Covid-19 Update: Vaccines, Airborne, Seasonality, Irony

Spread the love

A tale of two vaccines

Two vaccines are racing to the finish line. We can’t say which one will arrive first, because they each have a different finish line.

The good vaccine, the one likely to be safe (though not necessarily without some side effects) and effective (though you may need two doses, which is normal for vaccines so don’t panic about that) had this deadline: When it is ready, as in, finished with Phase 3 trials. My money is still on the Oxford Jenner vaccine. If that is the first one ready, don’t expect to see it in the US because a) Jared Kushner does not have any ownership in it and b) Jared’s F-I-L is the corrupt leader of the formerly Democratic Republic of the United States. We’ll get it after Joe and Kamala, if they are not killed by Putin, are in the White House.

What? You think we are going to let you have a vaccine that I don’t make money off of? Nope, not going to happen as long as the Trump Crime Family is in charge!
The bad vaccine is whatever vaccine the Trump Crime Family has decided they can sell us. The deadline for that is November 3rd, but really, earlier, because of early voting. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, a member of the Trump Crime Family has started to say, “Oh, no, if we approve a vaccine early, and that is possible, then it will be a great vaccine, a really great vaccine, don’t worry, we are not going to play political games here. Nope. No October Surprise from the FDA, no sir.” Meanwhile all of the senior actual scientists in the government that have anything to do with this have warned Hahn, uselessly, that he should not do this, because they expect him to do this.

I’m fine with this. The fake vaccine might actually work. It will be distributed among Republicans first, and they will blindly take it because they are morons and the head of the Trump Crime Family will order them to do it. If the vaccine turns out to be dangerous, it will be they that suffer, deservedly for the adults (sorry, kids, your parents are dangerous assholes) and it will be they that later sue (if they live) Hahn and Trump over the damage done. If, on the other hand, the fake vaccine is actually a good vaccine, an emergency use authorization by Hahn will certainly speed up data collection, owing to the additional rats, er, lab rats.

See “Here’s how the U.S. could release a COVID-19 vaccine before the election—and why that scares some

The Second Coming

Never mind what you may have heard about Covid-19’s virus not being seasonal. The assertions that it is not were falsehoods, mostly generated by the press misunderstanding what this all means, spread by people who, amazingly, are not actual epidemiologists, on Facebook. OK, admittedly, I am not actually an epidemiologist either, though back in Grad school when I discovered it exists, I almost jumped ship. And, I do play one in the classroom in the class I co-teach on immunology and epidemiology. Point is, I know a little better than the average person when I’m about to say something stupid. Usually, I then shut up. But not always, so beware.

Anyway, for all the various scientific reasons, it might be seasonal. Consider group of immunologists and epidemiologist siting around having a beer, and someone asks the question, “Is Covid-19 seasonal?” you’d get a lot of hemming and hawing. Then, the inquisitor says, “OK, fine. Each of you take this slip of paper and pencil, and write down “yes” if you think it will turn out to be seasonal, and “no” if you don’t think so. Don’t share your work. If you all turn out to say the same answer, then the beer is free for the rest of the night.”

I strongly suspect they would all write down a non-committal but educated “yes.”

The thing is, an outbreak has its own momentum. Some of the worse influenza outbreaks violated the seasonal pattern we know influenza has. All the Covid-19 outbreaks we have been having have masked any possible obvious seasonality for Covid, though one study that looked at underlying factors linked to seasonality concluded that there is a pretty good chance Covid-19 is seasonal.

On top of that, we have another (not unrelated) set of seasonal factors. No matter what you do to mitigate against spread of the disease in a school, going back to school, even in some sort of limited “hybrid” pattern, WILL result in increased spread. This is not an uncertainty. And, we are starting that now, and as you probably know, it is happening. Between back to school and climate related seasonal effects, we are looking at a long hard winter.

Related: COVID-19 rising in 26 states as US hits 6 million cases

Covid-19 is probably not mainly airborne.

But it is totally airborne as well.

I think it is funny (as in “funny, holy crap, how stupid can people be????”) that once news came out that Covid-19 is very likely airbonre, that many people actually then asserted that it was NOT spread hand to object to hand. It still is folks! KEEP WASHING YOUR DAMN HANDS PEOPLE. Jeesh.

But anyway, the evidence of airborne transmission builds and our understanding of that phenomenon deepens.

COVID-19 patients in earlier stages exhaled millions of SARS-CoV-2 per hour

Exhaled breath samples had the highest positive rate (26.9%, n=52), followed by surface swabs (5.4%, n=242), and air samples (3.8%, n=26). COVID-19 patients recruited in Beijing exhaled millions of SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies into the air per hour. Exhaled breath emission may play an important role in the COVID-19 transmission.

For refernece, this is the very rough not yet accepted article that started this whole thing: Outbreak of COVID-19 in a nursing home associated with aerosol transmission as a result of inadequate ventilation

See this for a very current summary on the airborne situation.

Or, maybe you are just on your own

The latest plan from the Trump administration, other than faking a new vaccine to make money somehow, is the do nothing and wait for herd immunity to “kick in.”

New Trump pandemic adviser pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser. …

Irony

Yes, I am aware that the picture at the top of the post is an example of irony. That is why it is there.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

Spread the love

61 thoughts on “Covid-19 Update: Vaccines, Airborne, Seasonality, Irony

  1. “fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution”

    There’s a major problem: hiring anyone from one of those clown shops.

    The immediate danger of having a trump-appointed shill at the helm of this vaccine effort is clear, but we shouldn’t overlook the long term danger this politicization of the position can bring. If this fast track vaccine is worthless (or harmful), imagine the weapon that will give the existing anti-vacc groups. For once they’d have some evidence to support their claim that “vaccines hurt people”.

    If this trump butthole licker Hahn does push out a vaccine without doing all of the work, we should hope it works because it helps people. If it doesn’t work we should hold him and the people who told him to cut corners accountable. (Yes, I know, modern republicans don’t think being held accountable any more, but you can hope.)

    1. Christopher Winter:

      Thank you very much for the link. I found this very very interesting.

      Again – thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  2. I know of someone who stayed home since early March, but got infected in late April. No idea how they got infected. There are others who said they followed all the protocols and got infected. Perhaps they were not as diligent as claimed.
    However, Peru had a military enforced lockdown since March, yet has cases per capita than US, UK, or Spain, 5th in cases outright. Deaths per capita are #1 among large countries.
    Reports are people were not following the lockdown procedures, but I wonder if there is a missing pathway for spread.

  3. Sounds like a shitty idea. Dr. Gupta has already been proven to be categorically wrong numerous times, yet for some reason she is still sought for her advice by wretched sites like Unherd.

    There is one salient fact left out of this herd immunity insanity: LEGACY. Here in the Netherlands, a very recent study of 1,001 people who recovered from Covid-19 revealed that 91% exhibited serious physiological problems months afterwards and 48% of the subjects exhibited 2 or more effects. These include lethargy, breathing difficulties, frequent headaches, muscle pains, cardio-vascular damage, kidney damage and more. The mean age of the subjects was 48 and 86% had no previous health problems.

    One young sportswoman here aged 26 has not recovered and says she still finds it a serious effort to get out of bed in the morning. A colleague knows a doctor who works in a local hospital and he says his unit is almost flooded with former Covid-19 patients who have serious problems breathing. “It is almost as if their breathing patterns have been desynchronized by the virus and they need to be taught how to breathe properly again” he says. Then of course there is the little factoid that only heavily infected people appear to be immune to reinfection months afterwards – and these are the people who are most suffering from physiological legacies.

    Much of this has been repeatedly pointed out to the Republican ignoramus who writes in here, and yet despite repeated humiliation he pops back time after time repeating the herd immunity mantra. It is completely discredited. Herd immunity ONLY works when a vaccine is available. RickA appears to be content with half a million deaths or more in the US and tens of millions of physically debilitated people who were infected but survived if this leads to his magical herd immunity.

    Note also how he has been staying away from the political discussions lately as his prediction of a thumping Trump victory vanish into thin air. After Trump’s gratuitously embarrassing performance at last week’s debate, and the fiasco surrounding his Covid-19 infection and treatment, it is easy to understand why.

    1. In addition to those post Covid, if indeed one can claim to be post Covid once discharged from a hospital, issues mentioned by Jeffh here is more:

      By the third week of March, Vanier had tested negative for Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19. But although the virus had left her body, this would prove to be just the beginning of her problems. In May, she noticed from her Fitbit that her heart rate appeared to be highly abnormal. When cardiologists conducted a nuclear stress test – a diagnostic tool that measures the blood flow to the heart – it showed she had ischaemic heart disease, meaning that the heart was not getting sufficient blood and oxygen.

      The above is just one example others mentioned here:

      Long Covid: the evidence of lingering heart damage

      But of course the Republican Brain that posts here blanks all such examples.

      There is an old fashioned term for his ilk – tosser.

  4. Meanwhile the Donald during an obscene piece of pantomime likes to spread the virus in an attempt to bolster support. Now if Trump really has the virus by this not being a gambit to illicit a sympathy vote and avoid another one on one with Biden, then he is committing crimes against humanity, add this to his score sheet of fell deeds.

    “Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” he wrote in a tweet.

    “For political theater [sic]. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater [sic]. This is insanity.”

    ‘This is insanity’: Walter Reed physician among critics of Donald Trump drive-by visit.

    It appears once again that here are no depths of depraved behavour this idiotic fool will not plumb.

  5. Excellent Guardian article, Lionel. It pretty well blows RickA’s herd immunity argument out of the water for good. Herd immunity is no longer remotely acceptable as an option in dealing with Covid-19, UNTIL THERE IS A SAFE, EFFECTIVE VACCINE. It is impossible to ‘manage’ – employing one of RickA’s weasel words – immunity when the virus leaves such a devastating legacy on so very many people.

    End of story.

  6. Yet more to torpedo RickA’s idea of adopting the dangerous ‘herd immunity’ strategy, now dressed up as The Barrington Declaration.

    The strategy proposed in the Great Barrington declaration – a letter signed by an international group of scientists – is the latest salvo in an ongoing battle of ideas in how to tackle the pandemic. It calls on governments around the world to abandon strategies that suppress the virus until we can better cope – through working test and trace programmes, new treatments, vaccines and more – for the radically different approach.

    The declaration was drawn up at the American Institute for Economic Research, a right-leaning organisation in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which promotes individual rights, small government and open markets, and which registered the web domain for the document.

    Authored by Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford, and Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard, the declaration has received thousands of signatures.

    Why herd immunity strategy is regarded as fringe viewpoint

    Do read to below that RickA if you appear here.

    1. Lionel:

      Thanks for the link. I did read it.

      In the USA, we have already had 7.7M confirmed cases – which means probably (at 10X) 77M actual cases. That is 23% of the population. So reaching herd immunity before we get a vaccine which is able to be deployed to 330M people is a real possibility.

      If we reach herd immunity before we get a virus, I believe a managed herd immunity approach would be better than an unmanaged herd immunity approach. That is just my opinion.

      If a vaccine is available for deployment today, or in the very near future, I would agree that we should all shelter until the vaccine is deployed.

      But it is not. Some say by election (Trump). Some say by the end of the year. Most say by mid-2021. So an extended nationwide lockdown isn’t a realistic option. So the numbers will keep climbing at about 43,000 per day (430,000 in the wild). Eventually we will reach herd immunity (that is my opinion of course).

      If we reach herd immunity naturally, before a vaccine is available than the people who regard herd immunity as a fringe viewpoint will turn out to be wrong – and I think that is what will happen. Hence my opinion. You are free to have a different opinion (as is everybody). The longer the pandemic continues the more people who think a managed herd immunity approach is better than the unmanaged one we are currently experiencing.

    2. A little more on the Barrington Declaration. It’s come to light that some of the “scientists” who signed it are:

      – homeopaths — folks as dishonest and generally clueless about medicine as rickA
      – World famous experts like “Dr Johnny Bananas” and “Professor Cominic Dummings”
      – A resident of “university of your mum”
      – a “specialist” with a first name that happened to be the first verse of “The Macarena”

      and more. Yup, it has to be a real solid bit of work. /snark

      Again, not surprising given the right-wing low-IQ group that funded it.

      On the other hand, for the scientists who haven’t sacrificed their integrity, views on the document are damning:

      Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said the declaration was “a very bad idea” and doubted that vulnerable people would be able to avoid the virus if it was allowed to become widespread.

      “Ultimately, the Barrington Declaration is based on principles that are dangerous to national and global public health,” said

      Prof Jeremy Rossman, of the University of Kent, pointed out that research suggested protective antibody responses might “decay rapidly” and that there have been cases of reinfection of the virus.

      The chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, has said asking all over-65s to shield to slow the transmission of the second wave of coronavirus would be “age-based apartheid”.

      The declaration has also been accused of ignoring the growing evidence on long Covid, whereby thousands of fit and young people who contract the virus have been left with debilitating symptoms months after a mild infection.

      We’ve known this for some time, but the ideas rickA supports are bogus, and the “sources” he provides for “evidence” are generated by cranks and frauds. That seems to be a theme with him (it’s the same as with his climate claptrap, his views on race, the “terrorism” of antifa, and so on). Ol’ rickA just lives in a paranoid delusional right-wing bubble.

  7. ” Eventually we will reach herd immunity (that is my opinion of course).”

    For anyone else, hanging on to an opinion based on nothing but ignorance, in the light of considerable evidence that doing so is the ultimate stupidity, would be astounding.

    Yet for you it is first nature.

  8. RickA is happy to reach herd immunity knowing that around 500,000 to 1 million Americans will die getting there, and that, as reported, a significant number of the 60% who recover – indications are a majority – will have lasting and perhaps terminal cardiovascular damage, lung damage, kidney damage and exhibit multiple symptoms such as lethargy, impaired breathing and more. In RickA’s kindergarten world 60% of people are infected, recover and everyone lives happily ever after.

    Sunetra Gupta has completely discredited herself out of simple, stubborn pride. At the outset of the pandemic she suggested that 50% or more of the British population may already have been infected with Covd-19, and she went on to say that it would fizzle out with no second wave later in the year.

    Wrong and wrong. The only reason she is still being sought out for her useless advice is because her credentials give her weight amongst those at the far end of the political right. To sell their ‘business-as-usual’ message they need statured academics, even if their views are already long discredited. Climate change deniers love petitions as well. The list of qualified scientists on this stupid declaration is probably also small, just as it is when one goes through the climate change denying petitions.

    1. Yesterday in Minnesota 918 more people were confirmed to have COVID-19. People are getting sick and most are getting better and therefore we inch closer to herd immunity everyday.

      Probably 20% of Minnesota has had COVID-19 already, and in 3 more months (at the current rate) another 20% will have had it.

      This is happening regardless of my wishes or your wishes. So I am not “happy” that people are getting sick. It just is. That is life and we have to deal with reality and not try to wish it away. Herd immunity is building here in Minnesota everyday – that is just the reality.

      It will be fascinating to look back after this pandemic is over and measure the actual herd immunity level in cities, states and the whole country (and other countries). We will learn a lot (I think).

  9. No, herd immunity is not building up in Minnesota. This is just your deluded belief. There is no evidence whatsoever that your state is anywhere close to achieving a threshold of infection necessary to affect the virus. You have no empirical support. Sunetra Guptra made all kinds of wild predictions about Covid-19 in March. She believed that by then probably half of the British population had been infected already. Turns out is was probably more like 1%. Then she said after the first wave passed that so many people would have already been infected and recovered that herd immunity was achieved and the virus would fizzle out. Wrong again – yesterday more than 14,000 new infections were recorded in the country and the number is rising rapidly.

    Here in the Netherlands our approach to Covid-19 was actually always closer to the Swedish strategy (purge) than most of the rest of the world (isolation or containment). Despite that, we are well into a second wave that is dwarfing the first. There were almost 5,000 new infections yesterday, the equivalent of around 100,000 in the US. The number of tests coming back positive was 9.3%, close to the highest in the world. Unsurprisingly, the hospitals are filling up rapidly again and at this rate they will be bursting at the seams in two weeks unless the government mandates stricter measures.

    The problem with herd immunity is that it is impossible to manage. The Great Barrington Declaration states that everything should be opened up but that the weak, old and vulnerable should be protected. They ignore the fact that this is next to impossible. Young people are already being irresponsible as it is during lockdowns. Open up the economy and they will pile into the bars, theaters, museums, nightclubs, sporting venues et al., get infected, then carelessly take the virus home and infect mom, dad, grandma and grandpa with it, as they are doing even now. Only then it will be much, much worse.

    If we open up the economies before a vaccine is available we must therefore accept a staggering death toll. And again, many of those who survive, even younger people, will carry physiological scars and damage for years and perhaps the rest of their lives. Open up sporting events and entire teams will become infected, or open up theaters and the entire cast will come down with the virus. It is not simply a matter of life returning to some semblance of normality as the virus rips through entire societies. It shocks me that a prominent but nevertheless fringe group of epidemiologists and virologists has not thought this through very well.

  10. RickA

    If you read that article discussing The Great Barrington Declaration (shades of the OISM Petition Project) then once again you blanked on important points brought out further down within it which I quote here, my emphasis:

    The concept of herd immunity is that when enough people are immune to a virus, it no longer spreads. At the start of the pandemic, before mass lockdowns, a patient with Covid-19 might spread the virus to about three others. If two in three, or 66%, are immune, the outbreak soon fizzles out. What troubles many scientists is that with coronavirus no one knows how protected people are after contracting the virus, how long that protection lasts, and exactly what proportion of society needs to be immune to quell a pandemic.

    “We know that immunity to coronaviruses wanes over time and reinfection is possible, so lasting protection of vulnerable individuals by establishing herd immunity is very unlikely to be achieved in the absence of a vaccine,” said Rupert Beale, a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London. He called the declaration “wishful thinking”, not least because it is impossible to fully identify who is vulnerable and it is not possible to fully protect them.

    Another concern many scientists raise is the impact on the young and healthy. While the risk of death is low in people under 40, infection can still expose them to long-term complications that healthcare could be left dealing with for decades, Hanage said. “Quite large numbers of younger people are already becoming infected at present, whether or not they are being encouraged, and there are consequences to those infections.”

    You are one dangerously deluded individual.

    1. Harm of sperm, hum any mention of trouble with female fertility?

      RickA’s ‘herd immunity’ coffin is all nails which matches his density.

  11. RickA will be glad to know that the Dutch government is doing virtually nothing to stop the second wave of coronavirus. Today 5,880 new infections were registered, and now the Netherlands has the highest rate of infections in the world. The Dutch health agency (RIVM), led by Anders Tegnell fan Jaap van Dissel, is utterly useless and still believes that Covid-19 particles do not spread as aerosols and believes that masks should not be mandated because people are afraid of seeing others wearing them. Seriously. Today the Dutch government virtually begged the German authorities for emergency hospital beds and ICU beds because we are already running out here. Within 10 days to two weeks the hospital system will be on the verge of collapse. Already patients are being refused hospital care for other illnesses because of the mass-influx of coronavirus patients.

    Containment is impossible in a country ruled by a right wing neoliberal party that worships individual freedom. How can people act collectively when this is the prevailing mentality? I went grocery shopping this morning to avoid the rush and hardly anyone was wearing a mask, including the staff. Same at my work yesterday. I was virtually alone. The RIVM only reluctantly ‘recommends’ their use but refuses to mandate them. The government also recommends church gatherings are limited to 30 but again, refuses to mandate it. Already churches have said they will ignore the advice and invite their entire congregations for Sunday worship.

    Meanwhile, across the border in Germany the strategy is containment. And infection rates are a fraction of what they are here. We are headed for a huge crash. Herd immunity? Maybe or maybe not. But thousands more deaths, collapsing hospitals and seriously overworked staff in them.

    Neoliberalism sucks.

    1. Jeffh says ” I went grocery shopping this morning to avoid the rush and hardly anyone was wearing a mask, including the staff. Same at my work yesterday.”

      I blame Trump. If Trump had only urged people to wear masks everybody in the Netherlands would be wearing masks, instead of just Jeffh!

      Why people have no vote in their own behavior. If a leader urges people to wear masks – that is all there is to it – you get 100% compliance.

      Trump is killing people worldwide. He is very powerful. The most powerful person in the world.

  12. “Trump is killing people worldwide. He is very powerful. The most powerful person in the world.”

    We know better than to expect a reasoned, intelligent, fact based, comment from you, but this one is astoundingly stupid even when the fact that you are the source is taken into account. Way to intentionally miss points.

  13. New England Journal of Medicine publishes editorial saying current US leadership ‘recklessly squandered lives’

    ‘Dangerously incompetent’: medical journal condemns Trump’s handling of pandemic

    Now he recovered awful quick for somebody his age and obesity even given the number of medics and expensive interventions he supposedly had. Did he really have Covid-19 or is this another act in Trump’s acts of pantomime?

    A vote for Trump is by association a crime against humanity.

  14. So many questions of ethics arise:

    While some ethicists have defended Trump’s privileged access as president to experimental treatments, others have suggested it raises questions of fairness among other concerns, including his history of touting unproven treatments.

    Trump’s relationship with Schleifer, whom he reportedly calls “Lenny”, adds to growing questions over the president’s almost exclusive access to experimental treatments unavailable to most other Americans, even as he has continued to downplay the threat of coronavirus based on his own experience.

    The price of Regeneron stocks – which Trump has owned in the past – soared after it was revealed the drug had been made available for his treatment and Trump stated it would be made freely available for all, although he didn’t explain how.

    Provider of Trump Covid drug is president’s golf friend

    Everybody else can sip on disinfectant through a straw whist enjoying an intravenous drip of bleach.

  15. One of a number of aspects that herd immunity proponents ignore is that of Long Covid.

    Michael Rosen a well known and liked children’s author is experiencing Long Covid:

    Earlier this year, the 74-year-old contracted Covid-19. He spent seven weeks in intensive care, six of them on a ventilator. His hair is white and thinner (although still pretty lush), he wears a hearing aid because his left ear is buggered, the bags under his eyes are more scrotal than ever, his left eye is fogged over, his voice is underpowered and he struggles with his breathing. Then there is the dizziness, numb toes, increased arthritis and blood clots on his lungs. Having said that, he is doing amazingly well. He is not hobbling around his kitchen, but cantering. He is writing books and newspaper columns, performing on his YouTube channel (run by his son Joe; 86m views), tweeting like billy-o. And yet there is something different about him.

    Michael Rosen on his Covid-19 coma: ‘It felt like a pre-death, a nothingness’

    Note the mention of ‘numb toes’, some have had toes amputated due to blood supply blockage and risk of gangrene, or necrosis.

    The issue of Long Covid has been reported on by the BMJ:

    Long covid: How to define it and how to manage it

    Will RickA take any notice?

    1. I have seen some reports on Long covid. I don’t know what proportion of people who recover from COVID-19 have issues after, or who or what factors influence it. Is it age related? Obesity related? Race related? Ventilator related? I am not sure.

      To me it is not very relevant. If we could wave a magic wand and avoid getting COVID-19 in the first place, we would have done so and then long covid (or short covid for that matter) wouldn’t be an issue. But that is not available and people are getting sick and they are either going to have trouble after they recover or not. There is no real choice to avoid getting COVID-19.

      Even the WHO is now saying lockdowns are not the preferred way to deal with COVID-19. Yes to avoid overwhelming the hospitals and get your ducks in a row – but no to a long term strategy with dealing with COVID-19. So people are going to work – especially essential workers. We need to eat, we need electricity, we need shipping, we have to buy food, we need medical care and so forth. Not everybody can afford to work from home, lockdowns are only a shortterm fix and then COVID-19 will continue spreading.

      So we are going to get back to work, people will get sick, some people will die, most will recover, some of those will have lingering problems and that is life – we just have to deal with it.

      As more and more people get sick and recover, herd immunity builds up until someday R0 is less than 1, and then it fizzles out. Or if we are lucky, we will get one or more vaccines deployed before herd immunity is reached. If we could deploy a vaccine today, that would be great – but I don’t think a vaccine is available today. So meanwhile, people will continue to get sick and there isn’t much anybody can do about it.

      I see from Worldometer that the daily counts are hitting all time highs (350000 ish per day), so clearly nobody has this disease under control yet and it is continuing to spread and will continue to spread until either herd immunity is reached or a vaccine is deployed worldwide. My bet is herd immunity is reached before a vaccine is deployed worldwide – so given that forecast (which is just my personal opinion), where I in charge of the world, I would implement a managed herd immunity approach. Even given long covid. It is my opinion that this cuts down on the total mortality as compared to an unmanaged approach (which the world has been under since the start).

      Those are my thoughts and opinions (since you are interested).

      Thank you for asking.

  16. RickA

    Even the WHO is now saying lockdowns are not the preferred way to deal with COVID-19.

    That appears to be a deliberate misreading of the WHO’s position.

    clearly nobody has this disease under control yet

    Too many muppets that fail to appreciate how serious the disease is and flout basic rules either through ignorance or believing in the Donald. Poor guidance from authoritarian leaning governments. Belief in freedom, to do as they wish without considering responsibility to others.

  17. “My bet is herd immunity is reached before a vaccine is deployed worldwide” opines the numbskull lawyer…

    …while once again ignoring the fact that immunity may be transient, require very high viral loads, or the virus kills tens of millions to get there. How many frigging times does it have to be pointed out that reinfection within months is a very real possibility with Covid-19? How many times does it have to be pointed out that a huge number of infected people suffer debilitating legacies after infection?

    RickA is like a thick, brick wall. He absorbs nothing. He has his ‘facts’ and they are set in concrete, unmoveable. I have rarely encountered such a wilfully ignorant person.

    1. Jeffh:

      If immunity is transient, then the vaccine will not work either. As I am sure you know, a vaccine generates antibodies, the same as an actual infection from the real COVID-19. So either we reach herd immunity naturally, we reach herd immunity with a vaccine, which generates the same antibodies that nature generates – or COVID-19 will just keep on spreading and reinfecting people, over and over again.

      Given your belief – what is your plan? Lockdown forever? I don’t really get your objection about long covid. What is your plan to stop people from getting COVID-19 so they don’t suffer “debilitating legacies after infection”?

      Please expand on your thinking on this issue. What do you think should happen?

  18. RickA

    Finds a site with a different spin, just as I thought.

    Now see this, note my emphasis:

    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s top emergencies expert said on Friday that authorities should try to avoid “punishing” lockdowns, as many countries see a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 infections.

    Mike Ryan was speaking at a briefing in Geneva, the day after the WHO reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours led by a surge of infections in Europe.

    “What we want to try to avoid – and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that – but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else,” he said.

    WHO says wants to avoid ‘punishing’ coronavirus lockdowns

    Note ‘punishing’

    1. Shocked, I’m shocked, that rickA would misrepresent the stance of the WHO.

      Wait, no I’m not — lying is rickA’s only tool.

      Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19, urged world leaders this week to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method” for blunting a virus surge.

      “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro told “The Spectator.” Nabarro said lockdowns can only be justified “to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it.”

      More directly, rickA ignores the reality that tactics change as data is gathered. HIs procedure is to take up an asinine position and stick with it regardless of what the data and experts say. Dishonesty and ignorance: the libertarian way.

  19. The sheer wilful crassness of the US administrations response to the Covid-19 pandemic is recalled and cemented into history by this documentary, note emphasis:

    Totally Under Control identifies numerous errors and Trump-sown chaos, but focuses in particular on arguably America’s most pivotal mistake: the failure to introduce widespread testing in February and March, resulting in a “missing six weeks” of fumbling toward crisis without the ability to map its spread. The numerous failures – a botched CDC test, unwillingness to quickly scrap the compromised test part and proceed anyway, FDA red tape which required labs to send applications by mail, among many other roadblocks – squandered the critical window for containing the virus.

    What makes the lost month “even more galling and infuriating”, said Gibney is the existence of a pandemic simulation, code-named Crimson Contagion, run by the department of Health and Human Services in 2019 which stressed the importance of rapid, widespread testing. Yet the warnings went unheeded as the virus seeped through the US. “They knew all this,” Gibney said of the administration, “and yet they refused to act.”

    ‘They refused to act’: inside a chilling documentary on Trump’s bungled Covid-19 response

    Once again, anybody who votes to keep this cretin in power is divorced from reality and rational thought. Many are simply ignorant by default. On TV a couple of evenings back I saw clips of hefty bikers in Arizona riding around on their oversized motorcycles enlarging their carbon footprint whilst wearing red white and blue emblazoned with Trump banners, this is fascism on display. Sadly RickA has not the excuse of accidental ignorance for supporting one who is clearly unashamed of his malfeasance, RickA’s ignorance is wilful.

  20. RickA, vaccines can immunize a significant proportion of the population over a relatively short time span. Although they may be transient, they offer some hope in containing it.

    Herd immunity via natural infection means that people get infected asymmentrically, often highly so. If immunity is transient, then asymmetrical infection means that there will be only small numbers of people who are essentially immune at the same time. This makes it impossible to contain.

    As Gregg Gonsalves, epidemiologist at Yale University, said, the road to natural herd immunity is paved with corpses. If you honestly feel that the death of a million or more Americans is acceptable in trying – and not necessarily succeeding – to attain natural herd immunity, then that is your perogative. I think it is unacceptable.

    I am not in favor of draconian lockdowns, but I do believe that we have to accept curfews and restrictions at some level to try and contain the virus. BAU is not an option.

    1. Jeffh:

      Sure a vaccine would be far better than natural herd immunity. But natural herd immunity is what we are building now, at 10X50k or 500000 cases per day. As I have said all along, I hope we get a vaccine and can deploy it at scale before natural herd immunity causes COVID-19 to fizzle out. Only time will tell.

      In the meantime, I don’t think a massive lockdown of all but essential workers for almost the entire country is an option (like March 2020). Fortunately I don’t make policy – so it isn’t my call (or my responsibility).

      I still come back to my question. How do you avoid the 500,000 cases per day in America? Because if you cannot stop that (and I don’t think anybody can) – how do you avoid the deaths that happen as a result?

      In my view, the cases will happen no matter what (and so will the deaths) – until we get and deploy a vaccine. Even with all kinds of different restrictions, mask wearing and social distancing in place.

      Wishing people wouldn’t get sick and die is not a plan. Neither is ignoring it. I think a managing who gets sick will result in a lower overall death total. No way to prove it – but that is my opinion.

      It is ok with me if you disagree. I won’t call you names for killing all those extra people with your non-plan. I don’t approve of name calling (as you know).

  21. How do you avoid the 500,000 cases per day in America? Because if you cannot stop that (and I don’t think anybody can) – how do you avoid the deaths that happen as a result?

    By behavioural management. By adopting war time tactics and messaging. During WW2 in the UK there was a ‘Is your journey really necessary’ poster campaign and others.

    Messaging needs to be simple and straightforward whilst covering most of the bases of the different quandaries caused by isolation and lockdowns. It has to be remembered that people need access to food and water, going drinking in boozers is not a priority right now, although the livelihood of the vendors should be considered.

    Governments both side of the Atlantic have failed miserably in achieving coherent messaging and containment measure.

    Irresponsible behaviour, including that by the Clown in Chief should be heartily condemned and with sanctions, including arrests, being applied for outrageous breaches.

    The, ‘its not serious so lets carry on as we were having fun because it is our whatever amendment rights should result in sequestration and other sanctions. Those Arizona muppets I saw riding around on hefty motorcyles, with some bodies being too vast for two wheels requiring more support are irresponsible and need re-educating, and not just because of Covid-19.

    1. That sounds reasonable. I am not against using the bully pulpit to try to persuade people. People need to work to generate enough income to pay the bills. The rent and mortgage payments don’t go away just because of the pandemic. Even if you cannot be evicted by executive order, all of the back payments will have to be made at some point. So many trips will be necessary – not for partying but for livelihood.

      Just as during World War II each person got to decide if the journey was really necessary, each person gets the right to decide whether they need to go to the grocery store or to work.

      But I don’t think we are very far apart on this issue.

      I work from home because legal work is mostly computer work – so I am one of the fortunate few who can limit trips except for groceries and such. A plumber cannot work from home. A home builder cannot work from home. There are millions of jobs which cannot be done from home, and those people need to earn a living to pay the bills (so they can eat and keep a roof over their heads).

      Because of that, as we have seen, COVID-19 will continue to spread until we either reach herd immunity naturally, or we deploy a vaccine. Nobody knows whether the pandemic will be over before a vaccine is widely deployed worldwide (or in the USA). If a vaccine is available before natural herd immunity develops lives will be saved. If not, the question arises as to how best to minimize loss of life. It is my personal opinion that loss of life will be less by managing herd immunity rather than not managing herd immunity (the current path). It is just my opinion, and I have no power to implement it as policy – so don’t worry. I am merely sharing it so it can be discussed.

  22. Today, another American from Nevada, a 25 year old man, was re-infected by the coronavirus, and the symptoms of the second infection were worse than the first. This was a true re-infection, and not the same infection reoccurring.

    Again, RickA’s herd immunity argument takes a beating.

    I am not for draconian lockdowns, but again, we could defeat this virus in just a few months if people behaved responsibly: wore masks indoors, washed hands frequently, and socially distanced. Instead of blaming the lockdowns, blame the idiots who refuse to co-operate. I don’t think it takes much of a stretch to say that many Trump supporters are among them.

    As for 500,000 infections a day, what does RickA think will happen if we suddenly resume with a BAU approach? Opening theaters, clubs, bars, restaurants, stores, sporting events to huge crowds will cause the virus to spike, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands more. Alternatively, what if people exhibit common sense and don’t want to be infected? Just because everything opens up doesn’t magically mean that everyone will behave as they did before. Some 47% of Americans are vulnerable as it is; there is no way to ensure that the rest will all decide to get infected under RickA’s magical herd immunity management strategy.

    The Barrington Declaration was more about certain epidemiologists with damaged reputations desperately trying to remain relevant and about neoliberal economics and not about science. Several of them were interviewed on Fox News and met with the White House pandemic task force (a comedy troupe if there ever was one under the soon-to-be ex malignant POTUS). Certainly interventions are necessary when infection rates explode as they are doing in some northern states and European countries right now. A vaccine may be transient, given that immunity is short-lived, but if vaccinations are carried out properly, this is the best strategy of returning to a more normal situation. Herd immunity via natural infection is finished. It is not viable.

    1. “The Barrington Declaration was more about certain epidemiologists with damaged reputations desperately trying to remain relevant and about neoliberal economics and not about science.”

      It was also about a right-wing dogma tank attempting to present unsupported nonsense with a false veneer of “science” — hence the collection of clowns that signed it.

  23. Another Long Covid debilitation.

    Covid-19 may cause sudden and permanent hearing loss, experts have found, adding that such problems need early detection and urgent treatment.

    The coronavirus has been found to affect the body in myriad ways, from a loss of taste and smell to organ damage.

    Now doctors have reported fresh evidence that Covid could also affect hearing.

    Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, experts at University College London report the case of a 45-year-old man with asthma who was admitted to intensive care with Covid, ventilated, and given drugs including the antiviral remdesivir and intravenous steroids.

    A week after leaving intensive care he developed a ringing sound – tinnitus – and then hearing loss in his left ear.

    Covid may cause sudden, permanent hearing loss – UK study

  24. Herd immunity is not a viable strategy.

    The concept of ending the Covid pandemic through herd immunity is “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence”, say 80 researchers in a warning letter published by a leading medical journal.

    The international signatories of the open letter in the Lancet say the interest in herd immunity comes from “widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust” as a result of restrictions being reimposed in many countries because of surging infections in a second wave.

    The suggestion that the way out is by protecting the vulnerable and allowing the virus to transmit among those less at risk is flawed, they say. “Uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population. In addition to the human cost, this would impact the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of healthcare systems to provide acute and routine care.”

    Ending Covid-19 via herd immunity is ‘a dangerous fallacy’

    and

    WHO chief says herd immunity approach to pandemic ‘unethical’

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cites lack of understanding of virus and lasting health effects

    My emphasis.

    I suggest you pack in your herd immunity blather now RckA.

    1. I wonder why rickA never references any articles like these — they appear in respectable journals and are written by people who understand the situation and have taken honest looks at the data.

      Oh, maybe I just answered my own question.

    2. Lionel:

      2 points.

      1. Herd immunity is what stopped every previous coronavirus pandemic in human history.

      2. Herd immunity may happen before we get a vaccine deployed worldwide.

      Until we have a vaccine, we don’t have a choice. Herd immunity is building day by day. We can either manage it or not. If no choice is made, we will still get herd immunity someday (absent a vaccine).

  25. Herd immunity is not necessarily building up day by day you clown. And even if it was, it cannot be ‘managed’. The only way to achieve it naturally, again bearing in mind that immunity may be transient, is to let it rip through entire populations, killing millions and debilitating many millions more. Your ‘strategy’ has no management in it. It is simply a ‘let it loose’ strategy. You seemingly don’t care if hospitals are overwhelmed, people die in industrial numbers, many more are left with toxic legacies of infection, so long as the neoliberal capitalist destruction machine can get up and running at full speed ahead. So who will replace the work force when hundreds of thousands or millions of people become simultaneously ill? Are there robots all lined up to fill in?

    We do have a choice. Suppress the virus as much as possible until an effective vaccine is available. Letting it loose, as fools like you advocate, is not a solution at all. Right now the health service here in the Netherlands is buckling from the second wave and will soon collapse if infection rates are not brought down very soon. Death rates are rising rapidly too, and what is worse is that so many hospital doctors and nurses and care workers are getting ill that there is a serious staff shortage. Who is going to care for the thousands of patients in hospital wards and ICU wards when the system is drowned by the virus? This is the RickA herd immunity ‘strategy’. The reason for this monstrous second wave is because of stupid, selfish people who refuse to adhere to measures to suppress viral spread. In Liverpool, the second most infected city in Europe, immediately before a new curfew hundreds of young people took to the streets in crowds dancing and singing ‘herd immunity here we come’. Many of these clots will get infected and end up taking hospital beds, depriving patients with other illnesses who desperately need them, or else they will take the infection home to infect their parents and grandparents as well as other members of their community.

    As for eventual immunity against this and other coronaviruses, it is of course an evolutionary arms race and immunity is never absolute as viruses mutate into multiple strains. The important thing is that Covid-19 is a serious pathogen with a huge range of effects that nobody in their right mind wants to endure. As I said yesterday, many young people will avoid infection until a vaccine is available. Then what? In RickA’s management strategy it is imperative that the vast majority of healthy people under 60 get infected to reach an immunity threshold. And if most of these don’t wish to be infected? Then what? RickA’s hope is that if everything is opened up then these people will have no choice but expose themselves to higher risks. How pathetic.

  26. Just online on BBC is an article describing “Long Covid”, describing the many thousands of people who are experiencing lasting symptoms of the disease some 6 months after being infected. The range of serious side-effects being diagnosed is increasing as we learn more about the virus. In addition to the lungs, effects are now described on the heart, the kidneys, the liver, the brain, the skin, the blood and on other tissues and organs. A huge number of those suffering are young or had no previous underlying conditions.

    These are not rare, isolated responses. The effects are very common and afflicting many thousands and probably millions around the world. What are the social and economic costs of these legacies? And RickA believes that mass infection to achieve herd immunity is the way to go?!

    1. And RickA believes that mass infection to achieve herd immunity is the way to go?!

      Because he is a socio-path and probably something else much worse. He certainly displays a high degree of stupid given the sheer amount of evidence presented to him. One cannot educate stupid.

  27. Should RickA still be not convinced.

    The truth is that a strategy of pursuing “herd immunity” is nothing more than a fringe view. There is no real scientific divide over this approach, because there is no science to justify its usage in the case of Covid-19. We know that when it comes to other coronaviruses, immunity is only temporary. The president of the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences, in a detailed rebuttal, describes the declaration’s proposals as “unethical and simply not possible”.

    It’s time to stop asking the question “is this sound science?” We know it is not. Instead, we should be more curious about the political interests surrounding the declaration. Within hours of its launch, it had seeded political and ideological impact disproportionate with its scientific significance. The hashtag #signupstartliving began trending on social media. Its three signatories were later received by Alex Azar, the US secretary of health and human services, and by Scott Atlas, recently appointed as Donald Trump’s health adviser, who tweeted on 8 October that “top scientists all over the world are lining up with the @realDonaldTrump #Covid_19 policy”. And on a call convened by the White House, two senior officials in Trump’s administration cited the declaration.

    The pursuit of herd immunity is a folly – so who’s funding this bad science? “Links between an anti-lockdown declaration and a libertarian thinktank suggest a hidden agenda”.

    1. If immunity is only temporary, where are the reinfected patients?

      8 million cases, about 2.5% of the US population.
      2.5% of 8 million is 200,000 patients to get reinfected.

      If the real number of infected is 40 million, then you have 12.5% of the population, and should expect 5 million reinfections.

      I think it’s fair to say being infected with covid-19 drastically reduces your ability to later get infected with covid-19.

  28. MikeN, it does nothing of the sort. As usual, you are spouting rubbish. Your logic stinks. Many of the 8 million infections in the US have occurred since July, or in the past three months. Few are saying re-infection is instantaneous but immunity might last only 6 months or a year. Already at least 24 reinfections have been recorded, some with worse symptoms the second time around than the first. I am sure that many, perhaps most, are unreported. As the months go on this will likely increase dramatically. For the last frigging time, the natural herd immunity approach is dead. It does not work. Only when a vaccine is available and millions can be vaccinated within a month or so of each other will we be truly on top of coronavirus.

    You parrot crap from Trump and his unqualified coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas who are more interested in forcing neoliberal capitalism down our throats than in protecting human lives. When Trump chided Biden for listening to scientists, that said everything one needs to know about the ignoramus-in-chief. FFS, where would our society be today without science and scientists?! If Trump somehow scrapes through and wins the election (he certainly won’t win the popular vote, but since when is the US a true, representative democracy?) then it will be in no small part because of the ignoranti in his cult that put him back into the White House. You are in fine company MikeN. For the most part, intelligent people do not vote for such a repugnant human being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.