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Winter 2022-2023 COVID
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: M_T
12-13-2022, 12:10 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 0
Monetization of masks
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: NoGoldenCalves
11-22-2022, 03:46 AM
» Replies: 1
» Views: 50
Bivalent booster
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: allrightynow
10-21-2022, 03:56 PM
» Replies: 2
» Views: 74
N. Calif. sewage monitori...
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: M_T
10-18-2022, 03:02 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 38
Masks/Respirators
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: NoGoldenCalves
10-09-2022, 05:00 AM
» Replies: 4
» Views: 178
Alleged early SARS-CoV-2
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: M_T
09-01-2022, 05:10 AM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 74
NYTIMES: Surge of Student...
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: M_T
07-27-2022, 12:31 PM
» Replies: 5
» Views: 371
Quicker access to Paxlovi...
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: NoGoldenCalves
07-26-2022, 04:00 AM
» Replies: 1
» Views: 107
Comparing different vacci...
Forum: Vaccine
Last Post: M_T
07-20-2022, 12:24 PM
» Replies: 1
» Views: 102
Sewage readings, plus ano...
Forum: COVID-19
Last Post: Hurlburt88
07-09-2022, 11:00 AM
» Replies: 1
» Views: 103

 
  Winter 2022-2023 COVID
Posted by: M_T - 12-13-2022, 12:10 PM - Forum: COVID-19 - No Replies

We can't say "It's back" since it never left.  There has been talk of the tripledemic and it is upon us.  I'm not going to talk about RSV or Influenza here.  They are serious on their own, and now they're adding to the strain of the US health system.

The major paper of Santa Clara county hid that the county moved into the CDC's High Community Transmission Level in the middle of the 6th paragraph of a single article last week.   The Santa Clara County Public Health Department didn't acknowledge this transition or advise its citizens through a press release.


Monday's San Francisco Chronicle has a story (probably behind a paywall)
  "COVID cases are soaring in S.F. and L.A. — but one of them is doing worse"
The picture with it is of a SF Giants - LA Dodgers game with someone holding up a "Beat L.A." sign.
It was from the COVID era (July 2021).  While it was outdoors, 47 pictured fans have no mask, 2 wear a mask, and 1 has a mask below his chin.

The numbers for L.A. are a bit worse, but S.F. is getting there.
The amount of COVID in the SF Bay Area, judging from the sewage, is the highest it has ever been - beating the Omicron (BA.1) peak from January or the summer peak (BA.2) and dwarfing the Delta peak.   Most people are spreading it without regard to others' health.


A couple of weeks back, a SF Supervisor said Fentanyl was "driving the largest public health calamity since AIDS"  The author of the article using that quote without any context to show its blindness.  (CDC reports the lowest weekly death toll (since April 2020) with COVID as a cause is 1,344 (w.e. 4/23/22), and reported that in 2017 the death toll with a HIV-related cause was 5,534 for the entire year.)

I know several 65+ year-old people with (possible) COVID.  One refused a test.  Another didn't bother with a test when her son (who gave it to her at Thanksgiving, where he (a nurse) knew he was sick) tested positive, thus preventing her from getting Paxlovid.

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  Monetization of masks
Posted by: M_T - 10-21-2022, 11:28 AM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (1)

I'm shelling out some more money to buy more masks.  It ain't over...

I  don't understand why we didn't see monetization of masks.

Imagine the differences in the behavior of Americans
  if every 6-pack of Bud Light had a KN95 mask  with "Bud Light" across it,
  if every 24-pack of Coca Cola had their logo on an included mask, 
  if  Morgan-Stanley made a mask with "Morgan-Stanley:  Put your money where your mouth is!"
  if Kaiser put their logo on surgical masks,
  if MLB & NFL &... were selling masks with the logos of their teams
  if someone made a "Make America Healthy Again" mask

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  N. Calif. sewage monitoring
Posted by: M_T - 10-18-2022, 03:02 PM - Forum: COVID-19 - No Replies

Northern California sewage monitoring continues...

The level of COVID in the area is mostly continuing to decline slowly, but 2022 has been and is still higher than 2021.

There is now a page that shows which COVID variants are most common. (currently BA.4 + BA.5 are 100%).

RSV is climbing fast in most measured areas.
Human metapneumovirus is climbing.
Flu is not a big issue yet (but I've heard it is big in San Diego).
Monkeypox is pretty much limited to San Francisco.


Two ongoing sources of COVID info:  
Steve Shafer's irregular newsletter
Your Local Epidemiologist

Steve Shafer's Oct. 1 letter has item #7 about something from Nature news where a unique variant was discovered in sewage and was traced back to the individual in whom it evolved.

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  Bivalent booster
Posted by: NoGoldenCalves - 10-09-2022, 05:06 AM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (2)

I just got my bivalent booster and flu shot this weekend. After going with Moderna for all my prior shots I went with Pfizer. 

I was shocked to hear that only 4% of eligible folks have gotten it. 

This seems to me to be an indictment the government's blasé messaging around the pandemic and our society's eagerness to hope it away.  

If folks here have not gotten it and are eligible may I ask why? Are you waiting for the Novavax vaccine?

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  Alleged early SARS-CoV-2
Posted by: M_T - 09-01-2022, 05:10 AM - Forum: COVID-19 - No Replies

Italian study finds SARS-CoV-2 in clinical samples collected before December 2019

We've seen these claims before.  I can't see how they're possibly true when SARS-CoV-2 was so infectious.
How could it be as widely spread as they claim without having triggered an epidemic?
Are they suggesting it was a pandemic earlier, but not enough people sick to notice, and no one was dying from it?
Boy, won't the conspiracy theory people have fun with that.  (And especially with the association to skin eruptions.)

I don't know if they're seeing some precursor infection, or have contaminated samples or what.
At least at one point in the article, they indicate that the samples failed to be detectable by PCR, indicating that the amount of viral material was very little.  I wonder if they've proven that they wouldn't detect it in, say, similar samples from 1995, or even in the Shroud of Turin.

If you read the article closely, you'll notice that the mutations in the alleged pre-pandemic RNA were the same mutations found in the early pandemic virus in Italy.  That's consistent with the samples being contaminated.  Or it is consistent with Italy having had spontaneous generation of SARS-CoV-2 that didn't create an epidemic until after China had their epidemic.  I hope the research report addresses this.

Note they try to suggest it was related to suspected measles/rubella cases, but then offer no positive evidence that it was.  Indeed, their evidence, if believed, would suggest it is not related.  (And, while some COVID patients may have had skin lesions (and caries, for that matter), it certainly wasn't a common symptom, so why would there be a noticeable number of people with COVID-associated skin lesions, but not notice they (and a lot more) had a cough, pneumonia, etc.?)

As I understand it, this statement in the article is wrong: "Despite the lack of a definitive timeline on when SARS-CoV-2 initially emerged, previous evolutionary studies indicate that the virus likely circulated in China for several months before the first outbreak was recorded in Wuhan, China."

As I recall (and I may be wrong, or different opinions may have been offered), the evolutionary studies suggested a (late?) October origin, some 6 weeks or so before the first known symptom (December 5).  They searched for evidence even earlier than that, of course, and found none.  Nothing I've seen suggested it "circulated in China".

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  Comparing different vaccines vs different variants
Posted by: M_T - 07-19-2022, 01:10 PM - Forum: Vaccine - Replies (1)

Omicron spike function and neutralizing activity elicited by a comprehensive panel of vaccines

Lots of info on the ability of the different vaccines regarding neutralizing different variants (GB14, BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4/5)

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  Quicker access to Paxlovid
Posted by: M_T - 07-13-2022, 02:41 PM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (1)

The FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization allowing a state-licensed pharmacist to prescribe Paxloviid to patients under certain conditions:

  • The patient must be at high risk of developing severe COVID (CDC ;  NIH)
  • The prescriber must have recent (12-month) blood work that shows no issues with liver or kidneys
  • The patient must have mild to moderate COVID (I don't know that asymptomatic COVID is considered "mild")

A self-reported positive home antigen test is allowed for evidence of COVID.

Previously and still, Paxlovid was available at Test-to-treat sites.
Now, it should be more easily available.

(I recently had to get a (non-COVID) vaccine.  I went to one of the pharmacies a couple of miles away that is also a test-to-treat site.  They were 45 minutes behind their appointments.   Now I should be able to get it at a more local, less backed-up neighborhood pharmacy.)

I find the CDC's info on high risk to be a bit confusing.  It is easy to read it as just being a list of comorbidities.  But 65+ is actually one of the (not-obviously listed) high risks.

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  Sewage readings, plus another source of info
Posted by: M_T - 07-07-2022, 11:54 AM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (1)

I was pointed at this site of an epidemiologist ("YLE" = "Your Local Epidemiologist") thoughts on COVID today.  COVID 2.75?
  https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack...irs-july-7
If you go to her main site, you'll see more than just this one analysis. (Of interest is that she recently got her two young (2-ish?) daughters vaccinated.)
(And don't forget Steve's COVID-19 updates)

The author referenced the Biobot sewage data, so I went to look at that.   Last I had looked, they had a graph that didn't show the current surge in their overall or regional data, but was showing it in their individual county data.  I didn't track down what I saw as a discrepancy.

The CDC may be using the Biobot data at their site.  I note it doesn't include the Stanford data for SF, SF peninsula, San Jose, Gilroy, Sacramento.  I find their data to be quite confusing!

I hadn't looked at the Stanford SCAN site for a while.  It was VERY slow to load the graphs.  Yep, things are still running hot.  I find their default focus on the last 6 weeks to be too narrow.  Maximize the number of weeks and you can compare current with Omicron levels, the little Delta bump, or the Dec. 2020 wave.

You likely will find it interesting that SCAN is now measuring influenza, RSV, and, yes, Monkeypox.
Monkeypox is detected in the two SF sewagesheds, but not in the other areas yet.

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  Masks/Respirators
Posted by: M_T - 06-22-2022, 06:54 PM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (4)

If you haven't seen the useful data of the "MaskNerd", Aaron Collins, you should have.

Fairly recently, he did an interview with the 3M VP of Personal Safety Division.  There are some nuggets in there.


What's the difference between masks and respirators?
  Masks are designed to keep droplets from getting into or out of your nose and mouth.
  Respirators are designed to protect your respiration system (lungs).

What does "single-use" mean with regard to masks or respirators?
  It means they are not designed to be cleaned and re-used.  (ie, you can reuse them but don't try to clean them.)

When do you need to replace a respirator?

  • When it becomes difficult to breath through
  • When it becomes visibly dirty
  • When it fails (strap breaks, nose piece breaks)
  • When it becomes loose (no longer seals)

The VP's final plea was, if you are going to wear a N95 respirator, use both straps - one up high on the head, one down on the neck.

The VP points out that the 3M site has where you can buy 3M masks and know they are genuine.  Among the retail outlets for the 9205+ are Home Depot and the 3M store on Amazon.

------
The mask I use for long periods is the 3M Aura 9205+ which is mentioned several times.  The VP said it is designed to fit most faces, and it comes in only one size.   Aaron Collins describes it as a boat-style.  It has a flat surface that is parallel to the face with the long dimension that wraps around the face.   It has sides that cover the nose and the chin.

It isn't as easy to put on or take off as the ear-loop KN95 masks.  I prefer them for a quick trip into a store.
--------

Some personal thoughts on masks/respirators:

Beards are going to be a problem. If I had a beard, I wouldn't use a cup-style mask, as the seal would be terrible. I'd use a bifold or boat-style mask. I'd get a very large one so it might fit over the beard.

For males, beard stubble can be a problem. You want to be clean shaven so the seal works best.

Most of the time, I would wear a mask for long periods only when I'm in an air-conditioned environment. Not today though. I am finding that if when I'm sweaty and have a bit of stubble, the boat-style mask is irritating my face. I think it is rubbing salt into the beard pores. If you're going to be sweaty, maybe a cup-style mask would have less irritation (I don't know that).

-----
I've been thinking about the use of a respirator mask when you have COVID. Does it keep the virons inside the mask in this case, as it keeps them out normally? The best I can answer is "Maybe". Certainly the mask should be handled differently.

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  "Close contact"
Posted by: M_T - 06-22-2022, 06:34 PM - Forum: COVID-19 - Replies (1)

I had a co-worker notify me last night (Tuesday) that they tested positive for COVID.  I had actually seen him about 1.5 hours earlier.  I spent several hours in a suite of rooms he had been in earlier in the day.  I was in an hour long meeting 5 days before his test, and had seen him briefly four days before.

What bothers me is that, as of 24 hours later, my company has not notified me that I might have been exposed.

It struck me that the CDC's "close contact" dates from the early days of COVID -- when the CDC insisted that COVID was spread by droplets, not aerosols; when the CDC didn't even recommend masks, much less respirators.

By not notifying me, I believe the company is complicit in allowing the disease to spread.  And, I put the blame for that squarely on the stuck-in-the-mud CDC.  By sticking to, and allowing to persist in the public, early COVID misconceptions, the public is being harmed.

One can no longer trust the self-reported number of cases.  IMO, only two numbers can be trusted:
  1) The rate of COVID in any fully tested subset of the community.  Unfortunately, such numbers aren't published.  What is published, and is close, is the number of COVID cases in newly hospitalized patients.  I believe all newly hospitalized patients are tested.  If we knew the number hospitalized (which I don't), we could estimate the infection rate in the general population.

  2) Sewage levels.  There's no getting around it.  If someone has COVID, they will impact the amount of COVID found in sewage.
Unfortunately, there isn't a correlation that says "Level X in sewage corresponds to an infection level of Y%"   But you can compare sewage levels in June versus sewage levels in January.  In my community, sewage levels show the infection rate in the general population is as high as the peak of Omicron.
    Odd - Biobot's national levels don't show a current peak, but when you look at the communities they measure, at least a third show such a peak.  (They don't include my community's levels.)

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