well-known reasons, not introducing a new reason. The effect is different if you’re looking at one person vs society-wide. Public health officials focus on the society-wide aspect. As Paul Krugman says, “My mask protects you and your mask protects me.” This is similar to when he says, “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.” If you wear a mask and sneeze, it catches most of the evil droplets before it gets out. That doesn’t directly protect you from foreign droplets, but if you wear a mask, that encourages others to wear masks. It’s similar to fare payment. If you pay the fare, it encourages others to pay the fare, and you benefit in more bus runs existing, as well as in other people spending money/providing services/paying taxes/not driving an SOV.

      3. And since this has become a political football every time there’s a glint of good news there’s barrage of negative information which will only serve to make more people decline to get vaccinated.

        This on top of the already pervasive anti vaccine movement thanks to Andrew Wakefield that began in 1998 with the false claim of vaccines causing autism. Now you can add the bloom of conspiracy theories around science.

      4. ” If the People’s Republic and Autearoa can do it, what is stopping us besides mass individual stupidity?”

        I’m guessing you’re talking about the Peoples Republic of China. The main reason they can contain it is because the Communist Party can simply kill anyone that doesn’t tow the party line. Personally I think they probably did contain the virus pretty well so vast areas of the country weren’t infected. Remember they shut down public transit in Wuhan. There’s the advantage that it’s not as mobile a population as the USA and there’s also the possibility that they are just flat out lying. Again, you can’t question the party line and they wouldn’t allow outside verification.

        If you’re talking about the People’s Republic of Korea then I think you have an example of a terrific example of how to do it right. Instead of the government forcing people to do the right thing there is tremendous social pressure to not be stupid. A key to their response was rigorous contact tracing. That’s something that’s easier to do when people trust the government vs. the USA’s tendency to put more value on privacy. Then you add in our “experts” waffling back and forth on whether people should automatically get tested if they believe they were exposed.

        World wide it’s difficult to compare numbers. Cases are likely much higher than reported in places like India and Brazil where large numbers of the population have no access to testing or even basic hygiene. Then you have the different reporting standards. At the outset the USA was assigning Covid-19 as the cause of death to any autopsy where there was a positive test. What’s the false positive rate? How universal are autopsies in other countries and what criteria do they apply to assign Covid-19 as the primary cause of death?

        Where is Autearoa?

    3. Actually, there’s a post over at Kevin Drum which links an article published by The Economist, no airey-fairey cancel culture rag they, that shows how “mask wearing” and social distancing has ELIMINATED influenza from the Southern Hemisphere this summer:

      Maybe the wingers need to smarten up???????????

      Naaaaaah. Pigs will jumping over the moon first

      Hey piggle, piggle,
      The rat’s in a niggle,
      The sow jumped over the Moon.
      The little frog
      Laughed to see such sport
      And the swish ran away with a prune

  2. In order to make this morning’s STB bearable, let’s combine the themes of politics, epidemiology and (thank God for the “T”) Transit to save us from going mad and eating our masks, like our distressed monkey forebears would now be doing at breakfast.

    US History proves that this year’s disgruntled problem tenant at 1600 Pennsylvania is not in fact our worst President, though not for lack of trying. Andrew Jackson was not only racist, but genocidal. Yeah, FHS needs a new street-name to put the Chinatown tracks in. How ’bout “Sam Zimbabwe?”

    But in 1850, Franklin Pierce honored States’ Rights by enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law, which made criminals out of free-state citizens who refused to actively help masters get their escaped Property back. So today’s Agenda Item One:

    Fire up our most powerful modern search-engines to find the name “Franklin Pierce” among the many thousand African-American volunteers who joined the Union Army when, after few really discouraging battles, a lot of white soldiers really didn’t feel like re-enlisting.

    Considering the race of many early “Pullman Porters”, good chance Pierce Transit’s rightful namesake could also have been serious Rail-Related. “Winwinwin” to the thousandth “W”! Meantime, though, let’s hear from transit’s own front-line people in uniform.

    Now that nobody cares if your bus still says “Essential”, how’s it going with the masks?

    Mark Dublin

  3. Metro to resume fare collection October 1st. But … “fare enforcement will continue to be suspended at least through the end of 2020.”

    What percentage of riders will continue to pay the fare on RapidRide buses even though they know FEO’s won’t board the bus and check for proof of payment?

    “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” C. S. Lewis

    1. “What percentage of riders will continue to pay the fare on RapidRide buses even though they know FEO’s won’t board the bus and check for proof of payment?”

      Thank you for volunteering to write a Page 2 investigative report on this. It will require some field work: you’ll have to ride a variety of routes at different times and count the number of people who paid vs didn’t pay. Remember to pay your own fare to set a good example. Now that Metro is flat-fare, a $99 pass will allow you to research even the long-distance expresses for a month. You can bill it to your STB expense account. My guess is you’ll find 3% of passengers won’t pay. Not 50% or 75% but a tiny traction that’s a tempest in a teapot.

      One curve ball is the lack of fares for five months. How long will it take for people to realize fares are back and to fill their ORCA cards? Drivers will doubtless let them on if they say, “Oh, I haven’t filled my card yet.” Or, “I can’t go to a station with a ticket machine right now.”

      I’ll miss rear-door boarding. It’s so convenient and fast.

      1. Also not irretrievable, Mike. Intercity Transit’s voters decided that considering the cost of cash-fare collection, including waste due to lost operating time, we raised the needed revenue with a levy. No law says Metro and ST can’t re-calculate.

        Make the ORCA monthly pass the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way to pay, and problem should also start to just take care of itself. Recalling rush-hour experience, front boarding and rear exit are easy, natural, and efficient.

        Also: Rapid Ride will stay “All-Door”, won’t it? But here’s another good delay-preventative: Put enough information personnel on-property, and those real schedule-killers, fare arguments and discussions, will be out from under the wheels.

        Mark Dublin

      2. It will be impossible to tell. No RR rider can tell who paid and who didn’t. Someone could have tapped off-board, or maybe they have a valid transfer ticket in their pocket. Only Metro will know if payments are significantly down on RapidRide buses after they start collecting fares.

      3. You can see how many people the fare inspectors dwell at.

        RapidRide will remain all-door. The non-payment is probably mostly on RapidRide, since I’ve seen some non-poor people not pay because they don’t think they’ll get caught. But that’s the same as pre-covid. The idea that many more people won’t pay because the inspectors aren’t issuing citations sounds like more of a blind assertion than a proven fact. One, 95% of riders don’t read STB or see Metro’s announcements. Two, many people are uncomfortable with even being questioned by an inspector, and you never know how aggressive the questioning will be from day to day or inspector to inspector.

      4. To what degree some RapidRide users stop paying depends on whether or not Fare Enforcement Officers stop boarding buses entirely. Will FEO’s board buses, check fares, and not issue tickets? Will they board, but not check fares? Or, will they not board at all, but switch to a customer service role at bus stops.

        A recent Metro Matters blog post said this: “Metro will suspend fare enforcement through the end of 2020. Fare enforcement officers will continue to provide a broad range of customer services, including answering questions related to using transit and navigating new safety innovations. Metro is working with King County, the King County Sheriff’s Office, cities, and community stakeholders on alternatives to fare enforcement in the future.”

    2. Question, Sam: What does Transit have to lose by a really novel experiment: finally make those fares easier to pay than evade?

      One, drop the five dollar charge for the card itself, and peddle that plastic at every drug and convenience store and even better, all those espresso outlets. “The Station” on Beacon Hill first opened with a Local 587 logo posted over the door. So pretty sure the founder and owner would be glad to help out. Wouldn’t be surprised if “El Centro” next door already does.

      ‘Nother couple of good potential outlets: the new Olympia Roasters place across Rainier from the southbound Edmunds Street Route 7 stop, in addition to the venerable Empire Cafe a block east on Edmunds itself.

      And also, to the grateful acclaim of Star-Fleet’s Finest inspectors, make just plain possession of the card Proof of Payment. Added benefit will be fewer Superior Court Justices to blast-ball, pepper-spray, and tear-gas as they riot against all that effort punishing the Paid-Up over a “bad tap” rap.

      Will also save having to prosecute ST for defacing Sea-Tac Airport Station when The New Michelangelo goes plummeting to his death when his painting harness comes loose while he’s covering the ceiling with the explanation that present fare regime requires.

      Because I’ll go you one farther, CS. Integrity is also doing the right thing when a once-reputable transit agency not only threatens a school girl with a criminal charge for a wrong card-tap, but kills three passengers because it doesn’t know it had instructional responsibility for train engineers.

      They’ll never tell so I can’t prove it, but I’ve a strong hunch about who personifies integrity on this matter. Fact that over so many years nobody else but me is enraged to the point of litigation about the “Tap Crap Trap” tells me that those in the know know theft from mistake, and both “Warn” and ‘Cite” accordingly.

      So thanks for putting integrity [ON] [TOPIC] Sam. More of it around than you know. Take a leaf.

      Mark Dublin

      Mark Dublin

      1. This afternoon, quick fact-finding trip to Seattle cleared up one thing. The Rainier Valley branch of Olympia Roasters has a north-bound Route 7 stop across the sidewalk from the door.

        Also, since [OT] can also mean [OPEN THREAD] this afternoon uncovered another first-hand discovery I’ll keep coming back to. By my car’s own clock and odometer, four miles of trolley-wire along the Lake will put Rainier Beach and Columbia City within fifteen minutes of spectacular scenery all the way to downtown Renton.

        No rush about it, but no problem either.

        MD since I already said it twice on same comment.

    3. If I had to guess, I would say it would be somewhere around 90%. Most people do the right thing. I can’t seem to find the study supporting this theory, but I did find this: To quote from it:

      The city’s transit agency is “moving away from trying to keep the non-paying passengers away to catering for the paying passengers,” Fjær said last month.

      In Oslo and cities trying to update their fare payment systems, the general attitude toward transit scofflaws is, whatevs.

  4. Moderna to seek limited emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine

    Interesting explanation of how you need a certain number of people in the placebo group to get infected before the trial is complete. Hopefully the drug companies had people at WSU to sign up volunteers. It’s kind of a catch-22 that you don’t want anyone to get infected but you can’t deploy a life saving vaccine until a number of people do. A college population seems ideal for an initial study because you will have a high infection rate based on known behaivior and the demographic has a very low risk of serious consequences if they are infected.

  5. Since face masks will be around for awhile, does anyone have a link to any face masks that are transit themed? I’d like one with the new ST line names!

    1. How many people are suppose to live in Seattle in 2040. 10 million? 4 stations in Federal Way and 4 stations in Sammamish?? This map makes Seattle Subway look sober & conservative.

      1. But only one station in Mercer Island! It’s curious that no one is proposing for Mercer Island to emulate Manhattan! Lol

    2. Oh God, all that reverse branching and missed transfers make me want to hurl! I only had one real mised transfer in my crayon of a Seattle Rapid Transit System, and it isn’t remotely as mind boggling as the awkward transfers this map forces.

  6. Cool pic of 1987 downtown Bellevue. Can be enlarged. The road at the bottom is Bellevue Way. The 5 or 6 story yellow building in the middle was Puget Power, where now stands the twin tower condos. The massive parking lot to the left of Puget Power is now the Bellevue Connection shopping mall. And the building to the left of that parking lot was the John Danz theater. The parking lot behind the theater is now the Key Center building (where Jimmy Johns is). At the bottom left is the old one story Safeway, which is now Lincoln Square South. And the Safeway moved one block south, and is under some apartments.

    1. The John Danz theater, where people lined up for hours to watch Star Wars. That yellow diagonal building, isn’t that the one next to the transit center? The two-story building to the left of it had my dad’s office on the second floor, and Honey Baked Hams on the first. I didn’t realize there were already so many highrises then; it’s not as obvious at ground level if you don’t look up. It’s interesting that they’re right around the transit center. So maybe the city was right in having the Link station there. I don’t understand why there are no highrises west of them. Did the city not want highrises near Bellevue Way or Bellevue Square. but was OK with them fiurther east? Why?

      1. One thing Bellevue has done right is to concentrate the high density office towers close to and on the same side of the freeway. There’s always been a sense of “transition” which steps down the height of buildings as they get closer to the established SF neighborhoods. The same holds true for the Spring District which also concentrates the density closest to Link. And Link is a game changer for Midlake (aka Wilburton).

        Paccar Tower, the headquarters of PACCAR, was the tallest building in Bellevue when it was completed in 1970.

        It used to have the fanciest restaurant in Bellevue on the top floor. It still had a panoramic view when I proposed to my wife there last century.

      2. Mike, this is an interesting article about how Bellevue came to the realization it needed to build upwards. It also explains the reason for Bellevue’s superblocks, and why in 1975, 56% of downtown Bellevue was covered in parking lots. I’d be curious to see what think of this article.

      3. Thanks for the link. I lived in Bellevue full-tume from the early 70s until 1985 and then summers until 1989. It still looked like your photo then. The highrises started appearing in the 1990s after I left. When I lived there I didn’t know anything about the growth plans, so to me the growth started in the 90s. Later I learned the growth had been planned in the 70s, and I was stunned. I hadn’t heard of Fred Herman before this article, but if he’s the one who championed a highrise mixed-use downtown Bellevue, then good for him. We mere residents didn’t know what the powers that be were doing; we just saw the construction on the ground.

        I knew about downtowns that withered after suburban malls sucked out the wealth. Downtown Seattle was decaying in the 1970s. I hadn’t realized it could have happened to Bellevue if it didn’t grow to counter a proposed mall in Redmond. But that’s been the story of the US. every twenty years a bigger mall or big-box store is built further out and leaves the previous one to languish, and in some regions the old ones have become abandoned or left to dollar stores. Downtown Seattle escaped that by renovating the retail district in the 1980s, and the article says Bellevue did the same by densifying in the 1990s. Seattle’s retail renovation came from money that was intended for low-income housing, so that was kind of a swindle, but it was successful. I’ve been amazed for years at the thick crowd of people on Pine Street around 4th, 5th, and 6th — so thick it’s hard to walk through them. They can’t all be going to the department stores, can they?

        I grew up in east Bellevue in a single-family area with an hourly bus. The nearest business was a 7-11 a half-mile away up a hill. The nearest supermarket or other businesses were a full mile away. In junior high I started going to Seattle and saw neighborhoods where you could walk to the store or friend’s houses or small shops, and silent electric buses (trolleybuses) came every twenty minutes. But it was still an hour away.

        In high school I started living in a series of apartments along Bellevue Way all north and south. Then I lived in an environment with half-hourly buses and I could walk to everything in downtown Bellevue, That was much better than my previous situation. Bellevue was still only 1-2 story then, but even so I could walk to the Safeway and Bellevue Square and the John Danz theater and the Wendy’s where I worked. Then I moved to the U-District, and found that that was even better.

      4. I didn’t know about that Evergreen East mall idea. And, it’s interesting that it would have been built on the land that is now occupied by Microsoft’s main Redmond campus.

  7. I’m curious what other’s experience has been regarding the census. I believe this is the first time the census went primarily online. My wife filled out the form online shortly after our first notification. We continued to get post cards asking us to fill out the form. I assumed that was just blanket mailing rather than targeting people who hadn’t responded. But then a couple of weeks ago a census taker shows up at our door. We explained that we had already reported online. I expected that the census taker would have noted that and be done. But then last week another census taker shows up asking us to double down. If they can’t get this right with a decade to prepare what confidence is there that States with no prior vote by mail experience are going to get it right?

    1. I filled out my census for online immediately at the first request. I never received a follow-up, so I guess it went through.

      1. I guess it’s too hard to create a system where you get a verification rather than having to guess. I wonder what would happen if you tried to fill it out again? I guess if it boots you out you’d know that your first response was recorded. Sort of like the suggestion you vote by mail and then go to the polls to see if they actually counted your vote :-(

        Washington does have a system where you can track your ballot. I used to do that but have enough faith in our system I haven’t bothered for many years. I also always use a ballot drop box because I don’t trust the US Mail. We’ve used a PO Box for decades because I want to avoid identity theft; all too common from people stealing from mail boxes (also seems to keep you from being selected for jury duty). We get mail for the wrong PO Box # on a regular basis. When we were in Woodinville the box they had on the wall for “mail delivered to the wrong box” was constantly overflowing and not secured. It’s better now that we have a Bartell PMB.

    2. I think I got a postcard and was going to wait for the paper form, then my roommate started filling it out online and we completed it that way. That would have been maybe a month after the initial request. I haven’t seen anything about it since. I live in an apartment, so they might come to the front door and talk to the manager and i would never know.

      1. Paper form? Did anyone receive a paper form this time? We went straight from postcard saying do it online to knocks at the door. One detail, we have a DADU. It’s on the same parcel (obviously) so maybe the door knocker is showing up because they don’t have a response for the DADU which is currently being remodeled and has no occupants. During the 2010 census they did knock and leave numerous notices at the door because the renter refused to answer the door or give any information to anyone.

      2. Talking to the wife, hard to do with social distancing :>) we actually had a third census taker show up at our door. This time they said they were looking for information on ####A which none of the others had said. Appears mystery solved. The postcards come to our street address #### leaving out the “A” which is more commonly addressed #### 1/2 as shown on the mail box. Recently had a PSE person come by doing a utility locate for gas who when I told the second meter was #### 1/2 was able to enter ####.5 in her data recorder.

        Bottom line, if we’d just given the first door knocker our info our district would have double counted the true demographic. This is a corner case but…

      3. I’ve gotten strange calls but not from the census. I get CPAP supplies every three months from a medical supply company in Kent. I ordered them in early August but it was held until the end of the month for insurance reasons. After I placed the order I got I got four phone calls and voice mails from the company, and texts and emails saying it’s time to reorder, and I talked to them twice. They funny thing is, they didn’t seem to know about my August order and delivery. That made me suspicious whether it really was the company, so I didn’t give them any specific information. I called the number on my invoice and asked if they had a record of those calls or any messages on my account, and I gave them the phone number the caller had wanted me to call back on. The company wasn’t able to confirm right then whether it was one of their numbers but I had them put it in a message on the account just in case. I got another call this week and I told them directly. “I don’t want to give any information because I don’t know whether you’re really company X.” I wonder if they’ll stop calling now.

      4. Scamming is rampant! I got an email this morning saying my Chase account had a questionable charge and gave me a link to click on. It appeared to be a really well crafted Phishing scam but NO I’m not clicking on any damn link. Then I saw I had a text message claiming to be from Chase. That’s a little harder to fake but I’m still not going to bite and text back. I called Chase using the toll free (extremely hard to read) number on the back of my card. Turns out to be legit someone trying to use my card number and guess the CSV. Card cancelled and waiting for new cards. Fortunately we have Discover as a back-up. Note, all the scammer has to do is use your CC# and guess 1000 times and they have your CSV. Using a computer you can do this with zero effort. A “Hit” to Chase for catching this. A “Miss” to Chase for sending a “click this link” email. Even the person I talked to at Chase said Chapeau for not clicking on the link they had sent!.

      5. I’ve gotten several scam calls over the years claiming problems with my car insurance or registration, or that my car was towed for illegal parking. Since I don’t even own a car, any unsolicited phone call about my car is a guaranteed scam. Makes it very easy to detect and hang up.

      6. @Bernie
        “A “Hit” to Chase for catching this. A “Miss” to Chase for sending a “click this link” email.”

        Yeah, they should’ve just called you directly. That’s what my credit union did in my case several years ago when the primary credit card they issued to me was hacked. I happened to be on the east coast for a family event at the time and I learned about it when I was at the airport on my way home and had my card rejected at an eatery in the terminal. My credit union had noticed unusual activity on my account (some large purchases at a couple of retailers in Milan, Italy of all places) and immediately froze the account and called me from their fraud investigation department and left a number for me to contact them. I did so immediately upon my return here and they emailed me a couple of documents and an affidavit I had to complete and return. The charges got reversed and they issued me a new account number/card and put an explanation on my credit file. Honestly, the credit union did a fantastic job of handling the whole ordeal.

        To this day, my best guess is that the physical card I carry for daily use got “skimmed” at a restaurant on Capitol Hill. I’m generally very careful about not letting my card get out of my sight when paying but in this case the waiter scooped up the tab and my credit card (and my friend’s card) while I was taking a phone call. I found out from this same friend when I saw him a couple of weeks later that he too was dealing with a hacked cc account. After sharing our similar stories, we concluded that the numbers must have been skimmed at that particular restaurant as we had no other common contact points. (And, yes, we contacted the restaurant ultimately.)

        It would be great if all eateries and restaurants here in the U.S. handled customers’ credit cards like they do in other parts of the world, like in Toronto for example, where they tab patrons out at their table (thus the cards are always in sight). Until then, folks should always ask to “pay at the register” and not just throw their card in the restaurant’s handy little folio and have the wait staff person whisk it off for processing.

    3. I think we’d better start being a little careful, Bernie. No chance your visitor showed you any ID, was there? My own most likely answer would be: “I’ve already called the police.”

      Worst I’ve gotten was an envelope from Texas with a long questionnaire on Federal medical care. Because I think multiple choice tests are all products of 19th century racist eugenics, I referred my Texas readers to a handwritten statement on the last page.

      “Give me the same package Congress has got, paid for with a progressive income tax as steep as the highest cliff in the Rockies. And tany demand for co-pay should draw prison time for extortion. Maybe just out of spite they’ll forward it to Joe Biden.

      Mark Dublin

      1. I’m deeply suspect of anyone showing up at my door asking for info. Yes, they did have the census taker ID badge. I didn’t hold it up to the light and inspect for fraud since we weren’t going to give them any information anyway. Thinking back, the last census where I had interaction with two census takers trying to get info from our reclusive renter I wonder if the land owner should be allowed to answer the census form?

        If so, maybe I can vote for them too :=)

    4. Replying to your census feedback request…..

      “Did anyone receive a paper form this time?”

      Yes. That is how my household completed our census questionnaire. We deliberately selected this option so that there would be a paper trail. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be a verification system like we have with our returned election ballots here in WA. Hopefully, given the Cons’ motivations to willfully sabotage the process and produce an undercount, the next administration will have the IG do a thorough audit and report to Congress to understand how bungled the 2020 census actually ends up being.

      I believe we received three mailings from the bureau before receiving the hard copy questionnaire form. From what we ascertained at the time, there was no easy way to simply contact the bureau (phone, online, snail mail) and simply request a questionnaire to be mailed to us from the start. We simply shredded the postcards that we received and waited for the hard copy. Once we had the latter in hand, we completed it right away and mailed it in. We never received any visit from a door-to-door census worker throughout the process and to this date.

      Btw, the section on race and national origin was truly bizarre and I don’t recall this data being collected this way on any of the previous census forms I’ve completed in my lifetime. The national origin information serves no useful purpose and frankly the data that is collected here will most certainly be faulty and unreliable. I simply wrote in “multiple nations”. Good luck with that, Wilbur.

      Regarding phone and phishing scammers, etc……

      We still have a landline connected at our residence and receive calls every week from folks who are calling from the US and clearly don’t give a rat’s ass about the national Do Not Call Registry, as well as calls most likely coming from India. We simply screen everything. If it’s a robocall scammer and the caller leaves a message (many do), we just immediately delete the message. If by some chance my spouse or myself happen to answer the phone and have one of these lowlives on the line, we don’t engage with them, as the security experts advise, and simply hang up.

      These are the most common scammer and solicitation calls we receive of late (in no particular order):
      1. Vehicle extended warranty solicitations
      2. Credit card/debt consolidation solicitations
      3. Apple iCloud account security breach scam (India)
      4. Windows/MS support scam (India)
      5. Apple and Windows prepaid subscription (for online support) refund scam (India)
      6. Social security number breach scam – I think these are also originating from India based on what I’ve read online. This one involves a robocall that leaves a threatening message that implies an arrest warrant is imminent. Hysterical and completely stupid scam.
      7. Medicare supplemental insurance solicitations
      8. Third party donation solicitations for various law enforcement groups

      There are others as well, of course, but these are the ones we experience most frequently at home these days.

      Email phishing scams are getting more creative but generally we find that they’re not too hard to spot. Something totally out of the blue, something containing poor English grammar and/or spelling, and “Chicken Little” type messages pushing an included link to click on, etc. all send up an immediate red flag. They all get reported as spam and immediately deleted from our email accounts.

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