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Thread: The COVID-19 Discussion Thread (OTB)

  1. #1861
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    Officially, masks are no longer mandated in this state. However, I went to the lab for blood tests in preparation for my annual physical exam and they required masks. That wasnít surprising. More surprising was the number of people wearing masks at the Dunkin Donuts shop I stopped at on the way home.

    Not that Iím complaining. The last week has seen a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases.
    Still very low compared to pre-vaccination times, but substantial as a percentage increase.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  2. #1862
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    I was going to stop my Worldomter tracking at the end of June, but did not. Now I'm seeing an increase in new cases -- the seven-day average is the most it's been in a month at over 13,000 per day. At least deaths are well down, for the time being.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  3. #1863
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    Sydney and its environs is now the only area in lockdown here as, unfortunately, they are having serious problems trying to get on top of this outbreak of the Delta variant. All other states currently have no Covid in the community. Part of the problem, and this is similar to what happened in Melbourne last year, is that there are large multicultural swaths in the outer suburbs where English is a second language if that. The extended family structure is large and used to close contact on a daily basis. Some of these communities also have an ingrained distrust of government because of the situation in their 'origin' countries like Sudan and thus compliance with lockdown measures has been found wanting. Sydney was initially locked down for 2 weeks but this was extended to three weeks and now no end date is apparent.

  4. #1864
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Sydney and its environs is now the only area in lockdown here as, unfortunately, they are having serious problems trying to get on top of this outbreak of the Delta variant. All other states currently have no Covid in the community. Part of the problem, and this is similar to what happened in Melbourne last year, is that there are large multicultural swaths in the outer suburbs where English is a second language if that. The extended family structure is large and used to close contact on a daily basis. Some of these communities also have an ingrained distrust of government because of the situation in their 'origin' countries like Sudan and thus compliance with lockdown measures has been found wanting. Sydney was initially locked down for 2 weeks but this was extended to three weeks and now no end date is apparent.
    I just wanted to mention a couple of things, though of course I don't really understand the full situation, about why non-traditional communities seem to be where the infections are taking place. One is about the extended family structure. I'm not exactly sure why that is so. I think that in East Asia, living with an extended family was the norm maybe a century ago, but in places like Korea and Japan that has definitely changed so that now people are much more likely to live as nuclear families. So I imagine the same would happen eventually among "ethnic" families in Australia. I have a feeling it happens with economic affluence, so it might be that more affluence among those communities would lead to a situation where they were less likely to be infected. I think that in Singapore a lot of the early infections were among foreign workers from places like India, which is natural since they lived in cramped quarters.

    And about the distrust, I suppose that's possible, but I also remember seeing on TV a while ago about the lockdown in Sydney and about how people were defying it (by "exercising" with cans of beer, etc.!), and the people who appeared seemed to be ethnically European. Also, judging from Japan, a lot of native Japanese are also distrustful and some don't wear masks (pretty unusual here). So I would assume that there would be European Australians who would also be defying it. One question: is there a difference in the typical age of people between Victoria and NSW versus other parts of Australia? In Japan infections have tended to be among young people.
    As above, so below

  5. #1865
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I was going to stop my Worldomter tracking at the end of June, but did not. Now I'm seeing an increase in new cases -- the seven-day average is the most it's been in a month at over 13,000 per day. At least deaths are well down, for the time being.
    This is the new COVID strain. By the way, an interesting fact: will you need a new type of vaccine against a new type of virus? Or are the vaccines that the whole world is being vaccinated with are relevant?

  6. #1866
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay Burton View Post
    By the way, will you need a new type of vaccine against a new type of virus? Or are the vaccines that the whole world is being vaccinated with are relevant?
    Unsurprisingly, that is a question on many peopleís minds. What Iíve heard is that the current vaccines are effective against the current variants, but not necessarily as effective as they were against the original virus.

    Pfizer is working on a booster that targets the delta variant. With a large number of people still unvaccinated, the big worry is that variants will emerge for which the current vaccines offer little protection. We could be in for a long-term ďwhack a moleĒ situation.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  7. #1867
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I just wanted to mention a couple of things, though of course I don't really understand the full situation, about why non-traditional communities seem to be where the infections are taking place. One is about the extended family structure. I'm not exactly sure why that is so. I think that in East Asia, living with an extended family was the norm maybe a century ago, but in places like Korea and Japan that has definitely changed so that now people are much more likely to live as nuclear families. So I imagine the same would happen eventually among "ethnic" families in Australia. I have a feeling it happens with economic affluence, so it might be that more affluence among those communities would lead to a situation where they were less likely to be infected. I think that in Singapore a lot of the early infections were among foreign workers from places like India, which is natural since they lived in cramped quarters.

    And about the distrust, I suppose that's possible, but I also remember seeing on TV a while ago about the lockdown in Sydney and about how people were defying it (by "exercising" with cans of beer, etc.!), and the people who appeared seemed to be ethnically European. Also, judging from Japan, a lot of native Japanese are also distrustful and some don't wear masks (pretty unusual here). So I would assume that there would be European Australians who would also be defying it. One question: is there a difference in the typical age of people between Victoria and NSW versus other parts of Australia? In Japan infections have tended to be among young people.
    Well you have made me do some research. The "Median Age" in Australia is 37 while NSW it is 38 and in Victoria 37 so no real difference. ( Purely out of interest I had a quick look at Japan and the Median Age is shown as 48.4 while for the USA it was 38.1). People over 80 have the highest rate of confirmed cases per 100,000. This is almost certainly linked to the second wave of infections that spread through Victoria's aged care homes last year. Then the next 'most infected' group were those in their 20's so similar to Japan. However, it is only in this recent outbreak in NSW that people in their 20's or younger are being hospitalised because of illness caused by their infection. And yes there have definitely been plenty of 'European' Australians who have been flaunting the lockdown rules but they have been met with a bit more official 'discouragement' in the last few days.

    Sydney and Melbourne being the bigger, and better known cities have traditionally attracted a greater percentage of immigrants and those officially classified as refugees than the other cities and states. In Sydney and Melbourne there are 'large' communities of people who have fled not just as refugees but also as migrants from violence in places like Iran, Syria, Sudan etc. As an example 42% of the Muslim population in Australia live in Sydney and 31% live in Melbourne. This contrasts with Perth which houses only 8% of the Muslim population. Perth is about 40% of the size of Sydney or Melbourne so you can see the disproportionate levels.

    They, as I believe is common for the migrant experience worldwide, have tended to congregate together in certain areas. As they generally have poorer English skills and little knowledge of life in Australia they tend to rely on their family and local community for their needs. These communities can become somewhat insular. They also are among the poorer sections of the community as a whole. The housing demographics in these suburbs are also different from other parts of Sydney. The first article linked below points out that in one of these areas 20% of all households consist of 5 or more persons compared to just 3.7 % in the City of Sydney. The same article also points out that English is only spoken at home in 20% of some of these households compared to 75% in a suburb closer to central Sydney.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-...west/100275722

    Some other examples of discussions about what is happening are in these linked news articles.


    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-...dney/100280106

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-...d-19/100278948

  8. #1868
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    With a large number of people still unvaccinated, the big worry is that variants will emerge for which the current vaccines offer little protection. We could be in for a long-term “whack a mole” situation.
    Yes. The more people the virus has access to, the more chances it'll have to mutate during replication.

    Conclusion: This isn't going away.
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  9. #1869
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    And about the distrust, I suppose that's possible, but I also remember seeing on TV a while ago about the lockdown in Sydney and about how people were defying it (by "exercising" with cans of beer, etc.!), and the people who appeared seemed to be ethnically European.
    The sort of people who are generally captured on television "defying lockdown" are probably not responsible for most community transmission, though. A guy "lifting beer-cans" in the park, or "walking" a stuffed toy dog after curfew, is probably relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things. It's people who spend a lot of time mixing with a wider community indoors who are doing the bulk of the transmission, and they pretty much never present themselves for the television cameras. I wouldn't care to speculate on the demographics responsible, particularly in another country. But social deprivation is a recurring theme linked with high Covid transmission in my part of the world, and that connection is complicated and multifactorial. I imagine that most first-generation refugee communities at least pass through a period of social deprivation after settling in a new country.

    (Though one of my wife's prosperous middle-class friends made a good effort to be a one-woman superspreader event during the lockdowns, out of what seemed to be a sort of wilful ignorance of both the rules and the consquences of breaking them.)

    Grant Hutchison
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  10. #1870
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I wouldn't care to speculate on the demographics responsible, particularly in another country. But social deprivation is a recurring theme linked with high Covid transmission in my part of the world, and that connection is complicated and multifactorial. I imagine that most first-generation refugee communities at least pass through a period of social deprivation after settling in a new country.
    Yes, that's important to consider. My impression is that in the US, the burden was particularly high for socially deprived communities, whether they were immigrant or not. And in addition, clearly it transmits most easily when people are close together indoors, and that happens more frequently in big cities than in rural areas, which is clearly part of the reason why in Japan, for example, the transmission started in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka.
    As above, so below

  11. #1871
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    The lockdown in Sydney has been extended until at least 30 June. And the outbreak there has now 'seeded' some cases in neighbouring Victoria.

  12. #1872
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    Meanwhile, the USA is mostly fully open and Worldometer reported 28,923 new cases yesterday, including 5095 in Florida alone. I'm not convinced their numbers are reliable, especially since Florida stopped daily reporting several weeks ago as a coverup, but it's still disturbing.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  13. #1873
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Meanwhile, the USA is mostly fully open and Worldometer reported 28,923 new cases yesterday, including 5095 in Florida alone. I'm not convinced their numbers are reliable, especially since Florida stopped daily reporting several weeks ago as a coverup, but it's still disturbing.
    One post quote but a note to all: let's not go there, please..."there" being the out-of-bounds CT area. I know it can be hard to resist but this applies to hints, jabs, insinuations, or other indirect remarks that open the door that is meant to be closed.
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  14. #1874
    This morning there was a report that a lawyer in Manitoba got caught hiring an investigator to follow a judge and the premier. The lawyer worked for a group that was against some of the regulations around COVID but he was let go after this was found out.
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  15. #1875
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    The lockdown in Sydney has been extended until at least 30 June. And the outbreak there has now 'seeded' some cases in neighbouring Victoria.
    And now Melbourne is back in Lockdown. As mentioned on another thread idiots are often the big cause of the spread of Covid. In this case some removalists went from Sydney to two other states with a couple of loads of household goods. This is allowable under the current restrictions provided they comply with various rules about testing, not mingling in the community, wearing masks at all times etc. Needless to say they ignored all the rules by not wearing masks, stopping at a number of restaurants, wandering all over the state rather than taking a direct route etc. Then when they were diagnosed they have been, apparently, very reticent at explaining where they went and for how long with details creeping out over days rather than hours. The people whose furniture they moved were infected and have in all innocence infected others.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2021-Jul-15 at 06:32 AM.

  16. #1876
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    In Japan we are in the midst of a new wave, and a lot of people fear that the Olympics will make it worse (I don't know what to think, on one hand you have athletes from around the world coming into Japan, but on the other there will be no spectators, and people might stay home from work to watch the games on TV). But the interesting thing is that in Tokyo we have been getting like 500 new cases per day (it's up to more than 1,000 yesterday), but still the number of deaths is relatively low, just a few people each day. I think it's partly from vaccination and the fact that because of vaccination, it is predominantly young people who are getting it). And then generally speaking, it seems that vaccination helps drive down serious cases but doesn't actually stop transmission. And I just read that apparently the Israeli government is planning to adopt a "soft suppression" strategy which basically recognized that COVID is here to stay and aims to prevent transmission in ways that are minimally disruptive to everyday life. It seems like a fairly good idea to me: promote teleworking, promote social distancing, avoid crowding, but maintain a normal lifestyle to the extent possible.
    As above, so below

  17. #1877
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    In another thread there is a discussion of the smallpox vaccine and the circular scar it created (I have one too). Can you imagine how much more reluctance there would be to the Covid-19 vaccine if it created some small scar?
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  18. #1878
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    Oh wow! If vaccine hesitancy or denial isn't depressing enough...

  19. #1879
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    Oh wow! If vaccine hesitancy or denial isn't depressing enough...
    Sell it with ink and get a tat.


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  20. #1880
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    In another thread there is a discussion of the smallpox vaccine and the circular scar it created (I have one too). Can you imagine how much more reluctance there would be to the Covid-19 vaccine if it created some small scar?
    Another example, the live polio vaccine, while somewhat more effective than the Salk vaccine, occasionally could give someone a bad case of polio. Imagine how that would play today. Live polio vaccine in fact is no longer used, because when a polio vaccine is occasionally still given, its advantage is no longer considered worth the added risk.

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  21. #1881
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    In another thread there is a discussion of the smallpox vaccine and the circular scar it created (I have one too). Can you imagine how much more reluctance there would be to the Covid-19 vaccine if it created some small scar?
    On the flip side, there might be less reluctance to get vaccinated if Covid left people's faces covered in scars, the way smallpox did.

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  22. #1882
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    I definitely know of at least one historical figure who retired from public life after her bout with smallpox.
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  23. #1883
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    The seven-day average of new cases in the USA is more than double what it was just two weeks ago. Not good.
    In the UK, they held the British Grand Prix yesterday for 140,000 unmasked fans. It'll be interesting to see if that turns into a superspreader.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  24. #1884
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    In the UK, they held the British Grand Prix yesterday for 140,000 unmasked fans. It'll be interesting to see if that turns into a superspreader.
    To be fair, that wasn't some random act of uncontrolled madness. It's part of a graduated series of mass events taking place in the UK as part of the Events Research Programme. Attendees at Silverstone needed to show Covid status documentation--double vaccinated, confirmed antibodies, or recent negative Covid test--and were required to comply with a raft of other pre- and post-event rules, including follow-up monitoring. Masks were deliberately not mandated.
    ERP pilots have involved range of events across the country including:

    • FA Cup Semi Final and Final, Wembley Stadium, London
    • Circus Nightclub, Liverpool
    • The BRIT Awards, London
    • Sefton Park Pilot (live music event), Liverpool
    • Edgbaston Cricket
    • Royal Ascot (horse racing), Berkshire
    • Download Festival, Leicestershire
    • UEFA Euro 2020 (including Semi Final and Final), Wembley Stadium
    • The Championships, Wimbledon (tennis), London
    • Performances at The Grange Opera Festival, Hampshire
    • The British Grand Prix, Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire
    • Goodwood Festival of Speed, West Sussex
    • The Open Championships (golf), Kent
    • The Challenge Cup Final, Rugby League, Trafford Park, Greater Manchester
    • Home and Gift Buyers Festival, Harrogate, Yorkshire
    • Performances at The Piccadilly Theatre, London
    So it's actually science in action.

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  25. #1885
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    Ohio is currently at 46% fully vaccinated and 49% at least one dose. The county I live in is 50% / 53%. Almost universally now stores are "masks if you are not vaccinated, no mask required if you are".

    By that, half of the customers in any given store should be wearing masks. But judging by what I've seen lately, it is more like about 10% are wearing masks. Either unvaccinated people aren't going out, or people are cheating. I'll leave you all to guess which one I think is true.
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  26. #1886
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Ohio is currently at 46% fully vaccinated and 49% at least one dose. The county I live in is 50% / 53%. Almost universally now stores are "masks if you are not vaccinated, no mask required if you are".

    By that, half of the customers in any given store should be wearing masks. But judging by what I've seen lately, it is more like about 10% are wearing masks. Either unvaccinated people aren't going out, or people are cheating. I'll leave you all to guess which one I think is true.
    During last nightís newscast I commented to Mrs. Extravoice that I suspected Los Angeles re-instituted a full mask mandate for that reason.

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  27. #1887
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    To be fair, that wasn't some random act of uncontrolled madness. It's part of a graduated series of mass events taking place in the UK as part of the Events Research Programme. Attendees at Silverstone needed to show Covid status documentation--double vaccinated, confirmed antibodies, or recent negative Covid test--and were required to comply with a raft of other pre- and post-event rules, including follow-up monitoring. Masks were deliberately not mandated.

    So it's actually science in action.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks, Grant. I wasn't aware of that, it's very interesting. Still weird seeing thousands of unmasked fans in the stands and everyone in the pits wearing them!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  28. #1888
    The Canadian-US border will open on Aug 9 for fully vaccinated Americans and on Sept 7 for the rest of the world.
    Canada will let fully vaccinated American travellers into country on Aug. 9, others on Sept. 7 | CTV News
    ETA: I hate to be working as a customs agent on those days the border will be backed up for miles.
    Last edited by The Backroad Astronomer; 2021-Jul-19 at 07:17 PM.
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  29. #1889
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    ETA: I hate to be working as a customs agent on those days the border will be backed up for miles.
    So, in other words, normal.

    Last time I visited Canada, in 2019, we crossed the border at the Blue Water Bridge, in Michigan north of Detroit, into Ontario. Going into to Canada we breezed through, I don't think it took us 5 minutes. Coming back I think it took us an hour and a half to get through the traffic jam, though the actual bit with Immigration only took a few minutes.
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  30. #1890
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    I've seen a couple of news articles about a poll that reported 62% of Americans would get a booster shot if it was offered to them.

    That doesn't make any sense to me, and I suspect it is indicative of problems with the poll. Last I checked (5 minutes ago) 56% of Americans have received at least one shot. The poll would seem to imply more people want to get the booster than have received the vaccine, which makes no sense. I suspect very large error bars on that poll.
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