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Covid-19 variant briefing note in the news

I was going to wait until after the analysis was released this week, but the information is troubling and I wanted to give everyone a heads up. The data isn’t just Canadian. There is real concern by other countries over the severity of the B117 variant. It is affecting younger people as well.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-variants-death-analysis-ontario-1.5964296 
   
Excerpts quoted: 

“A briefing note prepared by table members for the province, which is expected to be made public early next week, is based on an analysis of Ontario hospitalization and death data between December and March.

The analysis is expected to show that variants substantially increase the risk of serious illness when compared to the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2, including:

60 per cent increased risk of hospitalization.
100 per cent increased risk of being admitted to an ICU.
60 per cent increased risk of death.

The data for the above report is expected to be released early this coming week.”

A further quote regarding data:

“The Ontario figures were also pooled with data from Denmark and the U.K., two countries hit hard by B117, several sources explained, with local data falling in line with those earlier international findings. 

“Clearly, these variants are … more transmissible — so you’re more likely to become infected if you’re exposed to the virus — and also, you’re more likely to be admitted to hospital and to potentially die from the infection,” said critical care physician Dr. Kali Barrett, a member of the COVID-19 Modelling Collaborative, a separate group that was not involved in the science table’s upcoming briefing note.

Those health impacts are regardless of your age or pre-existing medical issues, she said of the international research.”

The news out of other countries is also a concern with respect to the death rate, transmission and that it is infecting younger people. Brazil is recording record deaths.

There have been warnings about the third wave being much worse.

The variants are in the throat rather than the lung. There is greater ease of transmission because of this change. Particles leaving the throat and mouth do so with even more facility than virus particles leaving the chest after a cough. 

The virus particles can remain in the air for several hours.

I have also considered the additional droplets of the variant virus that are going to be landing on any and everything. 

What about people not practising good hygiene who put hand to mouth and nose and then touch items? That has been an issue from the beginning, but now it will make matters worse.
 
We had some of our restrictions loosened provincially and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. We already have almost 120 cases of the B117 in my province. Yet, this weekend local people were partying like Covid-19 or its variants didn’t exist. Their driveways were packed with cars, five or more to a home.

Think of your eyes as another way for the virus to enter your body.

When I first learned of the variants and how they were transmissible from the throat, I brought in two types of face shields. Both are full face but one is more fitted around the face and offers more protection.

Many people don’t wear their masks properly. In the current variant situation, that could spell disaster for them and others.

I have also changed our shopping schedule with a view to even further minimize contact. We already do “pick and pay” for any necessary groceries and throughly wipe down any groceries or other items that enter the house.

I am also ramping up certain preps and plan to initiate SIP other than walking dog or working on property (garden). 

Vaccine is happening April 2, but it takes time to develop and is only one of 2 shots. Also, it may lessen the effects caution is still required as one can still catch the virus.

Also, if anyone has considered this: where do the variants end? I am fully expecting that the more people spread this, the more copies of the virus are created and distributed, which in turn increases the chances of more variants. Our luck could run out if we’re not careful. What if one of these variants won’t respond to existing vaccines?

With this in mind, has anyone changed their protocols or added to their preps accordingly?

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  • Comments (8)

    • 3

      Additionally, here is the link for USA variant data from the CDC

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html

    • 5

      Ubique, In reply;  A term had been used by forum member WSinston of S.C. The term: “stoic”. Much is outside the control of us humans.

      I don’t find the variants troubling because I expected them.  They are an aspect of the corona virus pandemic. It’s really like getting a pre-rabies vaccination(s). The person can still get rabies; it’s just less of a danger when vaccinated.

      South of the Great Lakes, hospitalizations and death data are not standardized reports so they cannot be relied on.

      It is a major issue here re pre-existing medical conditions, to include obesity, and weakened immune systems as a function of aging. 

      Poor quality hygiene is starting to be addressed. New York state is the lead.  They are initiating a COVID – “passport” for entry to certain categories of businesses. 

      My D-I-Y mask has 3 components: a surgical mask with this covered with copper infused cloth and this entire rig attached to goggles. Virus entry via mouth: 40%, via nose: 40%, via eyes: 20%. Whether this is overkill (no pun intended !) or not, at least I don’t have be be well-groomed to go out shopping.

      Yes, have considered when the variants end. On a daily basis I follow the insurance industry and their response.  Just follow the money to view the situation. This is a BIG matter on Capitol Hill, Wash, D.C. and some of the states.

      Besides the variants and the vaccines, it is also about a willing population accepting vaccinations. We have population segments not even getting the annual flu shots/jabs.

      My protocols are about the same. Am researching the airport UV light disinfecting “machines” used now.  We’re also researching these UV lights used in some ambulances (not US). It’s routine research. My bigger concern to avoid the mortality and morbidity stats is not to drive north or south of here to the big towns. Alcohol, drugs, stress and poor vehicle maintenance of the cars scare me more than this pandemic. 

      • 2

        Bob,

        My apologies for the delay in response, I must have missed this somehow.

        Stoic is an apt term for the approach needed these days.

        Stoics expounded a fascinating and often misunderstood philosophy. They were very balanced people who prized four virtues: wisdom, justice, courage and moderation. They sought to eliminate destructive emotions and thoughts  and followed an integrated approach to self-control with body and mind working together to become self-composed. 

        Much of their philosophy focussed on self-control regardless of the events and circumstances that unfolded around them. As preppers, we should all become stoical.

        I also expected the variants also because of previous information gathering during the Avian pandemic. It is the data and numbers trending regarding B117 that I find troubling. Didn’t Spanish Flu evolve the same way in the third wave?

        Globally, there have been rumblings about the third wave being much worse.
        This is coming at a time when restrictions here have been lessened. I understand the reasoning behind that decision. It’s like letting the pressure off a pressure cooker. I wonder if in the long run that was not a wise decision.

        Everyone was used to the restrictions, tired of them perhaps, but they were used to them. Locals are saying “it’s over.”

        The availability of vaccines is another contributing factor to the “it’s over” mentality.

        The restrictions are peeled back at a time when the issue with B117 and other variants are brewing. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

        We have gone back to “condition red” on our provincial health alert scale which is appropriate. Other provinces across the Country are going through variations of the same situation.

        The problem is that they now have to rein in the galloping mind set of the public that “it’s over.” When restrictions move back and forth, it undermines the severity of the situation. Locally, this has created far more confusion about an already misunderstood and confusing situation for many people.

        I understand your points about data, reports and pre-existing conditions in your situation. That certainly makes getting ahead of the curve more challenging.

        Ontario, like New York,  is also doing the “passport” and hopefully that will help.

        I think your D-I-Y mask is well done. I realized that eyes were an issue at the beginning of the pandemic when my physician was fully geared with a full face shield. I made a big mental note to protect eyes after seeing that one.

        The insurance industry is the canary in the coal mine. Covid-19 is not making a graceful exit as everyone hoped. She is doing many encores and her swan song is going to cost everyone.

        I don’t understand the fear of vaccinations. Even in the face of the mis-information that is spread for whatever reasons, why wouldn’t people take into account the number of people who have been vaccinated for many diseases over time, without ill effects?

        If something can prevent death (I have given up on the word “illness” because it has no effect locally), then why not use it, be it vaccine or mask? 

        No methodology is perfect. I find it so strange that people who don’t like vaccines cite some horror story about what happened to someone who had a vaccine. Yet, these same people will take a medication or even a “natural” remedy, which both carry a chance of adverse reaction, without the same consideration.

        My uncle had polio and it hit his leg hard. He refused to give up, forcing himself to walk and crafted his own rehabilitation while on the farm. He was left with a pronounced limp, but was able to function and pursue his penchant for belting out Wilf Carter songs while playing his guitar. 

        Despite that, if he could have had a vaccine to prevent what happened to him, I’d wager that he would have preferred a vaccine to the polio and the after effects of it.

        UV light disinfecting is very interesting. I have a read a bit on it but not in any great detail. Thanks for the reminder on that one.

        From a prepping standpoint, what I have witnessed locally and in the news concerning how people have responded to the stress and paradigm shift of Covid-19 has added a whole new dimension to how I plan to account for the actions and inactions of others in my prepping.

        You know, Bob, what scares me worse than even your list of items is that from my window on the world, it doesn’t appear too many people are learning much from this pandemic.

        Now that’s some data I’d like to see.

        FYI News that WHO is supposed to releasing data on origin of Covid-19 as linked to bat to human transmission. I haven’t followed it up yet.

      • 2

        Ubique, No apologies required. Delays understood. 

        Not too much is new under the sun.  What has the pandemic changed in re health matters less those measures enforced by external organizations ? Those who frequently washed hands for hygiene matters don’t have a larger segment of the population pie chart today.

        Ref Avian, Spanish flu, the recent others, … The reports don’t do much more than the reports about the earelier health problems – Yellow Fever, scurvy, malaria. 

        Why the opium trade in China was successful relates to our current medications.  Was told that many Chinese consumed opium to address the pangs of hunger. Today’s medicines can be seen as alcoholic beverages and foods that release natural opiates such as some of the chips.  Cured meats like bacon get on the list. Had been told that nicotine can provide sedative aspects.

        A “third wave” and eased restrictions does help political stability when this equation is balanced.

        Vaccine fears do have a small foundation. There were some experiments done among population segments and the stories are still around. During the Vietnam War, I took a weekly … and sometimes daily … pill for Malaria.  Years later, of those who corresponded … I am the last left … a Lt Col sent us a document that the weekly pill also had an experimental component.  The summary is that our education system is on the same index card list of poor quality organizations.

        Vaccines and masks remind some of their supressed fear: untimely death. The vaccination procedure and the mask serve as momento mori – just like a visist to a cemetary.

        Your uncle with polio was of a different era. Today, even a Medicare enrollee or a VA enrollee must pay $250 for the 2 shot/jab series of vaccinations for Shingles. Most cannot afford this – and this presumes they’re familiar with the Shingles ailment.

        The stress of COVID-19 is similiar to the stress of the atomic bomb school drills. Stoic philosophy needed.

        Does it really matter if the corona virus had origins in Trinidad-Tobago or Equitorial Guinea or Greenland ? Eclipsing the pandemic scene – although invisible to most – is the intense national economic confrontations and the Wuhan lab is getting geometric attention.  More attention allocated to WHO Switzerland could be more appropriate. WHO delivers little compared to small groups like Oxfam or the Cajun Navy.

        WHO reminds me of UNIFIL – UN Interum Forces in Lebanon. A half century later and what are the results.  Now compare with Dr Albert Schweitzer’s medical clinics in Gambia. Look at the costs and those dedicated.

         

      • 2

        Bob, 

        Your points are so well stated and spot on.

        There is nothing I can add other than to say thank you for all of them. You always make me think a little deeper.

    • 2

      Here is an update to the original article and the science brief now published from the science advisory table. A reminder that data was pooled from England and Denmark.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-covid-19-ontario-1.5968720

      Science-Brief_VOC-Prognosis_20210329_published.pdf

      • 2

        Ubique, Lauran Pelley has an excellent article going well beyond the health aspects of this contageous virus pandemic. The described Ontario situation is a microcosim of the US and elsewhere.

        Re:  hosoptalization “more than 20% higher”; Is the solution more preventive health care with enforcement mechanisms such as bars being treated as opium dens ? Required immunizations ? … No smoking while in line waiting for the store to open ?

        Re:  “paid sick leave” is not directly about health care delivery but rather about a society’s set-up / infrastructure.

        Appreciated reading TO genietrian Dr Stall’s “repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again”.

        To fortify my intro para here: “decision-makers in the Ontario government” …… Reflect on the numerious vaccination distribution programs. If the US had run it’s WWII distribution programs like the current vaccination delivery programs, this post would not be written.

        I like the concept of “field hospitals” Both mobility and reduced costs are features.

        Re:  “to transfer patients from hospitals” is about specialized transportation via roads (and a nominal amount of air and water routes).  This aspect of society also requires a program similiar to health care.

        Re:  ” A delay to non-COVID procedures … appointments”; 

        “If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome. If you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent. If you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe.” LORD SALISBURY

        Re:  “Almost set in stone” = stoic philosophy

        Re:  “Public health precautions”; Worship services such as aspects at the Revelation At Sinai and the Sermond On The Mount were held outdoors. They were somewhat successful.

        ……….

        A real good article !

      • 2

        Hi Bob,

        I like Lauren’s reporting also and agree the Ontario situation is a microcosm and lesson for other places.

        The hospitalization rate is a concern because of the age groups now impacted. Before it was older persons, and now 40, 50, 60 year olds without vaccination are getting the variant.

        I just read a couple of related articles to this on the same site and people are not happy about restrictions being invoked or expanded again. The restaurants have just reopened and understandably are upset about the impact upon their businesses. 

        However, we are dealing with a global crisis that has inflicted serious and long term effects upon many of those who have survived Covid-19. The death rates are only one part of this pandemic. Long term lung issues, among other post viral effects will cost society in other ways.

        Your mention of the bars being treated as opium dens as a form of more preventive measures, got me thinking about an ironic aspect of this pandemic.

        We live in a time of electronic communication. Here we are “talking” across the miles via posted messages. We are not isolate, and yet people are so impatient with the idea that they can’t go to a restaurant or buddy up in the bar.

        I could understand this impatience if there were no alternate forms of communication via computer, telephone or even snail mail. But here we are with all this technology and means of alternate socialization and communication at hand, and people can’t wait for the greater good in the midst of a pandemic? I just don’t get it, Bob.

        Dr Stall’s comment is the classic definition of insanity. One positive to come out of pandemic is how it shed a light on the appalling conditions in some of our long term care facilities.

        The field hospitals are needed. Consider how quickly China erected massive hospitals in the early days of the pandemic. Their ability to construct that rapidly was incredible to watch.

        People need to consider ICU involvement – one nurse, one patient. 

        Good final points on the “Re:” and liked the Lord Salisbury quote.

        “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less”. – Marie Curie

        I am taking the lessons of this pandemic and incorporating it into how I prep in the future. It has been a rare opportunity to observe in real time the efficiency of major systems under pressure, supply chain and the psycho-social impact and reactions to that same pressure.

        Glad you enjoyed the article and always enjoy your replies, Bob.