• Isaac
    It's just interesting already to read through the press releases of the World Food Programme and compare December 2019 and December 2020: https://www.wfp.org/news?text=&page=11Benkei

    Yes. It's shocking. I don't know if you keep up with UNICEF as well, but this was one from this month...

    in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs): 1 in 2 health care facilities does not have basic drinking water, 1 in 4 health care facilities has no hand hygiene facilities at points of care; and 3 in 5 lack basic sanitation services.

    it would cost roughly USD 1 per capita to enable all 47 LDCs to establish basic water service in health facilities. On average, USD 0.20 per capita is needed each year to operate and maintain services.

    And yet the UK Government is set to cut £2.9billion from it's overseas aid budget to pay for their Covid response whilst giving billions to the pharmaceutical industry for a vaccine which, according the WHO...

    we still don't know with many of the vaccines whether it is going to prevent the person from getting infected so the vaccines have been shown to be efficacious against developing disease.

    What we hope is the vaccines will also prevent infection so that transmission can be cut as well but as of now we don't have the evidence to prove that
    — Dr Soumya Swaminathan - WHO

    It's a simple unavoidable fact that millions die each year from conditions which are preventable using less money than has been spent on preventing millions of deaths from Covid-19. Those people are mostly poor, young and non-white. Anyone who thinks that's a coincidence is deluding themselves.
  • Book273
    Where are you getting your basics from? I am surrounded by those who have more than "the basics" physically and economically at least, and who are solidly within your unflattering description of Americans.
    Then I’m free. Not just free in the superficial, narrow American way: free to have stuff. I’m free in an existential, social, emotional, cultural, human way. I’m free to cultivate, develop, nurture higher values and virtues. I can be trusting, kind, generous, empathic. I can be thoughtful, critical, reflective. I can be humble and warm and appreciate beauty and truth. I am free to be a genuinely good person. Human goodness has been freed in me.StreetlightX

    I could say that I have seen this type of freedom in action. In truth I have, in very isolated instances, and unrelated to nationality. I have seen it in those who are able to look past themselves and seek a greater understanding of the world around them, seeking to find the balance and harmony within the chaos of the everyday. It is there, and once one know what to look for, easy enough to find. However, I have not identified any substantial increase in enlightened types based on geographic region ( granted I have not spent much time in monasteries. Too bad really). I have also found the enlightened in mean regions and exceedingly poor neighbourhoods, where the basics are not so common. I would suggest that those with the least to share are often the most generous and understanding towards others.

    Your version of Canadians is flattering. Mostly wrong in my experience, but flattering all the same. Thanks eh!
  • tim wood
    Intellectual poverty is ignorance and superstition. Social poverty is mistrust and hostility. Cultural poverty is cruelty and aggression. Americans are poor in all these ways nowStreetlightX

    I'm American and I hate this, and I hate it because of the truth of it. And because history teaches that change is difficult or impossible until, in the main, the people who oppose, essentially the stupid, die out.

    All the forms of ignorance and failures of education become then afflictions. And some persons may recover, but for most, fatal; and for the body politic, an affliction that comes fast and leaves slowly.
  • Book273
    I find the level of education, and seemingly unwillingness of people to seek self improvement, disheartening. Perhaps, as this current virus fiasco plays out, people will choose to do their own research and come to their own conclusions about what matters to them. What appears to be a culture of lazy thinking is most disheartening of all.
  • boethius
    No doubt, mathematical models are projections built upon other numbers, data which originally had reasonable connection to the real world at the time these were collected. But things can change.magritte

    That's what statistics is about: drawing conclusions from available data, which become projections that can change with new data.

    I'm not sure you even bothered to read my posts your replying to, as I go to some length in my response to Benkei to explain that a new viral strain becoming dominant in a single region can indeed be due to random variation.

    However, if that strain spreads and dominates in every region then it's extremely conclusive that it's more contagious; that's basically the definition of "more contagious": it does better.

    Exactly when between dominating in one region and "world domination" we have enough data to calculate the difference in contagiousness is a complicated statistical problem.

    Bayesian statistics deals with our limited knowledge about the real world (as opposed to classical statistics which analyse outcome of random processes in which the context is specified and the unknown variables clearly understood). The best way to understand this difference is that the probability of drawing certain hands in poker requires only classical statistics to calculate, but the probability of one being cheated by a sophisticated criminal (who doesn't blatantly violate classical statistics outcomes, such as drawing 5 aces in a hand) requires Bayesian statistical approach. To catch a sophisticated cheat we must have a model of what we expect in a fair game and unfair game, including betting patterns and other behaviour and what we know about the other players, and with every new event we update our model. Of note, there is no solution to this problem with a "sophisticated enough" player who has exactly the same model and simply ensures victory without ever supporting a conclusion of unfair play.

    For the subject at hand, what we expect from a more contagious virus strain is that it displaces less contagious virus strains, that's what being more contagious means. Everyday now the events we would expect under the "more contagious" model seem very much to be happening: appearing in new regions and growing faster than existing strains. Numerical models of processes involving the entire globe are extremely crude, so there is not, and cannot be, one agreed methodology, but when different methodologies start supporting the same conclusions we tend to increase our confidence (even if there is "heard bias" of modelers tweaking their models to reflect the same conclusions as existing models as that basically "feels better"; the scientific community could easily solve this issue, but chooses not to; because scientists are mostly pretty stupid people without critical thinking skills; they claim to have critical thinking skills, but don't bother to review this claim critically, resulting in the worst possible and easily identifiable idiots). And the results speak for themselves: the scientific community has failed humanity (the pandemic being one of many examples), and yet they believe it is the other way around. Pure insanity.

    Mutations are random and all viable versions of the virus will continue to spread into the foreseeable future.magritte
    This is also a great example of the scientific community failing to both understand and, the ones that do, bother to communicate it to other scientists and society.

    The mutation rate you're talking about is an "apples to apples" comparison given equal context, such as the chance of a single infection creating a new strain; a variable that is needed for further analysis. However, change the context, such as far more concomitant infections of one over the other and this changes the mutation rate of what is happening in the real world. In other words, each infection has a certain chance to result in a new strain, but to complete the equation we need the total number of infections. If there are far more Covid infections than that of the flue, the capacity for adaptation can easily surpass the flu. The flu has animal reservoirs critical for it's adaptation success ... but Covid has also passed into animal reservoirs.

    From this basic overview, the analysis can go even further. For instance, a high mutation rate in itself does not actually mean a higher capacity for adaptation, there are advantages for a more stable genome in that "what works" is better remembered and transmitted to the next generation.

    Indeed, the emergence and domination of DNA based organisms is because the previous RNA based organisms had too high a mutation rate. The disadvantage of too high mutation rate is that the "good new things" are easily lost in early replication chains and, of course, since the vast majority of mutations are a disadvantage this is a large energy cost. The best way to visualize this is that an organism mutates an advantage but then too quickly offspring mutate disadvantages and die out, so the new thing never integrates into the genetic base. Therefore, we cannot assume simply because Covid has a lower mutation rate that it has a lower adaptation rate. If we compare to other coronaviruses, such as cause the common cold, they have been with us a long time demonstrating a good capacity for adaptation (perhaps better than the flu, but just not as lethal so we have been unconcerned about it).

    From here, we could analyse the particularities of Covid and the flu and maybe have some reasons to believe Covid cannot, even with larger numbers and some advantages of lower mutation rate, compete with the flu in adaptation.

    If one mutation spreads faster then it will become statistically 'dominant' but the others are still around.magritte

    I've already explained that any new strain that has a similar replication rate as the dominant strain, will still grow in number, at the same rate, just not to anywhere close in absolute terms. Both a 1 thousand Euro investment and a 1 billion could both be in the same fund and get the same return in terms of rate of growth, but the 1 thousand investment will be and stay far smaller than the 1 billion Euro investment. The new strain simply continuing to exist and replicate is not in itself evidence it is more contagious; it must start to displace the existing strains if it indeed has a competitive advantage.

    However, at some point actual success in the real world we must conclude is due to more successful characteristics. If Player A consistently beats Player B, at some point excuses and whining and irrelevant pedantic analysis and hypothetical considerations no longer form any plausible basis to assume Player B is as good as Player A, no matter how much Player B wants it to be true.
  • Book273
    Nicely explained. Too bad you don't work for public health, the messages might be clear then.
  • magritte
    Well said and I agree with you.

    Let me just point to a clearly written CNN article on COVID mutations which may not be entirely exhaustive but is still relevant to what we're discussing.

    ... imagine this not as a single door into a room, but 10 different doors. There will be nine other keys that will be able to get you into that room." That’s because people usually make more than one type of antibody against a virus. …
    All viruses mutate, or drift. Some do so more than others. Influenza "drifts" constantly, forcing annual changes to the vaccine mixes used to fight it, while any changes seen to measles have not affected how well the vaccine works. Scientists hope coronavirus is more like measles than influenza. ...
    If we could magically get 60-70% of the population vaccinated tomorrow, we wouldn’t have to worry about drift because the virus would pretty much go extinct.
  • frank
    Most of this year I've been taking photos and videos of people and little things in my life that I love so that if I ended up with the covid and I could tell I wouldn't make it, I could sit and look at those pictures before I checked out.

    I used this forum a lot to decompress, so I knew I would look at it too.

    I'm getting the second Pfizer vaccine shot on Tuesday!

  • Benkei
    Glad to know someone is safe.
  • fdrake

    Nice. Had a heads up from a friend about the Oxford vaccine, it seems if your body already recognises corona your immune system goes nuts for a day or two and it's horrible. He was mostly fine after the first day he was ill.
  • boethius
    This video goes a little deeper into ... basically that we don't know much at this point.

  • frank
    Nice. Had a heads up from a friend about the Oxford vaccine, it seems if your body already recognises corona your immune system goes nuts for a day or two and it's horrible. He was mostly fine after the first day he was ill.fdrake

    Similar with the second Phizer shot. They say schedule it for when you have a day to sleep through it in case it's bad.

    When will you be able to get it?

    I could still be run over by a bus, but hopefully not covid. :blush:
  • fdrake
    When will you be able to get it?frank

    Not expecting to any time soon. September last I heard.
  • Merkwurdichliebe

    Interesting, the specimen devours its own feces.
  • Punshhh
    London has declared an emergency, I expect the army to be brought in now. I heard a virologist interviewed on the BBC just now saying that enough patients to fill a hospital are going into hospitals every day currently.
  • Rafaella Leon
    The total ban on free debate has become a permanent institution of the "new normal". You either get used to it, or you die. In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans that a technoscientific dictatorship could prove to be their fate. Almost everything that is happening now has already been described with some precision in Paul & Phillip Collins' book, "The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship", in 2004, and in its vast bibliography. So-called social scientists don't read any of this, because it's "conspiracy theory", right?
  • Hanover
    in 2004, and in its vast bibliography. So-called social scientists don't read any of this, because it's "conspiracy theory", right?Rafaella Leon

    Not sure what they read, but I'm shivering under a bunch of blankets right now waiting for this conspiracy covid fever to pass.
  • Baden

    Shit. Take care, fella.
  • frank

    I heard the worst of it is over in about a week with lingering fatigue. Are you feeling any better yet?
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    Not sure what they read, but I'm shivering under a bunch of blankets right now waiting for this conspiracy covid fever to pass.Hanover

    God help us my friend :heart:
    I'm not the only one that would not be the same without you in my life but I might be the only one here to say it out loud.
    May the Wings of Angels surround you and keep you and your family safe and from my lips to God's ear that he understands our need and nurses you back to good health. :flower:
  • Hanover
    It's really just a fever that gets as high as 102 but then drops back to normal. It's not terrible, but I wouldn't recommend it. The weird dreams are kinda cool though.
  • Benkei
    Dreaming of me then. Cute.
  • The Opposite
    Knockoff shite:

    Sinovac: Brazil results show Chinese vaccine 50.4% effective - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55642648

    Doubt 'Sputnik' is much better.
  • NOS4A2
    What do Britons think of the “health passport” idea? Could it pose an ethical concern, for instance if it is used to discriminate?

    Thousands of Britons who have received their coronavirus vaccine are set to be offered a health passport as part of a government-funded trial taking place this month.

  • Metaphysician Undercover
    The weird dreams are kinda cool though.Hanover

    You might try some Datura then---when you're feeling better.
  • Book273
    Government funded trial eh. Is that like the hospital that is offering an additional $500.00 to staff that get both vaccinations? Nothing seems wrong with that...:rofl:
  • frank

    I got em for free.
  • Book273
    Those of us that want them can have them for free too. I just find it concerning that the hospital is paying their staff to get the vaccinations. Seems concerning to me.
  • frank

    It's concerning to me that I don't work there.
  • Book273
    It is a US hospital, not Canadian. Here we will, eventually, get an email with a specific identifier so that we can, if we choose, book a vaccination time. What I find interesting is that I know people that have gone to Florida to get their injections, rather than wait here while our government flails about ineffectively.
    Now the government is deciding to ignore the manufacturers recommendations and go with the "do whatever you like approach" for vaccine administration. Bunch of fools. I can believe to what public health and the government has been saying since mid April or I can believe my 4 years education and additional 11 years experience in critical care. However, as they are very nearly exactly opposed...I cannot do both. Going with what I know, what I have seen, and what will ensure I keep my license to practice.
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