Coronavirus COVID-19 Thread

Vavrik

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What's that old saying? "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good" ?

Obviously, having military NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) level precautions would be "state of the science" but COVID isn't like a nerve agent where a single droplet could kill you.

It's a virus, so there are a lot of other factors to transmissability that I could go into at length, but the TL;DR is "wearing a mask works!"
"Ain't that the truth!" ... Other old saying.
 

Bambooza

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What's that old saying? "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good" ?

Obviously, having military NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) level precautions would be "state of the science" but COVID isn't like a nerve agent where a single droplet could kill you.

It's a virus, so there are a lot of other factors to transmissability that I could go into at length, but the TL;DR is "wearing a mask works!"
And thank you for proving my point.


We honestly DO NOT know if masks truly work in a non controlled environment. All we know is that some types of mask material when tested in an isolated way to test the effectiveness of the material in preventing penetration of nanoparticles. We know that mice isolated from each other with only air exchange through a mask saw a reduction in the virus spread. We know that surgical masks as part of a meticulous cleaning and sanitary procedure help reduce the infecting of surgical patents by the surgeon.
Studies are starting to show that the cloth mask worn by the general public does little to provide protection to the wear and while it might provide some protection from exhaled virus propagation there still needs to be studies performed on how much protection it provides as well as if mask wearing leads to an increase virus transmission potential from mask to hand to common surface transmission. While we do know that the virus can survive being airborne we do not know if this is the best mechanism for spreading or if its like other common virus best transmitted by touch.

So saying masks work and its scientifically proven is a fallacy, and has become a rallying cry for both sides of the political spectrum. When in truth what is known is that respirators more than masks have the potential if used correctly as part of a careful and deliberate sanitary procedure can reduce ones chances of becoming infected and sharing the infection with others. But this does not take into account how mask wearing or not wearing a mask truly impacts the potential of virus spreading in the general population when one takes into account all the factors that contribute to the whole. It could very well be that mask wearing leads to higher virus spreading due to general people not being very mindful of what they are touching nor being diligent with keeping their hands clean. And in fact mask wearing can lead to a false sense of security that can lead to increasing social contact and reduction of social distancing practices that can have a far bigger impact on virus spreading potential then the small reduction in potential from wearing a mask. It could also be that wearing a mask reminds the wearer of other practices they should be mindful of and thus be a net benefit not in the mask itself but in the reminder of being diligent in best practices.

In the end it could very well be that washing your hands, not coughing on each other and maintaining some social distance is enough to reduce the spread of a virus and a mask serves no purpose.

The best part is this virus is giving us a lot of clinical trial data on real world large scale full system data sets. We have whole countries that for the most part ignored any sort of lock downs. We have cities that refused to mandate mask wearing and we have lots of data points on hospital loads of those who were sick/died. Even the tracking of infected while not as reliable due to testing practices (best data would be everyone getting tested every few days) can contribute to gaining a understanding on how populations reacted and spread the virus as well as potentially what worked and what did not. So long as we remove the dogma of the political capital from it.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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COVID Catharsis Corner - Reports from around the world from today Friday 4th of June:

- World: 172,280,381 confirmed cases and 3,704,400 confirmed deaths.

- US: Top virus expert Dr. Fauci under fire as raft of email released under Freedom Of Information request. Critics point to emails that thanked the Doctor for not lending credence to Lab Leak theory and of US funding of research there, the Dr. responds that the messages have been taken out of context and he has an open mind over the origins of the virus.

- US: Dr. Fauci calls for China to release logs of 3 lab workers who got ill in 2019: “I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019. Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?”

- US: Adds 559,000 jobs in May as restrictions are eased, however number is lower than expected.

- UK: Defeat appears to have been snatched from the jaws of victory as infection rate jumps by two-thirds week on week.

- UK: Health Secretary announced children being vaccinated will take priority over sending vaccines to vulnerable adults in other countries, contradicting statements made by the Prime Minister barely a month earlier calling on a united approach and on resisting the temptations of Vaccine Nationalism.

- UK: Approves Pfizer vaccine for use in 12 to 15 year olds.

- EU: Judge in lawsuit between the Bloc and AstraZeneca indicates they will pass sentence within a month.

- Russia: President Putin accuses slow approval of Sputnik vaccine in the European Union on a battle for money and putting profits before the safety of citizens.

- Nepal: Appeals to the UK for vaccine aid. The prime minister said: "I want to convince the UK government, particularly Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about the situation in Nepal and how we are suffering,"

- Spain: Announces it intends to vaccinate children over the age of 12.

- Japan: Delivers 1.24 million doses of AZ vaccine to Taiwan.

- Guam: Launches Vax 'n Win vaccination participation lottery to encourage uptake.

- Movies: Filming on latest Mission Impossible film suspended for 2 weeks as several staff members test positive.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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COVID Catharsis Corner - Reports from around the world from today, Saturday 5th of June:

- World: 172,712,507 confirmed cases and 3,715,132 confirmed deaths.

- Belgium: Police in full scale man hunt to catch a Far-Right soldier with sniper skills and equipment including a rocket launcher and machine gun, who has sworn to take down the countries premier pandemic virologist.

- Belgium: Announces it will vaccinate teenagers in the 16 and 17 year old range from July.

- Scotland: Restrictions ease to lower level precautions for areas which cover millions of citizens.

- Wales: Figures show despite high-streets reopening in April, footfall was down 30% in May compared to May 2019.

- Italy: Vaccinates a record high 600,000 people in one day.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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Interesting article on surface transmission from January 2021:


The lines that jumped out to me were: "Fomite transmission is possible, but it just seems to be rare," and "...a global comparison of government interventions to control the pandemic in its early months found that cleaning and disinfection of shared surfaces ranked one of the least effective at reducing transmission."

Although I think it would be foolish and remiss of humanity to abandon surface decontamination efforts and it should continue as a basic precaution, i also think it may be a balancing act and risks blinding ourselves to the facts to fixate on formite and favour it over stronger transmission vectors such as aerosol transmission.

If Formite is responsible for (for example) 8% of transmission it's still something which needs to be explored and eliminated, but if aerosol transmission is responsible for (for example) 70% of cases, where should the axe fall if there are formite precautions, like not having masks one would need to come into contact with to put them on and take them off, which would reduce formite by 3% but increase aerosol by 6%? And inversely where there are Aerosol transmission precautions which may reduce aerosol transmission by 3% but increase formite by 6%? (Numbers as example)

Would be interested to hear thoughts and if anyone knows of any further research on this if there is any, an extra 6 months is a long time for further findings.
 
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Vavrik

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Interesting article on surface transmission from January 2021:


The lines that jumped out to me were: "Fomite transmission is possible, but it just seems to be rare," and "...a global comparison of government interventions to control the pandemic in its early months found that cleaning and disinfection of shared surfaces ranked one of the least effective at reducing transmission."

Although I think it would be foolish and remiss of humanity to abandon surface decontamination efforts and it should continue as a basic precaution, i also think it may be a balancing act and risks blinding ourselves to the facts to fixate on formite and favour it over stronger transmission vectors such as aerosol transmission.

If Formite is responsible for (for example) 8% of transmission it's still something which needs to be explored and eliminated, but if aerosol transmission is responsible for (for example) 70% of cases, where should the axe fall if there are formite precautions, like not having masks one would need to come into contact with to put them on and take them off, which would reduce formite by 3% but increase aerosol by 6%? And inversely where there are Aerosol transmission precautions which may reduce aerosol transmission by 3% but increase formite by 6%? (Numbers as example)

Would be interested to hear thoughts and if anyone knows of any further research on this if there is any, an extra 6 months is a long time for further findings.
There is a long list of reference sources at the bottom of the article.
The study I'm most familiar with on this topic I'm not even sure if it's listed in that, but it's here:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020312800?via=ihub

Also, just to be clear, fomite transmission is not 0, it's just negligible in comparison to airborne transmission. It's a horrible vector from the perspective of a virus, because they can get contaminated themselves from touching a surface. This is especially true if they come in contact with some disinfectants - and the disinfectant doesn't have to do much but act like a solvent. The surface of the virion is covered with a fatty layer that protects the virus from it's environment - and things like chlorine, detergents, soap, and alcohol can effectively dissolve the fat... which literally can cause the virus particle to fall apart.
 

Bambooza

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Define "know". You seem to have a very narrow/skeptical definition for "know."
I'll repost this quote from the article that @NaffNaffBobFace posted.

Goldman and others caution against reading too much into virus-survival studies, because most don’t test conditions that exist outside the lab. “They were experiments that started out with humongous amounts of virus, nothing that you would encounter in the real world,” he says. Other tests have used mock saliva and controlled conditions such as humidity and temperature, all of which widen the gulf between experimental and real-world conditions, says Goldman.
The issue is drawing conclusions from a very focused lab test and applying it broadly to the real world often leads to falsely drawn conclusions. So when I say know its to say we know what the study has shown us but to draw conclusions between lab results and apply it outside the lab is dangerous. As Goldman is saying while studies have shown the virus lives on surfaces for days or longer it's still unknown A. how the virus got there and B. what is the risk factor in it being a pathway to infection.

I know @Vavrik wants to say with certainty that there is a low risk of transmission of surface contamination over airborne transmission but the truth is we honestly don't know. We have isolated lab studies that are looking at lots of different parts of the puzzle and the technology being applied is making it far easier to get a better idea of what is happening with in the limited scope of the test but it does not give us the full picture. What needs to happen next is to take these different possibilities and their projected mapping and match it to the data points collected in the real world evaluate and modify until they more closely match what happened. But even still in such a complex system it's going to be a lot more work ahead of the scientific community compounded by the reality that different virus and bacteria are going to be more in favor of different infection pathways.

An example of the complexity of this undertaking is weather. While we are differently getting better we are still not very good at predicting with certainty what is going to happen in hours let alone in days and this problem is aided by the constant visible and easier tracked information.

So my stance continues to be there is lots of speculation based upon limited lab findings made worse by the fact that this is currently a political hot topic which leads to a lot of people attempting to impose their will as they seek power, fame and fortune, IE imposing their word as unquestionable fact and superiority over all others. To a certain degree its always there which is why there are so many log jams, starts and stops of progress on new technologies and breakthroughs that contradict previous held truths. But it's typically made worse when it becomes a politicalized hot topic.

Even @NaffNaffBobFace in this shows how much uncertainty there is.

If Formite is responsible for (for example) 8% of transmission it's still something which needs to be explored and eliminated, but if aerosol transmission is responsible for (for example) 70% of cases, where should the axe fall if there are formite precautions, like not having masks one would need to come into contact with to put them on and take them off, which would reduce formite by 3% but increase aerosol by 6%? And inversely where there are Aerosol transmission precautions which may reduce aerosol transmission by 3% but increase formite by 6%? (Numbers as example)
@NaffNaffBobFace could very well be spot on with his percentages. Goldman could be as well with the fact that surface transmission is so miniscule as to not matter. Or the consensus going into this baby pandemic could still hold true that covid spreads primarily through contact surfaces. We just don't know. We don't even know if you get infected if you would even know, if you are asymptomatic, if you'll have symptoms, if you will have permanent damage to lungs and heart or if you'll die. We can give you percent chances based upon past cases that are similar to your current health, age and sex, but it's still all just speculation. Just like we don't know if you will have any sort of unexpected reaction to the vaccination or long term health problems from being vaccinated. We can say that these test cases did not have any noticeable negative outcome during the limited time given to the study and as more people get it and the time goes on we can more easily say it's mostly safe for most people.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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COVID Catharsis Corner - Reports from around the world from today Sunday 6th of June:

- World: 173,087,934 confirmed cases and 3,723,808 confirmed deaths.

- World: WHO official indicates eradicating the virus is not a reasonable target and the world will have to learn to live with the virus. “Humanity is going to have to learn how to co-exist with this virus, preventing it from spiking and then surging and causing hotspots of disease, and we’re going to have to be able to do this for the foreseeable future."

- UK: Research indicates Delta variant (B.1.617 first discovered in India) which is becoming dominant variant in the country is at lest 40% more transmissible than the previous Alpha variant (B.1.1.7 first seen in the UK) which itself was more transmissible than the original vanilla version. Scientists warn third wave may be inevitable.

- UK: Government accepts it is open to extending restrictions if cases continue to climb.

- UK: First ferry to Spain departs from the UK in 8 months.

- US: American writer Naomi Wolf suspended from Twitter following string of unsubstantiated COVID theory tweets.

- Israel: Starts to vaccinate kids between age of 12 and 16.
 
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Bambooza

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Actually, Dr. Goldman said that, according to the article. I just agree with it.
And he might be right. After all it took a lot of effort by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren to show that Ulcers were not only caused by stress but bacterium could play a major role in the creation of peptic ulcers much to the dismay and outright refusal of the medical community.

Marshall and Robin Warren showed that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) plays a major role in causing many peptic ulcers, challenging decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused primarily by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid.
But I also will stand by my opinion that we have to be careful about knowing the true boundaries of what we have shown to mostly be true, what we think might be true and what we simply are speculating or guessing to be true. And at this moment in time I would put mask wearing and how the virus is spread in the category of guessing to be true. While its an educated guess it's still a guess given how much we simply do not know.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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And he might be right. After all it took a lot of effort by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren to show that Ulcers were not only caused by stress but bacterium could play a major role in the creation of peptic ulcers much to the dismay and outright refusal of the medical community.



But I also will stand by my opinion that we have to be careful about knowing the true boundaries of what we have shown to mostly be true, what we think might be true and what we simply are speculating or guessing to be true. And at this moment in time I would put mask wearing and how the virus is spread in the category of guessing to be true. While its an educated guess it's still a guess given how much we simply do not know.
Aha, so only precautions which we 100% know to be effective with no potential unintended side effects should be the ones humanity falls back on as a base level of precaution until we know for sure what we should be doing without resorting to guessing? (Like the unforseen Black Mold epidemic now accompanying COVID in India).

So in the COVIDs case, Social Distancing, prohibiting getherings and closing public spaces, all of which bring down transmission as has been proved by multiple countries which have performed multiple lockdowns to bring cases back down, has proved? Remember precautions are to buy time for a solution to be devised (vaccines for example) and are not intended to be the fix like someone pointed out as was the case in the Demolition Man movie, just the speed-bump to manage unrestrained transmission.
 
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Radegast74

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The issue is drawing conclusions from a very focused lab test and applying it broadly to the real world often leads to falsely drawn conclusions. So when I say know its to say we know what the study has shown us but to draw conclusions between lab results and apply it outside the lab is dangerous. As Goldman is saying while studies have shown the virus lives on surfaces for days or longer it's still unknown A. how the virus got there and B. what is the risk factor in it being a pathway to infection.
What you are talking about is generally called "scientific study generalizability" and it is a part of what is termed "validity" of scientific study. It is something that should be considered by researchers, and definitely should be considered by peer reviewers, as well as consumers of research. Here is some basic info, as well as some recent articles about this topic.

You may be surprised at what has not been studied rigorously, but is used extensively in everday life. The uniqueness of fingerprints would be one...surgeries would be another. Here is an older article, since you don't seem to trust recent stuff:

and here is a more recent article (2015) comparing sham surgeries to the real surgery in controlled studies:

tldr --> expect a drop off in performance for everything when a drug or surgery or whatever is taken out of a lab and applied in real-world settings.

But it's typically made worse when it becomes a politicalized hot topic.
I have found that even saying "Good morning" to somebody could be considered political!
 
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Vavrik

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And he might be right. After all it took a lot of effort by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren to show that Ulcers were not only caused by stress but bacterium could play a major role in the creation of peptic ulcers much to the dismay and outright refusal of the medical community.
I actually got caught up in all that, as a patient. A doctor had proscribed Zantac which I was supposed to take for years. Fortunately for me, about 6 months later another doctor intervened and did a test which found the H. pylori. Antibiotic treatment took 2 weeks to fully work.

But I also will stand by my opinion that we have to be careful about knowing the true boundaries of what we have shown to mostly be true, what we think might be true and what we simply are speculating or guessing to be true. And at this moment in time I would put mask wearing and how the virus is spread in the category of guessing to be true. While its an educated guess it's still a guess given how much we simply do not know.
Well, I get it. I remember the conversation you and I had early in the pandemic regarding P-100 respirators. But you see, my wife is a biochemist, so are a few of our friends. At some point they asked a few pointed questions about my thoughts about that, and gave me a few answers about how viral infections work. I happen to have another friend who is a physician, and he disagreed with them. Not on everything, but on how masks and respirators work, and in which direction (i.e. in or out). But he got probably more of an education than I got.
 

Bambooza

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Aha, so only precautions which we 100% know to be effective with no potential unintended side effects should be the ones humanity falls back on as a base level of precaution until we know for sure what we should be doing without resorting to guessing? (Like the unforseen Black Mold epidemic now accompanying COVID in India).

So in the COVIDs case, Social Distancing, prohibiting getherings and closing public spaces, all of which bring down transmission as has been proved by multiple countries which have performed multiple lockdowns to bring cases back down, has proved? Remember precautions are to buy time for a solution to be devised (vaccines for example) and are not intended to be the fix like someone pointed out as was the case in the Demolition Man movie, just the speed-bump to manage unrestrained transmission.

This is truly the crux of the issue. At what point do we make a social mandate or continue to allow others to make their own choices based upon the limited information we have. We have degrees of certainty and to that point I am attempting to stress the importance of understanding what we truly know. So much miss information or guess is repeated ad nauseum as unquestionable fact when there is minimal circumstantial evidence at best and no evidence at worse to support the conclusion.

Yes in theory Social Distancing and prohibiting gatherings along with closing of public spaces works. But we also have to take into account the free will of society and how many times these precautions have been broken by the rule makers let alone unreported by the masses.

Mask wearing has the potential of reducing those who are infected from spreading the virus but how many have you seen wearing simple thin self made cloth, how many have it not covering their nose or around their neck.

We don't even know how many of the general population has already contracted the virus had a mild cold was not tested and now is partial natural immune even before the vaccine became available. This can lead to the false conclusion that social distancing and mask wearing were highly successful when in truth they utterly failed most people contracted the virus had little to no symptoms and it simply was not as bad as was originally projected.


What you are talking about is generally called "scientific study generalizability" and it is a part of what is termed "validity" of scientific study. It is something that should be considered by researchers, and definitely should be considered by peer reviewers, as well as consumers of research. Here is some basic info, as well as some recent articles about this topic.
It should be and often is considered by researchers especially in the more niche and out of the limelight. After all this is the ideal of the scientific principle to ask a question think of a possible conclusion and then find ways to disprove it. But when you start to look into the actual process you'll find that grant money changes the process significantly. Given the financial stakes the rush to be first to publish along with the current expert being the peer reviewer and thus a defacto gatekeeper for new ideas and challenges to their position. That the scientific community is not as truthful as we would like to pretend it is. While research should come up with a question and a hypothesis what tends to happen is a costly test is crafted and executed, data is collected then data is massaged to craft a fitting hypotheses that then be supported by the data and conclusion. While its not entirely wrong it also was not truly tested against which has lead to a number of missteps and years of researched based upon this to be invalidated because the original premise was incomplete or wrong. Which is compounded by the lack of funding to repeat the test and double validate the conclusion. And it all comes back to how funding is distributed and who decides on what gets funded and who gets continued funding for they are looking for results as they have a voting body who wants to see successful results with their tax revenue. (I would argue that a failed test is far more valuable than a successful result but this argument seems to be a public minority)

You may be surprised at what has not been studied rigorously, but is used extensively in everday life. The uniqueness of fingerprints would be one...surgeries would be another. Here is an older article, since you don't seem to trust recent stuff:
There is a lot we use in our everyday life that is not been studied rigorously (finger prints have been for over 100 years now) or we don't know why it works and in fact it's part of a running joke between scientists and engineers. An engineer knows it works while a scientist says it shouldn't.

In the end it's not that I don't trust the more recent stuff. Its that I am more cautious in regards to the more recent things especially when they are in stark contradiction to previous established doctrines that have been based upon years of research. This is not saying the new research is wrong or was simply established to push an agenda for continued grant funds (always a risk of any research) but that it needs more scrutiny and validation.

and here is a more recent article (2015) comparing sham surgeries to the real surgery in controlled studies:

tldr --> expect a drop off in performance for everything when a drug or surgery or whatever is taken out of a lab and applied in real-world settings.

I have found that even saying "Good morning" to somebody could be considered political!
It truly has become a sad reality in some circles. But there also seems to be a growing pushback on this as well.


I actually got caught up in all that, as a patient. A doctor had proscribed Zantac which I was supposed to take for years. Fortunately for me, about 6 months later another doctor intervened and did a test which found the H. pylori. Antibiotic treatment took 2 weeks to fully work.
It was a fascinating case study in research, funding and the dogma of the established peer review process. Even after the study started to gain traction it still took a long time for doctors to start to test for and prescribe antibiotics for ulcer treatment. It also gave me hope in the realization that the process works in the end even if it takes years to work itself out.

Well, I get it. I remember the conversation you and I had early in the pandemic regarding P-100 respirators. But you see, my wife is a biochemist, so are a few of our friends. At some point they asked a few pointed questions about my thoughts about that, and gave me a few answers about how viral infections work. I happen to have another friend who is a physician, and he disagreed with them. Not on everything, but on how masks and respirators work, and in which direction (i.e. in or out). But he got probably more of an education than I got.
Disagreements are great as it challenges our assumptions and forces us to review the sources of our conclusions.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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This is truly the crux of the issue. At what point do we make a social mandate or continue to allow others to make their own choices based upon the limited information we have. We have degrees of certainty and to that point I am attempting to stress the importance of understanding what we truly know. So much miss information or guess is repeated ad nauseum as unquestionable fact when there is minimal circumstantial evidence at best and no evidence at worse to support the conclusion.

Yes in theory Social Distancing and prohibiting gatherings along with closing of public spaces works. But we also have to take into account the free will of society and how many times these precautions have been broken by the rule makers let alone unreported by the masses.

Mask wearing has the potential of reducing those who are infected from spreading the virus but how many have you seen wearing simple thin self made cloth, how many have it not covering their nose or around their neck.

We don't even know how many of the general population has already contracted the virus had a mild cold was not tested and now is partial natural immune even before the vaccine became available. This can lead to the false conclusion that social distancing and mask wearing were highly successful when in truth they utterly failed most people contracted the virus had little to no symptoms and it simply was not as bad as was originally projected.
I think I get your angle, however it seems your approach would be to do nothing for fear that anything may have unintended consequences both health and non-health related. While I understand the concern about unintended health side effects, I think I may have identified where we differ in our view of what a pandemic is - Beyond all else, I see this as a public health issue whereas you have a wider viewpoint including other points like choice, freedoms, persecution etc.

To me:

It's not a freedoms issue because it's very difficult to be free when someone is dead.
It's not a choice issue because it's extremely difficult to make choices when someone is dead.
It's not a compliance issue because it's not possible to comply with an order when someone is dead.
It's not a political issue because it's really hard to vote when someone is dead.
It's not a persecution issue because those who are dead wouldn't notice.
It's not a control issue because it's impossible to control dead people.
It's not a power issue because there is very little power to be held over the dead.

It's a public health issue. If people die, everything else is rendered completely and utterly pointless.

All other issues although present to some degree are separate and very much second place to it being a public health issue... to stop it spiralling out of control you gotta start somewhere and that somewhere is that this is a Public Health Issue.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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COVID Catharsis Corner - Reports from around the world from today Monday 7th of June:

- World: 173,427,800 confirmed cases and 3,731,634 confirmed deaths.

- World: WHO official indicates it cannot compel China to divulge more information on the origins of COVID-19. “WHO doesn’t have the power to compel anyone in this regard. [...] We fully expect cooperation, input and support of all of our member states in that endeavour,”

- India: Announces vaccines for over 18's will be free of charge.

- Africa: Sees third wave.

- Norway: Reduces time between vaccine doses from 12 weeks to 9 weeks to speed up rollout.

- Ireland: Reopens pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities.

- Thailand: Begins vaccine rollout however concerns over supply guarantee remains.

- US: Johnson and Johnson vaccine rollout slows to a crawl as side effect concerns and flagging uptake of vaccines results in a 21 million dose surplus.

- UK: Withdraws Portugal from no-quarantine list, prompting scramble for holiday makers to return before the deadline of the early hours of tomorrow morning. A politician who recently returned from his holiday does not have to quarantine despite being informed by the Track and Trace system that he had been in the presence of someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, he shall simply take a Lateral Flow test a day for 14 days instead.

- UK: Vaccinations opened up to anyone over the age of 25.

- UK: Following similar moves in the US, UK government collaborates with Dating sites to include icons which state if lonely hearts have been medicated.
 
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Bambooza

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I think I get your angle, however it seems your approach would be to do nothing for fear that anything may have unintended consequences both health and non-health related. While I understand the concern about unintended health side effects, I think I may have identified where we differ in our view of what a pandemic is - Beyond all else, I see this as a public health issue whereas you have a wider viewpoint including other points like choice, freedoms, persecution etc.
It is not possible to separate physical health from physical health. Both are intertwined to a great deal. The easiest example of this is how mental stress has a very real and long lasting physical impact. It is also known that isolated confinement even of the most introverted individual also has a very real impact on both mental and physical health. Even just being stuck inside vers being able to go outside even if for brief amounts of time have been shown to have health benefits for hospital patients. When dealing with humans its not possible to simply focus on just curing the disease you have to take into consideration much more.

To me:

It's not a freedoms issue because it's very difficult to be free when someone is dead.
It's not a choice issue because it's extremely difficult to make choices when someone is dead.
It's not a compliance issue because it's not possible to comply with an order when someone is dead.
It's not a political issue because it's really hard to vote when someone is dead.
It's not a persecution issue because those who are dead wouldn't notice.
It's not a control issue because it's impossible to control dead people.
It's not a power issue because there is very little power to be held over the dead.

It's a public health issue. If people die, everything else is rendered completely and utterly pointless.

All other issues although present to some degree are separate and very much second place to it being a public health issue... to stop it spiralling out of control you gotta start somewhere and that somewhere is that this is a Public Health Issue.
Let's take it to the extreme where no checks where in place, the virus was allowed to a 100% infection and a 3% possibility of death (does not factor in age and pre existing medical conditions just the originally projected average across all groups death per 100,000, it has since been reduced but we are going for start of pandemic knowledge) which is elevated over the current yearly average of 0.8% to 1% percent death rate. This would project a year over year average of 3 times the normal yearly death and would be noticed (while still nowhere near the death rate prior to the age of vaccinations not even 100 years ago). But this is not a realistic virus propagation as its near impossible to get a 100% population infection even without any sort of controls. Much like wild fires jump and skip some areas burning hotter others hardly getting touched its been shown virus propagation works similar and has been mathematically modeled (SIR model).

1623100397688.png

Mathematical model applied to Covid19

And while Covid19 mortality rate was reduced to 0.5 to 1 percent as reported by WHO https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/estimating-mortality-from-covid-19 its still more have died in the past year then were expected to have died in the same time period.

But your statement of it being a public health issue can be extrapolate to a far broader question. Swimming kills people, should we ban swimming and boating or even taking baths? Drinking alcoholic beverages kills both the drinker and sometimes other people should we prohibit the consumption of any alcoholic beverage? Eating hamburgers leads to heart disease and obesity which kills people and continues to be one of the leading causes of death, should we ban eating of any sort of meat? Influenza kill 10's of thousands every year, should we kill every bird and social isolate from birth?

I understand that my line of questioning could be taken as being absurd but I hope it is also a reminder that we are surrounded by birth and death. That death comes in many ways and while this one is the current fearful focus in many ways it's the same fear focus that happens after an airplane crash and the rise in fear of flying.

While I am in no way advocating for treating this virus nonchalantly I am suggesting that we think about the pros and cons of any social mandate and try and make sure its the better outcome. While death is a tragic outcome it is also a part of life and attempting to save one person can very much have a large negative impact on many others. So the question does come back to are we acting because it's the best course of action or are we acting out of fear and the need to do something? If we went about not changing anything would we have a better outcome because our actions are making it worse?

It's why i keep coming back to masks. Was wearing a mask truly helping or was it once again security theater, giving the illusion of safety while neither truly helping or hurting? We know that social isolation can help reduce the spread of a virus but how many people truly social isolated (remember going out to get food breaks social isolation) or did they half heartedly social isolate but still hung out with friends and family? Added to the knowledge that you and I could have gotten the cold and very high probability just felt like we had a bad cold for a few days made a full recovery and thought nothing of it.

There really is no easy answer to this as its been debated in all its different facets and thought experiments throughout the ages. At what point does the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. What level is it expected that the actions of the many protect the lives of the few? Our actions over the past year will have long lasting repercussions on our lives and our children's lives (lucky in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't even matter 500+ years)
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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It is not possible to separate physical health from physical health. Both are intertwined to a great deal.
View: https://youtu.be/1LVt49l6aP8


Joking aside I did pick up your point on mental health being a linchpin for physical health from the rest of your post.

I don't believe you are wrong.

Mental health and physical healths are both as important aspects as each other and I don't believe I've advocated for suffering either physically or mentally, the assumption one leads to the other is just an assumption based subjectively on what one does or does not what to be subject to - we speak of choice but those with Long COVID are having a hell of a time with it mentally and had no choice as to be subject to it, and those who have lost close family and friends are also wondering if they passed them the virus also had no choice in the matter. Although I don't deny removal of basic freedoms and economic fallout of precautions are also to be factored, they can be catered for if ones governing body is inclined to use resources doing so and can, importantly, be reversed and countered if they happen - as has happened in some places which have removed the pressures of restrictions by implementing things such as furlough which blanket removed one of the biggest stress factors of the pandemic - how am I going to put food on the table and a roof over my head. I was put on Furlough. It wasn't a magic Fell Better Button, but it was a hell of a lot better than if I'd lost my job and believe me, I was aware of that.

But your statement of it being a public health issue can be extrapolate to a far broader question. Swimming kills people, should we ban swimming and boating or even taking baths? Drinking alcoholic beverages kills both the drinker and sometimes other people should we prohibit the consumption of any alcoholic beverage? Eating hamburgers leads to heart disease and obesity which kills people and continues to be one of the leading causes of death, should we ban eating of any sort of meat? Influenza kill 10's of thousands every year, should we kill every bird and social isolate from birth?
I am not sure if I have explained myself properly when I say "Precaution" - I am talking about a base level of precautions to extend the time a country can then have to counter an epidemic/pandemic, not blindly wielding a Ban Hammer on anything that moves. To use your examples, they all have basic precautions in them which do lead to fewer deaths and less harm:

Swimming -
Basic precautions come include a strong system of mainly swimming in authorised places called "Swimming Pools", which include poolside attendents, life guards, and chemically treated water to make sure any risk to bathers is at a minimum. Many beaches offer life guard patrols telling people not to swim outside of an authorised monitored area and spaces of open water such as reservoirs and abandoned quarries have signs warning of unexpectedly cold water and submerged machinery saying not to swim. These are all basic precautions. Yes, people do still die swimming, but a hell of a lit less than if we didn't take any basic procautions. Where I'm from we also get taught water saftey in schools, and the UK's Lifeboat charity the RNLI spent 2 million pounds of charity money in Bangladesh teaching kids not to jump in open water because up to that point 40 kids a day were drowning there. Where precautions worked, they were sent to benefit those elsewhere.


Drinking Alcohol -
The production and sale of alcohol itself is a basic precaution as it is strictly licenced, heavily monitored and has an entire industry of regulation to make sure the substance being delivered into the hands of a consumer is as safe as it can possibly be. There are also limits to the strength, type and style of alcohol which can be obtained by any given person. There are also Public Service Announcements to warn of the dangers of alcohol abuse and indeed the bottles themselves carry warnings in certain countries. As with water safety, the spectre of substance abuse is taught in many school systems around the world. These precautions do not remove the risk of alcohol harm, but they certainly reduce the level of it by an order of magnitude.

Eating Hamburgers -
As with alcohol production, Hamburger production has a huge raft of food industry set of regulations which are basically a set of precautions to ensure the finished product is safe to consume. Other procautions include cooking instructions on the packet and also use-by dates on the packaging. It even goes so far as to have traceable batch-codes so if a fault is found with a batch produced, they can be recalled and the consumer protected from threats and defects. Although eating too many kills thousands around the world a year, a hell of a lot more would and indeed used to die if we didn't have these basic precautions.

Influenza -
Basic precautions for Influenza are similar to basic precautions for many other types of illness, such as washing hands, not touching the face, sterilizing areas and with the invent of vaccines using them as a preventative measure before the most contagious season hits. As has been seen with Flu season remaining at base levels this last Pandemic season, the precautions used to counter COVID-19 have been extremely effective against 'Flu too. 'Flu isn't going away just as COVID isn't, but with the right precautions it has been knocked on its ass for a year and a half.

I'm not saying we should ban anything, I'm saying we should have a set of blanket precautions which everyone in the world can live with ready to roll when the next Pandemic hits, and can then be tailored to what is actually required for any given situation. With COVID-19 we started with nothing, ramped it up to 11 and then pulled it back down gently. With the next one I'd like to think we could turn it up to 5 immediately, see what happens then if need by turn it up to 7 in some specific vectors and reduce it to 2 in others and retain some semblance of public life without having to shut everything down for months on end.
 
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Vavrik

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I'm not saying we should ban anything, I'm saying we should have a set of blanket precautions which everyone in the world can live with ready to roll when the next Pandemic hits, and can then be tailored to what is actually required for any given situation. With COVID-19 we started with nothing, ramped it up to 11 and then pulled it back down gently. With the next one I'd like to think we could turn it up to 5 immediately, see what happens then if need by turn it up to 7 in some specific vectors and reduce it to 2 in others and retain some semblance of public life without having to shut everything down for months on end.
That's about the most sensible thing I've heard in here for weeks.
 
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