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BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19

Steve Shaw 09 Feb 22 - 07:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Feb 22 - 06:02 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Feb 22 - 04:25 AM
Mrrzy 08 Feb 22 - 09:41 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Feb 22 - 06:53 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Feb 22 - 06:50 PM
Donuel 08 Feb 22 - 06:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Feb 22 - 06:03 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Feb 22 - 05:30 PM
Donuel 08 Feb 22 - 05:24 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Feb 22 - 03:37 PM
Mrrzy 08 Feb 22 - 01:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Feb 22 - 01:45 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Feb 22 - 11:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 22 - 10:30 AM
Donuel 08 Feb 22 - 06:33 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Feb 22 - 06:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Feb 22 - 12:47 PM
Donuel 07 Feb 22 - 07:44 AM
Donuel 07 Feb 22 - 07:24 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Feb 22 - 10:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 22 - 09:11 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Feb 22 - 06:43 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 06 Feb 22 - 05:56 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Feb 22 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 22 - 12:36 PM
Donuel 06 Feb 22 - 12:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Feb 22 - 11:20 AM
Charmion 06 Feb 22 - 10:59 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Feb 22 - 10:31 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 22 - 09:12 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Feb 22 - 07:59 PM
Backwoodsman 05 Feb 22 - 06:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 22 - 06:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 22 - 05:04 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Feb 22 - 04:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 22 - 04:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 22 - 03:44 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Feb 22 - 02:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 22 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 22 - 01:14 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Feb 22 - 01:12 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Feb 22 - 01:02 PM
Bonzo3legs 05 Feb 22 - 12:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 22 - 11:49 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 22 - 08:08 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Feb 22 - 07:05 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Feb 22 - 06:59 PM
Donuel 04 Feb 22 - 06:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 22 - 10:24 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Feb 22 - 07:44 AM

"Die of old age" is a catch-all phrase which (having seen my mum gently fade away in October 2020) I find perfectly acceptable. Sure, a couple of contributory, long-term conditions were mentioned on the death certificate, but I knew that she had had multiple issues for years that had sent her weakening body on a downward spiral which were not mentioned. She was 91, she was overweight and she'd smoked for 70 years. All sorts of things. There was nothing controversial and when I'm asked what she died of I'm quite happy to say that it was old age, rather than list a plethora of conditions that may have contributed.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Feb 22 - 06:02 AM

Old people die, but they don't die "of old age".


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Feb 22 - 04:25 AM

Agreed. And, of course, statistics are highly vulnerable to abuse and misuse.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 09:41 PM

My uncle died with covid, but not of covid. He died of old age. He ought not have been counted in the covid nursing home deaths, but I think he was.

These distinctions do matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 06:53 PM

"The entropy of death begins around 21 for most people and for some much earlier."

I see death as a discrete event at the very end of a person's life. Decline and death are not the same thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 06:50 PM

Hmm. One case considered at a time, I'd rather say. In the same sense as "everyone in the graveyard votes the same," it doesn't matter to the unfortunate person who has joined the choir invisible what got or didn't get him or her, that much can't be gainsaid. I was merely casting doubt as to how the covid death numbers are arrived at and how the methods of gleaning those numbers might vary from country to country. Before the vaccines, a death ascribed to coronavirus was hard to contest. Things are nowhere as clear these days. Note how the nightly death numbers are now given with the caveat "though some of these deaths may have been by other causes."


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 06:40 PM

The entropy of death begins around 21 for most people and for some much earlier. Death in all its forms can not be simply catagorized. Death only seems rational and always attributal.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 06:03 PM

I think the distinction between "Dying with Covid. And "dying of Covid" is not particularly relevant.

"Dying with Covid" can mean someone who is dying anyway who catches Covid on their deathbed. But in most cases it means someone who had some existing condition which did not in itself threaten life, who catches Covid, and who dies.

That's a death that wouldn't have taken place without Covid just as much as that of someone who was in perfect health until they caught Covid.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 05:30 PM

Two things. Vaccines don't stop you from catching it. And millions caught it before there were any vaccines.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 05:24 PM

US estimates we have more people who have had covid {80%}
than folks who are vaccinated (65%).


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 03:37 PM

"True enough, fully vaccinated, the chances are good we won't die even if we catch Covid. But there is still a chance..."

If you catch Covid and you've already got something else, sure. There's a massive difference between dying with covid and dying of covid. That must impact the numbers. If you're fully jabbed, your chances of dying of just covid are next to nil. However, when you're dead you're dead I suppose, so for us wrinklies who are already suffering from this, that or the other we should worry just a little, but there's little reason for a fully-vaccinated person to worry ore about covid than there is for them to worry about complications from flu. We are on the brink of more or less normal lives now, and I for one want to embrace that. No more shutting kids out of schools or university. No more poverty-stricken families trapped in their flats with their stir-crazy kids for weeks on end. No more bans on meeting loved ones. No more abandoning Christmas. No more economy-wrecking lockdowns. No more assaults on people's mental health. The vaccines have changed everything.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 01:55 PM

What is covid breeding humans for?


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 01:45 PM

Scaling up figures is never too trustworthy, but the official UK figures work out as about 1,600 at the size of the US, whilr the New York Times gives UK daily rate as around 1000.

Whatever, it's clear a lot of people are dying who shouldn't be dying.

True enough, fully vaccinated, the chances are good we won't die even if we catch Covid. But there is still a chance, and that gets worse for those of us in a more vulnerable group.   Or for any unvaccinated person who catches it from us.

Panic time is over, but it's too early to ease off completely. I'm still wearing a mask in company, and prefer the company of people who do the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 11:44 AM

Not comparable unless we're all measuring daily deaths the same way. And even if we could agree on the method, it could still be the wrong way. Anyway, your relatively high death rate is a function of the patchy coverage of your vaccination programme. If you're fully vaccinated, you don't die *of* covid-19.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 10:30 AM

Alas, we're still seeing high death rates. 2,739 people died in the US (documented cases) on February 7, 2022. The equivalent of 5+ packed-full super-sized jetliner crashes in one day.

Our World in Data (Oxford University)

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count (New York Times)

The UK hit quite a spike over the holidays (according to the Oxford site) but the US has the lead in daily deaths right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Feb 22 - 06:33 AM

Out of 100,000 people, 8 unvaccinated will die of covid.

Out of 100,000 Vaccinated people .01 will die of covid.
Yep its less than 1 person.
When millions of people are infected we see 2000 a day die of covid.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Feb 22 - 06:16 PM

There's a bit of a groundswell in the UK ( and several other countries in Europe) that we are getting on top of this, that cases are falling and that we should relax, just a little. That we don't need restrictions forced on us (we can make up our own minds). I did a load of shopping in Truro today. I guesstimated that around a third to a half of people have ditched their masks, just a week after the mask mandate was lifted. We haven't got the best vaccination rate in the world, but we do have a pretty good rate. Who knows what's around the corner, but worrying about that is no way to live our lives. I have a hospital appointment tomorrow and I have to wear a mask to go in there. Last week at my first appointment, the chap in the medical assessment unit told me to take it off after I'd complained how hot his room was. We're making progress (except that he was, unfortunately, a Man U supporter). The way forward is to get vaccinated and to keep on testing. Our lateral flow test kits are still free and easy to get, in boxes of seven at a time. In our house we are using about six test kits per week, extra ones before visits to hospitals and the elderly. A very welcome development is that fewer and fewer people seem to be worrying any more. If you're jabbed and boosted, you won't end up in hospital because of this virus and you won't die of it. That'll do me!


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Feb 22 - 12:47 PM

We'll let Kevin have the last word on the selection and treatment of popular science journals, shall we, and move on?

Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal Two Years Into Pandemic, Shoppers Are Still Hoarding
Bulk-buying habit is expected to stick as people eat more at home, supply remains uncertain and inflation rears up. Retailers and producers are shifting operations as a result.

People are still practicing hoarding behavior that started with the pandemic.
Alexis Abell recently walked out of a BJ’s Wholesale Club outside Buffalo, N.Y., with 24 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a box of 50 frozen mozzarella sticks, a 40-pound bag of basmati rice and a 12-can pack of garbanzo beans.

“I don’t want to be in a position again where I can’t get something,” says Ms. Abell, a 41-year-old mother of five, who was laid off from her retail job at a quilt shop in 2020 and decided not to return to work.

She estimates her family is now spending about 25% more a week on food and staples than before the pandemic, and she is buying more than twice as much of some staples and household supplies. . . .

After more than 20 years of steady but slow sales growth, sales at bulk retailers Costco Wholesale Corp., Walmart Inc.’s Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. rose 26.6% in dollars and 18% in volume during the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the same quarter of 2019, according to IRI, far greater than any other type of retail including dollar stores, grocery, drugstores and mass merchants.

I've quoted a bit since the WSJ has a fairly robust paywall.

I realized I had more stuff in the freezer here than usual, and have tried to change my routine. My shopping entails replacing things I've run out of and fresh produce as I draw down frozen and canned foods. There is an extra package of toilet paper in my hall cupboard; usually I buy multi-packs that go under the sink in each bathroom. That spare one does go back to early COVID.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Feb 22 - 07:44 AM

You may recall the first mention of Covid on this forum in January 2020. It was called the The coming global pandemic that I wrote. Nigel was the first to respond mentioning I had overestimated fatalities by a factor of 3. He was eventually correct.
The thread was closed.

I am not predicting a fungal pandemic but I do warn the biggest mistake we can make is not sharing science information regarding pandemics, not being transparent, accusing each other of crying wolf and witholding any information for social reasons.

In the next pandemic there will be obvious repeats of social science failures. We don't lern 2 good imo.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Feb 22 - 07:24 AM

Handling the pandemic badly began with China misinforming and hiding the truth for 20 days until over 80,000 cases spread wildly.
Up until then they claimed no human transmission cases. They could have released the virus code by week one.
Most countries made the same early mistakes and made a health issue a political matter. Madness, but human.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 10:41 PM

From a New York Times editorial today:

The Covid Policy That Really Mattered Wasn’t a Policy

You know what’s better than a vaccine mandate? A society that doesn’t need one.

We began this pandemic by asking the wrong questions, and thus we got the wrong answers. Rewind to October 2019. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Nuclear Threat Initiative release the Global Health Security Index. It ranks 195 countries on their pandemic preparedness. Each country is judged on prevention policy, on detection capabilities, on response infrastructure, on health system capacity, on international cooperation and on underlying risk. The news is reassuring, at least if you live in the United States: We’re No. 1!

Then, only months later, we get an actual, once-in-a-century pandemic. The United States fails the test. We have more infections, more deaths, more pain and suffering and division and grief. Our performance doesn’t just fall short of rich countries like Germany and Denmark. It falls short of far poorer countries, too. The Global Health Security Index was measuring the wrong things. The researchers later noted that tucked inside the report was a finding about the United States that would prove more predictive of our response: “It had the lowest possible score on public confidence in the government.”

But that leaves the question: What were the right questions? What did we miss?


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 09:11 PM

Agreed, always check the source for anything that seems very surprising. You don't have to understand the scientific language much toget a sense of whetherwhat's been asserted is consistent the original paper.

The same goes for a eprt that isnmt particularly surprising if it is about something that matters. There's nothing improbable about that a variant fungal infection could get badly out of hand, or indeed that a catastrophic asteroid had been spotted heading fot earth, but you'd want to check the source.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 06:43 PM

Something to google (sorry...)

"Vastly unequal US has world’s highest Covid death toll – it’s no coincidence..."

It's a lengthy piece in the Guardian and it makes for a very sobering read about how the US is handling the pandemic badly.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 05:56 PM

Donuel, that is an "adjuvant" that you're thinking of.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 01:24 PM

"I know of no harm done by scientific american. Redundant old folk crumudgeons disagree."

Tell us what you really think. Name those crumudgeons [sic]. I'm sure they won't mind.

As a matter of fact, I know of no harm done either.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 12:36 PM

I agree Steve. Hard to understand that kind of thinking. I hesitate to call it thinking even.

I remember many years ago when I was by chance at Woodstock Festival talking to one of the people working in the hospital tent - she was saying how weird it was to have kids in who had got problems after gulping all kinds of unidentified stuff but they'd freak out at the idea of medical drugs of any sort , even antibiotics or paracetamol.

That girl on Question Time was very irritating, so smug and self satisfied.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 12:24 PM

The Lancet published a quack doctor that claimed vaccines caused autism
from the mercury antibiotic.

That started in small part a modern anti vax phenom in America.
I know of no harm done by scientific american. Redundant old folk crumudgeons disagree. So What. I will continue to devour every SA momthly issue since I was 11 no matter what strange strangers say.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 11:20 AM

A really good reason for never catching COVID-19 - Long COVID.

"Treatment options for long COVID are not robust, and they’re mainly geared towards treating the symptoms, organ by organ with anti-inflammatories for the lungs, beta blockers for a racing heart rate, etc. Although some innovative options are being explored, their use for long COVID remains unproven until they are studied more widely."

I was a healthy 38-year-old … but now I have long COVID
As a social epidemiologist who deals with big data and knew that COVID cases were on the rise, I was certain it was a false negative. The test itself even carried a warning that false negatives were possible and that clinical observations and patient history should be taken into consideration. But I was sent home, and by the end of March 2020, I thought I was on the road to recovery.

Then, in April, I had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. At the ER, the doctor reviewed my medical case history and concluded that I had COVID. She said that I was lucky and tests showed my organs did not have lasting damage.

But after the seizure, I lay in my bedroom for weeks with the curtains drawn, because light and sound hurt. I started suffering from tremors, extreme migraine headaches, a feeling that I was walking on rocks, and a pins-and-needles sensation that radiated through my body. There were times that I needed a cane to help me walk, and I knew something was seriously wrong with me.

It was not until months later that I discovered I was a long-hauler — part of a growing group of people who have COVID-19 and have never fully recovered. Later, we would be given an official name of Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), which is estimated to affect between 30 percent and 60 percent of people who become infected with COVID-19.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Charmion
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 10:59 AM

I'm with you, Steve.

The very same people griping about the possibility of negative effects from vaccines are not at all shy about driving stupid big trucks all over the place in foul weather. Hypocrites, the lot of 'em.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 10:31 AM

Side effects of a serious nature are vanishingly rare. You're more likely to be run over by a London bus in Bude.

I honestly don't understand the reluctance to get the jab. I listened to the articulate, supercilious and utterly wrong-headed young woman on Question Time last Thursday. So wrong-headed that it's hard to know what to say in response to people like that. Every day I'm consuming pesticide residues on my fruit and veg. Every day I breathe in particulate matter from car exhausts. If I get a headache I might take a paracetamol. My telly might be giving off a bit of ionising radiation. The cleaning materials I use in the house might be slowly poisoning me. All that butter... All potentially deadly (we're variously told), but hey ho, life is there to be lived. A jab doesn't hurt (I haven't even felt any of my three). You are not going to be adversely affected. Jabs are safer than all those things I've mentioned, and they work and they help you to protect others, and you won't die or end up in hospital. What's not to like? If you think your body is such a temple, you'd better go off and live alone in the wilderness and consume nothing bar locusts and wild honey. No beer, wine, whisky (heaven forfend!) or shagging (you might catch something).


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 22 - 09:12 AM

I just had a text from our group praitice telling me I was on for a fourth jab ( second booster), and popped into the chemist. I don't know if it's a general thing - I've not seen anything about it - or a local try-out. Reassuring, anyway.

We've all been lucky about side effects in our family, for any kind of vaccinations.   That means we never expect to get them, and I suspect that feeds back and reduces the likelihood of having them..


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 07:59 PM

It's good to see restrictions being lifted in various EU countries (as well as ours). The vaccines have hit the thing on the head. You catch it now, you won't die of it or go to hospital because of it.

Negative again this morning and last Thursday too. Vaccines and testing, the way to go. And both those things, if done, leave us to make our own decisions and help us to be normal again. It'll take time, of course. I'd love to go on holiday to Italy again. Haven't dared for almost three years now. Mrs Steve and I, from running scared a few months ago, are now in "well, let's see..." mode...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 06:19 PM

Was that a second booster (i.e. fourth vaccination), McG? If so, how did you come by it - were you invited for it by your Dr’s surgery or the NHS, or did you have to apply for it? I haven’t heard of such a thing up here in the Yellowbelly-Backwoods.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 06:14 PM

We've got an extra booster here now if you are in a vulnerable group, by illness or age, making a fourth in all. I had mine on Thursday. No side effects from any of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 05:04 PM

I don't have to prove anything. We've all seen you do it. Now let's end this off topic bickering. Again.

Meanwhile, COVID-19.

The CDC is moving toward that fourth shot. A booster booster. CDC plans to let people with weakened immune systems get a booster earlier
That means allowing a fourth Pfizer or Moderna shot at three months instead of five
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to update its guidance for some people with weakened immune systems to receive a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine three months after completing the initial series of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine rather than at the current interval of five months.

Agency officials presented the anticipated changes Friday during a meeting of the CDC’s outside vaccine experts on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The updated guidance is expected to be released Monday.

Recommendations for some immunocompromised people are already different from guidance for the general population because those with frail immune systems are at increased risk for severe covid-19 complications and more likely to be infected even after they are fully vaccinated. Once infected, they can also potentially harbor mutations that could lead to more virulent new variants, experts say.

CDC recommends people with weak immune systems receive three primary shots plus a booster for a total of four doses. But given the less-than-optimal immune response that these individuals typically have with their first three doses, a booster at three months may provide better protection, especially when there is such high transmission of the omicron variant, Elisha Hall, a CDC health education specialist, said Friday.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 04:30 PM

Blimey.

In biology, "population" doesn't just mean humans. My request for elucidation was perfectly appropriate. I was absolutely not mocking and I didn't start a feudlet. I was asking for clarification of a statement that was too vague to be useful. Every remark I've made about fungal diseases has been an attempt to keep the thing in proportion and try to sidestep alarmism. The disease referred to in your Lancet piece is serious for those who catch it, but when one continues to read down the article one sees that it's actually very rare (I picked out the numbers) and does not affect people with normally-functioning immune responses. You can read that as well as I can. Hardly contentious.

"Your main tool for shutting down opinions you disagree with is to say that you taught science. We've all seen it many times."

I have never used my scientific background to "shut down opinions." I challenge you to present examples of when I've done that. You are trying to shut down perfectly civil yet provocative discussion via personal attacks, aren't you? It's beneath you and you need to step back from that.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 04:07 PM

But Steve your post
"There is a potential for a simple fungus8 to wipe out vast populations"

Populations of who or what? Potato blight? White-rot on my onions, leeks and garlic?
appeared to be mocking the very idea that fungal infections can be an extremely serious matter, my link to The Lancet illustrates.

It's always waste of energy getting into feudlets.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 03:44 PM

Your main tool for shutting down opinions you disagree with is to say that you taught science. We've all seen it many times.

Hard science is over the heads of most readers and they're never going to approach it. Popular science journals offer the basics and more information and detail can be had by those who wish to find it. No cheap shot, just a frank appraisal of how you approach anything to do with science. From the Scientific American article:
Almost exactly four years earlier he and the CDC had sent an urgent bulletin to hospitals, telling them to be on the lookout. The fungus had not yet appeared in the U.S., but Chiller had been chatting with peers in other countries and had heard what happened when the microbe invaded their health-care systems. It resisted treatment by most of the few drugs that could be used against it. It thrived on cold hard surfaces and laughed at cleaning chemicals; some hospitals where it landed had to rip out equipment and walls to defeat it. It caused fast-spreading outbreaks and killed up to two thirds of the people who contracted it.

This writerly-style to general science writing gives a basic understanding of the problem. These are review articles that contain generalizations but also discuss specific studies. You the reader don't want to get this disease or condition, you want to know if it's out there, and you want to know more about how to prevent it. You're engaged.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 02:12 PM

I haven't got any journalistic peers as I'm not a journalist.

"I used to teach science so I know better"

I've never said anything like that in my life and I'll thank you for not ascribing it to me, thanks. It's a rather cheap shot, isn't it?

I'm not knocking any of the magazines I've mentioned. I am saying that they are not the be-all and end-all, and their science content lacks the rigour and the detail of learned journals. Often, it's the hard stuff, the technical stuff, the equations, that have to be omitted. Science is hard graft, and, while one major job of science is to communicate to everyone, it's very important to recognise (and communicate that recognition) that magazines hold less than half of the truth. That's all. They have a role. But the fungus article, with its anecdotal content and its implicit appeal to authority, whilst an entertaining read, falls well short. That's my opinion. If your opinion is different you can say so, if you like, without the accompanying abrasion.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 01:24 PM

Okay, time for the lecture: Someone has to write good science for lay people. Scientific American isn't an aggregator, pulling in links from various scholarly journals and putting the abstracts and a few teaser statements on a page that attracts eyeballs and the ads make money. Scientific American has people who write original articles about subjects and they get their information from scholarly journals. They tend to link back to themselves as source material, but it took a few keystrokes searching Google Scholar to land one of the original articles about Candida auris that this article references.

It's a good starting point, like Wikipedia for references. Start there and work up if you need the rest of the scholarly detail.

Those who can, do. Those who can't teach. I've always thought that statement was short-sighted and dismissive, but if it will get you to stop with the "I used to teach science so I know better" stuff, sobeit. These Scientific American articles do like you did, teach. There's nothing wrong with teaching science so you need to stop dismissing your journalistic peers as if you're better than them. There is plenty of room for good science material in the world, and nothing wrong with reaching the masses.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 01:14 PM

"Our predilection for growing vast areas of monoculture makes us our own worst enemy in some regards. "

Precisely.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 01:12 PM

From your Lancet piece, Kevin:

"Mucormycosis is caused by ubiquitous environmental moulds with a global distribution, including the Rhizopus, Apophysomyces, Mucor, and Lichtheimia species. Although generally harmless to an immunocompetent host, the infection can be deadly in patients with an impaired immune system, such as in those with haematological malignancies or poorly controlled diabetes, or in individuals receiving steroids or other immunosuppressants."

The article goes on to state that there were 11700 cases being treated in India on a date last May. Well the population of India is over 1.3 billion people. So it's a very rare disease, despite the ubiquitous nature of the fungal spores in question, that generally only affects people with underlying conditions. We're constantly battling old and new infection agents and 'twas ever thus. We shouldn't be complacent, but neither should we be unduly alarmist.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 01:02 PM

Absolute nonsense, Maggie. I've said it several times before, nothing to do with Donuel: Scientific American, Nature, New Scientist and their ilk are popular science magazines. They are not learned journals. I actually take learned journals from two disciplines in which I've had a lifelong interest. The gulf between their peer-reviewed content and what you (and I) read in popular science magazines is vast. There is nothing wrong with them unless you are suckered into thinking that they're the last word. They are not, they have to sell copies from magazine racks or annual subs to survive, and if you quote them in ignorance of the real leading-edge science you are in danger of being misled. The banner headline of the fungus piece in SA is a sensationalist piece of scaremongering that is not reflected either by the content of the article, which is largely anecdotal, or by real science. Have you even looked at it? There may be some truth in the content apropos of threats from fungi, but the world is not about to melt down in a mass of mycelium any time soon. To their credit, they do quote sources from peer-reviewed science in some cases (not this one), but I do wonder how many of their readers actually follow those up. Yes they are respectable and respected. They are still just potted science. By the way, if you click on the name of the journalist who penned the article you will see a list of other articles of hers which, undeniably, generally kick off on the sensationalist side of things. SA has to sell copies. Good luck to it.

One problem with potato blight, Kevin, is that the potato fields or allotment plots you see consist of a single variety. As potatoes are reproduced vegetatively, what you see are clones. Because there is no genetic variability, each and every plant is equally susceptible to blight, so the fungus sweeps through the whole crop and destroys the lot. Efforts to find blight-resistant varieties have met with limited success. Our predilection for growing vast areas of monoculture makes us our own worst enemy in some regards.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 12:05 PM

Sounds like scaremongering to me too!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 22 - 11:49 AM

Potato blight is't exactly laughing matter. It caused millions of deaths in the Irish Famine, and there are probably parts of the world where a disease targeting a single basic food crop could have te same kind of results today.

And warnings that fungal infections in humans can be pretty nasty beasta aren't hard to find. Here is The Lancet


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 08:08 PM

Steve, I don't know what you have against Scientific American. It's a well-respected science journal that covers science for the non-scientist. I suspect it is simply because of who posted it.

Stop with the slurs. Just skip past Donuel's posts if you don't want to read them, but we certainly don't need to read your complaints.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 07:05 PM

Well, Scientific American was our go-to for the latest exciting stuff when I was a student over half a century ago. Sadly, it's become a bit of a desperado, relying on cod-drama and scaremongering in order to sell copy. Very sad. Your fungus article is rather typical of its modern-day thrust. Useless.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 06:59 PM

So what I've read today (dammit, I can't remember where, but maybe some Brit can...) is that almost all patients in intensive care with covid-19 are unvaccinated. I also saw an opinion that your chances of dying of covid-19 are next to nil if you've had both jabs plus the booster. To me, that's a victory, which should mean that we can do two things: persuade the reluctant to get the jab, and to drop all restrictions and get back to normal life.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 06:15 PM

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/deadly-fungi-are-the-newest-emerging-microbe-threat-all-over-the-world/


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 10:24 AM

There are four siblings in my family, born in six years, so close enough in age that we did lots of things together. Including catching childhood illnesses. My mother used to talk about the year we each caught mumps, in sequence, not simultaneously, so she had weeks of sick kids at home. Same with measles and chicken pox. But mumps was apparently worst of the bunch.


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