COVID BA.5 Takes Over In US - This Is NOT Trivial

Nov 28, 2010
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I saw something yesterday suggesting that the newest Omicron variants - BA.4 and BA.5 - are not only more contagious but are particularly scary for 2 reasons.

1. They are much more effective at evading the antibodies produced by vaccines and the antibodies resulting from having caught COVID.

2. These variants seem to be targeting the lower lungs again. If you recall, the early variants through Delta hit the lower lungs hard, increasing hospitalizations and deaths. But Omicron tended to settle in the upper respiratory passages. So despite higher infectivity, we had lower hospitalization and death rates. But that could change with BA.4 and BA.5.

It's starting to look like the vaccines we'll have this fall will be tailored to Omicron. But which Omicron? If BA.1 and it's subvariants - which is what it looks like we'll get - that may be only slightly better than the original vaccines, if at all.
 

Colonoscopy

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I saw something yesterday suggesting that the newest Omicron variants - BA.4 and BA.5 - are not only more contagious but are particularly scary for 2 reasons.

1. They are much more effective at evading the antibodies produced by vaccines and the antibodies resulting from having caught COVID.

2. These variants seem to be targeting the lower lungs again. If you recall, the early variants through Delta hit the lower lungs hard, increasing hospitalizations and deaths. But Omicron tended to settle in the upper respiratory passages. So despite higher infectivity, we had lower hospitalization and death rates. But that could change with BA.4 and BA.5.

It's starting to look like the vaccines we'll have this fall will be tailored to Omicron. But which Omicron? If BA.1 and it's subvariants - which is what it looks like we'll get - that may be only slightly better than the original vaccines, if at all.

Item 2 would definitely be cause for concern. Everything else is par for the course in Covid evolution.
 

Aardvark86

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Jan 23, 2018
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It can't be that serious. My local democratic county committee just reinstituted their in person morning breakfast meeting series after a 2-year hiatus.

In all seriousness though, I do think if we've learned two things over the past couple of years, they are that (i) virulence is less important than lethality and (ii) taken as a whole, C19's lethality has largely been limited to compromised populations.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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I’ve been good throughout the pandemic. Masked, distanced, vaccinated and boosted, etc.

But it’s clear there isn’t really anything we can do at this point so (for most people) why worry about it?
We are starting to see people come down with COVID multiple times.

Most of the time each succeeding bout is less severe. Which is great. Except when that isn't the case. And with the new variants attacking lower in the lungs, that may not continue to be true. Keep an eye on severity measures (hospitalizations and deaths).

This is bad news for those of us who may have been thinking "oh well, may as well go out and catch it and get it over with."

That said, it appears to be true that those who have been multiply vaccinated and have caught COVID as well have the best antibody protection. FWIW.
 
Feb 9, 2013
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We are starting to see people come down with COVID multiple times.

Most of the time each succeeding bout is less severe. Which is great. Except when that isn't the case. And with the new variants attacking lower in the lungs, that may not continue to be true. Keep an eye on severity measures (hospitalizations and deaths).

This is bad news for those of us who may have been thinking "oh well, may as well go out and catch it and get it over with."

That said, it appears to be true that those who have been multiply vaccinated and have caught COVID as well have the best antibody protection. FWIW.
Agreed, but what else can we do, really?
 
Nov 28, 2010
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I do think if we've learned two things over the past couple of years, they are that (i) virulence is less important than lethality and (ii) taken as a whole, C19's lethality has largely been limited to compromised populations.
And if we can just keep SARS-2-CoV around for a little while longer, maybe we can finish off those compromised populations. They're expensive to keep around.

That said, I do think some red states are jumping the gun when they are already trying to redirect COVID funding toward tax cuts.

Vultures.
 
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Aardvark86

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And if we can just keep SARS-2-CoV around for a little while longer, maybe we can finish off those compromised populations. They're expensive to keep around.

That said, I do think some red states are jumping the gun when they are already trying to redirect COVID funding toward tax cuts.

Vultures.
Nobody is advocating stupidity here - reasonable precautions, distance, etc.. But the point is, neither should anybody be advocating panic. This is, in fact, a disease we're going to have to learn to live with, including its consequences with respect to outlier populations. And candidly, if existing vaccines aren't in fact showing efficacy against newer and predominant mutations, I'm having a hard time seeing how the traditional risk/benefit continues to apply with respect to a continuing booster strategy, at least in teh general population. And particularly so given that we have in fact made some advances in treatment.
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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Agreed, but what else can we do, really?
Beats me. If you have the luxury to be able to continue your defensive measures, that's probably the smart thing to do. With the current dominant variants escaping the immune protections built up by vaccines and exposures, I'd say hunker down and hope that the next variants will be less dangerous.

Obviously not everyone can afford to do that. For now, I can. So at my age and health, I definitely will. I hope others continue to act as sensibly as they can.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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In related news I saw a list of the 5 worst places to go if you are trying to be safe from COVID. I've forgotten the order of the last 3 but the first 2 were

PRISONS
GYMS

And the other 3 were

BARS
MOVIES
RESTAURANTS

So . . . who should we lock up? Use prisons to thin the herd?
 
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Aardvark86

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Jan 23, 2018
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In related news I saw a list of the 5 worst places to go if you are trying to be safe from COVID. I've forgotten the order of the last 3 but the first 2 were

PRISONS
GYMS

And the other 3 were

BARS
MOVIES
RESTAURANTS

So . . . who should we lock up? Use prisons to thin the herd?
I would imagine that prisons are at the top of a whole lot of communicable disease lists. And, there are other reasons to avoid them too!

(Also, I will admit that I was expecting to see a state named here)
 

The Tradition

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Apr 23, 2002
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In related news I saw a list of the 5 worst places to go if you are trying to be safe from COVID. I've forgotten the order of the last 3 but the first 2 were

PRISONS
GYMS

And the other 3 were

BARS
MOVIES
RESTAURANTS

So . . . who should we lock up? Use prisons to thin the herd?

Nursing homes didn't make the list?
 
Nov 28, 2010
79,235
32,489
113
Maryland
One way to think about this changing immunicity picture is that we were building up herd immunity - but as new variants are better at evading our immune protections, herd immunity is waning, not building.
 

bunsen82

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May 6, 2004
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The different covid variations are having less harmful effects for 2 reasons, the new variants are primarily focused on ease of transmission and not lethality any more, 2nd, due to individuals have multiple doses of vaccine and or infected multiple times, the body is getting used to Covid and the body is reacting better along with better medications to handle the disease.
 
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hawkland14

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Feb 26, 2013
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In related news I saw a list of the 5 worst places to go if you are trying to be safe from COVID. I've forgotten the order of the last 3 but the first 2 were

PRISONS
GYMS

And the other 3 were

BARS
MOVIES
RESTAURANTS

So . . . who should we lock up? Use prisons to thin the herd?
Let’s shut down schools again. That worked really well last time.

We are two years out of some the worst policy decisions in our countries economic history and yet we still have people like this who advocating for the same policies. My goodness.
 

Pinehawk

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2003
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In related news I saw a list of the 5 worst places to go if you are trying to be safe from COVID. I've forgotten the order of the last 3 but the first 2 were

PRISONS
GYMS

And the other 3 were

BARS
MOVIES
RESTAURANTS

So . . . who should we lock up? Use prisons to thin the herd?

Not schools? Because they took the worst of the covid overreaction. And, surely that decision was based in science?
 
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Feb 9, 2013
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Beats me. If you have the luxury to be able to continue your defensive measures, that's probably the smart thing to do. With the current dominant variants escaping the immune protections built up by vaccines and exposures, I'd say hunker down and hope that the next variants will be less dangerous.

Obviously not everyone can afford to do that. For now, I can. So at my age and health, I definitely will. I hope others continue to act as sensibly as they can.
I’m deciding when to get my next booster shot and, after reading this thread, will avoid prisons. Avoiding gyms is not a problem for me.

Otherwise, I’ll treat it like worrying about sharks when swimming in the ocean. It’ll be in the back of my mind but won’t keep me out of the water.
 

Titanhawk2

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Jul 14, 2011
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I saw something yesterday suggesting that the newest Omicron variants - BA.4 and BA.5 - are not only more contagious but are particularly scary for 2 reasons.

1. They are much more effective at evading the antibodies produced by vaccines and the antibodies resulting from having caught COVID.

2. These variants seem to be targeting the lower lungs again. If you recall, the early variants through Delta hit the lower lungs hard, increasing hospitalizations and deaths. But Omicron tended to settle in the upper respiratory passages. So despite higher infectivity, we had lower hospitalization and death rates. But that could change with BA.4 and BA.5.

It's starting to look like the vaccines we'll have this fall will be tailored to Omicron. But which Omicron? If BA.1 and it's subvariants - which is what it looks like we'll get - that may be only slightly better than the original vaccines, if at all.
"increasing hospitalizations and deaths" - of course, as the CDC stated, 75% of all deaths were people with 4 co-morbidities - so protect those that need protection, don't force most into holes.
 

globalhawk

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Dec 16, 2003
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Let’s shut down schools again. That worked really well last time.

We are two years out of some the worst policy decisions in our countries economic history and yet we still have people like this who advocating for the same policies. My goodness.
Hey drama queen nobody is advocating for anything.
 

kc78

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Nov 25, 2002
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I'm watching hospitalization/death rates. Everybody has probably had Covid at least once by now due to how contagious it is. The question is how deadly it truly is. The first bout about put several hospitals under due to the strain. So far it's all controllable. Will that stay the same or not? That's hard to know. So we watch the hospitalization/death rate to determine the actual severity.
 

HawkRCID

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Nov 7, 2018
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UIHC’s public site shows 27 in-patient COVID….I hadn’t checked in a while but that is a pretty large jump from the last number. State doesn’t provide data any more so it’s all sort of a guess at this point…

I’d rule this theory that the new variant is much worse as plausible….may be time to start masking again…
 

fivecardstud14

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Dec 1, 2008
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Let’s shut down schools again. That worked really well last time.

We are two years out of some the worst policy decisions in our countries economic history and yet we still have people like this who advocating for the same policies. My goodness.
"Let me whine about something that hasn't happened yet and pass it off as truth!"
 

Aardvark86

HR MVP
Jan 23, 2018
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I will vouch for this version being no fun. Got sick in mid-May, was laid up for a few days, but it hung out in my lungs for several weeks.
Ditto here. I generally tend to take a while clearing out my chest after a cold as it is. This took a little longer than normal.
 

torbee

HR King
Gold Member
And if we can just keep SARS-2-CoV around for a little while longer, maybe we can finish off those compromised populations. They're expensive to keep around.

That said, I do think some red states are jumping the gun when they are already trying to redirect COVID funding toward tax cuts.

Vultures.
Whatever happened with that US Army-led research into a COVID vaccine that would be universal against sub-variants?

That seems to me to be our best shot at putting this thing behind us once and for all.
 
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