1,565 thoughts on “General Discussion – 2

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/14/a-tsunami-of-cases-desperation-as-covid-second-wave-batters-india

    ‘A tsunami of cases’: desperation as Covid second wave batters India

    Dr K Senthil had feared it was coming.

    He had feared it as he saw the reckless crush of hundreds of people taking part in large wedding parties over the past months, feared it as he saw the maskless faces of shoppers at the market, feared it as he witnessed thousands come together for political rallies in the ongoing elections in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where he is the president of the state medical council.

    But despite his growing sense of foreboding, the second wave of coronavirus that began to engulf India last month has confounded even Senthil’s worst expectations.

    “People became so complacent, acting as if the virus had vanished which was absurd,” said Senthil, who is a urologist in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

    “Now we are experiencing a wave of coronavirus infections that is far worse than the first and the magnitude of the spread is getting worse and worse. In Tamil Nadu it has taken just 15 days to reach the same level of cases in hospitals which was the peak last time. In the big cities in the state, the hospitals are already almost full.”

  2. And Ben, not only is it already in the UK but also…

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhaseltine/2021/04/12/an-indian-sars-cov-2-variant-lands-in-california-more-danger-ahead/

    An Indian SARS-CoV-2 Variant Lands In California. More Danger Ahead?

    Yet another variant of SARS-CoV-2 has arrived on our shores from afar. A recent survey of the viral sequences infecting Californians turned up six independent isolates of a variant that is now circulating widely in India. Over the past two months, infection rates in India have exploded.

  3. From the Guardian above

    “ Senthil had feared it was coming.

    He had feared it as he saw the reckless crush of hundreds of people taking part in large wedding parties over the past months, feared it as he saw the maskless faces of shoppers at the market, feared it as he

    I witnessed thousands come together for political rallies in the ongoing elections in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where he is the president of the state medical council.”

    Apparently folks thought the vaccine (Astra Zeneca) was an immortality pill .

    That’s quite different from what I’ve seen in my state.

  4. Ben,

    Until a couple of days ago India was saying that they didn’t think this new variant was particularly problematic compared to others, which reduced concern in India and elsewhere.

    Then they suddenly released data apparently showing that it is out-competing all other variants and likely is the major driver in current surge in India. The UK also quietly submitted sequences to international tracking databases that suggest the R number is currently above 1 in the UK for this new variant (that might just be a focussed testing anomaly if they were looking for it).

    Meanwhile nobody officially in the UK is saying anything.

  5. No official statements but…

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9470607/Boris-Johnson-shortens-planned-trip-India-amid-Covid-spike.html

    Boris Johnson shortens his planned trip to India later this month to just ONE DAY after spike in coronavirus cases in the country

    Boris Johnson shortens his planned trip to India later this month to just ONE DAY after spike in coronavirus cases in the country but he will still meet with PM Narendra Mod
    By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

    Boris Johnson has decided to shorten his planned trip to India at the end of this month as the country continues to experience a spike in coronavirus cases.

    The Prime Minister had been due to fly to India for a four day trip but Downing Street announced Mr Johnson ‘has made the decision to reduce the length of the visit’.

    Number 10 said the exact length of the trip will be set out at a later date but the PM’s Official Spokesman said the expectation is the ‘bulk’ of the visit will take place on Monday April 26.

    Mr Johnson is still expected to meet in person with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

  6. Ben,

    I think some US States are more vulnerable than others. I think that also has a voting related bias. You can correct me if I am wrong about that but I’m perfectly happy if California gets it (the understanding, not the virus)! 🙂

  7. My isolated circumstance may be a false sense of security but I still take precautions that have almost become routine.

    I think that awareness, which I’ve seen ad nauseum in public service ads and relentless messaging is a safety net

  8. American politics is confusing Ben.

    The GPUS? Are they the ones who have shares in fracking companies?

  9. If you want to laugh at “marxists”, specifically those in a self appointed “leadership” role, aligned with conspiracy nutters, then search Heiko Khoo. Hours of fun viewing for you there Fred.

  10. Squonk, I understand we cant discuss Murray’s case (not that I have any interest to anyway) but can we discuss Alba (without reference to Murray)?

  11. Friigin Henry, those comments on Fred’s YT link. Corbyn and Khoo are two very experienced active lefties. They were always fringe and considered “odd”, but now seem to fully court the fascist leaning right. They are in deep. Khoo seems to be in the middle of a mental health crisis.

  12. Politics makes strange bedfellows Fred

    Pedophiles often are publicly seen as vigilant enemies of pedophiles and prosecute with severe prejudice.

    Phil: good to see you back

  13. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/15/covid-variant-first-detected-india-found-uk

    Covid variant first detected in India is found in the UK

    A coronavirus variant with potentially worrying mutations that was first detected in India has been found in the UK.

    In total, 77 cases of the variant, known as B.1.617, have been recorded in the UK up to 14 April, according to the latest update from Public Health England (PHE), released on Thursday. Of these, 73 were recorded in England and four in Scotland.

    It was the first time PHE had reported the variant in the UK.

    It currently has the label “variant under investigation”. If worries about it are borne out, for example if it appears to be more infectious or more resistant to the body’s immune response, then it may be designated a “variant of concern”.

  14. Ben,

    If it has grown as fast as it apparently has in the UK (despite lockdown, prior exposure “immunity” and vaccines) then we will see another huge spike down the line, like India, if it continues to do so.

  15. Squonk, I don’t think that necessarily follows. The B.1.617 variant has shown a high reproductive rate under stay-at-home restrictions, but among the whole population its incidence is still low. So possibly, or even probably, it is spreading within a minority of the population in which cross-infection is more likely eg. reckless denialists, and people who can’t avoid crowding indoors etc. It may not be able to achieve positive growth rate in the wider population.

    “People who can’t avoid crowding indoors” – I worry that schools may be a conduit.

    Social restrictions are being relaxed in the UK. So far, overall incidence (dominated by the UK strain) hasn’t started rising. Hopefully, that is due to vaccination (see also Israel), in which case B.1.617’s success will depend upon whether it can evade vaccination-induced immunity.

    But also the weather is much nicer now; people are not crowding indoors so much. Another bad scenario is that B.1.617 does evade vaccination-induced immunity, but it doesn’t start spreading widely until autumn.

  16. “Is it racist to suggest hygiene and waste treatment in India exacerbate the spikes?

    It’s certainly worth a try!

    Seriously though, religious idiocy has probably got more to do with the huge and sudden spread than anything else, just as they have in Amerika.

    I’m worried to see Squonk worried again 🙁

  17. “I’m worried to see Squonk worried again”

    Tell you what; let’s all go cherry-picking to cheer us up!

  18. By the way the media is quoting the figure of 77 detected in the UK, however that is based on a weekly update from a few days ago.

    As of today there are 140 sequences uploaded by UK to tracking databases. Yesterday it was 98. Keep in mind it takes about two weeks minimum for sequencing so these figures relate to positive tests more than two weeks ago. We don’t seem to have a rapid PCR detection kit that can distinguish this variant although one could be created.

    Also it seems not all the 42 sequences added yesterday were brand new – some were previous sequences that have been re-analysed and found to be B.1.617.

    However any way you look at it the UK has gone from having zero detections of B.1.617 to 140 detections in the space of about 5 weeks or so.

  19. The March 2020 and onwards stay-at-home was complied with far more thoroughly than that of January 2021 and onwards, and the ‘Kent strain’ is said to be more infective than the one it displaced, yet the restrictions still forced prevalence to fall, even with winter weather keeping people indoors.

    I suspect a threshold effect; the restrictions force R down to below 1 in a large majority of the population, causing the overall R to be below 1. But R remains above 1 in a minority, permitting the virus to maintain a constant foothold from which it rebounds when restrictions are lifted.

    We need a histogram of R versus population.

  20. “zero detections of B.1.617 to 140 detections in the space of about 5 weeks”

    That works out at multiplying by about 2.7 per week.

    “Keep in mind it takes about two weeks minimum for sequencing so these figures relate to positive tests more than two weeks ago”

    So about a thousand by now.

  21. UK daily new positive tests are only about 2600, so if B.1.617 is going to go up like a rocket it should show in the overall numbers within a week.

  22. Clark,

    It was only at under 0.5% prevalence (compared to “Kent” variant) as of 2 weeks ago and there could be sequencing bias as well so probaly less than that in community. It will still be many weeks before it really starts to make a major bump in the UK overall figures. Peak still probably months away at current rate.

    Unless it really does take off like a rocket.

  23. Just as a ballpark estimate based on latest sampling and ONS infection survey, and if it does represent community spread, it is likely that maybe say 1000 people in the UK may be currently infectious with B.1.617. It still has a long, long way to go.

  24. And also it isn’t going up by anything like 2.7 times per week and It was presumably here before first random sample spotted it. Statisticians seem to think a doubling time of 10-11 days might be a ballpark guess (but that was during lockdown). In any case there is not enough data yet to have high levels of confidence in anything especially as not a word has been said about exactly where these samples were taken.

    The numbers over the next few weeks should make things much clearer and don’t forget the South African variant may be making gains as well.

  25. “ Seriously though, religious idiocy has probably got more to do with the huge and sudden spread than anything else, just as they have in Amerika.”

    I suspect ‘religion’ is interpretive like today’s Royal funeral and the masses being worshipful in praise for a truly ‘purposeful’ life.

  26. There was a good report on B.1.617 last night on BBC Radio 4 PM

    Can be played at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000v3ql

    It is the headline item but main discussion of India and B.1.617 starts about 7 mins in. Professor Danny Altmann of Imperial College London interview at about 12 mins in.

    I highly recommend listening.

  27. One bit of mixed news is that the relationships of the sequences submitted so far may be suggestive of multiple ongoing introductions but the data still too sparse. So some (much?) of the growth may be due to increasing numbers of B.1.617 positives coming in through Airports. Not that that’s a good thing either mind you.

    I have seen some suggestions from India that some PCR tests may be more likely to give false negatives with B.1.617 but haven’t seen anything concrete to support that. If it is the case though it would certainly make it easier for people to get into the UK with it and not be detected.

  28. “some (much?) of the growth may be due to increasing numbers of B.1.617 positives coming in through Airports”

    Well that would help make sense of the numbers, ‘cos 2.7^5 = ~143

    “some PCR tests may be more likely to give false negatives with B.1.617”

    That would make them more difficult to reconcile.

    Any idea what proportion of infections (all variants) are getting detected at present? If B.1.617 is only 0.5% of all variants as you say, that implies about 20,000 infections. If some 2600 infections are being detected per day, and infection lasts a week or two, it looks as though most infections are getting detected.

  29. In the week ending 10th April ONS estimated that about 130,000 people across the UK would have tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 based on their infection survey. Data at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/16april2021

    So the daily positive tests number is still only a fraction of the real number. Most people still don’t get tested and some won’t even have known they had it.

  30. Report from Mumbai

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3En5wg7YHY

    Barkha Dutt Reports from SRV Covid Hospital in Maharashtra’s Mumbai. Dr Swaroop Hegde of the Hospital told Mojo Story that the hospital is in absolute shortage of Remdesivir and people are getting it from black market and even from some other cities. On oxygen shortage Dr Swaroop said, “We ourselves are on the last 10% of the oxygen so maybe we are going to decide what kind of patients we are going to admit, probably taking patients who require less oxygen, maybe undercut the oxygen given to patient, stop giving high flow canulas, but that will automatically compromise the entire line of treatment. It may actually translate to higher mortality now”.
    “Unlike the earlier strain, we are now seeing kids who are 5 to 8 years having pneumonia, who have never had it in the earlier strain. They are also getting quite significantly symptomatic which means they do get breathless and do require significant treatment” he added.

  31. Latest India

    India not currently on travel into UK red list (so far) because Boris needs to suck Indian cock for trade/arms deals thanks to his Brexit disaster.

    The irony of the former colonial power coming back with a begging bowl is not lost on Indians.

  32. Squonk, – “So the daily positive tests number is still only a fraction of the real number”

    Thanks.

    What an appalling mess.

    I see that the global figures are just breaking their January record, and are rising 40% faster than at that time.

  33. According to the BBC
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-56791144

    13:20
    Analysis: Majority of Indian variant cases in UK linked to travel

    There are 77 cases in the UK so far and most of those people don’t have any symptoms.

    The vast majority of cases were picked up during routine testing while people isolated after travelling from India.

    Experts say they have seen a couple of infections which don’t seem to be linked to travel.

    They stick with the 77 figure even though the actual number is up to about 160 now in the latest database (some could be the same subject though).

    Is it really the case that most had no symptoms or did they fake their pre-flight tests (print your own out) and lie about no symptoms on entry?

    Anyway either the unnamed expert the BBC spoke to is either clueless themselves, if they still think the number is 77, or the BBC intentionally stuck with a completely wrong number.

    Edit: In another item the BBC say they spoke to Susan Hopkins

    But Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England says some cases had been found in the UK that were not linked to travel, with their origin now being investigated.

    More than 70 cases have been identified in England and Scotland.

    It is also too soon to decide if India should be put on the government’s travel “red list”, Dr Hopkins says.

    Well I suppose 160 is definitely “more than 70”.

    And why is it “too soon” other than “Boris says no”. What’s the plan here? Get in as much as possible as fast as possible and then say it is too late to use the “red list”?

  34. India has labelled B.1.617 as a Variant of Concern internally. Looks like Boris is insisting we can’t even act as a precaution until we’ve flooded the country with it so we can then be concerned as well.

  35. Here’s how you provide evidence of your negative test taken prior to travel

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england

    How to provide proof of a negative test result

    Your test result can be provided as:

    a printed document
    an email or text message you can show on your phone – make sure your device is charged

    If you arrive in England without proof you tested negative, you could be fined £500.

    Can’t see anyway of faking that… Or just not bother and simply pay 500 quid to get in without one.

  36. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/oxygen-has-become-an-emergency-delhi-needs-more-normal-supply-arvind-kejriwal-101618754237846.html

    ‘Oxygen has become an emergency, Delhi needs more than normal supply’: Kejriwal

    Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that Delhi is battling an acute shortage of oxygen as it fights to check the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). In a tweet on Sunday evening, he also declared that oxygen has become an emergency in the national capital.

    “Del facing acute shortage of oxygen. In view of sharply increasing cases, Del needs much more than normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced and Delhi’s quota has been diverted to other states. OXYGEN HAS BECOME AN EMERGENCY IN DEL,” Kejriwal tweeted.

  37. And a response of a kind.

  38. “ MOSCOW (AP) — A doctor for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in the third week of a hunger strike, says his health is deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.

    Physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

    “Our patient could die at any moment,” he said in a Facebook post.

    Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union, said on Twitter that “action must be taken immediately.”

    He’s no saint but ‘killer’ Putin is wurst

  39. The B.1.1.7 variant has mutations that allow it to bind more” to cells, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.”

    Think of this mutation as making the virus stickier.”

    Coronavirus latches onto cells with its spike proteins — the spikes surrounding the surface of the virus.”There is a little difference in the way the (B.1.1.7) spike protein holds that makes it stick to your cells a little more easily,” said emergency physician Dr. Megan Ranney, director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health.

    With the original strain of the novel coronavirus, “you need a certain inoculum — a certain amount of virus — in order for the infection to basically stick,” Reiner said.”Is one viral particle enough to make you sick? No, probably not. On the other hand … sometimes a massive inoculum can kill an otherwise healthy person. And we’ve seen that in health care workers,” he said.”

    So these new variants, particularly the UK variant, seem to be stickier. So the notion is that it’s more contagious, so to speak, because potentially you don’t need as much of an inoculum to get sick.”

    What this means in real life: “You can be in a place and maybe have a briefer exposure or have a smaller exposure — more casual exposure — and then get infected,” Reiner said.And because B.1.1.7 is stickier, “you may indeed have a higher viral load.”

    “If you have a higher number of viral particles in your respiratory tract, then it’s going to be easier to spread it to other people,” Ranney said.

    That’s another reason why it’s so important for young adults to get vaccinated.B.1.1.7 cases have now been reported in all 50 states, the CDC said.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/12/health/b117-covid-variant-young-patients/index.html

  40. What was it, a 30 second flight?

    How much did it cost per second?

    Really. NASA has been mud bound since 1971

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