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JaneB

Coronavirus COVID-19

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40 minutes ago, Bob Singleton said:

Testing. Funny you should mention that. People are being told to drive hundreds of miles to get a test, because there isn't the capacity (be it actual testing kits, or labs to check the tests), while infection rates are on the increase, but because the government have once again failed regarding testing, we're unable to do the more localised testing which would mean only certain areas would need to lockdown rather than a blanket lockdown. And don't forget, deaths tend to lag behind infections ... it's rare for someone to die and then get infected. If the excess death rate in a month is still below or around average, then great. But for the moment, I would urge caution.

And, yes, I possibly have a different take on this compared to others. However, it's slowly emerging that there seem to be many and varied long-term side-effects to this virus. Some people in their 30s and 40s are dying of strokes months after having had and 'successfully' battled the virus. There are others who have developed arrhythmia (as I have), shallow breathing (again, something I have), etc., etc.

It's all very well saying "excess death rates are back to/below normal", but infection rates are increasing and who knows what the long-term side-effects of those are. Problems have already been caused for, amongst others, cancer patients who have had treatments paused. Let's not add to the problems 6 months, a year, 2 years down the line by allowing people to get infected now, just because the immediate mortality rate is low.

My sympathies.  The ongoing heath issues with Covid were largely a secret for a while.  

I agree that the testing program is a shambles, which has failed both  modest standards, let alone those the PM claimed credit for promising. Until the last few days I would have said that infections are not on the increase as it was clear more focused testing was getting more positives.  And in fact there is more localised testing.  The last week's data might mean something, but it is early to say.
However we have about 3000 positive tests a day at the latest high levels,with 370,000 tests a day.  In early April we had 5000 new positive tests a day with just less than 20,000 tests a day.  We have gone from one test in 4 being positive to 1 test in 120.  It would be misleading to suggest that we are anywhere near where we were in April.  Deaths peaked on April 08 suggesting that infections March were even higher.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Meanwhile death rates were at one stage being talked about as 5% of infections.  This was talked down to 1% but realistic estimates have slipped silently down to a range of 0.05-0.2% now  (this reduction hasn't been talked about at all).  
So a) we were much closer to herd immunity in march than anyone has ever said openly, b) infections have collapsed in numbers, c) the death rate appears to have collapsed too and d) the victims are overwhelmingly people with short life expectations.
So as far as Covid being a killer, it does seem to be over.

BUT Covid is a major non-killing illness too.  The comparison with flu turns out to be actually close on deaths, but on subsequent health it is very different.
Your experience I understand is not at all uncommon.
Strangely though there is no data I can find on this.  A conspiracy theorist might think that having wildly overestimated the death rate of Covid and not owned up to this, the authorities are now trying to scare us all with the Health Effects instead without giving an indication as to how many it affects.
We seen death rate estimates s drop from 5% to 1% to 0.1%.  But the serious Health effect estimate is unknown.  is it 0.5% or more? (which would make Covid still a serious threat) or no more than the death rate ?  No one is saying.
And I have seen no discussion of whether it affects a similar victim set as with most Covid deaths, or a much younger healthier set instead.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Droy was my hero said:

My sympathies.  The ongoing heath issues with Covid were largely a secret for a while.  

I agree that the testing program is a shambles, which has failed both  modest standards, let alone those the PM claimed credit for promising. Until the last few days I would have said that infections are not on the increase as it was clear more focused testing was getting more positives.  And in fact there is more localised testing.  The last week's data might mean something, but it is early to say.
However we have about 3000 positive tests a day at the latest high levels,with 370,000 tests a day.  In early April we had 5000 new positive tests a day with just less than 20,000 tests a day.  We have gone from one test in 4 being positive to 1 test in 120.  It would be misleading to suggest that we are anywhere near where we were in April.  Deaths peaked on April 08 suggesting that infections March were even higher.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Meanwhile death rates were at one stage being talked about as 5% of infections.  This was talked down to 1% but realistic estimates have slipped silently down to a range of 0.05-0.2% now  (this reduction hasn't been talked about at all).  
So a) we were much closer to herd immunity in march than anyone has ever said openly, b) infections have collapsed in numbers, c) the death rate appears to have collapsed too and d) the victims are overwhelmingly people with short life expectations.
So as far as Covid being a killer, it does seem to be over.

BUT Covid is a major non-killing illness too.  The comparison with flu turns out to be actually close on deaths, but on subsequent health it is very different.
Your experience I understand is not at all uncommon.
Strangely though there is no data I can find on this.  A conspiracy theorist might think that having wildly overestimated the death rate of Covid and not owned up to this, the authorities are now trying to scare us all with the Health Effects instead without giving an indication as to how many it affects.
We seen death rate estimates s drop from 5% to 1% to 0.1%.  But the serious Health effect estimate is unknown.  is it 0.5% or more? (which would make Covid still a serious threat) or no more than the death rate ?  No one is saying.
And I have seen no discussion of whether it affects a similar victim set as with most Covid deaths, or a much younger healthier set instead.

 

 

Although I largely agree with this, Sweden who had a very lax COVID-strategy had a very low number of people with antibodies - 10% in Stockholm and 7,5% nationally when measured in June. I believe the health authorities had expected 25%+...

However, when KI examined blood samples they found that 30% of all blood tests had t-cells against Covid-19 in may which would indicate that humans with mild or asymptomatic responses to COVID-19 doesn’t develop antibodies but instead t-cells. So it’s hard to say what herd immunity is at this stage. The reason why I pick Sweden is because to my knowledge they have had the most relaxed strategy. If the T-cell theory is correct, they may have a herd immunity of around 40% now which obviously is good news. If not, herd immunity may be at 10%. That’s a big difference. 

 

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2 hours ago, The_Ghost said:

Although I largely agree with this, Sweden who had a very lax COVID-strategy had a very low number of people with antibodies - 10% in Stockholm and 7,5% nationally when measured in June. I believe the health authorities had expected 25%+...

However, when KI examined blood samples they found that 30% of all blood tests had t-cells against Covid-19 in may which would indicate that humans with mild or asymptomatic responses to COVID-19 doesn’t develop antibodies but instead t-cells. So it’s hard to say what herd immunity is at this stage. The reason why I pick Sweden is because to my knowledge they have had the most relaxed strategy. If the T-cell theory is correct, they may have a herd immunity of around 40% now which obviously is good news. If not, herd immunity may be at 10%. That’s a big difference. 

 

I have heard of the T-Cell effect. There seem to be 3 factors which make anti-body tests understate exposure or resistance to covid.
1. is false negatives*.    As I understand it the test is tweaked to get high certainty for positives which mean a significant but unknown number show negative wrongly.
2.  T-cells, as you explained.  Both T-cells and anti-bodies attack viruses like Covid.  Only anti-body resistance are being tested widely. 
3.  Just a general immunity - we know that young children very rarely get infected despite primary schools being germ factories for all other viruses.  So some children can be assumed to be just immune.  And therefore a portion of adults may well be the same.  The effect of 1&2 could be estimated (but we don't hear estimates), 3 would be much harder to guess at.

Sweden is an interesting case but I am not sure it tells us much.  They have a mostly very law abiding population that will respect covid "advice" more seriously than Brits (or Italians) would respect laws.  They also have a lot of space and nothing like the underground system in London.  So while I approve of their policies, I don't see them as a high infection country.

If we look purely at headline data then the only question worth asking is whether a second wave happens in countries which have been hit hard.  For that we need to look at countries like Italy or Spain or the Wuhan capital (where they claim to have no more cases at all).

 

* The corollary to this is that PCR test is designed to avoid false negatives and so errs on the side of false positives.  So of the 3000 in one day positives measured in the recent 370,000 in one day tests, quite a lot of them may be false (implying the absolute level is even lower, though the late uptick is of the same proportion).

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Jasonb   

Britain has a large working class population living very close to each other, I don't think this is the case with Sweden.

Boris was moaning about Council workers, their reluctance to go back to work suggests a number of them have had less serious side effects yet are worried about catching a stronger dose or variant. 

Looking on wiki no cures have been found for earlier types of corona virus?

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Sciatika   

We should also remember that most testing is based on the use of PCR. That means that many tests may be false positives. PCR is a way to amplify DNA sequences in order to be able to test. But there is no way to tell the source of the sequence. For instance, it may be "dead" matter. Consequently, the tests may be being performed in areas where there is a lot of infection and that generates a lot of false positives. So even if you can get tests, it may not be telling what you think.

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Sciatika   

I should have said (to put it into context)...As a result of this, we may be experiencing what is called a "casedemic".  A number of people (of varying backgrounds) are arguing this because fo the low numbers of hospitalisations and mortality. This is mainly in Europe and the Northern US states, which are seeing the same effects. But, it is heavily contested and is certainly not the accepted scientific opinion and so, in general, is not the basis of government policy. This is really important stuff because if it is a casedemic, then we are unnecessarily causing all sorts of problems including damaging our economy to eradicate an issue that does not exist and, consequently causing vast numbers of unnecessary deaths. Worse we are inhibiting community immunity and so encouraging worse problems over the next winter (assuming you think the virus is seasonal). And, if it is wrong, then not acting to reduce the numbers of cases will cause all sorts of problems including damaging the economy and cause large numbers of deaths. Either way, some people will make claims about government ministers having "blood on their hands" and the more extreme of them will claim that it was deliberate. This is the nature of public panic. Meanwhile, less respectable commentators will be whispering in our ears that the disease might never have existed, that it is a mistake by government or, worse, a conspiracy by China, the biochemical industry, the military-industrial complex or global capitalism or that it is not different to flu or any number of other things. They will question the efficacy of every policy while claiming that some other solution (drug, behaviour, religious observance, etc.) will solve all the issues. Who'd be the minister in charge?

Anyway, our solution (my family) is that we discussed it and have chosen to adopt the course of maximum safety for the time being. We will follow government guidance, even if it seems nonsensical at times until we have firm evidence that it is wrong. We also think that we should accept that we have a duty to respect the opinions of others and to accommodate their beliefs in our behaviour even if it impinges on our freedom to choose provided that such restrictions are reasonable.

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1 hour ago, Sciatika said:

But, it is heavily contested and is certainly not the accepted scientific opinion and so, in general, is not the basis of government policy.

100% agree with the rest of the post.
But I think government Covid policy is, and never has been, driven by science.  It is driven by the thing politicians and senior civil servants care most about, positioning oneself so that any necessary future policy is not ruled out because of what you have said before.  (Think lane choice when driving an articulated truck, approaching a junction and not knowing which direction you will have to take).
So quite wrong with the saving grace of being able to react if a new Covid-21 arrives which is a much bigger threat.

And whatever isn't being said in public, I am quite sure that the government advisers are very much on top of the stats, and well ahead of where amateurs (like me) are.  For example they have certainly analysed the economic and NHS effects in terms of QALYs and are fully aware of the damage current policies are doing.  This is essentially what senior government advisers do all the time, good years and bad.
In this the PR policy is determining what science that can be revealed.  

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Jasonb   

I agree about politicians positioning themselves and also deferring to medical experts that did not know what they were dealing with and so assumed the worst case scenario and we got lockdown.

This impacts politicians eventually due to public opinion who are wiling to comply for a while yet not lockdown forever.

There is also a group that are generally in very good health, I reckon about 20% of working adults and just don't get it and some of them were probably in Piers Corbyn's group.

I find it interesting that council workers were resisting the urge to go back to the office, that suggests nerves to me of not wanting to catch it or catch a nastier version.

 

 

 

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It's stories like this (and my own personal experience) that perhaps cloud my judgement, but given how little we do know about Covid-19 I don't think it's a good idea to allow fans back in to stadia (or concerts, cinemas, etc)

 

Kathryn Bromwich on Twitter.png

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Sciatika   

One thing I read is that the illness tends to most affect people long term if they are very fit (I don't mean attractive, though it is only a matter of time before that is considered). I think that idea happens because people expect illness to affect the unhealthy presumably on the principle that the one at the back of the pack - that can't keep up - is likely to be the target of predators. Hence,  people are most surprised when it affects someone in, say, sport or to friends they know are worshippers at the temple of the body. These cases seem to stick in the mind. Equally, the difference between being well and being ill is more pronounced in those who are normally an Amazon or Adonis. I suspect people are looking for a template that helps them to at least predict their susceptibility or better avoid it altogether.

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