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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

MLB, union stopped blood testing for HGH due to pandemic

Major League Baseball and the players’ association stopped blood testing for Human Growth Hormone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Blood testing for HGH began in 2012, and 412 samples with no positive results were collected in the year ending with the 2020 World Series. MLB and the union never publicly announced the stoppage in blood testing but its absence was revealed Monday when Thomas M. Martin, the independent administrator of the joint drug program, released his annual report.

The decision to interrupt blood testing during the pandemic was made because drawing blood is more invasive than urine testing and requires additional collectors who would have increased the number of people coming into contact with players and decreased social distancing. MLB and the union plan to resume blood testing next season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 12:35 PM | 492 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hgh, peds

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   1. JRVJ Posted: November 30, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6055361)
Don't really know anything about HGH testing, but in 2020, private labs were rather busy with testing due to the Covid epidemic (plus the world had a shortage of a ton of reactives and other supplies due to massive worldwide COVID testing).

In that context, I don't see the problem with not testing for HGH.

(AND YES, I REALIZE THAT THERE MAY BE PRIVATE LABS WHICH COULD DO HGH TESTING THAT WERE NOT DOING COVID TESTING, ETC., ETC., BUT STILL, REASONABLE PEOPLE WOULD RATHER THAT THOSE RESOURCES BE USED TO DEAL WITH THE TESTING REQUIREMENTS OF THE PANDEMIC).
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 30, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6055379)
The old covid thread is dead. This is the new covid thread.
   3. DanG Posted: November 30, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6055405)
This is the new covid thread.
AKA, the "omicron variant".
   4. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 30, 2021 at 05:45 PM (#6055425)
The Covid thread never dies, it just mutates :-I
   5. Sleepy was just looking for porta potties Posted: November 30, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6055428)
I believe it’s now “omnicron”.

https://nypost.com/2021/11/29/biden-fauci-repeatedly-mispronounce-new-omicron-covid-variant/amp/
   6. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 30, 2021 at 05:56 PM (#6055432)
I’d be a whole lot happier if “omnicron” was just a thread where we discussed Chris Cron, CJ Cron, & Jake Cronenworth instead of what omnicron actually is…
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:17 PM (#6055452)
And Joe Cronin.
   8. Jack Sommers Posted: December 01, 2021 at 02:51 AM (#6055498)
This thread has started out so promising. I wonder if it will stay that way.
   9. Ron J Posted: December 01, 2021 at 06:17 AM (#6055503)
Wanted to keep the Covid stuff out of the Toronto signings thread.

Proof of vaccination now required in Canada if you want to fly or use a train. A clean PCR is no longer an acceptable substitute.

No idea how this will affect cross border sports.
   10. sanny manguillen Posted: December 01, 2021 at 08:01 AM (#6055505)
Has it ever been proposed to sell the excess pee? There must be quite a bit, and I think some people would buy it.
   11. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 01, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6055577)
I believe it’s now “omnicron”.

Isn't that the evil corporation in the RoboCop movies?
   12. Tony S Posted: December 02, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6055839)
Michigan's latest wave starts to impact non-COVID patients.

It's being reported that more than 80% of inpatient hospital beds as well as 84% of all intensive care unit beds across the state are full. West Michigan has been hit particularly hard and some hospitals are starting to even turn patients away.


Remember, anti-vaxxers are just Deeply Misunderstood, and their choices don't affect anyone else anyway.
   13. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#6055853)
Nobel laureate has been confidently predicting that most European countries had reached the peak of their winter waves (by reported cases). And, has been doing similar charts for a year now making all kinds of confident predictions that each wave was about to end on its own and all mitigation efforts were wasted/counterproductive. Turns out all this time he had been using a "centered average" to figure the case load, with future days being set to zero cases since they haven't been reported yet. Making this one fix sends the predicted case peak weeks into the future using even his method, and predicts max cases much higher than current. In other words, every prediction he has made for the last year, and every policy prescription, has been completely bunk. It's hilariously stupid.

You can see the new predictions for Europe here, where the old predictions had almost all countries peaking right around now. By the way, predicting peaks now is very bold and counterintuitive, considering the meat of winter won't hit for a few weeks more, so it's not like this was an easy mistake to make.
   14. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:35 PM (#6055855)
Regarding omicron, one reason people are so worried is that South Africa was supposed to be near herd immunity just on cases alone. By the economist's estimate, they have had .38% excess deaths. Since they are very young as a nation, that's about the equivalent (very, very roughly) of 1.1% on a US age curve, maybe higher. That means you would have expected 80% or more of the country to have had the virus by now, among the highest in the world probably. A new dramatic rise in infections must be primarily among people that have had the virus before or been vaccinated. There aren't enough people otherwise.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:47 PM (#6055861)
Regarding omicron, one reason people are so worried is that South Africa was supposed to be near herd immunity just on cases alone. By the economist's estimate, they have had .38% excess deaths. Since they are very young as a nation, that's about the equivalent (very, very roughly) of 1.1% on a US age curve, maybe higher. That means you would have expected 80% or more of the country to have had the virus by now, among the highest in the world probably. A new dramatic rise in infections must be primarily among people that have had the virus before or been vaccinated. There aren't enough people otherwise.

Alternatively, maybe the Economist's excess death numbers are off, or South Africa's health care system is worse than ours, and thus you'd expect the fatality rate to be higher there. Or all of the above. Each one of those estimates/calculations is subject to various sources of error, and when you compound them, maybe "80%" is really more like "50-90%".
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 02, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6055870)
You can see the new predictions for Europe here, where the old predictions had almost all countries peaking right around now. By the way, predicting peaks now is very bold and counterintuitive, considering the meat of winter won't hit for a few weeks more, so it's not like this was an easy mistake to make.

I can't remember what organization it was that predicted a couple of months ago that cases in the US were just going to keep declining through March...
   17. Ron J Posted: December 02, 2021 at 02:17 PM (#6055889)
Merkel musing that Germany might make vaccination mandatory.
   18. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 02, 2021 at 05:58 PM (#6055948)
Supposedly a revised vaccine can be out by March. If that's the case, and a new vaccine is much more effective than what we have right now, slowing the early spread of the variant is critical to allow time for people to be vaccinated before it is massively spreading. There are a lot of ways to try to do that, but one very obvious way is to reduce travel from hotspots. (Other obvious ways are more politically difficult here, but they should also be implemented now, and many nations are doing exactly that.)

The fact that the virus is "already here" is not the only factor. It takes time to spread, and the more sources it has the more quickly it spreads. This thread from Trevor Bedford estimates that we are maybe 8 weeks from being where South Africa is now. Delaying the spread here such that we don't have massive community infection for another few weeks could save 10s of thousands of lives, and potentially much more than that. We really don't know yet.
   19. Tony S Posted: December 02, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6055951)
(Other obvious ways are more politically difficult here, but they should also be implemented now, and many nations are doing exactly that.)


So, we're not going to be containing the spread, then.

The American battle cry, to paraphrase Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction: "I will not be inconvenienced!"
   20. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 02, 2021 at 06:40 PM (#6055953)
5 known cases now in New York, 3 in NYC. There probably are hundreds here in NYC already, maybe more.

I have 3 company holiday parties on three straight days, in 2 weeks, just days before I'm scheduled to fly to my elderly parents' house for the holidays. I think I will likely skip the parties.
   21. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 02, 2021 at 08:14 PM (#6055970)
Prior Infection Is Little Defense Against Virus Variant, Scientists Say (NYT):

Scientists in South Africa have reported a sudden, sharp rise in November in coronavirus cases among people in that country who had already been infected, in a study that has not yet been reviewed and published by a scientific journal. The authors noted that there was no such upswing when the Beta and Delta variants emerged.

They did not say how many of those reinfections could be attributed to Omicron, but South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported on Wednesday that when it conducted a genetic analysis on a sampling of coronavirus-positive test results from November, almost three-quarters were the new variant.

“Population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection,” the authors of the unpublished study wrote.


“We believe that previous infection does not provide them protection from infection due to Omicron,” said Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist at the communicable disease institute.


Still no real word yet as to how much protection existing vaccines give against infection and against serious disease, and if omicron on its own is more or less deadly than delta, once you catch it.
   22. Ron J Posted: December 02, 2021 at 08:40 PM (#6055974)
#20 Evidently the NY cases were traced back to an anime convention.

EDIT: Also, Norway reports 50+ omicron COVID-19 cases linked to company Christmas party
   23. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 03, 2021 at 04:31 AM (#6056003)
Merkel musing that Germany might make vaccination mandatory.


Germany's dealing with a major geographical split at the moment - the current surge is highly weighted towards the south and east, with Saxony being a particular hotbed. Merkel is also on her way out, after (I think) 16 long years as Chancellor. As an East German herself, I'm sort of hoping that she's able to work on eroding vaccine hesitancy over there once she's out of the partisan game.

She's also leaving her successor, from a competing political party, to have to actually implement any future mandate. That's probably canny. Booster jabs are not yet being widely rolled out for the under-60s yet, but hopefully that day is coming soon.
   24. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 03, 2021 at 06:45 AM (#6056004)
no. 18: auntbea: can you quote the passage where he says 8 weeks till us is like SA? I cant seem to find that in there.
   25. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 03, 2021 at 06:50 AM (#6056005)
no 13: can you give us the name of the Nobel Laureate or that is a secret?
   26. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 03, 2021 at 08:51 AM (#6056008)
I guess my link to Trevor Bedford's twitter page was broken:
As a broad analogy if it took ~8 weeks for Omicron to grow from initial spark into local epidemic in South Africa, I would expect very roughly 8 weeks from today for secondary epidemics to begin to manifest


The nobel laureate covid kook is Michael Levitt.
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 03, 2021 at 08:33 PM (#6056089)
bump to keep this thread on the front page...thanks auntbea
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 03, 2021 at 11:27 PM (#6056103)
Prior Infection Is Little Defense Against Virus Variant, Scientists Say (NYT):

That is depressing news. If Omnicron means starting over.... that sucks.

I've seen some early claims that vaccinations seem to provide some protection against Omnicron. I hope that is true.
   29. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 04, 2021 at 06:56 AM (#6056114)
Is it? If omicron is less fatal than previous covid forms, and if omicron takes over, then that might be a good thing. Or am I missing something?
   30. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 04, 2021 at 07:27 AM (#6056115)
There is no reliable evidence yet that Omicron is less lethal. And if it's going to infect a large portion of the world and the US, it would have to be much less lethal for it to be a good thing.
   31. Tony S Posted: December 04, 2021 at 07:57 AM (#6056116)
That is depressing news. If Omnicron means starting over.... that sucks.


It's not *good* news, but the technology and infrastructure are now there to update and distribute the vaccines relatively quickly, so at least we won't be back to March 2020, even as a worst-case scenario.

Problem is that there is next to no appetite for mitigation measures, so controlling the spread until an omicron-specific vaccine is available is pretty much a non-starter.
   32. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 04, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6056151)
that's a good pt from Tony. Here in MD we're mostly still wearing masks. I was in Baltimore and there was a significant minority at Home Depot who were not and no one was even bothering.

In VA I dont think they have mask restrictions. In upstate NY I dont see many people wearing them. I havent been to CT in a few weeks but I was under the impression it was maybe 50 50.
   33. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 06, 2021 at 09:24 AM (#6056359)
The latest speculation is that omicron is not inherently more mild, but that previous infection and/or vaccination reduces the severity of symptoms significantly. That would be more or less consistent with what we are seeing with delta. Still too early to know for sure.
   34. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 06, 2021 at 11:06 AM (#6056368)
Following up on the last point, in the latest delta winter wave now hitting europe cases are rising fast but deaths much, much slower. Overall the world has seen a 50% increase in reported cases over the last weeks, but reported deaths have remained flat. It's likely mostly the result of a large percentage of new cases coming in heavily vaccinated countries. A lot of countries in western Europe are now breaking daily records for cases with deaths staying significantly lower than they were before.

Too early to celebrate about Omicron though as milder than delta. There are a myriad of articles saying no hospitalizations and deaths from Omicron, but someone is in the hospital in Gauteng, and not all the cases can be very mild. Hospital admissions have risen from 144 to 1702 in 3 weeks, more than doubling each week for 3 straight weeks. Too early to say if deaths are rising, but you'll notice they almost doubled in Gauteng in the last week after being very low for 4 straight weeks. Could be noise, or could be to more testing, but f they double again this week that will be a pretty bad sign.
   35. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 06, 2021 at 11:45 AM (#6056375)
Speaking of, the UK has yet again matched it's max 7-day average of covid cases for the delta wave.
   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6056386)
EDIT: wrong thread
   37. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 06, 2021 at 01:45 PM (#6056399)
And again speaking of the UK, depending on any pre-existing opinion one has of Dominic Cummings (Boris Johnson's Steve Bannon, one could argue), he's been repeatedly promoting this US-based rolling analysis of Omicron.

TL; DR: He thinks Omicron spreads much faster than Delta, probably isn't more deadly and may or may not be less deadly, is much more likely to reinfect/breakthrough than Delta (meaning that cases on average will be less dangerous because reinfections/breakthroughs should on average be less deadly than initial infections, and Omicron will have many more of those than Delta).

He also thinks Q1 2022 may be a bad time to need to visit a hospital in many countries, given where we are now and the material number of vaccine refusal cases in many Western countries. (I'd also note flu season on top of that). There's just only so much capacity of hospitals and, more critically, staff to manage a surge in need in most countries, even if survival rates would ordinarily be high.

And, yet again, we'll know a lot more in the next week. But he's saying that based on what we know now, there's going to be a very large number of Omicron cases before a targeted vaccine becomes available, because it just spreads that fast.
   38. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 07, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6056501)
'Stealth' Omicron variant detected

An odd one - a variant of Covid, which looks a lot like Omicron, and is detected as Covid by PCR tests, but lacks the feature used to identify the infection specifically as Omicron. Meaning that presumably it would get recorded as Delta in most tests.

Lends credence to the idea that Omicron is probably well into community spread in many regions. Possibly good news if hospitalisation rates are not skyrocketing in countries where vaccination and previous infections are high? It would hint that, even if Omicron-family variants spread quickly and reinfect/breakthrough vaccinations, they may not endanger health in the same way when they do.

An expert might be able to comment on whether an Omicron variant which isn't detectable in the same way actually needs a new designation.
   39. Tony S Posted: December 08, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6056608)
Study that suggests we're going to need an Omicron-specific vaccine.

Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Omicron variant can partially evade protection from two doses of Pfizer (PFE.N) and partner BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, the research head of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa said on Tuesday.

But the study showed that blood from people who had received two doses of the vaccine and had a prior infection was mostly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help to fend off infection.


There's still a lot we don't know, but "get the booster" is the best action anyone can take right now.
   40. Tony S Posted: December 08, 2021 at 09:55 AM (#6056610)

The Maryland Health Department was hacked the other day, and we haven't been able to get statewide Covid updates since Sunday.

No word on who was behind the hack.
   41. RJ in TO Posted: December 08, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6056617)
For that study, it should be noted it's both unpublished at the moment, and apparently based on a sample size of 12.
   42. Ron J Posted: December 08, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6056644)
#41 So confidence interval of "get serious". Thanks for the clarification.
   43. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: December 08, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6056720)
that's a good pt from Tony. Here in MD we're mostly still wearing masks. I was in Baltimore and there was a significant minority at Home Depot who were not and no one was even bothering.

this gets to how communities have their own subcommunities/cultures, no?
i'm in the western part of cary nc, in an intensely upper middle class zipcode*, itself part of a relatively well-to-do suburb. anyway, if i go to the grocery store - pretty much everyone will be wearing masks, though the town dropped its mandate a few weeks back. but when i went to the hardware store on the other side of town, the mask wearers were pretty much me and the employees. same city, but totally different behaviors.


* highest median income zip in the state but nowhere near the highest mean income - lots of people with grad degrees and professional/managerial careers, additionally it's about one-third asian (largely south asian).
also - remember when we discussed more anodyne stuff like how zipcodes weren't geographic areas and whatnot? good times.
   44. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: December 08, 2021 at 05:30 PM (#6056727)
No proof it's the Omicron strain yet, but both Tottenham and Leicester in the EPL have had serious outbreaks crop up in the last two days.


Tottenham have been forced to call off their Europa Conference League tie at home against Rennes on Thursday night after an alarming rise in Covid cases at the club as English football confronted an escalating crisis.

Spurs also confirmed they had closed the first-team area of their training centre in Enfield, hours after Leicester reported that seven of their players had not travelled to their Europa League game at Napoli because of coronavirus or illness. Three members of staff did not make the trip either because of illness.

Tottenham said: “Discussions are ongoing with Uefa and we shall provide a further update on this fixture in due course.” Their manager, Antonio Conte, had earlier admitted he was “scared” as he revealed eight players and five coaches had tested positive for the virus. Spurs are now likely to ask the Premier League to postpone their match at Brighton on Sunday, and the visit to Leicester next Thursday is also set to be affected.


   45. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 09, 2021 at 04:51 AM (#6056759)
Some evidence from South Africa that the Omicron wave isn't particularly leading to a surge in hospitalisations - there are possible explanations for this that include the age profile of those testing positive, but also could point towards Omicron genuinely being less dangerous, but more transmissible than Delta. Most stores here in Germany are moving to '2G' (proof of vaccination or proof of recovery). Surprisingly, this seems to apply to public transport as well, though not grocery stores, doctors' offices, etc.

England has re-implemented mask mandates, work-from-home instructions, and some vaccine passport measures for large events, after a few months of slapping themselves on the back for not having them while Scotland and Wales maintained them. The timing is unhealthy: coming in the middle of a scandal where repeated parties in December 2020 by senior government and Conservative party individuals are coming to light while lockdown was in place. Resulting in both a political squeeze on the government from its own backbenchers, and a strong whiff of hypocrisy detected by the wider public.

Oh! And I read a fun theory on the ivermectin silliness; while most of the studies showing positive effects turn out to be incoherent, fraudulent, or both, a mild positive effect in some countries does have a plausible explanation: ivermectin actually does help deworm humans, and a human no longer suffering from undiagnosed parasitic worms will be more likely to recover from Covid than one who keeps them along for the ride.
   46. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 09, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6056763)
Some evidence from South Africa that the Omicron wave isn't particularly leading to a surge in hospitalisations - there are possible explanations for this that include the age profile of those testing positive, but also could point towards Omicron genuinely being less dangerous, but more transmissible than Delta.
Definitely there is surge of hospitalizations, but there is not a surge of very serious cases in the hospital, at least not yet.

Two huge reasons why it's way too early to tell if Omicron is less virulent "in the wild". One is the age profile in South Africa of current cases and hospitalizations, which skew much younger than delta (and it's not particularly close), and the second is prior infection and vaccination, from which the South African population has way more coverage than they did in the early days of delta.

It's very likely now that this omicron wave is going to be less devastating to South Africa than the recent delta wave, but that doesn't tell us much about which is more virulent absent vaccination or prior infection (or recent vaccination or recent prior infection).
   47. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 09, 2021 at 08:22 AM (#6056764)
You can see the surge of hospital admissions here, especially if you click on Gauteng (went up 15x in 3 weeks in Gauteng, and is now where it was when South Africa was still being heavily hit by delta.

The number of people in ICU and ventilated have more than doubled in the last week in Guateng, though are still at a low number in comparison to the delta wave. (Deaths too have more than doubled in Gauteng, so when you hear the statement that "no one has died from omicron" you can be virtually positive that it's wrong.)
   48. Tony S Posted: December 09, 2021 at 08:56 AM (#6056765)
A sobering, but not altogether doomsdayish, article on Omicron.


A tiny percent of a huge number is still a big number. A largely mild but uncontrolled Omicron wave could cause a lot of pain, hospitalizations, and death across a country.

The ultimate impact of Omicron will depend on how tiny that tiny percent is and how huge that huge number is.
   49. Hombre Brotani Posted: December 09, 2021 at 08:57 PM (#6056852)
My wife's cousin passed away yesterday, having suffered a massive stroke after a month-long bout with covid. He was unvaccinated. He was a great believer in Q and covid conspiracy theories, and spent much of the last few years posting about it and jabbing at relatives who didn't agree with him. He leaves behind a wife and 11-year-old daughter, a pile of debt, and no life insurance.

I don't know him. He and I have never met. My wife's side of the family on my coast is debating whether or not to fly cross country from California to Virginia for his funeral, which would effectively blow up our Christmas plans. I wonder how many thousands of times families across the country have had to deal with this stupid, stupid, stupid bullsh!t, and how many more times this will have to happen.
   50. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 09, 2021 at 09:30 PM (#6056855)
the study showed that blood from people who had received two doses of the vaccine and had a prior infection was mostly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help to fend off infection.


Can you explain the logic here? Because I've seen this repeated in any number of stories and I dont see how that's so obvious: two vaccines: no good; two + infection: good; therefore booster = good.

How do this reasoning work?
   51. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 09, 2021 at 09:45 PM (#6056856)
Sorry to hear that Hombre. This is all so frustrating.
   52. smileyy Posted: December 09, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6056861)
and no life insurance


This get me every time. And reminds me that I'm currently underinsured for what my family would need.
   53. smileyy Posted: December 09, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6056862)
[50] My guess is that they believe that 3 exposures is the optimal amount of immune stimulation needed.
   54. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 10, 2021 at 01:02 AM (#6056873)
The economist has estimated 228,000 excess deaths for South Africa through last week (0.38%). That's very high for their young population, and implies one of the countries with the very most people infected. The South African government has its own estimates, and they are even significantly higher, at over 275,000 now (0.46%). Age-adjusted that's as high, or higher than any country in the world.
   55. catomi01 Posted: December 10, 2021 at 06:30 AM (#6056875)
[50] My guess is that they believe that 3 exposures is the optimal amount of probably/hopefully enough immune stimulation needed.


Its early enough in the analysis that it seems like most of the analysis is either extrapolation from small sample sizes (about to change) or out-right guesses...pretty much the thought process seems to be more exposures = better than fewer.
   56. Tony S Posted: December 10, 2021 at 08:39 AM (#6056877)
Sorry about your family's loss, Hombre. When we, collectively, realize that the enemy is the virus, and not the vaccines or mitigation measures, there will be less stupid BS to deal with.

It's going from bad to worse in Michigan.

Medical experts warn that the 44% of people in Michigan who remain unvaccinated are putting not only themselves at risk, but increasingly, their entire community.


At Oaklawn Hospital, a small community hospital in Marshall, chief medical officer Dr. J. Summer Liston-Crandall said several patients have arrived after heart attacks, only to have to wait days, or even weeks to be transferred to another hospital that can perform a cardiac catheterization. Patients with brain bleeds have been sent home from the emergency department to recuperate, rather than being transferred to a larger hospital with neurosurgeons on staff who can evaluate the patients. And other patients have arrived at the hospital’s emergency department only to be given counseling on end-of-life care and a referral to hospice, without the patients ever being admitted to the hospital.


Antivaxxers and their enablers have a large share of responsibility for a lot of unnecessary deaths. When are we going to stop coddling them?
   57. Delorians Posted: December 10, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6056893)
I was told in response to a comment on another thread yesterday that this is the default OTP thread.

I used to lurk and occasionally comment from 2014-2016 when there was a weekly OTP thread.

This is my first time back visiting the BTF site in almost 5 years.

Did BTF at some point in the last 5 years decide not to have a (non-Covid) OTP thread? Or did the desire to talk politics here just gradually die out on its own?

Just curious (as someone who was here, then not, but now popping back in) how this issue evolved over the last 5 years, especially with how tumultuous those 5 years have been politically.
   58. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 10, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6056896)
I think the OTP thread moved to Discord (whatever the hell that is). I think a variety of things went into it but that's the place to go for it. I think someone linked to it in the other thread.
   59. Ron J Posted: December 10, 2021 at 01:44 PM (#6056899)
Yeah there's a Discord expat group. Main channel with sub-channels for frequent topics of discussion.
   60. Tony S Posted: December 10, 2021 at 01:56 PM (#6056901)
Even Missouri deserves better than this.

The local health department of a rural southern Missouri county is halting its COVID-19 response efforts after Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote agencies this week demanding they drop mitigation measures.


It will no longer investigate COVID cases, contact-trace, issue directives for exposed residents to quarantine themselves or make public announcements of case numbers and deaths.


If you ignore Covid, it will go away!

We have some real cretinous brutes in positions of power in this country.

   61. Delorians Posted: December 10, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6056904)
I think the OTP thread moved to Discord ... I think someone linked to it in the other thread.

Thank you, but the link in the other thread was to this page, not Discord. Does anyone have the link to the specific page (Group? Thread? Place?) on Discord this discussion migrated to? If someone provides that, I promise this will be my last question here on this.
   62. smileyy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6056907)
[55] that's definitely a better way to put that.
   63. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6056916)
The OTP threads died because the site owner didn't agree with them existing on a baseball site. The rancor and discord of the political climate in the past few years certainly contributed to their demise. The main OTP denizens fled to Discord.

   64. smileyy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 03:44 PM (#6056919)
And, IMO, the site is better for it.
   65. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6056920)
When are we going to stop coddling them?

We're not coddling them, they're in power, as you post in #60.

   66. Delorians Posted: December 10, 2021 at 04:05 PM (#6056922)
The OTP threads died because the site owner didn't agree with them existing on a baseball site. The rancor and discord of the political climate in the past few years certainly contributed to their demise. The main OTP denizens fled to Discord.

Thank you for the explanation.

And, IMO, the site is better for it.

I can see how that would be the case for those not interested in participating in such discussion.
   67. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: December 10, 2021 at 04:08 PM (#6056923)
@Delorians
Try this.
Will work for an hour.
   68. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 10, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6056926)
If it works for more than four hours, contact your doctor.
   69. McCoy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6056927)
The site is so much better it's dead!
   70. smileyy Posted: December 10, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6056936)
NGL I'm just here for basketball and Covid
   71. base ball chick Posted: December 10, 2021 at 10:08 PM (#6056959)
Hombre Brotani Posted: December 09, 2021 at 08:57 PM (#6056852)

My wife's cousin passed away yesterday, having suffered a massive stroke after a month-long bout with covid. He was unvaccinated. He was a great believer in Q and covid conspiracy theories, and spent much of the last few years posting about it and jabbing at relatives who didn't agree with him. He leaves behind a wife and 11-year-old daughter, a pile of debt, and no life insurance.

I don't know him. He and I have never met. My wife's side of the family on my coast is debating whether or not to fly cross country from California to Virginia for his funeral, which would effectively blow up our Christmas plans. I wonder how many thousands of times families across the country have had to deal with this stupid, stupid, stupid bullsh!t, and how many more times this will have to happen.


dude
i am SO sorry.
i hope your wife decides she doesn't think destroying yalls holiday over someone like him is worth it.

- theres thousands and thousands more just like him - think they're immune to everything and they know everything and why think about the real future if something happens. same ones who clog up the hospitals and insist they don't really have covid or some bullspit

i am always surprised how many people refuse to get life insurance for their supposedly loved ones. the excuse i hear is always the same - i'm not gonna die so there's nothing to worry about

   72. Tony S Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6057067)
[Nah, not in the mood to start a war.]
   73. Tony S Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6057070)
Just passing this along.

No excerpts. No editorializing.

   74. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6057155)
It was surely inevitable, but in case anyone was watching for this milestone, Johnson confirmed earlier today that there's been at least one Omicron-diagnosed death to this point. Of course, there have probably been many already in the real world, but just in case anyone out there has unrealistic expectations of Omicron being so much milder than Delta as to be 'just a cold', now would be a good time to quietly back away from that one.
   75. RJ in TO Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6057162)
My understanding, at least based on the limited information available to date, is that it looks like Omicron is much milder than Delta, but much milder in the sense that it's more like "Original" COVID, except with the added bonus of being significantly more contagious. So we're likely to end up with a lower death rate per case, but significantly more cases, which still gives us an excellent chance of seeing the health care system collapse under the burden.

Anyway, I've got my booster booked, and am greatly looking forward to feeling like garbage the day after getting it, as with the last two shots.
   76. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:05 AM (#6057166)
Omicron will appear milder even if it is not, since so many more people have immunity protection, in one way or another, and to various degrees, than they had previously. This is true even as compared to delta. In South Africa pre-delta the percentage of people with some form of immunity was estimated at 35-40% (in part due to blood sampling), and post-delta it is estimated to be 60% at the very low end, but almost certainly higher than 70% including the vaccinated people and probably over 80%. That's a huge difference.

Our intrepid nobel laureate (Levitt) still claims delta is milder than the original virus, for exactly this reason, because it has caused way fewer serious illnesses in deaths in Western Europe than the original virus did. It's the same mistake.

Of course, omicron might actually end up being milder intrinsically, but we really don't have any data that shows this is true yet.
   77. person man Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:19 AM (#6057168)
RJ, if it helps, i had almost no negative reaction to my booster (Moderna). A little soreness at the injection point, nothing else.
   78. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6057192)
wrong thread.
   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 14, 2021 at 05:35 AM (#6057296)
The recent variants probably look milder because it’s mostly younger people getting infected now, since older people are much more likely to be vaccinated.

Was Delta shown to be more deadly than prior strains, or was it just more contagious? (I assume the answer is we don’t *really* know, but maybe there is some general sense.)
   80. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6057313)
New large-ish scale South African study is out, where I think they tried to control for age. They seem to be finding, that even controlled for age, omicron appear "milder", but they also note that omicron is much more likely to reinfect people that have already had covid or been vaccinated. We would generally expect these people to have less severe cases.

At any rate, we should have good data from other places soon. Denmark (and Norway), especially, where not that many people actually ever had covid before but there is a high rate of vaccination, AND delta and omicron are hitting at the same time, so we should be able to directly compare the two, especially since we will for the most part have good data on how many infections for each are breakthrough infections. There are fewer confounding variables in Denmark/Norway.
   81. bob gee Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6057378)
Cornell shuts down part of campus b/c of Covid:

link



   82. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:25 PM (#6057380)

RJ, if it helps, i had almost no negative reaction to my booster (Moderna). A little soreness at the injection point, nothing else.


I felt a little wonky for much of the next day, but that was a major upgrade from how I felt after the first two.
   83. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 15, 2021 at 08:49 AM (#6057419)
The UK's advisors appear to be working on the basis of Omicron infections doubling in 1.9 days, which seems extraordinary, especially with the significant fraction of UK residents now double- and triple-jabbed. It does greatly increase the already significant challenge of managing the reaction time before introducing new measures, if needed, before they can take effect.
   84. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:10 AM (#6057420)
Reported omicron cases will stop doubling that fast very soon. It's way easier to double quickly in the early stages where nobody has the virus yet. Also, the case increase rate is almost certainly exaggerated by the fact that tests are only a non-random sample of the population, where the types and number of people tested is in part directly responding to the fact that we know omicron is spreading.

Reported omicron cases are now doubling every 3 days in Denmark or so, and it's slowing down quickly.
   85. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 11:22 AM (#6057443)
Original estimates were that Omicron would be the dominant strain in Denmark as of today. (That, based on 1.5 day doubling, or whatever). You can see here that it's extremely unlikely to be the case yet, though it probably will still happen sometime this month, but probably no earlier than this time next week.
   86. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 12:23 PM (#6057452)
The "omicron is mild" talk has mostly been coming from South Africa, where cases in this latest wave seem decoupled from deaths. (i.e., deaths appear to be at 1/10 the prior rate). Western Europe has already had that since high vaccine uptake. For example, the UK was at 2% CFR in last winter's wave, and were at about .3% for delta. South Africa was near 4% for its second wave, and about 2.5% for delta. Too early to tell what they will be here, but could be as low as .3%.

The UK just had 78,000 cases reported today, the most ever. They aren't as clean a laboratory as Norway/Denmark, since delta has been rampant in UK for a while. Still we should be getting a feel for how serious the effects of omicron are in the UK, but we might have to wait until early January.
   87. base ball chick Posted: December 15, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6057460)
the positive cases here in houston doubled last week but hospitalizations have not changed. but i am scared. Me and Husband have gotten boosters but i'm worried anyway

from yahoo:

"Billy Gardner and Marm Kilpatrick from the University of California, Santa Cruz developed computer models incorporating data on COVID-19 vaccines' efficacy against earlier variants and initial data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Omicron. Their models suggest that early after two doses of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, efficacy against symptomatic infection from Omicron is only about 30%, down from about 87% versus Delta, they reported on Sunday on medRxiv https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.10.21267594v2 ahead of peer review. Protection against symptomatic infection is "essentially eliminated" for individuals vaccinated more than four months earlier. Boosters restore protection to about 48%, "which is similar to the protection of individuals with waned immunity against the Delta variant (43%)," Kilpatrick said.

"Importantly, protection against severe disease is much higher" for all categories: recently vaccinated, waned, or boosted. "We estimated that protection against severe disease was 86% for recent mRNA vaccination against Omicron, 67% for waned immunity, and 91% following 3rd dose boosters," Kilpatrick said. "There are still no direct estimates of vaccine effectiveness for severe disease from any country yet, so our estimates cannot be compared to direct estimates yet."


NOTHING about long covid
   88. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 15, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6057474)
The UK just had 78,000 cases reported today, the most ever. They aren't as clean a laboratory as Norway/Denmark, since delta has been rampant in UK for a while. Still we should be getting a feel for how serious the effects of omicron are in the UK, but we might have to wait until early January.


Press conference wrapped up an hour or so ago in the UK. Johnson strongly pushing the booster message, as he must, but the medical experts standing next to him seemed fairly resigned that they're looking at a winter that could be as bad, or worse, than the last one. Also some suggestions that there simply won't be sufficient tests soon enough, and that the turnaround time for getting results, in the face of Omicron's virulence, will be a real issue.

Also, Chris Witty suggested that those in the UK may want to think about cancelling social events except for 'the things that really matter to them' - adding a fun additional layer of passive aggressiveness to the existing minefield of British social interaction . . .
   89. Tony S Posted: December 16, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6057556)
Omicron has definitely begun to alter behaviors in Frederick. No mask mandates (yet), but 83.2% of the grocery store customers yesterday were fully masked when I went. And I'm seeing an increased incidence of outdoor masking too (which even I don't do, unless it's really crowded).

It's been two weeks since we've had the good, comprehensive data about Maryland we've become used to (still recovering from a system hack), but my ex who works for the state health department has told me hospitalizations in the state have been spiking up, and it's still mainly delta.
   90. Sleepy was just looking for porta potties Posted: December 16, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6057566)
Preliminary data, published online Wednesday, gives us the first look at how omicron may behave inside the respiratory tract — and the data offers a tantalizing clue as to why this heavily mutated variant is spreading so fast and even outcompeting delta.

The omicron variant multiplies about 70 times faster inside human respiratory tract tissue than the delta variant does, scientists at the University of Hong Kong report. The variant reaches also higher levels in the tissue, compared to delta, 48 hours after infection.

Chan and his colleagues also ran the experiments with lung tissue. Interestingly, inside that tissue, omicron was less efficient at infecting cells than delta or the original version of the virus.


Link to npr article, with internal links to the researcher’s study results.
   91. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 11:29 AM (#6057569)
Should be noted that by their same method delta was less efficient at infecting lung cells than the original virus, but turned out to be more virulent anyway. So, it's a bit of evidence of less virulence but not all that strong evidence.
   92. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6057602)
Omicron is already the dominant strain in London, even for reported cases. Since there are delays between testing positive and reporting, it might already be the dominant strain in England. That means Denmark is actually a few days behind.

We would expect a larger percentage of these cases to be breakthrough (from vaccination) than was the case for delta, and we will also likely see a large number of reinfections for people that had delta over the last few months. As a result, even if omicron is just as virulent, we should see CFR go down since those with recent prior infections and/or vaccinations are expected to have lesser symptoms. The real question is whether hospitalizations, serious illnesses and deaths, as a share of the total population, will go up significantly now that omicron is infecting a lot of people.

Even in Denmark, where not that many people have ever had covid, reinfections appear to be soaring, so there's confounding data everywhere.
   93. nick swisher hygiene Posted: December 16, 2021 at 03:36 PM (#6057614)
87–NOBODY mainstream is talking about long COVID / sequelae / etc—I mean, in the sense that nobody mentions it as part of the whole “how should I react to this new variant?” explainers in the media. It’s become a separate conversation, rather than part of the “ appropriate/inappropriate level of risk” discourse.

I find this disturbing, but—so, so unsurprising. I mean, “fuck the vulnerable” is more or less the national motto at this stage.

If long COVD turns out to be anything like what activists fear, it’s gonna be just unimaginably costly and destructive. But factoring it in changes the risk calculations completely. If I have a 5% chance of some kind of lifetime disability? No ####### WAY do I take that chance just to eat in some restaurant. And there’s not much good data, as far as I can tell. It’s unclear the extent to which severity of case is linked to likelihood and persistence of long term effects…
   94. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6057621)
There's a lot of hopium about that omicron will crowd out delta and, even if far more people catch it, serious illness and hospitalizations overall, as a percentage of the population, will go down. This is mostly based on the South African data, where omicron had a much lower CFR than the recent delta cases, so the assumption in some circles is that it must be much less virulent. The idea is that all the more virulent strains get crowded out and omicron becomes endemic, and is no worse than the flu.

It's very early still, but it's not looking too promising in London right now. This isn't just a winter effect either, as the rest of England is not yet seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations.
   95. smileyy Posted: December 16, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6057626)
Omicron may be no worse than the flu *for the already vaccinated*. That's what I think people are missing in that haze of hopium.

The unvaccinated are still lambs to the slaughter.
   96. Tony S Posted: December 16, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6057632)
Pulled this out of Reddit, from a Covid RN.

It has been suggested that a lot of Covid vax resistance comes from a relative media blackout of what the disease itself constitutes. "Hey, 99% survival rate, what's everyone so worried about?"

Absolutely. A common thing to hear is that ‘they aren’t the same as they were before.’ Families say that. I think it is shocking to people, because they seem to believe that beating the infection means they can expect they are their family member will be as they were before.

People are sometimes extremely emotional, almost like their behaviors have reverted to the toddler years. Small requests, such as to drink more water, can send big, formerly strong and healthy men into hysterics. They get frustrated very easily. They start bawling over everything. It is shocking. They throw things. I think that’s where some of the violence comes from. This is all super normal to us now.

Some people are entirely flat. Many have various levels of receptive or expressive aphasia or both. You have to be extremely patient, repetitive, and go slow. You hear what their lives were like before Covid, and the cognitive decline is astonishing. Many are discharged to facilities. They just can’t go home, even with family support. It’s actually not a good idea to go home necessarily, because they can’t manage their own long term care, and most families don’t understand it either.

Some people develop rapid onset dementia, long after the delirium has passed. It makes sense when there was a CVA, either before, during, or after their initial admission. It also makes sense when there wasn’t, because as you know, covids have extremely elevated D dimer results (e.g. >10.0…which is as high as it goes on our system). You know there were microembolisms. How would that plus the hypoxia not affect the brain, and how would that not be very likely permanent? It is always weird that they were just a business owner, working long days and supporting a family etc, and now they’re this person in front of you.

They can have neuropathy or ataxia, even absent visible thrombi. Other common complications long term are extreme fatigue that is crippling, insomnia, depression, and anxiety that does not respond well to treatment. The loss of taste and smell can present a huge problem and lead to readmissions. We place a lotta CorTraks.

We tend to view and treat these people as having a TBI. And I’m also lumping in people who had a positive PCR, never were sick enough to need a bed, but now have all these new problems after the acute illness is ‘over’.

I don’t read up on Covid much when I’m not at work. I need a break. But the long term effects of Covid get nowhere near enough attention, from what I can tell. Many of these people are disabled, and they count as a success story. The amputations are obvious in how they cause disability, but the impact on the brain is more of a mystery, even though it’s also more disabling in a sense. One can get a prosthetic leg but not a prosthetic brain.

Then, of course, we d/c people who come back in maybe a month or so later for MI, CVA, etc. And they rapidly decline and die. That isn’t a Covid death on the books.

Also, this is anecdotal, but most of my young patients with serious immediate and long term effects are males.

Thank you for what you do. I’m just one freaking nurse, and I’ve seen so much of these long term effects. The number of people suffering from them must be beyond what any of us can imagine.


Popular support of the Vietnam War began to erode when the graphic reality of war atrocities began to be consistently displayed to the public. We haven't had enough widely-circulated "images" of Covid to get a similar effect.

Heck, reading this makes me want to weld MY home shut.
   97. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6057641)
Another point about South Africa is that while only 25% are fully vaccinated, the numbers were much higher for older people (by the time omicron hit). 60+% of people over 50. (The reason why the numbers add up is that South Africa is much younger than the US.) Prior to delta pretty much nobody there had been vaccinated.

You'd expect that alone to cut the observed severity of the disease very significantly, since people under 50 don't get seriously ill that often anyway. If you add on top of that recent prior infections, and since we know the denominator for omicron is much larger due to its breakthrough capabilities, we should be expecting a very significantly lower CFR even if virulence and age groups testing positive are unchanged. Hoe much lower is hard to say of course. Add in the fact that it has mostly hit a younger age group in South Africa so far, and it's really basically impossible to know yet whether it's less virulent.

Again, maybe it is less virulent, but people who are certain that it is are jumping the gun. Does it matter if it's less virulent, now that "all" of us are vaccinated? Yes, it still matters! There are multiple states right now that or near their record highs for reported deaths already, even including last winter, and we haven't hit the worst part of winter yet. Adding omicron on top of whatever else is going on with delta is a big problem, even if the severe case rates are relatively low due to vaccinations and prior infections.
   98. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6057642)
Gah on Post 96. Sign me up for a prosthetic leg way before you compromise my brain.
   99. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 07:17 PM (#6057646)
There's another factor in South Africa reducing case severity that likely wouldn't be as present in the US or Western Europe. The estimates are that 80% or even significantly more (and really, you can't find an estimate less than 70%) have been infected with covid in South Africa. With 230,000-280,000 excess deaths, depending on who you believe, a very significant percentage of the most vulnerable must already have died from covid. Maybe as much as 2.5% of the entire population over 50, and 4% of the entire population over 65 (eyeballing the numbers). In the USA it's probably no more than 1.5% so far of the population over 65, and definitely under 1% of those over 50.
   100. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 16, 2021 at 07:31 PM (#6057648)
damn, is it that much for US over 65? any more specific articles on that? wow.
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