Sandbox (4)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

I’ve opened a new “Sandbox” thread as a post as the new “ignore commenter” plug-in only works on threads started as posts.

5,817 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. I just took a look at the covid graphs at worldometers.com.

    I’m no expert, but it appears that deaths worldwide plummeted within a few months of the omicron variant introduction, and continued a gradual decline to the present.

    I can think of three candidates for causing the decline.

    The ugliest is that the most vulnerable people died in the first two years.
    Then there’s the possibility that Omicron was less likely to cause lung damage, and therefore less deadly.
    Then there’s the possibility that everybody has had either the vaccine or the virus, and for those who survived, their immune systems are no longer overreacting.

    Could be all three.

    I think Alan has the risk somewhat reversed. Deaths from covid have all but vanished into the noise. Flu is still a risk for vulnerable people. Combined deaths are fewer than traffic deaths. Which is not to say, zero.

    Still, my New England state hasn’t reported a covid case or death in four months.

  2. petrushka: I can think of three candidates for causing the decline.

    The ugliest is that the most vulnerable people died in the first two years.

    This is an established fact, certainly in the UK at least, where deaths in care homes reached horrific levels

    Then there’s the possibility that Omicron was less likely to cause lung damage, and therefore less deadly.

    The usual path is that viruses are selected for infectivity and against virulence

    Then there’s the possibility that everybody has had either the vaccine or the virus, and for those who survived, their immune systems are no longer overreacting.

    In my case, catching an infection after four vaccinations that was milder than ‘flu (though I did have PVF for a couple of months after) is anecdotal evidence for that.

    Could be all three.

    Indeed.

  3. petrushka: Still, my New England state hasn’t reported a covid case or death in four months.

    I have a friend currently receiving post-op physio in a rehab* establishment and anti-Covid precautions were reintroduced last week.

    *Not that sort of rehab.

  4. Might I point out that Covid precautions are effective against colds and flu. Probably more so, since these are spread by droplets. Most surgical masks are ineffective against aerosol spread, and most masks being worn are not N95.

    Anecdotally, I had omicron when it first came out. I was three months out from the booster, and it was very mild. I’ve since had something that affected taste and smell, and I have a lingering mild case of vertigo.

    Covid was pretty nasty, and I do not resent steps taken to control it.

    But I think many recommendations were ineffective or even counterproductive. For example, outdoor parks and beaches were closed.

    Air filtering would have been effective, but has only recently been stressed.

    Some of the grocery chains, early in the pandemic, had senior only hours first thing in the morning. That was a great idea, but abandoned.

  5. petrushka: But I think many recommendations were ineffective or even counterproductive. For example, outdoor parks and beaches were closed.

    Agree with that. Being outside in fresh air, maintaining a personal space from strangers was safer than isolating inside. Also hand-washing was irrelevant. Spread was by aerosol, almost exclusively.

  6. petrushka: Might I point out that Covid precautions are effective against colds and flu.

    Post Covid, I’d never dream of socializing if I had any suspicion of having a cold or flu, nor would I welcome anyone with symptoms in my home. But now I think about it, I can’t remember having either since before the Covid outbreak.

  7. So bright it caught my attention from probably 30 miles away.

    They run molten salt through it and store it in a reservoir. The stored heat allows them to generate electricity at night, giving this technology an advantage over conventional solar panels.

  8. keiths:
    So bright it caught my attention from probably 30 miles away.

    They run molten salt through it and store it in a reservoir. The stored heat allows them to generate electricity at night, giving this technology an advantage over conventional solar panels.

    Batteries are the bane of renewable energy. Where I live there is a power station that pumps river water uphill to a reservoir, to generate power during peak usage. Unremarkable, except it’s a hundred years old, and still in use.

  9. petrushka,

    The key to clean energy is storage, undoubtedly. A solar power station complex has been operating in Spain since 2009. On looking through the Wikipedia article, I note:

    Like every power plant with a thermal engine, cooling is needed for the working fluid. As Andasol is built in the warm middle of the south of Spain, every Andasol unit vaporizes 870.000 m³ water per year (according to the developer), or 5 L/kWh (1.3 USgal/kWh). Most power plants vaporize less water (typically less than 2.5 L/kWh), or close to none if they are cooled by river or sea water.[13][14] Although water supply is generally a problem in Spain, Andasol has ample supply due to its location near the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

    There’s always a downside.

  10. Based on recent events, I have formulated a meta-conspiracy theory.

    Which is, the secret cabal that runs the world doesn’t know who really runs the world.

    It’s cabals all the way up.

  11. Health Canada Confirms Undisclosed Presence of DNA Sequence in Pfizer Shot
    The health regulator says Pfizer did not disclose the presence of the Simian Virus 40 (SV40) DNA sequence in its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at the time of filing.”

    I’m not sure what it all means but some evolutionary experts say the dead virus called SV40 can cause cancer or something? Could there be some truth to this claim perhaps?
    If there were some truth to this claim shouldn’t the share holders of Murderna and Shizer ” vaccines be worried? How about those who took this shmoltz???

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/world/exclusive-health-canada-confirms-undisclosed-presence-of-dna-sequence-in-pfizer-shot-5513277

  12. Good response, Jock. It’s too bad such unsubstantiated rumors gain traction on place like the Epoch Times.

  13. aleta:
    Good response, Jock. It’s too bad such unsubstantiated rumors gain traction on place like the Epoch Times.

    And why do you suppose such rumors gain traction in the first place? Could it be an attempt to appeal to those who are more interested in ratifying their prejudices than facing uncongenial facts?

    The Epoch Times is a Chinese publication.

  14. DNA_Jock:
    J-Mac,
    Nope.
    You might want to follow more reliable news sources.

    “Claim that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain DNA contaminants based on study of vials of “unknown provenance”; no evidence COVID-19 mRNA vaccines can alter DNA in people”
    How many contradictions could experts (retied or not) in this field can find in the title of this article itself?

  15. aleta:
    Good response, Jock. It’s too bad such unsubstantiated rumors gain traction on place like the Epoch Times.

    How do you know which one is true and which is a rumour?

  16. Flint: And why do you suppose such rumors gain traction in the first place? Could it be an attempt to appeal to those who are more interested in ratifying their prejudices than facing uncongenial facts?

    The Epoch Times is a Chinese publication.

    Evidence for your claims would help.. unfortunately… you will not provide anything to substantiate such a claim but a rumour …

  17. This is where my trust was lost initially:

    “Pfizer to pay $2.3 billion, agrees to criminal plea
    By Ransdell Pierson, Jeremy Pelofsky

    NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc agreed on Wednesday to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge relating to promotion of its now-withdrawn Bextra pain medicine and will pay a record $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 medicines.”
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-settlement-idUSTRE5813XB20090902

  18. NASA Study Shows Climate Change Is Actually GREENING The Earth!

    I love comedians especially when they tell the truth!

  19. J-Mac: Evidence for your claims would help.. unfortunately… you will not provide anything to substantiate such a claim but a rumour …

    Which claim do you mean? Chinese ownership of the Epoch Times is a matter of public record. The bogus claims of the Epoch Times and your own anti-climate change, anti-vax (and anti other facts) is something you have made consistently clear. It’s a marriage made in woo-land. Any con man can tell you that you can’t cheat anyone by enticing them with something they don’t want, and all too many people will buy into total bullshit if it strokes their prejudices. You and the Trumpies make that clear.

  20. J-Mac:
    This is where my trust was lost initially:

    “Pfizer to pay 2.3 billion dollars, agrees to criminal plea
    By Ransdell Pierson, Jeremy Pelofsky

    NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc agreed on Wednesday to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge relating to promotion of its now-withdrawn Bextra pain medicine and will pay a record $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 medicines.”
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-settlement-idUSTRE5813XB20090902

    Yeah, it looks like Pfizer was dishonest in this case. Does that mean that every drug company always cheats in the case of every product? That sort of generalized conclusion is very rarely justified, but individual instances are really great if you wish to project like that. Else, we can say “Look Trump cheated on all his wives, therefore all men are cheaters.”

  21. Flint: Yeah, it looks like Pfizer was dishonest in this case. Does that mean that every drug company always cheats in the case of every product? That sort of generalized conclusion is very rarely justified, but individual instances are really great if you wish to project like that. Else, we can say “Look Trump cheated on all his wives, therefore all men are cheaters.”

    Yea, Pfizer had really good drugs over the years but what could possibly push a company like this to commit fraud and admit it in the court of law?
    This is not a joke and I’m not trolling. I have court documents to prove it.
    Any questions?
    BTW; Pfizer claims that the US government requested them to commit fraud in the so-called vaccination campaign.
    Has anybody ever heard about the so-called herd immunity since then?
    Herd immunity doesn’t make money for the Bing-Harma, so I knew it was a scam right from the beginning…

    .

  22. J-Mac: Yea, Pfizer had really good drugs over the years but what could possibly push a company like this to commit fraud and admit it in the court of law?
    This is not a joke and I’m not trolling. I have court documents to prove it.
    Any questions?

    Sure. Like, can you provide a link? I’d like to know more about that case.

    BTW; Pfizer claims that the US government requested them to commit fraud in the so-called vaccination campaign.

    Details? Like, why do you label the campaign as “so-called”?

    Has anybody ever heard about the so-called herd immunity since then?
    Herd immunity doesn’t make money for the Bing-Harma, so I knew it was a scam right from the beginning…

    What does “it” refer to? There has been a good deal of herd immunity, which is why the vaccinations have been as successful as they have. Biology is not a scam, but Pfizer can still violate laws.

    .

  23. Herd immunity usually means a pathogen no longer spreads.

    The number of officially reported covid cases is very low, but wastewater monitoring indicates that it is still endemic.

  24. petrushka:
    Herd immunity usually means a pathogen no longer spreads.

    Well, yes, because enough of the community is immune so that those who are not immune simply don’t get exposed to the pathogen. The estimates as to the necessary level of community immunity vary, but even the lower estimates have not been met in most communities. And of course, even legitimate herd immunity (say, 95% of the people are immune) is of limited protection when the virus mutates fast enough so that everyone who was once protected is no longer.

    The number of officially reported covid cases is very low, but wastewater monitoring indicates that it is still endemic.

    And, as I understand it, always will be. Just like the flu and the common cold, the pathogen simply won’t hold still enough for immunity to last very long. People get tired of, and angry about, distancing and masks, but the virus never gets tired.

  25. Flint: People get tired of, and angry about, distancing and masks, but the virus never gets tired

    Covid related deaths are fewer than traffic deaths. My New England state hasn’t reported a covid case or covid death in five months. Pretty hard to convince people to take special measures.

  26. petrushka: Covid related deaths are fewer than traffic deaths. My New England state hasn’t reported a covid case or covid death in five months. Pretty hard to convince people to take special measures.

    I did a little googling, and here is what I have found for the US as a whole:

    Nearly 845 coronavirus deaths were reported for the week ending Aug. 19, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from about 520 deaths a month prior.

    Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been increasing in the U.S. for nine weeks, reaching more than 20,500 new hospital admissions during the week ending Sept. 9 – an increase of nearly 8% from the prior week.

    So, a couple of months ago (most recent numbers) the US had more than 20,000 hospital admissions for covid, and your state had zero CASES for 5 months? Seriously, do you live on the moon?

  27. Flint: So, a couple of months ago (most recent numbers) the US had more than 20,000 hospital admissions for covid, and your state had zero CASES for 5 months? Seriously, do you live on the moon?

    Naaaah. They have just stopped reporting cases as such. Metric is too unreliable now. They still report hospital admissions, mind you…
    I remember when Florida switched from daily reporting to weekly reporting, and petrushka proudly trumpeted the fact that they had zero cases in the last six days! It’s just impressive confirmation bias, is all.

  28. I do not live in Florida. I live in New England. And it is true that reporting has dropped off. Which is why I mentioned wastewater testing as a counterpoint.

    900 deaths a week is 46,000 a year. That’s half the rate of auto deaths.

    Which is why no one is in panic mode.

  29. petrushka: I do not live in Florida. I live in New England.

    I know: that’s why I linked to Connecticut’s CoVid reporting.

    And it is true that reporting has dropped off.

    Well, not so much “dropped off”, as they have STOPPED reporting cases. That tells you nothing about the level of new cases. And this is exactly the same failure to comprehend that you displayed when you touted the “little milestone you won’t read about in any newspaper” after Florida reported no new CoVid cases for six straight days in 2021. Florida had moved from daily reporting to weekly reporting.
    Connecticut has now moved to not reporting new cases at all.

    Which is why I mentioned wastewater testing as a counterpoint.

    We are all aware the CoVid is still circulating, but mortality and morbidity is much lower, thanks to the vaccines..

    900 deaths a week is 46,000 a year. That’s half the rate of auto deaths.

    No, it is not. Since the 1980’s, annual auto deaths in the USA have been in the 35,000 to 45,000 range.
    Your connection to reality appears tenuous.

  30. DNA_Jock:
    Well, not so much “dropped off”, as they have STOPPED reporting cases. That tells you nothing about the level of new cases.

    Well, probably more than nothing. There used to be a rough metric giving the ratio of actual cases to reported cases to hospitalized cases, but I can’t find it offhand. But I remember it was always the case that there was a sizeable number of cases per hospitalization. Estimates of the percent of people in the US who have had covid at least once ranged from 60% to 95%, but the actual value had a very wide error range because many if not most cases were not reported, and some people never even knew they had it. And a surprisingly large number of people have contracted the disease several times.

    The numbers I’ve seen indicate that cases are on the rise again, more in some places than others, and that even the latest bivalent vaccine wears off in maybe 3-4 months. Around here, even some of the employees of the local WalMart have resumed wearing N95 masks at work.

  31. Flint: Estimates of the percent of people in the US who have had covid at least once ranged from 60% to 95%, but the actual value had a very wide error range because many if not most cases were not reported, and some people never even knew they had it. And a surprisingly large number of people have contracted the disease several times.

    My anecdotal experience is very similar. Old (in both senses, married couple in their eighties) friends have both recently caught Covid again, despite both being five-times vaccinated, following an outbreak in both hospitals she was/is being treated in.

  32. Alan Fox: My anecdotal experience is very similar. Old (in both senses, married couple in their eighties) friends have both recently caught Covid again, despite both being five-times vaccinated, following an outbreak in both hospitals she was/is being treated in.

    This reflects something I find very difficult to communicate. Human variation is such that there is no such thing as a 100% effective vaccine. Generally, vaccines boost resistance, almost entirely effective for most people, but tailing off in effectiveness to effectively zero at the end of the curve. So the people at the far end of the curve rely mostly on simple lack of exposure for their protection. It’s those people who tend to be over-represented in hospitals, which explains outbreaks in hospitals (and the higher than average incidence of cases among hospital workers). Reducing exposure, therefore, means vaccinating nearly everyone, not just those considered most susceptible.

    Hard to explain that contagious diseases are not just YOUR problem, they are a community problem. MY health is a function of YOUR health.

  33. I’m so old I remember when the claim was made that vaccinating 95 percent of a population would stop covid spread entirely.

    I believe a number of places achieved this rate. China and New Zealand came close.
    New Zealand has had about one death per thousand population, and USA about 3.5. I can’t think of any explanation other than the fact that NZ got people vaccinated before they were hit.

    Deaths have been pretty steady most of this year, and despite my goof, they are not higher than traffic deaths. The comparison is not to discount the continuing problem, but to argue there is a rate below which people are no longer willing to accept inconvenience in hopes of further reduction.
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/#graph-deaths-daily

  34. petrushka: I’m so old I remember when the claim was made that vaccinating 95 percent of a population would stop covid spread entirely.

    You mean you are at least five years old? Everybody here is.

    petrushka: Deaths have been pretty steady most of this year, and despite my goof, they are not higher than traffic deaths. The comparison is not to discount the continuing problem, but to argue there is a rate below which people are no longer willing to accept inconvenience in hopes of further reduction.

    Traffic deaths should not be as calmly accepted as they are. As for covid, the measures against it never posed too significant inconveniences when compared to the threat and they are not posing any inconveniences any longer. The only inconvenience from covid from now on is the sickness itself. The vaccination policy regarding it is now exactly the same as with flu. Do you have quibbles about flu policies?

  35. I wasn’t thinking about vaccines when I spoke of inconveniences.

    I was thinking about the lockdowns, quarantines, school and business closings, voluntary isolations.

    There is a difference between accepting risk and being happy about it. We drive and fly, even though there are risks. We could eliminate half of traffic deaths by prohibiting alcohol. We tried it. I doubt if there is any politically acceptable way to cut the current covid death rate in half.

  36. petrushka: I was thinking about the lockdowns, quarantines, school and business closings, voluntary isolations.

    I guessed that much. Why are you talking about things that are not happening? It is quite clear that in the background you have something else going on than the pandemic. You just can’t stop talking nonsense about it.

    petrushka: There is a difference between accepting risk and being happy about it. We drive and fly, even though there are risks.

    Yes, we drive and fly, but do we really accept the risks? Who would accept or be happy with the fact that going to work and getting back is more dangerous than a pandemic disease?

    petrushka: I doubt if there is any politically acceptable way to cut the current covid death rate in half.

    Whatever was done during the pandemic was apparently politically acceptable. A reminder to you: In your country, all of the inconveniences were first introduced during Trump. So from your point of view you cannot quibble about the overreach of illuminati liberal elite commie government. Trump did it.

    In Trump’s mind, even assaulting another branch of government in an attempt to steal elections (it was Trump who tried to steal elections, obviously) is politically acceptable 100%, so there must be something else that you have going on in the background. Instead of whether it is politically acceptable or not, you are more likely about whether it is your preferred guy doing it or some other guy.

  37. I have no preferred guy. All politicians are repulsive to me. Obviously they all say things that appeal to some people. But none of them actually solve problems.

    Government aspires to manage problems, not solve them.

    If we accepted, arguendo, that DC is a swamp of corruption, nothing Trump says or does cleans it up.

    Regarding covid policy, I have no recommendations. I observe that policies were mostly counterproductive, in that people hated them and rebelled against them. And people in the bluest states dumped them as soon as allowed.

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