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BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19

Backwoodsman 07 Jan 22 - 05:45 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 22 - 05:28 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 22 - 11:03 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 05:42 PM
Bonzo3legs 06 Jan 22 - 05:37 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 04:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 22 - 04:20 PM
Donuel 06 Jan 22 - 04:19 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 03:49 PM
Rain Dog 06 Jan 22 - 02:07 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 01:54 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 01:52 PM
Rain Dog 06 Jan 22 - 01:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 22 - 01:08 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 12:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 22 - 11:44 AM
Allan Conn 06 Jan 22 - 11:07 AM
Allan Conn 06 Jan 22 - 10:43 AM
Jon Freeman 06 Jan 22 - 09:53 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 09:44 AM
Backwoodsman 06 Jan 22 - 07:57 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 07:31 AM
Backwoodsman 06 Jan 22 - 07:03 AM
Rain Dog 06 Jan 22 - 06:57 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 06:34 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 05:38 AM
Senoufou 06 Jan 22 - 04:00 AM
Allan Conn 06 Jan 22 - 03:02 AM
Allan Conn 06 Jan 22 - 02:59 AM
Allan Conn 06 Jan 22 - 02:38 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Jan 22 - 09:50 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Jan 22 - 08:48 PM
Donuel 05 Jan 22 - 06:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Jan 22 - 03:11 PM
Donuel 05 Jan 22 - 09:29 AM
Mrrzy 04 Jan 22 - 06:49 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Jan 22 - 01:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Jan 22 - 12:10 PM
Donuel 04 Jan 22 - 11:23 AM
Donuel 04 Jan 22 - 09:31 AM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Jan 22 - 09:07 AM
Bonzo3legs 03 Jan 22 - 08:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Jan 22 - 03:26 PM
Donuel 30 Dec 21 - 06:59 AM
Donuel 30 Dec 21 - 06:56 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Dec 21 - 06:53 AM
Steve Shaw 29 Dec 21 - 06:57 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Dec 21 - 06:25 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM
Donuel 29 Dec 21 - 02:24 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 05:45 AM

Most of the stuff I see on my Newsfeed on FB is very strongly pro-vaccination and pro-mask. I very seldom see any anti-vax/mask material, apart from the occasional anti-vax/mask comment by a nutter trying to stir the shit up on pro-vax/mask thread, and I just laugh at those and scroll on by.

I honestly don’t believe my opinion has ever been changed by anything I’ve read on FB any more than it’s been changed by anything I’ve read on forums like this one, no matter how forcefully others try to preach to me. I have 75 years-worth of life-experience behind me and, over those years, I’ve learned to recognise bullshit and bullshitters when I encounter them.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 05:28 AM

This is a difficult area. At her death she was unvaccinated. That was on top of her anti-mandate stance. If I died tomorrow I'd be known as someone who was ardently pro-vaccination and fully-jabbed and ardently opposed to vaccine mandates. To me, these are entirely separate issues.

We should be campaigning in a concerted way to persuade everyone to take the vaccine. There are very few people who have a good excuse to avoid vaccination. The campaign needs to be two-pronged, first, to undo the serious damage done to public health by Facebook and others, second, to emphasise that getting vaccinated is the biggest contribution you can currently make to the health and safety of everyone (as well as yourself). To hell with the "free speech" of anti-vaxxers. They seriously need to be silenced. The massive achievement of the vaccines can't be gainsaid. And they are safer than going out into the street and crossing the road, drinking a glass of wine, smoking dope or eating burgers.

But forcing people to have the jabs under pain of losing your job is, to me, the wrong way to get people onside. Take them aside, advise them, counsel them, make things inconvenient for them in the workplace if that means making other people safer. I don't think it's the role of states to make rules about mandating vaccines. If I ran a football stadium I wouldn't let you in if you were Novak Djokovic. It's my stadium (or pub, or shop, or festival) and I get to decide who comes in and who doesn't. When it comes to workplaces, every sinew must be strained to persuade. But throwing people of the scrapheap just makes everything worse. It's the ethos, stupid...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 11:03 PM

Here is another COVID death that was totally avoidable.
A deputy district attorney from California who regularly spoke out against vaccine mandates has died of complications from Covid-19.

Kelly Ernby, 46, a prosecutor from Orange county, southern California, who recently ran for the state assembly, died after contracting the virus, her family and friends have said.

According to Ernby’s husband, Axel Mattias Ernby, Kelly Ernby was unvaccinated at the time of her death.

“She was NOT vaccinated. That’s the problem,” Axel Ernby said on social media posts.

A month before her death, Kelly Ernby spoke out against vaccine mandates at a rally outside Irvine city hall. The protest was organized by chapters of Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization, representing members at California State University, Fullerton and University of California Irvine.

“There’s nothing that matters more than our freedoms right now,” Ernby said, according to the Daily Titan, a student newspaper.

The political opposition is taking itself out of play, one case of COVID at a time.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 05:42 PM

Dammit, man, you stay in Croydon, I'll stay in Bude... :-) :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 05:37 PM

"We need to be talking about the arseholes (such as Djokovic) who refuse to get vaccinated."

Crikey I'm agreeing with you again!!!


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

No-one is ignoring masking, Donuel. Apart from myself, I know four or five people who are opposed to masks. To a man and woman, we all wear masks where required. Doggerel is bad poetry. I don't know whether you knew that. There is only one perpetrator of doggerel on these threads...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 04:20 PM

Neither of them cited an article, they both referred to one. I don't have enough information to reproduce that citation, but the remarks suggesting a set of facts had been "debunked" makes it clear there was an original article and discussion of it.

The District of Columbia and New York City are hit hard by the COVID Omicron variant, but in both places, ICU and ventilator use are down.

From the Wall Street Journal

At Northwell Health, New York state’s largest hospital network, about 10% of recent Covid-19 patients are ending up in the ICU compared with 25%-35% in previous surges, said Mangala Narasimhan, director of critical-care services.

Fully vaccinated patients are staying for an average of four days, Dr. Narasimhan said, compared with almost two weeks for unvaccinated patients. Patients are generally younger, and a greater share is white than during other surges, she said. Officials in the U.K. and South Africa have also reported lower rates of serious illness from Omicron than previous strains of the virus.

But the third big pandemic wave to hit New York is taxing healthcare providers, Dr. Narasimhan and other providers said. She said some colleagues quit in exhaustion. She ended up working over a planned vacation.


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

Each varient is a game changer so dogma and doggerel have a very short lifespan these days, and so will some people who ignore masking.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 03:49 PM

"...but 70% said it made them feel safer."

Well let's hang into that one for a sec. Now why would we think that 70% of young people thought that? Was it by any chance because they saw all the grown-ups doing it, who told them it would make them safer, who appealed to authority?

It is beginning to seem (to me anyway) that all the waffle we've heard and been told about masks for almost two years is just that - waffle. I've yet to see a single piece of evidence for mask-wearing that can't be demolished by resort to real science. I saw a big hairy bloke in Morrisons this afternoon who was unmasked. There was also a healthy-looking young woman, unmasked, to whom social distancing was clearly an alien concept. And do you know summat? I didn't give a damn!

We shouldn't need to talk about masks. We need to be talking about the arseholes (such as Djokovic) who refuse to get vaccinated. You'd think, wouldn't you, that internet mask-squabblers (who still wear their masks, by the way) were the big problem. Well they're not. It's the anti-vaxxers and the refusers. Most of whom got their motivations from Facebook. Hands up all you Facebookers...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Rain Dog
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 02:07 PM

From the BBC


Covid: Evidence on face masks in schools 'inconclusive'


The government admits the evidence for using masks in schools to reduce spread of Covid is "not conclusive".

The uncertainty is acknowledged in a review used by ministers in England to make their decision to introduce face coverings in classrooms.

The government's own study in the autumn did not provide proof of a statistically significant impact.

The evidence review says other studies have provided mixed results, but taken together suggest they may help.

And the move was backed by the UK Health Security Agency.

The review has only just been published following the announcement on Monday about the return of face coverings in classrooms.

It includes the results of a study in 123 schools in England which used masks and compared that to others that did not during the Delta wave of Covid. The UK is currently experiencing the spread of an even more infectious variant - Omicron - but there is not enough data yet on this one and masks.

Schools where face coverings were used in October 2021 saw a reduction two to three weeks later in Covid absences from 5.3% to 3% - a drop of 2.3 percentage points.

In schools which did not use face coverings absences fell from 5.3% to 3.6% - a fall of 1.7 percentage points.

It said this was not statistically significant and the greater reduction in schools where masks were worn could be down to chance.

The review also acknowledges the use of face coverings could harm learning.

But a full analysis of the costs versus benefits of the policy has not been done.

This is despite 94% of school leaders and teachers saying it made communication between teachers and pupils more difficult.

Some 80% of pupils also said it made communication harder, but 70% said it made them feel safer.

The review said a "balanced judgement" had been made.

Ministers have maintained face coverings have a material impact, but will not be used for a "day longer than necessary".

Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UKHSA, said: "We support the Department for Education's decision to reintroduce the use of face masks in secondary schools temporarily whilst Covid rates remain high."

The Department for Education said the move was aimed at "reducing transmission and disruption to learning".


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 01:54 PM

We cross-posted there, Rain Dog. Your post was very helpful - cheers.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 01:52 PM

I've wasted laboriously through all the remarks and I can't find one in which irreligious cites any article.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Rain Dog
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 01:52 PM

Thanks to Steve for confirming which Guardian article he was referring to. Thanks also to Jon for providing a link.

Stilly River Sage, I think you might be mistaken about the comments. Irreligious did not appear to quote a study.

'Unbanned' quoted a report of a study which said mask wearing was an effective means of preventing spread of the virus.

'Comments2go' said that study had been "widely debunked, and completely mis-interpreted."

Study doesn’t show masks cause 53% drop in Covid risk

Apologies in advance if I have read that incorrectly.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 01:08 PM

Keep reading the remarks.

Fort Worth schools are back in session with students on campus, but as of yesterday, 50 teachers were out on quarantine because they tested positive for COVID. (From WFAA, but they don't have durable links so the story might not appear for long.)
As of Tuesday, 50 of the district’s 5,000 teachers were quarantined due to COVID, according to Fort Worth ISD Assistant Superintendent Michael Steinert.

Since Monday, the district has had 300 COVID reports amongst all staff members. The 300 COVID reports include close-contact reports and COVID positive cases. Not all of those staff members are quarantined, Steinert said.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
COVID is starting to spike among Fort Worth police and firefighters, but the city says it is meeting staffing minimums through overtime and schedule adjustments.

The Police Department said 56 of its roughly 1,600 employees tested positive for COVID last week, a 75% increase from the previous six weeks, but still down from the 104 cases at the end of 2020.

The Fire Department has been hit harder: 116 of the department’s 927 firefighters are out on COVID-related leave.

This mirrors the trend in Tarrant County and across the United States, which is seeing a post-holiday surge of COVID cases fueled by the omicron variant.

The fire department is cutting two weeks from its recruiting classes to push instructors and trainees into service.

Remember when all of the medical students were being pressed into service before they completed their degrees, or their degrees were rushed in order to make them eligible to work? That is still happening across other professions also.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 12:18 PM

"...up to 6000 deaths per week, eh, SAGE? My arse!"

I thought that was outrageous, but even so I understated it: SAGE predicted up to that many PER DAY!

I think the public should be regaled with facts, and should be told if what they're being told contains estimates, predictions or conjecture. That SAGE statement was mere scaremongering.

"If you read down in those remarks the source "irreligious" was citing another reader pointed out that the article was debunked months earlier."

What article? As far as I can glean, irreligious didn't cite a source as such...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 11:44 AM

If you read down in those remarks the source "irreligious" was citing another reader pointed out that the article was debunked months earlier.

There was good news today about a new COVID vaccine. Any of you who have watched US coverage of the COVID crisis may have seen Dr. Hotez interviewed many times on the news, in particular to do with COVID infections in children.

A Texas team comes up with a COVID vaccine that could be a global game changer

A vaccine authorized in December for use in India may help solve one of the most vexing problems in global public health: How to supply lower-income countries with a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe, effective and affordable.

The vaccine is called CORBEVAX. It uses old but proven vaccine technology and can be manufactured far more easily than most, if not all, of the COVID-19 vaccines in use today.

"CORBEVAX is a game changer," says Dr. Keith Martin, executive director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health in Washington, D.C. "It's going to enable countries around the world, particularly low-income countries, to be able to produce these vaccines and distribute them in a way that's going to affordable, effective and safe."

The story of CORBEVAX begins some two decades ago. Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi were medical researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where they worked on vaccines and treatments for what are called neglected tropical diseases, such as schistosomiasis and hookworm.

When a strain of coronavirus known as SARS broke out in 2003, they decided to tackle that disease. After moving to Houston to affiliate with Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development, they created a vaccine candidate using protein subunit technology. This involves using proteins from a virus or bacterium that can induce an immune response but not cause disease.

"It's the same technology as the hepatitis B vaccine that's been around for decades," Hotez says.

Their SARS vaccine candidate looked promising, but then the SARS outbreak petered out. No evidence of disease, no need for a vaccine.

When a new strain of coronavirus triggered the COVID-19 pandemic, Hotez and Bottazzi figured they could dust off their old technology and modify it for use against COVID-19. After all, the virus causing COVID-19 and the virus causing SARS are quite similar.

Hotez says they tried to interest government officials in the vaccine, but they weren't impressed.

"People were so fixated on innovation that nobody thought, 'Hey, maybe we could use a low-cost, durable, easy-breezy vaccine that can vaccinate the whole world,' " Hotez says.

"We really honestly couldn't get any traction in the U.S., but our mission is always to enable technologies for low- and middle-income countries production and use," Bottazzi recalls.

So they turned to private philanthropies. A major donor early on was the JPB Foundation in New York.

"The rest were all Texas philanthropies: the Kleberg Foundation, the [John S.] Dunn Foundation, Tito's Vodka," Hotez says. The MD Anderson Foundation also chipped in.

"When people say, 'Why did we move [from Washington, D.C.] to Texas?' Well, we knew that this was a great philanthropic environment. So this is really very much a Texas vaccine," although there were other, smaller donors from all over the country.

Hotez says that unlike the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and the viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, protein subunit vaccines like CORBEVAX have a track record. So he and Bottazzi were relatively certain CORBEVAX would be safe and effective.

"And it's cheap, a dollar, dollar fifty a dose," Hotez says. "You're not going to get less expensive than that."

Clinical trials showed they were right to be confident CORBEVAX would work. An unpublished study conducted in India involving 3,000 volunteers found the vaccine to be 90% effective in preventing disease cause by the original COVID-19 virus strain and 80% against the delta variant. It's still being tested against omicron.

But CORBEVAX is already entering the real world. Last month, the vaccine received emergency use authorization from regulators in India. An Indian vaccine manufacturer called Biological E Ltd is now making the vaccine. The company says it is producing 100 million doses per month and has already sold 300 million doses to the Indian government.

"The real beauty of the CORBEVAX vaccine that Drs. Hotez and Bottazzi created is that intellectual property of this vaccine will be available to everybody," Keith Martin says. "So you can get manufacturers in Senegal, and South Africa and Latin America to be able to produce this particular vaccine."

By contrast, the makers of Pfizer and Moderna, for example, are not sharing their recipe.

One drawback to the CORBEVAX technology is that it can't be modified as quickly as mRNA vaccines can to adjust to new variants.

That forces public health officials to make difficult choices.

"Something which can be adapted the fastest versus something that can be adapted relatively quickly, but then more importantly can be manufactured at a large global capacity and at a cost of production which is much lower," says Prashant Yadav, senior fellow at at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. The thought is some protection may better than no protection.

Of course, the ideal vaccine would have both qualities, and Peter Hotez is at work trying to develop technologies that can do that.

"There's no issue with pushing innovation," he says. "I think that's one of the really positive features of the U.S. vaccination program for COVID. The problem was it wasn't balanced with a portfolio [f]or oldies but goodies."

Hotez is hoping his oldie but goodie will usher in a brighter future for the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 11:07 AM

I'd say in fact that although the advice is for no more than three households mixing at a time - a lot of people in general are deciding themselves to restrict themselves further than that anyway.

We did have an interesting outcome over our wine club Xmas Party though. As I said above it is only advice to stick to three households. The planned party was many more households than three. So advice was not to hold it but it could still go ahead all the same if we chose to. The membership voted - and I know it is not very scientific but we voted not to hold it - but everyone who voted to actually hold it was English born and had moved to Scotland mostly within the last 10 years or so. It was a small sample of course but it got me wondering if they were still in the mindset of following the advice from Westminster rather than Holyrood even though it is a devolved matter!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 10:43 AM

Senofou the idea that there is no mixing or socialising allowed in Scotland is not actually true. Socialising is restricted in pubs etc to three households at a table. So yes some restrictions from the normal but no actual ban. Likewise as far as private houses go the 'advice' is to mix no more than three households at once. That is advice only though!!! It is not in law - just advice. So if you want to have more than three households in your home at once you can without any consequences other than maybe your neighbour's disapproval. Most people seem to be sticking to that advice. There is of course a section of the population who hate Sturgeon - but her overall approval rating is very high compared with almost every other politician here bar Anas Sanwar the Scottish Labour leader who is only a little bit behind Sturgeon. The nickname is not "Wee Burney" rather it is "Wee Nippy" and this is used by a secion of the unionist support. Seemingly a derogatory name the male politicians used to call her when she was a young female member who was regarded as a bit too forceful. I supposed young women members needed to be forceful to get on though.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 09:53 AM

Here is a link to the article and this one might take you to the comment after a second or two.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 09:44 AM

The comment I posted came from someone with the moniker "irreligious" and was posted at the end of the article "This is the action Britain must take to limit the damage of Omicron" written by William Hanage.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 07:57 AM

You make a good point, but the people who touch them all the time would still be likely to touch their mouths and noses, cough, and do that filthy thing of sniffing snot back into their throats, hawking, and spitting it out, that so many seem to do nowadays instead of blowing their noses into a tissue and disposing of it properly.

Dirty buggers will be dirty buggers, mask or no mask.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 07:31 AM

You could be wrong about that. Most people's masks are insanitary after just a few minutes, the outside as well as the inside, and most people are touching them all the time. That's an absolutely ace way of spreading various infections.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 07:03 AM

Despite having held senior positions in several businesses over a 50-year career, and earning a decent supplementary income as a semi-pro singer and musician since I was 16 (still doing it, but far more for fun than the filthy lucre nowadays), I don’t regard myself as being particularly clever, and I wouldn’t pretend to know with any certainty about the efficacy of mask-wearing with regard to C-19 transmission-prevention.

What I do believe, though, is that, by pushing the concept of continued mask-wearing, the powers-that-be are keeping the thought that C-19 has not ‘gone away’, and still poses a threat, at the front of people’s minds. And in that regard, it seems to me to be a very worthwhile tactic. As well as being careful to socially-distance, I wear a mask at all times when I’m in indoor public spaces. I have no idea whether it’s preventing transmission, but I’m certain it’s not making transmission more likely, and that’s a Good Thing, AFAIC.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Rain Dog
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 06:57 AM

Can you provide a link to The Guardian article?

Thanks in advance.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 06:34 AM

An excellent reader comment following an article in today's Guardian.

"The current case rate in England, taken as a seven day average, is 2,234 per million.

In Wales, where mask use and other restrictive measures have been in force for longer and are stricter, the case rate per million is 2,865, having been as high as 3,241 within the last few days.

Yet again, evidence that masks and other restrictions are effective in preventing Covid transmission is lacking, yet we are told that we must believe this assertion anyway, because apparently it's as obvious as gravity."

Yet again indeed. Another commenter said that there has never been evidence that masks have significantly reduced infection rates anywhere. There you go.

I've just tested negative, a few minutes ago. Later this morning I'm off to Morrisons to do a bit of shopping. I'll be forced to wear a mask.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 05:38 AM

Last time I heard, about a week ago, the test result reporting-back was less than 10%. The contact-tracing system in this country has been in fatal disrepute for over a year and millions of people have deleted the app. It's useless. But people are grabbing the test kits in droves and are using them (I'm doing my second test this week in just a mo). People are using the tests to regulate their own behaviour, which is very responsible, and know that reporting- back is a waste of time. For almost two years we've been regaled daily on the telly and in the papers with bogus graphs and numbers about infections and deaths. We want to hear about something different now. People were ultra-cautious regarding the pre-Christmas shopping and hospitality. We simply have to trust people to do the right thing from now on. The publicity about omicron (even though some of it was scaremongering - up to 6000 deaths per week, eh, SAGE? My arse!) has been good. That's how it should be. We know what we should be doing. The main danger is the threat to the NHS (half-scuppered by the Tories even before all this started) by staff absence, which will pass, and beds taken up by bloody idiots who refused to be vaccinated. Oh, and a wreck of a care industry which means that people who are ready to be discharged from hospital can't be released. We wear masks pointlessly because we know how behave when told to, but there's not much evidence of social distancing happening any more. This "crisis" is going to happen every winter for the rest of our lives, so we'd better learn to live with it and be normal again.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Senoufou
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 04:00 AM

Husband is back at school doing the cleaning. All pupils (secondary school) have to wear masks, and he's in a mask-plus-visor and disposable rubber gloves. His LFT tests have all been negative (twice a week) and he's triple-vaccinated (booster included) But I'm still a bit worried about him - Omicron is rife among youngsters at school. He's very prudent however, and wouldn't take any risks.
My sister up in Scotland is furious with Nicola Sturgeon (nicknamed Wee Burney) because she's tightened up most of the rules and people are restricted. No mixing or socialising, masks all round etc. Sister hopes this will put the SNP crew off Wee Burney's case!


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 03:02 AM

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 02:59 AM

The daily reported cases are an under-reporting and that is stated on the media. Here in the Office For National Statistics carries out a weekly general survey which is reported widely and this always gives a much higher rate of infection which will be nearer the correct figure. The latest figures are below. Estimated rate in England is one in fifteen people have the virus.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infect


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 02:38 AM

The idea of reporting all cases I suppose is so that they get an idea of what % are testing positive. Hence the daily figures give you a % of what tests are positive. It helps them with knowing what is going on. So the instructions on the box ask you to report all results whether positive or negative or even if it is a non result.

I imagine they know very well that lots of people just take the test and don't bother reporting it unless it is positive which I suppose is the main thing.

If positive then of course they want to know so that they can contact anyone you have been in close contact with in the preceding days. Up until this week if testing positive then you were supposed to then book a PCR test.

Once registered on the site for the lateral flow test reporting it is actually a very quick process to report test results. Though it does seem to confuse some folk. One of our club members reckons it took him two and a half hours and that he had to register on several sites. Whereas it took my 5 or 10 minutes to register and it is only one site. I suspect because he is in Scotland he thought he needed to register on the NHS Scotland site too - but the instructions on the site are pretty clear that you only do that if you are an NHS or care worker or visiting a care home. Everyone else is redirected to the same shared UK site.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:50 PM

Too bad you're not cooperating - that could help the government with the contact tracing it needs to do to figure out what is going on in your neighborhood. You should reconsider.

I fill out an online survey every week or two. It's anonymous, narrows down to my zip code for location. And if I am asked or need to take and report at test, I will. Because it's better for my whole community if I do that.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 08:48 PM

Well we struck early and obtained a good stash of lateral flow test kits. So far, no positives. But I hear that the government is desperate for us to report all results. Well I'm not going to be doing that. I know what to do if I'm unwell or if I test positive at home. I wouldn't dream of putting myself out and about knowing that I had the thing. I'll monitor myself and police myself, thanks. I don't need a government to be telling me what to do. I need a government to fill the potholes and fix our rotting school buildings.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 06:39 PM

Compared to this time last year, deaths from Covid are waaay down.
It really looks like a flu shot AND a covid shot every winter will be the way smart people stay healthy depending on emergent varients.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 03:11 PM

According to a report this morning on my Texas public radio station, the "normal" positive rate in COVID tests administered throughout the year (since they have been in place for general access) is around 11%. During the last big COVID surge that level was up to about 22%. Right now in Texas they are seeing a rate of 34% of tests are coming back positive.

There are several regions of the state with ICUs at 100% and they're going to have to start triaging patients (or moving them long distances).


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:29 AM

Holy Cross hospital in town has closed its Pediatic Intensive Care Unit PICU to kids and are filling it with adults. Kids with Covid are going to NICU. There ought to be a SICU - super infectious care unit. :+o
But...Deaths are slightly down.

Testing and quarantine protocols are screwed up now but I don't blame CDC.
In fast and furious times like these it is unlikely to ever get ahead of variants.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 06:49 PM

Likely way underreported, I agree.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 01:15 PM

We have over 200,000 reported infections in a day. As our population is about a fifth of yours, that makes us about equal. Note the word "reported." Because this is a milder disease, and because most of us have been jabbed, there's bound to be massive under-reporting of infections. If a third of people don't know they have it, and children just get a bit sniffly as they do every winter, and lots of people with mild symptoms won't report, it could be that the reported numbers could be underestimates by a massive amount. That could be good news as it means that the virus may soon have nowhere to go. Of course, a new variant could scuttle any early optimism.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 12:10 PM

U.S. Covid-19 Infections Top One Million After Holiday Backlog
States report backlogs of cases after pausing for the New Year holiday

That's from the Wall Street Journal so you may hit a paywall. Here is some of it:
More than one million new Covid-19 infections were reported in the U.S. as global health officials scrambled to increase measures to counter the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

The U.S. reported a record 1.08 million Covid-19 infections on Monday as most states worked to clear backlogs after pausing during the New Year’s holiday. The reports pushed the seven-day average of daily reported infections to 480,273, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. That level is nearly double the peak reached at the height of last winter’s case surge.

Hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases reached a seven-day average of 97,855 on Monday, according to data posted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. That is up 41% in the past two weeks but below both the pandemic peak of 137,510 on Jan. 10, 2021, and the smaller peak of 102,967 on Sept. 4, 2021, during the Delta-variant surge. While Covid-19 tests remain in short supply in much of the U.S., testing was less robust last year, complicating comparisons between pandemic surges.

Six states aren't included in those numbers, most of those overwhelmed by the numbers.

"The U.S. seven-day average of daily reported Covid-19 deaths was 1,236 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data." This is "relatively unchanged" - for now. Reports of deaths "tend to lag," so the death numbers will be more accurate in a few weeks looking back at this time.

This is just the US - but that article goes on to point out that Europe has also been clobbered.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 11:23 AM

Other possible good news is that Omicron does not infect lung cells aggressively in the vaccinated and leaves no lung scaring among the sinus infected.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 09:31 AM

Delta makes no antibodies for Omicron but Omicron makes a few antibodies against Delta. ???
Its darkest before dawn when you step on the cat. :^/
I didn't, but absent any mice the cats are leaving my socks all over as evidence of their hunting prowess.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 09:07 AM

meanwhile in Australia - ‘A shambolic mess’: the only example Australia is giving the world now is how not to manage Covid, by Dr Kerryn Phelps. We thought the government would develop a Covid strategy for post-lockdown life. Instead, they have chosen to ‘let it rip’ Where did it all go wrong?

How did Australia go from being the envy of the world with our best practice public health measures, low case numbers, a prepared health system and an economy ticking along nicely to what can only be described as a shambolic mess?

... With the new New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, in charge, the chief health officer Kerry Chant was sidelined as the new policy to “let it rip” was rolled out ... In one previously unimaginable act, the premier, in a double act with (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison, announced a lifting of all restrictions including mandatory mask wearing and QR code check-ins.

Despite the warnings that the health system was under pressure and that party season was about to kick off, the message to the community was: “Go out there and spend, head to the pub and get back to normal.”

... As the holiday period approached, many testing facilities would be closed down with little warning, leading to queues stretching for kilometres and waiting times blowing out to hours. In some cases, ill people waited in their cars overnight. Results were taking five or six days to be reported.

... We were all told to go and get rapid antigen tests (RATs). The government resisted providing the tests for free as the UK had done, with Morrison saying he “did not want to undercut businesses”.
When a journalist specifically put to him that “not everyone can afford rapid antigen tests”, the PM casually replied: “Some people can, some people can’t.”
In another throwaway comment that will not age well, he said: “We’re at a stage of the pandemic where you just can’t make everything free.”

... The minimalist approach to pandemic control has hurt businesses more than it has helped, with many cancellations at restaurants and hospitality venues. Supermarkets are now struggling with supplies because employees at every stage of the supply chain are becoming ill. (read on)

covid testing queues & delayed results
=======
My cousin is a manager of a pathology unit in a large hospital & like all her colleagues in the medical world across Australia is overworked & stressed trying to deal with staff absences & massive volumes of tests. Our plan was to meet up after Christmas ...


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 08:56 AM

The majority of people in intensive care have not been vaccinated or boosted, so it's largely their own fault.............................ah I'm forgetting - they haven't been taking vitamin D capsules
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 03:26 PM

Omicron is spreading at lightning speed. Scientists are trying to figure out why

So far, omicron's best trick — what helps explain its success more than anything else — is dodging our immunity: the antibodies and other immune defenses put on by the body after vaccination and/or prior infection.

The variant's many mutations on the spike protein allow it to infect human cells more efficiently than previous variants could, leaving many more people again vulnerable. Because of that, "immune escape" alone could be the major reason why the variant looks so contagious compared with delta, which was already highly transmissible.

In fact, omicron has been spreading at a pace that's comparable to how fast the original strain of the coronavirus spread at the very beginning of the pandemic, despite the world's newfound levels of immunity.

"The playing field for the virus right now is quite different than it was in the early days," says Dr. Joshua Schiffer, an infectious disease researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "The majority of variants we've seen to date couldn't survive in this immune environment."


and this, further down in the essay:

With so many mutations, it's still quite possible that omicron does have additional advantages that make it more contagious than other variants — advantages that rely on more than breaking through our prior immunity.

Maybe omicron can produce more copies of itself in a cell? Or maybe it sticks to cells more effectively? Or maybe it's better at hanging in the air and staying infectious?

"Any of those things would make the virus more contagious," says Schiffer of Fred Hutchinson.

One key difference emerging with omicron is just how quickly someone who gets infected becomes contagious.

Omicron appears to have a shorter incubation period and that can substantially speed up infections across the population. A study of the Oslo Christmas party outbreak found the incubation period could be about three days, compared with 4.3 days for delta and five days for other variants. A small study from CDC also puts the incubation period at about three days.

"That's actually a fairly significant difference," says Schiffer. This would mean there are many more cycles of infections and less time for people who are exposed to take precautions not to expose others.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:59 AM

Sorry about the accidental double negative.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:56 AM

The most intense viral 'blizzard' is expected for all of January.
Wild and wooly claims are being made including half of child infections having/getting long haul along with hospital staff shortages 20-40% compared to the last surge. Half a million new cases in a day is the most recent report for the US. Such numbers can not be sustained but it hasn't turned around yet. Testing issues along with dire news is producing new policies like not allowing Universities to not allow students off campus to go out on weekends. Mass new year's eve celebrations are being changed. A blowback of some sort can be expected imo. It may be the best of times with new medications but it is the worst of times for some.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:53 AM

Slowly getting used to the terminology, PCR & LFT
I can understand the use of LFT (or of 'Lateral Flow Test'). Looking at the box for the tests the other option for naming would have everyone discussing this as 'plague'.
I'm glad they didn't start calling the 'lateral flow test' the 'Rapid Antigen Test'.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:57 PM

Good to hear it.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:25 PM

I just took a quote from the larger page, Steve. You could have probably figured that out, because if they're talking about masks, they're going to also be talking about vaccines.

The county has an aggressive and agile vaccination program - they recently started a vaccine bus operation to literally drive into the neighborhoods where people either can't get out (no transportation) or don't have the time it might take to go somewhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM

Well I note that your county health department has a lot to say about masks but nothing at all about getting vaccinated. Of the one thing that will save us from this, not a word. Boris Johnson is a complete buffoon, but in every one of his public messages he encourages us all to get the booster. The vaccines and the boosters, incontrovertibly, have decimated deaths and hospitalisations. Wear your mask wherever and whenever you like. I wear mine where I'm legally obliged to, end of. There is no scientific evidence that masks are anything more than fiddling round the edges. The lack of balance in your quote is staggering.

Almost all the people in intensive care and/or on ventilators in the UK are unvaccinated. Now that is evidence. On the other hand, we had a maskless summer in 2020 and a virtually maskless one in 2021. In both summers, case rates hit almost rock bottom. As a scientist, I know that I mustn't extrapolate from those obstinate facts, and I won't. But if I'd chosen to, I'd at least have a darn sight more to back me than the mask obsessives ever have.


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Subject: This is not news on the pandemic COVID-19
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 02:24 PM

The canary in the coal mine right now is South Africa regarding the latest more efficient variant. A future successful variant will make sense in hindsight but predicting what random mutation will or can do is "unpredictable".

"Predicting is hard especially about the future."
quote: Casey Stengle

There is still value in potentialities and likelyhoods. Go for it. I often do. :^/

The scientific method takes longer but works better. If we're guessing...
My guess is that Omicron is neither a blessing or a curse.


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