News: Cedar Fair preparing for another pandemic-focused season in 2021

Friday, December 11, 2020 10:30 AM

I fully expect to be masked and distanced on ride vehicles on Opening Day 2021. I also am optimistic that by Closing Day 2021 we'll be in a place where masks may be optional and ride capacity will be increased.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020 9:28 PM

Agreed. The wife and I really want to plan a trip in August for Universal Studios but we are really on the fence about it. And yes I’m aware that the bigger resorts are operating fairly well but it’s the idea of can we go without any restrictions at all? Especially spending that kind of money, right now I’m not sure that even six months from now we will be that much better off. As far as Cedar Point, don’t be surprised if the same restrictions remain in place for the better part of the 2021 season: to Dave’s point, yes there will come a point in time where guests will have to assume covid risks just like anything else but the whole industry would have to be on board with that and I guarantee that Cedar Fair won’t be the first to try that. They’ll wait for Disney to go first. Right now my mentality is that 2021 won’t change much until at least Fall. I hope I’m wrong, I really do.

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Sunday, December 13, 2020 12:06 AM
99er's avatar

Regardless of how things might be in the rest of the world, I wouldn't plan on the Orlando parks doing away with masks until after August.


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Sunday, December 13, 2020 12:16 AM

At this point, things are changing rapidly. Without a vaccine, so far in Ohio it's very possible that nearly 17% (16.7715%) of the population has been infected with SARS-CoV2 based on the State's daily case count and an undercount of roughly 70%...an admitted WAG, but surprisingly close to the prevalence data that Ohio State University published relative to case counts in July. By comparison, using the same numbers and assumptions, on November 12...one month ago...we were at 9.6762%.

This matters because so far the best information we have is that reinfection is by and large not a thing at least over the 11 months or so that this has been going on. The isolated apparent reinfections are thought not to be reinfections, but reoccurrence of symptoms. In the course of a month we have added 234k confirmed cases, possibly as many as 446k cases considering the undercount. The good news is that the new case rate is, in fact, slowing down. The even better news is that the first of several vaccines was +approved today, and the first batch is enough for 100k Ohioans. If we look at the infections and think of that as "people who won't be getting the virus". Now, I noted that cases are now declining (for the moment); the peak for the 7-day average case count actually happened on 12/05, only a week ago. If we assume case rates are declining at about the same rate that they rose, in the next month we could add another 446k cases (including undercount), PLUS 100k vaccinations. That brings us to nearly 22% of the State population in less than a month. That's assuming that infection rate keeps declining, which, I'm not entirely convinced is going to happen.

This is how a pandemic dies. Some other States are moving through the process faster than Ohio is, and some are already much further along in the process. Through a combination of mitigation strategies, infection-based immunity, and vaccination, the virus *will* run out of hosts. It won't be completely eradicated, but it won't be front-page news, either. The question is, how long will it take for this to happen? We don't entirely know, partly because we don't know how prevalent the virus already is in the population, and partly because we don't know at what level the reproduction level gets so low that the case count dwindles to an endemic level. Based on the trends I am watching, it's feeling like we are very close to an inflection point where things will start tapering off. The question is how quickly and to what level...and that's what will determine what the 2021 season looks like.

All I know is that I can't wait to go back, but if the park operates the way it did in 2020 I won't be there.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.



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Sunday, December 13, 2020 11:25 AM
Jeff's avatar

You're wrong, Dave. There is no herd immunity without the vaccine, and the virus hasn't been around long enough to know what the immunity period is, by way of infection or vaccine. We don't know. By your logic, the spread should be trending down, and the opposite is happening. Case growth could be flat, and it's still 10x higher than it was in September. This is not the time to be optimistic.

Some sports venues are already looking at proof-of-vaccination protocols, and apparently the airlines are too. There are technology vendors looking into ways to do this without distributing HIPPA data and violating privacy. And when the science can show safety for school children, and vaccine availability isn't an issue, you can bet schools will require vaccination.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Sunday, December 13, 2020 3:30 PM

"Herd immunity" if you want to call it that (I don't happen to like the term that much, but I don't know what else to call it) is going to happen with or without the vaccines. With the vaccines, it happens a whole lot faster and with a whole lot less illness and death.

My point is, this thing is moving much more rapidly now than at any other point since March. Looking only at Ohio and considering a potential undercount, it took 11 months to infect 10% of the population and one month to get the next 7%. The State's data for the last 14-21 days is very noisy (and the daily summary reports are practically worthless) due to reporting delays so it's hard to tell what the current trend is. I'm thinking in terms of the undercount because if we're making predictions about what is going to happen, we have to consider what's really going on, not just what we know about. Because what the virus does pays no attention to testing rates, positivity rates, and the like; it's based on the availability of infectable hosts and opportunities for infection. Through its normal mechanisms, the virus is accelerating the decline of infectable hosts. Through vaccination we are hoping to accelerate that decline even more. Either way as the available host count declines, so will the rate of new infections. At this point we really can't predict how quickly that is going to happen.

I happen to choose to be optimistic about it. You choose to be pessimistic. I predict we will both be proven wrong.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.



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Sunday, December 13, 2020 4:58 PM

Dave:

The vaccine only works if enough people take it. You’re forgetting that very important fact in your “analysis” which, in my opinion is not reflective of reality in all 50 states. Your model might work in some places but it is a far cry from a blanket statement. You’ve left out a lot of medical and access variables. I appreciate the optimism but reality says otherwise.

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Monday, December 14, 2020 12:24 AM

More important it only works if the *right* people get it. If the first 100,000 doses go to people who have already been infected with the virus, the impact on the progression of the pandemic is -0-. If the vaccine finds its way to uninfected people who are also socially isolated and will tend to remain that way, it will have minimal effect, apart from reducing the total number of available targets. If the vaccine hits 100,000 people who are as yet uninfected but who are at high risk of either receiving the virus, or of spreading it if they become infected, that first round of vaccine doses will have a much greater effect than the raw numbers would suggest.

The "analysis" I have done...and I hesitate to call it that...is purely a reporting based on the raw numbers provided by the State of Ohio. Ohio is relevant because that's where Cedar Point happens to be, though admittedly its market is a bit larger. Ohio is also a bit of an outlier in that the track of the pandemic has been a little different here than it has been in other nearby States, and because I am not tracking the numbers directly for other States (I'm really only doing this to keep an eye on my own risk), I can't really compare to see how our epidemic compares to those in other States.

For my purposes a lot of those other variables don't matter. I'm taking the attitude (for analysis purposes) that the virus is going to do its thing regardless of the mitigations we're using at this point (as, indeed, all the major mitigations put into place since July have not produced inflection points in the case graph). So all those issues you mention such as health care access will influence the progress of the epidemic in various ways, but looking at the raw numbers automatically takes those factors into consideration for dates past, and I am not really making any solid projections for the future. This is not a model, and when I tried to do a projection back in August we were on a trend line that suggested the virus would burn itself out in mid-November (I think the zero crossing was right around November 20). We can see how that worked out.

mgou58, your observations are well founded, and indicative of an appropriately critical view of the information I've presented.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.



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Monday, December 14, 2020 1:14 AM

Dave,

As always a well written response which I appreciate. I think there’s a point to be made about how many of those in the medical field felt quite strongly that we would be at the tail end of this thing come November. And there were several that felt opposite of that. I might go out on a limb to assume that human behavior either was or was not a factor in those assumptions depending on the viewpoint. If anyone really thought that the United States as a whole would readily embrace masks, social distancing and, where necessary temporary lockdowns than they assumed wrong. I think culture plays a lot into the pandemic as well. As a country, our culture contains a lot of self-entitlement and less of a caring for our neighbors attitude. Mix in a highly abrasive presidency and you have a perfect storm for citizens everywhere rejecting common sense protocols that “might” have lessened the pandemics effects in the long term. Truth is that we will never know what could have happened at any rate. Best we can do now is sit back and wait to see how these immunizations work out.

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Monday, December 14, 2020 11:37 AM
Jeff's avatar

From the American Lung Association:

In most cases, herd immunity is not achieved without an effective vaccine. For COVID-19, the percentage of the population that needs to be infected to achieve herd immunity is estimated to be between 70% and 90%, and this is assuming lasting immunity is possible.

If you're fond of doing the math, not only is it not likely to happen without immunization, but it would require millions of people to die in the process.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Monday, December 14, 2020 12:18 PM

In addition to that Jeff, there’s a lot of pushback about taking the vaccine. (Some of which is to be expected and some that’s based off of sheer ignorance) To be fair, in test trials it was administered to groups of between 30,000 and 45,000 people, which comparatively is a drop in the bucket when you look at the total U.S. Population. We don’t know what long term effects there might be and if there is a potential for adverse reactions we won’t know that either for quite some time. (Please note I’m all for vaccines, I’m just stating basic facts)

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Monday, December 14, 2020 4:54 PM
Jeff's avatar

I don't think you understand statistical significance.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Monday, December 14, 2020 5:14 PM

Then educate me please. I’m all ears.

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Monday, December 14, 2020 5:18 PM

While I’m waiting for Jeff to reply with more than a one sentence retort, I’ll include a link to some interesting information regarding Pfizer’s trial, including who was included and who was excluded in each phase. Again, my point above which appears to have been missed entirely is that we don’t know yet on a large enough scale what the true impact of a vaccine will be (both positive and negative) which is a fact. Time will tell how this factors into what many on here have talked about in regards to a “return to normal”

https://www.pfizer.com/science/find-a-trial/nct04368728-0

Last edited by mgou58, Monday, December 14, 2020 5:19 PM
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Monday, December 14, 2020 5:44 PM
Kevinj's avatar

It's more about the science of sample size. I don't do clinical trials, but I do some science every now and then.

Let's say you're doing some basic survey research, where the rule thumb is the 100/10/1000 rule.

To get a statistically significant result you can believe is accurate, your sample size should be at minimum 100 people, and no more than 10% of the population you are studying, until your sample size reaches at least 1000 people, at which point there is very little change in the accuracy of the findings.

In other words, if the population you are studying is 10,000, then anywhere from 100 - 1,000 should be asked, but after 1,000 there is little to no change and you are honestly just wasting your time and money.

When it comes to clinical placebo trials, selecting the sample size is the first step in the process, and includes variables like the target population, number of groups being tested, level of significance, and power.

Put it this way; clinical trial sample size selection is a science in and of itself, and anything reputable considers a minimum number of subjects but also knows there is a maximum number that is not necessary to be exceeded.

35,000 might sound like a drop in the bucket, but it's all that is needed. Keep in mind, as well, that even reaching Phase 3 is a big deal. If I remember correctly, only about a quarter of drugs make it to this last stage, and even fewer pass it.

Last edited by Kevinj, Monday, December 14, 2020 6:36 PM

Promoter of fog.

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Monday, December 14, 2020 7:33 PM

See? That wasn’t so hard. Thank you for clarifying that point. I’m in the camp of curiosity where id like to see this vaccine roll out over a few months and go from there. I’m not against science or vaccines. I was pointing out to Jeff that the variable we have to consider (throw all the stats you want to, it doesn’t matter) is all of the folks who refuse to vaccinate because they believe covid is the flu. And sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here, but those folks make up a large part of our society.

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Monday, December 14, 2020 11:32 PM

That is, unfortunately, true. The question is, though, how much will it matter? This isn't an endemic disease we're talking about, it's an active epidemic. Some of those anti-vaccine people are going to take themselves out of the pool of infectable people by getting themselves infected (and finding out the hard way whether COVID-19 really is the flu or not!). And I really don't think the anti-vaxx crowd is going to be 40% of the population. Also there are those who may be reluctant to get this vaccine, but eventually will anyway, perhaps in a later round.

Incidentally, today alone, Ohio's total potentially non-infectable population went from 17% to 17.3% not counting the handful of people who actually got vaccinated today*. Again, this is Ohio alone. We're going to end this epidemic by getting target hosts out of the population. We've been doing it the hard way for 11 months now. Doing it the easy way finally started today.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

*...and will still be infectable for a few weeks...second dose...etc...etc...etc...yeah, keep that all in mind...

--DCAjr.



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Monday, December 14, 2020 11:57 PM

Another thought for consideration is how often will we need to be vaccinated? That’s something we don’t fully known yet about the vaccines. Is this a yearly thing? Does it wear off in a few months? To that end, a flu vaccine eventually wears off but that’s not so much an issue: we have a flu season but it’s not really something that sticks around all year. Covid is a year round threat so we’d need to know what the vaccine can do in terms of protection timelines.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020 9:12 AM
Jeff's avatar

mgou58 said:

...drop in the bucket... I’m just stating basic facts

But you weren't... you were stating a misunderstanding of how trials work. You could have Googled "statistical significance" and understood what I was talking about almost instantly.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020 9:18 AM
Dvo's avatar

Dr. Fauci is now predicting herd immunity by late spring or early summer, which would be great news for all parks if that holds true. Here's to hoping that numbers are low enough to at least get the park back to normal capacity this summer, even if it comes with some extra protocols.


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