There’s probably more transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the last 30 days than there had been in any 30-day period in the entire pandemic

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
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Have Public Health Officials Just Given Up on Covid-19?

We’re now in a very weird pandemic phase. On Twitter, doctors such as Eric Topol sound five-alarm warnings about the latest subvariants of omicron. Offline, even in blue states, people are back to parties, bars and restaurants — and will soon be flying around the world with no testing requirements to return to the US. Things feel as if they’ve lost any coherence. There’s no discernible strategy or guidance on what Covid precautions we should still be taking.

Danish social scientist Michael Bang Petersen, of Aarhus University, told me that familiarity with Covid is changing people’s attitudes. Many stopped fearing the virus once they contracted it and recovered. In Denmark, he said, studies show 80% of the population has been infected. Here in the US, a similar study showed about 60% had had Covid as of last February — before the latest wave started.

And people are taking cues from those around them. Social signals are really important, he said, so it’s very difficult to keep your guard up when others are going back to normal. Behavior can change in a cascading way. People wonder why they should bother if nobody else is. “That’s straight out of basic psychology of collective action,” said Bang Petersen.

Of course, some people are still being cautious and still have not caught Covid, such as epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He wears an N95 mask in public, limits his social contacts, sometimes asks guests to test first, and avoids restaurants. “There’s probably more transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the last 30 days than there had been in any 30-day period in the entire pandemic,” he said.

He admits this is based on his own anecdotal observations. The important point is that nobody has a good idea how many cases are occurring out there because we’re seeing only a fraction of the tests that have been done. Many people are testing at home, and others may not be testing at all.

And that means it’s hard to adapt our behavior to the situation — the way public health officials urged us to do during previous waves. Osterholm added that compared with previous surges, there are relatively few deaths this time, so the death rate is getting closer to something people are used to seeing with flu. “We don’t really know for certain how to act,” Osterholm said. We’ve never been expected to change our everyday lives because of influenza. But that might all change again if the next variant is more dangerous.

Reporters at a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health press briefing this week wanted to know whether the pandemic was over. The answer, given by Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Center for Health Security, was no. The other critical question was whether it still made sense to try to curb cases. Inglesby said it did — but stopped short of recommending universal masking or social distancing. He did stress ventilation, which could suppress superspreading events, as well as making sure high-quality masks are available for those who want them.

Bang Petersen said that, going forward, public health authorities need to acknowledge that those and other pandemic restrictions were costly, and not just in economic or educational terms. “We know from research that social isolation is something that has a number of costs in terms of well-being.” It’s bad for our mental and physical health. And constant mask-wearing is isolating. It’s hard to hear, to connect, to communicate with others.

That’s a point that often gets lost on scientists and public health experts. The fact that people are socializing again, without masks, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring about their health or the health of older, more vulnerable people. Socializing for many people isn’t something frivolous. It’s vital for their mental health.

So there’s hope for a more coherent future, Bang Petersen said, as long as public health officials take the social and emotional costs into account, and impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks. And be prepared for future variants — by continuing to do the genetic sequencing needed to find them and planning for action if something more deadly crops up.

The pandemic’s end is not playing out in the jubilant way it was supposed to last year when the White House had planned to declare independence from Covid on July 4.

“I think people are just psychologically done with Covid,” Osterhom said. “If you look back at the 1918 experience … In 1918 and 1919, there were multiple waves, it wasn’t just 1918. And people were quite compliant with public health recommendations, limiting public gatherings, etc. By the spring of 1920 when it got just past a second year, people said, “Ah, forget it, you know, we’re going to move on.”
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
16,889
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What should we do? Name one thing we did in 2021 that actually slowed transmission. Everything, including the vaccines, just resulted in a more contagious virus.

Good question. I think we should do what the experts are doing.

Of course, some people are still being cautious and still have not caught Covid, such as epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He wears an N95 mask in public, limits his social contacts, sometimes asks guests to test first, and avoids restaurants.

And “ impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks. And be prepared for future variants — by continuing to do the genetic sequencing needed to find them and planning for action if something more deadly crops up.”
 
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Bank of Hawk

HR Heisman
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Feb 24, 2007
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Wife (no pics) just tested positive after our 4 day Vegas trip. Sniffles is her only symptom. I am feeling 100% and tested negative. Will not test again because it’s a waste of money at this point. I have access to 7up, popsicles and chicken noodle soup in case I do get a severe case.
 
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fredjr82

HR Legend
Gold Member
Nov 13, 2007
22,940
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Wife just tested positive after our 4 day Vegas trip. Sniffles is her only symptom. I am feeling 100% and tested negative. Will not test again because it’s a waste of money at this point. I have access to 7up, popsicles and chicken noodle soup in case I do get a severe case.

Agreed. I'm moving on as well.

I am a little concerned about the long term issues. I know it's early and we haven't been able to do a lot of testing, but issues with the heart, lungs, etc. Again, it may turn out to be a nothingburger but I'm still going to monitor those topics
 

hawkeye54545

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Gold Member
Apr 25, 2005
20,941
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Good question. I think we should do what the experts are doing.

Of course, some people are still being cautious and still have not caught Covid, such as epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He wears an N95 mask in public, limits his social contacts, sometimes asks guests to test first, and avoids restaurants.

And “ impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks. And be prepared for future variants — by continuing to do the genetic sequencing needed to find them and planning for action if something more deadly crops up.”
Then wear your N95 mask. No one cares if you do. When we care is when you tell us we have to.

Not everyone lives with your level of paranoia. I'm not sure anyone does.
 

swagsurfer02

HR King
Gold Member
Dec 8, 2010
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no-one-cares-intro.gif
 

StormHawk42

HR Legend
Nov 3, 2009
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Meh. Death rate is the lowest it’s ever been, both in the US and the world. And that’s with very few people taking precautions. The vast majority of people have already had it.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
16,889
113
Then wear your N95 mask. No one cares if you do. When we care is when you tell us we have to.

Not everyone lives with your level of paranoia. I'm not sure anyone does.

I’m near the same age as native Iowan Michael Osterholm so I’m going to be as cautious as him.
 

noleclone2

HR Legend
May 4, 2015
13,682
39,752
113
My entire family got it in late May. None of us are a stat since self testing at home. My doctor said basically everyone who has not got it yet is getting this one.

For all of us it was like a mild flu with one exception of the fatigue and brain fog that were bad. I still have fatigue two weeks later.
 

BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
38,539
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Meh. Death rate is the lowest it’s ever been, both in the US and the world. And that’s with very few people taking precautions. The vast majority of people have already had it.
This is the missing point in the article. People aren't dying from it the way they were. Through vaccinations it's basically just an annoying illness for most people now and they aren't ending up in the hospital.
 

83Hawk

HR Legend
Sep 17, 2002
20,316
13,904
113

Have Public Health Officials Just Given Up on Covid-19?

We’re now in a very weird pandemic phase. On Twitter, doctors such as Eric Topol sound five-alarm warnings about the latest subvariants of omicron. Offline, even in blue states, people are back to parties, bars and restaurants — and will soon be flying around the world with no testing requirements to return to the US. Things feel as if they’ve lost any coherence. There’s no discernible strategy or guidance on what Covid precautions we should still be taking.

Danish social scientist Michael Bang Petersen, of Aarhus University, told me that familiarity with Covid is changing people’s attitudes. Many stopped fearing the virus once they contracted it and recovered. In Denmark, he said, studies show 80% of the population has been infected. Here in the US, a similar study showed about 60% had had Covid as of last February — before the latest wave started.

And people are taking cues from those around them. Social signals are really important, he said, so it’s very difficult to keep your guard up when others are going back to normal. Behavior can change in a cascading way. People wonder why they should bother if nobody else is. “That’s straight out of basic psychology of collective action,” said Bang Petersen.

Of course, some people are still being cautious and still have not caught Covid, such as epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He wears an N95 mask in public, limits his social contacts, sometimes asks guests to test first, and avoids restaurants. “There’s probably more transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the last 30 days than there had been in any 30-day period in the entire pandemic,” he said.

He admits this is based on his own anecdotal observations. The important point is that nobody has a good idea how many cases are occurring out there because we’re seeing only a fraction of the tests that have been done. Many people are testing at home, and others may not be testing at all.

And that means it’s hard to adapt our behavior to the situation — the way public health officials urged us to do during previous waves. Osterholm added that compared with previous surges, there are relatively few deaths this time, so the death rate is getting closer to something people are used to seeing with flu. “We don’t really know for certain how to act,” Osterholm said. We’ve never been expected to change our everyday lives because of influenza. But that might all change again if the next variant is more dangerous.

Reporters at a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health press briefing this week wanted to know whether the pandemic was over. The answer, given by Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the Center for Health Security, was no. The other critical question was whether it still made sense to try to curb cases. Inglesby said it did — but stopped short of recommending universal masking or social distancing. He did stress ventilation, which could suppress superspreading events, as well as making sure high-quality masks are available for those who want them.

Bang Petersen said that, going forward, public health authorities need to acknowledge that those and other pandemic restrictions were costly, and not just in economic or educational terms. “We know from research that social isolation is something that has a number of costs in terms of well-being.” It’s bad for our mental and physical health. And constant mask-wearing is isolating. It’s hard to hear, to connect, to communicate with others.

That’s a point that often gets lost on scientists and public health experts. The fact that people are socializing again, without masks, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring about their health or the health of older, more vulnerable people. Socializing for many people isn’t something frivolous. It’s vital for their mental health.

So there’s hope for a more coherent future, Bang Petersen said, as long as public health officials take the social and emotional costs into account, and impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks. And be prepared for future variants — by continuing to do the genetic sequencing needed to find them and planning for action if something more deadly crops up.

The pandemic’s end is not playing out in the jubilant way it was supposed to last year when the White House had planned to declare independence from Covid on July 4.

“I think people are just psychologically done with Covid,” Osterhom said. “If you look back at the 1918 experience … In 1918 and 1919, there were multiple waves, it wasn’t just 1918. And people were quite compliant with public health recommendations, limiting public gatherings, etc. By the spring of 1920 when it got just past a second year, people said, “Ah, forget it, you know, we’re going to move on.”
Yay Covid! Rah rah rah!
Go hide under your bed. We’ll tell you when it’s safe to come out.
 

HawkeyeShawn

HR Heisman
Nov 9, 2001
7,046
6,097
113
I honestly think you hope that's the case.
I have @Chishawk1425 on ignore, but can someone please define what a vaccinated person now looks like?

Are you considering vaccinated if you got the J&J shot in early 2021 with no boosters?

Are you considered vaccinated if you got Moderna or Pfizer in late 2020 or early 2021, but no follow-up boosters?

In my line of business, hospitals still consider the above fully vaccinated for employment requirements. For some of these people, it’s been well over a year since any type COVID vaccine injection.

What about me? Am I fully vaccinated? Modern shots in early 2021. Booster in Oct 2021. No additional booster. It’s now been 8 months since last injection. I’m pretty sure the shots I’ve received have worn off, but do we really know for sure?
 
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artradley

HR Legend
Apr 26, 2013
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Good question. I think we should do what the experts are doing.

Of course, some people are still being cautious and still have not caught Covid, such as epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

He wears an N95 mask in public, limits his social contacts, sometimes asks guests to test first, and avoids restaurants.

And “ impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks. And be prepared for future variants — by continuing to do the genetic sequencing needed to find them and planning for action if something more deadly crops up.”

I prefer these points made in your article:

“We know from research that social isolation is something that has a number of costs in terms of well-being.” It’s bad for our mental and physical health. And constant mask-wearing is isolating. It’s hard to hear, to connect, to communicate with others.

That’s a point that often gets lost on scientists and public health experts. The fact that people are socializing again, without masks, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring about their health or the health of older, more vulnerable people. Socializing for many people isn’t something frivolous. It’s vital for their mental health.

So there’s hope for a more coherent future, Bang Petersen said, as long as public health officials take the social and emotional costs into account, and impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks.
 

dandh

HR Legend
Gold Member
Nov 11, 2002
18,981
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Twin Cities MN
I’m near the same age as native Iowan Michael Osterholm so I’m going to be as cautious as him.
Cool. Wear a mask when you feel you need to wear one. Just don't try to force me to wear one. I am fully vaxxed and boosted and still got covid a couple of months ago. I was sick for a few days and recovered and am fine. At 67, I'm pretty much over putting my life on hold due to others' fears. You do you, and I'll do me.
 

ihawk in FWB

HR Legend
Gold Member
Aug 14, 2003
22,485
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Four of eleven people on my team had COVID last week. One, who has asthma had to be hospitalized for one night. All had fever over 100, but were able to telework.

They has all traveled the week before, three to Atlanta one to Dayton, Oh.

Let's not forget COVID has killed over 1 million Americans.
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
110,009
82,681
113
I have @Chishawk1425 on ignore, but can someone please define what a vaccinated person now looks like?

Are you considering vaccinated if you got the J&J shot in early 2021 with no boosters?

Are you considered vaccinated if you got Moderna or Pfizer in late 2020 or early 2021, but no follow-up boosters?

In my line of business, hospitals still consider the above fully vaccinated for employment requirements. For some of these people, it’s been well over a year since any type COVID vaccine injection.

What about me? Am I fully vaccinated? Modern shots in early 2021. Booster in Oct 2021. No additional booster. It’s now been 8 months since last injection. I’m pretty sure the shots I’ve received have worn off, but do we really know for sure?

The current terminology is as follows:

Received one shot of the two-shot series = vaccinated

Received the complete initial series = fully vaccinated

Received booster within the past five months = up to date with vaccinations
 

Urohawk

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
6,978
8,416
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What should we do? Name one thing we did in 2021 that actually slowed transmission. Everything, including the vaccines, just resulted in a more contagious virus.
A lot of things slowed transmission. It allowed people to get vaccinated. You want a more contagious virus. That's how the virus is going to adapt through natural selection. However, it also adapts by being less deadly to the host. Any virus which kills it's host is not going to be as successful as one which doesn't.
 

Urohawk

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
6,978
8,416
113
I have @Chishawk1425 on ignore, but can someone please define what a vaccinated person now looks like?

Are you considering vaccinated if you got the J&J shot in early 2021 with no boosters?

Are you considered vaccinated if you got Moderna or Pfizer in late 2020 or early 2021, but no follow-up boosters?

In my line of business, hospitals still consider the above fully vaccinated for employment requirements. For some of these people, it’s been well over a year since any type COVID vaccine injection.

What about me? Am I fully vaccinated? Modern shots in early 2021. Booster in Oct 2021. No additional booster. It’s now been 8 months since last injection. I’m pretty sure the shots I’ve received have worn off, but do we really know for sure?
Our hospital considers you vaccinated if you're up to date on your most recent eligible booster. I expect to get a flu/covid booster every year.
 
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Urohawk

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
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Not the fit ones
This is mostly true but not entirely true. Friends of ours have a totally healthy, unvaccinated 10 year old. It was about 4 weeks after he was elgible for the vaccine. They sort of thought they would "get around to it soon" and weren't antivaccers. They just got busy and put it off. He was hospitalized with multi-organ system failure and nearly ended up on dialysis. He's made a full recovery but spent 7 days in the hospital.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
16,889
113
Cool. Wear a mask when you feel you need to wear one. Just don't try to force me to wear one. I am fully vaxxed and boosted and still got covid a couple of months ago. I was sick for a few days and recovered and am fine. At 67, I'm pretty much over putting my life on hold due to others' fears. You do you, and I'll do me.

I don’t care if you wear a mask or not. Weird comment.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
16,889
113
I prefer these points made in your article:

“We know from research that social isolation is something that has a number of costs in terms of well-being.” It’s bad for our mental and physical health. And constant mask-wearing is isolating. It’s hard to hear, to connect, to communicate with others.

That’s a point that often gets lost on scientists and public health experts. The fact that people are socializing again, without masks, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring about their health or the health of older, more vulnerable people. Socializing for many people isn’t something frivolous. It’s vital for their mental health.

So there’s hope for a more coherent future, Bang Petersen said, as long as public health officials take the social and emotional costs into account, and impose only rules or recommendations that have a substantial, science-backed benefit. That means pushing for better ventilation in buildings, creating more compelling booster campaigns, and issuing clearer guidelines to help older and more vulnerable people avoid unnecessary risks.

Totally agree with that too. We really shouldn’t pick and choose which points the experts make that we follow.
 
Feb 9, 2013
17,446
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Our hospital considers you vaccinated if you're up to date on your most recent eligible booster. I expect to get a flu/covid booster
Our hospital considers you vaccinated if you're up to date on your most recent eligible booster. I expect to get a flu/covid booster every year.
What are they saying about second boosters? CDC is recommending a 4th shot for people over 50. I got my booster in Nov and have been considering a second booster.
 

Kenneth Griffin

HR Legend
Jan 13, 2012
11,567
16,889
113
“He admits this is based on his own anecdoctal observations.”

WhirlwindFlamboyantCougar-max-1mb.gif

You left out the next part:

The important point is that nobody has a good idea how many cases are occurring out there because we’re seeing only a fraction of the tests that have been done. Many people are testing at home, and others may not be testing at all.
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
110,009
82,681
113
You left out the next part:

The important point is that nobody has a good idea how many cases are occurring out there because we’re seeing only a fraction of the tests that have been done. Many people are testing at home, and others may not be testing at all.

Well we certainly know how many are being hospitalized or catch the dead, and those numbers aren't up.
 
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GroupThink

HR All-State
May 3, 2022
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I have @Chishawk1425 on ignore, but can someone please define what a vaccinated person now looks like?

Are you considering vaccinated if you got the J&J shot in early 2021 with no boosters?

Are you considered vaccinated if you got Moderna or Pfizer in late 2020 or early 2021, but no follow-up boosters?

In my line of business, hospitals still consider the above fully vaccinated for employment requirements. For some of these people, it’s been well over a year since any type COVID vaccine injection.

What about me? Am I fully vaccinated? Modern shots in early 2021. Booster in Oct 2021. No additional booster. It’s now been 8 months since last injection. I’m pretty sure the shots I’ve received have worn off, but do we really know for sure?
Why do you have him on ignore? He’s been all right from what I’ve seen, maybe a bit overexcited about the president.
 

TJ8869

HR Legend
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2006
47,308
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You left out the next part:
I included the only sentence in the entire article that means anything at all.
The important point is that nobody has a good idea how many cases are occurring out there because we’re seeing only a fraction of the tests that have been done. Many people are testing at home, and others may not be testing at all.
That was also the case in December. Millions of Americans were testing at home (the ones who could find tests, anyway) and still 'official' infection rates were three times higher than they had ever been at any time during the pandemic and hospitals across the country were overrun.

'Member the "COVID Circuit Breaker" that @torbee posted sometime around Christmas? At that time there were 1056 counties in the United States where hospitals were either at capacity, in danger of reaching capacity within the next 10 days, or "unsustainable". Today that number is 168.

Given that hospitals are no longer overwhelmed and the daily death count is less than 1/10 of what it was just a few months ago, I'd say Michael Osterholm's gut feeling doesn't jibe with reality.
 
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