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Fragile Bird

Covid-19 #34 - Alpha, Delta, It’s All Greek to Me!

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And again we are reminded that nearly all new deaths from the virus are entirely preventable in the U.S.

Those still dying from Covid in the US are 'overwhelmingly' unvaccinated

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/23/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html

"Walking into speeding traffic" is their choice in the vast majority of instances at this point. I'm at the point where I feel like I'm watching Darwin theatre play out. 

Staring into the Sun is avoidable!

 

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Posted (edited)

It's really a bad idea to refuse vaccination now.

https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-delta-variant-is-a-grave-danger-to-the-unvaccinated

Quote

" ... Now, experts believe that the Delta variant is sixty per cent more transmissible than Alpha—making it far more contagious than the virus that tore through the world in 2020. It hasn’t yet been conclusively shown that Delta is more lethal, but early evidence from the U.K. suggests that, compared to Alpha, it doubles the risk of a person’s being hospitalized. Even if the variant turns out to be no deadlier within any one person, its greater transmissibility means that it can inflict far more damage across a population, depending on how many people remain unvaccinated when it strikes....

Of course the people who refuse vaccination also refuse to wear masks and practice social distancing too.  So there ya go, folks, Delta ripping through half the US population by fall, most likely -- though of course we don't know that certainly.

Quote

....One vitally important finding to emerge from the U.K. and India is that the covid vaccines are still spectacularly effective against Delta... These findings come with caveats. The first is that, with Delta, partial immunization appears to be less effective at preventing disease: a different study found that, for people who have received only the first shot, the vaccines were just thirty-three per cent effective at preventing symptomatic illness. (A first dose still appears to offer strong protection against hospitalization or death.) The second is that even full courses of the vaccines appear somewhat less effective at preventing infection from Delta. This may be especially true of the non-mRNA vaccines. A team of scientists in Scotland has found that both doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine reduced the chance of infection with Delta by just sixty per cent—a respectable showing, but less impressive than what the same vaccine offers against other strains of the virus. (The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine demonstrated seventy-nine per cent efficacy against Delta infection—a significant, but smaller, decrease....

 

Edited by Zorral

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I noticed that Israel posted over 100 COVID cases yesterday, for the first time in a while. Will be interesting to see whether the vaccine firewall can work to safeguard the healthcare system this time around. 

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I understand from news reports that the Covid-19 cases in Israel are mainly occurring in schools, the infected being young people and teachers. They aren’t vaccinating people younger than 16 or 18, right?

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, L'oiseau français said:

I understand from news reports that the Covid-19 cases in Israel are mainly occurring in schools, the infected being young people and teachers. They aren’t vaccinating people younger than 16 or 18, right?

Yeah I think 16.

So hopefully the reasonably high vaccination rate allows them to hold their ground. I think a similar thing is happening in the UK with Delta spreading predominantly among younger, unvaccinated people.

Edited by Paxter

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In the first July issue of the London Review of Books, "On the Delta Variant by Rupert Beale ...  a clinician scientist group leader at the Francis Crick Institute."

Paywalled w/o a subscription, though I think one may see a single article from each issue, though I'm not sure.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v43/n13/rupert-beale/on-the-delta-variant

Quote

 

 . . . Variants are designated ‘of concern’ if they are more transmissible, if they cause more serious disease or if they evade immunity. So far, the variants of concern that have been identified exhibit all three phenomena to a greater or lesser extent.

Alpha is more transmissible, and a bit more pathogenic, but only marginally more likely to evade immunity. Beta and Gamma have mutations that confer reduced antibody binding, and hence are expected to evade immunity. While Beta and Gamma haven’t taken hold in the UK, Alpha caused a devastating wave of infections in December, when there was very little immunity. I have written previously about the infuriating blunders that caused this (LRB, 4 March). The government’s subsequent response – a very effective vaccination campaign and a relaxation of restrictions gradual enough to keep R below 1 – have nearly extinguished Alpha. Were it not for Delta, we would be applauding their success and readying ourselves for a moderate amount of hedonism on 21 June. . . .

. . . .The UK’s vaccination programme has been among the best in the world. The latest data from Public Health England show that 80 per cent of adults have antibodies to Sars-CoV-2. Vaccine uptake has been above 90 per cent in the oldest age groups, and it may eventually be similarly high for younger cohorts. This success is down to excellent communication of the (tiny) risks and (massive) benefits of vaccination. The very small risk of a particular form of clotting engendered by the AstraZeneca vaccine was carefully contextualised, and a wise decision to offer those under forty an alternative was explained with clarity and honesty. Despite this near flawless vaccine roll-out, Delta is still spreading, with R well above 1.

Why should Delta succeed where Beta, Gamma and the other variants of concern have so far failed? Part of the explanation is increased transmissibility. Alpha has a particular mutation in the viral protein known as Spike which is associated with increased transmissibility. Delta has a different mutation at the same place that seems to confer even more ability to infect. What about immune evasion? A group of my colleagues at the Crick used the live virus neutralisation assay we’ve been developing to investigate whether Delta was able to escape antibody responses. We expected a modest drop in the ability of immune serums to prevent the virus from entering cells. Instead, we saw that variant Delta was as bad as variant Beta from this point of view, and most people who had received only one dose of a vaccine didn’t have sufficient antibody levels to prevent infection. This result is confirmed by other laboratory studies and real-world data. Variant Alpha was largely stopped by one vaccine dose, but for Delta it’s really necessary to get both doses for adequate protection. This is why the timetable for second doses has been accelerated in the UK. . . .

 

 

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3 hours ago, L'oiseau français said:

I understand from news reports that the Covid-19 cases in Israel are mainly occurring in schools, the infected being young people and teachers. They aren’t vaccinating people younger than 16 or 18, right?

Israel allowed those 12 or older to be vaccinated from early June.  But uptake has been low.  Parents probably hoped that COVID was under control, so why vaccinate their kids?  Apparently the increase in COVID cases may be the incentive more people need.

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/school-covid-19-cases-spur-israeli-parents-vaccinate-kids-2021-06-22/

Over the last 3 months, Israel has increased the proportion of people with at least 1 dose from 60% to 63%.  So it clearly hit a demographic wall.  It does leave it a little vulnerable.  Although, hopefully not to serious cases since the vast bulk of its older population have been fully vaccinated.

The increase in cases in Israel has been blamed on Delta.  Same as Russia, Portugal, UK.

Ireland has recently seen its proportion of Delta cases rise to 20%.  Overall numbers are starting to inch up but far from the kind of rates in the afore mentioned countries.  But we still have a lot of people to be vaccinated.  The ECDC in Europe expects Delta to take over in the coming months.  We need that to be dragged out as much as possible.  But at least most people here are happy to be vaccinated.  The problem is countries that are hesitant, which will just help more variants to emerge.

I see Moderna has benefited from Curevac's troubles with the EU ordering 150m more doses for next year.  With the possibility of next generation vaccines if required.

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10 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

Or it was delta, which has higher odds of infecting you after 1st dose than other variants.

Thanks for the details about recent infections. Make total sense, and alas if the whole system isn't totally fool-proof, breaches will occur from time to time. Hopefully vaccine rollout will speed up everywhere on this rock.

According to a news report I read the Sydney cluster is the Delta variant. So it is pretty much certain that our weekend visitor has the Delta variant. As the article above says, a single vaccination dose is not effective for developing immunity to Delta.

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3 hours ago, Padraig said:

Israel allowed those 12 or older to be vaccinated from early June.  But uptake has been low. 

Missed that development, thanks for pointing it out. 

A shame that more parents aren't taking up the option, as it could become a problem from a public health standpoint if the variant is circulating widely amongst young people (perhaps not individual health, as young people tend to do pretty well with the virus). 

As a point of contrast, Canada is up to 1 out of 2 children aged 12-17 with at least one jab. 

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8 hours ago, Paxter said:

As a point of contrast, Canada is up to 1 out of 2 children aged 12-17 with at least one jab. 

That's impressive.  In fact, I see Canada has probably the highest uptake of (first dose) vaccines in the world (at around 67% of the total population).  Amongst larger countries anyhow.

Canada overtook the US weeks ago and I see that more and more countries are following suit (Italy yesterday), given the US is having a lot of difficulty expanding the % vaccinated.  The US's big advantage (for now) is the percentage fully vaccinated.

The Delta cloud grows though.

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Posted (edited)

Well from next week on, masks won’t be mandatory anywhere, and people can go to restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and bath houses without vaccination. 

I think we just sent an invitation to Delta with priority mail. 

The sheer irresponsibility of this is astonishing. We are at 56% vaccinated and we’ll stay that way because there won’t be another soul to apply for a vaccine now that they can have fun without it.

Edited by RhaenysBee

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Posted (edited)
On 6/20/2021 at 2:47 PM, Luzifer's right hand said:

That is what they claimed at first here too. I can see my certificate and it says 1/2 and my SOs says 2/2.

But neither if us had covid-19 though. 

So I'm actually revising a document about this (well, a very technical document about encoding etc from which I understand nothing, lol):

For example, 1/1, 2/2 will be presented as completed;
including the option 1/1 for vaccines including two doses, but for which the protocol applied by the Member State is to administer one dose to citizens that were diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the vaccination.

Edited by Fillyjonk Eilhart

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Anyone seen any evidence around whether Delta can re-infect individuals who have had COVID before? That could be pretty important from a US perspective, given at least 1 in 10 (probably more) American adults have had it in the last year.

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1 hour ago, Fillyjonk Eilhart said:

So I'm actually revising a document about this (well, a very technical document about encoding etc from which I understand nothing, lol):

For example, 1/1, 2/2 will be presented as completed;
including the option 1/1 for vaccines including two doses, but for which the protocol applied by the Member State is to administer one dose to citizens that were diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the vaccination.

Well the system here is not up to date at least in Austria. A co-worker who has covid-19 has 1/2 too. He got his shot two weeks before the person I know who had covid-19 but got an appointment for a 2nd shot anyway.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Paxter said:

Anyone seen any evidence around whether Delta can re-infect individuals who have had COVID before? That could be pretty important from a US perspective, given at least 1 in 10 (probably more) American adults have had it in the last year.

Manaus had been terribly hit back in 2020 and was supposed to be close to unicorn immunity, when the nastier variant (is Brazilian variant Beta or Gamma?) hit them even harder, and then the whole country. It would be worth checking if Delta does the same, but a future mutated Delta will certainly be able to infect people who had the Vanilla 2020 Covid.

Edited by Clueless Northman

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Gamma is P-1, and is the variant that has popped up in the Yukon, infecting as-yet unvaccinated teens in school. As I mentioned, the Yukon is 62.8% fully vaccinated, 76.4% fully vaccinated by those 12+.
 

P-1 is the Brazilian variant.

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43 minutes ago, Paxter said:

Anyone seen any evidence around whether Delta can re-infect individuals who have had COVID before? That could be pretty important from a US perspective, given at least 1 in 10 (probably more) American adults have had it in the last year.

I would assume it does. It seems to dodge vaccine immunity more readily than other variants, and isn't vaccine immunity (for some of the vaccines at least) meant to be better than natural immunity? I would think people who caught the vanilla version early in the pandemic might be seeing their immunity start to decline about now (unless they've had multiple re-exposures because the disease is unchecked in their part of the world) and they would even be somewhat more vulnerable to the OG virus let alone these more infectious variants.

2 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

Well from next week on, masks won’t be mandatory anywhere, and people can go to restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and bath houses without vaccination. 

I think we just sent an invitation to Delta with priority mail. 

The sheer irresponsibility of this is astonishing. We are at 56% vaccinated and we’ll stay that way because there won’t be another soul to apply for a vaccine now that they can have fun without it.

Interesting. After the february outbreak in Auckland the govt decided to mandate masks on all public transport for the whole country for the foreseeable future. Only the airlines really enforce it with bus and train staff being not legally allowed to refuse entry onto trains and buses, and not legally being allowed to make people get off. Or rather they can't be contractually forced to do it, because it is simply not worth what they are being paid to make a fuss about it. And I think the companies are not interested is trying to force the issue either. Still I would say on my train there is 90%+ compliance, and my son says about 80%-90% compliance on the buses he rides. So in the land of sheep we are being good sheep. Even though that usually is an insult, in this case I am taking it back and claiming that sometimes (actually probably most of the time, at least in free democracies) going along with what the govt requires of us is a good thing.

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27 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

Interesting. After the february outbreak in Auckland the govt decided to mandate masks on all public transport for the whole country for the foreseeable future. Only the airlines really enforce it with bus and train staff being not legally allowed to refuse entry onto trains and buses, and not legally being allowed to make people get off. Or rather they can't be contractually forced to do it, because it is simply not worth what they are being paid to make a fuss about it. And I think the companies are not interested is trying to force the issue either. Still I would say on my train there is 90%+ compliance, and my son says about 80%-90% compliance on the buses he rides. So in the land of sheep we are being good sheep. Even though that usually is an insult, in this case I am taking it back and claiming that sometimes (actually probably most of the time, at least in free democracies) going along with what the govt requires of us is a good thing.

Compliance city public transport was around 50%, then they penalized not wearing masks and the possibility of having to pay a £20 fine is pushed it up to an average of 80%ish. Compliance on trains has been 30-40% at best. People put on the mask when the inspector appears and pull it off the moment he or she leaves the carriage. In this sense sheep would be far more favorable than the donkeys we are, stubborn and not too clever. 

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