COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion

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Ziv

OBS Chief
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Oct 25, 2011
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615
Getting the antibody test is fairly straightforward now. I got the it two weeks ago. I told my doctor I cared for three elderly people fairly frequently and I had the prescription immediately even though I am in my 50's and healthy.
They are doing almost 400,000 tests a day now, including both active culture tests and antibody tests.

He gets tested daily, so from his perspective (being the center and sole occupant of the universe) - he's correct.
 

AmtrakBlue

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May 6, 2011
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Getting the antibody test is fairly straightforward now. I got the it two weeks ago. I told my doctor I cared for three elderly people fairly frequently and I had the prescription immediately even though I am in my 50's and healthy.
They are doing almost 400,000 tests a day now, including both active culture tests and antibody tests.
But how reliable is the antibody test? I've heard that it's not all that reliable, yet.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
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Oct 25, 2011
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I believe they are talking about the new test as being around 93% accurate. Not that great but better than it was. I believe the problem is false positives but I am not certain of that. I have read so much about this bug it is all getting mixed up.
But the one takeaway I have seen is that the 3 day rolling average of Covid deaths in the US is down from 3708 on April 18th to a 3 day rolling average of 646 today. According to Worldometer.
But how reliable is the antibody test? I've heard that it's not all that reliable, yet.
 

PVD

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Jul 8, 2015
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NY State was reported today (yesterday's number) around 75 48 hospital balance Nursing home...Net hospitalizations down, intubations down all very good. All regions moved to phase one except the city which is probably a week or so away. The first group of contact tracers (1700) in NYC start work on June 1, with 800 more shortly after. They are training now.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
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Oct 25, 2011
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Labcorp is using mostly Abbott tests now and they are supposed to be over 93% accurate, for what that claim is worth. They earlier claimed they were "nearly 100% accurate" but that is doubtful. The new Roche test is supposed to be more accurate than the original tests, as well.
The most used one has a 50% False Positive/ Negative Rate. Not good enough to rely on!
 

PVD

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If you take the NYS results out of the national graphs, the resulting curves don't look anywhere as good.... keep in mind that today's hospitalizations contribute to next month's fatalities. The lag is very visible....
 

PVD

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I just glanced at the NY Forward Regional Dashboard (yesterday's numbers) Pretty good progress in all areas. NYC is there with the exception of the 30% availability of hospital beds (28%) When it looked like we were going to go over the falls, we brought in thousands of temporary beds, including 1000 on the US Navy hospital ship. Thankfully the temporary facilities went mostly unused. If those beds were still here, we would meet all the metrics. An additional requirement that has been imposed is the requirement that 90 days of PPE supplies be stocked so that the madness that occurred this spring is not repeated,,,, I usually listen to the Mayor DiBlasio report around 9:30 and The Governor is usually around 11:30-12:00 depending on where he is in NY. Yesterday he went 1:00PM from Washington, he had a meeting with the President in the morning.
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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I believe they are talking about the new test as being around 93% accurate. Not that great but better than it was. I believe the problem is false positives but I am not certain of that. I have read so much about this bug it is all getting mixed up.
The problem with false positives is baked into the test situation. This is known as the false positive paradox. Because the rate of infection in the overall population is low, most of the the positive results are going to come back on people who haven't been infected, even it the test is 93% accurate.

Imagine: 100,000 people are tested, maybe 5% of population has been infected, so 95,000 people aren't infected. 5,000 people are. A 93% accurate rate means that 7% are false positives. Seven percent of 95,000 is 6,650 false positives. Thus, even if all of the 5,000 infected people are correctly identified by the test, there are an additional 6,650 people who haven't been infected, but think they have been.

This, of course, only considers the accuracy of the test with regard to false positives. There's also the issue of false negatives to consider, which further messes up the value of these tests on populations where what you're looking for is rare. These tests are great for sub-populations where the rate of infection is higher, but for the general population, not so much. By the way, this applies to HIV and TB testing as well, not to mention having implications in industrial quality control.
 
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joelkfla

Train Attendant
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Oct 16, 2018
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70
I believe they are talking about the new test as being around 93% accurate. Not that great but better than it was. I believe the problem is false positives but I am not certain of that. I have read so much about this bug it is all getting mixed up.
But the one takeaway I have seen is that the 3 day rolling average of Covid deaths in the US is down from 3708 on April 18th to a 3 day rolling average of 646 today. According to Worldometer.
For antibody testing, false positives are the worst fault. They lull people into believing they have immunity, when they actually don't.
 

jis

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Just FYI regarding SARS-COV-2 tests and testing....



 

Green Maned Lion

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Dec 27, 2007
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There is no definitive proof that presence of antibodies affords immunity. It is a reasonable hypothesis, as it often does, but is not proven yet.
Another logical assumption, also unproven, is that if the thing has attacked you previously, and it has not landed you in the hospital, it is likely that getting infected again will likely not land you in the hospital.
 

west point

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Jun 9, 2015
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Leets see. Cut trains in half so you would only need T & E crew at most 2/3rd of present amounts. So that does not reduce operating costs by half. Then Amtrak will be able to rehire what ? Maybe a 1/3rd of laid offs. Now you have to train new hires . Then retrain those who got bumped onto routes not qualified.
 

Devil's Advocate

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May 24, 2010
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11,343
Your picture is either proof of what you say, or simply that a jerk used the bathroom before you. Or possibly that you threw a roll of toilet paper on the floor out of frustration at the lack of sanitary conditions. actually aside from that tp the room looks pretty clean
Jerks use bathrooms on airplanes yet they still get cleaned periodically. What's Amtrak's excuse?

I know you’re from Blighty, so let me tell you something; I use American public restrooms on a regular basis. Amtrak’s are not an example of particularly bad ones. I have seen much much much worse elsewhere, believe me.
I believe you. I just don't see how this is a compelling argument. A disgusting fast food bathroom doesn't cost me hundreds of dollars in rail fare to use.
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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7,767
Unfortunately antibody tests need much higher specificity (upwards of 99%) before they're useful for declaring people immune.

We're actually pretty sure that antibodies confer immunity, but based on experience with other coronaviruses, it's strongly suspected it's only *temporary* immunity. When we get a vaccine we may all have to be vaccinated every six months. :-(
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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7,767
Write your Congresscritters. Less-than-daily service is just stupidity -- it always costs more than daily service because of the revenue losses. Some idiot at Amtrak is feeding this idea to Flynn (my guess is Stephen Gardner) and Congress has to be told it's stupidity.

Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see every train reduced to one locomotive, one coach, and one sleeper, and I wouldn't even object if that was the demand level.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
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Jerks use bathrooms on airplanes yet they still get cleaned periodically. What's Amtrak's excuse?
Amtrak bathrooms get cleaned very well at the terminus, just like on airplanes. The problem is getting them cleaned during the long journey to the next terminus.
 

Ferroequinologist

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
46
CEO William Flynn siting a 95% drop in ridership, has announced yesterday that Amtrak is preparing to lay off 20% of its staff in its next fiscal year. This is a result of what happens when we have a congress that insists that Amtrak make a profit. Notice that government workers in other agencies are unaffected. One can only feel for the Amtrak workers who need to support their familes and are struggling just to earn a middle class wage. This is terrible.
Amtrak Cutting Work Force 20%
So why don't they drop prices if ridership is down 95%? The airlines have done that. It still costs around $1,000 one way New York to California in a roomette. And this is during a Depression -- not a little recession !
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,343
Amtrak bathrooms get cleaned very well at the terminus, just like on airplanes. The problem is getting them cleaned during the long journey to the next terminus.
Aircraft lavatories on long haul flights are cleaned in-flight. Even domestic and regional flights get a periodic wipe down during the next turn cycle. Amtrak's own rules say their staff should be keeping restrooms clean throughout the journey, but in the case of coach class many staff simply choose not to do so. These are often the same staff who do clean the restrooms in sleeper class. This is a solvable problem that doesn't need approval from Congress or Union Pacific but does need a board that cares enough to make it happen and make it stick.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,446
Disney restrooms are kept extremely clean despite the insane crowds at the parks. They are cleaned by employees getting paid half of what Amtrak attendants get paid. It can be done if there is a desire.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
I didn't say it stopped at Disney, although they are a particularly bad example. I have never been one to stand on a platform of attempting to indicate equality, equitability, or even vaguely reasonable labor practices in this country; I may be crazy, but I'm not THAT far gone.
 
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