14 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of March 29

This thread is posted weekly, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the situation is like where you live!

37 comments

  1. [19]
    eve
    Link
    I got my first vaccine! So, so very happy. Though I am worried that the more people get it, the more people will start to be more lax. Now is not the time to throw out CDC guidelines or get more...
    • Exemplary

    I got my first vaccine! So, so very happy. Though I am worried that the more people get it, the more people will start to be more lax. Now is not the time to throw out CDC guidelines or get more blase about. It'll help to still be careful. I'll still be following them as best I can and wearing a mask around family until they're fully vaccinated. But I'm feeling pretty relieved to have gotten it, and will feel more sound when my SO is able to get his. I'm gonna have a milkshake when we're both fully inoculated.

    I will say that remember, the vaccine isn't 100%. My mom was fully inoculated and still got covid, though she doesn't have symptoms. So be careful!

    12 votes
    1. [5]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      FYI - evidence is pointing more and more towards vaccines preventing transmission and infections altogether. https://twitter.com/rebeccaballhaus/status/1376564661840121860 (Not to say "don't be...

      FYI - evidence is pointing more and more towards vaccines preventing transmission and infections altogether. https://twitter.com/rebeccaballhaus/status/1376564661840121860

      (Not to say "don't be careful", but also if people become more lax as they get vaccinated I'm not going to blame them, especially if the prospect of being more lax drives vaccination rates up)

      12 votes
      1. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I'll keep wearing a mask for social reasons, but besides that I'll live like covid doesn't exist once I'm fully vaccinated.

        I'll keep wearing a mask for social reasons, but besides that I'll live like covid doesn't exist once I'm fully vaccinated.

        10 votes
      2. eve
        Link Parent
        That's good news! Thank you for sharing, I wasn't aware!

        That's good news! Thank you for sharing, I wasn't aware!

        5 votes
      3. [2]
        Atvelonis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm not an epidemiologist—is it typical for scientists to have serious uncertainty as to whether a highly efficacious vaccine stops viral transmission? I've never heard about this in reference to...

        I'm not an epidemiologist—is it typical for scientists to have serious uncertainty as to whether a highly efficacious vaccine stops viral transmission? I've never heard about this in reference to any other targeted vaccine, just COVID. I also don't normally follow vaccine research, but I'm still curious about the discrepancy.

        Intuitively, if transmission occurs because of a high viral load in an infected person, and a strong vaccine prevents the virus from reaching such an overwhelming point to begin with, vaccinated transmission should be rare (statistically speaking). No particles, no transmission, right? The entire concept of herd immunity appears to rely on this premise. I understand that the flu vaccine doesn't always prevent transmission, but that's presumably because it's not as good at preventing bad infections (i.e. lots of viral particles floating around in the body). I also realize that asymptomatic transmission is a thing among unvaccinated individuals, but I'm not sure why we would ever assume that that translates forward. A lack of visible symptoms evidently signifies nothing of value in and of itself, but the presence of symptoms necessarily implies a high viral load from an infection. Thus, a vaccine is efficacious if it significantly reduces the size of that load; asymptomatic persons are included there, just vacuously. If we know from Phase III trial data that a vaccine is 95% efficacious, where does the uncertainty originate?

        My take would be that for those for whom the vaccine was effective in preventing serious infection (whether or not this "serious infection" causes symptoms), transmission should just not occur. In situations where transmission does occur, the vaccine was presumably not effective. But we know that that's going to happen sometimes. That's the 5%, not the 95%, which is a number that I think the public finds acceptable. I get that health experts want to be cautious, but from a public messaging standpoint, should our starting point really be "assume the vaccine doesn't stop transmission even if we know it prevents serious infection?" I feel like that seriously undermines the credibility of the vaccine, because it essentially says "even if the vaccine works for you personally, it won't stop the pandemic." Why should the public care about a solution that doesn't get them out of lockdown? Stopping deaths is good, but many or most people know they are statistically unlikely to die from COVID anyway—they follow health guidelines merely as a courtesy for others. What they really want is to be able to go to a bar again. We need them to get vaccinated for that to happen, but if they're under the impression that the vaccine won't get them there, then we will never get there.

        Skepticism is good, but this particular hesitation seems to me like the most striking instance of excess caution in a longer pattern of undue pessimism in public health messaging during the pandemic. I guess the alternative is to risk a solution that underperforms against expectations, but vaccines seem to have a fairly proven track record, so it's unclear to me if that actually applies.

        5 votes
        1. Adys
          Link Parent
          Remember that with COVID, we're dealing with something that is at the top of everybody's minds and whenever understanding evolves, the mainstream gets to know about it very quickly. You're not...

          Remember that with COVID, we're dealing with something that is at the top of everybody's minds and whenever understanding evolves, the mainstream gets to know about it very quickly. You're not bombarded daily with news about eg. Malaria vaccine research.

          There's just a great deal of uncertainty. Intuitiveness helps, but scientists won't tell you "vaccines reduce transmission" if they're not certain of it, and they can't be certain of it if it hasn't been researched properly yet. Of course, that research is happening.

          But I agree with you that it's important to put weight on why the vaccine is important to people. Rand Paul I believe said something like "You want to drive people to get vaccinated? Tell them they'll be able to remove their masks". Now, Rand Paul says a lot of dumb shit, but this rings very true. In general: "Get vaccinated, end the lockdown". I would love to see countries set public targets such as "At 50% we'll remove all restrictions on bars and restaurants. At 75% we will remove all teleworking obligations. At 85% we will lift the mask mandate." (Numbers not necessarily correct, but you see what I mean)

          9 votes
    2. [3]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      That is true, but I would note that miraculously, all of the vaccines are actually 100% at (reducing) the number that really matters: severe symptoms, hospitalizations, and death. Post...

      I will say that remember, the vaccine isn't 100%.

      That is true, but I would note that miraculously, all of the vaccines are actually 100% at (reducing) the number that really matters: severe symptoms, hospitalizations, and death.

      Post vaccination, COVID19 truly is what Fox News said it was a year ago: less deadly than the flu. There are, of course, unknowns on what kind of symptoms vaccinated covid patients have, long term effects, and so forth, and you should respect those who have not been vaccinated, and those who cannot because of health conditions.

      But you can at least feel fairly confident walking around that you are most certainly not going to die from COVID.

      10 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Oddly, there's an argument from last year that the flu is less deadly than the flu. That is, flu deaths as reported in CDC estimates seem to be inflated compared to flu deaths seen by doctors.

        Oddly, there's an argument from last year that the flu is less deadly than the flu.

        That is, flu deaths as reported in CDC estimates seem to be inflated compared to flu deaths seen by doctors.

        4 votes
      2. eve
        Link Parent
        Yes! Which is why I was relieved that my mom was fully inoculated before she got it. It's great that the vaccines help so much with lowering the number of severe cases and is definitely something...

        Yes! Which is why I was relieved that my mom was fully inoculated before she got it. It's great that the vaccines help so much with lowering the number of severe cases and is definitely something worth mentioning!

        1 vote
    3. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Congrats! I’m so happy that people keep posting vaccine updates to these threads. For a long time these threads were dark, bleak, and even at times devastating. It is so nice that the tone is...

      Congrats!

      I’m so happy that people keep posting vaccine updates to these threads. For a long time these threads were dark, bleak, and even at times devastating. It is so nice that the tone is slowly shifting to one of burgeoning optimism with hints of future joy.

      9 votes
    4. [9]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Got my vaccine today! It was the J&J one. Got it by driving an hour south into the Toledo area, since Ohio is slightly ahead in their scheduling people in the general population, and they where...

      Got my vaccine today! It was the J&J one. Got it by driving an hour south into the Toledo area, since Ohio is slightly ahead in their scheduling people in the general population, and they where openly inviting people from neighboring states.

      I've had some friends and coworkers also report that the FEMA site at Ford Field in Detroit is ramping up rapidly, several have gotten their shots there.

      Finally. Finally, that huge mental burden is lifted from my brain. It's been almost a year to the week that Michigan first locked down and everyone went home. I still have yet to see the inside of my office at the job that I started almost exactly a year ago. But now I'm here. I made it. I'm emerging from the other side of this slog of a year. I can see the light of day shining at the end of the tunnel.

      The cherry on top, is that I shared the signup link I used with a bunch of friends, and a large portion of them are getting vaccinated today at the same place, or later this week. So in ~2 weeks, we can all start hanging out again!

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        monarda
        Link Parent
        You're the first person I "know" who's had the J&J vaccine. Have you had any side effects?

        You're the first person I "know" who's had the J&J vaccine. Have you had any side effects?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          None so far, but I'll report back again tomorrow.

          None so far, but I'll report back again tomorrow.

          3 votes
          1. kfwyre
            Link Parent
            cc: @monarda I had the J&J. I had fever and chills overnight on the first night, was unbelievably tired the following day, but was fine the following morning. I gave a bit more detail here if...

            cc: @monarda

            I had the J&J. I had fever and chills overnight on the first night, was unbelievably tired the following day, but was fine the following morning. I gave a bit more detail here if you're interested.

            All told it wasn't too bad for me, and was over in about 36 hours. I hope it goes smoothly for you.

            4 votes
          2. Omnicrola
            Link Parent
            @monarda , similar to what @kfwyre described, about 9pm last night I suddenly felt achy all over, lightheaded, and warm. Took my temp and it was 98.8 (earlier in the day it was 96.4). So took some...

            @monarda , similar to what @kfwyre described, about 9pm last night I suddenly felt achy all over, lightheaded, and warm. Took my temp and it was 98.8 (earlier in the day it was 96.4). So took some advil and laid down, proceeded to be simultaneously hot and shiver while mildly nauseated for a few hours then fell asleep. Woke up later feeling like I was baking (too many blankets).

            This morning I feel better, but not great. Still aches all over, thermometer says 98.6, but I don't feel like I'm on fire like I did last night.

            3 votes
      2. [4]
        eve
        Link Parent
        That's awesome! A trip well worth it, congrats. And I'm glad your friends jumped on it too! That's the kind of stuff that makes me feel so much better about the upcoming year. And I definitely...

        That's awesome! A trip well worth it, congrats. And I'm glad your friends jumped on it too! That's the kind of stuff that makes me feel so much better about the upcoming year.

        And I definitely know what you mean with the mental burden. I almost cried in relief when I got home after I got the shot. I know I still have another one to get, but it's beyond relieving to have gotten even half of it!

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          kfwyre
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I got choked up in the 15 minute waiting period after mine, and I outright cried when I went back to my car. The sense of relief was so profound and meaningful.

          I got choked up in the 15 minute waiting period after mine, and I outright cried when I went back to my car. The sense of relief was so profound and meaningful.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Omnicrola
            Link Parent
            I anticipated that I might burst into years of relief during or after, but I didn't. The whole assembly line moved so efficiently, and everyone was professional and nice, that by the time I sat...

            I anticipated that I might burst into years of relief during or after, but I didn't. The whole assembly line moved so efficiently, and everyone was professional and nice, that by the time I sat down and rolled up my sleeve all I felt was excitement.

            During that 15min quiet sit down though, I let it hit me. My whole body un-tensed, I let out a hugely exaggerated sigh, and just smiled at nothing like I was high out of my mind. Pure contentment. I swear I couldn't stop grinning all the way home.

            5 votes
            1. Atvelonis
              Link Parent
              That's a really lovely image! You're making me excited for when I can get mine. :)

              That's a really lovely image! You're making me excited for when I can get mine. :)

              1 vote
  2. Atvelonis
    Link
    In New York state, those who are 30 and older will be eligible on March 30, and all other adults can be vaccinated starting April 6. It's good to see more widespread availability. My family...

    In New York state, those who are 30 and older will be eligible on March 30, and all other adults can be vaccinated starting April 6. It's good to see more widespread availability. My family members are either vaccinated, scheduled for appointments, or will be making them soon. Hoping the summer will be a break from the madness.

    7 votes
  3. [3]
    Parliament
    Link
    I'm getting my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. Those of you with young children, what is your protocol for after you're vaccinated but your children aren't? Seems like we'll be waiting...

    I'm getting my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. Those of you with young children, what is your protocol for after you're vaccinated but your children aren't? Seems like we'll be waiting until Q1 2022 for that. The ability to spread COVID despite being vaccinated is weighing on me, especially since my sister is determined to host a wedding of 50-100 people in July that was postponed from last year.

    7 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      The CDC has released guidelines for vaccinated people interacting with the non-vaccinated, and it basically boils down to "wait two weeks after the final shot, and avoid them if you're showing...

      The CDC has released guidelines for vaccinated people interacting with the non-vaccinated, and it basically boils down to "wait two weeks after the final shot, and avoid them if you're showing symptoms."

      7 votes
    2. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I don't have kids, but some of my coworkers have talked about implementing ventilation and/or filtration at home as a best practice this summer -- lots of windows open with intake/exhaust fans if...

      I don't have kids, but some of my coworkers have talked about implementing ventilation and/or filtration at home as a best practice this summer -- lots of windows open with intake/exhaust fans if weather permits it; having HEPA filters on if not. That doesn't assist with events like weddings (which is a tough judgment call you'll have to make), but it can help yield some peace-of-mind during the day-to-day at home. It is a lot less likely for you to potentially spread it to your kids if the air in shared spaces is being regularly cleaned/replaced.

      5 votes
  4. rylee
    Link
    My boss is requiring that I get two negative covid tests before I come back to work because of, wait for it, seasonal allergies. I’m vaccinated. Can’t wait for life to go back to normal!

    My boss is requiring that I get two negative covid tests before I come back to work because of, wait for it, seasonal allergies. I’m vaccinated. Can’t wait for life to go back to normal!

    6 votes
  5. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    My mother is in her 60s and will be vaccinated this week. If the doses do not end, maybe I'll be vaccinated in July. Those are not even the best vaccines. Deaths keep growing every day. Eight...

    My mother is in her 60s and will be vaccinated this week. If the doses do not end, maybe I'll be vaccinated in July. Those are not even the best vaccines.

    Deaths keep growing every day.

    Eight mayors of large Brazilian cities recorded a video asking for international vaccine donations. I'm not sure if anyone noticed abroad.

    Bolsonaro went on national TV to list everything he did to fight the pandemic (things that were too little and too late...). The consensus among his critics is that Bolsonaro is only acting now due to the political pressure of having Lula out of jail and eligible to the 2022 presidential election.

    6 votes
  6. Adys
    Link
    Belgium must lift ‘all Covid-19 measures’ within 30 days, Brussels court rules ‘Disgrace’: Belgium criticised after court order to lift all Covid measures In short, Belgium failed to establish a...

    In short, Belgium failed to establish a pandemic law in time to appropriately justify the measures it is currently employing, with no input from the parliament. It lost in court again the League for Human Rights.

    6 votes
  7. rosco
    Link
    I've been volunteering at a distribution center in Monterey County and I just have to say I am so hopeful and impressed by our vaccination network here. In 2 months they have vaccinated 30% of the...

    I've been volunteering at a distribution center in Monterey County and I just have to say I am so hopeful and impressed by our vaccination network here. In 2 months they have vaccinated 30% of the county. The center where I work is ramping up from 900 vaccinations a day to 2500 next week. It feels like the hysteria around the vaccine is experiencing a slow death and even those who were skeptics are finally getting comfortable with the idea. I know other countries are having a very different experience but I really am hopeful for the first time since this all started!!!

    5 votes
  8. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Despite Chile’s speedy Covid-19 vaccination drive, cases soar

    Despite Chile’s speedy Covid-19 vaccination drive, cases soar

    But experts say the country’s speedy and efficient vaccination drive — only Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles have vaccinated a larger share of their populations — gave Chileans a false sense of security and contributed to a sharp spike in new infections and deaths that is overloading the health care system.

    The surge in cases, even as more than one-third of Chile’s population has received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, serves as a cautionary tale for other nations looking to vaccination drives to quickly put an end to the era of beleaguered economies, closed borders and social distancing. The rise in cases prompted a new set of strict lockdown measures that have restricted mobility for much of the country, affecting nearly 14 million people.

    5 votes
  9. [6]
    CrunchyTabasco
    Link
    Not gonna beat around the bush here: if I'm fully vaccinated, can I safely hook up with strangers who are also fully vaccinated? What about unvaccinated strangers?

    Not gonna beat around the bush here: if I'm fully vaccinated, can I safely hook up with strangers who are also fully vaccinated? What about unvaccinated strangers?

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      BLUF: Yes and yes. I want to dig in to this question much more deeply than necessary because I think it's interesting, and I also think it's important to recontextualize things. We've been...

      BLUF: Yes and yes.

      I want to dig in to this question much more deeply than necessary because I think it's interesting, and I also think it's important to recontextualize things. We've been fighting this fucking virus for over a year, and it's easy to forget the big picture.

      So: what does "safely" mean, for you? Was it ever "safe"? To answer that, let's roll the clock back 6 months and assume nobody is vaccinated.

      This virus is fairly mild overall. The reason it's a dangerous virus and causing a worldwide pandemic is not its potency, it's its transmissibility. A mix of its attributes that make it a bit of a perfect storm that can shut down countries.

      Even if you do catch something, how affected you will be heavily depends on your age, body type, blood type, and so on. Most healthy people are fine. Some are not, but that is the case for a lot of other illnesses. Remember the context: COVID is much more dangerous to society as a whole, than it is dangerous to individuals.

      The threat of the virus being in its transmissibility also means that, if you're practicing "unsafe" behaviour, you are likelier to become a transmission vector. If you hook up to someone who is also practicing unsafe behaviour, you're also likelier to catch it and become a carrier. And because the likelihood of damage to you is minimal, the problem then becomes your future behaviour: How likely are you to transmit it to someone else?

      If you're hooking up with someone, HIV is much more of a concern than COVID. If hooking up during flu season didn't scare you before, hooking up with someone shouldn't scare you now. It's a game of chance; individual events are unlikely to cause transmission, but lots of events added together increase it. If either of the people in a hookup are practicing such unsafe behaviour, possibility of transmission becomes very high (kissing is obviously an extremely high transmission risk if either party is infected, although it's not 100%).

      With all that in mind, let's answer for the unvaccinated first, for two definitions of "safely":

      1. "In a way that is of little personal risk to myself": Unless you are in an at-risk group, you're likely to be pretty safe overall either way.
      2. "In a way that minimizes potential for damage to others": That much depends on who you hook up with, and how often. If you want to be safe, you could always quarantine after a hookup. For that definition, it doesn't matter if you catch it, what matters is if you transmit it further.

      Now, vaccines. There's only good news here. Evidence now points to vaccines greatly reducing transmission risks. It makes intuitive sense, as they greatly reduce viral load, and viral load is what increases transmission risk. In other words, if you're vaccinated, you are reducing your personal risk to near-zero, and even if you do have it, you are also reducing your risk to cause damage to others via transmission.

      In other words, you're less likely to catch it, and if you do catch it, it'll be harmless to you, and you're unlikely to keep transmitting it to others.

      There's the asterisk here that variants are a bit more of an unknown, but to be honest, with the lack of evidence of their risk through vaccinations, I don't think there is cause to stop people from enjoying life a little once they're vaccinated. It's been a tough year. Just keep your mask on in crowded areas, and don't go licking door handles, it's gross.

      4 votes
    2. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      (Just talking about the coronavirus) Yes, as long as neither of you have coughing, sneezing, or other symptoms. Beyond that, the safety of your hookups is on you, your partner, and your safe sex...

      (Just talking about the coronavirus) Yes, as long as neither of you have coughing, sneezing, or other symptoms.

      Beyond that, the safety of your hookups is on you, your partner, and your safe sex choices. But that's as it always was.

      3 votes
    3. [2]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      Asking the right questions :P I'm in the same boat, once I get jabbed I plan on making a picture of my vaccine card (with details edited out, of course) one of my tinder profile pics,...

      Asking the right questions :P

      I'm in the same boat, once I get jabbed I plan on making a picture of my vaccine card (with details edited out, of course) one of my tinder profile pics, and...uh...making up for lost time.

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

      If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

      • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.

      • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

      So tl;dr - one-on-one sex with an unvaccinated partner is safe, as long as that partner is relatively low risk for Covid. If you wanted to have group sex, probably everyone should be fully vaccinated.

      Good luck, go find some people to be much less than 6 feet apart from.

      3 votes
      1. CrunchyTabasco
        Link Parent
        Good idea - might steal that for my tinder!

        Good idea - might steal that for my tinder!

        1 vote
  10. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Why Johnson & Johnson throwing out 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses shouldn’t scare you

    Why Johnson & Johnson throwing out 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses shouldn’t scare you

    The Baltimore plant was one of several contracted by the federal government in 2020 to help vaccine-makers ramp up production. The facility was still awaiting authorization from the FDA to deliver the vaccines for U.S. use when the problems were discovered. As standard practice, Johnson & Johnson said it had specialists at the facility to check safety and quality. The Washington Post reported that workers at the facility in late February mixed up the ingredients for the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines both being produced there, throwing the entire batch into question. The FDA had previously flagged quality control concerns at Emergent’s Baltimore plant related to its testing of a potential treatment for anthrax, according to the records obtained by the Associated Press.

    3 votes