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Fragile Bird

Covid-19 #29: Gazing Into the Abyss, Again

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9 minutes ago, S John said:

My wife complains about this all the time. The fact that we are footing the bill for internet access and the cost of office furniture and running two computers all day - as well as A/C or heat all day when if we were both at an office we would turn those off or set them at a minimum while gone.

Tip of the iceberg my friend. . 

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As I mentioned in the Canadian Politics thread, 60% of indigenous peoples in Canada (over the age of 18) have received a first dose of vaccine, and in some parts of the North it’s over 70%. As a result, new infections have dropped by 85%. Second doses will be starting for them soon.

Since for the longest time all we got was Pfizer and Moderna, the Moderna vaccine was used because it’s easier to deal with than the Pfizer, as many communities are in isolated parts of the north.

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Posted (edited)

I am so fucking sick of hearing about “sustainable and equitable”. If you don’t have to go into the office and you can work from home, is it really that fucking heartrending???

Cry me a river.

Edited by Chataya de Fleury

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4 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

Most of the time, this will be a useless mutation. The real question is if having a lot of people with just 1 shot and a slightly lower protection will increase the odds of having a nasty mutation that might evade vaccines. With all the recent reports, I think this might not be very risky, but that's still something to ponder.

I think the risk is real as the example of Manaus, Brazil shows. A large percentage (what I read: 50%) of the population there got infected during the first wave last summer. And now the virus has mutated due to evolutionary pressure into a nastier variant (P1) to overcome the antibody protection. I am sure scientists are studying this case very closely, given the circumstances which make the city like a laboratory (large population, quite isolated from other population centers, large part with prior immunization due to antibody development from first wave). 
 

People might call me pessimistic but Manaus is real.

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this is an interesting article talking about risk/benefit analysis for AZ for different age groups, quoting data from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.
Basically it's almost always better to take the vaccine, unless you're 20-29 y.o. AND live in an area with really low incidence.

https://today.rtl.lu/news/science-and-environment/a/1702234.html

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6 minutes ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

this is an interesting article talking about risk/benefit analysis for AZ for different age groups, quoting data from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.
Basically it's almost always better to take the vaccine, unless you're 20-29 y.o. AND live in an area with really low incidence.

https://today.rtl.lu/news/science-and-environment/a/1702234.html

That's a good summary.

The EMA suggested yesterday that each country should take its own approach to this.  Mainly because the prevalence of the disease makes a big difference.  I believe the UK expressly used those figures in that link to decide that those younger than 30 can be given a different vaccine.  So in most European countries, it probably does make sense to use it on all ages (given the higher prevalence of the disease).  But each country has a different definition of appropriate risk.

6 hours ago, Arakan said:

People might call me pessimistic but Manaus is real.

Are you suggesting that COVID could mutate into something that the vaccines wouldn't be able to handle?  And vaccine makers wouldn't be able to modify the vaccine to deal with this future new variant?

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23 minutes ago, Padraig said:

Are you suggesting that COVID could mutate into something that the vaccines wouldn't be able to handle?  And vaccine makers wouldn't be able to modify the vaccine to deal with this future new variant?

Of course not. But there is an attitude among many people that as soon as vaccination is „done“ (the current process) everything will be back to normal. IMO this is a false sense of security. 

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48 minutes ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

this is an interesting article talking about risk/benefit analysis for AZ for different age groups, quoting data from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.
Basically it's almost always better to take the vaccine, unless you're 20-29 y.o. AND live in an area with really low incidence.

https://today.rtl.lu/news/science-and-environment/a/1702234.html

I just came to post those graphics myself. I think those are the exact ones that were used in the MHRA/JCVI press conference yesterday so they should be using the most up to date data too.

I did also see someone mention on twitter that those are the risk levels to consider on an individual level (and obviously it's almost always better to get the vaccine) but you also need to consider the risk to other people you present if you're unvaccinated. As someone in my 30s I'd rather not get covid but I'm not hugely concerned about getting it, I really don't want to get it and then give it to someone vulnerable though. So I'd probably still get the Astrazeneca vaccine if I was in the under 30s group in the UK and it was the vaccine offered to me.

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8 hours ago, S John said:

My wife complains about this all the time. The fact that we are footing the bill for internet access and the cost of office furniture and running two computers all day - as well as A/C or heat all day when if we were both at an office we would turn those off or set them at a minimum while gone.

I do understand and agree with all of this in principle, but I like working from home at least a couple of days a week enough that I don’t personally care about these added costs.

In our case the internet argument is a wash because we have the same internet speed we have always had because we have been streaming TV for years. Definitely sucks to have to buy some furniture and supplies but now we have them and we won’t need to buy them again for a long time. I did buy a laptop too, but I also kind of just wanted one.  A work issued one was made available to me and I used it for a while but it was such a pain in the ass to have to ask permission and get unneeded help to install anything that I just wanted rid of the damn thing and to have a machine over which I was king. 

all that said, I’m still pretty sure these expenses (minus perhaps the laptop) will not significantly exceed what I will save in gas money and vehicle wear & tear. If someone were to work from home 2 days a week indefinitely who used to commute 5 days a week, they’d save roughly 100 round trips per year. I def understand the argument that WE are now paying for things that used to be just part of the deal, but I don’t feel as though the burden outweighs the perk. Admittedly I’m also scared that someone will rock the boat making demands for WFH subsidies and it’ll be ALRIGHT EVERYONE BACK TO THE OFFICE! :uhoh:

However, if there is no subsidy you run the risk of making workplaces inaccessible unless you are already wealthy. I know when i started my current job I couldn’t have afforded to shell out for new office equipment, higher electricity bills etc. I was very fortunate in that my employer offered to cover expenses for WFH equipment (there was an upper limit but I can’t recall what) but I know not everyone was so fortunate. I’d also add though that the expenses were paid after you had already bought the equipment so i’d have been dipping into overdraft territory if i’d had to do that.

They don’t give any subsidy for electricity bills etc. but luckily i’d worked there long enough to have made more substantial savings than I had when I started so i’m able to afford that.

I do ultimately enjoy working from home and would like to continue but I think there are definite steps that should be taken to ensure WFH is not unduly burdening employees. 

 

There is also the toll on mental health, especially where you live alone*, however that is a bit more tied to the combination of WFH and lockdown. I’d like to hope once things open up again WFH will allow for a better work life balance that won’t leave people feeling so isolated.

 

*I’m naturally quite solitary and i don’t so much miss people as i realise i’ve regressed terribly with my social skills over the past year and have had a lot of difficult moments of crippling loneliness. I also realised recently i’ve started talking to myself which i guess is a result of having no one else to talk to for so long. 

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1 hour ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

this is an interesting article talking about risk/benefit analysis for AZ for different age groups, quoting data from the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.
Basically it's almost always better to take the vaccine, unless you're 20-29 y.o. AND live in an area with really low incidence.

https://today.rtl.lu/news/science-and-environment/a/1702234.html

Interesting. Australia's advisory body on vaccines has just recommended to the Government that people under 50 be given the Pfizer vaccine. This a major blow to our vaccination rollout, already well behind schedule, as AZ is the only vaccine being manufactured locally and was expected to be the one that most Australians received. It's also a worry for me personally as I'm over 50 and now feeling a bit of that 'vaccine hesitancy' about the AZ vaccine - particularly as we have no active community cases in my city and have just moved to 100 % capacity for cinemas and theatres, so the chance is of contracting covid is currently low.

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It's going to be very difficult for people without the resources of living alone or in a large house, like poor kids graduating from college, to find jobs and fund working at them from home, when home is an already over-crowded space, with family -- often extended -- to an over-crowded apartment with multiple roommates.  People who live in such conditions as so many on this forum do who already are in large houses with enough space for an office and the resources to equip an offices as they like, and who can take coffee breaks on their patio overlooking their back yard, don't seem to understand what it is like for younger, le$$ privileged.  The kind of work one must do in entry positions that will lead to promotion and bigger pay and responsibility and more achievement will be permanently out of reach for anyone not to born to having those things already, such as law firms.  Shades of of life in the centuries prior to WWI and II. 

But that's all right.  Colleges and universities, particularly those that serve the less wealthy, are shutting down left and right.  Too many people in college already, right?  Goes naturally with the latest rethug drum beating that we must restrict the vote because too many people voting are not the right kind of voters.  Which is what their sorts have been saying in England and the US since no matter how far back one goes to look.  In the south here, they managed to make that work until the War of the Rebellion too.  A few wealthy people controlled all the political activity and decisions for everybody else, who were called 'mudsills.'

 

 

 

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I just want to take a short stroll through some vaccine history.

Do you remember a while ago I mentioned that I watched an interview with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, where he said he didn’t think that any AZ doses should be allowed to be exported to Canada or the EU, and he actually blamed Canada (and Australia, iirc) for the fact the US blocked exports of vaccine, because Canada did that during the H1N1 pandemic? Canada, the country with almost no vaccine manufacturing capability?

I’ve been arguing with Conservative idiots on Facebook, and decided to track down that story, something I meant to do at the time and never got around to doing.

It turns out that Canada was at the very least a month behind the world in rolling out the H1N1 vaccine. If you go back and read the stories about that pandemic, it turns out that Western nations had ordered almost all the world’s supply of flu vaccine ahead of time, leaving virtually nothing for the rest of the world. It reached the point where Indonesia refused to provide the WHO with viral samples and urged other Asian nations to do the same, because, of course, the WHO determines what the flu vaccine is going to be from early monitoring.

Things were so bad the Canadian government placed it’s vaccine order with a Canadian producer (yes, we do have some vaccine manufacturing, I assume that was Sanofi or the company Sanofi bought) and as a result we were more than a month behind other countries like the US, Australia and China. A record number of people got H1N1, 3.5 M people, and there were, wait for it, 428 deaths. Think of that when someone says Covid is just the flu.

So once again I am gobsmacked at the basically false information spread by an American to justify the blocking of vaccine exports. The US was vaccinating more than a month before Canada started. I can’t find a story confirming Harper blocked the export of the Canadian-made flu vaccine, but the order was placed in Canada because of fears other countries would block exports or seize shipments to Canada. I assume the US wasn’t exporting any vaccine back then, either, and I did see references in stories that the US was having production problems.

In the meantime, the action taken by Indonesia started a series of talks between nations led by the WHO with regard to how vaccines would be distributed during future pandemics. The talks broke up numerous times without any agreements being reached. I didn’t read years forward, but I assume these talks led to the formation of COVAX.

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16 hours ago, Mudguard said:

The problem is that the 160 million doses aren't being given with a good control group, so you won't be able to generate any additional and comparable efficacy data. 

Yes, I understand all this, and also that any interpretation of the data will be semi-quantitative at best. At the same time, you have a chance to slice and dice that large sample size into subsets that are typically difficult to obtain in any control sample. I guess we'll see in the future what data miners were able to do with this huge dataset.

Moving on, I was surprised to see this study (by microsoft, but across markets):

Quote

According to the study, almost two-thirds of the more than 31,000 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets said that they were “craving” (yes, craving) more in-person time with their teams and 37% of the global workforce complained that their companies were “asking too much of them” when out of the office.

Not the latter part, but the former.

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Posted (edited)

I think some of you are imagining that I mean all telework all the time for all office type workers, the death of the physical office. While that will probably be the case for some, what I mean is that most employers will retain the option for employees to make telework arrangements on a part-time basis as suits their work/life balance beyond the pandemic.

most of us will still go to the office most of the time, but it will become a staple employment perk that employees are widely able to take 1, 2, maybe 3 days a week to work from home. If employers are not flexible on this point, it will be a sticking point in attracting and retaining talent. If people can’t or don’t want to furnish and fund a home office then they will be still be free to go into the office.

I have a few coworkers who can definitely afford a home office but can’t stand WFH and go in almost everyday. I think the amount that you go in to the office will begin to reflect the personal preference of the employee rather than company policies dictating 100% physical presence.

Edited by S John

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25 hours on, and the only side effect I've had from dose 1 of Pfizer has been a little bit of arm soreness. Hoping it stays that way. Anecdotally at least, it's sounded like dose 1 of Moderna, and the J&J shot, are much rougher than dose 1 of Pfizer. Though everyone I've talked to who's gotten Pfizer did say dose 2 basically knocked them down for about 24-36 hours.

One annoyance, here in Virginia apparently the system for getting dose 2 is that it doesn't get scheduled immediately. Instead, 4-7 days before 3 weeks are up, the county will email you, inviting you to schedule the second shot. I sure hope there's a separate allocation of reservation slots for those doses, otherwise I'm not sure how they guarantee there won't be an enormous wait for that second shot.

 

On WFH, my company has been 100% WFH since 2002, and, at least since I started in 2012, the policy has been that you can include your entire internet and phone bills in your monthly expense reimbursement claim. All other office expenses, within reason, can be claimed too. My cellphone, which doubles as my personal phone, was also reimbursed. It's hard imaging a WFH situation where a company didn't reimburse for the things you need to do your job, though I'm sure it happens all the time.

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5 minutes ago, Fez said:

One annoyance, here in Virginia apparently the system for getting dose 2 is that it doesn't get scheduled immediately. Instead, 4-7 days before 3 weeks are up, the county will email you, inviting you to schedule the second shot. I sure hope there's a separate allocation of reservation slots for those doses, otherwise I'm not sure how they guarantee there won't be an enormous wait for that second shot.

 

This is probably due to your local jurisdiction, not the state. I got my first shot in Virginia and my second shot was scheduled on the spot.

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1 minute ago, S John said:

This is probably due to your local jurisdiction, not the state. I got my first shot in Virginia and my second shot was scheduled on the spot.

Interesting. That's even more annoying then.

Also, Arlington apparently contracted with eventbrite to do the scheduling; makes me feel like I'm going to get a shipping and handling charge at some point...

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does anyone know what's up with Bulgaria? It's lagging behind the rest of the EU but also seems to have received fewer doses per capita?

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7 minutes ago, Fez said:

Interesting. That's even more annoying then.

Also, Arlington apparently contracted with eventbrite to do the scheduling; makes me feel like I'm going to get a shipping and handling charge at some point...

Yea I think it’s just northern Va having to deal with so many more people. Most complaints I’ve heard are from friends that  live in that region of the state. I’ve heard mostly stories of how easy / convenient it was from Virginians living in other parts of the state and that was my experience as well.

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Partner's arm is pretty stiff and sore from Pfizer #2 in the middle of yesterday afternoon.  He's far more concerned the Walgreen's pharmacy people forgot to give him back the vaccine card, and that he didn't notice until morning.

Me for Moderna #2 late tomorrow.

 

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