A-L-E-X wrote:Source of the post what is this news of a virulent new strain of the virus in Britain that is causing other nations to ban travel to and from the UK?
midtskogen wrote:Source of the post Does the new strain appear to be less lethal?
But even if such a mutation occurs, what if it easily mutates again into something spreading equally fast but becoming lethal again? So maybe not something to wish for.
Watsisname wrote:Source of the post Remember the nature of this pandemic is not just that it is more lethal than the flu
midtskogen wrote:Source of the post So, excess deaths is likely the best metric (with some degree of smoothing).
midtskogen wrote:Source of the post I'm curious why that does not seems not to be significantly so in some countries.
Watsisname wrote:A-L-E-X wrote:Source of the post what is this news of a virulent new strain of the virus in Britain that is causing other nations to ban travel to and from the UK?
It is a variant that appears to be more easily transmitted, and hence it spreads more rapidly. This is like raising the R value, which means under the same measures we would expect a faster rate of growth of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. That also means even stricter measures are needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, which is why the UK and surrounding countries are taking these actions.
This development is not exactly anything new or unexpected -- just more dramatic than what we've seen before. As we discussed back in March, the virus mutates constantly, and epidemiologists track those mutations in new cases over time. It was by noticing that a new variant suddenly accounted for a vast majority of new cases that lead them to believe that this variant is more easily transmitted. Similarly, in the spring it was found that one of the variants coming from Italy to the US was more infectious, and similarly 'won out' over the pre-existing strains that had come more directly from China.
The new variation in the UK thus far does not appear to be more lethal, nor do experts beleive it would undermine vaccination efforts. But the more rapid spread of it is a serious problem in itself, and if the virus continues to mutate enough, it is conceivable for it to eventually reach "vaccine escape", in which case our current vaccines would be less effective. However, I am informed by DoctorOfSpace that it would be fairly easy and quick to modify most current vaccines to deal with that possibility, since most of the hard work has already been done.
NYTimes: Boris Johnson Tightens U.K. Lockdown, Citing Fast-Spreading Version of Virus
BBC: New coronavirus strain in UK: How worried should we be?
midtskogen wrote:Watsisname wrote:Source of the post Remember the nature of this pandemic is not just that it is more lethal than the flu
I'm curious why that does not seems not to be significantly so in some countries. As of 13 December Norway has had 398 covid related deaths (persons tested positive for covid regardless of actual death cause). There have been about 41,000 confirmed cases, and actual cases are probably roughly twice that (asymptomatic or not tested). So this gives a mortality rate of < 0.5%, but the median age for those who have died after being tested positive for covid is 84 years, and the average 81 years. Do we even know the mortality of the typical flu, since flu related deaths for the 80+ group are likely less accurately reported than for covid related deaths of that group? So, excess deaths is likely the best metric (with some degree of smoothing). Some countries seem to have a significant amount of excess deaths, others absolutely nothing despite a significant number of covid cases.
Watsisname wrote:midtskogen wrote:Source of the post So, excess deaths is likely the best metric (with some degree of smoothing).
That is what I would go by when possible, yeah. Speaking of which, the most recent update to the NYTimes deaths above normal page was November 27 (though the most recent data for each country varies.) A while ago, but it now does reveal the effects of autumn wave striking Europe. The US's third wave has not shown up yet (last update to the US was Nov 7th).midtskogen wrote:Source of the post I'm curious why that does not seems not to be significantly so in some countries.
It is conceivable that the infection mortality rate may depend on strain, although I would guess it is less likely to be a significant factor (or at least I have not seen any news or literature indicating it.) More significant factors may include the population age structure, genetics, preexisting conditions, treatments, and health care capacity. It also depends on the distribution of the population that is infected. In the US, that distribution appears to be pretty uniform by age, since the curves for cases and deaths go up and down in most regions roughly in unison cross all age groups, indicating the virus is widespread and no particular age group is effectively isolated from it. But other nations might be having more luck isolating the more vulnerable than others. It is a job made much easier when the rates of new cases per capita are lower, too. 41,000 total cases in Norway (less than 1% of the entire population) is probably much more manageable than the situation in other countries where about 1% of the population is infected every week, for weeks on end.
Another thing we can do is get a lower limit on the infection mortality rate in a region by simply dividing the deaths by the population size (and hence bypass the problem of case detection altogether). In counties in the US with populations that are not too small (at least tens of thousands to millions) and that have had high amounts of cases per capita (more than 1 in 20), we often find more than 0.2% of the population has died already. Perhaps the most stunning example is New York City, where 1 in 341 people has died due to complications of the virus. At its peak, the rate of death was more than 650% above normal. Yet NYC has not reached herd immunity yet, let alone 100% infected. To me, this clearly indicates COVID-19 has demonstrated its potential of being several times more lethal than a typical seasonal flu strain, and being able to strike and overwhelm health care services extremely quickly. It has done this repeatedly in many different regions and is still doing so.
Watsisname wrote:Source of the post 41,000 total cases in Norway (less than 1% of the entire population) is probably much more manageable than the situation in other countries where about 1% of the population is infected every week, for weeks on end.
A-L-E-X wrote:Source of the post Cuomo has been pleading for the feds to ban travel into and out of the UK....I wasn't aware he couldn't ban travel from the UK into NY airports on his own.