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Topic: What's Going on in the Americas? (Read 224361 times)

  • jax
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What's Going on in the Americas?
There are a number of threads from the Old World, any news from the New? Anything American goes.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1475
Meanwhile, despite the anti-mask/anti-vax crowd's claim to the contrary, the current death toll is undercounted . Note this has been known since last March, at the minimum.
Also note what I posted in April of last year when Belgium seemed to be doing worse than most other countries: https://thedndsanctuary.eu/index.php?topic=163.msg83914#msg83914

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It gives a distorted picture, because in most countries suspected cases are not taken into account at all. Belgium is therefore "first and foremost in terms of transparency", according to virologist Steven Van Gucht of the National Crisis Centre this week. The preliminary figures of mortality, the number of people who died compared to normal expectations, seem to confirm that the country is not in fact doing worse than other countries.

[...]

But scientists are not planning to change their way of counting for the time being. Virologist Van Gucht is clear about in Het Nieuwsblad : "From the skewed international ranking we don't care - crudely put - about a whistle. According to him, this way of counting is the best way to quickly identify any problems and then make adjustments.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1476
Your claim the vaccines themselves are causing the mutations is an anti-vax talking point
(This I had to respond to...) I don't understand your confusion, really. But let me be clear: Viruses mutate; that's what they do. They can only do so during reproduction[1] and they can only reproduce in a host. It turns out (not really a surprise) that an already decimated immune system is where the virus  -being the least hampered- is the most prolific. That is, free to replicate -- each round of which is another opportunity to mutate.
A fixation on the unvaccinated (or worse, the "anti-whatever crowd") is either naive or perverse... And it's a political game I refuse to play.
The reason I would focus on the (verified) cases of serious illness and deaths is simple: I'd like to know how Omicron compares to the other variants in the wild, specially Delta. Know, not guess. (Because it looks to me like Omicron is going to be the predominant strain.)
And the Democrat/Republican divide only enters into the discussion fruitfully when it refers to public health policies and how they're implemented. (There are a few political leaders that I'd demonize... But that's because of their actual performance, on the job; not because of their party affiliation.)

Prove you wrong? You haven't really said anything, beyond hinting at a belief that SARS-CoV-2 will somehow die out, unless new (naive) infections proliferate. The virus will seem to die out when it evolves to a dominant version that we can live with... From what I've seen so far, I'm hoping that Omicron is evolutionarily suited to that niche.
Spontaneous or random mutations from -say- cosmic rays can be ignored.
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  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1477
(This I had to respond to...) I don't understand your confusion, really. But let me be clear: Viruses mutate; that's what they do. They can only do so during reproduction[1] and they can only reproduce in a host. It turns out (not really a surprise) that an already decimated immune system is where the virus  -being the least hampered- is the most prolific. That is, free to replicate -- each round of which is another opportunity to mutate.
A fixation on the unvaccinated (or worse, the "anti-whatever crowd") is either naive or perverse... And it's a political game I refuse to play.
I still can't make sense of what you're talking about. 1 point something, let's round it up to 2 in thousand, heck let's go crazy and say 5 in thousand have HIV. While 2 in 10 (normal) to as much as 4 in 10 (quite ridiculous) aren't vaccinated.

So going with 5 in 1000 and 2 in 10, you need a mutation to be 40 times more likely in an HIV patient than in a regular person. In practice, after a couple of weeks people either recover or die. Where are the additional mutations? The poor little viruses are left without a host.

Put in more the more realistic yet still rounded up numbers of 2 in 1000 and 4 in 10 and we're up to 200 times more likely.

You'd need some pretty strong evidence to overcome those numbers. Anything happening in millions of people is more likely by the simple fact that it's happening in millions of people.

Edit: here's a link that might help https://euvsdisinfo.eu/

Edit 2: for example https://euvsdisinfo.eu/eeas-special-report-update-short-assessment-of-narratives-and-disinformation-around-the-covid-19-pandemic-update-december-2020-april-2021/
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-26, 10:58:19 by Frenzie

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1478
I still can't make sense of what you're talking about.
[...]
you need a mutation to be 40 times more likely in an HIV patient than in a regular person [...]
I can see why... What you[1] need is an unrestricted viral load in a defenseless host...
How long do you think a person with untreated AIDS lives, before succumbing to some opportunistic infection? The patient the Stanford docs treated had been in a long-term care facility -where she was not treated for her AIDS- when she contracted Covid-19... It turned out to be the Omicron variant; but there was no claim that it originated (spontaneously) in her system. Indeed, Omicron was already well established in other parts of the world...

The Omicron variant itself had already acquired its profile, the markers that allow its classification and identification. And it was a more than passing-strange beastie! (As no one denies: Its number of mutations compared with other variants is phenomenal; and its transmissibility is -as all agree- much greater.)
But your numbers game (sorry, if that sounds pejorative: it's not meant that way -- please read on!) makes two unwarranted assumptions:
  • That the variant is not stable
  • That it requires a host with a severely compromised immune system to reproduce
If either were true, we wouldn't be in such a dither. Your numbers game is beside the point you intended to make, no? :)
But in evolutionary terms, given the prevalence of AIDS in southern Africa, the origin of the Omicron variant posited by the Stanford docs is plausible...
I'd say likely true. But.

I wouldn't leave that determination fo "fact checkers",

I read what you linked to. I read what the organization offered about itself. And do you really mean me to infer that you equate well-credentialed and respected scientists and doctors to those prone to succumbing to Russian or Chinese disinformation?[2]I don't doubt their views concerning certain efforts -the ones specifically mentioned- are cogent and defensible... But note, please:
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As of March 2021, the team has sixteen full-time staff recruited by EU institutions or seconded by the EU Member States. Team members have a variety of professional backgrounds in communications, journalism and social sciences and speak some of the languages of EU's neighbours, including Russian. [Emphasis added - dej]
No virologists, no MDs. What you want them to do is out of their wheelhouse, Frenzie.
Not you personally... :)
Or do you think I've done so...? :)
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-26, 13:32:57 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1479
If either were true, we wouldn't be in such a dither. Your numbers game is beside the point you intended to make, no?
My point is simply that something that has a chance of 1 in 1000 of occurring will occur as a virtual certainty if you repeat it a million times, while something that has a chance of 1 in 10 probably won't if it happens only once. That's the numbers game.

My quick back of the napkin calculation shows that, unless I made a grave mathematical mistake, it needs to be easily a hundred times more likely that a mutation occurs in an HIV-positive host than in a regular host for it to be in the same ballpark of concern.

But I think I ­-- kind of --see what you mean now. In (South) Africa, HIV is apparently not 1 in 1000 but 2 in 10. In that case the numbers change significantly, and even twice as likely might be worrisome. Nevertheless, keep in mind only 2 in 10 people are vaccinated over there.

My reaction is all about saying it's naive and perverse to focus on the unvaccinated. If your hypothesis about AIDS is 100% correct, vaccination will help against the immunocompromised becoming Tleilaxu virus vats. If it's not, vaccination will be even more effective. Vaccination is win-win here.

I read what you linked to. I read what the organization offered about itself. And do you mean me to infer that you equate well-credentialed and respected scientists and doctors of succumbing to Russian or Chinese disinformation?
I thought I saw some vague allusions to the origin of AIDS that came out of Stanford in the '80s or '90s, and this being somehow tied to Omicron. Looks and quacks like Russian nonsense to me I'm afraid. ;) And yes, people in journalism and social sciences are actually better at tracking the origins of Russian nonsense than virological researchers.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1480
A recap and a correction:
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Scientists have speculated that of all the other unnamed variants, omicron evolved faster and with more mutations, it likely originated in someone with a compromised immune system, potentially someone with HIV.

Stanford researchers including Dr. Seth Hoffman agreed after they found similar evidence when they treated a patient with "uncontrolled" HIV, who contracted an unnamed COVID-19 variant several months ago. [My emphasis - dej

"She developed those mutations within a short time span of 15 days, where her immune system was not working properly to evade or control the COVID infection," he said.

Hoffman added the HIV patient is an example of how someone with an already compromised immune system could spread a mutated form of COVID-19 rapidly in public if she had not been isolated.

But he stated the most significant finding is that the patient responded so well to readily available AIDS treatment and that allowed her to fight off the virus quickly.

It means that battling the HIV pandemic could be key to slowing the COVID-19 pandemic.

"That treatment is so effective today. All over the world. That we can actually stop their infections in their track and reduce the chance of spreading any sort of new variant," Hoffman said.

The Stanford discovery was applauded by Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF.
(more)
I'd originally read a write-up of this case in my hard-copy of the San Francisco Chronicle... But my certainty of the patient's particular Covid variant was unfounded. Mea culpa.
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1481
a correction
Thanks! I don't believe I've seen this in continental European media.

The link between immuno-suppressed patients and new Covid variants is "a highly plausible hypothesis", said Professor Salim Karim, a leading HIV specialist and former chair of the South African government's Covid19 advisory committee.

(The BBC's quality has been on the decline, prefer e.g. France24 or DW for something similar in English, but luckily it tends to be fairly factual.)

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1482

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1483
My point is simply that something that has a chance of 1 in 1000 of occurring will occur as a virtual certainty if you repeat it a million times, while something that has a chance of 1 in 10 probably won't if it happens only once. That's the numbers game.
Something that happened has a chance of 1 in 1. Why it happened may be conjectured, to good purpose, no?
My reaction is all about [OakdaleFTL?] saying it's naive and perverse to focus on the unvaccinated. If your hypothesis about AIDS is 100% correct, vaccination will help against the immunocompromised becoming Tleilaxu virus vats. If it's not, vaccination will be even more effective. Vaccination is win-win here.
I don't disagree...
(With two caveats:
  • For young juveniles, for whom we have nowhere near what we usually require of vaccines and medicines seeking FDA approval.
  • For those with provable natural immunity, from a prior infection
For folk at high risk, I'd recommend -unless their doctor says otherwise- that they get whatever vaccine is available.
...I myself am awaiting word from my provider about a booster.)

But I -personally- still oppose mandated vaccination.
Looks and quacks like Russian nonsense to me I'm afraid.
Perhaps a news source (see above) is more helpful than my slightly garbled telling... Especially considering your murky interpretation... (Let's split the difference 60-40, my favor! :) )

p.s.: I read the Dutch, translated by my browser... While the decline in cases is good news, I wouldn't want severe Covid or measures to mitigate it to continue = just for that! Though what a boon it would be if Covid attacked HIV itself, eh?
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-26, 15:03:03 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1484
But I -personally- still oppose mandated vaccination.
In Belgium there's one obligatory vaccine: polio. In the Netherlands there are none. It's extremely unlikely that COVID-19 would be added to that list.[1]

I suppose what you're talking about is the professional requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 iff[2] you want to work in health care. In that specific circumstance COVID-19 will almost certainly be added to the list everywhere. Keep in mind we already require hepatitis B, tetanus and a tuberculosis test in those circumstances, details may differ a bit from country to country but the general principle is the same. Additional requirements can be be added by the organization in question. For example, while I don't know if it is the case, one can easily imagine that the Tropical Health Institute requires vaccinations against various exotic diseases from its workers that a regular hospital would not. All of this is intended to protect employees against infection and to prevent vulnerable hospitalized patients from catching something new.

Now I'm not saying we should act as if the decisions we took back in the '90s are set in stone, but they weren't implemented willy-nilly without considering the rights of the individual.

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Art VII 1-5 to 1-8 : "The employer shall carry out the risk assessment in collaboration with the prevention advisor occupational physician, determine the preventive measures and ensure the information of exposed workers and the monitoring of their health. This assessment must be repeated on a regular basis and in any event each time there is a change in working conditions or if a worker is found to be suffering from an infection or illness as a result of such exposure. The elements that contributed to the evaluation, the results of the evaluation and the general measures to be taken shall be collected in a written document, which shall be submitted to the opinion of the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPBW)."

Art VII 1-51 to 1-58 : "If the risk assessment shows that workers are or may be exposed to biological agents, the employer must offer workers who are not sufficiently immunized the opportunity to be vaccinated if it concerns a biological agent for which an effective vaccine is available and must vaccinate them if it concerns a mandatory vaccine (hepatitis B, tetanus, tuberculin test). The vaccinations are carried out by the prevention advisor-company physician or, if the employee so wishes, by a physician of his choice.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Although apparently the US requires vaccination to attend school, except then you can opt out from that requirement? https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/school-immunization-exemption-state-laws.aspx Sounds backwards, particularly since the end result is more or less identical (i.e., everybody gets vaccinated except those who don't want to).
As in if and only if, not a mistake.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1485
what you're talking about is the professional requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 iff you want to work in health care [...]
No. Employers have the "right" to impose such requirements here, too. I'm opposed to governments doing so; especially the federal government; most specially the federal government doing so in such a haphazard manner!
And while I'd sometimes argue against it, the individual states do have the power. (It stems from their legitimate police powers.)

No need for your second footnote: I even used to have the game Wff 'N PROOF! :)
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-26, 15:52:11 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1486
Employers have the "right" to impose such requirements here, too. I'm opposed to governments doing so; especially the federal government; most specially the federal government doing so in such a haphazard manner!
But you just went through cases that the threat is real and vaccines are needed. So, the government response is not haphazard at all. You have some other, unrelated, unscientific reasons to oppose government-mandated vaccines. Your science talk is a diversion all the way. Your only actual motivation is partisanship.

Edit: And so that we are all on the same page what the proposed mandates are:
OSHA's rules, which are planned to take full effect on January 4, require that employers with 100 or more employees vaccinate their employees against Covid, or test those who choose not to be vaccinated.
So, employers will be required :o that their employees either be vaccinated or be tested, if unvaccinated - i.e. logically there is no requirement that anybody at all MUST be vaccinated. Moreover,
Quote
Exceptions exist for some employees, like those who work outdoors, and religious exemptions (under Title VII) are built in.
Oakdale, what is your story about what the mandates entail? Any different? What makes the mandates unacceptable? Is it the founding fathers and the framers of the constitution? :)
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-26, 19:56:27 by ersi

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1487
Oakdale, what is your story about what the mandates entail?
First, I'll state the obvious: Employers will be required  that their employees either be vaccinated or be tested, if unvaccinated - or face heavy fines, (Enforcement! Of course, an employer could simply fire any employee that refuses to comply... Or fire enough staff to escape the mandate. :()
Second, employers of fewer than 100 employees face no mandate from OSHA. (Because...OSHA doesn't care about them? Nonsense. It's because there's no precedent for such a rule? Or because the costs of compliance/non-compliance would be too much for "small" businesses? You tell me...)
There's another consideration: While employers have the right, it's unclear whether state law might reasonably abrogate it. The courts would have to decide. And what business doesn't enjoy being sued? :)

Did you spot any haphazardness above? (Unlikely, I know... And besides, as many politicians explain: It's for your own good! All of it! We're just doing what we can [get away with?]!
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1488
Second, employers of fewer than 100 employees face no mandate from OSHA. (Because...OSHA doesn't care about them? Nonsense. It's because there's no precedent for such a rule? Or because the costs of compliance/non-compliance would be too much for "small" businesses? You tell me...)
Or maybe because these are basically the exact same guidelines as for small and large gatherings based on risk evaluation? We happen to use the number 50 for inside and 100 for outside, and it makes perfect sense that an inside office setting is somewhat comparable to an outside gathering. The rationale is simply that it won't immediately spiral out of control if all 100 people got sick and infected a few friends and family. There are complex, highly accurate mathematical models that predict the infection and IC results if you put in this and that number, presented as advice to the governments of this world by the Faucis of this world.[1]

To be clear, I definitely agree that there's something odd and disturbing about enforcing invasive drug tests and I guess soon COVID-19 tests as is done in America. But it doesn't strike me as inconsistent with American precedent.

Instead of requiring vaccination, here in Europe we're requiring mostly teleworking. Everyone back to the office every day of the week just seems like a bad goal, pandemic or no. Make no mistake, the entire thing feels like bad mojo to me. It just doesn't come across as haphazard or inconsistent.
It does seem a bit weird that the White House press release doesn't bother to explain the rationale that clearly must be there, but then again the past four years the press releases were rather significantly lower quality still.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/11/04/fact-sheet-biden-administration-announces-details-of-two-major-vaccination-policies/

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in the Americas?
Reply #1489
Through my casual reading, it now seems obvious (to everybody) that the idea of a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" is a myth, except possibly in terms of hospitalizations and deaths.(While I don't discount that possibility, I think I can be forgiven my hope that Omicron virulence is much less than, say, Delta's...?) As is the idea that vaccine mandates will have the desired effects, chief among them increasing substantially the vaccination rates and tallies... At the same time, the ill effects of the mandates qua mandates are patent.
(As one Public Health authority put it -quoting from memory-"It like no one at the CDC has ever heard of the social sciences...")

I'd still maintain that federal mandates are primarily a means to show that the administration is "doing something" -- i.e., virtue-signalling. (Or -to please ersi- I'd say, politics as usual. :) ) At least at the state and county level the authorities are somewhat accountable, through legislatures and Supervisor Boards, to their constituents.

Just an aside: The town of Oakdale's School Board (yes, that Oakdale! :) ), Stanislaus County, California, became the first to tell Newsome his new mandates won't be followed... (Sort of a "Let's go, Brandon!" thing.)
https://www.abc10.com/article/news/education/oakdale-joint-unified-school-district-covid-19-vaccine/103-f790ca15-8b88-494a-88bf-5c659cd08b41
  • Last Edit: 2021-12-28, 02:57:54 by OakdaleFTL
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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