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Forums - General Discussion - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Discussion Thread

Severe cases in my prefecture have been trending upwards and regular cases have been affecting my workplace quite a bit lately.

If things get much worse, there will definitely be more voluntary lockdowns.

Mask usage elimination is nowhere to be found.



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Seems like BA.2 will be succeeded by its 'children', three derived lineages (BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1) sharing a mutation in site L452 and a similar transmission advantage of up to 30%. That doesn't necessarily mean they're more 'infectious' (since reproduction rates can't grow ad infinitum), just that they're overall more fit for whatever reason at this particular point in time.

While this might seem 'bad' at the surface, on the other hand, it indicates continuous antigenic drift from Omicron, like seasonal influenza, instead of the abrupt emergence of an unrelated lineage like it happened so often during the pandemic (the former isn't a guaranteed feature of endemicity, BTW; HIV evolves like that). That makes the virus more predictable.



 

 

 

 

 

Weekly update. Easter messing with the already less reliable numbers.


In total 4.88 million new cases were reported last week (down from 6.10 million) to a total of 508,509,857
Also another 20,264 more deaths were reported (slightly down from 20,931) to a total of 6,240,191

The reported cases in the USA went up despite the Easter lull in measuring, reported deaths still dropped (2,797 vs 3,381)
The reverse in Europe, reported cases dropped again yet reported deaths went up (11,028 vs 9,668)

The continents

Oceania on par with North America, mostly due to differences in how cases are reported / measured. Reported deaths are about a factor 8 higher in NA.

Corners of the world

Australia, Japan and USA look close together in reported cases, yet 7 day average reported deaths are 30, 45 and 400 respectively.
South Africa looks to be dealing with a new outbreak.

We're said to peak next week in hospitalizations and should finally be heading down again
(Canada reported 68K new cases vs 63K last week and 365 deaths, 411 last week)

Europe in detail

Winter sports likely driving new waves, it never ends.

Immunity or protection from vaccines, unsurprisingly holds up better in people with a well working immune system to start with
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/how-well-is-our-immunity-holding-up-against-covid-19-1.5872833

Up to three months after a third dose, the vaccine's effectiveness against hospitalization was 85 per cent, but it fell to 55 per cent after three months. After a closer look, though, she found that these results were largely driven by immune status. "We saw no evidence of waning but in the immunocompromised," Tartof said. "In the immunocompromised, vaccine effectiveness basically starts low and gets lower." But for people with regular immune function, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization stayed high -- about 86 per cent -- after three months.



Farsala said:

Severe cases in my prefecture have been trending upwards and regular cases have been affecting my workplace quite a bit lately.

If things get much worse, there will definitely be more voluntary lockdowns.

Mask usage elimination is nowhere to be found.

Come to USA where most people don't wear them anymore.   Corona fatigue happened about a year ago and hardly anyone gives a fuck anymore.   Time to start living life instead of holed up in a bunker.



sethnintendo said:
Farsala said:

Severe cases in my prefecture have been trending upwards and regular cases have been affecting my workplace quite a bit lately.

If things get much worse, there will definitely be more voluntary lockdowns.

Mask usage elimination is nowhere to be found.

Come to USA where most people don't wear them anymore.   Corona fatigue happened about a year ago and hardly anyone gives a fuck anymore.   Time to start living life instead of holed up in a bunker.

And that's why the death rate to Covid-19 is 3.4 times higher in the USA compared to Japan (normalized for population difference)
0.35 per million per day in Japan vs 1.2 per million per day in the USA.

Wearing a mask is not being holed up in a bunker, it's just common decency to your fellow human beings. I still wear them in stores and store owners here do still as well, although mask requirements have been dropped for most indoor settings here in Ontario. At least half the people here still use them, it's very common to see people walking around with a mask on.

A lot of things are still done online, I can do my banking through WebEx when needing to talk to a person. Better for the environment as well, no need to drive there!



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To each their own but in USA mask will never be mainstream as in Asia. I'm not an antimasker or whatever. If you want to wear it then wear it. One should follow simple rule if sick then don't go to work or be out in public much but here in USA a lot of low income workers can't afford missing work or have paid time off to be able to miss it. So they show up to work sick.

The reason why USA has more death rates is probably because we are a sick nation. Sure some healthy people that caught it died but majority of deaths are older people and not in best condition of health.

I've probably had it in first few months of outbreak. I was then vaccinated twice with moderna. I was then exposed at work from coworker that showed up for a week coughing working side by side during delta wave. I tested negative after work made us all get tested. Tell me why should I care to wear a mask. I don't encroach on people's space even before pandemic at stores or whatever.

Like any successful virus it is meant to evolve and try spread without killing too many host. So Corona is getting more spreadable but less deadly.

Eventually there will be a compromise between always mask people, anti mask people, etc. If you want to wear a mask wear it. I won't shame you in public but I'll make fun of you to friends in private especially if I see you in a car by yourself wearing a mask.



sethnintendo said:

To each their own but in USA mask will never be mainstream as in Asia. I'm not an antimasker or whatever. If you want to wear it then wear it. One should follow simple rule if sick then don't go to work or be out in public much but here in USA a lot of low income workers can't afford missing work or have paid time off to be able to miss it. So they show up to work sick.

The reason why USA has more death rates is probably because we are a sick nation. Sure some healthy people that caught it died but majority of deaths are older people and not in best condition of health.

I've probably had it in first few months of outbreak. I was then vaccinated twice with moderna. I was then exposed at work from coworker that showed up for a week coughing working side by side during delta wave. I tested negative after work made us all get tested. Tell me why should I care to wear a mask. I don't encroach on people's space even before pandemic at stores or whatever.

Like any successful virus it is meant to evolve and try spread without killing too many host. So Corona is getting more spreadable but less deadly.

Eventually there will be a compromise between always mask people, anti mask people, etc. If you want to wear a mask wear it. I won't shame you in public but I'll make fun of you to friends in private especially if I see you in a car by yourself wearing a mask.

The reason you should have to wear a mask is because the alternative is inadministratable. I recovered from Covid and should be exceedingly unlikely to get it again and pass it on to anyone at least for a few months. So, there's really no reason I should have to wear a mask on public transit. But, if we make a rule that people in my situation should not have to wear masks, then anyone without a mask will say "oh yeah I just got over Covid too". 

That's kind of just the way a lot of laws work. I'm never going to shoot a kid, but a law that says "you cannot have a gun in a school zone unless you're the kind of person who wouldn't shoot a kid" doesn't work. There are 17 year olds out there who would probably handle alcohol more maturely than 22 year olds, but a law that says "no buying alcohol under 21 unless you're very mature" doesn't work. It's simply impossible to laser target laws like that. We can't have laws that say "speed limit is 55 mph unless there's not alot of people on the road use your best judgment". Laws have to be clear enough to follow, so we have to draw lines that will always be imperfect. 



People are certainly less healthy in the USA, avg age of 38.5 vs 48.4 in Japan. (Could also be that Japan's population has been stagnating for longer, -0.3% pop growth in Japan vs +0.4% in the USA) Yet that only means more vulnerable people in Japan, corrected for that the death rate to Covid in the USA would look even worse. And indeed, sadly many people can't afford sick leave in the USA, have multiple jobs just to stay afloat, and thus multiple opportunities to spread a virus around.

I'll keep wearing a mask to protect my wife and to make other people feel more comfortable. I don't want to be the one to get her sick and I respect elderly people that still go out on their own. Anything to make them feel more comfortable going out. All the elderly people here still wear masks.

Numbers for here:

Health officials in Ontario say 1,684 people are in hospital with COVID-19 as another 23 deaths due to the disease were reported in the last 24 hours.

However half of those caught Covid in the hospital...

Fifty-four per cent of the patients currently receiving care were not admitted due to COVID-19, but have since tested positive. Forty-six per cent were admitted because of COVID-19.

In the ICU, two patients are no longer seeking care, bringing the total number of those in intensive care with COVID-19 down to 212.

Moreover, 66 per cent were admitted to intensive care due to their COVID-19 diagnosis, while 34 per cent were admitted for a different reason but are now testing positive.

Not safe to go the hospital :/ Stay healthy.

(We don't have regular tests anymore though, so it doesn't necessarily mean all that tested positive in the hospital weren't admitted with Covid)



sethnintendo said:

To each their own but in USA mask will never be mainstream as in Asia. I'm not an antimasker or whatever. If you want to wear it then wear it. One should follow simple rule if sick then don't go to work or be out in public much but here in USA a lot of low income workers can't afford missing work or have paid time off to be able to miss it. So they show up to work sick.

The reason why USA has more death rates is probably because we are a sick nation. Sure some healthy people that caught it died but majority of deaths are older people and not in best condition of health.

I've probably had it in first few months of outbreak. I was then vaccinated twice with moderna. I was then exposed at work from coworker that showed up for a week coughing working side by side during delta wave. I tested negative after work made us all get tested. Tell me why should I care to wear a mask. I don't encroach on people's space even before pandemic at stores or whatever.

Like any successful virus it is meant to evolve and try spread without killing too many host. So Corona is getting more spreadable but less deadly.

Eventually there will be a compromise between always mask people, anti mask people, etc. If you want to wear a mask wear it. I won't shame you in public but I'll make fun of you to friends in private especially if I see you in a car by yourself wearing a mask.

I agree mask usage seems pointless if nobody else does it. Even outside, mask usage is extremely common here, to the point where I would stand out a lot if I did not have it with me. This also becomes a problem when humidity and temperatures hit high levels. I have seen a lot of women wearing masks even in cars, mostly because they don't want people seeing their face, not so much for the coronavirus.

Personally I think the US is too extreme on not wearing masks, while Japan can be too extreme on wearing them. People here can get a severe case of Covid and go to the hospital, and it won't cost them much, while in the US that could be the end of their financial life.



I think the question of mask wearing is one of: are multiple studies with a weak or neutral signal the evidence of a strong signal? Or is this the hallmark of pseudoscience instead?

I'll let you judge the studies for yourself if you're interested.

Spoiler!
Gómez-Ochoa et al., 2021: no significant differences between medical facemasks use only and controls in the odds of developing laboratory-confirmed influenza (9.6% (27/274) vs. 9.7% (50/515)) and influenza-like illness (13.7% (58/423) vs. 14.9% (100/673)).

Aggarwal et al., 2020: Using results from 9 non-healthcare RCTs, found that mask use, both with hand hygiene (P=.714) and without (P=.226), was not associated with lower rates of ILI infection in community settings.

Brainard et al., 2020: Did not report any statistically significant results when analyzing RCT data. Reported that mask use was not associated with statistically significant reductions in ILIs when used by a well person (11.2% (116/1032) vs. 12.1% (127/1046), P=.68), when used as source control by an ill person in a home setting (5.6% (25/450) vs. 6.2% (28/453), P=.87), or when used by all parties in a home with a sick individual (11.0% (79/715) vs. 12.0% (107/890), P=.43).

Chaabna et. al, 2020: Reported a significant protective effect of medical facemask use when evaluated in conjunction with other interventions (e.g. handwashing) (6.8% (273/4029) vs. 9.8% (458/4677), 95% CI 0.54–0.81).

Chu et. al, 2020: Using data from six observational studies on SARS-CoV-1, reported a statistically significant reduction in infections associated with face masks (adjusted OR: 0.33) compared to no mask controls.

Jefferson et al,, 2020: Analyzing 15 RCTs, found no reductions in ILIs (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.83-1.05) or influenzas (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.61-1.17) for masks in the general population or healthcare workers (RR 0.37, 95% CI 0.05-2.50).

Liang et al., 2020: Using data from both observational and RCT studies, the authors reported a significant protective effect on lab-confirmed respiratory viral infection (5.9% (307/5217) vs. 12.1% (419/3469), P<.00001). Using RCT-only data, between-group differences declined (5.4% (44/816) vs. 7.8% (77/989)).

Ollila et al., 2020: Analyzing data from 5 RCTs, reported strong and statistically significant results in favor of face mask efficacy at maximum follow up (7.8% (297/3793) vs. 18.4% (704/3830); RR: 0.608). For 2 of the 5 papers studied the authors utilized data from face mask + other intervention arms instead of available data from face mask-only arm, which if used would lead to considerably different odds ratio of 14.3% (542/3793) and 16.4% (629/3830).

Perski et al., 2020: Authors considered 10 observational studies and 11 RCTs (only one of which found a reduction in self-reported ILIs in participants wearing face masks) and, using a Bayesian analysis, reported a “moderate likelihood of a small effect for the wearing of face masks” in reducing self-reported ILI (cumulative posterior odds=3.61), but determined that evidence was equivocal as to clinically- and laboratory-confirmed infections (cumulative posterior odds of 1.07 and 1.22, respectively).

Wang et al., 2020: Using 15 non-healthcare studies (10 observational and 5 RCTs), authors reported a slightly decreased pooled odds ratio (OR: 0.96, 95% CI 0.8–1.15) but the results were not statistically significant.

Xiao et al., 2020: Incorporating data from 10 RCTs in non-healthcare settings, reported no statistically significant effect for the use of masks on laboratory-confirmed influenza (2.3% (29/1276) vs. 3.3% (51/1567), P=.25).

Li et al., 2021: Using data from 6 COVID-19 case-control studies––5 in healthcare settings––to report a significantly-reduced risk of infection (11.4% (82/718) vs. 20.0% (202/1008); OR: 0.38). In the only non-HCW study considered the results were non-significant (12.8% (29/227) vs. 16.9% (102/602); OR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.46–1.12).

Tabatabaeizadeh et al., 2020: Authors used data from 4 observational COVID-19 studies to conclude that mask-wearing is correlated with statistically significant risk ratio decrease of 0.12. However, 70.8% (n=5442) of the study’s total participants (n=7688) came from a single paper where participants used N95 respirators, not facemasks.

Coclite et al., 2021: Authors used data from 3 RCTs and 10 observational papers to conduct two separate meta -analyses. Concluded that neither RCT data (11.7% (187/1598)vs. 11.2% (272/2419); RR: 0.97, P=0.85) nor any of the observational data (cross-sectional: 20.2% (1302/6438) vs. 17.2% (1714/9975); RR: 0.90, 95% CI: 0.74–1.10) (case-control: 19.9% (138/694) vs. 40.5% (327/807); RR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.34–1.03) (prospective: 20.5% (88/429) vs. 58.4% (310/531); RR: 0.55, 95% CI: 0.11–2.75)) were statistically significant.

Abullahi et al., 2020: Considering data from 2 RCTs and 3 observational studies in the SARS-CoV-1 and influenza contexts, authors failed to find a statistically significant benefit of face mask use (18.7% (142/758) vs. 33.1% (480/1451); RR: 0.78, P=0.52).

Nanda et al., 2020: Incorporating data from 7 RCTs (all previously discussed) evaluating ILI transmission, found no significant difference in infection between mask and no-mask groups (2.8% (37/1301) vs. 3.6% (57/1592); RR: 1.00, P=0.93).