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Watsisname
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

09 May 2021 20:47

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Wat, did you see the interview where Fauci said that we're going to find that a lot more people died from this than we know about so far?  I tend to agree.  Statistics bear this out too.

I did not see the interview, but yes. This should not come as a surprise, especially for those who are following the deaths above normal data and knowing the limitations of those data. Furthermore, the public health interventions and reduced travel have significantly reduced the severity of flu this year, so there have been fewer flu deaths. That implies that 'deaths above normal' is underestimating the number of deaths due to COVID-19 even more.

A recent study by IHME concludes the actual number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide may be around 7 million (about 1 or 2 million more than I had expected), and in the US they estimate it is around 900,000. I actually found these estimates surprisingly high, but their methodology is essentially the same as what I would have done if I were to put in the effort of making my earlier reasoning rigorous. At the very least, it supports my suspicion that the true toll globally is as much as a factor of 2 higher than the official figure.
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

09 May 2021 23:09

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post Their fear may be that many people don't understand what airborne transmission really means, and could incorrectly conclude that they can just get it from anywhere, or that masks or other measures won't be effective.

If the emphasis had been "avoid places indoors with many people" rather than "wear masks", wouldn't it be more effective?  I tend to think that the received message has been "when I'm wearing a mask, I can do things pretty much as normal".
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

10 May 2021 00:02

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post If the emphasis had been "avoid places indoors with many people" rather than "wear masks", wouldn't it be more effective?  I tend to think that the received message has been "when I'm wearing a mask, I can do things pretty much as normal".

I would rather not emphasize one the other. I think that is rather the problem of communication we have been facing. Especially when masks became a politicized issue, common discussions became almost binary "do they work or not?", and also drew more focus on them at the expense of other public health measures that we have.

I prefer to emphasize the more nuanced reality of the situation instead: 
Crowded indoor places have the greatest risk, so know to limit your exposure in them as best you can. When you can't, then masks help, but do not make you invulnerable. A good way to think about cloth masks is that they roughly double the duration of exposure needed to get infected. But do you know what that duration even is in a particular situation? No, virus is invisible and infection is probabilistic anyway, so you should still social distance and limit exposure as much as you can even with a mask. The mask is just increasing your safety margin.

Masks are one of several ways to mitigate the spread of the virus, and we would like to use every method we can in combination. In particular, the more people that wear masks in society, the smaller R will be for the same set of restrictions. Or, if R was reduced well below 1 due to the restrictions, then widespread mask use can help keep it below 1 even as some restrictions are relaxed. But neither masks nor any particular restriction on its own is the optimal solution. The best solution is a combination.

Or as this meme put it well,

Image
 
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Watsisname
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

10 May 2021 00:19

By the way, this problem of communication about mask usage is now extending into how people behave after being vaccinated. Vaccines protect the individual very well against infection, but it is not 100% -- not even for serious illness or death. The level of protection also varies between the different types of vaccine and the variants:

► Show Spoiler


Even with vaccination, it is important to continue to be careful. Vaccines are really not so much about protecting the individual (though they do), as for protecting society. Once enough people get vaccinated, infections will exponentially decline rather than rise or oscillate. (More resistant variants may compete against this, so it's also important to vaccinate much of the world very quickly.)

My concern now is that with more people getting vaccinated, if they believe that they can go back to pre-pandemic behavior (no distancing, no masks, etc, even indoors), then many more infections and even deaths will happen, that could be easily avoided. I already know of people who have been completely immunized yet still got infected later, and a few of them have died.

I will be fully vaccinated tomorrow, but will continue to exercise the same level of caution that I have for the past year. It's not the vaccination that will change how I view risk calculation, but the rate of new cases that I observe.
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

10 May 2021 00:49

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post A good way to think about cloth masks is that they roughly double the duration of exposure needed to get infected. So you should still social distance and limit exposure even with a mask. The mask is increasing your safety margin.

I think that's the wrong message.  The main purpose of masks is not to protect yourself (though, if used properly, there should be some protection), but to protect others.

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post My concern now is that with more people getting vaccinated, if they believe that they can go back to pre-pandemic behavior (no distancing, no masks, etc, even indoors), then many more infections and even deaths will happen, that could be easily avoided.

Well, viruses have been around for a few billion years and we must accept that they are here to stay.  People will return to some gain/pain balance, which will include many deaths.  Returning to car analogies, unless car engines get restricted to 10 km/h, there will be traffic deaths.  In some countries the risk of dying in a car accident has been comparable to or higher than dying from covid.  Yet, the regulations on cars are what they are.  If society really wants to avoid unnecessary deaths, people should become more healthy.  But to what degree should a society enforce that?
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A-L-E-X
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

10 May 2021 13:29

Watsisname wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Wat, did you see the interview where Fauci said that we're going to find that a lot more people died from this than we know about so far?  I tend to agree.  Statistics bear this out too.

I did not see the interview, but yes. This should not come as a surprise, especially for those who are following the deaths above normal data and knowing the limitations of those data. Furthermore, the public health interventions and reduced travel have significantly reduced the severity of flu this year, so there have been fewer flu deaths. That implies that 'deaths above normal' is underestimating the number of deaths due to COVID-19 even more.

A recent study by IHME concludes the actual number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide may be around 7 million (about 1 or 2 million more than I had expected), and in the US they estimate it is around 900,000. I actually found these estimates surprisingly high, but their methodology is essentially the same as what I would have done if I were to put in the effort of making my earlier reasoning rigorous. At the very least, it supports my suspicion that the true toll globally is as much as a factor of 2 higher than the official figure.

I believe we'll be at 1 million deaths here when all is said and done with this pandemic.  Now we're hearing reports about a new plague infecting covid survivors called "Black Fungus" it is a result of lowering of the immune system by using corticosteroids.  Mortality rate is 50% with this?!
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

10 May 2021 13:32

Watsisname wrote:
By the way, this problem of communication about mask usage is now extending into how people behave after being vaccinated. Vaccines protect the individual very well against infection, but it is not 100% -- not even for serious illness or death. The level of protection also varies between the different types of vaccine and the variants:

► Show Spoiler


Even with vaccination, it is important to continue to be careful. Vaccines are really not so much about protecting the individual (though they do), as for protecting society. Once enough people get vaccinated, infections will exponentially decline rather than rise or oscillate. (More resistant variants may compete against this, so it's also important to vaccinate much of the world very quickly.)

My concern now is that with more people getting vaccinated, if they believe that they can go back to pre-pandemic behavior (no distancing, no masks, etc, even indoors), then many more infections and even deaths will happen, that could be easily avoided. I already know of people who have been completely immunized yet still got infected later, and a few of them have died.

I will be fully vaccinated tomorrow, but will continue to exercise the same level of caution that I have for the past year. It's not the vaccination that will change how I view risk calculation, but the rate of new cases that I observe.

Wat, I think everyone (well the vast majority) will get vaccinated, what I am worried about is how many will come back for booster shots?  Pfizer has said one of these will be needed next year, I hope most people do get these booster shots but the question is will we have to do this for the rest of our lives or will we eventually have a universal vaccine (like the one being developed for the flu).  I have heard of a universal coronavirus vaccine being developed but it will take about 5 years, same as the flu.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

15 May 2021 15:17

So the CDC just relaxed its mask guidance for vaccinated people, both indoors and outdoors. The scientific reasoning behind it sounds good, but the policy is terrible in practice. The main motivation seems to be to act as an incentive for more people to get vaccinated. Which we desperately need, but I don't think this is the right way to do it. There's no practical way to differentiate vaccinated from unvaccinated (who is going to check?). Even if we did check, the card you're given when you're vaccinated is a joke. It is already being easily counterfeited. I won't be surprised if many unvaccinated people who have been eager to discard the masks will do so and still not get vaccinated.

A better policy in my opinion: discard masks outdoors, but keep them enforced for everyone in indoor public spaces. Keep this policy in place until cases have truly declined to background levels similar to cold and flu off-season. Then to inspire more people to get vaccinated, do more outreach and public education. The flu vaccination period last autumn was an extraordinary success because of similar efforts (people generally understood they did not want to catch COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.) Many people who are "anti-vax" are hopeless, but there are still a lot of people who are simply skeptical, and could be convinced with data and more clear messaging.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 May 2021 00:57

It's an optional policy though, I see that PA and NJ have already stated they will still require masks until their populations are at least 70% fully vaccinated.  CT which is near 60% fully vaccinated said they will abide by the new guidelines.  NY is still mulling it over.

Wat have you heard what happened with the Yankees?  8 people on their team caught the virus even though they were all fully vaccinated, the good thing is only 1 exhibited any symptoms and those were mild.  Even weirder, one of the players had already had the infection, was fully vaccinated and then got the infection again!  What are the chances of something like this happening?

I hope everyone is prepared to get their annual booster shot starting next year......

And to your other point, a CVS employee has already been selling fake vaccine cards, he made copies of one and has sold thousands of them.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 May 2021 05:12

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post 8 people on their team caught the virus even though they were all fully vaccinated, the good thing is only 1 exhibited any symptoms and those were mild.  Even weirder, one of the players had already had the infection, was fully vaccinated and then got the infection again!  What are the chances of something like this happening?

This isn't weird or unexpected, really. Vaccines do not protect you from catching the virus. No vaccine ever did. Vaccines simply train your immune system to recognize and react to the real thing as if it had seen it before. This dramatically reduces the chances of developing illness or dying, but not by 100%. Likewise, having an effective immune response once does not mean you cannot be infected again later, especially if you are exposed to a variant with many different mutations.

Want to see the data? See the chart (in the spoiler tag) in previous post here.

The effectiveness varies by the type of vaccine (the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer's and Moderna's do better). Most vaccines are also less effective against the newer variantsThere are fewer data regarding risk of infecting others after being vaccinated, but the expectation is that the risk is smaller but not zero, especially in people who develop illness.

This is why I feel it's important for people to not totally drop their guard after being vaccinated. Vaccination does offer a lot of protection, but it's not a guarantee. The more significant effect is to protect society, as widespread vaccination gives the virus fewer opportunities to be transmitted. That's the herd immunity effect we're going for. The more that are vaccinated, the easier it is to keep the rate of new cases declining.
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 May 2021 05:48

In Washington state as of April 14th, there were 217 known cases of "vaccine breakthrough", where a fully vaccinated person later became infected and tested positive for COVID-19. (This is about 0.01% of all who have been vaccinated in the state to that date.) Of those 217 people, 20 were hospitalized, and 5 have died.

In other words, again, vaccination dramatically reduces risk of illness if you get exposed. But for those who do become ill, risk of it leading to serious illness or death is about the same as it was for unvaccinated people. It's important to understand this and that this is generally true for all vaccines.

Source: Update on vaccine breakthrough cases in Washington state > Washington State Department of Health
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

16 May 2021 19:29

Watsisname wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post 8 people on their team caught the virus even though they were all fully vaccinated, the good thing is only 1 exhibited any symptoms and those were mild.  Even weirder, one of the players had already had the infection, was fully vaccinated and then got the infection again!  What are the chances of something like this happening?

This isn't weird or unexpected, really. Vaccines do not protect you from catching the virus. No vaccine ever did. Vaccines simply train your immune system to recognize and react to the real thing as if it had seen it before. This dramatically reduces the chances of developing illness or dying, but not by 100%. Likewise, having an effective immune response once does not mean you cannot be infected again later, especially if you are exposed to a variant with many different mutations.

Want to see the data? See the chart (in the spoiler tag) in previous post here.

The effectiveness varies by the type of vaccine (the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer's and Moderna's do better). Most vaccines are also less effective against the newer variantsThere are fewer data regarding risk of infecting others after being vaccinated, but the expectation is that the risk is smaller but not zero, especially in people who develop illness.

This is why I feel it's important for people to not totally drop their guard after being vaccinated. Vaccination does offer a lot of protection, but it's not a guarantee. The more significant effect is to protect society, as widespread vaccination gives the virus fewer opportunities to be transmitted. That's the herd immunity effect we're going for. The more that are vaccinated, the easier it is to keep the rate of new cases declining.

Right, this also makes me wonder with new variants on the rise, will we need booster shots every year- and will those be just one or two like the first set of shots?
Also, and this may be a more complicated question.....how is it that some virus vaccines don't require a yearly shot (like small pox, polio, measles, etc.).....do those viruses just not mutate?

Regardless, I'm not ditching my mask any time soon.  I find it also repels seasonal allergies!
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

17 May 2021 11:58

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post... I'm not ditching my mask any time soon.  I find it also repels seasonal allergies!

If only that were true... :(
 
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

17 May 2021 22:34

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post So the CDC just relaxed its mask guidance for vaccinated people, both indoors and outdoors. The scientific reasoning behind it sounds good, but the policy is terrible in practice. The main motivation seems to be to act as an incentive for more people to get vaccinated. Which we desperately need, but I don't think this is the right way to do it. There's no practical way to differentiate vaccinated from unvaccinated (who is going to check?). Even if we did check, the card you're given when you're vaccinated is a joke. It is already being easily counterfeited.

Such cards are problematic for many reasons.  One thing is whether it's socially acceptable to issue such a card before the vaccine has been offered to everyone.  Also, since the disease is usually mild for young, healthy people, they might choose to attempt to get infected if the card documents infection and grants extra access, like to bars and restaurants.  And there are more fundamental issues.  If the card gives rights, we have a "papiere, bitte" society.  And ultimately, some people will refuse the vaccines for various reasons.  Demanding that they mask up is yellow badges all over.  People might dislike why some people refuse vaccines and care less whether they have to be badged second class citizens, but that kind of thinking is exactly what we've seen before. It's incredible that such ideas are even seriously discussed.

The only reason for vaccine cards is to help citizens who need the documentation in order to be allowed entry in other countries where it might be required.  It's not a right to visit other countries, and they might set terms, good or bad, which is nothing new, and it's not unreasonable that the authorities of one's own country help out with the required papers.
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

19 May 2021 02:08

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post The only reason for vaccine cards is to help citizens who need the documentation in order to be allowed entry in other countries where it might be required.

Completely agree, although I also believe vaccinations should be (and already are) required for certain activities in society. You cannot attend my university without proof of vaccination against measles, for example. And COVID-19 vaccination will be required to attend next fall. One could argue that it's restricting access, but I think it's more important to protect public health. School and university campuses are significant disease vectors for their communities.

With the rise of remote learning, maybe such a requirement may be waved if someone is only taking virtual classes.


In other news, the deaths above normal trackers are showing that Peru is still having a terrible time. Since February, the rate of death there has been more than 180% above normal, and more than 200% above normal since March 21st. This means that not only is COVID-19 the leading cause of death there, it is more than twice the rate of all other causes of death combined. Very few other countries have shown such a high rate of death, let alone over such a long period. Most Peruvians know someone who has died from the virus.

The excess deaths in Peru are now 503 per 100,000 people, suggesting an infection mortality rate greater than 0.5%. I do not believe this is due to their specific situation, but is rather what we would roughly see in most countries if most of the population were infected (before vaccines, and if the healthcare system collapsed due to the explosion of cases).

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