You know what this reminds me of? The lyrics from the classic rock song Fly Like an Eagle:
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… Into the future.
Except replace time with release dates:
Release dates keep on slipping, slipping, slipping… Into the future.
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When will this end? When theaters can be packed. There’s no way for that to happen until we have herd immunity. What we need are multiple Covid-19 vaccines and an educated public. (Some competence in the White House wouldn’t hurt.)
The most recent movie release casualty came with the news that the spice won’t flow this year since Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has been pushed back until October 2021. Black Widow, No Time To Die, Batman, etc., have all pushed back — again. Wait a few days and we’ll probably have another new release date for Wonder Woman 1984.
Regal Cinemas — the second largest theater chain in the USA — recently announced that over 7,000 movie screens will go dark this weekend, as the theater chain said it will shut down all 536 locations on Thursday, October 8th. AMC Theaters announced that they plan to keep 80% of their theaters open… For now.
Opinion, Herd Immunity, and the CoVid Vaccine
The movie industry faces a real chicken and egg situation. Theaters can’t stay open without blockbusters, and blockbusters can’t release unless there are theaters open. It comes down to the fact that not enough people feel safe going to sit in an enclosed room with strangers for 2+ hours just for entertainment. Plus, there are so many people out of work, or fear that they will be soon, that the cost of a few movie tickets is too steep a price to pay.
Unless there is a Christmas miracle and people flock back to the few theaters that are open to watch whatever they can, then the theater chain industry is in for a very rough ride. To get past Covid-19 we need herd immunity.
Epidemiologists estimate that we need between 50-90% of the population to be immune before that can happen. The reason there is such a wide range in the estimate is that herd immunity also depends on social factors, such as social distancing, mask wearing, etc. Since we’re talking about rebooting the theater industry we’re going to need a percentage along the high end of the scale, because sitting in a crowded theater is not social distancing. And we know that there are too many ignorant selfish people who refuse to wear a mask, especially in a dark theater where it’s easy for them to get away with it.
If we aim for 80% to get a level of herd immunity where social distancing can be relaxed, then we need the combination of natural immunity — those who contracted Covid-19 and survived — and vaccinated immunity to surpass that 80% target. Currently the national level of immunity is less than 10%, with a wide regional range. If we double that to 20% and everyone else gets vaccinated then we’ll make it, assuming the vaccine’s efficacy is 70%. Unfortunately, only 51% of people surveyed said they would get vaccinated.
The good news is that in this scenario we don’t need everyone to get vaccinated. The bad news is that we do need 85% to get vaccinated. That’s a 34% gap to make up.
What we need is a system in place where everyone can take a test to check for Covid-19 antibodies. If you have the antibodies that means you either had Covid-19 and developed the antibodies naturally, or you got vaccinated and the vaccine was effective for you. With the antibodies then you get a card or something that indicates you’re immune and so you can go to the theater, restaurants, bars, etc. If you don’t have that card then you can’t.
Since a system like this would be a challenge to pull of in a country like China it’s pretty much impossible here in the USA.
Assuming everything goes well, we have multiple vaccines that are moderately effective, and Covid-19 doesn’t mutate into something that sends us back to the starting line then maybe, just maybe, it will be safe to return to theaters in 2022.
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Creator and developer of the RunPee app. When something doesn’t work right in the app it’s pretty much his fault. 🙂
Aspiring author. Would like to finish his “Zombie Revelations” trilogy if he could break away for working on RunPee and the cottage he’s building for RunPee Mom.
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I know what you mean, people are scared to go back, myself I am a VERY HIGH risk, but when movies opened up, I still went every week, I saw a bunch of old movies and kept my mask on, I wiped down the seat with lysol (I brought) before I sat down and made sure my seat was WAY AWAY from everyone, as in everyone I mean the other 3 people in the theater everytime I went, we were all at least 30 feet apart or more, so I felt pretty safe, I just wanted to support the theaters my real only habit, And I went to the last one today at my local Regal theater before it closed. Now I have no theater within 20 miles on my home (The one I have been going to was 3) I feel really bad for them, and I wish they would stay open, but I understand. I mean with only 3 people watching Hocus Pocus or Star Wars will not keep the lights on, let alone pay for the people to work there. Asking those who work there they think they will not open again until April 2021, And I think that is about right, if not later, we are not close to a vaccine, and its right I have talked to a lot of people and they say they will either not take it, or wait a few months to see how it goes, even my brothers and their families say they will not, even if it means not seeing me for another 6 months or so. But that is the time we live in, people do not trust the government, people will not wear masks, I mean other counties all ban together and they are pretty much back to normal, we have fights and attacks over wearing a mask, one of the simplest things you can do to protect each other, which is sad. I mean think about it, if the whole country just stayed home for 3 weeks, and did not go out for anything, or just wear a mask and social distance this would all be over fast. But Americans think their freedoms over weigh the rights of others, so we are now in the problems we are in because of it
Dan Gardner Administrator
Hi Michael. Very well put. It’s sad that Americans can’t put aside their differences long enough to put on a mask. The conservative right is so anti-science, I think because they often view science as the enemy to their religious beliefs. So here we are, everyone else has to suffer with their ignorance.
I too feel for the multitude of people who are affected. It’s hit us pretty hard, but we’ve been very fortunate to get government assistance. But that has ended and it will be a struggle if we have to wait until early next summer for the RunPee income to return. I’m hopeful that I can get a job or freelance work as a developer again, but that’s not a sure thing. I just keep reminding myself that others have it much, much, harder than we do. It’s just crushing to think about the people in SW Louisiana who have to deal with Covid-19 plus hurricane after hurricane.
Okay, I have to get back to work. It’s just too depressing to think about how much suffering there is.
I hope you and your family remain safe and healthy.
Jill Florio Administrator
I’ve been in San Diego and Brazil all through the pandemic, and almost no one is mask compliant or socially distant in either place. The exception are places like markets where you can’t enter without a mask. I don’t understand what people are thinking. Do they think they are personally immune? Or maybe they just don’t care. When I ask around, everyone says they don’t know anyone personally who got CoVId. I guess that makes all this fake news. Blergh…
About the inevitable vaccine(s), my sense is something will be rushed into production without proper testing, and then we either 1. have a choice, or 2. don’t have a choice. Okay, I know that’s a silly statement, but let me ‘splain.
In some countries, my sense is a vaccine will be mandatory, whether or not it’s been determined safe. So, maybe while I’m in Brazil troops will go from house to house and make sure everyone gets a shot. Or in a place like China. I doubt this will happen in the US. So I may not have agency about this one while I live here in Brazil.
In the US, there may not be mandatory vaccines, but I would guess many places simply won’t let you in without your vaccine proof card. Private establishments could certainly do this. So instead of a law, there will still be other real pressure to take the ‘cure’.
As for travel, like with the Yellow Fever vaccine, I am thinking a lot of countries won’t let you enter without proof of vaccination either.
I’m not saying I don’t want a vaccine, but with all this urgency, I’m afraid of debilitating, very frightening side effects further down the line.
This is a confusing time and, as Dan said, shit like hurricanes keep on happening. Fires in CA that have burned people alive. Anti-science political platforms. Protests where race-fueled anger makes mob mentality a thing, proving that we’ve learned precious little about tolerance and harmony. Troops stomping on needed medical supplies to make a point. (I really cringe at this one.)
And now I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled episodes of Star Trek, where humanity has overcome scarcity, greed, intolerance, and disease, and life is about bettering yourself.