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  1. - Top - End - #751
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    I didn't find getting a booster to be that big of a deal, so getting variant-specific vaccines yearly doesn't seem particularly unreasonable to me. Better by far than e.g. getting COVID every year.

    As far as a full on solution? We missed the boat on that two years ago when it was initially spreading. One way or another we're at best going to be carrying a bunch of inconveniences forward for the rest of our lives such as occasional travel disruptions, yearly boosters, etc.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-29 at 03:43 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #752
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    There's a lot of unknowns. We're currently trying to find out if Omicron can evade vaccines

    There's also a question of it's severity. The original reporter stated the symptoms seemed mild . Although it is apparently driving a rise in hospitalizations .

    A vaccine tailor-made for Omicron will take 100 days .

    So then what? We go through another year, rinse and repeat for the next variant? That isn't a solution.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    100 days to develop is...pretty impressive. But 100 days, plus whatever length of time it takes to deploy, which is...apparently a good bit if we're talking the entire world, adds up to a big lag time. By the time the specialized vaccine is out, it'll likely have already spread worldwide, boomed and busted and we'll be on to the next variant, given history.

    A variant specific vaccine for it, at that stage is...okay I guess, but not all that relevant? The flu virus model only works by predicting which strain will be common in a given year. If we developed flu shots reactively AFTER it had spread, it would...not do much to help.

    I have no idea if it's possible to predict how variants will emerge for coronaviruses. That'd be one theoretical pathway, but it's not one we've really done so far. We have been distinctly behind the curve with variants, not ahead of it.

    Sadly, the current almost makes the strategy of "everyone not at exceptional risk just gets covid quickly so it burns itself out before it can mutate" not awful by comparison. It's not a *good* strategy, but the variant treadmill is doing us no favors, and poses a very long term threat.

    I suppose we could look at immunocompromised support. Not that this is easy, either, but it seems a repeated weakness in humanity's defenses. Anything that helps shore that up in any respect might increase the average time between variants. *shrug* This all pretty speculative looking at the broader problem, but we definitely need something.

  3. - Top - End - #753
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    The flu virus model only works by predicting which strain will be common in a given year. If we developed flu shots reactively AFTER it had spread, it would...not do much to help.
    Part of the 'prediction' is actually seeing which flu strains are already circulating out there and trying to predict which ones, already infecting people, are going to be dominant later on in the year.

    So it'd be like looking at all the strains of COVID in hospitalized people in an area, and then trying to predict which ones are going to infect more people when they spread further. In an ideal world, you'd be able to make vaccines for all; in the real world, you can only do a few.
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  4. - Top - End - #754
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    For flu they actually check what circulates amongst birds and pigs, as that's also an indicator about what will circulate with humans later. Of course, for COVID it's a bit tricky as they aren't completely sure which animal(s) to check.
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  5. - Top - End - #755
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    So Delta has evolved into Omnicron. That sounds like a Transformer name. What it will evolve into next, Unikitty?
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  6. - Top - End - #756
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    So Delta has evolved into Omnicron. That sounds like a Transformer name. What it will evolve into next, Unikitty?
    The variant names are currently based on the Greek alphabet. It's Omicron, not Omnicron.
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  7. - Top - End - #757
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    and they skipped the netter Nu because it sounds too much like new and Xi, as it's a common name in China.
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  8. - Top - End - #758
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    I say they should start naming them after final fantasy monsters or espers after they run out of Greek letters: Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Bahamut, and so on.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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  9. - Top - End - #759
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    I say they should start naming them after final fantasy monsters or espers after they run out of Greek letters: Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Bahamut, and so on.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    I mean, those are all based on actual mythologies out there, so I'm not sure that'd square with an apparent goal of avoiding attaching variants to specific cultures...
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  10. - Top - End - #760
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Just call them CYearLetter. C22b. C27f. etc. Variants probably won't be relevant outside of a 1-2 year span, so remembering e.g. 'q is the bad one' can be updated easily.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-12-01 at 03:33 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #761
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Just call them CYearLetter. C22b. C27f. etc. Variants probably won't be relevant outside of a 1-2 year span, so remembering e.g. 'q is the bad one' can be updated easily.
    That's a way more useful format than the current one. It inherently carries more information in it, so it saves a bit of looking things up. I like it.

  12. - Top - End - #762
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    That's a way more useful format than the current one. It inherently carries more information in it, so it saves a bit of looking things up. I like it.
    When they decided to use this system, they probably didn't think it would take that long. And these names are just for in the press and such. Scientists use other variant names/numbers. Omicron for instance is called B.1.1.529 and delta is B.1.617.2, which if you know what it means is actually quite telling. Subvariants are also given a number in this system, so there are a lot more variants that are described using this system than are given letters. Only the variants of concern get letters.
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  13. - Top - End - #763
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by farothel View Post
    When they decided to use this system, they probably didn't think it would take that long. And these names are just for in the press and such. Scientists use other variant names/numbers. Omicron for instance is called B.1.1.529 and delta is B.1.617.2, which if you know what it means is actually quite telling. Subvariants are also given a number in this system, so there are a lot more variants that are described using this system than are given letters. Only the variants of concern get letters.
    As far as I can tell, this is the paper that developed that scheme: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0770-5

    It's more detailed for phylogenetic information, but it's not really designed to be both informative and easy to talk about. It's also pinned on the original strains and only goes three branches deep (the three numbers). So if Omicron branches further, it'll become a new root letter.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-12-10 at 03:15 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #764
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    I hope that even with antivaxxers out there, we can have hope that we will overcome covid and it will just be a historic plague that screwed with us but didn't defeated us.

  15. - Top - End - #765
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by gnomish dwelf View Post
    I hope that even with antivaxxers out there, we can have hope that we will overcome covid and it will just be a historic plague that screwed with us but didn't defeated us.
    A good hope, but I'm pessimistic. New York (State) is currently seeing its fourth wave of COVID. Trends in Texas and Florida tend to be heading up; I expect their fourth wave to start soon.

    California and Georgia seem to be relatively stable, but still non-zero.

    Washington is trending down, but they recently hit a peak in September with a slow decline, so that's expected.

    And now we're seeing Omicron in these states, which is possibly more infectious.
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  16. - Top - End - #766
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Its winter again and people are gathering more indoors. There would have been spikes in cases even without Omicron.

    The key metric is hospitalizations. If those stay manageable overall case count is less relevant. If Omicron is more transmissable and less severe, it would likely be a good thing (basically a move towards this becoming a more manageable endemic disease).

  17. - Top - End - #767
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    I think from the way cases have gone through the roof here in the UK since Omicron established itself that it is more infectious. Though the fatality rate remains roughly the same (fingers crossed it remains so)
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  18. - Top - End - #768
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    I think from the way cases have gone through the roof here in the UK since Omicron established itself that it is more infectious. Though the fatality rate remains roughly the same (fingers crossed it remains so)
    I was just reading an article about that. The current theory seems to be that the European 4th wave is from schools, as Delta passes between children unlike Covid19, and then on to the adult population.
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  19. - Top - End - #769
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Its winter again and people are gathering more indoors. There would have been spikes in cases even without Omicron.

    The key metric is hospitalizations. If those stay manageable overall case count is less relevant. If Omicron is more transmissable and less severe, it would likely be a good thing (basically a move towards this becoming a more manageable endemic disease).
    Indeed. Almost everybody gets a cold in winter, but nobody really cares as it's just something that annoys you a few days and then it's gone. We have to get COVID to that level and nobody cares about it anymore.

    And things are hopeful in that regard, as in South Africa, where the omicron variant is now dominant, the number of cases goes up, but the hospitalizations and deaths aren't. And in South Africa not a lot (I don't know the exact number) of people are vaccinated. Of course, their population is on average younger than in Europe and the US and that's a very important factor, but still.
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  20. - Top - End - #770
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Its winter again and people are gathering more indoors. There would have been spikes in cases even without Omicron.
    It's not relevant to winter; if it was, we'd not have seen the spikes we did in July and August; Florida saw a rolling 7 day average in the 20k new cases per day, with a spike to almost 30k (which was the highest spike since the pandemic started). It's following a predictable cycle.

    COVID plays a bit different from the flu. It reaches a threshold, stops being able to transmit, then we see a low level of cases for a while before it starts picking up again from declining immunity, a new variant that's not as impacted by the vaccines...

    The key metric is hospitalizations. If those stay manageable overall case count is less relevant. If Omicron is more transmissable and less severe, it would likely be a good thing (basically a move towards this becoming a more manageable endemic disease).
    I'm going to disagree there. Hospitalizations reflect how harmful that particular strain of COVID is. Initial overall case count is relevant because it gives people a heads-up to plan in case the hospitalization rate is higher than expected when the true spikes hit.

    It also doesn't take into account that there may be a variant after Omicron that combines Omicron's transmissibility with, say, B117's severity.

    The more people infected means the more chances for mutations.
    Last edited by sihnfahl; 2021-12-17 at 08:30 AM.
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  21. - Top - End - #771
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    It's not relevant to winter; if it was, we'd not have seen the spikes we did in July and August; Florida saw a rolling 7 day average in the 20k new cases per day, with a spike to almost 30k (which was the highest spike since the pandemic started). It's following a predictable cycle.
    Im not saying thats the only reason for spikes, but it certainly is A reason for it. Looking at the trend here in Quebec we had spikes last year in the fall (school opening) and around December (cold weather plus indoor gatherings for holidays). We see the same pattern this year. Omicron is a tiny percentage of the cases here in Quebec so far so it is not driving the current surge.

    I'm going to disagree there. Hospitalizations reflect how harmful that particular strain of COVID is. Initial overall case count is relevant because it gives people a heads-up to plan in case the hospitalization rate is higher than expected when the true spikes hit.
    My point was, it matters how close the healthcare system is to being overwhelmed. If there are tons of cases but they arent going to risk overwhelming the hospitals then you basically treat it as you would any endemic disease. You take proportionally more action the higher the risk of your system being overwhelmed.

    The more people infected means the more chances for mutations.
    This is certainly true on a global scale. Iíll grant this was more a self-centered statement since the cases here in Canada, let alone just more locally to me, are such a tiny percentage of the global case load as to be basically irrelevant.
    Last edited by Chen; 2021-12-17 at 08:51 AM.

  22. - Top - End - #772
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by farothel View Post
    And in South Africa not a lot (I don't know the exact number) of people are vaccinated. Of course, their population is on average younger than in Europe and the US and that's a very important factor, but still.
    I believe South Africa recently escaped a pretty nasty Delta wave, meaning that although their vaccination rates are low, their natural immunity rates are noticably higher.
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  23. - Top - End - #773
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    I believe South Africa recently escaped a pretty nasty Delta wave, meaning that although their vaccination rates are low, their natural immunity rates are noticably higher.
    But not an overall COVID case issue.

    They were still seeing over 10k+ new cases a day, on average, starting in late June, throughout July and August, declining in September.

    The current wave is running 20k+ new cases a day on average and is still increasing - higher case average than ANY previous wave.
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  24. - Top - End - #774
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    I'm going to take the COVID booster shot on December 28 Tuesday.
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  25. - Top - End - #775
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    I'm going to take the COVID booster shot on December 28 Tuesday.
    Moderna or Pfizer? And which one did you get initially?
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  26. - Top - End - #776
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    Moderna or Pfizer? And which one did you get initially?
    I took two Moderna in February and March of this year.
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  27. - Top - End - #777
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Allahpundit at hotair has been collecting a number of links discussing the latest findings vis-a-vis the Omicron variant.

    So Omicron is turning out to be many times more contagious than delta but is so far proving much less deadly. The reason for this is because it multiplies far more efficiently in the bronchus (where high viral loads are observed) but has far, far more difficulty spreading to the lungs, which is what sends people to the ER.

    There is some question as to whether the disease is inherently more mild or if its because the human population is just tougher now. Between vaccines and natural immunity, it's not a "novel' virus any more.

    The question is also somewhat academic; there simply aren't that many people out there who have neither been vaccinated nor caught the disease. In the US , vaccination rates are high. In South Africa, where the rate is 6%, there is still a high degree of natural immunity from exposure to the disease. People who have been vaxxed or caught the disease act as a barrier or firewall for the increasingly shrinking pool of people who still haven't had any encounter. And I frankly have to wonder if that pool is smaller than we think it is; it's possible there have been a much larger number of asymptomatic cases, especially of Omicron, than has been reported.

    Still a good idea to get vaxxed and boosted, especially if you're over 50 and have underlying medical conditions. While the news so far is good, that doesn't mean we can treat our guard down and treat it as if it's a nothingburger. Prudence is the order of the day.

    Also, Merck and Pfizer's antivirals are being approved .

    So, no, we didn't kill it this year. But we haven't by any means been defeated. It's just taking longer to get back to "normal" -- or, at least , a new normal -- than anticipated.


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    Brian P.
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  28. - Top - End - #778
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    At least this year was an improvement.
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  29. - Top - End - #779
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    At least this year was an improvement.
    Mmm. On getting people vaccinated, maybe.

    We add another 1 million deaths, worldwide, every 4 months or so. That's been relatively unabated.

    And that's IF you can trust the numbers out of countries who are doing their most to hide the true impact of COVID for their own, varied reasons.
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    Default Re: This year we kill it: Corona Virus Thread Mark II

    Theres also the confounding factor that the age of people getting infected isnt uniform. Particularly young kids who cant be vaccinated but even unvaccinated have very low hospitalization rates. I dont think we have sufficient data to conclude on the severity of Omicron, but preliminary data is somewhat hopeful.

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