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Thread: Disease and pandemics thread (because it's science)

  1. #1111
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    A good preprint paper discussing how demographics and the extent of intergenerational networking affects the mortality rate, country to country.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    On the issue of the two strains, does getting one strain provide immunity to the other? Because if not, then it's just two epidemics going on at the same time, so it really doesn't help if one is less deadly. If it does provide immunity, one wonders about the possibility of creating mutations intentionally, seeking a less dangerous version. Talk about tricky ethics-- what about releasing an extremely contagious mutation that is not virulent? How ironic would it be if germ warfare was used to solve the coronavirus crisis.
    It seems we are at a watershed where governments feel the pressure to do something where in history these epidemics were nature’s revenge and people just responded in ignorance of the causes. We have lived with corona viruses a long time, common colds, which come around slightly mutated without governments ordering us to self isolate for a fortnight. Plus now the social stigma and anxiety caused by risk taking, like visiting an airport or a shopping mall. This particular virus, judging so far, might kill a per cent or so of the population if government did nothing, maybe take out more of us oldies, but the effect right now on global trade, the sudden public awareness or I should say, renewed fear of death, will make a great change. Previous generations have lived with much higher death rates and risk taking, so are we facing a “tipping point” where such risk taking is no longer acceptable?

    One prediction, the future will place more money and effort into faster ways of making vaccines, there are several ideas around that could lead to breakthroughs, given the impetus. Will social historians look to 1920 to see what will happen this century?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    A good preprint paper discussing how demographics and the extent of intergenerational networking affects the mortality rate, country to country. Grant Hutchison
    Oh! Thanks!
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    A good preprint paper discussing how demographics and the extent of intergenerational networking affects the mortality rate, country to country.

    Grant Hutchison
    Very useful paper, explains why I am under so much pressure to stay at home, from anxious children, some of whom have professional links to strategy, and are worried.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10....57913919863717
    Article about 1918 pandemic by my sister, oops so much for funny names.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Sure. Infect them so their immune system does its work. And meanwhile they're infected and contagious.
    Obviously they would be quarantined. Yes that would take them out of service for awhile, but had this been done right away, we'd already be coming out of that phase.

    Soldiers are selected and trained.
    Hence the analogy to ER personnel.
    No, searching for an effective means to achieve a result is a method. Deliberate infection is not such a means, IMO. It has glaring flaws in the execution.
    It would certainly have been dicey, but nothing like the sheer hell we are about to see in California. When the same thing happens in other states, they may decide to take various alternative options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Previous generations have lived with much higher death rates and risk taking, so are we facing a “tipping point” where such risk taking is no longer acceptable?
    I think "acceptability" is kind of an attribute that is imposed after the fact. What has already happened always seems more "acceptable" to those who lived through it, when regarded by those who didn't! It might just be a case of more information now-- and the fact that the Spanish flu came when the world already had another pretty big problem.
    One prediction, the future will place more money and effort into faster ways of making vaccines, there are several ideas around that could lead to breakthroughs, given the impetus. Will social historians look to 1920 to see what will happen this century?
    When historians look to past epidemics, they see that despite all the warnings, the response every time is still unprepared. Many people have been saying for a long time that the modern interconnected world is certain to produce pandemics like never before. After SARS, many argued for a structure to be created to make vaccines more quickly and respond in other ways more quickly. Nothing was done, and indeed several of the programs initiated by one administration were removed by the next. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Perhaps the stock market will garner more attention than mortality rates did.

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    In the eighteenth century and earlier, people would deliberately infect themselves with smallpox through a skin incision. By (hopefully) producing a mild-to-moderate episode of the disease in this way, they protected themselves against a more severe infection. Search on "variolation" for more information. Before the invention of vaccination, it was a not-unreasonable balance of risks that many people accepted.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    A good preprint paper discussing how demographics and the extent of intergenerational networking affects the mortality rate, country to country.
    And another factor that they haven't even been able to consider, with the focus on mortality rates as a function of age, is the rates of needing respirators as a function of age. The majority of the people on respirators will not be elderly, so even though they will likely live, they will occupy the equipment, and endanger ER personnel. Death rates don't tell the story of younger people using up key resources, adding to the death toll of the elderly. This is especially true given that in wartime triage conditions, we are more likely to save the life of someone with 30-40 years to live than someone with only 5 or 10. So a strategy of keeping young people from infecting older people only addresses the overall mortality rate, it does not necessarily address the problem of overwhelming the heath care infrastructure. Indeed, when I heard a quote from a young spring-breaker that said they are willing to "take their chances with the flu," I just thought, wow, what a complete failure to communicate the real stakes here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    In the eighteenth century and earlier, people would deliberately infect themselves with smallpox through a skin incision. By (hopefully) producing a mild-to-moderate episode of the disease in this way, they protected themselves against a more severe infection. Search on "variolation" for more information. Before the invention of vaccination, it was a not-unreasonable balance of risks that many people accepted.
    That's quite interesting, I'm actually surprised we haven't seen some of this already. It may be too late for some places, but this could be just the right time for others. I can only imagine the desperation of someone who would take such a step, or in the case of a healthcare worker, the courage.

  11. #1121
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    In the eighteenth century and earlier, people would deliberately infect themselves with smallpox through a skin incision. By (hopefully) producing a mild-to-moderate episode of the disease in this way, they protected themselves against a more severe infection. Search on "variolation" for more information. Before the invention of vaccination, it was a not-unreasonable balance of risks that many people accepted. Grant Hutchison
    I can see people think, maybe if I lick a doorknob I will get a milder form of coronavirus, because that is how some people here think. Alas.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    Here's a question. Some people have an auto-immune disorder, such that, as I understand it, their immune system is a bit overactive (or improperly nondiscriminatory) and begins to attack one's own cells. I wonder if such people would be "better equipped" to fend off coronavirus?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I can see people think, maybe if I lick a doorknob I will get a milder form of coronavirus, because that is how some people here think. Alas.
    The problem with that is you don't know the viral load. It would make more sense to do it in a laboratory environment, with a well controlled sample.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Here's a question. Some people have an auto-immune disorder, such that, as I understand it, their immune system is a bit overactive (or improperly nondiscriminatory) and begins to attack one's own cells. I wonder if such people would be "better equipped" to fend off coronavirus?
    The reverse.
    Firstly, having autoantibodies (antibodies to your own tissues) doesn't make you any more able to produce antibodies to some new virus, any more than having antibodies to measles would.
    Secondly, because of their condition, many people suffering from autoimmune diseases are on taking drugs that suppress their immune system in a general way, so as to modify the disease progression. So they actually fall into a high risk group.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Indeed. I are one of those people and I'm on a couple of those medications.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The reverse.
    Firstly, having autoantibodies (antibodies to your own tissues) doesn't make you any more able to produce antibodies to some new virus, any more than having antibodies to measles would.
    Secondly, because of their condition, many people suffering from autoimmune diseases are on taking drugs that suppress their immune system in a general way, so as to modify the disease progression. So they actually fall into a high risk group.
    Thanks, Grant. Your first point makes perfect sense, and I was aware of your second point. I've had this weird "condition" for the past year - polymyalgia rheumatica. A low-dose oral steroid (prednisone) with reducing doses is apparently the standard treatment. The steroid really works on the inflammation, but as you say, it also suppresses the immune system. Fortunately, I tapered off to zero a month or so ago. Unfortunately, the inflammation hasn't gone completely. But it is A LOT better than a year ago. Blood test "inflammation markers" are now within the normal range, but just barely. As I said, such a weird "thing." Reports say it could last several years, then just go away! "Cause" is unknown.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    A good preprint paper discussing how demographics and the extent of intergenerational networking affects the mortality rate, country to country.
    Never ceases to amaze me just how many perspectives such authors come up with when analyzing the raw data.

    I wonder when the penny might drop in noticing how most of the 'top ranking' countries have had vast populations smoking cigarettes for most of their lives?

    I therefore wonder when we might see some graphs seeking correlation between victim's past smoking histories and the death tolls?

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    A follow-up article on pets (dogs and cats) and Covid-19. Again they are saying current consensus is that they won’t get it, and won’t transmit it, short of something like an infected person dripping nasal secretions on an animal that is touched in the same spot by someone else, perhaps by petting, and then transferred to the face. They mention the Hong Kong case, but note that the dog didn’t ever appear to be sick with the disease, it was a weak positive so could be a false positive and another dog at the home tested negative.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/healt...ess/index.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    A follow-up article on pets (dogs and cats) and Covid-19. Again they are saying current consensus is that they won’t get it, and won’t transmit it, short of something like an infected person dripping nasal secretions on an animal that is touched in the same spot by someone else, perhaps by petting, and then transferred to the face. They mention the Hong Kong case, but note that the dog didn’t ever appear to be sick with the disease, it was a weak positive so could be a false positive and another dog at the home tested negative.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/healt...ess/index.html
    Coronavirus: Dog face masks flying off the shelves in wake of growing outbreak

    There are several reports that Hong Kong dog died two days after being released from quarantine, also .. (likely hyped though, I suspect).

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    Somewhat more seriously though: if dogs return weak and false positives, what is the percentage for that in human testing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    There are several reports that Hong Kong dog died two days after being released from quarantine, also .. (likely hyped though, I suspect).
    That was mentioned in the article I linked. It was apparently very old and badly stressed, no indication it died due to the virus. This was after quarantine, after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Never ceases to amaze me just how many perspectives such authors come up with when analyzing the raw data.

    I wonder when the penny might drop in noticing how most of the 'top ranking' countries have had vast populations smoking cigarettes for most of their lives?
    Well, that's yet another thing that falls into the recurring category of "stuff doctors already knew about and have been looking for". It's already been tentatively invoked to explain the strong male preponderance of deaths in China, and as a contributing factor for the severity of the outbreak in Italy.

    It's well-known that smoking suppresses the lung immune response, and predisposes smokers to pneumonia, and that the ACE2 receptor (to which coronavirus binds) is upregulated in smokers. So it was an obvious thing to check. We actually have early data from Wuhan that shows smokers were under-represented among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, compared to the general population. That falls into the "doesn't make sense in terms of what we already know" category, and one wonders about some triage process excluding smokers somewhere along the line.
    More recently, we have evidence from a case-control study of hospitalized patients, showing that the group whose disease stablized contained far fewer smokers than the group whose disease progressed.

    These are small samples, though. And we have problems with getting bigger and better epidemiology right now. Firstly, people are kinda busy, you know? So although there's probably a huge dataset forming in Europe right now, little of it is in an accessible form.
    Secondly, smoking comes with all sorts of other confounding lifestyle variables attached, which vary from country to country--alcohol consumption, age, gender, income, exercise, diet, compliance with medical treatment ... Teasing all those out to get a precise signal of how much current or previous smoking affects COVID-19 severity, at a national and an individual level, will take years.

    In summary, the penny dropped long ago.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ... In summary, the penny dropped long ago.
    Not convinced the message has been clearly received across the candidate populations though. Certainly hard to find from the general media reports when it comes to avoidance 'tips'. Swamped by messages of scrambling for masks and social distancing.

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    I mean like: Specifically, which countries have banned cigarette sales as a countermeasure?

    PS: See the worldwide map here .. and notice similarities with the latest Covid maps ..
    Last edited by Selfsim; 2020-Mar-20 at 11:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a1call View Post
    I find it against the odds for a virus that has never infected humans before in the history to be more contagious than viruses with past exposure and evolution.

    What are the odds that a random bat virus had exactly the right combination of traits to effectively infect human cells from the get-go, and then jump into an unsuspecting person? “Very low,” Andersen says, “but there are millions or billions of these viruses out there. These viruses are so prevalent that things that are really unlikely to happen sometimes do.”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/...avirus/608338/

    This does not compute. The characteristics/traits that enables the Covid-19 to easily/very-successfully infect so many humans in such a short time have been present in the virus prior to 2019. What was preventing it from infecting humans in the past?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Not convinced the message has been clearly received across the candidate populations though. Certainly hard to find from the general media reports when it comes to avoidance 'tips'. Swamped by messages of scrambling for masks and social distancing.
    Far too late to make a difference. The lung changes take many months to revert. And asking people to give up smoking for their own good at a time of maximum stress in their lives? You make them miserable, so they smoke more. It's a thing.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by a1call View Post
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/...avirus/608338/

    This does not compute. The characteristics/traits that enables the Covid-19 to easily/very-successfully infect so many humans in such a short time have been present in the virus prior to 2019. What was preventing it from infecting humans in the past?
    As I said the last time you posted about this, viruses are not species like mammals--they're toolkits, made up of parts that can be swapped in and out and adapted. The tool that lets the virus bind easily to human cells is not the same tool that produces the symptom suite that promotes spread, or the tool that causes virulence. When you put together a set of infectious and virulence tools (say, from a bat) with the human-cell binding capacity tool (say, from a common cold coronavirus), then you assemble a new strain of virus, SARS-CoV-2, and you have a new disease.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    I mean like: Specifically, which countries have banned cigarette sales as a countermeasure?
    Speaking as a non-smoker that doesn’t like smoking (for one thing, one of my grandfathers died before I was born due to emphysema) I wouldn’t want to see that. It would just move it to illegal sales for the addicted, cause all sorts of unneeded problems, and smokers know what they do is risky anyway. It is their choice and they have been warned. I do like what my state and others have done in limiting public places that people can smoke. The attitude has changed and the number of smokers have decreased substantially.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Far too late to make a difference. The lung changes take many months to revert. And asking people to give up smoking for their own good at a time of maximum stress in their lives? You make them miserable, so they smoke more. It's a thing.
    There's always a reason for avoiding hearing the penny dropping, eh? There's a cause .. right there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Speaking as a non-smoker that doesn’t like smoking (for one thing, one of my grandfathers died before I was born due to emphysema) I wouldn’t want to see that. It would just move it to illegal sales for the addicted, cause all sorts of unneeded problems, and smokers know what they do is risky anyway. It is their choice and they have been warned. I do like what my state and others have done in limiting public places that people can smoke. The attitude has changed and the number of smokers have decreased substantially.
    .. and where I live, disproportionately large taxes applied to the cost of cigarettes has substantially reduced consumption.

    At the very least, such data-driven, (and thus scientifically justifiable measures), would emphasize the societal impacts across broader population groupings who are also likely to suffer during the pandemic?

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