Friday, June 18, 2021

Eric Topol on Twitter: "Over 11,000 new cases in the UK today, nearly all can be attributed to delta B.1.617.2, highest since 19 Feb 43% increase in hospitalizations past week https://t.co/pItJxXPpv6 @OurWorldinData https://t.co/1OfLktW4qx" / Twitter

Eric Topol on Twitter: "Over 11,000 new cases in the UK today, nearly all can be attributed to delta B.1.617.2, highest since 19 Feb 43% increase in hospitalizations past week https://t.co/pItJxXPpv6 @OurWorldinData https://t.co/1OfLktW4qx" / Twitter Here comes a brutal, second wave of infections. It's like a slow motion train is approaching, but the train gets faster and large with each passing moment. All we have to do to stop it is push a large, red button, but the people tied to the tracks have been told that pushing the button has a statistically insignificant chance of harming them.

It has been six months of posting about virus mutations

Almost six months. I started this blog so I could profit from the suffering of anonymous strangers by generating a little ad revenue, and then Google told me that I was just scraping news stories and unworth of ad revenue, and the algorithm was right. But now I have this crappy little record of how the variants have moved through society in the last six months and it is chilling to skim over these posts and see that process at work. I realize that in our social media environment fear is an income stream, but nobody reads this blog so let me say that THERE'S NOTHING TO STOP A MORE DANGEROUS VIRUS MUTATION from emerging, except for widescale vaccination. People have three choices:
  • You can isolate, wear a mask, and hope you don't get the vaccine,
  • you can get vaccinated and greatly reduce, but not eliminate the risk of infection and expose yourself to the statistically very small risk of side effects, or
  • You can get vaccinated and wear a mask in high-risk situations, like Walmart
I really, really need to read some research about the ways in which people interpret statistical probabilities. I guess most of us, most of the time, don't live our lives by statistical probabilities, even the "smart" people. I mean, pure rationality excludes a great deal from our worldview, but in the case of epidemiology, it seems like the safest bet.

How the Alpha 2019 Coronavirus Variant Became So Powerful - The New York Times

How the Alpha 2019 Coronavirus Variant Became So Powerful - The New York Times Gregory Towers, a virologist at the University College London, and his colleagues grew coronaviruses in human lung cells, comparing Alpha-infected cells with those infected with earlier variants of the coronavirus. Dig deeper into the moment. Special offer: Subscribe for $1 a week. They found that lung cells with Alpha made drastically less interferon, a protein that switches on a host of immune defenses. They also found that in the Alpha cells, the defensive genes normally switched on by interferon were quieter than in cells infected with other variants. Somehow, the immune system’s most important alarm bells were barely ringing in the presence of the Alpha variant. “It’s making itself more invisible,” Dr. Towers said.

Missouri health department urges COVID-19 vaccinations amid Delta variant spread | Coronavirus | stltoday.com

Missouri health department urges COVID-19 vaccinations amid Delta variant spread | Coronavirus | stltoday.com JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri's health department on Wednesday urged residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid increasing cases of the Delta variant of the virus. The department said a rising number of people are contracting the highly transmissible variant, which was first detected in India. "It is clear that the variant has become prevalent in communities throughout Missouri," the Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement Wednesday evening. I'm still curious about whether news of these variants will have any effect on the "vaccine hesitant" or whether it will cut through their ranks like a hot knife through butter, like a lawnmower through dandelions, like a firehose through cotton candy, like a depressed English teacher through a box of Kind bars sitting in his desk drawer.

Health officials in southwest Missouri believe dangerous variant is source of most virus cases | Coronavirus | stltoday.com

Health officials in southwest Missouri believe dangerous variant is source of most virus cases | Coronavirus | stltoday.com The Delta variant arrives in Missouri. There's a sense of inevitability to this.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Fauci Says Risks From The Delta Variant Underscore The Importance Of Vaccines : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Fauci Says Risks From The Delta Variant Underscore The Importance Of Vaccines : Coronavirus Updates : NPR: What Fauci says on NPR: Some studies have recently come out essentially documenting that indeed, this particular variant does transmit significantly more readily between people and among people than the virus that is now the dominant virus, which is the Alpha variant, which is the one that's more dominant in the United States. In addition, a very recent data — literally yesterday and the day before — shows that, in fact, it is a more dangerous virus in the sense that it can potentially make people more severely ill. So the combination of more transmissibility and a greater severity of disease appropriately prompted the CDC to elevate it to a variant of concern. I feel sorry for Fauci, because he has to go in front of the nation and say, repeatedly, "We don't know what's going on right now, and by the time we do, it will be too late." Not a fun gig.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Shout out to visitors to this blog

Here's to you, six people that came to the most depressing blog in the world yesterday. I hope you found what you were looking for.

WHO says delta Covid variant has now spread to 80 countries and it keeps mutating

WHO says delta Covid variant has now spread to 80 countries and it keeps mutating The delta variant has spread to more than 80 countries worldwide. Delta now makes up 10% of new cases in the U.S., up from 6% last week. The WHO added a new variant called lambda to its list of variants of interest. I'm hoping my vaccination will protect me from these spreading mutations.

Monday, June 14, 2021

COVID-19 Delta variant likely to become dominant U.S. strain, Gottlieb says - CBS News

COVID-19 Delta variant likely to become dominant U.S. strain, Gottlieb says - CBS News Gottlieb says the mRNA vaccines are sufficient to protect us from the Delta variant. I'm vaccinated, but will probably start taking vitamin D again and wearing a mask in crowded spaces. "The mRNA vaccine seems to be highly effective, two doses of that vaccine against this variant. The viral vector vaccines from J&J and AstraZeneca also appear to be effective, about 60% effective. The mRNA vaccines are about 88% effective," he said, referring to the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. "So we have the tools to control this and defeat it. We just need to use those tools."

Friday, June 11, 2021

What You Need To Know About The Delta COVID-19 Variant | HuffPost Life

What You Need To Know About The Delta COVID-19 Variant | HuffPost Life: Summary: more transmissible, and rumors of increased severity, but that hasn't been confirmed. Some strange fungal infections were showing up in India, and some talk of it affecting younger victims more severely than other variants.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

WHO renames COVID variants with Greek letter names to avoid stigma

WHO renames COVID variants with Greek letter names to avoid stigma The new system, which was announced Monday, is based on the letters of the Greek alphabet. The United Kingdom variant, called by scientists B.1.1.7, will now be Alpha. B.1.351, the South Africa variant will be Beta, and the B.1.617.2 variant discovered in India will now be known as Delta.<\i> This seems like a good idea, especially if it increases the likelihood of reporting variants. I can never remember the actual names anyway. The Delta variant, or the variant formerly known as the India variant, has come to New Jersey.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Neutralising antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs B.1.617.2 and B.1.351 by BNT162b2 vaccination - The Lancet

Neutralising antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs B.1.617.2 and B.1.351 by BNT162b2 vaccination - The Lancet The gist of this is that the older you are, the fewer antibodies you produce over time after having received the Pfizer vaccine, and this may have implications for the variants coming out of India that are now dominant in the Uk and are coming soon to a theater near you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Vietnam identifies new, highly transmissible variant of coronavirus | TheHill

Vietnam identifies new, highly transmissible variant of coronavirus | TheHill So there's a variant with elements of the India and UK mutations, but the actual covid infection rate is decreasing, although the numbers of deaths of increased slightly. Essentially, nobody knows what is going on right now and by the time you do know, with a virus, it's too late.