Perhaps people would be less numb to the death toll if it were scaled down to a more human level. A change in time frame might help: Consider, for instance, that during the month of December, an average of about 1.7 people in the U.S. died from COVID-19 every minute.
https://www.theatlantic.com/family/arch ... a09mnO9u90
https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-v ... 1610895600
Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said over the weekend there are concerns existing COVID vaccines could become less effective against new coronavirus variants. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said for the first time Friday the U.K. variant may be not just more infectious, but up to 30% more deadly, as well. Britain’s chief scientific adviser cautioned that evidence of the claim “is not yet strong” and that more research is needed.
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/1/25/ ... q4yZ6wzlRo
We saw what the new variant, known as B.1.1.7, can do as it spread quickly through southeastern England in December, causing case numbers to spike and triggering stricter lockdown measures.
The new variant has been estimated to be 50% more easily transmitted than common variants, though it appears to affect people’s health in the same way. The increased transmissibility is believed to arise from a change in the virus’s spike protein that can allow the virus to more easily enter cells. These and other studies on the new variant were released before peer review to share their findings quickly.
https://theconversation.com/how-to-stay ... JW-SErsuew
But calamity at that scale is a choice, not an inevitability. And so I’ve been asking health experts the same question: If you knew, with 100 percent certainty, that the coronavirus would be 50 percent more contagious six weeks from now, what would you recommend we do differently?
The most immediate danger is that optimism and exhaustion will overwhelm our common sense, and we will reopen just as the new strains are quietly building momentum. “Just in the last week or 10 days,” says Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, “a lot of state officials are looking at data of numbers coming down and asking me, ‘When can I reopen my restaurants to 75 percent? Bars have been closed for months, can I reopen bars now?’ It is true things are coming down but we are at a very high level. This is not the time to start letting up. This is the time to hunker down for what is likely to be a very difficult two or three months.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... jMewYvh8pA
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... Zm35LKQoVw
Following initial declines, in mid 2020 a resurgence in transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occurred in the US and Europe. As COVID19 disease control efforts are re-intensified, understanding the age demographics driving transmission and how these affect the loosening of interventions is crucial. We analyze aggregated, age-specific mobility trends from more than 10 million individuals in the US and link these mechanistically to age-specific COVID-19 mortality data. We estimate that as of October 2020, individuals aged 20-49 are the only age groups sustaining resurgent SARS-CoV-2 transmission with reproduction numbers well above one, and that at least 65 of 100 COVID-19 infections originate from individuals aged 20-49 in the US. Targeting interventions – including transmission-blocking vaccines – to adults aged 20-49 is an important consideration in halting resurgent epidemics and preventing COVID-19-attributable deaths.
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/ ... abe8372?[b][/b]utm_campaign=SciMag&utm_source=JHubbard&utm_medium=Facebook
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... nt/617891/
https://www.wsj.com/articles/can-you-st ... 7SY7M65pIQ
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... 91UKhdBUis
https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-vaccine ... DipQrI_sog
Pls post if you find anything on this.
Discover how new coronavirus variants formed around the world, and whether personal protective equipment and the new vaccines will successfully work against them”
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... 93tIlT71Ec
https://www.onenewspage.com/n/World/1zn ... avirus.htm
https://aeon.co/essays/viruses-are-not- ... long-story
https://estonianworld.com/culture/arvo- ... x0WpBnhkH0
There’s been a lot of encouraging news about the pandemic lately, and as cases have plummeted across the United States, and the world, some people are beginning to wonder — is the end of the pandemic finally within sight?
My colleague Apoorva Mandavilli, who covers science for The Times, set out to answer this question and spoke to 21 experts about the future of the pandemic in the U.S.
“Just about all of them were optimistic about the mid- to long-term future, certainly about the summer,” Apoorva said. At the very least, most scientists say they now believe that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
But Apoorva also told me the experts were concerned about the next few weeks and the high likelihood of a “fourth wave” of new cases.
Virus cases across the U.S. already appear to be leveling off from the steep decline that began in January, and the federal government warned governors today against relaxing pandemic control measures. Whether Americans will be able to beat back a possible coming wave depends on a number of unknowns:
Human behavior. “The biggest variable is behavior,” Apoorva said, “and it explains both why cases have fallen so much in most of the world, but also why they might go up again.”
Scientists say that cases have fallen in the U.S. largely because states imposed restrictions around the holidays, and — perhaps more important — people actually followed the rules. But now, as the outlook has improved, governors are lifting restrictions and are under enormous pressure to reopen even more broadly. If that happens, cases driven by the new variants are likely to explode.
Variants. Apoorva told me that the more contagious variants are causing a “pandemic within a pandemic.” “We have the larger pandemic — the thing we’ve been dealing with since last year — and that is winding to a close,” she said. “But in the meantime, these variants have created a new set of problems.”
The U.S. has been slow to track the spread of the variants, and the declining infection rates may be giving people a false sense of security. If the variants spread in the U.S., as they have elsewhere, they’ll most likely drive a surge in cases.
Vaccines. The vaccines have turned out to be more effective than anyone could have hoped, preventing serious illness and death in nearly all recipients so far. But scientists worry about the variants from South Africa and Brazil, which have been able to reinfect people who already had the original version of the virus. Still, if the Biden administration can keep its promise to immunize every American adult by the end of the summer — a tall order since many say they don’t want a dose — the variants should be no match for the vaccines.
Which leads us to the good news.
The experts predicted that the last surge would subside in the United States sometime in the early summer. By then, large outbreaks could be a thing of the past. Infections, hospitalizations and deaths may drop to negligible levels — and enough, hopefully, to be able to safely reopen the country.
“My kids won’t be vaccinated by the summer, so I’m not thinking that we will travel anywhere in a big way,” Apoorva said. “But I am looking forward to seeing friends, at least outdoors, and I’m looking forward to the numbers being low enough that we don’t all have to be so afraid when we go outside our homes.”
Suicides on the rise
For many people, the isolation of the pandemic opened a Pandora’s box of mental health issues, exacerbating the pressures on some of the most vulnerable members of society.
According to surveys of young Americans coming into emergency rooms, rates of suicidal thinking and behavior are up by 25 percent or more from similar periods in 2019.
In Japan, job losses, urban isolation and household burdens have compounded societal pressures, leading to a troubling spike in suicides by women.
In the U.S., people are becoming less hesitant about getting vaccinated. According to a new survey, 55 percent of adults now say they have either received one dose or will get it as soon as they can, up from 34 percent in December.
But, they say, data in recent weeks on new variants from South Africa and Brazil has undercut that optimism. They now believe that SARS-CoV-2 will not only remain with us as an endemic virus, continuing to circulate in communities, but will likely cause a significant burden of illness and death for years to come."
https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN ... naEXV8mbYo
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... JEExsmS4Zs