10 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of April 12

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!

33 comments

  1. [3]
    chrysanth
    Link
    Throwing in The Gaslighting of Science by Zeynep Tufekci for discussion. The piece covers the way in which certain kinds of knowledge about the virus (aerosol spread, clusters, presymptomatic...

    Throwing in The Gaslighting of Science by Zeynep Tufekci for discussion. The piece covers the way in which certain kinds of knowledge about the virus (aerosol spread, clusters, presymptomatic transmission) were ignored and/or not taken seriously which allowed things to get as bad as they did.

    Even now, there are still people in leadership or authority positions (of various kinds of institutions) who do not realize this stuff. See schools in the U.S. spending ridiculous sums on plexiglass shields between students, even as the windows are shut and the ventilation system continues without upgrades. (Not representative of all or most school districts, I imagine, but a powerful example of how people still aren't listening to public health guidance.) Family members and friends in my own life are the same way, agreeing to meet in person, indoors, no open windows, despite not yet being fully vaccinated, and wiping surfaces mostly to assuage their concerns about spread, since it wouldn't actually change a thing if one of them was infected.

    12 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      American teacher here, nodding furiously. I actually had a lot more written out in response to this, but I promised myself I wouldn’t rant in these threads anymore like I used to, so, suffice it...

      See schools in the U.S. spending ridiculous sums on plexiglass shields between students, even as the windows are shut and the ventilation system continues without upgrades. (Not representative of all or most school districts, I imagine, but a powerful example of how people still aren't listening to public health guidance.)

      American teacher here, nodding furiously.

      I actually had a lot more written out in response to this, but I promised myself I wouldn’t rant in these threads anymore like I used to, so, suffice it to say that I am nodding furiously.

      16 votes
    2. psi
      Link Parent
      A similar article from The Atlantic [1]: [1] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/end-hygiene-theater/618576/

      A similar article from The Atlantic [1]:

      Unlike the coronavirus, hygiene theater is very much alive on surfaces across America. Transit authorities are still taking subway cars offline to power-scrub their walls. Baseball parks are banning cash to protect fans from fiat germs. Schools throughout the country still require deep cleanings that sometimes shut down classes for hours or days. The Los Angeles Unified School District’s COVID-19 posters still urge people to “clean high-touch surfaces frequently,” with no mention of ventilation, air filters, or keeping windows open. Target is still running ads on Hulu bragging about how it calls in workers at 6 a.m. to mop and scrub for several hours, for the comfort of its germophobic customers.

      [...]

      But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.


      [1] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/end-hygiene-theater/618576/

      5 votes
  2. [5]
    Deimos
    Link
    The US is "pausing" use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in response to 6 reports of blood clots from the over 6.8 million doses administered so far.

    The US is "pausing" use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in response to 6 reports of blood clots from the over 6.8 million doses administered so far.

    9 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      It should be noted that it's a recommendation, not a mandate. (Though I think it's a monumentally stupid decision in any case)

      It should be noted that it's a recommendation, not a mandate.

      (Though I think it's a monumentally stupid decision in any case)

      8 votes
    2. [3]
      Icarus
      Link Parent
      This was a real bummer as both the SO and I were scheduled to get this on Friday. We were super excited to get it and be done with it in one go. Fortunately, we were able to book appointments for...

      This was a real bummer as both the SO and I were scheduled to get this on Friday. We were super excited to get it and be done with it in one go. Fortunately, we were able to book appointments for today and I got the Moderna while she got Pfizer. It's now a race to see who will have the worse side effects!

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        Who won?

        Who won?

        1. Icarus
          Link Parent
          It's a tie. We both can't raise our arms above shoulder level without some discomfort nor can we sleep on them. Thankfully no severe symptoms and the only inconvenience we have is cancelling our...

          It's a tie. We both can't raise our arms above shoulder level without some discomfort nor can we sleep on them. Thankfully no severe symptoms and the only inconvenience we have is cancelling our gym appointment.

          5 votes
  3. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    America has pandemic senioritis

    America has pandemic senioritis

    For those who are unfamiliar with the concept—or who were simply more committed students than I ever was—senioritis is a psychological affliction both totally made up and very real. More a mood than a diagnosis, you can find many students afflicted by it in their last semester of high school or college. Senioritis comes from reaching the end stages of the lengthy work necessary to achieve a difficult—and often not altogether voluntary—goal. (Sound familiar?) It’s an abrupt bout of laziness, or flakiness, or riskiness. It is sudden-onset farting around, and maybe breaking a few rules in the process.

    Even if you’re abstaining from new risks, you still might be having a hard time channeling your energy toward anything but fantasizing about the summer ahead. To explain that, Narvaez pointed to the concept of anticipatory euphoria. That’s what people are experiencing when they cover their house in Christmas decorations as soon as Thanksgiving is over, or why buying a wedding dress can be so emotionally affecting a year before the big day. These moments might not make the desired event come any faster, but they give people access to some of the joy they expect those occasions will bring. Whether you’re browsing future vacation destinations or plotting your post-pandemic wardrobe, Narvaez said, it’s easy to let an obsession with arriving at a particular goal distract you from the things that need to be done in order to get there. That’s true even if those things are the rote tasks of living your life, staying safe, and keeping your job until your brain returns to its regularly scheduled programming.

    9 votes
  4. [2]
    monarda
    Link
    I got the Moderna vaccine on Thursday! I was super excited. Oddly, As it was being injected I had a metal taste, like when getting contrast for an MRI. In the car afterwards, my tongue then my...

    I got the Moderna vaccine on Thursday! I was super excited.
    Oddly, As it was being injected I had a metal taste, like when getting contrast for an MRI. In the car afterwards, my tongue then my gums started going numb followed by nausea and blurry vision. After an hour it all cleared up. I was a bit scared and will discuss it with a doctor before getting the second shot.

    My husband gets the Pfizer tomorrow!

    8 votes
    1. CrunchyTabasco
      Link Parent
      That's just part of the microchip installation process, no need to worry. The default resolution must have taken a second to automatically adjust to the system, hence the blurry vision.

      That's just part of the microchip installation process, no need to worry. The default resolution must have taken a second to automatically adjust to the system, hence the blurry vision.

      3 votes
  5. [4]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Several health professionals pretended to give the vaccine so they could (allegedly) sell it on the black market. I heard of a few people dying from covid after being immunized. Maybe that's a...

    Several health professionals pretended to give the vaccine so they could (allegedly) sell it on the black market.

    I heard of a few people dying from covid after being immunized. Maybe that's a coincidence, maybe not.

    A "nurse" was arrested selling fake vaccines in a parking lot.

    Welcome to Brazil.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      That is terrible! I assume this news isn't in English, but is it online?

      That is terrible!

      I assume this news isn't in English, but is it online?

      3 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        I'm summarizing multiple incidents. Hard to find that in English.

        I'm summarizing multiple incidents. Hard to find that in English.

        2 votes
  6. Kuromantis
    Link
    My grandfather got his first COVID vaccine, which was an AstraZeneca shot. Given he has heart problems and is in his mid 60s, this is pretty good news for my family.

    My grandfather got his first COVID vaccine, which was an AstraZeneca shot. Given he has heart problems and is in his mid 60s, this is pretty good news for my family.

    6 votes
  7. skybrian
    Link
    AZ/Oxford Calculations

    AZ/Oxford Calculations

    As with all public health measures and all drug treatments, there’s a risk/benefit calculation at the heart of this matter. I gather from my email and messages that not everyone is reconciled to those, and while I sympathize – it would be a lot easier if we didn’t have to – I can only reiterate that it’s the only way to go. “You can’t put a price on a human life” is the saying, but while you may well not be able to put a price on yours or on the lives of your loved ones, that statement’s force dissolves when you have to consider millions of people.

    Still not convinced? Try an unpleasant thought experiment, then, a sort of vaccination trolley problem: how many people should die of Covid-19 in order to keep one person from dying from a vaccine-induced thrombosis? There are all sorts of calculations imbedded in the answer [...] You can obviously turn the dials on these numbers to get any answer you want by making enough assumptions. But a pretty solid one number to start with is that fatalities and serious complications from the coronavirus are more likely in older patients, and that tilts the scale towards them getting any vaccine rather than none. With that in mind, German authorities are saying that that AZ/Oxford vaccine should only be used in patients over 60. France puts the cutoff at 55, and the UK at 30 – other countries are all making their own calls, but the EMA itself is not making any recommendations like this (or not yet).

    5 votes
  8. [7]
    Loire
    Link
    About a week ago I got my notification from UT Health in Houston that I could come in for my first shot. Too bad I'm not longer in the United States. Bit of a gut punch but hopefully it will only...

    About a week ago I got my notification from UT Health in Houston that I could come in for my first shot.

    Too bad I'm not longer in the United States.

    Bit of a gut punch but hopefully it will only be a couple more months before Canada gets their shit together.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      We have actually already gotten our shit together according to the stats: https://twitter.com/trevortombe/status/1379230905382895621?s=19 And another update from yesterday too, with more...

      We have actually already gotten our shit together according to the stats:
      https://twitter.com/trevortombe/status/1379230905382895621?s=19

      And another update from yesterday too, with more comparative rankings:
      https://twitter.com/trevortombe/status/1382512366730977281

      So, while the criticism over how long it took for the vaccinations to get started up here is well deserved, we've more than caught up since then, and the still constant stream of negativity/criticism mostly seems to be politically motivated at this point, IMO. And I think this reply to the updated post on twitter also nailed another aspect of it too:

      It is the juxtaposition of being next to the US that is driving angst. The knowledge that they muddled their way through this and are coming out “ahead” of us is a hard narrative to combat.

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        Loire
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        While I appreciate the optimistic outlook and Im not too worried about Canada's response, I disagree that we have "caught up" and the numbers you posted don't suggest that. According to your first...

        While I appreciate the optimistic outlook and Im not too worried about Canada's response, I disagree that we have "caught up" and the numbers you posted don't suggest that. According to your first link we are just barely outpacing the US at 0.68 to 0.60, however the US has been slowing down their pace of vaccination after the initial blitz because of the increasing effort to find willing candidates. Canada is still in the early phase where everyone who needs the vaccine is getting it.

        Likewise by the end of this week 50% of Americans are going to have at least a single dose of the vaccine, as opposed to Canada where the 50% mark is expected between late July and early August.

        You could argue 3.5 months is no big deal but I disagree. How many more deaths will occur in that period? How many more economically destructive lockdowns? This is a scenario where time is absolutely of the essence.

        You're second link mentions that we are 19th on the world stage and 7th out of the OECD countries, this may just be my overbearing patriotism talking but I would have hoped for better for Canada as a moderately rich, advanced nation. I don't see those numbers as positives, and I'm honestly wondering if the only reason we are third in the G7 because Europe is having such woes getting vaccines.

        And to be frank, the "per capita" metric is somewhat misleading in terms of this discussion because of the manufacturing limits and time frames. It is far more impressive when the U S. vaccinates 165 million people 3 months faster than Canada can vaccinate 18 million.

        As I said it's just a gut punch, especially as you described, because the U.S. treated the pandemic like a joke. I was there for all of 2020, I saw the restaurants packed full, the bars packed full, people not wearing masks, shaking hands, scoffing at any sort of restrictions. Then I came back here and while it wasn't perfect (thanks Jason Kenney) it was treated much more seriously, I've watched restaurants shut there doors forever, small shops and businesses gone, my favourite local music venues gone, gyms gone because we did the right thing and shut down, friends and family members that isolated themselves from contact for months to protect eachother. And yet, despite all that sacrifice, the US will likely still come out ahead of us in the overall recovery. Would Ontario, Alberta and BC be going into lockdowns right now if the country was approaching 50% vaccination?

        I expected more from our government initially. That's all.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          Deimos
          Link Parent
          I've seen people in the US talking about their teenage children being able to go get vaccinated now. My dad in BC is in the 71-75 age group and hasn't been able to get his first dose yet (but I...

          I've seen people in the US talking about their teenage children being able to go get vaccinated now. My dad in BC is in the 71-75 age group and hasn't been able to get his first dose yet (but I think he's finally getting it this weekend).

          There's really no comparison between the US and Canada's vaccination progresses. We're improving, but we're extremely far behind.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Are they really that far behind Ontario? Both my parents (aged 65-70) received their first dose about a month ago, and I (turning 40) should be able to get mine within the next few days, since...

            Are they really that far behind Ontario? Both my parents (aged 65-70) received their first dose about a month ago, and I (turning 40) should be able to get mine within the next few days, since booking of appointments for my age group starts at midnight tonight.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Deimos
              Link Parent
              Yes, BC seems to be doing poorly compared to the rest of Canada too. Here's their current timeline for "general population" vaccines:...

              Yes, BC seems to be doing poorly compared to the rest of Canada too. Here's their current timeline for "general population" vaccines: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan#general-population

              Unless they really speed it up, I don't think a 40-year-old in BC could expect a vaccine until June.

              1 vote
              1. cfabbro
                Link Parent
                Yeesh. That sucks. Our initial official Provincial government estimated timeline looked similar here too, but with the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, being administered through local...

                Yeesh. That sucks. Our initial official Provincial government estimated timeline looked similar here too, but with the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, being administered through local pharmacies, the eligible age groups have been rapidly dropping over the last few months.

                1 vote
  9. [5]
    118point3ml
    Link
    People who got/want the J&J vaccine: how did/does the lower efficacy factor into your decision?

    People who got/want the J&J vaccine: how did/does the lower efficacy factor into your decision?

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I was initially hesitant about the J&J, but was a lot less concerned after this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3odScka55A I got the J&J shot 15 days ago in Ohio.

      I was initially hesitant about the J&J, but was a lot less concerned after this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3odScka55A

      I got the J&J shot 15 days ago in Ohio.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        118point3ml
        Link Parent
        Thank you for sharing this. I'll admit, I was feeling frustrated when people I care about were choosing to get the J&J vaccine, thinking they weren't making the safest choice. My partner has a...

        Thank you for sharing this. I'll admit, I was feeling frustrated when people I care about were choosing to get the J&J vaccine, thinking they weren't making the safest choice. My partner has a health condition that significantly increases their risk of complications from the virus, so it's been a supremely anxious time for us. While we have been almost completely isolated--apart from trips to the grocery store, and socially-distant interactions with only one other person for the last 13 months--we've watched as our loved ones traveled domestically and internationally, moved across the country, invited a steady stream of workmen into their homes, and met people without observing appropriate precautions. Some of them got sick. Some of them are still suffering from long-COVID.

        It was most interesting to me to note when and where the clinical trials took place, as obviously this could have a huge impact on the results. It makes sense that people should get whatever vaccine they are offered/comfortable with. It's difficult to adjust to feeling comfortable with other peoples variable acceptance of risk when their actions and choices can have such a huge impact on others, especially vulnerable populations, but I am relieved to let go of at least some the resentment I've been harboring.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          There's a lot of resentment, I think I'm going to be working through it for awhile. I hope I can hold my shit together the first few times I run across someone IRL that was either anti-vax or...

          There's a lot of resentment, I think I'm going to be working through it for awhile. I hope I can hold my shit together the first few times I run across someone IRL that was either anti-vax or "COVID was a hoax", because my first instinct is going to be to punch them in their unmasked mouth for being the reason why I had to stay in my house for a year.

          The most frustrating has been the waiting. At least now I can do something to protect myself (vaccine) from other people's bad choices besides disconnecting from 95% of society.

          4 votes
          1. 118point3ml
            Link Parent
            I’m counting down the days now to feeling comfortable going back out into the world. I’m (sadly) presently most excited about going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I feel like I did a...

            I’m counting down the days now to feeling comfortable going back out into the world. I’m (sadly) presently most excited about going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned.
            I feel like I did a small amount of good recently when, in conversation with a representative from an online store, I was able to educate them about vaccine safety and efficacy. They had asked how I was doing, and because of the pandemic, I’m feeling extra eager for genuine connection anywhere I can get it, so instead of my old standard “I am well, how are you?” I shared that I was thrilled to be just about to get my second dose of the vaccine. They were under the mistaken impression the vaccine contains the virus and wanted to know about what side effects I experienced. I hope wherever you are, Britney, you’re feeling a lot better about getting vaccinated!
            And the nice thing about the assholes of the world is that they’re much easier to spot these days, and therefore easier to avoid. Or punch 🤜 💥

            1 vote
  10. skybrian
    Link
    The world's biggest vaccine producer is running out of Covid-19 vaccines, as second wave accelerates [...]

    The world's biggest vaccine producer is running out of Covid-19 vaccines, as second wave accelerates

    On Sunday, the country reported 261,500 new cases -- its highest single-day figure so far, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health. India added a million new cases in less than a week, surpassing 14 million total cases on Thursday.

    States and cities are imposing new restrictions, including weekend and nighttime curfews in the capital region Delhi, home to 19 million people. Migrant workers are also leaving major cities en masse for their home villages, afraid any potential lockdowns will leave them stranded.

    And through it all, vaccine supplies have dried up on the ground, with at least five states reporting severe shortages and urging the federal government to act.

    In the face of crisis, the government and SII have shifted focus from supplying vaccines to COVAX to prioritizing their own citizens at home.

    "Deliveries of doses from the Serum Institute of India will be delayed in March and April," said COVAX, which is run by a coalition including international vaccine organization Gavi and the World Health Organization, in a news release on March 25. "Delays in securing supplies of SII-produced Covid-19 vaccine doses are due to the increased demand for Covid-19 vaccines in India."

    India had provided 28 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine so far, and was scheduled to deliver another 40 million doses in March and 50 million in April, the release said, adding that COVAX and the Indian government "remain in discussions" about completing supplies.

    It's not the first time India had to pause its COVAX contributions: in January, the government restricted the export of AstraZeneca vaccines produced by SII "because they want to prioritize for the most vulnerable and needy segments first," SII CEO Adar Poonawalla.

    But these repeated delays have hit poor countries hard. The director of Africa's disease control body warned India's hold on exports could be "catastrophic" for the continent -- while Pakistan, one of the biggest program recipients, decided to allow private vaccine imports and sales to fill the gap.

    [...]

    There are several challenges contributing to the shortages -- one being the supply of raw materials, said former ICMR director general Nirmal Kumar Ganguly.

    India "has the capacity to produce," Ganguly added, but supply chains have been disrupted during the pandemic. The vaccine formulas and required materials "cannot be changed overnight, so we have to rely on the raw materials being imported."

    The US has placed a temporary ban on exporting raw materials critical for vaccine production -- and the EU has similarly tightened restrictions around vaccine exports. India is now working to "adapt to the materials which are made at home or the neighboring countries like Singapore," but this will take time, said Ganguly.

    3 votes
  11. skybrian
    Link
    Brazil’s virus outlook darkens amid vaccine supply snags [...] [...] [...]

    Brazil’s virus outlook darkens amid vaccine supply snags

    [Brazil's] Health Ministry has cut its outlook for vaccine supplies in April three times already, to half their initial level, and the country’s two biggest laboratories are facing supply constraints.

    The delays also mean tens of thousands more deaths as the particularly contagious P.1 variant of COVID-19 sweeps Brazil. It has recorded about 350,000 of the 2.9 million virus deaths worldwide, behind only the U.S. toll of over 560,000.

    [...]

    Brazil’s seven-day rolling average has increased to 2,820 deaths per day, compared with the global average of 10,608 per day, according to data through April 8 from Johns Hopkins University.

    The death toll is forecast to continue rising in the next two weeks to an average of nearly 3,500 per day before receding, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

    [...]

    Public health experts blame President Jair Bolsonaro for refusing to enact strict measures to halt infections and for clashing with governors and mayors who did.

    Failure to control the spread has been compounded by the Health Ministry betting big on a single vaccine, AstraZeneca, then buying only one backup, the Chinese-manufactured CoronaVac, after supply problems emerged. Authorities ignored other producers and squandered opportunities until it was too late to get large quantities of vaccine for the first half of 2021.

    [...]

    An agreement for FioCruz to acquire AstraZeneca’s technology would allow Brazil to produce an entirely locally made vaccine and make the nation less vulnerable to constraints on imported active ingredients. Fiocruz forecasts deliveries will start in September. But that date could be pushed back due to the complexity of the process and strict quality control, its press office said in an emailed response to questions.

    2 votes
  12. skybrian
    Link
    Lateral-flow tests: What are the risks and benefits? (Lateral flow tests for COVID are sometimes called "antigen tests" or "rapid tests." This technology is also used in home pregnancy tests.)

    Lateral-flow tests: What are the risks and benefits?

    Millions of people in England are being encouraged to take two free rapid Covid tests a week. The Lateral Flow Device (LFD) kits can be picked up from testing sites, pharmacies or sent through the post.

    They give results in about 30 minutes compared with around 24 hours for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which are more sensitive and have to be processed in a laboratory.

    Almost 50 million LFD tests have been taken and registered in England since October.

    (Lateral flow tests for COVID are sometimes called "antigen tests" or "rapid tests." This technology is also used in home pregnancy tests.)

    1 vote