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jimmy m
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22 Nov 2022, 8:58 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
It’s Gotten Awkward to Wear a Mask


But that is the way NTs operate. You can get assaulted for wearing a mask or for not wearing a mask. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing.


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23 Nov 2022, 9:41 am

Nov 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated on Friday that Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 account for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in the country for the week ending Nov. 19, compared with 39.5% in the previous week. The proportion of the two variants, which are descendants of Omicron's BA.5 sub-variant, have risen to 49.7% of circulating coronavirus variants, around two months after they were initially detected.

There is no evidence yet that BQ.1 is linked with increased severity compared with the circulating Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said, but warned it may evade some immune protection, citing laboratory studies in Asia.

Source: COVID variants BQ.1/BQ.1.1 make up nearly half of U.S. cases - CDC

This sounds like good news going into the holiday season.


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23 Nov 2022, 1:25 pm

jimmy m wrote:
Nov 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated on Friday that Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 account for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in the country for the week ending Nov. 19, compared with 39.5% in the previous week. The proportion of the two variants, which are descendants of Omicron's BA.5 sub-variant, have risen to 49.7% of circulating coronavirus variants, around two months after they were initially detected.

There is no evidence yet that BQ.1 is linked with increased severity compared with the circulating Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said, but warned it may evade some immune protection, citing laboratory studies in Asia.

Source: COVID variants BQ.1/BQ.1.1 make up nearly half of U.S. cases - CDC

This sounds like good news going into the holiday season.


In the year since Omicron arrived no matter what sub variant emerges it is very contagious and relatively mild. In my amateur opinion it is going to take a whole new variant to change this. Yet despite the ditching of most mitigation measures one has not emerged. Letting it rip was supposed to mean many new variants It seems Omicron mutates into sub variants so fast it is not letting other variants form.


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23 Nov 2022, 1:27 pm

COVID seems to be on its way to becoming something like the flu----though still much more of a nuisance than the flu, especially as far as potential harm is concerned.

My last COVID wasn't even a "bad cold." It lasted four days. I had a slight feverish/chills feeling for like 1 or 2 days.



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23 Nov 2022, 2:43 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
COVID seems to be on its way to becoming something like the flu----though still much more of a nuisance than the flu, especially as far as potential harm is concerned.

My last COVID wasn't even a "bad cold." It lasted four days. I had a slight feverish/chills feeling for like 1 or 2 days.

It is still killing a lot more people per day then in a bad flu year and there is long covid leaving many disabled. It is a fraction of what it was in March and April 2020 so it seems like it’s “just like the flu” and for the most part is being treated that way. It isn’t.


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23 Nov 2022, 3:30 pm

COVID is still being taken very seriously. It is certainly not being treated like the flu where I work. You still have to isolate for five days if you come up positive. I had it last August. I had to isolate the whole week.

Everyone I know who has had COVID recently experienced either mild cold or flu symptoms. Though too many people still experience severe symptoms and then long COVID. Too many to ignore. Back in March, 2020, a co-worker died of COVID. He had severe asthma.

I agree that it is not "just the flu." It just seems that way.

I understand about Long COVID. There's too much of it to ignore. There is no "long flu."

It must be said that deaths are way down-----primarily because of vaccination and acquired immunity. But one death from anything is one too many.



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23 Nov 2022, 6:40 pm

Long COVID stigma may encourage people to hide the condition

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An estimated 2.1 million people are living with long COVID in the UK alone. We recently asked 888 people in the UK with long COVID about their experiences of stigma, and 95% of them said they had experienced stigma related to their condition.

On top of the physical symptoms, people living with long COVID may have to contend with discrimination and prejudice within their communities, workplaces and even health services. Long COVID is a relatively new medical condition, and has been subject to lots of misinformation and minimisation of its legitimacy as a physical illness.

To date, there have been no estimates as to how common stigma around long COVID is, which has limited our ability to tackle the problem. Being aware of numerous anecdotes of the discrimination long COVID patients face, we decided to look into the extent of this problem. To do this, we designed a questionnaire together with people who had lived experience of the illness.

The questions aimed to estimate how commonly people with long COVID experience stigma across three domains. “Enacted stigma” means being treated unfairly due to their long COVID, “internalised stigma” is where people feel embarrassed or ashamed of their illness, and “anticipated stigma” is a person’s expectation that they will be treated poorly because of their condition.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they had experienced overt discrimination related to their illness. Examples of this enacted stigma include being treated with suspicion and disrespect, or friends ceasing contact due to their health condition.

In addition, 91% of those surveyed shared that they lived in fear of prejudice (anticipated stigma). For example, they worried people would not believe their illness was real, or that they were at risk of losing their jobs due to having long COVID.

Some 86% of respondents reported internalised stigma. For example, they felt that they were of less value than others, or felt embarrassment or shame related to their illness and its associated physical limitations.

The fact that overt discrimination was less common than perceived prejudice and internalised shame shouldn’t be seen as a positive. It confirms what we know from research on other stigmatised conditions such as HIV.

People who are aware of the prejudice associated with a disease are likely to internalise shame and might try to protect themselves from discrimination by concealing their illness. This may make them less likely to face overt discrimination, but can have detrimental effects on their mental health, relationships and access to services.

Indeed, we found that experiencing stigma is linked to being careful about who people disclose their illness to. And about one-third of respondents said they regretted having told people about their illness.

We also found that people with a clinical diagnosis of long COVID were more likely to experience all types of stigma than those not formally diagnosed. We are unsure why this is. One possible explanation is that those with a formal diagnosis might be less likely to keep their symptoms a secret and more likely to engage with health services.

The stigma questions were part of a follow-up survey of respondents we originally recruited via social media. We recruited participants in this way to ensure we could capture people who identify as living with long COVID, irrespective of whether they had a formal clinical diagnosis (roughly half did).

Unfortunately, this means that our sample lacked diversity and, in particular, representation from more marginalised groups of people with long COVID, such as those with limited access to technology and social media.

The majority of people in our study were university-educated white women from England, and this may have resulted in an under- or over-estimation of long COVID stigma. So we cannot know for sure whether the prevalence of stigma found here will be the same for other groups of people with long COVID.

If you know somebody with this condition, it can be difficult to know what to say, particularly in light of any misinformation that you may have been exposed to. Here are some supportive, non-stigmatising things you can say when someone tells you they have long COVID.

“Thank you so much for sharing your long COVID struggle with me.”

“I am so sorry. Is there anything that helps manage your symptoms?” It’s a good idea to list symptoms they shared with you to show you have heard and believe them.

“I realise I know very little about long COVID. I will start reading up on it more so that I can support you as best I can.”

“I am here for you. Please tell me if I can help in any practical way.” Long COVID symptoms might make daily chores and tasks difficult, so let them know what you might be able to help with, such as a cooked meal, childcare or school runs.


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27 Nov 2022, 4:57 pm

More Vaccinated People Dying of COVID as Fewer Get Booster Shots

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For the first time, the majority of people dying from COVID-19 in America have been vaccinated.

“We can no longer say this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Cynthia Cox, who conducted the analysis, told The Washington Post.

People who had been vaccinated or boosted made up 58% of COVID-19 deaths in August, the analysis showed. The rate has been on the rise: 23% of coronavirus deaths were among vaccinated people in September 2021, and the vaccinated made up 42% of deaths in January and February of this year, the Post reported.

Research continues to show that people who are vaccinated or boosted have a lower risk of death. The rise in deaths among the vaccinated is the result of three factors, Cox said. They are:

A large majority of people in the U.S. have been vaccinated (267 million people in the U.S., the CDC says).
People who are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 are more likely to be vaccinated and boosted, such as the elderly.
Vaccines lose their effectiveness over time; the virus changes to avoid vaccines; and people need to choose to get boosters to continue to be protected.

The case for the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters versus skipping the shots remains strong. People age 6 months and older who are unvaccinated are six times more likely to die of COVID-19, compared to those who got the primary series of shots, the Post reported. Survival rates were even better with additional booster shots, particularly among older people. 

The number of Americans who have gotten the most recent booster has been increasing ahead of the holidays. CDC data show that 12% of the U.S. population age 5 and older has received a booster. 

A new study by a team of researchers from Harvard University and Yale University estimates that 94% of the U.S. population has been infected with COVID-19 at least once, leaving just 1 in 20 people who have never had the virus. 

“Despite these high exposure numbers, there is still substantial population susceptibility to infection with an Omicron variant,” the authors wrote.


China Covid: Protests continue in major cities across the country
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Protests against strict Covid measures in China have spilled into a second night and spread to the biggest cities.

Demonstrators gathered in the capital Beijing and the financial hub Shanghai.

Many held up blank pieces of paper to express their discontent and acknowledge the censorship. Some have, however, gone as far as calling for President Xi Jinping to step down.

Millions have been affected by nearly three years of mass testing, quarantines and snap lockdowns.

It is very unusual for people to publicly vent their anger at Communist Party leaders in China, where any direct government criticism can result in harsh penalties.

The police have largely allowed the rallies to continue, but in Shanghai officers arrested several people and cordoned off streets on Sunday.

Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of a river in the capital Beijing for several hours on Sunday, singing the national anthem and listening to speeches.

Earlier in Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, dozens held a peaceful protest and sung the national anthem, according to pictures and video posted on social media.

Protests also took place during the day in the south-western city of Chengdu and central cities of Xi'an and also Wuhan - where the Covid outbreak originated nearly three years ago.

Videos posted on social media appear to show hundreds of Wuhan residents taking to the streets, with some protesters pictured knocking down barricades and smashing metal gates.

The latest unrest follows a protest in the north-western city of Urumqi, where lockdown rules were blamed for hampering rescue efforts after a tower block fire in which 10 people died. China's authorities

In Shanghai - China's biggest city and a global financial hub - police kept a heavy presence in the area of Wulumuqi Road, where a candlelight vigil the day before turned into protests.

The BBC saw police officers, private security guards and plain-clothed police officers on the streets, confronting protesters who assembled for a second day.

But in the afternoon, hundreds had come back to the same area with blank sheets of paper to hold what appeared to be a silent protest, an eyewitness told the AFP news agency.

During Saturday night's protest in the city people were heard openly shouting slogans such as "Xi Jinping, step down" and "Communist party, step down".


China reports fourth straight daily record of new COVID cases
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China reported its fourth straight daily record of 39,791 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 26, of which 3,709 were symptomatic and 36,082 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Sunday.

That is compared with 35,183 new cases a day earlier – 3,474 symptomatic and 31,709 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

There was one new death, versus none a day earlier, raising the total number of fatalities to 5,233.

As of Nov. 26, mainland China had confirmed 307,802 cases with symptoms.

China's capital and mega-cities continue to struggle to contain outbreaks, with Chongqing and Guangzhou reporting the bulk of new infections.

Local cases in Beijing continued to jump, rising 66% to 4,307 cases, compared with 2,595 the previous day, local government data showed.


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27 Nov 2022, 5:26 pm

I’m usually the only one wearing a mask here now, no one has ever bothered me about it.I have a good stock pile of N95s.


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28 Nov 2022, 11:58 am

I am still watching the winter surge of COVID. There are two factors to consider. The first is how contagious is the new variants. The current version is highly contageous. But the second part is how deadly is the new variant. This new variant seems to be less deadly. Most people are getting it but they are surviving. So my bottom line is that I think the pandemic is coming to an end. But the strange thing is that the U.S. government has made the decision to stop tracking it. That only leaves a few small trackers such as tracking the waste water in our sewers.

The data seems to show that the people who are most vulnerable are the elderly and those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes etc. In general children and healthy young adults are fairly immune.

This disease is very contagious. It can infect people 50 feet away in indoor enclosed spaces. But by the same token, civilization has invented simple inexpensive solutions to purge the threat in contracting this in our homes, business and stores. This is a physic/engineering/construction problem rather than a medical problem. We are making ourselves vulnerable by the way we design our buildings.


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05 Dec 2022, 5:36 pm

China Covid: Xi's face-saving exit from his signature policy

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If you want to know what the government's Covid plan is in China, look at what it does rather than what it says.

Take Beijing for example.

There has not been a significant drop in infections, yet public transport now no longer requires a PCR test result, bars and restaurants are slowly re-opening, and in some cases people are being allowed to isolate at home after catching Covid instead of going into centralised quarantine facilities.

So when you examine what is happening here right now, the trajectory seems clear - the government appears to have quietly dumped zero Covid as a goal.

This does not mean that all Covid-related restrictions have ended. It also does not mean some restrictions won't be around in, say, half a year.

But the stated goal of reducing each outbreak to zero new infections… gone.

The new plan appears to be to slow the spread of the virus, hopefully enabling the health system to cope, rather than trying crush the disease.

This may involve monitoring the virus as it spreads in an attempt to manage the flow of infections, serious illness and deaths.

At times it may also mean the reimposition of certain measures, but cities will not have to record zero cases to remain open.

Beijing is not alone in removing some measures - and they vary widely by region.

In south-eastern Zhejiang province for example, there is to be no more regular testing apart from for people working certain specific jobs.

Shandong province in the east will no longer require checks to buy cough medicine or drive on a highway; central Henan Province will no longer require PCR tests to enter housing communities.

Similar easing is also happening in the massive cities of Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

Urumqi, capital of western Xinjiang region, has re-opened supermarkets, hotels, cinemas and gyms. Public transport has resumed in Tibet.

Just a few weeks ago, the Chinese government was urging the population to stay the course with the zero-Covid approach.


Chinese hackers stole millions worth of U.S. COVID relief money, Secret Service says
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Chinese hackers have stolen tens of millions of dollars worth of U.S. COVID relief benefits since 2020, the Secret Service said on Monday.

The Secret Service declined to provide any additional details but confirmed a report by NBC News that said the Chinese hacking team that is reportedly responsible is known within the security research community as APT41 or Winnti.

APT41 is a prolific cybercriminal group that had conducted a mix of government-backed cyber intrusions and financially motivated data breaches, according to experts.

Several members of the hacking group were indicted in 2019 and 2020 by the U.S. Justice Department for spying on over 100 companies, including software development companies, telecommunications providers, social media firms, and video game developers.


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11 Dec 2022, 6:55 pm

Why Spending Time With Kids Might Actually Help Protect You From COVID - New York Magazine

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Figuring out which pandemic safety measures were prudent and which were misguided is the monumental project left to scientists, ethicists, public-health experts, and others now that (roughly) normal life has resumed. Among the most important but controversial subjects for reassessment are the COVID-19 interventions that affected children, including their ability to go to school or otherwise participate in basic social activities. In large portions of the United States, schools were closed for many months or even more than a year, activities for young people were broadly canceled, and tens of millions of American children were kept inside their homes and away from peers, teachers, relatives, and friends. While the persistent and considerable consequences of those policies are still coming to light, the main justification for them was that exposure to children increased COVID risk for adults.

A pair of new findings casts serious doubt on that logic. The two studies were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — one in August and one last month — and together they achieved something rare: They offered dramatic and important new information suggesting a correction to a commonly held narrative about children as dangerous viral vectors during the pandemic. But their results, according to multiple experts interviewed for this article, were also e their results, according to multiple experts interviewed for this article, were also entirely expected.

The August paper found that “exposure to young children was strongly associated with less severe COVID-19 illness.” In an analysis of the records of more than 3 million adults in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system, the authors found that “those without identifiable household exposure to children based on health insurance enrollment had a 27% higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalization and a 49% higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalization requiring ICU admission than those with young children.” (In comparing adults with and without exposure to young children, the analysis matched each group for known COVID risk factors such as age, hypertension, diabetes, and BMI.) The study’s researchers, from Kaiser, Stanford University, and Columbia University, said their findings suggest that cross-immunity from common coronaviruses — which sometimes cause the colds and sniffles that children tend to carry — may play a role in protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes.

The study published in November, by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Veterans Administration, offered biological evidence for the Kaiser study’s epidemiological finding. The researchers found that, during the first year of the pandemic, VA patients who had tested positive for some of the common-cold coronaviruses had an 80 to 90 percent reduction in likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. In other words, at least for a limited time, getting the common cold appeared to help some people’s immune system protect against COVID.

These two studies — one relying on laboratory data, the other on observational data — complement each other so compellingly that the researchers behind the November study cite the August paper as the inspiration for theirs. Taken together, the findings suggest that social distancing and isolation at a population level, particularly from young children, may have counterintuitively put some people at greater risk of COVID infection or severe disease once they resumed normal contact. (Several of the experts I spoke with noted that this doesn’t mean social distancing wasn’t beneficial for those at high risk of bad outcomes who were able to remain uninfected until they were vaccinated.)

Francois Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, whose work focuses on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, said cross-protection — that is, exposure to the common-cold coronaviruses triggering greater immune protection against COVID — had long been the subject of quiet speculation by experts. “This hypothesis was aired since the beginning of the pandemic but was viewed as dangerous,” he said. “People avoided talking about this in polite circles.”

The VA study adds intriguing new data to this conversation. There are four endemic coronaviruses that can cause the common cold. The VA researchers found that people who had tested positive within the past year for two them — either 229E or OC43 — had a significantly lower rate of COVID than patients who had not tested positive for either of these coronaviruses.

Dr. Jake Scott, an infectious-diseases specialist at Stanford University, said the VA study had some significant limitations, but its findings fit with the existing literature, which indicates “there’s good reason to believe exposure to human coronavirus can lead to some degree of cross-immunity to SARS-CoV-2.”

The evidence of cross-protection should cause people to question some commonly held assumptions that governed pandemic safety measures. Balloux, who is a co-author on a study published last year in the journal Nature exploring how exposure to endemic coronaviruses might help T-cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection, said the VA paper was just the latest small addition to the literature on the broader topic. And overall, Balloux said, it supports the idea that, at a population level, teachers or other professionals with exposure to young children were not at greater risk, as was the conventional wisdom during the pandemic, which drove policy decisions about shuttering schools and children’s activities.

This protective concept exists beyond the endemic coronaviruses. Although Scott did not want to apply this lesson to any policy decisions around mitigations, he said, “the infectious diseases that kids often spread are usually benign and can provide adults with certain immunological protection that they might not otherwise think about.”

To whatever extent school closures or social distancing from children reduce transmission, there may be a downside to those aggressive mitigations, said Dr. Paul Monach, one of the VA study’s authors. “It’s been proposed that the current surge of RSV may in part be because our population didn’t get it for two years,” he said. “It’s plausible that we can overprotect ourselves from viruses.” Instead, “getting a mini- or even micro-booster periodically simply by going about your life would be very reassuring.” He warned, though, that doing so is tricky and depends on how dangerous the virus is to children and everyone else.

While no one enjoys getting colds, these studies suggest that exposure to young children and their colds may offer a protective benefit against more serious illness. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases specialist at University of California, San Francisco, said that, in light of the protective benefit of mild coronaviruses, “we need to evaluate unintended consequences” of preventing that exposure.


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Another COVID Surge
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Here we go again: For the first time in several months, another wave seems to be on the horizon in the United States. In the past two weeks, reported cases have increased by 53 percent, and hospitalizations have risen by 31 percent. Virus levels in wastewater, which can provide an advance warning of spread, are following a similar trajectory. After the past two years, a winter surge “was always expected,” Nash said. Respiratory illnesses thrive in colder weather, when people tend to spend more time indoors. Thanksgiving travel and gatherings were likewise predicted to drive cases, Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at UCLA, told me. If people were infected then, their illnesses will probably start showing up in the data around now. “We’re going to see a surge [that is] likely going to start really increasing in velocity,” she said.

Winter has ushered in some of the pandemic’s worst moments. Last year, Omicron’s unwanted arrival led to a level of mass infection across the country that we had not previously seen. The good news this year is that the current rise will almost certainly not be as bad as last year’s. But beyond that, experts told me, we don’t know much about what will happen next. We could be in for any type of surge—big or small, long or short, national or regional. The only certain thing is that cases and hospitalizations are rising, and that’s not good.

The pandemic numbers are ticking upward across the country, but so far the recent increases seem especially sharp in the South and West. The daily average of reported cases in Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, and Alabama has doubled in the past two weeks. Hospitalizations have been slower to rise, but over the same time frame, daily hospitalizations in California have jumped 57 percent and are now higher than anywhere else in the United States. Other areas of the country, such as New York City, have also seen troubling increases.

Whether the nationwide spike constitutes the long predicted winter wave, and not just an intermittent rise in cases, depends on whom you ask.

But what to call the ongoing trend matters less than the fact that it exists. For now, what happens next is anyone’s guess. The dominant variants—the Omicron offshoots BQ.1 and BQ.1.1—are worrying, but they don’t pose the same challenges as what hit us last winter.

The lack of data on people’s immune status makes it especially difficult to predict the outcome of the current rise. Widespread vaccination and infection mean we have a stronger wall of immunity now compared with the previous two winters, but that protection inevitably fades with time. The problem is, people fall sick asynchronously and get boosted on their own schedules, so the timing varies for everyone. “We don’t know anything about how long ago people were [vaccinated], and we don’t know anything about hybrid immunity, so it’s impossible to predict” just how bad things could get, Nash said.

Still, a confluence of factors has created the ideal conditions for a sustained surge with serious consequences for those who get sick. Fading immunity, frustratingly low booster uptake, and the near-total abandonment of COVID precautions create ideal conditions for the virus to spread. Meanwhile, treatments for those who do get very sick are dwindling. None of the FDA-approved monoclonal antibodies, which are especially useful for the immunocompromised, works against BQ.1 and BQ.1.1., which make up about 68 percent of cases nationwide. Paxlovid is still effective, but it’s underprescribed by providers and, by one medical director’s estimate, refused by 20 to 30 percent of patients.

The upside is that few people who get COVID now will get very sick—fewer than in previous winters. Even if cases continue to surge, most infections will not lead to severe illness because the bulk of the population has some level of immunity from vaccination, previous infection, or both. Still, long COVID can be “devastating,” Poland said, and it can develop after mild or even asymptomatic cases. But any sort of wave would in all likelihood lead to an uptick in deaths, too. So far, the death rate has remained stable, but 90 percent of people dying now are 65 and older, and only a third of them have the latest booster. Such low uptake “just drives home the fact that we have not really done a good job of targeting the right people around the country,” Nash said.

Even if the winter COVID wave is not ultimately a big one, it will likely be bad news for hospitals, which are already filling up with adults with flu and children with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Many health-care facilities are swamped; the situation will only worsen if there is a big wave. If you need help for severe COVID—or any kind of medical issue—more than likely, “you’re not going to get the same level of care that you would have without these surges,” Poland said. Critically ill kids are routinely turned away from overflowing emergency rooms, my colleague Katherine J. Wu recently reported.

We can do little to predict how the ongoing surge might develop other than simply wait.

It is maddening that, this far into the pandemic, “stay put and watch” seems to be the only option when cases start to rise. It is not, of course: Plenty of tools—masking, testing, boosters—are within our power to deploy to great effect. They could flatten the wave, if enough people use them. “We have the tools,” said Nash, whose rapid test came out negative, “but the collective will is not really there to do anything about it.”


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
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12 Dec 2022, 3:10 pm

The situation in the hospitals is grim’: States face brutal virus fallout

Quote:
State health officials are warning people that time is running out to get vaccinated before gathering with family over the holidays as Covid-19 cases surge nationwide alongside unseasonably severe waves of flu and respiratory syncytial virus.

Nearly 30,000 people currently in the hospital have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the CDC, up 30 percent since Thanksgiving — with New York, Arizona and New Mexico among the hardest hit.

“The situation in the hospitals is grim,” said David Scrase, secretary of the New Mexico Health and Human Services Department. “The death toll from this very serious virus continues to go up and really, hopefully, will create a sense of urgency in individuals and families to think about getting access to vaccines and also to treatments, should you test positive for coronavirus.

And while the Omicron subvariants currently circulating are less lethal than previous variants, about 426 people are dying, on average, from Covid-19 each day — a nearly 62 percent increase from last week, according to the CDC.

In Louisiana, state health officials are recommending people consider getting tested before attending holiday gatherings.

In Mississippi, the state is down to 65 ICU beds and is now transferring some patients to other states, though Tennessee and Alabama have stopped taking out-of-state transfers.

In Arizona, hospitals have asked the state for additional resources, such as pediatric cribs.

The situation facing our hospitals is extremely serious,” said Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s state health officer and state epidemiologist. “Hospitals are overwhelmed and don’t have enough beds to treat everyone in the manner they’re accustomed to.”

Health officials believe RSV may have already hit its peak, but flu and Covid continue to pose major challenges to the health care system.

These curves are getting steeper each week around flu, Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly. “Taken separately, these infections are manageable, but when they all come together, the difficulty posed to the system is pretty extreme — and we’re seeing that now.”

Ghaly said total hospitalizations for Covid-19 and flu in California will likely climb from 6,100 this week to 10,000 by the end of the year or early January.

While health officials are hoping that the level of immunity in the population from infections and vaccination means this winter’s surge won’t be as severe, they remain concerned about the virus’ impact on elderly and immunocompromised people — particularly given the poor uptake of the bivalent booster shot this fall.

“When we break it out in terms of the age groups, it’s the older adults that are having the highest rate of cases and we are seeing an upward trend in hospitalizations,” said Jennifer Dillaha, director of the Arkansas Department of Health. “That’s concerning because usually when hospitalizations go up, then the reported deaths will also later increase.”

But the problem is bigger than just Covid. Only about 26 percent of adults had gotten vaccinated for flu as of the end of October, according to CDC data.

Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s state epidemiologist, said hospitalization rates for the flu are “pretty unique, severe and early for us compared to other influenza seasons.”

Public health experts say that while flu poses the greatest risk to urgent care facilities and hospital emergency departments, Covid is still a greater threat to ICUs than flu. With the thinning of the health care workforce over the past two years, they said hospitals wouldn’t have the resources to deal with another serious, Delta-like variant that causes more severe disease.

“The triad of diseases now is terrible — but it’s a better situation compared to the peak surges of Covid,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University.


My sister has symptomatic COVID and my niece has the flu. I am just hoping that they don’t give it to each other and other members of the household they contract both the flu and COVID at the same time.

Between COVID, the flu, and RSV my area has the highest hospitalization rates since COVID began. The local community college wanted to put mask mandates back but the County Executive said no.

I got my COVID booster Dec 1 and the senior flu shot Saturday.

With the booster a little pain at the injection site the next day. Related or not 4 days later I felt under the weather.

For the flu shot pain at the injection site later that day, gone by the next day.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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13 Dec 2022, 10:51 am

An article yesterday in the Associated Press said:

Hospitalizations signal rising COVID-19 risk for US older adults

Coronavirus-related hospital admissions are climbing again in the United States, as reported by the Associated Press.

Older adults make up a growing share of U.S. deaths and less than half of nursing home residents are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, causing worry among experts.

These alarming signs point to a difficult winter ahead for the oldest Americans and the people who care for them.

Nursing home leaders are redoubling efforts to get staff and residents boosted with the new version of the COVID-19 vaccine. They worry that the general public has lost a sense of urgency — a change that could put older adults at a higher risk.

Source: California coronavirus updates: Hospitalizations signal rising COVID-19 risk for US older adults

One of the graphs in the article shows a surge in hospitalization COVID-19 patients but not too much of a surge in ICU patients. But if you look back over the past few years, ICU surge normally comes a month or two after an increase in hospitalizations. So we can probably expect the ICU numbers to rise.


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13 Dec 2022, 1:10 pm

It was at this time last year that the Omicron extreme surge really started to take off so this is something I expected. While this years surge is expected to be less severe we are collecting far less information so we can’t know for sure. By the time person is hospitalized it is very late if not too late.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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13 Dec 2022, 4:13 pm

Yahoo!, attributed to Fortune:

"People who skipped their COVID vaccine are at higher risk of traffic accidents, according to a new study"

Quote:
If you passed on getting the COVID vaccine, you might be a lot more likely to get into a car crash.

Or at least those are the findings of a new study published this month in The American Journal of Medicine. During the summer of 2021, Canadian researchers examined the encrypted government-held records of more than 11 million adults, 16% of whom hadn’t received the COVID vaccine.

They found that the unvaccinated people were 72% more likely to be involved in a severe traffic crash—in which at least one person was transported to the hospital—than those who were vaccinated. That’s similar to the increased risk of car crashes for people with sleep apnea, though only about half that of people who abuse alcohol, researchers found.

The excess risk of car crash posed by unvaccinated drivers “exceeds the safety gains from modern automobile engineering advances and also imposes risks on other road users,” the authors wrote.

Of course, skipping a COVID vaccine does not mean that someone will get into a car crash. Instead, the authors theorize that people who resist public health recommendations might also “neglect basic road safety guidelines.”


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