Covid-19 News

  • Of the COVID vaccines the Astrazeneca one is worst for side effects because of this blood clot thing.

    From what I have read, there is no evidence the other vaccines cause blood clots. Astrazeneca is a traditional adenovirus-based vaccine. The others are mRNA. Only the adenovirus ones cause this problem.


    It is ironic because some anti-vaxx people object to the newer mRNA technology, saying it is untested and dangerous. It has now been tested more than any other vaccine in history, with more data than all previous vaccines combined. The data proves it is more safe than the traditional vaccines.

  • From what I have read, there is no evidence the other vaccines cause blood clots. Astrazeneca is a traditional adenovirus-based vaccine. The others are mRNA. Only the adenovirus ones cause this problem.


    It is ironic because some anti-vaxx people object to the newer mRNA technology, saying it is untested and dangerous. It has now been tested more than any other vaccine in history, with more data than all previous vaccines combined. The data proves it is more safe than the traditional vaccines.

    What is really ironic is that many people (like W here) accept the much higher risk of blood clots from COVID - for him age 63 they are 100X worse than his AZ clotting risk - because he is anti-vax. And there are then all the otehr nasties you can get at relatively high probability from COVID that get ignored by the anti-vaxxers. As you say, the AZ vaccine is the riskiest by some way, even though it is a lot less risky than COVID for all over 30.

  • The mRNA vaccine providers can generate a vaccine specific to delta in 100 days once given the go-ahead. Personally I think they should have been told to do this already.

    I expect they have been. Pfizer does not need anyone to tell them, because they developed the whole thing with their own money. I guess what you have in mind is that governments should tell them: "Go ahead and start cranking out a new formula as soon as you can. We promise to pay for booster shots." It is not the R&D the government will pay for, but the products.


    They should make all upcoming vaccines targeted to Delta, because I gather they will work equally well with Alpha. I think I read that.


    The Japanese NHK daily roundup of COVID news said their government has already asked the pharma companies to tweak the mRNA vaccines for the Delta variant. I believe that's what they said yesterday. I wasn't paying close attention. Maybe it was "they are planning to"?

  • ‘Everybody I Know Is Pissed Off’

    New polling data paint a more complicated picture about the next phase of the pandemic.


    The vaccinated, across party lines, have kind of had it with the unvaccinated, an array of new polls suggests.

    While most state and national GOP leaders are focused on defending the rights of unvaccinated Americans, new polling shows that the large majority of vaccinated adults—including a substantial portion of Republicans—support tougher measures against those who have refused COVID-19 shots.

    ‘Everybody I Know Is Pissed Off’
    New polling data paint a more complicated picture about the next phase of the pandemic.
    www.theatlantic.com

  • However, the PRINCIPLE Trial admits patients with up to a 14-day duration of symptoms. It is impossible for antiviral treatment to show a benefit over such a long time span.

    Umm... The PRINCIPLE patients will be up to 14 days. If ivermectin helps those say from +3 days, it will still show an effect. They can, in addition, filter outcome data by number of days prior symptoms/text.


    In this subject, anyone doing ivermectin home dosing (I am NOT recommending this, but many alas seem to think it a good idea) note particularly grapefruit juice:


    Exclusion criteria (Ivermectin arm)
     Known allergy to Ivermectin or any of its excipients
     Known or suspected pregnancy
     Breastfeeding during the course of the trial
     Women of childbearing potential (or male with a partner of) not prepared to use highly effective
    contraception for the duration of the study)
     Ever having travelled to countries that are endemic for Loa loa (Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
    Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial, Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and
    Sudan)
     Known bleeding disorder
     Known severe liver disease
     Currently taking the following drugs: quinidine, amiodarone, diltiazem, spironolactone, verapamil,
    clarithromycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, sirolimus, indinavir,
    ritonavir, cobicistat, warfarin
    Consumption of grapefruit juice

  • While most state and national GOP leaders are focused on defending the rights of unvaccinated Americans, new polling shows that the large majority of vaccinated adults—including a substantial portion of Republicans—support tougher measures against those who have refused COVID-19 shots.

    Just to point out that - unexpectedly - tougher measures are likely to increase not reduce vaccine hesitancy. The persuadable are turned into the enemy and can never then be persuaded.


    I find myself thinking tougher measures are fair and right - but maybe they are not best.


    Does not apply here. I'm all for tough as possible measures against those posters who are anti-vax. string-em-up!

  • Our best information now is that even with 100% vaccination and delta we cannot stop spread without lockdown. Delta is more than 2X more transmissable than original, and vaccination efficacy is 50%. Admittedly there is quite a bit of uncertainty in this - but it is what we now expect.

    I do not think a lockdown is needed. With ~80% vaccination plus case tracking and quarantines the R0 will fall well below 1, and the pandemic will go away. Rapid testing and quarantine are essential. You don't need a lockdown if you have them. They cost orders of magnitude less money than a lockdown, and less trauma to the population, especially schoolchildren.


    This has to happen worldwide to drive the virus into extinction in humans. It is no good doing it only in wealthy countries. Supplying the vaccines to poor nations will cost a trivial sum of money compared to letting the pandemic continue.


    The R0 in Georgia is now close to record highs. The percent positive for COVID tests is at 18%, high in the "red zone," which is catastrophic. Hospitalizations are close to record highs, and deaths at the expected rates for age cohorts are right where they have always been for unvaccinated people. In other words, the pandemic is as bad as it was at the peak last December, and it is getting worse for young people.


    GDPR Support


    In response to this crisis, our GOP leaders are taking strong action. They are doing all they can to prevent vaccinations, masking and other public health measures, and they are blaming the outbreaks on imaginary busloads of infected illegal aliens being sent from Mexico by the Biden administration. In other words, they are engaged in lunatic, homicidal politics that will kills tens or hundreds of thousand of people, and ruin millions of lives. This is working well for them. Their supporters love it! They are "owning the libs." They are likely to be reelected, unless they kill too many of their own supporters. They are killing mainly Republicans, which is the only good thing about this, from my point of view. This is the most bizarre situation I have ever seen. As I said, it resembles the delirious celebrations by the Japanese public when the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced. Anyone in Japan with an ounce of sense should have realized that attack would bring about the destruction of their empire and the deaths of millions of people. (Many smart people did realize that. They were not all crazy.)

  • Rapid testing and quarantine are essential.

    OK - I agree we can stop spread with good case tracking - but that is only possible with lowish infection rates. Would not work in UK! In addition are case tracing has never been very good, mainly because we cannot make people self-isolate, and many people cannot afford to do this due to lack of support. All these things can be mended easily when you have a very low infection rate.

  • In response to this crisis, our GOP leaders are taking strong action. They are doing all they can to prevent vaccinations, masking and other public health measures, and they are blaming the outbreaks on imaginary busloads of infected illegal aliens being sent from Mexico by the Biden administration. In other words, they are engaged in lunatic, homicidal politics that will kills tens or hundreds of thousand of people, and ruin millions of lives. This is working well for them. Their supporters love it! They are "owning the libs." They are likely to be reelected, unless they kill too many of their own supporters.

    We have this thing called stiff upper lip in the UK: cold baths, long runs in the rain, etc. It does not extend, for political reasons, to accepting 1% Russian roulette death and 10% nasty side effects.


    You have no idea how ghoulishly fascinating the US politics on this issue seems from the outside. But, as you say, if people get re-elected with this it is what the population want. Bob#2 here might be the best person to explain this politics - I can't.

  • Just to point out that - unexpectedly - tougher measures are likely to increase not reduce vaccine hesitancy. The persuadable are turned into the enemy and can never then be persuaded.

    I have read that. I cannot judge if it is true. It is difficult to predict public opinion, or how people will react to events.


    Obviously the one measure that would help would be if Trump, FOX and the other GOP leaders would tell their followers the vaccines work, they are safe and you should get one. They have said that a few times, but for each time they say it, they say the opposite a hundred times!


    If the number of young people and children getting serious cases increases, perhaps the unvaccinated will be more easily persuaded. I would hope so. But they seem to be highly antisocial. They are not inclined to help themselves, so it is even less likely they will help other people's children.


    You would think that these videos of unvaccinated people in hospitals pleading with the public to get vaccinated would have an impact, but it does not seem to.


    There has been a slight upturn in vaccinations in the most heavily infected states, but it is not enough to stop the disaster. I think those are mainly people who are frightened of getting the disease. There is such strong opposition to vaccination in these districts that hospitals are setting up secret entrances so that people can drive in without being seen. They want to be vaccinated without their families and neighbors finding out. The patients are pleading with doctors not to tell anyone. They face retribution from their families, co-workers and church groups. Doctors who advocate vaccinations and masking are threatened by angry crowds who block their cars and yell threats to their faces: "We know who you are. We know where you live."


    People Are Getting Secretly Vaccinated for COVID-19. Here's Why
    Some people are going to great lengths to get inoculated in secret over fear of backlash from their communities and families.
    www.healthline.com


    I cannot predict how people will react, but this strong anti-vaxx, anti-science lunatic response is 100% predictable. It is a product of GOP, Fox News, and other right wing politics. It is exactly what they have been pounding into their followers from day 1, and for decades before this. They tell people that vaccines will kill you in ten years, or it will make your daughter unable to conceive, it will implant microchips made by Bill Gates into you, and besides, COVID is fake news, no one is actually dying in the hospitals, the doctors and nurses are killing people and saying it is COVID, and on, and on. It is no wonder millions of people believe them! What did you expect would happen? Millions of Japanese people believed the Emperor and the rulers of Japan when they said that the attack on Pearl Harbor would lead to victory. That was no more lunatic than what the GOP politicians and Fox New is telling their followers today.

  • The Vaccine Scientist Spreading Vaccine Misinformation
    Robert Malone claims to have invented mRNA technology. Why is he trying so hard to undermine its use?
    www.theatlantic.com


    The Vaccine Scientist Spreading Vaccine Misinformation

    Robert Malone claims to have invented mRNA technology. Why is he trying so hard to undermine its use?


    Whether Malone really came up with mRNA vaccines is a question probably best left to Swedish prize committees, but you could make a case for his involvement. When I called Malone at his 50-acre horse farm in Virginia, he directed me to a 6,000-word essay written by his wife, Jill, that lays out why he believes himself to be the primary discoverer. “This is a story about academic and commercial avarice,” it begins. The document’s tone is pointed, and at times lapses into all-caps fury. She frames her husband as a genius scientist who is “largely unknown by the scientific establishment because of abuses by individuals to secure their own place in the history books.”


    The abridged version is that when Malone was a graduate student in biology in the late 1980s at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, he injected genetic material—DNA and RNA—into the cells of mice in hopes of creating a new kind of vaccine. He was the first author on a 1989 paper demonstrating how RNA could be delivered into cells using lipids, which are basically tiny globules of fat, and a co-author on a 1990 Science paper showing that if you inject pure RNA or DNA into mouse muscle cells, it can lead to the transcription of new proteins. If the same approach worked for human cells, the latter paper said in its conclusion, this technology “may provide alternative approaches to vaccine development.”


    These two studies do indeed represent seminal work in the field of gene transfer, according to Rein Verbeke, a postdoctoral fellow at Ghent University, in Belgium, and the lead author of a 2019 history of mRNA-vaccine development. (Indeed, Malone’s studies are the first two references in Verbeke’s paper, out of 224 in total.) Verbeke told me he believes that Malone and his co-authors “sparked for the first time the hope that mRNA could have potential as a new drug class,” though he also notes that “the achievement of the mRNA vaccines of today is the accomplishment of a lot of collaborative efforts.”


    Malone says he deserves credit for more than just sparking hope. He dropped out of graduate school in 1988, just short of his Ph.D., and went to work at a pharmaceutical company called Vical. Now he claims that both the Salk Institute and Vical profited from his work and essentially prevented him from further pursuing his research. (A Salk Institute spokesperson said that nothing in the institute’s records substantiates Malone’s allegations. The biotech company into which Vical was merged, Brickell, did not respond to requests for comment.) To say that Malone remains bitter over this perceived mistreatment doesn’t do justice to his sense of aggrievement. He calls what happened to him “intellectual rape.”


    One target of Malone’s ire, the biochemist Katalin Karikó, has been featured in multiple news stories as an mRNA-vaccine pioneer. CNN called her work “the basis of the Covid-19 vaccine” while a New York Times headline said she had “helped shield the world from the coronavirus.” None of those stories mentioned Malone. “I’ve been written out of the history,” he has said. “It’s all about Kati.” Karikó shared with me an email that Malone sent her in June, accusing her of feeding reporters bogus information and inflating her own accomplishments. “This is not going to end well,” Malone’s message says.

    Karikó replied that she hadn’t told anyone that she is the inventor of mRNA vaccines and that “many many scientists” contributed to their success. “I have never claimed more than discovering a way to make RNA less inflammatory,” she wrote to him. She told me that Malone referred to himself in an email as her “mentor” and “coach,” though she says they’ve met in person only once, in 1997, when he invited her to give a talk. It’s Malone, according to Karikó, who has been overstating his accomplishments. There are “hundreds of scientists who contributed more to mRNA vaccines than he did.”


    Malone insists that his warning to Karikó that “this is not going to end well” was not intended as a threat. Instead, he says, he was suggesting that her exaggerations would soon be exposed. Malone views Karikó as yet another scientist standing on his shoulders and collecting plaudits that should go to him. Others have been rewarded handsomely for their work on mRNA vaccines, he says. (Karikó is a senior vice president at BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer to create the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized for use last year.) Malone was once forced to declare bankruptcy, though he’s not exactly living on the streets: In addition to being a medical doctor, he has served as a vaccine consultant for pharmaceutical companies.


    Malone may keep company with vaccine skeptics, but he insists he is not one himself. His objections to the Pfizer and Moderna shots have to do mostly with their expedited approval process and with the government’s system for tracking adverse reactions. Speaking as a doctor, he would probably recommend their use only for those at highest risk from COVID-19. Everyone else should be wary, he told me, and those under 18 should be excluded entirely. (A June 23 statement from more than a dozen public-health organizations and agencies strongly encouraged all eligible people 12 and older to get vaccinated, because the benefits “far outweigh any harm.”) Malone is also frustrated that, as he sees it, complaints about side effects are being ignored or censored in the nationwide push to increase vaccination rates.


    You might very well walk away with the skewed sense, after hearing Malone speak or reading his posts, that there is a far-reaching COVID-19 cover-up and that the real threat is the vaccine rather than the virus. I’ve listened to hours of Malone’s interviews and read through the many pages of documents he’s posted. He is a knowledgeable scientist with a knack for lucid explanation. It doesn’t hurt that he looks the part with his neatly trimmed white beard, or that he has a voice that would be well suited for a meditation app. Malone is not a subscriber to the more out-there conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19 vaccines—he doesn’t, for instance, think Bill Gates has snuck microchips into syringes—and he sometimes pushes back gently when hosts like Bigtree or Beck drift into more ludicrous territory.


    And yet he does routinely slip into speculation that turns out to be misleading or, as in the segment on Bannon’s show, plainly false. For instance, he recently tweeted without evidence that Pfizer and the Israeli government have an agreement not to release information about adverse effects for 10 years, which is hard to believe given that the country’s health ministry has already warned of a link between the Pfizer shot and rare cases of myocarditis. Malone’s LinkedIn account has twice been suspended for supposedly spreading misinformation.






  • Just to point out that - unexpectedly - tougher measures are likely to increase not reduce vaccine hesitancy. The persuadable are turned into the enemy and can never then be persuaded.


    Who cares? …“It’s their funeral”, as it were. At some point it becomes more about keeping those with a higher chance of being infectious away from the immunocompromised. And they can moan about it as much as they like, on whichever minor website still tolerates them. I don’t think many people listen to them anyway.


    (Take Wyttenbach for example, he admitted his children ignore his odd theories, and rushed to get vaccinated. I imagine they roll their eyes in mock horror down the pub, whilst regaling their friends with the latest ‘crazy dad’ tales).


    Let the anti-vaxxers exclusively live together, and exclusively date each other, as your link suggested is happening. What’s the worst that can happen? A new underclass forms? Fine by me. I can’t be arsed doing the garden anyway, and cooking and cleaning are highly over-rated as activities.


    (I’ve spent several holidays in Uttar Pradesh, and frankly, I’m a little envious at my friend’s staff count, but as she explains, although it looks a bit exploitative to a Westerner, she is very much doing them a favour... It’s a big step up the ladder from subsistence farming).



  • Better estimate of vaccine efficacy (against asymptomatic infection)


    Proviso - this is UK - with 12 weeks between doses, and second dose Feb - July.


    time after last dose can affect efficacy, as can time between doses. There is some evidence 12 weeks leads to better immune response than 2 weeks.


    This data is all delta variant


    Coronavirus infections three times lower in double vaccinated people - REACT | Imperial News | Imperial College London
    New research has found that double vaccinated people were three times less likely than unvaccinated people to test positive for the coronavirus.
    www.imperial.ac.uk


    People who were unvaccinated had a three-fold higher prevalence than those who had received both doses of a vaccine, at 1.21% compared to 0.40%. However both of these represent more than a five-fold increase compared to the previous round (0.24%, 0.07%, respectively). Based on these data, the researchers estimate that fully vaccinated people in this testing round had between around 50% to 60% reduced risk of infection, including asymptomatic infection, compared to unvaccinated people.


    In addition, double vaccinated people were less likely than unvaccinated people to test positive after coming into contact with someone who had COVID-19 (3.84% vs 7.23%).

  • Well, their partner BioNtech received $445 million from the German government.

    I wouldn't know about that. If that's true, it was worth every penny, and bravo to the German government.


    We all know that they were paid for the actual delivered vaccines. I suppose they made a good profit on that. That's great! That's how capitalism works.

  • People who were unvaccinated had a three-fold higher prevalence than those who had received both doses of a vaccine, at 1.21% compared to 0.40%. However both of these represent more than a five-fold increase compared to the previous round (0.24%, 0.07%, respectively). Based on these data, the researchers estimate that fully vaccinated people in this testing round had between around 50% to 60% reduced risk of infection, including asymptomatic infection, compared to unvaccinated people.

    That's good. It will be even better with a booster vaccine engineered to target the Delta variant.


    Unless a new and highly virulent and dangerous variant emerges, vaccinated people will be safe. We are stuck at home again, and the economy will take a huge hit, but anyway we are safe. Unvaccinated people in the U.S. are in more peril than they were last year. More of them will die. They are not protected by a significant level of herd immunity, because they live in districts where only 25 to 30% of people are vaccinated. The curve starts to level off at that percent, but not by much.


    The vaccination campaign initially reduced hospitalization and deaths by a huge amount. I do not think that was mainly because of herd immunity, except in the elderly population. For the rest of the population, cases were reduced because they interrupted the chain of transmission, the way quarantine does. Infections and deaths are now increasing catastrophically in the U.S. because of the Delta variant and because many people clustered together have not been vaccinated.

  • You have no idea how ghoulishly fascinating the US politics on this issue seems from the outside. But, as you say, if people get re-elected with this it is what the population want. Bob#2 here might be the best person to explain this politics - I can't.


    I think I can explain it, although it takes some broad brush strokes, and is not intended to be a pointed reference to anyone here. There are plenty of admirable and reasonable republicans both in politics and in life.


    But they are a dying breed - republicans in general, that is. As America gets browner and better-educated, there’s a diminishing constituency for the Republic party, as every survey on the matter suggests. Add in the fact that red counties represent half the vote, but only 30% of America’s economy, and that worldwide there’s a long-term movement towards living in big cities (pandemic accepted), things are looking even more bleak for them.


    The answer? Rile up people with identity politics and culture wars. Define particular groups as ‘the other’ - those who “want to destroy your way of life”, as a certain President claimed. Push people’s buttons, appeal to their base instincts. Give simple public health measures the appearance of a crisis of democracy.


    And it works, or it did work, until it all went a bit too far, and normal Americans realised they prefer someone with obvious age-related deteriorations to the alternative. But the strategy predated the last administration, and will extend beyond the next, because given the demographics, its one of the few plays the party leaders have left.

  • Who cares? …“It’s their funeral”, as it were. At some point it becomes more about keeping those with a higher chance of being infectious away from the immunocompromised.

    Well . . . I care because these people are a gigantic petri dish producing new and possibly more dangerous variants. Also they are making life miserable for me. I was hoping to go to a wedding and a conference and some other events this year, but they are cancelled. I cannot even go to an indoor restaurant. It is unlikely I will get a serious case, but as Ashish Jha put it, I don't want to risk getting sick for two weeks just to eat in a restaurant. That would be like going to a restaurant that you know has a filthy kitchen and a high rate of food poisoning.


    We can't keep these people away from immunocompromised. They refuse to stay away. We can't even get them to wear masks in the grocery store! We cannot keep them away from me, and I resent that.


    Let the anti-vaxxers exclusively live together, and exclusively date each other, as your link suggested is happening. What’s the worst that can happen?

    The worst that can happen is they incubate a new variant that kills 10% of patients, mainly children, and that the vaccines do not protect against. There are other nightmare scenarios.


    They do live together to some extent, in Georgia. I am glad I live in a Democratic district. But they are not exclusively enough. Plus come to our grocery stores unmasked, which irks me. We don't go screaming in their faces, the way they do when people wear masks in their stores. The other day they did that to some poor woman who has cancer and is immunocompromised. We do not go blocking their cars, threatening them, spitting on them, * and saying "We know who you are! We know where you live!"


    The anti-vaxx GOP people shouting about mandates and pressure are projecting. They are the ones forcing others to follow their tribal laws. They are threatening us, not the other way around.



    Quoting the article I linked to above:


    “We know from vaccine distribution maps that low vaccination rates are clustered in specific areas of the country. We also know that oftentimes, people from similar backgrounds who are embedded within a social network may hold similar beliefs, including mistrust about COVID vaccine safety or efficacy,” explained Melissa J. Basile, PhD, medical anthropologist at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.


    Basile told Healthline that, within certain communities, “negative information about the vaccine is being circulated that is leading people within that community to not trust the science behind the vaccine in the first place.”


    “While there may be social pressure in some case, both for and against vaccination, unless it’s an extreme circumstance, people who want the vaccine will find a way to get it,” she added.


    [NOT TRUE, I am afraid . . . Not according to local news sources here in Georgia. Also, as pointed out in this article, many parents are preventing children under 18 from getting vaccinated.]



    Dr. Timothy Brewer, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and of Medicine, told Healthline that “one of the tragedies of the pandemic and our national response to the pandemic” is how politicized basic protective healthcare measures became.


    From the start of the pandemic in the United States, wearing a protective face mask became a political statement, and, eventually, getting a vaccination became a political statement.


    Brewer, who also is a member of the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said that actions that are common sense for protecting oneself and the surrounding community became charged in our current cable news- and social media-driven national political echo chambers.


    He cited the irony that no one is waging mass protests over other common vaccinations.


    “Nobody is taking to the streets and saying the government is trying to shove tetanus vaccines down our throats,” Brewer told Healthline.


    [ALSO, the claims by GOP politicians that we have never forced people to vaccinate are nonsense. We force all children to vaccinate.]



    * Granted, spitting wouldn't work for us. It is no threat. Our spit is not dangerous. We are not infected. Also, people who get vaccinated tend to be fastidious and health conscious about things like spitting. They are fuddy-duddy conformists who obey speed limits and do not litter. Spitting is not our style.