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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:42 pm 
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Darwin may have gotten the timing wrong, but evolution happens. It looks like the variant coming from South Africa could well be concerning, both for itself and the implications.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:09 pm 
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Oh, and the British strain may be somewhat more deadly. Granted, they're looking at a difference of 1.3% against 1% in a certain age group, but still. Those three people per thousand could probably do without the honor.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:13 pm 
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Studies on the British vaccine and the South African strain of Sars 2 haven't been really encouraging. It's getting ever more clear that we're going to have to treat Covid infections like the flu, with vaccines being modified as it evolves. Ah, well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 2:34 am 
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Yeah, we had... issues... with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But at around the same time as those disappointing test results came out, we apparently had decent test results - for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. So we're rolling that one out to health people (doctors, nurses, etc.) instead.

It's not so much an official vaccine rollout, because technically the vaccine hasn't been fully tested yet. So, technically, all of the health workers getting vaccinated are getting vaccinated as part of a wide-ranging study into the effectiveness of the vaccine. (As a country, we are very, very good at "technically".) It's also Stage 1 of our general vaccination program. (Stage 2 is people with comorbidities or who are over... over 60, I think the cutoff is? The vulnerable people, anyhow. And then Stage 3 is Everyone Else). I think that Stage 2 might need official approval; it definitely needs more vaccine supplies.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:43 pm 
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Just as a for what it's worth: being deficient in Vitamin D does not seem to be a good idea if you catch a Covid infection. But when studied either the benefits of popping a single high dose supplement on the way into the hospital were subtle, or the benefits of supplementation on hospitalization were quite apparent but the methodology was questionable.

With the proviso that vitamin D is fat soluble and that megadoses can kill you in a very nasty way; it's worth noting that most of us are deficient in vitamin D, and taking it in a multivitamin (with fat containing food) might be helpful if you happen to play host to our current favorite virus (as well as for general health purposes).

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:40 am 
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I've been seeing stories that the common cold is a much more aggressive virus than Sars-Cov-2; not only will having a cold supposedly block a Covid infection, but getting a cold would drive out a relatively new Covid infection in order to safeguard its turf. Fear the humble rhinovirus.

Oh, and there's talk of a new mutated Sars virus in India that combines two previous mutations. Until there's general herd immunity we can expect to see more viral evolution going forward, so here's hoping nothing comes up that seriously compromises the vaccines before then.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun May 23, 2021 8:42 am 
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It looks like the vaccines are still doing a good job against the new mutant strains. Hopefully that'll keep up.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:01 pm 
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But the virus keeps getting better at spreading. The Delta variant is perhaps 3 times as good at spreading from host to host as the original strain. And apparently Delta has more symptoms similar to a common cold in younger hosts, which may help convince them to keep spreading it. Gotta love evolution.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:03 am 
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Now this is interesting. The vaccine technology used against Covid infections is being used against bubonic plague. They just started human testing. I've also seen that a vaccine against HIV, using the same tech, will start human testing soon. Apparently the investment made to deal with SARS is looking to pay off big time.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:04 pm 
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One hears that the case numbers of Covid infections are coming down here in the US, which means that reasonably soon the death rate to said infections will start to fall. One also hears that it's now the most lethal episode we've had, with 700,000 officially dead of this particular disease (beating out the Spanish Flu epidemic and the Civil War).

Unfortunately, 'officially' means the CDC was notified that there was a death certificate that had 'covid' in the cause of death section. Clearly that wasn't always done for various reasons; and the CDC estimate for how many have actually died of Covid infections (the surplus death statistic) says the high point of the bell curve is at 840,000 dead and counting. Well, at least there's only about a 5% chance that the real death toll has passed a million already.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2021 10:14 am 
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So far we hear that the newest stylish variant, Omicron, is about four times as contagious as Delta; but it seems to be somewhat less viriluent. It's also apparently very good at bypassing the immune response to having had a previous variant. This may be interesting.

Me, I'm waiting for the Alpha-Omega variant; so I can easily see who actually sat through Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2021 9:08 pm 
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Well, the jury is still out on whether or not it's less deadly; but with a doubling time of about two days Omicron is certainly contagious enough for most intents and purposes (apparently it's got literally twice the R0 of Mumps). Poor Delta is getting seriously outcompeted. I wonder if the common cold still blocks it? Well, we may hear one of these days; but it'd be a pretty drastic way to avoid infection if we all have to constantly have a cold...

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 10:18 pm 
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My guess here is that the Omicron variant is actually the gateway to endemicity. It spreads a lot more, but kills a lot less. Still too early to be sure, but the data from South Africa seems to point in that direction.

We could still have some major short-term pain in certain regions, most likely those with low vaccination rates and vulnerable populations.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2021 3:17 pm 
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Preliminary studies in rodents suggest that Omicron is mostly an upper airway bug, and so less likely to do significant lung damage. Whether that's also true of heart and circulatory problems, I have not seen anyone opining on.

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 Post subject: Re: The Virus
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2022 5:14 pm 
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Omicron mark 2 seems to be in early surge mode. This is starting to look like a bad habit. But since they keep turning up new organs that suffer subtle long term damage (of the kind that can take a turn for the worse later) from Covid infections, it's still not a fad that looks worth seeking out.

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