COVID-19 Discussion (No Politics)

The US either has or will within days record 1,000,000 attributed deaths to Covid since February 2020.

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That’s out of 15M worldwide isn’t it? Why did the U.S. have such a disproportionate number of deaths?

If you don’t already know the answer, one hasn’t been paying much attention. :crazy_face: part of it was we had 50 approaches, poor leadership, and culture wars and politics in what should have been just a public health crisis. We did just about everything wrong in initial and sustained spread prevention then didn’t readily accept vaccination at a high enough rate. The vaccine(s) are perhaps the one bright spot - how several options were available so fast.

Easiest way to see the differences is to see how other countries approached it and how the people complied or not. Some swung really far some ways (China, New Zealand) and some did a decent job balancing spread/health and limiting economic damage. We basically let the forest fire burn, flare up all over the place, and then complain about the smoke. Overall, we are a “what’s in it for me” with a short sighted vision group of people in this country.

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Because we are the wisest, smartest, most clever and simply the greatest nation on earth. This was our chance to prove that and we did. Everyone was watching too. And now they know we kick butt.

Surely you jest.

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Ugh.

Ugh, Indeed :frowning:

I have friends and acquaintances who have had COVID-19, after Omicron the numbers got a lot higher. My wife, son, his girlfriend, and I have luckily still managed to avoid it.

All but one of the people we know who had it recovered completely in varying amounts of time - generally no longer than 2 weeks. The exception, a next door neighbor of my vacation home in a small town in southern Idaho, had a bad case in October of 2020, and is still not the same. He has continued to have severe fatigue, brain fog, headaches, joint pain, and has most recently developed gall bladder problems, which are not medically confirmed to be COVID-19 related, but he is convinced it is ALL related to COVID.

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Yeah, my wife and I have somehow avoided it, too. Knock on wood. COVID rates have been really high here in Seattle lately. I feel like we’re Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright at the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” trying to avoid becoming pod people.

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Mrs. Skinypupy had it (after both vax and boosters, thankfully) but I’ve avoided it so far. Probably because I’m a hermit and rarely leave my office/cave.

Covid probably couldn’t survive a death metal show. :wink:

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How Often Can You Be Infected With the Coronavirus?

The spread of the Omicron variant has given scientists an unsettling answer: repeatedly, sometimes within months.

Earlier in the pandemic, experts thought that immunity from vaccination or previous infection would forestall reinfections, but Omicron has changed that.

  • May 16, 2022
  • NY Times

A virus that shows no signs of disappearing, variants that are adept at dodging the body’s defenses, and waves of infections two, maybe three times a year — this may be the future of Covid-19, some scientists now fear.

The central problem is that the coronavirus has become more adept at reinfecting people. Already, those infected with the first Omicron variant are reporting second infections with the newer versions of the variant — BA.2 or BA2.12.1 in the United States, or BA.4 and BA.5 in South Africa.

Those people may go on to have third or fourth infections, even within this year, researchers said in interviews. And some small fraction may have symptoms that persist for months or years, a condition known as long Covid.

“It seems likely to me that that’s going to sort of be a long-term pattern,” said Juliet Pulliam, an epidemiologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

“The virus is going to keep evolving,” she added. “And there are probably going to be a lot of people getting many, many reinfections throughout their lives.”

It’s difficult to quantify how frequently people are reinfected, in part because many infections are now going unreported. Dr. Pulliam and her colleagues have collected enough data in South Africa to say that the rate is higher with Omicron than seen with previous variants.

This is not how it was supposed to be. Earlier in the pandemic, experts thought that immunity from vaccination or previous infection would forestall most reinfections.

The Omicron variant dashed those hopes. Unlike previous variants, Omicron and its many descendants seem to have evolved to partially dodge immunity. That leaves everyone — even those who have been vaccinated multiple times — vulnerable to multiple infections.

“If we manage it the way that we manage it now, then most people will get infected with it at least a couple of times a year,” said Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. “I would be very surprised if that’s not how it’s going to play out.”

The new variants have not altered the fundamental usefulness of the Covid vaccines. Most people who have received three or even just two doses will not become sick enough to need medical care if they test positive for the coronavirus. And a booster dose, like a previous bout with the virus, does seem to decrease the chance of reinfection — but not by much.

At the pandemic’s outset, many experts based their expectations of the coronavirus on influenza, the viral foe most familiar to them. They predicted that, as with the flu, there might be one big outbreak each year, most likely in the fall. The way to minimize its spread would be to vaccinate people before its arrival.

Instead, the coronavirus is behaving more like four of its closely related cousins, which circulate and cause colds year round. While studying common-cold coronaviruses, “we saw people with multiple infections within the space of a year,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University in New York.

If reinfection turns out to be the norm, the coronavirus is “not going to simply be this wintertime once-a-year thing,” he said, “and it’s not going to be a mild nuisance in terms of the amount of morbidity and mortality it causes.”

Reinfections with earlier variants, including Delta, did occur but were relatively infrequent. But in September, the pace of reinfections in South Africa seemed to pick up and was markedly high by November, when the Omicron variant was identified, Dr. Pulliam said.

Reinfections in South Africa, as in the United States, may seem even more noticeable because so many have been immunized or infected at least once by now.

“The perception magnifies what’s actually going on biologically,” Dr. Pulliam said. “It’s just that there are more people who are eligible for reinfection.”

The Omicron variant was different enough from Delta, and Delta from earlier versions of the virus, that some reinfections were to be expected. But now, Omicron seems to be evolving new forms that penetrate immune defenses with relatively few changes to its genetic code.

“This is actually for me a bit of a surprise,” said Alex Sigal, a virologist at the Africa Health Research Institute. “I thought we’ll need a kind of brand-new variant to escape from this one. But in fact, it seems like you don’t.”

An infection with Omicron produces a weaker immune response, which seems to wane quickly, compared with infections with previous variants. Although the newer versions of the variant are closely related, they vary enough from an immune perspective that infection with one doesn’t leave much protection against the others — and certainly not after three or four months.

Still, the good news is that most people who are reinfected with new versions of Omicron will not become seriously ill. At least at the moment, the virus has not hit upon a way to fully sidestep the immune system.

“That’s probably as good as it gets for now,” Dr. Sigal said. “The big danger might come when the variant will be completely different.”

Each infection may bring with it the possibility of long Covid, the constellation of symptoms that can persist for months or years. It’s too early to know how often an Omicron infection leads to long Covid, especially in vaccinated people.

To keep up with the evolving virus, other experts said, the Covid vaccines should be updated more quickly, even more quickly than flu vaccines are each year. Even an imperfect match to a new form of the coronavirus will still broaden immunity and offer some protection, they said.

“Every single time we think we’re through this, every single time we think we have the upper hand, the virus pulls a trick on us,” Dr. Andersen said. “The way to get it under control is not, ‘Let’s all get infected a few times a year and then hope for the best.’”

Looks like Omicron/B2.12.1/22C variant is starting to take over (covidvariants.org/per-country). With waning immunity, looks like a new surge is brewing. Since we are passed the virus being novel, most will be fine.

Except in North Korea. Yikes, that’s what you get with isolation and zero-covid policy and no vaccines/meds then a super-spreader parade. 2M cases in less than 2 weeks?! It’s going to be a humanitarian disaster - they don’t have the medicine, capabilities, and capacity (very few mechanical ventilators, etc.). The only grace is that they are getting Omicron which is less deadly. Alpha/Delta would have been much worse.

Appears we are starting a new surge. I’ve been tracking the CDC Community levels lately and we are seeing the surge from low to medium to high in the NE, then upper midwest, and now popcorn around the country near major cities. 9% of counties are now high (encouraged to take actions/wear a mask indoors), 15% are medium (consider actions if one is more susceptible). I’ve been anecdotally hearing of more people getting sick again (my boss’ boss is currently waiting 5 days to return after a 2 week trip to France and testing positive + others that are getting sick).

Stay safe. Stay healthy my friends. Will we have ongoing 4-5 month surges (Jan-Feb, Jun, Fall)?

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In the last week I have had one kid, one grandkid, one nephew’s wife, and one former co-worker/boss who have come down with COVID. My wife and I are only three weeks away from a major bucket list trip, and were planning on getting our 2nd booster this coming week. We’ll probably be adding some isolation to that time frame as well.

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Fortune: The U.S. is in a sixth COVID wave—but it doesn’t look like it on a new CDC map.

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Just received an email from the VA that we are back at the High Infection Level, and that masking and other spread avoidance protocols are back in force when visiting the facility.

Due to my developing post-operative sepsis from my late February out patient procedure (earning me a one week stay in the hospital), I can’t get a third booster until July.

On a positive note, at least I am alive and getting stronger.

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We’re now up to 1 son, 1 grandkid, 1 daughter-in-law (anti-vaxer and her 2nd time with it), and 1 nephew + his wife, my pastor, and my ex-boss who we know with COVID diagnosed in the past week. I think that’s more at one time of personal acquaintances than ever before. Add to it the DIL’s mother who has been visiting from Equador and staying in their house for the last two weeks. She has fake vaccination cards she got there (she’s who taught her daughter to be anti-vax), and is planning to go back in a day or so. I have no doubt she’ll lie about exposure when checking in for her flight. It’s part of the reason I think I’ll keep wearing a KN95 on airplanes (and, yes, I know the masks are primarily to avoid me spreading it, but I’ll take whatever risk reduction I can get).

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Does seem like there is a clear new Omicron surge. I knew more people getting it in Jan, but this one is gearing up (just not where I am yet). Another coworker and her whole family came down with it over the weekend (SF). As mentioned, bosses boss should come home today from France if they test negative after quarantining for 5 days.

KN95 should be decent in helping protect yourself. Lesser masks help keep it to yourself (but require most/all to be using them). But with the way airplanes circulate (out of ceiling, into floor at wall), exposure is relatively limited to those 2-3 rows behind you and ~2 rows in front + passerbys. But still tons of idiots and packed airport situations not good.

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I’m quadruple vaxxed so having four microchips is really starting to weigh me down.

Any thoughts on the monkeypox? How likely is that to become something much worse?

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With those four chips, Bill Gates is now tracking you with quadrophonic surround technology. I’ll bet he’s really getting a kick about tracking your movements with such hi-fidelity.

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Does it preferentially target folks of any particular political slant?

Appears to inflict a mortality rate of 10%, but maybe that is just in Africa.

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Reportedly it is not very contagious and close physical contact is required for transmission. This may mean that instead of masks, body condoms will be required.

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