14 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of April 19

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!

28 comments

  1. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    Got my first dose of Pfizer yesterday. No side effects besides slight soreness at the injection site. Just 5 weeks and I’ll be a free man! This whole pandemic started with a cancelled trip to Los...

    Got my first dose of Pfizer yesterday. No side effects besides slight soreness at the injection site. Just 5 weeks and I’ll be a free man! This whole pandemic started with a cancelled trip to Los Angeles where my friend lives (and we’re all of the world’s best food resides). So I’m planning to head down soon after I’m fully vaccinated to bookend the whole experience. California is opening up all businesses in some capacity on the 15th of June. That might be a good date to arrive on.

    11 votes
  2. [3]
    eve
    (edited )
    Link
    I am getting my second dose today!! I'm kind of nervous because I don't want to feel sick, but also I'm super duper excited about being fully inoculated in two weeks. I'm going to get a hair cut...

    I am getting my second dose today!! I'm kind of nervous because I don't want to feel sick, but also I'm super duper excited about being fully inoculated in two weeks. I'm going to get a hair cut lol! My SO will only be a week or two behind me which I'm grateful for. We'll be going back to the gym and living a little bit freer than we have the past year. I'll actually get to go to craft and yarn stores again, I'm so fucking happy 😭. I'll likely update this post with how I'm feeling after my second dose lol.

    Update 1: it's now night time and there are some feelings of sickness, like when you feel a little weird and you know you're getting sick. Otherwise, nothing notable.

    Update 2: it's morning for me and I was so damn achey with chills all fucking night. I kept waking up from every little bit of sleep I was getting. And my hip joint and elbow joint keep hurting but now that I'm actually awake and up, it's basically passed. I feel like the day after being pretty sick, but I'm tired because my sleep was shit. That's it though!

    Update 3: what an optimistic fool I was. I sat through an hour long meeting and no, I am not quite up to snuff lmao. It feels like the last dredge of the flu. Achey and sensitive feeling and cold. Im probably going to take a half day, fuck this lol.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      118point3ml
      Link Parent
      I hope your second dose went well! My side effects were a bit stronger with my second dose, but neither time was really a trial. I have been cutting husband's hair at home for the last 13 months...

      I hope your second dose went well! My side effects were a bit stronger with my second dose, but neither time was really a trial.
      I have been cutting husband's hair at home for the last 13 months (no prior experience!). I've gotten passably okay at it, but we're both looking forward to him seeing a professional again. Kind of. Finding a new stylist is such an uncomfortable undertaking, don't you think? His hair grows so fast, though, we might stick to having me shorten it up between visits to someone who actually knows what they're doing.
      As for myself, I haven't had my hair cut since October 2019, and I find myself wondering when I'll submit to the scissors again, even once I'm solidly immunized. I am chomping at the bit to browse craft stores again! I have a Mother's Day project in mind that would benefit from being able to pick things out in person. 🧵 🧵 🧵

      7 votes
      1. eve
        Link Parent
        So far, just a really sore arm! I don't think I'm expecting much but we'll see haha. I've been cutting my SO's hair too!! I do a good enough job, especially since we hardly leave the house. I...

        So far, just a really sore arm! I don't think I'm expecting much but we'll see haha.

        I've been cutting my SO's hair too!! I do a good enough job, especially since we hardly leave the house. I shaved my head back in August, my hair got way too long! I've kept it short for over a decade now and can't stand it being very long.

        I've personally had pretty good luck with my hairstylists, but I'm sure I spend more on it than some people are comfortable with. I like going to smaller, more expensive places. The care is usually pretty good and at the place I had been going too, the stylists will give a scalp and shoulder massage for a few minutes.

        I hope you're able to get the stuff you need! There are definitely certain things that buying on the internet cannot substitute for seeing it in person (especially with yarn, I've had an awful experience with it).

        3 votes
  3. [6]
    MonkeyPants
    Link
    Half of US adults have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall Covid-19 vaccine demand is slowing in parts of the US. Now an uphill battle starts...

    Half of US adults have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot

    America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall

    59% of U.S. adults say they're either already vaccinated, or plan to be as soon as the shot is made available to them. At the current U.S. vaccination rate, all of those vaccine-enthusiastic adults could be inoculated by the end of April.

    Covid-19 vaccine demand is slowing in parts of the US. Now an uphill battle starts to get more shots into arms

    One in five rural residents still say they will definitely not get vaccinated, according to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 73% of those respondents leaned Republican and 41% identified as White Evangelical Christians.

    I don't think America is going to get 70-85% of the population vaccinated. Hopefully enough have vaccinations and natural immunity to avoid overwhelming the hospitals

    9 votes
    1. FrankGrimes
      Link Parent
      If enough business and institutions start requiring vaccines, it should get there. If you can't get on an airliner, go out to eat, or go to school, a chunk of the "my rights" crowd will get over it.

      If enough business and institutions start requiring vaccines, it should get there. If you can't get on an airliner, go out to eat, or go to school, a chunk of the "my rights" crowd will get over it.

      4 votes
    2. [4]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      They’ll start paying people to get vaccinated at some point. Either you spend a lot on vaccination campaigns or you just give that to people directly.

      They’ll start paying people to get vaccinated at some point. Either you spend a lot on vaccination campaigns or you just give that to people directly.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Thra11
        Link Parent
        You'd have to be very careful preparing a scheme like that. You wouldn't want people to decline their vaccines in the belief that by waiting a bit longer they might get paid to get them. Are there...

        You'd have to be very careful preparing a scheme like that. You wouldn't want people to decline their vaccines in the belief that by waiting a bit longer they might get paid to get them. Are there any past examples of people actually being offered money to encourage them to do something similar?

        3 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          You’d have to do it as a late phase effort. I don’t think I’ve heard of it happening before.

          You’d have to do it as a late phase effort.

          I don’t think I’ve heard of it happening before.

      2. grahamiam
        Link Parent
        Campaign money goes to contracted corporations, direct payments do not. I'd put money on no widespread movement for direct payments in the US. Individual communities/companies may do it on their...

        Campaign money goes to contracted corporations, direct payments do not. I'd put money on no widespread movement for direct payments in the US. Individual communities/companies may do it on their own, though.

  4. [3]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    A small group of acquaintances got together at a big house. The whole time they worn masks and kept their distance. And then they shared a joint. They all got covid, one of them died. Roll your...

    A small group of acquaintances got together at a big house. The whole time they worn masks and kept their distance. And then they shared a joint. They all got covid, one of them died.

    Roll your own joints, kids.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      strange, i thought it was mostly transmitted via aerosols, were they hot boxing?

      strange, i thought it was mostly transmitted via aerosols, were they hot boxing?

      3 votes
      1. MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        They were each, in turn, putting a thing in their mouths that had been in the mouth of every other person in the room. That it mostly spreads by aerosol doesn't mean there aren't riskier behaviors...

        They were each, in turn, putting a thing in their mouths that had been in the mouth of every other person in the room. That it mostly spreads by aerosol doesn't mean there aren't riskier behaviors still.

        9 votes
  5. [6]
    skybrian
    Link
    India’s devastating second wave [...]

    India’s devastating second wave

    In the capital, Delhi, which at about 25,000 is recording more new daily infections than any Indian city, the number of cases is doubling every five days.

    The sick are overwhelming hospitals in many parts of the country. The rate of ICU patients in Nagpur at 353 per million is higher than it was anywhere in Europe during the pandemic. Mumbai, the financial capital, has 194 ICU patients per million.

    To meet surging demand, authorities have set up emergency coronavirus hospitals in banquet halls, train stations and hotels. India has taken emergency measures to secure oxygen supplies, boost production of drugs such as remdesivir and fast-track vaccine approvals. It has frozen vaccine exports, too, a decision that will have profound consequences for the developing world that is depending on Indian manufacturing for its jabs.

    A Financial Times analysis also points to under-reporting of deaths. Local news reports for seven districts across the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar show that while at least 1,833 people are known to have died of Covid-19 in recent days, based mainly on cremations, only 228 have been officially reported.

    In the Jamnagar district in Gujarat, 100 people died of Covid-19 but only one Covid death was reported.

    The situation in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, a state of 200m that is among India’s poorest, highlights how health infrastructure has been pushed to breaking point. Local media reported that at King George’s Medical University, there was a queue of 50 people per hospital bed.

    [...]

    “None of us suffered the death and devastation that we are seeing now. It is much worse this time than last year,” said Seema Shukla, a nurse at the government-run Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow. “The condition is so horrible that so many people are dying on the street, in their houses, before they can see a doctor or even have a test.

    “From early morning to midnight my phone keeps ringing. Desperate relatives and friends are calling for help: ‘Please help me find a ventilator, bed, a nurse, oxygen cylinder, medicine.’”

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Related, non-paywalled article from The Guardian: ‘The system has collapsed’: India’s descent into Covid hell Worth reading the whole thing though. The charts in it are incredibly alarming, and...

      Related, non-paywalled article from The Guardian:
      ‘The system has collapsed’: India’s descent into Covid hell

      Looking out over a sea of jostling, maskless faces gathered at a political rally in West Bengal on Saturday, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, proudly proclaimed that he had “never ever seen such huge crowds”. A mask was also noticeably absent from Modi’s face.

      That same day, India registered a record-breaking 234,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,341 deaths – and the numbers have kept rising since.

      The country has descended into a tragedy of unprecedented proportions. Almost 1.6 million cases have been registered in a week, bringing total cases to more than 15 million. In the space of just 12 days, the Covid positivity rate doubled to 17%, while in Delhi it hit 30%. Hospitals across the country have filled to capacity but this time it is predominately the young taking up the beds; in Delhi, 65% of cases are under 40 years old.

      Worth reading the whole thing though. The charts in it are incredibly alarming, and depressing too. :(

      7 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Also related: Twitter Is Blocking Tweets That Criticize How The Indian Government Has Handled The Pandemic

        Also related:
        Twitter Is Blocking Tweets That Criticize How The Indian Government Has Handled The Pandemic

        As India’s coronavirus pandemic burns out of control, the country’s government is cracking down — on social media. On Thursday, India’s government ordered Twitter to block more than 50 tweets that criticized how it has handled the pandemic. Twitter complied, preventing people in the country from viewing the posts from people who include a state minister, an opposition member of the Indian Parliament, filmmakers, an actor, two journalists, and several ordinary people.

        On Saturday, Twitter published details about the order to the Lumen database, a Harvard University project that keeps track of government takedown notices around the world. The news was first reported by Indian technology policy website Medianama.

        “When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, the content will be removed from the service,” a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only.” The company said that it notified the people whose tweets it restricted in India ahead of time, telling them the company was responding to an order from the Indian government.

        The government also restricted dozens of tweets that criticized Modi or shared pictures of India’s overflowing crematoriums and hospitals, in addition to a tweet from the Indian American Muslim Council, a Washington D.C-based advocacy organization of Indian American Muslims. That group shared a Vice story about the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage attended by hundreds of thousands of Indians earlier this month, and which turned into a super spreader event.

        This isn’t the first time Twitter has complied with the Indian government’s orders to censor tweets. In February, the company blocked more than 250 accounts in India that criticized the government’s handling of protests by hundreds of thousands of farmers against new agricultural laws. The company subsequently struck a defiant note, unblocking accounts belonging to journalists, activists, and politicians, despite jail threats from the Indian government.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Delhi hospitals run out of oxygen supplies (BBC) [...]

      Delhi hospitals run out of oxygen supplies (BBC)

      Six hospitals in the Indian capital Delhi have completely run out
      of oxygen and doctors say other hospitals have just a few hours'
      worth of supply left.

      A number of people have died while waiting for oxygen, and more
      than 99% of all intensive care beds are full.

      [...]

      Prime Minister Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to
      discuss the oxygen supply issue. According to a government
      statement, he was told that an "elaborate exercise" is under way,
      with state governments to identify their needs so they can be
      supplied with oxygen.

      To transport oxygen around the country faster, the canisters are
      being airlifted and put on direct trains, the statement says.

      6 votes
    3. MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      It's tragic how quickly India is escalating, but despite talking to Indians on a regular basis, I am still left wondering... why? They were doing so well, for so long, complacency, new variants...

      It's tragic how quickly India is escalating, but despite talking to Indians on a regular basis, I am still left wondering... why?

      They were doing so well, for so long, complacency, new variants and a recent celebration, all of that was true, I thought, for many months.

      4 votes
  6. ducc
    Link
    I'm getting my first dose of Pfizer on Wednesday. I'm excited, but a bit nervous - I have a really busy day on Thursday, and I wasn't able to get an appointment at any other time. I hope I'm not...

    I'm getting my first dose of Pfizer on Wednesday. I'm excited, but a bit nervous - I have a really busy day on Thursday, and I wasn't able to get an appointment at any other time. I hope I'm not feeling too under the weather that day.

    6 votes
  7. skybrian
    Link
    This article describes a long list of problems causing delays to the Novavax vaccine. It’s hard to excerpt but I’ll give it a try, As fears mount over J&J and AstraZeneca, Novavax enters a shaky...

    This article describes a long list of problems causing delays to the Novavax vaccine. It’s hard to excerpt but I’ll give it a try,

    As fears mount over J&J and As­traZeneca, No­vavax en­ters a shaky spot­light

    In the now 16-month race to develop and deploy Covid-19 vaccines, Novavax has at times seemed like the pandemic’s most unsuspecting frontrunner and at times like an overhyped also-ran. Although they started the pandemic with only enough cash to last 6 months, they leveraged old connections and believers into $2 billion and emerged last summer with data experts said surpassed Pfizer and Moderna. They unveiled plans to quickly scale to 2 billion doses. Then they couldn’t even make enough material to run their US trial and watched four other companies beat them to the finish line.

    [...]

    Novavax shares some of the same attributes that led experts to talk about AstraZeneca and J&J as global vaccines. Based on more traditional technology than mRNA, the shot is easier to manufacture, can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures and delivered to remote and under-resourced regions.

    [...]

    Novavax, though, isn’t quite yet ready to shine. If the past few months have given the world a crash course in vaccine manufacturing, Novavax has provided the most interesting case study. In 2019, after a setback on their RSV vaccine, the company sold off their only factory. They have since tried to pull off one of the most herculean feats in the history of industry: to go from a little-known, barely solvent company with no approved products and no manufacturing facilities to a biotech that could annually churn out 2 billion doses of the world’s most sought after product.

    Amazingly, it’s largely been a success. Factories on three different continents are now churning out or preparing to churn out different components of Novavax’s vaccine, NVX-CoV2373. And the data that have come back are strong: In a 15,000-person UK study, the vaccine appeared as effective as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots: 96% effective against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and 86% effective against the variant now common in the country.

    “Everything about it that’s in the public domain looks promising,” says John Moore, an immunologist at Cornell, who was so impressed by the early results that he signed up for their Phase III trial. “The question is when is it going to get approved, and timelines seem to be getting pushed back and it’s not obvious why.”

    [...]

    Tech transfer, one of many once-obscure words that officials are now becoming familiar with, simply refers to the process of one company setting up its production process at another company’s facilities. For vaccines, it’s a far more important step than sharing patents or intellectual property, but it can be intensive. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has said part of the reason his company has not enlisted more outside partners is that they don’t have enough trained personnel to do so.

    Novavax had an advantage when it came to tech transfer. Their protein-based technology is similar to vaccines, such as the hepatitis b shot, which is already routinely made around the world.  The company, Trizzino said, has relied on a single team of about a dozen people who have flown around the world to build up the vaccine.

    [...]

    The problem is the same one that has affiliated the globe: the supply of raw materials. Although Novavax has established a manufacturing network across the globe, they’re missing key components to keep it running. That includes single-use bags that encase the insect cells when they’re inside the bioreactors. To get the Czech facility running, Trizzino says, they also need a filter that’s used throughout the production process, including for purification.

    [...]

    The [US] Defense Production Act doesn’t directly stop companies that produce components from exporting them, but it requires them to give the government priority on orders, meaning supply can continue once the US has enough to produce the vaccines it’s ordered but not enough but not until then.

    “As long as they are fulfilling their contractual agreements with the US, a Defense Production Act priority rating doesn’t impact what they do or how they engage in other business,” a spokesperson for HHS said in an email. “It is our legal obligation to ensure that a company only uses a Defense Production Act priority rating to satisfy U.S. Government orders.”

    Trizzino said those issues should be resolved by the second half of this year, at which point public health experts hope it will join a continued rollout of J&J and AstraZeneca’s vaccines.

    5 votes
  8. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    American export controls threaten to hinder global vaccine production - The Economist - alternate link [...]

    American export controls threaten to hinder global vaccine production - The Economist -
    alternate link

    On April 16th, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the Serum
    Institute of India (SII), the world's biggest vaccine-maker, put out
    a tweet begging President Joe Biden to "lift the embargo of raw
    material exports out of the US...Your administration has the
    details". Suresh Jadhav, SII's executive director, says "we are
    absolutely concerned," and that in the next four to six weeks the
    production of two vaccines will be affected: AstraZeneca’s, of which
    SII makes 100m doses a month, and Novavax’s, of which it expects to
    make 60m-70m doses a month. SII says it first alerted the American
    government to the impending problem two months ago.

    That was shortly after the Biden administration announced, on
    February 5th, plans to use the Defence Production Act
    (DPA)—legislation that grants the president broad
    industrial-mobilisation powers—to bolster vaccine-making. This
    legislation has helped American pharmaceutical companies to secure
    raw materials and equipment needed to make more vaccines. But
    American firms that supply products essential to vaccine production
    say the DPA hinders their ability to export them. They must seek
    permission before exporting goods, which requires time and
    paperwork, and if America’s government decides they need the goods,
    firms may be barred from exporting them at all. Some are also
    concerned about pharma companies outside of America stockpiling
    goods because of concerns about delays caused by American export
    controls. Together, export controls and stockpiling risk gumming up
    the global supply chain.

    [...]

    On March 24th, Micheal Martin, Ireland’s prime minister, warned
    that export bans (and not just from America) would undermine global
    vaccine production, and noted that the Pfizer vaccine involves 280
    components from 86 suppliers in 19 countries. Richard Hatchett, head
    of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a
    global partnership to develop vaccines, says his organisation is
    "extremely concerned about constraints on global supply chains".

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      But it looks like this might get resolved, at least for India: India hopes U.S. will soon ease ban on vaccine material exports - sources - Reuters [...]

      But it looks like this might get resolved, at least for India:

      India hopes U.S. will soon ease ban on vaccine material exports -
      sources
      - Reuters

      One official said the Biden administration had told India that its
      request for a lifting of the ban was being considered and would be
      acted upon "at the earliest".

      Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted that he
      and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had discussed, among
      other things, "issues pertaining to our health cooperation".

      The Indian foreign ministry declined to elaborate. The U.S. State
      Department confirmed the two diplomats discussed COVID-19, but did
      not give details.

      [...]

      Asked about the restrictions on exports, White House press
      secretary Jen Psaki said inequities in access to vaccines were
      "completely unacceptable", but declined to detail additional U.S.
      action to address that.

      4 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        India sets another daily covid case record; U.S. pledges assistance [...]

        India sets another daily covid case record; U.S. pledges assistance

        The Biden administration, under growing pressure to offer more assistance to India as it struggles to contain a devastating coronavirus outbreak, promised Sunday to provide new aid, including the materials for making vaccines.

        The pledge came hours after Indian authorities announced another global record in new daily cases Sunday, and the most covid-19 deaths the country has suffered in a 24-hour period.

        The National Security Council said the United States would provide vaccine materials, drugs, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment, and was “pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.”

        [...]

        National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke Sunday with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said.

        The U.S. Development Finance Corp. is funding a “substantial expansion” in manufacturing capability to enable the Indian vaccine manufacturer Biological E to produce at least 1 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022, Horne said, and the government is deploying a team of public health experts to work with Indian authorities.

        2 votes
  9. skybrian
    Link
    Ontario hospitals under strain, and a premier under siege [...] [...]

    Ontario hospitals under strain, and a premier under siege

    There were 833 adult patients with coronavirus-related critical illnesses in Ontario ICUs on Saturday, up 92 percent from the beginning of the month, according to the provincial Health Ministry. At least 600 people were on ventilators — a pandemic record.

    But critical-care physicians say those numbers don’t fully capture the number of severely ill covid-19 patients. ICUs are so taxed that many patients who would normally be treated in one, including those on high-flow oxygen, are being cared for in hospital wards.

    [...]

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford has come under fire for failing to heed warnings that predicted such a scenario, ignoring the advice of scientific advisers and presiding over a clumsy inoculation drive that has failed to get doses to those most at risk of infection. Opposition lawmakers have called on the Progressive Conservative premier to resign.

    [...]

    Health-care workers say emergency rooms are swelling with patients who are sicker and younger than during previous surges. Many require oxygen and deteriorate rapidly. They include a number of pregnant women.

    5 votes
  10. skybrian
    Link
    Over-the-counter COVID tests seem to be widely stocked in the US. They are listed here at $24 for 2 at Walgreens, and similar for CVS. From Twitter they are $8 for 2 somewhere. If this had...

    Over-the-counter COVID tests seem to be widely stocked in the US. They are listed here at $24 for 2 at Walgreens, and similar for CVS. From Twitter they are $8 for 2 somewhere.

    If this had happened months ago it could have made a real difference. I don’t know if it will now with vaccine appointments becoming more easily available.

    3 votes
  11. cfabbro
    Link
    Man arrested in Mallorca town on suspicion of infecting 22 people with Covid-19

    Man arrested in Mallorca town on suspicion of infecting 22 people with Covid-19

    A man in the town of Manacor on the Spanish island of Mallorca has been arrested on suspicion of infecting 22 people with Covid-19, according to the Spanish National Police.

    "Despite having symptoms and having done a PCR test, he continued his normal life without waiting for the result or quarantining," police said of the suspect in a tweet on Saturday.

    Authorities added that the 40-year-old man "came to work with a 40°C fever [104°F] according to his colleagues. He was coughing loudly all over the place, lowering his facemask, while saying: 'I'm going to give you all the coronavirus.'"

    The man infected eight people directly and 14 indirectly, both at his workplace and at the gym he attended, according to the police. Three of them were babies of only a year old, a police statement said.

    The investigation began "at the end of January when authorities learned of the existence of a Covid-19 outbreak in a well-known establishment in Manacor," the statement said.

    3 votes