13 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of December 27

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!

20 comments

  1. chrysanth
    Link
    My immediate family has planned a trip in early-mid January to see extended family outside the country (we live in the US). I've been thinking since early December or so that the smart thing to do...

    My immediate family has planned a trip in early-mid January to see extended family outside the country (we live in the US). I've been thinking since early December or so that the smart thing to do would be not to go (don't want to bring Omicron with us and it's likely we could even catch it there as other countries begin to have their own waves). However, it's unclear that the members of my immediate family take the virus seriously enough to agree and cancel the trip entirely. I'd been wanting to talk it out with my therapist and make my peace with it before announcing my decision to my family, but of course... he tested positive for COVID and had to cancel our appointment. Not at all reassuring.

    14 votes
  2. [2]
    xnaas
    Link
    Anecdotally, this is the first time I've seen multiple simultaneous cases in my social circles (family, coworkers, etc.) Prior to this last week, I never knew more than 1 case at a time in very,...

    Anecdotally, this is the first time I've seen multiple simultaneous cases in my social circles (family, coworkers, etc.) Prior to this last week, I never knew more than 1 case at a time in very, very extended circles of people I know. I'm sure that's not a good sign. 😬

    10 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Ditto. My paramedic neigbor just tested positive (breakthrough case). My Godfather's daughter-in-law's brother is a cop and just tested positive (breakthrough case), as did another of my "cousins"...

      Ditto. My paramedic neigbor just tested positive (breakthrough case). My Godfather's daughter-in-law's brother is a cop and just tested positive (breakthrough case), as did another of my "cousins" (also breakthrough). My nephew's hockey coach (likely unvaccinated despite him claiming he had his first shot), and so far two player's on his team (all too young to be vaxxed) have also now tested positive. Thankfully my nephew, sister and BiL all tested negative. However, we still cancelled Christmas Eve dinner with the extended family because of all the new COVID cases popping up in our direct social sphere, which is more than ever before over such a short span. It could just be coincidence, but given my Province's spiking numbers due to Omicron's breakthrough rate, I unfortunately don't think it is. Scary!

      9 votes
  3. [3]
    skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    Omicron Has Landed Also: Two Maryland hospitals declare ‘disaster’ as coronavirus cases rise

    Omicron Has Landed

    The ripple effect of having so many people get Covid and needing to isolate for 5, 7, or 10 days (recommendations are evolving) is happening as we speak: schools and daycares closing because not enough teachers, flights cancelled because not enough crew, restaurants shuttering because not enough staff, church/temples cancelling in-person services because the leaders are sick.

    And most importantly, hospitals forced to limit access because so many staff can’t come in. Even today, several Boston-area Urgent Cares and testing centers closed early because they were over capacity. Hospitals are already cancelling any non-urgent surgery requiring admission. There aren’t enough blood donations so transplant surgeries are at risk. Many in-person clinics may need to close; some already have.

    Also: Two Maryland hospitals declare ‘disaster’ as coronavirus cases rise

    8 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      San Diego Fire Department issues 'Emergency Brown-Out' plan due to COVID-19

      San Diego Fire Department issues 'Emergency Brown-Out' plan due to COVID-19

      This week a memo went out from Fire Chief Colin Stowell to the entire department announcing plans for what's known as an Emergency Brown-Out, taking up to 7 engines temporarily out of service starting Monday, January 3.

      It's a move that comes with a certain amount of risk to public safety and city personnel who must fight fire with fewer resources.

      The brown-out may also cause longer ambulance response times as the hospital systems are overrun.

      3 votes
    2. skybrian
      Link Parent
      As omicron spreads, New York City is once again a center of the pandemic [...]

      As omicron spreads, New York City is once again a center of the pandemic

      The Metropolitan Transportation Authority started suspending subway service on Wednesday because there weren’t enough healthy transit workers to operate the entire system. As of Thursday night, service on three subway lines had been stopped.

      Meanwhile, the New York City Fire Department has pleaded with residents to call 911 only if they were experiencing a “real emergency.” With a third of the agency’s paramedics out sick, department officials said the system was being overwhelmed by calls from people with mild covid-19 symptoms who wanted ambulance rides to hospitals to be tested for coronavirus infection. The New York Police Department canceled days off for any officer healthy enough to work through the New Year’s holiday after hundreds of officers tested positive for the virus.

      [...]

      Among the businesses that have been hit particularly hard by employee shortages is CityMD, a health-care company that runs 150 urgent care centers in New York and New Jersey. As of Thursday night, the company had closed dozens of clinics because of the number of its employees who had come down with the virus. Many of CityMD’s locations were packed in the days before Christmas as New Yorkers scrambled to get tested before spending the holiday with friends and relatives. The block-long lines for tests have largely disappeared in recent days, but at some testing sites this week, there were still lines out the door.

      3 votes
  4. Wulfsta
    Link
    Just got my booster today - go get it if you can!

    Just got my booster today - go get it if you can!

    8 votes
  5. simplify
    Link
    Welcome to Covid-19’s “junior year.” It’s not pretty. What I've learned over the course of this pandemic is that the government will not do the right thing for the people, even amid such great...

    Welcome to Covid-19’s “junior year.” It’s not pretty.

    That feeling of ever-dwindling resolve and malaise has had many names over the last 21 months: grief, burnout, “languishing,” trauma. Perhaps the most popular is “pandemic fatigue,” which describes the difficulty many well-intentioned individuals have had in keeping up safety precautions over long periods.

    “People are especially exhausted because so much energy is spent on ‘what ifs’ and worrying,” says David Sbarra, a psychology professor at the University of Arizona. “There’s enough to worry about about the known-knowns that worrying about all the unknowns just takes a big toll on us after a while.”

    As we face the latest “wave,” many are considering what effect this cumulative sorrow has had on us. Two years of data suggest, in short, bad things. The physical and psychic consequences of the Pandemic With No End are shaping up to be devastating, with few areas of our lives left untouched.

    What I've learned over the course of this pandemic is that the government will not do the right thing for the people, even amid such great national devastation, and that many people are just straight-up crazy assholes. I don't have a rosy view of the future, even after the pandemic comes to its eventual end.

    5 votes
  6. skybrian
    Link
    Price tag to vaccinate the world: $7 billion. And the U.S. is already coming up short.

    Price tag to vaccinate the world: $7 billion. And the U.S. is already coming up short.

    Without additional funding, the officials said that USAID will fall behind in its commitments to help the Biden administration distribute hundreds of millions of U.S.-made doses to low- and middle-income countries by the middle of 2022. At the administration’s first Covid-19 summit with foreign representatives in September, U.S. officials noted it would take at least $7 billion in 2022 to ensure shots are administered across the globe.

    5 votes
  7. eladnarra
    Link
    They Were the Pandemic’s Perfect Victims

    They Were the Pandemic’s Perfect Victims

    Nearly 18,000 more dialysis patients died in 2020 than would have been expected based on previous years. That staggering toll represents an increase of nearly 20% from 2019, when more than 96,000 patients on dialysis died, according to federal data released this month.

    The loss led to an unprecedented outcome: The nation’s dialysis population shrank, the first decline since the U.S. began keeping detailed numbers nearly a half century ago.

    They were COVID-19’s perfect victims.

    “It can’t help but feel like a massive failure when we have such a catastrophic loss of patients,” said Dr. Michael Heung, a clinical professor of nephrology at the University of Michigan. “It speaks to just how bad this pandemic has been and how bad this disease is.”

    5 votes
  8. skybrian
    Link
    Roche’s COVID-19 At-Home Test obtains EUA from FDA

    Roche’s COVID-19 At-Home Test obtains EUA from FDA

    The EUA has been granted through the company’s participation in Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Independent Test Assessment Program (ITAP) of the National Institutes of Health(NIH). Through this programme, NIH aims to bring rapid tests to the over the counter (OTC) market.

    4 votes
  9. [8]
    moocow1452
    Link
    Good News: https://foldingathome.org/2021/12/27/covid-moonshot-sprint-11/ Complicated News: https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/27/health/cdc-covid-quarantine-isolation-shortened-recommendation/index.html
    3 votes
    1. [6]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      The experts I follow on Twitter are unhappy that the CDC didn’t require a negative COVID test before ending quarantine early.

      The experts I follow on Twitter are unhappy that the CDC didn’t require a negative COVID test before ending quarantine early.

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        I'm scratching my head on why we're cutting back quarantine time with an even more contagious strain on the loose. Banking on this new strain not leaving as much of a body count or just not...

        I'm scratching my head on why we're cutting back quarantine time with an even more contagious strain on the loose. Banking on this new strain not leaving as much of a body count or just not wanting another hit to the economy going into an election year seems kinda rash.

        6 votes
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          It could be because Omicron seems to have an accelerated timeline when compared with the original and other variants:

          It could be because Omicron seems to have an accelerated timeline when compared with the original and other variants:

          It certainly might not seem like it given the pandemic mayhem we’ve had, but the original form of SARS-CoV-2 was a bit of a slowpoke. After infiltrating our bodies, the virus would typically brew for about five or six days before symptoms kicked in. In the many months since that now-defunct version of the virus emerged, new variants have arrived to speed the timeline up. Estimates for this exposure-to-symptom gap, called the incubation period, clocked in at about five days for Alpha and four days for Delta. Now word has it that the newest kid on the pandemic block, Omicron, may have ratcheted it down to as little as three.

          9 votes
        2. simplify
          Link Parent
          At this point, from my perspective, it can only be an economy thing. With how contagious Omicron is, it's only a matter of time before people in our various "essential" industries catch it. These...

          At this point, from my perspective, it can only be an economy thing. With how contagious Omicron is, it's only a matter of time before people in our various "essential" industries catch it. These industries are already short staffed, so with more people sidelined in quarantine, we could potentially see a collapse in health care, education, supply chain, and retail. Lowering the time of quarantine allows workers who are technically sick but feeling fine to continue working. It signals to me that the experts know how bad this could get and they're throwing a hail mary.

          6 votes
        3. Jakobeha
          Link Parent
          I think it's because, if you're out and not isolating, there's a high chance of getting infected anyways. The main focus now is to reduce hospitalizations, and it seems like Omicron isn't...

          I think it's because, if you're out and not isolating, there's a high chance of getting infected anyways.

          The main focus now is to reduce hospitalizations, and it seems like Omicron isn't affecting the hospitalization rate much even though it's exponentially increasing infections. Eventually everyone is going to be either vaccinated and / or infected.

          2 votes
        4. NoblePath
          Link Parent
          I think it’s realpolitik. People are simply without the stamina and/or resources to follow through with what might be truly necessary. Better more people on a shorter quarantine than more people...

          I think it’s realpolitik. People are simply without the stamina and/or resources to follow through with what might be truly necessary. Better more people on a shorter quarantine than more people hiding exposures and symptoms…

          1 vote
    2. eladnarra
      Link Parent
      Not looking forward to having to go to medical appointments and wonder if my doctor/nurse/technician is positive...

      Not looking forward to having to go to medical appointments and wonder if my doctor/nurse/technician is positive...

      3 votes
  10. skybrian
    Link
    Why antigen tests may still work well for Omicron, despite "reduced sensitivity" in lab studies [...]

    Why antigen tests may still work well for Omicron, despite "reduced sensitivity" in lab studies

    The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that some antigen tests may have "reduced sensitivity" for Omicron, citing early data from the NIH's laboratory studies. Lower sensitivity means there might be a greater chance of missing traces of the virus and giving false negative results. However, NIH scientists caution that their lab finding is not evidence of a significant drop in the real-world performance of popular at-home tests, even in the "worst case scenario."

    "A change in sensitivity in the laboratory is not a guarantee that there's a change in sensitivity from a clinical point of view. I would not recommend that people suddenly abandon their antigen tests," says Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

    [...]

    Enough data to better measure whether that change is meaningfully affecting the "clinical" performance of antigen tests — their real-world effectiveness at detecting the virus in people — could be gathered within weeks, Tromberg guessed.

    1 vote