Merv's Politically Incorrect Audio Blog

Discussion in 'SBAF Blogs' started by purr1n, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. HHS

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    I really think it's been well explained multiple times that the knock-on effects of COVID-19 burning through the unvaccinated extend well beyond their personal well-being.

    Maybe you could make an argument we should consider the wider effects of supposedly "personal" risks for other things, but that doesn't really defeat the argument about communal risk for COVID-19. I think we can pretty clearly see the risks of being unvaccinated are not just personal risks when hospitals are turning people away or canceling important surgeries because they don't have the staff/beds available.

    In terms of the technical definition of a pandemic, I'm not an epidemiologist so don't take my word for it, but there's a reason we only consider certain flu outbreaks pandemics and not every single flu season. Generally speaking flu is a endemic disease and our healthcare system has the capacity to handle a certain number of severe illnesses and deaths each year that result from it. It's only when an especially deadly and transmissible flu virus comes along that it reaches pandemic status. Those pandemics don't end because all flu disease goes away, they end when the flu resumes it's expected impact level.

    So it follows that we can expect COVID-19 to be around for the long haul but that we won't always consider it to be a pandemic once it becomes more manageable.
     
  2. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Alas, from statements I've read from epidemiologists and other experts, it doesn't sound as though COVID-19 will be eliminated.

    Yes, that's my understanding, too. I don't know if the issue is so much making COVID-19 go away as it is to reduce the transmission rate to the point where mutations are, statistically speaking, less likely to occur, or that they take place at a slow enough pace that it becomes easier for the vaccinations to be tweaked and rolled out in time, which in turn might then further reduce the frequency or likelihood of mutations - like a virtuous cycle. If I understand it correctly, the further and the faster vaccinations are rolled out around the world, the likelier it is that transmission will decline, below an R0 of 1, and to a more manageable level.

    I wonder if the R0 number being above 1 is because of the spread of the delta variant - in other words, because it was not possible to vaccinate enough people in time to prevent that mutation. It would be instructive to know what the R0 numbers were in places like Israel and the UK, where vaccinations were rolled out relatively quickly and extensively, before the delta variant emerged, back in April and May, say, when the weekly cases were reaching their nadir.

    Yours and @HHS's posts came through as I was finishing up this post. My understanding is that pandemic and epidemic are defined by scale, that is, the prevalence of a disease either around a nation, continent, or the world for pandemic, as opposed to a smaller geographical or demographic unit, like a region within a country, for an epidemic. From that definition, I think an epidemic ends when the prevalence of the disease falls below a threshold such that it becomes endemic.

    What I'd like to know more about, specifically re. COVID-19 (but also more generally, with other viruses), is how morbidity and mortality rates might be expected to decline as COVID-19 moves towards being endemic.
     
  3. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    Rewind 40-50 years, and there were a whole heap of idiots protesting against mandatory seatbelts in cars.

    Our entire idea of society, the basis of the vast majority of our laws are designed to protect people from themselves and others. I just can't comprehend how you can say society doesn't already impose harm reduction on people.

    Except you continue to ignore that the unvaccinated continue to pose more of a risk even to the vaccinated. They are drunk drivers potentially killing others. They are deliberately cutting other people's seatbelts.
     
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  4. Friday

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    That's a pretty poor way to assess the effectiveness of vaccines vs natural immunity. Practically as useful as SINAD in determining if a piece of gear is good or not, because it fails to capture the important nuances.

    1) The article compares previously infected vs vaccinated. But it makes no mention as to whether the previously infected people also received a vaccine. So it's not clear if it's because of natural immunity per se, or whether it's because they technically received a booster shot.

    2) The data for previously infected people is of people who were infected and survived. Are they representative of the rest of the population, in terms of physiology, immune response, behaviour etc? No idea, because people weren't infected at random and it's likely that we will never have the data to make the comparisons against those who were infected and died. Should governments then be betting that the majority their own citizens are generally similar to a previously infected Israeli who survived? You tell me.

    3) What are the ages of the vaccinated people and previously infected people who got a new infection? Are the distribution of ages equal in both groups? If the distribution was unequal, did the analyst properly account for it? If not, the comparison is an apples to oranges one.


    Is there any truth in your conclusion about vaccines being ineffective? Maybe. Maybe not (I'm personally inclined to think that it's wrong.) But either way, this is not the data and analysis that you can base such conclusions on.
     
  5. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    I think most people should be vaccinated but a high vaccination rate doesn’t lead to what you want it to. Since the current vaccines don’t eradicate the infection they actually lead to the virus mutating in ways that will lead to resistance because those would be the virus that survive to infect more people. See:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4516275/

    Ironically the relatively benign nature of covid-19 (compared to something like SARS) is one of the reasons it’s so hard to control as it doesn’t kill the host (or at least not quickly) so the host is able to further spread the disease. If a mutation was much more deadly it would be easier to eradicate. We don’t want that to happen because it would lead to greater suffering but that’s how diseases tend to work.
     
  6. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    Contrary to popular perception the vast majority of people infected by covid survive. And recent testing of the blood supply by the CDC showed antibodies at a rate that would suggest infection happened up to two times more than previous estimates which would reduce the mortality rate even further. That’s not to say it can’t be deadly, because it is, just not to most people. So why get a jab? Because the risk from covid is generally greater than the risk from the vaccine.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/...stimates-80-Americans-protected-COVID-19.html

    The Israel data is what the third booster idea is based on so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. Supposedly some in the FDA are hesitant about a third shot because there’s so little testing (same with vaccines for kids) but hysteria will likely see both pushed through tout de suite because the regime needs a change of narrative.
     
  7. Friday

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    Sorry, realised I wasn't being clear (in fact, slightly off base since Stuff Jones didn't claim that vaccines were ineffective. What I meant was that the linked analysis of the Israel data alone wasn't a good basis for concluding that natural infections provide better immunity than vaccinations.

    Do people still take the Daily Fail seriously?

    That said, I don't disagree that the infection rate is likely to be higher than expected. But you seemed to have missed my point there, which is whether we are generalising across the appropriate populations when using such data as is to make predictions and informing decisions. And honestly, I don't have a good answer for that either. I think one glaring weakness which this pandemic has highlighted is that news reports are extremely poor at conveying nuances in data which need to be accounted for in decision making, and the current level of science communication by scientists have probably not helped either.
     
  8. WoodyLuvr

    WoodyLuvr Friend

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    Thank goodness for the seatbelt laws. The number of deadly flying meat popsicles being flung from vehicles during accidents before the 1980/90s (depending on the State/Province) was horrifying. One had to remain always vigilant for that catapulting upper torso or stray limb punching their ticket too early. :p
     
  9. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    If you really believe this and we’re not just making a point in passing, then you are truly misguided.

    Here are a few very good arguments against vaccination:
    • An individual has a medical condition and their trusted medical advisor recommends they do not get vaccinated. This could be for any number of reasons or conditions, including pregnancy, past severe reaction to vaccines generally or specific COVID vaccine ingredients, susceptibility to known side effects of certain vaccines (like blood clots, heart inflammation or GBS).
    • Their sincerely held religious beliefs preclude vaccination in general or receiving this specific vaccine.
    • They have had a symptomatic case of COVID and thus have natural immunity. The more severe their symptoms, the better their antibody response based on studies to-date. Recent studies have shown broader immune response in many individuals with natural immunity as they have built up antibodies against the complete virus and not just based on the spike protein.
    I’m sure there are others. Despite the narrative from the mainstream media, simply because a view differs from that published narrative does not mean it is misinformation or invalid. Science does not work this way. For decades natural immunity especially has been recognized as an exception to vaccination, even being included as an item on vaccination cards for mandated vaccines like smallpox (i.e., natural immunity = no vaccine). We don’t know enough yet to know if and how natural immunity differs over the long term with this virus, but that does not make it meaningless.

    Stop vilifying anyone that is unvaccinated. It’s immature and inappropriate. Just because someone is unvaccinated does not by itself mean they are a danger to society. By taking measures noted above (working from home; minimizing time in indoor, high traffic, public spaces and wearing a mask when they do; and taking care of their personal diet, exercise, etc) they are minimizing their impact on others and the healthcare system, while exercising their right to bodily sovereignty.

    If we really want to fight this global pandemic effectively, we need to shift our focus outside the US. I understand that is difficult for some to fathom as I assume most of us live in the US, but these more problematic recent variants are not believed to have originated in the US. They are believed to have originated in India, Peru and other South American countries, and potentially Africa, all of which have comparatively abysmal vaccination rates. Africa especially, yes the entire continent, has a vaccination rate under 5% last I checked.

    This is why the WHO is telling Biden his booster rollout is unwise. We need to focus on getting meaningful vaccination rates in these other countries well before we consider boosters for anyone except the elderly and immunocompromised in the US. But because people have lost their minds and/or are using this pandemic to further their own political agendas (on both sides of the aisle), we aren’t doing that. Hopefully that changes soon.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Already answered, but no, it doesn't look like elimination is going to happen. I wonder how much it will still be shaping our lives in the years to come!

    In my British social memory is also that many reacted to the drink+drive laws as if they were an even bigger intrusion into the liberty of the individual. Over the years, that changed into people choosing, from personal preference, not to drink and drive, or to make arrangements that one of a family or group would abstain and be the driver for the day. It's an instance in which people actually got the point. Not 100% of people, but very many.
     
  11. HHS

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    Only your first point is a good argument against vaccination. The point about natural immunity may be an argument that it's less necessary, but it's not actually an argument against vaccination. There's data showing vaccines may boost protection even for those with natural immunity.

    Religious exemptions are a touchy subject of course, but I suspect most of them are an anti-vax crock, not based on actual doctrine. And many seem based on false information like claims that there is aborted fetal tissue in the vaccines.

    I do agree that a more proactive global vaccine rollout is called for.
     
  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Some specific medical reason: yes, good reason.

    Religion: file under bloody daft.

    Had covid: current recommendation is still to get the vaccine. But I know of one doc (covid intensive care), covid-recovered, who is not getting vaccinated, but who is monitoring his antibody levels. Probably most people wouldn't want to be bothered with that alternative, but it is an alternative.

    Yes, there may well be other good reasons not to be vaccinated, but crazy beliefs and downright stubbornness are not among them.

    But people, eh? People will be people, and that's it. So we are probably all doomed. Don't know how we survived this long anyway.

    Vaccines are good. The speed with which they have been developed and tested and delivered is amazing. Do I ever have doubts? Sure, I do: I remember thalidomide. But I'm still on that vaccine road, which I'm sure is going to be an annual event, at least, now.

    I wish there was a vaccine against religion. I think there is a very good chance that it is caused by viruses. (yes, that really is one of my crazy theories!)
     
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  13. crenca

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    These exceptions are a small percentage of the population and even given a broad/lenient interpretation vaccination rates should still be well in excess of 92, 94, 96% (though I disagree with your third point - the consensus for now is that the previous infected should still get vaccinated for themselves and others).

    Speaking to the religious exemption, the magisterium of the RC church for example has approved ALL the current vaccines, so if a Catholic claims an objection of conscious to the vaccine they are out of bounds theologically and ecclesiologically. Since the Roman Catholics have the most coherent theological/ethical objections to abortion, it is basically nonsense for any Christian to object to the vaccination on Christian grounds. In other words as HHS points out their objection is really a libertarian objection, which for the vast majority of them is their real religion in any case.

    Also, America is not responsible for the rest of the world in theory, and in no way could be in practice. Our first duty is to our own citizens and the only realistic course of action is 3rd (and 4th, 5th, etc.) boasters shots instead of a pie in the sky "let's hold hands with everyone" program of fixing the world... ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
  14. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I was going to post about this next, after seeing the story above about the 30 nurses. Certainly a touchy subject.

    The religious exemption itself of course has a long history and is not just applicable to an employer’s vaccine mandate, but any aspect of an individual’s employment. Its roots are found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also provides protections for other protected classes like race, gender and nationality.

    It is of course a shame that some folks are using the religious exemption in a disingenuous or unethical way. The religious exemption is only supposed to be for sincerely held religious beliefs. What was described above does not on its face seem sincere. The issue is that an employer will likely not do much digging into this sincerity, as they then open themselves up to potential civil rights suits. Some schools are currently doing this, meaning denying applications for exemptions, citing the same points as you about Catholic beliefs.

    The issue is that the law and judicial interpretation of it has never hinged on whether a person is acting in accordance with their religious leaders’ decrees or even other members of their own faith. Religious beliefs are personal and courts are reticent to deem themselves interpreters of scripture or divine communications to individuals. There are currently many challenges pending to mandates where requests for exemption were denied. Denying the application in most instances would certainly put the employer on shaky legal ground.

    The exemption is not absolute, however. An employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, but not such that it causes an “undue burden” on the employer. There are actually old cases involving nurses who requested exemptions but to honor the exemption would mean they’d be put in close contact with their patients without being vaccinated. This would of course cause an undue burden on the hospital and endanger the patients, so the courts did not sympathize with the nurses. We may see something similar re: the above.

    Much less of a concern for an office worker that is going to telecommute and doesn’t need to be on-premises or interact in-person with anyone.


    I’d agree except that the manufacturers of the most effective vaccines are US-based and to serve our own best interests here means likely focusing on those other jurisdictions. The vaccines administered in many other jurisdictions, including China, are often much less effective against infection (e.g., Sinopharm). I’m sure that the folks with billions of dollars to fund vaccine campaigns like the Gates Foundation could work something out with their buddies to make this happen on a meaningful scale. If they don’t, and unless we restrict all foreign travel and shipments into the US, we likely aren’t going to see a meaningful reduction in variant infections as we head into the regular cold and flu season. We’ll more likely just continue to see more and more severe variants that are vaccine-resistant.
     
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  15. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    While I do not assume the calculation is the same for all, cost/benefit analysis for me dictated vaccination. I am 60 and I take care of my 84 year old mother, making us both pretty high risk, but even without that factor, the calculation was not even close. Since for me the cost was zero (other than a sore arm for a day or so) even a potential benefit is sufficient to outweigh the cost. But I am not in favor of forced vaccination, and it is apparent that there is a group of people who will not be vaccinated barring such a policy. I see stupid people everywhere, and they don't even know they are stupid. Maybe there will be an evolutionary benefit?
     
  16. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    Full disclosure, I'm a tenured professor of human health, and a resident researcher at a hospital research institute. This doesn't make me right or an absolute authority, but I hope it gives you some background as to what guides me, and what scientific analysis skills I bring to the table.

    That said, lets go.

    Pregnancy is not contraindicated for COVID vaccines. The timing of pregnancies happening now is very much that those people could already have been vaccinated several times over. Latest data I have seen for allergic reactions for Pfizer is about 1 in 100,000 for severe anaphylaxis, broken down into about 1 in 10,000 for those with a history of allergies and 1 in 1,000,000 for people with no history of allergies. Heart inflammation, has there been a single death yet? Enough to establish an odds ratio? Blood clots, AZ is not a good vaccine, which is why usage is restricted to people with no risk of clotting.

    Which religion would that be? Please be specific.

    The best metanalysis I have seen for actual transmission is that previous infection offers about 50% of the protection of full vaccination. The best protection known to date is provided by previous infection followed by vaccination; somewhere between 2 to 5 times more effective than previous infection or vaccination alone. Vaccination after infection also seems to confer excellent protection against ongoing chronic tissue damage associated with long COVID. So generally, previous infection is not a great argument against vaccination.

    I'd love to hear them, because I'm not seeing anything that even remotely justifies the drastically low vaccination rates in, for example, several US states.

    If I thought that everyone who wasn't getting vaccinated was truly respectful of COVID risk, and was largely isolating at home, wearing masks, and generally being considerate of their neighbours and community, I might agree. But you and I both know that is a complete fairy-tale. This new generation of "my body, my choice" folks are mostly acting like petulant teenagers, and who have never given the slightest credence to other people's bodily autonomy. Immature and inappropriate indeed.

    I wholeheartedly agree. Boosters are only justified for immunocompromised people for whom two shots has not been effective. Global vaccination rates need to be much higher. This is not a good argument against 'at home' first vaccinations.

    The cost benefit for almost every individual on the planet overwhelmingly favors vaccination. There is simply no other scientific outcome you can reach.
     
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  17. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    You know what, me posting here started out as making fun of someone in the ICU demanding horse paste, and here I am in full on argument mode. I can feel that whatever thin veil of tolerance I have is slipping. I am going to bow out of this thread before I start saying things I regret.

    Enjoy your day, fellow travellers.
     
  18. YMO

    YMO Scatologically ribald obsessive

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    This sums up my feelings, and I'm a Libertarian who is vaxxed since I believe the benefits outweighs the cons. I made this decision without being forced, but I don't make a big deal about it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Church of Christ, Scientist. And no, the inherent irony in the name, especially in this context, has not escaped me.
     
  20. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Warning: I am ony 12.7% (if that) classical liberal, which means most of the following will be illiberal and thus challenging and offensive to liberals of both the left and right.

    @zonto as a matter of governance (law), the legal problematics you are pointing to are a good example of how inadequate Classical Liberalism is in theory and practice to so many "problems" of life and the world. Virus don't read or conform to the worldview of Locke and Madisonian democracy. The 1964 Civil Rights act, particularly expanded into its current form (e.g. it does not actually cite the novel concept of "gender" but as you say in current practice it does) is a disaster when applied to viruses, vectors, and pandemics. Religion (i.e. real belief such as Christianity, Islam - most actual historical religion) , is not in point of fact what Classical Liberalism says it is, though since CL is the religion of culture and the land of course so naturally it gets to do what it wants.

    Justice Kennedy summed it up best with his infamous "...At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life..." statement. All historically significant religions would not agree with this at all, because fundamentally they are about Reality and the Real (even when they miss the mark), and in no way agree with such an ridiculously obtuse and radical Cartesian assertion. CL's will of course reply with "yea, but we could not agree on religion, truth, life, the universe and everything so that's why CL was invented so that we all could find a way to live together without shooting each other..." This is the myth, the legend, the doctrine of CL and most of us were taught this in school and by the culture and just assume it is true. Yet, modern culture is revealing to us cracks in the myth, and when problems that can't be papered over with our technological prowess and prosperity, two recent examples being Afghanistan and this pandemic, CL's inability to even properly frame the question (let alone provide a single coherent answer) is laid bare. Yet, even here, we cling to it like a rabid dog because its the only thing most of us know.

    I say all this to point out our society's basic decadence, which as several of you have pointed out we all see and feel, though what it is and why it is we can't quite put our thumb on. It is a decadent and broken culture that in the face of a deadly pandemic which has a relatively easy solution - vaccinate almost everyone - can't get it done. We have the technology, we have the wealth and means, we have everything we need except the philosophy - the basic human decency.

    To put it another way, we are all too religious(!) and doctrinaire(!) about our supposed (Cartesian) "liberty", which itself has to be one of the most unreal and putrid religions ever thought of by (fallen) man...
     
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