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Coronavirus Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it

#1621 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 09:46

The world, especially when it comes to Covid responses, is full of people for whom "the rules don't apply to me, because..." Usually, when it makes the news, "...I'm rich" or "...I'm famous" or both. Frequently, when it makes twitter, "...I've always been allowed to ignore silly society rules I don't like before", usually translating to "I'm white"; or "my politicians tell me I'm entitled to", translating to "I'm Republican/a Tory" these days, which also translates to "I'm white".

And part of the reason this thing is still A Thing is because too many people think "the rules don't apply to me, because" and act that way, when the only thing that matters to Covid is "are you human" and "are you still breathing" (around other humans).

I admit to my (very left-wing, even if you're not from the U.S.) biases, especially since I get a lot of my Australian news these days from the Juice Media. But they have always taken their immigration rules seriously (historically mostly for "invasive species" reasons, in the last 10 years or so, for some other reasons, but still) and not following them - especially for an "invasive species" (in this case, travelling in, rather than on or with, the potential entrant) reason would be a poor political look. Especially after the curfuffle last year over the actor.

I think he's insane, but I laud the U.S. Name Pro who has decided to be an anti-vaxxer, but very quietly is taking the consequences and just not entering events that would be a problem. Thus not forcing a fight or any of that publicity. There has been the odd "where's [player]?" "Oh, he's not vaccinated, so he didn't come." "Oh, okay." and that's the extent of it.
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#1622 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 11:00

From California Today: Trying to turn the tide of vaccine hesitancy by Thomas Fuller at NYT:

Quote

LOS ANGELES — Two million. That’s the number of unvaccinated people in Los Angeles County — more than three times the population of Wyoming, and a commentary on the sheer scale of the county, the nation’s most populous by far. It’s also an indicator on how vulnerable Los Angeles remains to the coronavirus.

Vaccine skepticism in Los Angeles County, where 72 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, is bipartisan. Vaccination rates are markedly lower in both more conservative areas like Antelope Valley, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, where they go as low as 34 percent, and in solidly Democratic neighborhoods like Watts, in south-central Los Angeles, where 56 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

When the history of the pandemic is written, let’s hope the author comes to the gymnasium turned vaccination center on the corner of Success Avenue and East 103rd Street in Watts and meets the staff members who applaud each time someone walks in to get a shot. The stories that the staff of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health tell after seven months in the gym are vital to understanding how mistrust lies at the heart of vaccine hesitancy — and how it can be overcome with enormous dedication and judgment-free persistence.

Quote

But vaccine hesitancy, LA County's head of public health, Barbara Ferrer says, is something much broader than just a single medical issue. She describes it as a window into a broken relationship between government and the governed, one that is starkly on display on the streets around the vaccination site in Watts where I met Ferrer last week.

“I think we have to be honest with ourselves as a country,” Ferrer said. “We are paying a very steep price for decades of neglect.”

“For some in our communities there really is a long, long history of not being able to trust government because government hasn’t done right by them. It’s not rooted in hate, or in politics. It’s rooted in — I’m not sure government has my back.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#1623 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 13:15

On vaccine hesitancy - by some, at least:

The only valid argument I've seen for vaccine hesitancy (apart from the "my everything is trying to kill me already, and it's dangerous *for me* to add anything else" people I know) is that there is a massive suspicion in the black community of the US (South in particular) of government-mandated treatment. Unlike almost everyone else, they have good reason (-ing 1972!). And guess what? They might *still* have a point.

I am truly impressed that another of the "maybe try experiments on them that we wouldn't try on us" group, North America's First Nations communities, are at the forefront of attempting to get to full coverage.
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#1624 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-January-19, 16:21

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-19, 13:15, said:

On vaccine hesitancy - by some, at least:

The only valid argument I've seen for vaccine hesitancy (apart from the "my everything is trying to kill me already, and it's dangerous *for me* to add anything else" people I know) is that there is a massive suspicion in the black community of the US (South in particular) of government-mandated treatment. Unlike almost everyone else, they have good reason (-ing 1972!). And guess what? They might *still* have a point.

I am truly impressed that another of the "maybe try experiments on them that we wouldn't try on us" group, North America's First Nations communities, are at the forefront of attempting to get to full coverage.


And yet, surveys say that African Americans have higher vaccination rates that QOP anti-Americans, but of course that's a ridiculously low bar.
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#1625 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 11:02

View Postjohnu, on 2022-January-19, 16:21, said:

And yet, surveys say that African Americans have higher vaccination rates that QOP anti-Americans, but of course that's a ridiculously low bar.

That might be because African Americans are also heavily religious, and pastors have been encouraging vaccination. This mitigates some of the hesitancy due to suspicion of the government.

#1626 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 17:22

I have a lot more sympathy, or at least empathy, for vaccine hesitancy.

  • It's just a strange thing. You feel perfectly fine. You get an injection, and now you feel bad for a day.
  • Some genuinely have a fear of needles.
  • You live in the US. You don't have health insurance. When you are sick, you try to get by with house remedies, because who knows what you might get charged. You know people who did go to the doctor or hospital and got a ridiculous bill. Who knows what bill you might get for getting vaccinated.
  • Pharmaceutical companies and FDA have a revolving door between them. The trial had some remarkable results, everyone was cheering, but then suddenly vaccinated had to wear masks again after all because the vaccines weren't working any more. First they said we need 2 shots, then 3, and now I know plenty who got omicron despite having gotten three vaccine doses.

I mean, personally I know exactly what is wrong with the last two, but I don't blame anyone for believing them.

Now, the Robert Malones and Alex Berensons and Bret Weinsteins of the world, they should know better, they have caused incredible harm, and if the world were just they would spend the rest of the lives miserable in jail (and that's only because my version of justice is a very lenient one).
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#1627 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 17:28

View Postcherdano, on 2022-January-24, 17:22, said:

[*]You live in the US. You don't have health insurance. When you are sick, you try to get by with house remedies, because who knows what you might get charged. You know people who did go to the doctor or hospital and got a ridiculous bill. Who knows what bill you might get for getting vaccinated.

In the US, Covid vaccinations are free, regardless of immigration or health insurance status so there will not be any "bill".
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#1628 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 17:47

View Postjohnu, on 2022-January-24, 17:28, said:

In the US, Covid vaccinations are free, regardless of immigration or health insurance status so there will not be any "bill".

I know that. But I don't blame anyone for assuming otherwise, or not fully trusting the claim that it is free.
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#1629 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 18:44

This conversation highlights the problem when the health of the population is an individual problem and not a human right.
Yes, the vaccine is free in America, but what happens if you have a side-effect and need to go to the Doctor?
In America any interaction with the health-"care" system brings with it the risk of incurring a debt.
Wages in the USA are low.

Bureau of Labor Statistics said:

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings of Blacks ($805) and
Hispanics ($799) working full-time jobs were lower than those of Whites ($1,030) and
Asians ($1,384). By sex, median weekly earnings for Black men were $807, or 71.5 percent
of the median for White men ($1,129). Median earnings for Hispanic men were $845, or 74.8
percent of the median for White men. The difference was less among women, as Black
women's median earnings were $802, or 85.4 percent of those for White women ($939), and
earnings for Hispanic women were $733, or 78.1 percent of those for White women.
Earnings of Asian men ($1,499) and women ($1,165) were higher than those of their White
counterparts.

A visit to the doctor might cost more than 10% of your weekly earnings.
And that's if nothing happens apart from a chat.
Treatment of hypertension is another area where the sufferer is typically symptom free (until they have a heart attack or stroke).
The cost of medication is several hundred dollars/year.
Add on other disorders and all those people living on an income below the median quickly find it hard to weigh up the pro's and cons of paying.

Surprisingly, the bulk of the population are not retired (or active) mathematicians that play Bridge.
They find it hard to juggle these costs and risks and keep food on the table.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#1630 User is online   akwoo 

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Posted 2022-January-24, 20:55

In my rural US county, there are several places in the county seat where one can get vaccinated, and one pharmacy in another town that offers vaccines a few days a month. That's it. Some folks would have to drive 50 miles one way partly over dirt roads to get the vaccine.

Not surprisingly, the county vaccination rate is at about 50%, despite most of the folks in town (at least by my perception) getting vaccinated.
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#1631 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-31, 09:50

John M. Barry , a distinguished scholar at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.” said:

https://www.nytimes....ndemic-end.html

Most histories of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed at least 50 million people worldwide say it ended in the summer of 1919 when a third wave of the respiratory contagion finally subsided.

Yet the virus continued to kill. A variant that emerged in 1920 was lethal enough that it should have counted as a fourth wave. In some cities, among them Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Mo., deaths exceeded even those in the second wave, responsible for most of the pandemic’s deaths in the United States. This occurred despite the fact that the U.S. population had plenty of natural immunity from the influenza virus after two years of several waves of infection and after viral lethality in the third wave had already decreased.

Nearly all cities in the United States imposed restrictions during the pandemic’s virulent second wave, which peaked in the fall of 1918. That winter, some cities reimposed controls when a third, though less deadly wave struck. But virtually no city responded in 1920. People were weary of influenza, and so were public officials. Newspapers were filled with frightening news about the virus, but no one cared. People at the time ignored this fourth wave; so did historians. The virus mutated into ordinary seasonal influenza in 1921, but the world had moved on well before.

We should not repeat that mistake.

True, right now we have every reason for optimism. First, Omicron cases are declining in parts of the country. Second, nearly the entire U.S. population will soon have been either infected or vaccinated, strengthening their immune systems against the virus as we know it now. Third, although Omicron is extraordinarily good at infecting the upper respiratory tract, which makes it so transmissible, it seems less able to infect the lungs than earlier variants so it is less virulent. It is entirely possible and perhaps even likely that, spurred by a better immune response, the virus will continue to decrease in lethality; indeed, there is a theory that the 1889-92 influenza pandemic was actually caused by a coronavirus called OC43, which today causes the common cold.

All of which makes overconfidence, indifference or weariness, after two years of battling the virus — and one another — a danger now.

Signs of weariness — or misguided hope — are everywhere. Although more than 70 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated, progress has stagnated, and as of Jan. 27, only 44 percent had received boosters, which provide vital protection against severe illness. Although most of us, especially parents, want schools to stay open, parents have gotten only about 20 percent of children ages 5 to 11 fully vaccinated. As in 1920, people are tired of taking precautions.

This is ceding control to the virus. The result has been that even though Omicron appears to be less virulent, the seven-day average for daily Covid-19 deaths in the United States has now surpassed the Delta peak in late September.

Worse, the virus may not be finished with us. Although there’s a reasonable likelihood that future variants will be less dangerous, mutations are random. The only thing certain is that future variants, if they are to be successful, will elude immune protection. They could become more dangerous.

That was the case not only in 1920 with the last gasp of the 1918 virus, but also in the 1957, 1968 and 2009 influenza pandemics. In 1960 in the United States, after much of the population had achieved protection from infection and a vaccine, a variant caused peak mortality to exceed the pandemic levels in 1957 and 1958. In the 1968 outbreak, a variant in Europe caused more deaths the second year, even though, once again, a vaccine was available and many people had been infected.

In the 2009 pandemic, variants also emerged that caused breakthrough infections; one study in Britain found “greater burden of severe illness in the year after the pandemic” but “much less public interest in influenza.” Researchers blamed the government’s approach for that. In the first year, the public health response was “highly assertive,” chiefly in providing information; there were no lockdowns. In the second year, they found, “the approach was laissez-faire.” As a result, “a large number of deaths, critical care and hospital admissions occurred, many of these in otherwise healthy people of working age.”

Such precedents should make us wary. Vaccines, the new antiviral drug Paxlovid and others could end the pandemic, once billions of doses become widely available globally and if the virus does not develop resistance. But the end is not going to arrive anytime soon. The immediate future still depends on the virus and how we wield our current arsenal: vaccines, masks, ventilation, the antiviral drug remdesivir and steroids and the one monoclonal treatment that still works against Omicron, social distancing and avoiding crowds. As a society, we have largely abandoned the public health measures on that list. As individuals, we can still act.

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#1632 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-01, 10:07

Matt Yglesias said:

Makes you think

Matthew Gertz at Media Matters said:

Fox News wanted viewers to hear an anti-vax trooper’s story – until he died of COVID.

The network has yet to mention Robert LaMay's passing, after turning him into a culture war hero for resigning rather than getting vaccinated. https://mediamatters...l-he-died-covid

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#1633 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-February-05, 01:41

A number of stories recently requiring Covid fishing expeditions with between 80-90% of cases either asymptomatic or not feeling sick enough to worry

Ignore duplicate

In other news I am excited, disappointed and relieved to report that my first RAT was negative. Positive would have been a terrible expensive inconvenience for me and many others. Negative was a relief that I could visit some people

Positive would have challenged my ethics and respect for the law. I may have had to carefully sort a few things out and hide by myself for a while
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#1634 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-12, 18:23

John Burn-Murdoch at The Financial Times said:

https://twitter.com/...138139103768576

Two bits of good Covid news today in the UK.

First, adding another two weeks of ONS data means Covid’s infection fatality rate has now crossed below the "2x flu" line.

Latest IFR is roughly 60% higher than flu and still falling.

Second, today’s gold-standard ONS infection survey shows prevalence is flat or falling across all English regions (falling in most), i.e the observed decline in cases is not simply due to people becoming less likely to test.

The temporary rise as schools reopened was just a blip

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#1635 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-21, 20:58

Got a Covid Booster? You Probably Won’t Need Another for a Long Time by Apoorva Mandavilli at NYT
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#1636 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2022-February-22, 04:58

View Posty66, on 2022-February-21, 20:58, said:



I am afraid this article is just completely removed from actual clinical reality. In the UK data, already 10-14 weeks after a Pfizer booster (following Pfizer primary series) we see a waning of efficacy against hospitalisation from close to 90% to around 75% - i.e., more than a doubling of the hospitalisation rate.

https://assets.publi...rt_-_week_7.pdf

It's nice that T-cells hold up, but nothing in Mandavilli's article discusses how effective they are at preventing severe outcomes.

Over the last 6 months, the NYT unfortunately has consistently and drastically undersold the amazing effectiveness of boosters. I have no doubt that it has contributed to the very low booster uptake in the US, which in turn has contributed to the large omicron death toll.
It's nice to see them turn around and hype the value of boosters now. Though I can't notice this only happens when it can become an argument against a 4th dose...

I find it really sad how bad the NYT's coverage of covid data has been. Stacking Leonhardt and Mandavilli at the NYT up against John Burn-Murdoch at the Financial Times or Eric Topol on twitter, and it's such an embarrassing comparison for one of the richest and most influential media companies in the world.
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#1637 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-February-22, 05:06

View Postcherdano, on 2022-February-22, 04:58, said:

I am afraid this article is just completely removed from actual clinical reality. In the UK data, already 10-14 weeks after a Pfizer booster (following Pfizer primary series) we see a waning of efficacy against hospitalisation from close to 90% to around 75% - i.e., more than a doubling of the hospitalisation rate.

https://assets.publi...rt_-_week_7.pdf

It's nice that T-cells hold up, but nothing in Mandavilli's article discusses how effective they are at preventing severe outcomes.

Over the last 6 months, the NYT unfortunately has consistently and drastically undersold the amazing effectiveness of boosters. I have no doubt that it has contributed to the very low booster uptake in the US, which in turn has contributed to the large omicron death toll.
It's nice to see them turn around and hype the value of boosters now. Though I can't notice this only happens when it can become an argument against a 4th dose...

I find it really sad how bad the NYT's coverage of covid data has been. Stacking Leonhardt and Mandavilli at the NYT up against John Burn-Murdoch at the Financial Times or Eric Topol on twitter, and it's such an embarrassing comparison for one of the richest and most influential media companies in the world.


I had AZ-AZ-Pfizer, I believe there was some data a few months ago suggesting a moderna booster was best, not sure how that is now holding up.
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#1638 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-22, 06:05

I hope it's holding up - it's the same sequence I had.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#1639 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-22, 06:19

The title of the NYT article is classic click-bait and prima facie likely to be wrong.
The current coronavirus has settled in nicely and is now as endemic as the influenza virus which has been around for >100 years.
We need booster shots for 'flu because every year the H antigen and the N antigen change.
As noted elsewhere the coronavirus spike protein is composed of two parts (akin to H and N in the influenza virus - as in the H1N1 variant).
When there is a significant change to the spike protein the ability to:
1. bind to the receptor on the outside of the cell is affected or
2. The ability to enter the cell after binding is affected.


The changes in binding and entry properties are likely what cause the differences in infectivity and disease severity.
The current variant (omicron) seems to be better at infecting but not as good at causing disease.
I don't know why but one possibility is that the ability to enter cells in the lower part of the respiratory tree is attenuated (that's a guess).


In any event, the virus is now endemic, new variants will appear from time to time and like the 'flu some will be really bad.
There are plenty of other problems viral, parasitic, bacterial and political to worry about in the meantime.


I am so tired of stories in "the media" that start with variations of "The coronavirus is likely to (insert blah here): here's why."
FFS (as eagles123 might remark) how about headlines that tell you what the story is actually about?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#1640 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-February-23, 06:00

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-February-22, 06:05, said:

I hope it's holding up - it's the same sequence I had.

Me too

I'll be happy if it doesn't kill me or do something scary to my immune system :)
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