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.

3,793 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. Joe Felsenstein,

    Why, when it’s so much easier for you to just set the record straight if you feel it’s not correct. But since you have already tried to equate the Palestinians unfair situation to the situation of Israelis as if they are equal in any way whatsoever, especially given that it is Israel that imposes this situation on Palestine, AND since you have suggested that criticism of the brutish government of Israel is because of their bizarre religious practices, it seems you have already shown your hand, so how am I wrong?

    Give your opinion of Israel’s apartheid now if you think it would clarify your position. Something stopping you?

  2. phoodoo: You have made other pro-Israel staements before-that’s why I brought your name up.

    Joe: Really? Could you point to an example?

    phoodoo: Why, when it’s so much easier for you to just set the record straight if you feel it’s not correct.

    phoodoo, and indeed ID, in a nutshell.

  3. It seems that supporting claims with evidence even when it’s a clam you are making about someone else is just not the done thing for phoodoo.

    I guess he has the same attitude when asking about the evidence that is supporting the imprisonment of people in concentration camps. He’s fine with it.

  4. phoodoo: so how am I wrong?

    You never are, and you never have been wrong. In many ways that’s the problem.

  5. Long time no see! Hope everyone is doing great.
    I have a question about the covid vaccines for the experts, if you don’t mind.
    It’s about how good they are at reducing the transmissibility of the virus. I thought it was pretty much a given that transmissibility would be a function of efficacy, but I read somewhere that’s not necessarily the case. I don’t understand, if 95% of vaccinated people develop antibodies, wouldn’t they carry a much lower viral load when infected, which in turn would make them far less prone to pass it on to others? How can a vaccine be 95% effective but not reduce transmissibility significantly?

    Thanks!

  6. dazz,

    Great question. It highlights the difference between what has been demonstrated and what is probably the case.
    A lot of news reports, Facebook posts, etc have stated that the vaccines (and here I’m thinking of the mRNA vaccines) do not reduce transmission, they only reduce the risk of moderate to severe COVID, hospitalization, and death [which, let’s face it, is not to be sniffed at].
    These statements are WRONG.
    We know that the vaccines reduce the risk of moderate to severe COVID, hospitalization, and death. About transmission, we don’t know, because the trials were not set up to test for that. And, if you think about it, it would be quite difficult to set up a trial to test the effect on transmission. The closest I can think of would be a set up like Serrana, Brazil. Vaccinate an entire town, but not the neighbouring city, and track the epidemiology. If the vaccine is 65% effective, and 75% are vaccinated, and you see the pandemic die out, then you must have affected transmission. One could design a trial to test the house-mates of infected patients, comparing infection rates as a function of the vaccination status of the index case, but there are some rather ugly confounding factors there…
    Sooo, long story short, the vaccine makers have demonstrated that their products reduce the risk of moderate to severe COVID, hospitalization, and death, by comparing the rates of those events in the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Effect on transmission, tough to prove; but, as you already figured out, it seems likely.

  7. DNA_Jock,

    Thanks Jock. I guess things like varying compliance of preventive rules, like social distancing, the use of face masks, and all that stuff are among those compounding factors that make it difficult to evaluate the effect of the vaccine itself. In most countries here in Europe the vaccination process has coincided with the end of the confinements and state of alarm in many countries. We’ve had a spike in infections lately largely because of that, and my anti-vax friends are arguing that shows vaccines can’t stop the virus from spreading. That sounds like nonsense to me.

    Someone mentioned on twitter a number of papers that seem to suggest that vaccines do indeed limit transmissibility by 70% – 94% depending on the study and the tested vaccine. I looked them up and here they are, in case someone has any insight:

    Effectiveness of BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine Against Infection and COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage in Healthcare Workers in England, Multicentre Prospective Cohort Study (the SIREN Study)

    Early rate reductions of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 in BNT162b2 vaccine recipients

    FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are effective per real-world evidence synthesized across a multi-state health system

    REAL-WORLD EVIDENCE CONFIRMS HIGH EFFECTIVENESS OF PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE AND PROFOUND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT OF VACCINATION ONE YEAR AFTER PANDEMIC DECLARED
    (PRESS RELEASE)

    BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting

    (Still need to add a few more)

  8. A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. [Mark Twain]
    Sadly, far more people read the “vaccines don’t affect transmission” story than will ever see (never mind understand) the actual follow-up.
    The epi is really simple: if, on average, each infected person infects 1.1 other people, pandemic ensues. If, on average, each infected person infects 0.9 other people, the disease will die out.
    R0 was somewhere in the 2 – 3 region — that’s rapid exponential growth.
    Masks and distancing can bring that down to 1.3 or so. Full-on lockdown gets R0 down to 0.66. Woot! Sadly, if you don’t achieve eradication, it’s coming back when you ease up.
    Good news about a vaccine: you can multiply the R0 by the proportion of people who are susceptible, to get Re. If half the population have been vaccinated with a 100% effective vaccine, then that masks and distancing crap can get the Re below 1 (1.3 x 0.5 = 0.65). Same story if everyone has been vaccinated with a 50% effective vaccine. Note the insanely sensitive interplay between the proportion vaccinated and the R0.
    Novel variants are about 85% MORE transmissible than the original virus, meaning we need higher vaccination rates, and (long term) everyone should get the most effective vaccine they can.
    The doomsday scenario is a variant that evades vaccine immunity; then we are back to square one.

  9. DNA_Jock,

    Yes, yes, yes. These anti-vax retards don’t understand new variants come with a higher R0 and more resistance to vaccines.

    So the difference between having a 60% of people vaccinated and a 80% is dramatic, right? I mean, to them it’s just a 20%, but that’s also twice as many people vaccinated than not vaccinated.

    And going from 60 to 80% of vaccinated people would imply halving R0 no less! Right?

  10. Too bad there isn’t a thread on vaccinations, were I could continue my childish rant.

    This doesn’t look like a good time to predict the future of covid. The good news is that vaccinated people don’t seem to be dying of covid. The bad news is there are a lot of unvaccinated people.

    There’s a brouhaha about an unpublished Indian paper on breakthrough people being able to transmit the disease. That wouldn’t be surprising to me. It would surprise me if vaccinated people who aren’t sick are transmitting. The study did not include Pfizer or Moderna.

    Since I started posting on the subject, the cumulative percentage of vaccinations in Chile have changed from 9 percent Pfizer to 23 percent Pfizer, and average daily deaths have dropped from about 120 to 80. For a couple months prior, the death rate was plateaued.

    In the last six weeks, deaths in Brazil have dropped 65 percent. The drop in India is even greater. Neither country has a high vaccination percentage.

  11. petrushka: Too bad there isn’t a thread on vaccinations, were I could continue my childish rant.

    You’re welcome to start one.

  12. Early on there was a theory that some people had cross immunity, and this protected them and made their cases milder. This hasn’t held up to scrutiny.

    What seems to be the case is that some people simply have immune systems that panic and nuke everything in sight when confronted by covid. There’s speculation that people who have been exposed to lots of viruses are less likely to have a severe reaction.

    Not prior immunity, or cross immunity, but an immune system prepped to deal “rationally” with new viruses. There’s a paper published in India that argues India is full of people who have been continually exposed to “pathogens” and are prepped not to panic at new ones.

    Which is put forward to explain why the death rate dropped before they had many people vaccinated.

  13. petrushka: We already have one, but no one posts to it.

    Sorry I missed it, haven’t been around here for a while. Has ID produced anything substantial already? 😂

  14. Not since I’ve been following the debate, about 1970.

    I got tired of spectating. It’s really repetitious.

  15. If I had something really newsworthy I’d start a new topic.

    All we have right now is speculation and generalized dread.

    I’m a little pissed. We have possibly the best vaccines ever, and we should be celebrating.

    Among the things I’m pissed about is the worst sales job ever.

    Equivalent to, “Buy our new car. If you don’t, you’re stupid and evil. By the way, if you do buy it, you still have to drive the old one until everyone buys one.”

    That’s the perception.

  16. Well done, Brexiteers. Kick out all those nasty immigrants, now you have no truck drivers and no petrol in the stations.

  17. dazz:
    Well done, Brexiteers. Kick out all those nasty immigrants, now you have no truck drivers and no petrol in the stations.

    Similar things happening in the US, where crops rot in the fields for lack of pickers. While Trumpies absolutely love the “brown people go home” policies, a great many employers (yes, even truckers) LOVE the illegal immigrants – they don’t have to pay minimum wage, they don’t have the hassle of payroll taxes, and they can fire without cause at any time. Heaven on earth!

  18. Joe Felsenstein:
    The most important thing is to get all those foreigners out of the United Nations …

    I remember Birmingham’s failed bid to host the Olympics in the 1980’s. There was a vox pop on the radio, and a taxi driver opined “They [the IOC] would vote against us wouldn’t they? They’re all foreigners!”.

  19. dazz:
    Well done, Brexiteers. Kick out all those nasty immigrants, now you have no truck drivers and no petrol in the stations.

    To be fair, a chunk of the problem is not due to Brexit – Remainers are overstating the case there. But a significant chunk is, and Brexiters are fingers-in-the-ears about that, looking to blame anything but. It’s a problem I often lament: black-and-white thinking.

    The Brexiters are all-out blaming the BBC (which they hate) and their fellow countrymen (who they also seem to hate, so much for national pride!) for, respectively, scaremongering and brainwashed idiocy. But I can’t see how the media created this crisis. They reported a shortage of drivers for one company, BP (true). People started queing for petrol, which was also reported (true). But to me, the most incendiary thing was the Brexiters themselves. Social media was inundated with posts from them saying LOOKATALLTHESEMORONS THERESNOCRISIS ITSTHEMEDJA. It’s not quite the Streisand effect, but not far off. No crisis, you say? Crikey, better fill up all the same. There’s no shortage, you just can’t get any.

  20. Allan Miller,

    I know, there’s a shortage of drivers in the rest of Europe as well for all I know, but the Brexit has made it a lot worse there. Correct me if I’m wrong. There’s almost never a single explanation for anything

  21. dazz,

    Yes, Brexit has turned a drama into a crisis in many ways. And the Brexiters are in terminal denial about it. First Johnson says it’s nothing to do with Brexit. Then offers visas to foreign drivers to come over here to help out (temporarily). That’s the most to-do-with-Brexit response one could imagine! Just 27 applied, because they can get jobs nearer home without jumping through hoops for a bunch of ingrates. And now the problems are ‘a necessary transition’. The necessity of this painful transition was never mentioned in 2016 – in fact they coined a term, Project Fear, to dismiss all concerns.

    I’d laugh if I wasn’t strapped to the bus being driven by these clueless loons!

  22. Just finished reading Jonathan Coe’s Middle England. Made Brexit sound like history – and somehow inevitable. I’m not suggesting it to the general reader, only if you grew up around Birmingham and you’ve already read The Rotters Club. Had me googling Shirley Collins and Belgrano.

  23. Alan Fox,

    The Rotters’ Club is also an excellent album by jazz-rock band Hatfield and the North, named after a road sign but also a euphonious depiction of a certain London-centricity!

    I saw a quote online yesterday that had me searching for its author – Hannah Arendt. She wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, and is an absolute goldmine of resonant prose. My favourite, so applicable to Brexit: “There is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits.”.

    The Tories are busily ensuring that no-one else can get elected. Brazen lies over promises made in 2016, ‘stealing’ policy from Labour, gerrymandering, introducing voter ID, installing rightwing figures in the media – including the truly brassnecked act of dissolving the appointment committee when their pick for head of the media regulator was rejected. Now picking fights with France and the broader EU over our breaking of agreements that we signed. We are fast becoming a rogue state, with the full-throated support of supposed patriots, who cannot see our exit from the EU in anything but a golden light, any adverse consequences therefore being the EU’s fault. I hope I’m being hyperbolic, but things are worrying.

  24. Allan Miller: The Rotters’ Club is also an excellent album by jazz-rock band Hatfield and the North, named after a road sign but also a euphonious depiction of a certain London-centricity!

    In the book, the group are depicted as a strong musical influence on the main character, Ben, via “the hairy guy” but I didn’t know that’s where Coe got his title. Canterbury scene passed me by.

  25. Allan Miller: The Tories are busily ensuring that no-one else can get elected.

    Seems so. And they’re far from unique. Trump, Bolsonaro, Putin and a long list of others. Totalitarianism is the new experiment in democracy.

  26. Alan Fox,

    Ah yes, got one of theirs too. Not so keen though. Rotters’ Club, especially side 2, one of my favourite albums.

  27. Alan Fox: Seems so. And they’re far from unique. Trump, Bolsonaro, Putin and a long list of others. Totalitarianism is the new experiment in democracy.

    Scary times we live in. And where the U.S. economy seems to be heading, that may pave Trump’s way back to the White House. *Shudders*

  28. dazz: Scary times we live in.

    I’m seventy-one, you know!

    I live in perpetual shame and embarrassment that it is my generation that realised there was a problem and we did fuck-all about it and our kids and grand-kids have to inherit the mess we left them.

  29. dazz: And where the U.S. economy seems to be heading, that may pave Trump’s way back to the White House.

    C’est pas possible !

  30. Allan Miller: he Rotters’ Club is also an excellent album by jazz-rock band Hatfield and the North

    Playing now on Spotify. Review to follow.

  31. Alan Fox: I live in perpetual shame and embarrassment that it is my generation that realised there was a problem and we did fuck-all about it and our kids and grand-kids have to inherit the mess we left them.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. I am of a similar generation (8 years older than you). In the ’60s and ’70s that generation had a wave of activism on issues like civil rights and imperialist wars. That era was the big upsurge of the environmental movement too. The fact that they did not succeed in important cases owed to the entrenched interests that pushed back, not some generational defect. Young folks who blame problems on “boomers” may be ignorant to how many people among those boomers spent lots of time on those causes. It may not have even been a majority of that generation, but multiple movements sprung up (the black movement, the womens’ movement, the Chicano movement, Native American movements, Asian-American movements, the gay/lesbian movement, disability activism, and many more). That was all done by the much-reviled “boomers”. There are wonderfully many activists now, but if they ignore the history of these movements and blame problems on some mysterious generational failure, they will fail to learn from their own history.

  32. Joe Felsenstein,

    Well, I guess we (people of our generation) can take credit for popularizing protest (though Gandhi deserves a mention) though I remember sit-ins being fun rather than angst-ridden. But the idealism didn’t stick. Political power without accountability, corporate power without responsibility: we enabled it by acquiescence.

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