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Ask the Slot Expert: Covid restrictions coming back to Las Vegas?

21 July 2021

Last week I wrote that the script of the nightly Covid update on the local news has changed. Before reopening on June 1, the reporters introduced the update by saying that the statistics (7-day average of new cases, positivity rate) were declining and were the lowest numbers seen all year.

Now the introduction is that the statistics are continuing to climb and we haven't seen numbers this high since....

Last Friday the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) recommended that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors. The spokesman for the SNHD made a great statement during the announcement (Southern Nevada Health District recommending masks in crowded indoor public places). He said that even though the mask recommendation was primarily for the benefit of the unvaccinated, it benefits the vaccinated too. The more the virus circulates, the greater the chance that a vaccinated person will have a breakthrough infection. Dr. Fauci said the same thing in testimony today (July 20).

A reporter asked about this recommendation's going against the CDC's guidelines. I've heard the same statement about recommending masks even for the vaccinated in other areas. I guess these people never read the CDC's guidelines.

Quoting from the CDC website (Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People), emphasis mine:

Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

The CDC never said that vaccinated people shouldn't wear masks. It also said that local conditions may make masks mandatory even for the vaccinated.

Another reporter asked if this was a mask mandate. He said that the SNHD does not have authority to issue a mask mandate. That would have to come from the county.

The Clark County Board of Commissioners called an emergency meeting for today (7/20) to discuss whether to reinstate some Covid restrictions.

Well, duh!

If it made sense to have some restrictions when the statistics were falling, doesn't it make even more sense to have them when the statistics are rising?

Another lockdown is highly unlikely. We were able to have a long streak of declining statistics without a lockdown. Some talking heads also think that the commissioners won't impose capacity restrictions again. Most likely is another universal mask mandate. (I would add the recommendation for physical distancing from others not in your household.)

Some man-on-the-street interviews have had people complaining about the SNHD recommendation to wear a mask again. Have they seen what healthcare workers wear when they go into the Covid ward? You'd think that putting on a mask is like donning a full hazmat suit.

I continue to wear a mask indoors despite being fully vaccinated. I think it keeps other players from playing near me. They don't know whether I'm vaccinated, so they keep their distance.

This ploy worked well until a week or so ago when a couple sat down to play the two middle games between me and another player at the aisle machines. They were unmasked.

I don't know whether they were vaccinated, so I moved to another bank. Then, someone sat down to play the machine next to mine even though the other two machines in the bank were unoccupied.

Somewhere between 40% and 50% of Clark County's residents have been fully vaccinated. That means about half the people I see indoors should still be wearing masks. I'd guess it's more like a third of the people I see in the casino. There are many out-of-state cars in the Red Rock parking garage, but not enough to drive the percentage of fully vaccinated people in the casino to 67%.

The CDC guideline that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks did not turn out to be an incentive for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. Instead, it's a get-out-of-jail-free card for the unvaccinated to ditch their masks.


I just caught the last 20 or so minutes of the Clark County Board of Commissioners meeting. I'm surprised that there was very little sense of urgency for an emergency meeting. The main action that came out of this meeting is that all employees in public indoor spaces have to wear a mask until at least August 17. And that establishments should have signage giving the SNHD's recommendation that everyone mask up regardless of vaccination status.

Useless. As if the cause of the surge in Las Vegas is unmasked workers and not the low vaccination rate in the county and the huge number of unmasked residents and visitors who may or may not be vaccinated.

Something more is going to have to be done. Some jurisdictions are now recommending against travel to Las Vegas. Convention organizers are getting skittish about planning future events. More than one commissioner said that organizers are asking what the county is doing to get Covid back under control.

One commissioner, Ross Miller, suggested (I hope I have this right) that the county set up a system similar to DEFCON in War Games. I'm paraphrasing and expanding on what he said. If the statistics are below a certain level, we don't need any restrictions. As they rise, more restrictions are put in place. Everything is publicly available: the levels, the restrictions, the statistics.

The meeting ended with a public comments section. One fellow said there was no evidence that masks or vaccines were effective. I guess he hasn't heard about all the clinical trials conducted in getting authorization for the vaccines.

Some health officials have danced around saying why the Delta variant is surging. I wish a health official or politician would say it explicitly:

  • We told you that vaccines are the way out of this pandemic, but not enough of you are getting vaccinated.
  • We told you that if you're not vaccinated, you should wear a mask. Not enough of you are wearing masks.

Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases.

Totals Weekly Increases
US NV US NV
Date Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths  Cases  Deaths 
 07/20   33,896,296   606,618   341,096   5,758   169,933   1,478   3,351   28 
 07/13   33,726,363   605,140   339,745   5,730   181,047   1,959   4,982   33 
 07/06   33,545,316   603,181   334,763   5,697   75,104   1,373   2,234   27 
 06/29   33,470,212   601,808   332,529   5,670   87,507   2,057   3,020   24 
 06/22   33,382,705   599,751   329,509   5,646   75,420   2,157   1,930   22 
 06/15   33,303,285   597,594   327,579   5,624   95,797   2,293   1,560   17 
 06/08   33,207,488   595,301   326,019   5,607   114,250   3,762   2,271   21 
 06/01   33,039,238   591,539   323,748   5,586   123,333   3,709   991   27 
 05/25   32,969,905   587,830   322,757   5,559   174,125   4,234   1,676   26 
 05/18   32,795,780   583,596   321,081   5,533   223,966   4,230   2,301   27 
 05/11   32,571,814   579,366   318,780   5,506   303,856   4,687   2,541   33 
 05/04   32,267,958   574,679   316,239   5,473   343,348   4,908   2,559   40 
 04/27   31,924,610   569,771   313,680   5,433   383,163   4,958   2,747   65 
 04/20   31,541,447   564,813   310,933   5,368   464,556   5,072   2,590   36 
 04/13   31,076,891   559,741   308,343   5,332   480,061   5,321   2,986   57 
 04/06   30,596,830   554,420   305,357   5,275   448,935   7,124   3,084   38 
 03/30   30,147,895   547,296   302,273   5,237   439,510   6,793   939   63 
 03/23   29,708,385   540,503   301,334   5,174   388,928   7,446   1,863   53 
 03/16   29,319,457   533,057   299,471   5,121   381,695   8,362   3,078   81 
 03/09   28,937,762   524,695   296,393   5,040   480,902   11,573   2,413   83 
 03/02   28,456,860   513,122   293,980   4,957   463,356   14,129   2,835   75 
 02/23   27,993,504   498,993   291,145   4,882   451,083   13,923   2,406   162 
 02/16   27,542,421   485,070   288,739   4,720   602,906   21,411   4,149   198 
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 
John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots