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Old 12-06-2021, 01:11 PM   #5121
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The Boy Who Cried Wolf comes to mind.

If the Omicron variant scare turns out to be a non-issue it will completely undermine the credibility of the experts for the next variant.
Just a lose lose situation for some people. Had they said it was nothing with limited information, and it turned out to be the opposite, then what?

There weren’t many (any?) experts panicking about it, just rightfully raising it as a concern. It’s their job.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:15 PM   #5122
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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ron-cases-soar

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“Our admissions are doubling every day,” Fareed Abdullah, director at the South African Medical Research Council and an infectious disease doctor at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, the capital, said on Dec. 3. Still, while it remains too early to tell, the current wave of infections appears to be different from earlier ones, he said.
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Severe symptoms in patients who contracted earlier variants typically developed between one and three weeks after they were diagnosed, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. And while anecdotal evidence and initial data analysis from one hospital complex suggests that omicron may cause milder illness, especially among those who’ve been vaccinated or previously infected, it will become clearer this week or next if that’s indeed the case.
This all sounds reasonable to pay close attention to.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:21 PM   #5123
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I don't see how anyone can look at the rate of spread and not think that some level of concern is warranted. Cases are doubling every 4 days in Guateng, going from about 100 a day to 10,000 a day in a few weeks (and up 10x in 12 days). That implies either that it's more transmissible than Delta or that it's capable of evading immunity. Either way, it suggests more cases which likely means more pressures on hospitals (there are still a significant number of unvaccinated people without immunity from prior infection who can easily fill up ICUs again).

The hope is that infections are more mild than prior variants, but that's not a given at this point.
Natural immunity looks like the only path out of this now. Locally, anyways, we aren't going to see any significantly higher levels of vaccination, and vaccination alone does a very poor job at stopping spread. The reality is that the population is going to be exposed at some point.

Having a less deadly variant is, IMO, not a cause for concern, but a large positive.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:26 PM   #5124
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The Boy Who Cried Wolf comes to mind.

If the Omicron variant scare turns out to be a non-issue it will completely undermine the credibility of the experts for the next variant.
Disagree completely. I would rather that these things are being identified and flagged early and then dismissed when understood as opposed to being dismissed prematurely.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:37 PM   #5125
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Natural immunity looks like the only path out of this now. Locally, anyways, we aren't going to see any significantly higher levels of vaccination, and vaccination alone does a very poor job at stopping spread. The reality is that the population is going to be exposed at some point.

Having a less deadly variant is, IMO, not a cause for concern, but a large positive.
Sure, but with Delta and robust vaccination, the process of all of the immunologically naive people getting infected could be stretched out over a pretty long period of time (several years likely), limiting the burden on hospitals. If all of the sudden we're hit with a variant that is either much more transmissible or that can evade immunity from infection and vaccination at a fairly significant rate, then we have an issue (unless it turns out the severity is significantly reduced).
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:45 PM   #5126
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Natural immunity looks like the only path out of this now. Locally, anyways, we aren't going to see any significantly higher levels of vaccination, and vaccination alone does a very poor job at stopping spread. The reality is that the population is going to be exposed at some point.

Having a less deadly variant is, IMO, not a cause for concern, but a large positive.
People look at me as if I'm completely bat#### crazy when I tell them they're healthy and double vaccinated, being exposed to COVID would further increase your immunity.

And yet that is exactly what the science is saying.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:47 PM   #5127
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Disagree completely. I would rather that these things are being identified and flagged early and then dismissed when understood as opposed to being dismissed prematurely.
Well, yeah.

But most people think what they hear on the media is 'expert' advice, and the media has very much not handled Omicron the right way.

So yes, if it indeed does turn out to be less deadly, trust in public health will be further undermined because of the media not doing its job properly, and instead running after clicks & headline bait.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:53 PM   #5128
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You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

New variant arrives and seeds itself globally in a month or so.

You're either incompetent and fail to notify the general public of the danger, or your a shrill wolf crier. The same people will accuse you of both if you don't thread the needle perfectly with incomplete information.

The markets which are probably the most sophisticated hive mind have no idea how to perceive the new variant. Hard to imagine public policy makers have much better information.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:03 PM   #5129
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People look at me as if I'm completely bat#### crazy when I tell them they're healthy and double vaccinated, being exposed to COVID would further increase your immunity.

And yet that is exactly what the science is saying.
Well, it is an odd way to look at it. The point of immunity is to protect against infection. If you're enduring an infection to prevent a future infection, how have you come out ahead? If you could guarantee it's asymptomatic or extremely mild, then sure. But that's not always the case. I know someone who had a breakthrough infection and still can't really smell or taste several months later. I'm sure they'd rather have just had a 3rd vaccine dose than to go through that.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:04 PM   #5130
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Well, yeah.

But most people think what they hear on the media is 'expert' advice, and the media has very much not handled Omicron the right way.

So yes, if it indeed does turn out to be less deadly, trust in public health will be further undermined because of the media not doing its job properly, and instead running after clicks & headline bait.
I don’t have any sympathy for people who work themselves up from headlines and Facebook snippets. Anymore than I can’t be bothered to listen to people who say “so much for 2 weeks to flatten the curve”.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:29 PM   #5132
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If highly contagious variants continue emerging and spreading around the globe in the coming years, what kind of vaccination levels are we going to need to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed? 95 per cent? Higher? Is there any country that has reached those vaccination levels yet?
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:32 PM   #5133
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If highly contagious variants continue emerging and spreading around the globe in the coming years, what kind of vaccination levels are we going to need to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed? 95 per cent? Higher? Is there any country that has reached those vaccination levels yet?
I think you have to take into account current and new and potentially unknow treatments as well.

Take a duel pronged approach. I don't think it is vaccination alone. I think it is vaccination & treatment that changes the threat level of COVID 19.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:45 PM   #5134
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People look at me as if I'm completely bat#### crazy when I tell them they're healthy and double vaccinated, being exposed to COVID would further increase your immunity.

And yet that is exactly what the science is saying.
I don't think it's sunk in what it means to have Covid being endemic. People are still in the containment mindset. At most we should be looking to stop out of control spread, which we are nowhere near. You will be exposed to Covid many times. That's reality.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:51 PM   #5135
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Sure, but with Delta and robust vaccination, the process of all of the immunologically naive people getting infected could be stretched out over a pretty long period of time (several years likely), limiting the burden on hospitals. If all of the sudden we're hit with a variant that is either much more transmissible or that can evade immunity from infection and vaccination at a fairly significant rate, then we have an issue (unless it turns out the severity is significantly reduced).
There are negatives to stretching the process out to. Beyond the social, economic, and health effects of the lockdowns/restrictions, you're also prolonging the threat for vulnerable people, and as time passes you have constant new round of vulnerable people, as a portion of the population falls sick/elderly.

As you state, the likelyhood of a variant evading vaccines over time significantly increases, but natural immunity seems relatively long term.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:00 PM   #5136
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The other question is, if natural immunity by itself is proving to be long-lasting, why does the mandate not include that as well? Is it strictly because we can't test for it properly?
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:01 PM   #5137
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is early evidence to suggest Omicron has an “increased risk of reinfection” and its rapid spread in South Africa suggests it has a “growth advantage” compared to Delta.

Therefore, virologist Marc van Ranst pointed out that “if the omicron variant is less pathogenic but with greater infectivity, allowing Omicron to replace Delta, this would be very positive.”

In fact, Omicron could turn out to be “a storm in a teacup” and may blow over within a few weeks, according to a former head of the British government’s vaccine task force.

Clive Dix said that, if the new variant did turn out to be milder but more infectious than Delta, it would be worth easing travel restrictions so to let the milder Omicron mutation spread further.

He told UK newspaper i he is “pretty calm and not really worried” about the new variant, adding that “if we look at all the facts that we know so far, none of them are heading in the direction of being a super concern.”

“We’re not seeing serious disease yet and we’re not seeing death. The picture looks like it’s now a milder virus – and that’s what you expect with viruses. They mutate to become more transmissible – they’re not looking to be deadly, because otherwise they don’t get transmitted,” Dix explained.
Not only ease travel restrictions, but a lot of other restrictions as well. We should know in the next few weeks if this is indeed the case, and politically it is going to be a ####show if the way out of this is to ease restrictions. Power has gone to government's heads, and stepping back is not going to be easy.

Especially if zero-COVID places like Australia and New Zealand.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:04 PM   #5138
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The other question is, if natural immunity by itself is proving to be long-lasting, why does the mandate not include that as well? Is it strictly because we can't test for it properly?
Most countries do include natural immunity in their vaccine passport scheme. The EU, UK, and Israel all do. North America is the outlier, and the science does not support the North American position.

The main reason for not including natural immunity in a passport scheme is to dissuade people from recklessly infecting themselves and to increase vaccination numbers. It's a good strategy, but really only beneficial in places that are awash with extra vaccine.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:07 PM   #5139
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How are those countries getting people to prove prior infection?
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:11 PM   #5140
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There are negatives to stretching the process out to. Beyond the social, economic, and health effects of the lockdowns/restrictions, you're also prolonging the threat for vulnerable people, and as time passes you have constant new round of vulnerable people, as a portion of the population falls sick/elderly.
We're not stretching the process out by choice; we're doing it because we won't have a healthcare system if we just let it run wild through the unvaccinated.
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As you state, the likelyhood of a variant evading vaccines over time significantly increases, but natural immunity seems relatively long term.
Sort of. Immunity from a recovery is likely more durable, but it still wanes just like with every other coronavirus. Based on the study I linked above, the risk ratio triples from the 6 month point to the 12 month point after recovery.

And of course there are some inherent biases in reinfection data that might overstate its effectiveness and longevity. As I mentioned above, that Israel study showed reinfections having nearly 4x the rate of severe cases to total cases when compared to breakthrough infections. I can't think of any immunological reason for that, so it likely comes down to willingly unvaccinated people also having different test-seeking behaviors or poorer access to testing. If that's correct, then the actual number of infections in the recovered group would be much higher than it appears in the data, relative to the number of breakthrough infection.

And there is also survivorship bias in reinfection data. The people who might be most likely to be reinfected are likely also the ones who end up dying or becoming severely sick from it in the first place. Whereas an equally vulnerable person who is vaccinated might have a breakthrough infection and survive.
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