COVID

zgrose

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That was my understanding too. Although I'm not sure that the Delta variant would change much. While Delta is more infectious, it's also less virulent than the original strain, and therefore less likely to result in fatalities.
Interesting, a quick Google search on that seems to say the opposite. Do you happen to have a link/source to that?
 

BattleSchool

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Interesting, a quick Google search on that seems to say the opposite. Do you happen to have a link/source to that?
I don't have a specific link at hand. (Wifey told me about it some time ago. She works in a lab.) I'll have a look tomorrow.

EDIT: My wife couldn't confirm the source, but this UK data, Table 2 in particular, may be a primary source of the claim. I've included the table below for ease of viewing. Note that the data excludes the January period of high Alpha-variant cases and the July period of high Delta-variant cases.

18893

That said, UK stats have shown a high number of infections in the past few months, about 90 percent of which are apparently attributable to the Delta variant. However, despite the high numbers of infections, peaking at 46,125 cases on 20 July of this year--the highest since mid January, the number of deaths has been about 80 per day. Graham Medley, PhD, professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, member of the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and a leader of the government's Covid modelling group" is quoted as saying in mid August that, "In the past with that level of infection, we would have seen over 1,000 deaths a day."

IOW, despite the case spike in June-July, the spike didn’t result in anywhere near the same level of hospitalization or deaths as past spikes have. For example, roughly 2,000 COVID cases led to hospitalization in late June, vs. nearly 40,000 in January.

Finally, as this article in American Society for Microbiology points out, "it is difficult to determine whether Delta is actually making people sicker than previous forms of the virus or if it is simply circulating amongst more vulnerable populations where case numbers are high, vaccination rates are low and increased stress on hospital systems is impacting patient care and disease outcomes." More important, "Research is ongoing to determine if Delta infection is associated with increased hospitalization and death." (I also read HERE that vaccines provide better protection against the Delta variant than the Alpha, specifically in lowering the instances of hospitalization.) Meanwhile, the NZ Ministry of Health suggests states that "Science is telling us that Delta can cause people to develop more serious COVID-19 illness than other variants of the virus," and that "People with a Delta infection are at higher risk of needing hospitalisation."

Certain groups may well react adversely to the Delta variant, and as a result may need hospitalization. But UK statistics suggest that these outcomes are limited to a much smaller number of people than infections from earlier variants indicate.
 
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The Magnus

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So that indicates they've done fairly well, all things considered.
Swedes tend to compare themselves to Danes, Norwegians and maybe even Finns, rather than “real foreigners”, so for many Swedes the relatively low number of excess deaths is still considered a relative failure.

Luckily we have relatively few anti-vaxxers, so we should be ok going forward.
 
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BattleSchool

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This update to the UK vaccination program highlights the tensions between medical practitioners, "the science," and political considerations. Boris Johnson's government has not made an official decision, according to the British vaccines minister, as to whether vaccines will be recommended or mandated for 12-15 year-olds, although The Guardian suggested that the Ministers could ignore JCVI advice and do so. (I suspect there is some truth to this given that, according to one commentator [see Oliver below] "The JCVI hadn’t even made their recommendation before the government had recruited thousands of jabbers anyway – and had the schools allocate space for the vaccination of their charges.")

Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Friday declined to recommend vaccinations for children in that group, taking a precautionary approach due to a rare risk of heart inflammation, but adding the issue was finely balanced.
According to the JCVI, "the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of health 12- to 15-year-olds at this time." The controversy led a former BBC presenter to rail against government plans announced earlier this summer to start vaccinating children. Some have taken issue with Neil Oliver's position, claiming that he is misrepresenting the issue. (For example, Oliver said on air that "The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ruled that healthy 12-15-year-olds should not – let me repeat that for emphasis, should not – get Covid injections." This isn't how the JCVI put it. And in fairness, both the JCVI and Oliver agree that exceptions ought to be made for vulnerable children in this group. But the bottom line is that the JCVI did recommend against vaccination for children aged 12-15.)

Oliver's impassioned plea near the end of his monologue sums the argument up:
I feel betrayed by the media – which is ironic, given that I work in the media – but sometimes you have to be inside the tent to see what’s really going on in there.

The mass of the mass media – here in Great Britain and around the world – seems to me to have been whipping up fear and gaslighting dissenters from the get go. I struggle to find news I can trust. Government propaganda though? That appears to me, to be everywhere. I don’t trust the headlines. I don’t trust the billboards. I don’t trust the public information broadcasts on tv and radio.

For relief from the nightmare – however brief – I remind myself that Covid poses little risk to the vast majority of people. It’s as simple as that and no one in a white coat can possibly deny it.

I predict that when enough time has passed and other generations look back on these months, they will use this awful story to teach their children about hubris. Along came a virus. Politicians wanted to be seen to be beating it. Some scientists told those politicians they knew how it could be done. Except it seems plain to me if to no one else that they didn’t know how and now the politicians seem to me to be playing politics with children’s lives.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think they want to make a wall of children so the grown-ups can cower behind it. Where is the morality in such a move?

Here’s the thing: Let’s say, for argument, that children faced an identical risk from Covid and from the vaccine. If a child catches Covid and dies, that is random chance and tragic, and very, very bad luck. But no one has done anything to them. If one child – just one child – is vaccinated and dies of side effects, then that death is the result of a medical intervention. Very different. Very, very different.
One thing seems clear. Public mistrust is growing, not waning. And this is not a good sign.
 
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Michael Dorosh

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One thing seems clear. Public mistrust is growing, not waning. And this is not a good sign.
Probably a separate topic of its own, but why do you feel this is? Erosion in faith in public institutions goes back at least as far as Nixon. I wonder if mistrust is actually more rampant, or the disaffected just have more ways of expressing their feelings and projecting them to wider audiences than was the case previously thanks to social media.
 

BattleSchool

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Probably a separate topic of its own, but why do you feel this is? Erosion in faith in public institutions goes back at least as far as Nixon. I wonder if mistrust is actually more rampant, or the disaffected just have more ways of expressing their feelings and projecting them to wider audiences than was the case previously thanks to social media.
Probably a bit of both. Social "media" allows individuals more lattitude to express their views and hear the views of others--in theory, at least. However, social media tends to operate in silos, and not only because of "algorithms," also because we make choices in the content we decide to consume. Moreover, unlike "letters to the editor" commentary on current affairs, which is selective--if not censored in some respects, there are few limits on what can be said on non-traditional forms of media. Add in the pile-on effect that invariably follows a heterodox post, and sentiments can reach witch-burning propositions (and sanction by the media platform itself) in short order.

That said, there is also a possible disconnect between the social-media savvy crowd, which is generally younger, and the older generations who don't participate in the online world to anything approaching the same degree. It's generally understood too that older people are more small-c conservative in their approach to life. They are more likely to question major changes to the status quo, while the young are more likely to do the opposite. IMO, this tends to amplify the concerns of the vocal social-media mob--and that's what I think a lot of social-media "opinion" really is, a tendency to go along with the crowd. I can understand this. The pressure to conform is immense, while the risks to reputation and livelihood have proven considerable, especially for those without FU money.
 
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zgrose

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Forgot to check back, but I have my favorite theory wrt fewer deaths with Delta: more effective treatments (and the deprecation of ineffective treatments). Will see how that holds up over time.

> Probably a separate topic of its own, but why do you feel this is?
It is actively being nurtured and curated by monied interests through channels never before available to them. In this country and probably all the other ones too. (edit) I take that back, some countries use the same techniques to build/enforce a loyalty to the state.
 

zgrose

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Such as? Could you give a couple examples of "more effective" treatments, and a couple of "ineffective" treatments?
I'll go with one of each to show the change over time?
"more effective" treatments => proning COVID patients
"ineffective" treatments => hydroxychloroquine seems to have not panned out
 

BattleSchool

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I'll go with one of each to show the change over time?
"more effective" treatments => proning COVID patients
"ineffective" treatments => hydroxychloroquine seems to have not panned out
I thought you had specific pharmacological treatments in mind. Dexamethasone, one of the immune modulators under study, is apparently the first drug shown to improve survival of patients on some form of respiratory support. However, dexamethasone provides no benefit to other, presumably less serious, Covid-19 patients.

Here's a current run down of trials looking for an effective treatment. As you say, hydroxychloroquine has been a disappointment as an antiviral. Note that some drugs such as Ivermectin are also being studied for the effectiveness as a prophylaxis. Like the prophylactic or preventative vaccines that are currently being jabbed into millions of arms, any preventative properties that Ivermectin may have is not a cure for Covid-19. This has probably led to a lot of confusion about the efficacy of Ivermectin. For instance, the media has featured sensational news stories of people trying to purchase "horse dewormer" in an attempt to avoid a Covid-19 vaccine, or to treat the virus. The public would be better served if the media explained what Ivermectin actually is, and that despite its use in some countries, studies into its efficacy are incomplete.

Ultimately, it's the constantly changing guidelines in various jurisdictions and the ease with which this information can be shared informally through "social networks" globally that makes it difficult for the average joe to make sense of it all. In India, for example, hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, doxycycline, even zinc and multivitamins, were--until only a few months ago--routinely prescribed to treat asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid-19 patients.
 

zgrose

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I thought you had specific pharmacological treatments in mind.
Nope, just the general comment that our ability to treat the disease has improved over time and therefore death rates are improving. That's my hypothesis, at least.

... makes it difficult for the average joe to make sense of it all.
That's the playbook for monetizing the flock.

The public would be better served if the media explained what Ivermectin actually is, and that despite its use in some countries, studies into its efficacy are incomplete.
Our current media is mostly incapable of effective science communication. It's hard stuff and doesn't get a lot of clicks. Hot takes are easy and do generate a lot of clicks.
 

BattleSchool

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Nope, just the general comment that our ability to treat the disease has improved over time and therefore death rates are improving. That's my hypothesis, at least.
I think that's generally true of all variants. Early respiratory intervention without the use of anti-inflammatories such as Prednisone was often counterproductive. Clinicians are learning as they go.

That's the playbook for monetizing the flock.
I'm always astounded to learn that so many remain vulnerable to snake-oil salesmen.

Our current media is mostly incapable of effective science communication. It's hard stuff and doesn't get a lot of clicks. Hot takes are easy and do generate a lot of clicks.
Sure, I get that. However, I think it's different when a publicly-funded national broadcaster focuses on a lunatic fringe that has sparked interest in veterinary versions of Ivermectin, dismisses any potential effectiveness of the drug--when the medical jury is still out*, and exagerrates the danger of the drug by pointing to the risks of consuming a veterinary version of the pharmaceutical. The FDA Twitter post featuring a horse rebukes citizens with tabloid-headline, simple sentences: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it." Is this any way to address adults who presumably are clever enough to operate a smart phone, but too dimwitted to know the difference between Ivermectin prescribed by a physician and a veterinary product?

*A study published by The Lancet in January of this year, found that while "there was no difference in the proportion of PCR positives. There was however a marked reduction of self-reported anosmia/hyposmia [loss of smell], a reduction of cough and a tendency to lower viral loads and lower IgG [immunoglobulin] titers which warrants assessment in larger trials."

Ivermectin is dirt cheap. India manufactures the stuff by the sea container. It'd be great if it was found to reduce the severity of Covid-19. But until we know one way or the other, it seems sensible to keep an open mind.
 

zgrose

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Is this any way to address adults who presumably are clever enough to operate a smart phone, but too dimwitted to know the difference between Ivermectin prescribed by a physician and a veterinary product?
To be honest, I believe the answer is probably yes. (edit) People are, in fact, purchasing veterinary products and attempting to use them in lieu of vaccinating or having it prescribed by a physician.
 

BattleSchool

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To be honest, I believe the answer is probably yes. (edit) People are, in fact, purchasing veterinary products and attempting to use them in lieu of vaccinating or having it prescribed by a physician.
I'm not disputing the fact that a small number of people are trying to use medicine intended for animals. But how many of those people actually believe they're horses or cows? IOW, is calling people simpletons effective?

Imagine the hue and cry if the American Medical Association tweeted the following:
You are not a woman. You do not menstruate. You cannot breast feed. Seriously, y'all stop it.
How helpful would that message be?

I understand the concern that people may use alternate, in many cases unproven, and in some cases dangerous, treatments to avoid getting vaccinated. I'm just not convinced that ridicule is the best way to change minds.
 

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I understand the concern that people may use alternate, in many cases unproven, and in some cases dangerous, treatments to avoid getting vaccinated. I'm just not convinced that ridicule is the best way to change minds.
Appeals to rationality do not seem to be doing the trick…..
 

BattleSchool

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Appeals to rationality do not seem to be doing the trick…..
Compromise might.

For example, invite those who don't want to get vaccinated to seek a physician's prescription for an otherwise safe drug that is unlikely to have any serious side effects. If some want Ivermectin, for instance, give it to them in proper dosages. At the same time, require them to read and sign a waiver that such treatments may not protect them from Covid-19, and that they may still die of the virus despite taking Ivermectin as a prophylactic or a therapeutic. Finally, direct them to literature on the disease, and remind them that vaccination is still an option.

The fact remains that some may never agree to be vaccinated (except, perhaps, when it's too late). So maybe, like Covid-19, we need to learn to live with the unvaccinated too.
 

Tuomo

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Compromise might.

For example, invite those who don't want to get vaccinated to seek a physician's prescription for an otherwise safe drug that is unlikely to have any serious side effects. If some want Ivermectin, for instance, give it to them in proper dosages. At the same time, require them to read and sign a waiver that such treatments may not protect them from Covid-19, and that they may still die of the virus despite taking Ivermectin as a prophylactic or a therapeutic. Finally, direct them to literature on the disease, and remind them that vaccination is still an option.
Care to do an experiment? I'll give you my Gamesquad Ignore list. You try this out with those people. I don't think a single one will take you up on it. I DO think every single one will give you grief for proposing it.

The fact remains that some may never agree to be vaccinated (except, perhaps, when it's too late). So maybe, like Covid-19, we need to learn to live with the unvaccinated too.
As it has always been - there are those with whom one can't debate, can't even compromise. One can only out-vote them.
 

BattleSchool

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Care to do an experiment? I'll give you my Gamesquad Ignore list. You try this out with those people. I don't think a single one will take you up on it. I DO think every single one will give you grief for proposing it.
Just how big is your basket of ignorables?
 
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