Coronavirus - Strange times

allwillbewell
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 09.02

Laura-1 wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 02.32 The problem I see is that with no distancing and no masks, we are literally letting the virus run free, we've got lots of people vaccinated which is fantastic but scientists also say that vaccines make the virus work harder to try and beat them - so it's probably only a matter of time until a new variant comes a long that totally sets everything back again.

I just think that after the lockdowns, all the money spent and the efforts that have gone into trying to save lives - wearing masks was not to much to continue to ask people to do at the very least.

After all we know we have many special people in the UK, at the end of a lockdown it's "the virus has gone away now hence they are lifting the lockdown" or "now we don't have to wear masks the virus is going away" and then if you tell people we are closing pubs on Saturday to stop the spread - even more of them will go to the pub and spread it until then.

We don't have enough responsible people in the UK to not have rules in place, in other countries where they have poor air quality they people have been wearing masks every day for many, many years, the majority of people in countries like that can be trusted to act responsibly.

A vaccine usually takes 8 years to make, while the vaccines we currently have are saving millions of lives, I believe that the pandemic won't be over until a better vaccine comes along which will probably be at least 2025, by then there will be plenty of mutations for scientists to study and they will know a lot more about the virus as a whole and only then will they be able to make a vaccine that really stops the spread and eventually Covid will become rare, this will all depend on getting poor countries vaccinated quickly, back in 1918 people were not travelling country to country like they do today so it would take ages for a virus to spread, now it can take just a week so if 1 country vaccinated everyone - borders being open would mean it never goes away and sadly poor countries with poor hygene will be the ones where the worse variants develop.

All just my opinion of course, I just think that while we are rolling out the current vaccines and they get so much praise (all deserved) people forget that there are probably scientists working away quietly behind the scenes across the world who are trying to improve it and make a better one and eventually they will... I hope :-)
COVID will always run free, it is always going to infect people every year, every day forever. Flu killed 20,000 people in 2015. That's about 54 people a day. Flu and Covid will cause deaths every year forever. We must learn to live with it, people are always going to die. It is impossible to stop. With vaccinations most people will be saved who would have been killed by it. This is of course forgetting that the vast majority in the first place are fine anyway after a short illness.

There are always going to be two groups of people, people that are going to be afraid forever of COVID, and want to lock down forever or have restrictions forever, and people like me who say we have now vaccinated people, all resections must end. If you want to wear a mask or refuse a vaccine that is up to you, but life must return to normal once everyone is vaccinated. By hook or by crook, we must live with COVID. They will always be working on new vaccines, as they do with flu jabs each year. Flu always has new variants. Impossible to stop like it is impossible to stop COVID. The media should be ashamed they have whipped up a storm of fear among the public. But they never learn.

Get your jab while you can, because Boris will not be able to hold on to lockdown control for much longer. The party is getting restless and it is not totally impossible he may be ousted.
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Pete
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 13.36
Location: Dundee

But we haven’t vaccinated enough people. That’s the point. Your logic is fine once we’ve got more under 40s jabbed but it’s not fine now. And the fact that the justification is that MPs in the Tory Party (those who Cummings described last night as morons) are getting listless is not an acceptable excuse.
"He has to be larger than bacon"
allwillbewell
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 09.02

Pete wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 07.34 But we haven’t vaccinated enough people. That’s the point. Your logic is fine once we’ve got more under 40s jabbed but it’s not fine now. And the fact that the justification is that MPs in the Tory Party (those who Cummings described last night as morons) are getting listless is not an acceptable excuse.
Yes but by mid September everyone will be vaccinated. The problem is that there are apparently three million over 50s/40s that don't want it. We can't be held to ransom by them, they have been offered the jab, if they get COVID and die it is their fault and their fault alone. The NHS should make preparation, and the gov should fund it in preparation for the wave of anti vax deaths. To add there is of course the question of NHS staff shortage of doctors, another issue the gov should tackle in good time. They build the big hospital in London and had hardly anyone to run it.

I would like to think the Tories will wait until vaccinations are complete and at the attempt of Boris to start lockdown after this, before they make any move against him. Boris was elected really just to "do" Brexit, and Labour had a lack lustre leader at the time also he was elected. I doubt in normal times he would have even become leader of the party.
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tillyoshea
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Joined: Sun 23 Nov, 2003 14.34
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
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allwillbewell wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 07.48The problem is that there are apparently three million over 50s/40s that don't want it. We can't be held to ransom by them, they have been offered the jab, if they get COVID and die it is their fault and their fault alone. The NHS should make preparation, and the gov should fund it in preparation for the wave of anti vax deaths. To add there is of course the question of NHS staff shortage of doctors, another issue the gov should tackle in good time. They build the big hospital in London and had hardly anyone to run it.
How long do you think it takes to train a consultant doctor or ward sister in order to boost the numbers so that we can open more hospitals to treat a wave of extremely sick people? Or do you mean that we should divert resources from other parts of the NHS and cancel operations and urgent treatments?

And what's your plan for people who need treatments that are going to wipe out their immune system? Do we just accept that a larger proportion of people who are starting chemotherapy in the next few months will die through exposure to COVID, despite being double-vaccinated and doing everything they can to protect themselves?

I'm not sure what the answer to any of this is. I think it is a complex fine balance both in terms of ethics and balancing the health effects of COVID and the health effects of economic damage in a fast-moving situation. I struggle to see how anyone can be certain about any of it, but the polarised political culture in this country does seem to generate a belief that you can only be 'in control' if you're certain of what is around a blind corner, rather than recognising that leadership is sometimes about acknowledging uncertainty and making plans which keep options open to respond to new developments.
james2001
Posts: 606
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

allwillbewell wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 06.42Today (yesterday) was a Monday, deaths over a weekend are not registered as quickly, Mondays always have a high count, and 100 isn't high besides. If you have a week of 500/1000 of daily deaths, then we could perhaps consider it high.
Some context does need to be put into the current numbers- at the start of the year we were having around 4,000 daily hospitalisations, over 40,000 in hospital and 1,200 daily deaths. While people are getting alarmed by the current numbers, hospitalisations are around 20%, hospital occupancy is around 10% and deaths are less than 10% of what they were at the start of the year even though case numbers are roughly the same. It really does show how the vaccines have changed things and the virus isn't as dangerous as it was. The continuing vaccinations are only going to serve to reduce the case to hospitalisation and death ratios even further and it becomes harder and harder to justify re-introducing restrictions.
james2001
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tillyoshea wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 09.23
And what's your plan for people who need treatments that are going to wipe out their immune system? Do we just accept that a larger proportion of people who are starting chemotherapy in the next few months will die through exposure to COVID, despite being double-vaccinated and doing everything they can to protect themselves?
Though on the other hand, people who have been having such treatments have always been susceptible to the other endemic viruses out there, even the regular cold viruses can be deadly to people on such treatments and we don't lock down or introduce restrictions because of them. How much longer can we keep treating covid as a special case and keep shutting things down for it when it's likely within a few months it won't be much different to any of those other endemic respiratory viruses in terms of the damage it causes? Once we've vaccinated as many people as want to be vaccinated, there's little more we can do, there has to be an end point. Apart from being a novel virus we didn't have much immunity to (which vaccination and exposure is constantly reducing the impact of), covid really isn't anything exceptional in the way it behaves in comparison to the countless other endemic viruses we encounter every day.
allwillbewell
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 09.02

tillyoshea wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 09.23
allwillbewell wrote: Wed 21 Jul, 2021 07.48The problem is that there are apparently three million over 50s/40s that don't want it. We can't be held to ransom by them, they have been offered the jab, if they get COVID and die it is their fault and their fault alone. The NHS should make preparation, and the gov should fund it in preparation for the wave of anti vax deaths. To add there is of course the question of NHS staff shortage of doctors, another issue the gov should tackle in good time. They build the big hospital in London and had hardly anyone to run it.
How long do you think it takes to train a consultant doctor or ward sister in order to boost the numbers so that we can open more hospitals to treat a wave of extremely sick people? Or do you mean that we should divert resources from other parts of the NHS and cancel operations and urgent treatments?

And what's your plan for people who need treatments that are going to wipe out their immune system? Do we just accept that a larger proportion of people who are starting chemotherapy in the next few months will die through exposure to COVID, despite being double-vaccinated and doing everything they can to protect themselves?

I'm not sure what the answer to any of this is. I think it is a complex fine balance both in terms of ethics and balancing the health effects of COVID and the health effects of economic damage in a fast-moving situation. I struggle to see how anyone can be certain about any of it, but the polarised political culture in this country does seem to generate a belief that you can only be 'in control' if you're certain of what is around a blind corner, rather than recognising that leadership is sometimes about acknowledging uncertainty and making plans which keep options open to respond to new developments.
I'm not sure about ward sisters, but for a doctor I believe it is at least five/seven years. However a "COVID hospital" has a very specific purpose, it may be possible to train people to perform very select tasks and have a limited number of doctors on hand. But at some stage those that choose to be unvaccinated must accept the outcome. As discussions have been had before about those that obese being refused treatment for certain conditions, indeed we must now ask if those who choose to be unvaccinated should be allowed to be treated by the NHS given the risk they pose to everyone. We should certainly not divert resources.

People that have treatments which wipes out their immune system, will need to do what they have always done. It is an unfortunate fact that people on treatments often die from such things, this was true long before COVID. If we adjusted society to protect them, we would have to to lockdown forever. Currently they should shelter until case numbers fall. But the cases will never be zero.

I think the best thing to do is rely on logic, once the population is vaccinated fully, then we should be able to return to normal. Those that choose to be unvaccinated is the problem. We can hope most of them will build natural immunity, enough to prevent a wave. But sooner or later, we have to go back to normal. I speak to people who have had enough. Really. Testing coming into the UK is a must for unvaccinated no matter where they from.
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Charlie Wells
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue 02 Nov, 2004 16.23
Location: Cambridgeshire

From my own experience last Friday afternoon I got a ping on the app telling me I needed to self-isolate for 5 days. I booked a drive-through PCR test for the same evening, but it wasn't until Monday lunchtime that I got the results.

As I was told to self-isolate for only 5 days presumably that means the close contact I had with someone who tested positive was during the previous weekend. This means that I could have potentially been unknowingly spreading Covid-19 throughout my workplace for the entire week until I was notified. Also waiting 2-1/2 days for a result is somewhat problematic, as if I had been positive any 'close contacts' of mine could have picked up Covid and passed it on to others in that time.
"If ass holes could fly then this place would be an airport."
Philheybrookbay
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat 03 Jul, 2021 12.03

Sadly Charlie, clearly things haven't changed much.

I was at football match on 27th October down in mid Cornwall. Sadly the chairman of a rival club was in line for tea bar- we chatted as we always do when we meet. He had the virus. I went to work felt rubbish, started coughing on the Friday so got a test. By the Sunday there was little doubt I had it but I only got the formal confirmation at 4am on the Monday morning.

Luckily other half had organised all the food shopping but he was tested at the same time and got the negative result. God forbid if I'd been alone but those 3/4 days meant I'd wiped out half my work team for isolating.

I guess it's down to numbers being tested but the speed wasn't the best, and whilst I knew I had it, people with less would and clearly have just carried on.
Jonwo
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat 26 Apr, 2008 02.05

It's interesting that Australia has had more lockdowns than many other places but that's due to their zero Covid strategy which has become more difficult to maintain.
cwathen
Posts: 1200
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

First off - masks. There is an old adage that the best bullshit is largely based in truth. Of course face coverings have an effect on the passing on of nasties you don't want to be passed on - largely protecting other people from the mask wearer. Protective face coverings of course existed before the pandemic. However, disposable surgical masks are designed as part of a suite of PPE to be worn by highly trained professionals who will ensure it is brand new out the packet, know that they can't touch it, and once it comes off it goes into the bin. Indeed the PPE scandal at the start of the pandemic was that hospitals were being expected to re-use disposable PPE as they did not have enough new stock to go around.

Yet now that PPE supply is plentiful and can be done right, even the most ardent mask wearer does not go around with a box of masks, diligently taking a brand new one out of the packet and discarding the old one every single time it comes off their face. Nor do more eco-friendly people wearing washable cloth masks possible own enough of them to do the same (nor I suspect are many people washing them separately on a high temperature to ensure they are sanitary before being reused). Instead someone is simply pulling an often well-used mask out of their coat pocket where it is stored amongst their keys and their phone and then breathing through it. How healthy is that for the wearer, and how much has the protection accorded by the mask degraded as it wears? What technical standards are these masks even being made to (particularly the designer washable ones which have swamped the market)? Do any standards even have to be met before you can sell a face covering on the UK market? If not, how do we know how well they're working?

We've ended up wearing one small element of PPE, with almost no one using it properly and yet we go on and on and on about the importance of mask wearing as if this is the key to the pandemic, with every list of restrictions seeking out more opportunities to wear masks and proposals to remove mask wearing seemingly the most controversial thing to suggest.

Is there any modelling for how much transmission is actually being prevented by face coverings? We've had two lockdowns and are now in the 3rd wave of the 'mask era'. Are we actually saying without face coverings it would be significantly worse? And if face coverings are so important and have been effective, why not invest money in bulking up the production of better masks, make them available for affordable prices and then set something like an N95 as the baseline? I suspect we don't do that because we don't really know.

Second - the importance of Covid. We are still clearly in a place where we have Covid ranked not just as the number 1 public health emergency (which of course it is) but it is actually still the number 1 most important thing around which the running of the country revolves. Doctors and scientists have it nicely rationalised away that it would be unethical if someone died of an infectious disease if there was anything that could have been done to prevent it. That sounds like a no-brainer, but we are now 16 months into this with no end in sight, with the risk clearly not gone and not going to go soon. Every time we reach that 'just a little bit longer' which is asked for, some other threat emerges which means we still can't go back to normal. The effects of the attempts to control the virus HAVE and WILL CONTINUE to cause death, whether that's directly or indirectly from reduced life expectancy after people having their lives destroyed or being pushed into poverty from the huge tax increases we will all see to pay for this. There must be modelling done on the impact of these restrictions and the least worst outcome taken. It must be made public (for one thing if I'm wrong it'll shut me up). And if it determines that actually not implementing a restriction/further lockdown leading to the NHS exceeding capacity, whilst unquestionably a terrible outcome, is actually the least worst path in terms of how much damage will be done and how many lives will be lost, then I'm afraid that's what we must do. We are still in a place where we won't even consider it. The argument that lockdowns are the 'least worse option' only seems to come from doctors and scientists (or people informed by doctors and scientists) who are fully signed up to the idea of it being unethical not to lockdown if that's necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. That's not truly examining what the least worst option is at all. There is often talk of 'finding a balance'. There is no balance. If the current wave continues to rise and hospitalisations put the NHS at risk, we WILL lock down again, unquestionably, without even thinking about it. That is not a balance. There is often talk of 'learning to live with it'. Unless that means 'learning to be permanently modify and restrict our lives to avoid it', we patently are not doing that if we still view shutting the country down as a viable strategy to control it.

Third - the previously ruled out 'vaccine passport'. That's social apartheid. It creates a society where some people have greater access to it than others. It will never stop at nightclubs, and the decisions as to what needs to be on this list which the great unwashed are shut out from will be made almost entirely on advice from unelected scientific advisors. Regardless of how good the intentions might be, that will never end well.

Putting these things together, the simple reason that masks and basic social distancing, whilst not actually that big an inconvenience, nevertheless cannot carry on is because those that call for them cannot be trusted to leave it at that. We've only had the restrictions gone for 3 days. We got to these case numbers even with the restrictions we had in place before Monday. They clearly weren't enough to turn the tide on the current wave, so why would going back to them become enough and satisfy those who want restrictions? If cases keeps rising and hospitalisations increase significantly, there will never be an acceptance that we can't do anything more intrusive after this much time has gone by. As long as any measures remain in place, as long as we continue to keep treating Covid as a matter of limitless importance, any measures at all will always lead to more measures every time it takes off until enough measures to bring it back under control are introduced. So the only way forward is to have none at all, put everything into research for an effective treatment, everything into keeping the vaccines up to date, everything into turning around the anti-vaccers but we cannot any longer have restrictions on normal life. If we do, how long before this becomes normal?

Think that's all bollocks? Tell me that when compulsory masks come back, quickly followed by curbs on hospitality 'to prevent another lockdown', then followed by Tiers MKIII 'to act now to contain the virus to prevent another lockdown', followed by Lockdown IV 'to protect the NHS and save lives' and we end up with a further year going by, more debates in the winter about whether South Yorkshire police are being too heavy handed in enforcing the lockdown, more debates about kettles in Wales as Drakeford stops supermarkets from selling non essential products but Johnson doesn't, more tut-tutting in the spring as pubs and non essential retail are allowed their now annual brief opening, and then we're still sat here next summer (by then the third 'Covid summer' arguing about masks, whether people should be taking foreign holidays, and whether we are unlocking too soon. The way things are now, it's inevitable until there is a change of mindset on this.
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